“No Sky” – Guided by Voices

UTBUTScoverI was a late fan to GBV, and after years and years of Bee Thousand supremacy in my fandom,[*] their Under the Bushes Under the Stars has usurped all their records as my favorite. I was surprised that this song’s tabs weren’t posted online anywhere, and then surprised that I was able to figure it out. Lots of open chording.

Tune down a half step (EbAbDbGbBbEb), which everyone should always be doing anyway.

Play all chords with open, ringing B and e strings, sliding the E/powerchord shape up and down the neck.

INTRO RIFF:

  E     A           B
e-0--s--0-0-0-0--s--0-0-
B-0--s--0-0-0-0--s--0-0-
G-1--s--6-6-6-6--s--8-8-
D-2--s--7-7-7-7--s--9-9-
A-2--s--7-7-7-7--s--9-9-
E-0--s--0-0-0-0--s--0-0-

INTRO/BRIDGE: same open E-A-B chords

VERSE:
A                                  E
Seen you around, yeah. I wanted to call you around (x2)

BRIDGE:
E                                A              B
     Could you, could you keep a secret from me, yeah? (x2)

VERSE

CHORUS:
A                            G       Bb
When I'm alone, I can see no sky. (x2)

BRIDGE (repeat to fade)

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. While I was supposed to’ve been writing the taxidermy book I instead spent some months in the spring of 2009 recording, track by track, this record, titling it, stupidly, Me Thousand. It’s been heard only by close friends who don’t judge.

“Pneumonia” – Fog

This is my song of 2015. I heard it during an Adult Swim bump that was chiefly about nipples. Not one of their best. It was too short to Shazam, or nothing came up, so I took to Adult Swim Bump Forums (yes they exist, and yes there is more than one) and posed the question to the group and within a day they got back to me. All I heard on the bump was the first 8 bars or so, and then a bit from the outro. I was very pleased to find the rest of the song even better:

I found chords for the song online but they’re mostly wrong. Here’s the song in full:

Chords used:

        E A D G B e                 E A D G B E
Gmaj7:  3 2 0 0 0 2         Cmaj7:  x 3 2 0 0 3
Dsus4:  5 5 7 7 7 7         D1:     5 5 7 7 7 5

A:      x 0 2 2 2 0         F#m:    2 4 4 2 2 2
D2:     x x 0 2 3 2         F#dim:  x x 0 2 2 2

Intro:
[Gmaj7 Cmaj7 Dsus4/D1 Cmaj7] x2

Verse:

Gmaj7                  Cmaj7
Is it depression or disease?
                  Dsus4    D1           Cmaj7
Tell it to the millipedes.

Gmaj7              Cmaj7
The casserole was good,
                        Dsus4
and the drives were so nice.
D1                   Cmaj7
Welcome to the worst part of your life.

Chorus:

A  F#m  D2/F#dim  Cmaj7

A                   F#m
I'm hard to fix because
                 D2
it took me so goddamn long
   F#dim            Cmaj7
to figure out that I broke down.

(Verse chords over weird synth solo.)

Verse:
Mold spores fill my lungs.
The silverfish hide in the venetian blinds
in the wintertime.
In the bathroom,
With the shower running and my clothes on
I figured out that I hate you all.

Chorus:
I'm hard to fix because it took me so goddamn long
to figure out that I broke down.

Hold Cmaj7 for many bars, then back to Verse chords until out.

“The Snowdon Song” — Tony, Caro & John

Old British folk song. Apparently Beach House covered this song and called it “Lovelier Girl” because of the U.S. being what it is among young folks in the post-millennium, and when I found chords for that cover online I was excited and then played them and they’re wrong. Not just different-key wrong but like, there are from what I can tell no minor-seventh chords anywhere in the song. But who knows what else Beach House did with this unassailable great.

So the recording I have is off on the tuning, and there’s all kinds of melodic lines being plucked that are beyond my capabilities, but here’s the basis for the song in the hopes a better player than I am can build off it.

Forgive misheard lyrics, though I stand by that weird line in the chorus.
(more…)

“I Wish I Meant More to You” – The Field Mice

No clue which record this is off of. My mixtape pal put it on a mixtape for me. You could get away with playing this whole thing on just the b string, but there’s chords behind those droning notes, too.

Capo on 2

INTRO: B 

VERSE:
B
I find myself hoping 
For love from which you endure
           E
That seems real 
         A
Does mean more
             Am       E
And I'm almost sure it does

B
I want us to be more than
More than the friends we are
              E
Could we ever be
          A
More than friends?
      Am            E
I don't think so, I don't

CHORUS:
A                      Am
I wish I meant more to you
               E         
I wish I meant more to you
That we were more than friends 
A                     Am
I wish I meant more to you
               E
I wish I meant more to you
To you

F# E F# 

VERSE:
If I were to say something
This friendship wouldn't change 
For the better
Once you knew
It wouldn't be "I love you too"
I just know it wouldn't

It is more than unlikely
The way that you feel for me
Is as I for you
I for you
As I for you
For you

CHORUS:
I wish I meant more to you
I wish I meant more to you
That we were more than friends 

I wish I meant more to you
I wish I meant more to you
To you

F# E F# E (repeat)

End on B

“Jet Plane in a Rocking Chair” – Richard and Linda Thompson

Incredible. I don’t have much else to say about this song except how good it is. Also, capo on 3.

INTRO:
G

VERSE:
NC             G
Jet plane in a rocking chair
               C
Roller coaster roll nowhere
Em       D        C
Deaf and dumb old dancing bear
     G
I'll change this heart of mine
     C          D
This time, this time

(repeat)
Sea cruise in a diving bell
Run a mile in a wishing well
Soft soap and none to sell
I'll change this heart of mine
This time, this time

CHORUS:
C
Here comes the real thing
          F  C     F   C  G 
I've been waiting, for so long
F   C  G
For so long
          C                    D
I've been looking for a love like you.

VERSE:
Crossed-line on the telephone
Crossed eyes and a canny moan
Cross fingers and head for home
I'll change this heart of mine
This time, this time

Play sick in a feather bed
Act cool when you're stone dead
I'm a fool with a size one head
I'll change this heart of mine
This time, this time

CHORUS:
Here comes the real thing
I've been waiting, for so long
For so long
I’ve been looking for a love like you

VERSE/OUTRO:
G
Jet plane in a rocking chair
               C
Roller coaster roll nowhere
Em       D        C
Deaf and dumb old dancing bear
     G                  
I’ll change this heart of mine
     C          D
This time, this time
C               D     
This time, this time
c               D
This time, this time

End on D, awesomely.

“Brothers” – Emmet Otter’s Jugband

The song that everyone’s been waiting for, just in time for the end of January when the Xmas season is so far away not a soul wants to think of it. “Brothers” isn’t in any way a holiday song, but those unfamiliar with the movie you’ll find it in should head over here and start reading. I’ll take anyone in a battle royale to the cold, grueling death over whether there’s a better Emmet Otter song. (“Riverbottom Nightmare Band” fans I’m looking in your directions.)

I’m not the sort of guitar player who does well with riffs and ditties, particularly in folksy/bluegrass/jugband genres. But lemme try to get the opener down to give you an idea:

e-----------5-3-|------------|
B-------5-------|-3-3-3-5---:|
G-5-7-5---5-----|---------5--|

F
How much alike we are! Perhaps we're long-lost brothers?
                        G7
We even think the same! You know, there may be others.
Am                                   C/G  C/A  C/Bb   C/B
                 We can always use a friend.
Am                                                         G  G7  Gadd6  Gadd5
This family just keep growing! This family doesn't have to end!
C
Brothers!
C
Brothers!


Verse 2:
So many things to learn! But we'll enjoy each lesson.
Problems don't worry us when half the fun is guessin'.
                 Live a lifetime of surprise.
We'll all become musicians, and leave the wonder in their eyes.
Brothers!
Brothers!

Then there’s a fancier ditty than the one that opens the song and a kind of G7-C ending. Note the ways the notes walk up and then down in the chorus.