So......you ready for today's special guest post?
Good, so's she.
Take it away Randomnerd.....
Musicians are an incestuous lot. And no, I don't mean they go around sleeping with family members. At least, not that I know of. Or ever want to know of. Ick. No, what I mean is that they all seem to hop around from one group to another with a speed approaching that of sound, ping-ponging off each other as they bounce in and out of the studio. Why is that? Are they bored? Do they have itchy feet? Do other drummers smell better than their drummers? I doubt we'll ever know the real truth (psst, musicians LIE!) but this ricocheting waltz they've done since the Yardbirds went out of the yard has given us something worthwhile: the side-project. What our lovely musical geniuses do when they're not grooving with their home team. Or in Jack White's case, when said home team is taking a bathroom break. Now, I could make a list of my favorite side-project bands, but that's too easy. So I'm going to pick my top five side-project songs.
DISCLAIMER: I do not know every band in existence, nor every song. This list is purely my opinion, and I realize you might have your own. However wrong and misguided that opinion might be.
So here we go, in ascending order. But just for today, because we all know I'm a girl, and my opinions vary along with the chocolate level in my bloodstream and the size of my jeans on any given day.
5.) ROCKET JUICE & THE MOON "1-2-3-4-5-6"
Funky, ain't it? That's what you get when you cross a Blur with a Flea. That's Damon Albam counting, the only words on the track, but really, with that baseline and Tony Allen's drumming any other kind on vocals would only mess it up. The entire album is funkalicious, but it was this one that grabbed me. I don't know if it's because it reminded me of “Tank!” from Cowboy Bebop, or just the fact that it was so purely a straight up good example of guys playing their instruments. I don't really care. I just know it hasn't left my iPod much since I found it.
4.) SEBADOH "Flame"
Lou Barlow was the typical understated bass player for Dinosaur Jr. back in the eighties, but most of his songwriting was overshadowed by the bigger personality of J. Mascis. Turned out to be a good thing he didn't know how to stand up for himself, because we got the lo-fi group Sebadoh out of the deal, a side-project that turned into a full fledged band. And in 1999 they released they're seventh album The Sebadoh. The Flame starts out very low key, and remains that way for most of the song. Then at about 1:40 you get transitioned smoothly into something deeper. The drums beat, the guitars hum, and your blood stirs. The hair on your arms begins to stand up, and then poof. We're back to a low-key rock song. You're left wondering if that just happened except at the end it returns to remind you that these guys are just fiddling around. With either their instruments or their words.
"And you can feel anything you wanna feel
You can feel anything you wanna feel
You can feel anything you wanna feel
And call it real
But I don't wanna be the one who rides flame
I don't wanna be the one who rides flame
Hit the flame, burn a hole in my brain
Never be the same"
The whole thing sounds and feels like a slow burning candle that flares and dies down. It's a perfect blend of sound and imagery. And that's why it's on my list.
3.) MAD SEASON "Wake Up"
Way back in '94 a bunch of really cool musicians had some substance abuse problems. So they decided to work on an album together aside from their usual gigs in the hopes of staying on the straight an narrow. In a couple cases that didn't work so well, but the album they produced was truly excellent, a lot of the songs dealing with the demons in their lives. It's raw, it's painful, and it's beautiful. I know River of Deceit is usually everyone's favorite, but mine has always been Wake Up. Whether I think he's talking to a friend, or to himself, this song just cuts right into me. I could dissect the lyrics for you, or just let them speak for themselves. Which I think they do more than adequately.
"Wake up young man, it's time to wake up
Your love affair has got to go
For ten long years, for ten long years
The leaves to rake up
Slow suicide's no way to go, oh
Blue, clouded gray, you're not a crack up
Dizzy and weakened by the haze
Moving onward, so an infection not a phase, yeah
The cracks and lines from where you gave up
They make an easy man to read, oh
For all the times you let them bleed you
For little peace from God you plead and beg
For little peace from God you plead, yeah
Ahh, yeah, ahh, yeah, ahh, yeah"
2). DEAD WEATHER "60 Feet Tall"
What's that? Oh yeah. That's Jack White. It's a little impossible to have one of these lists without him. For one he has so many side-projects you can throw a dart in any direction and hit one these days. For another...well. They're just all frickin' good. But my favorite has Alison Mosshart in it. You might know her from The Kills. They're pretty spectacular all by themselves. Then you throw in Dean Fertita from Queens of the Stoneage and Jack Lawrence of the Greenhornes and the result is just...explosive. It's pretty hard to pick a favorite off this album. But not impossible. It might change next month, but this month it's 60 Feet Tall. It rattles, it shakes, it shimmies, and it's driving beat has your entire body wake up and icky thump along with it. You won't want to leave it be. You'll need it constantly.
1). THEM CROOKED VULTURES "No One Loves Me & Neither Do I"
I could just drop this whole album down here. I don't honestly have a favorite. The entire album should be listened to on repeat, and if you don't own it yet, go get it now. I'll wait.
Got it? Good. You'll thank me for it later. That's John Paul Jones. He is perfection. He has been perfection since way before Led Zeppelin. As far as I'm concerned the man came out of the womb playing the bass. Joining him is a new up and comer called Dave Grohl. He's been in a few good groups. Oh, and singing is Josh Homme, from those pesky Queens of the Stone Age guys again (they really do get around). But seriously, listen to this song if you haven't clicked it yet. Nothing I say will accurately describe the level of musical mastery in this song. The way it gets into your bones and wraps around your brain stem. You will be hearing the riffs in your sleep. You'll find yourself accidently yelling out “Well if sex is a weapon them smash boom pow! How do you like me now!” in the supermarket. It is just that addictive. As all good music is. It's a delight. It's a disease. And I'm stuck with it. Thank you god.
And thank you Dale, for letting me write this. Hope I didn't embarrass you. Let me know what your favorite side-projects are guys. Cheers!
No ging, you didn't embarrass me. Even kinda schooled me a little with some of these bands I never heard before. Never a bad thing there. Honored am I actually;)
And you too watching @ home can also submit a guest post. Any topic, don't care. Just e-mail me the details and what it is, and we'll go from there. Just that easy here at The House:)