Hello, my name is Deegan Poores. Aside from being a musician, I listen to a lot of different music, from alternative rock to folk to hip hop to pop. There really isn’t a lot of stuff I don’t like. When I was given the opportunity to write a blog for the Harbinger, I thought that I should shine a light on all the music I like that isn’t necessarily known by everyone, but is still excellent. To do this, I decided that I would do it in a kind of encyclopedia format, with each entry focusing on a letter. For each letter, I’ll talk about artists, songs and albums that relate to the letter.
I’ll start off with the letter A, and the band that goes with it is Arctic Monkeys. They started off as an indie rock band with more hard rock influences, but have since taken in a more psychedelic-infused sound, mainly because of Queens of the Stone Age-mastermind Josh Homme. I personally prefer their earlier music, but they aren’t half bad now.
Arctic Monkeys is pretty much the work of Alex Turner, who sings, plays guitar and writes the music for the band. His voice has a very deep accent, and along with his unique and very British lyrics, it gives the band a unique voice. Underneath Turner, the rest of the band gives the songs a very sturdy foundation, one with lots of energy and power. They’ve released five albums so far, many of them classics.
My favorite albums of theirs is their debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. It’s an awesome blend of hard rocking grooves, great lyrics and some great song titles (e.g. “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor,” “You Probably Couldn’t See For The Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me”). Other great albums by them are Favourite Worst Nightmare and Suck it and See, which show off a more emotional side to the band. Their most recent and popular album, AM, is also good, but it just hasn’t affected me as much as these others. I saw them at Buzz Beach Ball in 2014, where they were the headliners. Honestly, it was a letdown. Most of their set came from the new album, and they didn’t have much of a presence onstage. Despite this, they’re an overall great band that, if you dig rock, you should definitely check out.
Now I’m gonna talk about some albums. I’m really more of an album kind of guy than just listening to songs on their own. I like how multiple songs can merge together and have a unified vision. I’ll sit down with a record in my collection instead of watching TV in my free time. Without further ado, here’s a few rad albums.
- Alien Lanes – Guided By Voices: Guided By Voices is an indie rock band from Dayton, Ohio, that formed in the 80’s but was most successful in the mid-90s. This era is when this album comes from. It’s a really unique album, probably one of the most unique I’ve listened to. The album has a primitive, lo-fi sound, due to being entirely recorded onto a 4-track (one of the simplest recording devices), and the songs are really short. Like, the-longest-song-is-two-minutes-and-fifty-eight-seconds-long short. And while some of these songs are what you’d expect from an album like this, the majority of the songs are pop gems, just really catchy and beautiful songs. Definitely something to check out if you like weird yet accessible stuff.
- Aquemini – Outkast: Outkast is a hip-hop duo from Atlanta, Georgia, and on this album, they perfect their laid-back, funky brand of hip-hop, a sound they would abandon on later albums. But here, that sound is well executed on songs like “Rosa Parks,” “Synthesizer” and “Skew It on the Bar-B.” Honestly, I think that the album cover should be enough to convince you to listen to it. It’s pretty much the most pimpin’ thing ever. If you dig those kind of chill vibes and some other stuff by Outkast, even though it’s not really like their later music, this is something you should check out.
- Are You Experienced – The Jimi Hendrix Experience: I’m sure you’ve heard of Hendrix: best guitarist ever, one of the most influential musicians of all time, etc. But this is where he formed that legend. This is where his vision of beautiful, psychedelic guitar rock came to be. While he would perfect this vision with his third album Electric Ladyland, this album is a classic as well. It has some of his best songs, like “Purple Haze,” “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Third Stone From the Sun” and “Highway Chile.” Not only are the songs great, but so are the performances from each member of The Experience. Mitch Mitchell absolutely kills it on the drums, Noel Redding keeps the band together with his bass playing and Jimi just does Jimi a.k.a. he blows your mind. If you’re familiar with Jimi Hendrix or you like other music of the era, this is something to listen to.
To kind of close things up now, I’m going to talk about a few of my favorite songs that, you guessed it, start with the letter A. I won’t do the full analysis with these, but I’ll just mention what makes me dig them.
- “Acadian Driftwood” – The Band: an instantly memorable song that tells the story of a few wars with very evocative language. One of Robbie Robertson’s best songs.
- “Adorn” – Miguel: a slow, sultry jam where Miguel promises to love his woman in this moment and for all time. Very chill and pretty jam.
- “Age of Consent” – New Order: an upbeat, jittery new wave classic that covers up some spare, dark lyrics about a dying love. You almost feel guilty for having so much fun while jamming to that sick bass line.
- “All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem: one of the most dynamic, building indie-dance jams over great lyrics about the crazy times with your friends. Add to your weekend playlist.
- “All You Had to Do Was Stay” – Ryan Adams: the most recent thing I’ve talked about, this is off of his 1989 cover album. It’s one of my favorite Taylor Swift-reworkings on this album, which takes the original (which itself is very good) and gives it a driving rock arrangement. It’s just awesome.
- “And I Love Her” – Pat Metheny: Kansas City jazz guitarist takes on The Beatles and gives an absolutely stunning rendition that is just the pure essence of beauty.
- “Another Girl, Another Planet” – The Only Ones: a criminally underrated power pop gem, a great pop song with lots of muscle and great guitar playing throughout. This one will be stuck in your head days after listening.
- “April Come She Will” – Simon & Garfunkel: a great ballad written by Paul Simon and sung by Art Garfunkel, which features some of Simon’s best guitar playing.
- “Ask” – The Smiths: on this track, The Smiths trade their usual gloomy, downbeat sound for a fun, happy single (although it still has some dark undertones). An underrated Smiths song, but a great song nonetheless.
- “Avalanche” – Walk the Moon: a great song that I’d say is on par with or better than “Shut Up and Dance,” a really catchy song with a great beat and some funky guitar playing.
So there is the first entry in my musical encyclopedia. If you are interested in checking any of this music out, I’ll have a playlist for each entry on my Spotify page. Click here for the playlist for this entry. I hope you enjoyed reading this! I’ll have another one soon.