(Band members were asked by the Romanian music blog to each contribute a piece about their “top ten favorite songs.” Originally published in 2013)
My 10 Favorite Songs~ by Aaron Siemers
Like everyone who has given it any thought, I have hundreds of 10 FAVORITE SONGS. To me, much of music is laced in a specific feeling that happens in just one moment, and then that feeling ends, just like the sound waves bouncing air against my eardrum, and I can’t necessarily get it back the same way. I suppose that these songs are some of those that I can go back to easily, like re-visiting a house where I grew up, seeing an old friend, or staring off into the ocean. Some things in life don’t change so quickly, and these 10 tunes are for me like a book that always opens up to the same page.
Let’s do the 10 to 1 Classic Countdown here just for Kicks. Actually these numbers would be all mixed up and interwoven. I want to provide links to random versions of the songs just in case someone wants to hear them over the internet, as it goes.
Number 10: That’s When You Call, by me, Aaron Cord
Musically, its all I got, and I have to love it because its mine.
Number 9: Air On the G String – Johan Sebastian Bach
This song has one of my earliest memories wrapped up in it. After dinner one evening, most of my family went for a walk. When we returned, my grandfather was napping to this record on the stereo.
Number 8: The Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down”
Surprise, there are lots of great Beatles songs. This song is a favorite of mine, but it could stand in for any number, such as “Strawberry Fields” or even “Yes It Is”. I chose it because it it has a great groove, a little playfulness, and a message that we all live with. Its fun to see the Beatles play it live, flub it up and move right along.
Number 7: Mozart: Kyrie (Kyrie Grosse Messe C-moll, KV 427)
I came across this piece by Mozart years ago and really it could be my number one favorite song for all the vastness of that I hear. The whole mass is really incredible and probably one of the finest pieces of art ever made by a human.
Number 6: Jimi Hendrix “The Wind Cries Mary.”
I have to include Jimi in this list because he was a force of nature and this is one of his most beautiful songs. The whole Monterey Pop set that he and his band performed, one of the first times he played out as as The Experience, is really amazing and this song is perhaps the best of the night.
Number 5: The Walkmen “In the New Year”
I have been listening to The Walkmen for the past 8 years or so, and saw them live recently. They were just as amazing and simple and powerful as their recordings. I love how their songs seem to be late night conversations and late night explanations.
Number 4: Leonard Cohen “Bird on A Wire”
What can I say, I am a True Believer in the Leonard Cohen occult. No one else has his poetic voice in modern music and he stands apart from all the other singer songwriters of his day. This song is important to me, though like I said earlier, there are many others that are just as good and intense, like “The Stranger” and “Famous Blue Raincoat.” I wanted to put this one down with the link because I think it shows Cohen and his vulnerability as an artist in a very real way.
Number 3: The Strokes “Someday”
The Strokes brought current rock and roll back to me after I had quit listening in, and was diving into all the stuff from the past. They have great energy and style, and this song Someday captures it fresh.
Number 2: The Gardes: “Build It From Scratch “
I have been a part of lots of songs with my bands and friends and I can’t help but throw one in. This is a recording that came together rather recently. Its perfectly subtle and already nostalgic to me.
Number 1: Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone
Yea, this is it. This song is charged and never lets go.
Thanks everyone for reading and listening.
1.) I Only Said-My Bloody Valentine– pre 90’s true alternative/shoegaze with an acid swirl synth and pitch fucked guitars, sit back and watch the wall move.
2.) Strange Overtones-David Byrne and Brian Eno– from the album “Everything that Happens Will Happen Today”, anything off of that album really deserves ear attention but that track in general was the first I heard and it has the groove and production that I have only found with that duo.
3.) Sensitive Man-Nick Lowe-Surprisingly I heard this track for the first time performed live acoustically on a podcast hosted by comedian Marc Maron. Marc interviewed Nick Lowe about his career and the promotion of Nick’s album “The Old Magic” (2011) which btw is completely worth the time.
4.)Me and You-NERO-electronic while not over saturating the dubstep wobble stuff, good pick me up and the video is a favorite.
5.)Bad Girl-Devendra Banhart– I love this song and I completely hate it’s premise. Only because I’ve felt it and never want to again but it croons those emotions so well it always makes the list.
6.) Sympathetic Noose-Black Rebel Motorcycle Club– brings back the days workin in the local record store in Oklahoma, this album on repeat.
7.) The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Last Waltz version)-The Band-this song has an odd social angle from the view of Confederacy during the American Civil War. I don’t sympathize with its view however the melody and arrangement from the performance film “The Last Waltz” gets me every time.
8.) Kind Woman-Buffalo Springfield-Ran into this track randomly and fell in love with it faster than the guy who wrote it.
9.) Pigs (Three Different Ones)-Pink Floyd– “Ha ha charade you are…” the album “Animals” givin to me on my 27th birthday from a very good friend.
10.) Sad Peter Pan-Vic Chesnutt– As a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan found the original and was introduced to the world of Vic Chesnutt, under rated and way too short lived.
10 “Favorite” Songs Or More
by Brett Horton
I always say I never pick a favorite because there’s too much I like, at least when it comes to things like music, food, books, movies, etc. I usually don’t pick favorites, either, because there’s still way too much, too much that will be left out. But for the purpose of this blog, I will play the game… 😉
# 10) Jeepster by T. Rex
This being a Romanian blog, you may appreciate the Transylvanianish reference, “Girl, I’m just a vampire for your love… I wanna suck ya!” Plus, we, the Gardes, had the opportunity to be the backup band for rock star, Tyson Meade, of the Chainsaw Kittens, once, when he sang this song.
# 9) Revolution # 9 by The Beatles
It repeats # 9 over and over, so what else should be # 9? (I guess one could argue Love Potion # 9) This song is revolutionary as the title implies as it is one of the first, if not the first, songs to go overboard with the samples and loops, paving the way and foretelling the future of the music world. It’s beautiful and scary. Also, # 9 backwards says, “Turn me on…” Creepy.
Honestly, there is no one song that is a Beatles favorite. I just picked this one to represent the Fab 4. I love the later stuff, the middle stuff and often I even lean toward the early stuff. I just picked this song for the hell of it.
My friends and I requested this song when my friend, Aaron Frisby, was doing his final radio DJ shift on an oldies station. It’s a long song. He played it, left the station, and about halfway through it was cut off. Another friend of mine and I used to play it in a bar when the White Album was on the juke box just to weird the place up.
# 8) Sunny Afternoon- The Kinks
In reality, no one could ever truly top the aforementioned group on a list of all-time influentials or favorites on my list, though some could perhaps tie or come close. For the sake of this list, my imaginary mix tape, my pretend favorite song list, and for the fact that the previous ones always come in at # 1 on anything, I will pick “Sunny Afternoon” by the Kinks, since they’re just as prolific yet always receiving less airplay than the Beatles and Stones, etc. (Honestly, we’ve been playing this song for a while, and I’ve always thought it was named “In The Summertime” or “Summertime.”)
Their songs are almighty catchy and good and have a little more of the feeling of just being discovered by myself when I seek them out now. I have fond memories of this being in the repertoire with different people I’ve played with, and it always goes down well. One such memory was at a full house at an open mic in Paris across from the Louvre when sometimes Gardes vocalist, Victoria, sang it with me. Prior to taking the stage, we rehearsed an as-yet-unreleased Gardes song on a curb in a narrow alley, unsuspecting of anyone listening to this. When we finished, applause came from the balconies and rooftops above and on both sides of us, and a bundle of flowers landed right in front of us along with a shower of some Euros. That’s a magical summertime memory.
Back to this, I could go on to mention the Stones, but enough of the British invaders.
# 7) Hard To Explain by The Strokes
Driving into NYC through various snowstorms, 30-some hours straight, trading off at the wheel without getting a hotel, with Aaron (Siemers) and our friend, Greg, in Aaron’s old LTD, destined to soon break down after it got us 1500 miles back home, a few months after 9-11 and a couple of days before New Year’s when the country was wounded and deeply paranoid about more attacks, not knowing anyone in the city, and with this blasting on the stereo after just being familiarized with it the previous week, was a feeling that was hard to explain. Aaron and I were just about to become roommates and bandmates for the first time and the musical world was a frontier to explore, as it still is.
Rock felt suddenly alive again, awakened with a jolt from the dead. They were maybe the last band that influenced us a bit as writers- though it wasn’t much besides a Strokesy part here and there, and sometimes an abrupt ending like they do, without letting it all ring out.
I got the chance to meet them and pay them a compliment in NYC later.
# 6) Kind Hearted Woman Blues by Robert Johnson
This song will represent my ongoing affair with the blues, though it could have been another one of his easily. These staticky recordings grew on me after my brother gave me the Complete Works for Christmas one year. Also, he sings about himself in the 3rd person in this song, “Now there ain’t but one thing that makes Mr. Johnson drink…”
# 5) Drain You by Nirvana
I should mention something off of Nevermind, because it was during their time in NYC when they broadcast this live in the MTV studios and filmed their first SNL appearance, that I was watching and said, though I’d picked it up short-livedly a couple of times before, alright, I’m learning guitar for real this time. At that time, it felt like I hadn’t seen anyone play guitar and sing at the same time since maybe footage before I was born. They taught me a lot about indy music and I seeked out a bunch of music via them, as what I always do with any influence of mine, I seek out their influences and go back in history. That was my first experience with the world of indy music- they came from an indy label and broke big. We started a band and started making indy music, and to be honest, a giant portion of the music I listen to nowadays is purely independent, often obscure, often the music of friends, but you’ll hear some of it someday.
I quit my first band in high school before the first talent show, and they put on an epic performance- they played this song and a crowd of kids jumped on stage to mosh, including a skater kid with a broken leg. The faculty closed the curtains on them in the instrumental middle of this song as a result, but they kept playing behind the curtains, in the dark. They didn’t stop, finally the curtains were reopened and they finished the song in a spectacular fashion to an audience of 800-some people. Pandemonium ensued in the hallways. It was a great moment in rock history. My friend, Frisby, also hopped up on stage during this performance and took a picture of the crowd.
I also like the Spin magazine tribute version of this song released a few months ago by Foxy Shazam.
# 4) Do Re Mi by Woody Guthrie
His songs are part of the soil. Woody Guthrie hopped trains, hitchhiked, slept in ditches and then wrote the unofficial national anthem of the United States (This Land Is Your Land). And he did this more as a natural result of his situation, not just for some hipster life experience, though I’m sure many wandering folk punk kids of today have been pushed into legitimate desperate measures, as well.
Some people call Woody Guthrie the original punk rocker, carrying a sticker on his guitar that read, “This Machine Kills Fascists,” though we all know him as America’s Folk Hero. He has been a tremendous inspiration to us and many. His spirit is still felt strongly. He wrote so many songs (and his book, Bound For Glory, is one of my all-time faves) that I’ll be uncovering his songs for the rest of my life, and really, he’s more of a story-teller than anything else. I’ll just use this song to represent him. There’s so many real life folk tales about this guy- he and Cisco Houston shipped off to sea together during World War II. They escaped more than one boat that sank. One time, he went back down to save one of the crew, then when there was barely any time left, he went back down to rescue the guitars. Though we hail from the same state, Oklahoma, I discovered Woody through the next guy-
# 3) When The Ship Comes In by Bob Dylan
This song is one that I’ve played a lot in random bars as a solo performer, and even though it’s become a cliche for singer/songwriters to cover Dylan tunes, that doesn’t make me like it any less, except that I’d be prone to cover it more often if it was my little secret. I had a spell when I played many Dylan songs as a soloist- there’s a reason why it became, I shouldn’t say, cliche, but standard. These are some of the songs that Aaron and I first played together and identified with at house parties, around fires, etc. Also, I had no idea that Dylan sang this on the same podium that Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech during the March On Washington until the Martin Scorsece documentary.
# 2) Andante by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
I mentioned the other day that this song makes me feel like we’re going to float around in high vaulted ceilings of palaces and skies and live forever. I’ve been thinking about Wolfgang on a regular basis since I saw Amadeus years ago. I’ll use this to represent the classical music I’ve been seeking out in recent times and the modern hybrid which I’ve composed. This will count for Beethoven equally, who sought out Mozart for brief lessons. I could never pick one over the other. One died really young, leaving behind a young wife and little kids, the other never had either and lost his hearing. They both left behind immortal music. It baffles me how neither of them attended a single recording session or released a single album in their lifetime (much less knew what that was), as modern musicians have strived to that to define their legacies. We’ve still been listening to them all our lives, as it was meant to reach us from that other realm.
# 1) Gloria by The Doors/ Them
Both the Doors and Van Morrison were great songwriters and performers, but this will cover them both- Van Morrison wrote this, I like his version, but another Morrison (Jim, obviously), did my favorite version released on Alive, She Cried, a live album.
When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a singer, as well as many other things, i.e. an archaeologist (influenced by Indiana Jones), then forgot about it for a while. Later in grade school, I heard this and decided to be a singer and yeller of rock music. Pretty impressionable on a 5th grade mind.
# 0) Bold As Love by Jimi Hendrix
I discovered the blues and Bob Dylan through Jimi, as well as broadened my awareness of psychedelic rock and a new way to play the guitar. And this song says, “Blue are the life giving waters taken for granted, they quietly understand, once happy turquoise armies stand opposite ready and wonder why the fight is on, but they’re all bold as love, just ask the axis.” The centerpoint of existence, the universe. Truth.
There it is. About 11. And now I’ve just proven to myself that too many have been left off this list. I really have hundreds of favorite songs by maybe as many artists, and I like several types of music not even mentioned here.
Keep an eye out for the newest Gardes album, to be released soon!