Waking Ear

We have a pact, you and I. I write down what song I had in my head when I woke up in the morning. And, maybe, why. You click on "What's in your waking ear?" and tell me what's in your head right now. We discover new music and maybe learn something about how our minds work. Yeah?

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

British Sea Power/"The Lonely" -- Am I the only one who is reminded of Pulp when I hear this album? It's got that kind of maudlin air to it, with orchestral flair. More guitar-heavy and melodic, but I just picture Jarvis Cocker in my head. Not that I consider that a bad thing.

I was out sick yesterday, so that's why there was no update. But it seems like the world kept turning just fine.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Robert Palmer/"I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" -- Caution at work -- that link takes you to the full audio and video of the "Simply Irresistible" Pepsi commercial. You need this. Let's all face it -- Robert Palmer was the John Ritter of his time.

I got my latest copy of Spin yesterday, and it had Dave Matthews on the cover, and I thought, "Sucky." I turned to the reviews, and they were all too old, and there was no Outkast, which proves that monthly music magazine reviews have become totally irrelevant. I know they had the feature on Outkast last month, but whatever.

Then I went to the front section to see who Ultragrrrl was making herself be seen with, and it was Liz Phair, which made total sense. I like Ultragrrrl, who is apparently extremely high on Red Bull.

Anyway, there was something mildly interesting on the same page as Ultragrrrl, but I've forgotten it now. I leafed through a little more and began to think seriously about canceling my subscription. But I've already paid for it, so I might as well keep getting it to see what's going on with the kids.

But I need something better than this.

I read Pitchfork every day. More accurately, I scan Pitchfork. I am in the "Pitchfork writing is generally pretty good" camp, but it needs massive editing, which is why the singles column is now my favorite thing to read. The long-form album reviews get a cursory glance from me unless they've got a really good lead or are about a band I'm into already or are really favorable reviews where Will Bryant or whoever is having an orgasm in print.

I think the Pitchfork people are better tastemakers than they are writers, so I'll generally check out an album if they like it, and usually I like it too. I also consult Metacritic for anything Pitchfork fucked up on or just plain missed, either as an oversight or because it doesn't cover a whole lot of country or rap or whatever. So I've got my music review bases pretty well covered, and I don't think I necessarily need more reviews from a music magazine.

What I'd like is good music writing, which is extremely hard to find and for which I hold very high standards. I'd like interviews that talk about what people are trying to do with music and performances. It's OK if they talk about the way an artist does her hair, but I want her to do her hair for a goddamn reason. And I don't want any of that lazy "Pink sips coffee in a Starbucks and stares wistfully outside. She's probably thinking about her childhood." crap. I don't mind the childhood stuff. I mind the insinuations and the overarching themes that attempt to make people seem way more interesting than they really are. We can smell it a mile away, Spin, and that goes for you too, RS, you smirking, leering, posing-but-no-longer-smoking-cigarettes pervert.

I want one list per issue, max. Lists are fine if they're informed. A list of the '80s heavy metal albums I must own, y'know, fine, I'll accept. They're fun. Nick Hornby made a whole book out of 'em, and then John Cusack made it a movie, and I liked the movie, and I never read the book. But don't Maxim-ize my entire fucking magazine, please.

I want features on scenes, the thing Spin was doing back when I subscribed. I want to know what electroclash people do, or what kids in Atlanta or Salem (either one) or Albuquerque are listening to.

There's more I want, but the above would be a fine beginning.

Any suggestions? Are there any music/pop culture mags out there worth reading?

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Mandy Moore/"One Way Or Another" -- OK, OK, so I didn't post. It's hell catching up when I've been out of the office, but I apologize. I'm back on schedule now, so you can expect my once-a-day, sometime-in-the-afternoon-even-though-this-site-is-ostensibly-about-the-morning posts on a regular basis again. Oh, and here's the first batch of photos from the Austin City Limits Festival.

I'm not as high on Mandy's Coverage LP as some of my colleagues are. I always liked Ms. Moore best of all the Britney crop of pop stars, and I think she's got a great voice. But the Matrix-like production drains all the fun out of the songs in favor of Neat Tricks like the Hendrix-y airplane sounds on "One Way."

I'm more inclined toward Mandy's "Candy," a perfect song about liking a boy, performed by an attractive young woman with some killer pipes.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Yo La Tengo/"Nothing But You and Me" -- I've got photos to post and a full recap coming up tomorrow, but Tim Thompson's already got a brief summary of the ACL Festival, celebrating good music and anterior cruciate ligaments. He's more down on the whole thing than I was -- it was an amazing weekend, and I found most people to be polite and friendly, especially the staff. If Thompson had gone to see Los Lonely Boys over Leftover Salmon, he would've had a much more enjoyable weekend. They played guitar behind their backs and on top of their fucking heads, man.

Thanks for all the congratulatory remarks on the iPod. I'm nowhere close to loading it up, and plan to do it gradually. I'm just about 6.5 gigs into it now and loving it.

Tonight is my bar's third birthday, so I plan to consume lots of alcohol this evening and take the day off tomorrow from work. So I promise not to neglect all three of my faithful readers when they come a-callin' on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Aesop Rock/"Bazooka Tooth" -- I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod. I have an iPod.

That's one for each gigabyte. Sorry for the late post -- I've been playing with my new toy all day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Andre 3000/"Hey Ya" -- Andre 3000 has lost his shit. Remember and hold onto this moment when an artist makes you feel excited about music again. Big Boi's Speakerboxxx is pretty damn incredible, too.

Schmubb and I head down to Austin tonight for the Mogwai/Trail of Dead show. Wish my poor ear canal luck.

Monday, September 15, 2003

DJ Demasiado/"Frontin' My Steez" -- DJ Demasiado, a.k.a. Paz, a.k.a. my sister's multi-talented boyfriend, has taken that mash-up in my head and run with it. Go ahead. Click on the song. He's done an amazing job transforming my dementia into something danceable.

The good DJ told me, in an e-mail: "The guitar chops on the Premier instrumental really accent the vocals well. Plus, you really don't have to worry about the mashup being off-key, because - come on, it's Pharrell. And of course Jay-Z kills it on a Premo beat, even when he's calling himself Grey-hova and saying he's too old for all of this nonsense."

Apart from what I believe was a dis of Pharrell's exquisite falsetto, I agree with these sentiments. Click on the DJ Demasiado link above for some more of his work, which is far better than anything I could concoct in my head.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Johnny Cash/"The Man Who Couldn't Cry" -- Thanks, J.R.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Wilco/"Heavy Metal Drummer" -- Ay. I just had this long post about my favorite records of the year so far, and Blogger ate it. I hope you've satisfied your hunger, Blogger.

So tell you what. You tell me yours, and I'll tell you mine. And I mean favorite, not best. I only have three right now, and they are in no particular order. I don't want lists, I want whatever you listened to in 2003 that still moves you. Mine:

Cat Power, You Are Free
Aerogramme, Sleep and Release
The D.O.C., Deuce


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Pharrell Williams vs. Gangstarr/"Frontin' My Steeze" -- This is yet another mash-up song I've created in my head. I need to learn some software so I can actually do these. As a follow-up to my wicked combination of Digable Planets' "Rebirth of Slick" and Wreckx N Effect's "Rump Shaker," "Frontin' My Steeze" would overlay Pharrell Williams vocals -- because I like what is apparently universally viewed as the worst feature of the song -- on that guitar loop from Gangstarr's 1998 classic "You Know My Steeze."

I know none of you can hear this. I apologize. I won't even get into my combination of Mohammed Rafi's "Aaj Mausam Bada Beimann Hai" from the Monsoon Wedding soundtrack with the Righteous Brothers' version of "Unchained Melody."

Oh, and about the Williams vocals on "Frontin'" -- I think what I like about Pharrell's falsetto is its pure karaoke-ness. The man loves his song, and he'll sing it like he means it. There's a little bit of Biz Markie to it, though Biz was trying to be funny, and Pharrell isn't. Totally. I don't think. But he is having fun, and you can hear it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell/"Beautiful" -- At what point did Snoop become a cartoon? Or was he always one? Remember how gangsta rap felt back in '93, all dangerous and evil? We were supposed to be getting street journalism about Bloods and Crips. Were we just getting Freddy vs. Jason as performed by black people in South Central?

And if Snoop has accepted his role as the Huggy Bear of this brave new millennium, this is the song he should do, with miminal variation, from now on. I love it when he calls me nephew.

Pharrell Williams as vocalist. I'm torn. Discuss.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Shopping/"Still Born Corpse" -- The review linked to your left is hyperbolic at best, but does correctly refer to "Still Born Corpse" as the best song on Civil War Generals, a fun little EP by one of my dearest friends and his bandmates. I'm happy to supply copies to all that request them. I do wonder what the fine folks of Williamsburg thought of them.

Don't speak. I know just what you're thinking.

Friday, September 05, 2003

The Boys/"Crazy" -- Does anybody remember the video for this song, in which the band imitated other big videos of the late '80s, such as Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation?" I would love to get my hands on that clip.

The weekend calls. Get me out of this office.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Ani DiFranco/"Evolve" -- I plugged in Evolve for the first time in a while yesterday, and it sounded a little worse for the wear. Ani can be an acquired taste, and I've long since acquired it, but her more recent material always kind of erodes away at me after a while. She's more veiled and private than she used to be, which is fine, but sometimes I need her combat boots to start kicking, and that's not what this album is about.

It's growing on me now, though -- the pretty clarinet in "Shrug," the R&B tinges in "Slide," and the topsy-turvy melody of "Evolve." I consider Ani -- that's Mr. DiFranco to you -- to be in this stage where she's questioning her assumptions, musically and otherwise, and "Evolve" seems to fit that template pretty well. I believe this mid-life crisis will have a happy ending.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

B.J. Thomas and Dusty Springfield/"As Long As We've Got Each Other" -- There's a sordid tale behind this song, as the link to the left will show you. I always thought it was written by Alan Thicke, but I was apparently thinking of other TV themes he has to his credit. Which reminds me of this, which refers to another sordid tale, which leads us to a game show. Alan Thicke once hosted a game show.

So you see: behind every controversy is Alan Thicke.

The reason? I don't know. But I have a guess.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

New Pornographers/"When I Was a Baby" -- There's nothing quite like a sing-along anthem with fucked-up lyrics. "My mother would poke at the hooooooole in the back of my head where my brains were exposed" never sounded so good, if it ever sounded before.

Ultragrrrl has a blog. I have harbored a crush on her since she was the birthdays and days in history writer for Spin.com. Spin is a horrible, horrible publication that no one should ever buy, so I'm glad to have another opportunity to see her goofy writing. The Anti-Blogger, in his/her short reign of terror, noted that Ultra seems a wee bit self-absorbed, but she's still funny as far as I'm concerned.


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