J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Friday, November 30, 2007

Notes From Underground - #26

Time for another edition of Randomocity. I've added a few more things to the player this week, so hopefully it won't disappoint. As always it is, as the title suggests, random. So some weeks are better than others.

As I mentioned somewhere, sometime, the Now Departing Monday features for the rest of December will be some records that were released earlier this year. Since new releases are kind of dry, I'll dip back into some records I haven't had a shot at talking about extensively. So look for that on Monday.

A reminder - Click on the 'Play It' link at the end of each commentary and you can listen along with me. Sort of.

Here are the rules: 1) can't spend any more time typing than the track is long; 2) have to type based on my own knowledge - no consulting the internets for confirmation, so if I put my foot in my mouth, so be it; 3) no skipping tracks - even if artists/albums repeat, no skipping.

Let's go.

# 4503 - Toad the Wet Sprocket - "Nothing Is Alone" : Oooh! Now here's an album I've been waiting for my chance to throw up on the Return Trip feature - Toad's 1990 album Pale. After Dulcinea it is my favorite Toad album. These guys were my heroes in high school - the first band that I ever really, completely became a fervent fan of. This is one of Todd Nichols' songs from the album - Toad, like most bands with multiple songwriters, would switch singers for the variously written compositions. Pale is a really darkly shaded record. Its follow up, '91's multi-platinum Fear was a completely different beast production wise. It was also the album that, obviously, made them the huge band they were for awhile. I have a framed poster of a promo for this album. Just braggin'. - Play It!

# 665 - Guided By Voices - "Watch Me Jumpstart" : From Alien Lanes, one of the holy grail albums by this prolific band. Admittedly, I borrowed this album from a friend a couple of years ago, ripped it to my computer and have never really given it the thorough listen-through. This is pretty standard lo-fi Guided by Voices - the hissy-recorded vocals and music - big riffs and all. I'm liking it, but you know, lo-fi is great and all, but I just really prefer GBV's later records with the better production and tighter musicianship. So sue me. - Play It!

# 5577 - Bad Religion - "Infected" : Well, so far this has been a good week for hitting stuff I haven't listened to in awhile. This is from Bad Religion's 1994 album Stranger Than Fiction, the one with "21st Century Digital Boy," probably one of their most famous songs. This is one of those great BR songs where they slowed the tempo down and just let their great riffs come through. Big rock hooks, at times even vaguely metal-influenced solos and lead lines. And of course the multi-tracked vocal choruses. After their thrashy, disoriented early work (which, granted, is still really good), the mid-period of their career is a pretty solid set of punks aging not only gracefully, but with every bit of the energy the band always had. If I remember right this was the last album that founding member Brett Gurewitz (sp?) would play on for some time as this was also their first major label album for Atlantic after departing the Gurewitz-founded Epitaph Records. Does anyone know why they left in the first place? - Play It!

# 5055 - The Stone Roses - "How Do You Sleep" : From the much maligned Second Coming. I have often stood up for this album for a various number of reasons. First, it was the first Stone Roses I ever heard. "Love Spreads" is just a wicked song. I didn't hear their legendary self-titled debut until I got to college, and then I finally understood what all the disappointment was about. This song actually sounds like a more 'modern' produced version of some songs off of that debut. It doesn't have the manic rush of a lot of those singles like "Elephant Stone" and such, but it's still a good song. But I guess the proof is in the pudding - in this case, how often, despite my defenses, do I actually pull out Second Coming? Almost never, unless it's to play "Love Spreads" on my show or, occasionally, something like "Ten Story Love Song" or something along those lines. I was pondering Ian Brown's solo work last night. I've never bothered with any of it and I've often wondered whether it was worth hearing. I guess that first album really was something special and of the moment, even if its effects have aged very, very well. - Play It!

# 2269 - Patton Oswalt - "The Sadness Begins" : The opening track from Oswalt's first comedy record, Feelin' Kinda Patton. So in other words, a totally wasted track. Why do they bother separating the 'intro' tracks on comedy records? Is there a purpose? - Play It!

# 6608 - ? - "?" : You're totally not going to believe me - and I knew this would happen. I shouldn't have loaded this on here, but I have a legally obtained advance copy of an album by a very, very favorite artist of mine. This record isn't due out here until next year, but I was blessed enough to receive a copy. I was also asked not to exactly be spreading it around, especially on this blog or on the radio show. But, in the spirit of talking about things and not skipping them and such, I'm writing briefly about it even though I'm not saying anything. It's good, suffice it to say and you'll be hearing plenty of it when it gets closer to release time.

# 2130 - Hayden - "I'm to Blame" : Well, how appropriate. From his debut Everything I Long For. Since I just reviewed his follow-up to this album earlier this week, this is a good thing to pop up on the player. This is a lonely, piano and vocals only song, the kind that would ultimately really endear me to Hayden. Let me comment that I don't think there's a clearer divide between song lyrics and poetry that I've ever seen than with Hayden. When you look at his lyrics on paper, they seem overly simple, not very exciting, but when that man sings them, oh, my God how they transform into something completely different. Not to knock his lyric writing, as I love it, but it's not poetry. It is, however, amazing music. - Play It!

# 4444 - Tom Waits - "Home I'll Never Be" : From the Bastards disc of the Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards 3 CD of various and sundry Tom Waits bits that he released last year. If I didn't typically not put collections of previously-released music on my top 25 albums list, this would have been on it. A good chunk of this collection hadn't been released elsewhere, but enough of it had been for me to back down. It really is proof of Waits' utter genius that these scraps and bits could come together as such an amazing collection of songs. This is one of his lonesome, train-song type ballads. Sad and lo-fi and gorgeous. - Play It!

# 345 - Bill Hicks - "Your Children Aren't Special" : From the absolutely brilliant Rant in E-Minor. I had a discussion with a friend recently who I was trying to convince of Hicks' brilliance. She stated that all he seemed to do was complain and rant about things. And true, as Hicks himself once said, it's the 'comedy of hatred.' But I also know from reading and watching things over the years what a compassionate and kind human being Bill Hicks was. Which makes his on-stage persona all the more interesting. I apologize in advance for the skips on this track - it was ripped years ago and didn't rip well. - Play It!

# 6033 - Lewis Black - "Atlanta" : And, so, after all this time, my player decides it's time for all my comedy albums to leap up to the fore. This is from The End of the Universe, a pretty great album. I've had the luck of getting to meet Black twice now and he's an extremely nice person. His stand up is brutal and acerbic and self-deprecating and hilarious. I don't really need to talk a lot about how great he is - enjoy this bit about the abysmal traffic situation in Atlanta. - Play It!

BONUS - # 3866 - Deathray Davies - "They Stuck Me in a Box in the Ground Pt. 5" : Ah, Midnight at the Black Nail Polish Factory. I've never quite understood what's going on with this band. I really enjoyed this album a lot when it came out a number of years ago. Power-pop and post-punk and indie and all sorts of nonsense thrown in to boot. They've released albums since this one that I haven't paid attention to - I should, I know, but I haven't. Especially as much as I remembered enjoying this album - even though I haven't listened to it much at all in the ensuing years. If this were a little more scatter shot and nuts, it'd be a great comparison with things like Blitzen Trapper. - Play It!

EXTRA BONUS - # 4091 - The Rosebuds - "Hold on to This Coat" : From this year's Night of the Furies which took a bit of slack for its, admittedly, large departure from the Rosebuds' signature sound. By the way, I tacked these two bonuses on as repayment for the short Oswalt bit and the Song That Shall Not Be Mentioned Until Next Year - a little unfair to cheat you of some songs. Anyway, there are parts of this album that reminded me of a slightly more organic sounding New Order - of course that may just be the drum machine. That'll make anything sound that way. It took me a little bit, but this album grew on me quite a bit after a few listens. Or did this album come out last year? I love my train of thought on this. I think it might have been last year. This song builds into a sort of disorienting, bass drone towards the end with the ghostly chorus over top. It's a pretty nice tune, come to think of it. This might be bound for the show next week. - Play It!

RIDICULOUS EXTRA BONUS - # 2640 - Randy Newman - "Marie" (Demo) : I couldn't pass up talking about this. This is one of the bonus tracks from the expanded edition of Good Old Boys which includes a bonus disc with the demoed version of this album, originally titled Johnny Cutler's Birthday or something along those lines. The demos are Newman sitting at the piano, talking his way through the story line and explaining the characters and it's just an amazing insight into his writing process and the creation of this very, very classic masterpiece of an album. Plus, this is a great song to end a mix collection, so I felt it right to throw it on. And you know, I started listening to Randy Newman when I heard Glen Phillips, of Toad the Wet Sprocket, cover "Marie" at some of his solo shows. Ah! Symmetry! We've come full-circle. This player - she is good to me sometimes. - Play It!



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