Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #7 Interpol “PDA”

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“You’re so cute when you’re frustrated, dear
Well, you’re so cute when you’re sedated, dear
I’m resting”

“PDA” is not the first track from Interpol’s debut album to grace this list. “Obstacle 1” came in earlier at number twenty-seven and yeah, I feel like there’s a few other songs from “Turn on the bright lights” that could just as easily belong here. Interpol really did burst into the indie world with this album, leading the charge, nay, almost singlehandedly restarting a post-punk revival, a revolution of sorts.

The quartet of Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, Carlos Dengler and Greg Drudy originally formed Interpol five years earlier in 1997, but Sam Fogarino replaced Drudy on drums shortly after the release of their first EP, “Fukd ID #3”, in 2000. They have since released six full-length albums and a bunch of EPs and still continue today as a trio (Dengler departed the group in 2010). And though I’ve found their latter day albums not quite as phenomenal as their first couple, I saw them live for the first time in 2015 and their energy, rather than growing tired over the years, was exactly for which you would have hoped when listening to their records.

“PDA”, is actually a re-recording of a re-recording from that aforementioned first EP and it was released as the very first single off “Turn on the bright lights”. The drums crash and explode and then, the guitars burst in, just as percussive and just as menacing. Banks is shaky and neurotic, invoking the haunting memory of Ian Curtis. Yeah, it’s been said before but I feel like the comparison is never more true than on this particular track. It is intense and dark and heartbreaking and exhilarating.

Just press play below and listen to the song.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #12 Hot Hot Heat “Bandages”

<< #13    |    #11 >>

Through several posts in my Best tunes of 2001 series, I mentioned the beginnings of an indie rock renaissance, one that was intrinsically tied to a garage rock and post-punk revival. This will become a common theme that I have and will likely continue to touch on through this series on my favourite tunes of 2002 and onwards through future series for 2003 and 2004. They say that everything is cyclical. Who ‘they’ are is still a mystery but you can almost see how the indie rockers of the early 2000s were raised on a steady diet of Joy Division and Bauhaus, perhaps not directly, but even through older siblings constantly blasting the tunes on their record players in their bedrooms. But it didn’t stop there. The indie rock scene evolved just as it did the first time, slowly through the dark dredge of post-punk into the jittery freneticism of the new wave.

I remember being fascinated as I started to hear new music that was oh so familiar to me, sounding very much like the music of my youth. One of the first of these, borne of reflections of Elvis Costello and Talking Heads through blurred and foggy mirrors, a young Canadian quartet sported this same restlessness and angsty geek rock. This was Hot Hot Heat.

The band formed in 1999 in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada. The best known lineup of Steve Bays, Dustin Hawthorne, Paul Hawley, and Dante DeCaro stabilized in 2000, were signed to SubPop in 2001, and their debut, “Make up the breakdown”, appeared a year after that. The first single to be released was, of course, this synth heavy number called “Bandages”. The drumming and bass line kept a simple beat and the guitars angular and staccato, almost ska-like in feel, while Steve Bays yelped and rasped up nonsense.

“These bandages are anonymity
I’ve been shaking from making an awful decision
I’ve been running and running
Feels like my head is spinning round and round, around, around, around, around, around“

“Bandages” clocked in at 3 minutes and a third but felt only a third that long. It was catchy and danceable and despite all the retro feels, was as fresh as a hot shower and a mint pillow. And man does it leave you breathless. I can only imagine what it did to dancefloors around that time.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.

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Vinyl

Vinyl love: The National “High violet”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: The National
Album Title: High violet
Year released: 2010
Details: Limited edition, double heavyweight vinyl, violet, gatefold

The skinny: A few weeks ago, “High Violet”, the fifth album by American indie rock band, The National, turned ten years old. To celebrate, their label, 4AD, released an expanded edition anniversary edition of the album, the vinyl version including an additional LP of bonus material and all three discs pressed in a lovely, white and purple marbling. I didn’t pre-order it because I’m not at the point (yet) of buying multiple versions of the same album for my vinyl collection and besides, I’m pretty happy with the limited edition, original pressing on heavyweight, violet vinyl that I found a bunch of years ago. You may debate “High violet” that is not their best work but it built on the exposure gained by The National’s previous record, “Boxer”, and well, I think it’s some pretty fine music (two of the tracks, including the one below, appeared on my Best tunes of 2010 list). The National’s sombre and atmospheric sound is just so great on vinyl and is on full display here. In fact, I remember the first time I listened to this record after purchasing it and, I think my friend Mark will agree with me here, I thought it sounded very different from the version on CD.

Standout track: “Conversation 16”