Ickmusic’s Friday Five: April 4, 2008

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Face down in the gutter won’t admit defeat though his clothes are soiled and black, he’s a big, strong man with a child’s mind, don’t you take his booze away!

Is it April already? The first quarter of the year flew by and as a full time bean counter I’ve spent the last week up to my eyeballs in said beans so I’m ready for a fix (or five). We returned last week to a full house… Colin, Joe, Frank, the Tap! We had a few regulars and a few new faces in the fivers club. Membership is easy (and has its privileges); just follow my lead. Hit shuffle on the music player of your liking and share with the rest of the world!

That’s it, now onto the shuffle!

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Erykah Badu – Stay (from Live)

One listen to Ms. Badu’s version of Chaka Khan’s brilliant “Stay” will make a true believer out of the most steadfast critic. And for those who have not picked up her latest realease New Amerykah, Part One (4th World War), click that link and remedy that situation now.

2. Sarah McLachlan – Shelter (violin mix) (MP3) (from Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff)

Another vocal powerhouse, this is a sparse and hauntingly beautiful version of a track from her sophomore record Solace.

3. Sisters of Mercy – This Corrosion (from A Slight Case of Overbombing: Greatest Hits, Volume One)

Industrial, Goth, Electronica… there are a slew of labels that all somehow apply to the Sisters. If I had to pick one for this track it would be Grandeur. The pairing of Andrew Eldritch’s eloquence and view of the world and Jim Steinman’s over the top orchestration worked perfectly in this tune that can only be described as epic.

4. Madonna – Like a Prayer (from The Immaculate Collection)

Before the faux British accent and reliance on vocal enhancement software Madge had the ability to drop some shock and awe on the public conscious. Looking back it was all rather passé, but at the time shit was deep (burning crosses and making out with an African-American)! Truth be told, I prefer this model to her latest incarnation. I’m sure I’m not alone.

5. Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City (MP3) (from Appetite for Destruction)

It’s a damned shame that Axl Rose has allowed (some may say caused) the deterioration of the band’s reputation over the years. To me this still stands as one of the finest rock records ever committed to tape. I’ve burned out more than half a dozen copies of this album over the years and even 21 years later it sounds as vital and aggressive as it originally did.

So now it’s your turn, what’s closing your day?

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: March 27, 2008

Too Orangey for Shuffle.

Guess who just got back today? Them wild-eyed boys that had been away, haven’t changed, haven’t much to say but man, I still think them cats are crazy.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but we’re back! When we last met the five revealed my affinity for German industrial racket, Miles Davis, and deep catalog soul records. I found out we’ve inspired a Wednesday version of the five over at Septenary and a Facebook group. Our ‘faithful fivers’ rallied before the storm knocked the lights out of the site for a few days. So for you first timer’s… I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and then show you my five with some words for each track.

Then it’s your turn!

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Colin Hay – Overkill (acoustic version) (MP3) (from Man @ Work)

This has always been my favorite Men at Work tune. Long before Zack Braff turned it into a theme song for Generation Y, I regarded this as one of those seminal tunes. I got to see Colin last summer and was blown away at how alive and current this tune still sounds.

2. Joe Jackson – Is She Really Going Out With Him? (acoustic version) (from Live 1980/86)

I guess the shuffle is digging the acoustic versions today! In this case however, the original far exceeds this lifeless version. I’m an unapologetic supporter of all things Joe Jackson but every once in awhile his attempts at being clever fall just short of the mark.

3. Frank Zappa – A Token of My Extreme (from Joe’s Garage: Acts I, II & III)

This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER…” from the record that every self-respecting music fan should own at least one copy of (if not multiple), this is one of the transitional tunes meant to further the story. Even in these tracks Frank displays a sense of musicality and composition that had not been see in rock music before and has not been seen since. To say I’m a Zappa fan would be an understatement.

4. Spinal Tap – Hell Hole (MP3) (from This is Spinal Tap)

It’s been said that “parody is the highest form of making fun of someone else’s shit” and no truer words have been spoken when referring to Spinal Tap so I won’t even try. So say us all… “Tap into America!”

5. Brand Nubian – Hold On (from Everything Is Everything)

Revolutionary Hip-Hop dropping knowledge over the tender hook of Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years”. While I’m sure many aficionados will decry the overt commercialism of this track I’ll admit to it being the hook that reeled this suburban white boy in and expanded his mind.

Time to shuffle on and now it’s your turn, what comes up in your shuffle?

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: March 14, 2008

The Other White Meat.I don’t know how the celebrities do it, winging from coast to coast to coast and never looking worn a minute for it. I’m back, nicely jet lagged and California Dreaming for this week’s five.

Last weeks “very special” pre-taped five covered everything from the cure for “Purple Ear Fatigue” to my penchant for my love of NWOBM bands with a ride on the A train along the way. Our Friday Five regulars (should we call you guys Fivers?) chimed in with everything from Sweeny Todd to Robert Cray. To join the elite Fivers club you need only stop by on Friday’s and submit your random five in the comments.

Now, on with the, albeit sleepy, show…

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Einstürzende Neubauten – Sie (from Tabula Rasa)

For those of you paying attention, I’ve kinda got a thing for Industrial music and it does not get more industrial than Einstürzende Neubauten. Loosely translated into “buildings that are collapsing” the group eschews the traditional format (and often instruments) of western music and creates movements in lieu of songs. I highly recommend the linked record as an introduction to the bands 90’s output.

2. Miles Davis – Spanish Key (from Bitches Brew)

As much of a seminal record as ‘Trane’s Giant Steps, this record truly put the jazz world on its ear. For me this was my introduction to Miles and opened my mind to the world of fusion and jazz outside the box. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to appreciate the risk that was taken putting this out. If there is any doubt in how much Mr. Davis has influenced me I named my son Miles in his honor.

3. Whale – Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe (MP3) (from Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe)

I’m pretty sure this one may be burned into the skull of at least a few Ickmusic readers who have likely managed to erase the memory from their brain. No apologies here enjoy the awfulness!

Bonus: This one is not complete without the video!

4. The 24-Carat Black – Mother’s Day (MP3) (from Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth)

I stumbled across this record in the last year and have to say that I’m all the better for it. I’ve not been able to find much information on the record outside of the fact that is boasts an all-star Stax Records cast. It also contains a bevy of breaks that have provided the backbeat to more than a few Hip-Hop hits.

5. Bruce Springsteen – Girls in Their Summer Clothes (Winter Mix) (from Girls in Their Summer Clothes)

While I much prefer the version on Magic, this track is still like a perfectly sun kissed coda to today’s five.

Okay, so what’s keeping you awake through the last hours of your workday?

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: March 7, 2008

Shuffle Tested, Mother Approved.Today’s very special episode of the Friday Five was pre-recorded live in front of a studio audience.

Hello… is it me your looking for? In anticipation of a hectic Friday afternoon I’ve opted to write up the five on Thursday night. Don’t hold it against me. Last week, while all over the map, had a unifying theme a good song is a good song, no matter who plays it. And a bad song is… well, only good if Richard Cheese covers it! I also discovered that there is a decent live version of “Stairway to Heaven” (thanks Jim). Okay, so for you first timer’s here’s the scoop I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and then show you my five with some words for each track.

Then it’s your turn!

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Prince – Starfish & Coffee (from Sign ‘O the Times)

Word salad for the pop crowd, “Starfish & Coffee” stands as one of my all time favorite Prince tracks. There’s something so free and unabashedly simple about the tune that His Royal Badness rarely shows. Even when I suffer the “Purple Ear Fatigue” I can still pop this track on and enjoy.

2. Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – Take the “A” Train (MP3) (from Sir Duke)

This reminds me of growing up and hearing my Nana’s radio in the kitchen. I’ve developed a deep love for all manners of jazz over the years and the big band stuff is no exception. The melodies are timeless and recordings sound so warm and inviting.

3. Foo Fighters – On the Mend (from In Your Honor)

From the acoustic half of the two disc set this is one of my favorite tracks from the record overall. I’ve still got a bit of the afterglow of seeing these guys last month.

4. Elvis Costello – Night Rally (MP3) (from This Years Model)

For me, this is where I think Elvis Costello (with The Attractions here) shines. In searching for the retail link I see that this record recently got the “Deluxe Edition” complete with live, demo and alternate tracks. I’ll have to pick it up… thanks shuffle for reminding me!

5. Def Leppard – Bringing On the Heartbreak (from Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection)

Ahh the teenage angst filled memories. I’ve seen these guys more times then I care to admit and I will say that they are one of the most fun acts I’ve seen. Sure they are over processed but they manage to pull off sounding close to the recorded versions every time.

We’re opening the phone lines now, let us know what your ‘Friday Five’ looks like.

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: February 29, 2008

Do You Have The Shuffle Inside?Can I kick it? Yes I can! It’s Friday and it’s time for a shuffle to the weekend. So wipe your feet real good on the rhythm rug and join in.

Last week was a decidedly laid-back Five with Acid Jazz courtesy of Herbaliser, mellow 70’s grooves from The Doobie Brothers, some funk laced jazz from Madhouse, a live classic from Depeche Mode and a slice of melancholy from Iron & Wine. For those of you playing along at home here’s how it works I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and then show you my five with some witty quip for each track.

Then, if we’re lucky, you show us yours!

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Portishead – All Mine (from Roseland NYC Live)

Portishead deserves an award for taking the longest time between releasing records and remaining relevant. If you haven’t heard the Brixton trio is set to release its third record, the aptly titled Third, on April 28th.

2. Panic! At the Disco – Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks (from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out)

I will admit to this being one of my ‘guilty pleasures’. These kids have managed to write some of the catchiest songs of the last decade. I do, to some degree, think that they will go on to become this generation’s Duran Duran.

3. Huey Lewis & The News – Heart and Soul (from Time Flies… The Best of Huey Lewis & The News)

I know it, Seth Rogen knows it and his hordes of screaming fans know it, Huey Lewis is the man.

4. Sara Bareilles – Love Song (MP3) (from Live Session (iTunes Exclusive) – EP)

Half of you will hear this and go “Oh, it’s that song from the cable company commercial” and the other half already know all about this little gem of a pop song. I’ll admit that I was by in large disappointed by the full album but I hold hope for a sophomore blast with more well crafted pop ditties like this.

5. Richard Cheese – Nookie / Break Stuff (MP3) (from Lounge Against the Machine)

Gah! Fred Durst is following me around the blogosphere today! This morning while reading this weeks ‘ChartBurn’ over at PopDose not only did I end up watching all of Limp Bizkit’s “Re-Arranged” but then went on a self destructive watching spree of “N 2Gether Now” and “Stuck”. I feel so dirty! Thankfully, Richard Cheese is here to save my afternoon (and quite possibly my soul) from the ninja death grip of Mr. Durst.

Okay, so I showed you mine, now show me yours!!

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: February 22, 2008

The Shuffle is Mightier than the Sword.First was Kevin, then came Lucy, third in line was me. And this Friday were mixing up some starfish & coffee, maple syrup and jam, some Butterscotch clouds a tangerine and a side order of ham so pull up a seat and join in the jam.

Previously on the ‘Friday Five’, LL was doin’ it (and doin’ it and doin’ it well), Alice brought the realness, Raekwon and his Clan-mates shared his love of 32 flavors, the Fab Four started a revolution and Miles gave us a lesson in love. If you’ve missed the ‘Friday Five’ to date its quite easy, I hit the shuffle button and share the first five tracks along with thoughts, quips and memories.

The rest is up to you; feel free to add your random five in the comments.

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Herbaliser – A Little Groove (from If Ya Can’t Stand Da Beatz, Git Outta Da Kitchen)

Now there’s nothing like a little acid jazz groove to start the shuffle! I bought in on the whole Acid Jazz movement in the 90’s and I’ve got hours upon hours of Ninja Tune records to prove it. Out of the many faceless groups the UK duo of Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry stand out for their hip-hop leanings and the fact that they are one of the only artists still around.

2. The Doobie Brothers – Without You (from Listen to the Music: The Very Best of the Doobie Brothers)

Not my favorite track, that honor would be reserved for the classic Michael McDonald vehicle “What a Fool Believes”, but this is a nice slice of rock n’ roll to get the juices flowing. Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is the star in this one serving up some tasty licks.

3. Madhouse – Two (from 8)

A slice of funk from His Royal Badness’ and his band of new power jazz cohorts is next on the skillet. While the fusion of jazz and funk never really caught on en masse, this record is a must for all Prince fans.

4. Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence (Live) (from Condemnation)

I’ve never had the chance to actually see Depeche Mode live and recordings like this make me regret that. There is something so very pure in David Gahan’s voice and while very synth driven the music still retains some fluidity and is clearly ‘live’.

5. Iron & Wine – Jesus the Mexican Boy (from The Sea and the Rhythm)

This track struck a chord as I look out the window at the snow falling. Something about Sam Beam’s music always equates itself back to weather. This is a nice coda to an interesting shuffle.

What’s cooking in your shuffle this afternoon?

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: February 15, 2008

Feel The Shuffle!Monday may have been blue, but its Friday I’m in Love. So while everyone is binging on the spoils of Valentine’s Day let’s all hit shuffle and let the tunes get us through the remains of the day.

What to say about last week? It inspired my Valentine’s Day card to my wife and took us from Peter Gabriel to Kanye West in just 5 short steps. It also revealed Pete’s got a thing for Johnny Cougar and our readers are digging playing along and have music collections that are all over the map. For those new to the ‘Friday Five’ it’s quite easy, I hit the shuffle button, hope the Spice Girls don’t pop up and share the first five tracks along with thoughts, memoirs and the occasional fun fact.

The rest is up to you, feel free to add your random five in the comments and remember honesty is the best policy!

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. LL Cool J – Doin’ It (from All World)

Well if it’s gonna be that kind of party… What a way to kick the post Valentine’s Day five into gear. I’ll say that I don’t have much other to say about this track than, Mmm-Hmm!

2. Alice Smith – Fake is the New Real (from For Lovers, Dreamers & Me)

Great track from one of my favorite ‘new to me’ artists of last year. If you’ve not checked out this record you owe it to yourself to remedy that situation.

3. Raekwon – Ice Cream (from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx)

There was a time when The Wu Tang Clan could do no wrong. From coast to coast everyone was feeling the vibe and buying in on the brand. It was genius marketing, a crew nine members deep with each ready, willing and able to release solo records that everyone was clamoring for. Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Method Man and Cappadonna all chime in with a verse on this track but for me it’s Ghostface Killah who delivers the KO.

** Not suitable for little ears!

4. The Beatles – Revolution (from 1967-1970)

For as much crap as I can talk about The Beatles (and trust me, I’ve got volumes) I do enjoy their music. If I’m being completely honest this does just remind me, to this day, of the Nike commercial.

5. Miles Davis – I Fall in Love Too Easily (from Love Songs)

Over the years I’ve amassed a rather large collection of Miles Davis recordings. I find myself often coming back to the early 60’s material with Gil Evans as a safe haven of some of the most beautiful and tasteful melodies ever committed to tape.

That’s it for me, now it’s your turn, you know what to do!

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: February 8, 2008

TGIF!

While science has yet to prove that everybody is working for the weekend it is undeniable that when Friday’s post-lunch dip occurs there is nothing better than tying on a red headband, hitting shuffle and letting the music soothe your soul.

Last week’s five found us all over the map, from heading down south with ‘The Man in Black”, up north to Newfoundland with our friends in Great Big Sea, to LA for a one-two punch from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Flag. Joining in the musical voyeurism, our readers have proven that diversity is the rule. For those new to the concept it’s quite easy, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share the first five tracks along with thoughts, memories and the occasional fun fact.

The rest is up to you, feel free to add your random ‘Friday Five’ in the comments and remember be honest!

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes (from So)

This is an appropriate start to the five being the Friday before Valentines Day. This was the first song that I danced with my wife to at our wedding and it under no uncertain terms holds a place dear in my heart. I can still clearly picture her eyes welling as we danced to the band performing the song. This song is to me timeless and perfect in every way.

2. Prince – Kiss (Extended Version) (from Ultimate)

I find it curious that in three weeks this is the first Prince track to surface. The extended version of this track includes a predecessor to the “Mashed Potato Girl” intro from the brilliant (and much overlooked) Exodus record. I’ll admit to truly enjoying the moments where His Royal Badness is trying to be funny.

3. George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (from Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael)

I have very little issue admitting to being a fan of George Michael. For all his flaws the man has a golden voice and there are few who can write a better pop song. This performance with Sir Elton John was one of those moments where you could see that there was so much more to his talent.

4. Coheed and Cambria – Once upon Your Dead Body (from Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear through the Eyes of Madness)

If there is any hope for progressive rock then Coheed and Cambria are it. They’ve taken the concept record to a new level with a story spanning three records (so far). And while that might be intimidating for the casual listener, the trick in the tale is that you do not need to know what any of the songs are about (in the context of the greater story) to enjoy them.

5. Kanye West – Roses (from Late Registration)

As we head into Grammy weekend it’s been revealed that Kanye will perform during the show in tribute to his mother. This is one of my favorite tracks from his sophomore effort. Lyrically he paints pictures with metaphors that are as impossible as they are clear.

What tunes are getting you through your day?

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: February 1, 2008

Friday Five!

On an average week, most of my Friday afternoon is spent resisting the urge to count the minutes until the weekend and getting the last of my work done before ‘unplugging’.

Last week’s five ran the gamut from the ‘so unusual’ Cyndi Lauper to Pantera with a detour through Compton. It also seems like the Ickmusic crowd likes to share right along. If you missed last week the premise is this I’ll share the first five tracks that comes up in my shuffle (and some thoughts, anecdotes and defenses, you know in case a Panic! At The Disco or Poison track comes up) with all of you.

In turn, feel free to add your random ‘Friday Five’ in the comments and be honest! We all have those guilty pleasures…

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Johnny CashRing of Fire (from The Legend of Jonny Cash)

Growing up my definition of “Country” music was the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr. and Johnny Cash. I would listen to them on every family road trip and around the house and still listen to this day with the same reverence for what are really some of the greatest songwriters and performers ever to grace a stage.

[audio:RingofFire.mp3]

2. Great Big SeaSweet Forget Me Not (Graceful And Charming) (from Courage & Patience & Grit)

I was actually fortunate enough to see Newfoundland and Labrador’s favorite son’s on this tour at The Town Hall in NYC. The studio version of this song was actually part of the music played as a prelude to my wedding ceremony. Part of a collection of traditional Newfoundland songs this is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.

[audio:SweetForgetMeNot.mp3]

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Pretty Little Ditty (from Mother’s Milk)

I hate that this tune was forever ruined by it’s inclusion in the Crazy Town track “Butterfly”. It’s one of those tracks where you almost feel like a fly on the wall while they band is doing what they do best.

4. Pink Floyd – Coming Back To Life (from The Division Bell)

I remember what a big deal this record, which turned out to be the bands last, was at the time of its release. I was managing a record store and recall that it was one of the first times that I had to deal with an actual line to buy a single release. While not my favorite track from this album, I always connected to this tune.

5. Black FlagLouie Louie (from Duck and Cover)

Henry Rollins singing “Louie Louie” is an instant classic and not to be missed!

[audio:LouieLouie.mp3]

So now it’s your turn, what comes up in your shuffle?

Ickmusic’s Friday Five: January 25, 2008

Friday Five

On an average week, most of my Friday afternoon is spent resisting the urge to count the minutes until the weekend and getting the last of my work done before ‘unplugging’.

I also find it’s the day I’m most likely to hit ‘shuffle’ on my iPod / iTunes. You can learn a lot about someone through what they’ve got in their music collection and I figured that I’d share the first five tracks (and some thoughts, anecdotes and defenses, you know in case a Spice Girls or N*Sync track comes up) with all of you.

Feel free to add your random ‘Friday Five’ in the comments and be honest! We all have those guilty pleasures…

Here are this week’s tracks:

1. Cyndi Lauper – The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough (from Time After Time – The Best Of)

I’ll make a admission here, I never loved “The Goonies”. I don’t look back fondly or reminisce over the ‘Truffle Shuffle’. That said, I always kind of liked this song. It was a top 10 hit for Cyndi in 1985 and I recall it getting more than it’s share of airplay.

2. The Clash – The Guns of Brixton (from London Calling)

I was a late-comer to The Clash. I connected with the singles (“Rock the Casbah”, “London Calling” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”) when I was younger but it was not until my early Twenties when I picked up the London Calling CD that I really understood how influential and amazing they truly were.

3. The Toasters – Too Much Happening (from New York Fever)

Before the late 90’s ska explosion there was The Toasters. The first and the longest running group in the third wave of ska they embodied the ‘rude boy’ image to me. Being a short train ride from NYC I’ve had the opportunity to see them live many times over the last 15 years and they always put on one of the most energetic shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

4. N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton (from Straight Outta Compton)

How do you go from Cyndi Lauper to Ice Cube in less than three tracks…? I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard this record, sitting on the long bus ride home a friend had copied the cassette from his older brother. We sat and listened. From the first verse to the very end this was like nothing we’d ever heard before and I was hooked.

5. Pantera – Walk (from Vulgar Display of Power)

Re! Spect! Walk! ‘Nuff said!

So what comes up in your shuffle?