Saturday, October 30, 2010

Back in the High Life Again

Steve Winwood is a true, certified rock renaissance man who has worn many hats during the course of his long and varied career. Starting out as a teenage prodigy and a member of the revolving blues-rock collective The Spencer David Group, Winwood then went on to become one of the prime personalities of the late-1960s folk-rock movement with the legendary Traffic. Being the restless creative soul that he is, Winwood then disbanded Traffic and notched up a brief pit stop as one-third of acclaimed supergroup Blind Faith. Winwood then proceeded to carve out his own highly successful solo stint, which has lasted more than three decades, and yielded popular radio standards like 'Higher Love', 'While You See a Chance' and 'Roll With It'. Check out one of Winwood's lesser-known, but no less potent hits, 1986's cautiously optimistic ‘Back in the High Life Again’, backed by a prosaically appropriate video.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Jesus and Mary Chain

While the tug of war about the merits and defects of guitar feedback may rage on, there is no denying that acts who have adopted it as their key musical aesthetic have made a substantial impact on the general state of rock music, for better or worse. The Jesus and Mary Chain are one of the prime movers of the erstwhile noise-pop movement, a sub-genre of indie-rock that employs jarring guitar feedback as a main means of expression. Basically, the Chain work in a seemingly contradictory musical style: their songs had a bubble-gum melody foundation, borrowing some of the bright, poppish affectations of the Beach Boys and the Lovin' Spoonful, but the tracks were wrapped snugly in swirls of aggressive dissonance and atonal white noise. Ironically, the resultant soundscape made for a rather accessible and surprisingly sublime brand of rock that became one of the most inventive evolutions in contemporary music. Check out a 1985 live-on-television reading of one of the Chain's most well-loved standards, the cacophonous, claustrophobic 'Just Like Honey', which boasts a surprisingly sweetly poppish essence.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


A truly terrifying, utterly bloodcurdling monster of a song, Nick Cave's 'Loverman' constitutes one of the more outstanding tracks from 1994's stellar 'Let Love In' album. Encapsulating all the key elements of Cave's Southern Gothic musical aesthetics, including scarily precise quiet-loud dynamics, grinding guitar riffs, cavernous percussion fills and doomy-sounding bells, 'Loverman' remains a bona fide classic in Cave's frighteningly extensive repertoire, and a powerful testament to the inherent power of no-holds-barred, unadulterated rock. Check out the atmospheric, ominous video clip, which skilfully intersperses ferocious, fire and brimstone-infused footage of Cave and his Bad Seeds cohorts in onstage action, with eerie black-and-white scenes of a combination charismatic healing service and warped scientific experiment, seemingly set during the Victorian age, and starring Cave and his men as the subjects of said experiment.