Song of the day: Appleseed – "Slipstream"

September 30, 2010

I’ve been debating with myself for ages about whether or not I should play you today’s song. (Should I? Shouldn’t I? Should I? Aargh!).

I’ve been wrestling with my conscience because, although it’s a bone fide power pop song and would fit right in on this here blog, I have to confess that there’s only one thing about the track I like: the guitar part at the start of the song and in the choruses.

As for the rest of the song, well…

Generally speaking, I feel slightly awkward bagging a song (after all, they took the trouble to write it and record it, not me), but if questioned under oath I’d be forced to admit that I don’t think much of the vocal melodies, or the singing, or the instrumental arrangements. But that guitar part – oh, man…

So I thought I’d stop wrestling with my conscience and let you decide what you think of the song. You may like it a whole lot more than I did:

Appleseed – “Slipstream” (2004)

Link

(Musically speaking, that kind of guitar part is called a “drone” because the top notes are repeated while the bottom notes change. I’m a complete sucker for drones.)

Appleseed on Facebook
Buy Cause & Effect at CD Baby


Song of the day: Skyhooks – "Living In The 70’s"

September 29, 2010

It’s only just occurred to me (feel free to call me Peter the Obtuse) that it’s been ages (or, as people in the theatre would say: “simply aaaages, darling!”) since I played you something from the 70’s or earlier.

You, on the other hand, have probably been acutely aware of this, and have been waiting patiently for a track from your favourite musical decade. (It is the 70’s, isn’t it?)

Now that I’ve remembered to put an older track on the blog, I’m in the mood dfor something from the 70’s, and something riffy. (I feel like hearing lots of riffs.)

For me, Skyhooks‘ “Living In The 70’s” fits the bill admirably.

Australians reading this will possibly let out a collective groan and say “No, not that again.” Unfortunately, this song is squirm-inducingly familiar to most Australians, as it has been played regularly on Australian radio ever since it was first released way back in 1974. And now, with commercial radio’s obession with nostalgia, it’s played almost daily on any given station. (If you’re Australian and still listen to commercial radio, you probably heard it yesterday.) However, international visitors to this blog (Hello, and welcome!) may never have been anywhere near it, which means they would have missed on hearing a great song.

By the way, despite the lyrics being about the 70’s, I think they’re still highly relevant. I reckon that their sentiments will be familiar to a lot of people (hopefully not you) who occasionally feel disconnected to the world they’re currently in, and find themselves at odds with life in the 21st century:

Skyhooks – “Living In The 70’s (1974)

Link

I feel a little crazy
I feel a little strange
Like I’m in a pay phone
Without any change
I feel a little edgy
I feel a little weird
I feel like a schoolboy
Who’s grown a beard

I’m livin’ in the 70’s
Eatin’ fake food under plastic trees
My face gets dirty just walkin’ around
I need another pill to calm me down

I feel a bit nervous
I feel a bit mad
I feel like a good time that’s never been had
I feel a bit fragile
I feel a bit low
Like I learned the right lines
But I’m on the wrong show

I’m livin’ in the 70’s
I feel like I lost my keys
Got the right day but I got the wrong week
And I get paid for just bein’ a freak

I feel a little insane
I feel a bit dazed
My legs are shrinkin’
And the roof’s been raised
I feel a little mixed up
I feel a little queer
I feel like a barman that can’t drink a beer

Skyhooks official website


Song of the day: Montana – "Wait"

September 28, 2010

Look, I’m sorry about this.

I know that with a music blog it’s generally a good idea to offer the reader/listener a bit of variety, but I’m really diggin’ the music of Montana at the moment. Now, because I tend to play you music that I like listening to – and I’m liking Montana (and listening to it a lot) – I feel compelled to inflict some more Montana on you:

Montana – “Wait” (2006)

Link

Montana official website
Montana on Lojinx
Montana on MySpace


Song of the day: Offcutts – "Break It Down (James Brown)"

September 27, 2010

Yesterday I ventured away from Australia but stayed on the power pop path. Today it’s the reverse: I’m going to stay in Australia but venture ever so gently off the power pop path. Hopefully, there won’t be a revolt. (As in “Peter, what’s that garbage you’re playing now?” Get it off!”) It may not be what you’re hoping to hear (I’m guessing that you’re hoping to hear power pop), but I hope you have a listen to it.

(Many apologies for the ridiculous amount of hope in the above paragraph.)

Anyway, here are Offcutts, a band I know exactly 0.00% about, with a song that is possibly an ode to James Brown (or not – who knows in this post-modern/post-ironic/post-something era we seem to be living in?):

Offcutts – “Break It Down (James Brown)” (2003)

Link

I like the funky groove of the song. And I like the guitar rhythm borrowed from Jimi Hendrix.

By the way, I had to use a photo of James Brown for this post (well, it made sense to me) because I couldn’t find one of Offcutts*.

Offcutts on MySpace

(*I have some advice: if you want to look for a photo of Offcutts, don’t. When I searched for images using the word “offcutts”, the results were primarily of things I’d rather not mention.**)

(**If you really want to know, think of things like hand injuries in great detail. And when I say “great” here, I don’t mean “very good”. Yuk. I don’t ever want to search for “offcutts” ever again.)

Update: My friend Col managed to find a photo of Offcutts. Thanks, Col!

But I have to ask: why is one of the members holding a leaf blower? Are they being post-modern/post-ironic/post-something here? (I just can’t tell with these modern bands.)


Song of the day: Blondie – "I Know But I Don’t Know"

September 26, 2010

If you’ll pardon this little detour away from the Southern Hemisphere, I’d like to play you a track from Blondie‘s Parallel Lines (1978). (No, it’s not “Hanging On The Telephone”.)

When I was a wee lad, I dutifully bought the 7″ single of “Hanging On The Telephone” and played it relentlessly. (What else can you do? It’s “Hanging On The Telephone”.) However, I thought the B-side was just as good (sometimes better), and played that almost as much.

Here’s the B-side of “Hanging On The Telephone“:

Blondie – “I Know But I Don’t Know” (1978)

Link

And it’s still one of my favourite Blondie songs.

Blondie official website


Song of the day: Montana – "Haircut And A Guitar"

September 25, 2010

Here’s a song where the singer is slightly concerned that he occasionally feels like he’s nothing but a…

Montana – “Haircut And A Guitar” (2001)

Link

Despite the singer’s concerns, I like the song. And I like a lot of Montana’s other songs, too. Remind me to play you some more Montana sometime.

Montana official website
Montana on Lojinx
Montana on MySpace


Frank’s Faves on Fridays

September 24, 2010

Update: DivShare’s working again. Yay!

(Advance apology: DivShare is playing up at the moment and won’t let me upload any MP3s. Grrr. I’m afraid that you’ll have to do without MP3s for the moment until I find out what’s going on with DivShare.)

Miriam Makeba – “Pata Pata (1967)

Link

I have no idea what Miriam is singing, but it sounds great. At the 54-second mark, Ms Makeba rather helpfully says: “Pata Pata is the name of a dance we do down Johannesburg way, and everybody starts to move as soon as Pata Pata starts to play. Whoo!”. “Whoo!” indeed. This song got my head bobbing in no time at all. Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm! Mighty good. Then, at 1:55, Miriam says: “Every Friday and Saturday night it’s Pata Pata time. The dance keeps going all night long ’til the morning sun begins to shine. Hey!” That “Hey!” was excellent. I like “Pata Pata” a lot. A very enjoyable way to start this week’s suggestions.

Steve Earle – “Hard-Core Troubadour” (1996)

Link

Up until hearing this particular song, I knew exactly two things about Steve Earle:
1. He was responsible for “Copperhead Road“, song that’s played distressingly often on commercial radio here in Australia. (I’ve now heard “Copperhead Road” more than enough times.)
2. He got into a bit of trouble a few years ago for writing a song told from the point of view of a US-born terrorism suspect (whose name I’ve forgotten).
As for “Hard-Core Troubadour”, I wasn’t much of a fan of Steve’s vocal delivery. Instrumentally, it was pretty much par for the course in this type of song (rock/country, rather than country/rock, something that Steve Earle apparently specialises in – so maybe instead of “hard rock”, I can call Steve Earle’s kind of music “hard country”). I’ve just paid attention to the lyrics, and this song may or may not be about Bruce Springsteen. (Steve nicks* The Boss’s lyrics by singing “Hey, Rosalita, won’t you come out tonight”.) Overall, this sounds very much to me like a Steve Earle song. And you can take that previous sentence as either a compliment or an insult, depending on how you feel about Steve Earle. By the way, the thing I like most about that video is that it features Mr Earle with extremely impressive sideburns.

Raspberries – “Let’s Pretend” (1972)

Link

You could suggest pretty much any Raspberries song and I’d go into paroxysms of hyperbole**. For me, there are two bands above all others who sit, side-by-side, in the Pantheon of Power Pop: Cheap Trick and the Raspberries. As far as I’m concerned, all power pop stems from those two bands. In other words, like the old saying “Everything tastes more or less like chicken”, my brain tells me that power pop sounds more or less like Cheap Trick or the Raspberries. What’s great about “Let’s Pretend”? Well, let me see… I think it’s the melody, the singing (talk about impassioned), the vocal harmonies, the guitar parts, the chord choices, the little bass fills in the choruses, the ultra-relaxed drumming etc etc etc etc etc.

Willie Nile – “Vagabond Moon” (1980)

Link

A nice bit of slightly jangly, slightly country, slightly mild power pop. I liked it more than the Steve Earle song, but I was bothered by Willie’s vocals. I thought they were a little weak. Well, maybe ‘weak’ isn’t the right word. How would you describe it? For me, when Willie sings the words “ni-i-i-i-ght” and “de-l-i-i-i-ght”, he sounds as if he’s out of breath. And Willie’s vocal vibrato is quick but shallow, which I found odd (and a sign of a weak voice). It just sounds as if Willie’s voice isn’t strong enough for the task at hand. Maybe that’s the phrase I can use: Willie’s voice “isn’t very strong”. But apart from that, the song was a pleasant enough way to spend four minutes.

Bonus instrumental:

Commmodores – “Machine Gun” (1974)

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When I saw the title I thought, “Hmm – I wonder if that’s Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Machine Gun’. And if it is, I wonder how the Commodores will play it…”. The track started, and I realised within about 0.92 seconds that it wasn’t going to be Jimi’s “Machine Gun”. However, I was gettin’ down to the Commodores’ “Machine Gun” almost immediately. Groovy! Funky! Enjoyable! I loved the rubbery sound of the bass. (It reminded me a lot of the Moog synthesizer bass that Stevie Wonder occasionally played on his recordings.) I could have done without all those synthesizer spaceship sounds (which I’ll call “Triple S”), but I guess they add to the funky charm of the track. However, the short bursts of the Triple S (at the beginning of every bar for eight bars, starting at 0:56) were the most disconcerting, as they sounded to me like a little kitten miaowing. I still liked “Machine Gun”, though. It puts the ‘fun’ in funky.

Excellent. A wonderfully varied batch this week (as usual).

(*As opposed to Stevie Nicks.)

(**Never mind that the phrase “paroxysms of hyperbole” sounds dreadfully high-brow – I reckon it’d make a great prog-rock album title. I can see it now:
“To Be Released In October 2010: Dreams Of Gondor’s latest album, Paroxysms Of Hyperbole. The new album that takes Dreams Of Gondor into realms of the Progressive elite. A sonic journey to rival Tales From Topographic Oceans and In The Court Of The Crimson King as a Prog voyage for the ages.”)