If you're looking for music as exciting and dynamic as a brown, hardwood-paneled room, look no further than the solo zither stylings of Ludwig.
I'm not entirely familiar with his masterwork, but from the cover of this album, I'm betting he's every bit the equal of Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute. In an ideal world, those two would team up to form a crime-fighting team of musical superheroes. But of course, that'll never happen. Ludwig's a solo zitherist. He plays by his own set of rules, man.
We here play by the classic FRT rules, which were stolen from various points on these here intertubes. (Thanks, Norbizness!) For those of you late to the game, here's how you play. Take out your iThing, set it on random, and confess to the first ten songs. If you want to play the advanced version, throw in a Coolness Self Audit as well, rating the songs on a scale from 1 (Ludwig) to 10 (anti-Ludwig).
Let's do this thing.
1. Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Effigy" -- One of my favorites from CCR, a nice six-minute tribute to Richard Nixon and the damage done by him. A nice off-kilter guitar intro, and then some scorching work throughout the song. Uncle Tupelo covered this for a compilation in the mid-1990s called No Alternative. 10/10
2. Gang Starr, "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" -- That's a nice one-two punch. Guru and DJ Premier here with an infectious track from Step Into the Arena. Very nice. 9/10
3. Hoover, "2 Wicky" -- Sure, it's an extended ripoff of Isaac Hayes' "Walk on By," but can you blame them? It's a shame to see the vocals replaced, but Liesje Sadonius does a sultry job here. Too bad the band lost her and changed the name to Hooverphonic. Not much great happened after that. 7/10
4. Smashing Pumpkins, "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" -- Fairly straightforward late-career angst rock from the Pumpkins here. You know, despite all their rage, they're still just rats in a cage.Wic 6/10
5. Built to Spill, "Strange" -- I'll state confidently that this band is the best thing to ever come out of Boise. There, I said it. 8/10
6. Stevie Wonder, "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day" -- As incredibly lame as that title is, this song actually has an incredibly funky hook -- nice organ work, good vocal work on the verses -- and then you get to the part of the song where Stevie forgot to write actual lyrics. Eh. 5/10
7. Wilco, "I'm the Man Who Loves You" -- I know Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was hailed by many as the Second Coming of Christ, but I tend to run hot and cold with the album. This song just sounds like a throwaway bit of filler to me. 5/10
8. Radiohead, "I Might Be Wrong (live)" -- From the live album of the same name, this is a scorching version, one of the few live tracks I like better than the original. Blistering guitars here, with a chaotic moment where things get more out of control than Eddie Griffin in a Ferrari. 9/10
9. Modest Mouse, "Missed the Boat" -- Not surprised to see a song from the new Modest Mouse album -- now with 100% more Johnny Marr! -- since it's been dominating my iPod the past two weeks. The album is a little hit-and-miss, with some of the edgier tunes a little too self-consciously awkward. This is one of the catchier, milder ones. Very nice. 8/10
10. Billie Holiday, "I Loves You Porgy" -- Oh, damn. Billie Holiday here at her most heartbreaking. And that's saying quite a bit. I'd say only Nina Simone has done a more wrenching version of this song, but Lady Day's is damn close. 8/10
No real stinkers this week, and that lets me survive with a 7.3 average. Not too shabby.
Let's see what you've got. Drop your own FRT in the comments below, with or without the self-audit.