Ten Cool Songs (that you’ve never heard)

Boris – Farewell

My word. The album Pink is full of super-fast noisy punk, but the first track is this super-fuzzy psychedelic masterpiece, which is just ultra-perfect in everyway. Pink is grating on the ears because its basically full-volume all the way through, very little variation. However, in Farewell, the song swells from silence up to fully-saturated bass and guitar, with some surprisingly impressive vocals. And it is fucking cool.

Akron/Family – I’ve Got Some Friends

“Hey have you noticed? Everyone is crazy…” Yes I have noticed. Seriously, this song is melodic, quirky, full of twists and turns and shimmering quivering brilliance, with ridiculously pretty harmony vocals and joyous tuneful yelping. You probably have no idea how cool this stuff is, so go back to listening to Green Day and RHCP.

Talking Heads – Pull Up the Roots

This is one of the Heads’ darker songs. This band is musically simple, yet richly melodic and far too funky to have been populated by ordinary white folks (which is of course exactly what they were). Strange, alien lyrics, jerkily enunciated from the mouth of a pale nerdy yet oh-so-hip weirdo (and therefore personal hero) David Byrne over a steady disco beat.

Aphex Twin – Windowlicker

Ugly, processed, full of disgusting digital bleeps, whirring and hideous moans and groans. Therefore I am a huge fan. When people think of dance music, they think of all that novelty crap that hits the charts, you know, simple 4/4 beats and cheesy synth lines with either a melodramatic female singer with a sexually stimulating voice or a novelty vocal in the style of Pinky & Perky. It’s down to artists like Aphex Twin to actually create something worthwhile out of the genre.

Do Make Say Think – In Mind

Featuring lyrical vocals for only the second time in their career (the first being earlier on the album). The liner notes say Akron/Family performed vocals on the album, but I’m not sure if that’s the case on this track, because live the band themselves perform them. DMST do a kind of a jazzier variation of “post-rock” with wind instruments and an oddly dynamic blend of soft and loud that amounts to much more than the usual crescendos. Here the vocal performance appears in a distorted haze towards the end, and features a number of people loudly singing the lines “When you die, you’ll have to leave them behind. You should keep that in mind. When you keep that in mind, you’ll find a love that’s as big as the sky.” Wonderful and perfect in every way.

Earth – The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull

The title track from the latest sublime recording of Earth, basically built around one riff repeated endlessly, with a few minor variations thrown in at the appropriate intervals. But what a riff. Dylan Carlson is a guitarist who can play the slowest, simplest, and most wonderful sounding things with no attempt to show off or derail the music in favour of his own ego. There are plenty of people who are more technically proficient, but nothing, not a single fucking note that John Petrucci or that idiot Yngwie Malmsteen has ever played has rang out as beautifully and wonderfully as Dylan Carlson’s current playing style. There is also cool little solo by Bill Frisell in the middle. What Earth are doing right now is some of the finest, most enjoyable music to ever cross my ears.

Tom Waits – How’s It Gonna End

Tom Waits. Tom Waits. Tom Waits. Tom Waits somehow manages to make music that actually tastes and smells of dusty sheds and smoky poolhalls in dead end towns just off a desert highway. This song is a particular example of this. If you don’t like Tom Waits, you’re most likely an idiot.

Brian Eno – The Big Ship

Brian Eno has a lot to answer for. He is the basis of my entire understand of making music. Another Green World is a strange album filled with quirky pop and simply synthesized melodies. This track is one of the latter, and it has a strange sad yet happy feel to it. It sounds to me like acceptance, “Well, we’re all going to die, and nothing lasts for ever, but since it’s a nice day, lets sit and watch the clouds go by.”

Big Business – Another Beautiful Day in the Pacific Northwest

A far cry from the sludgy rock that appears elsewhere on this fine record, this track is nevertheless a perfect finale. A single repeating bass riff, pretty synthesizer noodling, and big brash drumming. This is the kind of music that makes me wish I had basic instrumental skills – it’s not complex, it’s not difficult, but it is epic and it is absorbing, and it is two guys plus a guest.

Dälek – Ever Somber

This is hip hop, but probably not in the manner most kids are accustomed to. The process is the same, the result is still a DJ dropping some beats and an MC rapping some rhymes, but the musical pallette is far broader than in popular hip hop. The sounds here are distorted, noisy, dirty. Presumably the result of these musicians growing up listening to rock as well as hip hop. On top of this, Dälek are lyrically interesting, rapping not about hoes and bitches, and bling bling, but social depression, oppression, the bankruptcy of modern black culture, politics. Ever Somber is built around a quirky but melodic sample, and features a few angry words regarding religion. Just my bag baby. In an age where white internet nerds are listening to novelty pirate-themed hip hop, this is a swift and overdue kick in their stupid faces.

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