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7:43 p.m. - September 09, 2006
It's Music Week And Here's A Random CD
By the power vested in me, in the State of Indiana, and the internet, and SmedCo, Inc. I hereby pronounce this MUSIC WEEK.

Please, no applause, just throw money.

Plenty of tune related postings this week, about upcoming mixes, high school bands, disappointing albums, what’s new in my collection thus far in 2006, and a couple of surprises Monday and Tuesday, but today, for the first day (OK, it’s Saturday night, but it’s the weekend entry, so it’s today sometime, right?) I’m going to do another one of my random CD things, much like I did in this here entry.

So I selected a CD from my pile of work (one that I burned for iPod backup) and, well, here it is, in all its glory

1. Cancer – The Poster Children. Oh, this must be the CD of P and R right before the one I reviewed in that earlier link. Karma, Earl, Karma! The Poster Children are a group from Champaign, Illinois (so they’re local enough) that wangled a major label contract in the aftermath of Nirvana. Yet, they were an interesting mix of post punk and grungy dynamics. There is a pretty huge wall of sound here, a darn great guitar riff, and lyrics and singing of some sort.

2. Talk of the Town – The Pretenders. When I heard this song, I KNEW it was going on the mix I’m making now (yes, Sally, yours are burned but I need to mail them. I’m lame) for someone down in Southern Indiana. This was a great cut, showing the tenderness of Chrissie Hynde and the great guitar work of James Honeyman-Scott. It was truly a waste when he overdosed.

3. Break Away – The Producers. What’s that, Smed? An album track from an obscure 80’s band on one of your mixes? Do tell! Do tell! This song, the leadoff of side two (and the last track you need to hear, really) from You Make The Heat has a lot of interesting things going on. I like the cymbal work in the chorus, and the main riff into the verses and bridge. Ah, I just like the song. So there.

4. President Gas – The Psychedelic Furs. The leadoff track from Forever Now, this is a strong and powerful cut. The Furs take on a megalomaniacal chief executive, and one has to remember that this was made in 1982, not 2006. A classic Furs song that gets better each time you hear it. I love the sound, the way the guitar is distorted and menacing and countering the cellos in the instrumental bridge, and the way the bass line just dodders along, anchoring everything to it so the fury doesn’t blow the song away.

5. Public Image – Public Image, Limited. For those of you who thought Johnny Rotten was a no talent wanker, think again. As John Lydon, he did do SOME music of quality and distinction without relying on speed and shock value. Keith Levine’s guitar cuts shards all around it, and Jah Wobble’s menacing bass is almost evil in its intent. Yeah, sure, Lydon took PiL into pretension and boredom, but that took a few years (and a few band members) to get there. Enjoy this, now!

6. Amie – Pure Prairie League. Oh, I just LOVE the juxtaposition of those two tunes, eh? Ok, when this song comes on the radio, who DOESN’T sing along? Anyone? Didn’t think so. Heck, I tried to sing it in the dentist chair once. Didn’t work so well – I couldn’t gurgle the harmonies in key. And anyone named Amy around me has to suffer with a rendition of this song, of course.

7. Consciousness Raising As A Social Tool – The Pursuit of Happiness. Random IS the key to life, eh what? Now the disc veers back to Canadian power pop / Rundgren freaks in one of their insightful and funny songs. I always wanted to cover this one in a band, just because of the title and the fact it ROCKS, and has nice harmonies to boot. I’d take the second verse.

8. You’re My Best Friend – Queen. If I put this on a mix CD for you, you know I’ve dipped my toe into Sappyville, population me. Love the electric piano sound, though!

9. Dragon Attack – Queen. Ah, I went with some two-fers here! Must have been Tuesday. (God, can we get RID of that AOR cliché, please??) Anyway, this totally kicks ass and takes names, and allows everyone in the band to do their own little wanky show off bit, but unlike Yes it’s a pretty tight concise wanky show off bit, and not stretching for whole album sides. See, they learned!

10. Voice Of Harold – REM. A rarity, from Dead Letter Office, which basically finds Michael Stipe reciting the back of an old religious album verbatim over the backing track of…

11. Seven Chinese Brothers – REM. Yep, I put these back to back, and it’s really odd to hear the jokey cut, and then the real cut, with the same backing and the same backing vocals. The joke one has a rougher vocal mix, of course, but still, it’s a funny takeoff. The original song is one of the early REM classics, painting a moody and ethereal picture.

12. Down Rodeo – Rage Against The Machine. I think I may make a few people mad, or scratch their head, when I give my disappointing album review later in the week, because I will include Audioslave in it. RATM didn’t really make a top-to-bottom classic album, but they had enough tracks with fire and verve that make them must haves. Of course, Katie can’t listen to them, because I don’t want her repeating the words at pre-school. Mrs. Campanelli would NOT approve.

13. Psychotherapy – The Ramones. For a long time, the Ramones were always consistent. After their first few albums, they’d crank out an album a year with about three or four classics. This had a hilarious video to accompany it, and of course, you need to crank this one to 11, at least. Maybe 12!

14. You Can Leave Your Hat On – Randy Newman. Sure, Joe Cocker sang it for the movie soundtrack, but I picture Kim Basinger all the time when I hear it. Actually, can I tell you a secret? I picture Liz doing the Kim Basinger thing when I hear this song. As it should be, of course.

15. (Glad I’m) Not In Love – Rank And File. A band, ostensibly from the Paisley Underground movement, that was an alt country forerunner than anything else. They were more country than the Long Ryders and Green on Red, and had a unique sound where the Kinman brothers sang in octaves rather than harmonies. While some of their stuff was a bit flat, I felt, this is one of the best ones, a rollicking song about commitment shyness.

16. Let’s Pretend – The Raspberries. Oh, Eric Carman. Yeah, he soon dove into schmaltz (c’mon, “All By Myself” is schmaltz with a capital S) but man, he really could belt out the perfect pop love song if he tried. Of course, since the youth of America are easily swayed by the whims of moronic radio hacks, this never got a fair shake and died in the mid-30s on the chart. But it’s a PERFECT song to sing to your teenage lover. Well, OK, people my age shouldn’t have teenage lovers. Ewwww…

17. Nobody Knows – The Raspberries. See above. Even songs that weren’t singles were pretty darn near perfect when Carman and the Raspberries put their mind to it. Instead of professing love, he’s profession jealousy and insecurity about a girl who jilted. “I just want to hit him, but that won’t do.” He’s taken anger management, I see.

18. Come And Get Your Love – Redbone. Oh, this is SO going on the mix for my friend from the Pocket City. It is. How perfect is this song? It’s, well, perfectly perfect. OK, I probably wouldn’t have mixed strings into it, as I don’t think that space needed to be filled (the sparse funk bass and drum pattern would have been just fine). But get it from the main vine, alright?

19. Kiss Me On The Bus – The Replacements. A lot of people, to this day, declaim their favorite independent bands as sellouts when they sign with a major label. Well, the Replacements really shot holes into that theory as Tim may be their strongest album top to bottom. Now who want to sneak a kiss on a bus? PDA can be A-OK!

20. Beer: 30 – Reverend Horton Heat. I saw the Rev open up for Social Distortion in 1992, not having heard anything by him. He opened with this one, and I was transformed into a true believer of the Reverend! “Party! Get Naked! Buy us beer!” over a psychobilly beat! What could be better? Nothing much at all.

21. Feel Like Making Love – Roberta Flack. Oh, baby baby. Pardon me…I’ll be back in a few….

22. My Wife And My Dead Wife – Robyn Hitchcock. Liz doesn’t like this song, much, and even don’t have a dead wife. I don’t have a dead girlfriend, either, as far as I know. But anyway, I can see her point. You know what I think it is – she doesn’t want to be the DEAD wife. Well, that’s not going to happen soon, because I don’t want Law And Order: Crawfordsville to come knocking on my door. Oh, yeah, and I love her too. Right honeybunch?

23. Listening To The Higsons – Robyn Hitchcock. So a cult artist making fun of an obscure early 80’s English band that I haven’t heard at all, and I somehow love this song enough to put it on a mix? Yeah, I do. You gotta give this hen some eyeballs. No, that’s what he says! Trust me!

Well, there you go. 23 tracks that I thought were worthy enough to save if the absolute catastrophic happens, as long as my office doesn’t go up with whatever. Anyway, I hope you stick around for MORE of music week…coming soon! I know you’ll like it.


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