Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Best of the 00's Mix Tape, Side 2

Yesterday I said this half was going to be more rock-oriented. It is in the beginning and end, but it does have this weird disco set in the middle. A few of these songs are actually from '99, but I figure we can get a little poetic license on this stuff.

The Drive-By Truckers - Where the Devil Don't Stay
Ween - It's Gonna Be a Long Night
The White Stripes - Icky Thump
Lightning Bolt - Forcefield/Thirteen Monsters
Le Tigre - Bang!Bang!
Marnie Stern - Transformer
Deerhoof - Snoopy Waves
Sleater-Kinney - Step Aside
The Gossip - Listen Up!
Of Montreal - Gallery Piece
bis - Action and Drama
Lady Sovereign - Blah Blah Blah (Cadence Weapon Mix)
Amy Winehouse w/Ghostface Killer - You Know That I'm No Good (Remix)
The Dresden Dolls - My Alcoholic Friends
Matthew Herbert Big Band - The Yesness
Li'l Wayne w/Pharrel - Yes!
Outkast w/Erykah Badu - Humble Mumble
Melvin Gibbs' Elevated Entity - Macumba
Blacrock - Coochie (featuring O.D.B. and Ludacris)
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
Beck - Strange Apparition
Royal Trux - Stop
The White Stripes - Ball and Biscuit
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Old School
Tom Waits - Home I'll Never Be
The Drive-By Truckers - Let There Be Rock

The Drive-By Truckers - Outfit
David Banner - Cadillacs on 22's
Joe Henry - Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation
Radiohead - Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Drive-By Truckers - Where the Devil Don't Stay
Trying to pick a favorite Mike Cooley song is like trying to choose a favorite square inch of Salma Hayek. The guy is just incredibly consistent. I went with this one purely out of utility: it's a great opening track. From their best album, The Dirty South.
Ween - It's Gonna Be a Long Night
The best song Motorhead never wrote. Quebec.
The White Stripes - Icky Thump
When The White Stripes first hit with the great single "Fell in Love With a Girl," critics lumped them in with bands like The Vines and The Strokes as part of a garage rock revival, even though none of those bands sound anything alike, and most of them sucked. For once, history has sided with me, and those other bands have been completely forgotten, while The White Stripes emerged as the biggest rock stars of the decade. Even though I had pretty much quit listening to the radio at all by 2004, it always made me happy that there was a huge band that I actually liked. I was originally going to put this right after "Where the Devil Don't Stay," since they both have that icky bass drum thump, but they actually sounded too much alike, so I stuck another song in between.

Lightning Bolt - Forcefield/Thirteen Monsters
I bought Mastodon's album Leviathan, and I kinda liked it. I mean, it's a metal album about Moby Dick--fried crack for English majors, right? But I'm never really in the mood to listen to it, which is basically my attitude toward metal since about the time I turned 20: I like it, it's just never what I want to hear at that particular moment.

Lightning Bolt are more my style. Apparantly, the lead guitar is played on a bass, which is just awesome. Their songs run a little long, and I can't make it through a whole album, but in small doses they're pretty rad. I couldn't find "Forcefield" on YouTube, but I really liked the video someone made for "2 Moro Moro Land," so I linked to that instead. "Forcefield" and "13 Monsters" are both from their first album, Ride the Skies, "2 Moro Moro Land" is from Hypermagic Mountain, which has a slightly more conventional metal sound.
Le Tigre - Bang!Bang!
Like "13 Monsters," "Bang! Bang!" features a counting off chant, a la The Ramones (you know, like "1-2-3-4, Cretins want to hop some more"). But here, the chant actually serves a purpose: hammering home how unbelievable it is that NYPD "accidentally" pumped 41 bullets into an unarmed black man reaching for his wallet. From the Desk of Mr. Lady.
Marnie Stern - Transformer
Are you interested in hearing some high-energy indie rock fronted by a cute blonde doing Eddie Van Halen hammer-ons through the entire song? Than this is for you! Seriuosly, this girl and her band sound like nobody else, and ROCK like a motherfucker! This Is It & I Am It & You Are It & So Is That & He Is It & She Is It & It Is It & That Is That
Deerhoof - Snoopy Waves
"Experimental noise bands" are a tricky lot. Most of them are completely unapealing, but the ones that manage to hit the sweet spot are able to create my favorite music in the universe. Deerhoof manage that difficult balance of sounding like nothing you've ever heard, while still having enjoyable hooks and a bit of personality to their music. My first exposure to this band was early in the decade, when I heard the song "Sealed With a Kiss," probably on WFMU or KEXP. The structure is nothing like a conventional rock song: it builds over a simple four-note bass thump, adding more elements as it goes. As the decade progressed, they made more accessible music, producing memorable songs like "Milkman" and "Sirius Star" (there's no video of Sirius Star on YouTube? Siriusly?). My favorite Deerhoof song, "Snoopy Waves," comes from their last album, Offend Maggie. It rocks, it's catchy, it sounds like nothing else you've ever heard.
Sleater-Kinney - Step Aside
One Beat is an album loaded with great songs, and I really spent a lot of time trying to decide between this one, "Oh," and "One Beat," but even in a field that strong, "Step Aside" stands out, with Corrine Tucker's voice bellowing like a hurricane, and those wicked Stax horns (shame on every critic who referred to them as "Motown horns," which they assuredly are not, in their reviews) backing her up. Proof that for a too-brief period of time, they were the World's Greatest Rock-n-Roll Band.
The Gossip - Listen Up!
If anyone can match Corrine Tucker, it's Beth Ditto. There's a "radio edit" of this song (I'm pretty sure it's a completely different recording) that's a bit more upbeat and danceable, but I like the album version. It's a little slower, but it gets across the slinky, funky feel of "Chain of Fools" or the original "You're No Good." Standing in the Way of Control.
Of Montreal - Gallery Piece
On the one hand, the character singing this song is projecting a lot onto the object of his desire. Nothing about her (or him) in the song, just what he wants to do to her. The subject is literally objectified, a "gallery piece." On the other hand, it works as a great invocation of hysterical infatuation. I always hate those know-it-alls who make a big deal out of knowing that "Every Breath You Take" isn't romantic, or "Born in the USA" isn't patriotic. Songs mean whatever each listener decides they mean. This is from Skeletal Lamping, which I actually like a little better than Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
bis - Action and Drama
The last show I saw at the 40 Watt before moving to L.A. was Cibo Mato. The opening band was some very young guys from Chicago called The Pulsars. They played what could only be described as 80's pop. New wave. It wasn't even the cool new wave, like B-52's or Adam and the Ants. It was more like the stuff that was on MTV c. 1982-83. I have trouble even remembering what it sounded like, but I remember that I (and my friends who were there with me) was just infuriated by it. In 1997, I was still having a hard time looking at the 80's, or the mainstream music of the 80's, as anything but an oppressive monstrosity to be rebeled against. And I think, in the back of my mind, I knew what I was hearing was the next generation. I was hearing the end of my time. These kids had a different interpretation of the world that I had known, and I was angry that someone else saw these things--in this case, the pop bands of the early 80's--completely differently from me, and were expressing their view.

It was about the same time that I read about a young Scottish band called bis, who had just been signed to the Beastie Boys' Grand Royale records. Bis, at the time, were playing basic, Ramones-y punk, but with a bit of the influence of 80's pop and disco. They put out the awesome This is Teen-C Power EP, and the New Transistor Heroes LP, and in late 1999, Social Dancing. But I'm going to count it as the 00's, because I think it has a lot of the qualities that I associate with this decade of music. By this time, their sound had shifted a bit, so that they sound sort of like Depeche Mode or The Pet Shop Boys, only cool. I can't tell you why they're cool, or why The Pet Shop Boys aren't (to my ears), just like I can't really explain why I'm so nuts about the Drive-By Truckers when I don't really care for Lynyrd Skynyrd that much. It just is. Anyway, this song is a manifesto of what they think dance music should be, of why 80's pop is awesome, and a critique of techno not from some rock dinosaur like me who thinks all techno is a bunch of shit anyway, but by "a techno-disco lover." It's like a blueprint for the next decade of indie pop.
Lady Sovereign - Blah Blah Blah (Cadence Weapon Mix)
Like a lot of these songs, I came across this one on Fluxblog. I'm especially grateful for this one, because I'm not really one to seek out remixes, but this is one of those remixes (like Fatboy Slim's take on the Beastie's "Body Movin'") that really pushes the song into being a better song than it started out as.
Amy Winehouse w/Ghostface Killer - You Know That I'm No Good (Remix)
Yes, I will go to the mat for Amy Winehouse. That voice is incredible, not so much for it's technical aspects as for how clearly it expresses her personality. She sings like a drunk, her voice sliding from note to note like an overlubricated trombone. Listen to how her voice staggers through the phrase "and sniffed me out." Note also her frustrating coolness, the way she perversely refuses to work up a sweat, the nonchalance with which she delivers "I cry for you on the bedroom floor" even as the band is hammering the accents behind her. And then there's the arrangement, as slick and smooth as an old James Bond theme, and Ghostface's incredibly hot verse tacked onto the remix. Damn. You already know what album this is from.
The Dresden Dolls - My Alcoholic Friends
Almost a random choice: every song on this album is great.
Matthew Herbert Big Band - The Yesness
Swingin'!
Li'l Wayne w/Pharrel - Yes!
I have to admit, I don't really like most of Lil Wayne's stuff. But this one, for some reason, just works for me. Maybe it's the overly busy production that puts Wayne's ridiculous rhymes into perspective. This actually makes a line about (metaphorical) rape sound fucking great to me! I don't think this ever got an official release, but it's pretty easy to find floating around the internet.
Outkast w/Erykah Badu - Humble Mumble
One of the weirder songs on Stankonia, but notice that it sounds a lot like the blueprint for Erykah Badu's Amerykahn Promise album.
Melvin Gibbs' Elevated Entity - Macumba
I was going to put this right after the MIA song, which would have been a hot mix, but I think it serves the overall mix better to have it here. Ancients Speak.
Blacrock - Coochie (featuring O.D.B. and Ludacris)
That they could uncover two ODB verses this incredible this long after his death is just mind-boggling. In case you don't know, this is The Black Keys' side project, and the whole thing is pretty cool, but this track really shines over everything else.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
Damn, that tempo change in the middle just SLAYS me!
Beck - Strange Apparition
Someday, I will crack The Information. As it stands, I've never quite been able to wrap my head around most of it. But this track...anyone who says Beck got no soul needs to listen to this one.
Royal Trux - Stop
Kind of an atypical Royal Trux song, but on the other hand, it's sort of the quintessential Royal Trux song: like classic rock played with the lo-fi sensibility. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have included this one except that it sounds so good after the Beck song. From Veterans of Disorder, which I just discovered is from 1999, but whatever.
The White Stripes - Ball and Biscuit
Jack and Meg gettin' the Led out.
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Old School
This one is actually from late 1999 as well, but it's one of my favorite pieces of music. This 12 MINUTE MONSTER JAM rocks and sways like a party boat, conjuring images of Mardi Gras revelers dancing drunk and sweaty in the streets. From Buck Jump, produced by John Medeski.
Tom Waits - Home I'll Never Be
According to Tom Waits, this is a cover of a song Jack Keuroack adlibbed into a tape recorder at a party one night. Buried on the third disc of his rarities collection Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards.
The Drive-By Truckers - Let There Be Rock
As perfect an anthem for my generation as exists. From Southern Rock Opera, their concept album about Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The Drive-By Truckers - Outfit
And since I included a Patterson Hood song and a Mike Cooley song, I might as well throw in a Jason Isbell song.
Don't worry 'bout losin' your accent
A Southern man tells better jokes

From Decoration Day
David Banner - Cadillacs on 22's
Banner expresses the same dilemna that haunted Jerry Lee Lewis: "I know I should be singing the Lord's music, but DAMN it feels good to be a gangsta!" I first heard this one on The Oxford American's Southern Music Issue CD two years ago. Hey, their annual music issue is out now, why don't you go pick up a copy? Mississippi: The Album.
Joe Henry - Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation
Epilogue: Richard Pryor died December 10, 2005. George Carlin, the man whose face must be carved next to Richard's on comedy's Mt. Rushmore, joined him on June 22, 2008. This sad, yearning song is either Pryor, as the voice of Black America, addressing the American dream, or Pryor, as the entertainer, despairing of ever catching that dragon of acceptance that performers chase every time they take the stage, or both, or something more. Scar.
Radiohead - Motion Picture Soundtrack
Roll Credits.

2 Comments:

Blogger Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

I never thought to put a label on the horn section behind SK on "Step Aside." they don't sound raw enough for Stax, and they don't sound polished enough for Motown. They're still great though. I miss the band tremendously.

12/11/2009 11:23 AM  
Blogger Chris Oliver said...

Maybe they're more like Muscle Shoals horns. It's a nitpicky thing, but a lot of reviews said "Motown Horns" when the album came out, and it annoyed me because the horns on Motown records don't function like that--they just play a melody, or little staccato accents and stuff. It's lazy writing, but I guess it's also pretty pathetic to bring it up in your blog post 8 years later, or however long it's been.

12/13/2009 10:08 AM  

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