Kooky Christmas #16: “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits

Today’s edition of Kooky Christmas comes to us thanks to a reminder from Uncle Crappy. He posted the below video on his site last Christmas, and the two of us discussed the song yesterday on Twitter. Great minds…. #16: “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits Maybe you’re one of those people […]

Kooky Christmas #18 & 17: “Indian Giver” & “Gift of the Magi” by Squirrel Nut Zippers

Squirrel Nut Zippers had a big hit years back, “Put a Lid On It,” and I’ve been a fan ever since. In 1998 they put out a Christmas album that’s like no other: Christmas Caravan. It’s a crazy, hot jazz album with some slow and sweet bits threaded through (and an eerie final track that […]

Kooky Christmas: #19, “Bizarre Christmas Incident” by Ben Folds

We turn now to the seedier side of our Kooky Christmas (if philandering Santas weren’t seedy enough for you). Now Santa has turned to robbery, and the results are unpleasant for everyone involved. Number 19: “Bizarre Christmas Incident” by Ben Folds This song comes to us from Maybe This Christmas, a compilation of alternative artists […]

Music for an international mixer: “Une americaine a Paris” by Rupa & the April Fishes

With leaders of the twenty largest economies, their assistants and entourages, worldwide news media, and demonstrators and protesters of all stripes converging this week on Pittsburgh, life in this region has begun to feel a wee bit tense. OK, more than a wee bit. So far there have been people hanging banners from bridges, march […]

“Sunday Morning” covered by Beck and friends

Big thanks to my friend Sharon for letting me know that Beck has covered The Velvet Underground & Nico and posted the music videos online. Record Club: Velvet Underground & Nico ‘Sunday Morning’ from Beck Hansen on Vimeo. It’s part of an on-going project by Beck called Record Club, covering classic albums, rehearsing and recording […]

Add to your playlist: Eleni Mandell

I learned about Eleni Mandell through an interview on The Sound of Young America podcast. Eleni Mandell (her Flash-based website and MySpace page) In the interview, she seemed a little nervous and hesitant, but also charming, thoughtful, and well-spoken. She comes from the Los Angeles music scene of the 1980s, a big fan of the […]

Cocktail time in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood

On a day when things just aren’t going right, when every small step morphs into a major climb, when the sky is gloomy and dark, on such a day it can seem like what one needs is someone like Mr. Fred Rogers — someone kind and gentle who will say, “You are special. You are […]

Musical landscapes, Big Sur, and me

I’ve posted a new entry on the Pittsburgh Symphony blog, “Music, stories, and the world around us.” It’s in response to this weekend’s concerts, which featured The Dharma at Big Sur conducted by the composer, John Adams. Adams has said he wrote the piece to reflect his feelings on coming to Big Sur for the […]