Monday, May 30, 2016

Stiff Little Fingers: Suspect Device

The first song I ever heard by the Stiff Little Fingers was on an unlabled mix table given to me by G.B., one of my co-workers when I was an intern in DC.*

It was eye-opening.

Who was this? It sounded like a harsher, harder version of The Clash, yet had this incredibly catchy riff and great lyrics. And much like The Clash, there was social commentary in there.

Suspect Device has this "no one is to wholly trusted with power" message.

How do the SLF feel about the people in power?

"Don't believe them, don't believe them"

Not a surprise, growing up and living in Ulster in Northern Ireland.

But how do they feel about revolution?

"Why can't we take over and try to put it right?

Please don't believe us
Don't believe us
Don't be bitten twice"

The "a pox on both your houses" feeling runs through a lot of SLF material. They're on the side of the people caught up in the conflict of others.

By the way, there is a single version - but I really prefer the album version. Probably because I heard it first.

* Also on that tape were The Undertones, The Vibrators (from whom the SLF took their name), Television, and Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, amongst others. All of those skyrocketed right to the top of my "why did no one tell of these bands before?" list. I knew a lot of bands, but I hadn't heard much of (or any of) them before that tape. Television, yes, of course, because I knew Richard Hell & the Voidoids from a collection of punk 45s, but the others . . . never.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Neil Young: Unknown Legend

One of those songs that paints a picture.

Plus there is nothing I don't like about Neil Young's guitar playing.

A good song for a slow, hot, sunny day like we've got where I am now.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Silversun Pickups: Lazy Eye

I'm aware that this is an older song, but I heard it the first time at least a year after I first heard this band on the radio playing "Panic Switch."

I really liked what I heard, but this is the song that pushed me from "I like that song" to "I like that band."

Monday, May 23, 2016

Andrew W.K. - Party Hard

I first discovered Andrew W.K. thanks to a commercial. I told a cousin I liked the song, and he identified it for me. I got this album as a result. This is not that song - that was "Time to Party." This is better, though:

I have an Andrew W.K. t-shirt. No one in my family likes it - it's the album cover, blood streaming down his face.

So I wear it to MMA, which I'm not sure everyone in my family is really that excited that I do.

Seems fair. My MMA coach liked the shirt.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rancid - Fall Back Down

These guys can't go back on tour fast enough for me.

I've seen them a bunch of times.

Actually, one of my big regrets was that I missed them in Japan. I happened to be in Tokyo one night that they played. I didn't know it until afterwards. My girlfriend said the show was sold out, so it wouldn't have mattered. But I'm sure I could have somehow found a way in . . . the instant friendship of fellow foreigners in Japan would have helped. Sucks that missed them. I had to pass up a show right after I moved back to the states, too, when they opened up for a band on their label. I was just getting my career rolling and I couldn't afford to take time off of work to go see them. That's not going to happen again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

11 Songs: The Darkness

Time for another 11 songs. The best? My favorites? Some are here. It's more like . . . the first 11 songs I felt I needed to include on this list. Why 11 songs? If you don't know why "this one goes to eleven" spells rock and roll, I can't explain it.

1) Barbarian. Last year I got a hankering to hear The Darkness again, and found this track off their brand-new album. It totally blew me away. I had put it on and figured, they might be comparable to their original stuff. No, it was better. And I'd missed a progression of great music in between. I quickly snapped it up, and went to see them live.

2) One Way Ticket to Hell (And Back). Needs more cowbell, which is why fans bring their own to the show. Perfectly, awesomely hyper-smart lyrics about cocaine with a great smart-stupid refrain.

3) Is It Just Me? Is it just me or am I all on my own again? Yes. Very AC/DC riff here, too.

4) I Believe In a Thing Called Love. This is the first song by The Darkness that I heard. At the time I liked this woman, I can't recall her name offhand - just her face, that probably doesn't help - and she also liked The Darkness. That didn't go anywhere, but my interest in this band sure did.

Best YouTube comment on this video? "Best Star Trek episode ever." Might be.

5) Girlfriend. This is extremely catchy, fun to sing along to, and has funny lyrics. Plus, the video. Yeah. You can't unwatch it, but you can re-watch it.

6) Open Fire. This is pretty close to being to the best song I ever heard by The Cult. It's like they distilled The Cult into The Darkness and did both. Remember that line in Almost Famous about "incendiary" guitar? This is it.

7) Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End). The link tells it all. I actually play this a lot around Christmas.

8) Love on the Rocks (With No Ice). I didn't really love this song until I saw them live - and they did a smoking version of it with Justin Hawkins being carried around the crowd. Great show, great song.

9) Givin' Up. Another drug related song, like One Way Ticket. Singalong refrain.

10) Every Inch Of You. Got to give it up for a mentioned of TDK 90 cassettes. That's how I listened to so, so many bands.

11) Hammer and Tongs. Just because I can't ever skip over this song, no matter what. I love the Georgia Satellites feel it has.

And if I can close this out with a recommendation - see these guys live at least once. They're one of the best live bands I've ever seen.*

* Their drummer when I went was Rufus Taylor, which I'm counting as a half-credit towards seeing Queen.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Izzy Stradlin & Ju Ju Hounds: Pressure Drop

I first heard this song done by The Clash, but I like this version a lot:

I wish Izzy Stradlin and Juju hounds put out more stuff than they did. This is a nice ripping cover into a pure reggae kind of version. I'm not a big reggae fan, beyond some Desmond Dekkar and Eddie Grant stuff. The original is mostly interesting to me because, well, The Clash and Izzy Stradlin.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Alice Cooper - Clones

It's Friday the Thirteenth. If that doesn't say Alice Cooper, what else does?

Here is a pretty unusual song - it's like Alice Cooper meets Gary Numan.

Damn catchy too.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Soft Boys: I Wanna Destroy (with a bonus)

Here is a song I can barely resist singing along to as loud as I can. It just makes me feel better when I hear it.

Soft Boys "I Wanna Destroy You"

The lyrics are so harsh but it's catchy like anything. I was never into Robyn Hitchcock, but this is a winner. It sounds like he was channeling Iggy Pop while writing it.

It's been covered a number of times. One of them is how I first discovered the song - the Circle Jerks cover.

This is a real thing - the Circle Jerks with Debbie Gibson. Debbie Gibson is just about the least likely person to save rock and roll. But she sure makes an effort here, and it's just a kick ass cover.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Liz Phair: Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo by Liz Phair. Seems on topic for today.

It's off of Whip-Smart, the album that got me started on Liz Phair.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Covers: Out of Time by Chris Farlowe

Until about 5 minutes ago, I had no idea this existed. But then I saw Chris Farlowe is an upcoming guest on Diane's Kamikaze Fun Machine on 91.1 WFMU, and so I took a look:

I still like the Stones original better, but man, what a cool cover. So is this cover by The Ramones, from the outstanding Acid Eaters.