The Sugarcubes (Videos)

And following on from the top 38 Bjork songs in the last post, here is the best of The Sugarcubes. I remember well walking into Our Price in Leamington Spa on the day ‘Life’s Too good’ was released and hearing it play in the store. I asked the guy behind the counter what it was and bought it right away, never looked back and still love that album today and Bjork.

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Top 25 Bjork Songs

Ahhh lists, entirely subjective lists, they are a thing, a thing I seem to be doing rather a lot lately, but what the hell, everybody loves a good list. So here is a list of the top 25 Bjork songs (at this point, it could be longer by the time I get to the end).

38 Náttúra – Biophellia
37 Black Lake – Vulnicura
36 It’s Oh So Quiet – Post
35 Moon – Biophellia
34 Lionsong – Vulnicura
33 Innocence – Volta
32 Cosmogony – Biophellia
31 Wanderlust – Volta
30 Virus – Biophellia
29 It’s In Our Hands – Vespertine
28 Stonemilker – Vulnicura
27 Mouth Mantra – Vulnicura
26 Triumph Of A Heart – Medulla

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25 Cocoon – Vespertine
24 Alarm Call – Homogenic
23 Army Of Me – Post
22 The Dull Flame Of Desire – Volta
21 Unravel – Homogenic
20 Earth Intruders – Volta
19 Declare Independence – Volta
18 Hunter – Homogenic
17 I Miss You – Post
16 Crystaline – Biophellia

Björk photographed for her 2015 album, Vulnicura.
15 Oceania – Medulla
14 Who Is It – Medulla
13 Pagan Poetry – Vespertine
12 Hidden Place – Vespertine
11 Possibly Maybe – Post
10 Hyper-Ballad – Post
9 Venus (as a boy) – Debut
8 Human Behaviour – Debut
7 Bachelorette – Homogenic
6 Joga – Homogenic

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5 Isobel – Post
4 Violently Happy – Debut
3 Big Time Sensuality – Debut
2 Play Dead – Debut (Extra Track)
1 All Is Full Of Love – Homogenic

 

Ok, so I went 10 over the 25, I did say something like that was going to happen, and it did. Damn, and even while writing the previous sentence I added two more, so it’s a top 37, which is perfectly fine, everybody loves a top 37.

Here they are in order, all 38,yeah, I know.

Now I know this top 38 is heavy at the top end with Debut, Post and Homogenic, which are three albums I am really very fond of, but I know as time moves on I begin to like Bjork albums more and more, I was disappointed with everything after Post to be honest, when they were released at least, but currently I’m still getting to know Biophellia and Vulicurna which, I have no doubt I will love at some point rather than just like, or appreciate.

Why is ‘All is full of love’ at number 1? Because it’s just a stunning song and it is the culmination of all that she did before and a pointer for the direction of her future at that time. I also remember the first time I saw the video, and she has been in some amazing accompanying videos, this one absolutely blew me away.

I have all these studio albums on vinyl, and a couple of interesting things in the post that I should be getting this week, ‘Bastards’ which is double vinyl remix of Biophellia and a triple vinyl of Joga, which is all remixes plus 4 other tracks, including the ‘Choice mix’ of ‘All is full of love.

By the time I press ‘Publish’ on this post, I will probably have re-ordered them in my mind, but I’m sticking with them as they are for now or I’ll be at it forever.

 

Top 25 Rush Songs

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This began as a Top 10, but I couldn’t manage it and ended up at 23, then things got out of hand and the Top 25 I was aiming for doubled. These are from my perspective and there are probably some notable omissions that, if I’d thought of them, should have been included. Anyway, here we go with 50 down to 26:

50 Cut to the Chase – Counterparts
49 Finding My Way – Rush
48 Stick It Out – Presto
47 Witch Hunt, Part III of Fear – Moving Pictures
46 Different Strings – Permanent Waves
45 Force Ten – Hold Your Fire
44 The Big Money – Power Windows
43 Digital Man – Signals
42 Distant Early Warning – Grace Under Pressure
41 Bravado – Roll The Bones
40 The Pass – Presto
39 Time Stand Still – Hold Your Fire
38 The Enemy Within, Part I of Fear – Grace Under Pressure
37 Countdown Signals
36 Animate – Counterparts
35 One Little Victory – Vapor Trails
34 Manhattan Project – Power Windows
33 New World Man – Signals
32 Finding My Way – Rush
31 Circumstances – Hemispheres
30 Lakeside Park – Caress Of Steel
29 A Passage To Bangkok – 2112
28 A Farewell To Kings – A Farewell To Kings
27 By-Tor & The Snow Dog – Fly By Night
26 Driven – Test for Echo

Here are the Top 50 videos as decided by me but open to persuasion in case I missed something:

Rush Top 50 Songs

25 Anthem – Fly By Night
24 Prime Mover – Hold Your Fire
23 Working Man – Rush
22 Entre Nous – Permanent Waves
21 Fly By Night – Fly By Night
20 Closer To The Heart – A Farewell To Kings
19 Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage – A Farewell To Kings
18 The Camera Eye – Moving Pictures
17 Jacob’s Ladder – Permanent Waves
16 Red Sector A – Grace Under Pressure
15 The Analogue Kid – Signals
14 Bastille Day – Caress Of Steel
13 The Trees – Hemispheres
12 Freewill – Permanent Waves
11 YYZ – Moving Pictures

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10 Vital Signs – Moving Pictures
9 La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise In Self Indulgence)
8 Red Barchetta – Moving Pictures
7 Natural Science – Permanent Waves
6 Xanadu – A Farewell To Kings
5 2112 – 2112
4 Subdivisions – Signals
3 Limelight – Moving Pictures
2 The Spirit Of Radio – Permanent Waves

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1 Tom Sawyer – Moving Pictures

Tricky – A Retrospective: 1. Maxinquaye

I’ve been a fan of Tricky since he first appeared as part of Massive Attack on their début, ‘Blue Lines’ and I’ve followed him ever since. His career is a little different as he is not really a front man as such, at least not in the normal sense of the word. He is often in the shadows, and it is quite the norm that he doesn’t noticeably appear on tracks at all. He is a writer & producer but also a collaborator, with so many people over the years it’s difficult to keep track, there’s Terry Hall, Björk, Gravediggaz, Grace Jones, Massive Attack and PJ Harvey, to name a few, but let’s start at the beginning.

Tricky was born in the Knowle West neighbourhood of Bristol, to a Jamaican father and a mixed-race Anglo-Guyanese mother. His mother, Maxine Quaye, committed suicide when Tricky was four due to epilepsy complications. His father, Roy Thaws, who left the family before Tricky was born, operated the Studio 17 sound system (formerly known as “Tarzan the High Priest”) with his brother Rupert and father Hector. In just this paragraph we have the basis for 3 Tricky albums, the debut Maxinquaye, Knowle West Boy and recent release, Adrian Thaws. It would seem that Tricky has never forgotten where he came from and has woven his early experiences into his later work.

It wasn’t an easy childhood in Knowle West, sometimes described as a white ghetto in Southern Bristol. He was involved in crime at an early age and was part of a gang that took part in car theft & burglary, and often ended up in fights with whoever crossed their path.

In the mid-1980s, Tricky met DJ Milo and spent time with a sound system called the Wild Bunch, which by 1987 had evolved into Massive Attack. He was given the nickname “Tricky Kid” and at age eighteen became a member of the Fresh 4, a rap group built from the Wild Bunch. He also appeared on Massive Attack’s hugely successful début album Blue Lines (1991).

Above are 5 tracks that Tricky appeared o with Massive attack, which is chronologically incorrect for this retrospective, but I’ve done it anyway. There were three tracks on ‘Blue Lines’, which were ‘Daydreaming’, ‘Blue Lines’ & ‘Five Man Army’. The next track is from second album ‘Protection’ and is called ‘Karmacoma’ and finally, the ‘Ritual Spirit’ E.P. which is pretty recent as it was only release in January 2016, with Tricky featuring on the track ‘Take It There’.

In 1991, shortly before the release of ‘Blue Lines’, Tricky met 15 year old Martina Topley-Bird in Bristol and she told him at a later meeting that she could sing. They recorded a white label, which was pretty basic, but got them a deal with Island Records and they started work on his début album.

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Maxinquaye (1995)

‘Maxinquaye’ was an extraordinary album at the time, both innovative and startling. When I listened to it for the first time it was one of those very rare moments when I heard something the likes of which I had never heard before. Credited as the album that birthed Trip-Hop, which Tricky distances himself from, and the formation of the ‘Bristol Sound’, it was actually quite shocking, but in a wonderful and glorious way. Martina Topley-Bird 71jcLkpoG-L._SL1219_deserves a huge amount of credit as her voice contributed hugely to the whole aesthetic of the album, and echoes of here performance can be heard in many later releases of the period which both enhance the reputation of this album, but also diminish it to a degree, as if you have never heard the album before it’s impact is soiled by those it influenced.

Yes, I sing it’s praises, but do some from a position of somebody for whom a void was filled by it’s creation and whose enjoyment of music has genuinely been enhanced by it’s existence and much of what it spawned.

The album begins with a reworking of ‘Karmakoma’, titled ‘Overcome’, that was to appear on Massive Attacks second album, or perhaps it was the other way around. Tricky was open to wearing his influences on his sleeve and  re-imagined the Public Enemy trackOvercome-cover ‘Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos’ into something completely different, unless you knew where it originated you may not have realised, many thought it was Tricky being covered by Public Enemy.

‘Hell is Around the Corner’  could easily have Beth Gibbons of ‘Portishead’ singing over the top of it, but instead has Tricky with Topley-Bird lazily, and beautifully, dipping in and out throughout the track.

On ‘Pumpkin’, Alison Goldfrapp takes the lead vocal, and does so with aplomb, adding a different dynamic to the album that complimented what had gone before and what was to come.

It is a milestone album, difficult perhaps to appreciate now just how large it’s impact was, but still full of brilliant songs and, I think, for a debut album, really quite remarkable. Here are some tracks from it.

Following the release and success of his debut album Tricky toured with PJ Harvey throughout Europe and the U.S. and partner Martina Topley-Bird is pregnant resulting in Alison Goldfrapp filling in for her on the tour. Their daughter Mazy is born in April of 1995 and shortly after they embark on a solo tour, again throughout Europe and the U.S. Tricky and Martina were soon over as a couple and Tricky is soon in a relationship with Björk, although there were some troubles with her former partner, Goldie. Tricky actually wrote and produced two tracks on Björk’s album ‘Post’ which, ‘Enjoy’ and ‘Headphones’.

Björk says about ‘Headphones’: “He was getting a lot of pressure from his record company, because there was a real buzz about his album, so he was a bit naughty and escaped to Iceland. We drove around in a four-wheel drive and saw the glaciers and swam in the hot spring and wrote this tune… I had this idea to do a song that is like a worship of headphones. The chorus is “My headphones saved my life, your tape lulled me to sleep.” All the noises in the song are just-for-headphones stereo tricks. It didn’t need a lot of instruments. Tricky feels really strongly about noises and beats, and that is exactly my weakest point.” (The Quietus).

The relationship didn’t last long and that winter Tricky was alone again and writing and recording a new album in Jamaica. He also took part in a lot of remixes and collaborations during 1996. Some are included below:

The remix for Garbage of ‘Milk’ is, in my opinion, superior to the official release.

Film Photography of Vinyl

I used some of the following images as headers for Radio Show mail outs. I took them using a film camera, a Zenit Em, and a macro lens then developed and scanned them myself. Here’s all of them:

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Soundtrack To An Imaginary Film: One

The near future. A clear divide has opened up between the wealthy and the poor with no middle ground. The wealthy live in technology rich apartment blocks in segregated areas, spending their lives without ever setting foot on the ground. The poor occupy the spaces around and beneath, living in the shadow of an easier life. The drug of choice is now a micro SD card that is inserted directly into a surgically created slot at the base of the neck, for the poor it is a crude surgery, often resulting in permanent damage, for the rich, it is painless and safe. The best programs are circulated amongst the apartment blocks, only finding their way to the ground dwellers years after they are no longer fashionable or corrupted.

There is a revolution coming.

Top Ten Live Rock Albums Ever

This, of course, is entirely from my own perspective and others will have completely different opinions but as I sit here listening to Side 1 of a vinyl copy of ‘All The Worlds A Stage’ by Rush, I got to thinking, what are my top ten? So here goes:

10: Blackfoot – Highway Song
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9: Kiss – Alive!
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8 : Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More From The Road
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7: Status Quo – Live!
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6: Motorhead – No Sleep Til Hammersmith
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5: Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains The Same
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4: Genesis – Seconds Out
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3: AC/DC – If You Want Blood
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2: Rush – All The Worlds A Stage
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1: UFO – Strangers In The Night
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And there we have it. I know there are what might be considered essential albums that are omitted, but these are the ones that I have the most affection for, from that time when arguing about this sort of thing as a teenager was a great way to pass the time and a wonderful reason to listen to them all again.

Here is a compilation of tracks from the albums above in descending order:

Not necessarily from the albums mentioned, as they are a bit old, before youtube was even a twinkle in its creators eye, but closeish to when the albums were originally released.

Here’s what I thought about but didn’t include, let’s call them honourable mentions or something:

Judas Priest – Unleashed In The East
Rush – Exit Stage Left
Thin Lizzy – Live & Dangerous
Deep Purple – Made In Japan
Yes – Yessongs
Queen – Live Killers
Free – Live
Rainbow – On Stage