Thursday, July 26, 2007

What I've Been Listening To (And Other Stuff)

I'm on page 470. The current goal is to be done before I go to bed Sunday night. Bobbie and I were neck in neck, but last night she stayed up til 4 in the morning or something, and now she's about 100 pages ahead of me.

In a continuing effort to fill my ipod with good stuff, I've been going to the library and getting those two- and three-disc collections of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Big Joe Turner, Howlin' Wolf, Blind Willie Johnson, Louis Armstrong and so on to gorge on. But beyond that, here's a brief rundown of what I've been listening to...

Like a good fan, I went out and bought the Beastie Boys' new all-instrumental album, and unsurprisingly, it's not that great. Nothing really bad about it, just not anything to get worked up about (I think I actually prefer Olio i Aglio, the all-hardcore EP they put out around the time of Hello Nasty). BUT. I've been really enjoying listening to their live performances from Poland earlier this month. The mostly-hip hop set they did on 6/30 is great, but the mostly-instrumental set they did on 7/1 is the one I keep listening to. It just has such a nice, mellow vibe. In both cases, they're mixing it up more than ever, and the sets feel very spontaneous. I'm starting to regret not getting tickets.

Big Star is one of those bands I've known about for years, but never got around to listening to. They're a 70's pop band that's always cited as a big influence on REM, the Replacements and other jangly, 80's alternative bands. I got their first two albums from eMusic, and they became the major soundtrack of the first months of this summer. I can kinda see why they never quite made it--they play simple pop songs that were out of style in the mid-70's, when it was all about Led Zep and ELP, but a little too sophisticated to apeal to the bubblegum market (Bay City Rollers and such). The music has a nice, earthy tone that just screams early 70's. I guess their most famous song is "In the Street," which was used as the theme to That 70's Show. It's funny to discover that in the second verse, the part that goes "Not a thing to do/But talk to you" becomes "I wish we had/A joint so bad!" Subversive!

Another one of those bands you always hear about but never really hear is The Pretty Things. I got their 1970 album Parachute, which apparently (and quite surprisingly) was Rolling Stone's pick for album of the year that year. Lots of good stuff on it, but there's this one song that's really kicking my ass, "Sickle Clowns." I can't figure out what the lyrics are about, but I love the sinister, snearing sound.

I also got this Michael Hearst album, Songs for Ice Cream Trucks, which is exactly what it claims to be. It's brilliant! Seriously, the best music to drive around to during the hot summer months, especially in L.A., where even ice cream is trendy. I heard an NPR piece on it, had to get some. More on Ice Cream Truck music here, here and here (oh, and here). Find good ice cream in L.A. here. I was hoping I could finish up with a YouTube of Jonathan Richman's "Ice Cream Man," but there's not one out there, so take your pick: Van Halen or Capt. Beefheart.

Oh yeah, and I got the new They Might Be Giants album produced by the Dust Bros., which sounds like...a They Might Be Giants album produced by the Dust Bros. The funniest song, to me, is "Climbing the Walls," which sounds like a Nirvana parody. Which is kinda funny, because until I listened to it, it had never really occurred to me that Nirvana had such a distinctive sound, or Cobain such a recognizable guitar style. I had been thinking of them as, you know, "generic for indie rock," right?

Sigh...I guess I'll be going to this:

Fri & Sat, Sept 28 & 29 at Midnight at the Rialto Theatre!

Series creator Joss Whedon poured his heart and soul into "Once More, With Feeling," the surprisingly effective musical episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's sixth season. He wrote and composed all the songs, each one catered to the cast and character's strengths, and even extended the length of the show in order to cram in more tunes. Buffy fans are invited to watch their favorite episode on the giant screen, surrounded by a theatre filled with singing, shouting and laughing friends. We turn on the subtitles and lead the audience in a sing-along with all the characters. And, in the tradition of Rocky Horror and other interactive fan favorites, we offer goodie bags filled with tools for participating in the show. Before the film, audience members are invited to participate in a Buffy-oke contest and show off their own acting skills, show off their knowledge of Buffy trivia, and have a chance to win cool Buffy prizes.

God, how embarassing. But I'll be there.

Oh yeah, and did you see this? Cate Blanchette as Bob Dylan! David Cross as Alan Ginsberg (not much of a stretch, really)! Tod Haynes directing another rock movie! I'm very excited.


Blogger Ben MirĂ³ said...

My local library quit carrying music to prevent this criminal enterprise. The rat bastards.

I picked up the Sid & Nancy OST for $4 at my 2nd hand record joint. Pretty pedestrian...except for a couple Joe Strummer tunes, AND: GARY OLDMAN as SID covering Iggy and Sinatra. Golden.

7/27/2007 5:37 AM  
Blogger Chris Oliver said...

Isn't there a Circle Jerks song on that soundtrack? I can't remember if it's any good. By any count, that would have been several years past their prime, anyway.

7/29/2007 2:55 PM  

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