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Daily Song thread!

As an exercise in routine, and sharing, I’m starting a daily song blog that I’m posting here, then over on my Tumblr. The idea is partly to share something every day that interests me, and partly (hopefully) to encourage discussion and understanding of why we like/appreciate the music we do.

To kick it off, I suppose I’ll have to choose something Razz
Stupidly Happy by XTC, from the 2000 release [url=]Wasp Star[/url].

The song is deceivingly simple; the whole thing is an arrangement around a single B5 chord with ornamentation making it seem like two chords… but that also makes it a wrist burner, repeating the same motions for three minutes of play Razz Outside of that, it’s an experiment in layering and interpretation; with the other instruments and voice playing over and under the simple, repetitive guitar melody. The way the drums are layered and processed adds an interesting quality, particularly where reversed samples are used to completely change the character of the drum hits (particularly with the bass drum), and Colin took some liberties in the bass line that rather alter the character of the song at parts.

I was surprised a while ago to learn that the guitar tone was achieved on a POD, and an older model at that; they’re digital signal processors, rather than analogue amp/effect tech… and the older models really kinda sucked at their job. That said, I LOVE the guitar tone and assumed it came from a classic British tube amp. I never would have guessed it was a digital model.

Andy discusses some of what went into writing the song in an interview, but I can’t seem to find it; the link I’d sent to a friend last year is now dead.

32 blog comments below

Day 2!

By the Grace of God - The Hellacopters - By the Grace of God (2002)
Out of Sweden, The Hellacopters were a bit of a garage rock kick in the teeth… and were kinda Christian rock done almost right Razz They’re not really a Christian band, though there are many Christian themes in their lyrics, though generally not too preachy. By the Grace of God is a fine example of this; it’s got some religious themes, but the music is kinda badass Razz

A single piano note throbs through the whole song, the main guitar riff is killer, and the simple rock melody, crowned with a killer solo… this is just an inspiring bit of rock n’ roll.
Ankhanu on Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:21 am
Day 3!

Photosynthesis - Frank Turner - Love Ire & Song (2008)
Frank Turner is a contemporary English folk-based singer-songwriter, and Love Ire & Song was his second album release. Photosynthesis was a bit of a fun romp of insubordination… a middle finger to responsibility Smile If you listen and don’t smile, well, I dunno what to tell you.
Ankhanu on Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:48 am
Day 4!

Any Sense of Time - The Inbreds - Kombinator (1994)
The Inbreds are one of my favourite 90s indie bands. A bass and drum duo from Kingston, Ontario (Canada), they had a strong connection to the 90s indie scene in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Any Sense of Time was the first song I heard from them and it really grabbed my attention as an aspiring bass player. Mike O’Neill’s approach to bass playing was pretty influential to my own, and his pop sensibilities brought all kinds of great hooks to their songs. It’s not that common to find bass players playing chords beyond double-stop fifths or the like, but, Mike’s background was with piano and guitar, so he brought those influences to his approach to bass.

So, yeah, this band, and this song, were really quite influential for me… really helped define my teen years and my approach to music.
Ankhanu on Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:08 am
Day 5!

Disorder - Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (1979)
Post-punk was an interesting time in music; punk was all the rage, and evolving. Not everyone was into the raw aggression, but dug the expression and power. Joy Division was one of those bands. Out of the Manchester area, Joy Division hit pretty hard and fast. Ian Curtis’ dark, personal lyrics coupled with some rather unique bass work by Peter Hook, and fast stick work from Stephen Morris, and inventive guitar and synth from Bernard Sumner. Moody, upbeat and perhaps a little depressing, the band was a little unique. Personality issues brought the band some hardship, but they held together until Curtis took his own life in 1980. The rest of the band went on to form New Order, who are still active.

Disorder is typical of Joy Division’s work… it comes together with a solid backing beat and a melodic overdriven bassline, layered with bright, chimey guitars, and Curtis pulled it together with rather personal lyrics that could be interpreted a couple ways. It seems to be about depression, but also has parallels with his epilepsy (though he had yet to experience his first seizure when this was written), and other disorders. Lyrics aside (I mostly experience songs musically, not lyrically), the song stands out to me somewhat because of the bassline and drumming (not uncommon with Joy Division), particularly in the chorus. The verses are fairly straight forward, and entering into the chorus, this continues… the guitar work continues on an expected path, but, if you’re paying attention, all of a sudden the bassline goes wonky, following a descending pattern into some rather unexpected out-of-key signature territory. At first I thought there was a mistake, but its a pattern repeated throughout the song. Totally taken off-guard by this, the song really caught my attention and has become a favourite.
Ankhanu on Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:36 am
Day 6! -- I had this post written up and ready to go nearly 20 hours ago... but yesterday's downtime didn't let me post Sad

Antarctic - Men Without Hats - Rhythm of Youth (1982)
Men Without Hats has been one of my favourite bands since the late 90s. What started as an ironic appreciation based around The Safety Dance and I Like videos turned legit as I listened to more of their catalogue and recognized the value of the songs behind the silly videos. I suppose it didn’t hurt that they’re also Canadian.

There’s a certain appeal to early synth-pop that’s well exemplified by Men Without Hats, and Antarctic; there’s a simplicity in the sounds and repetition that isn’t really done anymore, likely based on the simple circuitry of the drum machines of the era. The basic melody of this song really grabs me, along with the driving rhythm; a simple descending line countered by a hooky bridging line, all driven by throbbing 1/8th notes on the bass. I don’t know a tonne about synthesis, but I quite dig the simple analog, largely monophonic, maybe two oscillator patch choosen too. Ivan’s somewhat unique vocal character, a little gravelly with pointed ascending yelps(?), so characteristic of Men Without Hats, certainly doesn’t hurt, neither.
Ankhanu on Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:53 pm
Daily Song - Day 7!

Merge, A Vessel, A Harbour - Great Lake Swimmer - [url=]Great Lake Swimmers[/url] (2005)
I listened to the Great Lake Swimmers album a fair bit before and during my MSc field work back in 2007. I was captivated by the spacious acoustic quality of the album - sparse, voluminous, a perfect mix of timbre and timing, it sounds like it was recorded in a large stone cathedral or something. It’s the sort of album that you can click on, dim the lights, close your eyes and just melt into your head and the sounds.
The pretty sounds of the music is a little distracting, however. It wasn’t until months later that, as I was working out in a field with my iPod playing, I took notice of the lyrics. I was a little surprised by how dark the lyrics are in many of the songs. Several include imagery of death, drowning, disaster, loss, etc; this song for example, to me implies loss, yearning, something, an experience out of reach.

The juxtaposition of pretty, even happy sounds with dark, sad or depressing lyrics seems to be a theme I’m attracted to in the music I listen to. Several of my favourite bands follow this trope. I kinda wonder exactly where this comes from, especially since I tend not to hear words when part of a song, and I discover these things at a later date after developing a relationship with the songs.
Ankhanu on Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:01 pm
Day 8!

Night Windows - The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour (2007)
Night Windows is a kind of important song for me… the way the song is arranged, and the feel of it was more or less the basis for the sound that my band’s frontman and I were going for when we formed The High Tide. We’ve been fans of the Weakerthans for years, and our prior band was kind of loud and aggressive, so when it dissolved, we decided to take a bit of a gentler approach with the (then) new project (which in the past year or so has gradually become more aggressive again Razz ).The arrangement of a simple picked rhythm guitar with the prominent melody played on bass is a trope that we’ve somewhat held onto, even if none of our songs sound like this one.

The song, I think, stands on its own merits aside from its influence on my band. It’s a pretty song, exploring some fairly common themes within the Weakerthans catalogue; introspection, loss, uncertainty, etc., using somewhat poignant imagery. It’s fairly evocative, effective in implanting a feeling in the listener, and building a life inside your head… it does what a good pop song should do Wink
Ankhanu on Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:08 am
Day 9!

Dynamite Walls - Hayden - Skyscraper National Park (2001)
Dynamite Walls is kind of an indie-folk exploration of Canadian experience; an escape, using the imagery of leaving the urban landscape and entering the wilderness. This song perhaps resonates with me more than it used to due to my experience working with the Canadian national parks agency, and intimate experience with a lot of the imagery used in the song… but I liked it well before that too Wink

I’ve been listening to Hayden since probably late 1995. He’s a skilled songwriter, with an incredible sense of timbre and layering; though he tends to take a minimalist approach to his songs, he chooses instruments and roles with an expert hand. There are artists I like more than Hayden, but his understanding of how different timbres interplay to build a sonic scape is among the best I’ve heard.
Ankhanu on Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:26 am
Daily Song - Day 10!
I didn’t have the chance to post yesterday, so… two in a row!

Hyperballad - Bjork - Post (1995)
A seemingly simple, sparse song, Hyperballad needs a good stereo or headphones to show its colours. The somewhat thin, fizzy noise laden e-drum beat pushing along a somewhat anaemic synth melody and heartfelt, but subdued vocal are about all that comes through with a sub-par delivery system… But, get the right drivers behind it, and the synth bass line hidden behind, layered in primarily fundamental bass notes without much overtone emphasis, really jumps out and pulls the whole song together. The song is a room shaker, and it’s one that I frequently access to test stereo systems that I’m thinking of buying.

Daily Song - Day 11!

Company Store - Greg MacPherson - Maintenance (2004)
Greg MacPherson is a phenomenal artist that not enough people recognize… and a wonderfully humble and charming fella to boot. He’s a semi-local; he’s from my region, but is based half-way across the country, and returns home every couple years to smash our ears and souls. He’s an honest and passionate songwriter in the vein of the likes of Joe Strummer and his ilk… a bit of a rarity.

I shot this particular video on my iPhone a couple years back… I THINK my band may have opened this show, I can’t remember. Greg introduces the song and its inspiration before he launches into a venue-wide sing-along (this happens EVERY time with this song).

Check out more of Greg’s stuff… you must!
Ankhanu on Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:00 am
Day 12!

Cygnus X-1 - Rush - A Farewell to Kings (1977)
Cygnus X-1 is pretty much definitive prog rock. Shifting time signatures, ten minutes long, sci-fi themed, spectacular musicianship… it’s kind of a gem. A Farewell to Kings has two of my favourite drum songs on it, Xanadu and Cygnus X-1. I probably like the drumming in Xanadu more, but Neil Peart doesn’t exactly hold back here neither; as much as I enjoy the rest of the arrangement, it’s really the drums that define the song. At this point, Geddy was still playing his Rickenbacker 4001, and, if I recall correctly, recording with a bi-amp set up using the stereo outputs and a Rick-o-Sound. This is partially responsible for the deep, yet punchy bass sound he got; sending the cutting bridge pickup to one amp, and the thicker sounding neck pickup to another, set with EQs to capitalize on the strengths of each without having to compromise between them.

The song is about an intergalactic traveller who gets sucked into the black hole Cygnus X-1. The song goes through the adventure the traveller is on, and the terror of losing control of his ship, ultimately to be lost to a mysterious black hole… the song ending with his apparent death. Mind, the song serves as an introduction, not the whole story. The entire A-side of the next album, Hemispheres, continues the story started with Cygnus X-1 (and clocks in at almost double the time, 18 minutes!).

The bass tone and cymbal flourishes, combined with the shifting 3/4, 7/8, 4/4 time signatures in the intro really draw me in to the song, and the rest of the song, while more straightforward, manages to maintain the interest with shifts in dynamics and melody. This is also the song in which Geddy hits the highest note he’s recorded singing, which is a fun footnote… ya know, given his voice Wink
Ankhanu on Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:50 am
Day 13!

The Guns of Brixton - The Clash - London Calling (1979)
The Guns of Brixton is one of the Clash bassist, Paul Simonon’s songs on the iconic album London Calling. Though classic English punk, the song has a strong reggae influence; a strong bass groove and choppy, trebly guitars swamped in reverb. It’s the sort of song that you kind of fall into and get lost in its irresistible pull.

I’ve covered this with some of my band members a couple times. The bass groove is very repetitive, but still fun to play.
Ankhanu on Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:43 am
Day 14!

Underwhelmed - Sloan - Smeared (1992)
Underwhelmed (well, the sludgier version off of the earlier Peppermint EP) was one of the formative songs in my evolving musical tastes as a young teen in the early 90s. This song kind of helped me move away from radio pop and appreciate indie and alternative musics… and local music. I don’t have a tonne of time, so that’s as far as I’m going with this one Razz

Listen to both!
Ankhanu on Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:19 pm
Day 15!
Late retail shifts left me not posting again last night… so again, you get a double!

Push - The Cure - The Head on the Door (1985)
Really, I pretty much think the whole of the Cure’s discography has merit… though it took hearing the songs live for me to appreciate their 2004 self-titled album. That out of the way, mid-late 80s career Cure is probably some of my favourite of their material. Push somewhat exemplifies certain sound and content themes that were prevalent at the time; bright, multi- harmony layers in an up-tempo style, with somewhat darker lyrics; A smile to hide the fear away… it’s such a cliche sort of Cure theme… so very teen angsty Wink

Day 16!

A Fragile Day - A Northern Chorus - Spirit Flags (2003)
This is another one of those albums I listened to a lot while working on my Masters field research, and is some more Canadian folk/post-rock. A Fragile Day, for me, is all about the flutes… I love the flute in this song and it makes me want to practice and learn with mine (but always when it’s not possible). Spirit Flags, and A Fragile Day specifically, is another one of those albums/tracks that you can close your eyes and sink into. The melody and rhythm are simple, but there’s some rich harmony, and a well chosen instrument complement that really fills out the experience. The song has a subdued quality, yet, I think it’s hopeful and comfortable. Confident, but not complacent.
Ankhanu on Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:14 am
Day 17!

Musical Interlude/Shadowy Countdown - Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Savvy Show Stoppers (1988)
This one’s a bit of a concise two-fer… two instrumental surf-rock ditties in under two minutes. Perhaps best known for their song Having an Average Weekend, which was used as the theme song for The Kids in the Hall, this was the first video I ever saw from Shadowy Men. I remember the video being used fairly heavily in Much Music commercials, advertising the channel… and I can certainly understand why. The video is pretty iconic and fun… a little like the more modern Fell in Love with a Girl. The concept is dead simple; the production is ultra cheap… but the execution is, well, art.
Ankhanu on Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:22 am
Day 18!

Louder & Louder - Travel By Owl - Demo EP (2007)
Travel By Owl is/was an Ottawa-based indie rock band that I’ve played with a couple times by different names; the first time we played with them, they were the Architects, then Travel by Owl, and currently they’re Trevor James and the Perfect Gentleman. Trevor and Tyson, the core members of the group(s), are really rad dudes and great musicians.
I enjoy the dynamic nature of this song; a nice soft rhythm, electric harmony and a hammering drumline with the bass pulling it all together, and a basic rock chorus. It’s a great little sing along.
Ankhanu on Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:44 am
Day 19!

Difference - Sunfish - Mola mola (1994)
Sunfish was a mid-90s indie/folk rock band from my home town that managed some national fame… something of a rarity. They had some really solid songs, but eventually dissolved.
Difference, which had a professional video, but I couldn’t find it on Youtube, was a relatively important song for me, and helped shape my approach to writing bass parts for songs. While the whole of the songwriting is really rather solid, it’s Scott’s bass line that really drives this song. It serves as both the standard rhythm role, but also the major melodic driver for the song as well. I think I’ve lost some of the elements I’d learned from this bass line over the years, but, it influenced how I heard and approached bass in the mix of a song.

My band, when we were first forming, recorded a cover of Sunfish’s These Days… with Tom Fidgen’s blessing. Aside from influencing me on bass, Tom’s songwriting was quite influential on Joe as well.

Little known fact: Scott Brown ha(d/s) a Lake Placid blue Fender Jazz Bass Deluxe that served to spark my love of the Fender Jazz Bass.
Ankhanu on Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:14 am
Day 20!

Mechanical Man - Devo - Mechanical Man EP (1978)
The late 70s electronic music was an interesting one, and Devo was certainly an interesting band. Coming in on the whole post-punk and new wave movements with a bevy of synthesizers and 50s style futuristic ideas, they carved their own niche. Mechanical Man is a weird marriage of pop sensibilities and avante-garde quirk.
Many of my friends hate this song, but I think it’s great. I’m not sure exactly where the long-standing idea that machine/robot music should be arpeggiated beep sequences moving through near-nonsense scales, but it’s a trope that we have… and Devo put it to good use in this song, along with detuned oscillators to generate a soundscape that hints at chaos while following a rigid order. It’s dead simple, yet evocative. More people need to give this song a chance Wink
Ankhanu on Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:14 am
Day 21!

Caribou - The Pixies - Come on Pilgrim (1987)
The late 80s were seeing some changes to music, and the rise of bands that would seed the alternative and grunge genres of the 90s… The Pixies were one of the influential bands to come out of that time. Drenched in pop sensibilities and an ethos leaning towards simplicity, while keeping songs interesting, the Pixies pulled together sound and theme references from many different backgrounds and married them into a joyful package.
Caribou borrows from pop, rock, surf, and other musical bases and marries it to a bit of a spiritual theme to produce a quirky rock gem. The chimey opening phrases are somewhat playful, wandering a bit through time and tuning, leading into a simple melody, overwhich a bright, grounded lead plays… The vocals have something of a pleading quality to them throughout much of the song, punctuated with screams… The overall effect is pretty evocative and attention grabbing.
Ankhanu on Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:13 am
Day 22!

Behind the Garage - [url='s_Trip]Eric’s Trip[/url] (Rick White and Julie Doiron) - Love Tara (1993) - Live (2012)
Eric’s Trip, out of the Moncton/Sackville areas of New Brunswick were pretty much the definition Canadian indie rock in the 90s. Their sound ranged from introspective acoustic, somewhat folk-y material to outright noise experimental. Behind the Garage, from their first signed album with Sub-Pop, Love Tara, fit nicely into the former range of their sound. It’s one of my favourite Eric’s Trip songs, and is a song I use to test acoustic guitars when messing around in music shops. I find the flow of the lyrics a little odd, and have a fair bit of difficulty playing and singing the song at the same time… which is unfortunate; I’d love to cover it during acoustic High Tide sets. Alas.

Eric’s Trip, along with some of the other east-coast indie bands at the time, shaped the way a lot of people out here related to music, themselves, and one another. I never managed to catch an Eric’s Trip set when they visited Sydney, but I did manage to see Rick’s next band Elevator (to Hell/Through Hell/Through) a couple times, both here and in Halifax, and I loved the performances. Hearing his songs brings back a lot of memories.
Ankhanu on Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:39 am
Day 23!

Panic - The Smiths - Panic (Single) (1986)
Panic was a non-album single released before Strangeways, Here we Come. Though there are several Smiths tracks I prefer musically, Panic speaks to me thematically/lyrically. The disconnect between media, popular culture and reality somewhat resonates with me, and the dissent and insubordination sitting at the surface are appealing.
Ankhanu on Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:12 am
Day 24!

All My Charms - The Tea Party - [url=]The Tea Party (EP/demo)[/url] (1991)
I was a big fan of the Tea Party in High School, before they changed to their more keyboard heavy sound, when the influences were primarily blues and Asian/African musics. All my Charms was one of their earlier songs, and is pretty much just straight up blues. I enjoy that it doesn’t try to be anything but what it is, it’s just a genuine, simple song (something that some of their later music somewhat strays from). The song highlights Jeff’s guitar playing in a way that many of their other songs don’t… I’ve somewhat grown tired of blues music over the years, but I still enjoy this track.
Ankhanu on Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:27 am
Day 25!

Young Lions - The Constantines - Shine a Light (2003) - Live on Q, 2010
More Canadian indie rock! The Constantines are a pretty rad band from Ontario, associated somewhat with various bands from the Winnipeg (MB) scene, like the Weakerthans from a previous post. The first time I saw them they were on tour with the Weakerthans, and played the Sydney Steel Worker’s Hall (which is no longer a venue, it’s a Sears outlet), and it was a killer show.
The Constantines sound is a nice mix of classic rock tones, punk, folk and pop indie sensibilities combined with a storyteller writing style. Songs like Young Lions are richly layered, with interesting harmonies between the instruments, and active dynamic changes. Despite this, they retain a sense of simplicity and clarity. They’re a total package, really.
Ankhanu on Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:58 am
This thread's been a resounding failure in generating any kind of discourse, but, I think I'll keep at it for a little while anyway.

Day 26!

The Flag - Barenaked Ladies - [url=]Gordon[/url] (1992)
I was in junior high school when Gordon hit the shelves and Barenaked Ladies hit the radio with gusto. The album was a fun, quirky compilation, and the radio tracks were largely goofy and light-hearted; despite this, the album is quite well written and holds some variation, song to song. The Flag never made it as a single, and it (mostly) doesn’t have the silliness or goofiness of their more popular song. Despite this, it’s one of the stronger songs on the album, and has a certain integrity that others might lack. Simple acoustic guitar combine with Stephen Page’s voice and delicious bowed double bass to draw you in to the song and inspire a certain… awe, an anticipation, or a sense of sad compassion. It handles some fairly heavy content, abuse, consequences, the futility of some of the games people play with one another… and it doesn’t sugar coat it. For a goofy pop band, it’s a pretty mature bit of music.
Ankhanu on Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:39 am
Day 27!

Beatro - Down With the Butterfly - Rise (2006)
I was introduced to Down With the Butterfly while doing my on-campus course work for my MSc; a friend was interested in learning to play one of their songs (Blue & Green), so I set to work learning to play it to teach her. The song was pretty awesome, and, luckily, later in the season they played a show in Charlottetown and I got to see them live and chat with them after the show. They were a sort of indie prog rock fusion thing; incredible musicianship, with interesting timing and riffs… everything in their brief discography is gold. Unfortunately, they dissolved before their second album was released (though I see it was finally completed in 2012‽).

Beatro is fairly typical of the songs on Rise. The song is really pushed along with intense drumming, but punctuated by some odd timing and phrasing, and the sparse guitar work gives the song some space to breathe and swell. Though there are clear prog elements, the song (and album) is grounded by folk sensibilities. The somewhat unique combination of stylistic elements really works for the song, and the band… I really wish they were still producing!
Ankhanu on Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:16 am
Day 28!

When it Happens - Wax Idols - Discipline and Desire (2013)
I was introduced to Wax Idols earlier this year in a discussion about Siouxsie & the Banshees, but despite intentions to do so, I haven’t really dug into their material. What I’ve heard from them has been pretty promising, but, ya know how things go Razz

The Siouxsie basis for the recommend is well deserved, there are clear similarities between Wax Idols and (particularly) early Siouxsie & the Banshees material, which I consider a good thing. There’s also a little Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pretenders, The Smiths, etc in there. They have a new-wavy, post-punky, dark-wavy sort of sound mixed with modern pop and alternative sensibilities. Clearly, I need to look into them more thoroughly.
Ankhanu on Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:59 pm
Day 29!

Kick in the Eye - Bauhaus - Mask (1981)
Bauhaus were one of the first bands I listened to when starting to explore goth and post-punk music… and had become, and remain, one of my favourites. Kick in the Eye exemplifies a couple of the facets that endear the band to me, namely the rhythms supplied by David J and Kevin Haskins, but also some of Daniel Ash’s guitar work… Peter Murphy’s vocal work is usually pretty interesting too, but in Kick in the Eye it’s a small player. I particularly enjoy the way Kevin uses high-hats, and how high the hats are within the song mix; this drumming style has altered how I relate to drums in music in general, and I find myself generally drawn to musics with more complex and/or interesting high-hat work. David J’s bass work was likewise somewhat formative; both interestingly rhythmic and often a principle driver in the songs’ melody. Add in the dark themes, musical space/sparseness and delightful use of noise/feedback ahead of their time, and the band made for GREAT listening for an angsty teen… and continues to be great listening for a less angsty adult Wink

You need more goth in your rock
Ankhanu on Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:13 am
Day 30!

Marathon - Tennis - Cape Dory (2010) - Live on Q, 2011
Jian gives a solid intro to Tennis in the throw of this video, so, I’m gonna skip it. This video introduced me to Tennis, and, quite unexpectedly, I really dug it and looked into their album and EP. The retro-rock vibe is kinda fun and refreshing, and Alaina’s voice has an unusually pure vocal style for today’s music culture. The electric organ sounds, combined with the very classic clean Telecaster through a reverb laden blackface Twin Reverb works incredibly well. As with other songs I’ve posted, there’s a lot of space in the music, even when the instruments are all hitting full bore… the airiness really lets your ear wander through the song. Tennis’ throw-back sound is certainly worth checking out, even if it doesn’t make heavy rotation in your playlists.
Ankhanu on Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:34 pm
Day 31!

Shadowboxer - Fiona Apple - Tidal (1996)
Fiona Apple has an interesting, personal songwriting style, and an intense, evocatively deep voice… the blend of the two is heavenly. Shadowboxer gives Fiona’s deep vocal tone a nice playground in which to flow, and creates a somewhat vulnerable sense in the listener. There’s a lot of cliche used in the lyrics, but, I find it still has a personal, revealing quality. For a song by an 18 year old, I think it holds a surprising level of sophistication despite the cliches; Fiona’s a bit of an unique talent, and it was evident pretty early on.
Ankhanu on Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:57 am
Day 32!

Hope - Rush - Snakes & Arrows (2007) - Live 2011
One of Rush’s fully instrumental tracks, Hope was written by Alex Lifeson alone. At only 2 minutes, it’s one of the shortest Rush songs in their catalogue. It’s a lovely little song played on 12-string guitar in an alternate D-tuning (DADAAD), rather than standard (EADGBe). It puts me in mind of a a medieval sort of composition, and is somewhat reminiscent of the classical guitar intro to their 1977 song A Farewell to Kings… it’s a little melancholic feeling, but, holds some promise and hope (oddly enough);

I know this is the second time I’ve had Rush in the list, but, it’s a rather different type of song than last time. I chose this live performance video rather than a studio mix because It’s more interesting to see Alex’s finger technique Wink
Ankhanu on Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:41 am
Day 33!

Television Eyes - Trans Am - Futureworld (1999)
Television Eyes, and Trans Am are a minor departure from most of the other stuff I’ve posted… though not that far off. It’s an electronic post-rock sort of song; lots of energy, with a simple, almost minimalistic groove, but a pumping rhythm that makes you want to move (it’s a fantastic driving song). The vocoded vocals give it a retro-futuristic sort of sound, and because the lyrics are hard to decipher, you’re completely free to simply hear them as sound, an element of the song, rather than the focal point under which a song happens. Television Eyes is lo-fi and almost minimalistic, there’s just enough in there to push it to “just enough”, rather than minimal. The bass and synth parts play around one another, and though it’s easy to fixate on a particular element of the song while listening, each instrument brings its own little hue to the overall picture.
Ankhanu on Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:10 am
Day 34!

?? - Rad & Subtract - N/A - Live 2013
Rad & Subtract is one of several bands my friend Andrew Greig is in… though I think it may be the only one he’s fronting at the moment. Formed with Redmond MacDougall, Rad & Subtract are a loud, distorted drums & bass duo that’ll blister your face off. I have no idea what any of their songs are called, ‘cause I barely even know what my band’s songs are called. This song is pretty straight forward, but Andrew gets into some pretty neat riffs and nice use of delay, modulation and fuzz effects in other songs in their set. Pretty much, this is awesome music from awesome dudes… for awesome dudes.
Ankhanu on Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:50 am
Day 35!

Not Happy - Jale - Dreamcake (1994)
Jale were one of my favourite 90s alt-rock/indie bands. Not Happy was the opening track on their first album on Sub Pop, Dreamcake, which was to be their only album with the band’s original lineup. Jale shared some similarities with contemporary albums from Sloan and Eric’s Trip (Jennifer Pierce also sang backup on all the Sloan albums up through Twice Removed… I haven’t been able to find out why that arrangement ended at One Chord to Another).
Not Happy is a delightfully fuzzed out, grungy indie rock track pretty typical of the east coast rock scene of the early 90s. The music is fairly straight-forward, but heartfelt; the band wasn’t made of amazing musicians, but they made their music work. Some of the ethic that bands like Jale demonstrated had influenced my own approach to playing… and is perhaps part of the reason why I never really learned to solo Razz

Bonus - the video is full of footage shot around my birth city of Halifax, NS. It’s a lovely place Wink
Ankhanu on Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:26 am

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