Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vol. 4 - Food


Suggested by our very own Jason Walton, this mix will get your mouths waterin'! Nine fresh (ha!) cuts about one of life's best activities, eating. And look next week for a curveball of a theme, our reactions in trying to "answer" it with our contributions, and a new addition to the team!

Hasan: Tom Waits - Eggs and Sausage

Normally, I'm not a breakfast person, but that changes when I go to a diner. There's nothing like getting a nice plate of eggs, chicken sausage (I don't dig on the swine), home fries, and toast early in the morning or in the middle of the night. I always end up getting either a burger and fries or eggs and sausage whenever I go to a diner, it seems like they just can't mess up the two, so that's what I always end up getting. Seriously, I'm not trusting your clams or fillet mignon Double T's! "Eggs and Sausage" is much more than a song about food, this Tom Waits classic captures everything about diner people and its atmosphere. See? I can pick something non-metal! Enjoy!

Chris: Toadliquor – Tenderloin

Apologies to all the vegetarians, but I love meat. Rare meat. Meat on the bone. Whatever. Eating it makes me feel fucking primitive, like a hunter-gatherer who’s just killed a mastodon with just a spear. This song definitely evokes that feeling of a successful primordial hunt for me, followed by roasting and eating a slab of meat. Slow-cooked, bloody, primordial meat, expressed through sludgy riffs, tar-flow tempos, and inhuman howls.

Aesop: Slim Gaillard - Potato Chips

Nobody wrote songs about food better than Slim Gaillard (1916-1991). The Cuban-Born singer, multi-instrumentalist, linguist, tap dancer, composer was an absolute hedonist with a voracious appetite for dames, dope, drink, and food. This epicurean zeal is well documented within his massive body of work, but of all Slim’s mouth-watering food songs, my favorite has to be "Potato Chips." The unfettered enthusiasm of his vocal delivery and that raucous saxophone make such a mundane snack seem like a decadent indulgence. I don’t even like potato chips, but this song just makes me think that I perhaps missed something.

Asa: Alice In Chains - Rotten Apple

Opening with a beautifully gloomy bass melody, "Rotten Apple" is a metaphorical soundtrack to something that once tasted sweet now degrading. "Innocence is over," sings Layne Stayley, later adding that "Confidence is broken." I used to listen to this on the bus to school on fall mornings in eighth grade. Life wasn't really gloomy then, but that bassline sounds like how I feel when I get up. I didn't eat apples too much at the time, but I love'em now. My writeup is quickly getting irrelevant...NEXT!

Jason: Dead Kennedys - Soup Is Good Food

I bought this album and Cannibal Corpse's "Butchered At Birth" at the same time. I had not heard either band at the time. When I brought them home, I hated Jello's vocals, and Chris Barnes's vocals. The perfect pairing of disappointment.

About a year later, I tried them both again, and loved both. The perfect pairing of satisfaction.

Here is one of my favorite Dead Kennedys songs, topic appropriate.

Adam: Qui - Freeze

I love ice cream. I also really love riffs. When combined, the potential for greatness is unrivaled. "Freeze" by Qui reminds me of sexy ice cream and has a monolithic riff. David Yow of the Jesus Lizard spews out more of his whacked, semi-unintelligible prose while two shirtless dudes wank off on their instruments. Probably the only great Qui song, this is song makes me air guitar almost every single time I hear it. That's just a little ice cream!

Quinn: Pretty Girls Make Graves – If You Hate Your Friends, You’re Not Alone

This comes from one of my favorite albums of all time: Good Health. The first time I listened to it, I was entirely captivated by the interplay between the guitar parts of J Clark and Nathan Thelen. The only thing I had heard beforehand that was anything like it was the relationship between the riffs of Jim Ward and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of At the Drive-In. The riffs sound disparate but work really, really well together. They are frenetic but razor-sharp in their focus.

Once again, my choice doesn’t actually deal in literal terms with the week’s theme. I was racking my brain for a good pick when I remembered the chorus to this song where singer Andrea Zollo mentions a “girl with an ice cream cone” in a metaphor to express jealousy, selfishness, and the general pettiness of some people. I was thinking about choosing Be Your Own Pet’s “Food Fight!” but that just seemed to easy and definitely a bit lazy on my part.

Bitsy: Iron And Wine - Bird Stealing Bread

Come 3AM Thursday morning, my racked brain was ready to surrender to this theme. Shortly after that moment of defeat, Sam Beam softly crooned the answer into my little sleep-deprived ears. “Bird Stealing Bread” may have little to do with the actual idea of food itself; however, its reference to food makes for an excellent metaphor. Lyrically, Beam recalls a time when a seagull got the best of him and his bread at the beach. He openly compares that feeling of being used to his own personal woman troubles. Food? Sam Beam? It's an amiable combination. Beautifully constructed and performed, Beam’s “Bird Stealing Bread” is an easy listen, but not half as satisfying as a midday Chipotle run.

Jess: The Food - Oxbow

With trying new food, there comes a level of hesitance. I think skepticism is rather appropriate when it comes to popping a bite of some foreign specimen in your mouth. Sure you don't have to take the bite, instead letting it level with your taste buds for several seconds with the option of pitching the chunk in your napkin. That's not necessarily the most polite maneuver, although I have to say it's happened several points throughout my lifetime. But when it comes to noise rock, my upchuck rate is still grounded at zero. Then again, my 'buds could use many more meetings with the noise rock. The Food proves that instinctual acceptance once again. There's no doubt a resurgence of early '90s Amrep tribute is reviving tongues with tasteful substance. That said, The Food's "Oxbow" is a new flavor that's worth having at least one night a week. But if you're like me with a limiting income, used to brewing angel hair and marinara three nights week, you'll probably be spinning this tune more frequently.

Download the Food mixtape HERE.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vol. 3 - Summer

Chris: Man or Astro-man? – Invasion of the Dragonmen

Summertime is all about cheesy and ridiculous things for me. It’s also all about the surf rock. So Man or Astro-man? are a pretty natural fit for both of these things. This song starts off with a ludicrous sample from a Spiderman book-and-record set from the 60’s or 70’s, then breaks down into some surf rock madness. As such, this was probably one of my most listened to songs last year, particularly when I was mowing the lawn for some reason.

Asa: Alcest - Souvenirs D'Un Autre Monde

Sometimes, one hears a band and finds their mouth agape in awe-- and not necessarily due to the musicianship contained in the tune, but because the band has somehow captured a feeling or experience the listener can relate to. Case in point: Alcest's Souvenirs D'Un Autre Monde record. Everything about the album-- exemplified in this song-- oozes sunny, relaxing beauty with its unrestraining guitar sound shining like unstoppable sun beams. I'd crash to this both ways while commuting to Seattle via ferry two years ago in a state of total bliss.

Unrelated: as I listened to this while walking the more pastoral parts of my study abroad school's campus this spring, I saw a bumble bee dogfighting with a butterfly. It was like Star Wars.

Quinn: Piebald - The Benefits of Ice Cream

This song comes from what I find to be a terrific summer album: All Ears, All Eyes, All the Time. I listened to this LP around nine times or so while driving back home from the beach in the summer after freshman year of high school. It’s got a positive vibe that defines it, but has subtle undertones of somber moments that prevent it from being overbearingly upbeat. Not only does this album mark a moment in time for me, it also definitely always makes me think of summertime.

“The Benefits of Ice Cream” is an anthem for staying positive and being carefree, without ever being too blatantly obvious with its message. The title alone should provide an idea of what it's about. It’s a song that kicks off a memory of summer for me that I’ll never forget. Everyone ought to have a song or album that holds a special significance of a summer past. I could choose any song from this album; in fact, I could choose a lot of other songs from other artists, but this song is a highlight for me.

Bitsy: Modest Mouse - Summer

Breaking the rhythm-- if you are under the age of 25, that is what summer is meant for in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Whether you live in this town year round, on weekends, over holidays, or even if you’re just visiting, it becomes clear that the Hanovarian lifestyle is mainly made up of simple daily routines. The thought of my summer wasting itself away on cycles of work and sleep alone is absolutely gut-wrenching. I will not have it. At times I have to happily force myself to jump in the car and break the barriers of the monotonous trickle of the Appalachians. “Summer” by Modest Mouse seems to be one of those songs that I always have playing over the car stereo when I get that itch to get out and make something of the season. Although the lyrics and title obviously fit the theme— for me, this song lets me revisit a million and ten memories (mostly good) of past summer endeavors. I hope it will always serve as a trigger for my memory even after I’ve gone good and gray. Happy listening.

Jess: Zombi - Sequence 5

Like a swarm of fireflies, Zombi buzz with electricity on this track. Growing up, I used to chase these things with a mason jar in one hand, the lid clenched in the other. But if said fireflies were as electronically charged as these sparkling circuits sound, there’s no way five-year-old me could keep up with them. Swarming at a height just above my jumping reach, these things would drive me crazy. This song reminds of late, summer nights. When Zombi aren’t illustrating fireflies dotting the night sky with life, they’re reanimating killer mosquitoes once squished beneath grandmother’s boot. That’s the spark that ignites at 1:30. All the while, the beat goes on as Steve Moore and A.E. Paterra add layer upon layer of ‘80s synth worship. This stuff could make Michael Myers pick up his pace a bit. As much as Zombi is about capturing similar essence in '80s horror film soundtracks, there's a strange innocence of it all. “Sequence 5” unfolds illustrious memories of youth, like staying up past bedtime with an adrenaline rush that refuses to simmer. This Pittsburg duo put their restless hands to good use.

Adam: Miracle Legion - Butterflies

My idea of summer will always be completely romanticized and, as a result, it never really is as amazing as it should be. Many of my childhood summers ruled and I can say that a few of my past summers have been really great, but they never quite develop into what I want them to be, especially when I'm taking ten straight weeks of summer classes. FUCK.

I can't exactly describe what I've looked for in my summers, but it involves something like what's described in the 80s indie/alt band Miracle Legion's "Butterflies;" an effortless, free-flowing, and serene journey through a familiar nature with a loved one. I used to have someone who this might have played out with, but that's long in the past, so now I spend my summers brooding and doing quite the opposite of what I actually want and what happens in the song. FUCK.

Aesop: Hanoi Rocks - Ice Cream Summer

It's summer and the weather feels like a race riot. And I wonder what summer in Finland is like. Hanoi Rocks had a few songs with “summer” in the title (two on the same album even). What could these Finnish dandies know about summer fun, or the Beach Boys, or not getting in a car with Vince Neil? Well, they must know something, because when I was told that this week’s theme was summer, my mind went half way around the globe to the song “Ice Cream Summer.” It’s a fairly typical summer romance song, but Hanoi Rocks puts an interesting spin on it in the second half of the song by having melting ice cream as a metaphor for a relation ship doomed to dissolve at summer’s end. And listen for where Mike Monroe calls Rosalita a bitch right at :28.

Hasan: Winter - Into Darkness

Summertime in Baltimore is awful. The sweltering heat in the area combined with the pollution and bad smell provide the perfect backdrop for Winter's brand of death/doom metal. I just love listening to doom and sludge metal during the summer. What a perfect band name too, their music wonderfully sets up a chilling and frostbitten atmosphere. Don't have an A/C or it's broken? Just play this bad boy. While everyone's listening to that Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff song or some Time of the Season bullshit, I've got Into Darkness blaring through my speakers! I've found that the song is also perfect for night driving especially in the middle of a hot summer night. Everything's so quiet and humid and there's no other cars in sight. Just you and the road, then the ritualistic drumming starts pounding away like a slow migraine while you're just coastin' through town coming back from a party/show/late night food venture and the crushing bass and vocals of John Alman guide you to your destination. I'm going to miss having so much free time come fall.

Note: Please send good thoughts to our boy Jason as he fixes his computer. As a result of the tech difficulties, we have only eight songs this week instead of nine. Jason would like to mention that if possible, he would've picked Thought Industry - Patiently Waiting.

Download the Summer mixtape HERE.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vol. 2 - Pets

Per the suggestion of Jess "Blumenizer" Blumensheid, this week's batch of tunes goes out to our pets and/or favorite critters.


Asa: Anne Briggs - Highlodge Hare

Hopper the rabbit was an adorable, dear lil' dude. He was a Holland lop, and his dark brown coat eventually turned a beautiful shade of delicious cinnamon. I remember the day we got him-- the drive to the oddball breeder's house in bumtown nowhere, the tiny ball of fur quivering in the open cardboard box on the ride back. I also remember the day where, his eyes oozing pus and covered in cataracts, we had to put the poor guy down. In cyclical fashion, he returned to a cardboard box, this time wrapped in some towels before the box was thoroughly sealed and he was laid to rest in our backyard. In the whopping eleven years he was around, there were innumerable hangouts in which I'd forego homework and let him loose on the laundry room floor, where he would stand on his hind legs and sniff the air apprehensively. As such, I've picked out reclusive 70s' folkie Anne Briggs' "Highlodge Hare," a fittingly simple, tiny bouzouki instrumental for a simple, tiny little buddy. RIP, guy. I miss you still.

Jess: Red House Painters—Wop-A-Din-Din

Upon first listening to this song, I assumed it was another solemn, but sweet tune honoring one of Mark Kozelek's love affairs. My expectations led me to believe Kozelek’s subject as a porcelain-skinned brunette who never seems to stay by his side. Kissing her long, Egyptian face as she lays "perfectly in place" reads as any other lover song. But when he soothes his tone, singing that he "might knock her" from his bed "to the ground," I start to question what type of broad would put up with such rude shenanigans; none other than a cat, of course. I guess he can’t digest the good-morning kitty breath. His voice is warm and the acoustics are comforting. This song is depressingly beautiful, like bidding good-bye to your cat before embarking on a three-month journey.

Bitsy: Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces

I’m comfortable saying that my dogs and I are on the same level. Clarification: I don’t drink out of the toilet or poop freely in the yard, but I feel like we just get each other. It always amazes me how they respond to human emotion with nothing but a happy disposition and a wagging tail. Completely carefree and tongues dangling, my dogs are just content to be in the company of someone who knows how to scratch that neglected patch of fur on their backs. “Smiley Faces” by Gnarls Barkley (heh, “bark”— awful, unintentional pun) lyrically reminds me of that happy disposition—and that undying curiosity that I recognize in my own dogs. The majority of the song lyrics are questions that could easily come from a pet’s perspective. It’s a strange way of looking at the piece, but with a pet theme, thinking inside of the box was not even an option- not for me. Enjoy it.

Quinn: Sun Kil Moon - Lily and Parrots

Okay, so in all honesty, I couldn’t really find a suitable song for this week’s theme. I’ve never associated a particular song with my pets, nor have my pets ever made me think of a particular song. This week, I offer a song from the one and only Mark Kozelek by way of Sun Kil Moon. As far as I can tell, “Lily and Parrots” is really a song about a guy expressing his love for a girl. But Quinn, why this has nothing to do with pets! Sure there are references to animals, but you’re just goofing around! Ah, but don’t we as pet owners at some level or another share the same type of affection when we think about our pet(s)? I’d have to say so.

Jason: Ramones - Pet Sematary

The Ramones are one of those bands that made who I am, so the obvious choice for me when thinking of pets, is the place that all pets end up, The Pet Sematary. This track was one of the first times that the band expanded on the super catchy almost pop/rock sound of "I Wanna Live" that they later carried onto albums like Mondo Bizzaro, combining their old punk edge with a more refined and friendly sound.

Hüsker Dü - How To Skin A Cat

I don’t want to sound too much like hippy scum, but I just LOVE animals. They’re cute, they’re fun to play with, and, most of all, they’re excellent for NOT eating. The hypocrisy of being vegan and having pets is something I’m willing to deal with, but every vegan has their breaking point: I just can’t take shitty roommates and their shitty cats.

Shitty Roommate’s cat Cornelius is the bane of my existence. What started as a mutually-distant relationship due to a violent altercation has grown into all out war as a result of that motherfucker shitting in my bed and pissing on some of my records. I despise this creature. I remain silent, though, because if there is one thing worse than Shitty Roommate’s cat, it's Shitty Roommate’s complaining; her voice is the sound of holocaust.

I can’t live like this, though, so on one of my particularly weak vegan days I plan on blasting Hüsker Dü’s noisy, discordant tale of the capitalist venture into feline hairstyling of “How To Skin A Cat” and taking a cleaver to Cornelius’ skull. I would feel terrible just wasting the carcass, so I plan on devouring it. It’s still vegan. Shit.

Roach Motel - My Dog’s Into Anarchy

I racked my brain trying to think of songs about pets and then it occurred to me that the ultimate “pet song” was done by Florida’s (my home state) most revered and earliest hardcore band, Roach Motel. The song is brief but still manages to tell the tale of a dog so punk and disorderly he “stage dives off the kitchen chair” and even “has a lifetime subscription to Maximum Rock 'n' Roll.” I wish I could recall the rest of the lyrics, they go by so fast, but every single line supports the notion that singer Bob Fetz’s dog is way more punk than yours or any other fucking dog on the planet. Word is that this dog eventually grew out of punk and got really into house music and became a DJ. This song is twenty-six years old, so presumably this extremely punk dog is dead, much like punk itself. Oi Oi Oi.

Charles Bronson - The Great Pet Rock Comeback

While at first I was going to pick a song that actually reminded me of my dog, I quickly realized that the only song that would accurately fit would be the Scooby Doo theme song. Although not a great dane, she is a coward and has a black hole of a stomach. And hangs out with kids from the 60’s. Instead, I thought about how much I’ve always wanted a pet rock to collect dust in the crannies of my room. They're the best pets. So here’s a song from powerviolence giants Charles Bronson that may or may not be about pet rocks. It’s pretty kicking.

Hasan: Hatebeak - Beak of Putrefaction

I used to own three badass parakeets. They could have probably beat the shit out of your weak ass dog or bunny. I'd like to think those parakeets would enjoy the Baltimore death/grind trio known as Hatebeak, which prominently featured Waldo the parrot on vocals. I get a smile on my face when listening to this track, not because of the ridiculousness of the music, but because it reminds of the good times I had with those loud and annoying parakeets. How heartwarming of Mr. Blake Harrison (Triac/Pig Destroyer) to include his lovely pet bird in the music he loves. Now if only black metal bands would include their pet goats in their music.

Download the Pets mixtape HERE.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vol. 1 - Birth

Welcome to Blog Bodies! We're an assorted cast of characters with different-but-often overlapping musical tastes, here to share a themed mix each week featuring songs we dig.


Aesop: English Romantic Age poet William Wordsworth once penned, “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,” but it was the venerable Chuck Schuldiner who said of birth “Born dead into this world/To starve and rot in agony.” Perhaps Chuck wasn’t as profound as Wordsworth but Wordsworth never made anything even remotely as heavy as the album Leprosy. And with that we launch this collaborative endeavor known as Blog Bodies. Thanks and accolades must go to my fellow “Blog Buddies” Asa, Hasan, Adam, Jess, Jason, Bitsy, Froggy, Lil’ Dreamer, Musk Ox, and Sweet Pea. Thanks for having me along.

Hasan: Exivious - Embrace The Unknown

I went with an instrumental song because I'm lazy, oh but I guess it's subjective so it can mean whatever the hell you want. Nah, just kidding!

Everyday we're "born" to face new challenges and endeavors that life hands us. To me this song just screams out a new beginning with unexpected twists and turns. From the beginning drum roll to the amazing jazzy breaks in between, we're given moments of new beginnings and what uncertainty lies ahead. Enjoy!

Bitsy: Being an avid appreciator of well-constructed song lyrics, it surprised me when I finally settled on choosing the Appleseed Cast’s “Bird of Paradise” as my song choice for the theme of birth. As an instrumental track, I feel I can relate more of my own experiences surrounding the idea of “birth” to it as oppose to someone's lyrics. “Bird of Paradise” pretty much consists of slightly changing repetitive loops, not unlike most of its sister tracks on the album Low Level Owl: Volume One. There isn’t a great sense of build up or excitement behind the echoes of bell chants- yet, after listening, I can’t help but feeling like something more is going to happen in the next track. It’s hopeful to some extent.

Much like birth, this track is almost like a blank map- an unwritten plan. Through much of the beginning of our lives, we move in circles- routines, until we build on of the familiar and branch out into the not so familiar. The loops in “Bird of Paradise” remind me a lot of that concept. Although I’m sure lead man, Christopher Crisci, intended for this series of loops to put pictures of brightly colored fowl rising and falling in the air in the minds of his listeners, I associate it with an thought not so far from the idea of an uncharted flight.

Adam: Negative Approach - Lead Song

Birth, eh? I'm guessing other people will be posting about some bobo-ass stuff involving "beautiful" moments in their lives, deep metaphors, and other Fern Gully shit, but not me. Not Adam Whites.

To write a proper paragraph on birth, I had to man up. Transforming into a true hardcore warrior, I started jamming the Negative Approach 7". As amazing as the seminal "Ready To Fight" is, I always listen to it and just want it to make way for the blistering "Lead Song." The latter has always been one of my favorite hardcore songs and is definitely my favorite NA song.

As brilliant as its simple guitar line is, it's the pissed-off revolutionary lyrics that seemed appropriate for this week's theme; the song is the sound of the birth of a true revolution, not that of the rich, privileged, white-guilt (read: secretly racist), college anarchist. No room for these future lawyers and doctors, only hard-ass dudes and dudettes: "You laugh at us from behind our backs/Just fucking wait till we attack/Your type is someone we despise/Watch the slaughter from where you hide." This is the sort of nihilistic and vengeful uprising that is all too necessary in this day and age; the rebirth through death. Death to jocks. Death to suits. Death to humanity.

"We want a fight/To have a chance/To change the future/Erase the past."

Chris: A birth, whether figurative or literal, is something to be both anticipated and worried about, something beautiful yet dissonant. Japanese post-rock/ambient artist World’s End Girlfriend captures this feeling of birth masterfully in his song “Phantasmagoria Moth Gate”, the opening track to his 2005 album This Lay Lie Land. A warm, ambient background and bright trumpets are juxtaposed with honking, off-key saxophones, resulting in an atmosphere that can be uncomfortable for the listener yet stills evokes beauty. Enjoy.

Jason: Anthrax - One Man Stands

February 21, 2007, my second daughter, Ellory Reed Walton, was born. For some reason, I have no idea why, during the entire delivery I had this song running through my head. Now, when I think of her birth, I think of this song as well.

Jess: As fat and juicy as a ripe peach, Church of Misery spin the best '70s groove of the 21st century. Try to resist its sweet nectar and not let it drip down the chin in 'Born to Raise Hell.' The first bite is rough and tart, just like an ordinary peach skin. Taste buds turn inside-out when the steady snare, chugging bass and flirtatious guitar stream behind the drunken wails. This song chugs like Pentagram on Quaalude. But as tempting as these luscious riffs are, they're a bittersweet facade for lyrics about serial killer Rickard Speck. "Born to Raise Hell" is a great motto for anyone willing to take risk—for those who haven't yet, this track is a respectable start. Just don't get too carried away on this born-again venture. After all, Mr. Speck successfully demonstrates what happens when 'raising hell' pushes limits.

Asa: Alright, I'll be honest. I can't think of any song that I really, really dig that directly pertains to birth. But Byla's "Closer to the Center" is a beautiful double-guitar drone piece that climbs a staircase into the nighttime sky, and sounds like something I'd use to soothe a crying infant.

Quinn: When I learned the first theme was “birth” I struggled with finding a song. The first one that came to mind was “Billie Jean” – you know, “the kid is not my son.” Maybe I was too caught up in the aftermath of Jackson’s death or maybe I just think the song is so damn good. Anyways, it finally struck me that “Flume” by Bon Iver would be a wise choice. For me, the lyrics capture the tale of the unborn child, especially a mother’s unspoken nurturing love for her baby. The line “Sky is womb and she’s the moon” pretty much conveys it all. Furthermore, this is the lead-off track to Bon Iver’s debut album – one born out of the death of Justin Vernon's old band and life. Apologies for the inadvertent pun.

Download the Birth mixtape HERE.