Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rilo Kiley--The Frug

by Jay Allbritton
This pleasant little pop song about the girl who can do the frug but cannot fall in love has never been one of my favorite RK tunes, but it is an early window into their development pre-Take Offs and Landings.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Elliott Smith - Son Of Sam

by Hector Diego

Smith is one of the greatest recording artists of 21st century, but alas, he is no longer with us.

Weezer--Paranoid Android

by Jay Allbritton
Weezer rocks the world with this Weezer-ified cover of Radiohead's classic "Paranoid Android".

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

by Hector Diego

Scott-Heron was a giant of American culture and political consciousness. He died today at the age of 62.

Newsradio--Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor Promo

by Jay Allbritton
Remembering Phil Hartmann.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Black Keys--Too Afraid To Love You

by Jay Allbritton
These guys will be on a Buddy Holly tribute album with Paul McCartney and many others.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Early And Later Beatles

by Hector Diego

This one sounds like it was professionally recorded. Be that as it may, it does not show much of the Beatles magic. So George Martin--probably--did not include it in any Beatles record. Likely 1962.

Talk about a professional recording! George Martin is still very important, but now the Beatles are very involved in the process beyond playing their instruments. 1966.

What a difference four years makes. Especially in the 1960's, culturally defined, like no other, by the Beatles.

The Elected--Babyface

by Jay Allbritton
The Elected play unplugged for Time Out New York.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cults--Oh My God

by Jay Allbritton
NPR has the stream of the band's debut album.

The Elected--A Response to Greed

by Jay Allbritton
Here's another one from set at The Elected's CD release party in L.A. last week.

Heaven For Betsy--Fireflies In A Steel Mill

by Jay Allbritton
Very nice cover of a great song from the Elected's second album, Sun, Sun, Sun.

Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed

by Hector Diego

The young genius

We're continuing our celebration of Bob Dylan's 70 years here at The Walrus Speaks, beginning with the original studio version of "Things Have Changed". After that, check out some of Bob's melodies that have stood the test of time. Everyone talks about his lyrics, as well we should. Probably no lyricist stands higher. But, I submit, without his heart-achingly beautiful melodies, the lyrics would not have gotten very far. Although some of his arrangements are quite austere, his melodies stand out. You could imagine them with an orchestra.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bob Dylan Turns 70

by Jay Allbritton
Happy birthday, Bob!

I Saw Her Standing There

by Hector Diego

She was just 17, if you know what I mean...I think we do.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Temptations - Papa Was A Rolling Stone

by Hector Diego

Continuing our Motown theme, here is one of the greats.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jimmy Ruffin - What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted

by Hector Diego

Inspired by the Station Agent's post of a wonderful cover of this classic, here is the original. It truly was the Golden Age of Motown.

Funk Brothers--What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?

by Jay Allbritton
Tell me!

That was Joan Osbourne singing lead. Staggering.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kimya Dawson--Underground

by Jay Allbritton
Achingly good performance from a show in France, late last year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bruce Springsteen--Millworker

by Jay Allbritton
The Boss covers James Taylor's working class anthem. The blog Star Maker Machine has three other covers of the song, including Pearl Jam's 2004 live version.

McDonalds Refuses Sad Meals Assessment

by Hector Diego

The so-called Happy Meals sold by McDonalds are killing people, according to health care professionals. The chain refuses to assess and warn people about their SAD MEALS, or discontinue the clown who markets them. They also use language sacred to conservatives, choice. It's all about choice, they say. Isn't that what Philip Morris and friends said about tobacco? Conservatives always talk about choice when it suits them, but when it comes, say, to your choice to roll up a big spliff, they are strangely silent. You could hear a pin drop, or a Sad Meal splat all over their immaculately clean franchised floor.

Read the article.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Elected--Greetings In Braille

by Jay Allbritton
The Elected kicked off their U.S. tour with a show in L.A. on Tuesday. It was a record release party for their new album, Bury Me in My Rings. This song, "Greetings in Braille" is from their first album, Me First.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Christie Minstrels - Today

by Hector Diego

Today is the moment.

The Graduate

by Hector Diego

This is one of the best films of all time, and this ending is one of the best film endings of all time. It really doesn't get any better.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down--Violet

by Jay Allbritton
"I will keep my station wagon stationary
And I will learn to juggle all the things we carry..."

Simon And Garfunkel - The Boxer

by Hector Diego


The Elected's New Album Bury Me In My Rings Released Today

by Jay Allbritton
The new Elected album Bury me in My Rings, which I reviewed here, is released today. I could not be happier with the album. Stream it here. Buy it here. Tour dates here.

Monday, May 16, 2011


by Jay Allbritton
"...the water's too polluted with germs."

Jenny and Johnny--Big Wave

by Jay Allbritton
From an appearance at Criminal Records in Atlanta last October.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Doors - Soft Parade

by Hector Diego

A place to hide. Sounds good, sometimes.

Joy Division - I Remember Nothing

by Hector Diego

Was Ian Curtis the demented ghost of Jim Morrison, perhaps?

U2 - New Year's Day

by Hector Diego

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lena--Taken By a Stranger

by Jay Allbritton
Germany's Lena is back in the Eurovision Song Contest for the second year in a row. She won last year. What is Eurovision? I have no idea.

Breaking News From A Long Time Ago and Far, Far Away

by Jay Allbritton
Sad day for the resistance. As P.M. Simon said in his coverage of this spoof for Nerdist, it is jarring to see Obama cast as Vader, but as we know, there was still good in him, so maybe it's okay. As for Kenobi, that dirty terrorist got what he deserved.

Meanwhile, robots in Japan are fighting with lightsabers. I'm only partially impressed.

A little closer to home, io9 has 32 pictures of Star Wars graffiti. Like this one:

And finally, if your looking for something special for that nerd in your life, maybe Han Solo ice cube trays are the way to go.

Pomplamoose - Achin' Heart

by Hector Diego

It's the remedy. You need eye candy? Natalie is the remedy!

U2--Red Hill Mining Town

by Jay Allbritton
"Red Hill Mining Town" is a brilliant song which stands as a small failure in the sea of success that was the Joshua Tree album. The song was going to be the second single off that album, but was pulled back at the last moment in favor of the massive smash hit, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".

The lyrics of "Red Hill Mining Town" are about the people in the UK's Red Hill mining community that was devastated by a bitter strike. The song's Wikipedia page is worth a look if you like what you hear. The sound is a little low in the clip, so turn it up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Elliott Smith--Don't Go Down

by Jay Allbritton
Brand X talks to Gil Reyes about his upcoming documentary Searching for Elliott Smith.

Rilo Kiley - Pull Me In Tighter

by Hector Diego

I am quite certain she will survive!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Johnny Cash - Five Feet High And Rising

by Hector Diego

I'm posting this again for the folks that live along the Ol' Mississip'.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Lindsey Buckingham--Never Going Back Again (With Stevie Nicks)

by Jay Allbritton
Nicks and Buckingham's chemistry with one another is electric.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Bob Marley - Redemption Song

by Hector Diego

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Smashing Pumpkins--Mayonaise

by Jay Allbritton
Anyone waiting for a reunion of the charter members of Smashing Pumpkins can just forget about it. Oh well. Here's one of their classics.

Billy Currington - Pretty Good At Drinking Beer

by Hector Diego

This song is dedicated to my good friend the Right Reverend Richard Warfield, pastor of the Psychedelic Church and founder of the Dedicated League of Demons out in Wimberley, Texas. He probably has a tall, cold one in front of him right now. Well, as I always say...better a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy! Wait a minute, that's not what I always say!

Here's to you, Dick.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Holly Golightly--Tell Me Now So I Know

by Jay Allbritton
Brooklyn Vegan has tour dates. She's not coming to Florida! But Holly Golightly rules, nevertheless, so go to those shows.

Circumcision Ban In San Francisco? Yes!

by Hector Diego

I ask you this--if female circumcision is illegal in San Francisco as it is everywhere in the United States, why should male circumcision be legal? When bodily mutilation involves minors for any reason--religious or otherwise--that's where I draw the line. This article may call it a "nanny state" or whatever, but making male circumcision illegal is only decent. As if the illegality of recreational drugs is not symptomatic of a nanny state. Please.

Read the article.

New Study Finds Marijuana Safer Than Alcohol For Driving

by Hector Diego

Well, almost anyone could tell you that marijuana is safer than alcohol for driving. It is quite obvious. So, of course, the real question is why marijuana is illegal and alcohol is illegal? There are many reasons for this situation, none of them good. So the next question is, how long will it take to reverse this situation? How long?

Read the article.

PJ Harvey--To Bring You My Love

by Jay Allbritton
Live from a festival in 2003. Chills...

Johnny Cash - Five Feet High And Rising

by Hector Diego

This is dedicated to those Americans experiencing severe flooding. Hang in there.

Daily Beast Bin Laden Obituary

by Hector Diego

Extreme right-winger Alex Jones claims that Bin Laden
has been dead since 2001.

But let's face it--Jones is a nut case because he was a birther--end of story. I wonder what his take on it is now? Well, I do agree that Bin Laden's legacy will be kept on life support for as long as it is useful, which may be a very, very long time. The Daily Beast's "Osama bin Laden Died a Fool and Has No Legacy" resonates with me, especially the part about Bin Laden as "historically effective performance artist" and understanding his legacy as an "ultrametaphor." It would be interesting to see his karmic record for the last several births...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Stones - Gimme Shelter

by Hector Diego

My cousins in Port Chester, NY, performed this song as well as the Stones. Believe it, or not.

Make Rad Music--Mad World

by Jay Allbritton
Vans and the kids from the MakeRadMusic YouTube channel rock "Mad World", Ukelele-style. By the way, traffic is a hazard for outdoor jamming.

Dresden Dolls--Mad World (with The Red Paintings)

by Jay Allbritton
Okay, last version of "Mad World". This one is really cool because I love Amanda Palmer and I like the fact that this version rocks the hardest of them all, at least it does after the 3:09 mark.

Tears for Fears--Mad World

by Jay Allbritton
Here's the original. You can see what an improvement Gary Jules and the rest have made.

Jon Stewart On Bin Laden Pictures

by Hector Diego

Station Agent?

Gary Jules--Mad World (live)

by Jay Allbritton
Here's Jules doing it live.

Tears for Fears--Mad World

by Jay Allbritton
Tears for Fears reinterpret their own song their own way at this 2006 performance in Rotterdam.

Brandi Carlile--Mad World

by Jay Allbritton
Brandi Carlile does "Mad World" live in Portland, Oregon.

Paul Robeson - Old Man River

by Hector Diego

Actor, athlete, opera singer, political activist, towering intellect. Martin Luther King did not want to be associated with this man who organized labor and paid the price. Of course I respect King, but I'm just saying.

Robeson was a giant of the 20th century, and I'm doing my part to make sure people remember him.

Tennessee Ernie Ford - 16 Tons

by Hector Diego

Talk about alienation and false consciousness...

Jimmy Dean - Big John

by Hector Diego

There are actually people like Big Bad John in this world. You don't meet them very often, but they do exist.

A big, big man.

DxDutch--Mad World

by Jay Allbritton
DxDutch is the best of the myriad of youtubers covering "Mad World". Her channel is here.

Johnny Cash - Born To Lose

by Hector Diego

One of my favorites by The Man In Black.

"Mad World" Sequence from Donnie Darko

by Jay Allbritton
Here's how the song was placed in the movie (SPOILER ALERT). The clip is a bit too dark to see properly, but that's YouTube for ya. This version is by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews.

Sara Hickman--Mad World

by Jay Allbritton
I'm going to post several versions of this song. This one is not my favorite, but it's not bad. The version used in Donnie Darko is the best. The Tears for Fears original has grown on me. It's a credible slab of post-dance pseudo-pop. There are a million versions of this unlikely trans-generational anthem.

No Reply

by Hector Diego

The Beatles released so many good songs that could have been singles, but the charts were already crowded with Beatles songs! So they released albums that were filled with more memorable songs than any in history. Filled with songs like "No Reply."

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Los Campesinos!--Death to Los Campesinos

by Jay Allbritton
From the album Hold On Now Youngster…

Los Campesinos! Charm Irving Plaza

Here's a Karen Kilgariff Song

by Jay Allbritton
Comedian Karen Kilgariff touches all the bases in this hilarious folk song.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Herman Dune--Not on Top

by Jay Allbritton
"Baby.... I'm not on top."

Sometimes You Just Wanna Join the Dark Side

by Jay Allbritton
Set up to face Vader, this little girl has... other plans.

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

by Jay Allbritton
"Right now I need to stay home and I don't need your company
Right now I need to be alone and I need you to stay away from me
I love the smell of your hair and the blue of your eyes
But you're far too complicated and you tell a lot of lies
I'll see what's right and what's wrong, I'll see what's true and what's fake
When the water gets cold and freezes on the lake."

Jenny Lewis--Badman's World

by Jay Allbritton
This song is going to be on the soundtrack for The Hangover II.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Album Review: The Elected--Bury Me In My Rings

by Jay Allbritton
The Elected’s third album, Bury Me In My Rings, hits stores May 17th. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy from the band’s new label, Vagrant. Like most longtime Rilo Kiley fans, I have been looking forward to new material from guitarist/vocalist Blake Sennett since that band’s disappearance following the end of their tour supporting 2007’s Under the Blacklight. The album exceeded my sky high expectations.


Five years has passed since the release of the Elected’s under-appreciated 2006 album Sun, Sun, Sun. The first two very promising songs teased by the label, "Babyface" and "Go For the Throat," sounded more like funked out versions of Sennett's sole lead vocal performance on Under the Blacklight, the ethereal "Dream World," than they sounded like the guitar-first California jams of Me First and Sun, Sun, Sun.

Strong pre-release press from Filter, Speakers in Code, Stereogum, SYFFAL, and Spin raised expectations further while revealing that Sennett had considered himself retired all along, and that only recently had he rediscovered his love for music. In a candid interview posted on the blog Consequence of Sound Sennett told Dan Caffrey that he quit music because he "falsely accused music" of ruining his friendships with the people in his band. He credits a meeting with Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel with leading him back into music making. Unfortunately, he’s a lot more wary about being led back to Rilo Kiley. He told Caffrey, "I would say that if Rilo Kiley were a human being he’s probably laying on his back in a morgue with a tag on his toe. Now, I see movies where the dead get up and walk. And when they do that, rarely do good things happen."

The possibility of a major falling out between Sennett and Rilo Kiley’s singer (Sennett’s ex-girlfriend) Jenny Lewis has become a preoccupation of core fans such as myself, leading many of us to cite anecdotes and deconstruct lyrics that hint at a deeply personal rift between the members of Rilo Kiley's songwriting team. While the truth may never be known, Bury Me In My Rings will certainly provide plenty of grist for that mill. The album seems loaded with thinly veiled references to Lewis. The song "Go for the Throat" paints its subject an overly ambitious success story "doing Late Night" who "trampled all of the good times". "Have You Been Cheated" ends with this couplet: "You may not know what you are but you know what you’ve done/Now you’re back out on the road having fun." This seems like an obvious reference to Lewis’s most recent record recorded with her boyfriend, Johnathan Rice, 2010’s I’m Having Fun Now.

Sennett’s lyrics remains compelling beyond real or imagined references to Lewis. The album tells the story of a tricky relationship between complex characters. The arc of the album resembles the arc of a relationship. The first track, "Born to Love You," depicts the beginning of a romance. Along the way, Sennett chronicles the twists and turns of a tumultuous, jealous, bitter relationship. In "This Will Be Worth It," a tender ballad that recalls the futuristic sound of the band’s first album Me First, the song’s narrator promises that all the ordeals will be worth it. In "Who Are You," Sennett’s heartrending description of the life that should have been--a world in which his fictional couple stays together and has children--may be the album's best song. The album concludes with "Time is Coming" in which Sennett’s narrative stand in hints at a resolution ahead.

Sennett’s best performance on the record comes in the role of producer. He balances a wide range of elements in ways that serve the songs and create album cohesion. Nowhere is the arrangement burdened by unnecessary instrumentation. The songs cycle through a range of emotions and dynamics. Funky throwdowns freely give way to somber, dreamy ballads. Surprising production elements abound, such as the Pink Floyd-like screams of madness on "This Will be Worth It" or the snarling violin at the end of "Have You Been Cheated". The epic solos that were a hallmark of early Rilo Kiley albums are a thing of the past. The only face-melting guitar solo is on the funk jam "When I’m Gone," and it only lasts the requisite eight bars before the chorus comes back. That’s about it for the fans of Sennett’s shredding, of which I am one. Of course, that doesn’t stop Sennett (and presumably contributing guitarists Mike Mogis and Mike Bloom) from filling the album to bursting with subtle and tasteful licks. Strings, keyboards and pianos are used for specific sonic purposes, never just to fill out the sound.

No matter what comes of Sennett’s future with Rilo Kiley, with this album, Sennett has proven that The Elected deserves to continue making albums and touring for a very long time. They get the world tour started in Los Angeles on May 17, at The Troubadour, followed by a show in New York City on May 24, at The Mercury Lounge.

The Internationale

by Hector Diego

I figure since this is May Day--the biggest holiday in the Communist world (which has shrunk quite a bit)--I will dedicate this song to my good friend the Station Agent, a self-identified Commie.

I am not a communist. I call myself a practical socialist, because while I tend to dismiss Marxist history and feel that the Marxist vision of the future is fanciful, I am convinced that it should not be. Capitalism may float all boats at some times and places, but it seems that ultimately it corrupts more than it heals.

I do not think that religion and socialism are incompatible. In fact, I believe that God is a socialist. Go and read what Jesus said and tell me that He is not. At the very least, a simple perusal of the New Testament indicates that it has many passages that support the idea of socialism, and very few that support the idea of capitalism. One is based on love and the other is based on greed.


So forget the rhetoric of Lenin, workers, Che Guevara, atheism, and even the international component. You can even dismiss the song posted here. Some of that is nonsense, some of it is simply unreachable, and ultimately the details of how it was expressed in the past does not matter all that much. I tend to quote Lennon instead of Lenin: "If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow." But about the essence of it, the SPIRIT of it, I ask you--What would Jesus say?

Happy May Day.


Antique walrus print courtesy of FineRarePrints.Com