Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Random Ten

For the second straight week, I'm posting an album cover that leaves me absolutely speechless.

I mean, Me and My Bean Bag? Seriously?

I'm hoping this is a pathetic marketing ploy -- this album was released by "Kimbo Records" and the cover shows a "Kimbo Bean Bag" in the photo -- but even then, it just doesn't make sense. I wouldn't think the lowly bean bag would generate enough passion and excitement to merit a haiku, much less a full-length album. But the kid seems amused. I bet that bean bag has provided him with literally minutes of entertainment.

Anyway, with your expectations lowered to subterranean levels, it's time to build them back up again with the Friday Random Ten.

Here's what I've got:

1. Thievery Corporation, "Marching the Hate Machines (Into the Sun)" -- This is one of those musical collaborations that ends up being greater than the sum of its parts. I like the dulcid electronica of TC just fine, and I appreciate the quirky-breathy vocal stylings of the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne as well. But they come together here in the sweetest union since you got your chocolate into my peanut butter. 9/10

2. Charlie Louvin, "Great Atomic Power" -- This is one of my favorite old bluegrass/country songs, a tune that treats the Second Coming as a nuclear armageddon. Louvin is a country legend and, with a forthcoming album featuring Jeff Tweedy, Elvis Costello and Will Oldham, he seems to be primed to follow in the footsteps of fellow Country Music Hall of Famers like Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn in making friends with a new generation of hipsters. Bring it on. 7/10

3. Dead Kennedys, "Too Drunk to Fuck" -- Talk about your abrupt transitions. Not sure what needs to be said about this song, since the artist and title tell you pretty much everything you need to know. 6/10

4. Propellerheads, "360 (Oh Yeah)" -- Another nice collaboration, bringing together the vocals of De La Soul and the electronica love of the Propellerheads. Actually, it pretty much sounds like a De La tune, which is fine by me. 8/10

5. Chuck Womack and the Sweet Souls, "Ham Hocks and Beans, Pt. 1" -- It may surprise you, given the name of this artist and the title of this song, but this is a 1960s soul tune. I know, I know. Stunning. Sadly, it's a minute-and-a-half long and none too exciting. 3/10

6. The Byrds, "So You Want to Be a Rock'n'Roll Star" -- There's not a lot of hippie-era rock that I love. Most of it belongs to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Hendrix produced a lot of the rest. But this song is right up there. Short, sweet, and catchy as hell. 8/10

7. Johnny Cash, "Personal Jesus" -- I'm a big fan of the American Recordings albums Cash did at the end of his career, but I can never decide how I feel about this one. Like Milhouse Van Houten and Martin Prince watching the all-nude Top Hat Channel, I find this Depeche Mode cover to be both gross and strangely compelling. 5/10

8. The Subways, "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" -- And while you're at it, hide this cover, too. 3/10

9. Broken Social Scene, "Cause = Time" -- Friends have been recommending BSS to me for a couple years now, but due to my patented combination of forgetfulness and apathy, I only got around to getting some of their songs after the ITunes gift certificates started rolling in after the winter season holiday. (No, no. Fuck you, Bill O'Reilly.) Anyway, I'm kicking myself for not getting to them sooner. This song in particular, a strummeriffic bit of indie rock, is catchy as hell. 9/10

10. The 6ths, "In the City in the Rain" -- The 6ths are one of the forty-three side projects of the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, the one where he recruits indie rock all-stars to do the vocals. This is a nice slow number with Sebadoh's Lou Barlow at the mike. Pretty nice. 7/10

Well, that gives me a 6.3 average on the coolness scales, somewhere between Tito Jackson and Tito Puente. Oh well.

Alright, let's see what the rest of you have. Drop your own FRT in the comments below, with or without the coolness self-audit.


Scott said...

Holy shit - I've actually heard that album! It's a freakin' record with twelve bean-bag songs that my mom got my little sister when she was a kid! Man, that was annoying. You can buy it on Amazon here.

In fact, "Me and My Bean Bag" is the only one out of 11 items of your Friday Random Ten that I've heard of before.

Otto Man said...

You've actually heard this album? Did your mom not like your sister?

I'm officially freaked out. We're through the looking glass here, people!

Otto Man said...

The song listing from Amazon:

1. Mexican Bean Bag Dance
2. Bean Bag Pretend
3. Pass That Bean Bag
4. Bean Bag Balance
5. Bean Bag Disappear
6. Bean Bag Hop
7. Bean Bag Boogie
8. Bean Bag Juggle
9. Take That Bean Bag
10. Bean Bag Exercising
11. Touch Around
12. Bean Bag Toss

I'm pretty sure you can get numbers 9-12, in sequence, at any of the finer brothels in Tijuana.

The most shocking part? Sales Rank: #73,145 in Music


peb said...

I’ve loaded some of my lesser albums onto my iPod recently so I’m expecting some embarrassing crap to show up on this list finally. I know I’m not as cool as my previous lists might suggest.

1. New Order, “Ceremony” – Check that…maybe I am that cool. I suppose I could be a little cooler if the Galaxie 500 cover of this song came on (I like that one a little better), but I’d better not tempt fate. 9/10

2. Echo & The Bunnymen, “Porcupine (Alternate Version)” – I’ve had a fetish lately for bands that were big with the goth kids when I was in high school. Bands like The Smiths, The Cure and these guys. I was too chicken to associate myself with the goths back then so I never really gave these bands a chance which was my loss. Pretty cool Middle Eastern vibe on this one. 8/10

3. M83, “In Church” – Well, this starts off like something I would hear in church which immediately doesn’t make it cool. But then they add some wistful chants and some loud synthesizer which improves the coolness factor somewhat. 5/10

4. Nirvana, “Lake of Fire” – This is a cleaner interpretation of the Meat Puppets’ original version. I like the original better, but at least this one introduced the Meat Puppets to the general public. 7/10

5. Kids In The Hall, “You Know What I’d Like To Do To Her” – I don’t know what the etiquette is about including comedy skits in FRT (can I get a ruling Otto?), but it’s the Kids in the Fuckin’ Hall, man! And they rule. 8/10

6. TV On The Radio, “Dirtywhirl” – I swear my iPod’s making me cooler than I actually am. I guess this is like the ultimate hipster band right now. I would normally hate a band like that, but these guys are all right. This song sounds a little bit like doo-wop Radiohead which is a hard concept to get my head around. 8/10

7. CCR, “My Baby Left Me” – In contrast to TV On The Radio, CCR is probably not very high on the hipster list. Which makes them very cool with me. 8/10

8. The Go! Team, “Panther Dash” – I really love this band. A bunch of guys and girls from Brighton, England who make car chase music spliced with double dutch chants and Sonic Youth-inspired guitar riffs. Go buy their album Thunder, Lightning, Strike yesterday. 9/10

9. The Replacements, “Route 66” – A Replacements live show could either rip the roof off a joint or could devolve into a bunch of half-hearted and half-finished covers. This is a studio track though so at least they keep it together for this one. 6/10

10. Eric B. and Rakim, “Follow The Leader” – I’m not terribly excited about hip-hop these days mostly because no matter how cool today’s MC’s try to be, they could never be cooler than this. This is classic. 10/10

So after all that talk about how not cool this FRT was going to be, I end up with a pretty solid 7.8 average. There’s a lesson to be learned here kids: the less you try to be cool, the more cool you’ll actually end up being. So never try.

Otto Man said...

I don’t know what the etiquette is about including comedy skits in FRT (can I get a ruling Otto?)

This is a matter of personal choice, I think. Personally, I skip all the comedy bits on my iPod simply because I have so many short bits, including way too many Simpsons and ATHF clips.

But I'm solidly in favor of KITH, so well played.

Mike said...

I'd love to play along, but I'm stuck here: 2. Bean Bag Pretend

I've fallen, and I can't get up.

Otto Man said...

Yeah, I'm pretty confused on that one.

Scott, can you hum a few bars of it for us?

Smitty said...

My son, 19 months old, thinks bean bags are for wimps. He bashes things, including my shins, with a hockey stick.

1) "Cheatin' on You", Taj Mahal. Classic tune, classic guy. Loves me son Taj. 8/10,

2) "Dead Horse," G N R. This was off of Use Your Illusion I, which, when taken with UYI II, was at best a mediocre dual-release. Both albums together made 1 good album and 1 crappy one. Both made shitloads of money for GNR but hurt their credibility. More. 6/10.

3) "Swing Guitars," Django Reinhardt. I love how he is able to make his guitar mimic the violin...that's some fast fingers. 9/10.

4) "Security," Susan Tedeschi. I really really like Tedeschi. Her voice is Bonnie Raitt, but the guitar is different. This is off of a primarily cover CD (Hope and Desire) but she does a great job at covering some obscure R&B recordings. 8/10.

5) "Palace of the King," Freddie King. MAN, that guy could SHRED. Guitar giant. 8/10.

6) "Old," Machine Head. And speaking of shredding. Good old thrash metal. 7/10.

7) "I Don't Know," Keb' Mo'. I think Kevin Moore is the best modern blues artist of this era. His lyrics are deeply moving, but sung in a straight-forward, simple fashion. 8/10.

8) "Horn Concerto #3 in E Flat, K 447-1.Allegro," Mozart. Uh...well...we switched gears here at FRT Radio...but I do love me some Mozart, and I do love his horn concertos. French horn. Sooooo smooth... 8/10.

9) "Midnight Thunder," Spyro Gyra. This is off their new release, Wrapped in a Dream. Great hunk of urban jazz. Not the best song on the CVD, but it's still Spyro. The CD as a whole is worth buying, just not this particular track alone. 6/10.

10) "Agent 00 Funk,: Jon Cleary. Good way to end it, with some Jon Cleary funk. This Brit can FUNK. Cool minor-key song that sounds like it belongs in a spy movie. 9/10.

OM - I gotta agree with your assesment of the Johnny Cash cover of Depressed Mode. I never liked the song by Depeche Mode, and still don't. I really like what Cash did on that particular album, adding an honesty to the lyrics that was lost on whozit...uh..Robert Smith? But I still am not a fan of that particular song. Hurt, off of that same Cash Cd, is tearfully wonderful, as is the Beatles cover, that sounds like an old man telling his wife he still loves her. Cool.

Mike said...

Django. Yessssss.

The Doc said...

Aaaand speaking of Django...

1. Péche A La Mouche - Django Reinhardt. A great little ditty, and totally hummable. The clarinet takes the lead a lot in this song, but Django's picking is enviable. 9/10.
2. Linger On - Arlo. Usually I can count on these guys for a decent showing, but this song's kind of weak. 6/10.
3. Penpals - Sloan. One of the best: poppy, silly, crunchy, sweet. 10/10.
4. Black Wings - Tom Waits. Honestly, this song sounds very much like something Leonard Cohen might have done. But with strange sounds in the background. Pretty, though. 7/10.
5. Controversy - Prince. Sigh. Ah well, it's got a beat and you can dance to it. And it was a BIG hit back in the day. 5/10.
6. Something - The Beatles. I have a soft spot for this song, and my fiancée hates it. I can see why. It's a little sappy, and not very cool. But the bridge is awesome, and that has to count for something, right? 5/10.
7. Tiny Apocalypse - David Byrne. A very cool pop song with strings. Plus: David Byrne! 8/10.
8. Ballad of Humankindness - The Dears. The Dears's new album is really spectacular. This song's a highlight. 8/10.
9. Latin Simone (Que Pasa Contigo) - Gorillaz. Anyone got anything bad to say about Ibrahim Ferrer? I didn't think so. 9/10.
10. Nomathemba - Ladysmith Black Mambazo. There are only a few LBM songs I could pick out of a lineup. This isn't one of them. But it's good. 7/10.

That leaves me with 74. A few mis-steps, but otherwise okay.

sideshow bob said...

I loves me some o'that Broken Social Scene!

And I think if you went to some disreputable Tijuana brothels, if such places exist, which I sincerely believe they don't, you could get #3, 5, 6, or 8...

Otto Man said...

Glad to see all the enthusiasm for Django.

And for Tijuana brothels.

Mike said...

the bridge is awesome

Doc, you said it.