The Police - "Bombs Away" (Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings, 1993) Message in a Box introduced me to a wealth of Police tunes lesser known to me since my exposure to them had largely been through FM radio, MTV, and the one Police album I actually owned growing up, Synchronicity. “Bombs Away” is one of those songs.
Nada Surf - "No Quick Fix" (Nada Surf: 1994-2008 vinyl box set bonus download, 2008)
In 2008 Barsuk Records released a limited-edition, numbered vinyl box set documenting Nada Surf’s career up to that point. The set was limited to 1000 copies and consisted of the band’s first five albums, a repressing of a long out-of-print 7”, and 16 b-sides and rarities available via single-use download codes, one of which was “No Quick Fix.” This is pure Nada Surf—sweet, catchy, jangly—and I’m not quite sure how it was relegated to b-side status.
Beastie Boys - "Funky Boss" (Check Your Head, 1992)
Um, see, there’s this boss. And he’s funky. And apparently he’s on someone’s back. The thing I really appreciate about Check Your Head is that the Boys proved they weren’t one-trick ponies by changing up their style and playing their own instruments. Now that’s funky.
Neal Morse - "Jayda" (Testimony 2, 2011)
Neal Morse’s solo albums Testimony and Testimony 2 document the events that led to his conversion to Christianity and, ultimately, to his leaving the prog-rock band Spock’s Beard he formed with his brother Alan in 1992. “Jayda” relates the miraculous healing of his infant daughter’s heart defect, a hole in her heart. I have a soft spot for Morse’s ballads, and being the father of a not-so-little girl these days, it has a tendency to bring a tear to my eye.
Michael Parr over at Popdose threw me for a bit of a loop today. I had my Five all percolated and ready to pour when he posted his Five and announced a theme of 2012 releases. So I groaned a bit, thinking my 2012 version wouldn’t be too interesting. Then I scrambled to get mine in before heading to a meeting, and whaddyaknow, it didn’t turn out too bad. But then I thought it would be a waste not to post my original Five, so in typical contrarian fashion, I posted both!
Torpedohead - "Heartbreak Key" (Greetings from Heartbreak Key, 2012)
I got turned onto this album just recently by Michael Butler over at the Rock and Roll Geek Show podcast when he did a track-by-track review of the album with founder, vocalist, and guitarist Sven Spacebrain. Hailing from Frankfurt, Germany, Torpedohead is fun, high-energy, straight-ahead melodic rock ‘n’ roll chock full of hooks, harmonies, and sing-along choruses. If you’re into that kind of thing, they are definitely worth checking out.
P.O.D. - "Beautiful" (Murdered Love, 2012)
I purchased this for my tweenaged son based on the hype that this release would be more similar to Satellite than their recent releases. It’s a good album, but apart from a couple of songs, I don’t think it delivers on the promise. This is the obligatory “ballad” to try to grab at least a little CCM FM radio airplay, although with subject matter that includes suicide, cutting, drugs, and depression, I doubt they’ll get played on anything but the edgiest of stations.
Ginger Wildheart - “Strange New Year” (555%, 2012)
Here’s another excellent track from Ginger’s wildly successful PledgeMusic campaign. This triple-album definitely lived up to the hype, and it’s one of my favorite purchases of the year so far.
Rush - "The Wreckers" (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
I’m still trying to get into the new Rush album. I was sold on it based on “Headlong Flight,” and while the album is good, I struggle to listen to it all the way through in one sitting. “The Wreckers” is easily the poppiest song on the album, hearkening a bit to something off of Hold Your Fire or their other late 80s output.
Nada Surf - "Looking Through" (Dulcitone Files, 2012)
Beautiful tune from a digital-only EP of acoustic performances of five of the tracks from the band’s most recent release The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy. As much as I like this band, late though I was to the party, I’m not sure why I haven’t picked up that album.
Led Zeppelin - “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” (Led Zeppelin III, 1970)
Zeppelin’s nod to the Mississippi Delta blues. I wish I loved it as much as they did. I just can’t get into this song.
Rush - "The Necromancer" (Caress of Steel, 1975)
Part Tolkien, part By-Tor, “The Necromancer” (and Caress of Steel as a whole) marked the point at which Rush dived headlong into the long conceptual pieces that marked the first part of their career. Although Caress was a commercial disappointment and earned the ire of their record company, most of the album is quite good. I especially like the spaciness of Part I of this track. Fortunately Rush didn’t cave under the pressure from their label to abandon the concept songs and produce a hit for the next album, which resulted in what is considered by many as the definitive Rush album.
KISS - "Then She Kissed Me" (Love Gun, 1977)
Not necessarily a bad cover of Phil Spector’s “Then He Kissed Me,” I just never thought it fit with the rest of the album and didn’t see the point, especially when I discovered this album as a pre-teen expecting the blood, the fire, and the spectacle I had at that point associated with KISS.
Collective Soul - "General Attitude" (Youth, 2004)
By the time Youth was released, Collective Soul had left Atlantic, lost its lead guitarist and songwriting collaborator Ross Childress, and had become (in my opinion) largely an Ed Roland solo band. Despite all this, it’s a great overlooked album, if you can get past some of the over-processed guitars. “General Attitude” is a pretty good representation of the rest of the album, a well-written straight-ahead pop song. Nothing wrong with that.
Glen Phillips - "I Want a New Drug" (Mr. Lemons, 2006)
I wasn’t quite sure what to think when I first heard this almost-unrecognizable cover of the Huey Lewis & the News mega-hit. These days I really appreciate Glen’s sparse, stripped-down rearrangement of the song.
The music video for the song Jules and Jim was filmed over the span of several months on location in Arch Cape, Oregon and inside a historic house in Providence, Rhode Island. It gently alludes to the classic French New Wave film of the same name. The video brings you into the dreamlike world of three characters who are both intertwined and isolated and into three different worlds which are also intertwined and yet isolated. The different perspectives of both the three characters and the three worlds seek to evoke the ever changing feelings and roller coaster ride that comes from being a rational being crazy in love - desire, jealousy, security, ecstasy, sadness, beauty and the like, and yet to be able to see clearly outside ones own feelings. The sets are either actual outdoor settings or were composed from organic materials and found objects. The characters were made from found objects, wire, and Sculpey.
The film was directed, animated and edited by Rachel Chaiya Blumberg. This is her second music video. In addition to film making she is also a painter and a musician.