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Grunge Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Alice In Chains – Them Bones

Day 30. The link today is actually the recording studio. Yesterdays Pearl Jam tune & Them Bones by Alice In Chains were both recorded at London Bridge Studios in Seattle.

Them Bones is downtempo Grunge done to perfection. Atmospheric, Black Sabbath riffs, driving rhythms & fantastic vocal harmonies combine to create an oppressive & expressive atmosphere. For me personally, Them Bones takes me right back to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It’s inclusive on the rock stations fairly short playlist ensuring that I’ve probably heard it hundreds, if not thousands, of times in that particular setting.

I believe them bones are me 
Some say we’re born into the grave 
I feel so alone 
Gonna end up a big ole pile a them bones

Dust rise right on over my time 
Empty fossil of the new scene 
I feel so alone
Gonna wind up a big ole pile a them bones
Toll due bad dream come true 
I lie dead gone under red sky 
I feel so alone, 
Gonna end up a big ole pile a them

I feel so alone
Gonna end up a big ole pile a them
I feel so alone
Gonna end up a big ole pile a them bones

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Grunge Mental Health Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Pearl Jam – Jeremy

Day 29. From a song about an American teenager opening fire on her school to a song about another kind of American school shooting. Jeremy is about a 15 year old boy, Jeremy Delle, who committed suicide in front of his English class by self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Interestingly, the same set of circumstances seemed to contribute to Delle’s suicide as many more famous school shootings. Chiefly that Delle, like many school shooters, was mercilessly bullied by his classmates.

Pearl Jam wrote Jeremy in a bid to increase awareness of gun violence (specifically in schools), teen suicide & the dangers of unchecked bullying. As the description to the YouTube video states, “the themes of Jeremy highlighted by Pearl Jam in 1991, have sadly only become more relevant in the intervening 30 years as gun deaths continue to increase.”

At home drawing pictures
Of mountain tops
With him on top
Lemon yellow sun
Arms raised in a V

Dead lay in pools of maroon below
Daddy didn’t give attention
Oh, to the fact that mommy didn’t care
King Jeremy the wicked
Oh, ruled his world

Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today
Clearly I remember
Pickin’ on the boy

Seemed a harmless little fuck
But we unleashed the lion
Gnashed his teeth and bit the recessed lady’s breast

How could I forget
And he hit me with a surprise left
My jaw left hurting

Dropped wide open
Just like the day
Oh like the day I heard
Daddy didn’t give affection

And the boy was something that mommy wouldn’t wear
King Jeremy the wicked
Ruled his world

Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today

Try to forget this (try to forget this)
Try to erase this (try to erase this)
From the blackboard

Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in
Spoke in
Jeremy spoke in
Spoke in
Jeremy spoke in class today

Uh uh uh uh (spoke in, spoke in, spoke in)
(Spoke in)
Uh uh uh uh (spoke in, spoke in, spoke in)
Whoa oh (spoke in)
(Spoke in, spoke in)
Whoa oh (spoke in)
Whoa oh (spoke in, spoke in, spoke in)
Ah ah ah yeah 
Ah ah ah ah (spoke in, spoke in, spoke in)
Yeah yeah ah ah ah (spoke in, spoke in, spoke in)
Ah ah ah ah ah

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Prog Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Pink Floyd – One Of My Turns

Day 27. From a song called Tourniquet yesterday to the only other song I could think of that used the word Tourniquet in it’s lyrics (I’m sure there’s more but my mind is blank).

Luckily, One Of My Turns from The Wall is a great tune. The slow burning synth drones of the opening are so lush & thick. They take me back to a certain time in my life when I first heard The Wall. The movie, I think. & the explosive drop before the loud section is a huge shock. I wish musicians (in the mainstream, at least) still played with dynamics like that. Great tune. & an intense section of the movie.

“Oh my God! What a fabulous room! Are all these your guitars?
“I’m sorry sir, I didn’t mean to startle you!”
“This place is bigger than our apartment!”
“Let me know when you’re entering a room”
“Yes sir!”
“Um, Can I get a drink of water?”
“I was wondering about”
“You want some, huh?”
“Yes”
“Oh wow, look at this tub? Do you want to take bath?”
“I’ll have to find out from Mrs. Bancroft what time she wants to meet us, for her main…”
“What are watching?”
“If you’ll just let me know as soon as you can … Mrs Bancroft” “Mrs Bancroft…”
“Hello?”
“I don’t understand”
“Are you feeling okay?”

Day after day, love turns grey
Like the skin of a dying man.
And night after night, we pretend its all right
But I have grown older and
You have grown colder and
Nothing is very much fun any more.
And I can feel one of my turns coming on.
I feel cold as a razor blade,
Tight as a tourniquet,
Dry as a funeral drum.

Run to the bedroom,
In the suitcase on the left
You’ll find my favorite axe.
Don’t look so frightened
This is just a passing phase,
One of my bad days.
Would you like to watch T.V.?
Or get between the sheets?
Or contemplate the silent freeway?
Would you like something to eat?
Would you like to learn to fly?
Would’ya?
Would you like to see me try?

Would you like to call the cops?
Do you think it’s time I stopped?
Why are you running away?

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Industrial Metal Rock Song of the Day

Song of The Day (The Chain): Nine Inch Nails – We’re In This Together

Day 25. A bit of an obvious one today, but a good one. From a Nine Inch Nails mix of a Bowie song to one of my favourite Nine Inch Nails songs.

We’re In This Together was the lead single from the bands excellent 1999 album The Fragile. Precision production, industrial percussion & some of the nastiest Noise Rock guitar ever committed to tape ProTools combine to create a huge single. Aa creeping sense of dread grows throughout the songs verses before exploding into the fury of the loud, angry, & somehow optimistic, chorus.

I’ve become impossible holding on to when
When everything seemed to matter more
The two of us
All used and beaten up
Watching fate as it flow down the path we
Have chose

You and me
We’re in this together now
None of them can stop us now
We will make it through somehow
You and me
If the world should break in two
Until the very end of me
Until the very end of you

Awake to the sound as they peel apart the skin
They pick and they pull
Trying to get their fingers in
Well they’ve got to kill what we’ve found
Well they’ve got to hate what we fear
Well they’ve got to make it go away
Well they’ve got to make it disappear

The farther I fall I’m beside you
As lost as I get I will find you
The deeper the wound I’m inside you
For ever and ever I’m a part of

You and me
We’re in this together now
None of them can stop us now
We will make it through somehow
You and me
If the world should break in two
Until the very end of me
Until the very end of you
All that we were is gone we have to hold on
All that we were is gone we have to hold on
When all our hope is gone we have to hold on
All that we were is gone but we can hold on

You and me
We’re in this together now
None of them can stop us now
We will make it through somehow
You and me
Even after everything
You’re the queen and I’m the king
Nothing else means anything

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Industrial Pop Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): David Bowie – I’m Afraid Of Americans (Nine Inch Nails V1 Mix)

Day 24. From songs produced by David Bowie (Lou Reed’s Perfect Day & Mott The Hoople’s All The Young Dudes) for the last two days to a David Bowie song produced by another artist. In this case it’s the V1 mix of I’m Afraid Of American’s, produced by Nine Inch Nail’s polymath Trent Reznor. Although not the original version, this mix surpassed the album version in popularity (partly due to the video, one would assume) & is even included on many ‘best of’ albums.

I’m Afraid Of Americans already shared some major characteristics with Nine Inch Nails. Bowie was, after all, heavily influenced by them in this period. Trent Reznor transforms it into a behemoth of punishing Industrial Noise Rock. Check out the video below.

Johnny’s in America, no tax at the wheel
Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah
No-one needs anyone, they don’t even just pretend
Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah
Johnny’s in America

I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans

Johnny’s in America
Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah
Johnny wants a brain, Johnny wants to suck on a coke
Johnny wants a woman, Johnny wants to think of a joke
Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah
Johnny’s in America (ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah)

I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans

Johnny’s in America, Johnny looks up at the stars
Johnny combs his hair and Johnny wants pussy in cars
Johnny’s in America (ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah)
Johnny’s in America (ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah)

I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans

God is an American
God is an American
(Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah)

I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t

Yeah I’m afraid of Americans
I’m afraid of the world
I’m afraid I can’t help it
I’m afraid I can’t
I’m afraid of Americans

Johnny’s an American
Johnny’s an American
Johnny’s an American
Johnny’s an American
Johnny’s an American

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Rock Rock And Roll Song of the Day

Song Of The Day (The Chain): Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes

Day 23. I’m assuming that most people who may be reading this post will be able to pick out the link between Perfect Day & All The Young Dudes from miles away. That’s right. Perfect Day is take from Lou Reed’s excellent album Transformer, which, as I’m sure you’re aware, was produced by none other than David Bowie. All The Yung Dudes by Mott The Hoople is also produced by David Bowie. Unlike Perfect Day, however, Bowie actually wrote All The Young Dudes. Legend has it that Mott The Hoople asked Bowie for Drive-In Saturday, but he liked it too much & decided to give them All The Young Dudes instead. An excellent Bowie version is also available.

All The Young dudes is a fairly typical Glam-era Bowie tune, with a swaggering & androgynous vibe, amazing guitar work (Bowie & the legendary Mick Ronson both play on it) & lyrics about feeling different & taking solace in your generation’s art. NME described it as “one of that rare breed: rock songs which hymn the solidarity of the disaffected without distress or sentimentality”.

Well, Billy rapped all night about his suicide
How he’d kick it in the head when he was twenty-five
Speed jive, don’t want to stay alive
When you’re twenty-five
And Wendy’s stealing clothes from Marks & Sparks
And Freddy’s got spots from ripping off the stars from his face
Funky little boat race
Television man is crazy saying we’re juvenile delinquent wrecks
Oh, man, I need TV when I’ve got T.Rex
Oh brother, you guessed
I’m a dude, dad

All the young dudes (hey dudes!)
Carry the news (where are you?)
Boogaloo dudes (stand up, come on)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (I want to hear you)
Carry the news (I want to see you)
Boogaloo dudes (I want to talk to you, all of you)
Carry the news (now)

Lucy looks sweet ’cause he dresses like a queen
But he can kick like a mule, it’s a real mean team
But we can love
Oh yes, we can love
And my brother’s back at home with his Beatles and his Stones
We never got it off on that revolution stuff
What a drag, too many snags
Now I’ve drunk a lot of wine and I’m feeling fine
Got to race some cat to bed
Oh, is that concrete all around
Or is it in my head?
Yeah
I’m a dude, dad

All the young dudes (hey dudes)
Carry the news (where are you?)
Boogaloo dudes (stand up)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (I want to hear you)
Carry the news (I want to see you)
Boogaloo dudes (I want to relate to you)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (what dudes?)
Carry the news (let’s hear the news, come on)
Boogaloo dudes (I want to kick you)
Carry the news

All the young dudes
(With the glasses)
Carry the news (I want you)
Boogaloo dudes (I want you in the front)
Carry the news (now)
(Now, you’re his friends)
All the young dudes (now you bring him down)
(‘Cause I want him)
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes (I want him right here)
(Bring him, come on)
Carry the news (bring him)
(Here you go)
All the young dudes
(I’ve wanted to do this for years)
Carry the news
(There you go!)
Boogaloo dudes
(How’d it feel?)
Carry the news

If you’ve not heard it (you should have), here’s the Bowie version too.

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Pop Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Lou Reed – Perfect Day

Day 22. Golden Brown was a song which many assume to be about heroin addiction which became a huge commercial success. Lou Reed’s Perfect Day is also a song which many assume to be about heroin addiction which has seen great commercial success.

Perfect Day is a slow, druggy ballad with huge uplifting choruses. It might be just me but I believe I detect a strong note of sarcasm in the chorus.

Just a perfect day
Drink Sangria in the park
And then later
When it gets dark, we go home

Just a perfect day
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later
A movie, too, and then home

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It’s such funJust a perfect day
You made me forget myself
I thought I was
Someone else, someone good

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

You’re going to reap just what you sow 
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow

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Indie Rock Rock Rock And Roll

Richey Edwards (Manic Street Preachers) Interview, 6 February 1994

This interview, which has been uploaded to YouTube today, was probably one of the last that Manic Street Preachers lyricist & rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards gave before his disappearance, nearly a year later. Most of the interview focuses on the bands late manager, Philip Hall, who’d lost his battle with cancer in 1993, & a special award he was being issued posthumously for services to music. There are, however, strong hints of the depression which drove Edwards to maybe take his own life.

Anyway, this afternoon I transcribed this video, which is why I am sharing it. The reason? Because I have never transcribed anything & wanted to know if I could do it. It’s something I feel the need to practice. I have to say, you really notice all of the utterances & dysfluencies in everyday speech, which we normally don’t pick up on, when you’re transcribing informal interviews like this.

Transcript

Paul King: In fact, first time I’ve ever spoken to you, surprisingly over the years.

Richey Edwards: I recognise you from your dubious past.

PK: But we have, 120 in particular, we’re very supportive of the Manics, from early days. I think it was probably the first people who played those vids

RE: I think so, yeah

PK: But you don’t need that kind of support anymore, you’re… I think you’re one of these, termed as established bands now. Is that what you think you are, would you say?

RE: I don’t think any band is established. Most bands have got a career of, maybe, three or four years, then they fade into oblivion and end up checking out dole checks at the DSS, maybe.

PK: Or you go the other way and end up checking in those tax accountants and making millions, that’s… that’s the other alternative, isn’t it?

RE: Yeah maybe, but that’s for the very lucky, the very few. I don’t think that’ll be us, actually.

PK: Well I’ll always remember, the Manics, that you swore that after the first album, you’d break up then anyway, which you obviously didn’t do.

RE: No, I mean, that was a big… ultimately, we wanted to be the perfect band that could make a record that sold globally, you know, millions, and that there would be no need to make another record. All we’ve ever been interested in doing is making a record which encapsulates a mood and a time and then, it can be a full stop, you know, bye bye. You know? No need. Go and live with my dogs on the coast, wherever.

PK: Well the last records anyway, well the last record, was very well received for the group and was seen very much as a mature progression for yourselves. As songwriters and also as musicians.

RE: Yeah, I mean, it was called mature, which is something I find difficult to live with, but I guess it was. I mean… I think the older you get the more life becomes more… miserable. Definitely. I mean, you just…. All the people you grew up with die. You know, your parents die, grandparents die, your dog dies. Your energy diminishes. There’s less books to read. There’s no more groups to discover, you know. You end up a barren wasteland, just trying to find something new which never really occurs. You end up finding worth in groups which, maybe two or three years ago, you would have just spat on. Which is depressing. Which I do all the time. I mean, I’m getting into Buffalo Springfield, which to me, I mean it’s a nightmare…

PK: For what it’s worth, as the song said (haha)

RE: For What It’s Worth is their best song, but you know…

PK: Well on that positive note then, what are the Manics up to at this moment in time? Getting depressed or actually getting positive.

RE: Well, since Philip died, we cancelled everything and just went into a crappy little studio about a quarter of this room’s size and just been writing new songs, just like we did at the start. Just tried to, you know, maybe….

PK: And Philip Hall was obviously the special award this evening.

RE: Yeah, Philip was a very special person to us. It’s pretty well documented, but we spent, maybe, a year, year and a half writing letters, phoning journalists up, you know, people like MTV. Any address or phone number we got, we would write to or phone up. And there was, like, never any response because, like, an unknown band, you know, who cares, or whatever. And Philip was one of the first people who ever called us back, erm, and he said he was interested in coming to see us play in London, erm, and we obviously couldn’t get any concerts here at all, because it’s impossible. So, he drove down to see us practice in, you know, a crappy little schoolroom in South Wales.

PK: Yes, I mean, it’s well documented the guy…he was a very big supporter of new music, that’s why he’s represented tonight at the awards.

RE: He drove down, he saw us play, he liked what we did, he got us some gigs in the Bull and Gate, you know? the Falcon, wherever. And then, just sort of looked after us. And even then, when we started to get some press, he just said, oh, come and live with us. He’d been married, maybe, like a year. So, we slept on his, like, lounge, his kitchen, wherever was available.

PK: So, I appreciate that for you, this evening, here, with him being represented it’s a more of a… a kind of a reflective mood you find yourselves in tonight.

RE: I mean, the only reason we are here tonight is because of Philip. I mean, we’ve never been to one of these things before in our lives. It was just [for] the memory of Philip that we came here. We’re not the sort of band that is seen en masse, in these sort of public occasions. We’re a very private band. We didn’t like these, kind of, showbiz awards.

PK: Well, on from that, can I get a video from you? Would you like to see anybody?

RE: Ermm.

PK: No (haha).

RE: No (haha), yeah, erm, I’d quite like Roxanne by The Police.

PK: Okay, we can go back in time.

RE: Thanks very much. A long time ago.

PK: The Police.

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Rock Rock And Roll

Neil Young – Homegrown

Neil Young’s “lost” 1974 album, Homegrown, finally saw release this year. Although it has been around for years in various bootleg forms (& some songs from it have been played live over the years), the new release is the first time a Neil Young approved version of Homegrown has been available for fans.

As much as I love Neil Young, it would be quite dishonest to describe myself as anything other than a casual fan. I own a few of his records (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Gold Rush, Harvest, American Stars ‘N Bars etc.) & this excellent greatest hits collection, but I am by no means a collector or completionist. As such, I have personally never heard any previous bootleg versions of Homegrown before. Although I do know the version of the title track that made it onto American Stars ‘N Bars. I am approaching this as a fresh Neil Young album & with a little excitement, if I’m being honest.

Rock steady rhythm section. Check. Country inflected rock rhythms. Check. Atmospheric, instinctual harmonica playing. Check. Lapsteel. Check. Plaintive falsetto vocals. Check. This is definitely a ’70’ Neil Young album. Homegrown seems to be light on the crunchy guitar sound that Young was already known for at this point.

Separate Ways & Try are heavily lead by the rhythm section, lapsteel & harmonica providing the majority of melodic content. Mexico is one of Young’s melancholic piano ballads. Love Is A Rose is a percussive country rock song campfire song, with hard strummed acoustic guitars adding colour to the percussion more than anything. Homegrown is the first time we hear any crunchy rock guitar. It’s the same classic rock anthem you know from American Stars ‘N Bars, but perhaps a little rawer in the production. A bit of a highlight for me. Even though it’s not as new as much of the album.

Florida feels to me like something between a satire & a pastiche of Jim Morrisons’ spoken word poetry. Neil Young slowly tells a story about an idyllic town in Florida, a horrific gliding accident & a newly orphaned child, over a noise collage of guitar feedback & tape hiss. It’s very different to the rest of Homegrown. There’s a distinct dreamlike quality to it & it really stands out to me.The following track, Kansas, seems to continue the story , opening with the line “I feel like I just woke up from a bad dream” & featuring references to gliding. It’s a subdued acoustic solo track. Melancholic, minimalist melodies which wouldn’t sound totally out of place on After The Gold Rush. It’s hard to write about new music by an artist with a catalogue as vast as Neil Young’s, without comparing tracks to others from his catalogue.

We Don’t Smoke It No More is plodding, blues inspired Rock And Roll, with barroom piano, harmonica histrionics & as solid a rhythm as you’ll find anywhere on Homegrown. There’s plenty of Neil Young’s rough and ready lead guitar playing to go around too.

White lines is all midnight harmonica, galloping country rhythms & instinctive sounding acoustic guitar playing. It has an almost jammed quality to it, improvisational. It reminds me of when a demo is so good it gets included on the album.

Vacancy is a mid tempo rock number with big crunchy guitars. Practically written for stadium & festival gigs. I imagine it would sound thrilling in the open air. Little Wing is another tune which has appeared on other releases. 1980’s Hawks & Doves in this case. It’s another simple, acoustic led ballad with beautiful atmospheric harmonica parts.

To end, we’ve got Star Of Bethlehem, which also appeared originally on American Stars ‘N Bars. A chipper, upbeat Country Pop song with pleasant vocal harmonies & biblical references. Follows in Neil’ Young’s “tradition” of putting pleasant, short & simple songs at the ends of albums. Think Cripple Creek Ferry at the end of After The Gold Rush. That’s the kind of ballpark we’re in here.

Homegrown is out now on Silver Bow Productions.

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Blues Folk Poetry Rock

Bob Dylan breaks record for oldest artist ot top UK album chart

It was reported by the BBC today that Bob Dylan has just broken the record for oldest artist to have a number one album of new, original material in the UK. This is great new for Dylan & his fans. It also comes hot on the heels of his first US Billboard chart number one, with the fantastic new single Murder Most Foul.

At 79 years old, Dylan has overtaken previous record holder, Paul Simon, who hit the top spot in 2006, at the age of 74, with Stranger To Stranger. Dame Vera Lynne holds the record for oldest artist to have a number one album with her 2009 greatest hit’s collection, We’ll Meet Again. She was 92. Maybe in 13 years time, Dylan can beat her too.

This is a significant achievement & I’m happy for DYlan. Check out this great animated lyric video for Dylan’s most recent single, False Prophet.

And while we’re on the topic of Bob Dylan, he’s just uploaded this video to his YouTube channel. An alternative take of If Not For You.

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