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Heavy Rotation Vol. 19 – Capitalist Lion Tamer’s All-Time Favorites

October 18, 2009

For this very special edition of Heavy Rotation, I’ve decided to run down my top 5 all-time favorite bands. These are the bands that soundtracked my second childhood, which started as soon as I exited my first childhood/family home.

I was a little behind the times, musically speaking. My parents were very religious which meant that rock (denoted as “secular”) was forbidden and so any music I heard was piped in by a Walkman under my pillow. I did get to listen to Christian rock, which is… well, it’s just fucking terrible stuff. Hank Hill said it best (referring to Christian rockers): “You’re not making music better. You’re just making Christianity worse.”

Consequently, I stumbled onto my favorite bands often after they had already broken up. (Never mind the bittersweet feeling of having lived long enough to see many of them reform, but at the time it seemed a little unfair.)

First listened to the Pixies in 1993. Their last album was released in 1991. The Cure? 1992. Their last album? Well, they’ve had many “last” albums, but for all intents and purposes, Disintegration (1989) was their last great one. The JAMC? 1993. Their next album, Stoned and Dethroned, had me swear off any purchases of their future albums. Love & Rockets? 1993. At that point they were four years removed from the success of So Alive and on permanent hiatus. Skinny Puppy? 1993. Last Rights was one year old and the band had broken up following the heroin implosion that was their modus operandi.

So, of course, they’ve all gotten back together for albums or tours by this point, but during my belated teen angsting it just seemed that God (or somebody) hated me by taunting me with a finite supply of music from my favorite bands.

Previous, less special, versions here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

pixies

Pixies – No. 13 Baby
My favorite band ever with my favorite song ever, if my maths is right. First stumbled across them on the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack with their song Wave of Mutilation (U.K. Surf). Rushed right out and bought Bossanova, which I discovered sounded nothing like that song, but also like nothing else I’d heard before (keep in mind, Nirvana hadn’t fully taken off yet).

Taken from 1989’s Doolittle album, this song features two odd features:

1. It runs nearly 4 minutes long when most of their catalog barely clears the 2.5 minute mark
2. It fades out over an extended (for them) wordless groove.

It’s about strange women and tattoos. More importantly, as you’ll find in the chorus, it’s about tattoo placement.

And then there’s this:
I want brown eyes la loma

You can take that shit to the bank.

I had this shirt and I wore it all the fucking time.

I had this shirt and I wore it all the fucking time.

Recommended listening: Well, you really can’t go wrong with any of the Pixies albums, but considering that their last two (Bossanova, Trompe Le Monde) tended to reflect Black Francis’ alien fetish, your best bet is to pick up Surfer Rosa and Doolittle. Both are loaded with darkness and dynamic shifts as well as the occasional profanity.

 

Cure5

The Cure – All Cats Are Grey
Lumped in with the goth scene for no apparent reason, the Cure spent the greater part of a decade releasing some of the finest albums on the planet (1979-1989). This comes from 1981’s Faith, which is a joyride all the way through, following up on the synth additions of Seventeen Seconds and working as a prelude for the suicidal nihilism of 1984’s Pornography.

“Haunting” does the job to describe this track, as does “funereal,” but don’t let that scare you away. Eerie and atmospheric, the way the Cure was always meant to be.

Recommended listening: I can wholeheartedly recommend any album up to (and including) 1989’s Disintegration (my personal favorite). After that, things tend to get a bit spotty as Robert Smith seemed to be more focused on possible mainstream breakthroughs/possible full band breakups.

 

love and rockets

Love & Rockets – Haunted (When the Minutes Drag)
The best thing that ever happened to Bauhaus, Love & Rockets saw three of the founding members form their own psych-pop monster while still retaining their original haircuts.

Best known for their inescapable So Alive single, L&R released several albums that covered ground from goth-pop to Beatles-esque psychedelia to underground electronica. This track comes from their debut album Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven. Originally two separate tracks written by Daniel Ash and David J, respectively, Haunted… is nowhere near the soundclash it should be. Instead it’s an aching song of desire and near-obsession that morphs into a kiss-off/dedication to the unnamed object all packed into the ambiguous but pointed phrase: “And this is for when you feel nothing.”

I have this logo tattooed on my arm, done by perhaps the worst tattooist in the Greater Midwest. So, no, I won't be showing it off.

I have this logo tattooed on my arm, done by perhaps the worst tattooist in the Greater Midwest. So, no, I won't be showing it off.

Recommended listening: Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven, Express and Sweet F.A. are the strongest. The rest of their albums all have something to recommend but until you’ve decided that this is the band for you, you might find their genre-hopping to be a bit frustrating and definitely uneven.

 

the-jesus-and-mary-chain-1

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Who Do You Love
Another soundtrack band. Heard them on the Encino Man soundtrack of all places with an awesomely fucked up love song called Why’d You Want Me. Tracked down their debut album first and fell head over heels for the sustained feedback, dark lyrics and towering hair.

This is by no means my favorite track by the Scottish brothers (that would be Upside Down which is 2:34 of someone shoving a cheap guitar through an amplifier) but it was the best I could find on the youtubes.

A truly wicked deconstruction of the song popularized by George Thorogood. Slowed down to half-speed, alternately drawled and howled and punctuated by the siren call of feedback.

Recommended listening: Their first four albums, with Psychocandy and Darklands being the standouts. As they went on, they got more satisfied with their very competent drum machine and tended to dial back the feedback. Beware of Stoned and Dethroned, which ditches their sound completely and much of their lyrical bite. Also worth buying: their first two b-sides collections (Barbed Wire Kisses and The Sound of Speed) which include some of the finest music never to grace a proper album.

 

skinnypuppy_1

Skinny Puppy – Icebreaker
Here’s the point where most of you will say, “Those are all pretty well-known altrock touchstones and etc., but where’s the ringer?”

Skinny Puppy, Canada’s foremost noise terrorists. Fronted by Nivek Ogre, Skinny Puppy laid the groundwork for industrial dancefloors with their sonic nightmares. Of course, this ground was somewhat paved already by the likes of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, but Skinny Puppy took the ball and ran with it.

This track comes from Bites, an album that sounded like nothing else in 1983. Full of twisted electronics coughing up damaged chords and distortion, all swirling around Nivek’s bark and several menacing samples.

Recommended listening: Other than their album The Process, everything else is runs the gamut from good-outstanding (although I am unfamiliar with their reformed output). I’m partial to Bites, Remission, Back & Forth Series 1, Too Dark Park and Last Rights. Cleanse, Fold and Manipulate and Rabies can be put on the back burner until the other albums have been given a good rinse.

Here’s a taste of their understated live work:

All tunes in one nostalgic zip file of way-backness.
Heavy Rotation Vol. 19 (link will open in a new window)

-CLT

[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to its high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com. Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]
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14 comments

  1. I love the Christian Rock quote!

    A very fine selection of top 5. Mine would be more commercial I’m sure, but I’m not sure I could narrow it down to 5. The Cure would be high on my list though.

    I’m not actually shocked that you had a very religious upbringing; it explains a lot. My mom dated an assclown for about a year when I was 12. He dragged us to his ‘church.’ After about 20 minutes people started speaking in retard, and falling on the floor and shit, so I grabbed my mom’s car keys, literally ran (and I was a fast little fucker) and locked myself in the car for the duration. The duration turned out to be another 3 hours. But I never had to endure that fucking insane asylum again!


    • It was kind of tough nailing it down to 5, but just went with the first five bands that made me change my outlook on music. I was, briefly, a top 40 listener and “new” rock afficionado.

      Honorable mention would go to those who followed shortly after the initial hit: Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend, the Cramps, Yo La Tengo, My Bloody Valentine, Sisters of Mercy and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.

      Nothing like a religious upbringing to turn you into a nice, decent human being with no controversial views and a healthy respect for authority. Not to mention a complete avoidance of profanity…

      Great to see you, Scott. Thanks for stopping in.


  2. Excellent choices, CLT. The Pixies cover of “Head On” is still one of my favourite songs.


    • That is an excellent track and an excellent cover. Things get surprisingly incestuous in my music collection where covers are concerned.

      Pixies on JAMC, JAMC on the Cramps (New Kind of Kick), Alien Sex Fiend on the Cramps (Mad Daddy); David Bowie on the Pixies (Cactus); A Place to Bury Strangers on Love & Rockets (The Light), etc.

      It all goes very six degrees if I’m allowed to let my mind wander.


  3. Even I’m not above mocking them for their fanbase or Smith’s inability to grasp simple economic facts, but yeah, they could definitely nail down a tune.


  4. The Cure and Love and Rockets were two of my faves too.

    And if it makes you feel any better, when I was young I saw a tattoo of my birth sign (how 90’s) done in Hebrew. At least I think it was be Hebrew, the letters were all curly and shit (just shows you how much thought I put into it beforehand).

    Anyway, I liked it so much that I asked the tattoo artist to give me the same thing.

    Swear to God, to this day people still look at my ankle and say, “Who the hell is Jason?”


    • Hahaha!!!

      Nice. It reminds me of the guy who sued his tattooist after asking for some “kickass Japanese letters” only to find out the tattooist has permanently inked him with the phrase, “This boy is ugly.”

      http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/essays/tattoos.htm

      God bless tattoos and god bless the Cure and Love & Rockets. I would say they got me through some difficult times in my adolescence but quite obviously that isn’t true. It just sounds a lot better than they got me through some tough times in my early 20’s.


  5. You know, throw in something by the Smiths & you’re onto something.


    • Well, there’s no arguing with “How Soon Is Now,” but they just never really clicked with me, through no fault of their own. Maybe it was the chin…


  6. I always feel cool when I know and love songs that you like. How’s that for forced mentoring?


    • It’s awesome. And synergistic. I think forced mentoring is the wave of the future. Fuck plastics and kick-boxing.


  7. I fuck a lot of plastic…


  8. With my kick boxing!


  9. […] week’s version of Sonic Collision takes its cues from my favorite band: the Pixies. […]



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