Monday, April 8, 2013

Playlist #2: Songs to Be An Angsty 90s Kid To

A friend on facebook brought up the band Stabbing Westward.  Those guys were pretty big for a minute or two.  Then they kinda sputtered out by 2001.  They hit me pretty hard though, when i was in my 10s.  Singer Chris Hall was one of the defining figures in my childhood when it came to singers i aspired to be.  And they're not even that brilliant of a band.

That's the funny thing.  I think everyone has at least one band they love that, while they would admit they're not the best, most original, or even most popular, somehow stuck with them in a way they can't explain to anyone.

One of my friends thinks everything by the Violent Femmes was brilliant.  Not to say they don't have great songs.  But everything?  They were a a cooky rock band of above-average songwriting ability.

But the same could be said for Stabbing Westward.  They were an average angsty industrial/rock band with an above-average singer.

But i still love 'em.  And it makes me wanna be and all angsty and bitter, and jaded, and 9 again.

So here's today's playlist.
((And remember i'm not always gonna play the hits, or the bands that would be the obvious pick for any given playlist.  My aim here is to maybe introduce you to a couple new tunes.  And if that's not enough of a reason: they're MY playlists and i'll put what i want on them!  So there!))

NOTE: I've decided to post a V or A next to a song name so you know whether it's a song you can listen to while you do other things, or a video you may want to watch.  If the audio of a video is crap, then i'll just post the audio, cos no one wants to listen to shit quality music.

--PLAYLIST #2: Songs to Be An Angry 90s Kid To--

1.) Stabbing Westward - Television (2001) A
Last song, last album.  And what an ending.  One of the most darkly beautiful songs i've ever heard.  It (and the rest of the album) have a much more alterna-rock feel than their heavily industrialized/electronic predecessors.  But, man, what a brilliant album closer, which makes it a well ironic playlist opener.

2.) Tracy Bonham - Mother Mother (1996) V
Well this is a nice change, unlike the last playlist, this one isn't about genre, but more about being an angry kid in the 90s (insert: Nick Cage "You Don't Say?" meme).  This chick's brilliant.  She can rock the hell out of a cutesy little pop song about calling your mom and complaining about your life while trying to sound tough and self-sufficient.  Witty, aggressive and adorable all at once.

3.) Veruca Salt - Volcano Girls (1997) V
Well shit, now i want to hear more girls rock.  Two girls, two guys in this band.  And this song has riffs out the ass.  They're in the same vein as Hole, a little hipper, a little cuter, and a whole lot less psycho.  You'll be singing this song for days.

4.) VAST - Pretty When You Cry (1998) V
WATCH THIS VIDEO.  But not if you plan on sleeping tonight.  Seriously terrifying song and video. Jon Crosby was an unsung hero of dark hard rock in the 90s and beyond.  A hidden gem, a forgotten treasure, and one of my favourite songwriters of all-time.  I cannot praise this band enough.  Their ability to brood is perfect.

5.) Filter - Captain Bligh (1999) A
Another record that i discovered when I was about 10 and haven't stopped playing all these years later.  Richard Patrick (ex-NIN guitarist, brother of, seriously.)'s ability to mix sing-song melodies with a low end this heavy was truly inspirational to me.  One of the best produced records ever, in my opinion.  Still sounds  great today, especially through some good headphones.

6.) Days of the New - Enemy (1999) V
Another severely underrated 90s band.  Days of the New (Travis Meeks + a revolving door of members) mixes a sound I lovingly refer to as electro-acoustic.  Their first album (and best selling) was more straight forward, acoustic guitars, bass and drums.  Post-grunge with a country/folk edge.  Their next two albums added things like electronic drums (this song) and electronic guitars (their third and, so far, last album).

7.) Cardiacs - Belleye (1995) A
And Now for a band that didn't chart anywhere, is really actually quite obscure, but has dozens of albums and a huge influence on lots of important and popular artists.  They hate that some people call their music pronk (prog/punk), but it is a generally fair assessment.  I'm starting you guys off with a much more "easy" tune from these guys.  You kinda love 'em or hate 'em.  Personally, i think this band is full of musical mad scientists.

8.) Megadeth - Almost Honest (1997) A
The first Megadeth song I ever heard (on the local rock radio station), I immediately ran out and bought the album.  They're still my favourite metal band (tied with Judas Priest).  I love Mustaine's chorus (and choice of harmonies therein) on this one.  Still a favourite record of mine.

9.) 2wo - Stutter Kiss (1998)
I saw Rob Halford on VH1's where are they now, in 1998.  It was the moment i was introduced both to Judas Priest (went out, bought British Steel and never looked back) and Rob Halford's at that time new project 2wo, with John 5 and Trent Reznor (NIN) behind the boards.  Nothing like Judas Priest but just as awesome to an 11 year old who loved NIN and Filter and Stabbing Westward.

10.) Fishbone - Sunless Saturday (1991)
As Monty Python would say: And now for something completely different.  A band I only discovered in recent years, and too bad, too, cos they're killer.  Heavy Metal, Funk, Ska, Punk, Hip Hop all thrown into one.  And this a poignant tune about humanity sucking at its job of not being dicks to everything and everything.  Also closes the album.  Thus saving me from opening my playlist with a closing tune; by having an even BETTER closing tune.  Trumpet Solo anyone?

Well there ya have it kids, loud angry, diverse music from the 90s.

It seems that 10 songs is a pretty hearty sum.  I can do more if you guys really want, but this does take a while.  If you want longer playlists, you might get them less often, but I'll work my ass off to give you awesome playlists.  Or i can knock out one in a couple hours and give you one almost every day.  Thoughts?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Playlist #1 - 70s Power Pop (The Art of the Playlist)

Wow. Okay first List-Dexia blog posty thingy. Alright. So Hi. I'm Your narrator. I think i need a name. I need a name, don't i? Yeah, i need a name. Well my name is Rylee, but you can call me Rylee. This is List-Dexia, hopefully a place where I introduce you to a bunch of bitchin' new tunes you might never have otherwise heard, and also a place for dump all that clutter in my head.

So what am I doing here, and why do you care? I'm here cos i love making playlists. I pride myself in what i call "The Art of the Playlist". That is, making playlists have some sort of underlying theme (can be either vague ["women in rock"], or specific "early 2000s post-punk revival"), and sounds good when played in a certain way.

Some of you might be familiar with John Cusack's break-up film "High Fidelity", and how his character soliloquizes with short lists. ("top 5 side 1s, track 1s", "top 5 songs about death") My approach is similar in that i like to group like-minded music together, and see in what ways i can fit odd bands into that playlist. Sometimes it's fun to try to figure out how to fit Judas Priest into a playlist you already have Morrissey and Juliana Hatfield on. But i don't put a number on it. I go until the playlist seems done. And since i'll be linking to Youtube, if i find a live version that is better than the album version, i'll post that instead, cos i can.

I'll make one exception for you guys. Since i can make playlists that last half a day, i'll try to keep it 10-20 songs, depending on my time and mood. 

But No Ad Breaks

No Needless Banter (Okay so maybe i'll introduce the playlist, and maybe write a couple sentences about each song.  so...)

Some Needless Banter

Just Music of all sorts living together in one fucked up haystack. Let's go find us some needles!

(WARNING: Any numbers below are purely for reference purposes. They do not carry any weight regarding importance of song on playlist, the author's enjoyment of the song, or anything else, unless otherwise specified)

 --PLAYLIST 1: 70s Power Pop--

 First, the question might be asked. What is Power Pop? Simply put, it's a term coined by The Who guitarist Pete Townshend. If you're familiar with The Who, then you might get what Power Pop is supposed to soundlike.

If not:

Great Harmonies, check Big Riffs, check
Loud Drums, check
Catchy Chorus/Hook/Refrain, check

This is pulling both from the aggression and in-your-face attitude of bands like The Who, with the melodic tendencies of bands like The Beatles

Got it? Good. Here we go. 

Here's the playlist.  Just hit go and it'll play like...a playlist.  duh

 1.) The Move - Hello Susie (1970)
One of the first "true" power pop bands, these guys hail from Manchester.  Can ya hear the little bit of Ozzy in his voice during the chorus?

2.) The Records - Teenarama (1979)
Happy little bubble-gum pop ditty, about hooking up with a much younger girl.  Classy!

3.) The Knack - Let Me Out (1979)
Speaking of enjoying much younger girls, here's the opening to The Knack's debut album.  Y'know, the one with "My Sharona" on it. My Sharona is definitely about a love of young girls. What is it with these power pop guys?

4.) Big Star - Feel (1972)
Best known for writing the original version of what became the theme to That 70s Show, these guys never got very famous.  Bummer.  They write great ballads, too

5.) Pezband - Baby, It's Cold Outside (1977)
Essentially one-hit wonders.  No wonder.  Hard to beat a song as catchy as this.  Does the guitar riff starting 15 seconds in remind anyone else of Fleetwood Mac?

6.) Cheap Trick - Auf Weidersehen (1978)
Video from Live At Budokan: 1979.  Arguably the best live album of all time.  There's so much more to them than "I Want You To Want Me" and "Surrender."

7.) 20/20 - Cheri (1979)
Video from TV appearance 1980 -- Another band that came and went without much of a stir.  Their first record has some killer cuts, though.

8.) Badfinger - Day After Day (1971)
The epitome of the power pop ballad.  These guys perfected it.  Also, these guys have the most tragic rock'n'roll story ever.  Seriously.  It should be a movie. 

9.) Television - See No Evil (1977)
Too Sloppy for Pop, Too Arsty for Punk, these guys are the perfect candidates for power pop, with their great riffs, catchy choruses, and stellar performances

10.) The Cars - Bye Bye Love (1978)
What a better way to end the playlist than with arguably the most famous power pop band.  They evolved to more of a new wave sound in the 80s, but their first couple of records are still power pop classics.

Well there ya go.  An introduction to 70s Power Pop and my first playlist.  Hope you enjoyed!
I'll try to get another one up tomorrow.