Happy Fourth, everybody!

Up top, with tart harmonies and a Raymond Carver storytelling sensibility, X’s version of “4th of July”.


Next, blooming psychedelia and wry sad-sack lyrics (“I wrote a poem on a dog biscuit, and your dog refused to look at it”; “I decided to have a bed-in, but I forgot to invite anybody”):

Galaxie 500 – Fourth of July


Sorry about the goofy video, but this is the only one that had the superior single version of the song:

Comsat Angels – Independence Day


Presented without explanation or indeed, comprehension:


As far as I am concerned, you can never kick this movie hard or often enough:

Add your favorites in comments!


Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.


  1. Love that X song. I haven’t heard the Comsat Angels in quite a while. Good choice, good band.

    ID4 does indeed suck. But what is essentially the movie it based on, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, is a 50’s classic Great Ray Harryhausen stop motion fx.

    • Do you have any Comsat Angels? I only have a couple tracks (this is one of the two I have, and I like it a lot) and they are always name-checked as kind of one of the great “lost” bands of that era, bands that should be more well-known than they are, but just didn’t get the traction for whatever reason.

      I have tried to find Waiting For A Miracle or Sleep No More, but they are always stupidly expensive b/c they are long out-of-print.

      Now, a band that was often similarly name-checked is The Chameleons, and they are indeed quite good. In some ways Interpol reminded me as much of them, as of JD and Bunnymen.

      But another band that was similarly name-checked is The Sound, and I got From The Lion’s Mouth, and it was TERRIBLE. Just embarrassingly unlistenably lunge-for-the-skip-button awful.

      So if I ever find Comsat Angels reasonably-priced I am hoping they are more like The Chameleons and less like The Sound.

      • I have My Mind’s Eye by Comsat Angels. I got it a couple years ago for a roadtrip i was doing. I had liked them a bit in my college days but hadn’t kept any of my tapes of theirs. I subscribe to Emusic so i have to download new music each month, so there is always something new or old or sort of interesting to get, which why i gave them a whirl It’s a good album and it indelibly linked with the plains of Wyoming to me after that roadtrip. They are very 80’s but not in a bad way.

    • Oh, that’s a nitpick all right. 😉 OP edited for clarity.

    • Actually, Dave Alvin was, at the time X recorded the song, X’s new lead guitarist (after Billy Zoom).

      Alvin left the band shortly after See How We Are was recorded, though I think he played at least a few of the live shows following SHWA‘s recording – shows at which this song presumably got played.

      Alvin then released his own solo debut, also in 1987, containing his own version of the song.

      Now, given that Alvin was a full-fledged member of X when they recorded the song – and X’s recorded version came out first – isn’t it possible that “4th of July” IS an X song, though one that happens to be written by now-former member Dave Alvin?



    • Linking to the Robert Earl Keen version of anything is an automatic thread win.

        • Heh… I am not worried who did it first. I just know Robert Earl Keen did it, and that’s enough for me.

          If you want a fun show, see REK in Austin.

          • I know I’ve mentioned this before, but REK did a three-day music trip for a raft company I worked for. Folks would come on the trips to hang with the musician who was expected to play his songs around the fire on both nights and generally entertain a bunch of excited fans. But Robert didn’t necessarily agree with that structure. When the trip got to camp, he’d spend the late afternoons fishing. After dinner, he’d go back to fishing. When the campfire started, he’d mingle for a bit, play a song or two, then go to bed early.

            When the trip got back to town I asked the guides how it went. “Boring,” the said. They even had a theme for it: The trip goes on forever and the party never starts.

          • Well, exactly. The guy’s not “alt” for nothin.

            Most of the guides actually thought it was pretty cool, actually, the way he didn’t conform to other people’s expectations and all. And of course, they had their own good time which any of the guests were more than welcome to join in.

  2. I’ve always been partial to Ani Difranco’s 4th of July:

    Perhaps after I add this comment, I will be able to see if my other favorites have already been suggested! 🙂

      • Hm. That’s actually Independence Day, another song of hers that I love. SADLY, the only 4th of July floating around out there is this one, which is disturbingly combined with random images of cuteness. o.O On the upside, it also has God’s Country, which, while not *technically* an independence day song, might as well be.

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