Ahh, the wonders of Friday. Survive today and, more than likely, you’ll have two free days of mirth and merriment that just don’t last long enough.
OK, enough of the palaver, down to the tunes.Â I thought I’d take things up a level this week and leave the selection of the Friday playlist to the hands of fate, or, at the very least, the algorithms involved in the “shuffle” function of my trusty iPod.
First and foremost, I make no apologies for what could potentially come up in the shuffle. I will, in no way, skip over tracks just because they suck and/or are embarrassing. I stand by what I have on my trusty device.
Second, this may be a tad of a departure from the normal playlist because I’ve got a good deal of comedy and even a few audiobooks on this particular iPod. Typically I mark the audiobooks to not appear in the shuffle mix, but you never know.
OK, let’s get this show on the road.
1. The Pretenders – Brass in Pocket
Right off the bat and I get one of those “This is on my iPod?!?!?!” tracks. I’m not the biggest fan of the Pretenders, but this song always played on the AM radio station we would listen to in my Dad’s Chevy Vega when we’d take loads of trash to the dump out in rural New Mexico. That’s right, I have happy memories stemmed by a catchy pop song and the stench of garbage. Damn I miss the dead animal pit.
2. N.W.A. – If It Ain’t Ruff
Such an odd track off of the Straight Outta Compton album to pick. There is this sort of bug wing vibration that cycles back and forth between the left and right channel during this song that makes it very hard for me to listen with headphones. Back when I thumped some serious bass in my ’81 Olds, this song would rattle the side mirrors out of position. That being said, I love this song because it’s one of N.W.A.’s simpler tracks and really showcases MC Ren’s talents.
3. The Sex Pistols – C’mon Everybody
Ahh, The Great Rock’n’roll Swindle. This Eddie Cochran song has the distinction of being performed by Sid Vicious rather than Johnny Rotten for this track from the Sex Pistols’ infamous movie. Despite general opinion to the contrary, I actually though Sid had a pretty good singing voice.
4. Sigur Ros – Intro
Sigur Ros is one of those bands that I put on when I need to get stuff done. The back-masking and flowing aspects of it get all my brainwaves going the right direction. I’ve always believed that the Icelandic people were all elves or fairies or gnomes or something and still wielded magical powers over the rest of us mundy folk. Listen to Intro and I dare you to prove me wrong.
5. Balzac – Wall
I’ve talked about my love of Balzac before, and this song doesn’t disappoint at all. I’m almost positive this one is in Japanese, but I can almost never tell with Balzac. This particular track from their 15 Years of Unhold DarknessÂ “best of” album is a more cut down version of the song that focuses more on the guitars and really scales back on the vocals. In fact, the typical backing vocal track for Wall isn’t present at all. I think I just noticed that for the first time.
6. John Denver – Shanghai Breezes
That’s right, I listen to John freakin’ Denver. Deal with it. John Denver was always a Thursday afternoon listen when I was growing up along with the Bee Gees and Gordon Lightfoot. What I find interesting about this particular song is that it is a complete departure from John’s normal type of track. While there is still the nature element to the song, there ain’t a mountain in sight.Â Hell, he’s even left Colorado for China. I guess those Communist tendencies should have been a little more apparent after this one.
7. Sun Kil Moon – Ocean Breathes Salty
Mark Kozelek is a genius. Sure, I hated Red House Painters when I first heard them but his haunting voice really grows on you. It actually works really well that this track follows John Denver and it’s quite odd to me that this is a Modest Mouse song. Mark owns this one like he does almost every song he covers.
8. Synical – Burn
This is a cover of the Nine Inch Nails song Burn for the Recovered in Nails tribute record. One thing I noticed right off the bat is that these guys are trying just way too hard. Then I remember, that’s what the majority of those goth/industrial bands from the late-90’s were all about. You’d almost never know that Synical is a pseudo-solo project from an art school student in Georgia. It’s almost poetic justice that he’s covering a song written by a band nerd from Cleveland.
9. Irving – The Guns From Here
It is an amazing case of serendipity that led me to discover Irving. My brother’s former band, Astroblast, was performing a show at a warehouse in Austin and squeezle and I decided to go down and see them play. One of the bands to play that night was Irving. Amongst the early 2000’s Austin indie rock was this band that had more similarities to the Beatles than anything else being played that night. Plus, they were really great people to talk to and were some pretty fun drunks. I’ve followed them ever since.
10. Pixies – Where is My Mind
Yup, that Fight Club song. While this has been one of my favorite songs for a very long time, thanks to the end of that epic movie, I always see burning buildings when I hear this song. Plus, it’s got one of the greatest guitar breakdowns in all of rockdom. Seeing this song performed live is haunting as hell with everyone in the venue doing the “wooooo-ooooooo” part. I want you to hit me as hard as you can.
11. Joy Division – New Dawn Fades
Boy, let’s just dive right down into the psychosis. I’m not sure it’s ever safe to follow “Where is my Mind” with Joy Division of any flavor. Either way, I have always liked this song because it has such a different guitar sound than most other Joy Division songs. It’s also one of the few songs where Ian Curtis really throws himself in and thrashes about a bit. Moby redid this song with New Order at some point, but I’ve always wanted TheThe to do a cover. Crazy people make the best music.
12. Misfits – The Haunting
I think this can really only be called the Misfits thanks to legal settlement. This is Michale Graves-era Misfits, so there isn’t much expectation. For what it is, it’s pretty decent. I definitely prefer this to the tragedy that was the three-piece Misfits I saw a couple of years ago live.
13. Mogwai – Like Herod
For me, Mogwai is a lot like Sigur Ros. I don’t fully understand it, but I really really appreciate that its been done and that I can get my paws on it. “Like Herod” is from the Young Team album which I consider just about the best of Mogwai’s efforts. There must be something about the edges of the Arctic Circle that really inspire instrument-heavy music that flows right through you. Sure, Mogwai can hit like a brick wall, especially in “Like Herod,” but it’s the whole ride that makes it incredible.
14. Pixies – Crackity Jones
Well, another Pixies track. I tried forever and ever to understand this song before deciding that it really meant nothing at all. You just gotta love that. What I love most about this song is that it’s freakishly short and has Black Francis barking like a damn dog. Yeah, I’m easily amused. This song should be an ADD anthem.
15. Kinks – Ev’rybody’s Gonna Be Happy
Ray Davies was way ahead of his time. This song was released in 1965 and is still seriously relevant today stylistically. While not as successful as a lot of their other songs, I, particularly, appreciate the arrangement of this track. It’s got zippy guitars and it’s got hand claps. That shit is just catchy.
There, that wasn’t so bad. Only a couple of skeletons out of my vast closet and the world didn’t even end. Perhaps I’ll pull another random fifteen tracks next week since this playlist wasn’t as Earth shattering as I was afraid it could be.