Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions (Featuring Kurt Vile) – Let Me Get There (2016)

September 15, 2019 – Day 107

Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions is a project between Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval and My Bloody Valentine’s Colm Ó Cíosóig. The pair heard Kurt Vile’s “Wakin On a Pretty Daze” in a music store and decided to contact him to see if he was interested in a duet. The result is the song “Let Me Get There” from their 2016 LP “Until the Hunter.” It has similar qualities to Kurt’s “Wakin on a Pretty Daze” – it’s in no rush to get to the finish line and has an easy going tempo. Hope and Kurt don’t even seem to be in a rush to finish pronouncing single words, some of which seem to hang on for what feels like a bit beyond the end of the beat but it never feels wrong. The light surf guitar sounds add to the whimsy. The song eventually does end in a classic fade out against a guitar solo with Hope repeating “Let Me Get There” while Kurt improvises around her voice. A cool end to a cool song. Kurt released a press release about his contribution: “It was a total honor to sing along to a beautifully hypnotic soul groove with heavyweights like Hope, Colm, and all the other top notch musos. To respond to Hope’s call in song of letting her get there felt right and real and gave me chills while singing, even though I knew they already got there years before I walked in the building.” I don’t know what he means by his “three years” comment – he’s possibly referring to the age of the song (from when Hope and Colm wrote it) but he’s definitely underplaying his contribution. “Did you feel only remembering his face, looking away? Everybody here knows you’re the fine one”

J Mascis – Fade Into You (2013)

September 14, 2019 – Day 106

When J Mascis isn’t shredding on his Fender Jazzmaster in his band Dinosaur Jr he plays nice acoustic songs, like this one: a cover of “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star from their 1993 album “So Tonight That I Might See.” Mascis’s cover was first released to the public on a limited edition 7″ picture disc that was only available with the purchase of Dinosaur Jr. “Keep” brand shoes. It was released again the following year as a limited edition Record Store Day Black Friday release. It’s a great cover; J’s vocals are tender, unique for him, and it suits the song well. He originally recorded the song for a wedding, which he explains in a Drowned In Sound interview: “Megan Jasper, the vice-president of Sub Pop, asked me to record ‘Fade Into You’ for her wedding. She made a 45 of it and gave it out at the wedding. That’s where it came from.” “Fade into you / I think it’s strange you never knew”

Lightning Dust – Moon (2013)

September 13, 2019 – Day 105

Lightning Dust is Amber Webber and Joshua Wells and their albums are centered around Amber’s wavering vibrato. “Moon” is a gentle acoustic song that builds a yearning feeling, paying off with a nice a synth adornment, 80s style. Amber and Joshua are better known from the psychedelic rock bank Black Mountain from Vancouver, B.C. but they’ve recently moved on and made Lightning Dust their main band and I’m looking forward to more. “All I ever wanted from you was to keep on trusting I’d come through.”

The Besnard Lakes – For Agent 13 – 2007

September 12, 2019 – Day 104

“For Agent 13” is a great duet with a call and reponse between The Besnard Lakes Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. Jace sings in a high falsetto and his wife Olga responds to each line with lyrics that show failing love before the song culminates in cryptic lyrics about a spy in a theme that runs through the album. The song moves slowly and deliberately through a number of movements. As more instruments are layered, the mood elevates. This is a unique psychedelic piece of music produced by Jace and Olga at their own Breakglass Studios in Montreal. “My baby, don’t go / Nothing is fair in love and war”

Kraftwerk – Computer Love (1981)

September 11, 2019 – Day 103

To give context, Kraftwerk wrote “Computer Love” only a few years after the Apple II which was the first home computer with colour graphics. In their minimalist lyrical style, a lonely narrator in front of a screen longs for human connection 25 years before the first person was accused of staring at our phone all day. Topic aside, this is an amazingly catchy melody and a great song that somehow doesn’t sound dated despite the primitive synthizers used. It oozes warmth, the opposite of the coldness that electronic music is usually accused of by rock fans. “I don’t know what to do / I need a rendezvous”

Devo – Uncontrollable Urge (1978)

September 10, 2019 – Day 102

In the opening song, “Uncontrollable Urge” from their debut album “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!”, Devo intentionally borrow the chords from “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles, and they also send up of their “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” from “She Loves You.” Songwriter Mark Motherborough told a great story on “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast about performing this song at Max’s Kansas City nightclub in New York City: John Lennon was at the club to watch the concert and after the show Mark was sitting in an Econoline van outside of the club waiting for the crowd to clear so they could pack up their equipment and John pointed at Mark, walked over to the van and stuck his head inside, right in front of Mark’s face and yelled the refrain from the song “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeah!” It’s a memorable way to be rewarded for ripping off a Beatles song. “It’s got style, it’s got class / So strong, I can’t let it pass”

Yoko Ono, The Apples (In Stereo) – Nobody Sees Me Like You Do (2007)

September 9, 2019 – Day 101

“Nobody Sees Me Like You Do” is originally from Yoko’s 1981 album “Season Of Glass”, her first album since the death of John. It reappeared on the Yoko Ono remix album “Yes, I’m A Witch” with the instrumentation and remix by The Apples (In Stereo.) The structure of the song is similar to the original but beefed up with psychedelic pop instrumentation that Robert Schneider of The Apples (In Stereo) is known for. Honestly, I didn’t know that Yoko wrote traditional pop songs in her career until fairly recently and it’s interesting that this song wasn’t released as a single given the potential commercial appeal. The original has some great self-harmonizing that I miss in this version but it is also nice to hear the vibratto in Yoko’s voice. Also, the fuzz guitar in the remix is preferable to the saxophone solo but that’s my personal preference. “Even with our dreams and yearnings / Feeling of loneliness hangs over like a thirst”

The Rolling Stones – She Smiled Sweetly (1967)

September 8, 2019 – Day 100

Back when The Rolling Stones were, briefly, a psychedelic band (Between The Buttons & Their Satanic Majesties Request, they recorded a song called “She Smiled Sweetly.” Keith Richards played all the instruments except for the drums and the piano (Jack Nitzsche, who went on to be a frequent Neil Young collaborator.) It was the 4 track recording era and it has a bit of a feel of bedroom lo-fi rock. It’s quite a great little psychedelic pop track with some organ throughout and an unfortunately out of tune bass guitar (maybe Keef should have let Bill Wyman to do his job – although I think the 2016 mono remaster fixed the pitch a bit… “Why do my thoughts loom so large on me? / They seem to stay, for day after day / And won’t disappear, I’ve tried every way”

Elevator – I’m A Radio Station (2000)

September 7, 2019 – Day 99

Eric’s Trip signed with Sub Pop records in the early 1990s and the band Elevator made of former Eric’s Trip members Rick White and Mark Gaudet, along with Rick’s wife Tara continued to release albums for the label but by 1999 they were either dropped or their contract was up and it was time to move on. Despite the lack of a record deal, Rick, Tara & Mark kept recording and recorded what is probably their best album “A Taste of Complete Perspective.” I’ve always thought that “I’m A Radio Station” is the centerpiece of the album. It feels like a reflection on mystery of creating music. Musicians say that they follow the muse or that it just flows through them and Rick’s lyrics use the analogy of being a radio station. A simple acoustic song at heart but also purely psychedelic with found sounds, nature recordings and radio station noise and static mixed in to add to the trip. “Error lights are on / Transmitter is not strong / But the brain waves, must be saved.”

Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On I’m a Radio (1974)

September 6, 2019 – Day 98

“Miles of Aisles” has never been highlighted as one of the great live albums but to my ears almost all of the song renditions are superior to their studio counterparts. Opening song “You Turn Me On I’m a Radio” is Joni’s popular 1972 single from her album “For the Roses” there are some duelling solos between Joni’s voice and the guitar of Robben Ford, guitarist for her band “L.A. Express.” Recorded in mid-August 1974 at the Universal Ampitheatre in Los Angeles, California, I can almost feel the summer winding down and the hot California sun while listening to this song. “If there’s no good reception for me / Then tune me out, ’cause honey / Who needs the static / It hurts the head”