The Sound Of Screaming Girls
By Cian Ó Cíobháin
1. Tindersticks – The Not Knowing
One of the most treasured bands from my college years, early Tindersticks still ride an expressway to my skull. I saw them play a few times in the mid to late nineties and – to my eternal shame – once tried to nick singer Stuart Staples’ jacket after a gig in Nancy Spain’s, Cork. He caught me in the act and calmly pointed out that his jacket, tailored by Timothy Everest in London, cost him quite a bit of money and that if I wanted a memento of the gig, suggested I take a setlist instead.
2. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Love Comes To Me
Will Oldham has been around the block so many times now, to quote a friend of mine who has bought possibly everything he’s ever released – “After about ten albums I thought: OK, we get it. We. Get. It”. But the man still has the capacity to surprise and this tour-de-force from his later catalogue is up there with his best work. In fact, I noticed Conor O’ Brien AKA Villagers remark in an interview that it was the song he would most like to have composed and recorded.
3. Peter Broderick – Below It
Still only 23, this native of Portland, Oregon has been quietly building up an impressive body of songs that belie his tender years. Has anyone, at any point in history, sang the line ‘The sound of screaming girls’ with such pathos?
4. American Spring – Falling In Love
A B-side from 1972, produced by Brian Wilson, who was at that time married to Marilyn Wilson, one of the sisters in this early 70s pop duo, a duo who had previously released songs as Spring and before that again as The Honeys.
5. The Fantastic Baggys – It Was I
Just another one of your run of the mill American surf and hot rod groups, but for this cracker, which first came to my attention on Sonic Boom’s seminal ‘Spacelines: Sonic Sounds For Subterraneans‘ compilation.
6. Pavement – Trigger Cut
I also thought I liked Pavement, without being totally crazy about them. But their remastered collection from earlier this year ‘Quarantine The Past’ brought songs to my attention that I hadn’t heard in years, songs with the capacity to make me giddy with joy, songs that I find myself practicing air guitar moves to around my music room Is there any better motivation for a songwriter to write songs than to imagine his/her audience worked up in such a state?
7. The Books
This NYC duo have mastered collage techniques to such an extent that whether drawing on found sound or thrift-shop music instruments or obscure speeches, they know how to amalgamate it all into a funky brew or a “three part Christian harmony mixed with a sort of euro-disco-trash beat” as vocalist Nick Zammuto describes one of the tracks on their 2010 LP ‘The Way Out’. Probably not this track, but you get the picture.
8. Love – Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark & Hilldale
I’m a relatively newcomer to Love’s seminal ‘Forever Changes’. I’m not one of the precocious cool kids who was listening to Arthur Lee or John Coltrane VIA my parents’ record collection from an impossibly early age. In the house of my childhood, it was all Seán Ó Riada and Liam Óg Ó Floinn, before I rebelled and started buying Madonna (Shep Pettibone-era) records. But when Arthur Lee finally shone his light on me, only a few short years ago, this one sounded like it should have been part of my soundtrack down through the years.
9. Radical Face – Winter Is Coming
I played this for a friend recently who thought it sounded like the best song that Frank Black/Black Francis never wrote. It’s from a 2007 LP on Morr Music called ‘Ghost’ by Ben Cooper, who had previously released electrocuted glitch-pop as Electric President.