put on your headphones, it’s monday and time for another weekly playlist. this time around, i bet the majority of you, my blog readers, will like roughly 10 songs on this playlist. that’s 50% and that’s not too bad. as always, leave a comment telling me what you’re listening to. you’ll find the playlist widget at the bottom of the post, just before the comments section. also as always, if you like the tracks, i encourage you to support the artist and buy the music via your favorite method.
you’ll find weekly playlist #3 after the jump…
01. “chinatown” by destroyer – from the album kaputt this one starts off like a james taylor song from the 80s (compliment) and only gets better from there. los angeles has about the worst chinatown in the world, but there’s this rad restaurant/bar called hop louie where i’ve hung out with my friends several times. i remember once watching the mlb playoffs in this place while johnny cash played on the jukebox. i think it was the year the red sox won their first world series in like, forever.
02. “the ghost” by alpine decline – from the album, alpine decline – i know nothing about this band, and i have no clue why i bought the record (probably on an endcap at amoeba or something). anyway, this song started playing the other day. i was in kitchen making frosting for some cupcakes that brooke was building and i was like, “can you keep an eye on the mixer for a second? i need to figure out what this song is.” i like songs about ghosts. and this one is really great.
03. “life of love” by callers – from the album, life of love – let’s slow things down a bit here…you will love this woman’s voice. it’s one of those voices that sounds so lovely that you don’t give a shit what she’s singing about, which is good because i don’t understand a word of this song after the first line. i kinda want this lady sitting in my passenger seat at all times, just in case i ever get pulled over for speeding. i’d roll down the window, she’d start singing to the cop and the cop would be like, “now that’s a siren. on your way, sir.”
04. “bitter beauty” by jason collett from the album, pony tricks – i love when an artist reimagines their own work and somehow manages to make the subsequent attempt even better than the original. i suppose it’s a bit like continuously revising one’s writing, but it seems so rare with music (at least outside of the live setting). like this song. i really loved the first version of the song, but to hear the second one slowed down and all pretty like this? well, it warmed up the leftover indian food i’m eating for lunch (no microwave necessary).
05. “crash deconstructed” by eluvium – from the ep, the motion makes me last – do you like piano music? yeah. so do i. you can’t go wrong with this song.
06. “you girls smoke cigarettes?” by no joy – from the album, ghost blonde – the title reminds me of when i used to walk to school in junior high. i’d cut through a bunch of backyards to shave 5 minutes off my walk. well, there was a line of really tall arborvitae trees that could hide many secrets, and in between them was the place where most of the neighborhood kids smoked their first cigarette. well one day i was on my way to school and i saw this girl i had a major crush on, standing with the bad boys in the neighborhood, smoking away. i was scared that they were going to beat me up or something (when you’re a junior high kid, your peers seem rather menacing when they’re holding a cigarette), so i pretended that i suddenly remembered that i’d forgotten something. you know, like i put my index finger up in the air and had a look of surprise on my face that clearly indicated to them that i had a reason to turn around. so i ran back to the street and took the long way to school. i was late for class that day. oh. about the song. i bet molly would have loved a song like this back then. now she probably loves pop music.
07. “electroconvulsive shock” by peter broderick – from the album falling from trees – this song is much more pleasant than the title implies. i use this record to help visiting babies get to sleep. that’s not to imply that it’s boring or anything. it just means that it appeals to everyone.
08. “a leaving song” by broken records – from the album, let me come home – i think if these guys had their songs played on the radio, they’d be way famous. then the lead singer would end up marrying some actress with a name we all recognize, his songs would suffer and i’d be like, “i remember when that guy wrote great songs.” let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
09. soup by chicago odense ensemble – from the album, chicago odense ensemble – this group is made up of some of my all-time favorite modern jazz musicians. the cornet player, rob mazurek is one of the best horn blowers around (he’s also one hell of a visual artist) and jeff parker? he plays the guitar better than just about anyone. one time i did a phone interview with jeff for this music magazine and when i went back to transcribe the thing, the tape was blank. it was an awful moment. i had to call the editor and tell him what happened. he didn’t yell at me or even seem that pissed, but i’m sure he wanted me dead afterward. the magazine had previously published three record reviews i’d written, but after fucking up that interview, well, that was the end of my “writing career.” i wasn’t getting paid or anything, so i only felt bad that i’d wasted mr. parker’s time. it was a great interview though. deep, thought-provoking questions that i’m sure he’d never been asked before (that should be read with a sarcastic sneer).
10. “wake up your saints” by the national – from the album, “high violet (expanded edition) – you may have heard of this band. i wish i could sing like this guy. one time i went to see them at the troubadour here in los angeles with my friend, peter. they were opening for another band that we were both really into at the time. i had been listening the national for a few years and tried to convince peter to get there in time to see the opener (something he is loathe to do). somehow i got him there early and we took a seat at the bar (the backside so we could see the stage) and listened in amazement to how awesome these guys were live. we had a fair number of beers in us when the band we were there to see actually arrived on stage. they weren’t even half way through their set when we got up and left. that band? we don’t even listen to them anymore. but the national…a favorite for both peter and me.
11. “bad time” by the jayhawks – from the album, tomorrow the green grass (legacy edition) – a cover of a grand funk railroad song. i used to love the jayhawks back in high school. my friend, rachel got me into them during a party at her house. she was like, “these guys are from minneapolis. you will love them.” she was right. i will forever be indebted to her for that. this record just got expanded and rereleased in the early part of 2011, which is why it’s back on my radar. it should be on yours, too.
12. “commercial potential” by phil manley – from the album, life coach – this guy’s in a band called trans am. this song is way different than most of his stuff with that other band. but listen to that guitar work and you’ll swoon.
13. “all i want” by lcd soundsystem – from the album, this is happening – who knew james murphy had such a beautiful voice? i did. but i’d kinda forgotten until i heard this song when it came out last year. the ultimate hipster band, they’re set to end their run sometime this year. if i was a hipster i’d be like, “good” but i’m not, so when i heard the news i was like, “damn, that sucks.”
14. “truth” by balmorhea – from the album, all is wild, all is silent – lots of piano-driven music on this playlist. this song sounds so ominous. i think this should be playing over a video of a bunch of trees being clearcut or something. you would hear this and immediately give money to stop the destruction of those trees. and we’d have balmorhea to thank for that.
15. “chinatown” by wild nothing – from the album, gemini – i guess i should have a whole playlist for songs called chinatown. it got me wondering…how many songs in my library include the word, “chinatown” in the title? the answer to that question is 6. that sounds like a lot, but i currently have 56,402 songs in my itunes library, so 6 is almost insignificant. this song though, is far from insignificant.
16. “yesterdays tomorrows” by tindersticks – from the album, the hungry saw – a long time favorite of mine. i hadn’t listened to them in a few months, then on friday i was at this going away/st. patrick’s day party at a loft on skid row and i ran into my friend, joe. we got to talking about the time we saw tindersticks at the music box theater in hollywood, and how awesome the show was. and he was like, “do you remember that guy who was causing a scene?” and i was like, “yeah, but he was causing a scene because he took some drunk lady’s seat and she was pissed at him so they started screaming at each other and then one of her boobs came out of her shirt and they both got kicked out by security, only to be let back in, and fight some more. then the dude threatened to fight some guy by the bar and that was the end.” we just shook our heads. i mean, this band is so wonderful…the music they play has the kind of sophistication that was so lacking in those two morons. in fact, the band is so sophisticated that chairs were brought in and lined up on the ground level of the venue (a place that is usually an open area for people to stand/pogo/dance/nod their heads) joe and i both agreed that show was only slightly marred by the stupid behavior of the drunkards, and that it was still one of the best shows we’d ever seen.
17. “portland” by middle brother – from the album, middle brother – i got this record by accident (i ordered something else and the label accidentally shipped me this) and was pleasantly surprised when i heard this song, a cover of a b-side by the replacements. this version is pretty great, except middle brother missed the most important part of the song…the line, “portland, we’re sorry” that ends the song as it fades out.
18. “portland” by the replacements – from the album, nothing for all (disc 1) – so i had to include the original. apparently this song was an apology to the city of portland because of a particularly bad live show that the the notoriously drunk and belligerent replacements had performed in the city (so the story goes), so leaving out that last line is critical, no matter how beautiful you make the song sound. side note #1 – if those two drunkards from the tindersticks show had pulled that shit at a replacements show, no one would have cared because it would have been the tamest thing going on. side note #2 – the lead singer, paul westerberg, is one of brooke’s favorites.
19. “runner ups” by kurt vile – from the album, smoke ring for my halo – my friend, sara jensen lives on an island, makes pretty things and has had the strangest life of anyone i know. she also knows some stuff about music. she told me about this guy a couple of years ago. this song is off of his new album, and it’s really great. i love that the guitar dominates the song.
20. “infra 3″ by max richter – from the album, infra – one last piano song for you.