Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Smiths

Hello Friends,

I've spent loads of time recently flipping through records in shops all around Toronto. It's become part of my routine and I've never been happier. Last week I found something I'd been looking for since god knows when - 'Definetly Maybe' on vinyl. A great find indeed - but whilst searching for this I have managed to rejog my memory and my love of some classic albums. The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Rod Stewart, The Jam, The Verve, Led Zeppelin, REM, U2, and Radiohead to name a few. The Smiths is the band I've had on repeat through.

The beginning guitar riffs on 'How Soon is Now' is one of Johnny Marr's finest works and still gives me chills today. This band formed and 1982 only ever releasing 4 studio albums before parting ways in 1987. A shame for sure - but the 4 recordings left behind are timeless masterpieces unlike anything to come before or after.

Each member of the band still continues to be involoved in music today and have had some great success as individuals on many levels.

Morrissey has released 9 solo albums, Marr has formed his own group and been involoved with many big names and projects from Modest Mouse to supergroup Electronic. Andy Rourke has recorded with The Pretenders and Badly Drawn Boy while Mike Joyce did some work with the likes of Sinead O'Connor and even Public Image Limited. Not a bad group of resumes that spans the past 30 or so years of British pop music history.

What made The Smiths so special was the leathal combination of lyrical genius and melodic beauty. Morrissey might very well be the most romantic singer-songwriter in the past 50 years. He's got the most sensitive words yet somehow even the hardest, toughest soccer hooligans still love him. Johnny Marr inspired generations of British kids to pick-up the guitar and emulate his ways in music and style. They may have only had 4 albums together - but the 4 recordings helped shape the future for that rainy little island they call the UK.

It's fun, singable, memorable music that will live on forever. Here's a quick top 5 Smiths tracks I'd like to recommend that you check out or try again for the first time.

"If there's something you'd like to try. If there's something you'd like to try. Ask me I won't say no, How could I."

Thanks for reading/listening.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

This is the sound of my soul, this is the sound...

Hello Friends,

Above are some classic lyrics from a song recorded almost 30 years ago. 27 to be exact. It's the 80's hit 'True' by Spandau Ballet . A powerful track indeed and stands-up to anything today. I hadn't heard this song in ages until watching the final season to the British series Skins. One of the characters plays it for a girl on a ukulele and it's a beauty scene. I also really liked P.M. Dawn's sampling of it on the 1991 R&B hit 'Set A Drift on Memory Bliss' . I digress...

Skins is simply the most amazingly accurate look at a teens life growing up in the UK. It's not all that different from teens growing up anywhere in the world actually. I personally fell in love with this show about a year and a half ago and watched it religiously for a few weeks to get through the first 2 seasons. The main thing for me was the music that was selected throughout.

It's unlike anything you would expect making it all stand-out ten folds. In the first episode they actually used some Lisa Stansfield . The 3rd episode had Gwen McCrae's 'Ninety Percent of Me is You' which blew my mind as this is such a killer track. The 4th episode used Gossip's 'Standing in the Way of Control' as seen here in the amazing trailer for the series.

Here's a quick look at some of the music that was used throughout the 4 seasons.

  • Starship - 'We Built This City' season 1 episode 9
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - 'Spread Your Life' season 2 episode 2
  • Sigur Ros - 'Untitled' season 2 episode 3
  • Ben Harper - 'Steal My Kisses' season 2 episode 5
  • Depeche Mode - 'I Feel You' season 2 episode 6
  • Althea and Donna - 'Uptown Ranking' season 2 episode 8
  • Adele - 'Hometown Glory' season 2 episode 9
  • MGMT - 'Time to Pretend' season 2 episode 10
  • Dr. Dre - 'Next Episode' season 3 episode 4
  • The Clash - 'Bankrobber' season 3 episode 5
  • The Velevet Underground - 'Sweet Jane' and Bon Iver's - 'Flume' season 3 episode 7
  • Glasvegas - 'It's My Own Heart That Makes Me Cry' season 3 episode 9
  • Mumford and Sons - 'The Cave' season 4 episode 1
  • Temper Trap - 'Sweet Disposition' season 4 episode 2
  • The Drums - 'Lets Go Surfing' season 4 episode 3
  • Band of Skulls - 'Honest' season 4 episode 5
  • Phil Collins - 'Easy Lover' season 4 episode 7 *why do all psychos listen to Phil?
  • Kylie Minogue - 'Can't Get You Out of My Head' season 4 final episode *killer scene:)

I urge you to check out this series if you have a chance. Skins production and music teams have raised the bar as to how music can and should be used in television and film. Many bands have this series to thanks for their success and I am certain that many more will break onto the scene because of it.

Thanks for reading/listening.