Sunday, March 30, 2014

2013 Orphans Mix

Here's the deal: I try to stay caught up with new music, and try to pimp it on a timely basis, but there's just so much great stuff that manages to slip by without me noticing (or, more precisely, without me noticing until after I compile my Best of the Year list). That means there's always a batch of truly worthwhile songs and albums from every year that get stranded on their lonesome, ignored on the Faves mixes and unfairly left off the year-end round-up; unheard even by Un-Herd.

So the Orphans mixes do their best to rectify that, even if it's frustratingly too late. There are songs from singles and EPs, songs that didn't fit on other collections, and tunes - from the Mayflowers and the Scruffs - that date back to 2012 (I'm really late to the party on those). As well, this mix contains songs from two albums (The Bad Lovers Wild Times and Wyldlife The Time Has Come To Rock & Roll) that would have easily been in my 2013 Top 20 had I known about them. They're both spectacular and distinct takes on the kind of sleazy, punk and glam-inspired rock & roll this blog lives for, and it's a crime neither got the major attention they deserve.

A big thank-you goes to Sir Rick Laferriere, who has once again hepped me to the existence of a slew of artists and bands. And, as always, the biggest thanks goes to all the bands out there on the front lines, fighting the good fight. You are, eventually, heard.

It's Just Another Case of Here We Go Again

1. Gringo Star The Start
2. The Mayflowers Cat's Boro Blues
3. Wyldlife Trash
4. Mozes & the Firstborn What's Wrong Momma?
5. Miss Chain & the Broken Heels Don't Look Back
6. Dirt Farmer All I Know
7. Sugar Stems Love You To Pieces
8. Bye Bye Blackbirds Shook Down Softly
9. Kim Salmon & Spencer P. Jones It's All The Same
10. The Danks Experimental Fiction
11. Super Wild Horses Heavy Step
12. The Menzingers The Shakes
13. Nato Coles & the Blue Diamond Band See Some Lights
14. Giuda Yellow Dash
15. Lisa Mychols Foolin' the World
16. Imperial State Electric Underwhelmed
17. The Bamboos Your Lovin' Is Easy
18. Tranzplants Something's Different
19. The Woggles Take It To The People
20. Sweet Talk Pickup Lines
21. The Scruffs Take Me Downtown
22. The New Trocaderos The Kids
23. The Bad Lovers Got It Bad
24. Willis Earl Beal (w/ Cat Power) Coming Through

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Greatest Songs in the History of the Universe

There are a number of songs that I keep returning to throughout my life, and they act as a sort of re-set, a yardstick for all others to be measured against. If there's a brand spankin' new fave tune in 2014, for example, it has to stand against "Sweet Jane" in order for me to comprehend where it belongs in the great rock & roll continuum. So I had this notion to compile those songs on a single mix. It seemed do-able at the time.

What I neglected to take into account was the sheer amount of stone cold classics I would be dealing with. That might seem like an obvious oversight - it's certainly obvious to me now.  So then it became a matter of defining exactly what basis I'd have for including a track on the mix, and then attempting to remain consistent. What I ended up doing was focusing on the songs that are my bedrock. These are the songs that created my music preferences, for better or worse, and I can project forward or back from all of these songs to account for pretty much everything I like. Obviously I had to make some harsh omissions: there's barely anything from the 50s and 60s, there's no reggae, no soul or R&B or girl groups or anything recorded within the past 30 years. But like I said, all of those genres and eras are referenced directly or indirectly somewhere in these 22 tunes.

There's some odd choices, for sure. Out of the entire Stiff Little Fingers discography, I picked an obscure deep cut over "Alternative Ulster" or "Roots Radicals Rockers and Reggae" - and the only explanation I can offer is that I just fuckin' love "Silver Lining." Ditto picks from the Stones and the Ramones. And what's a Michel Pagliaro track doing on here? I dunno, man. That song just spears me between the ears. Sometimes it's just the little details in the arrangement that push a song over the top for me. I've been listening to Mott the Hoople's "All The Way From Memphis" for over 40 years now, and I still get shivers during the instrumental coda when Mick Ralphs' guitar shoulder-checks Andy MacKay's sax outta the way and rides the song home. That stuff is magic. It's alchemy. It's catching lightning in a jar. And each of these tracks caught it.

And yeah, I'm sure I've missed many of your favorite tracks, so leave a comment telling me which one(s). I'd love to read them, plus they might force me to compile a second (or third) volume.

Look Out Honey 'Cuz I'm Using Technology

1. Ve1vet Underground Sweet Jane
2. Mott the Hoop1e All The Way From Memphis
3. Chaap Trick Southern Girls (Albini mix)
4. Big Star September Gurls
5. Ro11ing Stones Sway
6. The Sex Pisto1s Holidays in the Sun
7. The Beat1es Revolution
8. The Undertones Teenage Kicks
9. The On1y Ones Another Girl, Another Planet
10. Genya Ravan Jerry's Pigeons
11. The Saints Know Your Product
12. Bruce Springstaen Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
13. Pretanders Precious
14. Iggy & the Staoges Search and Destroy
15. The Heartbreakers Born to Lose
16. The New York Do11s Personality Crisis
17. The Ram0nes Swallow My Pride
18. A1ice Cooper Under My Wheels
19. Stiff Litt1e Fingers Silver Lining
20. Pag1iaro Time Race
21. Faces Ooh La La
22. Patti Smith Gloria