These are the songs that have been inspiring us this month with some features from artists we've had the pleasure of performing with.
Alice In Chains
Released: 29th September 1992
Them Bones is a track by American Grunge band Alice In Chains. Alice in Chains are from Seattle, America and came to prominence during the grunge boom of the early 90’s, this track is from their second studio album Dirt which hit no. 6 in the Billboard Charts and has gone platinum 6 times! A testament to how good and how influencial this album was and still is!
This song features hard driving guitars that sound huge and aggressive. The main riff is a chromatic run up which is great for building tension, this is simplified for the verse which helps the momentum of the track. The verse vocals feature long held notes which work as almost a drone that adds to the tension of the song. The chorus moves into a more groove orientated guitar part and the vocals move to a more melodic style. This only adds to the tracks catchiness! This song is topped.off by an absolutely filthy guitar solo that fits the song excellently!
All in all an excellent song with great attitude that managed to be aggressive and catchy at the same time
Take your fingers from my hair
Zebra are an American hard rock band formed in 1975. In all honesty my first exposure to this song was from the third disc of Dream Theaters 2009 album Black Clouds and Silver Linings. After hearing it first from that album I decided to check out the original and there was something in the production that I felt was lacking in the Dream Theater version despite the arrangement being much the same.
The verses of this song feature a beautiful finger picked acoustic guitar part that follows the vocal melody, this is accompanied excellently by the synth parts which accentuate the chords and add some rhythmical interest in the back ground. Chorus wise we have an upbeat hard rock riff with falsetto vocals blasting out over it! The track finishes with an explosive instrumental section which is definitely worth a headbang to. Well worth checking out if you like your classic hard rock definitely a bit of a lost gem!
Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino
Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino
Released: 11th May 2018
This is probably my most controversial choice amongst my band peers! This album released in 2018 to... Let’s say mixed reviews. I think with the success of their previous album AM people were hoping for more of the same which this decidedly isn’t. The whole album is a bit of a departure from the Arctic Monkeys previous work swapping the hard and fast approach of their first few albums and the smooth groove orientated tracks of AM for still quite groovy piano ballads in this album.
This track in particular is my favourite of the album it’s an atmospheric and oppressive track that is reminiscent to me of the oppressive nature of customer service work. Am I thinking to deeply into this song... Probably! But I can’t help it I think this song is neat!
Santa Drives A Hot Rod
The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Dig That Crazy Christmas
The Brian Setzer Orchestra are a rockabilly/ swing revival group fronted by guitarist and singer Brian Setzer. The Brian Setzer Orchestra have made a name for themselves for their Christmas output and extensive Christmas touring where they play a whole set of Christmas songs in their own style. If you want a Christmas playlist that’s a little bit different I would definitely recommend having a look at their output.
My first introduction to the Brian Setzer Orchestra was their song Switchblade 327 and it was only later I found their Christmas output. If you like your Christmas songs reminiscent of classic rock and roll or big band swing this band is a good place to start!
C'mon Talk - Live
C'mon talk is a track by Norwegian Singer Songwriter and multi instrumentalist Jarle Bernhoft. This song has a great groove and features Bernhoft using a looper to great effect. I picked the live version of this track for this exact reason as it’s a lot easier to hear the different layers of loop as he builds them up and utilises them for different aspects of the track. If you get a chance I would definitely recommend watching a video of him performing this song, or in fact any of his tracks live, it’s well worth it! I think the impact of the songs is greatly increased by the live performance and seeing and hearing the intricacies of his approach.
Adam Neely with Little Kruta and Hannah Summer
Adam Neely is a music education youtuber and session bass player based in New York City. This particular track is a reimagining of the track Clarity by Zedd. This track came about when Adam was invited to be the guest vocalist at a recording session with Little Kruta , not being a vocalist Adam decided to write the first verse with him singing with a vocoder and later verses sang by New York vocalist Hannah Summer. Adam Neely's approach to this song is a jazz re-harmonization and features big spicy chords and sweeping horn lines. All this is complimented by the robotic delivery of the vocoder vocals and the juxtaposed by the soaring and melodic vocals from Hannah. It’s difficult to describe what it is I like about this song as there are so many aspects to it all I can say is you need to hear it. It’s harmonically rich grooves in wholly unexpected ways and in a lot of ways conveys the emotion of the original track far better than Zedds rendition.
This song has been a long time favourite for me. I can’t believe we haven’t chosen it before now actually.
The song starts with a very tense synth line with some heavily distorted guitars pulsing before it breaks in to the verses which are instantly recognisable and the chorus speaks for itself. If you haven’t heard this song then you’ve been doing something wrong.
The solo in the middle of the song is also a thing of beauty followed by a nice drum break before a tense synth line accompanies the vocals before powering back in to the final chorus.
This track has been a favourite of mine since my Dad introduced me to Marillion back in 2004. This twelve minute epic goes through several changes included time signature changes and some eerie lyrics to give the feeling of being forgotten by someone you’re in love with.
I saw Marillion in November this year and they were insanely good live which prompted me to include this track in our playlist for December.
Does anything need to be said? When it comes to Christmas songs this one is always in the top three for me. I loved it from the moment I first heard it and as far as I’m aware, it’s the only Christmas song to have the guitars tuned to drop D.
This is everything The Darkness intended to be, tongue in cheek jokes, clever lyrics, great melodies and full of guitar solos and harmonies.
Just What I Needed
Just What I Needed / I'm In Touch With Your World
This song showed me just how much of an influence these guys have had on a fair few rock bands. Some of them notably being The Killers, Big Talk and Weezer (The Cars lead singer Ric Ocasek produced some of their albums).
There’s a lot of movement in this song and the melodies are instantly memorable after a single listen. The chorus of this song definitely helped cement this song as an anthem.
A Design For Life
Manic Street Preachers
Everything Must Go
It turns out I know a few more Manics songs than I thought the last time Nathan played a few of their songs. I can remember hearing this one pretty close to the time it was released and it has always been a song I’ve appreciated. The anguish in the lyrics definitely helps the point of the song when it comes to belting out the chorus.
It’ll be fun to see them play live and hopefully this will be a highlight when they support The Killers in June 2020.
This is the second track from Johnny Marr’s second solo album. Everything about this track had me hooked instantly.
Great writing, great melodies, synths, and straight to the point. This album is what got me more in to The Smiths and what made them tick and how their songs came about so I’ve got a lot to thank this song for.
Songs In the Key of Fuck
No longer a band! Sad face. However, I came across these Welsh dudes back in 2008 I believe as part of an unsigned artists CD with an issue of Kerrang! magazine and this song and band stood out more than any other. I completely forgot about this song until a few weeks ago where my love for it was rekindled through pure chance. And that's why they're on this playlist.
My favourite musician of all time. Thom Yorke has inspired me more than most due to his versatility, talent and lyrical content. This guy could easily give Bob Dylan a run for his money. Perhaps known more for being the frontman of Radiohead, this is Thoms first solo outing back in 2006 and this song in particular was featured in the end credits of Christopher Nolans epic film 'The Prestige'. Full of weird drum loops and mesmerising piano, Thom does what he does best and completely capture you.
Back Door Slam
Best band name ever. Incredible bluesy riff dropped down to E Flat to give it that really bluesy feel maaaan. This is simple through and through but it's a riff that shouldn't go unheard.
Violence of the Sun
Perhaps my favourite Australian band, sorry AC/DC. The closing track to album Cosmic Egg features one of my favourite dynamic outros to any song and the vocals are insane. Bloody right mate.
One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours
If it weren't for Busted, Charlie Simpsons Heavy Rock/Metal band Fighstar would be a lot bigger. I was quite a fan back in the day due to the range of genres they tried. Listen to song Deathcar and then this track and you'll see exactly what I mean.
Happy Xmas (War is Over)
The king of hippies writes a very coherent and simple message and combines it with the happy and peaceful festivities of Christmas. This is a song about peace, not Christmas and therefore I've picked it as my favourite Christmas song. "War is over if you want it".