Category Archives: blog

Song of the Day TBT 11/15/18 Fountains of Wayne – Stacy’s Mom

I have always loved the pure power pop of NJ’s Fountains of Wayne.  This was their only big radio hit, but they have so many great songs.  For those who don’t know, their name comes from an outdoor lawn fountain store in Wayne, NJ – I believe it was even featured one time on a episode of The Sopranos.  Hilarious video featuring Rachel Hunter as well.

Song of the Day 11/11/18 Kelly Moran – Helix

Kelly Moran is a NY based artist who mixes prepared piano* with electronic influences to create simple but wonderfully complex compositions.  This piece is off her new album  Ultraviolet.  Perfect for a Sunday morning.

* prepared piano is a technique where the piano’s sound is altered, usually by placing objects on the strings’ to change their sound.

 

Digging in the Garage – Episode 2

Time for a second episode of Digging in the Garage, where I feature some of my favorite garage tunes, as heard on Nuggets or Little Steven’s Underground Garage.  See here for the inaugural episode which has more background.  Let’s get digging.

First up, (We Ain’t Got) Nothing Yet by the Blues Magoos.

The Magoos were a Bronx psychedelic rock band that was part of the NY scene in the mid 60’s, along with The Lovin’ Spoonful and The Youngbloods. According to Songfacts, the Magoos were a huge influence on Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd.   Released in October 1966 on the album Psychedelic Lollipop, the song reached #5 on the US charts in February 1967.  The boastfulness of the lyrics about being on their way to massive success was apparently matched in their live performances, where they wore electric blue suits with flashing lights.  Ironically, it was their only hit.

 

Outside Chance – The Turtles

The Turtles are best know for their #1 single Happy Together, which famously knocked the Beatles Penny Lane out of the top spot in the American charts.  The vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman later achieved fame as Flo & Eddie.  Outside Chance was a single released in 1966 that amazingly failed to chart.  Fun fact – the song was co-written by a young Warren Zevon.  I love the contrariness of the lyrics – rather than pleading with the girl to love him, the singer flatly states: Stone walls surround me I’m surprised that you even found me, And you don’t stand an outside chance.  Although perhaps there is hope, since the next line is: But you can try!

 

Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love)The Swingin’ Medallions

This is one of my favorite songs of all time.  A classic example of “frat rock,” so called because the record sounds like it was recorded during a frat party (with party voices in the background).  The Swingin’ Medallions were from, of all places, Greenwood, South Carolina – which just goes to show you that great songs can come from anywhere.  Their 1966 cover of Double Shot (originally recorded in 1964 by Dick Holler & the Holidays) went to #17 on the charts.  It contains the all time time classic line It wasn’t wine that I had too much of, It was a double shot of my baby’s love.  Hilariously, it was banned from some radio stations (perhaps in the South?) for its mention of drinking and sex.  My how times have changed.  Anyway, I first heard of it on a Springsteen bootleg where Bruce mentions it while introducing Sherry Darling (an homage to frat rock songs).

 

If you have any favorite garage songs you think I should feature, let me know in the comments.

Til next time…

Sources: Wikipedia, Genius Lyrics, SongFacts.

Song of the Day TBT 11-1-18 Counting Crows – Mr. Jones

I remember the first time I heard this song on the radio in San Antonio and loving it – shortly after I went to the record store and bought the album.  I’ve always love the initial guitar riff, the slow short build, and the imagery of the lyrics – one of those songs that you don’t want to end.

Creeps, Deviants and Psychopaths

So its that time of year – Halloween.  Traditionally its has been associated with ghosts, vampires, and monsters.  Spooky fun.  But in the US, especially in the last 50 years, the holiday has also become associated with slasher flicks, serial killers, and other psychopaths – blame John Carpenter’s classic movie Halloween.  Or maybe not – maybe this is just my excuse to do a blog on some of my favorite songs about creeps and deviants.  I’m sure there’s a whole subgenre of these songs that I’m not aware of – my picks are by artists that you’ve probably heard of and that I’ve always liked.  And one is probably the creepiest song I have ever heard.  So without further adieu:

More Than I Can Do- Steve Earle

From his come back album of sorts, I Feel Alright, this uptempo song seems at first to just be about a guy’s unrequited love for someone – but as it continues it definitely moves into stalker territory.  “You left me just when I needed you
So l ain’t even close to through with you.”  Definitely Creepy.

I Feel So GoodRichard Thompson

From Rumor and Sigh, this song is definitely not an endorsement for the ability to reform juvenile delinquents.  Again, a pretty uptempo melody but there’s no denying where things are going right from the start: “I feel so good I’m going to Break somebody’s heart tonight I feel so good I’m going to Take someone apart tonight.’ And it goes from there.  Definitely Deviant.

Excitable Boy – Warren Zevon

From the album of the same name, this darkly humorous little ditty from the incomparable Warren Zevon starts weird and moves straight to deviant/psychopathic.  Zevon’s tongue in cheek lyrics – “He’s just an excitable boy” also perhaps are a dark commentary on society’s penchant for making excuses?  Also love the sax solo.

Midnight Rambler – The Rolling Stones

From Let It Bleed, this classic song from the Stones is pure psychopathy and evil.  It was written in part about Albert De Salvo, aka the Boston Strangler, who murdered 13 women in the early 60’s Boston area. Keith Richards has called it a blue opera, or a blues in 4 parts, even though the chord sequence isn’t a blues one.

And the finale, the song that always creeps me out just listening to it –

What’s He Building in There – Tom Waits.

From the album Mule Variations.  Not really a song, as much as a spoken word performance with a montage of assorted random background sounds.  Is it about a misunderstood freak?  A deviant, or something darker?  That’s the beauty of it – you can only wonder.   If you listen to any of these songs, listen to this one – even in the middle of the day,  it’ll freak you out.

Ok I have to go turn on every light in the house right now – til later…… oh, and Happy Halloween!

Sources: Wikipedia, Genius Lyrics, SongFacts

Song for a Sunday Morning 10/21/18 Zola Jesus – Wiseblood (Johnny Jewel Remix)

I’ve been tending towards instrumentals for these Sunday morning selections, but I heard this song this past week and I thought it was perfect.  Zola Jesus is an American synth-pop artist.  I love the chorus lyrics: “If it doesn’t make you wiser, Doesn’t make you stronger, Doesn’t make you live a little bit, What are you doing?