It's fairly obvious I'm a fan of covers. The reason for that has less to do with a recreation of the familiar (although that's part of it) and more to do with the reveal of a band's acknowledgement of the continuum and their self-awareness of where they stand in it.
One of the best examples of that notion was delivered by Marah during their tour for If I Didn't Laugh, I'd Cry. They opened the show with their version of the Jam's "In The City" and then closed it with Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again," and in between Marah played their original material, which sonically and unmistakably connected those two poles. I mean, there's almost no better description of Marah's music than first generation punk rock crossed with an outlaw cowboy. And Marah knew it and proclaimed it proudly, as musicians and as fans themselves.
For exactly that reason, I love hearing Joan Jett's uncontainable glee as she rips into one of the Stones' nastiest songs, or Daniel Ash exposing the glam undercurrent of Love & Rockets (or Bauhaus or Tones on Tail), or young upstarts the Strypes paying homage to spiritual granddaddy Nick Lowe. Ditto all of these tracks. Ditto all previous ten volumes.
1. Daniel Ash Rock on (David Essex)
2. Joan Jatt Star Star (Rolling Stones)
3. Uncle Tupalo I Wanna Destroy You (Soft Boys)
4. Aimee Mann Baby Blue (Badfinger)
5. The Jags Here Comes My Baby (Cat Stevens)
6. Reno Bo I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better (Byrds)
7. Frankenstein 3000 Tenement Funster (Queen)
8. The Flashcubes Do Anything You Wanna Do (Eddie & the Hot Rods)
9. The Hold Steady Hard Luck Woman (Kiss)
10. Del Amitri Cindy Incidentally (Faces)
11. Me First & the Gimme Gimmes Believe (Cher)
12. The Sirens Glycerine Queen (Suzi Quatro)
13. Supersockers Never Let Me Down Again (Depeche Mode)
14. Hoodoo Gurus I Heard Her Call My Name (Velvet Underground)
15. Locksley It's No Use (Gene Clark)
16. The Redbeards Gudbuy T'Jane (Slade)
17. Tommy Keane Have You Seen My Baby (Flamin' Groovies)
18. Rachel Gordon Goodbye to You (Scandal)
19. The Cry! Louie Louie (The Kingsmen)
20. The Strypes Heart of the City (Nick Lowe)
21. Los Straitjackets w/ Raul Malo Black is Black (Los Bravos)
22. Jim Keays Tell Me When It's Over (Dream Syndicate)
23. Mathew Sweet & Susana Hoffs All The Young Dudes (Mott the Hoople)
24. M.O.T.O. Dancing in the Moonlight (King Harvest)
Definitely running late on this first collection of fave tracks. I'd apologize, except that it's not due to laziness. I grab 'em as I find 'em, and the fact is 2014 has been a tad slow so far. It took a full five months to gather a mix's worth of songs that I like enough to pimp.
That's not to say the year has been lacking for awesome. The first third has already brought the return of blog faves the Breakdowns and Needles//Pins, as well as great new albums from Chains of Love, the Rich Hands, and the Cry! There's also Ted Leo and Aimee Mann teamed up as The Both (with an album that surpasses all expectation), and semi-supergroup Sweet Apple (with a guest list that includes Mark Lanegan, Bob Pollard, and J. Mascis), and the perennial blast from supa-rock stalwarts the Fleshtones. As well there's a swack of new discoveries (for me) like J.J. & the Real Jerks, Stagecoach, Role Models, and the totally awesome Nuclears. And everything else on the mix is guaranteed 100% Grade A quality UnHerd hits.
And that quality acts as my excuse. The process takes time. It takes searching and scouring. So much listened to, so much rejected, so many important chores ignored. Until, finally, there's the few gleaming nuggets left to compile. After all, you can't expect gems like these to just fall from the heavens.
1. The Breakdowns Sweet Pamela Jayne
2. The Cry! Discotheque
3. The Both Milwaukee
4. The Nuclears Suburban Gurls
5. Stagecoach 56k Dial-Up
6. Sweet Apple Wish You Could Stay (A Little Longer)
7. Pink Mountaintops New Teenage Mutilation
8. Penny Blacks The Digital Age
9. J.J. & the Real Jerks Out Of My Means
10. Needles//Pins Only Call Me When You're Drunk
11. Tweens I'm Gonna Steal Your Boyfriend
12. The Rich Hands No Harm Blues
13. Chains of Love It's a Shame
14. Sacret Sisters Black and Blue
15. Sleeper Agent Me On You
16. Steve Cante Dark in the Spotlight
17. Role Models Saturday Night
18. Sky Pilots Only When It Rains
19. Phonograph California
20. The Fleshtones Hipster Heaven
21. Petter Baarli Don't Start Again
22. Honeyblood Killer Bangs
23. The Men Going Down
Well, who'da thunk it, but it turns out that Netkups deletes files with no warning, so fuck them and fuck that. A new game plan has become necessary.
What I'll do from here on out is first post mixes with a temporary link from a reliable source like Zippyshare (and, yes, maybe even Netkups). That link will be for the first rush of downloads. And then after that the files will be archived in Mediafire.
"But why Mediafire," I hear you ask, "When they've totally boned you in the past?" That's a good question, and I'm glad you brought it up. Because Mediafire may not always work, but the files don't get deleted. And frankly, I'm getting pretty annoyed at constantly needing to do these re-up posts.
And besides, this site has so few downloads that any kind of archive will suffice for the handful of latecomers. As far as I can tell, there's less than a hundred of you who've found this corner of the net and bother to return on a regular basis. Which is the way it should be. It can't be Un-Herd if there's a herd involved, after all.
Here's the deal: I try to stay caught up with new music, and try to pimp it on a timely basis, but there's just so much great stuff that manages to slip by without me noticing (or, more precisely, without me noticing until after I compile my Best of the Year list). That means there's always a batch of truly worthwhile songs and albums from every year that get stranded on their lonesome, ignored on the Faves mixes and unfairly left off the year-end round-up; unheard even by Un-Herd.
So the Orphans mixes do their best to rectify that, even if it's frustratingly too late. There are songs from singles and EPs, songs that didn't fit on other collections, and tunes - from the Mayflowers and the Scruffs - that date back to 2012 (I'm really late to the party on those). As well, this mix contains songs from two albums (The Bad Lovers Wild Times and Wyldlife The Time Has Come To Rock & Roll) that would have easily been in my 2013 Top 20 had I known about them. They're both spectacular and distinct takes on the kind of sleazy, punk and glam-inspired rock & roll this blog lives for, and it's a crime neither got the major attention they deserve.
A big thank-you goes to Sir Rick Laferriere, who has once again hepped me to the existence of a slew of artists and bands. And, as always, the biggest thanks goes to all the bands out there on the front lines, fighting the good fight. You are, eventually, heard.
1. Gringo Star The Start
2. The Mayflowers Cat's Boro Blues
3. Wyldlife Trash
4. Mozes & the Firstborn What's Wrong Momma?
5. Miss Chain & the Broken Heels Don't Look Back
6. Dirt Farmer All I Know
7. Sugar Stems Love You To Pieces
8. Bye Bye Blackbirds Shook Down Softly
9. Kim Salmon & Spencer P. Jones It's All The Same
10. The Danks Experimental Fiction
11. Super Wild Horses Heavy Step
12. The Menzingers The Shakes
13. Nato Coles & the Blue Diamond Band See Some Lights
14. Giuda Yellow Dash
15. Lisa Mychols Foolin' the World
16. Imperial State Electric Underwhelmed
17. The Bamboos Your Lovin' Is Easy
18. Tranzplants Something's Different
19. The Woggles Take It To The People
20. Sweet Talk Pickup Lines
21. The Scruffs Take Me Downtown
22. The New Trocaderos The Kids
23. The Bad Lovers Got It Bad
24. Willis Earl Beal (w/ Cat Power) Coming Through
There are a number of songs that I keep returning to throughout my life, and they act as a sort of re-set, a yardstick for all others to be measured against. If there's a brand spankin' new fave tune in 2014, for example, it has to stand against "Sweet Jane" in order for me to comprehend where it belongs in the great rock & roll continuum. So I had this notion to compile those songs on a single mix. It seemed do-able at the time.
What I neglected to take into account was the sheer amount of stone cold classics I would be dealing with. That might seem like an obvious oversight - it's certainly obvious to me now. So then it became a matter of defining exactly what basis I'd have for including a track on the mix, and then attempting to remain consistent. What I ended up doing was focusing on the songs that are my bedrock. These are the songs that created my music preferences, for better or worse, and I can project forward or back from all of these songs to account for pretty much everything I like. Obviously I had to make some harsh omissions: there's barely anything from the 50s and 60s, there's no reggae, no soul or R&B or girl groups or anything recorded within the past 30 years. But like I said, all of those genres and eras are referenced directly or indirectly somewhere in these 22 tunes.
There's some odd choices, for sure. Out of the entire Stiff Little Fingers discography, I picked an obscure deep cut over "Alternative Ulster" or "Roots Radicals Rockers and Reggae" - and the only explanation I can offer is that I just fuckin' love "Silver Lining." Ditto picks from the Stones and the Ramones. And what's a Michel Pagliaro track doing on here? I dunno, man. That song just spears me between the ears. Sometimes it's just the little details in the arrangement that push a song over the top for me. I've been listening to Mott the Hoople's "All The Way From Memphis" for over 40 years now, and I still get shivers during the instrumental coda when Mick Ralphs' guitar shoulder-checks Andy MacKay's sax outta the way and rides the song home. That stuff is magic. It's alchemy. It's catching lightning in a jar. And each of these tracks caught it.
And yeah, I'm sure I've missed many of your favorite tracks, so leave a comment telling me which one(s). I'd love to read them, plus they might force me to compile a second (or third) volume.
1. Ve1vet Underground Sweet Jane
2. Mott the Hoop1e All The Way From Memphis
3. Chaap Trick Southern Girls (Albini mix)
4. Big Star September Gurls
5. Ro11ing Stones Sway
6. The Sex Pisto1s Holidays in the Sun
7. The Beat1es Revolution
8. The Undertones Teenage Kicks
9. The On1y Ones Another Girl, Another Planet
10. Genya Ravan Jerry's Pigeons
11. The Saints Know Your Product
12. Bruce Springstaen Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
13. Pretanders Precious
14. Iggy & the Staoges Search and Destroy
15. The Heartbreakers Born to Lose
16. The New York Do11s Personality Crisis
17. The Ram0nes Swallow My Pride
18. A1ice Cooper Under My Wheels
19. Stiff Litt1e Fingers Silver Lining
20. Pag1iaro Time Race
21. Faces Ooh La La
22. Patti Smith Gloria
I don't know how 2013 will be remembered, but, personally speaking, I'm pretty damn happy to get out of it alive. It was most definitely a weird year overall. Our mainstream culture seemed entirely obsessed with a minimally talented flap-assed skanklet who ran around with her tongue lolling out like an overheated dog on the streets of Calcutta. Meanwhile, the outsider underground continued to benefit from a resurgence of rock & roll true believers. I guess it's all just a matter of picking your kicks.
The Un-Herd Music Top 30 of 2013
1. The Bamboo Kids - Safe City Blues
30 songs chockful of everything these guys can think of, which amounts
to a glorious sprawl of punk rock, Stones licks, pianos, horns, hooks
and gutter wisdom.
2. J. Roddy Walston & the Business - Essential Tremors
An unlikely mix of Southern blooze rock, indie rock, and 70s UK glam rock, somehow pieced together in a way that makes complete sense.
3. The Computers - Love Triangles, Hate Squares
Takes their soul/R&B/rock&roll impulses and polishes it to a
sheen that illuminates the hooks, often sounding like what Elvis
Costello aimed at on Get Happy!, but incorporating a stronger
hardcore edge (as well as nabbing quotes from Little Richard).
4. Zachary James & the All-Seeing Eyes - Space Case
Zachary James and the All Seeing Eyes have reanimated the corpse of Ziggy Stardust and dragged it into
the new millennium,with lyrics of sci-fi romance and more musical nods to T.Rex than Bowie (and more to the Stones than either).
5. Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders - 14th & Nowhere
Rocks hard enough to frighten away most Americana fans, but Todd's also
capable of simmering it all down to a quiet fury, which seems to quest
after transcendence with equal parts pessimism and romance like a
secular, faithless Van Morrison.
6. James Younger - Feelin' American
This is expansive guitar pop, pulling a major influence from the Strokes
debut even while summoning comparisons to artists like Tom Petty, Elvis
Costello, and Paul Simon.
7. The Connection - Let It Rock!
Although the Connection plow the same field the Ramones already dug (albeit with an even
stronger influence from the 50s rock & roll source) they
miraculously have that same Joey Ramone gift for melody that prevents
them from falling into mere revivalism.
8. Black Joe Lewis - Electric Slave
Steamrollers out of the gate like some unholy mutant cross between ACDC
and James Brown, and then picks up intensity from there.
It's a violent maelstrom of sound that might just reclaim
50 years of music to its rightful originators.
9. Chris Wilson - It's Flamin' Groovy!
Enlists help from fellow ex and future Flamin' Groovies Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney and creates an album that miraculously
combines Shake Some Action with Teenage Head.
10. Various - Rockin' Here Tonight: Songs For Slim
There's enough of a major artist guest list to interest something close to the
mainstream, but it's the 2nd tier indie royalty that really pushes this
over the top.
11. The Grapes of Wrath - High Road
12. The Yum Yums - Play Good Music
13. Barrence Whitfield & the Savages - Dig Thy Savage Soul
14. Glitz - It'z Glitz
15. Greg Pope - Pop Motion Animation
16. Attic Lights - Super De Luxe
17. The Cliks - Black Tie Elevator
18. The Suburbs - Si Sauvage
19. Red Jacket Mine - Someone Else's Cake
20. Modern Kicks - Rock 'n' Roll's Anti Hero
21. Missing Monuments - Missing Monuments
22. Bad Sports - Bras
23. Deer Tick - Negativity
24. Beach Day Trip Trap Attack
25. The Charlie Watts Riots A Break In The Weather
26. Wyatt Blair - Banana Cream Dream
27. Neko Case - The Worse Things Get...
28. Dirty Fences - Too High To Kross
29. The Crunch - Busy Making Noise
30. Night Marchers - Allez! Allez!
Grimm Generation - The Big Fame
Warm Soda - Someone For You
Ulysses - Kill You Again
Rich Hands - Dreamers
Primitive Hearts - High & Tight
Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Jungle - Pacific Oblivion
Wild Belle - Isles
The Bamboos - Fever in the Road
Nick Piunti - 13 In My Head
Roman Candle - Debris
Howe Gelb - The Coincidentalist
Oblivians - Desperation
Willis Earl Beal - Nobody Knows
No Tomorrow Boys - Bad Luck Baby Put The Jinx On Me
Vegas With Randolph - Rings Around The Sun
King Khan & the Shrines - Idle No More
Silver Seas - Alaska
The Julie Ruin - Run Fast
The Dirtbombs - Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey!
1. Bamboo Kids Ain't A Man
2. J. Roddy Walston & the Business Black Light
3. The Computers Mr. Saturday Night
4. Zachary James & the All-Seeing Eyes Star People
5. Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders You & Your Damn Dream
6. James Younger Two of a Kind
7. The Connection Girls in This Town
8. Grapes of Wrath Mexico
9. Chris Wilson Heart in Her Hand
10. Lucero(from Songs for Slim) From the Git Go
11. The Cliks Sleeping Alone
12. Black Joe Lewis Skulldiggin
13. The Yum Yums Too Much of a Good Thing
14. Barrence Whitfield & the Savages Bread
15. Glitz Paranoia
16. Greg Pope The Mattress
17. Attic Lights Don't You
18. The Suburbs Dumb Ass Kids
19. Red Jacket Mine Engineer
20. Modern Kicks So Many Nights
21. Beach Day Stay
22. Missing Monuments Another Girl
23. Bad Sports Let Me In
24. The Crunch A Matter of Time
25. The Sharks Turn On The Radio
26. The Charlie Watts Riots The More That You Change
This year, folks, let's all remember to keep the Chris in Christmas. And there's no better start to a drug 'n' alcohol-fueled holiday season than to download this collection of new Xmas classics and revel in the honorably pessimistic spirits on display. I'm trying out a new file service here, so with any luck it'll make the download an easier experience for all - let me know how it works - and in the meantime, have a great holiday (even you, christian conservatives) and I'll see you in 2014!
SWM, slim, attractive, likes candle-lit dinners, romantic walks in the rain, the purring of contented kittens, and pointing and laughing at the handicapped. No head games please.
Everything on this blog is an attempt to support bands and artists that I feel deserve more attention. If you have a problem with my use of a song or a link, please contact me directly and I'll simply remove it. T'ain't no big thang.