Friday, October 31, 2008


261. Goblin - "Suspiria" (from the Suspiria LP, Cinevox 1977)
262. Merzbow - "Yellow Hyper Balls" (from the Pulse Demon LP, Release Entertainment, 1996)

Halloween is upon us and, in honor of that most glorious of holidays, our scientists have today dialed up two very awesome pieces to scare, shock, and aurally disembowel our listeners.

First is the theme from my very favorite horror movie, Dario Argento's masterpiece Suspiria. The music, as in many Argento classics, is provided by Goblin, heroes to spooky prog rockers, dancers, and freaks everywhere. Like many soundtrack pieces, it is improved by context (in this case, dark nights, bright colors, witches, and blood), but it's definitely good enough to give you an idea of the mood of the film all on its own.

Our other selection sets a different tone altogether. It's "Yellow Hyper Balls", and it was my first ever introduction to Japanese noise legend Merzbow. The first time I heard it I thought it almost completely unlistenable, but I've kind of come around on it as a sort of meditation exercise. It's brutally compressed and terrifyingly abrasive, and I think listening to it at least once on Halloween can only be a positive experience.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I have visions of many things

263. Jimmy Ruffin - "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" (Soul Records, 1966)

This is another one of those songs that I tend to lose for a while, and then comes back to me through the magic of iTunes/random television/jukeboxes. I remember hearing it fairly early in childhood, though I've no clue where. The lyrics are fairly standard (though it's a pretty high standard) Motown bittersweetness, but the vocal melody in the chorus is I think one of the most memorable hooks ever, and the arrangement is top notch.

Apparently this is the song that Whitney Houston was originally supposed to sing in the Bodyguard instead of "I Will Always Love You" (we'll get to that later), but they changed it last minute after Paul Young (I have no idea who that is) covered it on the soundtrack of Fried Green Tomatoes. Prolly all for the best, as while I think this is a better song than the Dolly Parton one, the latter was better suited to Whitney's ear-shattering strengths.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I know now fragility

264. The Knife - "Heartbeats" (Rabid Records, 2004)
265. The Knife - "Silent Shout" (V2 Records, 2006)

So Pitchfork reported today that Karin Dreijer from the almighty Knife is putting out a record next year as Fever Ray. You can hear the first sample of this project on the Fever Ray Myspace and it's a very cool, bass heavy instrumental that has me anxiously awaiting more more more. I am a bit sad, however, because while I wish Karin all the best this would seem to indicate that a new Knife record isn't coming anytime soon.

The Knife, as you may well know, are a Swedish sibling duo and one of the best bands in the universe. They first got my attention with "Hearbeats", a pop song so beautiful and sad and interesting that it is capable of melting and freezing hearts at the same time, something our scientists are currently trying to work out.

Deep Cuts, the album which "Heartbeats" opens, was a fun, weird record, but two years later the Knife came back with a complete masterpiece in Silent Shout. I'm not sure there has been a record released this decade that deserves more to be listened to really loud on some really sweet speakers. The track on our list is the title track and opener, which rather nicely sketches out the icy, dark, neon-lit motorway the album takes us through.

Please come back, Knife, come back and take us further into your frosty, shimmering future.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

F--- you, F--- you, You're cool, I'm out

Sorry about the cliched Half Baked reference but if you bare with me, it actually winds up being pretty damn appropriate.

I'm going to go ahead an assume that none of you have heard of Andrew Lahde. That's probably a good thing.

Long story short: In late 2006/early 2007 he set up a hedge fund in Santa Monica California. The fund's strategy was based on his prediction that the US housing market would collapse. Needless to say he was correct. His fund earned returns of over 1,000% (not a typo) and he became one of the most famous investors in the world.

He just quit and left this gem of a goodbye letter:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saved you the room you used to stay in every Sunday

266. The Zombies - "Care of Cell 44" (Epic Records, 1967)

Ideas for what crime the object of affection in this song has been imprisoned for"
- Hopping trains/not paying train fare. This would add a nice irony to the singer having "saved up for the train fare money."
- Domestic assault. The singer still loves her and wants her back, but who knows, maybe he's a touch scared as well.
- Creating a public disturbance. Y'know. Like a hippie.
- Possession of a controlled substance. Y'know. Like a hippie.

Doesn't matter of course, because the melodies and harmonies on this song make it easily one of the best songs of the 60s, that decade that I've been told I'm supposed to worship as, like, when everything was real and meant something.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Goren, are you rescuing me?...Fold.

Looks like I got cable right on time, kids. You may have heard the news earlier this year that Chris Noth will be leaving Law & Order: Criminal Intent to be replaced by Jeff Goldblum, and now we will finally get to see the results. The new season of CI premieres Friday, November 7 on USA, which prolly means I will be DVR-ing it and watching it hungover on Saturdays. No word on whether any dinosaurs will be involved.

DeadinthemiddleofLittleItalylittledidweknow- thatweriddledsomemiddlemanwhodidn'tdodiddily

267. Big Punisher - "Twinz (Deep Cover 98) (ft. Fat Joe)" (Loud Records, 1997)

I feel like (and I might be wrong, strawmen being what they are) for folks who weren't really into hip-hop like me and some of friends were in 1998 (by which I mean reading the Source, watching Rap City, etc.), Big Pun means something very different; let's say a very large, talented rapper that died and the first hugely popular Hispanic rapper. And he very much was both of those things. But I'm not sure they (those magical strawmen) realize just how insanely dope we thought Pun was when he came out. I remember having my mom buy me Capital Punishment, stopping at the mall on the way back from a 6th grade basketball game maybe, coming home, listening to it once, and immediately calling one of my friends to rave about it. Pun was on some completely next level tongue twisting shit and he was great at it.

It should also be noted that Fat Joe at this point was, in the order of things, a solid if unspectacular rapper, loosely affiliated with DITC crew, not the kind of guy you'd anticipate releases from, but you might have a tape of, a rapper who had paid his dues and had all the hardcore cred in the world. Certainly, before Pun, the odds on Fat Joe becoming super famous in the next decade were fairly long.

But Joe does his best to keep up with Pun over the "Deep Cover" beat here, and comes as close as anyone could have hoped for. Pun murders him, of course, but he would've murdered about anyone at this point. The amount of rapid-fire rhymes and syllables he squeezes in to each line is a joy to behold. (I had completely forgotten until seeing it today that Snoop appears in the video, giving our Boricuan heroes blessing to use the beat).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Emotions they stir

268. the All-American Rejects - "Swing, Swing" (Dreamworks Records, 2003)

In 2003 I was a Junior/Senior in high school, I was just beginning to get into rock and roll/indie/whatevs and I hated this song, as I was wont to do with pop-punk (I guess that's what I would've called it then) of the kind. Flash forward to a few months ago, driving down from Cape Cod someone put in an old CD and this was on and, go figure, it's brilliant now.

It took some time to sort out what exactly the lyrics on the chorus were, and I think Rich was the first to figure out that it went "Swing, swing, swing from the tangles of/my heart is crushed by a former love," which is actually quite clever and out of the ordinary, overlapping the last word (and object) of the first sentence and the first word (and subject) of the second one. To wit:

Plus, you know, the organ intro and bridge are super sweet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An excellent question...

...that comes from Devin.


These are the things that haunt my nightmares.

Thanks Devin...I guess.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I guess you turn me on/when you're gone

269. Luomo - "Tessio" (from the Vocalcity LP, Forced Tracks, 2000)

There is another version of this song on Luomo's 2nd LP, the Present Lover. That song goes for a more constant house groove with more cut-up vocals and is also excellent. But I tend to prefer this longer, more dreamlike version. It makes me want to dance so bad, it does, but it makes me want to dance in a kind of ether. It's incredibly rich in both sonic and emotional texture, maybe not straight ahead jacking house, but definitely a record I really feel.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fool me, fool me

270. the Cardigans - "Lovefool" (Stockholm Records, 1996)

An absolutely perfect pop song sung by an impossibly gorgeous Swedish girl from the perspective of someone so depressed that they're begging someone to lie to them. I'm sort of disappointed it's this low on the list, but that's science for ya. Bonus points for Nina Persson's utter unflappability in these videos (I had no clue there was an original version either).

U.S. Video:

Original Video:

Thursday, October 9, 2008


271. Coyote - "Too Hard (Aeroplane Remix)" (from EP2, Is It Balearic?, 2007)

Belgian duo Aeroplane has been busy in 2008, putting out one of my favorite singles of the year ("Whispers"), one of my favorite remixes of the year (of Shortwave Set's "Now Til 69"), and one of my favorite mixes of the year (their RA Podcast). None of those delicious releases, however, is a patch on what they did toward the end of last year, namely this absolutely transcendent remix of Coyote's "Too Hard". It starts out pretty enough, soft synths and fun percussion. But then around two minutes the waves start rolling in, it all gets a bit transition-y for a minute, and at 3:48 the second part of the song starts with a simple guitar line, and suddenly the sunrise on a beach that a lot of this nu-Balearic movement seems to be striving for crystallizes before me, and it is as beautiful as promised.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Something better than in the middle.

272. The Wallflowers - "One Headlight" (Interscope Records, 1997)

So, Tom Petty sounds like Bob Dylan. And the Wallflowers sound like the Heartbreakers. And Jakob Dylan sounds like Bob Dylan. But Jakob Dylan doesn't sound like Tom Petty. Like, at all, really, at least not to me.

The line "there's got to be something better than 'in the middle'" is super-ironic, because everything about this song is really quite middle of the road. The difference between Petty and Jakob's Bob Dylan voices is that Petty really goes for it, the screechy, over-exaggerated, and at times annoying impression while Jakob just seems like "hey, yeah, I sound like the guy, he's my dad, so what? Ain't nothing funny about that." And yet, something about this song, with all its po-faced M.O.R., makes me like it better than anything by Tom Petty and anything Papa Dylan's done in about a quarter of a century. Maybe it's just that disco beat, and the earnestness that lines like "She says, 'It's cold, it feels like Independence Day'..." (btw, in my head, she's thinking of this, not this) are delivered in. I mean, "a Broken Heart Disease," fer chrissake, ha!

Jakob might not have his father's gift for winking at his own bullshit, but maybe sometimes believing in your own bullshit works even better.