Saturday, 30 November 2013

November's Soundtrack

Another month, more surprisingly beautiful weather as autumn becomes winter, more songs going into ears. Where else to begin than with....

1. Tom Waits - November (from The Black Rider, 1993)

Beautifully sparse, melancholy and atmospheric song from Waits' theatrical concept album. Don Neely's piercingly lovely saw-playing adds a unique flavour.

2. Simon & Garfunkel - The Only Living Boy in New York (from Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970)

Strangely sad and enigmatic song about Art Garfunkel going to Mexico to act in Catch-22, apparently.

3. Beatrik - The Charon's Embrace (from Journey Through the End of Life, 2002)

Perfect post-Burzum black metal; technically (fairly) simple, but full of depressive power.

4. 10,000 Maniacs - Can't Ignore the Train (from The Wishing Chair, 1985)

Lovely jangly folk-rock from the band's breakthrough album (qualitatively at least)

5. The Mopes - Carly Simon (from Lookout! Freakout, 2000)

So Ramones-like that it's only when the vocal comes in that it becomes clear it isn't the Ramones; just a great pop-punk song, especially because of the title.

6. Broken Doll - Believe In Yourself (from Get Crunk, 2010)

Excellent positive-message themed squeak-punk-rock from Japan.

7. Celtic Frost - In the Chapel, In the Moonlight (from Parched With Thirst Am I And Dying, 1992)

Silly, growly but good-humoured cover of the 1936 standard

8. Chen Reiss - Tremo, Bell'idol Mio (from Liaisons, 2011)

Chen Reiss' beautiful soprano voice brings lots of feeling to Salieri's lovely aria

9. David Bowie - Eight Line Poem (from Hunky Dory, 1971)

Mick Ronson's ethereal lead guitar is the highlight of this very short song.

10. Dimmu Borgir - Antikrist (from Stormblåst, 1996)

The first step on the road to their much maligned (and much loved) commercial black metal style, the original version of Stormblåst is still a great collection of songs of which this is the most accessible.

11. Donovan - Celeste (from Donovan in Concert, 1968)

The stripped-down acoustic version of this lovely song from the acid rock masterpiece Sunshine Superman is just beautiful.

12. Eo Sinh & Nam Hao - VC Love Song (from Ho#1 Roady Music from Vietnam, 1998)

Otherworldly-yet-informal folky song with very evocative ambient noise.

13. Falkenbach - Mijn Laezt Wourd (from Asa, 2013)

Stunning return to form for one of the great pagan folk/metal bands, and this song has all the ingredients of a classic Falkenbach song, most notably Vratyas Vakyas' inimitable voice

14. The Ronettes - My Guiding Angel (from The Complete Colpix and Buddha Sessions, 1994)

A great song from the band's often-overlooked pre-Phil Spector period.

15. Teenage Fanclub - Neil Jung (from Grand Prix, 1995)

Laidback but full of feeling, one of the best songs from a great band.

16. Guster - The Sun Shines Down On Me (from The Late Great Daniel Johnston,2004)

Perfect cover of one of Daniel Johnston's most straightforwardly melodic songs.

17. Kimi Kärki - Red Rooster (from The Bone of My Bones, 2013)

Beautifully fragile folkish song from the Finnish guitarist/singer's first solo album

18. Nanette Scriba - The Cold Song (1989)

Imperious Germanic (in fact German) version of Purcell's creepy aria from King Arthur (c1691)

19. Sangre de Muerdago - Haunted Glow (from Deiaxademe Morrer no Bosque, 2013)

Haunting Galician folk song, beautiful but not necessarily tranquil.

20. My Bloody Valentine - No More Sorry (from Isn't Anything, 1988)

Catchy but tempestuous and disorientating tune from MBV's first and strangest album

21. Pizzicato Five - Twiggy Twiggy (from This Year's Girl, 1991)

Silly, camp, retro Shibuya-kei nonsense.

22. REM - Half a World Away (from Out of Time, 1991)

Out of Time is half masterpiece, half blah. This song is from the masterpiece half.

23. Ramones - The KKK Took My Baby Away (from Pleasant Dreams, 1981)

The Ramones' output became patchier post-End of the Century, but great songs like this popped up throughout the rest of their career; catchy, goofy, strangely moving.

24. Slayer - South of Heaven (from South of Heaven, 1988)

Slowing down after the speedy excesses of Reign of Blood suited Slayer well, especially on dynamic and grimly powerful songs like this.

25. The Beach Boys - California Saga: Big Sur (from Holland, 1973)

Lovely mellow waltz-time twee-ness that makes Big Sur sound very appealing.

26. The Donnas - Hook It Up (from Get Skintight, 1999)

For some reason The Donnas never get the same credit as many all-girl rock bands do, despite being GREAT mostly.

27. Masahito Sako & the Soundbreakers - Amalgamation Pt. 1 (from Amalgamation, 1971)

Jazz/rock/whatever explosion; bizarrely great and fresh sounding 40+ years on.

28. Ozzy Osbourne - Secret Loser (from The Ultimate Sin, 1986)

The Ultimate Sin is underrated by those who think heaviness is a virtue & Ozzy's 'mad housewife' image laughable (that bit is fair enough), but  the Ozzy/Jake E Lee partnership (with a lot of input from the great Bob Daisley) made for perfect commercial 80s metal.

29. They Might Be Giants - Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head (from They Might Be Giants, 1986)

Strange, silly, Elvis-Costello-on-helium goodness from the two Johns' first album.

30. Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers - Important in Your Life (from Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers, 1978)

Timeless whimsical romantic funny heartwarming nonsense.

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