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11:19 a.m. - July 12, 2006
Sneak Preview For An Empress!
You know, I havenít done a random iTunes posting in a while, so letís alleviate that, shall we?

I am cutting down on mixes, but have a couple brewing, and I am working on a mega-mix for Empress Eve that may be split into two or three parts based on her reaction to some stuff.

I decided not to play safe at times with these songs, because thereís no reason for Smed to be safe in mixes. Otherwise, itís not a Smed mix, is it? So there may be songs on here that she will go, ďWTF? WHY? WHY?Ē Well, I think EVERYONE who gets a mix from me thinks that once in a while, right?

So letís make this a sneak preview of songs that I am CONSIDERING for her mix, shall we? You know the drill Ė letís kick it.


1. My Dark Ages Ė Pere Ubu. An early single B-side by the groundbreaking Cleveland-area band, this is dark and creepy and intense. The low bass rumble offsets the airy atmosphere of the verses. Itís not something to listen to if you want a sunshine-and-blue-sky song, for sure.

2. Rust Ė Antenna. Indianaís own, well, at least we can claim Ďem. This band was formed from the ashes of the Blake Babies by Indiana natives John Strohm and Freda Love Boner. It showcased Strohmís songwriting, which I felt was excellent. The band didnít really make it (though I saw them at the late, lamented Patio working on some material) and Strohm went through a band or two and a solo career. This is pretty decent indie rock from the early 90ís that definitely deserved a listen.

3. Oblivious Ė Aztec Camera. Eve asked for some 80ís tunes, and while this wasnít an American hit, itís definitely 80ís (though it sounds a bit anachronistic - but it could be from no other decade) and definitely well worth having. Roddy Frame is at his most tuneful and melodious. This is definitely a song that is a Ďbarnacleí song Ė one that will stick in your head for hours on end. Frame never really matched this song in his long career.

4. Isis Ė Bob Dylan. This is a live version from the Rolling Thunder Revue concerts and I think itís got an energy that the studio version doesnít have. I know Eve is a metalhead, and when I was picking songs for her, I felt that this could be a contender based on the wild violin stylings of Scarlett Rivera reminded me of some metal guitar solos.

5. Steppiní Out Ė Paul Revere and The Raiders. ďWell, I had to leave town because of Uncle Samís dealÖĒ is the first line, and yeah, it surprised me because I never thought the Raiders were really into that whole Vietnam thing. Itís not clear, though, if the protagonist is a dodger or a soldier. This was their first national hit (#46) and itís a pretty revved up classic garage band type single with an incessant farfisa and a drive that isnít found on later singles, when they were more teeny-bopper.

6. Goodbye June Fool Ė Madder Rose. From a band that was criminally overlooked, though they released some albums that were spotty, this was from their final record. Itís a powerful song. The textures are what make it most interesting, with the strong guitar playing (a dichotomy between strong wah-wah driven power chording and some intricate work on the solo), the loping bassline, and the gentle, intricate drumming throughout. The singing is gentle, and world weary. I may have sold back their albums, but I kept their key songs and they delight me to this day.

7. Modern Love Is Automatic Ė A Flock of Seagulls. I received this album for my 17th birthday (along with ďPanoramaĒ by the Cars) and while the first side had the hits, the second side of the album I thought had the most interesting songs. This is one of them, with a long intro, and some interesting textures on the synth and guitar. Iím not saying that itís the pantheon of great art or anything, but itís kind of neat all the same.

8. Donít Bogue My High Ė The Laughing Hyenas. Scuzzy is what they are, with Larissa Strickland just washing out the dirty grunge chords, an adroit rhythm section pounding away, and you-have-to-hear-him-to-believe-him singer John Brannon mewling at full throat shred. This is an obscure single (yeah, even for THEM, which I think about 98 people bought their records in reality), recorded with P.W. Long, who soon formed Mule with the rhythm section. This song kicks a lot of tail. The voice, man, is just incredible, and I really donít mean that in the best way possible.

9. Fire Brigade Ė The Move. Long before Jeff Lynne joined them, and mutated the band into the Electric Light Orchestra, the Move were a definite contender, bridging pop and psychedelia and making some memorable singles. They never made it in the States, which is too bad.

10. Homosapien Ė Pete Shelley. An 80ís classic, for sure. The instrumentation is miles away from the Buzzcocks, but the tone and tenor are very close to his band. Itís a dance classic, and really a time piece. MTV fans remember the video as well, which of course was as cheesy as all get out.

11. Transmission Ė Joy Division. Many think that the Joy Division was all gloom, all the time, but they really werenít. Sure, Ian Curtis and his low monotone seemed forlorn almost all the time, but songs like this werenít gloomy, just a bit cold and distant. They kicked post-punk music onto the dance floor while retaining some of the immediacy of the punk rock movement. This is a powerful tune.

12. Girl From Sandoz Ė Eric Burdon and the Animals. Oh, Iíve given this out a lot recently and wrote about it a lot recently. The darn thing just keeps popping up on random. I think my iPod has a taste for some Owsley Purple Sunshine, dig it?

13. Personal Jesus Ė Depeche Mode. Iím going to shock some people, but Iíve never been a big Depeche Mode fan, not in the least. I thought a lot of their stuff was ponderous and pretentious, and like a lot of bands that have big cults, Iím a bit wary of them. However, a few songs really delighted my ears, and this is one of them. Perhaps itís the kick butt guitar line. The ending goes on a bit too long, though, but hey.

14. Out of Our Tree- The Wailers. No, itís not the Wailers from Jamaica. This is the Seattle band, one of the original bands from that area to try to make it (like the Raiders, the Sonics and the Kingsmen). They were one of the original garage bands, and had an energy and drive that you look for in rock and roll. However, they really couldnít supply the original material that was deemed necessary (the Beatles really screwed that up for everyone Ė now everyone expected you to write your own songs) so this is one of their only classic singles.

15. If I Ė Jen Trynin. Iím still mystified why her career never took off. She could write, play and sing, and really wanted to rock, and had a neat and original sound (that hearkened to classic rock while keeping some indie and grunge edge to it) to her material. But Iím not the typical consumer, I guess. Of course, perhaps because she started out rather late (she was, shock, 34 when this record came out!) that the marketing machine bypassed her. Pity.

16. Big Eyed Beans From Venus Ė Captain Beefheart. ďMr. Zoot Horn Rollo, hit that long lunar note, and let it floatÖĒ is one of the most famous lines in Beefheartfandom. This demonstrates why I love Beefheart so much. Itís challenging, unconventional, and it forces you to listen closely as you WILL miss something. This tune is not out and out weird for weirdís sake Ė itís really a pretty conventional song in structure, but itís just so darn interesting in many ways because thereís a lot going on even when it doesnít sound like a lot is going on. Does that make sense?

17. Oh Yeah Ė The Subways. Wow, this is from 2006! (Ok, 2005 in Britain). Yeah, and it rocks in a rockiní way. Itís just a bunch of kids playing tunes and having fun. Nothiní wrong with that! Since I donít know if itís on the radio or not, I have no idea how much this is getting airplay, but I like it, like it, like it!

18. But Iím Different Now Ė The Jam. From the very strong Sound Affects album, this is a classic slab of wax from the Jam. It features Who-like guitar, an intricate bass line, and a great melody from Paul Weller with a catchy bridge (even if itís just nonsense syllables). Again, this is what rock and roll is all about!

19. Decent Days And Nights Ė The Futureheads. A lot of bands are finally taking lessons from the Gang of Four and making mix dance rhythms with angular guitars and energy. The twist is that the Futureheads also use some good harmonies as well, and this is a band to keep watching in the future.

20. This Is Not A Photograph Ė The Mission of Burma. From Boston, and a band that was too noisy and odd to be really popular, the Mission of Burma was an important seminal American band that influenced a lot of later musicians. They used tape loops and found sounds to augment their noise without distracting from the sound itself. Itís powerful stuff, here.

Well, thereís a taste of songs that could be on Eveís mix. Will they make the cut? Will they be saved for future mixes? Iím sure weíll have the answers to those questions in the coming days and nights!

 

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