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Fig Alert [profile] has recommended 4 tracks.
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Heaven Up Here  performed by Echo & the Bunnymen  1981
Composed by Sargeant/McCulloch/Pattinson/DeFreitas

I'm glad that I get the opportunity to be the first to recommend a Bunnymen track, especially since their early work, which I feel is far stronger than anything after "Porcupine," is unknown, primarily Stateside, to many.

"Heaven Up Here" is a car losing it's wheels at full speed while cornering on a high mountain pass. Will Sargeant's opening chick-chick-chicking on guitar gives way to a straight bassdrop, headlong into Pete DeFreitas' insistent pounding on drums, while Ian McColluch's yelps sound utterly desperate, claustrophobic, pleading and angry simultaneously. There's a pause in the careening during the bridge, just long enough for Ian to remind us that "We're all groovy, groovy people...we're okay, we're okay," before it all plunges straight down the cliffside, banging, exploding, scraping and finally, ending succinctly.

I don't ever recall hearing back then, and rarely today, such a beautifully cacophonic melding of swirling psychedelia and assaultive punk/pop. The guitars are cascades of shimmering shards of sound. Les Pattinson's coy, but effective bassline floats beneath the furious energy DeFreitas unleashes on his drumkit. "Mac the Mouth" may be the frontman, but I think this gem is DeFreitas' piece all the way.

After 20+ years of living with this album, and this song in particular, the pump, pump, pump of the bass drum still sends shivers up my spine. Don't overlook this album as a whole either!

from Heaven Up Here (Sire/Warner 3569-2)



Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)  performed by Sarah Vaughn  1964
Composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim/Frederick Eugene John

The most beautiful, sensual song I have ever heard in my life. It feels like a warm, tucked-in, comfortable sigh from a lover nestling in on your shoulder, holding you ever tighter while whispering words of love in your ear. Try to top that.

The Divine One pours herself into this number completely. Her serene confidence breathes a kind of hyper-life into the lyrics. But the way she caresses the melody and strokes it so adeptly with her brilliant vocals sends me right over the top every time.

If I ever fall in love again, the woman of my affections will, in my wildest, most fantastic dreams, melt with me on this.

Please excuse the sap...

from Viva Vaughn (Mercury SR 60941)
available on CD - The Girl From Ipanema: The Antonio Carlos Jobim Songbook (Verve)




  03 Feb 03 ·FlyingDutchman1971: Blossom Dearie also performs a nice version of this great song on her 1964 LP 'May I Come In'
Yesterday Is Here  performed by Tom Waits  1987
Composed by Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan

When I think of my favorite stuff by Tom Waits, I always look back to the time when the writing and arranging of his songs were more playful, avant pop exercises, colored by a range of intense and deep emotional swatches, yet always with humor. My favorite stretch in his catalog of work is from Swordfishtrombones to Franks Wild Years (Marc Ribot?). Songs were always off-kilter, tenuous, unpredictable...far-away organs played against a punchy latin rhumba beat...oh, here comes the circus, jolted by a bended-note/feedback guitar part. Wha?

I heard a lot more characters in his voice, too. The sideshow barker, the Ironweed hobo, the cocky but sensitive playboy, or the frustrated, suburbia-warped freespirit looking to make a break.

This track off Franks Wild Years feels like an old, worn out, spaghetti western-inspired guitar shuffle. Its whispered from the lips of a grizzled shopkeeper in a soon-to-be ghosttown, telling his concerned companion the need to reach for where your dreams dwell: "out where your enemies lie." There's little consolation against what most likely will be an exercise in futility, but necessary nonetheless, to carve out some sort of happiness. Get used to it.

Somehow it seems to fit these times very well...

from Franks Wild Years (Island 7 90572-2)



Olé Mulholland  performed by Frank Black  1994
Composed by Frank Black

No diss on the Pixies, especially being a big fan myself, but there are times that I think Mr. Black Black has displayed a far more interesting range since breaking up the band. Teenager of the Year will always be up for consideration on my all-time top ten. I think that it's sadly and unfairly dismissed by too many people. But maybe I can assuage and tempt some of those doubters with this gem.

Inspired by real history and/or the movie "Chinatown," the subject matter is about bringing the Colorado river to the thirsty City of Angels, by hook or by crook, and all the fortune and fame to be had by the one to do it, thus the title. That's what makes the lyrics so fun.

But the real thrill is the "fukk yeah!" abandon of this melodically-twisting tune. It plain rocks...and is brain food to boot. I swear Eric Drew Feldman, of Pere Ubu fame, who produced and played on this album, takes Black's songs to magnificent heights. I've yet to hear a better album of his work.

This sample is an outro-guitar slide into homebase supplied by Lyle Workman. Standing as one of my all-time fave guitar parts, it is at once fret-adept, rhythmically punchy, and pure electrical flow exhiliration. Olé!

from Teenager Of The Year (4AD/Elektra 61618-2)



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