Picking and Choosing

These are few songs that have been stuck in my headphones recently:

Fugazi - "Floating Boy": This song, off of 1997's End Hits, is one of the finest examples of Fugazi's ability to straddle the line between hard and art. I first got to know the alternate version of this track that appears on the Instrument soundtrack, and have only recently begun to dig hardcore on the original. Here, Fugazi manages to completely undermine the notion that punk's urgency has to be directly proportional to its velocity. The first two minutes toddle along like a drunk on a tightrope (with a cowbell) before dipping briefly under the songs surface to give you just a little glimpse of the whole ferocious iceberg.

Jorge Ben - "Umbabarauma": I first heard this song during my first year at sleep-away summer camp. There was this assembly on the second day of camp where all of the instructors made little presentations about their activities, so that you could decide which "classes" you wanted to take for the month. Most of them just involved soembody in shorts getting up and saying something like, "Hey, my name's Rodney, and I'm gonna be teaching archery. This is a bow [holds up plastic bow]. Okay."

But then all of a sudden this music comes on over the loudspeakers and, what in the hell, there's ropes dropping down from the roof and dudes sliding down the ropes upside down and doing all sorts of ninja shit. These were the rock climbing instructors, also known as the Rock Dogs, and they were so cool that I totally forgot how unbelieveably afraid of heights I am and signed right the fuck up. As often happens with fat kids and rope-related physical activity, my time with the Rock Dogs ended in misery. Still, this song is totally awesome. You just have to play the first 10 seconds of it (long enough for the drums to kick in) for somebody, and you will have a pretty good chance of convincing them to let you hoist their ass up some rocks. The lyrics are in Portuguese, but from what I understand, the song is about soccer.

Guns N' Roses - "Civil War": Off of Use Your Illusion II, this isn't one of the big karaoke hits, but in the past few days, it has become my favorite Guns N' Roses song. The verses, bridges, and choruses are all totally different from eachother, and are all totally catchy with just the right amount of cock-rock melodrama. And it's totally an anti-war power ballad. For a band that spent so much time on "grass is green and the girls are pretty" and "ma-ma-my serpentine", it's kind of surprising to hear war=genocide. And as if that's not enough, it opens with a Cool Hand Luke soundbite and has about eight bodacious guitar solos. Extra points for super-dorky piano runs at the six and a half minute mark. What's so civil about war, anyway?

The Ex - "Frenzy": A song about Karl and Groucho Marx. This strike march from old school (like 1979) Dutch anarcho-punks The Ex was a mix CD favorite of mine for many a month. I'm not sure I have a whole to say in the way of insightful description, but these guys are well worth checking out for their own work, as well as for their numerous In the Fishtank collaborations with artists such as Sonic Youth and Tortoise.


Anonymous Tina said...

I think I have Frenzy on every single mix you have ever made me. It is that good.

10:40 AM, June 21, 2005  

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