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Friday random ten: My year in music, part 1

Among other things, 2014 was a year in which I acquired a lot of music. Some of this was music I wanted and got for myself, but a lot of it was music that one or both girls asked for. There were enough new tunes that I’m going to break this up into two post, one for the first half of the year and one for the latter half. Here were some highlights from January through June:

1. Royals – Lorde
2. Harlem Shake – Baauer
3. Let It Go – Idina Menzel
4. Never Never – The Tontons
5. We’re Doing A Sequel – The Muppets
6. Our Lips Are Sealed – Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
7. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
8. Can’t Stop Singing – Ross Lynch & Maia Mitchell
9. Everyone Is Gonna Love Me Now – Ingrid Michaelson
10. Born Blonde – Wild Moccasins

Here’s my annual accounting from last year. TV shows (“Can’t Stop Singing”) and movies (“We’re Doing A Sequel” and (duh) “Let It Go”) were big drivers of purchases this year, as I expect them to be for the foreseeable future. The kids also often ask for songs they hear at school, either through their Creative Movement class or from other kids (“Harlem Shake”, “Moves Like Jagger”). After our Honda minivan was totaled by a guy that crashed into me while I was sitting at a stoplight, we had a rental for a week or so that had satellite radio, and I found myself listening to some kind of new-ish, indie-ish station (I wish I could remember what it was, and looking at the station descriptions now doesn’t help) and heard “Royals” for the first time. Olivia was with me, she said she was familiar with the song and liked it, so I got it. The Tontons and The Wild Moccasins are both Houston groups whose music came up as offerings on Noisetrade, so I picked them up. We saw Ingrid Michaelson at the House of Blues in May after I discovered that my second cousin Chris Kuffner was in her backing band; he scored us some tickets, and we bought the CD she was touring in support of at the show. As for Sweet & Hoffs, I’d heard a ton of their stuff on Coverville over the years and finally decided I needed some of it. So that’s the story so far.

Saturday video break: I’ll be in Scotland afore ye

Have you ever heard the expression “You take the high road, and I’ll take the low road”, and wondered where it came from? It’s from a traditional song called “Loch Lomond”. Coverville had a great version of it recently.

I love a sad song with a good melody. Googling around, I saw on the Wikipedia page for the song that there was an arrangement for symphonic band of the song by Frank Ticheli, who was for awhile the professor of music composition at my alma mater, Trinity University. So naturally, I had to find a version of that:

That same Wikipedia page also informed me of Bill Haley’s version, appropriately called Rock Lomond:

I think that spans the spectrum of this song pretty well.

Saturday video break: Killing Me Softly

Song #33 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Killing Me Softly”, originally by Lori Lieberman and covered by The Fugees. Here’s the original:

This one I have heard before, on an episode of Coverville. For some reason, I was under the belief that this song was written as a reaction to Don McLean’s “American Pie”, but according to Wikipedia at least that isn’t quite true. Be that as it may, you can see why this song has been covered as often as it has. Here’s the Fugees version:

It’s probably a sign of my age that I’m way more familiar with the Roberta Flack version than I am with this one. Lauryn Hill does have the chops for it, though, that’s for sure. What’s your favorite version of this one?

Friday random ten: Closing ceremonies

Inspired by this, here’s one last Olympics-themed Random Ten:

1. Bicycle Race – Queen
2. Holy Diver – Dio
3. The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel
4. Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen
5. Jump – Big Daddy
6. Nightswimming – You Say Party! We Say Die!
7. If I Had A Hammer – Pete Seeger
8. A Horse Named Bill – Flying Fish Sailors
9. Balance Beam – Laurie Berkner
10. Star Spangled Banner – Eddie From Ohio

Yeah, I have the first three songs on the Coverville list, which is why this inspired me. Good thing this isn’t the Winter Olympics, because I don’t have a lot of snow and ice-themed music, at least outside of the Christmas carol genre.

Saturday video break: Bizarre Love Triangle

Song #88 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Bizarre Love Triangle”, originally by New Order and covered by Frente. Here’s the original:

That’s kind of an unsatisfying version of the song – there’s something off about the audio, the singer’s level is too low, and it cut off at the end. Here’s a better version, presumably ripped from the production single. I included the first one because it showed the band from the time of recording. Anyway, here’s the Frente cover:

Different in many wyas, not the least of which being the fact that it’s half as long as the original. You get a lot of these stripped-down acoustic indie covers on Coverville, and I often find them kind of dreary, but this one maintained a peppy tempo, which helped a lot. I liked it, anyway. What do you think?

Saturday video break: The accordion is God’s great gift to humanity

You know what you need today? I’ll tell you what you need today: A Ukrainian folk version of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”, that’s what.

Seriously, if the Internet didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it just for stuff like this. Many thanks to Coverville for the find.

Saturday video break: Never was a cloudy day

Got myself another iTunes gift card for Christmas this year, and I’ve decided that I’m going to spend some of that money on songs from the 2009 Coverville Countdown. That’s the top 40 cover songs as voted by the listeners. This one, a cover of Earth Wind & Fire’s “September” by Pomplamoose, came in at #19 but it may be my favorite. Alas, embedding has been disabled, so you’ll have to click the link to watch it. And you really should, because it’s very cool, and as they say in the notes:

This cover is a VideoSong, a new medium with 2 rules:
1. What you see is what you hear (no lip-syncing for instruments or voice).
2. If you hear it, at some point you see it (no hidden sounds).

If you like what you hear, there’s a link to a free MP3 download on their MySpace page. Which means I didn’t even have to spend my iTunes money to get it. I’ll save that for some of their other music. Now go check them out.

Saturday video break: One man band

Ever see a one-man band, where one dude, usually a street musician, plays a bunch of instruments at once? It’s impressive in a way, but usually (to me, anyway) more hokey than remarkable. Here’s an example of something that truly is an achievement in multi-tasking:

Pretty damn cool, if you ask me. Learn more about the 18-year-old who did this here. Thanks to Coverville for the tip.

Seeking iTunes help again

Last year, I asked for help buying music from the iTunes store, as I’d been given a gift card for Christmas. I scored some more gift cards this year, so I’m back asking for more help. You’ve got a decent idea of my taste in music from the various Friday Random Ten postings I’ve done, but please don’t feel constrained by that. Tell me what you like, what you think any idiot with some semblance of taste ought to have, whatever. If you can find a link to a video of the song in question so I can give it a test drive, that’d be awesome. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.

And as long as I’m asking for help…Some months ago, I heard a song called If You Steal My Sunshine, by a group called LEN, on the local Jack station, and I liked it. I went looking for it on iTunes, but all they had (and still have) was the video. Since I can see that for free on YouTube, I declined. I’ve tried Amazon and LEN’s MySpace page, but cannot find that version of the song available anywhere. I don’t want to buy a full CD, and I don’t want to take a chance on a cover version without a solid recommendation – I’ve been contemplating making a request at Coverville, just to see what I might get – so I’ll throw the question out here: Anyone know where I can buy a copy of this song, the one performed in that YouTube link? Thanks.