no one ever said it would be this hard....
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Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #59 - Graham from Tiny Sins, Too Many Demons
Aaaah, the earworms.
The earworms come at a weird time at the moment. its not the best time to be doing it, because I'm off work ill and also because emotionally I'm just had a really bad couple of weeks, as Regular readers of the rather introspective, self-obsessive blog (as it is) will know, from my endless screaming into the blank internet void. It’s nothing that a bit of musical exorcism can't cure in the short term. So be warned though: the below posting contains extreme levels of the following :-
- metals. heavy, very
- emo; occasional, crying, wimpy but with loud punk rock bits.
- indie: early 90's, NME fraggle pop, nostalgia for an age that never existed....
Sequenced into an appropriate, album-esque running order. (those of a non metallic nature may wish to start about track 6, incidentally; up until that point its a bit rawk!)
01.THE ALMIGHTY - ULTRAVIOLENT (from 'Crank', 1994, EMI Records)
Mark hates this. I don't blame him. Every morning for 12 months, this is what would wake him up at half seven. Me and he shared a house, back at my parents back in 1994/95, and you could set an alarm to it. So much so, the CD got scratched and unplayable. Even then, I was plagued with self doubt, introspection, loathing and a tendency to live it out a bit too much with music (plus ca change, eh?). I'd hate to be woken up by this every bloody day if not by choice. Miles away from the hair metal of their earlier years comes a outburst of confusion, a brutal explosion of hurt and anger, lashing out in all directions hoping to find its target. Its about being left behind, and written off, by the others whose lives have taken them in a different directions - yet they look down on you, but you've nothing left to prove because you don't need them in your life. It’s about not needing the approval of others to live your life and be happy, especially after a traumatic time of life; that’s the way I see it - and you know, its so true; You can't make yourself happy by making other people happy, so don't even try. (On the other hand though, it could just be some young men being angry, shouty, and armed with guitars. You decide).
02.MASTODON - BLOOD AND THUNDER (From Leviathan, relapse records, 2004. Also on kerrang 'Field Of Screams' Covermount CD issue 1060, 2005)
Í hear the sound of hooves, before I see the dust over the horizon. To come are hordes of men, brazen and longhaired, bare-chested, savage and precise yet measured, sweat dripping off their naked flexed muscles as the land below them quakes in nervous fear. They have come to conquer, to devour, to slay all in their path. For they are the defenders of the faith, the one truth faith - metal. All falsehood will perish, in their path. Mastodon, Hail! This makes them sound like Manowar, which is where the comparisons end - because Mastodon rock like bastards. Loud, more loaded down with riffs than a rocking machine set to its most rockingist with extra rock thrown in, growly vocals, and a riff at the beginning the size of several, nay, a million planets. Beware the behemoth of rock that comes to crush you, for this insanely catch riff, (complete with a stunningly good stop-start bit fifteen seconds from the end), this has been running around my head like a Duracell bunny for most of the past two weeks. The last time I heard something this angry; it was one of my customers. And all this from a bunch of shorthairs too.....
03.EARTHTONE 9 - P.R.D. CHAOS (from arc'tan'gent, Copro records, 2000; )
Rather like the above, only with subtlety rather than a sledgehammer. One of the finest, and much neglected, English metal bands I've ever heard - and unlike anything else I've ever heard. Yes, it’s loud, Its metal, and yet...its oddly measured, it has build, light and chaos together. And Riffs, what riffs, melodies and catch guitars falling out all over the place. Even on the fade out they're trying to cram in new riffs the likes of which I can't get out of my head. Epic, loud, intimate, raging and restrained.... If only they were still around. I've never heard anyone like them before or since. I still don't know what the lyrics are about (Apparently its some stream of consciousness stuff).....Arcane, obtuse, weird and catchy as hell. I can't recommend the album highly enough. It’s still one of my albums of the year, every year.
04.FIGHTSTAR - PALAHUNIK'S LAUGHTER (from the 'They liked you better when you were dead' EP, Island records, 2004; Also on Kerrang Awards Nominees, covermount CD issue 1071, 2005)
Embarrassing to admit, but welcome to the 'attack of the emo' phase. Yes, it's very emo this; loud, quiet, loud, louder, and catchy as hell. God, is it good. You expect something to carry on its the same metal manner and then - quiet, choppy guitars and raw vocals.(I'm not in your house, but you're in my head - Please don't help me, Please don't hate me) But the best bit is the perfectly constructed build up to the chorus, ramping it up stage by stage with instrumentation. And then the main riff come sin again - one that gets in your brain and won't ever bloody leave, not even after you get the restraining order. Far, far better than i ever thought the pretty boy from busted could ever do. Yes, its embarrassing, but I really like Fightstar. I saw this on MTV once, and thought - Ok, this isn't that bad, and then it was on a covermounted CD with Kerrang. And I’ve been playing it to death since. (Though sadly, it’s not on the album, which is a shame because it'd be the standout track by a mile). Incredible, just fade it out before the 30 seconds of self-indulgent feedback at the end gets too annoying.
05.PANIC AT THE DISCO - London Beckoned songs about money, written by Machines. (from 'A Fever you can't sweat out of' CD, Fueled By Raumen Records, 2006)
Who says mp3's are detrimental to the music industry? Not me. I heard this album on Mp3 which a friend burned for me, and have been playing it to death since; so much so, in fact that the panic! At the Disco album was the last album I bought. And that was new, surprisingly enough, (though heavily discounted - £6 in virgin). Aside from a couple of tracks of introductory weirdness, it’s a damn good album. Rather than most albums which seem to bore me in their tedious repetition of similar instrumentation, this is all jumbled up and mixed up - drum machines, pianos, accordions, acoustic guitars, and loud punk rock riffs, all bundled up with self-aware lyrics, introspection (try 'Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off' for some); dammit, its enough to make you envious that they are not only much younger than me, and prettier but more talented too. Damn it. I wish the bands I had been in were a fraction as good as this. If only I’d followed the advice of the opening lines ; stop stalling, make a name for yourself....
06.THE KILLERS - Mr. Brightside (from 'Hot Fuss', Lizard King records, 2004; Also on Q Magazine 'Best Of 2004' covermounted CD)
For a long time, i used to joke about how I didn't like new music; even now I occasionally say there's not been any good music made since the year 2000. Everything new I hear just sounds like something I'd heard before. Nowadays I'm not quite so uptight, thank god. And again, blame MTV; it used to come on sometimes when I was channel hopping. And I found myself singing 'Somebody Told Me', at random moments. So I downloaded it, and played it more and more often. And then a friend of mine had the CD, so I burned a copy out of curiosity. And I got into it, playing certain tracks over and over again, until I realised - hang on, I really, really like every track on this. Damn, was that a shock. Some days I like certain other tracks more than others, but this one is especially resonant at the moment. Just think about the fact that someone you love is in bed with someone else and not in a good way, if there ever could be a good way to such a thing. Think about how that little idea can wrap itself around your brain into jealously and despondency.... It started out with a kiss, How did it end up like this? I just can't look, it’s killing me...
07. EAT - Shame (From Epicure, 1992)
First of the too many in the nineties nostalgia trip, Eat weren't the biggest band in the world. Never were going to be. Singer Ange Doolittle was a bit too quirky, not quite photogenic enough, to make the front pages. Again, like all the bands of the time, they collapsed under the weight of the young bucks (and now the old statesmen) that were Britpop. And I can't get this particular song (probably their only hit, really; the one that Ange Doolittle still played two or three bands later). Its about someone whose mouth is too big and just shouts it off, speaking out loud and doesn't care for the consequences that other people have to pay. Jingly, jangly, catchy nineties indie pop doesn't get better than this one song.
08.SENSELESS THINGS - Hold It Down (from 'Empire Of the Senseless', Sony Records, 1993)
Never liked the Senseless things. They never did make sense to me. Until four weeks ago, in a sweaty nightclub in Islington, where at least, for about 20 minutes, the Senseless things made perfect, perfect sense. Mainly because outdoors in a sandpit is a terrible place to see them, and that’s the only place I'd ever seen them before. But At the Wiz tribute... it all came back to me about why they might have been quite good after all. Three hit singles aside (of which is one) does not a great band make though, so best to remember them as they were that night - at least they didn't overstay their welcome there. And since then, this has been rampaging all over the internal jukebox like a flu virus on a transatlantic flight. I just can't dislodge it, no matter how much else I try....
09.A HOUSE - Endless Art (From 'I Am The Greatest', EMI, 1992)
Back on the internal jukebox after a break of years - I've been after this track on CD for so long its untrue. I have it on scratchy, crackly old vinyl from when it was a #46 chart smash back in those days. Aside from having one of the best opening lyrics of time ("All art is quite useless, according to Oscar Wilde", which is second only to in terms of opening lines to 'Auschwitz, the meaning of pain' which is Angel of Death by Slayer, which is guaranteed to win any competition of 'best opening lines of all time'), and then being merely a list of dead artists poets, writers and thespians, its surprisingly cheery. Because as the chorus says....'All dead, yet still alive - in Endless time, in Endless Art'. So there's hope for us bloggers yet writing on our internet diaries to be remembered for time immortal eh?
10.COLDPLAY - The Scientist, (from 'A Rush of Blood to the Head', EMI 2002)
Ok, You probably all know this. But a beautiful song, and one that perfectly encapsulates the chaos in my head. The chaos of trying to fit the complexities of this world in which I live into my narrow defined, logical, rational worldview. And then you realise You've loved someone all along, and even now after they've moved on - and yet, I am still right here where I was all along, trapped in the same four walls without her. (yes, here I am moping...) You try to make sense of it, and there's no sense to it at all. No logic. And how do I feel, like I'm trying to make sense of it all, "pulling your puzzles apart; Questions of science, science and progress do not speak as loud as the heart....".
11.WHIPPING BOY - Morning Rise (from 'Heartworm', Sony Records, 1995)
After all, you’ve got a suitable closer to this as a listening experience, so I chose this. Its been burrowing into my head for ages too. And from the extremes of brutal battle metal to emo to 90's indie miserablism (what, no Tindersticks?), its been a loud/quiet thing. And now, to the end...'Morning Rise' the Closing track from 1995's long (and criminally) unavailable 'Heartworm'; an album everyone should have. Even after 10 years, I find new things in it. This is the sound of someone resigned to an uneasy peace with themselves and the future for whatever that holds...all wrapped up in a string section....melancholia, resignation, regret, acceptance. The verse that starts 2 minutes, in, 'John came home from work' one day, is particularly resonant for anyone whose ever had someone they love walk out on them..... yet we are still left with all that which we can't leave behind. Maybe I'm no ordinary fool...Uninhibited, Unfinished in everything I do. Another obscure, long lost, yet fantastic tracks from the depths of the good ol' nineties. Fondly remembered - as so many of these are now - by us people with mortgages, children, and failed marriages. When we were young, we had the world ahead of us. And now, it’s behind us like a road map of mistakes. When our time comes....
Near misses :
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Dancing In the Dark (Born In the USA, 1984 / Greatest Hits, 1995) (Courtesy of the Pub quiz last week; if you want to squeeze it into the listening experience, try it after The Killers - Mr. Brightside)
AT THE DRIVE IN - Pattern Against User (Relationship Of Command, 2000, Virgin records)
Ah Graham. with this loud rock music, you are really spoiling us. I like loud rock music, and I have fond memories of some of these bands: If I remember correctly, I once had a massive plastic bottle filled with piss land on my head at the Monsters of Rock Festival when The Almighty were playing.
Still, it's not all rock is it? What's that I see? Coldplay? The Killers? That's pretty much mainstream isn't it? I have a feeling (assuming the compiler is still interested in making them) that this is going to make an absolutely *kicking* podcast.....
Thanks for playing G.
Next Time: Samantha (6/4)
Forthcoming Attraction: Cat (13/4)
[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II, The Eye in the Sky, RussL, Lizzy's Hoax, Ben II, Earworms of the Year 2006, Sarah, Flash II, Erika, Hen, Pynchon, Troubled Diva]