November 27, 2008

Oh boy! (words of love)

Some music has always just been there. You accept it without giving it specific further attention. No hipster points to be earned, no need to follow a hype.

Talking about old: Buddy Holly's Crickets were possibly the very first real rock band. They wrote and played their own songs in a basic two guitars-bass-drums lineup. Pop's grandfathers, with a very direct link to the indiepop we all hold so dear.

Homework assignment:
1. Download this batch of songs;
2. Pretend you know nothing about either Buddy Holly or his music;
3. Press play and close your eyes.

Then run to the stores and buy all his albums.

Not everything that's old is rusty. Don't take it for granted; you'd miss some of the most satisfying music ever made.

Download (Mediafire)
1. Buddy Holly - That'll be the day
2. Buddy Holly - Rave on
3. Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue
4. Buddy Holly - Words of love
5. Buddy Holly - Oh boy!

November 26, 2008

Undercover poplover, part 6

I noticed it's been over two months since I posted some covers! It's quite a mix of classics today. Bruce Springsteen, The Lovin' Spoonful, Sly & The Family Stone and The Monkees... all not names you'll find on this blog every day. Surprisingly (or maybe not at all) I do listen to all of them quite regularly though.

Download (Mediafire)
1. Ballboy - Born in the USA
2. Sportique - You didn't have to be so nice
3. Belle & Sebastian - Everyday people
4. Shonen Knife - Daydream believer

November 24, 2008

Do you believe in miracles?

What exactly is a miracle?

When I don't really think about it - and I usually don't - I'd think of a miracle as something huge, something completely out of the ordinairy, something that can only be explained by divine intervention. But then, like now, when I do try to think about it, suddenly every single little thing seems a miracle.

A bird, and the sky.
This computer, my eyes.
My hands typing these words.
A sound, and the fact that I can hear it.
A progression of sounds, making a song.
The universe, a grain of sand.

Love. A man, a woman.
A child.

A child. Oh my God. A child!

I'm going to be a father.
A smile.

I'm not easily impressed, but this has got me stunned.
Never have I been more afraid.
Never have I been more hopeful.

Never have I realised the miracle of life as much as right here, right now.

Download (Mediafire)
1. Rose Melberg - Each new day
2. Yo La Tengo - My little corner of the world
3. The Lemonheads - Rockin' stroll

November 21, 2008

Goodbye, Dear Nora

About a year ago I wrote about Dear Nora, not knowing that at that point Katy Davidson, Dear Nora's only constant member, had probably already decided to discontinue releasing music under that name. She feels that her songwriting and orchestration style has veered too far from its original benchmark, far enough to be established as a something new.

As a final goodbye, Magic Marker Records now releases Three States: Rarities '97-'07.

If you haven't yet, don't forget to go back to last year's post to download the batch of songs included there. One of those songs, Since you went away, is still one of my favourite pop songs ever.

Dear Nora myspace
Buy the album

Download (right click, save as)
1. Dear Nora - Make you smile
2. Dear Nora - My guitar
3. Dear Nora - Hey tiger (early 2003)

November 20, 2008

A Spanish man (or: How Santa stole Christmas!)

Last Saturday Sinterklaas arrived in the Netherlands again, with his steamship, from Spain. He will stay here with his Zwarte Pieten until December 5, when he will distribute presents to all good children. Earlier this year, the Dutch voted the Sinterklaas celebration their most important and valuable tradition.

A couple of decades ago, when I was still a young boy myself, the December month was pure magic. First, around the 15th of November, Sinterklaas (or Sint Nicolaas) and his Pieten would arrive. Between that arrival and the 5th of December, there would be several evenings where my sister and I would sit at the fireplace and sing our Sinterklaas-songs before bedtime, leaving our shoes for the Sint to put a small present in. Then, the 5th... possibly the most exciting day of the year. Would Sinterklaas come? Had I been good enough? Would he bring presents? And perhaps most importantly: would those be the presents I wished for?

Then after the 5th, the Sinterklaas-excitement and -decorations would fade away, and the country would slowly turn into a Christmasland. Christmas was magical in its very own way: this was not so much about presents, but about having the family together, naively dream about peace on earth and listen to the story of the Christ child (believing it or not was not that imortant, was it?).

Santa Claus is a fantasy figure, originally for a big part derived from Sinterklaas. He's surely a fun part of Christmas mythology in other countries, but not here. Somehow though, over the years, Santa introduced himself in the Netherlands more and more, turning Christmas into Sinterklaas with a Christmas tree. There's no child in the Netherlands who actually believes in Santa like they do in Sinterklaas; he's just another excuse for getting more presents. No magic, just the money. It also ruins things the other way around: because Christmas is such a commercially important thing internationally, Christmas decorations are now everywhere way before December the 5th. The two celebrations have lost their individual unique meaning completely.

I know it's lame to try to link everything to music. I do. But is this a music blog or what?

The expectation. The anticipation. The magic. The stories. The completely losing yourself in a different world. The believing in a better world for a little while. The somehow exciting fear to be disappointed. The relieve. The feeling like a child. The will to deserve and participate.

That's why I loved December. And that's why I'll always love pop music.

Download (Mediafire)
1. The Aislers Set - My boyfriend (could be a Spanish man)
2. The Legends - Call it ours

November 17, 2008

Oh Iii, ohoh, I'm still alive

On a scale from alive to dead I'm dangerously close to zombie. Sometimes life gets a bit overwhelming, resulting in a couple of sleepless nights too many. More on this soon! Don't worry, it's ok. But I've hardly been listening to music lately. No time and not the right state of mind.

This has been going on for weeks now, so I thought it's time to try a different approach: instead of waiting for my mindset to be ready for the pop, let's try to have the pop change my mindset!

Download (Mediafire)
1. One Happy Island - Boy in a circle
2. Catwalk - Shivers and sighs
3. The Lorimer Sound - Block party

November 06, 2008


The Mo-Dettes were one American, one Swiss, and two British girls. Starting in 1979, together they made some excellent songs. Back in the late 70's, early 80's, they probably would have wanted me to call them punk, but although there is certainly a rough edge, the pleasant melodies and the mastery of their instruments take this at least one big step towards brilliant pop.

On November 27 Cherry Red Records will re-issue the lone Mo-Dettes album The Story So Far, making it available for the first time on CD.

Included below is the classic White mice, and their fantastic cover of the Rolling Stones' Paint it black. Love these? Don't miss this chance to finally get your hands on The Story So Far!

Mo-Dettes myspace
Order the album on Cherry Red Records

Download (Mediafire)
1. Mo-Dettes - White mice
2. Mo-Dettes - Paint it black