I've always known that I've wanted to work in the music industry -- my childhood was filled with mirror-dancing to Debbie Gibson and Tiffany with visions of future stardom and stadium tours. My adolescence was spent working at a record store and playing in punk bands hoping to someday become a punk icon. Although the performance aspect was always super fun, I really got a kick out of being an integral part of a team accomplishing the behind-the-scenes stuff for bands.
I started my own music publicity firm almost two years ago. Basically my job is to take a bunch of bands I really dig and pump their music on music websites and magazines, which is probably the best job I could have because I get really excited about music and want everyone to know what I'm listening to.
I wanted to make a playlist of tracks and artists that inspired me to pursue a career in the music industry -- hopefully when you bump them you'll get inspired too!
1. "Germ Free Adolescents" by X Ray Spex is such a rad song. It's slower and less chaotic than their other stuff and it's the title track from their classic punk album. Gotta love the sax in these songs!
2. "Andromeda & The Milky Way" by Me'shell Ndegeocello is my jam. I'll tell you why -- the production, the vocals, the bass! Me'shell is a powerhouse player and should be a staple of everyone's musical diet. "Take me down to your river, I wanna get free with you" she sings. Ok Me'shell, let's go.
3. "Dance This Mess Around" by the B-52s is just one of the many gems that the B-52s have to offer. This is by far my favorite band of all time -- they have the musical chops, are eccentric and surprisingly employ gorgeous melodies with solid harmonies and while having enough punk sensibility to really scream when it's needed. Kate peels into this beauty as a true punk singer "Why don't you dance with me, I'm not no Limburger!"
4. "Don't Change Your Plans" by Ben Folds Five is perfect. The architecture of this song is brilliant -- the melody, the horns versus strings breakdown, the ahh's, the running arpeggios -- that piano line! And then -- if that wasn't enough -- at around three minutes and 54 seconds into the song, it slows as if it's going to stop and Ben (or really whoever) whistles as if to tell the music to 'Hurry Up!' and it does -- the piano runs ahead of the band and they sing the last chorus to the swell of strings and even church bells.
5. "Words And Guitar" by Sleater Kinney is one of my many favorite SK tunes -- it was really hard to narrow their catalog to just one favorite. What I love about Sleater Kinney is Corrine Tucker's soaring and hectic vocals with Carrie Brownstein really holding down the fort with her vocal lines. I love that they use two very different vocal lines in a lot of their choruses and I borrowed the idea for my punk band in college and shared the mic with Brooklyn Transcore musician and activist Al Rosenberg.
6. "Typical Girls" by The Slits represents both the punk and the feminist/activist artists that would take up pages if I wasn't limiting myself to 10 songs here. I could post about Bikini Kill,or even The Dead Kennedys, The Misfits and Rancid but what I love about all of those bands is summed up in this song. Ladies here are basically saying 'the social pressures I feel to be a certain way are stupid, typical, and I don't dig them' -- and it's all set to music. I love it.
7. "Green Eyes" by Erykah Badu is an epic. It's a 10-minute song with three very distinct songs inside of it -- all about a breakup. I remember listening to this song several times when I first got the album and thinking you can do that? The answer is yes, kids. With music you can do anything.
8. "That Girl" by Esthero was my jam in high school and when Esthero's second album came out she did an in-store at the Virgin Megastore where I worked, and I basically followed the promotion machine as a fan. I saw her play and to this day it's one of the best live shows I've ever seen. I could go on forever about her -- but I was lucky enough recently to help out doing PR for her last album. Working with an idol is something I always hoped to do in this industry and a huge reason why I wanted to get into music in the first place.
9 "Me & The Bees" by The Softies is such a gorgeous tune by such a gorgeous band and I love it. Rose Melberg is a big inspiration of mine because she played in a bunch of really great bands that all sounded very different. Go Sailor songs are super poppy and fun and Tiger Trap songs are heavier and more punk-like. The Softies and her solo stuff all have a much slower feel but what's cool about all of her music is that though the bands and genres change, her sound is still so distinctly hers.
10. "Cool on Your Island" by Y Kant Tori Read is SUCH a great song -- I love the vibes and the chorus is epic. I included this song in my list because this was Tori Amos' '80s synth-rock project -- and the record tanked. I'm not sure if it was even properly released! What inspires me about this is that she went on to write Little Earthquakes in 1992 and made a killer career for herself. When something isn't working -- keep on trying until you find something that fits.
Well, that's it! Hope you enjoy the tunes!