Tracks Of My Mind
I’m sure you go through stretches where you just keep jonesing on the same tunes over and over, and then move on to the next target of obsession. I’m like that. I get stuck, jam away on some artist or song, and then, poof!, move on to my next Big Thing. The funny thing is that I’m not like that with a lot of my life – I’m stick-and-stay with many things – but music allows me to binge then split. Here are some of things I’ve been harping on as of late.
Steely Dan - Show Biz Kids
How did a punker like me end up a huge fan of the Dan? Hell if I know, but I’ve always been susceptible to a song filled with hooks and a turn of phrase. And a lot of SD’s work includes some amazing guitar solos, something that I tend to like quite a bit. Fagan and Becker caught a certain attitude toward Hollywood that I share, and they put it down in this tune. Is it their best song? No. Is it a great song? Yes. And like the boys, I’ve been to the Washington zoo, but I don't have the Steely Dan t-shirt. Here ya go:
The Weeks – Buttons
I love this song. It’s on my Spotify list and I keep hitting the “repeat” tab to listen to it again. These dudes hang out in Nashville via Mississippi, and their southern roots ooze out of their music, either in the rootsy delivery or the lyrics themselves. This song has it all – solid lyrics, punch and attitude, and it rocks. But be careful with it: it can be addictive and should come with a warning label. Enjoy:
The Jags – Here Comes My Baby
Most people know one song by the Jags, the great Back of My Hand. But they have enough pop gems to make a purchase of their greatest hits a wise move. This cover of the venerable Here Comes My Baby has a great guitar sound, and makes you bop along to the broken-hearted lyrics. In case you haven’t noticed, I kind of like power pop songs with sad lyrics. I don’t know why, but this fits the bill and I’ve been jamming on it lately:
Titus Andronicus – No Future Part IV: No Future Triumphant
I know Titus disappointed the last time they (he?) rolled through Philly, but their fantastic triple album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, is just chock full of memorable songs. I got stuck on this one a while back, with its dramatic opening notes and rocking guitar bridges. No future? Hey, it’s a new day in the US, and the future is … still there.
Teenage Fanclub – Verisimillitude
TF has three, yes, three, great songwriters in the band. I was going to do the ultimate rock road trip and go to Scotland to see them, but then they came to the US on a tour. Wasn’t that nice of them? I caught them at the 9:30 Club in DC (a much shorter and less expensive road trip) and they proved that they have a huge number of great songs. This track is off of Grand Prix and that entire album is great. This particular song has earwormed its way into my heart lately.
Tacocat – Dana Katherine Scully
Catchy pop song about the X Files female investigator? Yeah, I wouldn’t have ever thought to write a song about Scully, but Tacocat did it, and it’s fun and campy. But like I said, it’s also catchy as hell. “Cause she’s the only one/thinking it through/she’s got the perfect hair/no nonsense attitude.” This is what you get when you sit around binge watching TV shows and doing drugs. Keep doing it, America.
Stevie Wonder – I Was Made To Love Her
Oh man, is Stevie a national treasure or what? For whatever reason, I tend to jam on Stevie when the weather gets warm and I’m driving around with the top down and the sun beating sweetly down on my head. There are so many tracks I could have picked, but one recent day driving to work, I listened to this particular song about 5 times in a row, singing it out loud and causing quite a stir with my terrible voice and heavy foot. Stevie won’t be around forever – if you get a chance to see him live, I urge you to do so. He’s fantastic.
Speedy Ortiz – Raising the Skate
If you want to latch on to a new band that is pushing the limits, but in an accessible and hummable way, get on the Speedy Ortiz bandwagon. This song is off the Foil Deer album, which is full of really good songs. SO is coming to Philly soon, and I’m trying hard to rearrange my schedule to catch them. In the meantime, I’ll keep listening to this track.
Peter Frampton – Show Me The Way
Did I just lose all credibility with you? Too bad. I’m a big Frampton Comes Alive fan, and I still listen to it, particularly in the summer. I could have picked a number of tracks from this album, but I noticed that I listen to Show Me The Way as much as, if not more than, any other track on the album. It moves along at a brisk enough pace, and has that voicebox trademark guitar solo of Frampton’s. I saw him recently on the Big Interview with Dan Rather on AXS TV, and he seems like a really good guy. That made me listen to this album all over again. Oh, and let's just say that he doesn't look like this picture anymore, but he's aging gracefully and unlike many, letting himself age. Cool!
Parquet Courts – Berlin Got Blurry
I really like the slacker rock songs of PC, but this one just came on the other day when I was shuffling tunes on my car stereo. I hit “repeat” about 5 times, and now it’s fully stuck between my ears. Catchy? Oh, yeah. And if you’ve ever been to Berlin, you’ll know that at some point it will get blurry for you, too – that’s one amazing party scene in that remarkable city.
JD McPherson – Let The Good Times Roll
You know, I call myself a punker, but if you go through this list, you’ll realize that I listen to a ton of different music – indie, soul, punk, power pop, rock, folk (?) – and here’s another for you: Americana roots. McPherson is a terrific performer, and I really dig this great song. And how fun is the video?
Enough! One more? Shoot, I could go on and on, and rather than continue with more tracks, I’m going to stop right here. You’ll just have to come back now and then to see what else I’m foisting on the world of BRP. Oh, OK, just one more. No, two! How about
Pete Shelley – Homosapien
The leader of the seminal punk band The Buzzcocks had a nice little solo career going in the mid-80s, and this song was his biggest “hit.” It’s catchy, features a lot of strumming on acoustic guitars, but also has synthesizer galore. It’s not your typical BRP song, but that’s because you haven’t ventured inside my oddly shaped head enough. This song was a staple at BRP parties in the 80s and 90s because it is danceable and people always liked it. Well, I liked it. We’re all just people, right?
Interpol – Obstacle 1
This track is off the fabulous album Turn On The Bright Lights. I love the edgy guitar, and the singing of Paul Banks. In my mind, Interpol is one of the most underrated bands ever. They are coming to Philly soon, but I can’t make that show. But I did see that they will also be in Detroit ….
That’s it. Time to move and groove. Go have some summer fun, and I’ll do the same and get back to you shortly. You’re the best blog readers EVER – dig it, rockers.
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My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.