Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Xmas Compilation CD: MP3s

I've had a request. Apparently, they're so backwards on the other side of the globe that CDs haven't caught on yet. If, due to your being in Australia, you would prefer your Xmas compilation in one of the three following alternative formats, please drop me a line (jabber (at) theangriestman (dot) com) and I'll do my best to oblige:

  • Special edition heavyweight vinyl remastered by blind audiophile experts in a soundproofed former nuclear bunker

  • MP3s

  • Sheet music (arranged for trombone or zither)
Hope that keeps you all happy enough to have a happy new year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's the 2008 Annual Christmas Compilation CD Sleevenotes! Whoop!

Yep, it's Christmas; yep, it's compilation time. 2008 is the year that I Right some Wrongs, and deal with Death and Dylan Covers. They'll be in the post over the next few days probably. Here's what's what:

1. Emiliana Torrini - Big Jumps

Can't beat a bit of life-affirming pop sung by someone who sounds like a five-year-old, can you? She wrote Slow for Kylie, if you can remember back that far. Yes, Kylie Minogue; she's the sister of Danni who wears make-up on X-Factor.

2. Feist - My Moon, My Man

Inexplicably left off 2007's compilation, perhaps because she'd got herself on the ipod advert with '1, 2, 3, 4' and I'd had the misfortune to be stood in a PC shop where that was playing a 5-second snatch of the song, looped for eternity. Yes, that was probably why I left her off. Anyway, this is still great after a year, even though I'd like to ask her that although her man, like the moon, is changeable, is her man also changeable in a predictable 28-day pattern whilst affecting the tides of the sea?

3. Monkey Swallows the Universe - Bloodline

Well, a year ago I'd just started to get infatuated with this band, and hadn't got their second album 'The Casket Letters' yet. Well, I got it, and then went and saw their lastish gig, and bugger me if they aren't still brilliant and deserving of a place on the Xmas CD.

4. Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Down By The Riverside

Well, you can probably guess this isn't from 2008. Oh, and apologies for the shitty quality audio - I've had to rip this version off youtube, because it's a better version of the song than the one I've got. Someone recommended her, and fairly quickly I remembered her from the sequence in 'Amelie' where she has a little snippet of a performance on a video she gives to her neighbour. It was either that or it was in 'Ghost World'. Anyway, man, that's a good solo. Made me want to stop studying war.

5. Estelle ft Kanye West - American Boy

Survives the moment where Kanye says the word 'bloke', which is testament to its quality. Does include the single incidence of the word 'ribena' cropping up on a record, though. I also like that it shoehorns in trivia - I now know that Kanye West is 5'7".

6. Colin Meloy - Pregnant for the Last Time

In which I Right a Wrong: I was only alerted to the 'Colin Meloy Sings...' series of EPs because he'd got a new record out in 2008. However, sod all that, I'm putting this on, from the '... Sings Morrissey' album, where he does impassioned acoustic covers of Moz (including some pretty obscure b-sides, like this).

7. Belle & Sebastian - This is Just a Modern Rock Song

In which I Right another Wrong: a pretty good compilation of the BBC sessions of B&S has just come out, but for some completely unfuckingfathomable reason, they chose to put on just about everything they did except for this song. Apologies for the poor quality, but it's taped off a radio, then copied as extra tracks on the bootleg version of Tigermilk that I was so super-happy to find at a record fair, in the distant past before they got round to releasing the album properly. Not only am I Righting a Wrong, but I'm also getting to wallow in some nostalgia. Lovely.

8. Iron & Wine - Lovesong of the Buzzard

It was a fight between this and a song of his from the 'I'm Not There' Dylan coverfest soundtrack album. This won out, but only because I've got too many Dylan covers coming up. The lovely woozy sound of this song shouldn't disguise the fact that it's about punching kittens in the face - what a bastard. What a hairy bastard.

9. Joan as Police Woman - To Be Lonely

Somewhat against all my natural inclinations, I've included a slowy from the new JaPW album. I literally had to chew my own right hand off to prevent it from putting 'To America' which ticks many of my boxes: a great big build up of a song (tick!) with Rufus Wainwright cameo (tick!) and then they go and throw a horn section at it (tick!) as it explodes in the final half.

I'm much slower typing one-handed, I hope you realise.

10. School of Language - If There Is Something

[I'm going to do something pretty clever with this compilation soon. Just watch out for it, ok?] School of Language were great at the Green Man festival, all angular clever-rock in the rain, like Tortoise with some songs. However, I've slapped them squarely in the face, cos this isn't one of theirs from their excellent album 'Sea From Shore', but a cover of a Roxy Music song off their first album. It's not massively far off the original, but bollocks to that - I like it. It's just nice to hear someone else sing 'growing potatoes by the score' in a desperately impassioned way.

11. Bryan Ferry - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Ferry, the twat, released an album of Dylan covers this year, but he should just have released a forty-track double-album where every track was this one. Trust me, it would have been better. This song is probably top of my charts when it comes to being put on repeat and listened to several times.

12. The Black Keys - The Wicked Messenger

Which brings me round to another Dylan cover off the 'I'm Not There' soundtrack. I'd ideally liked to have had Bob Dylan covering a School of Language song in the style of Bryan Ferry so that I could disappear up my own arse in a puff of smoke and self-satisfaction, but I'll settle for the Black Keys bringing out the monotone dirge off 'John Wesley Harding'.

13. Sons & Daughters - Darling

Where the ghost of Iggy Pop thrashes around in a ball pool, while the White Stripes take notes from the sidelines.

14. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley

Included because Bo Diddley died this year. You have to respect a man who refers to himself in the third person in song.

15. Harry Nillson - Coconut

Included for no good reason other than I enjoyed this in 2008. Known to me from the Muppet Show, where Froggy bought a coconut, and needed his flipper ache relieving. I don't know of any medical trials to determine if putting de lime in the de coconut is the cure for the symptoms brought on by putting de lime in de coconut, but I'm prepared to take Harry on trust here. Curiously, this is not the maddest thing on the album 'Nilsson Schmilsson' - there's a 7-minute bass-heavy wig-out that wins that crown, although that isn't perhaps as raciaially insensitive as Nillson's 'black' voice on 'Coconut'.

16. Scout Nibblet - Dinosaur Egg

I went to see her again this year, and she looked like an angry librarian. I had to fight down the urge to put on one of the two duets with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, both of which are excellent. I just had to include this because of her pissed-off voice and the 'million people coming over on Friday'. April, you can skip this track if you like, eh?

17. The Cave Singers - Helen

These were brilliant when I saw them live - lots of nice interlocking intricate guitars. I think they were also all sat down, which was probably nice and relaxing for them. I can't remember properly, but I'm assuming they all had beards.

18. Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs' Tears

Tangental Double Death Song - Levi Stubbs, lead singer of the Four Tops, died this year, as did Norman Whitfield, Motown songwriter. I've done a quick check, and everyone else mentioned in the song is alive, which is lucky for them. For the chorus of this song, Bragg somehow manages to make reading the production info off a record heartbreakingly bittersweet. He stopped short of reading out the copyright notice at the end - that's the sign of a classy songwriter.

19. Micky & Sylvia - Love is Strange

Those of you with a sharp ear for such things will probably guess that this wasn't recorded in 2008. I heard it on a documentary about Joe Meek, and it took me ages to track it down. Then, when I had tracked it down, I heard it on the soundtrack to 'Badlands', which would have made it considerably easier to find. Grr.

And that's it: 2008 ends with annoyance. Happy Merrymas everybody!

Previous Christmas CD compilations in this series include:
Christmas 2007 pt 1
Christmas 2007 pt 2
Christmas 2006
Christmas 2005
Christmas 2004