Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #97 The White Stripes

Of all the bands on my list, The White Stripes, having formed in 1997 in Detroit, are the newest. Jack White, a true musical genius, created a mélange of his various influences (blues, punk, folk, country) and made some of the finest music of the past decade. Meg White’s minimalistic drumming style provided the perfect backing for Jack’s explorations. Besides all that, Jack has proved to be one of the best guitarists of the era. Great songs, heavy crunchy guitars, pounding percussion, and truly original visual style ensure their spot on this list.

Seeing this video years ago was my intro to this band. It blew me away. So awesome and yet so simple.

I don't think I've ever heard a song that describes childhood quite so well. It is a beautiful track that inspires strong nostalgia and a longing for simpler days.

Legos! These guys are great. I said it once before but it bears repeating. :-)

Arguably, this is the finest guitar riff of the 21st century so far.

I wonder how many drum sets they wound up using for this video.

Wow. Just, wow.

and we conclude our look at the White Stripes with Icky Thump.

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #98 Smashing Pumpkins

Among the most eclectic of the big alt-rock bands of the 90s was Chicago’s Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan, James Iha, D’arcy Wretzky, and Jimmy Chamberlin got together in 1988 and released their debut album “Gish” in 1991. They made some waves in the alt-rock community, but after the Grunge explosion turned alternative mainstream they became huge.

Their music evolved over time to become truly epic in scope and their videos reflected that. Billy Corgan was one of the finest songwriters and producers of the period.

The Gish album was fantastic. Just blew me away the first time I heard it.

Also from the Gish album, although an earlier version was their first single.

One more great song from the Gish album.

The Siamese Dream album was the one that made the band stars, containing some of the biggest songs of the 90s.

One of the best songs of the 90s. Today is the greatest day I've ever known.

The Smashing Pumpkins  -  Today found on Rock

This is where they started going for a more epic feel. Very pretty song.

Another one of the definitive songs of the early 90s. Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.

‎1979 is my favorite Pumpkins video. It really takes me back to my teenage years and I just get all misty. Yeah, I was kind of a little hoodlum.

We finish our look at the Smashing Pumpkins with this beautiful homage to Georges Méliès' classic film A Trip to the Moon. They really outdid themselves on this one.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #99 Weezer

Weezer formed in L.A. in 1992 and found success with their first album the very next year. Rivers Cuomo, Brian Bell, Matt Sharp (later Scott Shriner), and Pat Wilson put together a great power pop sound with fantastic songwriting. That first self-titled album contained classic early 90s tracks like “Buddy Holly”, “Say It Ain’t So”, and “Undone – The Sweater Song” each with very original videos that contributed to the band’s popularity.

More great songs with great videos like “Hash Pipe”, “Island in the Sun”, “Dope Nose”, and “Pork and Beans” were to come. They found their way onto this list thanks to those videos, the awesome power chords, and great songwriting.

one of the most original videos ever made.

any video is only made better by having a pack of dogs running across the set.

The rule about dogs in videos works for sumo wrestlers too. Great guitars in this one.

This is a thing of beauty.

Great crunchy guitars in Dope Nose.

and we conclude our look at Weezer with this brilliant video that attempts to use every internet meme ever. They even got the actual Numa Numa guy. 

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #100 Gene Loves Jezebel

Gene Loves Jezebel was formed by Welsh twins Jay and Michael Aston in the early 80s and went from an intense goth rock to a somewhat more mainstream new wave over the course of the decade. In my high school years from 1986 to 1990 they were my second favorite musical act and I was lucky enough to see them play live twice during that period. I caught the Montreal show of their 1987 tour with New Order and Echo & the Bunnymen and I saw them when they came through Birmingham in 1988 with Flesh for Lulu.

The band’s sound was defined by the vocal interplay between the two brothers and by the time of the Discover album you could also add the amazing guitar work of Generation X alum James Stevenson. I highly recommend their first three albums; Promise, Immigrant, and Discover. These capture the band at their finest, although the following two albums; The House of Dolls and Kiss of Life, contain most of the songs that hit MTV and flirted with the US charts.

The brothers had a falling out in the early 90s and now there are two bands called Gene Loves Jezebel. Jay holds the trademark in the UK and Michael has it in the US. So, if Jay tours the States, he has to call the band Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel and if Michael tours in Britain, he has to call his band Michael Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel. Personally, I prefer Jay’s version as his band still has Stevenson on guitar and Pete Rizzo on bass. Although Michael is putting out some nice songs too and I still love his voice.  

Great track from their first album.

One of the top tracks from Discover. IMO, their finest album.

Desire is my favorite GLJ song and probably their most well-known.

One more from Discover.

From the House of Dolls album. This one skirted the charts, got some MTV airplay and was almost a hit. It was hard for alternative bands to make the charts in the days before Nirvana broke it open.

Another great video from the House of Dolls album.

We conclude our look at Gene Loves Jezebel with Jealous from the Kiss of Life album. Great guitar work from Stevenson on this one. Also, no Michael. He had left the band by this point.