I have no idea who this fella is, but he looks like he's equal parts Roy Orbison, Nacho Libre, and Elvis Aron Presley, and that's alright with me. I am a little disturbed that a man who goes by the name of "Orion" has the nerve not to wear a belt. I guess he doesn't care if he makes the astronomers cry.
Busy week, so let's cut to the chase:
1. Tom Waits, "Way Down in the Hole" -- Even if you're not a fan of Tom Waits (and given the fact that his voice was best described as sounding like a man who'd gargled hot tar), you might recognize this song from the opening credits of "The Wire." They used a different version each season, but the second season (on the docks) used his original. This is from Frank's Wild Years, one of my all time favorites. 10/10
2. Shirley Bassey, "Hey Big Spender (Wild Oscar Mix)" -- The brassy Miss Bassey did some fantastic work in the '60s, including several James Bond themes ("Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever," etc.). This is a nice electronica remix of one of her campier tunes. 8/10
3. The Roots, "Star/Pointro" -- This is the opening track off The Tipping Point, and it's a nice slow one that builds off Sly Stone's "Everybody is a Star" and only gets better from there. Much like the combination of your chocolate and my peanut butter, this is a mixture that works incredibly well. 8/10
4. The Budos Band, "Deep in the Sand" -- I don't know much about the Budos Band; I think I-Rod passed along a CD of theirs to me. But I know I like them. Their stuff sounds like the instrumental score to a blaxploitation flick. Big, balls-out and brassy. 7/10
5. The Replacements, "Bastards of Young" -- An outstanding song from the outstanding album Tim. I'll let Pedro rave about them in the comments and bitch that this score is too low. Bring it on. 9/10
6. The Arcade Fire and David Bowie, "Wake Up (live)" -- This is a recording from a concert at Radio City Music Hall. I saw Arcade Fire at Summerstage in Central Park a week later and predicted -- correctly, for once in my life -- that they'd be joined by Bowie for a surprise performance of this at the end of the set. (They also returned the favor and sang "Queen Bitch" with him.) Absofuckinglutely amazing. 10/10
7. R.E.M., "Pretty Persuasion (live)" -- Huh, another live tune. This is from a 1985 concert -- in Germany, I think? Some place called Rockpalast? The original is one of my favorite tunes of theirs, off my favorite album of theirs. This is a shitty recording though, a little all over the place. 5/10
8. Girl Talk, "Keeping the Beat" -- Gregg Gillis is a phenomanal DJ and mixer (the extra "G" stands for "great," I believe), but his first album was a tad scattered and uneven. Compared to the next two, which are fucking brilliant, this is just a little tame. 6/10
9. Superchunk, "Precision Auto (live)" -- Jesus, I think my laptop wants to go to a concert. This is a great tune by the kings (and queen) of indie punk-pop, but again, the recording (from Lord knows where) is a little dicey. I bet all the pogoing from the band threw the sound technician off. They made me spill my Olympia more than once. That's three cents worth of beer you owe me, Mac! 7/10
10. Ella Fitzgerald, "The Muffin Man" -- Why yes, I do have a child. But this is a pretty nice version all the same. 6/10
That adds up to an impressive 7.6 average, which is easily the highest rating I've had in years.
Let's see what you can do. Drop your own FRTs, with or without the patented Coolness Self Audit, into the comments. If you're too lazy, just unleash your thoughts about mine. And if you're too lazy to do even that, the nurse will be in to roll you over and prevent bedsores any minute now.