Every Noise At Once

I just came upon a rather amazing website called Every Noise at Once.

What this enterprising data project does is put every band/musician on Spotify on a map by genre. Click on the genre name and it plays a sample of the genre. Click on the little >> symbol next to the genre and it takes you to another map that has the names of all the bands.

Click on the band name and you’ll get a sample of their music. Click on the little >> symbol next to the band name and it will take you to a spotify playlist of their songs.

On the map, more techno music is up top, more organic is at the bottom. Denser music is to the left, while airier music is to the right. Generally, they say.

If there is a problem with this it’s that the music has to be on Spotify, which means the selections skew toward the contemporary, and I had a hard time finding old faves like Supershit 666 in the various Swedish maps, who aren’t on Spotify, but I also couldn’t find Hellacopters, who are. So the maps aren’t exhaustive. But on the other hand the real fun here is digging around and playing random clips. Which is where your free Spotify account comes in handy.

 

 

The Selecter, Everyday

I found myself quoting this song to my internet service provider today. Bye bye Spectrum.

Which reminds me that this is a cover. The Pioneers version is great, but a little different. Maybe that’s the change of islands.

On YouTube there are also versions of the song by George Acard and George Dekkard that seem to be the Pioneers version. Can’t have too much of a good thing.

And little enough of crappy Spectrum internet.

Ps. The Selecter version of the tune is credited to Petty Harding, and is called Everyday, while the Pioneers much earlier version is called Time Hard.

Is it coincidence that Petty Hardin are the songwriters of Buddy Holly’s much different classic tune Everyday?

What is weird is that in the Wikipedia page’s exhaustive list of Pioneers singles, Time Hard isn’t listed.

But in a footnote the Selecter are credited with covering Time Hard as Everyday.

All Music credits the song to Composed by George Agard / Jackie Robinson / Sydney Crooks

In the UK the song was credited to George Dekker, the band’s lead singer.

What a mess. I suspect some royalties are owed somewhere. Or everywhere.

KKK Took My Baby Away X 2

The National, a ponderous musical enterprise that some speak of rapturously and whose music I’ve never been able listen to for more than a minute or two before changing the dial, played recently at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. They covered the Ramones, local boys one and all, and led off with a dark story.

The Ramones demonstrate how to do it right.

Tom Petty Has Died.

This was the first song most of us heard by Tom Petty, I’m pretty confident to say. At least those who were alive when that record, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came out. Some of us were confused, there was another band called the Heartbreakers out there already, playing around the neighborhood. But LAMF, that band’s first album, didn’t come out until late in 1977. Tom Petty’s band’s first eponymous elpee dropped in February, and with it this amazing song that seemed to meld southern rock, LA country and NY punk into a perfect song.

Petty turned out be a giant star who had at least a bit of the heart of a remnant. He kept playing with his high school band, all through his life, and he genuinely seemed to enjoy the whole process, the writing and performing and being a star while also being himself. He wrote and sang and performed everywhere since those early days, and has had scores of hits and a ton of fame, but this is the song that comes to me first and foremost when I hear something awful, like I did today.

Hiss Golden Messenger

I wish I could limit this to a song. Or a video. But the fact is that this is a fantastic band. Maybe the best I’ve ever heard. They’re that good. (Okay, this is overstatement, but I hope it got your attention.)

The problem is that they play classic rock, or classic country rock. This is a style of music that is so overplayed, so worn out, that you would think that creating new songs and sounds in the style would be impossible. But somehow Hiss Golden Messenger makes these old sounds sound fresh. The arrangements are fantastic. The songs are very good.

I find this confounding. Listening I hear Delaney and Bonnie meeting mellow Clapton, with some Allmans and Van Morrison, vocals by Steve Earle, a track here is a little like Dylan, that one is a little like the Band, but none of them ripoffs or lazily derivative. They use the phonemes of classic country rock and create a dream team. That is what this band does, on every cut, of the two albums I’ve listened to.

So, here are a few songs for your delectation. Rave on. These aren’t punk gods, like Hans Condor. They’re not innovators, but they’re not nostalgists either. They inhabit their music in a way that only the very best do. They are regular musicians trying to find a pay day. But I think you’re going to like what they do.

News of the Day: Beyonce Elpee contains Side A of an album by Zex

It took me a while to figure out what happened. But I think this is it.

Beyonce put out a vinyl version of her universally acclaimed musical/video project this week. It’s on yellow vinyl!

The problem? Side A doesn’t include Side A of Beyonce’s album. Somehow the pressing plant instead injected a side of a Canadian punk rock band called Zex’s songs onto that Beyonce A Side.

Good for Zex, though it’s hard to see where the audiences overlap. But the mishap got me listening to a few Zex tracks. (Frankly, I’ll listen to anything Canadian.)

My evaluation? Zex has a dynamic singer and decent chops, but the songs? Yeah, I know. Try this:

And you know, after listening to so much crap fake punk rock for a long time, this stuff seems pretty heartfelt, which is nice. Songwise? Maybe not all the way there, but the heart and head are in the right place.

I hope the mistake helps them. Here is an interview about the whole fiasco.

Are We Not Men? Pick Your Favorite Song from Devo’s Debut.

For some reason I’ve been thinking about Devo lately. Not in any profound way, just thinking about listening when I got a chance. I got a chance today while making dinner. On goes Are We Not Men? We are Devo, which starts with the brilliant Uncontrollable Urge, moves onto (Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, which I owned on 7″ long before the elpee came out, and then goes all over the freaking place. And I do mean freaking.

Remembering, at the time, I grouped the band with the Talking Heads, who had a similar angular geeky-ness, and the Tubes, who had an over the top theatricality. When I listen now I hear mostly classic rock moves, filtered through a novel lens, a lens which made it both surprising the band existed and that they then made hits with mainstream success and surprising that we didn’t see just how inevitable that was on first listen.

I think what I mean is, we knew weird. We loved Zappa, dug Alice Cooper, admired Captain Beefheart, but each of those personalities carved out his own space on the edges of taste and sensibility. They had some pop exposure, but they were happy to exist as novelties.

Devo carved out that space, then tried to bring the whole dang world into it. They were weird, uncompromising, and ambitiously popular, not content to reside on the sidelines with the other freaks. That was cool.

So, while listening to their first elpee tonight, I was struck by how strong the songs are. How little there is that is thrown away. Maybe none of it. And as I went from song to song I said to myself, That’s a great tune. Then, Oh, that’s a good one. Oooh, love it. Which got me thinking that maybe we all have different favorite songs from Are We Not Men? We Are Devo.

I’m laying claim to Mongoloid. It was the first Devo song I heard, it is the one I know all the words to and compulsively sing along to, but I’m pretty sure there are strong cases for others. What’s your favorite song on Devo’s first album?