Telekinesis - "You Turn Clear in the Sun" (12 Desperate Straight Lines, 2011)
Given my affinity for a good pop song, you’d think that I would have given Telekinesis a much fairer shake than I have. You’d be wrong. And after listening to this, I’m thinking I need to give this one-man-band another shot.
The Beatles - “Something (Take 37)” (The Alternate Abbey Road, 1969)
I really dig these sneak peeks at the Beatles’ recording process, warts, warbles, and all. Seems to pull them down a bit from that pedestal I’ve put them up on.
Dokken - "Into the Fire" (Tooth and Nail, 1984)
Despite the constant reminders back in the day that “Dokken rhymes with rockin’,” this doesn’t rock nearly as much as I remember. Although it’s a good song, and even though George Lynch was at one point one of my guitar gods (and lays down a very impressive solo here), this really seems sterile and safe all these years later.
Jars of Clay - "Overjoyed" (Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage, 2003)
Laid-back, lounge-inspired interpretation of an already laid-back tune from the CCM band’s sophomore album. The first disc of this greatest hits/retrospective includes similar studio reimaginings of songs from their first four albums. I love this kind of stuff.
Superchunk - "Digging for Something" (Majesty Shredding, 2010)
Super-catchy tune from this super-talented indie band’s super-awesome “comeback” album. I’m super-embarrassed that I had not really paid attention to Superchunk until a super-snobby friend turned me onto them with this album.
Superchunk - "Trees of Barcelona" (I Hate Music, 2013)
So far 2013 has been a pretty good year for music as far as I’m concerned, albeit a weird one. Most of my 2013 release purchases have been fan-funded projects through PledgeMusic, Kickstarter, and Indigogo—Eureka Machines, Ginger’s Hey! Hello! project, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and Dave Elkins of Mae with his Schematic release. But albums released through traditional means have been good, too—Black Sabbath, Dave Grohl’s Sound City project, QOTSA. But Superchunk’s latest is among the best front-to-back and has been one of my favorites of the year. This track is one of the 11 reasons why.
Foo Fighters - "Hey, Johnny Park!" (The Colour and the Shape, 1997)
And speaking of Dave Grohl, The Colour and the Shape contains some of my favorite Foos material. While this one isn’t one of those tracks, it’s nothing to sneeze at.
Toad the Wet Sprocket - "Nothing Is Alone" (Pale, 1990)
Again, not a favorite of mine, which is odd, because I tend to really like the songs Todd Nichols sings on the albums. But again, not a bad song by any means, and it ends up being a relatively upbeat end to an album that mostly feels dark and foreboding.
Arcade Fire - "Empty Room" (The Suburbs, 2010)
I don’t know why I just haven’t been able to get into this band. This song in particular tends to suffer from too much sameness from start to finish.
Coheed and Cambria - "Three Evils (Embodied in Love and Shadow)" (Live at Starland Ballroom, 2005)
I love the energy of this track and how the audience gets into it with the singalong sections. I love how completely weird Claudio is. I love the melodies he comes up with and how complicated some of his songs are. But you know what I love most about Coheed?! I love that Claudio plays a Gibson Explorer. There aren’t enough guitarists these days rocking that guitar.
Toad the Wet Sprocket - "Something’s Always Wrong" (P.S. (A Toad Retrospective), 1999)
One of my favorite Toad songs. I also like the versions Glen would do as a “duet” with the audience as part of his live acoustic shows early in his solo career.
Armored Saint - "Terror" (Raising Fear, 1987)
It’s hard to beat these early Armored Saint tunes, even with a clueless label like Chrysalis at the helm (they actually forced the band to include the horrid cover of Skynyrd’s “Saturday Night Special”). John Bush had such a great voice for the band. Too bad Chrysalis didn’t know what to do with the Saint, didn’t know the potential they had, or just didn’t care. I can’t decide which is worse.
King’s X - "Julie" (XV, 2008)
Great Jerry Gaskill tune dedicated to his long-time girlfriend (now wife). As with most of Jerry’s songs, this one has a shiny coat of Beatles inspiration all over it. His voice melds perfectly with Ty’s and dUg’s when they break out the three-part harmonies, but I wish Jerry had more of an opportunity to sing lead like he does here.
Superchunk - "Learned to Surf" (Majesty Shredding, 2010)
A certain Rock ‘n’ Roll Snob turned me onto this, and boy am I glad he did. This is my favorite from the album. I love the rhythm, the melody, and all the guitar parts battling for my attention in the stereo separation. And I swear if I ever start a band, I’m going to have a female bass player.
P.O.D. - "Three in the Power of One" (Snuff the Punk, 1994)
From the indie-label remaster of P.O.D.’s even idie-er first release, this song shows a young P.O.D. cutting its teeth on the hardcore rap-metal sound it would master and become identified with only two albums later. As such, much of the material on this album lacks the direction, maturity, and diversity that fueled the band’s success on The Fundamental Elements of Southtown or Satellite.
North Carolina alt-rock band Superchunk released a catchy, punk-tinged and aptly-named single today called “This Summer.”
The single is the first new material the band’s released since 2010’s Majesty Shreddding. Out through Merge Records, “This Summer” is complete with a B-side cover of Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer,” available for digital purchase and as a limited-edition 7”. You can stream the track below.