Musings on music, old, new, popular and obscure. Post punk, metal, hip-hop, funk, and rock in general. A music fan with a desire to lose boundaries on what should and should not be listened to writes about experience in music from a listener's perspective, hopefully unhindered by prior expectation.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

And How I Can't Explain -- Six Songs

Someone I know posted this from an NPR article, and I thought, before I posted it elsewhere, perhaps it actually belongs here. So, without further ado--and a welcome request for mutual answers--here are the six songs that (theoretically) define me:
  • What was the first song you ever bought?
Even younger, I took things as albums. Less insistently, more "because that's how I see them as available" (well done, record companies!)
Now, as to what it was...I'd have to think pretty hard. The Downward Spiral was by far the most difficult to acquire for me. But it might not have been the actual first. Oddly, the first was probably Creepin' on ah Come Up by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, or maybe TLC's Crazysexycool, or maybe even Green Jellÿ's Cereal Killer. Lastly, it might have been Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio.
If you weren't aware of or sure you'd guessed my age, it's probably pretty clear now.
  • What song always gets you dancing?
Not that anyone ever sees it (though video exists, which will not be shared), it's probably "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates. Gimme a lovely funky keyboard riff any day to set me off.
  • What song takes you back to your childhood?
I've beaten the "time" out of almost every song I've ever known, unintentionally. If I listen to anything enough, the temporal association disappears. At a guess, the soundtrack to Transformers: the Movie, or Harry Nilsson's The Point, as I watched the movies (on the same dubbed VHS, no less) a million times over.
  • What is your perfect love song?
"Home" by Lou Barlow. I've even made a video for it, which you are not going to see.
  • What song would you want at your funeral?
"Dead, Drunk and Naked" by Drive-By Truckers. Let's leave this unexplained. Which is not to imply that my funeral would entail any more than the first, but you never know, I suppose.
  • Time for an encore. One last song that makes you, you.
For years, the answer to this has always been "Arched Maid Via RDJ" by the Aphex Twin. Let's go ahead and continue with that answer for the moment--though it's spectacularly enigmatic, of course, as it is purely instrumental electronic music, from an uncommon 7" EP entitled Hangable Auto Bulb.EP2.

I'm a Demon, I Walk the Road through the River of Fire - 70s Hard Rock Revival

There are a few entries here where I got around to typing a label for the entry, usually shorthand before I go out and figure out what lyric to assign to the actual entry, and then left, knowing I'd want to get back to it but not necessarily feeling it at the time. This particular subject is one that has been a source of great joy and periodic frustrations. I have difficulty impressing this "genre" on people, one which I have, in effect, invented of my own accord. I think my definition still holds in its way, but that's because I invented it, I suppose. I don't say invention with the air of some accomplishment, mind you, but as a means of referencing the fact that, in all likelihood, even people who share a love for these bands aren't likely to consider this an accurate, effective or sensible label or grouping.

That doesn't really concern me though, as the end result for me, as always, is music I really like. Now, I did actually sincerely attempt to sit down and write this one because of the fact that I do like this stuff so much. It didn't work out too well as I got caught up in trying to verify the application of the genre sense I had, and stumbled into an eye-rolling mess. I've also tried to expand this beyond the three (or so) bands I stick under this umbrella in my first-ever attempt to use Pandora--it was an area of music I wanted more of, but it resulted in my notoriously negative first impression of Pandora. I inserted these three bands and it spat back Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Rainbow--and all I could think was, "Well, it's nice to have confirmation that there are people out there who agree on the origin of the sound, at least!" followed by, "Gosh, Pandora, pretty sure I've heard of these bands."

And it is with that, I give you the trifecta of bands used to define what I call "70s Hard Rock Revival," albeit only in my own little world (and if any of those sentiments gives you pause, please bear with me just for this entry and give these bands and me a chance!):

The Hellacopters


The Parlor Mob

Friday, August 10, 2012

It's Time to Tie Your Loose Ends Up (Tie 'Em Up!) -- More Errata!

As I start work on something far more informative and useful, some updates are happening around this blog. I've updated the sourcing for entries on the right side of the page through the most recent post prior to this one (this one will be added shortly!). I'll be updating the "CDs Visible in the Banner" over on the right as well, now that I have a more focused and higher resolution image in place--even if that means they may indeed be easier to read now anyway.

While I am doing this, this post also serves to advance my immediate cause of referencing Tommy Stinson's short-lived post-Replacements project, Bash & Pop, whose album (not first, not second--just album) I picked up yesterday as I thought, "Why do I know this name, 'Bash & Pop'?" and was luckily able to look them up quickly and then bump the heel of my palm against my forehead. I don't know them well enough yet to write much at all, though I was tempted to write a "Post 'Mats" article, as I have a fondness for (and a much greater familiarity with) the works of Paul Westerberg. But I'm going to keep myself restrained regarding my "immediate impressions" sensibilities for a non-exceptional instance.

What I will mention, however, is the next stack of items added to my queue at the moment, just as a starting off point for anyone who happens by and wants to give some, any, or all a thumbs up. As with the last time I did this, here's an image of those releases:

Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Converge - The Poached Diaries
Alien - The Pleasure of Leisure
Baroness - Yellow & Green
Bash & Pop - Friday Night Is Killing Me
Blindside - A Thought Crushed My Mind
Botch - An Anthology of Dead Ends
Boysetsfire - Live for Today
Bronski Beat - Truthdare or Doubledare
Burning Airlines - Identikit
Burning Airlines - Mission: Control
The Byrds - The Preflyte Session
Cabaret Voltaire - Mix Up
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Tender Prey
Clinic - Walking With Thee
The Cult - Sonic Temple
An Emotional Fish - Junk Puppets
Brian Eno - Discreet Music
Bob Geldof - How to Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell Well
GoGoGo Airheart - GoGoGo Airheart
Harvey Milk - Special Wishes
Hot Cross - Cryonics
Jaguar Love - Jaguar Love EP
Jayhawks - Music from the North Country [Anthology]
Katatonia - The Great Cold Distance
Kno - Death Is Silent
Lit - Atomic
Mercury Rev - All Is Dream
Takako Minekawa - Roomic Cube
Mission of Burma - Unsound
Rabies Caste - Let the Soul Out and Cut the Vein
Radiohead - Amnesiac [Deluxe]
Radiohead - Kid A [Deluxe]
Radiohead - OK Computer [Deluxe]
Royal City - Little Heart's Ease
Ruhaeda - Ruhaeda
The Ruts - Something I Said - The Best of the Ruts
Slint - Spiderland
Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot [Deluxe]
Chris Spedding - Enemy Within
Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary
Supersuckers - Devil's Food
Tangerine Dream - Green Desert
Television - Adventure
Tones on Tail - Everything!
Torcher - Your Word Against Fire
Tom Waits - Blood Money
X-Dream - Radio

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Symphony of the Earth--One Fewer, and We Might Have the Question -- The Elephant Kashimashi

There are a dozen, or at least a half-dozen, ways to start writing about this. And it's really just two songs. Well. Two songs, two instrumental versions of those songs, and seven live recordings.

The opener that has always entertained me is that this band fell into my lap by chance. I was studying Japanese (which has turned out poorly) in college and was handed a random "Best Of" for Christmas about eight or nine years ago. It was a band no one, including me and the one who gave it to me, my father, had ever heard of in our area. No friends, searching for them online tended to turn up sites in Japanese, if anything. The cover wasn't an awful lot of help, and of course all notes were in Japanese. I was going out to visit friends, though, so I put it on in my car stereo as I drove out, having sampled it briefly at home. They were noisy, boisterous, and rougher than the sounds typically associated with Japanese music in the modern age, especially that theoretical entire genre of "j-pop," which tends to be bouncy and slick more than anything else.

Of course, that compilation started with an album track from 24 years ago, the rather noisy "Fighting Man," simply transliterated into katakana instead of actually translated. Of course, Japanese music of any popular variety is notorious in English-speaking countries for its broken-up nature and habit of using English awkwardly at best, and totally uncomfortably at worst, jammed into the middle of otherwise entirely Japanese lyrics, often seemingly for no good reason. While it does compose the chorus of that song, it makes no other appearances, beyond that refrain of "Baby, fightingu man!"

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