Sunday, January 27, 2008

The two best albums I heard over the break:

Frank Sinatra’s Watertown is a concept album about the dreariness of small town life, made even drearier by the fact that our narrator’s wife has just departed for the big city and left him with the kids to raise. The album’s only flaw is that it is too short: throw in a couple supporting characters and you’d have the Great American Novel. It’s one of Sinatra’s lesser-known works, and maybe the only baroque pop album in his catalog, but it does have a cult following: Robert Pollard has cited it as a favorite, and the likes of Jens Lekman and Stephin Merritt have certainly adopted some of the Sinatran phrasings particular to these songs. The reissue contains an extra track called “Lady Day,” which incidentally serves as a perfect conclusion: when you’re as down on your luck as Watertown’s protagonist, maybe only Billie Holiday can save you. So drop your Scott Walker and your Van Dyke Parks, and click the link:

Frank Sinatra - "I Would Be In Love (Anyway)"

The Libertines (who have had to append a "U.S." to their name ever since the world was blessed with the arrival of Pete Doherty) were an Ohio-based jangly indie band in the mid to late 80s, whose incredible lack of success was pretty tragic. They recorded two albums, one of which found release only on cassette, and the other on Dutch-only vinyl. Well, they’ve just reunited, and they’ve brought a new career retrospective with them. It’s called Greatest Hits, Volume One, which is funny because they probably don’t have enough material for a volume two (in fact, the title and the atrocious cover art seem more like a playful stab at the “legacy” of the Eagles, rather than a lapse in sanity). You can find out more at, and if you order the CD from the folks at CD Baby, they’ll make sure you feel loved.

The Libertines - "Something in the Water"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

the boss may be great, but even greater is this video of dr. gregory house doing his best bruce:

Monday, January 14, 2008

sometimes you just know something is going to be great. peter buck on a replacements song? is there a better song in the entire world? talking heads covering al green? such a good idea!

given his performance on the falsetto-y “mr. tough” (a song my dad likes) from “i am not afraid of you and i will beat your ass”, one might surmise yo la tengo bassist james mcnew could do an excellent prince (if one had plenty of free time to go about surmising). that'd be a good idea. in fact (awkward segue) mr. mcnew, under the guise of his dump moniker, recorded an entire album of prince covers a few years back.

now prince, being the obsessive control freak he is, wasn’t very happy about it and the album’s out of print, i believe. you can still track it down though, and it’s definitely worth a listen just for the covers of “raspberry beret” and “another lonely christmas”. the best song though is james’ drone-y (surprise!) version of “when you were mine” from “dirty mind”:

dump—“when u were mine”