New additions to my 100 favorite songs list

I recently have been contemplating re-vamping my 100 favorite songs list, which was one of the first posts I ever made on this blog.  Well, today i did it and surprised myself that 8 new songs made the cut.  Ok, well, most of them aren’t “new” per se, but i was surprised the number was so high.  Rather than focus on the negative (namely, which songs got kicked off my list), I’m going to write a sentence or two about each of the new songs.

American Idiot-  Green day

For politically minded music-philes, this song was unavoidably catchy in the 2004 election cycle.  Green Day reinvigorated their career by putting out an album which symbolized so much of what the “youth” was thinking in the early days of the Iraq war.

Blue Red & Grey-  The Who

Eddie Vedder introduced me to this song, and for that I am eternally grateful.  There is a hidden complexity to this song, some people have their favorite parts of the day, but the narrator is so awestruck with the complexity of life, he loves every minute.

Boxcar-  Jawbreaker

This song blows my mind because it’s railing against those who insist that punk rock has some sort of required suit or lifestyle, yet those in the same scene revere this song as one of the greats of the era.  I wear a collared shirt and dress pants to work, but can rock out to Rancid or Titus Andronicus with the best of them, and all but those too stuck up to see that I’m just as entitled to dig the scene as they are wouldn’t even think twice about seeing me do so.

Bridge Over Troubled Water-  Simon & Garfunkel

I’m actually surprised this one didn’t make my original list.  This is one of those songs that people may rail against because it’s overplayed or what have you, but there is a magnificence to the song that transcends time and genre and will forever be considered a classic.

Cancer-  My Chemical Romance

I’ve already posted this song twice this year, so there’s no need to post it again.  This song starkly captures the mindset of somebody who knows they are dying of cancer, that they look worn down, and their thoughts on mortality.

Same Love-  Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This song encapsulates a moment in America within the last 5 years or so, and this performance from 2012’s Grammy’s was Macklemore’s moment to shine.  For years, he has been a known quantity in Seattle hip hop, but he’s now a major player in the nation’s socially conscious music and rap scene.

She’s Leaving Home (mono)-  The Beatles

I’ve liked this song from Sgt. Pepper, but when I first heard it in mono, only slightly sped up, was the moment I realized that in some instances mono is better than what I came to know of The Beatles through the 1987 cd releases.  Plus, the lyrics are about a young person being free and experiencing the world for the first time, but told from the perspective of the grieving parents.

Two of Us (“naked”)-  The Beatles

When Paul McCartney stripped away the Phil Spector production values of Let It Be, this was the clear standout track, in my opinion.  McCartney swears he wrote the song as a love song to his wife, but it feels more like a love song to Lennon.

News from the Pittsburgh Punk scene

Seattle Music Nerd recently learned that Pittsburgh punk/goth band Silence, they of my 27th favorite song of 2014, have just signed to the Profane Existence label and will be releasing their debut album in early 2016!

Congratulations guys, well deserved.  I can’t wait to hear a studio version of Image.

In the mean time, you can download their 2014 demos here:

https://silencepgh.bandcamp.com/releases

or follow them on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/SilencePGH

It was 20 years ago today….August 1995

Garbage: Garbage

After the success of Alanis Morissette on alternative radio, the floodgates opened for a massive variety of female-fronted rock bands on modern alt-rock radio. For every No Doubt, there was a Tracy Bonham, Goodness, Patti Rothberg, Sneaker Pimps, etc. And then there is Garbage, a band which features big-time producer Butch Vig (of ‘Nevermind’ mastering fame) as one of its members. Shirley Manson’s voice is often imitated but never duplicated and brings Scottish swagger to heady lyrics and heavy guitar.

Track one, Supervixen introduces the world to the album with drum kicks and distorted guitar before Shirley Manson brings her quiet vocal over clean guitar before both burst again, setting up a formula for much of Garbage’s catalog. However, the album really begins to be memorable with track two, the simply titled Queer. In this instance, queer seems to mean strange rather than homosexual, but nonetheless, the song is meant to suck you in and make you feel exactly what Garbage wants you to feel, pity and repulsion at the same time.

Where the band reaches immortality on the alternative stage is with track three, the incredibly titled Only Happy When It Rains. Complex lyrics, albiet mostly centering around water themes, evict the emotion of inverted comfort, finding joy when others are feeling morose. This song will forever be a staple of alternative rock, 90s rock, and later classic rock radio stations because of the wordplay and emotive force evinced within these four minutes of song.

From there, the album has a few forgettable tracks, such as Heaven is Wide and Stroke of Luck, but picks up again with track seven, Vow. This is the first song I ever heard from the band, their debut single. The lyrics are similarly complex and center around revenge and “tearing your little world apart”. Clearly somebody done Ms. Manson wrong and she is coming to collect.

Next up is Stupid Girl, a very good song, which just happens to only just avoid ripping off The Clash’s Train in Vain. The drum line is almost identical and at one point the guitar line is too. Still, the song was Garbage’s biggest charting hit, mostly because of the truths within the lyrics. Those center around pretending to be “high”, “bored” and “anything” only to be ignored, an issue many teenagers face when trying to find their place within their own little pocket of society.

From there, four more tracks round out the album, but there were enough hooks and ear worms upon which to build a very successful career. Butch Vig still produces the occasional album; Shirley Manson has long been considered a feminist icon based upon several of her views posed within Garbage’s first album. Lately, the band’s tactic has been to release one off singles to correspond with Record Store Day, not that I’m complaining. Predominantly, these have been quality singles.

Ellen Page arguing with Ted Cruz

This is a tenuous musical connection, but I felt I had to talk about it.

Ellen Page, she of Juno and Whip It fame, confronted Ted Cruz today about Christians attacking LGBTQ people over marriage rights across these United States.

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/actress-ellen-page-confronts-ted-cruz-gay-rights-iowa-state-n414041

Now, the scene I wanted to find on youtube was the one where Ellen is mad at Jason Bateman’s character for not being ready to be a father after agreeing to adopt her unborn child.  As she walks out the door of his man-cave, she says “I bought another Sonic Youth album, it’s just noise”.  But that clip doesn’t seem to exist on the internet, so I’ll pick Michael Cera and Ellen page singing the Moldy Peaches song, “Anyone Else but You”.

Dishonorable mention goes to Newsboys, who were mentioned in the article for putting on a concert during an event for Ted Cruz.  You guys are talented, have you ever considered writing secular music?  Oh, and not playing shows for people who think it’s ok to discriminate against homosexuals?

2014 Remnants: Top 5 songs

Every year, there’s a list of albums when I reach my cutoff for my year end list where I haven’t heard them yet, but I want to.  Sometimes this list grows as I read about other year end lists, but usually the list is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 albums or singles.  This year, the list took several months longer to complete than I thought because the last album on the list didn’t come to the library until 7 months after I put it on hold.  I’ve already spoken about some of the songs on here, and so those I will leave alone and only post the videos again, but others I haven’t mentioned before.

And so, without further ado, my top 5 favorite songs from 2014 that I didn’t hear until after 12/10/14.

  1.  100 Unread Messages – Gruff Rhys.  

 

I put this album on hold after reading about it in Rolling Stone.  By the time I received it, I had forgotten what type of music I was even in for, but was pleasantly surprised at the talent of his writing and singing ability.  It’s a heartbreaking song about longing for a person and never hearing from them again.  This song has earned it’s place in my end of decade list, posted several months ago, and currently half complete.  It’s got a 50% chance of being one of my favorite songs of the decade 2010 through 2019, quite a feat for somebody I’d never heard of and couldn’t remember what type of music they wrote when I picked the album up from the library.

2.  Slutmouth-  Girlpool.  

Such a refreshing outing from two girls on acoustic instruments singing harmony.  This was from their EP, released at the end of 2014, but they now have a full length.  Expect to hear more about them at the end of the year.

3.  There must be more to live than this-  Queen f. Michael Jackson

 The only time Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson teamed up, they left behind this gem, which went unheard for more than 20 years.  That is until a new compilation of Queen songs got released at the end of 2014.

4.  Marshall Law-  Katie Tempest

When I first heard about Katie Tempest, my reaction was that she was positing herself as a female Mike Skinner (formerly The Streets, they of my favorite song from 2000 through 2009). I wasn’t wrong. Katie writes tales of working class 20-something life in the UK. Put behind a rap beat, they flow wonderfully. I’m glad I was made aware of her existence and look forward to hearing more from her in the future.

5.  Quarterback- Kira Isabella

A country artist singing not only about the effects of rape, but having the perpetrator be the vaunted stereotype of the high school quarterback? I knew I had to hear this song. I’m very glad to know that country music is opening its tent to include the likes of Kira Isabella, Kasey Musgraves, Darius Rucker and now Steven Tyler. New sensations in country no longer have to have the bombast of Kid Rock to make an impact on the genre.

From Way in the Vaults: Lincoln

I discovered this band when they were opening for Marcy Playground at RKCNDY in Seattle in 1998 (02/27/98, thank you thestranger.com).  Tickets were dirt cheap and RKCNDY was an amazing venue (it’s where REI is now); I saw several shows there during my teenage years.

Anyway, Lincoln was the opener and it was one of those instances where I wholeheartedly fell in love and needed to hear more.  I joined a newsgroup on yahoo where fans could discuss the band.  I scoured the internets for the cd (I’m pretty sure when i found it, it was on ebay).  In short, I worshiped at the Christopher Temple (the name of the singer).

Shortly after their opening tour for a one hit wonder, the band broke up.  Two of the members joined the touring groups for a little band called They Might Be Giants.  Really, that’s a pretty good match for them, what with their own quirky lyrics about real topics.

If you like the band and are interested in their music, check out their other tracks from their only album, including “Straight” and “Basketball”.

Welcome Back, TWIABP & IANLATD

AKA The World is a Beautiful Place and I am no Longer Afraid to Die.

The band has a new album, titled Harmlessness, being released September 25th via Topshelf Records.  They have just released the lead single for the album, debuting it on NPR recently.

The video can be watched here:

the album can be purchased digitally here:  https://theworldis.bandcamp.com/album/harmlessness

and on cd or 2lp via the label’s website here:  http://www.topshelfrecords.com/products/556155-the-world-is-a-beautiful-place-i-am-no-longer-afraid-to-die-harmlessness

Their 2013 album, Whenever, If Ever, was one of my favorites of the year and an eye opening experience.  Very much looking forward to hearing new music from this group.

Man, I am so there!

KEXP recently announced that four iconic Seattle musicians will be performing The Stooges’ similarly iconic album “Raw Power” from the top of Pike Place Market on Sunday August 23rd.  The concert is free and open to the public and starts and 7pm.

Mick McCready (Pearl Jam), Duff McKagan (Guns ‘n’ Roses), Mark Arm (Mudhoney), and Brett Martin (Screaming Trees) will be performing directly underneath the PUBLIC MARKET CENTER sign, marking the first time in the history of the market that anybody will be performing on the roof of the market.