Jukebox Upchuck #34

"It's not you, really, it's me."

Apologies for being MIA lately. The usual reasons: work has me working, my free time has been costly, and then there's this little thing known as an impending move. Posts will be sporadic for the next few weeks.

To make up for it, here's a massive jukebox upchuck full of favorite songs of late.

Dusty Springfield – "So Much Love"
I've been listening to so much Dusty In Memphis lately, ever since my trip to Louisville. (Must have been the "Southern" exposure.) That's her in the above pic.

M. Ward – "Headed for a Fall"
M. Ward (and a host of starlets) do this Jimmie Dale Gilmore song some serious justice on Ward's new E.P.

Karen Dalton – "In a Station"
Her cover of the Richard Manuel-penned classic from The Band. You really need to own Dalton's In My Own Time.

Skip James – "Illinois Blues"
I love the guitar playing of this Mississippian legend. I made this song the focal point of a mix I sent to a friend titled Illinoiseboy Blues.

Love – "Alone Again Or"
Oh, how I do love the string/horn arrangements in this song. This is easily the best song Bryan MacLean ever penned for Love. Anyone heard either of his demos records that Sundazed released?

Hank Thompson – "Rockin' in the Congo"
I just love the concept of one of the most popular country artists of the '50s recording a song like this. Thompson beat Jonathan Richman to the punch on this one.

Los Yaki – "Baila el Fredy"
You know how much I love my international garage rock, and this south-of-the-border cover of the classic Freddie & the Dreamers tune is no exception. This comes compliments of Listmaker and his most recent mix, which I was lucky enough to receive.

Surapon – "Ding Dong"
Speaking of Listmaker, I'm surprised that this nugget from the Thai Beat series didn't make it onto If You Want My Listmaker, Volume 3.

Jody Miller – "Queen of the House"
I hadn't heard this ode to the '50s in a long while. A blogger (I forget who) linked to the video for this, which was just hilarious. I'd post it, but I'm too lazy. It's probably on YouTube though.

Wreckless Eric – "Whole Wide World"
I have to agree with Listmaker: The fact that this was the lone song that Harold Crick could perform in Stranger Than Fiction was a head-scratcher, but it's still an incredibly catchy tune.

The Stranglers – "Peaches"
While we're on the topic of songs that played prominent roles in films, I still can not listen to this song without picturing the opening scene of Sexy Beast, where Ray Winstone's character is almost annihilated by a boulder. This is the song playing at that time, as we get to know Ray's tanned gut all too well.

The Lemon Pipers – "Jelly Jungle"
I picked this up in Louisville last month. These Cincinnati psych-poppers are best known for their hit single "Green Tambourine", but I found their follow-up LP to be stupendously stupid and to my liking.

Merle Haggard – "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive"
This is one of my favorite classic country cuts. God I love the lead guitar "solo". I used to spin this on a regular basis when I DJ'ed. I've been thinking about talking to Murph about a one-off Noiseboy gig sometime this summer, before half my friends leave town.

Papercuts – "Sandy"
This totally reminds me of the love affair I had with indie pop about eight years ago. I love the gentle, dreamy vibe and the Rocketship-esque organ. This is taken from their recent album, Can't Go Back, on Devendra Banhart's Gnomonsong label.

Jukebox Upchuck #33

Sorry for the delay, but it's that time of the year (NCAA) and I also just found out that a move is in my near future. So unfortunately, posts will be more sporadic.

I love just about everything that the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar sister labels release, and I'm anxious to get my hands on the new Odawas record, Raven and the White Night. Cheesy album titles aside, I'm in love with this song and its atmospheric, Ennio Morricone, spaghetti-western vibe. I doubt it'll bowl you over, so give it time to grow.

Odawas – "Alleluia"

Jukebox Upchuck #32

The Mops are widely considered the gold-standard of Japan's "Group Sounds" movement, which in lay terms was essentially Japan's attempt to copy the chart success of the American and British beat movements. You've probably heard The Mops' contribution to the second Nuggets box, "I Am Just a Mops," a catchy if simplistic rock and roll dirge. But the bulk of their 1967 album Psychedelic Sounds in Japan sounds nothing like that. Containing a mixture of covers sung in English and originals sung in Japanese, Psychedelic Sounds showcases an incredible band fully capable of holding their own with their overseas garage-psych counterparts. You can tell where -- in part -- the group drew their influence by the bands they chose to cover: Jefferson Airplane, The Animals, The Box Tops, and The Doors. But it's on their original material that you can really hear the garage'edelic influence, specifically when lead guitarist Masaru Hoshi cuts loose. (Check the Hendrix influence on "Sleep, Jesus," which was released two years after Psychedelic Sounds.) This shit just flips my wig.*

The Mops – "I Am Just a Mops"
The Mops – "Asamade Matenai"
The Mops – "The Letter"
The Mops – "Sleep, Jesus"

*Note: The Noiseboy believes in balding gracefully, and would never actually resort to wig-wearing.

Jukebox Upchuck #31

I've been asked before why I continue to dig deeper into the garage rock genre when it has already been excavated so thoroughly by the kind folks at Rhino, and the answer is, well, this...

Crystal Chandlier – "Suicidal Flowers"
Driving Stupid – "Horror Asparagus Stories"
Race Marbles – "Like a Dribbling Fram"
Adjeef the Poet – "Ieek, I'm a Freak"

All are taken from Pebbles, Vol. 3: The Acid Gallery.

Jukebox Upchuck #30

Pardon the absence, but I've been swamped with work and family and March basketball. I'll try to do a better job this week.

I'm a late-comer to the Numero Group record label. But two weekends ago, while in Louisville, I picked up the first in their Eccentric Soul series, The Capsoul Label. This collection mines the depths of the Columbus, Ohio, label's five-year run, which spans just a dozen seven inches released during the first half of the '70s. It's an exceptionally well-done reissue, and if you dig these highlights, then it's well worth your money.

Marion Black – "Who Knows"
Bill Moss – "Sock It to 'em Soul Brother"
Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr – "You Can't Blame Me"

Jukebox Upchuck #29

The Kinks are the most underrated rock band, in my mind. Sure, they've sold millions of records and recorded one of the most recognizable rock songs of all time. Yes, they singlehandedly spawned heavy metal and power-pop with a simple chord exchange and guitar tone. (Van Halen sure loves them!) And they're in rock's hall of fame. But still, people don't give them enough props. Still, people don't own every record they recorded from 1964-1971, as they do with The Beatles and The Stones. Still, we haven't found it necessary to idolize Ray Davies as we have done with Lennon, McCartney, Richards, and Jagger. And frankly, that's a shame.

I can only speculate as to the reasons why. It's true, The Kinks were a bit of an outsider band when The Beatles and Stones were at the height of their late-'60s popularity, largely thanks to Ray and his preference for intelligent, conceptual records, and songs with abstract lyrics that dealt with social issues and melancholy moods. Then, in the mid-'70s after several critical flops, the band did an about-face, reinventing themselves as a commercial hard-rock juggernaut. We tend to have lazy minds with selective memory, so we naturally gravitate toward "You Really Got Me" or Misfits-era arena rock, and don't give much thought to lesser hits (that are just as good) like "Tired of Waiting for You" or "Victoria" or "David Watts".

So to help correct that, here's a sampling of some of their lesser-known masterpieces from their brilliant period from 1966-1971. Do yourself a favor and investigate further, if you haven't already.

The Kinks – "I'm Not Like Everybody Else"
The Kinks – "Waterloo Sunset"
The Kinks – "Big Sky"
The Kinks – "Brainwashed"
The Kinks – "Get Back in Line"

If I had it to do over again...

I would have spent more time in my formative years listening to music that makes me smile, and less time with the doom and gloom.

(Cue The Meters, circa '74)

Jukebox Upchuck #28

You wouldn't necessarily know it from reading my blog on a regular basis, but I'm a sucker for The Magnetic Fields. Stephin Merritt is among the best pop songwriters of the past two decades -- if not the best. Plenty of people are already familiar with 69 Love Songs, but may not have explored his more electronic back catalog. The Charm of the Highway Strip, released in 1994, is his country concept record, and probably my favorite. For a change of pace, here's a couple tunes from that record...

The Magnetic Fields – "Born on a Train"
The Magnetic Fields – "Two Characters in Search of a Country Song"

Chairs are for sitting, vol. 3*

There has been much dispute over the origin of the chair. Some say the chair dates back to well before Christ; others contend that its origins can be traced back only several hundred years. This photo clearly shows that chairs have been around at least as long as cigarettes.

*Historical evidence that chairs are indeed for sitting.

If I had it to do over again...

I would have gone to see My Morning Jacket a couple more times on their 2004 tour for It Still Moves, one of my favorite records of the 2000s. Oh, how I long for the days when Jim James had a face full of hair. I just can't get into their new recordings; bring back lead guitarist Johnny Quaid!

Anyway, I'll be visiting MMJ's neck of the woods this weekend -- The 'Ville, Kentucky -- so no posts until Monday. Until then, let your hair down...

Jukebox Upchuck #27

Apparently, Charlie Louvin is going to play Bonnaroo this year, which surprises me as he turns 80 this July. He and his brother, Ira (long deceased), formed one of the best country gospel acts of their day. You'll recognize "The Christian Life," as Gram Parsons/The Byrds, among others, popularized it among the cool country set. For some fucking stupid reason, the Country Music Hall of Fame waited until 2001 to enshrine them. It's easy to hear where all sorts of followers may have gained inspiration from their recordings; the modern act that always pops into my mind first is The Handsome Family. Here's a couple tunes from their essential 1959 album, Satan Is Real.

The Louvin Brothers – "The Christian Life"
The Louvin Brothers – "Are You Afraid To Die"

Jukebox Upchuck #26

Pitchfork posted an mp3 today of Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal) doing an acoustic version of "Green Typewriters" by his old Elephant 6 mates, The Olivia Tremor Control. (You don't want to hear it, trust me.) But that got me thinking about OTC, one of my favorite unsung '90s bands. Here's a couple tunes from their superb 1996 debut, Music from the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle. The band was/is the brainchild of a pair of guys from rural Louisiana, Bill Doss and W. Cullen Hart, who later relocated to Athens. They received help on this album from Robert Schneider and Jeff Mangum, among others. I opted for a couple of the more accessible songs from the record, but its strong suit is really the 25-minute suite "Green Typewriters," which incorporates lengthy bouts of natural ambiance with a string of brief psychedelic segues and one killer theme song. Well worth checking out.

The Olivia Tremor Control – "Jumping Fences"
The Olivia Tremor Control – "No Growing (Exegesis)"

Jukebox Upchuck #25

Dungen's new album, Tio Bitar, is dropping on May 1 in the States. A few songs have already leaked, and the rockers sound dense and heavy, more so than just about anything on the spectacular Ta Det Lugnt. As usual, the record is sung in Swedish, so we don't have to worry about how corny the lyrics may in fact be. (Just a hunch; "Ta Det Lugnt", after all, translates to "Take it easy".) None of these songs are as immediately gripping as "Panda" or "Festival", as they each have a bit more prog in their DNA. That's not too surprising, as having seen Dungen live I can testify that at the group's core, they're a prog band. (And that's fine by me, something I wouldn't have necessarily agreed with two years ago, before, for example, I first heard Andy Votel's Vertigo Mixed.) May 1 can't get here soon enough...

Dungen – "Gör Det Nu"
Dungen – "Caroline Visar Vagen"
Dungen – "Du Ska Inte Tro Att Det Ordnar Sig"

Jukebox Upchuck #24

I've tried so many times to convince people that Chicago's Catfish Haven are worth their time that I've lost count. For the most part, I've failed. Whatever. I still dig 'em. They put on one of the best live performances you'll see from a trio fronted by an acoustic guitar. George Hunter fuses Joe Cocker with Sam Cooke in such an effortless way, it's disarming. So disarming, methinks, that it scares the bejesus out of most peeps. I've gone to Catfish Haven shows and witnessed Hunter lay it all on the line -- spewing sincere clichés as if they were cheaper by the dozen (just as the black soul brethren he cherishes once did before him). At these shows, white, typically snobbish indie kids look as if they're trapped in an uncomfortable half nelson, too dumbstruck and insecure to dance to a trio of white indie kids channeling black rhythm & blues. One can see their minds turning, scrambling to answer the question, "Where is my precious irony?" It's sad, really.* Ahem. /end rant, cue music\

Catfish Haven – "I Don't Worry"
Catfish Haven – "Let It Go"
Catfish Haven – "Down By Your Fire"

*Or, maybe they just need to be force fed some Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett?

Jukebox Upchuck #23

Here's today's tunes, from Soft Circle, who Pitchfork raved about today. I know little about Soft Circle -- I'm a lazy researcher, so shoot me -- but I found these two trippy-dippy songs to be good "work music," i.e. music to listen to at work while working.

Soft Circle – "Moon Oar Sunrise"
Soft Circle – "Shimmer"