Thursday, March 01, 2007

Friday Random Ten

There have been a lot of album covers that spoof the classic cover for Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream and Other Delights -- ranging from this disturbing '60s spinoff to a nice '90s Soul Asylum LP to this recent collection of Albert remixes that brings it all full circle.

But this one has to be the most disturbing. Maybe it's that Manson Family shade of red. Maybe it's the fact that I'm not sure if those are breadsticks in his hand. But disturbing it is.

The only thing that can chase this image from my mind is the Friday Random Ten. Let's do this thing.

1. Gipsy Kings, "Hotel California (Spanish Mix)" -- I pretty much despise everything the Eagles ever did, but this version of their hit tune is an exception. It's a scorching rendition on its own, but the fact that this served as the music for one of the greatest scenes in film history takes it all the way to perfection. 10/10

2. De La Soul, "Baby Phat" -- From the phenomenal album Bionix. To paraphrase a sweet line from the excellent What Would Tyler Durden Do?, this song has so much bottom I think it might be a centaur. 9/10

3. Urge Overkill, "Emmaline" -- Holy shit, I'm on a roll. UO always liked to represent the '70s style with a '90s attitude, and this cover of the Hot Chocolate ballad is a perfect example. The instrumental intro is a minute and a half of pure love, and then you get to the panty-dropping vocals. Sa-weet. 10/10

4. Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli, "After You've Gone" -- Reinhardt's a bit in the background for most of this song, with some amazing violin work by his counterpart Grappelli and some nicely hep vocals from Some Crooner I Don't Recognize taking center stage. But when that Belgian gypsy takes over midway through, it's impressive as always. 7/10

5. Superchunk, "Skip Steps 1 & 3" -- Alright, I need to go buy a Lotto ticket at this rate. This is a great bit of indie rock from one of the master groups. I don't know if there's something inherent about this song that makes me want to pogo to it, or if that's just conditioning from having seen them live so many times. Whatever, it works. 9/10

6. Muddy Waters, "Champagne and Reefer" -- Sweet Zombie Jesus. At this point, the other bloggers aren't talking to me in the dugout. One of McKinley Morganfield's later, greater tunes, off the otherwise uneven King Bee. The man knows what he wants, and who are we to argue? 8/10

7. The Raconteurs, "Intimate Secretary" -- This is perhaps not the greatest song off Broken Boy Soldiers, but that's like saying someone was not the holiest saint. Still terrific work, and a closer listen to the lyrics reveals a reference to "kakistocracy." No wonder Mr. Furious loves these guys. 8/10

8. Camper Van Beethoven, "Guardian Angels" -- This cowpokish instrumental is currently being used in an ad. (Motel 6? Comfort Inn?) Sorta catchy, but a little too repetitive. And, at any rate, it makes me nervous about what time checkout is. 6/10

9. Cocteau Twins, "Heaven or Las Vegas" -- Ah, sweet sweet shoegazer music. I used to listen to this album all the damn time when I was cramming for exams in college, and I still never got tired of hearing Elizabeth Fraser's vocals. To paraphrase Tracy Morgan on "30 Rock," I love that voice so much I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant. 8/10

10. Radiohead, "Optimistic" -- Well, it's official. This is the best random ten I've had in ages. What better way to close it out than with a favorite tune from a favorite band? (Geeky adoration of Radiohead laid out previously here.) 8/10

That gives me a whopping 8.3 average on the coolness scales, which tops last week's previous record high of a 7.9. (To quote my spiritual mentor Disco Stu, if these trends continue, .... Ayyyyyy!)

While I go off an enjoy a post-coital cigarette, you all should feel free to marvel at the freakish planetary alignment that must've occurred here for me to skip past all things disco and/or Shatner-related in the iTunes this week. Enjoy the moment now, because we'll be back to the crap next week.

Think you can do better? I like the cut of your jib, son. Drop your own FRT in the comments below.


peb said...

Otto, I guarantee that I can’t beat that score. But that record cover has inspired me to try. Mainly just by wanting to distract myself from thinking about it ever again.

1. Jimi Hendrix, “Catfish Blues (Live)” – Starting off with Jimi covering Muddy Waters who probably was covering someone else way before my time. Very cool song with typical out-of-this-world guitar solos by Hendrix and a nice little drum solo by Mitch Mitchell. Lyrics are a little dumb, but conversely, Shakespeare doesn’t rock. 9/10

2. Big Star, “Downs” – A lot of people are big fans of this album (Third/Sister Lovers), but I much prefer #1 Record or Radio City. Mainly because half the songs on this album sound like Alex Chilton is having a nervous breakdown and it’s a little depressing. Naming a song “Downs” probably doesn’t help you get out of a bad mood. 5/10

3. Wilco, “Poor Places” – Y’know, I’m trying to get more into Wilco. For a long time, nothing I heard by them really grabbed me. But then I bought Yankee Hotel Foxtrot mostly because everybody was like “Oh my God! You have to listen to this album!” And it’s not a bad album. I don’t think it’s as great as people make it out to be, but you know, whatever. So what am I saying here? This song’s all right. 7/10

4. The Beatles, “Blackbird” – I’m kind of getting tired of my iPod picking crappy sappy Paul songs when I put it on random. It’s like my mom going through my iPod and picking the songs she likes. 6/10

5. Dusty Springfield, “Live Here With You” – Now it’s like I’m on Otto’s iPod. Soul classics from the ‘60’s. I’m a fan of Dusty Springfield, but not that big of a fan to really like this song. 6/10

6. Ride, “Not Fazed” – I’ve really gotten into Ride lately. To the point where I think they might be my favorite band from the shoegazer era (Yes, over My Bloody Valentine. Cocteaus are pre-shoegaze Otto). This is off Going Blank Again which was my favorite Ride album until I bought Nowhere which is now slightly ahead of the other because it has a better cover. 8/10

7. The Velvet Underground, “I Heard Her Call My Name” – This is my favorite song off my favorite Velvet Underground album. If I had a complaint about the Velvet Underground (and admittedly, considering how great they are, it would be a very miniscule complaint), it would be that they needed to rock like this more often. 10/10

8. Polvo, “Duped” – I read a review of Polvo album that said that the band epitomized “angular post-rock” which is odd because I love Polvo but I hate all things “angular” and “post-rock”. Could it be that I’m not giving angular post-rock a fair chance? Or could it be that the writer of said review was a lazy shit-headed journalist? I’m leaning towards the latter. 8/10

9. The Grifters, “Cinnamon” – Now I’m on a roll approaching Otto’s. Sort of like the roll the Grifters were on with this album (Crappin’ You Negative) and their previous album (One Sock Missing) in the mid ‘90’s. In my mind, the Grifters were the most underrated band of that era. For some reason, they used to get compared to Pavement a lot which frustrated me because I liked the Grifters better. They rocked a lot harder and didn’t rip off the Fall as much. 9/10

10. The Shins, “Caring Is Creepy” – Well, the roll’s over. I appreciate the fact these guys write some good melodies, but it just seems like quirky college rock to me and no amount of Natalie Portman hotness will convince me otherwise. But I’m willing to let her try. 6/10

Well, I gave it a good run and ended up with a 7.4 average. But I could not approach the coolness of Otto this week. I bow down to you and your superior taste good sir.

Smitty said...


I can't touch it. I don't even want to try. And ye Gods, but it's been so long since I've seen the Big Lebowski that I had forgotten the pure brilliance of Turturro in that scene.

Otto Man said...

Pedro, that's a right fine list there. I share your feelings on Big Star preferences and Wilco in general. I liked them better as Uncle Tupelo, before the messy divorce and ridiculous swelling of Tweedy's ego.

Smitty, I can't live your dreams for you. Spread your wings, son. Or at least crack open a special beer.

Mike said...

OM, you are due many kudos, huzzahs, and all that sorta thing.

A fine FRT, a fine album cover, and some fine writing as you guided me through the tension-filled rundown. Your no-hitter analogy is one for the ages. I was almost afraid to think of how good a FRT I was reading.

Peb -

Ride over MBV, huh? Well that makes me very curious. A friend of mine back in the day loved Lush, but not as much as MBV. Loveless is sacred ground. But I may have to look into some Ride now.

Otto Man said...

Yeah, I have to side with Mike here -- MBV and Loveless are the peak achievements of shoegazery.

sideshow bob said...

Jeez, I'm sure if Paul Newman saw what was happening to that spaghetti sauce, he'd have that guy's legs broke!

Alright, I'll make with the FRT:

1)Deftones-Minerva. I understand that originally this song was called “Stupid Lisa Garbage Face”. Nice way to start the day. (7/10)

2)Best Friends Forever-The Loneliness Song. This one rocks. I heard this song a few weeks ago and I cannot get it out of my head. (9/10)

3)Veruca Salt-Stoneface. Pretty average song, but plus one point for all the “fucks” in it.(6/10)

4)Fiona Apple-The First Taste. Man. I loves me a good torch song, and this one is good, if maybe a little too long. (8/10)

5)Portishead-Wandering Star. I am of the opinion that every 007 soundtrack should be redone by these guys. (8/10)

6)PJ Harvey-Dry. My favorite Peej song. So good, it gets a Thrillhouse-esque (11/10)

7)Beck-Steal My Body Home. Sort of a depressing dirge, but a good one. (7/10)

8)Hum-The Pod. Two kinds of guitars: electric and acoustic, plus some backwards guitars thrown in for good could that not work? (8/10)

9)STP-Big Empty. I think I've heard this song enough times to get all that I'm gonna get out of it...bor-ing!Here's a song that could use some backwards guitars! (6/10)

10)Meat Beat Manifesto-Circles. Not bad, if you're into english guys rapping/singing over electronica-type music. (5/10)

7.5, I edged out peb, but came nowhere near the mighty, mighty OM.

alex supertramp said...

gotta jump in (although, unfortunately for you -except for Otto who gets to keep his over-puffed score intact -- the raconf'intuers get the same 8 as your beloved Radiospread and fave tune. wtf frt??) I don't have time to drop my proverbial load on ya...) and note that while MBV is the height and weight of shoegaze there were some other VERY good contenders, and I have to agree with peb that Ride was the witch's tit so to speak and piqued my interest before shields and company brought me home for dinner and gave me a right glorious shagging.....

Mike said...

a right glorious shagging

Which is exactly what I think about when an FRT contains Polly Jean and my doe-eyed princess, Fiona.

If I don't stop now, I'm gonna reveal too much and embarrass myself. I need a moment alone.

mediapossum said...

I'm not trying to beat your score, just offering up an alternative. What's life without options?

(I'm bypassing the "coolness" rating system, because if they were less than a 10, they wouldn't be on my list)

1. Cato Salsa Experience, "So, The Circus is Back in Town"

2. Radiohead, "No Surprises"

3. Sondre Lerche, "Track You Down"

4. Sly & The Family Stone, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"

5. The Cure, "Close To Me"

6. Otis Redding, "Try a Little Tenderness"

7. Allman Brothers Band, "Stormy Monday"

8. Echo & the Bunnymen, "Killing Moon"

9. Chuck Berry, "Maybelline"

10. Rolling Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil"

Tom Hilton said...

Shadows - Atlantis (6/10 - decent instrumental, not one of their best)
Eno - Burning Airlines Give You So Much More (9/10 - docked a point only because it isn't The Fat Lady of Limbourg)
Ennio Morricone - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (10/10 - well, duh)
Scenic - The Kelso Run (6/10 - pretty good, not fabulous)
Spot 1019 - Crazy When I Die (7/10 - good stuff, but it's no Interesting People or Bucket of Blood; by the way, these guys were at UCSC at the same time as Camper and, not incidentally, me)
Chris Isaak - 5:15 (8/10 - perfect pop, which is what he does best)
Sugar - Panama City Motel (7/10 - I like it, but it starts to sound whiny after a while)
Clash - I Fought the Law (9/10 - and the Clash won)
Ennio Morricone - Man With a Harmonica (10/10 - again: well, duh)
Sonics - Strychnine (10/10 - their high point)

8.2 average. Pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

Tom Hilton said...

Oh, and Sideshow Bob is right about Portishead. I remember somebody reviewing their second album and saying something to the effect that it all sounds like spy movie themes, and I thought how can that possibly be a criticism?

Otto Man said...

On Portishead, Bob and Tom, you're both right.

peb said...

Mike and Otto,

Just to make a fine distinction, let me just say that while I think MBV's Loveless is the quintessential album of the shoegaze era, I still think Ride is the best band.

I think these comments have lasted longer than the entire shoegaze scene did.