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two-headed boy [profile] has recommended 10 tracks.
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Right as Rain  performed by The Minders  2001
Composed by Martyn Leaper

So far the best thing I've heard all year! The Minders return, this time they invite us into their neighborhood by way of Golden Street. We still feel the quaint influence of Britain's great pop secrets, the Kinks, but we also hear another side of this band that has been long overdue, themselves. The Minders have discovered their voice only glimpsed at in earlier recordings. And 'Right As Rain' is as good as it gets. There is no avoiding the contagions found in the head-bopping performance, you will be infected with a fever you may never wish to recover from. Put plainly, you will love this song, guaranteed! The drumsticks click, the bass rolls in, the electric guitars whir, the beat throbs and then, in a moment of pure expectation, we hear Martyn's vocals like honey dripping from heaven. It is Martyn's voice that carries us through this song and we are disappointed when he pauses to breath. The longest pause comes during the backwards guitar solo, complete with screaming feedback and enriched by keyboards and bass. The refrain is just as exciting when Martyn returns to refill our ears with his perfect British accent. By golly, I wish you could hear it now.

from Golden Street (SpinArt)




  27 Apr 01 ·tinks: I should hope his British accent is perfect...being that he's British and all! It always amazes me when I hear praise come in for the Minders from places far & near...those cats live in my neighborhood!
  02 May 01 ·tinks: Oh, and to clarify...I love the Minders, too! What I meant was that I still think of them as a local band!
King of the Carrot Flowers Prt. 1,2 & 3.  performed by Neutral Milk Hotel  1997
Composed by Jeff Mangum

A perfect segue into a perfect album, King of the Carrot Flowers is a masterpiece. This is the way songs should be written, performed, and produced. Jeff Mangum strums the catchiest 3 chords on his acoustic guitar while his piercing vocals spill lyrics of psychedelic sophistication. I can still remember the first time I heard him sing the lyric - 'and your mom would drink until she was no longer speaking, and dad would dream of all the different ways to die, each one a little more than he would dare to try' - in a rising climax. The energy and power is then sustained into a C drone from an organ, followed by an amped acoustic guitar being plucked clumsily. And like a street preacher we again hear Jeff, he belts 'I love you Jesus Christ' while the rest of the band hit fuzzed-out power chords F and C until a storm swells with cymbals, horn, bass, guitar, Jeff's voice and another rising movement to yet another climax. Propelled by an electric frequency that chops like a helicopter blade inches over-head we are lead into Part 3, often referred to as 'Up and Over'. This last part explodes into fuzz rock in all it's garage-roots glory with lyrics like - 'I will shout until they know what I mean, I mean the marriage of a dead dog sing, in a synthetic flying machine'. As the fuzz is sustained heavily the song ends with 1 last climax; the one-note piano brings us to a close.

King of the Carrot Flowers Part 1 introduces the theme of 'loss of innocence'. The narrator, addressing his lover nostalgically, compares the emotional deterioration of the older parents with the emotional and sexual discovery of their youth - 'your mom would stick a fork right into daddy's shoulder, and dad would throw the garbage all across the floor, as we would lay and learn what each other's bodies were for.' This motive returns later in the album, as does his 'Jesus Christ' theme. Jeff Mangum alerts the listener in his lyric sheet that he believes what he sings, and that this 'Christ' theme is but the spiritual light he finds within everything. The album further treats themes like the Holocaust, death of loved ones, visions of ghosts, and all the horrors of man with this light. It is a beautiful and terrifying experience unlike any rock record to date. Personally, my favorite song of all time.

from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Elephant 6)


Ruby  performed by The Apples in Stereo  1997
Composed by Robert Schneider

A classic pop gem with the quintessential catchy, sing-along melody. Pristinly written, performed & produced by E6 Godfather Robert Schneider and his Apples in Stereo. With a chorus determined to make you hum in your sleep, or over a dozen pints with your mates, or loud enough for your co-workers to secretly dispise your chummy disposition, this song will never lose its appeal. Piano, guitar, snare and bass bring back the days of 'ole, and they do it in style. This has to be someone's favorite song somewhere!

from Her Wallpaper Reverie
available on CD - Her Wallpaper Reverie, EP




  19 Apr 01 ·opl3003: I agree, this is one of the best tracks by The Apples in Stereo! And of of my overall favorite songs! I can listen to it over and over..
Black Eyed Dog  performed by Nick Drake  1974
Composed by Nick Drake

In order to fully examine the minds of torment and depression, one would need to be familiar with Nick Drake's 'Black Eyed Dog.' With his transcendant ability to translate his demons into song, Nick Drake accounts a supernatural phantasm chasing him through the darkness of his own neurosis. 'Black eyed dog he claws at my door' - sung in his upper register, with the use of heavey falcetto, sounds like he is straining to survive a nightmare. His performance, despite the sparse production of acoustic guitar and vocal, is expansive. Use of harmonics and finger roll on this song proves the mastery of his instrument, as an amateur guitarist I am baffled by the sound he can create. The singular pulse of the guitar string rings-out with a delicate harmonic while the layering of other voices continue subtly underneath. And the result is the tragic embrace of his own psychological deterioration; a horror unlike the Macabre style of the French, it stands as its own haunting style, that of 'Drakesque.'

As we know his depression did finally catch up to him, and as a revisionist I would say that Nick knew it would all along, sooner or later. One would only need to hear this song and some of the pieces are put into place.

from Time of No Reply, available on CD




  05 Sep 02 ·Liv: they say he had to have several overdubs of his voice on this track until he got it right, because of his depression his voice was trembling.. so far from the classical orchestrations of his early recordings, the sparse instrumentation and the intense emotion of "Black dog" affects you even more as Nick's haunting voice sounds like he's singing through an abyss of infinite darkness and despair..
  28 Feb 03 ·songs-I-love: Actually, the lyrics to this song go "A black-eyed dog, he CALLED at my door...", but with Nick's way of singing (or rather: expressing himself), it's just all too easy to get confused. The line "I'm growing old and I wanna go home" gets through my heart like a bullet every time I hear it. Only few songs can evoke such strong emotions in me.
  13 Jul 05 ·kkkerplunkkk: Yes beautiful and chilling, but it's a small comfort to know that this wasn't actually the last song he ever recorded, that sad honour going to the recently discovered Tow The Line.
Almost Arms  performed by The Minders  1996
Composed by Martyn Leaper

'Back to the Almost Arms again.' One minute, 29 seconds of pure heaven. Clapping hands, sugary-sweet bass, warm acoustic guitar, and perfectly stylized harmony demonstrate the greatness of this band. The Minders' ability to streamline their brit-pop sound into short cuts such as this says volumes of their talent. They have grasped the art of the rock strip-tease as we sit and drool and demand more of their form. A thousand and a half listens later 'I am hungry but still smiling' rings truer than ever, this is but the appetizer for their more developed works; taste this and you too will be The Minders' biggest fan!

from Cul-de-Sacs & Dead Ends (spinART / Elephant 6 spart 76 / E6-021)



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