10 Songs of the Month! (January 2017)

‘My Mistake’ – Split Enz, Dizrythmia (1977) – There’s a certain kind of coolness to the few Split Enz songs that I’ve heard. From the looks and sounds of it, Dizrythmia was when the band started their transition from progressive rock to then-new new wave… Yet their spin on it was quite fresh and full of great melodies. ‘My Mistake’ in particular is pretty unique, with its marching beat and much-welcome brass, that makes the ending even better.

‘Three Mile Smile’ – Aerosmith, Night in the Ruts (1979) – I feel like post-Draw the Line, pre-Permanent Vacation tends to get swept under the rug a bit. From an album with a pretty funny title, ‘Three Mile Smile’ is a fast and slick Aerosmith rocker with some nice riffs. I’ve always liked this one.

‘Lovefingers’ – Silver Apples, Silver Apples (1968) – When I had heard that Silver Apples’ self-titled debut was unlike anything else recorded and released in 1968, I just had to dive in… It turns, they were right! This wasn’t the ethereal astral music of Pink Floyd, nor was it the dizzying psychedelics of say, Jimi Hendrix. Very electronic and ominous, very out of this world, very hypnotizing.

‘In-Time’ – Studio Orchester/Steve Gray, Das Wunder Stereo (1975) – One of my recent obsessions is the world of library music. Or stock music. Mostly easy listening-type music made for anyone to use. Animation fans will likely know of it because of Ren & Stimpy and SpongeBob SquarePants‘ heavy use of it. Steve Gray was a mainstay in this field, Disney VHS collectors will know of him because four seconds of his 1984 composition ‘Great Ovation’ was used for Disney’s Feature Presentation bumpers. This piece is accompanied by a ticking, which adds to it greatly. The recording alternates between sounding very 50s and very 70s, it’s very weird but oddly satisfying. And pretty short.

‘Space Odyssey’ – The Byrds, The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968) – The Byrds’ take on psychedelia orbits them into Pink Floyd territory in this very atmospheric piece. It kind of sounds like a mid-1960s psych band on an uncharted planet!

‘A Minha Menina’ – Os Mutantes, Os Mutantes (1968) – Brazilian psychedelic rock. I was sold from there… There’s a real party atmosphere to this particular number, and it rollicks through its four minutes with glee.

‘Baby I Need Your Loving’ – Four Tops, 1964 single, Four Tops (1965) – Had to go with a recognizable classic, a great blend of ace harmonies, a delicate mood, and a very soulful sound. Confession, my introduction to this was through the more crooning Johnny Rivers version from roughly 3 years later.

‘Reflections of My Life’ – The Marmalade, 1969 single, Reflections of the Marmalade (1970) – A late 1969 recording that for some reason, to me, sounds like it belongs in 1967. Something about the production and the brass, it makes this Scottish pop rock band’s hit single sound like something off of The Beatles’ later 1967 singles. Hard for me to pinpoint it, really. Despite the lovely sounding production, it’s a bit on the somber side, but nonetheless very pretty.

‘Ride The Tiger’ – Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Jefferson Starship, Dragon Fly (1974) – A more recent growing-on-me type of song, this was the direction various members of the now-grounded Jefferson Airplane took in the mid-1970s, the result is a bit of glam, a bit of prog, a bit of straight-up rock, it’s an adrenaline rush from beginning to end.

‘Call the Doctor’ – J.J. Cale, Naturally (1972) – I’m a recent J.J. Cale listener, after hearing a good deal about him… Something about his sound is unique, it’s a different kind of bluesy, stripped down, minimalist rock that I’m digging.

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