Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What the shit was and what wasn’t the shit

There are forty-eight planets and moons in our solar system and one hundred ninety-five visible stars in the universe. And there it is. Longtime readers (!) tripped up by last year's abbreviated playlist, tallying "only" thirty-six songs at a brisk two and three-quarter hours—and down almost three thousand words from 2014—will surely find comfort in another forty-eight songs, another three and one-quarter hours, achieved again with no stopwatch. A familiar blanket on a broken-in couch watching, I don't know, Frasier. Eating chili. Drinking oatmeal stout.

But it's not all kittens and pancakes. This was a mistake. The songs are great—Biff! Bang! Pow! and all—but partway through the heaviness sets in a little too heavy. Maybe I'm projecting my own distaste for writing so many anecdotes/abstractions/Wikipedia copy-and-pastes. Let's hope I refer back to this next May so it doesn't happen again. So it doesn't happen to me again. Thirty-six songs are plenty. Thirty? Maybe UFO's "Star Storm," Acid Mothers Temple's "Loved and Confused" and call it a day.

Excited yet?

I'm underselling. In truth I've never let my reader down and I would know because I am that reader, pouring over old posts to clean up typos, inaccuracies and general bad taste. The other night, instead of starting season five of The Sopranos, I dicked around with HTML for a couple of hours before figuring out how to adjust the leading in the sidebar. These are the problems I create for myself. That "More cream please" list of my favorite posts, you think it's static? And let's not get into how many times I've made changes to an off-the-cuff, hastily arranged and barely considered 2010 stopgap that eventually inspired more cross-referential links than Stephen King's bibliography. I'm disappointed it took so long to write about last year's Super Bowl win (the actual game) and this year's playoff loss because the zeitgeist elapsed and the game details were forgotten. I'm mortified that I have yet to finalize my Trout Mask Replica post, first mentioned in 2010 and drafted in 2012. If not this Summer then 2018, when I'll pretend the plan all along was to commemorate twenty-five years of Octafish awareness. Little Nitty weeps.

Outliers aside, Volume 8 is an even-keeled, solid whole. I'm no Lenny Kaye but I do alright. Zeal and wordsmithing balance the mellow gloom of sparse arrangements and fallen heroes while old favorites return and a couple of guys stick around for curtain calls. Scanning and manipulating stock photography was also a good time, to the point where "the album cover" looks like a bad Flaming Lips bootleg.

Thank you. I feel much better.



1. Ya Ho Wa 13 – Ho
Let's start with Father Yod and his timpani, straight out of 2001, teasing an instrumental premise (reminiscent of Volume 6) that will be mildly accurate. I picture the man's followers as the Manson Family without the Manson-ness but let's confirm on Wikipedia: "Known for having a violent temper, Baker [James Edward Baker, a.k.a. Father Yod, a.k.a. YaHoWha] reportedly killed a neighbor over a dispute involving a dog." Who hasn't? Repeated chants of "Hoooooo" let us know where we're headed.

2. Embryo – People From Out the Space
Embryo earned its title-track distinction once the aforementioned, nineteen-minute "Star Storm" was discarded for, I don't know, space reasons. Har! Har! Embryo is a favorite of the various krautrock stations I listen to on Google Play (formerly Songza) since A. and I bit the bullet on a fifteen-dollar monthly, commercial-free "family plan." Streaming is the future but owning will always be necessary, as that kid taking a selfie over there will discover once DIIV or Alt-J or whatever bullshit names bands are calling themselves these days wise up to it. Embryo (now there's a name!) almost fell into one of last year's instrumental slots with "Kurdistan" and even had a second contender here in the Canned Heat-sampling "It's That Way"—the introduction, though, is too much even for me. Instead it's Opal's "People From Out the Space," likely a bad translation from some single thirty-letter German word that actually means "Think the Source Family would have us?"

3. Eternal Tapestry – Sand Into Rain
Eternal Tapestry's singer is humbled to introduce our first proper lyrics, fourteen minutes in, having just awoken after a night of Quaaludes, leftover turkey and whole milk. "She picks one of many otherzzzz." As do I! "Sand Into Rain" is a beautiful Velvet Underground-exploiting dirge that sets a foundation for the folk to come and represents every good thing the seventies eventually turned away from. It only took punk, disco, rap, industrial, grunge, Britpop, math rock, trance, nu metal, crossover country, contemporary R&B and Justin Bieber to bring it back.

4. Ty Segall – The Magazine
A. and I were supposed to have a Date Night on a Tuesday in March, getting dinner and drinks before passing through the former Combat Zone to take in Ty Segall in all his creepy-baby-mask glory. G. was psyched for a sleepover and, goddammit, we were psyched for some adult time. Unfortunately, said sleepover host came down with a fever and we had enough illness a couple of years ago with a fever and stomach bug that tore through all three of us. No thanks. Unfortunately, since I'm the bigger Segall fan (more to come below, even), A. gave me the green light to carry on and, accompanied by longtime friend Oskar, that is what I did. The show was all I expected and more as the band played, I think, Emotional Mugger in its entirety, followed by an encore of "greatest hits" like "Feel" and "Thank God for Sinners." There will be other concerts. There will be other dates. But there will not be another virus.

5. Blossom Dearie – That's Just the Way I Want to Be
Aquarium Drunkard has—with questionable rights management—gifted me dozens of deep tracks by artists I likely wouldn't have grown familiar with otherwise. Blossom Dearie is one of them. Looking past her 1970 LP's purple-and-orange sleeve (the butterfly's and my favorite colors, respectively), which already promotes it as wonderful (I collect daddy/daughter moments by the barrel), this is one of those songs I don't want to end. AD isn't perfect—deciding to fade out "Sister Ray" halfway through during their Sirius XMU radio show a few weeks ago was odd (just play "I Heard Her Call My Name" next time, guys)—but I'm forever grateful for a track that outshines all flaws. Her easy and gorgeous vocal, the swelling strings, horns and percussion… I want to live here.

6. Richard Twice – If I Knew You Were the One
"I'm gonna go get the papers, get the papers." Actually, it's two guys named Richard, so never mind. It must have been awkward when their friends Malcolm and Rusty asked to jam. And look, the Kingsmen's Don Galucci played keyboards on the album! Right around the time he was involved with Fun House. I guess "Richard Twice and Don, Malcolm, Rusty, Dave, Drake, Louis, Lawrence, Alex, Gary, Colin and Mark Once Each" wouldn't fit around their sideburns on the cover.

7. Thee Headcoats – Where Are the Children That Hitler Kissed?
This is a little out of context minus the photograph on the back of The Messerschmitt Pilot's Severed Hand but I won't show that here. I'm sure there are inter-net locations where the trading of Third Reich imagery is met with enthusiasm and, yeah, I don't seek that association. Instead, if you really need to see for yourself without shadowy federal agents swarming your house (though there's not much to it, just the man admiring a meadow full of Germany's future) then head over to Discogs. I'll sell you the disc for seven dollars. US!

8. Keith West – On a Saturday
Around Christmas I finally watched Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up after recording it on Turner Classic Movies like three years ago. It hasn't aged well since December, never mind since 1966: there's a dead guy and then there isn't, followed by mime tennis. Fin. And this happens: "A buzz in [Jeff] Beck's amplifier angers him so much he smashes his guitar on stage, then throws its neck into the crowd, the photographer makes a grab for it as a souvenir. The photographer grabs the neck and runs out of the club before anyone can snatch it from him. Then he has second thoughts about it, throws it on the pavement and walks away. A passer-by picks up the neck and throws it back down, not realizing it's from Jeff Beck's guitar." As cameos go? A+. As plot development? Erm… anyway, Keith West's In Crowd was originally cast in this crucial scene but got one-upped, and so their rocking "Blow-Up" didn't even make the soundtrack (scored by Herbie Hancock). Too much care-free optimism for this set. I planned to soften the fifty-year-old blow by including it here but the glove didn't fit as well as West's post-Tomorrow solo single (still featuring Tomorrow's Steve Howe) and so… yeah. What a shitty movie.

9. Solomon Burke – Home in Your Heart
Even the Ty Segall and Billy Childish rockers so far have been understated. ("Stick your jackboot in your own mouth"… understated?) Let's go to church! "Just to Find Me a Home in Your Heart" was a working title for the playlist but I can't see myself sticking to that level of romance. I would have to pay attention to lyrics. Instead, let's recognize these two minutes and six seconds as perfection and enjoy, for the simplest solution is usually the right one.

10. Easybeats – For My Woman
I'm glad it eventually worked out between these two, with Stevie suffering a series of five-day grinds, nagged from all sides, on his way to Friday nights ("toniiight!") in the city with his woman. She is outta sight. But man, he sounds close to the abyss here. Those little sobs!

11. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Straight Up and Down
I really wanted to go with "That Girl Suicide" here but I already pulled the "I watched (x) so I should include (y) but instead I choose (z)" with Keith West above. We watched the entirety of Boardwalk Empire so I should include "Straight Up and Down" (short version) and I do. A. turned to butter when the opening credits rolled for the pilot and I said "Brian Jonestown Massacre?" after a few notes. Walk on into the sea, Nucky. Five seasons was just right.

12. Deviants – Somewhere to Go
During our anniversary dinner a few weeks ago I got to talking about my upcoming playlist in spite of the fact that A. hasn't read my blog since I forced her to appreciate the "lunging assassin" and "Spotman" entries in another postponed come-to-Jesus moment. What do you want, I was four beers in. Discussing the Deviants and Hawkwind (who, all told, might be the band that best encapsulates everything I like about music… and is excluded now in seven out of eight tries) for some reason I commented on their "filthy sheen" and sent her into fits of laughter. See? She should read more often.

13. Pentagram – Be Forewarned
"I gone to bed with many ladies, killed many men, 'fore my sixteenth year was done!" Sweet youth. Again, who hasn't? (Not me.) It was my turn for schooling because Pentagram was A's discovery and I'm a better man for it. The singer sounded familiar and I eventually placed him in Bedemon ("Pity the misguided virgin…"), a concurrent side project sharing many of the same players. "Be Forewarned" is the version from First Daze Here Too, the second volume of mostly unreleased material following, yes, First Daze Here. The "proper" version of the song was released as a single under the group name Macabre—Macabre!—and A. doesn't care for either. That's OK. She can have "Lazylady."

14. White Fence – Trouble Is Trouble Never Seen
White Fence is my first foray into what Wikipedia classifies as "associated acts" of Ty Segall (Thee Oh Sees are next), though I have yet to pick up their Hair collaboration. And look! An associated act of main man Tim Presley is the Fall, for whose Reformation Post TLC he was a proper member. "Baaank bahlahnce!" Good for him. Anyway, this song reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld's 2002 discussion of known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns, often mocked for gibberish. The man was a monster but I know what he meant. Trouble is trouble never seen.

15. Motörhead – White Line Fever
1977 B-side (to a cover of Motown's "Leaving Here") taken from the compilation Punk Is Our Life. Lemmy's was the first of the recent passings to affect me, more in the "I'll miss his music" vein than the "I'll miss his existence" with David Bowie. (Prince and Glenn Frey didn't register much, though in honor of my old Purple Rain cassette I did wear a purple paisley tie after Prince died.) His September WTF interview was fascinating as it always is with the guy, riffing on sex and drugs, criticizing past collaborators and apologizing for nothing. Shit, I guess I do miss his existence.

16. Barbara Dane – When I Was a Young Girl
"Well, when I was a young girl, what did I see? A well shaped body with her back to me! Sittin' in her chair with an all-white gown she said 'Barbara Dane, won't you please lay down?'" Sorry, I'm running out of steam early. Barbara Dane's is too important a voice for this puerile shit and I offend even myself.

17. Tia Blake & Her Folk-Group – Hangman
Alternately told as "The Maid Freed From the Gallows" and "The Gallis Pole" since the late nineteenth century, the original "Gallows Pole" was somehow written by Jimmy Page in 1970. Right? Willie Dixon, Jake Holmes and Randy California concur. Tia's Folk-Group leaves us with—spoiler alert—a happy ending: "Yes, I have brought you hope." Lovely.

18. Link Wray – Tail Dragger
"Because of the change in style from his earlier work, the album was poorly received by Link Wray's fan base." So a musician isn't allowed to evolve beyond thirteen years of "Rumble" retreads? It's a great song and I'd be curious to hear what "Rumble '71" sounds like (epic length, dueling guitars, motorik) but Howlin' Wolf's "Tail Dragger" emerges with blues earth and swagger. "I get what I wah-wah-waaannnt!" Even if regular viewers of Pulp Fiction don't.

19. David Bowie – The Supermen
David Bowie's death took a lot out of me, unexpectedly. I remain a fan of his early period, finding much to love from the early variety of singles and collars (Davy/Davie/David/King Bees/Manish Boys/Lower Third) and both self-titled albums ('67 and '69) through Aladdin Sane. (After that, though, it really thins out. A handful of tracks from Pin Ups and Diamond Dogs are right up there but beyond that his music isn't for me. "Heroes" is nice enough but I don't get the whole Berlin/Eno period that people lose their shit over. I loved "Let's Dance"… when I was twelve. So keep Young Americans and everything that came after in a box somewhere, though I suppose I should give Blackstar a listen.) My high school friends and I would play "Suffragette City" on the jukebox at Pizza Hut every Friday and it was pure joy. In college I picked up The Best of David Bowie 1969–1974 (I stand by my 2006 opinions) for the hits and some standout deep cuts like "Starman" and "The Man Who Sold the World" and felt satisfied. A few years later I borrowed the Sound and Vision boxed set from a friend and rented Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture and remembered "Oh yeah!" Mick Ronson and the Spiders were fucking great. I was fully on board and still am. Drag.

20. Mudhoney – Judgment, Rage, Retribution and Thyme
Calling all charcoal-grilling enthusiasts! Do you fear self-immolation every time you strike a match after dousing your coals with what you hope is a safe amount of lighter fluid only to taste nothing but kerosene for three days? Conversely, are you swayed by "natural, eco-friendly" promises on a five-dollar bottle of bullshit at Home Depot that only succeeds in smoking out the neighborhood sans flame? Gather round and gaze at the wonder of inter-net sensation "You-Tube" and its greatest four minutes. This is fool-proof, though stick with olive oil because vegetable oil was a struggle. Another trick to help keep the bugs away is to throw some sage and rosemary right on the coals. Lastly, install this vulgar bottle opener somewhere within reach. You are now ready to be popular. (Illiterates alone would expect "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" here)

21. My Solid Ground – The Executioner
Tia Blake's executioner wasn't going home without blood on his hands, hanging thousands from gallows constructed with prog. You'd be exhausted too. Sorry, Procol Harum. If ever you were relevant, it ceased with My Solid Ground in 1971. Just in time for Tarkus. (Shudder.)

22. St. John Green – Canyon Women
"Cahhhn-yuhhhn. Wooo-mahn." Produced by Kim Fowley. Well duh! "He laid out to us what was essentially a plan to create and record a new style of music—'The Canyon Sound.' We were to be his muse as he wove this 'mystical tale about the dark shadows of the canyon and the mysterious canyon people who had left the world behind to become one with nature' and all that jazz." This "Canyon Sound" resembles incidental orgy jamming, a little-known subgenre all outside the Canyon would do well to explore!

23. Byrds – John Riley
I'm heavy on traditional folk songs this year (total: two). "In the last stanza, the suitor reveals that he is in fact John Riley, returned from the seas, and has been testing his beloved." What is the fascination with disguising oneself in order to test your lover's loyalty? At Christmastime we watched—for the first and last time—Rankin-Bass's 1967 adaptation of The Cricket on the Hearth and G. adored that unholy bug. How Roddy MacDowall's fortune would change a year later. A. and I couldn't get over the extended ruse that seemed to stretch for years and restrained ourselves from screaming at the television "Just tell her! She mourns you!" At least in "John Riley" it's a relatively short conversation, though it remains unclear why he insists on presenting multiple scenarios that might break her heart instead of, you know, embracing her. I prefer the "version" where I hear the woman's "I wish them health" (in response to her "true love's" theoretical marriage to another) as "I wish them hell" because the Byrds' harmony softens the last syllable in order to rhyme it with "dwell." Now there's a twist! Instead she enables his bullshit.

24. Small Faces – I Feel Much Better
The stereo album version from the American response to Small Faces Small Faces Small Faces (which never included this B-side), wonderfully renamed There Are but Four Small Faces. False ending alert! Thus ends side one. Now get up off your chair, stroll to your turntable and flip the bastard over because certain precious folks insist this antiquated practice is "part of the vinyl experience," just like the pops, scratches and skips that engineers absolutely place one by one for your listening pleasure. And when records plain wear out from overplaying? That is artistic achievement. (Twelve singles and LPs still available! Feel the hipster fad!)

25. Booker T. & the MG's – Cleveland Now
Cleveland now, Cleveland 2016 (future strongman Donald Trump incinerates thousands at July's GOP convention), Cleveland 2008 (kicked out of the Winking Lizard in June after an early last call and forced to watch the Celtics lose game five in our hotel before declaring "Fix!"), Cleveland 1974 (Rocket From the Tombs and the Electric Eels evoking World War II), Cleveland 2038 (Blue Cheer becomes the last San Francisco-based psychedelic band inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame). And: scene.

26. Benny Joy – Nowhere
"No-hh-where." Oh, the capital H that begins all "wh-" syllables for some people. Benny Joy, about whom I know nothing, was another featured artist on Aquarium Drunkard. "Nowhere" is the best of his three songs "made available" and offers maybe the saddest, most despondent vocal I've ever heard. And the guitar is right there with him—AD calls it "noirish" but it's more tragic than that, like the player has a few minutes to live. Peaks and valleys, folks. That's what (barely) sustains a forty-eight song playlist.

27. Weird War – I'll Never Forget What's-His-Name
The singer is barely recognizable as Ian Svenonius, which is why I can sequence this so closely to the upcoming Chain & the Gang selection. But Michelle Mae? No mistaking her. This is taken from the various-artist "concept album" Colonel Jeffrey Pumpernickel, who I assume is our anonymous subject. Poor dead bastard.

28. Pussy Galore – Understand Me
"Hey Bob! It's me, Caroline Records president Dick Johnson. I am putting you in charge of censoring 'Understand Me' from your new album Dial M for Motherfu– well, you know what it's called. I can't reason with Jon, always with the 'F-ing' this and 'F-er' that—there's no talking to him. You've got a cool head and a long, steady career ahead of you so I trust you to man the console, listen along and press the white button to beep out each curse word. Oh, sure, use your Saab dipstick. Censorship is a precise business and I know how tight you are with that thing. We'll need to wipe out those Goldfinger and 2 Live Crew samples too, there's no way we get the clearance. Thanks man! Another PMRC bullet dodged!"

29. Pretty Things – October 26
"October 26, 1775: King George III of Great Britain goes before Parliament to declare the American colonies in rebellion, and authorizes a military response to quell the American Revolution." And here I assumed this was about the Bolsheviks in 1917. Well, "about" is a strong word. I think it reinterprets the Intolerable Acts as a series of steps to restrict the trade of wah-wah pedals in Massachusetts Bay.

30. Versus – Mouth of Heaven
"Morning Glory" was always the stand-out track from 1998's Two Cents Plus Tax. (1998: sneaky excellent year in music.) WZBC loved it, probably WMBR too. I bought the album for it and made sure to arrive early enough when they opened the Blonde Redhead show at TT's. It's still a great song but very of its time—in the wake of Smashing Pumpkins with Death Cab for Cutie, June of 44 and At the Drive-In, etc. "Mouth of Heaven," though, is the real treat. Seventies patience, eighties shoegaze, nineties boy/girl… if the kids today actually knew how to rock it wouldn't be out of place on Alt Nation. I'd still include it here because we de-favorited that station years ago.

31. Chain & the Gang – Detroit Music (part 1)
Oh, Calvin. Now you know what it's like to be confused after we tolerated your intermittent croaks and tight high-water jeans smothering our favorite nineties indie-makers. We'll always have "Fudgy the Whale." Like the threat of a "No No Man" sandwich two years ago, the temptation was present to include parts one and two of "Detroit Music." Its concept is great but trivializes the real-world problems of Detroit's citizenry… have you ever sat through an entire Lions game? Mercy, mercy me!

32. Kool Keith – Dark Vader
"Watchin' DVD with my new baay-tuh." Try Blu-ray, doc. Don't you know it's 2009 in my house, where we've just "upgraded" the DVD player to a Blu-ray? Basically for the copy of Help! I won from In the Studio a couple of years ago and the release of The Force Unleashed, which I preordered on Amazon because I'm that guy. I gave its theatrical release some space, waiting until New Year's weekend to see it with a friend at a small Salem cinema since 3D is for suckers. (My other recent theater experiences were The Revenant by myself and Zootopia as a family, which kicked off a newfound love of bunnies that was reinforced when we saw one outside the mall on Sunday.) Say what you want about it rehashing Star Wars (which will always be Star Wars to me instead of the retconned A New Hope) but it was all I'd wished for and more after the calamity of the prequels. That last scene? That last scene! I look forward to watching it with A. and, one day, the entire series with G. Maybe even the bad ones. Eventually.

33. The Idle Race – Days of the Broken Arrows
"The Idle Race—the first album to be produced by [Jeff] Lynne—was eventually released in November 1969. When the two Lynne-penned, Lynne-produced singles that preceded it—'Days of the Broken Arrows' in April 1969 and 'Come With Me' in July 1969—also failed to chart, their composer's frustration mounted." This eventually led to Electric Light Orchestra and the death of rock. "Days of the Broken Arrows" is too, too good for so sorry a legacy—the last forty seconds, with all the guitar tracks on top of the chunk-a-ch-chunk-a-ch-chunk-a-ch-chunk riff? Fuck yeah. ("Come With Me"? Not so much.)

34. Hot Lunch – Gold Lyre
"It was my turn for schooling because [fill in the blank] was my wife's discovery and I'm a better man for it." Redux! A. gave me Hot Lunch for my birthday last year and the review (which I think is this one) accompanying the CD might as well have been written about me. References to the MC5, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Sir Lord Baltimore, the Groundhogs, Alice Cooper, the Who, the Doors, the Misfits? If Hot Lunch weren't so earnest in their endeavor compared to the cheeky crunch of Mudhoney or the technical mastery of Cream I'd call shenanigans and lawyer up.

35. 2 Star Tabernacle – Ramblin' Man
The "Ramblin' Man" single was released around the time of Andre Williams's bare-assed, Gories-supported Silky LP and you can hear the same urgency as in its "Everybody Knew." Jack White's contribution on this Hank Williams cover is unmistakable but the Black Godfather hogs the spotlight as usual. The fifteen-second bridge is far too short ("I gotta see! I gotta go! I gotta gooo!") and the coda is drenched in white-hot tragic mirth: "And when I'm gone… I'm gooone… and on my grave you stand? I say 'Good God almighty! Here I [blubbering], a ramblin'… ramblin'… ramblin'… maaaaahhhnnn.'" Someone get the guy a tissue!

36. Breakout – Do Kogo Idziesz
Who is Breakout? Who is Mira? What is "Do Kogo Idziesz"? Breakout is a prolific group formed in Poland during Thee Zenith Year. Mira is Mira Kubasińska, who may or may not have been a formal member of the band but fronted them on 1971's namesake Mira and others. "Do Kogo Idziesz" translates to "Your Daughter Is Three-Eighths Polish So Sit on Those Jokes."

37. PJ Harvey – Legs
Seven female singers/leaders is a strong showing for me, which is likely part of the larger problem. When originally compiling a list of those worthy of winning a Biffy® (though it was not yet called that—lo, the power of the edit button) I was half soused and more engaged in playoff football. The initiative to bust up several ties was absent and it was an embarrassing and cowardly display. Some time later I conceded that tough men are forced to make tough decisions. Handsome men, too. Tough, handsome decisions. As a result, even with all my post-publish tinkering, Rid of Me was dropped in favor of Enter the Wu-Tang (again and again!) and, today, one and one-third "lady bands" remain among the fifty-two in Sleater-Kinney and Yo La Tengo's Georgia Hubley. (Fela Kuti probably had a few dozen women in the room and Hawkwind had Stacia, alas they are ignored by the auditors.) Shameful behavior. At least Sleater-Kinney won the Super-Biffy® and it was not a token gesture, I assure you. But still, I have a daughter for crying out loud.

38. Mule – The Rope and the Cuckold
In which A's iPhone took the first two pictures and my Moto X took the third. My truer colors and I win this round, Jony Ive. Since moving north over a year ago I had to find a new dentist, realizing how impractical it was to drive to my old town no matter how much I liked the hygienist's gentle touch. This process was expedited in January when G. and I were horsing around at night before wham! I was flat on the bed and her whole body, leading with her teeth, came crashing down onto my own mouth. I felt the large chip floating around my mouth but ignored it for a second while checking her situation (decent laceration on her gums but otherwise OK). Since my at-the-time current dentist was not answering the phone the next morning (on a Friday!) I resorted to stepping up the local search and found a practice that could take me immediately. Sold! (Every day I'm aware of the composite making up a quarter of my upper-right tooth. It feels like wood. At least G. and I match now.) A month later I returned for a regular cleaning and astounded everyone in the room (earning a "Patient of the Day" gift basket) by identifying CW McCall (but not Mark E. Smith) as the singer of 1975's "Convoy" (but not 1982's "I'm Into CB"), playing on yonder waiting-room classic-rock station. In truth, I conflated either "FW McCall" (FW Webb is a local plumbing outfit that advertises the shit out of sporting events) or "PW McCall" (PW Long is the lead man in Mule and Reelfoot) but close enough. I wasn't giving back that orange toothbrush.

39. Blue Cheer – Doctor Please
Vincebus Eruptum's first representative, somehow, since before G. was born. It's not like I have the motherfucking "Latin" gibberish tattooed on my arm. Or the guitar solo from "Out of Focus" as my ringtone. "Give it… to me doctor!" GlaxoSmithKline is opening trials of LeighStephens-D later this month. Sign up at www.fuzzzzzwhirrrrrrrrchuuunnnnkkkkkalllriiighttt.com today!

40. Mr. Lif – Whizdom
Worlds collided when Mr. Lif appeared on an episode of the PFW in Progress podcast last month. I've been a fan of his for fifteen years and awarded his stunning I Phantom with the penultimate honor (last year's essential-reading ceremony is the ultimate). In return, recognizing that I haven't missed a PFW in Progress since seeking out all things Patriots during the "undefeated" season (and excepting a brief blackout period following the unpleasantness), Lif recorded a theme song for the show a couple of years ago—not as good as his and the Perceptionists' "The Razor" but that's a high bar ("Much thanks to Ricky Proehl!"). He's a fan too and was a good guest, spending a few tasteful minutes promoting his new Don't Look Down and offering decent football—and hip-hop—insight without ruining the show like "Nick Baby Love" with his sob-story this (come on, that one caller's cancer joke was funny) and his Twitter that. Enough. I'll borrow my man Jason Josephes's quote about Paul Stanley and his 1978 solo album: "I'd poop in his fish tank and flush the goldfish down the toilet. That's right, I'd give him the dreaded Shitfish." That about covers it.

41. Six Finger Satellite – Human Operator
The vinyl salvage continues with the return of the classic Six Finger Satellite lineup. "I have medals on my chest." As you should! It didn't come up last year as I didn't pick anything from my digitized and mostly liquidized record collection but that ripping process was a real pain in the ass. I do not miss my turntable at all.

42. Neighb'rhood Childr'n – Long Years in Space
Oh yeah, remember that space thing? I love it when a concept is seen through, like Sgt. Pepper with the Lonely Hearts Club Band, the meter maids and the… holes… in Blackburn… Lancashire? Anyway, the Neighb'rhood Childr'n album cover is about as far away from space, progress or basic responsibility as one can get. That street sign? That street sign! X-Acto knives and cowbells were fully stocked at Acta Records in 1968.

43. Monkees – PO Box 9847
"I've been writing advertising, that's not really meee." Hey, we all majored in journalism with a concentration in advertising. It's odd that the Monkees assumed more control with 1967's Headquarters and did OK commercially and artistically ("For Pete's Sake" ranks among career highlights) only to dial it back to Brill Building/Wrecking Crew output with the subsequent Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. and even further with The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees. "PO Box 9847" is a Boyce & Hart number and features only Mickey Dolenz's vocal and… I guess it still sounds like "the Monkees." What was my point again?

44. Jingo – Keep on Holding On (part 1)
Dope synthesizer but whither "part 2"? Maybe it's for the best—say, if Jingo realized there are things you can't just "go get," never mind hold onto, and the positive vibes eased away from the B-side. "If you need a thing, go out and get it. 'Less your car won't start. Keep-a holding on. Come on out, baby. I'm back for love! Oh, you have company. Keep on keeping on."

45. Fuzz – Say Hello
Very polite of Master Segall, greeting us a second time instead of playing it too cool for school. "I've been here all along, haven't you?" Challenge is picking your favorite song from Fuzz II, or Emotional Mugger at that. This was a candidate to kick things off until I remembered I'm incapable of a lead track released after 1974 (Volume 1, pre-2009 rechristening, doesn't count). We wouldn't want Father Yod to kill again.

46. Pugh Rogefeldt – Surabaya Johnny
"Remember the whole cabaret rock thing in the mid nineties? Me neither." Combustible Edison covered and introduced me to this Kurt Weill ballad from the musical Happy End. It felt silky and ironic. But here? Dig the tension of those breaks! His guitar sounds terrified. Rogefeldt made waves elsewhere by allowing (?) his "Love, Love, Love" (also from Ja, Dä ä Dä!) to be chopped up by DJ Shadow on "Mutual Slump." Lots of mid-nineties, college-era talk over a forty-eight-year-old album.

47. Rolling Stones – Jigsaw Puzzle
A. has a new job where she gets to work from home every day—I couldn't do it, man—which means my solo commute has solidified to a fifty-minute train ride each way. As a result, when not producing internal nicknames for my fellow regular riders ("Cold Blooded" is the young woman who stops at nothing to board ahead of everyone else, inspiring me to coin the verb "to coldblood"; "Outback" fancies, no matter the weather, a brimmed Crocodile Dundee hat; "Ben Gardner" bores his companion with boating supply catalogs), I read like I haven't since before G. was born. Twenty Thirty, The Gone-Away World, Bird Box, Little Man, etc. Keith Richards's Life was one of them and is the best biography or autobiography I've ever read. It's technical in parts and covers large chunks of his post-Exile on Main Street career that isn't very good but the man can tell a story. That's what I like best here, his written voice—even cleaned up by a professional—is clearly his voice. I was engrossed as if he were sitting next to me, shooting the shit. The opposite, you ask? An odd project called Beatleness by "sociologist, first-generation Beatles fan and Beatles scholar" Candy Leonard. It's a dry, chronological, redundant account of American Beatle fandom with quotes from what must be dozens of former teenagers, attributed anonymously as "Male (b '51)" or "Female (b '47)." The insight ranges from "I liked their long hair" to "Yoko was weird." I'm unable to discard a book without finishing—it's a weakness—but it was difficult to remain motivated with this one. "Read forty-five pages today and I'll close it forever in three train rides. Do it!" The one thing—one sentence—that surprised me was a throwaway scene-setter regarding the Billboard charts when "Lady Madonna" was released in 1968: "Gary Puckett & the Union Gap's 'Young Girl,' one of their six interchangeable top-twenty hits about deflowering virgins, was number two." I laughed out loud and then continued reading as fast as I could.

48. Bikini Kill – New Radio
I remember getting a new single-speaker radio/cassette-player when I was a kid, sitting in my room, recording my own "commercials" for Splinter of the Mind's Eye and listening over and over to John Cougar Mellenc– "Let's wipe our come on my parents' bed!" My ears, my innocent ears! Sadly, my favorite Julie doesn't seem to be doing well. I was home sick a couple of days back in January and went apeshit on Netflix, alternating between intriguing crap like Escape From Tomorrow (intriguing) and The Colony (crap) and movies I was actually excited about like Blow-Up (crap!) and The Punk Singer. The latter was excellent and I look forward to someday watching it with my fiercely independent and principled daughter. I knew nothing about Kathleen Hanna's battle with Lyme disease and never really thought about that long gap between Le Tigre's breakup and the Julie Ruin's rebirth, figuring Kathleen had either achieved what she wanted or grew bored with or exhausted by the process. If it were so simple. After a relatively happy ending, Wikipedia knocked the wind out of me: "In May 2014, it was announced that Hanna's Lyme disease condition had deteriorated, forcing her to enter a three-month course of treatment and cancel live performances with her band." Drag. Look past my starstruck flirtations (1, 2, 3) as I dedicate Volume 8 to Kathleen.


In which we multiply by four and divide by three: sixteen songs from the sixties (nine from '68 as order is restored), thirteen from the seventies (five from '70, thus fulfilling the prophecy), one from the eighties, nine from the nineties, two from the aughts and seven from the teens. God bless you, daughter. Please stop peeing on me with your towel penis.

More furious madness: Volume 1|Volume 2|Volume 3|Volume 4|Volume 5|Volume 6|Volume 7

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