Jun 18, 2007

via//chicago hall of fame - "Teen Age Riot"

"Everybody's talkin' about the stormy weather..."

In a just world this would have been the song to kick-start the so-called alternative revolution. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" did the job, I suppose, but Sonic Youth's anthemic aesthetic always seemed much more fitting than the more mainstream rock approach brought by Nirvana. The hyperactive riff is absolutely undeniable and the lyrics, dripping in detached sarcasm as they are, seem to perfectly capture the spirit of the times. Sure, the song and its parent album (the stone cold classic Daydream Nation) are among the brightest stars in the indie canon, but I've never been able to figure out why it never caught on with a larger audience. Was it the willfully obtuse free-associating Kim Gordon intro? Doubtful, since the single edit excised that (a true crime if you ask me - Thurston's riff is ten times more powerful after Kim's poetic prick-tease). I just don' t get it, this is one of Sonic Youth's most compelling, accessible songs and it should have been blasting out of every teenage bedroom around the country. But that's okay. At least I'm able to enjoy this song on my own terms and I'm not faced with it every time I flip on classic rock radio or another mindless nostalgia-fest countdown show (unlike certain other alternative anthems). This song hasn't lost a single ounce of power or intensity over the last 19 years, nor is it ever likely to. And for that very reason, I'm proud to present this song as the second inductee into the via//chicago Hall of Fame.

Sonic Youth - "Teen Age Riot"

Jun 12, 2007

Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky...

Things have been ultra-hectic here in via//chicago land as of late, so pardon me for the brevity as I pop in to share one of my more recent favorites with my loyal readers (both of you). Fans of tripped-out, bottom-heavy, stoner, drone rock will want to give the latest record from San Diego's Earthless a couple of spins with your best pair of headphones. Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky is one of the most ass-kicking records I've heard all year and certainly fares better than that disappointing new Pelican disc. Three tracks of rock bliss - the first two each clocking in at over twenty minutes each (but trust me, neither even comes close to overstaying its welcome - you'll be wishing for more) and a raucous cover of "Cherry Red", originally performed by The Groundhogs. Nastily heavy, yes, but trippy enough to please fans of Acid Mothers Temple alike.

Earthless - "Cherry Red" (taken from Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky)

Jun 4, 2007

via//chicago@random: Guided by Voices - "Can't Hear The Revolution"

Considering the hundreds, literally many hundreds, of Guided by Voices and Robert Pollard related material I have on my iTunes it isn't surprising that these guys show up quite often when I switch over to "shuffle" mode. Which isn't a bad thing at all, in fact I think its a really nice way to dive into the huge, huge GvB catalog. Hearing even the brief songs and sketches such as this out of their original context quite often leads to new takes on stuff you've heard many times before. I always thought this was a great way to kick off Mag Earwhig, it serves as almost a statement of intent for Pollard's brand of lo-fi rock. Thanks to both his often on-the-cheap recording techniques and to the general lack of attention by the mainstream rock critics, GbV music was quite often a revolution that couldn't be heard. But it was most definitely there, for those that wanted to dig for it. What amazes me about this track is that more than half of this tracks one minute and thirty-six seconds is taken up by dissonant whines and white noise hums, but that titular hook still manages to get wedged in your brain. This is precisely why Pollard is such a rock and roll genius.

Guided by Voices - "Can't Hear The Revolution" (taken from Mag Earwhig!)