So, the Yankees finally ship the Big Useless out of town after two seasons, 34 wins, and 0 World Series appearances. It's a good move to get him off the team, but, personally, I'm not convinced the Yankees are building a better starting rotation for 2007 than they've had in any of the last four seasons.
This week's Friday 10 has a 95 mile-an-hour heater and some wicked breaking stuff.
01 Crude Bomb - The Evens: For what it's worth, the first Evens CD was the first album I listened to in 2007. I brought the disk along for the families drive into Manhattan and back for a 3-year-old's birthday party on New Year's Day. The party was at an UWS Pizzeria Uno, where H got the chance to make his own pizza-for-one. It was... awesome. His first layer of sauce was a splatter that resembled a fish. Then he added a huge pile of cheese to the right side of the dough platter. The next layer of sauce he spread out to look like a sun. And then a little more cheese on the other side of the pie. Fifteen minutes later, the waiter brought it back all baked up, and H and I chowed down. It was damn good. The Evens album? Also DAMN GOOD. By now, you know the band is indie rock demi-god Ian MacKaye and his girlfriend Amy Farina, formerly of Mr. Candyeater and The Warmers. There's a new Evens disk out, and what I've heard is real good, but I'm still stuck on this first one. There's a fantastic, nearly two-year-old article from LA Weekly here. (Written by Brendan Mullen. Rather than bore you further with a tangent, I'll let you Google him at your leisure.) Check out NPR's website, it also has a bunch of Evens/Ian/Fugazi material.
02 Polly - Nirvana: From Nevermind; maybe you have it. The video Live! Tonight! Sold Out! is finally on DVD. I really really wanted it years ago, but it took forever to come out, and now I couldn't care less.
03 EMI - Sex Pistols: Speaking of DVDs, the Julien Temple-directed documentary The Filth and The Fury is fantastic. I Netflicked it last year to see it again, and I liked it even more the second time around. It's so interesting to see the part near the end when Lydon is nearly in tears over what the scene (and Malcolm) "did" to his old mate, Sid. Lydon seems to forget about the camera and speaks informally to his friend, the director, like "Oh, Julien, it was horrible...." Captivating. The version of "EMI" I heard today was the plain jane one from Bollocks.
04 Hay Wrap - Saw Doctors: A fine song on record and a great song live. They're almost always on tour, and soon they'll be in the USA. (New York show is March 10 at Nokia Theatre.) From All The Way From Tuam.
05 ESP - Buzzcocks: from their second album, 1978's Love Bites, the one with "Ever Fallen in Love" on it. Their debut, Another Music in a Different Kitchen, had come out only about seven months earlier, and they followed it up with this. That's momentum! Everywhere Love Bites was released, it came out with slight variations to the cover. To collectors, this is like a Crack/Viagra speedball. There's a cool website with all the different jackets and labels of practically every Buzzcocks release. Apparently, the rarest version of this record is a two-LP white-label test-pressing with side A on one LP and side B on the other. I've never seen it listed anywhere, but I'm looking. (Along with thousands of fanatic a-holes just like me.) This is a great album, and deserves some time in your ears.
06 Image of Me - Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys: I always loved the idea behind this song. The narrator is a guy asking his ex if she's remaking her new boyfriend "in the image of me." Badass and arrogant. It's a late-career Wills song, a cover song, and I think you'll only find it on a pair of anthologies. Mine is from the good-but-not-great-or-thorough Curb Records' Greatest Hits. A few seconds of scrolling Amazon could find you a much better comp than that one. Wills and his band were pretty amazing. As you listen, you can hear inspiration from Louis Armstrong and Tex Ritter in equal doses. The best description of BW&HTP that I've seen is from AllMusic.com, who described them as a "dance band with a country string section that played pop songs as if they were jazz numbers."
07 Barbed Wire - Youth Brigade: There was a Youth Brigade that formed in SoCal in the mid 80s by the Stern brothers. They played cool punk rock that would often turn up on the soundtrack of Vision and Powell skate videos. They had great songs like "Did You Wanna Die" and "Sink With Kalifornia." This is not THAT BAND. These guys are the east coast Youth Brigade, from Washington, D.C. specifically. Which automatically means we can play the six degrees of Ian MacKaye game. The easiest angle would be that they were on Dischord Records, the label run by MacKaye, but we won't go that way. How about this one: Youth Brigade singer Nathan Strejcek was (in 1980) singer for Teen Idles, which had Ian MacKaye on bass; Youth Brigade bassist Bert Quieiroz was (in 1981) in a band called the Untouchables with Alec MacKaye, brother of Ian. This song, a really hot slice of DCHC, is from Youth Brigade's Possible EP. The title was a reference to one of the first Dischord ads, where, in a list of future releases, the small print read, "possible EP by Youth Brigade." I have the EP on Dischord #14, a vinyl comp that features the first EPs from Teen Idles, Government Issue, State of Alert, and Youth Brigade.
08 Love Will Tear Us Apart (alt) - Joy Division: I think I've gotten this one on a Friday 10 before, maybe a few months ago. This is the alt version from the b-side of the "Love Will Tear Us Apart" seven-inch on Factory Records. It's a little treblier than the A-side, with a thinner vocal. Overall, the tempo of the alt is slightly faster than the A-side. This is a great version, but the be-all, end-all version of "LWTUA" is from the band's second John Peel session, November 1979. It's out there and in print. Another great Manchester band with a brilliant and intense lead singer.
09 Have a Cuppa Tea - The Kinks: From Muswell Hillbillies. I am such a fanatic about the Kinks. As anyone who knows me already knows, I've never been a Beatles fan. They just never got to me. I could listen to about three or four of their songs, but the rest... were just OK. Where other people heard genius, I merely heard simplicity (and inferior backing vocals). When I was younger, dumber, and full of... piss and vinegar, I'd tweak people by saying I hated the Beatles and that they flat-out SUCKED. I'm older, and I've melllowed, and now I can at least just say, sure -- they were adequate, but not for my ears. Why am I writing all this in an entry for a Kinks song? Because then and now, the Kinks are the band I always throw in the ring against Beatles fans. Far superior songwriting and musicianship. And if they could have just gotten back into the U.S. after their 1965 tour (they were banned from re-entering by the U.S. government at the request of the AFM), instead of four years later, Kinkmania would be the universal descriptor. There's a great Pete Townshend quote from The History of Rock n Roll: "I always think that Ray Davies should one day be Poet Laureate. He invented a new kind of poetry and a new kind of language for pop writing that influenced me from the very, very, very beginning." There are 74 Kinks songs on my iPod. That's not nearly enough.
10 Fake Tales of San Francisco - Arctic Monkeys: I kept seeing them written up in papers and magazines, and was curious, so I stole a bunch of their songs online. Should have known better: I wasn't impressed. This song was the biggest surprise of this week's F10, as I thought I'd exterminated all the Arctic Monkeys inhabiting my hard drive.
Do it yourself: Put your digital jukebox or mp3 player on "shuffle all songs," and let us know the first 10 out the box. Because it's Friday.
[posted with ecto]
On iTunes right now: Stranglehold from the album Burning Ambitions (A History of Punk) by U.K. Subs