A Big Last.fm Music Survey

This one comes to me from my cousin, Angie:

Name your top 10 most played bands on iTunes (Or Last.FM):

1 Play
2 Play
3 Play
4 Play
5 Play
6 Play
7 Play
8 Play
9 Play
10 Play

A still image from "The Geometry of Circles".

What was the first song you ever heard by 6 (Philip Glass)?
I think Philip Glass music is, like, hard-wired into the human brain at the time of conception.  Everybody knows that sound.  I didn’t know it at the time, but Philip Glass actually did the music for a series of Sesame Street sketches called The Geometry of Circles.  It must have been the first. 

What is your favorite album of 2 (Spring Heel Jack)?
Each Spring Heel Jack album is better than the previous.  My favorite is their most recent, Songs and Themes.

What is your favorite lyric that 5 (Captain Beefheart) has sung?
Oh hell.  How can you pick a favorite Beefheart lyric???  It’s like picking a favorite child….  The thing about Beefheart lyrics is that the best ones are the ones don’t make any sense, but sound awesome when he sings them.  I have to settle on the forceful climax of Debra Kadabra, the opening track to Bongo Fury, when he pleads to his beloved Debra that she take him with her, wherever she is going:

Oh hell yes!!!!
(Learn the pachuco hop, and let me twirl you!)
Oh Debra Fauuntleroy
Take me with you!!!

You have to hear him sing it to get the full effect…. Also, I would be terribly remiss if I did not share some sublime lyrics from Sue Egypt.

Seems, dreams, boats to forever
bolted ether
creep the ether feather
Sue Egypt
Sue Egypt
I think of all those people that ride on my bones
I think of all of those people that ride on my bones
That nobody hears
That nobody sees that nobody knows
Sue Egypt
Sue Egypt

I think of all those people who ride on my bones
That nobody sees, that nobody dares
That nobody hears, that nobody cares
I think of the dust that collects on the chairs
and under her eyes
and through her eyes
and out her body
and in her body
and in her hair…ssss

How many times have you seen 4 (Boredoms) live?
None. … But if they ever follow up the Boadrum concert series,  hell no nothing will stop me….

What is your favorite song by 7 (Air)?
Mike Mills
— named not for R.E.M.’s bassist, but rather for the graphic designer and film director who directed a number of their videos.

What is a good memory you have involving the music of 10 (Glenn Miller)?
After CDs, but before iPods, there were these things called Mini-Disc Players. With this new invention, I could digitally record my vinyl records and take them with me everywhere for the first time.  I took many albums with me everywhere, Glen Miller: A Memorial among them, during my last semester at Temple, which was the first semester away from home in Manayunk.  I remember sitting on the grass in front of Beury Hall listening to “Adios“.

Is there a song of 3 (Genesis) that makes you sad?
No, music doesn’t really make me sad.

Beat author William S. Burroughs composed and recited the prose incorporated into "Road to the Western Land". (Photo: Chuck Patch)

What is your favorite lyric that 2 (Spring Heel Jack) has sung?
To my knowledge, Spring Heel Jack does all instrumentals.  I guess, by default, it would have to be from The Road to the Western Land, in which they incorporate some prose from William S. Burroughs, spoken by the author on top of itself at various sound qualities and distances from the listener in a very disorienting, ethereal round:

“How long does it take a man to learn that he does not, can not, want what he wants? You have to be in hell to see heaven.  Glimpses from the land of the dead.  Flashes of serene timeless joy: a joy as old as suffering, and as fair.

To reach the Western Land is to achieve freedom from fear.  Do you free yourself from fear by cowering in your physical body for eternity? Your body is a boat to lay aside when you reach the far shore, or sell it if you can find a fool.  It’s full of holes. It’s full of holes…


How did you get into 3 (Genesis)?

Let’s see here.  Well, well, well.  it looks like I get to return Angie’s thanks!  My father had the Invisible Touch album from the Phil Collins years.  He played it a lot.  I got into a number of tracks, but never “really” got into the band.  I also liked Peter Gabriel, and my interest piqued when I learned he was Genesis’s original front-man.  Somewhere along the way, I picked up some vinyl records of the old Genesis, esp. Genesis Live import from out side of the Philadelphia Record exchange for a dime.  (A dime?!)  I dug the records, but they sat on my shelf for a while and received relatively little spin.  A couple years ago, I learned that my cousin Angie was also a huge Peter Gabriel fan, but that we were not particularly well versed in the early Genesis.  So we pulled out these records and gave them a really good listen…  It’s good stuff.  So, thanks Angie!  …I’m still into mainly the Peter Gabriel stuff, but I’ve been creeping forward, and the early Phil Collins stuff is really very good.

What was the first song you heard by 1 (The Beatles)?
Of course I don’t know.  Even when I was very young, I could always identify a Beatles song on the radio.   I’ll say Yellow Submarine, because that’s the earliest one I can remember, but to identify the actual first song is really a lost cause.  A fool’s errand.

What is your favorite song by 4 (Boredoms)?
→ (Boriginal) from the Super Roots 7 EPWhat?? Where Were You by the Mekons is reworked, re-vamped and crashing into your eardrums like a mile-long god-damn 新幹線, that’s what…

How many times have you seen 9 (The Smiths) live?
None.  That’s never happened.  Nor any solo acts.

What is a good memory you have involving 2 (Spring Heel Jack)?
OK, story time.  So I’m researching my family history.  It’s an addictive hobby.  On my father’s side, the understanding was that my Grandfather’s grandparents came over from Ireland around the turn of the 20th Century.  This is only half true.  The grandfather did, but the grandmother was born in Philadelphia.  Her father was born in Ireland and came over here much earlier, in the mid-19th Century.  In 1863, he was married at the Church of the Assumption at 12th and Spring Garden in Philadelphia.  See images

Church of the Assumption, 12th & Spring Garden Sts., Philadelphia

here.  Now, I’m doing research on the place in 2009.  I find that the owner of the building wanted to knock the church over and put a garden or a parking lot there, but the city swooped down and made the place a historic landmark.  That’s good for my family history project, but not so good for the owners, who now have to come up with millions of dollars in maintenance costs…  So I’m thinking to myself: “Gee, I better go see this place before they change their minds!”

Now, fast-forward a couple weeks.  I’m headed downtown to take the bar exam for the first time.  I’m riding my bike along 12th street, and look up.  What do I see?  I see those distinctive green spires poking out into the sky from behind a pizza parlor!  So I turn the corner to investigate, and this leviathan jumps out of the pages of history and stands there right in front of me!  Of course, I have my headphones going, and this sound collage by Spring Heel Jack called At Long Last comes on.  Under normal circumstances, it may not occur to you that there is a perfect soundtrack to physically confronting your personal history dating back 150 years.  Ah, but there is such a soundtrack.  It is At Long Last, by Spring Heel Jack.

Is there a song of 8 (The Kinks) that makes you sad?
No.  What is with this sadness?  Music doesn’t make me sad.

What is your favorite album of 5 (Captain Beefheart)?
Everyone swears by Trout Mask Replica.  It has its moments, but I think that’s over-rated. Safe As Milk is really the best. It’s weird enough to suit my tastes while remaining normal enough for others to potentially enjoy.

What is your favorite lyric that 3 (Genesis) has sung
A tough call, but I’m going with the “happiness machine” imagery from Am I Very Wrong:

Am I very wrong
To try to close my ears
To the sounds they play so loud?
Am I very wrong?
The Happiness Machine
Is trying hard to sing my song.

Am I very wrong
To want to leave my friends
And the curse of the Happiness Machine?

What is your favorite song of 1 (The Beatles)?
I’ll try to be consistent and say A Day in The Life.

What is your favorite song of 10 (Glenn Miller)?
There are a lot of songs I like about equally from the Glenn Miller discog, but the song I chose to represent him on my big Top 30 list was Moonlight Serenade.

How many times have you seen 8 (The Kinks) live?

What is your favorite album of 1 (The Beatles)?
I know I said a few questions ago that A Day in the Life was my favorite Beatles song, but, as albums go, I’m a White Album guy….

What is a great memory you have considering 9 (The Smiths)?
I had a girlfriend who was really into the Smiths.  She always spoke highly of them, but I had not heard them at that time.  I did not get into them until after my good friend Jeremy spontaneously belted out some Smiths/Morrisey tunes at a party at my home in Manayunk.  I resolved to buy some best-ofs.  A great memory involving the actual music came when I endeavored to ride my bike from N. Wildwood, NJ to Atlantic City and back.  During the 4-5 hour journey up, this Half a Person came on the random.  I liked it enough to put the player on repeat and hear it at least twice more.

What was the first song you heard by 8 (The Kinks)?
I couldn’t tell you.  It must have been a radio staple: either You Really Got Me or Lola.

Surprise! This album kicks ass.

What is your favorite cover by 2 (Spring Heel Jack)?
When my cousin did this survey, she thought it was asking about covers, as in a re-recording of a song originally performed by someone else.  Like her #2, the Police, Spring Heel Jack’s music is all original, to my knowledge.  Nor, to my knowledge, has anyone ever recorded a cover of a Spring Heel Jack piece.  However, I think the question may be asking for a cover, as in album art.  In which case, I’ll have to go with the cover for Disappeared, because it is deceptively innocuous.  It is actually one of their more interesting covers.  Lately, they’ve been content simply to list the title and personnel against a solid-color background.

This was a pretty fun survey.  I think the questions were a little repetitive, though….


2 Responses to A Big Last.fm Music Survey

  1. Angie says:

    Your survey is so much better than mine! Your answers are so well thought-out. I feel like I should revisit mine….

  2. autofyrsto says:

    hehehe. I wrote it in a few sessions. I really liked the questions!

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