7:28 a.m. - August 18, 2007
I hope she’s staying cool up there in Michigan. Oh, wait. Maybe it’s down there now. I’ll have to check my longitudes and latitudes.
Here’s another mix. Remember, these are kind of randomly put together, however this was summer mix #2 so it’s more cohesive than some of the others. But still, the chips are falling where they may on this one.
1. Pink Frost – The Chills. I love the main riff of the song after the intro, where the guitar stops chiming and seems dampened and follows along with the bass line. The Chills were from New Zealand, and didn’t make many inroads in the States except for hipsters who reveled in finding obscure power pop and new rock and roll from overseas. This could have really been a big song on alternative radio and MTV if they had some push. Alas, not to be, but you can find Chills compilations around, and they’re worthy for sure.
2. Positively Lost Me – The Rave-Ups. Another obscure mid 80’s song, but this one you may recognize from its brief hey day on college radio or on comps. It’s one of those songs where the protagonist lists things in the verses, but it works because it’s clever. And it echoes the sentiment that many people have after a breakup.
3. The Unguarded Moment – The Church. See, I told you this was a bit more cohesive. This is Smed’s New Wave Hits (at least in the first part). The guitar sound on this one is just fantastic. In fact, I love the way this thing sounds, it’s so right in your ears and fresh and vital. They got a bit too arty later on, and too smart for their own good in my humble opinion (wow, it’s been a while since someone wrote that phrase out, eh?) but here they sound tremendous.
4. Flash Lightning – Papas Fritas. I went away from mixing them in for a while, but I guess I’m back now. I just like their sound and the fact they always sound like they’re having fun creating music. And that’s what’s important, isn’t it?
5. True – Concrete Blonde. For some reason, they became a cult band. I never was totally enamored with them, and found their most popular songs annoying and predictable. Early on, though, they had some flashes of brilliance, and this was one of them. Another one from the 80’s, so four out of five is still a trend, right?
6. Teenarama – The Records. Some call The Records England’s Big Star, but they had a legitimate hit or two, and their albums aren’t as consistently good as Big Star’s albums. They’re just a decent power pop band that had some good songs that were mostly ignored. This is got a hell of a melody and a pretty neat hard-edged sound. It definitely illustrates the peril of dating someone who is still in their teens. I wouldn’t know – it’s been a mighty long time since I was in that position. A couple of decades ago, and now I can’t quite remember yesterday. (Of course I can’t remember yesterday – because as I write this yesterday hasn’t happened yet. Confused?)
7. Enemy Fire – Ryan Adams. Of all of the Ryan Adams records, I think Gold is probably the weakest, but it still had some decent songs like this hard luck gem. It’s a slow burner with an in your face guitar and drum sound and some killer harmonies. It tugs at you, and makes you feel something. That’s what music is supposed to do.
8. Deceiver – The Beat Farmers. A lot of people know the Beat Farmers thanks to the vocal ‘stylings’ of Country Dick Montana on songs like “Happy Boy” or “King Of Sleaze”, but they were also a fine roots rock band that had a feel and affinity for that kind of music. This is a strong song, with some interesting harmonies in the bridge and a classic roots rock sound.
9. I’d Love To Take You Home – The Candy Skins. Let’s see – I think they have a mixture of the clichés that bands like The Happy Mondays, EMF, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, The Stone Roses, CUSM, and others of that ilk milked to death back in the late 80s and early 90s. The wah-wah guitar and the bass line are pretty neat, and that’s really all you need to know, and really all that matters, because it makes you move.
10. Welcome To The Occupation – REM. One thing that will be lost in the transition to a digital music idiom where the emphasis is on purchasing individual song is the proper sequencing of albums. Document was sequenced perfectly, with this song falling right after Finest Worksong and before Exhuming McCarthy, allowing some space to breathe and also setting the tone for the overtly political song that follows. I think about things like that, sure, and then I just love being random and putting things on shuffle. I guess that’s like deconstructing art. Just call me Smed Dada.
11. A Forest – The Cure. Before they got all popular-like here in the US, the Cure made a boatload of moody, depressing records that also had a sense of melody and songcraft. It was all dour and doom and gloom ALL of the time. Still, it did make you want to reach for the black fingernail polish and the anti-tanning booth.
12. V. Thirteen – Big Audio Dynamite. Oh, they had promise. Joe Strummer helped Mick Jones in their second album (and it showed, as the songwriting was much better and more consistent) and even though the sound was different than the Clash, the promise of good, challenging music was there. Alas, things changed, Mick got sick, and well, that’s the way the ball bounces.
13. It Dawned On Me – Calla. Someone gave me this song on a mix, and I never really paid much attention to it until I started to load everything on my iPod. I misjudged it. I love the atmosphere – the key is minor and the guitar part after the words “it dawned on me” is hella good. Check it out.
14. Play The Hits – Hal. No, this wasn’t the B-side to “Daisy”, Dave. This is an actual band that’s melodic, tuneful, bright and cheery, at least on this song. Oh, when the hits on the radio were something that you wanted to listen to, instead of, well, just being so much fodder and product. I guess another time, place, dimension and mind-set, eh?
15. Kingsley J. – Vibrasonic. This so much wants to be 1967 or so, and it almost gets there. But it tries too hard, washing everything in so many psychedelic effects that the song at times gets lost. Well, there is a song there to find, and if they would have just dialed back the phasing a bit, it would have worked better.
16. All That Money Wants – The Psychedelic Furs. How ironic is it that they used this song as the song appended onto their greatest hits album so the die-hards would have to buy it to get the song? All that money wants, indeed. But it’s a good tune at any rate. Prime Furs, and they sound into it a bit more than on some of their later albums.
17. Humming – Portishead. What a great idea – mixing a classical orchestra with Portishead’s brand of trip-hop. It really sounds great. Now, would you PLEASE record your next album? What are you, My Bloody Valentine?
18. The Good In Everyone – Sloan. Somehow, someway, we missed them. Or are still missing them, since they’re still releasing records now. I don’t get why America is totally against making power pop popular? Why, America, why?
19. Berlin – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It’s a great band name. It’s a great new song. I like the riff and the hook and that’s all you need. Go buy. Now.
20. We’re So Cool – The Au Pairs. Some bands cross the Atlantic with no problem. Sometimes, the ocean is too large to cross. We here in the States heard little or nothing by the Au Pairs in their lifetime, and it’s a shame, because the hipster doofuses of 1979 – 1981 would have really dug their Gang Of Four style sound and the lyrics that were charged with sexual politics. Well, some import bin scavenging hipsters loved ‘em, I’m sure. The rest of us were just wanna bes. I think I’m still a wanna be.
21. Goon Squad – Elvis Costello. Have I ever said a word of praise about the album Armed Forces? Well, I will now. You should own this. You should own this. You should own this. You will not regret it. There.
Have a great weekend. I’m exploring the Twin Cities and then Monday, I start work. Look for another mix on Monday, and then a report on the first day of the new job. Toodles!