Wednesday, January 30, 2008

44. Nina Nastasia & Jim White - You Follow Me

Another (sadly) late discovery. I've been into Nina Nastasia for awhile...ever since I downloaded a song called "Jimmy's Rose Tattoo" mistakenly off of one of those old, bullshit P2P programs (I'm thinking Aries, but it may have been Limewire). My short-lived eMusic account (I'm considering signing up again though) allowed me to download three albums of her deeply contemplative music, all of which I love and will probably someday add to my physical record collection.

This is more of the same, but different in a major way: Jim White is a master of drums, and his work on this album is just as important as hers. Songs about nothing, the simple life, conversations, etc., they all resonate much differently than any of Nastasia's previous work due to White's brilliant drumming. Also, with this album Nastasia appears to have broken through...I can't recall any attention for her before this, but finally, people seem to be noticing. Thank's about time. All ten songs are fantastic, and through it's just drums, guitar, and Nastasia's perfectly haunting voice, you're never bored, hanging on each chord, word, and hit.

Sounds Like: Stories your grandmother used to tell with a crazy melodic upgrade and perfect rhythms.

Key Tracks: The Day I Would Bury You, I've Been Out Walking, Our Discussion

Download: The Day I Would Bury You

Buy It! Amazon

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Best Gimmicks Ever: Repo Man

Remember when you were a kid and you wondered why Ronald McDonald put up with Hamburglar's shit? Ronald would be *this close* to enticing some smiling child into his ball pit with some delicious hamburgers when WHAM went the Hamburgler, all "Robble Robble" and grins. Why on Earth would Ronald put up with that? What possessed Hamburgler to burgle hams?

I have no idea. But, what I do know, is that if Hamburgler were really, truly could be worse...much, much worse.

Meet The Repo Man. For maybe a year or two, he was the terror of the WWF, "repossessing" items from wrestlers who "didn't make their payment." the stuff legends are made of.

Repo, as you can see, wears a mask to keep his identity a secret, has a bitching jacket, and a rope with a hook on it...he was so evil...he was so nasty...he was so fucking badass...that he never used it. A class act.

You don't believe me when I say that Repo Man was a great, giant badass? Consider the following: He stole Macho Man Randy Savage's hat.

Enthusiasm like this is hard to find anywhere. Ask a porn star how he/she feels to fuck around with beautiful men/women every day, and odds are your answer won't be an eighth impassioned as that. But wait...the Macho Man's hat?!?

I know, right? Is he fucking crazy? Yes. He is. Did you hear him laughing? And at the prospect of facing Randy fucking Savage, too.

Faster than you could say "Snap into a Slim Jim!" the fight was on. Repo gave it a valiant effort, even going so far as to put Macho's hat on his head, but really, he got pounded (hard), and Randy went home with his hat, in time for a domestic dispute or whatever the fuck Macho Man was doing at the time. Shooting commercials for Slim Jim.

Repo Man? He's a working man, goddamn it. He doesn't eat if he doesn't repossess shit. So the man from "The Motor City, Michigan" (wrestling fans are too stupid to see the connection between cars and Detroit) went out into the real world, rhymin' and repossessin'.

Repo disappeared for a time, until the WWE decided that it was best to mock this noble day laborer of the ring, dusting him off and throwing him out for a few matches here and there. I'll remember him for his awesome mask, his never say die attitude, and his fucking great theme music.

Osaka Handsaw Massacre

Sunday, January 27, 2008

46. Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends

Once upon a time, there was a band named Les Savy Fav, and they delighted many a Pitchfork-reader with music that sounded like a prediction of some fad nine months away, only to return with an album that sounded nothing like it. Then they hung it up, left for hiatus, and everybody was left boo-hoo-hooing while this guy...

...developed a food fetish or something. Well, they came back, and the people did rejoice! Let's Stay Friends is less revolutionary than previous albums, but still packs a lot of punch. For not having done a thing together in years, the band is extremely polished. A couple of missed spots here and there, but honestly, just good rock music.

Key Tracks: Pots and Pans, The Equestrian, Patty Lee

Sounds Like: Guitars, screaming, and bearded men covered with sprinkles.

Download: Pots and Pans

Buy It! Amazon

47. Liars - Liars

Liars - Liars I was kinda-sorta on board for 2006's Drum's Not Dead, if only for the sweet, pencil sketch on notebook paper cover, but from the opening 30 seconds of Liars, I'm convinced that this is an incredible band making incredible music. To be honest, I'm not sure why this is so low on the list, lists being things that are made haphazardly and with an eye on filling space. Probably would have been top twenty had I listened to it when it came out.

Key Tracks: Houseclouds, Freak Out

Sounds Like: Beck, but beaten to a pulp and thrown into a wood chipper for the hell of it.

Download: Houseclouds

Buy It! Amazon

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stumbling Thru Myspace: The Mathletes

So yeah, there's this guy, right? And he does this blog, right? The one where he explains the shit that happens in Marmaduke? It hasn't been active for awhile (matter of fact, all but one of the blogs I link to appear dead), but still, it is a constant source of entertainment for all the children who are fortunate enough to click upon it. Gaze, if you will, at Marmaduke doing the moonwalk. Cancer and madness, indeed.

I cheated a little to cover the Mathletes: they weren't on StumbleUpon...I added them myself. But hell, I StumbledUpon Marmaduke Explained, so I think it counts. Featuring songs like "2003: The Year Punk Pranced" and "Pinocchiobot (Rocky Roll vrsn.)," The Mathletes could be quickly written off as a joke band and discarded...but they're not. I'd like to think that having them on my iPod would prove that, but fuck, I've got Straight Outta' Lynnwood and Corn Mo, so the point is kind of lost. They're (really, just Joe most times) a quirky garage band made possible by computers and an electric guitar. They're the very essence of rock and roll anymore - a group of outcasts playing cover songs and odd originals. According to Joe himself, "What the Mathletes lack in professionalism, we make up for in unprofessionalism. Also in rock and roll."


MySpace Profile: The Mathletes

Style: N/A

Quote: "All music is dance music."

Location: Houston, TX, USA

Record Label: All Star Power Up Records, Asaurus Records

Influences: The Cranberries, My Bloody Valentine, Boards of Canada, Guided By Voices, Bjork, The Unicorns, The Flaming Lips, Belle and Sebastian, The Smashing Pumpkins, Depeshe Mode, Neutral Milk Hotel, Daniel Johnston, The Velvet Underground, that song about making crayons from Sesame Street.

Top Eight:

Song: Ghost (Neutral Milk Hotel Cover)

YouTube Video:

Verdict: I intentionally picked the cover of one of my favorite songs off of an album that I consider one of the best ever made for a simple reason: it kicks my ass. Why? Two words: Kazoo. Solo. There's strings and other shit, too...but honestly, trumpets are replaced with kazoo, and I really could care less. It's a brilliant cover, by a brilliant man. The rest of his shit is brilliant, too. Big fucking thumbs up.

Add these to your mp3 player of choice.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

45. Rhys Chatham - A Crimson Grail: For 400 Electric Guitars

It's hard to comprehend how guitars work. It seems as though seven is the ridiculous limit for how many you can have in a band before it becomes frivolous, and you'd damn well better be playing "Freebird." Rhys Chatham? Seven ain't enough for him. He needs 400. And they need to be playing melodically. Symphonicly. In harmony. An impossible task? Not in the slightest. 400 electric guitars, an absolutely breathtaking masterpiece.

Sounds Like: The most beautiful landscape your eyes have ever seen, the most pristine snow your foot has ever graced, etc., etc., /lofty-praise.

Key Tracks: There are only three.

Download: Nope. They're all too big.

Buy It! Amazon