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June 09, 2006

Friday Charts - 6/9/06

This installment of the Friday Charts looks like it could just as easily have come from ten years ago. Half of the artists featured were at their peak over a decade ago, and evidently are still going strong. Some come as no surprise: Thom Yorke's album could have been "Thom Sings the Gin Blossoms" and there still would have been rabid interest in it. Conversely, tons of people seem to have downloaded Busta Rhymes' new album just to see if there is a track where Busta spends a couple minutes trying to cajole you into sending him some money a la The Herlihy Boy on SNL.

"Please send me five dollars...Everyone liked "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See", right? Please let me sleep in your basement..."

Cut to Dr. Dre shrieking "Let Busta Rhymes sleep in your basement!"

Unfortunately Youtube has no video of that semi-obscure sketch, so we'll move right on to the charts. Links go to the Hype Machine for each artists, where you can find a wide variety of album cuts, live tracks and rarities:

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
2. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
3. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
4. Keane - Under the Iron Sea
5. The Walkmen - A Hundred Miles Off
6. AFI - Decemberunderground
7. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
8. Busta Rhymes - The Big Bang
9. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
10. Tool - 10,000 Days

June 08, 2006

The Art of the Reprise

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The Art Of The Reprise


There are many thing that makes the experience of listening to whole albums great. There's the cover art, the liner notes, the continuity, the ability to not know a songs name, but to know when it comes along. There are segues, intros, hidden tracks...and there are reprises. Reprises are truly an audacious move when you think about it. Nothing reveals a band as having some sort of hidden artistic agenda quite like a reprise. "Here you go," a reprise seems to say. "You bought our album, you're listening to it all the way through and for some reason, now you've just come to a song that we've decided to repeat in a varied fashion for a shorter amount of time than it took the first time through. Why? You figure it out."

Though they may be audacious and at times inexplicable, the reprise can also be a nice touch, lending a great deal to the continuity of the album and making you realize that you're listening to real musicians who put some effort and thought into their music. Or in the case of Oasis, they no doubt just got blown out of their gourds and decided to hire a orchestra one day.

So here are a collection of reprises, from varied artists and eras. I've tried to rate them on how effective I think it is as a reprise. It's a unique and esoteric criteria to judge something by, since I'm not really even sure what it means myself. But let's give it a shot:

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
5.jpg A reprise that has found its way onto a mix CD of mine at some point in time, a feat that the original song cannot claim. i think that this song defines what a reprise should be. Contains enough elements from the original, but stands on its own, thus giving it a reason to exist. In the Beatles case, I think that the reprise is better than the original. It may be their second most rocked out song of all time, with killer fuzzy guitar licks throughout. And when they slip the "One and only" into the middle of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" the effect is sublime.


Sufjan Stevens - A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But for Very Good Reasons
1.5.jpg There's nothing particularly wrong with this brief stretch of music. It just doesn't need to exist. It's mostly a continuation of the previous track "Jacksonville" on the Illinois album. Jacksonville flows into this song, making "Mary Todd" more of a coda, and I feel like they should have just been made one song. It also loses points for not identifying which song it is reprising. But it's not offensive to listen to in any way. Unlike...

Nick Cave - O'Malley's Bar (Reprise)
0.jpg Let's list the litany of things wrong with this reprise. First of all, it is not a song. It is disjointed sound fragments. It has nothing to do with the song it is reprising, which is a nifty 14 minute long story about an intense bar murder. It doesn't even appear on the same album, but rather on a b-side collection. It is very unpleasant as far as sound collages go, and is why scraping the bottom of the barrel for material to release for artists is never a good idea.


Konono #1 - Kule Kule (Reprise)
5.jpg Innocuous enough, but since i can't understand the words and all the music by Konono #1 sounds the same to me, its value as a reprise is lost on me.

Dr. John - Familiar Reality (Reprise)
5.jpg This gets points for being the album closer. It also gets points for revisiting the major theme of one of the albums best songs, as the lady singers wail the title over and over again towards the end of the song. It gets points for being in the right spot, the last song, (even though whether a reprise belongs in the last or second to last spot is a debatable topic.) It also gets points for pioneering the "artist doesn't even appear on the song" method of reprises, adding to their mystique. It's just not that exciting of a song overall though.

The Beastles - Root Down (Reprise)
5.jpg This song, from DJ BC's first Beastles masup compliation is great. Sampling from the above mentioned greatest reprise of all time and layering it over one of my favorite Beastie Boys raps is a nice touch. Super bonus points becuase it is the strategicly placed last track on the compilation.


Pearl Jam - Wasted (Reprise)
3.5.jpg This reprise is far sparser than the song it reprises. It's just Eddie Vedder singing as a church style organ plays behind him. The effect is quite nice, it puts a neat spin on the rocking album opener. But if you reprise the album opener, I feel like it should come as the last track on the album, and three more songs follow this cut.

Oasis - All Around The World (Reprise)
5.jpg The second ever reprise that I've put on a mix CD. This closes out Oasis' "Be Here Now" album, and is a orchestral reprise of the already excessive nine minute "All Around The World." Reprises are an excessive format themselves, so when the reprise kicks in a song after the original, it finishes off the album in ultra excessive fashion. It is also a good antidote if you're tired of hearing All Around the World in the cell phone commercial or whatever it is in now.

David Bowie - Sweet Thing (Reprise)
1.5.jpg David Bowie figures to be someone who would have done his share of reprises in his day, but this one is not one of his finest. It comes in the middle of the album, reprises a song that didn't need reprising, fades off into oblivion without any epic-ness, comes one song after the original, and is just not a very pleasant song to listen to.

Soundgarden - Full On (Reprise)
5.jpg This is the last song on Soundgardens early "Louder than Love" album. They try to go out in epic classic reprise fashion here, as a chorus wails "Full On" over and over again for the duration, with Chris Cornell joining in himself with a few more lyrics, but mostly "Full On." It gradually descends towards the end into guitar feedback. If you only heard this song, you might think that they were up to something on the album a bit deeper than songs like "Big Dumb Sex."

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Happy (Reprise)
5.jpg Airy and echoey, this reprise could conceivably work its way onto a mix somewhere. It reminds me sort of the Beach Boys Smile session outtake "You're Welcome." Jenny Lewis sings the phrase over and over again with just a wood block accompaniment until it fades away, thus ending her album

Rufus Wainwright - Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk (Reprise)
5.jpg This reprise of the first song on the Poses album is really more of a remix. It features a drum machine and some different music and studio effects, but is still the same basic song. Since the original version is the first song on the album, this seems like more of a bonus track than a reprise, but it's still an alright song.

Os Mutantes - Panis Et Circences (Reprise)
5.jpg This song utilizes the same technique as many of the above reprises: repeated phrasing, extended fades, semi-epic sounding orchestration. It also closes out the album as a reprise of the first track, making it a nice bookend effect. I like this song, but probably wouldn't stick it on a mix CD.

Son Volt - World Waits For You (Reprise)
5.jpg This sort of suffers from the coda-effect that I mentioned in the Sufjan Stevens song. Just seems more of an extension of the song that precedes it than a true reprise. I guess in my mind, a reprise means returning to something after you've left it for a while, not just continuing it onto another track. It's got a cool epic sounding countrified guitar solo, and repeated lyrics, but I'd like it better if it wasn't just a coda.

Ween - She Wanted To Leave (Reprise)
5.jpg Ween gets points for this song because they were the only ones brash enough to use the ironic technique of reprising a song that was not on the album. And it's a pretty cool song too. Bonus points for the last sound effect, which reminds me of the dramatic episode ending sound from "Lost."

Sublime - What I Got (Reprise)
5.jpg This one is tough. It's not really a reprise, this version of the song got played on the radio just as much as the original. It's more of a bonus track in this respect. But I think it's a much better version of the song, and the fact that I didn't know today that I'd been listening to a reprise all those years ago made me like it better. Do I contradict myself? Very well then..

Queen - Flash's Theme (Reprise)

5.jpg Queen gets points for putting a reprise on a soundtrack album, it shows a degree of commitment and aristry involved in a project that other bands might simply have tossed off. The song unfortunately sounds like a movie preview because of all the film clips, and isn't very enjoyable to listen to. I do like the way it ends, but would have preferred an entire song to build up to that moment.

Outkast - Player's Ball (Reprise)
5.jpg Anybody unsure about Outkast's staying power back when their first album came out should have taken note of this reprise at the end of the album. Rap albums are known (unfortunately) for their intros and outros, but reprising an earlier song is a feat that is attempted much less frequently. Ironically, this reprise has it's own spoken intro at the beginning of it, and it is the last song on the album, so it embodies the coveted intro-reprise-outro trifecta that so few have attempted, and even fewer have achieved.


The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (Alt. Version)
2.5.jpg This comes from the Anthology Vol. 2 album. The fact that there is an Alternative Version of a reprise is close to being mind blowing. The music on this version is a bit rawer, but every bit as cool as the album version. Unfortunately the singing is a bit sloppier, and the key "One and only lonely" line is omitted, rendering it an interesting yet forgettable footnote in the reprise canon.


Well that was fun! If I left anything out or if you have any suggestions please let me know. If I get enough reprises suggested that I missed, who knows? We could have another entry "The Art of the Reprise (Reprise)"

More Street Scene Bands + Lineups on each day

Bands have been added to the Street Scene Lineup, which still takes place two months from now: She Wants Revenge, Nine Black Alps, Karsh Kale, and Reeve Oliver. The lineup has also been broken out per day, so you can decide if you only want to go to Friday or Saturday, which will cost you $75 for a single day ticket. Rolling Stone recently listed a few summer festivals, and included Street Scene in the mix with Lollapalooza, Pitchfork fest and a few others. I believe they called it "Worth a Road Trip." The article also mentioned the ferris wheel as one of the festivals highlights, as did the UT's piece about the festival lineup, which leads me to believe that it has a prominent place in the promotional materials for some reason.

The lineup for Friday, August 4th:

Kanye West
AFI
Social Distortion
Wu Tang Clan
Queens of the Stone Age
Bad Religion
Yellowcard
Slightly Stoopid
Matchbook Romance
Rock Kills Kid
Lupe Fiasco
Particle
Nine Black Alps
Cheb I Sabbah & 1002 Nights
Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited
What Made Milwaukee Famous
Reeve Oliver
The Shys
The Colour

The Lineup for Saturday, August 5th:

Tool
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Snoop Dogg
Modest Mouse
My Chemical Romance
Sean Paul
Bloc Party
G. Love & Special Sauce
Donavon Frankenreiter
Tricky
The Subways
Editors
Ska Cubano
The Futureheads
Tapes 'n Tapes
Bedouin Soundclash
West Indian Girl
Karsh Kale
Margot & The Nuclear So & So's
Dirty On Purpose

Get To Know Your Blogger, Your Blogger = Me

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Muzzle of Bees runs an regular feature where Ryan sends a blogger a set of questions he came up with and publishes their responses. I was quite excited when he asked me to participate. Muzzle of Bees was one of the first blogs I learned about (Ryan is a friend of "Ennnnnnnnn" video actor Jake Feala), and I'm not embarassed to say that I had hoped I would someday be asked to list my longwinded opinions and theories for a captive audience. After sending Ryan I think 6 different emails yesterday, including the always embarassing "Here is the link I forgot to send to you" email without actually including the link, the segment is finally up. So go check out the Q & A session right here.

June 07, 2006

Win Free Mountain Goats Tickets!

It's been a few days since I posted anything, but hopefully giving away free stuff will help atone for it. Let's get right down to the free stuff:

Back in the early days of music blogs, I somehow got wind of the site Largehearted Boy. This was while I was working at my first job out of college, which was boring and involved a lot of free time spent surfing the internet, and Largehearted Boy was the perfect site for that. Lots of links, very little bullshit to wade through, with his occasional personal opinion or commentary. One of these personal opinions was that he wanted the song "Golden Boy" by the Mountain Goats played at his funeral.

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Peoples funeral songs always intrigue me. It will be interesting once my friends start dropping off to see who manages to actually instill in their loved ones a deep fear of the consequences should they fail to play their requested song, and who is all talk. But being interested in this stranger who I've never met funeral song, I downloaded it, listened to it and was blown away.

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It sounds, in true Mountain Goats style, like it was recorded in one take, in his bedroom, on a tape recorder that may or not be your classic Fisher Price model (pictured above). It's full of advice and admonitions, sung so passionately that you can't help but look up where you can obtain some of these mythical Golden Boy Peanuts on the internet (I checked, they can be obtained.) A friend of mine had them when she went to Thailand. I think she said they were pretty good.

So that is the song that made me a Mountain Goats fan. I've since learned to love his other works, be it in the previously mentioned Fisher Price style, or his more recent works that utilize more instruments and higher production values. I've seen him in concert once before at the Casbah, and though he didn't play Golden Boy, it was fun just to be in the presence of the guy who wrote Golden Boy, if only for an hour.

The Mountain Goats are coming back to the Casbah on Thursday June 15th, and I would love to give you two free tickets. To sweeten the deal, I'd also like to send you two free CDs, by two of the best bands I've had the fortune to come across lately. Fifty On Their Heels is a punk band for people who don't like punk bands, and the Bo Dukes, though they don't have a guitarist, manage to bring both the funk and the pain at the same time.

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So that's TWO free concert tickets for the Mountain Goats on June 15th, plus TWO free CDs from San Diego and LA's finest. And all you have to do is leave me a comment with the song YOU want played at your funeral. So get to it! (Make sure you leave an email address in your comment so I can contact you if I pick you.)

I will pick a winner on Monday morning. If you can't wait, you can buy tickets here.

MP3s in the meantime:

The Mountain Goats - Golden Boy
The Mountain Goats - Cut Your Hair (Pavement Cover)
The Bo Dukes - Save The Day
Fifty On Their Heels - Occupation

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