Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Random Ten

I've got a ream of bad album covers full of old school racism like this one, but I thought after the uncomfortableness of the Millie Jackson Incident, I'd ease us into this world with Anna Russell's anthropological exploration of deepest, darkest Africa.

You probably can't make this out from the blog photo, but the album is a recording taken from the heart of native African culture -- the Johannesburg Folk Festival -- and made right at the heart of that most authentic of African customs, apartheid! In case you doubt the true African vibes of this album, be sure to check out songs like "How to Enjoy Your Bagpipe" and "Backwards with the Folk Song." Such is the white man's burden, my friends.

Anyway, the appearance of Mrs. Howell in a Lipton's Cup-of-Soup can only mean that once again it's time for the Friday Random Ten. Take out your iTunes or imitationTunes, set it to random, and give us the first ten songs that come out. No cheating -- if it lands on schlock, you've got to take the hit. If you'd like to play the advanced version, throw in a Coolness Self-Audit as well.

Here's mine:

1. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, "Handle with Care" -- These ladies are the darlings of the indie pop set right now, but I've never really understood the charm. Perhaps a cover of the Traveling Wilburys isn't the best standard for judgment though. Still, pfffft. 3/10

2. Louis Jordan, "Reet, Petite, and Gone" -- There's something irresistable about Jordan's slick 1940s swing, and this song is certainly no exception. The opening guitar is a classic bit of Decca jazz, and it just builds from there. Reet indeed. 8/10

3. Cat Stevens, "Here Comes My Baby" -- One of my favorite songs from the Jihad Formerly Known as Cat Stevens. Incredibly catchy and upbeat music, with some sweet Eastern guitar sounds, paired with lyrics that seem to be coming from a would-be stalker. 7/10

4. Ike and Tina Turner, "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter" -- The title pretty much says it all. 9/10

5. Nick Drake, "River Man" -- This song should come with a warning label attached: "Do Not Listen to this Song While Operating Heavy Machinery." I normally like Drake's mellowness, but this one was apparently recorded while he was self-medicating with thorazine. 5/10

6. The Hold Steady, "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" -- Fairly familiar rock from Brooklyn. This is a new acquisition, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. So far, I'm a little unimpressed. 6/10

7. Esquivel, "Mini Skirt" -- Esquivel was the undisputed king of "bachelor pad music," a cheeky combination of sound effects and vibraphone that -- in theory -- would enable even the squarest of early '60s squares to get friendly with the ladies. I'm pretty sure you also needed a state-of-the-art HiFi, a working knowledge of modern art, and some Panther Musk cologne to pull it off, but the music was the key. 7/10

8. The Tragically Hip, "Long Time Running" -- Here's one that should please Malibu Stacy and all her fellow Canucks. A nice spare-sounding tune off Road Apples, with a plaintive alt-country feel to it. Pretty damn nice. 8/10

9. Ladysmith Black Mambazo, "Nansi Imali" -- Oh, the ironies of this coming up with Anna Russell's cover above. While this tune isn't the finest LBM stuff, the compilation series it comes from -- The Indestructible Beat of Soweto -- is well worth your time if you're interested in actual African music. If you want bagpipe songs from the JoBurg Folk Festival, though, you know where to go. Hell. 6/10

10. Cut Chemist, "Bunky's Pick" -- This is a seven-minute feat of DJing strength, one in which the turntablist from Jurassic 5 ratchets up the level of difficulty by working solely with old '60s R&B singles rather than the easier-to-spin long 12" discs that most DJs use. The technical proficiency is amazing, but the music that results is brilliant too. This is available on the Funky 16 Corners compilation, but if you can find it, check out the full-length disc Brainfreeze instead. There, Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow do the same thing, but in longer unbroken 25 minute mixes. Stunning. 10/10

Alright, the strong finish there manages to raise my average slightly, but I still finish with a mediocre 6.9 overall. Once again, I have brought dishonor to this blog.

Let's see what you've got. Throw your own random ten in the comments below, with or without the self audit.

17 comments:

alex supertramp said...

ya shoulda killed me last year -- that’s right biatches, I'm home, stoned and ready to get blown --- and you should do the same.

by the way Otto, can't believe you're on the fence for the hold steady - i can only assume that you only have a few singles and not the entire Separation Sunday album - or that you've actually been listening to those bad albums you keep gracing the FRT with.....

1 - straight out of compton - nina gordon. I cannot get enough of this cover. I always liked nina's vercua salt but was never blown away, and her solo stuff tends far too saccharine and bland for my tastes, but a recent spat of covers, and notably this gem (ohh that she had done the whole track and not just cube's part!) just make s me smile, and press repeat, repeatedly. 8/10

2 - Doobie Ashtray - Devin the Dude -- DAMN! devin is one smooth motherfucker...why they do me that way???. 8/10

3-the truth comes out - Corb Lund -- I just found this track on the blogosphere and DAMN it is a perfect slice of rustic americana, and sure enough there's grizzlys where there was no grizzly bears before -- the lyrics, the emotion, the instrumentation, wow. 9/10

4-the girl who lives on heaven hill - Husker Du -- husker in the prime, the primal energy,, the chaotic simplicity, the unmistakable melodic genius that lies just under the surface, one of the best bands evah!9/10

5 - Moonshiner - Uncle Tupelo - speaking of the best bands of all time. It's UT, there can be no wrongdoing, and this traditional folk tune's reworking is pure genius. 10/10

6 ocean Size - Bobby Bare Jr.- yep, this is a Jane's cover, of course bobby makes it an alt-country anthem and does a pretty respectable job of it, of course I think Bobby Bare Jr is one bad dude and gets extra points for making ocean size his own but the tune itself seems a bit forced.7/10

7-so far away - carole king -- I have a decided weak spot for the 70s singer songwriter fare, esp the smooth stylings that venture into yacht rock territory....and this is the height of melancholy smooth and makes me want to cry, and that is always a damn good thing....9/10 (fuck you if you don't feel it...)

8- 1000 car - the bottle rockets -- anyone that even remotely enjoys americana, alt-country or whatever (or hell, just plain good music) owes it to themselves to check out the bottle rockets’ the brooklyn side. damn fine tales of the everyman with a dash of humor and some damn good licks. 8/10

9- my best girl (7 inch version) -- okay , what I just said about the bottle rockets (replace emo with humor) can be quadrupled. I cannot get enough of ben nichols and company, and those of you on the east coast should do yourselves a favor and go check these guys out live there are in the area through april and may, unbelievable!! A heartwrenching twangfilled ode to a boy and his guitar...9/10

10- you know what - fuck it, I want to go out on the lucero, besides, I've hit repeat three times now so go on and have a wonderful easter weekend, I hope you find the golden egg at the bottom of the bottle.....

Smitty said...

I like music with my beer; sometimes the music itself sets the tone for me. A few weeks ago, I did food-and-beer, so in that same spirit, I will attempt music-with-beer. Here goes nothin' but a hangover:

1) Triple Corpse Hammerblow-- Children of Bodom. Good ol' European speed metal, complete with cheesy synthesizer and faster-than human guitar. Spped metal like this, ligtninh fast and a little cheesy, deserves nothing better than Pilsner Urquell: fast, light, racy, and just mass-market enough to be cheesy, evenm though it was one of "the first" pilsners.

2) Got to be More Careful--Jon Cleary. True, true down South New Orleans funk. Hell yes. Smooth, slow, funky. Sounds to me like a peat-smoked Scottish Wee Heavy like Skullsplitter. Sweet, slow, smokey; like a cigar, a scoth and a beer all at once.

3) Dust My Broom--Freddie King. Freddie King, a blues guitar GOD, pays perfect homage to a classic of classics. Listen to this with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which is an updated version of an old classic style.

4) H--Tool. Deep, dark, brooding music from Tool matches well with Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout: dark, deep, complex as Hell, a little unhappy but you somehow feel etherial drinking it.

5) Voices--Disturbed. Mass market bullshit deserves mass market bullshit: none other than Miller Lite. Lite unoffensive beer for lite, unoffensive nu-metal.

6) Township Rebellion--Rage Against the Machine. Political Rebellion, which is pretty much what beer is anyway, being the "drink of Democracy." I can think of none other than Rogue St. Red Ale. It's Rogue. The bottle has a picture of Che Guevara on it.

7) Pueblo Nuevo--Buena Vista SOcial CLub. Speaking of Che... Anyway, Cuban-inspired piano jazz deserves Rogue (again) Jazz Guy Ale. Still smooth, and this time the picture is Che in sunglasses. The finish is a nice, smooth dry "hop." Just like the song.

8) Wynona's Big Brown Beaver--Primus. Weird funky metal whatever it is meets Frank Boon's Gueuze: a weird, funky concoction of wildly pleasurable Belgian-style spiciness and fruitiness ixed with a hint of a barnyard funk. Just like Primus.

9) Je M'Endors--Michael Doucet and Beausoleil. Classic cajun folk music deserves the best that French beers have to offer: 3 Monts Biere de Garde. Fast, churning carbonation with a big burst of spice up front, just like a cajun two-step. Fast fast fast and pleasant as Hell.

10) Vide Infra--Killswitch Engage. Melodic, with crunching guitars (with extra crunch) and relentless double-bass drum topped-off by back-of-the-throat lyrical shredding meets 21% ABV 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head. Searing alcohol at 21%, balanced sweetness with a huge hop attack that leaves my head pounding the next morning.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

1) She's Gone - Hound Dog Taylor. The happiest blues in the world 9/10

2) Wicked Elm - Comas. Noisy fun with manic drums. Perfect for a Friday. 7/10

3) Something Against You - Pixies. What a great band these guys were. Even on a way early Surfer Rosa they could throw down. 8/10

4) A Monday Date - Louis Armstrong. After those last two, I needed something that would chill me out before I Hulked out. This will do. 8/10

5) Pictures of Jesus - Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Hey - a great Good Friday song. Don't be afraid of The Jesus -- this is one killer album. 9/10

6) Comanche - The Revels. Off the Pulp Fiction ST, so it's introed by "Bring out the gimp." It's fun except for the image I have in my head that involves Bruce Willis with a gag ball in his mouth.

7) Tomorrow's Dream - Black Sabbath. What could be more appropriate for the holiest weekend of the year? 9/10.

8) Lower - Mogwai. These guys are supposed to be good, right? I got a bunch of free downloads from them. If so, you sure can't tell from this song. 2/10

9) Baboon - Mountain Goats. Not sure what this has to do with monkeys, but these guys always make me happy when they appear on the shuffle. For men with acoustic guitars, they sure are angry. 7/10

10) Rap Promoter - A Tribe Called Quest. Lots of fun here. 7/10

Thrillhous said...

I like the beer-music fusion, Smitty!

Okay, I haven't posted a real top ten in a while (please discount the foolish and craven one Mrs. T put up for me last week; I need to get our weddin' preacher to remind her how she's supposed to submit to my coolness). Let's get pointy with it!

1) Get a grip on yourself - Prong. It's a cover, but since it's Prong it's cool. 8/10

2) Step aside - Emerson Lake and Powell. Jazzy goodness for the whole family! Okay, it's kinda crappy. 6/10

3) Mama, I'm coming home - Ozzy. What a waste. I was really hoping my new favorite ozzy song, Crazy Babies, would come up. Instead I get a song that would make babies cry. 4/10

4) Dyers eve - Metallica. At first I thought this was that crappy Dyer maker song by Zeppelin, but now I remember that it's one of my most awesomest favorite Metallica song. 10/10

5) Run like hell - Floyd. that's what I do when this song comes on. 2/10

6) Mr. Crowley - Ozzy. Okay, here's an Ozzy tune I can live with! Not that many musicians are willing to explore the strange case of Alistair Crowley, much like few bands use "unfurled" in their lyrics (from Iron Man). 10/10

7) Smells like teen spirit - Nirvana. Ha! I feel neither highs nor lows. 5/10

8) Times of Trouble - Temple of the Dog. Great song, but not a great Friday tune. 7/10

9) Making memories - Rush. Now that's a friday song! Although most good fridays result in losing memories. 10/10

10) Serve the Servants - Nirvana. just not a big fan of music from people take the easy way out. 5/10

TravisG said...

Yeah, keep working on the Hold Steady. "Charlemagne in Sweatpants" is great, and track down "The Swish," too.

And I'm with you on the "music" portion of Jenny Lewis's charm, but I think she has other weapons in her arsenal.

Oh yeah, if you like that turntable stuff, check out Mr. Dibbs. He's the bomb, and he's from here in Cincinnati.

Otto Man said...

I'll take the Hold Steady advice to heart. They wouldn't be the first band it took me a while to warm up to.

Travis, your Jenny Lewis link seems off. It just takes me to that Norbizness post with the irradiated squirrel. I'm hoping that's not what you meant by her "other charms."

Thrillhous said...

The first 100 times I looked at the album cover, I thought the lady was in a big pot. Now it appears as though she is giving birth to a drum. so confused.

peb said...

Otto,

You missed a golden opportunity in your blurb about Esquivel to substitute "Panther Musk" with "Sex Panther". I'm afraid I'll have to deduct Anchorman non-appreciation points from your score.

Pete Smith

Otto Man said...

Dammit, I was aiming for the Sex Panther reference but flubbed it.

Booooooo!

Pooh said...

Not so random this week:

1. "C'Mon C'mon" - The Von Bondies.

2. "I Can't Be Satisfied" - Muddy Waters.

3. "Paradise City" - Guns 'n' Roses.

4. "Gear Jammer" - George Thorogood.

5. "Travelling Riverside Blues" - Led Zeppelin.

6. "Bubblegoose" - Wyclef ft. South Park.

7. "Take it to Da House" - Trick Daddy.

8. "The Sweetest Thing" - U2.

9. "Folsom Prison" - Johnny Cash.

10. "Encore/Numb" - Jay-Z vs. Linkin' Park.

alex supertramp said...

smitty -- loved the combo FRT platter, certainly wet my whistle -- now if I can only find this Skullsplitter you speak of I think my life might finally be complete (w/ the Cleary accompaniment natch...)

Smitty said...

Thanks for the compliments!

If you really really want some Skull Splitter, I can send you some...or if you live in D.C., go to the Brickskeller.

The Doc said...

Otto, does that song actually tell you how to enjoy your bagpipe, or is it just a clever title? I am curious. Anyhow, on with my freakshow. Will this be a Good Friday Random Ten, or only mediocre? Only time will tell.

1. Dead Disco - Metric. Saw Metric live last Thursday, and although it was a really good show, nobody needed 18 minutes of this song. 3:25 is plenty of goodness. 8/10.
2. Broken Face - The Pixies. Hells yeah! 9/10.
3. The Message - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. Everybody now: Don't. Push. Me. Cuz. I'm. Close. To. The. Edge! 10/10.
4. Glass, Concrete, & Stone - David Byrne. Wow, I'm four for four in terms of awesomeness. I am afraid of the remainders. 8/10.
5. Major Label Debut - Broken Social Scene. Okay track from a great band. I jinxed myself. 6/10.
6. To Another Abyss - Bad Religion. As much as I like Bad Religion, this one's just a little too long. 5/10.
7. You Were Here - Sarah Harmer. Heartbreakingly good, if a little slow compared to the previous tracks. 9/10.
8. Photograph - Ringo Starr. Ack! My love for saccharine pop music has dealt a mighty blow to my coolness. 4/10.
9. Do Do Wap Is Strong In Here - Curtis Mayfield. A serious serving of funk-soul goodness. 7/10.
10. Under My Thumb - Social Distortion. My favourite Stones song given an aggressively angry punk flavour. Dy-no-mite! 9/10.

My coolness rating for this week is 75/100, a significant increase over last week's effort.

Alex, I join you in your appreciation of Corb Lund. Edmonton boy done good!

iRod, have you heard the original Picture of Jesus, with Ben Harper and Ladysmith Black Mambazo? AWESOME.

Otto Man said...

Otto, does that song actually tell you how to enjoy your bagpipe, or is it just a clever title?

I've never heard the song, nor has anyone else I'd imagine. Ever.

TravisG said...

Oops. Sorry about the screwy link. I must've forgotten to cut and paste the URL to this picture.

Otto Man said...

So those are the Watson Twins. Now I get it.

sideshow bob said...

You might get more out of the Hold Steady if'n you lived 'round the Twin Cities.

Or Not...