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by John Hardberger
Today on the MP3 Shuffle, we toast David Russell Gordon “Dave” Davies, singer and guitarist of the Kinks, who today turns 69. Dave and his brother Ray were the Kink’s most consistent member, sticking together through a variety of lineup and sound changes from the band’s formation in 1964 to its 1996 split-up. Davies was a guitar pioneer in the instrument’s earliest pop music days: he engineered the guitar tone for the band’s breakthrough single “You Really Got Me” by slashing the cone of his Elpico amplifier with a razor blade. This was one of the first distorted guitar riffs to appear in the burgeoning genre of rock and roll, and it inspired many of the earliest attempts at Heavy Metal and Punk. Though mostly known for his guitar chops (brother Ray was the lead singer and de facto frontman), Dave penned some of the Kink’s most memorable and introspective songs, like “Strangers,” from 1970 classic Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One.
To wish Dave well, let’s play the shuffle. Grab your MP3 or electronic device of your choice, press the shuffle button, and share the first 10 songs that play (in the comments below):
1. Ty Segall – Love Fuzz (Twins): Not to be confused with Fuzz—one of Segall’s many side projects—this cut represents a tiny sliver of Segall’s output for 2012. Twins was the third album he put out that year between his various bands. He is nothing if not prolific.
2. St. Vincent – Rattlesnake (STV): This song’s lyrics tell a true story of Annie Clark’s attempt to “commune with nature” on a West Texas Ranch. She talks about it in detail with Bob Boilen of All Songs Considered.
3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Though Ballune (Self Titled): When UMO (at the time, just Ruban Nielson recording ever instrument in his basement studio) released “Ffunny Ffriends” on an anonymous Bandcamp page in 2010, the “Unknown” was supposed to be a little tongue-in-cheek. This track remains a favorite from his debut full-length.
4. The Semi Colon – Nekwaha Semi Colon (Nigeria Special): I forget how exactly I came into possession of Nigeria Special but it’s a great gateway album into Nigeria’s rock and blues scene—over which the shadow of Fela Kuti looms large.
5. The Rolling Stones – I Just Want to See His Face (Exile on Main Street): This song, like many on Exile, is a result of Mick Jagger’s boredom with rock and roll, which sent the band down a rabbit hole of American roots music.
6. The Smiths – Nowhere Fast (Meat is Murder): When it dropped in 1985, Meat is Murder was seen as a big statement album for the Smiths. Given Morrissey’s subsequent oeuvre (and cheeky tracks like this one) it doesn’t pack as much political punch.
7. Coma Cinema – Only (Stoned Alone): The title of this album works as both a summation of “Only”’s themes (isolation, getting high) and as an alternative title for the band itself.
8. Frankie Cosmos – My Honeys Good Looks (Wobbling): Long before releasing her major label debut (2014’s Zentropy) Frankie Cosmos aka Greta Kline release more than a dozen albums of fuzzy, sincere bedroom demos on Bandcamp. This song comes from one of them.
9. Toro y Moi – Touch (Anything in Return): Anything in Return marked a big a leap forward for Chazwick Bradley Bundick: a little more poppy and accessible while staying true to his “Chillwave” electronica roots.
10. Portishead – Glory Box (Dummy): Remember trip-hop? A few minutes with Portishead should jog your memory. This 1994 classic played a big role in defining the sound of the genre.
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