Friday, April 30, 2010

Hear Pipettes Perform Live Tomorrow

The all-new Pipettes are playing the Popadelica festival in Sweden on May 1, and their performance will be streamed live right here. The time has been announced as 5.15PM GMT. This is one of our first chances to hear the new lineup and material. I have been underwhelmed with the couple of songs that have made the blogosphere so far, but I'll reserve final judgment until I have heard the entire album, 'Earth vs. Pipettes,' out June 28 on Fortuna POP!

The Pipettes - Our Love Was Saved By Spacemen (mp3)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Download New Song From Interpol

I kind of lost interest in these guys after their stunning debut, 'Turn On The Bright Lights,' but this one sounds pretty good. No info quite yet on a new album, but we should hear soon. I really dig the Joy Division vibe on "Lights."

Cover Me Impressed: 'Laura'

It's no secret that last year I fell hard for Girls. 'Album' was my second favorite record of the year. "Lust For Life" was my No. 2 track of 2009. This one, "Laura," landed at No. 15. So, yes, I am excited Mates of State gave out this one as a preview to 'Crushes (The Covers Mixtape).' There is still no release date, but check out the songs Mates of State selected. Prior to first listen I worried whether a male/female duo would be able to capture the passion and distress of the original. Not only did they do a great job, but they managed to make the song their own. I especially like the back and forth during the name-calling verse. Well done.

1. Laura (Girls)
2. Son et Lumiere (The Mars Volta)
3. Sleep the Clock Around (Belle & Sebastian)
4. Technicolor Girls (Death Cab for Cutie)
5. Long Way Home (Tom Waits)
6. Love Letter (Nick Cave)
7. Second Hand News (Fleetwood Mac)
8. 17 Pink Sugar Elephants (Vashti Bunyan)
9. Roller Coaster Ride (Dear Nora)
10. True Love Will Find You in the End (Daniel Johnston)

Girls - Laura (mp3)
Mates of State - Laura (mp3)

More Cover Me Impressed:
"You're My Favorite Waste of Time"
"The End Of The World"
"(Don't Go Back To)Rockville"
"God Only Knows"
"And Your Bird Can Sing"
"So Sad About Us"
"Walking The Cow"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Indie Wins 'Tug of War' Over Macca Material

It really is the end of an era. EMI's struggles continue as we learn Paul McCartney is taking his post-Beatles catalog to Concord Music Group. Those are the folks that released his last studio album, 'Memory Almost Full,' as well as the live album 'Good Evening New York City.' Concord's first reissue of Sir Paul's work will be this fall with 'Band On The Run.'

As with all of the reissues, we have been promised remastered audio, enhanced packaging and rare bonus content. Is it possible Concord will have some material we haven't heard? That thought alone is what makes this announcement so exciting. More than two dozen albums are up for the deluxe treatment, including his solo albums, Wings discography and everything he recorded under the monikers Percy "Thrills" Thrillington, Twin Freaks and his Fireman collaboration with producer Youth. C'mon, Concord, 'Ram' these babies through ASAP.

I, for one, was pretty disappointed with the 25th Anniversary Edition of 'Band On The Run.' The bonus disc was filled with a lot of rehearsals and live versions of the album's songs that were recorded in the '80s and '90s. At least give us these tunes from the time period being covered... and from Wings! Worse, many of the tracks are recollections from McCartney himself as the song being discussed is playing in the background. How often does even a die-hard fan listen to those? Here are a couple of that bonus disc's better moments. Please, Concord, do better than this with your deluxe edition!

Paul McCartney - Band On The Run (Barn Rehearsal, July 21, 1989) (mp3)
Paul McCartney - Jet (Berlin Soundcheck, Sept. 3, 1993) (mp3)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another New Nugget From Tracey Thorn

In celebration of the upcoming release 'Love And Its Opposite,' Merge has made Tracey Thorn's "Why Does The Wind? (UK Radio Mix)" available for download. You can also grab it below. Like '90s-era Everything But The Girl, this version is much more dance-oriented than the one that appears on the upcoming album. I'm a much bigger fan of EBTG's earliest work (i.e. not the dance stuff), but I have to admit this one sounds pretty good, too. I'll also include her new song, "Oh, The Divorces!" that I posted back in February. These songs have really piqued my interest. Mark your calendar for May 18, or pre-order the LP here.

Tracey Thorn - Why Does The Wind? (UK Radio Mix) (mp3)
Tracey Thorn - Oh, The Divorces! (mp3)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stream New LP From New Pornographers

NPR does it again! Click here to listen to the New Pornographers' 'Together.' You have another week to save your cents to buy this one. I can't wait. Pre-order from Matador and receive a free 7" with three unreleased tracks and a poster.

The New Pornographers - Your Hands (Together) (mp3)

Weller Gives Brits 'Wake Up' Call

Congratulations to Paul Weller. 'Wake Up The Nation' just missed debuting at No. 1 this week on the UK album chart. In case you're interested, AC/DC beat him out for the top spot with the soundtrack to 'Iron Man 2.' If you were a fan of the former Jam and Style Council frontman but sort of lost track of him during his solo years, this is the album that will bring you back into the fold. Check out a couple of tunes below, and then buy it here. The U.S. release is June 1. As a bonus, if you pre-order it from Yep Roc, receive 'Hit Parade,' a 23-song, career-spanning Weller compilation for free. Wow!

Paul Weller - Moonshine (mp3)
Paul Weller - No Tears Left To Cry (mp3)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Curtain Call: Van Dyke Parks

Curtain Call is an occasional series where I present one of my favorite live albums.

I imagine most fans discovered Van Dyke Parks the same way I did. I'm a huge fan of the Beach Boys and, as a lad, I kept seeing his name pop up in relation to the 'SMiLE' sessions and in books about the band. It wasn't long before I gave his first album, 'Song Cycle' a try. I thought it was one of the strangest pieces of vinyl to hit my turntable. Several years passed before I tried any of his work again. In 1994, Demon Records released an import compilation called 'Idiosyncratic Path: The Best of Van Dyke Parks' that I immediately snatched up. I wish it would have been my introduction to his work because I really liked it. Now he's one of my favorites.

In 1995, I caught the film on Brian Wilson called 'I Just Wasn't Made For These Times.' There was a short clip of Parks and Wilson working together on a new album. We were treated to a few seconds of Parks on piano while Wilson sang "Orange Crate Art." That got me pretty excited for the album of the same name that came out less than a year later. It was great to have these two geniuses working together again, and it is a relationship that has brought us several good songs on various albums since then, as well as the belated official release of 'SMiLE' in 2004.

Park's 'Moonlighting' is a Sept. 7, 1996 recording (released in 1998) from the Ash Grove in Los Angeles. The album title stems from the fact that Parks was spending most of his days scoring television shows and movies. Parks said at the time: "For me, playing live is, first and foremost, a chance to find the time and place for musicians to come together and enjoy themselves. It also gives me the opportunity to get out of the studio and off the sound stage, where I spent so much of my time and make music at close range, without the reliance on various technical enhancements, Finally, it's always fun to go up in the attic and pull old material out of the trunk."

It's an intimate show filled with old favorites and a few newer tunes from 'Orange Crate Art.' At the time of its release, I was most interested in those songs because I wanted to hear what they sounded like sans Wilson. I'll include a couple of those, plus the opener from his 1984 album 'Jump!'

Van Dyke Parks - Jump! (mp3)
Van Dyke Parks - Orange Crate Art (mp3)
Van Dyke Parks - Wings of a Dove (mp3)

Curtain Call: The Clash

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Should Costello Call It Quits?

A few weeks ago over at Popdose, Jeff Giles wrote an entertaining piece called "Six Artists We Wish Would Retire." I immediately agreed with four of Popdose's choices. They were Prince, R.E.M., Sting and U2. I had no opinion about one of them. I'm just not familiar enough with LL Cool J to agree. The one artist I was on the fence about was Elvis Costello.

In full disclosure, for much of my life Costello was my favorite artist. I even bought all of his genre-hopping records such as 'North' and 'The Juliet Letters.' It was Popdose's contention Costello "started sucking" after 'Spike.' That meant he has put out sub-par work for more than 20 years. That's not possible, is it?

Let's go to the discography. 'Mighty Like A Rose' was the followup to 'Spike.' Up to that point I had only disliked one other Costello record. It was back in 1984 when 'Goodbye Cruel World' came out. It felt like the Attractions were sorely missed. Next was 'The Juliet Letters' with the Brodsky Quartet. All I could think was, please, bring back Steve Nieve. My prayers were answered in 1994 when Costello and the boys reunited for 'Brutal Youth.' I really liked most of the record, but I felt like it was too long and sort of ran out of gas in the second half. That's a feeling I wouldn't be able to shake on future records.

So, I continued this discography checklist and found many more nays than yeas. The others I liked were 'All This Useless Beauty' and 'When I Was Cruel.' I was lukewarm about 'Kojak Variety' and 'Momofuku.' Anything else from the '90s and '00s were records I owned but never (and I mean never) listen to. To sum up, in two-plus decades, I really liked three albums and sort of liked two others. This little exercise also brought me to the realization that he has been recycling quite a bit of his old material. He covered himself on 'Secret, Profane & Sugarcane,' 'My Flame Burns Blue' and others. As with instrumentals, this seems like a move from an artist that's phoning it in. I'm still not 100-percent convinced he should retire, but his more recent work shows this is not the Elvis Costello I grew up admiring.

Here are a few recent songs from his catalog that often make it on my Costello mixes. These are the ones that make it impossible for me to say "retire already!"

Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Sulky Girl (mp3) from 'Brutal Youth'
Elvis Costello & The Attractions - It's Time (mp3) from 'All This Useless Beauty'
Elvis Costello & The Imposters - 15 Petals (mp3) from 'When I Was Cruel'
Elvis Costello & The Imposters - No Hiding Place (mp3) from 'Momofuku'
Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Sticks and Stones (mp3) cover from 'You Tripped At Every Step' single

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crowded House's Comeback Continues

I have a huge soft spot for Crowded House. Way back in the day I bought the band's debut album the first time I ever hung out with my future wife. Two things might come to your mind: 1)Geez, who takes a date to a record store? 2) Man, you have been with your wife a really long time. I have bought every album Crowded House has released since that first one in 1986, and I have never been disappointed. Now comes news the lads will return with its sixth studio album, 'Intriguer,' on June 14. Just as exciting, the band will tour America and Canada beginning July 14. Are you still not satisfied? Then go to Crowded House's Web site to download a brand-new song. "Saturday Sun," one of 10 songs from the new album, will be available for a limited time. Here is my favorite tune from their last album, 2007's 'Time On Earth.' Enjoy.

Crowded House - Say That Again (mp3)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Be Sure To Download New Blur

This past Saturday, to celebrate Record Store Day, you no doubt read that Blur assembled an extremely limited run of a brand-new 7" single to be had at UK record stores. The 1,000 copies of "Fool's Day," of course, sold out in a blink of an eye. Just for kicks, I checked out ebay a few minutes ago. I see at least nine copies of the 45. Looks like you will pay anywhere from $68 to $231 for the song. Ouch. Well, never fear. It's not nearly as cool as owning this rare piece of vinyl, but Blur has decided to give away the song as a download on its Web site. I suggest you go there right now since the band could take it down at any given moment. To put the tune into historical perspective, this is the first time the four lads have recorded together since "Battery In Your Leg" from 'Think Tank' back in 2003. There are no plans for another reunion either. Go get it. They sound great.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More Duran Duran Deluxe Editions

Hot on the heels of two splendid Duran Duran deluxe editions earlier this year -- 'Rio' and Arcadia's 'So Red The Rose' -- we now have news that on May 18 the band's 1981 eponymous debut and 1983's 'Seven and the Ragged Tiger' will also get the same treatment. Both remastered titles' limited edition packages will be presented with lift-off-lid boxes, replicated U.K. album art and posters from the original Japanese LP releases, plus five postcards. Wow, and we haven't even talked about the audio and video yet.

First, 'Duran Duran' comes as a two CD/one DVD package. The first CD is the entire original album remastered, as well as four B-sides. The second CD is the famed AIR Studios versions and Manchester Square demos of several 'Duran Duran'-era songs. Many of these date back to 1980. There is also a Peter Powell session from BBC Radio 1 that was recorded on June 19, 1981. The disc ends with night versions and night mixes of "Planet Earth" and "Girls on Film." Disc three is a DVD with six music videos, including the uncensored version of "Girls on Film." The set ends with eight videos taken from British television performances on shows like 'Top Of The Pops' and 'Old Grey Whistle Test.'

Duran Duran - Planet Earth (Night Version) (mp3)

Disc One
1. Girls On Film
2. Planet Earth
3. Anyone Out There
4. To The Shore
5. Careless Memories
6. Night Boat
7. Sound Of Thunder
8. Friends Of Mine
9. Tel Aviv
10. Late Bar [from "Planet Earth" 7" & 12" single - released Feb. 21, 1981]
11. Khanada [from "Careless Memories" 7" & 12" single - released May 9, 1981]
12. Fame [from "Girls On Film" 12" single - released July 25, 1981]
13. Faster Than Light [from "Girls On Film" 7" & 12" single - released July 25, 1981]

Disc Two
1. Girls On Film - Previously Unreleased (AIR Studios Versions [recorded July 29, 1980])
2. Tel Aviv - Previously Unreleased (AIR Studios Versions [recorded July 29, 1980])
3. Anyone Out There - Previously Unreleased (Manchester Square Demos -- recorded Dec. 8, 1980)
4. Planet Earth - Previously Unreleased (Manchester Square Demos -- recorded Dec. 8, 1980)
5. Friends Of Mine - Previously Unreleased (Manchester Square Demos -- recorded Dec. 8, 1980)
6. Late Bar - Previously Unreleased (Manchester Square Demos -- recorded Dec. 8, 1980)
7. Night Boat - Previously Unreleased (BBC Radio 1: Peter Powell Session [recorded June 19, 1981 / transmitted Aug. 11, 1981])
8. Girls On Film - Previously Unreleased (BBC Radio 1: Peter Powell Session [recorded June 19, 1981 / transmitted Aug. 11, 1981])
9. Anyone Out There - Previously Unreleased (BBC Radio 1: Peter Powell Session [recorded June 19, 1981 / transmitted Aug. 11, 1981])
10. Like An Angel - Previously Unreleased (BBC Radio 1: Peter Powell Session [recorded June 19, 1981 / transmitted Aug. 11, 1981])
11. Planet Earth (Night Version) [from "Planet Earth" 12" single released Feb. 21, 1981]
12. Girls On Film (Extended Night Version) - Previously Unreleased
13. Planet Earth (Night Mix) [first released on 'Strange Behaviour' remix album, March 27, 1999]
14. Girls On Film (Night Mix) - Previously Unreleased

Disc Three
1. Planet Earth (Music video) [DVD]
2. Planet Earth (Club Version) (Music video) [DVD]
3. Careless Memories (Music video) [DVD]
4. Girls On Film (Long Uncensored Version - explicit) (Music video) [DVD]
5. Girls On Film (Short Censored Version) (Music video)[DVD]
6. Night Boat (Music video) [DVD]
7. A Day In The Life featurette [DVD]
8. Planet Earth [March 5, 1981] - Previously Unreleased ('Top Of The Pops' TV Performance) [DVD]
9. Careless Memories [May 21, 1981] - Previously Unreleased ('Top Of The Pops' TV Performance) [DVD]
10. Girls On Film [July 30, 1981] - Previously Unreleased ('Top Of The Pops' TV Performance) [DVD]
11. Night Boat - Previously Unreleased ('Old Grey Whistle Test' TV Performance [July 7, 1981]) [DVD]
12. Anyone Out There - Previously Unreleased ('Old Grey Whistle Test' TV Performance [July 7, 1981]) [DVD]
13. Girls On Film - Previously Unreleased ('Get Set For Summer' TV Performance [Aug. 8, 1981]) [DVD]
14. Friends Of Mine - Previously Unreleased 'Multi-Coloured Swap Shop' TV Performance [Feb. 27, 1981])[DVD]
15. Girls On Film - Previously Unreleased 'Multi-Coloured Swap Shop' TV Performance [Feb. 27, 1981])[DVD]

'Seven and the Ragged Tiger' is also chock full of nuggets. Disc one is a remastered version of the original album. Disc two is a slew of singles, B-sides, remixes, extended versions and live performances from the time period. Disc three is a DVD that includes 'As the Lights Go Down,' a one-hour concert movie spun off from Duran Duran's 'Arena' film. Perhaps you saw it on Cinemax back in the day. Also included are all of the 'Ragged Tiger'-era music videos, as well as 'Top of the Pops' appearances from 1983 and 1984. See the complete track listing below:

Duran Duran - New Moon On Monday (Dance Mix) (mp3)

Disc One
1. The Reflex
2. New Moon On Monday
3. (I'm Looking For) Cracks In The Pavement
4. I Take The Dice
5. Of Crime And Passion
6. Union Of The Snake
7. Shadows On Your Side
8. Tiger Tiger
9. The Seventh Stranger

Disc Two
1. Is There Something I Should Know? [from "Is There Something I Should Know?" 7" & 12" singles - released March 26, 1983]
2. Faith In This Colour [from "Is There Something I Should Know?" 12" single - released March 26, 1983]
3. Faith In This Colour (Alternate Slow Mix) [from "Is There Something I Should Know?" 7" single]
4. Secret Oktober [from "Union Of The Snake" 7" & 12" singles - released Oct. 29, 1983]
5. Tiger Tiger (Ian Little Remix) [from "New Moon On Monday" 7" & 12" singles - released Feb. 4, 1984]
6. The Reflex (Single Version) [from "The Reflex" 7" & 12" singles - released April 28, 1984]
7. Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) [recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, Nov. 1982, mixed by Ian Little. From "The Reflex" 7" & 12" singles released April 28, 1984]
8. New Religion [recorded live at the Los Angeles Forum Feb. 9, 1984. From "The Reflex" U.S. 12" single - released April 1984]
9. The Reflex [recorded live at the Los Angeles Forum Feb. 9, 1984. From "The Reflex" U.S. 12" single - released April 1984]
10. Is There Something I Should Know? (Monster Mix) [from "Is There Something I Should Know?" 12" single - released March 26, 1983]
11. Union Of The Snake (The Monkey Mix) [from "Union Of The Snake" 12" single -released Oct. 29, 1983]
12. New Moon On Monday (Dance Mix) [from "New Moon On Monday" 12" single - released Feb. 4, 1984]
13. The Reflex (Dance Mix) [from "The Reflex" 12" single - released April 28, 1984]

Disc 3
1. Intro: Tiger Tiger [DVD]
2. Is There Something I Should Know? [DVD]
3. Hungry Like the Wolf [DVD]
4. Union of the Snake [DVD]
5. New Religion [DVD]
6. Save a Prayer [DVD]
7. Rio [DVD]
8. The Seventh Stranger [DVD]
9. The Chauffeur [DVD]
10. Planet Earth [DVD]
11. Careless Memories [DVD]
12. Girls On Film [DVD]
13. Is There Something I Should Know? (Music video) [DVD]
14. Union Of The Snake (Music video) [DVD]
15. New Moon On Monday (EP Version) (Music video) [DVD]
16. The Reflex (Music video) [DVD]
17. New Moon On Monday (Movie Version) (Music video) [DVD]
18. Is There Something I Should Know? [March 23, 1983] ('Top Of The Pops' TV Performance) [DVD]
19. The Reflex [April 26, 1984] ('Top Of The Pops' TV Performance) [DVD]

This is not the last round of announced Duran Duran deluxe editions. 'Notorious' and 'Big Thing' will be out in July. I'll fill you in on those details as we get closer to the release date. It's sure is good to be a Duran Duran fan right now. Here's a clip from 'As the Lights Go Down' to whet your appetite.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Minor Hits Of The '80s: Matt Bianco Edition

Like most of you, I have been collecting music since I was very young. As I transferred my favorites from format to format, I sold off many pieces of vinyl from my teen years. It is one of my great regrets. Over the years I have slowly replaced many of the records I sold in my youth. There are, however, a handful of records I could never bring myself to sell. One of those LPs is Matt Bianco's 'Whose Side Are You On?' I have the same copy I bought in 1984. It's an odd thing since -- outside of this one LP -- I'm not even a fan of the band.

I loved 'Whose Side Are You On?' for three reasons:
1) It was the first time I discovered jazz arrangements in pop songs. This sent me on the road to the Style Council and Everything But The Girl.
2) Basia Trzetrzelewska possessed the most beautiful voice I had ever heard.
3) They were relatively unknown on this side of the Atlantic, and I liked to think the band was all mine.

The truth is, Matt Bianco was huge in Europe (and the UK in particular). 'Whose Side Are You On?' produced four singles in the UK. "Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed" was the biggest hit... peaking at No. 15. Basia sang lead on "Half A Minute," and the song shot to No. 23. As a young teen listening to the album on the family stereo in America, I didn't know anything about this success. I found Matt Bianco like I discovered most bands. I turned on MTV. The videos that hooked me were for the title track and "More Than I Can Bear." So, those are the two songs I present today... ripped from my 26-year-old vinyl. I hope they hook you, too.

I didn't stick with Matt Bianco beyond this album because Trzetrzelewska and keyboardist Danny White became a couple and left the band in 1985 to form Basia. They were immediately more successful than their old band, which did press on, but Basia's sound was a little too adult contemporary for a teen that was about to discover punk. The original lineup of Matt Bianco did briefly reunite in 2004 for one album, but Trzetrzelewska and White quickly left to get Basia going again. Ah, pop stars.

Matt Bianco - Whose Side Are You On? (mp3)
Matt Bianco - More Than I Can Bear (mp3)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

'A Coming Of Age' for Lucky Soul

I'm a real sucker for bands influenced by '60s girl groups, and I always have been. Heck, I even confessed a love for Tracey Ullman's moment as a pop star when I was just a tyke. I have written ad nauseum about the Pipettes and others, but one band I have neglected that fits nicely in this genre is Lucky Soul. I really dug their debut, 2007's 'The Great Unwanted,' but they kind of fell out of my consciousness as I waited for a followup.

Well, the time has finally come. 'A Coming Of Age' will be out on April 27, but it appears to be import only for those of us in America. I have not heard the entire album, but the handful of songs I have acquired sound fantastic. It seems slightly less throwback and a little more contemporary pop, but Ali Howard's voice still sounds incredible. For those of you who missed Lucky Soul the first time around, I'll include my favorite song from their debut along with a new one. Check out two brand-new videos, too.

Lucky Soul - Get Outta Town! (mp3) from The Great Unwanted
Lucky Soul - A Coming Of Age (mp3) from A Coming Of Age

Lucky Soul - Woah Billy! from Ruffa Lane on Vimeo.

LUCKY SOUL - WHITE RUSSIAN DOLL from Ruffa Lane on Vimeo.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Supergrass Says 'So Long'

Supergrass is no longer 10... as the art from their best-of package above suggests. Actually, the band is 17 years old. I feel so old right now. I read on NME today that the band plans to call it quits after a handful of summer shows in the UK and on the continent. The lads are using the old "musical differences" reason for the split. It's unsure whether the album they have been working on will be released.

I have to admit Supergrass is mostly a singles band for me, but they have had a handful of absolute classics. In the pantheon of '90s Brit pop, I put them a notch below Blur, Pulp, My Bloody Valentine and the Stone Roses but at least as good as Lush, Elastica and Saint Etienne. Here are my favorite Supergrass tunes. You'll probably notice most of these are from the band's infancy, but I feel the quality of their work remained constant throughout all six studio albums. How would you rate Supergrass?

Fab Five From Supergrass
Supergrass - Caught By The Fuzz (mp3)
Supergrass - Alright (mp3)
Supergrass - Mansize Rooster (mp3)
Supergrass - Grace (mp3)
Supergrass - Pumping On Your Stereo (mp3)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cover Me Impressed: 'You're My Favorite Waste of Time'

Marshall Crenshaw says this song "saved my ass once or twice," meaning it has been covered by so many artists through the years that it has been a nice paycheck. He wrote this one way back in 1979 while touring as John Lennon in 'Beatlemania.'

Crenshaw said he wanted the beginning to sound like the bass drum beat on the Ronettes' "The Best Part of Breakin' Up." He must have thought it was pretty cool when Ronnie Spector covered this song and several others of his on her 2003 EP 'Something's Gonna Happen.' Spector's backing band was Crenshaw on guitar, his brother Robert on drums and Joe Jackson Band's Graham Maby on bass. Wow! Needless to say I recommend this one. If you're curious about the cover that brings in the most bucks, I will make an educated guess it is Bette Midler's version.

"You're My Favorite Waste of Time" was released as a B-side to Crenshaw's first single, the hit "Someday, Someway," in 1982. You can find it as a bonus track on the reissued version of his debut album, 'Marshall Crenshaw,' on Warner Archives/Rhino. It also appears on Crenshaw's odds 'n' sods package 'The 9 Volt Years.'

As for the two covers I'm including today, Jeffrey Foskett's version is taken from his 2004 album 'Stars In The Sand.' It's a compilation of sorts and one of those CDs that finds its way in my car all of the time. The Beach Boys and surf influences, as well as very clean production, make this such a great listen while behind the wheel. Foskett says this tune is in his all-time top 10. Crenshaw appeared on Foskett's album 'Twelve and Twelve' back in 2000, and the song they did together appears again on 'Stars In The Sand.' It's a Crenshaw/Bill Lloyd- penned tune called "The Best Thing About Me Is You," and it's so beautiful. If you don't know Foskett, check out his stellar work on tour and in the studio with Brian Wilson the past decade or so.

Freedy Johnston's version comes from a 2008 all-covers album called 'Favorite Waste of Time.' Johnston and Crenshaw are good friends that are often compared to each other. Crenshaw pops up on his records from time to time. If you aren't familiar with Johnston's work, I would recommend 'Can You Fly' for starters. You'll find Crenshaw on it, too.

Marshall Crenshaw - You're My Favorite Waste of Time (mp3)
Jeffrey Foskett - You're My Favorite Waste of Time (mp3)
Freedy Johnston - You're My Favorite Waste of Time (mp3)

More Cover Me Impressed:
"The End Of The World"
"(Don't Go Back To)Rockville"
"God Only Knows"
"And Your Bird Can Sing"
"So Sad About Us"
"Walking The Cow"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Duran Duran Side Project Gets Its Due

The year was 1985. Members of Duran Duran, the most popular band in the universe, decided to take a year off, but the boys didn't rest. Instead, the band split into two side projects. John and Andy Taylor formed the guitar-driven Power Station with the late Robert Palmer and charted big hits that spring and summer. It was a fine (but very short) album that should have had one more single... the underrated "Harvest for the World."

As 1985 came to a close, Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor released the synth-oriented album 'So Red the Rose' under the moniker Arcadia. I remember it well because I got the vinyl for Christmas that year. Although Arcadia only produced one less Top 40 hit than the Power Station (three to two, if you're scoring at home), to this day Arcadia has always seemed to be the much less successful of the two projects. The masses may have loved the Power Station, but the die-hard Duran Duran fans, I believe, preferred this one. No matter which camp you are in, EMI is about to give us all a chance to reassess 'So Red the Rose' with a stellar three-disc deluxe set.

Disc one is the original nine-track album, plus single mixes, B-sides from the album's four singles, plus the non-album single "Say the Word" from the soundtrack to the 1986 film 'Playing for Keeps.' Disc two features 12 more remixes, while the accompanying 10-track DVD features the music videos and making-of vignettes for each clip. Mark you calendars for the April 20 release, and check back next week for more exciting news on the Duran Duran deluxe front.

Arcadia - Election Day (Consensus Mix) (mp3)
Arcadia - Goodbye Is Forever (mp3) - ripped from my 25-year-old vinyl!

Disc One:
1. Election Day
2. Keep Me In The Dark
3. Goodbye Is Forever
4. The Flame
5. Missing
6. Rose Arcana
7. The Promise
8. El Diablo
9. Lady Ice
10. Say The Word (Playing For Keeps) - 7″ Edit
11. She Moody And Grey, She's Mean And Restless
12. Election Day – Single Version
13. Goodbye Is Forever – Single Remix
14. The Promise – 7″ Mix
15. The Flame – 7″ Remix
16. Say The Word (Theme from Playing For Keeps) – Soundtrack Version

Disc Two:
1. Election Day – Consensus Mix
2. Goodbye Is Forever – 12″ Extended Vocal Mix
3. The Promise – Extended Version
4. Rose Arcana – Extended
5. The Flame – Extended Remix
6. Say The Word (Theme from Playing For Keeps) – Extended Vocal Remix
7. Election Day – Cryptic Cut
8. The Promise – 12″ Mix
9. Goodbye Is Forever – Dub Mix
10. Say The Word (Theme from Playing For Keeps) – Extended Instrumental Remix
11. Election Day – Early Rough Mix
12. Flame Game – Yo Homeboy Mix

1. Filming Election Day – Paris, France. September 1985.
2. Election Day – Directed by Roger Christian, Produced by Chrissie Smith
3. Filming The Promise – Cote D’Azur, France. December 1985.
4. The Promise – Directed by Marcelo Anciano, Produced by Ruth Orme
5. Filming Goodbye Is Forever – London, England. January 1986
6. Goodbye Is Forever – Directed by Marcelo Anciano, Produced by Ruth Orme
7. Filming The Flame – London Docklands. April 1986.
8. The Flame – Directed by Russell Mulcahy, Produced by Chrissie Smith
9. Filming Missing – London, England. December 1986.
10. Missing – Directed by Dean Chamberlain

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Robyn Hitchcock Takes a Back Seat

ROBYN HITCHCOCK from Black Cab Sessions on Vimeo.

If you have never heard of 'The Black Cab Sessions,' the idea is a simple one. An artist hops in for "one song, one take, one cab." This past week one of my favorites, Robyn Hitchcock took a seat for a rendition of a new tune from 'Propellor Time.' Check out "Born On The Wind," and buy the album at Yep Roc.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Single From The Lodger

The past week has been new-release nirvana. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Dum Dum Girls and Harlem are just a few of the standouts, but I'm most excited that today the Lodger released the first single from its first album since 2008. How much do I love this band? 'Grown-Ups,' the Lodger's debut from back in 2007, was No. 32 on my list of favorite albums of the last decade. The critics seemed to like the followup, 'Life Is Sweet,' even better. I give my highest recommendation to both of them... especially if, like me, you are a fanatic of bands like Orange Juice, the Housemartins, Aztec Camera and Cats on Fire.

You can stream the new single, "Have a Little Faith in People," below. Once you have done that, click here for links to download it. It's the best way to spend 99 cents of your hard-earned dough. What the heck! Spring for the two B-sides, too. The only downside is you will love these so much that the next few weeks will become sheer agony as you wait for the album, 'Flashbacks,' to come out on April 27, via Slumberland Records.

Have A Little Faith In People by The Lodger