Saturday, February 16, 2008

Top Forty

I know all of you are just listless with ennui (this is one of my very favorite words) because this is February, and so I thought a tiny diversion was in order. La Fabulous, as usual, pointed me in the right direction for this one. There is a disclaimer, though: a lot, if not most, of my music has never made the transition from the medium of CD, so this is heavy on the things that I have only come across since the purchase of my new computer, or things that I added for a very specific purpose - usually the band.

Here are the instructions:

Put your music player on shuffle.Post the first 40 songs that come up. You can repeat artists if you want. If you have any repeats, skip to the next track. (From there, answer 38 questions about your 40 songs).

Here are my 40 songs:
1) Femme Fatale - Hot Club de Norvege

2) Ubangi Stomp - Warren Smith

3) Barroom Girls - Gillian Welch

4) Barnyard Beatnik - Big Sandy and his Fly-rite Boys

5) Cretin Hop - the Ramones

6) Cold Cold Heart - Johnny Cash

7) Cool Water - Hank Williams

8) Racin' From the Hounds - Lee Rocker

9) Move It On Over - Rose Maddox

10) Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head - They Might Be Giants

11) My Favorite Things - Swing Cats

12) Fishnet Stockings - Mad Marge and the Stonecutters

13) Who Walks In - the White Ghost Shivers

14) Goo Goo Muck - the Cramps

15) Oh Vince - the Vesties

16) Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken - Camera Obscura

17) Heebie Jeebies - the Puppini Sisters

18) Tennessee Toddy - Marty Robbins

19) Good Enough For Granddad - Squirrel Nut Zippers

20) Your Cheatin' Heart - Beck

21) Mean Mean Man - Wanda Jackson

22)I'm My Own Grandpa - Asylum Street Spankers

23) Back to Black - Amy Winehouse

24) Love Machine - the Miracles feat. Smokey Robinson

25) I Can Dream, Can't I? - The Andres Sisters

26) We're All In This Together - Old Crow Medicine Show

27) Harbor Lights - Elvis Presley

28) Time to Rhyme - Northern State

29) Daddy Daddy - Ruth Brown

30) Faith In Love - Devil Doll

31) Am I Blue - the Sureshots

32) I Hope YOu're Happy Now - Elvis Costello and the Attractions

33) I Won't - the Replacements

34) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - Jerry Lee Lewis

35) That'll Be the Day - the Crickets

36) Make It Last - Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers

37) Thin Air - the Defbulators

38) Whistle Bait - Larry Collins

39) Get Behind Me Satan (And Push) - Billie Jo Spears

40) Honky Tonkin' - Dizzy Elmer

Hmmm. A preponderance of music recorded in the first half of the 20th century, or intended to sound like it was.

On to the questions!

1. Which song do you prefer, #1 or #40?
#40, for sure. I wish those guys were still together, or that they hadn't disappeared off the face of the planet.

2. Have you ever listened to #12 continuously on repeat?
Yes, I have, but I still couldn't suss out the bass part. Damn psychobilly.

3. What album is #26 from?
O.C.M.S. I am not a huge fan, but it serves its purpose for radio shows and hte like.

4. What do you think about the artist who did #15?
These are the hottest unknown chicks in the rock scene in NYC. I will not be surprised when they break very, very big.

5. Is #19 one of your favorite songs?
One of my favorite bands, yes, but a poor example of their work, I think.

6. Who does #38 remind you of?
Big D. stopped me in the street the day I got this CD, and when I showed him the artwork, he immediately asked to borrow it. Later, when I told him Larry Collins was 13 when he released this song, he got depressed and demanded to know why he hadn't done something similar with his life. I told him Larry Collins was now a Jesus freak who wouldn't talk to his sister (his musical partner for about 15 years) for more than a decade because he didn't approve of her lifestyle.

7. Does #20 have better lyrics or music?
Whew. Tough call. This is a cover of a Hank Williams song, and it is a very traditional C&W form - formulaic, one might even say. It's really the message that was intended to sting - it is the bitterest kind of love song. But Beck does something to it that makes it so regretful and forlorn that it becomes something else entirely. It almost means something different.

8. Do any of your friends like #3?
I couldn't say - I am sure lots and lots of them would love it if they heard it, but I think this might be under the radar of many.

9. Is #33 from a movie soundtrack?
If it's not, it should be! No, it's really just from Don't Tell a Soul, but if I were writing a movie, the 'Mats would make the list fer sher.

10. Is #18 overplayed on the radio?
I have never, ever heard this song on the radio. It's a sort of rare rockabilly tune, so it's radio play is doubt-worthy.

11. What does #21 remind you of?
Not much, really. There is a really great clip of her singing the song to a bashful bald guy on some TV show, though. You should Youtube it!

12. Which song do you prefer, #5 or #22?
Well, considering I downloaded the A.S.S. song for the Beazzle, and try to listen to it only when she's around, the Ramones win this one hands down.

13. What album is #17 from?
The Puppini Sisters only have one American release, Betcha Bottom Dollar. I am anxiously awaiting their second album, which has been available in the UK since October.

14. When did you first hear #39?
I had to buy this compilation of girl rock from the '50's because I'm obsessed with Sparkle Moore, and she never released an EP, so her stuff isn't on CD. This song was on it, and it just turns my crank. It's fantastic.

15. When did you first hear #7?
I seriously cannot think of a time when I did not have this song in my life. My granddad was a HW fan, and consequently so is my mom, and we listened to a lot of this stuff when I was growing up.

16. What genre is #8?
Rock-a-fuckin'-billy, my friend. What else?

17. Do any of your friends like #14?
Well, H. does, for sure. And I just found out a casual acquaintance of mine is a closet Cramps fan, so now I count him amongst my friends. Don't Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk is a better song, though.

18. What color does #4 remind you of?
This is the oddest question on this list. Bright yellow maybe? Like sunshine? I dunno.

19. Have you ever blasted #11 on your stereo?
No comment.

20. What genre is #37?
Newgrass/alt-country, I'd say.

21. Can you play #13 on any instrument?
If I could play bass like Mike Poppitt, I sure wouldn't be wasting my time in Alaska.

22. What is your favorite lyric from #30?
I haven't listened to this one enough to know.

23. What is your favorite lyric from #23?
I love you much
It's not enough
You love blow and I love puff

24. Would you recommend #24 to your friends?
I haven't yet, but I would if anyof my friends were stupid enough to not know about Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

25. Is #2 a good song to dance to?
If you jive or swing, it kicks some ass. I like the Stray Cats version better for dancing, because of the drumming.

26. Do you ever hear #16 on the radio?
Only when I'm playing it.

27. Is #32 more of a “nighttime” or “daytime” song?
I think it's mostly a late night, drink too much vodka, smash picture frames and burn the photos inside kinda song. Is that too specific?

28. Does #36 have any special meaning to you?
Not yet, but it'd make a good couple-y song if I met somebody who likes honky-tonk as much as me.

29. Do any of your friends like #31?
I think my friends would deride me if they knew this song was played as often as it is in my house. Luckily, the chances of them knowing of its existence is slim.

30. Is #25 a fast or slow song?
Clinch your Brylcreemed date rather too close for school policy, crush your corsage kinda slow, yeah.

31. Is #35 a happy or sad song?
Hmm, well, the lyrics are a little bitter, and more than a little threatening (what kind of boy promises suicide if you leave him?!?) but the music is nice and bouncy and dance-y.

32. What is one of your favorite lyrics from #9?
Move over skinny dog cause the fat dogs moving in

33. Is #34 better to listen to alone or with friends?
Damn, that shit shakes! Friends, if they're the awesome kind

34. When did you first hear #27?
Whenever I first listened to the Sun sessions in their entirety.

35. Name 3 other songs by the artist who did #29
Teardrops From My Eyes; Oh, What a Dream
; Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean

36. Do you know all the words to #6?
Every blessed one.

37. Does #28 have better lyrics or music?
I find the rhymes from Northern State delightful, although I liked their first album more.

38. What album is #10 from?
It is from They Might Be Giants' self-titled album, but I have it from some random compilation of their bestest. I heart them. A lot.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Third time's the charm

Three things I ate on my recent trip to Seattle:

- Muenster cheese, organic baguette, almost overripe but actually perfect pear from Ralph's Grocery, the gourmet grocery store across the street from our hotel

- A handful of peanut M&M's from a vending machine in the hallway of the movie theater, because you can't buy a package of them at the concession stand, while you are purchasing your medium (also known as the bucket large enough to soak your head) soda

- A trio of creme brulee: cappuccino, butterscotch, and zablagione, washed down by a shot of Amaretto DiSaronno and an espresso doppio con panna.

Three movies I have seen this week:

- Juno
My biggest beef with Juno was not the dismissive way it treated reproductive health care providers or the apparent ease with which the title character dismisses abortion as an option, but instead... the music. Juno goes on at length about her old-school punk sensibilities, and Jason Bateman's character, whose name I can't recall, loves the early 90's grunge, but the soundtrack is nothing but twee indie pop. I mean, damn. The girly tosses out names like Mott the Hoople, Iggy and the Stooges, and the Velvet Underground, and they trip convincingly off her tongue, but while they show up on the soundtrack, in the movie itself, they play as background music. The Velvets do show up singing "I'm Sticking With You" in a pivotal moment, but anything cutting ended up (sorry, I have to) on the cutting room floor.

- Sweeney Todd

It was bloody. Very, very bloody. Also, Johnny Depp listened to a little much glitter rock in his formative years, and Tim Burton needs to make a different movie, for God's sake. Not the same movie with different sets and children, a different movie, please. No more strange, misunderstood outsider. No more longing beautiful woman willing to overlook his faults. No more shredded velvet and puffy shirts and weskits. Enough.

- The Darjeeling Limited

Luggage as baggage. Subtle.

There were a few rough editing cuts in the beginning that I know were intentional, but which felt to me like poor filmmaking. Wes, please read my note to Time Burton above. Except please replace puffy shirts and weskits with bespoke suits too short in the inseam and quirk.

Three items of clothing in my closet I am anxious to wear when the weather returns to normal:

- The new red dress I bought in Seattle, which has a vibe that is a little forties (square neckline, cap sleeves, A line skirt) and a little mod (oversize black buttons arranged double breasted, a wife black belt).

- The cherry print camisole with red buttons I bought at Anthropologie last summer.

- My cowboy boots. Any of them.