Let the Beat Build #21: August 2014
Spotify: Let the Beat Build #21: August 2014
Diversions: LTBB #21 Diversions
1. “Clampdown” - The Clash
JW: (LTBB #11) And just like that, we’ve completed 20 Playlists. Dog will hunt! Somewhere around the third one we realized we’d been keeping repos of potential and non-sequitur songs to would move the list flow forward. By #7 we had a fully collaborative alt-list going that got way longer and more wooly than the curated list. Each has their function (there’s advantages to both. Advantages! Advantages!). Occasionally there are songs on Diversions that I wish I’d put on the list instead. There are also great alternatives that just couldn’t fit in along with my first choice. Of all the songs not played in the last year and a half this is one of my favorites. I listened to it over and over again and put it on another playlist. This had never been one of the Clash songs that I knew first as a kid, but if I had a cover band, I’d play this because it’s a lot of fun to pound out. KW: “Clampdown” is my fucking jam.
2. “Stop!” - Erasure
KW: There are a bunch of times in our playlist madness when I realized that I had made a critical error in my choice--I mean, all of my choices are good, I even stand by that kind of horrible Tina Turner song I dropped back on #3. But there were times that stick out when I was like “yeah, that’s the one” and then the next day I was like “DOH!” (or “DERP!”, or “McGillicutty!”). Back in #19, Jane’s Addiction’s “Stop” was supposed to be followed by Erasure’s “Stop!” Something went wrong in my mind and it didn’t happen. I really meant to get it right. Fuck. At least I picked something good (Liz Phair, “Supernova”). I resolve to do better. Starting with the whitest club hit imaginable. Was this a club hit? Where’s the club? What club?
3. “Halcyon And On And On” - Orbital
JW: Damn! I just can’t bring myself to play Fatboy Slim. Ugh, I want to, but it just doesn’t hold up. Anyway, I won’t let that be a choice I regret (like Scissor Sisters). Halcyon And On And On was the first song the LTBB #8 Diversions playlist that really transported me back to my techno/club days. I was excited to see it on there, and hoped it would make it onto the official list. It didn’t make as much sense as the choices started materializing, but it does now. I feel like this is electronica that doesn’t try too hard.
4. “Breaking Glass” - David Bowie
KW: “Breaking Glass” was supposed to be on a bunch of these. It’s electronica, but not really, but it is. Everything is all distorted and strange, on purpose. Bowie shows up like approximately every 2.5 playlists. I think we’re overdue.
An aside: I wonder how many of my metal/eighties/country/drum and bass picks wouldn’t hold up. Ah music, with its time and place world. We all want to be within the cultural moment. “Mother” is on the Hangover 3 soundtrack. Don’t know how I feel about that. I remember how fucking strange that song sounded when it was new, there was nothing close to it.
“Breaking Glass” is one of my favorite songs. I love how its lyrics intimate a lot but say very little. It’s like the best Pavement or Dylan or Patti Smith or Morrissey.
5. “20th Century Boy” - T. Rex
JW: This song says less and MEANS IT! This song is about pulling on black jeans, with no underwear, and black boots. I’m kind of fascinated by the transition from disco to rock through glam. Even framing it as a linear spectrum feels wrong or incomplete. The Electric Warrior album is nearly perfect. Somehow this song is missing. Sort of like missing Born On The Bayou from CCR’s Chronicle, though that was a Greatest Hits album. This track wobbles as it holds up. The opening power chords are classic. The songs limited range gets tedious, but ultimately remains a jam. KW: Fucking T. Rex. I just got my first T. Rex t-shirt the other day, the Electric Warrior one--a purchase that was set in motion many years ago when I first heard “All the Young Dudes.”
6. “Vindictive” - The Slits
KW: Much was made of the inscrutability of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” back in the day. I have no idea what this song is about. Neither does this person. But, I mean, I get it. Fucking awesome is what it’s about. As James Murphy sang, “The Slllllllllits.”
7. “Lust For Life” - Iggy Pop
Here comes Johnny in a can with linger and dogs and a flesh machine
He’s gonna do another striptease
Cumin where’d you get that lotion
I’ve been hurky since I thought of you
My son called love. Yeah sunk all love.
Well bats like hypnotizing chickens
Well I’m just a modern guy. Of course I've had it in the ear before
Got lugs for lights
I'm worth a million in prizes. When dog to film, drive a gto
Win a uniform. I’m on a government lawn.
A little love for a line
Aluff foe alive
Got a lot for a lot
I get a loft for lice
Got a loaf for a lie
Vote Lutz for life
KW: BUTZ 4 LIF. (Sorry).
8. “Pigs” - Black Dice
KW: Purposeful inscrutability. Idiot genius. Restless quest for derangement in sound. Something like that. Black Dice almost made it onto LTBB#8, AKA the quest for electronic insanity. Here’s a Black Dice jam in all its pilled-out glory. I mean, I assume pills were involved. Right?
9. “Got Glint?” - The Chemical Brothers
JW: Pills to pay the bills.
10. “Fine Time” - New Order
KW: Technique is probably not their best album, but it’s probably the one I like the most. I’m not sure why. I think “good for aerobics” was written on the sleeve of the vinyl copy I got from my friend’s older sister. So many jams. I was ready for the Crystal Method and the Brothers because I had a solid grounding in New Order, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Info Society, Crowded House… all thanks to that girl in the leotard with the pastel spandex tights and too big wool socks, penny loafers, I don’t know, help me out here. Technique jams could have been on any/every LTBB. It’s blowing my mind right now. JW: You’re describing my cousin Gaby’s Bat Mitzvah perfectly. If West End Girls had previously been on a Diversions list, I would play it next.
11. “Windowlicker” - Aphex Twin
JW: Aphex Twin is one of those artists that I’ve never been able to dive deeply into, but the tracks I like, I like. This track, and it’s phenomenal video, rise quickly to the top for me. And like Orbital, one of those classic K.Ward selects that I was sad never made it into the official mix. KW: “Windowlicker” is one of the finest American folk songs of all time. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t have Richard James’ face and is therefore not to be trusted.
12. “Little Wonder” - David Bowie
KW: Supposedly Bowie wanted to get all the seven dwarfs names into a song for a long time. Here they are. Reeves Gabrels destroys it on this track, one of my favorite from Earthling. There was a minute where it looked like drum and bass was going to take over. Fifteen years later maybe it has. I’m listening to Bowie live recordings now trying to divine the future. I have my Calvin Harris voodoo doll and everything.
13. “Snapshot” - Roni Size
JW: I would like to hear/read some analysis on why drum and bass didn’t take over. I expect there’s some relativity to East Coast/West Coast rap being designed by and for cars/cruising (West) and blacktop battles and parties (East). Did the jungle fans all get jobs or babies? Did Kanye kill it? In a bad way? “Yo yo, Imma let you finish, but Daft Punk makes the best commodifiable beats this year?” Listening to this song is like listening to Slow Ride, in a very different reality.
14. “Hey Light” - Animal Collective
KW: Here Comes the Indian is not their best work, but this is one of my favorite AC jams. It falls easily into the “music from different reality” bucket. It’s like three different completely insane songs. Maybe I should put something from Hollinndagain instead, also, insane and lovely. Brian (Geologist) told me that Here Comes the Indian was a stressful point for the band, with everyone trying to figure out how to be adults and still make music. But they made it through. Sometimes my favorite of their work is when you can hear them going fucking wild with whatever instrument is at hand, shining through. “Hey Light” definitely has that. Sub in “Forest Gospel” to increase the damage points.
15. “ROYGBIV” - Boards of Canada
JW: I’m gonna slow it down here. I feel like when Animal Collective comes up, Boards of Canada also somehow comes up. This is from a different reality. It sounds like the Tron soundtrack, Arrested Development, Steve Winwood, and the hockey organ from Strange Brew. When I first heard this, I didn’t know where to put it. Not jungle, not ambient, maybe ambient, but not lounge. Not techno? The late 90’s was a weird great time for electronic music. The DJ Kicks’ were coming out. Hip hop was meandering in. DJ Spooky, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Tricky, Underworld. Then, somehow, Dubstep. Man, would I love to hear good Dubstep. But is that like saying I’d love to hear more Limp Bizkit like Break Stuff? I feel like I’m going to regret these last few sentences…
16. “Mama Told Me” - Big Boi
KW: One of the things I’ve been liking about new music is the merge of styles that’s happening, now that there isn’t really a shared cultural chronology of music anymore. Dance music is merging with hip hop and pop, it’s pretty great. Big Boi has been riding this better than most artists. This is a fucking jam.
17. “Milkshake” - Kelis
JW: My Milkshake brings all the boys to the Ward. This is dance music. Don’t believe me, YouTube it. This is pop music. It hits the tropes. It’s infectious, and ripe for parody. P.S. Did you know Kelis is a saucier?