It’s one more random than 10!
Nothing gets your Friday started like finding out you have no hot water. Turns out that even though we turned on the electricity, we didn’t turn on the gas. We probably should have figured that out but we thought the power company did both. Anyway, the gas company came over today, grabbed the meter, and shut us down. TLB called them, and initially they said they wouldn’t be back here until the 30th. Holy frozen nutsack, Batman! TLB managed to wrangle them down to Tuesday. The water heater guy, who came over because we thought that was what had busted, laughed. “They can come over and shut you down the same day, but not turn you on.” Damn skippy.
Oh well, at least now I can get a Lake Superior experience without leaving my house.
1) “Finest Worksong,” REM. Document was one of the earliest CDs I ever had. When I had this in high school, my bedroom was in the front of the house, near our living room. One day my mother was napping on the couch, and I cued this song up and blasted it—it has a sudden opening with full thudding drums, bass, and guitar. I am lucky I didn’t kill her. Reaction: not amused. Now I always have the association that "Finest Worksong" almost got me locked up for mom-slaughter.
2) “Clover Over Dover,” Blur. You know what more rock songs need? Harpsichord. Hearing that instrument combined with Damon Albarn’s heavy English accent makes me think this was recorded in a drawer-ing room.
3) “Sweet Marie,” Crooked Fingers. There’s a real “Tide Is High” feel at the beginning of this Chipotle-flavored ditty. The vocals are so throaty I’m not sure they ever reached the singer’s mouth, and instead opened up his Adam's apple to escape.
4) “Limelight,” XTC. I raided my friend’s music collection over the summer, and I grabbed a lot of bands like XTC that I missed when I was younger because I was too busy listening to Dio. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Okay, there’s a lot wrong with that.
5) “Mongrel…” DJ Shadow. A fellow UC Davis alum—w00t! This is the first of a two-part song, with the other being “Meets His Maker.” So that’s kind of prog. Cool, reverberated guitars and keyboards with DJ Shadow’s traditionally thick drum beats.
6) “What Is and What Shall Never Be,” Led Zeppelin. I wish the what shall be part of the title had been applied to The Honeydrippers.
7) “Paranoid,” Black Sabbath. Here’s what always impresses me about this song: it’s hard for songs this old to still sound really heavy. But there’s a low growl to this that still feels menacing. And Ozzy sounds pretty paranoid, probably because he sold his soul for rock and roll. That’ll keep you up nights.
8) “Bad Boy Boogie (Live),” AC/DC. Here’s a similar situation: with today’s fuck-it-I’ll-just-let-them-bleep-this-shit-out recording styles, it’s also hard for rock’s early bad boys to still sound bad. Not so with Bon Scott. His vocals remain rough and tumble, but with a lot of charisma. This live version fucks up the song a bit with that other 70s staple, guitar wankery.
9) “Gloria (Live),” Van Morrison. A classic with the classic break-it-down-so-the-audience-can-clap bit. It's cut from the same cloth that “Louie Louie” is, but I always liked this song better.
10) “Knuckles,” The Hold Steady. Speaking of dated, this song has lyrical references to Right Said Fred, Sunny D, and Five-Alive (yes, the breakfast drink that tasted like five fruits mixed in antifreeze). But this song also brings it in the classic Hold Steady classic rock style, where the keyboards twill and the guitar chords windmill. With that kind of backdrop they could recite lyrics about Nu Shooz and Big League Chew for all I care.
11) “You Belong to Me,” Elvis Costello. Keyboards are like hands. No matter how much work you’ve done on the rest of your body, your hands tend to give your age away. As good as early Elvis Costello songs are, they keyboard sound will always be stuck in the 80s. But when the rest of a person is a knockout the way this track is, you can live with old hands.
Have a good weekend!