Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Splotchy's Contribution To Total Absorption

Hi, here's a little background on my choices for the recent Total Absorption mix.

The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
I was a latecomer to The White Stripes. I could even go so far as to say I was willfully ignorant of them. I don't know -- I just get stubborn that way, especially when it comes to music that grabs the popular imagination. Something is popular and I get all pissy about it. I finally broke down and listened to De Stijl, then White Blood Cells and then Elephant. I now must admit their music is great, and insanely catchy. It's this song in particular, the first off their album Elephant, where I just have to hear the whole thing every damn time.

Gang Of Four - Natural's Not In It
Off the incredible album Entertainment. If you want to witness the sad spectacle of me doing air guitar, play this song.

Luna - La Poupee Qui Fait Non
Luna put out a lot of great music, but this cover of a Michel Polnareff song on Pop Romantique, a compilation of "alternative" bands covering French pop songs, has always been a favorite of mine.

Magnetic Fields - I Don't Believe You
This isn't my absolute favorite Magnetic Fields song, but I always have to hear it all the way through. Stephin Merritt's lyrics are always great, and he often has a habit of having a big whammy lyric at the end that you gleefully anticipate. It doesn't hurt that the line uses the word "ampersand", one of my all-time favorite words. There are at least a couple versions of this song -- there's a single version that is more synth-pop and quicker, but I included the version from their album i because I like the cello part.

The Beta Band - She's The One
An eight minute song? On a mix tape? Yes and yes! I know putting such a long song on a mix tape can be a little risky, but believe me, it's warranted in this case. There are occasions when I hear a song, and I am basically mesmerized by it until it finishes. If you asked me how long this song was after hearing it, I'd say four minutes. This song just sweeps you away and doesn't let go.

The Shins - New Slang
I first heard this song when I got a copy of it from Tim, who I *think* might have been hipped to it from the Garden State soundtrack. Just compiling this little post, it occurred to me that Tim has contributed some integral pieces to my musical makeup. It was Tim who, in my freshman year of college, gave me a cassette of what would become my most treasured music, The Feelies' album The Good Earth. Thank you again, Tim! In addition to the Garden State soundtrack, "New Slang" can also be found on The Shins' record Oh, Inverted World. It's a really mellow, haunting song.

Robyn Hitchcock - The Speed Of Things
This song is off the uniformly wonderful album Moss Elixir. For some reason, this song really grabs me. It's just Hitchcock singing over an electric guitar, but that's all it needs. The lyrics especially affect me.

Here's just a sample:

I fed you in your chair this morning
You made a mess of everything
By afternoon, you drove a sports car
You were driving at the speed of things

The 13th Floor Elevators - I Had To Tell You
If you aren't hep to them, the 13th Floor Elevators were a fantabulous psychedlic band from Austin, Texas that were around in the late 60's. The main creative force in the band was Roky Erickson. Roky Erickson is sort of like Neil Young. Both are capable of rocking out, but there's this delicate fragility that runs through their work.

A lot of the songs in the 13th Floor Elevators repertoire have a freaky sounding instrument in it (called the "Electric Jug"), but this song doesn't. It is a quieter, acoustic affair, and really beautiful.

Sam Cooke - Change Is Gonna Come
I knew a lot of the big hits by Sam Cooke back when I was a kid -- "Wonderful World", "Twistin' The Night Away", "Another Saturday Night", etc. It wasn't until I was an adult that I heard this song. It really displays Cooke's gospel roots. It gets me every time, every single time.

Brian Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets
I had to pick up the pace a little for the next person in the mix. Most of this song is instrumental, with some faraway singing and drumming fading in near the end. I don't know exactly what it is about this song, but it's got my name all over it.


Cup said...

Great list, and brilliant post. I'm shaking my head in agreement over every damn track.

Did you know that:

— Roky Erikson has been unearthed and is touring these days?

— Peter Buck produced The Good Earth (yes, I must mention that every time I see the album mentioned on your blog).

— You need to give me the name of that compilation the Luna track is from?

Saw Mr. Hitchcock twice in the last year, both times with Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey and Bill Reiflin backing him. Robyn always gives great show. Have you seen the doc on Sundance?

Some Guy said...

I had the exact same experience with the White Stripes. My one friend kept pushing and pushing for me to check them out, but, like you, I'm stubborn. I still have not bought all their stuff, but I look forward to when the songs I have pop up on my iPod.

Splotchy said...

beth, yeah, I knew Roky Erickson was floating around. He actually was in Chicago a couple years ago for the Intonation Festival. I was kicking myself pretty hard for missing it. I own most of Roky's solo records.

Yep, I knew Mr. Buck was the producer. He has my eternal thanks!

The comp containing the Luna song is Pop Romantique. As you can see, it also has tracks by Apples In Stereo, Magnetic Fields, Air (w/ Fran├žoise Hardy!), John Wesley Harding, etc.

I remember reading on your blog about seeing him perform. I am eternally envious of you. He's come to Schuba's in Chicago several times, but I have yet to see him. Regarding the doc -- are you talking about Storefront Hitchcock? Yes, I have seen it. I absolutely love it. It doesn't hurt that he does a lot of material from Moss Elixir on it. I need to seek out the other concert movies the director Jonathan Demme has done -- still haven't seen Stop Making Sense!

Splotchy said...

chris, god bless us music curmudgeons!

J.D. said...

Uh, Splotchy? I forgot to read the original post, and I have no idea what the hell this is... What is it, and am I too late due to my idiocy?

Splotchy said...

J.D., I apologize for any confusion.

I'll eventually put a summary post of the Green Monkey Music Project that I can include in my "I, Splotchy Highlights" section.

But for now, this link should be a good primer.

Timothy Donavan Russell said...

Regarding having introduced you to some of your favorite music, you're quite welcome, man! I actually first heard The Shins on the radio (on WQNA here in Springfield of all places). It was one of those driveway moments where I stayed in the car to find out the name of the band. I think that was a year or so before the "Garden State" soundtrack came out.

J.D. said...

Well... can you do that soon? I'm still really, really confused...

Distributorcap said...

nothing by the 1910 Fruitgum Company???


Barbara Bruederlin said...

hahaha I tend to be a little, shall we say snobbish about music that I deem too popular as well, but have to admit that the White Stripes are earning their kudos.
You can never go wrong with Gang of Four imo
I need to check out Luna - yay for new (to me) music
When My Boy Walks Down the Street sort of does that for me with Magnetic Fields songs
And all the other songs, I am less than familiar with. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but what fun work. Thanks for this great game and for pulling the whole thing together.

Splotchy said...

tim, cool, I wasn't sure where you got it. The first time I heard an Outkast song I was rolling into Springfield, so sometimes having the radio on can be a good thing.

j.d., it's just a mixtape, man.

dc, 1910 Fruitgum Company? Oh, you just opened a *big* can of worms. I went through a pretty severe 60's bubblegum phase a few years back. I kid you not. Some day you may find yourself visiting my blog and be confronted by the faces of the grinning hyenas of Ohio Express. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

barbara, you have hepped me to a lot of music I have never been exposed to as well. I think I heard some of that Neutral Milk Hotel album and really liked it, but instead of buying it new, I picked up an older album of theirs I didn't like that much. I'll have to pick the record up, I really love the songs. It's funny, I have never heard that Belle and Sebastian song, though I own the record. I listened quite a bit to the first half of the album, but for no particular reason didn't listen to the last half.

Distributorcap said...

Some day you may find yourself visiting my blog and be confronted by the faces of the grinning hyenas of Ohio Express. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

yummy yummy yummy

(throw in a little Tommy Roe and we are set)