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,

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

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