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Friday Playlist #7 – Wednesday Edition

February 16th, 2011 No comments

Wow! It sure has been a long time since I wasted your time with a random playlist from the bowells of my finicky iPod, so today seems like the perfect time to do so. The typical rules apply: I hit shuffle and then explain myself. I don’t get to skip tracks and I don’t get to edit out “embarrasing” selections. I, being a man of honor, embrace the fact that I have some not-so-savory tracks in my library. Let the games begin!

1. Dethklok – Kill You
What is there to not love about Dethklok? They’re metal, they’re from Mordhaus and they’re cartoons. I love this song because it starts out with an epic drum solo and then launches right into one damn catchy guitar riff. How can you not adore a song that has “Na Na Na Na” all through it while, at the same time exclaiming “Like to smash all your brains with a vase.” That, people, is talent.

2. Smashing Pumpkins – Tristessa
Ahh, Gish era Pumpkins. B0lly wasn’t completely apeshit crazy and, to my knowledge, no members were dead or in jail (Note to self: don’t forget to tell D’arcy to “hold her horses” next time you see her). Anyhoo, Tristessa is just about as core to Gish as it gets. The lyrics are typical early-90′s fare. I still love this stuff.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground
The Chili Peppers cover Stevie Wonder. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact, musicians and scientists, alike, should use this track to calibrate instruments of all varieties. Following the Pumpkins with this makes me a very happy man.

4. The Crash That Took Me – Two Yellow Suns
I love Crash. It’s really not hard to believe that I would considering the makeup of the band and/or their music. This shit is just solid and “Two Yellow Suns” is damn perfection. I’m often afraid to ask Dylan where these lyrics come from, but I have got to remember to make an exception for this one. I have a sneaking suspicion there is some base in tiki drinks, but I could be wrong.

5. KMFDM – Vogue
It is almost single-handedly KMFDM’s fault that my hearing sucks. I’m not bitter, it’s just a statement of truth. Too many times in college and after, I’d end up way too close to the stacks at a KMFDM show in some state of inebriation screaming lyrics at the top of my lungs. Those were some of the best shows I’ve ever seen and “Vogue” is one of those fan faves that has evolved quite well through the years.

6. Nine Inch Nails – The Day The World Went Away
Ahh, the iPod is in a “clumping” mood this morning. During my “formative” late-adolescent years, Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM were two of my absolutely favorite. I like this track because it is short, sweet and has one of the best “droney bits” I’ve ever heard.

7. They Might Be Giants – Mr. Klaw
Ahh, the Johns emulate the Velvets. I like this one. Silly and short.

8. Centro-Matic – Supercar
Mr. Will Johnston is a genius and a national treasure. Centro-Matic is one of those bands that I get annoyed when their shows don’t sell out. “Supercar” is pretty typical Centro-Matic fare. I do have to say, however, that any and all Centro-Matic, Will solo efforts and/or South San Gabriel live performances are better with beer and BBQ. If you happen to be outside rural Goldthwaite, TX (there’s not really an “urban” Goldthwaite, TX, so I’m not sure why I feel I need to qualify “rural”), all the better.

9. NOFX – Franco Un-American
NOFX is one of those bands that I can’t help but to love. Sure, I’ve missed their last seven live shows here in Dallas, but damn I love these guys. Half-political, half-goofy and all drunk, it’s a total party. This particular version of “Franco Un-American” came off of their recent live release They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live, so, as per normal, Fat Mike took some liberties with the lyrics. Following the song is an excellent rant on some kid for yelling out “Jerry Garcia.” It just has to be enjoyed on your own. Little tiny Nutzies.

10. Blur – My Ark
A gem off of Blur’s 10 Year Anniversary Box Set. Originally one of the b-sides to “Chemical World,” I’d kinda ignored “My Ark” until it came out in this box set. It’s got a really great swirly guitar part that really identifies it as a Modern Life is Rubbish-era track. Brings back some interesting memories of bad beer and good conversation in tiny Waco, TX apartments.

11. Ennio Morricone – The Desert
I’ve said it a couple of times in other posts, but I have a Western problem. I’ve seen hundreds of terrible Westerns and a remarkably small subset of good ones. This amazing track of Ennio Morricone’s is from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, one of my favorites. What I like about this track, and most of Morricone’s work, is that it really draws the emotion in exceedingly well. I’ve never watched a Sergio Leone movie on mute, but I’m guessing they aren’t nearly as good without Morricone’s score.

12. Mark Kozelek – Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer
Crazy Koz does an AC-DC cover and nails it (per usual). I’ve written about my adoration of Mr. Kozelek before, but I honestly can’t say enough. I wish Mark constantly came through Texas, because I would (and have) gladly travel all over this state to see him. This cover nails it.

13. The Cherry Cokes – Making a Living With You
Ahh, my beloved Cherry Cokes. Japan seems to make a good living off of creating marketable novelties in all genres of everything. While the Cherry Cokes definitely fall into this brash and general categorization, I just don’t feel comfortable lumping these guys in with Pokemon and Chef Morimoto. As per usual, I can’t especially tell if this song is being sung in English or Japanese (why do I always feel so damn racist when I type that out), but the “traditional” Irish-y punk sound is still striking and excellently executed. It is harder than hell to find releases from the Cherry Cokes, so I’d suggest you grab anything you run across.

14. Social Distortion – Don’t Take Me For Granted
Mike Ness is another one of those individuals who I have looked up to for a very long time. Over the course of the past twenty years, I’ve been very fortunate to have seen Social D perform many many times. I’ve been at good shows and I’ve been at a couple really terrible shows, but I always come back for more. “Don’t Take Me For Granted” is a relatively new track in their catalog, but really has the rips and riffs that hearken back to the early releases. Social D has a new record coming up that I have heard nothing from. I’m ready for it!

15. The Dead Milkmen – Tugena
Filler track!!!!! This five and a half minutes of lo-fi “practice” material and sampled gibberish is the perfect wrap-up to today’s playlist. All manner of bands have dropped a track on the end of their records, but this is one that I can actually listen to. It’s useless, mindless and makes absolutely zero sense. Much like me.

Friday Playlist #6

February 12th, 2010 No comments

Oh crap, it’s a snow day. Rather than go with a “Genius” (is it me or does Apple throw that around a bit too loosely?) generated playlist for today, I’m going for shuffle again. Instead of limiting the selection to my paltry 60 GB iPod, however, I am going to run the shuffle from the 232.09 GB library I have on my main workstation at home. There are tracks on here that absolutely no one listens to; not even the artist who made them. Well, I might as well get my painful death over with.

1. Brick – Dazz
According to my tracklisting information this is the number 41 single from 1977. While I was alive in 1977, I really don’t remember hearing this song. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard this song. Apparently, “Dazz” is a shortening of “Disco Jazz.” My life is complete now.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas – Making Christmas
Damn I love me some “Nightmare.” It saddens me that Jack Skellington and crew have been co opted by the Hot Topic crowd. That’s just my bitter old “cool” guy coming out. After seeing this movie for about twelve times, Oingo Boingo became really really funny to me. Trust me, you won’t be able to unhear that one.

3. Jon Snodgrass & Corry Branan – Designated Drinker
This is a live track from 3 Kings (not sure where) from November 9, 2007. I’m pretty sure someone sent this to me when they figured out I was a Drag The River fan. It’s humorous and drunken, but I see why I haven’t listened to this one before as well. It does have a genius line in it, though: “The only time anything got in my pants on tour was when fire ants invaded my bunk.” That’s just plain ‘ol good writing.

4. Sigur Rós – Staralfur
Like all Sigur Rós, this is yet another epic song. I find it very relaxing to put on Sigur Rós when I’m working through the middle of the night as it magically aligns my thinking for some odd reason. I’ve always believed that Iceland really is the place where gnomes and frost giants lived out in the open; Sigur Rós just reinforces this belief.

5. Misfits – Abominable Dr. Phibes
I have way more Misfits tracks in my library than I probably should, but, every time I go for a shuffle (yeah, I’m trying to coin that one), it always comes up with a track from American Psycho. I think my computer isn’t a Misfits fan and this is how it’s punishing me. That shit is just mean.

6. Bauhaus – Telegram Sam
I think it’s downright hilarious to hear Peter Murphy belt out this Bowie standard. In my mind, Pete’s skin is cracking off of his face as he jumps around the studio in the damn burgundy velvet suit he’s been wearing for the past twenty-five years. This is actually a pretty good cover, but I have a horribly overactive imagination and Peter Murphy is really just a mannequin.

7. The Clash – Janie Jones
Of all the older “punk” bands I listen to, I probably identify with The Clash the most. To me, they are my Beatles (other than the Beatles themselves). I hear their sound in hundreds of other bands, but don’t find their work to be cheap and fake because it derives from the alpha source. The Clash is a building block. Yeah, that’s deep.

8. Foo Fighters – Hell
I’m actually sort of surprised this was in my library. I like Dave Grohl and Co., but I didn’t think I had anything. Here’s a quandary for you. Technically Foo Fighters has always been a “supergroup,” but never really referred to as such. Just because it’s members didn’t achieve financial stardom in their previous efforts, does a band made up of people who came from rather influential bands not get to be a “supergroup?”

9. ABBA – If It Wasn’t For The Nights
Yup, the library finally went to the weird place. I grew up on ABBA, so I find nothing ironic about them other than the obvious hilarity of disco in Sweden. If anything, that damn movie/musical Mama Mia ruined ABBA. This shit is gold.

10. Lagwagon – Give it Back
Lagwagon are horribly under-appreciated. The few times squeezle and I have seen either Lagwagon or Joey Cape by himself have been some of the most fun live shows we’ve ever attended. Sadly, it appears that Lagwagon has now drifted apart and won’t be putting out new material anytime in the foreseeable future, but Joey’s solo shows are a good mix of his solo stuff and the best of Lagwagon. Ironically, the last time I saw Joey Cape, he was playing with Jon Snodgrass.

11. Face To Face – Fight or Flight
For years and years I wanted to see Face To Face live, but never got the opportunity. Then they went and broke up and dashed my hopes against the rocks of bitter regret. Luckily for me, they’ve reformed and I was able to see them at Fun Fun Fun Fest this past November in Austin. Holy freakin’ crap can these guys tear shit up. Now, they are working on new material, so that, to me, means tour. Maybe next time I can see them play without being soaked to the bone.

12. Black Flag – Damaged I
Ahh, ancient Black Flag. This is about as scaled down as Black Flag ever was. Henry Rollins doesn’t even sound like himself on this track even though it is indeed him and not Keith Morris, Dez Cadena or Ron Reyes. This song has the distinction of being the first writing credit Hank got with Black Flag. I’m not sure why I remember that, but it’s yet another useless tidbit that’s been stuck in my head for years.

13. The The – Kingdom of Rain
The The is one of those bands that cause people to go “Oh, that song?” I can seriously not think of another band who vary so much record to record. It probably has something to do with the fact that frontman Matt Johnson is batshit crazy. This particular track is from their record Mind Bomb. At this point in time, The The consisted of ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Nick Lowe’s bassist James Eller and the drummer from ABC: David Palmer. However, Matt Johnson is almost always considered the only “official” member of The The.

14. The Cherry Cokes – Ill Weeds Grow Apace
I’ve professed my love for the Cherry Cokes before. This track, in particular, cracks me up because it really sounds like a lost Mighty Mighty Bosstones track to me. If you imagine that the vocals are a really drunken Dicky Barrett rather than a Japanese guy singing Irish punk, it’s pretty damn convincing. The Cherry Cokes prove that you can find a little bit of everything in Japan.

15. Bob Marley – Trenchtown Rock
I really thought I’d deleted all of my Marley tracks. I’ve got nothing against the guy, but his music has really turned into frat rock over the years. I realize that this is entirely in my head, but it just brings up memories of terrible college parties and terrible weed. Bob deserves better.

Friday Playlist #5

February 5th, 2010 No comments

What I love about using shuffle to do my Friday playlist is that I really don’t have to think very hard to get the playlist out the door. Sure I throw my $.02 in there about each track and/or band, but the natural flow of shuffle makes it much easier for me to maintain my mindless zombie status. Especially on a crappy Friday morning that really should just give up and end.

Again, I’m giving you the list just as my iPod pops them out at me. There may be comedy (and comedy gold depending on what lovely bits this infernal contraption decides to embarrass me with) and potentially even some audiobook snippets.  I think I may even have some old MIDI samples on this thing.  Let’s find out.

1. Danger Doom – Bada Bing
Danger Doom is a great combination. Danger Mouse and Doctor Doom on their own aren’t especially the best on their own, but combined and mixed together with Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim makes for a damn good record. I guess Adult Swim is a lot like bacon: there’s nothing it can’t make good.

2. The Adolescents – Losing Battle
“Losing Battle” is angry. Released six years after the infamous “blue” album, this song off of  Brats in Battalions  is a good summation of that angsty skatepunk sound that only Southern California could put together. “Losing Battle” isn’t my favorite song by The Adolescents; in fact, I find it a bit whiny, but it’s instantly recognizable.

3. Minutemen – You Need the Glory
This isn’t a song normally recognized as Minutemen gold. Pretty much consisting of random bongo, piano and what can only be described as either scatting or just plain ‘ol jibber-jabber, this song has no point. No slight to the wonder that is the Minutemen, but I’ve got less use for this than a diet soda.

4. Lil Wayne – Nothin’ On Me
While I really wish he’d pull up his damn pants, I’m a big fan of Lil Wayne. Maybe it’s because he claims Nirvana as an influence or maybe it’s because he’s the most functional person on cough syrup I’ve ever seen, but I think he’s pretty fun. Actually, it’s probably because he sounds like what I would imagine Gollum would sound like if he rapped.

5. Cub – Exit
Oh how I love Cub. This track is off of Mauler (not their best album), but it’s Cub and very typical of their “cuddlecore” sound. If you have never heard these lovely ladies from Vancouver before, find some Cub. Back in the mid-90s some buddies and I followed them around on their tour for a while. They had a fill-in drummer at the time who you might be familiar with: Neko Case. There’s a good story about the death of Jerry Garcia, a case of Keystone tallboys, some “special” brownies, skee-ball winnings and Cub in Fort Worth, but I’ll save that for another day.

6. Smashing Pumpkins – Dross
By the time that the Machina album(s) came out, I was pretty much done with the Pumpkins. Dross is exactly indicative of what I didn’t like about what they had become. At this point in the musicography of Billy Corrigan, I saw almost no difference between Billy (or is it B0lly?) and Marilyn Manson except that Manson had a way better theatrical presence. This phase of SP totally threw out all of the subtlety of their musicianship and replaced it with the crunchy guitars that so many bands dropped on records during this time.

7. They Might Be Giants – Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head
This song has been pretty much stuck inside my head off and on since it was released in 1986. If examined, the lyrics are quite creepy yet horribly catchy. I guess that’s true of many TMBG songs. The thing from this song that stuck with me the most was the line “Memo to myself, do the dumb things I gotta do.” That’s pretty much a credo for my entire life.

8. Reverend Horton Heat – Cowboy Love
I’ve already explained my devotion to the good Reverend. For some reason, this song (while surprisingly one of the “newer” ones) cracks me up to no end. In typical Rev. style, it’s beautifully played and has some of the best steel guitar out there. Leave it to Jim Heat to make a Brokeback Mountain ballad you could two-step to.

9. The Real McKenzies – Raise the Banner
Damn it’s hard to listen to the McKenzies sober. We found these guys accidentally a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since. Scottish-Canadian, the McKenzies are one of the most amazing bands to watch live. At one point during the show, the piper was so drunk that he could barely stand up yet he didn’t miss a single note. With all the songs about footie, drinkin’ and carrying on, the only real difference between the McKenzies and my family get-togethers is that the McKenzies have better singing voices.

10. [DARYL] – The Informant vs. The World
I make no effort to hide that I am seriously biased towards [DARYL]. While I started out as a wary fan, several of the guys in this Dallas ex-band are really good friends of mine. It’s actually quite interesting to go back and listen to some of the older stuff to see where they are now (mostly Les Americains and The Crash That Took Me, respectively). [DARYL] still holds up.

11. The Ramones – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
The Ramones doing a cover of Tom Waits. This song (unsurprisingly) has pretty much been my anthem since I realized that I was, in fact, growing up. In typical Ramones fashion, the song is sped up from the Tom Waits version and definitely given the Joey Ramone twist.

12. AFI – Now The World
Before they became the poster-band for the emo-gothy, Hot Topic masses, I listened to a lot of AFI. I think I have Tony Hawk 2 on Xbox to blame for that. I can’t hate all over AFI; they just went a different direction than I would prefer.

13. KMFDM – Power
Unsurprisingly, one of my favorite bands of all time. For some reason, KMFDM and their techno-industrial mess melded right into my punk leanings back in the 80′s and have always just been there. It’s very scary to think that I’ve been listening to these guys for over twenty years. By far, my KMFDM music collection (LP, tape, CD) is larger than any other given artist. KMFDM was definitely the gateway drug for my years in industrial music.

14. KMFDM – Godlike (Doglike Mix)
Another KMFDM song. I’m not surprised. Now, of course, I’ll probably be listening to them all day.  “Godlike” is an excellent song of theirs to help explain my attraction to them. With my background in Political Science I am often attracted to political-leaning bands. KMFDM has a few tracks that, over the years, have had a political slant, but “Godlike” is the only one that I was able to open one of my bigger papers for a political economic policy seminar I took while in grad school. The prof though the line “Pray every day that your country undergoes recovery” was quite profound (and I got my “A”), but was more than a little scared when I brought him a copy of the song. Old people, huh?

15. Johnny Cash – Train of Love
The Man in Black. Like many people growing up in the past fifty years, I feel that Johnny Cash was damn near a part of my family. While my folks weren’t really “country music” fans per-say, there are just a few artists that transcend all genres and are required listening to anyone living in America; the South/Southwest at the very least. Johnny Cash pretty much tops that list. Thankfully, not many people don’t recognize his music (unlike Marty Robbins, unfortunately), so I don’t have to administer beatdowns on a regular basis.

Well, that’s another Friday Playlist.  Maybe next week I’ll try out the “Genius” function and see what happens there.

Friday Playlist #4

January 29th, 2010 No comments

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.  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 Darkness  “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.  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.

Friday Playlist #3

January 22nd, 2010 No comments

Well, it’s Friday again, and that means more freakin’ music from me. I know I’ve been extra slacky this week, but that is, indeed, my prerogative (and I don’t mean the Bobby Brown kind).

This week’s offering leans a little more towards the fast and dirty. I’ve basically been cooped up all week, so that almost always gets reflected in the music I listen to. There are some real gems this week and maybe even some surprises from bands you thought you knew.

1. Stiff Little Fingers – Wasted Life
It often seems the case that with punk; older is better. Stiff Little Fingers is the perfect case and “Wasted Life” is the perfect song. This tune just oozes 1977 UK youth revolt.

2. Strike Anywhere – The Promise
Let’s jump almost 30 years into the future and more into the modern political realm of bands like Anti-Flag. While still throwing down some good “smack-yourself-against-your-friends” tunes, Strike Anywhere actually has something to say. And, in my opinion, they do it quite well.

3. Supersuckers – Born With a Tail
Damn I love me some Supersuckers. It is always hard as hell for me to pick out my favorite tracks when it comes to this band of Arizona transplant miscreants, but “Born With a Tail” is just about as good as it comes. Besides, who really doesn’t want a prehensile tail?

4. Manic Hispanic – Tijuana Must Fall
I first saw Manic Hispanic on one of the tiny side stages at Warped Tour about six or seven years ago. My first thought is that they had a seriously genius idea and some really good musical chops to pull it off. Any band capable of consistently pulling off “Chicano” conversions of well known punk songs without sounding like a sped up El Vez clone deserves some attention.

5. Whole Weat Bread – Old Man Samson
Another band I stumbled upon, I first saw Whole Wheat Bread open for Big D & the Kids Table at a tiny, odd little BYOB place in Lewisville, TX. Having learned that they described themselves as “Dirty South Punk Rock,” I was quite curious to see this moderate combo of rap and punk and was pretty damn happy with the outcome. “Old Man Samson” is more like a Dropkick Murphys song; not at all what you’d expect from a predominantly African-American band.

6. The Germs – Lexicon Devil
Probably one of the most iconic songs from an iconic band, Lexicon Devil is one of the first punk songs I got my hands on as a youngster. Even after 30 years, it’s still good. Here’s some trivia, for the single recording of this song, Pat Smear didn’t have an amp, so he plugged directly into the mixing board. Who knew?

7. Millions of Dead Cops – Chicken Squawk
MDC is proof that Texas was in on the American punk movement as early as those East and West coasters. Rather than pick an obvious tune like “I Remember” or “John Wayne Was a Nazi,” I opted for “Chicken Squawk.” No slight to the other songs, but Chicken Squawk is damn funny and really shows off the Austin roots.

8. Balzac – Break Fuckin’ Yourself
I can blame Balzac for a lot of things. It’s Balzac’s fault I spend too much damn money on imported toys, it’s Balzac’s fault that I still pay attention to the Misfits and it’s Balzac’s fault that I get a kick out of hilariously bad Japanese theme bands. For the uninitiated, Balzac are pretty much the Japanese analog of the Misfits (though probably better than the Misfits ever were). Many of their songs are sung in English (like this one), but one would never know from listening.

9. Rocket From the Crypt – Savoir Faire
Rocket From the Crypt is one of the greatest rock bands of all time. During their tenure they always brought new and exciting energy to each release and put on some of the sickest live shows I’ve ever seen. I am always surprised at the number of closet RFTC fans I run into who have one story or another about a live show or other RFTC experience. I’ve got a couple of my own, but you’ll have to buy me beers to get them out of me.

10. The Vandals – N.I.M.B.Y.
Despite all the legal hubbub surrounding the Vandals, I still love these goofballs. Who else would write a song condemning G.E. Smith from moving into their neighborhood?

11. Really Red – I Was A Teenage Fuckup
Ahh, more old-school fun, and another Texas band to boot! Really Red ran their course from the late 70′s until 1985, dropped just a couple of records and toured with a crapload of influential bands, but their pinnacle is really bringing the punk scene to Houston and probably a lot more of Texas. For this, they should always be remembered

12 Peter & the Test Tube Babies – Banned From The Pubs
Not much to say about this one other than it’s core UK punk and has probably influenced many a young tosser. “Banned from the Pubs” has the distinction of being one of the most normal Peter & the Test Tube Babies titles ever.

13. Nina Hagen – Zero Zero U.F.O.
Nina Hagen is German and scary. Despite listening to a lot of her stuff, I really don’t get it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like it, but I put it up there with Diamanda Galas and Yoko Ono. It’s art and to be appreciated, but it may give the dog diarrhea.

14. Fear – Let’s Have A War
Ahh, good ol’ Fear. Listen to this song and think about how most of you know Fear front man: Lee Ving. Give up? He was Mr. Boddy in the old Clue movie. Sure, he was also the stripclub owner in Flashdance, but what’s the fun in remembering that?

OK, that’s it for the week. My brain hurts and I’m tired of writing. Suck it up.

Categories: Friday Playlist, Music

Friday Playlist #2

January 15th, 2010 No comments

So I’ve been a little lax this week.  Truth be told, it’s been the week from hell and I really didn’t feel like venting via blog. It’s much easier to punch people in the face than spout invective about them online. That’s the power of action, people.  Remember that.

So, here we are with the second installment of a weekly playlist. I’d like to say I spent the week pouring over my archives looking for wonderful music to share with you, laugh about, cry about, etc.. That just isn’t the truth.

In my fury of hatred-laced annoyance, I spent my week switching back and forth between the Jay-Z disc of my Presenting DJ Hero Renegade Edition double CD set and the Original Cast Recording of Wicked.  No lie. Don’t judge.

Being that I’ve been on the verge of either depression or anxiety (maybe it’s just gas) all week, this little playlist should be a doozie. I think I even might just write a blurb with every song (even though I said I wasn’t going to do that) just because I fucking feel like it.

1. The Avett Brothers – The Perfect Space
Looks like I can’t start one of these without an Avett Brothers song. Despite the really really hokey middle part, this song really touches in a non-dirty way.

2. Red House Painters – Song for a Blue Guitar
Despite being on one of the happiest RHP albums released, this song, for some reason, breaks me up. I’ve seen this song played live eight times and have cried every time. If that’s not proof I’m not an android, I’m not sure what is.

3. Shallow – The Strangest Thing
This song reminds me of my old grad-school roommate. He introduced me to shallow when we were undergrads and I can always imagine him awkwardly bobbing and squeaking to this song.

4. Pleasant Grove – Only A Mountain
Probably the best song to ever come out of a Dallas band. Ever! Disagreements with that statement will be met with fists of fury. It still takes me back to the first time I saw PG live opening for the Old 97′s at Trees.

5. Jay-Z – Brooklyn Go Hard
See, I wasn’t lying. I can’t say exactly why, but this song just strikes me as very divergent of Jay-Z’s typical rhythm and cadence. It pays homage to a lot of classic styles and even makes a pasty white kid like me feel a bit gangsta (did I seriously just fucking write “gangsta?”).

6. The Weird Sisters – This Is the Night
Best song by a fictional band made up of some of the best bands the UK has offered us. This is the Pulp song that I always waited for in response to just about all of the content of Common People, but never happened.

7. Aimee Mann – Ballantines
Ever since Magnolia I can’t see or hear Aimee Mann without thinking about a rain of frogs. Hell, I was even listening to one of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books that had a rain of frogs and I thought “Gee, an Aimee Mann song would be appropriate here.” This “chippy” tune wraps up her Smilers album and is probably the best track on the album.

8. Arcade Fire – Intervention
I swear these guys must have gone to college with me. This song sums up the way I felt about a lot of people I had to share the Baylor University campus with. I swear the only reason I ended up in Political Science was that I was afraid of all of the other people around me ending up running the world.

9. The Cherry Cokes – Bullet For Vapid Beer
OK, how awesome is this for a band concept: Japanese Irish Folk. No shits, these guys are Japanese and sing Irish folky-punk on par with the Flogging Molly. With most songs I can’t tell if they are singing in Japanese or English, but that sure as hell wouldn’t stop me from throwing back an Asahi Stout (do they even make that?) with these bastard-sans.

10. Wilco – Box Full of Letters
When Wilco first got going, I actually managed to insult Jeff Tweedy at a post-live show interview by saying both that this new incarnation wasn’t as good as Uncle Tupelo and that it sounded a lot like Cracker. Box Full of Letters summed that up for me, despite still being one of my favorite Wilco songs. I’m not saying I had any influence, but notice just how different Being There is from A.M.. I’m just sayin’.

11. 25%Toby – Skin Cancer
If you haven’t seen 25%Toby play live then you have truly missed out on one of the best treats to ever come out of Dallas. Toby Halbrooks is so insane on stage that they pretty much can’t play at many venues in Dallas anymore: due to equipment damage. I saw 25%Toby before I knew Toby really well and was seriously shocked by what transpired on stage. After getting to know Toby, I’m surprised anyone let him on stage in the first place.

12. The Germs – Richie Dagger’s Crime
This song always makes me want to hit things. Not people, mind you, just things. Actually, I’d really like to wreak havoc all over the produce department of a supermarket while this song blares over the P.A. system. I’m not sure why, but it sounds like a good idea.

13. The Warlocks – It’s Just Like Surgery
This is one of the ultimate mysteries of my music collection. Last week I see this band name on my iPod that I didn’t recognize, so I pop it on to see what it’s like. Out of the ether comes a band that is 85% Jesus and Mary Chain, 15% Placebo. Want it to be weirder? Apparently, I saw this band open for The Sisters of Mercy a couple of years ago. I own this CD and have no idea where it came from, but now I’m pissed that I haven’t been listening to them for the past couple of years. Hard living will do that to you.

14. Helium – Superball
Helium was one of those ultra-cool bands from my undergrad that made me and my friends give each other high-fives for knowing about. We were underground and cool because we thought Mary Timony was hot and sang edgy stuff and played with those guys who used to play with Mary Lou Lord after she got all acoustic-purist and would play the street corners along 6th Street in Austin during SXSW. Yeah, we were proto-hipster.

15. Transplants – Diamonds and Guns
Aside from reminding me of shampoo commercials, this song makes me feel way more hardcore than any old-school punk ever does. I think it’s the fact that it’s basically Rancid over some samples and crunchy guitars topped off with Skinhead Rob yelling about stuff. It’s like punk Gorillaz and a damn fine way to end a mix.

Categories: Friday Playlist, Music

Friday Playlist #1!

January 8th, 2010 No comments

Not that you people asked for it, but I made an executive decision that I, starting today, will share with you, my loyal minions, a playlist of music that you should already be listening to on each Friday. The genres will clash, tempos will vary wildly, but I don’t give a good goddamn. That’s how Friday works! I have at my disposal a vast array of music (more bad than good) and I will take the burden upon myself to pick out a variety of tracks that I feel will better enlighten your weekend and give you hope and promise throughout the week to come (vom).

OK, let’s get to it. Oh, before you start asking, no, I will not be providing MP3s of the music I put in my playlist unless the artist specifically asks me to. And, since I’m lesser than a relative nobody when it comes to these things, I seriously doubt any artists will be contacting me to say it’s alright to share their work. Another thing, I’d like to make the playlist such that it fits on a single audio CD, but I’m flyin’ by the seat of my pants today, so that bet is off. I’ll try and approximate it, but don’t get your hopes up.

As with everything else I do, there is probably no rhyme nor reason to the order I put things in, I just list these things out as they fall out of my nose.

1. The Avett Brothers – Kick Drum Heart

2. The Apples in Stereo – Skyway

3. The Briefs – Knife

4. Guttermouth – Perfect World

5. Gorilla Biscuits – Start Today

6. The Dead Milkmen – Brat in the Frat

7. Sugar – A Good Idea

8. Placebo – Nancy Boy

9. One Man Army – SOS

10. Murder City Devils – Boom Swagger Boom

11. Modern Lovers – Roadrunner

12. The Replacements – I Will Dare

13. Magazine – A Song From Under the Floorboards

14. Flipper – Ha Ha Ha

15. Ben Sollee – Panning for Gold

I thought about writing a blurb about each track, but that seems like more work than I’m willing to put in at this point. Listen to the music, it should pretty much explain itself. Wasn’t that profound?

Categories: Friday Playlist, Music