Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – Bobbin’ and Pretendin’ Mix

 So lot’s on my mind, but anyway, I had a great walk in accompanied by some cool music, and I wanted to share that music with you – because that is what I do:

 The Morning gets under way with a recent Featured Artist from Knoxville Tennessee. It’s Tim Lee 3 with the song Long Way to the Ground from their 2010 double album Raucous Americanus.

It’s amazing and disturbing how often the next song seems incredibly timely.  Politics sometimes bore me, but I feel like a hypocrite talking to some people and not speaking out against the madness I hear coming from their mouths and their keyboards….
 Your Racist Friend is one of the many classic tracks on They Might Be Giant’s excellent third album – 1990s, Flood.

For the final two songs of today’s mix, the shuffle machine takes us to the American West with a pair of songs from LA artists who were pioneers in the punk and alt-rock/Americana movement.  
Dave Alvin (ex-Blasters and ex-X) released West of the West in 2006 which was his tribute to California roots music.  Included on the album was his cover of Merle Haggard’s 1985 song, Kern River.  I swear I could listen to Dave Alvin’s amazing vocals all day long.
(Here’s Dave doing another River song)

(and here’s Merle’s version)
We close out the shuffle with Dave Alvin’s one-time bandmate, John Doe of X, with a track from his 1990 solo debut Meet John Doe with the achingly beautiful It’s Only Love.

(I couldn’t find a video for It’s Only Love… so as a bonus treat – here’s Doe covering The Replacement’s classic Here Comes a Regular)


Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle – Easy Listenin’ Mix

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Well congrats again to Walking for Pennies and Nena Anderson for being voted Bands of the Months for November/December combined.  Next, we turn our attention to the 2nd Annual Ear 2 the Ground Band of the Year Poll.  Throughout this year, we’ve had some epic battles for Band of the Month.  Who can forget the nail biting photo finish from January when the mighty, mighty MAKAR edged out The End Men, so the battle between South of Ramona and Sci-Fi Romance with the boys from Utah coming out on top.  Or the no-holds-bar Texas death match when Upstate NY band Skeletons in the Piano narrowing defeated Georgia’s own Killing Kuddles.  Well, soon all of these bands and more of your favorite E2TG featured Artists will be pitted in a Battle Royale.  Remember, no biting, eye gouging or hitting below the belt.  And mostly remember, our main purpose is to have another opportunity to present some of the great music that has reached our ears this year. So keep it clean and have fun.

Before we jump into  the Band of the Year battle, we’ll take a look back at our inaugural Band of the Year Poll.

But, now, we have a Morning Shuffle to present so, let’s stop jibber jabbering and get to it… 
Shuffle after the jump…


I tend to  think of The Sea and Cake as Easy Listenin’ Music for the cool kids.  And, I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. There is an appeal to music that mellows you out.  It’s why so many alternative boys and girls take guilty and secret pleasure in listening to the classic Easy Listenin’ songs from the 70s.  The Sea and Cake provide the mellowness free of any guilt.  Up on the North Shore from 2011’s The Moonlight Butterfly is a good introduction to the band.  


Former Drive By Trucker, Jason Isbell along with his fabulous band, the 400 Unit, are tearing it up on the Americana rock circuit.  In the shuffle today, we have a bonus track from the Deluxe edition of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit album – a cover of Big Star’s When My Baby’s Beside Me which was on Number 1 Record.

By 1987s See How We Are, Billy Zoom had departed from X and was replaced on the album by ex-Blaster Dave Alvin.  Alvin left shortly after that and was replaced by Tony Gilkyson for a subsequent tour.  See How We Are found the band fully embracing the emerging Americana/Alt-Country sound which had been hinted at in their earlier. (I contend that even their early punk days, Billy Zoom’s rockabilly guitar style was a natural precursor to the later more explicitly countryesque sound). Today’s shuffle contains When It Rains from See How We Are.
Could not find a video for When It Rains – here is an early version of the album’s title track

We’ll close out today’s Morning Shuffle with a Classic from Hank Williams – Hey Good Lookin’.


Monday Morning Music Shuffle – Calling Mr. Oswald Mix

Back at it with my face set toward the distant horizon, and my mind distracted by bright and shiny objects..

As per usual, we kick-off the week with a stroll down (16G) memory lane with some of the many fine songs in our archives.

First up is a song that takes us all back to 1977, which in and off it’s self was an interesting year in music. Bands with debut albums that year include: Television (Marquee Moon), The Clash, The Sex Pistols (Never Mind the Bullocks..), and the album which contains today’s song.  Less Than Zero was the first single from Elvis Costello’s landmark album My Aim is True. It was the song he was supposed to play on Saturday Night Live on December 17, 1977. The Attractions started playing Less Than Zero, before Elvis stopped them and launched into Radio, Radio which he had been told not to play.

The song was written as an angry response to an appearance by Oswald Mosely, the former leader of the British Union of Fascists on BBC television.  Costello later rewrote the song for American audiences to make it about Lee Harvey Oswald.

Bret Easton Ellis borrowed the title for his debut novel.

Next up, is a song by the later folk singer/songwriter, Kate Wolf.  Here in California is off here 1980 album Close to You, and also appears on the posthumous compilation album, Gold in California.  Dave Alvin recorded a cover of this song for his West of the West album in 2006.

Finally, we have another song released in 1980.  It’s Skateaway by Dire Straights off  their 3rd album, Making Movies.  I’ve been in love with this song for a very long time. 

Thursday Morning (Covers) Music Shuffle – Memories of Rain Mix

Rainy morning…
Another friendly reminder, if you haven’t voted in the 1st Annual Ear to the Ground Band of the Year Readers Poll (or even if you have) time is running out.  At midnight tonight, 12/15/2011 (all times Central Standard Time), voting will be turned off. And precincts will begin reporting in… go  here  to vote.
Track 1:
Coverer:  Radiohead formed in 1985 – so they had been around 10 years when I saw them live opening for R.E.M. on a rainy evening in September 1995 which happened to be C and my first night out following the birth of our twins in July of that year.  
Coveree: Joy Division formed in 1976.  They were a preeminent force in the new music scene of the late 70s early 80s.  Lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980 just before the bands first ever US tour.  The remaining members carried on as New Order. 
The Song: Ceremony was actually a New Order song, but it was one of the last songs written with Ian Curtis and would have been a Joy Division song if…
The Cover:  Radiohead recorded Ceremony as part of their 2007 “Thumbs Down” webcast.
Track 2:
Coverer: John Zorn is an avant-garde composer, arranger, record producer and saxophonist. He has worked with Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson and formed the jazz-punk collective Naked City in 1988.  Yamantaka Eye is  a Japanese vocalist and visual artist. He is a member of the Boredoms who formed in 1986 (possibly earlier).

Coveree: The Stooges (aka Iggy & the Stooges) were and are a ground-breaking band who formed in 1967 and laid important groundwork for punk and alternative music. The disbanded in 1974, but reformed in 2003.  Mike Watt of Minutemen and fIREHOSE fame is currently a member of the Stooges.

The Song: T.V. Eye is a track off the Stooge’s second album, Fun House. 

The Cover: John Zorn with Yamantaka Eye on screamed vocals recorded a break-neck paced version of T.V.Eye which appeared on the 1990 compilation double-CD Rubaiyat for Elektra Records 40th Anniversary.

Track 3:

Coverer: Dave Alvin was a founding member of the legendary punk-era, roots rock band The Blasters, was a one-time member of X and is a member of X side project The Knitters.  In addition, he has had a prolific solo career.

Coveree: The Beach Boys formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California, reflected the California youth lifestyle of surf, cars and romance. Later, leader Brian Wilson took the band into a more complex sound.

The Song:  Surfer Girl was the title track to the bands 1963 album. It was one of the first songs written solely by Brian Wilson.

The Cover: Dave Alvin covered Surfer Girl on his 2006 album West of the West which featured covers of several songs which originated from the western United States.

Track 4:

Coverer: The Del McCoury Band is a bluegrass band which formed in 1967 as Del McCoury and the Dixie Pals and solidified into its current line-up in the 1980s and became the Del McCoury Band in 1988.

Coveree:  Richard Thompson was an original member of Fairport Convention, the legendary British Folk-Rock/Electric Folk band.  He left Fairport Convention in 1971, released a solo album in 1972 and then begin recording and performing with his then wife Linda Thompson.  Since their personal and professional split, he has had a successful solo career.

The Song:  1952 Vincent Black Lightning  appeared on his 1991 album Rumor & Sigh.  The song which harkens back to traditional English melodies and early 20th Century American folk songs.

The Cover: Del McCoury Band recorded a bluegrass cover of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning  on the 2001 album Del and the Boys and has subsequently become a Bluegrass staple.

Shuffle through today’s artists and songs:

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