Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday Random Ten

On this Friday before Thanksgiving, I thought I'd try to put everything in perspective.

Are all of your friends dead? Do you have to go out in public with a white shirt, white tie, and white leather shoes? Do you work for something called "the Pulpit in the Shadows," which I'm assuming is a Christian paramilitary organization of some sort? Have you ever heard this album? No on all counts? Well, then, be sure to count your blessings.

Speaking of counting your blessings, it's time to line up the Friday Random Ten.

You know the rules. Take out whatever it is you keep your music on, whether it's an iPod or an imitation from such brand names as Sorny, Panaphonics, or Magnetbox; set that sucker on shuffle; and give us the first ten songs that pop out. If, in the spirit of Nigel Tufnel, you'd like to take the Random Ten "to eleven," go ahead and throw in a Coolness Self-Audit as well. (If you want a guide on how to handle that, check the comments here.)

Alright, here's my set:

1. The Latin Playboys, "Mustard" -- The Latin Playboys are a side project of sorts from Los Lobos (or "Los Lonely Boys" or whatever their sellout name is now). This is much more stripped-down and quirky-sounding than the usual Lobos fare, and it's catchy as hell. 8/10

2. Death Cab for Cutie, "Earth Angel" -- A cover of the Penguins' classic, taken from the soundtrack to a video game called "Stubbs the Zombie." I'm not sure what alt-rock covers of '50s whitebread songs have to do with zombies rampaging in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but the soundtrack is brilliant. Bands like Cake, Flaming Lips, the Raveonettes, and Rogue Wave covering classic songs like "Everyday," "Mr. Sandman," and "Lonesome Town." The Death Cab tune might be one of the best, but the whole thing's worth a listen. 9/10

3. Fatlip, "Today's Your Day" -- The new Loneliest Punk CD marks the triumphant return of Fatlip, formerly a prime force in the Pharcyde. This song makes use of the nice hook from Lee Dorsey's "Give It Up," and that earns it major points in my book. And yours, unless you're a communist. 8/10

4. Barcelona, "Kasey Keller" -- I'm an ardent fan of the U.S. national soccer team, so finding a nice tribute to the greatest goalie in American history was a treat. Does Tony Meola have a song named after him? I think not. Well, I hope not. 6/10

5. Jean Grae, "Keep Livin'" -- I found this on a sampler put out by Okay Player, and even with nice cuts from the Roots and RJD2 on the disc, this was a song I kept coming back to. Vocals that are a blend of Jill Scott and Angie Stone, and background samples that sound like something from Dilated Peoples. In other words, good. 10/10

6. José Gonzáles, "Stay in the Shade" -- If you like Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine, you'll probably like Gonzáles as well. Nice acoustic guitar work, haunting vocals, and the usual slide-you-into-a-coma stylings that go with all that. 7/10

7. Booker T and the MGs, "Soul Dressing" -- Nicely appropriate for the Thanksgiving theme. This is a sweet soul instrumental, with some brilliant organ and guitar work. If the only thing you know by Booker T is the song "Green Onions" (or the professional wrestler who bears his name) do yourself a favor and dig a little deeper. This cut is a great place to start. 9/10

8. LCD Soundsystem, "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" -- I'm not sure what the current Coolness Rating for this song would be. It was all the rage just a bit ago, but I think it might be following trucker hats and fauxhawks out the door. Hipsters are a fickle lot. Eh. 7/10

9. Interpol, "Untitled" -- Sure, the lyrics make it seem like the theme song for a stalker -- "I will surprise you sometime / I'll come around" over and over again -- but this is still a nice, slow-building bit of indie rock. I tend to like Interpol's slower stuff and this is as good as it gets. 9/10

10. Thelma Houston, "Jumpin' Jack Flash" -- This is a scorching R&B cover of the Stones song by Houston, a singer who's better known for her disco hits like "Baby, Don't Leave Me This Way." The cover is brilliant, and the only thing that mars it for me are the painful memories of that godawful Whoopi Goldberg movie. I'd wish her a trip to hell for that sin, but she's already on the Hollywood Squares. What more can we do? 9/10

Adding it all up, that gives me a whopping 8.2 average. For once, I successfully avoided the cringeworthy stuff on my iTunes and came up with a fairly respectable list. And for that, I'm thankful.

Alright, pilgrims. Drop your own Random Ten in the comments, and if you'd like, throw in a Coolness Self-Audit as well.

22 comments:

peb said...

You should give yourself extra coolness points for insulting Tony Meola. He sucks.

Mr Furious said...

Ha!

Alright, I'll be back shortly with my list...

Thrillhous said...

Booker T??? Spinarooni, baby! He's my favorite wrestler. Bummer about Latino Heat dying last week.

I don't want to overhype this, but I have a feeling my list this week will be better than 10 Superbowls!

1) Wave Goodbye - Chris Cornell. Kinda maudlin, but still a great tune. Man is Cornell cool. 8/10

2) Phantom Lord - Metallica. Off of Kill 'em All, before they turned all orchestral and greedy. Most days of the week this song is just a 7, but on Fridays it's a 10, baby! 10/10

3) Time Again - Asia. This song alone is better than at least 2 Superbowls. Keep it real, Geoffrey Downes! 10/10

4) Looking Around - Yes. This is my favorite tune from their eponymous release (I love that word), except for maybe Harold Land. 10/10

5) That's the Way (Live) - Zeppelin. One of their crappier songs, and live doesn't help it none. 5/10

6) Cherokee - Europe. WWOOOOOOWOOOOWOOOOO!!!! 10/10

7) Skating away on the ice of a new day - Jethro Tull. Starts out good, goes downhill. In other words, typical Tull. 6/10

8) Sathington Waltz - Primus. One of their many weird noise experiments. 3/10

9) New Damage - Soundgarden. Excellent! 9/10

10) Prison Song - System of a Down. Another tune that's especially good on Fridays. 8/10

What a week!

Mr Furious said...

Here we go...

1. "The Real Me" - The Who Absolute kick-ass. Period. I don't care if this song is being sullied by use as a CSI themesong or not (it is, isn't it?). Quadrephenia is my favorite stuff from The Who. A tremendous headphones song led by Entwhistle and Moon, which seems written to allow Pete Townshend maximum widmilling. Question: Who was the Headbanger's Ball band that covered this? I remember that being really good...anybody got it? (Thrilhous, I'm looking in your direction) 10

2. "We Shall Not Be Moved" - Dan Zanes I added almost 90 "children's songs" to the iPod recently as a separate playlist for my daughter, but they do shuffle in from time to time. If you have kids (or even if you don't), do yourself a favor and pick up some Dan Zanes. Former frontman for the Del Fuegos, Zanes is an excellent musician, and these albums are originals mixed with reinterpreted folk and islands standards. Aimee Mann, Lou Reed, Deborah Harry among others contribute. I love this stuff, and if I got in the car by myself and DZ was left in the car CD player, I'd drive around town by myself, cranking it. 7

3. "Rattlin' Bog" - Dan Zanes Whoa, back to back. One of the more children-y tunes. Features 'Father Goose', who I pictured to be a crusty, old, black bluesman-type until I found out at the concert he's a pudgy, football jersey-wearin' hip hopper. Concert?! Yikes, I am really a parent! 7

4. "Your Most Valuable Possession" - Ben Folds Five "Your mahnd." A message from Folds' answering machine from his dad, played over some nice, jazzy background music. If it was longer than two minutes, it'd get deleted. 5

5. "Creep (acoustic version)" - Radiohead Does "acoustic" equal "radio-safe?" Three seconds longer, minus the "so fuckin' special" and otherwise pretty indistiguishable from the album "Creep". 8

6. "Xanadu'" - Rush Album version. Since I cut my air-drumming teeth on the "Exit, Stage Left" version, this is a slight letdown by comparison. 8

7. "Shining Star" - Earth, Wind and Fire Musically cool and funky enough to be a good theme song for walking into a bar. If that person was a white boy like me, it would have to be during my sitcom. The song's total package never gets quite as cool as you want it to (or remember it) however. 8

8. "Line Up" - Elastica Unlike a fine wine or cheese, not better with age. 6

9. "The Boss's Car" - John Scofield Way back in college, I traded my only jazz/fusion CD (Billy Cobham) for this Scofield disc. This is the only song active in iTunes, but it's always a pleasant surprise. 7

10. "Sister Morphine" - Rolling Stones Industrial strength finish. One particular instrumental moment is definitely cool enough to be a personal soundtrack. Ironic for a guy who has never done any drugs... The Stones are the clear favorites for me among British invaders. (Who second, Beatles three) 10

7.6 average. Pretty good, considering the cross-playlist contamination. The Who and Stones bookends carried the day.

Mr Furious said...

Ugh. How crushing is it seeing a typo in the coolest word of a 500-word post...? "widmilling"...

[sulks off]

Otto Man said...

I just thought you had a cold, Mr. F.

Otto Man said...

Was Tony Meola in Wet Hot American Summer? You know, the Italian guy in the short jeans shorts (or, "jorts" if you will) who had a rep as a lover but was really a virgin? No?

ORF said...

Mr. Furious, it's YOUR fantasy, so you can walk into the bar to any GD song you'd like. And it doesn't have to be a sitcom.

Otto, I've seen the illustrious Jean Grae in concert and she is great. She opened for Talib and she had some sweet Pumas on. I advise you to purchase more of her music. She's the best thing the ladies of hiphop have around, taking a page from the lovely Rah Digga.

Ok, onto my playlist, which was an all-around satisfactory spin today.

1)Rolling With Heat-The Roots 8/10
This features Talib Kweli and so given that lineage, it is thereby awesome. I haven't listened to this album at all, but downloaded it from a friend and it has subsequently languished on the 'pod, but this makes me think I should listen quick.

2) Nothing in this world can stop me worrying bout that girl-The Kinks 6/10
Meh. It sounds better when it's all wrapped up in the "Rushmore" soundtrack. Otherwise, this guy just needs to get a life! And also some better (read:shorter) song titles.

3) Brother John-Big Head Todd and the Monsters. 6/10
Hooray for high school! They can get much more soulful than this tho.

4) Indoor Fireworks-Elvis Costello 10/10
There are three bands/people I'd sell sex for in order to see them in concert, and that is Radiohead, Mos Def and Elvis Costello. Elvis actually performs with a fair amount of regularity, so I think I can put the fuck-me pumps back in the closet for now....

5) I Put a Spell on You-Nina Simone 7/10
Ms. Simone is pretty righteous and any song about bewitching loved ones is good for me!

6) Party the Baby Off-The Icarus Line 4/10
I got this song off one of those Virgin compilation "listen to this band now that we've discovered them and they will therefore immediately become oversaturated and gauche" CDs. Some of the bands on there are actually quite good, but not these guys. Also, the song title just sounds weird to me.

7) How Soon Is Now?-The Smiths 8/10
I've been on a big Smiths kick lately. I think the iPod was trying to appease me. The T.a.T.U. version of this song is surprisingly good as well and somehow fitting since Morrisey is about as depressing as the weather in Russia.

8) You Don't Send Me-Belle and Sebastian 6/10
This is why I cannot listen to too much of this music. Just too pat.

9) Leaving Las Vegas-Sheryl Crow 10/10
I know this got WAYYYY overplayed when it came out, but I LOVE this song. In fact, the whole album is pretty effing good. Sheryl, what the hell happened?

10) Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You?-Billie Holiday 8/10
I think she got the message from Ms. Simone.

A 73. Standard fare!

Thrillhous said...

Any list that's got Xanadu on it automatically rules!! I actually prefer the album version, but if you're going to do some air drumming the live version is the way to go. Especially the second time around on the line "Decreed by Kublai Khan". Neal gets just plain jiggy with that.

Sadly, I don't know the Headbanger's band that covered The Real Me. Funny, I just got a copy of Quadraphenia, and I'm liking it. You're right, you can just about hear Townsend doing the windmilling.

Otto Man said...

Thanks for the Jean Grae tip. I'll be sure to explore more.

And do yourself a favor and get into that Roots album a little more. Phrenology is a little more hit and miss than, say, Things Fall Apart or The Tipping Point but there are some great tracks in there: "The Seed," "Break You Off," etc.

Mr Furious said...

orf-

There are three bands/people I'd sell sex for in order to see them in concert, and that is Radiohead, Mos Def and Elvis Costello. Elvis actually performs with a fair amount of regularity, so I think I can put the fuck-me pumps back in the closet for now....

And to think I gave away a pair of Elvis tickets this year...If I'd only known...

[kidding]

Oh, and thanks, but even in my own fantasy, I recognize the ridiculousness of EWF as my soundrack.

Mr Furious said...

T'hous-

Looks like the band was W.A.S.P. (after a Google search). There's a metalhead guy at work, and this sounds right up his alley. My odds of getting might actually be good...

Smitty said...

Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog, thrillhous. That stout is like chocolate cake and beer at the same time. My tastebuds flew into a frenzy and my brain shut down because of it.

You should absolutely get back into homebrewing. Great recipes are floating around out there now...

HUGE props, orf, on the Elvis Costello. His songs might have been the best parts of Austin Powers, now that I've seen the movie 12 quintillion times.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

Hey Smitty -- I'm going to re-start my homebrewing career next month. You got a favorite site for beer recipies?

Smitty said...

icr:

Join Beer Advocate (beeradvocate.com). They have a whole running blog/group on homebrewing, so along with recipes, you'll get greatadvice on techniques from tried-and-true beer dorks. Totally awesome.

I also order my supplies from this place: http://www.michiganbrewing.com/thingsbeer/thingsbeer.asp

They sell kits premeasured for a 5-gallon brew (about 3 cases or so), and that's really how I got my legs under me. It helped me understand hops, malts, ratios, etc. They ship.

Smitty said...

Oops....forgot the best one.

You have to hunt a bit for recipes on beer advocate. But www.byo.com is the best. It's an online magazine with tons of recipes.

Otto Man said...

Everclear did a cover of "How Soon is Now?" and it's easily the best thing they ever did. Full of distorted guitar and screeching lyrics. I think I got it off an old Mammoth Records sampler.

Malibu Stacy said...

I think this list can best be summed up by one of my songs...damn, it feels good to be a gangter.

ok, so not all of the songs are that gangsta, but it was just fun to say.

1. Superstition (Stevie Wonder): Great song by Stevie (not to be confused with my previous omission of his 80's music...what we like to call the dark years.)

2. Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster (Geto Boys): first heard this on the Office Space soundtrack, but makes a great theme song for the weekend...

3. Casanova 90 (Air): Air is always a great mellow tune. This one isn't one of my favorites, but not too bad.

4. George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People (The Legendary K.O.): Great adaptation of Kanye about Katrina...

5. Just Like Honey (The Jesus & Mary Chain): Not so gangsta, but a great song

6. If I Were A Rich Man (The Magnetic Fields): Great version by Magnetic Fields with great low vocals by Stephin Merritt.

7. I Want Candy (MC Pee Pants): Fantastic, catchy tune from Aqua Teen Hunger Force

8. What The World Is Waiting For (Stone Roses): I used to be a huge fan of this band - I prefer I Wanna Be Adored or Waterfall, but this is still a good song.

9. Guns Are Drawn (The Roots): Just to continue the Roots discussion, great song off of the Tipping Point.

10. I'm Gonna Wear Your Love (Carol Lawrence): Jazzy little tune to end the list out.

So...bringing true meaning to the word "random"...enjoy the list!

BuffaloTheory.org said...

Leonard Nimoy “I Walk the Line”
Oh that’s right, it’s random and it popped up on my iPod in honor of the movie. Now you tell me the gremlin in my iPod doesn’t love Johnny Cash. Or, because it’s Spock’s version, hate him. But either way, he certainly has an opinion.

Liz Phair “Help Me Mary” Off of “Exile” so as not to spark any debates. Although I saw her live last month and it was sad – air of desperation. Also, note to guys who see her live, there are some lyrics you just shouldn’t sing along to.

Ben Kweller “No Reason” – he’s a poppy little imp, who must be feeling a little like late-era Doogie Howser. Being a kid genius M.D. at 30 just didn’t impress enough people.

James Brown “Licking Stick” – Hmm, if only I was rating my coolness.

Jane’s Addiction “Then She Did” – A decade ago, I coached a little league team – a 10 year old who wished to be called Jose Cuervo gave me a Jane’s Addiction dub tape.

Rolling Stones “Shattered” – Love me some Stones.

Allison Krauss “Down in the River to Pray” – Love me some bluegrass.

Koop “Tonight” – Swedish jazz/techno with a Brazilian sound. Lush and laidback.

REM “The Lifting” – I know a bunch of people who group REM’s recent work with U2’s when they talk about big rock bands on the decline. I wouldn’t. It takes me a little longer to warm up to REM these days than when I was younger, but I enjoy their new stuff.

Neil Young “After the Gold Rush” – ah, that’s one Canadian who gives me soft wood.

Susie the Bear said...

1. "Don't Be Cruel" - Elvis Presley. I like to rock the oldies, and a bit of the King is certainly a decent way to kick things off. 6/10.

2. "Later Operator" - All Girl Summer Fun Band. This band is just tons of fun (as implied by their name). I like this song because it reminds me of the chants we used to do in the schoolyard that allowed you to say bad words with out actually having to say them. You know, "...behind the 'fridgerator, there laid a piece of glass. Miss Susie sat upon it, and it went right up her ASSk me no more questions..." Each verse of this song is a lament about the faults of the singer's boyfriend, and then the chorus begins with "...but he's a damn good LAY-ter operator!" 7/10.

3. "Little Babies" - Sleater-Kinney. Another excellent tune. I think we all know I love this band. 10/10.

4. "Banquet" - Bloc Party. Some say this band is over-hyped. I say it's because they're good. 8/10.

5. "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" - Nirvana. Off the Unplugged album. 7/10.

6. "Born Dead" - The Thermals. An excellent tune for a Friday. Rock on. 8/10.

7. "This Book Is A Movie" - Spoon. A pleasant instrumental track off of Girls Can Tell. 7/10.

8. "Tipitina" - Professor Longhair. The version that popped up today is the one off of The Big Easy soundtrack, and it's a GREAT song. Growing up I always wondered why my piano teacher bothered with sonatinas and Bach inventions when she could have been teaching me to play like this. 10/10.

9. "Single Again" - The Fiery Furnaces. Eh. I haven't really been able to get into this band very much. 5/10.

10. "Rest Your Head" - The Wrens. Strong finish. 9/10.

If I did my math correctly, that's 77/100.

Malibu Stacy, when I was in high school, my friends and I spent an entire summer with "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster" on repeat while we sat around and did nothing. And damn it felt good.

The Doc said...

My FRT this week sounds almost nothing like the musical selections you would expect from a man who went to see Nine Inch Nails on Wednesday. But it is. As an homage to thrillhous, I feel that this will be better than 10 bowls of Chunky Soup!

1. The Ballad of the Sneak - Da Vinci's Notebook. What a coincidence! I too like drinking bootleg hooch and listening to the jazz! 9/10.
2. Metric - Empty. As was indicated last week, Metric is pretty awesome. 9/10.
3. Peanuts Theme - Vince Guaraldi Trio. This is just a damn fine song, even without a dancing dog about. 10/10.
4. Say Hello To The Angels - Interpol. OH HELLS YEAH. My favourite Interpol song ever. 10/10.
5. Wearing A Raincoat - They Might Be Giants. Not so cool, but they get bonus points for the lyric "Sleeping is a gateway drug for being awake". 7/10.
6. Letter From An Occupant - The New Pornograhpers. I saw Neko Case in her punk band when I was just out of high school. The crush has lasted to this day. 8/10.
7. Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division. I once heard a Tuvan throat singer's cover of this song. It was good, too. 9/10.
8. Song In Space - The Church. Kind of in the spirit of Coldplay and U2, except not as bloated and not as well-produced. 7/10.
9. Two of Us - Aimee Mann & Michael Penn. A very nice folk cover of a love song about Paul McCartney and his dog. 8/10.
10. Public Service Announcement - Jay-Z & DJ Danger Mouse. I almost like the Grey Album better than the Black Album. But I definitely like this song's remix better than the original. 9/10.

This week's grand total is a VERY respectable 86, easily as good as ten steaming bowls of clam chowder.

ORF: I've seen Radiohead live, and although I don't know if they're good enough to prostitute myself for, I won't crush your dreams.

Otto Man said...

Leonard Nimoy “I Walk the Line”

Classic. Though the way Nimoy sings it, he sounds like he's scared the line just might hop up and kick his ass.

7. Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division. I once heard a Tuvan throat singer's cover of this song. It was good, too. 9/10.

Sweet. This song is getting covered all over the place lately. In fact, Jose Gonzales does a cover.