Monday, October 31, 2011

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince "Nightmare On My Street"

I used to host a program call Request Radio on my old Virginia station.

Every night, for two hours, we would play only requests. And because we were independent, we didn't really have any restrictions on what we could, or would play.

Basically, if we had it, and someone asked for it, we would play it.

Spice Girls? Of course. Followed by Ozzy Osbourne? You bet.

One of the strangest phenomenons of Request Radio, is that within this little universe of fans who listened to the show every night, certain songs would become "hits." Maybe new songs, maybe old songs, but suddenly, something would catch on, and we'd play it every single night, night after night, over and over until the madness set it.

"Nightmare On My Street" was a silly novelty hit in 1988. WHY did it suddenly become hugely popular on Request Radio nearly a decade later?

Sure, it made sense to play it around Halloween. But people kept requesting it, night after night, into November, past Thanksgiving, for Christmas, and through months of winter into the Spring.

Now this was the old, pre-digital days of radio, when we had CDs, but we were just as likely to have a song on 45.

And one night, I just lost it.

I went on the air and said, "I am sick of this song, and I'm never playing it again. Listen closely."

Listeners heard a loud crack.

"That was the sound of me snapping the record in half. We don't have any more copies and we will never play that song again."

It was very satisfying. Even if it did mean that the kids would just get obsessed with something else stupid.

I'm smiling, thinking about the anachronism, feeling sorry for today's DJ.

Today, the DJ would have to say that he deleted the MP3 and could never play the song again. And before that sentence was over, some kid would have emailed a new copy of the song.

Hooray for analog technology!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Hooters "All You Zombies"

Nothing like a good ol' zombie song, on Halloween weekend.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Hitmen "Bates Motel"

We were driving through an off-Island town last weekend, and my wife pointed out a very cool Halloween decoration on one of the local houses.

The house had a replica of the "Bates Motel" neon sign in their window.

Very cool!

And suddenly, this song popped in my head. I haven't thought about it in a million years. I certainly haven't heard it since the 80s.


See the video on Youtube.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sarah McLachlan "Ice Cream"

If you're a doctor, then your family members are going to ask you for medical advice.

If you're a lawyer, your family members are going to ask you for legal advice.

If you're a chef, your family members are going to ask you for cooking advice.

And if you're a DJ, well, your family members are probably going to ask you if you've seen your Uncle the lawyer . . .

Yeah, I don't get asked for weighty advice that makes use of my knowledge base, too often. But it has happened.

When my sister Julie got married, she was struggling to find a wedding song for her first dance.

We were less than 24 hour away, and she was still working for it. That's when I was called in . . .

I suggested "True Companion," by Marc Cohn. Julie said that would likely cause her to cry for the whole dance.

I ran through some standard suggestions, but they were all dismissed as too cliche.

I ran through some offbeat choices, but they were dismissed as to hard to dance too.

My sister doesn't love to dance, and her husband is not a dancer at all.

"It needs to be short," was her final directive.

A doctor would go to her Medical journal. A lawyer would consult briefs. A chef might crack open a cookbook.

But a DJ . . . well this DJ has a million songs in his head.

"How about Sarah McLachlan's 'Ice Cream'?"

It was perfect. It's under 3 minutes. It's an easy-to-dance-to Waltz. And it's about dessert.

The big brother DJ proves his worth!

Happy Anniversary (this weekend) to Julie and Tim!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Catherine MacLellan "Take A Break"

I've used that famous Oscar Wilde quote before, about fondness for someone making everything charming.

Working can be boring, tiring, soul-sucking, demoralizing, frustrating, etc, etc.

Working next to someone you are really attracted to, can be about the sexiest thing around. A little sexual tension can even make working in the fields, a thrilling adventure.

Here's the sexiest song ever, about picking potatoes.

Catherine MacLellan performs at The Narrows on Friday night. You can stream the show, live, for free. Look for the link on Friday evening, at

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Theme from "Gilligan's Island"

Sometimes Halloween sneaks up on you. Or you just don't get it together. Or you didn't think you were going to a party, but now you are.

So you have your Safety Costume.

Like a tolerable girlfriend that you keep going back to, or a low budget state school, you've got a costume in your back pocket that's easy to throw together at the last minute. And there are probably 1/2 dozen photos of you, wearing the same dang thing, spread across a decade (or two).

Should I be pleased or embarrassed that Gilligan is my Safety Costume, based largely on the fact that if I wear a red shirt and a white hat, I look strikingly similar to Bob Denver?

The answer is probably, embarrassed . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tom Petty "Zombie Zoo"

Who's the most Halloween-y Rock Star?

I mean, what musician do you associate with Halloween?

If this were "Family Feud," I'm guessing the survey might say artists like:

Alice Cooper
Marilyn Manson
Bobby Boris Pickett
Michael Jackson
Insane Clown Posse

But there is at least one vote for Tom Petty. From me.

There is an odd number of Halloween references and themes sprinkled throughout Petty's career. How about lyrics like:

"All the vampires walking through the Valley/move west down Ventura Boulevard."

"I got cats and teeth and hair for sale/I'm a lover of the bayou/And there are zombies on your tail/I'm a lover of the bayou."

Petty's got songs like "Zombie Zoo" and "Scare Easy."

And who wasn't creeped-the-fuck out by that Alice In Wonderland video when they cut the cake?

So this Halloween, rethink it. Vincent Price. Elvira. And Tom Petty.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Percy Sledge "When A Man Loves A Woman"

My wife and I were over our friends Scott and Wendy's house, watching our kids play with their kids.

One of the kids was playing with a very loud battery-operated toy. One of those things that plays some awful music, or shrieks, or is some kind of over-loud distraction.

It was pointed out that it had been received as a gift during a recent birthday party.

"Ugh," I said, "Whoever gave that to you must really hate you."

Wendy smiled and said, "Well, it's not as loud at that truck you gave our son."

Sheepish (first, because I had no idea what we had given for a gift as my wife does the shopping, and second, because I made myself look like an ass), I laughed and said, "Yeah, I guess we must really hate you."

If you've become a parent in the electronic age, you know that your kids' toys can make a f***load of noise.

I mean, last year, my daughter got some "Dinosaur Train" figures, and if you put two of them together, the dang things talk to each other. ("Hi, I'm a carnivore!" "Well hello, I'm an herbivore!")

My sister actually has a rule that she will not accept gifts for her children if the gifts make noise. And if Santa slips one through, the toy mysteriously loses its batteries after a week or so.

Now there are greater and lesser evils in the world of noisy toys.

Highly evil is the weird ball-counting toy that we have that has a creepy kid-like voice (but is not actually a kid voice) that sings "The world looks like a rainbow whenever I dance with you."

Not offensive, but crazily ear-wormy, is the music table that I see in all kinds of people's homes. Those of you who recognize "Zap-a-do-ba-de-ba-da-ba-de-bap-baa!" know what I'm talking about.

Slightly more tolerable, is the little toy/keychain thing that my kids refer to ask their "radio," called the EZ Track Player.

It plays about 30 seconds of some classic Motown songs every time you press the button.

For whatever reason, my son is fixated on Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman."

So he hits the button and lets the full 30 seconds play.

Then he hits the button repeatedly, so you get a few seconds apiece of "Oh Girl," "Under The Boardwalk," and "If You Don't Know Me By Now," until it has cycled back to "When A Man Loves A Woman." Over and Over and Over.

I recorded a little bit of my son playing with it, using my iPhone. Hear him click through to his favorite bit.

I supposed it's better than the Strawberry Shortcake song, or dinosaur that walks and roars but has no off button.

(Listen at the 1:52 mark!)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Fools "Psycho Chicken"

With Halloween coming, I'll use this weekend slot to post some Old School fun . . .

See the video on Youtube.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jeff Beck & Joss Stone "I Put A Spell On You"

My college pal Ross put out a Facebook request for some contemporary Halloween-like suggestions to build a list.

This was my suggestion.

You can see and hear Ross' list at In Your Speakers.

See them perform it on Youtube.

And if I'm going to post this song, then I have to post this fully bat-shit insane and in-questionable-taste old performance by Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

See the video of questionable taste on Youtube.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sinead O'Connor "Sacrifice"

I was writing about Elton John yesterday, and I had a little laugh remembering this.

I love reading liner notes (go ahead and say it: "NERD!").

And while I love the thoughtful essay, or the fine production detail, one of my all-time favorite liner quotes is from Sinead O'Connor.

She was part of "Two Rooms: Celebrating The Songs Of Elton John and Bernie Taupin," and was one of several famous musicians who covered classic songs.

In the liner notes, each artist wrote a few words about what Elton and Bernie's music means to them. Effusive stuff like "Elton inspired me to play the piano," "I remember the first time I heard this song," and "I love them dearly."

But it was Sinead O'Connor's pithy line that really made me laugh out loud:

"I can't believe no-one did 'Candle In The Wind.'"

Snarky, dismissive and succinct.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Elton John "Old 67"

You know how you used to like that restaurant a whole lot, and you ate there all the time, and then, I dunno, you heard it had cockroaches or there was a drug bust there, and you stopped going. Yeah, I mean, that happened 15 years ago, but you don't go there ever, but the place still seems to be in business?

That's how I feel about Elton John.

I just kinda lots my taste for his music, once he hit the cheesy 80s and the schlocky Disney 90s.

But I heard this song the other day, and I was reminded that somewhere in the last decade, Elton got back on track.

Sure, he's never going to match the level of work he hit in the 70s, but at least his last few albums have felt authentic. Like he was engaged with the work. Like he wasn't just trying to cash a Mass Appeal check.

So yeah, if you never go to that restaurant anymore, think about going back. The negative things you remember about it are long gone, and it's okay to reconsider, and even enjoy a modest, understated, but sincere return to form.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Glen Campbell "Ghost On The Canvas"

The hurdle, no matter how low or how high, is simply a roadblock if you don't even attempt to jump it.

I was reading about Glen Campbell today, thinking . . . man, I hope I can show a fraction of that strength . . .

Do you know Glen Campbell?

Younger readers might not. But his list of credits is a mile long, as a sessions player for The Monkees ("I'm A Believer"), The Champs, The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra ("Strangers In The Night") and many others. And that's before he logged one of the most successful country-to-pop crossover careers of all time, racking up hit after hit in the 70s.

So that's Glen Campbell.

But did you know that he has Alzheimer's Disease?

Diagnosed while working on his current record, Campbell was afforded the opportunity to craft a farewell album, and follow it up with a farewell tour.

So here's this 75 year old guy, with Alzheimer's, out on the road singing for you.

I was reading this quote, and it made me think:

And while his guitar-playing was flawless, a jazzy solo on this blue fender on “Galveston” and a chunky run on “Try a Little Kindness,” he seemed a little disoriented, quoting Minnie Pearl several times about “being proud to be here,” then lost it completely on “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife,” the first single from his 1968 album Wichita Lineman, seemingly confused by the Teleprompter. As he recovered with aw-shucks aplomb, the audience responded with a standing ovation, and the entire room seemed to exhale. He stumbled telling a story about being cast in True Grit by John Wayne, then laughed as to how sometimes his thoughts simply trail off, before singing the title song.

Roy Trankin, from Hits Daily Double

I dunno. When faced with such an inevitable fate as a decline into Alzheimer's, I can't say that I would want to get up in front of an audience, with the possibility of stumbling my way off the stage of life.

But if you are committed to saying goodbye, I guess you don't let that bother you.

The hurdle, no matter how low or how high, is simply a roadblock if you don't even attempt to jump it.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the Westerberg original on Youtube.

A special bonus about this song--it's written by Paul Westerberg, and includes the wonderfully Westerbergian line:

"Ring around the rosary/pocket full of prose you read."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ry Cooder "No Banker Left Behind"

As Program Director here at mvyradio, I'm in charge of the DJs.

I don't make too many rules, but I offer a few guidelines about what's cool to talk about on the air, and what's out-of-bounds.

I really try to emphasize to the staff that politics is off the table.

We're a music station. Period. People can go to other places for political talk, with great ease.

So even though every single person here at the radio station has a personal point of view, on a host of subjects, we ask that they withhold those positions, and stick to the topic at hand (music).

This is in large part, because we always tend toward "inclusive," whatever the subject is. And politics, by its nature, usually excludes people, or at least places a significant part of the audience on the opposite side of the fence.

The other major reason is that if "DJ X" makes a political point on the air, to the listener, it's not just "DJ X's point," it becomes "mvyradio's point." And there is no, one DJ, who represents mvyradio's political views.

We, as a station, don't usually make political points. I don't usually allow it.

Which makes me a hypocrite, for posting last week about the R.E.M. song "Welcome To The Occupation," and offering my thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street protests.

If one of my staff had done that, I would probably have had to sit down with them and reiterate my position on taking political positions.

I have been tossing those recriminations over in my head for the last couple of days, when I heard this song again.

See the video on Youtube.

It reminded me of something.

Weren't the Tea Party people angry at the Wall Street bailouts? Furious, in fact?

And so are the Occupy Wall Street people?

So here's the question:

Can I make a point, that puts the large majority of Americans on the same side of the fence? A point that is pretty widely inclusive across the political spectrum?

Political change is often made by the committed few. You don't necessarily need a majority, to effect change.

But Political change can be its most undeniable, when people who may not agree on any issue but one, get together on that one issue.

I haven't really heard anyone from the Tea Party say, "Hey, those Occupy Wall Streeters are right about one thing, and I stand with them!"

And I haven't really heard anyone from Occupy Wall Street say, "We know the Tea Party is angry about the bailouts too, please come stand with us!"

We live in a time when, if someone lives across the political divide from us, we are hesitant to ever acknowledge that they are right about anything.

Who wins there? The people who are happy to do nothing.

As long as one side is dismissing the efforts of the other side, there is no momentum to force change from business or politicians. They can easily sit back and play one side off the other. Or sit inert, chalking it up to gridlock.

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, and you, sitting there reading this, probably don't agree on much.

But if you are all angry with the bailouts received, the lack of prosecution of those who committed financial misdeeds, and the lack of will to do anything substantial about it, then you should join with the people who agree with that one idea.

You won't be able to effect all the change you wish. But tackling things one idea at a time makes things possible.

Hopefully this wish (for the people of this country to come together on issues they agree on for change regardless of party), is one that leaves no one on the other side of the fence, leaves no one behind.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ray Davies "Postcards From London"

Kind of the flip-side from last week . . . sometimes you need an old girlfriend to finish a song.

Take this Ray Davies track.

Davies and Chrissie Hynde were a couple 30 years back.

What a neat idea to have her come in and be a part of this Davies song, about looking back at his old town.

You know, I never fully understood how you could be with someone so completely, like them so much, decide that it wasn't really going to work out, and then never speak again.

Sure, they may not have been "The One" but that should negate whatever positive attributes they had in the first place. If you started as friends, well, it doesn't seem so impossible that you could end as friends, even if you were lousy lovers.

That being said, full disclosure about this "reunion": apparently, Davies and Hynde were never in the same room together. They recorded their tracks, and filmed their parts, separately.

See the video on Youtube.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Live "Selling The Drama"

Here's another Weekend Post:

This one hasn't disappeared quite as much as the song in yesterday's post. But still, it's pretty surprising how infrequently you hear this song (in comparison to, say, "Laid" by James). Especially given the fact that not only was this an Alternative hit, it crossed over to Top 40.

Can you imagine this song coming close to the Top 40 today? Not a chance!

Hear the song on Youtube.

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, October 15, 2011

Everything "Hooch"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Here another tune that was a HUGE, catchy hit in its (90s) day, that seems to have virtually disappeared, even from the retro-shows.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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, October 14, 2011

Tom & Jerry "Hey Schoolgirl"

A compliment can go a long, long way. A really long way. 50-plus years long.

Just think about the story below. Then think about the kid (or co-worker, or friend, or parent) in your life, who could benefit from some simple, straightforward acknowledgement.

"(He) remembers the time his father first heard him singing to himself in his room, and peeked in: 'That's nice, (Son). You have a nice voice' . . . The compliment was enough to make (him) think he really might want to become a singer."

The boy? Paul Simon.

I was doing a little research, ahead of playing some Simon on the air, when I came across that story, found in Marc Eliot's "Paul Simon: A Life."

Simon turned 70 years old yesterday. He's one of our greatest living songwriters.

This early Simon & Garfunkel tune (when they were billed as Tom & Jerry) may not have indicated to the world that there was a legend in the making.

But a simple compliment from a trusted voice, made all the different.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland "Broken One"

I am, like most nerds, vehemently against the George Lucas school of "updating your classic" with new content, to somehow make it more relevant and likeable.

That goes for songs too.

Generally, there is no need to add a verse to update your fans on how the characters in the song turned out or change the lyrics to make the narrator more sympathetic.

But I have to give some credit to Luke Doucet, and to his wife Melissa McClelland, for taking "Broken One" one step further.

I wish I could find the prologue that I heard Doucet do in concert, to his song "Broken One." But the gist of it was this:

He and his singer-songwriter girlfriend broke up. To get through the pain, he wrote an album's worth of tunes about their relationship. He called her up and asked if he could play them for her. It seemed only fair, if he was going to be playing these songs to audiences, that she should hear them first.

When he finished, she leveled this zinger:

"Do you know how many songs I've written about you? None. You need to get over it and move on."

And that led him to write "Broken One" in the form you hear below.

Hear the original on Youtube.

Flash forward a couple of years, and Doucet is now in a relationship with Melissa McClelland. They become husband and wife and they tour together. And every night, she has to stand awkwardly on stage as he tells this story (an abbreviated version, below), and then sing harmony vocals as he goes on and on about some other girl.


Hear a live version with Melissa on Youtube.

Finally, she suggests a slight rewrite, and damn it, if it isn't right for the song.

A few simple lyric changes, and a slight arrangement change to make it more of a male/female duet, with the female's lyrical voice more actively heard, and suddenly the song isn't as one-sided, not quite as bitter, and certainly more palatable for McClelland to sing.

It's an evolution that has produced a stronger species of song.

Nicely done!

Hear Doucet and McClelland perform under the name "Whitehorse" on Youtube.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

John Hiatt "Damn This Town"

I write quite a bit of volume on this blog, on the subject of how a song gets added to rotation, whether or not a song should get added to rotation, what problems it might cause or solve to add a song to rotation . . .

But what happens next? I haven't written too much about that.

Every song has a shelf life, I suppose, for regular rotation. Some tunes may circulate with regularity for months. Some wear out their welcome quickly. Some tunes benefit from a fast ascent with heavy play, others work as a slow build gaining familiarity over a course of months.

But at some point, a song has to come out of regular rotation. It might be 8 weeks, it might be 6 or 7 months. But some time.

Then what?

There are two choices.

The song goes into a Hold folder. Meaning, we don't plan to play it regularly anymore. You might pull it out on a special occasion, but otherwise it's not a part of the fabric of the station.

Or, the song goes into the Library.

And that means the tune will continue to rotate, albeit with less regularity than a current song.

So it's a pretty big crossroads. Is the song going to be part of our future by becoming the part of the past that we write down?

That's where I'm at with John Hiatt's "Damn This Town."

Its had a pretty good run here at mvyradio. And its had a lot of things going for it.

Hiatt's a damn fine songwriter, deserving of the critical acclaim he receives. We have plenty of Hiatt tracks that have made it to the Library. The song did well on the National charts, so it was pretty broadly accepted by the kind of folks who listen to mvy-like stations.

But here's what it has going against it . . . it's been on the air for several months, and after a few initial inquiries ("I hear John Hiatt has a new song, can you play it?") . . . nothing. I haven't heard a request for it, received an email about it, had any passionate comment, pro or con, about it.

So I'm kind of on the fence.

Clearly someone liked the song, or the record wouldn't have sold, the tour wouldn't have sold and the song wouldn't have charted.

But if there is no passion for the song, what's the reason to keep playing it?

Even when I get negative comments about a tune, I can often feel like its okay to keep playing it. Because the comments are sometimes "I am so sick of this song," which indicates that they liked it once. If we just play it less, they'll probably like it again.

But when no one comments . . . well, you wonder if anyone is listening, or if they've just changed the station.

So, any "Damn This Town" lovers out there? Or haters? Speak now, or forever Hold-folder your peace.

See the video on Youtube.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Emmylou Harris & Beck "Sin City"

If you've had a kid in the last decade, chances are pretty good you've had a copy of "What To Expect When You're Expecting" in your house.

One of the pieces of advice that I remember from it, was about singing to sooth a crying child. Something about how babies like singing and don't even notice the worst, out-of-tune off-key warbling. They just like the sound of your voice.

My wife has been singing to our kids at bedtime ever since they were born. She's got a really nice voice, and I'm sure it's a very pleasant way to go to sleep.

After teeth-brushing and a few books, she turns out the light and goes into her repertoire of songs.

Usually it starts with the song from Dumbo, "Baby Mine," which Bonnie Raitt and Alison Krauss have both recorded. On a good night, one song is all that it takes.

But not every night is a good night. Sometimes it takes a bit for the kids to settle down.

So she'll sing "Lullaby" by Billy Joel. Then maybe "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon for my son. My daughter has always been inexplicably calmed by my wife's version of Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am."

Some combination of those songs sung by my wife, usually is enough to get the kids to drift off.

But on certain occasions, my wife isn't home for bedtime.

Consistency is the key to parenting, so with great care I make sure we go through the same pajama-putting-on, teeth-brushing, story-reading routine. In exactly the same way my wife does it.

Then I turn out the light.

My voice is no where near as good as my wife's, but it's not a total disaster.

I do just fine with "Baby Mine." I'll even repeat the last verse and chorus 3 or 4 times, to stretch out the song.

If that doesn't do the trick then it's on to "Lullaby."

Their still awake and need more?

"Beautiful Boy" then "The Way I Am."

No? Not asleep yet?

Okay, a medley of The Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" and "Good Night."

At this point, if they're not asleep, I'm out of lullabies.

It used to be that panic would set in, and I'd start over with "Baby Mine."

Then I realized that the kids probably don't care too much about the words, as long as the melody is pleasing.

I'm not the best singer. But within a limited range, I can do alright.

So if all else fails, I usually sing "Sin City." The version that Emmylou Harris did with Beck, falls within (what we can be liberally described as) my wheelhouse.

The lyrics don't, in any way, qualify as restive, lullaby-ish or sleep-related. The mix of religion and politics and its "whole town insane" vibe won't ever replace "Rockabye Baby."

But to a Dad just trying to do the best he can, it works.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

L7 "Andres"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I need a haircut. So I'm posting haircut related tunes.

(No, not any Haircut 100 today)

The "Andres" mentioned in this song, is the songwriter's hairdresser, who'd door she accidentally broke.

See the video on Youtube.

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, October 8, 2011

Pavement "Cut Your Hair"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I know most of you can't see me, knowing me mostly from the radio and the web.

But if you are someone who sees me on a regular basis, you've probably said to me, "You need a haircut."

Yes. I look a little ragged. I know. I'll get it cut this week. I just haven't had time.

Anyway . . . for the weekend posts I thought I'd combine my need for a haircut, with my love of the alt-rock 90s.

See the video on Youtube.

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, October 7, 2011

R.E.M. "Welcome To The Occupation"

What with the Occupy Wall Street protests finally getting some media attention, I can't believe I haven't heard this song this week.

The song is supposedly about U.S. intervention in Central America, but like many of Michael Stipe's oblique lyrics, you can probably graft on any meaning that strikes you.

Such as it is with the protests. While much has been made of the fact that there is no coherent voice or single issue bringing these protesters together, few have seemed to recognize that all the points of view and the myriad of issues spring from the same place: frustration. And that common frustration allows each protester (and any other person who has an inkling that the protesters are on to something) to graft on their particular issue as the reason for Occupy Wall Street.

And there are many worthy things to direct anger at. Unaccountable banks. Wall Streeters who cooked up toxic cocktails for us to drink for their profit. Corporations who pollute. The wealthy who support cuts for social services for others, but not tax increases for themselves. Ineffectual politicians. Or the ones just out to screw you.

All are battles worth fighting. But let me make a suggestion, to those Occupying Wall Street and those who want them to have a coherent message.

There is an ideal that I think most all Americans, on the right, the left, or wherever, could get behind. It is a belief in a true Democracy.

Focus on political reform that returns us to a true Democracy, where every person’s vote counts equally, and elections and policy aren’t unduly shaped by wealth.

Your vote should count as much as my vote, regardless of who has money and who doesn't. And if corporations are, under the law, considered a person, their ability to influence the political process should be no greater, and no less, than yours or mine.

If you can effect that one change, then all your other concerns about the financial system, Banks, corruption, environmental polluters, etc, will be attainable.

Without removing the money from the political game, its an uphill battle in all directions.

(I should add this disclaimer that these opinions are my own, and should not reflect in any way on mvyradio, which strives to present itself as an apolitical voice)

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fleet Foxes "Lorelai"

Ultimately, there is no way to be objective.

I try really, really hard, but I'm not made of stone.

I don't know that the Fleet Foxes record "Helplessness Blues" will be the top album of the year on mvyradio.

But if you were to listen to me or to Barbara or to Jess talk about it on the air, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking it was the number one album of 2011.

I can't totally explain why either.

But I know it's real.

I have my playlist of songs that we are considering adding to the station's rotation. And the new Fleet Foxes song "Lorelai" is on that list.

I had some ear buds in doing some writing and letting the iTunes list role.

"Lorelai" came up, and my eyes filled up with tears.

To be caught off-guard, even though I've heard the song before . . . it was just so beautiful . . .

How can we not play it? Hopefully it moves you as much as it does me.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Frank Sinatra "My Way"

You'd be pretty surprised, if you started to catalog all the musical cues you didn't even know you knew.

You know to stand, when "Here Comes The Bride" starts.

You know there's a change of scenery and time, when the "Law & Order" Chung-CHUNG hits.

Those are pretty universal, but you can also make specific ones for the world you live in.

And if the world you live in is populated by hordes of drunk college kids, then you need to make the cues as clear as possible.

One of my best high school friends went to college right up the road from me, and it wasn't unusual for me to get a call on a Friday afternoon, saying "We're having a party tonight, c'mon up."

He lived with a bunch of good-looking, heavy-drinking, very fun and very funny guys, piled into a place that looked (and smelled) like you'd expect from a houseful of college boys. A fathers-lock-up-your-daughters kind of place.

The parties were always great, just bordering on out-of-control. They attracted the big crowds and the good-looking girls (which was the intention), but also the kind of meat-head dudes who didn't have any hesitation about getting too drunk and too rough in someone else's house.

But my boys had a plan.

When the night had reached its apex . . . when nothing good could come from letting the party go any further . . . or when the beer had run out . . . they had a plan.

The stereo would be turned to full, ear-splitting, could-be-used-as-psychological-torture levels, and "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, was started up.

And the boys would stand at the front door, with hockey sticks, singing the song, fraternally, at the top of their lungs.

Regular party-goers knew that they had until the end of the song to vacate the premises. Or they would be cleared forcibly, with hockey sticks.

It was a very, very cheerful Get-The-Fuck-Out.

And it worked!

See Frank sing it at Madison Square Garden on Youtube.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Laura Marling "Sophia"

Here's the flip side of something I wrote about a week ago . . .

This is a tune that suffers by premature judgment.

I had sampled this song a number of times, mostly based on the enthusiastic reviews Laura Marling has been receiving.

But I didn't feel too moved by what I was hearing.

Here's the thing. The first 60 seconds is pretty unmoving. It's low key, a little thin. Nice enough, but not a strong radio single.

Sixty seconds in, you start to hear a few interesting (seemingly unrelated) influences---Judy Collins, Nick Drake, among others---but the song still hasn't proven to be a standout.

A full 3 minutes into the song, drums appear and the songs propels forward. And that's where the song proves itself.

Her voice takes on a new level of urgency, and you suddenly realized that all the elements are coalescing---the melodic bass, the background vocals, the beat the beat the beat.

The build was slow, but it did build to some something super-strong, worthy of the glowing press.

So the question is, in a radio/singles world, is someone going to stick with the tune for 3 minutes before it gets to somewhere?

I mean, Eric Lindell's awesome new single in only 2 minutes total.

At a minimum, I am now moved to delve into the record further.

What do you think?

See the video on Youtube.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Billy Connolly "Irish Heartbeat"

We have a show called "The Hot Seat" and every week a different DJ hosts the show. Sometimes it's a station Jock. Sometimes it's a guest.

Last week we taped a show with Friend is Robert Kidd, an Irishman living in Scotland. His wife Heather made a donation to Friends of mvyradio to host a full hour, and we had him in during a Stateside visit.

The last song of his set is from Billy Connolly. I know Connolly as a comedian, occasional actor and sure-fire Talk Show guest. But Robert explained that he started off his career as a musician.

As part of a TV special, Connolly sang Van Morrison's "Irish Heartbeat," and that's how Robert ended his hour.

Robert kind of smiled at me when the bagpipes kicked in. I don't know if he was curious about my American reaction to their sound, or if he felt like it was a Celtic cliche, or if he was just happy to have successfully completed his hour.

But the sound did take me back.

I lived in the Virginia Highlands for much of the 90s. It is called the Highlands, in part because of it's strong cultural heritage, having been settled by Scots and Irish and English.

It's also referred to as the Highlands, because, well, there are a lot of hills.

I lived on the side of one.

And across the way, probably a full mile by car, on another hillside, facing our place, was the local arts center.

It was there, that some of those cultural traditions continued.

One night a week, someone at the arts center gave bagpipe lessons.

Now I'm not one of those folks who hates the bagpipes. It's a strong sound for sure. But when done right, it's not unpleasant.

But the sound of people learning bagpipes? A whole classroom full of them?


Every Tuesday night, the sound of skronking, out-of-sync, not-in-tune bagpipes flew, unhindered, from the hillside across the way right into my bedroom window.

Well, I'll tell you this, it didn't make me long for the green grass of Ireland . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chilliwack "My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)"

I'm feeling mighty Canadian this weekend, for no apparent reason.

Back when MTV only had a handful of videos, they used to spin this one over and over.

Silly Canadians and their one hit wonders. (In Canada, these guys have, like, five hits)

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Pursuit Of Happiness "I'm An Adult Now"

I'm feeling mighty Canadian this weekend, for no apparent reason.

I like how, if you close your eyes, it sounds like the band is trying to be menacing. Then, if you look at the video, the band is about as threatening as a slice of Canadian White Bread.

But this is an awesome time-and-place song, perfect for the pre-Nirvana world.

See the video on Youtube.