What else we’ve been listening to #1

Hey folks!

We’re really happy to see so many people visiting, reading, and commenting on this blog, and we’re thrilled to see people taking an interest and joining in our discussions of various They Might Be Giants songs.  But we also love talking about other music as well, so we figured we could start an additional feature to this blog. Every 15 posts, we plan on briefly discussing whatever else we’re enjoying and sharing it with everyone.  Hopefully we can introduce you to some other great music, because good lord there’s a helluva lot of it out there.  Feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments too!

L.K.: I will start off this discussion of “stuff we’ve been listening to” with THIS SONG: “Jimmy Carter Says ‘Yes'”
  • The original is a crazy funk-disco song-poem, but I am a huge fan of this cover of it by Brian Dewan, whose stuff I have also been spending an unreasonable amount of time listening to recently. He’s opened for TMBG, he did the cover for Lincoln, he’s also done album artwork for Neutral Milk Hotel and David Byrne. He builds synthesizers with his cousin Leon, and one of their inventions (the “swarmatron”) was used prominently in Trent Reznor’s soundtrack to The Social Network. Also, it is impossible to resist the allure of an electric zither. His songs are often fairly silly, but they’re even more frequently pretty dark or disturbing. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I’m really into his stuff.
  • As far as other stuff I’m listening to, well, I never really stop listening to Sparks. I just saw the video for “When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way'” and really enjoy it in a cheesy old-movie trailer sort of way.
  • I just heard Guided By Voices‘ new album, Let’s Go Eat the Factory on Spotify too, and I feel like I’m going to have to go buy that, though I’ve already been spending so much money on records lately.
  • Outside of rediscovering stuff on Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born, The Kinks’ Muswell Hillbillies, and Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ Imperial Bedroom, I feel like that’s mostly been it for me lately. (Well, along with hearing The Who Sell Out for the first time and discovering that XTC’s Go 2 is a really great album, despite it being pre-Drums & Wires)
A.S.: I too discovered that Go 2 is a great record, and I have no idea why it isn’t as well received as the bulk of their other work, because there’s a lot of strong, energetic, wild stuff on that record.
  • I was on a pretty big Al Kooper kick, and although I don’t remember how I got on it, it’s been extremely rewarding.  You might know Kooper as the guy who played organ on a lot of Bob Dylan’s early electric stuff and also as the producer of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s early records, but he was also the force behind 60s garage rockers The Blues Project, and founded Blood, Sweat, and Tears.  Kooper was only involved with BS&T for its first album, Child is Father to the Man, one of my absolute favorite albums and one that I grew up. I even saw Kooper perform live about 10 years ago but for some reason never bothered to seek out his solo LPs.  This was a mistake.  I’ve heard his first three recently and they’re just incredible pop records – densely orchestrated, lavishly produced, chock full of inventive melodies and studio wizardry a la Todd Rundgren.  Great, great stuff.
  • Also, speaking of The Who Sell Out, I finally gave John Entwistle‘s first solo record,Smash Your Head Against The Wall (great name) a listen, and it’s at least as good as The Who By Numbers or Who Are You.  I’ve always enjoyed Entwistle’s macabre, somewhat demented songs with The Who, so it’s great to hear a full album of them. Keith Moon and the Bonzo Dog Band’s Vivian Stanshall and Neil Innes appear on the record, and it contains a pretty funky version of “Heaven and Hell,” previously featured on Live at Leeds
  • I’ve also happened upon late 60s Texas psych-rockers The Bubble Puppy.  Kind of like The 13th Floor Elevators with less electric jug and schizophrenia, but with arguably stronger songs.  After even the first listen, A Gathering of Promises sounded to me like everything one could ask of a great psychedelic rock record – a little pop, a little prog, a lot of madness.
L.K.: Wait, John Entwistle…with BONZOS? Crazy, man. I gotta check this out.
A.S.: It’s a great record! I’ve been on a real late 60s/early 70s kick lately.  At the risk of sounding like the old fogey I fear I will inevitably become (perhaps throughout the course of this blog!), there just hasn’t been a lot of new music that’s excited me in the last couple of months.  I hope this changes, but in the meantime, I figure I should go back and fill in as many gaps of knowledge as I can.  It’s been really exciting! I guess I should specify new national music, because Cleveland’s music scene always has something worthwhile going on (the new Herzog record), but the winter weather brings about a kind of slow show schedule.
L.K.: You’re blogging with a person who previously refused to listen to anything recorded after World War II, so I guess you’re in good (bad?) company.
A.S.: Maximum old fogey attitude here.

So, what have you been listening to?

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