Sunday, 1 June 2014

May's playlist

Some of the many songs that have been playing over the last month...

song of the day - May 1st
The Flowerpot Men - Beat City (1986)

Like most people, I know this song from the Ferris Bueller soundtrack. It's a great big of new wave-ish pop but I don't know much about the band other than that they were from the UK

song of the day - May 2nd
Matriarch - (from Revered Unto the Ages, 2007)

Puerto Rico's Matriarch only released one album, but it's a classic: eerie death metal with genuinely operatic vocals alongside the growls and, most importantly, some great songs like this one.

song of the day - May 3rd
Neil Young - Harvest (from Harvest, 1972)

The country twang can't kill the enigmatic sorrow of this lovely song.

song of the day -  May 4th
Iron Maiden - Burning Ambition (B-side to Running Free, 1980)

The early era of Iron Maiden has its own special charm, exemplified by this great song, one of the earliest Steve Harris compositions. Far more hard rock-like than their later material and with an atmosphere that never recurred in their post-Killers work. It's definitely true that Paul Di'Anno wouldn't have been able to sing their more complex, operatic work as well as Bruce Dickinson, but the opposite is also true; great though he is, Bruce's versions of early Maiden material are never as good as Di'Anno's.

Song of the day - May 5th
Butthole Surfers - Jingle of a Dog's Collar (from Electric Larryland, 1996)

Nearly a normal pop/rock song!

song of the day - May 6th
Woods of Infinity - Rock the World (from the cassette version of Hamptjarn, 2007)

In a career full of bizarre-but-apparently-heartfelt covers, this version of a Euro-kiddy-pop anthem by Swedish act "Bubbles" is unsettlingly sincere.

song of the day - May 7th
James Taylor - Shiver Me Timbers (from Other Covers, 2009)

Predictably lovely version of the already fairly lovely song from Waits' Heart of Saturday Night

song of the day - May 8th
Iron Maiden - Revelations (from Piece of Mind, 1983)

Although by Maiden standards a quite straightforward, rock (rather than metal) song, this is exactly the sort of thing that Bruce Dickinson brought to the band; articulate, dramatic and myth/history/literature-friendly.

song of the day - May 9th
The Sterling Sisters - Country Love (from Hale, 2012)

Not my cup of tea in theory, but this album of country tinged Americana has a lovely, sepia-toned atmosphere, and nowhere more so than in this fragile semi-ballad.

song of the day - May 10th
Collectress - Whitechapel (Hat in the Ring) (from Mondegreen, 2014)

Unusual string quartet Collectress' debut album is unclassifiable and sometimes beautiful; this particular song is dramatic and filmic

song of the day - May 11th
Orange Juice - I Guess I'm Just a Little Too Sensitive (from The Orange Juice, 1984)

Just a great song, which thankfully lives up to its excellent title

song of the day - May 12th
The Mercies - Let Me Stay With You (2008)

Ebullient early-Beatles style guitar pop from one of the many Japanese girl bands playing such stuff, just a lovely song, with great drums.

song of the day - May 13th
Cyndi Lauper - Money Changes Everything (from She's So Unusual, 1983)

Semi-unusual (new wave/punk), semi normal 80s pop, at her best (as on this song) Cyndi Lauper brings together both sides of her music perfectly.

song of the day - May 14th
1349 - Singer of Strange Songs (from Beyond the Apocalypse, 2004)

1349 are dependably good but there's just something indefinably different and great about this atmospheric-yet-brutal classic.

song of the day - May 15th
Pixies - Letter to Memphis (from Trompe le Monde, 1991)

Back in inferior form now, people forget that the final Pixies album of their initial phase was far from widely acclaimed. It has lots of great songs on it though; this, with its weird dissonant guitar part is my favourite.

song of the day - May 16th
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu -  Goodbye Teacher (2014)

Slightly creepy doll-like Jpop superstar Kyaru Pamyu Pamyu's music is appropriately cartoonish, cute and unsettlingly wistful

song of the day - May 17th
Emperor - An Elegy of Icaros (from IX Equilibrium, 1999)

This great, melodramatic and gothic-sounding song is one of many in Ihsahn's discography dedicated to adversarial/rebellious icons, and one of the best.

song of the day - May 18th
Tom Waits - Danny Says (from Orphans, 2006)

Love Tom Waits though I do, I was wary of him covering perhaps my favourite Ramones song; needn't have been though. Not quite as good as the original but great anyway.

song of the day - May 19th
DeeJay Punk Roc vs Onyx - Roc-IN-It  (1999)

What happened to DeeJay Punk Roc? This piece of laidback, jazzy hip-hop with non-laidback, jazzy rap from Onyx still sounds great.
song of the day - May 20th
Triumph - Follow Your Heart (from Thunder Seven, 1984)

Big, stupid positivist anthem from Canada's third or fourth most famous power trio: classic.

song of the day - May 21st
Iron Maiden - Man on the Edge (from The X Factor, 1995)

Very little of what was wrong with mid-90s Iron Maiden can be attributed to Blaze Bayley really: Maiden were due a career lull, trad metal was in decline, grunge was big but the material was mostly fairly strong. This is silly in the same way that most of the band's interpretations of movies/books etc are: all part of the fun. This is of course Michael Douglas' unintentionally campy classic Falling Down and Blaze delivers it with bullish intensity.

song of the day - May 22nd
Nazareth - Telegram (from Close Enough for Rock 'n' Roll, 1976)

Just past their peak at the time, the grizzled Dunfermline rockers were audibly exhausted on Close Enough... but they still had enough spirit to make art out of their situation rather than going through the motions (the classic rock reponse).

song of the day - May 23rd
Profezia - Il Gioco del Parassita (from Oracolo Suicida, 2013)

Seems like not everyone got it, but Italian BM stalwarts Profezia brought a subtly different flavour to their take on atmospheric black metal. This haunting, powerful song is anguished in a low-key kind of way.

song of the day - May 24th
Demonaz - Where Gods Once Rode (from March of the Norse, 2011)

Epic, feelgood, yet grim and frostbitten metal from Immortal lyricist Demonaz; Immortal-meets-Bathory-meets-Iron Maiden; easy to like.

song of the day - May 25th
Moose - Polly (from ...XYZ, 1992)

Lovely low-key semi-shoegaze from one of the often-overlooked bands of the era, with a Teenage Fanclub kind of wistfulness

song of the day - May 26th
Ihsahn - Regen (from Das Seelenbrechen, 2013)

Still my favourite album of last year, Das Seelenbrechen still hasn't had enough recognition, maybe because it's been overshadowed by the Emperor reunion concerts. It's better than Emperor, because even when the band became almost an Ihsahn solo project it was never as daring and varied as he has since become.

song of the day - May 27th
The Beatles - Honey Pie (from The Beatles, 1968)

I know you aren't supposed to like Paul McCartney's cheesy music hall pastiche type songs (apart from When I'm 64) but I like all of them, and this one most of all.

song of the day - May 28th
Ghost Bath - Torment (from Funeral, 2014)

This beautifully melancholy atmospheric music owes something to shoegaze, black metal and post-rock and manages to be extreme, unpredictable and yet strangely comforting.

song of the day - May 29th
New England - Turn Out the Light (from New England, 1978)

One of the great overlooked rock bands, New England's debut is a near perfect pop/rock/AOR release, produced by none other than Kiss frontman Paul Stanley and this is one of many excellent songs therein.

song of the day - May 30th
Peccatum - The Moribund People (from The Moribund People EP, 2005)

"Some suffer to the point where they grow numb, others are so numb they deserve to suffer". A nice song, in some ways, but not all.

song of the day - May 31st
The Smiths - Well I Wonder (from Meat is Murder, 1985)

For some reason rarely mentioned in Smiths-literature, this is one of their best, most perfectly constructed songs, with Morrissey on excellent form and the use of sound effects (rain) less melodramatic than usual.