Wednesday, 7 October 2015

50 Years of Tunes - 2002 - Desaparecidos "Read Music / Speak Spanish"

Another album I discovered by chance. Like 99's dEUS album also down to a review that caught my attention and intrigued me. This is Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame doing Emo with his friends and doing it really well.

They pretty much disappeared off the planet having released this LP. I guess Conor was back doing Bright Eyes & solo stuff and didn't have time to do any thing more. But then, in 2013, SongKick Detour helped crowd fund a short tour and I got to see them play most of this album (bar the opening track which only featured on the International release - oddly as it's one of my favourite tracks) and some new stuff live at the Electric Ballroom. Awesome gig.

2002 - Desaparecidos "Read Music / Speak Spanish"

Released: February 2002
Label: Saddle Creek

Track List:

1. "What's New for Fall" 3:46
2. "Man and Wife, The Former (Financial Planning)" 3:16
3. "Manana" 3:24
4. "Greater Omaha" 4:14
5. "Man and Wife, The Latter (Damaged Goods)" 3:39
6. "Mall of America" 2:41
7. "The Happiest Place on Earth" 3:02
8. "Survival of the Fittest/It's a Jungle Out There" 2:56
9. "$$$$" 5:10
10. "Hole in One" 3:08


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

50 years of Tunes - 2001 - The Dirtbombs "Ultraglide In Black"

2001 was a straight shoot out between the band that really got me into Garage Rock (The White Stripes) and the Garage Rock band - though they might deny that tag - I love the most. The Dirtbombs win out as they're brilliant and this was the album that I first discovered them with. It's actually a collection of Soul, R&B and Motown covers with Your Love Belongs Under a Rock the only original Dirtbombs composition.

The Dirtbombs were originally a side project for Mick Collins, of Garage Rock Legends The Gories, and only planned to release singles. Ultraglide is their second full length LP and began a pattern of LPs that would represent different genres. It's a policy that has kept their music fresh and seen the band produce collections of Punk, Detroit Techno and Bubblegum Pop.

They're bloody ace live and if they ever get back over here you absolutely HAVE to see them.

2001 - The Dirtbombs "Ultraglide In Black"

Released: May 2001
Label: In The Red

Track List:

1. "Chains of Love" J.J. Barnes, M. Davis, D. Davis (J.J. Barnes) 2:21
2. "If You Can Want" Smokey Robinson (The Miracles) 2:57
3. "Underdog" Sly Stone (Sly & the Family Stone) 3:35
4. "Your Love Belongs Under a Rock" Mick Collins (The Dirtbombs) 2:20
5. "I'll Wait" George Clinton (The Parliaments) 3:00
6. "Living For the City" Stevie Wonder (Stevie Wonder) 3:07
7. "The Thing" Larry Bright (Larry Bright) 2:02
8. "Kung-Fu" Curtis Mayfield (Curtis Mayfield) 5:42
9. "Ode to a Black Man" Phil Lynott (Phil Lynott) 3:38
10. "Got to Give It Up" Marvin Gaye (Marvin Gaye) 4:03
11. "Livin' For the Weekend" Kenny Gamble, Cary Gilbert, Leon Huff (The O'Jays) 3:29
12. "I'm Qualified to Satisfy You" Barry White (Barry White) 3:53
13. "Do You See My Love (For You Growing)" R. Beavers, Johnny Bristol (Junior Walker & the All-Stars) 4:20


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

50 years of Tunes - 2000 - Godspeed You! Black Emperor "Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Atennas To Heaven"

Post Rock royalty. This album sprawls over four sides and is the moment Godspeed changed from intriguingly different to absolute must hears. It's an epic LP that builds to huge crescendos but never loses your attention. Probably my favourite GYBE album though they're incredibly consistent.

2000 - Godspeed You! Black Emperor "Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Atennas To Heaven"

Released: October 2000
Label: Constellation, Kranky
Producer: Daryl Smith

Track List:

Disc one

1.1 / Side 1: Storm
No. Title Length
1. "Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven..." 6:15
2. "Gathering Storm/Il Pleut à Mourir [+Clatters Like Worry]" 11:10
3. "'Welcome to Barco AM/PM...' [ L.A.X.; 5/14/00]" 1:15
4. "Cancer Towers on Holy Road Hi-Way" 3:52
Total length: 22:32

1.2 / Side 2: Static
No. Title Length
1. "Terrible Canyons of Static" 3:34
2. "Atomic Clock" 1:09
3. "Chart #3" 2:39
4. "World Police and Friendly Fire" 9:48
5. "[...+The Buildings They Are Sleeping Now]" 5:25
Total length: 22:35

Disc two

2.1 / Side 3: Sleep
No. Title Length
1. "Murray Ostril: '...They Don't Sleep Anymore on the Beach...'" 1:10
2. "Monheim" 12:14
3. "Broken Windows, Locks of Love Pt. III." 9:53
Total length: 23:17

2.2 / Side 4: Antennas to Heaven
No. Title Length
1. "Moya Sings 'Baby-O'..." 1:00
2. "Edgyswingsetacid" 0:58
3. "[Glockenspiel Duet Recorded on a Campsite In Rhinebeck, N.Y.]" 0:47
4. "'Attention...Mon Ami...Fa-Lala-Lala-La-La...' [55-St. Laurent]" 1:18
5. "She Dreamt She Was a Bulldozer, She Dreamt She Was Alone in an Empty Field" 9:43
6. "Deathkamp Drone" 3:09
7. "[Antennas to Heaven...]" 2:02
Total length: 18:57


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1999 - dEUS "The Ideal Crash"

One of those chance discoveries. I read a very brief but positive review of The Ideal Crash but I really, REALLY, liked the cover so bought a copy without knowing much about the band or hearing any of their music. This seems odd in an era of online streaming and instant downloads but back then it's the sort of thing I did quite a lot.

Initial plays didn't blow me away, it was alright but not amazing, but over time - without any deliberate effort - I noticed that it became one of my most played albums. I think shuffle mode on my iPod had a lot to do with this. I began to pick up odd songs and like them individually so that when I went back and played the album I found I liked every song.

I've only recently started to explore the rest of dEUS' catalogue and though I'm making progress I don't think they've come close to this before or since (though maybe a bit more shuffle play will sort that out too).

I still really like the cover too.

1999 - dEUS "The Ideal Crash"

Released: March 1999
Label: Island
Producer: David Bottrill

Track List:

1. "Put the Freaks Up Front" (dEUS) – 5:14
2. "Sister Dew" (Tom Barman, Craig Ward) – 5:35
3. "One Advice, Space" (Barman, Ward, Kelvin Smits) – 5:46
4. "The Magic Hour" (Barman, Ward) – 5:23
5. "The Ideal Crash" (Barman, Ward, Danny Mommens) – 5:00
6. "Instant Street" (Barman, Ward, Mommens) – 6:15
7. "Magdalena" (Barman, Ward, Mommens) – 4:58
8. "Everybody's Weird" (Barman, Ward) – 4:51
9. "Let's See Who Goes Down First" (Klaas Janzoons, Ward) – 6:23
10. "Dream Sequence #1" (Barman, Ward) – 6:31


Friday, 11 September 2015

Top 5 Songs about Time - Chop's Picks

Following on from last week's collaborative vote these are my personal pick's for the best five songs about time.

1. Nick Drake "Time Has Told Me" - The opening track from Nick Drake's debut album, Five Leaves Left, and also one of my favourite Drake tunes. A lovely little acoustic guitar intro sets the scene before Nick's marvellous baritone vocals take over. He's backed by an impressive line up of folk-rock musicians including Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson on Guitar who therefore makes two appearances on this list.

2. Edwin Starr "Time" - One of the best things about doing the collaborative top fives is discovering new songs I wasn't previously aware of. I guess I've not explored Edwin Starr much beyond the obvious singles and until @MonkeyPicks suggested this for the vote I'm sure I hadn't heard this corking tune before. I love it and it's shot straight into my top five, think I'm going to have to invest in some more of Mr Starr's back catalogue.

3. Fairport Convention "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?" - This did unexpectedly well in the collaborative vote which was great to see. It's a real showcase for Sandy Denny's majestic vocal and, though written by Deny before she joined Fairport (you know this already if you read last week's post), one of Fairport's best songs.

4. The Smiths "How Soon Is Now?" - This was the song that finally cracked The Smiths for me. Johnny Marr's trademark twangy guitar intro is perfect and Morrissey's lyric one of his best. As a teen Metal fan, I spent most of the late 80's either ignoring the band or actively disliking them and it would be over a decade until I really gave them a proper chance. I remember borrowing Meat Is Murder on cassette from the local library soon after it came out (or at least, as soon as the library added it to their minimal music section) but it was Hatful Of Hollow, a compilation album of early singles and BBC sessions, that would eventually win me over.

5. The Who "5:15" - I'm generally more a fan of The Who's Sixties output than their 70's Rock Opera phase but recently re-watched Quadrophenia and enjoyed it a lot more than I'd previously remembered. 5.15 has one of my favourite intros, they throw the kitchen sink at it, and tells the story of Jimmy, Quadrophenia's main protagonist, and his chemically enhanced train journey to Brighton. If I'm honest it's a little long for my liking but seeing as how Townsend dragged it out to 4 minutes 59 seconds it does seem a bit of a missed opportunity not to have added the extra 16 seconds.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1998 - Lucinda Williams "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road"

After the brilliance of '97 less to pick from in '98. Car Wheels was the first Lucinda Williams album I heard and still sounds utterly sublime. She has a wonderful voice, full of character but never harsh and Car Wheels is packed with fabulous song writing that really lets her vocal shine.

Two of my favourite tracks from the album are on this YouTube clip which I couldn't embed in this post. Ride In Time is a good time tune which you can watch from the video below but the second track, Drunken Angel, sends a shiver down my spine whenever I hear it.

Excuse me, is it a bit dusty in here ... ?

1998 - Lucinda Williams "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road"

Released: June 1998
Label: Mercury
Producers: Roy Bittan, Steve Earle, Ray Kennedy, Lucinda Williams

Track List:

1. "Right in Time" – 4:35
2. "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" – 4:44
3. "2 Kool 2 Be 4-gotten" – 4:42
4. "Drunken Angel" – 3:20
5. "Concrete and Barbed Wire" – 3:08
6. "Lake Charles" – 5:27
7. "Can’t Let Go" (Randy Weeks) – 3:28
8. "I Lost It" – 3:31
9. "Metal Firecracker" – 3:30
10. "Greenville" – 3:23
11. "Still I Long For Your Kiss" (Williams, Duane Jarvis) – 4:09
12. "Joy" – 4:01
13. "Jackson" – 3:42

(All tracks composed by Lucinda Williams, except where noted)


Friday, 4 September 2015

Top 5 Songs about Time - THE RESULTS

Oh boy. Have I dragged the process out long enough for you? This was a bit of a struggle, despite loads of you taking part (for which I'm very thankful), as somewhat inevitably I ended up with a massive list of songs but not much clear separation between vote numbers. I ran a second vote via the blog but rather than base the results entirely on that I fudged the two votes together to come up with the final top five but I think best captures the songs that were most popular.

1. Pink Floyd "Time" - This was a clear winner in both votes and was certainly the first song that I thought of when this topic was suggested. One of the stand out tracks from The Dark Side of the Moon and was released as a single in February 1974. Wikipedia tells me that the introduction of clocks chiming and alarms ringing was actually recorded as a quadraphonic test by Alan Parsons and not specifically made for the album.

2. Fairport Convention/Sandy Denny "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?" - Written by Sandy Denny before she joined Fairport Convention but not officially released until her second album with the band, the 1969 album Unhalfbricking. It's a magnificent showcase for Sandy's magnificent vocal and became her signature tune, a version she recorded with The Strawbs prior to joining Fairport was eventually released in 1973.

3. Cyndi Lauper "Time After Time" - This was a huge hit in 1984 and along with Girls Just Wanna Have Fun made Lauper a star. It gave her a first US number one and got to number three in the UK charts. One of the first singles I remember buying though I'm not sure if I got the 7" or the 12".

Photo by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

4. Roberta Flack "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" - I was a bit surprised to see this song do so well but it featured highly in both polls. Written by Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger in 1957 it became a major international hit for Roberta Flack in 1972.

5= The Smiths "How Soon Is Now?" - More of this later as it made my personal top five which, if all goes to plan, I'll reveal next week.

5= The Cure "10:15 Saturday Night" - The b-side to The Cure's debut single Killing an Arab, released in December 1978, this also became the opening track for their debut album Three Imaginary Boys the following year.

Best of the rest goes something like this;

7 Nick Drake Time Has Told Me
8 Chic Good Times
9 Strokes 12:51
10 Prince Sign O The Times
11 Rialto Monday Morning 5:19
12 Ride Time Machine
13 Culture Club Time (Clock of the Heart)
14 Edwin Starr Time
15 Talk Talk Time it's Time
16 The Who 5:15
17 Bill Hailey & The Comets Rock Around The Clock
18 Rolling Stones The Last Time
19 Iron Maiden Two Minutes To Midnight
20 Genesis Counting Out Time
21 Chambers Brothers Time Has Come Today
22 David Bowie Time
23 Saxon Dallas 1pm
24 Clash 48 Hours
25 Cast/Richard O'Brien The Time Warp


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1997 - Radiohead "OK Computer"

They missed out on the 95 slot but it was always going to be Radiohead for this one. 1997 was another Year Zero for me and new music (1983 & 1991 being previous epiphanous years) and OK Computer was the main reason for this.

Britpop was finally over (if it ever really started) and I began to discover some really interesting bands. OK Computer was the clear leader but Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, When I was Born For The Seventh Time, F#A#oo & Dig Me Out where close behind. What a flippin' year!

1997 - Radiohead "OK Computer"

Released: May 1997
Label: Parlophone
Producer: Radiohead & Nigel Godrich

Track List:
1. "Airbag" 4:44
2. "Paranoid Android" 6:23
3. "Subterranean Homesick Alien" 4:27
4. "Exit Music (For a Film)" 4:24
5. "Let Down" 4:59
6. "Karma Police" 4:21
7. "Fitter Happier" 1:57
8. "Electioneering" 3:50
9. "Climbing Up the Walls" 4:45
10. "No Surprises" 3:48
11. "Lucky" 4:19
12. "The Tourist" 5:24

(All songs written and composed by Radiohead [Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Jonny Greenwood, Philip Selway, and Thom Yorke])


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1996 - Johnny Cash "Unchained"

The second American Recordings album that didn't just put Cash back on the map, it crowned him king of all he surveyed.

I had some Johnny Cash stuff already but this album really spurred me into greater exploration of his back catalogue. There's till about 78 albums I've not heard to be honest but that's not a bad place to be.

The YouTube link is a playlist of the whole album, so, if you're short of time head straight to the track Unchained. It's my favourite.

1996 - Johnny Cash "Unchained"

Released: November 1996
Label: American
Producer: Rick Rubin

Track List:

1. "Rowboat" (Beck) – 3:44 - Originally recorded by Beck for Stereopathetic Soulmanure (1994)
2. "Sea of Heartbreak" (Paul Hampton, Hal David) – 2:42 - Originally a hit single for Don Gibson (1961)
3. "Rusty Cage" (Chris Cornell) – 2:49 - Originally recorded by Soundgarden for Badmotorfinger (1991)
4. "The One Rose (That's Left in My Heart)" (Del Lyon/Lani McIntire) – 2:26 - Originally recorded in 1930 by Jimmie Rodgers, also recorded by Larry Clinton, Bing Crosby, Art Kassel (all 3 in 1937), George Morgan, Hank Snow, and Michael Nesmith (1970)
5. "Country Boy" (Cash) – 2:31 - Originally recorded by Cash for Sun, appears on With His Hot and Blue Guitar (1957)
6. "Memories Are Made of This" (Richard Dehr/Terry Gilkyson/Frank Miller) – 2:19 - Originally a hit single by Dean Martin and The Easy Riders (1956)
7. "Spiritual" (Josh Haden) – 5:06 - Originally recorded by Spain for The Blue Moods of Spain (1995)
8. "Kneeling Drunkard's Plea" (Maybelle Carter/Anita Carter/Helen Carter/June Carter Cash) – 2:32 - Originally recorded by The Louvin Brothers for Satan Is Real (1960)
9. "Southern Accents" (Tom Petty) – 4:41 - Originally recorded by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers for Southern Accents (1985)
10. "Mean Eyed Cat" (Cash) – 2:33 - Originally recorded by Cash for Sun, appears on Sings Hank Williams (1960)
11. "Meet Me in Heaven" (Cash) – 3:21
12. "I Never Picked Cotton" (Bobby George/Charles Williams) – 2:39 - Originally recorded by Roy Clark for I Never Picked Cotton (1970)
13. "Unchained" (Jude Johnstone) – 2:51 - Later recorded by Johnstone for Coming of Age (2002)
14. "I've Been Everywhere" (Geoff Mack) – 3:17 - Originally a hit single by Lucky Starr (1959) and Hank Snow (1962)


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1995 - Palace Brothers "Viva Last Blues"

1995 could have been Radiohead's year, I love The Bends, but then I remembered Will Oldham's best album (or at least of the ones I've heard which is probably only about 20%). I notice this is another Steve Albini recorded release too, I'm a big fan of Albini and might have to tally up how many of these choices he was involved with come the end.

1995 - Palace Brothers "Viva Last Blues"

Released: August 1995
Label: Drag City
Producer: Steve Albini

Track List:
1. "More Brother Rides" – 3:18
2. "Viva Ultra" – 3:18
3. "The Brute Choir" – 2:43
4. "The Mountain Low" – 2:44
5. "Tonight's Decision (And Hereafter)" – 4:10
6. "Work Hard/Play Hard" – 2:50
7. "New Partner" – 3:54
8. "Cat's Blues" – 3:18
9. "We All, Us Three, Will Ride" – 2:56
10. "Old Jerusalem" – 2:16