Wednesday, July 13, 2011

5 Song Shuffle, Vol. 18: New Haircut Edition

My iTunes library, as of July 13,2011 , has 25, 540 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 seventeenth in at least a 4,000 part series.

Song #1 - "Dog Eat Dog" - Bill Frisell

I first encountered Bill Frisell's music after hearing a piece of it used interstitially on This American Life. I have since become a pretty big fan. What i especially love is that he is the rare guitar player who uses and arranges horns cleverly and who treats his guitar simply as another piece in the band - so many guitarists think of themselves as the meat and the band as the dressing. Bill doesn't do that. This is from This Land, which i had never heard until i read about it in a book of "100 Essential Jazz Albums" that is in my dad's bathroom. This piece is moody and languid and builds to a bit of a purposefully fumbling conclusion.

Song #2 - "China Pig" - Captain Beefheart

Perhaps the most straightforward and simple blues song on Trout Mask Replica, this shows what Beefheart might have sounded like in 1940. The simplicity of the song speaks for itself - i have very little to add - except for the fact that every person alive should seek out some Beefheart music and expand your ears a little. It may not go down easy at first, but medicine doesn't always taste good.

Song #3 - "Celebrity Death Match" - Peeping Tom (featuring Kid Koala)

A perfect example of a lazy Brian acquisition - this album was purchased from eMusic in 2006 because i dig Mike Patton, and i have never listened to it. I'm embarrassed by that, but i'm also rarely sitting around thinking, "What can i listen to that will be batshit insane, incorporate electronic elements, hip hop, Norah Jones and the daughter of a bossa nova legend under the direction of the lead singer of Mr. Bungle?" This is about what i would expect from this record (goofy, creepy, immaculately performed), and i hope to give it a proper listen soon.

Song #4 - "By the People" - Van Dyke Parks

Most famous for being a SMiLE-era Brian Wilson collaborator, this album (Song Cycle) is regarded as a really brilliant/odd collection of songs about a road trip. It is a fascinating listen, full of great arrangements (what VDP is most known for nowadays, most famously arranging Ys for Joanna Newsom [another album i own that i've never heard]) and oddball lyrics (his contribution to Beach Boys records) and the songs all go places you could never expect. That being said, it is a record you can't really put on at work, or exercising, or doing anything other than just listening to it, so it doesn't get a ton of listens in my life. But i can imagine few records better suited to a nap in a hammock*.

Song #5 - "Now That I Tell People I'm in College, My Social Status Has Nearly Tripled" - Kept Blue

My friend Steve Miller (aka Unsung, see my last post) gave me this record by a touring mate of his. I haven't listened to it in a long time, but i really enjoyed it when i last did. It is called Confessions of a Sexual Masterpiece, and this particular track is a short little glue-piece connecting two songs. It starts out orchestral in nature, and then morphs into a bouncing little pop piece with backwards vocals and then ends.

Boy, are you guys unlucky - the next song that shuffled is "Believe" by Cher - that would've made for an interesting pick, for sure.

'Til next time,

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17

*This weekend i proclaimed that when i have a fire pit and a hammock i will be set. I stand by that statement.

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