Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 15

January 27, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Elton John – Someone Saved my Life Tonight (1975)

So I’ve basically been on a huge Elton John kick lately. Let’s just say I’ve listened to this track way too much in the past week. I’m just itching to sing this the next time I go out to do karaoke (a favorite pastime). Talk about a catchy refrain. This song is just one of many other things that are leading me to discover how great the 1970s really were. So expect to see a lot from this decade these next few months on Courtenay’s Cuts.

Vampire Weekend – Horchata (2010)

I loves this song from the very first line, “In December, drinking horchata.” I’d like to mention now that horchata is one of the best things to result from humankind. I’m always down for some sweet, milky horchata. So I can personally identify with this song. I’m also impressed with the rhyming of ‘horchata’ with ‘balaclava’. Nerdy indie pop at its finest. As a side note, if you’re looking for horchata in Dallas, my personal recommendation is the Fiesta at Ross and Henderson. You won’t be sorry.

Yo La Tengo – Little Honda (1997)

Yes, I know it seems like I write about Yo La Tengo constantly. But they’re so good! And how could I resist writing about their Beach Boys cover just two days before they will be in Dallas to play a show? Upon first listen of I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (one of my FAVORITE Yo La Tengo albums), I didn’t even realize this was a cover. I was searching for the deep hidden metaphors in the lyrics, then I realized that it’s just a song about taking a girl out on your “motorbike”.

Dean Martin – Little Ole Wine Drinker Me (1967)

This is one of those songs that doesn’t necessarily sound sad because of the tempo and bouncy melody. But battling a broken heart with alcohol isn’t exactly lighthearted fare. When you’re crying in the corner of a bar over a lost love, it’s time to make a change. I love country music.

where you’ll find me
1/27: The Fiery Furnaces at The Lounge on Elm Street – I’m definitely taking advantage of seeing this band play in such a small venue! I can’t wait!
1/30: Yo La Tengo at Granada Theater – one of my favorite bands ever.

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!


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.

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.

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.

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 12

November 17, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Len – Steal my Sunshine (1999)

This is why I love the 90s. They don’t make songs like this anymore! This is a pop classic. I’m currently still searching for a partner in karaoke crime to accompany me on this song one evening (hint, hint). I especially love the narrative parts; call me crazy but I miss the way people talked in the 90s. It was somehow different/better. Eleanor Morrow puts it best: “I guess the 1990s are now the 1970s. It depends on where you’re staring at them from, and how hard you’re looking.”

El Perro Del Mar – Gotta Get Smart (2009)

I’ll just say it: El Perro Del Mar’s new record is brilliant. This opening track is the clear standout to me, along with her amazing cover of Lou Reed’s “Heavenly Arms.” I saw her play live last week at House of Blues, and it was fantastic! She really connects to the audience in a way a lot of independent artists don’t, and she’s also absolutely adorable. This song was my favorite; the buildup to the second half of the song (“go on, go on, go on”) was seriously so emotional for me, tee hee. But anyway, this is easily my break up song of ’09. I was so impressed with her I had to get a picture with her after the show!

Solange – Stillness is the Move (2009)

Wowza! Solange covers a track off of the Dirty Projectors’ latest, Bitte Orca. The original already had a definite R&B flavor, and Solange takes it there. There have been mixed reviews of this track since it’s online only release last week, but I’m definitely Team Solange here. While it doesn’t outshine the original, it’s great in its own right. So fresh and delicious. I could easily see this as being a Top 40 single, but as of now there are no plans for official release. Enjoy!

The Fiery Furnaces – Benton Harbor Blues (2003)

This song was born to be in this category, and not just for the title. The lyrics have that special tinge of depression that is somehow uplifting. But maybe that’s the warm Rhodes-esque keyboard part. I encourage you to give this song several listens – this is a song that needs nurturing. And the reward is well worth it.

where you’ll find me
11/19: The Mountain Goats at Granada Theater (!!!)
11/21: Eaton Lake Tonics and The Slow Burners at City Tavern
11/21: KPNI and Program Council’s very own Battle of the Bands! Check it out at the quad 3 – 6 p.m.

by Courtenay Paris

Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 11

November 10, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Vince Guaraldi – Linus and Lucy (1964)

Who doesn’t love this song? Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy ditty from It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas is irresistible to anyone with a soul. It’s getting to that time of year where I want to just sit down and watch an old animated feature that warms the heart. As a young piano student, I was dying to learn to play this song. I did, and it wasn’t near as much fun as listening to it.

Eaton Lake Tonics – I Kicked the Pieces Out Into the Ocean (2009)

I got this number just when I thought I was drowning in the flood of folk music (I love it, but you can always have too much of a good thing). DFW’s own Eaton Lake Tonics saved me with some rock music! This track has got to be my absolute favorite on the new record, Rancho Folly IV, which drops November 17. 2:10 to 2:35 of this song is a beautiful and selfless gift to humanity. It makes things happen. And I’ll leave it to you to discover what things. PS – check back later this week for my audio interview with ELT lead singer Tony Ferraro!

Pavement – 5 – 4 = Unity (1994)

Guess who is going to the Pavement reunion in NYC next year? Oh, that would be me! I am freaking out and will be until September 24, 2010. But all that aside, this song is a great indie rock take on Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”. From my viewpoint that is perhaps slightly biased, Pavement can do no wrong. The mother ship this song is found on, 1994′s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain would not be complete without this one.

Belle & Sebastian – Fox in the Snow (1998)

This song makes the “blue” category for too many reasons. To start with, the lyrics are undeniably blue. Add to that a beautiful arrangement and a boatload of high school nostalgia and you’ve got me teary eyed in four short minutes. I find that I enjoy being nostalgic about high school days far more than I ever actually enjoyed high school. As a treat, I also included the Rasputina cover of this song on the playlist – very different, but still great!

where you’ll find me
11/11: Marcy Playground at House of Blues
11/12: Son Volt at Granada Theater
11/14: Peter Bjorn and John and El Perro del Mar at House of Blues

by Courtenay Paris

Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 10

November 3, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Centro-matic – Say Something/95 Frowns (2002)

I can’t believe it took me so long to listen to Centro-matic. People have been telling me to do this for forever, it seems. Will Johnson sounds so injured (and sexy!) in this one. I picked this one to share with you guys because my favorite songs always end up being the ones with the great lyrics that I can sing along to. This one is just so raw – gotta love it!

Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career (2009)

Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell just has a knack for writing lovely little songs with charmingly pessimistic lyrics. I had to grace you all with this song because I love the keyboard part. I don’t know what it is about Scotland that seems to produce such clever pop songs, but I can certainly appreciate it.

Vetiver – To Baby (2008)

Vetiver’s 2008 album, Thing of the Past is an entire album of folk covers from the late 60s and early 70s. This one is my personal favorite, and try as I might I cannot seem to find the original, by Biff Rose. I suppose I haven’t sifted through enough used vinyl racks in random places. This song is lazy summer days and nostalgia. And who doesn’t love that?

B.B. King – Sweet Little Angel (1956)

This song just never gets old! You know a song is great when you’re smiling within the first 4 seconds. And it just gets so much better after that. This one has everything – the blues guitar makes my ears melt (in a good way!). Not to mention his voice just sliding around everywhere. B.B. King is my anti-drug.

where you’ll find me
11/08: Snoop Dogg at House of Blues

by Courtenay Paris

Video: Courtenay’s Cuts with Special Guest John David Kent

October 28, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

KPNI SMU Radio Co-Station Manager Courtenay Paris sits down with John David Kent to talk about his journey through the music industry and his upcoming concert. PLUS, John David Kent gives us a private acoustic session of his new single, My Girl.
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Courtenay’s Cuts: Session 9

October 26, 2009 by · 3 Comments 

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Jackson 5 – Who’s Loving You? (1969)

If there is one thing that can be universally agreed upon about Michael Jackson, he was a great performer. Before I hear this, I would never have expected the voice of an 11 year old could particularly move me, but boy was I wrong. Recommended viewing: The Jackson 5 performing this during their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1969. My eyes are glued.

Bowerbirds – Northern Lights (2009)

I love the indie rock scene in North Carolina – give me Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill over Denton any day. This track was my initial favorite of their latest album, Upper Air, and I still find myself listening to it more than anything else on the record. Simple, charming lyrics (especially the refrain!) and melodies make this song what it is. I could sit in a rocking chair on a porch with my hypothetical beloved somewhere in North Carolina all day and this would be my soundtrack.

Dinosaur Jr. – Just Like Heaven (1990)

Let me preface this by stating that I am a fan of the Cure. I fully recognize and appreciate their contribution to the history of rock music. But Dinosaur Jr. absolutely slays them at their own song with this cover. J. Mascis brings out the earnesty in this song that is hidden in the vast overproduction of the original. I might also mention that Dinosaur Jr. completely rocked my world at the Granada Theater last week. If you weren’t there, you were most assuredly square.

TLC – Waterfalls (1995)

This is what mainstream hip hop used to be. I’m having difficulty expressing all the things that make this song great. This sad story is only accented by the amazing music video. I LOVE Lisa’s rap (“Dreams are hopeless aspirations in hopes of coming true”). This is one of those songs that never seems to lose its relevance or to become outdated. I miss the 90s.

where you’ll find me – Halloween edition!
10/26: Why? at Hailey’s in Denton
10/27: The Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka Halloween Party at Good Records
10/30: Butthole Surfers and Peaches at Granada Theater
10/31: John David Kent and the Dumb Angels at Bandera Bar (check back this week for my video interview with JDK!), Hormones and Cocky Americans at Meridian Room

by Courtenay Paris

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 

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.

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.

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.

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 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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