Archive | May, 2015

Certain Songs #207: The Clash – “White Riot”

WhiteRiot Album: The Clash (U.K.).
Year: 1977.

When Epic Records decided not to release The Clash here in the Colonies in 1977, I suspect that “White Riot” was a huge reason. And not just for the incendiary lyrics about race and class and power, but for the crazy guitar noise that Strummer and Jones made.

Because when “White Riot” was finally released here in 1979 on the U.S. version of The Clash, it was a weird, neutered take: Joe Strummer’s rhythm guitar is nowhere to be found, and Mick Jones’ guitar solo in the middle is buried under sound effects. Oh, and the football chant vocals on the chorus reduced to a couple of guys yelling in a bar.

Certain Songs #206: The Clash – “Janie Jones”

The_Clash_UKAlbum: The Clash (U.K.).
Year: 1977.

(Please let the affiliates that we will be in the middle of posts about The Clash for quite some time now.)

Here’s how to state your band’s entire ethos in the opening verse of your debut album:

He’s in love with rock’n’roll woaahh
He’s in love with gettin’ stoned woaahh
He’s in love with Janie Jones
But he don’t like his boring job, no


Certain Songs #205: The Church – “A New Season”

Album: Starfish.
Year: 1988.

Featuring lead vocals by Peter Koppes and a riff that doubles back on itself, “A New Season” was my favorite song on The Church’s breakthrough album, Starfish. Everybody else remembers that album for the actual Top 40 single, “Under The Milky Way,” which is a fine song, but maybe about the 4th or 5th best song on the whole record.


Certain Songs #204: The Church – “Tantalized”

Album: Heyday.
Year: 1986.

In late 1984, I saw The Church for the first time in concert. Tim & I drove up to San Francisco and we saw them at now-gone Wolfgangs on one of the last shows of their very first U.S> tour. I don’t think Wolfgang’s was very crowded, because we were up front, and even then I never really fought to get right near the stage. But that’s where we were, and it was utterly ferocious.

Certain Songs #203: The Church – “A Month of Sundays”

remote-luxury-ep Album: Remote Luxury EP.
Year: 1984.

With its army of lushly-strummed acoustic guitars and overall aura of melancholy and sadness, the utterly gorgeous “A Month of Sundays” is a serious candidate for The Prettiest Song Ever Recorded (Indie Division).

With his bass pretty much playing the lead instrument on top of those acoustic guitars, Steve Kilbey tells a story of going to a party with people he hardly knows and maybe getting a bit too wasted: