Monday, December 07, 2009

Best of the 00's Mix Tape, Side 1

At some point, I'm going to put together a long, multi-part post trying to sum up the last decade, and it will include my top 10 albums, but in the meantime I wanted to do something a little broader about my favorite music of the decade. I couldn't figure out exactly how to do it, then I decided to take some inspiration from Chris at Locust Street, and put together a two-part mixtape of my favorite tracks of The Double-Aughts (that's what I've been calling 'em). For me, this is an iTunes playlist that I've been fiddling with for weeks now, but for the purposes of the blog, each song is a link to the YouTube video, except in a few cases where I couldn't find one for that song, so I've either linked to a similar song from the same artist, or posted the mp3. This is in no way meant to be a definitive list of the best of the decade. In fact, it might not even be a definitive list of my favorites, but it's a great mix of music I've really loved over the past 10 years.

Nortec Collective - Tijuana Bass
Peaches - Fuck the Pain Away
Gogol Bordelo - I Would Never Want to Be Young Again
King Kahn and the Shrines - Land of the Freak
The Polysics - I My Me Mine
Gravytrain - Sippin' 40z
Messer Chups - Au Men
Messer Fur Frau Muller - Funny Man
Coconut Monkeyrocket - The Fad Machine
M.I.A. - Bird Flu
Busdriver - Befriend the Friendless Friendster
Princess Superstar - We Got Panache
Dr. Dre w/Eminem - Forgot About Dre
Aesop Rock - Number 9
The Coup - Cars 'n Shoes
The People Under the Stairs - The L.A. Song
The Heliocentrics - Distant Star w/Percee P and MF Doom
Amon Tobin w/Quadraceptor- Precursor
Madvillain - Strange Ways
Beastie Boys - Oh, Word?
The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Parts 1 & 2
Animal Collective - Summertime Clothes
The Fiery Furnaces - Up in the North
Beck - Earthquake Weather
Common w/The Last Poets - The Corner
Kanye West - Jesus Walks
Lemon Jelly - Nice Weather For Ducks

Nortec Collective - Tijuana Bass
The fanfare. Some of Nortec's stuff reminds me of Coconut Monkeyrocket, with the clattering drums and big, colorful samples, except that their samples all come from Mexican music. The Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 3
Peaches - Fuck the Pain Away
The mission statement. I thought about starting off with "Fuck or Die" (possibly preceded by this Patton Oswalt routine), but that "Impeach [my] Bush" schtick is kinda dated. And I thought about "Two Guys for Every Girl," but this one seemed like a good party starter. The Teaches of Peaches.
Gogol Bordelo - I Would Never Want to Be Young Again
Well, I've never been checked for fleas at the gates of embassies, but I can relate to the general sentiment: being a grownup is way underrated. Gypsy Punks.
King Kahn and the Shrines - Land of the Freak
If we've learned one thing from this decade, it should be that bad things happen when we let patriotism be conflated with nationalism, militarism, authoritariansim and religious fanaticism. Similarly, why should we let patriotic music be defined by crimes against the earhole like "Proud to be an American," "God Bless the USA" [EDIT: Looking for YouTube links, I just realized those are the same song!], or whatever shit is spewing out of Toby Keith's mouth. Here's a song that celebrates the noncomformist spirit that made our country great. The Supreme Genius of...
The Polysics - I My Me Mine The Polysics are sort of a retro-tribute to early new wave bands like DEVO, but, in the same way that there aren't any rockabilly records that sound like The Cramps, there really isn't anything from the early 80's that sounds much like The Polysics. Their sound is a fetishized idea of what new wave SHOULD sound like, by kids whom I imagine grew up in the 90's, and filtered through the aesthetic of punk rock. These guys are very prolific, but few of their releases are available in the U.S. I got this off the compilation Polysics or Die!, of which there are a couple different versions.
Gravytrain - Sippin' 40z Shame on me! I downloaded this tune off the Kill Rock Stars website long ago, and LOVED IT, but never went back and bought the album, as we all always say we will. It's raunchy and unprofessional in the way that the best rock-n-roll always is, even though it's played on a Cassio keyboard and a cheap drum machine, it mixes punk rock with synth-pop as easily as it mixes gangsta rap lingo with lesbian trash talk, and it's as catchy as all get out. It's on The Menz EP, which appears to be out of print.
Messer Chups - Au Men
Messer Fur Frau Muller - Funny Man
Jason turned me on to these two interconnected Russian bands who explore the same territory as he does with his Coconut Monkeyrocket (although the Messers employ some live instrumentation, usually resembling cheesy surf music, so they're sort of a cross between Coconut Monkeyrocket and Man...Or Astroman?). These guys are ridiculously prolific. They've got a ton of albums, in fact they have a shitload of videos, all in the same "house style," on YouTube. I couldn't find "Au Men" on YouTube, so I linked to "Super Megera" instead, which is just as great. "Funny Man" is less frantic than some of their songs, but so catchy, and definitely their best video. I can't seem to find what album "Au Men" is on, but "Super Megera" is from Vamp Babes, and"Funny Man" is on the out-of-print Devil, Dot & Triangle.
Coconut Monkeyrocket - The Fad Machine
Couldn't find "The Fad Machine" out there, so the video is "Shopping for Explosives." A good song, but not nearly as crazy as something like "The Fad Machine" or "Juicy Jungle" (I chose the former because the bird calls make it a good mix into the next song). If you dig this stuff, please buy the CD from my high school chum and former bandmate Jason Emmett.
M.I.A. - Bird Flu
Once upon a time (starting in the early 90's and continuing to the present), rock critics were predicting that music was about to become more global, and that we would here fusions of international styles bumping from every club DJ. M.I.A. seems to have been created as the fulfillment of these writers' collective fantasies. Obviously, this isn't her most famous song, but I think it's the one that most clearly represents what makes M.I.A. M.I.A. Kala.
Busdriver Befriend the Friendless Friendster
This isn't really my favorite song from this album ("Unemployed Black Astronaut" is much better), but the frantic rapping and gameshow theme beat really work for me. Fear of a Black Tangent.
Princess Superstar - We Got Panache
At the risk of oversharing, this CD has been my go-to disc for gettin' busy for the better part of the decade, so much so that it's actually a little weird to hear it outside the bedroom now. Princess Superstar's sexual politics aren't quite as radical as those of Peaches (in fact, her sex rhymes aren't really any more racy than, say, Missy Elliot's "Work It"), but what she does have that Peaches doesn't is genuine mic skills. I picked this tune over the more obvious choice of "Wet, Wet, Wet" because I love the hook, but also because her rhymes here are just amazing--check out that second verse:
On the case like Steve Case estates like Oprah's place
Savoir faire and grace every hair in place here's a taste no time to waste
Do my makeup in the mirror while I sit up on your face
We paid great and when we don't got dates dig in the crates eat steak and masturbate
Spin wax make tracks we laid laid back, ladies get laid and stay up late at that
Now we getting critical mass sass pinnacle like the citadel not minimal we hospitable
Mad kissable it's difficult aristicral princess for instance we invincible never divisible make
you invisible
Kit in each car Kittens with Kit Kat bars kickin etiquette from Connecticut to Zanzibar
Strip malls to big balls 'n concert halls New York Dolls taggin up bathroom stalls
We All-Stars make folly North down to Raleigh
Follow me suck lollys down in Bali all enthralled dollies arty as Dali
And when Mr. Rodgers calls me? We allowed on his trolley.

Princess Superstar Is...
Dr. Dre w/Eminem - Forgot About Dre
If there's one song that has achieved pop culture immortality this decade, it's not something like "Crazy" or "Hey Ya" or "Single Ladies" or "Hot in Herre". It's not even "Seven Nation Army." It's Eminem's "Lose Yourself," and for a damn good reason. As tedious as Em can be when he's trying to play the character of "Eminem," he can always redeem himself on those rare occasions where he just grabs the mic and starts flowing. His handling of the tongue-twister hook here is a prime example, although I don't want to make it all about Em--Dre absolutely smokes him on his verses. 2001.
Aesop Rock - Number 9
Aesop Rock has one of the most insane and complex rhyme styles I've ever heard. I'm not even sure this is the best example, but I love that jittery beat. Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives.
The Coup - Cars 'n Shoes
Not the most politically radical of their tracks, but it displays the two aspects that really make The Coup special: Boots Riley's sense of humor, and Pam the Funkstress' incredibly funky, wah-wah-smeared beats. Steal This Album.
The People Under the Stairs - The L.A. Song
Cause alot of cats are implants
Claimin' L.A. with something to say and something to prove and
At the shows with the flows and they think the crowds groovin'
Its like the 405 at 5:30: nobodys movin'

Original Sound Tracks.
The Heliocentrics - Distant Star w/Percee P and MF Doom
Percee P is a killer from the golden age who never quite got his props. He recorded a great album this decade with Madlib manning the helm, and here he's paired with the wacked-out Doom to rap over an instrumental cut from the space funk band Heliocentrics. The instro version is on their album Out There, this version can be found on their collection Fallen Angels.
Amon Tobin w/Quadraceptor - Precursor
I think of Amon Tobin as the next step after DJ Shadow, mixing atmospheric hip hop and drum-n-bass sounds with weird jazz and Zappa-esque freakiness. This gurgling cauldron of a song reminds me of a funked-up version of Pink Floyd's "Several Species of Small, Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict."
Madvillain - Strange Ways I'm told that when I was a baby, I couldn't pronounce "triangle." I said "tringle trangle." So for a while, I thought the vocal sample on this song was singing "My heart, my soul, my tringle-trangle." Now I've settled on "My heart could use a swig," but I'm not sure if that's right either. Madvillainy.
Beastie Boys - Oh, Word?
I don't care what you heard
Don't care what you seen
I swear it wasn't me in Bear magazine
Because I'm not that hairy
Au contrary
I go with the flow though the tempo varies

I was disapointed by the delay of Hot Sauce Committee. My favorite band never really hit one out of the park in this decade, but they had some solid base hits on both the instrumental album The Mix-Up and the hip hop album To the Five Boroughs. I never could figure out what that title meant (I know William S. and Edgar Rice, but who are the other three?), but there's the retro-electro sound on this one suits them quite well.
The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Parts 1 & 2
The first half of this diptych describes a fantasy where Yoshimi (the female drummer from the Japanese noise band The Boredoms) is a Buffy Summers/Sara Connor figure hired by the city of Tokyo to repel an onslaught of killer robots. The second half is an instrumental score for the battle itself that conjures images of Yoshimi doing flips to avoid the blows of the smashing robot fists!
Animal Collective - Summertime Clothes
I'm sure if I devoted the time to listening to this album, eventually the more subtle songs would reveal themselves to me, but I don't really have the patience. The only songs I can really hear are this one, "Brother Sport" and "My Girls," and that last one actually annoys the hell out of me. But this song is just amazing, the way it conjures a restless night brought on by oppressive summer heat, and the way the club-footed iambic pentameter of that hook sinks into your brain. The Fiery Furnaces - Up in the North
There are earworms, and there are Earworms. This is the kind of song that can be stuck in my head for the rest of my life without ever annoying me. Gallowsbird's Bark.
Beck - Earthquake Weather
OK, I've recycled my old post about this song twice now, so I guess I need to come up with something new. I put this and the Common song back to back on a party mix when they came out, and they just flowed so nice. I'm pretty sure they have the same drum sample. Guero.
Common w/The Last Poets - The Corner
We used to roll in an Olds with windows that don't roll
Now we roll in a Rolls suffocating in stoles

OK, that's not actually the line, but wouldn't that be a great concept for a bling video? Common driving a Rolls through Chicago wearing, like, 20 mink stoles?
Kanye West - Jesus Walks
If I had to pick just one, I'd say this is my favorite track of the decade. Everything about it works so well: the marshall beat, punctuated by the three-note vocal hook, the way the gospel vocals drive the rhythm as it builds up to that self-fulfilling wish to hear the track played at the clubs (at least, I assume that wish has been fulfilled--when the fuck have I ever been to a dance club?). The College Dropout.
Lemon Jelly - Nice Weather For Ducks
And to top it off, here's a nice bit of sampledelia, a bit more laid back than the ones at the front of this mix. Lost Horizons.
I'll post the other half, which is a bit more rock-oriented, tomorrow.

1 Comments:

Blogger noggy999 said...

yo i know peaches cause i saw them live in Munich in 2001

12/07/2009 5:47 PM  

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