Michael Wright, Editorial Director
Primal Scream, “Higher than the Sun (Higher than the Orb Mix)”
Man, do I wish Creation Records was still floating around firing salvos into the broadside of the music establishment. I love that Alan McGee just let his bands record whatever the hell they wanted. Case in point:
this trippy, trancy tune by Bobby Gillespie and company.
Super Furry Animals, “The Man Don’t Give a (expletive)”
Perhaps even better proof of the above.
The Mockingbirds, “You Stole My Love”
If you don’t own the first two Nuggets collections, your record collection…or CD collection…or mp3 collection…is woefully inadequate. This cool splash of minor chord rave-up by Sixties London never-were’s The Mockingbirds is a perfect example of the kind of lost gems just aching to live in your iPod.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, “Born in Chicago”
I generally get bored very quickly by 12-bar white boy blues, but Mike Bloomfield is so blazing on the first Butterfield album that I can’t help but get swept up in it.
Oasis, “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down”
Just a non-gentle reminder that when they wanted to, Oasis could still be the greatest rock and roll band in the world on any given single.
Bryan Wawzenek, International Editor
“No Thugs in Our House,” XTC
Captain Quirk, Andy Partridge, nails the double standards of the privileged over an insistent beat.
“Never in My Life,” Mountain
My dad would call this a “jam-and-a-half.” Scorching guitar from Leslie West – the man, the myth, the mountain.
“Sister Jack,” Spoon
This jangly, “Taxman”-inspired confection (with a drop-D tuning reference!) is Spoon at their poppiest.
“Bodhisattva,” Steely Dan
“[Denny] Dias the Bebopper meets [Jeff] Baxter the Skunk beneath the Bo Tree in this altered blues,” Walter Becker and Donald Fagen wrote in the liner notes for Countdown to Ecstasy.
“Vanity Fair,” World Party
Released in 1997, when heard out of context it sounds like something that could have been a smash hit for The Zombies in 1966.
Andrew Vaughan, Editor
Céu, “Grains de beauté”
Jazz, Afro beat, samba — all in a new and beautifully performed style by Brazilian singer songwriter.
Florence and the Machine, “Kiss with a Fist”
Charismatic female singer-songwriter from the U.K. with a fiery blend of folk blues and a confrontational attitude best witnessed in this belter of a song.
Neil Young, “Like a Hurricane”
Canadians can rock! Neil Young delivers one of the finest rock and roll love songs of all time, and the best version is the corker from Live Rust
Paul McCartney, “Mull of Kintyre”
I know, I know, but the pipers are brilliant and Macca’s in Gibson country, Nashville, this week.
The Jam, “Eton Rifles”
Weller never sounded more convincingly pissed off and righteous than on this bitter slagging of Britain’s outmoded class system.
Sean Patrick Dooley, Social Media Editor
Def Leppard, “Let It Go”
From Leppard’s stellar High ‘n’ Dry
album, “Let It Go” is simply the greatest, hardest-driving “AC/DC meets Thin Lizzy in a back-alley rumble refereed by Queen” song of them all. If you like a blistering twin-
guitar assault with outstanding screaming vocals, this song is your huckleberry.
Rush, “The Spirit of Radio”
Quite possibly the most popular of Rush songs, “The Spirit of Radio” represents Rush at their prog-rock finest. The intro lick is iconic, the blistering instrumental breakdown bridging the opening lick to first verse is just sick, and the lyrics are bizarre. Friggin’ Rush rules!
Paramore, “The Only Exception”
Born right here in middle Tennessee, Paramore have been selling out bigger and bigger venues for the last couple of years with their own brand of hard-emo-pop-rock. Music and concert sales have been brisk, but chart success for their singles has been elusive. Not anymore, thanks to this earnest and beautiful ballad.
Foo Fighters, “The Pretender”
For some reason (ahem, Kurt Cobain), Dave Grohl – the songwriter – continues to live, on some level, in the shadow of his former band mate. Hogwash! Grohl has proven to not only be a prodigious songwriter, but his immense catalog is wide and impressively varied. Hard-driving, explosive and oh-so kick-ass, “The Pretender” is Grohl and company at their best.