Ooops, it looks like I've fallen a
little behind in my 'Acquisitions' reporting. Although I reined in the breakneck pace of previous months, I still have plenty to write about, so I'll catch up in two posts, starting with November's acquisitions.
- "Torn," "A Measure of Salvation," "Hero," "Unfinished Business," "The Passage," & "The Eye of Jupiter" from Battlestar Galactica, Season 3 (2006). My iTunes Store season pass for BSG has been chugging along nicely. I've caught one or two episodes on actual TV, but it's really more convenient to watch the downloaded version a day or two later. That might change in the second half of the season when they move to the new time slot (10pm Sundays), but chances are I'll still opt for the convenience of watching on my computer whenever I feel like it rather than having to be at the TV precisely at 10:00.
- Louis Armstrong, Hot Fives and Sevens, Vols. 1-4 (1925-1928). I'd been eyeing this four-disc compilation on eMusic for some time, but at 89 tracks, it would have taken more than two months of download allowance to get it all. When I received a windfall of download credits because a friend I'd invited actually signed on for the full service and I restructured my subscription, this was the first thing that sprang to mind, and the next thing I knew, I'd grabbed the whole set. As for the music, there is little one can add to Cliff Steele's line in Doom Patrol #49: "There is a God and he plays the trumpet."
- Stanton Moore, "Poison Pushy" (2006). A nice little piece of funk, which was offered as a free "Discovery Download" on iTunes.
- The Mendoza Line, "Mysterious in Black" (from Full of Light and Full of Fire ). Another freebie, this time from Last.fm. The Mendoza Line are from Athens, GA, which must be why I kept feeling like I should know more about them than I do. I like the bubble-gummy pop of this track pretty well and Dylanish folk-rock of another from the same album ("Catch a Collapsing Star"—downloaded this summer from eMusic as part of the free Misra Records Sampler compilation) even better, so maybe it's time to actually shell out for a complete album.
- The Simpsons, "Stop the Planet of the Apes" & "Presidents Song" (n.d.). In a perfect world, the only musicals produced would be just like the ones represented in episodes of The Simpsons. As it is, we have to settle for the small glimpses provided in the show. While there are many great songs, these are two tracks (downloaded from the comprehensive archive at Simpson Crazy) are two of the best. The first is a medley from Troy McClure's appearance in a musical version of Planet of the Apes (in "A Fish Called Selma"), where "Dr. Zaius, Dr. Zaius" is sung to the tune of Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus." The second, from Springfield Elementary's Presidents Day pageant (in "I Love Lisa"), celebrates "the adequate, forgettable, occasionally regrettable caretaker presidents of the U-S-A!", a topic that's always been dear to my heart since AP US History in high school.
- Yale Precision Marching Band, "Down the Field" & "Bulldog" (n.d.). Downloaded from the Yale Bands site as part of my celebration of the Sons of Eli's triumph over the villains from Cambridge. I don't think I have admitted it on this site, but I was a four-year member of the infamous YPMB (and, for one year, the democratically elected King of the Saxes). I have fond, if blurry, memories of dragging my hungover butt out of bed on Saturday mornings to go learn the day's halftime show. I wish I could get my hands on a recording of our rendition of Blue öyster Cult's "Godzilla" (which has an awesome sousaphone part). Perhaps my only regret is that I never convinced the band's leaders to do an arrangement of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man."
- Brian Eno & David Byrne, My Life In the Bush Of Ghosts (1981). This was a gift from one of my musical fellow-travelers. Despite a period of fervent devotion to Talking Heads, I never picked up this collaborative experiment in sampling and ambience. The passage of 25 years have not made this sound any less experimental. You have to be in a particular kind of mood to enjoy this, but when you are, it's pretty fascinating. "The Jezebel Spirit" is especially creepy and haunting.
- 43 Folders meets David Allen, Productive Talk: Episodes 01-08 (2006). I don't normally list podcasts for the purposes of this exercise, but this is a special case. It's a compilation of the eight episodes of a podcast series that 43 Folders' Merlin Mann did with Getting Things Done inventor David Allen last fall. I'm a (very imperfect) follower of GTD principles, so this chance to hear The David himself preach the gospel was pretty compelling, and the result lived up to expectations. .
- Big Black, "Texas" (from Bulldozer ) and "Kerosene" (from Atomizer ). These two free tracks from Touch & Go Records are as representative as any from the group that turned unpleasantness into a high art. With a sound that frontman Steve Albini described as "knife guitar" and lyrics about arson as cure for boredom, I can understand anyone not liking Big Black—I don't think you are supposed to like them—but if you can get past these barriers, there's a kind of cruel beauty to this music. I think Atomizer is considered by most to be their best album, but the top of my personal chart for them is the song "Racer X" (from the 1984 EP of the same name): as close to perfection as 4 minutes of grating industrial noise can possibly get.
- Calexico, "Cruel" (from Garden Ruin ). A case of "I keep hearing about these guys, I wonder what all the fuss is about." Oddly, I found this free track at Touch & Go Records while I was downloading the Big Black songs above. Talk about strange bedfellows. I can't readily think of music less like Big Black than this very pretty, horn-assisted, folky pop. It's nice in its way, but it really doesn't get me very excited.
- Man or Astro-man? "Within One Universe There Are Millions" (from A Spectrum of Infinite Scale ); "Television Man" (from Experiment Zero ) & "Junk Satellite" (from Made From Technetium ). Man or Astro-man? defies categorization, although "sci-fi surf punk" gives a hint at the sound. When I started listening to them, I was at the crossroads between buying CDs and staying with vinyl. I wound up playing the life out of my Destroy All Astromen! (1994) CD and letting several other vinyl LPs (including Experiment Zero) go almost unplayed, which is kind of sad. These songs (all free from Touch & Go) are my preliminary gesture toward diversifying my Man or Astro-Man portfolio.
- Of Montreal, "Rapture Rapes the Muses" & "Disconnect the Dots" (from Satanic Panic in the Attic ). Athens, GA's Of Montreal is yet another band that I've been vaguely aware of for some time but have never made a commitment to getting to know. These two tracks, both Last.fm freebies, haven't gotten me any closer to making up my mind on them. "Rapture Rapes the Muses" would incline me investigate further, while "Disconnect the Dots" would not particularly.
Monthly scorecard: 102 tracks (15 free).