Friday, December 23, 2005

Friday Random Ten

I actually had a number of Christmas album covers to choose from for the Big Day, but this one just seemed a little bit more demented than the others. There's something about a grown man in dress shorts and a bad orange wig that brings to mind the classic comedy of Telemundo's Sabato Gigante! (You know, the Spanish-language insanity showcase where all the characters seem like inspiration for Chesperito?) And what's more all-American than that?

Alright, time for this week's Friday Random Ten. For those of you who've suffered memory loss due to excessive nog consumption, here's how it's done: Open up your iTunes, set it on shuffle, and give us the first ten presents that pop up. It doesn't matter if they're reject songs from the Island of Misfit Toys, give them to us all the same. If you're really feeling the yuletide spirit, go ahead and throw in a Coolness Self-Audit as well. (But be honest. Santa's watching.)

Here's mine:

1. The New Pornographers, "The Laws Have Changed" -- As a card-carrying music hipster-doofus, I know I'm supposed to adore this band, but for some reason it just doesn't click. It's fine enough indie pop, but I'm not floored by it. Meh. 6/10

2. Black Keys, "10 A.M. Automatic" -- Some nice distorted guitar rawk from the Black Keys here. This song will not only kick your ass, but it won't even remove the unfiltered Pall Mall from its lips as it does so. 10/10

3. The Cure, "Killing an Arab" -- This may be the very embodiment of mid-'80s college rock. It's hard to outgeek a song based on French existentialist Albert Camus's L'Etranger, but when you perform it as men with eyeliner, that pretty much seals the deal. Nice job, Nerdlinger. 7/10

4. Bloc Party, "This Modern Love" -- I generally like Bloc Party quite a bit, but this one doesn't really do it for me. It's a little too light and airy, and just reminds me of a lesser song by Blur. Meh, again. 6/10

5. The Roots, "Thought @ Work" -- A nice little driving groove from the uneven Phrenology CD. Not my favorite Roots song (I'm detecting a theme here) but still solid enough. 7/10

6. The Stanley Brothers, "Just a Little Talk with Jesus" -- Pretty straightforward bluegrass from the legendary Stanley Brothers. They toy around with the tone and tempo throughout, moving from slow, deep-pitched vocals to fast-as-Hades, high-toned ones. It's all over the place, and peversely nice. 7/10

7. Pete Rock and CL Smooth, "It's Like That" -- A sweet song from the classic Mecca and the Soul Brother. What the hell happened to these guys? 9/10

8. The Replacements, "Little Mascara" -- I think Tim was the peak of the Replacements' career, and this tune certainly explains why. It has just enough rock and just enough angst to make for a great adolescent anthem. Well played, my friends. Well played. 8/10

9. Gorillaz, "Latin Simone (original version)" -- While I enjoyed the album's version with Ibrahim Ferrer providing the vocals, I actually think I prefer this version with Damon Albarn on the mike. Maybe it's the sadder-sounding English lyrics. Maybe I just hate people who speak Spanish. Who knows? 9/10

10. The Beatles, "Baby, You're a Rich Man" -- For those of you who've never heard of this group, they're an obscure pop band from England. They played in the 1960s, and I believe one of their members was later in the supergroup Wings. This is a great, if largely neglected, tune from Magical Mystery Tune. Nice stuff, but I suppose the Beatles are not exactly cool. 6/10

Alright, that gives me a typical 7.5 average. I'm apparently running at three-quarters coolness, which is pretty much par for the course. Boo!

Sick of talking to your relatives? Then go ahead and drop a Random Ten of your own in the comments, and be sure to give the gift of a Coolness Self-Audit as well. Baby Jesus would've wanted it that way.


jt said...

You guys really are dorks, but I really like the Friday random 10 ... so I'm not sure what that makes me. At any rate, here goes:
1. Ella Fitzgerald "Love for Sale"
2. Lyle Lovett "I know you know"
3. Grant Lee Buffalo "All that I have"
4. Uncle Tupelo "Chickamauga"
5. Tift Meffitt "Plainest Thing"
6. Denison Witmer "East from West"
7. The Proclaimers "Should have been loved"
8. Ella "s'Wondeful" -- weird to have two Ella's in 8 songs.
9. A Might Wind "Never did no wanderin'"
10. John Coltrane "Locomotion"

Given the extra does of classic jazz tunes, I'm thinking my score is higher than normal. I'm going with 7.1213

Smitty said...

Ah, the Holidays! The gifts, the family....the stress. What better way to relieve that stress than to quaff away at a fine selection of Christmas-themed beers; to float through the Holiday season on a fluffy cloud of beer-buzz? I can think of none.

Without further ado:

1) Delirium Noel. This beer is indeed Christmas in a bottle. Sweet nose, literally like baking sugar cookies. Tasted spicy, like mulling spices were used (you mulled cider). Fruity, like cherries...sweet fruit, like a Christmas fruitcake. It's a good feeling, happy memories brew. 8/10, for being interesting and warming.

2) Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale. Much like Delirium Noel, just slightly ever so less refined. Same sugar cookie scent, thugh this is a little more on the caramel side. Big huge sweet maltiness with little hops character; almost none, just a hint. Any more would be to get in the way of the mulling-spice taste and thick feeling you get in your mouth, like drinking sweet syrup. A "winter warmer" indeed. 7/10.

3) Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. They produce this beer every November/December for the holidays, and it is different every year. First and foremost, lots of grapefruit on the nose and taste, with piney hops throughout. The hops linger, giving it a nice, full taste. There was a hint of something like coriander in it too. I just can't get over the grapefruit. Great holiday offering. 8/10.

4) Bourbon-Barrel Christmas Ale. This is really really special. Murky, dark walnut color, creamy tan head. Smells incredibly like bourbon, also heavy on the vanilla, maple and allspice. Big huge bourbon taste; also vanilla, nuts, figs/prunes, molasses and mulling spices. HUGE beer, and mightily complex. The up-front burbon sting is tempered by that oakiness described above. 9/10.

5) Great Divide Hibernation Ale. Another big beer. Amber red, tan 1-inch head. Smelled of warm bread, spicy hops; almost peppery. Comes across at first like an IPA, but balances with a warm mulled-cider sweetness. 7/10.

6) Brouwerij De Dolle Stille Nacht. A mouthful to pronounce, for certain. Also, a mouthful of beery goodness. Pours hazy amber/oak-white with tons of sediment floating around. It's supposed to be a dark ale, but damn if it's not a Belgian Trippel; coriander, spices, fruity scent. Almsot tastes as sweet as a white wine, with sour fruit (apple, lemon), zest, syrup and an alcohol tang at the end. All in all, not bad. 7/10.

7) Sam Adams Winter Lager. Sam Adams is always a great fall-back beer. This is no different. Dark brown with amber hues. Smells of caramel and warm Christmas bread. Tastes very much of caramel, toffee and lots of cinnamon. Sweet, chewy, and warm. A great, balanced winter warmer. 7/10.

So, only 7 beers instead of 10, but these are such sweet, malty beers that it's like eating too much cheesecake. Enjoy these "winter warmers" and have a Merry Christmas!

ORF said...

I put four new albums on my pod last night and was hoping one would pop up on this morning's FRT, but it seems they must lie in wait a little longer. But to anyone who's on the fence about the new Damian Marley "Welcome to Jamrock" CD, I say get off that fence and get thee to the record store. (Who says "record store" anymore...I am a dork!)

Ok, here's mine:
1) Morte Ze Pequeno-Antonio Pinto 6/10
This is off the City of God soundtrack, which really works best as a full opus. The music in that film is as much of a character as Ze himself!

2) Foreigner Suite-Cat Stevens 8/10
Haven't listened to Cat in a while, but it's always a good time.

3) Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood-Nina Simone 9/10
This woman has the most incredible voice I've ever heard. I just sit and listen with chills up my spine she's so wonderful. This is a very slow, mournful rendition of this song that is just gorgeous.

4) Plans (Replanned by Mogwai)-Bloc Party (from the Silent Alarm Remixed album) 9/10
Bloc Party AND Mogwai? Brits and Scots getting along swimmingly? The effect is pretty cool.

5) Busted Stuff-Dave Matthews 6/10
I have all this Dave on my iPod that's from another time and I rarely listen to any of it, but this album, the Lilywhite Sessions, which were only partially released above the table, is really great. Totally different from everything else he produced for mass consumption and about the only thing I can tolerate of his these days.

6) Decatur-Sufjan Stevens 8/10
Again, an album that's best listened to in its entirety, but this song is a centerpiece of it. I mean, he references Abe Lincoln!!

7) The Na-Na Song-Sheryl Crow 4/10
The weakest link on that album. And to tell you the truth, I'd rather NOT think about "Frank DiLeo's dong" but thanks anyway, Sheryl.

8) You've Got to Hide Your Love Away-Eddie Vedder (from the I Am Sam soundtrack) 7/10
Another soundtrack, another cover. I feel I can rarely go wrong with the Beatles, even if they're being covered by someone I don't much admire.

9) All Mixed Up-Red House Painters 10/10
I was STARING at the new Sun Kil Moon album last night at Virgin. Mark Kozelek totally possessed my iPod today for not picking it up.

10) Speed Laws-Mos Def 7/10
One of the weaker songs on that album. But it's Mos. And it's a good way to kick off the weekend.

74. Like you, Otto, I am cool three quarters of the time. Sounds about right. And again, I don't care what Jobs says, these iPod things are programmed to eff with the psyche of their owners, else why would they have the word "pod" in their names???

Merry Christmas, bitches!!

sideshow bob said...

picking up where smitty left off

8. Leinenkugels Winter Lager...I'm not much of a beer guy, but I love me a Leine's every now and again. This lager is from a small brewery in Wisconsin, where they brew an asonishing variety of beers, many seasonal, such as Oktoberfest, Berry Weiss, Nothwoods Lager, and, of course, Brett Favre's Voodoo Brew.

Smitty said...

Good call. For a macro-micro, Leine's is good, solid, consistent beer.