Artist: The Handsome Family

Album: Stuck On AM 3 (Radio Live Performance) / Odessa (Studio Version)

Appears On: Thirteen Ugly Children Roll Gutterballs (Radio Version) / Wally's Novelty Mix: She Yo-Yos Me and I Yo-Yo Her Back (Radio Version) / I'm Strapped To This Fucking Twin Bed: The Best Of The Handsome Family (Radio Version)

Song Notes: Thirteen Ugly Children Roll Gutterballs : If You're In A Country Mood: The Handsome Family are Brett Sparks and Rennie Sparks, and write highly literate and darkly hilarious music. This song is from the album Odessa, although this version was taken from a live performance on Radio K, compiled on the Stuck On AM 3 CD. This one is a little looser and funnier. Check their website -- they've got a great sense of humor, though their music is definitely not what you'd call comedy or novelty (not that there's anything wrong with novelty records; I collect and adore those). Musically, this is about as surface-funny as they get, although a lot of their stuff is squarely in the "laughing at the horror of it all" dynamic. You get this much more clearly if you hear them live—sometimes on the record you're not sure if you're supposed to laugh grimly or softly cry to yourself, but live it's clear that it's grim laughter all the way.

If you are still in a country mood after listening to this, I also recommend Laura Cantrell (yes, the lady who did the vocals on "The Guitar" by They Might Be Giants) -- her work is much less darkly funny, but just as good. She's got a bunch of rarities and album tracks for download -- I especially recommend "Not The Tremblin' Kind", "All The Same To You", "Churches Off The Interstate" and "Conqueror's Song". (And keep an eye on this page, she tends to cycle songs—other things that have appeared: covers of "Roll Truck Roll" and "Break My Mind", and I think she even put up her cover of "Lee Harvey Was A Friend Of Mine" from the Hello CD Of The Month Club EP. - Rev. Syung Myung Me

Wally's Novelty Mix: She Yo-Yos Me and I Yo-Yo Her Back : I put this one on, because I figured it'd be up your alley—since you're into country and all. I know I've put The Handsome Family on mixes for you before, but I don't remember if I ever made you a best-of type thing, like I did with Laura Cantrell. Anyway, though, this track is really cool. I almost put the album version on instead, but I just really like this radio performance. It's a bit funnier, but it's that real dark sort of comedy, so... I think "Lee Harvey Was A Friend Of Mine" by Laura Cantrell came really close to being on here, too, but I think I ended up cutting it at the last bit, because I couldn't remember if you'd heard it before or not. - Rev. Syung Myung Me


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