Sunday, December 9, 2012

Un-Herd Christmas 2012

I never expected these mixes to become an annual event, seeing as I'm generally a foot soldier on the front lines waging the War on Xmas™ (thanks Fox News), but the truth of it is I'm grateful for almost any yuletide music that takes me away from the execrable traditional tunage that assaults us from every angle once the last Thanksgiving turkey gets slaughtered on the altar of rising cholesterol levels.

Which means I've found another hour + of seasonal music that's actually worth listening to - all with an overt Christmas theme (if a sometimes less than rosy attitude towards such). So turn it up, make the kids and grandfolks cry, and good luck getting through these dark, noxious few weeks of forced sentimentality. Just remember: all good Christians will be back to cheering the execution of retarded prisoners, denying science, and assassinating doctors once January comes around.

Nobody's Supposed to be Happy - It's Christmas

1. The Barbecuties (It's Gonna Be a) Rock & Roll Christmas Party
2. The JAC Merry Christmas (Around the World)
3. Diamond Dogs Sweethearts for Christmas
4. Gruff Rhys Post Apocalypse Christmas
5. Cirrone Christmas Sun
6. My Marning Jocket Please Come Home For Xmas
7. The Genuine Fakes All I Want For Christmas
8. Roman Candle It's Christmas, Go On and Say Hello
9. Psychotic Youth Another Christmas
10. The Villas Little St. Nick
11. The Fleshtones Hooray For Santa Claus
12. The Sonics Santa Claus
13. Needles//Pins Armenian Christmas
14. The Yule Logs Christmas Lights
15. Randy Bochman Takin' Care of Christmas
16. John Moreland & the Dust Bowl Souls Christmas Lights
17. Mondo Diao Christmas Could Have Been Good
18. Joey Ramone Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
19. Blue Skies For Black Hearts Maybe Next Christmas
20. Pat Todd & the RankOutsiders Christmas Day

Friday, November 16, 2012

Faves of 2012 (Vol. 3)

Life, huh? Mofuggah has a way of getting in the way of one's most honorable intentions (let alone the obsessive pursuit of compiling music mixes for no discernible reward), but also has a way of evening things out. Crunchy with the smooth 'n' all.

This has been another great year for music of the un-herd variety. Special shout-out to the Pilgrims, who showed up out of nowhere with an album so good it made me compare it to no less a legend than the Replacements. More ups, props, and whut-whuts to Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter, who returned with what might be his best album since the 70s, and Tsar, who rose from the dead after a 6 year absence with their hyper-melodic brand of power pop/punk perfectly intact. And the rest compiled here - My Jerusalem, The New Electric Sound, Tim Rogers (You Am I's mainman), Divine Fits (Spoon's Britt Daniel with guys from Wolf Parade and New Bomb Turks), AC Newman (on a break from New Pornographers, with help from Neko Case), Rooni (aka Gustav Nilsson, and not to be confused with slick LA popsters Rooney), the Honeymoon Stallions (Sun King's Andy Goldberg's new band), Hot Freak Nation, OBN IIIs, Chelle Rose... well, hell, all of them - are making a strong case to show up on the upcoming Best-of-2012 list. That's the crunchy and the smooth. 'N all.

I'm Just Talkin' 'Bout Your Mama

1. Rooni Run (Into My Arms)
2. 1an Hunter Comfortable (Flying Scotsman)
3. Tsar Police Station
4. Lissy Tru11ie You Bleed You
5. Thee Attacks Stab
6. The Dirty Guv'nahs Good Luck Charm
7. The New E1ectric Sound Boston Shuffle
8. AC Newman Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns
9. The Do11yrots Hyperactive
10. Tim Rogers One O' The Girls
11. Divine Fits Like Ice Cream
12. The Honeymoon Sta11ions It Never Ends
13. Dan Mira1di The Runaround
14. The Pi1grims American Eyes
15. Bare Wires Starting To See
16. My Jerusa1em Oh Little Sister
17. The Whigs Waiting
18. Hot Freak Nation Never Coming Home
19. The Peacocks Need a Break
20. Che11e Rose Alimony
21. Cowbe11 Hanging By A Thread
22. OBN 111s So What If We Die
23. Jim Jones Revue 7 Times Around the Sun
24. Titus Andronicus (I Am The) Electric Man

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Another batch of links brought back from the dead.

70s Glam Mix - the leaders and followers of the early 70s pre-punk glam explosion
Hidden Track Mix - y'know how bands try to hide a track on a CD? This mix exposes some of my faves.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Faves of 2012 (vol. 2)

Devil horns, bitches! Even at the Summer Olympics the people wanna rock out with their jocks out. And speaking of which, it's time for the next batch of my absolute faves of the year and this one features some of the most awesome new bands I've come across in a looong while.

In the upcoming weeks I'll try to get rave reviews up on the Pearl Before Swine blog for albums by Needles//Pins, Archie Powell & the Exports, Budokan, Nick Waterhouse, White Wires, Living Deadbeats, and a number of others - all of them easy candidates for end-of-the-year Top 20 honors - but in the meantime check out the tunes on this sampler and see if they don't make you wanna jump in water and synchronize your splashing with a soggy gal pal, devil horns held aloft. Or, y'know, some similar display of excitement.

We're Gonna Do More Than That

1. Devin I Don't Think I
2. Archie Powe11 & the Exports Metronome
3. Chris Devotion & the Expectations Tell The Girl
4. Budokan Saint Joan
5. Natura1 Child 8 AM Blues
6. Gary B & the Notions The Surfin' Song
7. Riverboat Gamb1ers Loser Neck
8. Smash Pa1ace Living It Lonely
9. Hacienda Let Me Go
10. Mind Spiders Beat
11. The Successful Fai1ures Turn It Down
12. Imperia1 State Electric Uh Huh
13. Chris Richards & the Subtractions It's Something
14. Diamond Rugs Call Girl Blues
15. Nick Waterhouse Is That Clear
16. Cheep Time Another Time
17. Living Deadbeats Evil Hearted Blues
18. Turbonegro Shake Your Shit Machine
19. The Henry C1ay People Backseat of a Cab
20. The Hangmen Betrayed
21. The Roya1ty How I Like 'Em
22. Need1es//Pins Drop It
23. Mother's Chi1dren Don't Go Too Far
24. White Wires It's Been A While
25. Mean Jeans Don't Stop Partying
26. Zachary James Fuck For Tomorrow

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer 2012

Got a feeling you're gonna have to nab this one fast, because I decided to compile it the old fashioned way, meaning it's full of tracks I like regardless of era, label, hipster cache or genre. Like all my summer mixes, these aren't necessarily songs about summer - just songs that feel like summer. It's pretty laid back this time out, and with any luck there'll be no artists annoyed to be on it. In fact, I'm hoping they'd download it themselves and feel pretty awesome about being included among such stellar tunes. But we'll see about that... like I said, get it quick.

Keepin' Summer Spirit Alive

1. The Feedbacks Keepin' Summer Spirit Alive
2. Fancey Rock 'n' Roll Rhythm
3. The Breakdowns Summertime Twist
4. The Aggrolites Feelin' Alright
5. Yukon Blonde Oregon Shores
6. Gizelle Smith & the Mighty Mocambos The Time Is Right For Love
7. The Semis Fun in the Sun
8. Pagliaro Lovin' You Ain't Easy
9. Nick Waterhouse Indian Love Call
10. The Ashes Somebody (Come and Shake Me)
11. Miles Nielsen The Grain
12. Electric Guest This Head I Hold
13. Audra Mae & the Almighty Sound Smokin' The Boys
14. The Long Beach Dub All-Stars Sunny Hours
15. Aimee Mann Charmer
16. Hans Rotenberry & Brad Jones Count On Me
17. Asa Why Can't We
18. Imani Coppola Raindrops from the Sun
19. Jet Electro Buckle Up
20. Mink Deville Spanish Stroll
21. The Stompers Coast to Coast
22. Jimmy Cliff Outsider
23. The Lordz Uh Oh
24. The Format Dead End

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Since the attack on the fine folks at MegaUpload there's been quite a few of my old links that led nowhere. I'm trying to re-up all of them, but it's just gonna take some time. It doesn't help that iTunes won't recognize the tracklist of any of the old mixes I burned to CD using iTunes - I mean, in a just world that sort of willful retardation should be the cause of a company going out of business and its chief executives getting nailed inside a burning outhouse. If Jobs was still alive I swear I'd punch him square in the meatpods for that.

Anyway, here's a batch of 'em:

Don't Call Me Honey - a mix of grrl group-ish groovology
History Lesson Pt. 1  - a mix of bands that went on to greater fame after a name change or personnel change
Shade and Honey - a mix of mellow tuneage for warm summer nights or, in a pinch, Sunday mornings
Faves of 2011 (vol. 3) - a seriously awesome mix of awesomely serious Un-Herd serious awesomeness
Wet Winter Holiday - a mix of melancholy power pop and punkamacallit

Twang Mix

Admission: I don't much care for country music. I've tried - and occasionally I've found an artist or a song I can get down with - but for the most part a two-step beat accompanied by a nasal twang will send me running for the hills. On the other hand, I totally love Gram Parsons, and a C&W influence never did any harm to the Stones, and it's pretty heretical to say anything bad about Johnny Cash.

So here's a mix that isn't country music, but it's about as close as I go. A lot of it might have been termed or country punk in earlier times, but really it's just good ol' rock 'n' roll - which was more or less created when white hillbilly music mated with black rhythm 'n' blues, so it's only natural some bands are gonna lean a little more one way or the other.

I'll put up a similar mix in the near future that even leans a little more in that direction (Country Monger).  In the meantime, I'm gonna try to re-up some of the lost links in the MegaUpload fiasco.  Also, keep an eye out for a 2nd volume of my 2012 faves (it's a goodie) and the annual summer mix (and day now). Cheers!

Let 'Em Run

1. Stewboss Time
2. Lucero Tears Don't Matter Much
3. Richard Buckner Jewelbomb
4. Drive-by Truckers Gravity's Gone
5. The Glossary Lonely is a Town
6. Tift Merritt Stray Paper
7. The Mendoza Line An Architect's Eye
8. Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders Hell's Half Acre
9. Stacie Collins I Won't Do Ya Like That
10. The Cur Dogs Apology With Every Song
11. Sons of Bill Life in Shambles
12. Marah East
13. Go To Blazes All Wrapped Up
14. The Honeydogs Losing Transmissions
15. Carolyn Mark & NQ Arbuckle Too Sober To Sleep
16. I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House Westboro Baptist Church
17. Tommy Womack Tellin' You What You Want to Hear
18. Neko Case Karoline
19. Deadstring Brothers Sacred Heart
20. John Moreland Good Book
21. Justin Townes Earle Baby's Got a Bad Idea
22. Maxim Ludwig & the Santa Fe Seven Stacy, C'mon

Friday, April 27, 2012

50,000 Hits

Here's a mix to commemorate the 50,000 visits to this blog (the overwhelming majority of them unintentional, I'm sure). And, really, what other blog would throw together a mix as uselessly themed as this one?

As for "1969" and "1970", I figured most potential downloaders will be very familiar with the Stooges originals, so I went with worthy cover versions. Ditto the Clash's "1977".

I would've liked to have linked 22 or so years straight, but this is as close as I could get. Michael Monroe's "'78" was so tempting, but ultimately his choice to abbreviate the title disqualified it. Bowie's "1984", Giant Sand's "1972", Robyn Hitchcock's "1974" and Clem Snide's "1989" were all bumped for what I thought were superior songs. And if there's any others I missed I'd like to hear about 'em.

Another Year For You and Me

1. Anti-Flag 1915
2. Sugar Mountain 1964
3. The Meows 1966
4. The Auteurs 1967
5. The Hoodoo Gurus 1968
6. Joey Ramone 1969
7. Superdrag 1970
8. Josh Rouse 1972
9. Mental As Anything 1973
10. Ryan Adams 1974
11. Chris Difford 1975
12. The Baseball Project 1976
13. Electric Frankenstein 1977
14. Lucero 1979
15. Media Whores 1984
16. White Mystery 1985
17. Summer Camp 1988
18. The Rakes 1989
19. The Mortals 1992
20. Caves 1993
21. The Hellacopters 1995
22. The Wombats 1996
23. Rancid 1998

Friday, April 6, 2012

Faves of 2012 (Vol. 1)

Anyone who's ever followed this blog knows what to expect on these samplers. The planet has been scoured and sifted in a search for those few nuggets that fit comfortably in my wheelhouse, and that wheelhouse is all about the rock and the roll. Now, my definition of such is admittedly a bit chaotic - rock, power pop, reggae, glam, 60s girl groups, soul, rhythm 'n' blues, Americana, and punk all get squeezed into this same category - but ultimately it all boils down to that sacred truism: it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. And if it makes you swing from the rafters, all the better.

Someday, There's Gonna Be A Revolution

1. One Like Son Start the Show
2. Yukon Blonde Radio
3. Lucero On My Way Downtown
4. Howler Told You Once
5. Crusaders of Love Dreaming
6. Free Energy Electric Fever
7. Spy Island The Punchline
8. The Connection I Think She Digs Me
9. The Afternoons Moving City
10. Foxy Shazam Wasted Feelings
11. Diamond Dogs Lay Me Down on Solid Ground
12. Chuck Prophet Temple Beautiful
13. Prima Donna Puta, Te Amo
14. The Honey Wilders Hey Hey
15. Throwback Suburbia Give and Take
16. Teenage Kicks I Get What You Give
17. Heartless Bastards Parted Ways
18. Alabama Shakes I Ain't The Same
19. The Undecided by Default Way Too Cool
20. Gentleman Jesse Word Gets Around
21. Nude Beach Walkin' Down My Street
22. Minky Starshine Cinematic Mojo
23. The Perms The Mess
24. Cowboy Junkies Fuck, I Hate The Cold

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hello My Name Is Mix (vol. 4)

At one point I figured I'd be lucky to manage a single collection of songs named after public figures, and here we are at Volume 4. The weird thing is that the quality of songs continues to stay high (if not get stronger). For example, three of these tracks ("Paul Stanley", "Samantha Jones", and "Fats Domino") are three of my favorite songs from last year, period.

I owe big thanks to Marc Friedlander for generously offering "Benmont Tench" from his awesome '90s band Salt Peter (which he accurately describes as "Uncle Tupelo but poppier") as well as "Maria Bartiromo" from the impressive Tan Sleeve. Both bands are well worth further investigation. Kudos to you, sir!

Who You Want In Your Corner?

1. Gustav Nilsson Paul Stanley
2. The Someloves Jack Robinson
3. Psychotic Youth Goldie Hawn
4. The Features Fats Domino
5. The Krayolas Gordon Lightfoot
6. The Breakdowns Samantha Jones
7. Jr. Gone Wild Martha Quinn
8. Ghost Trains Michael Caine
9. Avocadoclub Geraldine Ford
10. Tan Sleeve Maria Bartiromo
11. KC Bowman Harry Truman
12. The Huntingtons Judy Jetson
13. Salt Peter Benmont Tench
14. The Breakup Society Robin Zander
15. The Posies Grant Hart
16. The Makes Nice Anna Karina
17. The Hoodoo Gurus Gene Hackman
18. The Tights Howard Hughes
19. Highschool Hellcats Andy McCoy
20. Local H Eddie Vedder
21. The Jesus and Mary Chain Moe Tucker
22. Cymbals Eat Guitars Gary Condit
23. Art Brut Axl Rose
24. Saturday Night Karaoke Caroline Andersen

Monday, January 30, 2012

Covers Project Vol. IX

It's been over half a year since I posted a covers mix, and this one comes just as a boatload of the Un-Herd links have been destroyed by the recent attack on MegaUpload. I doubt that bodes well for the future of posts like this, but in the meantime... fuggit.

This mix features some of the best songs ever written. It's also shot through with an air of nostalgia, which is appropriate for any covers mix although even more pronounced on this one. Let's just say it's no mistake it starts with "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio" and ends with "Rock and Roll." Keep the faith.

1. The Feebles Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio (The Ramones)
2. Tranzmitors Between Planets (Jesus and Mary Chain)
3. Barreracudas Come On, Come On (Cheap Trick)
4. Suzy & Los Quattro He Could Be The One (Josie Cotton)
5. The Like You Belong To Me (Elvis Costello)
6. The Gore Gore Girls Keep Your Hands Off My Baby (Little Eva)
7. The Hellacopters Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)
8. Turbonegro Suffragette City (David Bowie)
9. Faster Pussycat Jessie's Girl (Rick Springfield)
10. DM3 Zero Hour (The Plimsouls)
11. Dipsomaniacs Can't Hardly Wait (The Replacements)
12. Smithereens I Want To Hold Your Hand (The Beatles)
13. The Fondas Yeah Baby (Nolan Strong & the Diablos)
14. Spazzys My Boyfriend's Back (The Angels)
15. Gaslight Anthem Refugee (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
16. Butch Walker & the Black Widows In Bloom (Nirvana)
17. The Dahlmanns Dancing With Joey Ramone (Amy Rigby)
18. The Methadones Back Of My Hand (The Jags)
19. The Nomads Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White (The Standells)
20. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (The Ramones)
21. Me First & the Gimme Gimmes Rich Girl (Hall & Oates)
22. Bazooka Jones These Boots Were Made For Walking (Nancy Sinatra)
23. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Black Betty (Ram Jam)
24. The Atlantics Rock and Roll, Parts I and II (Gary Glitter)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Best of 2011

I have no idea what magical confluence of social vectors and trends managed to cause so many bands to arrive at the front door of this blog's wheelhouse, but 2011 displayed a renewed interest out there in the hook-laden power pop glam punk rock 'n' roll that I feared had been euthanized and buried around the time Bob Stinson got kicked out of the Replacements. There were other trends, of course, and most of them reached a far greater audience than this particular one, but any band with the chops and balls to tap in to the primal source of rock 'n' roll is also gonna be committed to an established tradition of corporate incomprehension and mainstream disinterest (and the two go hand in hand). That, after all, is what makes them un-herd in the first place.

The Un-Herd Music Top 30 of 2011

1. The Breakdowns - The Kids Don't Wanna Bop Anymore

One of those albums that just gets better with each successive listen. Concise, hook-filled songs, trimmed of all fat, that effortlessly seem to channel all the right touchstones since the '50s and still sound totally fresh.  Full review here.

2. The Booze - At Maximum Volume  

Atlanta band that's already broken up, but not before releasing this perfect distillation of classic Stones and Faces. Occasionally the analytical part of my brain argues that it's too derivative of its sources, but then I realize I'm enjoying it too much to care.

3. Biters - It's All Chewed Up, OK?

Another Atlanta band. This is a vinyl-only compilation of their two EPs from earlier in the year (It's OK to Like Biters and All Chewed Up). Either of those EPs could've placed on this list, so if you don't buy vinyl just grab the EPs and stick 'em together.

4. The Meows - All You Can Eat

Paint-blistering, pure rock 'n' roll from Spain. Crazed geetar riffs, pounding pianos, call-and-response backing vocals. These guys touch the godhead itself. 

5. Yep - Once

Almost a covers album, this collaboration between Belleville's Mark Caputo and the Rubinoos' Al Chan isn't surprising because it's filled with hooks - you expect that from these guys - but because it uses its vocal harmonies to dig so deep into the source material. Full review here.

6. The Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams

To be honest, the first listen didn't do much for me - and then Kristen Gundred's voice and melodies starting sinking in until I just couldn't stop playing it. This is a major label band so a) there won't be a track on the mix, and b) steal it. Full review here.

7. Meyerman - Who Do You Think You Are?
Literate, tuneful, and unafraid to turn the amps up, Meyerman are manna from heaven for any fan of power pop. Full review here.

8. Oh Mercy - Great Barrier Grief

It's fitting that this was produced by Mitchell Froom, who mined a similar vein of acoustic pop perfection with Crowded House. Leader/wunderkind Alexander Gow might just be the Roddy Frame of the '10s, but might even be something more.

9. Van Buren Boys - Up All Night

Like an amphetamine version of the Exploding Hearts, with all the similar influences and record collections on display. Not much more than fun, but fun with a capital F. Full review here.

10. Watts - On The Dial

Tough power pop that seems to admire AC/DC as much as Big Star, but prefers the Replacements over Husker Du. All's fine then. Full review here.

11. Barreracudas - Nocturnal Missions (full review here)
12. The Kills - Blood Pressures
13. Redondo Beat - Meet Redondo Beat
14. Marvelous Darlings - Single Life (full review here)
15. Apex Manor - The Year of Magical Drinking
16. Locksley - Locksley
17. Daniel Tashian - Arthur (full review here)
18. The Weight - Nowhere Now
19. Ryan Allen - Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms (full review here)
20. The Postelles - The Postelles

21. Butch Walker & the Black Widows - The Spade
22. Black Rabbits - Hypno Switch
23. Warren Zanes - I Want To Move Into The Daylight
24. Giuda - Racey Roller
25. The CRY! - The CRY!
26. Sun Wizard - Positively 4th Avenue
27. Bare Wires - Cheap Perfume
28. King Louie's Missing Monuments - Paint It White
29. The ACBs - Stona Rosa
30. Tommy Keene - Behind the Parade

This year also saw a number of great EPs released (besides the ones by the Biters), which may be a result of the longplayer album becoming less important as the internet becomes something like ye olde global record shoppe. Here's a quickie top 5:

Gustav Nilsson Make-up On, Letdown Off
Boulevard Beat 8 Track Breakdown
The Adjusters Trouble 'n' Love
Kurt Baker Rockin' For a Living
Reigning Sound Abdication

And finally... here's a sampler for the year. It's not the top 30 - all major label bands have been omitted - so it's more like my usual quantum top 20s (ie: more than 20). All of the above albums are available on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and a multitude of other places, so if you hear something you like then give the bands a little monetary love.

Get Up, Get Down

1. Meyerman Intro Tonight
2. The Meows Tired of Being Alone
3. Biters Ain't So Easy
4. Van Buren Boys Crazy
5. Redondo Beat Do You Wanna Have This Dance?
6. Giuda Roll On
7. Locksley All of the Time
8. Black Rabbits My Baby Don't
9. Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms Heart String Soul
10. Marvelous Darlings I Want My Brand
11. The Kills Future Starts Slow
12. Apex Manor I Know These Waters Well
13. Tommy Keene Deep Six Saturday
14. Oh Mercy Stay, Please Stay
15. The Weight Grand Street
16. Daniel Tashian When You're Gone
17. Yep Crestfallen
18. The Booze Wild One
19. Watts Chaperone
20. Barreracudas Feet
21. The Cry! Down in the City
22. The Postelles Sleep on the Dance Floor
23. Warren Zanes That Sounds Good To Me
24. The Breakdowns The Kids Don't Wanna Bop Anymore