dijs 2008

Greg

Jim

Jim

“Unknown Legend”Neil Young

The final Desert Island Jukebox pick of the year goes to Mr. DeRogatis. Both Jim and Greg had the pleasure of seeing Neil Young on his recent tour. Jim explains that there has never been a Young misstep live although such is not the case with his recordings. In particular, he was not originally a fan of the 1992 album Harvest Moon. But now he's motivated to give the album and its track "Unknown Legend" a second look. This shift was partly inspired by the use of the song in the new Jonathan Demme film Rachel Getting Married. Lead actor (and TV on the Radio frontman) Tunde Adebimpe sings "Unknown Legend," as part of his character's wedding vows, and Jim came to realize that it's a classic tune in the vein of other Young greats.

Go to episode 161

Greg

“Sex Beat”The Gun Club

One of the things Greg admires most about Alejandro Escovedo is his ability to choose great covers to perform. He reminds his new audiences of great older songs they might not be familiar with. One such song is "Sex Beat" by The Gun Club. The track was released on the California post-punk outfit's 1981 debut Fire of Love. Greg describes front man Jeffrey Lee Pierce as a legendary figure of that era and genius guitar player. Put a quarter into the Desert Island Jukebox this week to hear his song "Sex Beat."

Go to episode 156

Jim

“The 15th”Wire

Sound Opinions listeners know that one of Jim's favorite bands of all time is Wire. The punk heroes just wrapped up their tour in support of their most recent album Object 47. Jim was there at the Metro in Chicago to witness the show, and marveled at how much the band fights against nostalgia, especially compared to other bands from the punk era. Wire is all about moving forward, but Jim still likes to look back now and again. He uses this week's turn at the Desert Island Jukebox to throw in the classic Wire track "The 15th."

Go to episode 152

Greg

“Ready Teddy”Little Richard

The Desert Island Jukebox pick this week marks another passing of a musical great. Legendary drummer Earl Palmer passed away this week at the age of 83. Like Buddy Harman, who was discussed on the show a few weeks ago, Palmer was an unsung hero. Greg credits him with establishing the sound he defines as rock and roll. You can hear this primitive, brutal style of early rock in the Little Richard track "Ready Teddy."

Go to episode 148

Jim

“Cinderella's Daydream”Zuzu's Petals

Jim is more excited about this next segment. He thinks there are a number of bands from the alternative era that don't get their due, including Zuzu's Petals. Lead singer Laurie Lindeen recently wrote a book about her life on the road called Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story. Jim recommends it, but mostly likes to remember the band through its music. That's why their track "Cinderella's Daydream" gets added to the Desert Island Jukebox this week.

Go to episode 146

Greg

“Little Sister”Elvis Presley

Buddy Harman, one of music's great drummers, died this week at the age of 79. Greg explains that Harman was to Nashville what Benny Benjamin was to Detroit or what Hal Blaine was to Los Angeles. He helped define that sound and played on over 18,000 albums. Drumming wasn't even a major part of country music prior to Harman's residency. Just consider what "Pretty Woman" would be without that drum beat. In honor of Harman's passing, Greg chooses to add Elvis Presley's "Little Sister" to the Desert Island Jukebox this week. In addition to proving that Presley still had the chops after his stint in the military, the song showcases Harman's terrific drumming.

Go to episode 144

Jim

“The Porpoise Song”The Monkees

While Jim doesn't dig the Jonas Brothers, he's certainly not anti-bubblegum pop. His favorite band in the genre is The Monkees, a group who was manufactured as an“American Beatles,”with their own TV show. Head, their self-made movie, presented a different image from the cute, harmless one their TV show portrayed. At the time they made the movie, the band members were experimenting with psychedelics and a little more musically inspired. The opener is "The Porpoise Song", a classic, albeit drug-inspired, bubblegum pop song, and it is Jim's latest Desert Island Jukebox pick.

Go to episode 143

Greg

“Eggman”The Beastie Boys

Greg's DIJ 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. "Eggman" by The Beastie Boys is a perfect example of this. The song was released on Paul's Boutique, the hip hop trio's follow-up to their successful, albeit frat boy-ish, debut License to Ill. The group linked up with production team The Dust Brothers to create a sonic collage of samples, beats, loops and raps. In“Eggman”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 134

Jim

“Yakety-Yak”The Coasters

It's rare that Jim and Greg look to their children for critical expertise, but Jim was recently impressed by his 11-year-old daughter. While practicing for her school's Broadway revue, she noted that The Coasters' version of "Yakety-Yak" is far superior to that in Smokey Joe's Café. And indeed, she is right. Jim chooses to add the 1958 song to the Desert Island Jukebox. He explains that songwriter Jerry Leiber of the team Leiber and Stoller thought of the song as“a white kid's view of a black person's conception of white society.”Pretty heady for a doo-wop song, and perfect for desert island contemplating.

Go to episode 131

Greg

“Sisters of Mercy”Leonard Cohen

This week Sound Opinions welcomed a new station: WHDD-FM, in Sharon, CT. Hotchkiss School in nearby Lakeville produced John Hammond, one of the most important music industry figures in the 20th century. So Greg decided to take his turn at the DIJ as an opportunity to honor the man who discovered Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, and even Bruce Springsteen. But it was his signing of Leonard Cohen at Columbia Records that Greg wants to highlight. It was brave of Hammond to bring the Canadian poet to the label. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, never achieved much commercial success, but it served as inspiration for Robert Altman's 1971 film McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Greg chooses to add that album's track "Sisters of Mercy" to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 129

Jim

“My White Bicycle”Tomorrow

Jim uses his turn with the Desert Island Jukebox to pay homage to a man who changed the face of rock and roll. Albert Hofman, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD, died last week at the age of 102. After LSD hit the music scene, bands that were once R&B and pop became experimental, psychedelic acts. One of the best examples of rock's psychedelic era is Tomorrow. Jim always interpreted their song "My White Bicycle," as a tribute to Hofman's famous bike“trip,”and he thinks that listening to the tune is the best way to remember the scientist.

Go to episode 128

Greg

“Final Solution”Pere Ubu

The Breeders' home state of Ohio inspired Greg's Desert Island Jukebox song choice this week. One of his favorite bands to emerge from the“fly-over territory”is Pere Ubu. Greg describes their unique sound as avant garageart rock combined with garage rock. But, the band created their own scene and didn't care what categories they did or did not belong to. In fact, even though they set a template for punk and post punk music, front man David Thomas denies the band has any relationship to punk. According to Greg, the best example of their sound is in the song "Final Solution," this week's DIJ addition. When the band was on Sound Opinions they also performed“Final Solution”live. You can listen to that performance and their entire interview here.

Go to episode 124

Jim

“America”Yes

For his Desert Island Jukebox pick, Jim wanted to play a song by an artist that epitomizes“high fidelity.”He looked to a member of his holy triumvirate of rock: Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes. This week it's Yes' turn. Jim describes their version of "America" as a“headphone classic.”While you won't be able to hear the original vinyl audio fidelity on the radio or podcast, Sound Opinions H.Q. hopes you enjoy this cover of a classic Simon and Garfunkel song.

Go to episode 123

Greg

“Where Is My Mind?”The Pixies

Greg's Desert Island Jukebox pick this week was inspired by the odd, but successful, pairing of Gnarls Barkley members Cee-Lo Green and DJ Danger Mouse. He believes that the tension between opposites can often make for great rock music, even if it doesn't lead to longevity. An example of this good tension can be heard in the music of The Pixies. Black Francis'“serial killer vocals”mixed with Kim Deal's beautiful harmonies created a sound that was both punk and pop. And one of Greg's fondest concert memories is of the band reuniting in 2004 to perform "Where Is My Mind?" That's why he decided to take the original version with him to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 122

Jim

“Burning For You”Blue Öyster Cult

While Jim was home sick last week he gave some thought to great songs about fevers. He came up with "Burning For You," by Blue Öyster Cult and decided to add it to the Desert Island Jukebox this week. Jim describes Blue Öyster Cult as the thinking man's heavy metal band of the '70s. In fact, the lyrics to this song were written by rock critic Richard Meltzer. There are a number of interpretations, but for Jim it was the perfect antidote to his ills.

Go to episode 118

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 hits critically and commercially. 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 117

Greg

“Intro-Inspection”Osymyso

Night Ripper is one of Greg's favorite albums of recent years, but it wasn't his first exposure to sample-based music. There has been a long tradition of collage music, and one of the artists taking it to the“nth degree”is Osymyso. The UK DJ created a mind-blowing, 12-minute composition called "Intro-Inspection," which is completely full of unauthorized samples. The song isn't available for sale anywhere, but you can check it out on the web and on the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 115

Jim

“Life During Wartime”The Talking Heads

Jim gets to add a track to the Desert Island Jukebox this week, and he decided to pick a song from an art school band that got it right. The Talking Heads were the originators of this style, and their song "Life During Wartime," is one of the first times they incorporated African rhythms and instruments into their New Wave sound. There are layers of percussion and a funky bass line, but the lyrics also deserve to be highlighted. Many listeners probably know the song as a catchy pop track, but it's also got a heavy message about race riots and a society in trouble.

Go to episode 114

Greg

“De-Luxe”Lush

Greg gets the first Desert Island Jukebox pick of 2008. Inspired by the collaboration between Markéta and Glen, he started thinking about other songwriting teams in rock history. Most bands have one central songwriter, or perhaps a team, but very few have more than one person contributing their own songs. One of these exceptions is the band Lush. The U.K. band came out of the shoegazer scene of the late '80s/early '90s, but didn't get as much attention as their peers. Songwriters Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson created a sound that Greg describes as falling somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and The Cocteau Twins. The fragile female vocals paired with a cyclonic gust of guitars can be best heard in the track, "De-Luxe," from the band's 1990 album Gala.

Go to episode 111