MoSS? Monthly Mixtape: April 2015

2015 CTApril was a busy month here at MoSS? HQ. Chris spent most of the month trying to make sense out of our sketchy tax situation. For the first two weeks of April he was buried under stacks of expense reports and receipts turned in by Sam and Todd over the year. Bloggers can deduct vinyl record purchases, right? As a result, we haven’t had a lot of time to dive into new music lately. So, we’re “mixing” things up a bit with our April mixtape.

This time our playlists are comprised of great songs that are featured in the final or closing scene of some of our favorite movies. See if you can guess all of the movie titles. Some are obvious and some are more obscure. First person to list all 20 of the correct movie titles in the comments section below will win the everlasting respect of the MoSS? men. A prize beyond all monetary value.

Side A: Chris’ Picks

Side B: Todd’s Picks

 

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MoSS? Presents… The Undisputed Top Albums Ever, #70-61

Yep, we’re making a list. Two separate lists, actually, so the above graphic is a bit misleading. Accounting for the limited overlap in Todd’s and Chris’ lists, it’s more like the top 174 or something like that.

Anyway, after months of scientific analysis, hours of listening and re-listening to albums from years gone by, we have arrived at a definitive list of the top albums ever recorded. Our research is not open to interpretation, but you’re more than welcome to complain about the fact that your favorite albums aren’t on this list; we’ll simply respond by telling you that your favorite records aren’t really all that good.

Here are some spoilers: you’re not going to find the typical hipster stuff like Neutral Milk Hotel or Slint or even stuff one/both of us actually likes such as DJ Shadow or Pavement. This isn’t Rolling Stone so you’re not going to find Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Pet Sounds at the top. Wham’s Make It Big was snubbed.

We’re not going to roll it all out at once; no sense rushing through all this quality music! But Music or Space Shuttle? is gonna be pretty busy over the next two months.

That’s enough of an intro. Let’s get on with it…

Chris’ 70-61

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

70. Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left

69. Sigur Ros, Agaetis Byrjun

68. Best Coast, Crazy for You

67. Green Day, Dookie

66. M83, Saturdays=Youth

65. Frank Ocean, Nostalgia, Ultra

64. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

63. U2, The Joshua Tree

62. The Black Keys, thickfreakness

61. Beastie Boys, Check Your Head

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

#67: Green Day, Dookie

album cover for "dookie"A song with a killer bass line and lyrics about polishing the skin flute…that’s what piqued my interest in Green Day. Then I bought Dookie, and found myself absolutely enamored with all the simple things that make rock n roll great: an amazingly tight rhythm section, a catchy sequence of power chords, faux-British-accented vocals, lyrics about having a blast and burning out and “paradise” and wasting other people’s time and being paranoid and/or stoned and hearing someone cry aloud out all the way across town and being told to fuck off and die.

I think Dookie came along at a perfect time. Grunge was running its course, especially with the death of Kurt Cobain, but I was still interested in non-flashy guitar-driven rock. Green Day provided that. The band had matured into better songwriters and stepped up their production values after two solid albums (the debut compilation of LP and EPs, 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, is a definite indicator of the potential, even with a lesser drummer). The glossiness of Dookie never bothered me, just like I had no reason to despise the sound of Nirvana’s Nevermind compared with the sludgy sound of the $606 production of Bleach. I was also in a new town when I started listening to Dookie in earnest. I was making new friends in Ames and enjoying life and more often than not we had songs such as “Having a Blast” on the sound system while, erm, having a blast.

I thought Green Day had additional bright moments over the years, but nothing that burned as bright as this piece of shit from 1994. From the first two touches of the high hat that kick off “Burnout” to the last quiet bits of the jokey “hidden track” that followed “F.O.D.,” this was youthful joy. I never reach for the skip button when listening to this album, and the songs have aged well over the subsequent two decades.

And if you don’t like it, you can F.O.D.

#63: U2, The Joshua Tree

joshua tree album coverMany people like to romanticize that Nirvana (more specifically, Nevermind) killed hair metal. For me, it was The Joshua Tree.

When U2’s fifth album came out in 1987, I was listening to a lot of “awesome” music; that spring, I probably played my Poison tape more than anything. Then the song “With or Without You” hit the radio and music video rotation, and I was intrigued. Then I heard the whole album, and found myself really drawn to the two songs that ended up being the next two singles, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” And the bombast of “Bullet the Blue Sky.” And Bono’s yowls on “Trip Through Your Wires.” And “The Edge guitar sound” on “In God’s Country.”

And the quiet hush of “Running to Stand Still,” which I included in my #61-70 sampler above. I found so much to enjoy about the lyrics:

Sweet the sin
Bitter taste in my mouth
I see seven towers
But I only see one way out

You got to cry without weeping
Talk without speaking
Scream without raising your voice

You know I took the poison
From the poison stream
Then I floated out of here

Suddenly, singing along to “‘Cause baby we’ll be at the drive-in, in the old man’s Ford, behind the bushes, ’til I’m screamin’ for more” seemed juvenile, even to a hormonal 13-year-old dude. Admittedly, it’s not like I immediately threw away my Look What the Cat Dragged In cassette after hearing The Joshua Tree. But I never bought Open Up and Say…Ahhh!; I did get Rattle and Hum when it came out and plucked War from the back catalog and started giving bands like R.E.M. a try when joining the BMG tape club.

Before The Joshua Tree, my lone exposure to U2 was watching Bono leaping down into the crowd (sort of) during the 1985 Live Aid broadcast (I was really annoyed, because I was waiting and hoping to see–surprise!–Duran Duran). I had no idea that in two years, this band of Irishmen would seriously alter the way I listened to and appreciated music. And I believe The Joshua Tree is one of those albums that is able to speak to myriad audiences. Consider life in my dorm during freshman year at the University of Northern Iowa. I lived two doors down from a couple of football players; their room was a popular hangout for a fair number of the Panthers. Whenever they got together to play Madden on the Sega Genesis, they always listened to The Joshua Tree, even though it was a good five years old by then. Not macho metal, not ridiculous rap…”Where the Streets Have No Name” and “Mothers of the Disappeared.” I always liked that…even if I could never beat those fuckers in Madden. Oh well: Tecmo Super Bowl was always my game, anyway. And I owned them in NHL ’93 the following spring…

/video game braggadocio

Todd’s 70-61

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

70. The Sundays, Static and Silence

69. The Ocean Blue, The Ocean Blue

68. The Breeders, Last Splash

67. Crash Test Dummies, God Shuffled His Feet

66. Oasis, What’s the Story(Morning Glory)?

65. Madonna, True Blue

64. The Jesus and Mary Chain, Stoned and Dethroned

63. Sufjan Stevens, Illinois

62. Feist, The Reminder

61. Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

#70. The Sundays, Static and Silence

This was the third of three stellar albums from The Sundays. After its release, lead singer Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin quit the business to settle down and raise their kids. I have patiently waited 15 years for a fourth Sundays album. Waiting…Waiting… I’m starting to get impatient. So, in an effort to get them out of retirement, I am going to make a personal plea to The Sundays. Please, come back! Pretty please! Seriously! C’mon!

I get that you wanted to live a simpler life, have kids, and get away from the hassles of the record industry. But we live in different times now. You don’t need large record labels to record and distribute music anymore. We have a thing called “The Interwebs” now. Get a computer (heck I’ll buy you one) and record in your basement like 23 million other artists are doing now. Throw the new material up on a website (I’ll do that for you too. It would be a Music or Space Shuttle? exclusive release. I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it.)

If it’s the money that’s holding you back, I have a plan for that as well. No one makes money doing it the old way. Unless your last name is Bieber, Swift or Gaga, you aren’t selling albums like the old days. Listen up Sundays. Here’s the new plan. And all you new bands can get in on this as well. Release your album slowly, one song a month. Stream it online and let me decide it I like it or not. If I like it, I buy it. If not, someone else does. Or doesn’t. Who cares? You have another song coming out next month. Maybe we like that song instead. I’d be way more likely to pay for a band’s music one dollar at a time than I would be to buy a whole album for $10 without hearing it. I’m sure a lot of other people would as well.

Sounds great right Harriett? Right Dave? I’m ready when you are. Just think about it.

Please come back! Pretty please?

#61. Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

I was going to music school in Minneapolis around the time The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released. I listened to it a lot in between classes and would get different reactions.

There were a lot of guitar students in one of my music theory classes and they would give me shit for listening to it. I didn’t take it personally. Most of them were assholes and looked like rejects from a Black Sabbath cover band. One guy dressed almost exactly like Rob Zombie sans makeup. He kept trying to tell me Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe was the greatest album of all time and Lauryn Hill was crap. Unfortunately, Hellbilly is still on my “Albums To Listen To” list so I’ll have to take his word for it. (Side Note: Zombie guy could shred on guitar. I watched him play an inspired solo during his rendition of Ozzy’s “Crazy Train.”)

My production classes were a mixed bag, half the students were into electronic and trip hop music and the other half were into rap. One trip hop guy thought he was way too cool for me because I wasn’t listening to the newest Portishead record every day like he was. I never thought that record was very good. Portishead’s first album, Dummy. Now that was good. The rap guys were way into Silkk The Shocker around that time. I had to listen to Charge It 2 Da Game several times. To this day, I still think it is one of the worst things ever recorded. If I made a list of worst albums of all time (coming Fall 2013) this would be at the top, if not #1.

In a school full of musicians and music lovers, why was the future #61 album of all time getting no love? Why did we all hate each other’s music? Why couldn’t we all just get along? Maybe I was an asshole to the guitar guys and not the other way around. Is there some long haired cover band guitarist in the Twin City area blogging about some dick from Iowa that used to say Hellbilly Deluxe was shitty? That’s too much to take in right now. Maybe I need a therapist.

Previous installments:

#100-91

#90-81

#80-71

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Original vs Cover: “Head On”

Is imitation the highest form of flattery? It can be. Take the cover song for instance. Nothing is more polarizing in music. The artist that covers a song either makes the song their own or totally misses the boat. There is rarely an in-between. Have you ever listened to a cover song and thought “That was OK I guess”? The answer is no, you haven’t. It’s either ” That was great” or “That really sucked “.

This is an example of a very bad cover song. Careful. Not for the squeamish:

What can a person say after witnessing such a catastrophe? My sincerest condolences to Pink Floyd fans. If we all stick together, we can get past this. Move on but never forget.

One of my favorite songs is The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On”. It might be in Todd’s Top 10 Songs of All Time list. Well…that may be tough to commit to. Maybe my top 100. It’s at least in my top 1000 of all time. How about this…it’s in my “Top 10 Songs of All Time Compiled on August 15th, 2012 at 5:15 P.M. CT”. That list may change tomorrow or as soon as another song plays on my iPod.

Back to the matter at hand, The Pixies included a cover version of “Head On” on there final full length album, Trompe le Monde. My Pixies obsession has been well documented on this blog so you can guess that I love their cover as much as the original song (Oddly enough, the Pixies version is not on any of my “Tops of All Times” lists. There are very specific rules governing these lists and at this time cover versions are strictly verboten. Legislation is being drafted right now that would allow their future inclusion. Contact your local governing body to voice your support). In their version, Black Francis and the Pixies gang decided to crank up the volume a bit. In doing so they changed the over feel of the song from dark and moody to frantic and angry.

Take a listen to both and tell us which you prefer in the poll at the bottom.The Original or The Cover?

The Jesus and Mary Chain original.

The Pixies cover.

Memories of… “Deep Shag”

Few things can trigger a long lost memory like music. It can happen anywhere.  For me it usually happens in the car. The other day, I was driving to work and flipping channels on the satellite radio. I stopped on Lithium the 90’s alt-rock channel. They were playing a cool old song from the early 90’s that I had forgotten all about, Luscious Jackson’s “Deep Shag”.

I was quickly taken back to Fall 1994. I was driving around smoking Camel Lights and listening to Nine Inch Nails when I decided to stop off at a friends house for a bit. I pulled up to the house and noticed hanging out front was the same group of dopy 15 year old skateboarders I saw every time I stopped there. They always asked me for some smokes. I always answered back (usually with one dangling from my lip) “No, that shit will kill you”. They would grumble something back and that was the extent of our relationship. My vehicle had an alarm system but for some reason I didn’t turn it on. I must have thought my little buddies out front would keep an eye on things.

So I went into my friend’s place and we hung out for a couple of hours. When it was time to go I hopped in my car and drove off sensing something was amiss. Nine Inch Nails “Head Like a Hole” was still playing and I decided to change CDs in my super high tech Discman. On the floor of my car I had a small 10 CD case in which I kept my go-to music of the week. I reached for it and to my surprise there was no case! My heart skipped several beats. Back then the thing I valued the most in life was my music collection. I was 19 and had a crappy part time job. Replacing 10 CD’s would be next to impossible.

In a panic, I pulled over to calm down and search my vehicle. Easy Todd, maybe you just misplaced the CDs. Maybe you left them at home. After a quick search, I realized they were definitely gone. I had been burgled. This was a travesty! Who would do such a thing to me? I reached in the console between the seats for a delicious and calming Camel Light, but hey were gone too! Who would take my CDs and my smokes?………….Those little fuckers! Now I was more pissed knowing that I had been burned by that group of prepubescent criminals. I was sure they were laughing it up. Listening to my music and smoking my smokes. Bastards.

I drove back to see if I could find the little bastards but it was late and no one was around anymore. The next few times I went back over to my friend’s place I tried to find the culprits but I never saw them again and I didn’t have much proof even if I had found them.

The real problem came after the fact.  What do I do about replacing these CDs? As already referenced, I had a crappy part time gig and couldn’t afford to replace them all right away. There was also new music coming out all the time that needed purchasing. So I had to prioritize. I organized the lost CDs into tiers of importance.

Tier 1: You Fucking Assholes. I Love That CD and I Must Sell Blood, Semen or Organs to Get the Money to Replace It.

Smashing Pumpkins, Gish

Songs of note: Well, all of them, but “Bury Me” may be my favorite today.

Replacement Status: Repurchased 1 week after incident at full price. I have purchased this album in every available audio format over the years. Cassette, CD (twice) and digital download.

 

The Jesus and Mary Chain, Stoned and Dethroned

Song of note: “Sometimes Always”

Replacement Status: Repurchased 2 weeks after incident at full price.

 

 

Beastie Boys , Ill Communication

Songs of note: “Sure Shot”, “Root Down”

Replacement Status: Repurchased one month after incident at full price.

 

 

Tier 2: Awe man, that sucks. I’ll have to get that back when I get the chance.

Luscious Jackson, Natural Ingredients

Song of note: “Deep Shag”

Replacement Status: Not replaced yet. Will be scouring the inter-webs for a suitable torrent as soon as I am done with this post.

 

 

Weezer, The Blue Album

Songs of note: “Say it Ain’t So”, “Undone – The Sweater Song”

Replacement Status: Not replaced yet. Napster-ized a few of the key singles on this release but have not as of yet replaced.

 

 

The Sugarcubes, Stick Around for Joy

Songs of note: “Gold”, “Hit”.

Replacement Status: Repurchased summer of 1997 for $1 at CD Xchange. What a bargain!

 

 

Tier 3: You can have it. I won’t be buying that one twice.

Helmet, Betty

Song of note: “Milquetoast”

Replacement Status: A friend recommended it. Never liked it. Never considered replacing it.

 

 

Medicine, The Buried Life

Songs of note: “The Pink” ”She Knows Everything”

Replacement Status: Liked the record but never really considered replacing it. Also had other releases by Medicine to help fill the gap. Medicine is a bit different.  I wish I could have seen the look on those little assholes faces when they first heard this one.

 

Various Artists, DGC Rarities Vol. 1

Songs of note: Counting Crows, “Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman)”  Nirvana, “Pay to Play”

Status: I Napstered the crap out of the Counting Crows song but the rest was of little interest to me. Never considered replacing.

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 20 years now since that Luscious Jackson CD was taken. I also can’t believe I had forgotten all about it until they played it on the radio.  Is there a moral here? Probably not. I did learn that you can’t trust a pack a 15 year old skateboarders unless you give them cigarettes upfront. And hey, things could have been worse.  They could have found the 3 cases of Milwaukee’s Best in the back seat.

Surviving the New Music Wasteland

In the 90’s if you lived in the center of the country like me, it wasn’t always easy to find cool new music. Basically, I would go to the record store and hope to stumble across something good. Sometimes, when I could tune the station in, I could catch a radio show that was on from 10PM to 2AM on Sunday nights. It was called Off the Beaten Path and was hosted by chick DJ extraordinaire Mary of the Heartland. (I heard Smashing pumpkins Gish for the 1st time on her show. Thank you Mary) So, I was stuck in a sort of “New Music Black Out”.

That was until, for a glorious 3-4 year period in the mid 90’s, the music that I listened to stood up front and center. So called “Alterative Music” became so popular that there were actually radio stations playing alt music exclusively. This was a great time for me because I didn’t even have to try to find new music. It was thrust upon me. Back then it was normal to hear The Cure, Beck, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Jeff Buckley in the same block of music. That’s right! On the radio! Like my youth and my beautiful head of hair, I thought this era in music would go on forever. But as they say, “all good things come to an end”. And boy were “they” right. I should have seen it coming. There were signs that the end was near. I just chose to ignore them.

Sign #1. I’m King of the World! I was listening to a great alt station in Ames, Iowa. They had just wrapped up playing a Foo Fighters song and immediately ran into that iceberg of a song from Titanic.  My heart briefly stopped as “My Heart Will Go On” played over the stereo. Right there I should have grabbed onto anything that would float because this alt rock ship was sinking fast.

Sign #2. Lilith Fair and The Bare Naked Ladies. I was living in the Twin Cities area and found a great alt radio station. After enjoying a Ben Folds 5 song they announced that they have a new “house band”, The Bare Naked Ladies. They then announced that they were helping to sponsor a little estrogen fueled music fest called Lilith Fair. From then on you couldn’t go 20 minutes without hearing “Chickity China, a Chinese Chicken” or that song from Dawson’s Creek.  Yet, I still couldn’t bring myself to turn off the radio. I was still clinging on. Hoping things could go back. That is until…

Sign #3. Mandatory Metallica. When I moved back to Iowa the local alt channel had a gimmick called “Mandatory Metallica”. They had to play at least one song by Metallica once an hour. (Why? My theory was Lars had the DJs strung up by their balls above a pool of sharks. If they didn’t play a Metallica song once an hour they were slowly lowered into it)  I never really disliked Metallica but this mandate was a bit much. Try sitting through the “Mandatory Metallica” and “2 for 2sday” combo then see where your sanity lies. So this is where I flipped the radio off.

For a few years I wondered aimlessly through the aftermath of what I called “The New Music Wasteland”. Eventually technology rescued me with the invention of satellite and internet radio. But in the meantime I had to find alternate methods to satisfy my musical appetite. So, I did what everyone does in times of trouble… look back at a better time.  Here are a few examples of some artists I rediscovered during this time. Maybe this could serve as a guide if you ever find yourself stuck in your own “New Music Wasteland”.

Prince

Most of my friends are aware that for quite a long time my Prince listening habits bordered on compulsive. Not just Prince’s solo music either. All things Prince and Prince related. The Time, The Family, NPG, Martika, The Modernaires were all on heavy rotation. I always thought it was weird when guys would say “Prince? That dude’s gay”. He was linked to a different hot girl every week, his best songs were very sexual in nature, and his lyrics are clearly written from a hetero point of view. I recently ran across this picture.

Now I get the confusion. The outfit is so distractingly androgynous that you don’t even notice the scantily clad Kat and Sheila E standing beside him. So if you can get past the strange fashion do your musical homework on Prince. Anything from 1978-1995. Doesn’t matter, it’s all A plus material and there’s a lot of it. The Purple One released an album every fortnight back then. 1996-Present, don’t bother, pretty much crap.

Al Green

As soulful as it gets. This guy gets a lot of air time at my house in the fall and winter months. It is perfect for that time of year when it is either too cold or too wet to leave the house. Throw this album on when you want to stay in and hunker down with your significant other. Pssst… by hunker down I meant make “The Sex”.

The Beatles

Every music fan has gotten into the Beatles at some point along the way. I spent a lot of time in the “New Music Wasteland” re-listening to The Beatles catalog. My favorite Beatles song happens to be “Don’t Let Me Down” and it is on this record 1967-1970.

The reason I am showing it to you now is that I recently lost a wager involving that song. I bet a certain other pop culture blogger (Chris) who shall remain (Chris) nameless (A-hole) that “Don’t Let Me Down” was on the album Let It Be. The other nameless blogger claimed that it was never released on a major record but was instead the B side of “Get Back”. Now, I have heard that song a million times and was very confident in my knowledge that it was on one of my albums at home. So I brazenly offered up a recently purchased ticket to an M83 concert if I was wrong. Needless to say, bloggy blog man is getting a free ticket to M83. I had heard the song a million times but not on Let It Be. It was on this stupid fucking greatest hits record. Is there a moral here?

Know your Beatles Trivia?   No, that’s not it.

Always be 100% sure before you bet?   No, that’s not it.

F.U. Chris?   Yep, that’s it.