Wednesday, May 31, 2006


The Q Magazine Best of 86/06 Compilation has been well posted. It features the Editors' version of Orange Crush, Franz Ferdinand's take on What Are You Waiting For, and the track that led hordes of teenie-boppers to the mag racks: the Sugababes' cover of Arctic Monkeys' I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.

These two tracks are the reasons I've got the comp in heavy rotation:

Richard Hawley - Some Candy Talking (Jesus and Mary Chain) (mp3)
Nick Cave - Disco 2000 (Pulp) (mp3)

Call me crazy, but I prefer Richard Hawley's version to the original Jesus and Mary Chain song. It's more sinister. You hear the longing in his voice, and he convinces you that he relishes his subject. You believe him.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

PJ Harvey, Early FM Performances

What did you think of the new PJ Harvey DVD? If you saw it, I assume you're a fan, and if you're a fan, you probably love it, and you might already have these live songs, all of them among my favorite PJ Harvey tunes.

PJ Harvey - Live on 99.1 WHFS Just Passin' Thru, Bethesda, MD 12-2-1992 (mp3s):
Dress (acoustic)
Highway 61 Revisited (acoustic) (Dylan cover)

PJ Harvey - Live on 88.5 WXPN World Cafe, Philadelphia, 2-22-1995 (mp3s):
Meet Ze Monsta
C'Mon Billy
The Dancer

Friday, May 26, 2006

Love and Dancing for the Headbanger

This tender "love" tune runs a little long for a Coachwhips song, clocking in at a whopping 2:12:

Guess I'm Falling In Love (The Velvets)(mp3)

And here's their "dance" song, which lasts less than two minutes, because at that point you collapse on the floor.

Mid-Tempo Violent Dancer (mp3)

Own the Coachwhips' farewell disc, Double Death


...maybe this way they won't notice the song...

The two craptastic songs that American Idol 5 finalists Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee performed Tuesday night were, unbelievably, the best two songs in a pool of 150 possibilities...

Taylor’s first single, “Do I Make You Proud,” was written by Tracy Ackerman, while Harry Sommerdahl, Hanne Sorvag, and Tim Baxter wrote “My Destiny.” All five deserve eternal scorn and shame, or at least membership in the Diane Warren Hall of Mediocre Pop Songs.


It took 3 people to write that hallmark card of a song for Mcphee? Flabbergasting. My dear Katharine, you were done wrong.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Ditty Bops, Live on KCRW, 5-24-2006

This is how The Ditty Bops roll.

The Ditty Bops performed an album's worth of songs for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic yesterday. Load these up on the iPod along with Moon on the Freeway, strap it on, and mount your non-motorized two-wheeler, because you're going for a ride with The Ditty Bops on their cross-country bicycle tour. They discuss the tour in their interview with Nic Harcourt.

The Ditty Bops, Live on KCRW, 5-24-2006 (mp3s):

Moon Over The Freeway
It's The Girl (Cover Of Rogers Sisters)
Growing Upside Down
Aluminum Can
It's A Shame
In The City
Nosy Neighbor
Walk Or Ride
Your Head's Too Big

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Going to That City

Sister O.M. Terrell looks like a sweet old lady, but plays like she sold her soul.

These gospel songs are all spirit and no polish. Just what you needed after hearing those two godawful American Idol closing songs last night. That, or self-immolation.

Sister O.M. Terrell - Life is a Problem (mp3)
Sister O.M. Terrell - I'm Going to That City (mp3)
Two Gospel Keys - Every Man Got to Lay Down and Die (mp3)

From Country Gospel, 1946-1953

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Heironymus Bosch is dead, too.

When I got my Mae Shi DVD, Lock the Skull, Load the Gun, in the mail, I wondered what kind of videos would go with their spastic basement rock. The answer? Spastic videos.

According to their e-card,

They ask every visually-minded friend they’ve made in the past decade to direct a video. The magic begins. Burn My Eye creator Virgil Porter and On/On Switch head honcho Dan Belyusar bring "Takoma the Dolphin is AWOL" to life using stop motion and a bathtub full of toys. Pat McHale turns "Body 2" into an animated Maurice Sendak-inspired werewolf story. Chris Levitus weaves "One Mississippi" into a live-action futuro-Renaissance fairytale of botched suicide. Somehow, everyone gets on the same page, and a strange hour-long tapestry is woven. There are ballerinas, motorcycle goths, Help!-era Richard Lester goofiness, and lots of monsters – prehistoric birds, vampires, wolfmen, serial killers, haunted bunnies, hungry cartoon dogs and killer bats. There were 33 tracks on Terrorbird and there are 32 videos collected here...

Check out the madness: there are 4 videos streaming on their e-card.

And here's some mp3 madness, from Terrorbird:

Chop 2
Heironymus Bosch is a Dead Man

John Ritter Died.

Last year, NPR named three albums the Best New Music of 2005: LCD Soundsystem, Innaway, and Don Lennon's Routine.

NPR Reviewer John Brady said, "Lennon’s a clever, understated conversationalist who gives us a wry account of his likes and dislikes, obsessions and aversions. It helps that he has a great ear for a pop hook and a light but sure hand with a melody."

That's great, but Lennon had me at "John Ritter died."...He had me at "John Ritter died." The only other person who could start a song with this verse, and turn it into what might be a penetrating song that questions the meaning of a life's work, is Lou Reed.

From Last Comic Standing (mp3):

John Ritter died
Two days ago
I saw a montage of his life's work
On some entertainment show

He Created a Monster (mp3) is a blissful pop charmer with irresistable chord progressions and a synth hook that you'll be humming all day.

Stream Reunion here.

Buy it here.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Gomez Live on KCRW

Gomez have recently performed in several radio studios, including KEXP and Minnesota's The Current (links to the right). Let's hope that radio is as friendly to Gomez as their music is to the radio. On their latest release, How We Operate, Gomez is as accessible as they're going to get. Here's their KCRW performance from last Friday.

Gomez - Live, KCRW (5-19-2006)(mp3s):

See the World
How We Operate
Hamoa Beach
Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bobby Bare Sr. and Jr., Live on KEXP

From Static On The Radio:

When asked what exactly got him back into the studio to record his first album in over 20 years, Bobby Bare’s answer is simple. “Bobby Jr.” he laughs with laid-back Nashville drawl. Even though the classic country crooner had to be coaxed out of retirement, his re-emergence with The Moon Was Blue was one of the most celebrated events in country music last year.

After accumulating several decades of hits and transforming country music along with artists like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, Bare left the scene in the ‘80s as Nashville become more and more corporate oriented. “I didn’t want to spend my time making records that weren’t going to go anywhere,” he says. “You put out an album that’s brilliant, and you can’t get it played. All they want are tracks.”

These live Bobby Bare gems aren't "tracks." They're real, reverent, relevant. It's a shame that you have to turn away from the country stations to hear country music, but though it's a quieter heartbeat, it still has one. You hear it in these live songs, and you hear it in the stories. The entire performance, including the interview, should be up on KEXP soon.

Bobby Bare, Sr (with Bobby Bare, Jr.): Live at KEXP, 5-18-2006 (mp3s):

The Streets of Baltimore
Detroit City
Are You Sincere
Everybody's Talkin'
My Heart Cries For You

Buy The Moon Was Blue.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tell Mommy You Want a Sip of HLAK

Having listened to the atmospheric pop acrobatics of Head Like a Kite's Random Portraits of the Home Movie, one wonders how good they sound live. Could they pull all that off live?

If last week's performance at the KEXP studio is an indication, the answer is a resounding yes.

Head Like a Kite (Live, KEXP 5-11-2006)(mp3s):

Words of a Friend
A Dime and a Cigarette
Tell Mommy You Want a Sip of Beer
Noise at the Circus

...and one track from the album:

Injecting 10 ccs of Temptation (mp3)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Distance Running for Music Lovers

Middle Distance Runner’s debut album, Plane in Flames, opens with a smile. Naturally (mp3) begins as all breezy melody and beat, catchy as hell, but just when it draws the ear into its lite comforts like any other standard indie pop clap-along record, MDR drops this lyric: “I/I hope she’s got a husband/I hope that he is coming/to find me out and tear out both/my eyes.” And that’s when you really start to listen, and it will hold you enthralled until the very last note.

Out of Here (mp3) sounds like it was born in the space between Pablo Honey and The Bends. The lead guitar caresses, then engulfs you a la Johnny Greenwood, and when lead singer Stephen Kilroy belts “Something’s gotta give/Before it all goes cold/Before it all caves in,” it’s with all the urgency of a more personal, less political Thom Yorke. You feel that early 90's chill when he cries “You are my way out of here.” Yeah, I know, Radiohead comparisons are trite, but just listen.

And if that's a little too much gravity for you, try this soul-stirring rock song with cowbell & banjo, called Shoot the Shit (mp3).

You’re going to hear a lot more of this D.C. area quintet once Plane in Flames hits stores on the 27th of this month. Get it for a mere 5 bucks at their CD release show at IOTA.

Download more at their Myspace.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Film School, Live on KEXP

Last week, Film School played a live set at the KEXP studio. Barely.

According to the frequently updated KEXP blog:

Apparently, they were running late and sure enough… they got pulled over by the cops for speeding! Figures, right?!?! They explained that they were on their way to KEXP to play a live set and the cop said something like, “KEXP? I listen to KEXP… MOVE ALONG!” They got off, no ticket!

The Smudge thanks the cop for not excessively delaying them. This post would not exist without you.

Film School - Live on KEXP (10 May 06) (mp3s):

Sick of Shame

By the way, there is an exclusive in-studio performance from 2004 available here.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


This is a request, which we don't normally do, but I think I speak for all of us when I say that what the world really needs now is more Brak. If he were our world leader, I guarantee that we'd be Rocking For Brak, and nobody would be ashamed to be from the same home planet.

So Highway 40 is for confessed mp3 blog addict Lori, whose signature was this:

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of

~Kahlil Gibran

The world needs a little more of that, too.

Brak - I'll Tell Me Ma (with the Chieftains)(mp3)
Highway 40 (with Freddie Prinze Jr.)(mp3)

Return of the Rentals

Matt Sharp recently told Pitchfork that The Rentals are recording a new album. According to their website:




Also available on their website: Tegan and Sara - Walking With a Ghost (Rentals Remix) (mp3)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Georgie We Adore Ye

No, it's not a lame blog post title - it's called internal rhyme, folks. It's all poetic and whatnot.


It has been a long week (mp3). The office is drab. Maybe it needs more lights (mp3). Or maybe the world just needs more Georgie James. I think I've said something like that before.

Songs are from Demos at Dance Place, available at their live shows.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Minus 5 Plus Michael, Mike, and Bill, on a Maddening Loop

This version of "Country Feedback," the haunting slow jangle from R.E.M.'s out of time, was played at a Minus 5 concert at the Georgia Theater in Athens, GA. It features Michael Stipe on vocals, Mike Mills on keyboards, Peter Buck on guitar, and Bill Berry on bass.

Let me rephrase that:

BILL BERRY is on bass, Stipe sings, Mills is on the keys, and Buck on the guitar.

You have to get past two minutes of crowd noise & chat, but then there it is.

REM - Country Feedback (Live in Athens, 1 Apr 2006) (mp3)

And here are a couple of covers by the Minus 5 at the same show:

The Ballad of John and Yoko (Beatles cover, live in Athens, 1 Apr 2006) (mp3)

Don't Be Denied (Neil Young cover, live in Athens, 1 Apr 2006) (mp3)

All songs taken from this torrent of the entire show.

We love you, Bill.

One of these things doesn't belong here...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thelonious Cures

Sometimes, when I'm ill, all I can bear to listen to is jazz or classical. I've been ill the last couple of days, and this is way better than vitamin C:

It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (mp3)
Sophisticated Lady (mp3)

From Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Checking on Beck

Every once in a while you have to check in on the Beck website, to see what the boombox has to offer. Like this gem:

Beck - Salt In The Wound (mp3)

And every so often you have to check the dimeadozen for Beck torrents, like the one that had these shit-hot live songs. He's a lightning storm in these, pulling energy & spirit out of his gut.

Beck - Sessions from West 54th, 1997 (mp3s):

One Foot In The Grave

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cibelle, My Belle

What do you get when you cross modern bossa chanteuse Cibelle with your favorite freak folksters, Devendra Banhart and Seu Jorge? Freak folka nova? Electrobossafolk? Call it what you want, but recognize that these songs successfully blend bossa nova, electronica, and freak folk, and exceed the sum of their parts to become sexy, danceable, and mystical. I'll take this blend of acoustics and electronics over laptop-folk every time.

Cibelle mp3s, with Devendra Banhart and Seu Jorge, from the stunning Shine of Dried Electric Leaves:

London, London (feat. Devendra Banhart)
ArrĂȘte LĂ , Menina (feat. Seu Jorge)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Secret Machines, Live on KCRW 5-3-2006

The Secret Machines epically rocked the KCRW studio yesterday. They're not afraid to play long, yet their songs are taut and intense. This performance is just the thing for those who are growing weary of quaint little pop ditties.

Secret Machines, Live on KCRW 5-3-2006 (mp3s):

Alone Jealous & Stoned/Road Leads
Lightning Blue Eyes
Faded Lines/Daddy's In The Doldrums/Nowhere Again

Buy Ten Silver Drops.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Irving Live on KEXP

Irving played four songs from their latest release, Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers, in a live in-studio synth-heavy set on KEXP yesterday afternoon. Prepare to move your feet.

Irving - Live on KEXP, 5-2-06 (mp3s)

She's Not Shy
Jen, Nothing Matters To Me
If You Say Jump, I Will Say No

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Comas Picture Disc 7"

The Comas recently put up three solid mp3s from their Sit and Spin release, "Bumblebee / Shining Eyes/1:30." You can get them here. They're tagged as Track 1, 2, and 3, though, which is sad, because nobody will see the Vagrantesque title "You Got The Bumblebee, I Got The Stinger" on the Hype Machine.

I corrected the ID3s here, if you prefer to get them that way:

The Comas mp3s, from 7" Picture Disc:

You Got The Bumblebee, I Got The Stinger
One Million Shining Eyes