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THE WEDDING PRESENT - "Seamonsters" - LIVE IN BROOKLYN, 3/21/12

I was shocked and disappointed in myself that I haven't posted these videos yet (as well as posted a new mix since February, but that's another story). The past 2 months have been a flurry of changes and busy times. But now, as I have a free few minutes, I'm righting the ship and sharing with you...

The Wedding Present, live at The Bell House in Brooklyn on March 21, 2012 performing their 1991 classic album Seamonsters.  I got 3 great videos of some of the songs from the set, here's the first 2 songs off the album, "Dalliance" and "Dare":

The Wedding Present are one of those Brit Pop bands that was I way late to the game on. Already firmly established in the 1980s and achieving legendary status in the 1990s, I didn't really tune into them until the early 2000s.  Luckily, they've since reformed and have been putting out new material (which is awesome), but these nostalgia tours of playing classic albums are always fun and hard to pass up the chance to see, especially when they play songs like "Corduroy":

This show in particular was a blast because I was able to meet up with some of my longest and bestest friends and had an nice little group to hang with. So much of the live show experience is the people you see the show with.  Of course the band will probably be good. A band like the Wedding Present are pros and David Gedge is a stellar front man,  but having friends around you who also are as psyched to be there as you are makes the night that much more memorable and awesome. 

That said, it's somewhat fitting that the last song I got on video was The Wedding Present's classic single "You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends"...

 

February 2012 Mix - "Just Let It Happen"

 

(to listen to the mix, just press the play icon above)

Other Listening Options: 8Tracks | Spotify | Rdio

I was in relatively good shape going into February, mix wise. I had a few tracks set and loaded early on, but then I hit a wall and sure enough, the short month of February put the pressure on. Luckily, the end of the month proved to be productive in terms of discovering new music as well as seeing what music was exciting me this month. That's what the mixes are meant to be for me, a collection of new songs I'm digging, songs of bands I've seen recently or ones that I'm going to see soon. The closest I'll come to documenting my life is by documenting these 13 songs that I listen to each month.  That said, let's dive in...

1. "Songs About Your Girlfriend" - Los Campesinos - I saw Los Campesinos live in early February and they solidified themselves as one of my guaranteed good time bands. I danced my ass off and loved every moment of the show. 

2. "Comeback Kid" - Sleigh Bells - You always worry about that second album from a band you really liked with their debut. Luckily Sleigh Bells have delivered another great set of songs complete with shredding guitars. Love it.

3. "Traveling" - Tennis - One of my new music finds this month, I love the airy, retro pop sound of this band. 

4. "New Map" - M83 - I'm as mystified as you are as to how much I like M83. This album has firmly been in rotation since I got it. It's really close to perfect.

5. "Helpless" - Sugar - you may have saw my post earlier this week of video of the Bob Mould show where he preformed the entire Copper Blue album. Yeah, so that's why this song is here. I'm obsessed

6. "The Right Profession" - Hospitality - Another new music find, with female vocals and yet it's slightly different than Tennis above. Unique and memorable.

7. "The Unsinkable Fats Domino" - Guided By Voices - I don't think the new GBV record is better than the older ones, but it's damn good and tons of fun to listen to

8. "We Are Young" - fun. (featuring Janelle Monae) - I'll admit, I first heard this song on Glee. Had no idea it was fun. The new fun. album has it's issues, but this is a fantastic song.

9. "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" - The Wedding Present - I get to see The Wedding Present live again in March! I can't wait! I love their covers and this cover is on the full Sea Monsters album, which is what I'll be seeing them perform. I wonder if they'll do this cover

10. "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie" - Black Flag - The majority of my hardcore has been east coast based, I've listened to Black Flag here and there, but this month I really dove in and I can finally see why this band was so important, emotionally not academically. I mean, I get it, but after listening to them alot this month, I really get it

11. "Envy" - Youth of Today - And here's the east coast hardcore. Further, I got tickets to see a bunch of old east coast hardcore bands later this year. I cannot wait. June can't come fast enough.

12. "Paperwork" - Hot Snakes - Another band that I'm going to be seeing live soon, and it's a band that I never thought I'd see again. Luckily I'm able to navigate scheduling conflicts to see them...in Seattle.

13. "Who Loves The Sun" - The Velvet Underground - I want to go back in time and make 15 year old me listen to The Velvet Undergound. He'd be much better off.

 

Bob Mould - "Copper Blue" - Live in SF, 2/24/14

If I were to share with you my top 10 albums of the 1990s and even my top 10 albums of all time, "Copper Blue" by Sugar would be towards the top of both lists.  I remember the first song I heard off the album, "Hoover Dam," on a mix tape a friend had made me. The song sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. The entire album quickly became a soundtrack for me and my group of friends through high school in the early 1990s. I was too young to understand Sugar's front man Bob Mould and his connections to underground music via Husker Du in the 1980s, much less Mould's stature and importance as one of the greatest musicians/songwriters of my generation. Further, I was too young to comprehend the influences to Sugar, such as My Bloody Valentine (a comprehension that would come years later as I got more mature with my listening skills). All I know was that "Copper Blue" was 10 songs of focused energy, emotion and gracefulness. They were 10 songs that would leave their mark on me forever.

I never got to see Sugar perform live, and I always had them on this list in my head of great bands I'd never see (along with The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, Minor Threat and many others. It's interesting to see the bands fall off that list as reunions and one-time gigs occur and who I will still never see, but that's a discussion for another time).  When I saw Bob Mould perform with his backing band at ATP 2008, I was blown away that he played "Hoover Dam."  I wasn't expecting it and yet here it was, live and being performed in front of me. So when the music festival in San Francisco, Noise Pop announced that Mould would be performing the entire "Copper Blue" album live, I had to be there.

After much drama, conflicts and touch and go moments, I found myself with some of my closest friends at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, California on February 24, 2012, waiting for Mould and his band, bassist Jason Narducy and drummer Jon Wurster (of Superchunk fame) to take the stage.  When the first note started, I had to look around and verify that this was actually happening.

To prove it happened, I took some video of the first 5 songs. I had intended to do the entire show, but after "Hoover Dam", I had to put my camera down and just rock out.  I wanted to share this video with you so you can see the happiness and energy that Bob Mould shared with all of us. Seeing this amazing group of songs performed live helped push Mould to the top of my list of "Best Live Shows I've Ever Seen."

If you don't have "Copper Blue" - go buy it now and enjoy the videos below.

"The Act We Act"  "A Good Idea"  and "Changes"
"Helpless" and "Hoover Dam"

January 2012 Mix - "Good Enough For Me"

(to listen to the mix, just press the play icon above)

Other Listening Options: 8Tracks | Spotify | Rdio

It should come as no surprise, but I had fully intended to publish this mix earlier in January. Actually, I had intended to publish this in December, so I guess it's a double no surprise. Regardless, the time involved caused these 13 songs to go in some unique directions. At first I wanted it to be a greatest hits of 2011, with some refelection intothe songs that really rocked me. But then as life's events took place, other songs snuck their way in, and then as new music often does, it stuck in my head and earned slots on the mix. And so we kick off 2012's mixes with some old and some new and some that just feel right.  Not a bad way to start another year.

1. "Clean Sheets" - Descendents - I don't know how or why, but I went through a pretty major Descendents kick this past January. It's never a bad thing, just came out of nowhere as I had this song in my head for like a week.

2. "Eyes Wide Open" - Rival Schools - 2011 was a bit of a resurgance for Walter Schriefels in terms of my enjoyment and it pretty much started with this track from the Rival Schools record.  Walter probably ended up being one of the musicians I listened to the most last year.

3. "Hand Over Fist" - Wiretap Crash - So awesome to see one of my old friends from the Long Island hardcore scene rocking out with a new band. I was psyched to see that they were fun live, and recorded a pretty rad EP, with this song as my fave.

4. "St. Rosa and the Swallows" - The Thermals - Somehow I had never heard The Thermals, don't ask me how I missed them, because they're great and totally up my alley. Luckily someone showed me the way and this was the song that did it.

5. "God Loves Us" - Guided By Voices - Can't say I ever thought I'd be putting a new GBV song on a mix, and yet here I am. Add to it that the song doesn't suck! Will wonders ever cease?

6. "1313" - The Big Pink - The second record from a band after you've discovered them always seems to be a bit...less than. Luckily for me, the latest album from The Big Pink built on their previous release and is totally fun to listen to.

7. "Marathon Runner" - Yellow Ostrich - Nice how one of my favorite new band discoveries of 2011 comes out with a new song at the beginning of 2012. It's almost like they planned it. This is the first song released from their new album, which I can't wait to get my hands on.

8. "You You You You" - The 6THs - There's something about the sincerity of this song that I love. It' so simple and honest and completely what it promises to be. That's pretty special.

9. "The Slim" - Sugar - The other artist I've probably listened to the most in 2011 was Bob Mould. From Husker Du, to his solo stuff to Sugar, it's been a blast revisiting and reveling in his amazingness. I think I'm in for at least one more month though of Mould, as we build towards his show in SF in late February.

10. "To The Birds" - Suede - I still can't believe I saw Suede live again in 2011. Sure, I had to fly to England to do it, but it was worth every penny.  

11. "Man Out of Time" - Elvis Costello - I actually used this song for work on a podcast and was reminded not only how good it is, but how much fun I had discovering Elvis Costello back in college. I wish I could re-live that time...

12. "Asleep" - Stars - I recently gave the album this song came from to a friend of mine to play for her new baby. It's just...perfect.

13. "The Blower's Daughter" - Damien Rice - Another random song that popped into my head in December and stayed there until January.  It's so haunting and romantic, I adore it.

Enjoy!

 

Christmas 2011 Mix - "Happy Christmas"

(to listen to the mix, just press the play icon above)

Other Listening Options: 8Tracks | Spotify | Rdio

December is a double mix month, as the annual tradition of making a Christmas/Holidays themed mix continues with this mix coming in a bit earlier than my usual monthly mix.  I did break my rule of only 13 songs per mix with this mix, because well, I had 14 songs and the added extra song is a good way to ease into the New Year.

I do struggle with this after making holiday mixes for several years now, how to not just use the same songs over and over, but some are must-have standbys for me so they remain. But I did make an effort to find new versions of songs by bands that I haven't had on the mix before. So hopefully you hear something new that you like. 

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

1. "The Bells of St. Mary" - Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans - Many of you know that I believe the Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift for You is not only the greatest Christmas album of all time, but one of the greatest records of all time. For some reason, I love this song the most and it's always the first song I listen to after Thanksgiving.

2. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - She & Him - Ah, the holiday song about date rape that I'm not quite sure why it's a holiday song. I have to admit, I was excited for the She & Him Christmas record, but it fell a little flat for me, being too airy and not poppy enough, but this song was great in that they flipped the roles and you get a ton of M.Ward, which always a good thing.

3. "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" - Death Cab for Cutie - A rare, new classic, also from the Phil Spector record, but this time covered by DCFC.  A modern classic that sounds great by pretty much any band that covers it.

4. "Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)" - The Decemberists - A little country-themed humor is always fun, right?

5. "Twelve Days of Christmas" - The Muppets & John Denver - The most annoying song ever is made tolerable by The Muppets.  This is the year of Muppets, so figured this was appropriate

6. "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight) - Ramones - I love the idea of the Ramones writing a Christmas song, and coming up with this sardonic, all too real song.

7. "Run Rudolph Run" - Lemmy Kilmister - I decree this is now the greatest Christmas song ever. Lemmy wins. Always bet on Lemmy. Also it features Dave Grohl on drums!

8. "Last Christmas" - Jimmy Eat World - I don't think I can make a Christmas mix without putting this cover of this song on it.  Great song made better.

9. "Christmas Wrapping" - Spice Girls - Yeah, I went with the Spice Girls. Deal with it.

10. "Fairytale of New York" - Stars - Another new, modern classic Christmas song. You'd think the Pogues would be a tough act to follow, but Stars pulls it off

11. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" - The Polyphonic Spree - I was torn with putting the original vs this cover, but I wanted to have something new here, so I went with the cover. It's practically identical

12. "River" - Robert Downey Jr. - Possibly Robert Downey Jr.'s finest hour and it came to us via Ally McBeal of all paces.

13. "White Christmas" - The Wedding Present - I love how soft and airy this cover is by one of my favorite brit pop bands.

14. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" - Rufus Wainwright - Another mainstay. I mean, what ARE you doing New Year's Eve?

Enjoy! I hope everyone has a happy holidays!