This is Past Sounds. Every Friday Ghettoblaster Magazine is looking back and finding great music from various eras. This week we present some of the best music videos for great songs because, why not? Below are songs and videos that sound and look great no matter what decade they’re played in. So strap in as we take a musical journey, back in time.
The Marked Men – Fix My Brain (Fix My Brain, Dirtnap Records) 2005
Texas punk band The Marked Men made music informed by old school punk rock, but with a bit of a twist. Their ability to create such fast and ferocious pop songs is really remarkable and truly what set them apart from other similar bands. Fix My Brain is the title track from arguably their best album and the song is one of the many highlights on an absolutely stellar album. Fix My Brain rips through hard guitar riffs, relentless drumming and wonderful melodies, doing more in two and a half minutes than a lot of bands can do in twice the time. It sounds like the Ramones drank a ton of caffeine, got much more aggressive and decided to have a more intricate arrangement. All in all, this is one of the best pop punk songs around and proves that The Marked Men were truly playing in a league of their own.
Iron and Wine – Grey Stables (Woman King EP, Sub Pop Records) 2005
Iron and Wine’s Woman King EP sits at an interesting spot in their history. Their first two albums were largely lo-fi and somber affairs and then they ended up pivoting to a much bigger sound with different influences and more jam band tendencies, especially live. However, in between these two identities sits this EP and it is probably the best batch of songs they’ve ever put together. The entire EP is worth a listen and it is really hard to pick out the best track, but Grey Stables shows off the intricate subtlety that Woman King operates in. The melody of Grey Stables is a real stand out, which should surprise no one, but where the song really transcends is in the surrounding music. Again, this is intricate and subtle at the same time, layering acoustic guitar, strings, percussion and some ambient touches together in such a seamless way. In Grey Stables you can hear where they had been and where they were going and it makes you wish they would have lingered in this territory a little longer.
Eric B and Rakim – I Know You Got Soul (Paid in Full, Def Jam) 1987
I Know You Got Soul features some of the most solid drums in hip hop history. They really propel the song forward and just sound awesome, transcending the “dated” label that plagues so much of 80s hip hop. Eric B and Rakim’s album Paid in Full is one of the most enjoyable classic hip hop albums and I Know You Got Soul is a true standout from the album. Both Eric B and Rakim are the best versions of themselves over the course of this track, as Rakim’s seemingly never ending flawless delivery flows over Eric B’s solid beat and scratches. It’s just a great example of what makes some 80s hip hop so much fun to listen to.
Lawnmower – Tetherball (Major Head Injury, Save Your Generation Records) 2015
Full disclosure: I am friends with members of the band Lawnmower, but please don’t let that take anything away from how good this song is. Tetherball is one of my favorite rock songs, from its grungy beginning to catchy chorus and awesome backing vocals, it’s just a joy to listen to. It seems like it should be a lost classic 90s indie rock song, as it definitely transports listeners back to the heyday of indie rock. Everything is clicked into high gear and hits all the right notes: the guitars cutting out to that awesome chugging bass, propulsive drumming with some really great fills, and then the song is over before you know it, leaving you wanting more. It is an exciting song from an up and coming band, so do yourself a favor and get to know Lawnmower. They’re really great and talented guys, believe me.