Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The New Basement Tapes "Nothing To It"

Maybe you want to listen with your eyes closed first?  Especially if you don't know anything about this project . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Okay, so if you didn't know the story behind this project, and you just heard it on the radio while driving down the street, would you say that it was a great, radio friendly song?

I don't know that I would.  I mean, it's fine.  Somewhat hummable.  A little ragged.  But is it a standout?

Now imagine that you know all about the back-story. 

These are lyrics written by Bob Dylan in the late 60s.  Never recorded.  Dylan recently gave them to T Bone Burnett, who then assembled Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith (of Dawes), Rihannon Giddens (of Carolina Chocolate Drops) and Jim James (who sings here) to record an album's worth of these songs.

Do you hear the song differently, with that knowledge?

That's what makes a track like this so hard for radio.

If you have the context, then it is a fascinating song.  But on it's own, it's not a great sounding single.

And most people who hear it, are not going to know the story behind it.  There more likely to say, "What the hell?" and move on to the next station.

Or am I wrong?  Does the song captivate you, even without knowing the story behind it?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sarah McLachlan & Randy Newman "When She Loved Me"

Some thoughts on last week's Yard Sale . . .

My Mother-In-Law has a big end-of-summer Yard Sale each year.  She invites a few neighborhood folks to set up in her yard too.  So the event is rather massive.  Between 9 and 3 last Saturday, literally hundreds of folks stopped by.

This was the first year we brought stuff of our own, for the sake of participating.   And it was the first Yard Sale that our kids had ever known.

On the car ride to Gramma's, we tried to explain what a Yard Sale is.  And, speaking the language of children, we gave them an example from an animated film.

"Remember 'Toy Story 2'?  The one where Woody accidentally got sold?  That was a Yard Sale.  We're taking all our old toys and things, and selling them to people who might want them."

And we cautioned them to not bring any of their own belongings into the driveway, because someone could think that their special toy was actually for sale, and walk off with it.

To put a fine point on it, we played that Sarah McLachlan song, where poor Jessie gets left behind and everyone in the audience weeps like babies.

And while losing your favorite toy to a grabby Yard Sale-goer sounds like some kind of thing that only happens in the movies, let me point you to the conversation I overheard at the end of Gramma's Driveway.

"Look at that.  Why would you want that?  521 Main Street?  What good would that do you, unless that was you exact address?"**

This was an elderly woman who was admiring, but confused by the address marker at Gramma's house.

Because, if it's in the driveway, it must be for sale, ammiright?

We did surprisingly well with the Grandparent-set.  We had a lot of baby gear and toys that my kids had outgrown.  And the grandparents that filtered through all day long were happy to pick up that spare ride-on toy or set of blocks or whatever, that they could have handy for when the grandkids visit.

One item of great interest was the Jack-In-The-Box.  It was fun to see who was delighted by it, and who it surprised/terrified.

See the video on Youtube.

It was the exact same model as the one Will Ferrell opens in "Elf."  (And for my Cape Ann friends, it is made by the local company Schylling, where my sister Amy used to work)

Somewhere in the middle of the day, a teenage boy picked up the Jack-In-The-Box and turned the crank.  At the conclusion of "Pop Goes The Weasel" he gave a surprised "Hey!" 

But not because of the pop-up clown.

Stuffed inside the Jack-In-The-Box (no doubt put there at some point by my 4 year old) was a Lego figure.


We nearly reenacted the plot of "Toy Story 2" by accidently sell Woody at the Yard Sale!

Fortunately, just like the movies, it all ended well, with Woody coming back home with us, safe and sound.  And the Jack-In-The Box, the talking dinosaur, the travel potty, the ride-on giraffe, the music table, the wooden trains and dozens of other treasures, headed to their new homes where somebody would love them.

See the video on Youtube.

** Not Gramma's real address

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

George Ezra "Budapest"

Here's one of those earworms that could have a place on MVY, but . . . I dunno.  What do you think?

The hook is super catchy, but also feels like Ezra is in that same zone as folks we don't play like Ed Sheeran or Matt Nathanson or Jason Mraz---guys who are great in their own way, but a bit commercial for our station.

On the other hand, that baritone ain't exactly what all the tweeners are into these days.

He reminds me a bit of an old MVY favorite who we haven't heard from in a while: William Topley.

What do you think?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tweedy "Low Key"

Parts of this work week were grueling . . . parts of the day-to-day grind of getting kids out the door, in the door, fed and into bed, were grueling.

I'm glad to end this week on a light note. 

I follow John Hodgman on Facebook, and he posted this Tweedy video, since he makes an appearance.

Tweedy won me over the moment I saw Jeff in the yellow suit.

And as I was watching the video, I was laughing at how deadpan Spencer is.  Then I recalled that (at least the one time I saw him in concert), he always seems kinda deadpan.

There are lots of little laughs in this one, straight through to the shocking conclusion.

See the video on Youtube.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Robert Plant "Rainbow"

I saw Robert Plant a few years ago, and got a laugh thinking how silly some of his early Zeppelin hippie-dippy references sound (like in "Ramble On").

While it doesn't actually sound hippie-dippy or like a 60s throwback, I did have to laugh when I read that his brand new song is called "Rainbow."

You don't get much more hippie-dippy sounding than that.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

She & Him "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"

If you're local, then you know this scene during Tourist Season . . .

You're in the grocery store.  There is a person.  Often older.  DEFINITELY a tourist.  They are standing in such a way that they are blocking the aisle and are completely unaware that you are trying to pass them.  There is just enough room for you to squeeze by, but you know that the second you try this, they are going to start walking and bump into you.

So there I was, staring at this tourist doing just this.  Staring at him.  Hating on him.

I mean really, is there ANY occasion where it is okay to wear an oxford shirt and a sport coat, with shorts?  Does that make any frickin' sense whatsoever?  How is it that when people go on vacation, they have no clue how to dress?

I was staring.  I was hating.  I was sure that if I looked down, he'd be wearing black socks.

Actually, I was wrong.  He wasn't wearing black socks.  He was wearing black sneakers, with white tube socks.  Ugh.

What do the socks have written on them?


He moved and I pushed my carriage past him.  I got about halfway down the aisle before I just couldn't let it go.  I turned around.

"Excuse me.  Sir?  Do your socks say 'I (Heart) She & Him'?"

He looked at me blankly for a second, woken from his trance of looking at flavored coffee.  Then he gave me a warm smile.  "Yes.  I love that band."

"Great band."

"My wife and I saw them years ago, in a little club, before they got big.  Have you seen them?"

I did talk about how much I liked them, though I didn't drop my M Ward story.

"Socks, huh," I said.  "Usually people get a t-shirt."

"You can get anything these days," he smiled.

Truer words were never spoken during Tourist Season.

"Have a great day," I said to him, and sped off with my carriage, wondering what grocery store weirdness my next collision might bring.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Neko Case "Thrice All American"

I got a big kick out of this Neko Case/Kelly Hogan goof on Sci-Fi and Fanboys and such.

And because I was sitting at the kitchen table on a late afternoon, I decided to go to the basement and pull out some of my older Neko Case records, like "Furnace Room Lullaby."

It's been a while since I'd gone back to the Neko Case of the 90s.  The think that struck me was that on top of loving the record as much as ever, I just couldn't get over how little-of-a-clue that record offered, as to what Neko Case would sound like in 2014.

I mean, the voice is still there.  The mystery.  The confidence.  The sly humor amid the darkness.

I guess I'm mostly talking about the country references, which are pretty much gone without a trace now.

In the late 90s, Neko Case seemed like she was going to be an enigmatic Patsy Cline for the modern age, crafting timeless, country-tinged dark ruminations.

And while the music of 2014 still feels timeless and dark, there is a complete absence of twang.

The strangest part about it is that it happened slowly and quietly, subtly.  I mean, there's still a bit of twang in Case's voice in current songs like "City Swans."  Just not in the instrumentation.

I was trying to think of another artist who so quietly, easily slipped out of country, without calling attention to it---so much so that you kinda forgot that's where they came from.

Wilco came to mind at first.  But I do recall an interview with Jeff Tweedy, pre-"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," where he was contemplating a future "zero Country reference" record.

Maybe Joe Henry?  He was alt-country before alt-country was alt-country.  Now he makes records as timeless and dark and somewhat-uncategorizable as Case.

Anyway, just an observation.  It's nice to still be surprised by an artist.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Public Enemy "He Got Game"

Stick with me, MVY listeners . . .

I was following a Facebook thread last night from a friend whose musical tastes run shockingly similar to mine.  The post was based around late 80s/early 90s rap music, starting with The Beastie Boys amazing back-to-back records "Paul's Boutique" and "Check Your Head."  Further comments cited De La Soul, Black Sheep, Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy, among others, as producing great albums in that era.

Then the thread host mentioned Public Enemy's "He Got Game" soundtrack, and wham! I was hit with a little bolt of lightning.

I am certain that I have not thought about that song since it played on WABN, some 15 years ago.

How certain am I that it was erased from my memory?  When the song came on I thought, "Oh yeah, the song where they sample 'For What It's Worth' a little too heavily."  While completely forgetting that STEPHEN STILLS IS IN THIS VIDEO!!!  They didn't just sample, Stephen Fucking Stills performed with Public Enemy?!?!

This isn't the kind of thing that slips your mind for a second.  Either it's there, or it's not there.

For me, it was definitely not there.  Until now.

Hey mvyradio listeners, I know many of your aren't interested in Public Enemy, but you gotta at least skip ahead to 2:20, when Stills shows up.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Patty Larkin "Do Not Disturb"

"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." -- Pablo Picasso

Take a second and look at the three pictures above.  Do you know what the hand-written signs say?

That Picasso quote at the top of the post is oft recited in my house. It comes up because my wife is an elementary school art teacher.

She uses the quote with her students, as encouragement, explaining to them that they have a certain talent that even Picasso struggled to compete with.

And she uses the quote on those occasions when she if offering instruction to adults, particularly the ones who say "I can't draw" or "I haven't done art since I was a kid."

Tapping in to your inner-kid-ness is a talent.

And as a parent, it can be a necessity.

Our daughter is completing her first year of public school.  Kindergarten.  Her knowledge and her skills grow every day.  One day she's sounding out the word "red."  And what seems like a few days later, she's reading aloud, slowly but surely, through "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish."

Then she leapt into spelling.  She is labeling pictures.  Writing stories.  And posting signs with important information for our family about our new kittens.

I always struggle to read these signs, and usually I have to ask my wife for help.

"Just read the letters," she tells me.

In other words, don't sound it out.  Just say each consonant and vowel, as is.  Our daughter isn't really blending letters, or writing the silent letters, or using the "soft" versions of letters.

Read it, as is.  As it sounds.

The above pictures say:

"Bubble soap" (which was a potential name for one of our new kittens)

"Smelly Section" (note the corner of the house where we keep the trash barrel and the cat litter box)

"A couple of days ago I got two new kittens.  They are fun.  One is Kiki and the other one is Jasper."  And at the top of the page it says "Toilet Paper."

On the same day I saw my daughter post this sign where she was trying to make a cat bed, I also heard the Patty Larkin track on MVY.  That song makes me happy because it mentions Paul Klee, who is my wife's favorite artist (after our kids, of course)  And yeah, I can hear how "disturb" could easily be sounded out by a 6 year old as "distubv."

As of this posting, my favorite art teacher has not updated her site about her planned 2014 Summer classes, but you can keep checking this link.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Undertones "It's Going To Happen"

A Throwback Thursday post:

It was always fun, on my old alternative show, to play throwback tunes. 

Funny to think that it was nearly 20 years ago, that I was playing this song as a Throwback, then!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sam Phillips "Baby I Can't Please You"

A Throwback Thursday post:

Jess did a Hot Seat on T Bone Burnett last week, and that jogged the memory of this tune.

Burnett was married to Sam Phillips and produced her "Martinis And Bikinis" album, one of my early 90s favorites.

Fun fact!  The album cover picture led to her being cast as Jeremy Irons' mute terrorist girlfriend in "Die Hard With A Vengeance."

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Eric Clapton "Call Me The Breeze"

Eric Clapton has put together "An Appreciation Of JJ Cale," featuring covers of Cale's tunes as done by Clapton, Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler and others.

"Call Me The Breeze" is out as a single.

Should MVY play it?

On the one hand, does this version really add to or change your perception of the song?  Not for me.  It's a very tasteful take on the tune, but I don't feel like I'm experiencing anything new here.

And really, does anyone need to hear "Call Me The Breeze" every again?  It's one of those songs that feels a little like driving by a McDonalds---you don't have to go in, to know exactly how the food is going to taste.  Or in this case, listen to the song to know what it sounds like.

On the other hand, maybe adding the version to rotation provides a little lift to the version we play (MVY has the original JJ Cale song in rotation; we don't have the Lynyrd Skynyrd version in rotation).  Alternating versions might make the listeners listen a little harder, wondering "Which version is this?"

The very pragmatic reason to play it, is that any airplay or record sales that come as a result of someone hearing it on MVY, means money for the songwriter.  In this case, the estate of the late JJ Cale will benefit.

Cale was beloved by the great guitar players of the generation who followed him, but he never rose to the level of commercial success of the folks who are on this record.  Playing the album will financially support the Cale family.

But when a listener flips the dial and hears a song, they probably aren't thinking any of these things.

Instead, they're making a snap judgement---do I want to hear what MVY is playing, or change the channel?

What do you think listeners will do when they hear this one?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Toad The Wet Sprocket "The Moment"

People asked us for months, "What is going to be the first song you play on your new FM signal?"

And everyone had an opinion.

You may be a little surprised to know that even just a couple of hours before we were to go live, we hadn't picked a song yet.

A few weeks back, Barbara Dacey and I had agreed that we should air the "ocean waves" sound effect that comprised the last 20 minutes of our final broadcast on 92.7, fifteen months ago.

My first idea was that we would play "Riviera Paradise," which was the last song on 92.7.  It seemed to suggest that we were picking up right where we left off.  But then it didn't seem original enough.

While brainstorming, Barbara suggested Carly Simon's "Never Been Gone," which is perfect on a number of levels, since it is specifically about the Vineyard, and the joke that "mvyradio feels like it never was away" was pretty funny. 

But we set that idea aside, because we really wanted the first song to be something upbeat.  (Hilariously, the 2 comments I saw online about "Never Been Gone," which ended up being the 3rd or 4th song we played were along the lines of, "I can't believe you didn't play that one first!" and "Ugh, I can't believe they played Carly Simon!?!"  So I guess we did strike the appropriate middle ground)

It was Barbara who came up with the unconventional choice of playing James Brown's "I Got You."

Though it's not a tune we would regularly play, the spirit and vibe matched the moment.

But that wasn't the first song on the new 88.7.

What I knew all along was that we were going to have to turn on the new transmitter and be certain that everything was working properly, before it was safe to announce to the world that we were going to "launch" 88.7.

And we had no idea when that was going to happen.

We were scheduled to have the antenna hung on the tower, last week.  But rain prevented the contractors from doing the work.

They were supposed to start Monday, but they couldn't get a ferry reservation.

They got to the station early Wednesday, but by mid-morning, they realized that a couple of necessary cables had not arrived via UPS.  We tracked the package and found that it was on-Island, so I furiously started texting a couple of guys I know who work for UPS, to see if we could pull some strings and get it there.  It came shortly after lunch.

I kept wandering down to the engineer, who was hooking things up in the basement.

"Now?  How about now?  Are we close?"  I was like a 4 year old.

The plan, once the thing was live, was to put the ocean wave on, send out a press release to the media and send an eblast to our listeners giving them a 45 minute heads up.  Craig, the engineer, just had to finish his work to set this all in motion.

Finally, he came running upstairs, and simply gave me the thumbs up.

Craig, Barbara and I ran out to the parking lot, and put on the car radios.

88.7FM was on the air.

"Does it sound good?  It is a go?"

It was "The Moment."  Completely random that the Toad The Wet Sprocket song was the one on the air when the switch was flipped.  But there it was, coming out of our speakers.

We all smiled.  And yes, a tear or two was shed.

Toad The Wet Sprocket was on 88.7FM, which probably only had 3 listeners, Craig, Barbara and me.

I ran back inside and put the waves on the air.

The moment had arrived.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sarah McLachlan "In Your Shoes"

Last week there was a conference of non-commercial radio stations.  I wanted to go, but it was during our Fund drive for Friends of mvyradio.

I was quite interested in the forum titled "The Tori Dilemma."  The question at hand was, if you are a station that breaks new artists, but you've been doing it for years and years, what do you do when your new artists, have become established artists?  You're not really breaking new artists if you are playing the new Tori Amos, Natalie Merchant or Sarah McLachlan.  But if you don't play them, you are effectively ignoring the artists you told your listeners were important to pay attention to.

For MVY, we're not necessarily chasing a younger, more fickle audience.  We still try to break new artists, but we're comfortable sticking with the heritage acts, even if they are "old."

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Barenaked Ladies "Pinch Me"

"I could hide out under there/I just made you say 'underwear.'"

I have to admit, I had never heard this underwear joke, until I heard Barenaked Ladies "Pinch Me" in 2000.

How did I miss this in childhood?

Well, that won't be true for my own kids.

I started saying "LOOK UNDER THERE!" to them, to trick them into saying "underwear."

It only took a few times for them to turn it around on me.

Now, pretty much every day starts with them saying to me, "Dad-dad-dad-dad-dad!  Look under theeeere."

And I dutifully and happily play the fool who says "under where?!?!" eliciting peels of laughter.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tune-Yards "Water Fountain"

I can't imagine this song joining MVY regular rotation (can you hear this coming out of "Lay Lady Lady"?).

That said, it is the stickiest, most memorable, hummable, joyful song on the iTunes playlist right now.


Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Robert Cray "Deep In My Soul"

I dashed down to the basement.

Now that I have kids, a wife, and you know, stuff, many of the symbols of bachelorhood have been relegated to the basement.

Like the giant tower of CDs.

It was my kid's birthday party.  So the house and backyard were packed with nearly 20 pre-schoolers, plus their parents (many of whom I only really know from drop-off) and various relatives.

And my wife said, "Can you put on some fun music?"

So I dashed down to the basement and came back up with a 1/2 dozen discs that I had quickly picked off the shelf, assessing that they'd be generally acceptable to the crowd.

That was a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday was Mother's Day, which meant that it was time to give the house a big clean, since we were having family over.

I found the pile of CDs from my son's party, still next to the stereo.  And seeing the names of the spines made me laugh.

Ray Charles
Al Green
Johnny Hoy & The Bluefish
Otis Redding
James Hunter

What appeals to pre-schoolers, grandparents, Dads forced to take their kids to a birthday party on Saturday who are trying to enjoy themselves by drinking a beer, Moms who are enjoying the company of other Moms who understand their struggles better than their spouses and Grandparents who look at their grandkids and remember when they were the hosts of these chaotic preschool parties?

What appeals to all these groups?

Soul Music.

It cuts across all demographic lines, works for all groups, creates the right mood.

Soul Music makes the party.  Even a preschool one.

I mention this, in part, because Robert Cray has a new album called "In My Soul."  It's his tribute to classic soul music.  And for our Friends of mvyradio Drive, we're giving folks a copy of the record if they donate $100 to support our non-commercial station.  Think about making that donation, and getting your own disc of music to make your party just right.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Sugarplastic "Montebello"

A Throwback Thursday post:

I was driving through Virginia during April vacation, and saw a sign for Monticello. 

From the deep recesses of my brain, popped this tune, which I'm sure I haven't thought about since the 90s.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Steve Miller Band "Fly Like An Eagle"

Like pretty much ever single solitary person my age in the late 80s, I owned a copy of Steve Miller's Greatest Hits on cassette.  And I listened to it constantly.

I mean, I knew every word, every inflection.  I knew how long the pause was from one song to the next, so I could start humming, in sync with the music.  In fact, at a certain point, I didn't really need the cassette at all.  I could have sung/hummed the whole album, in real time.

WBCN was promoting that Steve Miller would be stopping by the station, and he would be playing live in the studio.  He had a new album out, but he was sure to play some old hits too.

And he did oblige, launching into a spaced-out version of "Fly Like An Eagle," solo, on an electric guitar.

"Time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin . . . into the future . . ." Miller sang, and I sang too.

Then something strange happened.

Miller sang "Feed the children, who don't have enough to eat."

I kinda froze.  What was he going to do?!?!

Now maybe you're saying to yourself, "I don't get it.  What's the problem?

Here's the problem.

The lyric is "Feed the babies, who don't have enough to eat.  Shoe the children, with no shoes on their feet."

But he had flipped a word, singing "Feed the children, who don't have enough to eat."

Was he going to have to complete the word flip and sing, "Shoe the babies, with no shoes on their feet"?  That doesn't make any sense.  Babies don't need shoes!

And it's not like he can stop the song to gather himself and think his decision through.  He's going to have to do something.

We're only talking about 2 seconds.  But I learned a valuable professional lesson in the space between the lines.

If it's live, let it go.

I've opened up the microphone on live radio tens of thousands of times.  And sometimes, you make mistakes.  You stumble over a word.  Or a whole sentence.  You misplace modifiers.  You accidentally swear.  You introduce a Bruce Hornsby song as "Bruce Cockburn."

And when you do, there's not much you can do.  Once it has gone out, you can't bring it back.  The only thing you can do it go forward.  You can compose yourself so you don't fuck up again.  But you go forward.

That's was Steve Miller did that day.

He sang "Feed the children, who don't have enough to eat.  Shoes the babies . . ." and then he just let his voice drift off, and filled with his guitar.  He picked up the lyrics with the next line, "House the people, living in the street, oh-oh there's a solution" and he just kept going.

I took that lesson to heart.  Even Steve Miller, a guy who probably sang "Fly Like An Eagle" more times than even I had, can screw up from time to time.

But professionals don't let a stumble completely derail things.  They just gather themselves, and plow ahead undaunted.

It's great advice for DJ's, and for life.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lorde "Swinging Party"

I'm not a grumpy old man.

But clearly, I am an old man.

My friend Lori TB gave me the heads up that Lorde does a cover of The Replacements' "Swinging Party."  (She wrote "I 100% always think of you when I hear anything at all to do with the 'mats.")

My first thought was "How does Lorde even know this song?"

My second thought was the realization that this song came out in 1985.  Lorde wasn't born until 1994!

I'm not complaining that a young artist covered The Replacements.  I just find it shocking.  In the same way I'll find it shocking when they move Wheel Of Fortune's time-slot on the TeeVee.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, May 2, 2014

David Bowie "The Man Who Sold The World"

Much like "Random Ridiculous Songs That Have No Business Being Played In Public Again But I Heard In The Grocery Store Today," I keep an ear out for songs in public places, that are strangely out of place.

For instance, standing in front of the elevators of the Florence, South Carolina Doubletree Hotel, it does not seem like they should be playing David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World."

But on the tail end of a long vacation, somehow it seemed appropriate.

I'd just come from Disney, where the art of merchandising is perfected, and amazing.

I mean, it's no revelation that the amusement rides promote the movies and the movies promote the rides, and they both promote the t-shirts and stuffed animals and acres of plastic crap that is every which way you turn.

But I did find myself both impressed an horrified and the marketing onslaught.

And as I stood there in front of the elevators, I thought, yeah Bowie, you're right, you can slap a logo on just about anything and sell it.  Even the world.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Big Audio Dynamite "The Bottom Line"

"The horses are on the track!"

Whenever I am telling a younger person about the stupid things I used to do, I invariably mention my one trip to the Kentucky Derby.

Being a group of poor 20-somethings, it was our plan to sneak alcohol onto the Fair grounds.  But security was tight.  How to get it in there?

Sandwich bags, filled with grain alcohol, stuffed into the bra of one of the women in our group.  She looked rather busty, but no one frisked her chest!

Then it was soda and grain alcohol all day.

I placed my 2 dollar bet on a random horse, and couldn't believe it when I won!

They say Disney is the happiest place on Earth, but I have to say, I have never been in a happier place than in a massive line of drunk folks who had all picked the Kentucky Derby winner and were lined up to collect.

The Derby is this weekend.  "The horses are on the track!"

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Beatles "Twist And Shout"

We're adopting new kittens from a shelter today and we're all really excited.

So excited, that we spent (what felt like) hours inside a pet store, picking out food and a carry cage and new cat toys and a litter box and etc, etc, so we'd be prepared for their arrival.

At some point, the kids lost interest in the shopping, and wanted to look at some of the pets in the store.  They checked out the fish and the mice and the snakes and the gerbils and the . . . "what are these, Dad?"


The kids got a kick out of the ferrets.  I find them pretty funny myself.

And as I was sitting there smiling, I wondered this:

"I wonder if anyone on the internet has made a 'Ferrets Bueller' video, set to 'Twist And Shout'?"

Then I realized that if you ask the question "I wonder if anyone on the internet has . . ." that no matter how you complete that sentence, the answer is probably yes.

So please, enjoy Ferrets Bueller in a video set to "Twist And Shout."

God bless the internet!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Amy Adams "Happy Little Working Song"

This week, I'm on vacation with the family at Disneyworld.  So I thought I'd write some posts about Disney songs.

If you're like a younger me, maybe you feel like you're too old for Disney tunes and Disney movies.

So maybe you saw the previews for "Enchanted" and thought that there was no chance that you'd go so it.

If that's you, then reconsider.

Because while "Enchanted" is great for fans of Disney, it's also great for folks who can't stand the tropes and schmatlz of some of their films.  It doesn't an incredible job of lovingly skewering the whole genre.

Watch the scene for "Happy Little Working Song," and tell me it doesn't make you laugh.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cliff Edwards "When I See An Elephant Fly"

This week, I'm on vacation with the family at Disneyworld.  So I thought I'd write some posts about Disney songs.

Do you feel guilty like I do, for enjoying this ditty from "Dumbo"?  Or how about "The Siamese Cat Song" from "Lady & The Tramp"?

I mean, each song on its own, is very funny and cute.  But it's impossible to ignore that in their original form, they're pretty frickin' racist.

Hear "When I See An Elephant Fly" on Youtube.

Hear "The Siamese Cat Song" song on Youtube.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sarah McLachlan "When She Loved Me"

This week, I'm on vacation with the family at Disneyworld.  So I thought I'd write some posts about Disney songs.
Well, you couldn't be blamed for missing a few details tucked into the sequence of "Toy Story 2" where Sarah McLachlan sings "When She Loved Me" and you learned Jessie's cruel fate.

No doubt you were balling your eyes out, like the rest of us.

Have you read this piece, which theorizes that Jessie's former-owner Emily is . . . bomp-bomp-bommmmm!  Andy's Mother?!?!

It's a little nutty.  But it's a pretty thorough examination . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Scatman Crothers "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat"

This week, I'm on vacation with the family at Disneyworld.  So I thought I'd write some posts about Disney songs.

I always loved how 60s and 70s Disney portrayed the hipsters of the day.

Like the vultures in "The Jungle Book."  Is the one on the far right in this clip supposed to be Ringo Starr?

Or the beatniks and poets and jazz lovers and beret-wearers who scat, like in this song from "The Aristocats."

Way coooool, maaaan.

Hear The Aristocats song on Youtube.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Replacements "Cruella De Vil"

This week, I'm on vacation with the family at Disneyworld.  So I thought I'd write some posts about Disney songs.

With a 6 year old in the house, I'm starting to see the change . . .

She has a younger brother, and every once and a while there will be some thing that she used to love, but she suddenly rejects, because "That's for little kids."

There is a lot of this in life.  At a certain point, you age out of particular toys, games, music, activities, etc.

But an unexpected delight of adulthood, is that sometimes you age back in.

By high school, I had aged out of Disney movies.  In the 80s, there was no way you were going to catch me in the theaters for "The Great Mouse Detective" or "The Black Cauldron."

Then a funny thing happened in college.

The Replacements covered "Cruella De Ville" for a compilation of Disney songs called "Stay Awake."  And while I think their delivery was somewhat ironic, I think it also holds an appreciation for the classic song-craft that went into tunes like this one.

And suddenly it was okay to like Disney songs.  Even find them fun, enjoyable and cool.

Which is why it's not unheard of for me to be the one in our house who is most enjoying Sesame Street or the Sit-N-Spin . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Luna "Hedgehog"

A Throwback Thursday post:

I remember this as the song that asked the burning question:

"Are you a Fox or a Hedgehog?"


I finally found out what the hell he was talking about, on Wikipedia.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PHOX "Slow Motion"

You have to feel a little bit bad for this band.

If their debut album had come out over a year ago, I'm sure that any interview they did would focus mainly on the music.

Unfortunately, here in 2014, I think they are pretty much condemned to having every single solitary excruciating interview include the idiot DJ/journalist/blogger asking them:

"What does the PHOX say?"

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jerry Garcia & David Grisman "Friend Of The Devil"

I played this on the air once, and said that it was "from 1997."

I had a Deadhead call and yell at me.

"Jerry DIED in 1995!  It can't be from 1997."

So, to clarify, for this impassioned gentleman . . . the album "Live On Letterman" was released in 1997.  The performance on that disc is from a television appearance in 1993, while Mr. Garcia (I didn't know him well enough to call him by his first name) was decidedly alive.

For someone who knows waaay more about The Dead than I do, and can talk about it properly, check out a new episode of Shakedown Stream.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ziggy Marley "I Don't Want To Live On Mars"

Is it good, or bad, when are artist who has a clearly defined sound, goes ahead and does something that totally defies that expectation.

If I say "new Ziggy Marley song" I bet you have something in mind as to what it might sound like.

You'd be wrong.  It doesn't sound like that.

But is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Serena Ryder "Stompa"

This is a terrible association to make, but I make it nonetheless.

Listen to the way that Serena Ryder says the very first word of "Stompa."


My college roommate Billy used to do this imitation of Charlton Heston, at the end of "Soylent Green," when he is shouting "Soylent Green is PEE-pull!!!"

And the way they all (Serena, Charlton, Billy) pronounce "people" with an emphasis on the "PEE" sound the same to me.

So as a result, whenever I hear "Stompa," I hear the lyrics in Charlton Heston's voice.

Sorry, Serena.

Hear Serena Ryder on Youtube.

"Soylent Green Is PEE-pull!" (wait for the end of the clip) on Youtube.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Scott Miller & The Commonwealth "For Jack Tymon"

When my sister's first son was born (my first nephew), I framed the lyrics to this song for her, and him.

My own son turns 4 today, and I turn to this special little obscurity (at least, I've never had anyone mention the track to me) to think about my boy.

We all wish for amazing things for our kids---great achievements, thrilling adventures.  But sometimes its good to return to the thought that praying for simple things like easy times and good friends are more likely to, in the end, give our children the kind of life and happiness we so fervently wish for them.

May your back be straight and your fingers ten
My your cup be full when you say when
May your parents be so that they always let you grow
And may your heart be so pure its one that God wants to know
May your schooling be good, and if its not
May the times be easy and you still smart
May your friendships be so that they almost feel like home
And your heart be so pure its one that God wants to know
And may you have the joy of passing something on
Like the laugh of your father or the courage of your mom
But if that never happens and you end up alone
May your heart be so pure its one that God wants to know

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Brown Bird "Bilgewater"

How do you walk the line of being respectful without being opportunistic?

David Lamb of the band Brown Bird passed away this week.  He had been battling leukemia and had received tremendous support from the Rhode Island (and beyond) music community.

When listeners started letting us know that Lamb had passed away, I remembered that we have a Brown Bird performance in our archives.  And my first thought was to post it on Facebook, or make it this week's MVY Live.
But something about doing that felt like it would be too self-serving, too self-promotional, too opportunistic.

When Lou Reed passed away, we did many a tribute to him on the air.  But even before his passing, not a day had gone by where we didn't play a few Lou Reed/Velvet Underground tracks.

The same isn't true for Brown Bird on MVY.

So would promoting it, just be co-opting a tragedy?

These are the weird, unexpected questions that they never teach you to answer in DJ School.

For a really beautiful rememberance of David Lamb, read this.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Black Grape "In The Name Of The Father"

A Throwback Tuesday post:

"Mash-up" is such a 2000s-phenomenon.  Crashing together multiple genres and sounds.

I think many 90s artists did a better job of MIXING-up.  Actually incorporating multiple styles, but blending them together, instead of juxtaposing them.

Check out how much is going on in this song from the Happy Mondays offshoot band, Black Grape . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Joseph Arthur "Walk On The Wild Side"

A minor footnote to the announcement that David Letterman is retiring, was that Mike Mills of R.E.M. fame, broke the story.

He was part of the band for the scheduled musical guest that night, Joseph Arthur, so he was at the afternoon taping, and tweeted the news.

Joseph Arthur was on, because he has recently released a cover of "Walk On The Wild Side."  Arthur was a friend of Reed's, and recorded this reworking, as a tribute to his late friend.

See the Letterman performance below, which includes Mike Mills, and Peter Buck of R.E.M.

See the video on Youtube.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Warren Zevon "Hit Somebody"

It may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but if you were to ask me who has influenced me most as a Radio Announcer, the answer would not be a name that would seem obvious. 

I can certainly say I loved and listened intently to folks like Casey Kasem and WBCN's Charles Laquidara and Mark Parenteau when I was a kid.

But really, the person I have idolized the most, as a broadcaster, is David Letterman.

Now, I have never thought of myself as anything like (and certainly not equal-to) Letterman, in the ways that you perhaps appreciate Dave.

I was never trying to replicate his sense of humor, or his quick wit, or his wonderful grasp of irony, or his delightful snarkiness.  I do love all those things about him, as a fan.

But as a broadcaster, I've always paid close attention to the way that Letterman communicates information, the way he simply (or sometimes, complicatedly) tells a story.

Take the way he announced his retirement on his show last night.

He did what he does most every night on the program.  After the monologue, he heads to his desk and will tell a story, often with a personal aspect.  I don't suspect that Dave is a racounteur, holding court with friends and telling endless stories.  But we he does these direct-to-the-camera-and-audience moments, he is masterful at getting at the heart of the matter.

So he opens with some facts about how many shows he's done, and then he segues into a seemingly unrelated yarn about how he spent an entire day trying to identify a bird picture.  And just when it appears that this is a simply shaggy dog story, you realize that it actually boldly underscores his point, that it is time for him to retire.

This is what I aspire to every day.  Can I tell stories on the radio (and actually, on this blog too) that are engaging, even if they seem a bit shaggy, but that ultimately circle around to a clear, relatable point?  I'll never be as good as Letterman, but setting the bar high is not such a bad thing.

The other, minor thing I learned from Letterman, is how to carefully, but clearly, show your passion.

Letterman must treat each guest as important.  The show simply wouldn't work if he wasn't displaying enthusiasm for each and every guest.

And that is kind of how I approach being on the radio.  I don't love each and every song I play, equally.  But I recognize that each and every song is somebody's favorite.  And I display enthusiasm of all songs with that in mind.

That being said, you can tell when Dave is passionate about a guest, particularly the musical guests.  You can see it in the early days when R.E.M. came on, or in the late 90s when the Foo Fighters were guest, or recently when Jason Isbell appears.  He'll give just a little bit extra to the introduction, or greet the band after the song with energy that lets the viewer know just how engaged he was.

I too have certain artists that I feel passionately about, and yes, I can let that sneak through in the way I talk about certain artists, hopefully without lessening the importantance of other folks we play.

And when you've set the audience expectation that you, as the host, have your special passions, the audience will respect those occasions where, when the moment is really right, you dive into a personal obsession. 

Warren Zevon wasn't such a major artist that a network television show would normally devote a whole hour to him.  But he was a major artist to David Letterman, and Dave's passion for Zevon allowed the netork door to be open for an hour.  It was some pretty great television.

I've learned a lot from Dave.  And I'm grateful for the things I've been able to take away, to make me a better air talent.

So, Mr Letterman, as you yourself once said to Johnny Carson, "Thanks for my career."

Did you know Dave is on a Warren Zevon recording?  Listen for him on "Hit Somebody."

Hear the song on Youtube.

The retirement announcement on Youtube.

See Warren Zevon on Letterman on Youtube.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dance Hall Crashers "Enough"

A Throwback Thursday post:

After seeing Rocket From The Crypt on Tuesday, I'm in the mind of fun, upbeat 90s stuff, with both a pop and a punk sensibility . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jack White "High Ball Stepper"

I think it's a pretty clear sign that people are obsessed with everything you do, when the music listening population goes crazy because you've leaked an instrumental from your next album.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rocket From The Crypt "Born In 69"

When "Born In 69" came out, it was a great anthem for my mid-20s.

Nineteen years after its release, "Born In 69" isn't exactly a youthful rallying cry.

And I'm hardly youthful.

In fact, I'm headed to tonight's Rocket From The Crypt reunion show in Boston, with---no lie---a pulled back muscle.

I'd say that you can look for me---I'll be the forty-something guy in the crowd, rocking out like he's in his mid-20s, but with a hunched, sore back.

But then again, I may not be the only 90s punk fan to drag his old ass out of the house on a Tuesday night to re-live his youth . . . so you may have trouble picking my out of a crowd of my cohorts!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Candi Staton "I Ain't Easy To Love"

Candi Staton had a strange path to a mainstream comeback.

Her vocals from her 1971 song "He Called Me Baby" were sampled in 2009 for the One Eskimo hit "Kandi."

And with that attention, she's poised for a more traditional-style comeback---an album of new recordings, featuring some young supporters, including John Paul White of The Civil Wars and Jason Isbell.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Beavis & Butthead with Cher "I Got You Babe"

March 28th, 1994:

This cassette has been packed away for year, but I pulled it out, because it contains my debut as a radio DJ, 20 years ago today.

I've written plenty about how I ended up with a job in radio, and told a few stories about being a DJ on a Pop Station.

This first gig, at WABN in Abingdon, Virginia, was as the host of a nightly, call in Request Radio show.  And I've written about at before, here and here.

And I've even written about my very first time on the air.

But here it is.  Warts and all.  On a cassette.  (And in a stream, below)

All things considered, it's not too bad.  The mishap that happened off air is not heard on this tape.  And I very consciously was careful to say as little as possible on my first day, exercising great caution so as not of make a fool of myself.

I recall that after this first shift, Rita, one of the station owners taught me a very important lesson.

She drew on a piece of paper.  "What's this letter?"


"You pronounce it 'Double U.'  Not 'Dubya' or "Double-ya.'  The letter is two U's."

So on this tape, you can hear the one and only day that I went on the air and pronounced the "W" in "WABN" as "Dubya."  I have strictly adhered to Rita's correction for following 19 years and 364 days.

To this day, if I hear another DJ on the radio say "Dubya-MVY" it makes me crazy. 

I'm grateful to her, and her husband Craig, for the early guidance and shepherding.  I honestly had no idea that a little detour into a part-time radio gig would result in a 20-years-and-going career.

And certainly nothing on this tape would suggest a bright future.

So, if you can bear it, it's all here.  My first hour on the radio ever.  It's an hour of requests and dedications on a Pop radio station, with Dionne Warwick and Ace Of Base (and surprisingly, some Grateful Dead!), and yes, the hit of 1994-ish, Beavis & Butthead with Cher.


Click here to open a stream of my radio station debut, 20 years ago.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Paul McCartney "Let Me Roll It"

I went out on Tuesday night to see St. Paul And The Broken Bones at Great Scott in Allston.

Paul made a joke early on, that they only had one album's worth of material, and so they were going to have to pad the set with a few covers.

I wasn't too surprised when they launched into the Sam Cooke tune "Shake," as it fit right into their wheelhouse of classic soul.  Nor was it surprising that they ended the show with a cover of "Try A Little Tenderness."

I WAS surprised, near then end of show, at a pretty interesting cover choice:

Paul McCartney & Wings "Let Me Roll It."

It seemed like an usual, but fun choice for a retro-Soul outfit.

But it was particularly surprising for me, considering that the last band I went to see live, Lake Street Dive, also covered "Let Me Roll It" during their live show.

It's a great McCartney track, but I feel like its a bit of an obscure one.

Now, if you're over 45, you are probably offended by that.

But if you are under 35, like all the band members of both bands mentioned, then you weren't born when "Band On The Run" came out.  And "Let Me Roll It" isn't like (the song) "Band On The Run" or "Jet" which still get regular radio airplay.

If you didn't have an older sibling who owned the record, or didn't grow up to be a McCartney fanatic, "Let Me Roll It" is an easy one to have missed.

But now I've heard it two shows in a row.

Could this be a trend in my life?  I hope so!

Next week, I'm going to see Rocket From The Crypt in Boston.  Is it likely that a punk-with-horns reunion show will contain a cover of "Let Me Roll It"?  Well, it's as likely as a retro-Soul band doing it, I guess.

And what about the following show I have on my calendar?  Part of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, at Berklee Performance Center on May 3rd,  "Comedians Who Have Been On The Daily Show And Also Comedians Who Have Not."

Is it too much to ask that you perform "Let Me Roll It" on that night, John Hodgman?

Hear Paul McCartney's "Let Me Roll It" on Youtube.

Hear Lake Street Dive's version on Youtube.

Hear St. Paul & The Broken Bones do it live on Youtube.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aloe Blacc "The Man"

While we're mostly singer-songwriter, acoustic instrument and roots based, MVY does love to mix in a little bit of Soul music.  Especially if it connects back to classic mid-to-late 60s artists like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke.

What about that next generation of Soul performers like Bill Withers or the Isley Brothers?

That question was asked by my wife, who loves this new song by Aloe Blacc and thinks it recalls the groove of songs like "Be Thankful For What You Got" by William Devaughn.  To her, it sounds like something MVY should have on its playlist (the Old School AND the New School).

I can't picture it, but maybe I'm wrong.  What do you think?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hindu Love Gods "Raspberry Beret"

A Throwback Tuesday post:

Warren Zevon had enlisted 3/4ths of R.E.M. as his backing band for the recording of the album "Sentimental Hygiene."  Somewhere during the recording of the album, the gang turned to recording a series of covers, including this one.

Usually these Throwback posts are tracks I haven't heard in ages, but I actually play this one a couple of times a year on my Live Acoustic And Covers segment, because 20+ years later, it's still fun.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Galactic with JJ Grey "Higher And Higher"

Two artists who can each lay down a dirty groove . . . together.

Too rocking for MVY?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Parkington Sisters "Inside My Head"

Radio is great for Theater Of The Mind.  But sometimes you just want a picture.

I mean, yes, as DJs we can actually engage the listeners brain more/better by saying "the purple elephant ran gracefully through the shopping mall" and allowing them to imagine it, rather than just showing them a Photoshopped facsimile.

That being said, we live in a multimedia world.  So sometimes it's good to share the visual.

I read a suggestion somewhere, that DJs using Social Media should approach connecting with the audience in the same way they might do a live break on the radio.

So we're doing some experimenting at MVY.

The video below is being posted on our Facebook page today.  It's a short promotion for our upcoming Monday Free CD, where yes, I tell a quick personalizing aside and then tell you how to win the CD, just like I would if I were doing a break on the air.

Hopefully this is more effective and engaging than just posting a Facebook status "Our Monday Free CD is from The Parkington Sisters!"

BTW, how cool and classy, to send a note just showing simple appreciation?  The world (not just the radio world) would be a better place if this kind of thing happened more often.

See the video on Youtube.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bambi "Let's Sing A Gay Little Spring Song"

Hopefully, you are celebrating the end of winter and the first day of Spring by singing a gay little song . . .

Here's to getting Twitterpated!

Hear the song on Youtube.

See the scene on Youtube.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Suzanne Vega "I Never Wear White"

I love that Suzanne Vega is in her 50's, and is still wishing to push the sonic boundaries of the Folk and singer-songwriter genre.  I surprisingly rockin' tune.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Redd Kross "Lady In The Front Row"

A Throwback Tuesday post:

Aahhh, some 90s Power Pop.  These guys knew what they were doing.

For fans of Fountains Of Wayne . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Chieftans & Brak "I'll Tell Me Ma"

Is it sad or funny that this is the first Irish tune I could think of, when I was trying to come up with something to post for St. Patrick's Day?

"Brak presents The Brak Album starring Brak" (he's a Space Ghost From Coast To Coast character, if you don't know) is full of delights.  And good on The Chieftains for playing along!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Andrews Sisters "Ferry Boat Serenade"

You can walk into a grocery store, or department store, or restaurant, or just about ANY kind of establishment, and they'll be playing music on the overhead speakers.

There are a couple of reasons a business will do this.

Sometimes it's to "brand" themselves.  As in, "we're a hip store that listens to the hip music of today so buy our clothes."

Sometimes it's to set a pace.  Fast food restaurants typically play upbeat music, which may encourage folks to eat faster and therefore turn-over tables more quickly.  A fancy Italian restaurant may play slower, more romantic music, hoping to set a mood and encouraging you to order that one more bottle of wine.

Usually, though, the music is there in a public place to make the whole experience of being there a little more pleasant.  Pleasant music, along with pleasant aesthetics and even pleasant smells can elevate a person's perception of their visit.

I've thought about this recently whenever boarding one of the Steamship Authority Ferries.  Wouldn't a little music on the boat make the ride a more pleasant experience?

Now let me say that nearly 15 years after my first Steamship ride, my personal experiences with the SSA are overwhelming positive.  That being said, you don't talk to too many folks on the Island, who don't have a quip about the ferry service.

They have the overhead speakers---a whole soundsystem---in place.  Why don't fill the journey to the Island with a soundtrack?  Carly Simon's "Never Been Gone."  "Van Morrison's "Into The Mystic."  James Taylor's "Lighthouse."

I heard this Andrews Sisters song for the first time recently.  How have I traveled by ferry for 15 years, and never heard this once while cruising across Vineyard Sound?

Oh, I'm sure there's a good reason there isn't music on the boat.  They would have to pay ASCAP/BMI fees.  Someone would have to operate it.  With the boats running 18 hours a day, the song turnover would be maddening to the folks who spend all day working the ferries.

But it would make the voyage more aesthetically pleasant.

Alternate suggestion:  The SSA workers should bake a fresh batch of cookies for each ferry ride for an aesthetically pleasant-smelling boat ride.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pete Droge "If You Don't Love Me"

A Throwback Thursday post:

This would seem to go well with the old journal entry I posted 2 weeks ago.

From the "Dumb And Dumber" soundtrack, it's novelty-ish enough that I thought it would still be hanging around a bit, but I haven't heard it in ages.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Hold Steady "Spinners"

I love love love The Hold Steady, but, as always, programming the station isn't about what I like, it's about what fits the station's style and the listeners' expectations.

And this one is a little too rocking for us, I think.  Hopefully, when "Teeth Dreams" comes out, we'll find another track on the album that is a better fit for the station.

Meanwhile, this one fits ME just fine.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Big Audio Dynamite "C'mon Every Beatbox"

A Throwback Tuesday post:

"Sit tight and listen keenly, while I play for you a new musical biscuit."

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Elvis Costello "45"

When this song was out in 2002, I wondered if "45" meant 1945. Or 45 RPMs (like a record single).

Today I'll just imagine he's singing for my birthday.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Monkees "DW Washburn"

When I was a little kid, I was a HUGE fan of The Monkees.

Oh sure, the TV series had been cancelled years and years earlier.  But the show lived on in syndication.

And during the show, they would run commercials for this amazing, incredible, one-of-a-kind "Greatest Hits" LP.

It had all the songs I loved, plus many many more.

It seemed like the most colossal, important and special thing a Monkees fan could ever ever own.

It would make my life complete.

I pestered and pestered and pestered my folks to get it for me.  And they did.

I watched the mailbox every day for months for my package.

And it arrived.

I may have only been around 8 or 9.  But I was old enough to know that I'd been rooked.

The album cover was some very, very basic pencil drawings of the guys.  And the BACK of the album cover, which would normally list an album's songs, was just the same image repeated.  And it it was on cheap, cheap cardboard.

The paper sleeve was plain and you could find the song titles, written on the sticker.

But there was no gatefold.  No liner notes.  No song credits.  Nothing.

This spectacular spectacle of a once-in-a-lifetime collection, was as minimal as possible, and pretty darn cheap-ass.

That being said, the music was still great, and I got to know some fun deeper cuts like "DW Washburn." 

I wore out all 4 sides of "The Monkees" on my little record player, a bit wiser in the knowledge that while the music can move you, the TV is probably lying to you.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Siouxsie & The Banshees "Kiss Them For Me"

A Throwback Thursday post:

This song was written about Jayne Mansfield and named after a film she was in.  In the early 90s, it would have never occurred to me that this song would be popping into my head on a regular basis 20 years later.

Now that I'm a parent---and I'm doing the parent-thing of constant schedule juggling with my wife, to make sure one of us is with the kids while the other gets stuff done---I hear the phrase "kiss them for me" on a semi-regular basis.

Not what Siouxsie intended, but sweet nonetheless.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Yael Naim "New Soul"

When he said "Adele Hazeem" maybe John Travolta though he was introducing Yael Naim. 

(It certainly sounds closer to what he said than "Idina Menzel")

Hear the song on Youtube.

Hear John Travolta mispronounces Idina Menzel's name on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nine Days "Story Of A Girl"

 A Throwback Tuesday post:

It's probably taken you a good decade to forget this earworm . . . and now I've brought it back.  Enjoy it until 2024!

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Nickel Creek "Love Of Mine"

In the same journal that was mostly a month filled with angst, I went to my first Merlefest.

While much of what I wrote about for the Merlefest trip, had to do with the girl I had gone with (we had, in effect, a 2 day first date!), here's the big musical takeaway:

"Chris Thile will be the name to remember . . ."

That was April 2000.  And here I am 14 years later, thrilled to have seen Chris Thile, Sean Watkins and Sara Watkins, together and in other configurations another half-dozen times, with the promise of seeing them together again this summer when they come to Newport Folk. 

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Breeders "I Just Wanna Get Along"

I posted Wednesday, offering a picture from the last page of a journal from spring 2000.

Actually, that wasn't the last page.

When I would get to the end of filling one of those yellow legal pads, on the second to last page I would kind of wrap up the preceding month, as you saw in Wednesday's post.

But on the actual last page, I would usually try to write a poem, or a song, or drop some piece of creative writing.

I think I am being pretty objective when I tell you that these poems were uniformly terrible.  I was, and am, a lousy poet.

So when I dug out this particular journal, I was getting ready to cringe at whatever crap I'd written on the final page.  What horrible metaphors or purple angst would be there.

Instead, I found this, on an otherwise blank sheet.

Here in 2014, it made me laugh out loud.

And just in case it doesn't come through, yes, I was being funny when I wrote this, not serious or dramatic.

Reading this, I'm pretty sure I came up with this line via The Breeders song "I Just Wanna Get Along," because around the time I wrote this, my friends and I would often quote the line "If You're So Special, Why Aren't You Dead?"

Much better than a crappy poem.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Goldfinger "Here In Your Bedroom"

A Throwback Thursday post:

I did a post about journal entries yesterday, and that lead me to some other ideas for upcoming posts, featuring other things I found during my research.

So for Throwback Thursday, I was looking for a 90s song about being holed up in my bedroom . . . and what's more 90s than that Pop/Ska revival?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Replacements "Everything's Coming Up Roses"

"Yeah, your late 20s can be pretty dramatic."

I was saying this to a friend of mine, who is in her late 20s.  She'd been telling me tales of drama and awkwardness and other silliness that comes with being single and having roommates and lots of independence and no money and such.

Her stories, and the emotional ups and downs within, made me think back on that same period in my life.  I've had it in my head that this was a pretty dramatic, eventful period in my life too.

But I decided to find out.

For most of my late 20s, I kept a pretty comprehensive journal.  Every month or so I'd fill up an entire yellow legal pad with the comings and goings of my life, the loves and hookups and drama, and the vomiting of feelings onto the page, as I tried to make sense of it all.

I remember it feeling dramatic.  But was it really as dramatic as it felt at the time?

At random, I grabbed a legal pad, of the dozens in a box in the basement and read through it.

In short, either I picked the most loaded journal of the bunch, or yes, life was dramatically dramatic when I was in my late 20s.

Within the month that I read through, I'd found out my Aunt had cancer, and old friend stopped speaking to me, another friend's husband committed suicide, my ex-girlfriend's cat died in the middle of the night and she made me come over to her house to deal with the cat-corpse, and, as the capper, my friends and I all lost our jobs.

Despite all this, the journal ends on an up-note, sort of.

"Well, what can you say about a month like this?  Emotionally exhausting and I'm glad it's over.  It'll certainly be interesting reading at some distant date, but right now it's pretty painful.  

Friday night we did the Relay For Life (American Cancer Society fundraiser).  Somewhere near 6am, an annoying 10 year old who'd been hanging around near me, for reasons unknown, the kid took a tennis ball and threw it as hard as he could intentionally hitting me in the nuts.  

The good news is that I think my luck might be changing."

It's nice to know that despite the drama, I kept my sense of humor and a bit of light in the darkness and pain.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Foy Vance "You And I"

Most every DJ at MVY will tell you that they've had this dream . . . the one where they're late for their shift, and all the buttons on the control board are broken, or the buttons are new and they don't know how to operate it, or the microphone is broken, or they try to speak and no sound comes out, or the record keeps skipping and they have to stall on the air, live, endlessly.

It's the DJ nightmare.

I'm sure every profession has its own nightmare.

I've never been a Record Promo person, but I imagine their nightmares go something like this.

They spend months preparing a promotional campaign to encourage radio to play their new artist Foy Vance.  And at the exact moment the promotion launches, another company starts promoting their artist, who's name is Vance Joy.

Every phone call they make to radio programmers goes like this:

"So have you heard the song I sent you from Foy Vance? . . . . . . No, not 'Riptide' . . . . . . . No, that's Vance Joy . . . he's a different guy . . . yes, a different guy, I'm talking about Foy Vance, not Vance Joy . . . yeah the names are similar, I know, but they are two different guys who sound nothing alike . . . if you just listen to the record you'll know . . . Foy Vance, that's the one I want you to hear . . . Yes I know, there is only a one letter difference between the two names . . . have you listen to Vance Joy, I mean, Foy Vance?"

Foy Vance, Vance Joy.

Seems like a joke, but it's not.

Listen to the two songs below.  Just based on their sound, there is no way you'd confuse the two artists.

But because of the name similarity, I know Record Promo folks who are having conversations like the one above, every day. 

They're living the nightmare.

Hear Foy Vance on Youtube.

Hear Vance Joy on Youtube.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tegan & Sara and The Lonely Island "Everything Is Awesome"

As a parent, you end up watching a number of shows and movies that can range from horrible, to excruciating.  You feel like it's a good day when your reaction to a movie was "well, that wasn't too terrible."

And then there are the really good days.

We took the kids to see "The Lego Movie" last week.

By the accounts of everyone in my group, the person in the theater who was laughing the loudest and the longest for the entire movie, was me.

I mean, the deck was pretty stacked, as the cast includes some of my favorite comedic actors, including Chris Pratt and Nick Offerman (both of Parks & Rec), Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks and Will Ferrell.  Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman are surprisingly hilarious.  There are a TON of cameos, both famous voices and also famous characters from other pop culture worlds.

And the main song in the movie is by The Lonely Island.

Bonus points:  My kids liked the movie too.

Hear the song on Youtube.