The 5 Songs Meme (Redux)

It’s been a fairly quiet week, so it seems like as good a time as any to give in to meme fever and revisit this old chestnut. So, here are five songs that I’m really grooving on at the moment:

Horse PowerThe Chemical Brothers
Largely thanks to Auntie Beeb’s Glastonbury coverage. The Chems always put on a great show, but this absolutely stole the show: thunderous bass, lasers, and that great animation of the little origami horsie up on the big screens. Ace. Indeed, things seem to be decidedly horsey around Hippy Towers at the moment, but more of that in another entry :).

Chronologie (Part 4)Jean Michel Jarre
Just yesterday, Jarre played a blinding outdoor show in Monaco, which was helpfully streamed in full on the internet and via the Euronews digital TV channel. After two gobsmackingly great shows at the NIA over the past couple of years, I had little doubt that it was going to be excellent, but it outstripped almost all my expectations: brilliant visuals, superb staging and a great set list full of favourites new and old – this track being a very welcome addition to the set. I hadn’t heard Jarre play this since his triumphant show at Wembley Stadium on the Chronologie tour in 1993, and it was great to hear it again. Everything that’s great about Jarre’s highly melodic blending of dance music and electronica crammed into four perfectly-formed minutes. Lovely.

On The Backs Of AngelsDream Theater
The first taste of Dream Theater’s upcoming album A Dramatic Turn Of Events, the band’s first with new drummer Mike Mangini. This was uploaded earlier in the week onto the band’s label’s YouTube page (linky here) and is superb – business as usual in some ways, albeit with a less metal, more classic rock-style approach. More of a slowburner than Dream Theater’s hyperactive rockers, but with more crunch than their ballads, this covers the bases nicely and allows Mangini to show that he knows when less is more, but is more than capable of Portnoy-style fireworks when required. Roll on September!

TermitesDistrict 97
A HippyDave favourite from this Chicago-based progressive rock outfit’s debut album, Hybrid Child. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that these guys are my favourite US-based discovery since I first picked up on the mighty Spock’s Beard back in 1997 – they’re that good. This one’s built on a big chunky riff and really shows off vocalist Leslie Hunt’s powerful and versatile voice. If you haven’t checked out these guys already, do yourselves a favour: go and have a look at their website, check out the clips and see if you like what you hear. I really hope I get the chance to see these guys in action before too long: I’m actually gutted to see that they’re playing in NY when we’re over there in the summer, but they’re playing out in Brooklyn which means it’s very unlikely we’ll be able to get over there. Here’s hoping some enterprising festival organisers give this hugely talented bunch a chance to play in the UK at some point.

I’m a member of an album listening club, which convenes over teh interwebs most Thursday nights, and the album from which Cowgirl is taken, dubnobasswithmyheadman, was my selection for this week’s session. I figured it’d make for a good introduction to Underworld for those who weren’t familiar with their output: alas, it seems largely to have met with indifference. Never mind, it’s reminded me what a great record it is – especially well suited to these long summer nights), and what an especially magical track Cowgirl is. I suppose it’s a bit of an unofficial coder’s anthem to me – Jeff Minter has frequently remarked on it over the years, and the lyrics (although probably written about the process of making/recording music, rather than actual coding) certainly seem appropriate:

You know what I mean, this electric stream
And my tears in league with the
Wires and energy and my machine
This is my beautiful dream
I’m hurting no one
Hurting no one
Hurting no one
Hurting no one
I want to give you everything
I want to give you energy
I want to give a good thing
I want to give you everything

I hadn’t heard the album for a while (lately when I reach for the Underworld, I seem to be drawn inexorably towards the excellent Everything, Everything live album, or Oblivion With Bells – I wasn’t too keen on Oblivion… to begin with, but the more I hear it, the more I get out of it. Like most music of any longevity, I guess), but it was great to be reminded of just what a great record dubnobass… still is. I remember being besotted with it when I was at technical college back in the early 90s, and I still love it now – and Cowgirl particularly :).

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