Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Top 20 Songs of 2013

Happy New Years everyone! Like every other music site out there it's time to recap the past year with my own list of the best songs. 2013 wasn't without it's heartache. It's ups and downs. It's celebrations and reservations. Also it's great music, as we shall see. The 20 Best Songs of 2013.

20. Eleanor Freidberger - "Stare At The Sun"

One half of the Fiery Furnaces with her brother, Eleanor Freidberger released her second album Personal Record in June. "Stare At The Sun" has an honest approach, like she hasn't a care in the world while strumming along to it's poppy undertones. Can't wait to see what else is in store from this one.

19. Alice In Chains - "Stone"

Gotta love that grungey, bass growl that rolls along the whole duration of "Stone", Alice In Chain's first single off the 2013 album The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (how cool of an album name is that?). The band's second release since reuniting in 2009. 2013 also saw the band join Metallica and Ghost BC for this year's Rock In Rio in Brazil.

18. Waxahatchee - "Peace & Quiet"

Waxahatchee is the stage name of new comer Katie Crutchfield and her second album Cerulean Salt has been making waves all over the music scene. She appears on most top 100 lists for songs from this year, but each time a different song is named. "Peace & Quiet" gets my vote, for it's down to earth relatability. Also those guitar strums remind me of The Heartless Bastards, and I like that. Also check out "Brother Bryan" and "Swan Dive".

17. Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines"

Undeniably catchy and undeniably helped along by the popularity of it's video. Robin Thicke (son of Canada's Alan Thicke) called in a few favours from T.I and Pharrell to craft this peppy, bouncy dance floor anthem for adults. If it wasn't overshadowed by Daft Punk's summer anthem, this one may have gotten higher.

16. Goo Goo Dolls - "Come To Me"

Alice In Chains and Goo Goo Dolls on a best of the year list? What year is it? Magnetic was the Doll's first release in 3 years, and this sweet, acoustic strumming track is a definite ear-opener. With Dylan-esque beginnings the song morphs into a more modern version of the classic love song sung up to a balcony.

15. Bastille - "Pompeii"

"Y'know that song with the eh-oh-ehs at the beginning?" Yep that's Bastille's "Pompeii" a song from their debut album Bad Blood with about as much momentum as the volcano that destroyed the titular city. While it was actually the 4th single released it was the first to make an impact in North America.

14. The National - "Pink Rabbits"

The year's dreamy trip into the ether is brought to you by Cincinnati band The National. "Pink Rabbits" is one of many great tracks from the critically acclaimed Trouble Will Find Me. It might have the lyrics here that won me over "You didn't know it I was falling apart; I was a television version of a person with a broken heart" So divine...

13. Blue October - "Bleed Out"

Blue October had been quietly releasing albums since their breakthrough in 2006. Which came as a surprise to me as I stumbled across "Bleed Out" in the summer...the more I listened to it the deeper it bore itself into my skull. I feel it has much to do with the urgency in his lead singer Justin Furstenfeld's vocals. He definitely nails it in this one.

12. Parquet Courts - "Stoned & Starving"

Parquet Courts came marching on to the scene with their album Light Up Gold and with it they carried the flag of dirty Brooklyn punk rock that's been lacking for many years. "Stone & Starving" not only fires catchy guitar riffs around like litter, but also adds a little humour. Good to hear, we shouldn't be taking ourselves too seriously after all.

11. Thundercat - "Oh Sheit, it's X"

Thundercat is Stephen Bruner from LA and he definitely found the funk. Thundercat is a renown session musician who's worked with Flying Lotus and Suicidal Tendencies, but has also released 2 solo albums of his own. "Oh Sheit It's X" with either make you get up and dance or imagine someone in your head getting up to dance. It was even featured in Grand Theft Auto V.

10.  Sleigh Bells - "Young Legends"

Back with another youthful blast of synth-driven noise pop is Brooklyn's Sleigh Bells. Bitter Rivals is the release that "Young Legends" can be found on and the song almost taunts it's target audience of the YOLO generation with the future classic line "young legends die all the time". Love the fade out too

9. Sky Ferreira - "I Blame Myself"

This what all that teeny-bopper pop music would sound like if those performing it actually had a connection to the "art" they were claiming to create. Sky Ferreira was signed to her label at the young age of 15, with hopes of being the next teen-pop sensation. Perhaps thats the "reputation" she's lamenting on the roaring opening track of her album Night Time. My Time

8. The Internet - "Dontcha"

Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martian make up The Internet, a soulful, techno group based out of LA. Both originally collaborated as part of Odd Future and they released their second album Feel Good early in the year. "Dontcha" is an effortless yet, ridiculously catchy track that sort of defines genre...much like the group.

7. CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share"

CHVRCHES (pronounced churches) are a Scottish synth-pop group whose debut album The Bones Of What You Believe has been getting them noticed all over the world. With help from their singles "Gun" and "The Mother We Share" CHVRCHES are a critics favourite.

6. Jake Bugg - "Broken"

What a voice for a cat that was born in 1994! I kept wanting to slide this song in, but it just kept being pushed higher and higher. England's Jake Bugg released Shangri-La this year and has been unstoppable since. "Broken" is the stand out track for me.  It's like his voice was recorded decades ago and is just catching up to the world now. This song is sure to be a favourite for first dances at weddings.

5. Coheed & Cambria - "Dark Side Of Me"

Coheed released the second part to their two disc opus The Afterman in early February. Much like Ascension the second part Descension has a myriad of songs that could have been included on this list. "Dark Side Of Me" seems like a typical woe-is-me type alt-rock song, but the way Claudio belts it out makes it a more personal affair and the character in the song is preparing to make some big choices based on what he has to live with.

4. Daft Punk - "Get Lucky"

2013 was definitely the year of Daft Punk.  After they dropped "Get Lucky" it seemed there was nothing that could get in their way. You couldn't even travel the world, to non-English speaking countries without hearing this everywhere. And why not? That funky guitar work, that snap-along beat and Pharrell (he seems to be this year's Timbaland) was the perfect choice to sing it. I still think of one of the first times I heard this song at an Ultimate tournament's final dance bash with pretty young girls on their teammates' shoulders shaking and gyrating to the grooves.

3. Haim - "The Wire"

Haim (rhymes with crime) burst on the scene this year with their debut album Days Are Gone. Admittedly I wasn't sure about them at first, but this song's careless cadence and underwhelming vocals got stuck in my head and I was done.

2. Lorde - "Royals"

The ladies have really been a force to be reckoned with this year and here we have their queen. New Zealand's Lorde has been the name on everyone's tongue since Heroine was released. "Royals" is that type of song the is forgettable at first and then becomes that one song you crank up. Like a rap song, slowed down and ironed out. Still very easy to rock to.

1. Avenged Sevenfold - "Hail To The King"

Speaking of cranking it up. There is no way I can listen to this song without testing a few speakers or eardrums.  Really what is there to say about this that the song can't say for itself? From the album of the same name. Hail to the king, baby.

There ya go! My picks for the 20 best songs of the year!

Here's a few honourable mentions that almost made it
- "I Love You" - Said The Whale
-"Sex" - The 1975
-"Chamakay" - Blood Orange
-"Keep You" - Wild Belle
-"When A Fire Starts To Burn" - Disclosure
-"Mind Your Manners" - Pearl Jam
-"Not My Day" - Head Of The Herd

Thanks again for reading!

See y'all in 2014!


Saturday, 14 December 2013

10 Great Songs About Streets & Roads

Yes it's been a while since i've updated and yes this is not a very inspired topic. It is the holiday season however, and my time is being stretched thin. Hey if you want to check out a list of Christmas songs for the upcoming holidays check out last year's list here! For now though, here are 10 Great Songs About Streets or Roads.

1. "The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)" - The Grateful Dead

The first track off of the first Grateful Dead album, which was a self-titled release. It's a acid-trippy, quick little ditty that really sets the tone for The Grateful Dead's typical care free style. That same style that would earn them a legion of devoted fans for decades to come

2. "Allison Road" - Gin Blossoms

Some songs about roads are inspired by actual streets and laneways. Such is the case with the Gin Blossoms' 1994 single. Lead singer Robin Wilson was traveling with a friend through Texas when they passed an exit sign for Allison Rd. His friend's sister was named Allison so they took a picture. That picture would serve as inspiration for Wilson when writing songs for the 1992 album New Miserable Experience.

3. "Grey Street" - Dave Matthews Band

This song has become a staple at DMB live performances. It was originally recorded in 2000 for the band's upcoming 4th studio album. The band decided to not release the songs recorded during that time, which were produced by Steve Lillywhite and instead recorded a new batch of songs with Glen Ballard at the helm. That album became Everyday and produced such singles as "I Did It" and "The Space Between". Even in the early days of the internet though those initial songs were leaked and the fans dubbed the collection as The Lillywhite Sessions. "Grey Street" has since been officially included on one of Dave Matthew's albums: 2002's Busted Stuff.

4. "Across 110th Street" - Bobby Womack

A song written for a movie of the same name, Bobby Womack would go on to be known for his life outside of music more than in it. He had his struggles with drug addiction and has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Perhaps his most public scandal was when he married Sam Cooke's widow just three months after the soul singer's death.

5. "Baker Street" - Gerry Rafferty

Perhap's one of music's most famous saxophone stings is in Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street". It was even used at the end of a Simpsons episode. Rafferty started his career as part of Stealer's Wheel who had in the 70's with "Stuck In The Middle With You"

6. "Copperhead Road" - Steve Earle

From famous saxophone stings to perhaps even more famous bagpipe swells, here we find "Copperhead Road" Steve Earle's biggest hit. Copperhead Rd is a real road in East Tennessee where moonshine was made and eventually became a place to grow marijuana. The song follows a Vietnam vet who winds up in the smuggling business after coming home.

7. "Emerald Street" - Alexisonfire

Taken from the 2009 album Old Crows/Young Cardinals "Emerald Street" paints a not so flattering picture of a real street in Hamilton, Ontario.

8. "Warwick Avenue" - Duffy

Warwick Avenue is in Maida Vale, West London. Though Duffy is from London, she claims to have only been to the area by accident and the song itself is in fact about a few of her ex-boyfriends. One of many great songs off her 2008 release Rockferry.

9. "Love Street" - The Doors

Jim Morrison wrote this song about the street he lived on with his girlfriend in Laurel Canyon, California. Though the address was 1812 Rothdale Trail, they called it Love Street because of all the hippies who also lived in the area.

10. "53rd & 3rd" - The Ramones

This one is actually about 2 streets that intersect. Dee Dee Ramone claims this one is quasi-autobiographical about his time as a young prostitute on the corner of 53rd & 3rd trying to score drugs. The titular corner is in New York City in a part of town called the bowery, which was once known as a dangerous and seedy part of town. It has since been cleaned up, along with most of the city, to attract tourists.

Thanks all again!

Follow away! ----> @jonnyzhivago

And comment and request!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

10 Songs That Sound Like Other Songs

With so many artists and bands in the world it's inevitable that a few of them are going to release music that sounds similar. Sometimes though when it happens the accusations of plaigarism fly and things get ugly. Here are ten instances of songs that had a familiar feeling upon their release.

1. "Come As You Are" - Nirvana / "Eighties" - Killing Joke

Killing Joke were a British band who had made some waves in their native land in the seventies and eighties. Though they never hit it big in the US some fans of the obscure thought they heard a Killing Joke song on the radio when Nirvana released their second single off the Nevermind album. The opening and main riff of "Come As You Are" bares a striking resemblance to the one of "Eighties" by Killing Joke. Apparently Kurt Cobain was aware of the similarities and was nervous about releasing "Come As You Are" as a single, the record company eventually insisted (in fact they favoured "Come As You Are" over "Teen Spirit" as the lead off single). There was no real litigious situation that developed between the groups, though one could say that The Damned also had a case as their song "Life Goes On" (which predates "Eighties" by 2 years) uses a similar riff as the other 2 songs.

2. "Dani California" - Red Hot Chili Peppers / "Mary Jane's Last Dance" - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

This one was started by a radio station in Delaware that noticed the similarities between RHCP's "Dani California" and Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance". While the strumming pattern and chord progressions are similar there's no way anyone could confuse one song with the other. Each song has it's own individuality and this one can be chalked up to coincidence and not plagiarism. Petty himself laughed off the accusations saying that he doubted any negative intent. Just goes to show with the sheer number of songs being produced, a few here and there are going to be similar. Both songs have great videos though.

3. "Caribbean Queen" - Billy Ocean / "Billie Jean" - Michael Jackson

This one is widely known within the inner circles of music fans. "Caribbean Queen" is such an instantly likeable song, perhaps because it's bassline and chorus are near mirror images of Michael Jackson's biggest hit "Billie Jean". Jackson never came out publicly to comment on the similarities, but when Ocean was asked about it he merely replied "Nothing is 100% original"

4. "Old Man Down The Road" - John Fogerty / "Run Through The Jungle" - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Surely one can't be sued for plagiarizing their own songs right? Well that's exactly what happened to John Fogerty. An original member of legendary American band CCR, Fogerty left the group among high tensions between band members and dizzying legal troubles. After releasing his first solo album with a new record label his old label brought him to court claiming the song "The Old Man Down The Road" off his solo album was too similar to "Run Through The Jungle" a CCR song which Fogerty wrote, but his old label owned publishing rights to. What? John eventually won the case after performing both songs in the courtroom and making the claim that people have distinct writing styles. One of the only cases in music history in which an artist was sued for ripping himself off.

5. "Warning" - Green Day / "Picture Book" - The Kinks

I remember a little bit of hubub about this one when Green Day's Warning released in 2000. The title track off the album had a familiar guitar riff for fans of The Kinks. "Picture Book" of The Kinks' sixth studio album The Village Green Preservation Society, while not a single from the album, begins almost the same way as Green Day's song. Not same enough apparently as neither camp really did much in light of the similarity.

6. "Anybody Seen My Baby?" - The Rolling Stones / "Constant Craving" - KD Lang

This is a unique case as one of the artists involved came out and openly admitted plagiarism...well sort of. It was 1997 and The Stones were about to unleash their album Bridges To Babylon and their lead off single "Anybody Seen My Baby" when Keith Richards' daughter Angela played him one of KD Lang's songs "Constant Craving" siting similarities between the two. "Bollocks!" is what I imagine Richards thinking. While the Stones hadn't heard Lang's song, they were hoping to avoid any legal entanglements so they gave Lang and her songwriting partner Ben Mink co-writing credits to the song. Canadian songstress KD Lang said she was "Completely honoured and flattered" by the gesture.

7. "Down Under" - Men At Work / "Kookaburra" - Marion Sinclair

This one stands out as having the most time between songs released that were accused of plagiarism and the most time after the offending song was released before it being brought to light. "Down Under" was released in 1982 by Australian act Men At Work and has been a staple of 80's mixes since then. In 2009 Larrikin Music launched a lawsuit against the band claiming that the signature flute riff in "Down Under" plagiarized the children's song "Kookaburra" which Larrikin Music owned the rights to. The song was originally written by an Australian music teacher Marion Sinclair in 1932 and when she died in 1988 the rights to the song were bought by the Larrikin Group. Unfortunately for Men At Work the justice system felt that their song had infringed upon copyright and ruled in favour of the Larrikin Group. Lead singer and songwriter Colin Hay had vehemently denied any malicious intent and insists that "Down Under" is an original composition and that the flutist Greg Ham improvised the riff during recording sessions. Hay noted that no one had mentioned the similarities in the 28 years since the song was released and even Sinclair herself hadn't raised the issue. Nevertheless, Ham (the flutist) became distraught over the verdict and worried that he'd only be known for the plagiarism. He was found dead in his home in 2012.

8. "The Thorn Within" - Metallica / "Sex Type Thing" - Stone Temple Pilots

This is one that I just threw in here. I noticed the similarity between the riffs in the 2 songs but neither band has ever raised an issue about it. STP's song was released in 1992 while "The Thorn Within" was featured on Metallica's 1996 album Load. Songs for the Load album were being written and worked on since the writing sessions of the Black Album which was released in 1991 so it's difficult to say where the origin of the song lies. Really, I just put this one in to show that many times riffs are similar but the coincidences stop there. On a whole neither song can be confused with one another and they're both great.

9. "My Sweet Lord" - George Harrison / "He's So Fine" - Ronnie Mack

Why hadn't he known? George Harrison admittedly asked himself that question when Bright Tunes the company that owned the rights to the late Ronnie Mack's song, filed a lawsuit based on the glaring similarities in Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" and Mack's "He's So Fine" which he wrote for The Chiffons and has been covered numerous times since. The case gained notoriety unheard of at the time, likely because of Harrison's fame with the Beatles, the song's success and the continuing manipulating of Harrison's former agent Allen Klein. Harrison was found to have "subconsiously copied" "He's So Fine" and owed the majority of the royalties to Bright Tunes. The case has since changed the way such infringement cases play out in the music industry. Instead of a lengthy court case that can be costly and hurt the credibility of the artists involved, many are dealt with quickly (as seen above) and moved on from.

10. "Ghostbusters" - Ray Parker Jr. / "I Want A New Drug" - Huey Lewis & The News

Huey Lewis was quick to sue Ray Parker Jr. when he felt the new theme song to the Ghostbusters movie copied the bass line and guitar riffs of his song "I Want A New Drug" which came out earlier in the year. They settled out of court and had an agreement to never publicly discuss the matter again. Whether it was part of the agreement or not Lewis' song "Power Of Love" was used in the blockbuster movie Back To The Future the next year and had a cameo as well.. Parker Jr got a form of revenge in 2001 when Lewis spoke about the lawsuit to VH1's behind the music. Parker Jr. sued Lewis for breaching a contract.

Thanks again all for reading!


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

10 Great Songs By Unique Artists

Hey! It's been a while since i've brought a list of songs to you fine readers. I've been having some writer's block issues lately which I won't get into to. Listening to some music last night I was thinking about some artists that you can't easily define and aren't easily compared to one another. So that's where i'll go with this list, and i'm going to feature artists that made it to the mainstream...one way or another. 10 Great Songs By Unique Artists.

1. Bjork - "Human Behaviour"

One needn't look much farther than Bjork for a truly unique artist. Hailing from Iceland, which is a Hot Spring of quality musical acts to begin with. True music fans need to check out their annual music festival, held in the nation's capital Reykjavik. Bjork is perhaps their biggest musical export and has been defying traditional labels since her debut Debut in 1993. Techno-infused rhythms with soulful almost mournful vocals make Bjork stand out on tracks like "Hyperballad", "Crystaline" and "Human Behaviour". Cool video too!

2. Primus - "Southbound Pachyderm"

Speaking of cool videos, San Fran's Primus were once known for their colourful and unique videos as well as being a musical chameleon of sorts. From the outside they stand out immediately, a trio with a slap bass player on lead vocals is odd enough, but their tunes go from the comical ("Wynona's Big Brown Beaver"), to the alt-rock arena ("John The Fisheman") to this song, kind of a ballady, adventure tune about elephants.

3. Brand New - "Degausser"

Brand New started out their existence as kind of a pop-punk group out of Long Island, NY. Their second album saw a stylistic change of sorts and saw the band take a non-conformist's look at modern rock. Their 2008 album The Devil & God Are Raging Inside Me however, is a masterpiece yet to be matched by the band. It comes at you from all angles and effortlessly finds a home in your head. Drawing inspiration from multiple sources the sound can only be described as Brand New.

4. Rage Against The Machine - "Revolver"

This is more than rap-metal....in fact i'm not even sure Rage Against The Machine can be defined as rap-metal. There is no true term to describe what this group recorded over their 9 mere years together and no band has been able to duplicate it since. The pieces fell into perfect place when the band formed in 1991 and made an immediate impact. A sound that caught a generation off guard and i'm not sure we're really sure what it was that we heard. We did know that it was glorious though. Now there have been a few bands since in the same vein as RATM, but it doesn't come close and at the time Rage stood alone.

5. Jamiroquai - "Canned Heat"

You can call it funk, or jazz. Soul would work too I guess. Pop? maybe. Dance music? Definitely. UK's Jamiroquai (which is not the singer's name...that's Jay Kay) has transcended a genre or labels. They let whatever comes to their musical minds, come out their musical mouths. Enough said. Plenty of great songs to pick from: "King For A Day", "White Knuckle Ride", and "Runaway" just to name a few.

6. Sublime - "Same In The End"

On the surface Sublime appear to be an easy band to identify. Look closer though and you'll see they not only incorporate reggae into their music, but also hip-hop. R&B. They veer close to punk without becoming Ska and the lyrics are almost a religious experience, a study of the human condition. A Revelation. Name another band that sounded like Sublime, not easy is it? Now there are a handful of bands that have picked up where the California trio left off.

7. Ween - "Voodoo Lady"

I could play you 4 different songs right now and unless I told you (which I kinda just did), you'd have no idea that they were by the same band. Check out "Push Th' Little Daisies", "It's Gonna Be A Long Night", "Roses Are Free" and this one "Voodoo Lady" It's all Ween baby!

8. Guster - "One Man Wrecking Machine"

Guster might not be totally mainstream yet, and I wasn't going to include them until I thought about when I drove down to Southern NY to see them live. Crossing the boarder we were asked our business in the States and when we told them we were seeing a Guster concert, we were totally stumped when the border guard asked us what kind of band they were. And then again when they asked what band they were similar to. It's tough to pigeon toe a band with multi-instrumentalists and 4 established vocalists.

9. Cake - "Sheep Go To Heaven"

Cake came out of nowhere...forgot about them didn't ya? They kind of snuck in line when the rest of us were watching that Smashing Pumpkins concert. We didn't even notice this band being played on rock radio feature a brass section and had a practically monotone lead singer. They own it though and haven't shown any sign of slowing down.

10. Beck - "Girl"

Just a little left of center, there stands Beck. With his quirky videos, enigmatic and at times downright random lyrics, and a sound that is so infectious you almost forgive that it defies definition. A forgiveable sin after all the great music Beck has provided us over a staggering twelve (!) studio albums. You never know what you're gonna get with Beck and thats fine by me.

Thanks again

Hey! Give me some suggestions would ya???


Monday, 28 October 2013

10 Great Songs By Masked/Costumed Bands

YES! Halloween is a mere few days away, so in spirit of the occasion and a continuation of yesterday's list i'm about to hit you with 10 songs by bands that act like it's Halloween 365 days a year. Here they are 10 great songs by masked/costumed bands or artists.

1. Slipknot - "Psychosocial"

On a list like this there is really only one place to start: Iowa's Slipknot. I feel many people fail to give Slipknot a chance simply because they choose to wear masks in their videos and when they perform, which is a shame because of the vast number of great songs they have. Their masks have evolved from album to album and have become more sophisticated. Why the masks? There are many answers, but honestly it's fucking cool, so don't worry about it.

2. Mushroomhead - "43"

When a band gets as big as Slipknot there are always other bands that fans and critics mention to draw comparisons to, but in Mushroomhead's case the similarities start at the appearances. Though they got their start in 1993 Mushroomhead really didn't find a mainstream audience until people started to notice the masks worn by Slipknot resemble those donned by Mushroomhead (who initially had the idea to differentiate members from the other bands they were apart of). I'm not hear to start any band-wars and regardless if the idea was ripped off (which I doubt) both bands kick ass and have carved out their own corners of the metal world.

3. Ghost BC - "Monstrance Clock"

Easy now, that says CLOCK. Ghost BC (known as Ghost outside of North America) are relatively new on the scene and have been getting attention at festivals like Coachella and recently Rock in Rio with Alice In Chains and Metallica. The most notable thing about the Swedish group is their members (known only as Nameless Ghouls) wear dark robes and hoods while performing and the vocalist, Papa Emeritus paints his face like a skull and wears the robes of a bishop. The true identity of Ghost BC's musicians has yet to be revealed, if it ever will be.

4. Mudvayne - "Dig"

Why is it only heavier bands seem to do the "lets wear crazy shit when we go on stage" routine? I guess it's not only them, but for the most part. When Mudvayne hit the scene they quickly became known not only for their raw and relentless metal sound, but the different costumes they'd wear while on stage. Fans would be left guessing until the curtain rose. Would it be the alien costumes? The satanic rabbits? When they won the MTV Award for best Hard Rock performance in 2001 they accepted the award in pristine white suits and each member had an oozing bullet hole through their foreheads.

5. Mr. Bungle - "Squeeze Me Macaroni"

Mr. Bungle were a band that never saw much commercial success, though i'm sure they could all be arsed about that. Getting their start in the mid 80's Mr. Bungle were know for their experimental style of music, often combing different sorts of instruments into a single song to achieve the desired effect. Like kazoos, banjos and death-metal drums. They were also known to wear jumpsuits and masks on stage. Or just full blown Halloween costumes. Singer Mike Patton would also go on to take lead vocal duties for Faith No More.

6. Buckethead - "Jordan"

If there's only one thing Buckethead wants to do for the rest of his life it's release albums. To date he's release 62 records. The guy loves playing guitar, and by damn can he ever play it. Though he typically remains a solo artist or studio musician he did agree to become part of Guns n' Roses during the pre-Chinese Democracy days. Some say he stood out like a sore thumb because of his play style...or maybe because of his desire to wear a plain white mask and a KFC bucket on his head while he performs. Either way, he didn't stay caged in GNR for long was soon back on his bucketheadin' album releasin' ways.

7. Deadmau5 - "Ghosts n' Stuff"

Taking an internet screen name that sounds like "deadmouse" came to Joel Zimmerman after he found just that in his home computer when he attempted to clean out the tower. It's a name he continues to use to this day as one of  Canada's most well known and acclaimed House Music producer and performer. Oh and he just happens to wear a giant mouse-like head at his live events.

8. Sleep Party People - "I'm Not Human At All"

I forget where I heard of these guys, but I remember the video distinctly. Everytime I try to describe it always boils down to "The one with those guys in bunny masks". Great song, but i couldn't find much info on the group.

9. Alice Cooper - "Wicked Young Man"

If you don't know Alice Cooper he sort of began the whole Shock Rock musical style in the 70's and 80's. Though his act was not totally original (see Arthur Brown) his was the one that media ate up. Cooper (born Vincent Furnier) claims the soul of a long dead witch named Alice lives inside him and makes him do these horrible acts. Acts that make it on to his stage show (which he thankfully is still putting on to this day). Decapitations and skewerings are common occurrences at an Alice concert. Some acts have gotten him into hot water however, like tossing a live chicken into a rabid crowd...the poor fowl was torn to pieces within seconds.

10. GWAR - "Let Them Slay"

It\s kind of unfair to include Gwar on this list. They aren't humans in costumes. In fact they aren't humans at all. They came from the planet Scummdogia and arrived on our planet when their ship crashed into the Antarctic. There they remained frozen for centuries before a sleazy producer unthawed them and saw their amazing musical prowess. The rest is basically factual history. Other amazing Gwar songs? "Saddam-a-go-go", "Immortal Corrupter" and "Bile Driver". Check them all out though. Do it.

What are you guys dressing up as?

Again Happy Halloween!

JZ - @jonnyzhivago

Sunday, 27 October 2013

10 Great songs for this Halloween

Maybe you've already had your Halloween party, but it's not the end of October yet. There is still plenty of opportunity to let the creepy music ring through the house or workplace. And just in case you're sick of "The Monster Mash" here\s 10 songs that will fit in nicely to any Halloween playlist.

1. Misfits - "Scream!"

Really any song by the Misfits would work on a Halloween playlist. With titles like "Pumpkin Head", "Astro Zombies" and even "Halloween" picking from their catalog is a non-brainer (heh heh). "Scream!" was intended to be used on the soundtrack for the movie of the same name, but the director foolishly decided not to use it. The video was directed by zombie flick legend George A. Romero. Have a peek.

2. Horrorpops - "Walk Like A Zombie"

Though it might not be a particularly frightening tune "Walk Like A Zombie" definitely has the elements and themes that rise from the earth around Halloween. The HorrorPops come from Denmark and have found a modest amount of fame in the recent years. Given the popularity of zombies all year round, this one should fit right in.

3. Cradle Of Filth - "Her Ghost In The Fog"

From horror-punk to goth-metal. This one isn't as much about scary, creepy ghosts as it is about avenging lost loves and helping restless souls find eternal peace. The lyrics paint a lovely picture and weave a fantastic tale, all told on the backdrop of dark misty forests and burned down churches.

4. Type O Negative - "Wolf Moon"

Type O Negative is known for their unique blend of doom and goth metal set beside traditional rock and roll melodies. Like the Misfits, most songs in their library could be used to flesh out a Halloween mix. Since we already have zombies and ghosts, here is "Wolf Moon".

5. The Damning Well - "Awakening"

On the surface "Awakening" sounds like a typical (if not excellent) nu-metal track, but listen closely and you'll realize the song is sung from the eyes of a vampire. A little more digging reveals that this song was featured on the Underworld soundtrack. The Damning Well is actually a supergroup comprised of members from Limp Bizkit, Nine Inch Nails, Filter and Devo.

6. King Gordy - "Lucifer's Apology"

King Gordy is an american horrorcore rapper who is known to collaborate with fellow Detroit rapper Bizarre. "Lucifer's Apology" is a slow brooding tale of a relationship long since dissolved. While it's told through the eyes of Satan yearning to make amends with God, it can also be used as an analogy for many terrestrial relationships as well.

7. The Cure - "Lullaby"

Though a lullaby isn't what jumps to mind when one thinks about being scared, The Cure's Robert Smith has crafted a song about being lulled to sleep only to fall into a nightmare. He based the description of the nightmare on an actual one that had affected him as a child: being eaten alive by a giant spider. If thats not a terrifying thought I don't know what is.

8.  Siouxsie & The Banshees - "Scarecrow"

Legendary horrorpunk group Siouxsie & The Banshees crafts another creepy song. This one seemingly about talking to a Scarecrow in the middle of the night as if it was a real person. And perhaps that Scarecrow convinces Siouxsie to do something unspeakable. Great spooky song.

9. Dave Matthews Band - "Halloween"

Perhaps one of DMB's rarest songs to be performed live "Halloween" has become something of a legend among fans. The only song on Before These Crowded Streets to not have it's lyrics printed on the inside booklet and when it is performed live it's never sung the same way twice. Draw your own conclusions to this one, but it's one of the only songs i've ever had someone tell me that it scared them. Dave kind of wears a Tom Waits mask in this one too. Neat.

10. Arthur Brown - "Fire"

To end off this list i'll give a preview of my next Halloween list which will be released this week. Before Lady Gaga, before Marilyn Manson and even Alice Cooper there was The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Yes he is wearing a hat that is on fire. Happy Halloween everyone!

Thanks everyone for reading!

Come back soon for my next Halloween list!


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

10 Songs With Titles That People Often Get Wrong

Not everybody remembers song titles and lyrics like it's the driving route to their place of work. Often times when describing a song they heard people go by the most sung lyric, and even then it's not rare for some to get those wrong too. Here's a list of songs that have been plagued since their release by being called by the wrong name.

1. "Baba O'Riley" - The Who

This is the granddaddy of them all. Even people who pass themselves off as Who fans still call this one "Teenage Wasteland". The lyric respsonsible for this doesn't even appear until around the 2:20 mark, though it does appear frequently throughout the rest of the song. "Baba O'Riley" is actually a combination of 2 early demos by Pete Townsend. The name came from his spiritual adviser Meher Baba and experimental, minimalist composer Terry Riley, who Pete admired.

2. "The Rockafeller Skank" - Fatboy Slim

This song was part of the late 90's revival of electronic and techno music. Maybe it was because audiences at the time weren't used to hearing such amplified, catchy albeit repetitive music that they often mislabeled this one "Funk Soul Brother". Those are the only lines in the song and they are repeated quite often. I guess  audiences at the time weren't used to hearing such amplified, catchy albeit repetitive music.

3. "Sliver" - Nirvana

Speaking of repetitive, Nirvana's "Sliver" is perhaps the most repetitious song in their whole catalog. Not sure if it's typos or inattention to detail that gets this one penned as "Silver" instead of "Sliver", but it is indeed "Sliver". Fun fact: the Nirvana clone band Silverchair named themselves after this song and combined it with You Am I's "Berlin Chair" only to have the same phenomenon occur and it was misread as "Silver" instead of "Sliver". Great song from a great band though.

4. "D'Yer Maker" - Led Zeppelin

There were a few Zeppelin tunes I could have included here, but I had to write about this one. First off i'm sure many audiences don't even know which Zeppelin song this is...they could hear it on the radio and never know the name of the song. It gets often mispronounced as "Dear Maker" or "Dye Er Maker". The reggae influence in the song should be a hint, the proper pronounciation should sound like "Jamaica". It's a pun people! Bad example: "Hey Polly is on an island holiday!", "Jamaica?", "No it was her choice". ZZZiiiinnng!!

5. "Closer" - Nine Inch Nails

I guess the general population isn't overly addicted to song names and artists when it comes to what they like listening to. When a song gets super popular and even transcends genre and jumps into a world that isn't familiar with the rest of the artists' work it just becomes another song. Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" became one of those songs. Instantly popular among youths in the 90's who were interested in pissing off their parents, NIN fans or not, mainly because of it's most memorable line....the line that gets substituted for it's title even to this day "I Wanna Fuck You Like An Animal"

6. "Vincent" - Don McLean

Known mainly for his song "American Pie" Don McLean might be enjoying a little more success today if people were calling his other famous song (and searching for it online) by it's correct name. "Vincent" gets wrongly called "Starry Starry Night" because, I guess, those are the first lyrics in the song. Nevermind that it's a name of a famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh whom the song is about.  See! Even on Youtube it has "Starry Starry Night" in parenthesis. That wasn't there on the album sleeve.  I had American Pie on cassette tape in my younger days. It's awesome. Both sides. I recommend it.

7. "Rainy Day Women #12 & #35" - Bob Dylan

What was Bob on about with that title? This song became an anthem for an entire generation and became known by it's most prominent line "Everybody Must Get Stoned". Though Dylan himself has stated it has nothing to do with drugs and claims he will "never write a drug song". The official story of how the song got it's name was two women came into the recording studio to get out of the rain and Bob correctly guessed their ages at 12 and 35. You can believe what you want and just for squeaks and gigs go ahead and multiply 12 by 35.

8. "Bodies" - Drowning Pool

This one might night seem like a huge reach or an unforgivable sin, but to a music stickler like myself there is a difference between calling a song "Bodies" and calling it "Let The Bodies Hit The Floor". That difference? One is the song's title, the other is not.

9. "Bonzo Goes To Bitgurg" - The Ramones

This song is the only one on the list to actually change it's title the often mislabeled one. It was written about Ronald Reagan's trip to Bitburg, Germany. You see Reagan was once an actor and starred opposite a chimpanzee in a movie called Bedtime For Bonzo. Depending on which version of the story you hear the band changed the song's name or simply added the extra title "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down" because Johnny Ramone actually supported Reagan and wanted it changed or simply audiences were calling it that anyway because of the song's refrain.

10. "Fightstarter Karaoke" - The Dropkick Murphys

I'm even guilty of this one. For the longest time I thought this song was called "Riot Tonight". I guess it's one of the many downfalls of the digital music era. Not owning the album, holding it in your hand. You get second hand music everyday, and unless you know better, many of the songs you download are either given the wrong title or credited to the wrong artist. Honestly, how many of you have "Walking In Memphis" by Bruce Springsteen in your collection? How about "She Sells Sanctuary" by The Cure? It's a trend that happens constantly and sadly, in the foreseeable future I can only feel it will get worse.

Thanks again all!

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