February Friday Randomizer – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Edition

Feb Friday Randomizer
Feb Friday Randomizer album covers

Today’s edition of Random iTunes Friday has been brought to you by the letters Y, H and F…

  1. Baaba MaalSouka Nayo (I Will Follow You)
    Nomad Soul
    • part of the charm of this track is Baaba Maal’s voice contrasted against his female chorus. I wouldn’t go as far as saying this is traditional Senegalese music, more of modern pop with Senegalese accents.
  2. PavementAngel Carver Blues/ Mellow Jazz Docent
    Westing (By Musket And Sextant)
    • and now for something completely different…can one write about Pavement without resorting to such cliches as angular guitar? Hmm. I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times over the years, and I still have no idea what it is about.
  3. Conet Project, ThePhonetic Alphabet – NATO
    The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations
    • If you like scratchy radio recordings of an accented woman repeating “Yankee, Hotel, Foxtrot” over and over, before switching to some other phrases equally as opaque, this is a great track for you. I’m guessing Jeff Tweedy is a fan…

    Six Planes Over Marina City
    Six Planes Over Marina City

  5. Talking HeadsThe Great Curve
    The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads
    • If you haven’t picked up a copy of this live album, and you like The Talking Heads, then what is wrong with you? Dense, unrelenting grooves, a band at the peak of their power, expanded touring lineup and all. Love it. Adrian Belew goes wild on the electric guitar.
  6. Stills, StephenSong Of Love
    • probably the last interesting Stephen Stills album, at least that I’ve heard. Catchy tune.
  7. Camper Van BeethovenAmbiguity Song
    Telephone Free Landslide Victory
    • agh, takes me back to my callow youth in Austin. “Everything seems to be up in the air at this time.”
  8. WireFragile
    Pink Flag
    • ooh, a double angular guitar cliche in one sitting! This great song is only 1:18 long though.
  9. Williams, LucindaChanged The Locks
    Live @ The Fillmore
    • live, this song is a lot more powerful than the original version. Ms. Williams voice is on the verge of hoarseness, but she muscles through.
  10. AC/DCIf You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)
    Highway To Hell
    • Angus Young has some fun with Bon Scott…an update of The Doors song, Peace Frog. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure this is the very first album I ever purchased with my own money – on cassette tape no less. I was living in cultural wasteland of East Texas, going to middle school, but this album helped ameliorate some of the ennui.
  11. Temptations, TheDon’t Let The Joneses Get You Down
    Psychedelic Soul
    • a good sentiment, and a great, funky track
  12. Big Bill BroonzyGlory Of Love
    Uncut: Soul & Fire – Compiled By Paul Weller
    • Paul Weller has good musical taste, this is a favorite song of mine as well. Great acoustic blues guitar too. Don’t confuse it with the pop tune by Peter Cetera.
  13. Coup5 Million Ways To Kill A CEO
    Party Music
    • a Proto-Occupy Wall Street song, though with a little more imagined violence against CEOs than Occupy would be comfortable with.

Random Friday – Too Much To Dream Last Night Edition

A randomized selection from my iTunes library for your amusement and or bemusement.

 Random Artwork 2012 09 11

Random Artwork  

  1. Electric PrunesI Had Too Much To Dream Last Night
    Complete Reprise Singles
    I have a well documented fondness for garage rock. I know absolutely zero about this band, other than they were from the San Fernando Valley area, and this song was on the Lenny Kaye Nuggets series. Even after a thousand listens, still love that electric bee humming opening sound. 
  2. Cat Power3,6,9
    songs that rhyme “nine” with “wine” are suspect, but this isn’t a bad tune.  
  3. Willie Nelson & Asleep At The WheelI Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None O’ This Jellyroll
    Willie & The Wheel
    Western Swing tune. Needs more beer, and maybe some peanut shells on the floor… 
  4. Anders Osborne & “Big Chief” Monk BoudreauxMeet The Boyz On The Battlefront
    Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens: The Big Ol’ Box Of New Orleans
    I know this song from the Wild Tchoupitoulas – any other version will probably be lesser. Still has a good dance rhythm, just not as funky as the Wild Tchoupitoulas.
  5. Tom Tom ClubDowntown Rockers
    Downtown Rockers
    From their new EP, which isn’t bad, as far as these things go. Needs some angular David Byrne lyrics to really be good, and that’s not going to happen anytime soon. 
  6. Ron SexsmithThis Is Where I Belong
    This Is Where I Belong (Songs Of Ray Davies)
    another song that is lesser compared to the original, in this case, by the Kinks, on Face to Face. 
  7. Max RomeoI Chase The Devil
    War Ina Babylon
    Not sure why Max Romeo wants to wear an iron shirt, seems heavy, no matter, this song is very catchy. 
  8. Beau JocquePop That Coochie
    Roll Up The Rug Vol. 2
    Uhh, slightly NSFW zydeco tune. Pop that coochie all night… 
  9. PJ Harveywe float
    stories from the city, stories
    closing track from this odd PJ Harvey album, incarnation of her as a New York sophisticate, or something. Not her typical brash style, more understated. 
  10. Uncle TupeloNew Madrid
    Unfortunately, the final album from one of my favorite artists, Uncle Tupelo.  Great song from a great album by a great band. Wilco is pretty good, but I’ll always have a special appreciation for Uncle Tupelo.
  11. Jimi Hendrix ExperienceMay This Be Love
    Are You Experienced?
    a favorite ballad from Hendrix’s debut album. Delicate guitar work makes this genius.
  12. Black SabbathHole In The Sky
    a guilty pleasure, I love this riff-heavy propulsive song with nonsense lyrics. 
  13. James, SkipI’m So Glad
    The Rough Guide to Delta Blues
    Skip James is like no other blues singer, of his era at least.  Odd guitar tuning, and falsetto voice. This is a song that is much better than the Cream cover version. 
  14. Foo FightersRope
    Wasting Light
    Let me go on record as saying I like the acoustic version of Foo Fighters better that played at the recent Apple iPhone 5 announcement. And parenthetically, would Kurt Cobain have consented to playing at such a corporate event? Even for a corporation with indie cred like Apple? 

Randomizer Friday – Straight To Your Heart Like a Cannon Ball edition

iTunes artwork - Guess the Album!
iTunes artwork – Guess the Album!

Been a while since I played the Friday Randomizer game. Here are today’s results.

  1. Morrison, Van(Straight To Your Heart) Like A Cannon Ball
    Tupelo Honey
    Today is Van Morrison’s birthday, in 1945, so I started with this quite decent track from Tupelo Honey, which to be honest is not in my top shelf of Van the Man albums. Love the R&B chorus chants of “toodle-ooddle-oooh” though…
  2. Field, TheSilent
    From Here We Go Sublime
    instrumental, electronica track. Slightly repetitive. Wouldn’t be out of place as a soundtrack in a progressive sushi bar. I might have fallen asleep for a second there.
  3. Beastie BoysGratitude [Live At Budokan 9-16-92]
    Check Your Head [Disc 2]
    Good times gone but you missed them
    What’s gone wrong in your system
    (original version better)
  4. Jones, Rickie LeeTried To Be A Man
    The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard
    an interesting track on a weird and interesting album with an odd genesis.
  5. Amalia RodriguesAi Mouraria
    Amália Sings Traditional Fado
    Portuguese fado tune, circa 1951. Perfect for sitting alone, having a late afternoon cocktail in a smoky bar.
  6. Group DouehWazan Samat
    Guitar Music From the Western Sahara
    hypnotic desert blues song, you either love the genre – like me – or don’t.
  7. FeistSo Sorry
    The Reminder
    melancholic Canadian singer/songwriter. I wanted to like it, but am too jaded and cynical I suppose…
  8. Strummer, JoeTennessee Rain
    Soundtrack of “Walker”
    I  got this album recently, while on a Joe Strummer kick. I should see the movie based on how much I like the soundtrack. Apparently, Strummer’s conceit was to only use instruments that would be available during the period the film is set (1840s). Nothing at all like The Clash, but quite delicious.
  9. Jansch, BertNeedle Of Death
    It Don’t Bother Me
    The most beautiful song about heroin addiction and death, ever. I doubt you could play it on guitar as well as guitar wizard Bert Jansch did, I know I can’t.
  10. CANMushroom (Live)
    Lost Tapes Box Set
    From this stellar boxed set. Original on Tago Mago. By the way, there was a video made for it, available here.
  11. N.W.A.Express Yourself
    Straight Outta Compton
    Probably the best song on this album, imo.
  12. Frog EyesBushels
    Tears of the Valedictorian
    no idea about deeper meaning on this track, or album, but it’s still pretty good, in the right mood. The vocalist, Carey Mercer, is on the verge of being whiny, buyer beware…
    I was a singer and I sang in your home
  13. Dead KennedysCalifornia Über Alles
    No Thanks! The ’70s Punk Rebellion
    bonus track. The version with Jerry Brown as governor of California…

And that’s that…

Randomizer 2012 08 31
Randomizer 2012-08-31 in no particular order

Random Friday – Whatcha Drinkin edition

Random iTunes shuffle today yielded:

  1. Hüsker DüWhatcha Drinkin’?
    New Day Rising

    one minute and thirty three seconds of punk-y bliss. The lyrics, in total:  

    I don’t care what you say, I don’t care what you’re drinking today. I don’t care what they say, I’ll be drinking today. I try not to drink anymore, I try not to drink anymore, and try not to think anymore.

  2. Boozoo ChavisGoin To The Zydeco
    Hey Do Right!

    and now for something completely different…some dance music, with accordion.

  3. McDowell, FredGravel Road Blues
    Good Morning, Little School Girl

    sometimes called “Mississippi Fred McDowell”, but since he allegedly hated that, I stripped Mississippi from his name. Bottle neck guitar master, with a harsh, country voice. Powerful, hypnotic stuff. Actually, this is dance music too, the insistent beat is there to be heard, and acted upon if you want.

  4. Marley, Bob & The WailersSomewhere To Lay My Head
    One Love at Studio One

    From a collection of ska and proto-reggae tracks recorded between 1964 and 1966, really a Wailers joint, not just Bob Marley. Dance music!

  5. Monk, TheloniousRuby, My Dear
    Monk’s Music

    A classic tune. Thelonious Monk liked to dance around in his idiosyncratic style during other musicians solos.

  6. R.E.M.Lightnin’ Hopkins

    As far as my ears can tell, this song has absolutely nothing to do with the blues musician, Lightnin’ Hopkins. Still love it.

  7. Kočani OrkestarGoodbye Macedonia
    Alone At My Wedding

    Balkan brass ensemble, with some Middle Eastern influences. I really like this album, but I don’t if it is representative of their other work or not.

  8. Yo La TengoDemons
    Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo

    Yo La Tengo used to be a favorite band of mine, but their later albums have not moved me. This album is a collection of singles, mostly cover versions, including this so-so swirling tune which was featured in the film I Shot Andy Warhol.

  9. Paddy BeadesMy Darlin’ Coleen Bawn
    From Galway To Dublin

    Extremely traditional Irish music from an early era. Mournful vocal and mournful fiddle.

  10. Costa, GalDivino Maravilhoso
    Tropicalia Essentials

    Weird Brazilian pop music with some nice fuzz guitar that sounds like an over-amplified bee, weaving in and out of the melody. I’m partial to it, but not to everyone’s taste, I’ll readily admit.

  11. Dylan, BobAlberta #4
    Self Portrait

    Universally, critics seem to hate this album, but there are a few good songs on it. This is almost an easy listening tempo, swings nicely.

  12. Remains, TheDon’t Look Back
    Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era

    Garage rock! I am a big fan of the genre, and this song doesn’t disappoint. Best played loudly.

  13. The JamI Got By In Time

    Originally from The Jam’s first album, In The City, , a good closing tune for today’s randomness. Not really punk, not really British R&B, not quite New Wave, somewhere straddling all three genres…

Random Friday – Flute Loop Edition

Stereo Sanctity
Stereo Sanctity

I haven’t played this game in a while1, so I’ll participate today. Apparently this is a joint France/Los Angeles joint. My notes in clover, duh…

  1. Beastie BoysFlute Loop
    Ill Communication
    Saddened by MCA’s death, the Beastie Boys were my age, basically, so having one of them die is a reminder that we have a short brutish time on the planet, and why wait? Smile now, there might not be a tomorrow. Two minute song from one of my favorite Beastie Boy albums, built off a funk/jazz flute loop. Rock the Nation, indeed.
  2. Lowe, NickNo Reason
    Basher -The Best of Nick Lowe
     No reason in the world…song originally from the Jesus of Cool album which every self-respecting hipster already owns.
  3. Art Blakey & The Jazz MessengersBlues March
    Paris 1958
    I’m ready to march around the office, coffee cup in hand. I’ve never been to Paris, this might be close enough. Originally part of an 11-song three-LP set. 
  4. Johann Sebastian BachBach: Partitas, BWV 825-827, Vol. 1
    Bach: Keyboard Partita #2 In C Minor, BWV 826 – Courante- Gould, Glenn
    ahh, Bach… 
  5. BeltunerDe Rien
    speaking of France, this is French folk music, with accordions, acoustic guitars and what not. Not sure how I got this, but it is fun. Unfortunately, too early to have a glass of wine with my coffee…  
  6. Sun RaLove In Outer Space
    Purple Night
    not the best Sun Ra album, if you have never heard Sun Ra, start elsewhere. The vocals seem to be coming from outer space, appropriately.
  7. LoveA House Is Not A Motel
    Forever Changes
    I love this song. I’ve heard it hundreds of times and am still not absolutely sure what is about, other than Arthur Lee’s drug influenced weirdness.  Another Los Angeles reference. 
  8. MekonsLearning To Live On Your Own
    The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll
    A great album, oft called country punk-esque, though this particular track is more sweet than crunchy.  Robert Christgau’s note on the Mekons is worth reading
  9. Watson, Doc And Clarence AshleyGod’s Gonna Ease My Troublin’ Mind
    Original Folkways Recordings 1960 – 1962 (Disc 2)
    you can’t play guitar nor banjo this well, and neither can I. Allegedly, Doc Watson didn’t even own an acoustic guitar at the time of this recording, though that could be apocryphal legend.
  10. Gram Parsons & The Flying Burrito BrothersSin City
    Gram Parsons Archives Vol. 1: Live At The Avalon Ballroom April 4th, 1969 
    I’ve never to Los Angeles either, though I lust after photographing the vintage neon there. A slice of country rock from the master of the Cosmic American genre, created in San Francisco a couple of days before me. 
  11. Kings Of LeonHoly Roller Novocaine
    Youth & Young Manhood
    debut album of this middle of the road “Southern Rock” band. Nothing special, but good in certain moods, especially if played loudly. Irritatingly, there is a multi-minute long silence in the middle of the song.
  12. The SaintsThe Prisoner
    Prehistoric Sounds
    punk rock with saxophones. Awesome! How come no one told me about the Saints years ago? Love this album.
  13. Soul BrothersHeyi Wena
    Jive Soweto (The Indestructible Beat Of Soweto Volume 4)
    From Allmusic: “Jive” is the generic term used to refer to South African pop music, and is often modified by reference to the featured instrument — hence sax jive and pennywhistle jive. If you’ve never heard South African jive, seek it out, you are in for a treat. Bouncy, happy music. The very first international album I got (or one of the first) was an earlier edition in this series, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, volume 1 & 2.
  14. The Full TreatmentJust Can’t Wait
    Where The Action Is!: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968 [Disc 3]
    Garage pop from Los Angeles. Another Rhino collection of single from another era. This song is a little too Beach Boys-esque for my taste, but there are a few seconds of psychedelic fun near the end.
  15. De La SoulTalkin’ Bout Hey Love
    De La Soul Is Dead
    Built off of a nice sample (Stevie Wonder maybe?), but disposable otherwise. 

Ok, I can’t count. Fifteen is not ten, a house is not a home, black is not grey…

A Little Wine With My Dinner

So I’m In My Grape Ape

I Feel Like A Winner When I Make A Mix Tape

Because I Get Ill

When I’m On The Pause Button

And I Get My Fill

And You Can’t Say Nothing

More Soul On This Train Then Don Cornelius

Got The Mad Subwoofer Pumping Bass For Your Anus

Just Getting On The Mic

At The Monthly Function

Wires Hitting Switches

Connecting At The Junction

Perlman’s Got Beats

And It Ain’t No Secret

Dante Found His Shit

But You Know He Freaked It

And So The Story Goes On

And On Down In S. D. 50 ’till Early Morning

  1. the rules are simple, shuffle your music by song, pick out the first ten songs, list ’em []

Random Friday Shuffle -Accidentally Like a Martyr edition


Haven’t played this game in a while, so here is what my iTunes randomizer coughed up this morning.

  1. Zevon, WarrenAccidentally Like A Martyr
    Excitable Boy

    Warren Zevon ballad that gets me every time. The hurt gets worse, and the heart gets harder . From his 1976 debut album chock full of gems, including this song, Werewolves of London, Lawyers Guns and Money, etc. Apparently Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther contribute background vocals, though that matters less than the tune itself. Sentimental, not maudlin.

  2. Clarence Frogman HenryAin’t Got No Home
    Chess Rhythm & Roll

    Famously covered by The Band, sung in alternatively falsetto and “frog” croak voice. Swinging tune, R&B as it used to be constructed, full of sly humor and danceable rhythms.

  3. The Velvet UndergroundAll Tomorrow’s Parties
    Velvet Underground and Nico

    A Nico song, famously loved by Andy Warhol. Nico is predominant, Lou Reed and John Cale let her take the spotlight. In fact, Nico often sang it sans accompaniment when she played this song in later years.

  4. Thompson, RichardBeat The Retreat
    Pour Down Like Silver

    For a while, this album was out of print, maybe because it was the last album Richard and Linda Thompson recorded before joining a Sufi group, and didn’t have any top 40 hits on it. Down beat, and yet joyous. Music for a rainy day.

  5. Jens LekmanBlack Cab
    Maple Leaves

    The opening bars sound a lot like a Planxty song, or something similar. A bit of a shaggy dog story about NYC nightlife and cabs without medallions, but catchy all the same.

  6. Nelson, WillieBlue eyes crying in the rain
    Super Hits

    One of my favorite Willie Nelson songs in fact. Originally from Red Headed Stranger, which everyone should own a copy of, btw.

  7. Gil Scott-Heron & Brian JacksonThe Bottle
    Winter In America

    Gil Scott-Heron often pegged as a proto-rapper, which is sorta, sometimes true. He does chant his poetry more often than sing on some songs, but not on this stellar autobiographical song about alcoholics. Obviously from the mid-70s, as evidenced by the flute trills.

  8. SeedsCan’t Seem To Make You Mine
    The Seeds

    Sky Saxon recently died, this song will remain part of the soundtrack for a specific era of garage rock.

  9. Little Stevie WonderCastles In The Sand
    Hearing Is Believing: the Jack Nitzsche Story 1962-1979

    Wonder if Jimi Hendrix realized how close the title of his song was to Stevie Wonder’s 1964 version1. I’d assume yes, even though the songs are much different in execution. Stevie Wonder’s voice is much higher octave than later in his career, but still sings the heck out of the track. A little too much buried in strings for my taste, but not bad.

  10. Max Romeo & The UpsettersChase The Devil
    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas K-JAH

    The Grand Theft Auto videogame franchise have quite excellent diegetic soundtracks2, including this classic reggae cut from Max Romeo, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and the Upsetters.

  11. Adams, RyanCome Pick Me Up

    Usually my favorite Ryan Adams album. Folksy, for the most part, and strong lyrically. Such as this song with its chorus:
    I wish you would
    Come pick me up,
    Take me out,
    Fuck me up,
    Steal my records,
    Screw all my friends,
    They’re all full of shit,
    With a smile on your face.
    And then do it again…

    ha! I think he means it!

  12. Stevens, SufjanDecatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother!
    Come On Feel The Illinoise!

    My favorite song on this oddly compelling album about Illinois.

Previously I might have linked to Amazon, but since they don’t want to pay sales tax in Illinois, or elsewhere, screw those guys.


  1. Stevie Wonder was 14 []
  2. diegetic in the sense that the car radio play these songs []

23 Randomizations

I’ve always1 loved this particular math factoid/game/mind-boggler:

Wired News: My IPod for a Random Playlist [sic – iPod is the preferred spelling]
To illustrate his point, [mathematician Jeff] Lait referred to a phenomenon statisticians call the birthday paradox. Roughly stated, it holds that if there are 23 randomly selected people in a room, there is a better than 50-50 chance that at least two of them will have the same birthday. The point: Mathematical randomness often contradicts our intuitive expectations of randomness.

If the group expands to 57 or more people, the probability approaches certainty.

On the larger point, randomization: I’m significantly better now, but when I was younger, I made many decisions after applying some ‘randomization‘ protocols (such as I always carried around several Chinese coins – and gave different values to heads or tails, flipped them and added up the numbers; or used dice; or other tools like the added-up page numbers of a randomly opened book). Yes, I had problems making decisions sometimes. Some folk resort to tarot cards, or media pundits – I used my own home-grown methods. Did I mention that I used to ingest plenty of inebriates?

SoundJam‘s randomization algorithms (and hence iTunes too) always seemed a little to prone to repeats, so I’ve worked many, many an hour creating playlists that eluded the need for ‘true‘ randomization. I still use the artfully created playlist instead of using Smart Playlists, even though that particular tool has improved, a bit. My playlists still give better results.

On this score, Apple’s iTunes takes the lead with a feature called Smart Playlists. It allows you to set all kinds of conditions as to what songs do and don’t get played. For instance, you can tell it to select songs at random but to select only tunes that haven’t been played in the last two days, or week.


Funny, I still try to incorporate random behavior into my life, whenever feasible. Our 21st Century culture is so computer driven, so regimented by Manichaean choices, that there is a real danger of losing the spontaneous juxtaposition of every day occurrence. Or something.2

  1. a repost from 2005! for some reason []
  2. I do believe clarity is being sacrificed in this paragraph because I only had about 3 hours of sleep last night []