Monday, December 27, 2010

Best of 2010

Admittedly, I have had a downer of a year in a lot of respects. Even so, when I read my Best of list for 2010 I was completely disappointed. I have been doing these things for as long as I can remember whether they were going to print or not (obviously this one is not). Rereading this thing was about as stimulating as reading reviews from Paste magazine edited by The Economist. So with that being said, I decided to try and redo the list and have a little bit more fun. Here goes, with massive apologies to Neill Cumpston… Also, since my wife claims that she never hears me listen to “anything other than that country shit”, I have included a short wrap up of the best “country” discs that were not Jamey Johnson at the end of the list. In my defense, there is a blurry line between a love of country music and a drinking problem.

1. Robyn – Body Talk If you are like me, most dance music conjures up images of shirtless dudes thumping around town in a Mini Cooper while huffing tape cleaner and Axe body spray. Robyn’s Body Talk goes the opposite direction. It actually reminds me of a rave I was at somewhere around 1994 where these two twins that could have worked as Jessica Alba’s body doubles were taking turns dry humping the shit out of me while visions of Moby being cornholed by the “firestarter” danced through most of the collective’s subconscious. Did I mention that I also had a pacifier, a glow stick and enough ecstasy to make my spinal column dryer than Irene Ryan after a full day on the set of The Beverly Hillbillies? Oh yeah, none of this actually happened, but if you can’t get off on Robyn’s “automated booty applications”, you deserve to be locked in a closet with a wild boar, Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker” and a case of Wallaby organic yogurt.

2. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening Unfortunately punk doesn’t look very much like Alan Vega anymore. In 2010 punk rockers look like the chick from Bend it Like Beckham that sings songs about riots and paper planes. And even if James Murphy couldn’t get any of his chins through the neckholes in Stiv Bator’s dog’s bondage gear, the newest LCD Soundsystem disc is still the punkest shit going in 2010. Tell me “Dance Yrself Clean” doesn’t make you want to throw a Molotov cocktail through the window of a bank, and I will show you my Tea Party voter registration card.

3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Listening to a Kanye West disc is a lot like eating Christmas dinner with that uncle that has touched all of your relatives inappropriately. You squarely hate the motherfucker, but he does give really good back rubs and toys, so you have to tolerate him. I am guessing there are a wide and increasing array of medical procedures that would be more pleasant than hanging out with Yeezy, but goddammit you hear a track like “Power” or “Runaway” and all is forgiven. To be fair though, Nicki Minaj comes close to stealing the whole disc with her drop at the end of “Monster”.

4. The Black Keys – Brothers If I were an old black man, and I was going to chain a girl to my radiator in only her panties until I could work “the devil” out of her, The Black Keys would definitely score that soundtrack. Wait a minute that has already been done… Fuck it, I say we remake Black Snake Moan with Brothers as the soundtrack and find a way to work the ghost of Col. Sanders, Tara Reid and Koko B. Ware into the mix. “Everlasting Light” alone has more soul than Jonestown circa 1978.

5. Junip – Fields My blissful and inaccurate vision of the seventies involvies copious amounts of Panama Red being offered up by nude hitchhikers with bushes looking like they might have ?uestlove in a leglock. Add to this the fact that it is happening while lounging in a hammock by a stream, knee deep in the woods, and Fields would definitely be playing in the background. To keep with continuity somewhere we would have to find a place for gnomes and wood fairies, but for the time being they can stay behind the harvest gold refrigerator. Pass the bong and bring me my beaver pillow.

6. Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs – Medicine County If one of your presents on Christmas Morning involves a restraining order, nude pictures of your cousin and a bottle of whiskey, you might need a copy of Medicine County.

7. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs Recently I woke up from a dream wherein a seven foot giant was raping my earholes. You can imagine my horror, but even more shocking was the fact that I let it continue. It turns out that the behemoth with an ear fetish was Win Butler of The Arcade Fire. I guess once the press dropped the lazy Springsteen comparisons, Butler became much more interesting and listenable. If you would have asked me a year ago the odds of me including The Arcade Fire in a “best of” list, I would say that there would be a better chance of finding Katy Perry literate.

8. Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal First things first… No this disc is not an outtake reel of Tron queefs. Sometimes when a band is trying to break the tethers of your mind and send you out past the edges of perception it just sounds like hot air channeled through a robot. Kind of like watching Altered States with the vertical hold on your television set to homeless shelter.

9. Das Racist – Sit Down, Man Seriously, who would have thought that an Indian/Hispanic trio would make not only one of the best rap albums of the year, but the hottest interracial action since Mr. Horton tried to break Dudley off on Diff’rent Strokes.

10. Xiu Xiu – Dear God I Hate Myself If there is any lesson to be learned from Xiu Xiu’s 2010 release it is clearly the fact that Jamie Stewart hates himself but loves “cute pee-pees”. Quite possibly the gayest album to feature prominent banjos.

Best “Country” discs of 2010 – that were not Jamey Johnson’s great, but ridiculously overrated “The Guitar Song”. I guess country music has set the bar so low for so long, that a bloated double disc set might seem like the second coming of Kris Kristofferson.

Ray Wylie Hubbard - A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C) The perfect placeholder until the new Hayes Carll disc KMAG YOYO comes out in February.

Reckless Kelly – Somewhere In Time Nothing out of the ordinary here, just straight ahead heartbreakers and chug-a-longs from the long underrated Austin journeymen.

Leroy Powell & the Messengers – Atlantis If they were to refilm that movie Fantastic Voyage, but in this version the crew is shrunken and spend a week inside of Johnny Paycheck’s liver, this could be the soundtrack.

Gary Allan – Get Off On the Pain Easily the best commercial country disc of the year.

Whitey Morgan & the ‘78s – Self Titled The disc that Jamey Johnson’s “The Guitar Song” could have been if it were shorter and aged in a whiskey barrel.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Mix - 2010

Chrimmastime again. Time for another holiday mix.

I was hoping to give a good breakdown of these tracks, but have been more than consumed with about a million other items over the past couple of months, so will simply just offer a Happy Holidays and Enjoy!

Comments and Feedback are always welcome.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Drunk With the Only Saints I Know - mix

So after claiming I wasn’t doing mixes anymore, I have done two in very short order. At least I am consistent.

This mix is a little heavy on the mellow compared to some of my more recent posts, but still has some strong tracks and some real winners in the cover department. Starting things off is the leadoff track from the new Ariel Pink disc, Before Today, which I highly recommend. Also, if this track turns your crank you should check out his new tour EP called Ariel Pink with Added Pizzazz which features an extended jam version of this song with the avant-garde jazz Added Pizzaz (hence the name). Following AP is the first of two unreleased, newish Wilco tracks from their Sky Blue Sky tour disc.

Next is the first of a handful of covers, starting with the most faithful which is a version of Old 97’s taking on R.E.M.’s “Driver 8”. Pretty much a note for note representation. Rhett Miller is no Michael Stipe, but the rest of the crew cranks out a solid take. Also on the cover front is Katy Perry’s version of the Sam Sparro hit “Black and Gold”. I think I included this for two reasons. One, I actually really like this version of the song and two, I felt like I needed a reason to justify my fascination with her other than the fact that I find her jawdropping hot. You take the auto-tune and high gloss production away, and this chick actually has some decent pipes. Ok, I am probably just appeasing myself, but it is still a nice song.

Following that, the other covers are Richard Hawley taking on Gordon Lightfoot (awesome), Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses taking on George Harrison (well done, if a little heavy on sap), Justin Townes Earle covering John Prine from the excellent new Prine cover disc “Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows” and a semi-succesful take on Nick Cave by Mates of State. I only included this one because it is one of my favorite Cave songs, and the source material is untouchable. That being said, the vocals and production come off a little weak and do not come anywhere close to having the stones to carry a Nick Cave song but it is listenable nonetheless.

There are a couple of funk workouts care of a new Of Montreal track and one from The Dream, both channeling their inner Prince. “Hydra Fancies” owing more to the late 80’s early 90’s version of the purple dwarf and “Yamaha” going back to the glory days of “Lady Cab Driver” and “All The Critics Love You in New York”.

Rounding out the mix and of note is a great remix/deconstruction of the Lindsay Lohan track “Bossy” by the electronic group Autre Ne Veut. They manage to take the original and turn Lohan’s voice into a disjointed and disconnected spectre hanging over some nice glitchy beats and making something otherwise unlistenable into something pretty nice. Consider it a reverse aural abortion. Also here is a track from the recent compilation of Carissa’s Weird, the precursor to Band of Horses and a track from the new Tom Jones disc of stark and sparse traditional gospel nuggets.

The Norma Jean (ripped from vinyl and a little scratchy at the :30 second mark) and Alice Cooper track are here just because I like them and think you should too.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Conway Twitty - I've Already Loved You in My Mind

Two things occurred to me this morning as I was listening to a Conway Twitty compliation I dug out of my cd pile: 1.) You really have to give it to a man that was obsessed with singing about laying the wood to silver haired ladies in an age prior to Viagra and 2.) This guy was kind of a sociopath.

Don’t get me wrong I love some Conway, but the more you delve into his catalog the more you realize that this guy was fighting with demons that would make Tiger Woods look like Andrea Dworkin.

I wasn’t sure which song could best sum up the Twitty experience; there were plenty in the running. It could have been “How Much More Can She Stand” where he talks about the devil that runs his body and renders him unable to stray from his woman, and hopes that she can understand. Also in the running, “Happy Birthday, Darlin’”, a sort of update on his classic “Hello, Darlin’”, but this one highlights all the things he would like to take away instead of giving to his lady on her birthday this year.

Also choice, “You’ve Never Been This Far Before” where that gosh darn devil now has his hands “exploring forbidden places”, or “Don’t Take It Away” which follows suit, but features one of the best Casio rhythm sections $200 could buy at the time. And trust me, if you ever check out his version of “Slow Hand”, you might never listen to the original the same way again.

However, I decided to settle on “I’ve Already Loved You In My Mind.” This sweet and touching tale of what I can only decipher as an ode cranking one out in the crapper at the club definitely wins the Ron Burgundy award. Grab a hankie, this one definitely will pull at your heartstrings.
Ladie's and Gentlemen... Conway Twitty.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The B-52's - Private Idaho

Few bands scream summer and Friday as perfect as The B-52's. This clip offers some great early footage of one of my all time favorite bands/songs.


Monday, July 12, 2010

The Isley Brothers - Between the Sheets

R.I.P. Marvin Isley (August 18, 1953 – June 6, 2010)

I let this slip through the cracks with the format change and some other things that have been going on over the past month. It would be real easy to make a joke about him being to busy "fighting the power" to fight the diabetes, but that would just be cheap, seeing how he had already lost both of his legs during his struggle with the disease...

Trying to pick a favorite song by the Isley's is tough work. I love "It's Your Thing",the aforementioned "Fight the Power", "Footsteps in the Dark" and "That Lady"; Actually my favorite might be their cover of Seals and Croft's "Summer Breeze". However at the end of the day, it is hard to top "Between the Sheets". Plus I have had "Big Poppa" as my ringtone from my wife for so many years now that I would just feel guilty slighting this track.

Link: The Isley Brothers - Between the Sheets

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Joni Mitchell - Just Like This Train

I was thinking this morning how it only took a week for the new format train to jump the tracks (as in I have not been able to post everyday as planned), and then I started trying to think of some great train songs. There are only a million of them to choose from.

With that in mind I decided to skip the hobo motif, and Blackfoot and have picked Joni Mitchell. I am sure Boxcar Willie and Rickey Medlocke won't mind (although for the record Medlocke's insane guitar break to open "Train, Train" is pretty unfucking believable).

So with that intro, here is the first female vocalist post with the new format.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sonny Sharrock - Soon

Even though amazing jazz guitarist/shaman Sonny Sharrock recorded with Peter Brotzmann, Bill Laswell and Pharoah Sanders this vocal collaboration with his wife Linda is probably one of my favorite tracks from him.

"Soon" is taken from a compliation of other brain smelting cuts from the heavyweight free jazz label Jazzactuel. Some sites claim this comp is out of print, but it is still readily available if you are willing to dig.

If there is any interest in any of the other tracks here, let me know and I might be willing to post the whole comp.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Morphine - Buena

Three day weekend?

Buena, Buena, Buena, Buena, Good, Good Good!

Big Boi - Tangerine (w/ T.I. & Khujo)

Ok, so now I know the difference. Andre likes to shake it like a polaroid, while Big Boi likes to shake it like a tambourine.
Mystery solved.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Bar-Kays - Holy Ghost

This morning as I was getting ready to not go for a run, I was looking forward to jamming out at turtle speed to the latest Holy Ghost disc (released in May 2010 on DFA, and is highly recommended). Instead I stumbled across this jam on a Memphis Soul playlist I have stored on my iPod. All I can say is that sometimes the gods shine on you.
In addition to not running, I was hoping the DFA beats would get me motivated for work and whatever fresh hell awaited the day. Nothing James Murphy's crew of euro centric house beat stealing acolytes were spinning could have made the ass drop and heart soar like this band of funk brothers did.
Originally the Bar-Kays were a session band for Stax, playing with Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes. They were able to score a couple of hits in the late '60s (Soul Finger) and 70's (Son of Shaft), but this 8 minute workout is probably their crowning acheivement.
On a side note, original bass player James Alexander is the father of Jazze Pha who in addition to being famous for dropping "Ladies and Gentlemen" on numerous tracks, has also produced for 2Pac, Ciara, Bun-B, Usher and many others.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Robbie Robertson - Somewhere Down the Crazy River

I was pleasantly surprised when this track recently popped up on my iPod while letting it shuffle. The track is solid all the way around and immediately brings to mind other Daniel Lanois produced tracks of that era (1987), especially his work with Dylan and U2.

On a more nostalgic note, I remember buying this cassette and having no idea who Robbie Robertson was. Even more ironic, I bought this cassette at the same time as a cassette of Dylan & The Band's live "Before the Flood" album. Specifically I purchased the Dylan tape after having just seen Guns N' Roses live where they closed with "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", and I was desperate to find a live version of that track. Little did I know at the time that Robertson was playing on that tape.

Levon Helm excluded, I still maintain that The Band is the best Canadian band ever. Period. Sorry Triumph and Loverboy fans.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Return of the Mack - Mark Morrison

I am sure "Mama Said Knock You Out" would have been a nice leadoff into the new CC07 format, but since it isn't really a comeback I am going with some different flavor.
That being said, during 1996, this UK banger was hotter than Manchester United, yet Mark Morrison's career ended up going the route of the Bolton Wanderers within the same year. Prison tends to do that to a bloke.
In the words of Morrison I am just, "Letting all the people know That I'm back to run the show."

And here it is, post #1 on the new CC07.

Country Club of the Zero Seven v 2.0

It has been a while since I have posted here, and the delay has helped me come up with a new plan of attack for the site. Instead of posting random one off reviews or cramming the site once every other month with extended playlists, I am going to post shorter blasts on a daily basis (we can start wagers now on how long that will last).

The easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, so with that in mind I am going to start posting a "Track of the Day" if you will. One song, a little bit of detail and the link.

Hopefully this will help pick up a little added interest, and make the posts easier for readers to digest. Although I will admit I am already seeing problems. I knew what I wanted post #1 to be, but have 4 others that I am contemplating, so discipline will have to be used on my end.

That being said, welcome to CCO7 v 2.0!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio - RIP

RIP – Ronnie James Dio

I am sure there will be plenty of wizard and dragon jokes (trust me, I would probably make one if I had one at the ready), but in all seriousness Dio’s passing is truly a sad loss for music.

Be it in the boogie woogie blues of Elf, climbing the Silver Mountain with Rainbow, raising the bar for vocalists replacing already mega-successful vocalists in Black Sabbath or just plain scaring the bejeesus out of Baptist parents raising teen boys in the 80’s, Dio was/is f*cking legend.

I am pretty sure I still have “Holy Diver” on vinyl (from Columbia House no less ) in my closet at my parents.

Slay a dragon for me little man.

Here is a small Dio playlist I put together on the fly this morning.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What's the Deal? Sugar Hill!!!

I was digging around through some old cd's and stumbled across this mix that I put together for a friend's birthday party a few years back, and thought it was worth posting.

I made a couple of tweaks here and there, but it is largely the previous mix in it's entirety plus some extra tracks, including my favorite disco era track "I Get Lifted", the KC and the Sunshine Band version. Outside of a couple disco tracks, and maybe one or two roller boogie classics, this is all standard issue classic Soul Train era funk, jazz and hip-hop.

If some of these songs sound familiar, it is probably because minus one or two, they have all been sampled extensively over the years. At least 2 or 3 have been picked up by the Beastie Boys, and a couple by Dr. Dre. In the meantime, feel free to shake yo' ass while you are trying to figure out where you might have heard these songs before.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lucky Charms 2010

And the award for editing goes to… not me. I tried to cut this playlist down to about 20 tracks, but just couldn’t do it. I figured that I have been able to crank these things out so few and far between lately that if I could squeeze a couple extras in there, go ahead. Needless to say this thing might not flow the best…

So with this mix I was hoping to highlight some of my favorite new tracks and sprinkle in a few Irish tracks to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. This final draft is significantly different that my original, which featured enough Irish pissers to make me consider going and setting my own car on fire. I decided to scale back with a couple of Sinead O’Connor tracks, one a cheesy but awesome duet with the dentally challenged Shane MacGowan the other her incendiary live cover of Bob Marley’s “War” from SNL that pretty much got the ball rolling against her here in the states thanks to her shredding a poster of the Pope while crediting him as the root of all evil. Elsewhere have a tipple of Guinness while enjoying the Spanish/Celtic acoustic cover of Metallica’s “Orion” by Rodrigo y Gabriela.

On the new music front, 2010 has been off to a killer start. After about 5 years of sparse greatness so far 2010 is on pace to top 2009, which was pretty amazing. Here is a quick roundup:

I cannot say enough good things about the new Xiu Xiu disc. It comes pretty close to topping Fabulous Muscles, and when the smoke clears it might be their best release to date. I never thought I would see Xiu Xiu do bluegrass, but they give it a game try. I have included the title track here which would feel equally at home on a Morrissey disc if it didn’t have so many bells and buzzes. Also on here is my favorite track about giving birth to a cub, or abortion or childbirth or all of the above by The Antlers. I have also thrown in new tracks by Gonjasufi, Ariel Pink, Neon Indian and the stellar leadoff track from Broken Bells (which has been mostly a disappointment).

There a couple additional covers here including Sonnymoon’s hazy take on Drake’s “Houstatlantavegas” and Zooey Deschanel’s take on Nancy Sinatra’s “Sugar Town” (one of my all time favorite songs). Don’t get me wrong, She & Him are a little on the cheesy side, but there is much worse cheese out there (check out the Butch Walker b-side also on here). The ironic thing about Zooey Deschanel is that I love her voice, love to see her in videos, but as an actress I can’t help but want to drop a falcon punch on her. Especially in the movie that this track is from; 500 Days of Summer. I know, I know; everyone loved it. I just found it painfully pretentious. But I digress…

Anyway, the mix is a little long and maybe disjointed but enjoy. A little of the green may make it more palatable (green beer that is).

Btw, this mix sponsored by parentheses.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Ryan Bingham & Dead Horses

On first glance winning an award that Eminem, Celine Dion, Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Survivor, Kenny Loggins and Peter Cetera have been up for might seem like a backhanded compliement. But on second thought, being in the same company as Bob Dylan, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Shel Silverstein, Elliot Smith and Isaac Hayes is nothing to sneeze at.

Long story short, thanks to his work as songwriter for the Jeff Bridges flick, Crazy Heart, Bingham is now the owner of a Best Original song Oscar. I have yet to see the movie, but can testify that Bingham is the real deal. I have been preaching about this Topanga Canyon via Austin, TX cowpoke for a couple of years now, and highly recommend anything he has recorded.

He is currently on tour with Jamey Johnson, The Lost Trailers, Jack Ingram and a handful of others, stopping of in Charlotte, NC on 5/27/10.

Here is a small sampling of some of my faves, including the one that earned him the gold statue.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Citay - Dream Get Together

Although it is still too gray, murky, cold and wet to start thinking about spring, the new disc from San Francisco psych rock freakout band Citay helps set the tone for chasing wood gnomes around the forest and helping the May Queen with her spring cleaning.

As a rule I prefer my tripping balls music to be more dark and sludgy (Bardo Pond), and less wondrous and flighty, however "Dream Get Together" works amazingly well.

"Dream Get Together" might best be described as a soundtrack for an evening of Anton Newcombe being seduced, roofied and raped by Pan, at a Terrastock festival, with only a magic flute and Courtney Taylor-Taylor's phone number scratched on a mushroom cap remaining as the sun rises on the dense, sticky moss.

Or it is just a better than average Led Zeppelin ripoff. You can decide.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Everyone Wants VD!!!

It has been over a month since I have posted anything, so I am taking a minute to throw up a Valentine's Day mix. Feel free to claim it as your own and score some hot VD nookie. A mix might not be the most original idea, but it is a hell of a lot less expensive than roses dipped in gold and more internet friendly than that video you were thinking about making (I am talking to you John Edwards).

Nothing to sappy on here just a few nice eighties nuggets, some well executed covers and a hodgepodge of others. I fought the urge to drop Young Money's tender ode to puppy love, "Bedrock", but couldn't resist adding some Dr. Octagon.
Link to mix: VD 2010 Mix