dijs 2006

Greg

Jim

Greg

“Sheela-Na-Gig”PJ Harvey

With a great guest like Andy Summers on the show, Greg explains that he feels like the legendary BBC radio host John Peel. Mr. Peel had every band under the sun perform on his show up until his death in 2004. One the artists Mr. Peel embraced throughout her entire career was Polly Jean Harvey — John first had her on his show back in 1991, when she was only 20 years old and fresh from a sheep farm. Greg chooses, "Sheela-Na-Gig," a song from that original session, which has been compiled into a new album, PJ Harvey: The Peel Sessions, 1991 - 2004. The title,“Sheela-Na-Gig,”is a reference to the Irish fertility goddess. The sheela na gig figure is commonly found in stone carvings, though its meaning is debated. Some argue it was meant as religious instruction to warn women away from the sins of the flesh, while others think it was meant to protect people from evil. In her song, PJ Harvey reworks the symbol's misogynist meaning via a war of the sexes dialogue, turning the symbol's negative connotation on its head.

Go to episode 53

Jim

“The Minotaur's Song”The Incredible String Band

It is Jim's turn to drop a song into the Desert Island Jukebox, and he wants listeners to hear some "freak folk" that is truly freaky. He chooses to add "The Minotaur's Song," by The Incredible String Band. This '60s folk act played at Woodstock, but, as Jim explains, was too freaky to be included in the movie. Like Bert Jansch, band members Mike Heron and Robin Williamson fused Scottish and Celtic folk music with Eastern European drones and the newer folk of artists like Bob Dylan. The Incredible String Band also had an incredible lifestyle, which also affected their sound. Jim thinks that freak and folk never meshed so well, and that's why he's bringing it with him to the Desert Island.

Go to episode 51

Greg

“Where to Now St. Peter?”Elton John

Greg is choosing not to hold Sir Elton's recent bad behavior against him. He wants to think back to a kindler, gentler time when John wasn't just a diva, but also a good songwriter. One example of his prowess is "Where to Now St. Peter?," off of the Tumbleweed Connection album, and Greg adds it to the Desert Island Jukebox this week. He thinks Tumbleweed Connection is Elton John and writing partner Bernie Taupin's strongest beginning-to-end concept album, as opposed to the commonly named Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. Greg explains that both men were at the top of their games: Taupin at conjuring up the“Wild West”in his lyrics and John at composing great songs, as opposed to great outfits.

Go to episode 50

Jim

“One for the Vine”Genesis

A couple of classic rock reunions made the news recently. First was Black Sabbath sans Ozzy Osbourne. The second was Genesis sans Peter Gabriel. Jim is a self-professed "prog rock nerd" and wanted to use his turn at the Desert Island Jukebox as an opportunity to defend Genesis, even in the days after Gabriel (and according to some, the band's credibility) left. He goes with "One for the Vine," which our host explains may have been written by Tony Banks as a companion to "Salsbury Hill," which was written by Gabriel, his friend and former bandmate. Jim believes the song is about a messianic leader who brings his people into a war fought in his name, and then gets pulled up into heaven… or something like that. Regardless of the content, Jim thinks it's a beautiful song. Greg scoffs, but you be the judge.

Go to episode 49

Greg

“I Can See For Miles”The Who

While the remaining members of The Who appear to be looking forward, Greg decided to look backward for this week's Desert Island Jukebox pick. He went with what he believes to be the ultimate Who track: "I Can See For Miles." This track, which was the only Who song to crack the U.S. top-ten chart, perfectly encapsulates what the band was about. Although all four members — Roger Daltry, Pete Townshend, John Entwhistle and Keith Moon — were integral to the group, it was Townshend's arranging that really allowed each to shine. Keith Moon's drumset was really the lead instrument, and despite being the chief songwriter and guitar player, Townshend knew enough to showcase that rhythm. This relationship is highlighted in“I Can See For Miles,”and therefore Greg wants to take it with him to that eternal desert island.

Go to episode 44

Jim & Greg

Go to episode 42

Jim

“It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”R.E.M.

In true rock and roll style, Jim makes a cheeky Desert Island Jukebox pick this week. As discussed above, this week marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Many people would have gone with a solemn, or even political track — but, as listeners know, Jim is not many people, and he can't resist choosing R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." Jim likens the Dadaist song to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," a similar surreal expression of social discontent. The song comes from R.E.M.'s pre-major label era, which Jim believes is their best time period. He also offers bit of insight into one of the song's most famous lines: "Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!" Jim wrote the biography of rock critic Lester Bangs, and learned that this line was written after Michael Stipe and Peter Buck attended Bangs' birthday party. Hungry and poor, the young band members were hoping to get a meal out of the event, but were only offered birthday cake and jelly beans. Then an over-served Bangs insulted his fan Stipe and started a food fight. Make sense now?

Go to episode 40

Greg

“Strange Fruit”Billie Holiday

Both of the albums reviewed this week claim to draw inspiration from the music of the '30s and '40s, though Greg isn't quite sure what music Outkast and Christina Aguilera are hearing. He decides to step away from their rather cartoony depictions of the era and put some of the real thing into the Desert Island Jukebox this week. "Strange Fruit," by Billie Holiday has exactly the authentic sound these contemporary artists should be striving for. The song began as a poem that Jewish schoolteacher Abel Meeropol wrote after witnessing a photograph of a man being lynched in the South. (Meerepol is also known for having adopted the orphaned children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg). The writer brought the song to Holiday at one of New York's only integrated night clubs, but Holiday's label refused to record the song. Still, the singer insisted on performing it and brought it to a specialty label instead. While the song became an anthem for the anti-lynching movement and is thought of as one of the great protest songs of the century, Greg wants listeners to pay attention to the performance. Holiday certainly had the chops to trill as well as any pop diva, yet she restrains herself, opting instead for a more understated tone — which makes the lyrics all the more more chilling. Not only can Holiday sing, but she knows how to sing. For this reason, Greg is going to take "Strange Fruit" to the Desert Island.

Go to episode 38

Jim & Greg

“The Red Telephone”Love

Last week, Arthur Lee, the singer and guitarist for the psychedelic rock band Love, died of leukemia at the age of 61. Jim and Greg explain how Lee was one of the most important figures of the psychedelic era. He influenced bands like The Doors, The Byrds, and even the other great African-American psychedelic rocker of the day: Jimi Hendrix. His masterpiece, Forever Changes, also influenced contemporary "orchestral pop" artists like The Arcade Fire and The Polyphonic Spree. Lee was a pioneer, but a largely unheralded one. This may have been the musician's own doing, since he was a rather dark, eccentric figure. But, while Lee certainly had many troubled years, Jim and Greg believe his music deserves to be celebrated. To pay tribune to Arthur Lee, our hosts highlight a song off of Forever Changes. They both add "The Red Telephone" to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 37

Greg

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night”Nirvana

Greg wraps up the show by picking a classic MTV moment for the Desert Island Jukebox. He highlights "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," which Nirvana performed live as part of MTV's Unplugged series. If Greg had to choose a single performance by the band, it would be this one. The late Kurt Cobain pours his heart and soul into it, and the band's backing is incredibly empathetic. Of course, Cobain did not pen this tune. It was originally recorded as "In the Pines" in the late 1930s, and Jim and Greg discussed its evolution as part of a conversation with cyberlaw and free culture guru Lawrence Lessig.

Go to episode 36

Jim

“Frenchette”The New York Dolls

In order to remove the bad taste left by the New York Dolls' recent showing, Jim decides to return to a happier time with this week's Desert Island Jukebox pick. Even after the Dolls broke up, lead singer David Johansen never failed to deliver — especially live, as Jim found out after attending a 1982 show (illegally). The then-underage critic was mesmerized by Johansen's energetic performance of songs like this week's DIJ track, "Frenchette." While most of the Dolls' songs were short, classic punk tunes,“Frenchette”clocks in at over five minutes and is more in tune with the stadium anthems of the era. The song is a witty play on the notion of something being not quite what it should: not love, but lovette; not leather, but leatherette; not French, but Frenchette. The song was written by Johansen and fellow Doll Sylvain Sylvain. This proves that the two men were capable of doing great work post-Dolls, prompting Jim to wonder why they can't create the same magic today. Both Jim and Greg put out an open invitation for the Dolls to come get some medicine from the rock doctors.

Go to episode 35

Greg

“She's Lost Control”Grace Jones

As a nod to Peaches‘ irreverent, gender-bending ways, Greg digs deep down in his music collection for this week’s Desert Island Jukebox pick. He chooses a track by '70s and '80s model/pop star/diva Grace Jones. Before Peaches, or even Madonna, shocked and awed people with their controversial lyrics and style, Grace Jones was crossing lines between genders and musical genres. She was beautiful, but also masculine. Her music was rock, but also disco. So, like David Bowie, Jones had audiences questioning the idea of identity. But it wasn't until she collaborated with Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and his Compass Point house band that she made music that could be taken seriously. Greg chooses to play her cover of Joy Division's song "She's Lost Control." In her version, Jones assumes the role of the woman on the verge of a losing her mind. And after listening to the song, you may find that this role wasn't such a stretch.

Go to episode 34

Jim

“Someday”The Strokes

Just as Rhymefest was inspired by The Strokes' song "Someday," which he sampled in his track "Devil's Pie," Jim, too, was inspired to choose it as his Desert Island Jukebox song. While the Strokes don't have a typical hip-hop sound, Jim explains that their rhythms, which echo a New York subway train, have a very hip-hop beat and momentum. The man largely responsible for that sound is drummer Fabrizio Moretti, who Jim admires for being a masterful, simplistic drummer, if not for a few other reasons.

Go to episode 33

Greg

“Dig Me Out”Sleater-Kinney

All girl indie rock group Sleater-Kinney recently announced that following their performance at Lollapalooza this year, they'd be taking an indefinite hiatus. Essentially, this means that the Portland group is breaking up, but reserving the right to reunite should they be inspired (or in debt). Sleater-Kinney is one of Greg's favorite groups. He loves all seven of the group's albums, but thinks they really hit their stride on their third effort, Dig Me Out. This is because singer/guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein were joined by powerful drummer Janet Weiss. Also, there's an inherent tension in the music, which Greg imagines was caused by the demise of Tucker and Brownstein's romantic relationship. So, to say goodbye, Greg is choosing the title track, "Dig Me Out," as his Desert Island Jukebox pick this week.

Go to episode 32

Jim

“Raving and Drooling”Pink Floyd

Jim's Desert Island Jukebox pick this week is inspired by his conversation with Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. The band uses live performances as opportunities to explore and expand tracks they work on in the studio. This reminds Jim of the touring tactics of another great British band: Pink Floyd. They too would road-test songs for months at a time before taking them to the studio. And the result is similar: Both Radiohead and Pink Floyd are simultaneously experimental, avant-garde and also successful in the mainstream, a rare combination in the music industry. So Jim decides to add a track that Pink Floyd experimented with live, then later recorded in a different format. The song fans know as "Sheep" from the 1977 album Animals, was originally performed live as "Raving and Drooling." Listen to the studio version, then compare it to this rare DIJ pick.

Go to episode 30

Greg

“Tropicalia”Beck

Drawing inspiration from the discussion with Ernesto Lechner, Greg chooses Beck's "Tropicalia" as his Desert Island Jukebox pick. The notion that people were ever jailed or sent into exile for playing Tropicalia music in Brazil got this host all fired up — especially because this music, pioneered by artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, has remained such a formative influence on contemporary artists. Beck displays his love for the tropicalistas in this song from his 1998 album Mutations (a nod to fellow Brazilians Os Mutantes). Beck combines the Bossa Nova chords and gentle singing of Tropicalia music with art rock guitar and synthesizer. The result is a perfect example of Beck's pop collage style and a perfect homage to his Brazilian heroes.

Go to episode 27

Jim

“True Love in a Day”Lori Wray

The Jayhawks were brought up briefly during the Dixie Chicks review, and Jim's Desert Island Jukebox pick also features the Twin Cities rock band. Before they were The Jayhawks, Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Mark Olson backed up a fellow Minnesota singer named Lori Wray. While Wray has not achieved a lot of success outside of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Jim thinks that her voice surpasses that of Natalie Maines. He explains that she adds a Lulu-like '60s pop sensibility to her singing, making her voice perfect for heartbreak tunes like his DIJ pick, "True Love in a Day."

Go to episode 26

Greg

“Work It”Missy Elliott

It is Greg's turn to pop a quarter into the Desert Island Jukebox, but this week he had a hard time choosing just one song. According to our host, hip-hop star Missy Elliott is the top singles artist of the last 10 years. Along with producers like Timbaland, she makes truly avant-garde music, but does so in a really fun, accessible way. Therefore, it's no wonder that her songs are critical and commercial hits. For this week's show, Greg went with the song "Work It." The song demonstrates Missy's novel approach to sounds and words. It isn‘t really about anything new, but the lyrics, beats and sounds (note the elephant’s wail) couldn't sound fresher. In fact, only Missy Elliott could get away with having the hook to a Top 40 hit be sung backwards. So, you may not be able to sing along to this week's DIJ, but you'll certainly want to.

Go to episode 25

Jim

“She Cracked”Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers

The opportunity to play Desert Island DJ goes to Jim this week. Inspired by his discussion with Eddie Argos from Art Brut, Jim chooses a song by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers to add to the Desert Island Jukebox. The Modern Lovers, who were hugely influenced by the Velvet Underground, would all go on to be a part of great projects: David Robinson started drumming for The Cars, Jerry Harrison played keyboards with Talking Heads, and Ernie Brooks went on to play with a number of bands, including Rhys Chatham's guitar army (discussed a few weeks ago). Richman took some bizarre turns, promising to only play music fit for a baby's ear, but the band's 1976 self-titled debut remains a masterpiece, according to Jim. He understands why Argos was so inspired by Richman's songwriting. Both men salute the“everyman dweeb”who struggles with getting girls and respect. While "Roadrunner" is perhaps the band's best known song, Jim decides to go with "She Cracked" as this week's DIJ pick.

Go to episode 24

Greg

“Can't Turn You Loose”Otis Redding

Greg's Desert Island Jukebox choice this week was inspired by the passing of Phil Walden. Walden was a major figure in the southern rock scene, and co-founded Capricorn Records, home to The Allman Brothers and Charlie Daniels Band. Greg, however, remembers Walden as the man instrumental in propelling the career of soul singer Otis Redding. He was Redding's manager up until the singer's tragic plane crash in 1967, and helped expand his career into the mainstream. One savvy decision was to put Otis Redding and all of the key Stax Records players on the road in Europe in the summer of 1967. The competition between Redding and Stax acts like Sam & Dave fueled the performer's fire. The result was a high-energy, high-impact performance like the one he gave of "Can't Turn You Loose" — this week's DIJ pick.

Go to episode 23

Jim

“Alive”Dumptruck

It's Mr. DeRogatis' turn to visit the Desert Island Jukebox, and he ties the show up nicely with a selection from the band Dumptruck. Steve Wynn played with one of Dumptruck's founders, Kirk Swan, during the segment. Swan and his partner, Seth Tiven, put out their debut album D is for Dumptruck in 1994. It was heavily influenced by what Paisley Underground bands like The Dream Syndicate had been doing on the West coast. Dumptruck incorporated more folk rock and power pop into their music than contemporaries, and were also influenced by Big Star, Fairport Convention (who also count Greg Kot and Sound Opinions guest Colin Meloy as fans), and the band Television. Like Dumptruck, Television was comprised of two guitarist-vocalists: Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. Jim explains that outside of Television, he has never seen two guitarists work as well together as they did in Dumptruck, as you can hear in Jim's DIJ pick, "Alive." Listeners desiring more Dumptruck should check out Haul of Fame: A Collection, for which our host provided liner notes.

Go to episode 21

Greg

“Fever”Peggy Lee

This week Mr. Kot makes a Desert Island Jukebox pick. He chooses "Fever" by Peggy Lee. "Fever" is a rare example of a white singer covering a song by a black artist and actually bringing something positive to it. "Fever" was originally recorded by Little Willie John. Greg points out that Peggy Lee is the last person you'd imagine covering a testosterone-fueled R&B song like "Fever," but she certainly was up to the task.

Go to episode 19

Jim

“Trees”Rush

Jim picks a song to add to the Desert Island Jukebox this week. All that talk about Canada got him thinking about one of his favorite bands—Rush. This band might not always get a lot of respect, but Jim believes they gave virtuoso prog rock performances. He chooses not to go with one of Rush's epic songs, which could take up half a show, and instead picks a track called "Trees." This song, released on the band's 1978 album Hemispheres, tells the story of a battle of the wills between maple trees and oak trees. If that doesn‘t convince you of the band’s greatness, listen for drummer Neal Peart's woodblock solo!

Go to episode 13

Greg

“Egg Man”The Beastie Boys,The Beastie Boys

Greg's Desert Island Jukebox selection this week was inspired by his discussion with Professor Lawrence Lessig. Thinking about fair use, free culture and digital copyright law got this rock critic downright nostalgic for the days when great art was made using other people's art. "Egg Man" by The Beastie Boys is a perfect example of this. The song was released on Paul's Boutique, the follow-up to the hip hop trio's successful (albeit frat boy-ish) debut Licensed to Ill. The group linked up with production team The Dust Brothers to create a sonic collage of samples, beats, loops and raps. In "Egg Man" alone, astute listeners can hear parts of the songs "Superfly" and "Bring the Noise", bits of dialogue from Taxi Driver and E.T., as well as the film scores to Jaws and Psycho. Sadly, shortly following the release of Paul's Boutique, a series of lawsuits made sampling on this level too risky and too cost-prohibitive. Listening to "Eggman" is enough to send a music fan into mourning. Thankfully the Desert Island Jukebox will keep it safe for posterity.

Go to episode 12

Jim

“David Watts”The Kinks

This week Jim gets to choose a Desert Island Jukebox track. He brings the show full circle by choosing a song by another witty British pop group: €”The Kinks. "€œDavid Watts"€ is a song where Ray Davies sneers at Watts, a member of the English upper-crust. Davies takes the gentleman to task for being too gentle. One shouldn'€™t be too quick to label the songwriter a homophobe, however. His 1970 hit song "€œLola"€ was a loving portrait of a transvestite. Whatever the lyrics are about, "€œDavid Watts"€ is a great sing-along, and we encourage all Sound Opinions listeners to do just that.

Go to episode 10

Greg

“I'll Keep it With Mine”Sandy Denny

Greg gets to pop a quarter into the Desert Island Jukebox this week, and his choice is Sandy Denny's cover of "I'll Keep it With Mine" by fellow folk rocker Bob Dylan. Greg explains that Denny is best known for her appearance on the Lord of the Rings-inspired Led Zeppelin track "The Battle of Evermore." That's a shame, according to Greg. In addition to her work British folk-pop outfit Fairport Convention, Denny composed and performed many great solo songs, including this week's DIJ.

Go to episode 9

Jim

“Acknowledge”Screeching Weasel

This week, it's by Chicago punk band Screeching Weasel. For Jim, Screeching Weasel is key to understanding the current pop/punk explosion of bands like Blink 182, Sum 41 and fellow Chicagoans Fall Out Boy. In addition, this band has one of the best-documented histories in rock. A few years ago Ben œWeasel Foster put out a highly autobiographical novel that alludes to his time in the band. Recently, his Weasel partner John Jughead Pierson released his fictional response, Weasels in a Box. Despite their great influence on rock, many people have not heard of the band. One of the reasons for this, Jim notes, is that Foster suffered from agoraphobia, preventing the band from touring much. They were highly prolific, however, and recorded almost an album a year for 13 years. "Acknowledge" was released on Screeching Weasel'™s last album before disbanding. In the song, both Weasels sing about agoraphobia and substance abuse, but without losing their punk rock sense of humor or catchy, Ramones-style three-chord structure. It'™s this combination, says Jim, that makes Screeching Weasel one of the best bands Chicago has ever produced.

Go to episode 8

Greg

“Moody”ESG

This week it is Greg's turn to choose a song for the Desert Island Jukebox. He goes back to the late '70s and early '80s, the era when rock and dance music merged. This period has been referenced a lot during discussions of contemporary bands like Franz Ferdinand and LCD Soundsystem. For his pick, Greg goes to one of the sources—ESG. This South Bronx group made up of four sisters worked with Martin Hannett, best known as the producer of Joy Division. While not skilled musicians, the Scroggins Sisters had a unique sound that greatly influenced house and post-punk bands. Their track "UFO" is actually one of the most heavily sampled songs in music history. But for his DIJ, Greg chooses to play "Moody," which is both atmospheric and danceable. Listen for the conga solo by the sisters' friend Tito.

Go to episode 7

Jim

“2000 Man”Rolling Stones

Jim puts the quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox this week. His pick is the Rolling Stones' track "2000 Man" off their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request. Jim chose this song after watching Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket, which features it during the climax of the movie. Yet many people overlook this album, which was made during a hectic time for the Stones. The band was being criticized for trying to imitate their chief competitor. In addition, both Brian Jones and Keith Richards were busted for drug possession during the making of the album, which Ian Stewart refers to as“That damn Satanic Majesties.”The Stones fallibility here is what Jim likes though. For him, the album holds up better than later, better-received records, and“2000 Man”is something he'd love to see live.

Go to episode 6