dijs 2013

Greg

Jim

Jim

“Whatta Man”Salt-N-Pepa,En Vogue,Linda Lyndell

Recently Jim's better half was watching VH1 promos of the new TLC biopic. It got him thinking about better R&B and hip hop groups from the '90s like Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue. The two came together in 1993 for "Whatta Man." To Jim, this is a girl group sound at its best—with En Vogue's“perfect”choruses and Salt-N-Pepa's witty verses over a sample of Linda Lyndell's original 1968 hit Jim wants this funky tribute to“a God-sent original, the man of my dreams”on his Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 416

Greg

“Dry the Rain”The Beta Band,The Beta Band

Greg has had the British "folktronica" group The Beta Band on his mind ever since Sound Opinions screened the film High Fidelity at The Music Box Theatre in Chicago. In the film, the song "Dry the Rain" from The Three EPs, gets a big laugh. Greg's also a fan of that song, but he thinks the rest of the band's output has been unfairly ignored. The last track off the same album, "Needles in My Eyes," is another glorious anthem, and it's Greg's Desert Island Jukebox pick of the week.

Go to episode 415

Jim

“Candy Says”Velvet Underground

It's safe to say that few artists did more to establish rock and roll than Lou Reed. In fact, both Jim and Greg said as much in their obituaries of the music legend, who died last week at age 71. He deserves more than just a track in the Desert Island Jukebox, but for this episode, one will have to do. It's "Candy Says," a song by the Velvet Underground writen by Reed that, Jim explains, highlights the songwriter's contributions to Slowcore and his amazing sense of compassion.

Go to episode 414

Greg

“Black Sails”Harry Nilsson

Talking about Paul McCartney got Greg thinking about one of The Beatles' longtime friends and contemporaries: Harry Nilsson. Nilsson was especially fond of John Lennon, and the two collaborated on a 1974 album called Pussy Cats. The results, though, were a bit… out there, perhaps because of all the drugs, drink and heartbreak. But that dark mood piqued Greg's interest, and he chooses the song "Black Sails" for a rainy day on the desert island.

Go to episode 413

Jim

“Part of the Process”Morcheeba

Not taking any cues from either Greg or the news this week, Jim instead opts to pick an album at random out of his personal collection. With eyes closed, his finger landed on trip-hop group Morcheeba's 1998 album The Big Calm and the song "Part of the Process." The group's early albums were their best, combining elements of spaghetti western and film noir soundtracks with playful musical surprises like this track's country fiddle. The band broke up in 2003, but is now reunited with a promising return-to-form later this month.

Go to episode 410

Greg

“Pouring It All Out”Graham Parker

Jim and Greg continue to inspire one another. Last week Jim chose a track by Australian punk band The Saints (inspired by Greg's Australian pick the week before). Now this week Greg wanted to continue highlighting an artist who, like The Saints, kept soul music alive. British“Pub Rocker”Graham Parker emerged out of a very white, male scene in the 1970's. But he also incorporated the Stax and Motown sounds he grew up loving. Greg adds Pouring It All Out to the Desert Island Jukebox. And you know who else loves Graham Parker? Judd Apatow and Adam Carolla, to name a few. Pub Rock fans should also check out our interview with Nick Lowe.

Go to episode 408

Jim

“Know Your Product”The Saints

Last week Greg gave some love to our friends down under and chose a track by the Australian group The Go-Betweens. But, Jim was hoping he‘d go right to the band that intro’s this segment: The Saints. So this week he drops a coin in the Desert Island Jukebox and chooses the ultimate anti-advertising song: "Know Your Product" from 1978. And after this, Sound Opinions H.Q. is expecting a free trip to Brisbane.

Go to episode 407

Greg

“Here Comes a City”The Go-Betweens

The Australian band The Saints has been ushering in our Desert Island Jukebox segment for years. And this week, Greg wants to stay in that continent and add a song by The Go-Betweens. The band's series of albums in the '80s were wonderful, but never made a big commercial impact. They reformed in 2000 and had one of those rare successful second acts. And it's from that era that Greg culls his DIJ pick: "Here Comes a City" from 2005.

Go to episode 406

Jim

“Ode to Billie Joe”Bobby Gentry

Jim's list of favorite country tunes runs short, but he's got a soft spot for Bobby Gentry's country-pop crossover hit "Ode to Billie Joe". A story-song about what happened one fateful evening on the Choctaw Ridge and the Tallahassee Bridge, "Ode to Billie Joe" revolves around one central question: what did Billie Joe toss into the river before he killed himself? Stranded on the Desert Island, Jim has plenty of time to ponder that mystery.

Go to episode 405

Greg

“Ring of Fire”Johnny Cash

For his Desert Island Jukebox selection, Greg celebrates the musical legacy of Cowboy Jack Clement, the country music producer, songwriter, and artist who died recenly at age 82. Jack made his name at Memphis's Sun Studios during the 1950's, recording greats like Jerry Lee Lewis. But it was at Columbia that he helped craft Johnny Cash's inimitable "Ring of Fire." The night before the“Ring of Fire”recording session, Cash had a dream about Mariachi trumpets. And he knew just who to turn to make that dream a reality. Greg credits Clement's horn riff on“Ring of Fire”with the track's enduring energy and distinctiveness.

Go to episode 403

Jim

“Garbage”The Deviants

Jim celebrates pioneering rock critic Mick Farren with his DIJ pick this week. Farren passed away recently at age 69 in true rock ‘n’ roll fashion: onstage performing with his proto-punk band The Deviants. A star correspondent for Britain's NME, Farren wasn't content just writing about music; he also made it himself. The Deviants merged Fugs-style primitivism with the psychedelic weirdness of contemporaries like Hawkwind. Jim plays "Garbage." from the band's 1969 debut, Ptooff!, an album that would go on to inspire later generations of UK punks.

Go to episode 402

Greg

“House of the Rising Sun”The Animals

Greg paraglides into the desert island this week with a nod to his past. Just as Jim recalled a“summer song”last week, Greg remembers listening to AM radio in his parents' kitchen. The station was playing the 500 greatest songs of all time, and "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals hit him like a bolt. Many have recorded their own versions, but no one did it like The Animals and vocalist Eric Burdon.

Go to episode 399

Jim

“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”Paul and Linda McCartney

Jim's been thinking about "Summer Songs" this season and remembers being 7-years old on the New Jersey boardwalk and hearing "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," by Paul and Linda McCartney. The Ram track is“cheesy,”to be sure, but man did McCartney have a way with hooks. Jim has no idea what the lyrics mean-are they about drugs? WWII?-but the song deserves a place in the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 398

Greg

“Viet Nam War Blues”Oblivians

Memphis garage rockers Oblivians recently released their first record in fifteen years, Desperation. Greg's had it on heavy rotation along with the group's post-punk-inspired back catalogue. With two guitars, two chords, and a stripped down drum kit, Greg says Oblivians married punk's“last moment on earth intensity”with Memphis's rock ‘n’ roll tradition. He chooses "Viet Nam War Blues" off the band's 1995 debut album Soul Food for his Desert Island Jukebox pick. It's a Lightnin' Hopkins cover about a mother whose son goes off to war. Whereas Hopkins brings a jazzy, poetic sensibility to the track, Greg says Oblivians bring rage.

Go to episode 397

Jim

“America”Simon and Garfunkel,Yes,Bowie,Simon and Garfunkel

Jim recently made a trip back to his home state of New Jersey and did a lot of driving. So he stumbled upon a classic rock station playing "America" by Simon and Garfunkel. This song never fails to choke him up, even the versions by Yes and Bowie. It deserves a prominent spot in the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 396

Greg

“List of Demands”Saul Williams

Kanye's mixed success on Yeezus gets Greg thinking about West's creative predecessors, and an artist who did anger-filled“industrial rap”even better. Saul Williams' 2004 self-titled album merged aggressive, minimalist, production with anger-filled rap in a way that got industrial music heavyweights like NIN's Trent Reznor to pay attention. (Reznor later produced an album for Williams.) Greg plays "List of Demands" for his Desert Island Jukebox as an example of what Yeezus could have been.

Go to episode 395

Jim

“Death Valley €™69€”Teenage Jesus,Sonic Youth

Until recently, Sonic Youth'€™s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore were one of the most visible families in rock. For his DIJ, Jim commemorates the group'€™s best track (in his humble opinion). "Death Valley €™69€" from 1985's Bad Moon Rising is also about a family€: the Manson Family. Written by Moore and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks'€™ Lydia Lunch, the track captures the insanity of Manson'€™s cult with some pretty insane hooks.

Go to episode 394

Greg

“Salty Dog”Procol Harum

It seems that Jim and Greg have been in a progressive rock mood of late, at least when it comes to their trips to the tropical isle. This week Greg looks to Procol Harum, a pioneer in the British prog scene. You of course know this song. But the track that Greg adds to the Desert Island Jukebox is 1969's "Salty Dog." It evokes desperation, drama and fear. Amazing considering it began in a bathroom in Cleveland.

Go to episode 393

Jim

“Lucky Man”Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Jim recently contributed to a new book on Prog Rock, so he's got the experimental pop of the 1970's on the brain. And no band from that era is sillier than Emerson, Lake and Palmer. If it could be done over the top, they did it. Take the track "Lucky Man" for example. It features one of rock's earliest Moog solos and made it possible for keyboard nerds to imagine themselves guitar shredders. So of course, Jim wants to add it to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 392

Greg

“Shake the Dope Out”The Warlocks

Ray Manzarek's death gets Greg thinking about bands that have carried The Doors' dark L.A. aesthetic into the present day. For his DIJ, he goes with The Warlocks' 2002 album Phoenix. It wasn‘t just The Warlocks’ lyrics that were dark, he says, it was also their music. As many as ten players contributed to the band's moody, wall-of-sound onstage. The lyrics to "Shake the Dope Out" could be about drugs, but Greg thinks they could also be referring to the overwhelming feeling of the band's music.

Go to episode 391

Jim

“Take the Long Way Home”Supertramp

Tame Impala's Kevin Parker wasn't afraid to declare his love for the admittedly un-hip Supertramp during this week's interview, and neither is Jim. Jim celebrates the British band's signature mix of prog and pop during this week's DIJ. He says "Take the Long Way Home" from 1979's Breakfast in America is characteristic of the band's simultaneously sunny and threatening take on orchestral pop.

Go to episode 389

Greg

“Right Off”Miles Davis,Miles Davis

Greg has traveled by“bathysphere”to the desert island to pop a quarter in the jukebox. And right now he's in a Miles Davis kinda mood. Specifically, Greg has been going back to Davis' jazz-fusion period and his 1971 release A Tribute to Jack Johnson. He had perfected his studio language with Teo Macero, and you can hear that in just a snippet of the almost half hour track "Right Off."

Go to episode 388

Jim

“Seether”Veruca Salt

Jim's lounging away on his beach blanket thinking about 1994, and he decides to add "Seether" by Veruca Salt to the Desert Island Jukebox. It just so happens that frontwomen Louise Post and Nina Gordon have decided to“bury the hatchet”and reunite. Will their new singles be as good as“Seether?”Only time will tell…

Go to episode 387

Greg

“Strawberry Letter 23”Shuggie Otis

A tour and a raft of new reissues have got Greg thinking about Shuggie Otis again. A guitar prodigy, Shuggie got his start in father Johnny Otis's band at the tender age of fifteen. Just a few years later, he dropped the band gig to explore more avant-garde and atmospheric territory, making some of the most genre-defying guitar music of the seventies. Greats like Al Cooper and Frank Zappa clamored to work with him, but by the mid ‘70s, Shuggie had largely dropped off the musical map. Luckily, songs like Greg’s DIJ pick, "Strawberry Letter 23" haven‘t grown stale with age. Thanks to renewed interest, Shuggie’s back on tour. Listen to Strawberry Letter's psychedelic glockenspiel and guitar solos, and you might just be inspired to check him out live.

Go to episode 386

Jim

“See No Evil”Television

Jim's Desert Island Jukebox selection is inspired by another recent loss. Musical engineer Andy Johns passed away at age 61. As Jim explains, Johns was witness to the recording of some of rock's great masterpieces, from The Stones' Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, to Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin II. But for his pick, Jim goes to a personal favorite: the debut album by New York punk rockers Television. "See No Evil" still gets heads bobbing in Chicago clubs, and Jim credits Johns with the track's intimate drum sound.

Go to episode 385

Greg

“Pancho and Lefty”Townes Van Zandt

After a recent experience seeing Emmylou Harris, Greg was reminded of the songwriting talent of the great Townes Van Zandt. Many, including Ms. Harris, have performed his song "Pancho and Lefty," but it's the Townes original that Greg wants to have with him on the island. The song tells the tale of two men living on the margins of society, and wonders who fares better: Pancho, who is betrayed and left to die, or Lefty, who is left alone "livin in cheap hotels."

Go to episode 384

Jim

“Sylvia Plath”Peter Laughner

Recently, our own Jim's mood was descending into Bell Jar territory, so his wife told him to "Snap out of it, Sylvia Plath!" So, he looked to another "Sylvia Plath," to cheer himself up. That would be the 1982 track by Peter Laughner. The Cleveland singer/songwriter worked in the same scene as Pere Ubu, and it's a welcome addition to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 381

Greg

“If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up”Betty Davis

Miles Davis has been on Greg's mind lately, and his revolutionary string of early '70s albums(including Bitches Brew, Live-Evil, and On the Corner) have been fixtures on Greg's turntable for weeks. Miles' rock and funk explorations can be partially credited to (or blamed on, depending on your point of view) his then wife, Betty Davis. She put out her own series of great records after their divorce. For his Desert Island Jukebox pick this week, Greg turns to the first song on Betty Davis' 1973 self-titled debut, "If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up." Betty put together an incredible band of Santana and Sly Stone sidemen (including Larry Graham on bass!), and wrote parts for them that contained more than enough grit and grime to complement her raspy blues roar and bawdy lyrics. Even Prince personally told Greg that he uses this song as a frequent source of inspiration!

Go to episode 379

Jim

“I Can't Control Myself”The Troggs

It's always sad to hear of a musician passing, but Jim admits that no death has hit him harder in recent years than that of Reg Presley. The Troggs lead singer was no great talent and no great looker, but he was full of attitude. And The Troggs have an entire catalog of great songs….not just "Wild Thing." So in his honor, Jim adds "I Can't Control Myself" to the Desert Island Jukebox this week.

Go to episode 377

Greg

“"You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio"”Joni Mitchell

Greg's been in a Joni Mitchell phase, and is particularly smitten with the singer/songwriter's 1976 release For the Roses. Between her folk phase and her avant-jazz phase, she released this record with the track "You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio". Is it directed towards a romantic figure? Or a record company one? Add that question to the layers of sounds and influences from country to Latin to jazz, and you've got one wonderfully complicated song.

Go to episode 375