First up, a song specifically for Laura, because she likes it: Scissor Sisters – “Laura” Apparently, the Scissor Sisters are working on a new album, which should be released this Fall, or at least so I’ve heard. They performed one or two tracks from it during their Live8 appearance, and it sounded as good as their debut album, so I’m looking forward to it.
Another one that she likes, but that I find more fascinating as an example of supreme WRONGNESS. Whitebread crooner Paul Anka has an album of covers out, where he LawrenceWelkifies rock and alternative songs. Wrap your ears around this: Paul Anka – “The Lovecats.” If Robert Smith was dead, he’d be turning over in his grave. Since he’s alive, though, I suspect he’ll just count the money, instead.
I generally don’t like to put up songs that are getting a lot of radio play, but damned if this song hasn’t crawled into my brain and set up shop. I love the piano progression which forms the main hook. Coldplay – “Speed of Sound.”
Here’s a very rare treat. In the late 80s, Tori Amos debuted as the front-woman for a band called “Y Kant Tori Read.” The band included Mister Mister guitarist Steve Farris, and drummer Matt Sorum, who went on to drum for Guns N Roses (and now Velvet Revolver). Featuring a really tacky album cover, the album was fairly standard late-80s female power-rock (think Pat Benatar…in fact, her producer was the producer on this album), and sold a whopping 7,000 copies. The rest were remaindered or destroyed. Of course, 3 years later, Tori came back as a piano-based singer-songwriter, and took off. Here is the “single” from her inauspicious debut: Y Kant Tori Read – “The Big Picture.”
For the J-rock fans out there, here’s my favorite song by a band that was described to me as “the Duran Duran of Japan.” Personally, I’d always thought Duran Duran was the “Duran Duran of Japan”—but never mind that right now. This is TM Network. The keyboard player, Komoro Tetsuya, has done a lot of anime soundtracks, notably Vampire Hunter D…and in fact, that is how I was introduced to the band, when I copied a cassette with the Vampire Hunter D soundtrack on it, lent to me by a fellow member of the KU Gamers and Roleplayers club (A woman named Diane, who went by the self-given nickname of “Cutter”….whom I last saw at a Star Trek convention in NYC, oddly enough…). TM Network’s 1990 album, Rhythm Red Beat Black was on the flip side. This is the lead-off. Like many J-rock songs, it’s fairly goofy, especially when they throw in random (and mispronounced) English lyrics here and there….but what got me was the virtuosity of the musicians, from the tocatta-esque opening synth riff, to the manic double-bass-pedal drumming. Give it a listen: TM Network – “Time to Count Down.”
Another bit of groovy trip-hop, since I know that Yosa likes the genre: Noonday Underground – “Go It Alone.” Noonday Underground is a partnership between DJ Simon Dine and vocalist Daisy Martey (who has also done vocals for Morcheeba, another stand-out in the genre).
Lastly, we have an experimental bit of audio cut-and-paste by a group called Books. They manage to mix together odd collections of sound, from laughter to toy pianos and more, fills it out with cut-together spoken word and acoustic guitar plucking, and the whole thing really grows on you as you start to realize that they are finding rhythm in what is apparently rhtyhmless sounds. The whole album, The Lemon of Pink is brilliant, but this is my absolute favorite track: Books – “Take Time.” “For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day. she climbed down from the tree next day–god bless her.”
More next week.