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Posts Tagged ‘Billie Joe’

39. Down – Ghosts Along The Mississippi

Phil Anselmo’s a beast. The uncrowned prince of southern-tinged thrash metal and whatnot. Along with his merry band of traveling badasses (Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower and Rex Brown), he belts out one of the best metal ballads I’ve heard since forever. Yes it’s a ballad. Just that Anselmo’s narrative skills are really really scary. Just so you know, Down’s Bustle In Your Hedgegrow is a keeper.

38. Pharoahe Monch, Common & Talib Kweli – The Truth

Some folks sleep better at night, knowing that Hip Hop is only about silly braggadocio and profane limericks. Yeah sure, man. Metal’s all about “Fred Durst and his nookie”, Blues is nothing but an erstwhile John Mayer solo stuck in transit and hey, what is Jazz but a fleeting moment encapsulated inside those reverb-laden Buddha’s Bar albums, right? Wankers. Rappers Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli and Common turn their spittle into laidback conscious rhymes as ethereal strings dive bomb all around them.

37. Weezer – Brain Stew (Live at AOL Sessions)

The anthemic pop punk explosion of Green Day’s original is given a shock treatment by the underrated LA hipsters Weezer. They sedate the track into sounding like therapeutic murmurs that burst into full-blow argument in favour of insanity, thanks to a fantastic piano breakdown. Fun fact: Rivers Cuomo eats cookie-cutter punks like Billie Joe for breakfast.

36. Corrosion Of Conformity – Rise River Rise

I bet James Hetfield secretly wishes that Metallica had made America’s Volume Dealer instead of Corrosion Of Conformity. Soul-stirring, bone-crunching and flat-out amazing. Senor badass Pepper J. Keenan on vocal duties and rhythm guitar plays us like a fiddle, especially on this track.  Fun fact: Pepper Keenan burps out hags like Hetfield after a diet coke.

35. Mark Lanegan – Bombed

Mark Lanegan’s sandpaper-grated, whiskey-soaked vocals surface above the sparse acoustic strumming, along with PJ Harvey’s velveteen whispering, to create the sort of experience that a measly minute truly doesn’t deserve. Like QOTSA’s Lullaby but a million times better.

34. Jon Brion – Theme from ESOTSM

Jon Brion just happens to be one of the most talented multi-instrumentalists out there. His compositions for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind work wonders with Charlie Kaufman’s fantastic dialogues. Existentialism has never sounded lovelier.

33. Crowbar – To Touch the Hand of God / Odd Fellows Rest

I have wussied out and chosen Louisiana’s sludge kings Crowbar’s tamest and most palpable tracsk. Matter of fact, these could be the most fragile ballads to have ever emerged from the NOLA metal scene (along with COC’s Shelter). Not many completely fathom the unbridled intensity of their slow-paced, downtuned brooding, but it would take nothing short of busted eardrums to circumvent the breathtaking artistry of these two.

32. Aceyalone and Goapele – Moonlit Skies

As a founding member of the Freestyle Fellowship, LA rapper Aceyalone was one of the forerunners of jazz rap. Goapele is one of those neo soul musicians who playfully messes around with downtempo and trip hop. Together they…yes, I do believe the word I’m looking for is magic.

31. The Eels – Hospital Food

In case you’re new around here, Mark Oliver Everett has my vote for any King of Pop list. I don’t know any other singer-songwriter since Lennon and probably Elliot Smith to a lesser extent who has been this consistently good. The 1998 album Electro Shock Blues has some of the most gloriously twisted pop music there ever was, with this track’s erstwhile saxophone meltdown providing its most cathartic moment. “He’s always got a problem, he’s a very bitter dude, and now he’s complaining ’bout his hospital food”.

30. Portishead – Only You (Live In Roseland)

Let it be known that Portishead’s Live In Roseland, NYC, is one of the best live albums of the Nineties. With the New York Philharmonic Orchestra backing her up, singer Beth Gibbons lovingly embraces her smoky bar-room mystique and launches into a bone-chilling version of this track.

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Billie Joe, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool are insolent fools and just be punished for their sins against alternative music. I know that Green Day has grown momentously popular ever since their American Idiot album won all sorts of prizes and critical acclaim, no doubt about that. A dirty little punk band from California made it in big league, yippity do da, group hug anyone? I’m one of their Nimrod-era fans; was thrilled that they made pop punk an alternative sound to college rock. Then they took that nice catchy sound and forced it to watch Ben Hur, Troy, and King Arthur thrice without blinking. Out of this cruelty came delicately orchestrated, intricately-woven rock music that made tattooed kids feel a lot less pansy for crying. You might as well listen to My Chemical Romance. Or wait for some brutally bad R&B tribute to Michael Jackson.

*****

I love Wilco because they don’t care about the audience. Not the Foo Fighters-types who would let their prospective CD buyers decide the level of experimentation or wussification they dabbled in. Wilco has made music for Volkswagen, Apple Inc., given up alt-country for avant-garde folk and even released a 15-minute track of droning ambient noises, conquering my heart by casually hinting, “Everyone will probably hate it”. They’ve jammed with Richard Lloyd (Television), Feist, Fleet Foxes, Nels Cline and pledged their allegiance to Woody Guthrie, John Cale and The Band. Don’t hold Wilco’s Grammy nominations and wins against them; these guys know and make great music. Their current line-up along with their self-titled album’s unabashedly swooning melodies is my second favourite incarnation of the Wilco sound, next to only the glory days of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’s pop psychedelia. Bull Black Nova, a fantastic garage jam drunk on electronic blips, is a great place to start if you have never given the sextet a try. If you don’t like it, no harm done…that makes seven people who don’t really care.

*****

Maybe it’s the Indian inside screaming for cultural relevance or maybe I just like kooky band names, but I can’t have a band called Bombay Bicycle Club go past me without taking notes. I came across one of their tracks – The Hill – heard it for two minutes and quickly wrote them off as Coldplay on amphetamines. At around the 2.25 minute mark, guitarist Jamie MacColl and drummer Suren de Saram break free and start jazzing it up, getting a great groove going as vocalist Jack Steadman brings back the chorus of “alright lets go outside, and rise, rise, rise, to the meaning of life”and somehow everything sounds infinitely better this time around. Hopefully there are other gems to be discovered on their How We Are album that are as exquisitely crafted. Now if only other bands like Congratulations on Your Decision to Become A Pilot and When People Were Shorter and Lived Near the Water sound as good as their names do.

*****

If you thought Johnny Cash’s version of Soundgarden’s Rusty Cage was badass, I suggest you listen to Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright belt the hell out of their Jesus Christ Pose. Apart from being one of their heaviest slabs of psychedelic metal, Jesus Christ Pose also seemed like one of their more not-to-be-messed-with tracks. Pastor Wright sidesteps such humble assumptions and blows the roof off gospel style – with a bunch of fantastic musicians courtesy of Wheedle’s Groove records backing her up. This, my minions, is so much better than you could possibly imagine.

Download

Pastor Wright with Wheedle’s Groove – Jesus Christ Pose

Watch

Green Day – Walking Contradiction

Wilco – Bull Black Nova

Bombay Bicycle Club – The Hill

Buy

Green Day’s Insomniac

Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Wilco’s Wilco

Bombay Bicycle Club’s How We Rise

Seattle’s Finest in Funk & Soul 1965-75: Wheedle’s Groove

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