01 July 2020

1 July 2020 - Robin Sparkles - Let's Go To The Mall

Yes, this is really Cobie Smulders singing this.  I figured, let's just put that right out there.

If you are a fan of the TV Show How I Met Your Mother, you know this song well.  It's possibly more iconic than the show itself - and it endures to this day, several years after the show left the air.

I mean, everybody loves going to the mall.  Let this song rock your body until Canada Day (which happens to be today).

Oh, if you had doubts about my claim that it actually was Cobie Smulders.... as part of all this COVID-19 fun we're all having, she recorded an updated and quarantine-appropriate version..... 

These's one more thing.

Go to www.twitter.com/redargyle and start reading down.  First word of each tweet is all you need.

26 June 2020

26 June 2020 - Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj - Side To Side

At this point in her career, Ariana Grande wanted to be taken seriously, as an adult artist.  And while she tries to mask the suggestive nature of the song with this video, with ladies moving... er, side to side on exercise bikes, it ain't about going to the gym.  (Nicki Minaj, for her part, is a bit more direct.)

What this song is, even with its somewhat naughty premise, is a grown-up, densely layered dancehall-pop song that is surprisingly strong.

But what if you strip the layers and the overproduction?  It's still a surprisingly strong song - Grande has a voice that, while still maturing at this point in her career, is evocative and still a little innocent.....sounding.

25 June 2020

25 June 2020 - The Juliana Hatfield Three - My Sister

Those of you know have read this blog for awhile know that there's a story that goes along with Juliana Hatfield for me.

I won't tell that one again.  I will say that the show I reference in that story came BETWEEN the ones in which I saw Veruca Salt and Letters To Cleo.  So, I figured I'd post it today.

For its part, Juliana's first all-ages show really was the Violent Femmes and the del Fuegos.  She did not, however, have a sister (although she explains in all in her book, When I Grow Up) .

The Juliana Hatfield Three was a seemingly one-off project, but she got the band back together in 2015.

24 June 2020

24 June 2020 - Letters To Cleo - Awake

As many of you know, I am a fan of the show "Parks and Recreation."  If I had to identify one moment in this show with which I most personally identify, it's this one:

"I love you, Kay Hanley!"
I had that shirt.

23 June 2020

23 June 2020 - Veruca Salt - Volcano Girls

A couple of weeks ago, I told you which was the best band I ever saw live.

Today, I tell you about the most disappointing. But there's a happy ending.

The band was Veruca Salt, opening for PJ Harvey and Live.   I was a really big fan of the energy they brought to their music - but in  September 1995, they brought absolutely none of that energy.   Let's be clear - I have seen WORSE bands live (and, to be fair, when I wrote THIS, I had not seen the band I now consider the worst I've seen live) but this was a show I thought would be amazing, and it wasn't.

This song came after that, and they clearly recaptured the energy they had lost that one day.  So, I'll forgive them.  Plus, this song is so creative, it completely switches tempo and plot at 2:25 - which I always found to be intriguing.  Veruca Salt knew what their fans wanted, so they catered to it.

Besides, now we know who the seether is. 

It's Louise.

Two years later, they seem to have gotten their mojo back, so maybe I'd give them a 2nd chance.

21 June 2020

21 June 2020 - Luscious Jackson - Daughters of the Kaos

I brought back Guilt-Free Sunday because I'm on a Luscious Jackson kick.

I have spent the last week walking you though their catalog, but I had up until now avoided their debut EP, In Search Of Manny.  The seven songs on that set (3 early Jill Cuniff/Gabby Glaser demos and four others) were hip-hop/pop/rock fusion unlike anything the music industry had ever seen.

"Daughters of the Kaos" was their first video and you can see the hip-hop group influence, with Cuniff and Glaser taking turns on verses, not unlike other similar artists of their time, and the heavy use of samples - which persists through their music going forward.  Lyrically, the song is possibly a little more badass than their image going forward (remember, this was also a single of theirs), but they were well on their way to finding their sound.

Somehow, the song is better live.  When the song opens, you don't expect police sirens to follow the Spanish guitar - and yet, there it is. 

I may have taken forever to get to the earliest Luscious Jackson music, but they don't at all avoid it.  Somehow it sounds a little less dark as they perform it twenty years later, but it's still tight.

19 June 2020

19 June 2020 - Luscious Jackson - Show Us What You Got

Luscious Jackson broke up in 2000, but they started undoing that breakup pretty quickly, and by 2010, they were back together.

In 2013, they released a really solid album called Magic Hour.  This was the first single.  It clearly retains the hip-hop sensibilities, but it's edgier than their earlier stuff.  Listen to this post from two days ago, then come back to this one - and remember that it's the same band.

Here they are in 2013 on Letterman.  They always look like they are having so much fun live, so I love sharing these.