There's so much to admire about Mike Crain, Karatist Preacher. Not only is Mike Crain, Karatist Preacher, the most impressive double-threat since Samuel Adams, Brewer Patriot. Not only does Mike Crain, Karatist Preacher, look like the love child of F Troop's Larry Storch and the Monkees' Mickey Dolenz. More important than all that, Mike Crain, Karatist Preacher, puts the "Holy Christ!" back into ass-kicking.
And rightly so. Remember what Jesus said in the Book of Bruce, Chapter Four: "And lo, if He does not believe in me, then I will fight him. Or, failing that, prove my righteousness by breaking boards with my bare hands." What, you think the guy was a carpenter because he loved the work? Nope. Free boards for breaking.
Anyway, the appearance of Mike Crain, Karatist Preacher, means that it's once again time for the Friday Random Ten. Fire up the iTunes, set it to random, and let loose the first ten songs that are brave enough to show themselves. And, if you're feeling saucy, Bernaise, then go ahead and give us a Coolness Self-Audit. (Check out last week's FRT for a guide to that. Or don't. See if I care.)
Alright, here are mine:
1. The Afghan Whigs, "Uptown Again" -- Off their last great album, 1965. A friend of mine saw them live in Boston a couple years before then and apparently, in a middle of a song, lead singer Greg Dulli turned and punched the bass player right in the mug. They went rolling offstage still fighting, came back a bit later, and picked up the song where they left off. Now that is rock and roll, my friends. Get this touchy-queery Maroon 5 crap out of my face. 8/10
2. David Bowie, "Queen Bitch" -- This song is cool for so many reasons. First, it's Bowie. Second, it's the closing credits song from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Third, I recently saw Bowie perform this with Arcade Fire as the encore for their Summerstage show in Central Park. As George Tenet would say, this is a slam dunk. 10/10
3. William DeVaughn, "Be Thankful for What You've Got" -- I'm a pretty big fan of Massive Attack, but their cover of this classic soul song is an absolute abomination. This version, the original, is so much smoother it could cause listeners to drift into a coma. There's a reason Massive Attack and Coolio both tried to cover this, but you just don't mess with perfection. 9/10
4. Cypress Hill, "The Phuncky Feel One (Instrumental)" -- I stumbled across the website of Cypress Hillian B-Real a couple weeks ago, and was stunned to find it loaded with lots and lots free mp3s. Somehow listening to this makes me want to sneak a case of Milwaukee's Best into my dorm room. 6/10
5. Curtis Mayfield, "Move On Up" -- One of my all-time favorite Mayfield tunes. While I'm happy to see it's been resurrected by Kanye West for his new tune, "Touch the Sky," the original is strong enough to stand on its own. Phenomenal horns, grinding drums, and generally the fastest nine minutes of music you'd ever hear. 9/10
6. Superchunk, "100,000 Fireflies" -- This sounds virtually nothing like the quiet and beautiful Magnetic Fields original, and yet it works incredibly well. Somehow, in Mac McCaughan's indie-rock screech, Stephin Merritt's slit-your-wrist lyrics work even better. I mean, he actually shrieks "Why do we keep shrieking, when we mean soft things? We should be whispering all the time." 9/10
7. Kid Koala, "Skanky Panky" -- I saw Kid Koala open up for the Roots about six years ago at the Roxy in Atlanta. Really impressive. This song has its moments, but it has a few too many places where the scratching gets so overwhelming you think he might be having a seizure. 7/10
8. Beck, "Jack-Ass" -- A nice slow one from Odelay. The backing samples, which were lifted from Them's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," are just perfect here. It's impressive that he was able to take so much from a classic and still come up with something so original. But what would you expect from a man who's in league with both "Futurama" and Scientology? 8/10
9. Bee Gees, "More Than a Woman" -- So. Much. Shame. 2/10
10. Fugazi, "Waiting Room" -- Alright, this should help right the ship. An early scorcher from the band that still represents the alpha and omega of do-it-yourself punk rock. They run their own label, they book their own shows, and they don't charge their fans a tattooed arm and leg for either. This may be my favorite tune by them. I once tried to learn the opening bass part for the band I was in for three days, and nearly died trying. The lesson? Never try. 8/10
Let's see, that gives me yet another mediocre 7.6 average. Too bad the Brothers Gibb had to saunter in at the last moment and cripple an otherwise impressive showing. Bastards. Cross me again, you satin-clad suckers, and you'll find it even easier to hit those high notes.
Alright, your turn. Drop your own Friday Random Ten in the comments below. And if you're feeling up to it, throw in a Coolness Self-Audit as well.
Come on. Do it for the children.