As I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog on Damien Rice, music plays an important role in my life and I think most would agree it plays one in their lives too. This post will include ten of my favourite tracks (in no particular order) and what they mean to me. I tried to make the list varied to keep it interesting. By the end of this I hope I’ll have introduce you to a few new tracks that you’ll adore as much as I do!
Let’s open up with a bangin’ tune, here’s “I Sat by the Ocean” from none other than Palm desert rockers Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA). This a relatively new track, features on their most recent critically acclaimed album …Like Clockwork. It’s a real summer anthem and always puts me into a good mood.
Toning it down a little, we have the ever so smooth and bluesy “I don’t want to Set the World on Fire” by the 1930’s American Quartet, Inkspots. I first came across this track while playing Fallout 3 and instantly fell in love with the slow calming swing of the song. The Inkspots paved the way for future generations of Rockers and Blues, becoming synonymous with all players of Rock n Roll and Rhythm and Blues alike.
Leading on from the Inkspots, 50 years on to be exact, we get Rory Gallagher, Irish Blues Rock legend. Rory honed his sound listening to the likes of Inkspots and his hero Lead Belly. The influences of southern music to young Gallagher were detrimental into his coming as a musician. He manages to combine his southern influences with Irish ones alike and it all ferments into an intoxicatingly alluring mishmash of passion and blues. But don’t let me tell you, check out the track for yourself.
Knocking around during the same time as Rory, was equally enormous Luke Kelly. Kelly is known as the father of Irish music and many would argue is untouchable. This particular song means a great deal to me as it was a favourite of my Grandfather’s, often he’d sing the ballad quietly along as we dug spuds in the garden. It was a reassuring sound to hear his melody and whenever I listen to this song it brings me to those long summer evenings spent in the garden with him.
Next we have Scottish Rock trio Biffy Clyro. Biffy were one of the first bands I ever followed and will always be a favourite of mine. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform in the O2 Arena Dublin a few years ago and their presence on the stage was phenomenal. One song in particular, Machines, hushed the entire crowd into silence and the atmosphere was palpable. It’s one of the most beautifully written songs in the list and I know you’ll adore it. Here it is live in Wembley 5 years ago.
Instrumentals can be equally as powerful or even more soulful than songs and Ocean by John Butler is certainly as good an example as you’ll find. It’s a piece that takes you away from where you are and you feel the waves of emotion flutter with every change of chord and rhythm. My words can’t do it justice so you’re just going to have to listen to it yourself.
Now we have an instrumental with a bit more edge, New York duo Ratatat produce experimental instrumentals with guitar, bass, keyboard and synthesizers with a sound that’s as equally alien as it is incredible. Loup Pipes off their debut album has become a favourite of mine and I often have it chiming along as I write essays or even relax.
Leaving instrumentals beyond we have the British Indie giants Foals. A bit off the wall or quirky to put it lightly, Foals deliver and array of sounds and melodies that set them apart from your typical modern band. Here’s a real festival hit with their track Inhaler
Of course Damien Rice was going to feature on this list and so you have him now. I spent a good deal of time trying to cherry pick my favourite song from him and eventually settled for “Rootless Tree, Live at Abbey Road”. This song details the end of Rice’s turbulent relationship with band member Lisa Hannigan and soon became my heartbreak song as a young teen. While laughable now, the song still does mean a great deal to me and Rice effortlessly turns “FUCK YOU” into an overwhelmingly evocative melody that takes you away.
Finally we have a personal favourite, The Auld Triangle. I can’t tell you why I love this song so much, but it’s a rare day when I haven’t sung it to myself or with others (drunkenly). The song was written by the legendary Irish playwright Brendan Behan and has become synonymous with Irish music, having been covered countless times by the likes of The Dubliners and even Justin Timberlake (*gasp*). Here’s my favourite rendition done by a favourite artist of mine, Glen Hansard, along with an array of other Irish music giants at the Royal Albert Hall. Enjoy!
As ever, thanks for reading and I hope I’ve shown you something new and wonderful!