Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mix CD: The Essential Lou Reed

Lou Reed is kind of a douche in real life. In this picture Lou Reed has some of the worst hair ever. However he still is Lou Reed. He still fronted a band that one could argue as the most influential band in Rock & Roll over the last half century. Still the guy has released a good share of crap. Apart from Transformer it's hard to pinpoint his essential albums, as people tend to be really polarized in opinion about his many other records. Still it's pretty safe to say that Berlin, Coney Island Baby, and New York are his other biggies.

Though with many artists if you neglect an album of theirs that is not particularly good overall, you may be neglecting a song or two that you'll be missing out on. See "Sally Can't Dance" for an example. Well what I'm getting to here is that I've created an essential Lou Reed mix. Now I'm not a huge Lou fan or anything, and to be perfectly honest I'm only especially familiar with Transformer and Berlin. So when I went out on this project I had to do a little research, both looking at previous Best of Lou mixes and charts to see what songs are the most beloved. Out of all the commercial compilations I found Wild Child to be the best, though it was a bit too heavy on Berlin. Not a bad thing in spirit, but when you're trying to give a career overview and include more than half of the songs on a single album you're not looking wide enough. Plus it's Berlin- putting most of the album's songs out of context and out of order is a bit ridiclous. On my mix I cut it down to 4- a lot but I couldn't bear to lose any of them. Also in terms of the Wild Child mix I got a kick out of how they included a minute and a half excerpt of Metal Machine Music. I had to go along with including that.

Here's the tracklist and link:

The Essential Lou Reed

1. Vicious
2. Satellite of Love
3. Walk on the Wild Side
4. Perfect Day
5. White Light-White Heat
6. How Do You Think It Feels
7. Carolina Says II
8. Berlin
9. Lady Day
10. Sad Song
11. Sally Can't Dance
12. Metal Machine Music (excerpt)
13. Coney Island Baby
14. Street Hassle
15. The Blue Mask
16. Legendary Hearts
17. I Love You Suzanne
18. Dirty Blvd.

I wish I could have included more from New York, but ran out of room. Street Hassle takes up a lot of space, but man on man is that a good one. I went along with the original compilation's inclusion of White Light/White Heat to represent Rock 'N Roll Animal due to space restrictions. I'm a bigger fan of the alternate arrangements of Sweet Jane and Herion, but unfortunately those were too long. The White Light arrangement though is pretty cool for taking it in a way different direction than the original. And though a lititle on the lame side, I had to include I Love You Suzanne.

The Essential John Cale is coming soon....

Lou Reed albums @

Monday, July 14, 2008

Belle & Sebastion - Freak Scene, Dinosaur Jr. - Freak Scene (solo version)

Now this is odd. Belle & Sebastian, a gentle indie-pop band, covering Dinosaur Jr. one of the loudest most blistering bands of the 80's. However the cover works and works well. It goes to show you that despite being best known for their quiet-loud dynamic and use of feedback (which preceded the Pixies and of course Nirvana by several years), and uses of riffs and solos,
techniques the indie scene barely ventured before them, they had deeply rooted pop sensibilities. On the other hand it shows you that Belle & Sebastian has more balls than they are often given credit for.

This version of Freak Scene is a bit hard to come by. It's from a Peel Session in the early 2000's, when Dinosaur Jr. was still the J. Mascis project it had been since 1988. Of course, the full band reunited in 2005, and along with Mission of Burma are one of the few reunion acts who are not only as tight as they were in their heyday, but have recorded new material that holds up with their previous work.

Anyways, this version of the song is noteworthy as it is just J. with his acoustic guitar. However he still whips out the distortion at times, particularly during the solo.

Dinosaur Jr. - Freak Scene (Peel Session)
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Belle & Sebastian - Freak Scene (Live)
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Freak Scene music video

Freak Scene solo performance

Friday, July 4, 2008

Galaxie 500 - Fourth of July

One of my all-time favorites....

Galaxie 500 - Fourth of July
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Galaxie 500 - Fourth of July (live)

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I wrote a poem on a dog biscuit
And your dog refused to look at it
So I got drunk and looked at the Empire State Building
It was no bigger than a nickel

And if it don't improve
Then I have to move
I never thought that I would end up here
Maybe I should just change my style
But I feel alright when you smile

I stayed at home on the Fourth of July
And I pulled the shades so I didn't have to see the sky
And I decided to have a Bed In
But I forgot to invite anybody

And when I fell asleep
The neighbors had a peep
I never thought that I would end up here
Maybe I should just change my style
But I feel alright when you smile

Galaxie 500 - This is Our Music @amazon
Galaxie 500 - Copenhagen @amazon