Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday Random Ten

You know what's really disturbing about this album cover?

It's not the creepy Twilight Zone look on the ventriloquist dummy's face, or the Battle of the Network Stars jumpsuit he's wearing. Yes, he reminds me of Jamie Farr getting ready to battle fellow swarthy star Gabe Kaplan on the obstacle course, but that's not what creeps me out.

And, no, it's not the even creepier look that Geraldine is sporting. The last woman I saw with that hairstyle and that dress wound up getting married at Graceland.

And, no, it's not the album's weird "Trees Talk Too" title. I have no idea what that means, unless it's an attempt to mock the dummy and his Wooden-American heritage. But that would be both cruel and pointless, like trying to correct President Bush's grammar.

No, the most disturbing thing about this album is that it's an audio recording of a ventriloquist act. Let that sink in. Maybe it's for people who just love the witty banter of a ventriloquist act, but don't want to see that even a modicum of skill is involved. Who knows? Who cares?

Alright, it's time for the Friday Random Ten. For those of you just now emerging from a coma, the rules are simple. Take out your iPod or imitationPod, set in on random, and give us the first ten songs that rear their ugly heads. And if you'd like to step it up a notch, throw in a Coolness Self Audit as well.

Here's mine for this week. Big bucks, big bucks!! No whammies!!

1. Archers of Loaf, "Might" -- This might be the pinnacle of indie rock, as far as I'm concerned. One of the scorching, angsty songs from the outstanding Icky Mettle CD, which was rightfully named Album of the Year by Interview and "a near perfect guitar rock album" by Spin. If this isn't in your collection, do yourself -- nay, do America a favor and put it there. 9/10

2. MF Doom and RZA, "Biochemical Equation" -- Pretty straightforward hiphop, but not really as good as either of them can be on their own. Sorry, fellas, but some marriages just weren't meant to be. 5/10

3. The Go! Team, "Junior Kickstart" -- This Brighton band is starting to become a hipster fixture, and for good reason. This is a nice assault of horns, harmonica and guitars from their first EP, and it sounds like the theme song to a '70s cop show. Which is, of course, a Good Thing. 10/10

4. The Swallows, "It Ain't the Meat" -- A dirty little R&B song from the '50s. With a none-too-subtle chorus of "It ain't the meat, it's the motion" you tend to overlook verses like this: "You find some girls who are big and fat / Some fellas don't like to see 'em like that / But I like to see 'em big and tall / The bigger they come, the harder they fall." 7/10

5. The Magnetic Fields, "Love Goes Home to Paris in the Spring" -- Stephin Merritt creates some of the most perfect pop songs, and this is one of his best. The usual pairing of his melancholy voice with the almost toylike guitars is just right. Brilliant. 9/10

6. Radiohead, "Wish You Were Here" -- A cover of the Pink Floyd classic from Radiohead's B-Sides collection. I love the original and love the band covering it, but something just doesn't work completely here. Maybe it's the fact that the strings now remind me of the musical assassins in "Kung Fu Hustle." Yeah, that might be it. 6/10

7. Nazareth, "Hair of the Dog" -- This is a perfect follow-up to last week's Sweet song. Another hard-drinking, ass-kicking, finger-giving bit of '70s strutter rock. "Now you're messin' with ... a son of a bitch!" Indeed. 8/10

8. The Apples in Stereo, "Benefits of Lying With Your Friends" -- Eh. I can't really stand the first part of this song, which gets a little too wussy for my tastes, but there's a nice little moog bit at the end that redeems it. A little. 5/10

9. Ennio Morricone, "L´Estasi Dell´Oro (Remix)" -- This is a phenomenal remix of a tune from the greatest Western of all time, Sergio Leone's "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly." I have actually forbidden myself from listening to this on my iPod as I walk around town because I'm positive this music is going to get me into a fight. 10/10

10. Barry White, "You See the Trouble in Me" -- I once saw Barry White in concert, and it was everything you'd want it to be. He came out draped in about forty square feet of velvet. Behind him were three things: a nineteen piece orchestra, four scantily-clad dancers who were brought out on stage in giant champagne glasses, and a backdrop that was a giant satin headboard. Well played, my friend. Well played. 7/10

Well, that's yet another 7.6 average. I guess this is what it feels to be part of the MTV Generation, feeling neither highs nor lows.

Think you're better than me? Well, you're probably right. Go ahead and drop your own random ten, with or without the Coolness Self Audit, in the comments below.


The Doc said...

I will be Random Tenning it myself later on today, but I just have to say: a remix of the phenomenal "Ecstasy of Gold"? Who did this and where can I find it?

Otto Man said...

It's available on iTunes, on the second volume of the Ennio Morricone remixes. A lot of the remixes are crap, but this one lives up to the title.

Thrillhous said...

Okay, enough with the weird stuff that no Real Americans have heard of. Grab those ankles and get ready for some Butt Rock!

1. Ancient Walls of Flowers - Marcy Playground. Someone made a wisecrack about Marcy last time I had them (Alex S, maybe?), but I care not. I likes what I likes! It's no cloaking robe of elvenkind, but it's a good tune. 7/10.

2. Black Sabbath - Sabbath. Dunkaroo, babeee! What a great song. The rain, the church bells, the Satanic stuff. 10/10

3. I Don't Wanna Know - REO. Not my favorite tune from the Wagon, in fact it's one of my least favorite. Still, it's Kevin Cronin on a Friday. Yeah! 6/10.

4. Your Time is Gonna Come - Zep. Karl Rove, the Zep plays for thee! 10/10

5. Devil By His Side - Jerry Cantrell. Can I dedicate 2 straight songs to Rovey? Hell yes I can! (Sadly, this is one of many Cantrell songs where the chorus is, well, girly.) 8/10

6. Jesus Christ Pose - Soundgarden. Oh man, my player has been taken over by the Liberal Media. This song has Tommy DeLay written all over it! 10/10

7. Is Anybody Out There - Floyd. This one's actually off a sessions recording for the Wall. As I've said before, I'm getting into Floyd these days, but I haven't bothered with The Wall yet. 5/10.

8. Learning to Fly - ELP. Ah, you're thinking "Wait, that's another Floyd song." You're wrong, punk! Before Floyd had their Fly song, ELP (this time, Emerson Lake and Powell) released this baby. Pretty good, but not as good as the big hit of this album, Touch and Go. 7/10

9. Believer - Ozzy. Man do I miss Randy Rhodes. 8/10.

10. Down Under - Men at Work. Talk about a Marv Albert come from behind victory! I have yet to have a vegemite sandwich, but it's on my to do list, right after punching out Mohammed Ali. 10/10

Otto Man said...

"Grab those ankles and get ready for some Butt Rock!"

In a scary coincidence, my greatest fear is to find myself in a jail cell with a man named Hoss and hear those very words.

ORF said...

People be slow on sharing these today. Otto, that is quite the endorsement for Archers of Loaf. I am tempted. It would be my first FRT-inspired purchase...

Here's my spin around the 'Pod:
1) Let Him Fly-Patty Griffin 7/10
Patty is a tiny white woman whom I've seen in concert twice now. She has more soul than an entire gospel choir and most of her songs are almost (ALMOST!) sadder than Johnny Cash's cannon.

2) Slim Slow Slider-Van Morrison 7/10
At the risk of getting all Greil Marcus on your asses, Astral Weeks really IS a phenomenal album.

3) Mathematics-Mos Def 10/10
By default.

4) For What Reason-Death Cab For Cutie 6/10
I need to purge my iPod of some of their stuff. It's all so redundant and emo!!

5) Only In Dreams-Weezer 9/10
Rivers Cuomo, I'll see you in MY dreams, even if you aren't from Beverly Hills.

6) Kangaroo-David Gray 6/10
I was on this big David Gray kick for a while, but I find myself almost never voluntarily selecting any of his albums on my iPod these days.

7) Car Thief-Beastie Boys 8/10
Paul's Boutique is like, pretty much my favorite Beastie Boys animal. Runner Up: Ill Communication.

8) Natasha-Rufus Wainwright 7/10
I like this song because I have a dear friend named Natasha. Just about everything this man writes is beautiful. I saw him in concert this summer and he was hysterical. Too bad about the whole "he likes boys" thing.

9) Brazil-Django Reinhardt 6/10
This is from the Something's Gotta Give soundtrack. It's actually a kind of cool song. Shut up. Just shut the HELL UP!

10) Kid About It-Elvis Costello 9/10
Again, another phenomenal song writer, but I've yet to see him on concert. He and Radiohead are at the top of the list for "Most Desired Ticket."

That's a 75/100. Not too shabby. The iPod is being generally unoffensive lately and Alex, a little dedication just for you: my girl Kelis made a cameo a couple songs after the FRT with Andre 3000. Definitely booty-shaking involved.

I've been thinking we should have a genre-based FRT. Like, pick your favorite (or least favorite) genre or whatever genre you feel like hearing and then spin through that. thoughts?

Smitty said...

And for today's drunken, hazy Reandom Ten Beers in My Fridge:

1) Michigan Brewing Company Peninsula Porter. Another consistent beer from this consistent brewery. It misses the standard porter mark ever so slightly, but still has a strong roasted nuts and smoke smell and taste. Heavy beer...drink with red meat. 7/10.

2) Dogfish Head Brewery Aprihop. WOW. An India Pale Ale brewed with real apricots instead of artificial fruit flavor like so many other brews. What you get is a lovely, strongly-hopped IPA with a beautiful balance of sweetness barely in the background. WOnderful....except the finish was a bit heavy on the alcohol taste. Damn. 8/10.

3) Michigan Brewing Company Mackinac Pale Ale. Great copper color, with a taste bigger than its smell. It smelled weak, but I was amazed at the variation in flavor from biscuity hops to carmelized sugar to rose-flavored hops. Damn good beer, this one. 9/10.

4) Michigan Brewing Company Bavarian Dark. Yes, I visited the brewery this week as I picked up some brewing supplies and took home a few mixed 6ers. Anyway, this was not as heavy as other beers of this style. I didn't smell a ton of hints as to its taste, but the taste itself was great. Big-time toasted malt, subtle (but not weak) hops. Lighter body than I expected; thin and wet, a little hops bite at the finish, which pleased me just as well. 9/10.

5) Rogue Ales Brewery Dead Guy Ale. Clear amber with a thick, foamy head that left a beer-stache like a Guinness does. Toast, malt, wonderful honey/clover-flavored hops. Very well-balanced ale. 9/10.

6) Arcadia Brewing Company Lake Superior ESB. This is drinkable; I won't kick it out of my fridge. It doesn't hold a candle to Fuller's ESB (see last week's 10), as it is a little weaker and watery. What it is missing is prominent hops. It's like they are trying to market an ale as an ESB, so I was looking for stronger hops that weren't there. Not terrible, though. 6/10.

7) Weihenstephaner Kristallweissbier. I've you've been brewing beer since 1040AD (yes...26 years BEFORE England as we know it), you've pretty much got it down. Chrystal-clear amber, little streams of bubbles all the way up, with a head like lemon meringue. Sweet, balanced by a tangy wheat flavor. More cloves than banana, which is unusual for a weissbier, and just fine by me. Great damned beer here folks. One of my favorites. 10/10.

8) Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout. Yummy! Roasted coffee, balanced by sweet oatmeal that leaves a bit of a bitter chocolate aftertaste. Dark brown, tan, frothy head. Great, solid, basic oatmeal stout. Thick, but not oily, which so many oatmeal stouts can be. Well done! 8/10.

9) St. Pauli Girl. Dammit, I hate green-bottled beer. It could be good, but most stores store it in bright lights, so it is skunk city. This is a pretty weak pilsener to begin with; big blast of hops up front followed by that all-familiar skunky aftertaste. Meh. 4/10.

10) Iron City Beer. I blame my buddy, who is from Pittsburg, for this beer. But I am torn. This is a tailgate beer. It is light, easy to chug, and has a little more flavor than Miller Light of Bud Light. So, I swill this beer when I am getting smashed enough to watch MSU nearly win or nearly lose every Saturday. On the other hand, it's tart, acidic, with that oh-so-wonderful aluminum can aftertaste we've grown to expect out of a "macro." I'd rate it lower, but because this beer is connected in my head with tailgating and BBQ, 2 of my favorite things, it gets a 6/10.

7.6 this week gets me happily goofy. Respect beer!

Mr Furious said...

1. "Flowers in December" - Mazzy Star A nice enough tune, but not really how I want to start the morning...too mellow. 6

2. "Get Rythym" - NRBQ That's more like it! If you grew up in Connecticut (and at least 35), you know who these guys are. If not, probably not. Once dubbed by Rolling Stone, the "Best Band You Never Heard Of" the New Rythym and Blues Quartet is something special. Good old-fashioned rock and roll. Awesome live band, now declared by me to officially defunct, as the current lineup is missing Big Al. 9

3. "Township Rebellion" - Rage Against the Machine Run of the mill Rage, which is a good thing. "What’s it gonna take? Euuurrrggghhhhh!" 7

4. "if'n (Watt)" - fIREHOSE Typical slightly quirky tune. Reminds me that one of these days I have to upload the good tunes off Watt's solo album. 6

5. "Sampson & Delilah" - Grateful Dead I don't have a lot of use for the Dead, but for some reason I love this song. This live album is the only Dead I own, and this is really the only track I ever listen to. My deadhead college roommate found me to be an oddity—a guy who likes everything Deadheads like (Feat, Rads, and others) but doesn't like the Dead. I'm probably missing out, but I don't lose sleep over it.8

6. "Babylon'" - David Gray From one of my wife's CDs. That doesn't mean anything other than this is an okay tune that makes me look at the display and say, "Oh, this is David Gray". 5

7. "Stolen Car" - Beth Orton A great song that far outshines the rest of Orton's stuff. I remember loving this song on a CMJ disc and buying the CD, buying it for my sister for Christmas, and neither of us ever really warming up to the rest of it. 8

8. "Shake Your Rump" - Beastie Boys A powerhouse. I'm not one of those people who slobbers all over the Beasties—they're okay. But this is easily a Top 25 All-Time song for me. Always gets a repeat and crank-up. 10

9. "Scratch" - Morphine I missed the boat on Morphine. A few years ago, I was in a bar in DC once waiting for a table, and some live Morphine was on the stereo. I asked the bartender if that's who it was, "Yup." I made a mental note to check 'em out. Found the CD "Yes" at the library and promptly fell in love with it. 8

10. "Groovy Train" - The Farm If you were a graphic designer in the early '90s, this was a staple. At least at every party I went to... 7

7.4 average. As I listened, it felt stronger than that, but I'm guess I'm still enjoying the freshness factor on the new playlist...

Mr Furious said...

It wasn't me making fun of the Playground. I just heard that same tune after I finished up the FRT. Love those guys. Went looking online and found they have a third album called "MP3." Heard it? Any good?

Studiodave said...

This beer list is killing my productivity in the office - which is already on the endanged species list. I need beer! Hulk smash!

The Doc said...

And now, the triumphant return of The Doc's FRT.

1. Stevie Wonder - You Can Feel It All Over. Can you really go wrong with pre-80s Stevie Wonder? No. No you cannot. 10/10.
2. Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees. I don't know if Radiohead is cool or not anymore; I just know I still like 'em. A little down-tempo, but good. 8/10.
3. Death Cab For Cutie - Pictures in an Exhibition. People all over the world are joinin' hands and gettin' on the Death Cab. 've liked them for a while, but this song is a little slow for me. 7/10.
4. Death Cab For Cutie - The Sound of Settling. Whoah. Two in a row, but at least this one is more my speed. 8/10.
5. Man Or AstroMan? - Space Helmet. This band would typically fall into my Awesome Geek Rock category, but it's 2 minutes of ambient noise with someone saying "We'd better get the helmets!" in the background. 3/10.
6. The Pixies - Broken Face. Oh, Kim Deal. You are a rock angel sent from heaven. I mean, Frank's good too, but Kim's the only Pixie for me. 10/10.
7. The Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight Tonight. This is going to hurt my real-life coolness rating, but I really like these guys. This song opened my eyes to how cool music could actually be played on the radio. 7/10.
8. Belle & Sebastian - Me & The Major. Making a return to The Doc's FRT contribution, the least Belle-&-Sebastian-ish song that Belle & Sebastian ever put out. Groovy! 8/10.
9. The Postal Service - Clark Gable. This is getting VERY strange. I mean, I like Ben Gibbard nd all, but this is beginning to seem like I have a man-crush on him. Still: very good. 8/10.
10. Handsome Boy Modeling School - Holy Calamity. There just ain't no party like a Handsome Boy Modeling School party! 9/10

Grand Total: 78/100. Climbin' back up there.

I would also like to second the motion put forward by ORF: genre-limited randomness spells more obscure bands and more possibility of embarassment. Good times all around.

Susie the Bear said...

1. "Rhiannon" - Fleetwood Mac. Eh. Not the way I would have liked to start out. 3/10.
2. "Magnetizing" - Handsome Boy Modeling School ft. Del Tha Funky Homosapien. Looks like I too am jumping on the Handsome Boy train today, and it's a train I'm always happy to ride. 8/10.
3. "Lumberjack Song" - Monty Python. HA! The iPod succeeds in lifting my spirits after, frankly, a rather sucky day. An old friend of mine once told me she frequently gets this song stuck in her head during sex. I don't know about coolness, but this gets points for comedy. 9/10.
4. "Oh Boy" - Buddy Holly. I was forced to give up my fall break one year in order to go to Lubbock, TX for a big engineering society nerdfest. Needless to say, I did not look forward to the trip. However, there were two highlights that made it somewhat worthwhile. First, I saw a real live tumbleweed. It was HUGE. And prickly. Second, I got my picture taken next to a statue of Buddy Holly. He's from there, dont'cha know? 8/10.
5. "Why Bother" - Weezer. This is one of those times I swear the iPod is playing games with me. A song by Buddy Holly followed by a song by the guy who wrote a song called "Buddy Holly." If it had been the song, that would have just been too weird. 8/10.
6. "Sweet Sweet Bulbs" - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band. It must be a day for oddities. There is no way drugs were not involved in the making of this music. It's interesting stuff, but not really my favorite. 5/10.
7. "Give Your Woman What She Wants" - Taj Mahal. Taj is definitely good stuff. My mom and I saw him perform in NYC a couple of years ago, and he was great, as is this song. 8/10.
8. "Else" - Built To Spill. I love this band. 7/10.
9. "All Nite Diner" - Modest Mouse. Excellent song. One of my favorites. 10/10.
10. "What I'm Trying To Say" - Stars. Not a bad way to finish things off. 7/10.

Well, that looks like 73/100 for me. Doc, do not feel uncool for liking the Smashing Pumpkins. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was one of my first albums ever (not including Disney soundtracks and other bad gifts from family members). Otto, way to go with The Go! Team! I think you just helped me select my gym music for the evening.

Volanta said...

My Ipod apparently is breaking up with its girlfriend.

1. "Moonage Daydream"--David Bowie: Boy, has his voice changed. A classic, but not one of my favs. 6/10

2. "Christmas Card From Hooker in Minneapolis"--Tom Waits: Always cool, but a trend-setter for the evening. 8/10

3. "Angels Collide"--Amy Correia: Better lyrics then voice but enjoyable. 7/10

4. "Hot On Your Trail"--Sinaed Lohan: Another ballad. The Irish accent will get me every time. 7/10

5. "Martin's Song"--The Jayhawks: A slow one from a group that's capable of rocking (maybe if I shake the IPOD)? 7/10

6. "Putting the Damage On"--Tori Amos: That worked great! The epitome of misery herself. 7/10

7. "Jesus, Etc."--Wiclo: Pretty sad that I have to consider this somewhat uptempo in this grouping. 7/10

8. "Blue Moon Revisited"--Cowboy Junkies: I just spit my soda all over the computer screen. This is ridiculous. I'll be calling suicide prevention lines pretty soon. 7/10

9. "Table For One"--Liz Phair: This is new for me. I think I picked it up on a recommendation from someone in this group. 7/10

10. "Downbound Train"--Raul Malo: Might as well end as we have been going--this is a Springsteen cover. Very depressing. 9/10

Total:7.2 satisfactorily miserable

BTW, ORF I agree, Patty Griffin is excellent. I'm suprised she didn't show up in my little collection of misery.

Otto Man said...

You're right, ORF -- slow turnout this week. Did the ventriloquist cover scare everyone away?

And Volanta, I'd put your iPod on a suicide watch. It seems deeply depressed.

Otto Man said...

By the way, Smitty, you'll be interested in this site's new weekly feature:

Smitty said...

Niiiiice! Support local breweries!!