Desert Island Artists

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Peter T.
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:39 pm

Desert Island Artists

Post by Peter T. » Sun May 10, 2015 4:02 am

A few friends and I recently swapped lists of the bands/artists we have most connected with and more importantly, why. I couldn't limit myself to 10 or 20, so sue me. :)
I hope others will open up and share.
Peter T.
1. (A) Springsteen, because he opened my eyes to wider horizons and endless possibilities, or so I thought at the time. And his Darkness-era concerts were extraordinary communal experiences. He played like he had everything to prove. Since the early 80s, with a few exceptions, his studio output hasn’t done much for me. It’s a cool thing when you hear your teenage daughter playing Incident on 57th Street over and over again from inside her bedroom.
1. (B) The Clash, because nothing prepared me for their debut album (still my all-time favorite), and like Springsteen, they were a blowtorch of a band live. Joe Strummer’s raw, garbled vocals and Mick Jones’ inventive guitar work so needed each other. And their subsequent solo stuff attest to this. And who would have thought that London Calling would be in these guys?
2. Frank Turner, because his lyrics hit my head and heart, and his shows are worth being sleep deprived for. He made me fall in love all over again for rock and roll. Check out: I Am Disappeared, Long Live The Queen, Try This At Home, and To Take You Home, and Love, Ire, and Song, and I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
3.Weddings Parties Anything, because of Mick Thomas’ ability to get in other people’s shoes, the band’s rollicking tunefulness, and the Australian history lessons they provide. Oh, and they do the greatest song ever written about cannibalism. Granted, it’s a pretty thin category. Check out: A Tale They Won’t Believe, For A Short Time, Rain In My Heart, The Woman of Ireland, Knockbacks in Halifax
4. The Hold Steady, because where else do you get tales of substance abuse, Roman Catholicism’s tortured hold on its adherents, and the fine line between sin and redemption. And the writer and singer, Craig Finn, looks like he should be managing the third shift in a CVS, but what a presence on stage. Tad Kubler’s Gibson guitar provides some of the absolutely coolest sounds I’ve ever heard. Check out: Constructive Summer, How A Resurrection Really Feels, Stuck Between Stations, First Night, and Massive Nights. When their brilliant keyboardist, Franz Nicolay, left the band, they were never the same.
5. Paul Heaton (with The Housemartins, The Beautiful South, and solo) because no one has such dark, sometimes sinister lyrics offset against the catchiest, most upbeat melodies. And his latest, What Have We Become, may be his best. Check out: Moulding of a Fool, DIY, Song For Whoever, Get Up Off Our Knees, and Happy Hour. The list of killer songs is ridiculously long.
6. Paul Kelly (with The Messengers and solo) because he can say so much with so few words. The Aussie Dylan perhaps? Never made it big in the states due to his charisma deficit, and of course the economics of an Aussie get on radio here. Check out: Deeper Water, Careless, To Her Door, and How To Make Gravy.
7. Garland Jeffreys, because he brought me to NYC long before I ever made it on my own. Check out: Wild In The Streets, 35 Millimeter Dreams, New York Skyline, Hail Hail Rock and Roll, and Don’t Call Me Buckwheat.
8. The Bottle Rockets, because Brian Henneman makes you care about people you probably don’t encounter much in life. And the band always nails it! Check out: Gravity Fails, Welfare Music, Indianapolis, I’ll Be Coming Around, Gotta Get Up, Get On The Bus. And they have a new album coming out this summer!
9. Elvis Costello, based upon his first four albums, when he couldn’t get a date or even a meaningful conversation with a woman. Once he lost his anger, he was never the same to my ears. But boy do those early albums still hold up, fierce, smart and impossibly alive.
10. Graham Parker, based upon his first four albums, when he was striving for record industry recognition. Once he got it, and subsequently parted with the truly sublime, Rumour, he was never the same to my ears. And Hold Back The Night is probably my favorite cover song of all- time. Check out: Heat Treatment, Pourin It All Out, Between You and Me, Soul On Ice, and Don’t Ask Me Questions
11. Van Morrison, based upon those 70s albums from Moondance to Into The Music. Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul!
12. Tom Robinson Band, because right out of the gate with Power In The Darkness, I was bowled over by his righteous anger, wit, politics, and the band’s power, and Danny Kustow’s buzz saw guitar. And it wasn’t fashionable or probably even safe to be so overly out of the closet back then. His solo stuff has been hit or miss, mostly miss, but that first album still shakes me out of my stupor.
13. Bob Hillman, I know, who the hell is Bob Hillman? Sure, he’s only put out 3 albums, and he isn’t even a going concern any longer, but I love this raspy-voiced, singer/songwriter who is incredibly clever with his lyrics and has had the good sense to hire terrific backing musicians. And, he’s the only guy on this, or any list, who captained Stanford to a final four in volleyball. Check out: Anywhere, If You Lived Here You’d Be Home, Valentine’s Day, Greenland, and The Late Night. His first CD kind of didn’t work for me but Welcome To My Century and his last one, If You Lived Here…can be had for peanuts on Amazon.
14. Belle and Sebastian because they created some of the coolest, poppiest tunes I’ve ever heard. And my wife can’t believe that I can get past Stuart Murdoch’s ridiculously feminine voice. But it all works! Check out: Suki In The Graveyard, I’m A Cuckoo, Funny Little Frog, Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying, Me and The Major
15. The Jam, because Paul Weller’s accent is so friggin cool, and Going Underground proves it! Check out: GU, That’s Entertainment, Town Called Malice, Eton Rifles, In The City, Start, The Bitterest Pill And they were snappy dressers to boot!
16. David Baerwald (with David & David, The Tuesday Night Music Club, and solo). because his songs will take you places that other songwriters fear to tread. Check out: Welcome To The Boomtown, Being Alone Together, Swallowed By The Cracks, Aids & Armageddon, and Born For Love.
17 Bill Morrissey, he was a folkie, not a rocker, and I didn’t just love his stuff because he’s from New Hampshire by way of Hartford, CT and Massachusetts. He writes of small town New England like no one I’ve ever heard. He’ll take you ice fishing, into a down on its luck mill town bar on a wintry night to watch the Bruins as the local throw back a few, or up north in the big woods, where the Canadian Pacific Railroad runs. Check out: Birches, please check out Birches, Long Gone, Barstow, Casey, Illinois, Inside.
18.The Ramones, because I know the beginning lyrics to every song, they go “1 2 3 4!” I saw them in a Boston club in 1978, I was still in high school, and it was sensory overload time. It was wall to wall punks, hot as a bastahd as they say in Boston, and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t take off their leather jackets. But I instantly grasped what they were all about. Freedom! And you didn’t have to have taken music lessons to do it! Check out the ones that begin with “1 2 3 4 !”
19, Eric Clapton (from John Mayall’s Blues Breakers to Derek and The Dominoes). EC was my first musical love. It ended when he put out 461 Ocean Blvd. His kicking heroin might have caused his artistic decline. The Layla album, with him and Duane Allman going at each other, was as good as guitar gets. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?
20. The Go-Betweens (for the Grant McLennan tunes), The Flatlanders (not their band stuff but the solo albums by Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock). Sam Cooke (if A Change Is Gonna Come was the only thing he ever wrote that would be enough). Buddy Holly (thank you for Rave On, Oh Boy, and all the others, and did I mention Rave On?), Junior Brown (for that baritone and wicked cool playing), The Kinks, for Waterloo Sunset, and the fact that they were my first concert, it was December, 1977, in Lowell, Massachusetts, and the guy in front of me threw up all over the place), The Beatles (I know, they shouldn’t be down here but I wanted to advocate for the less known folks, and I think I own more albums by them than anyone else), and Bob Dylan (same as The Beatles). The Who (can’t forget ‘em, there once was a note, pure and easy), Love’s “Forever Changes”, and I'll stop here, though I could continue to blather on.
There you have it, the soundtrack to a lot of my life. There was more on the line than just a hit single! And it’s also about the NEXT song, album, and artist to come down the pike. That kid with the pimples in his bedroom who is at this moment, scribbling down some lyrics about the girl in homeroom who he can’t get the nerve to talk to, or the kid who is intensely studying Jimi Hendrix solos, or the kid who is trying to decipher Louie, Louie, or any of a thousand variations.

Florton
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:26 am

Re: Desert Island Artists

Post by Florton » Tue May 19, 2015 8:51 am

Peter T. wrote:A few friends and I recently swapped lists of the bands/artists we have most connected with and more importantly, why. I couldn't limit myself to 10 or 20, so sue me. :)
I hope others will open up and share.
Peter T.
1. (A) Springsteen, because he opened my eyes to wider horizons and endless possibilities, or so I thought at the time. And his Darkness-era concerts were extraordinary communal experiences. He played like he had everything to prove. Since the early 80s, with a few exceptions, his studio output hasn’t done much for me. It’s a cool thing when you hear your teenage daughter playing Incident on 57th Street over and over again from inside her bedroom.
Why do (presumably) middle aged men get such a huge kick out of their teenage kids liking the same music as they do / did? I'm not mocking you, I'm joining you!

As a three year old my daughter loved The Beatles and The Pogues. I loved her even more. Then along came High School Fucking Musical and parenthood became slightly harder. Just recently she came home telling me that friends at school had 'discovered' Led Zeppelin and she'd told them how I had the complete works on vinyl. Why does it matter that her friends now think I'm marginally less un-cool than they did previously?

Bands I'd add to your list...

Billy Bragg - his love songs are so much closer to my experience of love, from The Saturday Boy to Something Happened.

Tom Waits - Similar reasons, but I also love the beauty of his lyrics shining through the chaos, weirdness and anger of his music.

Laura Marling - After hearing 'Alas I Cannot Swim' I briefly fell in love with her. Total crush. Until I discovered how young she is and I felt slightly creepy and appalled with myself!

Richard Thompson - A real theme here of brilliant, beautiful songwriting being far more important than anything else.

Finally, if anyone reading this has never seen John Otway live I urge you to go. An absolutely brilliant, hilarious night out. Musically 'limited' perhaps but certainly well worth 2 hours of anyones time. Try his cover of House of the Rising Sun on Youtube. Fabulous https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BwOyVIlupg

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greezy
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:00 pm
Location: Sykesville, Maryland - US of A

Re: Desert Island Artists

Post by greezy » Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:44 am

No Lucinda Williams? ;)

I'll fight to the death if anybody dare say that Pogues' "Broad Majestic Shannon" isn't the greatest song in the Western Cannon.
Relax. This won't hurt.

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