July 31, 2006

One of the Great Debates for Bloggers

As I've mentioned before, I read a lot of blogs. I use an RSS reader (SharpReader) and so new posts to blogs I've subscribed to come in like emails do in Outlook. Some blogs I subscribe to are friends, others are professional bloggers (or professionals that blog), still others are random blogs I've been referred to through other random blogs. The question I have is whether to post multiple posts in a day or limit myself to just one post a day? You might be scoffing at me because the frequency has taken a definate dive, but some of you might remember the daily entries. As my posts have trailed of over the last couple of weeks, as has my traffic. A dip in traffic can be a hard thing to stomach, but since I've been so slow and sporadic with my posts, I understand, I really do. When I first started this blog, my traffic consisted of lots of friends, colleagues and aquaintances in Anchorage, Portland, and some other friends and family spread around the country. When I started to post at least once a day for long stretches, the traffic went up; people would stumble onto here from all over the world finding me through Google, Yahoo, etc. Blogrolls have always been a good source of traffic too, I still get a good steady flow of people who get here through [Sch]Metzger and The Mad Fishicist. I try to pass traffic back whenever I notice a spike. I've learned that mentioning celebrities (Jenna Fischer is a big one these days), female sportscasters (Erin Andrews is my favorite sideline reporter of all-time [Sorry OJ] and people, have been flocking to my sports blog because I mentioned her name..oops there I go again, but you gotta admit she looked pretty amazing in the Red Sox jersey tonight.). But I digress, or maybe I have Erin Andrews on the brain. Back to my point.
For those of you who use an RSS reader of any kind, multiple posts is a good thing, but for those of you who may just have MKinMotion.com bookmarked, you might look at the top of the top story and not recognize that there might be 3 other new posts under it, but their lost in the few seconds I have to get your attention. Just think of the guy (or girl, I guess) who's looking for Erin Andrews and stumbles here...I've got even less time to catch his/her attention. I guess the moral of the story might be get yourself hooked into an RSS reader (which I hear is a standard feature on MS Vista or at least the next version of Office) or it could be that good content regardless of volume will be read, found and appreciated. Anyway, here's to getting back on the map of blogging, enjoy the ride.

July 30, 2006

The Supply and Demand of Trains

I’ve always had difficulty falling asleep at night. Some people can fall asleep wherever whenever; that’s definitely not me. I struggle sleeping on planes, despite usually flying red-eye flights. I struggle sleeping in cars; something in my subconscious makes me anxious enough to snap awake if I realize I’ve fallen asleep. Still to this day, I spend countless wasted minutes and hours of my would-be sleep time laying in bed staring off into the dark listening.

Growing up in suburban Portland, we lived a few miles away from two train crossings. It was one train line, but two intersections where the train tracks would cross through traffic. On those rare occasions when it was warm enough to sleep with a window open, I could hear the train blow its whistle a few times as it approached the first intersection. Then a few minutes later, I’d hear the second whistle blast. Even to this day, when I hear a train whistle at a distance, it reminds me of trying to sleep.

I took a train once from San Jose to Portland. You could call it a red eye, but that’s only because it somehow took just over 24 hours to complete the trip. I was tired enough that nothing in me was strong enough to fight falling asleep. Because of the length of my trip and because Amtrak is used as a commuter train in the Bay Area of California, the steward put me in an empty car toward the back of the train. There were only a few other people who joined me throughout the evening in that car. I’d wake up at every stop if only to look out the window and wonder where I was. And then at one point, I awoke to quite a commotion. It seems while I was sleeping this once empty car was now full of a group of elderly travelers headed to Canada. I played tour guide as much as I could, but I kept wondering how these people got on the train somewhere in Northern California and knew absolutely nothing about Oregon.

One of the things I like about trains is that they usually have a different route than you would take when traveling by car. They take different passes through mountains, different tunnels and different bridges. It’s a different perspective you get and sometimes it’s just what you need. It might be this reason that I enjoy songs about trains. I still dream of jumping on a train going anywhere just to get somewhere else. They’re always going somewhere and they always have a purpose. Some take people, some take goods, some take machinery, but all take dreams wherever they go. Every time they blow their whistles they’re warning the world that here they come, whether you’re ready or not.

This installation of the Supply and Demand Podcast goes down a number of tracks. Some people are using the train to get away, some are using it to get home, all are going somewhere, so let’s not keep them any longer.

Here's the file to download, or if you subscribed to the feed in iTunes, you just need to update your podcast feed and then you can download it right to your iPod.

1. Grant Lee Phillips - I Often Dream of Trains

Sometimes a cover song is better than the original. This is one of those times. Grant Lee Phillips takes a Robyn Hitchcock song that I might normally skip through and turns it into a compelling song that could fit right into the Grant Lee Buffalo library.

2. Bob Dylan - It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

3. David Gray - Flame Turns Blue

4. The O'Jays - Love Train

5. Travis - Last Train

6. Wilco - Venus Stop the Train

This is a song that Wilco recorded when they were making Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I'm pretty sure Jay Bennett wrote it, hence the omission from the final tracks. It later showed up on Jay Bennett's solo album. For those unfamiliar with the YHF sessions, Wilco fired Jay Bennett before they finished the record. There's a movie about it that is very engaging; it's worth it just for the interaction between Jeff Tweedy and his son.

7. The Decemberists - The Engine Driver

Watch out for this song, not only is it like most Decemberists songs and gets stuck in your head, but it will sneak up on you.

8. Raul Malo - Downbound Train

Sometimes a cover tune isn't better than the original, but makes you view the song in a different light. Raul Malo takes a Born in the USA Springsteen song and just slightly manipulates the feel.

9. Johnny Cash - Waiting for a Train

I whittled down from about a dozen Cash songs about trains. I think this one works, don't you?

10. Vigilantes of Love - Nothing Like a Train

I think this is my favorite VOL song. There's nothing wrong with it at all. Even though it was already in the mix, I'll throw some credit toward TMF because this was in his list he sent to me.

11. R.E.M. - Driver 8

12. The Doobie Brothers - Long Train Runnin'

13. U2 - Zoo Station

Wow, remember the first time you heard this song? If you were like me, you didn't know what to expect after they released "The Fly" as their first single before Achtung Baby was released. There's no doubt that the whole "going away and dreaming it up again" idea was really more than a vacation for the boys.

14. Lyle Lovett - Texas Trilogy: Train Ride

15. Daniel Lanois - Death of a Train

The guitar solo in this song has always been on the list of great guitar solos.

16. Counting Crows - Ghost Train

"She buys a ticket because it's cold where she comes from."

17. Hothouse Flowers - Good For You

"I've hoarded all experiences I've had, written down all memories on a train, and you ask me where I'm headed, it can be good for you, and it's been good for me."

18. Soul Asylum - Runaway Train

19. The Monkees - Last Train to Clarksville

There are still people who think this is the Beatles...maybe the same people who thought the Monkees were a real band or even better real monkeys.

20. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Trains

Ryan Adams in 2005 was kind of like a blog. Sometimes if you post too many posts in a short period of time, the common reader misses a few. Ryan Adams released so much music in 2005, you may have missed this gem. We'll have to work together to come up with a solution for mass blog posting and Ryan Adams spitting out great music, because it's bound to continue.

21. Paul Simon - Train in the Distance

22. Ghost Train (To Nowhere) - Lost Dogs

Another great contribution from TMF...he's going to be so proud!

23. Sarah McLachlan - Train Wreck

24. The Silver Jews - Trains Across the Sea

25. Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train

You were expecting maybe Cat Stevens to finish it off? Nope you get the Blizzard of Oz.

July 27, 2006

Kinda Like Writer's Block

There's lots rattling around in my head that I will eventually type out in a post, but right now I'm experiencing a little Blogger's Block. Mainly it's time. I only have a few hours a day combined between the time I wake up in the morning and when I go to work and the time between when I get home from work and fall asleep. This time has become so valuable this week that I find myself vegging out instead of being productive. The ball game the other night was awesome. I saw Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon go back to back with homers and Curt Schilling pitch 6 strong innings that made my summer. The Red Sox won big, however they did fall down in the third game of the series and lose it the next day.

I listen to my iPod all 8 hours of my work day. I usually throw some podcasts on there to take up a few hours but mostly it's music. Something dawned on me yesterday that led to me blowing away a bunch of music that's been staple iPod music for over a year. So I'm looking for some help replacing the 100 or so songs I removed. I want a playlist of upbeat-fun-happy-toe-tapping songs. So if there is a song, or even better several, that fit that description for you, email the info to me and I'll throw it in the mix. I've done my best over the last year or so to make recommendations for music you might not already have or have heard, so now the chance is yours. Send your ideas to mkinmotion[at]gmail[dot]com.
I should be back to my normal blogging pattern in no time...afterall, there's always the weekend. In the meantime, check out these recommendations:

Silversun Pickups - Carnavas
Golden Smog - Another Fine Day
Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae
David Ford - I Sincerly Apologize for All the Trouble I've Caused

July 25, 2006

Rolling Blackouts

Yes, I'm back in the land where the threat of rolling blackouts is in people's conversations as much as the weather is. Got back from Shasta on Sunday and have been catching up on all that has happened in the world while I was out of touch. Someone showed up to our houseboats on Wednesday with a newspaper and it kind of reminded me of one of my favorite MASH episodes when the 4077 shares a mystery novel because they all want to read so badly. I think I get better news and better insight into what's going on in the world from reading what people are blogging about around the world than a Redding, California newspaper. Tonight I'm headed to the Red Sox game tonight in Oakland. I'm going with my dad. Our seats are on the third base line right in the middle of foul ball territory Section 128, if you want to look it up. Curt Schilling is pitching and Big Papi and Manny are surging, so it should be a great night. I've got more to say about Shasta and the amazing people I got to spend a week with in the sun and I'm sure I'll have something to say about the game tonight, if the California Power powers-that-be allow the lights to stay on for the game tonight. 30,000 people sitting outside not using AC is probably a positive thing in the battle for electricity efficiency.

July 15, 2006

Out of Office: Autoreply

So, I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a week here and figured I would leave you with some things to tide you over while I'm gone. Here are some links and things. Have a great week and I'll be back to posting next week.

Web Sudoku


Savage Chickens

New songs from Matthew Ryan

I've mentioned One Red Paperclip a few times over the last couple of weeks, so here's the 20/20 spot on the project to catch you up to what it's all about. I left a comment on his blog one time and he replied with a nice personal email.

The only time that people getting hurt is funny is when I laugh.

The worst day of fishing still beats any day in the office.

Insane Fishing.

July 13, 2006

The Supply and Demand Podcast

Want to make it easier to get these compilations of songs? Subscribe to it as a podcast in iTunes or whatever else you might use for podcasts. In iTunes, click 'Advanced' then 'Subscribe to Podcast..." There are two ways to subscribe to this podcast from here...you can either copy and paste the link below into that window or you can right click the link choose either copy link location (Firefox) or copy shortcut (Internet Explorer). Paste the link into that box and press OK. You'll see a new podcast and depending on how you have podcasts set up in your preferences it might even download the latest episode for you automatically. Then it's not only easy to download, but easy to move to your iPod or burn to a CD. Please let me know if you need extra help with any of this. Enjoy.


The Supply and Demand of Home

Perhaps in honor of Kyle MacDonald's accomplishment, this edition of Supply and Demand focuses on home. I had to pare down quite a bit, so there are plenty more songs about home out there.

Download the latest edition of Supply and Demand. Right click here and choose save as... and put it where you put your music.

The next edition will be The Supply and Demand of Trains, so get your suggestions in...off the top of his head, TMF came up with 7 for me today, so I know you guys can do it too.

1. Hothouse Flowers – Home.
The first HHF song I ever heard, thanks to TMF. Still one of my favorites.

"Now my spinning head is slowly slowing down, At least my lonely bed is in my favorite town."

2. Neil Diamond – I Am, I Said.
Yes, Neil Diamond! Huah! How many of us live this dichotomy of where we live and where we feel at home?

L.A.'s fine, but it ain't home, New York's home, but it ain't mine no more”

3. Keane – Sunshine.
An overlooked track from the Hopes and Fears album.

4. The Elected – The Miles ‘til Home.
The Elected are two members of Rilo Kiley doing their own thing. It’s great stuff, I highly recommend anything they’ve done. They sneak in a little bonus action before the next track kicks in.

5. Matthew Ryan – Come Home.
This song will help you understand that Matthew Ryan can turn up the volume and make it loud. It may still be melancholy, but it rocks nonetheless. I once made one of my famous compilation CDs for a friend with the title coming from this song, but never gave it to them. The title was:

“I was real good at drinking all night, real good at picking a fight”

6. Toots & the Maytals – Take Me Home, Country Roads.
I hope I don’t get sued by Brian Ibbott for putting a cover tune in here. The boys put an island spin to the classic John Denver song.

7. Editors – Let Your Good Heart Lead You Home (UK Track not available from iTunes).
The only reader contributed track this time. I think it’s time for the rest of you to stop lurking and get involved. This was recommended by Viv, who I only know from an occasional comment on MKinMotion.com. If you ever liked alt music in the 80’s you should enjoy Editors.

8. The Alarm – One Step Closer to Home.
The Alarm were at one point in the same conversation as U2 and INXS. What happened you might ask? Well, among other things, they never adjusted at the end of the eighties.

9. The Finn Brothers – Homesick.
This track comes from a KFOG session on iTunes, the Finn boys know how to put their heads together and create a harmony of vocals and songwriting.

10. Ryan Adams – Anyone Wanna Take Me Home?
Like the Matthew Ryan track, this is a louder Ryan Adams than you might be used to, and also like Matthew Ryan, just as melancholy.

11. Blind Faith – Can’t Find My Way Home.
Every compilation CD has to have the token classic rock track (by genre only) on it, doesn’t it?

12. Greg Brown – I Must Be In Oregon. (not available for sale)
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, so this song makes complete sense to me. Those of you from Oregon will enjoy it, but try not to take offense, I don’t need to remind you of what the weather was like the last time I was there.

13. Dido – Life For Rent.
Always room for the women here at MKinMotion.com.

14. Josh Kelley – Home to Me.
Josh Kelley is one of the most talented singer songwriters you’ve never heard of. I think I have just about everything he’s ever recorded and it’s great for driving and great for just about anything else.

15. Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound.
There always has to be a sing-a-long song doesn’t there?

16. Whiskeytown – Not Home Anymore.
This might be cheating considering Whiskeytown is Ryan Adams, but it’s a great song.

17. Galaxie 500 – When Will You Come Home?
Doesn't Galaxie 500 make everything a little more eclectic?

18. Jackie Greene – I’m So Gone.
This song appropriately ends this edition about home with a song about being “so gone, such a long long way from home.” Jackie Greene, the normally mellow singer songwriter takes on a 80’s pop rock sound in this one.

A Week's Worth of Posts

I've been sick and trying to prepare for my week of relaxation and haven't had as much motivation to put anything out here this week. I've missed the Album of the Week, New Music Tuesday, commenting about my man Kyle McDonald, my new found enjoyment of Netflix, etc. I'm uploading the latest edition of Supply and Demand as I type, so I'll put a post together for that tonight.

A couple of great releases this week. Things that have been floating around the internet for months have finally shown their faces. Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame released his solo album. Sufjan Stevens released the outtakes album from the Illinois sessions. James Figurine finally released Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake.

So check out these three albums for one more thing to do next week while I'm away from the web.

Thom York - The Eraser
Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
James Figurine - Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake

July 8, 2006

This Just In: Homeland Security Watches Baseball

Maybe you heard about it, maybe you didn't. In California, a State Senator claimed that the Department of Homeland Security was monitoring political demonstrations; one in particular that he was involved with. Though they denied it, the California Department of Homeland Security released it's activity reports for the last few months...and what do you know, not only were largescale political rallies listed on the report but sporting events, amusement parks, church picnics and various other gatherings. Why might these guys get a memo about such events? Come to find out when large groups of people gather despite of the reason they become more of a risk for a terrorist attack. Who'd have thunk that? Apparently not Senator Joe Dunn (D), he still thinks they were following him around.

July 7, 2006

Upcoming: The Supply and Demand of...

I've received some pretty good feedback from both of the mixes I've posted, so I will continue to put them together. As I mentioned when I released the last one, I will announce a theme ahead of time and give you, the audience, a chance to make some suggestions. I'm going out of town the week after this next week and will be enjoying a week without much for electronic devices, including the internet, so you'll be on your own for a week, but I will try to get the third installment of Supply and Demand out before then. So here's the theme...

The Supply and Demand of...Home.

So send in your ideas and suggestions for songs that revolve around the idea of home. Be as creative as you'd like, and we'll see how this one goes.

Send your ideas and suggestions via email to mkinmotion[at]gmail[dot]com. And I will work diligently to put it all together before I leave on the 16th. Also I don't know if you noticed the change in the anonymity policy here at MKinMotion.com, but I'm now posting as Matt (my actual name) instead of the more anonymous MKinMotion. Big step.

There's Been A Lot Of Talk About This Next Song...

Thanks to Cara at Scatter o' Light, I listened to "Love Rescue Me" in a new way tonight. Maybe you know or maybe you don't, but "Love Rescue Me" was written by Bono and Bob Dylan. On the studio version on Rattle & Hum, Dylan sings with Bono. I've heard Bono talk before about the influence of Dylan both as a musician and as a celebrity. There's a verse of the song that caught my ear as I listened to the famous performance where Bono announces that U2 are going a way for a while to dream it all up again. They virtually dissappear between this series of concerts in Dublin in 1989 until the release of Achtung Baby in 1991 as a reinvented band with what many fans and non-fans consider to be one of the greatest albums ever. The verse in the song is:
"Many strangers have I met, on my road to regret,
Many lost seek to find themselves in me.
They ask me to reveal, the very thoughts they would conceal,
Love rescue me."
I've said many times that the words don't necessarily make a song, but these words are pretty profound for both men involved in the writing of the song. Both men have been looked to by many people and communities to have the answers to whatever question hasn't been answered sufficiently. It makes me think of John Lennon in Imagine (the movie, not the song) when a strange hippie shows up at his house on a sort of pilgrimage to get all the answers to the big questions in life. John Lennon, Bono, and Bob Dylan have all been asked this, Kurt Cobain experienced it, being viewed almost as a modern day prophet. Here Bono and Bob point out that strangers try to find themselves in them or their songs or their persona or even just their image. These strangers ask them to share the deepest thoughts, passions, ideas, their hearts...things that the strangers themselves would hide. As the title suggests, there have been many interpretations of the song coming up with religion, drugs, women, etc as being this solution that the two men are looking to. Could it be love? Not the love of a crazy adoring fan, but the love of someone who respects their heart enough not to expect it to be shared without merit? Just a new thought on an old song.

July 6, 2006

Where Am I? Where I Am.

The following are a few stream of consciousness thoughts that I tossed together. I welcome your comments. If there are stairs from the level MKinMotion is on, I'm trying to climb the stairs to take this place to the next level...I'd love to have you jump on board and join me. I realize these four thoughts should be separate posts, but I feel like breaking rules and not breaking your RSS readers if you're on board that way.

Ramble 1
You may not have even noticed a difference, but you are now at MKinMotion.com. Okay, okay, so the URL still says blogspot.mkinmotion.com…but if you type MKinMotion.com into your browser you will come here. I bought the domain. I bought a couple of others that will be making appearances sometime in the future, too. I also secured hosting for the domain, so in the future I may move the blog entirely over to MKinMotion.com and have the blogspot address forward. I mention all of this because I want you to know there is a bigger future to this place I call MKinMotion, but also because the money that has paid for the domain(s) and hosting and email, etc. has come from people like you. With the AdSense ads, the iTunes links, the Amazon.com links, I’ve managed to generate enough revenue to get started. Pat yourselves on the back…the revolution has just begun to begin.

I’ve felt a certain level of disconnect between me and the blog world. I resist the term blogosphere because it’s currently on a list of words I currently hate. I feel like I haven’t had much meaningful to say, and I feel like I’ve been mailing in some of the weekly features. Maybe you haven’t noticed it at all. I really do have a couple of articles rattling around in my head, but I feel like I’ve got to elevate everything I put into this blog. I know how much other blogs mean to me and I want to become that to you. Through the magic of RSS feeds, I’m able to know within minutes when someone adds an article/post to their blog, making it very easy to keep up with hundreds. Mostly people I don’t actually know, but somehow feel like I know a little bit more about them from reading sometimes daily thoughts. Everyday I spend a little time in the morning and a little time in the evening reading through what people have been saying for the day. I may even have you on RSS…you never know. So I guess I feel challenged by the realization I’ve had over the last couple of weeks. This realization that this stuff means something to me. These blogs I’ve become attached to…what am I doing to contribute to that? Does what I have to say mean something to anyone out there? The challenge is to elevate what I preached a couple of months ago when I answered the question “How do I drive traffic to my blog?” that a reader sent in for Q&A Wednesday (though this happened to be a Thursday like today). I think I had 3 C’s but I think I have more than 3 now. Consistency, content, and connections were my original 3. I would add comments to that. The first thing most people do when I comment on their blog (especially if they’re a complete stranger to me) is the follow my link back to my blog. They may or may not comment on mine, but I know they came here. The more you read, the more you involve yourself, the more you comment, the more you form a 4th C “community.”

I’m often described as a quiet guy, and sometimes I agree with the description and sometimes I dispute it. In many situations I tend to be the quiet guy. I’ve always been a little analytic, the observer, the thinker. I think I have an odd self perception of myself, though. I think sometimes quietness gets confused with shyness; with arrogance; with indifference; with how do I say this…stupidity. I know I’m not stupid, so I can say it. I may make stupid decisions or have stupid opinions or laugh at stupid jokes, but I know I’m not stupid. I’m working in a job right now where I don’t have to talk if I don’t want to. Typically I put my ear buds in choose a playlist select repeat and tune the rest of the world out for two 4 hour segments of the day. I wonder sometimes as the others in my department carry on conversations about the weather, bad television, and whatever else they talk about if they think I’m one of those things…shy, arrogant, indifferent, stupid. I guess it doesn’t matter, because I’ve done more work each day over the last two week there than they usually do, so I feel alright about perceptions. The work itself is easy but there’s tons of it. Paperwork, literally; lots of paper lots of work. The work itself isn’t the least bit challenging to me, so I have to make creative goals for myself to be motivated to get as much work as I’ve been getting done. There’s no incentive for me to be faster than anyone else, there’s really no one keeping track, but I feel like I have to challenge myself or I would go crazy…or maybe just talk all day about the weather and Big Brother while listening to Kenny G and Nick Lachey.

I’ve been lurkily (MSWord doesn’t think that’s a word) keeping up with Robert Scoble via his blog. I feel pretty safe to assume that most of my audience doesn’t have any idea who Robert Scoble is…that’s fine (here’s his wikipedia entry). All you have to really know about him is he’s worked at Microsoft for the last few years and been plugged in with their blogging and vidcasting/vlogging. All these words MSWord hates. He recently left Microsoft to jump on board with a start-up down here in the Bay Area. The company is PodTech and they’re a podcasting/vidcasting company. It’s really inspiring to me. I listen to a lot of podcasts and watch a lot of vidcasts, as I’ve mentioned on here, and I really would like to get involved with something like that. I watched his last interview tonight from his MS gig. He interviewed Alexander Gounares, who happens to be Bill Gates’ technical assistant. Alexander said a lot of interesting things as you might expect someone who’s the technical assistant to one of the smartest people technically and non-technically on the planet. He prefaced one of his comments with, “This is gonna sound cheesy” when he was asked what he sees as his goal. His answer was “to make the world a better place.” Don’t we all have that goal in a way? I hope we do, but I’m convinced we don’t. After you get done gagging at Gounares’ comment, understand that he went on to explain that through some Microsoft and non-MS tools his father who owns a small business is now able to do business with people all over the world. It’s remarkable that at the top of a huge corporation there are core values in place. I’d love to be involved with something where at the core is to change customers’ lives and make their worlds as well as the world at large a better place. I’m sure you’ve seen the Microsoft commercials that show the kid playing piano on the table, the businesses filling in the gaps, the schools growing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mac user or a Microsoft user or a Linux Nazi, people around the world use these things to create, to fix, to communicate, to educate…you can’t stop it.

July 4, 2006

The Supply and Demand of Almost Hymns

Okay, this goes back a few posts, more like a few weeks. I went on a little blitz about songwriters a few weeks ago and listed some of the "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" according to Paste Magazine. Then I went on to add my top 20. What I've done for this edition of Supply and Demand is put together some of my favorite songs from my top 20 living songwriters. I had a whole other mix of songs ready to go, but I got frustrated with a couple of the tracks having pops or skips in them, so I relented to this idea I had a few weeks ago. Their in order of my 20, so follow along. A warning, there may be some adult themes or language mixed in. I have realized more than ever that this type of thing really requires me to add my own voice to add some color to it. I got a new microphone last weekend, so maybe the next edition of Supply and Demand will have my not-for-radio-voice mixed in with songs. And as always, let me know what you think. As the title suggests, there has to be demand for me to supply more. Also if you have suggestions or ideas for songs to be included in future editions, send them via email mkinmotion[at]gmail[dot]com. Also if you're interested in lending your voice to introduce a song, let me know and you can either record it yourself, or I have a way for you to record it via phone. I'd love to get some participation. Enjoy your mix and support these great songwriters by buying their stuff.

Download here.

1. Bob Dylan, Positively 4th Street
This is probably not the best nor your favorite Dylan song, but I love it. The title also makes me think of nights spent on 4th Avenue in Anchorage. Many an interesting night took place on 4th whether it was getting involved in a street brawl cage match or jukebox magic at the Pie Hole, it's a good street to be caught on in summer and winter alike.

2. Bruce Springsteen, One Step Up
Maybe a bit of a surprise for anyone who considers me a Springsteen fan or a purist if you will. I've always loved this song, the sound of it and the words...it all works.

3. Paul McCartney with Wings, Band on the Run (sorry, not available for sale on iTunes)
Probably his most famous song other than "Live and Let Die" that came out of his post Beatles catalog. Sure some will say "Spies Like Us" or "Say, Say, Say" but come on, this song blows all of that away. You can't help but sing this one and it's so well crafted into what sounds like several songs put together.

4. Paul Simon, Homeless
As I listen to this song mixed with the others, I'm realizing it's probably not the best example of his songwriting, but I didn't want to use a Simon & Garfunkel song so I went through Rythym of the Saints and Graceland and this one stood out as unique. Don't hold it against me.

5. U2, A Day Without Me
I had to go early...but not too early (U23 might not be the best representation of songwriting). The entire Boy album is full of great songwriting. These guys are just 20 year old kids trying to find their voices (literally, in this song) and this song shows the concepts they were trying to tackle even back then. Three Pauls in a row?

6. Neil Young, Razor Love
I'm sensing a trend here, and that's that I'm betting that there are diehard Neil fans that are shouting at their screens right now. I picked this song not only because it's beautiful, but because I love the image of love as a razor wire that "cuts right through."

7. Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey (again, not interested in iTunes revenue)
Ivan has written so many great songs that I could have chosen from, but I think this is a prototypical song that sums up his skill with words and turning them into almost hymns.

8. Ryan Adams, Damn, Sam (I Love A Woman That Rains)
Again, I could have chosen from countless songs that Ryan has put out, but I chose something from Heartbreaker that shows that he can take some simple chords and make them into a great song. Do yourself a favor and start collecting this guy's stuff.

9. Wilco, Hummingbird
Jeff Tweedy is a genius. I know I've said it before, but this is one of those songs that makes you feel something. It kind of always rolled by when I would listen to the album, but then when I saw them at Stubb's BBQ in Austin the night before they played ACL, I fell in love with the song.

10. Counting Crows, St. Robinson in His Cadillac Dream
For my money, I still think there isn't a better song than "Sullivan Street", but I already put that song in my first effort. This recording comes from the live album that Adam and the boys released last week. I keep listening to it while I'm at work and find myself blowing through hours of mindless work with this album on repeat. It's good and this is a great version of this forgotten song.

11. R.E.M., Turn You Inside-Out
This one has all the things that people like R.E.M. for. Guitar, harmony, depth, a little bit country a little bit rock and roll. I'm gonna get sooooo sued.

12. Tom Waits, Downtown Train (link is not the Storytellers version)
Images of Rod Stewart in neon may come to mind when you hear this, but yes, Tom Waits wrote it. This is taken from one of the most fascinating episodes of VH1 Storytellers ever. Gotta love that voice, don't you?

13. Jackson Browne, These Days
A great song to try to teach yourself basic finger picking on the guitar. Sorrow well blended with melody makes for a great song.

14. David Bowie, Life on Mars?
You know it's a truly great song that if you don't know the words but you can't help but sing along anyway.

15. Radiohead, Karma Police (someday, maybe Radiohead will jump on iTunes)
Besides "Creep", it might be the most well known song, but there's a reason for that. I think it's pure genius. It has an apex in the middle of it, which also happens to be the turning point of OK Computer. Hopefully you'll pull out your copy of the album and listen for the change that happens in the middle of this song. I'd also say there's a hidden track, but I wanted to include "Fitter Happier" also, but in this medium there really aren't hidden tracks.

16. Coldplay, One I Love
I wanted to put a song that wasn't really on an album on here, I think it's one of their best songs, especially from that in between period between Parachutes and Rush of Blood. This song happens to be the b-side on the "In My Place" single if you were wondering.

17. Pearl Jam, Nothingman
All of these artists have such huge catalogs of songs to choose from. It makes it hard, but I think this one has several elements that put Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard on the list.

18. Pink Floyd, Brain Damage
I spent a lot of time trying to decide on a song to represent Roger Waters' songwriting. I looked at his solo albums and then the Floyd stuff. I picked this song because it shows that even outside of the context of the concept album the songwriting is so solid. Within the context of the concept album, his talent is so much more evident.

19. They Might Be Giants, She's an Angel
I know what you're thinking. TMBG are all about fun melodies and fun, sometimes funny lyrics. Well, you're right. This is an example of a They Might Be Giants love song.

20. Kris Kristofferson, Sunday Morning Coming Down
Johnny Cash took this song and turned it into a hit, but Kris Kristofferson wrote it and here he sings it. That's the story of Kristofferson's early career, he'd write the song but someone else would sing it. But like Willie Nelson and Jackson Browne, he overcame that to put together some great performances too.

Bonus Tracks

You remember that I left some significant players out of my top 20 and got some emails about who I left out. And while I can't include everyone, I thought I'd throw on two bonus tracks of songwriter's who could easily jump into the top 20. My apologies to those of you who where looking to fit this onto a CD because the bonus tracks put you over the top, but these two songs speak for themselves.

21. Daniel Lanois, Death of a Train

22. Matthew Ryan, Chrome

KRex, before you mention that there aren't any women in this edition, join me in putting together a women's edition. Seriously, I'd even let Ani slide if you could justify her songwriting skills.

July 3, 2006

My Ideas Continue to Be Adapted

Add these to the list.



And yes, I understand these were thought up before I came up with them, but I've got to start sharing my ideas sooner.

July 2, 2006

The Next Edition

I've gotten a few requests to put together another iPod friendly compilation. I've decided to oblige. I've begun working on it. Don't expect it tonight, probably Monday night or Tuesday. If you remember, the title of the last one was "The Supply and Demand of Parachutes" and the theme was summer songs. I won't disclose the theme of this next edition but I will disclose that Supply and Demand will continue to be in the title. As mentioned in the last one, I'm looking for help with these too. I think I will start to do these once a week and announce the theme early in case anyone wants to contribute. Look for more about this on Monday or Tuesday when I post the next edition. And if anyone has a good idea for hosting, I'm in the market. I figured if I wanted to turn this into a weekly podcast I would use something like LibSyn, but I'm not sure a dozen or so songs a week justifies that yet. Anyway, if you have a good place to publicly store larger files, let me know...I'm not necessarily looking for something free. Enjoy long weekend for those of you who have tomorrow off, for those of you who don't, I'm right there with you.

Album of the Week: Irish Music on the 4th of July

I got a couple of emails about last week's Album(s) of the week asking why I didn't wait until this week (Independence Day week) to do Springsteen. It might have worked, but the Album of the Week is generally something I think of in advance with the idea that it might not be something you already have or maybe something you aren't even aware of. It's a spotlight of sorts for something out of my collection that I listened to and thought "People need to know about this." The possibilities are endless, because there are plenty of albums that are great but overlooked. This week I received my ACL CD/DVD set in the mail. And though I would love to feature it as the Album of the Week, I hold off. Instead I highlight a band that shows up on that CD and DVD that I've come to love. I'm talking about The Frames. Specifically for Album of the Week I've chosen their 2005 album Burn the Maps. Van Morrison and U2 put Ireland on the music map at least for my generation, and many Irish bands have been able to be noticed because of their success. Hothouse Flowers, The Cranberries, and The Frames can all credit their countrymen for getting them noticed. Like U2, the Frames' music doesn't have an Irish sound to it despite their having a violin player. Burn the Maps has a great mix of straight rock and roll that can rival anything else out there these days and fresh pop. I recommend "Dream Awake" and "Suffer in Silence" if you've only got $1.98 to spend on music today. Also check out their other albums while you're at it...it's quality music.

The Frames - Burn the Maps
The Frames - For the Birds
The Frames - Set List: Live in Dublin

"Revelate" from the 2005 Austin City Limits Festival.

Also upon further review, Grant Lee Phillips' Nineteeneighties is pretty spectacular. I highly recommend it.