Archive | July, 2011

My Name Is Margaux And I’m A….

13 Jul

I think if you were to ask most people what some of their guilty pleasure songs were, you’d get answers like some cheesy boy band or maybe some current dance schlock.  Or even Justin Beiber.  What’s weird about me is that some artists that I myself classify as ‘guilty pleasures’ really shouldn’t be.  But for some reason – maybe it’s musical pushback from my friends  or who knows what –  they end up in the ‘guilty pleasure’ pile.

WTF?  Why am I yielding to peer pressure in this one teensy area of my life when I don’t do it anywhere else?

And so I am outing myself today:

I am a Jimmy Eat World fan.

Especially their 2001 album, ‘Bleed American’ where over half the songs would be in serious contention for some Desert Island Songs List if I had one.  I’m not even sure why anyone wouldn’t think they’re completely awesome.  They had a bunch of success with this record so obviously I’m hardly the only one who gets sucked in by their rockin’ hooks.  But I don’t think people in 2011 appreciate them.

It’s been pretty had to decide which track to post here today.  In fact, I’ve been mentally debating this on and off all day which is today’s excuse for posting so late.  Finally “Sweetness” won, but man am I bruised from all the intense internal debating.  For real, to me, ‘Bleed American’ is more like a greatest hits type album than a regular ole release.  Wait, I’m questioning my choice again.  I’ll give you the title track, “Bleed American” too.

I have to post this quickly before I start fighting with myself – again.

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A Rough Ball of Twine

12 Jul

I used to know what songs were my favorites by what records I intentionally chose to play.  Increasingly, I am aware of my favorites by which I don’t hit the Next/FF arrows on my iPod.  That’s kind of a sad state of affairs, made sadder still by the fact that I actually have a whole room of records to choose from as well as a great turntable begging to be used more than it is.

Even songs I adore are victim to my quick FF finger.  One of the few songs which always gets played in its entirety when it comes on, however, is Vic Chestnutt’s “Degenerate.”

Vic was an utterly amazing artist from Athens, Ga.  He was in a car accident when he was 18 and was wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life.  He had only partial use of his hands, yet they were super prolific hands.  He releasee a bunch of records before he died from an overdose on Christmas Day, 2009.

“Degenerate” is a powerful track from his 1996 album, “About To Choke.”  “About To Choke’ was his only release on the major label, Capitol, and didn’t move enough units, as they say, to warrant subsequent releases – in their minds.  Now, 15 years later, it’s bee reissued.  Snatch it up while you can.

Vic was such unique songwriter – imaginative, quirky and raw as can be.  Anyone who can write lyrics like those you hear in “Degenerate” and make them sing-along-able deserves a place in your collection, no?  Of course there’s an extra benefit; if you load up your iPod with Vic, your FF finger will get a little holiday.

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Little Beaver

11 Jul

Little Beaver, aka William Hale, is a soul and blues artist who epitomizes steamy Southern-style soul.  He’s also one someone whose career was sadly put to an end by the advent of disco in the mid-late ’70s.  But before that, woo-eee.  He was born in Arkansas, but moved to Florida as a teen and basically embodied the sound of Miami soul on his recordings for the local Cat/TK label.

Here’s one:  “Funkadelic Sound.”  It’s clearly in the soul tradition of James Brown, but its sheer funkadelic sound should not be ignored.   Little Beaver was not just a solo artist.  He was also an in-demand session guitarist even long after his own career came to a close.  Just listen to the awesome riff you hear on the hit by fellow Floridian Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman” – and give thanks for Little Beaver.  Incidentally, when you listen to “Clean Up Woman,” here’s something crazy to think about – she was just 17 when she recorded that!

Just because this is one of the shorter posts in Margauxville history does not in any way diminish how fantastic and funky Little Beaver is.  Or how great Betty Wright is.  If anything, blame my brevity on my still harboring a grudge against Florida for the 2000 election.  Or maybe it’s just that it’s hot and I want to get away from the computer.   Whatever the reason, it’s definitely no reflection on the funky funkiness herein.

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Big Troubles

10 Jul

Generally speaking, even though I love drama, I prefer to stay away from trouble.  Especially big trouble.  And also generally speaking, I like big troubles to stay far away from me.  Except for one.  I rather like the band, Big Troubles.

They’re from Ridgewood, New Jersey of all places, which would seem like a big enough trouble to surmount, but I guess they don’t let big troubles bog them down.  If you don’t know of them yet, you should.  Or should I get all predictive and say ‘you will’?  They’ve been doing a bit of a PR push lately because their second album is coming out in September, so you may have already come across a recent article or so.  Plus they’re touring this summer with a band that you better be familiar with now since they graced Margauxville on April 30th, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

That’s actually an amazing pairing for suckers of jangly pop like me.  Listen to just one example of why you should care about Big Troubles:  “Misery.”  Go on, download; misery loves company.

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People Make the World Go Round

9 Jul

I’m a big fan of 70s Philly soul music and The Stylistics are one of my absolute favorite groups on my long list of artists I completely dig in this genre.   Their song “Betcha By Golly Wow” is of super importance in my life and I always would have assumed that that’s the one I’d choose to highlight here, but I should know better than to predict my own behavior.

I’ve had “People Make the World Go Round” in my head all day and hopefully you’ll have it in your head all day tomorrow.  It’s quite a song.  From their debut album in 1972, it goes after all members of the social strata – from garbage collectors to Wall Streeters.  “But that’s what makes world go round…” as they say.

Maybe I was thinking of it because I was in a sea of humanity today.  I went to see the life-changing Alexander McQueen show yet again.  The Met on a Saturday at a blockbuster show…yikes.  Then to The Highline – on a gorgeous weekend day.  More yikes.  Then, believe it or not, to a mall.  Oddly that was the place most devoid of people.  Throw in some restaurants and transportation and I’ve had more contact with people in this one day than I had all of last month.  And to top it all off, I was a magnet for every bad seed of a child today as well.
But none of it annoyed me in the least.  Well maybe one or two of the kids.  But nothing else.  It was just the world rotating perfectly on it’s axis.  People do make the world go round.

The Final Frontier

8 Jul

As you are no doubt aware, the space shuttle program is set to end today.  The final shuttle may or may not blast off this morning as planned.  Right now NASA is saying that there is only a 30% chance it will lift-off, on time at least, due to the stormy environment.  I hate the end of eras in general and this seems particularly sad to me.  I know there will be future initiatives but its close still makes me a little uncomfortable.

There are about 450,000 songs that deal with space travel or the space age or any sort of related subject and I was tempted by at least 12 of them for today’s posting.  But ultimately, all I can think about is NASA and how strange today must feel for everyone there.

So even though this N.A.S.A. stands for North America South America, here’s “Strange Enough” (feat. Karen O., Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Fatlip).

Truth be told, if I hadn’t already featured The Carpenters on Margauxville, I would have had a bigger dilemma.  But I did, so I didn’t.  That said (are you following?), you MUST watch this video.  It is the second best video in all of space.  (First best video ever, here.)

Should I cross my fingers that the shuttle lifts-off at 11:26a or hope that the final run is delayed so that the ending isn’t really here?  Now that’s a dilemma.

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Oh Lucky Day

7 Jul

7.7.11.   This has got to be foolproof date for all things lucky!

I know all about luck.  A Sagittarius, I’m automatically prone to being lucky.  This is a very good thing because it offsets all the damage a Sagittarian gets into from clumsiness and tactlessness.  Being naturally lucky also makes it easy it quite easy to be an optimist.

When I hear the word “luck” my mind automatically goes to the ‘good’ side of it.  I find it curious when I come into contact with those who automatically go the ‘bad’ side of luck immediately.  I guess I’d make the worst blues singer.  This is, in fact, rather unlucky, since that would be the best genre for me since I can’t really sing.  But generally speaking, I’m happy to be an optimist.

But it is also true that in some cases, the unlucky ones have an allure. Of course it’s easier to stomach the “woe is me” types when they come packaged in sexiness.  (God knows a dose of sexy can make a lot of bad traits palatable…)

Chet Baker is the sexy black cloud.  So on 7.7.11 you are lucky enough to get one of my favorite unlucky songs: “Everything Happens To Me.”  Now go buy a lottery ticket.

Appalling

6 Jul


Today the New York Times sunk to an all-time low.  It was brought to my attention that they actually included the following sentence in rock critic Jane Scott’s obituary:

“A Victrola is something like an iPod, only larger.”

Honestly, I can barely fathom this.  At first I thought it was a joke, but who jokes in an obituary?  And it’s the New York Times, not Highlights for Children!  What’s next?  RCA’s dog, Nipper,  listening to an iPod?  I can’t even write more.  It’s too horrifying.

Here’s “Victrola” by Veruca Salt.  Or maybe it’s called “Large iPod,”… I forget.

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Va-Va-Voom!

5 Jul

Micheline Bernardini in the world's first bikini, 1946

I bet you didn’t realize what an important date July 5th played in your life.  Sixty-five years ago, the bikini was introduced, changing tan lines forever.   Oddly enough, two separate designers set to revolutionize the beach at the very same time, each one working on his version of the two-piece.

Jacques Heim named his the “atome,” after the teensy atom, and marketed it as “the world’s smallest bathing suit.”  But someone else – Louis Reard – managed to eclipse le atome with ‘bikini.’  It’s really quite amazing.  Reard wasn’t even a full-time designer.  He was a mechanical engineer whose hobbies including swimsuit design.  But while he and Heim had the same idea, Reard was a far better marketer.  His slogan? “Bikini — smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world.”

And so, on July 5th, 1946, model Micheline Bernardini unleashed the first bikini to the world.   Damn all of them!  Just the other day as I stood in a three way mirror under florescent lights, I decided I’d like to bring back the bathing attire of the 1920s.  But that’s just me.

I have to believe that many a relationship has been started because of a teensy bikini.  And I’m equally sure that the vast majority of them end around Labor Day.  And here’s a great ode to the summer fling – “Summertime Girlfriend” by A.M. 60.  A.M. 60 was an infectious band fronted by Chris Root, who also had a great band before that (The Mosquitos) and has a different dreamy one now (Undersea Poem).  Since that’s three bands, I think I have license to use the other two in subsequent posts.

I’m a  big A.M. 60 fan.  I used an incredibly great song of theirs, “Just A Dream,” in a Schwinn commercial I produced last year.  You should buy it.  The song, not the bike.  Although the bikes are super nice too.

Okay, I need to go do some crunches.  It is bikini season after all.

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America, Fuck Yeah!

4 Jul

Happy July 4th everyone!

I love this holiday – and that’s really lucky because I also get to share one of my favorite songs on this very special day!  You might think I’m being ironic with “America Fuck Yeah” but you’d be wrong!  I adore the movie “Team America:  World Police” and this song is one of the main reasons.  Actually I love every single thing about the movie and every single thing about the song.

I have a dream that one day there will be Macy’s fireworks choreographed to this song.  America, when you blow out the candles on your birthday cake tonight, please wish for that.

Fuck yeah!

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