Category Archives: Music

Songs About Werewolves That Are Not By Warren Zevon or Duran Duran, Because Screw That

Gripes
There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

My favorite kind of holiday songs—and this goes for Christmas, too—are songs that I would listen to anyway, but just so happen to be about the holiday in question. I don’t really want to go “ugh” when a song pops up on a playlist out of season.

With that requirement in mind, here are my favorite songs about werewolves that are suitable for year-round listening.

giphywerewolf2

Continue reading Songs About Werewolves That Are Not By Warren Zevon or Duran Duran, Because Screw That

The Ten Best Weezer Songs of the Past Decade

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Weezer is the Star Wars prequels of rock and roll: objects of loathing born from young love, recipients of vitriol presumed to be deserved and, beyond the affection of a few die hard nutcases, universal. This is hyperbolic, of course: a rock band “no one” likes can no more survive for decades than a movie series “everyone” hates can gross $300 million domestic every time out. But it’s inarguable that Weezer has, like the Star Wars prequels I so enjoy, disappointed a lot of people, and unlike Attack of the Clones, I would not give any of Weezer’s albums of the past decade three and a half stars out of four for the sheer enjoyability of the good stuff.

Also unlike Star Wars, which had three-year gaps (at least in terms of movies) for opinions to percolate (and, I think, sometimes nervously reverse themselves into scorn), Weezer has absorbed these negative reactions via not scarcity, but abundance. The band came back in 2001 after nearly five years of inactivity, and they haven’t been away for so long since. Though their 2005 nadir Make Believe was bookended by three-year breaks, they’ve also had major productivity spurts, most notably in the 2008-2010 period where they released three studio albums and one cast-off collection in less than four years.

Conventional wisdom says these records mostly just upped the ante on how bad Weezer could let down its dwindling fanbase, and true that none of these records or what I’d call “good,” though a few flirt with “pretty good” or “OK.” But as the band prepares to release its umpteenth for-real-this-time return to form, Everything Will Be Alright in the End (out tomorrow), it’s worth noting that the past decade of Weezer has not yielded nonstop dross. In fact, there are some pretty great Weezer songs adrift in the seas of mediocrity, waiting for attentive, non-angry listeners to rescue them. This is what I intend to do here. I’m limiting this to a list of the Ten Best Weezer Songs of the Past Decade and, as such, not including their post-comeback records, 2001’s Green Album or 2002’s Maladroit — because those albums are, as a whole, good. Not great like the first two, but good enough to listen to without much skipping – really, the best halves of Green and Maladroit could combine to form a record nearly as good as Blue or Pinkerton. And the songs that follow, well, they could probably form a record nearly as good as that one. Maybe some of the poptimism afforded derivative Top 40 songs might (in a Weezer-friendly rockist fashion) be applied to your old pals from ’94.
Continue reading The Ten Best Weezer Songs of the Past Decade

TRACK MARKS: “On Melancholy Hill” by Gorillaz

Gripes
There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

You know that Seinfeld episode where Elaine get annoyed because the guy she’s dating zones out whenever he hears “Desperado?” I’m that guy, but with a different song. It comes on, I get in a mood, and I just feel better.

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Continue reading TRACK MARKS: “On Melancholy Hill” by Gorillaz

The SportsAlcohol Podcast: The Replacements and The Reunion Act

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

Bands that got back together to play the hits on tour was a phenomena that, like so many things in American culture, catered to baby boomers until very recently. About a decade ago, the Pixies started playing shows again and hipsters in their twenties and thirties suddenly had something in common with all the grayhairs who enjoy the classic rock circuit.

SportsAlcohol.com founders Jesse and Marisa had the pleasure of seeing The Replacements play with Deer Tick and The Hold Steady at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens this past weekend with a bunch of friends. Afterwards, they discussed their uncomplicated feelings of getting into reunion acts in their thirties. What do they want to see and why? They discuss their specific experiences and idealize what they want to see with reunion acts. They were joined by recently-minted SportsAlcohol contributor Ben and future SportsAlcohol contributor Derrick, who has participated in a couple of our music list surveys.

How to listen

We are up to four different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:
You can subscribe to our podcast using the rss feed.
We are also finally on iTunes!
You can download the mp3 of this episode directly here.
As always, if you are very lazy, you can just listen in the player below.


This featured image was taken by Nicole Fara Silver and shamelessly swiped from Rollingstone.com’s review of the show.

TRACK MARKS: “The Queen’s Nose” by Slow Club

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

I have a weird relationship with good singing. My official stance is that it’s unnecessary. When American Idol became the biggest TV show in the country and a few of its winners or runners-up became big (or at least medium-sized) stars, I was confused: didn’t we all sort of agree around 1960 or so that technically impressive singing was, if not entirely outmoded, at least somewhat limiting? Obviously there were exceptions like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, but in the American Idol universe, there was mainly Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, and this wasn’t the world of pop music that I recognized. Maybe it was because when I was growing up, I didn’t really know anyone who listened to Mariah or Whitney, beyond the occasional parent — and not even cool parents, parents who seemed sort of at a loss for how to respond to the question mark of new music made after 1975 or so.

So generally, yes: I pledge my allegiance to Bob Dylan and the wonderful range of voices who are allowed to sing rock-and-roll type songs. Trilling and melisma and whatever else fall far behind the idiosyncrasy of the voice, the smartness of the songwriting, the catchiness of the melody — almost anything but Broadway-style singing quality.

And yet: sometimes, when I’m not expecting it, big vocals really hit me. The marathon of key changes that close Beyonce’s “Love On Top,” for example, much more a technical feat than a songwriting one. Or take Slow Club’s “The Queen’s Nose,” a track off their recent record Complete Surrender. It has a lot going for it, but then, so do most Slow Club songs. The group’s core members, Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson from Sheffield, UK, work together beautifully as a duo: they trade off songwriting and vocals, drifting apart for some tunes and snapping back together for others. But there’s something especially massive about “The Queen’s Nose” that I never could have expected from listening to the sweet strains of “When I Go,” the first song off their debut.

Maybe it’s that exact progression that makes it so thrilling: Slow Club started off as a strummy, excitable folk-pop act and each progressive album has moved further away from that while retaining their generally clean, earnest, often-rueful songwriting style. The song itself progresses, too. It starts with simple, slowdance-y guitar-playing and a plaintive if soulful vocal from Rebecca. Horns kick in, and the vocal gets a little louder, but it’s two minutes in before Rebecca is holler-singing with the horns swelling in the background, and the song keeps strategically dropping out instruments before sliding them back in. It’s halfway done before you realize it’s becoming a girl-group-style torcher, and the final build to Rebecca’s climactic, almost Broadway-level cry of “I can’t go on/living these songs,” with horns and guitar blasting behind her voice like fireworks, is an unlikely candidate for my favorite minute of music this year.

When the band performed “The Queen’s Nose” this week at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan, they didn’t have those glorious horns at their disposal. But they did have Rebecca Taylor, and she confirmed — all night but especially during this song — that she sometimes is, as Karen O sang, bigger than the sound. I don’t mean to discount Slow Club’s collective acumen as musicians (both Rebecca and Charles play multiple instruments). In fact, Taylor uses her voice as an instrument, and just like you don’t want your guitar constantly squalling with feedback or engaged in elaborate fingerpicking, you (by which I mean I) don’t want your big-voiced singers using every opportunity to vocalize with precision. On Complete Surrender, “The Queen’s Nose” is preceded by the aching balladry of “Number One” and the girl-group-at-the-disco title track. Live, it was followed by a rollicking “Our Most Brilliant Friends.” Everything made everything sound better.

TRACK MARKS: “Can’t Hardly Wait” by the Replacements

Sara is big into reading and writing fiction like it's her job, because it is. That doesn't mean she isn't real as it gets. She loves real stuff like polka dots, indie rock, and underground fight clubs. I may have made some of that up. I don't know her that well. You can tell she didn't just write this in the third person because if she had written it there would have been less suspect sentence construction.
Sara

The first time I heard The Replacements I was not cool. It was 1999 and I was a shy, lonely twelve year old who had just rented Can’t Hardly Wait on VHS to watch at her grandmother’s house in Michigan. The movie itself was fun but forgettable and, I realized once I’d actually started high school, completely divorced from any of my own experiences. But I’ll always remember the second that opening chord progression hit over the closing credits, warm and inviting as a friend’s arm slung over your shoulder, the drums kicking in soon after, as the images of fake good times and memories scrolled by.

It’s a fairly straightforward song and, given its general upbeatness including the use of some funky horns, a bit of an anomaly in the Replacements catalog, something I learned the hard way after checking out Tim from the library not long after seeing the movie. Young me was unprepared for the more raucous, caustic side of the band but tastes change as we grow older and by the time I was in college I had discovered the pleasures of Let It Be and Pleased to Meet Me, on which “Can’t Hardly Wait” appears. As far as instant nostalgia goes, its Pavlovian effect is unparalleled for me. It’s about another time, sure – nobody has to worry about writing a letter tomorrow or borrowing a stamp when there’s text messaging. But it’s much more than that and it’s all in the title, which also provides the only lyrics to the chorus. “Can’t wait” is tossed-off excitement but “Can’t hardly wait”? That’s pure teenage ecstasy.

This Friday I will be seeing The Replacements in concert for the first time. I’m still not that cool and the show will likely not live up to whatever idea I have of the band from the old records I’ve listened to and loved. They’re not what they were, any more than I am what I used to be. But even so I can’t, well, you know the rest.


The Replacements play Forest Hills Stadium in Queens on Friday. Young old people and old young people will be there.

Track Marks: “STOP FUCKING BUNTING” by Puig Destroyer

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

Grindcore* is a narrowly defined genre with limited appeal. An extreme permutation of metal, the songs are loud, short, and incomprehensible. On top of that, a lot of grindcore acts title their songs for maximum shock value to make sure you get the point if you can’t understand the shouting. Gruesome lyrics aren’t requisite and one Grindcore band actually widened their appeal by narrowing their subject matter to just baseball.

Enter Puig Destroyer, a portmanteau of Grindcore luminaries Pig Destroyer and Los Angeles Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig. Cuban defector Puig blasted onto the scene last year, skipping a level of the minor leagues to plug a hole in the Dodgers’ outfield and became if not baseball’s most talented player, certainly its most exciting.

I'm showing real restraint by limiting myself to one Puig gif
I’m showing real restraint by limiting myself to one Puig gif. Seriously, check out those reflexes.

He was celebrated by Puig Destroyer, a metal supergroup of baseball fans that took this joke of a band from conception to viral hit quickly; their first single “ONE MAN, FIVE TOOLS” was featured on Deadspin just ten days after Puig had made his Major League debut.

The idea of the band my be a joke, but Puig Destroyer often has something more perceptive to say about baseball in a sixty-second song than some crusty old managers will say in any post game press conference.  Co-founders Ian Miller and Riley Breckenridge also host The Productive Outs Podcast. THE PRODcast showcases Miller and Breckenridge as my idea of the 21st Century baseball fan: willing to think about the game without being mired in dogma, interested in things besides baseball, and lovers of what’s great about the game without taking it too seriously. I call them Fire Joe Morgan Fans.

This brings us to “STOP FUCKING BUNTING”. Why highlight a song from Puig Destroyer’s first EP when they’re promoting their first full length? In short, because they won’t stop fucking bunting.

Continue reading Track Marks: “STOP FUCKING BUNTING” by Puig Destroyer

Belle & Sebastian List: Outcasts Edition

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Last week, we celebrated the art of Belle & Sebastian through a big list of their 25 best songs. Come Monday morning, we are celebrating the science (such as it is) of Belle & Sebastian list-making (and also some more art) with a quick post about the list’s outliers, quirks, and murky methodology. Apologies to songs as if they’re humans will abound.

THE PILE OF NEARLY-MADE-ITS

Two songs got muscled out of the Top 25 at more or less the last possible minute. With a final list submission that included a late-breaking surge of support for “Dress Up in You,” both “We Rule the School” and “You Don’t Send Me” got bounced off. We even had a blurb for “You Don’t Send Me” prepared by our panelist Jeff, which I will add as an honorary number 26 right now:

26. You Don’t Send Me

Dear Catastrophe Waitress, 2003
My kids like to play air horns to this song in the car. It’s pretty hilarious. – Jeff Prisco

As for “We Rule the School,” well, this Tigermilk track is the only track that Sara voted for that didn’t make it on the list (more on that in a moment). Sara has pledged her love for this song regardless of its inability to give her the perfect 15.
Continue reading Belle & Sebastian List: Outcasts Edition

Belle & Sebastian Week!

Gripes
There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

As the biggest God Help the Girl fans this side of Glasgow, we spent the week thinking about Belle & Sebastian.

A panel of esteemed sad bastards fans voted on the list of The Top 25 Belle & Sebastian Songs of all time until now. Song write-ups have wistful reminisces abut the Mets, the Virgin Megastore in Times Square, bad temp jobs, and, sometimes, the band.

If you need something to listen to while reading the big list, we put together a Spotify playlist. Magic words: put spotify:user:sportsalcohol in the search bar in Spotify to start following us.

The Outcasts posts talks about the songs that hovered on the fringes of the list.

Jesse argues that God Help the Girl revives the movie-musical genre that Rex Harrison tried so hard to kill.

And, if you don’t believe it, try not to be charmed by Belle & Sebastian Week’s Track Marks (yes, we’re still calling it that): “I’ll Have to Dance with Cassie,” by/from God Help the Girl.

 

The Top 25 Belle & Sebastian Songs List

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

It is not an anniversary or an occasion, at least not directly. None of Belle & Sebastian’s seminal albums turn a particularly interesting age in 2014, and though it sounds like their new record is pretty much complete, it doesn’t seem like it will see release before 2015. But as Stuart Murdoch’s first film God Help the Girl hits theaters over the next couple of months and the band branches out to other projects, as large bands often do, it seemed like as good a time as any to take stock of this Belle & Sebastian business. After less than two decades together, the group has put out seven albums, another three albums’ worth of singles and such, and given us a whole lot of hours of ways to feel happy and sad, sometimes at the same time. So happy 18th birthday, If You’re Feeling Sinister! Have a great 11th, Dear Catastrophe Waitress! Has it been four years already, Write about Love? Let’s get listing.
Continue reading The Top 25 Belle & Sebastian Songs List