Written by Erika Owen
There's a good chance that you've seen TWINS out and about around Des Moines. Well, and the rest of Iowa, for that matter. They most recently played a rockin' set at 80/35 earlier this month. Of that glorious quartet is Joel Sires, guitarist/vocalist for the group and fellow power pop brat (their website said it, not me). If you're looking for my opinion, this might be one of my favorite 8 Tracks to date. (That being said, I did grow up in an environment that I attribute to my love of music, um, older than my years to.) From Eddie Cochran to Poison Control Center, Sires has a lot to bring to the table in terms of perfectly lengthed playlists. Not to mention the man loves ABBA—and isn't afraid to say it. Read on, listen on, and enjoy your Monday, music fans.
The Nerves // "One Way Ticket"
'One Way Ticket' sounds like three teenagers playing for their lives and to earn an actual one way ticket to a better place. The energy explodes from the recording, it's absolutely alive and it seems the only thing separating the listener from being face to face with the greatest band of all time is a garage door. The Nerves legacy lives on because they had the songs.
Nick Lowe // "Marie Provost"
Nick Lowe has always had a keen sense of the weird and morbid and it's on full display in 'Marie Provost.' A boppin' early 60's style song about a little dachshund dog and a reclusive former silent film star who has been found dead and has become "the doggie's dinner." Haha! Based on a true story!
ABBA // "Ring Ring"
I've heard ABBA mentioned as people's guilty pleasure music. I feel no shame in enjoying such a pristine slab of bubblegum glam pop. This song is pretty perfect for me, the production, Bolan-esque riffs and the 'Crocodile Rock' swing. It's so nice. Screw that doom and gloom music. Gimme the beautiful and naïve sounds of ABBA.
The Who // "Substitute (Live at Leeds)"
Regardless of the cheeseball heights the Who reached in their later years I will forever remain a loyal Pete Townshend disciple. His writing (especially everything pre Who's Next) has been hugely influential on me. 'Substitute' is clever, melodic, hilarious, powerful, heartbreaking, and just quintessential early Townshend. Here it is in it's brilliantly raw live form from the Who's 1970 LP 'Live at Leeds.' Dig those Moonie drum fills. Best drummer ever. Best live LP ever.
The Slats // "King of Hawaii"
When the Slats burst into my world in 2002 I hadn't seen or heard a band like them. The songs are short, hooky and weird. Their influence has remained with me on pretty much every record I have made. 'King of Hawaii' from the Minneapolis/Iowa band's 2006 LP 'Boom Patrol' is a straight up knock out mix of the Ramones on a sugar high riding a wave into a dank basement studio.
The Poison Control Center // "Some Ordinary Vision"
'Stranger Ballet' is a no fuss road record. The PCC had little time to tart up the arrangements and the recordings, which left them with a lean, mean and powerful album. Probably their best. The band's big personalities are all on full display but now they're packed into dense little blasts of pop rock ear candy. Here's Joe Terry's 'Some Ordinary Vision' as proof.
Elvis Costello & the Attractions // "Big Tears"
In the late 70's when the songwriting Gods were handing out thunder they hit Elvis Costello a bunch of extra times. So much so that 'Big Tears,' Elvis' most straight forward power pop tune was regulated to a B side and an odds and ends compilation LP. Wow. Mick Jones from the Clash even pops up to make a guest appearance on lead guitar. Prime Costello.
Eddie Cochran // "Summertime Blues"
The original kiss off punk rock song. It nails the frustration of being a kid in summertime with nothing to do but wait around on other people. Eddie produces, plays all the guitars and sings the shit hot lead vocal. And he was all of 19 when he did it.