Shuffle of the week #43

1. Eels – Hospital Food (Electro-Shock Blues, 1998) [singlepic id=354 w=80 h=50 float=left]

The Beautiful Freak from 1996 had his reasons to sing the blues on this second album, as he lost his mother (lung cancer) and sister (suicide), making him the only remaining member of the family after his father’s death in ’82. Good album (not really comparable to the later and great Blinking Lights), with a cover of Daniel Johnston’s ‘Living Life’ being often played during its supporting tour (an admiration that eventually led to a tribute album in 2004).

2. 13th Floor Elevators – Splash 1 (Now I’m Home) (The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, 1966) [singlepic id=352 w=80 h=50 float=left]

One of my favorite sixties bands, despite (or maybe thanks to) their limited discography. Band that came from Texas, but when the lead single from this album (‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’) reached San Francisco and people there heard about this band that served as an elevator for your consciousness, their fame was made in the Bay Area. The Elevators started performing at the notorious Fillmore with bands like Quicksilver Messenger Service and The Great Society. After the release of their second great album, the band practically split up, despite the release of a third ‘album’ in 1969. Later work that ís worth mentioning: singer Rocky Erickson’s album True Love Cast Out All Evil (2010), a collaboration with Okkervil River.

3. The Smiths – Unhappy Birthday (Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987) [singlepic id=234 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Final (Marr even left the band before the release) and probably best Smiths album. It’s a classic thoroughbred cooperation between Marr (music) and Morrissey (lyrics), both acting on their top level.

4. Tortoise – Six Pack (Standards, 2001) [singlepic id=40 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Album that was already shuffled a couple of times before, but that couldn’t convince me. Called post-rock, alternative rock or indie rock, although I personally would never associate any of those genres with Tortoise.

5. Jethro Tull – For a Thousand Mothers (Stand Up, 1969) [singlepic id=16 w=80 h=50 float=left]

From Jethro Tull’s key album, on which this song is the memorable clincher. Ian Anderson must have realised he just created a pretty damn good album and on this track he throws out all his anger towards his parents, who were always doubting his potential. His voice and flute sound more uptempo than anywhere else on the album, finishing it off with a tremendous flute solo.

6. The Mothers of Invention – Concentration Moon (We’re Only in It for the Money, 1968) [singlepic id=111 w=80 h=50 float=left]

‘No Commercial Potential’ was the name of Zappa’s project (‘it’s all one big album’) that produced four of his best albums, with this one perhaps having the most commercial potential. That would have even been higher when the original cover artwork (parodying The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s and eventually being used as interior artwork) would have been used, but Zappa didn’t get permission from The Fab ‘only in it for the money’ Four’s managers. This is probably still the reason why some Zappa-fans don’t play any Beatles music in their bar.

7. The Byrds – Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe (Mr. Tabourine Man, 1965) [singlepic id=21 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Of course a lot of Dylan-covers on The Byrds’ deciding breakthrough album, but this song was written by Jackie Deshannon. She supported The Beatles before during their first US ‘In it for the money’ Tour and also wrote some hit singles (like ‘Don’t Turn Your Back on Me’) together with Jimmy Page, before he started Led Zeppelin. Time to discover some more of her own music.

8. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Sweet Hitch-Hiker (Mardi Gras, 1972) [singlepic id=353 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Last track on Creedence’s last album, and maybe one of the best songs they ever made. Or should I say … he ever made? Always an interesting issue, but if one album makes clear that CCR would have been nothing but a very mediocre roadhouse band without John Fogerty’s songwriting, than it’s this one, thanks to its somehow hilarious historical account. The other members of the band would have requested to have additional say in the group’s musical decisions. As a result, Fogerty kind of obliged them to contribute songs equally, resulting in by far the worst Creedence-album, although Fogerty himself shines again with this song and his masterpiece ‘Someday Never Comes’. However, how many classics like this did he make during his solo career…?

9. The Moody Blues – House of Four Doors (In Search of the Lost Chord, 1968) [singlepic id=49 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Hands down one of the best albums ever made, on which the magnum opus (‘Legend of a Mind’) is captured between the two parts of ‘House of Four Doors, separated by John Lodge’s cello (aka the cracking door). The four doors the Moodys open during this first part represent four musical eras in European music: medieval minstrel music (acoustic guitar and flute), Baroque (harpsichord and cello), classical music (piano) and… modern rock music, as the opening of the last door is followed by the epic ‘Legend of a Mind’.

10. Fleet Foxes – Battery Kinzie (Helplessness Blues, 2011) [singlepic id=247 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Already three years old this one, but still played now and then in expectation of that crucial third album. Pecknold’s intentions were to create ‘that kind of cohesive sound’ like on Astral Weeks, ‘with guitar mistakes and without flawless vocals’. Did he succeed? I guess not, but there are a lot of gems out there on this album, like this one for example.

Shuffle of the week #36

1. Ministry – Just One Fix (Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs, 1992) [singlepic id=315 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Brutal noise from Chicago’s industrial metal band. Album full of samples featuring famous movie quotes, for example Frank Sinatra’s “I wanna fix! Gimme a fix!” on this track. For those moments when you’re absolutely in no need of melody.

2. The Great Society – White Rabbit (Conspicuous Only in Its Absence, 1968) [singlepic id=318 w=80 h=50 float=left]

The typical San Francisco’67 beat only kicks in after an elaborate Eastern instrumental intro, with snakes being hypnotized while the tempo grows. Grace Slick with her first band, which she founded together with her husband and brother in law after being inspired by The Beatles and… Jefferson Airplane, the band she would later join to record this song with for the second time. Live album that was recorded in 1966 and released in the aftermath of Airplane’s success. Truly recommended to people who like this latter band.

3. Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way (Rumours, 1977) [singlepic id=313 w=80 h=50 float=left]

California ten years later, from an obscure gig to a totally polished radio hit single. Lindsey Buckingham’s song, about his troubles with Stevie Nicks.

4. The Doors – The End (The Doors, 1967) [singlepic id=4 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Travelling back again with the epic end piece of The Doors’ debut album. Molded into its ultimate version (the one that ended up on the record) after intensely touring the LA circuit and performing this song each time at the end of the gig. Covered by Nirvana, Nico and Homer Simpson.

5. Tortoise – Monica (Standards, 2001) [singlepic id=40 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Nothing outstanding, but an album that’s worth to be played once a year. ‘Benway’ from the same album already came by, as it was one of the 10 tracks of the very first shuffle.

6. Pink Floyd – Let There Be More Light (A Saucerful of Secrets, 1968) [singlepic id=95 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Awesome opening track, with the techno-intro being a showcase for Waters’ bass playing. Waters remained as Floyd’s  main songwriter on this album, but was still clearly inspired by Barett (and, appearantly, Sgt.Pepper’s).  New member Gilmour takes on the lead vocals during the chorus, and plays his first Floyd solo towards the end of the song. About time for a review of this album.

7. Animal Collective – Visiting Friends (Sung Tongs,2004) [singlepic id=312 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Strumming acoustic guitars, and Devendra Banhart like he’s experimenting with a voice scrambler for the first time. Never paid much attention to this album because of the fascination for later work, from the band as well as Panda Bear.

8. Songs:Ohia – Hot Black Silk (Axxess & Ace, 1999) [singlepic id=316 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Opening track from third album. Also one of the highlights, with Molina’s beautiful voice shining on this acoustic singer-songwriter song.

9. Madrugada – Hands Up / I Love You (The Nightly Disease, 2001) [singlepic id=314 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Talking about impressive voices, what to say about about Sivert Hoyem? Norwegian alternative rock band that released some solid albums like this one and The Deep End (2005). And of course they released a live album with the legendary title Live at Trafalmadore, after the alien planet in Kurt Vonnegut’s novels.

10. Steely Dan – Peg (Aja, 1977) [singlepic id=317 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Closing with this magnificent jazzy track from Steely Dan’s sixth  and best-selling album. Of course not recorded in a couple of weeks, the guitar solo in this song alone was attempted by no less than eight session guitarists.

Shuffle of the week #19

This is an ode to the shuffle. How better to get a good insight in your digitized album collection than by a classic shuffle? Finally discover the albums you never got into, finally throw the ones away you will never get into and worship those classics that never grow old again. The Shuffle of this week:

1. …And You Will Know Us By Thee Trail Of Dead – How Near How Far (Source Tags & Codes, 2002) [singlepic id=199 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Track from the third album of Austin’s alternative rock band, led by Jason Reece and Conrad Keely.  Got the album after seeing them perform on a festival, during which the stage suffered a rough time. The album dated from some years before and was widely praised. Couldn’t convince me as a whole, although there are some good tracks on it.

2. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cross-Tie Walker (Green River, 1969) [singlepic id=14 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Over to California then, where some loner is following the railroad tracks to nowhere. One of the least tracks on probably the best CCR album. It was released just before their performance on Woodstock which, unfortunately, never made the official record or movie.

3. Nirvana – The Man Who Sold the World (Unplugged in New York, 1994) [singlepic id=197 w=80 h=50 float=left]

One of rock’s most famous live performances, with Nirvana performing this David Bowie song. The original Bowie song was on his third album with the same name and was covered by many other bands during the nineties rock revival (e.g. Meat Puppets and Nine Inch Nails). Cobain’s version made Bowie conscious of his musical importance not only in the UK, but also in the States.

4. Tool – Schism (Lateralus, 2001) [singlepic id=200 w=80 h=50 float=left]

One of my favorite bands of today (?) then, with perhaps one of their best known songs. Played the life out of all their albums some years ago and since that moment I’m still waiting for that long-expected new album.  Before  that (early 2014?), I’m going to enjoy Lateralus once more.

5. Lemonheads – It’s a Shame About Ray (It’s a Shame About Ray, 1992) [singlepic id=105 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Already ran into this one when shuffling the digital record cabinet at an earlier occasion. Listened it for a couple of weeks, but the same goes in fact for this one as for Source Tags and Codes.

6. Pearl Jam – Aye Davanita (Vitalogy, 1994) [singlepic id=198 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Staying in the nineties this week and Pearl Jam can’t of course be absent in the anthology of bands from that era. Strange track  on this considerably strong third album.

7. Love – The Red Telephone (Forever Changes, 1967) [singlepic id=196 w=80 h=50 float=left]

To the magical year then, with one of the highlights of the summer of love. I had been waiting a long time already for  this one to come by in the shuffle and its timing was perfect: this album (initially intended to be produced by Neil Young) has really coloured my summer. I feel real phony when my name is… Phil!

8. The Beatles – Blackbird (White Album, 1968) [singlepic id=137 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Moving up one year with The Beatles’ double album. One of McCartney’s most praised songs of course, although I guess I can name 40 better songs of his signature.

9. Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker  (How the West was Won, 1972) [singlepic id=195 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Ooooooh Yeah! Pounding live version of this riff dominated classic by Led Zep. This triple live album was only released in 2003 (!), although the gig was already recorded in 1972. As Jimmy Page said himself: pretty much a testament of how good they were. Page has a great improvisational moment in the middle of the song where he plays a part from Bachs’s ‘Bouree’, which was already  brought to the rock scene by Jethro Tull earlier, a band Led Zep used to tour with.

10. Tortoise – Benway (Standards, 2001) [singlepic id=40 w=80 h=50 float=left]

A little nostalgia to close with, as this album also featured the first shuffle of the week. Not many other things to say about it since.

Shuffle of the week #1

This is an ode to the shuffle. How better to get a good insight in your digitized album collection than by a classic shuffle? Finally discover the albums you never got into, finally throw the ones away you will never get into and worship those classics that never grow old again. The Shuffle of this week:

1.    The Beatles – Chains (Please Please Me, 1962) [singlepic id=33 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Although it ended up to be a shuffle dominated by recent music, it flew a long way back to start. This is a 1962 song from the Fab Four’s debut album Please Please Me. It’s actually written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and was a former hit for The Cookies, before being released by The Beatles as a typical short sixties rocksong.

2.    Fruit Bats – Blue Parachute (Echolocation, 2001) [singlepic id=36 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Fruit Bats is a folk-rock band from Chicago that debuted with Echolocation in 2001. Pleasant album, time to listen to this one again. Tips about their recent work are welcome.

3.    Phish – David Bowie (Junta, 1989)
[singlepic id=39 w=80 h=50 float=left] I discovered this band from Vermont thanks to an American friend that highly recommended it to me. Given the fact that this guy also is a real Deadhead, you get an idea of what to expect in case you never heard of the band. This song (counting 11 minutes) comes from their debut studio album (again!), which contains a healthy portion of improvised jams and prog suites. The band is also known for covering classic rock albums live.

4.    Bright Eyes – At The Bottom Of Everything (I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, 2005) [singlepic id=34 w=80 h=50 float=left]
No debut this time, but the sixth album by this indie folk band from Nebraska. This is the opening track, which starts with a spoken recording. See Fruit Bats.


5.    The Avalanches – Extra Kings (Since I left you, 2000) [singlepic id=32 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Another debut and actually the only studio album from this Australian electronic group. Said to be one of the best albums of the 2000’s, should give it another try.


6.    Arctic Monkeys – Fluorescent Adolescent (Favourite Worst Nightmare, 2007) [singlepic id=31 w=80 h=50 float=left]
I could ask myself ‘Where have those guys gone?’, but then I would ignore the fact that I ignored their last albums.


7.    Girls – Saying I Love you (Father, Son, Holy Ghost, 2011) [singlepic id=37 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Californian indie rock band. An album I got this year, as it was praised as one of the best of last year in several lists. Still don’t know about that. This one very much sounds like Elvis Costello.


8.    Echo & the Bunnymen – Crocodiles (Crocodiles, 1980) [singlepic id=35 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Another debut album, from the British post-punkers. I like their classic Ocean Rain, don’t know if I should give this one another try or search for their later work.


9.    Tortoise – Monica (Standards, 2001) [singlepic id=40 w=80 h=50 float=left]
A nice 6’30” lasting surprise from the shuffle towards the end with this song of the post-rock band from Chicago. Standards is their fourth album and truly recommended for all the fans of the genre.


10.     Kyuss – Tangy Zizzle (…And the Circus Leaves Town, 1995) [singlepic id=38 w=80 h=50 float=left]
No better way to close a shuffle than with two and a half minutes of dynamite by this Californian stoner band. Perfect album to blow off some steam.