Musical Fruitcake
A Weekly Music Blog!

Excited to be back in the musical saddle again with the 2010 Musical Fruitcake.  I wouldn’t be here without the encouragement of the two other contributors to this year’s compilation, Bill Ryan and Dave Leary.  Thanks guys for the inspiration and colaboration!  Highlights for me from this year include Sleep Tonight by Stars from Bill’s […]

So much of the music we listen to today is based on the Blues music of yesterday. One of the greats was John Lee Hooker and it seemed only fitting to start this list off with one of my favorite Blues men and one of his early tracks. Let it ease you in…

The Cure was one of the bands that influenced me most growing up. So much so that I had hair like Robert Smith for several years. Their first album is a gem, containing the work of a very young band struggling to find themselves in a world of early English punk artist and contained their first hit: “10:15 On a Saturday Night”, however the guitar nut in me always loved “Object” and it’s tight little chords that illustrate the great guitarist and song writer that was, and is, Robert Smith.

I recently rediscovered The Runaways while looking back on early radio shows I listened to before buying some of my first records. This was the first real all girl rock band and they paved the way for so many other female artists and acts that followed. Their influence can be found everywhere, including an obvious rip off of their song “American Nights” by Judas Priest, who’s song “Living After Midnight” is nearly a carbon copy (and was released a few years later). I love “Is It Day or Night” because it has more balls that most late 70’s tunes.

While The Runaways are a great example of early girl rock, Ladytron is one of my favorite modern examples. They’re a mix of Europop, synth, industrial, and dance that create fascinating soundscapes in several languages. The band recently remixed the song “This is The Beginning” for the Nine Inch Nails remix album “Y34RZ3r0r3mix3d”. I’ll get into my love of Trent a little later.

How to Destroy Angels is the newest band on my list, yet it feels as old and comfortable as a well worn pair of jeans. If there’s one artist that I would love to trade places with for any amount of time it would be Trent Reznor. From day one of the release of “Pretty Hate Machine” I haven’t skipped one of his beats. He’s never been one to bend to the masses, always focusing on the music and crafting new techniques and sounds. His new band with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig (formerly of West Indian Girl) brings a fresh take to Trent’s creative flow. Each song includes recycled sounds from NIN works but they don’t come across like cheap rip offs or cop outs. There is rhyme to his reason and I’m still following his trail.

I most closely associate this song with Sushi. The first time I heard it was at my favorite little local sushi joint that specializes in quality, inexpensive items with a side of dance music. What most caught my ear was the inclusion of a base line that could almost be provided by Peter Hook (I’m obsessed with 80’s Alt) and vocals that remind me of Daisy Chainsaw. Throw in a dash of Oakenfold-like beats and this track is a winner. Pass the wasabi and soy sauce please.

Here begins the delving into local artists. I had a chance to shoot Random Ninjas at a show in Highland Park at Mr. T’s Bowl, an old converted bowling alley that gives up and coming artists a place to cut their teeth. This ska/punk band consists of two drummers (one traditional Tyko and one traditional rock) a super hot bassist (Agent Katchu) and one of the best of breed local guitarists (Full Metal Ninja). They’re already starting to get a great deal of notice and I don’t think it will be long before they make a splash in a big way.

My other local Ninjas! Rob (who I’ve known for 20 years) and Joey have been the core of this Drum and Base outfit for over 10 years and have had some limited success, but it’s their live shows that make the music come alive. Dressed in full Ninja gear, going by the names Indo Ninja and Outdo Ninja, and accompanied by their partners in crime Ninjamamalickum! and Gongis Khan, they lay the sonic smack down on those in need of a serious ass kicking. A solid group of musicians that are often called upon to fill in for, or tour with, other bands, here they’ve made an interesting cover to the Radio Head song “Idiotech” with nothing more than a drum and a bass.

I laugh when I think of Julian as a local artist, since he’s originally from England, however his music is fresh and exciting with a rock edge that keeps things real. The love child of David Bowie and Peter Murphy, Julian is the local artist that should already be famous. I actually had a hard time figuring out which song I should pick from this eclectic collection, he’s that good.