28 Sep 2010

Rock and roll, a summer sport

The city is heating up nicely and with that comes a shift in my listening habits. For now the indie bands I love so dearly will take a backseat while the sun is out. Besides, they prefer it indoors anyway, my rock and roll doesn’t. It prefers the sunshine, beers outside and slapping meat on a fire. That shift, and an increase in an already significant braai schedule, has propelled me back towards the root of the problem, the cause of it all, my kings of rock and roll.

Rock and roll in its all its glory is the medium that facilitates the communication of individuals’ grievances, heart breaks and anger in a musical form. It’s offered us comfort in knowing that others out there may have gone through the same dark days as we once did.

So, in true Don’t Sink, Swim fashion, here are four musicians whose projects provide the cornerstones to my perfect summer soundtrack, because every house needs four walls.

Jay Reatard

I have mentioned his death before, but this is when Reatard’s departure will be missed more than ever. There is no new Reatards album to add to the already epic collection of his catalogue. A garage punk in its truest form, thank goodness he made as many awesome albums as he did. Bands you can find him in are Reatards, as Jay Reatard, Terror Vision, Bad Times, Angry Angles and Lost Sounds. Catchy as fire and frantic as the scramble to try and extinguish it, this is essential listening.

Jack White

Yes, I recently watched “It Might Get Loud” and it started this whole damn change in listening habits, but no, The White Stripes aren’t a new band to me. Since the first time I heard “De Stijl” in my native PE of all places in 2001 (first year), I’ve been a fan. Through sound changes, Jack growing as a songwriter and his mad screams, The White Stripes have always enjoyed air play in the summer. There’s no new work coming out any time soon from what I can tell, but with an impressive back catalogue, Detroit’s finest have more than enough variety to keep me entertained. Check out the Dead Weather and Raconteurs too, they’re not as good as The White Stripes, but should still feature on summer playlists, mostly because both have “JACK WHITE WAS HERE” watermarks.

Spencer Moody

Not as prolific or a one man operation as the other three, Moody has two projects that I really enjoy and I couldn’t survive without them. The Murder City Devils were my “American” rock and roll band while I was in England. They were my escape from the swarms of UK indie bands. Not that I don’t like those indie bands, but when the sun is shining man, The Murder City Devils make everything taste better. Moody’s vocals are husky, alcohol soaked groans and very few vocalists are as much fun to listen to.

Josh Homme

Anything “Ginger Elvis” touches turns to fiery goodness. Responsible for some of the best riffs I have ever heard, with Queens of the Stone Age, Homme is quite possibly my favourite guitarist…ever. Playing an electric guitar the way we all want to, damnit, he should’ve replaced The Edge in that documentary! Homme is a very prolific songwriter and recording artist, check out his Dessert Sessions, Eagles of Death Metal (yes, I know he plays the drums for them occasionally, but I think they’re fantastic), Kyuss and of course, Them Crooked Vultures.

These four guys really capture everything I believe rock and roll to be. Honest, angry, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, never dull. So how about you give me some bands to look out for. I’d love to know what you guys are listening to this summer.

For now, I will leave you with some summery thoughts…

Rejoice, we made the right choice, if there’s something wrong with it, they’ll find it, I say, let ‘em have it. I’ve got a preacher’s mouth and a rock and roll heart.” – Dear Hearts, The Murder City Devils.