Friday, May 2, 2008

"Are you going to liberate us from male, white, corporate aggression? I just want you to know we can still be friends.."

"Kool Thing" by Sonic Youth (feat Chuck D from Public Enemy) was pretty much one of the first alternative/indie songs I ever heard. 

I think this has stood me in pretty good stead for things that followed. Before I heard this tune it was all Cock Rock and thrash metal. After hearing this, and then Ride (on the same mixtape), and then Nirvana released 'Nevermind', things just got better and better.

What was the one tune that you heard (maybe during your formative years?) that forced you to throw everything else out the window and reconsider the musical sphere? 


DarceysDad said...

Two of 'em, Blimpy:

UFO - Only You Can Rock Me. The opening 18 seconds of guitar & keys riff made me the rocker I am.

Lorraine Ellison - Stay With Me. As I've said before, that one song took my blinkers off and made me realised I didn't have to stick to guitars cranked up to 11 to hear sheer power in music.

Nice idea, McFlah. Shame I'm away from early tomorrow until late on Monday.

Have a good weekend everyone.

CaroleBristol said...

A fascinating question, Blimps.

I'll get back to you on this.

saneshane said...

here is a time line...

my older bro and uncle were rockers so at 11 I went to see status quo, ac/dc and motorhead live all great (even the quo!)
but where my uncle lived was a record shop owned, I believe by judge ska was the thing for me..then I met a girl well into Dexys Midnight runners so that got me into words of songs and a completely different style of music..(I was 12)
I was very lucky, my dad had a huge range of lps that I cherry picked from and argued about.

my changing point was seeing mates in london who were going to see throwing wasn't sold out so they got me in.. Pixies were supporting (their first ever gig in england)..I was 17 I think..
BLOWN AWAY doesn't cut it..
I'm more into words but the weird language and great bass and guitar freaked me so much..and my age helped, it's the pure bliss of 'this is for me' that makes it special when you are ending your teens.

still try to recapture that feeling
but Pixies for me.
(added gave me her beer at one gig, swapped a bit of artwork for two t-shirts at another..Kilburn was so hot I needed to change but had no money!..Amazing little me times...

I could do a part 3 and 4...

nilpferd said...

The night after moving into my first flat, I put on my flatmate's "The world won't listen" LP. Someone I had a crush on had mentioned The Smiths, so I guess I thought I'd better get informed. Actually it was more like, I need some conversation filler so I can talk to this girl. At the time I was into jazz and was pretty sick of mainstream pop music, so I wasn't expecting to actually like the band. I think I was expecting the music to be out of tune, slow, pretentious and excruciating, but I was willing to make the sacrifice.
"Bigmouth strikes again" came on and blew me away instantly- the irreverence of the lyrics, the soaring, ironic arrogance of the music and the driving pulse.
It never worked out with the girl, but it did get me into alternative/indie...

CaroleBristol said...

I grew up listening to 60s chart stuff; The Beatles, Who, Stones, Motown, Kinks etc - the standard thing.

What really changed music for me was hearing Aretha Franklin for the first time. One of my friends elder sister was a mod and she had lots of records you didn't hear on the radio.

My friend and I used to listen to her records and she would tell us about boys, clothes etc. We were 12 and she was a worldly 15. I learned all about makeup from her too.

A much later revelation for me was hearing Patti Smith's Horses for the first time. I'd been listening to a lot of the classic hippy/post hippy stuff; Floyd, the Dead, Zeppelin, Allmans, Yes - all those bands, and hearing Gloria was amazing - it was a WOMAN doing rock 'n' roll, doing it her way and that really changed everything for me.

Patti Smith literally changed my musical life forever.

ejaydee said...

I'M SO DRUUNK IT MERITS ITS OWN post, but i'll refrain from that. I guess this quesrion comes in many parts for me. First one which doesn't apply to th equesrtion that much is M.E.T.H.O.D. man by Wu-Tang Clan , I think, although I'm not sure that's when hip hopp became my music and not just ,my brother's. Then there's THese Armes of mine by Otis Reddingm and the Crookluyn soundtrack, notqbly El Pito (I'll never Go Back To Gearogia) by Joe Cuba, this got me into anotgher realm of music. I wouldn't say I'm a Salasa aficionado by a longshot, but it contributed in the sense that it wasn't hip hop. I hated dance music, DA FUNK BY DAFT {PUNK got me iopen, bu tBurnin' is what converted me.. Now the rock/indoe stuff... Was it Life On Mars, or A Day In The Life? I'm notr sure, but for the nth tiime, I'll e3xpress my ggratiutude to the HMV in Oxford Circus, which is just fine if you want to build a music collection. Oh, what got me into brazilian music? it was a friend of a friend, who having just got back friom Brazil, with a burnt CD, casually yelled out to my friend , "that's Jorgebenhjorge". Without a definite artist name, the songs bebete vaobora and Take It Easy My Brother Charles opened up a whole new world, in conjunction with the Favela Chic bar in Paris. Then I went to BRAZIL THAT SUMMER, AND HERE I AM, DRUNK, AFTER ATTENDING A COUNTRY music club. I didn't lin-dance though. I think after Oktoberfest in the south of Brzil, this is the weirdest place I've ever been to.

I apologize fior this post.

CaroleBristol said...

Don't apologise ejaydee, I like that post.

steenbeck said...

Ejaydee, your worm comment had me giggling, but this is the best comment ever.

ejaydee said...

Oh dear. I'd still like to apologise for the many many many typos.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ ejd - I don't know about anyone else, but I'm massively impressed that despite your enviable state of inebriation and in the midst of some of the most amusing typos it's ever been my pleasure to read, you somehow managed to type aficionado correctly. Respect!

ToffeeBoy said...

Personal watersheds:

Listening to Supper's Ready at a friend's house under the influence of some sort of herbal substance and discovering that prog rock was the only thing worth listening to.

Hearing The Police on Top of the Pops and realising that there was something else worth listening to other than prog rock (yes, I missed the whole punk thing).

Buying The Smiths' first album purely on the recommendation of a friend and listening to nothing else for several months.

But the biggest watershed in my musical life came as the result of working at Our Price and discovering that there were hundreds of musical genres out there and that you didn't need to classify yourself as being 'into' any one type. I've never looked back since...

Blimpy said...

Fascinating comments! I love it!

I will respond to these once my guests have left, but I am utterly loving it.

steenbeck said...

I didn't think I had anything to contribute to this post, but Nilpferd's comment reminded me...when I was 16 or 17 I had a massive crush on a boy who liked REM. He was quite punk rock sartorially, so I expected lots of yelling and badly played instruments. I bought Chronic Town without ever having heard a single note of REM. It was just so beautiful and poetic and, well, magical to my teenage ears. Well, my love for REM lasted a lot longer than my crush on that boy. It seems like "music we've discovered through crushes" might be a whole nother topic.

ejaydee said...

Amazingly, most of my earlier comment is more or less accurate. I just wish I checked more often that the caps aren't locked, it looks a bit like a tabloid.
And it wasn't just a country music club, it was country-themed. Lots of men in cowboy hats, some even in boots.

Steenbeck, which worm comment?

steenbeck said...

Ejaydee, sorry I guess that was a bit cryptic, this one...
"Somehow, given their mother I don't really see these boys deciding to invade the country that has the most worms in it for their own sadistic pleasure."
and I must say I was amazed that despite the odd typo your statement was amazingly lucid and not embarrassing at all.

ejaydee said...

Oh right, I searched the mothership and my email for the word "worm" and gmail doesn't register the plural form apparently.

Tim (Kalyr) said...

Hearing Rainbow's "Eyes of the World" I've been a rock fan ever since.

More recently, seeing Mostly Autumn at Jilly's in Manchester in 2004. That showed me that:
(a) Rock is great with female lead vocals, and
(b) Small intimate club gigs beat soulless enormodomes every time.

snadfrod said...

Ok, my story - sometime during '95 me and a bunch of other schoolfriends went down from Stockport to London for a theatre trip (Oliver! and another musical, as I remember it - classy...) and were staying in a hotel near Heathrow. The night that we were there was one of those slightly juvenile, slightly hyped-up type of nights where we all thought we were really grown up and could do whatever we liked. I mean, I might have even had half a beer!!!

Anyway, at this point I wasn't massively musical, I'd bought some aerosmith, some bon jovi, hootie and the blowfish etc, but not much more. I'd always been slightly scared of the strange looking men in flares and bowl haircuts on Top of the Pops, so baggy never registered, and anything cutting edge like grunge just wasn't on the radar.

A couple of the other guys I was with had older, much cooler brothers and everyone was starting to talk in hushed tones about Definitely Maybe. I clearly remember the night in the hotel, someone had brought a portable CD player and we were all gathering round it for this CD I'd never heard. Everyone was saying what their favourite song was, "I love Shakermaker", "Up in the Sky is doody-cool" (we were young, ok?) and then it came to me. 'What's your favourite, snadford?'

Well, desperatley wanting to appear cool and knowledgeable (and thereby setting the seal on the pattern of the rest of my life forever and ever amen) I took the quickest glance I could at the CD cover lying on top of the player, upon which I managed to make out one word, which I subsequently was able to blurt out with just enough nonchalance - 'Columbia'.

Said song was, as a result, put on and I can honestly say that I had never heard anything like it before or since. If Oasis never did anything else in their career (and, if you ask me, they did quite a lot more, up to and INCLUDING Be Here Now which I am often alone in loving in all its ridiculous glory) then that one song was just so strange, so powerful and so completely, intoxicatingly different that they would still be worth considering as great.

I listened to that song over and again and began to realise that music was something worth exploring further than just The Chart Show and Top of the Pops. The next album I bought was, I think , Black Grape's first and it was all go from there. Lamacq and Whiley moulded me further during the Evening Session's golden age, then it was on to the NME and now we have the whole web at our disposal and we find ourselves here.

Ain't life funny?

Abahachi said...

This is difficult, because I find that it keeps happening: I hear one song, and suddenly a genre or artist that I'd previously dismissed or ignored comes into focus - and of course I then spend six months obsessively discovering the back catalogue before something else comes along. So, in roughly chronological order, focusing on things that still mean a lot to me today...

Ultravox, 'Reap the Wild Wind': discovery of pop music in general.
Bonnie Tyler, 'Faster than the Speed of Night': discovery of the music-sex connection, not to mention the glories of Jim Steinman
Deep Purple, 'Perfect Strangers': discovery of rock music
Bob Dylan, 'Ballad of a Thin Man': discovery of Bob Dylan
Cream, 'White Room': start of my late 60s rock phase
Massive Attack, 'Five Man Army': end of 60s rock phase, start of contemporary beats phase
Suede, 'Animal Nitrate': abahachi goes indie for a bit
Leftfield, 'Open Up': back to the beats
Miles Davis, 'ESP': new jazz obsession
Peter Broetzmann, 'Machine Gun': new free jazz obsession
Tomasz Stanko, 'Morning Heavy Song': obsession with soulful Polish trumpeters
Manuel Goettsching, 'E2-E4': discovery of 1980s electronic music
Sugababes, 'Push The Button': recollection of why I always liked pop music

The one tune? I guess it has to be the Massive Attack, which changed me from an 'all dance music is soulless robotic nonsense keep music live!' rock fanatic to something rather more confused.

ejaydee said...

I realised I could contribute to this sober too. I love the way Snadfrod discovered Oasis, pretending to know the song he would then love.

I forgot to mention the film, 24 Hr Party People, and its subsequent soundtrack, which introduced me to a whole, maybe indie rock in general.
ALso, I've been thinking about it, but I can't really pinpoint what got me into Miles Davis. There was this guy whose house we would hang out at and listen to music. At one point the beginning of So What started playing, and even though it seemed very familiar, I had never heard it like this. Or it's the liner notes to DJ Mehdi's first album, in which he mentions some of his favourite albums. I knew a lot of them, recently discovered at the time, and I think he mentioned Kind Of Blue in there, or was it In A Silent Way. I'm pretty sure I got In A Silent Way, because of the price and the cover and the smallest tracklist I'd ever seen.

DarceysDad said...

The next time DarceysMam takes the girls to her mother's on her own, I want to go for a night out with Ed ...

More seriously, Abahachi's comment (about new genre discovery and subsequent borderline-obsessive catching-up) got me thinking, and I've been hit with a freighttrain-sized realisation:

Any band/genre that I believe I discovered for myself is likely to still be right up there in my all-time faves. Anything I can specifically remember being introduced to by someone is much more likely to have fallen away again in my estimation (or at least in the frequency of plays).

This is REALLY scary, and not a little conflicted: random picking of songs I hear via radio and magazine covermounts thus appear to mean more to me than the considered opinions of my friends!

Am I some kind of anti-social loner, musically? A cooler-than-you snob? What the f???????

And if any of that is actually true, what the hell am I doing spending so much of my free time here and on RR? What does it say about my attempts to indoctrinate others about music I do love?

I'm off to stare at my CD collection until I come up with enough examples to disprove the theory, so that I can go to bed without worrying: the possibility of that prejudice surviving scrutiny just doesn't bear thinking about .......

Crap; I hope I'm wrong, but honestly, people, I suddenly feel very cold and very sick.


steenbeck said...

I don't think that's so strange, DsD. There are a whole lot of things I've liked (dylan, Talib Kweli, Velvet Underground) that I've played for Mr. Steenbeck in the course of our time together, and he's dismissed it until he's heard it on the radio or elsewhere, and, In a sense, discovered it for himself, and then we can share it. I'm fine with that. And I can think of bands that friends--really friends--have introduced me to (LCD soundsystem comes to mind) and I just wouldn't give them a chance because I didn't want to have the same taste in music. This is a FRIEND, mind you. The human brain and heart are very strange things, but I think it's all okay.

Abahachi said...

On reflection, DsD, it looks like there are at least two of us. My musical taste hardly ever seems to have been in tune with anyone; the only group I was introduced to by friends which still means anything to me is Deep Purple - and even that was problematic, because said friends were somewhat purist and so expected me to stop liking 'that pop stuff' now that I had joined the hard rock fraternity. Other groups which I encountered via this connection - Pink Floyd, Genesis, Hawkwind, Led Zep - I would now listen to occasionally, mostly through nostalgia rather than because they really grab me.

I don't know if it's better or worse that two of the jazz records - Stanko and Broetzmann - arrived because they were given crown ratings as essential albums in the Penguin Book of Jazz on CD. I don't listen to friends, I consult reference books to discover what records I ought to have on my shelves... Though I have to say that some of that book's recommendations are rubbish, so I'm not quite a slave to authority.

Tim (Kalyr) said...

DsD, while I don't think you're unique, I'm not like that; I've found that for bands I really like, it really doesn't seem to matter how I 'discovered' them; it's a random mix of recommendations from offline and online friends, hearing them on the radio, reading reviews (although this is the *least* reliable), seeing them on the bill at a festival, covermount disks, or in one case being invited to a gig by a member of the band.

And I can think of a lot of bands where I've owned a couple of albums but only really become a fan after seeing them live, after which I tend to pick up the whole of their back catalogue. Porcupine Tree certainly 'clicked' that way for me.