Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 14

January 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Welcome to a fresh semester of Courtenay’s Cuts! I have been listening to a lot of music that is completely new to me, and I like sharing. So expect to hear some great songs these next few months and I will try to deliver!

OLD

The Modern Lovers – I’m Straight (1976)

This song cracks me up. I always love a good and ridiculous narrative. Frontman Jonathan Richman (who will be playing a solo show this Sunday at Rubber Gloves in Denton) has the greatest voice. I guess what makes this so funny to me is the tone in which Richman proclaims he is “straight” and not “stoned like Hippie Johnny” sounds like he is anything but straight. That is, straight as in “straight-edge”. This song is completely outlandish, which is what gives it its charm. I’ve been listening to it all day. God bless the 1970s.

NEW
Beach House – Real Love (2010)

This is a track from Beach House’s third album, Teen Dream, which drops on January 26th. I have to give this duo credit: they may have moved to a larger label (Sub Pop) for this latest album, but they are still delivering the goods. As an album, I think Teen Dream is a lot more cohesive than sophomore effort Devotion (2008). The simple piano melody and good lyrics that aren’t trying too hard make “Real Love” a real winner.

BORROWED
Galaxie 500 – Listen the Snow is Falling (1990)

This is a track from a band that almost definitely is an influence of Beach House, my prior selection. “Listen the Snow is Falling” is a Yoko Ono cover. While I wouldn’t call myself Yoko’s biggest fan (and this has nothing to do with the Beatles, I’m not even going into that), Galaxie 500 certainly do this track justice. Forget Spin the Bottle, this song is the place for seven minutes of heaven. Recommendation: if you like this song, listen to the album it comes from, This is Our Music. I can’t turn it off. Also, 1990 was 20 years ago…crazy.

BLUE
Neil Young – Birds (1970)

I am fairly new to Neil Young. As I have been familiarizing myself with his large catalogue, the album After the Gold Rush and in particular this song have stood out to me. Interpret the words however you choose, but I think everyone can identify with the way he sings “it’s over, it’s over.” This is definitely one of those songs that can be listened to 50 times in a row and still be great. If you get too blue after listening to this song, check out Jimmy Fallon’s recent homage to Neil Young and American Idol of all things. I haven’t seen an impersonation that was this spot on in a while.

where you’ll find me:
1/22: The Cribs and Adam Green at the Granada Theater
1/24: Jonathan Richman at Rubber Gloves

Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 8

October 19, 2009 by · 4 Comments 


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Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 7

October 6, 2009 by · Comments Off 

OLD
Pixies – Hey (1989)

Oh man. The possibility that this is the greatest song EVER is definitely up for debate. The raw sexual power of the guitar and bass lines is undeniable. Then you add in the amazing “we’re chained” chorus, and it’s all over for me. This song just gets better with time – I greatly encourage you to click that link and listen to the full track.

NEW
Kim Zolciak – Tardy for the Party (2009)

I admit it – I LOVE the Real Housewives! A huge bravo to Bravo for this reality series. I used to be partial to New Jersey, but now Atlanta is definitely my favorite. Underdog Kim provides the vocals for this track that was produced by newest Atlanta addition Kandi Burruss. Is this song utterly ridiculous? Absolutely. But it is catchy, and I would definitely dance to it in a club.

BORROWED
Nickel Creek – Spit on a Stranger (2002)

Acoustic-bluegrass trio cover my hands down favorite band of all time, Pavement, with “Spit on a Stranger.” They definitely do it justice! I might mention that Alison Krauss produced this little piece of glory. As most songs written by Stephen Malkmus (Pavement frontman) are, the lyrics are wonderfully cryptic and open to interpretation. One of my favorite Pavement covers.

BLUE
My Morning Jacket – Picture of You (1999)

This is a stripped down My Morning Jacket from 1999’s The Tennessee Fire. If Jim James bellowing “sorry” over and over doesn’t make you sad, then I don’t know what will. This tune is more stripped down than the arrangements on their most recent albums, but that’s why I like it. It’s like this perfect little gem that pops up occasionally on my shuffle.

where you’ll find me:
10/09: Wavves at Pastime Tavern

free download of the week:
Summertime by Girls, courtesy of This Recording

by Courtenay Paris

Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 6

September 28, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

OLD
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – One Rainy Wish (1968)

The beauty of this song is how it perfectly evokes the imagery of the lyrics. As if Jimi’s lilting voice weren’t gorgeous enough, the guitar melodies just make everything even more lovely. If only the colors of all my dreams would sound like this.

NEW
Moby – Shot in the Back of the Head (2009) ? free download!

I love listening to instrumental music that makes my life suddenly seem more glamorous and meaningful. This is definitely one of those songs. If the guitar riff didn’t make this song cool enough, the video was directed by David Lynch! This whole album, titled Wait for Me, is really some of Moby’s best work since 1999’s Play. Maybe I’m just a Mobyhead, but I dig it.

BORROWED
Pattern is Movement – How Does it Feel? (2009)

These guys are one of my favorite bands right now. If you’ve never witnessed Chris Ward freak out on the drums and Andrew Thiboldeaux massage your ears with his crooning and keyboarding, your life is not yet complete. And they certainly do D’Angelo justice with this awesome cover. I’ll be honest; I’ve been crazy obsessed with this rendition lately. Checking this one out will not result in disappointment, pinky promise.

BLUE
Eels - Climbing to the Moon (1998)

The album this track comes from, Electro-shock Blues, was written as a response to the deaths of lead singer Mark Oliver Everett’s sister and mother. For what could be a pretty depressing album, I feel surprisingly uplifted by it. I especially love this song – although we may not all have been in mental institutions before, I’m sure most can relate to some aspect of this song.

WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME
09/30: The Get Up Kids at Granada Theater
10/01: Eaton Lake Tonics and RTB2 at Dan’s Silver Leaf (Denton)
10/04: Moby at the Palladium

FREE download of the week!
Soren Anders does a cover of “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” by The Smiths

by Courtenay Paris

Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 5

September 22, 2009 by · Comments Off 

OLD
Uncle Tupelo – Train (1990)

Considered by many to be the first alternative country album, No Depression has really done it for me this past summer. I especially connect to this song – love the guitar! If you’re not familiar with Uncle Tupelo, this band consisted of both Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar, who went on to create Wilco and Son Volt respectively.

NEW
Yo La Tengo – If It’s True (2009)

I just picked up the sweet vinyl version of this record at Good Records last week and it is glorious. Check out the awesome cover art by Texas sculptor Dario Robleto! You’ve got to appreciate a band that can consistently release great records for 25 years. This song is a poppy little number – happy string arrangements! Ira and Georgia duets are always good times.

BORROWED
Jaydiohead – Change Order (2009)

I can always appreciate a good mash-up. Jaydiohead is the brainchild of producer Max Tanonne – he mixes Jay-Z a cappella tracks with various Radiohead samples. This track uses “Never Change” from Jay-Z’s The Blueprint and Radiohead’s B-side “Gagging Order”. I wouldn’t normally go back and forth between the crooning of Thom Yorke and Jay-Z’s tough guy persona, but I dig it. And it’s free!

BLUE
Hem – When I was Drinking (2009)

Alcoholism, unhealthy relationships, and loneliness. Piano, violin, GORGEOUS vocals. I think that’s blue enough for me. If you haven’t heard folk act Hem, I really encourage you to check out this song. The beauty of their arrangements will stun you, and that’s a promise. This record makes me want to go up to my nonexistent cabin in the mountains somewhere and curl up in bed.

where you’ll find me:
9.22 Ra Ra Riot at Granada Theater
9.22 The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Cymbals Eat Guitars at Lola’s Saloon (Fort Worth)

by Courtenay Paris

Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 2

September 1, 2009 by · Comments Off 

I’m bringing the girl power to Courtenay’s Cuts this week. Ch-ch-check it out.

OLD
Bessie Smith – You’ve Got to Give me Some (1928)

Even though this song is 81 years old, don’t ever underestimate dear old Bessie. This song is delightfully filthy. Let’s just say this made even me raise my eyebrows the first time I heard it. That’s right – it’s that dirty. The queen of the blues reigns on.

NEW
Miley Cyrus – Party in the U.S.A. (2009)

OK, I admit it. I went and rented the Hannah Montana movie the morning it came out on DVD. It was AWESOME. Then she goes and comes out with this song. The haters just need to face it – Miley is adorable and is so here to stay.

BORROWED
Sonic Youth – Little Trouble Girl (1995)

Sonic Youth borrow bassist Kim Deal from bands Pixies and The Breeders for a chill little duet. I love wallowing in my nostalgic memories from high school, and Kim Gordon + Kim Deal does just that. I was, without a doubt, a little trouble girl back then. Check out the crazy video.

BLUE
Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U (1990)

You can laugh if you want, but you can’t deny the passion in this song. You know how terrible it feels after a bad breakup to wake up each morning and be filled with excruciating feelings of regret and hopelessness? Not laughing now, eh? In fact, you might even be feeling kinda, I don’t know, blue?

by Courtenay Paris
cparis@smu.edu

Courtenay’s Cuts: Blog #3

March 30, 2009 by · Comments Off 

For this last week, nostalgia was the name of the game. I couldn’t stop listening to the 90s classics that were my teenage years. All the songs that nurtured the teenage angst that was festering in my soul. Oh nostalgia – when life seemed so hard but really wasn’t. I would like to think that my tastes have evolved as I’ve grown more mature. And I suppose my top 5 songs of the week reflect that. But when it really comes down to it, if you’ve got Jay-Z and anything from the 90s in your life, what more do you need?

Top five songs of the week of March 23, 2009, according to last.fm.

5. VetiverArboretum
If my life were perfect, it would always be spring. I would wake up each morning in a field of fresh flowers, with the sun on my face just enough to be pleasant and warming. Oh yes, and this song would also be playing. Guitar, violin, warm and fuzzy lyrics and vocals. This gem off their self-titled first album has it all. Track 1 side 2 can’t go wrong. Everything is better on vinyl.

4. Moura LympanyEtude No. 39 Un sospiro
This little ditty is the “elevation” of my tastes since high school that I spoke of earlier. For those who might not know, Dame Moura Lympany (1916 – 2005) was an English concert pianist. Franz Liszt’s piano etude just proves that music is wonderful for expressing those feelings that words could never express quite so well. In fact, I even have this crazy idea for a short experimental silent film in which this song is the accompaniment. This idea shall remain known only to myself.

3. Jay-ZHard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)
Trust Jigga to take a musical I HATE (Annie), sample it in a song and make it so choice. This song has its place the nostalgic trip we’re taking here as the first rap video I was really aware of. I remember seeing this on VH1 in 1998 and my mom making me change the channel. This song is proof that good hip-hop only gets better with age; these beats and lyrics are still as fresh as they were in that golden decade.

2. Dinosaur Jr.Sure Not Over You
All I have to say about Dinosaur Jr. is, I feel it man. Singer/guitarist J. Mascis has mastered the perfect 90s alternative rock voice. He’s got all the earnesty that makes 90s rock bands so great and at the same time, the apathy that makes musicians so sexy. It’s that voice accompanied by emotional guitar solos that makes me feel it, man. Not to mention that his voice is the perfect range for me to sing along with furrowed brows and a heart full of feelings. This was a mix CD necessity in high school. This band (and this song) is the epitome of my high school nostalgia.

1. SublimeWaiting for my Ruca
Oh my goodness. You know when you buy just one song on iTunes instead of going for the whole album? So once it downloads, you listen to the song over and over because it suddenly seems like the best, most original song in the world. In my situation, this usually happens with hip-hop singles and old songs from the past that I have to hear again. The trip down memory lane ends here. My boyfriend in high school was a huge Sublime fan, so those years were filled with afternoons, drives, and mix CDs of Sublime. I was never too crazy about them myself, but this song was always one I liked. I honestly don’t think I had heard this song once in the last 3 years until last week. Just some vocals and some drum beats, and it’s just inappropriate enough.

So that’s the top five. As for shows this week, if you are going to the Circus tomorrow evening (March 31), I am JEALOUS. Why does Britney Spears have to come to town on a school night? That is a show I’m going to be sorry I missed. For this weekend, I’m going to make sure and see Robyn Hitchcock at the Granada Theater on April 4th. That’s going to be a pretty amazing show. The Granada has a pretty fantastic schedule over the coming months, and being so close to campus is so convenient.

Well that’s all folks. I’m off to try to do homework, and will probably end up watching Clueless again. 90s nostalgia rears its ugly head.