Archive for the 10 Shards Category

10 Shards: 10 Great Female Bassists

Posted in 10 Shards with tags , , on October 6, 2010 by Niveous

Later this week, I will finally get a chance to see the Runaways movie. Despite it starring Dakota Fanning (to whom I am not a fan) and Kristen Stewart, I’m excited. One reason is because it’s directed by Floria Sigismundi, who is one of my favorite music video directors. The other is because it should be a good story. You’ve got the scandalous Cherie Currie on vocals. You’ve got Joan Jett on rhythm guitar. Lead guitar was Lita Ford. There was Sandy West on drums and then there’s the bassist…. that was a problem with the Runaways. In 5 years, the Runaways went through 5 bassists plus a stint where Joan Jett moved into that slot.

Being the bassist is sometimes a tough slot. Often bassists don’t get enough focus. Some people have the Rock Band game mentality- i,e. it’s like playing guitar just easier. That’s very far from true. And it doesn’t help that bass can often be lost in a bad mix. And things are a lot worse for a female bassist. There’s what I call the D’arcy Wretzky syndrome. D’Arcy was the bassist for the Smashing Pumpkins. She had the look but she lacked the skill. So much so that Billy Corgan used to record all the bass tracks on the Pumpkins recordings, stating he could get them right in far less takes. I think that left a bit of a stigma when it comes to the female bassist, that idea of all she has to do is look pretty and play a couple of notes.

There are female bassists out there who break that stereotype. Here are ten of my favorites:

1. Melissa Auf de Maur

After D’Arcy left the Smashing Pumpkins, she was replaced with a bassist that could truly hold her own- MAdM. She is without a doubt my favorite bassist, male or female. Whether it be with the Pumpkins, Hole or in her burgeoning solo career, her work has always been top notch. She has a dynamic energy that she puts into her playing that can be matched by few.

2. Lyn-Z

Mindless Self Indulgence’s music has been called Synth-Punk, Digital Hardcore, Industrial- jungle-rock-punk-techno, and a whole assortment of other things. However you label it, it would be nothing without Lyn-Z’s driving basslines. Plus she’s quite the performer. A big highlight of MSI shows is seeing Lyn-Z’s trademark back bend.

3. Kim Gordon

She may not be the most technically skilled bassist in the bunch but on Sonic Youth albums like Goo and Experimental Jet Set Trash and No Star; she’s a big part. Classic songs like “Kool Thing” (my favorite Sonic Youth song, how could you not like a LL Cool J diss?) would be nothing without the kick she gives.

4. Meshell Ndegeocello

Once you get past trying to get a grip on the crazy name she chose for herself, you can see that she is the elite when it comes to female bass players. She has tremendous skill. She can play with the rockers like John Mellencamp. She is at home when she’s playing soul. She can do funk. She can do jazz. And she plays great no matter the style.

5. Nadja Peulen

Coal Chamber ranks among my favorite bands of all time. When they lost bassist Rayna Foss (another great female bassist), they were able to find a bassist more than capable of filling her shoes in Nadja Peulen. She also held her own at Roardunner United, playing on the stand out song “The End”. I’m anxiously awaiting to hear her as a part of Vera Mesmer

6. Johnette Napolitano

Listen to “Bloodletting: The Vampire Song” and I don’t need to say anything else. Not only does Johnette have that great deep gravelly voice but she wields her bass to match it. It doesn’t get lost under James Mankey’s sonic wonder and it’s far more than just playing the roots of the guitar along with the drums. She fills out the dark atmosphere of Concrete Blonde’s songs.  

Grog

Georgina 'Grog' Lisee

7. Grog

Die So Fluid is quickly growing into one of my favorite bands. They are the evolution of Concrete Blonde for me. The similarities are there, except Die So Fluid are British and where Concrete Blonde’s influences gave them a little Spanish flavor, DSF’s gave them a heavy metal punch. But both bands are led up by powerhouse women with amazing gritty voices and know their way around the bass.

8. Jenny Bigelow

One of the great things about being a part of Songfight is coming across great musicians like Jenny Bigelow. She performs under several names: Henrietta & the Hostage, Quimby, Nouveau Pauvre. No matter what the moniker, she knows how to make the basswork shine in her songs.

9. Patricia Day

What would a list of great bassists be without Patricia Day? The Horrorpops’ rockabilly/psychobilly style is built around Day’s playing. And she plays on custom built upright basses. The bass is the star of the show and you don’t often get that. And she’s got skills. She’s all about slap bass. Again, you don’t get this in your every day bassist.

10. Carol Kaye

You may not recognize the name but you have definitely heard her work. She played bass on “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys, “Feelin’ Alright” by Joe Cocker, “These Boots Were Made For Walking” by Nancy Sinatra, The Mission Impossible Theme, “River Deep- Mountain High” by Ike & Tina Turner, “I Second That Emotion” by the Temptations, “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley…. This list can go on and on and on. Carol Kaye is the bass player that paved the way for all the others on this list.

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10 Shards: My favorite Cure songs

Posted in 10 Shards with tags , , on September 23, 2010 by Niveous

This week the musicians of Songfight are going to have CureFight, where the bands are going to do covers of their favorite Cure songs. In honor of the event, I figured I’d list 10 of my favorite Cure songs. They have been a very important band in my musical life. The first CD I ever bought was The Cure’s “Mixed Up” which I think was a great starting point. I’ve been a fan since my first listen and here are 10 of my favorites from their amazing 34 year career.

1. “Boys Don’t Cry”

No better way to set the tone for the entire career of the Cure then with a song like “Boys Don’t Cry”. The lyrics are simple and yet so pointed. “I tried to laugh about it, cover it all up with lies. I tried to laugh about it, hiding the tears in my eyes because boys don’t cry”. And the song is just so well done. It’s over 3 decades old and still stands up very well.

2. “Close To Me” 

This song is just built so well. Robert Smith may be plodding through lyrics like “I wish I stayed asleep today” but the groove in this song is so infectious. The version with the brass section is the best. Sometimes when you get such a powerful dichotomy between the lyrics and the music, it can be jarring but this is one of the few instances where it all comes together perfectly.

3. “If Only Tonight We Can Sleep”

The Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me album may be best known for “Just Like Heaven” but the album includes a hidden gem in the form of “If Only Tonight…”. In a time where the band was creating bouncy new wave bits like the wonderful “Hey You” and “Why Can’t I Be You”, this song was ominous harbinger of things to come. Dark and beautiful.

4. “Untitled”

Disintegration is the best Cure album bar none. 12 songs and every one is full of amazing soundscapes. Robert Smith’s voice has never sounded more haunting. You can’t find a dance-y new wave song on here, instead the album went Darkwave with brilliant results. My favorite song being the faux-accordion laden “Untitled”. With lyrics like “hopelessly adrift in the eyes of the ghost again”, this song was a great inspiration to my own morose lyric writing.

Disintegration

...is the best album ever" - Kyle Broflovski

5. “Lullaby”

“Love Song” may have been the big hit coming out of Disintegration but that song does very little for me because it’s such a straightforward love song. It is rather generic, it just happens to be done extremely well. When it comes to singles from that album, my favorite is the chilling “Lullaby” where Robert Smith’s voice is reduced to a raspy whisper while Porl Thompson plays staccato guitars verses and a simple tasty guitar riff over the chorus. It creates such a cold atmosphere in the song, along with the faux strings. 

6. “To Wish Impossible Things”

Wish is a great album. Some parts of it harkened back to a more poppy new wave sound with songs like “Friday I’m in Love” and “High” but they could still create lush soundscapes. Whereas “Disintegration” used faux-strings, this song had Kate Wilkinson’s amazing viola work intertwined with the same kind of guitar work that made “Lullaby” such a good song. Add in Boris Williams’ percussion and one of Robert Smith’s most compelling vocal performances and you get an amazing Cure song (a sadly often overlooked song).

7. “Burn”

The Crow is one of my favorite movies of all time and one of the things that makes the movie so good is the soundtrack. Nine Inch Nails, Jesus & Mary Chain, Rage Against the Machine, Medicine and others all add great songs to the compilation. The Cure song is the lead-off track and sets a mood for the entire album. This may have been a Cure lineup without Porl Thompson but they were a band growing and finding new and fascinating was to create their sound. There are so many little touches sprinkled all over this song that make it such fun to listen to.

8. “The 13th”

When the Cure brings in a horn section, interesting things happen. This may have been the toughest time in the band’s history as it was basically Robert Smith and Perry Bamonte holding everything together but they were still able to make some good tunes. Granted, Wild Mood Swings, lacked some of the amazing dark tone of their previous albums but it was still a fairly good album and this song with its quirky transvestite murder video was the standout.

9. “The End of the World”

I’m not going to be fake and say that I love every Cure album. This is very little that I like on the Bloodflowers album and coming into the self titled album, I thought the Cure was ready to fade out of the spotlight. But then there was “The End of the World”. For those looking for Disintegration, part 2, they weren’t going to find it but they got a song full of charm and was a lot more relevant in the timeframe. This wasn’t bitter and dark, but this was a band that been through all that and could find joy, even at the end of the world.

10. Us or Them

Evolution can scare people. This song was a scary evolution for the Cure. This was the Cure bringing something that was almost metal. It’s dark and its got Robert Smith growling and screaming. I almost expect to hear something like this coming out of A Perfect Circle, especially with the powerhouse Jason Cooper drumwork. When I hear this song, it tells me that the Cure have a hidden range that they can bring and makes me intrigued to hear what their future recordings will be like and if this will resurface. It did briefly on 4:13 dream with the closing track “It’s Over” (to a lesser degree. Are they gonna be able to rock that hard again without Perry Bamonte?)

10 Shards: All about the VMAs

Posted in 10 Shards with tags , , on September 13, 2010 by Niveous

Last night was the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. If you ever saw my old blog, 10kdays, then you know that I am very big on music videos. MTV hasn’t had many music videos on lately (except for weekday mornings) but I was feeling nostalgic and decided to watch the festivities. Here are ten thoughts about the 2010 VMAs:

1. Video of the Year

Let me start at the top with the big win for Lady Gaga. For what its worth, the video deserved the win. But let’s look at the competition. Most people have no clue about the video for Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” and I feel like it was just put on the ballot to make MTV look like it has a shred of relevance. Then there’s the Eminem “Not Afraid” video. It’s a good song but it’s not a great video. Same thing with the “Airplanes” video from B.o.B. & Hayley Williams. These are only a step above the generic performance video thanks to flying Eminem and some colored lights. There was not a lot of music video creativity on display. This year’s field was thin in the biggest category in comparison to other years.

2. Breakthrough Video

Why is this category treated like crap? Look at some of the past winners: “Losing My Religion” (REM), “Tonight, Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins, “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai, “All is Full of Love” by Bjork,  “Fell in Love with a Girl” by the White Stripes, “The Scientist” by Coldplay. This category has always been a great place for awarding creativity. Now, I may not be enthralled by the Black Keys’ “Tighten Up” video, it’s cute, but they deserved to get some recognition for winning this award. They got nothing.

3. The Video Vanguard Award.

This hasn’t been given out since 2006 and last night was no different. This night was so focused on the spectacle that the music videos took a giant step back. Couldn’t MTV have forgone the drab Linkin Park performance of “The Catalyst” and taken a minute to give some kudos to someone like Samuel Bayer, Devo or Michel Gondry?

4- Hayley Williams

EW may have called this a bore (yet they loved the Linkin Park) but I enjoyed her performance at the VMAs. It was a medley of B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You”, B.o.B.’s “Airplanes” and Paramore’s “The Only Exception”. There was a great moment in the medley to transition between the last two songs. They dropped out the music and allowed Williams a brief moment of a capella, which was great in the midst of a world of autotune and lipsynch. In fact, I should also give some respect too…

5. Florence and the Machine

90% of the crowd had no bloody clue who Florence Welch was. She hasn’t got a huge following in the US. She’s had a few top ten hits in the UK but that MTV VMA crowd was probably scratching their head when she came out and started performing on a spinning lazy susan. But she left with a lot of new fans because she showed that she has a tremendous voice.

6. Kayne & Taylor

The subplot of the whole show was the aftermath of last year’s show. Sadly, they didn’t just do a collaboration. I was looking forward to more Taylor rap (“I knit sweaters, yo!”). Both came out and did their own song related to the incident. Taylor did well by playing barefoot, slathering on the minor chords and taking small jabs at Kayne (“32 years old and still growing up”). The song came off a bit like a rape survivor forgiving the rapist for being mentally ill, but it was enjoyable. Kanye West’s song was basically “Sorry, I’m a douchebag.” It was a fun little song because sing-alongs with curses are often fun (see: Mumford & Sons- “Little Lion Man” or Cee-Lo Green- “Fuck You”). The thing that killed me about Kanye’s performance was his li’l Trigger Finger Drum Machine which he played like an 11-year-old just learning what tricks it can do. He basically killed Pusha-T’s part by going “Oooh, look at what I can do with this button”.

deadmau5

He makes the party.

7. Deadmau5

I enjoyed after the DJ with the large alien Mickey Mouse head spinning throughout the show. but they kept doing this weird thing where performances would end and they would seamlessly cut to someone performing with Deadmau5.  It was very jarring to have Florence + The Machine finish only to have Travie McCoy spontaneously break into a rendition of “Billionaire”.

8.  Twitter

It was interesting to see how much MTV pushed the whole twitter aspect of the event, repeatedly reporting on which parts of the event had earned the most tweets. I must say that inspired me to see what people were saying on Twitter as the show went on and it was quite amusing at times. People love hearing other people’s reactions to things. It’s why you’re reading my blog. It’s why we have watercooler talks. Twitter was full of that last night.

9. Chelsea Handler

Russell Brand is a hilarious standup comedian. He was a terrible MTV VMA host. Much the same here. I don’t know what it is about the job but it’s set up for failure. Maybe they should go back to the Miami No Host VMA style. Or not. Those sucked as well. There has to be a solution.

10. The Professional Awards

The most heinous crime of the night in my eyes was the professional awards. These were the awards for direction, choreography, sfx, art direction, editing, and cinematography. They put them on the show. They even got True Blood cast members to present them. The problem was, they announced the winning videos BUT didn’t say who did the work! For instance, Bad Romance won for best director but they never named the director. WTF!

Congrats to Francis Lawrence who won Best Direction for Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. He’s a great music video director, having done videos for Britney Spears, P.O.D., Aerosmith, Janet Jackson, P!nk, Justin Timberlake and others (as well as the movie “Constantine” which I enjoy). This was his first win.

10 Shards: Songs in Guitar Hero that I wish Rock Band had

Posted in 10 Shards with tags , , on September 8, 2010 by Niveous

In the next few days, you’ll hear a lot more about my Spin Tunes experience and how the Gatecrasher album is going, so I figured a bit of light video game related stuff for today. 

I’m a big fan of the game Rock Band. I’m not a big fan of Guitar Hero. There are only some small differences between the two but I have found a preference for Rock Band. It’s probably because I have been playing Harmonix games for so long. I also enjoy Rock Band’s tremendous library of songs. With Rock Band Network + their downloadable content, there are hundreds of songs to play (almost 2000!). But there are still the occasional song that I wish that RB had that would make me happier. The likelihood that I’ll ever get a Made Out of Babies or Brilliant Green song in RB is low. But there are some songs that I wonder “Why isn’t this in….especially since Guitar Hero has it!” 

1.  “Always On The Run” by Lenny Kravitz 

Rock Band has “Are You Gonna Go My Way”, “Let Love Rule”, “Mr. Cab Driver” and “Freedom Train”. Sure, “Are You Gonna…” is the big hit (despite it being boring as hell to play in the game) but there’s some great musicianship found on “Always on the Run”. C’mon, it’s got Slash of Guns & Roses/ Velvet Revolver on guitar and a drum part that Steven Adler couldn’t play (which is why it didn’t end up a G’n’R song). I’d love to play this song. 

2. “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour  

When I think of amazing guitar tunes, this rushes to my mind. Vernon Reid’s guitar work is brilliant. Corey Glover’s vocal performance has so much fire behind it. Living Colour is sadly under represented on both Guitar Hero & Rock Band with only 1 playable song. They have so many great songs that I’d love to play: the aforementioned “Cult…”, “Leave It Alone”, “Love Rears It Ugly Head”, “Behind The Sun”, … 

3. “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream 

Huh? Rock Band has no Cream? I don’t know what the rules of exclusivity are when it comes to these games but this lack of Eric Clapton is a damn shame. I have a lot of appreciation for his playing ability. There were many MTV Unpluggeds back in the day in which the guitarist proved that they were great with the electric but lacked the chops to handle a good acoustic. Clapton showed he’s got the acumen in spades. 

4. “Ziggy Stardust” by David Bowie 

Rock Band and Guitar Hero both have great Bowie songs to play. I love having 2 songs from the epic “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” to play in RB (“Moonage Daydream” & “Suffragette City”) but I want more. GH has the title track. How am I supposed to experience Bowie’s lunatic 1972/73 without more songs? (Not saying that I’m running out to get any Aladdin Sane songs though) 

5. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns & Roses 

This is probably an exclusivity issue since Slash has been involved with the Guitar Hero games but Rock Band has an entire G’n’R album. Granted, it’s Chinese Democracy but still. There’s gotta be some way to get this classic into Rock Band. And now that Rock Band has the pro-mode where you can play a real guitar, this song would be perfect. Growing up, the opening riff was an essential for young shredders to learn. (Note- I wasn’t one of those young shredders. Chords are my thing). 

Zombie Cobain wants to be your avatar

6. “Heart Shaped Box” by Nirvana 

 

Rock Band trumps GH by having all the songs of Nevermind for playing, but it would be nice to have some songs from the In Utero album too. And GH has “Heart Shaped Box”. Since I’m already talking about Nirvana songs, GH also has “You Know You’re Right”. I’d love to play that too. Courtney Love is upset with GH, calling putting him into Guitar Hero 5 as a playable character “necrophilic”, and Dave Grohl loves Rock Band (as shown by the ridiculous amount of playable Foo Fighters tunes); perhaps Love & Grohl can send more Nirvana songs to RB. Maybe? Please? 

7. “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins 

If you were to ever hear my first ever musical recordings, you could hear the large amount of Smashing Pumpkins influence. I have been a big fan of them for years and Teargarden by Kaleidyscope is slowly rebuilding my interest. “Cherub Rock”, “Siva”, “Zero” and “Today” have all been fun to play in the game. It would be great to have even more SP songs like the one GH has. There were many rumors of the song coming via RBN, make it happen! 

8.  “Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance 

Lately there have been some rumors floating of MCR songs coming to Rock Band because of a file found on the Rock Band website. I would be very happy if that was true. If you’ve read through Audioshards, you’ve seen that I’m trying to write a concept album. MCR is great at doing that and I’d like to take a crack at playing some of the songs from their album Welcome To The Black Parade. Then I can add it to a playlist full of songs from Concept albums (the aforementioned Bowie, The Who, Coheed & Cambria) 

9. “Judith” by A Perfect Circle 

Simply, this is one of my all time favorite songs. Maynard James Keenan seems to have shown a preference to GH as there are 3 Tool songs and 1 APC song there to a disappointing zero on RB. He also appeared at E3 to help promote the new GH game, the one with the fantasy story-line quest mode about saving some Demigod of Rock.  I don’t need all those crazy bells and whistles. I just wanna play the damn song. 

10. “Obstacle 1” by Interpol 

I have played “PDA” by Interpol about 1000 times in Rock Band and every time I have said to myself, “That was fun but I wish I had “Evil” or “The Heinrich Manuever” or “Obstacle 1″. That would rock”. You should’ve seen my face when I learned that “Obstacle 1” was in GH. It wasn’t enough to make me wanna play the GH game (I just don’t enjoy it as much) but “Obstacle 1” is the song from the GH catalog that I want the most on RB.

10 Shards: 10 Songs I’m excited for in RB3

Posted in 10 Shards with tags , on August 25, 2010 by Niveous

I’m a lifelong gamer. I grew up with an Atari 2600 and a Commodore 64 and never lost my love for video games. And I have always had a penchant for music games. Back in 2001, the evil geniuses at Harmonix put out a game called FreQuency and I got hooked on music games and have been happily watching as they get better and better. I’ve stayed loyal to Harmonix and become a big fan of the Rock Band series of games. They are fun to play and they allow you to become a more focused listener by taking apart all the pieces that make up the songs and laying them out in front of you.

I often dream of getting songs into Rock Band via their Rock Band Network and maybe one day I’ll get the focus and cash to pull that off (anyone want to help me out with that?). In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Rock Band 3 coming out this fall. Here are the top 10 songs I’m excited to play in RB3.

1. “One Armed Scissor” by At The Drive In

The new RB3 setlist is a little light on crunch in some places. Many of the new songs are more keyboard heavy, since keys are the newest peripheral in the game. But this song will certainly fill the gap for me with its blistering guitars and insane lyrics. This is the song to rock out to.

2. “Break On Through” by The Doors

As I stated in the last edition of 10 Shards, I have been a big Doors fan since my teenhood. Getting to play any Doors song in Rock Band would be fun for me but this is the song that started things for me. I didn’t get into “Light My Fire” until later. I started off with this one. My only question about its inclusion is will the lyric “She gets high” chorus make it in or will this be a slightly cleaner mix?

3. “Something Bigger, Something Brighter” by Pretty Girls Make Graves

PGMG’s “Elan Vital” album is one of my favorites of all time. While this song is from the previous album, I can appreciate it and will enjoy playing it. And who knows? If Harmonix has a link to PGMG, perhaps there will be more of their songs coming as downloadable content.

4. “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago

I’m gonna be honest here. When I heard what songs were going to be in RB3, I was way too happy to have this song. My jubilance has diminished as I have wondered how the heck they are going to chart that song but the fact remains that it’s got a great groove and the horns are fun as is the guitar solo. As long as it comes off better than that American Idol version, everything will be just fine.

5. “Midlife Crisis” by Faith No More

More FNM in Rock Band is a very good thing and now you have keyboards so that you don’t have to skip Roddy Bottum’s parts. These songs are always fun to play. Mike Patton has great vocals. Billy Gould is one of my favorite bassists. I would’ve preferred “A Small Victory” from this album (Angel Dust) or something from Album of the Year, but I’ll happily take this.

6. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears For Fears

Yes, this song isn’t one you rock out to. But growing up, this was my favorite song. Its position has since been usurped (by “Pillars” by Sunny Day Real Estate, which I hope will be in RBN soon) but it doesn’t change how much I enjoy it. C’mon, it’s the ending theme to Real Genius. It’s the popcorn song!

7. “Oh My God” by Ida Maria

This is the one to rock out to. The lyrics are super simple and it’s probably going to be a breeze to play but it’s built for all your late-night rock star bravado. Add in the multiple vocalist option and this is going to be a blast to play with a full band. Sadly, you won’t be able to emulate the atrocious Iggy Pop remix of this song.

8.  “Portions of Foxes” by Rilo Kiley

On my old blog, I was called an indie elitist because of my negative feelings for the band led up by the girl from Troop Beverly Hills and their overplayed song “Moneymaker”. The thing that reader didn’t get is that I don’t hate Rilo Kiley, just the dosage I was receiving. This song is quite a gem in RB3. Great lyrics.

9. “Du Hast” by Rammstein

I know that it lacks the charm and elegance of their song “Pussy” but the levels of camp in having this song on the setlist is immeasurable. German is not a pretty language and that ought to make some wonderous vocal moments. A “Du Hast” + “Herr Kommt Alex” + “Perfekte Welle” playlist would be epic.

10. “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake

This is going to be so much fun. Pure 80’s hair metal goodness. Adrian Vandenburg was a great guitarist and it’s be a blast to play his solo on this song. The chorus is so catchy. This is a rowdy sing-a-long, rocking good time waiting to happen.

RB3 has all that plus INXS, Queen, The Cure, J. Geils Band, Amy Winehouse, Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jett, John Lennon, Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Free Bird!”), Filter, Mana, Dio, Dire Straits, Deep Purple, Devo, Blondie, A7X, Def Leppard, Flaming Lips, Doobie Brothers, HIM, Marilyn Manson, Metric, Phoenix, The Who, Yes and tons more. I’m going to have a lot of fun with this.

10 Shards: My Favorite Bands

Posted in 10 Shards, Introductions on August 12, 2010 by Niveous

Here at Audioshards, I’m going to be writing a lot about what’s going on in the making of my new album. But there will be times in which the creative process will be a little slower but I’ll still want to blog. That’s when I’ll post up one of these 10 Shards lists, revolving around some topic (like my 10 least favorite Kanye West lyrics, 10 things about the Billboard charts that baffle me, etc.). In keeping with introducing myself to my readers, I decided to start off with something simple like my top 10 favorite bands. Well at least, I thought that would be simple.

I started compiling this list and got to thinking “What is a favorite”? Is it a band/musician that influences you? Is it the one with the most songs that you like? It became tough to decide what the criterion would be. So I decided for me, my 10 favorite bands would be the ones that have the most personal meaning for me. So here they are, in no particular order (as well as some songs that I think exemplify what I love about them):

MADE OUT OF BABIES

For me, MOoB exemplifies everything that makes music amazing. Julie Christmas’s voice goes between beautiful and blistering. The band create such sonic landscapes with their songs. They go into wild lyrical places. They are my favorite band.

Definitive song: “Stranger” (from The Ruiner)

AFI

I went to an AFI concert on a whim, knowing only about 4 songs. I came out of that concert blown away. I have never seen a band as tight on stage as them. Their live show is a thing of wonder. Following that experience, I dug into their discography and found a band who was very skilled at the art of crafting a song.

Definitive song: “End Transmission” (from Crash Love). 

BERKELEY SOCIAL SCENE/ ZINKLINE

You could say that it’s cheating to put them on my list, seeing as I have written 30+ songs for them. BSS are such talented musicians. They have a penchant for playing with time signatures and doing all sorts of experimental things but still can wrap it up in a pretty bow.

Definitive song: “Please Stop” (from Little Cuts)

RASPUTINA

There is no band that I have seen live more times than the Ladies Cello Society. What a brilliant idea- alternative rock done with just cellos and drums (with some dulcimers on occasion) done in period dress. They also find new and interesting things to write about. What other catalog includes songs about the Donner party, biblical giants and Howard Hughes?

Definitive song: “A Quitter” (from Cabin Fever)

TOMMY HEAVENLY6/ THE BRILLIANT GREEN

Probably the toughest choice for the list because they are the newest to me. But hearing Tomoko Kawase for the first time sent me headlong into a love of J-Rock. Despite finding many other bands from Japan to enjoy, Tommy Heavenly6 has stayed my fave with its plays on American alternative rock. And her other band, the Brilliant Green, is just plain amazing with their flawless pop rock.

Definitive song: “Heavy Starry Chain” (from Heavy Starry Heavenly)

THE DOORS

There are many bands which have a large mystique around them. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who… the list is quite long. For me, the band from that list that means the most to me is the Doors. I’m not as enthralled as some are by the whole Jim-Morrison-Died-Too-Soon dynamic. I’m more interested in the songs based on wild poetry built over these organ & guitar grooves.

Definitive song: “Not To Touch The Earth” (from Waiting For The Sun)

CONCRETE BLONDE

I’m often driven by strong female vocals, talented guitarists and well done lyrics. This preference started when I fell hard for the song “Joey” and then realized they also sang the amazing Leonard Cohen cover in Pump Up The Volume. Long time favorites of mine, Bloodletting ranks among my top 5 albums of all time.

Definitive song: “Jenny I Read”  (from Mexican Moon)

Bjork

In reading this blog, you’ll find out that making my dream album means more than just creative 10 great songs. I like multimedia presentations. Bjork does that. Her videography is just as great as her discography. She also likes to experiment which has impressed me. Not many people could pull off an a capella album with the same success as she did.

Definitive song: “Joga” (from Homogenic)

AEROSMITH

I grew up listening to the bad boys of Boston. They were the band that got me to cut class so I could get an autograph at the local record shop. Sure, in recent years they have a treaded a line into glossy pop rock. What’s so wrong about that? It’s like eating a plate at the Olive Garden. It may be mass-produced. It may not be like the greasy dive or the fancy joint but sure hit the spot.

Definitive Song: “What it Takes” (from Pump)

THURSDAY  

Currently living out in New Brunswick, they are the hometown band. I even once lived on a street they sung out. But my adoration for the band goes far beyond that. They aren’t the run of the mill emo band. Their lyrics tread in different waters. Their antiphonal sections are gruff and powerful. When I hear Thursday, I can feel the emotion that they put into the song. I aspire with all the songs I make to find that kind of delivery where it resonates with the listener.

Definitive song: “War All The Time” (from War All The Time)