You know what to do by now. Open your lugholes, filter the noises through your accumulated history and taste and then condemn one (or more) to the drop.
While putting these tracks together I started to detect fragments of a story, one of those tales that jump back and forth in time (I’ve just read Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men, so that may be why). If you buy that idea, an alternative game is to replace your least favourite chapter/song with one more to your taste that still fits the ‘storyline’ or just add one that fills a gap. If you haven’t a clue what I’m on about, please don’t call the men in white coats.
Apologies for the variable sound quality: tracks 6, 7 and 11 were digitised from their LP’s. No apologies for the tone or the two minor porkies.
1. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Pencil Rot
Maybe not my favourite Malkmus ditty but it has a suitably off-kilter fanfare to open with and there are definite lyrical connections to….
2. Throwing Muses – Tango
From the slightly damaged perspective of Kristin Hersh, found in Limbo.
3. The Fatima Mansions – The Door-To-Door Inspector
A piece of bluntly-articulated yet perfectly-enunciated male threat from Cathal Coughlan, concerning a peripatetic judge?
4. Eleventh Dream Day – Murder
No, this is a metaphorical murder. You can’t kill someone with a kiss or a drag on a cigarette.
5. Catatonia – Strange Glue
Cerys tries to make sense of it all and ends up waltzing with her dark side.
6. Richard Thompson – Can’t Win
Mr Angry reacts in predictable fashion to the way his life is developing by kicking against the pricks, whoever they may be….
7. Grateful Dead – Dupree’s Diamond Blues
Based on an old song, Mary and Dupree (inspired by a true story from Atlanta in 1928), Hunter tells a tale foretold.
8. Ry Cooder – On a Monday
A second jaunty slice of life in the criminal justice system, here from Lead Belly, delivered with a slide of Ry.
9. PJ Harvey – To Talk to You
A shift in time, as Polly unplugs her amp, detunes her piano, dons her white gown and tunes into the dead. What’s that name at the end? Mary?
10. John Cale – Magritte
…And we drift a little further from the here and now, pinned to the edges of vision.
11. Frank Zappa – Little Umbrellas
This was going to be It Must Be A Camel, my favourite track from what Zappa described as ‘a movie for your ears’, Hot Rats. But my second favourite makes a better link to Magritte, of course, and there’s also a neat, suitably oblique, musical connection in its theme.