Saturday, April 22, 2006

Penguins Xtra - by Sandy McIsaac

1. Danny Elfman - Birth of the Penguin
2. Little Beirut - Penguin
3. Crosby and Nash - Penguin in a Palm Tree
4. The Julius Airwave - Tickle Me Penguin
5. Steffen Basho-Junghans - Smiling Penguins
6. Banana Slug String Band - Penguin Parade
7. The Virtual Penguins - A New Houdini
8. Kool and the Gang - The Penguin
9. Theory of One - Penguins on the Bottom
10. Lyle Lovett - Penguins
11. Ellipsis - Penguin
12. Katie Melua - Belfast (Penguins and Cats)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

April - Vol. 7

1. ...intro (much more exciting than email) - Bogaev/Radke
2. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down - Bob Dylan
3. I Threw It All Away - Yo La Tengo
4. Another Girl Another Planet - The Only Ones
5. Untitled - Palace Music
6. Dark Of My Moon (demo version) - Gene Clark
7. Both Sides Now - Roger Whittaker
8. Hold On, Hold On - Neko Case
9. I Love You For Sentimental Reasons - Karl Zéro
10. New Orleans - Silver Jews
11. U-Mass - Pixies
12. Paranoid Android - U-Mass Marching Band
13. Highly Illogical - Leonard Nimoy
14. Sprite: Melonball Bounce - Raymond Scott
15. Birdie Brain - The Fiery Furnaces
16. She's Real - Built to Spill & Caustic Resin
17. She's So Cold - The Rolling Stones
18. Whip Smart (demo version) - Liz Phair
19. Safe European Home - The Clash
20. Porcelain Monkey - Warren Zevon
21. Dance Music - The Mountain Goats
22. Strychnine - The Sonics
23. Marilou Sous La Neige - Serge Gainsbourg
24. His Indie World - Mary Lou Lord
25. The Mixtape Song - Tennis Pro

1. ...intro (much more exciting than email)
Ring any bells?

2. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down
This is a great song and, I don’t know, it just seemed to be the right transition into the CD-proper.

3. I Threw It All Away
Yo La Tengo has made kind of a sideline doing covers (including a full album of them[!]) and this is one of my favorites. Such a heart-breakingly sincere take; a cautionary tale my friends...

4. Another Girl Another Planet
Kind of an obscure song considering how good it is. The Replacements used to cover this live but I don’t think too many people are familiar with it. I love Peter Perrett’s delivery on this song.

5. Untitled
Do you like cake? Of course, we all do. Palace Music is one of the many guises/incarnations of Will Oldham and this is a song I’ve always liked. I hope you will too.

6. Dark Of My Moon
Gene Clark was one of the founding members of the Byrds and this comes from a collection of demos he was working on at the time of his death. It’s so spare, haunting and gorgeous, yet disturbing and scary too.

7. Both Sides Now
Sorry. I got hip to Roger Whittaker via a friend’s parents in the 80s—they had most of the Whittaker oeuvre on cassette—and I’ve never looked back. The spoken intro here is AWESOME. (If you’re familiar with the original BBC version of The Office, it reminds me a bit of the David Brent character.) Plus, it’s so nice to hear this song with an orchestra because it sounds so RICH and ROUND and TRUE.

8. Hold On, Hold On
This is from Neko Case’s most recent album, which I like a lot. I thought it would be nice to have something more or less brand-new included here and this seemed to fit the bill.

9. I Love You For Sentimental Reasons
Karl Zero is a French comic/TV personality who does a show in France kind of like The Daily Show. Discovering ‘50s American cha-cha-cha for the first time, he liked it some much he recorded an album of it. You have to believe him: he’s giving you his ‘art.

10. New Orleans
I’m a huge fan of the Silver Jews and this is a classic example of early SJs. Enjoy!

11. U-Mass
The Pixies, as you may know, met at the University of Massachusetts (or, at least most of them did.) From what I understand, they did not exactly love it there. This is a great ROCK song (with an unbeatable chorus) that tends to get overlooked in the Pixies catalogue.

12. Paranoid Android
Those wacky band kids score with this astonishingly faithful version of the Radiohead classic.

13. Highly Illogical
Um, so Leonard Nimoy made a record called: Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy. One side as himself—with touchie-feely numbers (including one about Bilbo Baggins)—and the other side as Spock. Get it? Maybe you can guess which side this comes from. (You can almost see the air-quotes when he says "they fall in 'love.'") I like how the super-intelligent alien being seems to have an Andy Rooney-type take on things.

14. Sprite: Melon-ball Bounce
Penguin-Beth included a Raymond Scott song (which happened to be called “Penguin”) on the December issue, and Raymond is making his return appearance here. I’ve always liked this little ‘50s ad-jingle and all I can say is: honey-DO!

15. Birdie Brain
A great song with a lot of your basic Fiery Furnace standards: including dog-psychology and general inscrutability.

16. She's Real
This comes from a 4–song EP collaboration between these two Boise bands. This song would be right at home on BTS’s fantastic 1st album Ultimate Alternative Wavers. Dig in!

17. She's So Cold
I ran across this—after not hearing it for years—and, for some reason, it just sounded great. If taken literally, it does seem to address the logistical difficulties of penguin love. Discuss.

18. Whip Smart (demo version)
For no particular reason, I’ve never listened to Liz Phair that much. I happened upon this demo for a pretty well-know song and I just thought it was really beautiful.

19. Safe European Home
A great, and somewhat overlooked, Clash song. Kind of a bridge between their earliest work and mid-career sound. My take-away - Jamaica: sun, palm-trees, weed, taxis. European home: zip. There's no contest really.

20. Porcelain Monkey
This may be the best song about Elvis. And, there’s just some really great writing too. "He had a little world / It was smaller than your hand" - what a great little summation of late-period King. And, "Left behind by the latest trends / Eating fried chicken with his regicidal friends." Pretty amazing. (Apparently, Warren Zevon saw a post-card of an interior shot of Graceland—with Elvis’ porcelain monkey prominently featured—which inspired this song.)

21. Dance Music
A great mini-portrait of an era’s social and political dynamics, this comes from The Mountain Goats most recent album, which is really fantastic. (There's also a really beautiful song about the late Reggae great Dennis Brown on the same album.)

22. Strychnine
The Sonics were a legendary Seattle (ok, Tacoma actually) band that was playing proto-grunge in the ‘60s. (After all these years, they are beginning to be discovered by the mainstream—one of there songs was used in a Range Rover ad recently.) This is one of their classics and it rocks.

23. Marilou Sous La Neige
I’m no French major but, if Marilou is sous la neige, that’s probably not good, non? Nonetheless, this is a very pretty song that nicely shows-off Serge’s distinctive style.

24. His Indie World
A great snapshot of mid-90s indie-rock. (When the alt-country phenomena took off, Mary Lou used to perform “His Alt-Country World” live, which was even better but seems impossible to find in recorded form.)
UPDATE: the song is actually called "His ND World"--ND as in No Depression--and it is available out there in cyberspace.

25. The Mixtape Song
Another band-litany song (Huey Louis??) from a local (Seattle) outfit, which seemed like a natural for this CD.

That's it. I hope you like it, and please let me know what you think.