Friday, May 30, 2008

Feel Like Myself (Day 57)

Beirut - "Forks And Knives (La Fete)"
Brendan Benson - "Feel Like Myself"
Yo La Tengo - "From Black To Blue"
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - "Sheep"
Wilco - "Misunderstood" (live)
Yo La Tengo - "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House"
Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - "London Calling" (live)
Sloan - "People Of The Sky"
Times New Viking - "Skulls Versus Wizard"
Destroyer - "Canadian Lover/Falcon's Escape"
I have to honest, I was pretty into every song on today's playlist. Add to that the unbelievable weather in NYC, the relative un-crowded nature of the train (yes, I was running late) and the article about the Mets third win in a row, and I had a downright enjoyable trip to work this morning. Also, it's Friday. In an effort to share the love, I've decided to upload this morning's entire playlist. I've been meaning to try out Muxtape anyway, and this seems like the perfect occasion. If you haven't heard, it's basically a site that allows you to upload up to 12 songs to a dedicated url that you can then share with friends, a la the old school mixed tape. Simple. Genius. So if you want to actually hear what I listened to on my way to work today, just click here.
(Note: I only had Bonnie "Prince" Billy's "Sheep" - - a great song off Ease Down The Road - - in mp4 format which Muxtape doesn't allow, so I substituted with a version of "New Partner" from the Daytrotter Sessions. You won't be disappointed.)

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 42
Song with the most previous plays: "Feel Like Myself" - 11
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: This didn't necessarily happen on the way to work, but as soon as I got in to the office, I saw an ad in a magazine for something called Tostitos Creamy Salsa. It actually looks like someone ate a pizza and threw it up into a jar. Nasty.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kickapoo (Day 56)

Lucinda Williams - "Return of the Grievous Angel"
I kinda bashed Lucinda the other day, so here's a little praise. This is one of my all-time favorite covers. It's a rollicking version of the classic Gram Parsons tune (with David Crosby singing back-up). And while the original is a great progenitor of country rock (with Emmylou Harris singing back-up), Lucinda's version is a fantastic update that spins it into a classic road song. Roll down the windows and turn it up.
Beulah - "Me And Jesus Don't Talk Anymore"
Josh Rouse - "Streetlights"
Elliott Smith - "Let's Get Lost"
Colin Meloy - "Barbara Allen" (live)
Tapes 'n Tapes - "Hang Them All"
I was one of those people that got hooked fast by Tapes 'n Tapes debut album, The Loon. But to be honest their sophomore album hasn't gotten a lot of play. (I actually thought this was a Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah song - - oops.) I'm not ready to say I'm over the band, but I do miss the Pixies-like quirk they showed on that first album. I mean "The Iliad" sounds like an outtake from Bossanova, don't ya think. This is actually a pretty good modern rock tune - - it may have been the single, actually - - so I think I may give Walk It Off another shot.
Tenacious D - "Kickapoo"
My Morning Jacket - "Dondante"
Gringerman - "I Don't Need You (To Set Me Free)"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 9
Total minutes of music (approx.): 44
Song with the most previous plays: "Kickapoo" - 10
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Took a little detour on the way in. My wife and I had to stop by our daughter's preschool for a meet and greet. The result, a short-ish playlist and post - - and an amped up 2-and-a-half-year-old who ate 2 bagels and ran around a gym for an hour.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thumb (Day 55)

Phoenix - "Napoleon Says"
Pulp - "Common People"
Steve Earle - "The Mountain" (live)
Peter, Bjorn & John - "Amsterdam"
Joy Division - "Glass"
Magnetic Fields - "Reno Dakota"
The Arcade Fire - "Cars And Telephones"
What a cool find... I'm not sure I even knew I had this song. Apparently it's a sort of rare Arcade Fire demo that I got a while back
(thanks ex-coworker Jason) and promptly ignored and/or forgot about. Instead of that biggish indie band sound that AF usually trots out, this is a stripped down acoustic song with Win and Regine doing some nice harmonizing. It actually sounds a bit like Yo La Tengo. The lyrics are also great - - it's about trying to get back to a long-distance love. See:

Because I like cars more than telephones
Your voice in my head makes me feel so alone
Tonight I'm going to drive
The silver moon is shining bright
Over the interstate
God saying, "Hurry, don't be late"
Soon the sun will rise
That's when the romance dies
And I'm just tired of running around

Good stuff, right? You know you want to hear it. It's your lucky day. Click here.
Travis - "As You Are"
Meat Puppets - "Plateau"
Seu Jorge - "Rebel Rebel"
Wilco - "Someone Else's Song"
Guided By Voices - "Chasing Heather Crazy"
Dinosaur Jr - "Thumb" (acoustic)
This acoustic version of this great song from Dinosaur Jr's Green Mind album is from the 1993 Out There EP. I personally always liked Green Mind, Dinosaur's major label debut, a lot. It was a bit more - - how do you say? - - accessible than the previous records by the band fronted by long-haired, whiny-voiced, guitar squaller J. Mascis. But after recording one of the best songs of the grunge era, "Freak Scene," I don't think Mascis really changed that much (even though Lou Barlow, and for the most part Murph had checked out). Sure there's some acoustic guitar, but for me that only offers some great contrast to those over-the-top Mascis solos. The only reason I'm feeling so defensive is because it got a scathing from a trusted source. It was recently pointed out to me that the great early indie music guide, The Trouser Press, is online and I was very surprised to read this review. It says (in part):

"Water" and "Green Mind" are the only genuinely memorable items in a lackluster bunch; Mascis seems to have expended all his creative energy in learning the syncopated beat of "Muck" and inflating the leaky atmospheric tire that supports "Thumb," which parts previously uncharted waters in the realm of hypnoriff. More than a lazy sound, Green Mind is the sound of laziness.

Does anyone agree with this assessment? Or better yet, does anyone know what a hypnoriff is?
Flight Of The Conchords - "Mutha'uckas"
Television - "Friction"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 15
Total minutes of music (approx.): 51
Song with the most previous plays: "Thumb," "Rebel Rebel" (tie) - 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: OMG! Big news in sports:
"Balloon Mishap Foils Frenchman's Latest Attempt at a 25-Mile Skydive"
And you thought I was going mention the Mets finally winning a game.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Needle Time (Day 54)

The Fiery Furnaces - "Slavin' Away"
Elvis Costello & The Impostors - "Needle Time"
Travis - "The Last Laugh Of Laughter"
Stephen Malkmus - "Troubbble"
Field Music - "Place Yourself"
Every indie music fan with a computer (a.k.a. every indie music fans), is painfully aware of the online tastemaker Pitchfork. Their album reviews are sometimes so obtuse, they can make Robert Christgau seem like John Grisham. (I'm not sure I understand that metaphor either, but if you email me, I might offer further explanation.) Of course, I read them (or probably more correctly, skim them) and they frequently turn me on to a new band - - regardless of the holier-than-thou prose. Field Music is an example of a great find, courtesy of Pitchfork. And even though the writer managed to work his teenage crush on Kristi Yamaguchi into the review, I could still sense that this was a record I should check out. Key phrase that tipped me off: "baroque brand of whirring indie pop, with enough time signature changes and clever hooks to evoke XTC." And even this: "a Timbaland-esque mouth percussion tangent, backed by dreamy glockenspiels." Okay, so I'm still searching for those mouth percussion tangents, but the review led me to give Field Music's sophomore release Tones On Town and I'm grateful because it's pretty great. The band is a trio of Brits (two brothers among them) and they do make a fairly intricate brand of pop (Pet Sounds is a good jumping off point), and it's pretty damn catchy. And as I write this I realize that I never got Field Music's debut album, which our Kristi Yamaguchi-loving friend at Pitchfork claims is even better. He's earned my trust so maybe I'll do that now.
The Apples In Stereo - "Shine (In Your Mind)"
Pavement - "Platform Blues"
Broken Social Scene - "Cranley's Gonna Make It"
Cannonball Adderley - "One For Daddy-O"
This jazz saxophonist had a pretty great nickname. But where does it come from? I can't imagine that he was a virtuoso of the spring break pool-jumping technique. Cannonball was portly, but the nickname is actually the evolution of the name he went by when he was a kid: cannibal. He didn't eat other kids, but apparently he ate a lot. In any case it's a lot cooler than Julian Edwin Adderley.

Joao Gilberto & Stan Getz - "Vivo Sonhando (Dreamer)"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 48
Song with the most previous plays: "Needle Time" - 10
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: First day back after a long weekend is hard, but the fact that it took me nearly 5 minutes to untangle the cord to my headphones means my mind is definitely still on vacay. And the fact that I'm even calling it vacay only further proves the point.

Friday, May 23, 2008

This Is Just A Modern Rock Song (Day 53)

Elliott Smith - "Angeles"
Belle & Sebastian - "This Is Just A Modern Rock Song"
Reigning Sound - "Dressy"
Fleet Foxes - "Ragged Wood"
This blog is clearly not going to help clue you in to the Next Big Thing, but this may be my shot at spreading the gospel of a band on the edge of stardom. (And by stardom I, of course, mean they might sell a few thousand CDs.) Check out Fleet Foxes. What do they sound like? Well, let's just say I was pretty convinced I was hearing a My Morning Jacket song that somehow I wasn't too familiar with. This tune is very reminiscent of older MMJ with the its folk-rock sound and distinctive vocals that sound remarkably like Jim James. Fleet Foxes are actually a Seattle band led by a guy named Robin Pecknold and I'm pretty excited to hear their self-titled debut album which is due out June 3. (On Subpop records, actually.) There are some songs bouncing around the Web (including this one), if you're interested. If you like MMJ, I'm offering the What I Listened To On My Way To Work guarantee that you will like Fleet Foxes. (Disclaimer: The What I Listened To On My Way To Work guarantee has no monetary value.)
The White Stripes - "Ashtray Heart"
The Jayhawks - "All The Right Reasons"
Bishop Allen - "Like Castanets"
Magnolia Electric Co. - "The Night Shift Lullaby"
Norah Jones - "Little Room"
The Beatles - "If I Needed Someone"
Led Zeppelin - "Dazed and Confused"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 52
Song with the most previous plays: "This Is Just A Modern Rock Song," "The Night Shift Lullaby" (tie) - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I saw this picture on the back of one of the tabloids.

That is a picture of New York Mets manager Willie Randolph in the dugout at Turner Field as his team was humiliated once again by the Atlanta Braves. (The young man above the dugout is wielding a broom because this latest loss makes it a four-game sweep for the Braves.) This picture says a lot. Willie is now a man alone. Support has eroded among fans, ownership and perhaps even teammates. I'm not one to call for the manager's head when things are going quite right (after all, he does not swing the bat with runner's in scoring position). But, this team is clearly sick. I'm not sure what will mend it, but you can't fire Carlos Delgado, Luis Castillo, Aaron Heilman, Carlos Betlran, Jose Reyes, Oliver Perez and any other of the under-performing members of the team. I'm sorry, Willie, but if things don't turn around fast I may join the chorus. This is a really tough part of their schedule too. They head to Colorado tonight to play three at the always-tough Coors Field and then come back to Shea to play three against the NL East leading (crazy, but true) Florida Marlins. After that, they have three games against the Dodgers before heading straight back to the West Coast. In Cali, they'll play the Giants and Padres before finally getting a day off on June 9. Yikes. Pedal to the metal boys - - your manager depends on it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who's Joe? (Day 52)

Jeff Tweedy - "I'm Beginning To See The Light" (live)
The Decembrists - "Sons and Daughters"
Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah - "Gimmie Some Salt"
Ambulance Ltd. - "Swim"
Of Montreal - "Death Of A Shade Hue"
New Order - "Who's Joe?"
Lucinda Williams - "Words Fell"
I do a lot of praising on this blog (after all, it is my music), but it's time for a serious lament. What happened to Lucinda Williams? Her 1998 album Car Wheels On A Gravel Road was a revelation. I'd vaguely heard of this singer-songwriter who was known as a perfectionist who rarely released records, but that album was an all-time great roots rock record. I recall having that CD in very heavy rotation and recent listens have only confirmed it's brilliance. But, and this is a big BUT, almost everything I've heard by her since has (please cover the kids' eyes) pretty much sucked. She seems to have traded in the rootsy sound for a much more introspective, slow, blues-inflected song writing. Stil, somewhere along the way I figured, she must still be pretty good live, and picked up the 2005 release Live At the Fillmore (which I'm sure got praised in No Depression magazine, or somewhere like that). Mistake! Perhaps not surprising is that I still don't like most of her post-Car Wheels songs. But what is surprising is just how annoying her vocals have become (or are in this recording). She always had a tortured, whine that made some her countrified rock tunes so good. But here it's become an annoying shriek on most tunes. I think it's pretty much un-listenable. And yet it remains on my iPod. Damn you Steve Jobs for giving me so much freaking storage!
The Foundry Field Recordings - "Buried Beneath The Winter Frames"
Pixies - "Hey"
I don't want to go out so negative today, so it's time to get back to our regularly schedule praise-a-thon. What is still a picture of perfection since the day it was released? (April 18, 1989, btw.) Doolittle. OMG. How good is this record...still? Even something that might seem at fist like a throwaway track, "Hey," is just do damn good. With Joey Santiago's curling guitar licks and David Lovering's crashing drum beats...goose bumps. Plus the vocal interplay between Kim Deal and Frank Black. Amazing. A fellow blogger recently wondered about perfect albums: As in every single track a classic, from end to end, that still sounds perfect today. I nominate Doolittle.
The Fiery Furnaces - "Guns Under Counter"
Ray LaMontagne - "Three More Days"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "Who's Joe?" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Is it raining? Is it warm? Is it blustery? Will the real weather please stand up.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One (Day 51)

Bishop Allen - "The Same Fire" (live)
Wessell Anderson - "Four Of Five Times"
Joe Strummer - "Ramshackle Day Parade"
Outkast - "Intro"
David Cross - "Sing-Along"
Oops. Back-to-back reasons why solely shuffling your iPod can sometimes be more annoying than fun. I've already railed against the hip-hop "bits," so nothing to say except that 1 minute and 29 seconds of my life was wasted with feedback, the sound of crickets and a computer-ized
female voice singing "Speakerboxx." And when it comes to having comedy on your iPod, well that's probably not such a good idea. I've already listened to most of the David Cross bits I have uploaded, so hearing them now is a bit redundant. And this isn't even a real bit! The super-hilarious Cross just does some call-and-response thing with the audience singing Italian lyrics. I think you had to be there.
Ra Ra Riot - "Dying Is Fine" (live)
Bright Eyes - "Don't Know When But A Day Is Gonna Come"
The Rolling Stones - "Street Fighting Man"
As I've already mentioned, my iPod is predominantly loaded with new-ish songs, simply because I haven't uploaded the majority of my music collection. (Although I'm very intrigued by this thing
which could quadruple my digital library.) But I like how listening to the iPod, and furthermore writing this blog, have forced me to re-think the classics. Take this Stones staple - - it's never been my favorite. Musically, I like the acoustic guitar and the building urgency, but lyrically I always found it a little too overtly political for the Stones. (What, no sex? No drugs?) Yet, I never really knew what it was being political about - - although I assumed it was about Vietnam era anti-war protesting. Is it? Let's go to the 'Pedia!

Originally titled and recorded as "Did Everyone Pay Their Dues?", containing the same music but very different lyrics, "Street Fighting Man" is known as one of
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' most politically inclined works to date. Jagger allegedly wrote it about Tariq Ali after Jagger attended a March 1968 anti-war rally at London's U.S. embassy, during which mounted police attempted to control a crowd of 25,000. He also found inspiration in the rising violence among student rioters on Paris's Left Bank, the precursor to May 1968.

So who is Tariq Ali, you may wonder. (As I did.)

Tariq Ali is a British-Pakistani historian, novelist, filmmaker, political campaigner, and commentator. (...) His public profile began to grow during the Vietnam War, when he engaged in debates against the war with such figures as Henry Kissinger and Michael Stewart. As time passed, Ali became increasingly critical of American and Israeli foreign policies, and emerged as a figurehead for critics of American foreign policy across the globe. He was also a vigorous opponent of American relations with Pakistan that tended to back military dictatorships over democracy.

And since I'm already letting Wikipedia do my blogging for me, one more tid-bit:

Bruce Springsteen would comment in 1985, after including "Street Fighting Man" in the encores of some of his Born in the U.S.A. Tour shows: "That one line, 'What can a poor boy do but sing in a rock and roll band?' is one of the greatest rock and roll lines of all time. ... [The song] has that edge-of-the-cliff thing when you hit it. And it's funny; it's got humor to it."

Well, if the Boss thinks so...

Johnny Cash - "One"
Miles Davis - "Half Nelson"
Josh Rouse - "Nice To Fit In"
The Band - "Jam"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 50
Song with the most previous plays: "One" - 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I am sad. The greatest hitting catcher in the history of baseball (debatable?), and the most prolific home run hitting catcher in the history of baseball (fact), has unceremoniously retired. There was nothing more exciting than watching Mike Piazza bat, in his prime. And he helped lead the once hapless (now seemingly hapless again) Mets to the playoffs in 1999 and the World Series in 2000. My favorite Piazza moment of all time has to be his three-run home run capping a 10-run inning that helped the Mets come back from and 8-1 deficit against their arch rivals, the Braves, in July 2000. So even though you only got the back page of the NY Times sports section today, Mike, I salute you and your mighty swing. See you in the Hall in 5...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Feel Good, Inc. (Day 50!)

Fugazi - "Promises"
Silver Jews - "Blue Arrangements"
Ry Cooder - "Soy Luz y Sombra"
Nirvana - "Don't Want It All" (home recording)
The Replacements - "I Don't Know"
The Silos - "Just This Morning"
The Beatles - "I've Got A Feeling"
Today mark's fifty straight days of blogging about what I listened to on the way to work...feels like 500! I kid. Actually, it's still fun so I guess I'll keep at it. I was hoping to mark today with some anniversary stats, like how many songs I've listened to in 50 days, how many minutes of music, song with the most plays over the span, etc. But who has time to crunch those numbers? Not me, sadly. It looks like The Beatles stopped by to say Happy 50th with a rare back-to-back appearance on the shuffle. (See, if only I had those stats I'd know exactly how rare.) Not much to add to The Beatles scholarship, obviously, but I will tell you that this version of "I've Got A Feeling" is from the Let It Be (The Alternate Mono Mixes) bootleg which I got from a former co-worker. That means it's an original, live studio recording that was made during a rehearsal for a possible live show - - an idea that was later scrapped. The version definitely sounds looser and it's pretty cool to hear. Again, I'm no Beatles aficionado, so I had to go to Wikipedia where I learned this about "I've Got A Feeling":
It is actually a combination of two unfinished songs strung together:
Paul McCartney's "I've Got a Feeling" and John Lennon's "Everybody Had a Hard Year", with the main guitar riff coming from Lennon's unfinished "Watching Rainbows". McCartney's song was written for his girlfriend Linda Eastman, whom he soon married, telling her that she was the girl he had always been looking for. Lennon's song was a litany where every line started with the word "everybody".
The world's first mash-up, perhaps?
The Beatles - "Oh! Darling"
Thelonious Monk - "Epistrophy (Theme)"
Gorillaz - "Feel Good, Inc."
Back in the mid 90s there was a divide greater than the vanilla/chocolate debate. Even more spirited than Clinton/Obama. And more clear-cut than Mets/Yankees. Of course, I'm talking about Blur/Oasis. It seemed as if you couldn't really be a fan of Brit pop without choosing a side. Somehow I managed to remain above the fray. A good friend swore by Oasis, but I just saw them as an obvious Beatles rip-off with an a**hole for a lead singer. And Blur, the less popular of the two bands, didn't really cross my radar too much. Well, somewhere along the way (and it may not be until hearing that uber-catchy single, "Song 2"), I realized Blur was a lot better. I mean seriously, how was it even a debate? They were a much more interesting and diverse band that used The Beatles as a jumping off point, not a destination. And one of the biggest reasons was obviously frontman Damon Albarn. Unlike Liam Gallagher, he seemed to channel the rebellious spirit into the music and not cussing on stage. I think the fun hip-hop/rock virtual side project Gorillaz only reinforces that. Does Liam have a side project - - besides feuding with his brother? I also like the Gorillaz second album Demon Days a lot, after most people seem to get bored of the whole thing. This song has a whopping 10 plays, enough to put it in the Top 200 on my iPod. Why not? It's got a fun summertime vibe with it's "Shake It! Shake It!" chorus. Somebody get me a beer.
The Wrens - "Thirteen Grand"
The Polyphonic Spree - "Middle Of The Day"
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "She Fell Away"
Destroyer - "Sick Priest Learns To Last Forever"
Mercury Rev - "I Collect Coins"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 15
Total minutes of music (approx.): 54
Song with the most previous plays: "Feel, Good Inc." - 10
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I had to pretend not to see a co-worker on the train. If I stopped to talk, I would have had to stop listening to the iPod - - and stop reading this engaging article about walruses. That was just too much to give up.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Peacebone (Day 49)

Os Mutantes - "Desculpe, Babe (I'm Sorry, Baby)"
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "Moonland"
I have to apologize for being (1) late with today's blog entry, and (2) making it brief. It's kind of the perfect storm at work today and I am stupid busy. But, hey, at least you get so see what I listened to on my way to work today! Isn't that the whole point of this blog? Witty commentary is just a bonus that I've spoiled you with. Still I won't leave you without saying this: I am really into the new Nick Cave album Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! Australia's foremost purveyor of a ribald combination of blues, gospel, punk, rock and chamber music has managed to quietly do what he does so well for more than 20 years (not even counting the Birthday Party stuff). And this recent album (his first of new material with the Bad Seeds in 4 years) is a jolt to the system - - in a good way. It's the usual blend of sleaze and not-so-vague religious metaphor wrapped up in a dirty, rock 'n' roll package. (The title track could be the single of the year - - so far.) This particular song has a more spacious, mellow groove, but it's still a highly-charged attack with Cave's signature wailing. Today I also got to hear a song off the great 1996 album Murder Ballads (see below). I'm about to seriously re-immersed myself in this guy's back catalog. Who's with me?
Coleman Hawkins - "There's No You"
Karen Dalton - "Something On Your Mind"
The White Stripes - "China Pig"
Animal Collective - "Peace Bone"
Built To Spill - "Else"
Tom Waits - "Nirvana"
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "Lovely Creature"
The White Stripes - "Let's Shake Hands"
Bob Willis & His Texas Playboys - "My Window Faces The South"
Guided By Voices - "Blimps Go 90"
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - "The Hill"
Devandra Banhart - "The Beatles"
Frank Black - "The End of Summer"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 15
Total minutes of music (approx.): 52
Song with the most previous plays: "Peacebone," "The Beatles" (tie) - 4
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: The highlight of my commute comes (again) courtesy of the New York Times. In a review for the Zootopia 2008 concert (a big show sponsored by local pop radio station Z100), the reunited New Kids On The Block get pretty savaged (shocker). Best line: "On Saturday night [Donnie Wahlberg] had a black baseball cap pulled low over his face, as if he would rather not be recognized. In his old habit, he wiped the sweat off his chest and face onto a T-shirt, which he then threw into the crowd. But that didn't generate nearly the amount of screaming as when he name-checked [fellow headliners] the Jonas Brothers."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Eve Of Destruction (Day 48)

Bishop Allen - "Eve Of Destruction"
Destroyer - "Streethawk II"
Sloan - "Who Taught You To Live Like That?"
Nirvana - "Polly"
Versus - "Follow"
Bishop Allen - "Corazon"
Not only did Bishop Allen show up twice on the playlist today, but I open the paper to the weekend arts listings... and wham-o! There's a listing for a Bishop Allen show tonight in Williamsburg. So who are these guys? Take it away NYT: "Borrowing from the playbook of early Joathan Richman, this Brooklyn band put a boyish smile on spunky, angst-ridden guitar pop, and nurses worries about the slow crawl towards the workaday adult life." I couldn't have said it better myself. I found them on some blog, somewhere, and was first drawn in by the can't-get-it-out-of-your-head power of the single "Click Click Click Click." At the time (2006), BA was working on an ambitious EP a month project. And even though they self-released almost 60 tracks there were few throwaway tunes in the bunch. The first song above (today's song with the most previous plays), comes from their self-recorded debut Charm School, which is excellent. "Eve Of Destruction" starts out with a litany a la R.E.M.'s "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" and settles into this mellow groove with the refrain "I tell you over and over and over again my friend that I'm down with you even on the eve of destruction." It's both comforting and foreboding at the same time. The second song from Boston childhood buddies Justin Rice and Christian Rudder (they grew up on Bishop Allen Drive) is from their 2006 release The Broken String. It included a few re-workings of the tunes from the EP project, but for me it lacked the spontaneity of their first album. The songs, like "Corazon," have a much richer sound but it was the stripped down quirk that originally hooked me. Maybe live that's still what you'll hear. If you're in town and you've got nothing better to do, check it out. (Muisc Hall of Williamsburg, 9pm)

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - "Killing The Blues"
Elliott Smith - "Waltz #2"
Aimee Mann - "Stupid Thing"
M Ward - "Afterworld/Rag"
Bob Dylan - "When The Ship Comes In" (live)
The Evens - "Cut From The Cloth"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 52
Song with the most previous plays: "Eve Of Destruction" - 10
Number of bands on the playlist mentioned in the New York Times: 1
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Baseball has got me feeling up -- and down. The Mets are seriously scuffling right now having lost 3 out of 4 to the last place Nationals. Yesterday's afternoon affair was the capper, a 1-0 shutout that ended with Carlos Beltran being doubled up -- off of third base! Granted he was running on contact in an effort to make something happen, but come on! And now they have to play the Yankees in that media circus known as the Subway Series. (I'm not a fan of interleague play.) So what's the good baseball news? My fantasy team is surging! We are in second place right now. Thanks Lance Berkman, we couldn't have done it without you.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Down To The Well (Day 47)

Sonic Youth - "Dripping Dream"
Tortoise - "Swung From The Gutters"
The Pixies - "Down To The Well" (live)
TV On The Radio - "Wash The Day Away"
The Clash - "London's Burning"
Devendra Banhart - "The Beard Is For Siobhan"
The Fiery Furnaces - "Straight Street"
Os Mutantes - "Cantor De Mambo (Mambo Singer"
Vetiver - "Roll On Babe"
Interesting that this song popped up already, because I just uploaded it yesterday. This is from the brand new album from Vetiver, Thing Of The Past. They are a San Francisco band that also gets lumped into that Devendra Banhart freak folk scene. (Boy this guy is all over my playlist/blog these days!) But for my money, there's nothing freaky about their folk. Vetiver, mostly Andy Cabic, play a really breezy and modern take on 70s melody-loving bands like, say, Bread. It's great summertime music, in my opinion. And the new album, which obviously I haven't had very long to live with, is actually all super-obscure covers. This song was originally performed (I think), by Ronnie Lane, who was in the Small Faces. It was on his first solo album, Anymore For Anymore, released in 1974 and which apparently featured a lot of rootsy folk-rock. HOLD ON! I just realized the song is actually written by Derroll Adams, who is a 50s folkie who played with Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Says Wikipedia:
"According to legend, Adams and Elliott would go in the studio with whatever they had, which may have included whiskey and marijuana, and they recorded whatever they felt like recording on the spur of the moment." Wow, this is some record collector shit! Anyone ever have the pleasure of hearing Derroll Adams or Ronnie Lane versions of this song?
Hem - "Jackson"
Gang Of Four - "Not Great Men"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 51
Song with the most previous plays: "Down To The Well" - 5
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I read a crazy article in the Times today. There are so many things to love about it, but the gist is these two Buddhist teachers living in Arizona have taken a vow to "never part." That means they must be within 15 feet of each other at all times. Naturally one is a woman and the other is a man (20 years older than her too!), but the vow is "chaste" they say. Okay, you have to take them at their word (spiritually speaking, they're the real deal, he's trained in the same tradition as the Dalai Lama himself). But after reading about 1,200 words about their unique situation you come to this choice paragraph:

The couple also admit to a hands-on physical relationship that they describe as intense but chaste. Mr. Roach compares it to the relationship his mother had with her doctor when she was dying of breast cancer. “The surgeon lay his hand on her breast, but there wasn't any carnal thought in his mind,” he said. “He was doing some life-or-death thing. For us it is the same.”

Love it. Their loose definition of the word chaste is not even the best part. That, for me, is where the story appears in the paper - - the House & Home section! Which means, naturally, there are plenty of details about their yurt.

Although devoid of modern conveniences, the yurt they live in, which is 22 feet in diameter, feels almost luxurious compared with the spare, desiccated landscape around it. On one side of the tent is their double bed, and beside it a commode elegantly disguised as a wood side table. The floor is covered with carpets. A few carved wooden chests hold clothes and pillows.

Light streams in from a hole at the center of the tent’s roof, illuminating its poles, which were imported from Mongolia. The closeness to nature means that the indoor temperature is essentially the ambient one — beyond baking in the summer and freezing in the winter. (Their one attempt to battle the elements is a wood-burning stove.)

Without further adieu - - your chaste, yurt-loving, wooden commode-sharing, monks of the day:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Vivas Ultra (Day 46)

Os Mutantes - "Panis Et Circenses (Bread And Circuses)"
Thurston Moore - "Wonderful Witches"
I keep saying this is not a blog about being a dad with two kids (and it's not, I swear!), but obviously it's a big part of the 99.9% of my life I'm not getting the chance to listen to some music. And sometimes, I just can't help myself. As I was listening to this Thurston Moore tune I was thinking: Firstly, I like TM's recent solo album. And, secondly, this song reminds me of a kind of hilarious thing my two-and-a-half-year-old is doing. She has a book called Each Peach Pear Plumb in which there is a wicked witch. She also has a toy broom. (Which is an odd toy because it's really just a broom, but smaller and plastic, and who wants to pretend to do something as mundane as sweeping? Answer: two-and-a-half-year-olds.) Plus she has a purple, pointy hat. She put all this together (with hat on head and broom between legs) recently
and decided that she is a wicked witch. She runs around the house proclaiming exactly that. And that's not even the cute part! (Tune in tomorrow if you'd rather poke a pencil in your eye than read about a cute two-and-a-half-year-old.) She also puts her hand out, palm facing outward, and says, "I turn you into a frog!" I have no idea where this came from. And I'm a bit concerned that she might actually figure out how to turn people into frogs. Especially since sometimes when me, or my wife, get angry or annoyed at her she simply puts her hand out the same way, without even saying anything. She's silently turning us into frogs! Ribbit.
Sparklehorse - "Dreamt For Light Years In"
Versus - "Use As Directed"
Cracker - "Night Falls"
The White Stripes - "Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine"
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - "Vivas Ultra"
Tokyo Police Club - "The Harrowing Adventures Of..."
Feist - "Park"
Coleman Hawkins & Duke Ellington - "Solitude"
The Silos - "You And Your Sister"
Alternative country, roots rock, whatever you call it, if you like it and you never heard of The Silos, take note. My first boss got me into this band. She was an under 5-foot tall whippersnapper who wore cowboy clothes and worshipped punk and classic country. She also sang in an all-female punk polka band. Anyway, she loved The Silos and it is pretty clear why. The band, led by
Walter Salas-Humara, play a brand of rock that is infused with country licks and the occasional raucous bar band wailing. It's great stuff and the in print/out of print debut album, Cuba, is a definite must-own - - if this kinda stuff is your bag.
Iron & Wine - "The Rooster Moans"
Teenage Fanclub - "What You Do To Me"
Neko Case - "Outro With Bees"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 56
Song with the most previous plays: "Vivas Ultra" - 9
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I saw someone rocking a Discman. Wow. I definitely remember owning that skipping behemoth. Of course, before that, there was the Walkman. And I still remember mine. Because it was almost the exact same size as a cassette box...and I thought it was the most magnificent item in the world.

Isn't she a beauty? (Nice tape too - - wish I'd owned that.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dance Music (Day 45)

Beach House - "Gila"
John Vanderslice - "Promising Actress"
Akron/Family - "Gone Beyond"
Brightblack Morning Light - "A River Could Be Loved"
Okay, enough haiku and animal loving, it's time to get back to the muzak. I'm re-inspired after today's playlist. It felt a little fresher than usual and this is a good place to start with some commenting. I like Brightblack Morning Light's 2006 debut on Matador. I feel like they flew under the radar a bit for a Matador band (as much as any indie band can in these days of rabid music blogging), but they have a pretty unique sound. It's almost like a slower, bluesier My Bloody Valentine. Lots of organ and tribal drumming with atmospheric and psychedelic flourishes. Plus, the lyrics are basically unintelligible. It all adds up to a very moody, but enjoyable album. If I were still in college and still enjoying certain self-medicating techniques, I think this CD would rarely leave the player. The duo that started the band, Nathan "Nabob" Shineywater and Rachael "Rabob" Hughes, are part of that whole Devendra Benhart freak folk scene, but they take their hippiedom even a bit further. According to, the duo "decided to reject city life completely and settled in rural northern California, living in tents during the warmer months and a small cabin in the winter." Sounds like fun... and definitely reflected in their sound. Meanwhile, I'm a bit shocked at how bad a review the album got from allmusic. I don't feel like I come across really negative reviews too often on that site (of music that I like), but this is what they have to say about BML' eponymous album:
"Their apparent desire to break out of stereotypes is so strong that it almost seems contrived....the band realizes that the actual record just isn't quite strong enough to bring its listeners to any kind of higher plane of understanding. It's not bad, it's just not as profound as Shineywater and Hughes
would like everyone to believe it is. It's slow, languid music, music that wants to be sung by the Spanish moss that hangs in the duo's home state of Alabama, but stays stuck in the swamps instead. It's all very nice; it just doesn't ever do anything, say anything, mean anything."
Harsh. Guess this reviewer is off the herb too.
Robert Earl Keen Jr. - "Goin' Nowhere Blues"
Destroyer - "Helena"
The Flatlanders - "Pay the Alligator"
Okay, this is a goofy song. But The Flatlanders are a true super-group...with an interesting story to boot. The group is made up of Texas songwriting legends Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely. They are all awesome and have put out great solo records, but before they were famous they played together in the early 70s. Although after getting next to no radio play with their first single, "Dallas," their label scrapped plans to release an album. Apparently an 8-track and cassette of some material actually showed up at mostly truck stops (perfect!), but the world at large did not know about them until Rounder Records released the appropriately titled More A Legend Than A Band in 1990. If you like roots music mixed with a little Texas twang and you somehow never heard of these guys, go buy it. Their reunion albums Now Again and Wheels of Fortune are pretty good (especially Now Again), but they can't compare to the 70s stuff.
Broken Social Scene - "Backyards"
The Rolling Stones - "Prodigal Son"
The Mountain Goats - "Dance Music"
Today's Song With The Most Previous Plays is a good one. The Mountain Goats (really singer-songwriter John Darnielle), are mostly all about the lyrics - - and they are pretty great. The music is a straight forward acoustic sound, but Darnielle writes some wry, funny and moving shit. It's all very autobiographical, and as this song (off The Sunset Tree) shows, it was a rough childhood for Darnielle. Just read:

"i'm in the living room

watching the watergate hearings
while my stepfather yells at my mother
launches a glass across the room
straight at her head
and i dash upstairs to take cover
lean in close to my little record player on the floor
so this is what the volume knob's for
i listen to dance music
dance music"

Can you think of a better reason to listen to turn up the volume and drown out the world with a little dance music?

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 43
Song with the most previous plays: "Dance Music" - 8
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I tried a different route to work today. Took an express train that while faster leaves me a bit farther from the office. Is it better? Not sure yet.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rhythm-A-Ning (Day 44)

Teenage Fanclub - "Commercial Alternative"
Destroyer - "European Oils"
XTC - "Helicopter"
The Beatles - "I Dig A Pony" (alternate mono mix)
Branford Marsalis Quartet - "Black Elk Speaks"
Call Mulder and Scully, the iPod is reflecting my personal life again. Two songs with animals in the title - - back-to-back. Normally I'd shrug this off, but how can I since I spent Sunday (aka Mother's Day) at the Bronx Zoo! Granted I did not dig a pony (although I did spy some sort of pygmy horse) and there were no black elk, speaking or otherwise, (although a bunch of lumbering bison); but still! The zoo rocked (much harder than anything on today's playlist), even if the two-and-a-half-year-old spent most of the day acting like we were actually taking her to, say, the dentist and not a place universally lauded by children. I was surprised, she's generally an animal lover and there was some serious critter to ogle. (There were, in no particular order, grizzly bear, polar bear, giraffes, lions, tigers, alligators, gorillas, baboons, monkeys out the yin-yang, and so much more.) The gorillas saved the day, however. The zoo's Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit is amazing. When you walk into the viewing area this is basically what you see:

Literally, these dudes are this close, and looking right at you. (Or more likely waiting on some grub that his thrown by zookeepers slyly hanging out on the roof of the enclosed area.) In any case, you are face-to-face with a slightly less evolved and (in my case) slightly hairier version of yourself. Even the toddler,
with her face pressed against the glass, couldn't deny the awesomeness.
Dexter Gordon - "Soul Sister"
Gerry Mulligan & Thelonious Monk - "Rhythm-A-Ning"
The White Stripes - "Though I Hear You Calling I Will Not Answer"
Wilco - "Radio Cure"
Fleet Foxes - "Sun Giant"
Charlotte Gainsbourg - "The Song That We Sing"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 46
Song with the most previous plays: "Rhythm-A-Ning" - 10
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I read in this small item the New York Times that John McCain is a big fan of The Office. Funny, I always pegged him for more of a Two And A Half Men kind a guy...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Suffer For Fashion (Day 43)*

*or, The Day I Decided To Write A Haiku About Each Song On The Playlist

Joe Henry - "Wave"
Did you know this fact?
Joe Henry is married to
Madonna's sister
Oneida - "The Beginning is Nigh"
They are from Brooklyn
This sounds like early Pink Floyd
I know the singer
Elvis Costello & The Attractions - "Success"
Elvis does country
Johnny Mullins wrote this song
It's a sad song - - natch
Coleman Hawkins - "I'll Never Be The Same"
His nickname was "Hawk"
And sometimes they called him "Bean"
These are both good names
Dolorean - "Jenny Place Your Bets"
Mellow alt-country
Is what this band does so well
They are from Portland
Chin Up Chin Up - "I Hope For Tumbleweeds"
Not too familiar
With this band that is indie
Some call it post-rock
Of Montreal - "Suffer For Fashion"
I really like this
This whole album is super
I want to dance now
Josh Rouse - "Saturday"
Yes, he's kinda fay
(I mean that in a nice way)
This is off Nashville
M Ward - "Archangel Tale"
Half of She & Him
M is very hot right now
He deserves it all
The Killers - "My List"
Hmm, questionable
Taste I show here with this band
Should I erase it?
The Books - "Vogt Dig For Kloppervok"
This is heady stuff
Weird, electronic and folk
One dude is Dutch - - natch

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 48
Song with the most previous plays: "Suffer For Fashion" - 16
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today:
I brought in my lunch
I have a sandwich
And many of these.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dumb It Down (Day 42)

The Kinks - "This Time Tomorrow"
Broken Social Scene - "Capture The Flag"
Is it just me or does this first track on Broken Social Scene's "breakthrough" album, You Forgot It In People, sound like something Pink Floyd may have played at Pompeii? It's really just an introductory track, but it kind epitomizes this Canadian collective for me - - they're freaking impossible to pin down. Granted, I haven't been listening to them for that long, but they don't have the same immediacy of that other Canadian supergroup - - not that there's anything wrong with that. (And, of course, BSS have their own celebrated chanteuse
[Leslie Feist], just as The New Pornographers [Neko Case] do.) So while "Capture The Flag" isn't indicative of their sound, no one song is. There are atmospheric tracks, driving guitar tracks, electronic tracks...a real kitchen sink approach. It's just the kind of thing that abstractly I love about the band, but somehow manages to keep them at arms length. (Esoteric song titles don't help either. "Late Nineties Bedroom Rock For The Missionaries," anyone?) All this is to say, I think I need to spend a little more alone time with The Broken Social Scene. Please don't tell my wife.
Pernice Brothers - "Dumb It Down"
Son Volt - "Circadian Rhythm"
Serge Gainsbourg - "Par Hasard et Pas Rase"
Akron/Family - "The Lightning Bolt Of Compassion"
Los Lobos - "Don't Ask Why"
Nada Surf - "Your Legs Grow"
Miles Davis - "The Maids of Cadiz"
The Olivia Tremor Control -"Today I Lost a Tooth"
The White Stripes - "The Denial Twist"
Bishop Allen - "Calendar"
The Fiery Furnaces - "The Old Hag Is Sleeping"
Sloan - "Fading Into Obscurity"
It's Canada day on WILTOMWTWT (the acronym rolls right off the tongue, no?). And this band in particular proves that long before Vegas coined the phrase, it should really have been "What Happens In Canada Stays in Canada" least when it comes to pop. While earning gold records up North, Sloan had modest success with the grungy pop single "Underwhelmed" in 1992 on alternative radio in the U.S., but that was about it. Too bad, because what was to follow shortly after was a full embrace of 70s era power pop, culminating in the amazing 1996 album One Chord To Another. Following that album they basically churned out more of the same, pleasant but forgettable. That is until 2006's Never Hear The End Of It. This is a definite 60s throwback record with Beatle-like melodies and psychedelic flourishes. Plus there are 30 songs that average under 2 minutes in length. It's a really fun record. This song is great and features a few tonal shifts in just over 4 minutes. If you forgot or soured on this band (or never listened to them), do check it out. And don't do it for me, do it for Canada.

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 51
Song with the most previous plays: "Dumb It Down" - 11
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I kept smelling bacon. Why do you taunt me, delicious smell of swine flesh?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ya Leil (Day 41)

Superchunk - "Marquee"
Miles Davis - "Blues For Pablo" (Alternate Take)
The Rolling Stones - "Bitch"
Frank Black - "It's Just Not Your Moment"
Sufjan Stevens - "Ya Leil"
Since this is today's Song With The Most Previous Plays, I want to stop and give it a bit of attention. To be honest, with its sitar-tinted Middle Eastern or maybe Indian sound I thought this might have been an instrumental from the Darjeeling Limited soundtrack. I forgot about Sufjan's multi-ethnic explorations on the A Sun Came album - - and that's where it's from. I'm assuming the title is Arabic, but I couldn't find out what "Ya Leil" means. Only reference I could find was an album (and song) called Habeit Ya Leil by a Lebanese singer named Nawal Al Zoghbi. Not sure if there's any connection. It's a pleasant enough instrumental, that underscores Sufjan's seemingly limitless musical talent. He apparently played 14 different instruments on this record. Crazy.

Radiohead - "Airbag" (live)
Holy synchronicity, Batman! The iPod has grown a brain - - or, at the very least, extra sensory perception. Because the moment this song came on, I was reading the first sentence of this review. I kid you not, it's a write-up of Radiohead's first gig on their new tour from the Times. Not only that, another Radiohead song came 'round on the shuffle a few minutes later! You may be thinking, big deal. But around here, at What I Listened To On My Way To Work Today Headquarters, this is something special. A sign. Kismet. Okay fine, it's just an easy topic for today's blog. We'll take it. Radiohead does not need my love, but if you must know I enjoy the new album, even if it does veer dangerously close to sounding a bit like U2 in parts (IMHO, natch). And yes, I did see them live once (August 26, 1997 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC) and it was mind-altering fun. Although clearly they are still working out this kinks this time around, as Ben Ratliff reports:
"It was a limbering-up show. Jonny Greenwood’s loops and digital machinations weren’t particularly arresting, and the group appeared to hit a bump in “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” one of the strongest songs on its most recent album, “In Rainbows,” with Phil Selway’s steady, stiff motor rhythm as its I-beam. The band stopped for 20 seconds or so, and started again from the middle. (“Ve obviously did not practice dis one enough,” Mr. Yorke said afterward, feigning a taskmaster’s voice.)"
The other interesting thing in this article is Thom Yorke's comments from the stage about the song "Faust Arp." Apparently he told the crowd it took 5 minutes to write the music for the song and a year-and-a-half to write the lyrics. Wow.
Gang Of Four - "At Home He's A Tourist"
Clem Snide - "Let's Explode"
The Raconteurs - "The Switch And The Spur"
Radiohead - "Everything In Its Right Place" (Alternate Version)
Ry Cooder - "There's A Bright Side Somewhere"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 56
Song with the most previous plays: "Y Leil" - 4
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Sorry, this is a bit New York-centric of me to mention, but I already wanted to go to Momofuku Ko, before I read this. And now I really can't wait.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dude [I Totally Miss You] (Day 40)

Tenacious D - "Dude (I Totally Miss You)"
Ahh, The D. What strikes me first while listening to this ditty off The Pick of Destiny soundtrack is just how long this musical comedy duo has been around. The full-length D movie (long-awaited by some, present company included) finally came out in 2006. But the original HBO series first aired back in 1997. And personally, KG and JB will always feature prominently in my memories of a very fun Y2K New Year's Eve party. A bunch of friends and I rented a house in Vermont and the well-worn VHS tape (how's that for ancient history?) of all the HBO episodes was played on a loop the entire weekend. (Angry John also DJ'ed sans shirt, but that's another story.) So after being able to quote every episode, finally seeing "the greatest band in the world" live and buying the DVD, the movie was lustily awaited. Oh well. Granted the D had set the bar very high, but come on! The Pick of Destiny failed pretty miserably. There are a few moments of hilarity and even a couple of songs that I still enjoy [this one is okay, as is "Kickapoo," and for some strange reason I really like listening to "Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)"]; but TPOD has to rate among the biggest Anticipation To Actualization failures in my personal pop culture history. Of course, it's not on the Phantom Menace end on the spectrum (unrecoverable), but it still stings. Speaking of
Anticipation To Actualization, anyone taking bets on The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? I'm trying to keep expectations as low as possible. So, here's my preview: It will suck. (Obviously, I can't wait to see it.) What do you think?

The Divine Comedy - "Snowball In Negative"
Meat Puppets - "Split Myself In Two"
Glen Hansard - "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy"
Marah - "Pizzeria"
Yeasayer - "Red Cave"
Nirvana - "Beans" (Home Recording)
The Shins - "Kissing The Lipless"
Yo La Tengo - "Big Day Coming"
Ryan Adams - "Come Pick Me Up"
Son Volt - "Ipacec"
The Walkmen - "Lost In Boston"
Rufus Wainright - "Danny Boy"
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - "Moanin'"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 54
Song with the most previous plays: "Dude (I Totally Miss You)," "Big Day Coming," "Come Pick Me Up" (tie) - 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: A bike messenger almost killed me. I was crossing the street (I had the light, naturally) and he came barreling towards me (he did not have the light). After just missing me, he turned around and gave me a big wave and a smile. This actually made me not hate him.

Monday, May 5, 2008

To Be The One (Day 39)

Bright Eyes - "Reinvent The Wheel"Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker - "Cubano-Be, Cubano-Bop"
Ryan Adams - "To Be The One"
Can you really like a musician and kinda loath the artist? You bet! Ryan Adams has mad skills (as the kids say). I liked his band Whiskeytown a lot, but even those records did not prepare me for just how good Heartbreaker is. The 2000 release is a bonafide roots rock classic. This track is just one of many standouts ("Come Pick Me Up" and "Oh My Sweet Carolina" top the list), and even 8 years later I haven't tired of this record. So what happened to the boy wonder? Too many famous girlfriends? Drugs? Or times mistaken for Bryan Adams? Not sure, but now when you read about him today it's mostly because he's gone and done something ridiculous or annoying or both. And yet, he continues to make good music (Jacksonville City Nights)...mixed with bad (Demolition). He's just the sort of self-indulgent artist that needs an ego adjustment
and an editor. But I try to block it all out, and especially when it comes to Heartbreaker, it's pretty easy to cut through the noise...for now.
Versus - "Janet"
Billy Bragg and Wilco - "Blood Of The Lamb"
The Beastie Boys - "B-Boy Bouillabaisse"
I'm a little bit in shock right now. I temporarily forgot the awesomeness that is The Beastie Boys, for one. And I think I never realized that all of the nuggets that make up this 12 minute pastiche of B-Boys rap and funk are all one song. I guess that's what happens when you used to primarily listen to an album on cassette (the most irritating of all formats!). But seriously, Licensed To Ill (every white boys first rap record), Paul's Boutique (a genre bending blueprint for sampling thanks to the Dust Brothers) and Check Your Head (the world's greatest party record) make up a pretty good run. Meanwhile, there are so many good lines and samples to chew over in "
B-Boy Bouillabaisse," but this is the couplet that struck me this time:

Sat across from a man reading El Diario

Riding the train down from the El Barrio
Went from the station to Orange Julius
I bought a hot dog. From who? George Drakoulias

Hold on, George Drakoulias? Isn't he the guy who produced The Jayhawks' Hollywood Town Hall which I recently relegated to all-time status? Why yes, it is. Hollywood Town Hall was released on Rick Rubin's American Records and, of course, Rick produced Licensed To Ill. So you have it, there's only one degree of separation between The Jayhawks and The Beastie Boys. Who knew?
The Beatles - "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"
Okkervil River - "Savannah Smiles"
Smashing Pumpkins - "Today"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 9
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "To Be The One" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I read that Iron Man made gobs of cash over the weekend? Do I want to see Iron Man?, I wondered. Conclusion not yet reached.

Stay Tuned

In case you're wondering (and by 'you' I mean either of my two readers), we played hooky on Friday. Some work to do this AM, but today's playlist will be posted this afternoon. Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Michael Barry (Day 38)

Gang Of Four - "Not Great Men"
Stephen Malkmus - "Phantasies"
Husker Du - "Reoccurring Dreams"
First of all, that Husker Du is looking pretty naked, don't you think? Will a more experienced blogger (a.k.a. almost every other blogger), please tell me how to put the umlauts over the u's? That will increase accuracy around here by 100%. Okay, moving on... Checking in at 14 minutes in length, this song definitely hogged the playlist today. And why not? "Reoccurring Dreams" is a tour de force that closes out Husker Du's seminal 1984 album Zen Arcade. Is there a more direct link between punk/hardcore and alternative music? Short answer: No. Bob Mould and Grant Hart created a sprawling record that has strict fast and loud punk songs mixed with acoustic pop-ish tunes like "Never Talking To You Again" (which is still played very fast, btw). In other words it's the dynamic that would later be popularized by band with names like The Pixies, The Replacements, even Nirvana. It's also a record that I strongly associate with the particular record store where I bought it: Jack's Music Shoppe in Red Bank, NJ. This was my go-to independent record store growing up. I have fond memories of browsing the racks and camping out back for concert tickets. Good times.
Magnetic Fields - "No One Will Ever Love You"
Panda Bear - "Comfy In Nautica"
David Cross - "Christian Sandwich"
Grandaddy - "Michael Barry"
Today's Song With The Most Previous Plays is an obscure one. It first appeared in 1994 on the cassette only release by Grandaddy called Complex Party Come Along Theories. (I got it from a Grandaddy freak I used to work with.) It definitely sounds like an early track from an evolving band, and it's actually more of a shoegazing sound than their later stuff. The lyrics are pretty much indecipherable, so they Michael Barry of the title remains a mystery. Is it about a British television producer who ushered in the golden age of BBC dramas including a controversial 1954 adaptation of George Orwell's 1984? Maybe. Or perhaps it's about the Canadian cyclist who rode on Lance Armstrong's team. Jason Lyttle, if you're out there, enlighten us.
My Morning Jacket - "X-Mas Curtain"
The Who - "I Am The Sea"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 9
Total minutes of music (approx.): 40
Song with the most previous plays: "Michael Barry" - 4
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: It was nice to see NY Times "TV Sports" columnist Richard Sandomir weigh in on the craziest thing I saw yesterday. Incredibly Bissinger defended his actions even in retrospect. And, not only that, he told Sandomir, "...this is the way I am. You can ask my wife." Poor woman.