Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ten Random Songs

[You want to talk about scraping the bottom. Real posts next week, honest...]

If I've learned one thing about cooking Indian food--and it's even possible that I have--is that it's worth it to clarify the butter and use fresh-ish whole spices. If I've learned two things, the second is that for curries, all the goodness comes out of cooking down the onions (and some spices) first, and then cooking all the liquid out of the tomatoes (and some other spices), then adding water, and cooking it all down some more. If I've learned three things, it'st that frying the spices...well you get the idea. The whole process takes a fair amount of waiting around to make it good, to make it taste as authentic as I can judge by the occasional dinner at acquaintances' and the buffet in the next town. If I were running a restaurant, I'd make vat-sized versions of a basic curry sauce like this, and use it for two dozen dishes of exotic, but surprisingly pronouncable, names.

While the flavor simmers down and develops, instead of finishing my book or polishing off the two or three substantive posts I keep meaning to write Real Soon Now, I've got the computer serving me tunes at random, which is enough to make me happy. Here's my first ten eleven. Admit that you're bored too, and share your own.

1. Don't Pray on Me, by Bad Religion. I still can't decide if this band is brilliant punk rock or it it's just puerile. I can picture Greg Graffin, scowling and sticking his tongue out like Lucy Van Pelt, angrily challenging Christian ideas on paper. The lyrics come out clever and scathing, but it's also obvious that they're trying really hard to be. The music is exciting, and while I'm always thrilled when one track kicks up in the mix, the entire cd somehow ends up as less than the sum of its parts (and I think they made like a dozen of them). This is one of the better tracks on this one, anyway.

2. Jet City Woman, by Queensryche. When this band is connecting, they're phenomenal. When they're not, they're something closer to embarrassing. Here's the first song I heard by them, when they played it on the radio in 1991 or so. It's caught a certain mood now and again.

3. Swamp Thing, by Sam Bush and David Grisman. Some indulgent noodling around by a pair of mandolin players who are good enough to. I seem to have an inordinate bunch of their music on the hard drive.

4. Walk of Life, by Dire Straits. It can't have been too long ago that I caught Mark Knopfler, along with Eric Clapton, Sting, and Phil Collins (the last two akin to putting Teddy Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore) performing Money for Nothing on TV, and I thought that this is the hardest any of these guys had rocked for twenty years. Anyway, Walk of Life is a good tune too.

5. Shine on You Crazy Diamond (pts 1-5) by Pink Floyd. More college vintage. I remember sitting in the "penthouse" and having a discussion about how, dude, Pink Floyd is like really mellow an' shit, but turn it up, and it's like, really intense. Thanks to Ted Burke (I think it was Ted), I notice how much studio electronics went into their albums now, but fortunately, I don't care. I love Pink Floyd.

6. Cold, Cold Night, by the White Stripes. More about Meg White trying to sound sexy than about writing guitar rock. I'm not going to tell you she doesn't sound sexy.

7. The Lights of Home, by Bela Fleck. Dad: the only piece of music on which he can tolerate a dobro. Mom: the only piece of music in at least forty years, and possibly ever, that's "got" her. Very important note: my parents are sixty years old.

8. The Dream/Indiana, by Patrick Street. A recommendation by some Irish dude. This one reminds me a little of Mr. Knopfler (above) at his more quiet, or of an American folk ballad, but it's neither of those things.

9. Ugly, by the Violent Femmes. They're a better live band, I think, especially when it comes to tracks like this. Good times, needless to say.

10. The Camera Eye, by Rush. Oh, so I'm a geek. I think I've been over this one, too: this is one of my favoritest songs. I love the chord changes, love the flow and rhythm of it. It's like the very definition of the word "vibrant."

11. Down with Disease, by Phish, "Waitin' for the time when I can finally say, that this has all been wonderful, but now I'm on my way..." I've been there. My kids love this tune too, for different reasons.

There's nothing I can say to make it stop, sooo....what's on your iPod?


twiffer said...

i don't have an iPod. but i do have a box of phish bootlegs.

Keifus said...

Shocked, I tell you.


(I don't have one either--playing back through my computer via freeware--but I was under the impression everyone else in the world did.)