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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Hell

Shuffle Post.

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I want to write more for this blog, I really do. Like right now, I have a number of good articles in mind (“What makes a good lyricist?,” a write-up on the new Okkervil River record leak, baroque pop profiles, etc) but I’m just so very tired. But I do want to write something, so for tonight, I’m taking the lazy way out and doing a “Shuffle Post.” Herein shall we enter the weird and wild world of my iTunes library for ten songs, yet unknown to you or I. And for each, I shall mention something about it worth noting. Okay? Okay.

1. “Who Says?” by Richard Hell & The Voidoids ( from Blank Generation, 1977 )
I love Richard Hell. This isn’t my favorite track on this album (that would be the epic “Another World”) but it IS a fine example of the fact that one didn’t have to play loud/simple to make it in the “punk” scene (in quotes because of the vague definition of such). There’s a thoughtful, shaky tension to this song (and album)–as much (or more) in common with Television (which Hell was briefly in) as The Ramones or any of that ilk.

2. “4U” by KoRn ( from Issues, 1999 )
In my defense, I went to high school from 1998-2002. Actually though, this isn’t that bad. It’s not great or anything, but it has a kind of interesting atmospheric thing going on, and it’s short so it’s over before it gets too old. I remember when this album came out… I still want to learn to play the bagpipes.

3. “Creeper” by Islands ( from Arm’s Way, 2008 )
I dunno, this album didn’t quite get to me as much as their first (or The Unicorns album) did. But there is a certain pleasant groove going on here, even if it is a little… conventional, for lack of a better word, in that it hits exactly the notes a dancy “indie-pop” song should hit . Hm. It is catchy, though–well executed if not as daring as one might hope.

4. “I Fell in Love Today” by Ween ( from Shinola, Vol 1, 2005 )
This collection was pretty lackluster compared to the group’s regular studio albums, but this song is great. You never know what you’re going to get with Ween, but this one’s anchored by a low, head-nodding groove an it never builds too far beyond that because it never needs to. It’s the kind of song you listen to and it sort of automatically makes you strut, which fits well with the theme (“You people can’t touch me / I fell in love today”). The guitar tone on the chilled-out solo is great, too.

5. “Triangle” by Tripping Daisy ( from Bill, 1993 )
I just got this today, actually, so I don’t have much to say about it. It IS hard to believe this is the same guy who fronts The Polyphonic Spree–he’s singing about a preacher jacking off on TV over a very consciously “slightly-post-grunge” guitar riff. As I understand it, this album was largely dismissed because of exactly that sort of self-consciousness, which I guess I can see. There’s nothing bad about this so far, but it’s not especially grabbing either. Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb is a pretty fine album, though.

6. “Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens ( from Come On Feel the Illinoise!, 2005 )
I have a sort of a love/hate thing with Sufjan. On the one hand, he can be a little… much at times–overly precious, I guess would be a way of putting it. And this album did not need to be 22 damn songs long. However, for all his coyness, when he gets it right, he gets it right and this (along with “Romulus”) is one of his two finest moments. One could write a novel from these lyrics–there’s enough pathos and detail to back it up without being overly wordy or coming off as melodramatic as the subject matter (falling in love with a dying girl) could easily have been. It’s beautiful and the banjo/horn thing he tends to work has the perfect air of slight melancholy without being histrionic.

7. “Ice” by The Microphones ( from It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water, 2000 )
Phil writes such weird pop songs. Because this is a pop song, despite the fuzzed-out atonality, the rapidly shifting structure (no verse/chorus/verse here), the odd tinkly bells or static sounds or whatever else. It’s catchy despite itself. That’s why this was such a great band. I think his new band (Mount Eerie) is finally going to put out another one this year. I hope.

8. “Straight Freak Show” by Love Battery ( from Straight Freak Ticket, 1995 )
Sigh. My ex bought me this album so it reminds me of some weird things. But it’s still good–definitely an unrecognized grunge/alternative/whatever band with a little bit of a psychedelic edge to them. It’s definitely of its era, but there’s a charm here–summer, soda, skateboards, that sort of thing.

9. “Snagglepuss” by John Zorn ( from Naked City, 1989 )
Somewhere in the ether, jazz had a hot, steamy threesome with metal and new wave. This album (all 26 demented tracks of it) was born from that perverse union. This song bounces around between “normal” lite-jazz passages and the sound of Zorn herniating himself on his sax over other freakishly tortured instruments–like a really freaky musical game of “Red Light, Green Light.” It’s awesome.

10. “Simple Song” by Lyle Lovett ( from Pontiac, 1987 )
It’s easy for me to focus on Lyle songs like “If I Had a Boat” or “Penguins,” which are so… charmingly odd, I forget he can be this damn pretty. Incidentally, Pontiac is a milestone of alt-country music and something everybody needs to hear at least once.

Actually, on that note:

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Written by Sarah K

July 29, 2008 at 3:20 am