With my 2-week vacation to the east coast a mere 12 hours away, I'm beginning to realize the logistics of dragging my external hard drive out with me are a little bit on the impossible side. Because of that, I have decided to turn this whole Instru'Mental thing into an ongoing series. Besides, how could I devote a mere handful of posts to my favorite instrumental tracks?

I'm almost positive I'll still be able to throw up a post or two while I'm away, so keep checking back. If you haven't already learned it, if you check my site more than once a week, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.

Tonight, I'm dishing out a mix CD I recently made for a few friends of mine. We just began trying out this idea of "sending" each other mixes (possibly monthly, but I have already set a lateness precedent with this mix that I'm sure the others will follow in the future), so this is volume 2 in the series.

I hadn't originally intended this for public consumption. There are several songs on this mix I found through other blogs over the past half year, so believe me when I say I'm not trying to take credit for unearthing this stuff.

I'm sure you'll sort through the tracks and collect them as you will, but I definitely suggest putting this all onto one mix CD and enjoying it that way if you have the inclination. It's just over 79 minutes, so I crammed as much music as possible onto this thing.

If you live out on the east coast, keep your eyes peeled for me in the next 12 days. And if anyone out there has any connections with the TastyKake organization, please let them know I'll pay top dollar for a few crates to maybe accidentally fall of the back of a truck and wind up in my trunk.

Anyway, enjoy:

I Had An Uncle, But He Got Shot

1. "This May be the Last Time" by THE STAPLE SINGERS: Anybody heard that new Mavis Staples album? I got a song or two off of eMusic, but ran out of downloads and can't get the rest for 2 weeks. Man, do I love the Staples.

2. "Intimate Secretary (BBC)" by THE RACONTEURS: I was sitting in the car with a friend, listening to this song, when he started to complain dramatically about how much he didn't like it. Right before the fuzz pedal kicks in and this song explodes, I told him, "Jack White is about to make a fool out of you."

3. "Hold Tight" by DAVE DEE, DOZY, BEAKY, MICK & TICH: There was one truly wonderful thing to come out of the very disappointing box office performance of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse double feature -- the fact that I can finally put a great song from a Tarantino movie on a mix and I don't look like a complete douche because no one saw the movie! This track comes at a pivotal shocking moment in Tarantino's Death Proof. The second it kicked in (you'll know when it's coming because the film's most annoying character, basically Quentin's ego dressed up as a black woman, gives you a full biography of the band), I realized that Tarantino had scooped me once again.

4. "Funky Dollar Bill" by FUNKADELIC: One of the harshest, angriest and funkiest songs I've ever heard. This would be a completely different song if they'd gone with different guitar tones or amp settings. For some reason, this right here is just how the song has to sound.

5. "Get Out of My Life, Woman" by Q'65: These guys were like the Dutch version of the Animals in the mid to late '60s. Their recorded stuff is incredible (especially Revolution their debut record), and chock full of great covers, like this take on an Allen Toussaint song made most famous (?) by Lee Dorsey. I think I owe Diddy Wah for giving me the gift of Q'65.

6. "McFearless" by KINGS OF LEON: Roll your car windows down and crank this up. Holy shit. I hope this new record will finally silence the doubters out there. Thus far, it's definitely one of the best albums of 2007.

7. "My Mind Set Me Free Pt. 1" by HOUSE GUESTS

8. "Cavern" by LIQUID, LIQUID: If you hear this and you're thinking, "These guys totally ripped off Grandmaster Flash," you've got it in reverse. Liquid Liquid were an early 1980s experimental rock band that could probably best be compared to a band like !!! today. This song proves that the origins of hip hop, especially in New York, were indelibly linked to some of the stranger post-punk and funk music being put out at the same time. It's almost visionary for someone like Grandmaster Flash to hear this song and think, "That shit is my new single." Next thing you know, "White Lines" is born. If anyone finds a copy of their very rare self-titled CD, a compilation of the group's singles between 81 and 83 released by the Beastie Boys' now defunct Grand Royal label, snatch it up.

9. "Standing Room Only" by ASAMOV (Featuring J-LIVE, WORDSWORTH, & CASSIDY): In tribute to Liquid Liquid, I couldn't help but segue from "Cavern" to a couple of new favorite hip-hop tracks. I've written about J-Live before, and I'll write about him again, because next to maybe Rakim, Chuck D, the boys in De La Soul and a couple of other rappers, J is an incredible lyricist on par with pretty much no one else. Of course, having Wordsworth and Cassidy along for the ride doesn't hurt this track one bit.

10. "Life's a Bitch (DJ Delay Remix)" by NAS: This song came on my iPod the other day and I was reminded of how great this remix is at evoking that dark early '90s, Cypress Hill/-era hip hop.

11. "Brothers and Sisters (Get Together)" by KIM WESTON: I don't quite understand the use of the fade-in here. After much consideration, I do like that it gives you the sensation that this band has been cooking this insane groove for an hour and you've just stepped into the club as Kim Weston (most famous for her many duets with Marvin Gaye) explodes in a fit of rage.

12. "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face" by DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: God, this is just about the sexiest thing in the world. I don't think I've ever heard a flute sound so fetching as in the intro to this song.

13. "Another Sugar Daddy" by BO DIDDLEY: My friend Mike started our mixer group off and included a Bo Diddley song that pretty much classed up the songs preceeding and following it on the playlist. I had to return the favor with another great Diddley track.

14. "Cupid" by OTIS REDDING: In the realm of pop music, there isn't much that can touch the work of Sam Cooke, especially on his version of "Cupid," which I think is one of the man's greatest vocal performances. I can think of only one other person who should even give the song a try, and that person is Otis Redding.

15. "Love Letters" by KETTY LESTER: It's hard to get people to ignore the use of this song in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Obviously, I have no problem with Lynch's use of it, since it works so amazingly in the movie. But man, this song is a crusher, with or without the creepy discovery of a dead body in Dennis Hopper's apartment.

16. "She Never Met a Man (She Didn't Like)" by DOLLY PARTON: I was in love with Dolly when I was a kid, and I'm almost positive it had nothing to do with the boobs and everything to do with her hilarious, intelligent and downhome-girl attitude. If I weren't leaving for Philadelphia tomorrow, I would definitely be catching the midnight showing of 9 to 5 at the Dundee Theater in Omaha. My mother took me to that flick when I was just shy of 4 years old, and I remember certain moments (like Dabney Coleman hanging from the ceiling) that had me in hysterics. I can only imagine my mother's happiness at seeing that it was going to be no problem taking her third and final child to 'R' rated movies without scarring me for life. Anyway, Dolly can sing, too.

17. "Pink Frost" by THE CHILLS: I know I've posted this creepy bit of 80s genius here before. I love the almost nosebleed inducing drop from the peppy opening chords to the dead serious tone change of the verse. For some reason, I always think this song was in Silence of the Lambs

18. "I Read You Like An Open Book" by THE TAGES: After a couple of Google searches, I'm blown away to discover I haven't posted this song before.

19. "Peaches" by THE STRANGLERS: One of the darkest, most creepy summer jams ever. Used brilliantly in the equally brilliant crime film Sexy Beast.

20. "Cartrouble" by ADAM & THE ANTS: If I don't see a stateside release of Adam Ant's 1979 masterpiece Dirk Wears White Socks in the near future, I swear I'm putting the whole thing (with bonus tracks) up on this site. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but it looks like Sony intended for there to be a U.S. release (their UK and Japanese arms put out a reissue). Anyone know anything about it? Anyway, it's a fantastic, sloppy punk record that features the original Ants, who would soon be pulled out from under Adam and used as the backing band for Bow-Wow-Wow. This is the single version of "Cartrouble," re-recorded in 1980 with Ant's new backing band, along with The Damned's John Moss on drums.

21. "Ain't it Strange" by DR. DOG: People constantly compare Dr. Dog to a garage version of the Beatles. This song ain't gonna help put that comparison to rest, although there's a very Queen-esque guitar moment in here as well.

22. "Take the Skinheads Bowling" by CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN: I swear I remember "Everybody's coming home for lunch these days!" being a short-lived advertising motto for some sort of food, like Oscar Mayer bologna. Again, a Google search proves pretty fruitless if you're looking for anything besides a reference to the very same song lyric. Anybody?

23. "Run For Me" by RICHARD HAWLEY: This is one of my new favorites. Ex-Pulp and Longpigs member Hawley has had a run of absolutely mesmerizing solo records. "Run For Me" is the album opener for 2003's Lowedges, and it sounds like Mark Lanegan leading an orchestra. Actually, there's even a similar sounding Screaming Trees song called "Look at You" that has always been one of my favorite Lanegan tracks.

24. "Sleeping Lessons (The RAC Mix)" by THE SHINS: I would probably love this Postal Service-y remix of one of the best songs from The Shins' Wincing the Night Away a lot more if the original weren't so goddamned brilliant in the first place. Regardless, it's still a nice way to hear a favorite song, and a quiet, calming way to end this long and chaotic mix.


MAY: It's True 'Mental!


It's May, and the all-instrumental extravaganza continues. . .

"Return of the Birdland" by LINK WRAY
I would be remiss if I did a series of posts on great instrumentals and failed to mention Link Wray. More important to the electric guitar and perhaps rock itself than Jimi Hendrix, Wray has not yet been inducted in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. What the fuck?!

The Incredible Bongo Band were most well known for their hit (and oft-sampled) version of The Shadows' oft-covered "Apache." I'm fairly certain my introduction to this song came from one of my favorite sites, Diddy Wah.

In 1951, Ike Turner dropped his amp on the way to record "Rocket 88" with his Kings of Rhythm. The guitar distortion that resulted in his now faulty amp became the first of its kind laid to record, and rock was born. Ike put out some remarkable music in his career (he even appears on the last Gorillaz record), but it has always been overshadowed by his stormy relationship with -- and abuse of -- Tina Turner. It's a damn shame Ike couldn't have controlled himself a little better, because he is truly a legend otherwise. (CORRECTION: See Mark's comments below for further illumination of the subject.)

"Yesternow" by MILES DAVIS
While it's not much of a stretch to say that Miles Davis recorded a few instrumentals in his day, I'm including this particular track (side B of Davis's remarkable A Tribute to Jack Johnson album) because I think it's one of his most interesting and innovative pieces. Clocking in at over 25 minutes, this one is going to require your full attention, and maybe a few glasses of wine.

"Brendan #1"by FUGAZI
I posted about this song over two years ago. Here's what I had to say: "Brendan #1" is an instrumental from (Fugazi's) second album, REPEATER. This is one of the greatest rock records of all time, and if you don't own it, I cannot stress to you more how much you need to get out and buy this thing immediately. I picked it up as a Freshman in high school and it changed my life and my musical habits forever.

"Everglade" by TORTOISE
I could listen to this song, from Tortoise's 1998 album TNT, on a loop for hours. If you're ever in the Philadelphia area and find yourself at brunch at the Standard Tap, wander over to the jukebox and add this to the Sunday morning playlist. It's pretty much the perfect place on earth to hear this song.

"Rhubarb" by APHEX TWIN
Speaking of listening to something on a loop. . .

"Bittersweet Symphony" by THE VERVE
That I got to play the instrumental version of this Verve hit, along with The Zombies "This Will be Our Year," as the recessional music at my friend Andy's wedding will be a highlight of my life for years to come. Of course, having the bride's mother come up and demand Aerosmith & Run DMC's "Walk This Way" will be another highlight.

- Order Tortoise from their homempage.
- Ike don't need your help! But if you're bored, check out his site.
- Aphex Twin made the scariest video of all time
- Learn more about Link.
- Here's how The Verve got screwed and never made a dime off of one of the biggest singles of the past 30 years.
- Buy Fugazi from the label they created, Dischord.
- Here's a great review of the Miles Davis/Jack Johnson album.



MAY: 'Mental


I'm going to be a little short on words this month. In two weeks I'll be off on a 10 day jaunt to the east coast to see friends and family. Of course, that means that right now, I'm working extra shifts and scrapping for overtime to pay for this jaunt to the east coast.

In honor of the self-imposed brevity needed to pull all of this off, I'm going to spend the month of May throwing up some of my favorite instrumental tracks. Of course, I couldn't possibly do that without writing a little blurb about each one, but I'm still going to try and make this as painless for you and me as possible.

Okay, lead singers, you can put your microphones down and take a nap on the couch for a while. This one's for the boys in the band:

"Thunderclap" by PEARL JAM
This unreleased instrumental was actually ripped from Pearl Jam's Touring Band 2000 DVD, which featured three behind-the-scenes montages backed by instrumental tracks. "Thunderclap" was always my favorite of the three. It took me forever to find the title of this song, so that is why the file name is simply "Instrumental." Besides, it's still a better title for a song than fucking "Thunderclap."

"Love, Love" by DJ SHADOW: Okay, there's some talking over the beginning of this one, and some tight-assed purists might argue that DJs aren't really musicians. As far as I'm concerned, if you put a sampler and a few turntables into the hands of DJ Shadow, they aren't just equipment -- they are instruments.

"Mark Price P.I." by ARCHERS OF LOAF
Now the Archers of Loaf have got it: if you don't have a name for your surf rock/spy song, just come up with something goofy, possibly including your drummer's name in the process. Not fucking "Thunderclap." Come on.

"Guess I'm Falling in Love"
Both of these come from the 1986 album of rarities and outtakes called Another View. Both are pretty much polar opposites and both are completely awesome.

"Another Routine Day Breaks" by BROKEBACK
Back when I was in college and got my first record player, I bought the 7" single for this song based on the packaging alone, It was a clear vinyl record in an somewhat intricately cut cardboard sleeve, featuring what looked like a hand-screened picture of an orange tree. I didn't know then that Brokeback was a side project of Tortoise bassist Doug McCombs. I was completely mesmerized by the song but could never find it on CD or .mp3 until I stumbled upon the album version of it (from the 1999 record Field Recordings from the Cook County Water Table) on eMusic this year. If I'm not mistaken, the version I had on the 7" didn't feature the dreamy middle section where the beat drops out for about 30 seconds. I actually miss the repetitive crackle (probably a flaw in the pressing) that comes with my 7" copy of this song. It almost seems like it belongs there.

"Sleepwalk" by SANTO & JOHNNY
If you put a gun to my head and forced me to make a definitive decision on the matter, I'd say Santo & Johnny's instrumental version of "Sleepwalk" is my absolute favorite instrumental performance. I remember hearing it in La Bamba and it having a profoundly saddening and yet calming effect on me, even at the age of 11. Right then and there, lap steel guitar became my favorite sound in the world. The song was written by the brothers Farina (with some help from mom) and became a #1 hit in 1959. You want a sad song? Take that, emo kids!

(Bonus Track: Here are the Farina brothers on a 1965 cover of The Beatles' "And I Love Her".)

- There's only one copy of Brokeback's Field Recordings left at Amazon.com! Or, join eMusic and get it for a couple of bucks.
- Pearl Jam are releasing a 7-disc live box set documenting their 2005 and 2006 shows at Washington's Gorge Ampitheater. Check it out.
- Johnny Farina is still makin' music.
- Here's a page full of Velvet Underground rarities, radio ads and more.
- There's always some dope shit to be heard at DJ Shadow's site.