Readers recommend playlist: songs about geology

‘Real rock music’, our callout asked for – and you got it, as RR regular Pairubu gets heavy

Below is this week’s playlist – the theme and tunes picked by a reader from the comments on last week’s callout. Thanks for your suggestions. Read more about the format of the weekly Readers recommend series at the end of the piece.

The study of geology can give you a whole new perspective on things. The timescales are immense and the processes involved can be achingly slow, as revealed in our first song, Björk’s Mutual Core, in which she tells us that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is on the surface in Iceland, opens at about the same rate as your fingernails grow.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club take it slow too, grinding away like two giant plates of rock crushing all resistance between them. Coruscating sounds from Viet Cong (AKA Preoccupations), just like the “earthlights” that are sometimes formed when the continental shelves meet and cause earthquakes.

Heavy rock? Pairbu’s RR playlist on geology.

More earthy noises from Unit 4 plus 2 who mix manmade concrete with clay to produce, like said concrete, something that will endure for aeons.

Volcanoes, awesome and spectacular, provide the inspiration for the Budos Band whose funky Volcano Song makes the cut due to the fabulous bongos break in the middle .

Björks are like buses, you wait ages for one then two come along at once. This time with the wonderful Sugarcubes, whose sprightly and fun Regina has both “basalt clusters” and “lobsters”. What more is needed?

The lengthy Tale of the Giant Stone Eater from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band provides time for those who don’t like real rock music to go and make a cup of tea whilst the rest of us bask in some good, old fashioned 70s skronk.

Some rocks are best left lying where they are found. Asbestos, for example or, in the case of Warren Smith, dreaming of riches, Uranium Rock. Very valuable but not really the thing to be messing around with, even when protected by the power of rockabilly.

Flint is a rock that changed human history. Enabling our ancestors to kill mammoths more easily and to make tools that meant farming became possible. Let us celebrate the fracturing , knobbly mineral with the B(C)-52’s and Meet the Flintstones.

Lastly I would like to finish with Captain Beefheart’s Petrified Forest, a musical journey to the Arizona desert to marvel at the mineralised fossil trees that lie there.

A reminder, perhaps, that time, slowly, marches on , mountains crumble, forests fall and seas wither and fade. That’s the way of the world and the evidence is, literally, under our feet, waiting to be studied by the rugged, sexy, Indiana Jones-like geologists.

New theme

The theme for next week’s playlist will be announced at 8pm (UK time) on Thursday 11 August. You have until 11pm on Monday 16 August to make nominations.

Here’s a reminder of some of the guidelines for RR:

  • If you have a good theme idea, or if you’d like to volunteer to compile a playlist from readers’ suggestions and write a blog about it, please email
  • There’s a wealth of data on RR, including the songs that are “zedded”, at the Marconium. It also tells you the meaning of “zedded”, “donds” and other strange words used by RR regulars.
  • Many RR regulars also congregate at the ’Spill blog.

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about welcoming
A reader talks us through a playlist chosen from your suggestions – this week Björk, Bob Dylan and Fats Domino make the cut

Samantha Birchard

01, Jun, 2017 @11:00 AM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about industry and manufacturing
Iggy Pop, OMD, Spandau Ballet and the Commodores have their say on a hard working and eclectic reader-curated list


18, Jan, 2018 @12:00 PM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about power
The full force of the universe is felt through music this week as a below-the-line regular selects a playlist from last week’s suggestions

George Boyland

19, May, 2016 @11:00 AM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: underwater songs
Diving into your suggestions, a reader surfaces with Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix all caught in his list

George Boyland

05, Jul, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
Readers recommend: songs about heat – results

RR regular sonofwebcore presents his pick of the answers to last week's question: what are the best songs about heat?

George Boyland

11, Apr, 2013 @2:07 PM

Article image
Readers recommend: songs about control | Peter Kimpton
Whether losing, gaining, maintaining or fighting it, let the music take over and name songs about all emotional, physical or practical ways we take on turmoil, says Peter Kimpton

Peter Kimpton

05, Mar, 2015 @10:00 PM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about redemption
Primal Scream, Grateful Dead and Van Morrison lead the call for atonement and renewal


02, Nov, 2017 @12:00 PM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about cheating
A reader picks a playlist from your suggestions taking in duplicitous lovers and sporting indiscretions – Fela Kuti, Squeeze and the Clash all make the cut

George Boyland

02, Feb, 2017 @12:00 PM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about winners
Our reader picks from the songs you championed for a victory-tinged playlist that spans musical genres

Stephen Males

01, Sep, 2016 @11:00 AM

Article image
Readers recommend playlist: songs about spying
There’s a sinister subterfuge running through the playlist this week, with artists from Bauhaus to King Creosote collected by a reader on a mission

Andrew Morrissey

05, May, 2016 @11:00 AM