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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Oliver Everett’

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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Hating dance music is for wussies. Loving trance, I’m afraid, is far worse. The only clubbing I feel like doing, given today’s piss poor excuse for party music, is one that involves cracked skulls on the dancefloor and my friend’s baseball bat. I really thought Intelligent Dance Music would catch up in my country. I envisioned speakers throbbing to the beats of Justice, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsytem, Burial or sparkling new remixes by Massive Attack but noooooo, even now I hear people are shaking a leg to trance music. Zombie fodder for the masses. Like millions of tiny hammers, rhythmically knocking at the sides of our skulls, coaxing our brains to resist any form of intelligent movement. “Dhak dhak dhak dhak don’t think, dhak dhak dhak fuckers…just dhak fucking dhak dhak move dhak dhak”. Sigh. I suggest we let them be and take in as much of Happy Mondays and New Order as we possibly can. The Manchester club scene has given birth to some of the finest dance music for the last two decades. And it hardly ever gets better than Happy Mondays’ 24 Hour Party People and New Order’s Blue Monday. Tell me….how does it feel?

*****

Bay Area alternative rockers Mother Hips are one of those bands that got swept under the carpet during the mid-Nineties, thanks to the grunge explosion; unfairly too, considering their knack for spinning out wicked grooves. I really dig their smoky bar-room brand of whimsical alternative rock that still bears the fragrance of Sixties psychedelic pop. Eric Burdon and Donovan Phillips would be proud. Oh, and you don’t ever have to shed another tear for Blind Melon’s premature exit from the music scene. Mother Hips is still here and looking to satiate silly Gen-X children, looking for redemption, having sinned against the true Gods of grunge by once pledging allegiance to Cobain.

*****

Concept albums have been crapped out by the dozen lately; some vaguely intriguing while others assiduously pretentious. Last year Nigerian-American rapper Wale released The Mixtape About Nothing – a collection of tracks inspired by his love for the sitcom Seinfeld. There’s a running joke in Seinfeld about the frivolity of its characters’ lives and the purpose of the show itself. Wale lets his laidback hip hop vibes channel this emotion as he kicks back with easy rhythms, stirring clever wordplay with Seinfeld quotes and witty character references. “The Opening Title Sequence”, with its awesome sampling of the show’s theme song, and the schizophrenic vibes in “The Manipulation” are definitive highlights. Download the mixtape here, here or here.

*****

Here’s another reason why Mark Oliver Everett of The Eels is the Paul McCartney of our times. Thankfully, he has never penned anything as dastardly as Yesterday. And I doubt if Paul has written anything as simplistically beautiful as Ugly Love.

 

Watch

The Eels – Ugly Love

Happy Mondays – 24 Hour Party People

New Order – Blue Monday

Mother Hips – White Headphones

Wale – Opening Title Sequence

Wale – The Manipulation

Buy

Music that really matters at least

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