Red Sticker Collection
They Might Be Giants - Then, 1997
This is a two CD compilation of TMBG's first two records and other assorted EP's and knick knacks from that era. I already was quite familiar with Lincoln. I had their first record on tape many years ago and have heard it many times since. Some of the stuff on the EPs are very good but most of the bonus tracks are for completists only. And I sure as hell am not a They Might Be Giants completist.
One interesting thing of note - one of the best songs on their first record has a gu*st f*m*le voc*list of a student in one of my previous classes.
SHR Brought These Home
The Lemonheads - The Lemonheads, 2006
Dando's voice sounds great. The production makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Some of the songs make me feel like it is a summer day circa 1992. Alas, I wish the overall songwriting was a little better.
Danielson - Ships, 2006
Not quite sure why the press freaked out about this one. Yeah, there are tons of instruments on it. Yeah, Daniel Smith has changed his vocal style to the point that you don't want to jump out a window when you hear it, and sure Sufjan Stevens is on it. But after many listens, I just can't grasp onto this. I still have the first Danielson LP and I dig it and that is enough for me.
Jose Gonzalez - Veneer, 2006
This dude has gotten a whole hell of a lot of press. The album is kind of boring to me. He sure likes Nick Drake. I'd rather just listen to Nick Drake. That being said, I've uploaded this into iTunes before SHR sells it to hedge my bets.
The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely, 2006
I dig this album a lot. While not as immediately catchy as his last two records, this one will be one I return to more in the coming years. Completely gone is Darnielle's howl of yesteryear. He sings this entire LP in his whisper vocal style. The whole thing almost reminds me as a sad sequel to his beautiful love song "There Will Be No Divorce." But, guess what? There was a fucking divorce and this album contains the 12 songs of devastation that follow. As far as I know, Darnielle is still happily married. For his sake, this album is all fiction.
When I was a 13 or so, an older neighbor who was instrumental in introducing me to good new music was raving about some new Smithereens album or so. He had just been dumped by his girlfriend and was listening to the album many times a day. He said that it was the perfect "I got dumped" by my girlfriend album. This new Mountain Goats is the perfect "My wife left me and now my whole life is crumbling around me" record. Enticing, right?
Beck - The Information, 2006
This guy is going to have a hell of a best of one day. Then again, maybe not. I kind of like his LPs as a whole. Then again, I'm never really really in love with his records. Then again, I always enjoy them when they are on. Then again, I can never really remember anything about them when they are over - his last two in particular.
Yellow Pills: Prefill, 2005
This nugget of goodness dropped on me completely and happily out of the blue. I had never heard of this. Yellow Pills was the name of an early 90's fanzine dedicated to power pop. These two CDs compile mostly unknown bands (to me at least) of the golden era of power pop of the late 70's and early 80's.
Not all the songs are great but the sound is always great. The only misstep I'd say are the one or two songs from the mid 90's. Not good and very out of place. But those are minor complaints. Jack Watson, go buy this.
Brazil Classics 1 Beleza Tropical, 1989
No wonder David Bryne got all hot and bothered by Brazilian pop. Damn good stuff.
Tom Ze - Estudando O Pagode, 2006
This guy never lets me down. He is insane. I was introduced to him over ten years ago on a mix tape. I bought his amazing best of and until now, that is all that I owned by him. I saw him eight or so years ago and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen.
As a seventy-year-old, he just keeps getting more ambitious. This 16 track CD is divided into three "acts" and is billed an "unfinished operetta." The music is as inspired and interesting as ever.
Actually Purchased by SHR
Yo La Tengo - Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics, 2006
A collection of their WFMU benefit stuff. Listening to this all the way through once was more than enough. Fun and all but a little much for my feeble brain to take.
Sufjan Stevens - Songs For Christmas, 2001 - 2006
Four out of the last five Christmases, Mr. Stevens has taken a break from writing songs about states to record and send to his friends a Christmas EP. Why not record one more in June of this year and release the whole thing as a cute little box set? And on the seventh day, he rested.
This has great packaging and was only twenty bucks. For those sick of Sufjan, this isn't for you. But I quite enjoy it.
Actually Purchased by Me
Cambodian Rocks, Vol. 1
This doesn't make me get up and do jumping jacks like the Thai Pop comp did, but it might just be better. Heavy on Sin Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea, this 60's comp has more originals than the Thai one does. In both cases, I really need to own more. So familiar sounding yet so completely different. It is one of those things that make me nostalgic for a time and place that I have no real sense of.
Listen to Ros Sereysothea's "I'm So Shy."
Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger, 1975
Just continuing to whet my appetite for more Willie. A concept record about a preacher on the run after killing his wife and her lover. A lot of short songs, sparse instrumentation. Not that much to start singing along to but along with the other Willie albums that I have or will have in the future, this is well worth owning.
Mas Rock and Roll, 2006
Oh my. Mexican rock from the 60's Thank you Alex J. for burning me this. Wow. Crazy good. Much more like the Thai 60's comp I have than the Cambodian one. God damn, Mexico was clearly the place to be in the 60's. I can imagine Doug Sahm and the gang heading across the border to steal ideas for the Sir Douglas Quintet. And who ever thought that there would be a Mexican version of "Do the Freddy?" This CD must be owned by everyone. Now.
Jo Jones - The Everest Years, 2005
Jo Jones was Count Basie's drummer. Basically that is all that needs to be said. This is all stuff from the late 50's and early 60's - I think mostly culled from two of his LPs. I burned this from Hot Tub Eric on one of his visits. This is definitely for those who like their jazz in short doses - the longest of the 24 tracks is a little over 4 minutes.
Brian Eno and David Bryne - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, 1981
A. This album is dated in a good way. B. This album isn't dated at all and, in fact, sounds more fresh than ever. Either one works here. Made in an era when Sandinista seemed like a good idea, this one is a hell of lot more listenable than that. Not that this sounds like that album or anything but the looking around the world for inspiration while kicking some ass is what this album is about. Samples galore. One review lists them as ranging "from radio talk-show hosts, Lebanese mountain singers, preachers, exorcism ceremonies, Muslim chanting, and Egyptian pop, among others." Not that I know what it was like to be hanging out in 1981 NYC doing art stuff, but I would imagine this would make a great soundtrack.
Last year's assistant Third Grade Boy Wonder dug a lot of what I played in the classroom last year. I also knew that he liked a lot of the Brian Eno ambient stuff. Plus The Talking Heads were a big part of last year's class vibe. So when I was enlisted to buy him a few gifts from the school at the end of the year since he was leaving for a year to student teach, I figured this was a good gift to get him. Of course, I promptly burned it. I wonder if he likes it.
Listen to "Help Me Somebody."
Hot Tub Eric's gift to Phoebe. As long as he keep making these, I hope I'm on the recipient list. Pebbles and Bam Bam, The Archies, The Banana Splits ... I wish that I could grow up in the Plumley household of rock and soul goodness. Lucky Phoebe.
Merry Christmas to You From Team Plumley
Another in the long line of great CDs culled from the Team Plumley archives. I've heard rumors that next year will be all the dirty stuff that Hot Tub Eric has been hiding from us ever since he became Super Dad.
Jack and Kara's First Annual Holiday Mix
Best packaging ever. Some good stuff I didn't have, some I did, and some stuff that is quite questionable like the Dresden Dolls. The Dresden Dolls?
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