The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 169

palma

Number 169 NME Single of the Year 2012….No wait come back…

Best of Friends – Palma Violets

Recommended by SWC

I saw Palma Violets live a few years back.  They were shocking.  They were supporting The Vaccines at Plymouth Pavilions it was just before Christmas and the exact moment I decided to go back to the bar and get two more pints was when the said “This is our Christmas single”.  I honestly sat in upstairs bar and listened to three Waxahatchee songs on my phone before venturing back into the concert hall (concert hall! – it’s a basketball court) to wait for the Vaccines to come on.

Before then The Palma Violets were an exciting prospect.  When they burst onto the scene they were the most thrilling prospect that indie rock has had since the arrival of The Libertines.   They were unpredictable and ramshackle and heroic all at the same time.

Their debut single was ‘Best of Friends’ a tremendous three and a half minutes of guitars and bellowing vocals. Within seconds of it finishing the NME had lauded it and them as the best thing since sliced bread.  It hailed the partnership between Sam Fryer (their guitarist) and their bassist (Chilli Jenson) as the best thing to happen to rock music since the days of Strummer and Jones.  Which is as usual taking things a little bit too far.

But it can’t be denied that ‘Best Friends’ is a hell of a record, a singalong anthem that pays tribute to young boys breaking free of their parents and striking out against the world, holding pints at the same time obviously.

But was it the best song of 2012, well as you will find out later on, no it wasn’t, not even close.  I mean if I was John Peel and I was compiling a Festive Top 50 this would struggle to get into the Top 15 but that chorus is pretty close to being flawless.

Also In Contention: Last of the Summer Wine – which was the B Side to ‘Best Friends’ and also featured on their debut album ‘180’.

 

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The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 170

whitney

Number 170 – Beautiful ambitious brilliance….

No Woman – Whitney (2016)

Recommended by Badger

When TSOBOs favourite Smith Westerns split towards the end of 2014, a couple of the band decided to form a new band.  They left their native Chicago and decamped to Los Angeles and Whitney was born.  Their debut single was ‘No Woman’ an achingly glorious country tinged ballad about escape.  The singer (and drummer) Julian Ehrlich sings with this brilliant falsetto that carries the songs along.  He is joined by a piano, that doesn’t really want to be there, a trumpet and a guitar that is so gently strummed that it sounds like it might break if it gets plugged in.

I remember distinctly the first time I ever heard this record.  I was in a dark place at the time, regular readers will remember, that during 2016 nearly everything that happened to either me or Mrs Badger was basically shit.  One day I had to go to North Devon and I drove down to the small town of Woolacombe and drove along the seafront, my plan being to visit a café that I knew well for lunch and then this came on the stereo, I think it was on a mix tape that SWC had compiled for me and I’d pulled over into a layby and this song just played in the car as the wind swept across the bay.

It is an incredible record.  Sad but beautiful, lonely but ambitious, full of wonderful vocals that sound like they are going to crack at any point.

Also In Contention

Golden Days which features on the bands debut (and only?) album ‘Light Upon the Lake’

Oh and thanks for the roses who ever sent them. Love you too.

The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 171

yak

Number 171 – Psychedelic brilliance from Jason Pierce’s furniture dealer.

Plastic People – Yak (2015)

Recommended by SWC

Let me tell you a bit about Yak, and the main reason why I bothered to check them out.

I read about them first in an online magazine, the article called them ‘Britains Best New Band’.  Now reading this type of thing usually makes me run in the opposite direction, but today I read on.  The singer of Yak, one Oli Burslem, told the magazine that before he was in a band he sold antique furniture and he was very bored of it.  Amazingly one of his customers was a certain Jason Pierce from Spiritualized (spoiler, they feature a bit later on) who told him that if he was bored then he should follow his dreams and form a band.  Strangely another customer of his was Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth who told him the same thing.  So Oli, did the only thing you can with that sort of free advice.  He formed a band and not only that he listened to work of his most famous customers.

“Plastic People” is a prime example of this, it starts with a guitar riff that sounds very similar to the riff you hear at the beginning to ‘Revolution’ by Spacemen 3.  After that it descends into a world of screeches guitars, savage drums and snarling vocals before it gives way to something of a psychedelic wigout, which is just marvellous.  Looks like Oli made the right decision about his career.

Also In Contention

Hungry Heart

 

The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 172

broken social scene

Number 172 – If Tarantino made music….

Chase Scene – Broken Social Scene (2010)

Recommended by Badger

So that Tarantino reference, let me explain.  Tarantino is considered by some (me included) to be a bit of genius when it comes to films.  He has this knack of making the ridiculous seem sublime, he has the knack of making the uncool, seem cool.  He can made something sound or look incredible when it really really shouldn’t.

The first time I heard this song I thought this sounds like something that would feature in a Tarantino film.  It would be, if it is actually ever happened a film set in the 70s, and genuinely there would be a car chase scene.  There would be squealing tyres, smoke, deserted streets full of litter bins, every now and again a fire hydrant would spurt water everywhere and right at the end a lorry would pull out of a side street and cause some carnage as the goodies or baddies drive away into the sunset.  There I realised that I may well have been thinking about the Dukes of Hazard.

I’m not explaining this very well am I?

Hang on guys I’ll try and explain a bit more – ‘Chase Scene ‘ starts with this paranoid pulse of wah wah guitars which is the bit where the jump into the cars.  Then it goes a bit crazy and brings in a load 80s synth (smoke, washing lines across streets, litter bins) and a full on string section (water spurting out of hydrants, the odd jump where cars get air perhaps).  It then builds to a chorus and it goes all tense and slightly unbearable, that tension finally ending near the end as the lorry comes in to cause its carnage.

I think that’s done it.

Also In Contention

Forced To Love which is all exotic sounding keyboards and harmonized vocals.

It’s a Tribute….Right?

bott

So Ed, sent us an email the other day, because he had an idea…

“Hi Guys, hope you are well.  I’ve an idea, well like everything else on this blog, it’s an idea liberally borrowed from somewhere else.

The other day I was listening to a podcast called ‘Blood on the Tracks’.  It’s a musical panel show on Radio 2 where four celebrities (and I use that term kind of loosely) are set topics and have to pick a song that fits the topic.  The guest then has to explain it either with some gushing praise or a story about why it was chosen and the host (one Colin Murray) chooses the best answer.  I thought that us three could do it, using the actual topics from the show and we could ask our beloved readers to pick a winner.

So for instance if the topic was “Greatest Use of A Drum in A Song” I would tell you about the time I was in Valletta Malta over the summer of 2008, two days into a seven day holiday with my then girlfriend.   We had gone for a meal in a restaurant which had this airplane theme going on, which looked quirky from the outside, but in reality was terrible.  I mean the staff wore cabin crew gear, the chairs were uncomfortable, the food was served in a tray and was lukewarm.  So I complained and refused to pay for it – telling them that it wasn’t fit for a dog.

The manager, barman and head waiter then asked me to ‘step outside’ and I politely refused and walked away hand in hand with my girlfriend.  As we got outside, my girlfriend, being sensible, simply walked across the road to our hotel, I decided for some reason to pause a take a photo of a lizard eating an apple core.  At that point the three guys decided it would be fun to chase me through the streets of Valletta, whilst questioning my parent’s ability to conceive.

So as I ran through the streets with absolutely no idea where I was going, there was only one thing playing inside my head and it was this the single greatest piece of drumming ever committed to music.”

Valletta Fanfare – Vitallic

Now we love ‘Blood on the Tracks’, if you haven’t heard it, I totally recommend it (You can download it from BBC Sounds for free).  We also love a challenge, so Ed, we’re in.

So in a minute, Badger and I will each tell you what we think the Greatest Use of A Drum in A Song is.  What we need you to do is listen to all three songs, and then read the stories attached to them and tell us below wo you think wins this week.  Simple.  Please contribute otherwise we are just waffling on for no reason and I’ll win by default.

So drums, Badger any stories about ‘drumming’?

Well I’m tempted to immediately plump for ‘In the Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins but I won’t because we are supposed to be cutting edge.  So drumming.  Well about ten years ago, Mrs Badger and I decided to enrol ourselves in an African drumming course.  A bunch of us sat around in a room in an Exeter school with a load of drums making a hell of a racket.  Now I can play the guitar, I know my way around a tune but some reason I couldn’t get to grips with this stupid drum beat that our teacher (Jon Paul) was showing us.  I kept getting it wrong and every time that happened my wife would turn round and tut at me.  At the coffee break she told me to just hum ‘Leave Home’ by the Chemical Brothers as I play along because it’s basically the same tune.

Therefore I give you the greatest use of a drum in a song, because it is the one that is the easiest to play.

Leave Home – the Chemical Brothers

Which just leaves me, having to pick something that actually uses a bloody drum.  Both the choices so far involve a drum machine.  So…When I was 16 when I was a naïve little indie boy I decided one day to write a letter to the drummer from Cud.  A man called Steve Godwin.  I wrote him a letter inviting him to my birthday party which was in a field in an area of Gillingham called Darland Banks.  I told him that there would be a bunch of people there, some music, some cider and probably some badly rolled joints.  It would be great if Cud could come along I said and then I posted it.

In about six weeks time, some three weeks after my actual birthday party, the drummer from Cud actually sent me a reply.  It was handwritten it contained cartoons, and a poem.  Cud couldn’t make it to my party (luckily), as they were on tour, but as a present, I had a plus one on the guest list for their next London show, so for that reason – this is unquestionably the Greatest Use of A Drum in A Song…well at least it’s an actual drum.

Robinson Cruesoe – Cud

So folks that’s it.  Which one of the three choices win?  Vote below – and if you want to contribute to next weeks topic here it is.

Next Week – The best example of a Pure Pop record by a solo female artist.

Cover Me – Number 11

chrisi

Wicked Game – ExLovers

Originally by Chris Isaak

Also covered by Finish Rockers HIM, Il Divo, REM, London Grammar, and by James Vincent McMorrow which was used in Game of Thrones, and a bunch of others none of them are that good. 

The original is of course a musical masterpiece.  It was first released as a single in 1989 but bombed terribly.  Then it featured in the film ‘Wild At Heart’ and it became a worldwide hit.  It went Top Ten in the UK.  It is easily Isaak’s most well known and most successful song.  His 50s style croon and rock n roll look never really set the UK on fire.

Exlovers are a five piece that are from London, although two of them are from Cornwall, and one is from Totnes in Devon (which automatically makes them cool in my book).  I know very little else about them, they released an album back in 2011 called ‘Moth’ and I couldn’t tell you if they were still recording or not.  In 2009 the band released a download only version of ‘Wicked Game’ through something the NME were running at the time called ‘The Daily Download’. For a period of about eight months that was the single greatest thing that the NME did for about ten years. The reason for that was that it gave us little gems like this for free every day.

Like I said I have nothing else by ExLovers or Chris Isaak as it happens or any of the other cover versions of ‘Wicked Game’.  So here just for you is a track called ‘Wicked Games’ by someone called the Weeknd.  Who shouldn’t be confused with the boy band of the same name.

Wicked Game