Monday Music Roundup
I have been finding a lot of interesting reading on the always-packed-with-goodness Largehearted Boy blog/music news conglomerate. I recommend you browse it yourself, but the link that I thought was the most amusing recently was this description of a new game, iPod War. It's like the old card game you played when you were seven because it was the only game you could understand ("War! My eight beats your two!"), but with iPods set to shuffle. Sounds lame a little, yes, but the way she explains it made me laugh.
You and a friend each set your iPod on shuffle, then listen to and compare what pops up. Whoever has 'The Better Song' gets one point. The author illustrates several vagaries to consider in judging:
-Older doesn't always mean better. ("Yes, music was exceptionally rad from 1964-1982. Doesn't mean a song from 1995 can't be better.")
-Don't demand a win on principle. (You say: "But the Rolling Stones kick Prince's ass!") Each song should be evaluated on its own merit. (I say: "While The Stones are an important part of music history, there are lots of Stones songs that are mediocre/sucky and some Prince songs that fucking rule.").
-Counting Crows never wins.
-If neither person will concede the win, "Vietnam" is declared (both sides claim a win, but nobody really won).
Even though, clearly, sometimes the Counting Crows DO win, I applaud her creativity. A simple little game for the music nerds out there, to entertain yourself for a trip on the tube or a really boring homeroom class.
Onto my random musical selection for this week, for your enjoyment.
Michael Stipe & Rain Phoenix
I've been on a bit of an R.E.M. kick lately after making a mix up for a friend who was severely lacking in the Athens, Georgia college band department. Amidst my sifting, I rediscovered this poppy little song from the soundtrack of the 1998 film of the same name by Welcome to the Dollhouse director Todd Solondz. The song is written by Eytan Mirsky, and it plays over the ending credits. Who knew Rain Phoenix could sing? Those multi-talented Phoenixes.
This looks horrifying, but I cannot defy the inexorable and unexpected party power of this fantastic song. If you are able to listen to this guilty pleasure without moving some piece of yourself (be it a tapped toe, a bouncing chin, a shakin' rear end) then I will personally salute you in disbelief. The inexplicably awful-named Girl Talk (aka Greg Gillis) has made "the ADD-afflicted's album of the year" with Night Ripper, which throws together literally hundreds of recognizable hooks from popular songs of the past 40 years in an extremely pleasurable blend. It has been burning up the blogs (especially after Pitchfork gave it an 8.4). I hear everything from the Breeders to Elastica to Van Halen, Smashing Pumpkins, Temptations -- come on. It looks like a really bad idea, but I swear it's not. Download it immediately.
Mine Ain't Yours
Lions In The Street
Magnet Magazine said of these guys, "What the Stones were, what the Dandy Warhols should've been" -- and they are spot-on. Lions In The Street (who borrow their name from a Doors lyric) have released a sloppy & bluesy free EP on their website, I recommend snagging these five songs and adding them to your collection. They' re embarking on their first US tour this summer/fall - in the past they've opened for Kings of Leon, JET, Ambulance LTD, and The Zutons. Swaggering & rollicking stuff.
This new one from L.A.-based retro-rock outfit Rooney was posted on their website last week as a little sample of their sophomore album, due out Fall 2006. We've got some serious '70s arena rock goin' on here - sounds like the kid from The Redwalls fronting Queen. Anthemic and fun, and I do like it, but I'm still trying to assimilate the fact that they're touring with Kelly Clarkson this summer. What?
This one is a nod to the fact that mere hours from now I will be heading to see Mr. Yorn himself -- first to the in-store at the Twist 'N' Shout, then off to the sold-out show at the Walnut Room.I am uber looking forward to it, it will be the first time I've seen him live. This track is a standout from his excellent double-disc Live From New Jersey (2004), blending together some Springsteen with a Yorn original. The subject matter fits, the transition is seamless. If you don't have any other Yorn stuff and want a good introduction, I recommend the live CD, and remember his new disc Nightcrawler comes out August 29.