Saturday, June 30, 2018

“Hey, how do I know, Connie?”

This might be a June thing from now on. "June thirtieth" has a nice ring to it. June thirtieth, June thirtieth, noon girly plinth, poon whirling myth… let's keep this short. (Too late.) If someone had told me in August 2005 when I drafted my first post—which had no resemblance whatsoever to what is purported to be "my first post"—that I would still be writing on a more-or-less regular basis (during football season, at least) I would have said "Sorry, boss, I promise I've been working this whole time." Bullshitting about music, workplace tomatoes or literally anything else—as if I haven't deleted many of my older posts—was a way to pass the time in temp purgatory. Spreadsheets: no! Playlists inspired by Bill Simmons and Chuck Klosterman (shudder): yes! I like to think I've evolved from profundities about standing up and being counted to imaginary in-band arguments over song titles… is "evolved" the word? Yes, "evolved." Certainly. I never did watch No Direction Home though.

Let's commemorate this decade (actually thirteen years, Mr. Math) and a tenth (actually eleventh, or twenty-fifth if you include Nomar Day, Sooouuul Town, Led Wallet, 50 Cent/Mudhoney, itchy radio fingers, two takes on Pank Floyt ROIOs—sturm und drang—and seven years of Christmastime sets) assortment of mostly loud music. You see that "album cover" an inch or two down? The one without an overt "Volume 10" tag but rather a giant "X"? That is the first of two covers to grace this year's multi-thousand-word nonsense. Indeed, I've devised a second set of "dynamic hits!" to please fans of good taste, inverting Aerosmith's Big Ones model and appending ten old tracks to the standard overlong collection of new ones. Call it an in-progress career retrospective. Self-satisfaction is in.


1. Hawkwind – Urban Guerrilla
Each of this year's songs falls into two categories: it presented itself organically via a new album purchase, a random iPod shuffle appearance (I've since moved everything to my Pixel—now dubbed Sonik Truth III—and splurged on low-end Bluetooth headphones), Google Music, Sirius, etc.; or it's (in a way) related to some book/show/podcast I read/watched/heard. (Similarly, all of these blurbs are categorized in one of three ways: a personal anecdote, an analysis/piss-take regarding the lyrics or a context-free Wikipedia cut-and-paste job.) "Urban Guerrilla" is of the watched-show variety and relates to CNN's The Radical Story of Patty Hearst. The capsule blurb might as well have read "Hearst, alone in a van with every opportunity to escape, instead discharged the entire magazine of an automatic carbine into the overhead storefront… and was pardoned??" The NRA awaits a punchline.

2. Beatles – I Am the Walrus
A post-within-a-post revision of a revision, fulfilling what Jefferson Airplane never could even with six band members (absurd). And so again, what if the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP never existed? What would an alternate 1967 look like if the Beatles were limited to releasing singles?

1A. "Strawberry Fields Forever"
1B. "Lovely Rita"

2A. "Penny Lane"
2B. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"

3A. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"
3B. "She's Leaving Home"

4A. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends"
4B. "Good Morning Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"

5A. "A Day in the Life"
5B. "It's All Too Much"

6A. "Hello, Goodbye"
6B. "Within You Without You"

7A. "All You Need Is Love"
7B. "Baby, You're a Rich Man"

8A. "I Am the Walrus"
8B. "Blue Jay Way"

9A. "Magical Mystery Tour"
9B. "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)"


"Strawberry Fields Forever," recognized by thee internet as "the greatest Beatles song," declares on behalf of the band that "This will be our year and others need not apply." Redistributing the contents of the double A-side (deemed by George Martin "a dreadful [financial] mistake") results in "Lovely Rita," one of Paul's good ones, earning more attention as the year's first flip, thus establishing a realistic John/Paul rotation. I am confounded by the popularity of "Penny Lane" but it benefits—har! har!—from a new "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" B-side, deemed (in retrospect) a little too weird to be an A-side. Relegating "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" to the flip side was a plain error in judgment—pairing it with the strangely beautiful "She's Leaving Home" results in a melancholy platter soon remedied by the party atmosphere of the year's fourth single, in which "Sgt. Pepper" is properly reprised and John isn't given a chance to totally disregard Paul's "concept." It's closing segue must be faded but the sequence remains as "A Day in the Life" follows, backed by "It's All Too Much" ("instantly understanding what all the hype was about"), which firmly ranks as my fourth favorite Beatles song behind "Strawberry Fields Forever" and some coin toss over "I Am the Walrus" and "Tomorrow Never Knows." I begrudgingly revive the necessary "Hello, Goodbye," forever responding to its "You say yes" introduction with "I say no" and changing the station before Paul can answer himself, because the fickle mush-heads of the world would not accept its omission. George gets a second consecutive B-side, "Within You Without You," to save the day and laugh at Paul's silliness. "It should be noted that 'All You Need Is Love'/'Baby, You're a Rich Man' was an actual release," even if I still don't care much for the A-side. "I Am the Walrus"/"Blue Jay Way" is a beautiful bit of fiction, salvaging the only two excellent songs from the original Magical Mystery Tour EP, the quasi-throwaway title track of which concludes the year alongside the wonderful addition "You Know My Name" (sans 1969 overdubs and possibly in instrumental form?)—would Brian Jones have received the "with" courtesy afforded Billy Preston? Excluded from the tally and relegated to a later Yellow Submarine are "Fixing a Hole" (filler with a decent bass hook), "When I'm Sixty-Four" (pure Macca bullshit), "Getting Better" (more of the same), "Your Mother Should Know" (so should we all), "The Fool on the Hill" (namesake!), "Flying" (fun soundtrack fodder), "Only a Northern Song (an admittedly tough cut) and "All Together Now" (not so much). "That was great!" We now resume our regularly scheduled playlist, already in progress.

3. Nina Simone – Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
There was no room to address "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allen Poe" above so I'll pick it up with Nina's Dylan cover and "Don't put on any airs when you're down on Rue Morgue Avenue," as if "rue" isn't French for "avenue." Check out this shit: in the last year I've read sixty-three of Poe's "works," consisting of tales, essay, analyses, one novel (The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, finished yesterday), an incomplete novel (The Journal of Julius Rodman), an incomplete play (Politian) (!) and eleven more bits of miscellanea that he may not even have written. Maybe stick to Pym—skipping some of the observational asides—and the greatest hits after all.

4. The Showcase Showdown – I Love the FBI
Pierre knew the drummer so a few of us van-cruisers met at the Middle East Upstairs to witness the Showcase Showdown—a great name even if people don't watch The Price Is Right anymore—open for the New Bomb Turks in '93 or '94. The cute bass-player's "I! Love! The FBI!" highlighted the set and served as an in-joke among us for years. In other news, I myself have no idea what to make of the FBI these days.

5. Erkin Koray – Türkü
"Erkin Koray is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and one of the pioneers of Anatolian rock." ("Anatolian rock is a fusion of Turkish folk and rock music." (("Turkey is a transcontinental country in Eurasia." ((("Eurasia is a combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia."))))))

6. Jack Bruce – To Isengard
My amusing original idea for the Volume 10 cover was to be a mashup of The Lord of the Rings and Over the Top entitled "Lord! Off Thee Rigs!" Here is the proof of… concept?… in its infancy, with Elijah Wood's Frodo badly Photoshopped (not my strength) onto that little shit Michael's face. "Grandfather always said you were a loser, now you're trying to make me one and I hate you for it!" Instead I plucked a rueful couple of sentences from the Mercury Theatre's broadcast of The War of the Worlds and ran with it. "Tis better to regret the things you have done than to regret the things you haven't done." Note also the potential of the tacked-on "Fangorn" legend emblazoned across Sly's chest. Drag.

7. C Average – Dark Harbour/Green Mountain Airways/Illgagaard Forever
Not specifically tied to the Tolkien universe but it might as well be. I drank from this well before, back home years ago ("To Isengard" is a second serving from Jack Bruce's Songs for a Tailor as well), but like the feel of this non-medley over on-the-nose options "Orcs vs. Elves" and "Riddermark Rock." I enjoyed The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King but have to group them with Jaws and The Godfather in that the movies are significant improvements. The Hobbit though? You turned a three-hundred-page book into three movies—for shame, otherwise altruistic and benevolent Hollywood!

8. Fleetwood Mac – The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)
"[Peter] Green has explained that he wrote the song after experiencing a drug-induced dream, in which he was visited by a green dog which barked at him. He understood that the dog represented money. 'It scared me because I knew the dog had been dead a long time. It was a stray and I was looking after it. But I was dead and had to fight to get back into my body, which I eventually did. When I woke up, the room was really black and I found myself writing the song.' Supposedly, he was unable to record Robert Johnson's 'Hell Hound on My Trail' following the incident, having conflated Johnson's hellhound with the green dog-demon of his dream." Lindsey Buckingham has since left the band under similar hallucinated-green-dog-monster circumstances.

9. Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf
And the internet cried "More Sabbath!" I began taking guitar lessons in January and it's a hard road as I continue to struggle with "How can I put this finger here and this finger there and still have room to put this other finger here without touching that string there??" I'm looking at you, F chord! I've made progress and do enjoy myself, though, so that's something, progressing from America's "A Horse With No Name" (a beginner's dream) through to "Sweet Leaf," "Take It Easy," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," "Paranoid," "Free Fallin'," "Highway to Hell," "The Man Who Sold the World" and now "Come As You Are," plus the A minor pentatonic scale. To be continued, once I get these fingers to fing a little better.

10. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Time/Confusion
"Considered a classic of the late-1960s psychedelic scene and a significant influence on progressive rock, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown included a full album side of original songs focused on the horrors of hell, including Brown's signature song 'Fire.' Horn and string overdubs were employed on side one of the album. While [they] were done for tactical reasons, Brown's opinion is that the overdubs add to the album's overall presentation, replacing visuals and costume changes he would have employed in live performance to achieve dramatic effect." Ladies and gentlemen, 1968! The price of your entry is sin!

11. Shellac – Squirrel Song
G. has taken to writing and illustrating her own All About series. All About Trees, All About Birds, etc., generally devoting each page to a stage of the subject's lifecycle or segment of its physiology. Seed/sprout/leaf/branch and egg/"hatches"/chick/grown-up chick, right? Thorough and informative! Here's what you can expect with All About Squirrels—typos and cross-outs are the author's. Page 1: "Squirrels are kute cute. Squirrels are fussie and flufie of cors. But they do not cuddal in your lap. Page 2: "Squirrels are brown and have a bushie tail. They live in trees too." Page 3: "Squirrels eat penuts and other things too." Page 4: "Also by G." followed by thumbnails of existing or forthcoming books in the series:
All About Grass
All About Trees
All About Rocks
All About Sticks
All About Weeds
All About Dandelines [sic]
All About Bark
All About Branches
All About Moss
All About Flowers
All About Bugs
All About Birds
All About Leaves
All About Mulch
All About Dirt

"And there were thousands!" This production schedule is ambitious and I fear most will go the way of Remo Williams: The Adventure Continues, though these squirrels and chicks will live forever in Google Photos.

12. Ramblin' Jack Elliott – If I Were a Carpenter
Elliott's live version on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969 led me to this Tim Hardin cover from Young Brigham a year earlier. It's a great performance—"grind-ing!"—but the studio one wins out due to the added dynamics of the tabla and especially the organ (played by Spike Lee's dad!). If I were a carpenter, and you were a lady, would you marry me anyway? Would you have my baby? Would you?? She never says yes—she never says anything. Is pleasing a duplicitous lover so worth a pathetic abandonment of dignity and grace?

13. Dead Meadow – Here With the Hawk
Upon previewing "Here With the Hawk" and "Nobody Home" on the band's website I thought, regarding the former, "What is this shit?" Dead Meadow gone pop? Especially next to ball-muncher "Nobody Home"—the way that riff refuses to vacate the trippy coda!—I was perplexed and therefore adjusted my expectations for the then-forthcoming The Nothing They Need (especially since I don't like Warble Womb as much as I wish). And suddenly, as Sam the Snowman says, it hit! Total acceptance was achieved by the time I saw the band at the ex TT the Bear's in March, though PBR's constant presence at rock clubs remains a chicken-and-egg mystery to me. What happens to hipsters should it ever become unavailable? Would beards, non-functioning eyeglasses and foam trucker hats just disintegrate? Think of the chain wallets! Anyway, a hearty welcome back to featured drummer Stephen McCarty, however limited your time was. Dead Meadow is a better band with you in it.

14. Roberta Flack – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
I get it now.

15. Canned Heat – Evil Woman
It was an "Evil Woman" cage match between west-coast (by way of Massachusetts) heavyweights Canned Heat and east-coast (by way of the east coast) also-rans Yesterday's Children. A chorus of seventy-year-old WZLX enthusiasts bellowed "Who's Yesterday's Children? Play 'Going Up the Country' again!" and that sealed it. Fret not, though, for the "psychedelic proto-heavy metal sound" of Yesterday's Children will likely be represented next… June?

16. Mudhoney – You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)
The original A-side, which I prefer to Mudhoney's re-recording (that version's "I don't want it!" is the lone improvement). I guess they were out of Blue Cheer songs to steal and rename? The Sound and the Fury From Seattle is everything a book about your favorite band should be: it's insider-y but honest in its insider-ness. Matt Lukin, man, those were the days. I wouldn't have lasted either after years of Steve Turner's fickle bullshit. That fuzz, though, I'll overlook anything for that fuzz.

17. Six Finger Satellite – Sea of Tranquility (Part 1)
I'm truncating this at what I imagine to be the "Part 1"/"Part 2" division after seven minutes. It actually feels like a three-parter to me, starting with the short verse-chorus-verse section, then five-plus minutes of the repeated riff that will be played while my ashes are being launched into the sun and closing with four minutes of sparse (if slightly indulgent) Neu!-sampling atmosphere. What a great fucking album.

18. Cold Cold Hearts – State Trooper in the Left Lane, Nattles!
Get 'im, Nattles! Get 'im! He turned on the blues just to run that stop sign! Get 'im! He made my wife drive over the rough shoulder on a blind corner to get around unionized paving equipment! Get 'im! He's looking at his iPhone in the middle of Causeway Street because police details save lives! Get 'im! He shot a guy and went on paid administrative leave! Get 'im! Here's an Excedrin, just get 'im!

19. Shirley Collins & the Albion Country Band – Murder of Maria Marten
Throw another trope on the fire: along with the first song no more recent than 1974 (at least since Volume 2, which is when this started to matter) and ending with a sub-two-minute rocker that somehow leaves you wanting more (shorter term, since Volume 7) we can add the vaguely folkie female number. Tia Blake and Evie Sands, say hello to Shirley Collins! And make room for Bonnie Beecher next year because I'm working my way through all five seasons of The Twilight Zone. (Joan and Joni, you can keep each other company elsewhere. "Don't call us," you know how it is.)

20. Ramases – Life Child
Around the NFL's Marc Sessler and NFL.com writer Conor Orr hosted a short-lived, no-production-value Heat and Light podcast last year before Orr found work elsewhere. They discussed decidedly non-football topics like "Paul is dead" and mail fraud. It was a fun listen and some ways into its ten-episode run they touched on The Pyramid Code, a five-part "documentary" available on Netflix that blew their minds with cosmic and historic revelations. They promised multiple deep-dive episodes to sort out the wonder and I thought "Great! I'll watch it and then listen to their insights!" Netflix lets you download stuff for offline viewing so that's what I did, watching the whole goddamn production on a seven-inch Android screen over the course of a week's commutes. Um…

21. Pink Floyd – The Nile Song
You know it's a reliable series when someone writes a blog post entitled "The Pyramid Code: Debunking some of their claims" followed by thirty-nine bullets. The site's summary is equally wonderful: "The Pyramid Code is a five-episode documentary series about how the Egyptians really had high technology, knew about 2012 and actually lived tens of thousands of years before Egyptologists say they did. The whole thing is basically a platform for Carmen Boulter (who never forgets to put a PhD in front of her name so you know she's a super-serious authority on the subject, though for some reason we're never actually told what her PhD is in) and a bunch of other woo-woos [emphasis mine] to share their new-age hypotheses." I'd say it was a wasted several hours if I hadn't taken so much enjoyment in rolling my eyes and if I didn't then get to partake in a no-doubt hilarious back-and-forth between Sessler—of whom I am a big fan—and Orr, right? Right? What do you mean the next episode's about Sharon Tate? My tweet to @heatandlightpod (likely unmonitored but it's the principle) belays my sense of feeling cheated: "Episode 7 convinced me to watch the entirety of irrational shitstorm The Pyramid Code. H&L's promised 'part 2' was the lie that set MALAISE at the center of Earth's land mass." (Zero likes.) Episodes nine and ten passed without resolution regarding Ancient Egyptian helicopters and there would be no eleventh. "We will revisit this podcast next week. We're back and running, we're gonna be doing this every Friday barring, I guess, natural disaster." Lies.

22. Thee Oh Sees – Animated Violence
Hey, I warned of a "revolving door in the vicinity of Ty Segall and friends in the coming years." I probably should have moved this Orc standout (among an album of standouts) up with "To Isengard" and talked more about The Lord of the Rings. Consider it another false ending.

23. Ginger Baker's Air Force – Da Da Man (Live)
G. loves an endless Rainbow Magic series of books by the improbably named Daisy Meadows (more likely a collection of people with laptops), in which young girls Rachel and Kirsty constantly go on vacation and ditch their oblivious parents in order to befriend themed fairies, shrink down to fairy-size and thwart the mischief of Jack Frost and his army of goblins. Yeah. One book, Danni the Drum Fairy, introduced (to me, even) the concept of "muffle pads," which drummers use to cover their skins so they can play without making noise, as would be necessary for pre-recorded television appearances. G. was so taken with the phrase "muffle pads" that it became the only thing her new alpaca stuffie Penny could "say." "Muffle pads?" Almost a question, in the cutest, most musical voice in her young arsenal. It's basically the thing's name now. "Muffle pads?" Awww.

24. Thee Headcoatees – Is There Any Chance of You Coming Into My Life?
"Is There Any Chance of 'Come Into My Mouth' Coming Into My Life?" It will if you like punk-rock Christmas compilations! (This is about when I start writing a sentence or two per song.)

25. Mothers of Invention – Why Don't You Do Me Right
This non-album single was altered to read "Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?" as a bonus track on the Absolutely Free reissue for some reason. "Why don't you do me right? Why don't you do me right? Why don't you do me right, I want to booger you all night, why don't you do me right? Unless you correct my spelling, my grammar, punctuation, why don't you do me right?"

26. Ice-T – The Tower
In which anticipation of the film adaptation of The Dark Tower progresses from excitement over its release to skepticism that a ninety-five-minute runtime is pretty skimpy for a supposed epic to disappointment that it probably won't be very good to regret for having seen it at all to confidence that I missed nothing good during the twenty minutes toward the end when I fell asleep, with no intention of finding out for sure. I have never been so let down by a movie. Idris Elba was fine, Matthew McConaughey somehow wasn't and everyone—actors, writers, house-monster animators—reeked of "Are we doing more of these or what?" desperation. No. Don't. The Independent nailed it in an aggregated review as "incomprehensible to newbies and wildly unfaithful and simplistic to fans of King's books." Read the books instead, the first four of which are better than any movie they could make… although I wouldn't mind another do-over. (God, but my old posts are dull.)

27. Led Zeppelin – Sick Again
I finally got around to reading a three-year-old Mojo with a cover story about the fortieth anniversary of Physical Graffiti and Jimmy Page's money-grab reissue featuring "initial rough" this and "early version" that. Bullshit. Are we to pretend Page didn't create these "unheard mixes" the weekend before it was released? While we're at it, where are the original versions of "The Rover," "Houses of the Holy" and other previously unused material before they were gotten "up to scratch"? That's something I'd pay for. In the meantime, ripped MP3s from my old 1994 remaster will suffice.

28. Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta Fuck Wit
What took so long? "I (still) don't know what to tell you." Polly Jean on line one. ODB on line two.

29. The Fall – Weather Report 2
My text to a friend and fellow Fall fan upon hearing of Mark E. Smith's death on January 24: "Think of all the replacement musicians who will be out of work!" RIP, you prolific old crank.

30. Heron Oblivion – Your Hollows
That opening country-ish twang was tough to work with but the soaring chorus never relented. Maybe next year, Richard & the Young Lions.

31. Métal Urbain – Panik
Motherfucking Steve Albini was a guest on Nardwuar the Human Serviette's show and described the band the Mentally Ill (with whom I was unfamiliar outside of the show) as having a "brutal" guitar sound, "one of the ugliest sounds ever on record." Before the interview Nardwuar played some Mentally Ill songs and Métal Urbain's "Panik," maybe because it followed alphabetically but probably because it possesses a (somewhat less) brutal, up-front grind. (Should I run this one by my guitar instructor?) In other podcast news, a boring Lee Ranaldo joined Vish Khanna's Indie-Rock Muckraking Hour to promote his fast-forward-able new album, dish on Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore and be Trump-baited like Khanna does with every American guest in the last two years. I don't know why I still listen to this shit.

32. Second Hand – Somethin' You Got
"Death May Be Your Santa Claus" is the Christmas gift that keeps giving. Man, did I ever write about that knockout pool.

33. Metallica – The Call of Ktulu
HP Lovecraft spent much of his career avoiding details. I'll keep reading my ninety-nine-cent digital copy of his Complete Collection but every story so far contains at least one instance of something being "too horrible to describe." His ideas about race, though? Not too many blanks to fill in there.

34. Ty Segall – She
And here I thought Ty was following through with my genius Beatles model and releasing individual songs as soon as they were ready. "Alta," "My Lady's on Fire," "Meaning," "The Main Pretender," "Every 1's a Winner"… every 1 of us is indeed a winner! "A direction I thought artists might turn toward as the need for albums—in physical, digital or (x) form—gets pushed further behind us"—you're welcome! Instead, these six tracks proved to be the dreaded "lead singles" designed to trick people—people like me, who didn't wise up until three or four in—to pay for the same song(s) twice. Rats. Bitterness aside, Freedom's Goblin was a nice bounce-back after last year's underwhelming "Ty Segall IX." Even if you strip out the dupes (grumble, grumble) the album is a little long—"My Lady's on Fire" reminds me of an eighties sitcom theme I can't place and do we really need a third version of "Talkin'"?—but "She," "Every 1's a Winner" and "The Main Pretender" were all in the running here. I even like the suggestive rock-history song titles with "She," "Rain," "Cry Cry Cry," "The Last Waltz," "I'm Free" and probably others ("When Mommy (Can I Go Out and) Kill(s) You (Tonight?)"), deliberate or not. We'll see how Thee Oh Sees' Smote Reverser affects 2018 but don't stray too far, buddy.

35. Ornette Coleman – Rock the Clock
"Rock the Clock" earned a rare jazz-ish spot the moment I heard that wah-wah bass. Wah-wah bass!

36. Lou Barlow – Choke Chain
If the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner" is 128's theme song then "Choke Chain" has to be Route 1's north of the strip clubs. Its haunting tone was used effectively over the closing credits of Session 9, a flawed but genuinely scary thriller filmed at the old Danvers State Mental Hospital (I'll never look at an orbitoclast (!) the same way). In true stranger-than-fiction form, the interior has since been demolished and turned into… condos! Purchased, no doubt, by those who never saw the movie. You can't exit the Stop & Shop across Route 1 without gazing in horror upon its spires and bat wings. Frozen peas are not worth it.

37. Ane Brun – Lullaby for Grown-Ups
"Ane Brun is a Norwegian songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. It remains unclear how you ever heard of her or 'Lullaby for Grown-Ups.' Was it in a movie or something? I don't know! But it follows 'Choke Chain' nicely. Ms. Brun has lived in Stockholm, Sweden since 2001, where she writes, records and runs her own label when not on tour. This page was last edited on 27 December 2017, at 16:38 (UTC)."

38. Omega – Tízezer Lépés
One year it's Croatia, another it's Turkey ("Turkey is a charter member of the UN, an early member of NATO, the IMF and the World Bank and a founding member of the OECD, OSCE, BSEC, OIC and G-20."). "Tízezer Lépés" means "Ten thousand steps before you hit PUBLISH."

39. Pavement – Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era
This was "Trigger Cut" (minus "Wounded Kite…") until like five minutes ago. I finally got around to reading another three-year-old cover story, this time from a still-going Magnet, that reminisced over Slanted and Enchanted and so I felt I should include something. Yet I still can't find a place for L7—again—after seeing them—again—in April? Too bad. I think Jennifer Finch has a thing for me.

40. Norma Tanega – You're Dead
Stop reading. Stop! Go… you have Netflix, right? I'll wait. You might have to reboot the Roku. OK, you got it? Do a search for… I know, the keyboard thing is a pain. I'm here with you. OK: W–H–A– there it is! What We Do in the Shadows. Press pla– oh good, it started auto-playing. Don't worry, I won't spoil anything… man, these "popcorn" settings on microwaves are never long enough.

41. Dave Bartholomew – The Monkey
"The monkey speaks his mind." It's been a few years since my own monkey had her say with "Mickey's Monkey," "The Monkey Time"… um, "Simian Fever""Dude Incredible"? She's back with social justice on her mind: "Yes, man descended, the worthless bum. But brothers, from us he did not come." Yeahhh.

42. Mirrors – She Smiled Wild
Input [source=Discogs]: "Shared members with Electric Eels, XØX, Styrenes, Rocket From the Tombs, Pere Ubu, Saucers, etc." Output [format=Blogger]: "Volume 10, track forty-two." Remainder [host=GoogleMusic]: "Investigate XØX, Styrenes, Saucers, etc."

43. Bad Brains – Right Brigade
If one day you're listening to Rock for Light and you think to yourself "This is definitely my favorite Led Zeppelin album" then remember that the only commercially available version of it is an eight-years-after-the-fact resequenced remix of the original. Sure, Jimmy Page might be hip to this maneuver, might even force-feed it to people on bonus discs—plural—for a double-album reissue. But to not also allow the same people to pay for a series of state-of-the-art, hi-res, planned-obsolescence remasters of what they already own in original, deluxe and limited-super-deluxe editions? In multiple formats? Never! Then you'll remember "Right, this is actually the award-winning, short-listed Bad Brains album. I'm always mixing up my Biffy® recipients."

44. Jacques Dutronc – A la Queue les Yvelines
"A la Queue les Yvelines" ("Pin the tail on the Hardy") is taken from what I'll call Jacques Dutronc 5 in order to distinguish it from the six other Jacques Dutronc albums released from 1966 to 1975. Hubris, thy home is France. (Ty Segall's House Hunters International representative on line three.)

45. Uncle Bad Touch – Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby
"Hey guys, let me play you this song I just wrote. It's called 'Baby.' [Sings.] Baby! Baby! Baby! Baby!" "Wow man, that's great! But you say it four times. Let's call it 'Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby' instead." "That's a bit overdone for a title, don't you think?" "Overdone? We're called Uncle Bad Touch. You think my mom is proud of that? She tells everyone I sell extension cords out of our van, that I'm an extension-cord salesman. Do you know how that feels? 'Uncle Bad Touch,' gimme a break." "I'll give you overdone… how about your fucking drum fills! Keith Fucking Moon over here!" "Eat shit, you prick! You can't even hit the high notes!" "Hey guys. What's up with this 'popcorn' setting? Half the bag isn't even popped." "And you, asshole, you think the bass is a lead instrument? John Fucking Entwistle over here!"

46. MC Paul Barman – Leapfrog
"In 2012, LA Weekly placed [MC Paul Barman] at number fourteen on the 'Top Twenty Whitest Musicians of All Time' list." I'm guessing they didn't publish equivalent lists measuring blackness, homosexuality and rape-culture tolerance.

47. Electric Sandwich – China
Google translates the "Band" portion of their German website as "The krautrockige Bonn cult band of the 60s and 70s plays today with Leadvocal, two Leadgitarristen, bass and drums." Elsewhere, under "Story" (yes, the navigation is already in English): "The included cult piece 'China' with the hypnotic beat is still in the discotheques in Ibiza." Well, if Ibizans dig it…

48. Guv'ner – I Will Get You
I will get you! I will get you! I will get you! I will get you! I will get you! I will get you! I will get you! I will get you! I will get you! I will get you! I will get you! I will get you!

And lo, bonus material! Remember CDs? Tired bands long past career peaks often hedged their bets with Greatest Hits… So Far! overviews plus (in an attempt to make people pay for "Love in an Elevator" again) a couple of newly recorded songs doomed to provoke "No new stuff!" catcalls at dwindling arenas after too many original members kick the bucket. I've done that here—for free—but in reverse, so enjoy reminiscing! (Tip of the cap to K-Tel Records, "Where beloved stars go to die!")

49. Dead Meadow – The Whirlings
From "Volume 0": No song-by-song commentary but a pretty good This Is Spinal Tap joke. An instrumental version of "The Whirlings" plus otherwise unreleased takes of "Everything's Going On," "Let's Jump In" and the epic "Sleepy Silver Door," courtesy of the formerly essential Matador Records website, introduced me to the Dead Meadow in the first place, and although the original playlist was in a constant, long-term state of flux, all modifications honored the art-school/temp-job era. Artwork commentary: Not applicable, somehow.

50. Elephant's Memory – Mongoose
From Volume 1: I just wrote out some lyrics, as if the analytical buck doesn't stop here. "Mongoose" barely beats out "Blindspots" and "Blowin' Smoke" and remains unavailable from a legitimate source—mine is not a PR machine. Artwork commentary: Decent Illustrator live-tracing and a solid color palette, otherwise it looks to have taken five minutes.

51. Royal Trux – The United States vs. One 1974 Cadillac El Dorado Sedan
From Volume 2: Welcome to the New Common Era! Equal parts mass constipation and marble indexing, These Are the Problems I Create for Myself was the game-changing wake-up call the blogging community demanded. "My favorite Royal Trux song." Yup. And you can finally download everything from Amazon, just in time for me to be the last person who pays for downloads. Enjoy your rented Spotify playlists, losers. Artwork commentary: This took me hours but I remain pleased with the typography. Thanks, various Futura faces and weights! And that "2" placement? And that "2" placement! Pure gold.

52. Love – You Set the Scene
From Volume 3: We heard this in the car the other day during David Fricke's Hi, I'm David Fricke, and Yes I'll Do It program. I announced "I love this song" and wanted to be alone with it. Artwork commentary: Lined box, MacBook, American Typewriter, HP printer, scissors, black museum board, Canon PowerShot. I would change nothing.

53. Lou Reed – The Blue Mask
From Volume 4: "Every song comes at the world from a slightly different angle, and every one makes the others stronger." "What does Robert Christgau do in bed? Is he a toe-fucker?" Artwork commentary: More collage work! Helvetica's opponents are weirdos.

54. Mudhoney – The Only Son of the Widow From Nain
From Volume 5: Let's edit as do David Wallace-Wells detractors and delete every other word: "Soon Jesus to town Nain, by disciples a crowd. When arrived the of town, funeral was out. Young had, the son his, and was widow. A crowd the was her. When Lord her, heart filled pity her, He to, 'Not.' He over touched coffin, the stood. Jesus to dead, 'Man, say thee!' And who dead up began talk, Jesus him to mother. They were with and God. They, 'A prophet risen us' 'God visited people.' News Jesus out all country the territory." Artwork commentary: Remember that trend a few years ago when everyone was layering white text on top of photographs of their daughters' things? Man, say thee!

55. Sleater-Kinney – Let's Call It Love
From Volume 6: This song eats The Hot Rock for breakfast and claims the name for itself. It is the fuckin' rock-action truth. Artwork commentary: This could have been called Wizards Observe Slam Dunk had I noticed the second wizard at the bottom. He is sage and smug.

56. Shellac – Dude Incredible
From Volume 7: Jaime Brockett calls bullshit on this but a Biffy® is a Biffy®. Artwork commentary: Fine, but nowhere as good as Congratulations, It's a Yak! itself. Blue and purple are pretty.

57. Ty Segall – The Magazine
From Volume 8: Blossom Dearie joining Brockett in the corner, all "What the fuck!" Dare you challenge the wisdom and menace of the Lower Galactic Biffy Council? Artwork commentary: There's a lot going on here and I love it all. Several moving scans of starfield printouts, multiplied and overlayed and oversaturated to absurdity. From Out the Space to Yours and Wizard Observes Slam Dunk come closest to visualizing the music within and one of these or Beauty and Perfection Are Mine is my favorite overall.

58. Man… or Astro-Man? – Myopia
From Volume 9: a.k.a. "_____." Not an obvious choice—"So Nice" fit well for instigating a(n) (Thee) Oh Sees relationship—but I heard it a lot during the sequencing phase. Surely it should have ended Instead of Small-Minded Arrogant Fools—those swells followed by that smash cut—but I'm really onto… something?… with this short-closing-song thing. Consider the error corrected. Artwork commentary: Donald Trump and Mike Pence suck cocks in hell.


Four and a half hours later: excluding the redundancies, we've got one song from the fifties, eleven from the sixties (three from '68, five from '69), a whopping fourteen from the seventies (five from '71), three—three!—from the eighties, ten from the nineties, two from the aughts and seven from the teens (three from '18). God bless you, daughter. You deserve rock & roll.

More furious madness: Volume 1|Volume 2|Volume 3|Volume 4|Volume 5|Volume 6|Volume 7|Volume 8|Volume 9

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Beer and football VIII — playoffs, week five
Super Bowl LII

The game: Patriots vs. Eagles
The beer: Collective Arts Stranger Than Fiction Porter/Exhibit "A" Danko Double Dry-Hopped Rye Ale
The result: Fuuuuuuck
The commentary: There I was, chain-drinking a pair of bombers with the first setting up a presumed—upon winning—deep dive into socialized literature. Said plans, though, were scrapped early when our defense declared "No more!" So what better time to revisit a Super Bowl that would have left me feeling unclean had the Patriots won than a week before I present Matthew Dicks's Something Missing to the Ladies? Well, not too unclean. Brady threw for over five hundred yards. Christ.

I'm keeping this short because of the… unpleasantness… but also because I've got to start writing up a belated playlist. (I thought it impossible but—yes!—we are at forty-eight songs once more. It was such a struggle to compile that I've appended ten bonus tracks. Be there! Next week?) First up is a reaction to Katie Nolan's new-ish Sports? podcast, to which I immediately unsubscribed (we'll always have Lady Gaga) due to its over-reliance on the forced buddy-flick dynamics that marred her former Garbage Time show. She can carry an hour by herself and I wish she'd leave the "Oh, Katie" contributors gagged behind the glass. (Around the NFL's Dan Hanzus, meanwhile, mocks decency with "comic bits" that overwhelm unlistenable offseason episodes. I await another Marc Sessler spin-off—more on him and Ancient Egypt soon.) Katie and producer/Eagles fan "Ashley" attended and chronicled the game with a wheelbarrow of Coors Light only to make faces at the microphone, weep openly ("You have to at least… give me content") or sit in complete silence during large portions of the "conversation" that were edited into the show. I did like Katie's "I'm wearing a Patriots jersey, will somebody worry about me for a second??" during one of Ashley's apparent fugues but still, you see what I'm talking about? Not a compelling episode or format. And apparently this listener-voicemails-driving-content segment is a regular thing? Shut up, everyone else. Shut up forever.

Turning Point and Sound FX (watched after a three-month blackout/rehab) close the loop, more or less editing the same footage into different narratives. The former suggests a game much closer than I experienced—I was never comfortable, even after Gronk's go-ahead touchdown, thanks to eight years of Devin McCourty bouncing off tight ends. Sound FX was more honest, showing the Pats chasing throughout and the Eagles playing with an admirable "Fuck it!" swagger. All along they played to win whereas the good guys settled for field goals—and missed ones, at that—too often. There are only so many crunch-time odds a team can overcome in a lifetime and an end-of-regulation Hail Mary (plus a necessary two-point conversion) wouldn't have sat well (though well enough) compared to last year's total-team comeback against the conservative Falcons. I'd complain about Gronk being interfered with on that Hail Mary had Belichick, in all his wisdom as the second-most valuable member of the dynasty, played Thee Malcolm Butler at all on defense over perennial All-Pro defenders Eric Rowe, Johnson Bademosi and fucking—fucking!—Jordan Richards. Maybe Butler wasn't the shutdown corner we thought we had but he could tackle like a motherfucker and was capable of making one play. I'll still buy the man a beer and wonder what might have been: "This session was notable for a brawl between the teams, stemming from some extracurricular activity between local hero Malcolm Butler and talented-exception-that-proves-the-rule Alshon Jeffery. My dad couldn't get enough. G. just wanted more pretzels." Sure, pretzels are nice, but for Brady to set a new passing-yardage record and still be made to bail out another bad defense is ridiculous.

Bitter? Nah. So onward, alright? Summertime, frappes and pizza at the beach, Penobscot Bay, Circus Smirkus, training camp, Canobie Lake ParkVolume 10Volume 10(a)Trout Mask Replica… broken Roman-numeral links… "rising second-grader"… and likely, eventually, Super Bowl LIII. It's good to be a Pats fan.

Up next: "Big Ones featured twelve Volume 10 will feature ten hits from the band's three consecutive multi-platinum albums, Permanent Vacation (1987), Pump (1989) and Get a Grip (1993) blog's nine point five previous playlists as well as two forty-eight new songs, 'Blind Man' and 'Walk on Water' including 'Evil Woman' and 'Rock the Clock.'" Cheers!