Radiohead – Prove Yourself
If you haven’t heard this song or Radiohead’s raw and underrated debut Pablo Honey, this might give you some insight into why some critics called them “Nirvana-lite” around this time. There’s only one or two songs on this album that foreshadow what Radiohead would become, but I have always preferred this version of Radiohead. I put this album right up there with The Bends.
The Strypes – Hard to Say No
I was interested in the young Irish band The Strypes as soon as Elton John said they have a knowledge of R&B at 16 years old that took him 65 years to attain (or something like that). Not a brilliant song by any means, but what can you expect from people born in 1996 and 1997? That being said, The Strypes can really play their instruments well for their young age, and it shows here. I respect them for trying to make it as a blues-rock outfit in today’s world. There’s a lot room for them to grow into better songwriters, and I’m curious to know what these guys do within the next few years.
The Clash – I’m Not Down
From 1979’s London Calling comes this lost gem by the Clash. The drums kick in right before the first verse and it sounds like a bunch of missiles aimed directly at your ears. Mick Jones sings it like someone who’s been in his fair share of fights and knows the worst is behind him.
The Stooges – Gimme Danger
I thought of this song because Scott Asheton, the only drummer for the Stooges, just passed away last month. He certainly put his stamp on this classic Raw Power era track. It’s got the distinction of being beautiful and incredibly ferocious at the same time.
Kings of Leon – Temple
Most people are probably sick of hearing about Kings of Leon, but I have to admit that Mechanical Bull was sort of a return to the raw records they made before they became internationally huge. That doesn’t mean the songs are all that great, but “Temple” is worth noting. I’d even call it my favorite Kings song since Because of the Times.
Phantogram – Fall in Love
I’m usually more of a guitar guy, but I can’t get this one out of my head. I’m not too concerned about that though.
The Hives – Hate to Say I Told You So
This is one of those songs I saw the video to when I was a kid and I haven’t gotten sick of it since. There’s always at least one great song on every Hives album, and this is the best of them all in my not so humble opinion. From the riff to the verses to the inimitable voice crack right after the first chorus, here is nothing not to love about this song.
The Dead Pirates – Wood
Another song I can’t get out of my head. The Dead Pirates are a London based band led by French artist Mcbess, who co-created the video for this song (the actual song starts at 1:09 by the way). “Wood” came out in 2010, but I only heard it recently. What caught my attention originally is the wall of guitars that drive the song. For some reason the song and video make me feel kind of restless…and I don’t really mind it in this case.
The Smiths – Headmaster Ritual
The Smiths – one of the most mysterious bands of all time. They’ll probably never get back together, but at least we have prime cuts such as this to enjoy for the rest of our lives. If you’re not familiar with the Smiths, you should know that Morrissey’s lyrics are among the funniest of all time and I suggest you Google them while you listen.