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Heads and senses

November 2nd, 2009 1 comment

iris

Very occasionally a group of people get together on the Touchedmix blog and post mixes on a particular theme. Last week, the theme was HEADS, with their features and their functions. I thought readers of this little corner of the music blogosphere might be interested in the two mixes I banged together.

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OVER MY HEAD MIX
1. Aztec Camera ““ Head Is Happy (Heart”s Insane) (1985)
2. Crowded House ““ Pineapple Head (live) (1996/2006)
3. Johnny Cash ““ Mean Eyed Cat (1996)
4. The Dillards ““ I”ve Just Seen A Face (1968)
5. The Holmes Brothers ““ Smiling Face Hiding A Weeping Heart (2006)
6. Paul Anka ““ Eyes Without A Face (2006)
7. The Undisputed Truth ““ Smiling Faces Sometimes (1971)
8. Justine Washington ““ I Can”t Wait Until I See My Baby”s Face (1964)
9. The Flamingos ““ I Only Have Eyes For You (1959)
10. Mississippi Sheikhs ““ I”ve Got Blood in My Eyes For You (1938)
11. Robert Mitchum ““ Mama Looka Boo Boo (Shut Your Mouth-Go Away) (1958)
12. Emile Ford & the Checkmates ““ Them There Eyes (1960)
13. Lewis Taylor ““ Blue Eyes (2000)
14. Andrew Bird ““ A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left (2005)
15. Nada Surf ““ The Way You Wear Your Head (2002)
16. The Sweet ““ The Lies In Your Eyes (1975)
17. Ben Folds ““ Doctor My Eyes (2002)
18. Josh Ritter ““ One More Mouth (2006)
19. Kaki King ““ Saving Days In A Frozen Head (2008)
20. The Lilac Time ““ The Darkness Of Her Eyes (1991)
21. Thomas Dybdahl ““ Pale Green Eyes (2009)
22. Ryan Adams ““ Halloweenhead (2007)
23. The Cardigans ““ Give Me Your Eyes (2005)

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Justine Washington is better known as Baby Washington; this is the original version of the song covered to good effect by Dusty Springfield.

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SENSES WORKING OVERTIME MIX
1. David Bowie ““ Can You Hear Me (1975)
2. Tim Buckley ““ I Can”t See You (1966)
3. Herman Düne ““ I Wish That I Could See You Soon (2006)
4. Devics ““ If We Cannot See (2006)
5. Richard Hawley ““ Can You Hear The Rain, Love (2001)
6. Scott Walker ““ You”re Gonna Hear From Me (1967)
7. The Righteous Brothers ““ See That Girl (1965)
8. Chris Montez ““ The More I See You (1966)
9. Cass Elliot ““ I”ll Be Seeing You (1973)
10. Blind Boy Fuller ““ What”s That Smells Like Fish (1938)
11. Smiley Lewis ““ I Hear You Knocking (1955)
12. The Supremes ““ I Hear A Symphony (1965)
13. Jim Messina ““ Seeing You (For The First Time) (1979)
14. Baby Huey ““ Listen To Me (1971)
15. The Jesus and Mary Chain ““ Taste Of Cindy (1985)
16. K”s Choice ““ A Sound That Only You Can Hear (1995)
17. Mull Historical Society ““ Watching Xanadu (2001)
18. Ron Sexsmith & Don Kerr ““ Listen (2005)
19. Rosanne Cash ““ I Was Watching You (2006)
20. The Magic Numbers ““ I See You, You See Me (2005)
21. Paul Anka ““ Smells Like Teen Spirit (2005)

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Have Song, Will Sing Vol. 1

July 27th, 2008 6 comments

Last year I did a series of Songbirds which seems to have been quite popular, showcasing female artists who fall within the singer-songwriter genre which unaccountably has acquired something of a bad name among the critics. In my view, the genre has not been in a more fertile state since the 1970s. Indeed, it is probably more varied now than it was then.

I”ve thought of doing a similar series on male singer-songwriters (which I might call “Singers with names like schoolteachers”, borrowing a great dig from the Welsh music writer Simon Price). In the meantime, here is a collection of some of the male singer-songwriters I hold in high esteem. What they have in common is that they write the songs they sing, and are broadly, if not invariably, acoustic performers. But the mix transcends such narrow characterisations. Their sensibilities range from folk (such as Mason Jennings) to pop (Bob Evans, Benji Cossa) to indie (Jens Lekman, Josh Ritter) to soul (Amos Lee) to country (Joe Purdy) to rock (Charlie Sexton, Scott Matthews). Most are American, but other nations are also represented, such as Australia (Evans), England (David Ford), Sweden (Lekman) and South Africa (the excellent Farryl Purkiss).

Some are well-known (such as Damien Jurado or, again, Ritter and Lekman), others are without a record contract. Josh Woodward, whose previous album I enjoyed very much, has made his new, very good double set titled The Simple Life available for free download on his website. If you like the sample track on this mix, download it and share it widely. TV viewers will recognise the Steve Poltz song from the Jeep ad, while Landon Pigg”s voice is used to advertise diamonds (albeit with a different, very beautiful, song).

My shortlist is not exhausted. If this mix proves popular, I intend to compile a volume of Songbirds and then a co-ed one. Let me know what you think.

As always, the mix should fit on a standard CD-R.

1. Steve Poltz – You Remind Me (from Chinese Vacation, 2003)
2.
Bob Evans – Friend (from Suburban Songbook, 2006)
3.
Farryl Purkiss – Ducking And Diving (from Farryl Purkiss, 2006)
4.
Mason Jennings – Which Way Your Heart Will Go (from Boneclouds, 2006)
5.
Landon Pigg – Can’t Let Go (from Coffee Shop EP, 2008)
6.
Joshua Radin – The Fear You Won’t Fall (from Unclear Sky EP, 2008)
7.
Jay Brannan – Can’t Have It All (from Chinese Vacation, 2003)
8.
David Ford – Cheer Up (You Miserable Fuck) (from I Sincerely Apologise For All The Trouble I’ve Caused, 2005)
9.
Josh Ritter – Wait For Love (You Know You Will) (from The Historical Conquests Of, 2007)
10.
Damien Jurado – Simple Hello (from On My Way To Absence, 2005)
11.
Charlie Sexton – Cruel And Gentle Things (from Cruel And Gentle Things, 2005)
12.
Griffin House – Just A Dream (from Lost And Found, 2004)
13.
Josh Woodward – History Repeats (from The Simple Life, 2008)
14.
Jens Lekman – I Saw Her in the Anti War Demonstration (from Oh You’re So Silent Jens, 2005)
15.
Kevin Devine – Probably (from … travelling the EU EP, 2003)
16.
Joe Purdy – Why You (from Only Four Seasons, 2006)
17.
Amos Lee – Long Line Of Pain (live) (from Supply And Demand, 2006)
18.
Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday (from Ash Wednesday, 2007)
19.
Scott Matthews – Passing Stranger (from Passing Stranger, 2007)
20.
Benji Cossa – The Show Is Over Everywhere (from Between The Blue And The Green, 2007)

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Any Major Awards – The Winners

December 15th, 2007 16 comments

And here are the winners of the inaugural Major Dude awards. Kick back and watch the show unfold, grabbing a few samples of the music (most have previously appeared on this blog; newly featured tracks are marked as such) on the way before you rush off and buy the awarded music as thoughtful Christmas presents for yourselves and everybody you know. And here’s the gong our winners may take home — The Major Dude:


ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

Indie Album of the Year:
Swedish:
Loney, Dear – Loney, Noir
(I know, it was released in Sweden a long time ago, but for the rest of us, it is a 2007 album)

and performing a song from this year’s best Swedish Indie Album:
Loney, Dear – I Am John

Other places:
Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter

and performing a song from this year’s best non-Swedish Indie Album:
Josh Ritter – Right Moves

Rock Album of the Year:
Foo Fighters – Echoes Silence Patience & Grace

and performing two songs from this year’s best Rock Album:
Foo Fighters – Cheer Up Boys, You’re Makeup Is Running
Foo Fighters – Statues

Pop Album of the Year:
Rilo Kiley – Under The Blacklight

and performing two songs from this year’s best Pop Album:
Rilo Kiley – Breakin’ Up
Rilo Kiley – Dreamworld

Country Album of the Year:
Miranda Lambert – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

and performing a song from this year’s best Country Album:
Miranda Lambert – Love Letters (new upload)

Americana Album Of The Year
Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

and performing a song from this year’s best Americana Album:
Wilco – Hate It Here

Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala

and performing a song from this year’s best Singer-Songwriter (male) Album:
Jens Lekman – A Postcard For Nina

Female:
Rosie Thomas – These Friends Of Mine

and performing two songs from this year’s
best Singer-Songwriter (female) Album:

Rosie Thomas – Songbird
Rosie Thomas – Say Hello (with Sufjan Stevens)

R&B/Hip Hop:
Alicia Keys – As I Am

and performing a song from this year’s best R&B Album:
Alicia Keys (featuring John Mayer) – Lesson Learnt
(Link removed by DivShare)

Best Kicked-Back Album:
Richard Hawley – Lady’s Bridge

and performing a song from this year’s best Kicked-Back Album:
Richard Hawley – Dark Road


Overrated Artist of the Year:
Amy Winehouse
Comparable album people should listen to instead: Nicole Atkins – Neptune City

and performing a song from this year’s best
Better Than Overrated Artist’s Album:

Nicole Atkins – Brooklyn’s On Fire! (new upload)

Best Newcomer:
Colbie Caillat

and performing as this year’s best Better Newcomer:
Colbie Caillat – Realize
Colbie Caillat – One Fine Wire


Most Disappointing Album:

Joseph Arthur – Let’s Just Be

SONGS OF THE YEAR:

Pop/Rock:
Richard Hawley – Valentine

Indie/Americana:
Wilco – Impossible Germany (new upload)

Singer-songwriter/Country:
Rosie Thomas – Much Farther To Go

South African Rock/Pop Song Of The Year:
Velve – Overpass (ne

w upload)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
The nominees are:
Brandi Carlile – The Story
Loney, Dear – Loney, Noir
Rilo Kiley – Under The Blacklight
Rosie Thomas – These Friends Of Mine
Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

………and the winner is:
WILCO – SKY BLUE SKY

and performing a track from this year’s Album of the Year:
Wilco – Either Way

SONG OF THE YEAR:
And the nominees are:
Colbie Caillat – Bubbly
Richard Hawley – Valentine
Wilco – Impossible Germany
Brandi Carlisle – The Story
Rosie Thomas – Much Farther To Go

………and the winner is:
ROSIE THOMAS – MUCH FARTHER TO GO


BLOG AWARDS

The best Blogs of The Year

MUSIC
Album blogs:
It feels unfair to choose a “winner” from all the nominated blogs. Even within one category, the diversity makes a comparison about as as easy as comparing the relative merits of black cherries and iPods. There are so many that have given me great joy. Earbleeding Country shades it for me on strength of great, detailed writing and the quality of music on offer.

Earbleedingcountry
(which since this month now lives here)

Singles blogs:
The same as above applies, perhaps even more so. With singles blogs, bloggers tend to write in greater detail, length and often variety than album blogs. I finally narrowed it all down to two finalists: The Late Greats and Echoes In The Wind. The former has introduced me to more new great music than any other blog; the latter is perhaps the best-written music blog I know, in the face of some incredibly tough competition (for the purposes of this exercise; I don’t think most of us compete with each other; quite on the contrary, I’ve found). And so the winner is:

Echoes In The Wind

Retro blogs:
Albums:
Again, tough contest. All the nominees have provided me with so much pleasure. But our winner this year simply had the most stunning variety of music, some of it long-forgotten albums of old which deserve to be rediscovered.

DeaconBlues


Singles:
I do both new and retro stuff round here. The latter especially is fantastic fun. That sense of fun was particularly evident in all nominated blogs in this category. The winner is an old favourite of many:

The Wolfman Howls

NON-MUSIC BLOG OF THE YEAR
If choosing the best music blog was a headache, choosing the best non-music blog was a heartbreaking thing. Indie-Pop Ian Plenderleith’s sporadic blog entries are a monthly Internet highlight. Ndumiso Ngcobo’sSouth African iconoclasm invariably makes me laugh out loud. Rol Hirst’s “Dear Me…” post on the 13th almost clinched him a late winner. 15 Minute Lunch made big waves with the ’70s JC Penney fashion post, but there is so much more great writing there. But for style and exquisite prose, and an unforgettable post about the funeral of the Lazio fan shot by the Italian police, the winner can only be:

Spangly Princess

U-18 BLOG OF THE YEAR
I did not make nominations for best U-18 blog. I really liked the cricket blogs by two kids living in Amsterdam, Sean and Dylan Reeves (how can one not love a blogger who links to his Dad’s blog by saying “it’s rubbish”). But for paternal pride, it has to be Any Minor Dude’s to rarely updated guitar tabs blog. This 13 year old kid does a better job of it than many adults. This is, of course, the little dude who as a10-year-old arriving for his first lesson was asked by his guitar tutor (a seasoned sessionman) what artist’s music he wanted to play. Tutor Rob may have expected an answer like Good Charlotte or some contemporary R&B hit. Instead, the answer came: Johnny Cash. Which is cool as anything.

Guitariotabs

BEST BLOGGER’S MIX-TAPE
Taylor Parkes’ Right-wing Rock mix was incredible: the music was either hilarious or actually quite good, the lyrics produced some serious jawdroppers, and Taylor’s sleeve notes were insightful and witty. Get the mix and commentary at Touched Mix, and check out this unbelievable track — especially when he starts singing!
Lil Markie – Diary Of An Unborn Child.mp3 (new upload)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Totally Fuzzy
with a BIG Thank You for the fantastic service these guys provide to the bloggers and those who search for great, new blogs. One more time: “Fuzzy And Blue” by the Sesame Street monsters

YOUR VOTE:
Best Any Major Dude series:
From a limited sample of votes, this is clearly the Time Travel to the 1970s series.

Music for bloggers Vol.1

August 1st, 2007 6 comments

To be honest, I don’t look at many blogs that don’t do music. So my idea of giving some love for my favourite blogs is rather compromised by the reality that most of them are music blogs “” and to leave out one or the other is going to make me feel very guilty indeed. So please regard this as the first in a series of a few, and if you think your blog should be among the ten to receive some love here, but isn’t, it will perhaps get some next time. Oh, and please remember to right-click to open links in a new window or tab.

And here, my funky ones, is the song that inspired the name for this blog (which almost was called Squonk’s Tears):
Steely Dan – Any Major Dude.mp3

Totally Fuzzy
Chances are good that you are here because of that wonderful aggregator blog. Props to Mephisto (whose own mp3 blog rocks), Herr K and gang.
Sesame Street – Fuzzy And Blue.mp3
…and while we’re at it
Sesame Street – Manna Manna.mp3 (might be the Muppets version)
Sesame Street – Rubber Ducky.mp3
Sesame Street – It’s Not Easy Being Green.mp3
Sesame Street – C Is For Cookie.mp3

Not-Rock-On
A blog filled with utter delights (such as bootlegs of Smiths, Jonathan Richman, John Cale gigs). Jörg has not only commented a few times on this blog, but also written a post dedicated to my humble blog. For which I’m not only grateful because it strokes my ego, but also because it gave me the idea for this fiesta of payback. Jörg threatens to do a ’80s soul round-up soon (as do I). Here’s a 1982 classic he might like to use; one of three absolutely superb duets (this one a Marvin Gaye cover) performed by Randy Crawford and Al Jarreau at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, from the Casino Lights album.
Randy Crawford & Al Jarrreau – Your Precious Love.mp3

Serenity Now!
Dick Darlington’s album blog always has something for me. And Dick is a great guy: when I moaned that Rapidshare hates me (just can’t download from it, dunno why), he re-uploaded the album I wanted on Mediashare or some such site. Here’s a song (which channels ’70s pop in an alt.country sort of way) from Josh Ritter’s very good new album, The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter, which I’ve been test-driving thanks to Dick’s Seinfeld-referencing blog.
Josh Ritter – Right Moves.mp3

Stay-at-home Indie Pop
I like the blog’s name, and I like Ian’s writing. The a recent entry describes a mundane minutiae of life in a quite captivating manner “” a sign of a fine writer (and not all journalists and writers of football books are fine writers). And I can see where Ian is going with the iPod dilemma “” how many does one need, and how old is ancient in an iPod’s life? Ian likes his “songbirds”, as do I. So here is one of my favourite female singer-songwriters at the moment:
Kate Walsh – Is This It.mp3

The Late Greats
This is a blog where I have discovered a shedload of artists I might never have encountered otherwise. And this, RCIAA, is the benefit of MP3 blogging. One of the groups The Duke turned me on to is The Beauty Shop, whose “Desperate Cry For Help” should be a total classic: great tune, great lyrics, great delivery.
The Beauty Shop – Desperate Cry For Help

Tsururadio
A refuge in times of stress. Tsuru’s blog is so laid back, the music so great and the photos of arty nudes so lovely, one wishes one could move into the blog. Tsuru is a New Pornographers fan, so here’s a track from A.C. Newman’s 2004 solo album, The Slow Wonder.
A.C. Newman – On The Table.mp3

Twohundredpercent
Excellent football (“soccer”) musings. The blog also includes sections of football-related music. If your life is incomplete without the “Anfield Rap”, or you want to pretend you’re running out at Upton Park to Michael Jackson’s classic “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”, or you absolutely need to hear the British TV theme to the 1968 Olympic coverage, then you’ll find the Brighton fan’s blog a music treasure chest. One song missing from twohundredpercent’s site is this collaboration between kwaito band TKZee and Blackburn’s Benni McCarthy (then, in 1998, playing for Ajax Amsterdam), which samples “The Final Countdown” (but of course).
TKZee & Benni McCarthy – Shibobo.mp3

Jefito Blog
Jefito’s thorough anthological reviews (called “Complete Idiot’s Guide”) of an eclectic bunch of artists is legendary in MP3 blogland, and his mix-tapes are always worth checking out. His Crowded House review a few months back was spot-on, so here is my favourite Crowded House song, from the Farewell To The World live set.
Crowded House – When You Come (live).mp3

Television Without Pity
Well, it’s not a blog, but in a way it is a blogging community. This is the place I go to when I have missed an episode of Lost or need to know what exactly happens in the next installment of Prison Break. The round-ups don’t just recap an episode, but describes every scene in detail and with a generous dose of wit. Each programme has its own dedicated writer, lending the recaps a particular character, and presents an opportunity to work with in-jokes. I particularly enjoyed the one when Rome‘s deliciously devious Atia was renamed Julii Cooper. In honour of the O.C. reference, here’s Alexi Murdoch’s re-recorded version of “Orange Sky”, from his pretty good full debut album, Time Without Consequence, which was released last year (to be truthful, I prefer the version from the brilliant Four Songs EP.)
Alexi Murdoch – Orange Sky.mp3

Michael’s World
Call it paternal pride, but I love this blog. He has a mirror blog on a South African blogging community, but let’s get his Blogger site some hits, shall we? When Michael started with guitar lessons at the age of 10 two years ago, his tutor (a seasoned session musician) asked him what music he’d like to learn first. The little guy’s answer: “Johnny Cash”. Which I thought was very cool! Here is some proof that Sting is not entirely a twit: Cash’s infinitely superior cover of Gordon’s “I Hung My Head”, from the American IV: The Man Comes Around album (which got Michael into Ca

sh).
Johnny Cash – I Hung My Head.mp3