The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

In case you missed it, The Smashing Pumpkins dropped two new singles this week. They are okay, I guess, but don’t expect anything close to the band’s legendary hits from the times when MTV used to broadcast music. This made the decision about which artist to feature on this week’s Throwback Thursday entry very easy. It was choosing which song that was incredibly hard. I knew they had a lot of hits but I think I hadn’t really processed how strong Smashing‘s back catalogue was.

I recently finished watching all 3 seasons of Netflix’s great sci-fi show, Dark (I loved it), in which the phrase, “The beginning is the end and the end is the beginning”, was repeated ad infinitum by some characters. Each time that phrase was mentioned, I couldn’t help but think about one of the few positive things 1997’s film Batman & Robin left us: The Smashing Pumpkins‘s single, The End is The Beginning Is The End. Naturally, that was my first choice for this entry, only to discover that its original version wasn’t available on any of the major streaming platforms. There’s only a remix version that doesn’t do it any justice.

That took me back to square one, deciding between featuring my favorite song from Billy Corgan & Co, even though it is very popular; other famous songs such as Disarm or Tonight, Tonight; or a lesser known gem suck as Stand Inside Your Love or Untitled. In the end, 1979 won. I simply had to have that song, which was the second single off Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, in my mixtapes. It is that good. The music video, which you can watch below, is pretty great too.

There’s nothing else I can say about this #musicalcrush. Just enjoy this stroll down memory lane.

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Lachlan – Lax

Indie songs produced and recorded pretty much on your own are not supposed to sound this good. There’s usually something that would give it away, but that’s not the case with Lax, the second single of singer/songwriter Lachlan, released last Friday. The song is a radio-friendly tune with nice guitar riffs and an infectious chorus. Lachlan’s voice is a perfect fit as well.

After being part of several Edinburgh-based bands such as Lost In Vancouver, Lachlan decided to try a career solo. Earlier this year he put his debut single, Too Bad, out. Now with Lax, a song about overcoming your own insecurities, he is letting us know that he’s here to stay. Give this song a listen on the mixtapes below and keep him on your radar. He absolutely deserves it.

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Sister Hazel – Come Around

When it comes to the Throwback Thursday entries, I’m playing it by ear. It’s not easy to pick one relatively old good song amongst hundreds or thousands of them. For that reason, I’m letting random coincidences to choose one for me. For instance, in yesterday’s post I mentioned Sister Hazel and that was all it took for me to write today about that act from Gainesville, Florida. The band, named after a local missionary who took care of homeless people, formed in 1993 and besides being extremely productive with over 10 studio albums (plus EPs, live albums and compilations) over that span, they have also been shockingly stable, maintaining the same line-up throughout all these years. That’s pretty unusual to say the least.

Sister Hazel has had several minor hits and some loyal followers, but if there’s only one song you know from them, then it’s probably All For You. This track was part of the band’s debut album from 1994 but it was re-recorded for the follow-up from 1997and it was then when the song became a hit, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It remains Sister Hazel’s most successful single to date.

However, the song that I want to highlight today is one of those minor hits Sister Hazel had, Come Around, from their excellent 2003 album: Chasing Daylight. This great tune is just as good as All For You but far less popular. It’s also a good example of the band’s trademark blend of alternative touch with southern rhythms.

Let’s remember this classic song today. Enjoy Come Around.

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Kristian Montgomery and the Winterkill Band – Razor Wire Heart

After two days of grunge pop and indie punk, it’s time to slow things down a bit with this mellower track from Kristian Montogomery and the Winterkill Band. The first thing that jumps out at you when listening to Razor Wire Heart is, besides the chords from his guitar, Kristian’s husky and pleasant voice, especially in such an emotional and personal track for him. He’s had quite a tumultuous life, going from singing in heavy rock bands to travelling around the world, getting married and divorced, and even spending six months in jail. Only somebody who has lived through all of those experiences could have written lyrics like these.

This song is part of Gravel Church, an album that Kristian wrote upon his release from prison and his first as Kristian Montogomery and the Winterkill Band. It is a varied album with some alternative rock songs as well as alternative country and other genres. In terms of style, it reminds me a bit of Sister Hazel. If you like that style, you definitely should check this band out, and you can start by listening to Razor Wire Heart here.

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Pony – WebMD

I found it hilarious that Sam Bielanski, the lead singer and mastermind behind Toronto-based band Pony, tweeted –when the band released their latest single– that she had written a song about her favorite website, WebMD. She obviously can make fun of herself and that’s a good quality to have. The song is a great alternative rock jam with an infectious melody and, despite its title, a good message about being independent and not wanting to depend on anyone else in order to feel complete.

According to Pony‘s website, the band’s style is grunge pop, which in a way makes perfect sense. Whatever it is, we need more bands like Pony. Luckily, they recently announced the signing of a deal with an indie label and will release a debut full-length album soon. That being said, the band had been publishing songs and EPs regularly since 2015, so they got plenty of material out already.

Sam even starred, directed, choreographed , shot, and edited the music video for WebMD (the link is below but you might have to go to Youtube in order to watch it due to restrictions from the music label). Or you can also enjoy this tune on the mixtapes below. Whatever you choose, have fun!

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London Grammar – Baby It’s You

Out of the blue and without any indication of a new album coming out soon, London Grammar simply dropped a new single yesterday, Baby It’s You, after posting a tease on Instagram on Monday. The young band from Nottingham, UK, had last released an album, their sophomore record, in 2017. Both of the band’s studio albums were massive successes in the UK and if this new track is an indication of what’s coming next, their third full-length will hit the jackpot too, and deservedly so.

As it was the case with all of London Grammar‘s previous songs, Baby It’s You is driven by the stunning and powerful vocals of Hannah Reid. In a way, it’s fitting that this entry comes right after the one about Mazzy Star, because not unlike Hope Sandoval, Hannah is an introvert who suffers from stage fright. And just like Hope. she got an angelic voice capable of leaving any audience absolutely mesmerised.

On this new track, the ethereal vocals are surrounded by the band’s trademark atmospheric sounds. What is new this time around is a certain balearic vibe: just the right amount to make things interesting without overpowering the tune. All in all, Baby It’s You is a nice new song from London Grammar and you can enjoy it in the mixtapes below.

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Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

Earlier this week, I mentioned that Teen Idle was going to get compared to Mazzy Star. Now, depending on your age, you might not be aware of who they were (I love ’90s music and I wasn’t aware of them until the late ’00s!), which is why I thought it fitting to feature Fade Into You as this week’s Throwback Thursday entry. A song that is widely considered one of the best tracks of that decade.

This song was a huge hit for the band in 1994, reaching number 3 on Billboard‘s Modern Rock chart (back when that chart meant something) and peaking at #44 on the Hot 100 chart. No other song from the band appeared on that Hot 100 chart and only two other tracks charted on the Modern Rock Top 40 (Halah and Blue Flower), which in part explains why people who were not active music listeners at the time might not know about this band. That and the fact that the band broke up in 1997 and didn’t regroup until 2012.

Mazzy Star consisted of Hope Sandoval, as lead singer and lyricist; and David Roback, as composer and main producer, who also played most of the instruments. Hope has a reputation for being shy, which made her focus on her singing while on stage instead of interacting with the audience. When you have a voice as angelic and beautiful as hers, I don’t see the problem in that. Sure, having a charismatic singer is nice, but we don’t need every single lead singer to be like that. Anyway, I guess that was another reason preventing the band from achieving super stardom.

Unfortunately, David Roback died earlier this year but he and Hope (who’s still active) left behind a legacy of great music that won’t be forgotten. Isn’t that the ultimate goal for any artist?

Watch a live performance of this iconic song here, or find it in the mixtapes below.

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Eagle-Eye Cherry – Falling In Love Again

As mentioned on last Saturday’s entry, Eagle-Eye Cherry deserves his own Throwback Thursday post and here it is. He had two successful hits in the late 90’s: Save Tonight and Falling In Love Again, both really good but with the former being the bigger one. However, I always liked the latter a bit more. I can’t really explain why. I just did.

Unless you are constantly listening to alternative music from the 90’s, chances are that you forgot about these songs or never heard of them, but even if you still remember them, you might not know that Eagle-Eye was actually a Swedish artist, not American, despite being of Choctaw descent. His actual full name is Eagle-Eye Lanoo Cherry and another interesting tidbit is that he went to acting school with Jennifer Aniston. However, he ended up focusing on music only. He was pretty productive as a musician until 2003, and then he had a long-hiatus until 2012, when he became active again. His last full album, Streets of You, was released in 2018.

Let’s reminisce here about this interesting artist by listening to one of his best songs, an old musical crush. Enjoy!

P.S: The music video is so 90’s!

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Alanis Morissette – Smiling

In case you missed it because it didn’t receive the same level of attention as Folklore, Alanis released last week her first album in 8 years: Such Pretty Forks In the Road, and I have to say that it’s possibly her best work since at least Under Rug Swept (2002). Rolling Stone criticised the album because it’s not as edgy and rebellious as Jagged Little Pill, but after 25 years, you cannot expect her to be exactly the same person. People change. Alanis got three kids now as well, and that changes your priorities too. This does not mean that she has lost her knack for great lyrics, she hasn’t. It’s just that she aims it differently know.

The album has several good tracks, including Reasons I Drink and Ablaze. Its first and third singles so far, respectively. My favourite, however, is Smiling, which is one of two new songs written for the Broadway adaptation of Jagged Little Pill (I’m not a fan of musicals but that’s one I’d be interested in watching), and also released as the second single off this new album. It showcases Alanis‘ great vocals and got a similar vibe to Uninvited. You can find it below in the Alternative mixtape.

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Semisonic – All It Would Take

One month ago, when it became public that Semisonic was getting back together and released a new song, I wrote about DND as a Throwback Thursday post. At the time, I mentioned that their new song was ok but nothing to write home about. This time, they released another song, All it Would Take, and I do like it very much. Thank you.

Now, I’m not saying it is on par with their classics from Feeling Strangely Fine –such as Closing Time, DND or Secret Smile–, but it’s certainly my favourite song from them since that album. I, for one, missed Dan Wilson‘s voice, and even though he released several songs as a solo artist (with Breathless being a highlight); there’s something special about Semisonic.

In each of our lives, there is the possibility of meeting that one person who will change the way we see everything, a person who will give us a sense of new meaning, a mission, a passion. ‘All it Would Take‘ is our song for that moment, that person, that one voice that can change the world within you. Then you can turn outward and begin to change the world around you, too.

Dan Wilson, Semisonic

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