Friday, November 20, 2009

Songs of the Decade: 30 - 21

30. Metric - Dead Disco
No, not Little Boots' former band, but a track by Canadian rockers Metric. Almost disco-rock in combining the synths and guitars, this was what broke them in the UK.

29. Goldfrapp - Strict Machine
Back when I was at uni we used to spend all our lunchtimes in the Penny Theatre (a Scream pub) round the corner abusing their cheap burgers. On the video jukebox they used to play a random selection and on came this kaleidoscopicly surreal track. One of those songs that you can't help to dance to.

Go here and have a listen.

28. Dandy Warhols - We Used To Be Friends
I remember downloading this in 2003 when it was originally released. It lay undisturbed on an old playlist CD for years before being dug out again when I started watching Veronica Mars - this being the extremely apt title song. Again, it dropped off my radar until September this year - walking into HMV in town I spotted someone from school who, let's say, the intervening years have not been kind to - just as this song came on the in-store PA system. Perfect timing.

27. OK Go - Get Over It
Possibly the only music video to ever use the lyrics of the song as a starting point for content. Go watch it here.

26. Distillers - City Of Angels
Way back in 2002, towards the end of the beautifulgarbage era, Garbage were supporting No Doubt on their USA arena tour. Kerrang magazine had an interview along the lines of women in rock (always a good thing with me) and interviewed Shirley Manson & Gwen Stefani, the lead singers of the two bands, as well as Brody Armstrong (as she was then) of the opening band The Distillers. As I sat down to read it at home this video came on Kerrang TV (I was themed back then). In 2009 I saw Spinnerette (Brody's new band) in London, and she's still as cool as fuck.

25. Donnas - Take It Off
Four girls who grew up listening to classic rock bands such as Kiss, Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, and AC/DC. If you were to analyse my entire music tastes from the last 25 years and portion them out between the various factors, this band would be the result. Now enjoying a resurgence due to Rock Band/Guitar Hero needing bands with female vocalists.

Go listen to it here.

24. Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
A few years ago I was made to listen to this band by Katy. I'm glad I did. A hectic multinational seven piece, there's more imagination and variety in this one song than in the entire musical output of a lot of chart bands.

23. Glee - Don't Stop Believin'
Most people reading this won't have heard of Glee. It's like High School Musical (no! come back!) if it were written by Tina Fey - full of snark and wit that holds up on repeated viewing. The pilot is showing on E4 on Tuesday 15th December at 9pm, and this cover of the Journey classic closes that episode.

Again, no embedding.

22. Florence & The Machine - Kiss With A Fist
I have to say that the rest of Florence's album didn't do it for me, but it's so different to the opening promise shown by this song that it's understandable. First promoted to me by Hannah, I lost the mp3 during a tidy of my computer, before hearing it again at Lounge on the Farm before Los Campesinos!'s set. It's not about spousal abuse, apparently.

No embedding.

21. Rose Elinor Dougall - Fallen Over
As the Manics' song at number 61 was the oldest song on this decade list, this one is the newest, being released only three days ago. However, I've loved it since the first time I stalked saw Rose live back in April. Due to the low budget nature of the label, there's not even a video for me to link to, so check it out at Rose's Myspace.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Songs of the Decade: 40 - 31

40. The Barbs - Massive Crush
Pop-punk band, with boy/girl lyrics, and a hot chick bassist? No, it's not the Subways - the Barbs actually came first and had the Subways support them on an early tour. What's more odd is that half of the band come from Chatham in Kent, not really known for being an indie hotspot.

39. Auf der Maur - Followed The Waves
Hot redheaded bassist. One of only two lead singers who play bass as well, alongside Lemmy (although I'm sure people will no doubt contradict me on that). The last time I saw her live was in 2004, after the August Bank Holiday weekend, at the Astoria. The band opening that gig were a small-time three piece outfit called The Subways.

No embedding once again.

38. Queens Of The Stone Age - Go With The Flow
A quite brilliant, possibly racist, definitely sexual video. Josh Homme is the lucky sod married to Brody Dalle (formerly of The Distillers, and now of Spinnerette) and allegedly kicked his childhood friend out of his band for spousal abuse.

Another one Universal don't want me to embed.

37. Easyworld - Bleach
Self described as "the only young people in Eastbourne who aren't Toploader", this track was the first I heard by them and is still a cracking song to jump around to. The follow-up album, Kill The Last Romantic, was criminally depressing, and the band called it a day in 2004, after a decent slot at the V festival and joining up with Mark Lamarr to insult me on Radio 2.

36. Feeder - Just A Day
"We need a new video to promote our new single, but we're away on tour!" "I know, lets get the fans to film themselves singing along and making fools of themselves!"

35. Avril Lavigne - He Wasn't
I'm fairly certain that this is the last pop act on my list. Another one of those songs to jump around to and have fun with.

34. Bruce Springsteen - Outlaw Pete
There won't be many end-of-decade lists that have Avril Lavigne and Bruce Springsteen concurrently. The opening track from The Boss's latest album, it's an 8 minute epic which may or may not steal the riff from I Was Made For Lovin' You by Kiss.

33. Jace Everett - Bad Things
If you've been keeping up with the popular vampire thing based on the series of books that everybody loves, featuring a shapeshifter and a vampire competing for the heroine's affections, and a telepath finding love with someone they finally can't read, then you'll know all about this song. If you think the above sentence refers to Twilight and not True Blood, then congratulations, you've got a fantastic series of well-written vampire/shapeshifter/werewolf/weretiger/faerie/etc books ahead of you.

32. Nu - Any Other Girl
Nu were a Norwegian disco-pop band who I got into in the early part of this decade. I believe they've split up now (their site produces a 404) but due to their amazingly un-Google-friendly name I've not been able to find out much else. I can't even find a proper music video - just this fan vid (featuring Cordelia Chase).

31. Pretty Girls Make Graves - Speakers Push The Air
Possibly the most beautiful opening few bars of a song ever.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Songs of the Decade: 50 - 41

50. Long Blondes - Separated By Motorways
I saw the Long Blondes live twice. Both times they bored me. That didn't stop them being quite excellent on record, however, and this is still a cracking song. Never mind that the band just remind me of Laura from the Phonogram Singles Club series of comic books.

49. Be Your Own Pet - Take That Walk
BYOP were the first band I followed from underground through press stardom to breakup. I saw them in nearly every London gig they ever played, and they helped me gain some cracking friends. I first heard of them on a radio show about female singers - the complete history of me and them has been better covered here.

48. The Subways - Oh Yeah
Mind you, if I thought BYOP had an effect on my life, it's nothing compared to the Subways. Granted, I may have had my disagreements with the lead singer, but they're the band I've seen the most live (so far) and they introduced me to a fuckload of cool people, and other bands indirectly from them.

Still can't help but sing "Cal's Mum" instead of the title though.

47. Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure
Maximo are one of those bands that I feel I really ought to listen to more, but I've tried and I've never really had that connection to them. That said, Maximo were great the only time I've seen them live (and that despite being cold, wet and pissed off with Glastonbury) and I do like this song.

46. Graham Coxon - Freakin' Out
Met him once, at a festival in Finsbury Park. Incredibly tall man. Used to be in Blur, don't you know?

45. The Kills - The Good Ones
Sleazy, bluesy, but oh so sexy. Makes a bassline sound like a sexual predator.

44. Dragonforce - Through The Fire & The Flames
Any comment I post won't do it the justice that this link will do. Go there, it explains everything.

43. Go Home Productions - Ray Of Gob
In the early part of this decade mashups were the craze. The vocals from one song mixed with the instruments of another. The trend was killed off rather expertly by the Sugababes (in their 65465465th incarnation) mashing Gary Numan with Tubelord's "Are Friends Electric?" but before that we had some fantastic mashes, including this one of Madonna's Ray Of Light with the Sex Pistols' God Save The Queen.

42. Dresden Dolls - Coin Operated Boy
From the sublime to the quite frankly bonkers. Two musicians, one drummer who plays the instrument like he's afraid they'll rise up and overpower him, and one pianist who sings. Words can't do it justice.

It's not about sex toys.

41. Charlotte Hatherley - Bastardo
Spot the stars! Simon Pegg! David Walliams! Emma Frost! Directed by the guy who did Hot Fuzz/Shaun Of The Dead/Scott Pilgrim! The fabricated tale of which earnt me a 1st for a presentation on eBay, which was the only 1st I ever got during four years at university!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Songs of the Decade: 60 - 51

60. She & Him - Why Did You Let Me Stay Here?
She is a kooky indie actress who has been in several under-appreciated films (and sleep walked her way through M.Night Shyamallamadingdong's The Happening). Him is a renowned producer of the Bright Eyes/Rilo Kiley/Elected stable. Together they make sweet country songs. The video stars She (Zooey Deschanel) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt from the set of (500) Days of Summer.

59. Rolo Tomassi - I Love Turbulence
And from light melodic country stylings to screamo northern metal. Not so much loud-quiet-loud as scary-sweet-terrifying. Rolo Tomassi are a bit of a Marmite band - people don't tend to feel indifferent about them, they either love them or can't stand them.

58. Miley Cyrus - Fly On The Wall
I was sent the video embedded below by a friend who thought it was funny. Trying not to like anything Disney, I gave it a listen for the mistake (which proves she was singing live, and not miming either...) and to my dismay actually enjoyed the song. The album's not bad either. Give it a listen before pouring scorn.

57. Metallica - The Day That Never Comes
Metallica have only released two albums this decade, and St. Anger was utter tripe, so have the epic lead off single from Death Magnetic. It's one of those songs that starts off like Fade To Black and finishes like One. The video is worth checking out too, as it uses the song like a film score to build up tension and can be found here, but as they're on a major label embedding is impossible. So, have the band performing live on Later With Jools Holland.

56. Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl
You know the one. It was everywhere last summer. Good, fun pop music from a girl who counts Shirley Manson as one of her heroes.

Embedding disabled by request, so find it here.

55. Alphabeat - Fascination
I had this song stuck in my head throughout pretty much the whole of the Lounge on the Farm festival last summer. As I had a great time there, the song's got good connotations. There's an awful lot of pop songs on this list, isn't there?

54. Paramore - Crushcrushcrush
Hot female redhead singer, rock band. Of course this would appeal to me. Not only did I get to see them for just a fiver at a tiny fan club gig earlier this year, but being a good half a foot taller than everyone else in the crowd and able to pick up on new lyrics easily, me and Hayley had a moment of connection.

53. Operator Please - Leave It Alone
More bands need a violin section. OP would be a fairly normal indie band without the strings accompanying this song. Granted, they're all about 13 so they're not that normal, but still it adds something to it.

52. The Pipettes - Really That Bad
Of all the possible Pipettes songs I had to choose from, I've gone for a b-side. It's a song about the bad boy in class and wanting to tame him, and Rose takes lead vocals. Pretty obvious why I've chosen it. The video is from April 2007, almost a year before Rose left to pursue her solo career, and Becki was fired. The band's gone through more lineup changes than the Sugababes.

51. My Chemical Romance - Teenagers
Gerard Way plays a lead singer/fascist leader of a band. The Nazi style arm bands have two crossed hammers on. The video shows a rush of teens breaking through the door at the beginning. Now you may have read that and thought it sounded familiar. As Way has stated several times that the album this song is taken from (The Black Parade) is heavily based upon Pink Floyd's The Wall, even to the point where the album loops (the album starts with the second half of a sentence found at the end of the album) it's obviously a loving homage rather than a shameless ripoff.