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11:26 a.m. - December 28, 2006
My Six Weeks Of Excess - A Long One
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I’ve been on a bender lately.

No, not falling down drunken too many martinis bender, and no, I haven’t been riding a robot from the future, either.

A music buying bender!

Not counting the big CD collection from Janet that I need to get started on, nor the wonderful holiday CD mix from Designerchica, featuring “Yellin’ At The Christmas Tree” by Billy Idol, amongst other Christmas gems, nor the great set that Moonfaeryy sent along (yes, she’s all Calvined out – give her a kudo for that), and the mix that danddteacher (locked) sent, I’ve bought or acquired 355 audio tracks over the past six weeks from 54 different artists.

What, you ask, are you going to recap them?

Sure, why not! It may give you all some ideas on where to spend those gift cards and certificates and what not. I used two big gift cards to help me purchase some of this stuff.

And here we go a wassailing…band by band. This will be a long one. Settle in. And yes, this is in a funky alpha order, but that’s how iTunes stores ‘em. Deal.

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Argent - I had to get the full length version of “Hold Your Head Up.” You ask why? I shrug. Just had to have it.

Bloc Party - I read they had a new single out, and I scrounged around for it. Wasn’t able to find the single, but I found another single (“Two More Years”) and bought more tracks off of Silent Alarm. Good stuff, especially if you’re into the newer rock bands with a dance element. They really have some good Gang of Four elements in them.

Blue Cheer - I need to represent the Godfathers of both grunge and metal, yo. I was going through some old songs that I had rated just four stars instead of five (a song must be five stars to be mix-worthy, unless I grant it special dispensation) and heard a couple of tracks from them that I ripped and buried from a compilation. Then I was reading Stairway To Hell by Chuck Eddy and he raved about Outsideinside, so I grabbed a couple of songs that were on that record and my ears are happy with the loud grungy confectionary.

Boston - Yeah, I had all of the good songs from the first record, and the only other decent one the did was “Don’t Look Back”, so I nabbed it.

Butthole Surfers - Believe it or not, I did not have ANY BHS in my collection until danddteacher sent me one track from a soundtrack. Of course, I knew of the band, I was just too skeered to dip my toe in there. I now have 18 tracks by them, most all of them demented to the nth degree and will find its way of mixes of the people who know I’m a bit of an adventurous type. Well, maybe “Moving To Florida” will show up, just because of the line “I’m going to have to potty train the Chairman Mao” and “I’m going to grind me a White Castle slider out of India’s sacred cow.” I can’t make that up.

California Oranges - The wonderful Violet sent me a song of theirs on a mix a while ago, and I’ve paid that song (“Ticket Booths And Turnstiles”) forward quite a bit. It’s infectious and catchy and I dig them. They rock out more than that one song showed, and that makes it better.

Candlemass - Eve, the Empress of All Metal, turned me onto them. Sadly, I can’t find their 1986 opus, but this was a ‘reunion’ album released in 2005 and it’s strong. But they can’t stay together with the one singer everyone wants to hear. Who knew Swedes had egos?

Chris Bell - Wait, you say! You’ve mixed Chris Bell all the time. Well, yeah. But I did a silly thing. When I was purging my CD collection before we moved back home, I ripped a bunch of songs and sold it back. My bad. So I put it on my Amazon wish list, and my man Moose came through. So check out I Am The Cosmos (not on iTunes, though, sadly) because it’s a great ‘lost’ record.

Dada - Saw “Dizz Knee Land” on VH-1 Classic. Immediately wondered why the hell I never heard of them back in 1992. Looked on iTunes. They only had a few songs, and not a studio version of “Dizz Knee Land”. Bought a live version. Designerchica gave me another Dada song on a mix. Decided to go out and find it on CD. Bought it used. It’s marvy! Puzzle is a great record that you will enjoy!

Dave Matthews Band - It’s only two songs. I don’t wanna hear it....zip it! ZIP!

DNA And Suzanne Vega - Oh, you know this one. “Tom’s Diner” set to a techno beat. Dah-dah-dahhh-dah…
Drive-By Truckers - I think I already ‘splained this. Anyway, Designerchica gave me a great song by them and so I filled in with some other ones that caught my ear. I may explore them further.

Electric Six - Another band that Violet turned onto me. I filled in some more stuff, including the brilliant “Nuclear War” and “I Lost Control (Of My Rock And Roll)”. You know, they have a one track mind, but it’s a hell of a track!

Funkadelic - I was impressed by the breadth of the selections from Funkadelic on iTunes. When I bought my funk collection, I just needed to get more by them as well, and I found some great tracks that weren’t on my other compilation. The good thing is that you can buy “Maggot Brain” as a song, since it’s under 10 minutes long. The BAD thing, is that the title track to Free Your Mind…And Your Ass Will Follow is over 10 minutes long, and it makes no sense to buy the album on iTunes when you already have 1/3 of the album already.

Get Set Go - The great site Allmusic had a listing of ‘crushworthy’ bands of 2006. Now some of them weren’t available on iTunes yet (sigh) but this was a band that was, and they sounded pretty decent. They’re not the HAPPIEST people in the world (witness “I Hate Everyone” and “Die Mother******* Die”) but the tunes are upbeat at least.

Grateful Dead - I had to buy Live Dead as I wanted what some say is the ‘definitive’ version of “Dark Star”. Now, it’s decent, and I can see the value. But man, I think you needed to be there and tripping to REALLY get it. It’s a lot of noodling at times, and while that’s OK, it wears on you when you want them to GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!

Hawkwind - Their catalog is a mess. It’s always been a mess here in the States. I probably should have been more judicious about what I was buying, but you know, it’s just hard at times. At least I have a version of “Silver Machine” and “Motorhead”.

James Gang - You probably know them, if at all, because of Joe Walsh and the songs “Walk Away” and “Funk #49”. And you know Joe Walsh as a character for the most part. You know what, though, he was a hell of a guitar player and songwriter. I wanted to hear their live album, and I bought the thing on iTunes. A couple of songs go a bit too long, but “Stop” is a tight tune, and he shows his prowess on ORGAN on “Take A Look Around” and “Tend My Garden”. Then, I filled in from their catalog, found two songs on a greatest hits album that weren’t on albums.

And then…I discovered it. My favorite James Gang song has always been “The Bomber”, which I always heard at about 5 ½ minutes long, going from “Closet Queen” to a version of “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” (yes, the Guaraldi song). However, on iTunes, the entire version is available, with “Bolero” thrown in the middle, and now it’s not such a quick edit between parts. It’s marvy!

Judas Priest - Just filling in some album tracks from some records I had only on vinyl. Yeah, I know. I should have upgraded long ago. So sue me.

Kansas - I NEEDED two songs, “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Point Of Know Return”. Yes, Nikki, it’s spelled that way.

King Crimson - I’ve always been intrigued by Crimson and by Robert Fripp. If you look at the band history, basically it was album/tour/horrible breakup during the tour. Even the ‘stable’ lineup (Crimson Mk. 3) shed a member a record before imploding. I need to get his later stuff with Bill Bruford, Tony Levy and Adrian Belew. But for historical sake, I needed the early stuff.

So I got three albums and have two more on order. In The Court Of The Crimson King sounds like a more talented version of the Moody Blues (and I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not) except for the great “21st Century Schizoid Man”. I blame Greg Lake, even though he didn’t play the Mellotron. He’s a good scapegoat.

Starless And Bible Black is the second album from Mk. 3 of Crimson and it’s pretty tasty as it shows off Bill Bruford’s percussion skills and Fripp’s fretboard wizardry. But the album for me is Lark’s Tongue In Aspic, especially part one of the title track. That’s 13 minutes (no, it’s good) that ranges from interesting percussion work to gentle violin to absolutely stunningly loud guitar that any metal head would enjoy. I then bought an authorized live album from Fripp’s site of a concert from 1973, and it’s pretty stellar, too.

Leonard Nimoy - You haven’t lived until you’ve heard his version of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”. I kid you not.

Los Lobos - They’ve always been a great band, and have released some good work recently. I needed a refresher course.

Mastodon - I earlier bought some stuff from Blood Mountain and Leviathan. It kicked my butt and took my name, so I needed more! MORE! LOUDER! MORE!

Morrissey - Just had to have “Hairdresser On Fire”. Had to.

Motorhead - Again, just filling in some back catalog that wasn’t on my compilations, such as “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch.” VH-1 Classic ran a spotlight on Ace Of Spades and Kristin was banging her head to it. Rock on, Kristin!

Mute Math - Moonfaeryy turned me onto them by putting a song by them on her MySpace page. Good stuff!

My Morning Jacket - I had bought a couple of tracks, because of the hype. Then Designerchica gave me yet another song, and then I was hooked. So I bought two records by them, and love them.

Neil Young - He released his classic Fillmore East concert, and I had to buy. It’s wonderful, even if you know that down by the river….he shot his baby….dead…for about 10 minutes. The solos still transfix you, though. Danny Whitten is on this record, too, so that’s double plus good.

Nirvana - I needed to see if “I Hate Myself And Want To Die” was available without Beavis and Butthead’s interruptions. It is and it’s mine, now.

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - I saw Urgh! A Music War and they had a clip of them performing “Enola Gay” and I enjoyed it. So I found a few tunes that sparked my ear. Pleasant poppery from a past time.

Pat Travers Band - When I say, “Boom! Boom!” you say, “Out Go The Lights!”

PJ Harvey - I grabbed her Peel Sessions record, and wow! Just wow! She’s tremendous!

Redbone - I had no flippin’ idea that there was a LONG version of “Come And Get Your Love”. Well, there is. A neat a cappella opening and an extended fade out. Good gravy, it’s great!

Richard Thompson - Oh, geez. I KNEW he was good, but Designerchica gave me a live cut, and so I now have Mock Tudor (a MUST have – buy it NOW!) and Rumor And Sigh.

Rilo Kiley - I loved the stuff I bought by them earlier, so I needed to fill in and explore some earlier stuff. It’s all good!

Sambassadeur - Another Allmusic ‘crushworthy’ band. Yes, they’re Scandanavian. Yes, they remind me a bit of the Cardigans. You got a problem with that? Nice and tuneful and some interesting arrangements, if it is a bit slight.

Silversun Pickups - I think I want to marry this band. It’s got everything I loved about the Smashing Pumpkins (including THAT guitar sound) without the pretension.

Sublime - Yep, another something or other that I missed back in the day when it was ‘popular’. Now, I’m not saying that it’s groundbreaking, but it’s good stuff and some cuts rule.

Suzanne Vega - I graded “Tom’s Diner” and “Blood Makes Noise” and I think I’m going to get more stuff from 99.9F.

Ted Leo And The Pharmacists - He’s just a rock and roll guy, really. Most of the songs sound different and challenging, which is good.

The Afghan Whigs - Hey, Nikki, anything by them is probably not kid-friendly. Just sayin’. I had sold back my Whigs albums, but now they caught my ear for good this time. So Mr. Dulli and company got double sales! Woot for them!

The Darkness - I had to fill in stuff from their last album since Moonfaeryy reminded me of their brilliant decadence.

The Decemberists - Sure, they’re not everyone’s cup of joe, but for a smart, sharp, and intriguing mix of pop, folk and traditional music go check them out. “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)” is just tremendous.

The Hold Steady - No, it only SEEMS like every song is about being loaded. No, it only SEEMS that every song is self-referential. But it’s all good stuff. All of it. I even tracked down their first album. All good. Good. All of it.

The Knack - OK. You know the pattern for “My Sharona”, right. Well, the follow up single on their second album was “Baby Talks Dirty”, which merely syncopates the pattern a bit, along with some smarmy lyrics. Gee, it wasn’t a hit, because the little girls understood that crass remakes of their hit mean a band is in trouble.

The Osmonds - Woah-ho-ho…just like a yo-yo!

The Subways - Filling in a couple of other tracks from them, and found “Young For Eternity”, the title track. You know, it’s not brain surgery but it sure is fun.

Those Transatlantics - Another crushworthy band, they have an interesting pop sound and hooks galore. I love the complicated, yet sunny, “Boys And Children Sing For Summer”.

Throwing Muses - Why I didn’t have anything by them is beyond me. I must explore further. Any scholar of indie rock in the 80s and 90s SHOULD be well versed in them, you think?

Todd Rundgren - This is why reading rock criticism books (like the All Music Guide) when you are at the iTunes store is dangerous. I downloaded six cuts from his first two ‘solo’ albums (technically he had a band) and they’re pretty nifty. The danger comes in that I may max out my credit card doing that.

Was (Not Was) - “Hello Dad? I’m in jail! I like it here! It’s nice! Say hi to Mom…FROM JAIL!!!”

Weezer - Just had to get “Hash Pipe” AND THAT’S IT!

William Shatner - I had heard his apocalyptic howlings before, in versions of “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”. I had no idea that there was an entire spoken word prelude just as deliciously histrionic.


Well, there you go. My six weeks of musical excess. And now, Janet’s CDs await my ears. And if you ain’t goin’ to get it on…take your dead ass home…or so they say!

 

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