(Sexy) Song of the Day: Lit “Miserable”

I know, I know. We’re going total guilty pleasure here.

This is not a traditional sexy song in that it’s not the kind that necessarily makes me want to jump on someone’s lap. But it is about sex. It’s about the kind of sex that makes you do stupid things. Like “give up all of (your) plans” and forgetting all about your friends (“who needs them when you mean everything?” the singer bellows). Most if not all of us have been there at some point. We don’t mean to be such slaves to our hormones, but it just happens. And from what it seems, the singer knows that this isn’t necessarily a good thing. He’s in total lust over this person, but he’s also miserable realizing his entire life is now revolving around being “helpless” around this magical vagina (or penis, we don’t judge here). And it totally doesn’t hurt to have former sexkitten Pam Anderson enticing us in her undies throughout the video.

I think of this song every time I get addicted to someone(s body), as it does happen from time to time. This is definitely a song about incredible sex, the kind you’d contemplate chopping your arm off for if it was guaranteed you could fuck this person forever without getting bored. But I suppose that’s never a real guarantee, and so the arm stays put, ready for those lonely nights in, thinking about that bastard that makes you so goddamn Miserable. Sigh.

 

“You make me come, you make me complete, you make me completely miserable….”

Thank you Lit. I’m going to be hormonal the rest of the day thanks to you.

Song of the Day: Cat Power “He War”

I saw Cat Power about 6 or 7 years ago perform here in Miami at the old I/O Lounge (now The Vagabond). She (Chan Marshall) performed maybe 2 or 3 complete songs during her hour and a half long on-stage breakdown. It was a bizarre thing to witness. My friends and I were big Cat Power fans and we’d heard some vague rumors about Marshall being a bit shy and awkward during performances, but we quickly realized those rumors were fairly downplayed. She started off  alright, but quickly got distracted when she realized/decided that her guitar was out of tune. She asked for help from audience members and a couple of guys went up to help her out. It probably ate up about 30 minutes, the lot of them standing around trying to perfectly tune her guitar strings. Eventually I think she switched over to the piano and had a similar fit about that. She finally began to play again toward the end of her set, when the club actually began playing music over her to stop her from going on. It was pretty unfortunate since it seemed she had finally gotten into her zone. Still, the few songs she did perform to completion were fantastic. I would pay money to see her again.

 

“He War,” off the You Are Free album, was a tune I used to listen to over and over my senior year of high school. I don’t ever listen to enough Cat Power these days.

Music Monday: David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust

Everyone loves David Bowie. And everyone that doesn’t only feels that way because they’ve never heard (enough) Bowie or they have terrible taste.

Alright, maybe that’s not fair to say. But it’s no secret that Bowie’s one creative, talented, innovative bastard that’s made some incredible music over the years, regardless of how you feel about him or his work (not to mention his influence on music and on society in general – I can never get enough Ziggy Stardust androgyny.)

Earlier this year, I mentioned getting hooked on Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album as a side note in a blog post. I spent the entire month of January with this album on loop in my car, learning the characteristics of each individual song. It’s rare that I find an album that I absolutely love from start to finish, but there’s just something about this one. Five Years starts off slowly but quickly sucks you in, and every subsequent song just gets better and better. I couldn’t even tell you which is my favorite because it changes every time I hear the album. (Okay, so I guess it’s a tie between Lady Stardust  -namely the original demo-, Moonage Daydream, and Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide… Although Suffragette City and John, I’m Only Dancing -though that’s a b-side but whatever- are also a fuck ton of fun).

The point is, this is an incredible album and if you haven’t already listened to it, I suggest you get yourself a copy ASAP. Or ask me and i’ll get you one (already did it for two friends).

Here’s one tune to get you started on falling in love with Ziggy and the Spiders.

Also, if you haven’t already, definitely check out the documentary named after the album. For those of you with Netflix, there’s also the David Bowie: Spider from Mars: Interviews doc, which spans several decades of interviews related to that era of his career (but is NOT the Ziggy Stardust film itself).

 

PS. Sorry for the delay on this week’s Music Monday. Will try to be more consistent on timing and length of these posts. Generally, it’ll be a music recommendation, but I might veer in different directions as time goes on.

February’s Mixtape: Four Weeks to Breathe

Last month, I posted up J is For…, my January mixtape playlist, which consisted of songs i’d been listening to basically on loop throughout the month. This mix is a bit different in sound. Some electronic/indietronica, a little bit of indie rock, and some neo soul for good measure. The songs are mostly fun and upbeat and have been making my 6am drives to work a lot more enjoyable. The mix originally developed from an Erykah Badu kick I was having one afternoon. I started putting together some other tunes with a few Badu ones and then the mix kind of took off in a different direction, but I feel like it all meshes well by the end of it. Let me know what you think! Link and entire playlist below:

LISTEN: February’s Mixtape – Four Weeks to Breathe

Tame Impala “It Is Not Meant To Be”
Erykah Badu “The Cell”
Mayer Hawthorne “Green Eyed Love”
Omar “There’s Nothing Like This”
Joe Jackson “It’s Different for Girls”
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes “Home (Party Supplies Remix)”
Empire of the Sun “Walking on a Dream (RAC Mix)”
Arcade Fire “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”
Matthew Dear “Monkey”
Bloc Party “Blue Light”
Miami Horror “Holidays”
Cut Copy “Going Nowhere”
Broken Social Scene “All to All (Skeet Skeet Remix)”
Calvin Harris “Feel So Close”

Let’s see what music the rest of March brings us!

Song of the Day: Matthew Dear “Monkey”

Yanked from the Village Voice

I was driving eastbound on Killian Drive this morning, the rising sun’s rays forcing me to squint as I sped past slow drivers and yellow lights, when I noticed this song blasting from my radio’s speakers. I’ve heard Matthew Dear‘s Black City album in its entirety before, but almost always, I end up finding myself only listening to select tracks and basically ignoring the rest. (What can I say? I’m sometimes a creature of habit.) This was one of those tracks I somehow missed. Maybe it sounded too much like the rest of the album to really cause it to stand out for me. Maybe I was just crazy up until now. Whatever the case, this song is all about swaying back and forth, hips and arms and wrists and knees and head, following the path of the music. When you let it take over, it’s impossible not to realize what an incredibly fun song this is.

 

And FYI, for you local Miamians reading this, if you’re a fan of the song (and/or a fan of Matthew Dear), he’s got two upcoming gigs in town! The first is for the Viva Music Party (during WMC), on March 23rd at the Shelbourne. The second show will be over at the Electric Pickle on April 20th (giggle), so watch out for those tickets!

In related music news… two other shows you might not want to miss are Broadcast at Bardot on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day!) and Four Tet, also at Bardot, on March 23rd (coincidentally the same night as Matthew Dear’s Viva show).

I’ll be posting more show announcements soon as WMC approaches!

Music Monday: Radiohead Songs, Radiohead Stories

A few weeks before my high school graduation, I found out that Radiohead would be performing at a brand new outdoor camping music festival up in New York by the name of Field Day Fest*. My friends and I were huge fans of theirs (plus the rest of the line-up: Beck, the Beastie Boys, Thursday, Bright Eyes, Sigur Ros, Blur, etc.) and it seemed like the perfect way for me to spend the last few days of my senior year. Sadly, as my friends Eddie and Jon** and I were on our way to Ft. Lauderdale Airport, I got a phone call from Ticketmaster informing me that the concert had been changed. Rather than being a multi-day camping extravaganza in Long Island, it would now be a one day concert happening at Giants Stadium …in New Jersey.

Suffice to say, we were pissed.

We left our camping gear with our friend and proceeded to hunt down a hotel to stay at for the duration of the trip (this was before the days of rampant smartphone use). The festival itself was basically a catastrophe. Aside from being screwed out of a lot of bands we wanted to see, it basically rained the ENTIRE TIME we were there. Sometimes it would be a light drizzle. Othertimes, full on thunder storm. And it didn’t help to be in a stadium with metal seats, feeling like the concert would turn in to a human BBQ any minute now. Still, we trudged on. And then we waited impatiently for Beck to play (I actually missed out on my only chance to ever see Elliott Smith perform on the outside stage – I am still kicking myself about that one), but he never showed. Turns out he got injured backstage and so the Beastie Boys came on and put on a good show. And then, after 10 hours of perpetual moisture, it was finally time for the main event.

Thom York stepped on to the stage, and the rain…. stopped.

It was magic.

You probably couldn’t measure the amount of joy I felt watching Radiohead play for the first time. Not only watching them play, but being in that moment, soaked to the bone from head to toe, shivering in the makeshift ponchos we finally bought for $20 a piece that were essentially just garbage bags with holes, starving after a day of being unable to eat anything more than disgusting, overly salted, giant pretzels, still semi-soggy from the rain. Utterly exhausted. But then, like I said. It stopped raining. And Thom began to sing. And the band played on. And they played for a good two hours, bringing me practically to tears at certain points. Goosebumps for hours. It’s still one of my favorite concert experiences of all time.

I think it was that experience that really made me realize just how much I love Radiohead.

I know a lot of people out there think they’re over rated. It’s true that they are essentially a pop band, a popular band, a band that almost everyone enjoys, even if they don’t normally like rock or electronic music. And honestly, the reason for this is that they’re just really fucking good.

Since then, i’ve had the opportunity to see Radiohead perform again twice, both times here in South Florida. They were amazing shows, but they still haven’t topped that first one. Now tonight, they’ll be playing Florida again and this will be the first time I miss them in almost a decade. I’m jealous, to say the least, of everyone that’s going. I have a lot of friends that will be attending for the first time, and I’m excited for them, but it doesn’t mean i’m not still sad about the whole thing. So i’ve decided to share some of my favorite Radiohead songs here for you. While I wanted to include amazing tracks like I Might Be Wrong and Exit Music (For a Film), I opted to go mostly with some tracks you might’ve never heard off different EP’s and singles. Enjoy!:

 

Gagging Order (COM LAG 2Plus2Is5Five EP)

This song is a rainy drive through a field full of flowers in bloom, a hug from someone you’d missed for far too long that’s aged more than expected, a night of insomnia in a hotel room far from anyone that knows your name, a kiss on the forehead at just the right moment from the right person. In short, it does things to a person.

 

Talk Show Host (Street Spirit (Fade Out) single; Romeo & Juliet soundtrack)

This is probably the most popular song out of this list and I don’t think i’ve ever met anyone that didn’t love this song, even if they weren’t big fans of the band. There’s just something about it. At the very least, it conjures up images of Leo DiCaprio back when I was 14 and found him extra swoon worthy. But really, it’s just a good song.

 

Permanent Daylight (My Iron Lung EP)

This song evokes such a feel for the 1990’s, it kills me. I didn’t actually discover this one until the advent of Pandora radio. It came on once and I said to myself that it sounded like Radiohead but unlike anything i’d ever heard from Radiohead (save maybe slightly reminiscent of Pablo Honey, but even then). Just a fun song.

 

True Love Waits (I Might Be Wrong – Live Recordings)

When people say they’re “moved” by a song, I generally feel that they should be talking about this song. I don’t really know what to say about it. It’s a goddamn fucking beautiful song. My vocabulary won’t allow me to go beyond that with this one. The feeling in my chest when I hear it can’t really be replicated. Because regardless of how we feel in our lives, we all just really want what this song says to be true.

 

Codex (King of Limbs)

In case you haven’t listened to their last album, King of Limbs, here’s one to reel you in. Words like ethereal come to mind, but I know that’s just trite. Take it for what it is. Let it breathe in to you.

 

Trans Atlantic Drawl (Amnesiac single)

How. Awesome. Is. This. Song. !? No, really. That’s all I can say about it.

 

Fog (again) (COM LAG 2Plus2IsFive)

This song is running around as a child, dirt on your knees, imagining the world. This one is being in the middle of the ocean, where the stars are their brightest, feeling cool night air, unaffected by the rest of the world. It just is.

 

How I Made My Millions (No Surprises single)

This is my last one. I actually just discovered it while hunting down fantastic songs by Radiohead. Listen and you’ll get it.

 

I have too many other songs that I would love to include in this, but you’ll have to do some Radiohead research yourself to find what your favorites are. To those hitting the show tonight, have a blast! I’ll spend tonight reminiscing about all the wonderful moments shared with their music, til next time.

 

*If you really want a good review of how this day went down, read that article. Nail on head.

**Names changed as usual.

Compare and Contrast #4: Love Will Tear Us Apart

It’s been a while since I last did one of these compare and contrast segments, but I know it’s time to bring it back. Today, we’re comparing and contrasting one of my favorite songs of all time by one of my favorite bands of all time. The band? Joy Division. The song? Love Will Tear Us Apart.

A little bit about the tune (as yanked from Wikipedia): It was written by Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis between the summer and fall of 1979 and debuted at a show with the Buzzcocks shortly thereafter. It’s said to have been a play on the name of another popular song of the time, Love Will Keep Us Together (Captain & Tenille), and to have come from the depths of Curtis’ crumbling marriage. Sadly, just one month after the release of the song, Ian Curtis hung himself, committing suicide in May of 1980 at the age of 23. It became the band’s first real chart hit, reaching the #13 spot – something Curtis would never get to find out.

I don’t remember exactly when it was that I first heard this song, but I do know that it was one of those songs that just hit me immediately. For the longest time, it became one of my favorite songs to dance to. A 15-year-old version of myself would blast this in her bedroom and dance around in her PJs, arms flailing about. The music itself is easy to lose yourself in and the beat is much too cheerful for what the song is about, but somehow it all works.

It’s only when you read the words that you begin to understand what Curtis must have been feeling at the time when he wrote it. The lyrics knock you out with the brutal truth that hits everyone that’s ever been in a failed relationship. When routine bites hard, and ambitions are low. And resentment runs high, and emotions won’t grow. Curtis doesn’t get overly poetic with this piece. There’s nothing there that is difficult for anyone to understand. There are no hidden meanings, nothing to dig for. He’s describing, word for word, what it’s like to have loved someone, to still care for them, and to be completely and hopelessly stuck. Or perhaps to still love them in some way, but then there’s that point that is so frequently reached, when it’s faded from your significant others’ eyes, when you can tell they’ve just stopped trying, when you both go to bed exhausted from fighting, exhausted from crying, exhausted from ignoring each other, exhausted from being alive. The song is sad. The words are sad. But in their sadness, there’s a bewildering bravery to be found. Externalizing those kinds of emotions must have been terrifying.

The song means many different things to me nowadays. After going through a number of breakups and heartaches, I still sometimes ask myself the same question Curtis does in the song: Why is it something so good just can’t function no more? It’s the kind of question we always ask ourselves when we’re reaching the end of something we were convinced would go on forever, or at least for a long while. It’s a question that no one will ever have a real answer to, but at least we have this song:

 

 

And now, for the covers…

Here’s a little bossa nova style cover of the tune by Nouvelle Vague. It brings a new whimsy to the song that you wouldn’t really guess could happen with such a dark piece. You can hear what sounds like the waves crashing and happy beach goers very faintly in the background. It’s the first (and probably only) time i’ve ever wanted to hear this song while sipping a daiquiri.

 

The Jose Gonzalez cover is simply guitar and vocals. It’s beautiful and I feel it stays true to the original sentiment of the song. There’s no getting fancy here, and that’s a good thing.

 

Simple Minds (of Breakfast Club anthem “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” fame) created this extra dance-y cover of the song. While it loses the original intent of the song, it still holds holds its own. I’ll let you decide.

 

This last cover is by the band Broken Social Scene, and they’ve truly made the song their own. It’s got a whole new, different kind of desperation about it. Slow, rough around the edges, like a bad hangover after a worse breakup. This one almost hits too close to home.

 

Have you heard any other covers of this great song you’d like to share? Which covers do you feel worked better than others? Should the song have just been left alone out of respect for Curtis? Let me know what you think! For now, keep enjoying the music.

(Sexy) Song of the Day: PJ Harvey “Is This Desire”

First, I should preface this with saying that not only is this a sexy song off PJ Harvey‘s album by the same name, but that this entire album exudes sex. Throughout, Ms. Harvey’s voice is heavy with a hunger that we’ve all felt at some point. Initially, I wanted to make the song of the day “The Garden“, which has all this imagery that’s both biblical and blasphemous. However, the simplicity, the honesty of “Is This Desire” is what made me go with it instead.

 

The song begins slowly, with PJ’s raspy vocals poking and prodding you awake. Nothing more than a little drum beat in the background, and then the guitar kicks in, gently pulling you in to the moment. I can feel the warmth coming up around me listening to it, the way my breathing goes in sync with the rising action of the song. It conjures up memories of morning sex, the kind where your body wakes up before you do. The sensation of the other person lying next to you, their skin pressed up against your own, hands slowly exploring, navigating passion. The chorus builds with every kiss shared, tongues and lips and cheeks and teeth, biting down on your lover’s lower lip. Mmph. Yeah, I can’t begin to explain the scenes going on in my head while I listen to this piece of audible seduction. Listen for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. And do yourself a favor, and get the whole album. PJ Harvey’s talent should be shared with and appreciated by the world.