I'll be sure not to sing your praise too loud

Dear Friends,


Things I learned in the woods:

Eagles have a large wing span. (Okay, I already knew that but up close and personal is a little different.)

Well water can be malodorous.

That in itself is not enough to stop you showering in it when you are dirty.

If you "hike" in sneakers, carrying an umbrella, more experienced types will laugh at you as they pass.

Hikers will also ALWAYS greet you. Which is interesting if you've been entertaining thoughts that they are serial killers on the stalk.

Brown bears steer clear of well traveled logging roads (at least that is what I will continue to hope.)

Certain songs are made for nightime, curving road driving with dark tree silhouettes reaching overhead and a loved one's reassuring hand on your knee.

One such song is They built you up too fast (yousendit download) by Takka Takka from their album, We feel safer at night.

A sotto voce ditty about great expectations; not overly serious, just matter of fact. It's probably the punctuation of syncopated handclaps and la la las sprinkled throughout that keeps it so light. The song is a promise, a quiet one and something about the measured quietness makes you think that the narrator is unsure they can keep their vow. How can they when odds say they will fail? So they turn it into a nursery rhyme of sorts. One that says, "Don't blame me if I can't keep it...I'll try though." and secretly hopes that through repetition, they can make it so.

Of course when I listen to it, none of this comes in to play. Especially on the country roads with the signs saying 'Fawn crossing.' I just hear the quiet spaces in between and murmur the refrain under my breath*.

Takka Takka play tonight as part of an Earfarm Halloween showcase at Union Hall. Check it.


CMJ here we come!

Wednesday, November 1st. Knitting Factory Old Office. Serious Business Records Famiglia!

This is gonna be good freakin' times so if you are free, come on out! Conversely, if you hadn't planned to come, have a CMJ pass and are in the building, feel free to wander our way.

Love, D

* Gabriel Takka has just informed me the song is about Richard Serra. Uh...really? (Consults cd booklet lyric sheet.) Tomorrow I will write about how Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John is about fear of discos and my winning interpretive streak shall continue!

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I play the radio baby

dear friends,

remember how I said there'd be a review? I lied. too busy continuing my adventures as a coughing, sneezing mess. monday maybe?

no matter, the monkey & I are taking off for the wilds of woodstock for the week-end. we plan to look at leaves, take photos of said leaves & avoid the snooze seeking bears.

songs for a rainy drive playlist? we shall see...j usually prefers more uptempo stuff. perhaps I'll be blasting ring the alarm the entire way up! on repeat! WHOO!

(alphabetical or cantcha tell?)

come as you are/caetano veloso (yousendit download)

veloso can make anything sound like luxury. even ambivalence & self-loathing. what I love about this nirvana cover is as smooth as it sounds, the guitar still stabs during the choruses. sharp little jabs, like someone fucking with a drunk.

in my time of dying/bob dylan (yousendit download)

a good car singalong.

carnival (acoustic)/the cardigans (yousendit download)

I loved this video the first time I saw it. I thought nina persson was the cutest doll woman I'd ever seen & I wanted ten of her in miniature, to line my shelves with. lest you think I'm a serial killer, I actually settled for the cardigans' album life instead.

miss persson does not sing lead on this version, one of her boone from lost*-looking bandmates does.

birdmad girl/the cure (yousendit download)

my cousin pamela was an all black wearing, mohawk sportin' punk rawker with a dash of goth thrown in. naturally, she gave all of that up to become a celine dion fan. yes, that didn't make any sense to me either, but at least I inherited all her vinyl, including the one that this selection comes from, the top.

another entry in the lyrics of huh? school. apparently this one has got something to do with yeats. oh that wacky bob.

silver strings/helium (yousendit download)

miss mary timony is playing the hiro ballroom on friday, november 3 for cmj & I am insanely excited.

this lady is still one of my favorite guitar players, whether she's doing dissonant string pulls or locking down on math grooves that easily outclass those of her peers. check out the interesting foray into cock rock at the fade of this fantasy number. it made me go "wha...?" in a good way.

this is where I belong/the kinks (yousendit download)

in an excellent segue (cough,) if you're in town this weekend, be sure to catch mistakes TONIGHT for a very special halloween show. the mistakes crew (krew?) are going to be the kinks for the night & run through a selection of their fine O.G. britpop classics. will they wear leather suits & carry whips? I have no idea. but I hear they're tackling autumn almanac & I'm very sad to miss THAT. for details, go to their my space page.

love, d

ps can someone please write about beauty pill? everytime it pops up on random, I'm a happy camper.

* I LOVED the last episode. it was like buttah on a biscuit. I also love that buggety-eyes ben, such a great character!

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be my friend

dear friends,

1. still ill. stomach backflipping & cartwheeling. face permanently pinched in sinus distress. eyes: red, runny & tiny. sore throat. & weirdly, the sides of my knees hurt. huh? what's that about?

2. in the parlance of flav, I am really loving me some idolator right now. I would like to thank them for introducing me to this week's heavy listen, young people. go check out the post on them & download their hypnotic tune, dark rainbow.

3. more from the vaults, enjoy!

from 8/22/05...

you encourage the eating of ice cream


somersault/zero 7 (yousendit download)

speed dial #2/zero 7 (yousendit download)

breathe me (four tet remix)/sia furler (yousendit download)

4. a video!


4. tomorrow, an album review! well, I'm gonna try. (sneeze)

love, d

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surely I'm a pioneer?

dear friends,

I've been sick as a dog the past couple of days. the monkey is my knight in shining armor (cue emotional rescue by the rolling stones,) keeping me in flat ginger ale, theraflu & putting his hand on my clammy forehead. he's tops & I can't thank him enough.

anywho, I figure I'd make life extremely easy for myself & direct you to some old posts from soft communications past but this time with limited time only downloads via my new bff, you send it, so you can actually hear what I was babbling about. nifty, eh?

1. from february 15, 2005...

is history recorded?


know how/kings of convenience (yousendit download)

2. from june 24, 2005...

I've got no new act to amuse you


stay where you are/the delays (yousendit download)

coast to coast/elliott smith (yousendit download)

cosmopolitan/nine black alps (yousendit download)

more to come after these links expire...

love, d

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Your lunacy fits neatly with my own

aka Anatomy of a Mix, one

Dear friends,

I give friends mixes for their birthdays. And because I know and love an extraordinarily large amount of Librans*, I've fallen way behind on my mixmaking. But I'm working on it, I'm working on it. Here's one that I've actually finished. This is for my beloved friend, the furry and button eyed Jared.

1. I Can't Stand It/Lou Reed (yousendit download)

While I prefer the VU original, this version has the unexpected oomph of having the girls that went "too-doo too-doo too-doo" come out of nowhere and start blastin' away on the chorus. Who are these women? I would like to be their apprentice.

2. Sparta #2/The Fall

My signature dance song.

3. Ignition (Live)/Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

I first talked up this cover here. Jared owns Trapped in the Closet or at least rented it or something. I figure while he's probably never heard the R. Kelly original, which takes itself VERY seriously despite the car metaphors, he'd still appreciate this take on it.

4. Exodus Damage/John Vanderslice

I had a weird experience with this song late one night. I couldn't sleep and as I was switching channels, I came across the video. I can't say I loved it but I couldn't let go of it. In fact, the song lingered in my head in a disquieting way for several days. Soon after whilst browsing the blogs I read about my experience on another site. Jigga huh? Apparently, they were also was up late that night and got sucked in.

Deceptively simple, almost a, b, c-ish with its non-rhyming lyrics and repetitive choruses yammering on and on about Dance, Dance Revolution; this song captures the fragilility and unease of ordinary life after unfathomable events.

5. Hesitation Blues/Dave Van Ronk

From unease to impatience. Van Ronk's interview fascinated me in the Scorsese's Dylan doc, No Direction Home. Those teeth! That voice! A great interpreter.

6. Check On It/Beyoncé feat. Slim Thug

'Cause it sounds good after the hesitation.

7. Rusted Guns of Milan/Art Brut

I love following a Beyoncé bold woman manifesto with Eddie Argos mewling about impotence.

8. Anthems for a 17 year-old Girl/Broken Social Scene

For Emily Kane.

9. Just a Thought/Gnarls Barkley

I would love this song so much more if it didn't have such sloppy loud drum samples on it. As it stands, it still resonates. I know people dismiss Cee-Lo's "I'm so ca-ca-crazy" schtick but coming from hip hop, where admitting depression is well, just plain crackers, this is a bold move. Everytime I hear him utter his chipper "but I'm fine" after talking about his suicidal urges...I feel gratified. Sure, biggie did it first. But not with that weird almost asian keyboard bit at the end.

I'd love to hear Chan Marshall cover this. Maaad slow and zombie sounding, the way she always does things.

10. Land of Lost Cars/Susu (yousendit dowload)

The first time I saw them do this live, I was spellbound by Andrea Susu's woman-as-seagull background vocals. On other Susu tracks she's got an almost baritone brusqueness, but on this song there's just this wild continual high yowling until it fans out into sky-pretty held notes. The fact that it sounds nothing like what she's doing on guitar makes it that much more satisfying to the ear.

11. Sea Song/Robert Wyatt (yousendit download)

My friend Alex, who is quite the singer, was playing this in my living room a few weeks ago. I love Wyatt (I babbled in admiration in this post) but I tend to concentrate on the sound of his voice rather than what he's saying. SO, after hearing Alex sing this song, I realized there's a whole story to it that I'd never paid attention to. Namely, a man, a lonely man, falls in love with a sea creature. A mermaid probably. Or maybe something less human looking. This is irrelevant. Man and sea beast meet at night, during the summer, get drunk a lot and form a relationship that gradually means more than he can possibly say. This romance has little to nothing to do with sex. No, it's about realizing that even when she's away, he's not alone. Because he is loved.

Listen around the 4 minute mark, when Wyatt starts to wordlessly vocalize over the mellotron. His complex, ululating wail will make anyone who is a musician feel either wonderment or deep burning shame.

12. Break My Body (Live)/Hanne Hukkelberg

Since it's The Pixies, let's call him Black Francis...well, that man was obsessed with sex. But in his world sex was stripped of its simple pleasures and became something pulsating and somewhat ugly. Impossible to ignore or resist but easy to recast as an alien, stick your finger in the goo type urge. Miss Hukkelberg says fuck that and turns this Pixies classic into a perfectly reasonable observation. Something you might take her up on.

13. Jack the Ripper/colin meloy

unjustly maligned meloy, he of the specs & the grand, grand stories about orphans & high seas intrigue, is quite clearly a "type a" fan. a fan who collects b-sides & looks at every story with the excitement of dickens reader. I hear he's singing about murderous butchers nowadays. I wonder if this morrissey cover with its benevolent look at a serial killer led him down that particular cobble stoned path.

14. You Don't Have Far To Go/Candi Staton

Jared likes a horn intro. Also, he likes Staton's loathsome and popular, Young Hearts Run Free. This song is far more depressing, which is probably why I prefer it.

15. Baby C'mon/Stephen Malkmus

Bitch please. I don't need to explain myself.

16. Carbon Monoxide/Regina Spektor

I put Joanna Newsom on Jared's birthday mix last year. He was like "what the...?"

After he listens to Spektor's "walka walka walka walka" tangents he's gonna say the same thing all over again. Every mix needs such a moment.

17. I Love You/The Boyfriends

The birthday boy is a fan of Moz and The Smoking Popes. Ergo, The Boyfriends.

18. Heartbeats (Live)/José Gonzáles

I love this song, no matter who does it.

19. The Greatest/Cat Power

Using Moon River as the hook in this song was a brilliant move. Consider this Marshall's Hard Knock Life or Trans Europe Express rip.

20. Hate Then Love/The Dears

I actually do not like the way the new record sounds; all hissy and rushed. I loved, loved, loved the majestic sprawl of their previous effort, No Cities Left, so the new album has been something of a let down. Wha'appen?

At the same time, even I will admit the songs are better. And since I've heard this number live several times, I know what it feels like when Murray Lightburn shrieks about believing in love like he's got to, once again, convince himself of it.

Love, D

* We freakin' rule! Librans are lovers of beautiful things, problem solvers, horrible with money, spacy, obsessed with balance and fairness to the point of rage-inducing insanity. Eh, what's not to love?

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Band name origins

As seen on Boing Boing, here's a site of band name origins.

Fascinating and educational.


It's true

Dear friends,

Yesterday was John Peel Day in the UK. I have meaningful memories of making my mom take me into "the city" so I could buy John Peel approved vinyl. This didn't happen often, I didn't get an allowance growing up (which probably explains my piss poor money management as an adult) but whenever I could convince moms that I deserved some music. Thanks mami. You never denied me my dorkitude.

Anywho, back to Peely. His name on something meant it was great, and if not great, then something that, over time, would eventually click in your brain. Either because circumstances or events suddenly made the song crystal clear and meaningful. So yes, while I might've liked The Fall no matter what, I certainly would've never even given Aphex Twin a chance if it hadn't been for him.

John Peel is the unofficial saint of music lovers everywhere. He's the embodiment of what musical enthusiasm can do for others when used benevolently, without expecting reward. He refused to take credit for "breaking" bands and despite this, wound up forever associated with those he introduced to our ears. When I grow up, I want to be him; trundling around music stores, list of things to buy held by my teeth while my fingers work through the selections. Forever finding something new.

Snowshoe/Bearsuit (yousendit download)

This is Bearsuit. As mentioned here, I found them through John Peel. They are lovely. Listen to this aural walk through the snow and grit, love it and befriend them on My Space.

Love, D

Song to seek: Snowshoe/Bearsuit

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you're like the snow that never comes

dear friends,

1. zzzzzz.

2. happy anniversary one day late to earfarm!

3. I will do a little write-up on last night's beg yr pardon/earfarm anniversary show possibly this weekend. it was good times, natch.

sadly, last night was my last BYP as crew member (cue bathetic strings). never fear, leaders phil & tina will be keeping the dream alive, & beg yr pardon will move to a way more party-friendly thursday! I hear the next show will feature feisty ladies the pill & local charmers up the empire. to stay in the know, befriend beg yr pardon on my space!

4. thanks to all of you who have left mp3 comments on d: undercover, it is much appreciated. if you have not, head on over there! speak up! don't be shy!

4. eira/gorky's zygotic mynci (yousendit)

loping & queasy, this song sounded like my walk to work from the train. every jostle from passing pedestrians was a major upheaval & I silently promised myself that the first thing I'd do once I got to my desk would be to drink my coffee & stare at nothing & no one until I felt better.

I don't know what the singer is saying, don't speak welsh. it could be about ponies in the rain or it could be about murder*. so going by intonation alone, the build-up to the chorus sounds like someone trying to convince themselves of something & failing, since the end of the "discussion" is a series of slightly frantic ooos & a long sigh of ah. more ambivalent recitation followed by fade out to a portentious radio feed. the sound of uncertain feelings & weather. today at least.

love, d

* of course, it's about neither.

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when you grow up

dear friends,

because I am lazy & because tonight's host said it so well, this post is ripped straight from the beg yr pardon site.

"Hi, hey. What's up? Oh, sorry let me introduce myself...I'm Matt from EAR FARM. Know what you're going to do on Tuesday, October 10th from 7:30pm-12:00am? I'm going to tell you. You're going to come to BEG YR PARDON #10 @ The Delancey (168 delancey st. btw clinton & attorney). It's a special co-operative effort between Beg Yr Pardon and EAR FARM. We've joined forces to celebrate EAR FARM's 1st anniversary by putting together a great lineup and a guaranteed fun time.

For a $5 entry fee you will get to enjoy music from FOUR great bands, FREE baked goods, $5 all you can eat bbq (with vegetarian options) on the roof from 7-9, 3 kick-ass DJs from the band Mancino, and FREE BEER from 11:00 to 12:00. Doors open and DJs start spinning @ 7:30.

Even though you already have more than enough reason to come to this show, I'm going to give you some more info just to get you really excited.

The bands:

8:00 - Low Lustre

Music For Robots says: "They sound like early, "I Will Follow"-era U2, that grandstanding semi-punk band that came out of nowhere. They've got the melodrama, but they've also got the melody and passion to pull it off fantastically."

9:00 - The Midnight Hours

EAR FARM says: "If you're a fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival and/or ragtime fun then "Miss Marie" is one of those songs that'll grab you immediately. It's a two minute long romp through Southern tinged rock with dual male/female vocals that sounds like something you might hear from a band comprised of Jimbo Mathus, John Fogerty, and Nancy Sinatra."

10:00 - The Muggabears

The Deli Magazine says: "Crunchy, fun, mathed-out mixes, heavy on guitar and meandering vocals…the live show would most certainly be a treat."

11:00 - Mistakes

Subinev says: "...they still amaze me, not just because they’re talented, but, well, there’s something that they’ve got going on that I just don’t see in many other bands in NYC. I guess it could easily be said that it's just that I don’t go to punk shows anymore, so a little bit of excitement, fun, dancing, and audience participation can just make me fall for a band quite easily, but it's something more than that. Every one of their songs is really just so perfect, even when their bordering-on-ska side comes through. But at the heart it's all great rock n’ roll. Like '50's style. That, and they put on one hell of a show."

Now, check out the amazingly awesome poster below designed by Destroy Space:

BYP 10 Earfarm Anniversary

So there you have it...your plans for Tuesday October 10th. See you there, and hey - be sure to get one of those EAR FARM magnets from me that everyone's talking about.

- Matt from EAR FARM"


here's a little extra:

dancing blind/low lustre (yousendit)

miss marie/the midnight hours (yousendit)

kissing/the muggabears (yousendit)

rendezvouslezvous/mistakes (streaming)

love, d

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My huckleberry friend

Dear friends,

A lot for you today so I'll just barrel on ahead...

1. After spending a ridiculous amount of time trying, with the help of Contributor Tina and Michelle, my landlord/downstairs neighbor, to program the VCR (more on that in a moment,) I finally headed out to Sin-e only to get stuck on the train for HALF AN HOUR. We were informed over and over again through the warped speakers that the third rail was down and that we would be running as soon as power returned. People stuck half-way in a subway tunnel in a very nervous city does not make for good times. Which means of course, someone's gonna make a crappy tv show with just that premise.

But I digress, I made it to Sin-e, just in time to catch the last four songs of a band called Beat the Devil*. I had purposely not listened to any of their tracks, I just wanted to be surprised and/or disappointed on my own terms. Luckily for me, things turned out well.

Beat the Devil is a trio made up of drums/bass and harmonium, the harmonium manipulator doing double duty on vocals. Harmonium? Nico lite, perhaps? No, thank god. while I do loves me some Nico, I shudder at the thought of encountering late period Nico imitators holding forth in a lower east side club. Sure, the harmonium lends that ancient sound to their tunes, but the old timey feel has probably more to do with singer Shilpa Ray's raspy, loud almost carny-like pronouncements than any old chord wheeze. Tiny Ray pumped away at that thing and hollered like there was no tomorrow and it was damn near impossible to look elsewhere, like say, where that huge voice was coming from. The easy and cheap comparison would be PJ Harvey, another diminuitive but vocally gigantic songstress, but I wouldn't say that was accurate at all. There's certainly a theatricality to Ray's voice but it falls more along the lines of Tom Waits than Polly Jean. And that's a good thing, no?

Anywho, for their last song of the night they were joined on guitar by Danny from The Big Sleep on a cover of wait for it...wait for it...When the Levee Breaks. No denying, they really amped it up for this but the thing that put a smile on my face is that as soon as drummer Josh Fleischmann started on the beginning BOOM BOOM TSSS KA BOOM BOOM TSSS** intro, his face had a barely contained glee, Like "Dang, I've been wanting to do this since junior high!" and that infectious feeling was all over the stage. Bassist Mishka Shubaly was grooving in his little corner, weaving back and forth in front of his amp, Danny ZZZ was going buck nutty with the slide and Ray was lung-bustin'. Led Zeppelin covers can fail spectacularly for various reasons but if your singer ain't up to commiting 100% to the lunacy that is Robert Plant, then you've got nothing, and with Ray screaming about going back to Chicago, they we're doing jussss fine. They had several deliberate stops in the song where, every time, I heard the audience's sharp intake of breath, so they took them on their classic rock geekfest ride as well. Su-weet, eh? I will definitely be seeing them again. Befriend them on My Space.

2. Yes, I had to tape America's Next Top Model. And Lost. And Project Runway. What of it? Regarding Lost, I just want to say (and DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DIDN'T SEE THE SHOW) that I surmised correctly that the episode would only deal with one group but I was wrong about who it would be. I thought you'd only see Hurley and Co., not the three dingbats that got captured. ALSO, is it just me or are they trying to do some crazy zoo shiz with Kate and Sawyer, make 'em get it on in a cage? Or is that my overactive imagination getting away with me? ALSO, ALSO (new term alert!) I wanna say how glad I am Elizabeth Mitchell is on this show (the Other who seems to have beef with bug out eyed Artist Formerly Known As Henry Gale,) I love her. it seems pretty clear though that they're gonna hook her up with boring ole Jack. Man. They better make him a secret sexual deviant or something because he is the blandest man on earth. So bored of his daddy issues already. Bring on the next episode!

3. I really, really wanna book this singer named Bell. If it doesn't work for Beg Yr Pardon then I'm going to find a place and make it happen Mickey and Judy style, straight up. Melding warm electronica with fetching and winsome vocals, slightly jazzy a la Leslie Feist, this lady is definitely one to download, go see live and eventually, as soon as it is ready, purchase her cd. Befriend her on My Space.

I played Bell's cover of Moon River last month on my spectacularly incoherent guest spot on Colleen's Sandy Acres Sound Lab show on East Village Radio. If they ever update Breakfast at Tiffany's, or do any type of Audrey Hepburnish girl skipping around in NYC type of romantic comedy, they should definitely use this version. I love it when the dual vocals come in on "Two drifters..." so that the song isn't about you and some dreamy guy, but you and your mirror self, peacefully accompanying each other on life's journey.

Echinacea/Bell (you send it download)

From the same twinkly starry lo-fi universe as Moon River, this time more beat-skittery and uncertain. 'Cause even though the expression of gratitude is clearly felt, the way the soundscape can't quite get a fix on itself says there's a whole lot more to this story than a simple thank you.

4. Pete Galub added to the covers fun over at D: Undercover with a Pink Floyd selection. Go check it out!

Love, D

* Also the name of an amusing noir film starring Humphrey Bogart. Wait...is Noir the new tapes?

** Special thanks to Matt Earfarm for helping me sort out this sound. Yes. We are dorks.

Songs to seek: Plea Bargain/Beat the Devil, Moon River/Bell, Echinacea/Bell, Comfortably Numb/Pete Galub

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& with my half of the ransom

dear friends,

I love covers. my covers addiction is what got me into reading music blogs in the first place & also into instigating DIY cover compilations starring friends & people I'd just met who became friends.

anywho, the monkey secretly organized a covers compilation for me for my birthday last week starring various buddies o' mine. in it, there's a whole lotta silly, a whole lotta serious & a whole lotta love. thank you guys! I heart you all!

four selections:

1. conduit for sale.../hula cougar! (mp3)

two french canadian freaks who like to chastely hump legs & eat bunnies, on a mission to find their missing cougar. that thing's been gone for a while, I'm thinking kitty adoption might be a better option. befriend them on my space.

original artist: pavement

2. you made me realise/spy alarms (mp3)

spy alarms features my friends cris & dan (formerly of june fool,) new member e. lee, & guest vocalist marta (formerly of emma la reina.) love this song & I love hearing those vocals all clear & crisp instead of all patented obscured by echo & reverb mbv stylee. suddenly the violent bash of the original is unmasked for the sad little slice of regret that the lyrics imply.

original artist: my bloody valentine

3. gay bar/dirty sasha (mp3)

my friend alex aka dity sasha is not a musician, he's an emt. when he's not busy saving people's hides, he enjoys riding his bike around, eating san loco tacos, being a goofball & singin' robert wyatt.

original artist: electric six

5. sunflower/botany bay (mp3)

eric s. aka botany bay can usually be found violating guitars, singing sweet, sweet harmonies & occasionally drumming for local nyc indie rocksters, the secret life of sofia.

original artist: low

for more birthday covers cd mp3 excellence*, both goofy & accomplished, go HERE. if any of you want to add to the covers fun, please do! the more the merrier!

love, d

* featuring covers of songs by: the temptations, the kinks, the smiths, gnarls barkley (crazy cover alert!) folk implosion, x, rocket from the tombs, neneh cherry, & richard thompson

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