BRILLIANT SONGS da series
By Ian Browne
Welcome to my long running series Brilliant Songs.
Though I post these initially to my Facebook
site, they also arrive to band fanzine FB sites, a small mag in northern NSW, and across the planet to music and entertainment forums. I do this as a hobby. In the previous genre series, I found writing about four songs at a time too arduous, especially while teaching and writing books in the same moment. Let’s concentrate on one song at a time and the album they groove within. The first hit leaping from the blocks here by Faith No More was also the most popular post for the series on my FB site, attracting hundreds of readers. But it is about the songs I find brilliance in, not what the public ‘expect’. Brilliance is hard to define, perhaps they are just songs that inspire me most; touch my soul, but the following number is most definitely structured towards ‘brilliance’!
Pic sourced via Louder Sound
Brilliant Songs -THE REAL THING - Faith No More (1989) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…you can’t refuse blood in writing” Now, this is a brilliant song from a brilliant album! From Out of Nowhere, and the intense instrumental Woodpecker from Mars - with its Middle Eastern nostalgia - too could have made the cut today. THE REAL THING starts off with a delicious comforting jazzlike snare & foot pedal combination that reduces whatever is going on around you - to about 0. The strum of a power-chord, the splash of crash, the sliding groan of bass, while the tick-n-tack of the prementioned percussion remains strident before the looming chaos. And when the mayhem begins, it is equally delicious.
This band’s heavy rhythm section is addictive: the chugger chugger metal riffs, the nefarious-union of drums-n-bass seem as though it is rolling around inside an erratic whirlwind; the symbiotic relationship of the casual classical keys (synth) directs the journey, which in this case signals the sounding of a new dawn. While Patton almost sounds cartoon-like at times, he states from the outlook the importance of the ‘moment’ and invites us all to feel this too. He then begins to outlay an earnest proposition as he states his case. The uncompromising stance as the chords joust back-n-forth, and Patton growls & grinds, demands this message is headed. When the storm subsides, a sunlit haze descends. It is euphoric, with simple six-string strumming, which doesn’t last long, just enough for us to get our breath back before the drums alight, and the keys alert-siren once again. It all finalises in tranquillity, but at the last moment where usually feedback has its time in the sun, instead an instrumental demonic scream reminds us not to forget the darkness, best banished.
It’s the yin & yang, the combination between slow to fast; quiet to hectic; symphony to ground-zero-death-metal! The Pixies were instigators of the soft-to-rough energy, made popular during the 90’s post punk, indie rock & grunge scenes. But this, though defiantly indie, has metal stamped all over it, and the contemporary symphonic metal scene today undoubtedly honours this vibrant album with its many layers. As much as I love the power-chord arrangements, the tranquil moments are so seductive, my heart has been pilfered. With the clang of the bass within a melee of heavy guitar-n-drums, it’s the slap arrangements via this outfit, and too for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, that really were a hallmark of the era.
As seen when he hosted Rage (ABC TV Oz) during the 90’s, Mike Patton’s love of a wide range of music shouts boldly in this group, and too for Mr Bungle. I hereby take my hat off to the lads here, while their 92 album Angel Dust, also sparkled.
THE REAL THING https://tinyurl.com/4tuf34pk
Live in Brixton 1990 https://tinyurl.com/rbw4fa8b
Pic sourced via Pitchfork
Brilliant Songs -PAIN- The War on Drugs (2017) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…go to bed now I can tell Pain is on the way out now” On my way home from visiting close friends in Brisvegus earlier this year, I dropped in to Currumbin Valley’s ‘Dust Temple’ for a coffee. This was my first visit there, and while sitting within a mustard light looking through a window onto an alley with tropical trees, this song came on - nice & loud. I was riding on stormy seas at the time and this tune really allowed all my endorphins to run wild! I loved it! It also ‘made me’ miss someone who had touched my heart while living in Far North Queensland, not so long ago. It was a powerful moment.
Pain has that lovely, non-pretentious psychedelic-stoner feel to it. From the outright the peaceful guitar licks & riff steal you away. In the spiritual sense, I mean here, I think I have manifested something of a man-crush on the front man too. At times Adam Granduciel has unabashedly announced his admiration of Bob Dylan, and he sounds like he is channelling the legend: “Like a demon in the doorway, waiting to be born”. Personally, I never ‘got into Dylan’ but lyrically, this song, has been interpreted by the public as a story about a person facing ‘their demons’ in depression. The nature of bipolar disorder, where the pain can relax for a spell, only to return once again, does stand up as part of the storyline. Yes, I can sense this, but I feel that it also relates to a past lover returning, where the storyteller and the lover experienced trouble, and now trust is hard to come by. Maybe that is why it is such a good song, as it allows the mind to ponder; to analyse, and decipher. The clip itself is so generous in introducing us to the working class of Philadelphia; the young in their quest for pleasure on the streets. When finally, the gorgeous Afro-American lady smiles as the song takes flight, well now, this is especially beguiling. The sun twinkling gently from the town’s river; young love a delight, that massive barge! Pretty cool hey.
Musically - as that’s why we are here today, the song is a complete winner! It draws on our empathy, puts us in the shoes of the storyteller, and rewards us with a sound that this large group must be proud of. Indie rock with that folky comfort, the journey this drags us along is massively worthwhile.
Though there is a clear distinction between verse & chorus, they mingle effortlessly, where the rhythm section remains nicely simple as it drifts along the Schuyikill River. The way Granduciel casually strolls into the final solo however is very clever. He does sound a tad ungainly, twanging away at the strings of his Fender Jazzmaster, but what awaits us is a gift. I absolutely love the sound when he lifts the tempo & volume, that seductive drone arrives with the water spraying off the bough of the barge, the life-giving sunlight, enveloping the intoxicating energy. This sound really gives praise to whatever the real meaning of the song is. Though I may have heard this number a while ago, it is thus far my fav tune for the year: “Pull me close and let me hold you in Give me a deeper understanding of who I am”…yes, it is brilliant!
Adam Granduciel moved from California to Philadelphia, where he started the band in 2005. Teaming up with Kurt Vile, they released their debut album ‘Wagonwheel’ in 2008. Pain can be found on the 2017 album ‘A Deeper Understanding’.
Pic sourced via (looked for days and I can't find the ref...sorry
Brilliant Songs -MACE SPRAY- The Jezabels (2011) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…there’s a place in the town, a statue, she’d make me wait beneath.”
I love a song with a long ‘lead in’ instrumental intro. Most of the best songs seem to. Reminiscent of a siren, the guitar subtly warns of the fuss about to rise from the dark.These guys got together in Sydney while studying at the Conservatorium of Music, but three of the four actually grew up in Byron Bay. If you hadn’t already noticed, I am a big fan of Hayley’s and the band. My love affair began amongst the final days of a dying art. I had taken notice of The Jezabels on Rage etc, but it was upon visiting a video store in Nightcliff, on my way home while working in Indigenous education in Darwin, when they really grabbed my attention. Every time I went into the store there was this song, on screen, up on the wall; loud-n-proud! I thought it a good omen, considering it was indie, and it also had that brooding goth enchantment - which to me is a magnet, right. Over the next few years, I snapped up everything they had to offer, and I love em dearly.
…and so the shattering shards of glass fell” A big part of this song are Nik Kaloper’s drums rolling inside the script with vigour, Samuel Lockwood’s six-strings nicely fixated on that Bronte-esque goth allurement. Mace Spray is like a journey into the manic; the ‘important’. I think men who mistreat women are filth, and I love how Hayley Mary boldly states the impact of this vile side to humanity. …. “you leave a light on all night, just to remind of the place I am” … the dialogue is so brilliant, and the music equally rises to this occasion! The clip I love too. After a break for a few years, The Jezabels have been touring once again, and the write ups on their live performances, glowing! Hayley doesn’t hold back, yet, in effect, this clip draws more on the sullenness of the topic, while still allowing time for the instrumental energy that is a reality of this outfit. Just as clever as gorgeous pianist Heather Shannon is at incorporating mystique to further embolden the time keeping of percussion, and the angst of guitar, is Hayley’s casual rendition as the lady struggling with a reality that seems to have failed her, while praising her savoured guardian, going on to then hit those divine, tickling-the-soprano-pitches, inducing the mournful lament of her torment - while her comrades explode in their choice of favoured musical weaponry.
…that night up under the starlight, Holly, you call “the great blistering blue” Yes, The Jezabels and Hayley ‘solo’ have produced some exciting drama over the years, and in areas like the American college scene, a couple of the tunes from this feisty EP ‘Dark Storm’ fared even better than did Mace Spray. But this song, broadcasting a dignity to those scarred by life from high up on the wall of the Nightcliff video store, instigated a new journey into a young indie rock band, which eventually saw me being able to chat online with my adored Hayley, from time to time. So, it all started with Mace Spray - what a song - and it will remain one of my most determined favs!
…P.S. though a supporter of its virtues, Hayley struggled with some aspects of modern feminism, and during her Arts degree, studied gender studies. With Elizabeth Raftery for Blastmagazine.com (2011) Hayley stated the following in relation to Mace Spray, “it’s kind of about feminism, the “she” in it. And her as a sort of fairly fickle master and having trouble with her because she wants to liberate you and she means so many good things to you as a woman, or as a girl. But at the same time, she makes you really scared, and she makes you have a lot of anger.”
…for you can’t rely on the common man, huh, hey yeah.”
MACE SPRAY https://tinyurl.com/4vvekmmh
Pic sourced via Beat Magazine
Brilliant Songs -LET’S LYNCH THE LANDLORD- Dead Kennedys (1980) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…I’m doubling up the rent Cause the building’s condemned You’re gonna help me build City Hall” Like many young punkers & surfers around the Cronulla region of Sydney, I was absolutely besotted by this group during the mid-80’s. Fast-n-furious with thoughtful activism in full throttle, they were very worthwhile, even though when they did play in Cronulla there was a riot! However, like their Moon Over Marin, Let’s Lynch the Landlord was more upbeat hard-indie-rocking. But both songs do arrive with a mouthful of irony & contempt, just the same. And as a statement recently released on redit.com explored, “this song has never felt more relevant than right now. Evicting people in winter during a pandemic that's left millions unemployed.”
This song has a real early-60’s California surf sound attached. Punk itself owes a lot to this genre, just ask the Ramones. Punk, especially in its early days of garage - just get up on stage at the pub and have a go experimentation, suggested poor musician work; ‘three-chord wonders’. I beg to differ in the case of these San Fran rockers, that guitar solo is one of my favs, there is something so wistfully surf rock about it! Before the rise of skatecore, punk never did draw out the extended solos, and when the chords swing back towards the chorus here, that is definitely an early ‘boppy’ CalifornIA beatniks riff on the go there. It is kinda humorous, the song itself is. On a more serious note, in an interview with Greg Phillips for the australianmusician.com.au (2011) the DK’s guitarist, East Bay Ray announced, “given the direction the world is going in, I think the band’s message is even more relevant today than it was back then. Our main massage is basically to think for yourself. Get the facts before you accept an opinion. But lately I have never seen so many uninformed people have such misguided opinions about things they really haven’t spent the time to find out about, it’s scary.”
So why do I suggest ‘brilliant’ here? Well, it is punchy, fun, the chord arrangements bounce up-n-down nicely in tandem with the drums; it is an endlessly timeless number, and I love that solo! This won’t be the last time you see the DK’s in this series.
Front-man Jello Biafra wrote this number and released it on Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. . …there’s rats chewing up the kitchen Roaches up to my knees” … so it’s probably best we do …LET’S LYNCH THE LANDLORD!
Pic sourced via uDiscover Music
Brilliant Songs -THREE DAYS- Jane’s Addiction (1990) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
This post featured on the JA's Facebook site and was Liked there and on my own site by band members past & present! …I am proud man anyway” My friend Virg requested this song for the series. She needn’t have, as it was already set to fire from the chamber. And mirroring her description of the song, I too was going to say that the reason I chose this, being, “it is a journey”.
This is my fav Jane’s Addiction song, but two others come close. Three Days really offers up a plenty in its voyage through the emotions. Death and rebirth, it takes place in three parts, and is about a lady known to frontman Perry Farrell. Her father had just passed, and she spent three days staying with Perry and his partner while “in a haze of sex and drugs” (JanesAddiction.org 2009). Her name being Xiola Blue, and sadly, this song was written just before her death to a heroin OD in NYC.
The bass opens up on the gentle beginnings of the ‘journey’ - such as wonderful sound. …three lovers, in three ways” Perry Farrell’s voice is youthfully unique, while the guitar rises and falls somewhere between indie pop to rock. The drums begin to thirst for action, and things pick up. The guitar solos are wonderfully poignant. In fact, one of the solos was listed as the 100th best solos of all time. I just love the whole thing about Mary and her wings, tis an admirable intrigue. This song then arrives at a heavy superfuzz metal explosion. To witness this, you must watch the live video below. My brother and a whole heap of our Cronulla-Caringbah crew early 90’s in Sydney, when the band toured Oz. A grand evening, I missed it sadly.
…all now with wings” the guitar charges out what sounds like a big-ol-hillbilly pickup truck cranking over in the cold. I appreciate how the song just falls back into a quaint whispering comfort-void, then that heavy guitar returns to drag you back into the mosh zone. The drums have so much energy. …till the shadows and the light were one” the sonic star grasping stops-n-starts of this song leading onto more solos, while confidently sounding out in the background, there sounds like a bell chiming out time. Well now, it truly is a magnificent number!
LA’s Janes Addiction included a popular Dave Navarro on guitar, and at one stage Flea bangen about on bass. Three days was born within the album Ritual de lo Habitual.
Three Days https://tinyurl.com/ymev85vw
Brilliant Songs – 6 UNDERGROUND- Sneaker Pimps (1996) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com ...I fake my life like I've lived Too much, I take whatever you're given, not enough”
Nowadays, the term ‘sassy’ is bandied about too often, I feel. But this song, this clip, does portray singer Kelli Dayton in this light. 90’s Trip Hop is one of my most enjoyed genres. Feeling indie-streetwise, the genre itself a moody melting pot of many pasts.
This song has a smooth, wandering groove, casually taking you down into a more exotic underworld. Kelli has a gentle, yet sexy voice, like it has found you alone in crowd, beckoning you to listen to the message being broadcast. With a very typical and welcomed trip hop beat, the percussion rolls over to the end fill of each verse - followed generously by crash; increased voltage on guitar. At the time I was listening to this song’s album most, my job meant driving a vintage Massey Ferguson tractor, and this redirection in song timing, sounded to me like one of my clunky gear changes.
“Overground, watch this Space, I'm open to falling from grace." While this statement appears to be a saucy moment with Kelli Dayton, I was a little bit disappointed when discovering its real meaning was actually related to band founder Chris Corner moving away from his loved ones to explore his musical career, further afield. This town was Middlesbrough, England. He felt like a traitor. In fact the song is, “about death in a small town environment" Chris Corner described in a Songfacts interview with Dan Macintosh (2016). He went on to state, “the essence of that song is that living in a small town is like dying.”
The horns and harp samples arrive via Golden Girl, an instrumental composed by John Barry, which can be heard in the 1964 James Bond classic Goldfinger. But this version has itself appeared on a few films and television series. The "Ah one two, ah one two" vocal sample sounding out in the background is via De La Soul, from their 1993 single Breakadawn.
In relation to their sound, Kelli Dayton preferred the term ‘post-modern sleaze’ to trip hop (Tracey Pepper for EW.com, 1997). In time Kelli was replaced by Chris Corner on vocals, as he didn’t want Sneaker Pimps to be known as just another female-fronted trip hop outfit. Well, I guess if you’re not getting along well, and in 99, the song Low Five was awesome anyway with Chris up front. But I feel the moment slipped away without the charismatic Kelli on board.
Pic sourced via Mezzanine - Word Press.com
Brilliant Songs - DREAM BROTHER - Jeff Buckley (1994) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…there is a child sleeping near his twin The pictures go wild in a rush of wind” From Grace, this beautifully gothic number finalises an album that spoke to the hearts of many Australians. Those who partook, well this song, perhaps, probably swam too far beneath the surface for most within the mainstream. The popular song itself, Grace, and the other hit, Last Goodbye, were winners, but this wee number be my fav.
My pals in Succotash were playing gigs with Fishbone, and I almost got to hang with this awesome LA group when they toured Oz back in the early 90’s. So, I was surprised when I discovered that Dream Brother was brewed via an earnest communication between Jeff Buckley and one of the Fishboners, “don’t be like the one who made me so old Don’t be like the one who left behind his name”. If you hadn’t known, Jeff Buckley’s dad Tim too was something of a cult figure during earlier days…and nobody ever came, nobody ever came”. You can really hear Jeff’s turmoil related to childhood neglect near the middle of the song with that drawn-out hollering, as if every member of the band is having a go. So powerful! Does it transmit live? Well, there is a link below.
…the love you lost with her skin so fair Is free with the wind in her butterscotch hair” ….lyrically splendid, little wonder we all marvelled at his voice. The song opens with what sounds like oud or sitar being tuned with that deliciously atmospheric circular gothic guitar drifting in over the top. As the storytelling moves from setting the scene, to Jeff announcing his discomfort, things become noisier: a Led Zeppelin-esque chord change at times feels ungainly, moving away from the surge where the higher notes are reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins. The chords then rise and fall back, dishing out turmoil and power to a more sullen lament. Though at least one number on the album feels punk/grunge/metal in its inflict, this song, and many others on the album Grace, don’t feel the need to chunk it out to ignite the passion. In itself, this is clever. ….watching over them with his black feather wings unfurled”. .. lyrically and musically, this is a goth number. It is unique. Complementing the guitar and vocals, the drums tap and tinker along within the gentle sections, energetically doing laps around the kit when alert to Buckley’s frustration of the past. The percussion is a big part of this number and I never tire from their dynamism. In fact, the bassist Mick Gondahi, and drummer Matt Johnson, co-wrote this song with Buckley.
...I feel afraid and I call your name I love your voice and your dance insane” ….steeped in psychological warning, this song has so much soul, truly, it is a piece of brilliance!
DREAM BROTHER https://tinyurl.com/yz4e53vs
Pic sourced via Our Culture
Brilliant Songs – FADE INTO YOU - (1993) Mazzy Star www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
...a stranger's light comes on slowly A stranger's heart without a home” When this song was about singer Hope Sandoval was four years older than me. Today, as an older human, I still find her attractive, sure, but I also find myself having protective vibes towards the young lady in the clip. This song turned up on no less than 30 films or TV shows. Finding harmonious synchronicity, David Roback and Hope Sandoval co-wrote a number of songs during the 90’s. The youngest of ten children, Hope Sandoval used to sit in cafes and listen in on other people’s conversations, then design stories around them (Refinery 29, 2020). A simple construction, the slide guitar in Fade Into You certainly provides that wistful edge, the stoner-gypsy tambourine, charming. Really, what wins the day of course is the beautiful yearning voice of Hope Sandoval …I want to hold the hand inside you I want to take the breath that's true”.
Part of the allure to Fade Into You is the quaint innocence of Hope Sandoval. However, if you look back over her career, and the lead up with Roback to when this hit arrived, she was a very clever operator. Other than his popular LA indie band, Rain Parade, David Roback also started a band called Unconscious with his brother, and Susanna Hoffs of later days The Bangles (Rock-N-Roll True Stories, 2021). During those days, Hope Sandoval was something of a fan of David Roback, and when teaming up in the later moments of Opal, saw this popular number that inspired so many under the banner Mazzy Star. It wasn’t actually designed for nostalgia, it was about the every day. Fade Into You was influenced via the couple’s walks up the beach in LA. And while it only took a day to write, it has touched the hearts of millions.
…strange you never knew”
FADE INTO YOU https://tinyurl.com/326mr64t
Pic sourced via undertheradar
Brilliant Songs – HOW WILL I LAUGH TOMORROW – Suicidal Tendencies (1988) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…love and peace flash through my mind, pain and hate is all I’d find” During the late 80’s, Suicidal Tendencies were right at the top of many of my crew’s song lists. And this song, this guitar driven journey, was royalty! Though tunes like Trip at the Brain & A Little Each Day have remained my favourite ST songs, the emotional journey, the brilliance of Rocky George on lead; the power of the rhythm section, saw this song a wonder to ponder.
Earlier ST creations were definitely punk and skater punk inspired, but the second album, Join the Army, saw metal riffs; some rap, beginning to arrive to the fight. By the time this lengthy song came along the band’s love of earlier hard rocken outfits like Black Sabbath was on show. On rhythm guitar, Mike Clarke too was a metal head, and the whole Venice Beach hardcore sound was now geared towards a more thrash-metal crossover, though their punk roots attitude thankfully remained. Musically, there is a plethora of talent on show here, as seen in all of ST’s creations.
…the clock keeps ticking but nothing else seems to change Problems never solved, just rearranged” This is a sad song, one of self-reflection, of empathy. But while it is a somewhat sensitive number, allowing the feelings of those down on their luck to be heard, it too is vigorous in its self-empowerment when saying “enough is enough” and it is time to rise above the bollocks!
…find no hope in nothing new and I never had a dream come true” Opening to the brilliance of Rocky George’s exciting guitar, it begins with slower, emotive storytelling, though the song in the clip here has been shortened. As it speeds up things become heavier, the rhythm section is addictive, and Rocky George releases what must be one of the grandest of all time metal solos. It used to swallow up my friends and I, time stopped for this song. Rocky G is my fav metal guitarist, while that drum ride reminds me of someone galloping into the storm, unchallenged.
My pal in earlier days, Nasser Sultan, brought Suicidal Tendencies to Oz. I saw them twice. Not long after, during the 90’s, my pal Kyle Horton arrived to ST frontman Mike Muir’s doorstep in Venice LA, requesting ST to gigs with the gents of Cronulla’s hardcore outfit Throwdown. All the fellas are close pals of mine, all part of our Cronulla-Caringbah family. In fact, my brother was the original studio singer for Throwdown. So, we were all delighted when Mike Muir warmed to the idea. ST graciously took up Kyle’s offer to do gigs in Oz with Throwdown.
How Will I Laugh Tomorrow https://tinyurl.com/ykxm26va
Pic sourced via Te Traje flores - Bandcamp
Brilliant Songs -MONKEY GONE TO HEAVEN- (1989) The Pixies www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
… The creature in the sky Got sucked in a hole, now there's a hole in the sky”
Last weekend they ignited the Sydney Opera House as part of their world tour. This was one of my favourite sounds during the late 80’s and well into the 90’s. The Pixies remain so, that Boston delivered post-punk indie rocken sound is hard to shake. A song about human waste, human arrogance, it is a powerful reminder of where we stand in this life, and since the song’s release ‘we’ did manage to do something about that ‘hole in the sky’… but that blanket of heat now covering the Earth should have been sorted then too!
…There was a guy An underwater guy who controlled the sea Got killed by ten million pounds of sludge from New York and New Jersey” Lyrically inspiring, the ghosting of Black Francis’ calling allows the message to linger on the winds of change. Well, he did write the song while suggesting, “it’s a nursery rhyme with mythological folk imagery” (Rich Pelley 2022). Musically, well, what a brilliant sound. The Pixies really were the instigators of that mellow to then ‘bang loud’ sound used by other genres such as grunge, while over in the UK, dream pop also found its own way there via their ‘also’ punk roots. As far as the band goes this is a calmer tune from Doolittle. With killer, ‘give me more’ guitar rhythm, this outfit knew how to lure, being more popular in the UK within the mainstream, than back in U.S. Cello, violins, piano accompany the usual Pixies attire, Santiago later in the song sharing some of his mystique in solo too.
And the ground's not cold And if the ground's not cold, everything is gonna burn We'll all take turns I'll get mine too” Thankfully, finally, we are taking renewable energy seriously nowadays. But, to those in the media ‘still’ suggesting an over-reaction to the removal of fossil fuel, well, wake up and smell this monkey’s coffee!
MONKEY GONE TO HEAVEN https://tinyurl.com/73xdajnx
Pic sourced via Wkipedia
Brilliant Songs – SUNLESS SATURDAY- (1991) Fishbone www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…I see the helpless and I see the insane I see a pauper singing in the pouring rain” This song is abuzz with high energy. From the outright that enigmatic acoustic guitar steals you, ignited by the heavier riffs: sold!
You may have your own idea as to what the message means, but it’s that ‘of the era’ funk metal groove in symbiosis with the group’s lengthy punk heritage, that liberates the senses. Fishbone are an LA group who since 1979 have propagated a ska punk accent. As seen in the Spike Lee directed clip here, frontman Angelo Moore is electric, the whole band ‘fun time Chili Peppers’ insane! Last week I praised the skill of Rocky George, well, he was himself a Fishboner during 2003, with later contributions. What is unique about the structure of this song is the thumping stabs throughout the versus…bam, bam bam, shuffling back to the intense guitar drill, lighting up once more. It’s not the first time this has been suggested, but I do find it fascinating how such an energetic song is actually the carriage to such a morbid message.
…I hear the sounds of children laughing aloud A stumbling wino has attracted quite a crowd”
As the song draws to an end, we are afforded some time once again with those attention grabbing acoustic chords, then the far-from-home very regal British trumpets sound out. This could be said about most societies, but perhaps when the US supports poverty better, and shouts down systematic racism, then maybe the lads from Fishbone will see the sun finally shine over their glorious Saturday. … I think the sun will never visit my sky Until the truth is seen by each and every eye”
As I mentioned in the Jeff Buckley post, Succotash played gigs with Fishbone in Sydney, early 90’s. The fellas remarked on how seriously talented Fishbone were. I often did the light shows for da Tash, but as I had to work that night, my pal Dave (Bugs) ignited the stage instead. Fishbone were interested in coming out to Cronulla after the gig in the city, to hang with all the crew at our beloved The Dive. But I guess jetlag and the logistics involved meant they declined, thus I never got to meet them.
Sunless Saturday https://tinyurl.com/3z89a257
Pic sourced via Slicing Up Eyeballs
Brilliant Songs -PALE CLOUDED WHITE- (1991) Cocteau Twins www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…Marjoram aurora borealis There’s no more but change your myths” This is a unique band, a unique sound. I have suggested my love of 90’s sonic goth before. What did I mean by this? Well Curve, The Cure, and the Cocteau Twins. And yes, you will get to fly the galaxy today, this number is sonic royalty!
I was happy to see Montaigne on duty for Spicks and Specks this year, excited when the Cocteau Twins were mentioned. I knew when I first heard Montaigne that this Scottish group were part of her genetics. …your terrible corroded cut heels Won’t lend a knee to this” Okay, so Elizabeth Frazer is a labyrinth; definitely an enchantment, and that is part of the mystery, not knowing exactly what she is saying, what she means. But that’s just it, you make the decision, you feel your way through her sound, and it is brilliant! And as a band that has delivered so much ‘uniqueness’ over the years, well, this song even then stands out.
…tempers true to the running Facing my my last flood” That scattering backwards beat, the trancing call of the six strings, sends you along the journey. Liz Frazer’s rousing voice dropping into staggered antique chorus, the clear, loud strum of guitar, the remorse of choir from the background, and reverb-delay riding the auricular sonics: again, sends you high. What Robin Guthrie explores with his guitar sends me to a place I love. And of that deliciously haunting, dreamy synth-reverb, Guthrie announces, “each one of these Cocteau tracks—the guitar that you hear—is a recorded effect. It’s been done on 12 separate tracks and then bounced together—like chords made up from playing one note at a time” (Mark Prendergast-Sound by Sound 1989).
In the meantime, that splendid gurgling bass from the early 80’s via Will Heggie and Simon Raymonde, also savoured. Name your poison, but can I suggest a nice bottle of shiraz under the stars with Dead Can Dance and the Cocteau Twins; mmm, yes please!
Pale Clouded White https://tinyurl.com/5n7uner4
Pic sourced via beat Magazine
Brilliant Songs -HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN- The Sex Pistols (1977) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…claustrophobia, there's too much paranoia There's too many closets, oh, when will we fall?” Is there another song that begins like the wall of sound installed by this ripper? From the very first time I heard this number, the opening to this song still arrives with a bang!
Apparently, this explosive intro caused a biff between bassist Sid Vicious and The Jam’s Paul Weller, when Sid confronted him announcing that ‘they’ stole his (Weller’s) opening chords to the song ‘In the City’. Weller replied: “I didn’t mind them nicking it – you’ve got to get your ideas from somewhere, haven’t you? Anyway, he just came up and nutted me. So, I returned it” (Joe Taysom, Far Out 2021)
Anyway, Holidays in the Sun is a solid guitar rock sound, and considering that ‘punk’ always got a rib-kicking for its -‘anyone can have a go, garage days’- suggestion that punk bands could not play their instruments, Rolling Stone ranked the song #43 of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time (Rolling Stone 2016) The whooping of backing vocals, the shear dour honesty of a snide Lydon, pushes this number out front in the in-your-face-bravery stakes.
The band became bored with the negative publicity and the dull weather of London. So, Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious took a journey to a Berlin they would love. Especially as they found the East/West walled division an insanity. According to wow-vinyl.com (2022) the lads were inspired by “the new Belsen, the Eastern side of which was imprisoned by the Wall. Taking a curious pleasure in staring at the misery on the other side, they found they were being watched by paranoid soldiers.”
..sensurround sound in a two-inch wall Well I was waiting for the communist call”
Waxing a corrosive lyrical, I just love the way Johnny Rotten rolls out his message in that grasping Pistols’ bounce! Three-chord-punk, if so, it is a splendid indie rock number, a punk classic, and though some essence of borrowing chords from another awesome song has seemingly occurred, it remains a grand piece of individuality, none the less.
…I dared to ask for sunshine, and I got World War III”
Holidays in the Sun https://tinyurl.com/54a7c6k8
Pic sourced via Steam Community
Brilliant Songs -SOON- My Bloody Valentine (1991) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…..Yeah, doll of pain, I let you get to me” A big robust pounding dance beat announces you to the finality of an album which latched itself to millions of fans. Loveless would become the heartbeat to the band’s career, and it was an expensive pacemaker, costing 270,000-squid to produce. It’s star performer in my mind, this song’s structure-n-balance is bullet proof, with the band’s dream ambience ‘hop-scotch’ drifting into explosive superfuzz powerchords, and back, addictive!
Of the time, and much like the Cocteau Twin’s ‘Blue Bell Knoll’ that trip hop beat, but faster, dance like; the dream pop fusion of the late 80’s into 90’s, so refreshing. An Irish outfit who formed back in 83, they decided London needed some extra noise, taking on the planet of sound from there. And of that nostalgic, distorted guitar sound? “Shields wavers his guitar's tremolo bar as he strums, which contributes to the band's distinctive sound (DeRogatis 2003). This technique – nicknamed ‘glide guitar’ – bends the guitar strings slightly in and out of tune” (DeRogatis 2001)
I saw them live in Sydney, early 90’s, the old charismatic Phoenician Club down on Broadway could not have been a more fitting location. I have never seen so many guitar effect pedals, and yet Kevin Shields suggested he used very few sound enhancers during the recording process. But when I think of My Bloody Valentine, its Bilinda Butcher trance-twisting within the ghostly white of this clip, that clings to my thoughts.
…Wake up, don't fear I want to love you”
Live in Sydney https://tinyurl.com/2h3h8zt8
Pic sourced via Satellite
Brilliant Songs -PUSH- The Cure (1985) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
… He gets inside to stare at her The seeping mouth The mouth that knows The secret you Always you” From my favourite album, one of my fav songs which has to be one of my most enjoyed road trip numbers, this song really gives us a lift! Blimey, even da Wide World Of Sports used to play it during the cricket! I so love the long lead in guitar, the drum rolls, the instrumental in general. That guitar sound, those high notes, it’s nostalgic; one that calls to your inner-happiness, and only the sonic bliss of the Cocteau Twins equals it.
…A smile to hide the fear away Oh smear this man across the walls Like strawberries and cream It’s the only way to be” Yes, the lyrics roll from this guitar driven majesty, but they too are as per usual Robert Smith brilliant, a true poet of the music world. He speaks in riddles, but you get what he means, and if not, that’s his business. The album itself is ‘riddled’ with intrigue, with some dark to vibrant shades that both sooth and excite! I have had some special moments with this album in exotic places, like among the granite boulders of the New England highlands of NSW, within the steaming hot sandstone plateaus and savannas of Kakadu, Cronulla’s surreal swamps on Botany Bay, and the Old Man of Storr in Scotland: where the sky was split in two between night and day, and as a shooting star fell from its glittering home into the remainder of day.
… But I've stayed away too long this time”
Live in Orange, France, such a great live concert! https://tinyurl.com/3c79z64x
Pic sourced via Pinterest
Brilliant Songs -HIGHER GROUND- Red Hot Chili Peppers (1989) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
...I'm so darn glad He let me try it again Cause my last time on earth, I lived a whole world of sin." A great song to start the year on, this is high on energy! We begin with Flea banging out one of his exciting slap lines, the drums pound in with that electric punk funk rhythm section which eventually falls out into a metal, somewhat skatecore riff, exploding with power. This is the type of music that can only grab hold of and shake a human. And though songs came along like Under the Bridge with wider appeal, this is my fav Chili Peppers’ song. And guess what? …tis a 1973 Stevie Wonder cover. To many who knew earlier Chili Peppers’ funken it up punk style rock, this energy would not surprise. They have always enjoyed dressing up and hitting the stage, long before the mainstream swallowed them up. One of their keys to success within such a massive career is that they have always allowed the audience to feel part of what they are doing.
They are back 'home' once again, hangen down at Bondi Beach; I say this because Flea was born and spent the earlier part of his life in Melbourne, while Anthony Kiedis suggests an avid appeal for Oz within the pages of Scar Tissue. Flea found his roots in funk and jazz in the US through his stepfather’s passion for the grooves. Of course, Flea went on to play bass in the LA punk scene, and in time the Chili Peppers allowed for a showing off of a variety of influences to excite fans. Flea’s slapping hard bass really inspired others to try their luck with this form of energy. I was one of the students stolen to this blister jarring mechanics, myself. But I am not sure how Flea would go in those quilted toy animal dacks seen here in the clip, considering our all-encompassing summer humidity at present.
With the album Mother's Milk, Chad Smith arrived on drums, more akin to a metal style of drumming than punk. At the time, legendary guitarist John Frusciante preferred punk funk. The album's producer, Michael Beinhorn, also caused a stir by pushing for a more metal influence, as the 90's neared. As Kiedis (2004) explained, "Beinhorn wanted John to have a big, crunching, almost metal-sounding guitar tone whereas before we always had some interesting acid-rock guitar tones as well as a lot of slinky, sexy, funky guitar tones".
However, no one can deny the outro as nothing but punk! Nice and fast.
You can read my review on both Flea’s book and Scar Tissue from this site.
Higher Ground https://tinyurl.com/2p9by33m
Pic sourced via BBC
Brilliant Songs -GOLDEN BROWN- The Stranglers (1982) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
….Golden brown, texture like sun Lays me down, with my mind she runs”
This song certainly manifests a peaceful ambience. Little wonder, it is a about smack, after all. Well, okay, it’s also about Hugh Cornwell’s girlfriend. He, the song lyricist and singer, suggested that they ‘both’ provided him with pleasure (Genius.com 2023). The lyrics themselves were designed to conceal the real meaning, to persuade record labels, who had moved away from punk, to release the song (Tom Eames for Smooth Radio 2020).
Musically, the clip below really portrays this best. Throughout, the sound wavers, lifts and falls, the spine of bass rumbles along; that divine guitar break. In waltz-style, Keyboardist Dave Greenfield and drummer Jet Black wrote the music as part of the song Second Coming, which featured on the band’s previous album ( Shenton 2022 ). It peaked at No.2 on the UK charts, 3 in Ireland, and nicely in at 10 here in Oz. This was the era of post-punk, the arrival of early goth, and chaos street punk in the UK. This song, its timing pattern, is abundantly unique and refreshing. I would so love to hear a big two-tone outfit covering this piece in full brass-n-guitar mayhem!
It’s funny, I lived in the street behind a pub in Darwin 2002/3, and the duke box automatically played this number from a song list when punters neglected it. The bass used to roll down into my bedroom, making me smile. I always loved this tune, in earlier days Cronulla during the early 80’s - and it was kinda ironic - as the past name for the Darwin beachside hotel was ‘rage in a cage’: the patrons, mostly bikers. An iron shutter safeguarded bar staff. This song seemed out of place there, but really, by the time the Millennium had arrived, and the duke box appeared in the corner of the back section of the pub, by the pool tables, the clientele had walked from all manor. And the ‘cage’? Well, it was now less so required. During the 90’s, I was above Watson’s Bay looking out over the Sydney Harbour entrance from the south, while thinking about the tall ships of the past. I sung the line, “On her ship tied to the mast To distant lands takes both my hands” …Just as I did this, a replica tall ship sailed through the heads and into sight!
…..throughout the night, no need to fight Never a frown with golden brown”
Golden Brown https://tinyurl.com/55vhd3xm
Pic sourced via Facebook Pure Cult - The Cult Tribute
Brilliant Songs -SOUL ASYLUM- The Cult (1989) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…who would break a butterfly on a wheel? Not me, my precious child” Coming in like a swarm of bees followed by those hard rocken powerchords, the thumping metal percussion; smash of crash, and with Bill Duffy’s riffs arriving reminiscent of times solemn mystique in ‘earlier goth Cult meets the Doors’, this is such a great opening for a moody, powerful song. Though at a sombre pace, lyrically it does feel earlier Cult, and towards the back end of this number, just off the back of that exuberant lead break, the chords deliciously Egyptian-esq, lending further depth and soul to satisfy the song’s title.
From an album of mixed reviews, particularly those eager to suggest the Cult’s turn to simple riffs and ‘dumbed-down-metal’, the album Sonic Temple actually rated quite well here in Oz and in the UK, with sales platinum in the US. What is striking is those long-winded riffs, almost squawking their remorse, somewhere between the old goth days and dark metal, signalling an ever urgent need to protect this woman.
...Sweet angel, wrap me in your velvet cloak, my dear Love's a sweet warm goddess I invited here” I feel this is a song for chaps like me: those that are endeared to respect for womanhood. Non-abusive to their welfare. I appreciate singer Ian Astbury all the more for the creation of this splendid, brooding number. I love the song’s finality, that ineffable sizzle, and drawn down notes.
…an everlasting kiss”
Soul Asylum https://tinyurl.com/4x5cjdza
Pic sourced via Spotify
Brilliant Songs -FORGET THE SWAN- Dinosaur Jr. (1985) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…forget the swan, a stone swims near A stone has come, if I could cheer.” From their debut album, this is a song that is hard not to take notice of. Written by singer J Mascis, and sharing lead singing rights, bassist Lou Barlow, it has a smoky folk feeling within an album which also baffles the senses with harder punk numbers. J Mascis’ vocals have been compared to Neil Young’s. This Massachusetts band enjoyed the inspiration of speed metal and psychedelic rock, grabbing the attention of Sonic Youth with their distortion and alt-rock soundscape. The legendary indie-rockers invited Dinosaur Jr. on an American Northeast and northern Midwest tour in September, 1986.
There is such a stoner hippy feel to this song, and yet it has been suggested as taking the micky out of hippiedom-turned-greedy, the hypocrisy of materialism brandished as earthiness (songmeanings.com). Perhaps, as some suggest, the ‘swan’ is a metaphor for the ‘trip’ the storyteller is on?
…beware her wrath, the image gone The Shell is crumbling, fix my frown”
That muddy, grungy bass at the opening to this legendary number is a winner! J Mascis’ flange section towards the latter part of this tale with the lead squalling from within, it does take you there; powerful! Along this country road in mystical America, the strident engine to the journey: the percussion for this number is energetic; dynamic, as it sidles off the bass while tickling the high-hat, falling into backbeat …pretty special. Even that guitar fill from the opening has an earthy touch to it, tracking away into a chattery up-beat almost SKA-like rhythm section, erupting into back-end chords of punk distortion. This song has everything really…
…the pain goes on, they fly at dawn”
Forget the Swan https://tinyurl.com/yc5bc9cs
Live, introduced by Henry Rollins https://tinyurl.com/mr2m8zjj
Pic Sourced via TV Tropes
Brilliant Songs - BUTTERFLY CAUGHT - Massive Attack (2003) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…paper thin thing Protected by the naked eye Pearly sunrise”
I have to say, these guys are one of my top-five-fav-outfits. I featured Massive Attack with this number during my Goth series here a few years back. Somehow, with their earlier mix of soul-melody meets dub-reggae-trip hop, and since Mezzanine: that delicious broodingly gothic shadowlands wonderment, they install a sense of confidence to my mood. From the album 100th Window, booming away into the stars and dim city laneways its sonic Egyptian lament, this song ‘is’ on the dark side. But let it linger within your senses. It’s highly worthwhile.
...Weightless falls Honeysuckle” Opening onto what feels like a film set, through the swirling mists and mystical ambience a fog horn sounds out; in time morphing into verbal mutterings. Then, like a passive warning, it is struck down within an electrical almost machine gun pulse, riveting through the setting with that intense beat on the march: neither trip hop or dub in design, just plain powerfully techno, and alluringly dominating!
This is a special song. Those mournful Saharan/ Arabian synth-violas really alight the whole sojourn. But that’s the thing, they may seem like violas via synth, when in fact a 50-piece orchestra crammed into a room at Sony Studios in London to produce the strings for this track. Slowed down and meticulously soothed-out, songster 3D’s vocals serve as the basslines, while most of the sound layers too are actually ‘manipulated vocals’ (Massiveattack.ie 2023).
Now this clip is intense, and upwards of 7M also think so! It ends just as my fav part arrives, where the Egyptian sounds really intensify. However, there is a longer version you can find, a very industrial-animated clip which is also trippy, and rolls out the entire song. As much as the clip here does intrigue, focussing on the morphing does steal away from the power of the music in totality. Back towards the Millennium’s arrival, I had a spiritual encounter while sitting, relaxing to this number, one which I will only share with close friends, who will understand. I have managed to keep it to myself, thus far. I also loved legally-trancing to this album in Darwin later in the decade, post witching hour Saturday nights, as I searched the dark of night’s mysteries, and while an elderly female Greek neighbour in black mourning attire, sat languid to the evening, motionless upon the upstairs veranda across from my abode.
…. Darkened skin Afraid to see Radiate Open lips Keep smiling for me”
Butterfly Caught https://tinyurl.com/3mftmepw
Live in Athens https://tinyurl.com/3am37a
Pic sourced via Instagram
Brilliant Songs -GOODBYE-The Sundays (1992) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…. Oh, they said you get what you deserve And all they said was true” Now, this is still my ‘go to band’ if I want some indie city smarts, or, in regards to the album Static & Silence, some hippy folk calm. I’m not the only one amongst my pals in Cronulla-Caringbah who along with the hardcore, the metal, the goth, Madchestor, dream pop, and rap, found the charms of Harriet Wheeler’s sweet voice, irresistible. And a big thanks to Triple J for delivering this Bristol UK energy to us, back then in the 90’s.
Some have suggested the ‘jangling guitar’ as being inspired via Johnny Marr’s creativity.
I love The Sundays’ riffs, and this song from the outset delivers well, running on down the line, then in high tempo, looping around in a circular motion. From the album Blind, this is one of my favourite indie pop tunes, and I love the sound of the drums in tandem with the journey of the chords, while Wheeler, hits those high notes just as splendidly in the live set below.
Having featured this number in my Indie Series a while back, I suggested that the third verse, where Harriet announces her desire of her soul partner, is one that would make any bloke weak at the knees: natural, sweet …Oh, let the heavens shudder, baby I belong to you”. It comes in grand as the guitars lift here after a vivid change within a slumbering pace, drawing in the emotion nicely. Some feel this number employed mockery, with such a long time between recording a follow-on album post debut, whispering a ‘goodbye’ already on their return. Makes sense? Also, the suggestion of a ‘goodbye’ to religion and its practitioners, is out there. Freakytrigger.co.uk (1999) announced, while songwriter David Gavurin is ‘excellent’; his guitar pop melodies finely crafted, it is Harriet who steals the day here, and is perhaps the 90’s most underrated singers. Now, I can hear that….
… Oh well, just give me an easy life and a peaceful death Yeah, yeah”
Pic sourced via Youtube Gratouille
Brilliant Songs -DIRTY OLD TOWN- The Pogues (1985) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
….clouds are drifting across the moon Cats are prowling on their beat Spring's a girl from the streets at night”. Harmonicas can sound grand within indie & folk songs, and the opening to this number, wonderful! Clearly Irish, unabashedly a love song, it is all class….especially those teeth! Shane MacGowan is such a great frontman, The Pogues a void without his streetwise charisma. They started out in London, their plucky Celtic punk gala lending itself to a political slant from time to time. The Pogues were popular throughout the UK & Ireland, while they also enjoyed swinging an ale or 20 along the east coast of the US. They recently toured Oz once more.
…tempered in the fire” I love the instruments on show in the clip below, alongside the usual suspects: the Irish pipes sending us through time, a wee flute, violin, a guitalele, and a banjo.
….I met my love by the gas works wall Dreamed a dream by the old canal I kissed my girl by the factory wall” I thinks what is so addictive about this tune; obviously the Gaelic nostalgia, sure, but definitely the swooning of the magic of romance in such a harsh environment. It allows us to acknowledge and ponder how love swirls and eddies around for of us all, in all environments. This song was originally written by Ewan MacColl back in 1949. It was made popular by both The Pogues and The Dubliners in later days. MacColl’s inspiration for this song due to his days growing up in industrial Salford:
…I heard a siren from the docks Saw a train set the night on fire I smelled the spring on the smoky wind.”
Dirty Old Town https://tinyurl.com/2p98x9ck
Pic sourced via Discogs
Brilliant Songs -OUTLAW- Chron Gen (1982) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
From this site is my Punk & Hardcore series, along with various punk stories from my popular Slam Dance Corrobboree series.
…I feel like I'm not wanted here And I wonder what I'm living for Discerning eyes are burning me They make me feel like an outlaw” This is way up there on my list of favourite songs. It still pumps me up! That punk “stick to the conservative” city swagger. The clip here shows street cultures from the 70’s into the 80’s being held with contempt: including the mods, skins & punks…and various protests of past days leading to uprising. Lyrically speaking, I guess not allowing one to enter any venue for looking ‘sub-cultured’ - the issue.
From the outright that long-noted high-pitch belted down by the snare’s machine gun fire, and those exhilarating 80’s punk riffs, allows no room to hide!
I feel sorry for those that missed or didn’t ‘get’ the 70/80’s punk scene: I was never a slave to the system; the ‘norm’. A one-time young fan of the Brit highwayman series, Dick Turpin, the lead-break in this number still sends me to that era. I so love this nostalgic guitar sound. You can hear Chron Gen’s 70’s roots lingering within this song. It is high energy like the early 80’s sound, sure, but not as heavy and chaotic as say ‘chaos street punk Oi!’ groups like The Exploited or GBH.
…Are the people here for fun Or maybe looking for a fight” These guys formed in 1978 in Letchworth. Their Puppets of War 81 EP release saw them sit in the UK Indie charts for nearly10 months! They then went on to tour with the likes of Anti-Pasti, The Exploited, Discharge, and The Anti-Nowhere League - with the 81 UK Apocalypse tour (Glasper 2004). In recent days, the surviving members of the band have played the Rebellion Punk Festival and the London Punk Festival.
….Brutality and snobbery Will keep the cults at war It's just music why such hate There's nothing to be solved at all”
Pic sourced via la Tercera
Brilliant Songs -DEUS- Sugarcubes (1988) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
Forming in 1986 in Reykjavík Iceland, the Sugarcubes grabbed my attention a couple of years later with their quirky, slightly insane approach to communicating life’s moments. Influenced by bands such as The Cure and The Cocteau Twins, the vibrant shrewdness of ‘post punk’ arrives within their debut album, Life’s Too Good. A colourful combination, it made its landing without the expectation of international success. Yet, it managed to creep into every nook and cranny around the globe! Of course, Bjork’s powerful and charismatic voice-n-persona swept her to solo fame by 1993 within an indenture to trip hop. But while we are within that wonderful world this album’s atmospheric guitar sound effuses, I have to say that the song DEUS has a charm on me.
The way Bjork hits those remorseful notes, the desire to regain what’s unattainable, it stops me in my tracks and calms me immediately. At times the male spoken-vocals of Einar Orn add that almost Rock Lobster/Talking Heads buoyancy to the fold, while on DEUS, he is seemingly more retrospective. With that cartoon-like description of people and place that Bjork so elegantly manoeuvres, the song starts with the everyday; the drums rattling away, the high-strung notes of the six strings. And while the passion builds, the guitar still manages to meet the emotion without the predicted requirements of distortion. It is the final chorus where Bjork extends her nurturing lament that sends me away. She is a real talent!
A place Bjork sang at a few years later at The Big Day Out, I went to a Sydney RAT rave party at the Hordern Pavilion around 1990, met Molly Meldrum too. My pal Toola enjoyed patrolling the night calling out “Deus Deus” that fine evening. This song is for her…
Live in Spain https://tinyurl.com/2p8z3ya8
Pic sourced via Mirror80
Brilliant Songs - UNDER THE MILKY WAY – The Church (1988) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…and it’s something quite peculiar Something shimmering and white” This is one of the most beautifully tranquil songs ever written. Okay, it is a tad sad, but many peaceful songs do have an essence of self-reflection and empathy. The Church are a Sydney based band who formed in 1980, and they are currently touring. They took Australia by storm in the 80’s, their gentle, euphoric sounds, that enticing blend of psychedelic somewhat ethereal goth meets indie rock, the musician work suitably impressive. Front-man Steve Kilby arrived at the age of five from England. He knew how to reach inside our minds. They have always delivered a refreshingly non-conceited approach to songwriting. The Church’s songs also expressed themselves as much in our surrounding selves, as our inner selves. I like driving through the Northern Rivers’ volcanic landscape to their tunes. They’ve played alongside the likes of The Cure and Psychedelic Furs.
I heard that this song was actually about smack. It is a remorseful song about the band’s drummer taking a break to pursue his needs while touring Amsterdam. Untrue, according to Kilby in an interview with The Guardian Australia. He wrote this song with then girlfriend and Church bassist Karin Jansson, after they shared a ‘jazz cigarette’ while laying beneath the brilliance of a starry NSW eve: "It's not about anything. Like all my songs, it's a portal into your own mind where I give you a guided meditation. It's a blank, abstract canvas for people to lose themselves in" (Songfacts 2023).
…Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty Sound of their breath fades with the light”
The gentle caressing of acoustic strings, Kilby’s calmly sonorous voice strolling in over the top, the simple beat of percussion sets the scene to a song that is for many, well-cherished. The rising accelerando towards the middle-ground, the sound of ‘a sampler called a Synclavier, running an African bagpipes sound backwards’ (Financial Times 2020)… this is a powerful moment which then lingers back into the calm of night, while the final stages allows Peter Koppes’ guitar to gently take us away along the glittering spine of a southern hemisphere skyscape, with those whispery, dreamy notes.
…might have known what you would find”
Under the Milky Way Tonight https://tinyurl.com/36f7unvw
Pic sourced via Wikipedia
Brilliant Songs - CANDYMAN- Siouxsie & the Banshees (1986) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
….Sickly sweet, his poison seeks” Lyrically brilliant, yet very much disturbing, as soon as this song kicks into gear it has me won. That guitar! Eventually it rolls and lifts into that quintessential circular horror riff, while Siouxsie Sioux’s magnetic pitch signifies the individuality which has attracted so many to her craft.
In terms of listening to vinyl, no album was heard more at my family home in Cronulla than Siouxsie Sioux’s purple tornado Tinderbox. The whole album lends itself to that smooth, calm goth-allurement; her shrills drift into the wind, trapping the mind, allowing us to join the mission.
….A cool missile, yes, it's in his smile With open arms to welcome youBeware the masked pretender” But Candyman is different to the rest of the album, it blasts from the blocks; its roots in earlier punk, obvious. The way the timing changes to bass rolling down the line in tandem with the rattle-sizzle of snare v’s hi-hat, joining hands with tambourine, is evocative, the drumming in general does bring it on. Part of this song’s power lies in the slowing of motion following the chorus, allowing mystery to entertain where the chord changes arouse attention. Then, it’s back to that pleasurable pace once more, where that circular goth riff seemingly arrives from deep within the shadows.
….With a jaundiced wink, see his cunning slink Oh, trust in me, my pretty one. Come walk with me, my helpless one.” Queen of punk; queen of post-punk, and goth, Siouxsie spins her magic, the band itself had been together for a while by this stage, and this song, this album of deliverance to a sullen landscape, is an enchantment to the nether lands that exist within our memories.
Pic sourced via German Saez
Brilliant Songs - GIRL I LOVE YOU - Massive Attack (2010) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
This post featured on the Massive Attack & Daddy G Facebook sites!
…..Girl, I’m back in Spanish town Aint no trouble coming around” This is a slick, powerful and smooth masterpiece! The groaning bass asks you in, it really drags you down to offer up the street’s secrets. The first few listens, well the timing change seems a tad ungainly near the start of this grand tune, tis refreshing…this number certainly revels in the avant gard, while the backbeat percussion flutters along excitedly. That addictive fusion of trip hop-dub meets jazz-n-goth: Massive Attack are so very much special!
So, this song is well divided between the grungy industrial mayhem sessions, to off-tune brass section jazz, landing up in a gently tingling Egyptian inspired goth riff, reminiscent somewhere between earlier Mezzanine, 100th Window, and Dead Can Dance’s alluring world music mystique.
….You promise you will never let me down” That being said, I find Horace Andy’s voice falls back in time to pioneering days, Protection, for example, while his passive, honest demeanour is always invigorating; diverging from within his rasta-dread-persona, with that cartoon-like jutter-stutter to highlight his demands. From this album also arrives Paradise Circus, which was snapped up in later days by the brilliant Brit TV series Luther. With music knowledge and I guess great taste, I wonder if Idris Elba himself chose this number. While both tunes leave you pondering, Girl I Love You really has that edgier lament, lyrically simple, but massively clever in its ambience and sombre mood.
The clip here fits the piece with its social Asian streetscape as a nice vantage point, and besides, I always enjoy seeing Angkor Wat. This song hits so many hot spots, enjoyeth.
…..Girl, I love you but your loving, it's gone forever Forever”
Girl I love you https://tinyurl.com/5n7dz3hh
Pic sourced via Spotify
Brilliant Songs -NIGHT BOAT TO CAIRO- Madness (1979) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…It's just gone noon half past monsoon On the banks of the river Nile” Great opening lyrics for an upbeat song! Funny buggers are the gents from this classic UK SKA outfit, and phew, what a debut album this lived within. Written by Suggs & Barson for One Step Beyond, the film clip below is no ‘classic’- but it’s great to see tis not just me loafing about in shorts-n-cherry docs! Madness swell up a sense of calm and confidence in me which I find voonderval!
As was the single from the same album title, Night Boat is such a buzz of a tune, the ska chords strumming high, the wave of tenor sax…and of course that key change to alt sax with the foghorn. I found it amusing when I read in Songfacts (2023) how keyboardist Mike Barson announced in Daniel Rachel's The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters: "It was supposed to be an instrumental and then Suggs bloody got hold of it and wrote all those dodgy lyrics."
…Here comes the boat only half-afloatOarsman grins a toothless smile” While late 50’s into 60’s Jamaican ska inherited the genetics of Calypso, Caribbean mento-folk, and Jazz, the Two-tone ska revival of the UK 70s/80’s had that essence of energetic punk (Jamaica Gleaner 2013). Though these Camden lads were no angels, they enjoyed black music, having a laugh, while finding the racist element rocking up to their gigs as a right royal pain in the butt! (Hattenstone for The Guardian 2016) Some of the earlier versions of this song live are worth a look as they show the dancing energy & humour of this awesome group.
….Only just one more to this desolate shore”
Night Boat to Cairo https://tinyurl.com/r4cj7ek2
Pic sourced via eurovisionary
Brilliant Songs -CLIP MY WINGS- Montaigne (2016) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
….I'm wrestling The air between the parts Of matter in my brain”
Sydney really does birth some seriously talented female indie singers! The first time I heard Montaigne was from a speaker in a bottle store in Brunswick Heads, taking to her immediately. This song at first reminded me of the album Treasure by The Cocteau Twins, especially songs like Ivo, an outfit I know Montaigne appreciates herself. A Triple J Unearthed winner in 2012, Jessica Cerro - aka Montaigne- also went on to represent Oz in Eurovision 2021, but couldn't attend the semi-finals due to Covid travel hindrances.
….Put your strings on me Subtle puppetry” Musically, I love how the acoustic guitar comes on strong, giving a folky feel to Montaigne’s soon to protest the tyrants in her life. Though it’s more about her chords and vocal pitch, the drums too are effective in their purpose, jolting and sparring with the singer, here and there.
…That kind of game takes two You don't talk of virtue Maybe they won't hurt you”
Montaigne is very bold when it comes to lifting notes along the chain, the way she does this here is an absolute winner. Her voice rises and falls; hollers, between passive statements, to ‘nup’, this is how I really feel about that!
In an interview for musicinjection.com.au (2015) Montaigne asserts, “Clip My Wings is about attempting to push back against your oppressors, I am resilient and have become more self-confident, I am less afraid to stand up for myself and my self-belief and I am expressing that through this song.”
So much so, Montaigne sings this live on a Yarra tram from the link below.
….Clip my wings and see Put your strings on me Nobody will see, joy in me” I like Montaigne, she is creative and easy going; nice to watch on the TV shows she partakes in. I hope she is one of those pop stars who is about for a grand age while she explores the depth to her charisma and experiences. If Eurovision had ‘happened’ that year maybe the world would see a different Montaigne. In the meantime, many actually know her #2 Aussie hit with Hilltop Hoods, 1955, which also featured Tom Thum.
The first clip here is Clip My Wings recorded in total with the band. You need to scroll down through the article to see it. The second is a taster of her clip, otherwise solo on the other two full clips.
….Fantastically i live inside a dream Reality can not be what it seems”
Clip My Wings
Full song, scroll down https://tinyurl.com/57cv8kuk
The clip taster https://tinyurl.com/37pupz2r
Live on a tram in Melbourne https://tinyurl.com/mu3a4ptk
Pic sourced via beatzone
Brilliant Songs – CRYSTAL - Curve (1993) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
….Crystal only ever smiles Through her eyes Crystal only ever lies Through her mouth Just no one sees it” Now, Curve do it for me! Keeping the magic alive, they were a 90’s bulwark to an 80’s mystique that provided an avenue to explore an arcane, romantic sound that allowed people to explore new and creative soundscapes. So, we will begin our return to the series with some powerfully moody temptation.
…May I fight for my honour Without the pity you show” The clip today shows the band’s live lightshow in-sync with the colour theme of the album ‘Cuckoo’. The lyrics suggest the wrongdoing in a relationship where Crystal is made to feel like a discarded dog. I found this number so touching back in the early 90’s, that its message has stayed with me. In fact, I used these lyrics to further accentuate a story I penned on a Burmese girl ‘used’ badly as a slave in Thailand, in recent times. This features in my coming book ‘What the Monsoon Knows.’
As far as the sound goes, well it is glorious. It allows one’s brain to switch into that bold, sombre mode, where control over fear thrives. Distortion explodes, charging out from that delicious drifting sonic maudlin plea. A robust clang of bass with that somewhat trip hop down-beat percussion, signals the beginning of a 90’s handover.
….Still she lies in the doghouse Don't think that she can carry on.” Some folk prefer the tune of the day, the ‘one’ on everyone’s lips. But with Crystal, there are sounds within the mantle of the sonic which tickle an addiction for us: the alternative. Toni Halliday’s voice is soothing and magnetic; she tends to meet common ground with her audience like a teacher who casually understands your needs. The album itself is ultimately clever in its depth of arrangements, certainly a proficient standard in recording. Cuckoo is both smooth and empowering, with a musky gentleness that speaks empathy.
…Just saying sorry Won't ever be enough. You have squandered my love.”
Crystal live https://tinyurl.com/4rfk5h2s
Recorded version with band images https://tinyurl.com/mrx3wmbk
Pic sourced via 9Honey Celebrity
Brilliant Songs -HERCULES-Midnight Oil (1992) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…Strike a bell in Hiroshima park You know that we can't see in the dark”
Midnight Oil have long been one of the big players in Oz rock. They have a sound that has been appreciated by a wide range of demographics, thus rendering them pliable for commercial radio, while also tickling the fancy of those who desire a bit more depth to their day.
…I do the best I can do The human jungle and the global zoo” Arriving from the northern beaches of Sydney within the days of punk, their message; their revolt, still lives on in their communication of what is important to them, and the planet. This, nicely stated by Paulie Jay (rateyourmusic.com 2018) “during the "golden age" of 1980s fear of nuclear annihilation, the band was capable of making some very universal and, it must be said, jarringly uncomfortable observations.”
The song clearly announces the band’s stern disapproval and avid fear of an era when the West decided the South Pacific was a great location to set off nuclear bombs. A social statement tailored to the masses, it bursts from the blocks with that explosion of six-string revelry, as ever, Rob Hirst rolls the toms nicely. It is an exciting sound, more than suitable for urgent protest, but one that also enables those less thoughtful of their civics, to party along with also. In tandem with crash, the chords ignite with a sound not out of place within a surf punk meets alt-western rockabilly bonanza.
….Why wait for the planes to come When everybody's got us on the run South Pacific carry on”
Pic sourced via Forbes
Brilliant Songs-MANDINKA- Sinead O’Connor (1987) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…See how the black moon fades Soon I can give you my heart” As Adam Spencer suggested on ABC breakfast TV this Thursday, the tear that fell upon Sinead’s cheek was the most touching moment in 80’s television. The song, of course, can be seen in my Facebook post earlier in the week. Nothing Compares to You is about loss, and the tear came easier as Sinead was thinking about her mum who had passed away not so long before the clip was made. Though I chose another song today, really, this post is in honour of a fine human from troubled times who did her best to stick up for her beliefs.
Sinead grew up in Ireland but moved to England in 1985. I was watching a doco about her life on SBS TV two months back and her activism caused a stir in places such as mainstream media in the US. I do remember all this myself of course. On the doco, Mandinka live at the Grammys was shown (link below) and it made me realise just how good the song was. I did appreciate the sound at the time too, it is truly reminiscent of the day, and one that arrives with some indie nous.
Her voice was superb, the pitches she met, in particular the chorus here, really glows. It starts out with those top of the pops guitar licks, simple drums, the music itself is fitting with the piece where the chords do become a bit edgier, and the bass almost walks during the chorus. But it is the ‘message’, and how it is sung that wins the day. It is a heartfelt apology to those who have endured human slavery, which continues today. Mandinka is a West African linguistic group of connected clans who were rounded up and sent as slaves to the Americas.
Sinead was captured by Alex Haley’s film Roots (1976). As suggested by Songmeaningandfacts.com (2019) “understanding that the Mandinka as being victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade as made known through Roots were such that they had to put personal pride aside, if you will, in the name of surviving that harrowing ordeal.” …but I do know Mandinka”.
Anyway, I too loved her voice in Massive Attack songs via the album 100th Window.
I’m sorry for your pain Sinead…
Live at the Grammys https://tinyurl.com/m89826ns
Pic sourced via Omega Music
Brilliant Songs -THE ITCHY GLOWBO BLOW- Cocteau Twins (1988) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…The spirit of life fires me now” This is a unique sound, even for The Cocteau Twins, and I feel the guitar’s mystique can only be described as gothed-up-flamenco on serepax. It is most certainly beautiful, seductive, and inspirational!
Elizabeth Fraser’s final lift and echo to end a lyrical statement is an intrigue; there is power. This tune has a sound that understands sorrow, and similarly to my recent rant of Curve’s Crystal, a call to arms to witness feminine depravity…. Standing at his feet Standing he flailed”
Where I find Fraser’s bafflement in tongues an enchantment, when viewing the lyrics that appear to the screen differently to how I hear them, they remain entangled in code and allow for deeper analysis.
….Futile in love Futile is this fever” A fine number where percussion meets its purpose, it is finely wrapped in guitar and vocals, gentle fills layered neatly to further harmonise. I love how this band sends a change in time and pitch to their dream-state chords as the song drifts out towards finality, and then winds down into a sacred calm before retreating into the ether. I know no other band where the flangy delay fusion brings on a shade of sorrowful memories hugged in a fuzzy haze of wanting paradise. In this respect, I feel goth and its more ambient sonic siblings do allow for the yin and yang of life’s emotions to be drawn down into the soul more readily than any other family of subgenres.
I’d say that most of the songs on the album Blue Bell Knoll are nudging brilliance, just quietly.
…The spirit of life fires me”
The Itchy Glowbow Blow https://tinyurl.com/2jdj7e3v
Pic sourced via The Music Aficionado
Brilliant Songs -GHOST TOWN- The Specials (1981) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…Bands won’t play no more Too much fighting on the dance floor” Today we are travelling back in time to the early 80s UK, a time when the Tories were banging on the heads of the working class, and anger spilled out onto the dancefloors and gigs with skinhead revelry.
The Specials mixed it nicely with old school Jamaican ska-n-reggae, modern punk inspired angst. This song in particular moves its way through the laneways of old London with jostling dancehall and circus carnival at the hem. I particularly enjoy the horror flick element which in a way arrives comically, but too, allows for the dread of the time to leech its way from the town’s bricks and mortars, into that old car with all the lads. The Persian Ney flute is grand, floating a soothing element, with the house organ retro fitting the moment. Stealing me as always are the horns; that trombone holding the floor for a spell, as the reggae rhythm rides its way out to push onwards the momentum. This is a tune with many dimensions, many moods.
…This town, is coming like a ghost town” I suppose this song could be described as passive aggressive protest, being such a calming piece. But it does have that comical element, that cheeky edge of the time. 2Tone Ska harks back to a London 60’s when Jamaicans and Skins all danced together, The Specials suggested as the best of the late 70’s into 80’s lot. But violence was finding its way into recreation, and publicans and overseers had had enough!
…Why must the youth fight against themselves?” As Abigail Gardener for Theconversation.com (2017) announced, “It’s just a cry out against injustice, against closed off opportunities by those who have pulled the ladder up and robbed the young, the poor, the white and black of their songs and their dancing, their futures.”
I love the old grainy look of this clip…
…Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town? We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown”
Ghost Town https://tinyurl.com/3289w8s8
Live for BBC https://tinyurl.com/3ux63nu4
Pic sourced via Ultimate Guitar
Brilliant Songs -A LITTLE EACH DAY- Suicidal Tendencies (1987). www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…Saw the things I didn't want to find Knew the dreams I had over a bottle of wine”. Back in the late 80s The Cure and Suicidal Tendencies were on rotation in my house more than any other sound. This is the second time ST have featured in this series. While still holding onto its punk energy, A Little Each Day arrived via a more metal inclined skatecore sound with Join the Army. Following this, the 2nd album, How Will I Laugh Tomorrow and the No Mercy offshoot held a heavier metal rhythm section. Other than a few DK and Radio Birdman lead breaks, it was ST that allowed me to finally invite metal into my soundscape.
…Came and whispered in my ear But I tried to pretend that I didn't hear” From an album that needed to fill the intense energy the first, more ‘skater punk’ album dispelled, A Little Each Day has a song entrance like no other. With time ensuring the dice does roll, that hardcore riff moving up the chain then falling back on itself ¾in tandem with gonging of bass, those exquisite drum rolls & hat stabs; the moment is massive! A bluesy drunken bass line arrives following on from a hollering, piercing lead section as the intro finalises. Edging out into a corrosive but somewhat calming flanged chugger section I love how Mike Muir strolls down into narrative. He takes you on a journey, his emotions, your emotions, the vibrancy of life along Venice Beach: few bands mastered this sensitivity combined with ‘street smarts’ that wasn’t so much about preaching, but self-empowerment and storytelling. This song’s lyrics are brilliant!
…Oh I say, I died a little today” Throughout, the chords shrill and call out, wavering in protest. Yes, Rocky George is such a grand guitarist. His lead in this number is very satisfying, a high-pitched magnetism of whatever lives in the air about him to swirl at his fingertips. And with such a great intro, anyone would be just as happy to see this returning as the outro in reverse, tying off the end of a tepid wound.
And it does of course.
…I chalked it up as another day.”
A Little Each Day https://tinyurl.com/yck3r6s4
Pic sourced via Says
Brilliant Songs – CITY OF DELUSION- Muse (2006). www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
...Build a fortress and shield your beliefs” UK’s Muse are many things. The album Black Holes and Revelations, which City of Delusion arrives to, is a well-furnished set of intensively staged themes. Where struggle to remain; to thrive, seem to hold court, there remains a sense of tongue-n-cheek tickling the drama.
It took Anthrax’s marriage of skatecore meets speedmetal for me to finally appreciate the tenor vocal range my metalhead mates in 80s Sydney loved with Iron Maiden etc. Muse frontman Matt Bellamy knows how to draw out those notes, hollering, demanding, but it is fine with me, when usually it would annoy. Similarly to Ian Brown’s Time is My Everything, in Mexican theme the intro to this song inspires. I have the live song clip alone today as it showcases the musician work well.
…Or settle for less Until you guzzle and squander what's left” Muse engulf thorough energy. My favourite section of this song is within the second pause where once again the Mexican acoustic chords and grindy bass send in the trumpet before the drums plunder that heavier incline once more. A symphonic-metal violin rides out the big moments with explosive percussion. Muse are big on drama. Metal, melodics, moments of grindcore and modern-day prog-rock, their experimental alt-rock fusion is well thought out. The first pause brings alive a bassline with deranged effects and accompanying electronica section. By no means the heaviest song on the album, which is honoured by the brilliant song Assassin, the timing changes allow with a break for fresh air, before dragging you back down into the mayhem.
As described on lyricinterpretations.com (2023) “this song explains yet another one of Bellamy's interests in conspiracy theories. This song is literal and is about humans overcoming widespread influence of robot humanoids under the guise of ordinary citizens, operating in modern day society.”
A clever song from a very clever album!
…When I don't trust? All your theories turn to dust”
City of Delusion live https://tinyurl.com/4h5erzva
Pic sourced via Pushing Ahead of the Dame - Wordpress.com
Brilliant Songs -ASHES TO ASHES – David Bowie (1980) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…Strung out in heaven's high Hitting an all-time low” I was ten when this song arrived. I clearly remember being at home with my brother and sister in Cronulla enjoying this song’s clip when it arrived to Countdown. It has never left me, and I have never tired of it.
It is obvious Bowie put a lot into his song designs. A follow on from his 69 Space Oddity, Major Tom is spelt out as a junkie, but he, in himself, is a metaphor for drug & alcohol use. There is plenty of interpretations available for Ashes to Ashes. One that is clever (for e.g. Neil Anderson @Qora.com) is the wisdom of mum telling Bowie to avoid Major Tom, which is also Bowie’s inner-self making him wary of too much consumption, moving away from the poison, into a new day.
It would be a brave author to suggest anything but individuality for this genius, yet this song has the hallmarks of post punk relevant to the era. Unsurprisingly, Bowie was not only an influence on punk a few years earlier, but too the burgeoning goth & new romantic scene. This song definitely helped all that along. In fact, the actors in this clip were the avant-garde of the time. The clip itself was not doctored, the technology was not readily available as yet, so the colour filters were sent into battle then-and-there on the beach.
...They got a message from the Action Man "I'm happy, hope you're happy too” A spacey Japanese koto intro with those keys, which gather wings once again in the outro; that bounce and clang of slap bass. This song, the mood, the sound, is wonderful in its exotic eeriness; the clip below harmonising all these plains splendidly; that wiry warning lead as the song fades. Guitar synth, mini moog?... Well speculation abounds on that synth sound…Tony Visconti, April 2017 (gearspace.com) put it all to rest: “Andy Clark used a Mini Moog and Yamaha CS-80 on four songs including ‘Ashes To Ashes’ and ‘Fashion’. The outro of Ashes To Ashes, he created deep growls and an Andalusian trumpet motif.”
As for the new wave of Bowie followers, I remember seeing somewhere how Bowie conscripted young alternative groovers from a nightclub in London for the clip: “He came with a purpose – to whisk away four of the most outlandish Blitz Kids to strut with his pierrot through the video for his new number” (Shapersofthe80’s.com). It was during a private party at The Blitz by Steve Strange & Rusty Egan, who were hosting the most exotic of London’s young; deranged haircuts & makeup coverage.
…My mother said, to get things done You'd better not mess with Major Tom” Ashes to Ashes https://tinyurl.com/2r6y3vdx
Pic sourced via Guitar World
Brilliant Songs – BLACKBIRD- Tash Sultana (2018) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…have you seen that blackbird? Comin’ down the line” Now, that is how to play a guitar! This is my favourite Tash Sultana song. Living in the Northern Rivers of NSW, it sinks nicely into the volcanic landscape. Opening majestically with classical flamenco, this soothing nine-minute journey chills down into an earthy bluesy ambience. Again, as the song enters finality, Tash’s mastering of the six-strings returns. Not unlike the organic best of Ed Kuepper, this is a very endearing song!
A fine musician, Tash hails from Melbourne and has amassed a serious international following. Much like the indie era of Sarah Blasko, Tash’s voice, I feel, has been copied into pop folklore, filling the accounts of those on her heels. Distinct to the rest of the songs on Flow State, Nick Gumas for riffmagazine.com (2018) suggests of the songstress’ voice on this number as: “Using a more resonant part of their register, their haunting delivery add an echoing tone to the middle of the piece.”
….And like the lightnin', it slowly thunders “ As for song meaning: be it song bird or steam train – I can find no better than this interpretation via Warren Barrett in Oldtimemusic.com (2023) “At its core, “Blackbird” explores the journey of self-discovery and the complexities of identity. The blackbird, acting as a guide, encourages the listener to confront these internal struggles and find their own path towards healing and self-acceptance.”
…I guess it’s long gone now”
Pic sourced via Amazon.com.au
Brilliant Songs -THE CEDAR ROOM- Doves (2000) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
…Stars leave the morning Sleep clouds my view Don't let them come round here And call to you” A brilliant song from an album of indie variety, every number wonderful. Lost Souls: alternative sonic rock, alluringly gothic, seductively psychedelic; still allowing time for the campfire harmonica. While living in Sydney’s Newtown this was my favourite album within the dawning of the new Millennium. Hailing from Manchester and previously an electronica outfit whose studio burnt down, with their guitars now in hand they arrived early in the piece to tour Oz, with favourable airtime on Triple J. Over a 20-year period Doves were highly successful at home in the UK.
…And I tried to sleep alone But I couldn't do it You could be sitting next to me And I wouldn't know it”
As for song meaning, some suggest a lonely soul who has become oblivious to those around him, and he is remorseful of that. Another laments ‘his’ lover has died, and their souls will be reunited. But from the horse’s mouth for the dukechronical.com, in a 2000 interview, drummer Andy Williams said of The Cedar Room in relation to he and his songster brother’s childhood:
“I wrote the verse lyrics and Jimi wrote the chorus lyrics. The Cedar Room was actually a room in a haunted house from when we were kids. The name just got stuck in my head. It's a very love kind of vibe.”
…If I told you you were wrong I don't remember saying” That delightfully eerie ghosting of the harmonica, the spinning wheel starting and stopping while returning later to the journey, and of course coming in casually over the top, beautifully drifting guitar − slightly delayed higher notes throughout: or as Owen Baily for guitar.com (2020) allows passionately , “with a vari-sped tremolo chord, twin chiming guitar parts soar above the mix.”
The drums really have that stoner sooth. Finally, and particularly as I recently spent a night alone in an old haunted house in East Maitland, I can sense this sound rolling through that old Manchester house of cedar, with loss of love complementing the euphoric saga. Some of my fav songs live on this Doves’ first album, The Cedar Room very much one of them. If you haven’t heard this brilliance in a while, a return is very much a soulful journey.
...I'll be a shadow In the cedar room And leave just a memory Alone with you”
The Cedar Room full intro to song, a better version than the clip: https://tinyurl.com/3phpfj6m
Film Clip https://tinyurl.com/bd6yr2zb
Pic sourced via SistersWiki.org
Brilliant Songs -MORE- The Sisters of Mercy (1990) www.shamrocknewsmusic.com
….Some people get by with a little understanding”. Now when those keys roll, the piano strikes, the hollering cry of the lead kicks in inviting the church organ to circle about, you just know this moment belongs to ‘goth’! However, with the addition of German guitarist Andreas Bruhn came a 90’s deliverance of hard rocking metal riffs. The powerchords here are addictive, a real punch of adrenaline. True UK goth-rock legends, Sisters of Mercy had lengthy, repetitive songs, and though not as dark as Fields of Nephilim, they still revelled in the dark industrial elements of society.
…There are parts of me that don't get nervous Not the parts that shake” Lesser now with this new sound were the spiralling broken carnival chords, but amongst the rush of gasoline spent along a desert highway, retained on the album Vision Thing too is that urban city feel, perhaps more akin to the New York feel than London. More allowed for a powerful Southern gospel of Maggie Reilly to inspire, the craw of crow and rock percussion, drifting away from the electro-tech sound that served Sisters so well in previous times.
In terms of song meaning via Songtell.com (2023): “the versus describe the challenges of vulnerability and the difficulty of finding someone who can handle the intensity and complexities of emotions. The lines ‘learning to cry for fun and profit’ suggest the singer may resort to false or temporary connections to fill the void.”of vulnerability and the e v f
I was quite happy at the time this number arrived, as by then, my crew would all hang at a joint called The Dive in Cronulla, and the cave-like ambience got us to our feet when More sounded out. Though earlier songs like Alice, This Corrosion, and The Temple of Love are superb, More, and its heavy chords, really hog the limelight in any moment. Anyway, in more recent times I lured a young metal guitarist Jacob to the whims of goth and he has since seen Sisters play live in Brisvegus himself.
….D'you get scared to feel so much? To let somebody touch you?”
Thanks for viewing this series and I hope you found yourself within some of the dialogue.
A good song to end the series on, as there is 'more' to come, with Brilliant Songs continuing over the next few years, Shamrock...