* Bat for Lashes -- Lillies, from THE HAUNTED MAN (2012). Know next to nothing about Natasha Khan and the folks who help her here, except that I heard a couple trax from this album on the rock critics' radio show SOUND OPINIONS a few years back, and liked them. Am reminded very much of Kate Bush. Nice, though dark.
* Bat for Lashes -- All Your Gold, from THE HAUNTED MAN. This has a different, lighter feel. Not as dramatic. But still disturbing. And her vocals and the drumbeats keep building. Nice little ornate musical touches here and there add to the build.
* Bat for Lashes -- Horses of the Sun, from HAUNTED MAN. Chanting and drumming. Very nice early-morning wake-up music except for the drums, which tend to pound and echo. OK, no real ending.
* Bat for Lashes -- Oh Yeah, from HAUNTED. More Kate Bush-like sounds, with drumming and keybs. OK, but not different. I'd like to hear something more from her. Disturbing, eerie synthesizer tones. we may be done here.
* Joanna Newsom -- Bridges and Balloons, from THE MILK-EYED MENDER (2004). All I know about Joanna Newsom is she plays harp and piano, and that Gardenhead of the late, lamented music blog ASLEEP ON THE COMPOST HEAP once called Newsom's CD after this, YS, one of the very best of the 2000's. What a shock to hear she sings like an 8-year-old girl! This is cute and charming, and like the Incredible String Band never happened. But if she keeps singing like this, I'm not going to get far....
* Joanna Newsom -- Sprout and the Bean, from MENDER. That voice.... This is pleasant morning music, harmless. And she plays that harp like a guitar. She doesn't sound like anyone else. But....
* Joanna Newsom -- Inflammatory Writ, from MENDER. If an 8-year-old girl performed this at a piano recital it'd be charming. And ... uh ... precocious. But for a woman in her 20's(?) ... well, I just wonder what's wrong with her. Her lyrics are cute, but....
* The La's -- Son of a Gun, from their only album (1990). This is a little more like it, tho simpler than Newsom or Khan. Nice guitar strumming, light vocals. Then it's over.
* The La's -- I Can't Sleep. Heavier. I can't sleep either. Heard about this album on SOUND OPINIONS too. Another critics' baby. I probly shoulda known better. OK harmonies, nice guitars, closer to rock and roll.
* The La's -- Timeless Melody. Reminded of Bare Naked Ladies. Very pleasant, nice vocals. Songs on this album are nice, upbeat, mostly very short. Simple, basic, happy rock. When the guitar gets heavier, it gets better.
* The La's -- Liberty Ship. Now they could be the Turtles, almost. Their CD has NO information about the band, tho four producers are credited. I infer from the London Records label that they were English. Who is this L.A. Mavers who wrote all the songs and got a 6-point-type credit? And who played the instruments?
* The La's -- There She Goes. yes, the song that Sixpence None the Richer later made a hit. They had good taste. And this sounds almost exactly the same, only with a guy singing. This is very nice, with nice Byrdsy guitars. And it's over too fast.
* The La's -- Doledrum. Now they could be XTC. Nice, tho.
* The La's -- Feelin'. Pleasant. Slightly heavier guitars. Their songs are over too fast.
* The La's -- Way Out. OK, mildly jumpy not-broken-hearted lovesong. But it's time for a coffee break.
* The La's -- Looking Glass. OK, this runs almost 8 minutes, so we'll see what they can do with some room. ...More guitars, but more mournful. Not sure there's more impact, but all these songs are worth hearing. Maybe the first real keeper of the morning. ...Speeds up kinda pointlessly at the end. No big impact.
* Dusty Springfield -- Son of a Preacher Man, from DUSTY IN MEMPHIS (1969/1999). I've always hated this. It's sleazy and smarmy, and she sings it mostly like she's embarrassed, except from the middle on. Course it's well-produced.
* Dusty Springfield -- Just a Little Lovin' from IN MEMPHIS. Can't argue with the lyrics, but it's SO 1968 that it makes me laugh.
* Dusty Springfield -- So Much Love, from IN MEMPHIS. yes, she sings beautifully. I can go back to '66 with PET SOUNDS, so I'm not sure why I can't go back to '68 with this. Except this is way closer to Burt Bacharach than the Beach Boys....
* Dusty Springfield -- Willie and Laura Mae Jones, from MEMPHIS. This is more like it. Better. Gutsier. And she sounds more relaxed.
* Dusty Springfield -- In the Land of Make Believe, from MEMPHIS. Another mushy love ballad, beautifully sung.
* Dusty Springfield -- Little by Little, from VERY BEST OF (1998). Above-average 1966 album track. Made Number 17 in England. Missing that extra touch of magic.
* Dusty Springfield -- I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten, from VERY BEST OF. Only version of this I know is by Tracey Ullman. The piano makes me laugh, and it's a LONG way to that first chorus, but the drama here really works. And the strings later are a freakin' knockout. Fades out too soon.
* Dusty Springfield -- You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, from VERY BEST OF. This is a huge melodramatic piece of cheez. And I've always loved it, especially those killer choruses. Crank it up!
* Badfinger -- Apple of My Eye, from their first BEST OF (1995). This is a low-key second-string classic, the band's mournful farewell to Apple Records. Could maybe have used more crashing drama. And it's over too soon.
* Badfinger -- The Name of the Game, from BEST OF. Just want to note that this slodgy George Harrison-produced version is way weaker than the Geoff Emerick-produced version included on Badfinger's later VERY BEST OF....
* Badfinger -- Suitcase, from BEST OF. Several of this band's better songs were about their career, like "Some Other Time," "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch" and "Rock of All Ages." This is an OK stripped-down on-the-road rocker.
* Gentle Giant -- I Lost My Head, from INTERVIEW (1976). The usual pretty, intricate, ping-pongy music up-front. I admit I miss these guys. And I've never heard any of this album before. ...This is built like their earlier "Peel the Paint" -- the softer, delicate stuff up-front, followed by the rockier, relatively "simple" stuff later. Derek Shulman's wailing vocals backed by jumpy instrumental support. Not bad, if not a classic.
* Gentle Giant -- Interview. Pretty rockin' (OK: discordant, jarring) for these guys. Autobiographical. Did they really think they didn't find their direction 'til their fourth album? That'd be OCTOPUS, right? yeah, I didn't really know what I was doing 'til my fourth book.... Lots of jumping around as the track develops....
* Gentle Giant -- Give it Back, from INTERVIEW. About average, for them. More of this later. Now time for a potty break. I'll try not to pee on myself....
* Roxy Music -- Sentimental Fool, from SIREN (1975). The ghost of Eno haunts the opening. Yeezus, no wonder this takes 6 minutes.... On the opening verse, Bryan Ferry almost sounds like Sandy Denny! Nice choruses, tho. And nice sax from Andy Mackay, as usual. This would be better if Eddie Jobson's synthesized noise didn't drag it out.
* Roxy Music -- Whirlwind, from SIREN. Wonder if anybody's ever told Bryan Ferry he can't sing. Or even hold a tune. Doubt it. Nice guitar from Phil Manzanera. but we're done here.
* Roxy Music -- She Sells, from SIREN. ...Until I heard the piano hook at the start of this. Rocks. More good guitar. Try at another hit single?
* Gary Lewis and the Playboys -- Count Me In, from THE TEN BEST OF (1997/2005). Always loved this. yes, it sounds thin. But it's also cute and catchy and clever. Along with a sternly-worded warning about how copying or downloading music illegally is stealing from the artist, Capitol/EMI include NO information on the CD about the artist, songwriters or producers. Didn't Al Kooper and Leon Russell and Snuff Garrett have something to do with this music? No clues from the CD package.
* Gary Lewis and the Playboys -- She's Just My Style, from BEST OF. Worthy of the Monkees. And funnier.
* Adrian Belew -- Joan Miro's Procession Through the Insides of a Purple Antelope Across a Sea of Tuna Fish, from the DESIRE OF THE RHINO KING best-of (1991). yeez, it took me longer to type the title than the song is. Screechy violin and electronics with rudimentary drumbeats. Noisy. The weirdest thing I've played this morning. Odd, he's such a good guitarist with King Crimson....
* Gentle Giant -- Funny Ways, from PLAYING THE FOOL/LIVE (1977). This is a freaking knockout! Long, creepy, atmospheric, with an unnecessarily rocking mid-section tossed in just to wake the audience up. the drama just keeps building. By four minutes in, it's a masterwork. And it'll make your skin crawl.
* Mannheim Steamroller -- Toccata, from FRESH AIRE III and AMERICAN GRAMOPHONE SAMPLER III (1984). Nice keyboard riff. After a dozen listenings, I guess this is starting to grow on me a little. But they aren't Gryphon.