We’re four weeks in to Weekend Download Recommendations, and I’m kind of over theme. In true slacker inspiration, I’ll just bitch about how hard it is to get married to a topic. A lot of times themes are totally regrettable, like the time when a storyteller at my local public library tried to do a goat theme. Once you get past Billy Goats Gruff and some other stupid counting books, there’s just facts. How exciting are goat facts? You don’t want to talk about goats eating trash and the subsequent milk sometimes being given to babies and motherless animals. It’ll just turn the conversation in some twisted life cycle direction. Think about goats if you feel a theme is in your best interest. If you’re tied to the theme thing, just ruminate over lazy Sunday wraparound porch activities, or whatever might be your equivalent. This list is mostly subdued enough to equivocate malaise. Well, except for the Black Lips. And some of Weezer. If you’re going to lazily listen to Weezer, skip straight to “Island in the Sun.”
Less known for being the closing track in Take Me Home Tonight and more known as being the Islanders’ goal-scoring theme song, Opus’ “Live is Life” is still played in and out of arenas by the Austrian band. I don’t know if it’s the cowbell or the rousing “na na na na na” that makes the song so successful-it’s certainly not the bass line--but it’s perfect for a variety of everyday activities. For instance, grooving when driving, or hanging out by yourself on your couch, or drinking by the pool and wearing either a) huge, otiose sunglasses or b) oddly cut, neon-colored bathing suits.
Nickel Creek “Spit on a Stranger”
I’ll just go ahead and lay this out before I get Pavement fans whining over my choice of a cover: I own a Pavement t-shirt. That makes me in the know, see. Besides, just because Nickel Creek decided to cover Pavement’s ’99 song “Spit On A Stranger” doesn’t mean the cover doesn’t own. It’s not misguided like that wretched A Perfect Circle cover of “Imagine” with the weird harmonized bullshit in the chorus. Unlike that cover, the vocals on Nickel Creek’s “Spit On A Stranger” work perfectly. Sorry, Maynard James Keenan. Maybe to get over the insult, you can start playing Tool songs over Animal Collective like you did at Lollapalooza in ’09.
Drive-By Truckers “Tornadoes”
It was supposed to rain today, as well as yesterday, but the weather ain’t cooperating. The grass is starting to get that overheated, dry smell that alludes to the fact it could spontaneously burst into flames at some juncture. DBT’s “Tornadoes” is good for that kind of uncertainty. If there is anything Patterson Hood is useful for, it’s keeping people out of the doldrums. I know that seems wrong, but, if you think your life is bad, listen to what shit he gets into.
Not even half as cool as Lebowski Fest, Friday was Bon Iver Day in Milwaukee. If the city feels they need to celebrate something, fine, but what it should be celebrating is the fact their weather hasn’t hit heatstroke point like everyone else’s. Still, if anything might be calming in this burdensome heat, it’s a band that knows how to croon. I would steer you to Bon Iver’s new self-titled album, but I can’t in good conscious send you somewhere I haven’t yet traversed.
Black Lips Arabia Mountain
The Black Lips suffer from horrible band name syndrome more than anything else. People who were young in the nineties always relate them with the Black Crowes. Excepting die-hard fans, everyone else occasionally mixes them up with the Black Keys, even though the Black Keys are wildly more popular. It’s the same problem Wolf Parade and Wolfmother should have, but don’t seem to. In any case, the Black Lips’ newest album, Arabia Mountain is a good place to start. Mostly produced by the nicely dressed Mark Ronson, Arabia Mountain is less sloppy than the band’s former work, but is still an exercise in having a good time.
Weezer Green Album
I wish I could tell you I’ve gotten my hands on the Muppet’s Green Album, but since I can’t, I’m willing to make the obvious joke. This weekend’s download segment recommends Weezer’s Green Album. Great for drunken bar sing-a-longs and easy listening anywhere, really, Weezer’s Green Album is terribly upbeat even when it is down. Though it is most known for the batman-esque “Hashpipe” and the much beloved “Island in the Sun” the Green Album’s only misstep is that it is missing Muppets.