Local crooner Anthony Fama of The Redemptions is a Phoenix #tastemaker and scene supporter with a sweet new album that dropped in September. So we decided to turn the spotlight on him to find out songs Anthony thinks everyone should hear. Check out his TEN below and make sure you also check out the Worst. Summer. Ever. by The Redemptions.
Note from Anthony: I guess I feel a bit weird being in a “tastemakers” list. I’ve been a crotchety old man from such an early age that I’d hardly consider myself anywhere near the pulse of modern taste. I feel closer to a John Waters who just got tired way too early. And I definitely don’t feel the admiration and wonder that I see most my peers have for music. I’m much more of a tactician than an obsessed fan, finding more inspiration in how or why artists create than awe in the actual creations themselves.
So, since you’ll most likely catch me listening to 60’s elevator music on any given day, take this as a components list for what I feel makes for good art.
Firstly, this is NOT what punk music is supposed to sound like. Early punk was so much more diverse and eclectic than people give it credit for. CRASS is the band, for me, that embodied the ethos of punk so much more than anyone else. To the point that the band created a false tape of a Reagan and Thatcher conversation (cut from televised speeches) wherein the Iron Lady admitted to a false flag attack to start the Falklands war. The tape was so good the CIA thought the Russians made it. Punk. Fucking. Rock.
“Everybody’s Happy Nowadays”
This isn’t my favorite Buzzcocks song, I just thought it’d be one you guys would like. On the other side of the punk coin, Punk Rock is, in my belief, the last form of rock’n’roll to truly and effectively embrace the “pop” mentality of efficient and direct songwriting. These days, bands either embrace the pop mentality and have nothing to say or have an important message and seemingly no desire to communicate it clearly.
Welcome to our first detour in Anthony’s lecture on why you kids don’t know nuthin’. I just really like the Raincoats. I can’t say I’ve listened to them in years. But I also haven’t just laid in bed, stoned out of my gourd needing to hear something sadder than me in a good while. So, if you’re in that mood here ya go.
First off, Sam Cooke is fucking amazing. You should know Sam Cooke. But most of all, the songwriting of that time was still so closely tied to the days of show tunes where you had dozens of guys in a single building all writing songs. So much focus and attention in the details of the song to all drive a single point home. I just fucking love this song.
“Would you Be Impressed?”
I just think everyone needs a little ska in their life. Streetlight, in my opinion, are one of the best ska bands in existence. Of course, I mostly think that [Tomas] Kalnoky is a brilliant lyricist. Which is generally at the top of my list in all things music. ‘Make words make good sense’ is also very high on the list. Plus, this video is awesome.
Remember the days when people were adept with using extended metaphors? Pepperidge Farms remembers. Honestly, for the most part, these days I’m just really disappointed with lack of really good writing. Clear writing. It’s like the only way people think you’re a good writer these days is if you’re really obtuse and split metaphors left and right. I don’t think that you’re writing being a puzzle is a sign of creativity or intelligence. I just don’t think you know what you’re trying to say yet.
“If You Want to be Happy”
Welcome to our final detour! Not only does this song exist, it was a number one hit! Listen to the song again and let that sink in for a moment. Now listen to it again. If you get more angry every time you listen to this, you probably need to relax more in life.
“He Hit Me (And it Felt like a Kiss)”
This just isn’t a song that you find anymore, definitely not in mainstream culture. You may not like this song for philosophical or political reasons, but it’s an honest portrayal of how someone in this situation might feel. It’s not positive or re-affirming, but it’s real and heartfelt. Something our culture could use a lot more of.
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
“Counting Down the Hours”
I FUCKING LOVE TED LEO. He is one of the few modern artists I genuinely get a chubby for. They’re coming to Valley Bar at the end of October. You should go. I’m absolutely not trying to earn points here.
“A Place Where We Can Stay”
This is Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy. My all time favorite punk poet. This is my favorite song of theirs to play but their best sounding album “This is Unity Music” wasn’t on YouTube. Read the Lyrics, dance your ass off.
All in all, you should all be more punk and write better pop music and maybe then we can take our culture back from corporate kleptocrats.
And, as always, here is an example of our Tastemaker’s work —