Tag Archive: Alt Rock


BluesTraveler1

I really fucking miss the 90s. A lot of the mainstream music was as bad as it’s ever been and by the middle of the decade, the “corporate rock” explosion of bands like Nickelback and Creed was about to begin, but man, for those first five years, things were pretty great. And do you want to know why the early 90s were so great .The mainstream music was the great alternative bands, whether than means grunge or more alt-rock influenced artists like Blind Melon. I’m about to maybe lose all my hipster cred here, but one of the 90s alt bands that I really enjoyed was the jam band Blues Traveler with the harmonica virtuoso John Popper. I actually made a joke on twitter earlier today about John Popper’s harmonica bandolier which is probably what inspired me to choose their big hit, “Run-Around” as today’s Song of the Day. Enjoy.

 

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The Cranberries 7/01 Photo Credit:  Andy Earl

Is it an unwritten rule that if you’re a rock band from Ireland in the 90s or 80s that you had to write a song about the Sectarian violence going on between the Irish Republican Army and the government of the United Kingdom? I’m not complaining cause “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is one of the greatest rock songs of the 1980s (and my favorite U2 song), but it seems like all of these Irish bands have a song about the terrible violence that was consuming Northern Ireland. And 90s alt rockers The Cranberries are no different with their biggest hit “Zombie.” It’s kind of weird actually that this song was such a bit hit cause it’s incredibly depressing and it’s about two boys who died during an IRA bombing. Still, it’s certainly one of the better alt-rock tunes of the 1990s and it has a pretty bad-ass music video. Enjoy.

 

I’m almost a little bit embarrassed by how much I enjoy Canadian rock veterans Our Lady Peace. They’re pretty standard 90s alt rock and some people even classify them as post-grunge (which is the dirtiest word to indie music fans that I can think of next to “bro-step.” Yet, I interviewed the band and saw them in concert in New York City, and I really fucking dig them. Raine Maida’s got a stellar voice and his lyricism is a notch above most major label alt-rock acts. I’ve actually already used one of their songs as my song of the day. I used one of their earlier tunes, “Superman’s Dead,” back at the beginning of the summer. So, I feel even more guilty because today’s song, “Innocent,” is without question their most mainstream sounding and broad appeal track (along with “Somewhere Out There” which got a brief resurgence of fame when an American Idol contestant covered it a couple years ago). But, even the hipster in me can’t give a shit that this is a straight up pop-rock song because “Innocent” is so damn catchy. Raine Maida’s got a great ear for lyrical hooks and this was one of the last songs from their mid-period in their 20 year career where he was still using his very distinct falsetto in a major manner. Anyways, I hope you enjoy. It’s easily one of the best crossover pop-rock tunes from the early 2000s.

 

Yesterday’s Bon Iver post was the end of the Bonnaroo-related Song of the Day posts so I’m back to picking bands just by what I’m feeling at the moment. Obviously, that makes things difficult for me again because for literally the last month (almost to the day), I didn’t have to make any real decisions. I had to pick the song but I didn’t have to pick a band. Hopefully, I can get back into my pre-Bonnaroo flow. Anyways, if you want to check out the still-growing July Song of the Day playlist on Spotify, you can find it here.

I’ve got a serious case of writer’s block today.  I watched Being John Malkovich last night but I went to bed before I finished my review. I haven’t been able to work up the energy all day to try and get back to write on it because there just aren’t any words coming to me right now. They aren’t coming for that or for a bit of copy I’m providing for a friend for a website for his independent film (Follow the Leader). Sometimes, I just write so much in a week that I fry my brain a little bit, and I think I need a good 24 hours to recharge. Still, I have to do my Song of the Day post. Red Hot Chili Peppers were the last band I saw on Saturday at this year’s Bonnaroo. I was going to see GZA play Liquid Swords but he was on at 2:30 in the morning, and my feet were bleeding by the time I made it back to my tent after the Chili Peppers finished at midnight. Subsequently, I also ended up missing D’Angelo make his first U.S. concert appearance in over a decade when he played the Superjam. Anyways, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were fucking awesome. For dudes that are all 50 now (except for new young guitarist Josh Klinghofer), they can still rock like its 1992. Flea is just a god on the bass guitar. The conversation begins and ends there. I named them the fifth best band I saw that weekend for work and they actually managed to put on a more entertaining live show than even Radiohead (though obviously Radiohead is a better band than the Chili Peppers could ever hope to be). I picked “By the Way” because I didn’t really (somehow cause I’m stupid) know the song before Bonnaroo but I’ve definitely fallen in love with it since.

 

Make sure you take the chance to subscribe to the still-growing July Song of the Day playlist on Spotify. You can find it here and subscribers will be able to see my Song of the Day selection several hours before everyone else.

Who says serious music also can’t have a wicked sense of humor? When people talk about the two great Brit pop bands of the 1990s, the two most common answers are Blur or Oasis (I interviewed the drummer of Keane and he chose Blur). However, if you were a fan of independent music in the 1990s and alt rock in general (and you have a sort of hipster taste), there’s a good chance you might say Pulp instead of either of those bands. They may not have had the success in the States that Blur or Oasis had (and certainly were never quite as big as Blur or Oasis anywhere), but there’s a decent argument to be made that they actually produced better music. There’s no better opening statement for an argument for Pulp’s superiority than to listen to their groundbreaking satire on class tourism, “Common People” (which was basically a giant fuck you to the faux-populism at the heart of both Blur and Oasis). It doesn’t hurt that it has one of the most remarkable and ear-burrowing melodies of the 1990s. I’m not sure if I agree with Pitchfork or NME that it’s the single best single of the 1990s, but if it’s not in your top 10 just after two or three listens, you need to get your ears checked. I’ll let Jarvis Cocker and crew do my arguing for me.

 

I spent like six hours today putting the finishing touches on an interview I did with iconic Canadian alt-rockers (at least in their homeland) Our Lady Peace about a month ago that the website I work for will be running tomorrow so my choice for my song of the day was pretty easy. This is probably my favorite song by these hard-rocking, raw Canadian veterans and it comes off their seminal 1997 album Clumsy. It’s called “Superman’s Dead” and while I’m sure it has deeper meaning because of lead singer Raine Maida’s fondness for cryptic lyrics, it’s just a fun, catchy, bad-ass rock song from an era that was defined by really shitty corporate alt-rock bands like Nickelback and Creed. I actually caught Our Lady Peace in concert. It was a hell of a show (which you can read about here) and while their type of music isn’t the kind of thing I normally listen to, I definitely know that this band has a ton of great singles, and if you dug this song, you should definitely check out the rest of their tunes. Their greatest hit album is chock full of awesome jams.

 

I’ll keep this post short because I’ve got a concert tonight and won’t be returning home from work afterwards until very late. This has the potential to be the last concert I go to as an intern at Baeblemusic (there’s a slim possibility that I’ll be covering the M83 concert at Terminal 5 which would be amazing) so I have to make the most of it. The act I’m seeing is seminal 90s pop-punk band Eve 6 who just reunited to make their first new album in almost a decade. I interviewed the band for work which you can read here. And as a continuing series on this band’s attempted comeback, I’m covering their show (I’ll also be reviewing their new album, Speak in Code, which is surprisingly decent). I’ve loved the jam “Inside Out” since I was a a little kid (I was 9 when it was released) and unlike a lot of its contemporaries, it’s aged remarkably well. So, enjoy a blast to the past when you used to rock vans and went through your skateboarding phase.

We’re seven days into the month of May now (which somehow sounds like the start of an Arcade Fire song), and if you’re wanting to listen to this month’s (or last month’s) Spotify playlist for my Song of the Day series, click here and give it a spin.

I almost forgot to do my “Song of the Day” post today, so I’ll keep my ramblings about why I love this song short. Needless to say, as someone who writes about indie music, Disintegration by the Cure is one of those timeless albums that I love and whose influence on the modern music I love is pretty much impossible to overstate. If you’ve ever been sad in your life whatsoever, there’s a chance that the Cure have written a song to match your mood. I’m feeling sort of angsty about women at the moment ( a more than common emotional state for me), and thus, I’ve got one of the many broken heart songs by The Cure to help get me through my pain. “Pictures of You” is a such a great track, and its power to speak to me at a gut level has only grown the more times I’ve listened to it. Robert Smith, you are a God amongst men.

For those who want to listen to this month’s Song of the Day playlist (or are curious about what April looked like), head on over to Spotify and listen to my Songs of the Day for May here.