Music things


There are always certain topics of debate that people with similar interests can find themselves having. From sports to music to politics, there is generally always room for opinion and debate — sometimes even too much room. As a music lover, specifically I guess under the “rock and roll” genre (which we could debate about too) there is one question I am trying to pin point an answer for. No it isn’t which version of Hurt is better, Johnny Cash’s or Nine Inch Nails’, although I still debate the question often, but rather one even more broad — what are the top 10 timeless rock tunes? When I say timeless I mean songs pretty well everyone in the room would know if it were to be played in a social setting, songs a majority of people can agree one. However, just because everyone knows the song doesn’t mean the song is good  or to be auto considered for the top 10, so we must also include a level of greatness in regards to the musical talent within the songs.

The following are my top 10 timeless rock tune picks, in random order —

1. Pink Floyd – “Wish You Were Here”
This was a toss up between “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb” — both such gems, but which one is superior to the other? I chose “Wish You Were Here” partially because I think more people would know it, and partially for the classic “we’re just two lost souls living in a fish bowl, year after year…” lyric. This does not disregard the brilliance of “Comfortably Numb”.

2. The Beatles – “Eleanor Rigby”
This one may be a bit bias, okay they all may be, but I particularly love this Beatles song. I realize The Beatles have a multitude of music, and I am an avid lover of them, but there is just something about the melody and quickness of this song in combination with the lyrics that gets me every time. Also, who doesn’t love some violin? “Eleanor Rigby” is a 2 minute bit of perfection, in my mind.

3.The Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop”
I know a few people who actually tell me they don’t enjoy The Ramones, however, this song is brilliant (I already used that word to describe something already but it really is brilliant). I tend to have a thing for songs that reference historical events and/or monumental things, thus, how can I not love a song titled after a German tactic from World War II?

4. The Strokes – “Last Nite”
I flipping love this tune! Anytime this song comes on the radio or in the bar I feel happy. It may be that I associate it with good memories but I really do think this song is timeless. Anyone who is cool would know it and sing along with me! Tis one of a kind.

5. Neil  Young – “Rockin’ in the Free World”
Another artist who makes it difficult to chose a best song from — also Canadian! This was a toss up between my final selection and “Heart of Gold”. I feel like more people definitely know “Rockin’ in the Free World” and it just feels good to belt out and dance around too. What person hasn’t gone through a phase of far left peace loving empowered by “Rockin’ in the Free World” and like songs?

6. Led Zeppelin – “Black Dog”
Gotta love Led Zeppelin and their never ending songs. Strangely this song is unusually shorter than many of their other masterpieces. Another toss up between this pick and “Dazed and Confused” or “Stairway to Heaven”. I don’t know what to say about this song and why I picked it, other than saying it is awesome, and pumps any person in their right mind up! Oh, snap I sound like such a loser, but we’re all friends so let’s sound like losers together and “Ahhhh ahhh ahhh ahhh” together. “Stairway to Heaven” is such a long song, I often wonder if people ever listen to it completely through.

7. Nirvana – “In Bloom”
I am a huge fan of the early 90s grunge, so I had to include some of that goodness. Although I am slightly obsessed with Pearl Jam, I do think Nirvana is more timeless in certain aspects — don’t hate me Eddie. I am sure you may tire of my telling you about the dilemmas I had choosing, but again, Nirvana has so many gooders — “Polly”, “Rape Me”, “Come As You Are”, “Heart Shaped Box” and the list goes on. “In Bloom” however is that classic one, suitably agnsty and catchy enough that people love it. Again, I am sure many of you have been caught singing this out loud at one point or another in your life, if not — you will!

8. The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”
Jack white is pretty damn awesome, one of his many projects needed to make my list. I pick “Seven Nation Army” because that infectious drum beat with the guitar paired in is pretty unmistakable. The song is no doubt a classic, although newer than a lot of the aforementioned, it won’t be dying anytime soon.

9. The Rolling Stones – “Paint it Black”
Hell yes I love this one too, go figure?! This is an epic song, the fact that my boss can strum it on his guitar quietly in our office one day and suddenly have everyone around singing along says something. I bet you sing this song in your head when you seen red doors, don’t deny it!

10. Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Simply because this song is so dynamic. Additionally, it’s fun to sing or watch other people sing. Power to all the Freddies out there!!

Songs such as Journey – “Don’t Stop Believing” got automatically disqualified from selection due to the fact that I am actually tired of hearing it. I’m sure Journey doesn’t mind the popularity of their hit since Glee killed it into the brains of youth everywhere, but I do. Furthermore, it was quite difficult for me not to include Blue Oyster Cult, because I love me some cow bell, but I am not convinced everyone else does enough to argue it as timeless.

I am a sucker for a bearded man singing a good tune full of humility. I thought I would share these lovely melodies with anyone else who may feel the same because I can’t seem to get them out of my brain!

Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
Love this band, and this song is amazing. I think the video sort of makes it all better because it is quite clever, despite the fact that I don’t generally pay attention to music videos.

Right Away, Great Captain – I’m Not Ready to Forgive You
This is the solo project of Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra  that I fortunately just stumbled upon. I love his voice and there is even more sincerity and emotion throughout all his solo material, I love it! Simple and beautiful.

Dan Mangan – Post War Blues
A lot of people have given this new album some flack and this song in particular but I happen to love it! Dan Managan is arguably one of the best artists I have seen live and I genuinely enjoy listening to his voice and the unique sounds he comes up with. This video is also quite clever…

The Arkells – On Paper (acoustic)
Another freaking awesome band. Although I love their “regular” stuff I also really like their acoustic versions like this gem.

Pearl Jam – The End
Often times older bands who had their peak over 10 years ago don’t release very good new material, PJ is definitely an exception for me. There are some very heart breaking songs on their Backspacer album and this one is one that I can’t stop listening to. Ahh…

I have been in a very musical mood for the past few weeks, and I think that justifies blogging about some of the wicked awesome songs  I have been obsessing over lately. These songs literally awaken my soul….

City and Colour – Old Man
I know this is a Neil Young cover but I love both Neil and Dallas so this song just makes me feel damn good deep down where it counts.

Jack White – Love Interruption
Even though Jack White is a bit of a weirdo he seems to know what he is doing when it comes to making music. Love this short and sweet goodness.

Mumford and Sons – Awake my Soul
For those of you who haven’t heard of Mumford and Sons you probably should check them out! They have mandolins, bangos and all sorts of cool instruments on top of all the “norm”. I find this song in particular so cleverly worded and, well, beautiful.

Said the Whale – Heavy Ceiling
This song reminds me of my former favourite local band The Shagbots (RIP) so how can I not love it? It has a wicked sound that isn’t like every other song on the radio and it makes me feel like I should dance.

The Shins – Simple Song
The Shins are a solid choice for musical goodness — this song is no exception. I love how uplifting this tune is!

Arkells – Book Club
 I specifically like this song in the acoustic version because their voices are so strong, I can’t get enough of it! They sound awesome together and this song just rocks my socks, ok?

Well, okay, not entirely teen — probably mostly 20 somethings. Either way, it’s a good song and somewhat relevant title when you finally figure out what the hell I am going to blog about.

I have definitely made it no secret how supportive I am of local music here in Calgary, and I think it is almost a duty of mine to continue to spread the love by dedicating a blog every so often to the awesome talent we have going on.

Saturday night I happened to luck out and learn was a Rockstar contest finale hosted by one of the local radio stations. Generally I follow these types of events, but since a new station took over hosting the contest I haven’t paid as much attention as I normally would. There were slated to be some not-so-Ashley style artists performing but looking further down the list I noticed that 2 local acts I really dig were up for a chance at the same $200, 000 the other not-so-Ashley style artists were trying to win. One of the acts in particular, Makeshift Innocence, I hadn’t seen perform in years. Yeah, I kept track of their Facebook updates every so often and watched their latest videos but I wasn’t fully aware of how amazingly they had transformed since my last live encounter with them.

The last time I saw Makeshift Innocence they were a smaller group, I believe they may have even just been a duo at that time, playing in a dingy bar just on the outskirts of downtown in the Big Rock Untapped competition against my ex-boyfriend’s band. I remember this vividly because after I saw them perform, specifically saw their front man Jesse-James do his thing, I was blown away. The set was fairly simple and acoustic, but that’s basically how I love things. I felt almost guilty because I was supposed to be there to support someone else, my boyfriend at the time someone else to be exact, and I was feeling more drawn to this new act that until that night, I’d only heard a little about through word of mouth. I probably also felt slightly guilty because I am a sucker for bearded tattooed men who can woo me with their melodic talents and I had a boyfriend at the time but, hey, back to the story.

Turns out Makeshift was onto something and the band won the “showdown” that night in the dingy bar. I couldn’t help but be sort of excited for them, despite the fact that the people I was originally rooting for had just lost. Apparently that night was only the beginning. I have to admit, although I subscribed to updates from the group and continued to follow them through social media, I never made it to anymore shows for whatever reasons I had at the time. On Saturday night, after seeing not only how evolved the group has become, sounding so together and full of a feel good genuineness you can’t always find with a clearly strong support from the community, I felt somewhat guilty for not making all those past shows I missed out on.

I’ve seen some of my favourite local bands fade out before my very eyes. Even bands that saw great national and international successes have evaporated on us. Bands who were seemingly destined for greatness and end up deciding to pursue other things isn’t uncommon in the business and especially the local scene because it takes such hard work to get anywhere. Even after a little help, or a really successful breakthrough, a good number of talented bands end up fizzling out at one point or another; the “rockstar” phase ends and they go back to living “normal” lives.

What I particularly loved about Saturday night was that I had an instant feeling that Makeshift Innocence wasn’t going to be like those other bands. The group had clearly been alive for a couple of years by this point, considering it had been a while since I last saw them perform, and although the members in the group changed some, they had clearly learned enough to know what direction they needed to take their music. The group, despite the changes, still had that simple, raw and authentic presence about them that I loved. I don’t mean to use simple so often, as it can be intended as derogatory, but I mean it to be quite positive. You knew instantly what the band was there to do, you knew that they weren’t putting on an act; they weren’t walking around bribing people with lollipops and balloons. Makeshift Innocence was there to share something they love with people that love them for sharing it. How much better can it get?

My first time seeing Makeshift Innocence I saw them win a small local competition, but a competition none the less. Clearly that win was only one of the many catalysts they received over the last couple of years. Somewhat fitting that the second time I get to see them they also win, this time $200, 000 in career development and support in a relatively larger competition. I finally feel like it is a fitting reward for a group that I have faith will use it wisely.

Can’t wait to see what the future holds, and I will try and not be such a slack ass when it comes to seeing these guys, and gal, perform some more! Ideally they stick with it and don’t make me eat my words — ha ha.

Thanks to Jason Profant from Ink Monkey in Venice, CA

2010 was a year that really threw life in my face, I experienced more during 2010 than I did any other year. Because 2010 was so monumental for me I decided to take my birthday to LA. Further to that I also decided I wanted to get a tattoo while I was there. I went it knowing what I wanted the tattoo to represent and I knew that I wanted it to include the line “Happiness by the Kilowatt”.

For those of you who don’t know Happiness by the Kilowatt is an Alexisonfire song. Alexisonfire is a fantastic Canadian band, in fact one of my favourites. Dallas Green, who is one of the main vocalists in the band also has a solo project called City and Clour where he often sings the song acoustically. I first heard the song in the acoustic format and I feel in love with it. When I heard the original heavier version done by the full group I grew even fonder. The music and the lyrics of this song just have a way of  moving me every time. Obviously not everyone will feel this way when they hear the song, and some might even hate it, but I feel fond enough to now sport a tattoo forever citing it.

For me this song represents raw emotion; it represents a vulnerability we all feel at some point in our lives and most times cannot put into words. The lyrics, to me, refer to a getting getting to a point in life and realizing it was not what you imagined it to be; feelings of confusion and uncertainty due to predetermined expectations not being satisfied. I find I can relate very well to the realization in regards to expectations and growth not running on a parallel. Coming into adulthood threw a lot of curve balls my way and I quickly learned things that you are told while growing up aren’t always so. This song for me represents those initial lessons I began to learn but also the realization that life is meant to be lived you can’t hide in the shadows of something that “should be”. I also think it pushes you not to just settle for the easy route. I have blogged a few times about my ever difficult struggle to stop building up expectations for everything in life specifically because I know how detrimental it can be. I have often contemplated settling versus continuing to achieve more, create new goals, etc. so furthermore the song speaks to me.

I told my tattoo artist how the song made me feel and made him listen to the song in both versions before he started drawing. Funny thing about artists is that they understand one another and he ended up exceeding my expectations.

So, this is continuous happiness?
You know, I always imagined it something more.
With the right paint, the right shades, the right frames, this could really work.
What a great day to spend indoors…
W
ake, wake up. Wake, wake up….
So where has all the day gone?

And why are my lungs aching when I breathe?
Is there something wrong with the heat? Why am I so cold?
My heart feels sick and it hurts when I speak, and this is  not what I hoped for.
In a hail of sparks and a tangle of wires everything went wrong.
Wake, wake up…
Was this what we hoped for?
Was this what we hoped for?

 

 

vul-ner-a-ble
/ ˈvəln(ə)rəbəl / [vuhl-ner-uh-buhl]
adjective
1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt
2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.

Usually when vulnerability is used in description of another person it has a negative connotation to it; I don’t think I have ever come across anyone who believed being vulnerable was a good thing. I got to thinking though, and started to question why it had to be implied so negatively all the time.

When people are found to be in their most vulnerable of states generally it is a result of uncontrollable factors like loss, lack of experience, heartbreak and the like. Although experiences that generally cause vulnerability are less than favourable I don’t see the harm in losing yourself to emotions for a while, feeling hurt, feeling betrayed, feeling like you can’t trust anymore or feeling like you just have no idea what you are doing. In my opinion there is little else in the world that reminds me that I am alive than to have to experience these vulnerabilities. The more life we live the more instances of vulnerability we are exposed to and how we come out is how we grow, how we move forward and shape our futures. We were all inexperienced and thus vulnerable at one point in our lives so how can we go on associating that stage in others’ lives with something that is always negative?

An inexperienced child may be considered vulnerable to injury when they are near a hot stove because they just don’t realize the consequences of what could happen when they come into contact with the stove. Once the child gets burned they usually learn their lesson and although they felt brief pain they are far less likely to have to feel it again as they now know better. The basic principle carries out through our lives with most situations we have to deal with, we go into things without a clue or happen to be momentarily blinded and we get burned. Even though we’ve been burned we heal from the burn with skills in how to prevent future, perhaps more serious burns seeing that vulnerability as helpful rather than a burden.

Clearly, taking advantage of someone in an obvious state of vulnerability isn’t exactly a noble idea, however taking a minute to understand why they are could be. Exposing your vulnerabilities can be just as dangerous for an individual as it could be for an army in battle — when you let someone else know how you’ve been hurt or where you lack experience you could be giving the other party an upper hand. Although, when it comes to relationships would you ever honestly be proud to boast you hold such an “advantage”? I think knowing the details of such moments [to an extent] can be a lovely thing as I believe  intimacy can grow from it. Knowing another person is just as imperfect and susceptible to their emotions as you are can be comforting. In addition, it can help provide the leverage needed to take an extra leap of faith which could lead to something great, and even if it doesn’t at least the past experiences have matured you enough to see things off with a little dignity still intact. I think I would rather learn from my most vulnerable of moments than live my life with regrets.

Listening to wide varieties of music I have come across all sorts of songs that make me feel all sorts of things and even some that do nothing for me. What I have come to notice is that I tend to gravitate to the artists who are not afraid to expose their vulnerability through the words and emotion in their music. Honesty is a beautiful thing and instead of playing a situation off to be something different, why not feel the true feelings it conjures up? The Dallas Greens, Dan Mangans and Michael Bubles of the world don’t have large female followings for no reason, for a woman a man who actually appears to feel is almost, if not as sexy as some hunk of a man strolling a beach in a Speedo (work with my analogy here okay).

I am not 100% sure where I wanted this mind reel of mine to go however it makes enough sense in my head. Don’t be afraid to feel and experience life because you could render yourself vulnerable, you can’t live life completely while you are hiding behind fear. Being vulnerable isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just a constant reminder that we’ve never experienced it all.

The last few weeks have been quite pleasant for live local music in Calgary. Although I have probably already butchered the topic by posting blurbs about the same great local bands I’ve seen I think it is important for people to be aware of the talent that can literally be right down the street. Nothing quite like paying $10 to listen to amazing live music and dance the night away with good friends.

The Fast Romantics
http://www.myspace.com/fastromantics

Secret Broadcast
http://www.myspace.com/secretbroadcast

The Shagbots
http://www.myspace.com/theshagbots

Debra
http://www.myspace.com/thedebrafiles

Co-Pilots
http://www.myspace.com/copilotsmusic

Seven Story Red Head
http://www.myspace.com/sevenstoryredhead

Smalltown DJs
http://www.myspace.com/smalltowndjs

East Wave Radio
http://www.myspace.com/eastwaveradio

Shotgun Dolls
http://www.myspace.com/shotgundolls

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