Saturday, September 26, 2009

Music Library: High Places, Highwaymen, Hindu Love Gods, Hoagy Carmichael, Hold Steady, Holly Cole, Holy Modal Rounders, Homosexuals, Hondells, Honeydogs, Hoodoo Gurus

The High Places - 03/07 - 09/07 (2008). This is a compilation of electronica singles that I picked up after reading a stellar Pitchfork review.  And I'm pretty much indifferent to this music.  I mean, I don't hate it, but I sure don't love it, either.  All of the songs are sing-songy vocals delivered in a sort of emotional deadpan over burbly analog keyboard sounds. Which just utterly fails to hold my interest.

The Highwaymen - Live Texas Radio + (1990).  This is not the Highwaymen you're thinking of, but an Americana-style Austin band that later changed their name to Loose Diamonds.  'Sokay.

Hindu Love Gods - "Raspberry Beret."  REM & Warren Zevon covering one of Prince's best songs. Unlike many of my friends, I'm not a big Zevon fan, but I sure like this.

Hoagy Carmichael - "Huggin' and Chalkin'."  I think there's better Hoagy Carmichael songs out there, but not in my collection.

The Hold Steady - Almost Killed Me (2004), Separation Sunday (2005), Boys And Girls In America (2006), and Stay Positive (2008).  Oh, but I love the Hold Steady, with their albums that sound like classic rock and their lyrics that are simultaneously about youth culture and huge philosophical problems.  And yes, they rock.  I've been struggling to find new things to say about them, but I have yet to come up with anything.  I'm not even sure that I can express why I prefer them to Bruce Springsteen, a clear antecedent.

Holly Cole - "Jersey Girl."  Speaking of Bruce Springsteen, I think his is the most notable cover of this Tom Waits song.  This one is rather Rickie Lee Jones-ish.

The Holy Modal Rounders - 1 and 2 (1964 and 1965) and Indian War Whoop (1967).  At first the HMR were Peter Stampfel and Steven Weber (who we heard a few weeks back with the Fugs), who recorded the first two albums (which are collected and re-sequenced into a single album here) together.  The HMR split up and then re-formed with playwright Sam Shepherd on drums and a couple of guys named Crabtree on piano and organ to make Indian War Whoop.  So, 1 and 2 sounds like a couple of guys playing half-remembered, half-made-up versions of the songs from Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music after listening to it a couple of times while on acid.  It's freakin' brilliant.  Indian War Whoop takes all of that craziness and adds a thick layer of psychedelia on top.   There's more HMR releases (and some from the Unholy Modal Rounders, a version of the band that contributed to Have Moicy!, an amazing collaboration that I think I have filed under Michael Hurley's name.

The Homosexuals - "Walk Before Imitate" and "Hearts In Exile."  An excellent little-known British post-punk band with a Wire-ish sense of concision.  I got these tracks from my pal Matt and intend to explore this music further.

The Hondells - "Little Honda."  I searched this out after hearing Yo La Tengo's cover on I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One.  This is a Brian Wilson/Mike Love song performed by one of the many producer-run fake bands in pop history (the studio band included Glen Campbell and Hal Blaine).

The Honeydogs - Seen A Ghost (1997).  A Minneapolis-based alt-country band with big Beatle-esque pop hearts, similar to the Old 97s in a lot of ways (or, more recently, Dr. Dog).  Their songs don't offend or anything, but they don't really stand out for me, either.

The Hoodoo Gurus - "Dig It Up," Blow Your Cool! (1987), and "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue (Live)."  The Hoodoo Gurus are (were?) a great Aussie guitar band with some top-notch songs.  I've owned copies of Stoneage Romeos (which contains "Dig It Up") and Mars Needs Guitars! a couple of times in my life.  Blow Your Cool! is a bit slicker and less jokey, but it contains the excellent song "What's My Scene?".  True story: when I saw the Replacements in 1987, "What's My Scene?" was one of the many songs they half-knew and attempted to cover.


John T. 1:21 PM, September 29, 2009  

Hayden, I have a whole album of Holly Cole doing covers of Tom Waits songs. Some are better than others. If you're interested I can send you a copy.

Hayden Childs 8:40 PM, September 29, 2009  

Sweet! I'd love to hear that. What can I send you in return?

John T. 1:13 PM, September 30, 2009  

I'll get on it. I wouldn't mind the Hank Williams Original Singles Collection you mentioned awhile ago. I'm woefully short of Hank Williams material.

A little piece of trivia for also mentioned the song "Fuck You" by The Headstones awhile back. Did you know that the lead singer for The Headstones, Hugh Dillon, is now the lead character on the TV show "Flashpoint"?

Andy Axel 6:34 PM, October 01, 2009  

Hoodoo Gurus "are." Last album was out in 2003, but word has it that they are recording again. They have been touring as well, and they very well blow your hair back in the process.

From the 2007 show in Chicago:

And 2007 in Hoboken:

(the setlist from that show, seen on the wall to the right of Brad Shepherd, is now on my wall at the house)

Hayden Childs 10:47 AM, October 02, 2009  

Hey, John! I'll get you a disc together soon.

And thanks, Andy! I should have known that if anyone had the skinny on the Hoodoo Gurus, it would be you or Jean.

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