Thursday, October 28, 2004

the Mooney Suzuki are invading my brain

So i still don't actually own any of their albums, I've just downloaded a bunch of tracks and borrowed Michael's copy of "Electric Sweat", but like many great bands before them, the Mooney Suzuki have invaded my brain. I can't stop listening to them, humming them, wanting to write songs like their's. I love their tight songs crammed with all the power chords, guitar licks, maximum r and b drumming, and hendrix-like singing that is possible. This is the kind of band that makes you want to start your own rock band.
I know this is the second posting about them in recent days, but i can't get these guys out of my head!

"A kid with a guitar, what does he want to do? play like Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, and Hendrix too" - the Mooney Suzuki

Not amazingly poetic lyrics, i know. But these actually do speak to me. This is music for true rock and roll fans

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

These Days

"These Days" - Nico, from "Chelsea Girl"

A beautiful little guitar figure opens this melancholy masterpiece. These Days, written by Jackson Browne, is blessed with a full rich sound, made only by some simple strings and a single guitar. Add the unique, over-enounciating, and very Europian voice of Nico and you have one of the most interesting and pretty songs of all time.
The lyrics are simple "I've been out walking/ I don't do too much talking these days". But when Nico's voice articulates them under the searing strings they are given a much greater weight. The use of strings could easily be overdone, but tastefully they are removed at several moments through the song, leaving Nico and the guitar standing alone, providing added vulnerability.
On a side note, this song was used to oustanding effect in "the Royal Tenenbaums" during a breathtaking slow motion sequence, which is close to being my favourite use of pop-music in film.

"Please don't confront me with my failure...I had not forgotten them" - Nico

Ewan's "the Great Songs"
"These Days" - Nico
"Maybe I'm Amazed" - Paul McCartney

the Mooney Suzuki

I've just gotten into the Mooney Suzuki. I love garage rock, and the Mooneys are among the best modern garage rock has to offer. The lead singer sounds alot like jimi hendrix, the solos are sharp, and the songs are short and precise- just as good basic rock should be. This is the kind of music that guys with dark hair and dark jackets make, and sure enough, a look inside the booklet of their second album "Electric Sweat" reveals 4 sweaty lads, dressed in leather with long black hair.

Reccomended Tracks:
In a Young Man's Mind
It's Showtime pt. 2
Alive and Amplified

"In a young man's mind it's a simple world, there's a little room for music and the rest is girls..." - the Mooney Suzuki

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Maybe I'm Amazed

I've been figuring this song out on the piano lately and it got me to thinking...what a fantastic song. So, to go along with my great albums postings, i will now do a great songs set as well. I was thinking of compiling a list of greatest songs, but that would take too long. So, rather, i'll just post when i hear a song that is deserving of inclusion.

Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney, from "McCartney" (1970)

The first solo single from my favourite Beatle. Starts with nice and simple piano chords and that great voice. Paul is really at his vocal best here. He Sounds emotionally tortured during the B section "Baby i'm a man who's in the middle of something that he doesn't really understand", but then turns back into his beautiful ballad voice singing "Maybe i'm amazed at the way you love me all the time". The song is both a celebration of love as well as an expression of fears. This is suggested by lines like "Maybe i'm afraid of the way i really need you".
Toss in a great guitar solo and nice organ sound (both played by Paul; he played all the instruments on the entire album) and the song is rounded out perfectly. This is one of those songs that if you wrote for a girl, she'd love you forever. That's all that Paul wanted, and that's precisely what he achieved.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Life on other Planets

For me, this is the definition of a great pop-rock album. 3 minute songs running the perfect balance of catchy-ness and flat out rock. One guitar, bass, drums and a whole host of effects, keyboards, and other production filling out the rest of the album. It's simple rock-pop, pop-rock, with a punky-glam edge, etc etc. Take a good melody and chorus, add good harmonies and make sure the songs rocks along, then you're set. Supergrass follow this formula brilliantly. The results are a pleasure. The album is brimming with life, each song is overflowing with ideas, many recylcled, but done so well.

Za - like a rock 'n' roll version of "chopsticks", but good, fantastic album opener
Rush Hour Soul - exhilirating rocker
Seen the Light - great Marc Bolanesque singing and good guitar solo
Brecon Beacons - good song made better by stellar production, great f/x and vocal backups
Can't Get Up - another song that could have been ordinary but finds life in Supergrass' hands
Evening of the Day - lyrics include a spinal tap homage, on the whimsical side
Never Done Nothing Like That Before - fantastic punk-tinged assault on the ears
Funniest Thing - good chorus saves otherwise weak song
Grace - classic power pop
La Song - nice harmonies and synths on this one
Prophet 15 - reminiscent of Paul McCartney's "Let em in", but in a good way
Run - Beautful Bohemian Rhapsody like harmonies, bizarre but good synth solo, great album closer

The overall sound deviates from the simple adrenaline guitar attack of their earlier albums, but the fun-loving heart of Supergrass is evident in these songs. Long loved in their native England, and still ignored in North America, they continue to make great music.

Ewan Classic Albums -
Supergrass - Life On Other Planets (2002)
the Police - Outlandos d'Amour (1978)
the Kings of Leon - Youth and Young Manhood (2003)

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Outlandos d'Amour

It seems as if i've started some kind of "the great albums" here on my blog. Well time to add the debut album from the Police. I first bought syncronicity, also known as the album with "every breath you take" on it. Great song, crappy album. Compound that with Sting's pretentious solo career, and i had almost given up on the Police.
Fortunately i took another crack at them with Outlandos d'Amour. Boy this is good 10 tracks, maybe 1 or 2 not so hot, but every other one is great. From the radio hits Roxanne and So Lonely, to the fantastic Can't stand Losing You and Hole in My Life. These songs have great melodies and are performed impeccably well. This is great simple pop-rock, with the always mentioned new wave/punk/reggae influences, but what makes it so good is how well it's done. Sting has a great voice, full of expression and the harmonies are done very well. The songs have the right amount of catchiness, tempered with a good dosage of instrumental virtuoso. Maybe they don't solo like cream or led zeppelin, but considering their contemporaries like the Clash, etc, they are quite skilled.

Easily Five Stars.

"and your brother's gonna kill me and he's six feet ten" - Sting on "Can't Stand Losin' You"