Compilation Champs
[California Couch Crawl 01]

Public Image Ltd. - FFF (1985, from Compact Disc): Leave it to me to begin a CD to be given as a gift to my host(esse)s with a song called Farewell My Fairweather Friend. Maybe it was ironic. It was a conversation starter, that's for sure.

David Bowie - Queen Bitch (1971, from Hunky Dory): Hmmm. Is there a theme developing here? Actually, this song just has the most amazing intro and I love the guitar sound.

Cake - The Distance (1996, from Fashion Nugget): This song provided the first tagline for my site, Consolation Champs. The line is "the sun has gone down and the moon has come up, and long ago somebody left with the cup." It was only a matter of time before I shoehorned it onto a CD. It just kind of fits the theme of my whole site.

Buzzocks - Ever Fallen In Love? (1978, from Love Bites): We didn't hear much of the Buzzcocks in Canada during the 70s punk explosion, but over time they've become one of my favourite bands from this period. All the energy and anger of punk, but with actual good songs, too!

Magazine - The Light Pours Out Of Me (1978, from Real Life): Former Buzzcock singer Howard DeVoto split to form Magazine in 1977 and began experimenting in ways that punk wouldn't let him. "Post-punk" was born. Along with bands like Wire, Magazine stretched punk in new musical and lyrical directions without giving up its urgency.

Rheostatics - Sweet Rich Beautiful Mine (1996, from The Blue Hysteria): I just can't get enough of Martin Tielli's falsetto, and I've always loved the orchestral sweep of this song.

My Bloody Valentine - Soon (1991, from Loveless): This is the album that nearly bankrupted Creation, MBV's record company. Reportedly costing over $500,000 (or was that pounds?) to make, and ludicrously late, it's still a masterpiece of the "shoegazing" scene. MBV frontman Kevin Shields was a notorious perfectionist and just sequestered himself, holing up with the tapes and fiddling for months. MBV haven't been heard from since.

It's still not a particularly accessible album. When I first heard it, my reaction was "beautiful noise." And that still holds. It's an album that rewards lots of patience, though. Feedback and guitar squeals that sound more than a little off key are layered over indecipherable but lovely singing. It's best to just let these sounds wash over you. Headphones are good.

I've been putting the last track, "Soon," on mix tapes and CDs for years, in the hopes that what to me sounds like the most radio-friendly track will tempt someone to pick up "Loveless" and give it a chance.

Porno for Pyros - Cursed Female (1993, from Porno for Pyros): My favourite track off the first album from Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell. Again, it's the little guitar flourishes that hook me.

Billy Bragg - Sexuality (1991, from Don't Try This At Home): This is a refreshingly upbeat song from Billy, who's usually up to his ears in politics. And a nice cuddly take on sex, which is unusual from anyone these days.

Max Webster - Here Among The Cats (1976, from Max Webster): Max Webster were probably my favourite band in high school. They were from Toronto, so I could see them live. They were rockers, so my friends liked them. But they were also kind of spacey and cerebral, so I could look for deeper meaning in the lyrics.

The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet (1978, from The Only Ones): Just one of the best songs ever...

Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground (1973, from Innervisions): Did you know that Stevie played every instrument on this entire record? This is from a period of about five years when Stevie's genius was unsurpassed.

Public Enemy - She Watch Channel Zero?! (1988, from It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back): An infectious indictment of television, charming since it's really just saying, "Hey, let me change the channel!" Check out the reference to Doug Williams, QB of the Washington Redskins, who was the first black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl game.

Max Webster - Coming Off The Moon (1976, from Max Webster): There was always a "moon" song on a Max Webster record. Others included "Beyond The Moon," "In Context Of The Moon," and "Moon Voices." I like this one.

Maria McKee - Breathe (1989, from Maria McKee): Probably the most beautiful song about sex I've ever heard. Still gives me shivers.

Pavement - The Killing Moon (1999, from Major Leagues CD single): Great cover of the classic 80s tunes by Echo and the Bunnymen. The cucumber-carrot stuff is all Malkmus, though...

Suede - Stay Together (1994, from Stay Together EP): Another lush orchestral song, ostensibly by a "rock" band. For me, this was the pinnacle of Suede's sound.

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