Monday, November 30, 2009

The Ramones "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue"

After last week's All Time Top 5 Songs Under 90 Seconds long, I thought I'd do a Hot Seat around that them. I did have to expand it to Songs Under Two Minutes Long, to make a solid hour of short songs. But it's still over 30 songs in under an hour.

You'll, of course, hear from the masters of the short song, The Ramones, among others.

If you don't catch the show live, you will be able to hear it in the archives at mvyradio.

And you can check out samples of songs featured on the show:

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Beatles “Her Majesty”

All Time Top Five Songs Under 90 Seconds . . .

Not to get all Manson Family on you, but should we read, too deeply, into this Beatles song?

The Beatles had tried, and failed, to film the recording of an album, from beginning to end. After acrimonious battles within the group, they shelved the “Let It Be” project.

Realizing that they were perhaps at the end of their partnership, they agreed to collaborate, as peacefully as possible, on one final album, “Abbey Road.”

Side Two of the Beatles final record seems to end with “The End,” which features Ringo’s only-ever-in-the-Beatles-catalog drum solo, and three short guitar solo leads, by Paul, John and George in succession.

And In The End, The Love You Take,
Is Equal To The Love You Make.

A fitting final lyric to the legacy of this monumental band.

So what to make of the fact that after “The End” and a breath of silence, Paul comes in, solo, singing, “Her Majesty”?

The song was supposed to be a part of the Side Two medley, but the band didn’t like how it fit into the whole, so it was snipped out. And its tacked-on appearance at the end of the album, was the result of an engineer, who did not want the performance to be lost.

But why did it Stay?

What does it say about The End of the Beatles? About Paul? Or his Ego? About the other Beatles? Or does that fact that I’m thinking about it some 40 years later, really say something about me?

How does this 23-second coda suddenly change the final word?

What do you think?

Hear "Her Majesty"

Hear the song and see some nice Beatles photos, here

Buy the album, here

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pete Weiss “Robert Robbs”

All Time Top Five Songs Under 90 Seconds . . .

From time to time on Every Day I Write The Blog, I do a week’s worth of my five favorite songs on theme. For the All Time Top Five rules, see this previous post.

What’s the connection between super short songs, and real world, yet hilarious topics?

They Might Be Giants are the masters of this, with songs about toupees and brooms and James Polk, in two minutes or less.

The Ramones went down the same kind of path with tunes that seem pretty much straight out the mouths of the band members---not the result of some literary exercise. “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” is more of an exclamation, than a piece of poetry.

Can you imagine Van Morrison, or Ray Lamontagne, or Joni Mitchell (or insert your own legendarily serious artiste) writing a song about Hotel Detectives, Sniffing Glue or the man who actually delivers their mail?

Pete Weiss lives out in western Massachusetts, and seems to effortly toss off hilarious, memorable dittys, “ripped from the headlines” of his actual life.

Robert Robbs would deliver the mail to Pete Weiss’ door, every day, as Pete and his band were making the album “Pete Weiss And The Rock Band.” So Pete invited Robert in, to introduce this song, about Robert Robbs.

Hear "Robert Robbs" with Robert Robbs' intro.

Buy the "Pete Weiss And The Rock Band" here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Replacements “Customer”

All Time Top Five Songs Under 90 Seconds . . .

From time to time on Every Day I Write The Blog, I do a week’s worth of my five favorite songs on theme. For the All Time Top Five rules, see this previous post.

Oh, the horror of awkward adolescence.

I was looking at the lyrics to this song, and I had to just stop. I closed the browser. Because my mind kept going back to those painful teenage crush years, where you would literally do what Paul Westerberg is singing about---go into a store and ask random, unnecessary questions to the cute girl behind the counter, not realizing how much you stank of desperate infatuation.

Why did you think that asking “What's on sale?” was somehow going to lead to a date?

Thank heavens your teenage years only last a couple of decades . . .

See some classic Replacements footage here.

Buy the album, here

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Glen Hansard “Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy”

All Time Top Five Songs Under 90 Seconds . . .

From time to time on Every Day I Write The Blog, I do a week’s worth of my five favorite songs on theme. For the All Time Top Five rules, see this previous post.

The bulk of the songs from the “Once” movie soundtrack have a melancholy, an ache (as in “If You Want Me”). Or they have an explosive, but deadly serious passion (as in “Say It To Me Now”).

Buy while Glen Hansard’s character spends most of the movie dealing with unrequited love (of his ex-girlfriend, of new love interest Marketa Irglova), you can’t have a movie, or a soundtrack, about falling in love without a little levity.

So even though he revisits the unrequited theme on this little, seemingly-made-up-on-the-spot ditty, he does it in a charming, self-deprecating fashion. And it becomes entirely believable that Marketa Irglova’s character would be won over by him in all of 53 seconds.

See the Glen take this request, somewhat uncomfortably.

Buy “Strict Joy,” and if you haven’t see the movie “Once,” get it on DVD.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ryan Montbleau “16 Reasons”

All Time Top Five Songs Under 90 Seconds . . .

From time to time on Every Day I Write The Blog, I do a week’s worth of my five favorite songs on theme. For the All Time Top Five rules, see this previous post.

Ryan Montbleau inspired this week's theme, with a clever little ditty that clocks in at :39 seconds, from his new live album called “Stages Volume 2.”

The tune is probably a little too sophisticated for the kiddie set, but having watched a lot of Sesame Street in the past 2 years, I can tell you, that being this solidly clever is difficult, welcome, and shouldn’t be dismissed as a trifle, despite its size.

See Ryan sing the song live on some fan footage.

Buy ”Stages Volume 2”

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bob Dylan “Must Be Santa”

I try to enforce a rule with my family:

There will be no discussion of Christmas, until after Thanksgiving.

But fighting the ever-lengthening holiday season is like fighting the tide, and inevitably, someone breaks that rule.

So why not me? And why not for the best reason possible?

Please enjoy the most bizarre, insane, jaw-droppingly improbable music video one could never suspect has sprung from the mind of Bob Dylan.

I mean, it was already a test of my suspension of disbelief, to think that Dylan was doing a Christmas album.

I checked my pupils for flashback-related dilation, when I actually heard the record, where Bob has thrown himself, wheezy voice and all, into Mitch Miller sing-a-long trappings.

But we’ve entered full-on, Matrix-level, altered reality on this one.

See it. Just see it. And make sure you listen long enough to hear Bob name Santa’s reindeer.

If you want to see it slightly larger, click here.

Track through samples of the album, to hear that I am not exaggerating.

Then buy “Christmas In The Heart” because Dylan is donating all the proceeds to feed hungry families in the U.S. and abroad.

Then ask yourself, “If I can believe in what just happened, is the idea of Santa really that far-fetched?”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Swell Season “Low Rising”

I got tickets months ago to see The Swell Season, and booked a babysitter long in advance so I could go to the Berklee Performance Center with my wife, on an actual date. We’d seen the movie “Once” featuring Swell Season principles, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, on one of the few dates we’d had she’d become pregnant, now over 2 years ago.

The best laid plans . . . my wife came down with a cold, and just could not rally to get to the show. My Mother-In-Law was willing to play babysitter to both my daughter AND my wife, so I was given the pass to go to the show anyway. But it was the day of the show, and finding a friend to accompany me proved to be impossible.

So I went by myself.

Sitting there in the low light of the venue, waiting for the show to begin, I wondered a bit about what the dynamic of the night might bring.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova had been a couple, but during the recording of their most recent record, “Strict Joy,” they broke up. They decided to keep the band together, finish the record, tour, and move forward. Hansard’s songs are typically about girls and breakups and sadness, and he’s pretty direct about his feelings. There was no doubt that there would be new songs, directly about their break-up.

What must that be like? To be sitting on stage as your ex- stands center-stage and sings about the intimate details of your personal life? And you have to literally play along?

How do you come to a functional truce, so you can continue to work together? Where you have stripped away one element of your relationship (romantic love) but tried to keep the friendship, the partnership, the working relationship, in tact?

Sitting there in the low light of the venue, waiting for the show to begin, I watched a young-ish, twenty-something couple 2 rows in front of me, and wondered where they were in their relationship.

I couldn’t see his face; he seemed to be looking straight ahead, almost motionless, but he must have been talking, because his date was looking at him and smiling. She was in profile from my vantage-point, and her smile rose and relaxed, rose and relaxed, but never disappeared. He must have been telling some kind of funny story, because she wasn’t saying much, but occasionally broke into laughter.

The look on her face wasn’t one of infatuation. And it didn’t have that nervous energy of someone on a date. It was more comfortable. Her body language, and her smile, were relaxed.

So they weren’t on a first, or fifth date. Something more established than that. And they weren’t like that couple in their fifties that had just wandered in. That couple had clearly been married for years and years. They didn’t speak, and they moved as one---he letting her into the aisle in gentlemanly fashion, she helping him with his jacket. But there was no smiling or joke-telling. Not even any talking. They weren’t even really conscious of each other. They just were.

Sitting there in the dark light of the venue, with an empty seat next to me, I watched the body language of Glen and Marketa. He took center stage. She sat at the piano, three-quarter-turned away from the audience. When they switched positions, he touched her, but it wasn’t a familiar, comfortable exchange. More business-like.

He introduced “Low Rising” as a song about sitting down with your partner, knowing things are hard, but that everything is going to be alright.

That, and the whole show really, made me very emotional. I missed my wife.

We’re partners and parents and friends. We love each other deeply. But we’re in a place where the chance for us to sit in the low light of a venue, telling funny stories, sharing a relaxed smile, doesn’t come up as often as we need it. Instead, our world need us. Our mortgage, our girl, our basement refinishing project, leaves in the yard---all those things strip away romantic-love-aspect of a relationship, or at least crowd it out.

I missed her so much, throughout that show, that I even got up in the middle and walked out to the lobby to check my messages, partly hoping that she needed me to come home.

But I stayed, and I’m glad I stayed. I needed to see that show, and feel those songs. To think not about the couple on the stage, but the couple in front of me. And rest my hand in the empty seat next to me, knowing that I still, consciously and deeply, wanted that seat to be filled by love, by romance, by my wife.

See the amazing music video for “Low Rising,” directed by Sam Beam of Iron & Wine.

See some fan footage of the first song of the Berklee show, which shows Glen and Marketa more intimate than they would be at any point in the show.

I don’t know if You Tube really captures it, but one of the emotional highlights of the evening, was Glen’s powerful, solo cover of Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks.”

Buy “Strict Joy,” and if you haven’t see the movie “Once,” get it on DVD.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reel Big Fish “Everything Sucks”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

This is the sound of 1996 calling. Ska. Silly. Ironic. Ironic. And Ironic.

I enjoyed the mid-90s ska revival like I enjoy barbecue chicken. A little sauce on the meat on a hot summer day tastes delicious.

But hearing this track today, was a little like swallowing a big ladle of barbecue sauce, without the context of the chicken.

In the 90s, when bands exciting young bands paved the path to pushing away the over-serious excesses of hair metal, U2 and classic rock, part of the groups charging forward used irony and sarcasm as their weapons against self-importance. And things became drenched in irony.

“Everything Sucks” wasn’t just a song, it felt like a mantra meant to take the piss out of what the musical movement was against, as well as the movement itself.

The only problem was that there WERE bands like Nirvana---who might have used a dash of irony---who didn’t feel like the punk-based-rock they were performing wasn’t weighted with a serious message.

I saw Reel Big Fish at a Warped Tour stop in Atlanta. They had to follow Social Distortion, lead by the glowering, bad-to-the-f’ing bone Mike Ness, who’s neck bulged with tattoos and lyrics brimmed with righteous anger. And then Reel Big Fish came out with Day-Go shorts and beach balls and songs about “Doin’ The Fish,” and somehow, somehow, they seemed pretty inconsequential.

Fun, but no more than a little bit of sauce on the meat of the era.

See the very 90's music video for this song, here

Buy the Reel Big Fish album, "Turn The Radio Off"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Levon Helm "Tennessee Jed"

It's one of those unfortunate realities of the music business that sometimes it doesn't matter how good your record is, if you are not able to go out and promote it, people may not hear it.

Fats Domino was one of the most successful recording artists of his era, but doesn't enjoy the fame, renown or status as folks like Little Richard or Chuck Berry, in large part, because he really didn't like to leave New Orleans to tour. He even turned down offers to play at the Clinton White House, because, you know, he'd been there once in the 70s.

Levon Helm had to stop touring several years ago, to fight a battle with cancer. And miracle of miracles, not only did he recover, he was able to retain his voice AND he went on to record a new solo record, and then win a Grammy. And even though he was carrying an AARP card, he was a Road Dog again, out there playing shows on a regular basis.

The follow-up record, "Electric Dirt," seemed poised to push the Legend further, when he got sick again. Thankfully, it's not cancer. But the lesion on his vocal cord will prevent him from singing for the rest of 2009. He's still touring, playing the drums and letting others sing, but without his voice he's not able to promote the record the way I'm sure he, and his record label would like him to.

Which is too bad, because it's a great sounding disc, which includes a rousing cover of the Grateful Dead song "Tennessee Jed."

So don't forget about Levon, and look for him in 2010!

See Levon on Letterman, here

Buy the album, here

Monday, November 16, 2009

Led Zeppelin “Misty Mountain Hop”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

You may or may not be able to imagine that your friendly neighborhood, mild-mannered afternoon DJ, was a major Led Zeppelin fan back in the day.

Maybe it’s not unusual. Probably every teenage boy, since 1967, goes through a Zeppelin phase. But I was definitely obsessive.

I bought every record and every bootleg I could find (on cassette!). I read the books, watched the movie, used time in art class to re-create album covers, in pencil sketches.

In putting together our Yearbook (Newburyport High School, 1987), we were all given the option to put a quote under our picture. The smart kids picked poems, the clever kids used Monty Python, and the cool kids used song lyrics.

Yeah, I wasn’t a cool kid, but we all want to belong.

Twenty-plus years later, I have to laugh at myself. Here at mvyradio, I put up the Lyric Of The Day, at the top of the station’s webpage. In nearly a decade of doing this job, I’ve come across hundreds of brilliant, thoughtful, insightful song lyrics.

But in 1987, I was insistent on using a Led Zeppelin quote. Two decades later, I just can’t figure out what my reasoning was.

“So I’m packin’ my bags for a Misty Mountain.”

That would have been great, if my life’s goal was to climb Everest, or attend the University of Denver or something. But I went to UMass and moved on to Florida (widely renowned for it’s towering peaks, you know).

I look at that yearbook photo, and do what we all probably do when looking at our yearbook photo. I shake my head, laugh, and say “What the hell was that kid thinking?”

See the song performed live in 1979.

Buy "Led Zeppelin IV".

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jack Logan “New Used Car And A Plate Of Bar-B-Que”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

One of the parts of the job that seems like it would be easy, but causes much gnashing of teeth, is the process of naming something.

Back 5 or 6 years ago, we were tasked with naming the station’s 20th Anniversary Concert. We tracked through literally hundreds of names, trying to come up with the right name. While we DID end up going with a name, to me, it never felt right, and history seems to have forgotten it (though I have not forgotten MY best suggestion “mvyradio’s Jamie and Jon-athon, featuring Jamie Cullum and Jonatha Brooke”---I also remember that no one else was sold on my idea).

It’s easy to come up with a lousy name. But then you are stuck with it.

For all their creativity, do you think the best they could REALLY do was “Monsters Of Folk”?

Our guiding principle since then, has been to name things that clearly explain what it is. Sometimes it’s not glamorous or clever, but even a person who’s never listened to mvyradio probably knows what’s going to happen on The Blues At 8, Live Acoustic And Cover Tunes and The Morning Moviequote.

There is a bit of blunt clarity in a name that is not “Subterranean Homesick Blues” or “Also Sprach Zarathustra” or “Untitled.”

“New Used Car And A Plate Of Bar-B-Que” pretty much says what you’re going to get right in the title. Jack Logan is no slouch at songs, or song titles. This track is from his debut called “Bulk.” When he was discovered, his label asked him to send some of the songs he’d been writing, while working up to making a first record. He sent over 600. “Bulk” collects the first, best 44.

Great backstory. Great songwriter. Great title-maker.

Hear a clip of “New Used Car And A Plate Of Bar-B-Que” on iTunes

For no apparent reason, see Jack Logan on Space Ghost.

Buy the Jack Logan album used, for ONE PENNY!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard “These Roads Don’t Move”

. . . and Son Volt “No Turning Back” and Death Cab For Cutie "Meet Me At The Equinox” . . .

There are many strange stories in the record promotion world, about artists competing against themselves. There is the famous story about John Fogerty being sued for plagiarizing a song, because it sounded too much like . . . John Fogerty.

And there can be strange conflicts for and between record labels, and the promotion folks who work to get radio stations to play the songs they’re promoting.

Johnatha Brooke and Davey Knowles recorded the duet “Taste Of Danger.” It appears on Jonatha’s album “The Works” and on “Coming Up For Air” by Davey’s band Back Door Slam. Representatives from each label were encouraging mvyradio to play “their” version of the song (it’s the same recording on both CDs).

Earlier this year, Pete Yorn recorded an album for his regular label, Epic, but also recorded a quickie album with Scarlett Johanssen for Rhino Records, who chose to put that CD out at the same time as the Epic Record. So promo folks were calling, asking if we were going to play the “right” Pete Yorn record.

And we’re in a similar situation right now. Son Volt has a new single out called “No Turning Back.” And Death Cab For Cutie has a song on the “New Moon” movie Soundtrack. And the lead singers of each band have collaborated on a new project called “On Fast Move Or I’m Gone.”

Is there any reason NOT to play two new songs by the same artist? No. We do it regularly. For instance, we’re playing several new tracks off Carly Simon’s latest release. But with a finite number of spaces on our playlist, we tend to do one new song at a time, even if it rankles the Record Company Promotion people.

So we went for the strongest, most interesting song. “These Roads Don’t Move” by Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard has found its way into rotation on mvyradio.

What about the other two. Good song, both. But are they essential?

Hear samples of each:

Get a free MP3 of “These Roads Don’t Move”

Buy the Farrar/Gibbard album “One Fast Move Or I'm Gone Music From Kerouac's Big Sur” which includes a DVD of the Jack Kerouac documentary that spurred the musical collaboration, the Son Volt CD “American Central Dust” and the “New Moon” movie soundtrack featuring the DCFC song.

See the Farrar and Gibbard perform "These Roads Don't Move" live, see the movie trailer for "One Fast Move Or I'm Gone," see Son Volt perform "No Turning Back" Live and see the official music video for "Meet Me On The Equinox."

See this previous post, for details on how a song gets into rotation on mvyradio, then let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stephen Stills “Treetop Flyer”

Radio stations always play songs for Christmas and Halloween, but (perhaps in keeping with an all-too-pervasive social attitude) Veterans and Veterans Day can be forgotten.

Of course, songs about Veterans are not as cheery as “Holly Jolly Christmas” or “The Monster Mash.” And it’s not like people are looking for tunes to play while decorating their home for Veterans Day.

But there are a lot of great songs for and about veterans, so let me point you to a couple, in case you wanted to put together a playlist. Maybe even make a compilation for your favorite Vet as a way to say Thanks.

One of the most requested Library (i.e. not new) songs we have at mvyradio, is Stephen Stills “Treetop Flyer,” about a Vietnam Pilot, who still flies dangerous missions, with the skills picked up at war.

Perhaps the best, angriest, starkest Veterans song, was originally recorded as an upbeat, kick-ass anthem, which obscured the despair of the narrator. Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The U.S.A." probably SHOULD have been part of his "Nebraska" album, alongside the story of another veteran, the errant brother in "Highway Patrolman." (Check out a neat graphic essay on the Legacy of "Born In The U.S.A" and listen to the clips below for a live version of the song, who's tone matches the lyrics)

You can click through the player below, for more songs about Veterans and Soldiers. Listen to these songs, and their lyrics, and maybe have a moment of thoughtful reflection today.

See Stephen Stills do "Treetop Flyer" with Neil Young, see Bruce do his tune with bombast and angst.

The original version of "Treetop Flyer" is out of print, but you can get it here if you're feeling flush. If not, you can buy a newly released live version.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bell X1 “Ribs Of A Broken Umbrella”

I'm looking for your opinion on this one . . .

We had a great run this past summer with the Bell X1 song "The Great Defector." It's a song that's a little to the left of center of mvyradio's traditional sound, but we always try to include some good, modern tracks in our mix.

The song did well for us, and it did well across the country too, getting airplay on stations similar to mvyradio.

The follow-up single is "Ribs Of A Broken Umbrella." What do you think of this one?

I'm kind of on the fence about it, and it seems like much of America is too. Very few radio stations have put it into their rotation---listeners aren't responding to it, in the way that they did "The Great Defector."

What other radio stations do, isn't how we choose what to play at mvy. But sometimes the broad (national) consensus does confirm something we are already feeling.

What about your feelings? Do you think we should be playing this one in regular rotation?

See this previous post, for details on how a song gets into rotation on mvyradio, then let me know what you think.

Listen to clips of both "Ribs Of A Broken Umbrella" and "The Great Defector."

Hear the WHOLE song and see the very cool, low-budget video for "Ribs Of A Broken Umbrella" and a Live On Letterman performance of "The Great Defector".

Buy the album "Blue Lights On The Runway" on CD.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ingrid Michaelson “Far Away”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

Geography can have everything to do with how a song hits you. I’m sure “Born On The Bayou” means something particular to you if you we actually, you know, born on a bayou. “Rocky Mountain High” might bring more of a tear to your eye, if you have a personal relationship with the Rocky Mountains.

Songs like “Back To The Island” and “Never Been Gone” and “Into The Mystic” mean more to us, here on Martha’s Vineyard, than they probably do to folks who live in Iowa or some other land-locked place.

And when we discover a new song, with a Sea-theme, we eat it right up.

When we met Ingrid Michaelson for the first time, she did “Far Away” (which was originally “Untitled”) during the interview. And even though we were in Louisville, Kentucky to record the performance, far away from the ocean, it still gave me a little tingle, to discover a song that starts:

I will live my life
As a lobsterman's wife
On an island in the blue bay
He will take care of me
He will smell like the sea
And close to my heart he'll always stay

Hear the mvyradio interview with Ingrid here and hear a whole concert recorded by mvyradio at Cape Cinema.

See the Ingrid sing “Far Away” on a Nantucket Beach, courtesy of our friends at Plum TV.

Buy the album "Girls And Boys," here

Friday, November 6, 2009

Derek Trucks Band with Susan Tedeschi "Back Where I Started"

We've been playing this songs a whole lot on mvyradio. I always worry about songs with a slow tempo---does it drag the radio station down? Make us sound sleepy? Boring?

There ARE slow tracks that we just don't play, because it feels like the station is grinding to a halt.

But this isn't one of them.

This one is like a slow flowing stream. Languid and beautiful, but always moving forward.

You can find this track on the Derek Trucks Band album, but it is possible that Susan Tedeschi will do it live, with her own band.

Find out for yourself, as we carry Susan Tedeschi, live from The Narrows Center For The Arts in Fall River, this Saturday night, 11/7. Go to mvyradio's main page, at around 8pm, and click on the Susan Tedeschi link, to hear this SOLD OUT show as it happens, thanks to Friends of mvyradio.

Buy The Derek Trucks Band "Already Free".

See the Susan and Derek performing live, together, here

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Violent Femmes “Add It Up”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

I was recently back in my hometown, to attend a dinner thrown in honor of, among other folks, my Dad.

He was being inducted in the Newburyport High School Sports Wall Of Fame, for his over 30 years of coaching basketball and baseball. And in the course of the days leading up to this event, I had lots of funny flashbacks to those many, many years of high school sports.

I started going to my Dad’s practices when I was in the third grade. I’d run the sprints and shoot the free throws and collected the baseballs. By 6th grade, I was running drills with the team, and even taking batting practice against High School players.

I entered High School as not necessarily the best athlete, but certainly one of the best trained players in the school. So I found my place on teams, and though socially awkward, comfortably knew the rhythms of the gym and the locker room and the nomadic, tribal nature of a traveling team.

I remember being on a bus, going somewhere, to some game, in some time, on some dark winter evening. We always had the cheerleaders with us in those days. And while I was deadly serious about basketball, there were those who (gasp!) found the whole adventure to be more of a social outing.

The girls always brought a boom box, and would bring the latest “cool” record on a home-taped cassette. And do I clearly remember hearing The Violent Femmes “Add It Up.”

My Dad is an old Rock N Roll guy. He loves Elvis and The Beatles. We had Dave Clark Five records and Buddy Holly on 45. So I know when that famous shuffle kicked in, he might have actually even tuned in to the groove the Femmes laid down.

But did he whip around from the front of the bus, when the song hit its famous refrain:

Why can’t I get, just one Fuck?
Why can’t I get, just one Fuck?

No need to explain the details---boom boxes were not welcome on the bus for the rest of the season.

Up until that point, all the music that I listened to, I listened to because that’s what my Dad liked. I didn’t have an older sibling who was bringing home the latest cool thing. We had Elvis and The Beatles and The Dave Clark Five and Buddy Holly, and up until that point, that was good enough for me.

But at age 14, on a bus crossing Cape Ann, I can pinpoint the moment where I realized that I wasn’t always going to like what my Dad liked, and he wasn’t always going to get what I Got.

See a live version of “Add It Up”

Buy the self-titled Violent Femmes album.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Carly Simon "Never Been Gone"

Somewhere approaching statistical perfection of 100 percent of the time . . . if I tell someone I haven’t met before that I work for the radio station on Martha’s Vineyard, the words “Carly Simon” will pass their lips within the next 20 seconds.

Carly is so closely associated in people’s minds with the Island. And mvyradio is so closely associated in people’s minds with the Island. It’s only makes sense that Carly and mvy go hand in hand.

We were excited to hear that she was going to delve into some of her old favorites, and re-record them. It’s pretty neat to hear these songs re-approached and re-imagined---some not too radically different, and some hardly recognizable from their original form.

It is totally worth your while to track through the samples below, and get a flavor for what she, and her cadre of collaborators, have done.

See the Carly on The Today Show

Buy it on CD, here, and get other special Carly packages, here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Joss Stone “Free Me”

Should mvyradio be playing this song ? . . .

There has always been a component of Soul on mvyradio. We always try to have one or two new songs that keep us linked to that genre, which, in pure form, links directly to our fondness for Blues.

The problem with Soul, can be that it doesn’t share some of the most important properties that make something an “mvy song.” SOME Soul songs just don’t have that organic, rootsy feel, that we love in our blues, and folk, and americana. Even some great modern Soul tracks can have that overly-slick, overly processed feel---which works for the song, but doesn’t necessarily make the song fit comfortably on the station.

Joss Stone is right on the line, to my ears. Some of her past tracks have had that very authentic, straight back to Otis Redding and Al Green feel. And some songs have been produced for pop radio shininess, and disposability.

To Joss’ credit, this new album was made without the aid or permission of her record company, who had been pushing her in a more pop direction, while she wanted to make more of a classic Soul record.

But did she go far enough? Is it something that mvy should be playing? Or is it too slick for the station?

See Joss on Jimmy Kimmel.

Buy Joss Stone’s ”Colour Me Free” on CD.

See this previous post, for details on how a song gets into rotation on mvyradio, then let me know what you think.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nanci Griffith “The Loving Kind”

I know Nanci Griffith has a passionate political point of view on a number of topics. But for better or worse, when I think about Nanci Griffith, only one image springs to mind.

I saw her in the late 90s, on the short-lived, but really well thought-out Newport Folk Festival traveling show. The folks from Newport Folk tried to package Newport-like artists, and send them on a Lollapalooza like journey across the country. It only lasted one year, and I’m not sure how a line-up like Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, Wilco and many more, failed to bring folks through the gate, but it was the only year the show happened.

Anyway, at some point in the show, Nanci launched into an angry rant, aimed at Bob Barr and other Republicans, who, at the time, were pressing the Monica Lewinsky case, comparing those Senators, to Joe McCarthy’s shouting, “I have these names on a list!!!”

Nanci Griffith has done tremendous work with organizations like Adopt-A-Minefield, Journey Of Hope and the Vietnam Veterans Of America Foundation. She deserves a spot in my mind closer to those worth groups, instead of Clintonian silliness and partisan hoo-hah.

Let me start today, with this song.

The title track from Nanci’s latest album, The Loving Kind, refers to Loving v.Virgina, the 1967 landmark civil rights case that ended the ban on interracial marriage. Richard and Mildred Loving were an interracial couple who were forced to leave their home state of Virginia because of the local Jim Crow laws preventing marriage between the races.

A couple of weeks ago, a Louisana Court Judge refused to marry a couple, allegedly because the man and woman were of difference races.

In response, Nanci has made her song “The Loving Kind” available for free download on her website. Get it here.

And see sing eloquently on another social issue, here.

Buy "The Loving Kind”