by / July 7th, 2011 /

Top Story: State’s Office Stereo: Oxegen Special

A special Oxegen edition of our weekly feature, whereby our writers and photogarphers share their favourite tracks of the past seven days.

Tame Impala – ‘Alter Ego’ (Chosen by Daryl Keating)

It’s easy to label Tame Impala as mere copycats who are latching on to the past glories of the late ‘60s. Yet, in doing so you’d be shamefully understating one of the few contemporary psychedelic rock bands that are genuinely talented. Perhaps people can’t get over how much their lead singer, Kevin Parker, sounds like John Lennon. Or maybe there’s just no room for a psych rock group in between the ever expanding buns of Beyonce and the ‘unmovable’ pageantry of The Script. Regardless of public approval, ‘Alter Ego’, from the flawless album Innerspeaker, is one of those tracks that follows you around all day. Parker’s airy vocals, some hypnotic drumming, and barefaced trippy guitar work meld together beautifully here to create one of their best tracks to date.

Tame Impala – Alter Ego by WILD TONIC

Manic Street Preachers – ‘Slash ‘N’ Burn’ (chosen by Dave Donnelly)

Those whose abiding memories of the Manic Street Preachers are the hit singles of the Britpop era might be surprised to learn that the Welsh trio (then a four-piece) began their career in earnest as an abrasive, politically-charged, glammed-up heavy rock band. Their mistake was to release their debut record mere months after a certain Seattle band released their own breakthrough album. It’s a shame because, in Generation Terrorists, the Manics produced arguably the last truly great glam metal record – one that could have reinvigorated the genre had it not already entirely cannibalized itself. In recent times, they appear to have rediscovered their cutting edge and, with it, have introduced a few well-chosen older tracks into the setlist. The pick of the bunch is ‘Slash ‘N’ Burn,’ the opening track from that debut, a commentary on the barbaric scorched earth military policy and a pun on the iconic guitarist (who follows the band on Sunday’s Main Stage).

Weezer- ‘Say It Ain’t So’ (Chosen by Sean Conroy) (chosen by Sean Conroy)

Back in the days before they were hocking Snuggies, encouraging you to buy cheap deodorant or releasing albums with characters from Lost on the cover, Weezer were cooler than cool. This was due in no small part to peculiar frontman, River Cuomo, the man credited as the inventor of ‘Geek-Chic’. He was a songster like no other – he poured his heart and soul into tracks on themes as bizarre as car insurance problems (‘My Name Is Jonas’) or the joy of Dungeons and Dragons (‘In The Garage’). However ‘Say it Ain’t So’, a song is about finding a bottle of beer in his alcoholic father’s fridge, was the unquestionable highlight from their debut album.

This four minute marve, is Weezer at their finest. With it’s pulsing riffs, beautiful solos and aching vocals, ‘Say it Ain’t So’, is not to be missed in a live setting. Forfeiting seeing The Manics and Two Door Cinema Club, sitting through all the bollocks from Raditude and Make Believe and (worse again) standing about in a crowd swaying with impatient My Chemical Romance fans might seem about as pleasant as a slap in the nethers, but this pop-rock classic could make your weekend.

Eels – ‘Grace Kelly Blues’ (chosen by Daniel Harrison)

Mark ‘E’ Everett and co. have formidable cult status here after a good 14 years in the game, packing out one of the tents at last year’s Electric Picnic. One track that has appeared in recent set lists is the opening track of the excellent 2000 album Daisies Of The Galaxy. That record was the upbeat follow-up to the frequently harrowing Electro-Shock Blues, and ‘Grace Kelly Blues’ radiates with an understated, hard-won sense of optimism. “…But me I’m feeling pretty good as of now / I’m not so sure when I got here or how”, Everett intones, perfectly capturing that hesitant emergence from despair and depression. You can almost visualise the sun breaking through the clouds.

Little Green Cars – ‘The John Wayne’ (Chosen by Elaine Buckley)

With so many heavyweight headliners and international superstars on this years busy Oxegen schedule, it’d be easy to miss out on over the lesser-known homegrown acts… I first encountered Little Green Cars when working on The Café, they performed live in studio, and completely blew everyone away – seriously talented teenagers who at the time hadn’t even sat the Leaving Cert! Having followed their progress since, they continue to impress – so I’m delighted to see them on the bill at this year’s festival. Little Green Cars open up proceedings on the Heineken Green Spheres Stage @ 2PM on Satuday – head along and catch one of Ireland’s great bands in the making.

The John Wayne (Radio Edit) by littlegreencars

Justin Robertson – ‘Love Movement (Ulrich Schnauss Remix)’ (chosen by Liam Griffin)

In which the king of calm, Ulrich Schnauss, turns Mr Robertson’s original electro-funk track from 2001 into something predictably more sedate. Schnauss has always managed to be a little bit more inventive than most artists branded with the term “chill out” and his melodies surf the fine line between uplifting and cheesy. As the accompanying fanmade video suggests this song this slice of musical Xanax would be perfect for running around in a field of flowers to. Or to soothe your head as you return from a hectic music festival and try to readjust to reality.

Odd Future (OFWGKTA) – ‘Radicals’ (chosen by Conor McCaffery)

There’ll be a few indie stragglers caught in the hip-hop headlights on Sunday, when LA rap urchins Odd Future pogo onto the Green Spheres stage after Ocean Colour Scene. We predict a riot when Tyler the Creator and co instigate a stage invasion during their call to arms ‘Radicals’ — or at least a bust-up with some burly bouncers who haven’t done their homework. Oxegen is a rite of passage for many teens, a post-Leaving Cert orgy of sex, muck, rock’n’roll and setting fire to their tents on the Monday morning. When Odd Future chant: “Kill People, burn shit, fuck school,” let’s hope everyone forgets about the murder bit.

Big Country – ‘In A Big Country’ (chosen by Phil Udell)

If you’re looking for me around two o’clock on Saturday afternoon, look no further than the main stage. There very few WTF? the bookings at this year’s festival (Amanda Brunker aside, actually playing at the same time) but the appearance of Big Country on the bill is a little odd to say the least. Now fronted by Mike Peters of The Alarm, they are hardly likely to appeal the Oxegen’s core demographic. No matter, for at their early peak, Big Country combined the passion of Stuart Adamson’s previous band The Skids with checked shirts, great tunes and bagpipe guitars. I’ll probably be on my own but I’ll be the one shouting ‘shaaaa’ at the top of my voice.

Destiny’s Child – ‘Say My Name’ (chosen by Anna Forbes)

While we now know that Beyonce can do the festival thing, her Glastonbury performance did highlight one other fact – that her Destiny’s Child material was actually rather good and deserved more than just a rushed medley at the end of her set. Recorded in the middle of line-up changes, ‘Say My Name’ was the beginning of their staggering success and is still a classic. It has to be worth more stage time than a Kings Of Leon cover doesn’t it?

‘Loaded’ – Primal Scream (chosen by Lisa Cunningham

From that memorable opening sample onwards into a prism of sound which interlaces keys, brass, guitars and a scattering of lyrics, ‘Loaded’ takes you on a true journey. It’s a beautiful kaleidoscope of melodies and rhythms which exemplified Primal Scream’s ability to merge different sounds from dance to gospel to rock (with a little help from Andrew Weatherall) and yet still sounds as original today.