Saturday, January 28, 2006

Trying to Love Monkey

Okay, I admit it: my wife and I watch Love Monkey, the new show staring Tom Cavanagh as a super-hip A&R rep. I enjoy the clever dialogue and the music snobbery. The show, in some ways, seems to borrow the best parts of High Fidelity to create a unique show with a likeable cast. Plus, as you know, I am a music snob myself.

My problem with the show is that despite it's portrayal of "Tom" as this uber-hip record scout, up to his eyeballs in music snobbery, the soundtrack for the show is remarkably banal. I mean, Tom's big discovery is a kid named Wayne who basically sounds, and even looks a little, like the next John Mayer. My question is: how can you pretend to be hip and offer the world the next John Mayer. One is too much.

I know, there are a few interesting cameos. I liked seeing Ben Folds run into Tom on the street, but the soundtrack, which one would assume to be the hippiet soundtrack on TV, isn't even as hip as the OC. I mean even this week's episode of My Name Is Earl featured Joe Jackson's "Time" and The Doors' "Peace Frog," while How I Met Your Mother featured Pavement.

My one piece of advice to the producers of Love Monkey, which I do really enjoy, is that if you are going to do a show about a hip music scout, have some hip music. Other shows prove it is possible, so do it.

And for those of you who haven't tuned it yet, do so, before the network cancels the show.

And as I bid adieu, here are the last 10 songs from my iPod:

1. "Albuquerque" by Neil Young
2. "Of Course" by Janes Addiction
3. "Drool Collection" by Superchunk
4. "Shadowplay" by Joy Division
5. "Arms Aloft" by Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros
6. "Green Grow the Rushes" by REM
7. "Subtle Gear Shifting" by Guided By Voices
8. "Go to the Mirror!" by The Who
9. "I Hate Children" by the Adolescents
10. "So Alive" by Ryan Adams

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Best of the Best (Part 3)

Alright, it has been a while but here is part three of my riveting series of musical recommendations. Check here for Part 1 and Part 2.

So, let's get to it.

The New Pornographers - You cannot go wrong with any release by this Canadian super group. However, Mass Romantic, their first release, holds a special place in my heart. Good place to start and you will not be disappointed.

Primus - Everyone knows Primus Sucks, but they also released a couple of really good records. Suck on This and Frizzle Fry are two great albums of undescribable weirdness. Sailing The Seas of Cheese is a pretty good third release. After that they sort of became a really weird jam band and I don't have much need for extended instrumental work outs and complicated song structures. Call me a Philistine if you must. And I did really try hard to like Pork Soda, it was in my collection for years, but I just couldn't really get into it and that is where I gave up.

Tom Waits - If you haven't enjoyed Tom Waits, then I don't know what your problem is. First thing you need to know is that his career can be divided into two distinct parts: the Asylum years and the Island/Anti years. Personally, I prefer the later. Initially, Waits was a damn good piano-ballad, L.A. song writer a la Randy Newman. He penned such tunes as "Jersey Girl," made popular by a Mr. Bruce Springsteen, and "Downtown Train," butchered by Rod Steward. He recorded quite a few records for Asylum and some of them are priceless. My personal recommendations include The Heart of Saturday Night, Heart Attack & Vine, and Small Change. But for the prime Tom Waits, the Island/Anti years presented an artist that had thrown out all the rules and created a genre of music that could only be compared to a calliope on acid, but with heart. The music sounded as if it was recorded on trash cans, broken guitars and out of tune pianos. And it is amazing. The best examples include Swordfishtrombones and Bone Machine. If you want more, pick up Rain Dogs and Frank's Wild Years. And then you could check out The Black Rider, Alice, Mule Variations and Blood Money. It is all so good you will wonder why you never listed before. If you need something to really convince you check out "Johnsburg, Illinois" from Swordfishtrombones and "Goin' Out West" from Bone Machine. You've gone without for too long. Enjoy.

Ryan Adams - Whatever happened to the next big thing? After breaking up Whiskeytown, Adams released his first solo album Heartbreaker. This album is so good, so catching, so heartbreaking, I have been disappointed by all of his other releases since, hoping he can recapture the magic of this one release. Even Gold, which was apparently his commerical peak, feels flat and lifeless compared to his debut release. Do yourself a favor, check out Heartbreaker and see what the hype was really about.

That's all I have time for right now. But before I go, here are the recommendations as presented by my iPod.

1. "Paintbox" by Pink Floyd
2. "Where the Heart Is" by Soft Cell
3. "Floaty" by Foo Fighters
4. "My Descent Into Madness" by the Eels
5. "Applebite" by Soundgarden
6. "We're Just Friends" by Wilco
7. "Kiss the Children" by Gram Parsons
8. "Stupid Girl" by Garbage
9. "Emulsified" by Yo La Tengo
10. "June Salutes You!" by Guided By Voices

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Looking Back Fondly

It is 2006 and I’ve been out of sorts lately, so I haven’t been to prolific on the blog front recently. If you missed me, then I apologize.

A few months ago I published an early attempt at a “Best of 2005.” After reviewing the list, I’m not sure anything changed. But I will switch Bob Dylan for Fiona Apple simply because the Dylan is a collection and not really a new release.

1. Beck Guero
2. Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
3. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
4. Death Cab For Cutie Plans
5. Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine
6. Spoon Gimme Fiction
7. Louis XIV The Best Little Secrets Are Kept
8. Stephen Malkmus Face the Truth
9. White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan
10. The New Pornographers Twin Cinema

Even though these are some great records, it hasn’t felt like a great year. I mean, it’s not like these are the best albums by these artists, but they are still better than the best offerings of many artists.

Who let Scott Stapp release an album? I hate 311 but I am glad they kicked his ass. I cannot believe Creed ever got signed and sold a bunch of crappy records. What is wrong with you people? I know it’s not your fault. Creed fans wouldn’t ever read this blog.

Off subject, but I just got an e-mail with this subject line: Are you ashamed to visit swimming pools because of your small penis? I don’t get it. Are these clothing optional swimming pools? I know, I know, it’s spam but still. I mean, I take my small penis wherever I go. But that is just me.

Anyway, I will get my act straightened out and get back on track.

In the meantime, you know the drill, here are the last ten songs my iPod played while set on “shuffle.”

1. “My Wandering Days Are Over” by Belle & Sebastian
2. “You Can Live at Home” by Husker Du
3. “Let the Distance Bring Us Together” by Bright Eyes & Britt Daniels
4. “Waiting For A Train” by Johnny Cash
5. “Better Version of Me” by Fiona Apple
6. “Sweet Thing” by David Bowie
7. “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)” by Jimi Hendrix
8. “La Ment” by the Cure
9. “Nirvana” by the Blake Babies
10. “The Love Song” by Marilyn Manson