Thursday, July 31, 2008

Programming Note

I'm taking tomorrow off. No work. No blog. See you on Monday.

In the meantime, it's Bon town the other night. Bet it was great.

Clementine (Day 96)

Broken Social Scene - "Pitter Patter Goes My Heart"
Uncle Tupelo - "Nothing"
fIREHOSE - "From One Cums One"
Fugazi - "And The Same"
This little Fugazi, fIREHOSE block had me totally flashing back to New Jersey c. 1990. I think technically the fIREHOSE album If'n came out in 1987, but Fugazi's 13 Songs was definitely from 1990. Or as I like to call it, the year before I left town for college and basically drove around and listened to music when not hanging out with friends and listening to music. I know, it was a tough life - - but those were some very formative musical years, people! If I wasn't listening to cassettes, or a Discman, which I lovingly strapped to a tiny pillow on the floor of the car under the dash to avoid skipping, I probably had the radio tuned to the Jersey Shore alternative station 106.3. It was actually a great station they may very well have played either of these songs. Matt PInfield was one fo the DJs. Remember him? He wound up on MTV's 120 Minutes. That was another great source for new music in the mid-90s, but check out this interview he did with Sebadoh. It's hard to believe this kind of thing ever aired on TV. From Matt's less-than-stellar interview skills to Lou Barlow and Co's awkward uncomfortableness. Classic.

One other related thing: If you don't know the story of fIREHOSE, it's worth recounting. Both Mike Watt (bass) and George Hurley (drums) were headed towards cross-over stardom in the Minutemen when frontman D. Boon was killed in a car accident. The remaining members were totally crushed and not sure what they were going to next when a 22-year-old Minutemen fanatic named Ed Crawford found Watt's number and called him up out of the blue saying he wanted to play with them. The balls! They liked the guy and formed a new trio, fIREHOSE. Incidentally this is one of the best live bands I have ever seen.
Gnarls Barkley - "The Boogie Monster"
Outkast - "She Lives In My Lap"
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - "Heart In the Hand Of The Mat"
Billy Bragg and Wilco - "Feed Of Man"
Wilco - "Dreamer In My Dreams"
Bob Marley & The Wailers - "So Much Things To Say"
O'Death - "Jesus Look Down"
Flight Of The Conchords - "A Kiss Is Not A Contract"
Taj Mahal - "Blind Boy Rag"
Destroyer - "Thief"
The Decembrists - "Clementine"
The Moldy Peaches - "Goodbye Song"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 16
Total minutes of music (approx.): 52
Song with the most previous plays: "Clementine" - 12
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: The humidity was 998% (approx.).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Silver And Gold (Day 95)

The Arcade Fire - "Neon Bible"
Television - "See No Evil"
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "We Call Upon The Author"
Ryan Adams - "Don't Ask For The Water"
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - "Jungleland" (live)
Silver Jews - "Sometimes A Pony Gets Depressed"
Today's best song title, no? A weird one from Pavement pal David Berman's band off of 2005's Tanglewood Numbers I think this was the album where the band jumped the shark (or is it nuked the fridge?) for me. I think they even have a new album out that I've uncharacteristically totally ignored. American Water is the pinnacle.
Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs - "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"
Neil Young - "Families"
Neil Young - "Homegrown"
It's two-for-Tuesday (on Wednesday!). The iPod got a little Neil-happy this morning. "Families," is actually one of the better songs of Living With War, a record that suffers from being way too topical. Although with the state of the world hardly improving over the past year it doesn't look like it's going to really be out-of-date any time soon. And "Homegrown" closes the 1977 album American Stars 'n Bars. Here's your fun fact about that album (best known for the song "Like A Hurricane"): The cover was designed by actor Dean Stockwell. In case you're not familiar with it, this is what it looks like:

Yes, that's a plastered Neil with his face pressed against the glass. And the woman with the red heels is producer David Briggs' girlfriend, Connie Moskos, who reveals, in Shakey: Neil Young's Biography, "They put me in some horrible dance-hall outfit. I called my mom. She said, 'Just tell me one thing – you have panties on.'" Good thing this album wasn't recorded in 2007 and the producer was dating Lindsay Lohan...
Tony Scherr - "While I Was Gone"
Joe Strummer - "Silver And Gold"
Papercuts - "Found Bird"
Kings Of Leon - "Black Thumbnail" (live)

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 52
Song with the most previous plays: "Silver And Gold" - 11
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 5
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: It was pleasant and uneventful.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Think About It, Think Think About It (Day 94)

The Beatles - "Hey Jude"
Well, from no songs yesterday to a record-breaking 24 today. What gives? I actually went to the gym this morning. I'm surprised I could even find the place considering I haven't been since well before the birth of my son (4 months). It's not close and I usually run there which takes about 10-12 minutes. Now, anyone with an iPod knows it's perfectly suited for working out. (I can still remember attempting to run with a Discman and telling myself that incessant skipping was really just part of the music...) And work out music is generally something a little upbeat, that fires you up and keeps you motivated. (I'm strangely partial to Modest Mouse during workouts. You?) But it was still morning and I wanted to keep with the spirit of the blog, so I shuffled. Ouch. Running to "Hey Jude" is not exactly like hearing the theme from Rocky and feeling like Sylvester Stallone training in Siberia to fight Ivan Drago. What, you have a different motivating movie image?
The Arcade Fire - "Black Mirror"
Oakley Hall - "Spanish Fandango"
Tom Waits - "Walking Spanish"

Again, conventional workout music it is not, but I was actually just starting to do some bicep curls and kinda digging this song off the great Tom Waits album Rain Dogs. It's a stomp with the classic Wait's sandpaper and marble delivery and interesting lyrics to boot. "Take off your watch, your rings and all // Even Jesus wanted just a little more time // He's walking Spanish down the hall."
What does it mean? I assumed it was akin to "dead man walking," but Wikipedia was unhelpful. It turns out another blogger already did the dirty work. According to rockrobster23, "walking Spanish" means:
"Being forcibly carried from a place by one’s collar and belt, with one’s tiptoes scrabbling at the floor, so that the Spanish walker is being forced to go somewhere he doesn’t want to go. The expression derives from being made to walk the plank on a pirate ship."
Rockrobster23, then goes on to explain the meaning of the song in pretty good detail. Thanks, buddy, I should think about outsourcing these posts... Still, the more I thought about "Walking Spanish down the hall," the more familiar the phrase sounded to me. A bit more Googling, jogged my memory. The expression was also used in the book Then We Came To The End, by Joshua Ferris. This novel, about Chicago copywriters being laid off after the 90s dot-com boom ended, got heaps of praise when it came out last year. I read it and actually thought it was pretty good. In the book (which is cleverly written in the first person plural, as in "We did not like not knowing something"), the employees of the ad firm use "walking Spanish down the hall" to mean shit-canned. And Ferris even name-checks the Tom Waits song. Here's the excerpt -- mostly because I figured out recently how to make a screen grab. (Don't sue me Joshua. This is fair usage, right?)

Funny story about this book: My wife (or as she's drolly named herself ipodwidow) was reading it on the subway last year when a guy sitting next to her asked, "What do you think of the book?" I think she said it was okay, nothing too glowing. He then got off the train and it wasn't until she glanced at the book jacket that she was the author! Well, that's her story and she's sticking to it.
The Beastie Boys - "The Gala Event"
Kings Of Leon - "Taper Jean Girl" (live)
Flight of the Conchords - "Think About It, Think Think About It" (live)
Nurse & Soldier - "What You Wanted"
Weezer - "Miss Sweeney"
Dixie Chicks - "Lullaby"
Hey, how did this get here! Okay, I like the Dixie Chicks. Seriously, they are real musicians and if I played you this song and told you it was by critical darling Kathleen Edwards, you'd believe me. And I wouldn't look like a total loser.
Coleman Hawkins - "I Never Had A Chance"
The Flying Burrito Brothers - "Here Tonight"
Mew - "Louisa Louisa"
Nirvana - "Return Of The Rat"
Wilco - "Should've Been In Love"
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - "Stove By A Whale"
Outkast - "Toilet Tisha"
Dinosaur Jr. - "Keeblin'"
Beck - "Profanity Prayers"
Sondre Lerche - "(You Knocked Me) On My Feet"
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - "Leave"
Grizzly Bear - "Sorry For The Delay"
Colin Meloy - "Dracula's Daughter" (live)
Beck - "Static"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 24
Total minutes of music (approx.): 102
Song with the most previous plays: "Think About It, Think Think About It," "Keeblin'" (tie) - 7
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I bought a calamari hero at Catene's Deli in Brooklyn for lunch. Oh my, that's a good sandwich.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Behind the Curtain (Day 93)

Well, after 92 days of listing what I listened to on my way to work it was bound to happen: technical difficulties. The weird thing is I assumed the first such issue would involve battery life. But up to this point the iPod's been charged and ready to go each morning. If it wasn't a lack of juice that would shut me down, I figured some sort of massive system failure was also imminent. After all, I have one of the older generation iPods (it doesn't even show video, it might as well display the song titles in hieroglyphics!), that has actually crashed in the past. At one point I thought it was toast. Wouldn't re-set, wouldn't re-load...nada. While searching online for ways to revive it, I came upon a blog post by someone with the same model who said when his crashed he simply smacked it down on his desk and it was as good as new. Out of desperation, I slammed the thing with the back of my hand as hard as I could and it actually came back to life.

Today's problem was altogether different. Even more bizarre. I left the house this AM and began shuffling the iPod, per usual. The very first song was The Velvet Underground - "I Found A Reason." After that I was very casually listening, reading the paper, kind of in a fog, per usual. I can tell you I definitely heard a David Bowie song. (I even made a mental note about how I've never really posted much bout Bowie...) And, I think there was a Beck song...maybe. Beyond that I have no idea what I listened to on my way to work today. Obviously I don't sit there writing down each song as it plays, and some mornings (like this one), the music pretty much goes in one ear and out the other - - background music to my morning commute and newspaper reading. It doesn't affect the blog if I'm not tuning in because the iPod keeps track of what songs are played. Not today! For whatever reason, iTunes did not update the "Last Played" category this morning. The last song played, according to my iPod, was on Friday night. So now I've got nothing. No playlist! No songs to inspire interesting and informative posts. Or, for that matter, even mundane personal history based on nothing more than the name of a Smog song or some such.) Without my blog convention, what am I? Just a guy farting in the wind apparently.

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: ?
Total minutes of music (approx.): ?
Song with the most previous plays: N/A
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6, err, I think?
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I heard songs. I can't tell you what songs they were. So sad.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Evening On The Ground (Lilith's Song) [Day 92]

The Roots - "Criminal"
It's Friday, late afternoon and I'm busy. Sounds like a day for a quick thought on each song instead of some longer treatise. Leading things off is this track from The Roots new album, Rising Down. Groovy - - and with a socially conscious message! The Roots are one of those hip-hop groups that you can't pin down, in a good way.
Pete Yorn - "Georgie Boy"
I'm an unapologetic fan of Music For The Morning After, but the follow-up that this song comes from, Nightcrawler, was basically a dud.
Sonic Youth - "Kissability"
Who didn't fall in love with Kim Gordon a little bit after hearing this song?
Death Cab For Cutie - "Your New Twin Sized Bed"
A lot of people panned the new DCFC album, I kinda like it. This song is a Ben Gibbard twist on a classic break-up song ("You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.")

No Age - "Things I Did When I Was Dead"
I'm not sure I'm on board with these SubPop newbies...
Cat Power - "Lost Someone"
Chan Marshall makes a song her own like no other. This James Brown cover is a great example.
Ray LaMontagne - "Can I Stay"
Add this to the one-hit-wonders file. I really enjoyed the album Trouble, but the follow-up Till The Sun Turns Black was a huge disappointment.
Iron & Wine - "Evening On The Ground (Lilith's Song)"
Oh man, if I had more time I see a great list here. This song is from the Iron & Wine's amazing Woman King EP - - an EP that I will confidently say is one of my 10 Favorite EPs Of All Time. Full list will have to wait for another day, but I can give you a sneak peek at Numero Uno.
Belle & Sebastian - "Nice Day For A Sulk"
No one sings the sad like Stuart Murdoch. Especially sad tinged with weird. "Nice day for a sulk //
The girl smells of milk // Her horsey teeth explode around us." I hate when that happens.
Jim James - "The Bear" (live)
I just realized something horrible. I don't own The Tennessee Fire, the album this song originally appeared on! That will be remedied post-haste.
The Fiery Furnaces - "Clear Signal From Cairo"
This song opens with a riff that might make James Hetfield put on a headphones. It's kinda awesome.

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 41
Song with the most previous plays: "Evening On The Ground (Lilith's Song)" - 10
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I have to post this, because who knows how long it will last.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Time Awaits (Day 91)

Bright Eyes - "Hot Knives"
Yo La Tengo - "...Bebop"
I'm writing it here as it appears on my iPod, but really the name of this song is "Spec Bebop." Strange. I did a quick Google search to see if there was ever an alternate title, but I came up empty. I did learn something however about this 10+ minute organ jam: critics hate it! Even on what is a universally acclaimed album, this song gets the big thumbs down. Some examples:
  • The venerable Robert Christgau says, "without the 10-minute organ wash 'Spec Bebop,' which gathers momentum around 8:00--I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One is perfect."
  • Mark Athitakis of Salon calls it, "10 minutes of self-indulgent knob-twiddling that's all texture and overtones, and it sinks the album like a rock."
  • The Onion is not joking when they say "Spec Bebop" is, "a noise-powered trainwreck"
  • Even Amazon users pile on. Frazernc (if that's even his/her real name) writes, "'Spec Bebop' is ten tuneless irritating minutes of the same riff, and I've never wanted to skip over an extended YLT song before."
Well, sorry, folks. You're all wrong. "Spec Bebop" is what makes Yo La Tengo - - and specifically I Can Hear The Heart Beat As One - - so awesome. It's who they are. A band that can craft a pop song as tight as "My Little Corner Of The World," and a 10-minute organ drone that leaves you on the edge of your seat. For me, "Spec Bebop" doesn't sink like a rock, Mr. Athitakis. It actually saves the album from a potential slide towards complacency and elevates it to musical genius.
Modest Mouse - "Little Motel"
The Fiery Furnaces - "Evergreen"
The Go-Betweens - "Black Mule"
Elvis Presley - "Trying To Get To You"
Destroyer - "Rivers"
The National - "Available"
The Kooks - "Time Awaits"
Magnetic Fields - "Long-Forgotten Fairytale

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 49
Song with the most previous plays: "Time Awaits" - 7
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: That guy from The Real Housewives of NYC is stalking me! I saw him again on the train.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saddest Quo (Day 90)

Elvis Costello & The Attractions - "Stranger In The House" (live)
Pernice Brothers - "Saddest Quo"

Wilco - "Camera"
Beck - "No Complaints"

Bishop Perry Tillis - "That's All (Denomination Blues)"

Okay, if you are at all interested in the blues or indigenous American music, this is a cool one. I found the record after it was highlighted on some music site, but I didn't even know the whole story until just a few minutes ago. Apparently Bishop Perry (an itinerant preacher who ordained himself a bishop), was a professional bluesman in the 40s who actually played with the likes of Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. But even blues aficionados never heard of him until his debut record came out in...2006! Perry passed away in 2004, and the recordings that are on the album
Too Close were actually made in the late 60s and early 70s by a Swedish archivist named Bengt Olsson. So how did Bengt find Perry? Good question. I refer you to this article from eMusic:
After saving up money by living with his folks and working extra shifts at a printing plant, Olsson headed to the States in the summer of 1969 with a fellow enthusiast who owned a portable tape recorder and some mikes. The two bought a used Chevy in upstate New York and headed to Chicago, where they encountered the great electric blues musicians Hound Dog Taylor and Magic Slim in nightclubs that stayed open almost ‘til sun-up. After a week spent sleeping at the apartment of the guy who ran Delmark Records, the duo headed on to places in the South they’d never heard of. (...)

Studying a map during that first trip, Olsson chose Coffee County at the base of Alabama “because it was the remotest place I could find.” “We got to Elba, Alabama, and asked around about possible local musicians,” Olsson relates. “People immediately mentioned a man named ‘Blind Perry’ and when we found the place we hardly knew we’d found it. The driveway was covered in weeds, the house itself looked abandoned. Dogs were running around. It was not a romantic kind of thing, it was real sad. There he was living all by himself, blind since not too many years back, pieces missing in the wooden floor. He was living in a condition of total despair. Then when he played, the music was so intense, so beautiful! It was like hearing
Charley Patton for the first time; it shook me in the same way, musically and emotionally. It was all I could do not to cry.”
Amazing, yes, but, man, this raises even more questions. My first was: Did Perry get compensated? Did they try and help the guy out? And then the thought: How much more amazing music and musicians must there be out in the country (let alone the world!) that has never been recorded? Mind boggling.
Thom Yorke - "Harrowdown Hill"
Bowerbirds - "Hooves"
Jack Johnson - "Supposed To Be"
Radiohead - "Outro" (live)
Just in case there are any Radiohead completists out there, don't stress out. This is not a new song that you've never heard of. It's an actual outro (opposite of intro) from a BBC radio show recorded on April 1, 2008. Good show, bummer that all I got to hear this a.m. was the DJ saying, "Radiohead live from the BBC radio theater...they came, they saw, they clocked off just at the right time..." I say, "You, clock off!"
Talking Heads - "New Feeling"
The American Analog Set - "Promise Of Love"

Elvis Costello & The Imposters - "The Delivery Man"

Two Elvis songs today. Is there a connection? No! The live version of "Stranger In The House" (above) is from the Amost Blue re-issue which is one of those great re-issues where there are more than twice as many bonus tracks as original tunes. (See: Pavement) Of course Almost Blue was Elvis' "country" record with covers of tunes by Gram Parsons, Hank Williams, Charlie Rich and George Jones. The funny thing is, if that record came out today it would be no big deal, because alternative/indie music fans have embraced those twangy sounds, but in 1981 Elvis had to plaster the record with the following heads up (tongue in cheek, naturally): "WARNING: This album contains country & western music and may cause offence to narrow minded listeners." Meanwhile, "The Delivery Man" was from the album of the same name that came out in 2004 with a band that was basically The Attractions (minus Bruce Thomas), which I thought was a pretty excellent return to form for Mr. Costello.

The New Pornographers - "Chump Change"
The Dodos - "The Season"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 50
Song with the most previous plays: "Saddest Quo" - 10
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I've noticed this weird phenomenon in my neighborhood. It's been averaging 90 degrees but the streets are littered with leaves, as if it's fall. Did the high temps prematurely kill off the leaves? Help me, Al Gore. I need some answers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hard To Find (Day 89)

Animal Collective - "Flesh Canoe"
The name of this song seems vaguely dirty to me, and may lure people to this blog looking for something a bit more exciting. Anyone who has a blog (i.e. everyone), knows one of the most fun (and stalkerish) things to do is track the referring urls of people stopping by. Fifty percent of the time hits come via a search engine, and the query that brought people over is often hilarious. My friend Brett had a particularly good one a few months back. And I think it's interesting that I have become something of a clearing house lately for people seeking the answer to this question: "Can Pink Eye Come From Feces?" Now, I know why, but still...eww. And what do people think once they get here? Is it, "Well, I was worried about Timmy's eyes, but hey this guy loves Neil Young! Run along, Timmy. I have some reading to do." Another favorite recent search that brought someone to this blog: "Witch Into frog." It was a cute story about my kid that made me use the phrase, but what if this web surfer is actually attempting to turn someone into a frog? I rest easy knowing that they didn't find the information they were looking for.
Track Star - "These Horses Carry Blood"
Devendra Banhart - "A Sight To Behold"
The American Analog Set - "Hard To Find"
The Beastie Boys - "Shadrach"
Robert Earl Keen Jr. - "Not A Drop Of Rain"
Jim O'Rourke - "Get A Room"
Richard & Linda Thompson - "Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed?"
Tom Waits - "Jayne's Blue Wish"
Dolorean - "Traded For Fire"
Conor Oberst - "Waste Of Paint" (live)
I was thinking of putting together a list today titled Top 5 Musicians That Were Touted As The Future of Rock 'n' Roll Who Quickly Fizzled Out. But, I got bored after Conor and Ryan Adams. (I leave it to the commenters...) Still, I haven't completely given up on Conor. In fact, I'm off to listen to his new album (streaming here) to gather a first impression.
Fountains Of Wayne - "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" (live)

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 55
Song with the most previous plays: "Hard To Find" - 10
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: There was an interesting article in the NY Times today about mirrors and what they teach us about perception. But I'm still trying to wrap my head around this graph:
Outline your face on a mirror, and you will find it to be exactly half the size of your real face. Step back as much as you please, and the size of that outlined oval will not change: it will remain half the size of your face (or half the size of whatever part of your body you are looking at), even as the background scene reflected in the mirror steadily changes. Importantly, this half-size rule does not apply to the image of someone else moving about the room. If you sit still by the mirror, and a friend approaches or moves away, the size of the person’s image in the mirror will grow or shrink as our innate sense says it should.

Monday, July 21, 2008

High Plains Jamboree (Day 88)

Coldplay - "Spies"
Bob Marley & The Wailers - "One Love/People Get Ready"
The Band - "The Rumor"
David Cross - "Organ Donation"
Jeff Tweedy - "Walk Where He Walked" (live)
Dean & Britta - "Wait For Me"
Sloan - "Never Seeing The Ground For The Sky"
Karl Blau - "Ode To Ocean"
This is a weird one I picked up along the way. Blau is one of those prolific one-man bands that creates reams and reams of music, some of it brilliant - - a lot of it confounding. He mixes folk, 70s rock, reggae, jazz and plenty of tonal shifts to create some fairly whacked out, but enjoyable songs. And a lot of his lyrics seem to have an environmental undercurrent, which is no surprise because the dude lives in Anacrotes, Washington. Which I've been to. It's an off-the-beaten-path kinda place that is where you get a ferry to the awesomely beautiful San Juan Islands. Uh oh, might be a time for a gratuitous vacation photo.

(Orcas Island, Washington August 2007)
Tenacious D - "Drive-Thru"
Guided By Voices - "Alright"
Oakley Hall - "Free Radicals Lament"
I'm not often in a position to recommend a band, because you probably hear about all the same bands I do. But, on the off chance that you haven't heard of Oakley Hall, check them out immediately. A friend of mine in the Brooklyn band Oneida (awesome noisemakers in their own right), told me about them. A former bandmate of his named Pat Sullivan started Oakley Hall because, as allmusic puts it, he wanted to try something a little more country. What they are, literally, is the best parts of country, punk and rock rolled up in one. Seriously. And their greatest strength is the probably the harmonies of Pat and Rachel Cox who split vocals. These are not pitch-perfect Crosby, Stills and Nash type harmonies. They're more reminiscent of John Doe and Exene Cervenka of X, or more accurately one of my other favorite man-woman vocal teams, Rick Rizzo and Janet Beveridge Bean of Eleventh Dream Day. Great stuff.
Robert Earl Keen Jr. - "High Plains Jamboree"
Built To Spill - "You Are"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 49
Song with the most previous plays: "High Plains Jamboree" - 8
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Famous person sighting on the train! Except this person is dubiously "famous" and the fact that I recognized him is totally embarrassing. His name is Simon and he is on the Bravo reality show The Real Housewives of New York. Feel free to make fun of me in comments.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Crane Wife 3 (Day 87)

Versus - "Frederick's Of Hollywood"
A good, but not great indie band from the mid-90s, Versus had the ability to sound totally unique and exactly like every other indie band from this period at the same time. This song is a perfect example. My still sleepy brain (only 2 cups of coffee in) was pretty convinced this was a Sonic Youth song. As it dragged on I decided it was a pretty crappy Sonic Youth song, and eventually I'd convinced myself it was off Thurston Moore's recent solo album. Lo and behold - - it's Versus. You want to talk about context, now that I know it's just a Versus song (from their swan song album Hurrah which has one great song with a great title called "I Love The WB"), I think I like it now. More coffee, please.
Broken Social Scene - "Last Place"
Feist - "One Evening"
Sloan - "Backstabbin'"
The Decemberists - "The Crane Wife 3"
Time to sing the praises of The Decemberists. Has Colin Meloy's band ever recorded a bad song? Seriously. They have a unique look, sound, lyrical take - - all of which on paper seem perplexing, pretentious, perhaps preposterous. But when you add it up, oh my, it's-oh-so-enjoyable. This is yet another fantastic song which kicks off their recent album - - a sort-of concept record that only this band could pull off. So what's the story of The Crane Wife? Take it away, Colin:
"It's a story about a peasant in rural Japan who finds a wounded crane on an evening walk; there's an arrow in its wing. He revives the crane and the crane flies away. A couple days later, a mysterious woman shows up at his door and he takes her in. Eventually they fall in love and get married. But they're very poor, so she suggests that she start weaving this cloth which he can in turn sell at the market—the condition being that when she's weaving it, she has to do it behind closed doors and he can't look in. So this goes on for a while and they actually become kind of wealthy. But eventually, his curiosity gets the best of him and he looks in at her while she's weaving and it turns out that she's a crane and she's been pulling feathers from her wings and putting it into the cloth, which is what makes it so beautiful. But him having seen her breaks the spell, and she turns back into a crane and flies away. That's the end."
Ah, yes. The stuff great rawk is made of.
Coleman Hawkins - "How Strange"

Pavement - "Old To Begin"
Steve Earle - "Jericho Road"
A.C. Newman - "35 in the Shade"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 9
Total minutes of music (approx.): 38
Song with the most previous plays: "The Crane Wife 3" - 17
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: You can fry an egg on the sidewalks of NYC today.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Be Careful (Day 86)

Fourth Of July - "Be Careful"
Well, from an extra-long playlist to a super-short one... Today was one of those days that family obligations interrupted my commute. I snuck in 20 minutes of listening after parting ways with the wife and baby. Kicking things off was this one-dimensionable, but very likable song by an indie band from Lawrence, Kansas. I found them on some blog, and I really like them because you can tell from one listen that this is obviously the handy work of a shaggy bunch of guys (and girls) who grew up listening to a steady diet of Pavement (naturally) and just want to make cool, but fun music for their friends. Turns out, my suspicions are totally right. Check out their video:

Townes Van Zandt - "When He Offers His Hand"
I know, I said something about doing a long Townes post yesterday, but now that he's on the playlist again I'm not in the mood. But I will mention this: Steve Earle (a pretty good songwriter in his own right), once said,
"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." What did Townes think about that? The fellow Texan replied, "I've met Bob Dylan and his bodyguards, and I don't think Steve could get anywhere near his coffee table."
Ida - "First Take"
The Black Keys - "Strange Desire"
Another band that I like, but I just haven't spent that much time with is The Black Keys. They do tend to get lost in the whole garage rock revivial (The White Stripes, Kings Of Leon, et al) for me, but this is a really good electric blues song in the great tradition of Led Zeppelin.
Pavement - "Easily Flooded"
Yet another Pavement outtake (this one from the Wowee Zowee reissue). Any Pavementt-heads know anything about it?
[UPDATE: This song is obviously called "Easily Fooled." Thank you comoprozac for correcting me. The weird thing is that "Easily Flooded" is totally what it's labeled on my iPod. Anyway go read his take on the song. (At least one of us knows what the hell they're talking about.) All this illustrates that as much as I like Pavement, I suck at remembering the names of their songs.]

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 5
Total minutes of music (approx.): 18
Song with the most previous plays: "Be Careful" - 7
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 7 (Short, but sweet!)
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: It was hardly direct.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cease Fire (Day 85)

The Velvet Underground - "Here She Comes Now" (demo)
A couple of days ago, a few of my commenter friends noted that the day's playlist was exceptional. On that day, it hadn't really dawned on me that I was listening to a particularly good mix of tunes, but - - holy cow! - - today's set truly
was great. It may just be that the seed of evaluating what the iPod plays on shuffle as a whole was planted by those off-hand comments, but I don't think so. Today I was really enjoying this great mix of tunes - - which included some artists I feel like I haven't heard in a while (The Smiths, Townes Van Zandt), and a few of my all-time favorites (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Mr. Young). It was a plain old shuffle per usual, but there was one difference today that clearly helped. It was a long set (18 songs, 63 minutes) thanks to subway delays and the 5 or so extra tunes obviously make the set more varied. Regardless, it's inspired me to add a new feature to that little bit of accounting I do at the bottom of the post each day: How I Rate Today's Playlist. On a scale of 1-10, I'm going to have to say today was solid 9. Some detailed reasons to follow... (Also, new format, now with bold song titles! I think it makes things more readable.)
The American Analog Set - "Sharp Briar"
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. A cut from this band has to fit in somewhere on the soundtrack to my life. Their moody grooves are delectable, this song is no exception.
Pavement - "Drunks With Guns"
Basically every single Pavement nugget is worthwhile. This instrumental weirdness showed up on the Slanted & Enchanted deluxe edition, but was originally from a 1992 John Peel session.
Son Volt - "Driving The View"
Wilco gets all the love, but Jay Farrar's post-Uncle Tupelo band is no slouch. Great song and the title says it all: a perfect song for the open road.
The Shins - "New Slang"
It didn't change my life, Zach Braff. Not even the best song on that album. But I wouldn't kick it out of bed.
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion - "Cease Fire"
Of all these great songs, this is the one with the most previous plays. Interesting. But Arlo's daughter (Woody's granddaughter) certainly knows her way around a folk song. Teaming with husband collaborator Johnny Irion, she's created a great rootsy duet about married life. (Gary Louris of the Jayhawks produced, and you can really tell.)
Devendra Banhart - "When The Sun Shone On Vetiver"
This song may be the reason I rated the playlist a 9 and not a 10.
Neil Young - "Powderfinger" (acoustic demo)
Classic tune, obvs, but where did the acoustic demo come from? I'll tell you: Basically the song was intended for release on the famously unreleased 1977 album Chrome Dreams. Although it never saw the light of day, there are bootlegs circulating and that is where this version came from. Although it's not clear (to me), if Neil intended to release this particular version in '77, or if he still planned on re-recording it. The album that came out last year called Chrome Dreams II, was supposed to be some kind of sequel, but it's really not fit to carry the original's jock. Just feast your eyes on what was supposed to be the original Chrome Dreams track listing:

  • "Pocahontas" – 3:24
  • "Will to Love" – 7:11
  • "Star of Bethlehem" – 2:42
  • "Like a Hurricane" – 8:14
  • "Too Far Gone" – 2:41
  • "Hold Back the Tears" – 5:16
  • "Homegrown" – 2:20
  • "Captain Kennedy" – 2:55
  • "Stringman" – 3:32
  • "Sedan Delivery" – 5:22
  • "Powderfinger" – 3:23
  • "Look Out for My Love" – 4:06
Now that's a record.
The Wedding Present - "Jet Girl"
This vastly underrated band is evidently touring again. Guess who'll miss them?
Stars - "Bitches In Tokyo"
I kinda missed the boat on this band, but I'm just starting to get on board.
The Twilight Singers - "I'm Ready"
As much as I like Greg Dulli he makes everything so freaking dense and morose I always feel like I need a vacation after listening to his music.
The Smiths - "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"
I think I may be the only person I know who likes The Smiths, but is not a psycho super-fan.
Will Oldham - "New Gypsy"
Will used his real name for this record (Joya), but it's the same Bonnie "Prince" Billy/Palace brilliance.
Death Cab For Cutie - "Little Fury Bugs"
They were still an actual indie rock band on their second album, We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes, but they should have already been a sensation.
The Beatles - "Get Back" (single mix)
This is one of those cool alternate versions from the bootlegged Let It Be: Alternative Mono Mixes.
Art Pepper - "Tin Tin Deo"
This is a great Latin jazz staple and if it was any other day, I think the co-songwriter, Chano Pozo, would be the subject of this post. Why? One hint (via Wikipedia): "Once Pozo became famous he also became renowned by his sense of fashion: his all-white top hat and tuxedo look predated that of
Flavor Flav by at least 45 years." Awesome.
Townes Van Zandt - "To Live Is To Fly"
Again, Townes is such an amazing songwriter, I'll have to save writing about him at length for another day. (By the way, this point is not arguable, Anonymous, or whoever else dares to protest.)
Yo La Tengo - "I Heard You Looking"
Someday I'm going to have to list my 10 Favorite Yo La Tengo songs. But I'm not looking forward to the task because there are so many great ones to choose from it's going to be next-to-impossible. I have a very good feeling, however, this one (from Painful) would make the list.

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 18
Total minutes of music (approx.): 63
Song with the most previous plays: "Cease Fire" - 9
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 9
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: There were signal delays, so I abandoned the subway a stop early and walked. But I didn't mind! (See above.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where Is My Love (Day 84)

Pavement - "Ann Don't Cry"
Cat Power - "Where Is My Love"
Illinois - "What Can I Do For You?"
Outkast - "Snappin & Trappin"
Ooh, this one's kinda dirty. I'm not a prude or anything but some of these lyrics had me blushing on the subway. I think I've mentioned this before, I do like hip hop. Or, more accurately, some hip hop. To be honest, most of the Outkast that wound up on my iPod I stole from a co-worker. But, yes, I did gain an appreciation when "B.O.B." and "Ms. Jackson" hit just like so many other casual hip-hop fans. But this song is not for the "Ms. Jackson"-loving casual fan. (It is on the same album, however, Stankonia.) It illustrates one of my biggest problems with hip-hop: inconsistency. For some reason there aren't that many albums in the genre that (IMHO) can sustain the listener for the duration. Plenty of great singles, great moments, etc, but in the end it doesn't satisfy like a good rock record. I think by definition (heavy on samples and heavy on rapping, obviously) it's a little harder for the genre to continually reinvent itself the way rock can. That may be be why most of my favorite hip-hop albums are from the 90s. Or maybe it's just that my music taste in high school and college lent itself more to this music. I think I smell a list coming on. And why not? Here are my 10 All-Time Favorite Hip Hop Albums (that I can think of in the next 10 minutes, naturally).
  1. The Beastie Boys - "Paul's Boutique"
  2. A Tribe Called Quest - "The Low End Theory"
  3. De La Soul - "3 Feet High And Rising"
  4. The Beastie Boys - "Check Your Head"
  5. Public Enemy - "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back"
  6. Run-D.M.C. - "Raising Hell"
  7. Dr. Dre - "The Chronic"
  8. Digable Planets - "Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)"
  9. Cypress Hill - "Cypress Hill"
  10. 3rd Bass - "The Cactus Album"
I'm no great connoisseur as you can see. What do you think I missed?
Wilco - "Hummingbird"
Weezer - "Death And Destruction"
The New Pornographers - "To Wild Homes"
Bright Eyes - "Coat Check Dream Song"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 8
Total minutes of music (approx.): 30
Song with the most previous plays: "Where Is My Love" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: My trip wasn't any shorter than usual, but I did ride the subway a bit with my wife this morning...and I didn't listen to the iPod while we were together. Who says chivalry is dead?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Apple Orchard (Day 83)

The Arcade Fire - "Black Mirror" (live)
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Oregon Girl" (live)
Bloc Party - "She's Hearing Voices"
LCD Soundsystem - "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House"
Beach House - "Apple Orchard"
The Clash - "Garageland"
Bob Dylan - "Santa Fe"
DJ Shadow - "Why Hip Hop Sucks in '96"
Beck - "Cold Brains"
Stars - "Calendar Girl"
The Wrens - "Still Complaining"
N.E.R.D. - "Love Bomb"
Bodies Of Water - "We Will Be Apart"
Rilo Kiley - "Breakin' Up"
Sorry everyone, too busy again so all you get is a straight up list of what I listened to on the way to work today sans incredible commentary and pith. (And I won't dare blog about the Mets again - - even though they are still kicking ass - - seeing as there was not a single comment on Friday!)

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 50
Song with the most previous plays: "Apple Orchard," "Breakin' Up" (tie) - 5
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: On the way in I bought a salt bagel with cream cheese and a medium coffee. I know, a salt bagel sounds kinda gross, but you shouldn't knock it 'til you try it. The salt and the relatively bland flavor of the cream cheese really are a nice combination.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tightly (Day 82)

The Velvet Underground - "Femme Fatale"
Neko Case - "Tightly"
The Fiery Furnaces - "Though Let's Be Fair"
The Beach Boys - "Trombone Dixie"
Johnny Cash - "The Man Comes Around" (Alt Take)
The Delgados - "Come Undone"
Sorry music fans, but in addition to the fact that it seems like The Fiery Furnaces, Johnny Cash (2X today!) and Outkast pop up on the shuffle every day, one of my other favorite pastimes is on my mind this morning - - baseball. And for once, I'm not bummed out! The Mets (who if you don't know/care have a first baseman name Carlos Delgado, so there is a method to the madness), are playing great baseball. The won their 6th game in a row yesterday - - a feat they haven't achieved in almost 2 years. This little run has put them in second place, only 1 1/2 games behind the Phillies. So what happened? Well, they changed managers, and although I think Willie was not necessarily the problem, he wasn't the solution either. Jerry Manuel has already called team meetings on the field, chided his players for their behavior (I'm looking at you Jose Reyes), and - - most importantly - - he has a sense of humor! With the media and with his players, Jerry is funny. After the incident when Reyes momentarily refused to let Jerry take him out of the game a few weeks ago, the manager told the press he said the following to his shortstop:
"Next time you do it I'm going to get my blade out and cut you - right out there on the field. I'm a gangster now. You act gangster on me I'm going to have to get you."

Listen, the role of the baseball manager is slightly overrated, but a looser clubhouse can't hurt a team that after last year's collapse has been wound pretty tight. Of course, the resurgence
probably has more to do with the maturation of Mike Pelfrey, the mashing of almost-forgotten-man Fernando Tatis and the sudden reverse-aging of Delgado. (No, not the Scottish pop band - - but I brought it right back around y'all!) And if you think this joy will last, you don't know the Mets. This is what they do: give you just enough to make you love them - - and then rip out your heart and stomp on it. Happy day!
The Clash - "Janie Jones"

Radiohead - "Karma Police"
Old 97's - "Four Leaf Clover"
Outkast - "We Luv Deez Hoez"
Billy Bragg and Wilco - "One By One"
Johnny Cash - "Orange Blossom Special"
Stars - "Reunion"
Rhett Miller - "Meteor Shower"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 50
Song with the most previous plays: "Tightly" - 9
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: It's Friday. 'Nuf said.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The End Of Medicine (Day 81)

Nina Simone - "Isn't It A Pity"
Rogue Wave - "Publish My Love"
The Roots - "Long Time"
Oneida - "You're Drifting"
Johnny Cash - "Bird On A Wire"
This is another great Cash cover, this time of an amazing and classic song by Leonard Cohen. I have no empirical evidence, but my first thought was that this has got to be a frequently covered tune. A quick glance at my iPod revealed I had the Cohen version and 2 Cash versions (and a song called "Bird On A Wire" by Rogue Wave that unfortunately was a different tune). But, I'm not wrong. Among the artists to officially release a cover of "Bird On A Wire" are: Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker, Judy Collins, Fairport Convention, Tim Hardin, k.d. Lang, Willie Nelson and The Neville Brothers. (Plus some others I've never heard of.) This seemed like a good opportunity to do one of those YouTube round-ups of other cool covers of the song I could find, including any by "regular" folk. Big waste of time! There are many, and they are mostly pretty bad. But, this was not a total waste of time. Because I found this:

It's a "Bird On A Wire" line dance! Please try and ignore the version of the song being played in the background. Instead, enjoy this great version by the songwriter himself.

Yo La Tengo - "Sugarcube"
Neko Case - "Stinging Velvet"
The New Pornographers - "The End Of Medicine"
Bob Dylan - "Sally Gal" [outtake]
Sebadoh - "Violet Execution"
Pernice Brothers - "My So-Called Celibate Life"
Weezer - "Dope Nose"
Coleman Hawkins - "There Will Never Be Another You"
The Magic Numbers - "I See You, You See Me"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 53
Song with the most previous plays: "The End Of Medicine" - 14
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Mets win 5th in a row? Pinch me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Reprise (Day 80)

Sam Prekop - "A Splendid Hollow"
Johnny Cash - "I'm Bound For The Promised Land"
DJ Danger Mouse - "Justify My Thug"
Grizzly Bear - "Reprise"
Radiohead - "Planet Telex"
Bob Willis & His Texas Playboys - "Heart to Heart Talk"
Let's have a heart to heart talk, you and me. From blogger to blog reader: I'm sorry. I was (if anyone noticed) not at work yesterday due to a mystery illness that I think I'm quickly recovering from. (I'll spare you the details.) And now today, I'm back at work, but I have absolutely no time to write much of anything except today's straight-up playlist. I'll try to get back to it tomorrow. (Also, if you
ever wanted to hear a Western swing band from the 1940s Bob Willis & His Texas Playboys is the group for you.)
Minutemen - "Hollering"
Devendra Banhart - "Little Boys"
Zumpano - "Temptation Summary"
Cat Power - "Lost Someone"
Richard Thompson - "Cressida"
Sufjan Stevens - "All The Trees Of The Field Will Clap Their Hands"
David Bowie - "Rebel Rebel"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 50
Song with the most previous plays: "Reprise" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I was running late...again.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Queen Of The Rummage Sale (Day 79)

The Beatles - "Dear Prudence"
Ben Folds - "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You"
Gary Louris - "D.C. Blues"
Destroyer - "The Bad Arts"
The Arcade Fire - "Intervention"
I'm glad I'm the father of two kids (beyond the obvious reasons). Why? Because my general tiredness and lack of free time is not cutting into any important TV viewing! There just ain't nothing good on the tube these days. The Wire's over. Lost is on hiatus. And there are only so many Mets games this season a self-respecting fan can tolerate. But in this down period, my wife and I have one addiction: A&E's harrowing addiction doc, Intervention. Holy shit this show is dark. Each episode follows an addict (drugs, alcohol, pills, bulimia, you name it) who thinks they're making a documentary about their struggles, until their friends and family confront them and offer treatment. Although compelling, it's a really difficult hour of television to watch. In fact, I was planning to post a clip here, but everything is just so graphic and grim I couldn't bring myself to do it. Suffice to say, crystal meth will be the end of Western Civilization as we know it. If you want to see proof, just search for the many Intervention clips on YouTube. You may even stumble upon the poor bulimic woman who stored hew own barf in Ziploc bags in her closet. New seasons of Mad Men and Project Runway can't come soon enough...
The Rolling Stones - "Mixed Emotions"
Midlake - "Van Occupanther"
Whiskeytown - "Mining Town"
Lou Reed - "There Is No Time"
Bishop Allen - "Queen Of The Rummage Sale"
The Rolling Stones - "Prodigal Son"
The Band - "Jam"
I've got another TV recommendation, and this one's music related. A friend turned me on to a Vh1 Classics show called...(drum roll) Classic Albums. Each episode of the hour-long doc series looks at the making of a single album. I watched the installment on The Band's eponymous 1969 album ("Up On Cripple Creek," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," etc), and it was pretty great. It's a weird doc because they don't give you a ton of background on the historical significance of these records, instead it's more of a stream-of-consciousness look at the album with miscellaneous recollections from band members, producers, etc. The coolest part is when Levon Helm sits in a studio with the album's producer and they play back specific instrument tracks so you can hear the way the music on "Rockin' Chair" is layered. Priceless.
The Beatles - "Get Back"
Shelby Lynne - "Sleep"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 53
Song with the most previous plays: "Queen Of The Rummage Sale'" - 9
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: My newspaper brushed the arm of a woman sitting next to me on the subway. If you'd seen the look she gave me, you'd think I'd stabbed her with a pencil.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Day 78)

Meat Puppets - "Lost"
Johnny Cash & June Carter - "Fast Boat To Sydney"
Fountains Of Wayne - "I Want An Alien For Christmas"
Blonde Redhead - "Speed X Distance = Time"
Hello to anybody who clicked over from Monitor Mix, and then decided to come back for more. (And thanks to Comoprozac for mentioning this blog in MM's comments.) It's cool to read Carrie Brownstein's thoughts on the iPod shuffle. Not only is she a writer, but she used to front a super-cool band. I totally see where she's coming from. Forcing yourself to listen to your iPod in shuffle mode can be really annoying. But my reason for shuffling songs on the way to work - - and writing this blog - - is to re-discover (or discover for the first time) all of my oft-ignored music. It would be easy to listen to whatever the flavor of the moment is (right now, Evil Urges, btw), but when you have 10,000+ songs on your iPod alone, that means a lot of orphaned children. Yes, sometimes I have to physically restrain myself from pressing 'skip'. But usually I have more of an "Oh, yeah" moment brought on either because I forgot I even had a song on there - - or because I forgot just how good a song is. The radio comparison is pretty accurate, and while duds do show up (why are The Killers even on my iPod?), my biggest complaint is those crazy shifts in mood. One minute I'm enjoying a mellow singer-songwriter and the next, Kurt Cobain is bellowing in my ear something off Bleach. Right here, for example, the buoyant pop of Fountains of Wayne was followed by the noisy dissonance of Blonde Redhead. Tough segue. But then I started getting into the moody schizophrenia of this song and realized there's a pretty good chance that over the course of a year I may have never thought to play it on my own. And now I feel like listening to a few more Blonde Redhead songs, which I will play back-to-back...on the way home.
Blur - "Gene By Gene"
Palace Brothers - "I Am A Cinematographer"
Guided By Voices - "Mincer Ray"
Danielson - "Did I Step On Your Trumpet"
Kathleen Edwards - "What Are You Waiting For?"
Whiskeytown - "Empty Baseball Park"
The Sea And The Cake - "For Minor Sky"
Ron Sexsmith - "There's a Rhythm"
Tortoise - "Ten-Day Interval"
Josh Ritter - "Still Beating"
Peter Bjorn & John - "Objects Of My Affection"
Air - "Mer Du Japon"
Nirvana - "Mr. Moustache"
The Velvet Underground - "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 18
Total minutes of music (approx.): 64
Song with the most previous plays: "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" - 10
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I finally had a doctor look at my sore toe. (That's the reason for the unusually long playlist.) And x-rays showed it's...not broken. Although annoyingly, the doc says it still could be. Whatever. All I have to do is tape it to the second toe and wait it out. Sorry, I'll stop mentioning it now.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Talk Of The Town (Day 77)

Pavement - "Trigger Cut/Wounded Kite At :17"
Having this song start the day's shuffle feels like winning the jackpot. "Lies and betrayals / Fruit-covered nails / Electricity and lust" is such a great opening line, but does anybody have any idea what the hell it means? I'm pretty sure Malkmus did a lot of free-associating when he came up with lyrics for most of the songs on this album, but I did see a theory on-line that this song is about suicide. But the only evidence to support that seems to be the line "I've got a heavy coat / It's filled with rocks and sand." According to the Wikipedia entry on Virginia Woolf: "On
28 March 1941, after having a nervous breakdown, Woolf drowned herself by weighing her pockets with stones and walking into the River Ouse near her home." Does it hold weight?
Rufus Wainwright - "Sally Ann"
David Bowie - "Heroes"
The Hold Steady - "Stevie Nix"
So, some folks have recently posted their favorite songs from the first 6 months of 2008, including regular reader Comoprozac (who gently reminded me I have not done the same). Well, I'm game. Of course I'm a slave to my particular blog format, so I was hoping that one such favorite would pop up today to give me an excuse to post the list. No such luck. I will still reveal my favorites here, because they will probably change, and perhaps The Hold Steady's new album Stay Positive (out July 14) will make the year-end cut. Here are my Top 10 Favorite Records of '08 (so far):
  1. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (I guess this officially came out in 2007, but it was re-released widely on Jagjagjuwar this year, and let's face it, it's so good it deserves to be on the list 2 straight years.)
  2. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges (I don't care what the haters say, I love it.)
  3. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
  4. Nick Cave - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
  5. She & Him - Volume One
  6. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (Again, to the haters, chill out.)
  7. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Lie Down In the Light
  8. Times New Viking - Rip It Off
  9. Ida - Lovers Prayers
  10. The Raconteurs - Consolers Of The Lonely
Honorable mentions: Vetiver - Thing Of The Past, The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride, Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash, Destroyer - Trouble In Dreams

Prince - "Little Red Corvette"
Lucinda Williams - "Those Three Days" (live)
O'Death - "Only Daughter"
Tom Waits - "Bride Of Raindogs"
The Beatles - "You Won't See Me"
Shigeru Umebayashi - "Yumeji's Theme"
Jack Johnson - "Talk Of The Town"
Pavement - "We Are Underused"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 50
Song with the most previous plays: "Talk Of The Town," "Those Three Days" (tie) - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: The toe still hurts!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another Wound (Day 76)

Broken Social Scene - "Alive in 85"
The Beatles - "Octopus's Garden"
Serge Gainsbourg - "Mister Iceberg"
Weezer - "December"
Willie Nelson - "Gotta Serve Somebody"
The Ponys - "Another Wound"
Today's playlist was filled with a few artists that have made their way onto my iPod, even though I'm not too familiar with their music. I thought this song by The Ponys was one such song, but the 7 previous plays tells me not that I haven't heard the song, just that I'm not paying much attention to it. Too bad. The Ponys have a very cool sound reminiscent of Television and early Cure. While I like this band, and vow to give them more play, was downright worshipful about the record that this song appears on:
Celebration Castle confirms what anyone who heard Laced With Romance suspected -- that the Ponys are growing into one of the best and most powerfully pleasurable rock bands of their generation. If they can make another album this good, they'll be nothing short of unstoppable.
Wow. I guess I should get their 2007 Matador release Turn The LIghts Out.
Deadboy and the Elephantmen - "Misadventures of Dope"
Another good band I'm not on a first name basis with. Deadboy and the Elephantmen have more of a White Stripes garage rock sound. But their garage is much messier. We Are Night Sky (2006) is a fine rock record, too bad it's the band's first...and last. According to Wikipedia they disbanded in 2007, but frontman Dax Riggs continues to record under his own name. This Dax (not to be confused with this Dax), sounds like an interesting dude. At the very least, he has a knack for naming bands. Here is a list of some of his former outfits:

  • Dry Pussy
  • Corruption
  • Golgotha
  • Acid Bath
  • Daisyhead & The Mooncrickets
  • Agents of Oblivion
  • Deadboy and the Elephantmen
  • T-Daks & His White Plastic Soul and Dax Riggs
This guy can name my band any day.
The Flying Burrito Brothers - "Break My Mind"
The Beatles - "Revolution 1"
Stars - "Barricade"
Sufjan Stevens - "Saul Bellow"
Guided By Voices - "Want One?"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 44
Song with the most previous plays: "Another Wound" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I'm pretty sure I broke my big toe. It's been over a week since I stubbed on an uneven bit of sidewalk - - while wearing flip-flops - - and it's still throbbing.