Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Five Songs, Chapter Eleven

It's been a while since the last installment. Dig out your dancing shoes.

"Getting Saved" by Portastatic

Portastatic's Bright Ideas was one of last year's best records, and this is probably my favorite song off the follow-up, Be Still Please, which is out in October and is one of this year's best. I would tell you how I got a copy, but then everyone's going to want one and we can’t have that.

"Life of Leisure" by Rainer Maria

If the rest of this band's latest album was as strong as its first three songs, you'd have a contender for 2006's top spot on your hands. As it is, well, download the first three songs. Here's an analysis made possible by iTunes, God bless it -- I’ve listened to those three a combined 70 times. I’ve listened to the other eight songs a total of 24 times. (OK, I just listened to the song "Already Lost," not one of the first three, and I have to say, I should be listening to that one more.) ((OK, OK, look -- the whole record’s pretty good, they just front-loaded the puppy, that’s all.))

"Wasted Time" by Skid Row

I know. Here’s the thing. In possession of iTunes, I wander. I think of songs I heard way back when, like this one -- yes, I somehow possessed the cassette of Slave to the Grind when it came out; you can stop reading now (not just this post, but the entire blog, and any personal correspondence I might send you). I won’t blame you. -- and I search for them, to see how they sound now. As I was telling a friend a few weeks ago, there are a lot of songs I listened to as the very dumb, tasteless, slowly testosterone-infused 13-year-old I was (“I Won’t Forget You” by Poison, “Wait” by White Lion, “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard, the list goes on) that sound as awful as I would imagine -- neanderthal lyrics, hacky musicianship, and production values that make it sound like poofy-haired ‘80s bands in search of recording space were regularly renting out giant empty coffee cans. Not this song, though. This is more Guns N Roses than Europe. Without defending Skid Row, and while admitting that the first couple of times I listened to this again it was with a vague sense of shame, this song isn't bad. Really. I’m also intrigued by someone like Sebastian Bach, who can really sing (particularly compared to most front men in hard rock), but chooses to growl in equal measure. It makes it that much more satisfying when he decides to clearly hit and hold a note. OK, it’s damning with faint praise to say a song is one of the better examples of a drug-addiction power ballad from the era that spawned this one, but there you have it. Oh, hell -- as one reviewer on Amazon opined, “Don’t think, just rock.”

The most humiliating thing -- but I'm all about full disclosure here -- is that I just spent all of those words on this song, and it's not even my favorite Skid Row song. That will have to wait for another time. I don't think we're ready for that.

"Sixteen, Maybe Less" by Calexico and Iron & Wine

Two great tastes that taste great together.

"Mind Blindness" by Dirty on Purpose

If you like male-female call-and-response vocals and ringing-then-fuzzy, melodic guitar, go now. Go. We’ll wait for you to get back.



Blogger Dezmond said...

Sebastian Bach was recently one of the washed up rockers featured on the incredibly addictive VH1 reality show "Supergroup". The premise was as you would guess, they put 5 volatile rockers passed their prime together, made them live in a house together, they wrote some tunes, and were given ten days to prepare for a show...and filmed the proceedings. Bach was inspired casting for the lead singer, as was Ted Nugent for one of the guitarists. Bach and The Nuge together in a band was some fun stuff to watch. The best part of the entire show was that Bach had these delusions that he was still at the peak of his fame, and acted as much. The band called themselves Damnocracy.

10:29 AM  
Blogger MAW said...

I saw Sebastian Bach a few years back when he was performing on Broadway in Jekyll and Hyde and he rocked it. That man has a truly amazing voice. He should just never, ever use that voice to talk because he is dumb as rocks.

(And for the record, I still rock out occasionally to "Eighteen and Life to Go.")

8:09 PM  
Blogger Dezmond said...

One of the best moments of "Supergroup" was in the finale, when they were performing at their gig that they had rehearsed so hard for. They wrote some new tunes, but also performed some hits from each of their respective former careers. When it was time for The Nuge's showcase, they do "Stranglehold" (which actually does rock). During the very long guitar solo showcase, Sebastian has little to do because the spotlight is on The Nuge. So he grabs a bunch of Damnocracy T-shirts and starts throwing them in the crowd during Nuge's solo. Then, per reality show procedure, they have Nuge in the interview room reflecting back, and he is so pissed that Sebastian was taking the attention away from him as he soloed on his "masterpiece" (Nuge's words). Awesome.

8:33 PM  

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