Friday, December 31, 2010

Paul Simon "Kodachrome"

While you hate to do something obvious or cliche, sometimes NOT doing it is more noticeable.

December 30th was the last day ever, that Kodachrome film was processed. The one K-14 machine left in operation, shut down yesterday and will be sold for scrap.

So how many times did you hear this song, yesterday?

It's an obvious choice of song for a news story or a tune coming out of Musical Notes. Too obvious. But if you didn't play it, the listeners would be thinking, "Why didn't they play the Paul Simon song?"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vance Gilbert "Kiss My A**"

I grew up Catholic, going to church every Sunday, going through the ritual.

If you grew up Catholic, or if you've ever attended a Catholic wedding or funeral, you know what I mean when I say that, compared to many religious services a Catholic ceremony is often very rote, very sedate, formal, and often a bit monotone.

We went to what was called "The French Church" in my town. Back over 100 years ago, the Mass would be in French. This was the only differentiation I could see, from the "Immaculate Conception" which, back in the day, was attended mainly by The Irish.

But really, to a kid, Catholic Church was like McDonalds. The food roughly tasted the same, no matter where you stopped. That was both comforting, and a little boring.

The French Church had the same Pastor for many, many years, but Father Dacier had to retire eventually. Father Plourde came in, and though some of the old school folks felt he was a big shift, from my perspective, there wasn't much new.

It must have been a little boring to the "new" Priest.

Because not too long after he arrived, he gave a sermon, which he'd repeat from time to time, about how, while he was happy to be Catholic and believed it to be the true path to Heaven, he was a little envious of those Baptists who had their congregation hooting and hollering during a sermon. People spontaneous shouting out "Praise Jesus!" "Testify!" and such. He admired the passion for faith.

He'd end he sermon, and on a good day, maybe one Catholic would, speaking loudly but politely, say, "Amen."

Just as often as not, silence.

That's a long way around to get to today's point, which is that the Folk world can be an awful lot like Catholic church. A little staid, formal, introspective.

And secretly, as a devotee of folk music, I look longingly at the Rap world and their "response" songs. You got a beef with someone? You want to address the same topic from a different perspective? Write a Response (or Answer) song.

It just doesn't happen in the folk world.

But in the Youtube world, it's more prevalent than ever. Maybe that's what motivated Vance Gilbert.

So how entertaining, even if he's just screwing around, for Gilbert to write to a reaction song to the biggest (musical) viral sensation of the year, Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You."

Silly, but certainly not staid.

Tonight on mvy Live, the station features Vance Gilbert in concert, from his fall appearance at The Narrows. Tune in at 9pm.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Emmet Otter "Bar-B-Que"

So what do you do about Christmas DVDs, now that Christmas is over?

I mean, your Christmas tree may come down in a day or a week, (or in my Auntie’s case, in 4 months!), but when do you call it quits on the Christmas movies and specials?

My 3-year-old is definitely not ready to say goodbye yet. Last year we were watching “Charlie Brown Christmas” well into February.

And my wife got me a childhood favorite, “Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas” . . . but I didn’t open it until Christmas day (of course) and we didn’t have a chance to watch it until last night.

(It’s been 15 years since I’d seen it last. I didn’t remember it was so damn melancholy.)

Having watched it once, a certain little someone is most definitely going to want to see it a time or two more.

So Christmas keeps on giving in our house. And yours?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rufus Wainwright "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"

As much as I've complained about artists using their songs in commercials, I do appreciate that commercials can sometimes introduce an artist to an audience they'd otherwise never reach.

This 1998 Gap commercial perfectly illustrates that Rufus Wainwright is young and cool, but is really less comparable to any modern artist than he is to Frank Loesser or George Gershwin.

Monday, December 27, 2010

G Love "Fixin' To Die"

Yeah, I'm still in holiday mode. Over-stuffed, disarrayed, wiped out, "fixin' to die" (but super-grateful).

While I get back on track, here's a free mp3 from G Love. The new record is produced by The Avett Brothers!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ryan Montbleau Band "Resolution"

I say: "Merry Christmas! Here's a special gift I picked out just for you!"

My internal monologue: "Please don't notice that I'm regifting. Please don't notice that I'm regifting. Please don't notice that I'm regifting."

So from my blog to you, please enjoy this free MP3!

(Did you notice that it's actually a free MP3 courtesy of the generous Ryan Montbleau? He's the one who deserves the thank you note)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thurl Ravenscroft "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"

Your Jeopardy question of the day:

Known for singing "You're A Mean One Mr Grinch," baritone Thurl Ravenscroft was also famous for voicing this animated TV pitchman.

Once you hear the voice, you'll never see the Grinch without half-expecting him to shout, "They're Grrreat!!!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals "Paris"

I first heard Grace Potter's "Paris (Ooh La La)" in concert several years ago. Thought it was a killer tune. If I recall correctly, the very first time I heard it, they played it somewhere in the middle of the set, introducing it as a new song. But when I saw them a few months later, "Paris" was the song they used to open the show.

So I was psyched to see that it made the track listing for their 2010 self-titled album.

Then we played it on the air . . .

It just didn't work for mvy (in my opinion). Every time I'd hear it on the air, at first I'd think, What The Hell Is This?! Then I'd remember it was Grace, and just wait for it to be over.

All the things that made it work, live (the power chords, the swagger, the lyrical innuendo, Grace), were making it not work, on mvy.

Testosterone. Balls. Swagger. These words have never been used to describe the sound of mvyradio.

So I just let it go, and pulled it from the playlist sooner than the average song. There are other tunes on that record, that fit our folk-rock heart.

Not long after pulling the tune out of rotation, I was watching TV, and I heard these riffs. And I immediately went to the thought: What The Hell Is This?! Then I'd remember it was Grace, and I didn't want the song to end.

The riffs and Grace's vocal hook were matched up to the slow-motion action sequences of a new Superhero TV series called "The Cape."

Testosterone. Balls. Swagger. These words are likely the exact words the promo folks at NBC were hoping would come to mind, when pairing this song with the trailer.

It's all about context, isn't it? Not quite right for a super-station. Perfect for super-hero.

The NBC Promo

The album version

The acoustic version

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vince Guaraldi "Linus And Lucy"

You'd be hard pressed to find someone between the ages of, say, 35 and 65, who didn't have a very definite favorite dancer, from this scene in "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

While I was a long-time fan of Shermy's pioneering "zombie walk" (sure, Michael Jackson gets the credit for the "Moonwalk," but Shermy was doing essentially the same thing, nearly 2 decades earlier) I have to say now that I'm an adult, I dig Linus' self-confident cha-cha move. He looks completely unselfconscious, and in the moment.

And I don't think I'd ever noticed before, but for a girl who's mean to others, Violet's "punching-up dancing" is majorly mock-able.

Do you have a favorite?

The full song

Monday, December 20, 2010

Weezer "Troublemaker"

One of the most positive bits political activism in 2010 (in a year jam-packed with negativity) has been the "It Gets Better" campaign, which sought to reach out to despondent gay young people (like the really great video from Pixar, below), and let them know that life isn't as dark or despairing or lonely, as it feels to many gay teens and young adults.

It made me wish that there was an "It Gets Better" campaign, for nerds.

While the generalized intolerance (and sometimes, vitriol) that exists for homosexuality is far greater than that which is visited upon the population of nerdy teens, on an individual basis, I can say with certainty that there are kids now, just as there were when I was in high school, who are treated with a level of crushing cruelty and physical intimidation, that we should ALL be horrified to know exists.

Smart kids, un-athletic kids, odd kids and just plain awkward kids, who have been subject to bullying, mistreatment and ostracism, could use their own "It Gets Better" campaign. A message from those who's brains, creativity, individuality and plain different-ness, went from being a youthful liability, to the secret of their adult success.

And if there ever were a spokesperson for that "It's Gets Better" campaign, it's this guy --->

This shy, bespectacled, sweater-vested, Dungeons And Dragons playing, poetry-writing, drama-club belonging, Harvard-going student, grew up to be the leader of one of the most successful rock bands of the last 15 years.

If there ever were a video for this proposed campaign, it's this:

That kid in the picture, who got bullied and beat up and pushed the to margins in middle school, was rocking a sold-out crowd, the center of attention and adulation, the coolest guy in the room, leading a sing-along from the balcony of The Orpheum in Boston, still wearing a pretty uncool sweater.

Hell yeah, it gets better.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Johnny Cash "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day"

Instead of the usual Weekend Post, on weekends in December, I think I'll post some fun, weird holiday tunes.

Weird variety shows were a staple of my youth. Thank you, Youtube, for keeping them alive.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Juliana Hatfield "Make It Home"

Instead of the usual Weekend Post, on weekends in December, I think I'll post some fun, weird holiday tunes.

I always thought that this song was going to become a Christmas cult classic, like the show it appeared on, "My So Called Life." But I don't hear it around much . . .

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly "Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy"

It is a real, incredibly difficult magic trick---in music or comedy---to produce genius while you're seemingly doing next to nothing.

Whether you're Brian Wilson, Sandra Boynton or Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly, you are no less that a Master if you can create something mesmerizing, with a few mere strokes.

Witness Ferrell and Reilly in this hilarious version of "Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy." For the first 5 minutes of the video neither performer does anything but a fairly faithful recreation of the original Bing Crosby & David Bowie TV appearance. There is joke right at the end of the video, but otherwise, they don't appear to be doing anything.

And yet, I watched this video, crying/laughing.

Why is it hilarious? I can't quite say.

It's Christmas magic, I guess.

Get this version as a free download!

The original

Thursday, December 16, 2010

R.E.M. "Discoverer"

Like a man who's pleasantly surprised find his heart still beats a little faster at the site of his wife of 25 years, I'm a longtime R.E.M. fan, still excited by the idea of a new record.

Here's a link to a free download from the forthcoming disc.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Highly Irritating Orchestra "Bolero Completely Unraveled"

Producer Don Was has a great quote where he define genius, in a documentary about Brian Wilson. (The interweb was not helpful in finding this recalled quote, but Was paraphrases himself in the Charlie Rose interview below).

Was described Wilson's genius as being able to see things that are beyond the field of vision of an average person AND being able to articulate those unsee-able things to, in Wilson's case, the other musicians he was working with.

Artist Sandra Boyton's drawings can be as deceptively simple as "The Warmth Of The Sun," as joyous as "Good Vibrations" and as emotive as "Heroes And Villians," while seeming as unforced and as innocent as a Brian Wilson composition.

So when you hear that, as a companion piece to her new book "Amazing Cows," Sandra decided to record Ravel's "Bolero" with a team of 300 kazoos, well, you know she's seeing things that normal humans just ain't.

For a $175 donation to Friends of mvyradio, today the station is offering Sandra Boynton's Amazing Cows book; They Might Be Giants "Here Come The 123s” CD/DVD; Putumayo Kids Reggae CD; Doc Dauer presents "The Body Rocks" CD; and an mvyradio Infant Romper or Youth t-shirt.

Click thru to hear a little bit of The Highly Irritating Orchestra "Bolero Completely Unraveled"


Don Was on Brian Wilson's genius

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weezer "In The Garage"

Tonight my wife, her brother, my sister and I, are headed to The Orpheum in Boston to catch Weezer.

This is part of their "Memories" tour, where, tonight, their going to play their first album in its entirety. Woohoo!

Thinking about that first record (which I know each of the 4 of us listened to, tons) brings back the mid-90s for sure. But thinking about that first album cover sent me straight to the garage.

I've previously mentioned the recent fruitful trip to the garage, and just this weekend remembered that I had seen my special Christmas card folder.

For a good dozen years, I made my own Christmas cards. And in the pre-Photoshop era, I'd do most of the work with a pair of scissors, some glue, and the company photocopier.

The year after Weezer's debut came out, this was my Christmas greeting to all, with my head in place of guitarist Brian Bell's (on the right):

Here's the original:

And for your enjoyment, a selection of other entertaining cards from different years. Photoshop did become an option.

Here's the first card I did with my wife:

And for years, we waited for our daughter to be old enough to play the role of Zuzu.

Hooray for the garage!!!

Clips from the whole album:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meryn Cadell "The Cat Carol"

One of those things that our kids will never understand is how, waaay back in the old days of say, the 80s, if you bought an album/cd, you got all the songs and they remained in the same order. And if you didn't like a song, you'd have to manually hit the forward button and skip over it. Unless you made a mixed tape, you were pretty much stuck with the track order you were given.

It wasn't until the mid-90s that the technology started to turn, first for the industry, then for the consumer.

In the in-between time, I had a job, courtesy of my sister: Get rid of the damn Cat song!

The CD called "Christmas Songs" was a compilation containing the at-the-time-hard-to-find Barenaked Ladies/Sarah McLachlan version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," which had only been available to BNL fan club members at that point.

But my sister wanted me to get rid of this one track, "A Cat Carol," that I wasn't familiar with, because it ruined the whole album.

"The cat DIES at the end!" What kind of Christmas song is that?

So got some help from the station engineer, who showed me how I could "Burn" a CD, something I'd never done before. And I copied all the tracks from "Christmas Songs," except that one.

And the cat song can live in the stars, forever.

Tonight, I'm hosting The Hot Seat on mvyradio, with an hour of songs that are Not-exactly-in-the-Christmas-spirit. You won't be singing these carols around the tree with the kids, this year. And if you miss it tonight, next week, you'll find it in the archives.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Neko Case "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis"

Gasp! . . . Neko! . . . gaa! . . . covering . . . uhhh! . . . Waits! . . . . . . dying! . . . ascending to heaven! . . . ahhhhhhh!

The existence of this cut motivated me to do tomorrow night's Hot Seat (Monday at 9pm on mvyradio), focusing on downbeat Christmas songs. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Superdeluxe "All I Wanted Was A Skateboard"

Instead of the usual Weekend Post, on weekends in December, I think I'll post some fun, weird holiday tunes.

This 90s power pop (partly punk) ditty perfectly expresses that familiar-but-oh-so-not-in-the-spirit-of-the-season sentiment: "Thanks, but couldn't you have gotten me something slightly cooler?"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jon Bon Jovi "R2-D2, We Wish You A Merry Christmas"

Somewhere out there, there is a TV commercial of me modeling some blue jeans.

It's the kind of slightly embarrassing, slightly degrading thing you end up doing early in your career, because you're just trying to get in the game.

In my case, I had just been hired as a producer at a small NBC affiliate, in the creative services division which produced commercials and promos. On my first day on the job I was to shadow the other producer, to get a feel for what we did.

That day they were shooting a commercial for a local department store. They'd hired a few folks to model various sweaters and boots, but when it came time to shoot the young mens jeans, well, they were short on young men.

"Can you put a pair of these on, PJ, and go stand in that field?"

Wanting to seem like a team player, I said Yes (while thinking GOD NO!), and somewhere on videotape in the bowels of an NBC affiliate, is my butt, hawking blue jeans.

I guess this would be the audio version of that.

Young Jon, itching to get his recording career started, scored an opportunity to sing on a record called "Christmas In The Stars: A Star Wars Christmas." And he leapt at the chance.

To his credit, in the "60 Minutes" piece, he only seems slightly sheepish, not embarrassed and degraded. Then again if my butt were on YouTube, I'd probably have to find a way to live with it, too.

Bonus!!! From the same album: "What Do You Get A Wookie For Christmas"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dan Fogelberg "Run For The Roses"

I have a philosophy on music that might strike you as counter-intuitive.

I am resolutely a non-snob.

If you think about what my job is, as a music director, it is actually the epitome of snobbery in one respect, in that I listen to piles of songs, and deem a mere few worthy of regular airplay.

So, yes, I am discerning. I like what I like, and am fully-committed when I decide to champion a song.

But the most important part of being a programmer is being fully aware that I am programming for others, not for myself.

If a chef at a restaurant only cooked food to his specific taste, only a narrow clientele would want to eat there. A good chef plans a varied menu, and, even if they like food reaaaally spicy, they only season the food to the average customer's palate.

People like what they like, and that's okay.

I don't get hyped up when someone hears Gram Parsons and asks, "What is this shit?"

I think it's fully appropriate for a teenage girl to love that "I Whip My Hair Back And Forth" song.

And if Mom wants to listen to classical radio because she enjoys it, she should.

But I didn't always feel that way.

I was seeing this girl. She was the friend of a friend and we'd been paired up on a night on the town. There was some chemistry there, so we agreed so see each other again.

You can cruise on chemistry in the early early going, but at some point, you're going to have to get to know someone.

She'd dropped the hint a couple of times that she'd recently ended a long term relationship, so I felt obligated to ask, felt like she wanted me to ask: "So why did you guys break up?"

"Well, it's like that Dan Fogelberg song . . ."

I can tell you that I have no idea how that sentence ended, or anything she said from that moment on, because my mind immediately switched to concocting an escape plan.

If this girl could explain any aspect of her life through the sappy pap of Dan Fogelberg, then she and I would absolutely never, ever, ever, have anything to talk about.

I was an unrepentant snob, and I got out of there as fast as I could. I'm sure she had no idea why I left in such haste.

Years later, I think about that guy (me), "What a jerk." I still don't like that Dan Fogelberg song. But if you do, I'll still be your friend.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Various Artists "Let It Be"

I learned the term Schadenfreude from my friend Martin.

We've known each other a good 20-plus years at this point, and I think it's safe to say that he is one of the smartest, most well-read, incisive people I know.

Whether it's introducing me to the German word which refers taking pleasure in another's misfortune, or taking me to the Museum Of Modern Art so we could take a drink from Duchamp's "Fountain" or handing me the book that would force me to look at my self-absorbed past but then become the touchstone of my early thirties, Martin has been a reliable gadfly in my life.

So when he sends me a link to this video and called it "The awesomest Beatles song video ever" I know he's teasing me. He hates the Beatles. And he knows I like them.

And if you hate The Beatles, how could you not feel a little Schadenfreude, when viewing this video?

(And thanks to Martin himself, for letting me know the original video was taken down. Here it is again)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Florence And The Machine "Dog Days Are Over"

Okay, so I'm probably the last blogger on earth to post about this band and song, but I did have some thoughts on it.

It's another tune that's been kicking around for quite some time. It really belongs more to the world of Alternative Radio than to stations that sound like mvyradio. But there are some of our format-cousins who are playing this track. It would probably be a stretch for us, but I was starting to think maybe we could do it.

"Dog Days" had gotten in my head, and that's a good sign. If a tune sticks with you, long after you've taken off the headphones, it's got staying power. And it's the end of the year, which is a good time to take a flying leap and play something that IS a bit of a stretch.

I was thinking we'd have to give this track serious consideration when Monday rolled around (Monday is the day we officially add songs to rotation).

Then I saw them on Saturday Night Live.

Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed.

A "good song" is certainly the highest criteria for a song getting added to rotation, but there are lots of other questions to ask and answer. For instance, while the song is good, Is the band any good? Are they more than one song? Are they good enough that they'll be around for awhile? Are they authentic?

The live, TV performance didn't sell me on any of these counts and come Monday, we didn't even talk about the song.

I dunno, does someone want to straighten me out on this one?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Lemonheads "Kitchen"

I grew up in the 70s, where drug humor was a HUGE part of comedy and satire.

I said, "I grew up in the 70s." Not, "I came of age in the 70s."

In other words, I was really a little too young to appreciate the humor in any first-person way. For better and worse, my idea of a person who used drugs was that of a sitcom buffoon. I entirely missed both the negative, unpleasant side of drug users, and the "Easy Rider" point of freedom, rebellion or mind-expansion.

I just thought people who smoked dope were, innately, hilarious.

I couldn't wait to hang out with folks like Johnny Fever and laugh at their hysterical hijinx.

And while I'd like to tell you that my first experience with real stoners was no such thing, every time I hear this Lemonheads song, I remember the roommate who smoked dope, listen to the album (a huge favorite our mine, and my generation, in its day) and have a total paranoid panic attack every time that police siren sound effect came in (around the 1:25 mark on the album cut). Always a "phone cops" moment.

Classic WKRP "Phone Cops" episode

Sunday, December 5, 2010

John Prine "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"

Instead of the usual Weekend Post, on weekends in December, I think I'll post some fun, weird holiday tunes.

I was previewing this song in the studio the other day, and Jess, from across the hall, yelled, "Are you listening to creepy Christmas music over there?"

Is this one more or less creepy that Prine's "Christmas In Prison"?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Paul Simon & Steve Martin "Silver Bells"

Instead of the usual Weekend Post, on weekends in December, I think I'll post some fun, weird holiday tunes.

I'll default to the wonderful folks at the AV Club, for the story behind this one:

The origin of this semi-legendary bootleg is a bit of a mystery. Most sources claim that it’s an outtake from an episode of Saturday Night Live, but Martin and Simon were never on the same show at the same time. Further complicating things, Billy Joel—in a magazine interview from 2001—claims that it’s him playing the piano, and that it wasn’t for television at all, but merely the three of them, lubricated on wine, goofing around in a recording studio. Whatever the case, it’s hands-down the funniest version ever made of this classic carol.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Morphine "Thursday" & Cold Water Flat "Magnetic North Pole"

When you’re a DJ, sometimes the closest thing to heaven is a great segue.

These days, with digital songs and equipment, the segue is a little less of an art than the old days.

But the DJs who remember fading one song into the next on a pair of turntables know the joy of the smooth segue, and the gut-punch feeling of a car-wreck.

And if you’re a real nerd about it, you might even have a favorite segue . . .

Yes, I’m a real nerd about it.

My favorite songs to play back to back come from my old Alternative specialty show, from my first radio gig:

Morphine’s “Thursday” into Cold Water Flat’s “Magnetic North Pole.”

(Hear the segue)

The swirling horns and mounting feedback of “Thursday” that build and build into a rush of noise until there is an abrupt end and for a hair-split-second time seems to stop---in la petite mort fashion---before the machine-gun-fire opening drum blast of “Magnetic North Pole” is just . . . well, uh . . . let's call it climactic.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Civil Wars "Poison & Wine"

This song has been kicking around for a good year, but it landed in my Inbox last week, and it's certainly one of the most interesting and arresting tracks in my Shuffle.

Joy Williams had some success as a Christian music act, but in recent years was working in a more behind-the-scenes fashion as a songwriter, furnishing tracks for pop "talents" like Brian Littrell, Mandisa and David Archuleta. John Paul White, another Nashville songwriter doing the same thing, was introduced to Williams as a potential songwriting partner, and the chemistry (of the artistic, not romantic kind, despite what the video suggest) proved so potent, that they formed their own band, keeping the songs for themselves.

This track made an appearance on Grey's Anatomy over a year ago, but the first album by their group The Civil Wars doesn't come out until early 2011.

It's great to see the talent behind the "talent" be the ones to make a splash.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Son Volt "Afterglow 61"

There are two camps of thought, on the voice of Jay Farrar.

There is one camp, that notes that Farrar's voice is huge. It fills his songs. It's beautiful. The tone of his voice is really a gorgeous, remarkable thing. It manages to both be crystal clear, and have this wonderful rounded quality at the same time.

Then is the other camp . . . which has a problem with his voice.

In one of the most memorable lines of a record review I've ever read, the critic complained that it was really hard to tell, from one song to another, if Farrar was happy, sad, angry or something else. Trying to discern what he was emoting about from one song to the next, was "like trying to tell squirrels apart."

I have to say, I'm setting up a tent in both camps on this one.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Trombone Shorty "Backatown"

I've written before about what happens when the year comes to an end, and the record industry (but not the radio industry) goes in to hibernation.

And here we are again.

I actually look forward to this lull period, because it affords us the opportunity to look back at records we passed over for some reason.

There are only so many spots on a playlist. We keep 50-something new songs in rotation at mvyradio. Sure, you could do more. But the more songs you add, the less play each one gets. So we try to keep that number consistent.

And within that group of 50-something, we make a real effort to keep things eclectic. A few rockier songs, a few poppier songs, a few alternative songs, a few heritage artists, a few unknowns, etc.

Getting added to the playlist is not just about a great song. It's about how the song fits into the current big picture.

We love to have a good couple of R&B flavored songs in the mix, but if you put in too many, well, it's like Hot Sauce. A little gives it some kick. Enough makes the chili rock. Too much ruins the whole pot.

I can't remember if that was the exact reason we passed over this excellent Trombone Shorty album. But when I started asking staff members about which albums they felt we should give a second look, this was the most popular candidate. And the current playlist is certainly lighter on the groove-based records.

So here 'tis, for the season.

And pick up a Trombone Shorty Christmas song.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Goo Goo Dolls "Long Way Down"

When my Mom heard that I have a blog, she told me:

"Oh, I'd like to tune into that sometime."

Mom, though sincere, is not necessarily hip or techie.

But every once and a while, she can surprise you.

Like the time we were in an Irish pub, and she requested that the singer do "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright." I would have bet all the money in my pocket that she couldn't name 3 Bob Dylan songs.

Or there was the time that she visited me in Virginia.

It was the mid-90s, and I was the host of an Alternative radio program, on an independent station in southwest Virginia.

Mom thought it would be fun to spend the evening at the station with me. And she was curious to try email.

At that time, email was pretty new, for the average Baby Boomer. She didn't have a home computer or anything, but she thought it was "neat" that I was writing, electronically, to my sister Julie.

So I sat her down in front of the station computer and went to work on my show. Every once and a while, I'd check in with her, as she did her hunt-and-peck, tip-typing a note to my sister.

When she said she was ready to send, I gave it a look over, and furrowed my brow.

After some chit-chatting type things about what she had seen on this visit, and a knock on the cleanliness of my apartment, before closing, she wrote:

"Long way down, I don't think I'll make it on my own."

That sounded familiar, but I had to spin my mental hamster wheel for a second to get it.

"Mom? Are you quoting the Goo Goo Dolls here?"

I'd played the new-ish song "Long Way Down," sometime within the last half-hour, I guess the lyric struck her for some reason.

Could she name ONE Goo Goo Dolls song? No. Certainly not.

But, just for the fact that she was listening, she did become just a little, tiny, teeny bit cool.

Once she "tunes in" to my blog, it's only a matter of time before Mom is on Facebook.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Babes In Toyland "Sweet 69"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Around the time this song came out, there was an interesting book, about how they got signed, and about the making of their major label record. A good window into the machine that takes a punk rock band and tries to spit out a viable commodity.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ned's Atomic Dustbin "Grey Cell Green"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I still have much affection for these great, fuzzy tunes from bands that came and went in the early 90s.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jeff Lynne “Every Little Thing”

It must not be easy being the “Oates.” You know, the 2nd most well regarded member of a duo.

It must not be easy being the "Greg Norton." The 3rd most well regarded member of the trio Husker Du.

It must not be easy being the “Ringo.” The 4th most well regarded member of a certain famous quartet.

But man, it must be hard to be the “Jeff Lynne.” The 5th most famous member of the five member Traveling Wilburys.

I mean, Lynne sold millions of records as the leader of ELO. He was a highly sought after producer, especially in the late 80s and early 90s. And he is the thread that pulled Tom Petty, George Harrison and Roy Orbison together (he was producing records for each of them) with Bob Dylan to form the Traveling Wilburys.

Yet I still hear people refer to him as "oh and that other guy" in the Wilburys.

Yet he made great tunes, including this worthwhile nugget from an under-appreciated early 90s solo album.

Listen, and imagine George Harrison singing this one on the “Cloud Nine” record, and you can totally hear this as the big radio hit of 1990.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Cranberries "Ode To My Family"

Originally, the name of this band was "The Cranberries Saw Us."

The Cranberry Sauce. Get it?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Billy Joel "Captain Jack"

If my love of music comes from either parent, it must be my Dad.

Mom might listen to the Classical station, but otherwise, when she drives, the radio is usually off.

Dad loves music, all kind of music.

And yet, he's not, nor had he ever been, a record purchaser.

If fact, for most of the 90s, he only owned one CD.

Sure, he had a box full of records (which are now mine!) dating back to "Meet The Beatles." And he a small pile of cassettes of music varying from showtunes to classic rock to swing.

But for most of the 90s, there was only one CD in his car:

Billy Joel's Greatest Hits.

Why? Why that one?

You know, when you have dozens of discs, one title doesn't necessarily say anything about you. But when you only have one, it must be saying something, right? It must make some kind of statement, yes?

I'm not sure what it means. But he does love that record.

Happy 70th birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Avett Brothers "Kick Drum Heart"

I need your help on this one . . .

As a long time fan of the Avett Brothers, I'm happy to see that they are succeeding with this current album.

But it's a little weird that the successful songs off the record have been lush, ballady affairs. Great songs, but not why I fell in love with this band in the first place.

I'm psyched that their current single is a little more in the mode of the rollicking and energetic dynamic that I enjoy.

The simple trouble I have now, is to decide if mvyradio should play the original studio version, the live version off their new "Live, Volume 3," or both.


Album version

A Live version

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bruce Springsteen "Blinded By The Light"

The mvyradio Afternoon Mindbender isn't just a game, it's educational!

I learned some new words last week, including "Sclera," which could have been shouted at The Battle Of Bunker Hill by Colonel Prescott.

"Hold your fire until you see their sclera!"

That is, the white of your eye.

I asked that Mindbender, because I was about to play a track off The Beatles White Album.

Often, I'll take a word or phrase from the band, or song or album that I'm about to play, to make up my daily question.

Last week, I learned the word "Mondegreen."

A Mondegreen is a misheard phrase, that gives the sentence a new and different meaning.

It comes from a 17th Century ballad, that contains the couplet:
They hae slain the Earl O' Moray,
And laid him on the green

Some folks have misheard the lyric as:
They hae slain the Earl O' Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

And since the 17th Century, lovers of music have found Mondegreen after Mondegreen in popular song.

From our National Anthem, "Jose, can you see?" to "Olive, The Other Reindeer" to "There's a Bathroom on the right" to "Hold me closer, Tony Danza," there is no end to the fun you can have, when you don't hear it quite right.

And today's song, is probably the most famous/scandalous Mondegreen of all. Bruce Springsteen even joked on a VH1 Storytellers episode, that Manfred Mann might have made this song more popular by making his reference to a car (a "Deuce") sound as if the chorus was talking about a feminine hygeine product.

"Wrapped up like a douche, another runner in the night."

Read his lips, is he saying "douche" or "deuce"?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Foo Fighters "For All The Cows"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I'm supposed to interview author Sandra Boynton this week, about her new book "Amazing Cows."

So I had cow songs on the brain.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tripping Daisy "I Got A Girl"

Here's another Weekend Post:

The grammar nerd in me always got stuck on the line, "She smells so sweetly."

If she smells "sweetly," it doesn't mean you like her aroma, it means that when she tries to sniff something, she does it in a sweet way.

And that's just absurd. (Unlike the rest of the song, which makes perfect sense)

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show. They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Paul Simon "Getting Ready For Christmas Day"

What do Irving Berlin, Johnny Marks, Jule Styne & Sammy Cahn, Jay Livingston & Ray Evans, Mel Torme & Bob Wells, Buck Ram & Kim Gannon & Walter Kent, Joan Javits, Felix Bernard, Mitchell Parish, George Wyle, Philip Springer & Fred Ebb all have in common?

They all wrote Christmas songs, but didn't celebrate Christmas.

That's right, the following Christmas carols were penned by Jewish songwriters:

"White Christmas"
"Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer"
"Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree"
"A Holly Jolly Christmas"
"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
"Silver Bells"
"The Christmas Song"
"I'll Be Home for Christmas"
"Santa Baby"
"Winter Wonderland"
"Sleigh Ride"
"It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"
(see below, for full songwriting credits)

How about Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Harry Connick Jr., Phil Spector, Carole King, Barry Manilow and Bette Midler? What do they have in common?

That's right, they're all Jewish, and they've all recorded Christmas albums.

What am I getting at?

Nothing. I just didn't want you to be surprised to find out that Paul Simon, who is Jewish, has a new song out called "Getting Ready For Christmas Day."

Happy Hanukkah!

Hear a dozen of the songs mentioned in this post:

Irving Berlin, "White Christmas"
Johnny Marks, "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer"
Johnny Marks, "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree"
Johnny Marks, "A Holly Jolly Christmas"
Jule Styne & Sammy Cahn "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
Jay Livingston & Ray Evans "Silver Bells"
Mel Torme & Bob Wells "The Christmas Song"
Buck Ram & Walter Kent (also Kim Gannon) "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
Joan Javits & Fred Ebb (also Philip Springer) "Santa Baby"
Felix Bernard (also Richard B. Smith) "Winter Wonderland"
Mitchell Parish, "Sleigh Ride"
George Wyle (also Edward Pola), "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"

Thank you to these several sites for information in this post.