Hey! It’s time for Round Three of the first season of Shuffle Roulette, a new gameshow series that is very fun to play! Is it fun to read? Nobody knows! Here are THE RULES:
Shuffle Roulette is a mixture of what we mostly do all the time on this blog and… The Newlywed Game? The rules are simple. Player One has to pull up the music library application of their choice and hit shuffle on whatever that app’s equivalent of an “all songs” or “faves” list is. They must then present Player Two with the first six songs that shuffle throws at them. No cheating. No mulligans. No re-rolls. I don’t care how embarrassed you might be. There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. First six songs. That’s the set.
Player Two will then give a gut reaction to each of the six songs. Player One will have a chance to respond and rebut.
Once all six songs have been covered, Player Two must then decide which song is…
The BULLET is whatever song Player One feels is the most killer song out of the set of six songs. Player One will then confirm or deny whether or not Player Two has correctly guessed The BULLET. If Player Two has not correctly guessed The BULLET, Player One will reveal the identity of The BULLET.
Best two out of three. Winner gets five bucks.
In the opening installment, Mike was presented a batch of six random tunes from Mark’s fave-songs shuffle. Mike failed to correctly identify THE BULLET, but made a very reasonable attempt! Next, it was Mike’s turn to roll. Mark successfully identified THE BULLET!
In this installment, Mike must correctly identify THE BULLET. If he does not, he will look like a dumdum and also he will owe Mark five bucks.
Primus – My Name Is Mud
Mike: This is funny, cuz Primus is not a band I ever think of, but they have come up twice in my life recently, prior to this. Both times lead to me waxing rhapsodical about what a genuinely dull and dislikable band they are to me. I tried to get into them in the 90s and it just didn’t click.
Okay, I just hit play and…I just have nothing nice to say about this. This shit is so far up its own asshole. And I say this as a lapsed Frank Zappa obsessive. How proud of themselves (himself? Is this really the Les Claypool & Friends show?) do you think they were when they held that rest an extra half-length? I have a feeling the pride was disproportional to the accomplishment!
Mark: I see you. I hear you. And I mostly agree with you. This… isn’t good. And I can’t really conjure up a good reason for having this on my list of “liked songs” on Spotify. I considered taking a mulligan on this roll when it came up, but then decided that it would be against the spirit of the game. Also, it’s a pretty funny thing to have to admit to, I think. Oof, it sounds even worse than it did when I was a teen.
I got this album as a birthday present from my teenage sweetheart. Does that make it more understandable? Nah, probably not.
I will say, though, that the off-time pauses are maybe the best think about this track, and I can’t believe that you picked that to complain about.
Mike: It’s the smug self-satisfaction driving the decision to do it. That’s why.
Little Simz – I Love You, I Hate You
Mike: Yeah, this track slaps. I listened to this album a bit last year. It’s produced by my current favourite producer, Inflo (of Sault, Cleo Sol, Michael Kiwanuka fame). Little Simz flow is tight and I love the sweeping strings alongside the staccato funk guitar line. And she really tears it up over that orchestral crescendo. Thumbs up.
Mark: This was a Brooklyn Vegan find for me from last summer. I quite like the vibe of the track, and it moves in a really satisfyingly dramatic way. Great production.
Pavement – The Hexx
Mike: Well now, you know my softest of spots is reserved for Pavement. I know this album is not very popular, but I like it a lot. The creepy, dreamy sound on the verses is an odd sound for Pavement. Particularly the feedback/oscillator lurking behind it all. Then the chorus (is that a chorus?) has that rambling, falling over itself classic Pavement feeling. Classic Malkmus lyrics like “architecture students are like virgins with an itch they cannot scratch/never build a building til your 50, what kind of life is that?” tie it all together.
It’s great. It’s Pavement. It gets you really high.
Mark: I’m not sure that there’s a Pavement record that I dislike, but I’m a longtime Terror Twilight stan. The album features some of their most straightforward pop songs, but it’s also got a pile of oddball tracks like “The Hexx” that creep up on you in a way that most of the band’s material doesn’t. This song is great.
Black Cat #13 – Pink Dolls Wink
Mike: This one I’ve never heard of. It’s short and aggro and I could see myself getting into it in a small venue live setting when I was able to stand for 30 minutes without any major bodily agony. This is the kind of music I would have checked out cuz Sonic Youth wrote about it in their fan zine or something, but I’ve always just been more drawn to the artsy fartsy side of punk. Not my wheelhouse, but I like it.
Mark: The folks who made this record would later splinter off into Death From Above 1979 and The Sick Lipstick. This was actually before my time, and even after I moved to Toronto and started going to shows in the early 2000s, this was still something that would have annoyed me to see at a live show. My tastes for the abrasive only seem to grow as I get older, though, and now I think that it rocks. I was compelled to look this act up because I love The Sick Lipstick’s Sting Sting Sting album. This isn’t quite as good. But as a 90 second facemelter to pop up on shuffle? It’s great!
Grandaddy – The Group Who Couldn’t Say
Mike: This is another band I always associate with you (along with Pavement…and Shotmaker from the previous entry). This is perfect turn of the century indie rock. Strong poppy melody. Wistful harmonies. Bass living on the root. Caustic lyrics. Great track. Are these guys still going? I haven’t heard of them in years.
Mark: Shotmaker is definitely a band that it would make sense to associate with me, although we did not cover them in a previous entry. Due to some kind of tragic injustice, Shotmaker’s material is not available on streaming! TERRIBLE.
I love Grandaddy. Hugely influential band on me. Sumday is not my fave album, but I do love it and I love this song as well. The friggin’ synth sounds that this band can call up! Yow! Also, yeah. Sort of a cynical and melancholy sense of humour on most of their stuff. I dunno… their best stuff just hits me in a good way.
Mike: Well hey, guess what! Everything I wrote about Pinback (aside from commentary on the actual song as I was listening to it) in Round One, I was actually thinking of Shotmaker.
Seafoam Walls – Program
Mike: Another artist I’ve never heard of. This starts off interesting with a meandering intro that slowly comes together into a spare guitar riff and eventually the vocal. The timbre of the voice actually sounds a bit like David Byrne to me. Is that crazy? I have no context for who this band is. Nice short guitar solo to break up the verses. I like all the little glitchy accents inserted at the end of each vocal line. Honestly, I dig this, but I’m a little surprised you do. I feel like you usually demand more, melodically, from your music.
Mark: This was another Brooklyn Vegan find from last summer. Not really my usual style, but I dug the vibe, so I fave’d it. Totally see what you mean with the David Byrne thing. I thought that the arrangement was just really weird and spacey and the chord progression hit me in the right way. This is kind of what I consider to be “chill out music”. And the heavy-on-effects guitar solo section sounds so friggin’ cool. I dunno if I would want a whole album of this, but I really dig this track.
Mike: This is a good batch of songs and a tough one to call. The Little Simz has the energy and bombast. I think most of the time Pavement would have it well in hand, but much as I like that song it’s pretty definitively an album track on their least popular album. I think the bullet this time goes to Grandaddy.
Mark: Mike, it gives me no pleasure to tell you… that you have correctly selected THE BULLET. This is a bit of a tight match-up between Pavement and Grandaddy, and another Pavement track may have won the day, but I will be handing it to Grandaddy on this particular song matchup. Nice work!
END OF ROUND THREE
Mark: You live to fight another day, my friend. In our next installment, you will spin the songs. If I correctly guess THE BULLET, I will have won! So hopefully it’s a really easy one.
Mike: Yes! Real target shooting on this one.