Friday 25 September 2009

some are dead and some are living....

Earworms of the Week

> "Screamager" - Therapy?

I swear I didn't do it deliberately, but I have spent all day today listening to music pretty much exclusively performed by power trios. I enjoyed the Ungdomskulen gig last night, for sure, but it wasn't until I listed on Twitter what I'd been listening to that I realised quite what my subconscious had been up to: Ungdomskulen, White Denim, We Are Scientists, Supergrass and the Young Knives. It's not on my iPod, but for some reason, the moment of realisation was suddenly soundtracked by this astonishing track. I suppose it's probably because this probably the song that defines power trios for me. Oh, hang on, no sooner have I said that than my head is starting to play "Smells Like Teenspirit" just to show me quite how wrong I can be.....

> "Grace" - Supergrass
> "Richard III" - Supergrass

A completely different kind of three-piece band to either Therapy? or Nirvana, and actually I think they're officially a four-piece now anyway. I loved them from the moment that I first heard "Caught By The Fuzz" and "Mansize Rooster", when I was sat at the desk in my room as a third year undergraduate, listening to Mark and Lard and trying to revise for my finals. They appear to have lasted quite well, although I do generally prefer their earlier, rougher stuff to the britpop-y stuff. Still, good band though.

> "Death" - White Lies
> "In My Place" - Coldplay

It's not been all three-pieces in my head, and I suppose there would be something really wrong if nothing at all from last weekend's Wembley gig hadn't stuck in my head. I thought White Lies were pretty good, and I had to have a little chuckle at the idea of closing your biggest ever show with a song called Death.... I keep saying I'd like to see them at Rock City next month, but I still haven't pulled my finger out to get any tickets. I'd best get on that, eh? As for Coldplay... well, I like most of their stuff, although hearing "In My Place" reminded me quite how good a band I think they can be when they keep things simple. You can't get a much more straightforward song than this, and there's absolutely nothing fancy about it at all, but it remains for me perhaps the definitive Coldplay song, with the definitive Chris Martin worry-wort lyrics. Bless. I loved "Parachutes", but it was hearing this and "Politik" that really made me believe they were onto something. I listened to "Viva La Vida" tonight, actually... it's really very good, you know.

> "DOA" - Foo Fighters

Triggered by the sight of the proposed track-listing for their forthcoming greatest hits album. I've got all of their albums, but I've thought that they're a better singles band than they are an albums band. You'd have thought, therefore, that a Greatest Hits would suit them down to the ground... and I'm not sure that it does. It looks like a decent album, for sure, but it's not the tracklisting that I would have chosen. It doesn't include this belter, for starters......

> "Welcome to the Jungle" - Guns n'Roses

On the way down to the Coldplay gig last week, in salute to the fact that they were the last band I saw at Wembley Stadium (in 1991), I put on Appetite for Destruction. Damn, but that's a good album. Starts strong and just goes on and on. I think I listened to this to the exclusion of almost everything else for the duration of 1988, and it still sounds pretty good to this day. Shame what happened next, but this is an absolute, solid-gold, nailed on rock classic. tr-na-na-na-na-na-na knees, knees..... un-sing-alongeable, but brilliant.

> "Wired for Sound" - Cliff Richard

I'm blaming you for this one Sarah. Great video of Cliff on rollerskates in Milton Keynes shopping centre though, eh? oh-a-oh-a oh-a-wo-oh oh!

> "Falling from Grace" - Gentle Waves

As wholeheartedly recommended by Aertog the other day. As a big fan of B&S and Isobel Campbell, I immediately made my way over to iTunes and downloaded. A welcome relief from all the rock I've been listening to. A contrast, at the very least, that has cleansed my pallet for more ROCK!

> "After Hours" - We Are Scientists

Originally a trio, but a duo by the time they released this song. A fine song by a fine band and a great video to boot. They must be about due to tour again - I do hope so as they are brilliant live.

> "Up All Night" - The Young Knives (ninjas!)

I first saw Ungdomskulen supporting the Young Knives when they played the Rescue Rooms back in 2007. Even in the face of such a superb support band, and in spite of playing mostly new material, I thought they did pretty well. They're a bit awkward and hard to place, and I fear their faces don't fit, but I think they're a good, interesting band. When the mood takes them, which it does here, they can really get a pretty convincing stomp going. We're not sleeping, we are staying up all night....

> "Spartacus" - Ungdomskulen

I've raved about them enough for one week, but when played live, this song is a pretty much quintessential devil-horn hands in the air classic. Statue John would love them: they're like a looser, freer, rockier White Denim... and that really is saying something. (really - do go and have a look at the video - they're brilliant. The album version can be found here, but live is where it really breathes.)

> "In My Life" - The Beatles

Rubber Soul is superb. Statement of the obvious, but there we are. Johnny Cash does a cover of "In My Life" on one of the American Recordings albums.... and having an 80-odd year old singing wistfully about the people and places he has known has an obvious resonance. But fucking hell, the Beatles were 24 years old when they wrote this. 24! How much did you know when you were 24? What an incredible song. I especially love that chiming guitar at the start of every verse. This is a sublime song. Practically perfect.

Enough already. It's been a musical week and I'm off for a swim.

Have a good weekend, y'all. Stay classy.


  1. FFS Foofighters and Rubber Soul - had DOA drop up on shuffle (how is that not on their Greatest?) but my last free weekend was full of Michelle and stuff - sod the house - the vinyl of that album is what I want in the will...

  2. re: the Beatle's "In My Life": Don't know if Tom Lehrer made it to your side of The Pond, but on his "That Was The Week That Was" live album, he came up with the following It is a sobering thought that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.

  3. "SCREAMAGER" - simplicity itself. One instrumental verse, one vocal verse, then BANG! chorus. Short, sweet, incredibly simple. genius songwriting.