Tag Archives: Yo La Tengo

Songs About Andreas (by Claire)

andrea mixtape
 

Well friends, I asked if you wanted name mixtapes, and you delivered! First up: Andrea.

Unlike Josie, my life has been full of a consistent stream of Andreas. Who, like most people who share the same name, have almost nothing in common.

But Andrea songs paint a clear picture about Andreas! According to this playlist:

  • Andrea is at a 90’s nightclub somewhere in Europe, listening to techno.
  • Andrea is breaking the hearts of pop punk boys.
  • Andrea is charming the occasional indie folk type.
  • Andrea is friends with a series of European pop stars.
  • Andrea just got some bitchin’ clothes.

People have a lot to say about Andrea. People want to scream about Andrea. People sometimes want to combine the two and scream on and off about Andrea for five minutes or more. She seems to be having an excellent time though, except for that run-in at the nail salon.

Based on these songs, I would say Andrea is a fun loving, adventurous sometimes-party girl.

What are the Andreas in your life like? Does this sound right? And how much do you want to bring back “Gag me with a spoon” after listening to “Valley Girl” (So much, guys. Lets bring it back stat.)? Let me know in the comments.

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So Hot Right Now: January 2014 (by Claire)

San Francisco is playing that game where it swirls autumn and spring into something evocative, laced with warm breezes and crisp days. I walk around feeling awake and reminded—of elementary school autumns, of the first Spring on campus, of a million standout memories framed in cold fresh air and ruddy cheeks.

In proper Autumn, I crave the classics. In proper Spring, something sweet and rough around the edges. In January’s SpringAutumn? New songs by bands I just discovered, ones I’m rapidly falling in love with. Big rough 60’s sounding guitar hooks. Rich velvety voices. Dizzying blends of classic and brand new sounds.

Mynabirds fit the bill. So do Those Darlins, who I first listened to based solely on the description of them sounding like a blend of Shonen Knife and The Carter Family. “Let Her Go” by Jagwar Ma is less than a year old, but belongs on a classic alt 90’s soundtrack. King Tuff’s “Sun Medallion” is lo-fi garage heaven with traces of a classic 60’s sound. The fact that “Josie” by Go Violets isn’t by a 90’s all girl indie-pop band is absurd. And, awesome.

Is it okay to have a musical discovery of the year when they year is two days old? I’ve had Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s Ripely Pine on repeat all day, especially “Aubergine” which took a few listens before it became an obsession. I’ve had Haim’s flawless freshman album Days Are Gone on heavy rotation since it debuted. Every month I fall in love with a new song from them. For January, it’s sweet “Honey and I,” the track where the constant Haim/Fleetwood Mac comparison makes the most sense.

“Wings” by Haert was the runner-up on nearly every #HolidaySurvival list. This song belongs in the cannon of new songs with a bright infectious 80’s pop beat. Throw it on your own January playlist alongside “You’re in Love” by Betty Who and “Is This How You Feel” by The Preatures. Second constant runner-up: soulful worldly “Don’t Wait” by Mapei.

The perfect mix of classic and fresh is the warm, crackling “Well You Better” by Yo La Tengo, one of a million 90’s comeback kids in 2013. Pure classic? Late 60’s folk singer Vashti Bunyan’s Mick Jagger/ Keith Richards’ penned single “Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind.”

Happy new year, to all you crazy kids! And a belated happy birthday to this blog, which recently turned two. If you’re in the market for a birthday present, more music suggestions would be perfect, thanks. Meet me in the comments and let me know what’s on your January playlist.

 **Artwork by Ashley Jones. Check out more of her work at The Vainglory or catch her on Twitter @theRealAshleyJ

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New Songs! And Spotify! Claire’s October So Hot Right Now Mix

Joshua saved the day and figured out how to embed Spotify lists. Squee.

Last week, I posted my So Hot Right Now list—a 15 song list of what I’m listening to this month. Well here’s the list on Spotify so you can listen along, and I’ve added 15 more songs. Enjoy, and let me know what you’re listening to this month in the comments!

 

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So Hot Right Now, October 2012: Claire’s List

So Hot Right Now: A mixtape’s worth of songs old and new that you’re listening to right now, and probably for the rest of the month. Revisions encouraged (check back later in the month for new songs), suggestions invited. 

These are songs I listened to when I worked night shifts in Australia, hunched over my laptop with a tumbler of cold coffee, typing while lonely in drafty old houses while everyone slept. Pairs well with early night fall on cool autumn nights, late night writing, driving with the windows down even though you’re shivering, excessive coffee drinking, and finding a sweater you forgot you owned.

So Hot Right Now: October 2012

Nobody Knows” by The Feelies

Hang Loose” by The Alabama Shakes

Cry Love” by John Hiatt

Autumn Sweater” by Yo La Tengo

Is It Like Today?” by World Party

Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” by Jack White

Ever Fallin’ in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” by the Buzzcocks

Can’t Hardly Wait” by The Replacements

Freeway” by Aimee Mann

Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild” by Jonathan Richman

You’re Not Alone” by Mavis Staples

A Letter” by Blu and Exile

Cigarettes and Coffee” by Otis Redding

Bedroom Eyes” by Dum Dum Girls

A Long Walk” by Jill Scott

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Top 5 Covers (by Claire and Joshua)

Claire’s Top 5 Covers

Song: Go Straight to Hell

Cover by: Lily Allen

Originally by: The Clash

Lily Allen’s lullaby-sweet vocals and borderline-cheery background music, paired with these classic Clash lyrics, makes an already haunting song doubly so and gives “Go Straight to Hell” some dichotomous whimsy.

Song: I Go To Sleep

Cover by: Sia

Originally by: The Kinks

Sia will haunt your f**king dreams. I know it’s a different song, but can we talk about the end of Six Feet Under? Come on. This is also a song made for covers: Look up versions by The Pretenders, Peggy Lee, and a very young Cher.

Song: Magnet

Cover by: Yo La Tengo

Originally by: NRBQ

I listened to this song at least a thousand times when I was eighteen years old. It was one of those classic “Oh, you wrote this for me” moments you have with music in early college, where heightened emotions and self obsession are at their peak. My father and an old boss of mine would call it blasphemy, but I like this version way more than the original, which has a grating level of upbeat NRBQness.

Song: I’m On Fire

Cover by: Bats for Lashes

Originally by: Bruce Springsteen

Also, haunting, because this is apparently Claire’s haunted covers collection. Boo.

Song: Needles and Pins

Cover by: The Ramones

Originally by: Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono

This was originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon, which is a great version. It’s another song made for covers: Look up the Cher version (I know, Cher again, who knew super young Cher was so awesome?) and the Tom Petty/ Stevie Nicks cover, which is lovely.

Honorable Mentions:

  • “Raspberry Beret,” cover by Warren Zevon and The Hindu Love Gods
  • “Naive,” cover by Lily Allen
  • “Hard to Handle,” cover by Toots and the Maytals

Josh’s Top 5 Covers

Song: I Will Survive

Covered by: Cake

Originally by: Gloria Gaynor

This song encapsulates everything Cake is about: emotionally subdued vocals, fat-ass bass riff, and funky guitar. They take the original version, a glitzy, disco’d-out dance number by Gloria Gaynor, and strip it down the bare necessities: punchy drums and a thumping bass line. They then add John McCrea’s staple singing and quite possibly the best one-note guitar solo ever recorded. Plus he swears! And there’s a vibraslap! And a mid-song count-off! It doesn’t get much better than this.

Song: Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight

Covered by: The Isley Brothers

Originally by: James Taylor

The original version is done by James Taylor. This version can convince anyone to drop their pants and get it on. Being able to do that with a song written by James Taylor? Priceless.

Song: Take Me to the River

Covered by: Talking Heads

Originally by: Al Green and Mabon “Teenie” Hodges

This version nails the song in a way Al Green never conceived. It’s harrowing in a way only David Byrne’s vocals can convey and the backup singers only further that goal. The sparse instrumentals are the kicker in this version: the majority of the song is one drum riff and one repeated bass line. I don’t know how Byrne decided to do the song this way, but it’s another version where the desperation of the lyrics is shown off better in the cover than the original.

Song: I Know I’m Losing You

Covered by: Rod Stewart

Originally by: The Temptations

I’m gonna go out on a limb here. I think this is a better version than the original…which is done by the Temptations. I know that sounds blasphemous, but this version wins on every level. The guitar work is funky, the drumming is amazing, and Stewart’s raspy vocals appeal the song’s message in a way the smooth sounds of the Temptations never could. It’s all together more desperate and wanton than the Temptations ever had the capacity to be.

Song: Hallelujah

Covered by: Jeff Buckley

Originally by: Leonard Cohen

The original was haunting and vaguely spiritual. This version is all sex, dripping with lonely reverb-laden guitar notes, plucked individually and rarely strummed, and filled to the brim with regret and shame. It’s like sleeping with your ex-girlfriend and then seeing her the next day in another man’s arms, laughing coyly and casually playing with his hair. It’s the kind of broken-hearted that makes you want to drink scotch all night listening to Charlie Rich and smoking profusely in the dark. This song is not for the faint of heart.

Honorable Mentions:

  • “The Guitar Man,” cover by Cake: A great version of a great song, with the ever present Cake “YA!”.
  • “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” cover by Toots & the Maytals: So much better with a Jamaican accent. Isn’t everything?
  • “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These,” cover by Marilyn Manson: Put this song on in the dark at three in the morning. It’s actually scary.
  • “Hurt,” cover by Johnny Cash: A cover so good that the original writer, Trent Reznor, said that the song was Cash’s from then on.
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