Thursday, 20 March 2008

Oldies but Goldies

New music is obviously important, but sometimes it's nice to dig out and dust off some old favourites. My granny's been down to visit, and I've found myself spending the week swimming in nostalgia and thinking back on the stuff I was into, especially my early teens when I still had bleached blonde hair, spent time scouring Camden for the perfect pair of Docs (I am a cliche) and was ashamed to ever admit I used to love the Spice Girls.

I own tons of records, but have nothing to play them on, and my CD player recently died, so now all I have with me are my mp3s which just don't carry the same warmth and value. I could go on about music and memory but I think everyone knows what I'm talking about here. So here are a few recommendations.. you might know them, it might be the beginning of something beautiful. Either way, here are a few slices of my past (and in most cases, still present) loves...


The band I never get tired of. Ever. S-K was formed by Corin Tucker (previously in Heavens to Betsy) and Carrie Brownstein (Excuse 17), who were later joined by Janet Weiss (of Quasi) and played a big part in the 90's Olympia riot grrrl scene. Some of the music is typically raucous and raw, but Corin, Carrie and Janet are incredible musicians, so the songs aren't as messy and occasionally inaudible as other riot grrrl acts. They went on an indefinite hiatus in 2006 (11 years after they first formed) that they probably will never return from. I think it was partly due to the fact that despite constantly releasing extraordinary records, saturated in love and loss and life and politics, they never seemed to get the acclaim they deserved. Which I suppose gets pretty tiring after a while. For first-timers, I'd recommend the poppier, shout-a-long Dig Me Out or All Hands on the Bad One albums, but if you like thrashing, disjointed layers and powerful beats, try The Woods or One Beat.

Sleater-Kinney : Jumpers (from The Woods)

The Jesus & Mary Chain

This was a bit of a late, cheat-find as my first encounter with the Jesus & Mary Chain was when I got the Lost in Translation soundtrack, and became obsessed with listening to the song Just Like Honey on repeat every night as I went to sleep. To the point where I couldn't sleep, as my brain wouldn't shut up and sang along loudly as I buried deep down under the covers. Anyway, so this led on to the purchase of Psychocandy, which is an album I strongly feel every person should have in their music collection, simply because it's awesome. The sound is a mix of the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, and the songs lean heavily on the song-writing style of the early 60s, whilst sounding a hell of a lot like something Sonic Youth would produce. Obviously, they have many other albums, but Psychocandy is a good starting point.

The Jesus & Mary Chain - Just Like Honey

The Kinks

My Dad got me into the Kinks, which I will be forever grateful to him for. You've probably heard of them, or at least know a few of their songs (Dedicated Follower of Fashion, Waterloo Sunset, You Really Got Me, Sunny Afternoon, Lola...) The Kinks wrote a hell of a lot of perfect pop songs, if you're not that familiar with them, you really will be surprised at how many you recognise. Though they are mostly associated with their late 60s/early 70s songs (they continued until '96!), 50 years on the sentiments and themes remain. Dedicated Follower of Fashion could easily be an ode to Vince Noir in the Mighty Boosh ("His world is built round discotheques and parties, this pleasure-seeking individual always looks his best.. he flits from shop to shop just like a butterfly") and Waterloo Sunset, a depiction of a single yet happy life in the capital, watching the world pass by ("People so busy, make me feel dizzy, taxi lights shine so bright") that could easily have been written yesterday. And you can't really go wrong with a song about a brief romantic rendezvous with a transvestite chucked in for good measure.

The Kinks: You Really Got Me

I'll post some more again when I next have time.. keep checking back!

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