Thursday, December 29, 2005

new christmas music

The grubby post-christmas haze is upon us and I have made my annual foray to Fopp to waste money on CDs.

New CDs I have bought include

Bright Eyes - Motion Sickness. A rather spiffing live set.
Bright Eyes - Digital ashes in a digital urn. Different. A bit 'pretty hate machine' era nine inch nails on first listen but I will listen again.
The national - Alligator. Pretty damn good so far. Needs more listens

From the £3 bargain bin I have indulged my inner ned with

Happy Mondays - Greatest Hits
Travis - singles (for the sensitive ned although I do like some of their stuff)
The streets - second album with long title. They were funny when I saw them in birmingham in march.

i also picked up some cool cheap DVDs - supersize me, rumblefish and the 'burbs but as this is required records i won't say any more.

i'll tell you more about the cds later


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

SST records - the best label of the '80s?

This american indie label had an amazing roster and put out some of the best punk albums of all time.

These include

Black Flag - Damaged
Husker Du - Zen Arcade
Sonic Youth - sister
Dinosaur Jr - you're living all over me
Minutemen - double nickles on the dime
Bad Brains - I against I
Descendents - I don't wanna grow up

plus albums by soundgarden and screaming trees that I don't like but other people do.

Anyway, if you like 80s american punk this label was the best. Dischord were too regional, alternative tentacles too weird. Touch n go had some good stuff but they just weren't as influential as the SST bands.

In the UK creation didn't really peak until 1990 and factory were patchy. I know very little about postcard.

I think SST helped make good modern music sound the way it does.

Any thoughts?


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My albums of the year

It's that time of year where music magazines come up with lists of alleged albums of the year. I want to get into the festive spirit. So here is my list of albums of the year.

Inclusion criteria - albums that I like that I have bought this year. Some of the albums might have been released last year but I won't take the piss and right about my favourite rolling stones albums and shit like that.

So, in reverse order (really no particular order)

9) TV on the radio - desperate youth, bloodthirsty babes. 2004 I think. My bloody valentine mixed with barbershop quartet style singing. And trumpets. I've just stuck it on the CD player cos I've remembered how good it is.

8) The go team - thunder, lightning, strike. I think this came out last year but who cares? Like a mix of the avalanches, belle & sebastian, sonic youth and the vaselines this kicks ass. Combine that with an attractive singer (named ninja), fender guitars and no sign of a new avalanches record, I like it.

7) Bright eyes - I'm wide awake, it's morning. Only really got into this one but it is good. I've mentioned it before. Anti-bush protest music. Even if he did say bad things about John Peel I can forgive him because of this album.

6) LCD soundsystem - LCD soundsystem. Catchy songs. A brilliant live show in Birmingham Academy that deafened my mate. Bonus cd of all the 'cooler than thou' 12" singles. Daft punk is playing in my house. Better than the rapture.

5) Franz Ferdinand - you could have it so much better. Less formulaic commercial rock from the almost glaswegian indie group.

4) Sons & daughters - the repulsion box. I've talked about this a lot. Energetic, fast and sexy. Like the nick cave you could shag and not worry about your sexuality (if you're a man)

3) Low - the great destroyer. They can rock. If they want to. Made many cold boring bus journies in the midlands less crap.

2) Nouvelle vague - nouvelle vague. Two french blokes and lots of female singers make old punk songs sound sexy and french. Don't know when it came out. Made popular by channel 4 fake lesbian kiddie drama 'sugar rush'. Best song is 'guns of brixton'.

1) The arcade fire - funeral. Everyone knows it came out in 2004 and I have talked about it before but it is fucking excellent.

stand out single tracks - the album was pish.

The futureheads - Hounds of love. Kate Bush made good (to my ears anyway)

The futureheads - Decent days and nights. Not geordies. They come from sunderland.

Anthony & the johnsons - hope there's sombody. The album is a bit heavy going but this song is great.

Gorillaz - feel good inc. For the 'windmill, windmill' bit. And the video. The album sux.

Gorillaz - dare. For shaun ryder. see above (apparently the song was called 'it's there' but shaun couldn't say it right).

MIA - galang. it mentions the pixies and the beasties. and it's kinda loud and energetic. and it was co-written by elastica (kinda uncool for from da streets of london sri lankan hip-hop but it is good)

MIA - sunshowers. Good video. she's pretty too

Bloc Party - so here we are. happy chill out music. good video.

Bloc party - banquet (streets mix). it's funny

Stuff I hate

Kaiser chiefs. pish.

So that was 2005. I'm right, you're wrong. Post abuse, praise or constructive criticism below. I'll only delete it if I think you're a wank or you make me cry.

I love you all, so much more than you could ever know


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Primal Scream - Shoot Speed (more dirty hits)

My love affair with primal scream has been well documented. For a long time they were my favourite band. I've seen them live 8 times (at least) and I used to obsessionally buy their records.

I like them because
1) They have made some great music (I know some of it sucks though)
2) They are a great live band
3) They come from Glasgow
4) They have kept Mani and Kevin Shields off the dole
5) They are nuts
6) They have widened the boundaries of pharamceutical science with the amount of drugs they have taken. I know taking drugs isn't big and it isn't clever and it is dangerous. I don't take drugs and I hardly even drink alcohol now. It will kill you. But primal scream have turned drug abuse into an event at the comedy olympics.
7) Bobby was in the Mary Chain

This CD came out in Japan a couple of years ago. I bought it on import via amazon. It is just class. The more widly available Dirty Hits album was a bit of a let down for me. It had edited versions of classic songs that I had heard a million times before.

Shoot speed is an album for geeks and trainspotters. An album for people like me.

It highlights the screams' jangly side with classics like velocity girl and all fall down. It has the original non-album version of come together where bobby delivers some lovey-dovey drug nonsence lyrics. I love this version. It has a cover of the JAMC classic Darklands and 'so sad about us' by the Who.

Jesus is a great lost song. It was originally the b-side to star (also on this album) and is an almost perfect photocopy of the opiod-haze of the 3rd velvet underground album. The stone roses would just have been a smelly goth band in manchester if they hadn't ripped off velocity girl for made of stone and most of their first album.

This CD is the secret history of a great band that many people don't appreciate.

9 and a 1/4 out of 10. worth the 20quid I paid for it.

Dr. Phunk BSc (hons) MBChB

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Neutral milk hotel - yes or no?

If you answer yes or no to the above question you have an opinion on Neutral milk hotel. If you just saw 'what the fuck?' you have not been reading supertrendy music magazines. Shame on you.

NMK are an american indie rock band who existed about ten years ago. They (together with the olivia tremor control) were the most successful members of the elephant six musical collective. Trendy types have been dropping their name this year (franz ferdinand and the arcade fire). Their most popular album was in the aeroplane over the sea.

I first encountered NMK when that album came out. My strangest friend (sorry graeme) was well into them. He made me listen to them again and again but I just didn't get it. They were too gentle and soft for my fugazi loving ears but too weird for stone roses style indie boogying. They didn't work for me.

I'm older now and wiser so I picked up the reissue CD when it came out two months back. And it's ok. The first song king of carrot county is great. Weird lyrics about messed up families and formative experiences. It's folky and noisy and joyous and sad. And unfocused.

Sometimes I really like this record but sometimes it annoys me. Neutral milk hotel - yes or no? My answer is maybe. I want to hear some more