Wednesday, 29 July 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1992 - PJ Harvey "Dry"

2000s Stories From The City Stories From The Sea album was the first time I really got PJ but when follow up album White Chalk also blew me away I began to work my way back through her earlier work and discovered these to be just as fabulous.

1992 - PJ Harvey "Dry"

Released: March 1992
Label: Too Pure
Producer: Head, Rob Ellis, PJ Harvey

Track List:
1. "Oh My Lover" 3:57
2. "O Stella" 2:36
3. "Dress" (Harvey, Rob Ellis) 3:16
4. "Victory" 3:16
5. "Happy and Bleeding" (Harvey, Ellis) 4:50
6. "Sheela-Na-Gig" 3:11
7. "Hair" 3:45
8. "Joe" (Harvey, Ellis) 2:33
9. "Plants and Rags" (Harvey, Ellis) 4:09
10. "Fountain" 3:52
11. "Water" 4:32

(All tracks composed by PJ Harvey, except where noted)


Friday, 24 July 2015

Harkive 2015

Harkive is an annual, online music research project that gathers stories from people around the world about how, where and why they listened to music on a single day. 21st July 2015 was the third iteration and the third time I've taken part.

I got things off to an early listening to Spotify via my iPhone at quarter past midnight as I tried to get to sleep. Music helps me shut down and there aren't many nights I go to sleep without some form of music playing.

Despite the late night I was up before Seven the following morning and listening to BBC 6 Music via the Digital Radio in the Kitchen. This isn't something I normally do but I was motivated to do the washing up I'd failed to do the night before after getting sidetracked into watching a couple of ropey old movies.

The ever excellent Chris Hawkins ended his show with a bit off Jimi Hendrix ...

Then Craig Charles, a welcome stand-in for regular breakfast show host Shaun Keaveny, opened with the Ramones, a choice guaranteed to put me in a good mood.

21st July 2015 was also my youngest's last day at Primary school and therefore the very last time I'd ever do the familiar walk to school to drop him off. I did my best to put a brave face on for the relentless passing of time.

Jumped in the car and headed off to work with sounds provided by my iPod. I was in work by 9:30 which meant no music until lunchtime at the earliest.

Thankfully I managed to have a proper lunch hour today and dragged myself to the gym for a long overdue bit of exercise. I took my iPhone with me and listened to a playlist of new music on shuffle as I plodded along on the cross-trainer.

Then no music again until the drive home, continuing to listen to my current favourite Thee Oh Sees album.

After eating tea & washing up I did a bit of ironing and caught up with a Marc Riley show from last week. I record these on my TV Hard Drive Recorder which saves me having to rely on the BBC iPlayer and gives my ears a break from using headphones.

Had planned an early night but ended up listening to the last half hour of the Gideon Coe show live via a portable digital radio.

Squeezed in my final Harkive tweet of the day at 23:59 ...

... which turned out to be the final UK Harkive tweet too.

The Harkive website now has a data explorer section which provides all sorts of possibilities for examining what people are listening too and how they listen. My summary of facts and figures looks something like this (no visual stats yet as I've not got time but I might come back to this later as I reckon everyone loves a Pie Chart).

Devices used: iPhone, Digital Radio, iPod Nano, TiVo HDR, Portable Digital Radio
Music Sources: Spotify, BBC 6Music, my MP3 library
Music choices: Bit of a mixed bag but generally fairly recent alternative guitar based rock


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1991 - Nirvana "Nevermind"

This album had a huge impact on my music tastes. I remember hearing a Nirvana track on a late night radio show hosted by Whispering Bob Harris, of all people, while I was on a mini trip round Scotland. I picked up my copy as soon as I got home and it was the major catalyst in my conversion from Metal Head to broader horizons.

1991 - Nirvana "Nevermind"

Released: September 1991
Label: DGC
Producer: Butch Vig

Track List:
1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic) – 5:01
2. "In Bloom" – 4:14
3. "Come as You Are" – 3:39
4. "Breed" – 3:03
5. "Lithium" – 4:17
6. "Polly" – 2:57
7. "Territorial Pissings" (Cobain, Chet Powers) – 2:22
8. "Drain You" – 3:43
9. "Lounge Act" – 2:36
10. "Stay Away" – 3:32
11. "On a Plain" – 3:16
12. "Something in the Way" – 3:46
13. "Endless, Nameless" [Hidden Track] - 6:43

(All tracks composed by Kurt Cobain, except where noted)


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1990 - Fugazi "Repeater"

I don't suppose many people discovered the Washington D.C. based hardcore band due to them sharing a name with Marillion's second album.

At some point in the 90s I saw an ITV documentary on Fugazi which was excellent. I was intrigued by the DIY ethic and their straight-edge lifestyle but the music seemed a bit too scary for me at the time (I wasn't long out of REO Speedwagon compilations).

True to form it took me a long time to really investigate, but when I finally dipped my toe in I fell, head over heals in love.

Not. One. Duff. Album. Repeater is probably my favourite but they're all amazing.

1990 - Fugazi "Repeater"

Released: April 1990
Label: Dischord
Producer: Fugazi, Ted Niceley

Side one:
1. "Turnover" - 4:16 (Picciotto)
2. "Repeater" - 3:01 (MacKaye)
3. "Brendan #1" - 2:32
4. "Merchandise" - 2:59 (MacKaye)
5, "Blueprint" - 3:52 (Picciotto)

Side two:
6. "Sieve-Fisted Find" - 3:24 (Picciotto)
7. "Greed" - 1:47 (MacKaye/Picciotto)
8. "Two Beats Off" - 3:28 (Picciotto)
9. "Styrofoam" - 2:34 (MacKaye)
10. "Reprovisional" - 2:18 (Picciotto)
11. "Shut the Door" - 4:49 (MacKaye)


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1989 - Pixies "Doolittle"

Oh, hello. It's those Pixies again.

This is a magnificent album opening with the bass thrum of Debaser which is one of my all time favourite songs. Monkey Gone To Heaven might be the bands best known song. Tame & Crackity Jones are big live favourites. In 2009 I got to see them play the whole album in full and in order at Brixton Academy.

1989 - Pixies "Doolittle"

Released: April 1989
Label: 4AD
Producer: Gil Norton

Side one:
1. "Debaser"
2. "Tame"
3. "Wave of Mutilation"
4. "I Bleed"
5. "Here Comes Your Man"
6. "Dead"
7. "Monkey Gone to Heaven"

Side two:
8. "Mr. Grieves"
9. "Crackity Jones"
10. "La La Love You"
11. "No. 13 Baby"
12. "There Goes My Gun"
13. "Hey"
14. "Silver" (Francis/Deal)
15. "Gouge Away"

(All tracks composed by Black Francis, except where noted)


Friday, 3 July 2015

Collaborative Top 5 - Songs about Time - THE VOTE

Are you all ready for another one of these. Thought I'd best give you something to get the brain cogs working whilst I finish watching Carry On films. I'm going straight to a vote, so who knows how long it will take to get a clear winner, but there's a Spotify playlist below to help you get started.

Vote for your top five (either one to five or unordered) via the comments or Facebook or Twitter or down the pub.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1988 - Pixies "Surfer Rosa"

Another album I didn't discover until an early 90s epiphany largely brought about by hearing Nirvana's Nevermind. I've written about this album before so will leave this fairly short.

The Pixies have become my favourite band, Surfer Rosa my favourite album.

1988 - Pixies "Surfer Rosa"

Released: March 1988
Label: 4AD
Producer: Steve Albini

Side one:
1. "Bone Machine"
2. "Break My Body"
3. "Something Against You"
4. "Broken Face"
5. "Gigantic" (Francis/Kim Deal)
6. "River Euphrates"

Side two:
7. "Where Is My Mind?"
8. "Cactus"
9. "Tony's Theme"
10. "Oh My Golly!"
11. "Vamos"
12. "I'm Amazed"
13. "Brick is Red"

(All tracks composed by Black Francis except where stated)