Happy 2009, peeps!

I'm outta here for the rest of the week. Bringin' it home is El Perro Del Mar, with a lovely take on the classic, Auld Lang Syne. Be sure to check out her blog, as well. Be safe.

El Perro Del Mar > Auld Lang Syne


Demons may be hiding in our shadows

I was playing around with the computer the other night, and decided to mash up Black Mountain's Queens Will Play with some clips from Panic Room. I like the way the song has this sense of dread or foreboding. I also like how it sorta explodes at the end, and Amber Webber's voice is flat out amazing.

Panic Room, I think, doesn't really get the recognition it deserves. I mean, I don't think it's a life-changing movie. Its strength lies in the way it is told and the way it unfolds. With the exception of Raoul, I think all of the characters are very real and most people could relate to them in one way or another. I dunno, maybe Raoul was misunderstood. Junior and Burnham didn't really respect him, so maybe he felt like he had to take things up a couple notches in order to show that he was a real player in the game.

In any case, give the movie a chance if you haven't seen it already. You might be pleasantly surprised.


Don't get drunk this Christmas...

Merry Christmas, peeps. I had one of my get-togethers tonight. Joyous by-product of divorced parents, I guess. My brothers and I went to our dad's place and got him drunk on two beers. It was quite amusing, the ridiculous crap he was talking. Thankfully, he's an amiable drunk, more content to just chatter away whatever comes to mind.

Which leads me to this song, John Denver singing Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas). WTF man? Was this supposed to be taken seriously? In the song, the father comes home drunk, falls down in the living room, then stumbles up the staircase to go sleep it off. All of which prompts a teary outburst by the mother. She should be happy that he comes home at all. And it's not like he hit her or the kid. He probably had to work a double shift on Xmas eve to support the family. I'd say the guy has earned the right to get his drunk on. Am I right or am I right?

Anyways, happy holidays and all that good stuff. Have fun and don't take it too seriously. Like this song.

John Denver > Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)


Cry into your Christmas cake

For some reason, I always have this image of Rilo Kiley being a happy fun party band. But when I pay attention to the lyrics, a lot of it is dark, grey and kinda sad. Even this Christmas song. I like it one a lot, it's kinda like Christmas, film-noir style. It's like, when everything goes bad and things just keep getting worse and there's no end in sight. And then you're supposed to be happy on this one day, because everyone else is. Although, I really have no idea what "Christmas cake" is supposed to be.

Rilo Kiley > Xmas Cake


I was born on Christmas day

This is it, the home stretch. This time next week, Christmas will be over and done. I'm kinda glad, work has been crazy. It's tough working for an internet retailer these days. In any case, I just stumbled upon this song. It's Saint Etienne with Tim Burgess (from The Charlatans). Where did this pairing come from? Not that I'm complaining, I like the song. Just wondering how it came to be. It makes sense, but it doesn't make sense.

**edit (one day later)** I just looked up a bit of info. The song is from 1993. In my defense, I'm not the hugest fan of either Saint Etienne or The Charlatans. I like them, but I haven't gone any further than a few albums/compilations.

Saint Etienne with Tim Burgess > I Was Born On Christmas Day


Give us all your money, and three Big Macs to go

Oh yeah, I've been meaning to post this as well. A few of us are going to Mexico for New Year's Eve. Naturally, there have been quite a few emails going back and forth. Everytime one pops up in my inbox, I always think of Beck's Mexico. I'm hoping that our little group will stage an impromptu armed robbery of a McDonald's in Southern California, and then hightail it, Vanishing Point style, across the border and live on the beaches of Mexico, at least until the commotion dies out. You know, like the ending of Shawshank Redemption. "Suck on this, you weasel, we're going to Mexico." That'd be fucking cool.

I grabbed this track from the KCRW
Rare On Air Volume 1 compilation.

Beck > Mexico

From sin and death now save us

Maybe it's not cool to like Feist after that iPod ad overkilled the 1-2-3-4 song, but whatever. She's got a pretty voice and this is a lovely Christmas song. I'm not the hugest fan and I stumbled onto the song last year, so I dunno the song's origins. Does anyone where it's from?

Feist > Lo, How A Rose E're Blooming


Tell me baby, do you recognize me?

Since I'm not completely bitter and twisted, I'm gonna post this Pas/Cal cover of Wham!'s Last Christmas. It's a pretty fun version, it threatens to veer off into a completely different song at times. This is from a split single with Asobi Seksu, who covered the Ramones' Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight). Excellent stuff.

Pas/Cal > Last Christmas

I will be hating you for Christmas

Remember that feeling of getting dumped right before Christmas? I'm sure we have all been there. This song sums up that feeling.

I love this:

There's gotta be a better way to deal with the pain
There's gotta be a better way to deal with the hate

Wish that I could find some way to make you go away
Wish that I could have a drink and make you fade

It's so perfect.

Check this out on Everclear's So Much For The Afterglow album. It's an unlisted track at the end of the album, so keep listening after you think the last song is done.

Everclear > Hating You For Christmas



I've been trying to put a list together in my head for the past month or so. CC and I came up with a loose list of our favorites of this year, but of course my memory is hazy due to the combination of persistent aging, alcohol and drugs...or something like that. Take your pick.

What follows are my personal favorite albums from 2008. I mean, c'mon, we all like lists, don't we? Either that or we love to hate them. In any case, these are what I really liked this year. There are more, of course, but these ones really stood out. And it's more than likely that I've forgotten something, so go easy on me.

Perfume > Game
Probably my favorite of the year. I fell in love with this album hard and fast. The production by Nakata Yasutaka is pristine, everything is perfectly placed, and there's not a duff song. Seriously. It's a whole lotta fun and very sexy, everybody should have a copy of this.


Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds > Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
DLD is very much a rock album. Maybe a little less testosterone than the Grinderman album, but sort of in the same vein. At 50+, The guy can still write as well, if not better, than most of his contemporaries. My favorite line is from
Hold On To Yourself: She lives in some forgotten song/and moves like she is zombie strong/breathes steady as the pendulum keeps swinging.

And it seems like the well won't be drying up anytime soon. In the past couple years, we've been listening to the soundtrack to
The Assassination of Jesse James and The Proposition. And you probably already know that the screenplay for The Proposition was written by Nick Cave. And of course, there was the Grinderman album and now Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!. The hits just don't stop coming when Nick Cave is involved. Apparently, the next Grinderman album should arrive in early 2009. I can't wait.


Portishead > Third
I wonder how many people were disappointed with this album.
Third doesn't sound like the Portishead of old. Yeah, Beth Gibbons' undead banshee wail is still there and sounds as powerful and affecting as it ever has, but the music is very different. Listen to The Rip, and let it transport you to somewhere above rainy-day clouds. Or try listening to Machine Gun, as it drags you by the hair, into an assembly-line factory and pummels you into submission. Before the album dropped, when the rumors were swirling, I was definitely interested but I didn't know what to expect. If they had released Dummy Part Two, I suppose it would have been okay, but this is a most welcome change.


Lykke Li > Youth Novels
Until I saw her live, I didn't know a thing about Lykke Li. This past spring, she happened to be supporting El Perro Del Mar (whom I love) and someone recommended I get there early, and so I did. Lykke Li totally stole the show. The album sorta captures her loose and free-spirited personality. I feel like her live show is much more fun, but the good songs on this album are really fucking good.


Pas/Cal > I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura
This was a recommendation this past summer, from a friend. Very lush and catchy pop music. I really don't know much about this band, but I like this album quite a bit. I dare you to listen to
We Made Our Way, We Amtrakked and not whistle along. It cannot be done, I say.


She & Him > Volume One
Zooey Deschanel is super cute and she has a really pretty voice. M. Ward's musical arrangements are...I can't seem to think of a better word than refined. I guess that's why I'm not a professional critic. In any case, the songs are lovely kinda 60s/70s AM radio pop music, seemingly either about love or heartbreak. The cover is a pretty good indicator as to the music contained within.


The Clash > Live at Shea Stadium
Classic concert gets a regular issue. Record company trying to milk profits out of a band long since gone? Possibly, but it's a good show and worth the purchase. I love Joe's intro, "Welcome to the Casbah club", as the band rips into London Calling. This is seemingly for the fans, but I think it would be a good way to introduce someone to the band, as well. Cheeseburger!


David Bowie > Live Santa Monica '72
Another reissue of a classic and heavily bootlegged show. It's taken from an FM broadcast of the concert. This was like the height of the Ziggy Stardust era, the performance is pretty tight. Definitely for the hardcore Bowie fans, but, like the Clash disc, it might serve as a good introduction to somebody who is interested in 70s era Bowie. I especially like
Changes, Andy Warhol, Queen Bitch, and The Supermen. I'll always have a soft spot for Bowie, as he was probably the first "cool" artist I liked. Reminds me of those childhood days listening to him.


School of Seven Bells > Alpinisms
Found this one late last month, and it quickly became an obsession. That's how it usually works, right? They were supporting M83 and we caught a few songs of their set. Sorta shoegazey and ethereal dream pop. Listen to Half Asleep, it's like you're soaring in the sky, looking down at everything. Or maybe that's just me.


Calexico > Carried To Dust
For some reason, I usually like Calexico better as a live band than I do their records. This album, however, is a beauty. It transcends my inability to "get" this band in anything other than a live setting. Check out
Inspiracion and Slowness, and you might hear what I mean. Absolutely gorgeous.


Aimee Mann > Smilers
Aimee Mann has a knack for turning my angst into words. I also like that she consistently writes about fucked up relationships, since I can totally relate to them. Check out
31 Today, that song really encapsulates middle-aged desperation. Like Bowie, she's another one of those artists that I'll always have room for. I've actually been following her since I saw that fucking Voices Carry video all those years ago. Fact.


Sigur Ros > Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
It's really like two albums, I think. The first half is upbeat and catchy, the second half is somber and majestic. If you're a fan, you'll have this already. If not, I think there are better albums of theirs to get. That said, it's a very good album, although perhaps not by the standards set by their previous albums.


Black Mountain > In The Future
This one is really cool. It dropped early this year and I nearly forgot about it. Kinda 70s, dark, prog rock. It's better than my lame description, really. I love the girl who shares the vocals. She's got this siren wail that totally fits into the music. It's beautiful. Check out
Queens Will Play, to hear what I mean. And go see them live, too, it's an intense experience.



All I want for Christmas

Thurston Moore wrote a Christmas song with Shonen Knife. How fucking cool is that? <3!

Shonen Knife > All I Want For Christmas

Our troubles will be miles away

From Kate Bush to Kate Bush tribute act. Here's Tori Amos with her version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. The Kate comparison was what initially drew me to Ms. Amos, but I think she really found her own voice after (her first album) Little Earthquakes. No, Y Kant Tori Read does not count. Anyways, the Kate Bush comparisons are almost inevitable, even if not necessarily fair. You can find this on the Spark single, which is from the album, From The Choirgirl Hotel. Okay, that sentence reads weird, but there it is. This song is a pretty straightforward read once you get through the sorta ethereal, ambient intro. A girl and her piano, what more do you need? Check it out.

Tori Amos > Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas


Don't miss the brightest star

So this one is an oldie, I guess. It was originally released in 1980, so yeah. It's the always wonderful Kate Bush singing December Will Be Magic Again. I was a latecomer to her music, my introduction was around the release of Hounds of Love (85-ish). This was one of the first Kate non-album tracks I ever heard. I never owned this single, I first heard it on one of the b-sides discs from the This Woman's Work box set (which, at $250, is the single most expensive title I've ever purchased). The lyrics are classic Kate, singing about gently covering up lovers and sparkling the dark up, in-between references to Bing Crosby and Oscar Wilde. As long as Kate is around, December will always be magic.

Kate Bush > December Will Be Magic Again


What did you wish for?

I can't believe it's practically mid-December already. WTF? Like, where did the time go? I need to sort out some gift shopping post haste. Seeing as how I just caught the Third Annual version of Aimee Mann's Christmas Show, I thought I'd kick off a little Christmas love with this gem. A long time ago, I was on an Aimee Mann listserv, and I traded with someone to get a couple of then-bootleg collections, Attack of the Killer B-Sides and Return of the Killer B-Sides. I'm not exactly sure where else you can find this track, the Return disc is where I got mine. It's written by Michael Penn (aka Mister Aimee Mann, to the uninitiated) and he duets with Aimee on this as well.

Aimee Mann & Michael Penn > Christmas Time


Be aware, my darling

I caught part of the School of Seven Bells' set the other night (They were supporting M83). They were really cool. Dreamy, luscious, swirling pop music with lovely, ethereal voices. I wish I had not missed most of their set. The voices come from twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza (formerly of On! Air! Library!). The third member is founder Benjamin Curtis, who was previously in Secret Machines. I picked up the SVIIB (I love that acronym) album for a tenner at the gig because they sounded so good. Reading about them a bit, the band name comes from the name of a "legendary pickpocket training academy". How cool is that? I am definitely a fan, now. I love this track, it's heavenly. Their album, Alpinisms, is out now. Chop chop.

School of Seven Bells > Half Asleep