Tag Archives: alternative rock

Day 23 – A song that you want to play at your wedding: “Such Great Heights”

“Such Great Heights” – The Postal Service

So, this gives me a chance to gush a bit about how much I love my missus.  I’m not much for big events (I hate most ‘milestone’ events — for myself or others — finding them at best a big let-down or, at worst, a reminder of the impermanence of any given moment of happiness … sorry to be Captain Bringdown), but our wedding is, in my memory, one of those times that really was better than I’d ever dreamed it could be, and it’s all because of who I’d shared it with! Friends and family of ours from all over the country — heck, some from other parts of the world, came together and had a great party. It was a huge conflagration of folks and, I would like to think, an unpretentious and fun experience for all. But, most importantly, it was the wedding that we wanted it to be, and music was very central to it.

Thems some fancy outfits

The Hussy and I actually played “Such Great Heights” together at our wedding — that is, we performed it. As music-nerds, we wanted to not only have a cool playlist for our ceremony — which we did — and great singers for the songs — which we most definitely did, we wanted to play a couple of songs together. The tunes we chose for pre-ceremony were:

Don Eanes (on keys), David Hart (vocals), and Chad Light (guitar)

“Maybe I’m Amazed” – Wings (sung by Don Eanes)

“I Will Follow You Into the Dark” – Death Cab for Cutie (sung by David Hart)

Wedding March: “The Final Countdown” – Europe

Vanessa Bentley

“To Make You Feel My Love” – Bob Dylan (sung by Vanessa Bentley)

We had a great bluegrass band for our reception, Meridian, and they played “Tennessee Waltz” when we came into the barn (yes, our reception was in a barn). After eating and dancing some, we took the stage along with many of our rock and roll compatriots, commenced to rocking. My now-wife and I played “Such Great Heights” and Teddy Thompson’s “Altered State”; the combined forces of many of my bands, past and present, kept it rocking on into the night. The wonderful night.


Day 22 – A song you listen to when you’re sad – “End of the Rainbow”

“End of the Rainbow” – Richard & Linda Thompson

The Whole Records is ALmost tHis hapPy

This is a harsh song. Brutal even: “There’s nothing at the end of the rainbow / there’s nothing to grow up for anymore.” Whenever I’m sad, very sad, this is the soundtrack playing in my head. Tough stuff. But there’s something about the absolute rawness of the lyric, the clarity —  “I feel for you, you little horror” — that’s somehow cleansing. When you see the world that bleakly, and you’re feeling bleak, there’s nowhere to go but up, right? Right?

Day 18 – A song that you wish you heard on the radio – “The Knife Feels Like Justice”

“The Knife Feels Like Justice”  – Brian Setzer

In my opinion this song had it all: a great, Byrdsy riff (it is, quite literally, the reason I own a 12-string guitar);  a strong melodic hook; and a killer lead vocal from Mr. Setzer. However, nobody was ready for Brian Setzer as a cow-punk rock star in late 80’s. The Stray Cats were still fresh on everyone’s mind, Dwight Yoakam wasn’t cool yet, and alt-county was still a half-decade away. So this excellent song, and the kick-a$$ album it came from – which I still own, thank you very much – quickly hit the bargain bins. Still, I dream of the day when I hear this tune bursting out of the radio speakers, where it really belonged … and still belongs.

Day 15 – A Song that Describes You: “Vincent O’Brien”

M. Ward – “Vincent O’Brien”

“He only sings when he’s sad / But he’s sad all the time, so he sings / the whole night through / Yeah, he sings in the day-time, too.”

My wife picked this one, but only, she says, on the basis that I  used to put it on all the mix CDs I made. I guess that’s code for “this song describes me”? Probably.

Like Luli once described herself, this song is “sad, and angry, and sad” in equal amounts. Like me. But it’s also quite nice and easy to get along with in places, and I’m also that. Anyway, I think you’ll like it, or I wouldn’t have put it on that mix CD I gave you …

The lyrics:

He only sings when he’s sad

But he’s sad all the time, so he sings the whole night through

Yeah, he sings in the day-time, too

He only dreams when he’s sad

And he’s sad all the time, so he dreams the whole night through

Yeah, he dreams in the day-time, too

There may be  mermaids under the water

There may even be a man in the moon

But Vincent, time is running out

You better get yourself together soon

Out of Buffalo, the man

Below the belt, he swung, and then after the bell has rung

Another cheap shot, here it comes

Another cheap shot, here it comes

He only laughs when he’s sad

And he’s sad all the time, so he laughs the whole night through

Yeah, he laughs in the daytime, too

There may be  mermaids under the water

There may even be a man in the moon

But Vincent, time is running out

I hope you get yourself together soon

I hope you get yourself together soon

Brian & the Nightmares … the beat goes on

Some of you may have read the remembrance of Brian and the Nightmares I wrote for their reunion get-together (originally in the local entertainment paper and more recently posted to this blog) in 2002. Very recently, another Nightmares fan posted video –originally shot for a local cable show — of that gig to YouTube. As a public service, I’ve assemble it below.

If you remember the Nightmares, this is a great reminder of their unique energy and musicianship. If you weren’t around or didn’t get the chance to see them during their late 80’s heyday, do yourself a favor and catch a sampling below.

I can honestly say that I’ve never been in a band, post-1988, that I didn’t in some way compare, unfavorably, to the focus and energy of the ‘Mares: it’s a goal that I’ve always shot for, and whenever someone has said to me, “man, your band is tight,” I’ve always wanted to say, “then you never saw Brian & the Nightmares!”

“Bored Games”

“Easy Way Out”

“Desperate Highway”

“Lizard Song”

“Primitive Rose”

“Keep on Walkin'”

“She’s So Tall”

“Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” (Standells cover)

“I Am A Rock” (Simon & Garfunkel cover)

“Can’t Touch an Angel”

“Little Bit of You”

“Route 66”

“All You Want to Do Is Sin”

And from way back in 1989 … Brian, Kurt, John and Mark doing “Warm California Sun” (Rivieras/Ramones/Dictators) and “New Kind of Kick” (The Cramps)

Our Band Could Be Your Life

Finished reading Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life today while taking care of Luli, our two year-old, who was illin’ with a stomach virus; lawyer-mom had to lawyer, and things at work have reached a state of chaotic equilibrium, so I took a sick day for the team. Since vomiting and diarrhea are conditions discussed in Azerrad’s book, I considered this an opportunity to get back to some aspects of the gritty life of a traveling semi-professional musician. However, Lu didn’t appreciate my spontaneous homage to Mudhoney when I let rip with a “touch me, I’m sick” after she puked on the porch. That kid has no sense of humor.

The book is definitely worth reading. The chapters on the Minutemen and Fugazi are the most inspirational; the ones on Beat Happening and Sonic Youth the least; the ones on the ‘Mats and Husker Du are just plain sad. The Mudhoney chapter is more about Sub Pop than it is about MH, but that actually works — indie labels (other than Ian Mackaye’s Dischord) take such a verbal beating that having  a chapter that actually gives a little perspective as to why indie label owners are a$$holes/crooks at least somewhat levels the field. It’s a tough and mostly thankless job.

Thought I’d post some vids here of songs/bands that the book made me revisit. Enjoy!

Fugazi – “The Waiting Room”

The Minutemen – Trailer for “We Jam Econo” (documentary about the MM); film is definitely worth seeing, but read the Azerrad book before you see it … really fills in the gaps, especially regarding their political beliefs/stances.

Black Flag – “Six Pack”

The Butthole Surfers – “Who Was in My Room Last Night”

The Replacements – “Bastards of Young” (the legendary first ‘mats video)

Big Black – “Bad Penny”

Husker Du – “She’s a Woman and Now He is a Man”

Husker Du – “Makes No Sense at All”

Mudhoney – “Touch Me I’m Sick”

Sonic Youth – “Expressway to Yr Skull”

Dinosaur Jr – “Forget the Swan”

Minor Threat – “In My Eyes”

Mission of Burma – “Academy Fight Song”

The 120 Minutes Archive

The 120 Minutes Archive – Playlists & Videos – A collection of episodes from MTV’s alternative music series.

I could waste (er, spend?) a considerable amount of time on this site. 120 Minutes  introduced this small-town southern boy to a lot of great music. Definitely worth diving into!

via The 120 Minutes Archive – Playlists & Videos – A collection of episodes from MTV’s alternative music series.