Category Archives: Treasures

Treasures: Naked Raygun ‘Vanilla Blue’

‘Vanilla Blue’ by Naked Raygun is only half as long as it should be

I had an unnamed live version of this track for about ten years and, thanks to the double-edged sword that is Spotify*, I’ve recently been able to identify it.  It turns out that ‘Vanilla Blue’ is one of Naked Raygun‘s biggies.

Until now though, I’ve just been too busy doing other important things, like organising my Filofax and making badges, to investigate it properly.

Back to the programme. I’m not even sure how I got hold of this song. It just sort of turned up on my computer when I wasn’t looking and I loved it immediately.

It probably fell off the back of a digital lorry, to be honest. It was in the hazy pre-iTunes days, before the internet became purely about status updates (“COFFEE! LOLZ”), pictures of cats and videos of girls putting things into other girls.

*Remember Jonathan? He annoyed the shit out of me. And, when he finally fucked off, he took the entire Bob Dylan catalogue with him. Bastard!

Naked Raygun 'Vanilla Blue'

Treasures: Gotan Project ‘Paris, Texas’

It’s probably time I posted Gotan Project’s version of ‘Paris, Texas’

Ah… The summer. Breathe it in. Don’t really, it’s pissing it down and that moisture primarily consists of evaporated fox piss. If we did have the balmy summer nights that I definitely remember from my adolescence, though, when there was excitement in the air, pollen in the fields and, err, fish in the sea, I would definitely recommend listening to the Gotan Project’s cover of Ry Cooder’s theme from ‘Paris, Texas’.

In fact, even now that it’s raining and summer has apparently taken up permanent residence in the months of April and May, I STILL recommend you listen to it, just in case a warm desert night wafts by without you noticing.

Also check out the film directed Wim Wenders because that’s good too, unless you like your films to have explosions and babes in. I did film at university. You can probably tell. My favourite film is ‘Hook’.

Gotan Project 'Paris, Texas'

Image: Roberto Berlim, Wikimedia (used under Creative Commons)

Treasures: The Rolling Stones ‘Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadows’

This song makes me wobble like a three year old at playgroup

I realise I might be late to the party, but I have just discovered The Rolling Stones’ ‘Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadows’.

It’s the kind of unbelievably massive rock ‘n’ roll dance tune that, if I wasn’t a mature, discerning and professional musical journalist, I would put on the record player and hurl myself around the room to.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend would be giving me the angry eyes because we were meant to be talking about wedding stuff, but instead the man she’s about to commit the rest of her life to is dancing like a retarded toddler and refusing to pick any wedding cake that’s not in the shape of a pirate galleon.

Like I said though, I’m a serious music professional, so that wouldn’t happen to me.

Keith Richards in 1965

Image: Kevin Delaney, Wikimedia (used under Creative Commons)

Treasures: Led Zeppelin ‘Out On The Tiles’

Tom Morello told me ‘Out On The Tiles’ is his favourite riff of all time

So, not too long ago, Tom Morello phoned my house to talk about guitar riffs. It was great, he was super-friendly, not afraid to talk  about Rage Against The Machine stuff (even though he was promoting Street Sweeper Social Club at the time) and good with the quotes too. My 16 year-old self would have messed his inexperienced pants. My 25 year-old self came pretty close. In fact, the whole thing was pretty surreal.

Mainly though, I was just glad of two things:
1) He wasn’t an arsehole
2) He still REALLY loves playing guitar

Anyway, ‘Out On The Tiles’ is a great pick. Not as well-known (read: over-played) as ‘Whole Lotta Love’, but recognisable all the same, it’s got a pop bounce that sticks with you. Touch my video box to hear it.

Robert Plant

Image: Dina Regine, Wikimedia (used under Creative Commons)

Treasures: 13th Floor Elevators ‘Don’t Fall Down’

I didn’t nearly do a cry when I first heard this.

Whilst I was already a big fan of 13th Floor Elevators biggest hit, ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’, a friend turned me on to this tune recently. It’s cracking. It’s especially poignant when you consider the battles that frontman Roky Erickson has since had with schizophrenia.

He’s still writing great tunes though and his last album ‘True Love Cast Out All Evil’ (which featured Okkervil River as his backing band) is definitely worth a listen.

13th Floor Elevators 'Don't Fall Down'

Treasures: The Chills ‘Pink Frost’

The Chills ‘Pink Frost’ is almost definitely not about cake

Sat at home one night recently, I hit upon the very clever idea of making a playlist of my favourite songs for the walk to work. Pretty innovative, I know. I reasoned that listening to tracks I treasure, rather than have to review, might get my days off to a better start. Four hours and about 250 songs later (I shit you not) it was done. What was at the top? ‘Pink Frost’ by The Chills.

It throws you a curveball (baseball analogy from an Englishman, oh dear) this one – everything’s all happy bunnies and sunshine lollipops to begin with and then from nowhere it dives into a completely gut-wrenching guitar line. It’s nostalgic, paranoid, brutally honest and in it’s own way very beautiful.

Favourite song ever? Fuck knows, it changes with the wind.

The Chills 'Pink Frost'