Monday, September 18, 2006

Let's do a 'Brian Ong' list, shall we? - Part 1.

Music: French Kicks - So Far We Are (click to download)

It takes a huge amount of chutzpah to be nominated as 'Penang's self-styled King of Indie' and a whole bunch of testoterones and credit card transactions to make the cut as one (just ask Swee Jin!).

Although some parties have secretly claimed that the aforementioned self-styled King of Indie has resigned to a life of picking scabs and brainstorming ways to produce higher grade and efficient rubber (see attachment below), one cannot deny the musings of a musical intellect such as Brian Ong has made my life so much richer than it should be.

One day, whilst I was browsing through his almost never-ending collection of CDs and vinyls from my mate, Brian Ong, one concedes that his life would inevitably crash and burn in his lust for the perfect album cover. Granted, he has been out of touch with the modern indie music scene which again I quote Nor Azan's favourite tagline, "indie is the new pop", but nevertheless after much careful thought and care, I've practically come out with what I'd personally vouch as Brian's 'Music Starter Kit' list. Yes, he did publish one; months ago via CR1T1C ME TH15! but let's just take this as a revamped list of quintessential must-haves for all the Brian Ong's in the world.

04. The Clash - London Calling
Their effect on global politics were marginal and probably no sane high school kid would ever take them seriously, but The Clash taught a generation that rock is supposed to change the world one bedroom hi-fi at a time. This 1979 double album heralded the punk band's graduation from typical UK street punks to global stars. Revisiting their catalogue, one would find influences akin to Jamaican music which in hand moved Bob Marley into penning 'Punky Reggae Party' after being introduced to them. The song influenced by The Clash was released in Marley's 'Babylon by Bus' in 1978.

'London Calling' was a relatively mainstream album, almost safety-pin like in its lyrical approach. Other punk bands followed suit, most notoriously Rancid. One useless but interesting fact to note is that their later hit 'Rock The Casbah' never charted in Iran.

Most likely to end up in Brian's 'Screw you guys I'm going home' shelf.

03. Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express

Avant-garde in all aspects, Kraftwerk was the pioneer of the electronica scene way before I was born. The album's thirteen-minute ode to Eurorail travel managed to find its way from Berlin to the Bronx after Grandmaster Flash had spun it on the dance floors. Afrika Bambaataa picked off where he left and transformed its hypnotic groove into 'Planet Rock' and invented electro; in Motor City, Chicago. In Tokyo, it influenced the techno scene and spawned the Yellow Magic Orchestra. It then returned to Chicago and mated with metal to spawn industrial music. German engineering at its best!

Most likely to end up in Brian's 'Paranoid android LPs' shelf.

02. Nirvana - In Utero

Many grunge purists (just ask them Eddie Vedder wannabes!) will attest to this album being the flaw in between Kurt Cobain's sheets. But many who say that do not know the immaculate power this noise giant of an album possesses. Churned out right after the dummy's alt-rock bible, 'Nevermind', 'In Utero' was destined to reach new heights (or should we say fan base' after conquering the flannel-shirt makers and skateboard makers alike with their polished studio work with Butch Vig in 'Nevermind'. New project helmer, Steve Albini, obviously has other intentions as he and the band deconstructed their sound to something raw and reworked most of the guitar chords to abrasive levels.

'In Utero' marched through Czechoslovakia, the Middle East and China, making punk a seriously bankable international commodity and raised the level of teenage angst a few steps further after 'Nevermind'. After championing 'Nevermind' with nods to his roots by reviving the careers of London's Raincoats and Scotland's 'Vaselines', 'In Utero' revisits a more hardcore bunch such as The Pixies, Black Sabbath, Meat Puppets and AC/DC.

Nirvana's third and final studio album did what 'Saturday Night Fever' did for the hustle.

Most likely to end up in Brian's 'Closet fag and/or suicidal tendencies' shelf.

01. The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

It is said that The Beatles were forever damned for turning rock into art after inventing this "concept album"; a musical masterpiece. This psychedelic 1967 album of catchy pop tunes raise the consciousness of high-minded musicians everywhere. Blame John Lennon for making The Velvet Underground sound too serious and the supposedly radio friendly Styx for 'Paradise Theater'.

In Brazil, it triggered the 'Sgt Pepper' influenced samba-bossanova-rock supersession 'Tropicalia', which blended rock, samba and irony into a manifesto and took culture-vulturing into the mainstream (yeah wayyyy before Beck was eating solid food!). Tracks from 'Sgt Pepper' has been covered by Sonic Youth and The Fall in 'Sgt Pepper Knew My Father', a tribute album released in the late '80s.

Most likely to end up in Brian's 'I am indie and you are not.' shelf.

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