Thursday, June 28, 2007

Strike Me Pink

A sultry, slowly unwinding example of new-wave pop, Debbie Harry's "Strike Me Pink" from 1993 finds the Blondie frontwoman in fine fettle. Harry managed to deliver a suitably calculating vocal performance for the song, which is enhanced by a Milesian trumpet riff that adds a welcome shade of grey melancholy. Check out the disturbing yet atmospheric video right here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bittersweet Symphony

A classic, howl-against-the-elements loser's anthem, The Verve's sky-scraping "Bittersweet Symphony" managed to scale the upper rungs of charts everywhere during its initial releae in 1997, providing the Wigan space-rockers with their biggest hit since their formation in the late 1980s. It's matched by a suitably nihilistic, one-take video clip, which has frontman Richard Ashcroft deliberately, randomly knocking into people in the street and basically annoying the hell out of everyone he meets. Check it out here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


In the midst of the ever-present debris and detritus littering the mainstream charts, there is an occasional gem to be found, thankfully. Jann Arden's 1995 hit "Insensitive", is one such nugget, a well-crafted example of pleasant, contemporary singer-songwriter pop that doesn't pretend to be anything more than what it is. Confirming its mainstream credentials by winning the 1996 Juno Award for Single of the Year, "Insensitive" also managed to chart in several countries worldwide. Check out the video clip here.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

On an Island

While there has been considerable mixed reception to Pink Floyd head honcho David Gilmour's first album in twenty-two years, last year's "On an Island", there is no denying the fact that it is a supremely tasteful, elegantly mature piece of work that merits more than just a passing mention in the annals of Floydian history. The most obvious example of Gilmour's artistry is the smooth-flowing title track, which not only features one of Gilmour's trademark extended fiery guitar solos, but also solid harmony-vocal support from songwriting luminaries Graham Nash and David Crosby. Check out the atmospheric clip here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Together Alone

Crowded House’s “Together Alone” from 1993 remains the Antipodean musical institution’s most challenging and esoteric work, taking in previously unexplored musical accents like indigenous Polynesian chanting, quasi-ambient patterns, freeform log drumming and Celtic folk. A more ominous and atmospheric ambience is also prevalent on this landmark record, which would be the band’s last album until their reformation this year. Check out some revealing insights into the making of this magnum opus, including interviews with members of the band and maverick producer Youth, with the first part viewable here, and the second part here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Suede's Aesthetics

The erstwhile Suede has always represented the dark underbelly of the Brit-pop phenomenon. While their erstwhile contemporaries chose either to indulge in arch art-pop or loutish Dad-rock, Suede took a decidedly different route by exploring the seedier facets of late-millennium Britain.

Frontman Brett Anderson's narrative lyrics took stock of non-politically correct subjects like chronic drug abuse, urban loneliness, mental breakdowns and the like, framing them in his theatrical, yelping vocals and obliquely dramatic, at times delirious melodies. At the same time, guitar prodigies Bernard Butler and Richard Oakes crafted scorching, powerhouse lead riffs, and the rhythm section of Mat Osman and Simon Gilbert provided a reliable, rock-solid underpinning. This, mixed together with a healthy dose of Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie glam-rock and Smiths-informed pop aesthetics, made for a highly addictive brand of alternative rock.

Here are several different examples of Suede's versatility, ranging from aggressive metallic assaults ("Metal Mickey"), and apocalyptic, widescreen atmospherics ("Stay Together"), to stately, darkly melodramatic ballads ("The Wild Ones") and sparkling, exuberant pop fizz ("Beautiful Ones").

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Don't Stop Now

One of the most welcome band reformations this year is that of Crowded House, a bona fide milestone event that is a cause for celebration for pop-music connoisseurs everywhere. As a precursor to the impending release of new studio album "Time on Earth" (the first one since 1993's atmospheric "Together Alone"), here is the whimsical video clip for first single "Don't Stop Now", a archetypal classicist Neil Finn composition that is enriched by the presence of Smiths guitar legend Johnny Marr. Enjoy it here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Max Sharam

One of the more unusual talents to emerge from the fertile Melbourne underground arts scene is enigmatic performance artist Max Sharam, who made a big splash with her debut album, "Thousand Year Girl", way back in 1995. The standout track from that remarkable record is the skittish, slightly creepy "Coma", which deftly mixes folk tonalities, opera vocalisations and guitar pyrotechnics in one heady brew. Check out the kooky clip right here.