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July 13, 2007

Friday Random Ten, About Damn Time Edition

I haven't written much this week, especially in my guest-blogging duties. I've started several posts, but I haven't finished most of them. To paraphrase Emo Phillips, some weeks it isn't worth it to chew through the leather straps, so I'm pretty happy to see Friday come.

Post yours in the comments!

Smashing Pumpkins - "Believe"
So tell me--in what sense is the latest Smashing Pumpkins reunion a reunion? There's no James Iha, there's no D'arcy; it's just Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlain, and Jimmy had already been playing in Billy's solo efforts.
Fiery Furnaces - "Turning Round"
I'm not sure if Blueberry Boat was just that much better than the rest of the FF's output, or if it's just that it's the first one that caught my ear and I have no need for more than one of their albums.
Tori Amos - "The Beekeeper"
Oh yeah, Tori has a new album out. Hm. I'll always love Tori, but she keeps adding to the right side of her already iffy gem-to-crap ratio.
Justin Timberlake - "Chop Me Up"
I saw an ad on HBO the other night for an upcoming Justin Timberlake concert special, and I thought to myself, "Hey, cool!" Yeah, I have a hard time believing it, too. I guess the odds were in favor of one person coming out of the 90s boy band craze and do something worthwhile.
Rinky Dink and the Crystal Sets - "Choo Choo Cha Cha"
I highly recommend the entire Ultra Lounge series. This is from Ultra Lounge, Vol. 9: Cha-Cha de Amor.
Paul McCartney, "The End of the End"
I'm underwhelmed by the new McCartney album. It's better than I expected it to be, but that's faint praise.
Robert Pollard, "The Right Thing"
Like I said last week about Genesis, I've always thought I could get into Guided By Voices (and Pollard's solo work) if the catalog just weren't so daunting. I should call this the "Guided By Voices problem".
Tower of Power, "Knock Yourself Out"
A great live cut. If I ever start another radio show, it will be all 60s and 70s soul and funk, since by far the most popular hour I ever did was a whole hour of Stax singles.
The Rolling Stones - "No Use in Crying"
Tattoo You was the soundtrack in my house for a few years when I was about six. Not my favorite Stones era, but it still works for me.
White Ghost Shivers - "Big and Easy"
Amanda Marcotte turned me on to this band when I had her as a guest on the Spaceship. It's one of the best recommendations I've had in a while.

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Tower of Power, "Knock Yourself Out"
A great live cut.

I know the one. It's killing.

>Like I said last week about Genesis, I've always thought I could get into Guided By Voices (and Pollard's solo work) if the catalog just weren't so daunting.

A very viable alternative explanation is that both outfits are stinko nothings with heavy pretensions. Stick to the first three solo Peter Gabriel and a few of his later videos and you got it covered.

But what do I know? After all, I think the whole Ultra Lounge series presents a tedious (and near-endless) argument that there's no difference between shit and shinola.

1. Living After Midnight by Judas Priest
2. Mr. Pharmacist by The Fall
3. Professional Killer by KMFDM
4. Lost At Birth by Public Enemy
5. Adeus Maria Fulô by Os Mutantes
6. Green Tambourine by Status Quo (not the original, which was the Lemon Pipers, I think)
7. Big Boy Blues by Ma Rainey
8. Idle Chatter by Busdriver
9. Pull Up the People by M.I.A.
10. Good Ambition by The Ethiopians

Though vast, the Guided By Voices catalogue can be distilled down to two essential albums from the early-mid nineties: "Bee Thousand" and "Alien Lanes." Ever bought a perfect album in which every song delights. That's these. They are all you will ever need to experience the quintessential pop ecstasy of this marvelous band.

1. Cute As A Bug- Lyle Lovett
2. Memo From Turner- Mick Jagger
I think this was a solo effort...
3. This Silence- The Machine in the Garden
4. Jailhouse Blues- Lightnin' Hopkins
5. Baby, You Know Who- Rev. Horton Heat
I dated a former drummer of this band.
6. Isis- Bob Dylan
7. Death Or Glory- The Clash
8. Mercy On Broadway- Laura Nyro
9. Rusty The Skatemaker- Rasputina
10. 10,000 Lights Years From Home- the Rolling Stones

1. Back of a Car—Big Star
2. Alex Chilton—The Replacements
3. Southern Girls—Cheap Trick
4. Look Back In Anger—Television Personalities
5. Scenic World—Beirut
6. Always Love—Nada Surf
7. It's All Over Now (Baby Blue)—13th Floor Elevators (not a more beautiful song ever recorded)
8. Schizophrenia—Sonic Youth
9. Queen of Carrot Flowers—Neutral Milk Hotel
10. To Be Young—Ryan Adams


>Memo From Turner- Mick Jagger

>I think this was a solo effort...

Yes, released as a single under Mick's name, lifted off the Performance soundtrack. (You remember -- the film that made Mick Jagger an international acting sensation.) Although an initial version of the song was recorded in 1968 and appeared on the so-so Metamorphosis odds 'n' sods collection in 1975. As far as I know, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts may have played on the original session, but nobody seems certain.

Hmmm. And, at the risk of really stirring the poop, I have to say I wish somebody would come up with a defense of Guided By Voices that was was as concrete and specific as this dismissal.

Note: attacking ol' Bob as a jerk, or waving aside his critical outlook as irrelevant, doesn't cut it. I say one has to provide a counter-argument as detailed as his to make me listen to Bee Thousand again.

Correction- the Rolling Stones only ventured two thousand light years from home, not ten. Though in the context of an acid trip it might not have felt much different.

"The URL is not valid and cannot be loaded."

Perhaps you meant this review. Michael Azerrad is a (much) better music journalist than he is critic, but he's plenty specific and so forth. There's only one line that clangs as kinda fake: "As with Big Star, the beauty of GBV's music cocoons – and so triumphs over – its own root sadness, like an oyster building a pearl around an irritating grain of sand." GBV's music works in such a different way than Big Star that the comparison is ludicrous. (And the grain-of-sand-into-pearl thing is kinda tired, but let's move on.)

Here's the nub: Azerrad is describing essentially the same album as Bob Xgau, except he says it's a really good thing and he loves it. I listened to the same record and found it had -- mutatis mutandis -- the same problems as Genesis albums: way too much work clambering over the willful difficulties of the music for the small sensual rewards at the end. Azerrad has a near-religious faith in the virtues of indie rock practices -- perhaps the more extreme the better. Genesis fans I've known were certainly believers in the virtues of prog rock. I don't share those faiths, and I would argue that one must in order to enjoy either Genesis or GBV.

whoever post this list should be shot. Smashing pumpkin and justin timberlake? There better be some experimental postmodern irony going.

( this post has been brought to you by pop music police. )

Well if you're not into prog rock then definitely don't check out my band pfiffin.

He who advertises himself has a fool for a client. (Whether the DIY-mad internet world believes it or not.)

Ha ha monkeys always look!

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