1. Mobile, "See Right Through Me"Although
this record came out long after The Good North had broken up, turns out
I'd been trying to rip them off my entire career. Exactly the type of
hard-charging, soaring anthem my own songs sound like in my head...only
none of them are nearly as good as this. One of my favorite vocalists
of the past five years. Only big in Canada, sadly. 2. Kent, "If You Were Here"This
track from what I consider the greatest Swedish rock band ever – no
small feat – came out way back in 1998, and it still sounds like it
was written tomorrow. It's the essence of longing distilled into a the
ideal pop-rock format. This record got lost in the shuffle in the
post-Bends-era imitators, but it should have been a huge breakthrough
here. For a dude who speaks English as a second language, he writes
better lyrics than most American bands. Huge in Sweden. Here, not so
much. 3. Aerial Love Feed, "Doomsville"
TGN used to play with these guys in NYC all the time back in the
day, and they had a big influence on us. We named our first album after
one of their songs. Way, way ahead of their time, they were doing the
shoegaze revival thing in the late '90s, then added in a thumping house
electronic element just before dance music blew up again. Big in NYC,
but never got the attention they deserved everywhere else. 4. The Sheila Divine, "Like a Criminal"Definitely
no surprise about this one for anyone who's ever heard TGN or talked to
me for five seconds. And while they weren't underrated in Boston, they
probably should have been a huge smash across the country. It still
bothers me to this day. I've been trying to write songs like this one
for years now.5. Brand New, "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows"
This one was sort of a hit, but I highly doubt you gave a shit about
it, so we're gonna call it underrated anyway. Best lyricist in the past
decade or so. Just a huge anthemic, powerful song, full of sweet
harmonies, hard-edged screaming, poignant lyrics, and blazing guitars.
The type of song that can pick you up and carry you away. 6. Further Seems Forever, "The Moon Is Down"Yeah,
yeah, emo is gay or whatever. Good call. This seminal, but mostly
overlooked record is the picture of a band hitting it so hard in all
departments. Not least of which is Carrabba's amazing, yearning vocal
here. Sort of a blueprint for most of the shitty bands that came out in
the meantime, but still powerful and moving after all this time. Gives
hope to dudes who can't technically sing well, but can force home the
drama all the same.
The Good North play their reunion show at the Middle East downstairs on Saturday, June 27.