J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem - alternate Friday mornings 10 AM - 12 PM EST at 90.9 FM!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Notes From Underground - #43
Randomocity


Time for another installment of Randomocity. It's like a whole extra radio show every week that we do this. I tired of doing this every third week, so we're up to once every five. Seems safe enough.

A reminder - Click on the 'Play It' link at the end of each commentary and you can listen along with me. Sort of.

Here are the rules: 1) can't spend any more time typing than the track is long; 2) have to type based on my own knowledge - no consulting the internets for confirmation, so if I put my foot in my mouth, so be it; 3) no skipping tracks - even if artists/albums repeat, no skipping.

Let's go.

#1 Bill Hicks - "Confession Time" : From Rant in E-Minor. My computer seems to love bringing up Bill Hicks, which is fine, but it does it a lot in random mode. This is Bill's bit about the show C*O*P*S and how it represents both the most base form of entertainment on television. It includes a bit of baiting of poor-white stereotypes, but it does include one of my favorite lines at the end. - Play It!

#2 Slim Dunlap - "Ain't Exactly Good" : It was hard for me to write much about that Bill Hicks bit because I hadn't heard it in awhile, but now Slim, I can talk about. This is from The Old New Me, which I think I reviewed awhile back here on the blog. Slim always gets kind of dismissed when it comes to members of the Replacements because of his taking the place of the sainted Bob Stinson. I always think it's silly when people talk about Replacements reunions - no one ever mentions Slim. He's still alive, you know, and a great, great guitarist. I'd love to see the 'Mats back out with Slim on lead. Maybe that's just me. Slim's solo records aren't revelatory in any way, but they're an awful lot of fun and there are a handful of songs on each one that are truly superb. - Play It!

#3 Guided by Voices - "Of Mites and Men" : From Earthquake Glue and, you know, I've always enjoyed GBV, but haven't spent a ton of time listening to them. I bought this album when it came out and there were good songs on it and this song is pretty catchy and nice - like a lot of Robert Pollard's best work - but I haven't listened to it enough to even recognize this song. Maybe I should become a GBV fanatic for awhile. Ah, when that guitar riff comes back up after the bridge - man, that's a nice moment. Hard hitting, short, a good rock song. - Play It!

#4 the Flaming Lips - "Bad Days" : This is from the Providing Needles for Your Balloons EP which was released after Transmissions from the Satellite Heart. This song would get re-recorded for Clouds Taste Metallic, but there's not much difference between this one and that one. I'm going to say right now, as I have before, that this is my favorite era Flaming Lips. Am I a bad person that, as much as the period in their career from The Soft Bulletin forward has been awesome for them a pretty remarkable one, that I just don't think it's as fun or as enjoyable as this era. This was where they finally got a hold of the incredible racket they'd been creating on their early records and harnessed it into a controlled derangement for the first time. So, for me, it's all about that mid-late 90s stretch of records. I'll include The Soft Bulletin as I see it as the link between the two eras, but yeah. I love this song - like great circus music from a weird, weird circus. - Play It!

#5 Outkast - "D-Boi (Interlude)" : Hmm, a sketch from Speakerboxxx. Boring. Skip it.

#6 the Replacements - "Skyway" : The new slate of Replacements re-issues (look for my reviews next week) will again raise the 'what's the best 'Mats album' arguments. If I'm feeling somewhat contrarian and, frankly, honest, I'll say Pleased to Meet Me and "Skyway" is one of the reasons why I think that. It's one of Westerberg's finest moments, hands down, and it's just so beautiful and hopeless and self-deprecating and infectious. This is what great music is all about. - Play It!

#7 Scott Walker - "Jolson and Jones" : Oh, here we go. This is the kind of random, bizarre stuff I love to pop up. This is from Scott Walker's latest album, The Drift. If you haven't heard this thing, hang onto yourselves. If you can imagine Walker's over-emotive crooning mixed with what, honestly, is close to industrial/noise atonal musical accompaniment. It's like Walker is hearing a melody that is just escaping the rest of us. It's a fascinating record just because of that. His singing, already a truly unique entity, is even more unsettling set above the sounds on this record. Look, there's a song on this album, "Jesse" I believe, that has to do with Elvis Presley's twin who died in the womb or something? Jeeze, the horns at just before the 3 minute mark on this song sound just like a man moaning. I really thought that was Walker for a second. I was going to be really impressed. I'm still just...forget all that Halloween music I usually play in October. I'm just going to play selections from The Drift each week leading up to Halloween and that ought to take care of it. "I'll punch a donkey in the streets of Galway." This is genius stuff. - Play It!

#8 Television - "Friction" : After all seven and a half minutes of that, I needed this. I will forever and ever be amazed by Television. This song especially - I had a late period understanding of this song. It comes in the bridge as the guitars and everything rush back for the final verse. The bass does a little jolly dance across the guitars and sends everything plummeting back into the verse. With Television the focus is always either on Tom Verlaine or Richard Lloyd, so it's incredibly easy to overlook their immaculate rhythm section - Fred Smith and Billy Ficca. Give the bass a listen in this song. It's as melodic as anything else. What a debut album. - Play It!

#9 Midnight Oil - "Arctic World" : During my interview with Patterson Hood, we went up the street from the Cat's Cradle to get dinner and when he sat down in my car, he had to move my copy of Diesel and Dust. He immediately commented on what a great album it was and we got to share a moment extolling the virtues of this album. Midnight Oil is a truly gifted band and there's a stretch of about four or five albums in the middle of their career that are pure amazing music. This is definitely one of them. This is one of the album's slower moments and one of Peter Garrett's best vocal performances. - Play It!

#10 Josh Rouse - "Under Cold Blue Stars" (live) : I don't know if this is a bootleg or from a radio EP that I have, but either way this is Josh Rouse back in the Under Cold Blue Stars era, which is probably still my favorite of his albums. Although just earlier today I was thinking of some music from his first album. His albums have grown increasingly..sort of meh for me. He still writes great music, it just doesn't quite pierce me the way it used to. There are so many songs on Under Cold Blue Stars that are affecting - probably "Women and Men" is the one that always nails me the most. His live bands are always excellent at turning his album material into a warm and living, breathing creation on stage as evidenced by this performance. - Play It!

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