Saturday, January 23, 2010

25 songs to play to a recently landed alien who has never heard earth music before.

I was recently in a pub having a fairly well lubricated* chat with a friend called Kevin who plays in a local band and I was astonished to find out the only big gig he has ever been to was Bryan Adams. I started quoting band names that I assumed everyone knew and with each denial of familiarity my jaw dropped a little lower. I told Kevin I would make an enlightening compilation album for him, he then told me people are always offering to make him compilation albums. I told him I would come through on my promise and make him a compilation album that would cover as many aspects of this wondrous art form we call ‘alternative music’. The very next day (with help from my wife) I did just that. Predictably it turned into two discs, and could probably have expanded to the kind of epic series that is normally sold in monthly instalments and supplied with a free binder. Here’s the running order and the notes I added to each track:


Kev’s Comp Part 1
  1. Crime in Stereo – Everything changes nothing is ever truly lost
    Something peppy to get the disc rolling
  2. Sugarcubes – Chihuahua Bjork’s band when she was still fun!
  3. Sugarcubes – Vitamin More fun!
  4. Gogol Bordello – Oh no Kick up your heels and dance Russian style
  5. Gogol Bordello – 60 Revolutions Carry on dancing Russian style
  6. NoFx – Franco Unamerican Brilliant musicians, brilliant lyrics, NoFx are great all rounders
  7. NoFx – My Vagina Yeah, and they’re also crude and funny
  8. Pansy Division – Dick of death Excellent gay and proud punk rock
  9. The Cling - ??? From a demo I was sent years ago, I have no idea who they were
  10. The Velvet Underground – Sweet Jane Every life should contain a little Velvet Underground
  11. Crime in Stereo – But you are vast An excellent band, not always shouty like the first track!
  12. Against Me – Thrash Unreal One of my all time favourite bands, started shouty then went commercial
  13. Against Me – The Ocean Proof that with a major label deal you can spend to much time in a studio



Kev’s Comp Part 2
  1. High Standard – California Dreaming Awesome Japanese fun
  2. Stereolab – French Disko Guess what, they’re French (sort of)
  3. The Melvins – The Talking Horse Two drummers, three vocals, a ton of brilliance
  4. The Mevlins – A history of bad men My bestest discovery of the whole of 2009
  5. Sound & Shape – The Love Electric See how many styles you can fit into one song
  6. System of a Down – This cocaine makes me feel like I’m on this song Arg, long song titles are a pain in the bum when you’re making a comp
  7. The Sword – Freya Very silly but at the same time utterly fantastic metal
  8. Truckfighters – Atomic Bass led Swedish band with a rubbish name
  9. Black Sabbath – Supernaught One riff to bind them, and in the darkness smite them
  10. These arms are snakes – Red Line Season A real grower of a band, you’ll probably hate this but give it time…
  11. Red Sparrowes – Alone and unaware, the landscape was transformed in front of our eyes What did I just say about long titles? Fantastically epic sounding hangover soothing rock.
  12. P E L I C A N – March into the sea My bestest discovery of the whole of 2008, the drums at the 6 minute mark nearly left marks in my pants, marks of joy and poo, although only nearly (thankfully).


*this chat took place just after I had tried to prove I could rotate a full pint of ale 360 degrees in the palm of my hand, I failed and lost a good portion of my pint of Budvar Black to the table, the floor, my clothes and my friends.