Let the Beat Build #11: October 2013
Spotify playlist: Let the Beat Build #11: October 2013
Diversions playlist: LTBB #11 Diversions
1. “I Found That Essence Rare” - Gang of Four. JW: Gang of Four is a good name. Is this going to be a Post Punk playlist? Is this going to be a political playlist? Is this going to be a John Peel alumni playlist? Who knows? “Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has stated that Gang of Four were the single most important influence on his band's early music” I saw Atoms for Peace the other night. That guy is bonkers. Check them out on Jon Stewart. KW: Anglophilia!
2. “Ice Age” - Joy Division. KW: Picture me, fifteen years old, jamming out to this on an actual Walkman while walking the ruins of an partially flooded abandoned fort on the Texas Gulf coast. Fort Travis and Joy Division. Spring break and the Ice Age.
3. “Spoilt Victorian Child” - The Fall. JW: Doesn’t Ice Age kinda sound like Rock Lobster? Picture me, 26 years old, walking through the streets of Chinatown, with the largest possible iPod, rockin my way home at 6 in the morning. The Fall and Eleanor Roosevelt Park. Pushing a dolly full of boxes and smoking with no hands. KW: Picture me at 26 (or so), driving a big ass moving truck through Chinatown, singing to my friend Adam a song I had just made up: “This is the part / Where I hit a little woman / Pushing a cart!” There was no CD player in the truck, but if there were, it might have been bumping The Fall, or...
4. “Rudie Can’t Fail” - The Clash. KW: My wife used to sing this as “Rudie, Scott Baio.” Which is totally correct. I’ve never been one of those true Clash believers, and I’ve fallen in and out of fascination with them over the years. But I’ve always loved London Calling. A couple years ago I decided the Clash is actually awesome, all the time. We’ll see if I change my mind. JW: I can’t stop listening to Clampdown
5. “Let’s Go” - The Cars. JW: I think I feel the same way about The Cars. I had this question on my S.A.T.’s - Spanish Bombs:Just What I Needed: :Should I Stay or Should I Go:____. I think I chose C. Magic.
6. “A Man Inside My Mouth” - The Cure. KW: So many great Cure songs to choose from, and they all flow so nicely from The Cars. Robert Smith in the early/mid eighties was artistically and musically fearless. I especially love his experimentation with his own voice, which was never freer than circa 1985.
7. “Sex Dwarf” - Soft Cell. JW: This write up is going to be easy. Once I heard A Man Inside My Mouth, I immediately thought of a song I wanted to hear. But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what it was called, or who sung it. At our house, we call that “Conniption Fit” because of the 10 days it took for me to guess the word my fair lady was thinking of was “Conniption Fit”. Anyway, I thought, in 2013, there’s GOT to be a site where I can just hum in what I remember and it will figure it out for me. Looks like Midomi is one that will do it. And, if you click that link, you can hear what a logged in user sounds like humming it. It’s cute. And if you’re looking for a man to put inside your mouth, you can take your pick of these.
8. “Feel Every Beat” - Electronic. KW: Soft Cell is maybe post-post punk, or post new wave, or newer wave. I should drop some Bauhaus here. But, back in high school, my friend Casey gave me his sister’s record collection, hundreds of new wave and 80s pop records. It was amazing. That’s how I got into Soft Cell. I was the only person into Soft Cell, in the entire world, at that time. I also happened to already be deep into New Order, and hidden in this collection was the 12” single for “Feel Every Beat” by Electronic. That’s Bernard Sumner from New Order and Johnny Marr from the Smiths. Yeah, it sounds a little late Madchester now, but I still dig it, especially that jangly guitar hook.
9. “Good Morning Beautiful” - The The. JW: Johnny Marr is good and does good things. He’s kind of under the radar, except he’s not really. This marks the beginning of young me drifting deeply in an adult way into music. Not sure how I came to this album. I probably heard the Sinead O’Connor track on the radio and bought it at Sound Warehouse in the mall. Sound Warehouse is what the iTunes Store was called before it was Blockbuster Music.
10. “Third Uncle” - Bauhaus. KW: Bauhaus was always near The Cure in the record store, plus people were always like “oh you’re into The Cure, you probably like Bauhaus too.” But I never heard them until college. I knew this girl from Vassar who told me about how there are these weird vampire clubs at Vassar where people sleep in coffins and, I imagine, listen to a lot of Bauhaus, and The The. Hey, whatever works. I just remembered this girl I hung out with briefly at the end of my freshman year in high school who liked The The. That’s a random memory. I don’t think I met anyone else who listened to The The until maybe 2005.
11. “Little Johnny Jewel - Parts 1 & 2” - Television. JW: I can’t believe this hasn’t happened yet, though we’ve come close. There are times when you drop tracks into the Diversions Playlist as a placeholder, and times when it just peripherally fits in the space around the playlist. So I’m taking this opportunity to pick the song that Karl has put in the Diversions Playlist while he was thinking of what ultimately became “Third Uncle”. This song and version is awesome, and right where my head’s at. And I’d hate for it not to make it on to the list, like “Halcyon and On and On”. KW: That’s because every one of my picks is fucking gold man! Gold! This is why the Diversions list needs to have a great visualizer/interface. Like how we both during LTBB#5 immediately zoomed in on LCD Soundsystem’s “Jump Into the Fire,” or the countless times I was like “I could drop that but I see Jon has already staked a claim to it in Diversions.”
12. “The Headmaster Ritual” - The Smiths. KW: Without Television, maybe there wouldn’t have been The Smiths. This--one of my favorite Smiths tracks--is basically a Television song in just about all ways. Maybe my impression of this song is too thoroughly covered in the Salinger fascination I had when I got into The Smiths, but it really feels like the setup for a Salinger short story, doesn’t it? Or the boys’ school equivalent of Penelope Farmer’s Charlotte Sometimes (and The Cure’s “Charlotte Sometimes”).
13. “Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy” - Devo. JW: I don’t even really know this song. But I went to Devo, and had a good feeling in my gut about it. Also, I feel like we’ve been floating into a John Hughesian eddy. Hughes, the Salinger of the 80’s.
14. “Academy Fight Song” - Mission of Burma. KW: Ah, we’re back in the States. Cheerio. Mission of Burma are too good to be from Boston, yet, there they are, in Boston, being totally awesome. Is Boston really part of the U.S. anyway?
15. “Everything Is New” - Frank Black. JW: Also too good to be from Boston. So great, he had to move west. In fact, he was the best thing to hit Massachusetts before they crossed the streams. I wonder if Warren Zevon has an off-color story about that.
16. “Holland, 1945” - Neutral Milk Hotel. KW: Frank Black! Certain songs instantly remind me of FB: “Stop Whispering,” “Young Pilgrims,” most Nirvana, and then there’s Jeff Mangum. “Holland, 1945” is so damn amazing. Dude’s from nowhere, though I happen to have driven through his hometown many, many times. Disappeared from the scene. Is totally back now.
17. “Johnny Appleseed” - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros. JW: This song was the theme song from “John From Cincinatti”. If you didn’t know, John… Was David Milch’s next big project after Deadwood. Deadwood was a deep and rich period piece HBO series that “disappeared from the scene” before it was truly finished. On Deadwood’s strength, I watch all six episodes of John… before it was cancelled. It had potential, but went in too many interesting and incomplete directions. Point is, this song and the opening sequence were really the best part about the show much like other HBO series’ (Carnivale, True Blood). And even for shows that were great on their own merit, the openers were shot, conceived and music supervised to a really high watermark. See: Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. Boardwalk’s intro by The Brian Jonestown Massacre nearly made it on this list. And I guess it’s totally back now.
18. “Fear is a Man’s Best Friend” - Billy Bragg. KW: This is great. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to get John Cale on this one. Before now, I never realized the similarities between Joe Strummer and Billy Bragg. I wonder how much influence passed between them. The best Bragg songs are like scenes from a movie, or better, a trailer.
19. “I Don’t Care About You” - Fear. JW: Lee Ving, though his past is mysterious(see: Spotify Bio of Fear), is an accomplished cameo artist. He is best known to me, as Mr. Body from the movie “Clue” and Missoula from the not really cult classic “Dudes”. “Dudes” starred Daniel Roebuck and Jon Cryer. This was Cryer after “Pretty In Pink” and before “Hiding Out”. All songs with memorable zeitgeisty soundtracks. Two, no three notable things about “Dudes”: Flea was the third punk friend and gets killed; Jane’s Addiction, Mountain Song plays awesomely/predictably when they’re coming down the mountain; the film was directed by Penelope Spheeris, who also directed Wayne’s World and The Decline of Western Civilization. All of which (and this is thin) borrow from the dank leather essence of Lee Ving. <Play Mountain Song>
20. “History Lesson Part 2” - Minutemen. KW: I immediately thought of the movie Roadside Prophets, which stars John Doe and Adam Horovitz, which is a rock movie I’ve never seen. Then I thought about all the mythmaking and posing and imitation that goes into music and acting and movies, and it brought me to Mike Watt’s monumental summary of his life and friendship with D. Boon--sung by D. Boon.
21. “Deep Kick” - Red Hot Chili Peppers. JW: I immediately thought of Flea again, “I remember, 10 years ago in Hollywood. We did some good. And we did some real bad stuff. But the Butthole Surfers said, ‘It’s better to regret something you did, than something you didn’t do.’” I saw Roadside Prophets. It was like Drugstore Cowboy, Rivers Edge, Crossroads (with Ralph Macchio), Midnight Cowboy, and Wild at Heart. What’s the moral of this story? Don’t do anything without consulting Crispin Glover. KW: It takes an incredible amount of self restraint to not put “Lonesome Bulldog” by the Butthole Surfers here. Every time I hear this song I laugh out loud.
22. “Special” - Shuggie Otis. KW: Here’s a guy who should have taken the Butthole Surfers’ advice--well, some of it. Shuggie dropped out of the music scene after making a goddamn masterpiece (Inspiration Information) and didn’t put out another record for almost forty years. Now he’s back, with this weird and awesome collection of unreleased stuff from those missing decades. California. I really have no idea what California is like.
23. “Step Into A World (Rapture’s Delight)” - KRS-One. JW: Shuggie is funk. Shuggie is disco. Shuggie is rock. “Special” sounds vaguely post-punk. That’s sort of how “Rapture” sounds, a dirty/clean hybrid of things that were happening. See: Fab 5 Freddy in the video. Well, KRS takes that, drops a beat into it, glazes it with a slight rude bwoy flavor, and twists it with a Soundview blacktop party battle.
24. “Dance” - ESG. KW: Bronx girl post punk dance, in your face. This is mad flavor.
25. “Mr. Your On Fire” - The Liars JW: Dancin’ so hot my pants are on fire. Unless…
26. “Emily” - Adam Green. KW: I like to dance. Also, I wanna love you maybe three days a week. And I want to be the pianist in this video. Everybody wants things.
27. “Bonin’ In The Boneyard” - Fishbone. JW: When I first heard this song, I thought “Bonin’” was a dance. I’m just kidding. But I was skankin’, and that is a dance.
28. “Rock and Roll” - Lou Reed. KW: There are like a million Sprawl songs that were going in this slot until I heard that Lou Reed is no longer with us. From looking back at past playlists, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of his work. What’s interesting is how many times I considered putting one of his songs on. I even considered putting “I Wanna Be Black” on the playlist we did for February. The song “Rock and Roll” basically sums up the sacred nature of the music we listen to, and dance to, and define ourselves by. Mike D once sang “I been through many times in which I thought I might lose it, the only thing that saved me has always been music.” Lou sang “she started dancing to that fine fine music, her life was saved by rock and roll. Yeah, rock and roll.” That was me as a kid, as a teenager, as a college student, as a wasted partier, as whoever I am now.
29. “Marigold” - Nirvana. JW: That was really nice. And real. I don’t want to hold the two up as existential analogues, but I’ll put Nirvana here for similar reasons. I picked up Lou Reed early with “Walk On The Wild Side” but didn’t spend much more time there until my 30’s. But everything you said about Reed is how I felt about Nirvana. I traveled paths with Nirvana. I attached Nirvana to brain-stills. I can describe in detail where I was when I found out Kurt Cobain had died, and what the rest of that night looked. But this is about me. That sentiment was about you and your connection. And I don’t want to interrupt that moment too much. So I’ve selected a song that is uncharacteristically subdued and mellifluous. Consider it me not playing “Perfect Day”. KW: The whole world was playing “Perfect Day” yesterday. The acoustic demo is incredible.
30. “Watching the Wheels” - John Lennon. KW: This is incredible.
31. “Maybe I’m Amazed” - Paul McCartney. JW: It’s amazing. “In fact, if you play maybe i'm amazed backwards, you'll hear a recipe for a really ripping lentil soup." I’ve been jamming out on the early McCartney solo stuff lately. I’ve never really given it its due. “Coming Up” is a song I’ve always liked, but lately I’ve been blown away by it. Something about it screams LCD Soundsystem to me. Maybe it’s just Paul’s expression on the cover for McCartney II.
32. “She’s a Mystery to Me” - Roy Orbison. KW: Two songs are always missing from Roy Orbison best-of compilations, both from Mystery Girl. “You Got It” was easily one of my father’s all-time favorite songs. But “She’s a Mystery to Me” was popular first, and just as I was beginning to stake out my own musical taste. Man I could talk about Orbison all day. Anyway, this a Bono/Edge composition, and a fantastic sewing of some of their familiar threads (their fascination with Sun Records, the Daniel Lanois-style production, the big rock ballad vocals, the Edge-style arpeggiation). Not bad for a couple post-punk Dubliners.
33. “I Hung My Head” - Johnny Cash. JW: The bridge here is not Orbison-Cash. And it’s not U2-Sting. I think it’s Lanois-Rubin. Rick Rubin was the impetus for the “American…” recordings and while that was genius enough, there is an auteurship through the production that is expressive and yet doesn’t deviate from Cash’s own character. This works slightly less well with Neil Diamond’s album “12”, because I think as cool a stoner as Diamond is, he can’t fully jive with the tropes and the cadence of what Rubin was conducting. Discuss amongst yourselves. Oh, and want a good cry? Watch this.
34. “Twist of Cain” - Danzig. KW: For years and years now I’ve wanted to hear an American Recordings style record from Danzig. Anyway, you can think of “Twist of Cain” as another murder ballad, a Danzig classic that could have been covered by Cash in his last years (but Cash opted for “Thirteen” instead). Man I could talk about Cash all day.
35. “Bad Fun” - The Cult. JW: I’ve always been a huge Cult fan. For my money, the album “Love” is stronger. But Danzig demands a certain type of, er, turgidity. I would buy a Danzig American VI - VI - VI album in a second. Maybe he could cover The Doors AND Blue Oyster Cult. He and Ian Astbury could do a duet. “Say You, Say Me”?