8.29.2008

FCM#8 - Labor

FCM #8 - LABOR Most of us really like the work we do. That's how we know eachother, in fact. However, I'm certainly happy it's Friday and I think we all are. Click here to download the entire FCM #8 - LABOR or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's theme is not yet determined. Let's have another vote! The choices for next week are (a) Get Political (b) From the Movies (c) Colors. Vote in the comments, please! Voting closes tuesday at noon!

"Government Center" The Modern Lovers - 1973
Jane writes: There are some artists that conjure vivid imagery of landscape and love and loss and joy... but Modern Lovers' songwriting tends to sound like the lyrics were made up about 2 minutes ago about something that just happened. I love it.

Here's the essence of "Government Center". Dude was waiting in line at the post and thought the workers looked bored. In his mind he daydreamed about rocking the joint and cheering up the staff in the process. The end.

"Bang The Drum All Day" Todd Rundgren - 1983
Walt writes: What better way not to work than bang the drum all day? Matt B says that you get tired of a song after hearing it 200 times. For this song, I say ... nonsense! Enjoy the day off, I know I will!

"Found A Job" Talking Heads - 1978
James writes: It's the American Dream! True entrepreneurial spirit! The bored protagonists of this song decide to start their own reality show (decades before the genre dominated television, I might add), and save their relationship in the process.

Consider this song a gateway drug to a near-perfect Talking Heads album.

"Working Man" Rush - 1974
Chris writes: The summer I turned 16 years old my family and I moved to Florida from Virginia, a move I both welcomed (thanks in part to the promise of sunny beaches and sun-kissed women) and despised (gaining vehicular independence while losing all your friends is a downer). Being a one-car family kept me from doing much exploring on my own, but after scoping out the local sunny beaches and sun-kissed women (it was all true!) I decided my life in Florida would be much improved with my own set of wheels. So I, like any red-blooded American worth a damn, went to work at the nearest Wendy's fast food restaurant. I worked my skinny, teenage ass off and before long I was working the drive-thru, the grill, and other positions of power within the Wendy's institution. Within four months I'd saved a grand, drove up to the outskirts of Alabama with my dad and drove back in an $800 1965 Ford Fairlane 500 that had sat in a yard for more than a few years.

It was in reasonable shape, and after tweaking the engine timing, rewiring the whole damn vehicle and spit-shining every piece of chrome, I roared (literally - this car had original glass packs!) off toward school with my sister next to me on the bench seat. My sister was later replaced with a girlfriend, and there were other things in that vehicle that were replaced and improved - the best of which was a CD player installed under the dash and a pair of bass-heavy 6x9 speakers I cut into the rear deck. I loved the way music mixed with the rumble of the muffler - everything was loud, proud, and probably obnoxious. I continued to work at Wendy's through high school, and this song became something of an anthem as I drove home at 10 or 11 following a closing shift. I'd roll down the windows, crank this song and drive my way down a mostly deserted street, feeling very much like the rough-and-tumble blue collar worker this song epitomizes. I was, of course, just another obnoxious teenage fast-food worker driving a car that was as painfully loud as the music I was playing, and I wasn't going home to crack a cold beer like the song suggests. No, I was just going home to climb into bed, wake at seven, and do it all again - just like the working man. This song takes me right back to those days, that car, and my pure love for heavy guitar. Just have a listen to that solo, would ya?

"I Hate My Fucking Job" Moto - 2003
Jane writes: May I also submit the super-catchy "I hate my fucking job" by MOTO? You can't get more base than this one. That's why I felt compelled to put a little more thought into our theme (see above). Well... that, and I DON'T hate my fucking job.

"For The Workforce, Drowning" Thursday - 2003
Justin writes: I'm going to have to leave this week's description up to Geoff Rickly the lead singer of Thursday. Here is an excerpt of his thoughts about this week's theme:

"Falling from the top floor your lungs
fill like parachutes
windows go rushing by.
people inside,
dressed for the funeral in black and white.
These ties strangle our necks, hanging in the closet,
found in the cubicle;
without a name, just numbers, on the resume stored in the mainframe, marked for delete."

"9-5ers Anthem" Aesop Rock - 2001
Ben writes: We the American working population hate the fact that eight hours a day is wasted on chasing the dream of someone that isn't us. And we may not hate our jobs, but we hate jobs in general that don't have to do with fighting our own causes. We the American working population hate the nine-to-five day-in/day-out when we'd rather be supporting ourselves by being paid to perfect the pasttimes that we have harbored based solely on the fact that it makes us smile if it sounds dope.

I think any artist can relate with this statement.

"Why Don't You Get A Job" The Offspring - 1998
Christine writes: Offspring is one of those guilty pleasure bands for me. This song is awesome because it's catchy and hilarious. Who doesn't know a friend (or maybe yourself) that is constantly complaining about a friend or significant other who is a constant moocher? These people have Labor Day everyday.

"Surf Wax America" Weezer - 1996
TJ writes: This is just about blowing off the day and going surfing. Pretty basic yet when I think about it... I wish I could just do that (if I only knew how to surf and lived near an ocean). At least thats what I want this to mean so cause I want it to, it does, enjoy :)

"East Bound and Down" Jerry Reed - 1977
Felix writes: I probably first heard this song from the seminal first Smokey and the Bandit movie. However, I was re-introduced to it by my friend Ron Fuhler, who was my Flash mentor back in 2000... the first guy who showed me the ropes, and taught me a lot of the fundamentals of the program.

He and I worked for a small company in Barrington, and this was a song he'd play whenever there was a rush project, a fire, or something that required a lot of focused energy/attention. It was a playful thing, but it stuck with me over the years.

I tend to employ this song during all nighters, and have had it blasting, full-volume, from my computer more times than I care to remember. But it's a great tune, and it works. At 3:30 AM, when you're bleary-eyed and wanting an extra burst of energy... this song is as good as a strong cup of coffee or a cigarette.

"I Don't Wanna Grow Up" Tom Waits - 1992
Brian writes: This was a difficult theme for me. I really have no Labor Day/song connection in my mind...Which is very odd, because I have some sort of music-related connection to pretty much everything else in my life. Well...As of today, I can now say I have a Labor Day song. While it's not really a song about the working man/woman, or taking a break from the grind, it is a song that celebrates having a mind free of the responsibilities and headaches that come with being a working citizen in the U.S. of A. It's also a reminder to not let the complexities that come with being an adult (like a job), overshadow the simple joys in life. And on top of all that, it's just a great f'ing song. Covered by The Ramones, Cold War Kids, and more, here's the original I Don't Want to Grow Up by Tom Waits.

"Fred Jones Part 2" Ben Folds - 2001
Margaret writes: Poor Fred Jones - he got canned and no one even notices. This is basically Milton from "Office Space". This song depresses the hell out of me...I wish I could find this guy and give him a hug and tell him that it'll all be okay.

"Yulquen" Autechre - 1994
Nick writes: I listen to this pretty often at work.

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8.21.2008

FCM #7 - Songs That Tell A Story

FCM #7 - SONGS THAT TELL A STORY Plenty of sad tales in this weeks edition of FCM. This week's cover art is inspired by the true story of Marie Prevost outlined in Jane's contribution. Click here to download the entire FCM #7 - SONGS THAT TELL A STORY or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's theme is for Labor Day - bring out those songs about loving work, hating work, just about work (or being off work!) or the work-a-day life. Labor! Work!

"Levon" Elton John - 1971
Chris writes: My mom was a fan of Elton John. She was particularly fond of the early Rock 'n Roll Elton that I still enjoy today. She played records quite a bit at home when I was growing up, the same ones in a continuous rotation, and this song found a particular place in my heart. Maybe it's the epic strings, the drum flourishes peppered throughout nearly every change, or the earnestness in Elton's voice as he sings - whatever it is, it captured me every time it came on the stereo. It wasn't until later in life that I really heard the song and appreciated the story that went along with it all. For me, it's all about the relationship between father and son, tradition and change, dreams and reality. The words are few, but they paint such a perfect portrait of the kind of man Levon is and the kind of man Jesus is afraid of becoming. It poses a question about truly living and the unspoken rules that govern what being a "good man" is all about. Is it following tradition, fighting for your country, earning money and raising your kid the same? Or is it about living life your way, traveling to Venus and disregarding your past? That's a question that only Jesus can answer.

"Real Talk" R. Kelly - 2007
Jennifer writes: When Ben said this week's theme was "Songs That Tell A Story", I immediately thought of all the folk and country singers that fit that criteria. Would I pick a song from Neil Diamond, Tom Petty or Johnny Cash? Did Pete Seeger seem appropriate? Or was Barry Manilow too much? Then it all became clear to me...... a modern day story teller is what we needed. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you R Kelly.

The obvious choice was a song off the monster that is "Trapped in the Closet" However, after listening to the thousands of ditties in Chapters 1-22 - such luminaries as "The Package", "You Can Do It, Pimp Lucious" and "The Reveal of the Little Person/Cherry Pie" - I realized I couldn't parse down such a classic at my whim. No - this story is best enjoyed in its entirety. I will leave that to Ben's New Hire Induction for the 25 or so people that have been hired since Allison had her Induction/Viewing Party of the Chapters.

I have selected one of R's newer songs that covers all the bases. "Real Talk" tells a story but also is a bit of a tale of morality - much like the Greek myths or Viking sagas of yore. Listen and learn, my friends. (Just don't listen to it too loudly as R has a potty mouth on this one)

"Don't You Want Me" The Human League - 1981
Christine writes: This week's submission come s with the assistance of my sister, Betsy. I was talking with them about how, with the exception of maybe the "humpty dance", most songs tell some sort of story so I found this week's topic difficult. She suggested this song and I have to agree with her for a few reasons. One, it's an awesome song from the 80's. Two, it's definitely got a story line - albeit the typical love and loss. Three, the unique (and sometimes comical if you think about it) two sides of the story line that are presented. I can picture these two going at while listening to this song.

"A Postcard To Nina" Jens Lekman - 2007
Nick writes: My selection this week is Jens Lekman's "A Postcard to Nina," the greatest song ever written about faking being someone's fiancee to their father. In 2007.

"Marie Provost" Nick Lowe - 1977
Jane writes: To lighten up this pack of (what I know will be) terribly depressing songs... because aren't most songs that tell a story depressing? I mean, who writes a song where the plot is running to the Jewel to pick up cheese and TP? Anyway, I'm bringing you this TRUE STORY song about Marie Prevost, a silent film star in the 20's/30's who turned to booze and eating disorders when the double-whammy of prohibition ending and the "talkies" beginning left her washed up and quite alone.

This isn't just a fallen star story though... in fact, many may have forgotten her amidst the other debaucherous tales of Hollywood Babylon except for the post-mortem scene she left behind after drinking and starving herself into an early death in 1937.

You see, she was found in her bed by the police almost two weeks after her death, HALF EATEN BY HER DACHSHUND.

"She was a winner/Who became her doggie's dinner."

So, yeah, I was just kidding about this not being depressing. It's crazy depressing. But like I said, no one writes story-telling songs about the mundane.

"Tennessee Waltz (Live)" Dax Riggs - 2008
Brian writes: Okay... I've stayed away from contributing any of my bootleg recordings in the past, but I guess that ends here. Some of the "best" songs I possess were never properly recorded, and they should be shared...crappy quality or not. Anyway, songs that tell a story...

Tennessee Waltz, was written in 1947 by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King. It was made popular in 1950 by Patti Page. It's been covered a zillion times since then. Leonard Cohen performed it live on occasion, adding an additional verse. His version was performed live by my favorite singer/songwriter, Dax Riggs, on May 1, 2008 at Chelsea's Cafe in Baton Rouge, LA.

Here's the audio and video of that performance. It's a great song, with a great melody, that tells the classic, universal story of having your heart broken (but it's told from a very unique perspective), and I've never heard anyone sing it quite as good as Dax.

"Last Kiss" Pearl Jam - 1999
Renata writes: Nothing against Ricky Nelson, but I’m partial to Pearl Jam’s rendition of Last Kiss. I’m one of those people who easily becomes fixated on one song and runs it on repeat for weeks. This was one of those tunes. The painful, yet everlastily-love-saturated lyrics hooked me. I want to say I stumbled upon Last Kiss sometime in Junior High, but could be totally lying to you right now—I really can’t remember! This is one of the few MP3s that has survived two computer swaps. Enjoy.

"Ghetto Cowboy" Mo Thugs - 1998
Margaret writes: I first heard this song the summer before I started high school. My friend's and I made it our mission to memorize all of the lyrics - and we sang it all summer long, usually in parts. It's ridiculously awesome.

"Stagger Lee" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - 1996
James writes: Parental warning: If profanity, violence, and deplorable sexual acts upset you, please don't listen to this song.

The story of Stagger Lee was first put to song close to 100 years ago. Since then, a variety of artists have put their spin on Stagger Lee; who, considering the time, has to be considered the "O.G."

Of all the versions that have been made, none leave a mark like Nick Cave and the Bad Seed's 1996 take on it. The Stagger Lee of this story could wipe the floor with both Bad Leroy Brown and Manowar with his shooting hand tied behind his back.

"Waterloo Sunset (Live)" The Kinks 1996
Walt writes: Ray Davies is a master storyteller and this is one of his masterpieces. While I've always loved the original 1967 version of this song, The Kinks performed acoustic versions of many of their songs in 1996. I really like Ray's vocals on this "newly" recorded version. The melancoly of song really gets me even through the veil of paranoia.

"My Sister" Tindersticks - 1995
Allison writes: My selection this week is from Tindersticks, one of my absolute favorite bands in the dark, lovely chamber pop category. "My Sister" is a shimmering, tumbling, Edward Gorey-esque narration of the life of vocalist Stuart Staples' fictional sibling. Staples lets loose quite an ode to this ill-fated lass, who among other things goes blind at age 5, burns down their house at 10 (inadvertently killing mum and the cat in the process), falls down the well on a drinking binge at age 13, moves in with her gym teacher at 15, and so on... I'll leave the rest to the song.

One caveat: the vocals are often hard to distinguish, so I'd recommend taking a gander at the lyrics online while listening. Otherwise you're liable to miss gems like these, her description of what she sees while blind:

I can see little twinkly stars, like Christmas tree lights in faraway windows / Rings of brightly coloured rocks floating around orange and mustard planets / I can see huge tiger striped fishes chasing tiny blue and yellow dashes, all tails and fins and bubbles.

"1000 Times A Day" The Early November - 2005
TJ writes: Sappy sappy love song about a boy and a girl who start going out when they were kids, breaking up and then getting married in the end. I like the fingerpicking in this song a lot as well as the melodies. The random trumpets at the end are nice too.

"Elizabeth Childers" Richard Buckner - 2000
Ben writes: Richard Buckner's The Hill consists of one single audio track that weaves through alt-country instrumentals and song versions of some of the poems from Spoon River Anthology (1915, Edgar Lee Masters). Each poem in Spoon River is an epitaph of a dead citizen (from Spoon River), delivered by the dead themselves. This is my favorite of Buckner's songs on The Hill (which I have liberated from the rest of the record). It's the story of Elizabeth Childers... a woman who died in childbirth along with the baby she was carrying. She sings about how it is well that her child did not come into the world, and tells a story about what hardship that child might have endured had he lived. It's tragic and even as I write this I feel tears welling up in behind my eyes!

"Medication" Damien Jurado - 2000
Felix writes: I first heard of Damien Jurado from Ben, and got entranced with this song. I have a thing where I'm able to loop a song, incessantly, for more times than is healthy. I mean, like a lot. What gets me most from this song is how all the characters intersect through the speaker, and the complexities/similarities between all the relationships.

"Tecumseh Valley" Townes Van Zandt - 1969
Ben writes: Townes Fan Zandt is one of my all-time favorite songwriters. This is from a live album where Townes plays by himself called A Gentle Evening WIth Townes Van Zandt. The story this song tells is tragic - quite possibly the saddest song I've ever heard. It's country folk, and in it we hear of financial hardship, affection death, depression, whoring, and despair. Sounds kind of like a joke about country music, I know, but Townes writes it real and sings it realer. I can barely get through singing this song without crying.

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8.19.2008

Themes for the future

Jane sent me a list last night of some potential future themes. I wanted to keep them handy so i'm posting them here. This friday will be "Songs That Tell A Story." The following friday will be a Labor Day theme (think blue collar, work, hate-work, labor etc...) Here are some fresh ideas for the later ones!

* Ladies First
* Guilty Pleasures
* Novelties
* Great Instrumentals
* Break Up Mixtape
* Love You Mixtape
* Get Political
* From the Movies
* Colors
* Numbers
* Animals
* Geography
* Biographies 
* Fight Songs
* Metaphors (a la "Ignition" - may be tough)
* Foreign Lands (or Language)
* Heaven & Hell
* Delicious Duets
* Planes, Trains & Automobiles
* Best Covers
* One Hit Wonders
* School Days

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8.14.2008

FCM #6 - INSTRUMENTALS

FCM #6 - INSTRUMENTALS Shut your trap! You can't sing along to this mix unless you're really fond of humming. A big hearty welcome to Felix who joins us for the first time on this mix. Click here to download the entire FCM #6 - INSTRUMENTALS or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's theme is still up for grabs - post a comment to cast your vote for (a) Girls Rock! (b) Love and Loss (c) Songs that tell a story. Voting ends on monday at noon so get on it!

"Better Go Home Now" Dirty Three - 1995
Jennifer writes: Dirty Three signed to the record label I worked for at that time. Right after they signed on with the label, they played a show in town and we all went to check them out. Earlier in the day, Warren, the violin player, had broken up with his girlfriend and proceeded to get drunk on Jack Daniels before the show and was smashed by the time they hit the stage. Right before launching into "Better Go Home Now", he rambled poetically (yet nonsensically) about his girlfriend and clouds and airplanes then fell to the stage and played this song from his back. I thought it was the most amazing performance ever.

Flash forward a few months... as it turned out, Warren had a lot of personal issues and was on again/off again with his girlfriend all the time and it turns out that the poetic ramblings was something he did for every show. So it wasn't really all that special after all but every time I hear this song, I think of that one performance.

"Rumble" Link Wray & His Ray Men - 1958
Jane writes: My dad had this one in his jukebox when I was little, and I used to play it and think it sounded dangerous and "dirty" compared with the other 60's pop that made up the selections. And I guess I wasn't the only one who felt that way -- it was actually banned on radio stations back in the day just because it sounded so menacing... "A rare feat for a song with no lyrics."

An iconic instrumental from an iconic artist who grandfathered the overdrive and distortion effects we hear in music everyday now. I had the honor of seeing Link Wray live about 11 years ago before he died, and I was absolutely starstruck.

"Closet Quencher" Eschatol - 2007
Justin writes: So this week because since it's instrumentals I decided to go with a selection from a band I know very well. The band is Eschatol (es-ka-tall) and I currently play guitar in this particular group.

About a year ago we were offered free recording time from The Playground studio over on west Grand. So we went in for a few days and cranked out a 4 song demo. It was our first recording experience that actually ended in a decent sounding demo. We have always tried to take these matters into our own hands and ended up failing miserably. This song is a part of a newer style we began writing in and will also be featured on our new album that we are preparing to release.

This song and the rest of the demo is available for listen and download at our website, eschatol.com

"The Haul" Calexico - 1995
Jennifer writes: They were on the same label (see Dirty Three above) and to this day are still my all time favorite artists to work with. They have since developed a fuller sound but this is off their first CD when they were just two guys playing multiple instruments.

"Mess Around" Professor Longhair - 1985
James writes: There was a brief time in my life when I wanted to learn how to play piano. Professor Longhair's the reason. His music is the Rosetta Stone that all New Orleans piano players learned from, and, decades later, still a great listen.

"Orion" Metallica - 1986
Brian writes: Man, these guys used to be so good. The whole song is great, but at about 4 minutes in you will find some of the greatest music ever written, in my opinion anyway. Man, these guys suck now...

"Invention No. 13 in A Minor, BWV 784" Glenn Gould
Felix writes: In college, I watched a film called "Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould" and got interested in Glenn Gould's music - specifically his Bach/Goldberg Variations. I'm not a huge Classical Music fan, but I really dug Gould's abilities on the piano - particularly with really fast pieces.

I got obsessed with doing a visualization of one of his pieces (the one I chose), and ended up creating a Flash project that displayed every note he played. I got so wrapped up in finishing the thing that I actually called in sick to work one day, just so I could stay at home and work on the thing. Gould Project

"The Pink Panther Theme" Henry Mancini - 1963
Walt writes: Well, first I was going to go with the Batman Theme song from 1966, but of course that's not an instrumental ... right? Not according to Adam West, who claims the the female-voiced "Batman"s in the tune were actually done with instruments. I'm not one to argue with Adam, but I still thought it was cheating. My next choice was "Green Onions" by Booker T and the MGs and while I think it's a great instrumental, I'm going to hold that one back until a later date. Which brings me to Henry Mancini. Once decided on the great Mancini, I had actually chosen a different tune, which I'm also going to hold back until we hit the Halloween-themed FCM. That in no way diminishes the Pink Panther theme, one of the greatest movie themes ever and instantly recognizable! I like this version because it's a bit longer and gets jazzier in latter third of the piece.

"Cavatina" Stanley Myers - 1976
Christine writes: My dad liked to play the Deerhunter soundtrack while we had brunch. Weird, but it's a very pretty instrumental. There is actually a lot more to the whole movement but I didn’t want to overburden anyone with it. If you would like the whole thing, let me know. As a side note, we used to call the soundtrack to Clockwork Orange the "silly record" ... I've had to revisit a few childhood memories because of that one. Enjoy!

"Stairway To Heaven" London Symphony Orchestra
Renata writes: For the life of me, I can’t remember if I heard the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform Stairway to Heaven … or if, after hearing one of their performances, I obsessively downloaded a bunch of their performance tracks and their rendition of Stairway to Heaven was one of them. ANYHOW. I wasn’t able to find the CSO’s rendition on my computer or iTunes, so the London Symphony Orchestra’s version must do for now. Nothing like the power of a symphonic orchestra to add to the existing awesomeness of a classic.

"Palladio (1st Movement)" Karl Jenkins, London Philharmonic Orchestra & The Smith Quartet
Margaret writes: This one is a bit of a novelty - it's the song from the De Beers commercials in the late 90's. I played the violin when I was growing up, and we begged our orchestra conductor to let us play this song...she conceded, and we proceeded to butcher it because it was waaaaaaaaay too advanced for us, but we had a good time anyway. I love the cello and violin solos that take place after the first minute.

"Marche Slave, Op. 31" Gennadi Rozhdestvensky & London Symphony Orchestra
Margaret writes: I first heard this song from an episode of "Salute Your Shorts" when I was a kid. I loved it at the time, but had no clue what it was or how to get a hold of it. Then, as fate would have it, my jr. high orchestra conductor handed it out to us for an upcoming concert. I don't know exactly why I love it, but the first movement is one of my favorite pieces of music of all time. It just sounds so mischievious and sneaky.

"Built Then Burnt - On The Nature Of Daylight" A Silver Mt. Zion - Max Richter 2001, 2004
Ben writes: One night in 2004 I was working late and listening to music but zoning out in code-land. I had the crossfader set to several seconds in iTunes (the feature was new!) and this wonderful thing happened... "Built Then Burnt" by A Silver Mt. Zion transitioned into Max Richter's "On The Nature Of Daylight" and i didn't notice. BUT then I did notice. A week later I manually faded the two tracks into eachother to create one consistent file and that's what i've posted here. Two excellent songs that form one amazing journey. Unless you know where one starts and the other finishes it'll be hard to tell. wonderful.

"White Lake" Deaf Center - 2005
Allison writes: Deaf Center is a Norwegian duo on UK ambient/electro-classical label extraordinaire Type. Their 2006 full length, Pale Ravine, feels as if it could have been a soundtrack specifically scored for the dream I had the other night about walking through a fog-laden ancient forest (only I was hovering a foot off the ground) when an owl perched on my left shoulder and began cawing secret messages about buried caches of treasure. I highly recommend listening to not only this track, but the entire album, late at night while on the brink of sleep.

"Konigsforst 5" Gas - 1999
Nick writes: My contribution this week is a short-ish piece by Wolfgang Voigt, who recorded several influential deep techno albums in the late nineties and early 00s under the alias Gas. Voigt later went on to found the techno label Kompakt with Michael Mayer, which some years later released last year's Metacritic best-of album "From Here We Go Sublime" by the Field. Connections!

Contrary to the ID3 tag, everything he recorded was untitled. This is the fifth track from his 1999 album "Konigsforst" - his most critically celebrated, but probably not his most popular - later remastered and issued under the box set Nah und Fern.

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8.07.2008

FCM #5 - Driving Songs

FCM #5 - DRIVING SONGS Start your engines! Make one last weekend road trip - at least to the Mars Cheese Castle. We've put together 15 driving songs to go along with you. Click here to download the entire FCM #5 - DRIVING SONGS or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's Theme - Instrumentals! Sometimes it's time to tell the vocalist to shut up. Scour your collections for that brilliant instrumental!

"Intro / Sweet Jane (Live)" Lou Reed - 1973
Christine writes: Road trips... lot of memories I’d love to block out and some I hope to never forget. The essential roadtrip survival pack had to include mutually agreeable soundtracks for everyone in the car. Not an easy task when one wants to listen to their entire collection of Guided By Voices, the other wants nothing but Japanese Ska, and I just want to know if anyone has EVER heard of the radio. So, compromises were made prior to takeoff on what was even allowed in the car. One song everyone agreed to as the perfect “takeoff” song is what I present to you now. It’s this particular version that starts off low and unidentifiable and then rises to the culmination of Reed in one of his finest performances that sets off a great tone for any roadtrip... check your mirrors, peel out and enjoy.

"The Body Says No" New Pornographers - 2000
Nick writes: So here is a somewhat long story of the last time I got behind the wheel of a car, which was in April 2007.

My girlfriend Erin and I were still long-distance, and what had been the longest period of our not seeing each other was about to end with my flying to Chapel Hill on a Friday so we could drive up to DC and see the Dismemberment Plan's reunion show that Saturday. I get to O'Hare at 5:30p for an ostensible 7p departure, and by this point storms are pounding most of the eastern seaboard. My flight is cancelled, as is the next flight, and the next eight flights into RDU are booked solid with standby. So I ask about flights to several other airports around Chapel Hill and DC, figuring I can find some way to get up to DC by Saturday night. Turns out there is a 8:32 flight to DCA that I can get on. They book me for that and a DCA-RDU flight at 4:12a. Fine.

(In case you're wondering, I'm checking all of these numbers against an old blog post. I am not that good at remembering things.)

So waiting at the security barrier I start calling people I know in DC for crash space. One of my friends says he's game to have me crash, but he will also offer his car for me to drive down to Chapel Hill to see Erin. I take up the offer.

Of course, the ORD-DCA flight is delayed until 12:15a. Also, as if this couldn't get any more ridiculous, I get airsick for the first time in my life because we're flying through 850 miles of violent thunderstorm, and puke for two hours straight. At this point I miss my girlfriend a lot. Also, flights into DCA involve flying a really wonky path over the Potomac and then nosediving right at the end, cf.

wikipedia.org - Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (The River Visual approach)

, which doesn't help my stomach very much. Touch down at ~3:15a eastern, chug two venti mochas on an empty (emptied, ahem) stomach at the sbux kiosk, grab my luggage, take the car keys from Dave, promptly almost run his car off the 395 bridge into the Potomac in a panic - and drive the entire way to Erin's house through the storm, blaring bombastic, noisy rock at full blast, yelling the words to every song. Including this one.

Got there at sunup, around 7a.

flickr.com - photo of nick in sweaty crowd

I know that this song was featured on a CD Thursday some months ago, but I don't care.

"Roadrunner" Joan Jett - 1986
Walt writes: Hey, I'm on vacation -- so what better week for driving songs. Since we generally drive when we holiday, this one's a great rocker to get the blood pumping on the road. The cool thing about this song is that Joan Jett did quite a few local site drops in for it for many different cities.

"Little Honda" Yo La Tengo - 1997
Masha writes: It's as fun as a barrel of monkeys on a two wheel bike!

"Strange" Wire - 1977
Jane writes: Hey gang, remember cassette tapes back in the day? Remember how there were 3 or 4 cassette tapes that sat in your glovebox in case of driving emergencies where you forgot to bring along one of your supercool NEW cassette tapes? For me, one of those was a wonderful compilation of Wire. I even had a back-up of this compilation in the case that the tape would melt in the hot car (it happened twice!).

So my selection was the song that I would inevitably rewind and play at least one extra time whenever it came up. It's a song that accompanied me through happy drives and sad. The trip home from Six Flags, feeling so triumphant that I finally conquered the Giant Drop; or driving home from "the city" (downtown Peoria, at the time) bawling my eyes out over some loser guy...

The cadence lends itself well to driving too. It's a head bobber. This, and "The Zoo" by the Scorps may be my favorite head bobbers ever.

"She's Tight" Cheap Trick - 1986
James writes: Cheap Trick was (and remains) a big Midwest band whose songs are built for speeding on big Midwest roads (I-90 from Chicago to Rockford being the obvious choice here). Come for the sexual frustration and innuendo, stay for the arena-ready riffs.

"Punk Rocker" Teddybears - 2006
Chris writes: This song gets double points because it's both a driving song and a song ABOUT driving (and looking good). It's a silly little sing-a-long courtesy of the Teddybears, and everyone's favorite punk rocker Iggy Pop leads the charge. Just try to get that synth hook and chorus out of your head after driving to this one for a few hundred miles...

"Living is A Problem Because Everything Dies" Biffy Clyro - 2007
Justin writes: A while back I had to return to the world of auto theft after my brother breached a contract with a Russian crime lord to deliver high end cars. So I had call up all my old friends for a one night 'boost' to grab all these cars all the while avoiding apprehension by this dirt-bag auto-theft cop whose wanted to nail my ass for years. Needless to say when that pig of a cop got close, I was outta there in a minute! Boooyah!

Uh, this song reminds me of then.

"Boys Peel Out" Mercury Rev - 1993
Allison writes: Mercury Rev, in their early/mid-90s heyday, seemed to be most often described as space rock, though I'd place them on the more earnestly psychedelic Flaming-Lipsian side of the spectrum as opposed to the shuffling shimmering shoegaze of the day. This track is from their second album, Boces, and it made multiple appearances on a couple of my own roadtrip mixtapes. It's sweetly buoyant and fizzy, and a bit more suited for winding local highways (max speed 45mp/h) as opposed to a high speed tear down I-35.

"Mighty Good Leader" Audio Adrenaline - 1999
Sean writes: This song brings back good memories of our first ever roadtrip here in the States. We had just bought our first van in 1999 and our best friends from South Africa were visiting. We drove them around the Midwest and Audio Adrenaline's new album Underdog was blaring for a lot of that trip. This is the first track from that album.

"Undiscovered" Ashlee Simpson - 2004
Margaret writes: I know what you're thinking - more crappy music from Margaret - but just give this one a chance! I always listened to this song on the way to and from my crappy waitressing job, and although it's a bit sad (think unrequited love), the lyrics struck a chord with me at the time. Aside from the bit of scream-singing at the end, her voice sounds pretty good, and I love the intro music.

"Don't Stop" ATB - 1999
TJ writes: Well well, I'm going to go in a different direction this week. ATB, I don't know anything about them honestly, for the most part I only know this one song because many of my friends in high school loved this song and we'd always play it on the weekends when we were hanging out. Techno-ish but addicting as hell, and awesome driving music.

"Jack and Diane" John Cougar Mellencamp - 1982
Renata writes: To me, a great driving song is one that all passengers are able to sing along with. For my friends and I, Jack & Diane always hits the spot. Why? Well, it doesn't hold any particularly deep meaning for us, but it’s damn catchy and always a great excuse to stretch otherwise unused vocal chords …

"The Golden Age" Beck - 2002
Brian writes: Beck used to pick me up from my house every morning around 3:10am. He would drive me around wherever I felt like going. One day I told him he should mix it up and do a mostly-acoustic album. He asked what he should sing about? I told him to sing about driving me around empty highways in the middle of the night and early morning. He then started writing the first song off of Sea Change, The Golden Age... Right there behind the wheel! Guitar and all! That is, of course, all bullshit, but I think Sea Change is the perfect driving album, and The Golden Age is the perfect driving song (especially on late nights, early mornings or really anytime you just feel tired/defeated).

"Range Life" Pavement - 1994
Ben writes: In the summer of 1996 I took an impromptu road trip with two friends to northern California from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My friend Jim brought a couple of Pavement CDs and I fell in love with the music during my driving shifts. I have a particularly vivid memory of coming down from the mountains into San Francisco just after sunset with my two friends sleeping and "Range Life" playing.

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