When Carrie Brownstein was blogging for NPR, she wrote a post expressing her displeasure
with the iPod shuffle feature:
most of us don't like the notion of random, even when the choices presented to us are culled from our own collections. It's like if there were a robot randomly selecting what we wear each day. Sure, it's our own closet and our own clothing, but we don't want to wear sweaters on 80-degree days, or to put on some magenta silk top that only looked good in the dressing room. With music, it boils down to mood and context, as well.
I've never understood looking to your iPod to know your mood, though I'm always fascinated by Scott Tennant's efforts at Pretty Goes with Pretty to coerce iTunes into giving him what he wants through a process of grading and categorizing that exhausts me to think about.
I like to see what my iPod has in store for me. The first four songs on this week's soundtrack popped up last week during a bike ride, and they were so perfect for setting a mood that I decided to start with them. Here's this week's soundtrack:
1. "East of the River Nile" - Augustus Pablo: Maybe the funkiest track of the dub master's career.
2. "Bob Hope Takes Risks" - Rip, Rig & Panic: This post-punk band led by the Pop Group's Mark Stewart features a young Neneh Cherry on vocals. I'm curious about her upcoming collaboration
with The Thing on avante-garde jazz and rock covers including Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream" and the Stooges' "Dirt."
3. "You Can't Beat Two People in Love" - James Brown feat. Lyn Collins: I'd dumped this James Brown comp on my iPod without listening to it, and I hadn't heard this track before it came up. Until I checked the title, I thought Collins was singing, "You can't be two people in love," which made the song my new favorite anti-schizophrenia anthem.
4. "Quasar" - Scientist: Dub producer Scientist was at his peak with a series of elaborately titled album, my favorite being Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampire. This comes from 1981'sScientist Meets the Space Invaders.
5. "Small Talk" - Sly Stone: Some days the baby annoys me; on others, we're good.
6. "Buddy X" - Neneh Cherry: One things leads to another.
7. "Haunted Jukebox" - Saint Etienne: I'm not sure why I've been so curious about a new Saint Etienne album since they were never more than a casual affection in the past. This has the charming unassuming quality that I always liked about them.
8. "Girl Like Me" - Ladyhawke: At The Guardian
, Matthew Horton wondered what 2009's class of '80s-centric synth-pop musicians
were going to do for an encore. Since Ladyhawke lasted for one song for me - "Magic" is in my iTunes, though I can't remember it - I was intrigued by the hopes someone had for her.
9. "Monster Mouth" - the Popinjays: All this female-centric UK pop brought this to mind. I wish their Tales from the Urban Prairie was on Spotify.
10. "Came Out a Lady" - Rubblebucket: This regrettably named Brooklyn-based band plays Tipitina's on Tuesday night.
11. "Good Old Desk" - Nilsson: Nilsson's dissolute legend and often-woozy catalogue can overshadow how talented he was at his peak. This perfectly odd track from Aerial Pandemonium Ballet is a great reminder.
12. "Fading Into Obscurity" - Sloan: From the aptly titled Never Hear the End of It. I've never failed to reach the end of an album I enjoyed more, but there are so many ideas in each song that I can't process that much music. This is a great example - check how many songs has the band crammed into 4:10.
13. "Solid Gold" - Keith Moon: Nilsson made me think of this. Tony Fletcher's Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend
is great for its depiction of Moon, Harry Nilsson and John Lennon drunk and adrift in Los Angeles. They were among the first wave of musicians to discover how remarkably much money could be made through rock 'n' roll, and they were on the cutting edge of the corresponding indulgences. Rather than sounding sordid, their lives seemed pointless at that juncture.
14. "What the Hell I Got" - the Blue Shadows: I hoped to find this by Montreal's Michel Pagliaro, but Spotify says "non." Instead, I'll go with the rockabilly-ish version by Vancouver's Blue Shadows (which included . This is how the songs has generally been covered.
15. "Fiya Wata" - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: From the new Here. I'm still waiting to here it as rousing as their set was when the Big Easy Express visited New Orleans in 2011, but I didn't hear that kind of excitement on the previous album either, so maybe it's a live thing.
16. "O.F.Y.C. Showcase" - The Fall: Another iPod special. I put Your Future Our Clutter on my iPod without hearing it, and each time it comes on, I'm ecstatic. The world almost always needs a four-to-five minute-long interruption by Mark E. Smith.
17. "5 a.m. in the Morning" - Hannibal Buress
: Comedian Hannibal Buress plays the New Movement Theater Wednesday night
, and this is the first time I've been really excited to see a comedian in a while. He's got a distinctive, authentic voice that anatomizes his interactions with the world in scientific detail.