Lemon Non-Shuffle

This playlist is destined to be a flop… The goal was to do a “reverse cover songs” list where I tried to find the originals of songs which have been eclipsed by cover versions.

This is not altogether easy because where I think the original has been long forgotten, someone is bound to say “*I* remember the orginal perfectly well” or “I’ve never even *heard* the cover of that” or worse “I’ve never heard *any* version of that song.” So I gauged this the old fashioned way – prostitution general observation. In my opinion, some of the originals are better. Sometimes they are worse. Sometimes they are remarkably the same.

Forgive me for what I’m about to do…. (after the jump)


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Lemon Non-Shuffle

As is my wont, I asked for theme suggestions for the Tuesday playlist to help me narrow things down a bit. mar30mar came through with a bunch of great ideas. Two themes resonated with me: songs by girls with guitars and favorite cover songs. I liked both of these and wanted to narrow it down as much as possible so I decided to go with girls with guitars covering songs originated by boys with guitars. Maybe we’ll do the reverse next week…

Here are some rules I imposed on myself to narrow this further:
* The original song has to be well known. Not an obscure Beck song.
* The cover song cannot be more famous than the original. Like Bobby McGee.
* The cover song has to be listenable. Sorry Camille Velasco.
* Nothing too obvious. So I removed Joan Jett’s Crimson and Clover.
* And the girls have to play guitars and/or (thanks to the panel) piano.

The theme was still limitless. I apologize for this being so long and I apologize to the women who didn’t make the cut. It’s all after the jump.


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Happy Birthday, McLovin!

McLovin – I’m not gonna lie. We miss you. So consider this the Happy Birthday/Wish You Were Here playlist of 2010.

Happy Birthday, McLovin!
Wish You Were Here


1. Del Shannon – My Little Runaway
Remember when we put together a playlist of songs to give to Michael Castro in case he made it on Idol and needed theme suggestions? “Runaway” was your awesome contribution for the 1960s? Who knew I’d be singing this song about you by summer? We’re missing you, McLovin.

2. Jason Castro – Clumsy
Remember when we put together a website for Jason Castro because YOU heard something special in his pre-Idol recordings? (Am I hitting below the belt? Tough, we all miss you.)

3. Amos Lee – Listen
One of your pretend boyfriends and one of the many artists I wouldn’t have ever heard of if not for you. Thanks for being my musical better half.

4. Matt Hires!! – Out of the Dark
One of my pretend boyfriends and one of the many artists we discovered along this Jason journey. Thanks for not getting too jealous of my cupidity.

5. Vancouver – Jeff Buckley
Beyond the moment that ends our bondage.
I am your failed husband contender,
I’m your loan shark of bliss.

Wait…. let’s not get carried away. I just needed a V song to spell out your name. And Jeff will always, for the rest of my life, make me think of you. I know that tomorrow will be a tough day for you. Thank you for keeping Jeff’s memory alive.

6. Kings Of Leon – I Want You
Heterosexual life partner, there’s nobody else on earth who I could seduce with lyrics from Jesus Christ Superstar. You’re a friend who tosses out a pretend boyfriend without a second thought when her chick’s dicked over by a prick. You always know one Followill from another. You speak hard truths, but soft words to friends. You swear as zealously as me, but with far more art. You could make a pro blush. You could make me laugh if you were only allowed to utter 2 words. Especially if 1 of the words was “squealhole”. I hope you have a hell of a birthday, with copious amounts of rum… and that you stagger in here at some point and say inappropriate things in totally wrong threads. I love you, girl. Everybody here wants you.

7. Black Keys – Never Gonna Give You Up
What? You were expecting Rick Astley? Yeah, you know me too well.

Lemon Non-Shuffle

Nobody suggested a theme for this week… So I present:

Some Stuff I’ve Been Listening To Lately


1. Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers – Adeline #2
This foot-stomping version of Adeline is only available as bonus material from The Bear exclusive to Amazon. This is a really solid album and though they sound like they might be a part of the swamp folk that’s coming at us from the Southeast (NeedToBreathe, Avett Brothers…), these guys are from UMass. I can’t wait to see these guys in July when they close for Matt Hires.

2. Stereophonics – She’s Alright
Stereophonics newest CD, Keep Calm and Carry On, was released a couple of weeks ago. Not the best CD I own, but I’m trying to give it a chance. I’m fully cognizant that if Stereophonics filled stadiums in the US like they do in the UK, I’d eventually admit that they’re probably douchebags. Their music is way too heavy and humorless, over-produced and still kind of boring, but since I’m not accosted by them as much as – say – Train, I can enjoy them in bursts. That and Kelly Jones is a hot little munchkin.

3. The Black Keys – I’m Not the One
The Black in the Keys is apparently made of FUNK. I seriously don’t know much about this band, despite McLovin and Jonathon Tyler adding them on previous playlists. I just picked up this CD, Brothers, last weekend and it’s funking fantastic.

4. Bo Bice – Wild Roses
Well here was an obvious nostalgia purchase. Bo’s CD 3 was released last week and I bought it as a special favor to an old friend. I don’t normally listen to HeeHaw country, but I like that Bo has clearly taken his music in a direction that suits him better than teeny bopper pop. The songs on the CD range from this ballad to more beer swilling, hay kicking romps, but Bo’s definitely made his home in Nashville.

5. Band of Horses – Factory
I confess that this playlist was designed around this entry. I bought this CD, Infinite Arms, last weekend and I can’t stop listening to it. I have an earlier CD of theirs and it didn’t hit me like this one has. I think it’s a matter of timing. Since acquiring the last CD and this one, I’ve become acquainted with Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and several other artists that have tuned my ears to appreciate this band more than I used to. They hail from Seattle but now live in South Carolina – the sounds of both permeate the CD. What strikes me about some of the cuts, and this one is a good example, is the clear influence of Elliott Smith in their layering. By the way, today you can also read about how Band of Horses is Music Matt Likes.

I was gonna give out bonus points for the line “A Now and Later melon gum stuck between my teeth” but then I looked up the lyrics. It’s “An hour later…” phooey.

Look! You can buy these CDs too!

Lemon Non-Shuffle

We have been derelict!! Did you know there are finite hours in the day? Came as a complete shock to me… So I was reminded that we hadn’t done a shuffle in some time and I asked for some help in coming up with a theme for this week. Thanks to SameCage, Dakota, THE dani!!!, carmen, Ohio, castrofan, MtnLaurel, dm and cinnamazon for being a part of the discussion.

These were themes suggested:
* Songs about Summer
* Songs about Home
* Songs about Rain
* Songs about Graduation
* Best driving fast, windows down, singing at the top of your lungs songs
* Songs that should be on the radio but aren’t

And because I’m indecisive, I decided to do 1 song about each of the first 5 themes…. all of which I think should be on the radio but aren’t. And to weed out distractions, I narrowed my list down to songs from this past decade. Without ado…

Lemon’s Songs About
Summer, Home, Rain, Graduation
Sung at the Top of My Lungs
But Not on the Radio


Song about Summer
1. New Pornographers – July Jones
July’s in summer, see? It surprises me that a band that creates such harmonic, crunchy power pop, and is fronted in part by Neko Case, hasn’t found a niche on some radio platform somewhere…. Have you ever heard them on your radio? Fortunately, they’ve gotten a ton of play on tv and in movies, but radio doesn’t seem to care. This song is from the second of their five albums. Their most recent, Together, was released just 2 weeks ago.

Song about Home
2. Liam Finn – Wide Awake on the Voyage Home
Liam, the son of Crowded House’s Neil Finn, inherited a mastery of pop melodies that verge at times on Beatlesque. This is a terrific album, not one song of which have I ever heard on the radio. I HAVE, however, heard the song Second Chance on the overhead speaker at my local CVS drugstore one night. That was particularly odd because I had just burned that song onto a CD I made for Matt Hires for my trip to Seattle. The very next day, in the airport, I heard a Duhks song that I had burned to the same CD. Things that make you go “hmmmmm”. And no I couldn’t go a whole playlist without mentioning Matt. Or Beck (see below).

Song about Rain
3. Tilly and the Wall – Let It Rain
I called this band “Wild Like Children” – their first album’s title – for a really long time because their band name seems like it should be an album title, and vice versa. They’re on their third album now, and despite their connection with Conor Oberst, they see no radio play. I guess that’s not shocking considering Conor’s own band Bright Eyes was more likely to find their music on soundtracks than radio playlists. I really love this album. It’s fun and you can dance to it.

Song about Graduation
4. Jem – On Top of the World
Jem’s one of those success stories – elsewhere. The incredible song “They” apparently charted in every other English-speaking country but not over here in North America. *shakes head in grief* How’s this about graduation? Well, listen to the lyrics.

Song to sing at the top of your lungs songs while driving fast with the windows down
5. Of Montreal – The Party’s Crashing Us Now
I discovered this band at a New Jersey Beck concert when he covered their “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” – which you may know as the Outback Steakhouse song, because these days good music is as likely to find itself morphed into a commercial as it is to find its way on the airwaves. For songs to sing at the top of my lungs, I decided to pick one that my daughter and I literally ride in the car belting out. Sure, she’s 99% more likely to be belting out Bliss by Muse, but Muse is a radio success on all formats. Of Montreal is eeking out its living touring small venues… Speaking of which, they’ll be in my town in 2 weeks. Who wants to go with me to see them?

And you know – just because you haven’t met these people doesn’t mean they aren’t real. They need a boost in their sales to earn a living too. So if you like their music – buy it.

Lemon Non-Shuffle

Evidenced by the Third Annual Castrocopian Flash Mix Project, one of our less horrible ideas, people seem to like to give other people music… And in this particular case, I seem to be normal. As I prepared to possibly fly to Seattle to visit Maniac and hit the Northwest leg of the State Lines Tour, I thought it might be fun to try to figure out what sort of music my new favorite musician, Matt Hires, might enjoy and carry on the Copian tradition of creating Mix Tapes for a Pretend Boyfriend.

First – I burned the entire Elliott Smith catalog for him. Hey – he said he was starting to listen to Elliott Smith, so why not help a guy out? Second – I tried to work with what I know about Matt Hires…. And as I had to tell him when I gave him this collection, “I don’t know you at all. But…” But I have a little data to work with and with that, I extrapolated. I ended up with 48 songs… Here’s a sampling + a bonus.

Lemon Non-Shuffle


1. Sin Fang Bous – Catch The Light
This was my first pick for my playlist because it has a certain Sufjan Stevens/Shins thing going on. I DO know that Matt Hires likes Sufjan Stevens, so I am hoping that he also enjoys this solo project from Sindri Mar Sigfusson of Iceland. Check out the NPR story about Sin Fang Bous.

2. Tom Petty – Asshole
If you change the lyrics to “She’ll do anything to look like an asshole,” this song pretty much describes how dorky I felt after following a band ALL the way across the country. Yeah, I went to visit a friend, but wow does a person feel creepy when asked “YOU again?” Ah well. Okay – so I didn’t add this for that reason. I ALSO know that Matt loves Tom Petty and I wasn’t sure if he’d have this cover of Beck’s song. And you know I sneak my Beck songs in wherever I can, like vitamins!

3. Psapp – Make Up
You know how you have that thing you want to do, but you don’t think you can do it, so you just don’t? For me that thing is making music. I gave up piano and violin years ago. My guitar gently mocks me over there in the corner. And you know how you get a wake up call when you see a story about the kid who lost both his thumbs in a bizarre bandsaw accident, but still manages to play Rachmaninov? And you feel like an asshole? That’s kind of what I felt like when I discovered that Psapp makes their music entirely on toys. I’m sure it’s not any EASIER to do that, but still it makes me think I’m the only one holding me back. And hey! I have a miniature drumset, one trumpet that plays 4 notes, 2 mini keyboards and a ukulele! Nothing’s gonna stop me now!

4. Of Montreal – Forecast Fascist Future
I wanted to throw something on the playlist that was totally off the Matt map, but I hinged this song on the fact that he covers an MGMT song… For some reason, in my mind, the next step over is Of Montreal. He said he’s heard good things about them and was looking forward to listening… I hope he does. This band kicks ass.

5. Matt Hires – You In the End
I love this song. I’m not much for lyrics usually, but Matt’s lyrics are thoughtful, with a false simplicity that hides a darkness. His vocals are smooth, with the occasional warble and the rare gruff growl, which always takes me by surprise. Just when I think I have this Matt person pegged, I find that he’s not at all who I think he is.

I don’t know Matt Hires, but… it’s fun getting to know him. And if you missed out on the growing Matt Hires fandom creeping up in the midst of Castrocopia, then you may not have heard that Castrocopia has birthed a new fansite: http://www.edgeofastar.com – dedicated to Matt Hires. If you’re new to him or already a fan, stop by and see what’s going on. It is made of love. And we’re just getting started.

Pick up a copy of Matt’s Take Us To The Start, Deluxe Edition on ITunes and support some great music.

And if you like any of the above songs, please buy, don’t borrow. They love our admiration, but they have to earn a living.

The McLovin Non-Shuffle

Featuring mostly acoustic songs that grab me by the cochlea.

The Wooden Birds – The Other One
This song doesn’t just grab my cochlea, it uses it as an earworm nest.
Gross, huh?

Dolly Parton – Jolene
I was totally rooting for one of the guys to do The White Stripes’ version of this song when Dolly was on Idol a couple years ago because I wanted to see whether the judges would admit that it was a brave thing to do or drop dead from apoplexy.

Sufjan Stevens – The Upper Peninsula
Who would have thought that you could mix banjo with Purple Rain era Wendy Melvoin-ish guitar without coming up with a huge aural mess?

Ryan Adams – Wonderwall
Yesterday afternoon (U.S. time), Oasis tweeted that their album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, won the Brit Award for best album of the last 30 years, which inspired me to spin my fave song from said album — as performed by Not Oasis. Didja know that Noel Gallegher liked Ryan’s cover so much that he started performing it this way, too? It’s true.

Violent Femmes – Kiss Off
If this song were a person, it would be old enough to serve in the US House of Representatives or to rent a car from Hertz; and it STILL sounds more innovative than 78% of the music that’s come out since. Why do none of the derivateurs out there derive from something kicking like this?

I hope you know that illegal downloading will go down on your permanent record. If you want it, buy it.

Lemon Non-Shuffle

I’m taking McLovin’s lead again and skipping the commentary, except to say I’m bloody sick of snow. It’s been a rough week in the Mid-Atlantic.



1. Nick Cave – Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow

2. Elliott Smith – Angel in the Snow

3. The Stills – Snow in California

4. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Snow (Hey Oh)

5. Ron Sexsmith – Snow Angel

Music Guru Friday: Caitlin Crosby

Castrocopia has never had a pretend musical girlfriend. Sure, we pile up the pretend boyfriends with a scary kind of regularity. And we’ve had fleeting crushes on the occasional pretty voice, but no female musician has ever threatened to capture our hearts as a group until we met Caitlin.

Caitlin is a beautiful girl. Photographic evidence supports this fact. But our love of Caitlin is not merely skin deep. And let’s face it, for a lot of us women, beauty in other women doesn’t always evoke feelings of love, but rather its exact opposite: self-loathing. But Caitlin’s physical beauty is just a reflection of her gorgeous inner self. And she wants you to know that you are beautiful too.

Back to our first girl crush… Have you listened to Caitlin’s music? She is an amazingly talented musician with a solid CD – now re-released at Barnes and Noble with a bonus track (“Generations”). If you don’t have it, do yourself a favor and grab it. If you’ve seen her perform live, you’ll know that her style is very approachable, but her talent is untouchable. I think it’s fair to say that she won many of us over with her music alone. My personal favorite is Nikki. It kicks my ass every time.

But Caitlin crossed from girl crush to wannabe hetero life partner when we got to know her as a person. You should visit her project Love Your Flawz to see what she’s doing to help girls overcome body image issues. “I don’t fit the mold, I am real.” The message that Caitlin pushes – in her music, in her actions and in her interactions – is so positive it makes quite a few of us shed embarrassing tears. I think it’s fair to say that though we just met her, we’re very proud of Caitlin Crosby.

Ironically, Caitlin is a beautiful girl. We don’t hate her for it.

Thanks Caitlin for sending us this list of songs. And THANK YOU for sharing your amazing self. I am in love with you.

Perfectly Imperfect Guru


1. Switchfoot – We Were Meant To Live
…well the whole ‘beautiful letdown’ album but fav song is ‘we were meant to live’… I luv songs that inspire & challenge for a greater purpose.

2. Sheryl crow – Everyday is a Winding Road
Brings back Jr high memories driving on Malibu cnyn to school & youth group belting out her album.

3. Robin Thicke – Shooter
Coolest song ever with so many rad musical influences in there.

4. Nikka Costa – Like a Feather
So different & risky & funky. She’s a real Rock star in her live performances. Luv her unique voice, vibe & sound.

5. Phil Wickham – You’re Beautiful
From his new ‘cannons’ album. I love Gospel music cuz I love starting my day off by getting in the right state of mind to remind myself what life is all about:)

The McLovin Non-Shuffle

As February is Black History Month, today’s Non-shuffle is a celebration of the contribution of Black artists to the landscape of American Music, which would be little more than a vast prairie of nothingness if not for their work and influence. This playlist could have easily been a couple hundred songs long, but I forced myself to limit it to 10 — and then cracked under the pressure of choosing the last song. So nine it is. I also decided to spare you from my lame-assed commentary (for today, anyway. Heh.) and instead added some links to the official sites or other information about each of the artists. Enjoy!

Little Willie John – Fever
Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture

Jimi Hendrix – Fire
Jimi Hendrix Official Site

Ann Peebles – I Can’t Stand the Rain
Ann Peebles’ Musicians Guide entry

Nina Simone/Christine & Katherine Shipp – See Line Woman
Library of Congress Field Recordings
Nina Simone’s Official Site

Sly & The Family Stone – Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
Sly Stone Music

Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightning
Howlin’ Wolf’s entry on Sliding Delta

The Shirelles – Baby It’s You
The Shirelles’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame page

Bo Diddley – My Babe
Bo Diddley’s Official Site

Muddy Waters – You Need Love
Muddy Waters Official Site

You wouldn’t have to search very far to find overwhelming evidence of most of these people not getting the money they deserved for their work. Don’t add insult to injury — if you want it, buy it.