Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top Ten of Twenty Ten, Pt. 2

My top ten records of the year are not ranked - these are just my favorites from the past year, ordered alphabetically by first letter of the artists’ name.

Black Francis - The Golem




This is by far my favorite Frank Black/Black Francis record is nearly a decade. Artists who are as prolific as he is* tend to develop cult-ish fan bases because the sheer quantity of the music released is off-putting to a casual fan. To those who feel that way, oh well - it is their loss.

Every year, the San Francisco International Film Festival invites a musician to score a silent film - they present the artist with a list, and the artist chooses which he/she would like to score. In 2008, Black Francis chose the 1920s German film Der Golem to score. He assembled a crack band of Eric Drew Feldman, Joe Pope, Ralph Carney, Duane Jarvis and Jason Carter - collectively, these guys have played with Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, PJ Harvey, Jonathan Richman, John Prine, Gene Clark and Pere Ubu, to name a few. And then he started writing.

What came out was a fully formed double album of REAL songs - not just musical cues here and there (although those are present too), and songs that are some of his best: moody, melodic, unusual, surprising music that fits the silent film really, really well. Maybe because of the narrative nature of the film, the songs make you part of the arc of the story, even if that arc is not totally apparent without the visuals. There are songs from the perspective of almost every character - and so that means love songs, angry songs, observational songs that drive the plot along, and songs that offer an abstract view of the action. Some of the lyrics may sound a little silly when disembodied from the film, but no more silly than 90% of the pop music on the radio. Francis’s penchant for wordplay is strong as ever, and it is probably best to listen with a dictionary and/or internet connection handy.

The vocals are powerful and direct - especially at the tail end of “The Conjuring,” which builds to a screamed finale. The band is killer - this turned out to be the final recording for the late Duane Jarvis, and his lead guitar parts are stunning and act as a strong connecting tissue between the more straight ahead rock songs and the atmospheric elements. Feldman is especially useful here as producer and keyboard player, using piano, organ, synthesizers, clavinet, harpsichord and more to tonally blend the songs in all sorts of subtle but significant ways. And Carney, a horn player unrivaled in the rock world, handles everything thrown at him, from Clarence Clemens-esque lead parts to harmonies to background squawks. Sadly, the full score is no longer available on CD - only 500 were made - but the DVD/single disc record are still available and are well worth the purchase.

Songs to seek out: “Bad News,” “Miriam and Florian”

*From 2000-2010: 8 full length albums, 2 double albums, 1 mini-LP, a best of, 3 b-sides compilations, various free tracks via his website, no less than 4 live albums, an album with his wife, touring for a good 2 solid years with the Pixies, contributions to a handful of compilations, and a few production gigs.

Top Ten of Twenty Ten, Pt. 1

My top ten records of the year are not ranked - these are just my favorites from the past year, ordered alphabetically by first letter of the artist's name.

Best Coast - Crazy for You



When i first hear about this record, i was not super enthusiastic: Girl moves to New York from Southern California, hates the Big Apple, retreats back home, writes about smoking pot and her cat. Just about every bit of that sounds repulsive to me. However, when i gave Crazy for You a chance, i was pleasantly surprised by it.

First of all, Bethany Cosentino, the writing/singing/guitaring third of Best Coast, has an amazing voice - it has a strength and a playfulness to it that makes it stand out from both the music underneath it and most other music being made today. She writes for her voice very well too (this may sound silly, but lots of artists don’t. Listen to George Harrison’s Living in the Material World - there are some really great songs [like “Try Some, Buy Some”] that are just not in a key that flatters Georgie’s voice), and it helps elevate these deceptively simple pop songs into something really special. And those pop songs happen to be really, really good. I’ve heard rumblings that live the band gets a lot “grungier,” and that makes sense to me; Nirvana had great pop songs that became the standard bearer for grunge in the early 90’s, and these songs could easily be crunched and dirtied up without losing much of their impact.

The basic elements, at least on record, are 1960’s girl group melodies and rhythms, surf guitar, and a lo-fi haze. It is almost, to me, the perfect aural representation of Los Angeles. The production is the smog - something we have to look past to see what really lies underneath. The surf elements represent that ever present, but not really prominent, relics of ‘60s culture that somehow is still part of the allure/myth of Southern California. And the melodies are pure nostalgia/hope, those intertwined emotions that are bought and sold for a dime a dozen in the Hollywood/Television/Music Industry. The record sounds hopeful but sad - does that remind you of any place in particular?

Songs to seek out: “Crazy for You,” “Bratty B”

Friday, December 24, 2010

Episode 12: Diddy Invented the Recap


To download, right click here or subscribe in iTunes by searching "Enthusiasts' Radio Hour" or "Brian Salvatore.

Brian and Ken look back at the year in music, and lots of friends call in to give their highlights of 2010/hopes for 2011.

Ken Beck is part of CSO Comedy: http://www.csocomedy.com

Our Blog: enthuseyourself.blogspot.com

Our Email: enthuseyourself@gmail.com

Our Hotline: 206-222-2033

Brian's Twitter: @BrianNeedsANap


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Musings, But No Top Ten (Yet)

So, after re-counting, re-searching my iTunes, and downloading the aforementioned Big Boi and Kanye West records, there are officially 40 albums in the category of "records Brian bought that were released in 2010." And, as i was afraid, the Kanye record is looming pretty large. I don't know if it would be so epic had it had been released in January, and had been stewing for the better part of a year, as opposed to smacking me in the face a few weeks before 2011. However, last night, as i finished Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, i listened back to back to Kanye and Big Boi. And as i was finishing up the Big Boi record (side note: both albums have titles too long to type casually), i started to reflect on how this year, there were a LOT of great hip hop albums made. Dessa, Tim Fite, Kanye, Big Boi, the Roots all made possibly their best records (well, probably not the Roots), as well as records that had hip hop as a dominant gene, such as Janelle Monae, Sleigh Bells, Gorillaz and Girl Talk all really blew me away.

But then i started thinking a little more: this year also had a lot of really great, relatively straight ahead rock records: Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, the Gaslight Anthem (aka the Jersey trifecta), New Pornographers, the Hold Steady (their album is much-maligned but underrated), Harlem, Best Coast, the list goes on and on.

AND i started to think about all the really surprising albums that came out this year: Yeasayer going electro pop, the Books getting really funny, the Magnetic Fields going folk, Sufjan Stevens going back to electronic music (no one in the history of the record reviewing world seems to remember Enjoy Your Rabbit), etc.

Then it hit me: 2010 has just been a really great year for music. Even the albums that disappointed me from bands i like (Arcade Fire, Dr. Dog, Spoon) are all above-average, and in other years would clearly be on my year end list. This is a GREAT problem to have, and the last few weeks, where i've let podcasts pile up in my iTunes (never since i started listening have i had two Jordan, Jesse Go!s waiting for me), i've been constantly delighted at all the records i've gone back to. And i know that i didn't give some of these enough time (sorry Bad Plus and Grinderman!), but overall, i can hardly remember a year with this much great music released. Regardless of what ten albums i will actually write about, i'm very happy to be a music fan in 2010.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Add another entry to the annals of...

Sentences I Never Thought I'd Write

Entry #1001923: "Because of Sleater Kinney, i just downloaded the new Kayne West album."

So, as loyal blog readers know, i've been compiling my best of 2010 list. I've been reading lots of other year end lists just to see how people i both respect and loathe think 2010 was musically. And on almost every list, Kanye has a place. Now, i expect this from Rolling Stone and Spin - but to see it from Sleater Kinney's Carrie Brownstein? Not only on her list, but as her favorite record of the year? That intrigues me, and so i'm using half of my remaining eMusic credits for the month to check out this album. I'm debating using the other half for Big Boi's record, the other hip hop album that i've been waiting for eMusic to add, which they just did.

I never thought 2010 would be the year i listened to more hip hop than jazz, but here it is.

So, expect a few more albums to fall into the big list of 2010 releases that i need to re-evaluate. Speaking of which, i've give a listen now to all the albums on the big list, and isolated approximately 25 that i need to spend a little more time with to properly rank. So, again, don't expect this list anytime before next week.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Prepping For My Top Ten of 2010 List

According to iTunes, from the albums i selected that were released in 2010, i have 1.1 days worth of music to listen to before properly analyzing the best music of the year. Some of this stuff i have heard lots, some i haven't heard at all. This is the long way of me saying that you shouldn't expect my best of 2010 until the last week of the year if not the first week of 2011. Also of note: i'm sure that only my friends (and only a small swath of them at that) read this blog/listen to my podcast, but be aware that i obviously live on a church worker's salary and obtain most of my music through eMusic, iTunes gift cards and thrift stores/used record stores. So, a lot of the buzzed about albums i simply haven't heard (like Kanye West's), or didn't pique my interest enough to invest some of my modest resources into procuring (like Deerhunter's) or some just haven't been bought yet (like Superchunk's). So, this is not the end all/be all best of 2010, this will simply be my favorite ten records that were released, and that i purchased, this year. And i'm sure it will change the second i post it.

The long list:

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
The Bad Plus - Never Stop
The Baseball Project - Broadside Ballads
Best Coast - Crazy for You
Black Francis - The Golem
Black Francis - NonStopErotik
The Books - The Way Out
Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
Dessa - A Badly Broken Code
Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame
Dum Dum Girls - I Will Be
Firstful of Mercy - As I Call You Down
The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger - Acoustic Sessions
Girl Talk - All Day
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Grinderman - Grinderman 2
Harlem - Hippies
The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever
How to Destroy Angels - How to Destroy Angels
Jack Grace Band - Drinking Songs for Lovers
Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid
LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
The Magnetic Fields - Realism
Marah - Life is a Problem
Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone
The New Pornographers - Together
Plants and Animals - La La Land
The Roots - How I Got Over
Sleigh Bells - Treats
Spoon - Transference
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
Ted Leo/Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks
Tim Fite - Under the Table Tennis
Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
Vampire Weekend - Contra
Yeasayer - ODD BLOOD

Interesting side note - with the exception of the Black Francis records, i don't have physical copies of any of these. This is partly due to the lack of a good stereo in my house, but mostly due to my passing indifference with physical records. This vexes me greatly, since i love liner notes and album art. However, given the ease/cost of digital music, it is a sacrifice i am willing to make. Plus, the internet is one giant liner notes.

CONTEST TIME: If anyone can predict my Top 10 in the correct order, i'll owe you a Coke. Post 'em in the comments.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 17 - The "Hey, There's a Christmas Tree in the Background!" Edition


My iTunes library, as of December 11, 2010, has 21, 2154songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the seventeenth in at least a 4,000 part series.


Song #1 - "Ambling Alp" - Yeasayer

Embarrassed to say i got this from eMusic months ago and still haven't listened. I loved their first record, but heard that this one, ODD BLOOD, was quite different. So maybe out of fear i'd hate it, i've avoided it. But this is really fun. This sounds like if Yeasayer was covered by a synth-pop band, with some bizarre interludes. Parts of this remind me of Hall and Oates, and i mean that as a very big complement. This might be my cleaning the kitchen soundtrack later on today...

Song #2 - "Why Midnight Walked In But Didn't Ring Her Bell" - Liars

Less than a minute, just a transitional piece. From They Threw Us All In a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top.

Song #3 - "The Letter" - Andre 3000

A skit from The Love Below. Again, under a minute.

Song #4 - "Minute by Minute" - Girl Talk

I've been on a major Girl Talk kick lately. This is from Night Ripper, the first album of his i bought. It is funny that i enjoy his records so much because, for the most part, i don't know/recognize/like a lot of the hip hop on it. I like hip hop, but i'm not a big fan of the misogyny/violence that so much mainstream hip hop produces. But i guess having the sentiment disembodied from track makes it more digestible for me. It is hard to be offended by 2-3 lines over a Violent Femmes sample. I guess that is the lesson to be learned here. Plus, a Better Than Ezra sample is a thing of beauty.

Song #5 - "Breaking the Choke Hold" - Mike Watt

Watt is one of my heroes. An ethically upstanding member of the punk rock community who does whatever the fuck he sees fit, and plays some of the best bass this side of Paul McCartney. This is from his first rock opera, Contemplating the Engine Room, which compares his time in the Minutemen with his dad's time in the Navy. The record is so its own thing that it is almost hard to put it into context with the greater musical world. It also features beautiful guitar work from Nels Cline, late of Wilco. Do yourself a favor and take a listen - it is simultaneously melodic, daring, nautical, operatic (not in its vocals, but in its recurring motifs and themes), peaceful, fiery and beautiful.

'Til next time (and hopefully lighter on the interludes),
Brian

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 16 - The "I've Gotta Get Most Consistent With These" Edition


My iTunes library, as of December 7, 2010, has 21, 218 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the sixteenth in at least a 4,000 part series.


Song #1 - "Temecula Sunrise" - The Dirty Projectors

I may have said this here already (i definitely said it somewhere), but the Dirty Projectors are pretty much the band i would have started had i a) more talent b) more ambition c) better skills of articulation d) friends who would be into it. It has hints of all good things - jazz, traditional rock and roll, odd time signatures, male/female vocal counterpoint, great percussion, a clear influence of Os Mutantes, and yet it remains melodic - difficult for sure, but melodic. Only a few friends listen to my podcast, but fewer friends would listen to my band if i was in the Dirty Projectors. I particularly dig this song, which i often get stuck in my head (although i'm not really sure how such a knotty/off-kilter melody can get stuck in my head alongside the simplistic melodies that usually occupy space there). From the best thing i downloaded from eMusic in 2009 (maybe), Bitte Orca.

Song#2 - "Listen" - Bill Frisell

An interesting follow up to the DPs song, this is from Frisell's The Intercontinentals record, which is a really pleasant record - sort of jazz mixed with really strong melodies and some Brazilian instrumentation. This track is a little too smooth for my tastes and tends to go on a bit too long. I only own two Frisell records (not counting guest appearances and/or his duet record with Petra Haden), and while this one is more consistent, i always turn to the Bill Frisell Quartet record because it is just much more exciting to me. Plus, that one has more tuba. And, as Jeff Meyer can attest, more tuba usually equals more awesome.

Song #3 - "Elmerson, Lincoln and Palmieri" - Tortoise

Back in 2006, i went solo to the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. And for some reason, one of only 3 or 4 records i bought on that trip was this box-set of rare/unreleased/remixed Tortoise stuff, A Lazarus Taxon. I mean, i owned one or two Tortoise records before i went, but i felt i NEEDED THIS SO FUCKING BAD, and i really don't know why. That being said, i dig this track a lot, but i know very little about it. Nice and short (2:40), too. I should use more of this stuff as sorbets on my mixes.. Oh, and i think the title may be a slight pun on Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but i don't know who Elmerson, Lincoln and Palmieri are...

Song #4 - "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" - The Velvet Underground

What a great song. If Moe Tucker played on this album it might be TOO good, so it is a good thing she got knocked up beforehand. This has been used in at least 2 movies i can think of (High Fidelity, after Rob finds out that Laura slept with Ian "What Fucking Ian Guy" Raymond [i think it is that scene, and not when Rob is walking in the rain after Laura's dad's funeral, i can't really remember], and a shitty cover of this by some band featuring Mike McCready from Pearl Jam in The Cable Guy). I particularly love the backing vocals and guitar solo. If you don't own this song, go spend less than a cup of coffee and get it on iTunes, you fool (sorry, in a harsh mood tonight i guess...). I have this on two albums in my iTunes, but this time it got shuffled from the High Fidelity soundtrack, which is good, but not as good as a soundtrack to a film about great music should be. Bought this senior year of high school, right after dragging a then-girlfriend to this movie, which she didn't like. Should've known then it would never work out (and it didn't).

Song # 5 - "Glad I'm Not in Russia" - Angst

A band i only know about because i've talked to Frank Black about them (he even wrote a song about them called, shockingly "Angst"). All their albums came out on SST Records and all are/were out of print. This is a weird song about Russians not being free. I don't know enough of the context of this band and their politics to see if this is meant tongue in cheek. I'd assume so, especially because of the faux-country vocals. This doesn't represent the band all that well. This is from Lite Life, which came out in 1985.

And with that, i bid you goodnight.

'Til next time,
Brian

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Enthusiasts' Radio Hour Episode 11: A Novel Idea



This episode is all about the novel - Brian chats with authors Isaac Adamson and Hillary DePiano, as well as Lindsey Grant, program director of NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.

To subscribe in iTunes, search for "Brian Salvatore" or "Enthusiasts' Radio Hour," or copy and paste this into iTunes under Advanced -> Subscribe to podcast:

http://mevio.com/feeds/enthuseyourself.xml

Or listen online at our host, Mevio:

http://enthuseyourself.mevio.com


Links:

The Books - http://thebooksmusic.com

Nomo - http://nomomusic.com

NaNoWriMo - http://nanowrimo.org

Hillary DePiano - http://hillarydepiano.com

Isaac Adamson - http://billychaka.com

Ken Beck is part of CSO Comedy: http://www.csocomedy.com

Our Blog: enthuseyourself.blogspot.com

Our Email: enthuseyourself@gmail.com

Our Hotline: 206-222-2033

Brian's Twitter: @BrianNeedsANap

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You'd Be Surprised Vol. 1

"You'd Be Surprised" is a blog series where i write about songs (and maybe other things in the future) that i think would surprise many people that i truly love.

Volume 1: "Human" - The Killers



Some friends know how i feel about this song (mainly because i included it on one of my seasonal mixes), but i don't know if i've ever really expressed how much i really dig this song.

First, a little backstory: Like so many things in life, i first hated this song. I thought the chorus of "Are we human or are we dancer?" was ridiculous and dumb, not to mention the (seemingly) poor grammar, and i tend to instantly dismiss songs with such a dance-y beat (PS - i know that i'm stupid for doing this). But as i heard it more and more, it really started to grow on me.

And it continued to grow, like a weed. At this point, this ranks as one of my favorite songs of the last 5 years, and i still don't really know why besides the preposterously silly idea that it just is (in case you don't know me, i over-intellectualize everything). I mean, the melody is pretty great, and i've grown to absolutely love the lyrics. Apparently, the main lyric of the song was a twist on a Hunter S. Thompson quote about America raising a generation of dancers. That wins points in my book for an interesting place to begin writing a song. And from there, the song paints a picture of alienation/confusion that is sonically, somehow, set in a club. It is a great juxtaposition of an inner monologue and an outer dance party.

In addition to having interesting lyrics and a great melody, something about the song really moves me. Like, goosebumps and getting choked up, moves me. Why? No clue.

It isn't the music per se - there are songs that just from their sonics can make me cry (like "Sleepwalk" by Santo and Johnny or the opening/closing guitar sequence from Frank Black and the Catholics' "Dog in the Sand"), but this dance beat and synth swells aren't of that stripe. I don't think it is really the lyrics either - i mean, i've never pondered if i was human or dancer (because really, how would i know? I only know i'm human because i've always been told i am. Maybe i am dancer?), nor do i think any of the lyrics really were applicable to my life when i first heard "Human" in the Fall of 2008.

However, despite all the questions i posed here (Why do i like it? Why does it move me? How should i know if i'm human or dancer?), i do know one thing: i wish we had more pop music like this. I'm often envious of people who came of age in the 1980s - there was great indie rock AND great pop, and they weren't mutually exclusive genres. Take the Cure for example - "Friday I'm In Love" is one of many great pop songs that this interesting, brooding band put out that managed to bridge the gap between the Top 40 and the CMJ charts. "Human" strikes me as a type of song that could do that and, sorta did. I'm sure people called Robert Smith a sellout/poseur/etc many times over, but look at that white cake makeup and shitty hair - there is nothing corporate about that.

Tom Morello's pretty interesting cover:


Sunday, November 14, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 15 - The "Look at My Bed Head" Edition


My iTunes library, as of November 14, 2010, has 21, 056 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the fifteenth in at least a 4,000 part series.


Song #1 - "Got Nuffin" - Spoon

Spoon is a band that, for me, got old pretty quick. I LOVED their Girls Can Tell and Kill the Moonlight records, then didn't like Gimme Fiction, then dug the better songwriting/arranging of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, and now this one, Transference, sounds like half-baked ideas performed exactly as you'd expect. It is still better than a lot of other music out there, but Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga showed that when they really try, they can be amazing. I mean, come on, "The Underdog?" Song of 2007. This is ok, but nothing special (in fact, this might be the best song on this record). I got this via eMusic. I once, with about 15 other people, saw Britt Daniel do a duet performance at the old Knitting Factory (the bottom room) with Spoon's then keyboard player. He ended with John Lennon's "Isolation" - just thinking of it gives me chills. More of that, Britt - less of the same drum pattern.

Song #2 - "Hello Morning" - Fugazi

The most ethical band on the planet. This is from the 3-song Furniture EP. The band, around this time, released The Argument, my favorite album of theirs, which was much moodier and not as in your face as their prior releases. And this EP is the accompanying piece to The Argument, where they rock just as hard as ever. I own this, specifically, because i once had a gift card to Sam Goody maybe (?) and needed to spend another 2-3 bucks, and there this was. Sung by Guy Piccolo, this song is pretty great - says all it needs to say in just over 2 minutes.

3. "Hackensack" - Pee Wee Russell

One of my favorite blogs is called Singer Saints, which posts obscure/out of print/rare records, many times of the jazz variety. I just got this a few weeks ago (the album is called Ask Me Now!), and haven't given it a good listen yet. However, this is really interesting - it is relatively straight forward jazz without a chordal instrument (like a guitar or piano) - this quartet is just Russell on clarinet, and then bass, drums and the fourth member alternating between bass trumpet and valve trombone (!). Russell was in his sixties when he made this - a rare Dixieland era guy who could still play and adapt his style 40 years later. A really catchy, fun tune - and hey, it is named after Hackensack, NJ. We all win!

4. "Live Wire" - Beastie Boys

A rare-ish track from their anthology The Sounds of Science. This has elements of sixties tremelo-guitar, nineties analog synths, and drone-y vocals. I like this a lot actually. I don't remember much about this song, but i've owned this compilation for ten + years. Wow. Got this album from my parents for Christmas one year.

5. "Say" - Thenewno2

This band is the brain child of Dhani Harrison, George Harrison's son. Dhani is a really talented singer and player, but this debut EP didn't really do it for me. I've heard bits of their album that seem much more in line with what he could do, but i still haven't picked that up yet. Not that this is bad - it just seems easy - not that these tunes are lazy, they just don't push far enough in my opinion. I did just pick up the album from Fistful of Mercy, Harrison's new band with Joseph Arthur and Ben Harper, and that seems a bit tossed off, unlike this. I think Harrison needs a producer with a vision (let's say, a Brian Salvatore type) to work with him and extract something unique and personal out of him. All you have to do is hear his work on his father's last album to know how talented he really is. I had special ordered this EP from the UK when it came out - it is self-titled.

'Til next time,
Brian

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14

Friday, November 12, 2010

Episode 10: The Funny Pages


Brian takes you on a tour of the New York Comic Con and chats with Peter Tomasi, Chip Kidd, and Nick Sutton Bell. Plus, comedy from Ken Beck, music from Spoiler Alert, and a check in from the South Pole.

Spoiler Alert: http://corporaterecords.co.uk/artists/Spoiler+Alert!/

Chip Kidd: goodisdead.com

Nick Bell: illustratednick.blogspot.com

Ken Beck is part of CSO Comedy: http://www.csocomedy.com

Our Blog: enthuseyourself.blogspot.com

Our Email: enthuseyourself@gmail.com

Our Hotline: 206-222-2033

Brian's Twitter: @BrianNeedsANap

Thursday, November 4, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 14 - The "I Can't Sleep" Edition


My iTunes library, as of November 4, 2010, has 20,945 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the fourteenth in at least a 4,000 part series.


Song #1 - "Here She Comes Now" - The Velvet Underground

I'll probably be kicked out of the music snob club for this, but i'm not a huge fan of this song. Maybe my least favorite song on White Light White Heat? No, that's too harsh. A very same-y song of theirs. Meh. I got this as part of the Peel Slowly And See box i bought at Amoeba in Los Angeles.

Song #2 - "I'm An Animal" - Neko Case

This album, Middle Cyclone, has grown on me quite a bit. This track is very representative of what i didn't like about it at first - its slicker than her past stuff, but the songs are so strong (as are her vocals) that it makes up for the production - which, to be fair, isn't bad, i just like Neko rawer. Feel free to apply sexual innuendo to that last part.

Song #3 - "Take Care of My Children" - Tom Waits

From the "Bawlers" disc of his Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards three disc set. This is my least favorite disc of the set, but i love this song. Disc 2 (this one) is all ballads, so it doesn't work super great as a complete listen, but most of the tracks work well as part of a mix or a shuffle, so this is a delight. Nice horn on this - could it be my internet friend Ralph Carney? I'm too lazy to dig out the liner notes - let's say yes. This is one of the many Tom Waits songs that incorporates old spiritual elements.

Song #4 - "A World Away From This One" - Sean Watkins

From the Mark Mulcahy tribute disc, Ciao My Shining Star. Mark is a totally underrated songwriter, and this disc has some heavy hitters in the early tracks tackling his songs really nicely (Thom Yorke, Frank Black, Dinosaur Jr.), but as it goes on, the names get more and more unknown, and the performances start to sound a little same-y (second use of that tonight!). But this track makes really nice use of vocal harmonies and acoustic guitars, two things that if used improperly can shit-ify a song instantly. But this is really nice.

Song #5 - "Last Train to Clarksville" - The Monkees

I've said it before on this very blog - if you don't own The Best of the Monkees, you're a fool. This is a brilliant pop song. That is all.

'Til next time,
Brian

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Contrast Podcast...Again...

Just wanted to let you guys know that, again, i'm a contributor to the Contrast Podcast this week. The theme is "Your First Download," and on it i tell my tale of using Napster to track down Foo Fighters rarities. Check it out here.

New ERH tomorrow night...

-B

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 13


My iTunes library, as of November 2, 2010, has 20,937 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the thirteenth in at least a 4,000 part series.

Song #1 - "Call Back" - Morphine

This is from the posthumous collection At Your Service that i was given as a really nice surprise birthday gift from my cousin Beth this past June. Morphine is a band that i think you either totally get or think is obnoxious. I once played them for my Uncle Robert, who is a really open minded, musical dude, and he couldn't stand it. Me? I love 'em. Such a singular sound. Maybe it's a low-end register thing (as a guy who plays the bass, played the tuba and has a Bass 2 voice, i fall squarely in that category). I'm pretty sure i've written about them before here. This is one of the rare songs of theirs where you can really hear the slide bass - usually the bass doesn't sound particularly slide-y. Oh, Mark Sandman - why'd you have to have a bad heart?

Song #2 - "Christian For One Day" - Brian Ritchie

Ritchie is the former bass player for the Violent Femmes. The late, great blog The Blasting Concept (RIP) that posts lots of old SST/New Alliance records posted this a few years ago. I have never listened to it. This is not at all what i expected. The EP is called Sun Ra - Man From Outer Space, so i expected something free-jazzy. This is folky and quasi-preachy. I kind of dig it. It's about Christmas. This may go on this year's Christmas mix.

Song #3 - "Style" - The Lemonheads

"I don't wanna get stoned/But i don't wanna not get stoned" Oh, Evan Dando, you're the Wordsworth of the '90s. I tracked this album (Come on Feel the Lemonheads) down online a year or so ago - it's out of print (or at least was when i was looking for it), and i used to own it on cassette. The first two songs on the album are great, and it somewhat drags from there. I kind of dig this song. I prefer the later version on the album "Rick James Style" which is a slower, sadder version and, believe it or not, features Rick James on backing vocals.

Song #4 - "Three Mile Smile" - Aerosmith

I don't know if i've discussed it here, but i've been way into mid-late '70s Aerosmith lately. Post-"Dream On" - pre-80s reformation. This comes from Night in the Ruts (stay classy, Aerosmith), which is the album that Joe Perry quit half-way through. This song is a nice enough blues-rock number, but isn't one of the best tracks on the album. That being said, the guitar solo, by Perry-replacement Jimmy Crespo is pretty boss. I have a fantasy of starting a this-period Aerosmith cover band and being the Tom Hamilton of that band. Anyone want to be the Joey Kramer?

Song #5 - "High and Dry" - Radiohead

If you don't know this song, what the hell is wrong with you.

'Til next time,
Brian

PS - Congrats to my dad's favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, on winning the World Series.

PPS - I'm back to doing this regularly, i hope.

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 12


My iTunes library, as of October 13, 2010, has 20,784 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the twelfth in at least a 4,000 part series.


Song #1 - "Calvary Scars II/Aux. Out" - Deerhunter

From their Weird Era Cont. record, this is 10 minutes of trippy. Not entirely unpleasant, but not really a lot to write about. I'll sort of "live-blog" this.

:57 - Heavy affected vocals sound nice.
2:23 - Picking up a little, there are now drums.
3:27 - Starting to lose interest
4:22 - Tempo change! I'm back in!
6:19 - Ok, this is losing me again.
7:45 - Breakdown to a slow, keyboards heavy section - sounds like Space Mountain music.
8:57 - Shouldn't a just-post-Saved By the Bell Mario Lopez be telling me to get ready for my trip already?
9:51 - Glad this is almost over.
10:04 - Weird sound effects close it out.

Song #2 - "Sweethearts" - Camper Van Beethoven

Just recently picked up Key Lime Pie for the first time in an used record store. I'm pretty happy with the record so far, but i find it a little stream-lined for my tastes. I prefer the more all-over-the-place nature of their indie records. I wish i had more to say about this song...

Song #3 - "Papa Gene's Blues" - The Monkees

I recently re-bought the first record i ever owned - The Best of the Monkees - and just about every single song is a winner. This one is a grade A country-rock jam courtesy of (i think) Mike Nesmith (i was right, i fact-checked myself). Less than 2 minutes, but just as long as it needs to be. People need to really re-evaluate the Monkees - yes, they were pre-fab and yes, they were mainly an excuse to sell commercial time on television, but they have 2 dozen or so killer songs, and that's more than i can say for most bands.

Song #4 - "Candyman" - The Grateful Dead

I bought this on eMusic simply to try and get to know what my buddy John knows that i don't about the Dead. This record has a handful of nice songs, this being one of them. The Dead might be the most overrated and underrated band of all time; underrated by everyone who dismisses them as hippie burn out shit, and overrated by hippie burn outs everywhere. This reminds me of Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds with worse harmonies and longer guitar solos. From American Beauty.

Song #5 - "Jump and Shout Vol. 1" - T.B. & the Germs

Not the Pat Smear/Darby Crash Germs, but an R&B band from the '60s. I've talked about this compilation, Jump and Shout, before on the blog - this isn't one of my favorites from the comp, mainly because this is a poor recording, but the energy is infectious and there isn't much else to say.

'Til next time,
Brian

PS - Congrats Texas on making the ALCS - beat them Bronx Bombers!

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Episode 9: Fun Size



#1 of 4 October episodes,this week Brian talks dogs, Antarctica, and Pompton Lakes.

To subscribe in iTunes, search for "Brian Salvatore" or "Enthusiasts' Radio Hour," or copy and paste this into iTunes under Advanced -> Subscribe to podcast:

http://mevio.com/feeds/enthuseyourself.xml

Or listen online at our host, Mevio:

http://enthuseyourself.mevio.com

Links:

Treasure StateSo Percussion, Matmos
"Treasure" (mp3)
from "Treasure State"
(Cantaloupe Music)

Buy at Napster
Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

So Percussion: http://www.sopercussion.com/

Matmos: http://www.matadorrecords.com/matmos/


Ken Beck is part of CSO Comedy: http://www.csocomedy.com

Our Blog: enthuseyourself.blogspot.com

Our Email: enthuseyourself@gmail.com

Our Hotline: 206-222-2033

Brian's Twitter: @BrianNeedsANap

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 11 (New Glasses and Crazy Hair Edition)


My iTunes library, as of October 7, 2010, has 20,758 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the eleventh in at least a 4,000 part series.

Song #1 - "Last Rites" - kNIFE & fORK

No, i didn't hit the "caps lock" button on my keyboard, this is how Eric Drew Feldman's band spells their name. A really spooky, atmospheric, wonderful album is, so far, all we have from this band, but EDF told me at a recent Pixies show that he finished the second album recently. I hope we hear it soon. This one is called Miserycord, and is a perfect rainy day drinking coffee or a late night drinking whiskey type of record. Beautiful vocals from Laurie Hall on the record - i wasn't personally familiar with Laurie before k&f, but her old band has a great, bizarre name: Ovarian Trolley! Trust me, track down this record. Probably still available on cdbaby.com (it is - and eMusic).

Song #2 - "Horrible Party" - Essential Logic

I reviewed this album for a website i was working on in college (or at least i was supposed to...) - this is a band that formed out of X-Ray Spex and features lots of cool saxophone in a punk way - similar, in saxophoniness to something like James Chance, but less Motown. I really adore most of disc 1 of this album, a compilation called Fanfare in the Garden, and this track is especially cool.

Song #3 - "Laura's Theme #5 (You Trust Me Now)" - Nathan Johnson

20 second interstitial piece from the Brick soundtrack. SOOO GOOD (both the movie and the soundtrack). Bought this at Amoeba Music in Los Angeles just minutes after seeing the film with my buddy Scott at the Arclight down the street.

Song #4 - "Walcott" - Vampire Weekend

Hipster backlash be damned, this is a really good band. And this is probably my favorite song from their first album, shockingly titled Vampire Weekend. My buddy Geoff Goodwin recently offered me a ticket to see these guys at Carnegie Hall, and i'm really glad i went. I was a bit bummed that they were playing to a backing track for some of the tracks that involved more instrumentation than they had on stage. To me, that is a great time to fuck with the arrangements and do something unique. So, that part felt like a cop-out to me, but aside from that, they played every single song i wanted to hear and did a really nice job with them. They closed the show with this one. If you haven't heard this band, where the fuck do you live? Got this via Amazon i think...

Song #5 - "Too Many People" - Paul and Linda McCartney

McCartney's most vehemently anti-Lennon song (characterized visually on the Ram back cover by a beetle screwing another beetle doggy [or beetle?] style) - "That was your big mistake/you took your lucky break and broke it in two." Not nearly as mean as Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?," and probably just a better song too. I love Ram like i love Twinkies, and i love McCartney even more. Those two, along with Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and Harrison's All Things Must Pass all came out within the same 13 month period, and they're all fucking epic. Better than anything any of them would ever do again. The Beatles are dead, long live the Beatles.

'Til next time,
Brian

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 10


My iTunes library, as of October 6, 2010, has 20,723 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the tenth in at least a 4,000 part series.

Song #1 - "Crime News" - John Mulaney

Not really a song, but a minute or so of funny stand up from New York's John Mulaney's very worthwhile album The Top Part.

Song #2 - "Discipline" - Nine Inch Nails

Funny, i was just listening to The Fragile at work today, and here we are with another track from The Slip. This has a disco-y beat with some nice distorted guitar or keyboard on top of it. The fact that i'm not entirely certain is one of my favorite things about NIN; their samples never sound like samples, their guitars never quite sound like guitars, etc. Some nice vocals here by Mr. Reznor, as well - NIN are really way more of a dance band than people give them credit for - in the right situation, this could light up a dance floor.

Song #3 - "Tombstone Blues" - Richie Havens

Ah, iTunes, there you go again, playing another song from another album that has already been featured on 5 Song Shuffle. Richie Havens captures this Dylan song's atmosphere perfectly except that he seems totally in control here, where as in Dylan's original the song sounds like a train that's about to go off the tracks - Havens is seemingly a better conductor. This song has some of my favorite Dylan lyrics like, "The sun's not yellow; it's chicken." One of the better tracks from the I'm Not There soundtrack.

Song #4 -"Hear You Me" - Jimmy Eat World

I still tease my friend Dan about how whenever i'd see him for about 3 months in the summer of 2001, he'd start the conversation with "Have you heard the new Jimmy Eat World album? It's fucking awesome!" Well, he was right. I could take or leave anything they did before or since Bleed American, but i really do love this album. It's a really nice mix of uptempo songs and a few ballads like this one, which actually might be my least favorite song on the album, but that isn't saying too much. A very solid recording, but this is no "If You Don't, Don't."

Song #5 - "Sathington Willoby" - Primus

25 seconds of acoustic guitar and weird vocals from the best album Primus album, Frizzle Fry.

Let's go Texas Rangers,
Brian


Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9

Check it out...



This is a beautiful new coffee table book of photographs of classic Captain Marvel memorabilia. My press copy was waiting for me when i got home today, and i absolutely adore this book. I'm interviewing its author, Chip Kidd, next week.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 9


My iTunes library, as of October 2, 2010, has 20,723 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the ninth in at least a 4,000 part series.

Song #1 - "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" - Ramblin' Jack Elliot

This is from the soundtrack to I'm Not There, a movie i liked a lot, but a soundtrack that i find pretty disappointing. I was expecting more creative reinterpretations of the songs in the film, since the film itself reinterprets Dylan's life in such dramatic ways - however, most of the tracks are just blah - Rambllin' Jack does his best with this, but nothing about his version makes me not wish it was Dylan's version playing. Nice playing and all, just nothing special.


Song #2 - "Roadrunner" - Backbeat Band

Second track from the Backbeat soundtrack to get shuffled in here. I forget who's singing lead on this - maybe Mike Mills? (sound of Brian internetting) Yes, it is Mike Mills. One of my least favorite tracks from this album, but still lots of fun. You can almost hear Thurston Moore's weirdo-greatness trying to leak out the sides of his playing on these tracks. Also, why are a lot of '50s/early '60s rock songs roundabout stories about beating women?

Song #3 - "Marie Provost" - Nick Lowe

From the AMAZING reissue of Jesus of Cool that i got on eMusic in 2008. This album is so crazily ahead of its time and well written. I really should check out more of Lowe's stuff, but i really only know this album, his work with Elvis Costello and "Cruel to be Kind," one of the great pop songs of all time. This album drips intelligence and sarcasm and melody. Can't recommend this album highly enough.

Song #4 - "The Diaper" - Louis CK

Not a song per se, but a great bit of comedy about changing a diaper. Louis is the Elvis of comedy - let's hope he doesn't die on a toilet. From Chewed Up.

Song #5 - "Hats Off to Marriage, Baby" - the Wrens

From their album Seacaucus which, to be fair, i've never given much thought to. The Meadowlands is so different (and so amazing) that i've never looked back on their stuff with any real attention. I should - this song is fun. If you don't own The Meadowlands you probably have bad taste in everything. Why are we even friends? How many years must i rave about that album before you listen? Nice middle section of this song - maybe this song will be on my "Stuff to Listen to This Week" list this week. Yeah, i'm digging it.

'Til next time,
Brian

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8

Thursday, September 30, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 8


My iTunes library, as of September 30, 2010, has 20,723 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the eighth in at least a 4,000 part series.

Song #1 - "Debra Kadabra" - Captain Beefheart/Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

If Zappa and Beefheart had a regular band, it might've been the greatest band ever. This comes from Bongo Fury, their joint album from 1975, but they worked together a lot - Zappa produced the infamous Trout Mask Replica for Beefheart, the Cap sang on "Willie the Pimp" on Zappa's Hot Rats. Zappa is dead, but Beefheart (or the actual guy, Don Van Vliet) is still alive, but has retired from music completely. Definitely not for the faint or heart or the unadventurous - but i love this.

Song #2 - "Heart Attack Man" - Beastie Boys

I think this song is pretty much the reason why people say that Ill Communication is full of fluff - the first half is a drunken recording, and the second is the lesser of the hardcore songs on the record. Most people slag on this Beasties album, but it was the first one i got, and i still love it very, very much. Bought this at Flipside Records in Closter in, i'm guessing, 1995. The end-ish of the song, when they drop the hardcore beat is the best part.

Song #3 - "Thanks for the Killer Game of Crisco Twister" - Minus the Bear

Ah, rum and coke - that is what this song reminds me of. In 2002, my friend Jeff Cech and i were the two representatives from WdSR in Pittsburgh at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. This reminds me of our last night there. We went to a party thrown by some company i can't remember (but i do remember meeting my rep with that company, Liz, who was super cute and handing out drink tickets), and Minus the Bear was one of the bands playing, and the only one that really mattered to me. I was transfixed by the band, partly because of the large amounts of rum and coke i had ingested, but also because they're really good. Other memories from that trip: Jeff chasing a subway rat at 3am, he and i wanting to get "CMJ girlfriends" (basically girlfriends for the 4 days in NYC), only to both pick the same girl as our potential CMJ girlfriend and her not really care about either of us, seeing VHS or Beta our first night there, getting fake IDs, and i think staying at the Hotel Pennsylvania. I might be making that last part up - i know we stayed there the next year. When i got back to Pittsburgh, i begged the aforementioned Liz for two copies of the Minus the Bear record - one for the station, and one for me. I still have the station copy of Highly Refined Pirates, because she only sent one. Sorry, WdSR!

Song #4 - "Gratitude" - Beastie Boys

From Check Your Head, the Beasties album i listen to the least of the classic 4 (to me, the classic 4 are Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty - the rest i could live without), but one that features their best instrumental playing, probably because Money Mark plays keys all over this album. It's funny how the Beasties are such an NYC band, but this and Paul's Boutique were both recorded on the West Coast. This song is pretty great, but its video is pretty lame, which is rare for a Beasties video. 2 Beasties songs in this shuffle, eh?

Song #5 - "Is This What They Used to Call Love?" - The Magnetic Fields

My friend Dan D'Ippolito turned me onto the Magnetic Fields with their The Charm of the Highway Strip record, but that record has yet to win me over as much as everything they've done afterwards has. This is from i, their record of songs that all begin with the letter i. This is sort of the transitional album between 69 Love Songs and the two-sides of the same coin Distortion and Naturalism, and it is probably their most solid single disc. The highs aren't as high and the lows aren't as low, but it is a really pleasant 14 songs. Stephin Merritt is one of the best lyricists working today, and this song is a fine example of why. He's also a very underrated vocalist, as this track also shows.

'Til next time,
Brian

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Mix 2010

Every season, i make a mix for friends/family to enjoy. This year's Fall Mix is called "The Only Thing on TV is the Good Morning News." It has 22 tracks, and i like it quite a bit. Let me know if you want one in the comments.

Brian

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 7

My iTunes library, as of September 29, 2010, has 20,723 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the seventh in at least a 4,000 part series.

Song #1 - "Go Get a Wig" - The Ideals

This is from a compilation called Jump and Shout that i got from donating to WFMU in 2005 - its a really great collection of late 50's/early 60's rock and soul stuff. Based on the title, you can guess what the song is about - needing to get a wig.

Song #2 - "It Ain't Easy" - David Bowie

Maybe my least favorite song from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, but even saying that, it is a pretty good song. I'm saying nothing new here, but Bowie is one of those artists that's quality fluctuates so extremely from project to project, and even from song to song sometimes. People always say that Madonna is always changing, but Bowie makes Madonna look stagnant.

Song #3 - "Shwingalocate" - De La Soul

Almost all of De La Soul's catalog, somehow, is out of print. So i had to track down this album, De La Soul is Dead, as well as Three Feet High and Rising, their two most acclaimed albums, online via some mp3 blogs.. I've heard so many good things about De La Soul from smart hip hop fans - yet, i'm not blown away by their stuff. I like it, and i see why in 1992 this would've been the coolest thing to play at a party, but it hasn't changed my life. I also fully admit that i haven't spent a ton of time with this record, and it probably deserves more of my attention than i give it. What's funny about hip hop, to me, is that the really good stuff is meant to sound improvised/tossed off, but requires a lot of time with it to really absorb it, whereas the super-slick produced FM radio hip hop sounds great the first few times you hear it, then becomes unbearably boring.

Song #4 - "Tales of the Exonerated Flea" - Horacee Arnold

This is the title track from this album, but out by Rock and Groove Records which, for a short time, was both a store and a reissue label. I have 2 of the 4 records they reissued (this one and Bell & Arc, another self-titled release) - this one is a jazz-fusion record with some of the best jazz flute this side of Ron Burgandy. I used one of the other songs on this on my Fall mix, which i will write about later today (i promise).

Song #5 -"Punahele" - Sonny Lin

With an iTunes gift card, the day after the 2004 Grammy Awards, i bought this compilation, Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 2. I was inspired by the open-tuning, finger picked stuff i had heard during the brief clip they played at the Grammys, so i took a chance on the album. It is a nice record, but one i rarely listen to. Very mellow - almost John Fahey-like in parts.

'Til next time,
Brian

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

Sunday, September 26, 2010

5 Song Shuffle Vol. 6

My iTunes library, as of September 26, 2010, has 20,686 songs in it. Some are novelty downloads, some i have because i'm a completionist, some i rarely (if have ever) listened to. So, in this new blog segment, i will let shuffle pick out random songs (without personal editing to hide embarrasing and/or lame songs), and i will write about what i think of them, plus any details i an give about how it was procured. At current rate (and if my iTunes never repeats a song...) this will be the sixth in at least a 4,000 part series.

Song #1 - "Wake Up Call" - They Might Be Giants

From their first album intended for children, No!, which Erin and i got at a bingo event at my work. A quasi-instrumental with a nice bass line from the always tasteful Danny Weinkauf. Not much to say - the track is less than 2 minutes long without a B section.

Song #2 - "Tight Black Rubber (solo)" - Black Francis

From the first of two (so far) live shows released on USB drive, Live at the Hotel Utah Saloon. This track starts with a nice little bit of stage banter about the Six Million Dollar Man. I like this version of the song quite a bit, possibly more than the studio version from Bluefinger. In fact, i think this may have been recorded before the studio version was even released - some real nice guitar playing on this version - i wouldn't think that singer + solo distorted electric guitar would be a combination i'd necessarily like, but BF makes it work.

Song #3 - "Humboldt County Massacre" - Frank Black and the Catholics

Again, a double up of Charles Thompson songs. I fucking love this song - a near-perfect 1:43. A song about exactly what the title says - a massacre of the Wiyot Indians by white people in Humboldt County, CA. There is a longer, mellower version that i like even more than this one, but this is such a trim, lean piece of songwriting, it makes my head spin. On the b-sides compilation One More Road for the Hit - the first full album i ever bought off iTunes.

Song #4 - "Demon Seed" - Nine Inch Nails

One of the tracks from The Slip, the free NIN album Trent Reznor put on his website in 2008. NIN is a band that i really respect but rarely play, yet whenever i hear their stuff i always wonder why i don't play it more. This track is no exception - brilliantly interlocking instruments with some near-whispered vocals. One of the few musicians that i'd put in the Prince category of genius - that is to say, he doesn't need anyone but himself to make a masterpiece. This track builds almost exclusively through the voice getting more and more pronounced, and then a distorted guitar/synth (i can't really tell how the sound originated, but i know it has a lot of distortion on it) - it also has a few nice sections where the tension releases, only to be built right back up. The middle/end of the track loses momentum for me a little bit with an extended breakdown that i don't think accomplishes what it sets out to. But the very end of the track (which also ends the album) closes things out nice and abruptly.

Track #5 - "La Puerta Negra" - Tigres de Norte

My friend Denis made a mix called "Soundtrack to Tacos" of traditional Mexican music. This is one of those songs. Not particularly my cup of tea, but it makes nice mood music on Cinco de Mayo. That being said, both Mexican and Italian music makes me want to take the accordion out of my closet and try and actually play it one of these days. I want to be one of those old men who breaks out the accordion at a family party and sings songs from the old country. Of course, by the time i'm an old man, the "old country" would be at least 150 years removed from my family. I don't care though, i'll be rocking out in my guinea-tee, blue jeans and fat guy hat.

'Til next time,
B

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5