Friday, July 18, 2008

A Pear of Aces

The gray LA sky lends a melancholy tinge to my morning but the prospect of another roster of songs brightens my perspective. Shame that my 45 of Neutral Nation's 'Invasion of the Sumo Wrestler', the Channel Three classic LP 'Last Time I Drank', and That'll Learn Ya's 'Pulling Up The Night' haven't been digitized and thrown into the mix yet. But they'll make it for today -

1. 'Aganju' by Bebel Gilberto from 'Bebel Gilberto'

This means 'Pear' in English. I know this because Melody told Cash about it one day in the car and then the two of them sang 'Pe-e-ar, pe-e-e-e-a-e-ar' along with Bebel in her native tongue. And what a tongue it is. This is the most naturally sexy music I have. It isn't even trying to be, it just is. The sonic equivalent of a girl on a beach in a sarong at sunset.

2. 'That Feel' by Tom Waits from 'Bone Machine'

So yesterday if you remember I chastised Mr. Waits, even called him a name or two. We only hurt the ones we love. This album is perfect from start to finish. This particular song is an affirmation of life in general...'there's one thing you can't lose/it's that feel' the group of voices croak over a gentle acoustic guitar figure as Tom, Keith Richards, and a bunch of other old rockers reminisce. See? I just need more of this and less of the loudspeaker spun through a cotton candy machine.

3. 'Rock Island Line' by Dan Zanes from 'Family Dance'

This is such a great song that it very nearly trumps my growing disdain for Mr. Zanes particular brand of mock unassuming nonchalance. He is very chalant. Very chalant indeed.

4. 'Scotland' by King Missile from 'The Way to Salvation'

I devoured this album the entire time I was in France and then abandoned it completely. Every now and then it calls me up and tries to get back together but I delete the messages as soon as I get them.

5. 'Autumn Sweater' by Yo La Tengo from 'Prisoners of Love (Disc 2)'

I usually like Yo La Tengo so I'm assuming I enjoyed this song but I don't remember hearing it on the bus. I could have been wondering at Jack Aubrey's penchant for diving off his ship and saving drowning seamen. He's been at the helm of an annoying ship called 'The Polchrest' which won't obey his commands and seems to sail better backwards than it does forwards.

Yo La Tengo are from Hoboken and the heart of the band is a married couple. So that's cool.

6. 'I'm A Loser' by The Beatles from 'Beatles for Sale'

First I thought of Beck and his song of the same title and how much better this is than that. Then I wondered at the cultural connotation of the word 'loser' Lennon seems to be saying he is someone who loses things (women specifically) and not to be labeling himself with a negative brand. And I thought that had much more interest, to define oneself with an accrued lack.

7. 'Just Do It/Pharoahe Monch' by Pete Rock from 'DJ Jazzy Jeff and Peanut Butter Wolf'

I made a note of this song to be sure I would remember it. I really enjoyed Pete Rock's voice and lyrics. I am not familiar with his work. I think I'll have to consult the Pimp Fu History of Rap and see what I can glean. Really great song.

8. '2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten' by Lucinda Williams from 'Car Wheels On A Gravel Road'

I bought this album after hearing it in a Starbucks in Chapel Hill, NC the first week I was there doing 'The Beauty Queen of Leenane' in 1999. A classic. There aren't many perfect albums out there. This is one of them.

9. 'Get Up (Sex Machine)' by James Brown from '20 All Time Greatest Hits'

Yesterday there was an auction at Christie's of some of James Brown's things. Did they sell his 'I'll Be 30 Years Ahead Of My Time 30 Years From Now' trophy from 1968? Oh, wait, he hasn't even received that yet! He'll get it in 2018 and he'll still be 30 years ahead of his time.

10. 'Submerge: Til We Become The Sun' by Maxwell from 'Embrya'

We all occasionally recoil from beauty. We resent it somehow, as if it shamed us. It is a faultless mirror which doesn't hide our own flaws. This music is like that but it is so gentle and relentless that you forgive yourself and see your own beauty more clearly.

11. 'Night And Day' by Etta James from 'Time After Time'

Man, when you hear this lady belt it makes you imagine you are some modern pop star and you are BLUSHING at your inadequacy. She takes Cole Porter and strips him of all whiteness, all gayness, and deposits him right in the heart of the blues.

12. 'My Daydream' by Paul Westerberg from 'Come Feel Me Tremble'

I just received the news that Paul will be releasing 49 minutes of music for 49 cents this Saturday. Talk about a daydream! Has anyone ever written more unheard hits, more silent smashes? In another universe this is at the top of the charts.

13. 'Shhh' by The Artist Formerly Known As Prince from 'The Gold Experience'

This album is Baroque so don't fix it! Subtlety was never Prince Rogers Nelson's strong point so when he feels persecuted to the point that he STOPS BEING PRINCE you know there is going to be some sexy hand-wringing going on. And when Prince wrings his hand there is usually a guitar in it.

14. 'Runaround' by Jesse Grieves from 'Colonial Box'

Much like Pimp Fu's 'Raw Fushi...t', I produced this album from old cassette tapes I had of Justin recording himself out in Usquepaugh. His music is SO odd, oddly compelling, oddly performed, oddly meant, oddly made. An idiosyncrasy so complete he seems to be in a snow globe of his own design.

15. 'Papa Don't Take No Mess' by James Brown from '20 All Time Greatest Hits'

James must have been looking down on the auction today and shaking his head, snapping millions of iPods into immediate action.. They gonna sell my shit? Then they gonna listen to my shit!

16. 'What's Your Favorite Color?' by Living Colour from 'Vivid'

Now that's just not fair. To force these guys to follow the Godfather of Soul? With a song that might as well scream 'I'm Trying to Out Brown James Brown'? Just not fair. It'd be like Hayden Christiansen stepping in for Olivier as Hamlet's understudy.

And so we come to that sad moment of farewell again, until the next slew of pieces of my past tomorrow morning.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bad Theater Is Still Theater

With the opening salvo in this morning's musical attack, my iPod declared an aggressive ambivalence towards my enjoyment.

1. 'Black Box Theme' by Tom Waits from 'The Black Rider'

This album is the sonic accompaniment to a theater piece conceived by Robert Wilson and written by William S. Burroughs. I'd seen Waits/Wilson's 'Alice' at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was very excited to hear their next oddity. I didn't know it would be the end for me and Mr. Gravel-larynx-at-the-carnival. I simply could not find it in me to care about any of these songs. Remember when the whole world went crazy for Al Pacino after 'Scent Of A Woman' but his true fans knew he was done? Yeah, me too.

2. 'L.A. Song' by Deconstruction from 'Deconstruction'

I never got into Jane's Addiction so it still surprises me how much I like this album by the group Dave Navarro put together after Jane's demise. They truly hew to their name as well, not allowing anything to completely cohere, one minute gentle the next ferocious. If Navarro had continued in this manner he might not be a reality TV star. He might actually be a serious musician with sick chops and a chameleonic lizard of a band.

3. 'When I'm Sixty Four' by The Beatles from 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'

My mother used to play this song for us on her guitar. I thought she wrote it. I was shocked when I heard these guys singing the song my mother wrote. She also throughout the years has written countless birthday songs for friends and family, inserting the age of the birthday boy/girl and humorous details about them. For a lady who claims to prefer silence to music she's a pretty sick guitar player.

4. 'The Boilerman' by Mike Watt from 'Contemplating the Engine Room'

Mike Watt was the bass player in The Minutemen, one of the great bands of the '80's. Their lead singer/songwriter D. Boon was killed in a van accident on one of their shoestring budget tours. He later formed the group firehose which was ultimately a failed experiment. This album is a diary of sorts, a love letter to his fisherman father, and an aching tribute to the friend he lost in the Arizona desert.

5. 'Uncomplicated' (Alternate Version)' by Elvis Costello and the Attractions from 'Blood & Chocolate (Bonus Disc)'

This is a great song from a great album. 1986 was a sick year from Elvis, two VASTLY different albums released in the same year, the two albums that I would say were the ones you couldn't live without if you had to choose. 'Blood & Chocolate' and 'King of America' are perfect. I have bonus discs from both and I ignore them because the albums say all that needs to be said.

6. 'Eugene's Lament' by The Beastie Boys from 'Ill Communication'

I love this album but I can't remember this song even though I heard it less than an hour ago.

7. 'Love' by Destiny's Child from 'Destiny Fulfilled'

Listening to this on the bus is slightly disconcerting due to the fact that all of a sudden Beyonce has covered me in baby oil and grapes are dangling just out of reach. Did I just type that out loud?

8. 'Can't Wait' by Bob Dylan from 'Time Out of Mind'

Shall I tell you why Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world? Shall I unveil the mystery of the deepest corner of the ocean with some simple sentence? Of course I shan't. In fact I won't. Don't ask. Get off of my lawn. Listening to Bob is like being invited in for coffee in his mansion after being sprayed with buckshot.

9. 'The Greeting Song' by Red Hot Chili Peppers from 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik'

As transcendent as this album is this song isn't.

10. 'Raspberry Beret' by Warren Zevon from 'Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon'

I don't know quite why this song doesn't work for me. I love Prince, I love Warren Zevon, I tolerate R.E.M...

Guess I figured it out.

11. 'Moon River' by Oranj Symphonette from 'Oranj Symphonette Plays Mancini'

The more I hear from Oranj Symphonette the more I want to hear from Oranj Symphonette. There is something very generous in their oddity, an inclusive attitude that reassures you that their experimentation isn't for them, but for you. They gently ask you to forgive them for their eccentricity and then you realize that they were only doing so to ease your transition from resistance to swingness.

12. 'Saviour' by Prince from 'Emancipation (Disc 2)'

Heard this yesterday. First time the shuffle has played a song twice. First time I skipped to the next selection.

13. 'Responsible' by Freedy Johnston from 'Can You Fly'

I don't know why I have this album instead of 'Perfect World' but it'll have to do. Freedy is the whole package but he hasn't learned to sing yet on this album. His phrasing is blocky, as if he's fighting through braces and a speech impediment.

14. 'Tossed' by Frank Black from 'Frank Black'

I must have blinked and missed this song. No recollection of hearing it on the bus. I'm reading 'Post Captain' by Patrick O'Brian, the second in the 'Master and Commander' series and I must have been up in the rigging spotting a privateer.

15. 'Chloroform' by Jack Logan from 'Bulk (Disc 1)'

Oh Jack two days in a row you are spooky. In this lullaby he entreats his darling to sleep as he places the handkerchief soaked in chloroform over her mouth. This double album was home recorded over 10 years in Athens while no one was paying any attention. Even the room I picture in my head is like something out of a noir film.

16. 'Where I Want To Be' by David Carroll from 'Chess Broadway'

I love the musical 'Chess'. The music was written by the Abba dudes. The story is a Cold War/Chess analogy layered over with a tragic love story. The songs are great. I have a feeling someone will make a movie musical out of 'Chess' one day and it will finally get its due.

17. 'Lucky Day Overture' by Tom Waits from 'The Black Rider'

What a surprising choice! Strange carnival music with Tom as a barker, raspily shouting out freak show terms! Way to go out on a peg limb there Tom. You know what would shock me from you Mr. Waits? A recording session two weeks removed from a pack of Pall Malls and a song about a girl with no squeaks or farm machinery converted into instruments. Give it a shot.

18. 'Baby It's You' by The Last from 'Duck and Cover'

The Los Angeles punk rock label SST released this album of cover tunes by its stable of artists in the late '80's. I bought it because The Descendents did a great cover of The Beach Boys' 'Wendy'. Needless to say this is the first and last time I ever listened to The Last.

19. 'Stranded' by Amy Correia from 'Lakeville'

Melody chastised me for ragging on Amy Correia the other day. So I guess I have to say I like her. This album rubs me the wrong way for some reason even though her artistry is obvious. The whole thing is about moving from New York to California and it strikes way too close to home. So begrudgingly I'll admit that she writes great songs and has a great voice. Arrgh.

20. 'Better Version of Me' by Fiona Apple from 'Extraordinary Machine'

Now that's better.

21. 'Dirty Little Girl' by Elton John from 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'

The only way this song interests me is if he's singing about himself.

22. 'Slow Drag' by Fastball from 'All The Pain Money Can Buy'

These guys are just solid. I have never gotten tired of 'The Way' and every time I hear a deeper cut from this album I wonder whatever happened to Fastball. Guess they couldn't throw the curve.

And that is that, the curtain has dropped in the black box and we straggle out into the night, struggling to articulate what we have just seen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Want To Be Freddy Mercury

I have a bit of an extra bounce in my step today. I've just started a new acting class and it is infusing the rest of my life with inspiration. It's not your ordinary acting class and the vibe has set my brain afire.

1. 'What's Tickling You?' by Jack Logan from 'Mood Elevator'

This song ends with a chorus of high pitched cackles. Supremely spooky. He has a way of isolating moments not normally crystallized in songs. The moment before something happens. A man standing at a podium about to speak. A cowboy floating in the air. He seems to have disappeared lately and I miss him.

2. 'Saviour' by Prince from 'Emancipation'

This triple album is mathematically precise. Each album has 12 songs and clocks in at exactly 1 hour. If anyone else had released even 1 of these that year, the music industry would have set up an awards show for them and them alone. As it was, people just went, 'Oh, 3 more Prince albums? Great...'

This love song is gorgeous and has the Purple One's trademark guitar sound. What else can you say? When I talk about Prince I feel like some Austrian court functionary describing the latest Mozart work. Like, sure, I can say a couple THINGS but I AM TALKING ABOUT MOZART.

3. 'Not A Second Time' by The Beatles from 'With The Beatles'

They are SO young here. It is quite moving because while they are obviously quite confident musically they have NO idea what is about to come. To know where these 4 same guys wound up adds a bittersweet aftertaste to this finger wag of a warning to an unfaithful girl. Dumb girl, messing around with one of The Beatles' heads! Can you imagine if you were the girl in this song?

4. 'Breaking the Girl' by Red Hot Chili Peppers from 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik'

I vividly remember hearing this very song in the music superstore in Orleans, France. It was called FNAC and it was the Tower Records of the frogs. Headphones, listening stations, sulky Euro teenagers. I'd dabbled with the Chili Peppers but always was left a little bored by the frenzy. Well, they cut out the frenzy and what was left was devastating, especially on this track.

5. 'Soldier' by Eminem from 'The Eminem Show'

Speaking solely as a writer, as a connoisseur of language, I become vaguely prosyletic when talking about Eminem. Is that even a word? I feel as if I must convince those who would discount him that their opinion is ill-formed. I feel certain that, given enough time, I could turn even the most devoted anti-rap conservative racist into a drooling Eminem fan. On second thought, if you don't get it I ain't got time 4 ya.

6. 'Love Me Tender' by Elvis Presley from 'Heart & Soul'

Wow. I think I just grew a moist teenage 1950's vagina.

7. 'Problems' by Sex Pistols from 'Never Mind The Bollocks'

How does straightforward rock and roll sound so dangerous? Seriously, I don't get it. This is pretty basic stuff but the intent is so sharp, the attitude is so abrasive, they are still scary. No one had been scary before these guys. They made and broke the mold. All you lead singers are still desperately trying to scare audiences but Johnny Rotten took and ate your cake.

8. 'Young Hearts Run Free' by Kym Mazelle from 'Romeo & Juliet'

She's got a great voice but the whole thing is just not Beyonce.

9. 'Big Gun' by Ice-T from 'Tank Girl'

Ice-T leaves me cold, no pun intended. Now Tank Girl is another story. I saw this on the big screen back in the day and I think it is a lost classic. It prefigures all the comic book hero nonsense swarming the cineplexes these days. And has anyone ever been more not famous and had the lead role in a big budget Hollywood comic book movie than Lori Petty? Seriously, how did that happen? And, after it happened, why did nothing else happen? And how is she so good in that but still so annoying? These are the questions I ask myself as I try not to listen to Ice-T. And how did Ice-T become a TV star? Are we going to have to see Ice-T solving crimes at 97 like Matlock? All old and gangster-y?

10. 'I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby' by Dolly Parton from 'Little Sparrow'

Poor Dolly meets the man she's fallen in love with out on the street. He's walking with another woman. Her heart flails. He introduces the women and says, 'I don't believe you've met my baby.' Dolly isn't sure who he's referring to. But the girl on his arm turns out to be his sister who tells Dolly her 'brother plans to marry'! Then they all get on the Dollycoaster and puke their guts up.

Hee hee. It's actually quite a good song.

11. 'Atlantic City' by Bruce Springsteen from 'Nebraska'

Legend has it that Bruce recorded demos to teach the E-Street Band these songs. They then recorded a full band version before Bruce decided to release the demos themselves.

This is the one song on the album that suffers from the spare arrangement. I've always wanted to hear the full blown 70's souped up Camaro version. Don't get me wrong, I love this version but the ghosts of Clarence, Little Stevie and Max are all over the place.

12. 'A Day In The Life' by The Beatles from 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band'

It's really sad when a band tries to do something all mystical and important and fall flat on their faces.

13. 'Things Change' by Dwight Yoakam from ''

This song is on a great album of his called 'A Long Way Home'. It works equally well stripped of all other instrumentation. The rhythm!

14. 'Friends Win' by Bill Doss from 'The Powerpuff Girls: Heroes & Villains'

I love the Powerpuff Girls. And you realized I was kidding about 'A Day In The Life', right? Good Lord that song is insane. Seriously, the instant it kicks in I feel my sanity teetering on the edge of some immeasurable abyss. Somehow the alternating John/Paul verses elicits a manic schizophrenia laced with terror. Thank God the Powerpuff Girls came along and saved the day in the life.

15. 'Save Me' by Queen from 'Greatest Hits'

Last but not least we have Queen. I can still see Freddy Mercury on the tips of his toes holding that weird half microphone stand in white tights and that crazy mustache over those giant teeth. I watched Live Aid just to see Queen play.

And once again my iPod disappoints at the last moment, unable to project me out of my day job. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Strolling Down Sweet Avenue

I put on the headphones and started towards my living room door. Then my heart leaped into my chest at the first selection the iPod made.

1. 'Sweet Avenue' by Jets To Brazil from 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary'

I could talk about the inexorable romance of this slow angular rock ballad, I could talk about the impossibly fine lyrics which feel like diamonds spilled from velvet boxes onto marble floors, I could talk about how this is honey to the Splenda that usually passes for love songs.

But how do you explain that the opening chords to a song lift you out of a bus in Los Angeles and wrench you back eight years in time, back before 9/11, back when the girl you had just fallen in love with could accompany you right up to the gate, back to the moment you held her and knew you had to let her go, back to the kiss that doomed you both to a world of pain until you left your wife which you should have done long ago?

How do you explain that?

2. 'Poison Years' by Bob Mould from 'Workbook'

This was Bob Mould's first solo album after the horrible implosion of Husker Du. (Quick side note: there was a copy of the board game Husker Du at the house we just rented on Lake Sunapee, I'd never actually seen it!) I wish this album had been a clarion call, a flag on the surface of the moon, the mission statement. But it seems to have been an aberration instead. I don't mean that Mould should have kept making this album over and over. But the writing on this album is exculpatory. It's painful. I don't think he ever dug that deep again. This is the Jimi Hendrix of American hardcore, by the way. This album perfectly showcases the emotional breadth of his lead guitar voice.

3. 'Cadillac Ranch' by Bruce Springsteen from 'The River'

Fans of The Boss won't be happy about this, but I think 'The River' stinks. I am almost all alone in this opinion. People talk about 'The River' in hushed tones, as if they were in church. I DON'T GET IT. It sounds thin and forced. He is trying too hard. The drums sound as if they were trapped inside a stove. He reminds me of the guy at the party who keeps flattening beer cans on his forehead as if it were an ironic comment on frat boys who do those types of things at those types of parties when really he'd feel more at home with a bunch of frat boys actually flattening beer cans on their foreheads for fun. His next record was 'Nebraska' so I wouldn't be surprised if Bruce felt the same way as I do.

4. 'Lucifer' by Jay-Z from 'The Black Album'

Two days in a row with some Hov. Legend has it that he doesn't ever write lyrics down, he simply formulates what he wants to say until he's ready and then he records it. He's not free styling but he's also not reading off of a paper. While I don't entirely believe this, he does continually sound as if he's discovering what he's about to say as he says it. That's great acting. And he dates Beyonce and owns an NBA franchise. Like a zealot I'm jealous of Z, see?

5. 'The Story of Jazz' by Yo La Tengo from 'Prisoners of Love'

I broke a little rule while listening to this song. Normally if I don't know who is singing I force myself to listen to the song without knowing who it is. But I kept hearing an old disc that I know isn't on my iPod. It's a band called Eleventh Dream Day, who were not as good as they seemed. But this seemed better than that. So I needed to look. There is a real power to this band, there was a screaming lead halfway through that would be great on Guitar Hero. How does something that rocks so hard remain unassuming?

6. 'Too High' by Stevie Wonder from 'Innervisions'

If you only know Stevie as the 'Sunshine of My Life' sticky sweet 'Ebony and Ivory' icon, you're doing yourself a disservice. When I first converted over to CD back in the late '80's, I joined every one of those music clubs out there. 11 CD's for 99 cents! I'd recently read something about this album that had piqued my interest. Apparently, Stevie was frustrated at Motown because he wanted to write and record his own stuff and they wanted him to be Little Stevie Wonder his whole life. So he left and recorded this album. He plays every instrument. This is literally the music that he hears in his head. It is devastating. My ex wife said he was an alien, that this was superhuman music.

7. 'The Inspector Clouseau theme' by Oranj Symphonette from 'Oranj Symphonette Plays Mancini'

This music is crazy. Had no idea what it was until I got to work and looked at the list. I spent the first half of it hoping that Tom Waits didn't start singing and ruin the mood. Slowly I realized that it was an instrumental and I didn't have to worry about it. I laughed three or four times during the song. Laughing at music. Once I saw Clouseau in the title I understood. Or should I say understewd?

8. '103' by Soul Side from 'Soon-Come-Happy'

I bought this CD because members of this band went on to be in Fugazi. Although I like the album, this song in particular is nothing special.

9. 'Walkin' After Midnight' by Patsy Cline from '12 Greatest Hits'

I know I'm supposed to love her. I just don't. She sounds like a detergent commercial. No, that's not right. She sounds like someone kidnapped Rosemary Clooney and forced her to turn 'City Slickers' into a gritty Western.

10. 'Space Rock' by Weezer from 'Maladroit'

There was a moment there when I loved this band. 'Hash Pipe' is killer. Now? I have too many things to think about. Sometimes I am too compassionate to kill a spider...other days I step on them without a second thought. Today Weezer is stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

11. 'Friend Like Me' by Robin Williams from 'Aladdin'

Holy cow does Robin Williams knock this out of the park. How did they write a song that came directly from the genie portion of his frontal lobe?

12. 'Love-Building On Fire' by Talking Heads from 'Sand In The Vaseline'

I resist Talking Heads for some reason. There is something antagonistic in there, some malevolence masquerading as acuity, something I rebel against. The attitude is exclusive, as if your appreciation is tolerated, but scorned due to your shallow understanding of the material. Don't get me wrong...I love this song. But I don't think they want my love.

13 & 14. 'Hold On' and 'Love Is' by Amy Correia from 'Lakeville'

This is a first. Same artist same album two songs in a row. It's telling that I am more interested in the binary permutations responsible for this anomaly than I am in the songs themselves. Why did the iPod do this? Was it a glitch? Was it so bored by the first song that it thought to give Amy another chance? Do iPod's have emotional responses to songs? Could Will Smith defeat my iPod in a battle if it ever went bonkers and tried to rid the world of humans?

15. 'I'd Be A Fool Right Now' by Stevie Wonder from 'For Once In My Life/Uptight'

This song is a perfect example. Stevie Wonder had 'Innervisions' and instead he's blaring out this crap. I mean, crap is a strong word and it is only appropriate in comparison, but come on! He had an ocean liner in his backyard and they wanted him to ride a tricycle.

16. 'Mind On The Matter' by Harry Connick, Jr. from 'Star Turtle'

Damn this album is hot. Two days in a row with a little jolt from Harry. He was also great as the Beatnik in 'Iron Giant'. If you haven't seen it and you like animation, give it a try. Vastly underrated as is Mr. Connick, Jr.

17. 'The Hum' by Pimp Fu from 'Raw Fushi...t'

Timothy would sit in our basement apartment while I was out and about and he would experiment with the 4-track recorder all day. This is a collage of his voice attempting to figure out how to match the levels on different tracks. It is hilarious. When T left Brooklyn I kept all the tapes with all the songs he did. I later digitized them and put them on CD and called them 'Raw Fushi...t'. He hates the production value because all I did was turn everything up and let it play. He'd have been slicing and dicing and icing the cake. But fuck him, he left. And the shit is awesome any which way you c-c-c-c-cut it up.

18. 'Far Away Eyes' by The Rolling Stones from 'Some Girls'

When Mick does that hillbilly accent I'm both offended and annoyed. Why does he keep doing country music if he has such contempt for Southern White America? Oh, right, because he's in The Rolling Stones and they do whatever the fuck they want. This album is like the dirty one night stand that you are ashamed of the next day but 5 years later you realize was actually kind of hot and fuck that moralizing White angel on your shoulder.

And here I am back at my computer, unwilling to face the rest of this day. Sweet Avenue my ass.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Morning After

I've just returned from a very satisfying vacation back east with the family. As I got ready for work this morning I was actually excited to get on the bus and start preparing for this post. The iPod was all charged and ready to go...

1. 'Unchain My Heart' by Ray Charles from 'His Greatest Hits, Vol. 1'

I am happy to get the chance to be one of the untold voices raised in praise of Ray Charles. There is something effortless about this song, which when taken in conjunction with the incarceration inherent in the title, elevates the song from a simple frustrated plea of unrequited love to a cosmic declaration of independence. Hyperbole is impossible when it comes to Ray Charles.

2. 'Color Me Impressed' by The Replacements from 'Hootenanny'

The opening chords descend like the gears of a semi downshifting at 100 MPH on a slicked up highway, the driver oblivious to the wreckage because he's got his face down in his lap catching his reflection off the mirror he's sniffing from, perfume from last night's debacle circling his head like a halo of disgrace, cigarette dwindling in the ashtray, Cheap Trick blaring on the 8-track, empties crunched under boot and on the leather, Funyuns upchucked a mile back.

3. 'It's Like That' by Jay-Z from 'Hard Knock Life, Vol. 2'

Either you get it or you don't. This mofo sampled Annie for chrissake. ANNIE.

4. '!!!!!!' by The Roots from 'Phrenology'

I didn't know the song had changed from 'It's Like That' because this is an odd snippet from this awesome album. I've yet to lose myself entirely in The Roots back catalog but the day is nigh.

5. 'Sliver' by Nirvana from 'Incesticide'

Lately I don't care about Nirvana at all. Maybe my zest for life has increased to the point where such endless bluster in the face of bottomless nihilism just tires me out. Shut up and do it already asshole. I haven't forgiven him yet and I need to look into that.

6. 'Newest Industry' by Husker Du from 'Zen Arcade'

A double album? A concept album? A hardcore band? The only thing that would have made this album MORE shocking when it came out in 1984 is if Mould/Hart were gay. Oh, wait, they were, we just didn't KNOW it yet. When Mould got blatantly political he was very entertaining...

'The Sun Belt's overcrowded so let's annex Mexico
The peso's only worth a dime but they've got all that land
There's no need for a civil war we know they'll understand...
You will sign up for the Newest Industry'

Great song, great album.

7. 'Kiss' by Prince from 'Parade'

Ah, Minnesota! How varied are your musical stylings! How crazy your geniuses! Seriously, this little douchebag makes a tambourine out of the sound of a blown kiss. Prince thinks he wants to dance! I'd hate to see what he'd do when he KNEW he wanted to dance. A perfect pop concoction.

8. 'Hearts for Handlebars' by The Divorce from 'Marlboro: The 2nd Sessions'

I don't remember getting this compilation but this song is on it. That's about all I'll say.

9. 'Wave of Mutilation' by The Pixies from 'Doolittle'

Weirdest classic rock band of all time.

10. 'Four Leaf Clover' by Old 97's from 'Heavy Turbulence - Music from Elektra'

Listen to X much? Another compilation, another jangly piece of crap pretending to be impassioned and underground.

11. 'Hate' by Iggy Pop from 'American Caesar'

I'm not sure what to think about Iggy Pop. This album came to me randomly. I've never gotten into The Stooges...I appreciate it but it doesn't get me where I hurt. Neither does this. I often feel like I ought to be the adult and say, 'Okay, Iggy, you can have a cookie but it's time to quiet down and go to bed.'

12. 'Paul Revere' by The Beastie Boys from 'Licensed to Ill'

It's hard to fathom how up in arms people were about The Beastie Boys. They really pissed people off. I mean across the board. The black rap culture was furious that a trio of white boys (jews at that!) were the biggest thing in the land. The white rock culture regressed to just after the Reconstruction and wondered why any white boys (jews at that!) would be caught dead performing that slave music. The feminist culture was shocked that these teenagers were obsessed with their tits. The moral majority...anyhoo, you get the point. No wonder they sold a bazillion records.

13. 'Another One Bites the Dust' by Queen from 'Greatest Hits'

The opening salvo of this song is a sweet kick in the groin. It's a sparring match between gonads and musical instruments where the loser is expected to lather the winner up with baby oil and make all their twisted little fantasies come true. Hint: No one ever loses.

14. 'Ain't That Lovin' You Babe' by Link Wray from 'Rumble! The Best of Link Wray'

If you think The White Stripes are raw you need to get a load of this guy. Link Wray's 'Rumble' caused RIOTS when it was released in the 50's. He was banned...what was he saying that was so shocking that his song was protested and censored?

It's an instrumental.

15. 'About a Girl' by Nirvana from 'Bleach'

Here we go again. Seriously, I am in full-on anger mode at this little jackass who made me care so much and then pulled the plug on himself. Great song, though.

16. 'How Do Ya'll Know' by Harry Connick, Jr. from 'Star Turtle'

If you think you know Harry Connick, Jr. then you need to listen to 'Star Turtle'. This album is WEIRD with a capital freak. Harry adopts strange personalities, electronic sounds zoom in and out, guitars blaze, beats pop, and legends arise. This is Harry's 'White Album'.

17. 'Beautiful Machine Parts 1-2' by Apples in Stereo from 'New Magnetic Wonder'

I turned off the iPod right after this song started so I don't have an opinion on it. If it comes up in a future shuffle, I'll expound.

Oh, and today is my birthday.