Hello and welcome to the inaugural episode of Tuesday Time Machine!
For those of you who followed my column in which I was doing full album reviews, thank you, I appreciate you.
Unfortunately, due to the time constraints, I can’t keep doing those once a week, so we’re shifting gears to a different weekly format: one that will hopefully, be a bit more fun for you as both a reader and a listener!
So, wayyyyyyyy back in January of 2010, I had an idea— an idea that would see me create one 80 minute playlist a month until the end of time.
Alright, not till the end of time, but maybe— that was my goal.
The reason for doing this was two-fold: I wanted to create and re-enforce very specific lived experiences and memories tied to music, and I also wanted to have a consistent set of songs to propel me each month as I created my art.
In creating these playlists, I tried to make things flow— I wanted songs to segue very effortlessly (or abrasively) giving a sense of narrative, as the songs went along.
Going forward, once a week, I’m going to update the Spotify playlist found below:
Each week will correspond to a month from a year past. For example, this week’s playlist will be the one I created for September of 2012, but next week’s will be from September of 2014.
In creating these playlists, it would be very easy to pull a George Lucas, and make some decisions that would alter things retro-actively— by taking songs out, or, swapping songs in. As that would untrue to both my memories at the time, and the spirit in which the playlist was created, I won’t be doing that, unless Spotify doesn’t have a particular song in their catalogue. In those instances, I’ll still include the tunes in my write-up, you just won’t be able to listen to them in the playlist above.
Also, I’d recommend not shuffling. They playlists were sequenced the way that they were for a reason, so, to get the full experience, I’d listen to them in the way in which I’ve arranged things.
Each week, I’ll do a short write-up that includes a short description of the tune I’ve included, and/or a description of the specifics memory associated with it. You can listen to the songs a la carte too, with the Youtube links, if you prefer.
In any case, here’s hoping you enjoy things– we’re off!
1. The Black Keys- Grown so Ugly
I’m not gonna lie, I don’t really fuck with The Black Keys. One time, I was tempted to physically acost the bar manager at a restaurant I worked at in Minneapolis, because he said that he was going to see them instead Black Sabbath at Lollapalooza in 2012. That said, this song is fully bow-legged, and some gutbucket shit. I love it.
2. Wait so Long- Trampled by Turtles.
The first time I heard this, I couldn’t help but hear it as a Bay Area Thrash metal anthem played with acoustic instruments. Truly, imagine this played through a couple Marshall stacks with James Hetfield singing. It would be some wild shit.
3. Eula- Baroness
People knocked Baroness for slowing things down, and making more, “palatable,” music on Yellow and Green, but I thought they made a very mature decision. They chose to challenge themselves, instead of toeing the line. This is a ballad by a metal band, and it’s a magnificent one at that. Atmospheric, moody, and featuring some really inspired whammy pedal work, it’s one of the standouts from the double album.
4. Siberian Khatru- Yes
Two things I love: Yes while Bill Bruford was in the band, and Bill Bruford’s drumming in general. Yes, this is indeed a prog song, but boy, oh, boy does it cook. Steven Wilson’s remaster of this song is particular astounding as you can hear Chris Squire laying down basslines that are almost more impressive than Steve Howe’s guitar solo. Hell, Chris Squire is essentially soloing during Steve Howe’s guitar solo. Maybe that’s bad for business, but I love it.
5. Lick the Witch- TOBACCO
Living in Minneapolis, I had a buddy who was an A1 super-duper papermaker, and really loved hunting for mushrooms, . Seriously, if you came across what this man was cranking out when it came to the paper game, you would be humbled and probably buy what he was selling. An Australian fellow I know once said, “Otomo is the master,” but for my money, that award goes to Mr. James. In any case, he put me onto this song, and I’ll forever be grateful.
6. The End of Heartache- Killswitch Engage
I became familiar with Killswitch Engage because they covered Dio’s, “Holy Diver,” and I believe it to be about 200% better than Ronnie James Dio’s original (which is saying something). Howard Johnson has a once in a generation voice, and his vocal talents are on full display here. What a magnificent singer. He could probably be doing opera if he wanted, but instead, he’s fronting a metalcore band. Magnificent, magnificent, magnificent.
7. Ojo Al Cristo De Plata- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
Boy, oh, boy, did I use to love the Mars Volta. I still kinda do, I suppose, but not in the same way. In any case, group leader Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is about as prolific as Frank Zappa was, and he cranked out a WHOLE lot of solo albums in the 2010s, some of which contained some pretty great tunes. This is one of of them.
8. The Road of Love- Clarence Carter
Duane Allman plays guitar on this song. My good friend Jaid really, really, loves Duane Allman’s playing and he put me onto this. Thanks, Jaid. You’re the only person I’ll take country music recommendations from.
9. Getaway- Dr. John
Two Black Keys entries in one playlist? No bueno. Yes, buddy from the Black Keys plays guitar and/or produced this? I don’t remember, and it’s not like he’s the star of the show here, either. That would be Dr. John. I heard this for the first time, driving my friend Jaid (mentioned above) down to New Orleans, where he now resides and lives his best life, with his girlfriend, Amanda.
10. Bell Bottom Blues- Derek and the Dominos
This is a lovely song, and also features a career best solo from Mr. Clapton. At one point, he tries very hard to coax a few pinch harmonics from his guitar but doesn’t really succeed. Instead of re-recording, he owns his failure, and it speaks to the pleading nature of this song— like getting choked up when trying to profess your love to that girl who may or may not be going for it. It’s a brutally honest and humble moment, one in which he managed to capture something brilliant. I’ll always admire it.
11. The Seasons- Lyrnyrd Skynyrd
This was another New Orleans road trip tune. That trip was so very special to me. The three people I made the trek with, Buddy, MR. CHUCK, and Mr. Jaid— I’ll love and cherish our friendship forever. When this song came over the speakers in my friend’s Crown Vic, I very distinctly remember the anxiety I was experiencing at the time regarding my career trajectory and finances fully melting away. The power of music and friendship, folks.
12. Where Rainbows Never Die- The SteelDrivers
My favorite country and/or bluegrass song of all time? I expect so. I might want this played at my funeral. What a beautiful piece of music. Again, many thanks to Mr. Jaid for putting me onto this. It’s a perfect piece of music, and I’m so happy that I know it exists.
13. Caught up in you- .38 Special
Yeah, these dudes named themselves after a gun, and I’m not really on the gun train, but as far as 80s rock goes, I’m not fully sure it gets much better than this.
14. Leathers- Deftones
No, they’re not a nu-metal band. Really, they’re not. If anything, they split the difference between Meshuggah and The Cocteau Twins, which Fred Durst and company certainly don’t. This song contains some screaming, but as a whole, it’s really beautiful. Chino Moreno may be my favorite lyricist as he does abstract impressionism better than anyone. It’s all mood, and no specifics. Bless him, bless him.
15. Lover’s Spit (Redux)- Broken Social Scene
This song is… well, we all know what it’s about. But have you ever heard something so striking and lush? Feist can real-deal sing, folks. There’s magnificent texture in this song, and you might drown in the reverb, so I’m all for it.
16. Sum- John Frusciante
Not a lot of people were fucking with John Frusciante’s dive into electronic music, but I found his efforts to be pretty wonderful. I also prefer his singing voice over Anthony Kiedis’ every single time. This is a pretty magnificent example of someone who has mastered an instrument fearlessly throwing themself at something that they might not fully understand, and succeeding nonetheless. Kudos to you, Mr. Frusciante.
Alright, that’s what we have for this week!
Check back next week for another September entry.