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    C-Lo.net's Playlist Meme wants you to play ten songs in Shuffle mode and blog the results. Here are mine, with annotations:

    1. "So Breaks Yesterday," by Pullman

    I think of Pullman as basically the "acoustic Tortoise," since it features Doug McCombs and Bundy K. Brown. Weirdly, though, this Pullman album (Turnstyles & Junkpiles (Thrill Jockey, 1998)) has aged better than almost all of the Tortoise stuff. Like most of the tracks on the disc, this is a heartrendingly pretty instrumental.

    2. "Staring at the Sun," by TV on the Radio

    OK, Tunde Adebimpe's voice still reminds me a little too much of the guy from Seal. But ultimately the experimental barbershop quality of this piece (and the entire Young Liars EP, for that matter) wins me over.

    3. "Canned Oxygen," by the Halo Benders

    A scrappy little lo-fi rocker, but like a lot of the Halo Benders stuff this track is initially pleasing yet ultimately kind of forgettable. There are some good moments, like the scorching guitar that follows an aimless reverberating noise break in the middle of the track, but there's nothing here that you're going to come away humming.

    4. "Oh Comely," by Jeff Magnum

    "I wish I could save her in some sort of time machine": this is a solo version of the Neutral Milk Hotel track, recorded for an XFM radio session, whatever that is. Imagine a slightly rawer version of the version on Aeroplane, and with no horns at the end.

    5. "Today Has Been A Fucked Up Day," by Beck

    One of the best Beck songs ever, not only because of the sentiment, which I can definitely get behind, but also because of the incredibly primitive production. Anyone who's ever recorded a song to a shitty tape recorder stolen from their parents will recognize at least one aspect of the MO here. Plus: banjo!

    6. "Sadie" by Joanna Newsom

    Key track from the eerie Milk-Eyed Mender album. Lots of ink has already been spilled on Newsom; I don't have much to add other than to say that this is one of the tracks that best embodies what people like about her.

    7. "Milk and Honey" by Jackson C. Frank

    Fans of obscure folk are big into Jackson C. Frank, but his reputation has always struck me as slightly over-inflated. This is a melancholy, semi-poetic track that would sonically fit pretty comfortably next to tracks by the Mamas and the Papas or Simon and Garfunkel from the same era, and would lyrically fit pretty comfortably next to Dylan Thomas. Pleasant enough, but doesn't exactly trigger an epiphany for me.

    8. "Ananda" by Kalaparusha

    Free-form, spiritually-inflected jazz from 1970. "Ananda" meanders along for most of its nine minutes: Rita Omolokun uluates, Sarine Garrett and Fred Hopkins noodle minutely on guitar and bass, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre periodically contributes some small burst of notes on the tenor sax. Gradually comes together into a moment of ecstasis at the end, but I can't say I really feel like it's earned.

    9. "Seahorses and Flying Fish," Christian Bök.

    Sound poetry recorded live at a SUNY reading. Strange, incredibly visceral incantations. An MP3 of this track is yours for the taking in the Buffalo archive.

    10. "I Am So Very Cold," by Town and Country

    And so we end where we began: a pretty acoustic instrumental from Chicagoans, on the Thrill Jockey label. This piece is short for Town and Country, only 3:15, but it still manages to move the listener through at least three or four distinct stages, giving the piece a feeling of a toy contraption. Wind it up and it intriguingly unfolds.

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    Tuesday, February 15, 2005
    9:34 PM


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