Leave it to Boris to tour behind an import-only album, self-released more than a decade ago.
The most important indie rock band that you’ve likely never heard, Boris has never been one for conventionality.
Billed “from the past, the present and through to the future,” the Japanese iconoclasts are performing 2000’s Flood—a climactic, 70-minute post-rock suite—in its entirety for the opening night of their current U.S. tour, followed by a career retrospective.
It’s actually the concept of the second evening that I have a harder time wrapping my head around. Since forming at Tokyo’s Musashino Art University in 1992, Boris has defied categorization, along with anything even remotely resembling a “hit.” The band exists in a state of constant transition, as if determined to push the boundaries of rock music in all directions, with the distinction between albums at times as drastic as Radiohead from OK Computer to Kid A.
In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists, staff writers, and Web community leaders. This week, The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology coeditor Doug Freeman tracks the sound of our national pastime.
Music and baseball have had a long and close history. After all, what other sport has a song like “Take Me Out to Ball Game” universally performed during every outing?
Baseball has inspired more songs than perhaps any other sport over the past century. Naturally, devising the ultimate baseball playlist required some decisive trimming. I’d be lying if I said the criterion wasn’t completely arbitrary, but in creating the perfect tracklist, as in baseball, you have to make tough decisions to ensure that the Mets don’t embarrass themselves too badly.
I generally avoided the kind of marketed team anthems or popular sport hits and instead wanted to highlight some of the more leftfield baseball odes. That means we’ve left off some John Fogerty and Terry Cashmen’s classic “Talkin’ Baseball,” as well as Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” and Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer.
That said, some mainstream hits with less-direct baseball influences made the roster, such as Meatloaf’s quite brilliant “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights,” which deploys Phil Rizzuto’s radio play-by-play commentary to describe lusting teenagers in the backseat of a car.
Sports often serves as a popular allegory for life in music—the slow artistry and drama of baseball providing a perfect metaphorical backdrop. It’s explicit in songs like Mabel Scott’s suggestive “Baseball Boogie” and the Intruders’ Sixties soul “(Love is a Like A) Baseball Game,” but it works just as well through indirect allusions, as in Magnolia Electric Co.’s “31 Seasons in the Minor Leagues” and Greg Brown’s “Laughing River.” Dan Bern, whose album Doubleheader may be one of the best baseball-themed LPs, may take top honor for the baseball-as-life song with “When My Buckner Moment Comes.”
The entire catalog of the Baseball Project (the themed all-star grouping of R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn and Linda Pitmon) could be included, and while “Ted Fucking Williams” may be the band’s best track, I’ve chosen “Don’t Call Them Twinkies” because it features fellow enthusiast Craig Finn of the Hold Steady. And Yo La Tengo deserves special note for the New Jersey trio having taken their name from a notorious Mets anecdote.
In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists, staff writers, and Web community leaders.
Every writer needs a good playlist. Character names can be changed later on, and jokes can be scribbled in during edits. But when you sit down in front of that blank page, a great soundtrack can be the difference between writers block and looking up to find that the sun set hours ago.
I’m a bit superstitious about my routine when I’m writing a book, but here are the things I know: Sit at the same table in the coffee shop if you were pleased with what you wrote there (if not, switch); Always read over what you wrote yesterday before putting a new sentence on the page; Invest in good headphones and whitening strips for the coffee stains; and The Mountain Goats can cure even the worst writing day.
Every writer needs a good playlist. This is mine:
Robyn Schneider is the author of the forthcoming young adult novel Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, coming this summer from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. She makes videos on YouTube and is a part of Wonderly, Big Frame’s new vertical for young female content creators. You can follow her on Twitter (@robynschneider).
In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists, staff writers, and Web community leaders. In this installment, former Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears bandleader and guitarist Zach Ernst recounts the rhythm and blues that’s shaped his career.
My Big Ugly Quarterlife Crisis offers a potential soundtrack for the college-educated service industry—pissed off, lonely, and broke—but there’s a silver lining perfectly encapsulated by the Men’s brilliant “Open Your Heart.”
Open your heart to me
I’m lost, I’m found
I’m tugging at your sleeve
There are no mirrors here
Do what you want
Be who you want to be
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