Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Louis Armstrong "What A Wonderful World"

A good buddy of mine has a favorite song that he always wants me to play on the air.

Now, I love "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. But it's not exactly in the wheelhouse of what we normally play.

He says, "Just play it, you know, once a month or something. People will love it!"

No, it's still not something we'd really play at mvy.

"Okay. You at least have to play it on my birthday."

A few years ago, I did an interview for the mvyradio Person Of The Week with a woman who runs a support group for people born, like my friend, on February 29th.

If you're initial reaction to the idea of a support group for Leap Day babies is, "that's ridiculous," well, I was with you at first.

But after speaking to her, I had compassion for her. I mean, to have someone at the DMV call you a liar because they think you are making up a fake birthday . . . that's kind of sad. (Hear the 3 minute interview in the mvyradio Archives)

So yeah, once every four years I play "What A Wonderful World."

Catch it at 4:50pm ET, today.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Robb!

Here's a cool version of the song, with a spoken intro by Armstrong.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Multitudes "Hoping Machine"

I only took one CD with me during vacation last week. This was it.

"New Multitudes" is the album name (but I think it should be the band name, because calling them "Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, Yim Yames" every time is a non-melodic mouthful).

This is another collection of Woody Guthrie lyrics, from what seems to be a bottomless well of writings that he left behind from the years he was too debilitated from Huntington's Disease to play guitar.

I had heard Barbara play this song on the air before I left for vacation. "Hoping Machine" so moved her, that she actually teared up on the air while talking about it.

I put it on my headphones as I left the island for vacation, and even with the heads-up that this could make me cry, well, it still made me cry.

I've joked about Jay Farrar's limited palette before. But damn, within his wheelhouse, his is the most beautiful, moving voice, with a tone that is both warm and cuts through absolutely everything.

Yeah, I cried on the ferry.


Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tag Team "Whoop There It Is"

I had a lot of great toys when I was a kid. And by virtue of being the oldest of 3 children, I had fun toys coming in the house long after I was at an age where you'd normally get kid toys.

I was well into middle school, but could still be in the basement, fascinated by my little sister's ball popper.

Or looking at the same old Viewmaster reels that I'd been clicking through for (literally) half my life.

And I loved our Fisher-Price record player. If you don't remember this toy, check out the demonstration video.

See it on Youtube.

It came with 5 two-sided records, which each played some kind of classic Americana piece (and I mean "Americana" in the nostalgic sense, not the roots-rock sense).

It's how I learned some of the canon of songs that included "Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone" and "London Bridge" and "Edelweiss" (as well as the now-considered-kind-of-racist "Camptown Races"). Songs that pretty much every one of every age, knew.

Looking back on it, it was kind of strangely educational.

(I'll point out that I'm sure Fisher-Price was not intending to educate me; all the songs involved were Public Domain tunes, meaning they didn't have to pay any licensing fees)

One of the fun things about being a parent, is that you get to buy toys for your kid, and play with them yourself.

So we have a Ball Popper and Candyland.

Some of the toys are updated, like the Fisher-Price Little People farm, which is now totally plastic, but still has the barn door that goes "Moo!"

And though you can buy a vintage Fisher-Price Record Player, they don't make 'em like they used to.

We received, as a gift, its modern-day equivalent:

The Little Tikes Pop Tunes Music Mixer.

See my son and I play with it on Youtube.

First, I think it's kind of funny yet cool that they still make a "Kids Record Player" since most of today's kids have never seen a record player, and never will.

And I'm actually okay with the idea of the turntable being a Club DJ/Mixin'-And-Scratchin' kind of turntable. It's fun enough.

But I'm struck with the music choices. Here in 2012, music licensing is big business, and it's easy. So there is no need to rely on Public Domain tunes.

Instead, the "Canon" that my son is learning includes "Free Your Mind" and "Whoop There It Is."

"Whoomp There It Is?" Is that really the "Edelweiss" of this generation?

See it on Youtube.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Lightning Seeds "Life Of Riley"

Here's another Weekend Post:

This is a song from that stretch of the early 90s where sweet, unassuming Brit-pop tunes could be hits in the States.

The era Also Known As the one before Oasis showed up to completely obliterate any British music connection to the word "unassuming."

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.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Big Audio Dynamite "Rush"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I was in a car listening equipped with satellite radio (the competition!), and I heard this tune, which hadn't crossed my ears in years.

I forgot they sampled The Who! I thought Mick Jones and The Clash were supposed to be the backlash to The Who? Maybe that was just media bunk.

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.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dave Stewart "Can't Get You Out Of My Head"

Welcome to another segment of "Let Me Ruin This Song For You."

(If you missed the first entry, you should probably read this)

Let me give credit where credit is due. I'm not the one who is going to ruin this song for you. You can blame Jess.

It was she, who asked:

"Why are we playing two songs that sounds so similar?"

Which two songs?

"'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' and 'She Walks In So Many Ways'"

Those two songs don't sound anything alike!

So of course, she got out both CDs, and played the opening riffs, back to back.

Go ahead a listen below on the videos, from the beginning of each song, until the singing starts.

Then try not to think of the first song, whenever you hear the second one. Or vice-versa.

Thanks for ruining two songs, Jess!

Hear Dave Stewart on Youtube.

Hear The Jayhawks on Youtube.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Delta Spirit "California"

I like this band. But I definitely prefer their more straightforward rocking side ("Golden State") to the stuff they do that incorporates an electronic feel.

So I was resistant to this one.

But hell, if Grampa likes it . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

See Grampa review Delta Spirit on Youtube.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lou Reed "Dirty Blvd."

Here's another old song, that I've been thinking about bringing back to the library.

But let me ask you, if you were driving your kids to school and you had mvyradio on, would you be upset if you heard Lou Reed mention urination, not once but twice?

Flat-out FCC-hackle-raising words (F**k, S**t, etc) are obvious no-nos.

But what about a line like this:

Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I'll piss on 'em
that's what the Statue of Bigotry says

"Dirty Blvd." is such a well-crafted portrait on New York City, it's a shame to let a great work from Reed languish in the Hold category.

Here in modern times, the record company would have the artist record an alternate, "clean" version ("Forget You," anyone?). But I don't have access to a clean version of this one.

Maybe Laurel, our production director can make an edit?

Either way, is this line a little too much for the unsuspecting broadcast audience?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear a live version on Youtube.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Little Willies "For The Good Times"

So here was an awkward promo person situation. I asked:

"Are you still working The Little Willies project? I'm thinking of adding something from it."

The Little Willies is this group of New York Musicians who started getting together on a regular basis over a decade ago, first to perform Willie Nelson covers, later expanding their repertoire to covering lots of classic country songwriters. One of the members happened to concurrently have a breakthrough in her solo career: Norah Jones.

This is their second record. It's been floating around for a couple of months now. I liked it when I heard it---the free-wheeling love of the music is charmingly evident---but I wasn't in any rush to add something until I had some space to play with in the playlist.

The time, for me, was right. So I mentioned it to the guy working the record to me.

He handled it quite deftly.

"That's great, but I know (name of person at the label) would want me to mention, that Norah's new single will be here in a couple of weeks."

Ah, how awkward! You can't really have a Norah Jones side project get in the way of Norah Jones main project.

I know there are plenty of stations who would only be willing to play one song by an artist at a time. And if they added The Little Willies, they'd probably hold the add on the new, proper-Norah track.

We think that's silly.

So we're adding the Kris Kristofferson cover, "For The Good Times." And we'll most definitely add the new Norah when it arrives.

By the way, the new Norah Jones album sounds like it could be VERY interesting. It's produced by Danger Mouse.

Though I hear it is not a continuation of "Rome," I posted one of the Norah Jones tracks from that Danger Mouse project from last year, below, so you could get a possible flavor for how those two might connect, musically. "Rome" was Danger Mouse's tribute to spaghetti Western film music.

Hear "For The Good Times" on Youtube.

See a mini-documentary about The Little Willies on Youtube.

Hear the Rome track on Youtube.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vampire Weekend "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"

I'm on vacation this week, so I'm keeping the posts brief (but hopefully still interesting).

Occasionally, there is some specious reasoning that goes into why I might want to add a song.

A few months ago, while rooting around for older songs that would sound good to add to the mvy library, we pulled out Nickel Creek's "Lighthouse's Tale."

We have several lighthouse songs in rotation. It's geographically appropriate.

So when I remembered that Vampire Weekend had a really great song called "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" I thought we should go back and revisit it. Because it's geographically appropriate.

It IS now in our library.

But really, does it have anything to do with Cape Cod?

(Read the lyrics)

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Smiths "How Soon Is Now"

Riffing on the last two posts . . . Here's another band that I should like more, to be cool, but I don't.

I always felt like their music was whiny UK-BS, too.

Years later, I started hearing large chunks of the instrumental parts of this song, being used as music beds, and I realized that I actually LOVE Johnny Marr. I just am totally turned off by Morrissey.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Radiohead "Just"

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm not a huge fan of Radiohead.

I thought "Creep" and "Fake Plastic Trees" were whiny UK-BS.

And later, as I said, I just didn't follow them down "The Paranoid Android" road.

But in between, I did end up getting sucked into "The Bends" right after seeing this video.

I guess I'm just a straightforward rock guy, who likes a little ironic mind-f***ery in his videos.

See the video on Youtube.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Punch Brothers "Movement And Location"

I'm sure, no matter what job you do, the work invades your subconscious in weird ways.

I was excited to check out this new Punch Brothers track from the up-and-coming "Who's Feeling Young Now?" release.

I was pretty struck by how much a "bluegrass" band (in quotes, because they are so much more than bluegrass) can absorb Radiohead's sound.

Check out "Movement And Location":

Hear the song on Youtube.

They also do a cover of "Kid A" on the new album.

So I had Radiohead on the brain.

Now let me admit something that I know lowers any semblance of Cool that I might possess---I'm just not that into Radiohead.

It's a terribly unhip thing to say, I know.

And in some circles, I am surely a Philistine.

But I just didn't go with them down "The Paranoid Android" road, into chorus-less songs, droning stylistics, deep atmospherics.

I can't say that I think of Radiohead that often, but they must've been rattling around in the attic up there, because that night . . .

We were on stage in a small theatre, like a high school auditorium, but smaller. Tighter. With the audience practically on top of us. Thom Yorke was nodding at me, encouragingly. I had an acoustic guitar in my hand, but one quick strum revealed that the pickups were run through several distortion pedals, producing a loud, clanging sound.

I don't know how to play guitar.

But that didn't matter. Radiohead needed me.

Instead of this being some kind of anxiety dream, it turned out to be some kind of Rock N Roll wish fulfillment. Because what I was playing, randomly banging on the guitar, producing feedback and atonal noise, sounded fucking great!

The band was doing the real work, of course, creating an actual song. But I was helping build the sonic palette, and the crowd loved it.

It was like a dream come true!

Well, it was like a dream, anyway.

But hey, I like Radiohead much better since they invited me to join the band.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Janie Grey "Memories"

I tapped the shoulder of the guy in front of us.

"Who would you compare these guys to?"

He thought about it for a second and said, "Maybe . . . The Allmans?"

I was in my favorite local bar, about to watch my favorite local band.

Admittedly, both the bar and the band were a little dank, dirty and down-and-out for a date, but this new girl I was dating seemed game.

When she asked what the band sounded like, I said that their main reference was probably The Band. But she didn't know The Band.

"Take a load off, Annie, Take a load for free . . ." I sang, trying to rattle a memory that clearly wasn't there for her. "No, doesn't ring a bell?"


So I asked the guy in front of me, and he suggested The Allmans, which was a reasonable second suggestion.

She nodded, approvingly.

True to form, Janie Grey came out and threw down a great bar-shaking set. And yes, in the model of The Band, three different guys in the band took shots at lead singing, some of the songs extended out, out, out in jam fashion, and they even did staples The Band were known for doing, like "Down South In New Orleans" and "Mystery Train."

She seemed to have a good time, trying groove along with the proceedings.

In the car on the way home, I asked her what she thought of the band.

"Oh, they were good I guess. Not what I was expecting."

"What were you expecting?"

"Well, based on that guy's description, I guess I was you know, expecting the white suits and the dance moves and stuff."

"Dance moves?"

Wait a minute.

"Are you confusing The Allman Brothers with The Osmond Brothers?"

"Oh! Yeah, I guess I am!" she said, cheerily.

(The post script, unsurprisingly, is that this relationship did not work out . . .)

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Shins "Simple Song"

It's funny to hear yourself described through someone else's eyes.

Barbara had just come back from lunch with friends, and she was telling me, about how she was telling her lunchmates about a music listening session.

The day before, Barbara and I had been sitting in the studio, putting an ear to some of the strong contenders for addition to the mvyradio Playlist.

Though we've never added The Shins in the past, there was something about "Simple Song" that seemed to push The Shins closer to mvy-Land.

Barbara started talking about how there was this trend of modern, beautiful music, that really aimed to touch the heart. Songs that are both big and tender and emotional, from the likes of Fleet Foxes and The Low Anthem and such.

"Simple Song" had reached about the 40 second mark, moving toward the hook and the chorus of "Ahhhs" and I responded . . .

Barbara was describing back to me how she had describe my reaction to her lunchmates, as "PJ's Sound Of Music Moment."

And it's true, I had said that the song felt like it should be sung from a grassy hilltop, and as I said this I raised my arms, as if singing to the sun.

So yeah, hearing this tune at full volume may cause you to feel that the Hills Are Alive . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bruce Springsteen "Valentine's Day"

I had always thought of this as one of the dire-est sounding Valentine's Day love songs around.

But I saw Springsteen in concert a few years ago, when he was doing the Solo/Arena thing, and he pulled this one out, for a special reason.

He introduced the song (which I remember from my college years), by saying that it contains a reference to his manager, who had called him when his daughter was born. Bruce wanted to play it that night, because the daughter, who was in college in the Providence area, was in the audience. He pointed her out.

The detail of "A friend of mine became a father last night/When we spoke in his voice I could hear the light" seems only ancillary to the larger theme of driving a lonely highway, missing your love.

But to have the actual "detail" sudden materialize in front of me (okay, she was probably SIXTY rows in front of me!), rendered the thing so real.

And it makes me listen to other songs and wonder if the little, throwaway details were the inspiration, instead of the major/central themes.

Is that like love? Where love isn't really about this big Soul-to-Soul connection, but more of an accumulation of inspiring details? Like, as Paul Simon sings, "The way she brushed her hair from her forehead"?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Taylor Swift "Mean"

My favorite two moments of last night's Grammy telecast were not performances (though I enjoyed many of them), nor speeches (though the radio gods answered my prayer and gave Bon Iver a Prime Time speech).

No, my favorite moments had to do with artist/audience reaction.

I can't say that I've ever spent any time listening to Taylor Swift. But I'm not a hater, either (on good advice from a friend).

And while she is frequently teased for her "What? Me?! You're applauding for ME?" thing, it still doesn't ring false to me.

I wasn't familiar with her song "Mean" (yeah, a portion of you think I must live under a rock), but I couldn't help but be struck by her sincerity delivering the song, the audience's full embrace of her at its conclusion, and (what seemed to be) her genuine surprise by the level of reaction.

As I watched the audience give her a thunderous standing ovation, it became immediately apparent that her story (of a hometown/school loud-mouth, demeaning her dreams of being a singer) was one that was most likely very real, to every performer in that room. You don't reach the level of success that it takes to get in that room, without slogging your way though dozens, if not hundreds (and if you count the internet, thousands and thousands) of loudmouths who sit on their barstool and shout that you're not good enough.

That's true whether you're a Beatle in your 7th decade of making music, on down to that singer-songwriter in the back row who's album hasn't come out yet.

The reaction was so personal.

In a different way, I was just bowled over by the reaction to Adele's performance.

I mean, she was awesome. But watch the audience just shower her with affection, and see her be genuinely moved by it.

Her record is well made, and her songs are strong, but I think what people reacted to about "21" and about that specific Grammy performance, was just how much Adele gives of herself.

You can invest a song with a lot of emotion, but there is a certain amount of acting involved to convey those emotions.

With Adele, she just seems to have much more direct access to her emotions, and less of a filter when she tries to project them outwardly.

I don't know if the average non-performer understands the talent involved in that level of expression, or understands that no amount of talent completely accounts of the ability---the ability is simply a function of how that person is made.

And that's what was striking about the applause. It was from a group of people who understand that Adele has a technical proficiency on a level above most people in that room, but who also understood that they were not just applauding for her ability, they were applauding for her.

It was a good night, for sincerity.

Watch the videos to the end for the audience reactions to see what I mean.

See the video on Youtube.

Hear a better quality, studio version on Youtube.

See the video on Youtube.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bon Iver "Holocene"

Another Weekend Post ahead of our Grammy coverage tonight.

Bon Iver is nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album.

How deliciously awkward (and potentially hilarious) it will be, if he gets a televised win and acceptance speech?

Here's a quote from The New York Times, pre-nomination:

"I don't think the Bon Iver record is the kind of record that would get nominated for a Grammy — I would get up there and be like, 'This is for my parents, because they supported me,' because I know they would think it would be stupid of me not to go up there. But I kinda felt like going up there and being like: 'Everyone should go home, this is ridiculous. You should not be doing this. We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending this is important."

While he backed away slightly from the quote, after his nomination, he again raised an eyebrow or two, by turning down a chance to perform at this year's Grammy ceremony.

So if he wins a Grammy, will he reference the above? Will he be sheepish and funny? Will he follow through (see his second pull-quote, from the first linked article), and hector the audience?

I want to him to win, because his music deserves it. But I double-want it, to see some entertaining, awkward television.

mvyradio will cover the Grammys live on our Twitter feed, Sunday at 8pm.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

OK Go "All Is Not Lost"

A short Weekend Post to share another Grammy nominee that you may have missed . . .

Best Short Form Music Video nominee

OK Go continues to Wow with amazing videos. And if you have Google Chrome (I don't, so I haven't tried), I understand that you can customize this video, so that the words that appear at the end, are words chosen by you! Cool!

mvyradio will cover the Grammys live on our Twitter feed, Sunday at 8pm.

See the video on Youtube.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward "So Long"

My kids love Winnie The Pooh.

In fact, my toddler, has only about 12 words at this point ("No," "Mine," "Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad") and one of them is "Pooh."

So when we started seeing trailers for a new Winnie The Pooh movie, we were excited.

But what was the song in the trailer?

"Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane??? Why? Weird . . .

It's certainly not uncommon for a movie to appropriate a popular song to run under the trailer, even if it has nothing to do with the film.

But for a Disney/Pooh film? You'd think they would stick to original, Pooh-music.

I mean, can you imagine the trailer for "Beauty And The Beast," set to U2's "The Sweetest Thing" or something? No.

Thinking about it a bit, I did grasp the marketing ploy.

They were marketing to me, directly (and people like me).

It's not lost on me that the song came out in 2004, the same year I met my wife. And now, 7+ years later, we have two Pooh-loving kids.

How many other folks out there are like my wife and me, who have warm feeling about the time period this song evokes, and now have kids?

So I get it.

But still, couldn't they have created some original songs, featuring a talented contemporary songwriter, a la Carly Simon and her memorable work on earlier Pooh films?

My father-in-law (though, unlikely moved by the Keane song), saw the commercial and bought the DVD for the kids for Christmas.

And what a pleasant surprise to find out that there are several songs in the movie performed by Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward (usually known as She & Him, but here credited individually).

Again, they're probably marketing to my cohorts, but hell, it worked. The song is cute, but quirky enough to not be irritating.

Sweet like hunny . . .

"So Long" is a Grammy nominee for Best Song Written for Visual Media. Join mvyradio this Sunday, as we live cover the Grammys on our Twitter page.

Hear the song on Youtube.

See the trailer with the Keane song on Youtube.

Hear Carly Simon's take on Pooh on Youtube.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tina Fey "A Mother's Prayer For Its Daughter"

My kid has hit this phase where she'll start giggling, getting silly, bouncy and she'll run out of the room.

Mere milliseconds later, seemingly to defy the laws of physics and time, she comes tearing back through the room, 100% naked, screaming, laughing hysterically, totally hoop-a-doop out-of-control.

And I smile, knowing that this is a phase that kids go through, and I'll miss it when it's gone.

Because it's a phase. Right?

There is that little corner of my brain (it's little, but loud) that whimpers, "God, I hope this is just a phase, not a sign that I will have a totally out-of-control hoop-a-doop about-to-be-nude-any-second teenage, one decade from now."

I think that's why this reading by Tina Fey has been making the internet rounds, among my parents-of-young-children peers.

It's not a song, but Tina Fey's audio book version of "Bossypants" is nominated for a Spoken Word Grammy.

She has my sympathetic, whimpering vote.

Join mvyradio this Sunday, as we live cover the Grammys on our Twitter page.

Hear the reading on Youtube.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jeff Beck "20 Flight Rock"

Most nostaglia is a willful lie, no doubt.

Or at least the edges of a memory getting fuzzed out.

Any time someone goes on and on about the innocence of the 50s, of Eisenhower's America, of a gentler time, well, just play them this song.

"I'm too tired to rock." Right. Too tired to Rock.

And though this song is credited to a "Ned Fairchild," note that Ned was actually Nelda Fairchild. Yes, a woman wrote this ode to knocking boots on the top floor (or being too tired to do it).

Innocent, my ass.

The version in the video is Jeff Beck, performing with Brian Setzer in a tribute to Les Paul. Beck's record "Rock ‘N’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul" is up for the Best Rock Album Grammy this Sunday. mvyradio will cover the Grammys live on our Twitter feed.

mvyradio's Winter Wishlist Auction ends tonight (2/8) at 8pm ET. Up for grabs is a guitar, autographed by Les Paul himself.

Hear the song on Youtube.

See the trailer on Youtube.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Steve Martin "Atheists Don't Have No Songs"

In the days before "Blog" was a word, the first radio station I worked for had a really beautiful website, that had a whole section devoted to articles that the staffers wrote, about music and culture and comedy and such.

I remember writing this piece about the incredibly diverse talents of Steve Martin.

Can't remember if I mentioned the banjo playing.

Martin is up for a Grammy in the Bluegrass category, against such perennial stalwarts of the genre as Del McCoury and Ralph Stanley, and maybe your first thought is, is this a joke? Does Martin really compare.

Well, yeah, you could listen to this song and call it a joke---because it IS frickin' hilarious.

But listen again, and ignore the words. Listen only to analyze the composition, the voice parts, the construction of the song.

It's actually a very impressive example of the genre.

So yeah, the song is jokey, but the nomination is no joke.

Hear the song on Youtube.

mvyradio will be watching The Grammys this Sunday, and tweeting our thoughts. Join us!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Booker T Jones "Representing Memphis"

Go ahead and listen to the song first, and as your listening, try to guess which Grammy category Booker T Jones is nominated in.

The song is "Representing Memphis" from Booker T's album "The Road From Memphis." This track features vocals by Sharon Jones and Matt Berninger of The National.

Hear the song on Youtube.

So, what category do you think this is in?

Hmm, well there's no "Soul" category.

Nope, nothing in the R&B field.

The Grammys don't really single out individual instruments, so no "Best Piano/Keyboard" or anything.


Here it is: This album is nominated for "Best Pop Instrumental Album."


Yes, you may have noticed that there were some vocalists on this track, seemingly disqualifying it as an instrumental.

But there are some fun and funny rules in the Grammy world, and for "Instrumental Albums" the rules state that only "at least 51% playing time of newly recorded pop instrumental tracks." So even with a few tracks featuring vocalists, Booker T's mostly instrumental album qualifies in the category.

Tonight on The Hot Seat, I'll be doing an hour of weird, fun and offbeat nominees for this year's Grammys (which will be handed on out Sunday). Tune in tonight at 9 ET to hear from Tina Fey, Weird Al, Steve Martin and others. And go to this Sunday, as we Live comment on the Grammys, on Twitter.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Soup Dragons "Divine Thing"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I have one simple memory about this song. I remember seeing the video come on the TV, while visiting one of my college friends, and she squealed, "Yay! Soup Dragons!"

Anytime I hear this band, I hear her voice over the music . . .

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, February 4, 2012

Gene Loves Jezebel "Jealous"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I've been having fun going through the Billboard site, reminding myself of some early 90s Alterna-hits.

Funny how, in the 1990-91 stretch, bands that had been around for awhile, somewhat arbitrarily got pushed to the "Alternative" pile, or discarded in the "Hair Band" pile.

Looking at this video, wouldn't you think this was a hair band, not the top Alternative tune of August 1990?

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, February 3, 2012

Sonic Youth "The Diamond Sea"

I was never really into drugs (yeah, "really" is a qualifier).

I always felt like they usually detracted or distracted from the experience, rather than added to it.

Especially during concerts. So I was almost always completely sober for shows.

Because being high would have meant totally missing out on one of the great concert music experiences of my life.

In the mid-90s, some time after their "Washing Machine" album came out, I went with a friend to The Tennessee Theater in Knoxville to see Sonic Youth.

Sonic Youth's live shows were never about style---in that there were no costumes or dancers or schtick. But they did have an incredible light show.

And when they performed "The Diamond Sea" and the tune moved into its long, dissonant final phase and the lights were pulsating and my ears were rings and the energy of the audience was ratcheting up, up, up . . . I really could have sworn that I was tripping on something. The floor was moving, the shadows were bulging, time was bending.

It was the weirdest, coolest damn thing.

And then, like the tide receding, the music subsided and I was back to earth.

That couldn't have happened if I were fucked up . . .

Geffen released the song as a single, which edited down the CD version, from 19 minutes to under 6, which is what appears in the video. And Youtube doesn't let you post anything over 10 minutes.

Hear the shortened version on Youtube.

The vinyl version is actually longer than the CD version at nearly 26 minutes.

The Diamond Sea by Sonic Youth on Grooveshark

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kenny Loggins "I'm Alright"

(Do I get to call this my "Ground-blog" post?)

I know that a Gopher is not the same thing as a Groundhog, but c'mon, don't you think of the Dancing Gopher and his sweet, groovy moves to this Kenny Loggins tune, every February 2nd?

And between "Caddyshack" and "Groundhog Day" is it safe to call Bill Murray "The Patron Saint Of Tunneling Rodents"?

The Dance Moves

See it on Youtube.

The Whole Song

Hear the song on Youtube.

"Don't Drive Angry!" from Groundhog Day

See it on Youtube.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Otis Taylor "Resurrection Blues"

I’d love for you to hear the song I’m writing about today, but you can’t.

It was only played once, and never spoken of again. Until now.

I was reminded of it during the mvyradio Holiday staff party this year, where I snapped a few of the photos below, to give you some context.

Back nearly a decade ago, my girlfriend and I had gone to see blues musician Otis Taylor at Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs.

For those who have never been there, Offshore is a great restaurant and brew-pub, with a great love of music. There’s not a stage, per se. If they bring a band in, they set them up in the back, near the fireplace, and move a few tables out of the way.

Somewhere in the middle of this show, one of the guys in the band broke a string. While he was getting set back up, Otis told the crowd he’d make up a song.

He said he did that from time to time, as a challenge to himself.

“Gimme an idea. Something to sing about. I'll make up a song on the spot.”

I don’t know if the crowd was fully stumped, didn’t believe him or what, but his request was met with a stretch of silence.

I needed to fill it, by shouting the first word that popped into my head:


“Swordfish!?!?!?” His face was half-bemused, half-perplexed. “Swordfish?”

You could see him follow the eyes of the audience, who were all now looking, up, up, up, above his head, as his did a pretty well-timed, comic slow-take.

“Huh. Swordfish. Okay . . .”

And true to his word, he, on the spot, made up a blues guitar- and lyrical-riff, on “chasing that swordfish . . . “

Fortunately, his bandmate was ready to go in short-order, and “Swordfish” was quickly discarded, never to be played (or thought of, probably) again.

Hear the song on Youtube.