Friday, February 20, 2009

How Should It Be (Sha Sha) [Day 190]

Bruce Springsteen - "Thunder Road" (live)
Weird little playlist today: Started out with this uber-recognizable ditty and then devolved into one of those, "Wait, is that...?" kind of scenarios for just about every other song. How about this song though? It may be on that nearly impossible list to ever tabulate: Best Songs Of All-Time. Do you think it's even possible to make you a Top 10 Favorite Songs list? I say no. Ten is just not fair. One hundred seems much more plausible - - but it would be so damn hard. So "Thunder Road" would clearly be on my Top 100 (maybe even Top 20) would Golden Earring's "Radar Love." There, I said it. So, back to "Thunder Road." This is the live version from the fairly recent Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 release. It's a great solo, piano version. And, seriously, what other song (or book or poem, for that matter) captures a feeling of trying to escape small-town despair and being on the precipice of freedom and romantic adventure better? The answer is no song.
Os Mutantes - "Balada do louco"
Yardbirds - "Little Games"
James - "Burn The Cat"
Ben Kweller - "How Should It Be (Sha Sha)"
The Hold Steady - "Navy Sheets"
John Vanderslice - "White Plains"
Feist - "Brandy Alexander"
Stephen Malkmus - "Troubbble"
The American Analog Set - "Jr"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 36
Song with the most previous plays: "How Should It Be (Sha Sha)" - 12
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: My last trip to work for a week. Vacation next week. See ya!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Busted (Day 189)

Vetiver - "Busted"
Yo La Tengo - "Daphnia"
Nirvana - "Lithium"
Here's my thought for the day. (And to be clear, you're lucky I have even a single thought. Sorry to slide into daddy blog mode again, but day 2 of the single parent experiment was a great big FAIL. Poor little A vomited all the contents of his baby stomach - - more than you'd probably imagine - - all over himself and his crib around 9:45pm. Occasional vomiting and much sleeplessness followed - - for him both, for me the latter. Now back to the program...) Is "produced" still a dirty word in music? I guess somewhere around the 90s lo-fi craze of Neutral Milk Hotel, Sebadoh, GBV etc., saying something sounded "produced" was almost akin to saying "it sucks monkey balls." Of course that was never really true. And this song just jumped out at me this morning as Exhibit A. Oh man, the production on "Lithium" sounds good: clean electric guitar riffs, pristine vocals, and the quiet spaces in between making room for the crashing chorus. Really this whole record was a thing of beauty in the production department. Of course all credit is due Butch Vig
(who also twiddled the knobs on The Smashing Pumpkins' Gish.) According to Wikipedia, Vig "incorporated overdubs and vocal doubletracking, whereas Nirvana's previous album, Bleach (produced by Jack Endino) had a more 'lo-fi' sound. Kurt Cobain originally refused to double-track his vocals and guitars but Vig reportedly got him to comply by saying 'John Lennon double-tracked'." It also goes on to mention that Kurt later criticized the album's slickness, although that's a bitter pill to swallow considering the enormous success. Although we all know how ambivalent he was about that... Anyhow, I think the stigma is pretty much gone today, don't you? Bands like Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective and even Flaming Lips seem to pretty much craft their sound in the production end of things. Then again, I'm no expert. Least of all today.
TV On The Radio - "Shout Me Out"
Gnarls Barkley - "The Boogie Monster"
Bob Dylan - "Highway 61 Revisited"
Luna - "That's What You Always Say"
Whiskeytown - "Reasons To Lie"
Coldplay - "We Never Change"

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: "Busted" - 6
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 8
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Windy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Don't Go Down (Day 188)

Silkworm - "Don't Make Plans This Friday"
Elliott Smith - "Don't Go Down"
The Beastie Boys - "High Plains Drifter"
Pinback - "Shag"
Son Volt - "Adrenaline and Heresy"
The Go-Betweens - "Born To A Family"
The National - "Beautiful Head"
The Polyphonic Spree - "Section 24 [The Fragile Army]"
Honestly, I was half asleep on my way to work today. ipodwidow is out of town so I'm doing single parent duty for a couple of nights. No biggie, but it's nice to share the load with someone else when a certain 10-month-old wakes up at 12:26 AM seemingly convinced in his still-developing brain that it's morning. It took an hour-and-a-half to change his mind. Anyway, this was the first song to kind of wake me out of my stupor. I never noticed until today how Bowie-like the Spree are. There's that exaggerated drama of art rock and even the vocals have a DB-like tinge. The drama is in spades too. Spare opening piano, followed by booming chorus and even theatrical bits like the sound of typing make this song a lot of fun.
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - "Firecracker" (live)
Thelonious Monk - "Well You Needn't"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 10
Total minutes of music (approx.): 47
Song with the most previous plays: "Don't Go Down" - 10
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 6
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Some of the kids in my daughter's class apparently dictated to their teachers the story behind some pictures they'd drawn. My kids' was longer than the others. Sorry I couldn't get the actual picture in the frame too, but please note the monster's healthy alternative to eating other children.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

FAIL (Day 187)

Saw the Apple logo for a fleeting moment this morning - - and then the screen went blank. It wasn't even followed by the low battery icon. Could this be the last days of the iPod? Aww, wouldn't that be sad? Considering my phone is also on the brink of death, I just might have to get one device that combines both phone and iPod functionality. If only they made such a device. What? They do? Eureka!

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: Okay, truth be told. The real reason I even bothered blogging today is because I wanted to post this sweet little photo I took with my phone this AM while walking the dog.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Guest Room (Day 186)

Weezer - "Take Control"
The New Pornographers - "My Rights Versus Yours"
The Thrills - "Saturday Night"
Sparklehorse - "Return To Me"
Keane - "Try Again"
Dolorean - "Just Don't Leave Town"
We interrupt this quasi-music blog for a quasi-movie entry. Basically even though there are a plethora of good songs today on this gym-lengthened playlist, I just feel like I have to comment on the 1975 classic Jaws. What happened was, as I hit the treadmill and got set to do a little running to music, I did a little channel surfing on the machine first. Jaws was on, and I couldn't resist. I have probably seen this move nearly 100 times and it is still so insanely watchable it's borderline ridiculous. Although at 3 I was too young to see it in the theaters obviously, I can vividly remember my mother talking about her reaction to it. She was so scared that she had to get up and go to the lobby as soon as she heard even one bar of John Williams famous score. I got around to it on the ol' VCR (remember those). We were an early adopter in our house and this was definitely one of the first movies we owned. At first I too was scared for obvious reasons. The scene that always got me was when Brody and Hooper find the remains of Ben Gardner's fishing boat and Hoop goes down to inspect the hull only to find a bug-eyed and semi-decomposed head of Benny still lodged in the hatch. That's a run-of-the-mill shocker, but most of the fear comes from the dread - - heightened by the score, right mom? But there is so much more to this movie than cheap horror gags. Upon repeated viewings with my friend CB (and when I say repeated I mean dozens and dozens), it was the humor that stuck with us. This movie is freaking funny in parts. There is a slight moment that for some reason always cracked me up: After Quint squishes a beer can, the egghead Hooper crushes his coffee cup, mocking the old fisherman's machismo. Such a throwaway moment, but not only is it funny, it goes a long way towards developing the two opposing characters. It's seriously storytelling at its finest, and truth be told I (like millions of other kids) wanted to be Steven Spielberg when I grew up. Oh well. In case you've forgotten or - - egads! - - never seen it, behold one of the scenes I saw today while at the gym and how incredible both Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider are - - even on dry land. Keep an eye on Scheider pouring the wine at about 2:12 and Dreyfuss' line about "letting in breathe." Classic.

Spoon - "Don't You Evah"
Vetiver - "Belles"
Jenny Lewis - "Jack Killed Mom"
Devendra Banhart - "Insect Eyes"
The National - "Guest Room"
Coleman Hawkins - "Spotlight"
The Beatles - "Yellow Submarine"
Weezer - "Keep Fishin'"
The Lemonheads - "Rule Of Three"
The Teen Kings - "An Empty Cup And A Boken Date"
Port O'Brien - "In Vino Veritas"
Thurston Moore - "Off Work"
Hüsker Dü - "Pride"

And then I got to work.

Today's Stats
Total songs listened to: 22
Total minutes of music (approx.): 70
Song with the most previous plays: "Guest Room," "Return To Me" - 9
How I Rate Today's Playlist (1-10): 9
Miscellaneous factoid about my trip to work today: Yesterday, 50 degrees. Today, snowing. I give up.