June 3, 2008

Muxtape No. 8: Let Them Eat Rock

The Upper Crust(jay_elliott)[PHOTO: Jay Elliot] Better late than never, below is the explication for our weekly Muxtape, which went online Sunday. This mix features a number of big rockers, and we'd deem the overall vibe as one of exuberance. That said, the tone cools out as the other end of the mix approaches -- or at least it was intended to. For some reason the last few songs aren't working right now, and in their stead the mix just starts over with "Let Them Eat Rock." But we're OK with that. We've thrown in a couple links to MP3s and YouTube clips in an effort to make up for the technical difficulties and lateness, so read on and start right-clicking links. Finally, here is the link to the Muxtape.
1. The Upper Crust -- "Let Them Eat Rock" -- Entitled
(The introduction to this song, in which the band is introduced, is wildly entertaining. As is this band; The Upper Crust dress like foppish 18th Century French aristocrats. Their stage names include Lord Bendover and Jackie Kickassis. And they sound like AC/DC. Really what else is there to say? This song rocks most steadfastly. Improve your life now by watching the video here.)

2. Latimer -- "Citizen Jive" -- Live From Sour City
(Many drives to, from and around the City of Brotherly Love in the late '90s were soundtracked by this excellent album that melds The Stooges and David Bowie and some other influences into a formidable alloy of indie rock. We don't think Latimer, which was signed to Dave Allen's World Domination label, lasted out the '90s, as we recall seeing what was supposed to be a final show at Philadelphia Khyber Pass about 10 years ago. This number in particular opens the excellent Live From Sour City (which, of course, is not live) and it is an impressive call to arms, or, for us, a call to beers. And, hey, this YouTube thing is amazing: here is a clip we've never seen before -- with miserable sound quality -- for the track "Used Cars" from the same record.)

3. Juliana Hatfield -- "Raisans" -- Forever Baby EP
(Yeah, a Dinosaur Jr. cover. Pretty darn good one, too. Why isn't Dinosaur covered more often? We don't know. Perhaps guitarists are intimidated by Mascis' soloing? This doesn't seem to perturb Ms. Hatfield, who was just introduced to us the year this EP came out via her contributions to The Lemonheads' It's A Shame About Ray. Her vocals make the album for us. "I JUST WANT A BIT PART IN YOUR LIFE!" and all that. And the line "tired of getting high." Anyway, this is a nice take on the Dino classic, and we give a tip of the hat to Idolator for bringing it to our attention a couple years back.)

4. The Get Up Kids -- "Last Place You Look" -- Four-Minute Mile
(This song is huge. The vocal performance is amazing. The production is great. All of the missteps the band made before and after this are completely absolved by this song. When singer Matt Pryor belts those last lines it is among the most exuberant, recklessly in-the-moment crescendoes in rock and roll music. There is a certain caliber of amazing song that towers over the others and instills in us a desire to hit ourself in the head with a sneaker, a la Jeff Spicoli in the popular American film "Fast Times At Ridgemont High." This is one of those songs.)

5. The Strokes -- "I Can't Win" -- Room On Fire
(Relentlessly upbeat. Mrs. Clicky Clicky always thinks this track is "Last Night" when it comes on, which is understandable. The Strokes: where did it all go wrong? A friend of ours saw the band as they were just breaking at a club gig in Chicago before Is This It? came out and likened the experience to seeing Nirvana on the cusp. Not so hot anymore. That said, the first Albert Hammond, Jr. solo record was solid and we are eager to hear the second, which is titled Como Te Llamas? and will be issued July 8. Care for a preview MP3? Here's the track "GfC," which we haven't heard yet, but we will be disappointed if the main chords in the jam aren't the aforementioned G, F and C."GfC" -- well, the link is already dead, so go check at Hype Machine.)

6. Mazarin -- "My Favorite Green Hill" -- A Tall-Tale Story Line
(Fuzzy, swirling, feedbacky bliss. Yeah.)

7. Jets To Brazil -- "You're Having The Time of My Life (Live)" -- Irving Plaza
(Blake Schwarzenbach nails some strong, wry and poignant lyrics here. Right from the great opening line, "When you become a stranger again..." And then "I would start back at the start" is beautifully simplistic wishful thinking. Musically there's nothing fancy going on here. But there are strong melodies and harmonies happening. And some hot drum fills on this live version. We saw Jets To Brazil at TT The Bear's so long ago we can't even remember whether it was before or after we actually moved to Boston in 1999. We certainly wish we could go back in time and see the show again, although it was before Four Cornered Night, the set that included this song, was released. Is it possible that the show was Jets To Brazil with Burning Airlines? Man, what a night that must have been. If only we could remember...)

8. Joy Division -- "Disorder" -- Still
(We're reading a book that collects selections from the 33 1/3 book series and therein is a chapter about Joy Division. It references producer Martin Hannet's errrr... production, particularly the barely perceptible amounts of delay he employed on drum tracks. And so that got us going through our records again, and as always we stop on this version of this song, which is amazing. But what is Hooky doing at the end of this track? We never understood.)

9. My Psychoanalyst -- "We Disagree" -- "We Disagree" b/w "Panophobia"
(Sometimes Johnny Foreigner tourmates single from last year that is very strong. We love the ambient humming that fills the air between the bass and guitar, the boom-boom-bap drum beat, the meditative vocal. A great song by a band we expect will issue a great full-length sometime soon.)

10. The English Beat -- "Save It For Later (12" Mix)" -- What Is Beat?
(Sometimes we just look down and all of a sudden we've brought home some new records and we don't know where they came from. We think this was picked up on our most recent trip to Lancaster, PA at a used store that was selling all full-lengths for $5 or something. This is one of those records we always mean to pick up, because we never actually pull out our tapes anymore. You know, stuff like that Squeeze singles comp. Stuff you should have, but you forget even exists. Anyway, we've loved "Save It For Later" since seeing the video on MTV as a youth. As a freshman in college a billion years ago, we rediscovered the song for a while, and here we are re-rediscovering it.)

11. Mark Robinson -- "Misplaced On The Kitchen Floor" -- Canada's Green Highways
This is a great song. And so is the next one. But we just realized that our Muxtape is messed up. Specifically, tracks 10-12 just play The Upper Crust's "Let Them Eat Rock" when you click on them. And you know what? That is fine with us. The track is crazy good. You need to hear it four times in one mix.

12. Grenadine -- "Fillings" -- Triology 7"
It's really a shame you don't get to hear this quiet, Jenny Toomey-sung meditation on love and dentistry released in 1992, so we're offering an MP3 of it. You'll thank us later. "Fillings" -- right click and save as.

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