Thursday, December 23, 2010

Short Shuffle

I have been driving the past couple of days so no long shuffle stretches on the bus, only gym workout mixes. This is what I listened to last night strapped to various machines and sweating like a nutball.

207. Sabre Dance from "Gayane" - Aram Khatchaturyan and the Houston Symphony Orchestra from 'Romantic Melodies For Orchestra: 20th Century"

Oh yeah, nothing gets me psyched up to pump some iron quite like the Sabre Dance. It's almost like actual steroids. Thanks, iPod for hanging me out to dry here. For about a year Cashel would fall asleep to the 'Classical Genre' on my iTunes. He loves this song.

208. N.S.U. - Cream from 'The Very Best Of Cream'

Boy, I'd hate to hear 'The Very Worst Of Cream' because the very best sucks pretty hard.

209. The Kill - Fugazi from 'The Argument'

It is hard for me to believe that it has been ten years since Fugazi put out this album, what appears to have been their last. It is also their best. Like everything else they did it was under the radar. They don't care about radar. They are radar.

I have this fond wish that some day they will reunite and play together again. I feel very lucky to have seen them at their prime, which is another way of saying 'I saw them at any time during their career' because they were never less than transcendent.

210. Take A Look - Liz Phair from 'Liz Phair'

I feel very protective of Liz Phair. Every time I hear her I get my hackles up in defense, not from critics but from fans who simply can't let go of 'Exile In Guyville'. In my opinion she has improved with every release. That is not a knock on 'Guyville' but she has challenged herself time and time again. Fans who want artists to repeat themselves are not true fans. They are sheep. Sheep must be shorn.

211. Surfin' Cow - The Dead Milkmen from 'Bucky Fellini'

We don't mean a word we say, aren't we funny? Everything is lame, so are we but at least we don't care. Hahahahaha, aren't we hilarious?

This album came out around the same time as Bon Jovi's 'Livin' On A Prayer' and you know what? 'Livin' On A Prayer' is BETTER MUSIC even though millions of idiots like it more.

212. Optimistic - Radiohead from 'Kid A'

Everyone else is playing for second place.

213. Latest Disgrace - Fugazi from 'Red Medicine'

When all my hardcore die-hards heard that Ian Mackaye had a new band everyone was conflicted. Minor Threat are the Led Zeppelin of hardcore. They simply outplayed everyone else. By miles and miles. I didn't know it but what I feared the most was that his next band would sound sort of the same but not be as good.

Imagine our surprise when Fugazi behaved as if Minor Threat had never existed. How do you ensure that you don't sound stale? Simply invent a new genre of music again.

Good lord they're good. I don't want the music business to be fair. It is supposed to be cutthroat. I don't begrudge the mainstream superstars their conquests. I simply feel bad for the legions of people who will never fully grasp what they never knew they missed.

214. Action And Drama - bis from 'Social Dancing'

Okay, that was great, guys, now for take two could we have a little more action and a little more drama? Actually, how about a LOT more action and a LOT more drama? You know what, ANY action and ANY drama would suffice.

215. A Tender Lie - Dolly Parton from 'Little Sparrow'

I am not a boob man. So I don't care about those famous exaggerations that everyone seems to focus on when it comes to Dolly Parton. What if everyone only wanted to talk about Bob Dylan's piercing eyes? Granted, Dolly has not shied away from utilizing all of her assets to her advantage but her LUNGS are more astonishing than the expanse of flesh that cover them. Titty Mama can sing!

216. Sexy Sadie - The Beatles from 'White Album (Disc 2)'

If this song came from any other band it would be their finest moment. For The Beatles? It's track 5 on side 3 of a double album. Douchebags.

The holiday season is upon us. Wishing you and yours the best.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rain Again???

This might be the wettest stretch of weather I've experienced since moving to Los Angeles in 2003. I managed to leave my umbrella at Coffee Bean as I rushed out to jump on a bus but then an angry passenger threatened the driver before we even started moving and he called the cops and kicked everyone off except the offender who was continuing to call him any number of names.

I went back inside and retrieved my umbrella and hopped on the next bus which was free of conflict. Plus the bus driver didn't make me pay again as he could see people streaming off the other bus as it morphed into a crime scene.

172. Posse In Effect - The Beastie Boys from 'Licensed To Ill'

There isn't much music made that has the sole purpose of being fun. The Beastie Boys are masters at this, making song after song that have no hint of anger, bitterness, pain, weakness, or anything resembling a negative emotion. Don't mistake this for shallowness. Willfully excluding darkness is uplifting. Plus it's got a good beat and is fun to dance to.

173. Exit Only - Fugazi from 'Steady Diet Of Nothing'

The opposite of the above, Fugazi mine very different ore. They insist on a rigorous analysis of this sorry old world we live in and then they mirror it back at us in torrents of precise abandon. Exciting, yes. Intense, yes. Fun? Not really.

174. Shadow Of A Doubt (Complex Kid) - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers from 'Damn The Torpedoes'

Tom Petty has been famous for so long that he gets taken for granted. To my mind he leaves Bruce Springsteen in the dust as the true chronicler of working class America in the latter half of the 20th century. Bruce THINKS he's doing this but what he's doing is something closer to mythology. Petty doesn't inject the wind on our faces with meaning, he just describes the dust in our eyes.

175. P.L.P. - The Mahoneys from 'Live From The 20th Century'

Perhaps the greatest band ever fronted by Brendan O'Malley in the 1990's in Rhode Island. Also the abbreviation avoids perhaps the most pretentious rock song title ever inflicted on man, 'Passed Lamenting's Past'. Yikes. Somehow it still rocks in spite of the horseshit.

176. Sweet Wine - Cream from 'The Very Best Of Cream'

Hey Cream, quit curdlin'!

177. Still Tippin' (It's A Man's World Remix) - Mike Jones from 'Hustle & Flow'

Mike JONES! I love this guy because all he has to do is repeat his name over and over again. "It's Mike JONES!" He manages to turn the most bland moniker ever worn by a rapper into some sort of rally point. I made my parents watch this movie and they loved it. If you haven't seen 'Hustle & Flow' DO IT.

178. Everybody Knows A Little Bit Of Something - King's X from 'Gretchen Goes To Nebraska'

Who can't use a little gay Christian heavy metal R&B? I personally can never get enough of it!

179. Why Can't A Man Stand Alone? - Elvis Costello from 'All This Useless Beauty'

The conceit of this album (and what Elvis album would be complete without a conceit) is that it gathers a bunch of songs that Elvis originally wrote for other people to record. Lately I'm finding myself drawn back into his catalog like a drunk shaking outside of a bar. It might not be good for me but I'm gonna do it anyway.

180. Stars Of Warburton - Midnight Oil from 'Blue Sky Mining'

Great song, great album, great band. I always find myself vaguely rejecting them the minute a song comes on and by the time it is thirty seconds in I have left judgment behind and I'm with them all the way. A strange unique success.

181. Middle Man - Living Colour from 'Vivid'

What I just wrote about Midnight Oil you can reverse for these guys. Optimism surges the minute that they run into my ears. There are great elements at play in every one of their songs. And then? It fizzles.

182. Dreamer In My Dreams - Wilco from 'Being There (Disc 2)'

This is how I like my Wilco. Loud, fast, and a little out of control. The more Brian Wilson/Pet Sounds Jeff Tweedy gets, the less I care. And I just realized that the title of this album is 'Being There'.

183. All You Need Is Love - The Beatles from '1'

Saying this is my least favorite Beatles song is like saying a certain batch of oxygen is my least favorite air. But there you have it. I have always internally rebelled against this song and its simplistic message. I find myself imagining long late night arguments between myself and John Lennon in which I ridicule this song by saying things like, "Really, John? Really? So the starving kid doesn't need food he only needs LOVE? REALLY?" To which John always shrugs his shoulders and says something like, "Did you start a band called The Beatles and change human history? I didn't think so." Which, while true, still pisses me off.

184. Wooooh, Din Din Da Doop Doop - Pimp Fu from 'First Press'

Timothy experimenting with strange boops and beeps and beats. Creepy and cool.

185. See My Friend - The Kinks from 'The Ultimate Collection (Disc 1)'

The more I listen the more I like. These guys are way underrated. Which, considering how highly rated they are, is almost preposterous.

186. I'll Wear It Proudly - The Costello Show from 'King Of America'

Okay, Elvis, I'll take you back. I will buy some new stuff of yours to love. I am sorry I've neglected you over the past decade in which you've recorded albums with opera singers, string quartets, marching bands, prison guards, goat herds, race cars, and newscasters. I'm back in, quit buggin' me.

187. Remember Me - Freedy Johnston from 'Can You Fly'

Freedy hadn't learned to sing yet. He overdoes everything, like a little kid pronouncing a difficult word for the first time. For some reason I don't have the album of his that I really love, probably because every time I hear 'Bad Reputation' I have to seek psychiatric help.

188. Professor Booty - The Beastie Boys from 'Check Your Head'

Like I said, fun.

189. Mr. Rabbit - Paul Westerberg from 'Stereo'

There is so much magic in this song you can almost see the hat it came out of.

190. Let's Do It - Joan Jett & Paul Westerberg from 'Tank Girl'

There is a history of collaboration between these two that is awesome. She recorded 'Androgynous' and he sang on a song of hers called 'Backlash'. They should be the Mick Jagger/Tina Turner of their generation but the music business failed them.

191. In The Evening - Dan Zanes from 'Family Dance'

Oh shut up. Cut your hair. Record an album for grown ups.

192. I Lost It - Lucinda Williams from 'Car Wheels On A Gravel Road'

Perfect album. SO perfect in fact that I have never bought anything else by her, even the album with the song about Paul Westerberg on it.

193. Getting In Tune - The Who from 'Who's Next'

Hearing this song so soon upon the heels of The Kinks makes me wish The Kinks would reunite to play the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Because The Who come in a distant second in this particular race.

194. Keep Fishin' - Weezer from 'Maladroit'


195. A Face In The Crowd - Tom Petty from 'Full Moon Fever'


196. Trad: Amazing Grace - Mark O'Connor from 'Heartland: An Appalachian Anthology'

Gorgeous. It makes me think of standing on the altar singing 'Amazing Grace' at the funeral of my uncle Jimmy. Who was a piece o' work as we like to say. But what O'Malley isn't?

197. Filipino Box Spring Hog - Tom Waits from 'Mule Variations'

Shocking, but the weirdness doesn't bother me on this one. I can smell the fat dripping into the fire as the pig is roasted on the spit.

198. Monday Morning - Pulp from 'Different Class'

To make a sports analogy, this album is like a perennial backup stepping in after an injury and winning the batting title. They will go back to being a back up but they had one perfect moment in the sun. Sort of makes you wonder why they can't do it every time, though.

199. Long Tall Sally - The Beatles from 'Past Masters - Volume One'

You can imagine these four guys ripping your heart out of your chest in a small club. If you took away all of the albums and were left with those four guys on a stage you still have the greatest band of all time.

200. Come Together - Michael Jackson from HIStory (Disc 2)'

Oh, Michael. This is sad. By covering this song you reveal all of your weaknesses. Your talent sounds small compared to the achievement inherent in the notes and words. Your delusion cannot hold against the onslaught of true genius and it is smashed to bits by the very song you dare to interpret.

201. Tacoland - The Dead Milkmen from Bucky Fellini


202. Sorted For E's & Wizz - Pulp from 'Different Class'

Terrifying and sad. The narrator recounts being at an outdoor music festival and being abandoned by his friends while tripping on various illicit drugs. A void of panic envelops him and he cannot grasp any meaning in anything. Is that all there is?

203. Investigative Reports - Genius/GZA from 'Liquid Swords'

Monstrously bizarre.

204. The Yet - Brendan O'Malley from 'White Walls'

Take a nap. Jesus. Whiner.

205. Stars Gone Out - Low from 'The Curtain Hits The Cast'

There is only one song on this album that I need to hear. In fact, only one song by these slow Mormons will ever be necessary to me and it is 'The Plan' which Melody and I once listened to for eight short hours straight.

206. Stardust - Rob Wasserman/Aaron Neville from 'Duets'

I know I'm supposed to love Aaron Neville but I kind of want him to cut all the bullshit and just sing. He's like a basketball player doing a fancy dunk when all he needs to do is lay it in. And while he twirls around and preens for us, time expires.

See ya tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Aaaaand Still Raining

The gray sky has almost transformed Los Angeles into a place where quiet introspection in nicely lit warm rooms is the only weapon we have against the weather. But tomorrow or the next day people will be out and about again and the little Eastern interlude will be all but forgotten.

152. He's Wearing My Bathrobe - Don Was from 'Backbeat (Music From The Original Motion Picture)'

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Don Was for his work producing 'Suicaine Gratifaction', the great Paul Westerberg album. Westerberg hasn't worked with anyone since. However, a ten minute jazz noodle-fest is almost too much for me to take. I bought this album thinking it was the OTHER 'Backbeat' soundtrack which has a whole slew of indie/punk rockers imitating The Beatles in Hamburg as teenagers in strip clubs on meth. Which is awesome. This limp nonsense is supposed to evoke the world that Stu Sutcliffe left the band for, the heady intellectualism of jazz. But Coltrane Don Was ain't.

153. She - Green Day from 'Dookie'

This was a breakthrough song for these guys and I have never liked it a bit.

154. Sorry - Patty Larkin from 'Regrooving The Dream'

I don't remember hearing this song. While she's on I suppose she's fine, good voice, good guitar playing, good production, but I forget her and I vaguely resent her for trying to make me remember.

155. Your Time Is Gonna Come - Led Zeppelin from 'Led Zeppelin I'

And a giant stomps the countryside.

156. Ticket To Ride - The Beatles from '1'

But fails to crush this hardy bunch of travelers who roam from town to town charming the villagers with their harmonies and verve.

157. If You Wear That Velvet Dress - U2 from 'Pop'

True to form I like the one album that U2 fans have very little use for. It's all wrong and that's why I like it.

158. Cousin Sally Brown - Doc Watson from 'The Doc Watson Family'

A violin and then some serious strumming. Gorgeous.

159. Welcome To The Jungle - Guns N' Roses from 'Appetite For Destruction'

What can be said about this song? These guys came along at a time when anything that smacked of heavy metal was a total JOKE and they blew all that shit out of the water. Everyone credits Nirvana with banishing hair bands from the mainstream but Guns N' Roses struck the first blow.

160. Sadly Mistaken - Pimp Fu from 'Raw Fushi...t'

Timothy moved from Brooklyn and left a treasure trove of weirdness behind that I then digitized. Here he makes an answering machine message out of the Emperor from Star Wars...hilarious.

161. Wrecking Ball - Neil Young from 'Freedom'

Neil is at the top of his game here. I first got into this album in France when I took the CD out of the University of Orleans library.

162. Sold You An Alibi - Superdrag from 'Head Trip In Every Key'

Stumbling onto this band at Cat's Cradle with Melody is still one of the more joyous musical moments I've ever had. Spoon has shot to major fame but these guys are just as deserving. I hope the world catches on.

163. On Broadway - Neil Young from 'Freedom'


164. Super Bad - James Brown from '20 All Time Greatest Hits!'

Yes, James. Yes, you are super bad.

165. Blue Line Swinger - Yo La Tengo from 'Prisoners Of Love (Disc 2)'


166. All Shook Down - The Replacements from 'All Shook Down'

In hindsight and in context this song gets more heartbreaking with every listen.

167. Nothing Of The Kind - Jimmie Dale Gilmore from 'Spinning Around The Sun'

This album is like an oasis that rises up out of the desert, seems to be a mirage, and then is not. It is real.

168. Drive All Night - Bruce Springsteen from 'The River (Disc 2)'

If he says 'baby' or 'darlin' or one more time I'm gonna...okay, I'm not gonna do anything but I wish I could.

169. Lullabye - Ben Folds Five from 'The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner'

I have yet to hear a song from Ben Folds that does not move me. Plus Melody used to serve him coffee in Chapel Hill and she said he was a nice guy.

170. So What! - Jane's Addiction from 'Kettle Whistle'

Perry Farrell strikes me as something of a bully. And if you are gonna be a bully you'd better back it up. And he doesn't really back it all the way up. So what indeed.

171. Black Man - Stevie Wonder from 'Songs In The Key Of Life (Disc 2)'

Not a great song. There are songs about race that are great songs. This is not one of them. Just because something is socially conscious doesn't make it great art.

While I was writing this blog a call came through to the office and a sad man threatened me and tried to scare me. I laughed at him. I don't think he liked that. The lawyer representing him is on vacation and something about his case had upset him. He is a small human being. Maybe he'll grow but I doubt it.