Wednesday, May 31, 2006

JIMMY SAFFRON, May 31, 2006

Heavy (Remix) – The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, from “X-tra Acme USA”

A tedious redo of an average track. I can’t recommend “X-tra Acme USA” more highly, though. It was all sidelined material from “Acme”, and on all fronts it blew that record away.

Lost & Found – Phoenix, from “It’s Never Been Like That”

The drums on this track, coupled with the singer’s voice, touch me in ways I won’t talk about at dinner parties. Unless it’s a party full of Europeans, where that kind of thing is encouraged.

Strung Out Again (Live) – Elliott Smith, Bootleg

This is from a recording of a concert at The Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, a show I attended. It was the second to last time I saw Elliott Smith before he killed himself, and it was an unqualified disaster. A good five minutes of incoherent mumbling precedes every song. Suffice to say, this song is quite heartbreaking to hear again. One of my favorites from that record, but hard to celebrate.

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart – Wilco, from “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”

I love Wilco, though to quote the man himself, I’ve got reservations. Tweedy strikes me a tad disingenuous in his romanticism, sometimes. A little calculated. Is he somehow acknowledging that with this song title? That he sets out to pain me?

Regardless, one of the great album openers. Some say Wilco’s “Stairway.” Every band has their “Stairway,” their epic. Which begs the question, which is Zeppelin’s “Stairway?”

Clearly, it’s “Kashmir.”

Hard Row – The Black Keys, from “Thickfreakness”

Great band, great track. A real humdinger. The Black Keys ought to patent this song, jar it, sell it on the street and call it “The Dick-Expander.”

Ball & Biscuit – The White Stripes, from “Elephant”

So, who has the easier job? Meg White, or the costumer on a porn shoot? Meg White, or an ice cream vendor in the Sahara?

Alright, you get it. Her job’s easy.

Windy Road – The Constantines, from “Tournament of Hearts”

This is the Constantines? It sounds like The Elected. Or something similarly wispy. The Constantines are supposed to be ferocious. Careful guys, this is the kind of thing that lands you a 6.5 out of10 from Pitchfork. Speaking of a 6.5/10 from Pitchfork, Matt LeMay’s review of the new Walkmen record is unconscionable.

Open Your Heart – Will Oldham, from “Joya”

Sweet song. Reid gave me this record. He may have even used those words when he gave it to me. Reid talks like a guru sometimes.

“Open your heart, Rob.”

“Cool, Reid. I will. Thanks for the CD.”

“Is it open yet?”

“Not yet, Reid. Gimme a second.”

“Don’t forget to let the snake in.”

“I won’t.”

“Good. Good.”

Far Away – Sleater-Kinney, from “One Beat”

This song is Corin Tucker’s remembrance of the morning of September 11th. It’s chilling, very real. A lot of people I know don’t like Sleater-Kinney. Is it because their music is earnest? If so, that’s too bad. This song is a powerhouse.

Sundown – Acetone, from “Cindy”

Nice. Big dirgy guitars, slinky drums, hushed vocals. Too bad about Acetone. These guys flirted with a great sound. They flirted, got in close, then when the moment came to kiss that sound, to slip it the tongue and possible feel up under its shirt, they got all nervous and twitchy, and the sound ended up accepting a ride home from Mark McAllister, that douchebag in the letterman’s jacket. Like I said, too bad.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

WEEK OF MAY 28, 2006

Let's see what you've got...

Dr. Milton von Fünkdoctorspock, Week of May 28, 2006

1. Ray Charles, “I’m Movin’ On”- The collection is called The Birth of Soul, and for the birth of something so beautiful, you better believe that pussy was slippery wet! If you can show me a bad soul song, I can show you a shoe in your ass. And one more thing: that shoe has my foot in it.

2. Earlimart, “We’re So Happy (We Left the Piano in the Truck)”- This is one of those indie bands I don’t love, but I don’t hate, so they linger on the ‘Pod and go months without a listen. It is a clever song title. Good, not great.

3. Les Misérables, “Confrontation”- Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold it right there, I know what you’re thinking: Dr. Milt must specialize in proctology, if you know what I mean, and I do, and frankly, I’m disgusted. The Doc likes culture. Nothing more, nothing less. Step. Bitchass.

4. The Fiery Furnaces, “Teach Me Sweetheart”- The grammar err that currently irks me the most is not using a comma to set apart the name of someone being addressed. In this case, if the title of the song is saying that the sweetheart in question should “teach me,” it should say, “Teach Me, Sweetheart.” With that out of the way let’s get down to business: I’ll be the first to admit that for every eighty minute album the FF put out every ten weeks or so, a good twenty to thirty minutes of that is unlistenable. But dammit if I don’t love the rest, and this gem’s part of that rest. A tremendous live show that is surprisingly rock heavy.

5. Blackalicious, “Back to the Essence”- Holy hell are these beats sexy. At least three different tunages courtesy of the deejay and all three could stand alone. You know the flow is triple hot. What’s not to like? A: nothing.

6. Bob Dylan, “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down”- I don’t listen to much Bob, but my favorite is no doubt this 1966 live disc from when he first brought the rock, which also brought some boos. Who knew such a geeky little folk hero could bring the rebellion with his words AND his music? Not me, but I like it. I like it a lot.

7. Eric B. & Rakim, “Eric B. is on the Cut”- You have to be an especially adept hip hopper for me to green light giving yourself a shout-out in the song title, and not only do I sanction the move with this cut, I kind of think these dudes should’ve given themselves shout-outs in the song titles for every track on Paid in Full. Yeah… it’s pretty good.

8. Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On?”- One of the few, few songs that’s been a mega huge hit for forty years yet managed to avoid the leap to kitsch. Yeah… pretty good. I don’t know what’s going on, but obviously I gots it going on, so if you ever need some, give a shout.

9. Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions, “Minstrel & Queen”- Okay, guys, who took my iPod and switched it with an African American’s? Was it you, Jimmy? Reid?

10. “Falcon Crest Theme Song”- Ohmygod, I do practice proctology!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Junk Jackson, May 28, 2006

1. The Strokes - Juicebox

This band sits at the foundation of the liveliest "how does success affect coolness?" discussions happening between 2001 and 2005. Definitely a cool band, but definitely overexposed, which isn't cool. Put in another pretentious way, this band is cool to listen to, but not so cool if you wear their T-shirt. If the Greek philosophers had lived in a time when "retro cool" was an option (I suppose Plato could have been retro cool by dressing like a caveman) they would have used this band in some cautionary tale. The Strokes' first two albums are great, but the third, from which this song comes, is a rock rolling back down a hill or a young lad flying too close to the sun or a dude getting his liver ripped out every day.

2. The Fall - Couldn't Get Ahead

Hmmm. Seeing that this song follows the Strokes, I'm forced to ask if it's better to be cool, but overexposed and rich because of it, or be like the Fall, who are infinitely cool but probably forced to clip coupons because they aren't overexposed enough. Of course, they definitely get their cred, but it'd probably be nice to enjoy that cred while sipping $10 cocktails poolside at your summer place in Costa Del Sol.

3. Betty Harris - Break in the Road

HOT! Old New Orleans soul from the late sixties. Good enough to transcend the completely snotty comments of numbers 1 and 2.

4. Baxter Dury - Bachelor

From 'Len Parrot's Memorial Lift,' one of my favorite albums. Don't let the word Parrot lead you to believe this has anything to do with Jimmy Buffet. Really, don't. I need to get the word out on this guy, like a missionary...I need to walk the Earth carrying a ghetto blaster playing this Jesus did. Also, Phillipians 2:23 states that Jesus wasn't a Jimmy Buffet fan, either. Actually, a little investigation shows me that this verse reads "Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me," but this current age of relativism allows me to interpret it as "Jimmy Buffet sucks." All good reasons to listen to Baxter Dury.

5. Wynonie Harris - I like my Baby's Puddin'

An old soul-y juke joint kind of guy. His lyrics are sooo thinly veiled. The song is all about his "baby's puddin'," and how that "puddin'" tastes, and how this person "churns butter" in order to make said "puddin'." And so on and so forth. I mean, even a second grader could figure out that he's not talking about food, and that he's referencing much more sophisticated issues.

6. Kid Koala - Stompin' at Le Savoi

This is one of those 12 second interludes between songs. It's kind of like a skit. I can't think of anything more played out than skits on hip hop albums. A revolution is in order. We need a hip-hop Martin Luther to get that "old man stink" out of the church and lay the skit fossil to rest. Martin Luther's first video could feature lots of scantily clad nuns dancing in front of a fish-eye lens. Some hip-hop staples will never die. Nor should they.

7. Malcolm Clarke - Bath Time

Ah yes, Malcolm Clarke. Who could forget this guy? Well, clearly everybody. Another one of those BBC Radiophonic workshop guys who pioneered electronic music in the sixties and ended up doing soundtracking for the Dr. Who series. See last week's entry about Delia Derbyshire. This song uses water drops to lay down a beat...much like the song 'Waterworld' featuring Encore from the first Handsome Boy Modeling School record. Know your history, people. It will always repeat itself.

8. Brian Eno - Driving Me Backwards

From 'Here Come the Warm Jets.' A lot of academics trace the best traits of Western political thought to the Magna Carta. I trace the best traits of supremely cool music of the late twentieth century to this album. Thomas Jefferson got a lot of ideas from this as well. Like the idea of a dumbwaiter just for wine (visit Monticello if you don't believe me), and liberal democracy.

9. Serge Gainsbourg - Docteur Jekyll Et Monsieur Hyde

Serge Gainsbourg was about 4 ft. tall but he bedded Brigitte Bardot. So, that story pretty much cements his ability as a pop icon, because he was obviously overcoming a lot of barriers.

10. Spacemen 3 - Ecstacy Symphony

Never heard this song before...I think another one of their songs made an earlier list. Both were boring. I need to so some spring cleaning on the old iPod.

Monday, May 22, 2006

WEEK OF MAY 21, 2006

Guests, post your lists here. Bring the pain. Bring the joy.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Junk Jackson, MAY 21, 2006

1. Hoover - 'Father'

This is a "gateway" band for me from college. If I heard this album for the first time today, I might not get into it, but that's only because I'd be impatient. File sharing massive amounts of music has made me this way...I'm less inclined to give bands deserving chances. I'm glad these bands aren't my children, because I'd have Protective Services taking away my seed and letting the county raise them.

2. Blackalicious - 'A to G'

Good song, though I'd definitely categorize it in that "nerd-hop" variety of rap where rappers who grew up in suburbs write songs that are the hip-hop equivalent of ancient greek philosophizzzers holding rhetorical battles with each other.

3. Jay-Z - 'I Just Wanna Love You'

From his Unplugged album, which is brilliant.

4. Postal Service - 'Clark Gable'

Shit. This band is like Indie Rock easy listening and it lacks any semblance of balls. While making this list, my iPod had the headphones plugged in, though not in my ears, but I could hear the musical buzz when the first three tracks played. When this track came up I couldn't hear anything...because they are nothing. Oblivious nothing. This is the musical equivalent of a Mazda Miata or a hybrid bicycle -- it's a half measure, a compromise.

5. The Futureheads - 'He Knows'

Yet another song that gained access to my iPod as part of a sampler downloaded so I can hear new stuff. This band's impact is the musical equivalent of a sparkler with about a quarter-inch of that burny stuff that actually makes it sparkle. I can't forget about them fast enough. Next band, please.

6. Delia Derbyshire - 'Blue Veils and Gold Sounds'

Well I'll....a fine, fine Lady just walked into the room. Delia helped found the BBC Radiophonic workshop in the Sixties that pioneered electronic music. They just started experimenting and then ended up doing soundtracking for the Dr. Who series. She's a tweedy, hyperEnglish matron complete with an outrageously fucked up grille. Funny thing is, the collection of Radiophonic Workshop hits I listen to has a Delia track that's pure could totally be ganked for a krunked out jam. Before there was Missy, before there was Foxy, Before there was Salt, Before there was Peppa, even before Xanadu, there Was Delia.

And she looked like this:

That's right, hold the door for the Lady.

7. Air - 'All I Need'

The members of this band lead impossible in, they have a musical laboratory/studio in the middle of Paris. They show up everyday around noon, play around, and sell tons of albums. It's sick.

8. John Lewis - 'The Stranger'

Jazz. Some say that jazz sits at the heart of our nation's most important musical contributions...This argument is a little harder to make once you hear the lyrics on an album like Kool Keith's 'Sex Style,' but I suppose that hip-hop owes a lot of its spirit to Jazz, so we won't quibble too much. This song really has nothing to do with any part of this particular argument, though. Anyway, it's a smooth piece.

9. Attila the Hun - 'The Commission's Report'

This is from a series of 1930's Calypso music I have. The entire series highlights political Calypso music. It's so nerdy you need a license to listen to it. A nerd license. Steve Buscemi's character from 'Ghost World' is the commissioner of the committee that issues these licenses. You can only listen to this while wearing a sweater vest and not having a girlfriend.

10. Handsome Boy Modeling School - 'First and Then'

This song features Dres from Black Sheep. The weird coincidence is that the first Black Sheep album is indispensable, but everything after that is sorely disappointing. The First HBMS album is practically seminal, but the second epitomizes the term "nonessential." This song is from the second album, but is actually pretty decent. It just proves that life isn't black and's all kinds of grey. All kinds of grey, indeed.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

THE WEEK OF MAY 14, 2006

Public Enemy, "Rebel Without a Pause"- This was my theme song from 1988-1991. That was back when I used to rough suckas up, and then after I finished my crew would shout, "Yo, Stayton, bring that beat back!" and I'd beat that sucka a little more.

The Soundtrack of Our Lives, "Into the Next Sun"- If this is the soundtrack to your life, chances are you're disgustingly lame. The first song on this album is an anthemic treat, and the rest is wussified pussrock. This song just made my list of things to do today.

Otis Redding, "New Year's Resolution"- My New Year's resolution was to listen to more Otis. Looks like I'm doing fine. There's a realistic chance that by the time this song's over some Stayton seed will be germinating in some lucky young vixen's womb, but I never kiss and tell….

Dinosaur Jr., "Can't We Move This"- Excuse me for a moment. I have an air guitar solo to perform.

Black Sheep, "To Whom It May Concern"- You know what's not concerning me right now? My hip hop cred. These cats be crazy underrated. Kind of like… a… black… sheep. I still gots the feva fo' the flava.

Billie Holiday, "Don't Explain"- I've got to be honest: I don't think I've ever listened to this song. That needs to change. This song makes me want to start smoking.

DJ Shadow, "The Number Song"- This spin is going best case for me thus far. I may not top this one for months.

Otis Redding, "Mr. Pitiful"- Awwwwwwwwww, hell no! New Year's resolutin', pimpin' and prostitutin'. This is my favorite Otis song, which means it's one of my favorite songs. Period. Or should I say exclamation point? Yes, I should. A ten.

Primus, "Kalamazoo"- Primus sucks!

The Fugees, "Ready or Not"- I don't think you're ready for destiny. Did you know this song samples Enya, and when Enya found out they pilfered her shizzle she was going to sue but then heard the album, liked it and didn't pursue legal action? Foreal. Enya's alright.

Monday, May 08, 2006

ROBERT LEVINE, May 8, 2006.

1. Yo Yeah - Black Star, from 'Black Star'

Aw yeah. Hip-hop cred firmly established. Black people are beautiful. That's what Black Star taught me.

Don't worry, the whiteness will arrive soon. In spades.

2. Vine Street - Harry Nilsson, from 'Nilsson Sings Newman'

This is from the 'Nilsson Sings Newman' record, in which Nilsson does Newman the honor, ten tracks over. If Nilsson were still alive, I bet he'd be scoring as many Pixar films as Newman, if not more. Scratch that, Nilsson would score 'em all. Newman's a lucky bastard.

Just last night I was describing the cover of this record as being like a painting of the 'Leave the gun, take the canolis' scene from 'The Godfather,' only with Nilsson in the front seat, and Newman in the back.

Am I wrong?

3. Chocolate - Shudder to Think, from 'Funeral At The Movies'

This is Dischord-era Shudder To Think. Listening to this record is like hearing a band playing in a basement three doors down from your house. Yes, that good.

4. Master and Everyone - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, from 'Master and Everyone'


5. Come Out and Play - The Offspring, from 'Smash'

Oh Jesus. That sound you just heard is me diving through a plate glass window to escape responsibility for this song being on my iPod. I could tell you how it happened, but it would sound so unbelievably lame and made up. Goddamnit. I have no one to blame but myself.

6. Speedbumps - Luna, from 'Rendezvous'

This is from Luna's last record, which I thought was a nice return to form before they called it quits. However, I would leave this song out when making that case.

7. Crazy Eights - Tapes n' Tapes, from 'The Loon'

Cue the editorial board at Pitchfork, as they scream over each other trying to name all the bands that this band borrows from.

8. I Won't Tell - Tracy Dey, from 'One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found'

This is from a box set that Rhino put out last year. It came packaged in a black and white striped hat box, and all the jewel cases were designed to look like compacts. This led to some awkwardness when I presented it as a gift to a male friend. If I'm not mistaken, he burned all the CD's and then re-gifted to a woman. That behavior speaks volumes. Gay volumes.

9. So Long, Marianne - Leonard Cohen, from 'Songs of Leonard Cohen'

I like to think this song is about the benevolent old gypsy whore that took Leonard Cohen's virginity when he was twelve.

10. If We¹re in Love - Roisin Murphy, from 'Ruby Blue'

I gonna make an appointment to have sex to this song very soon.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Junk Jackson, May 7, 2006.

1. Bernard Herrman - The Nightmare and Dawn, from the soundtrack of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Vertigo.'

Off to a good start...

2. The Rapture - Love is All, from Echoes.

I get approving nods from everyone who was a hipster during Fall 2003.

3. Bette Midler - Friends, from The Divine Miss M.

Just kidding. This isn't on my iPod, but if it were, I'd have to list it. I put it here to prove a point: Be honest with these honest as Bette Midler is with her wonderful craft. And just to reiterate, this isn't really on my iPod. My parents can rest easy that they might still get a grandchild out of me.

3 for real. Chrome - TV as Eyes, from Half Machine Lip Moves.

After a steel cage match between this song and the Bette Midler song, the Bette Midler song will piss blood for a week. Barry Manilow, who performed on her first album, will host a benefit for her.

4. Juana Molina - El Desconfiado, from Segundo.

From one of those pretty good albums you listen to three times and forget about.

5. Silver Jews - Inside the Golden Days of Missing You, from The Natural Bridge.

I adore this band and was secretly hoping one of their songs would get on this list so everyone could see it...kind of like those people who read Nietzsche on the subway not because they enjoy it, but because they want random people to see how smart they are. Watch those people and see how many times they actually turn the page.

6. Lansing-Dreiden - The Eternal Lie, from The Incomplete Triangle.

Watching this list emerge is like watching a young son grow up to get straight A's, become class president, become a company president, and then become President of the United States. I'm proud of you, son.

7. The Flamin' Groovies - 32-20, from Teenage Head.

Robert Crumb did an album cover for these guys. He wouldn't do one for The Rolling Stones, who I think once called this album "The Greatest Rolling Stones album not made by us." Something like that, anyway. So, life comes full circle.

8. Syd Barrett - Swan Lee, from Opel.

My little boy has just gone on to win his third Nobel Peace Prize. Balding Music nerds ripped from the pages of High Fidelity will teach me their secret handshake once I myself go bald.

9. Edan - Beauty, from Beauty and the Beat.

Steady rockin'! This list still makes me look pretty white, but this song at least makes me look like that special brand of cool white.

10. Deerhoof - Apple Bomb, from Apple O.

A respectable finish. This band is sort of like an arts n' crafts movement among the highwater pants crowd.