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Countdown: Top Five Song Intros Of All Time Or Maybe Just This Week

photo by Ada Chen

Song intros! You’ve likely heard of them! Did you know one estimate says that roughly 92.7% of songs actually begin with “an intro”? It sounds fucking mental, I know, but it’s true! And as any motivational speaker will tell you...you only get one chance to make a first impression! That is, unless you have a rag soaked in chloroform handy! But most people don’t! Or shouldn’t! So yes! Song intros!

Bearing all those exclamation points above in mind this column is hereby dedicated to the "Top 5 Song Intros" from the past week, or month, or year, as a means of promoting Greater Song Introduction Awareness before it's too late. So now with no further ado…

05) Kissed By An Animal “Be”

First off, any song that starts off with a certain mid-tempo bass drum and snare rhythm (you know the one!) as in the one that makes you think you’re about to hear Joan Jett’s “Do Ya Wanna Touch Me” automatically makes the Top 5. And that’s not to dunk on Kissed By An Animal either because this is a cool song otherwise too—cool enough that I’m not even mad when it doesn’t turn into “Do You Wanna Touch Me”—with an intro that builds layer by layer with bass and guitar and the whole thing is a fun rock ’n’ roll journey. “So” can be heard on I Don’t Have To Explain Myself To You, an album released exactly a week ago.

And hey I don’t wanna dwell on Joan Jett too much here but if you'll humor me just compare the two versions of “DYWTM” below and tell me the Top Of The Pops version isn’t much superior to the "official" music video because the video makers had the nerve to lop off the iconic drum intro part which completely ruins the whole thing I mean wtf were they thinking?! (but at least this nicely illustrates my argument re: song intro importance…)

04) Joudy: “El Renacer”

This New York-via-Venezuela three-piece has the right idea on their single “El Renacer” (released a few weeks ago aka “The Rebirth” if you're a gringo) thrusting the listener directly into the most pit in medias res (Latin for “throw the baby into the deep end”) with the thrashing triplet guitar that's actually the chorus to the song so you see how Joudy pulled a “She Loves You” on us except of course it’s an instrumental version of the chorus here.

Joudy recently signed with Trash Casual which is a pretty groovy record label so good on them. And take it from me, these gents are totally sick on stage so wear a mask if you "catch" them tonight (7/15) at Arlene Grocery

03) Monarch “The Risk” 

Ok, you seriously didn’t believe you'd get through this list without any wind chimes did you? HELL NO! But wind chimes are in short supply these days in Brooklyn thanks to the global supply chain crisis so it's lucky that the instrument/patio decoration is native to Hudson Valley which means we get this charming track by Monarch who return to play NYC on 8/26 at Pianos

“The Risk” opens on a sustained guitar chord and a swell of everything else (including wind chimes!) and yeah I know this intro may only last for three seconds but that’s what makes it work—it wipes the sonic slate clean with a quick smear of sound before launching into a “Blue Moon progression with vocalist Sarah Hartstein sweetly intones some linesw about the night sky and the mysterious interconnectedness of the universe. Also, check out the soaring choruses and a very active bassline played by Jesse Hartstein.

02) Pan Arcadia: “Leaving Paradise”

Released last week or thereabouts, this is what’s known in the industry as a “statement song.” And as for the six rapscallions who make up Pan Arcadia they’re here to tell us they wanna rock and dammit if I believe ‘em because this song slaps. Which isn't to say these six gents haven't always rocked, but this is a more raucous affair than they’ve committed to tape before (live I've seen 'em rock to this level maybe but that's another story) and they assert this new rockatude right from the first microsecond of the intro (crucial!) which opens with a peal of feedback and a gliss down the guitar neck and then a Crue-worthy riff and a Who-worthy power chord/feral scream and would somebody please remind me when they’re leaving for the tour with Aerosmith again?

In the meantime, Pan Arcadia will appear at Bowery Ballroom tonight (7/15) opening for Quarters of Change. Apparently it’s a mostly if not entirely sold out show but a small clutch of tickets will reportedly be released at the door early this evening. Plus rumor has it they’re been cosying up with a former Rolling Stone editor lately so here’s hoping they remember the little people when they hit it big.

01) Johnny Dynamite & The Bloodsuckers “The Last Ones”

“The Last Ones” has been billed as being for fans of The Cure, M83, A Flock of Seagulls, and MGMT. And if you’re bold enough to propose such an esteemed musical familiy tree then you better get your song intro game on point son and boy did Mr. Dynamite nail it on his new single released just yesterday called "The Last Ones".

And when it comes to this particular musical demi-monde it's the achievement of the perfect chiming, twinkling, crystalline reverb-laden guitar arpeggiation tone and texture that's absolutely crucial if you even plan to aspire to be in a band with a fighting chance of getting a song placed on Stranger Things Season 5 and peeping the music video above for “The Last Ones” with its neon hues, pretty young things and graphic bloodletting makes me think this was maybe Johnny’s plan all along—a plan that now seems entirely plausible after hearing “The Last Ones.”

And yes it’s true that JD&TBS have already nailed the arpeggiated guitar intro once before with “Can’t Stop My Love” with its well-honed admixture of acoustic guitar and electric bass but still I think the new intro potentially nails it even more (even if it’s shorter) because it sounds like a glass menagerie in sound and more Cure-esque to boot, especially vis-a-vis the guitar line in the intro to The Cure's relative obscurity “To The Sky” or at least to my ears (don’t worry Johnny, I won’t sic Robert’s lawyers on ya!) and truly I could write a whole ‘nother article on Cure song intros because well I mean many of their song “intros” are more lengthy than the actual "song" (i.e., vocal) portions of thee songs themselves and just go listen to Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me if you don’t believe me. Song intros!! (Jason Lee)

The Cure long intro: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheCure/comments/ib0m76/what_is_the_best_super_long_intro_to_a_cure_song/

TO THE SKY: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/By7QW2_7dh4" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Alt Pop

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The Bowrey Ballroom
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Pamphlets hand out latest musical manifesto with "Somehow"

photo by Akaer Studio

Having witnessed a couple live sets by the Brooklyn-based three-piece Pamphlets recently there’s one word that comes to mind to describe their songs and their stage presence and that word is “urgency” because here’s a band who instill every note and every syllable with an urgent sense of, well, urgency, that makes you feel like somehow you should be doing something about the desperate state of the world, or the desperate state of your soul, or heck maybe they’re just trying to remind you that you left the oven or the iron on at home. But whatever it is, it’s damn urgent and you better take care of that shit right away.

It’s a general vibe that’s very much in keeping with these urgent times, times equivalent to a dumpster fire being doused with a tanker trunk full of gasoline (expensive gasoline!) and Pamphlets are like the “End Is Nigh” street corner guy who thrusts a pamphlet into your hand where “every ounce of passion is calling for a reaction” and here I’m quoting from Pamphlet’s new single “Somehow” which is put across with a Gang of Four (Gang of Three!) level intensity and urgency by vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Marquez, bassist Ben Griffin, and rhythmatist Daniel Pemberton.

And hey I’m not even gonna try to interpret “Somehow”’s lyrics minus any input from the band because that’s beyond my pay grade but safe to say there’s plenty of intriguing lines about redlining and polished politicians and defiling palms and submissive gods and “taking medicine to ease myself from all of your relevance” which come across equally acerbic and anthemic as underlined by the spiky-as-a-porcupine postpunk sonics guaranteed to get your heart pumping even when they slow things down like on “Flowers.” 

So check it all out and then check out Pamphlets live if you're able to cuz they’re really something in a setting where their livewire energy comes across most directly and luckily you've got two chances to do just that in the coming days since the three gents are slated to appear at Bushwick’s Hart Bar on Friday and then out on Rockaway Beach on Saturday as part of the Rock! Away! Summer Fest so get up and boogie down with urgency! (Jason Lee)


Alt Pop

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Knitting Factory
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Black Light Smoke gets back to "Work" on new EP feat. Leah Lazonick

As this music-loving blogger's birthday fast approaches I’m drawn to a couple songs—one new and one from 2017—both by Black Light Smoke, aka Jordan Lieb, a Chicago-to-New-York transplant who’s been billed elsewhere as a “producer, songwriter, and Daytime Emmy Award winning film and tv composer [who] spans house, techno, minimal synth and post punk” and yes I’m pretty sure this is the Deli's first ever blog entry about a Daytime Emmy Award winner.

Staring with the older song first, “Take Me Out (Tonight)” which features Léah Lazonick on vocals, is something like a disco-nap-wet-dream built around a conversation between two horny dating-app bots that captures that perfect mix of anticipation and desperation that's likely to spawn a memorable night out that you won’t remember in the morning. 

In other words, the perfect birthday song. And the remix by Cabaret Nocturne ups the ante further with a propulsive coldwave beat that’s something like the dead-eyed seductive stare of a vampire as she/he/it slowly caresses your neck whilst sizing up your carotid artery. So check it out, yo.

The newer song is “Work” and it’s the leadoff track from Black Light Smoke’s new EP of the same name. This one has more of a rigorous house music meets electro feel with no shortage of synthetic 808 hand claps and features the same Brooklyn-based Léah Lazonick mentioned above who sternly declames lines like “I don’t have time for other people’s shit / I don’t have time to listen to your DJ mix…get to bed wake up and work / keep the baby ‘cause I work” etc. etc.

And seeing as there’s nothing like a birthday to make one realize one needs to get one’s shit together (all due respect to Tommy Wiseau) "Work" actually feels just as B-Day appropriate as “Take Me Out” does if not more so. And so…now I must get back to work. But don’t worry I will find time to listen to your DJ mix/mixtape/new single/rock opera because that’s kinda my job. (Jason Lee)


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