This is a list of 15 songs I’ve selected that I feel changed the way listen to music.
Kid 606 – Total Recovery is Possible This song was included on a mix tape from a friend in high school. I was slightly interested in electronic music before this, but these sounds really got me hooked to electronic and experimental music.
Cursive – Art Is Hard
Whoa! Listening to this song it comes in pretty epic and carries on. The sounds are so dynamic and a cello? what? The layered sounds just burst out at you. Kasher You’re so Cool.
The Faint – Glass Danse This was the song that made me want to make music. It was punky, dancy, electronic and raw and still fast paced. The faint were another band that got me thinking more about electronic music. I wanted more.
Negativland – C is for Cookie I had a point when exploring anarchism for myself in my teen years of revisiting the band Chumbawamba, This lead to me finding this album, The ABC’s of Anarchism. This was a three track record of songs, if you could call them such. Audioly Negativland is a collage mashup of pop culture, found sounds, audio production banter. I knew listening to this album I wanted to destroy sound and put it back together.
The Blood Brothers – Cecila and The Silhouette Saloon As much as a have a soft spot for The Blood Brothers still to this day, The beginning of this song with the synth riffs is why i included this song. It still catches my attention in a good way.
Refused – New Noise My radical leanings as a teen had only been sastified by the likes of System of a Down and Rage Against the Machine by the time I caught this song. This is still music I’d like to revolt to. There are few songs that make you feel like a total badass in whatever you are doing by listening to it. You feel important, powerful, like you could destroy worlds. This music would lead me to appreciating Atari Teenage Riot years later.
The International Noise Conspiracy – Capitalism Stole My Virginity It’s a interesting thing to be listening to two projects by the same front man at the same time. I was intregeted by the change of sound and technique in saying the same thing. Now the lyrics feel cheesy and preachy. I would have to say preachiness is one of the reasons I hate doing super explict poltical art even to this day. I listened to this song way to many times not to include it though.
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – A Perfect Teenhood If any song could be the theme of my teen existence, this would be close. Fast, layered, loud. I discovered this band by watching a skate video and this song was featured for the skater Brian Sumner on Adio’s One Step Beyond.
Kayne West – Through The Wire The first rap song on this list, but Kanye West changed how i viewed song production. I liked some rap but wasn’t very tapped into the dynamicism of rap music and sampling. The fact you can hear in Kanye’s voice his jaw wired shut is just jaw dropping. At this point and this album, you knew Kanye was someone to pay attention, and I’ve been captivatied since. He made me love production.
Aphex Twin – 4 Found this song on the creator of Salad Fingers website, he made a video for it. Aphex Twin filled my void for some solid electronic music, it was experimental and dynamic but also very listenable. It was almost like classical music when compared to some other forms of electronic music. The sounds come in waves, and you can pick out some real instruments still.
Kraftwerk – Computer Love This song was exposed to me by the owner of Book Zoo in Berkeley california. My friend and I would head to the book zoo after school on fridays and hang out with the owner as he gave us various counter culture books to look at and showed us really cool stuff. When he put on the kraftwerk album it was unlike anything i had heard. Of course it sounded like bits and pieces of generalized 80’s music but it was complete and not attempted to top the charts. I think this album and being able to see in the flesh a Playboy Magazine for the blind are the best things book zoo gave to me.
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – I Should Have Kissed You When I Had The Chance – I found this artist on a whim heading to Gilman St. on a night alone when i had nothing better to do. The fact he was able to do so much with such basic tools really engaged me. I still have a soft spot for a Casio VL-Tone
Le Tigre – Deceptacon There’s something about having a woman yell at you that makes to want to dance. Dance music with a hard edge. I couldn’t get enough.
Ratatat – Germany to Germany Ratatat a band with virturally no lyrics but just a guitar and a synthesizer made songs that you could take long trips to. I feel this first album was coming from a completely new space. I know all of these songs by heart and could sing them to you, if it weren’t for the lack of lyrics.
Justice, Simian – We Are Your Friends The last song on this list more speaks to my desire for music to be a driving force for rupture. If anyone who was in the 2009 student movement in california knows this song well. A mobile sound system was built for the occupations at UC Berkeley and this song was played on a loop all night long (either on purpose or accidental, no one knows for sure). I love the idea of using music to inspire rupture.
So that’s the list. Please let me know what you think.