Thursday, 1 December 2005

iPod random mixtape #001

There are currently 11,538 songs in my iPod. A metric shitload. The ultra-cool Shuffle Songs feature allows me to shuffle my entire collection to see what comes up. Every now and then (usually as it's nearing the end of the workday) I can't decide what album to pick next. So I let the massive random jukebox decide for me.

It's a great feature because songs come out of the mix that I haven't heard for a long time, and sometimes hearing them out of context of the album they are on makes me appreciate them more. A good example of this is Trout mask replica which is incredibly difficult to listen to as a whole album, but hearing a single song from it is easily digestable.

I had this idea a while back that I'd have a regular feature where I'd put the iPod into shuffle and then write a quick blog posting on the first 10 songs that come up. It really comes down to laziness on my part, sometimes I can't think about what to write and this just makes it easier for me. I'm fairly sure this isn't an original idea as I'm sure many other bloggers have done a similar thing.

Anyway, here we go:

1) Hey, Snow White - Destroyer

Interesting first selection. I don't actually know this song that well, because it's a relatively recent purchase and I've found it a very difficult listen mainly due to Dan Bejar's unique vocals and the length of the album.

Well, at almost 8 minutes in length it is certainly in the "epic" category. There's some interesting guitar work here, the lyrics are fairly repetitive. And the vocals do grate.

Actually, I have a confession to make. The album that this song is from (This night) is on the shortlist of albums that I am considering selling on eBay. It needs a few more listens before I make the final decision to grant it clemency.

And when I did a google for some of the lyrics from this song to quote them in this post, I actually typed "Hey Snow Shite" instead of "Hey Snow White". Call it a Freudian slip, if you like.

2) Apart - The Cure

Well, this is certainly turning into an epic mixtape as far as song lengths go. But this is more like it. While not one of my favourite songs from their excellent Wish album, there's no denying that this is vintage Cure. Moody and atmospheric music. A depressing Robert Smith vocal (double tracked in parts for extra effect). The usual dark lyrics you'd expect from anything in the Cure canon. A great overall vibe. I guess it's unfair to call this one of the lesser tracks from Wish, but that has nothing to do with the quality of this song -- more to do with the exceptional quality of some of the other songs.

3) Footstomp - Dan Brodie

A yeee-ha instrumental on his yeee-ha Empty arms broken hearts album which I purchased recently for five quid. Gets the toes-a-tappin' and the knees-a-slappin'.

4) It's gonna take an airplane - Destroyer

What's with this then? 2 Destroyer sings in the space of 3 randomly selected songs? Another song which is hard to comment on, but it is from their 2004 album Your blues which I must say I find more listenable than This night (it's not as long, and the tunes seem to be more melodic).

If you're reading this and wondering who the hell Destroyer are and why I have 2 of their albums in my collection, they are a side-project of Dan Bejar from Canadian supergroup The New Pornographers. His voice is definitely an acquired taste, the best comparison I can think of is Phil Judd from Split Enz.

Actually I'm getting near the end of this song, and it's a pretty cool cut actually. Surreal lyrics, an interesting vocal and some pretty awesome backing vocals as well.

5) Fall at your feet - Crowded House

Crowded House have an incredible hit rate, you could pick almost any song from their catalogue and be impressed.

This superb song should be known by anyone with good taste in music, and it's one of the highlights of their album-of-highlights that is Woodface, which also happened to be their most commercially successful album.

A brilliantly romantic lyric, melody to die for and chorus that is made for waving lighters in the air -- all the elements are in place in this classic slice of Oz-Kiwi pop.

6) The riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls - D Generation

Here's the problem with the shuffle feature. Maybe I should have eliminated the Books and Spoken Word genre from the mix. I was very tempted to skip over this "song" and pretend it "never happened", but that would be dishonest now wouldn't it?

For those who don't know (or aren't from Australia), the D-Generation are some of the finest comedians Australia has seen in the past few decades. They had a brilliant show on ABC called the Late Show which aired on Saturday nights in the early-mid nineties'. They have been associated with other great TV shows like Frontline, as well as movies like The Castle.

Anyway, this is from a CD I have of their radio show from late 80's and early 90's, before they were TV stars. It's little snippets of their radio show, which was unfortunately very topical and therefore a bit hard to appreciate now as they are talking about things that happened over 10 years ago. An example is them interviewing Bob Hawke (or at least an imitation of him) who was the Australian PM at the time.

Still, you gotta appreciate the phone calls from Wayne from St Albans.

7) Come again - Dallas Crane

Ahhh...such a relief to hear some music after the 13 minutes of talking that was the last track.

This is a corker, one of the highlights from Dallas Crane's solid album Twenty four seven. A classic slice of Aussie rock, with a chorus that sounds like it has been genetically engineered for singing along in a pub with a pint in your hand, swaying from side to side.

Jet get international kudos for their highly derivative Get born album, while Dallas Crane are stuck being support acts for other bands who are more commercial successful. There isn't any justice in this world.

8) Let it be - The Beatles

The very poignant title cut from their swansong, everyone who has ever heard music knows this song. If you haven't, you have been living under a rock. Before I was a Beatles fan, I actually thought this was a mid-period Beatles song. I remember being very surprised when I found out this was from their last album.

A great Paul McCartney vocal, a classic George Harrison guitar solo, timeless lyrics and sentiment. The band may have been falling apart at the time, but when listening to this song they still sound like the greatest band of all time.

And if I close my eyes, I can picture Paul McCartney singing it, with that cool late 60's beard he was sporting at the time.

9) Sing - Blur

From classic British pop to early Britpop. This song was actually on the Trainspotting soundtrack, many may know it from there. But the copy that came up on the random mixtape was actually from Blur's debut album Leisure.

Leisure is a pretty poor album overall, but this is clearly one of the highlights. This is more psychedelic Blur, they weren't quite at the cockney stage of their Modern life is rubbish or Parklife albums, and they were galaxies away from their more experimental Blur and 13 sound.

Hard to really understand any lyrics from this song. But the chorus is really all you need. Ahh ahh ahh ahh! It's inclusion on the Trainspotting soundtrack does seem appropriate.

10) Song of our so-called friend - Okkervil River

Another newie for me, this is from Okkervil River's 2005 album Black sheep boy. Yes, I hadn't heard of them either about 3 months ago. But I read quite a few reviews of the album (many proclaiming it to be one of the best albums of 2005) and went out and bought it.

If I had to pigeon-hole this song I'd probably call it alt-country. I guess the singer is comparable to Bonnie "Prince" Billy, a little bit off-key in parts but it works well for the music.

Pretty catchy song. But I do need to get to know the album better.

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