High time for another of these I think.
Freakin' Out is possibly the most uptempo song about boredom you will ever find. It's about that month when you weren't going through relationship problems, weren't really in love with anything, didn't need money, weren't recovering from a serious addiction - and the absence of anything interesting was driving you mad. Everyone's felt it. This song captures that, with a fantastic little guitar solo and a catchy chorus. If you want to hear Graham at his most sensitive best, outside of Blur, listen to the beautiful Ribbons And Leaves as well.
Bite Hard is the best song on Franz's third album, Tonight, from the gentle but unnerving piano introduction, with unsettling lyrics, to the ambiguous cries of 'Bite hard!', to the fantastic upbeat synth solo. It's perfect to wake you up in the morning, and it's brilliant live, and it encapsulates the singalong silliness of Franz at their best.
What A Waster was not a crap first release. It was not a 'This band have potential, but we're gonna have to wait and see' track. This song, rightfully, gained The Libertines a ridiculous amount of hype as the British front line in NME's 'New Rock Revolution'. This track was, and is, a punk rock explosion of anger and youthfulness, referencing Ulysses and the Beano and the Book of Revelation, shot through with sadness, bursting with expletives and oozing talent...a brilliant song.
Levellers' most recent release, Letters From The Underground, is an angry, rough record, with guitar solos and fast fiddle sections and political lyrics; it is typical Levellers. This song stands out however as being a bit different. It's sentimental, looking at failing love: 'it's just one kiss to build a dream upon'. It's softer, more thoughtful, and has some lovely melodies.
Like Last Nite, New York City Cops is a snapshot of a moment in time, in New York City, at night. It opens with Julian Casablancas being daft - "Oh! Haha, I meant: Ah! No I didn't mean that at all." This is endearing, especially with his undeniably sexy voice. For once, The Strokes abandoned their extremely repetitive strum-strum-strum-strum formula (at least on lead guitar) until the chorus. It's a welcome break.
It is hard to sum up the brilliance of this song in a paragraph. It's beautiful, telling of the foolishness of teen promises and decisions ('If you're still alive when you're 25, will I kill you like you told me to? Well I really don't want to.'), telling of growing up, telling of new love growing on trees (?), all sung in Peter's fitting drawl over ambient electric distortion and acoustic guitar. It's so much more than pretty.
The Hair, now Club Smith, are one of the better new bands to make use of the fashion for electronic synths and samples in British music right now, because they combine it with catchiness, great percussion and some really (dare I say it) funky songs. Half Cut is a walk-along-the-road-smiling track.
Sonic Youth are still up there in my favourites, and now I've found Dirty, that's where they're staying. Purr growls along in two-chord sultriness: it's violent, youthful, brilliantly played garage rock. The opening riff is life-affirming and gives me the shivers. The lyrics are simple but definitely thought out. Almost as brilliant are the melancholy Wish Fulfillment and Chapel Hill from the same album.
A new track from the new album Quicken the Heart, due out in May, Wraithlike has the lo-fi edginess of A Certain Trigger without the polish of album number two. It's a return to their roots, only faster, angrier and with more interesting time signatures.
Played with 4 guitars onstage live, Broken Love Song is a very pretty track, with lovely lyrics about loneliness and a chord sequence to die for. Nice vibrato on the electric guitar makes this track, as well as Pete's voice, which works very well on this softer album. Want more of Peter being poetic? Try I Am the Rain, it's not as good musically but it's got nice introverted lyrics. Lots of metaphor.
I've been listening to a lot of music this month. Last week last.fm told me I'd listened to about 2 full days of music on my iPod and computer alone. Check these songs out, they might do for you what they do for me.