Friday Five

The Friday Five: June 19, 2009

When I invite a woman to dinner I expect her to look at my shuffle. That's the price she has to pay.

Friday Five : ˈfrī-(ˌ)dā,-dē ˈfīv : On the sixth day of every week I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

Editor’s Note: I’m happy to turn the reins over to Alan Wilkis for this week’s Friday Five. You can find my review of his stellar latest release Pink and Purple here. See you all back here next week… – Michael

The Five:

Did the iPhone shuffle today for a little Friday 5, and was quite pleased with the selection! It could have been scary, folks… like Norwegian Death Metal, followed by Japanese Noise, followed by Yanni (hey, you never know)… So, thank you SHUFFLE-GODS! – Alan

In the Stone” (mp3) – Earth, Wind, and Fire
I LOVE EWF, and I especially love this song. The musicianship, production, songwriting, performances are all superb, as is the norm for them. I love how you can hear that the percussion + clavés were recorded in a big room, differently from the rest of the band – it creates such a cool sense of space in such a subtle way… I also love how on the verses, the bass and kick drum lock in so tightly and play something slightly differently every two bars – really keeps things interesting, but in a subtle way…

“Journey to Reedham (7AM Mix)” – Squarepusher
I have a distinct memory of the first time I heard this song in college, and it was one of those rare instances of complete and utter musical jaw-dropping. It’s just total ear-candy, so fun to listen to LOUD and/or on headphones especially, drum-programming bliss and a great intro to the insane genius of Squarepusher… The melody and bassline are so simple and so repetitive, but beautiful, and somehow mesh perfectly with the frenetic, totally unpredictable, and awesome drum-programming – I really was floored the first time, and was once again, today.

“Apeman” – The Kinks
The Kinks are just the best… I only discovered this song recently but it puts a gigantic smile on my face – instantly memorable, lyrics are hilarious & dripping w/Ray Davies’ characteristic wit… Has that “fed up with the world, I’m getting outta here” vibe – the perfect soundtrack to giving the finger to everyone as you quit your shitty job, Half-Baked style…

La Polka Du Roi (mp3) – André Popp
André Popp is unreal… If you haven’t dug into him, get familiar! This man was a total crazy genius French composer, classically-trained but w/a real taste for modern tape experiments / studio tricks… He would invent really avant-garde/extremely forward-thinking methods, but he wouldn’t use them in cheesy pretentious ways – no “technique for the sake of technique” a la many others… Rather his music would still come out very listenable and accessible, and fun as all hell.

On this song, he had the vocalist sing and record her part – he then played the recording of her voice in reverse and transcribed what the syllables sounded like in reverse. Then he had his singer learn the reverse-melody and reverse-lyrics, and record her singing that… And then played the new reverse recording in reverse, AGAIN! The lyrics wind up being a very peculiar-sounding, but still totally intelligible (if you speak French!)… He did this with a lot of his instruments as well… So weird and so ahead of his time… AND MIND YOU THIS IS LIKE DECADES BEFORE COMPUTERS… I’m talking razor-blade slicing two-inch tape for every little edit… And actually hearing the idea in his head and figuring out how to do it, rather than clicking a button on a laptop…

Also, coincidentally, David Lynch borrowed this technique for all the dream sequences in Twin Peaks… Wonder if he was a fan?

“High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In“ – Tortoise
Tortoise is hands down among my favorite bands in current existence, and are definitely SOMEWHERE on the all-time short-list for me, too… I like to describe Tortoise as the soundtrack to my imagination… I honestly feel like I’m dreaming when I listen to them – so many styles/sounds/genres/decades of music all mushed together seamlessly…

This is the first track on their upcoming new record, and I’ve been waiting for this damn thing for YEARS!!!!! So there was quite a lot of anticipation for me, as you could imagine… And lo and behold, I hit play, and THEY DELIVERED… AS USUAL… All the trappings of what I love about Tortoise all boiled down into one awesome tune… Awesome SOUNDS, repetitive but very grooving feel, puts you in a trance and then keeps taking you up and up…

So, yeah, I love Tortoise…

What’s up next on your shuffle?


  • Michael

    Hi, My name is Michael and I’m a Shuffle-holic…

    1. Helmet – “Unsung” (from In the Meantime, 1992) :: This tune is so dense, it still hits like a ton of bricks. I fondly recall covering this tune in my earliest band.

    2. Beastie Boys – “Get it Together” (from Ill Communication, 1994) :: B-Boys + Q-Tip = pure unadulterated hip-hop gold.

    3. Band of Horses – “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands” (from Cease to Begin, 2007) :: Two years later and I still listen to this record at least once a week. Stay tuned to Ickmusic for my review of the Band of Horses show at Carnegie Hall last week.

    4. Cannonball Adderley – “Somthin’ Else” (from Somthin’ Else, 1958) :: The defining record of the Hard Bop style with an extra dose of cool courtesy of Miles, this with a side of Coltrane is my usual Sunday morning soundtrack.

    5. R.E.M. – “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” (from Eponymous, 1988) :: Leonard Bernstein!

    Who’s got next!

  • Anne

    Been a while since I have added to this. Here goes:

    1. “The Space Between” – Dave Matthews Band from Everyday, 2001.

    2. “Mr. Blue Sky” – E. L. O. don’t know the year or album but I do enjoy this song.

    3. “Running” – No Doubt from Rock Steady, 2001. I like No Doubt so much better than Gwen Stefani solo.

    4. “Waterloo Sunset” – The Kinks from The Kinks, 1970. Love the Kinks.

    5. “America” from West Side Story Soundtrack. Love this soundtrack for very personal reasons and although this isn’t my favorite song from the movie, I do enjoy it.

  • whiteray

    Been a while . . .

    1. “Heart Trouble, Part 1” by Huey Smith & The Clowns, originally unreleased, recorded in New Orleans in 1961. I found this on an anthology on vinyl. Just a good groove.

    2. “Hands Are Tied” by the Gin Blossoms from “New Miserable Experience,” 1992. The Gin Blossoms always remind me of my gig at a newspaper during the early 1990s when I spent a lot of time covering high school sports and other activities.

    3. “Goodbye My Love” by the Leaves from “Hey Joe,” 1966. This is a lot softer than the Leaves’ version of “Hey Joe,” and a lot less distinctive, too.

    4. “He’ll Come Home” by Kim Carnes from “Sailin’,” 1976. An album track from one of the great ignored albums, produced in Muscle Shoals.

    5. “Water, Paper & Clay” by Mary Hopkin from “Earth Song,” 1972. Mary Hopkin could be a little light, but “Earth Song” was pretty good.

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