Friday, April 27, 2012

Ghost Town

One of the most scathing socio-political commentaries to be recorded remains the Specials' venerable 'Ghost Town'. Written and laid down during the dawn of union-busting and unemployment-precipitating Thatcherism, this indisputable ska classic perfectly reflected the sense of economic despair so prevalent at the time, quickly becoming the anthem for disenfranchised, rebellious British youths (who would shortly embark upon wild rampages in the kingdom's decaying inner cities). The song's potency lies in the atmospheric, ghostly production values and bleak, eerie instrumentation, taking in shivery wind samples, a brooding synth melody, and the brilliant use of some ghostly, wordless vocalese in the chorus. Check out the equally evocative video, which showed the band driving an ancient Vauxhall Cresta around a desolate, post-apocalyptic London.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Perfect Kiss

Certified rock legends New Order are widely known as one of the most distinctive and definitive outfits that successfully emerged from the post-punk scene, and the alternative-rock pioneers who managed to successfully blend visceral rock firepower and flighty dance aesthetics into a seamless whole, and subsequently, forged a new rock sub-genre, which influenced numerous like-minded bands who came in their wake. However, less known is New Order's propensity and ability to put on one hell of a live show, wowing critics and fans alike with their peerless performance aesthetics, almost telepathic band interplay, and magnetically droll onstage presences. This is all the more remarkable, given their improbable everyday appearances and absolute lack of any significant concert theatrics. Check out the band's absolutely devastating and jaw-droppingly amazing live take on synth-pop magnum opus 'The Perfect Kiss', captured at a gig at the O2 Academy Glasgow in October 2006.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Fallen Angel

With an impressive artistic template that takes in disparate styles like arena-rock, New Orleans cadences, ambient electronica, Native American patterns and Americana country-blues, Robbie Robertson, erstwhile leader of famed folk-rock collective The Band, has long ago stamped his mark as one of the most accomplished rock performers of our time. Even though Robertson these days isn't as prolific as he used to be, and the powers-that-be have more or less consigned him to the scrap heap of rock history, his peerless repertoire certainly still bears proof to how consequential and engaging his talents and artistry are. As far as lyrical contents go, Robertson masterfully evokes fantastic, haunting images of death and desolation, devils and wildernesses, stormy weather and barren forests, weathered men and enigmatic women. Check out a certified Robertson standard, the evocative 'Fallen Angel' from his 1987 debut album 'Robbie Robertson', an atmospheric, spacey mood piece which incorporates all of the abovementioned lyrical concerns, and also bristles with all manner of creative effects like found-sound percussion, ambient guitar noises and sculpted synth chords, and features art-rock veteran Peter Gabriel on complementary backing vocals.