Noise Addict / Ben Lee

Who didn't love Noise Addict? So cute! Young Australian's making indie pop. What's not to love? I preferred the Young and Jaded e.p. to the full length they put out. Probably due to this cover:
Back In Your Life (jonathan richman)
Come on! That is awesome! I love kids with impeccable musical taste.

I actually still love the first Ben Lee record. It's upsetting to think that I've hated everything he's put out since. I don't fall for novelty so I don't think that's it. Maybe it says more about me? I still believe in a teenagers version of crushes and love. I couldn't get behind his adult take on those topics. I think that as we grow up and get hurt we become more closed off as a defense mechanism. It's hard to imagine an adult writing songs as naked as the ones on Ben's first album or the Noise Addict songs. My all time favorite Ben Lee song...
Don't Leave


Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

Can't say that I'm a huge Jonathan Richman fan or anything but I do find some of his songs totally charming or awesome. The number one choice for charming and awesome is this song:
Back in Your Life
I mean, really. Listen to it and tell me that if somebody wrote that song for you that your pants wouldn't be charmed off. Mine certainly would.

This song is more awesome than charming but only by a nose. His young man enthusiasm is infectious. You can't help but get a smile on your face when this song kicks in. I often have trouble controlling my desire to dance in my seat on the subway when this song comes on. I don't dance. That's how good this song is.
Government Center


John, Peter, and Franklin

I couldn't possibly figure out how to do a Mountain Goats post. It just didn't feel right - how would I choose just 2 songs?! I mean, even if I picked 5 or 10 or 20 I would still be slighting too many good songs! So I thought I would do something a bit different with this post.

I assume that if you're reading this you probably know the Mountain Goats story. It's been widely written about over the years so I will spare the details. However, maybe an important one is that for quite awhile John was only interested in recording stuff that was pretty lo-fi. The early releases are of varying sound quality but the actual songwriting quality was always there. As time went on the recordings did move to an actual recording studio and of course the sound quality became consistently good. The songwriting quality got even better. So a real studio, adding more instrumentation, we have a guy not afraid to switch things up, apparently. (In some ways, the band becoming just that, a band, on the last couple of tours strikes me as Dylan going electric. It's a fun ride to be on.)

Some of the people involved with the Mountain Goats have been friends for a very long time. It strikes me as a wonderful thing to bring your friends with you on the way up. Peter Hughes was an early supporter of the recordings John was doing. Now he plays bass with him. Before all of that he was in a band called DiskothiQ which John cites pretty often and occasionally covers. My favorite song by them (and a great song for a road trip) from the hilariously titled Waterworld album. (Hilarious because it was apparently named after the movie of the same name... A very expensive movie to make that tanked badly.)
Witness Protection Program
Here is my favorite Mountain Goats song with Peter's restrained bass.
From TG&Y

Another old friend of John's is Franklin Bruno. I first heard of Franklin because of his band Nothing Painted Blue.
Missed The Point
(For some reason I think of NPB and J Church playing together a lot in San Francisco in the early/mid 90s but maybe they just always played around the same time.) Franklin is a witty and intelligent songwriter and NPB were a fun poppy punky band. His songs are sometimes a bit warped but that's part of the appeal for me. John sometimes covers him live, sometimes Franklin pops up to play with the band, he's recorded stuff for them... he's a very handy guy to know. (Recently saw him play under the name The Human Hearts with Matt Houser formerly of Palomar on drums.) Him and John had (have?) a project called The Extra Glenns as well.

The Mountain Goats are hitting the road yet again in September. If you haven't seen them live I cannot possibly recommend it enough. It's an experience.


Velocity Girl

Yet another one of those bands that I can't believe I haven't written about! It's almost wrong of me to have written about Julie Ocean a couple of posts back given that I hadn't yet written about Velocity Girl! Anyhow, on with the post...

I first heard the band when the record store I was working at received a promo copy of Simpatico and I put it on. It was one of those instant love affairs that happen less and less for me these days with albums. I listened to the record at least once every shift and sold a few copies here and there. I loved most every song on the record and soon learned that they had already had other releases out. One of the most depressing things to me is that I never got to see them live. They played a 21 and over venue the tour for this album and I had not yet acquired my fake ID that would soon save my underage ass from missing great shows. I have too many favorite tracks from this record so I picked the one that highlighted both Sarah and Archie's vocals.
The All Consumer

In my quest to be a very informed fan I then purchased their first full length cd. The album Copacetic didn't hit me in the same way. I think that I liked the production less and maybe the songs just weren't resonating with me in the same way. Their songwriting seemed like it had grown in the right ways between those first two records. Don't get me wrong though, there are still gems on that first full length. My favorite:
Audrey's Eyes

Then I picked up the ep that had some of the Bridget Cross vocals on it. (Bridget left VG to join Unrest.) I enjoyed the early songs and her vocals quite a bit. Thought it was an interesting move to keep the band name but switch out vocalists. Not a practice I condone! Well, obviously they had their success with Sarah Shannon on vocals and that is the VG I think of when I think of them. A nice glimpse of where they were coming from though.
I Don't Care If You Go

That brings us to their last release. Gilded Stars And Zealous Hearts was released in 1996. (My brain remembers 1995 for some reason....) I actually found it to be their strongest record with all the songs being really well written. Maybe a bit too polished and definitely the sounds of a band growing up but still strong. I was quite dismayed when they disbanded as I thought they would be around for awhile! After all these years, the song I'm posting still gets a lot of plays by me. It's a great mix track, especially for road trips.
Go Coastal