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Entries categorized as “Friday MP3 Shuffle” 276 results

Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — 51 Years of Smurfs Edition

What’s the iPod/MP3 Shuffle? It’s just a way to get people to share music and foster some discussion. I started doing this on my Facebook page a while back and it’s been great seeing friends exchange comments on each others lists. Every Friday, I get out my 120 GB iPod (which has about 24,000 songs now), hit shuffle and write about the first 10 songs that come up. Sometimes the 10 songs are kind of conventional, sometimes there’s a lot of obscure stuff. So check mine out and please add your own shuffle or discuss other people’s shuffles!

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It was 51 years ago that the French devised an evil plan to get Americans to spend money on a cutesy cartoon. Yes, the Smurfs made their first appearance in a comic book. On another note, it was eight years ago that Apple introduced the iPod. So there are two good reasons for you to get your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first 10 tunes that come up with everybody in Internetland:

  1. The Dentists — My Heart Is Like a Town You Moved Away From (Deep Six): The Dentists were an ’80s British indie pop band who almost everyone says got worse when they signed to a major. This basically translates as:* the music became a bit more slick and professional, as the songs were always catchy. I have had very little exposure to the band’s early stuff, so I only have to go on their two U.S. major label albums, and they contain lots of well crafted, jangly pop songs with clever lyrics, as indicated by the title of this song. It’s not all melancholy jangle, there’s a nice crunchy guitar instrumental break.
  2. The Virgin-Whore Complex — Succumb (Succumb): This is the type of band that would weave in excerpts of the Zodiac Killer’s letters into a song. In fact, they actually did this on a different song on this album. The basic approach is arch pop songs with decadent or macabre song writing. This song has a strummed mandolin (or is it a ukelele?) with mysterious keyboard sounds in the background, while the singer sketches out some bizarre scenarios that one should just give in to.
  3. The Ramones — Danny Says (End Of The Century): For some, this Phil Spector produced album is when the Ramones jumped the shark. While this album doesn’t rank up with the band’s first four classics, this was an album that the Ramones had to make. The band’s whole identity was based on taking classic ’60s pop-rock forms and playing them in speedy rocked up fashion. Why not try to just make real ’60s styled pop with one of the masters? The songwriting wasn’t consistent, but there were some songs that were truly Spector-worthy, and this charmer would have sounded great with Ronnie Spector or Darlene Love doing the lead vocal. Not that Joey doesn’t sound swell on this.
  4. David Garza — This Euphoria (This Euphoria): Garza is a Texas rocker who developed a big regional following. On his major label debut, he mixed big pop hooks with flights of fancy. On this song, he breaks out the falsetto on a psychedelic-pop number that shows that all of his years of making homemade recordings had made him quite the producer. The layers of guitars and keyboards and the use of various reverb and panning effects is very impressive. He was probably one big break away from becoming a star.
  5. The Undertones — Family Entertainment (The Undertones): The sugar coated spunky, punky pop of The Undertones has rarely been replicated. They fell somewhere between Ramones and Buzzcocks, probably leaning a bit more towards the latter, with so many of their songs driven by catchy lead guitar parts. And there’s also the unique and endearing lead vocals of Feargel Sharkey and, on this track, the great sing along chorus and the synchopated Gary Glitter style drum beats.
  6. Johnny Cash — Ring Of Fire (The Legend): Listening to this on headphones is a trip. The mariachi horns, backing vocals and Johnny’s plucked guitar are on the left channel, while his vocal is on both sides, and the drums, bass and the other guitar part are on the right. Oh, and there’s a piano on the right side too.
  7. The Living End — Roll On (Roll On): This Aussie punk band comes off like a cross between the early Clash and Green Day. Their gimmick is that their bass player plays a stand up bass, and sometimes they throw in a bit of rockabilly. But for the most part, this is full of big fat melodic guitar riffs, non-specific “political” lyrics, and choruses that usually involve a bit of group shouting. This is pretty rousing.
  8. Simon & Garfunkel — Kathy’s Song (Old Friends): For whatever reason, Simon & Garfunkel doesn’t seem to get bandied about as a hip ’60s influence, as opposed to let’s say The Kinks or The Zombies. But Paul Simon wrote so many great songs. He had the ’50s rock and pop background, but was also attuned to the ’60s folk scene. He was at the forefront of the blending of folk and pop (along with The Byrds, Donovan, The Beatles and others) and wrote some of the best lyrics of the era. This is pretty much a straight folk tune, with Art Garfunkel apparently taking a bathroom break.
  9. The Morells — Don’t Let Your Baby Buy a Car (The Morells): From the first come back album from this classic Springfield, Missouri roadhouse band. The Morells were on par with NRBQ, playing rock ‘n’ roll, country, R & B, power pop, and anything else that’s rootsy. This is a jaunty mid-tempo honky tonk number with Uncle Lou Whitney telling a cautionary tale (“cause there she goes/and there you are.”).
  10. Yo La Tengo — Sometimes I Don’t Get You (I Am Not Afraid Of You and I Will Beat Your Ass): This 2006 YLT release is bookended by droning Velvet Underground inspired numbers and in between, the band indulges in a variety of different styles. This is a tender ballad with Ira Kaplan breaking out his falsetto. The song definitely has a bit of a soul vibe, though it’s more twee soul than deep soul.

Share October 23, 2009 http://chrp.at/10RJ Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, lists

Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — Happy Birthday Nico Edition

What’s the iPod/MP3 Shuffle? It’s just a way to get people to share music and foster some discussion. I started doing this on my Facebook page a while back and it’s been great seeing friends exchange comments on each others lists. Every Friday, I get out my 120 GB iPod (which has about 24,000 songs now), hit shuffle and write about the first 10 songs that come up. Sometimes the 10 songs are kind of conventional, sometimes there’s a lot of obscure stuff. So check mine out and please add your own shuffle or discuss other people’s shuffles!

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Everybody knows that she was a femme fatale — the late, great Nico, whose model-tastic looks and chilly vocals added a sophisticated yet decadent dimension to the early work of the Velvet Underground. In her honor, let’s celebrate by grabbing your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hitting shuffle and sharing the first 10 tunes that come up (no cheating!) with everyone!

  1. Madness — The Sun and the Rain (Ultimate Collection): This is majestic, ’60s Beatles/Kinks/Move inspired Brit-pop balladry at its best.  This came out in America on the Keep Moving album, but I don’t think it was included on the British version.  This is keyed by the piano and is augmented by horns and strings, propelling this song into lush pop heaven.  There isn’t a moment on this song that isn’t melodically appealing and it ranks up there with the best of this brilliant band.
  2. Stevie Wonder — Girl Blue (Music Of My Mind): I’m still in catch up mode on Stevie’s amazing run of ’70s albums.  This song combines a pretty melody that has been stretched out, and has a bit of a psychedelic vibe to it.  Not only is Stevie’s vocal a bit distorted, but he sings over spare ornamentation with lots of creative drumming used to fill in the ample sonic space.  He could have tightened this up into a happy pop song, but instead decided to go for something more textured.
  3. The Model Rockets — The Dress Up Girls (Tell The Kids The Cops Are Here): This Seattle band plays fun jangly pop rock with whimsical lyrics.  This music touches on pub rock, power pop and some of the ’60s British Invasion.  Nothing earth shattering, but it raises a smile.
  4. The Jam — Private Hell (Direction, Reaction, Creation): They started out as a punked up Mod band, and really progressed so much.  This song, originally on Setting Sons, matches classic Townshend/Davies quality pop craft with a doomy, post-punkish approach in the verses.  Rick Buckler lays down a steady beat, Paul Weller plays atmospheric guitar chords, and Bruce Foxton is a bass fiend on this song, providing clever melodic and rhythmic accents.  This is a song The Stone Roses had to have listened to a lot.
  5. The Pointed Sticks — Somebody’s Mom (Waiting For The Real Thing): This late-‘70s Vancouver punk-pop band comes with the endorsement of Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover Magazine.  They offer a different approach than either Buzzcocks or The Undertones, while having similar virtues.  This song is angular and kind of new wavey.  And, compared to a lot of their material, it is in the vein of Buzzcocks and Wire, with the clipped guitar line.
  6. Robyn Hitchcock — The Devil’s Radio (Moss Elixir): Robyn is becoming a shuffle regular.  This is off my favorite of his solo records.  This album isn’t as stripped down as the previous Eye, but it had Robyn going back to the basics, stripping some of the gloss that was on the last couple of albums he did with The Egyptians.  This is simply a very inviting folkie tune, with just the right amount ornamentation to supplement Robyn’s voice and guitar.
  7. Harry Nilsson — Cuddly Toy (Legendary Harry Nilsson): This frothy pop concoction was first recorded by The Monkees, a bouncy ditty that was tailor made for the voice of Davy Jones.  Nilsson’s version isn’t nearly as produced, but the strength of the song is apparent.  The fact that this song is dissing a groupie for having sex with a whole lot of guys is masked by the seemingly innocent metaphors used by Nilsson (“You’re not the only choo choo train/who was left out in the rain/the day after Santa came.”) makes it quite disturbing.
  8. Sparks — Academy Award Performance (Number One In Heaven): This 1979 album is most influential album that nobody has ever heard of.   At an artistic and commercial crossroads, Ron and Russell Mael heard Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and immediately sought out the track’s producer, Giorgio Moroder.  The three collaborated on what was an historic electronic dance album.  The combination of sequenced electronics, heavy BPMs and Russell Mael’s soaring falsetto announced the beginning of Hi-NRG dance music and provided inspiration for countless synth-pop duos like Pet Shop Boys and Erasure, and singers like Jimmy Sommerville of Bronski Beat. This pulsating track is about sexual role playing and faking orgasm.  Really.
  9. The Fall — Hey! Student (Middle Class Revolt): This was an old Fall song (1977’s “Hey Fascist”) revived and rewritten a bit for their 1994 Middle Class Revolt album.  This brings back memories of the band’s creaky take on rockabilly, but it’s a little bit faster and a little bit more forceful.  And Mark E. Smith is at the forefront, spitting out the lyrics with his patented sneer.
  10. Ultimate Fakebook — Soaked In Cinnamon (This Will Be Laughing Week): This Kansas band was fun to see live — the singer was a bespectacled geeky looking sort, while the rhythm section looked like the jocks who would have beaten him up freshman year in high school.  This album was released on an indie and got picked up by a major.  I’m sure the thought is that they could tap into the same audience as Weezer.  That’s a facile comparison, but this is a band that is clearly informed by The Replacements and Cheap Trick.  This song has a real strong guitar riff, which combines with a neck snapping stop-start rhythm, with a great melody to boot.

Share October 16, 2009 http://chrp.at/11bG Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, lists

Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — Happy Birthday Jacques Tati Edition

What’s the iPod/MP3 Shuffle? It’s just a way to get people to share music and foster some discussion. I started doing this on my Facebook page a while back and it’s been great seeing friends exchange comments on each others lists. Every Friday, I get out my 120 GB iPod (which has about 24,000 songs now), hit shuffle and write about the first 10 songs that come up. Sometimes the 10 songs are kind of conventional, sometimes there’s a lot of obscure stuff. So check mine out and please add your own shuffle or discuss other people’s shuffles!

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Let’s pay tribute to the intricate comic genius of Frenchman Jacques Tati, the man behind Monsieur Hulot. I’m not sure how Tati would view the iPod, as a man who parodied technology, but I’m sure he would have had a great shuffle. And I’m sure you do too. So please grab your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first 10 tunes that come up. Here’s mine:

  1. Black Sabbath — Junior’s Eyes (Never Say Die): Never Say Die is my favorite Black Sabbath album.  I’m one of 17 people on the planet who share this notion.  Ozzy Osbourne had already nearly left the band, but came back for this finale.  What some see as disjointed and half-hearted sounds to me like the band stretching out a bit.  This is a slower atmospheric number with a big chorus.  Iommi plays some fuzztoned jazz-blues in the verses before riffing more heavily elsewhere. 
  2. The Byrds — I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better (Mr. Tambourine Man):  This is a quintessential jangle rocker, with the 12-string guitar simply glistening.  The harmonies are sweet too.  Not a hit single, but one of The Byrds’ best pop numbers. 
  3. Beulah — Popular Mechanics For Lovers (The Coast Is Never Clear):  This band recorded for the Elephant 6 label, briefly, but wasn’t a retro ’60s psych outfit. Instead, they were one of the better late-‘90s indie pop band, playing music that was bouncy and uplifting, but with normal guy vocals and sort of clever lyrics.  This is a nice song, but not one of the best on this album. 
  4. Orchestral Manouevres In The Dark — Stanlow (Organisation):  OMD had a few American hits with frothy light synth-pop songs.  But the band’s early stuff had so much more texture and depth.   Yes, they had their share of hooky singles, but even those had chilly atmospheres and cool influences, like The Velvet Underground.  This album closer is ominous and pretty, and shows how much the band had grown sonically.  They learned some lessons from Kraftwerk on how to sequence the synths, and then added some touching melodies. 
  5. Petula Clark — Things Go Better With Coke (Things Go Better With Coke):  This is an excellent ’60s Coca-Cola ad, where they manage to meld the renowned Coke jingle with Clark’s biggest hit, “Downtown”.   
  6. The Association — Names, Tags, Numbers & Labels (Just The Right Sound: The Association Anthology):*  Wow, my iPod is on ’60s kick today.  Best known for lightweight fare like “Windy” and “Cherish”, The Association basically only did lightweight fare in that vein.  This is soft pop of the highest order, with buttery melodies, cascading harmonies and big crescendos.  This song also sports a great strings-and-brass arrangement. 
  7. Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 — Hurry For The Sky (Goodnight Oslo): The second Hitchcock album with the Venus 3 is a comfortable affair.  Hitchcock sounds relaxed and the songs are pretty good.  This song is all strumming acoustics and an ebbing and rolling rhythm.  This song is more to the Dylan side of Robyn than the Syd Barrett side.  More than 30 years after The Soft Boys got him started, he can still deliver ace tunes like this one. 
  8. A House — Hay When The Sun Shines (On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round):  From this incredibly underrated Irish band’s debut.  The band’s early music was folky Brit indie pop in the vein of James and Hellfire Sermons.  But A House had extra vigor, extra brio, extra sarcasm.  David Couse wasn’t always on key, but he had a lot to say and said it loud.  This song clatters around until the instrumental break after the second chorus, and from there, it’s like a locomotive running off the tracks. 
  9. Joy Division — Passover (Permanent): A spooky Joy Division song (yes, that describes many of them).  It’s mid-tempo, with the drums driving everything, so that the Bernard Sumner’s guitar and Peter Hook’s bass provide decoration.  Ian Curtis’s voice seems to come out of the depths of the Earth, or his tormented psyche.  These guys were so influential, but no one seems to have topped them.
  10. Donovan — Hurdy Gurdy Man (Love Is Hot, Truth Is Molten): One of Donovan’s better known hits.  For a truly hippy dippy guy, he made some nice forays into psychedelia.  His fey vocals are offset by some pretty stinging guitar and lively drumming. 

Share October 9, 2009 http://chrp.at/110B Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, lists

Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — Happy Birthday Groucho Marx Edition

What’s the iPod/MP3 Shuffle? It’s just a way to get people to share music and foster some discussion. I started doing this on my Facebook page a while back and it’s been great seeing friends exchange comments on each others lists. Every Friday, I get out my 120 GB iPod (which has about 24,000 songs now), hit shuffle and write about the first 10 songs that come up. Sometimes the 10 songs are kind of conventional, sometimes there’s a lot of obscure stuff. So check mine out and please add your own shuffle or discuss other people’s shuffles!

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Good morning! Here in Chicago, the Goodman Theater is reviving The Marx Brothers’ Broadway play Animal Crackers. And today is Groucho Marx’s birthday. Remember, as Groucho once said, “The Lord Alps those who Alps themselves.” — so Alp yourself and everyone else by grabbing your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hitting shuffle and sharing the first 10 tunes that come up with everyone else.

  1. Jerry Lee Lewis — What’d I Say? (18 Original Sun Greatest Hits): This is The Killer’s take on the song made famous by Ray Charles. This is surprisingly subdued, as if even Jerry knew that his version couldn’t hold a candle to The Genius’s version. There’s a good ad lib here or there, but it’s merely alright.
  2. King Crimson — Walking On Air (Thrak): I really need to explore King Crimson. All I have is a couple latter day albums that I got as promos. While on Virgin Records, the band had a double trio format (a pair of guitarists, bassists and drummers) which was interesting but not as interesting as the three ’80s albums the band did for Warners or its seminal ’70s work. Regardless, Crimson was less overblown than most prog-rockers and that was especially true on any of the albums Adrian Belew appeared on, as he always made sure there were a few songs to balance Robert Fripp’s theoretical constructions. This is one of those songs, which falls somewhere between The Beatles and Talking Heads. Pretty.
  3. Sweet — Little Willy (Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be): This is a bonus track on the first full length album by Sweet. The first record I ever bought was “Ballroom Blitz” and ever since then, I’ve always been a fan. The band’s early records were massive bubblegum hits written by Mike Chapman (with the financial assistance of Nicky Chinn, who got co-credit). This was the band’s first U.S. Top 40 hit and it still gets played on oldies radio today. It’s like The Archies on steroids. Soon after this, Chapman began to pen harder rockers that fit in with the glam rock craze sweeping the nation that were more in line with the songs the band was writing. That’s when Sweet went from fun to pretty darned great.
  4. To My Boy — The Grid (Messages): I got his album based on the sticker affixed to it by a Reckless Records employee. To My Boy is a throwback to ’80s Brit synth pop, a la OMD, early Depeche Mode, Erasure, Blancmange and others. If those bands sloshed down a case or two of Red Bull. They mix in some guitars with the hi-NRG synth stuff and every song has at least one killer hook. It’s been a few years since this came out — I should see if they ever followed this up.
  5. Echobelly — Today Tomorrow Sometime Never (Everyone’s Got One): Echobelly was a ’90s Britpop band fronted by Sonya Aurora Madan, an attractive lady of Indian descent who had really long fingers (that’s what I remember from seeing them live). Musically, they were two parts Blondie, one part Suede and one part The Smiths. This was the first cut on the band’s debut album and it holds up very well today. Madan had a lot of personality, the song is really driving, and the playing is quite spirited.
  6. Eleventh Dream Day — Bomb The Mars Hotel (Beet): Of all of the bands that had a chance to really break during the beginning of the alt-rock era, Chicago’s own Eleventh Dream Day was the most influenced by Neil Young. Rick Rizzo and crew added a punkish jolt to classic, vaguely rootsy rock. This was one of the best cuts on the band’s second album (and major label debut). Rizzo shouts over his power jangle playing while Janet Bean drives the music with her drumming. Any song that disses the Grateful Dead is worth hearing.
  7. Slow Jets — Snare Coda (Good Morning, Stars): Another band I discovered through Reckless. The Slow Jets fell somewhere between slightly off-beat college rock bands like Big Dipper and Hypnolovewheel and post-punk acts like Wire. Their songs are short, have odd herky-jerky elements, yet are generally pretty catchy. This is a more atmospheric tune that is quite short, but does the job.
  8. The Swingin’ Neckbreakers — Hail To The Baron (Return Of The Rock): New Jersey’s Neckbreakers are possibly the best garage band of the past 15 years or so good. Unlike a lot of modern garage rockers, they don’t stick with one sound over and over, though there is a consistency to everything they do. Moreover, they get their source material, whether it’s The Sonics, Chuck Berry, The Golliwogs or whoever. This is a tribute to a pro wrestler from bygone days and it is made for singalong to, while rocking out.
  9. The Jam — I’ve Changed My Address (In The City): This is an early Jam side, showing how they took classic mod rock and turbo charged it with punk. Paul Weller was not a consistently great songwriter early on, but this band simply cooked. Weller could carry the load on guitar and the Bruce Foxton (bass) and Rick Buckler (drums) rhythm section is simply killer. They are hard enough to rock, but deft enough to make this danceable.
  10. Tammany Hall Machine — Pedal To The Metal (Amateur Saw): This Austin, TX band made its final album count. The piano plays prominently, but not in a Ben Folds fashion. Instead, the band seems to have soaked in a lot of Kinks records and then mixed in some glam rock and power pop influences. This song also has some killer horns. One of the great lost of albums of this decade.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, lists

Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — Happy Birthday Anson Williams Edition

What’s the iPod/MP3 Shuffle? It’s just a way to get people to share music and foster some discussion. I started doing this on my Facebook page a while back and it’s been great seeing friends exchange comments on each others lists. Every Friday, I get out my 120 GB iPod (which has about 24,000 songs now), hit shuffle and write about the first 10 songs that come up. Sometimes the 10 songs are kind of conventional, sometimes there’s a lot of obscure stuff. So check mine out and please add your own shuffle or discuss other people’s shuffles!

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Let’s give it up for the man who played Potsie on Happy Days, Anson Williams. He may not have been as cool as the Fonz, but he was the lead singer of the band he was in with Richie Cunningham and Ralph Malph. That’s worth something, isn’t it? In Anson’s honor, grab your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first 10 tunes that come up!

  1. Translator — Sleeping Snakes (Heartbeats and Triggers): This ’80s band mixed a wide array of influences — everything from post-punk to jangle rock to even some jamming tendencies. As is often the case, the band’s debut album, which this tune is from, was its high water mark, though they put out some other good stuff. This song is definitely post-punk gone Cali, with a cool choppy guitar part and military style drumming with dollops of melody and ’60s folk-psych style vocals. Great song.
  2. The Plod — Neo City (Velvet Tinmine): Velvet Tinmine is a swell compilation of obscure UK ’70s glam rock. Almost every song is a winner. This sounds like the compilers couldn’t get the master tape and worked off an off-center 45. Unlike a lot of the songs on this comp, The Plod aren’t so indebted to Sweet, Slade or T-Rex, as they are The Raspberries. And what’s with the band name? How about The Sloppy or The Unrehearsed or The Turgid?
  3. The Wondermints — Tracy Hide (Cover Version)(Wonderful World Of The Wondermints): If you want to know how The Wondermints became the core of the band that has backed Beach Boys genius Brian Wilson on his tours, this original off the band’s second album would answer all questions. Written by Darian Sajanaja, the musical director for Wilson, this is simply a gorgeous song in the Beach Boys tradition with that certain melancholy yet sunshiney melody that Wilson patented, a strong lead vocal and a brilliantly inventive backing vocal arrangement. Wonderful.
  4. The Everly Brothers — Poor Jenny (24 Golden Classics): Speaking of harmony vocals, how about Phil and Don? This is a country song that is pepped enough to be classified as an early rock ‘n’ roll song. It’s a great tale about a bad girl having a bad night. Did I mention those harmonies — wow! And lyrics like, “It seems a shame that Jenny had to go get apprehended.”
  5. Guided By Voices — Shocker In Gloomtown (The Grand Hour): GBV was so prolific, great songs could come from anywhere — an album, a 7”, an EP, a bootleg. This was from an EP and the tune was later covered, quite well, by The Breeders. It centers on a repeated guitar riff and the nifty up-and-down rhythm, and like a lot of Guided By Voices tunes, ends a bit too soon. Always leave you wanting more.
  6. New York Dolls — Babylon (Too Much Too Soon): Like a lot music that influenced and pre-dated punk, it’s important to put the Dolls in context. Not that their flashy variation on Stones-y rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t hold up on its own, but if you put this up against the prog rock and Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters and plodding metal bands that were touring the nation, true rockers in drag were revelatory. Of course, having a great guitarist like Johnny Thunders was a help and David Johansen was, and still is, a wonderful singer who does a theatrical take on R & B styling and gets away with it because he gets it, if that makes any sense.
  7. The Long Blondes — Round The Hairpin (“Couples”): The second and, sadly, last Long Blondes album was not as well-received as their debut, as the band delved further into post-punk. This track exemplifies the approach, as it is premised on a droney electronic rhythm track and isn’t nearly as poppy as most of the first album. I think the chilly music is perfect for Kate Jackson’s clenched teeth delivery and the guitar fills add a little heat to the proceedings. I hope Kate is involved in a new project soon, but I’d rather this band get back together.
  8. Bad Religion — I Want Something More (No Control): I find that most hardcore punk has dated pretty badly. This is not the case with Bad Religion, as evidenced by this song off of what may be their very best album. I think it’s because the band managed to play fast but clean. The songs don’t pound so much as they take off and soar. This is helped by Greg Graffin’s powerful vocals that are much more than pointless shouting. He puts his Ph.d to use with lots of big words, which is tough enough to do with a mid-tempo song.
  9. The Fuzztones — As Time’s Gone (Lysergic Emanations): This NYC band was one of the better mid-‘80s garage revivalists. Led by Rudi Protrudi, the ‘tones channeled equal parts of The Seeds and The Sonics, and added a certain haunting vibe to their songs. This song is, at its heart, a hyped up folk-rock number, but add some atmospheric organ and a rhythm that is perfect for driving down a dark highway at night, and it sounds pretty cool.
  10. Scissor Sisters — Comfortably Numb (Scissor Sisters): The Sisters’ swell debut album had been out in the UK for a while when they played their first Chicago gig at Double Door. A pal of mine was working for their U.S. label and I asked him if they’d release this discofied Pink Floyd cover as a single, and he said no. But this is the song that got the biggest reaction from a crowd that was probably 50 to 60 percent gay men. Of course, that might be why they passed on it, but this is a great cover. The guitar part from the original is stripped down, a mid-tempo dance beat is pumped up and the vocals are falsetto a la the Bee Gees. The arrangement is brilliant. It’s club ready yet the best aspects of the melody and hook are intact. Moreover, despite the dance floor aspects the emotional poignancy of the song is not messed with one bit. Awesome.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, lists

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