Since I spent last week in Austin for the mega-fest that is SXSW, it seemed appropriate to make “Devil Horns” this week’s free download, as it’s all about the transcendent, demonic power of live rock and roll.
This was one of the first songs written for Topless at the Arco Arena, while Jay and I were touring on Wonderlick’s debut (well, “touring” is a bit strong — we were playing one of 7 shows we’d booked on the west coast). The lyrics should be self-explanatory: even at its most ridiculous, a good rock show can make you forget who and where you are.
That happened to me several times last week. This band did it. So did this one, in a way they never did back in the ’90s. But these are the guys I enjoyed the most. No one looks like they’re having more fun so consistently onstage.
This week’s free download is the first song Wonderlick ever recorded (and also, we think, the first mp3 we ever gave away, way back in 2001, on the late, lamented sayhername.com). It’s called “I Disappear.”
It’s a pretty song, but a sad one, and remains one of my favorite Lick tunes. Though the lyrics weren’t intentionally written this way, I realized during one of the uncountable playbacks while mixing that in each of the three verses the narrator is motionless when he wants to be getting somewhere. First he’s stuck in line at the DMV, then he’s stuck in traffic, and finally he’s in his garage and can’t bring himself to get out of his car, even though the garage door has closed and the engine’s still running.
The free download craziness continues. We said one a week, which means we’ll have to write and record and release some new ones before the year is up. But this week we’re giving away a song from our debut: “I Wanna Love You.”
While the song was written as a confession (the singer wants to do all kinds of things to the listener that propriety will not allow), today I hear it a little differently. As in, I want to love you, but you make it impossible, every other person in the world.
Well, maybe not every other person in the world. But enough of them. You feel this way too, sometimes, yes?
We let Alex Poehlman, the winner of our Lick Everybody contest, select this week’s free download (which we’ll be giving away on Mondays for the rest of the year). He chose “Fear of Chicago,” a tune from the last album that’s about how we almost ran over George Wendt, the dude who played Norm on Cheers, many years ago, one very icy day in Chicago.
Another fun fact about this song: Wilco has a number called “Via Chicago,” which I mis-heard Jeff Tweedy announce live one night before it came out on a record. “What a great title,” I thought to myself. Later that year, I bought the next Wilco album and was dismayed to see that he hadn’t said, “Fear of Chicago,” but “Via Chicago,” which is nowhere near as interesting. So we wrote this song to correct the mistake.
You can have this song for zero dollars, just by sharing it on Facebook. Alex Poehlman shared previous free downloads, and now he appears in a Wonderlick song. Well, he appears in a Wonderlick lyric, that will be turned into a song the very next time we head into the studio.
Hey Jay, when are we heading into the studio again? I have a lyric that’s even better than “Fear of Chicago.” It’s called “Super Friends,” and it’s about this guy named Alex.
Find out how to share the tune and get your free download after the jump.
Congratulations to Alex Poehlman, who won January’s prize in our Lick Everybody contest.
Alex shared January’s free song widgets on Facebook and MySpace, and also emailed them to over three dozen folks.
So, he will appear in one of the next Lick tunes we record. Anyone have a rhyme for Poehlman? Does “out of control fan” work?
Some info about Alex: he’s an award winning promotions writer, producer, and editor at the local ABC news station in Grand Rapids (WZZM 13). He’s married and has a 2 1/2 year old son Maximilian, named after the red robot from the film The Black Hole. In his spare time he works on an animated sketch comedy show titled This Is Futile.
Many thanks to Alex. Please have some more kids, though, as we need more fans like you. That goes for everyone reading this: please spawn.
Our Lick Everybody campaign is now in its eighth week. And to encourage folks to share these free downloads with as many people as they’d like, the download now gets delivered to you after you share the song on Facebook.
This week’s tune is “Never Let You Go,” from Wonderlick’s self-titled debut. Dig Tim’s high vocal, and Jay’s gigantic guitars on the chorus, and the nifty house bit in the bridge. This is one of Tim’s favorite Wonderlick songs.
It can be yours, free: just follow the steps below. We have a winner for January’s sharing contest, by the way: we’ll be announcing his name and explaining just what he won in the coming days.
It’s about the heroine of Topless, an office worker who yanks off her shirt at an AC/DC concert. It also represents Wonderlick in its “Let’s write a super catchy three minute pop song” mode. When we get that way, we can’t help ourselves.
Jenny was named that, by the way, because the Clash’s “Janie Jones” sounded like it was about her. But that’s a story for another week’s free download.
We said we’d give away a free download every week in 2010, and we are honoring our resolution. This week, it’s a cut called “Your Majesty” from our second LP, Topless at the Arco Arena.
This one indulges one of our favorite studio games: going ape-shit at the end. I can’t even remember what all is in there, but I know there’s a flugelhorn, and that’s Daphne Carr bowing the cello, and I’m pretty sure both Jay and I are playing a bunch of different guitars.
Moments like that lead to a recurring conversation between us and Johannes, our engineer and co-producer, that always goes like this:
This is the last free download for January, which means it’s your last chance to win immortalization in a Wonderlick song by sharing it far and wide.
We figured we’d end the month by posting a new tune. This is the latest version of “Cold Patch,” featuring some purty harmonies by Robin Hathaway.
It’s also got a lovely violin part by Jean Cook, who described her bit after the fact as “emotional.” When I smiled at the term she said, “Well, a producer told me years ago never to say ‘cheesy.'”
Hopefully you know the Lick Everybody drill by now, but if you need more details about the promotion, just click here. Whomever spreads these free tunes around the most by clicking the word “share” above and exposing the rest of the world to the glory of Wonderlick gets sung about on our next record.
We’ll tally all the figures and announce January’s winner no later than 2/15.