In Random Rules, The A.V. Club asks some of its favorite people to set their MP3 players to shuffle and comment on the first few tracks that come up—no cheating or skipping embarrassing tracks allowed.
Shuffler: Comedian and Daily Show correspondent Rob Corddry, who plays a clueless reporter frighteningly well. He's also popped up on Curb Your Enthusiasm (as a registered sex offender), and he stars in the recent DVD release Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story as a shamed paintball player who returns to the professional circuit.
Witchcraft, "It's So Easy"
Rob Corddry: This is one of those crappy Black Sabbath rip-offs that I thought I would enjoy. And I bought it and just hated it, and never listened to it again. This also tells me I need a new organizational system on my iPod, because this can totally go. Let's skip this piece of shit.
RC: Oh wow, I'm awesome. Brighten The Corners—I would argue, the best Pavement record. The Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain people can slam a cock, because this is the best. I miss Pavement. I went and saw Stephen Malkmus live a couple years ago. Terrible. He's a jam band now. There was this guy in the front row who wouldn't stop asking Malkmus, "What's up with the Jicks?" He kept saying, "Steve, what's up with the Jicks?" And my friend Jason started yelling, "Esteban, que pasa los Jicks?" Needless to say, he did not answer us. Not a good show, though I got very drunk.
Lou Barlow, "Legendary"
RC: Not a bad album, actually. "The Ballad Of Daykitty" is a beautiful song, but the rest of the album is a little too Barlow-esque for me. I'm more of a Jason Loewenstein kind of guy. Jason Loewenstein's album At Sixes And Sevens is one of the best albums I was listening to last year. My friend saw Lou Barlow play at Boston years ago. He's doing this really important acoustic set, and people were chatting, and he said, "Can everybody shut up? I'm trying to give you some art." So the whole place started chanting, "Art! Art! Art! Art!" And Lou Barlow attacked my friend's friend. So his claim to fame is that he was physically attacked by a bad folksinger. Lou Barlow jumped off the stage and attacked him. This is at the beginning of Sebadoh, post Dinosaur Jr., like in the really angry Lou Barlow years. It seems like he's lightened up a little bit.
Tony Schwartz, "Nancy Grows Up"
RC: This guy recorded his daughter Nancy from birth to adolescence. And at first she's just crying. The second thing is her saying her ABC's. And it gets all the way up to her talking about boys. It's amazing. I downloaded it. It's so beautiful. If you like crying, then listen to it.
Weezer, "The World Has Turned And Left Me Here"
RC: Whatever happened to Weezer?
The A.V. Club: They kept putting out records, and fewer and fewer people listened to them.
RC: I guess that's what happened to me as well. I believe Rivers Cuomo is finally finishing his Harvard degree, and I doubt that will be good for indie rock, or rock in general. Or music in general. I think it will probably be bad. But it couldn't be any worse than his last album. But this is a good one, their titular album. I hate that Weezer hates Pinkerton. That's my favorite Weezer disc, and I hate that they won't play it live. It just makes me hate them. Boy, I have to be very negative, huh?
The Gerbils, "Penny Waits"
RC: Such a great band. I got into them when I got into the whole Elephant 6 thing. I'm this weird sort of completist, in that once I hear one band, I buy their entire family tree, then never end up listening to anything but the band that made me do the research. And that one band was Neutral Milk Hotel. But then I found The Gerbils, and now that I think about it, maybe The Gerbils don't have anything to do with Neutral Milk Hotel. But it comes from the same era. The jangly, Beatles-esque indie pop. I imagine these guys being like three feet tall. They're aptly named. They might be gerbils.
Low, "Just Stand Back"
RC: I actually got into Low at a particularly happy time in my life. I had just met my wife, and we were going out to eat every night and just loving love, and I was playing the saddest music ever recorded. But The Great Destroyer is kind of an up album for Low, especially this song. They can't write a truly happy song. But it's very poppy.