Quick Hitters: the ABS’s of non-singles

It’s becoming a sad fact of the music industry, people aren’t buying albums anymore. With the advances of technology resulting in being able to stream almost any song for free, there really isn’t a reason to purchase your favorite band’s album anymore. I am guilty of this myself, even though I still like to support that band however I can. With unlimited access to great music while in the comfort of your home, at work, or out and about; carrying albums around with you to listen has become a thing of the past.

That said, I’ve had many meaningful listening sessions courtesy of the albums I’ve purchased over the years. Like most, I would usually buy a CD based off of the strength of two or three songs. You hoped that the whole album was good start to finish but it didn’t always work out that way. However, there was more than one occasion where I discovered a song that I may not have otherwise found without buying the album. Sometimes they ended up being just as good or better than the “hit singles” that I originally bought the album for.

 

Therefore, we’re going to do something different in this post. I’m going to post songs from well-known bands that received little to no airplay but are remarkable nonetheless. I’m going to cover bands from A-Z. Some are going to be hard, no doubt (Q and X come to mind), but I’m willing to navigate the library in order to bring you some new, old songs that you’ll like.

 

~0-9~

311-Sever

 

This song came off of Sever, which was an underrated album in itself. Sever is a wonderfully complex, highly rocking song that delivers classic 311 beats with one of my favorite guitar solos from the band. It starts @3:30 after a climatic build-up. One of the best outros ever

 

 

~A~

Alice in Chains-Sunshine

 

My favorite song off of the album, “Sunshine” was another example of how great this band was (especially in their early years) and how vocally talented Layne Staley was as well. I thought about putting “Sea of Sorrow” in this spot but I did recall that song receiving some radio play whereas I never heard this one until I bought the album. It’s grunge at its best and features some changes of course as far as the direction the song is going in.

 

 

~B~

Breaking Benjamin-Forget It

 

A very non-Breaking Benjamin sounding song, “Forget It” is a pleasant sounding escape from their normally heavier, semi-screamo sound. This track features a few tone changes as well as some soothing vocals you’re probably not used to hearing from frontman Benjamin Burnley.

 

 

~C~

Catherine Wheel-The Nude

 

Coming off of their masterpiece of a debut album, Ferment (album review here), Catherine Wheel came out with some great songs on their follow-up album, Chrome. Namely this one, “The Nude”. Catherine Wheel sound is what I would describe as easy-listening shoegaze. There’s plenty of fuzzy guitars to satisfy your shoegaze fix; but there’s also plenty of well written and melodic vocals to please those who like a more pop style. This is definitely evident here:

 

 

~D~

Deadmau5-There Might Be Coffee

 

Deadmau5’s stock is on the rise no doubt. I’m certainly impressed with how many albums and singles he’s been able to dish out in not that long of a time period since he first hit the scene. This is one of his lesser known greats from the album, >Album Title Goes Here<. It features some great, fast paced beats. I don’t really like the high pitched keyboard that goes on for part of it, but it doesn’t ruin this song for me.

 

 

~E~

Everclear-Heartspank Dollarsign

 

A band that I’ve liked less and less over the years, Everclear once was pretty good. Sparkle and Fade had a number of winners on it. This was my favorite off of it (while “Heroin Girl” is a very close 2nd). It sends a powerful message while maintaining a gloomy, pessimistic vibe. The well thought-out lyrics and guitar riffs are brilliant in this one.

 

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Quick Hitters-EDM faves

To commemorate the recent twitter battle between Win Butler of Arcade Fire and Deadmau5, I’ve put together 3 of my favorite EDM songs that I’m guessing you haven’t heard before. If you’re left feeling confused after reading the last sentence, I’ll break it down for you. EDM stands for electronic dance music. Within the past 10 or so years, I’ve noticed that indie groups were looking to branch out from the conventional stringed instruments and began to heavily utilize electronic sounds in their music.

 

 

The irony is that Arcade Fire is one of the bands that helped pioneer this movement of experimenting with their own sound using electronics (example here). It’s gone over well in the world of indie and artists like Foster the People, Daft Punk, CHVRCHES, and Cut Copy are considered just as indie as the more traditional, stringed instrument-based groups such as  The Strokes, Pavement. or the Pixies.

Back to the fabled twitter battle, Arcade Fire frontman, Win Butler, sent out a tweet that simply stated “Shout-out to all the bands still playing actual instruments at this festival” (referring to Coachella). Deadmau5 took offense to the statement and it’s easy to see why; it’s clearly a knock on artists that rely heavily on their power Mac and other accessories to create their sound onstage. Deadmau5 unleashed a couple of response tweets essentially saying that it doesn’t matter what method you use to create you art, good music is good music. You can see the whole story here.

 

Personally, I side with Deadmau5 on this one. While I see where Butler is coming from, I have fully embraced the EDM movement in Indie. I think it’s great that Indie fans have their own brand of dance music and neither have to lackadaisically sway back and forth while zoning out to the more traditional indie brand of music; or have to pretend to enjoy themselves while dancing it out to this uninspired, lamestream brand of dance music. And artists like Deadmau5 are huge reason why it’s not like that anymore.

 

 

 

 

1. The Whitest Boy Alive-Golden Cage (Fred Falke remix)

 

So there you have it folks, now for some under the radar EDM tunes that I’m hoping you’ll enjoy. First off is the Fred Falke remix of The Whitest Boy Alive’s “Golden Cage”. It’s tough not to feel good after hearing this song. It has what seems to be sad lyrics but the beat is uplifting. I haven’t heard much of anything else from these two artists but if they can produce more of this, I’ll give them a closer look.

 

 

 

 2. Prodigy-Climbatize

Prodigy has always been one of my favorite electronic acts and their album The Fat of the Land will always go down as one my favorite albums from the 90’s. Most have probably heard “Firestarter”, “Breathe”, or “Smack my Bitch Up” from this album at some point during their lives but climbatize is favorite of the non-singles from this album. It’s long and doesn’t sound like an EDM song right from the start (starts slow w/ little percussion in the intro), but once it gets moving along it’s a unique and fun blend of synths and percussion instruments. It’s keeps your interest throughout and has a cool outro with all of the instrumentals pushed to the background to give it a sound as if it’s being played far away.

 

 

3. Deadmau5-Not Exactly

I didn’t think it would be right to close out this post without including a song by Deadmau5 himself so here’s “Not Exactly”, my favorite track off of album Random Album Title.