5 Things: “Found Out About You” by Gin Blossoms

5 Things I Love About “Found Out About You” by Gin Blossoms:

***WARNING: CRAZY FLASHY STROBE STUFF GOING ON HERE***

1. THE JANGLE SOUND: That’s the best Buck-riff since “The One I Love.”
2. THE ADOLESCENT PATHOS: “Whispers at the bus stop/I heard about nights out at the school yard/Found out about you…”
3. THE VOCALS: Robin Wilson unleashes a powerful lead; his dynamic range is really something.
4. THE ANGUISHED NOSTALGIA: Something about the band’s sound brings back fond memories of the past, but then you listen to the lyrics. This is some dark stuff…
5. THE TORTURED GENIUS: This track was written by Doug Hopkins, along with the band’s other early hit “Hey Jealousy.” Dude was a songwriting prodigy who left us too early, and this one proves it.

What do you love about “Found Out About You?”
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5 Things: “Tinfoil” by Rainer Maria

5 Things I Love About “Tinfoil” by Rainer Maria:

1. The Dueling Vox: This is one of  the best vocal attacks in indie rock. It ranks up there with Robbins/Barbot from Jawbox’s “Dreamless.” It takes some skill to keep your words straight and play an instrument when someone else is shouting something else right next to you.
2. The Hyper-Poetic Lyrics: Do I understand what they mean by “Your chest is a cage for my letters/And your handwriting’s better than mine?” Nope. But it sort of comes off like a riddle, doesn’t it? Fun, right? And the full-throated delivery makes it clear that these kids REALLY mean it.
3. Excellent Bass Work: The tough thing about a stripped down three-piece rock band is that bass has to pick up the slack so that the music doesn’t become two-dimensional. Fortunately, Caithlin De Marrais’ low end work delivers something aggressive and melodic, adding real depth and warmth to the band’s sound. Reminds me of one of my favorite Louisville post-punk bands, Sunspring.
4. Poly-Rhythmic Madness: One minute it’s full out aggression, one minute it’s a nice sort of waltz. Whatever it is, the song always feels like it’s about to blow apart at the seams, so much so that they have to slow it down here and there to restore some semblance of balance. I’m feeling it – “drunk with rage.”
5. The “Indie” Sound – This is what indie rock sounded like before it went big-time in the 2000’s – obscurist, hyper-literate, raw, strong-willed, unbalanced and overflowing with cacophonous melody. “Tinfoil” is the kind of track I would drive around listening to with my friends in high school, out and about with no place to go.

Video Bonus Points: Gotta dig Caithlin’s twirls at the end of the song. These kids could rock!!!

What do you like about this track?

5 Things: “Wonderwall” by Oasis

5 Things I Love About “Wonderwall” by Oasis…

1. Liam’s non-dynamic vocal – he sounds like a bratty three year old in a grown man’s body, but it wouldn’t sound right otherwise. Even complete knuckleheads are born to do something great.
2. The cello…in my mind, it makes this the definitive recording of the song, even above the Ryan Adams version, but it manages to lurk in the background rather than stealing center stage from Noel’s genius acoustic patterns.
3. Somewhere in Europe, there is a college dropout with an acoustic guitar covering this song in a touristy, open air setting.
4. The utterly ubiquitous and gloriously ambiguous refrain: “And all the roads we have to walk are winding/And all the lights that lead us there are blinding.” It’s always true, but somehow, it manages to defy cliche…
5. It’s a masterpiece of impressionist pop songwriting. Fifteen years on, and it’s still anybody’s guess what a “wonderwall” is, yet we all sing it like we know.

5 Things: “Hearts of Stone” by Bruce Springsteen

5 Things I Love About Bruce Springsteen’s “Hearts of Stone”…

1. Steve Van Zant’s nasty backing vocals.
2. The saxophone – God bless you, Big Man.
3. The Boss’ delivery – totally over-the-moon, even for Springsteen.
4. The tempo – so slow the song just oozes heart and soul from every crack.
5. “I can’t talk now I’m not alone/So put your ear close to the phone/This is the last dance/Our last chance…”

What do you like about “Hearts of Stone”?

5 Things: “Luv Goon” by Pearl Harbor

5 things I love about “Luv Goon” by Pearl Harbor…

1) That guitar – it’s the best of Peter Buck, The Edge, and Johnny Marr all rolled into one.
2) The blinding brightness of the song.
3) The siren song vocals – gorgeous, though I can’t understand a word…
4) Except the chorus: “Anything you want me to/I’m your love goon”
5) Gotta say I love that guitar again. Just fabulous!

What about you?

5 Things: “Secret of the Sea” by Billy Bragg/Wilco

5 things I love about “Secret of the Sea”…

1. It’s Woody Guthrie and power pop all in one.
2. “If you could guess the secret of my love for you/Then we both could know the secret of the sea”
3. The ragtime piano breakdown.
4. Tweedy’s vox, some of his best ever.
5. Bennett’s slide work, one of his signature sounds.

What do you love about this track?

5 Things: “Caboose” by Snapcase

5 Things I Love About “Caboose” by Snapcase…

1. The opening drum fill
2. The hanging-by-a-thread tension of the seconds leading up to 0:25
3. The full-throttle explosive moments after 0:25
4. The rapid-fire guitar harmonics
5. The completely right-angled rhythms of the track

One of my top 10 album openers…