Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday iPodomancy (Random Rules-style):

  1. The Magnetic Fields - "Dust Bowl" (The Charm of the Highway Strip). A short instrumental to kick things off featuring a guitar, a slightly out-of-tune piano, and a percussive click that I can't quite parse, similar to the one used on Paul Westerberg's "Black-Eyed Susan" on 14 Songs. It sounds like nervous fingers drumming lightly on a snare.
  2. Calexico - "El Picador" (Scraping). An early live version of the wonderful mariachi/indie track from Hot Rail. Another instrumental, too.
  3. The Band - "Unfaithful Servant" (The Band). This is a near-perfect slice of blue-eyed soul, up there with The Flying Burrito Brothers' version of "Do Right Woman". The song captures the mournful feel so well that when the horn come in, they sound like a New Orleans funeral march.
  4. Yo La Tengo - "Drug Test" (President Yo La Tengo/New Wave Hot Dogs). YLT's first masterpiece song. Best line (natch): "I'm not ready to face a thing today/I wish I was high."
  5. The Congos - "Noah Sugar Pan" (The Heart of the Congos). This is deep dub, so heavy and iconic that I have this same track on two other compilations under Lee "Scratch" Perry's name. Like the best dub, it's built around a solid reggae rhythm with reverbed & phased guitars fading in and out with looped bits of vocal parts and analog noise. Awesome. Makes the listener wish he or she was high. Virtually an instrumental.
  6. David Bowie - "He Was Alright (A Song for Marc Bolan)" (Early Bowie Vol. 2). This is a track from a mix CD round robin from late last year (I think). Good stuff. I forget what category it represents.
  7. The Black Swan Network - "I" (The Late Music). OK, now we're in the avant-psychedelia place. Keyboards drone, reverbed water bubbles from ear to ear, a piano plays repetitive low notes while picking out an almost-melody, found noises filter around the edges. This is the Olivia Tremor Control (The Black Swan Network's alter egos) on drugs.
  8. The Shangri-Las - "Footsteps On The Roof" (The Best of the Shangri-Las). A great slice of girl-group pop built around running away with your bad-boy boyfriend. I'm not sure what to make of the iPod's tendency today to jump back in forth between abstract music and compact pop songs.
  9. Olivia Tremor Control - "Medley: Sylvan Screen/Greentypewriters/Not Feeling Human" (Terrastock 4/27/97). OK, that's a great transition. This live OTC track combines elements of the last three offerings. Prominently features theremin noise.
  10. Richard and Linda Thompson - "Shoot Out The Lights" (Shoot Out The Lights). What a great song! Someone should write a book about this album!


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