Well I Wonder ...

All men have secrets and here is mine so let it be known...

Friday, September 30, 2005

Keep yer Fingers Crossed

listening to Inner Flight - Primal Scream

Okay this is the third time I'm writing some of these. The First time I lost everything I was checking the spelling on a name on Allmusic and came back and had lost everything. Last night the whole thing was done and I hit publish and it said error. I found out later that the system went down for maintainance during the very time I tried to publish it. So I'll try my best to make it as good as the last time...

21. Higher Than the Sun - Primal Scream A buddy of mine first mentioned thier name to me around 1990 in the hall at school. He had thier picture in his locker and I asked what they sounded like. He said he didn't know but they looked cool and liked the name. So with a name like Primal Scream I was thinking that they would dovetail nicely with all the neo-goth and 80's alternative that was frequentuing my stereo. To my utter disappointment, a while later I finally started hearing Movin' On Up on the radio, and sadly passed them off as a burnout wannabe band trying to rip off old 70's style Stones tunes - a fair assessment if you've ever heard the song. About a year later I heard Loaded on a Sire compilation cd and although it was more interesting, it still did little to capture my imagination. Well shortly after that I bought another Sire compilation called Just Say Anything and the more I played it the more this song stuck out, even up against good tunes by Ride and My Bloody Valentine. It demanded to be listened to and would not let up. It had this pulsating beat, and trippy electronics, and when the good part kicked in it was like an adrenalin rush hitting you.... or was that E kicking in, and the whole while there was this breathing sound every so often that seemed to pump new life into my body through my ears. It was with this song that I began to get what all the fuss was about Screamadelica. They were the perfect blend of everything. Taking blissed-out dance beats and just enough electronic sounds from the acid house and rave scenes, they fused it seamlessly with the ongoing renaissance of new guitar bands that were sweeping the UK. They took the best of what both had to offer as well as the tuneful psychedelia of legends from eras gone by and boldly invited everyone to Come Together in one praiseworthy package. This was right about the same time I was devouring bands like the Stone Roses and Charlatans and Blur en masse, and Higher Than the Sun pushed those boundaries even further - it marked the beginning of accepting electronic based music again.

22. Toast - Streetband One of the very first songs I fell in love with on the old CFNY was this happy little late 70s tune that kinda sounded like a blend of Enjoy Yerself by the Specials and Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll by Ian Drury and the Blockheads with a touch of Cool For Cats by Squeeze thrown in, except this one is all about Toast! .... just Toast! Although I never did manage to tape it off the radio back then I did nab it off a file sharing site a while back and I've been running out of bread ever since. The song features the band talking about all the different types of bread you can use to make toast and eventually they're actually making toast, and buttering it, and eating it, and theres this kettle whistle and... oh yeah, I like Toast! .... just Toast!

23. Stop - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Begins album #2 like a freight train grinding past the station under the momentum from album #1 and barely lets up till its done. Stop starts out with one of Rob Turner's signature bass rumblings and is soon met up by Pete Hayes' walls of fiery guitars coming crashing down around you like a tonne of sonic bricks, setting the tone for another adrenalized album by the three piece. These songs are even meatier live where Hayes is a master at getting the most noise possible out of his guitar loops. Sadly it must be said that they hold true to thier own song lyrics which state "We don't know when to stop" because they stopped way too soon with the buzzy guitars and ominous bass-lines after album #2 was done and mellowed out with accoustic guitars and harmonicas for album #3. Here's to hoping they start it back up again for the next album.

24. Sunshine Smile - Adorable For years after these guys broke up I would be talking bands with people outside of shows and Adorable came up probably more than any other. I first heard Adorable on the radio a few times when this (thier first single) got a little airplay. I remember thinking it was alright I spose, but there was so much new stuff coming out it kinda got lost in the shuffle for me. A year or two later I managed to tape it off the radio. It was the day that the new U2 album Zooropa was released - CFNY was playing one song from the album every hour so I skipped work and taped music all day. They played so much good stuff that day it ended up filling two cassettes; Siouxsie and the Banshees, Curve, Bjork, Dissarm by Smashing Pumpkins, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the ever elusive McDonalds Girl by Bare Naked Ladies and of course the whole U2 album. Despite so much good music, after a few listens thru, Sunshine Smile was the one song that really surprised me. The more I listened to it the more I kept wanting to play it just for that one song over and over. With a slight Chameleons feel to it, they throw in memorable and delicate guitar lines and borrow the power and boldness of fellow shoegazers such as Catherine Wheel or early era Boo Radleys. The song just hums along with lovely guitarwork till it reaches a lull in which Piotre finally asks "How does it feel to feel" The music slowly builds faster after that rising to an angst-ridden climax and just fades out.

25. Sensoria - Cabaret Voltaire There was no radio show cooler back in the day than Chris Sheppard's Club 102 on Saturday nights. When I recorded that first cassette with the Smiths on it (remember back at #1) I realized later that this was the show that I had taped all that stuff off of. Well, for a brief period for about a year or so they managed to make it a televised simulcast, that was until they realized that Chris Sheppard was so far gone most nights that he was in no condition to be putting on television. At that time Chris was really into anything remotely industrial, so in addition to the usual alternative fare like the Cure and New Order he was playing a lot of Ministry and this kind of stuff. The first time I heard this song he played a double shot of Cabaret Voltaire and I loved all the samples and a very cool synthetic feel to it. It really pissed me off that they cancelled the simulcast...

26. All My Friends Who Play Guitar - Starflyer 59 Everything that I had hoped this album would sound like was not only verified but totally exceeded as soon as i heard it. Starflyer isn't the easiest band to find cd's for and the local Christian bookstore charges obscene prices for anything so I ended up borrowing a burned copy from Jezzy until I could find one at a more reasonable price. I had read that Jason Martin had deliberately sought out 60's style equipment for recording the album, including old style tape loop delays, as well as painstakingly recording and mixing the whole think in mono. The result was a fantastic blend of his usual neo-shoegaze sound with an authentic sounding 60's aesthetic to it. The whole album is a dreamy flowing soundscape from start to finish with echoes of Brian Wilson's Beach Boys masterpiece Pet Sounds scattered throughout it. And seeing as this is probably the best song of the bunch on this brilliant album it gets my vote as his best piece of work period.

27. Teeth - The Prosiacs Brash, intense and full of throbbing energy, New Yorks the Prosiacs represent the future of where my taste is headed. These bad boys don't even have a proper full length album yet, but are poised on the brink of something huge in my opinion. As one writer put it they answer the question of what it would sound like to have a band comprised of three Carlos D's. I've been excitedly awaiting a full album since spring and if it sounds anywhere near thier teaser Ep it will easily be the best album this year.

28. Walkman On - SSQ OK earlier in this list I mentioned that I listened to top 40 type music back before I started listening to 80s alternative; well let me clarify that, it was AM top 40. Sorry to dissapoint you all, beleive me I sense your horror and feel shame. But on with the story. I was on a long trip home about six months ago and was listening to the amazing Ongoing History Of New Music hosted by Alan Cross and he played this synthy retro sounding song on his show about how technology has changed. I totally loved it. I had never heard it before and figured it was just another rare new wave band with cutesy vocals in the vein of Viscious Pink and downloaded it the day after I got home. I grew up loving synth based artists like Howard Jones and Human League and Soft Cell on those AM stations, so this seemed like it was just another band i missed from back then. Well it turns out that SSQ was the anme of an earlier band for none other than Stacey Q - the same Stacy Q responsible for the AM dance-pop hit Two of Hearts (shhh don't tell anyone I secretly have always loved this song too) and made those cameo's on Facts Of Life. Sorry but I can't help liking what I like.

29. Summer - Mogwai For the last eight years or so, The Wedge on Much Music has played an important part in developing my my music tastes. One of my favourite episodes was when Sookyin Lee went to Scotland and hung out with Glasgow's post rock band Mogwai. They just hung around eating deep fried Mars bars and talking about loose bowels and intersplicing that with a great lineup of music videos ranging from classic bands like The Cocteau Twins and Jesus and Mary Chain to modern bands like Belle and Sebastien. Eventually they played Summer by Mogwai and it almost literally blew me away. Basically it just featured the band in a parking lot playing thier instruments, but the camaras were all shot as a reflection of them in this puddle. It was yer typical soft/loud/soft/loud/louder/louder/fade out type piece but done totally right. The cool thing about the video was that during the loud parts the puddle would go all blurry from the impact of the soundwaves creating ripples on the water. It was brilliant - basically they were saying - be warned! - we are very very loud. Any one who has seen them live can attest to this. When we finally saw them, we were at the very front of the legendary Horseshoe Tavern practically sitting on stage. On the final number the guitarist in front of us ran out of juice for one of his pedals so he went backstage to get another battery. Seeing as Mogwai tunes tend to drift for ages they were still going by the time he was ready to play but just as he was getting back into it the others were leaving stage. Well I guess he was a little pissed so he proceeded to turn up every knob on every amp, processor and pedal and created a massive wall of snarling volume and feedback. I turned around for a second and it was so loud that virtually everyone had thier hands over thier ears and a few people were even crouching. I guess we didn't notice just how loud it had gotten- we were wearing earplugs....

30. Let it Flow - Spiritualized To fully understand the Spiritualized experience you have to see them live. I inadvertantly bought tickets when it was originally announced that BRMC was going to be the opener but the latter had VISA issues and weren't allowed into Canada. We decided that we would check out the show anyways and the visual and instrumental assault was totally amazing; everything the fans said was true - you just can't explain it. I could never get into them before but after that I was a true beleiver in the Spiritualized experience. That being said this particular song is the exact opposite. To appreciate this you need a top quality stereo and a copy of Pure Phase and just jack it up. The rush you get in the middle of the song is like no other. It starts with the gentle whoah whoah whoah of female voices, drifts along and slowly fades out till theres just a single guitar buzzing on one note. It just hangs there for a few moments till it explodes with the richness of kettle drums and ecstatic vocals and that sweet whoah whoah whoah. Its the musical equivalent of spiking a vein. It has the buildup to the deed, the wait and then the rush filled with all its sonic bliss and elation. A lot less messy but just as addictive...

OK I'm going to have to do 31 seeing as some idiot put the Smiths in there twice.

31. A Forest w/ Forever - the Cure I wasn't goingto put them in at all, but then I remembered this gem and had to include it. One of the cassettes that sent me headlong into my Cure days haze was a rare cassette called Cocert and Curiosity. Now Curiosity was only on the cassette version and was a series of mostly rare live versions from the Seventeen Seconds and Faith albums. The very last song was so intriguing though because there was no studio version for it and it didn't show up in any of thier lyric collections. It started like a slow dirge and gradually built up to a frenzy of Roberts vocals and and effects laden guitars all held in check by Simons solid bass playing as it built faster and faster and faster until it trails off in a mysterious haze. The songs on the Curiosity side were billed as Anomolies and this was exactly that in every way. Upon listening to it hundreds of times I realized that it had to have followed a live performance of A Forest and when I finally got to seeing them in 93 I secretly hoped they would play it. They didn't, but hey did play the most amazing version of A Forest I have ever heard; lasting over 16 minutes and filled with all kinds of extra goodies. A similar version can be seen on the live video called simply called "Show" which was taped at the next stop on that tour in Detroit. I simply filed this treasured song away along with my cassette collection. As I replaced them with cd's it eventually lay dormant as a pleasant memory of my "Cure days". Last year we saw them at Curiosa. They played it. I didn't even realize it untill well after the show. I thought they were playing Three from thier second album. Even though I was there I feel like I missed it. But you can read about that in the blog I wrote about it last year....

So that's it. Thirty-one stories about thirty-one songs. Thanks to everyone who gave me encouragement whether it was on here or not I really appreciated it. I'll try to put out an unadulterated list without all my jibberish tomorrow. Now let's hope when I press that publish button.....

1 Comments:

At October 2, 2005 at 9:20 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Very good list. I enjoyed reading them all :)

 

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