ten reasons to love

There's just too much good music out there, too many artists and bands with whole catalogues of music that you will never get the chance to root through... I'm hoping condensing some artists work down into a bitesize chunk of ten songs will make you want to listen to the rest. Please enjoy and give feedback.

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Stills

ten reasons to love brings you.... The Stills.

The Stills Spotify Playlist
2.Snakecharming The Masses
3.Gender Bombs
4.In The Beginning
5.Changes Are No Good
6.She's Walking Out
7.Don't Talk Down
9.Still In Love Song
10.Eveerything I Build


Montreal's the Stills are nothing like Interpol, but like those New York City suit-wearing hipsters, the Stills launched their career with a stately post-punk sound inspired by the likes of Echo & the Bunnymen and Joy Division. Having known one another since the age of 12, vocalist Tim Fletcher, drummer Dave Hamelin, guitarist Greg Paquet, and bassist Oliver Crowe played in various bands before forming the Stills in 2000. These art school students temporarily left their beloved Canada for a two-month stay in N.Y.C. to design a lush, swarthy pop style with the help of a four-track recorder. A deal with Vice followed before the year's end; however, joint shows with the Music, the Rapture, the Streets, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were what cemented the Stills a dominating spot among the ever-changing rock scene.

The Rememberese EP appeared in June 2003, while stateside dates with Interpol followed that fall. Logic Will Break Your Heart marked The Stills' full-length debut in October, and the band spent time touring the U.K. and North America before heading into the studio to record a second album in late 2004. Founding member Greg Paquet announced his departure from the lineup the following year, and drummer Dave Hamelin responded to the change by switching roles and filling Paquet's spot on guitar. Touring keyboardist Liam O'Neil and Sea Ray drummer Colin Brooks were also added to the lineup. The resulting Without Feathers, released in 2006, was something of a departure for the group, relying less on new wave and post-punk and more on rootsy, '70s heartland rock (Hamelin also became the band's co-frontman, sharing vocal duties with Fletcher). 2008's Oceans Will Rise saw the Stills stretching their boundaries even further, this time incorporating sonic experimentalism and uplifting, anthemic rock.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

ten reasons to love brings you the fucked up noise of.... Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

BRMC Spotify Playlist
1.Ha Ha High Babe
2.Red Eyes and Tears
3.Weapon of Choice
4.Six Barrel Shotgun
5.Whatever Happened To My Rock'N'Roll (Punk Song)
6.We're All In Love
7.Spread Your Love
9.Took Out A Loan


The seed that became Black Rebel Motorcycle Club -- or B.R.M.C. for short -- was planted back in 1995, when Robert Turner and Peter Hayes met while attending high school in their hometown of San Francisco. They formed a solid friendship and camaraderie based on a mutual love of early-'90s U.K. bands like Ride and the Stone Roses and a few on the successful Creation Records label (the Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine). They ultimately decided to put their as-yet-unnamed project on hold, and joined other bands while still attempting to keep in touch with each other; frequently they would attend each other's gigs. In 1998, after both had fled their previous groups, they rejoined, this time adding new drummer Nick Jago. (Jago, originally from England, had finished art school to move to the States in 1996). They began performing live in November 1998. Originally calling themselves the Elements -- they quickly changed it after discovering many other bands had shared the same title -- they purloined their new name from the Marlon Brando-led biker gang who stormed into that dusty California hamlet in The Wild One.

By 1999, B.R.M.C. had recorded a polished 16-track demo CD that began making the rounds (they sold all 500 copies at their shows), and relocated to Los Angeles. Local Santa Monica-based KCRW (a well-known FM station that compiled and released yearly Rare on Air CD compilations) jumped on the band's demo first, giving them their initial airplay, but soon interest in the band spread across the Atlantic, where BBC Sheffield even named the demo their "Record of the Week." Oasis' Noel Gallagher heard it and wanted to sign the band to his new Brother Records imprint, telling MOJO magazine that they were his favorite new band, but after inking a lucrative Warner/Chappell publishing deal, they were fielding offers from interested major and indie labels, ultimately choosing to sign in March 2000 with Virgin Records. After a short U.S. tour with the Dandy Warhols, the band entered the studio and produced a self-titled debut, B.R.M.C., which was issued in March 2001. Two years later, the trio returned with a slicker edge; Take Them on, on Your Own appeared in September 2003. They severed ties with Virgin Records eight months later. A deal with RCA surfaced within months, and the acoustic, Americana-influenced Howl arrived in August of 2005. The band moved back to the loud rock & roll approach favored on their first two albums with 2007's Baby 81. In 2009, B.R.M.C. released a live album documenting a performance during the Baby 81 tour.


ten reasons to love brings you the noisy, unforgiving.... Reuben.


Reuben Spotify Playlist
1.Stuck in My Throat
2.Every Time A Teenager Listens To Drum And Bass, A Rockstar Dies.
3.Freddy Kreuger
5.Parties Break Hearts
8.Oh The Shame
9.Moving to Blackwater
10.Nobody Loves You


Straddling metal and hardcore punk, British trio Reuben began with Jamie Lenman and Jon Pierce, two friends who had been playing in bands together since they were 13. In 1998, they recruited drummer Jason Wilcox, formed a group called Angel, and began playing local shows and releasing demos. Wilcox left the band in 2000 and was replaced by Mark Lawton; the group would change its name to Reuben a year later. After Lawton decided to attend university, the band was again in search of a percussionist. Guy Davis moved from occasional fill-in to permanent member, and the trio released its first single, "Scared of the Police," in March of 2002. The video for the song was picked up by MTV2, exposing Reuben to a nationwide audience and catapulting them into the spotlight. Despite this initial success, talks between Reuben and independent studios continually fell through -- while they continued to release singles on a number of labels, they remained an unsigned band.

In the summer of 2003, Reuben self-financed and recorded their first album, Racecar Is Racecar Backwards, with the intent of releasing it on the Integrity label. Once again negotiations fell through, and only one single, "Stuck in My Throat," was released through the company. The album was eventually released in July 2004 on Xtra Mile, an imprint of the band's press agency and funded by SINE, an independent arm of Sony. Reuben spent the rest of the year on a headlining tour and returned to the studio at the beginning of 2005; their second album, Very Fast Very Dangerous, was released in September of the same year. It sold well, but not well enough for Sony to recoup its investment -- the company decided not to allocate any more money to Xtra Mile, and Reuben were forced to leave the label.

Once again unsigned, the band decided to embark on a new project -- an independent film chronicling life in an underground rock band. Filmed while the bandmembers were playing shows, rehearsing, recording, and even while working their day jobs, the finished DVD was sold while Reuben embarked on another tour in February 2007. Upon the tour's completion, the band set up its own label, Hideous Records, and sold both the DVD and an EP via its website. Reuben's third album, In Nothing We Trust, was released in the summer of 2007.


ten reasons to love brings you the wonderful.... Wilco.


Wilco Spotify Playlist
1.Can't Stand It
2.You Are My Face
3.Jesus, etc.
4.She's a Jar
5.Ashes of American Flags
6.Impossible Germany
7.Heavy Metal Drummer
8.How To Fight Loneliness
9.I'm The Man Who Loves You
10.I'm Always In Love


Wilco rose from the ashes of the seminal roots rockers Uncle Tupelo, who disbanded in 1994. While Jay Farrar, one of the group's two singer/songwriters, went on to form the band Son Volt, his ex-partner Jeff Tweedy established Wilco along with the remaining members of Tupelo's final incarnation, which included drummer Ken Coomer as well as part-time bandmates John Stirratt (bass) and Max Johnston (mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and lap steel). Guitarist Jay Bennett rounded out the group, which in 1995 issued their debut album, A.M., a collection of spry country-rock tunes that followed the course established in Tweedy's earlier work. Wilco's sophomore effort, 1996's two-disc set Being There, marked a radical transformation in the group's sound; while remaining steeped in the style that earned Tweedy his reputation, the songs took unexpected detours into psychedelia, power pop, and soul, complete with orchestral touches and R&B horn flourishes. Shortly after the release of Being There, which most critics judged to be among the year's best releases, Johnston left the group to play with his sister, singer Michelle Shocked, and was replaced by guitarist Bob Egan of the band Freakwater. At the same time, while remaining full-time members of Wilco, Stirratt, Bennett, and Coomer also began performing together in the pop side project Courtesy Move. In 1998, Wilco collaborated with singer/songwriter Billy Bragg on Mermaid Avenue, a collection of performances based on unreleased material originally written by Woody Guthrie.

Their stunningly lush third album, Summerteeth, followed in 1999 and met with critical acclaim but only average sales, initiating tensions with their label, Warner Bros. 2000 saw the release of Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2, which featured more selections from the band's collaborations with Bragg on Woody Guthrie's unfinished songs. Following this release, longtime drummer Ken Coomer decided to amicably leave the band and was replaced by the Chicago-based Glenn Kotche. The band then focused on recording their fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which ultimately led to the departure of guitarist Jay Bennett, and further tensions with their label. Unwilling to change the album to make it more "commercially viable," Wilco bought the finished studio tapes from Warner/Reprise for a reported $50,000 and left the label altogether. Leaked tracks from the album surfaced on the Internet in late 2001, and the stripped-down lineup of Tweedy, Kotche, Stirratt, and multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach embarked on a small tour to support -- or drum up support for -- their unreleased album. Nonesuch Records picked up the album and the official release came out in early 2002 to widespread critical acclaim. Meanwhile, an independent film documenting the drama surrounding the album entitled I Am Trying to Break Your Heart followed in the fall of 2002. During the down time after the album was recorded, Tweedy composed and recorded the film score to the Ethan Hawke film Chelsea Walls, which ended up being released around the same time as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Wilco toured extensively following the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and in 2003 began work on their next album, A Ghost Is Born. While sessions went smoothly compared to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, after the album was finished Leroy Bach left the band in a split that was described as mutual and amicable; guitarist Nels Cline, keyboardist Mike Jorgensen, and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone joined Wilco for their subsequent tour. Shortly before the album's release, Tweedy surprised many fans by announcing he had entered a drug rehabilitation facility to treat a dependency on painkillers, prescribed to treat a long history of migraine headaches aggravated by panic disorder. Tweedy discussed his health problems in depth, along with the often tangled history of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo, in Wilco: Learning How to Die, a biography of the group written by rock journalist Greg Kot, published to coincide with A Ghost Is Born's release in the spring of 2004. The following year, the group released Kicking Television: Live in Chicago, a 23-track collection recorded in the Windy City's Vic Theater, an album that was later deemed one of the Top 20 best live albums by Q Magazine. In 2007 Wilco's sixth studio album, Sky Blue Sky, hit shelves. Less experimental than its predecessors, Sky Blue Sky peaked at number five on the U.S. album charts and made a strong showing internationally. Wilco's seventh album, the breezy and laid-back Wilco (The Album), was released on June 30, 2009, one month after the death of former bandmember Jay Bennett, who passed away in his home in Urbana, IL after accidentally overdosing on the prescription painkiller fentanyl.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Fall (Thanks to birfmarq)

birfmarq and ten reasons to love bring you the brash, awkward, genius.... The Fall

The Fall Spotify Playlist
1.Who Makes The Nazis?
2.No Xmas For Quays
3.C 'n' C Hassle Schmuk (Peel Session)
4.Psykick Dance Hall
5.Pay Your Rates
6.Spoilt Victorian Child
7.Eat Y'Self Fitter
8.The NWRA
9.(We Wish You) A Protein Christmas
10.DKTR. Faustus


Out of all the late-'70s punk and post-punk bands, none were longer lived or more prolific than the Fall. Throughout their career, the band underwent a myriad lineup changes, but at the center of it all was vocalist Mark E. Smith. With his snarling, nearly incomprehensible vocals and consuming bitter cynicism, Smith became a cult legend in indie and alternative rock. Over the course of their career, the Fall went through a number of shifts in musical style, yet the foundation of their sound was a near-cacophonous, amelodic jagged jumble of guitars, sing-speak vocals, and keyboards. During the late '70s and early '80s, the band was at their most abrasive and atonal. In 1984, Smith's American wife, Brix, joined the band as a guitarist, bringing a stronger sense of pop melody to the group. By the mid-'80s, the band's British following was large enough to result in two U.K. Top 40 hits, but in essence, the group has always been a cult band; their music was always too abrasive and dense for the mainstream. Only hardcore fans can differentiate between the Fall's many albums, yet the Fall, like many cult bands, inspired a new generation of underground bands, ranging from waves of sound-alike indie rockers in the U.K. to acts in America and New Zealand, which is only one indication of the size and dedication of their small, devoted fan base.

Prior to forming the Fall in 1977, Smith worked on the docks in Manchester, where he had auditioned and failed with a number of local heavy metal groups. Smith wasn't inspired by metal in the first place; his tastes ran more toward the experimental rock & roll of the Velvet Underground, as well as the avant-garde art rock of Can. Eventually, he found several similarly inclined musicians -- guitarist Martin Bramah, bassist Tony Friel, keyboardist Una Baines, and drummer Karl Burns -- and formed the Fall, taking the group's name from the Albert Camus novel.

Guided By Voices

ten reasons to love brings you the prolific.... Guided By Voices


Guided By Voices Spotify Playlist
1.I Am A Tree
2.A Salty Salute
3.The Best of Jill Hives
4.Hold on Hope
5.The Brides Have Hit Glass
6.Bulldog Skin
7.As We Go Up, We Go Down
8.Pivotal Film
9.Game of Pricks
10.Everywhere With Helicopter


Inspired equally by jangle pop and arty post-punk, Guided by Voices created a series of trebly, hissy indie rock records filled with infectiously brief pop songs that fell somewhere between the British Invasion and prog rock. After recording six self-released albums between 1986 and 1992, the Dayton, OH-based band attracted a handful of fans within the American indie rock underground. With the 1994 release of Bee Thousand, the group became an unexpected alternative rock sensation, winning positive reviews throughout the mainstream music press and signing a larger distribution deal with Matador Records. Despite all of the attention, the band never changed their aesthetic, continuing to record their albums on cheap four-track tape decks and thereby limiting their potential audience, yet that devotion to lo-fi indie rock helped Guided by Voices maintain a sizable cult during the late '90s.

Schoolteacher Robert Pollard formed Guided by Voices in the early '80s. Throughout the group's history, Pollard was at the center, writing the majority of the songs and leading each incarnation of the band. During the '80s, Pollard was frequently joined by his brother Jim, who continued to write songs for the group even after his departure in the late '80s. Guided by Voices didn't become a full-fledged band until guitarist Tobin Sprout and bassist Dan Toohey joined the group in 1985. A year later, the group released an EP, Forever Since Breakfast, on the local indie I Wanna Records. Guided by Voices released their first full-length album, Devil Between My Toes, on their own G Records in 1987; it was followed several months later by Sandbox, which appeared on Halo. Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia was released on Halo in 1989 and Same Place the Fly Got Smashed appeared on Rocket #9 Records in 1990.

During the latter half of the '80s, Guided by Voices was essentially a hobby. The band rarely performed, and a wide array of musicians appeared on the group's albums -- according to some estimations, nearly 40 musicians passed through the band during its first decade. Nearly all of the Guided by Voices albums before Vampire on Titus were recorded in Steve Wilbur's eight-track studio in his home garage; Wilbur occasionally played guitar and bass on the records. Guided by Voices added Mitch Mitchell (rhythm guitar) and Kevin Fennell (drums) around the time of Propeller (1992), which was released on Rockathon Records.

Prior to 1993's Vampire on Titus, all of Guided by Voices' records were essentially interchangeable musically, and none were widely available. Vampire on Titus was the first album the band released on the Cleveland-based indie label Scat, and the wider distribution meant the record was heard by a larger audience. Soon, the group had won fans like fellow Dayton native Kim Deal (Pixies, Breeders) and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. Later in 1993, the band began playing live for the first time in several years, with Greg Demos replacing bassist Toohey. By the spring of 1994, Scat had entered a national distribution deal with Matador Records. Bee Thousand was the first album released under the deal, and it became a surprise word-of-mouth hit, earning positive reviews from mainstream publications like Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. Pollard had quit teaching shortly before the spring release of Bee Thousand, and the group toured heavily behind the album, appearing on the second stage at several Lollapalooza dates. By the fall, GBV's video for "I Am a Scientist" was aired a handful of times on MTV. Demos left the band in late 1994 to study law and was replaced by music journalist Jim Greer.

By the release of 1995's Alien Lanes, the group had joined Matador's official roster; their contract with Scat was completed with the spring release of Box, a five-disc box set containing the band's pre-Propeller albums. Alien Lanes was greeted with positive reviews upon its March release, and the group embarked on its first full-scale American tour. Greer left the band before the recording for Under the Bushes Under the Stars, which was released in spring of 1996. That fall, Pollard and Tobin Sprout both released solo albums on the same day; the records were quickly followed by an album-length EP a month after their release. As the solo albums indicated, Pollard and Sprout had a falling out during the group's extensive tour earlier that year, which resulted in Robert firing the rest of the group.

At the end of 1996, Pollard recorded the next Guided by Voices record, Mag Earwhig!, supported by the Cleveland garage punk band Cobra Verde. In 1999, Guided by Voices left Matador to sign with TVT Records, who paired the band with producer Ric Ocasek in hopes of giving GBV's label debut, Do the Collapse, a more radio-friendly sound. Pollard, however, allowed fans of his older work to revel in his lo-fi period with Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft, a four-disc box set featuring 100 unreleased songs recorded over the space of 25 years. While GBV's second album for TVT, 2001's polished and hard-rocking Isolation Drills, received strong reviews, the band hadn't expanded their fan base far beyond their loyal cult, and in 2002 GBV returned to Matador with Universal Truths and Cycles, as well as releasing a number of side projects through Pollard's reactivated Rockathon label.

In the spring of 2004, Pollard startled his fans with the announcement that he would be breaking up Guided by Voices later that year. The band's final album, Half Smiles of the Decomposed, was released the following August, and the resulting farewell tour concluded with a New Year's Eve show in Chicago. Even broken up, 2005 was a busy year for GBV. Pollard signed with Chapel Hill's Merge Records and announced plans for a 2006 solo album. Rock critic and former bandmember Jim Greer released Guided by Voices: A Brief History: Twenty-One Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll. There was another boxed set of unreleased material, this one entitled Suitcase 2: American Superdream Wow, and the 1992 album Propeller was reissued. To add to the accumulation of GBV material, a live album, Live from Austin, Texas, was released in 2007, showcasing one of their last recorded performances.

Monday, 1 February 2010

The New Pornographers

ten reasons to love brings you the eclectic, ragtag, quite brilliant... The New Pornographers.


The New Pornographers Spotify Playlist
1.Three or Four
2.Mutiny, I Promise You.
3.Letter From An Occupant
4.Use It
5.Entering White Cecilia
6.The Fake Headlines
7.The Bleeding Heart Show
8.Myriad Harbour
9.The New Face of Zero and One
10.Sing Me Spanish Techno


The Vancouver indie rock supergroup the New Pornographers features the talents of Zumpano's Carl Newman, the Evaporators' John Collins, Destroyer's Dan Bejar, cartoonist/filmmaker Blaine Thurier, drummer Fisher Rose, and guest vocalist Neko Case. Newman began the band in 1996 as a lark after releasing Zumpano's Goin' Through Changes; one by one, the other members joined the fold, and the New Pornographers' first official rehearsal took place in 1997. By the following year, the group had completed four songs, but then Case left Vancouver for Chicago, Thurier began work on his film Low Self Esteem Girl, and the other members attended to their other bands and projects. Rose left in 1999, and Limblifter/Age of Electric drummer Kurt Dahle and guitarist Todd Fancey joined the Canadian supergroup. With a solid lineup in tow, the New Pornographers reunited and began recording again in early 2000, completing their debut album, Mass Romantic, in time for a fall release and critical acclaim. Ray Davies joined the band at SXSW in fall 2001, performing the Kinks classic "Starstruck" for the first time ever. After a brief North American tour, each member returned to their respective projects by 2002. Bejar recorded with Destroyer, and Case headed out on the road with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds in support of her second solo album, Blacklisted. Nobody strayed too far, however, for the New Pornographers headed back into the studio before the year's end to work on a follow-up to Mass Romantic. The pop-powered Electric Version, which appeared in spring 2003, marked their first for Matador. Twin Cinema followed in 2005 and garnered a good deal of critical praise, receiving near-perfect rankings from such influential outlets as Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. Bolstered by such a positive reception -- as well as the success of Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood in 2006 -- the group went in a mellower direction with 2007's Challengers.