Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sweeping The Nation Covermount 2: Reasons To Be Cheerful

Thanks to everyone who downloaded Covermount 1 Be My Babies - it should still be downloadable through that link for a couple of weeks yet. Onwards, though.

To Covermount 2, the art of the list song, a category for which the full shortlist was more than twice as long as could be fit onto a single file (sorry, Hillman Minx, A, the Psychedelic Furs and Nilon Bombers especially). What is it about a list song? It seems at times like the easiest method of songwriting there is, but really you have to get the names right and keep up with the melody, especially if you're delivering them at rapid fire pace. Plus, it's just a fun concept, especially when, as with these twenty examples, they actually get the mix right. As last time, it's a 74-minute compilation for home burning, downloadable after clicking on 'Free' at the bottom of the first screen and then waiting for the download ticket. Again, it's a ZIPped up file with a Winamp-only playlist, but those the brokes. Tell you what, instead of just thinking you'll already know the songs in advance like last time, we'll give you a proper tracklisting too.

Sweeping The Nation Covermount 2: Reasons To Be Cheerful (99 Mb)

Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3)
LIST TYPE: Things Dury finds amenable
BEST NAMECHECK: "Being in my nuddy"
AFTER THE FACT: This was the subject of Dave Gorman's first full-length show
WHERE TO FIND IT: Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Best Of..., seemingly now going for a fiver, which is spectacular value by anyone's measurements.

Max Wall - England's Glory
LIST TYPE: Things Dury finds amenable, in someone else's voice
BEST NAMECHECK: "Stafford Cripps"
AFTER THE FACT: An old Kilburn And The High Roads song also demoed by the Blockheads, as heard on the deluxe reissue of New Boots And Panties
WHERE TO FIND IT: The If It Ain't Stiff cherrypicked label compilation

The Beloved - Hello
LIST TYPE: People, some mates, some famous
BEST NAMECHECK: "Little Neepsie"
AFTER THE FACT: Jon Marsh won nine straight episodes of Countdown in 1987 and then lost in the series semi-final
WHERE TO FIND IT: Best of The Sun Rising

The Church - Welcome
LIST TYPE: Aussie psych-rockers do the name thing, apparently all considered odd in their field
BEST NAMECHECK: "Magilla Gorilla"
AFTER THE FACT: Previous album Priest=Aura got its title from singer Steve Kilbey's misreading of a Spanish fan's English vocabulary notes
WHERE TO FIND IT: 1996's Magician Among The Spirits

A House - Endless Art
LIST TYPE: Dead pop culture icons
BEST NAMECHECK: "Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse"
AFTER THE FACT: After it was much noted that none of the names were female, the band wrote More Endless Art, an all-woman list on the B-side of the single
WHERE TO FIND IT: I Am The Greatest

The Divine Comedy - The Booklovers
LIST TYPE: Authors, with a brief vocal summation of their characteristics
AFTER THE FACT: The chorus quotes Horace's Ode To Man, Scott Walker was a fan of the song and Sean Hughes provides some of the voices

Tom Lehrer - The Elements
LIST TYPE: The periodic table to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan's Major General's Song
BEST NAMECHECK: "ytterbium"
AFTER THE FACT: KT Tunstall credits Lehrer as an influence

The Remains Of Tom Lehrer

Le Tigre - Hot Topic
LIST TYPE: Female/feminist pioneers
BEST NAMECHECK: "Valie Export"
AFTER THE FACT: Johanna Fateman used to run a fanzine called My Need To Speak On The Subject Of Jackson Pollock
WHERE TO FIND IT: Self-titled debut

Half Man Half Biscuit - Irk The Purists
LIST TYPE: One of Nigel Blackwell's thousands (possibly) of list songs, a decidedly non-rockist list of bands
BEST NAMECHECK: "Husker Du, Du, Du"
AFTER THE FACT: Of course it's had a blog named after it!
WHERE TO FIND IT: Trouble Over Bridgwater, which like everything they've ever put out is unmissable

Johnny Cash - I've Been Everywhere
LIST TYPE: Showing off how many towns he's been to
BEST NAMECHECK: "Amperdello"
AFTER THE FACT: Written by Australian Geoff Mack in 1959, and covered in its original parochial form a year later by Rolf Harris
WHERE TO FIND IT: The second of his American Recordings series, Unchained

Billy Joel - We Didn't Start The Fire
LIST TYPE: World history from 1949 to 1980, as laid out here inaccurately (there's a reason why 'British Politician Sex' is also referred to as the Profumo Affair, sir)
BEST NAMECHECK: "Brooklyn's got a winning team"
AFTER THE FACT: Number 44 on VH1's 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever
WHERE TO FIND IT: Piano Man. Or here

Billy Bragg - A13 Trunk Road To The Sea
LIST TYPE: A road map from Wapping to Southend
BEST NAMECHECK: "Shoeburyness"
AFTER THE FACT: Bragg provides his own guide to the route on his website. Officially unreleased...
WHERE TO FIND IT: ...until the special edition third disc of Best Of Must I Paint You A Picture

Queens Of The Stone Age - Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
LIST TYPE: Stimulants, legal and otherwise
BEST NAMECHECK: "C-c-c-c-c-cocaine"
AFTER THE FACT: Josh Homme, inevitably, claims he wrote it the day after his three-day Millennium party. It has two chords, and Rob Halford's on it

Mary Lou Lord - His Indie World
LIST TYPE: Lo-fi figureheads
BEST NAMECHECK: "Kim and Kim and Kim and Kim". Gordon, Deal, possibly Thayil (Soundgarden) and who?
AFTER THE FACT: Lord, who continued busking on the Boston subway long after being signed, ended up apologising to many of the artists mentioned, who she is actually fans of
WHERE TO FIND IT: Her self-titled EP

Lemon Jelly - Ramblin' Man
LIST TYPE: After three and a half minutes, a list of places worldwide
AFTER THE FACT: The interviewer is Fred Deakin's father, the main voice acclaimed character stage and film (The Eagle Has Landed) actor John Standing
WHERE TO FIND IT: Lost Horizons

Daft Punk - Teachers
LIST TYPE: Thomas and Guy-Manuel's heroes and influences
BEST NAMECHECK: "Boo Williams"
AFTER THE FACT: Soulwax's 'cover' changes all the shout-outs

Saint Etienne - Girl VII
LIST TYPE: More places
BEST NAMECHECK: "Tooting Graveney"
AFTER THE FACT: June 4th 1989, which kicks off the list, was the date of the Tianamen Square massacre
WHERE TO FIND IT: Foxbase Alpha

Kraftwerk - Numbers
LIST TYPE: Numbers, in assorted languages
BEST NAMECHECK: "Ichi, ni, san, chi"
AFTER THE FACT: The tour for this album featured Wolfgang Flur playing an electronic 'drum cage' activated by arm movements towards laser beams
WHERE TO FIND IT: Computer World

Mylo - Destroy Rock And Roll
LIST TYPE: Right-wing religious type condemns a series of mid-80s pop stars
AFTER THE FACT: The sample was previously used by Negativland. Contains elements of Steely Dan's Aja
WHERE TO FIND IT: The same titled album

Blackalicious - Alphabet Aerobics
LIST TYPE: Gift Of Gab runs through the alphabet in a series of alliterations
BEST NAMECHECK: "jheri curls"
AFTER THE FACT: The Blackalicious duo were originally members of the Solesides Crew with DJ Shadow, Lateef The Truth Speaker and Lyrics Born

All mp3s are for evaluation purposes only - please support the artists in this compilation by buying their records.

Oh, and tomorrow that Songs What People Like (title TBC) feature starts. Do tell your friends, because it's going to be good.


Colonel Knowledge said...

Excellent stuff again, chaps.

Mind you, as long as there is breath in my body, I will not voluntarily listen to Billy Joels.

Did PWEI's "Can You Dig It?" merit a mention in the deliberations of the judges?

Simon said...

It did, yes, and made it to the last 25 or so before realising there was nowhere it'd fit (yeah, we found room for Joel, but we believe having to include that song in lists of list songs will be in the constitution soon, if Britain has one)

Colonel Knowledge said...

I expect some smart-arse like Rufus Wainwrights or Ben Fold could probably sling together a list song that lists list songs.

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