The Freelance Mentalists.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
 
Over half a year ago (yeesh, has it been that long?), as my inital post to this site, I took one track each from five random CDs I was getting rid of as part of a grand apocalyptic sweep through my recollection and measured them against one track each from five random CDs I was keeping; the idea was to see if the saved sample would be obviously superior to that being tossed. They were.

About four months later I finished that laborous exercise and compiled my favorite tracks from the albums deemed wanting onto a large pile of CD-Rs. I got rid of so many albums that three of the CDs I reviewed as "keepers" wound up getting tossed as well.

So here's the new test: which will be superior, five random tracks on the all-wheat/no-chaff CD-Rs or five random tracks from my still-hefty-for-a-commoner collection of full-lengths? It seems logical that the CD-R's have a higher batting average of awesomeness (using the stoplight scale there shouldn't be a single red), but I feel like finding out for sure).

OK. Green=I need to keep this track, Red=this track is worthless and Yellow covers all that falls between.


THE FULL-LENGTHS!
==
Track #1 - Drive Like Jehu, "Luau!"

Taking its sweet time starting. Indie-trudge drums and guitars...Drive Like Jehu? AND HOW! "Luau!" Shit, talking about opening with a bang. I prefer the snap and concision of Hot Snakes overall, but if I was going to keep only one Jehu track, this would be it. Guitars being bent and squoze like tubes of toothpaste over the loping beat as Rick Fork yelps golden phrases like "THIS FUCKING SUCKS!" and "WHEREFORE ART THOU?" (at least I think he is) before sliding into the climactic chant of "Aloha, aloha, suit up! Luau, Luau, Luau, Luau." More bands should just throw the novellest of seeming non-sequiturs over their plod. Especially if they've got Fork's ability to keep it from seeming cutesy-poo. Green, baby. GREEN.

Track #2 - X, "In This House That I Call Home"

Rockabilly with distorted guitars. X? Yeah, X. Ok, I've got to turn this up a little cuz the mastering on this Los Angeles/Wild Gift two-fer is wack. Sigh. I like X, don't get me wrong, but I don't love them yet. The Doe/Cervenka harmonies annoy - they're always out of tune in the same way, no matter what the song's emotional content is. Their allegedly awesome lyrics aren't particularly audible. "In this house that I call home"? I don't even remember if that's the name of the track. Sigh, yeah I'm keeping this around in case I grow into it or somethinhg. Either I'll toss this in two years or I'll wonder why I never understood it before. YELLOW.

Track #3 - Talking Heads, "The Big Country"

Meanwhile, this song has been knocking me out for longer than I've had chest hair. We only had one CD player in the house, so I would play my stuff in the living room when my parents were home or when they felt like putting up with it. They were usually cool with the Talking Heads. My dad even started doing the cha-cha around the room one time this was on. Part one: objective description of small town life. Part two: bitter dismissal and sudden bitch about touring life. Part three: Goo Goo, Ga Ga Ga. GREEN.

Track #4 - Eminem, "Drug Ballad"

Hahahahaha! Man the CD-R's are gonna have to work real hard to beat this line-up. One of my favorite Eminem tracks - right from "back when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark." Catchy, playful, inspired. One of the few tracks that have the calm rational detail of "Marshall" with the humor of "Shady." "I still got a lot of growing up to do, I still got a WHOLE lot of throwing up to spew." GREEN.

Track #5 - Strokes, "When It Started"

I forgot the name, but it's the track that replaced "NY City Cops" on Is This It?. Room On Fire was disappointingly draggy compared to the original (one of the six tracks I kept might show up for the opposing team, who knows?), but anybody who dismisses the Strokes outright can bite my ass. Julian may be the son of Iggy Pop and Eeyore, but the crisp beats and layers of nervous guitars make for something as caffeinated as the finest Feelies with a staccato attack that makes the sound entirely their own. Nikolai's bass burblage makes this one kinda jiggy. It's been too long since I threw this album on. GREEN.


THE CD-RS!
==
Track #1 - Gomez, "Shot Shot"

Grifters! No wait, Gomez! Hi, Matt! This is off of In Our Gun, I think it's "Shot Shot." Yeah he just said "Shot Shot." Great grody little groove; that sax part reminds me the one they use on that one rap track repeatedly used in Bring It On (Chuck Eddy and Frank Kogan voted for the soundtrack back in 2000 P&J, I think. I should check it out). Hey, Matt, did you ever explain how the new Gomez album DOESN'T suck? Only song I liked was "Sweet Virginia." This song's pretty quick, but I need that hook. GREEN.

Track #2 - Giant Sand, "X-Tra Wide"

Wow, how many slack-ass G bands are there? This is from Chore Of Enchantment the best Giant Sand album I've ever heard (and I've heard most). Still didn't make the cut. Why own a bunch of albums that depress you in their relative mediocrity when you can make a truly enjoyable CD-R or two of your cherrypicked faves? Besides, some indie dink's going to see all those albums in the used rack and have a big ol' dump just like you did when you first found 'em. And the clerk, who was there when you bought it AND when you sold it back, can either laugh or question your rockism. "Dusted" and "Shiver" are the crucial tracks, sorry. YELLOW.

Track #3 - Rocket From The Crpyt, "U.S. Aim"

Ah! One of the sweet Holly Golighty-assisted tracks they made around RFTC but didn't release. Not sure what it's about (the military, I'm guessing) but that chorus...wtf. Why don't more people give it up for Speedo's hookcraft? Horns, riffs, chants, melody - all stellar (Chuck E thinks the rhythm sections flat or something but this stuff makes me move, albeit pogo-wise, a whole lot more than Boney M does - save "Rasputin"). Speedo's shit is so consistently chewy (though the rarities comps have a little too much filler to keep around in their entirety) and with Live From Camp X-Ray he's upped his lyrical game too. They've been around for ages too. Where is the critical LOVE? GREEN.

Track #4 - Tubeway Army, "Me! I Disconnect From You"

It's been a while since I said that I don't get Simon Reynolds. I don't get Simon Reynolds. He gave Replicas a 9 in SPIN, so that's the Gary Numan I picked up when curiousity struck. It's fun, don't get me wrong, but unlike somebody like Christgau, who just has a different value system, I wonder if I'm even listening to the same album Reynolds is (I'm probably missing historical context or lacking the correct drug supplement or something). I find the Human League more fascinating than Numan cuz Numan's a sad human who wishes he was a robot and Phil Oakey's a robot who wishes he was a sad human. Numan's type is way more common. I kept Dare and only kept the catchiest, peppiest stuff from this album (and this is one my of my faves). I forget what he said the big deal was about this album, but I'm sure he's wrong. GREEN.

Track #5 - Killing Joke, "Requiem"

Does Alex In NYC from ILX read this site? I highly doubt it. This song is nearly identical to Adam Ant's "(You're So) Physical." I can rarely tell what Jaz Coleman is yelling about and Girls Against Boys put some sex into these searing sonics. I don't feel like honouring the fire right now, sorry. YELLOW.

Man this was WAY more pleasurable than the one in March! Close match, and two of the yellows were due to me giving the alt-canon more credit than it deserves! I did a good job keeping stuff I enjoy and getting rid of songs I don't like. Thanks for bearing witness.
 
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