Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 13

Well hello there, Gimmick Blog! Would you like me to update you? It'd be my pleasure!

Song 61: Of Montreal - "Erroneous Escape Into Eric Eckless"
Do you remember when Of Montreal was like a regular old indie pop band? It's been a damn while. This song could be confused for a lively Belle & Sebastian song. I know a lot of people pine for this era of the band (and really, Satanic Panic... really did signal the end of the simple pop band Of Montreal) but I can't imagine listening to many more songs like this one. Pass.

Song 62: The Pixies - "There Goes My Gun"
I accidentally typed "There Goes My Gum" for a second up there. That would make for a much less interesting song, probably. Not that the gun really livens this particular ditty up. I don't mean to be so snarky, because I do love The Pixies, but this is not one of their better efforts. Boring verse, boring chorus, boring song. Coincidentally, I think there is a song on The Wrens' Silver that has that weird guitar noise in it.

Song 63: Of Montreal - "Touched Something's Hollow"
I don't like to write about the same artist on back to back days, much less in the same update, but the juxtaposition is too great not to point out. This somber piano ballad filters some sad sack lyrics through a T. Rex/David Bowie glam piano that is perfect. The lyrics are simple to great effect. The song skips a chorus to go with two variations on a single 'verse': "Why'm I so damaged, girl? Why'm I such poison, girl? I don't know how long I can hold on / if it's gonna be like this forever." It's worth noting that this downtempo song goes seamlessly into one of the happiest songs on the record. Style points for that.

Song 64: Islands - "Volcanoes"
I don't think I've ever listened to this song with headphones on in a quiet room like I am doing right now, and thus never realized that the creepy talky intro goes on nearly 30 seconds! I'd like to know what that's from. This is a really fun song and very clever for being about...uh...volcanoes. It feels light and airy, like a delicious angel food cake.

Song 65: Liz Phair - "Soap Star Joe"
I don't know if I ever really listened to Exile In Guyville all the way through. At least I know I never did while I was totally paying attention. This feels very "of its time." That is to say, it sounds like mid 90s pop/grunge that could be vaguely dangerous but probably won't hurt you any. The strummed electric guitar is just sparse enough to create an atmosphere, but also loud enough so that this doesn't sound like a campfire song. It's good, but I doubt I 'll remember the tune tomorrow.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 12

Song 56: Dizzee Rascal - "Graftin'"
This is a very hard song for me to listen to and concentrate on. It has Dizzee's usual million syllables a second flow, but the beat is like somebody chopped and screwed diz's beat into oblivion. It's so slow and sparse, it's so jarring juxtaposed with the quickness of the rapping. It is actually almost giving me a headache right now, which isn't usual, but still very unwelcome.

Song 57: Ultimate Fakebook - "Wrestling Leap Year"
Power POP! This'll raise the bpm a bit! A very cool sinsiter sounding verse leads into a bit of a herky-jerky chorus here. Thankfully, the chorus is short so as to get back to the pretty cool verse. Hey three people that read this blog, what is a wrestling leap year?

Song 58: Liz Phair - "Johnny Sunshine"
This is, if nothing else, a very cool name for a song. Admittadly, I have maybe listened to this cd once or twice ever, so I don't have a strong inclination to Liz Phair at all. It's not bad though. The mild wall of distortion that the song sits in front surprised me. If the song wanted to, it could really explode at the end with some huge wall of sound collaging. Too bad it wastes the last 45 seconds slooooooowly fading out.

Song 59: Teddybears - "Punk Rocker (Featuring Iggy Pop)"
Yes! I first heard this, or parts of it, in some commercial. Unbeknownst to Luke, I had wanted to hear the real thing for awhile, and he ended up putting it on my Christmas 2006 mix cd. Maybe my favorite song from that mix, too. This was a perfect song for Iggy Pop to sing, sort of like how Johnny Cash doing all of the covers of 90s alternative hits was really cool because the age of the vocals just changes so much about the message, Iggy Pop turns the song into sort of an aging lament on being a punk rocker. The whole thing fits so comfortably opposite the cheerful synth-driven backing music. I love it. "See my die on Bleaker Street. / I'm bored with being god."

Song 60: Architecture In Helsinki - "Fumble"
Architecture in Helsinki are almost just a bit too cute for their own good, but that doesn't detract here. The stop-start horns and guitars are pleasent and give the song a bit of mystery, because it's not entirely clear where the chorus will appear. Neat song, AIH.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 11

Does anyone think I'll finish this thing in less than 5,000 real days? I hope so, but i guarantee nothing.

Song 51: The Clash - "Spanish Bombs"
I hated "punk rock" as a kid. When I say "punk rock" I guess I'm mainly referring to the punk-pop my friends listened to a lot. bands like Millencolin, The Ramones, stuff like that. I don't really like those bands now, either, but I lumped The Clash in with these bands for reasons I don't remember. Anyway, this led to me experiencing London Calling far later in life than I should have, when i purchased it for a cheap price at a Camelot Music going out of business sale. Thanks, Camelot Music! This is a fun song, and I like the seamless transition into a Spanish chorus. That's fun for everyone (who speaks Spanish or English!)

Song 52: Spoon - "The Agony of Laffitte"
This is a cool bonus cut off the copy of A Series of Sneaks that I downloaded off of Luke way back in the carefree Soulseek days. Spoon does sparse rockers really well, but when they strip down (no homo) for an acoustic ditty, they're pretty damn good, too. The xylophone at the end of this one isn't that neccessary, but it's a cool touch. Probably the only instrument I could ever play with any consistency besides the recorder.

Song 53: Modest Mouse - "Steam Engenius"
One of the more 'classic Modest Mouse' sounding songs on We Were Dead... which is probably why I enjoy it so. The megaphone-boosted chorus isn't any special but it sounds right. And while the ringing guitar sounds during it are good, it's the percussion during the bridge that makes the song. It's the kind of paranoid soundscape background stuff that Modest Mouse is so good at when they apply themselves.

Song 54: Battles - "Snare Hanger"
The drums on this are just ridiculous. It's a quick two-minute track, so it's busy all over, but the drums are just wild. It actually sounds like a Wolf Parade song near the end, but Wolf Parade's percussion never reaches this frantic a pace. It's like unleashing a rubberband wind-up toy.

Song 55: Devin Davis - "Sandie"
Kind of a middling ballad here from Davis. This might be just poor circumstance, because I'm pretty jazzed from the Battles song, but I think there are A) better slow jams on this album and B) Davis is much better when he's rocking out anyway. The horn adds some depth to the track near the end, but I've never been very into this one.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 10

Wow, ten days! According to my math, that leaves only 990 days left to go! Live it up while you still can!

Song 46: Akron - "Interlude: Ak Ak Was The Boat They Sailed In On"
Again, probably not a "song" I should really be blogging, but this is like the best version of Ocean Sounds there is! I don't need calm, relaxing seagulls and mild surf. I want ratchey tractor noises and an uneven sea! I want an ominous sound of a person walking in the brush, just out of my eye-sight. I want to not watch the Cardinals win this football game...oh wait.

Song 47: Pavement - "Coolin' The Sound"
I hesitate to say Pavement had a bad ear for their best songs, because aside from a few clunkers per album, it's not like they ever released a record that was one big shit sandwich, but their b-sides are sometimes equally listenable. I always liked "Coolin' The Sound," which is maaaaaybe poooosssibly the one song sung by Spiral Stairs that I really, really enjoy out of the Pavement catalogue. I install such a caveat to that because A) I'm not even entirely sure that's Spiral singing and B) because there might be one other song somewhere of his that I like. Whatever, the guitar is so easy going and fun in this track.

Song 48: The Dresden Dolls - "The First Orgasm"
I'm feeling a little too shy to blog about this song, so instead i'll post the lyrics and just say that I probably can't ever include this on any mix cd I ever make, ey?
It is a Thursday
I got up early
it is a challenge
I’m usually lazy

I make some coffee
I eat some Rice Chex
And then I sit down
To check my inbox

I only read a word or two
I stare across the street and see the churches and the blue

The first orgasm of the morning
Is cold and hard as hell
There wont be any second coming
As far as I can tell

I arch my back cause
I’m very close now
It’s very cold here
By the window

There are some school kids
Yelling and running
They barely notice
That I am coming

The first orgasm of the morning
Is like a fire drill
It's nice to have a little warning
But not enjoyable

I am too busy to have friends
A lover would just complicate my plans
So I will never look for love again
I’m taking matters into my own hands
I’m taking matters into my own hands

I bet I could last at least a week without someone to hold me
I bet I could last at least a week without someone to hold me
Won’t you hold me?
Won’t you hold me?
Won’t you hold me?

Upon pasting that, I'm actually fairly impressed at the mix of odd puns and sad desperation near the end. I also just probably make some young kid's google searching very irritating. Sorry, bro!

Song 49: Magnetic Fields - "Roses"
One of the shortest Magnetic Fields songs that I am aware of, at 27 seconds, it reminds me of a church hymn. Not that I go to church very often, but the heavy echo on the vocals sung in a choral manner leads me to that very wise statement.

Song 50: Jack Rose - "Dark Was The Night"
Ha ha! Very funny, iTunes! A fine song to end our day on, this instrumental country ditty reminds me of a time when I said, "Yeah I like classic country, not that new stuff." And this is the sound I meant, basically. It's all slide guitar and sounds like it was made by an hombre in the middle of a desert. Cool song.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day 9

Song 41: No Age - "Ripped Knees"
It's difficult to talk much about a song like this, because it's such a messy punk-rock song. The focus is definitely not on a central hook. There's a cool power in the guitars, though, and the feedback is unbelievable. Heavy feedback for some a light song. The outro that is 1/3 as long as the song is slightly perplexing.

Song 42: Old 97's - "Blinding Sheets of Rain"
I love how lazy this song feels. It just seems like a quiet day on the ranch. I tend to romanticize any song that I can imagine song in a half empty bar of dudes who are just totally beyond grizzled. Guys that just spend all day on the land. Plus, who doesn't love a little lap steel?

Song 43: Hatchmatik - "Burn it Down (Hatchmatik's burn down the club remix)"
This track comes courtesy of Luke again, who sent it to me as part of some electro comp. The intro makes it a little tough to listen to if you're just sitting at your computer hanging out, but if the rapped verse brings a little more of a straight hip-hop vibe to it. Even still, probably can't play this unless you gotta bunch of club kids around, or you're really, really drunk.

Song 44: The Unicorns - "Tuff Luff"
So much of The Unicorns album sounds like it was made it about 2 minutes, and this is a good example. There's some sort of cheap sounding organ thing, and a bass line, and that's about all that's happening here. The rapping part, "Hey nuclear war & a hotbed of trouble / make with the penance, repent on the double." was always my favorite part.

Song 45: Sondre Lerche - "Track You Down"
What a terrible sad and great song. Lerche's song crafting has gradually improved on each album, but the simplicity in this arrangement go perfectly with the lyrics. "I take it you are afraid afraid / of everything I am and of some things I am not / A fear I share before I go to bed."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 8

Song 36: Company Flow - "Definitive"
I love EL-P but I really haven't listened to this that much. Nothing particular special. It's interesting, to me, because it has much more of a standard dark hip-hop beat than EL's solo stuff. I also appreciated the reference to 'sucking the cookie out the pussy,' though I'd guess anyone that knew Company Flow probably thought that was cooler when they heard it on Fantastic Damage.

Song 37: Eels - "Teenage Witch"
The keyboard line in the verse of this song reminds me so much of War's "Lowrider," but not in a particularly good way. Amazingly, when it drops out for the chorus, the song gets worlds better. I'd even call it sexy, or at least as sexy as an Eels song can sound.

Song 38: Bloc Party - "Sunday"
This is way better than the Nick Drake "Sunday." The pretty boring verse also gives way to an adorable chorus that I can get behind all the time: "I love you in the morning, when you're still hung over." Bloc Party was definitely better when they were banging out some claustrophobic jams, but this song isn't bad at all.

Song 39: Obie Trice - "Hoodrats"
What do Craig Finn and Obie Trice have in common? Both have songs about hoodrats! Finn's characterization of hoodrats is a little more vivid, but I don't doubt both artists have run into hoodrats from time to time. Plus Obie raps his take on them, which is a bit more fun.

Song 40: The Only Children - "West Virginia"
40 songs into this blog and I've been extremely flip-floppy regarding faux country. I can't get behind this song. It's pleasent enough, but it's like, how do you go from being in a respectable emo-pop band whose last album was sort of challenging, to some straight ahead blues infused country? This is a boring song.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day 7

(note: I'll be back later tonight or tomorrow to add links to today's and yesterday's songs. Sorry for the delay!)

Song 31: Jimmy Hendrix - "All Along The Watchtower"
I'm not sure when I reached the point where I was unable to hear this song without immediately thinking of war movie montages, but that's where I am now, at least. It's a cool song, obviously, but it's just one that i've heard in so many different places for such a long time that it has certainly lost a bit of its luster. Oh, and when I was 15 or so I was in a band for about three days (I was the singer), and we decided we'd cover this song. We did so at our first practice. Did I mention we didn't have a drummer? Pretty great band.

Song 32: Grateful Dead - "Ripple (Alternate Take)"
I'd be hard pressed to tell you a thing about the original take on "Ripple" so the fact that this one is alternate is a pretty worthless distinction! This is a pleasent enough folk song though. Nothing really remarkable about it. I've always liked the vocal harmonies of the dead, and it kind of irks me that Phish is put on the same pedestial as these guys.

Song 33: Modest Mouse - "Spitting Venom"
This is such a reassuring track to me, because it proves that Modest Mouse can still kick out a song that songs comfortable in their pre-"Float On" discography of jammy 8 minute songs. I also love the phrase "spitting venom" to signify talking shit. Very apropos.

Song 34: The Bens - "Just Pretend"
Hey it's Ben Kweller, Ben Folds, and Ben Lee! In a band! Despite the cheekiness of the name/project, this is a really cute song. It actually has a mood similar to the folkyness and harmonies of that Dead song. Except The Bens have the benefit of Folds' piano work, which livens things up just enough.

Song 35: French Kicks - "This Could Go Wrong"
I love grand album closers. For me, they're a pleasent sign that bands are still taking the album format somewhat seriously and they want to exit your stereo with a bang. This song tries to do that, but much like their former labelmates, The Walkmen, I think they miss the point. This song builds to a point, but it never lets go. It just turns into a moody little tune without a lot of direction. The Walkmen have been doing this on their album closers for years, and it drives me nuts.