Musical Baton

There’s been a musical baton circulating around weblogs for several weeks or maybe years. Lisa Williams passed it on to me yesterday. I’m certainly not going to pass up an opportunity to talk about my favorite bands! Though I’m a much better music evangelist via MP3s or a live show.

Music on my hard drive: 10.80 GB — I think my external hard drive has a lot more but it’s at my office.

Song playing right now: “She Will Have Her Way” by Neil Finn
I can’t say enough fabulous things about Mr. Finn — whether it’s his old bands Split Endz and Crowded House, his solo work or his most recent music with his brother Tim as The Finn Brothers. The guy’s got a way with words.

It’s the life I’ve been frightened of she said
deathly silence and especially the dark
feels like I am heavy and my spirit has died
she will have her way
somehow I will still believe her
she will have her way

The last CD I bought: I haven’t bought a full album in a long time. Bands send me their CDs for Exploit Boston! Radio or I buy individual tracks off of iTunes. The most recent individual songs I purchased were “Put It Out for Good” and “Driver Education” on Amy Ray’s Prom album released April 2005.

I wasn’t paying close attention and didn’t notice we were supposed to list five favorite songs. That’s what I get for starting this entry at 3AM last night. ;)

If I had to choose a favorite band it’d be The Tragically Hip: Canadian rock stars who are still under the radar of most people in the U.S. They also put on the best live show you will ever see. Truly. Gord Downie’s songwriting is maddening genius. And hey, they rock. If you were going to dabble with The Hip, I’d recommend starting with the Live Between Us album recorded (live) in Detroit in 1996. But my personal favorite is Fully Completely released in 1992, my sophomore year in college. I saw them for the first time that year at the Ranch Bowl in Omaha, Nebraska. The Ranch Bowl was one part bowling alley, one part bar and one part rock club. You can’t beat that!

Lyrics from “Fully Completely”, the title track on that album:

Bring me back in shackles,
hang me long out in the sun,
exonerate me, forget about me.
I recommend measures for ending it.
Lover, she simply slammed the door.
She said, “you’re gonna miss me.”
Wait and you’ll see.” fully, completely
I ponder the endlessness of the stars,
ignoring said same of my father.
Either it’ll move me or it’ll move right through me;
fully, completely

I’ve been broadcasting an internet radio station since around 2000. In 2003 I narrowed in on Boston’s unsigned and independent label rock and pop bands. Tom Thumb and the Latter Day Saints became one of my favorites this past year. “Gracie’s Mine” is my favorite song of theirs. It has a sound that is infectious without being annoying. (Gwen Stefani, I’m talking to you. That stupid “Hollaback Girl” song is … well, I don’t know if it’s even worth being called a song.) Tom Thumb released an EP last month and it includes the best Bruce Springsteen cover of all time: “Atlantic City.” So good! You can listen to an MP3 of that tune (and several others) on the band’s website.

If you knew me anywhere between 1994-2002 you probably heard me go on and on and on and on about Mistle Thrush. MT singer Valerie Forgione has a newish project with Ken Michaels called Van Elk. (Mix up Val and Ken and guess what you get?). They’ve got four MP3s to download on their website. The songs create the perfect soundtrack for any rainy day.

Other Boston bands and singer/songwriters worth checking out: Anushka Pop, Ray Hendricks, Rose Polenzani, Annette Farrington, Dear Leader and Ken Michaels. You can hear them (and a bunch more) on my radio show.

Time to pass the baton to …

Michael Femia
Mike Carvalho
Adam Gaffin
Steve Garfield
Shannon Okey