My wife and I are totally thunderstruck by the kindness of ChicagoMama. Yesterday, we received a big box of amazing from her, filled with toys and other goodies for our boys (and for us!). Included among the gifts was even a DVD, and a note suggesting we let it get us through those hours when our days start in the middle of night. So, ChicagoMama isn't just super kind and uber-thoughtful, she also remembers what she reads on The Sticking Point and bestows gifts accordingly. Wow. Too, too nice.
Of course, the 'Mama and her family will be receiving a proper, formal (non-Internet) thank you, but I wanted to let everyone here know how she rolls. Thank you.
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I bought my first-ever entire "album" off the iTunes store yesterday. They'd sent me one of those update emails that mentioned full performances from Austin City Limits. I know some great acts have played there this year, like Cat Power, Jenny Lewis, and deadboy & the Elephantmen. Sure enough, they had an 11-track recording of deadboy that Fat Possum Records didn't even have listed, so I brought it all back home with a download. Ten bucks for eleven awesome songs. I've been listening to that one ALOT in the last 20 hours. (I think I like the live version of "Evil Friend" better than the version on the album.) I immediately burned a copy of these songs, so's the family and I can listen in the car this weekend.
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The 20th Time's a Charm, Dept: On Wednesday night, baby W's twentieth night at home in New York, he slept through the night for the very first time. This followed right on the heels of some particularly wakeful nights, so it came as quite a shock. Such a shock, in fact, that I spent much of that -- my first night to sleep straight through -- awake, waiting for the crying to come. It's like I'm shell-shocked.
Today's Friday 10, now with 30% less irritability.
01 Come On Now - Ramones: Pleasant Dreams is a really cool and often overlooked Ramones album. So good. I think if your collection consists of only the mandatory Ramones releases, those first four from '76 to '78, it's time to do a good thing for yourself. Get another one of their releases every six months or so. It'll take you about seven years to get to ¡Adios Amigos!, and you will have gotten an education for your brain and your earholes. Trust me, those albums you think are sub-par? Check 'em. Every second of the Ramones musical canon is worth hearing, early and often.
02 City Baby Attacked By Rats - GBH: Oh, these Birmingham guys are just hilarious, and not in a good way. In the early 80s, their name started showing up on jackets of local punks, so my friends and I checked them out. We saw them at the Ritz, and giggled our asses off through most of the show. They seemed so insincere. The band was copping all these hot "rock star" poses while struggling to find the right frets on their guitars. For years, we told anyone who asked that G.B.H. was "British slang for poser." All in all, though, as British "punk/metal" goes, they are twice as good as Exploited, and half as good as Discharge. "City Baby..." was their first single, I think. It's also on the debut album.
03 The Wait - The Pretenders: The great Pretenders. You probably know as much as I do (or more) about the Pretenders. Chrissie shows up in a lot of punk rock documentaries, and I think it surprises a lot of people to learn that she was there, then. Yes, she hung with the Pistols, Gen X, UK Subs, and the kids from Eater, worked at McLaren's Sex store, wrote for the NME, and was almost in a band that later became the Clash. Some righteous lineage, for sure. (And let's not forget she conceived a child with Ray Davies.) I KNOW you don't need me to tell you how amazing that first Pretenders record is, because you're probably already thinking that you'd like to pull it out and listen to it today. (If you're a fanatic like me, you already know that Rhino released a blown-out version of the debut, with 28 tracks, including some demos and alts. "The Wait" is a great song. Not one of the upper-tier, everyone's favorite tracks, but it oughta be. When you listen to the album later today, dig what James Honeyman-Scott is doing to that guitar on "The Wait." Sick!
04 Shanghai-A-Go-Go - Squirm: I only have a handful of Squirm songs, off singles and comps. They range from mediocre ("Shanghai A-Go-Go") to good ("Dead Girls Don't Say No," "Fuck You Brooke Shields"). The band were part of the very first wave of New York City Hardcore bands, along with Ism, Butch Lust and the Headlickers, and The Mob. This is going back to around '80-'81. The very first comp to capture the scene is the now legendary Big Apple: Rotten to the Core from 1982. Pretty tricky to find now. There's a very short writeup here.
05 Dildos, Bondage, and Toys - Artless Entanglements: A right, snappy song from a classic SST Records sampler called Chunks. Worth getting your hands on. It's got some major punk rock on it, including some songs by bands no one's ever heard of like Black Flag, Minutemen, and Descendents. Artless Entanglements, as it happens, is the one-off project of SST's resident knob-twiddler, Spot.
06 Candy Says - Velvet Underground: I don't know how to write about the Velvet Underground. Flat-out brilliant, and there I stall. This, as you know, is track one, side one of the great self-titled album.
By the way: If you're ever trolling the peer-to-peer directories looking for great music to steal, you might search for a deadboy & the Elephantmen version of this song. They'd play it live, and that's how you'll find it. The version I have is from a January 2004 show at the Renaissance in Lafayette. At the end, Dax says, "That's the Velvet Underground... sorta."
07 World Love - Magnetic Fields: I have never listened to the 69 Love Songs cd. But I've got all the songs on my iTunes, and they fall out of the sky like magic every now and then. I am sure this is one of my favorite albums of the last 10 years.
08 Step Aside - Sleater-Kinney: Hi, we're Sleater-Kinney and we broke up waaaaay before our music went bad. In fact, many say it was still getting better. We released seven not-good-but-great CDs. "Step Aside" is from One Beat. We hear that Tommy Himself is nuts for Corin's Rickenbacher.
09 Alice Springs - Liz Phair: Good old Liz Phair, huh? She still gets 'em out to the shows, still generates our interest with the new music, but nothing matches that Exile album.
10 Absence of God - Rilo Kiley: Is Jenny Lewis one of the best living American songwriters, male or female? Probably. I met her once and literally thanked her for writing "A Better Son/Daughter." I think I might have even done a totally dorky, I'm a mouth-breathing shut-in thing and asked her if I could hug her. Fuck you. I'm not ashamed. I hugged the woman who wrote "A Better Son/Daughter." This track, "Absence of God" is from the More Adventurous disk, which I think is fantastic, but even more amazing once you've heard the records that led up to it. Every Rilo Kiley release has taken a giant step forward. They've been making music for, what? Six years? And yet, they're already one of my all-time favorite bands. Check out what I listen to the most. The Rilos are rubbing weenies with acts like Black Flag, X, and Rollins Band.
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Now do it yourself: Put your digital jukebox or mp3 player on "shuffle all songs." What are the first ten you hear?
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[posted with ecto]
On iTunes right now: Patience from the album All Through a Life by Rites of Spring