Thursday, August 7, 2008
One of my favorite AV Club features is "Random Rules," where they take a musicians or entertainers' ipods and hit the shuffle button. It's then up to the (occasionally horrified/sometimes relieved) subject to discuss the track. So here is my random shuffle on itunes. I didn't cheat, I promise. Currently I have 8656 songs on my itunes, so this is a total crapshoot. I have a bunch of beloved albums sitting over in Ruckus that can't be included in the shuffle for obvious reasons.
Keller Williams - Lightening
I haven't really listened to Keller Williams since high school. He tours around on the jam band circuit. I do still enjoy his goofy blugrass/folk. It makes me want to go camping. "Lightening" has a banjo and upright bass get-and-up-and-go shuffle, with Keller's typically easy going vocals.
The Presidents Of The United States Of America - Puffy Little Shoes
Haha, dammit. I haven't really listened to the Presidents since grade school, but they will always hold a special place in my heart. This is off their second album. I only really listened to their first one, but I'm a completist, and if I have one of their albums, I have to have them all. I wish "Dune Buggy," "Feather Pluckin" or any of the other tracks from their first disc that sound tracked my days on the playground would have popped up.
Thelonious Monk - In Walked Bud
I won't pretend to know more than I do. This has some dude singing on it. I usually like Monk's solo piano stuff the best. The singing is a little grating until he starts scatting, but as usual, Monk's piano puts you in a different place than before.
Eric Clapton - Milkcow Calf's Blues
This is from his disc of all Robert Johnson covers. Their really isn't anything left to say about Eric Clapton or Johnson. I really liked this CD in high school, before I liked my blues a little grimy and scuzzier, but I will say "Me and Mr. Johnson" is a bazillion times better than "Ridin' With the King" and "Back Home," two of Clapton's other recent pieces of work. "Back Home" is one of the laziest, most over-produced piles of pseudo-blues ever burned to CD.
Eels - Good Old Days
This is from "Shootenanny," one of the most underrated Eels albums. Its a shot of condensed Eels to the arm, recorded after a few zigs and zags into sunny-on-the-surface pop and growling alterna rock. It's pretty safe, but "Good Old Days" is a perfectly fine track.
MC5 - Kick out the Jams
Kick out the jams, motherfuckers. MC5 is one of those punk-on-accident, before-their-time bands. They were introduced to me by Rage Against the Machine, I think. Everyone does, or should know this song, so this will stop here.
Sublime - Rivers of Babylon
This is turning into Ed's high school mix. Moving on. Wait, I do remember learning how to play this on guitar and being really "stoked."
Green Day - Minority
Gourds - Gin and Juice
This is that Snoop Dog cover that seemingly everyone on the Internet has mislabeled as Phish.
Blind Melon - Holy Man
Nirvana - Pennyroil Tea
This has always been my least favorite Nirvana song. My least favorite on "Unplugged," my least favorite on "In Utero," this is the demo version from their rarities box set "With the Lights Out."
Tom Waits - Metropolitan Glide
This is Tom Waits in growl mode, over some dissonant screams and plucked guitars, and his "boom-boom-bat" beat yelled into the mic. From the album "Real Gone."
Otis Redding - I Can't Turn You Loose
I think I must have the Stax sound stamped into my DNA from watching the Blues Brothers so many times as a little kid. Some of Jake and Elwood's backing band were originally in Booker T and the MGs, the Stax house band, famous for their one instrumental hit "Green Onions." More importantly, they are the band you hear in all the old Redding and Sam and Dave tracks, among others. A couple years ago I just felt a need to listen to old Memphis soul from out of nowhere. The impulse has probably been gaining momentum ever since the first time I watched the Blues Brothers on WGN at my grand parents' house.
Otis Redding has the best voice of all time, great for soul, but he also could have been a show stopping rock and roll singer, he could shout it like James Brown, croon and seduce or just knock you down. Go listen to his version of "Change Gonna Come" and I dare you not to think of fireworks, baseball diamonds, summer, life's fucked up turns, life's good moments, sad moments, the world getting better/worse, everything...
Smashing Pumpkins - Love
Apparently I own a lot of '90s music. This is from "Melancholy and the..." great night time driving music. There's really not a bad song on the album.
Kongar-ol Ondar & Paul "Earthquake" Pena - Ondarnyng Ayany (Ondar's Medley)
This is a bizarre CD my Uncle recommended. Its a western blues guitarist playing with this Chinese guy that sings in some mountainous, droning style that is traditional for the region. Ondar creates all these different tones that almost sound like a bag pipe.
Nick Drake - River man
His voice is fucking devastating, so sad yet reassuring, so thoughtful but wandering. This is off "Way to Blue."
Radiohead - House of Cards
This is my favorite track off "In Rainbows." Cleanish guitar, swirling, echoing backing vocals and clear lyrics from Thom.
Pearl Jam - All Those Yesterdays
From back in the day, but this song still gets regular spins. Also another simple song on the guitar that was fun to learn. I always put "All Those Yesterdays" on my Pearl Jam mixes. It's a nice down tempo break, with some surprising low-key horns thrown into the chorus.
Pink Floyd - Learning to Fly
I fucking hate this song.
Belle and Sebastian - Roy Walker
I don't really know this song, so I'll blog some initial thoughts as it plays. Apparently it's up-beat, harmonies sound like Uncle John's Band or any other Grateful Dead song well-known enough to put on a greatest hits disc. But then it goes all bat shit crazy with whistles and circus noises, harmonica and a electric guitar. Ima go back and listen to this one again soon.
Wyclef John - Wish You Were Here
I used to put this song on a lot of mixes. It samples the Pink Floyd tune of the same name. At first Wyclef sings it like a straight cover over a hip-hop beat, but then he rhymes and all that rip-roaring hip hop music takes over and trunks rattle, etc.
Blink 182 - Waggy
Lupe Fiasco - Real Recognize Real
This is off his debut, which is great. The odds were good a Lupe songs would appear on this list. Last year a friend of mine was generous enough to give me a thumb drive full of every Lupe mix tape alive. Lupe might be the only mainstream emcee I care about anymore, 'cept Kanye.
Eels - The Other Shoe
Eels have released a lot of fucking music.
Pearl Jam - Help Help
I get it , I get it, itunes shuffle sucks. 35 gigs of music and I keep getting the same fucking bands.
Cat Power - Lived in Bars
This is from "The Greatest." I always liked the beginning of this album, her smoky voice, easy going, southern instrumentation, etc. But I'd usually get bored by about track six. This is only track three, so I know it pretty well - starts slow, lingers around a while, then with a minute left it picks up the pace unexpectedly. Nice.
Grateful Dead - Dark Star
Well, the most popular Dead cover band is named after this track, moving on.
The Black Keys - Strange Times
This is the first single their newest album. "Strange Times" has the production sound of their older self-produced stuff, Danger Mouse's touch isn't anywhere to be found here. This is better than 80 % of the other rock and roll out there today, but not up to par with past Keys' releases. I liked the Keys grimy and fuzzy and deep fried and all that. Oh well.
Pearl Jam - Soon Forget
WTF? Honestly. itunes' shuffle is fucking horrible. Maybe they are trying to tell me to quit.
OK, I'm quitting. This was actually a little bit of a let down. I did my part, itunes shuffle kind of fucked up their end of the bargain. It didn't play anything I've bought within the last year or two, and didn't discover anything truly embarrassing. Oh well.