The Friday Writers’ Bloc: April 4th, 2008

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Download this week’s Friday Writers’ Bloc playlist HERE

Michael-Bradley’s Picks

1. FEAR – Let’s Have A War

2. FEAR – New York’s Alright If You Like Saxophones

I’ve really been in a FEAR mode lately. After seeing the live footage of them performing in the Hardcore film “The Decline Of Western Civlization”, I’ve been pretty enamored with them. They had such a Fuck You attitude, it’s hard to not like these guys. Before the show even started they almost had a riot break out by exchanging insults with the crowd. A must watch.

The two FEAR songs I picked are fav’s of mine. I just love how the early Hardcore Punk bands could switch between such silly topics and politically charged songs fearlessly, and successfully. Though they are frequently lumped with Hardcore bands, I think FEAR’s style was a bit different from the typical hardcore band: They have a singer who can actually sing!? AND they have guitar solos? So they were a bit off the track, but their attitude proves them guilty.

3. The Adolescents – Amoeba

Amoeba by the Adolescents (Punkers from the OC) must be the most anthemic punk song ever. I really don’t have any idea what they’re singing about in that song, yet I find myself singing AMOEBA, AMOEBA, all the time. It’s just too cool. So, enjoy.

Jonathan’s Picks

1. Adam Tensta – 80s Baby

This is one of my favorite tracks off Tensta’s album because I too am an 80s baby — played the same video games, wore the same clothes, listened to the same music. The beat’s uptempo, yet maintains a smooth, even, wavy quality throughout, with a classic vocal sample in the chorus that really makes the song. And makes me want to put on my headphones and close my eyes.

2. Snoop Dogg Feat. Robyn – Sexual Eruption (Fyre Dept. Remix)

This is the newest — and best — remix of Snoop’s hit single, “Sexual Eruption,” featuring guest choruses and verses from Robyn, the Swedish electro-pop sensation whose self-titled album was easily one of the highlights of 2007. Producer Shawty Redd’s beat got an synthy electro upgrade on this remix, making an already bona fide club jam into certified banger. This is what a remix should be and rarely is.

3. Fantasia Feat. Polow da Don & Young Jeezy – When I See U (Remix)

I referenced this track at the end of my piece on Adam Tensta and the changing production styles of some American super-producers like Kanye West and Timbaland. While producer Polow da Don hasn’t quite reached “super” status just yet, his recent synth-driven success with Usher’s “Love In This Club” is certainly helping his case. On this, the official (though hard to find) remix of Fantasia’s “When I See U,” I generally try to ignore her mediocre singing, and focus Polow’s bold use of synth sounds that rarely make it out of European studios, let alone onto an American R&B record.

JustJake’s Picks

1. Gillian Welch – Wichita

“Wichita” is a fun song from a songwriter who doesn’t usually write fun songs. Gillian Welch is contemporary artist whose songs invariably sound old as the hills. This goes for her voice too. But, don’t let the catchy tune fool you, the lyrics are beautifully written and serious, yet simple, a Welch trademark. This version is from a 1999 performance with long-time partner (and excellent guitar player/singer in his own right) David Rawlings at California’s Strawberry Music Festival.

2. The Band – Rockin’ Chair

Vocals, musical talent, lyrics, The Band had it all. Oddly enough, four out of five members of what is arguably the greatest American band ever were Canadians. While “Rockin’ Chair” comes toward the end of The Band’s 1969 eponymous album and often gets overshadowed by songs like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Rag Mama Rag,” and “Up on Cripple Creek,” it is really one of the group’s best. Richard Manuel’s vocals are rich and haunting and Levon Helm’s mandolin carries the song off to a faraway, wonderous place.

3. Steve Earle & The Del McCoury Band – Harlan Man

Steve Earle is a renowned songwriter and hard-edged country singer. Del McCoury and his band are straight off the Bill Monroe bluegrass family tree; meaning that they play bluegrass the way it should be played, hard, fast, and with soul. Put the two together and you get the awesome 1998 album The Mountain. “Harlan Man” showcases Earle’s songwriting prowess and gruff, no nonsense attitude. McCoury & co. provide the drive, and you’ve got yourself a great American song, off a great American album.

Ignatius’ Picks

1. Animal Collective – Fireworks

I once watched a friend of mine rip his headphones out of his ears when an Animal Collective song came up during shuffle play on his iPod. His facial expression lingered somewhere between somebody who has just finished eating an economy-sized jar of mayonnaise, and somebody who realizes too late that they’ve set their house on fire. He looked offended, as though his mp3 player had purposefully tried to attack his sensibilities and good taste. Enjoy the song.

2. Johnny Greenwood – Open Spaces

I was a huge fan of Johnny Greenwood’s solo output before his work on There Will Be Blood, and this soundtrack reaffirmed my ‘fan status’ tenfold. Open Spaces is the perfect bookend on this menacing hulk of a film score. What I think is truly remarkable is how his arrangements still hold so much weight outside the context of the film.

3. Ween – Ocean Man

I picked this track simply because it’s a fun song of an amazing record. Ween is often dismissed a novelty act, an accusation that I will no doubt refute in a later posting. Whether you worship at the feet of Boognish (the demon that inspired Gene and Dean Ween to begin their songwriting careers) or have written off the Ween brothers as a bunch of hacks, I would imagine it difficult not to enjoy this song.

Download this week’s Friday Writers’ Bloc playlist HERE


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