Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mount Analog featuring Karl Blau - "That's How I Got to Memphis" 7"

Mount Analog Featuring Karl Blau – “That’s How I Got to Memphis” 7”
K Records, 2008
Acquired: KJHK Music Staff, New, 2008
Price: $0

Mount Analog is the guise famed Portland producer Tucker Martine operates under, and for this 7” he wrangled fellow northwesterners Karl Blau and Laura Veirs for an absolutely fantastic cover of Bobby Bare’s “That’s How I Got to Memphis.” I’m a fan of all three aforementioned musicians. Martine is one of the best producers in the game (I recently raved about his collaborative work on Richard Buckner’s latest Surrounded) and Blau and Veirs are a couple of my favorite songwriters from way back (Blau’s BeneathWaves and Veirs’ Year of Meteors are near and dear to the old ticker). Did I mention this track is just wonderful? It’s breezy and laid back and it’s the perfect soundtrack for a front porch on an early summer afternoon with a cold beer. Blau’s off-kilter croon is just the best. The b-side is a moody, experimental-leaning tune “inspired by Jobim’s “A Felicidade.” It’s fine, but there’s really no reason to listen to it when you can just listen to “That’s How I Got to Memphis” a hundred times on repeat.

"That's How I Got to Memphis"

That's How I Got to Memphis from Karl Blau on Myspace.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Morrissey - "You Have Killed Me" 7"

Morrissey – “You Have Killed Me” 7”
Attack, 2006
Kief’s Downtown Music, New, 2007
Price: $1

“You Have Killed Me,” the first single from Morrissey’s 2006 album Ringleader of the Tormentors was one of my top 10 favorite tracks of that year. I played it to death. I haven’t heard it in 8 years, but listening to it now, holy shit, I must have listened to this song 100 times. The production sounds weaker than I remember. I remember it sounding much more majestic, but it’s still wonderfully hyper-dramatic and has these big, swooping strings that make Morrissey’s personal life sound like the only personal life that really matters. On the flip side, “Good Looking Man About Town” is a legitimate b-side and a quality one at that. It sounds like the Smiths! I mean, the guitar player is obviously trying to riff on Johnny Marr and doesn’t hold a  candle, but Morrissey’s voice is seemingly ageless. Also, the cover image of Moz lounging on railroad tracks is absolutely perfect.

"You Have Killed Me"

"Good Looking Man About Town"

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Moon Seven Times - "My Medicine" 7"

The Moon Seven Times – “My Medicine” 7”
Parasol, 1992
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2008
Price: $.25

Whilst combing the erstwhile Alt-Rock 7” section of the Love Garden Shotgun Room, one of the record labels that immediately sent a record to my keeper pile was Parasol. Parasol covered all angles of the indie-pop spectrum and released records by bands that were great but never quite made it as big as they should have (Wolfie, Strawberry Story, The Like Young) in addition to releasing a hundred plus records from random bands no one has ever heard of. Which is great, because they’re often the sort of bands who contributed one magnificent track to the world and then faded into oblivion. Champaign, Illinois’ The Moon Seven Times weren’t necessarily one of those bands, but the three dream pop tracks on this 7” are more than serviceable.  Lynn Canfield’s vocals lend an unfortunate 90s-ness to the whole affair, but just a little bit. All is forgiven, though, since overall these three tracks are quite pleasant. The whole “ethereal dream pop” angle tends to produce a lot of boring music and requires a bit more effort than your average alt-rock since if the songwriting isn’t up to snuff or the music isn’t ornately beautiful enough you run the risk of putting the audience to sleep (which was mostly rectified by bands amping up the reverb and distortion and calling it shoegaze). That said, the Moon Seven Times are snoozy, but have just enough gumption to keep me from falling out of my chair.

"My Medicine"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Modesty Blaise - "Christina Terrace" 7"

Modesty Blaise – “Christina Terrace” 7”
Spirit of ’86, 1994
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2008
Price: $.25
“Christina Terrace” is a strange sort of track. Despite being produced by a British band at the height of the Britpop explosion, Modesty Blaise sound more like a band from Flying Nun Records in the 80s. There are some wonky synths, some lighthearted ooh-la-la-la backing vocals that feel like they were tacked on with actual thumbtacks, and some guitar solos that sound like they were recorded off of an answering machine. It’s a wonderful little track that sounds like it could completely dissolve any second. B-side “Nothing Sacred” slows things down to a crawl but retains the backing vocals and simple guitar solos and actually provides a nice contrast. “The Greatest Rock ‘N’ Roll Band in the World” is a hilarious send-up to rock and roll majesty that sounds like a Kinks track and boasts such witty one-liners as “I saw them in town/so they can’t be that great” and “When will you learn/ You’ve gotta dress in black/ You’ve gotta play your guitar when it’s behind your back.”

"Christina Terrace" 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mirah - "Cold Cold Water" 7"

Mirah – “Cold Cold Water” 7”
K Records, 2002
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2010
Price: $3
The sweetness in Mirah’s voice has always made her lush indie-pop all the more compelling. On “Cold Cold Water,” the lead-off and stand-out track from her second album Advisory Committee, she makes you fall in love and then immediately breaks your heart. Phil Elverum lends his trademark atmospheric production as he did for a number of K Records bands during a sweet spot in the 00s. The gorgeous sonics do the world building around Mirah’s aching break-up songs. The b-side on this 7” is a sadly ho-hum, demo-sounding version of “Cold Cold Water” that pales in comparison to the studio cut.

"Cold Cold Water"