Here are songs we have been jamming on repeat.
Frank Black, “Thalassocracy”
A barn-burner off of “Teenager of the Year”. It is a minute and a half long song, so when you listen to it you should put it on repeat three or four times and pretend that the beginning of it is just a new verse.
Blondie, “Sunday Girl”
The vocals in this song are great. They all at once exude confidence, sweetness, and boredom. I like the version with the French verse. I think it comes on the “Greatest Hits” record.
The Sex Pistols, “Bodies”
The Sex Pistols were a huge turning point in music discovery for me, as they probably are for many people. I can view them as this sort of divider, though. They had such an impact on me that everything that I had loved before I heard Nevermind the Bollocks (I can think specifically of Nirvana) suddenly held no importance to me. I was 11 or 12 when I bought that tape, and since then have heard all kinds of scream-y, tough-guy pissed-off, heavy shit; John Lydon still sounds genuinely angrier on that recording than any singer in any punk, hardcore or metal band I have heard since.
Metric, “Combat Baby” (Demo)
This was the first song I heard by Metric and the version I fell in love with. The song has a kind of go-go vibe with some really interesting tones – high notes on the bass, a mix of programmed and real drums, and Emily Haines' amazing voice. I'm a sucker for a nice bridge.
Blonde Redhead, “In Particular”
Another first song that I heard from a band, this one was in a skate video and was used in a montage of winter turning to spring, it fit the visuals so well but took on its own space in my brain once I bought the record. Such an amazing pulse throughout the song playing counter to the gorgeous guitar melodies that come in and out. A great and exciting band, their drummer Simone Pace is one of my favorites.
The Turtles, “Elenore”
A lot of people take this song at face value not realizing that Howard Kaylan wrote the lyrics totally sardonically as a response to the Turtles' label just wanting “another Happy Together.” I think this causes people to overlook what's going on underneath; there are great performances from every member of the band here. I really love the Turtles and the fact that they were hip but not pretty boys. It also strikes me that people don't realize how talented a lot of the members of this band was, following their breakup, three of the five guys were recruited to Frank Zappa's band. The vocalists Flo & Eddie would later do backup vocals on T. Rex and John Lennon albums, among many others.
We played with these guys in Japan last year and this song has come into constant rotation with me. Very beautiful song with busy instrumentation that is musical and “serves the song.”
Paul Simon, “Further to Fly” from Rhythm of the Saints
I think Graceland is the hip Paul Simon album to like, which I dig a lot, but for me Rhythm of the Saints is much more satisfying on many musical levels. The record has sort of a jungle/island vibe. I guess they call that “Afro Pop”, but it bums me out saying that. “Further to Fly” reminds me of running through the Swiss Family Robinson tree house at Disneyland. I guess it's the Tarzan tree house now. Actually, that song is pretty cool too.
Henry Cow, “War” from In Praise of Learning
This is a collaborative record between Henry Cow and Slapp Happy, two bizarro avant-whatever bands from the late 60s/early 70s. The balance of melody and weirdness in this song is perfect for my taste. It's usually difficult for me to get past unusual or unique vocal stylings, but I was immediately drawn to these weirdos.
The Bad Plus, “Lost of Love” from Suspicious Activity?This band is rad. Dave King is one of my favorite drummers. They're known for doing really neat jazzy covers of modern songs, but this one is an original. The whole song is based on one long super cool melody. There's tons of weird key changes and other cool stuff happening before it repeats itself. The drum beat is, in theory, one of the simplest patterns in the history of music- kick, snare, kick snare, etc. throughout the whole song, but he plays it with so much style and attitude that it adds a really cool atmosphere to the already classic melody.