Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29, 2009: The Clash - "Death or Glory"

25 Albums That Shaped My Life

The Clash
London Calling
Epic, 1979

I started listening to the radio station KJ104 religiously sometime between 7th and 8th grades. It was quite an education on punk and alternative rock. They played The Clash constantly. Usually it was "Rock the Casbah" or "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" - the mammoth singles from Combat Rock, which was the first Clash tape I bought (from the cutout section at the Plymouth Holiday Plus). I can't remember if The Clash or London Calling was purchased next. I do remember buying them around the same time, and I remember devouring both of them.

I'm choosing London Calling for this list because it has become my go-to answer for many years when I'm asked "What is your all time favorite record?"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 28, 2009: Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

25 Albums That Shaped My Life

DGC, 1991

It was the album that changed everything. Nevermind changed music for me, just like it did for so many of you. Hell, it changed the world.

I still remember the first time I heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I was in my bedroom, listening to KJ104 and reading comic books. I biked to Holiday Plus the next day to look through their tapes, but they didn't have it. It wasn't out yet. It came out the following Tuesday. My mom drove me to Down in the Valley in Golden Valley and I bought this funny tape with the naked baby on the cover. And it changed everything.

Friday, March 27, 2009

March 27, 2009: Public Enemy - "Welcome to the Terrordome"

25 Albums That Shaped My Life

Public Enemy

Fear of a Black Planet

Def Jam, 1990

I was introduced to Public Enemy and Fear of a Black Planet by my friend and neighbor Tommy, who lived across the street from me for a couple years. His family moved to Plymouth, Minnesota from Cincinnati. We hit it off immediately and were damn near inseparable until his family moved to Florida.

Tommy was unlike any of the other friends I had in my lily-white suburb. He idolized Bo Jackson and Ickey Woods and on occasion would proclaim, "I want to be black!" Before he got Fear of a Black Planet, my exposure to rap music was limited to the humorous (Beastie Boys) and poppy (MC Hammer) mainstream acts. Fear of a Black Planet was an eye-opener. At 12-13 years old, I was well on my way toward seeking rock music of substance, so I guess it makes sense that Chuck D's words had such a profound impact on me.

Tommy is now Tom. After losing track of him for about 15 years, he tracked me down on Myspace a couple of years ago. He is a stand-up comic in Los Angeles. He's bigger and hairier than I remember him, and I can only assume he wears sweatpants in public less frequently, but he's always been the funniest dude in the room. Thanks for the PE, Tom.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

March 26, 2009: Anthrax - "Antisocial"

25 Albums That Shaped My Life

State of Euphoria
Island/Megaforce, 1988

I was very close to selecting Def Leppard's Hysteria in this slot, seeing as how we're going in chronological order. I decided against it. Aside from the embarrassment of sending out a Def Leppard song to everyone, I simply felt in the end that my brief Def Leppard fixation at age 10 was only a part of my musical progression... not a landmark.

From Springsteen, I made my way through other '80s pop-rock (Huey Lewis, John Cougar Mellencamp), which led to Bon Jovi after Slippery When Wet exploded. From there, hair metal was a natural next step. I did love Hysteria, and from there the music kept getting heavier and/or raunchier. Poison followed Def Leppard. Then it was Mötley Crüe. Then Guns 'N Roses. Then Metallica.

When I hit Anthrax - probably around early 1989 - I found something that I really loved. First of all, they rocked hard. They played fast and loud, and that was all right by me. I think the real appeal was that they didn't seem to take themselves too seriously. Even at that young age, I had started to notice that the makeup and hair metal stuff was pretty peabrained. Metallica and Megadeth, meanwhile, seemed to be so serious and dark. Anthrax had their serious moments, but they were more likely to write songs about comic books or movies. Their look was genuine, too. Concerned neither with tattoos and leater nor the "all black" look, they were comfortable in their Vision Street Wear topped with a hockey jersey groove. I dug their humor and I dug their sincerity. I still do, even if I don't enjoy their music quite as much as I did back then.

Make no mistake, they were a metal band (and one of the best of 'em), but their acceptance and endorsement of rap and punk went a long way toward my own welcoming of those genres.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 25, 2009: Bruce Springsteen - "Born In the U.S.A."

25 Albums That Shaped My Life

Bruce Springsteen

Born In the U.S.A.

Columbia Records, 1984

My parents' 8-Tracks triggered my interest in music, but The Boss set me on the path to rock 'n' roll. Prior to 1984, I was really into the pop-country of the day. I have memories of watching Hee-Haw at our first house in St. Louis Park and playing Mom's Kenny Rogers, Kendalls, and Oak Ridge Boys tapes, but hearing "Born In the U.S.A." at age 7 closed the door on country music for me for the next dozen or so years.

Seven is an extremely impressionable age. Growing up in the middle class suburbs during the Reagan '80s, I was immediately drawn to the unforgettable synthesizer hook and anthemic chorus. Like many did (and still do), I interpreted the song as a proud national anthem. Obviously, at that age it wasn't really my fault. So many of the millions who made the song and album a blockbuster chose to ignore the verses while bellowing the chorus. I was simply too young to understand them.

Thankfully, there was so much more to love on the album beyond the misunderstood title track. I especially loved "I'm Goin' Down," "I'm On Fire," "Bobbie Jean," and of course, "Dancing in the Dark." I was about to turn into a rock 'n' roll machine. I began listening to WLOL and KQRS religiously and I kept wanting to rock harder... as you'll see in the days to come.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009: Joe Sun - "Old Flames (Can't Hold a Candle to You)"

25 Albums That Shaped My Life

Joe Sun
Old Flames (Can't Hold a Candle to You)
Ovation Records, 1978

When I last posted, about two
weeks ago, I promised that this new feature would be beginning shortly. A very busy schedule pushed it back a little further than anticipated, but here we are. The goal here is to showcase songs from the 25 albums that have had the biggest impact on my life. I'm going for total honesty, and baring all my musical skeletons. We begin at ground zero...

I was about two years old when I first discovered the stereo in the basement and my parents' collection of 8-Track tapes. By age three, I was obsessed with them. My mom will tell stories to anyone who will listen of how I would fall asleep while organizing and memorizing them (see the picture to prove it). My favorite was the 1978 debut from Rochester, Minnesota-born country singer Joe Sun, which I played so often that it drove my parents to hide the tape from me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 12, 2009: Neil Young - "Walk On"

I listened to On the Beach - my favorite Neil album - a few times earlier in the week, and today woke up with "Walk On" stuck in my head. It remained there the rest of the day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 11, 2009: Miss Alex White & The Red Orchestra - "Space and Time"

It's funny how one can be so diligent about a routine or behavior for so long, and then find it so hard to get back on the horse after one little slip off. That's my excuse for the long and unannounced Greatest Song of the Day hiatus.

Things have been busy. My nights have been full of record label work, tax preparation (finally done with that as of tonight), puppy walking and playing, and fantasy baseball draft preparation. Free time has been spent with my wife whenever possible. Most nights, I have the thought, "Damn, I need to get Song of the Day rolling again," but find myself unable to follow through.

Now I have new inspiration, though. If you're on Facebook, you have no doubt been privy to the "25 Random Things About Me" phenomenon, and all its spawn. One descendant of that trend is the "25 Albums That Changed My Life" chain. After a lot of thought, I have decided to do participate in that one. My catch is that I'm going to be revealing the list one at a time, in chronological order, on Greatest Song of the Day by showcasing a song from each of those 25 albums. Yes, there will be skeletons outed. Expect that to start no later than Friday. There are a couple of things that I need to track down digitally before I can begin.

In the meantime, enjoy the fine title track from Miss Alex White's excellent 2007 album on In the Red Records. My wife is always on the lookout for more "chicks who rock" and I keep meaning to have her give this record a spin. This is for you, Sweetie!

"Space and Time"

Friday, February 27, 2009

February 27, 2009: Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio - "Get the Chills"

This song comes from the Lost Classics Department. Phelps & company's 1999 album Blackbird was one of the new releases on the endcap when I started working at Oar Folkjokeopus. I knew that a handful of my friends were fans, so it was one of the first discs I checked out on the job. To this day, I maintain that it is one of the overlooked masterpieces of '90s indie-rock. I have not been able to make myself feel anything more than ambivalence toward the rest of Phelps' catalog, but this one is a must-own.

"Get the Chills"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February 26, 2009: Leonard Cohen - "If It Be Your Will"

Leonard Cohen is coming to town. If I ever compiled a list of favorite living artists who I would probably never get a chance to see live, he would be right near the top.

I've been a fan of Cohen since before I was thirteen years old. For my friend Chris' 13th birthday (which was about six weeks before mine), after a day of intense comic book shopping, his parents allowed the two of us to see the R-rated Pump Up the Volume in the theater. It was pretty badass... an angst-ridden, music-driven teen drama with boobs, and we got to see it! Cohen's music was a focal point of the film. His original version of "Everybody Knows" served as the opening song to Christian Slater's pirate radio show. "If It Be Your Will" made a lone appearance during a key scene late in the movie.

Pump Up the Volume introduced me to a lot of great music at a pretty young age. I was initially crushed when Leonard Cohen failed to appear on the soundtrack CD (the version of "Everybody Knows" on there was Concrete Blonde's cover), but that disc was my first exposure to the Pixies, Sonic Youth, Bad Brains and Henry Rollins. And though they didn't appear on the soundtrack either, the movie also introduced me to the Descendents. My musical tastes were progressing rapidly. In the span of about a year, I had moved from pop hair-metal to Metallica and Anthrax. I had just started listening to KJ104 and getting into the Red Hot Chili Peppers. All those punk and college-rock bands from Pump Up the Volume easily appealed to me. I can't quite figure out why Cohen had such an impact. Whatever the reason, I am grateful.

Now he's coming to the Orpheum Theater and I'm going to skip it. Tickets are $80-$250. That's not in the budget.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February 25, 2009: Robyn Hitchcock - "Your Head Here"

One of my most pleasant musical surprises so far in 2009 is Robyn Hitchcock's outstanding new album Goodnight Oslo. It does not come as a surprise that it's a good album, as Hitchcock has always been good. He has, however, always been a guy who I have enjoyed listening to when I hear him, but for some reason have never gone out of my way to study his post-Soft Boys catalog. Well... it looks like I have a new project.

"Your Head Here"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February 24, 2009: The "5" Royales - "The Slummer the Slum"

Last month, my boss Mark recommended that I pick up the new issue of The Oxford American. It's the annual music issue, and being the 10th anniversary of the music issue, it includes two fantastic CDs of southern music. I finally got around to picking it up last weekend, and I have been listening to the discs non-stop.

My favorite song on the CDs is this cut from the "5" Royales. I had already owned a CD and an LP from the "5" Royales, but had never heard this landmark song. Just listen to the squawkin' guitar!

The magazine is great, the CDs are great... head down to your local bookstore or magazine stand now to pick this up. It will be the best $10 you'll spend all month.

"The Slummer The Slum"

Monday, February 23, 2009

February 23, 2009: The Flaming Stars - "You Don't Always Want What You Get"

Hey, everybody! The Greatest Song of the Day is back! Thanks to some dude on ebay, I have a new power cord for my computer (at a fraction of the cost of a Dell factory replacement) and am ready to roll. I won't lie to you, the week off from doing this was nice. It was nice to hear from so many of you, concerned that this was over. Far from it, though. I feel refreshed. After three months of posting one song per day, everyday, there were times where it started to feel like a chore. I have a long mental list of songs or bands that I can not believe I haven't already selected. Without further adieu, we'll get started with the band at the top of that list.

For many years, The Flaming Stars have held the title "Dan's Favorite Active Band." I've been known to dump other titles on them, too... "Best Band That Nobody In North America Has Ever Heard" and the more simplified "Best Band In The World" among them. Since 1995, they've been plugging away in obscurity, one great album after another. If I had to choose one of their albums as my favorite, I think I would go with 2000's A Walk on the Wired Side. "You Don't Always Want What You Get" is one of the standouts from that LP and, in a perfect world, would be widely recognized as one of the great rock songs of this decade.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

February 15, 2009: The Temptations - "Cloud Nine"

Sweet lord, I love the Temptations. Sorry about the sporadic posting these last few days. The power cord on my laptop died. I'm borrowing my mom's computer for a few days while I wait for the new one to arrive. We should be back to normal by the end of the week.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

February 14, 2009: Sam Cooke - "Cupid"

What? You thought it was going to be "Girls L.G.B.N.A.F." by Ice-T?

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

Friday, February 13, 2009

February 13, 2009: Television - "Venus"

The song that was in my head at the beginning of the day was actually the title track to Television's 1977 debut Marquee Moon. I didn't want to do a ten-minute Song of the Day, though, so after several listens to the album today, I have decided that my other favorite song on the record gets the honor. Timely, too... Venus... Roman goddess of love... Valentine's Day tomorrow...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 12, 2009: Sleater-Kinney - "What's Mine Is Yours"

In 2005, Sleater-Kinney left their longtime record label Kill Rock Stars for the larger Sub Pop Records and hired renowned producer Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Low) to record what would become their final album, The Woods.

While there was some speculation that Fridmann's typical polished and layered sound would take over, thus alienating longtime S-K fans, what the fans actually got was an entirely different and almost completely unexpected type of alienation.

For The Woods, Sleater-Kinney turned the volume up to 11, so to speak. Through a wall of distortion and Janet Weiss' thunderous drumming came the ballsiest record of the year. It was definitely hated by many. I love it. It was my favorite album of 2005. I love it when a band evolves.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February 11, 2009: Alejandro Escovedo - "Swallows of San Juan"

It happens every year. There's always one album that I hear and think, "Hey, that's pretty good," but for whatever reason it doesn't hit heavy rotation status on my stereo. Then, shortly after the new year, I'm prompted to dig the album out again and it hits me in a whole new way. I'll declare it a masterpiece and it will be my most listened to album of the year, the year after it came out. Last year, as I've mentioned before on this blog, that album was Steve Earle's Washington Square Serenade.

Alejandro Escovedo's Real Animal is well on its way to being that album for 2009. It has it all. At 58 years old, Alejandro still rocks twice as hard as kids a third of his age, and the ballads (such as "Swallows of San Juan") are as gorgeous as ever. Real Animal is quite possibly the pinnacle of Alejandro's storied career.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February 10, 2009: Thunder In the Valley - "Motherless Children"

Last month, the dearly departed Thunder In the Valley decided to offer their unreleased last album as a free download. It was recorded in Philadelphia with Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man). Some of the songs appeared on their Where Oh Where Oh Where EP, but the rest of 'em never saw the light of day during the band's active lifespan. It's a shame, too, because... wow... these boys were up to something special.

Download the Song of the Day

(Click on the picture to download the album.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

February 9, 2009: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - "Please Read the Letter"

I don't usually pay much attention to the Grammys, and this year was no exception. My wife and I spent Sunday night giving the dog a bath and watching The Wire on DVD. I was completely oblivious to the fact that the Grammys were taking place that night.

Well after midnight, while checking Twins updates on the Star Tribune's website, I noticed a link in the "Most Read Stories" sidebar that read "Plant, Krauss dominate Grammys." I smiled. I don't give much credibility to those awards, but it's still nice on those rare occasions when they get it right.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

February 8, 2009: Rolling Stones - "Beast of Burden"

At work today, I was asked, "What's the best Stones album?"

Without blinking, I confidently answered, "Exile on Main Street," which has always been my personal favorite.

The young lady then asked me, "What's your favorite song of theirs?"

That question was not such an easy one to answer. I don't know if "Beast of Burden" is my definite choice, but it sounds really freakin' good at this moment!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February 7, 2009: The Grifters - "Covered With Flies"

It's funny how the hype machine can swallow some bands and bury them like a time capsule. I hadn't thought about the Grifters for a long, long time until I saw their name in print today. They really were a great band, but almost a decade after their break-up, they seem completey forgotten. Here's to hoping I won't forget them again...


Friday, February 6, 2009

February 6, 2009: Thin Lizzy - "For Those Who Love to Live"

"For Those Who Love to Live" is another all-time favorite for me. I think it's one of the most underrated rock songs, and it is definitely the most under-appreciated Thin Lizzy jam.

If your exposure to Thin Lizzy does not extend further than "The Boys Are Back In Town" and "Jailbreak," do yourself a favor and pick up their 1975 album Fighting. While I do love Jailbreak, their 1976 breakthrough, Fighting is the album that I spin over and over again.

February 5, 2009: Rufus Thomas - "Walking the Dog"

Yes, I know the song is about a dance, but I've learned that I have a tendency to interpret titles literally when selecting the Song of the Day. The past two days have been perfect dog-walking weather, even despite all the unmelted ice sheets passing for sidewalks in my neighborhood. Sophie has been a very happy puppy.

February 4, 2009: The Fall - "Couldn't Get Ahead"

This song, more than just about any other I can think of, sums up how I have felt for the last few days. Things have been busy at work with our remodeling and reorganization. Things have been busy for my record label, working on three new releases simultaneously. And, thanks in part to a very energetic puppy, as well as my natural tendency to procrastinate and then do everything at once, things have been busy at home. It's exhilarating and exhausting.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February 3, 2009: The Clean - "Anything Could Happen"

The last few days have been pretty busy and exciting at Treehouse Records (my place of employment).

Yesterday, Mark Olson and Gary Louris - the former frontmen of the Jayhawks - gave a fanastic in-store performance. It got me thinking about my favorite in-stores that we've done over the years, and one of those favorites would have the be The Clean.

"Anything Could Happen" is also an appropriate song of the day because this morning we completed a bold move that would have been difficult to imagine a few years ago. After removing one of our CD racks at the end of last week, six LP browser racks were hauled up from the basement and two rows of shelving for vinyl was added to our floor. My boss Mark joked about "this new analog age" yesterday. Indeed, vinyl is back!

Monday, February 2, 2009

February 2, 2009: The Jam - "Going Underground"

In case you hadn't heard, the groundhog saw his shadow today.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February 1, 2009: The Steelers - "Get It From the Bottom"

This wonderful single from Chicago soul group The Steelers is another song that was introduced to me by the Kent's Cellar of Soul compilation CD (which has previously been represented on Song of the Day by Homer Banks, back in November). The disc really is essential for anyone with an interest in great and relatively obscure '60s soul.

And, of course, it is today's Song of the Day because it is by a group who shares it's name with today's Super Bowl champions.

I have always loved the Pittsburgh Steelers. While my relationship with my hometown Minnesota Vikings has been admittedly fair-weather over my lifetime, I have always been fascinated by the Steelers. I think this fascination must have started when I was about four years old.

In 1980, Coca Cola ran this classic commercial of Pittsburgh's Mean Joe Greene being offered a bottle of Coke by a young fan, and returning the favor by throwing the kid his jersey. The following year, building on the massive success of that ad, Coke introduced a new promotion that featured vinyl bottle caps of various NFL stars. Each one was grey with a black headshot of the player. It was underneath the actual bottle cap, so every time you opened a bottle of Coke, you would peel this collectible from the cap. The deal was that once you collected all the different caps, you could send them in and receive your very own Mean Joe replica jersey. My whole family and extended family was obsessed with this over 1981, and my Mean Joe jersey became my first sports jersey.

Anyway, over the years the Steelers have been a model of consistency. They have employed only three different head coaches over the last 40 years, and each one has now won a Super Bowl. They have been owned by the Rooney family since their inception in 1933 (and owner Dan Rooney is one of the most philanthropic professional sports owners of all time). They now have more Super Bowl titles than any other team, and they have constantly personified their city more than any other team in any other sport -- a blue-collar team for a blue-collar town.

Yes, tonight may have showcased the finest Super Bowl I have ever watched. Needless to say, I am thrilled with the result.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

January 31, 2009: La Peste - "Better Off Dead"

Toward the end of my DJ gigs, while I'm flipping through the records that I brought but have not yet played, I will usually find that I don't have enough time left to play everything I want. In most cases, I simply never found the perfect place in the set to slide in the particular song that I planned on rocking.

The best example from Friday night is the classic single of the short-lived '70s Boston punk band La Peste.

Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30, 2009: Rocket From the Crypt - "Guilt Free"

Tonight is my monthy DJ night at the King and I Thai, and given the kick I was on earlier this week, I have decided that I'm going to devote at least an hour of tonight's set to my favorite '90s indie rock.

Therefore, what better choice for Greatest Song of the Day than the band who inspired me to get a tattoo of their logo on my leg the week of my 18th birthday?

Tonight's music runs from 10 PM until 2 AM. If you're in the Twin Cities and looking for a cool place to hang out tonight, please stop by!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

January 29, 2009: The Exploding Hearts - "I'm a Pretender"

The Exploding Hearts' debut album Guitar Romantic came out in early 2003. I was in love. I was listening almost exclusively to The Jam, Buzzcocks, early Elvis Costello, and The Only Ones at the time, and was blown away by this band of early twenty-somethings who had absolutely nailed the excitement and catchiness of that late '70s punk/power-pop sound.

Three months later, the rest of the world knew about the Exploding Hearts, but mostly through the most horrible possible circumstance. Reportedly on the way home to Portland from a showcase performance for Lookout Records, their van flipped near Eugene, Oregon. Three of the four Exploding Hearts died.

Great career move, though. The CD, which had been collecting dust for three months as my "employee pick" at Treehouse, became impossible to keep in stock. The vinyl was originally released only on a German label called Screaming Apple Records. I was so obsessed with the album that I purchased the only copy I could find on for about $35, before the accident. After the tragedy, I saw copies going on ebay for $300 each. I never sold mine, and it has now been reissued on vinyl domestically. One of those domestic reissues came in used to the store on Wednesday, prompting me to throw it on the turntable. I probably had not listened to the album for about a year. Still great.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January 28, 2009: Crooked Fingers - "Destroyer"

Wednesday's song is dedicated to my puppy Sophie, who decided that she was going to spend her morning eating our kitchen floor. Bad girl!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 27, 2009: Joy Division - "Interzone"

Sometimes a song will randomly pop into my head in the morning and stay there all day. On those days, I don't question it... I call it the Greatest Song of the Day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

January 26, 2009: Kurtis Blow - "The Breaks"

I lost my iPod on Saturday. I think it fell out of my jacket pocket at some point. It probably landed in the snow somewhere. I didn't notice it was gone until Sunday afternoon, and I started freaking out.

I still haven't found it, and it sucks because I've only had it for a few months and I can't afford to keep losing expensive toys. I don't know, maybe God is trying to tell me that all this fancy new technology is still no substitute for listening to an album on a kickass stereo.

Anyway, I stomped around for a while. I was in a bad mood for a while. Then I accepted there was nothing more I could do. Maybe it will turn up, but it's probably gone and there's nothing I can do. It's just a thing. An expensive thing, but just a thing.

These are the breaks.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 25, 2009: Shudder to Think - "Red House"

Today's song is sort of a sequel to yesterday's Jawbox selection, continuing my '90s rock nostalgia weekend. As I'm sure many do, I closely associate Shudder to Think and Jawbox. After all, they were the only two bands to have ever left Dischord Records for a major label. Plus, original Jawbox drummer Adam Wade wound up with Shudder to Think after leaving the former.

While Jawbox's bombastic and fairly straight-forward sound easily appealed to my teenage sensibilities, though, Shudder to Think was a real challenge. I bought their albums because I bought everything that was on Dischord, and because I had some influential older friends who sang their praises. Their abstract post-rock riffs combined with frontman Craig Wedren's eccentric and theatrical vocals were jarring, to say the least.

I tried very hard to convince myself of their greatness, but I don't think I bought it until I finally saw them live. That was about 15 years ago. Wedren had a shaved-head, black goatee, and leather pants, and was singing this music to a pretty masculine crowd. I bought a t-shirt there, that I still have and occasionally wear. Shudder to Think was a gateway for my acceptance and eventual love of a lot of music that leaned on the adventurous side of the rock pendulum. While they certainly had their share of rabid fans, it's unfortunate that their name rarely seems to surface these days.

<a href="">Shudder To Think - Red House</a>

Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 24, 2009: Jawbox - "Savory"

I have been thinking about devoting one of my future DJ nights to '90s indie rock. After all, that's the music that got me through those trying teenage years. It's kind of funny how as I've gotten older and have grown increasingly bored with new music, and have thus found excitement in discovering music from the '60s and '70s and earlier, I have also managed to lose touch with my own musical roots.

For me, any conversation on '90s indie rock has to include Jawbox. "Savory" was their signature song and it would definitely be on the list of my 10 or 15 favorite songs of the decade, if I were to make such a list.

Friday, January 23, 2009

January 23, 2009: The Dexateens - "Red Dust Rising"

Sorry for the late post tonight. It was a Heart of a Champion-oriented evening for me. After a game of boot hockey, I headed down to the 7th Street Entry to catch The Evening Rig. After the show, I was talking about all sorts of stuff with Brian from Chooglin'. One of the things we talked about was the awesomeness of The Dexateens.

One of the releases I have slated for this year is a split single between The Dexateens and Chooglin', and I can't wait to hear what these boys give us. They're from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. If anyone wants to ask me who the most underrated band in the country is (go ahead... ask me), I'm gonna say The Dexateens.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

January 22, 2009: The Undertones - "Teenage Kicks"

Not much to say about this one, except that it's one of my all-time favorites and one of the greatest pop songs ever composed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21, 2009: Nina Simone - "Feeling Good"

Sorry, I just can't shake the good vibes.

As for the accompanying video, it's a promo video from season four of Six Feet Under. It had nothing to do with my choice for Song of the Day, but I found it when scouring for a video, and now I feel ever better! (And, of course, I now crave another run of Six Feet Under).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009: Steve Earle - "The Revolution Starts Now"

I have waited so long for this day. Now that it is here, I am overcome with emotion. I worry that my expectations are too high. I try to remind myself that no single man can change everything. We all must be the solution. We all must do our part. I will try to do mine. For I am proud to be an American.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19, 2009: Public Enemy - "By the Time I Get to Arizona"

Chuck D will always speak his mind, and I love him for it. Former Arizona governor Fife Symington took office in 1991 and refused to recognize Martin Luther King Day as an official holiday. So, Public Enemy wrote a protest song and made a video with some not-so-subtle depictions of an assassination orchestration aimed at the governor. Hardly in the spirit of Dr. King, but hey... Chuck was fired up.

All irony aside, "By the Time I Get to Arizona" is a great song. It's a totally dope beat built on a Mandrill sample and Chuck D's flow is in top form.

Happy birthday, Dr. King. Thank you for your dream. Thank you for so much.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January 18, 2009: The Baseball Project - "Gratitude (For Curt Flood)"

Today would have been Curt Flood's 71st birthday.

I had long been fascinated with Flood's story, but did not fully comprehend it until I started reading Brad Snyder's biography A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports.

In a nutshell, until 1975 Major League Baseball's reserve clause tied ballplayers to the teams that originally drafted or sign them. They could be traded at will by the teams, but could not leave on their own as long as the team offered them a contract. When Flood was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies following the 1969 season, he received a $100,000 contract "offer" from the Phillies - extremely generous for the era. He refused to sign it. As one of the elite ballplayers of the '60s, he believed that after his contract had expired he should have the freedom of any other American - to work for and live where he choosed.

Flood ultimately sued Major League Baseball over the reserve clause, charging that it violated federal antitrust laws. At the peak of his career, the three-time All Star and seven-time Gold Glove Winner sat out the entire 1970 season as the case went to the Supreme Court. He lost the case, but laid the groundwork for the overthrow of the reserve clause five years later.

Now, onto the Baseball Project. They are an all-star band made up of Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate), Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows), Peter Buck (R.E.M.), and Linda Pitmon. All the songs are about our national pasttime.

As someone who's passion for music is exceeded only by my obsession with baseball, I was skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to it, though. The songs are sharp, funny, even educational. Most importantly to me, they were accurate. These folks know their baseball.

My favorite cut on the album is "Gratitude (For Curt Flood)," as much a diatribe against the selfishness of the modern athlete as it is a tribute to Flood.

Gratitude (For Curt Flood) - The Baseball Project
Become a fan of Curt Flood on Facebook! (Yeah, I created the page)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January 17, 2009: The Four Tops - "Standing In the Shadows of Love"

It's my favorite Four Tops song, and one of my very favorite Motown songs. It randomly got stuck in my head early this afternoon, and stayed there all day.