You Know, Her Life Was Saved By Rock & Roll

Lou Reed passed away today. He had a liver transplant earlier in the year, and I was so relieved to read an article where his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson, said he was recovering nicely. Not only was I worried about Lou Reed’s own health, but the thought of the two of them being separated broke my heart.

Lou and Laurie

Lou and Laurie had been an influence on me with their individual careers, long before I even knew about their long-term relationship. But since their marriage in 2008, when I learned that they had been together since the 1990s, I have always been filled with immense love and hope just thinking about the fact that they were a couple. Two amazingly talented and perceptive people, who may not go by other people’s standards of “normal,” but are beautifully intertwined by their confidence in and respect for themselves and each other.

While I am saddened by this great loss, I am encouraged by the thought that there even existed an artist and human being who could be such a profound influence on the world, and this very Creeter.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna start dancing to that fine, fine music.

-Rachel Creeter

Mix Tape Tuesday – 80s Obscurosity

Sorry for the tardiness, once again, my loves. Erin was right when she said it was a busy time last week. Well, here’s the promised Mix Tape of probably-won’t-hear-it-on-American-radio 80s songs. Some are B-sides, some are more famous in Britain, and others are just more popular with the non-pop crowd. Enjoy.

Mix Tape Tuesday – 80s Obscurosity

1. Cattle Call – Riders in the Sky. Ranger Doug, Woody Paul, and Too Slim. These guys are hilarious. And they’re cowboys! Haha. My dad is a big fan, so I grew up listening to several of their albums, and even saw them a few times at various music festivals. They did the music for “Woody’s Roundup” in Toy Story 2, by the by.
2. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes – Paul Simon. My love. From one of the greatest albums of all time, Graceland. You might be familiar with another song from the album, “You Can Call Me Al,” which has a hilarious music video with Chevy Chase.
3. Lonely Avenue – Ian Gillan & Roger Glover. I discovered this song because of the movie Rain Man.
4. Baby Mine – Bonnie Raitt & Was (Not Was). This is from Stay Awake, an amazing collection of Disney covers. Most of the tracks are in medley form, with several songs, each sweeping into the next. My favorite on the album is probably Tom Waits’ unrecognizable (but insanely awesome) version of “Heigh Ho,” but I already have a Waits song on this mix tape.
5. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) – Talking Heads. Although this is the studio version, this song is one of my favorite segments on the Talking Heads’ concert movie, Stop Making Sense. It features David Byrne dancing with a lamp. Score. (“Love me till my heart stops, love me till I’m dead…”)
6. Badman’s Song – Tears for Fears. This, “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” and “Woman in Chains” are some of my favorite Tears for Fears songs of all time, and they’re all from the same 1989 album, The Seeds of Love. Seriously, though, listen to this track a few times and the genius of it will grow on you.
7. From the Air – Laurie Anderson. Oh, Laurie. I freaked my first roommate out with this song. Haha. And then her art professor played it in class and she was proud she recognized it. So, there you go, a little Laurie Anderson culturation never hurt anybody.
8. Lightning – Danny Elfman. From the album So-Lo. Post-Oingo Boingo, pre-Nightmare Before Christmas. Makes me shiver with flavor, shiver with flavor (I’ll say it twice).
9. Ambitious – Wire. From The Ideal Copy. Can we say post-punk love? I think we can.
10. Respectable Street – XTC. From Rag & Bone Buffet: Rare Cuts & Leftovers. So many great tracks on that album; if you enjoy XTC I suggest picking it up.
11. Tally Ho – The Clean. They’re from New Zealand! Huzzah!
12. The Tunnel of Love – Fun Boy Three. I adore their version of “Our Lips Are Sealed” (Terry Hall, of Fun Boy Three, actually wrote the song with Jane Wiedlin, of The Go-Gos, so it’s technically not a cover). Anyway, check out their songs “The More I See (The Less I Believe)” and “The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)” also. Good stuff.
13. Plenty – The Woodentops. I heart these guys.
14. Trip Through Your Wires – U2. A B-side you might not have heard.
15. Heartattack and Vine – Tom Waits. From the album of the same name, his last album before changing music labels. This is the beginning of Tom Waits as I know and love him—growly and gritty, as opposed to his earlier sleazy lounge-singer sound.
16. The Real Sheila – Game Theory. From the extremely hard to find album Lolita Nation. Or, I guess I should say it’s not hard to find the album, it’s just hard to find it for less than $100. Seriously. Anyway, I just finished reading Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, the novel alluded to in this song and the album title. Fan-freaking-tastic. I am in awe of Nabokov’s pure literary genius. Seriously, go read the book right now (but be warned, it does have a very disturbing subject matter, and if you’ve ever seen the Stanley Kubrick film you know what I mean).
17. Watching the Hydroplanes – Tunnelvision. Don’t know much about this band, but I love the song. Kind of reminds me of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds circa 1987. Check out Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (the German film City of Angels was based on) to see what I mean.
18. Fortune – Dead Can Dance. Yea, Dead Can Dance! I guess I could have put two songs of theirs on here, because the female singer is really awesome, too. Oh well.
19. Everyone is Good – The Roches. I’m not too familiar with any of The Roches regular songs, because I always listened to their Christmas album (I put a couple of theirs on the Mesh Christmas edition of Mix Tape Tuesday). But their crazy harmonies are worth hearing, so here’s one from their album Speak.

-Rach

P.S. Would you rather download the Mix Tape in one zip file, or as individual tracks? I like the zip, because it saves you from having to go through and click on each song, but it does mean you have to go ahead and download all of them even if you just want a few tracks. What do you, the Creeter Readers, think?

Mix Tape Tuesday: Days Daze

Welcome to the first installment of Mix Tape Tuesday, our chance to share some great music with some great listeners!

I (Rachel) decided to make the inaugural mix a themed one, and then thought to myself, “Hey Rachel, what better theme for this special day of the week dedicated to music than songs with ‘day’ in the title?” But not just any song with “day” in the title—only those rated with 5 stars in my iTunes collection. It took a while to narrow it down to a burnable CDs’ worth (“day” is such a wonderfully popular word), but here it is.

So click on the link below and download the zip file. Then you can burn it to a CD and make your very own mix tape! Er….mix CD. (But doesn’t tape just sound snazzier?) You can also enter the 21st century and just upload the songs onto your iPod or MP3 player of choice. But I like to go the ghetto route and use my lime green discman from 7th grade (which still works magnificently, I’ll have you know), complete with the free headphones from an American Airlines flight I took in 2006. To each his own.

Mix Tape Tuesday download #1: Days Daze

As always, I fully support buying an album if you really enjoy the music. So make a note of who does what song and you can look into becoming a fan if you aren’t already. And to assist in the fan-making process, I’ll provide a track list in the next paragraph. Spiff-a-roony!

1. Tuesday Afternoon – The Moody Blues. Perfect for the first track, methought. Seeing as it is, in fact, Tuesday (here in the Western Hemisphere, anyway) and it was the afternoon when I started compiling this mix. Plus, The Moody Blues are just plain awesome. Their fusion of rock with classical music made for some great advancements in the prog rock arena (prog rock = progressive rock that originated in England in the late 1960s, with the intention of making rock more than just a pop sensation and turn it into an actual form of artistic mastery).

2. Love Today – Mika. Okay, so this is just a pop sensation. But it’s a darn good one. It’s very hard to not want to sing and dance along to this one.

3. Perfect Day – Duran Duran. A great version of Lou Reed’s song. Reed himself has said it’s one of the best covers of his songs that he’s ever heard. So, ya know, that’s some cool praise.

4. Melody Day – Caribou. The lush instrumentation makes me happy. That’s all I have to say.

5. Twelve Days of Christmas – Bob & Doug McKenzie. This is from the comedy album The Great White North, by the Canadian McKenzie brothers Bob (Rick Moranis) and Doug (Dave Thomas….the comedian, not the Wendy’s guy). They’re hilarious. The characters were created for an improvised sketch on SCTV (which is a fantastic comedy show in the vein of SNL and MadTV). You should check out the movie Strange Brew, because it is one of my favorites. And my favorites are always the best. And in case you’ve ever seen the Disney movie Brother Bear, these guys are the meese. I mean moose…

6. Dayspring from on High – Soul-Junk. I got this from a Sounds Familyre Christmas sampler. Sounds Familyre is the record label that Daniel Smith of Danielson Famile created. He’s friends with Sufjan Stevens, and he produced one of his albums. Anyway, I don’t know too much about Soul-Junk, but I liked this song.

7. Sharkey’s Day – Laurie Anderson. Oh, Laurie Anderson, what would performance art be without you? Some of you who know me might recognize her as the weird person who did that “O Superman” song and “From the Air” (“This is your captain…”). She’s such an interesting person, I would recommend looking her up for yourself because there’s too much to say. One last neat fact: she married Lou Reed this past April. So that’s two Lou Reed connections so far on this mix.

8. One Day Like This – Elbow. I should have discovered Elbow a lot sooner, but I’m a bit slow on some of the newer music because I’m still catching up on the older stuff. I’m only one person, jeez, gimme a break! Anyway, this song is one of my current favorites. It’s from their new album The Seldom Seen Kid.

9. Three Days Four Nights – Castanets. This guy (Raymond Raposa) is on the Asthmatic Kitty label, which was started by Sufjan Stevens. Apparently he dropped out of high school in favor of getting an education on life by traveling the country by Greyhound bus. Huh. I love the fact that this song was recorded in a cabin in the woods. And I love the fact that you can tell.

10. Bad Day – R.E.M. This song has kind of an interesting history. But you can just look it up on Wikipedia if you really want to know, because I’ve got homework to do and should move on. Haha. I’m already spending a lot more time on this than is excusable.

11. Good Day – Tally Hall. These are the funny guys who made that Banana Man video you might have seen in your college “hey, look at this neat thing I found on the internet!” days. Turns out they’re pretty creative musicians, too.

12. Perfect Day – Collective Soul (feat. Elton John). The second “Perfect Day” of the mix, but I couldn’t bring myself to put only one on here. This is from Collective Soul’s album Blender. Can’t beat a duet with Elton John. And the piano bits—magnifico.

13. These Days – Nico. Okay, this is the third Lou Reed connection I’m gonna make. In the 1960s Andy Warhol (yes, that Andy Warhol) became manager of The Velvet Underground and suggested Nico sing for some of their songs. Now who do you think was one of the founding members of The Velvet Underground? Why, Lou Reed, of course! You might recognize the banana cover art for the album The Velvet Underground & Nico, either from the pop art world in general or from my nifty tote bag. Anyway, this song is from Chelsea Girl.

14. Weekends & Bleakdays (Hot Summer) – The Young Knives. Another good one from The Young Knives! Aren’t you excited? I adore the music video, it has a cheesy 80s quality that I so enjoy. Plus it’s got some silly choreographed dancing that fans of OK Go will appreciate.

15. Just Another Day – Oingo Boingo. Good ol’ Danny Elfman. Who else would start a rock band with a prominent use of the vibraphone and a preoccupation with skeletons? And I always love his vocals.

16. Seize the Day (Chorale) – Newsies. Girly scream of joy! Yeah, so, this movie pretty much defined my childhood. I might write more about that in some other post, but for now just sit back and listen to a cool song from Disney’s under-appreciated (by critics and box office figures, not so much by the rabid fans) musical from 1992. And, if you feel that you absolutely must see the dancing that went along with it, well, then who am I to deny you that pleasure? Click here, and let your heart be happy. And, before you ask: yes, I do know the entire choreography to that scene….and all other scenes.

17. Lonely Day – Phantom Planet. Neat song. And, uh, I have a soft spot for it because the drummer is Jason Schwartzman. Yeah, the guy who played Rushmore in Wes Anderson’s movie of the same title. He was also in I Heart Huckabees and some other good stuff. Haven’t seen Darjeeling Ltd. yet, but I certainly hope to. If you want to hear some really neat music stuff Mr. Schwartzman’s up to these days, check out his current project, Coconut Records. Zooey Deschanel (yes, the actress) sings on some of the songs on his record. She’s got a fantastic voice. But I’ll talk about her some other Tuesday…

18. Someday – The Strokes. I always think of my friend Friend whenever I hear this song. My friend’s name isn’t really Friend, but we always called each other that. To the point where I usually forget his real name, actually. Antonio? Erin will have to help me there. Whatever happened to Friend, anyway? I miss singing The Strokes, Jim Morrison, The Cure (and occasionally “Trogdor”) with him.

19. Casimir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens. How amazing do you think it was to see Sufjan playing this seven feet away from me? Oh, pretty amazing. I miss the days of being able to get tickets to his shows the week before, instead of them being sold out months in advance. That’s the price of fame, I suppose. Well, the price for his fans.

20. A Day in the Life – The Beatles. For some reason I usually avoid putting any Beatles songs on compilations I make for people. I think it’s because I know them so thoroughly, and they’re so iconic and influential, that I assume everyone else knows and loves them as much as I do. I’ve come to realize that’s not the case, and decided it would be okay to throw this one in there. Because it’s a good song to end any album with.

I just realized that this playlist is actually 3 and a half minutes over the time limit of a burnable disc. Sorry about that. I sincerely tried to get rid of a song so it would fit….but I honestly can’t think of which one to cut. While not all readers will enjoy all of these songs, I feel each one of them should be represented just the same—to kind of give you a chance to like them even if you wouldn’t ordinarily listen to them, I suppose. Well, those of you with iPods (or even just computers….which should be all of you) can still listen to the mix in its full glory. Just know that you’ll probably have to put a song or two on a different CD if you plan on burning it.

Well, this lengthy post has finally come to its end. The self-deprecating part of me wants to say some lame joke about you all being thoroughly relieved, but I’m trying to stop putting myself down. So instead I’ll just pretend you all enjoy reading my long-winded madness and are very interested in the music I’ve offered. Oops, there I go again. Better luck next time…

Disparagingly,
Rachel