Monday, 4 April 2011

10 Songs At Random

No inherent theme this week just going to put my library of songs on shuffle and pick the first 10 and write about them. It's one of many ways to hear new music whether it's old or new, and I hope, to some people, that's what this blog will become. So let's see where this takes us...

1. U2 - "Angel Of Harlem"

U2 is a band that is touch and go for me. Meaning, they have some songs I really enjoy and others that I can live without. 1988's Rattle and Hum was a different sort of album for U2, some live songs, some covers and some new songs all packaged to coincide with their documentary of the same name. "Angel Of Harlem" has that great feel from a time that music would ignite something deep in people's souls: The jazz era. Not only is it about Billie Holiday, but also references many other New York landmarks and Jazz center pieces.

2. Interpol - "Narc"

I'll admit I don't know much about the New York group Interpol. So I will retell a story I read about them in a guitar magazine I bought a few years back. Apparently during their first few years together their agent booked them at a Black Metal Festival in Europe without realizing the festival's genre. When Interpol showed up they instantly knew their post-punk revival act would not win the hearts of the marauding metal crowd. They approached the festival's organizer, faked sick and high tailed it back to safety.

3. New York Dolls - "Pills"

Hmm seems to be a theme developing here, all 3 songs so far have had ties to New York. The New York Dolls were pioneers of the punk scene in the states. Some notable figures who've passed through their ranks include Johnny Thunders, Blackie Lawless and Jerry Nolan. "Pills" was actually written by legendary blues-man Bo Diddley. The band originally split up in 1976 but reformed in 2005 with the 2 surviving members being joined by 2 new comers.

4. Silverchair - "Tomorrow"

1995's Frogstomp will go down as a pure 90's classic. Recorded in just nine days and unleashed on to a world that was still reeling from Nirvana's short-lived historic lifespan. While it's true record company's were eager to sign the next Cobain, Daniel Johns and the boys had staying power, unlike many of the Nirvana clones wrangled together in the mid 90's. Their last album Young Modern was released in 2007.

5. Stereophonics - "A Minute Longer"

I don't think these guys get enough recognition in North America. From Wales, The Stereophonics have been around since 1992. Lead vocalist Kelly Jones has a distinct, raspy voice that stands out from the typical Brit-pop twang. "A Minute Longer" is a great example of their song-writing abilities. Other notable tracks are "Hurry Up And Wait", "Since I Told You It's Over" and perhaps their biggest hit on this side of the pond, "Pick A Part That's New"

6. The Refreshments - "Banditos"

Ahh, remember this one? One Hit Wonders are generally brought together from that whacky decade of the 80's, but every ten year stanza has their fair share. This one was unleashed in 1996 and is undeniably catchy. I remember the album name clearly too, Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy. A little researched showed they did the King Of The Hill theme music, and not much else.

7. Guns N' Roses - "You Could Be Mine"

More 90's nostalgia! This one came to us from the Terminator 2: Judgment Day soundtrack and even featured the Governator in the video. This harkens back to a better time for ol' GNR, before Axl went schizo and that whole Chinese Democracy ordeal.

8. Mad Caddies - "Weird Beard"

I was going to use this one for the 10 Great Drinkin' songs lists, but I think I left it off in case I ever wanted to do a pirate themed list. From the aptly named 2001 album Rock The Plank, it's not to be confused with Fu Manchu's song "Weird Beard". This song is great in a crowd of old buddies swinging stein's of beer back and forth, and rambling on about days of plundering long since passed.

9. R.E.M - "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite"

Another great one from a classic 90's record. Automatic For The People really brought REM into the public's field of view. This one wasn't as well known as the album's other singles ("Man On The Moon", "Everybody Hurts" and "Nightswimming") but I enjoy it more than some of those on occasion and more than most of REM's catalog. It's just got a great pop-song format and it loops along playfully enticing the listener to follow, like some kind of piper. I believe the Sidewinder referenced here is a sort of telephone.

10. Silverstein - "Smashed Into Pieces"

On every list I do I try to include at least one Canadian group or artist. I'm a big fan of showcasing talent from my home to the rest of the world. Of course on a random list that wasn't guaranteed, thankfully Burlington, Ontario's Silverstein came through. These guys formed in 2000 and were doing the whole screamo thing before it was sprouting up like corn. "Smashed Into Pieces" is a fine introduction for anyone who have yet to be exposed to them.

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