Ben Bowman delivers another installment of ‘6 songs you need to listen to’.
Hi, I’m back again on another propaganda mission to get you to listen to some really good music. Again I’ve picked a mixture of old and new tracks straight from my library of what I have been listening to recently. These tracks are indulgent, classic and for the newer releases, full of promise. You don’t have to listen to these tracks, but you probably should – all the cool kids are.
1) David Bowie – Five Years
At the weekend I sifted through HMV’s vinyl selection and picked up a record that for reason unbeknown to me that had escaped my collection for such a long time. David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. One of the most recognisable albums of all time and arguably Bowie’s best. Recorded in the narrative reflecting the story of alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, Five Years is a track that is perhaps overlooked in the midst of the glam-rock classic. On face value, tracks such as Starman and Ziggy Stardust take much of the recognition, but Five Years is a real classic. The iconic lyrics ‘It was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor’ which always stick in my mind, help to personify the image of Bowie standing alone at nightfall in London, which became the iconic artwork for this record. A ballad packed with sorrow and pain, this track is some of Bowie’s most admirable and heartfelt work without a doubt.
2) The Doors – Strange Days
The opener and title track of The Doors second album is a choice once again inspired by a record that I picked up at the weekend. In the prolific nine album long career of the American psychedelic rockers, Strange Days is the second installment. Second installments often come under scrutiny, forever being compared to their predecessor – but this is an absolutely stunning album. I picked this track from it as it opens the album and gives you a frightful reminder of The Doors’ capability and carries through the essence of the first album as many of the songs that featured on Strange Days were written around the same time as the tracks that made it onto the band’s first release. Jim Morrison’s troubled mind comes through heavily on this track as at the time he was reportedly deeply depressed. This track is a bruising, heavy nod to the emergence of hippie culture amongst young people in the 1960s and without doubt one of my favourites from The Doors.
3) Two Door Cinema Club – Bad Decisions
Two Door Cinema Club are a band that I have had somewhat of an on/off love affair with. Obsessed in the innocence of youth by their debut album, packed with uplifting indie tracks that has given them the reputation as somewhat of a cult hero in recent alternative culture. Their second album to me was lukewarm and didn’t excite me anywhere near as much, but the Irish band have returned in 2016 in some style with Gameshow, their third studio album. Recorded in LA, the influences of Prince and Bowie, which the band have spoken about really seep through on this record giving it a disco-funk feel. Bad Decisions in particular oozes class and is well worth a listen and will certainly be a live favourite on their UK tour early next year. It is a a great representation of this more ‘poppy’ approach by the trio and acts as cornerstone for this record, showing their versatility and creativity.
4) Pulp – Sorted for E’s and Whizz
There were calls for this song to be banned upon its release in 1995 due to its alleged promotion of drug use, but luckily for music fans it has lasted the test of time and is a real favourite of mine. The inspiration for this track came from Jarvis Cocker recalling an encounter with his friend about seeing The Stone Roses play Spike Island with someone asking them if they were ‘Sorted for E’s and Whizz?’. This came from Pulp’s fifth studio album Different Class and is a far more stripped back effort than what we are used to from the Sheffield group when comparing it to the rest of the album. The song takes us on a journey through a haze of hallucination and the feeling of emptiness of a comedown, referencing perhaps the future of music and the drug craze surrounding the Britpop era at the time.
5) The Vryll Society – A perfect Rhythm
Their Facebook biography states that ‘The Vryll Society have been creating a complex body of work, to stimulate both the soul…and mind. Long days of liquid jams and crafted song- writing, laced with touches of Funkadelic, Aphrodites Child and Krautrock has seen a rich ocean of sound come to the surface.’ Rich and liquid are perfect descriptions of what the Liverpool based band have created on their latest offering A perfect Rhythm which has been met by praise from BBC Radio 6’s Huw Stephens who made it his ‘tip’ on Saturday night. The track is a fusion of psychedelia and pop and is driven by cleverly crafted guitar. Stockport five piece Blossoms have often heaped plaudits on The Vryll Society and it seems as if they are one to watch going into 2017.
The track is available to download on Spotify and iTunes from their website: http://www.thevryllsociety.com/
6) Jaws – Right in front of me
With Jaws’ second album Simplicity coming out next Friday, it will be interesting to see if the Birmingham band can keep up their reputation as a hot prospect in the alternative scene. Right in front of me is the second single to be released from the upcoming record and bears many similarities to their debut self-titled album. Evidently inspired by the likes of Joy Division, this track is a solid return from the band as they offer yet another clean, shimmering alternative track which definitely pleased fans who were eager for their return.
Buy tickets for their album tour here: http://blog.jawsjawsjaws.co.uk/SHOWS
Words by Ben Bowman, follow him on twitter here.