Wednesday, October 13, 2010

OMG, is it Wednesday again ALREADY?

1. "Veronica" / Elvis Costello
From Spike (1989)
As I recall, this was the album that made me "go off" Elvis -- despite this perky pop single co-written with Paul McCartney (that's him on the old Hofner bass, though I think EC dubbed his own backing vocals). It ticks along too briskly, the lyrics nearly unintelligible, as if Elvis was trying to disguise the fact that this is no love song, but a fretful rehash of "Eleanor Rigby."  That soaring, swinging melody though -- it's hard to resist.

2. "Eros' Entropic Tundra" / Of Montreal
From Satanic Panic in the Attic (2004)
Absurd song title aside (all Of Montreal's titles are overwrought like this), it's a winsome bit of indie pop, with a definitely Kinky flavor.  As Kevin Barnes miserably moans, "All I ever get / Is sa-a-ad love . . ."

3. "A Question of Temperature" / Balloon Farm
Hazy, hectic, with an insistent beat -- this psychedelic classic, with a definite garage-y vibe, emanated from a New Jersey band that barely outlasted this one single's blip of underground success.  Thanks to my pal Blamo for introducing me to it on his famous Blast-o-palooza mix-tape CD; you can also find it on the first Nuggets set.

4. "You Want It" / The Village Green
From When the Creepers Creep In (EP, 2006)
Another rarity -- an impulse download from a quirky Seattle band with an uncanny predilection for neo-British Beat pop.  Most of this EP ended up on their later album, but "You Want It" mysteriously fell by the wayside. Too bad -- it glowers and lurks very nicely.

5. "Gospel Night" / Dave Alvin
From Blue Blvd (1991)
I love how Dave Alvin's slightly gruff voice narrates the unglamorous lives and loves of ordinary  people, the stuff of California trailer parks and roadside diners, served up with a whomping beat, honkytonk piano, and spanking guitar licks.

6. "League of Failures" / Jill Sobule
From California Years (2009)
Loveable losers -- does anybody get them better than Jill Sobule?

7. "Take Me With U" / Marshall Crenshaw
From What's in the Bag? (2003)
Marshall covering a Prince song?  Well, why not -- that foxy syncopation, those sneaky guitar riffs -- a perfect MC vehicle, it turns out.

8. "Love Like a Glove" / Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit
From Nick Lowe And His Cowboy Outfit (1984)
Another cover -- as it happens, Nick singing his then-wife Carlene Carter's song.  Rather an undistinguished cut, I have to say.  And I'm not jealous of Carlene Carter at all.

9. "Say It Isn't True" / Alan Price
From Liberty (1989)
And yet another cover, this one of a Jackson Browne track from Lawyers in Love.  Alan must have loved this bittersweet song, because after making it the last cut on this rather obscure 1989 album, he threw an even longer version onto 1995's A Gigster's Life for Me. Alan's take is much more dramatic than Jackson's -- if only it didn't drift into bombastic overkill.

10. "One Irish Rover" / Van Morrison
From No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986)
Gotta love this Van classic, a tenderly lurching waltz with just a whiff of lonely self-pity.  Self-mythologizing, yes, but Van wears that soulful troubadour mask so convincingly.  A lovely song to [yawn] go to sleep on . . . .

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