Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gulf Shores (Day 135)

Dexter Gordon - "Modal Mood"
The Rolling Stones - "Sway"
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - "Gulf Shores"
Today's super-sized list is due to a detour for a haircut before work. And today's SWTMTPP was a highlight. I'm a huge fan of Will Oldham in all his incarnations and Greatest Palace Music is by far his most accessible record. Love the idea that he basically made a covers album with Nashville session musicians - - of his own songs! The songs are definitely given a shine, and since this came out pre-music blog mania (2004) - - or at least before I was reading music blogs - - I kinda wondered what the blogosphere thought about a record that I can see getting its share of criticism. Where should I start? How about the arbiters of cool themselves, PItchfork? Yup just as I suspected:
It's perhaps the most entertaining and thought-provoking album released so far this year. And one of the worst.
There's more:
The enjoyment it doles out is entirely extramusical, deriving from its packaging, its contributors, Nashville history, Oldham's interviews pertaining to it, its place in his discography, and his intent, whatever that may have been. Greatest Palace Music is almost uniformly tedious, uneventful, dispassionate, and overambitious when it comes to multi-tracking, and underambitious when it comes to arrangements and instrumentation.
But, that's not even the worst part:
By making this album, it feels as if Oldham is scorning me, a longtime fan, personally. It's ceaselessly mediocre, and it actually physically hurts me to know that Oldham has backpedaled, knowingly and irrationally, against his own genius.
Don't flatter yourself, buddy. I press on for a more sober, less holier-than-thou review. Here's something from a blog called False 45th:
This album is a wonderful combination of Bonnie "Prince" Billy's best songs and that beautiful sweeping studio sound that made Nashville famous. I hate the crap that gets passed for pop country these days but I have a soft spot for that older Nashville sound which BPB wrapped his catalog in for this album.
Okay, so it's not as eloquent but I concur with the sentiment. And for the record, this didn't start out to be a bash Pitchfork post, but, hey, if the shoe fits...
Wilco - "A Shot In The Arm"
Liz Phair - "Shatter"
The Delgados - "Now And Forever"
Emmylou Harris - "Plastir d'Amour"
The Flatlanders - "Now It's Now Again"
M Ward - "Chinese Translation"
Grandaddy - "Campershell Dreams"
Miles Davis - "Freedom Jazz Dance"
Johnny Cash - "Flesh & Blood"
My Mourning Jacket - "O Is The One That's Real" (live)
Outkast - "Xplosion"
The Beatles - "All You Need Is Love"
Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Travelin' Band"
The Delgados - "Girls Of Valour"
So, that makes two tracks today by this heretofore barely played group The Delgados. Scottish pop band, fairly enjoyable...whatever. This is mean. The iPod is being mean. It clearly knows that the Mets first baseman is one Carlos DELGADO. I'm not ready!

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: "Gulf Shores" - 8
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: The refreshing menthol-y smelling hot towel at the end of the haircut...man, that's nice.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bagman's Gambit (Day 134)

The Decembrists - "The Bagman's Gambit"
Thelonious Monk - "Ruby, My Dear (take 2)"
Reigning Sound - "Wait And See"

Calexico / Iron & Wine - "Burn That Broken Bed"

Prince - "I Would Die 4 U" (live)

Bruce Springsteen - "Born To Run" (live)

Echo And The Bunnymen - "An Eternity Turns"

Neil Young - "Comes A Time"
I tried to will a Built to Spill song today, but my iPod-ESP was not working. (Must be the cold I'm suffering from.) In any event, the BTS song would have given me a chance to talk about the highlight of my weekend (non-family related, naturally). Since BTS didn't come around, I'll use Neil as a proxy -- because Doug Martsch and Co. do a rip-roaring "Cortez The Killer." So, yes, it's hard to believe this weekend had a highlight given that-thing-which-I-can-not-even-mention, but it did. I saw Built to Spill on Friday night. Photographic proof:

You want a review? Okay, here's a quickie: Holy fucking shit. Now, I have always been a huge fan of the 1996 album Perfect From Now On, but to see it performed in its entirety, in all its sonic brilliance and in all the intensity that Martsch delivers live - - I was downright moved. I think the album may have just cracked the all-time Top 10. Okay that's a nearly impossible list to make, but I will say Top 25 - - confidently. And to top it off, Dinosaur Jr. opened - - the reunited Dinosaur Jr. I'm not sure I've seen a band rock harder in the past few years. Amazing.
Ween - "A Tear For Eddie"
Bright Eyes - "Stray Dog Freedom"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 44
Song with the most previous plays: "The Bagman's Gambit" - 8
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: No sports section today - - baseball is dead to me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Creature Fear (Day 133)

Bob Mould - "Dreaming, I Am"
Albert Hammond, Jr. - "Bright Young Thing"
I'll say it: Albert Hammond Jr.'s solo music...way better than The Strokes. I, for one, hated The Strokes when they first broke. All that hype and I would listen to their music and think, That's It? The music sounded like garage rock-lite, to me, and Julian Casablancas voice sounded as if he was trying oh-so-hard to sound bored, disaffected, drunk and ultimately cool. But, on their later albums I started to come around a bit and found myself actually listening to 2006's First Impressions of Earth quite a bit. I think once the hype faded, I could enjoy them just for their music and I really like FOE's "Razorblade" quite a bit. (Incidentally, does anyone else hear the melody of Barry Manilow's "Mandy" when they listen to that song??) But none of it prepared me for AH Jr's debut, which is a great pop record - - all sunny hooks and golden grooves. I hear his second solo album, Como Te Llama, is a bit more Strokes-ian. Too bad.
Pavement - "Recorder Grot"
The Rolling Stones - "Stray Cat Blues"
Oakley Hall - "Free Radicals Lament"
Bon Iver - "Creature Fear"
X - "Present"
Outkast - "Flip Flop Rock"
Sloan - "Never Seeing The Ground For The Sky"
Sonny Rollins - "There Will Never Be Another You"
Cansei de Ser Sexy - "Meeting Paris Hilton"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 11
Total minutes of music (approx.): 45
Song with the most previous plays: "Creature Fear" - 9
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Sorry, still obsessing about the baseball. After a huge win last night, the Mets remain tied with Milwaukee for the Wild Card and ONE game behind the Phillies for the division. Three more games over the weekend should determine the outcome (weather permitting) of this most-tumultuous season. Some choice images from yesterday:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Prickly Thron, But Sweetly Worn (Day 132)

Tindersticks - "Piano Song"
Brightblack Morning Light - "Fry Bread"
David Bowie - "Ziggy Stardust"
Margot & The Nuclear So and So's - "Vampires In A Blue Dress"
I was digging this song this AM. But I don't know the band too well, except that they're one of those 8-or-so-piece pop collectives led by one musical protege. In this case his name is Richard Edwards - - and he's kinda like what I would imagine would result if Conor Oberst and Sufjan Stevens had a lovechild. Weird. And the band name? Fantastic. Made even better after I just read this moment that it comes from the Gwyneth Paltrow character, Margot, in Wes Anderson's Royal Tennebaums. Time for a gratuitous clip!

Eleventh Dream Day - "The Blindside"
The Kinks - "You Make It All Worthwhile --> Ordinary People --> Everybody's A Star" (live)
The White Stripes - "Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn"
Serge Gainsbourg - "Ballade de Melody Nelson"
More fun with names! This song comes from the Serge Gainsbourg album actually called Histoire de Melody Nelson. So, I don't speak French, or have a masterly knowledge of the career of Gainsbourg, so the identity of Melody has alluded me. A famous French debutante? Poet? Laundress? Take it away, Monsieur Wikipedia:

Melody Nelson is the fictional subject of a concept album, Histoire de Melody Nelson, by French musician Serge Gainsbourg.

Similar in concept to, if not based on, the infamous Vladimir Nabokov novel Lolita, the plot of the album concerns the protagonist's brief relationship with a teenage English girl named Melody Nelson, who he meets when his Rolls-Royce collides with her bicycle. They begin a passionate but short love affair, which ends when Melody dies in a plane crash.

She may have also been a topless ventriloquist. See album cover, below.

The Beastie Boys - "The Biz Vs. The Nuge"
The Walkmen - "Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga"
Son Volt - "Medicine Hat" (live)
The Beatles - "Good Day Sunshine"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 41
Song with the most previous plays: "Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn," "Fry Bread" - 6
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: What a difference a day makes: I. Hate. Baseball.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ostriches & Chirping (Day 131)

The Rolling Stones - "Brown Sugar"
It's never bad to kick-start your day with Mick and Co. Meanwhile, I've just been watching bits of the "unreleased" documentary Cocksucker Blues. Anybody ever see this? It chronicles the band's 1972 American tour, and it is seriously raw. It's literally a bunch of disconnected scenes featuring sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. And while that may all sound awesome, there is also an undercurrent of sadness and loneliness of this debauched life on the road. The band ultimately blocked the film's release (watch and you'll have a pretty good idea of why), but is been bootlegged for a long time and it's online - - naturally. There are clips on YouTube, but this site strings them together so you can watch it in its entirety. (By the way, another really good playlist today. I think I'm on a roll.)
The New Pornographers - "Breakin' The Law"
Yo La Tengo - "The Whole Of The Law"
The Beastie Boys - "14th St. Break"
Pavement - "Baptist Blacktick"
Ryan Adams - "Oh My Sweet Carolina"
Yo La Tengo - "The Summer"
Elliott Smith - "Ostriches & Chirping"
M Ward - "Seashell Tale"
Palace Brothers - "Pushkin"
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - "The Hill"
The Flying Burrito Brothers - "Hand To Mouth"
101ers - "Silent Telephone"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 40
Song with the most previous plays: "Ostriches & Chirping" - 7
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 8
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Still re-living the bittersweet experience of attending my last regular season (a guy can hope) game at Shea Stadium last night. It was a good game, and maybe it will point the team in the right direction for the final five games. My co-conspirator thinks this shot he took warrants posting on the blog. And I agree.

Shea goodbye...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Walking Stick (Day 130)

Wilco - "My Darling"
What a difference a day makes. Maybe it was just my mood, but today's playlist was so solid it felt like there was no way it could truly be random. The songs were all great and they flowed seamlessly. Kicking it off was this very Beatle-esque Wilco tune from Summer Teeth.
Deadboy And Elephant - "Walking Stick"
Who knew this band, which normally hits you over the head like any good garage band, actually has a more mellow moment? This is it...and another nice song to start my morning.
Belle & Sebastian - "To Be Myself Completely"
While it's Stuart Murdoch's band, this is a nice vocal turn by Stevie Jackson that revs things up a little bit in that swinging B&S way.
Low - "Walk Into The Sea"
Can a song be mellow and rock at the same time? Yes, says Low - - again and again.
Dirty Three - "Hope"
The highlight of today's set by far. It could be that I haven't really listened to this Australian trio in a while, but it really was great to hear this AM. If you don't know Dirty Three, they're pretty unique. A guitarist, drummer and violinist create these really cool, and mostly mournful-sounding instrumentals, which, although downbeat, seem to pick me up. Horse Stories from 1996 is a great album to start with... if you're interested.
Sufjan Stevens - "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!"
Great song from Come On Feel The Illionoise, it has a kind of disco feel. Seriously. Anybody else hear the similarities with Go To Heaven era Grateful Dead? Oh wait, did I just write that?
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - "If You Want Me"
Yes, I liked the movie. Yes, I like the songs. How can you not?
Devendra Banhart - "Heard Somebody Say"
Say what you will about Devendra (and I too have described him as annoying), but this is a pretty beautiful song. And that line "I heard somebody say // that the war ended today // but everybody knows it's going still," is a ripped-from-the-headlines heartbreaker.
Pavement - "Frontwards" (live)
This is the one song that didn't seem to fit in stylistically with the rest of today's set, but you know what? It doesn't matter, because it's "Frontwards"! By Pavement. One. Of. The. Best. Songs. Ever.

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 9
Total minutes of music (approx.): 33
Song with the most previous plays: "Waling Stick" - 8
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 8
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Okay, if you love baseball (like me!) and arcane baseball stories (me too!), do yourself a favor and read this article from today's NY Times. Need some incentive to click that link. Okay, here's one graph:
On the afternoon of Oct. 8, an enormous crowd engulfed the Polo Grounds, willing to do anything to see a game that would decide the pennant. They teetered along Coogan’s Bluff above the ballpark; climbed up on the grandstand roof; perched on the elevated train viaduct out past left field. One man fell to his death from the el; another fell from a telegraph pole and broke his neck. A wedge of fans broke through a wooden fence into the outfield and had to be pushed back by mounted police. Later, they tried setting the fence on fire.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Notion (Day 129)

Lou Reed - "Good Evening , Mr. Waldheim"
Belle & Sebastian - "The Wrong Girl"
Coleman Hawkins - "Spotlite"
Beirut - "Interlude" (live)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "Hold On To Yourself"
Karl Blau - "Notion"
Sleater- Kinney - "Entertain"
Jack Johnson - "Jungle Gym"
M Ward - "So Much Water"
Not a lot to share today. Another
big meh from me for today's playlist. Are these shorter playlists ruining the flow? We'll see. Maybe I need some fresh blood. A few artists that have piqued my interest after surfing the music blog circuit of late: The New Year, Horse Feathers, new Jenny Lewis, new Okervill River. Anything else I should be checking out?

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 9
Total minutes of music (approx.): 35
Song with the most previous plays: "Notion" - 8
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 5
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I feel compelled to reveal the truth about the coffee cake muffin my daughter gets every day on the way to the bus for school: She takes a few minuscule bites, I eat it on the subway. This, combined with a total of exactly 0 hours in the gym per week, is not going to be good...

Friday, September 19, 2008

See The Light (Day 128)

Tortoise - "A Survey"
Sparklehorse - "See The Light"
Galaxie 500 - "Blue Thunder"
R.E.M. - "Strange Currencies" (live)
The Books - "Bonanza"
Rilo Kiley - "Accidental Death"
Bob Dylan - "Ballad Of A Thin Man" (live)
The Flaming Lips - "There You Are - Jesus Song No. 7"
I was not loving today's playlist at all. I'd just dropped my daughter at school, and was a bit stressed out due to her clinginess and reluctance for me to leave. (It was only her fifth day, so separation anxiety is obviously going to linger, but still...) That first song often sets the tone for a day's music and the Tortoise tune above left me bored and certainly didn't help get my mind off our morning. From there I continued to underwhelmed... and then there was this song - - it flat-out irritated me. Now, I'm an admitted late adopter of The Flaming Lips (Yoshimi), so the early stuff like this song off of 1990's In A Priest Driven Ambulance is relatively new to me. So when I heard this mellow ballad featuring Wayne Coyne and an acoustic guitar intercut with some other loud, squalling song, I assumed it was just part of their "art." But, oh, how annoying! Back and forth, like a skipping record it alternated between these two completely dissimilar songs. This isn't art, I screamed (in my head), this is crap! Yeah, so, only now, going over the playlist, did it dawn on me that that might not have been the song, but actually some iPod glitch causing this strange cross-pollination of tunes. I found the same song online, and, sure enough, it's really just supposed to be that pleasant acoustic jam. The file is just corrupted. How annoying is that?
The Who - "The Real Me"
Nada Surf - "Treading Water" (live)

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 39
Song with the most previous plays: "See The Light" - 8
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 3
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I haven't really mentioned the Mets. Mostly because I don't know what to say. They are hanging on to a playoff spot, their sanity and fans' loyalty by a thread. I'm sure come Monday I'll have more to share - - be it joy or pain.

Yes, Jose. I'm talking to you.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Civil Disobedience (Day 127)

DJ Shadow - "Giving Up The Ghost"
X - "Turn My Head"
Camper Van Beethoven - "Civil Disobedience"
This song from Camper Van Beethoven's 2004 reunion album New Roman Times, is a good one. But it doesn't really sound like CVB to me. In fact, every time I hear it, I think it's actually a Cracker tune. It's got David Lowery's unmistakable voice, but the straight-ahead rock sound doesn't echo the ska/punk weirdness that made Camper Van Beethoven so unique. But, whatever the name of the band, I do like the results. And even though I've heard this song quite a bit (12 times by iTunes' calculations), I wasn't really sure about its shadowy message of disobedience. A quick check of allmusic reveals that
New Roman Times is a "a loosely connected semi-rock opera telling the story of a Texas teenager who joins the military after a 9/11-like event, becomes disillusioned, and joins an anti-government militia..." Huh, you don't say? This revelation sort of highlights the way I listen to music. I admit, lyrics tend to wash over me. I feel guilty about it, but sometimes they become background to the music. It's doubly strange because I think of myself as a literary person, so you'd think I'd be more attune to the words. There are exceptions, naturally, and this blog has actually forced me listen harder to lyrics because they can be a real source of inspiration. But somehow they still remain second-class citizens next to the music. Does anyone else feel this way?
Danielson - "Cast It At The Setting Sail"
Paul Westerberg - "My Dad"
Tom Waits - "All The Tome"
Miles Davis - "Pee Wee"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 7
Total minutes of music (approx.): 34
Song with the most previous plays: "Civil Disobedience" - 12
*How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Well... since I sent so much time blogging about my dog K.C.'s little incident yesterday, I figured I'd snap a pic of her this morning so anyone interested can see her "new" ear. My poor Franken-pooch.

*Back by popular demand. Okay, one person demanded, but you have to reward loyal readers. Thanks, Sarah.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Diggin' A Grave (Day 126)

Wolf Parade - "Bang Your Drum"
Albert Hammond, Jr. - "Scared"
Gang Of Four - "5.45"
Micah P. Hinson - "Diggin' A Grave"
Ry Cooder - "Green Dog"
This one goes out to my dog, K.C. (Note: How weird that I mentioned I wanted to tell a dog story, and a dog song pops up on the shuffle?) She's not green, but she certainly felt a gentle shade of pea walking home from the vet last night with me, still under the effects of anaesthesia. Oh, right, and with only half of her right ear. Poor girl. It was a rough day for all of us yesterday, worst for her. Basically I take her to the park every morning for a little exercise. She roams around off leash - - which is perfectly legal before 9 a.m. She does have a bit of a dominant personality and is no stranger to letting other dogs know who's boss - - especially those stupid little ones. (She's a 65 pound uber-mutt. Part lab, part shepherd, part whatever else.) What brings out the worst in her (and a lot of dogs for that matter) is meeting up with another dog on a leash when she's off leash (or vice versa). So...we both spy a dog across the way who is about K.C.'s size, but on a leash. K.C. crouches down and does her I'm-going-to-give-that-dog-a-piece-of-my-mind pose. This happens often, but K.C. usually barks at the other dog and moves on. This time they got into. First K.C. barked, but then the other dog practically jumped out of its skin, barking and jawing in K.C.'s face. I called her and she almost immediately came - - but the damage was done. As we walked away, I glanced down at her and saw a lot of blood on her ear. The tip was partially torn off and dangling. I spun around to tell the other dog's owner that her dog bit mine, but she immediately started yelling at me about keeping my dog on leash etc. At this point, I was really most concerned with getting K.C. home and then to the vet, so I didn't have the wherewithal to argue with her. (For the record: I think the "fault" in this situation was with both dogs. Yes, K.C. shouldn't have run up and started barking at that dog. But I know, from having her for 5 1/2 years that this is just what she does and she is not violent or menacing. In fact usually she wants to play - - albeit a little rough. And, she's not the one who did the biting! ipodwidow, naturally, blames me and thinks I should never let K.C. near another dog on leash...) We did go to the vet, but not before she shook her bloody head so many times that I wound up looking like the killer in a slasher flick. Sadly the piece of ear could not be saved and they had to snip it off and suture her up. (You don't want to know who much that cost.) I guess it adds character...but look how cute she was. Sorry, K.C. is.

Radiohead - "Dollars & Cents"
Pavement - "Saganaw"
Rufus Wainwright - "In My Arms"
Mercury Rev - "Opus 40"
Weezer - "Automatic"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 40
Song with the most previous plays: "Diggin' A Grave" - 8
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Day 2 of taking my daughter to school, and she's found her favorite part of our trip: coffee cake muffin!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunny Old Sun (Day 125)

Dan Zanes - "Sunny Old Sun"
Oh man, what a freaking morning. Something horrible and something great happened - - all before I go to work! And unfortunately I don't have time to give either story justice. The gist of the bad: My dog got bitten (or is it bit?) by another dog. She's fine, but let's just say one ear will always be a little shorter than the other. The gist of the good: Took my daughter to her second-ever day of school. Which was great, and less traumatizing for either of us than I thought. (One programming note: The WILTOMWTWT playlists will probably be a bit shorter from now on. The plan is for me to take her to school every day - - which I'm totally looking forward to. But that also means we have to walk to a city bus and then ride about 10 minutes to her school. After dropping her off, I'll be near a different subway line that gets me to work faster than normal. Less music, but think of all the Kids Say The Darndest Things-type blog material!)
The Beatles - "If I Needed Someone"
The Rolling Stones - "Prodigal Son"
Lucinda Williams - "Out Of Touch" (live)
Television - "Marquee Moon"
Mercury Rev - "Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp"
Coleman Hawkins - "April In Paris"
Weezer - "Troublemaker"
The Black Keys - "Remember When"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 9
Total minutes of music (approx.): 35
Song with the most previous plays: "Sunny Old Sun" - 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: See above.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sugarcoated (Day 124)

Richard Thompson - "Cressida"
Cansei De Ser Sexy - "Off The Hook"
Rivers Cuomo - "Superfriend"
Sonic Youth - "Fire Engine Dream"
Aimee Mann - "Sugarcoated"
The White Stripes - "Hand Springs"
My Morning Jacket - "Run Thru" (live)
It's not that MMJ is Pink Floyd-like, really. But, there is an instrumental stretch in "Run Thru," especially live, where the low-rumble of the guitar and the tom-tom drum churns along hypnotically, punctuated by the occasional cymbal crash that does feel eerily reminiscent of that great jam, "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" (Live at Pompeii version, obviously). Why am I making this random - - although I think pretty apt - - comparison? To pay tribute to Richard Wright, obviously. The Floyd founding member and keyboard player died today at the age of 65. Sadly, there is no Pink Floyd on my iPod, and admittedly I haven't listened to a lot of their music in the past, oh, 15 years. But, rewind to to the late 80s and you'd find my high school book bag painted with a Floyd montage (thanks, Bernie!) and plenty of late-night Floyd listening parties with, err, buds. Their is no denying the mystic powers of prog rock and psychedelia on a young mind. And this news made me nostalgic and a bit hungry for some PF. The stuff that I have listened to a bit over the years is probably the less commercial early Floyd that didn't get the life sucked out of it by classic rock radio: Ummagumma, Meddle, Atom Heart Mother, etc. (Actually "One Of These Days" on Meddle is probably an all-time great instrumental, and you can thank Mr. Wright for some searing keyboard.) Here's the video for "Set The Controls...," from Pompeii. Look for Wright (and some oh-so-70s special effects at 5:04).

The Beatles - "Let It Be"
The Apples In Stereo - "Can You Feel It?"
Takka Takka - "The Native Astronaut Grows Restless"
Dinosaur Jr. - "It's Me"
Ryan Adams - "Night Birds"
My Morning Jacket - "Donate" (live)

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 58
Song with the most previous plays: "Sugarcoated" - 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Jeez, not to make it death day at WILTOMWTWT, but I did have to sadly read about the tragic suicide of David Foster Wallace too. In addition to his fiction, be sure to check out his non-fiction reporting, including this great piece on the luxury cruise industry (subscription required, sorry). Also, for laughs, read this.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The El (Day 123)

The Replacements - "Talent Show"
Midlake - "Some Of Them Are Superstitious"
The American Analog Set - "The Postman"
Versus - "I'll Be You"
Rhett Miller - "The El"
The Fiery Furnaces - "Though Let's Be Fair"
Neko Case - "I Missed The Point"
Giant Sand - "Mope-A-Long"
Miles Davis - "Pinocchio" (alternate take)
Nice to hear some jazz pop up in the morning again. Although there's a fair amount on the iPod, it feels like it's been hiding. This laid-back tune is from Miles' 1968 album Nefertiti. It's actually one of his last acoustic records before the influence of rock acts like
Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family led him to add guitars and keyboards to the mix - - a period I appreciate less than his early bop. But the real thing I want to talk about here is Pinocchio, as in the children's story. Anybody read this recently? Holy shit, it's nuts! Forget the Disney version with the puppet whose nose grows if he tells a lie, that's barely the half of it. Carlo Collodi's original story reads like a bad acid trip. I can't even remember all the details, because its been a few months since my daughter was into reading it at bedtime. But this is really no children's story. There are feuding woodworkers, death, rogue thieves, charlatans, fighting, mutant donkeys, a flesh-eating fisherman, killer sharks and more. It's dark!

Forget this:

Think this:

Ween - Candi
Silkworm - "Drunk"
Prince - "Head"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 51
Song with the most previous plays: "The El" - 14
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Nothing like taking the subway to work in NYC the day after 9/11 and seeing about 8 cops with assault rifles and bomb sniffing dogs get on the same train as you. I tried to get a photo, but it didn't work out. You can almost make out some fuzzy cops in the middle. In any case, it's still kind of a cool shot - - in an abstract way. (Oh, and attention Karl Rove: If these cops are just part of your plan to scare Americans into voting with their frayed nerves instead of their brain, it ain't gonna work! I hope.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Guest Room (Day 122)

Frank Black - "Golden Shore"
The Raconteurs - "Top Yourself"
Clem Snide - "Joan Jett Of Arc"
Johnny Cash - "Gentle On My Mind"
Interpol - "All Fired Up"
Belle & Sebastian - "Don't Leave The Light On Baby"
Stereolab - "Double Rocker"
The Clash - "Clash City Rockers"
Stereolab - "Rainbo Conversation"
There were definitely some new titles on today's playlist. In fact, the average number of previous plays for all the songs I listened to was: 2.27. Wow, that's some fresh meat. Making rare appearances were: Interpol, Clem Snide, and Stereolab - - which showed up not one, but two times. Strangely, on paper this British band doesn't seem like something I'd like: Electronic, dance beats, Marxist philosophy sung in French, etc. And yet the sum of its parts is a kitschy and groovy thing all its own. It took the live show to hook me. They opened for Yo La Tengo at NYC's
Tramps in 1996, and what sounds repetitive and drone-like at times on record, becomes a very cool, almost trance-like, experience live. I tend to think of them as the electronic version of My Bloody Valentine, in that they transcend repetition to create something organic and cool. Or something. The band's high water mark was probably the album Emperor Tomato Ketchup which came out that same year that I saw them live. Your Stereolab fun fact o' the day: ETK is named after a 1971 avant garde Japanese film. Meanwhile, in confirming the date of the show, I came across one person's review of Yo La Tengo's performance that was trapped on some list-serve archived on the Web. (Translation: This was pre-blog, people.) Anyway, it's cool to read a fan's first impressions of a show that I was probably too drunk to properly remember. (Sorry for the weird formatting.)
stretched out a lot...several new numbers at least as abstract as most of
_Painful_. They opened quietly with "Superstar-Watcher" then blasted into a
cover of Wire's "Too Late" (from _Chairs Missing_). They did a few from
_Painful_, including frenzied organ meltdowns on "Sudden Organ" and "Big Day
Coming" and a great version of "Double Dare." Only "Satellite" and an
utterly brilliant version on "Five-Cornered Drone (Crispy Duck)" from _May I
Sing With Me_. They encored with "I Threw It All Away" and "I Heard Her Call
My Name" (!!!), which at least matched the VU version in freakout intensity.
In fact, they were doing a lot of the freakout/feedback stuff that night
My Morning Jacket - "I Think I'm Going To Hell" (live)
The National - "Guest Room"

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: "Guest Room" - 4
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I felt about 14 pounds lighter than yesterday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Daddy Day Care (Day 121)

Yup, that's me. Along with my 5-and-a-half-month-old son. And we're both on the way to work! Perhaps you've heard: it's not easy for two working parents to raise two kids. (Good luck, CP!) My best advice is you have to roll with it. So today, due to scheduling issues, my youngest got to take the trip to the office with me. And after ipodwidow finished her work appointment, she came and picked him up. He was only at my office for an hour or so, but It was a lot of fun. (Fun fact for dads: Women in your office will drop whatever they're doing and come hang out with you and your baby. Not too shabby.) But even though he slept in the Moby Wrap baby carrier the whole way in, listening to my iPod, and not the deep, restful breathing of my still infant son, seemed wrong. When we got to the office, he was his happy, smiling self and I played a little music to stimulate those young ears. To be honest, I haven't been pushing music on him the way I did his sister at his age. Mostly because he's much more mellow and doesn't need constant rocking, singing and aural stimulation to get him to go to sleep. Still I should probably make more of an effort. The Bruce Springsteen Seeger Sessions album always seems like a good starter kit. I love the big folk band sound, and the renditions of the classics (many recorded by Pete Seeger) are informal and inviting - - for kids and adults. The little man cooed and giggled in my lap, while I checked some emails...
Bruce Springsteen - "Old Dan Tucker"
Bruce Springsteen - "Jesse James"
Bruce Springsteen - "Mrs. McGrath"
Bruce Springsteen - "O Mary Don't You Weep"
Bruce Springsteen - "John Henry"
Bruce Springsteen - "Erie Canal"
Bruce Springsteen - "Jacob's Ladder"
Bruce Springsteen - "My Old Kentucky Home"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 0
Total minutes of music (approx.): 0
Song with the most previous plays: n/a
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): n/a
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: A very small child was attached to my chest.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hard To Love A Man (Day 120)

Kings Of Convenience - "Toxic Girl"
Wilco - "Heavy Metal Drummer" (live)
Pete Yorn - "Ez"
Mose Allison - "I Don't Worry About A Thing"
The Fratellis - "Henrietta"
Gary Louris - "Omaha Nights"
Taj Mahal - "Keep Your Hands Off Her"
Magnolia Electric Co. - "Hard To Love A Man"
Conor Oberst - "Moab"
The Thorns - "Runaway Feeling"
I thought this was a pretty great playlist today, especially this stretch from Gary Louris to The Throns that made me think Cosmic American Music is alive and well. Gram Parsons, of course, came up with that term to refer to his own brand of country and folk mixed with gospel and soul. He was specifically referring to the covers of the R&B classics "Do Right Woman" and "The Dark End of the Street" that appeared on the 1969 Flying Burrito Brothers album The Gilded Palace of Sin, but I like the term as a stand-in for Americana. I mean, look closely at these 5 songs: Gary Louris is a granddad of the alt country movement as a founding member of The Jayhawks. (New album, btw, is good, not great.) Taj Mahal is best known for the blues mixed with African beats and this song is from an album released (remarkably)
the same year as The Gilded Palace of Sin. So while Parsons and Co. were twang-ing up the soul, he was funk-ing up the blues. The Magnolia Electric Co. song from the great 2005 album What Comes After The Blues is straight out of the tradition of Neil Young and Crazy Horse (I know he's Canadian, roll with it people), slow, plodding, countri-fied. Conor Oberst's new album seems to have stripped away a lot of the artifice of Bright Eyes in a good way and feels a lot like a latter day Flying Burrito Brothers record. His backing band on the record is even called Mystic Valley Band - - sounds cosmic to me. The final song in this set-within-a-set is from a band that I really trashed a while back. But somehow coming on the heels of these other tunes, it was like dessert. The harmonies and the lush acoustic strumming are syrupy sweet, but suddenly I was seeing what the band (Matthew Sweet, et al) was aiming for: an American Traveling Wilburys. All of these songs are not exactly of the same genre, but they are pretty damn close. And I think they are all firmly rooted in the same tradition that probably wouldn't mind being referred to as Cosmic American Music. Thanks, Gram.

Broken Social Scene - "Handjobs For The Holidays"
The Rolling Stones - "Emotional Rescue"
Weezer - "The Other Way"
Sloan - "I've Gotta Try"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 49
Song with the most previous plays: "Hard To Love A Man" - 8
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 8
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: ipodwidow took the front section of my NY Times, so I didn't have the pleasure of reading about (apologies to Huey Lewis) this new drug until I got to work. Say hello to Salvia divinorum, and then just say "no" - - of course.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Coupla Easy Things (Day 119)

The Walkmen - "The Rat"
The Clash - "I Fought The Law"
O'Death - "Ground Stump"
The Arcade Fire - "Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)"
Dixie Chicks - "So Hard"
The Roots - "I Can't Help It"
The Kinks - "Sitting By The Riverside"
I think a song off of The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society also played last week, and both then and now I made a mental note of how nicely these tunes have aged. I think a large part of it has to do with the popularity of folkie, pastoral music right now. I mean Fleet Foxes (of which I can, seriously, not get enough) are sorting of doing the same thing thematically on their debut as the Kinks 1968 album which was conceived as an homage to British hamlet life. Today, anything goes, but you can imagine in 1968 that this record would have been met with a lot of blank stares. The other big Brit bands were putting out songs like "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Hey Jude" and "Magic Bus," while Ray Davies was singing about the bucolic landscape in "Animal Farm" or singing about just sitting by the riverside, literally, in this song. Man, I said it before, and I'll say it again: The Kinks are so damn underrated. And, just because, here's some guy playing the song on the ukulele.

Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros - "Mega Bottle Ride"
Pixies - "Isla De Encanta" (live)
Gnarls Barkley - "Storm Coming"
Rivers Cuomo - "Ooh"
Son Volt - "Driving The View"
Coleman Hawkins - "You Met Miss Jones"
Bishop Allen - "Coupla Easy Things"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 14
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "Coupla Easy Things" - 9
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Forgot to grab my NY Times from the front stoop this morning. Desperate for reading material, I found an old copy of Cook's Illustrated in my bag. This worked out quite well, because now I know how to improve herbed roast chicken. Let me just say the secret of total flavor infusion lies in three simple steps: butterfly, press and score.

Friday, September 5, 2008

White Fluffy Clouds (Day 118)

DJ Danger Mouse - "Dirt Off Your Shoulder"
No time for commentary today. Sorry, folks. More tomorrow.
Tortoise - "The Equator"
Pavement - "Mercy: The Laundromat"
The Fiery Furnaces - "Forty-Eight Twenty-Three Twenty-Second Street"
Minutemen - "On Trial"
Billy Bragg and Wilco - "Joe Dimaggio Done It Again"
Oneida - "Reckoning"
Devendra Banhart - "Lunda De Margarita"
Camper Van Beethoven - "White Fluffly Clouds"
Versus - "Thera"
Tom Waits - "Martha"
The Killers - "Read My Mind"
Bill Evans - "Gloria's Step" (Take 3)

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 13
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "The Equator," "White Fluffy Clouds" (tie) - 6
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 5
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I'll try and keep things a little more apolitical. If I don't, I may burst a blood vessel before Nov. 4.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Needle Has Landed (Day 117)

New Radiant Storm King - "New Math"
The White Stripes - "Let's Shake Hands" (live)
Maritime - "If All My Days Go By"
Blur - "Sweet Song"
Rilo Kiley - "Execution Of All Things"
Smog - "No Dancing"
The Kooks - "Sofa Song"
Red House Painters - "Revelation Big Sur"
Pavement - "Recorder Grot"
What I find most interesting about today's playlist is that I was trying to inject some new life into the shuffle - - and so was iPod! Let me explain: I'm starting to think that even with 11,200 songs, the same core artists pop up every day making things a bite same-y. In addition, a comment by loyal reader comoprozac led me to believe that I'm not fully representing the breadth of my musical tastes. I can't remember exactly what CP said, but I think he was wondering how much of my music collection is absent from the iPod. The short answer is: a lot! I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, I just figured a blog about What I Listen To should probably be more complete. The fact is, most of the music on my iPod is either new stuff I've collected in the past few years, interesting things I've ripped from other people, or stuff I've had the time/inclination to upload from a pretty sizable collection of CDs and records (the tapes are history, unfortunately) that I've been stockpiling since about 1980. (The same year, incidentally, that Billy Joel's Glass Houses came out ...no, I'm not proud.) So what does this have to do with this noisy Pavement tune from the collection of early recordings Westing (By Musket and Sextant)? Well, I just uploaded it yesterday. I know what you're thinking, still not showing much more diversity here, GE. True. But I just grabbed a few things on the way to the office (including New Radiant Storm King, another lo-fi 90s band that never got the attention they deserved, and which also popped up on today's list!). I just thought that it was interesting that two songs from newly uploaded music immediately found their way into the shuffle. I guess iPod was getting bored too. Hopefully we'll both be re-energized as I add more oldies, but goodies.
Wilco - "Someone Else's Song"
Neko Case - "The Needle Has Landed"
Nirvana - "Anorexorcist"
Outkast - "Interlude"
Nick Lowe - "Rome Wasn't Built In A Day"
Nirvana - "Do Re Mi"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 15
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "The Needle Has Landed," "Sofa Song" (tie) - 9
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 7
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I think my blood was still boiling from watching the smug parade of half-truths last night. Thank goodness for The Daily Show.

Update: Thank goodness for...Diddy?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Get It Like You Like It (Day 116)

Islands - "Rough Gem"
The White Stripes - "The Same Boy You've Always Known" (live)
Minutemen - "The Big Blast For Youth" (live)
Gang Of Four - "To Hell With Poverty" (live)
That is kind of an odd trio of very punk-y live recordings that popped up in consecutive order today. I guess The White Stripes tune is not that strange (good song from White Blood Cells), but unfortunately I don't know where this particular recording comes from. I ripped it from a co-worker who had a bunch of tunes simply labeled "White Strips B-Sides" - - but I don't think this is any kind of official release. The there's the Minutemen. What a wild, raucous piece of music. Now just about everything this punk trio touched was raucous, but this track has a stinging cacophony highlighted by a very James Chance-like avant garde blast of saxophone near the end. I was digging it. Meanwhile, I have it on the Post-Mersh, Vol. 3 compilation, but it originally appeared on 1984's The Politics of Time and was recorded
September 24, 1983 at the Longshormen's [sic] Ball in Wilmington, CA. And then, finally, this very groovy recording by Gang of Four from a 1979 Peel Session that's not quite as urgent as their other stuff, but still totally post-punk.
Mercury Rev - "Endlessly"
Just a note here about what was a tough transition: I occasionally enjoy the dream pop of this Buffalo-band. But when you're getting your day started nicely with some punk rock (and have only had 2 of the necessary 4-5 cups of coffee), a song that steals the melody from "Silent Night," yet manages to make that X-mas tune sound like a rave highlight, is not going to go over well. Zzzz
The Hold Steady - "Lord, I'm Discouraged"
Sparklehorse - "Knives Of Summertime"
DJ Shadow - "Why Hip Hop Sucks in '96"
The Wrens - "Yellow Number Three"
The Clash - "Hateful"
Ben Harper - "Get It Like You Like It"
Nirvana "Polly" (demo)
Tom Waits - "Fannin Street"
The Kinks - "Big Sky"
The Elected - "Go On"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 15
Total minutes of music (approx.): 49
Song with the most previous plays: "Get It Like You Like It" - 7
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: There is so much crazy wrapped up in McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, but I will limit myself to one jaw-dropper I read in the NY Times on the way in today:

Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.

Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said.

The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.

Excuse me, book-banning? Don't let the librarian glasses fool you...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Black (Day 115)

Stars - "What I'm Trying To Say"
Teenage Fanclub - "Tears Are Cool"
Talking Heads - "Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town"
Camera Obscura - "Tears For Affairs"
fIREHOSE - "Hear Me"
Dolorean - "You Can't Win"
Eleventh Dream Day - "For Everything"
Lucinda Williams - "Words Fell" (live)
Okkervil River - "Black"
The Beatles - "Octopus's Garden"
Sorry... I don't have much time today, so just one quick anecdote from the long weekend. We were spending Monday afternoon on this lovely beach next to a lake (a perfect end to summer), when one of the lifeguards came by asking everyone if they minded the music that the she and her friends were playing. But oddly, her exact words were, "I want to make sure no one minds The Beatles." Wha? First of all,
how nice to ask? Secondly, she's only about 17, so the fact that they're even playing The Beatles renews some faith in humanity. And third of all, does anyone really mind The Beatles? Aren't they, like, they only universally appreciated band on the planet? It's pretty much like pizza, no?
Teddy Thompson - "Sorry To See Me Go"
Belle & Sebastian - "The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 12
Total minutes of music (approx.): 46
Song with the most previous plays: "Black" - 10
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 8
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: I wanted to get my haircut before work, but it just didn't work out.