Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guster "Bad Bad World"

There was a time when videos MATTERED. To get your song on MTV could pretty quickly change your band's life.

Then there was a time when videos didn't matter too much. You could spend a million bucks, hire Oscar winning actors, and have acres and acres of girls in hot pants, and you might still not sell any records.

It's kind of fun to be back in a time when video matters. And when production values don't.

Great videos are being made for low low budgets. And they don't need MTV. They need you.

You are needed, to make a music video a success. You have to watch it, love it, and share it with your friends, in the FaceTubeSpace World.

So how does a band get you interested in their video? They have you make it.

Check out Guster's video contest for their new song "Bad Bad World." Even if you don't really plan on making a video, you can download the track for free.

But with today's simple technology, anyone can make a World Wide smash video.

Get on it, Cecil B.!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lady Gaga "Bad Romance"

The Entertainment media is all abuzz Lady Gaga perhaps buying a home on Martha's Vineyard.

And as usual, the media has annoying, reductive things to say about the Island, like calling us the "prepster capitol."

The folks I know, (even the famous ones!), don't dress in tennis whites and Lily Pulitzer to go to the grocery store. Most of the folk here are hard working, unassuming and down to earth (even the famous ones!).

They come here because no one expects them to be famous, act famous or wear meat suits.

So to the annoying, reductive media, I send out this annoying, ridiculous song. And it's meat free!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Fools "Life Sucks Then You Die"

For anyone under the age of, say, 25, it’s probably impossible to imagine, but there was a time when computers were not in the classroom.

In fact, my first academic interaction with a computer was in my Junior year of high school. The building had one computer lab, and juniors and seniors could take computer classes. I guess Freshman and Sophomores weren’t quite ready yet.

And there wasn’t really software, per se. Or operating systems like Windows.

So computers were pretty new. And really, they couldn’t do too much.

One of our early assignments was to print out something we’d written. That was the extent of the complexity of computer programming: can you type something, and get it to come out on a piece of paper. High Tech, for 1985.

“What to you want us to type?” someone asked.

“Anything you want,” Mrs. Larnard told us. “It doesn’t matter. Just type it and print it. That’s the assignment. And she left us to our task.

So I typed up something that had been rattling around in my brain for the last few days, got it to print on the first try, passed it in and didn’t think about it again.

A few nights later, I was wandering through the kitchen near dinner time, when Dad asked me to come sit at the table. Mom stopped what she was doing and joined us.


“Everything okay?”

“Um. Yeah . . .” I was, of course, wracking my brain, trying to think what I might have done.

“You’re sure?”


“School’s okay. You’re not feeling down?”

I’m fine.

“It’s just . . . Mrs. Larnard said you passed in some writing, and it was pretty upsetting. It sounded like maybe you were having some problems at school.”

The next day, I had a sit down with Mrs. Larnard.

“You’re okay, then, PJ?”

“Yes, Mrs. Larnard. They’re just song lyrics. I’m not depressed. Don’t worry about me.”

Here are the lyrics that I’d handed in. Just the first verse and chorus. (You can also read the full lyrics)

My house burned down in a flash of thunder
My wife ran off with a one-legged plumber
The crops fell dead when the riverbed went dry
My dog got squashed by a pick-up truck
My son ran away and got hooked on drugs
My daughter's knocked-up by the Class of '85

People say that life is good; it don't seem good to me
I'm lost without a paddle and I'm headed up **** Creek
People say that life is fun but I don't know why
As far as I can tell,...
LIFE SUCKS...then you die!

This was a popular, regional song, played quite a bit on WBCN, back in the 80s. It was the first thing that came to my teenage mind when I was asked to write something. It didn’t seem like a bad idea at the time.

I guess the irony of the song is lost, on paper.

Fortunately, the intervention was canceled.

Monday, September 27, 2010

John Lennon “(Just Like) Starting Over” (Stripped Down)

In this stripped down version of “Starting Over” from the new Lennon boxed set, there is a small-voiced intro:

“This one is for Gene and Eddy and Elvis. And Buddy.”

While the influence of 50s rock was very apparent in the early Beatles, I have to say, that I hadn’t really considered that Lennon’s final works were a product of those same influences.

But with much of the production stripped out, how can you not hear Lennon doing a lite-Elvis impersonation on the line: “It’s been too long since we took the time . . . “

Or to think of Gene Vincent and Eddy Cochran when you hear the guitar lines on the “Why don’t we take off, alone” section.

I suppose that the apparent-ness of influence will wax and wane, but it never really goes away, does it?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hum "Stars"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Because this story doesn't qualify as a real memory . . . But I recall that when this song came out, Howard Stern was obsessed with it, and he played it over and over again on his show. Which I thought was cool. Cool that he had the power and freedom to do what he wanted.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Urban Dance Squad "Deeper Shade Of Soul"

Here's another Weekend Post:

This is a fun 1989 cut, that is a good example of the era's penchant for sampling large chunks of old hits, to create a new one.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Justin Townes Earle “Harlem River Blues”

Justin Townes Earle has every reason to sound he lives downstream.

He has every reason to sound like his Dad, Steve Earle, one of America’s great songwriters. How could he not be influenced by that?

He has every reason to sound like the man he was named for, Townes Van Zandt. His Dad was certainly a fan, and Justin most certainly grew up listening to Townes’ tunes.

But how refreshing that, at least on “Harlem River Blues” he seems to evoke the most upstream influence of both Townes and Steve.

Doesn’t this track sound like a Woody Guthrie song? Or at least an outtake from the Billy Bragg/Wilco “Mermaid Avenue” project?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Prince “Controversy”

Thank God I grew up in the pre-YouTube age.

Prince was on the Island last week, and so I was trying to think about some of my favorite Prince memories and I flashed back to a rainy day in 1985.

We had discovered Prince, through “Purple Rain” the year before, (like most white suburban kids) and my friends and I had started to work backward through his catalogue, picking up copies of “1999,” “Prince” and “Controversy.”

On any other Spring afternoon, the bunch of us might be playing basketball or tossing the nerf around, or (of course) trying to figure out how we could get our hands on some beer before the High School dance scheduled for that evening.

But on a rainy day like this one, there wasn’t much fun to be hand, other than to hang around the house where parents weren’t home, and blast some records.

I can’t imagine who among us had the idea to make up our own dance. Truthfully, there wasn’t one of us who was particularly groovy. But we did.

We lined up. We worked out synchronized moves. We each had what could loosely be described as a “solo.” And we practiced.

That night, at the high school dance, the DJ spun “Controversy” for us, and we performed.

The whole idea that I was part of a group of people who created a series of dance moves, is so foreign to me, doesn’t seem like this could possibly be my own memory.

The last time I was on a dance from was when I got married five years ago, and that was certainly only because it was mandatory.

I avoid the dance floor like the plague, because good God, I’m not very funky. Nor, if I recall, was anyone else in that group of dancers.

Oh, I’m sure in 1985, we thought we were pretty damn slick. But no doubt, we were horrible.

Thank God we grew up in the pre-YouTube age and there is no chance of anyone, ever, anywhere, at anytime, re-living those “moves.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Beatles "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite"

When my wife was pregnant with our daughter, we went through dozens, hundreds of ideas for a name. There was a period where we really wanted to name her after a Beatles song, somehow.

We ran through the many many choices for a Beatles-themed name:


But none of them seemed right. We ended up dropping The Beatles theme.

Around that same time, we got a fish. A blue Beta fish. And I guess we just wanted to complete that thought of using a Beatles song for a name.

So we named him Mr. Kite.

And for the last 2 ½ years, he’s quietly made his home on the mantle in the living room.

But tonight, I came home, and the fishbowl was next to the sink. Washed out and emptied of his little fish rocks.

I can’t say I knew him well. It’s not like he was a snuggly puppy with a big personality or anything. But he was a part of our lives. And at some point our daughter---who has known Mr. Kite for her whole life---will probably ask where the fish is. It was one of her special treats, to be lifted up, so she could give him a little food. I looked forward to the day when she could take on pet care as her responsibility. But that task will have to be for another pet.

So this post is for you, Mr. Kite. Thanks for being a benefit to our lives.


I actually wrote that post early in the summer.

I'd come home to an empty house, saw the empty fishbowl, and wrote out my feelings.

Later, I was making something to eat, and my wife called. She and the kids were spending the day at my mother-in-law's house. She chatted about her day, and the kids and their plans and what we might be doing on the weekend and . . .

"Is there something you want to tell me?" I asked, a little indignantly

"Uh. About what?" She seemed genuinely confused.

"About Mr. Kite?"

"What about him?"

"That he's gone?!?!"

"Oh Honey, No!"

She felt awful.

Earlier in the day, she had decided that Mr. Kite, after two-plus years on the mantle, needed a change. So she got a nice vase, and make that his new home, and then put the vase in our daughter's room, so she could enjoy seeing him from her bed.

He wasn't dead, just relocated.

So I put that post aside.

Do you know that often, newspapers will write the obituary of someone famous who is old or in ill health, before they have died? It gives them a chance to do research and have the obituary ready to go, when the celebrity actually dies. And occasionally, those premature obituaries get published?

Thankfully, "Mr. Kite" was not described as "The UK's favorite grandmother."

Sadly, Mr. Kite died for real, last night. His bowl is in the kitchen, out of site, obscured by a box of cereal, until we are ready to talk to our daughter about it.

She's innocently sitting across the living room from me, watching "Curious George." And I'm wishing for all the world that I didn't have to have this conversation with her.

But, as much as we'd like to, there are some things that you can't postpone anymore . . .

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Neil Young “Walk With Me”

I have, what is practically a yearly ritual with Barbara.

After some thoughtful, but resigned listening, I bring the new Neil Young CD to her and say, “Well, we should play it, right? I mean, it’s Neil Young.”

I guess I’m looking for her to deliver, what the Catholic Church might consider “dispensation.”

Regardless of the quality of a new song by, say, Neil Young or Jack Johnson or Sheryl Crow, if we didn’t play it, people who listen to mvyradio regularly, would find that weird. Sometimes, you play a song in rotation, for a short time, and then drop it, just to let people know the record exists, and this is what it sounds like.

Neil Young has made more great records and written more great songs than near-about any person who has ever lived.

But Neil Young also has a pretty insouciant attitude toward commercial viability. He goes in the studio, he makes the record he makes and he puts it out. Some are better than others.

The singles off “Prairie Wind” where pretty single-y. But for much of the last decade, Young has released some material that could be described, generously, as “loose.”

I mean, there’s a charm to unedited garage rock. It just doesn’t always lend itself of radio play.

So I gave a quick listen to the new track, “Walk With Me,” and wandered to the studio where Barbara was, prepared to have our usual conversation:

PJ: What do you think?
BD: It’s a little rough. But it’s Neil Young. We probably should play it.

But instead, I got an entirely different response.

She had listened far more intently than I had, I guess. Because she started talking about his detailed playing and the repeated musical phrase under the surface of the song and the complexity of it all and about how great it sounded.

I have to admit, I hadn’t heard all that. Did you?

More listening is required.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hockey “Song Away”

My almost-three-year-old daughter started pre-school last week, and I had the first of what I assume will be many experiences with her exponentially growing world of knowledge:

She sang a song that she didn’t learn at home.

For those of you who don’t have kids, this doesn’t sound like a big deal.

And for those of you who have slightly older kids, you might not remember benchmark as particularly monumental.

But for us, for today, it was a landmark, a stunning experience.

For literally her entire life, thus far, anything she has learned, and regurgitated, has come from within our Family. It might be a story from a Grandparent or a trick she picked up from TV. But everything she’s ever learned, is something that we can locate the origin of, within our own home and family.

Starting now, she’ll take in ideas, actions, references and knowledge from a world beyond our home address. She’s going to learn from teachers and coaches and classmates and friends and enemies and strangers and public personalities.

She’s going to repeat these things at home, and inevitably, with some of it, we’ll say, “Where did she learn that?”

My sister posted on Facebook last week, saying that she was in the car with her 3 kids, ages 7, 5 and 2 ½, and “Song Away” came on the radio. All three of them sang along to the song, though my sister wasn’t familiar with it. They hadn’t learned it from their dad either.

Where did they learn it?

It’s a big mysterious world of influences out there.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Superdrag "Sucked Out"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I always thought this 90s band deserved better that a single alterna-hit. They had a great pop-rock sensibility.

Love the scratch and strain in his voice. It's the kind of thing that should sink a song, but actually sells it here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Space Monkeys "Sugar Cane"

Here's another weekend post:

Some bands are one hit wonders and you totally get why.

Bobbie McFerrin had a hit, but it was a novelty. No surprise he hasn't had another "Don't Worry Be Happy."

But some one hit wonders are head scratchers. How could you make such a well crafted tune, and not be able to do it again?

I always felt that way about this one. This is so ridiculously catchy. If you had enough pop sensibility to make something so infectious, you'd think you'd know how to do it again.

And yet, they didn't. Here's their one, fun, alterna-90s hit.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Like "He's Not A Boy"

This record has been out for 6 months, and while it's not a perfect mvyradio record, I can't believe it hasn't found an audience.

It's good, and it fills gap that no one else is filling right now.

It's rocking, it's poppy, it's great-sounding retro.

The record is produced by Mark Ronson, the same guy who gave Amy Winehouse her 60's vibe.

The Like is like one of those Phil Spector girl groups, but since it's 2010, they kick ass on their instruments, too.

No one is doing this, this well. Why hasn't it caught on?

Check out clips from the whole album:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shawn Colvin "Sunny Came Home"

You never want to be a buzzkill. The guy who explains the magic trick. The kid on the playground that tells you the truth about how those presents get under the Christmas tree. The nerd who wants to set you straight about your incorrect view of the modern Star Wars trilogy.

A friend of mine, who's in the Program, told me that she thought this song had something to do with Alcoholics, because there's a line in the lyrics that she had heard in AA, having to do with "transcendence."

I think a reading of the lyrics and a look the album cover, might lead you to a fully different conclusion.

But why say, "I think your interpretation, which seems to bring you comfort, will be proven to be incorrect of you were to examine these facts which I will lay out for you"?

Unless you're an ass.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Les Sampou "My My My"

Everybody and their cousin knows someone in a band.

And so everybody and their cousin wants to tell me about how AWESOME their friend/family member is, and how we should totally play them on mvyradio.

I try to be open-minded, but really, it's not like I'm going to hold off on that new Neil Young album, so we can start playing your uncle's accountant's babysitter's boyfriend's new Emo band.

So when my wife's cousin Jenny told me her neighbor was a really great musician, I gave my usual, "well, tell her to send me a CD," and I didn't think much of it.

At a few consecutive family gatherings, Jenny mentioned her cool neighbor, and how their kids played together by day, but the neighbor rocked shows at night.

It wasn't until a few repeat mentions, that Jenny actually said her name: Les Sampou.

Les has been making records in the Boston area for nearly 20 years. She's not your uncle's accountant's babysitter's boyfriend. She's the real rock n roller next door.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cee-Lo Green "F*** You"

Would this song have been a success, in the pre-internet world?

20 years ago, if a song didn't get significant radio play, it simply wasn't likely to sell to many records.

And this track, splattered with a certain FCC-unapproved word in its title, verse and chorus, wasn't going to get even the first radio-spin.

But the FCC only governs the airwaves. The interweb is free to say all 7 of George Carlin's Dirty Words, and add pictures.

So this tune has, rightly, become a viral sensation, spawning a much less enjoyable but FCC-friendly version called "Forget You."

But would we have gotten to the point where there was a demand to put this on the airwaves, without the web?

(By the way, despite pronouncements that radio doesn't matter, music sales DO rise and fall, based on radio play. It's just not the ONLY factor any more.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

"We Are The World" 2010

I can't say I was too keen on this remake on "We Are The World."

I mean, I certainly support the cause, and have made donations to support organizations who are doing good work in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.

But "We Are The World"? It was kind of a cheesy song to begin with. And the remake did not do anything to improve my opinion.

I was a huge fan of the movie "Swingers" as well as a fan of "Go," so I was familiar with the name Doug Liman. When I heard he was coming in to host a Hot Seat on mvy, I did some additional research, to find that he directed the first Jason Bourne movie and produced the sequels, was an executive producer of the TV show "The O.C." and has a movie coming out about the Valerie Plame story, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.

But I didn't know, until he arrived at the studios, that he had directed portions of the "We Are The World" music video.

Liman brought his college friend, Dr. Burke Richmond, and they put together an hour long show about their trip to Haiti, in the aftermath of the earthquake there this year.

Liman had been asked by Quincy Jones, to shoot some footage in Haiti, to be intercut with footage of an all-star singing cast performing in a recording studio. Dr. Richmond and others travel with him, to provide medical support to aid workers already on the scene.

I can't say that I find the song any less overblown, but I must say that after hearing a first person account from Liman about his experience shooting the footage, when I watch the video, I feel more connected. That these weren't random images passing by on a TV screen.

Doug and Burke's show airs tonight at 9pm ET on mvyradio, and can be streamed free from the archives after that.

They talk a lot about their experience . . . a little about the video, but mainly about the people they met, the medical situations Dr. Richmond found himself in, and ultimately, the effect the work had on them. And they play some music too---tracks from Haitian artists, and quite a bit of field recording that Burke played back through our soundboard from his iPhone.

Good stuff.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Toubab Krewe "TK2"

The Life Is Good Festival happens in Canton, MA this weekend. So this week's blog posts feature artists appearing on the bill.

I saw these Carolinians at Merlefest a few years ago, which is generally attended by folks who tend to favor traditional country, Americana and roots music.

It was just wonderful to see these crunchy young dudes, who had delved deeply into the music of Africa, become the darlings of the festival that year, winning folks over by simply playing their amazing music.

You can hear three different sets and an interview with the band in our archives.

Toubab Krewe performs today at the Life Is Good Festival. Their new album is out this week.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mavis Staples “Wrote A Song For Everyone”

The Life Is Good Festival happens in Canton, MA this weekend. So this week's blog posts feature artists appearing on the bill.

It’s a testament to John Fogerty’s songwriting that this 40 year old tune sounds as relevant in 2010 as it did when he wrote it.

And it’s a testament to Mavis Staples gravitas that she can sing Fogerty’s tune, and leave no trace of the fact that this was written by a young white-bread Californian, and that it wasn’t just one of those tunes she and Pops performed during those marches with Dr. King.

Mavis Staples performs today at the Life Is Good Festival.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ben Harper "Voodoo Child"

The Life Is Good Festival happens in Canton, MA this weekend. So this week's blog posts feature artists appearing on the bill.

I already knew Ben Harper was hungry.

He’d made it through a whole receiving line of fans, and had been extremely engaged and generous with his time, with each of the Meet-and-Greeters. He’s one of those guys who makes full, sincere eye-contact and seems to shut out the rest of the world when he’s talking to you.

But when he got to me, his Record Label rep, said “PJ is here to interview you,” and you could see him sink just a little bit, knowing that it’d be another 10 minutes or so before he’d get that burrito.

I was young. I was nervous. I had a list of questions. And I now know from experience, they were questions he’d answered 1,000 times before.

He was patient. He was kind. He tried to answer thoughtfully. And I now know from experience, that when he was asked the obvious question about Jimi Hendrix, he was on auto-pilot.

I asked him about his recent cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child,” and what was it about that particular Hendrix tune that drew him to it.

He talked about what a great and challenging song it is. Then he said:

“Hendrix had a lot to say about fantasy, fiction and . . . . . .”

He lost his train of thought.

“Fantasy, fiction and . . . . . .“

Nope, still not there.

“Fantasy, fiction and . . . life.”

In retrospect, I’m sure Ben had a great, stock line about Jimi Hendrix in his back pocket.

But the “. . . . . .” was mind wandering off to the food court. He couldn’t say “fantasy, fiction and burritos” so instead his mental gears ground to a halt.

So I jumped to the end of my list and asked him the obligatory question about “the next album,” thanked him for his time and let him go.

By this time, I was hungry myself.

Ben Harper And The Relentless 7 perform this weekend at the Life Is Good Festival.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Trombone Shorty "O Holy Night"

The Life Is Good Festival happens in Canton, MA this weekend. So this week's blog posts feature artists appearing on the bill.

What great musical artifacts get lost due to the failure of the TV shows they appear on?

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
seemed like a winner of a show, on paper. Written by Aaron Sorkin in his first post-West Wing TV effort. Starting Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry. A Saturday Night Live like setting. It should have worked, right? But it didn’t. It was canceled after one season.

It had potential. It had some compelling storylines, like the one on the Christmas episode about how the house band on the show had members calling in sick on purpose, to give out-of-work, displaced-by-Katrina musicians some work. The episode culminates with the New Orleans musicians invited to perform a horn-ensemble version of “O Holy Night.”

It’s beautiful. And if the show had been a hit, I bet the song could have become a perennial holiday favorite.

But mostly it’s forgotten, save for the likes of me and skip2myLouO. (jump to the 2:10 mark for the song)

You can find a free download of this song on this blog.

Trombone Shorty performs this weekend at the Life Is Good Festival.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dan Zanes "House Party Time"

The Life Is Good Festival happens in Canton, MA this weekend. So this week's blog posts feature artists appearing on the bill.

How important is Dan Zanes in my house?

(Well, first, if you don't know Dan Zanes, then you probably don't have young children, so I'll fill you in. Dan Zanes was in the very hip Boston roots rock band, The Del Fuegos, in the late 80s/early 90s. In the mid-90s, he had a kid, and started looking around for good records to play for a small child. Not happy with what he was finding in record stores, he starting making home recordings, featuring songs that adults might know, but that kids could enjoy. These homemade tapes became a neighborhood sensation, leading Dan to start making studio albums and to tour. He's recorded multiple albums, with cool guest turns from Lou Reed, Aimee Mann, Matthew Broderick, Bob Weir and dozens more. It's not twee or cute or cartoony. It's rock n roll for families. All this to say, he's big with the kids.)

So it was the last day of President Obama's visit to Martha's Vineyard. And I was saying to my 2 1/2 year old:

"Let's keep an eye out for helicopters flying over our house today."


"Because The President will be flying over our head today."

"Who is the President," she asked.

"Well, he's the leader of our country. He's the big boss. He's, like, the most important person in America."

"Oh," she said, "is Dan with him?"

Dan Zanes plays this weekend at the Life Is Good Festival

Hear Dan in concert and check out this interview and performance from the mvyradio studio, both available in the mvyradio archives.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A-ha "Take On Me"

"The record is doing really well in Europe" is an old, rock music joke. It's a kind of vague, not easily verifiable, seems-plausible-but-could-be-b.s. claim.

By 1990 enough time had passed since the success of A-ha's "Take On Me" to officially dismiss the band as a one hit wonder.

Unless you were from Norway.

In 1990 Ken was our college roommate, on exchange from Oslo. A-ha was from his hometown.

And if the subject of A-ha ever came up (and if it DID come up, it was filed under the heading: Mockery), Ken would insist, in pleading, near-perfect English:

"They are a very big band! They have many, many hits!"

He generally had an unreceptive audience to his "Big In Europe" claim. In fact, it was a generally sarcastic audience. And the conversation would generally devolve into us singing the final chorus howl (at 3:25 on the Youtube Video).


And lest you think Ken was wrong, here is there other hit---an International #1 Hit, that they reprised, by request at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 1998.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"My Name Is Earl" Theme Song

Ending the All Earl Weekend posts . . .

Did you know the TV Show "My Name Is Earl" had a theme song? Yeah, there's the little Jason Lee narration over a music bed, but that bed is adapted from an actual song by Nescobar-A-Lop-Lop and the Camden County Band.

Well, now you know.

The Full Song:

With "Earl's" narration:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Uncle Earl "Streak O' Lean, Streak O' Fat"

The All Earl Weekend continues on the blog.

How ironic that at one of our favorite festivals, Rhythm & Roots, one of the bands on the bill is Uncle Earl.

I went looking for a good Uncle Earl tune, and happened upon what is perhaps the most bizarre video I've seen in a long time.

It's a bluegrass jam, sung in Mandarin, featuring a Kung Fu movie/Western show down, with an Appalachian dance-off. And, for good measure, there's John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin on the piano!

Hear an Uncle Earl concert from the mvyradio archives.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dixie Chicks "Goodbye Earl"

How about a weekend of Earl songs, just for fun?

Even though we've been talking about the Hurricane for days, I haven't heard this one yet.

The character in the song, and the storm, will not be missed!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Brendan James "The Fall"

I try not to pay too much attention to such things, but I find myself actually falling for this.

Record promoters will often try to sell me a song by saying, "It's a great song for summer!"

Uh, if it's a great song, it should be great all year long.

That being said, when this Brendan James song came out a few months ago, I thought it was a little boring. I'm definitely a fan of Brendan James. "Green" (which you can still download for free on our website) still sounds strong four years later. However, "The Fall" wasn't doing it for me.

But I didn't get rid of it. I let it hang around on my iTunes list of songs to consider for mvy airplay. And a funny thing happened.

Just in the last week, when this song has come around, I've pricked up my ears. It sounds strong. It sounds like it would work for, yes, The Fall.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Frank Black "Headache"

There are only so many ways you can introduce a song on the radio, but you do have to be careful.

You could say, "Here's Ben Harper, 'Burn One Down'" and there's no problem.

But use that same format (Artists, Song Title) for another song, and it just won't work:

"Here's Lyle Lovett. 'Why, I don't know.'"

"Why, I don't know" sounds like a blase commentary on what you're doing, when it's really the song title.

And this can be confusing for the listener.

Back when "Headache" came out (when I was hosting a Modern Rock show at my former radio gig), I would introduce this song with a Album Title, Artist, Song Title Format.

Which would work fine if I were saying:

"From 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town,' here's Bruce Springsteen with 'Candy's Room.'"

But it didn't work for the former-Pixies leader's new solo song, when I said:

"From 'The Teenager Of The Year' here's Frank Black with 'Headache.'"

I had more than a couple of listeners ask me how old Frank Black was, and how he could have possibly won such a title, even though he would have to be in his 30s.

Frank Black plays at the Wellfleet Beachcomber tonight.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ben Harper "Burn One Down"

Do you ever meet someone new, and they just don't quite get your sense of humor?

It happens to me quite a bit. Maybe I'm just too dry or deadpan. But sometimes I'll crack a joke to a complete stranger or someone I've just met, and I think I'm funny. And I find myself on the receiving end of look that says, "Is this guy kidding or serious?"

I was backstage at a post show Meet & Greet with Ben Harper And The Innocent Criminals. It was going to be my first big interview ever.

There were about 20 Fan Club members backstage too, all waiting for Ben to come out, to sign autographs. To try to not think too much about how I might screw this interview up, I tried chatting up the Innocent Criminals, who were quite warm and friendly.

But they were also very, very hungry. And itchy to eat.

They'd arrived at the Festival a little late, and hadn't had time to eat anything before their performance, and now they were ravenous, and ready to blow out of the Fan scene and have a late, late lunch.

We were not far from the food concourse, and the drummer was looking over the fence at the Lunch trucks.

"I can't wait to burn down a burrito," he said, to no one in particular.

"Oh," I picked up his thought. "Is that what 'Burn One Down' is about? Burritos?"

He just looked at me. He thought about answering, and then he just left my stupid/hilarious/ambiguous comment die there in the Meet & Greet courtyard.

Do you think this song is about Burritos? Or something else?