Monday, June 30, 2008

Hot Hot Heat - Bandages

This song by the British Columbia band Hot Hot Heat is five years old but I just heard it for the first time. Incredibly, it was actually banned by the BBC because it was felt the repetition of the word "bandages" might be offensive in light of the war. (Note to the BBC and the rest of the dominant media--it's the WAR that's offensive, not rock songs.)

Check the lyrics and see if you think this song could possibly be construed as having anything to do with the war. It's a breakup song, for crying out loud. The stupidity would be amazing, if it weren't so common.

MP3 Hot Hot Heat - Bandages (from 2003's Make Up the Breakdown)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Baseball Project - Past Time

Now here's something completely different--apparently Scott McCaughey (of Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus 5, Tuatara, REM, The Venus 3 and God knows how many other bands), and Scott Wynn (frontman of the excellent 80s band The Dream Syndicate, who I saw open for REM in 1984) got ripped together at REM's Hall of Fame induction last year and talked baseball all night. Here's how Wynn remembers it, from the band's myspace page:
Everyone was happy. The wine was flowing, the food was incredible and spring training had just started. Scott and I talked baseball until most of the party guests had cleared out. And we actually remembered it the next day.
That drunken convo turned into The Baseball Project, which also features REM's Peter Buck (who's in at least six bands I can think of) and Wynn's drummer of ten years (and recent wife) Linda Pitmon.

This is a delightful song for anyone with a love of baseball. They name check a ton of players from the 60s and 70s. Whole album of this stuff out on Chapel Hill's great Yeproc label July 8th. Watch them do the song the other night on Letterman (one night after REM destroyed at a sold-out MSG) here.

MP3 The Baseball Project - Past Time (from 2008's Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sigur Rós - Gobbledigook

The new Sigur Rós will be out in a couple weeks (it's streaming at the official site here). Check out all the different ways they are selling the record--everything from a $100 deluxe edition filled with photographs and videos to $8 for a high-quality MP3 digital download of the 11 tracks. This is the way to go people!

"Buzz" (that's what I'm calling it) will certainly be among my favorite records of the year. On several tracks they try to rock out but by the end of the song, they just can't help it, they're sounding like tears-in-your-eyes, lump-in-your-throat Sigur Rós again.

For the first time ever Jónsi supposedly sings one song in English, though after three listens to the whole album neither Liese nor I can tell which one that might be, so he's apparently just as incomprehensible in English as he is in Icelandic and Vonlenska. Good.

One of the most original bands ever. And check out the album cover! (NSFW)

MP3 Sigur Rós - Gobbledigook (from 2008's Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust, which translates as "With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly")

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Johnny Marr joins REM for Fall on Me in Chicago

This is just too cool. Peter Buck (b. 1956) and Johnny Marr (b. 1963), the guitarists for the best American and best British bands of the 80s, sharing a side of the stage in Chicago and playing dueling Rickenbackers. It is impossible to overstate the brilliance of both REM and The Smiths, and the instantly recognizable (and similar) playing styles of Buck and Marr are a big part of that brilliance (ok, also, the two bands have wildly charismatic lead singers and insanely good songwriting). Funny how both these guys ended up in Seattle, Buck relocating from Athens during the Nirvana era and Marr of course moving over when he joined Modest Mouse in 2006.

On yet another REM note, I recently heard this song for the first time and found it utterly charming. This is the band Pavement's tribute to REM, a 1994 song that references every track on Reckoning as well as Sherman marching through Georgia (lyrics here). Malkmus adores REM and here's the proof (as well as this).

MP3 Pavement - The Unseen Power of the Picket Fence
(recorded c. 1994, released on 2004's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins)