Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Murky Words Music Mix #3: Turkey Day Trip Mix

Two or three years ago, while bored at work, I burned a random mix of music onto a CD because I had nothing better to do. It actually turned out rather well, and in honor of it's anniversary I decided to post it here. To follow is the Turkey Day Trip Mix - tracks and commentary. You can either click on the track names to download the songs individually, or grab the zip file at the end of the post which is the mix in it's entirety. Either way, hurry up and get it as these tracks will be coming down VERY soon. Oh yeah, about the name. "Trip" in this case refers to one of the mental variety - not an actual car or plane ride. However, if you choose to use it for either of those purposes, more power to you. I should also point out that the only thing this mix has in common with Thanksgiving (Turkey Day) is the fact that I made it the day before. None of the songs were chosen with the actual holiday in mind. Had I done so, I'm pretty sure the results would have been disastrous. Gobble Gobble.

Massive Attack - Spying Glass (from the album Protection): Nice, low key way to start things off. This has been one of my favorite tunes since I first heard it back in the mid-90's. You know how certain songs take you back, rather wistfully, to a certain time or place? This song brings me to an alcohol induced haze in a sparsely populated dive bar in Boston's Back Bay - sometime during the fall of 1996. This isn't what you would normally categorize as "dive bar music", but for whatever reason it was on the jukebox, and one of the bar's other upstanding patrons played this tune repeatedly. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have tolerated such tomfoolery, but because I really liked the song - and said patron was about 200 pounds heavier than me - I was perfectly happy to stare ahead, drink my swill, and immerse myself in the smoky, somewhat mysterious atmosphere of the tune. No wait, actually - that was the bar... I think.

Rage Against the Machine - Guerilla Radio (from the album The Battle of Los Angeles): This'll snap you out of that haze real quick. This tune could not be more different than the previous, but I suppose that's the point. I'm a jerk like that. Start you off by lulling you to sleep, and then wake you up rather loudly and rudely. Nothing mysterious about this one. If you're at all familiar with Rage you know that whenever they sing, they're pissed about something. I hate preaching in music (or in general) so I can only take these guys in measured doses, but man, talk about a brilliantly produced, angry jump around tune. Find a mosh pit and enjoy.

The Sugarcubes - Hit (from the album Stick Around For Joy): Before Bjork was the Bjork we all know now as the crazy woman who talks funny and wears geese as a fashion statement, she was the adorable lead singer of The Sugarcubes - a dysfunctional band if ever there was one. They didn't stick around too long, but they did manage to release three albums which were pretty well received in college and alternative radio circles (before alternative radio became a marketing scheme.) 'Hit' is from their 3rd release, and while not their best album, this is definitely one of their more enjoyable songs. It's kind of cute pop - bouncy with a fun melody. It could be (and perhaps already has been) the music played during the montage scene of a romantic comedy. It's funny - you listen to this and realize that at some point Bjork was a normal person. These days, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see her release an album called 'Dorsal', in which she does nothing but make dolphin sounds for 45 minutes - and because she's Bjork, the critics would all give it 5 stars. *sigh* I miss the old Bjork. Where have you gone, sweet lady?

Porno for Pyros - Tahitian Moon (from the album Good God's Urge): One of the worst named bands in history. Let that not deter you though, as this is a fine composition. It does a good job of waffling between chaos and serenity, starting out with a rolling, nerve wracking guitar and then hitting us over the head with a calm South Pacific mandolin beach like melody thingie. Then it's back to the guitar for a bit, before it decides to calm us down again. Back and forth it goes, much like Perry Farrell's sanity.

America - A Horse with No Name (from the album History: America's Greatest Hits): The very first "music videos" I ever saw as a kid were on The Muppet Show. They weren't what we know now as music videos, rather, they were often extravagant affairs in which any number of muppets would come out on stage and perform their rendition of a popular song. Therefore, when a song comes on the radio it's not terribly unlikely (although it might be considered somewhat worrisome) for me to have a mental image of various muppets performing it - regardless of whether or not they actually did so on the show. Where am I going with this? Well, listen to this song and then try and tell me that Scooter, that annoying 3rd wheel of a muppet, is not the lead singer. If you're at all familiar with the show, you'll recognize that the two voices bear an uncanny resemblance. I feel very strongly about this. It almost ruins the song for me. Secondly, this is the only tune I know of that has such a blatant grammatical error in the chorus, and yet no one seems to care. Lookee here: "in the desert, you can remember your name 'cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain." Why the (for) hell did they bother to (for) put the word (for) "for" in there? The only conclusion I can (for) come to is that they needed another word so (for) they'd have the proper number of syllables (for) to match the song's beat. THAT, my friends, is laziness. Couldn't they (for) have come up with a better lyric? What, do the rules of grammar not apply (for) to songwriting? Scooter better go back (for) to English class!

It's still a good song though. (For)

U2 - Two Hearts Beat As One (from the album War): I took no end of ribbing back in high school. Most of it was deserved - I was a dork's dork, after all, but some of it was not. Among the unworthy jibes thrown my way were those that originated as a result of my being a U2 fan. Said insults were almost exclusively the intellectual property of those who were die hard fans of Warrant, Winger & Poison. If you were one of those people, I just have a couple of questions for you. WHERE ARE YOUR PRECIOUS HAIR BANDS NOW? HOW DOES IT FEEL TO KNOW THAT YOU ONCE WORSHIPED A BAND THAT WORE LEOPARD SKIN TIGHTS, HAD BAD MULLETS, AND THE STAYING POWER OF A WET PAPER TOWEL?!? No, I don't accept your apology. You didn't know good music then, and it's unlikely you do now. Yeah, that's right. Every rose has it's thorn, jackass.

Pauline Taylor - Solo Flying Mystery Man (from the album Back to Mine): Never heard of this woman? Not surprised. I stumbled across this tune on a chillout compilation mixed by the electronic act Faithless and was blown away. This was back in 2001 or 2002. I've been looking for an album from her since then and have been rebuffed at every turn. Why on Earth has the other music this woman surely recorded not been released stateside? AllMusic has nothing. Amazon has some "imports" - none fewer than $25 - and when I once tried to buy one got a message from the seller saying that they were actually out - so sorry. Grrrrr. A perplexing conundrum, to say the least. We'll have to make do with this little gem.

Sonic Youth - 100% (from the album Dirty): I have heard Sonic Youth's music described as "skronk rock." Although I'm unsure what the term actually means, I still think that's about right. The album from which this track came is one of my guilty pleasures. There should be no reason on Earth why I like it as much as I do, and yet, I do. Particularly this track. Reminds me of my late adolescence - my Dawson's Creek years, if you will - when things were happily tolerable.

Blur - I Know (from the album Leisure): Not Blur's finest, but just listen to the boppin' bassline on this thing. This album (and tune) opened a door and showed me that there were British bands other than the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin that didn't actually suck. In fact, it exposed me (rather late as it turned out), to the whole Madchester music scene. Soon, I was fixated on bands like the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays and wearing headphones almost constantly - blissfully ignorant of everything else around me. 'Course I didn't go on many dates then either, so it had it's drawbacks, but just think - if I hadn't heard this song you'd have no mix before you now. Eh? Eh? See - it pays to an isolated basket case sometimes.

Hole - Celebrity Skin (from the album Celebrity Skin): It is SUCH a shame Courtney Love reverted back to her drug induced psychosis. When this tune and album of the same name were released, she was at her absolute peak (you can interpret that any way you want. I happened to mean musically.) I love this song. A hard rockin' cynical, smarmy rant against celebrity and the Hollywood establishment. The lyrics are simply splendid. If I ever needed an insult that cut right to the bone, I think I'd look for Ms. Love - circa 200o or 2001. This song predates Paris Hilton & Nicole Richie's fame by a couple of years. Shame they weren't paying attention back then.

A Tribe Called Quest - Luck of Lucien (from the album Anthology): Do you remember The Bloodhound Gang - that bit at the end of 3,2,1 Contact with the detectives? "Whenever there's trouble, we're there on the double. We're the Bloodhound Gaaaaang. If you've got the crime, we've got the time. We're the Bloodhound Gaaaaang!" Not only could they solve crimes, they were hip as all hell. If they'd had music in the background while they were solving their capers, I'd imagine it would sound something like this (minus the rap of course, which should not be discounted.) Some fantastic funk jazz samples under some great lyrics by Q-Tip. Good stuff.

iio - At The End (from the album At The End): This duo is huge in club circles, but hasn't really done much commercially, which is good because I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I like this song. This is cheesy dance pop with simply terrible lyrics, BUT it is beautifully layered, sonically magical and eminently danceable (at least in certain parts.) I don't really want to say much other than that. In fact, let's move on. I think I see a Warrant fan over there.

Green Day - Hitchin' A Ride (from the album International Superhits): We're all a little tired of Billy Jo and his antics, and yeah the band is a little passé at this point. But whatever - alcoholism never sounded so good.

Letters to Cleo - Awake (from the album Wholesale Meats and Fish): Boston band makes good by breaking onto the national stage. I ALMOST pegged Kay Hanley (lead singer) as my future wife, however I had to dock points for three things. 1) She was already married to the guitarist by the time I started paying attention. 2) This band disappeared for a long while. There was a significant time lapse between album one and album two. A guy can only stay ignored for so long. 3) She's somewhat guilty (at least on this track) of one of my musical pet peeves - namely sounding like a 12 year old when singing. All of these things led me to inevitably pick Shirley Manson instead (who also was married at the time but I chose to conveniently overlook it.) Still, Kay is both adorable and gorgeous and a fine musician to boot. She's released a few solo albums, all worthy of purchase. Oh, and she's a Red Sox fan. This track is lots of fun.

Mazzy Star - Mary of Silence (from the album So Tonight That I Might See): I LOOOOOOOVE this song. Very quiet, dark, brooding, and somewhat psychedelic. This tune could just as easily have been written in 1968 instead of 1993. The atmosphere and effects are just... *shiver* - man, I can't even find the appropriate words. I will say this, though. Yet again we have another outstanding female lead singer who has dropped off the face of the Earth. I would love to see Hope Sandoval put out another solo album but alas, she hasn't been heard from since 2002. Still - we're lucky we have this tune to enjoy. Listen to it in the dark. Maybe light some incense if you can stand the smell.

Leaves - Catch (from the album Breathe): We travel back to Iceland for some more Indie pop. The first time I heard these guys I thought they were Doves - another favorite band of mine. But, NO! They are Leaves - an odd name if ever there was one - but hey, they're Icelandic, so that's pretty cool. I don't know much about these guys other than this album and the fact that they played TT the Bears in Cambridge, MA a few years back and gave a solid live set. This particular tune is a catchy little number whose message appears to be "don't take anything for granted! Time stops for no one! Stop and smell the roses!" God. How original. How poignant... Anyone want to lay wagers on the video? $10 says it's full of sped up time lapse showing sunrises and sunsets, crowds of people walking through busy intersections, and flowers waking with the sun and wilting with the dusk. On second though, let's not. Just enjoy the song.

WHEW! And that, my friends, is the Turkey Day Trip Mix. I hope it proves worthy enough for your holiday feast and maybe even helps you digest. Anyway, whatever you do or don't have planned, I wish you all a wonderful holiday with good health and good times. Talk to you a little later.

Oh, and as promised, the mix in it's entirety via zip file:



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