Thursday, December 31, 2009

Suicidal Tendencies - Institutionalized

by Hector Diego

Some of my relatives think I'm crazy. But I identify with the guy in this song, Mike, who thinks it might be the other way around.

"How do you know what MY best interest is? How can you say what MY best interest is? What are you trying to say? I'M crazy? When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities! So how can you say I'M crazy?”

Yeah. Happy New Year!

Songs of the decade (2000-2009)

by Jay Allbritton
There are only a few short hours left in 2009, and with it goes the popular perception of the first decade of the century. In truth, the first decoade of the century is really 2001-2010, because, as well all know, there was no year 0 AD. Or CE if you prefer. But, since this is a blog and we're talking pop culture, there's no need to be pedantic. Also, the sooner this decade with it's many debacles and disasters ends the better.

This decade has seen the democratization of music. Talented people could get reasonably priced recording equipment in their homes, so every band worth a crap, and many not worth anything nearly so valuable, launched a recording career. Keeping up with it all became impossible. No one has full command of the music scene, so, along with the massive flotilla of CDs came an avalanche of opinion. The only way to manage it all is to go meta. Find voices you trust and listen to them. Thankfully, musicologists at blogs like Largehearted Boy, I am Fuel You Are Friends, You Ain't No Picasso spent much of the deacade leaving a trail of gems from Rilo Kiley to the Blow to Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. Where FM radio failed miserably, these tastemakers have stepped in and saved the day.

So it is in that spirit that offer you my own list of the songs of the decade.

10. PJ Harvey – This Mess We're In (with Thom Yorke)

9. Wilco - Jesus, etc

8. Tegan & Sara – Living Room

7. Blow, the - True Affection

6. Mountain Goats - No Children

5. Smith, Elliott – Son of Sam

4. Rilo Kiley - The good that wont come out

3. Bright Eyes – The First Day of My Life

2. Postal Service, the - Such Great Heights

1. Rilo Kiley - Better Son/Daughter

I only wish I had time to write a longer list.

Mountain Goats--This Year

by Jay Allbritton

"...there will be feasting
and dancing
in jurusalem next year
i am going to make it through this year
if it kills me"

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rilo Kiley - Go Ahead

by Hector Diego

It's a car commercial from France. Do they get royalties from this, Station Agent?

Rilo Kiley - Wires And Waves

by Hector Diego

For Rilo Kiley people only.

Albums of the Decade (2000-2009)

by Jay Allbritton
10. Flogging Molly - Drunken Lullabies (2002)

9. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow (2003)

8. Kimya Dawson - Remember That I Love You (2006)

7. The Blow – Paper Television (2007)

6. Elliott Smith – Figure 8 (2000)

5. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005)

4. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)

3. Postal Service - Give Up (2003)

2. Tool - Lateralus (2001)

1. Rilo Kiley – The Execution of all Things (2002)

I was surprised to see that only two albums made after 2005 made the list. My list of favorite political songs is here. Favorite cover songs are here. Tomorrow I post the songs of the decade.

Beatles LP Countdown - Wild Honey Pie

by Hector Diego

Thao Nguyen--When We Swam

by Jay Allbritton
Heather Browne of the great music blog I am Fuel You Are Friends interviewed the fantastic emerging superstar Thao Nguyen, who, if there's any justice, will soon be known the world over simply as Thao. Thank you for enduring my superlatives, I just wish I could have been there.

Anywho, for those that stayed, or for those who came back, here's Thao and The Get Down Stay Down with "When We Swam".

Lisa Hannigan--Lille

by Jay Allbritton
"turned my head away from the noise
bruise and drip decay of childish toys
that i love arguably
all our labouring gone to seed"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Antibiotics In Livestock May Kill You

by Hector Diego

From birth, livestock in the U.S. are being fed antibiotics that lower the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans who consume these animals. "This is a living breathing problem, it's the big bad wolf and it's knocking at our door," said Dr. Vance Fowler, an infectious disease specialist at Duke University. "It's here. It's arrived."

I don't eat animals, so at least I don't have to worry about this. I'm not saying so ha ha, I just thought you would want to know.

Moby--Pale Horses

by Jay Allbritton
Moby's magnificent duet with Kelli Scarr performed live at The Current.

Fraternity Of Man - Don't Bogart That Joint

by Hector Diego

Have you heard this one, Station Agent?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Marijuana Legalization Is Coming

by Hector Diego

Marijuana will probably be legalized in California in 2010, or at least bring legalization much closer to reality, and other states are going to follow. But some people still tell outrageous lies about legalization, for instance, this gem:

" 'There's no upside to it in any manner other than for those people who want to smoke pot,' said Travis Kuykendall, head of the West Texas High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area office in El Paso, Texas. 'There's nothing for society in it, there's nothing good for the country in it, there's nothing for the good of the economy in it.' "

Well, let's just take one issue, the economy. The economy of the state of Washington, for instance:

"Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, a Seattle Democrat who is sponsoring the legalization bill in Washington state, said that she 'wanted to start a strong conversation about the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana.' Under her bill, marijuana would be sold in Washington state's 160 state-run liquor stores, and customers, 21 and older, would pay a tax of 15 percent per gram. The measure would dedicate most of the money raised for substance abuse prevention and treatment, which is facing potential cuts in the state budget. Dickerson said the measure could eventually bring in as much to state coffers as alcohol does, more than $300 million a year."

$300 million a year in just one state, and "there's nothing for the good of the economy in it?" Really? Where did Kuykendall get his degree from, a Cracker Jacks box?

The real opposition (beside criminals who make lots of money from marijuana being illegal) comes from a cultural divide. They just didn't smoke pot in the Bible, a literature in which taking a drink is perfectly fine. " 'In the South, for example, only Mississippi and North Carolina have decriminalization laws on the books...It's a social and cultural thing,' said Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based marijuana advocacy group. 'There are some parts of the country where social attitudes are just a little more cautious and conservative.' "

The conservative attitude of the South should not surprise us. Like I said, they didn't light up in the Bible. Or did they?

The Decemberists--The Rake's Song

by Jay Allbritton
Fantastic live performance on Minnesota's 89.3 The Current.

Beatles LP Countdown - Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

by Hector Diego

Lennon didn't like this song, a typical example of what happens when McCartney goes off on a sugary sweet bender. McCartney had been listening to ska, and with Beatle ingenuity, came up with something different.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Charlyne Yi--Farther Away

by Jay Allbritton
Singer/comedian Charlyne Yi recently caught my attention.

Jenny Lewis - See Fernando

by Hector Diego

As the man said, the lovely Jenny Lewis.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tofu - The Other White Meat

by Hector Diego

Tofu is made from soybeans, which don't scream
when you harvest them

Hear, hear, good people. It's now December 26th--you've had your roast beast, and now it's time to get real. Here's something from the June, 2009 issue of National Geographic.

"Eating meat is an incredibly inefficient way to feed oneself. It takes up to five times more grain to get the equivalent amount of calories from eating pork as from eating grain itself--ten times if we're talking about grain-fattened U.S. beef (Joel K. Bourne, Jr., p 41).

So why eat meat?

If someone has a physical problem with going vegetarian, I have sympathy for that. I am even partially sympathetic to psychological difficulties in adopting the innocent diet. However, if someone has a philosophical difficulty with vegetarianism, I take that as a direct challenge. I will fight this person syllable by syllable!

One guy wrote:

"To understand intellectually is one thing, to put it into practice quite another, a whole untraversable territory away. I still haven't been able to stop eating meat. In any restaurant, my eyes alight first, as if by an atavistic pull, on the meat dishes on the menu. In any dinner party I throw, I think of the non-vegetarian dish as central. I view this as a combination of weakness, greed and moral failure. Someone please help."

Help with adopting a vegetarian diet? That's what Hector Diego is here for. Here is a man who understands but doesn't have the support to do what he knows is right. If you need help in adopting the innocent diet, leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Natalie Merchant--Jealousy

by Jay Allbritton
Some vintage Natalie Merchant.


by Jay Allbritton
Spoon's new album is out next month. Stereogum recently got a glimpse of the cover art.

This is an acoustic performance of the song "Underdog".

Friday, December 25, 2009

First Aid Kit--Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

by Jay Allbritton
Nice cover of a Fleet Foxes tune (h/t Tsururadio)

Rilo Kiley--Xmas Cake

by Jay Allbritton
"...cry in to your Christmas cake
dont know what else to do
the new year is right in front of you"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Garfunkel and Oates--Present Face

by Jay Allbritton
Beware present face, Christmas gift receivers.

John Lennon - Happy Christmas (War Is Over If You Want It)

by Hector Diego

The place where John Lennon felt most at home was not Liverpool or London, but New York City, where he was assassinated. Merry Christmas to you John, wherever you are.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cover songs of the Decade (2000-2009)

by Jay Allbritton
Cover songs have a long and rich history that runs parallel to the history of popular music. In the new century covers have become a very handy shorthand allowing bands to show their creativity while showcasing their influences and reaching out to other fanbases. As I said when I posted my ten best political songs of the decade, this list is from the pool of music I am familiar with. There's so much out there that there's a very real chance I missed plenty of deserving tunes. Let me know what you think I missed.

10. Postal Service - Against all odds (Phil Collins Cover)

9. The Shins - We Will Become Silhouettes (Postal Service cover)

8. Calexico – Alone Again Or (Love cover)

7. Jenny Lewis – Handle With Care (Traveling Wilburys cover)

6. Tegan & Sara - Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)

5. Pearl Jam - Driven To Tears (live Police cover)

4. Gary Jules – Mad World (with Michael Andrews, Tears for Fears cover)

3. Belaire – Through the Wire (Kanye West cover)

2. Ted Leo - Since U Been Gone/Maps (cover medley—Kelly Clarkson, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs)

1. The White Stripes - Jolene (live Dolly Parton cover)

Beatles Christmas 1969

by Hector Diego

The Beatles recorded Christmas messages for their fan club. I believe this was their last Christmas recording, in which Lennon declares that what he wants for Christmas is a bowl of corn flakes blessed by the Hare Krishna mantra. Harrison then chants Happy Christmas, Happy Christmas, Christmas Christmas, Happy Happy.

Happy indeed.

They released, for the fan club, a compilation of previous Christmas recordings (see above), but I am fairly sure that it contained nothing new. Lennon released his own War Is Over album for Christmas 1971.

Patrick Ball - Si Beag, Si Mor

by Hector Diego

Meditation, Anyone?

by Hector Diego

Taktshang "Tiger's Nest" monastery, Bhutan

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Political Songs of the Decade (2000-2009)

by Jay Allbritton
Contrary to popular opinion, this decade had plenty of very good political/protest music. These are the ones I thought were best. Keep in mind that this list is from the pool of music I am familiar with. There's so much out there that there's a very real chance I missed plenty of deserving tunes. Let me know what you think I missed.

10. David Bowie - I'm Afraid of Americans

9. Kimya Dawson - Fire

8. Ted Leo - Bomb Repeat Bomb

7. Steve Earle - Jerusalem

6. Ani DiFranco - Self Evident

5. System of a Down - Prison system

4. Bright Eyes – Road to Joy

3. Flogging Molly - What's Left of the Flag

2. Tool – Schism

1. Radiohead – Idioteque

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cat Power--Lived in Bars

by Jay Allbritton
"we've lived in bars
and danced on tables
hotels trains and ships that sail
we swim with sharks
and fly with aeroplanes out of here"

Fields--If You Fail We All Fail

by Jay Allbritton
One of the better records of 2006.

Beatles LP Countdown - Glass Onion

by Hector Diego

Good morning Beatles people. It is now 37 Beatle degrees outside our studio, local time 8.20 am. The question on my mind this morning is philosophical--does "Glass Onion" mean that other people can see through our layers of lies more easily than we can?

Broadcasting 24/7 from America's Deep South, this is KTWS Radio. That's on your cyber radio dial!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Marc Maron Defends America

by Jay Allbritton
This clip is from 2008, during the presidential campaign.

Tegan and Sara--Living Room (Acoustic)

by Jay Allbritton
About two years ago Tegan and Sara played an acoustic gig at a record store.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Susan Boyle - I Dreamed A Dream

by Hector Diego

I won't be listening to much of Susan Boyle. I don't even watch reality shows, because most of them strike me as unreal. Clay Aiken? Not impressed. And I had never paid attention to Susan Boyle.

But my male intuition told me to check her out, only to discover that there is no way she could not have won the contest. It is proof that if you are truly talented, and you can just get yourself to one of these shows, you will get the recognition you deserve.

So credit where credit is due-to Susan Boyle. Wow.

Decembrists--Crazy On You

by Jay Allbritton
Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond join the Decembrists on this Heart classic. There's some chance that I enjoyed covers more than originals in this decade. Close call.

Bat for Lashes--Daniel

by Jay Allbritton
Back in June Bat for Lashes played a set at KCRW in Los Angeles.

Hector Diego's Top Ten 2000-2009

by Hector Diego

I had given up on the music of the first decade of the 21st century, when the Station Agent introduced me to Rilo Kiley, who have made it into my top ten of all time, maybe even my top five. Maybe even my top two! (I'll let you guess who is my #1.) Yael Naim's "New Soul", from a television commercial, is quite excellent. I stumbled upon some songs by the Weepies. All of my top ten for the decade, you will notice, feature female lead vocalists. If I compiled a top twenty list for the decade--and I might do this--there would still be only one or two male vocalists. What has happened to me? Have I become a devotee of the Great Mother?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rilo Kiley--Portions for Foxes

by Jay Allbritton
My end of the decade lists are coming soon, so watch out for that. In the meantime, this is the song Jimbo at Waiting to Misbehave picked as his best of the 2000s.

The Elected--Don't Get Your Hopes Up

by Jay Allbritton
Elected fan Noah Dorsey made this animated video for the song "Don't Get Your Hopes Up," from the band's debut record, Me First. Incidentally, an announcement of the release date of the next Elected record would be a fantastic Christmas present. I'm looking at you Blake Sennett.

Beatles LP Countdown - Dear Prudence

by Hector Diego

Prudence in India, 1968

A girl who doesn't care to hang out with the Beatles, and prefers to meditate?
Wow! I was really impressed with this, when I was 14. I'm still impressed with it! But I'm here to tell you, Lennon got it wrong--Prudence was not depressed, she simply was enjoying her meditation. I know this because I know Prudence. I studied with her at U.C. Berkeley. Together we chewed thousands of sticks of gum while deciphering Sanskrit verb conjugations and noun declensions. So ha ha!

Prudence Farrow Bruns is now a professor married to a super intellectual, and she has three grown children...and she still does her meditation, last I heard. She experimented with consciousness altering substances and all that like everyone else, but get this-she concluded that part of her life by 1962! So she was more interested, by 1968, in spiritual pursuits than anything else.

A most remarkable woman, wouldn't you say? I have encouraged her to write her memoirs. I wish she would.

She's my big sister.

Levon Helm And Ringo Starr

by Hector Diego

It's Levon Helm with Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rilo Kiley - Breakin' Up

by Hector Diego

I'm not much into music videos made by fans, but this one is cute. And yes, the line that goes "ooh, ah, feels good to be free" does sound like a shampoo commercial! Nevertheless, this song is great and shows off Rilo Kiley's great variety of styles. Is that correct, Station Agent?

Tori Amos--Silent All These Years

by Jay Allbritton
A couple years back Tori played "Silent all These Years," a song that in the days before she recorded her debut solo album someone once astutely told her was the story of her life in an effort to keep her from selling it to an established singer, at 89.3 The Current.

Liz Phair - Everything To Me

by Hector Diego

It's commercial. I don't care. Such a distinction never made any difference to John Lennon either, and he said so. So I'm in good company.

I mainly go by the strength of melody anyway, and Lennon, regardless of his facility with lyrics, had the same standard, I believe.

Tegan and Sara--Living Room

by Jay Allbritton
"Well I hope I never figure out who broke your heart...
And baby if I do..."

The Postal Service--Against All Odds

by Jay Allbritton
"To wait for you is all I can do..."

Love Is All You Need

by Hector Diego

Dedicated to all the beautiful people of El Salvadore. All together now!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall

by Hector Diego


Tori Amos--Sugar

by Jay Allbritton
Sheer genius.

Red Hot Chili Peppers--I Could Have Lied

by Jay Allbritton
Word around the campfire has it that guitar god John Fruciante is once again out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tegan and Sara--Dancing in the Dark

by Jay Allbritton
"Can't start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart..."

The Long And Winding Road

by Hector Diego

Sorry, Old Mac--I agree with John, George, and Ringo that Phil Spector did a fine job producing "The Long And Winding Road." And it is one of your most beautiful compositions by any measure. Here's the album version.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Corrs - The Long And Winding Road

by Hector Diego

I'm not a big Corrs fan, but this is a very fine performance.

Beatles LP Countdown - Back In The USSR

by Hector Diego

I have read that although the Soviet government condemned "Back In The USSR" it became very popular with the Russian people, especially those of the Beatles generation. The Soviet government tried to prohibit the Beatles' influence, but like the influence of religion, this was impossible. Lennon could have said, "We are more popular than Lenin now."

More popular than Lenin indeed.

No one before had ever produced a double album (or at least, no one that anyone would remember) or had a plain white cover with the name slightly off center. So what you say?

The what is that the Beatles were not only innovative in large matters, but in small matters as well. If you still say so what, you must be a fanatic for...the Rolling Stones.

Blakroc --Ain't Nothing Like You

by Jay Allbritton
Supergroup Blackroc played Letterman recently.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rilo Kiley--It's A Hit, Portions For Foxes

by Jay Allbritton
The band that is being left off far too many end of decade lists, the fantastic Rilo Kiley, play two of their singles back to back in Houston, back in 2005.

Rivers Cuomo--Butterfly

by Jay Allbritton
Nicely re-imagined version of the great Weezer song "Butterfly".

Rolling Stones - She's A Rainbow

by Hector Diego

"She's A Rainbow" is the first song on the second side of the Stone's Their Satanic Majesties Request. Doesn't it sound like someone says, "The Beatles are stoned. Are you ready?"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Slow Club--When I Go

by Jay Allbritton
From The TSURURADIO Community's "53 Songs We Loved This Year". I downloaded all of them, and so far this song by Slow Club about growing old together (or not) really jumped out at me.

New Portishead Track Available in Support of International Human Rights Day

by Jay Allbritton
On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, which is today, Portishead's new song "Chase The Tear" is available for download (from 7 Digital) at the bargain basement price of a $0.99 donation to Amnesty International. Preview the track (it's quite good) here:

Portishead - Chase The Tear from Mintonfilm on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


by Hector Diego

The febrile nitwits are at it again.

The Blow--Fists Up

by Jay Allbritton

I have tried/My hopes have blossomed
And my hopes have fried

I tried to cut them all down
But I found hopes were still living deep inside
Like a team of renegade lovers
Working long hours sneaking around
With a belief in the life of our love
Like a light at the end of a long tunnel, a struggle

Fists up!
For all their faith in what they’ve seen in your face,
They really do believe that if
they hang on long enough
That you’ll come around
And finally let it show
And all their hopes will be rewarded
For their impetus to grow,
Well Utopian peace would fall across the land
You’ll reach over for my hand,
You’ll really want to hold my hand

And I don’t want to come to the point of this song
Because the point of this song
Would have to be so long

Neil Young - Sugar Mountain

by Hector Diego

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Beatles In The Year 3000

by Hector Diego


Herman Dune--When the Water Gets Cold and Freezes on the Lake

by Jay Allbritton
there's a lot of things i'm doing i never thought i would do
there's a lot of places in the world that i would never go to without you
but right now i need to stay home and i don't need your company
right now i need to alone and i need you to stay away from me
(come on brother)
and then in the white of the snow and the quite of nature
i will ask you to stay with me no matter the temperature
i hope you'll say: "yes" and won't try to escape
when the water gets cold and freezes on the lake

Monday, December 07, 2009

Kimya Dawson--France

by Jay Allbritton
IMG_0773 by Elwyn / Elwynsattic.
Well, they were lost in the mist
and they didn't have time
to see what I could see
and it hurt me.
And they were driving around with the stereo on,
and there was nothing on the air to relieve me.
We were sitting in the back,
and in the mirror I could see
that you were pointing your guns towards me.
And I knew from the start
that your heart was mine,
but you were too sick a person to marry me.

Sheer wonder, baby.

John Lennon - Gimme Some Truth

by Hector Diego

Sunday, December 06, 2009

She and Him--Black Hole

by Jay Allbritton
She and Him will have a new record out in the fall. I and me will go buy it.

George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

by Hector Diego

Florida Field in the old, old days

Absolutely nothing in this world can last. Right?


Antique walrus print courtesy of FineRarePrints.Com