Thursday, June 07, 2007

ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING

So little time, so much music to hear. Let's hit it:

1. "Vamos" -- The Pixies (Come On Pilgrim)

Twangy guitars. Black Francis talking in Spanish, yowling, and growling. Ambiguous but sexual lyrics. Ah yes, the ingredients were all there, even at the git' go.

Vamos a jugar por la playa. Sounds like a plan to me.

2. "Struttin' With Some Barbeque" -- Louis Armstrong with his Hot Five (Hot 5s & 7s, Vol 3).

And speaking of good plans, how can one help but strut when eating good barbeque?

This just sounds old, because it is. Guitar (or is it banjo) drives the rhythm, and of course Satchmo brings the hot sauce. And I love the way the clarinet weaves in and around the melody in early 20th century jazz. Just a fun sound.

3. "Dead" -- The Pixies (Doolittle)

Didn't I have this song a few weeks ago? No, that was "Monkey Gone To Heaven." Ok.

Another song off Doolittle, though. And amazingly, another of the few songs I'm not crazy about on that amazing album. Nothing wrong with this one, but not among my favorites.

4. "Prove Yourself" -- Radiohead (Pablo Honey)

Transitioning, Thom Yorke croons, "I'm better off dead" early on in this one.

Pablo Honey gets slagged in the musical press too much I think. It's no Bends or Ok Computer, of course, but it's not a bad album in my opinion, and this is a decent song. Once again, as with Come On Pilgrim, all the ingredients are here, if not combined as magically as you'd find in a few years.

5. "Behavior Control Technician" -- Fishbone (The Reality of My Surroundings)

Wow, that's a lot of noise for 7:10 am. Yikes. But, in fairness, this isn't a bad effort off an album that I never listen to anymore. I was really into the 'Bone back in the early 90s. Fun, rowdy music. Amazing concerts. A weird amalgam of political and smarmily sexual lyrics that appealed to me as a young guy.

I see what I liked, even though it no longer gets me going. No apologies, even though I won't be putting them back to the top of the list anytime soon (read: Never).

6. "Holiday Song" -- The Pixies (Come On Pilgrim)

And Ipod weirdness (read: annoyingness) continues. I know random means "random." I know that 1-2-3-4-5 is just as likely as 4-1-5-3-2, but after 4 weeks I'm starting to think "shuffle" is more like "cut."

Anyhow, a cool song off Come On Pilgrim.

7. "What Goes On" -- The Feelies (Only Life)

Yes! I fucking love The Feelies. My number one nominee for "underrated" artist. Great musicians, great songs, a very unique sound. A Feelies song sounds like . . . a Feelies song. No mistaking it.

This Velvet Underground cover perfectly illustrates the obvious influence Lou Reed and VU had on the Feelies. Yet, that said, there's no mistaking that particular Mercer/Million thing.

Incidentally, I heard this album at a friend's beach house in the summer of '91, and no matter where I am when I hear it, I'm instantly brought back there. And good memories come with that, let me tell you. Nice.

8. "Heaven on their Minds" -- Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar)

One of about three "Original Cast Recordings" I own. Anyone who owns this one doesn't need to me to explain how great it is.

And those who don't will never be convinced to even give it a chance. Hey, that's how it goes.

This is a good song, too. With its "groovy" guitar, fat organ riffs, shuffling piano rhythms, and funky bass line, this brings the 70's sound I need to balance a growing-but-not-yet-mature Lloyd Webber pompousness. The lyrics aren't bad either.

9. "Stairway To The Stars" -- Ella Fitzgerald (Something To Live For)

Sing it to me, Ella. Her voice was so pretty on certain early songs. Like this one. Mmmmm.

I like Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday more than Ella (one's sweeter, the other more bitter, and I tend to like my tastes intense), but Fitzgerald clearly owes nothing to anyone. Hard to think of anyone with more mastery of her instrument. In this case, her voice.

10. "One More Cup Of Coffee" -- Bob Dylan (Desire)

Ahhhh, this is a good one. Such a sad song. So filled with regret, with a sense of whatever's been lost. The violin brings the heavy emotions. And Emmylou Harris's backup singing manages to lighten the sound without taking away from the overall sense of loss.

Plus, I'm a total sucker for duets or harmonies between men and women. I love the contrast. And in Dylan & Harris, there's little contrast lacking.

11. "When I Come Around" -- Green Day (Dookie)

Whoa. Rough transition. But that shouldn't take away from the fact that this is a good tune. I really have no use at all for Green Day from the mid 90s through the mid-00s. Just does nothing for me. But Dookie and American Idiot make sure the bread kicks ass, even if the sandwich ingredients are for shit.

This song, on its own, might not have made me take notice 13 years ago, but after buying the album for "Longview," I was pleased to discover an album filled with a variety of solid songs. This was one of them.

So, not a bad Dozen . . . Minus One today. Once again, a little weirdness with the 3 Pixies songs (including two off the same album), but no clunkers, which is a first. And, Bob made his first appearance. If the odds & probabilities work out as you'd expect, this won't be his last time showing up.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous John Royal said...

The Pixies. The Pixies. The Pixies again. I think you're gaming this thing.

11:08 AM  
Blogger George said...

the bread kicks ass, even if the sandwich ingredients are for shit

Great line. Just as long as you don't capitalize the B in Bread.

12:42 PM  
Blogger maurinsky said...

I used to love Fishbone, too, back in the late 80s. I haven't heard them in years.

And I'm not familiar with the Feelies (I'm guessing they are circa 1989-1990-3? I was busy being a teenage mother then, and missed anything to do with popular culture), so I'll be looking into that, we seem to have the same kind of musical taste.

2:19 PM  
Blogger sideshow bob said...

Mike, next time you're in iTunes, go to the Edit drop-down menu and choose preferences. Then select the Playback tab, and there should be a sliding scale that will help you reduce the odds of another Pixiepalooza.

Now, for my Pipers...And, if you don't mind, I'll throw in a coolness audit (non-binding).

1. "We're All Going To Hell"--The Bastard Fairies

I heard of these guys in some dark corner of the blogosphere, but I came across a free download of them, so I figured what the hell. Not bad, kinda funny, but nothing special. (6/10)

2. "No. 13 Baby"--The Pixies

Whoa - this is getting pretty freaky up in here. A better song than "Dead", I think. (8/10)

3. "Yuri-G"--PJ Harvey

Excuse me while I crank this baby to 11. Great, great stuff...words won't do it justice. (11/10)

4. "Rooster"--AIC.

A classic. Also I have an admittedly sometimes unfair bias against overplayed songs, this one gets a pass. (9/10)

5. "50 Ft. Queenie"--PJ Harvey.

Ok Mike - I guess you can ignore the advice I gave you above...obviously Steve Jobs enjoys fucking with people. But hey, there's worse things in the world than having to hear double- or triple-shots of PJ or The Pixies. (9/10)

6. "God Smack"--AIC

Or Alice in Chains, for that matter. (9/10)

7. "Snake"--PJ Harvey

You know those jokes that go on and on where they start out funny, then stop being funny, and finally get funny again? This is at the point where it's not funny. If AIC comes up next, then it will be funny again.

Oh, and another awesome song from PJ. (10/10)

8. "Not What You Want"-- Sleater-Kinney.

What...no Alice in Chains?

This song is off of Dig Me Out, which (along with All Hands On the Bad One) is an excellent album to introduce you to the wonder world of S-K. (9/10)

9. "Silver"--The Pixies.

Yup, it's funny again now.

This is a weird, sparse, country-infused song. Weird in a good way. (7/10)

10. "Take, Take, Take"--The White Stripes.

Interesting song about weirdos stalking famous people, told from the point of view of the weirdo. With a cameo from Rita Hayworth...hubba hubba! (7/10)

11. "My Head in Front of Your Head" -- Best Friends Forever

This is a band I'm in love with. They're a small act out of Minneapolis. This song is about how the singer would like to go back in time and marry Abe Lincoln (not to be the First Lady, but because she thinks he's "hot stuff"). (10/10)



I love the

2:22 PM  
Blogger Otto Man said...

Do any of you guys know a band called the Pixies? Or this chick PJ Harvey?

2:25 PM  
Blogger fridge said...

The FEELIES!!!!!

Wow. And Fishbone? I am flashing back, big time!

Gotta dig that one out of the cd pile and get it on the iPod. Haven't listened to that in for-ev-er.

Thanks for the reminder, Mike!

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

I don't have much to say this week, except with regard to:

"11. "When I Come Around" -- Green Day (Dookie)

Unfortunately, I can't agree with you about this song; i.e., I really don't like it at all. Actually, I can't think of one Green Day "slow song" that I do like (and this includes "When September Ends," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "The Time of Your Life," among others).

I come closest to liking "Boulevard...," I guess. I did kind of get into it early on.

I'm intrgued by the Feelies. Oh, and I'm slowly but surely getting into the "Doolittle." Maybe I'm Stockholme Syndroming myself.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous John Royal said...

Okay, my 11..,

1. Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta -- makes me want to destroy fax machines.

2. Shoot To Thrill -- makes me want to go to a strip club.

3. Ride A Black Swan -- from Billy Corrigan's Smashing Pumpkin, but not Smashing Pumpkin, band.

4. Send Money -- ah, Juliana Hatfield. She's hot.

5. Like A Hurricane -- Neil Young reminds me that it's hurricane season down here on the gulf.

6. The Fool on the Hill -- I did't know that Paul McCartney knew any of the people with which I work.

7. Baby What A Big Surprise -- I can't help it. I like Chicago.

8. Fernando -- ABBA. Well, so much for my street cred.

9. Gypsy -- from Luscious Jackson. Which reminds me: whatever happened to Luscious Jackson.

10. My Sister -- Juliana Hatfield, again. And I ain't complaining.

11. Where It's At -- my favorite song from Beck.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Toast said...

I was really into the 'Bone back in the early 90s.

Party at Ground Zero!

8:21 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

"No. 13 Baby"--The Pixies

One of my favorite Pixies songs. No BS. Hell, if you can't dig a ny song with this line, you need to give it up: "Standin' in her chinos/shirt pulled off clean/got a tattooed tit/says Number 13."

And repetitions or not, that's a helluva list you've got there, SSB.

John - I've wondered about Luscious Jackson too. Not because they were so great. They weren't. But because they were surely good enough, better than a lot of other bands that stuck around.

You remind me that I actually saw them live once. But I was completely fucked up, so I have no idea how good they were.

"Part At ground Zero."

GREAT song.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Smitty said...

I am so bummed. I posted..and posted...and the site kept me off of responding to your blog. Crap.

All I wanted to say was that I really like Sarah Vaughan. I have a lovely little number on my iPod from hewr called Lullaby in Birdland. I dig her voice and her ability to scat.

11:30 AM  

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