A music blog, established 2010. My name is Chris Cappello and I'm a Yale student from New Haven, Connecticut.

"the beach boys"
Saturday, February 2, 2013

Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 2/1/13

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We were having some technical difficulties in the studio at WNHU last night, and the online stream may or may not have been working for the entirety of the broadcast. Anyway, if you did get a chance to tune in, or if you’re just interested in what I played, here is the full playlist from Left of the Dial last night. I won’t be doing my show next Friday because I’ll be seeing Jeff Mangum, but be sure to tune in the Friday after that for another live broadcast.

Stream the available tracks from the playlist below via Spotify.

  • 1. The Antlers - “I Don’t Want Love”
  • 2. The Velvet Underground - “Beginning to See The Light”
  • 3. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - “A Teenager In Love”
  • 4. Los Campesinos! - “Romance Is Boring”
  • 5. Grimes - “Genesis”
  • 6. Wise Blood - “B.I.G. E.G.O.”
  • 7. Dirty Projectors - “Gun Has No Trigger”
  • 8. Animal Collective - “Also Frightened”
  • 9. Primal Scream - “Higher Than The Sun”
  • 10. The Beach Boys - “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)”
  • 11. The Stone Roses - “Waterfall”
  • 12. Elvis Costello - “The Greatest Thing”
  • 13. Cat Power - “Manhattan”
  • 14. The xx - “Islands”
  • 15. David Bowie - “Sound and Vision”
  • 16. The Jam - “Start!”
  • 17. Titus Andronicus - “Ecce Homo”
  • 18. The Modern Lovers - “Roadrunner” 
  • 19. LCD Soundsystem - “Beat Connection”
  • 20. Tame Impala - “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”
  • 21. Iceage - “Coalition”
  • 22. Bright Eyes - “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)”
  • 23. Crystal Castles - “Untrust Us”
  • 24. WHY? - “These Few Presidents”

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Stream via Spotify:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 8/24/12

Last night my good friends in Milkshakes delivered a great acoustic set on my radio program Left of the Dial on WNHU. After engaging in some jokey banter and answering a few serious interview-style questions, they also took the time to share some music that influenced theirs, along with some of their favorite songs in general. The resulting playlist was a pretty great mix of indie rock, pop-punk, and emo, along with a few hilarious surprises thrown in. Check out the full playlist below and stream it via Spotify at the embedded link at the bottom.

  • 1. Da Band - “Bad Boy This, Bad Boy That”
  • 2. Pavement - “Loretta’s Scars”
  • 3. Death From Above 1979 - “Little Girl”
  • 4. The Arrogant Sons Of Bitches - “So Let’s Go! NOWHERE”
  • 5. Nana Grizol - “Blackbox”
  • 6. The Beach Boys - “We’ll Run Away”
  • 7. I Heart Hiroshima - “London In Love”
  • 8. Alkaline Trio - “Message From Kathlene”
  • 9. Dexy’s Midnight Runners - “Come On Eilein” 
  • 10. Latterman - “If Batman Was Real, He Would Have Beaten The Crap Out Of My Friends”
  • 11. Spraynard - “Can I Borrow A Feeling?”
  • 12. Street Smart Cyclist - "Kiss Kitty On The Lips"
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Stream via Spotify:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Listening To: The Beach Boys - The Smile Sessions (2011)
2/3 final exams finished. It’s sweltering hot. Cooling off with this record. The vinyl box set of The Smile Sessions was one of the best gifts I received last year. Before I got the box set last Christmas, I reviewed the compilation HERE, if you’re interested in reading my thoughts about it.

Listening To: The Beach BoysThe Smile Sessions (2011)

2/3 final exams finished. It’s sweltering hot. Cooling off with this record. The vinyl box set of The Smile Sessions was one of the best gifts I received last year. Before I got the box set last Christmas, I reviewed the compilation HERE, if you’re interested in reading my thoughts about it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
"Capitol SMiLE Promo" by The Beach Boys.

The Beach Boys - “Capitol SMiLE Promo” (from The SMiLE Sessions, 2011)

A radio promo recorded by Capitol Records for The Beach Boys' then-forthcoming album SMiLE from 1966.

SMiLE is the name of the new Beach Boys album, which will be released in January 1967… We’re sure to sell a million units!”

Of course, SMiLE was never officially released… until today. Well, sort of. Check out my review of the newly compiled and reissued The SMiLE Sessions HERE.

The Beach Boys - The Smile Sessions (2011)

After 44 years in the vaults, the people in charge of The Beach Boys' music have officially released the music that was intended to be released as SMiLE in 1967, in the form of a grand five-disc set called The Smile Sessions. Of course, Beach Boys fans have not let up about this release since it was hinted at months ago, and although their rejoicing is not unjustified, I think that the release of The Smile Sessions is probably more significant on a symbolic level than it is on a musical one. 

Don’t get me wrong; it’s wonderful to hear these amazing songs mastered from the original tapes and compiled onto one release. The recordings are lush and beautiful and have a remarkable sense of cohesion about them, given that they are essentially demo versions of songs that were meant to eventually be released as a real studio album. I just question how necessary it is to actually hear The Smile Sessions in 2011. Bootleg versions of the SMiLE recordings have been floating around practically since the songs were first demoed, and Beach Boys enthusiasts have undoubtedly heard at least the famous “Purple Chick” version. The tracklists of many of the more recent bootlegs have been based on that of Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, the 2004 release from Brian Wilson on which the aging Beach Boys mastermind recorded new versions of the SMiLE songs with his touring band The Wondermints. After listening to The Smile Sessions, it’s clear that the arrangements (as well as the tracklist) on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE were based largely on the originally-intended arrangements, which reaffirms my belief that the 2004 version of SMiLE is the best possible version of the album and the best documentation of Wilson’s true creative vision for the album. 

But to view The Smile Sessions as an attempt to once and for all compile and release SMiLE as the actual album that it was meant to be in 1967 would be a mistake. For all the similar arrangements and the BW Presents… copping tracklist, the two releases can’t be viewed on the same level. The songs on The Smile Sessions are demos — yes, fantastic, well-arranged, and mostly well-recorded demos, but demos nonetheless. They’re ultimately flawed, either in recording or execution, and although some tracks suffer from their inherent limitations more than others, it’s impossible to shake the fact that they are all incomplete to some degree. A number of songs, including the versions of “Heroes and Villains” and “Wonderful” sound as good in their Smile Sessions forms as they do anywhere else (BW Presents SMiLE included), while “Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock)” radiates with a bouncing iridescence not present on any of its pre-2004 incarnations. The real singular highlight here is the version of “Surf’s Up”, which outshines its 1971 and 2004 counterparts — a tough task, considering that the 2004 version of “Surf’s Up” is my favorite on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE.

The shortcomings of The Smile Sessions are most evident in the interlude pieces, of which there are many, and some of the lengthier suites, such as the “Look (Song For Children)”/”Child Is The Father Of The Man” segment. Short instrumental movements come in, seemingly out of nowhere, and disrupt The Smile Sessions' cohesion. Elsewhere, the versions of brief songs like “I'm In Great Shape” and “Barnyard” are clearly incomplete and don't live up to their full potential. But if we're looking at The Smile Sessions in the way that we should be, not as a full album but as a collection of somewhat disparate recordings from a bygone era, these issues aren’t shortfalls at all. There is something really beautiful in the flaws of these recordings. SMiLE was intended to be a pop masterpiece of the highest order, exchanging feeble and often problematic human emotion for calculated studio brilliance. The Smile Sessions display the other side of The Beach Boys during this time. Listening to it has given me my first sense of what was really going on with the band in 1966 and 1967, regarding Wilson’s creative struggle and the interpersonal relations between members of the band. The extra discs add further insight with in-studio documentation that show Wilson as a charismatic and inspired, if very commanding, bandleader. 

In addition to being largely incomparable to the 2004 version of SMiLEThe Smile Sessions is thankfully not just an officially-sanctioned version of one of the many bootlegs. There are enough differences between the versions of the songs on The Smile Sessions and the versions on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, 1968’s Smiley Smile, and those on various other incarnations of the album. One of the most exciting versions present on The Smile Sessions is that of “Vega-tables”, which includes previously unheard bluesy piano noodles and the use of human coughs as percussion in the chorus. “Holiday” is rendered instrumental here, as well as “I Wanna Be Around”, while “Love To Say Dada” (otherwise known as “In Blue Hawaii”) is rendered lyric-less. Additionally, “Windchimes” is delivered with a notably higher tempo. Otherwise, the warm analog sound of these recordings is a welcome change from the loud, digitally recorded sound of Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE. Generally though, the differences between the versions on The Smile Sessions and other versions are unremarkable, but it’s still nice to have an official version of the original recordings.

The Smile Sessions is not essential, nor should it be life-changing for anybody. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful and incredibly personal collection of music from one of the first truly great pop American bands. This isn’t the original, complete version of SMiLE that was “lost” in 1967, but who ever said that it was? The fact that The Smile Sessions are being treated in this way says a lot more about us than it does about The Beach Boys.

8/10

The Smile Sessions box set is available for purchase on Amazon HERE. It can be streamed online at AOL’s Spinner HERE.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 1/14/11

Yesterday’s show was my first two hour show on the main radio stream at WNHU. I enjoyed the extended time and having the new time slot, and I thought it went pretty smoothly, despite some computer issues at the very beginning. Here’s the playlist from last night - 

  • 1. Built to Spill - Randy Described Eternity
  • 2. Andrew Jackson Jihad - Heartilation
  • 3. Algernon Cadwallader - Some Kind of Cadwallader
  • 4. The Love Language - Lalita
  • 5. Lou Reed - I’m So Free
  • 6. Scott Walker - Mathilde
  • 7. Bob Dylan - One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)
  • 8. Husker Du - Chartered Trips
  • 9. Hour of the Star - Rootbeer and Running Shoes
  • 10. Carissa’s Wierd - You Should Be Hated Here
  • 11. Joan of Arc - This Life Cumulative
  • 12. Fucked Up - Son the Father
  • 13. Daft Punk - Robot Rock
  • 14. Surfer Blood - Floating Vibes
  • 15. Love - Alone Again Or
  • 16. The Flaming Lips - The Gash
  • 17. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Round and Round
  • 18. The Beach Boys - God Only Knows
  • 19. Bright Eyes - Shell Games
  • 20. Elvis Costello - (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
  • 21. The Stone Roses - This Is The One
  • 22. Beach House - Zebra
  • 23. The Magnetic Fields - Long Vermont Roads
  • 24. Animal Collective - Turn Into Something
  • 25. Galaxie 500 - Tell Me
  • 26. Sharon Van Etten - Save Yourself
  • 27. Bruce Springsteen - Streets Of Fire
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