Sammy the Seal

Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

“These people aren’t your friends”

In vinyl on Wednesday, 31 August, 2011 at 9:55

Song: This Place Is a Prison
Artist: The Postal Service
Album: Give Up

And to think I was going to do something made within the last three, hell, even five years. Judging by the last week or so, anything after 1999 would’ve been good, so I guess this, 2003, counts. Well, there’s always tomorrow. Somber, but not dreary. A good counterpoint to all the peppy stuff on the album. The thin, minimalistic beat doesn’t come in until late, but it’s just right for the tone of the song, and still, it’s skips along a little. Mopey can be head-bobbing too.


“Don’t give me no shit because I’ve been tired”

In music videos, vinyl on Tuesday, 30 August, 2011 at 11:44

Song: I’ve Been Tired
Artist: Pixies
Album: Come On Pilgrim

Ah, early Pixies. If this doesn’t make you smile, check your ass for an obstruction. The bass is fluid and playful, the guitars jitter, prance and ring, and the lyrics are a hoot, delivered sassily by Francis. It’s hilarious! I mean, the sigh, “losing my penis to a whore with disease”, “excuse me, please?”, Kim’s breathy cameo in the second verse, they all crack me up with joy. And, a great, hidden line in “don’t give me no shit because I’ve been tired.” When you yelp like they do, you can get away with the three-word chorus. I laugh as much as I enjoy the music itself. What a great song.

I didn’t realize until now how prolific these people were, all their albums were put out in consecutive years from 1987 to 1991. A rapid, consistent embarrassment of riches. The very beginning and end of the song are missing from the video, but at the same time, this is was captured on a camcorder and is the earliest clip I found– the time stamp shows 1986. Amazing. Taste the magic:


(One two three)
She’s a real left winger ’cause she been down south and held peasants in her arms
She said “I could tell you stories that could make you cry, what about you?”
I said “Me too. I could tell you a story that will make you cry”
And she sighed, “Ahhh”
I said “I wanna be a singer like Lou Reed”
“I like Lou Reed”, she said, sticking her tongue in my ear
“Let’s go, let’s sit, let’s talk, politics go so good with beer,
and while we’re at it, baby, why don’t you tell me one of your biggest fears?”
I said, “Losing my penis to a whore with disease”
“Just kidding”, I said “Losing my life to a whore with disease”
She said, “Excuse me, please?”
I said “losing my life to a whore with disease.” I said, ” Please,
I’m a humble guy with healthy desire. Don’t give me no shit because

I’ve been tired”

I tell my tale of a girl, but I call her a woman
She’s a little bit older than me
Strong legs, strong face, voice like milk, breasts like a cluster of grapes
I can’t escape the ways she raise me
She’ll make you feel like Solomon, be one of your babies even if you had no one
(And while we’re at it, baby, why don’t you tell me one of your biggest fears?)
“You don’t wanna sleep after setting my loins on fire, but that’s okay because

I’ve been tired”

T-i-r-e-d spells it

“After all these years wrestling gators…”

In vinyl on Sunday, 28 August, 2011 at 23:46

Song: Papa Was A Rodeo
Artist: The Magnetic Fields
Album: 69 Love Songs, Volume 2

I was thinking of a good night song after a long day, and this one came to me instantly. It’s a great song period, plus Stephin is singing lead which means I can sing the whole thing without any trouble, match baritone for baritone. There were too many lyrics I could use as the subject, so I added them below, though the song moves slowly enough and the vocals are clear enough that any native English speaker with functioning ears shouldn’t need any help.

Good night, lovely song.


I like your twisted point of view, Mike
I like your questioning eyebrows
You’ve made it pretty clear what you like
It’s only fair to tell you now
that I leave early in the morning
and I won’t be back till next year
I see that kiss-me pucker forming
but maybe you should plug it with a beer

Papa was a rodeo, mama was a rock ‘n’ roll band
I could play guitar and rope a steer before I learned to stand
Home was anywhere with diesel gas, love was a trucker’s hand
Never stuck around long enough for a one night stand
Before you kiss me you should know
Papa was a rodeo

The light reflecting off the mirror ball
looks like a thousand swirling eyes
They make me think I shouldn’t be here at all
You know, every minute someone dies
What are we doing in this dive bar
How can you live in a place like this
Why don’t you just get into my car
and I’ll take you away I’ll take that kiss now,

Papa was a rodeo, mama was a rock ‘n’ roll band
I could play guitar and rope a steer before I learned to stand
Home was anywhere with diesel gas, love was a trucker’s hand
Never stuck around long enough for a one night stand
Before you kiss me you should know
Papa was a rodeo

And now it’s 55 years later
We’ve had the romance of the century
After all these years wrestling gators
I still feel like crying when I think of what you said to me

Papa was a rodeo, mama was a rock ‘n’ roll band
I could play guitar and rope a steer before I learned to stand
Home was anywhere with diesel gas, love was a trucker’s hand
Never stuck around long enough for a one night stand
Before you kiss me you should know
Papa was a rodeo

What a coincidence, your papa was a rodeo too

“Being dragged up a hill hanging on to a rope”

In music videos, vinyl on Sunday, 28 August, 2011 at 3:36

Song: Vancouver B.C.
Artist: The Smugglers
Album: The Smugglers At Marineland

Found more dopey fun, the Mint Records youtube channel forced it on me. Not as good as “Rosie” but still enjoyable. Trivia: the guy standing under the umbrella with the band when they say “Mulligan”? Mr. Mulligan in Rosie. Evidently, he’s some well-known Canadian actor (I think). I guess they couldn’t get enough of him.

“Bargaining for your love can be such a drag”

In music videos, vinyl on Friday, 26 August, 2011 at 22:10

Song: Rosie
Artist: The Smugglers
Album: Rosie

Another awesome video find. I’m barely familiar with The Smugglers, from my Lookout! Records days (though this is actually on Mint). If Rosie sounds familiar, it’s none other than Rose Melberg (The Softies, Go Sailor, Tiger Trap), though not in the video, that’s just an actress lip syncing. I just like that she’s part of a peppy little rock song, her vocals even get a little animated at times. I love the call and response at the very end, her dry “I’m right here” is precious.

Speaking of which, I have to say I found the video quite endearing, I think I actually like the song better because of it. Cute girls having a slumber party, and a rock and roll band comes over to play– not the most daring concept, but it’s such harmless fun! Look at them, don’t they look like they’re having a great time? I love the scripted part at the beginning, perfectly done for a music video like this. The girl playing Rosie does a great ” ‘kay, dad”, it’s one of the best line readings I’ve ever heard for a portrayal of a teenage girl. Also, she’s adorable, which helps sell it. And, you have the “Rosie!” by the prowler climbing up the ladder (which as actually the screenshot for the first video), and playing the drums with wooden spoons.

For videos, you have two choices: the first one has better sound, but the second one has a cleaner picture. Also, the first one doesn’t actually start until 0:19 or so.

“Yo te quiero, oh my corazón”

In vinyl on Thursday, 25 August, 2011 at 23:05

Song: Spanish Bombs
Artist: The Clash
Album: London Calling

What do you listen to when you’re feeling absolutely bleh all evening? Trial and error brought me, quickly, and fortunately, to the soothing opening strains and drum fill of “Spanish Bombs”. The recurring, overarching melody that opens and closes the song, and that simple guitar line at 1:51 never fail to comfort and re-assure, like seeing a warm, familiar, friendly face.


“Would that be such a catastrophe?”

In vinyl on Wednesday, 24 August, 2011 at 19:15

Song: King Dork
Artist: The Mr. T Experience

Finally! So this was never on a proper album, it floated around in a couple of slightly different versions, one with a little piano, I think, appeared in likely re-recorded fashion on a compilation of B-sides, EPs, and unreleased tracks (…And The Women Who Love Them, Special Addition), and this version I believe came first, appearing on a Lookout! Records sampler, Forward ‘Til Death. I deem this one the preferred version. Obviously, as it was recorded first, this one has less polish and more roughness on the edges. It was written in the mid-to-late 90s, and it’s still one of the very best MTX tunes. (For me, it’s a toss-up between this and “Fucked Up on Life”.) The song is here in honor of having just re-read MTX ringleader Dr. Frank’s (né Frank Portman) first novel of the same name. It should follow that the themes of the book are very similar to the lyrics of the song, especially considering the narrator is a high school sophomore.

Anyway, it’s nerdy and self-loathing, with just the right amount of sweetness, with a strong melody and some great backing vocals to sing with. It reminds me of why they were at one time one of my most favorite bands, and strangely, though coincidentally, I felt similar pangs of bittersweetness upon finishing the book. Simpler times, I suppose. Like seeing Frank perform his own stuff and read from the book at a Cupcake Royale five years back, keeping my cool until the end, then taking a dorky-ass photo so with him where I looked like a geek fan and he looked less than enthused, whereupon I immediately deleted it because it was so unsightly. Simpler times.

The words:

I don’t have much to offer
or anything at all
I look like death warmed over
you’re like a living doll

I may
be the worst that you have seen
but I’m King Dork and I want you to be my queen
I’m King Dork and I want you to be my queen

You’re too dear to put a price on
and when I talk you,
you’re more than Monty Python,
Star Trek, or Doctor Who

much more
than MST3K or D&D
I’m King Dork and I want you to be with me
I’m King Dork and I want you to be with me

Once you get used to it
maybe you could love me just a little bit
Would that be such a catastrophe?
So don’t start screaming yet
Just lower your standards then get set
Whatever it takes, however it has to be

Those other girls can’t stand me
there’s none as fair as you
but if they see you and me
it might embarrass you

we’ll go
where they will never see
I’m King Dork and I want you to be with me
I’m King Dork and I want you to be my queen

“The spider-man is always hungry”

In music videos, vinyl on Tuesday, 23 August, 2011 at 0:20

Song: Lullaby
Artist: The Cure
Album: Disintegration

Well, what do you know, I’m actually going to bed at midnight. Let’s commemorate it with a lullaby. Neat bit of nostalgia, I actually remember hearing this in the early 90s when I was first discovering music. Through siblings, of course. Pleasant dreams…..

(I don’t see how they could’ve done anything but a literal interpretation of this song. Here comes the cheese : )

“I’m smokin’, oh baby”

In music videos, vinyl on Sunday, 21 August, 2011 at 20:28

Song: Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La)
Artist: The Ramones
Album: Ramones Mania (this version)

The solo at 2:06 is so slow, enough that one can count the notes (I have 29), and still it feels good. Sorry, “Blitzkrieg Bop” or “I Wanna Be Sedated” this is not. I’m certainly not a purist (I wouldn’t even call myself a big fan) nor an obscurist, but I prefer this song to those two, and not because they’re their most popular. They’re still decent songs. (Contrast: “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by The Clash, the only song of theirs I’ve heard on the radio, and a wholly mediocre song at that.) This one is light on the bratty and snarky, with more emphasis on the jubilant on extra-catchy. Who do you think “Sha La La” is in the song title, after all? They knew what they had. I’d say this is feel-good, but that sounds so touchy-feely and happy and fuzzy, so I’ll stick with jubilant. I like jubilant.

I didn’t know there was a video! And unlike the other copy I found, this on is in sync!

I guess I’m just more used to this version, though the song originally appeared on Too Tough To Die. It’s slightly different and about thirty seconds longer:

“Have a heart”

In music videos, vinyl, You're a kitty! on Friday, 19 August, 2011 at 6:57

Song: Rill Rill
Artist: Sleigh Bells
Album: Treats

I succumbed to the sunshine too, what can I say. Of all the bright, shiny crap with a lacquered sheen on the radio (I have to hear it at work), why not play something that actually sounds like summer and– heaven forfend!– has a real hook? Almost a little too cheery and happy, but it glides as softly and smoothly as a cloud, and it’s as light, fluffy and sweet as cotton candy. (Of course, one can’t subsist on cotton candy, but it’s a nice treat nonetheless.)

The official video, it’ll be re-directed anyway:

So, what goes better with sunshine, than Hawaiian style pizza? At least, that’s what it said on the box.

pizza box cat

pizza box cat

pizza box cat

pizza box cat

pizza box cat

pizza box cat