Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Horror Playlist: #4 for me...Nickolas Cook (Current Top 13 Most Played Songs on My iPod)

By Nickolas Cook

Looks like this may become a habit. Not sure why it’s getting so difficult for me to find people to talk about their current musical tastes, but, you know, that’s cool. I have enough favorites to share with our readers that I can easily find a list each month.
Below, you’ll find my current top 13 songs on my iPod. They are in order of importance, other than what popped up first as I scrolled through my “Most Played” playlist. I think you’ll find it’s a varied mixture of genres and moods.

13. “The Lark Ascending” by Ralph Vaughan Williams
From the Album: Fantasies; Five Variants on Lark Ascending by Academy of St.-Martins-in-the-Field, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner (1990)

(NOTE: While there are many recordings of this composition, this is my favorite recording; they truly understood what made this piece of music delicate and steel strong at the same time.)

12. “Ultralight” by Parallels
From the Album: Visionaries (2010)

(NOTE: I just discovered these guys and I love what I hear so far; she has a voice like early Debbie Harry of BLONDIE, and the band has a great grasp of poppy electro hooks and how to keep a great pace without going overboard with the polyrhythms.)

11. “Blown A Wish” by My Bloody Valentine
From the Album: Loveless (1991)

(NOTE: Without a doubt, an absolute classic of alternative music; Kevin Shields damn near bankrupted the record label to create this signature, incredible album of pure perfect ambient pop; they don't have many recordings and I don't foresee them doing much more at this late stage of their careers; get this one, if you're looking for a record you will not soon grow tired of)

10. “When We Parted My Heart Wanted To Die” by Leyland Kirby
From the Album: Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was (2009)

(NOTE: This is from an incredible 3-disc collection from this fascinating dark musician; if you're lucky enough to find a copy of this hard to find release, get it; you will not be sorry.)

9. “Fostercare” by Burial
From the Album: Street Halo EP (2011)

(NOTE: Most of Burial's works come out only on remix albums for "dub" record labels, or show length releases from Mary Hobbs and such; he is worth the effort of collecting those items, but when you can find even an EP like this, grab it.)

8. “Monkey Gone To Heaven” by The Pixies
From the Album: Doolittle (1989)

(NOTE: There's a reason why so many bands worship Black Francis and company; it's because these guys were making music that was at least ten years ahead of their time and lighting the way for most of alternative music in the 1990s and beyond; this is a great album to start with, but you'll want them all; trust me.)

7. “Dear God” by XTC
From the Album: Skylarking (1986)

(NOTE: Still one of the greatest songs of the 80s, and one that really is a huge bitchslap against all conservative thinking; question everything; speak honestly; and be yourself; of course, this got them kicked off the air in a lot of conservative places--including my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, way back when this first came out, they were banned in the whole damned state.)

6. “River of Deceit” by Mad Season
From the Album: Above (1995)

(NOTE: This 'grunge' supergroup had one album, and it's now considered not only one of the greatest albums of the genre, but one of the great cult recordings in music; Layne Staley was on a spiritual mission with his lyrics on this album, like no other; this is nothing like ALICE IN CHAINS; this is more like a CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG album for the 90s grunge crowd.)

5. “Trouble” by Lindsey Buckingham
From the Album: Law and Order (1981)

(NOTE: I won't go so far as to say this entire album is great, but I will say no one knows how to craft a great pop song, with plenty of guitar laden hooks and twiddle bits like Buckingham; of course, it did him no harm that most of FLEETWOOD MAC appears on most of the songs; which in some ways sort of makes it seem like an unofficial FLEETWOOD MAC release; and with them having come away from recently recording one of the most successful and critically acclaimed albums in the history of music, how could he lose?)

4. “Parabola Remix” by TOOL and Lustmord
From the DVD: Parabola Single (2005)

(NOTE: As far as I'm aware, you could only get this remix through the DVD single they did with Lustmord; or you could find a place to download it; but the computer animated artwork (as seen in the attached video from YouTube) was extraordinary stuff, and worth the price of the DVD, in my opinion.)

3. “Dreams Burn Down” by Ride
From the Album: Nowhere (1990)

(NOTE: This will always be one of my favorite albums of all time, as it expresses for me the feelings and emotions I felt in the beginning of the 1990s; these guys were on the leading edge of the "shoegazer" movement before the "grunge" guys came along to spill them on their asses and tilt their crowns forever more; but, if you want a snapshot of that period, this is the best album I can think of with which to do so; not an indifferent song on the whole album, which is more than I can say for their later releases, before they finally called it quits.)

2. “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” by Dr. John: The Night Tripper
From the Album: Gris-Gris (1969)

(NOTE: This New Orleans VooDoo music of the first order; no one was making music like Dr. John in the 60s and 70s; hell, no one is making this sort of music now; it can go from frightening to sultry in a musical heartbeat; he has a voice that sounds like steel wool on roses; well worth owning and placing high in your valued record collection.)

1. “I Want To Touch You” by Catherine Wheel
From the Album: Ferment (1992)

(NOTE: Another snapshot album of the 1990s; each song is crafted perfectly, with hooks and riffs and rhythms that pull you upright and make you pay attention to their sound; again, this is the crowning achievement of their particular sound at that time of their career; nothing before or after this sounded quite like this one; if you own one album by this band, this should be the one.)

--Nickolas Cook
(If you or someone you know is interested in doing your own HorrorPlaylist, please email Nickolasecook@aol.com for details.)