Sunday, December 14, 2014

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #5

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Icky Thump, by The White Stripes

There are so many things to like about this tune if you're looking for something different. You can hear a lot of Jack White's Led Zeppelin influence in the guitar playing here, but at the same time there are multiple radical change-ups that make it almost seem like it is multiple songs in one. However, through Jack's magical songwriting prowess they all fit and flow together extremely well. The vocals make it almost seem like Jack is rapping, but not quite. It's a unique style to say the least. Either way, it has a sweet old school made modern groove to it and if you didn't hear it on the radio a lot when it first came out then you should check it out immediately.

2.   Dead Flowers, by Gilby Clarke

Ex-Guns N' Roses rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke put out a solo album in 1994 called Pawnshop Guitars. Most of the songs were original material, but he also did a couple covers as well. One of these was of the Rolling Stones classic country-esque tune Dead Flowers. This is one of those few cases where I actually feel the cover far surpassed the original. Don't get me wrong, I love the Stones. However, I feel that Clarke's version has far better...well...everything. The instrumentation is fantastic and includes more than the original. Plus, GN'R vocalist Axl Rose also lent his talents with some backing vocals to this track and I feel it makes the song more warm and fun.

3. Couldn't Stand the Weather, by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

If the blues is more your shindig then you can't go wrong with this Stevie Ray Vaughan classic. It's not easy to get more soulful and skillful than Stevie. This upbeat tune starts off basic enough, but then Stevie just rips into it and it seems like he is on fire. I find it hard to believe that he never actually did set anything on fire with the way he played... haha. Of course his Jimi Hendrix influence is very present, but Stevie was very much his own musician. If you ever wanted to learn more about the blues, this is one of the best places to start.

4. Cliffs of Dover, by Eric Johnson

This is one of my absolute favorite instrumental guitar focused tunes that I have EVER heard. If you have played Guitar Hero III I guarantee you know it. It's a happy, upbeat, ripping tune that makes you really feel like you're soaring over the cliffs of Dover. It is a very melodic and easy to follow tune for the average listener while also being just technical and shredding enough for the guitar aficionado. As far as I'm concerned there isn't a single part that isn't pleasant to the ear while still being VERY rock n' roll. You could even dance to it if you wanted to.

5. Deceived, by Red Dragon Cartel

Lastly, a bit of heavy metal. If you liked anything from Ozzy Osbourne's mid-80's catalog like Bark at the Moon or Shot in the Dark, odds are you're quite a fan of the playing style of guitarist Jake E. Lee. Up until about a couple years ago he had been mostly dormant in the public eye for nearly two decades after his post-Ozzy band Badlands. This song from his new band Red Dragon Cartel (whose self-titled album came out in January) features a lot of his classic playing style (it's a bit reminiscent of Bark at the Moon) while also incorporating a few of his newer influences that he has picked up over the years. It is modern classic metal at its best if you ask me. The riffs and solos are absolutely killer and will leave you wanting more.

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