Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Give New Arctic Monkeys LP a Listen

The new Arctic Monkeys album, 'Suck It And See,' won't be out until next week, but you can stream the whole enchilada at the band's Web site right now. You can preorder the album at Amazon for the incredibly affordable low price of $7.99. That's one way to get the kids buying again.

JUNE 2 UPDATE: XFM is reporting the album will be sold in some U.S. stores with a big sticker covering the album title. Are we descended from a bunch of Puritans or what?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Here Comes the Summer

This is my first Memorial Day in the Pacific Northwest. It's one of those typically cool and cloudy days that define Seattle. Back at my old stomping grounds of Chicago, it was a sunny 88 degrees at first pitch of the Cubs game. So, while family and friends back in the Midwest are grilling weenies and catching rays, I'm inside, in front of the tube, watching my team get slaughtered. I bleed Cubbie blue, but today I'm green with envy. On second thought, I am blue. I...I...I... just want to be warm.

For my third annual ode to summer, I have chosen from about 50 songs I have on my iTunes with the word "summer" in the title (as well as a few others). If you live in my neck of the woods, I hope it brightens your day. If you live just about anywhere else in the continental United States, you probably don't need my help. To all, I wish you a fantastic summer.

The Undertones - Hear Comes the Summer (mp3)
The Who - Heatwave (mp3)
The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon (mp3)
Fountains of Wayne - It Must Be Summer (mp3)
Lucky Soul - One Kiss Don't Make A Summer (mp3)
Tracey Ullman - Sunglasses (mp3)
Chad & Jeremy - A Summer Song (mp3)
Frank Sinatra - Summer Wind (mp3)
Coconut Records - The Summer (mp3)
Ramones - Rockaway Beach (mp3)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Liam Finn Follows Up First LP

Liam Finn hasn't had a full-length LP since 'I'll Be Lightning' in 2007. That record was a pop masterpiece on par with some of his father's best work. One song, "Second Chance," even made my list of the best songs from the past decade. His new album, 'FOMO,' means "fear of missing out." I certainly won't fall into that camp. I plan to preorder the June 21 release via Yep Roc.

Liam Finn - Second Chance (mp3) from 'I'll Be Lightning'
Liam Finn - The Struggle (mp3) from 'FOMO'

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Date Set for New Malkmus LP

With the revenue-racking Pavement reunion tour behind him, Stephen Malkmus has returned to his solo work with the Jicks. According to Matador Records' blog, Malkmus' new album, called 'Mirror Traffic,' will be released Aug. 23. The Beck Hansen-produced record will mark the last appearance of Jicks' drummer Janet Weiss. She will be missed. Matador hasn't released too much other information on this one. In fact, we haven't even seen a tracklist yet, but the label promises a mp3 soon. I, for one, can't wait. It's been too long.

For this post, I planned on doing a Top 10 consisting of my favorite songs from Malkmus' solo catalog. I quickly realized it would more or less be his entire first album. I definitely lean in the direction of his poppier output. I'm about the least "jammy" fan out there, and I tend to shy away from most of Malkmus' meandering eight-minute tunes chock full of guitar solos. Here are my favorites from each of his four solo albums (and a little bonus).

Stephen Malkmus - Jo Jo's Jacket (mp3) from 'Stephen Malkmus'
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Dark Wave (mp3) from 'Pig Lib'
Stephen Malkmus - Post-Paint Boy (mp3) from 'Face the Truth'
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Gardenia (mp3) from 'Real Emotional Trash'

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Dynamic Calories (mp3) from "Dark Wave" EP

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Cars Park It at 'Late Night'

I'm still pretty caught up in the excitement. The Cars really have reunited! Did you catch them on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' last night? They played their new single, "Blue Tip," as well as their 1979 classic "Let's Go." The favorite from 'Candy-O' is an nbc.com Web exclusive that was performed after the show ended. Both of these songs sound great. Sure, Benjamin Orr is missed, but I think he would approve of this successful reunion. You have to admit they sound like they just released 'Heartbeat City' last year... not more than a quarter of a century ago. 'Move Like This' has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the year, and I give it my highest recommendation. Buy it here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crenshaw Releases Live Song From '87

First off, big thanks to Marshall Crenshaw for finally having a respectable Web presence. Getting up-to-date info on you -- such as when that series of 7" singles you promised will start being released -- has been a challenge for quite a while. At least now I'll know where to look. Also, congratulations on 30 years since you put out your first single, "Something's Gonna Happen." It's your anniversary, but we are receiving the gift. Folks, you can download "Maryanne," recorded live in the summer of 1987 at First Avenue in Minneapolis, from Crenshaw's site or the widget below. It's a great song that appeared on his self-titled debut back in 1982.

For those of you participating in Crenshaw's contest on his site, here's a little help. His backing band at that time was his brother Robert on drums and the fabulous Graham Maby (of Joe Jackson fame) on bass. You can hear another song from that Minneapolis appearance on his live album '...my truck is my home.'

While we are on the subject of Crenshaw's first single, did you ever catch Ronnie Spector's cover of 'Something's Gonna Happen?' Spector recorded a five-song EP of Crenshaw songs in 1989 that sat on the shelf until 2001. This is really interesting. Her backing band was the Crenshaw brothers and Maby. This is an absolute must for Crenshaw fans. Buy it here.

Ronnie Spector - Something's Gonna Happen (mp3)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Who Is Jonny?

About a month ago, with relatively little fanfare, Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub and Euros Childs, formerly of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, released an underappreciated album under the name Jonny. As it has been about five weeks since it came out (and I haven't mentioned a thing about it), I guess I'm part of the problem. Let's rectify that.

You probably know the power pop of the Scottish troupe Teenage Fanclub. After all, they have been releasing acclaimed albums for two decades now. You may not know Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and, sadly, they called it quits more than five years ago. These Welshmen weren't quite as accessible, but I really dug their far-out quirkiness disguised as psychedelic folk. I especially liked the early songs sung in their native tongue. They had absolutely no peers in the early '90s. I had never heard anything like it. As for Jonny, the duo's sound leans a little more into Gorky's territory. There is quite a bit of experimentation going on, and not all of it works, but most of it is pretty catchy. Jonny probably won't win too many new converts. If you like the duo's other bands, you will like this, too. If you haven't been converted, I hope these songs below will nudge you in the right direction.

The Gorky's Zygotic Mynci song was taken from their first American release, 'Introducing Gorky's Zgotic Mynci.' It was a 1996 compilation of their earliest recordings. Like most of the band's discography, it is out of print, but you can find used copies here. Yes, this, their first single, was sung in Welsh. The Teenage Fanclub tune dates back to an EP of the same name from way back in 1990. It can also be found on the awesome 'Children of Nuggets' box set. Yep, that one is out of print, too.

You can stream the entire album from Jonny (via Merge Records) below. If you like it, how about buying it?

Jonny - Candyfloss (mp3)
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Merched Yn Neud Gwallt Eu Gilydd (mp3)
Teenage Fanclub - God Knows It's True (mp3)

Stream the full release from Jonny.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brian Wilson and Macca Make News

Two of my three all-time favorite artists (David Bowie should probably be in the conversation) made a little music news this week you may have missed.

Brian Wilson, in an interview with BBC 6 Music, said he is open to reuniting in the studio with the surviving members of the Beach Boys. It would mark the 50th anniversary of the band and the first time Wilson will have recorded with the fellas since the country-tinged 'Stars and Stripes Volume One' about 15 years ago. He sounds like he may be up to it, but he did add: "I just don't know if I want to be around those guys, you know? They're zany guys. They're crazy." I'll be keeping an eye on this one. Whether this collaboration happens or not, we do know they will be getting together later this year to complete the 'SMiLE' box set Capitol is releasing.

In other Wilson news, last week he told the Evening Standard he plans to retire from touring next year, saying: "Another year, maybe. This could be the last time I play here. I'm going to miss it, but I'm getting a little bit old for touring." If all of this goes down, I have a few burning questions. Will the Wondermints, Jeffrey Foskett and the rest of Wilson's backing band be a part of any new songs, or will Mike Love's outfit have to be in on the recordings? I see this as the major hurdle to any reunion. Also, if Wilson quits touring, as expected, will his last shows be as a member of the Beach Boys? Stay tuned. Here is the Wilson interview from BBC 6 Music:

In other news, Paul McCartney has told Rolling Stone he will be releasing a covers album in early 2012. These will be pre-rock compositions he calls his "dad's style of music." The untitled album is already in the can, and he had planned on recording it a long time ago "but then Rod [Stewart] went mad on it. I thought, 'I have to wait so it doesn't look like I'm trying to do a Rod.'" So, I guess I have another reason to dislike Stewart's work. Diana Krall will appear on some of the songs that Sir Paul describes as "get-home-from-work music. You put it on and get a glass of wine."

In a complete turn of events, he is also planning a "heavy rock album." He claims to have been inspired by the Foo Fighters' latest, 'Wasting Light.' Macca added: "You never know, I may run into a garage to make this other album." With his impending nuptials, album reissues and this new work, I can't help but admire his work ethic. He's a Beatle. He doesn't owe us anything, but I sure am glad he's still recording. As I have said on this site several times, his last few albums have been sheer genius. Here's an old song for you fanatics. This is a demo McCartney did for Badfinger in 1969. C'mon, you know this one, but maybe not like this.

Paul McCartney - Come and Get It (mp3)

Monday, May 16, 2011

'Rave' Review for Buddy Holly Cover

As I mentioned the other day, there's an intriguing salute to Buddy Holly coming out on June 28 called 'Rave On Buddy Holly' and, with just a cursory search, you can already hear a few songs from it. So far, the best one comes from Strokes' front man Julian Casablancas. His take on the title track pays homage to the classic while making it all his own. That's the definition of a a great cover. Give it a listen below, and preorder the album right here. Please, somebody with connections, get a hold of the Paul McCartney or She & Him contributions. Thanks to "indieistanbul" for this one.

Julian Casablancas - Rave On (Buddy Holly Cover) by indieistanbul

Friday, May 13, 2011

Clientele's Front Man Unveils Side Project

If, like me, you're a fan of chamber-pop outfit the Clientele, you will want to give Alasdair MacLean's new project, Amor de Días, a listen. The duo (Lupe Núñez-Fernández of Pipas is MacLean's partner in crime) worked on the the debut album off and on for three years during breaks from their main bands, and many of their pals sat in on sessions to produce another beautiful piece of chamber pop. Don't expect a carbon copy of the Clientele, however. There is a heavy Spanish influence, with hints of bossa nova, jazz and night music that makes for a lush but mellow listening experience. 'Street of the Love of Days' will be out this Tuesday on CD or LP with download coupon. You can preorder from Merge now. In the meantime, there are lots of ways to hear Amor de Días right now. Check it all out below.

Stream the full album here.

Amor de Días - Bunhill Fields (mp3)

Amor de Días - Late Mornings from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are Those Darlins Still Darling?

I'll always have a soft spot for Those Darlins. Two years ago this week they were the subject of my very first post on this blog. After some hot appearances at SXSW in 2009, there was a smatter of chatter on the blogosphere, and I got swept up in the hype. Why wouldn't I? They had a couple of fantastic songs floating around, and their first album was just about to hit the shelves. I completely bought into their trailer-park sensibilities. Songs like the twangy "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy" and "Snaggletooth Mama" had my toes tappin' for a month of Sundays. "Wild One" even made my list of the best songs that year. Lately, though, I felt like I was hoodwinked.

I first realized something could be up when, last fall, they released the 7" "Night Jogger." It was the least cowpunk song the band had ever put out. Then, earlier this spring, their full-length followup, 'Screws Get Loose,' was released. I felt a little screwed. They sure sounded an awful lot like Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls and a slew of other retro gal bands that love to turn up the fuzz. Worse, as I went back to the first album, I couldn't help but think the whole fun-lovin' country thing was a gimmick.

I didn't write about all of these feelings of betrayal a month and a half ago when 'Screws Get Loose' was first released. If I didn't have anything good to say about my beloved band, then I wasn't going to say anything at all. Now I'm glad I didn't because the record has really grown on me. So much so, in fact, I'm ready to recommend it. No, they aren't breaking any new ground here. No, they no longer sound like charming Tennessee white trash, but I do think they have captured the indie-girl-group genre just about as well as anybody. The real problem is that the field is crowded. The country bent separated them from the pack a bit. After some time and several listens to 'Screws Get Loose,' now I'm actually looking forward to hearing their next turn. Here are a couple of tunes to prove Those Darlins are, indeed, still darling.

Those Darlins - Screws Get Loose (mp3)

Monday, May 9, 2011

R.E.M.'s 'Pageant' to Get Reissued

R.E.M.'s fourth and last vital album (I'm gonna catch some flak for that) is getting the deluxe treatment. The 25th anniversary edition of 'Lifes Rich Pageant,' out July 12, is a double-disc remastered version with 19 'Pageant'-era demos recorded March 1986 at John Keane’s Studio in Athens, Ga. This is a huge step up from the bonus tracks that appeared on the I.R.S. Vintage Years reissue back in 1993. Having said that, some of those songs should have appeared on the 25th anniversary edition. Preorder here.

Let me explain my opening sentence a bit. I think R.E.M.'s first two albums are just about the best freshman/sophomore records ever. I have listened to them regularly since I was about 14 years old. I bought 'Fables of the Reconstruction' and 'Lifes Rich Pageant' on the days they were released. Although those two albums are not as good as 'Murmur' or 'Reckoning,' they are still must-haves. Many music fans must have agreed with me as 'Pageant' elevated them from college-rock heroes to bona fide stars. The album peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard chart.

Unfortunately, the move from theaters to arenas didn't sit well with me. Neither did the politicking. By the time the band moved from the indie to the major world, I was finished with R.E.M. I have never owned even one album from their Warner Bros. catalog. Still, early R.E.M. will always have a place in my heart. If you need any further evidence to support my decision, give "Pop Song 89" or "Shiny Happy People" a listen. "Stand" better be accompanied by video of Chris Elliott delivering newspapers. That's the only way I want to hear it. And all of the preceding songs were singles(!) and but a few short years from 'Lifes Rich Pageant.' Don't even get me started on the newer (ha! the last 20 years) WB stuff.

Here is a look at the new tracklist, a music video from the album and a song to remind you how good R.E.M. once was.

'Lifes Rich Pageant (25th Anniversary Edition)' Tracklist
Original Album
1. Begin The Begin
2. These Days
3. Fall on Me
4. Cuyahoga
5. Hyena
6. Underneath The Bunker
7. The Flowers of Guatemala
8. I Believe
9. What If We Give It Away?
10. Just a Touch
11. Swan Swan H
12. Superman

Disc 2: The Athens Demos
1. Fall On Me
2. Hyena
3. March Song (King Of Birds)
4. These Days
5. Bad Day
6. Salsa (Underneath The Bunker)
7. Swan Swan H
8. Flowers Of Guatemala
9. Begin The Begin
10. Cuyahoga
11. I Believe
12. Out Of Tune
13. Rotary Ten
14. Two Steps Onward
15. Just A Touch
16. Mystery To Me
17. Wait
18. All The Right Friends
19. Get On Their Way (What If We Give It Away)

R.E.M. - Begin the Begin (mp3)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cover Me Impressed: 'Voices'

Two mentions of Cheap Trick in one week... I could get used to this. There are few covers of Cheap Trick songs that have thrilled me, but this is one big exception. If you don't know Jon Brion, at least get acquainted with him from these three moments of genius:

'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' Original Soundtrack
The Grays - 'Ro Sham Bo'
Jon Brion - 'Meaningless'

From his 2000 album 'Meaningless' comes his mammoth, nearly-eight-minute, piano-driven cover of 'Voices.' The song, originally from the 1979 album 'Dream Police,' was a fairly big hit for Cheap Trick, peaking at No. 32 in 1980.

Both versions of this song have been in my regular rotation for years, and I didn't think there was much more I could learn about them. Then, a few years ago, I got curious about the female background vocals on the Brion version. I was shocked to find out it's the pipes of actress Mary Lynn Rajskub. Turns out the '24' star and Brion were a couple for several years around the time 'Meaningless' was made. I had no idea, which is just ridiculous since I'm a huge fan of hers as well. Admittedly, I have never seen '24.' You may be asking yourself how I could be a fan, then. Well, she was on a couple of the smartest programs ever to hit the small screen, 'Mr. Show' and 'The Larry Sanders Show.' Her best television moments by far, however, come when she takes a seat as a guest on any late-night talk show. She really knows how to spin a hilarious yarn. Wow, that was kind a left turn. Let's get to the tunes.

Cheap Trick - Voices (mp3)
Jon Brion - Voices (mp3)

More Cover Me Impressed:
"Almost Saturday Night"
"Too Many Teardrops"
"Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me"
"They Don't Know"
"Everybody's Talkin'"
"What Goes On"
"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
Halloween Edition
"Porpoise Song"
"Prairie Rose"
"Come On Eileen"
"Walking On Thin Ice"
Jason Falkner Edition
"True Love Will Find You In The End"
"This Will Be Our Year"
"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"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sloan Hasn't Double-Crossed Us

O, Canada! If you have ever been curious about one the Great White North's greatest exports, here is your best chance to get acquainted with Sloan. You should already know these guys. They have been releasing consistently great records for 20 years now, and their next LP comes out on Tuesday. In honor of this achievement, CBC Radio 3 has the band's entire discography available for streaming right here. This includes the soon-to-be-released 'The Double Cross.' Let me tell you, they sound better than ever. Give it a listen, and then preorder the new album.

Sloan - Follow the Leader (mp3)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sweating to the Oldies

Inspired by Ann Logue's post last week on Popdose, here's a look at part of a mix I'm constantly tinkering with for Mrs. LTL!'s workouts. Right now it consists of about 75 songs. The idea is for her to to be able to start exercising at any point in the mix and hear several songs to keep her inspired. The tunes are either short, loud, hard, jumpy, poppy, thematic or, occasionally, all of these things. Sometimes they are just a smile. Speaking of smiles, check out these far-out lyrics below from the great Brian Wilson (with some help from Dr. Landy, I'm sure). When a rock star sings about someone's thighs, it's not usually about fat. These words of wisdom are bound to get you on the exercise bike. What are some of the songs that get your blood pumpin'?

Brian Wilson - Too Much Sugar (mp3)
Queen - Bicycle Race
Devo - Fresh
OK Go - You're So Damn Hot
Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Sir-Mix-a-Lot - Baby Got Back
Billy Idol - Dancing With Myself (..."sweat sweat sweat!")
Cheap Trick - She's Tight (mp3)
The B-52's - Runnin' Around
Club 8 - Shape Up!
Matt Bianco - Get Out of Your Lazy Bed (mp3)
The Proclaimers - (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles
The Rolling Stones - Start Me Up
The Dukes of Stratosphere - Bike Ride to the Moon (mp3)
The Jam - Start! (mp3)

Too Much Sugar
Too much sugar and too much cake
You'll end up with a belly ache
Take that greasy steak and fries
Slap that fat right on your thighs

Don't be stupid now lose your shape
Start to stretch and muscle ache
Eat you veggies and whole grain too
Fruits and fiber will nourish you

Take those legs and make them run
When you're fit it's much more fun

Getting in shape is what it's all about
Don't you just feel it's true
Move it all around just like Jane Fonda now
Then there'll be a brand new you

Stuff you eat can poison you
Make you feel real lazy too
Drugs you take make you insane
All they do is burn your brain

One two three four kick'em high
Join a gym or visit the Y
Five six seven eight feeling fine
You can live 'til 99

Getting in shape is what it's all about
Don't you just feel it's true
Move it all around just like Jane Fonda now
Then there'll be a brand new you

Hey my momma's been cooking good
Long time eating the way I should

Getting in shape is what it's all about
Don't you just feel it's true
Move it all around just like Jane Fonda now
Then there'll be a brand new you

Too much sugar and too much cake
You'll end up with a belly ache
Take that greasy steak and fries
Slap that fat right on your thighs

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stream the Entire New Cars Album

As regular readers know, I'm pretty psyched for the upcoming release by the Cars. Although 'Move Like This' doesn't get a proper release until next Tuesday, you can stream the entire album today at Rolling Stone. I knew from the two music-video releases and the 7" single I picked up on Record Store Day that I wasn't going to be disappointed. Based on what I have been listening to all morning, the fellas haven't missed a beat... even after 24 years. Give it a listen, then preorder right here.

See More Cars Posts
Cars Turn Back the Odometer
Cars Ready to Put It in 'Drive'
First Music Video From Reunited Cars
Second Music Video From Reunited Cars

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just Like Buddy Holly

NME's headline reads "Julian Casablancas, Florence Welch and Patti Smith for Buddy Holly tribute album." Pitchfork proclaims "Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, Julian Casablancas, Black Keys on Buddy Holly Tribute." Personally, I think it should be "She & Him, Nick Lowe, Jon Brion and Paul McCartney to Cover Buddy Holly." The fact remains, Kid Rock's inclusion not withstanding, Concord Music has assembled an impressive lineup for 'Rave On Buddy Holly,' due to hit the shelves on June 28. One name I'm surprised didn't show up on this record is super-fan Marshall Crenshaw. Along with the tracklist below, enjoy Crenshaw as Holly ripped from my vinyl version of the 'La Bamba' soundtrack. No offense, but this will, no doubt, put a little pressure on Karen Elson.

Marshall Crenshaw - Crying, Waiting, Hoping (mp3)

'Rave On Buddy Holly' Tracklist
1. The Black Keys - Dearest
2. Fiona Apple and Jon Brion - Every Day
3. Paul McCartney - It's So Easy
4. Florence and the Machine - Not Fade Away
5. Cee-Lo - (You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care
6. Karen Elson - Crying, Waiting, Hoping
7. Julian Casablancas - Rave On
8. Jenny O. - I'm Gonna Love You Too
9. Justin Townes Earle - Maybe Baby
10. She & Him - Oh Boy
11. Nick Lowe - Changing All Those Changes
12. Patti Smith - Words of Love
13. My Morning Jacket - True Love Ways
14. Modest Mouse - That'll Be the Day
15. Kid Rock - Well... All Right
16. Detroit Cobras - Heartbeat
17. Lou Reed - Peggy Sue
18. John Doe - Peggy Sue Got Married
19. Graham Nash - Raining in My Heart