Friday, May 23, 2014

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no

2013 and 2014 have seen progress with the purge. The purge! As part of this… process… I've become reacquainted with much of my music collection, listening to the likes of Helmet and Gang Starr for the first time in years. Some of this history will pop up below, to the point where an unheralded decade (no, not the eighties) is our new champion and 1968 is left wanting. Oddly, I didn't register this until after everything had been sequenced, played through, considered, adjusted and played through again. The eighty-five outtakes are another story, with a sixties and seventies bloat party, but that's a story for the deluxe mechanism-(x) reissue in twenty years.

I turn forty in a matter of days. I was thirteen when my mother turned forty and I remember it clearly as a night of pure hell—she was miserable and made no effort to hide it. Maybe it's wishful groupthink since all my older friends agree but times have surely changed—turning forty is no longer what it was (for example, G. will still be two). I imagine technology has something to do with it, as it's easier to keep in touch with the likes of Hector and Ivan, laugh at pictures of their kids and email vague plans to drink beer with them in the future. The plans may remain vague for months or more but, via effortless correspondence, we won't fall out of touch. I've known Ivan for over twenty years and Hector for almost as long—that's half my life! And what, I'm supposed to feel like an old fart even though I'm regularly reminded of getting plastered with them every Friday in Allston? That feels like it was five years ago. It feels like A. and I moved to the People's Republic just after Christmas and G. was born a few weeks later. I can't explain the passage of time—it would be way over your head—but I appreciate it. I accept it. And maybe that's why, when I turn forty, my misery won't exist for others to recall in twenty-seven years. A regular Monday, in other words.

OLD FRIENDS KEEP YOU YOUNG. It's reads like a bad greeting card/refrigerator magnet. THE STARS WHISPER LIKE OLD BLOOD AT THE EDGES OF THE BODY OF NIGHT. That one doesn't sell as well. Here is my playlist representing the last twelve months. I hope to continue this into my forties but make no promises. The writing, I'm sorry to say, is not as fun, easy or clock-friendly as the compiling. Maybe I should limit the number of songs. Maybe you should shut up. Reliving this music, much of which I first loved between 1992 and 1999… I remain young. Bring on fifty, motherfucker.

1. Bedemon – Skinned
Pity the misguided virgin who, in our opening seconds, suffers a grisly death as Bedemon impales her with wave after wave of electric feedback. Child of Darkness is a collection of unreleased doom recorded in 1974—there is no better way to start things off then with the year of my birth, following the barely disguised fear of my introduction. The wizard approves. The wizard appeared to me as we drove Connecticut roadways to my in-laws' for Christmas. Having stopped for gas on the way (before crossing over from Massachusetts, of course, because Connecticut prices will kick you in the nuts) I did a cursory job cleaning the windshield and back window with the filthy gas station squeegee, a clumsy instrument that never travels gracefully around wiper blades. One hundred miles of highway residue crusted over and in the rearview mirror I saw it: wizard observes slam dunk. Wizard observes slam dunk for miles and miles. I took this photograph because of course wizard observes slam dunk. Wizard observes slam dunk forever.

2. Steven Jesse Bernstein – Come Out Tonight
"I am with the important women now." My heavy-handed instrumental/spoken-word pattern was averted in its infancy but still left a mark (I'll get to the instrumental part later, times four). My friend Oskar (who will play a larger role in a someday-posted Captain Beefheart essay) used to make mixtapes for Ivan, Pierre and me in high school and college. These were formative cassettes and I'll speak of them another time. "Come Out Tonight," taken from 1992's Sup Pop 200 compilation, graced one of Pierre's tapes and we thought it was the funniest thing. "'Jackie O'? 'Jackie O'??" Who was this odd man? Oskar later put "More Noise Please" from the posthumous Prison album on his fourth and final volume for me—it was still humorous but somehow more moving. By then I'd learned Bernstein killed himself and maybe that added the weight (it surely wasn't Steve Fisk's muzak soundscape). "The whole world was praying for silence and it was up to me to shut the window and I couldn't get it down. I was just making more noise." But it's the conviction of his imperfect reading of "Come Out Tonight" that draws me to place Bernstein's poetry among forty-seven rock songs about pornography and oppression. As track two!

3. Zombies – Tell Her No
I considered sandwiching both parts of Bernstein's "No No Man" around this Zombies hit and naming the playlist Tell Her No No Man but there are only so many seats on our forty-eight-passenger bus. "Tell Her No," alternately titled "No-No-No-No-No" by G., is one of her favorite songs in the world, alongside "No Milk Today" by Herman's Hermits, "Baby It's You" ("Sha-La-La-La-La") by the Shirelles and just about anything by the pre-1966 Beatles. Unfortunately she also likes that Haim nonsense "The Wire." I'm going to have a talk with her about overproduction one day.

4. Old Time Relijun – Cold Water
Sort of a dark start here. If it weren't for the Zombies cheerfully… warning… against a… soulless… sexual predator then it'd be four downers in a row. I was introduced to Old Time Relijun (the nod to Captain Beefheart's "Moonlight on Vermont" extends beyond their name) via Selector Dub Narcotic's inclusion of "Siren"—it and Uterus and Fire's "Jail" demanded honorable positions on a couple of late-nineties mixtapes. "Cold Water" is pulled from 2004's Lost Light, which seemed to hold together some kind of concept about vampires and water. All of their albums are about vampires and water.

5. T. Zchiew & the Johnny – Let Your Life Be Free
Another Forge Your Own Chains hit following Ofege's "It's Not Easy" in 2010 and Top Drawer's "Song of a Sinner" in 2012. T. Zchiew's name seems to vary as "T. Zchew" or "T. Zchien" depending where you look—such is the life of the internationally compiled. And "The Johnny"? The Johnny! The Johnny is just the Johnny.

6. Six Finger Satellite – Simian Fever
"Mickey's Monkey." "The Monkey Time." "Simian Fever." Richard Anthony & the Blue Notes' "The Boston Monkey" didn't make the cut so local-ish outfit Six Finger Satellite are filling in G's monkey song this year. "There's trouble in the monkey house!" Sounds like my living room. It's possible I already owned the Weapon EP but I'm pretty sure Severe Exposure was the first 6FSCD I bought. I was in college and Ministry would have been the closest companion in my collection—that shows how far I reached (Weapon was much tamer by comparison). I wish I could remember my reaction upon playing it for the first time—likely one of regret, after the easing introduction of "Cock Fight" tried my patience and the Nazi war crimes of "Board the Bus" challenged my politically correct student mind. Twenty years later, few bands give me more pleasure. "You will never change!" Except when you do. "…my simian ways!" Oh, that.

7. The Julie Ruin – Oh Come On
The best song of 2013, even if Kathleen Hanna insists against a brand new name for this project. She's a regular reader of the blog and, I imagine, would be equally troubled if I just started calling it The! Biff! Bang! Pow! and writing about "the beer and the football" and "the Nico" without purging my archive and changing templates. How much HTML does she think I know, anyway?

8. Richard Berry – Next Time
This 1955 B-side finally became digitally available last Summer as part of the Rockin' Man compilation. The A-side was "Crazy Lover," and my man Henry Rollins must have grown up with the single because he covered both sides early in his solo career. Rollins Band's 1988 take on "Next Time" is very true to Berry's original, which speaks to how timeless a writer and performer Berry was.

9. Make-Up – Do You Like Gospel Music?
Make Up? Make-Up? The Make-Up? Kathleen Hanna calling! Almost fifteen years ago I attempted to see these guys at an apparent house party around Washington Street in Somerville. It was a Saturday night and I went alone because my friends preferred garbage like Rancid or Rusted Root. The world's smallest violin. It was dark as I pulled off the McGrath Highway toward the "venue," which I immediately realized was just someone's house. An actual house! They advertised in the Phoenix and everything! After struggling to park (I ended up on some industrial driveway under a bridge and it scared the shit out of me) I squirmed my way inside among the smoking hipsters to discover, I think, that the whole thing was bullshit, a scam. Ian and friends must have reached the same conclusion because there was no sign of them. Drag. Returning home I probably drank Boston Ale, played Jedi Knight and contemplated driving to Buffalo for sex.

10. The Dave Clark Five – Hold On
PBS recently aired a fine documentary on the DC5 called, naturally, Glad All Over. It was produced by Clark himself and therefore very "authorized"—you'd think the five guys shared a flat together and compared smiles all day. It's ridiculous, though, how well you know their music, and if you're anywhere between thirty and seventy you grew up with them. "Do You Love Me," "Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces," "Any Way You Want It," "Catch Us If You Can," "Because," "I Like It Like That." What in the worldwide fuck! I wish it had been a little more critical with regard to the band's place in the scene (among peers like the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, et al) and a real lack of evolution in their sound (rawk sax in 1969?). I also could have done without the extended handjob over the Time musical (from the clips it looked and sounded awful). But that's nitpicking. "Hold On" was presumably featured in 1968's television special Hold On! It's the Dave Clark Five, the marvelous closing segment (acting out "Five by Five"—Rolling Stones much?) of which was shown in full toward the end of the documentary. Marvelous! Everything about it—the dancers (the dancers!), the outfits, the reverb, the "superstar" element of Clark's choreographed stand-up drumming—resembles '66 more than '68 but it's a lot of fun, like Glad All Over itself. Early television appearances didn't need to pretend Clark was the lead singer instead of Mike Smith (a heroic vocalist burdened with shoddy, annoying material like "Do You Love Me") because he was already the real deal—brains (owning his publishing and leasing it to record companies—Paul McCartney, on camera, laments his own business decisions), face (strikingly handsome), manager and all-around musical/creative director. "H! O! L! D! O! N!" A true maverick whose songs didn't change the landscape but didn't need to. (Phew, not one crack about his present-day eyebrows!) (D'oh!)

11. Led Zeppelin – We're Gonna Groove (Live)
Robert Plant: "My enthusiasm sometimes got in the way of finesse. I listen to it and go, 'Wow, why didn't I shut up a bit?' I kind of overcooked it." Christ, but that sounds familiar. This version of "We're Gonna Groove" is ripped from the Royal Albert Hall performance on the Led Zeppelin DVD because I now know how to do that. It's odd that Coda's liner notes still insist its "version" is sourced from a studio outtake captured during the Led Zeppelin II sessions when it's obviously the same live 1970 base recording, with Jimmy Page trimming, remixing and overdubbing almost two years after the band folded and twelve after said concert. He pulled the same bullshit with a "rehearsal" take of "I Can't Quit You Baby" from the same show. Remember that I love this band.

12. Shadows of Knight – Taurus
"Taurus" is our first of four instrumentals, closing "side A" of this "double LP" set. That's the nice thing about a forty-eight song playlist, it can be carved evenly into halves (two sides of a cassette), thirds (three CDs) or quarters (double album). Dare to embrace excess. The Shadows of Knight are barely recognized on this B-side to the wonderfully titled (but weak) 1969 single "My Fire Department Needs a Fireman." Incidentally, "Taurus" is also the name of a Spirit instrumental that Zeppelin might have annexed for "Stairway to Heaven." Big fan.

13. NWA – 100 Miles and Runnin'
The first song released after Ice Cube left NWA is possibly the best they produced with or without him. From Wikipedia, verbatim: "In the video the intro begins with NWA members being arrested by the police and exactly when the song begins they flee and appear on several scenes including jumping onto roof of a car, fleeing to back of a van and others. In the end someone wears a baseball cap similar to the ones NWA members wear, so the police get into the house and grab the cap, so they understand that it's someone else dressed similarly to the NWA members. Also in the middle of the video a car is seen exploding while the NWA members run." Sentences are also seen running—the Wikipedia editor was on a family vacation with his wife and his daughter and his son and they got direct flights to Florida, so the Wikipedia editor was not in the Wikipedia office to proofread the entry, so it was posted by someone else who works there. Also, the Wikipedia editor and his family visited his cousin in Clearwater and they rented a boat and also they went snorkeling and it was a nice family vacation so they have many photographs.

14. Off! – Man From Nowhere
"To the Bloods I'm the man from nowhere… to the Crips I'm the man from nowhere." I guess Keith Morris and friends are listening to NWA too. Keith does not sound like he's aged one day since Nervous Breakdown—he looks like it, but he doesn't sound like it. Off! (I don't go all-caps unless it's an acronym) gradually took home the 2012 prize even though it's not even sixteen minutes long. Those post-2009 winners have really gone through the ringer.

15. Damien Jurado – Silver Timothy
Indeed, recent Biffy® ceremonies haven't been as crowded as in years past (warning: until January). "Silver Timothy" is our calendar year's lone representative and, therefore, Jurado's Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son is a potential candidate to kneel before the Lower Galactic Biffy® Council. I may be a young forty but I'm still forty and completely out of touch with popular culture (it has its advantages), but that's OK. I worked hard enough discovering bands in the second half of 1994 to last a lifetime.

16. The Jesus Lizard – Slave Ship
"Really, no room for the Jesus Lizard at all?" So I wondered five years ago when critiquing my 1997 Interrupting Cow Blues mixtape (I love the gratuitous swipes at Calvin Johnson, which have continued elsewhere on the blog—Pow!). The Jesus Lizard was and is one of my favorite bands… and yet, through five volumes on these same inter-nets, I still found no place for them. I think the problem is that most songs are on the shorter side, with only eight longer than four minutes and two of those ("The Associate" and "Zachariah") longer than five. Long songs anchor a mix and determine where everything else of the what-would-sound-good-here variety falls. Since their albums hold together so well, too, it's hard to choose: "Puss" or "The Art of Self-Defense"? "Mouth Breather" or "Seasick"? You must choose, brothers, you must choose! "Slave Ship" is one of those four-minute numbers and its opening guitar dirge and closing white noise shake me by the collar and scream "Really, no room at all??" Right again, 2009 Jarrod, even if Google no longer deems the post a top "mass constipation" search result.

17. Gong – Squeezing Sponges Over Policemen's Heads/Fohat Digs Holes in Space
"Squeezing Sponges Over Policemen's Heads" sounds like a life mission I could support. Race riots? Traffic jams? Thank you for your service! And have you seen these POLICE DETAILS SAVE LIVES bumper stickers? Yeah, let's pay these armed lardasses triple overtime to play Candy Crush on their iPhones, yuk it up with equally lazy construction bozos and dare you to fuck with them while I slalom my way down Canal Street. (Ahem.) A well placed saxophone transitions "Fohat Digs Holes in Space" out of a Pink Floyd cosmos and into, well, Gong-land. Fuck the police.

18. The Damnation of Adam Blessing – Strings and Things
A little melodramatic but I like the melody during the chorus. Nice minute-plus wah-wah to close out too—nod once more in the direction of "Song of a Sinner." I love the contrast of a doom-laden "The Damnation of Adam Blessing" and a light-and-fluffy "Strings and Things." I like strings and I like things/I even like things wrapped in strings/I like to string all sorts of things/Upon my walls of strings and things/The fairer things are paired with strings/But a life of sin casts you to a barren hell where despair and loneliness shall destroy all you love/Beloved fair things and fair strings.

19. Frumpies – Duvet Ta
Fear the Bedspread Uprising of '94! Also: a second appearance by Kathi Wilcox of all people. The Casual Dots' "Clocks" was an early contender as well, imagine the shitstorm? Kathleen, again a regular reader, would have gotten insanely jealous and renamed her band Thee Julie Ruin just to poke me, keep me from dismissing her. (Never.)

20. Atlantics – Come On
Beat! Beat! Beat! Why is this woman giving our hero such a hard time? Doesn't she hear the urgency in the chorus? "So come on!" Doesn't she hear that bass? That bass! The drums? The keyboards? The amazing guitar fuzz that doesn't really emerge until the bridge? "Wirrrrrrwww."

21. Sleater-Kinney – Let's Call It Love
Oh! I see. The woman he's after also plays guitar, is more successful and can afford longer studio sessions. You're lucky to have her, Atlantics Lead Singer, as Sleater-Kinney shakes off residual preciousness and punches the entire world in the stomach. (Either they or Edan released the best album of 2005 but Sleater-Kinney, undoubtedly, released the best song.) Let's get a beer, Atlantics Lead Singer—I didn't think they had it in them after The Hot Rock either.

22. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Flavor
How do you follow an eleven-minute epic that ends so gracelessly (since "Let's Call It Love" cuts immediately into "Night Light" on The Woods)? Why, only with (probably) my favorite song off (probably) my favorite album of all time. I remember reading an Orange-era interview with Russell Simins and he was asked about new golden boy Beck's contribution to the album and if the band expected an uptick in sales. Simins responded something like "That would be fine, but it's not like we're going to put a sticker on the cover that says 'Featuring two minutes of Beck!'" I love that. It should be noted that of all the CDs I ripped over the last five years, all the thousands of songs I then listened to and cataloged, "Flavor" was the only one that didn't survive—an irreparable scratch on the disc mars Beck's performance (skipping throughout and going dead after "…and I can't be satisfied") to the point where I had to pay for the download. It's "Flavor." It's Orange. "The blues is number one!" It's worth it.

23. The Velvet Underground – The Gift
Straddling the line between spoken word and instrumental is "The Gift," with John Cale's dry telling of Waldo Jeffers's adventure on the left channel and the band jamming some "Booker T." flavor on the right. Got the flavor! Are we to believe Waldo was in transit over a single weekend? How much did that cost him? I love the open wound of "She would kiss him, and then maybe they could see a movie," the contrasting "She had to remember not to drink like that" and the unnecessary detail of "her mother's small, beige pocketbook in the den." Poor Waldo.

24. Can – Millionenspiel
Does a breathy "Fahhhh" at the beginning negate an instrumental label? Maybe it's a Moog. Side A departs on rails to a post-Malcolm Mooney/pre-Damo Suzuki land of speed and straight lines—alright. I have to think this Lost Tapes opener was featured on some soundtrack or other—you can hear it over any sixties caper and any seventies chase scene, any eighties montage and any nineties masturbation punchline.

25. The Fall – I'm Into CB
"In the UK, small but growing numbers of people were illegally using American CB radios during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The prominence of CB radio grew in Britain partly due to the popularity of novelty songs like CW McCall's 'Convoy' and the film Convoy in 1978." You could pretty much sub anything in for those bold terms. "The prominence of cocaine after-parties grew in Kansas City partly due to the popularity of novelty songs like CW McCall's 'Convoy' and the film Convoy in 1978." "The prominence of way too many spare tires grew in my back seat partly due to the popularity of novelty songs like CW McCall's 'Convoy' and the film Convoy in 1978." "The prominence of quasi-official Fall compilations grew in exponential leaps and bounds partly due to the popularity of novelty songs like CW McCall's 'Convoy' and the film Convoy in 1978."

26. Mr. Lif – Status
I Phantom's introductory "Handouts" (not included here) lays it out: Lif, after being reborn as a "new man" in the album's narrative, needs to get it on wax. Pronto. He calls Insight for a beat but is dead broke. "You get what you pay for, man." That's what it feels like to tour Bull Moose Music locations (the closest is in Portsmouth), handing over a box of CDs and getting fifteen cents on the dollar. On a good day. I'm thankful for Discogs and turning a profit on a handful of items there, which is why I'll hang onto my old Kill Rock Stars and Touch and Go releases and hope for more Australian hipsters to provide the sweetness of one dollar on the dollar. "You got a dollar?"

27. Sebadoh – Shit Soup
A few months ago I took it upon myself to edit my song file names in case an older G. is ever browsing my hard drive for music—you wish, old man—and wonders "What does a song called 'Cocksucker Blues' sound like?" So "Rolling Stones – Cocksucker Blues.mp3" becomes "Rolling Stones – C. Blues.mp3." It's a very sophisticated system. Sebadoh simplified the process by already editing Jason Lowenstein's "Shit Soup" as "S. Soup" on the Bakesale sleeve. If only the Dwarves were as cooperative.

28. Butthole Surfers – To Parter
Band names though? Band names are more artful and it would seem a shame to abbreviate the Butthole Surfers (a.k.a. "BH Surfers"), Pussy Galore and the Fucking Champs in any way (very sophisticated system). I'm not naive enough to think she'll never drop an F-bomb in her life—maybe she'll even produce the 2038 equivalent of a blog and swear all over the place like her dad. Just lay off the Quaaludes, kid.

29. Big Boy Pete – Cold Turkey
"Peter Jay Miller, also known as Big Boy Pete, is an English singer, songwriter, recording engineer and record producer." English?? Wikipedia also says "Cold Turkey" was "one of the first English psychedelic songs" when it was released in 1968, which wasn't even the second year of English psychedelic music. Riiight. Sounds like late '66/early '67 Texas anyhow.

30. Groundhogs – Free From All Alarm
Can, Six Finger Satellite and the Groundhogs. You, reader, will rarely be free of their greatness come late May. 1974's "Free From All Alarm" starts off all Two Sides of Tony (TS) McPhee before the band kicks in halfway through to mark a Solid end to the band's classic era. Har! Har!

31. Thee Headcoats – He's So Popular With the Girls
From 1994's Conundrum, which is so out of print I can't even find a good image of the cover to stick on Sonik Truth II. Now that I've converted my entire collection to ones and zeroes, is a higher-capacity Sonik Truth III on the horizon? I'll be so popular with the girls, on the cover of the NME, so fuckin' broad-minded, underneath the disco lights… the girls being my wife, daughter and cat, of course. What kind of masher do you take me for? And are iPods even produced anymore?

32. De La Soul – Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge)
"Don't flaunt that the candy is good unless you can get plenty." Good (gōōd): of high quality; enjoyable or satisfying. Plenty (plen·ty): a large or sufficient amount or quantity. In February, De La Soul offered up their entire discography as a free download. Proper albums, hits collections, B-sides (mostly from the 3 Feet High and Rising bonus disc) and other rarities like soundtrack cuts and the Clear Lake Auditorium EP. It was In Rainbows times a hundred.

33. Nirvana – Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle
Steve Albini was right. Again. In Utero is all over the place right now… at least, it was late last Summer in celebration of its twentieth anniversary. Vish Khanna interviewed Steve Albini, Chris Novoselic (useless) and others (David Yow… really?) on his mostly interesting Kreative Kontrol podcast in August and then Mojo's September cover story revisited a between-overdoses interview with fickle mush-head Kurt Cobain alongside retrospective remarks from Novoselic and Dave Grohl. This demonstrates how far behind I am in my magazines and podcasts. No rock icon is as annoying as Cobain, who battled daily with world fame vs. artistic credibility, and it all comes through in that Mojo package—he loved Albini's original recordings and mixes, he wanted the songs to be more accessible for a mainstream public, he thought Nevermind was too slick… make up your mind, asshole! To Albini's credit, he doesn't shit on Cobain in the KK interview and seems to regret some of the "pompous" (his term) elements of his preliminary "missive" (his term) to the band. The interview takes a strange turn with Khanna determined to hear the story behind Grohl's "Marigold" (relegated to single B-side status) even after Albini repeatedly (politely) states that he had little to do with recording or mixing it. Then Khanna rakes the muck by asking about Courtney Love, who showed up halfway through the sessions and seemed to drag everything down. Albini responds (around Khanna's buts) "Yeah, I don't have anything to say about that woman… I don't even want to have her on my mind right now… you're still talking about it!" Twenty years on and this is what you want to know? Anyway, read the letter. It's amazing. As such, scruples-baiting "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" or "Milk It" would have been more appropriate choices here but I prefer the dynamics of "Frances Farmer." I am principled.

34. Public Enemy – Live and Undrugged
From dead and drugged to "Live and Undrugged." I set them up and I knock them down. A hushed "Say you want a revolution…" at the three-and-a-half-minute mark apparently kicks off the officially listed "Part 2" of this even though I hear no real "Part 1." Some extra urgency becomes apparent, as if Chuck and live drummer Owsley Stanley III Nathaniel Townsley III know they're running out of time (Flavor Flav went five thousand after thirty seconds of minimal hype). I ignored Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age upon its release in 1994 and wasn't alone—the reviews weren't great and a lackluster Apocalypse '91 (excepting highlights like "How to Kill a Radio Consultant") made me content to spin the first three albums on repeat instead. Over time I bit the bullet and am pleasantly surprised that it holds up so well, previewing some of the psychedelia (the real kind, not this contemporary techno bullshit) they would embrace on the excellent There's a Poison Goin' On… and the fair New Whirl Odor a few years later. Their attacks on gangsta rap culture were twenty years ahead of anyone else (Questlove's wishy-washy new essay series on the topic has nothing on "So Whatcha Gone Do Now?") and left others to claim they were washed up and out of touch. Wrong again, white liberals like yourself!

35. Devo – Penetration in the Centerfold
Forgive me as I de-Anglicize the spelling. I always hear "There's something in the middle and it's giving me a rush" as "…giving me a rod." I prefer my version. Pussy Galore's cover (Julie Cafritz: "Bark! Bark! Bark!"; Bob Bert: "Metal! Metal! Metal!") is featured as a bonus track on the reissued Sugarshit Sharp EP, which I sold a long time ago for next to nothing. Copies are currently available on Amazon for $24. Goddammit.

36. Automator – The Good, the Bad and the Chutney
Side C closes with another questionable "instrumental"—sampled dialog doesn't count, right? Bombay the Hard Way was formally credited to Bollywood composers Kalyanji Virji Shah and Anandji Virji Shah and likely deleted after they caught wind of it. Kalyanji–Anandji must have a spectacular team of singing and dancing lawyers.

37. Goat – Golden Dawn
A strong band with a weak singer, that's why the microphone gets disconnected after fifty seconds. I think World Music (not "world music") could have overtaken Off! last January if that mic had stayed disconnected. "Golden Dawn" is well placed after "The Good, the Bad and the Chutney." I am running out of steam.

38. The Band – Baby Don't You Do It (Live)
Abbreviated as "Don't Do It" on Rock of Ages for some reason. If you're going to cover a song then do what you want with the arrangement and leave the title alone, right? Like the MC5, renaming the Troggs' "I Want You" as "I Want You Right Now" on Kick Out the Jams—Larry Page and Colin Frechter did not write a song called "I Want You Right Now." For the sake of neurotic fussbuckets who consider the factual purity of their music collections to determine societal worth, please correct the listing on future-mechanism (x) Rock of Ages reissues.

39. Shirley Ellis – The Nitty Gritty
I like the fake "Farmer John" live feel of this one (I'm not convinced the Band had a legitimate audience a few minutes ago either). Wikipedia calls this 1963 single a "novelty hit"—fuck them, the studio was the place to be that night. Novelty is writing for Wikipedia. Gladys Knight & the Pips covered "The Nitty Gritty" in '69 with decent but far less effective results—the horns, the vocals, the whole thing, just too Motown-ed. Ellis's grungy original, which sounds like it was recorded and mixed in a half hour, is sixties soul perfection.

40. Peggy Sue – Cut My Teeth
I will no longer apologize for neglecting women on my playlists. It's condescending to measure "female" music any differently than "male" music and if they don't represent a large-enough piece of the pie here then it's not my problem. Peggy Sue (?) takes her/their time on the six-minute "Cut My Teeth" and delivers our most menacing number since Bedemon's ritual sacrifice at the start—that low end has a nice Rid of Me-era PJ Harvey feel to it and the general vibe is very Duke Spir– there I go, comparing women to women again! It's your round to buy, Atlantics Lead Singer.

41. Hogwash – Witch Doctor
Split: 1971 album by the Groundhogs. Hogwash: 1972 album by the Groundhogs. Split/Hogwash: two post-Jungle Rot groups led by George Brigman. "Mighty Scratching" is a good name too. "Solid Save." "Obituary Bomb." "Surface Christ." You're welcome, George.

42. Cake Like – Suck
Kerry Kinney from The State was in this band. The State had nothing on Exit 57. "Suck" is the sixth and final song from 1994, my midpoint (so far) and the formal dawning of my love of underground music. Tearsheeting at an advertising agency, arguing over The Bold and the Beautiful vs. (inferior) The Days of Our Lives in the lunchroom, crushing on every older woman within ten blocks and listening to WZBC eight hours a day: so went Summer and Fall that year. (Also, getting into bars as a twenty-year-old without needing a fake ID and subsequently barfing all over the little alcove outside Small Planet in Copley Square that one night. Good times defined.) Much of Delicious was in heavy rotation on 'ZBC and I can't hear any of it without being immediately transported to my little mailroom on Temple Place.

43. Dead Meadow – Till Kingdom Come
Dead Meadow, somehow making their first appearance Among the Forty-Eight (an eighty-minute cap was one of Volume 1's shortfalls), nearly came through with Three Kings's "That Old Temple" or Warble Womb's "In the Thicket" or "This Song Is Over." "Till Kingdom Come," though, stands out from the February show—I recorded their performance of it and "Sleepy Silver Door" on my phone. Distortion does a single tiny speaker no favors and it sounds like ass but still looks great. I didn't care for that Six Point Bengali Tiger IPA, though. Brooklyn remains overrated.

44. Hawkwind – Children of the Sun
At least Dead Meadow made the cut once, but Hawkwind? But Hawkwind! Shunned through five volumes. I considered fifteen minutes of "You Shouldn't Do That" (the first song on In Search of Space, which is not called X In Search of Space because the "X" is clearly a design element; "Children of the Sun" closes the album) until ruling it out for, I don't know, etiquette. When the dozens of guys from Hawkwind left the room I walked out behind them and shut the door, failing to notice Sleater-Kinney sneaking in through the window. Sadly, four Creedence Clearwater Revivalists and their "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" cover never made it past security.

45. Neil Young – Revolution Blues
A. took the train home the other night after staying a little late at work. Within a minute of walking through the door, earbuds still in place, she told me "'Cowgirl in the Sand' might be my favorite song right now… it's, like, perfect." Understand that her taste rarely strays beyond the conventional four-minute mark and even she's surprised ("Revolution Blues" was already in place here as we've both been on a Neil Young kick lately). She does not like long songs. "Sister Ray" is her nightmare. "Cowgirl in the Sand" should be her nightmare but it's "like, perfect." Another favorite of hers right now is Kurt Vile's nine-and-a-half minute "Wakin' on a Pretty Day." Nine and a half minutes! We're seeing him and his band the Violators this weekend in Northampton—after a dinner date at the Brewery and a (hopefully fruitful) stop by Turn It Up to sell more CDs and help cover expenses—and we'll see if there's anything to this media-created Neil Young/Kurt Vile thing. (G. will be OK in the car for a few hours, right?) Expect something from Vile next May as I dig into his discography following the show. Unless he sucks. [Edit: It will be Loud Song No. 1 "The Hunchback" or Loud Song No. 2 "Freak Train."] Also on the concert calendar: "You wanted the best and you got it!" So you'll get it.

46. Nick Drake – Road
Sentimentality upon purging: "I'll always favor the lovely 'Road' following its appearance in Hideous Kinky. I feel like I should see that movie again now that I have a lovely, precocious daughter of my own." Yes. Is there a lovelier two minutes? Is there a lovelier purple-bow-wearer? A friend shared some Huffington Post bullshit about things daughters can't do because they're girls. Baseball, hockey, wear blue clothes… except the "author" goes on to say girls actually can do all these things. It was very confusing. To top it off, in a parenthetical aside "clarifying" what he meant by the phrase "a few of those instances," we get this nugget: "there have been almost two entire handfuls of times this has happened." Feel free to stare blankly at something for a moment. "Almost two entire handfuls." "Two" actually means something on its own. "I'll take two slices of pizza, please." "Are two quarters enough for the meter?" "You owe me two dollars for this bullshit Huffington Post column." "Almost two." Does that mean one? "Almost two entire." OK, so we're dealing with fractions—one and nine tenths? "A handful." This is a metaphor—we're not talking about grapes or cashews. "An entire handful." Adjectives are supposed to provide more detail. "Almost an entire handful." You are qualifying something that has yet to be defined. "Almost two entire handfuls." And then doubling it. You can be a hack, Mike Reynolds, if you really want to/Though I can see quite clearly that you already are/I can see quite clearly that you already are.

47. Love Battery – Between the Eyes
Love Battery has aged well—even the best of their contemporaries like Mudhoney and Tad had that drum reverb going on for a year or two. Oskar included "Between the Eyes" (the A-side of their first single and an immediate career peak) and the subsequent Between the Eyes EP's "2 and 2" on a couple of those old tapes. I continued to like them enough to buy 1993's Far Gone disc and rock that shit while driving the shuttle (minivan) between JFK/UMass Station and the Globe all those mornings and afternoons—a girl I knew once asked "Is this the Dead Batteries again?" She was cute and probably liked Lisa Loeb. Another time I had the Doors' LA Woman playing and a black woman stepped on just as the bloated singer announced "The negroes in the forest, brightly feathered." Thanks, Jim. Anyway, Far Gone's non-instrumental "Instrumental" would probably have worked here in some capacity, but since we're one song away from ending this year's inter-net nightmare you can forget it.

48. Witthüser & Westrupp – Illusion I
A rueful (thanks again, Jim) number from 1971's Trips und Träume takes us home, thus ending 2014's quarterly instrumental experiment. "Illusion I" (does "Illusion II" exist anywhere?) is popular on Songza's Krautrock channel. They play a lot of Kraftwerk too, am I the only one who doesn't get them? "Jackie O received fresh oranges from John Kennedy!" Oh, hey Steven. You're still here? "The president is alone in a room! He is unimportant!" Help yourself to the last doughnut but it's almost time to shut down. "As we eat his oranges the sky grows blacker!" Do you need a ride home or anything? "In the planetarium!" You're going to the planetarium? Now? "You will never be on the whip-end-end of slavery!" "The whip-end-end"? What kind of planetarium is this? "Hang up the phone, I can't dance with you anymore!" I was just calling to see what time they close. "Heaven will never be an extension of your body!" OK man, you convinced me. Witthüser, Westrupp und I will meet you at the science museum in an hour. Should we bring the oranges? "Silly girl!"

Numbers never lie: one song from the fifties, only eight from the sixties (three from '69), twelve from the seventies (three each from '71, '72 and '74), four from the eighties, thirteen from the nineties (!), four from the aughts and five from the teens. Our three shortest songs total four minutes and thirty seconds. The three longest? Twenty-seven minutes and thirty seconds. God bless you, daughter, for daring to embrace excess from time to time.

More furious madness: Volume 1|Volume 2|Volume 3|Volume 4|Volume 5

Friday, May 9, 2014

Beer and football V — the draft

The beer: Cambridge Spring Training India Pale Ale
The commentary: Another haircut, another draft. Another media blackout. And another-another haircut, as G. got her first ever this morning. She was so excited about it and wore a super serious face (pictured) for the first five minutes. It amounted to a trim, a cleanup, because her curls were getting out of control. Still, it's a big deal and I'm very proud of her. She was so good and patient.

Speaking of out of control, I had to take care of my own frizzy afro last night and didn't get home until after ten. I thought about firing up the recorded draft (the Pats, unless something happened, would not have been up yet at that point) but I was too tired, so I watched another episode of Breaking Bad, a series I'm glad to have finally started watching. Still on season three. No spoilers!

On that, let's press play and crack open a Spring Training IPA (pardon me?). I recorded the table-setting half-hour SportsCenter Special so I'll start with that. I am completely in the dark.

Some of the attending players are openly playing cards to pass the time until this gets started. Way to demonstrate your poise and self-awareness, fellas. Chris Berman can't help himself and says "There are a lot of aces backstage." Groan.

Ray Lewis in the house! I hope he gives a passionate speech after every pick. Mel Kiper comments that he predicted the Dolphins would take Lewis in the '96 draft instead of "his" Ravens (I recently read a feature on Kiper and he lives in Maryland). A genuinely interesting remark for this early. Will the entire evening be so enlightening?

Kiper's "elite seven" actually has seven players in it, unlike all of Mike Mayock's "top five" lists that have eight or nine.

Andy Hart, in a PFW in Progress podcast from a few weeks ago (I'm a little behind), said UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr could be the best player this draft produces due to his raw potential. He said if Barr slips to the teens then the Pats should trade up. He also likes strong safety Deone Bucannon out of Washington State. Those are two more opinions than I can form because I haven't seen one second of college football all year.

First example of ESPN's smoothness: Chris Mortensen tries to cut to Suzy Kolber and Berman appears instead, saying "Suzy will be with us later." All thirty players in attendance are being introduced onstage over a throbbing beat—I guess the individual "entrance music" comes later. That might be what I'm looking forward to the most—imagine how embarrassing it will be if two people pick "I've Been Fucking Your Daughters and Pissing on Your Lawn"? Also, what are the odds all thirty are drafted tonight?

Johnny Manziel is introduced. Just get drafted already.

A rumor popped up yesterday that the Pats were getting ready to deal Ryan Mallett to the Texans. Not sure if anything came of that (media blackout). I imagine it would be in some sort of package deal, and if he individually commands more than a seventh-round pick then I'll be happy. Every other idiot fan around here thinks he's worth at least a second-rounder because, apparently, quarterbacks with strong arms, poor accuracy and a handful of professional snaps can really turn a franchise around.

Sorry, I'm fast forwarding through this military/mothers/national anthem thing.

Berman, without a trace of humor in his voice: "Very soon we're going to hear from a Clowney and a Ha Ha. Maybe we'll have some moments of humor this evening." He's making a bunch of other bullshit metaphors and looking down at his notes every few seconds—even he knows he's just going through the motions. So much for enlightenment.

Ed Werder, once again in glorious low definition. Still convinced Sal-Pal is only a torso and a head, with someone lying down in front of him pretending to be his arms.

Jadeveon Clowney seems to be the consensus top player and he's getting equal billing with Manziel, who some people think might not get drafted until Friday.

I love these Domino's commercials. "We know we suck and we've been serving you crummy pizza for years, but give us another chance. Again. See you next year as we continue to toy with basic ingredients and still mess them up."

Kiper says "there's no other choice" for the Texans than Clowney. I have a feeling he's right. Jon Gruden says Manziel (weird). Lewis says Khalil Mack.

Manziel's toss through a tire swing in this opening segment looks like a duck. Excellent editing. And is this Aloe Blacc performing? "I Need a Dollar" was a good song. I'll leave it at that.

It's Van Hagar's "Right Now" again. Were these players even alive when this was a hit?

Jets fans booing Goodell. A tradition like no other. What pablum will he recite to turn them around this year? Even "…you, the fans" didn't go over well.

Texans on the clock. Ladies and gentlemen, David Carr!

Lewis is on fire. Great analysis (saying you need defense against division foe Indianapolis and Andrew Luck) in the opening minutes.

Lewis says you can't overdraft Manziel with the first pick just because you need a quarterback. If he was worthy of the first pick (like Luck two years ago) then he'd be the consensus first pick (like Luck two years ago). Still, Gruden isn't letting go of that bone.

Lewis: "You have to go defense here. Last year in the Super Bowl you saw one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time… but there was a defense that had the last say." He's carrying this thing so far.

The pick is in. "What??" It's Clowney. I can't hear his entrance music and doubt I would be able to identify it anyway. I wondered if they'd go with MTV-style credits. It's funny, I often have to watch Breaking Bad at a low volume so I don't wake up G. and the dialog mix is so low, I usually just switch on closed captioning (why can't filmmakers every get that mix right?). If a song plays over the soundtrack the caption will read (like it did last night) AMERICA'S "A HORSE WITH NO NAME" PLAYS. How many deaf people click over to iTunes upon reading that?

The cameraman isn't giving us a clear shot of Kolber. I'm guessing her HIV has gone full-blown. Clowney seems like a nice guy, what do I know.

I'm already sick of Gruden. I love how people still think he and Bill Cowher are viable coaching candidates.

Apparently the Rams just used the second pick on a guy they plan to play at guard. That's how they move up in last year's most competitive division?

Cut to the Blake Bortles draft party in Florida after the Jaguars picked him: haven't these leaping women heard of bras? I am outraged. Also, some woman is wearing a backpack in the crowded bar. Can security please have her killed?

Bills trade up! Welcome to fourth place, new guy.

They just showed the details of the Bills' trade with the Browns. The Bills got hosed—they moved up five spots in a "deep draft" that "isn't top-heavy" and they gave up their first-rounder next year, which will probably be in the top ten. Ralph Wilson cannot possibly have been the voice of reason in that organization. Seriously, new guy, you are fucked.

Sammy Watkins is the pick. He looks like the type of receiver who will give the Patriots fits and then sit on the sideline while Tom Brady leads another game-winning drive against Brandon Spikes.

The Raiders take Ray Lewis's guy Khalil Mack. Love those blue University of Buffalo uniforms.

The worst part of this broadcast every year is after the pick is in but before it's announced, and the goon squad has to fill time with conversation that can be cut off at any moment, so it usually consists of mumbled bullet points and long pauses. Even Lewis is struggling. As we wait for Goodell to stroll to the podium to announce the Falcons' pick Berman sees a fork in the road: to the left is anything coherent and to the right is "You know, the owner means business… you haven't seen that many Home Depots close, have you? So when he speaks, Arthur Blank, you listen!1" Berman bears right, Lewis chuckles nervously, Kiper shifts in his chair and Gruden stares at the paper in front of him with the frozen intensity of a Pigface album cover.

The Bucs take Mike Evans. I went to high school with that guy!

The Browns used a fifth-rounder to move from ninth to eighth. That tells me the Vikings weren't planning to take whoever the Browns want, which tells me the Browns should have stayed put. What do I know though, I'm drinking a baseball-themed beer out of a plastic cup to keep from spreading germs (I've been sick for a week).

They draft cornerback Justin Gilbert. The panel is stunned silent for a good six seconds.

There goes Anthony Barr.

Barry Sanders to announce the Lions' pick. He's also announcing a Madden commercial. Can someone lower the microphone for Barry? Anyway, the Lions take Eric Ebron, a tight end whom some linked to the Patriots. Kiper says he can't block and he lacks concentration, but can he shoot people to death?

The Titans draft Taylor Lewan, one of the two offensive tackles atop Kiper's "best available" list. He just gave the camera a perfectly insincere smile/thumbs up combination.

After eleven picks, Adam Schefter declares "the Johnny Manziel spiral has begun." He mustn't have seen the tire swing incident. Also, three players drafted so far were not in attendance. Do the math, backstage guys.

The Giants (shudder) draft wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. See you in the Super Bowl, Odell (shudder).

Yes, I'm jumping ahead. They're highlighting the 1974 Steelers' draft that produced Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, Mike Webster and me. My 2013/2014 playlist will be up within a couple of weeks. It's already compiled, I just have to write a few thousand more words. It's got three songs from 1974—quite a year!

Webcam Werder tells us the Cowboys might take Manziel, so everyone's trying to rationalize Jerry Jones using a thirteenth pick to draft a backup quarterback. Tony Romo is a bum, an aging and injured one, but it's clear he's the starter. Why bother?

They don't. There goes Kiper's other offensive tackle. Feel it! Manziel's girlfriend and her flowing locks wish they were home watching Grey's Anatomy.

The Ravens take linebacker CJ Mosley. "I'm Mosley!" Jets on the clock—I live for this.

The Jets take a safety and the Dolphins take an offensive tackle. Also known as second place and third place.

The Saints trade up to twenty. I'm running out of steam and so is the crowd. "With the twentieth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft… are you assholes still with me?" "What??"

After interviewing the Saints' pick, Kolber says "Happy Mother's Day to all the moms who help their sons get drafted in the first round." Or something to that effect.

The Packers select Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. I think he's finishing up that table's drink order.

Browns again! Traded with the Eagles. Gotta be Manziel, right? It's been two whole years since they drafted a quarterback in the first round, after all.

It's Manziel. His girlfriend's like "Don't worry, I recorded Grey's."

This guy's not even six feet tall?

"Wrangler Five Star Premium Denim jeans are built with a U-shaped construction. They don't cut into you like jeans with a V pattern. So go ahead, eat that last taco."

Derek Carr's niece is killing it in the Carr household. Choreography!

D'oh! The Cardinals take Bucannon. Gruden: "Well… he's a big hitter." That defense should make the NFC West even more interesting.

Pats on the clock!

This coverage would suck balls without Ray Lewis, talking now about how professional football created an opportunity for new Carolina receiver Kelvin Benjamin to escape some tough times. Hard not to appreciate Lewis's insight, given his history as someone who rolled over on two friends to get out of a murder charge. Seriously, though, he's been great tonight.

The pick is in! No trading out this year. Good thing I extended this recording until midnight. Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt is Kiper's fourth best and a lot of mocks had him slotted here.

Berman: "We're so used to them moving up or down out of this, I can't believe they're making a pick right where they belong!!1!1"

Jets fans: "Booooo!!!" It's defensive lineman Dominique Easley out of Florida, because we've had so much success drafting Gators. I'm not being fair because I know nothing about the player but what the fuck, Bill. Gruden starts with "If he gets healthy," which is exactly what you want to hear. "Big injuries," adds Kiper. "Two torn ACLs… durability is the reason I thought he'd be a second-/third-round pick at best." Lewis is trying to sell me on him but "he plays with a bunch of effort" isn't as comforting as the preferred "he plays with a bunch of talent." Another roll of the dice on a player with position flexibility, questionable production and durability concerns. See you in the playoffs.

Jesus, they just listed the Broncos' offseason additions on defense. DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward on top of Von Miller and Terrance Knighton. And Marquice Cole! I guess it's not that bad.

The champs trade out of the last pick of the night. Vikings again.

Teddy Bridgewater. Panel mentions that many people had him in the top five at one point but his offseason workouts were unimpressive. Offseason workouts hold that much weight over game film?

I wish they would reintroduce all the attendees who weren't drafted tonight. They can do the sad trumpet and everything.

Houston is on the clock! Should I start The Ten Commandments? Oh, Moses. Maybe next year. Round two coverage is starting soon anyway.