It’s one more random than 10!
I leave tonight after work and depart for home on Monday morning. That seems like the perfect amount of time to spend there. My first trip, my brother Tickle and I went from Wednesday night to Monday morning so we could bet the two opening rounds of the NCAA basketball tourney. Way, way, way, way too goddamned long to be there, especially with Tickle, who doesn’t know the meaning of the word moderation. Last year’s trip was a day shorter but still managed to take at least two years off my life thanks to things like Red Bull and vodka at 3:30 in the morning.
This year, I’m in for a nice surgical strike. A little blackjack, a little poker, some craps if those first two things go well, and a restful day in the sportsbook on Sunday, soaking up the NFL and watching the Bears win (hopefully by more than 12 points). Plus I have meaningful Cubs baseball to wager on! Let’s see if the iPod sends me off on a high note.
1) “Do It Again (Live),” The Kinks. Day after day I get up and I say come on do it again. If that’s not my Vegas mantra, I don’t know what is. This is the live version from To the Bone that’s extra peppy. A nice way to kick off the weekend.
2) “Smells Live Teen Spirit (Live),” Nirvana. It’s on my cannot be overplayed list. I know that their popularity had a chummy backwash on the music industry, with any smelly teen from the Pacific Northwest getting a record deal from Geffen. But the music business has always stripped-mined trends until there’s nothing left, and I refuse to let that destroy one of the best songs of the last twenty years. I always get pumped when I hear the opening riff, waiting for Dave Grohl to abuse his drums like Jack Bauer interrogating a suspected terrorist during sweeps week.
3) “(What’s So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” Elvis Costello. Is there a better song for the post 9/11 world?
4) “Blizzard of '77,” Nada Surf. I was seven when this blizzard hit. I’ve never seen snow like that in my life (though that may change this year!). My dad and my uncle helped me build a snow compound in the backyard. Not a fort, a compound. I had a central igloo, braced with an old door as the roof, with trenches, walls, foxholes. The plows pushed snow into a mountain near the corner of our lot, and we played endless games of king of the mountain on it. That’s the kind of stuff I really miss from childhood, the irrepressible joy of just going out and playing in the snow.
5) “Olio,” The Rapture. I’ve written about how I let the chumpnozzles at Pitchfork talk me into buying this overrated album, but I do really like this lead off track from it. The layers of throwback synths, skittish hi-hat, and warbled vocals create a dark vibe that lives between paranoia and regret. If only the rest of the album had been as good.
6) “Wonderboy,” Tenacious D. I know Jack Black is overplayed, but this album is so in my wheelhouse. Hard rocking, smart assed, and full of references to sex, Satan, and more rocking. For God's sake, it has a song about Dio on it—I am powerless against something like that. No matter how annoying Black’s career gets, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this CD.
7) “The Song Remains the Same,” Led Zeppelin. My freshman year of college, I think my dorm mates and I played Houses of the Holy more than any other CD. I know we drank to this CD more than any other. Nothing got us ready for the weekend like popping beer caps as Jimmy Page kicked this song off with one of his most hyper riffs. Plus it’s really fun to try and sing like Robert Plant does here when you’re loaded to the gills.
8) “Refugee,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The first time I ever heard this song, it was on Chipmunk Punk. Here's how you can spot a good song: even when sung in annoying, sped-up voices, the song is still good. One of Petty's best.
9) “Avenues & Alleyways,” Rancid. The strategically placed oi oi oi really pushes this to 11.
10) “Obstacle 1,” Interpol. Oh how they let me down with their new album. Luckily, due to its advanced sensors, my iPod knows this, so it’s pulled this gem from their incredible debut. Their rhythm section packs a huge punch here.
11) “Tell Her About It,” Billy Joel. No, no, stop, we’re not having this before a guys trip to Sin City.
11) “Neat, Neat, Neat,” The Damned. That’s better. It’s not like I’m afraid to air my dirty iPod laundry, but I can’t end with drunken Hamptons doo-wop on a weekend like this. The Damned, however, are perfect for Vegas: a loud, brash blur of energy and attitude.
Wow, I need a cigarette after that. I am now properly pumped for the weekend. I hope you have a great one, and I’ll be posting again Tuesday if my fingers haven’t been broken.