Playlist: iPod Shuffle 10/13/11

October 13, 2011

On the flight home from Italy, I watched the DVD of Bahman Ghobadi’s No One Knows About Persian Cats, a fascinating feature about the underground music scene in Tehran, where recording or giving concerts requires some kind of permit from notoriously quixotic government officials. It centers on a boy-girl songwriting team trying to patch together a band for a concert to raise money to leave the country. As this nerdy duo wanders around meeting other scrappy musicians rehearsing in cow barns and jerry-rigged rooftop bunkers, they are frequently asked what kind of music they like, and they always say “indie rock,” and everyone nods sagely, as if that were an extremely precise genre. I dunno, maybe it is, but the music we hear in the film ranges from Kimya Dawson-like acoustic solos to rap to crunchy guitar-driven stuff.

The new Apple operating system updates iTunes in such a way that, without my choosing it, I got a “genius mix” of “Adult Alternative Rock” — not a genre I would ever have selected myself, but what came up was pretty good, and not unlike the range in Persian Cats. Well, maybe Sarah Vaughan is a little outside the range, but there are no Kurdish folksingers banging frame drums on this playlist, either:

“Old Enough,” Rickie Lee Jones
“Sleeping Bear, Sault Saint Marie,” Sufjan Stevens
“Flightless Bird, American Mouth,” Iron & Wine
“Dirty White,” Inara George
“Good Goodnight,” Aqualung
“Vomit,” Girls
“The Midnight Sun Will Never Set,” Sarah Vaughan
“In These Arms,” the Swell Season
“Ooh La La,” Goldfrapp
“Move On,” Mouth Music
“Boys of Melody,” the Hidden Cameras
“It Takes Love,” Edie Brickell
“The Boys Are Back in Heaven [Pixies vs. Thin Lizzy],” Phil RetroSpector
“Exquisite Whiteness,” David Byrne
“Don’t Let It Get You,” Inara George
“Fractales, Pt. 1,” Apparat
“Don’t Let Your Hair Grow Too Long,” Oren Lavie

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