Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

31Aug/098

The Monday Morning Mix – I’m Gonna DJ – 8/31/09

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Graphic by Rachael Novak

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We've got some great mixes in hand and on the way - where is yours?

About Today's Mix:

Today, we welcome our good pal Annie Zaleski with a stellar mix. We're going to let the mix -- and Annie's mix notes -- do the talking on this one.  I will allow that this is one of my favorite mixes to date.  I keep saying this, and once again challenge you to top today's mix with your own.  Here are Annie's notes, with track listing and Amazon purchase links as well!

Mix Notes:

I have been a huge R.E.M. fan since about 1993 or so. (I have a license plate indebted to "Driver 8." True story.) Naturally, I’m predisposed to like stuff that’s jangly/mysterious/poppy – although my pop music collection ranges from Ace of Base to Yaz. That sort of explains the theme of this mix, although that’s merely a jumping-off point for the songs included here. Accidentally, however, the following collection contains an insane amount of bands that have played with R.E.M. – and has many tunes produced by Canton resident Don Dixon.

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1.  The Connells - Scotty's Lament - from Boylan Heights
2.  Guadalcanal Diary - Get Over It - from 2x4
3.  Material Issue - Renee Remains The Same - from International Pop Overthrow
4.  Beat Rodeo - Just Friends - from Staying Out Late....With Beat Rodeo
5.  Wilco - A Shot In The Arm - from Summerteeth
6.  The Jam - Smithers-Jones - from Setting Sons
7.  The dBs - Never Before and Never Again - from The Sound of Music
8.  Bruce Springsteen - Human Touch - from Human Touch
9.  Let's Active - Talking To Myself - from Big Plans for Everybody
10.  The Pretenders - Night In My Veins - from Last of The Independents
11.  Orbit - Medicine (Baby Come Back) - from Libido Speedway
12.  Suzanne Vega - Luka - from Solitude Standing
13.  World Party - All Come True - from Private Revolution
14.  Sloan - Waterfalls (McCartney cover) - from Listen to What the Man Said: Popular Artists Tribute to Paul McCartney
15.  Orbital - Illuminate (featuring David Gray) - from The Altogether
16.  The Go-Betweens - Streets of Your Town - from 16 Lovers Lane
17.  Grant Lee Buffalo - Arousing Thunder - Storm Hymnal : Gems From The Vault Of Grant Lee Buffalo
18.  Sun Kil Moon - Carry Me Ohio - Ghosts of the Great Highway

The Connells, “Scotty’s Lament.” Formed by a pair of brothers, the Connells were one of many great jangle-rock bands that sprouted in the South during the ‘80s. Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, the band became global superstars with the 1993 single “’74-‘75,” but their ‘80s stuff is quite a bit darker. Wikipedia compares this song to the Smiths, and so it now makes sense why I like it. This song is from 1987’s Boylan Heights, a Don Dixon/Mitch Easter production. The band is still together and does the occasional show.

Guadalcanal Diary, “Get Over It.” A jangle-pop group from Marietta, Georgia, that formed in 1981. (Guess what they sound like.) “Get Over It” is found on 1987’s 2X4, an album produced by Don Dixon. (Guess who else he produced.) All snark aside, GD’s four ‘80s albums have brilliant moments of pop craftsmanship which transcend geography and association – like this song, which in a weird way conjures the heartfelt stuff of the Barenaked Ladies. (That’s not a diss.)

Material Issue, “Renee Remains the Same.” “Kim the Waitress” – a cover of a tune by the Green Pajamas – might have been Material Issue’s hugest hit in Cleveland. But power pop doesn’t get much better than the Chicago trio’s 1991 LP, International Pop Overthrow. (I even named my radio show after it.) Although tackling the time-honored theme of “songs about girls,” IPO remains a near-perfect debut LP, one that contains just the right touches of heartache, euphoria and longing. “Renee Remains the Same” wasn’t a single, but it could have been – which sums up exactly how solid the album is. Sadly, Material Issue vocalist/songwriter Jim Ellison committed suicide in 1996.

Beat Rodeo, “Just Friends.” The Suicide Commandos were Minneapolis punk-pop legends long before Husker Du and the Replacements. But after splitting in 1979, bassist Steve Almaas formed  Beat Rodeo. Like stylistic peers (and I.R.S. labelmates) Jason & the Scorchers, the band specialized in twang-punk before it was de rigeur. From 1984’s Staying Out Late With…Beat Rodeo, an album produced by Dixon (sans two tracks which were produced by Richard Gottehrer).

Wilco, “A Shot in the Arm.” A piano-sprinkled tune from Summerteeth. Contains my favorite Wilco lyric: “We fell in love/In the key of C.”

The Jam, “Smithers-Jones.” The Jam are known for its compact mod-rock tunes, but this string-laden one (which comes from 1979’s Setting Sons) shows off its sensitive side. Penned by Bruce Foxton, not Paul Weller.

The dB’s, “Never Before and Never Again.” I listened to this tune compulsively after a break-up a bunch of years back. One of the gentler jangle-pop tunes in the band’s career, it details the sometimes-brutal process of re-finding your individual self after being part of an “us” or a “we” – what you learned, what you’ll, er, never tolerate again. dB’s principles Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey have a new collaborative record, Here and Now, out on Yep Roc.

Bruce Springsteen, “Human Touch.” I will vouch for solo Springsteen. Including this tune – and its simple sentiment: “I just want someone to talk to/And a little of that human touch.” Isn’t that what we all want?

Let’s Active, “Talking to Myself.” Quite possibly the quintessential Let’s Active tune. Beautiful lyrics from the Mitch Easter.

The Pretenders, “Night In My Veins.” Chrissie Hynde’s status as a rock icon goes without saying. This tune makes me feel like I can fly – or take on a gang of thugs all by myself.

Orbit, “Medicine (Baby Come Back).” A late-‘90s one-hit wonder from a Boston band that should have been much, much bigger. From the awesomely named album Libido Speedway. Incidentally, Orbit has reformed for the occasional show in recent years.

Suzanne Vega, “Luka.” Tied with ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” and Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun” as the best song addressing familial/domestic violence.

World Party, “All Come True.” One of the band’s lesser-known early singles, “All Come True” comes from 1984’s Private Revolution (which was super out of print until being reissued a few years back on CD). Moody and brooding.

Orbital, “Illuminate.” Best known for being electro-trance innovators, this tune features David Gray on vocals. (Apparently, he’s the brother-in-law of Orbital dudes Phil and Paul Hartnoll?) Why was this song not huge?

The Go-Betweens, “Streets of Your Town.” I could go on for hours about the merits of Australian act the Go-Betweens. But I’ll just point folks to 1988’s 16 Lovers Lane, which contains this song (along with “Love Goes On!” and “Was There Anything I Could Do?”). Buy the 2-CD reissue if you can find it. Ivy did a fantastic version of this tune on its covers album, Guestroom.

Grant Lee Buffalo, “Arousing Thunder.” That Grant Lee Buffalo even saw the mainstream light of day in the ‘90s was a testament to how bizarre the musical landscape was back then. (The band also toured with Pearl Jam and R.E.M., which probably didn’t hurt.) Quirky Americana characters and sepia-toned folk-rock with rushes of noise – akin to American Music Club, in an abstract way – made GLB one of my hidden treasures as a kid. This one’s from the underrated follow-up to 1993’s Mighty Joe Moon, 1996’s Copperopolis, which you can probably find for about a dollar at your nearest Exchange. Grant-Lee Phillips has since released a slew of solo albums, including a covers disc which features an amazing version of Robyn Hitchcock’s “I Often Dream of Trains.”

Sun Kil Moon, “Carry Me Ohio.” The finest moment of Mark Kozelek’s post-Red House Painters band (and that’s including SKM Modest Mouse covers LP and several Neil Young-inspired LPs since). He’s a Massillon, Ohio native – and I believe was pals with another one-time Clevelander, Jason Molina of Magnolia Electric Co. -- which you can tell because he pronounces “Tuscarawas” correctly in this tune. A good one for the impending autumn and the changing of leaves.

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30Aug/094

Cleveland Bachelor’s Show of the Week: The National Buffalo Wing Festival

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Greetings fellow avid Addicted to Vinyl followers,

Raise your hand if you went to the Cracker show on Friday? Awesome, right? I haven't been to a show that good in a long time. Killer set-list, though you already know that from reading Matt's astute show review. At least partly because that show was so awesome, and also partly because Matt didn't complain when I suggested a movie as the show of the week a couple weeks back, I'm really gonna push the envelope on this week's endorsement.

This week, rather than suggest you hit up a particular gig at the Beachland or Grog or even Now That's Class or the Winchester, I'm going to advise you to forgo concert entertainment. In fact, I'm going to advise you to leave the friendly confines of Cuyahoga County! Now don't get me wrong, I am in LOVE with Cleveland, so this isn't some back-handed "get out while you still can" endorsement. Instead, it is a sincere acknowledgment that while we might have the best city in America right here in Northeast Ohio, occasionally other cities do some cool stuff worth checking out, too.

wing fest sign

And one of those cool things happens to be going down in Buffalo, NY, this weekend. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you ... The National Buffalo Wing Festival. Buffalo wings have been the Cleveland Bachelor's favorite food group since some time in my early high school days. I don't remember how or when, exactly, I first tasted that spicy nectar but ever since it has been an addiction, and I have travelled the nation far and wide sampling wings and casting judgment. Once, during my years in Texas, I even hosted a buffalo wing tasting that featured submissions from nearly a dozen different eateries, both independent and chain. (For those interested, Buffalo Wild Wings won. My instinct is that if I held a similar challenge here, a big surprise winner would be Rally's, though I'm always willing to try out any place you care to suggest.)

wings

This weekend, I'm fulfilling a long-time dream by attending the Buffalo Wing Festival and I encourage you to make a similar trek. A mere three hours drive will find you in Buffalo, home of the Anchor Bar, where America first received the gift of wing. The festival itself takes place in Coca-Cola Field, where the Indians longtime (and now Mets) Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, play their home games. Baseball will be elsewhere, however, and instead the park will be filled with dozens of buffalo wing vendors, IFOCE-sanctioned competitive eating contests, a .5K race (no, the decimal was not a mistake - this race really is only about 1/3 of a mile), and a national sauce competition designed to determine the best wing in America.

Can you really beat that this weekend in Cleveland or anywhere else in America? No, you can't. You just can't.

So saddle up, grab a half-dozen CDs you've been meaning to listen to, get your best pal to chip in on a cheap hotel room and a box of Rolaids, and head on up to The Nickel City for some wing awesomeness. Your friends will be jealous, your memories will be wonderful, and I will love you forever. Or, at least two of the three things will happen. Though as another CB favorite said, "Two outta three ain't bad..."

A couple of additional show picks from ATV:

Our good friends Pale Hollow are opening for Peter Frampton at Taste of Cleveland on Friday night. The Taste of Cleveland entertainment continues throughout the holiday weekend with Lita Ford on Saturday night (rawk!) and Billy Squier on Sunday night, featuring Cleveland locals View From Everest in the opening slot for that one. Taste of Cleveland wraps up on Monday with a triple threat of live entertainment designed to test the endurance of your liver and taste buds. Cowboy Mouth start things off with a special afternoon performance, followed by Michael Stanley and the Resonators with special guest The Jack Fords, later that same evening.

Todd Rundgren performs the classic Wizard LP in a pair of performances at the Akron Civic happening on Sunday and Monday (9/6 and 9/7.) The Sunday show is sold out, but you should be able to still snag tickets for the Monday evening performance.

Brian of Broken Headphones fame wants me to give you an early warning about the Those Darlins show happening on Wednesday, September 9th at The Spot, Case Western Reserve University style.

There you have it, folks - Check out the complete rundown from CB for the week ahead, right here!

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29Aug/0919

Setlist: Cracker – Beachland Ballroom – 8/28/09

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crackerlowerylive

Cracker can still bring it.

You can consider this less of a review, and more of a collection of some thoughts, with the occasional memory flashback that you've come to expect here on ATV.

The last time I saw Cracker 14 years ago was damn close to a religious experience. Going into the Beachland show, I knew they weren't going to top it. But damn if they didn't prove me wrong, coming very close to lapping that 90s date at the Odeon.

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28Aug/0927

My Trip Hop Days

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trip-hop

Most of you were were probably enjoying my ATV hiatus. One of you even thought I wouldn't get out of that basement you locked me in... never! Screw you, I'm back. I'm out and proud too, but that's an entirely different matter. Speaking of basements, I've been anxiously awaiting the summer release from Basement Jaxx -- "long-awaited album," indeed -- doesn't drop until *sigh* September 21. BJ (hehe), please leak something more than "Raindrops" from this album! Really, I hear that Yoko Ono makes a guest appearance on the album. I expect nothing less than fantastic from one of my favorite musical acts.

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28Aug/0910

Good Listening: Hall and Oates – Live in Chicago (1983)

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h20

This is what we call an encore performance.

Longtime readers of the site will recall that we've featured some Hall and Oates shows here in the past that were pretty awesome. Because Hall and Oates were/still are pretty awesome.

But in 1983, they were kings of the pop music world.

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27Aug/092

Talking Crackers

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crackersunrise

With the pending Cracker show at the Beachland Ballroom on Friday, members of the band have been doing some local press to help make sure that the rock kids are aware that Cracker is coming back to melt their faces off on Friday night.  Cracker frontman David Lowery spoke with Scene Magazine about the upcoming show, revealing some interesting notes behind the recording of the latest Cracker album Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey.

My man/occasional ATV correspondant CB also spoke with longtime Cracker drummer Frank Funaro about a number of subjects, including Funaro's stint drumming for Cleveland Indians pitcher Jack McDowell's rock band "stickfigure."

I got a call from Jack (Blackjack) McDowell to be in his band, stickfigure. We would rehearse and play shows in Cleveland during Indians home stands, and I had this gigantic laminated pass that allowed me access to the pressbox and the clubhouse and the dugout, and I could sit in the seats behind home plate. I never felt comfortable going to the dugout, that always seemed sacred to me, but I used to love to watch the game in the pressbox, you know, really concentrate on the game. They had this sign up on the back wall that said "No Rooting", and right next to it was a perfectly baseball-sized hole where a foul ball had smashed thru the sheetrock. This was in '96, and the Tribe were real heart attack kids, 9th inning walk-off homers and extra inning games, Albert Belle and Omar Vizquel and Jim Thome... a great team... I was certainly in the right place at the right time for all that excitement. And after the 7th inning stretch, I would make my way down to the seats and soak up the excitement in the crowd, I mean, everybody just KNEW in their bones that the Indians were going to come back and win these games. Electric.

Here's where I'd love to share a tune with you from the stickfigure album Just a Thought, but my copy of the album seems to be AWOL.  I was a fan of stickfigure, and I remember seeing them play the Phantasy Theater in the mid-90s as a part of the Undercurrents festival.  They were solid and also featured Smithereens bass player Mike Mesaros on bass.   Imagine my surprise discovering that apparently stickfigure are still a functioning unit with an official website!

But we're here today talking about Cracker, and you're definitely going to want to read the rest of  CB's interview with Funaro.

And by the way, get your ass out to the Beachland on Friday night for Cracker and Whiskey Daredevils.  It's going to be, dare we say it, EPIC.

photo by Jason Thrasher

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26Aug/0916

Touch, Peel, and Hate this Song

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I have an idea for a little bit of audience participation. As you know, we're all about the audience participation here at Addicted to Vinyl!

I'd like your help in making a special mix of annoying songs that you never want to hear on the radio, ever again. Now, these might be good songs, they might be crummy songs, and what they all have in common is that they have been overplayed to the point that your ears bleed just thinking about them.

rushband

Here are some sample cuts to get you going:

Days of the New "Touch, Peel, & Stand"

Alice in Chains "Man in the Box"

Marcy Playground "Sex and Candy"

AC/DC "Highway to Hell"

Rush "Working Man"

Metallica "Enter Sandman"

Pink Floyd "Another Brick In The Wall"

I'll admit, there are some classics on that list. But aren't there also other cuts on some of those albums that you'd rather hear?

Discuss.

P.S.

Any DJ will tell you the awful truth that people really do call to request/hear these songs, almost as if they're new!

Yeah maaaan, I've got a reee-quest, can you play "Man In The Box" by Alice in Chains?

What the hell?

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26Aug/097

Cage Match: Ace Frehley vs. Vinnie Vincent Invasion

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Today, we welcome special guest/uber-KISS fan Corey Rotic for a memorable Cage Match that was proposed by Cage Match board member D.X. Ferris.

Vinnie Vincent Invasion “Boys Are Gonna Rock” vs. Ace Frehley/Frehley’s Comet “Rock Soldiers”

That’s a whole lot of alleged “rocking.”

I think, to begin with, this is an unevenly-matched cage match because I’ve been an Ace Frehley disciple since childhood, but sometimes facts are facts.

I’m so torn – Vinnie Vincent is clearly a better guitarist than Ace Frehley, but…that hair. *shudders*

Likewise, Ace is no virtuoso but he does have a sweet Les Paul that belches smoke and flies. And as generous as I possibly can be, neither one of these are great songs. But when has Kiss ever had anything to do with music?

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25Aug/098

In the bathroom with Barenaked Ladies

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I came across this series of videos from Barenaked Ladies tonight titled "The Bathroom Sessions," while wasting some time on Youtube. Without dwelling on the current state of BNL, I would like to share a couple of my favorites from the series.

The first one, "Adrift," came along at a time when I was wondering if BNL might be creatively out of gas. And as music often does, this tune came my way at a time that I really needed something like it to spin, over and over, to take my mind off of everything else.

"Am I The Only One," comes off of the band's second album, Maybe You Should Drive. For those that bashed the early goofiness of the band, I often used a track like this one, to show the lyrical depth hiding behind the silliness.

Song #3, and you might be asking me - "Hey Matt, what about all of those great songs that Steven Page wrote for BNL?" I'll get one of those in there for sure, but I just happened to see three of my favorite Ed Robertson BNL songs right off of the bat. And since I started out as not-so-much of a fan of the Ed stuff, I have to give him kudos for the songwriting development that eventually helped him work his way into my good graces. Honestly, it didn't take long.

Dammit. Sorry, I have to share one more Ed tune. Another one from Maybe You Should Drive. And maybe you should own this album.

Okay, now that you've all been patient - here's some Steven Page BNL for ya - it's not one of my favorites, but from looking at the complete collection of videos, it looks like Steven didn't get into the Bathroom Sessions concept quite as much as Ed did.

I'll leave you with this one.

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24Aug/090

Cleveland Bachelor’s Show of the Week: Cracker and Whiskey Daredevils at the Beachland Ballroom

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Ladies and gentleman, does this week bring us a doozy of a rock show or what?!? I will say this: this week's show of the week might also be my most anticipated show of the year. It might not be a hipster-driven audience (it won't be), the local indie record store may no longer the band's new releases (they don't), but that doesn't matter: Cracker rules.

cracker-band

That's right, Cracker. The fellas who pretty much provided the non-grunge soundtrack to the 90s are rolling through Cleveland this week, as they tour to support their newest release (#13), Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey. As an album, Sunrise is pretty good, especially the lead single "Turn On Tune In Drop Out With Me", which is accompanied by some additional great tracks ("Show Me How This Thing Works" and "Friends"), some very good ones ("I Could Be Wrong I Could Be Right" and "Hey Brett - You Know What Time It Is"), and nothing that could be considered mere album filler. With Sunrise, the band continues its streak of very solid and underacknowledged albums, a streak this decade that includes 06's Greenland, 02's Forever, and 03's awesome country cover album Countrysides. Record-wise, these albums might not be the level of Kerosene Hat (one of the single best albums of the 1990s), but they are solid and David Lowery still has a knack with writing clever, listenable songs that perfectly utilize Johnny Hickman's killer skills on the axe.

Better yet, these guys absolutely bring it live. I mean, how couldn't they, with the incomparable number of audience sing-a-long friendly tunes they have stuffed in their catalog, including "Low," "Teen Angst," "Get Off This," "Sweet Potato," "Been Around the World," "Seven Days," "Lonesome Johnny Blues," "Euro-Trash Girls," "Sweet Thistle Pie," "I Need Better Friends," "Mr. Wrong," "Guarded By Monkeys," and, of course, my three personal favorite Cracker live tunes, "Merry Christmas Emily," "Big Dipper," and their cover of Hank Williams Jr.'s "Family Tradition." Shoot, throw their more famous covers in to the mix and this band could play for five hours and still not hit all the songs you were hoping to hear (especially Jerry Jeff Walker's "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother," The Carpenters' "Rainy Days and Mondays," Bruce Springsteen's "Sinaloa Cowboys," and Willie Nelson's "Reasons to Quit")!

So, if it isn't already clear what you need to prioritize this week, make sure you get yourself to the Beachland Ballroom this Friday night. Local rockabilly heroes The Whiskey Daredevils are slotted as openers, and if you've never seen them before, you are definitely gonna want to arrive early enough to catch their set - they put on, without a doubt, the most entertaining act in all of Cleveland and bring some serious instrumental chops to the stage, as well.

Check out my full weekly rundown for all of the rest of the shows that you need to be aware of, and if you've got a show on your mind that we should know about, leave it here in the comments!

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