The Chemical Brothers - "The Test" (featuring Richard Ashcroft)



From Wikipedia:
The 2002 music video for "The Test" features actress Holly Weston and is directed by Nick Goffey and Dominic Hawley. In the video Weston plays a girl who experiences an array of unusual situations. This includes swimming into a whale, meeting a female cyclops and watching her own body dissipate inbetween shots of being inside a dance club. It is implied that the video is a composite of hallucinations of someone in a club after taking LSD.

"Come with Us"/"The Test" is a double A-side single from The Chemical Brothers' 2002 album Come with Us. The vocals in "The Test" are performed by Richard Ashcroft (The Verve).

The spoken-word intro from "Come With Us" is sampled from "The Evidence" by Evidence. "The Test" contains a sample from "Pielgrzym" by Polish singer Czesław Niemen, first released in 1972.

Toad the Wet Sprocket - "All I Want"



Great band. Terrible band name.

Has it really been 20 years since Toad the Wet Sprocket released "Fear?" The album was a slow burner, back in the day when a record could take months or years to find its audience and it wasn't reason for a label to drop them. It took "Fear" more than a year to reach gold and more than three years to reach platinum, thanks in large part to the videos for "Walk on the Ocean" and "All I Want."

"All I Want" may not be your favorite Toad song, but it's probably the one that most people know. A little bit of pop perfection clocking in at three minutes and 16 seconds. If you ask me, it still sounds great 20 years later.

The Arcade Fire - "The Suburbs"



For once, the Grammys got it right -- "The Suburbs" by The Arcade Fire is indeed the Album of the Year.
Kids wanna be so hard
But in my dreams we're still screamin' and runnin' through the yard
And all of the walls that they built in the seventies finally fall
And all of the houses they built in the seventies finally fall
Meant nothin' at all
Meant nothin' at all
It meant nothin

Jeff Buckley - "Lover, You Should've Come Over"



I still get goose bumps when I hear Jeff Buckley's voice, especially this song off of his amazing debut, "Grace."

I was lucky enough to see Jeff twice -- at the Reading Festival on August 28, 1994 and at Liberty Lunch in Austin on April 29, 1995.

At Reading, I was in the Melody Maker Tent to see Morphine and American Music Club and didn't know who Jeff was. Before he went on, after Morphine and before AMC, I heard people buzzing about him, so I decided to stick around. He came out and sang his first two songs acapella. I don't remember the songs, but I remember what it felt like hearing his voice for the first time. Magical. I remember being close to the stage, no more than five feet from Jeff. The tent was silent except for his voice. His band stood silently, waiting. It's those kind of fleeting, quasi-religious moments that keep me going back to music festivals and live concerts.

It's eerie how preoccupied with death Jeff seems on "Grace," particularly in this song.
Looking out the door I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners
Parading in a wake of sad relations as their shoes fill up with water...

Sometimes a man gets carried away, when he feels like he should be having his fun...

My body turns and yearns for a sleep that will never come...

Lover, you should've come over, 'cause it's not too late
Jeff's drowning while swimming in the Mississippi River in Memphis on May 29, 1997 was a bizarre, cruel tragedy, not only to his friends and family, but to the growing legion of fans like me who had recently discovered his music.

We barely knew you, Jeff. I hope you and your father, Tim, are reunited in heaven and playing beautiful music together.

The Who - "Won't Get Fooled Again"



I was just reading a story about Bradley Manning, the US Army soldier who released classified documents to WikiLeaks and is now being being held "in extreme isolation in a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia."

Whenever I learn about something done by the Obama administration that reminds me of something done by the Bush administration -- whether it's sending more troops to Afghanistan, breaking the promise to close Guantanamo, or backing "reform" legislation which benefits the industries that are responsible for making the legislation necessary in the first place (health care, banking) -- I'm reminded of Pete Townsend's lyrics in "Won't Get Fooled Again," the epic closing track off of The Who's 1971 masterpiece, "Who's Next." (Incidentally, "Who's Next" is #28 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.)

Forty years later, this song is as timely and meaningful as it ever was.
The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Citizen Cope - "Healing Hands"



Citizen Cope, aka Clarence Greenwood, is one of those rare artists who can uplift listeners with his music and his message.
Cause the actions of a few
Have put a world in harms way
And history has proven
That they killed our leaders dead
Here is Citizen Cope at the 2009 Austin City Limits Festival, performing "Healing Hands," off of his fourth studio album, "The Rainwater LP."

소녀시대 - "Gee"



My Korean is pretty rusty, so it took me a few minutes to translate/decipher the name of the group and title of this song.

The name of this nine-member South Korean girl (K-pop) group is 소녀시대 (So Nyeo Shi Dae), or Girls' Generation, also referred to as SoShi (소시), or SNSD.

This is the video for their 2009 hit single "Gee," which "holds the record for being the longest running #1 song on KBS's Music Bank, having held the #1 chart ranking for 9 consecutive weeks."

Granted, the music is vapid and entirely derivative, so mute the volume and just watch. What strikes me -- besides the fact that this video has been viewed over 37 MILLION TIMES since being uploaded to YouTube on June 8, 2009 -- is the choreography and cinematography. Who knows what it all means, but it's fun to watch. It's also nice to see that the storyline of "Mannequin" is fruitful fodder for young, Asian video directors.

UNKLE - "Lonely Soul" (featuring Richard Ashcroft)

Richard Ashcroft sang vocals on "Lonely Soul," a track on "Psyence Fiction," the 1998 debut album by UNKLE (James Lavelle, Tim Goldsworthy and DJ Shadow).

One song. Two video interpretations.

First, an amateur video made by "four 18 year old students with a budget of zero. all in all i dont think we did badly." All in all, I would agree.



Second, a video made with scenes from the 1984 Jim Jarmusch film, "Stranger Than Paradise."



Which do you prefer?

Morcheeba - "The Sea"



I've been a big fan of Morcheeba since I first heard Skye Edwards' voice on "Trigger Hippie." I bought their first album, "Who Can You Trust?", in the fall of 1996 and had it on repeat for weeks.

By the time Morcheeba released "Big Calm," I was prepared for disappointment. The "sophomore slump" is a music industry cliche, but one that's typically true. Not so for Morcheeba. Not only was "Big Calm" more accessible than "Who Can You Trust," it was also more sophisticated musically and lyrically.

Surprisingly, of the five singles released off of "Big Calm," only "The Sea" failed to chart -- "Part of the Process" reached #38, "Let Me See" hit #46, "Shoulder Holster" hit #53 and "Blindfold" topped out at #58.

As far as I can tell, there is no "official" video of "The Sea," the lead track and to my mind the best song on "Big Calm." If you like this song as much as I do, you'll enjoy this in-studio performance by Morcheeba on KCRW. You'll enjoy this acoustic version of "The Sea," too.

Ren & Stimpy - "The Log Song"

"It's better than bad, it's good."