Saturday, August 2, 2008
The Believer 2005 Music Issue CD
This compilation, done especially for McSweeneys' The Believer magazine, is an indie-pop lover's wet dream: current (well, as of mid-2005) bands on the scene cover songs by other current bands. The exception here seems to be Two Gallants who cover ultra-obscure fellow San Franciscans Blear, from an old cassette they had. One of the best on here, too, and since included on the vinyl re-issue of their excellent The Throes LP.
Browsing around at a local newsstand, that is why I picked this up. That and a Fall article, on the occasion of their massive 6-Disc complete Peel Sessions release.
For about four years between 2004 and 2007 I owned a coffee shop on Tucson's main shopping/barring/and general hanging-out street Fourth Ave. It was called itl (don't ask me why; no-one knows). This was my decompression period after 13 years in NYC and what was surely an oncoming brain aneurysm or massive coronary from the stress of life post-9/11 in that great city. Anyway, the cafe was a favorite with the downtown arts folks (I won't call them "scenesters", thanks), most of whom are wonderful people and great friends. Tucson attracts a certain type. I guess the heat weeds out the weak and you get a bunch of unpretentious bike-loving artistic wackos. I fit right in.
We would regularly feature local music at the shop, both on the stereo and on the back patio. And the occasional touring acts. One day in early '05 we featured Two Gallants, whom I had never heard or heard of. It was a chilly, rainy winter's day so we decided to put the show on in the tiny front room and just squeeze everyone in. When the 2Gs walked in and set-up (drum kit and our bass amp someone left behind), my first reaction was something along the lines of "Oh jeez, what are these hayseeds gonna do?". Not that I have anything against scraggly looking ex-buskers, and they totally "looked Tucson". But from the moment they started playing and the minute Adam started singing, my jaw was on the fucking floor. "Holy shit! These guys are fucking great!" They blew everyone crammed in there mainly on account of the local opening act, away.
A few months later we had them back, at their request, for an afternoon show before their regular, paying gig at Solar Culture.
They are one of my favorites these days, and (back to the magazine CD) are why I have this CD and am able to offer it to you, woo-hoo. Usually I find that most CDs that come with magazines suck. And if they don't suck outright, they contain too much common stuff among the jewels (like most Mojo CDs, though generally I think they do a fair job for a mainstream albeit British rag). But this one has a great coffee shop vibe. NOT a Starbucks coffee shop vibe, but an itl Coffee Shop, that is, a cool coffee shop vibe. So the whole disc got lots of airplay at the shop. Lots of customers were disappointed to learn that by the time they heard it there they could no longer go out and buy the particular issue.
They do offer back issues on their website, though, and I checked that before posting. And yes, it's "Out Of Stock".
So just get it HERE and be done with it. It's a good, varied listen all the way through and not just eclecticism for eclecticism's sake.
01. Bridges and Balloons (The Decemberists cover Joanna Newsome)
02. Decora (Spoon cover Yo La Tengo)
03. Why I Didn't Like August 93 (The Constantines cover Elevator To Hell)
04. Ohio (CocoRosie cover Damien Jurado)
05. Pet Politics (The Mountain Goats cover Silver Jews)
06. Late Blues (San Serac cover Ida)
07. We Will Become Silhouettes (The Shins cover The Postal Service)
08. The Golden Window (Josephine Foster covers The Cherry Blossoms)
09. Surprize, AZ (Cynthia G. Mason covers Richard Buckner)
10. Nightime/Anytime (It's Alright) (Jim Guthrie covers The Constantines)
11. Firefly Refrain (Espers cover Fursaxa)
12. Anna's Sweaters (Two Gallants cover Blear)
13. Be Kind To Me (Vetiver cover Michael Hurley)
14. My Fair, My Dark (Ida covers David Schickele)
15. Waterfalls (Mount Eerie covers Thanksgiving)
16. Fistful of Love (Devendra Banhart covers Antony & The Johnsons)
17. Claxxon's Lament (Wolf Parade cover Frog Eyes)