When I get a song or a band or an album in my head, it's pretty much all I can think about for a stretch of a few days. If people are unlucky enough to be around me, they'll hear me gush about it, or maybe catch me whistling a few bars from it, or if they're truly unfortunate, I'll force them to listen to some or all of it, and point out where all the diminished sevenths are in it, and ohmygod, aren't these guys friggin' geniuses?!
(Seriously, why do people put up with me? I'd smack me clean across the face.)
1. Rusty — Out Of Their Heads
You remember these guys, I know you do. Mid- to late-'90s, Canadian, frontman was a white dude with dreads, vaguely punk-ish at times? Their biggest song was probably either "Wake Me" or "Empty Cell". Anyway, for their third album, they decided it would be a good idea to go with a Rolling Stones-inspired foray into garage rock. Sometimes it comes up a bit short, but songs like "Let's Break Robert Out Of Jail" rock with a fury seldom-seen this side of Motörhead (but this and this reinterpretation of their most famous song come pretty close).
2. Blue Rodeo
I grew up on a healthy mix of the Stones and early-'80s country, so it would stand to reason that I'd have an affinity for rock and roll which had a bit of a twang. One of my absolute favourite albums of all time is Tremolo, which has this great, loose feeling (they only very minimally rehearsed the songs before laying them down on tape); their second-last album, Are You Ready?, contains the achingly-beautiful "Rena".
"I have a confession to make," I said to one of my students a couple of weeks ago. "Even though you don't spell your name in the conventional way, whenever I read it, or whenever I see you, a song starts playing in my head." This one, by none other than Steely Dan. I played them a clip of it at the end of class later that day, with a preface that (a.) they'd probably never heard (of) this band before, and (b.) they'd probably hate the song. Reviews weren't exactly glowing, but they weren't as negative as I'd feared. Maybe they were just being nice.