Boston-born, LA-based trio the Crash Kings rock hard without guitars, basing their keyed up sound on the clavinet. Brothers Mike and Tony Beliveau craft crushers like "Mountain Man," a #1 hit on alternative radio, as well as beautiful ballads like "My Love" that should appeal to listeners across the wide musical spectrum. It wasn't until I saw them live that I really grasped how incredibly talented and outrageously underrated this group is. After weathering a major label storm, Crash Kings returned to the spotlight, ready to burn with their own "Hot Fire," (available as a free download at their website). The song is off their long-awaited new album, Dark of the Daylight, a fan-funded bruiser of an LP. After the jump, check out Mike's "10 Great Songs by 10 Great Boston Bands" playlist, curated exclusively for Speakers In Code.
Tony and I originally grew up just north of Boston in Andover, MA and lived in the city while at school. Even though Crash Kings was started in LA, we are very much a Boston band if you consider our history. After all, we started this band as a return to our rock and roll roots, which was very much inspired by all that was happening around us growing up. Below is a list of some of my favorite songs by some of the greatest bands to come out of Boston.
1. Dick Dale - "Miserlou"
One of the first guitar licks I tried to play as a kid. This track defines my formative years in a way, partly because we discovered it from our favorite film Pulp Fiction, also the surf rock sound that we tried to emulate as kids and the nod to Greek music (Tony and I have Greek roots).
2. The Cars - "Bye Bye Love"
Why this one as opposed to all of the other amazing Cars songs? Maybe it's the crazy synth solo or just the undeniable vocal hook. I don't know, we love this and pretty much every track from the Cars. One of the greatest bands ever.
3. The Pixies - "Gigantic"
Another Boston band that had the ability to kick out hit song after hit song without "selling out" or changing their sound at all. This one kicked it all off as their first single off their first release, and they went on to be one of the most influential bands in the alternative rock scene.
4. Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "Where'd You Go"
I grew up listening to the Bosstones. This was one of my favorite tracks. The drummer Joe Sirois went to the same high school as Tony and I in Andover, MA.
5. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - "Roadrunner"
Probably the best by this 70's Boston band. It's also an ode to Massachusetts, which is great.
6. Boston - "Foreplay/Longtime"
It's not a wonder we love this track that has a near 3 min instrumental intro. There's a soft spot in our hearts for proggy keyboard based music.
7. Medeski Martin and Wood - "Just Like I Pictured It"
Even though they're technically a New York band, they have roots in Boston where they all attended the New England Conservatory. This keyboard, bass and drums trio was a big influence and inspiration for Tony and I when we were growing up.
8. Aerosmith - "Dream On"
It would be unthinkable to leave out this track from one of the most famous Boston bands ever. We'd be lying if we said they weren't an influence on us. We were fans as little kids.
9. Lemonheads - "It's a Shame About Ray"
This is just a great song by another great Boston band. It was also one of our favorites growing up. In the 90's our music collection consisted of about 30 CDs max, and this was one of 'em.
10. The Shills - "Move A Mountain"
This is a nod to a current Boston band that opened our recent show at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. They're continuing the tradition of the other great bands on this list, with creative no-nonsense songwriting, and they really pull it off brilliantly live.