Suuns ‎– Images Du Futur

I was absolutely sure I’d written about this album before, but I checked, and it appears I haven’t. I think I was confused because I’ve spoken about it on the radio show. Well, it is an omission I’m very happy to resolve.

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‘Images du Futur’ is Suuns’ second full length release, from 2013, but I only really discovered it at the beginning of the year having stumbled across one of the tracks during a random listening session online.

Opening track “Powers of Ten,” lays out a sort of manifesto for the whole record in it’s opening lines: “Got it together/I read in the paper/all of theses strangers/stranger and stranger…/No, no, no, no, how you try and remember/how all of these pieces/all fit together.

Obviously the above is a live version and it is probably better to start with the studio version, but I like this one so that’s why it is there. Just in case you think it was just noise then do try this instead, if you are unsure (it is a bit seizure inducing as a video though so don’t watch if your susceptible):

Suuns are a bit odd. They have produced an album that is dark, it is at times discordant and yet harmonic, which shouldn’t be possible as they are opposites of each other. It is also laden with hooks, sometimes barbed sometimes not but they are present even in what seem to be their most noise filled tracks.

So what do we know about the band? Suuns are Canadian, hailing from Montreal. They formed back in the summer of 2007 when vocalist/guitarist Ben Shemie and guitarist/bassist Joe Yarmush got together to make some beats which quickly evolved into a few songs. The duo was soon joined by drummer Liam O’Neill and bassist/keyboardist Max Henry to complete the line-up. The band signed to Secretly Canadian in 2010.

The first release from the album was Edie’s Dream, which had the accompanying video:

The Line of Best Fit describes the album: “Images Du Futur is exciting in a way that few albums manage to be, dangerous and compelling like a first cigarette or fumbled sexual encounter, and nothing here quite seems real: these ten tracks exist in a half-light, a nocturnal fog a step removed from lucid thought. And a long, long way from anything routine.”

I’d tend to agree with that.

Tracklist

A1 Powers Of Ten 2:52
A2 2020 4:14
A3 Minor Work 5:54
A4 Mirror Mirror 3:56
A5 Edie’s Dream 4:20

B1 Sunspot 4:37
B2 Bambi 4:57
B3 Holocene City 4:54
B4 Images Du Futur 3:34
B5 Music Won’t Save You 5:56

Rating: 9.0

Here is a whole live set, just because I happened to find it:

Steely Dan – Can’t Buy A Thrill

While at the used record store today I was browsing the £2 bins and there was Can’t Buy A Thrill by Steely Dan. Really? £2? Well that’s mine then.

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Once again, I was listening to The Friday Rock Show and I think it must have been an end of year type of show, the memory is vague, but what remains clear is that they played Reelin’ In The Years, possibly a live version, and I had no idea who it was as I missed the talky introduction at the beginning and they didn’t say at the end, I think it was Tommy Vance so I blame him.

I did eventually discover who it was, quite some time later, but I really did love that track. “You been tellin’ me you’re a genius since you were seventeen/In all the time I’ve known you I still don’t know what you mean“, what a brutal lyric.

I bought the Greatest Hits (1972-1978), which I still have somewhere and the album opened with Reelin’ in the Years making it a bit of a touch point for me, but it isn’t really that representative of them, great though it is.

Surprisingly, this is the debut album, released in November 1972. I say surprisingly because it is so fully formed, lacking a sense of any part of it being juvenilia, as one gets with many bands, and it is all rather clever really. The album title comes from Bob Dylan’s It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, and the band name from a dildo in William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. Some of the top L.A. session musicians were used in the recording of the album that seems at first to be a jumble of rock, mambo muzak, Latin, swing and jazz, but somehow they make it all fit together.

Although Donald Fagen provided lead vocals for most of the songs on the album, at the time he was not particularly confident in his live performances, so David Palmer was signed up to be the live frontman and he also sang lead on a couple of the tracks on the album (Dirty Work and Brooklyn). It didn’t take long though until Fagen and Walter Becker grew dissatisfied with Palmer’s interpretation of the songs and this, coupled with the fact that the big hits from the album featured Fagen on lead vocals, led to Palmer’s release from the band in 1973, with Fagen handling lead vocals for the rest of Steely Dan’s career.

Do It Again

Reelin’ in the Years (Bill Cosby with large moustache warning)

Ahhh, that takes me back. This is a fine album and they would go on to even greater things, but this is where it all started and if you don’t have a copy, you really should think about getting one.

Tracklist

A1 Do It Again
A2 Dirty Work
A3 Kings
A4 Midnite Cruiser
A5 Only A Fool Would Say That

B1 Reelin’ In The Years
B2 Fire In The Hole
B3 Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me)
B4 Change Of The Guard
B5 Turn That Heartbeat Over Again

Rating: 9.1

Billy Bragg – 2 x 45’s

I took a brief trip into town today and visited the Leamington Record Store again, which is opposite Seismic (So I popped in there briefly as well) and picked up a few things that I liked, including two Billy Bragg singles. I couldn’t resist to be honest, particularly the first that caught my eye, which was ‘Levi Stubbs Tears’ which is about a woman whose Four Tops album brings her comfort through difficult times. The chorus goes:

With the money from her accident
She bought herself a mobile home
So at least she could get some enjoyment
Out of being alone
No one could say that she was left up on the shelf
It’s you and me against the World kid she mumbled to herself

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs’ tears run down his face

She ran away from home on her mother’s best coat
She was married before she was even entitled to vote
And her husband was one of those blokes
The sort that only laughs at his own jokes
The sort a war takes away
And when there wasn’t a war he left anyway

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong
Are here to make everything right that’s wrong
Holland and Holland and Lamont Dozier too
Are here to make it all okay with you

One dark night he came home from the sea
And put a hole in her body where no hole should be
It hurt her more to see him walking out the door
And though they stitched her back together they left her heart in pieces on the floor

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
She takes off the Four Tops tape and puts it back in its case
When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs’ tears

Levi Stubbs was one of the Four Tops, just in case you didn’t know. I heard the song on Radio 6 last week having not heard it for years, so it was quite fortuitous to find it today in the any single £1 section. The lyrics are brilliant.

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The second Billy Bragg single was ‘Greetings to the New Brunette’, which I picked up just because really, I couldn’t remember how it went. When I got home I gave it a spin and knew it straight away, it’s the ‘Shirley’ one and, if I have it right, has Johnny Marr on guitar.

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I think some versions of the single are actually called Shirley with the rest of the title in brackets, but mine isn’t. All in all these two singles for £2 is a jolly nice thank you very much. I’ll have to have a listen to the other tracks as well. Here is Shirley:

Shirley
It’s quite exciting to be sleeping here in this new room
Shirley
You’re my reason to get out of bed before noon
Shirley
You know when we sat out on the fire escape talking
Shirley
What did you say about running before we were walking?

Sometimes when we’re as close as this
It’s like we’re in a dream
How can you lie there and think of England
When you don’t even know who’s in the team

Shirley
Your sexual politics have left me all of a muddle
Shirley
We are joined in the ideological cuddle

I’m celebrating my love for you
With a pint of beer and a new tattoo
And if you haven’t noticed yet
I’m more impressionable when my cement is wet

Politics and pregnancy
Are debated as we empty our glasses
And how I love those evening classes

Shirley
You really know how to make a young man angry
Shirley
Can we get through the night without mentioning family?

The people from your church agree
It’s not much of a career
Trying the handles of parked cars
Whoops, there goes another year
Whoops, there goes another pint of beer

Here we are in our summer years
Living on ice cream and chocolate kisses
And would the leaves fall from the trees
If I was your old man and you were my misses?

Give my greetings to the new brunette
Shirley
Greetings to the new brunette
Shirley
Greetings to the new brunette
Shirley
Greetings to the new brunette
Shirley

 

 

Ella & Oscar

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I think that if there is an album in the used bins that is Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson together then it is worthy of consideration for purchasing, when it is £3.50 it is pretty much a no brainer, which is the reason I own this record. I am playing it now for the first time having picked it up a couple of months ago. First impression? Wow!

In 1973, Norman Granz (who had been Fitzgerlald’s manager) felt Fitzgerald and other traditionalist jazz greats were being marginalised and undervalued so Granz started the Pablo label, for which Fitzgerald recorded throughout the ’70s. The Pablo label was a place where established but no longer cutting-edge acts could sign and release their music without dealing with the pressures of larger, more sales-conscious labels. As such, the Pablo catalog caught many artists, including Duke Ellington and Count Basie, in the latter stages of their careers. And Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson were among them.

Just listen to that piano, overlaid with that voice.

Ella and Oscar was recorded and released in 1975. It must have seemed like a throwback to the 50’s, with its black and white cover, especially when the year in jazz was dominated by electric fusion albums such as Miles Davis’ Pangaea and Stanley Clarke’s Journey to Love. Where does an album of swinging, sparsely-arranged standards and showtunes sit amongst this modernism? In my record collection, that’s where, along with Journey to Love (actually).

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Tracklist

A1 Mean To Me 3:25
A2 How Long Has This Been Going On? 4:48
A3 When Your Lover Has Gone 4:54
A4 More Than You Know 4:32
A5 There’s A Lull In My Life 4:55

B1 Midnight Sun 3:37
B2 I Hear Music 5:06
B3 Street Of Dreams 4:03
B4 April In Paris 8:35

Rating: 8.7

The Ornette Coleman Trio – at the ‘Golden Circle’ Stockholm (Volume one)

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Years ago I had a cassette tape of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster that I played a lot, loved that cassette, and I think it may still be up in the loft somewhere, though I have nothing to play it on at the moment. So when I saw this Blue Note re-issue by one of them I bought it. This shows my complete lack of Jazz knowledge of course as it is Ornette Coleman and not Coleman Hawkins, still, a happy mistake.

I then had to go and read up about it a bit and discovered that At the “Golden Circle” Stockholm is a two-volume album, which means I am one short, documenting concerts on the nights of December 3rd and 4th, 1965, in the Gyllene Cirkeln club in Stockholm. It marked the beginning of Coleman’s contract with Blue Note.

The trio are:

  • Ornette Coleman — alto saxophone, violin, trumpet
  • David Izenzon — double bass
  • Charles Moffett — drums

Here is a video of the trio performing, it’s a year later but still a good film.

Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015)[1] was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter, and composer. He was one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s, a term he invented with the name of his 1961 album. His “Broadway Blues” has become a standard and has been cited as a key work in the free jazz movement.[2] He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1994. His album Sound Grammar received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music.

So he is generally regarded as quite important and I have to say, I enjoyed this album. Not that many years ago this sort of jazz would have left me cold and a little confused, but I’ve opened myself up to a lot of new genres over the years and now find myself finding music in just about everything and some merit in just about everything as well. This may all just be part of getting old of course, or, let’s say more experienced.

Here is the opening cut from the album, so you can judge for yourself:

Tracklist

A1 Faces And Places
A2 European Echoes

B1 Dee Dee
B2 Dawn

Rating: 8.4 (I know how highly this is rated elsewhere but this is mine)

Nosferatu – James Bernard

Back in the summer of 2016 I wrote this:

aaaaaaaaaaand finally, something  a little bit different. A 7″ single, or E.P. really, that came out on Record Store Day this year but was still in the store and, as I am a bit of a sucker for Soundtracks, I really had to pick it up and take it home.

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Record Store Day celebrates German cinematic culture this year with this special edition silver colored vinyl 7″ single of ‘Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (translated as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror) from the 1922 German Expressionist horror film. The original score composed by Hans Erdmann has been lost, and what remains is a reconstitution of the score as it was played in 1922. James Bernard, composer of the soundtracks of many Hammer horror films in the late 1950s and 1960s, has written a score for a reissue. This particular 7” version contains audio performed in 1997 by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Nic Raine. Limited to 3000 numbered copies.

Side A
Omens of Nosferatu
The Pursuit of Knock

Side B
The Ship of Doom

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It’s a wonderful thing and, although it was £7.00 I feel it was worth it and, of course, it wasn’t my money paying for it!

Below is a video that somebody made of it playing on their turntable.


 

So that was then. The full soundtrack came out and every time I went to the store I saw it but at £32 it was too rich for my blood, until they had a sale and I got it for £10 off. I just played it again this evening, here is a bit of it:

This resulted in the following exchange:

Wife: What’s this? I sounds like murder music

Verian: It is, it’s from the 1922 Nosferatu film, in blood red vinyl.

Wife: Why are you listening to that? Well you can turn it off, I’m putting the telly on.

This is where the extremely cheap bluetooth transmitter that I bought came in handy, it’s not ideal, but it does a job.

The entire film can be watched below, and I’d recommend it, although I am unsure which score was used for it.

You could also watch the film at http://nonsilentfilm.com where it has been the subject of a new sound design, so that it is no longer a silent movie, using Getty Images sound library. To be honest, I think it spoils it as at times it sounds like The Sims, but it was still a clever piece of work.

Album Tracklist

A1 Overture – Omens Of Nosferatu 3:03
A2 Hutter And Ellen 2:11
A3 Ellen’s Disquiet 5:12
A4 Journey To Orlok’s Castle 6:04

B1 In The Castle 5:21
B2 Ellen Sleep-Walks 6:10
B3 Hutter’s Discovery 3:24

C1 Loading The Coffins 3:58
C2 Ellen By The Seashore 3:23
C3 The Ship Of Doom 5:19
C4 Orlok’s Lair 2:43

D1 The Plague 5:55
D2 The Pursuit Of Knock 2:47
D3 The Power Of Orlok / The Death Of Ellen 7:34

Rating: 9.0

 

Joni Mitchell – The hissing of summer lawns

s-l300One of the first records I ever owned was by Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi on a 45, and along with my other two 45’s, all of which were inherited, I played it to death along with Return to Sender by Elvis and Behind Closed Doors by Charlie Rich.

I played them on a Dansete type player, like the one in the picture but I think it was red, all three records loaded up and they would drop as they finished and the next one one play, then I’d lift them up and play them again. There was a finite number of records where this would work as they start slipping if there are too many, but three was fine. This happened in South Wales, before we moved to England and Big Yellow Taxi was the only Joni Mitchell song I knew, I was about 7 or 8 at the time.

Jumping forward and I’m now living in England, am about 13 or 14, and I have the old family record player in my bedroom. A bit like this one but not this one:

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With this I could create compilation tapes from records and tracks off the radio. We had a much better system downstairs in the living room but this worked fine for me at the time.

One evening I was listening to The Friday Rock Show on the radio and they played the track Edith and the Kingpin by Joni Mitchell, which was probably the first thing I’d heard by her since playing that 45 and it both surprised and delighted me. It was absolutely nothing like that old 45 at all and I decided there and then that, when I had some money, I would buy myself a copy of the album that it was taken from.

It was a while before I actually managed to get a copy, several years, in fact I can’t actually remember when I bought it but it must have been 20 to 25 years ago, but I did get a copy and it was brilliant.

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From Wiki:

The first track, “In France They Kiss on Main Street”, is a jazz-rock song about coming of age in a small town in the 1950s rock & roll era. (The song was released as the single from the album and reached number 66 on the US Billboard charts.) “The Jungle Line” uses a field recording from Africa of the Drummers of Burundi (called ‘warrior drums’ in the credits), onto which are dubbed guitar, Moog synthesizer and the vocal line. The lyrics pay homage to the works of the French Post-Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau. Mitchell blends details of his works with imagery of modern city life, the music industry and the underground drug culture.

“Edith and the Kingpin” marks a return to jazz in a story of a gangster’s new moll arriving in his home town. “Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow” is an acoustic guitar–based song with stream-of-consciousness lyrics, focused on women standing up to male dominance and proclaiming their own existence as individuals. “Shades of Scarlett Conquering” is an orchestral-based piece about a modern southern belle basing her life and self-image on the 95690cb3c9a3faec9def6c4a83337e8astereotypes of the Scarlett O’Hara character from Gone with the Wind.

The second side begins with the title track, “The Hissing of Summer Lawns”, which is about a woman who chooses to stay in a marriage where she is treated as part of her husband’s portfolio. “The Boho Dance” comments on people who feel that artists betray their artistic integrity for commercial success, with an ironic glance at those who said this of Mitchell herself and parallels Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word. “Harry’s House/Centerpiece” concerns failing marriage as example of the loneliness of modern life and frames the jazz standard “Centerpiece” by Harry “Sweets” Edison and Jon Hendricks. “Sweet Bird” is a sparser acoustic track that is a slight return to Mitchell’s so-called ‘confessional’ singer-songwriter style and addresses the loss of beauty power with aging. Its lyrics indicate that it may also be a reference to Tennessee’s William’s Sweet Bird of Youth. The final track is “Shadows and Light”, consisting of many overdubs of her voice and an ARP String Machine (credited as an ARP-Farfisa on the album sleeve).

I pulled the album out of storage yesterday and have given it a few plays now, it is still brilliant so looking back at what was written about it at the time I was surprised that, due to the jazz influence and experimental nature of the album, the record received harsh criticism, with Rolling Stone listing it as one of the worst album titles of the year. Oh Rolling Stone, you bloody idiots.

It would seem that this is one of those albums that has grown in favour over time, and rightly so. It is certainly true that this album was a departure from what had gone before, just look at the albums that preceded it:

Song to a Seagull – Released: March 1968
Clouds – Released: May 1969
Ladies of the Canyon – Released: April 1970
Blue – Released – June 1971
For the Roses – Released: November 1972
Court and Spark – Released: January 17, 1974

and there was the live album, Miles of Aisles, released in November 1974. All fabulous albums but not really stylistically in line with the Hissing of Summer Lawns, which must have been quite a shock to those who loved these first albums (Blue in particular is a work of genius in my opinion). The thing is, musicians need to grow, they need to develop by experimenting with new forms. While what we want is often more of the same that route will most likely result in stagnation and, ultimately, the demise of the artist as they would be similarly criticised for not doing anything new.

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My copy is a bit battered now but the vinyl plays OK and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting aquatinted with it, which will, I think, result in the other albums I have getting another spin over the next week. I also always keep a look out in the used bins for albums I don’t have, which can often be quite cheap. There are 20 or so albums out there so I have a few to stumble of yet, I currently have 8.

I can’t recommend this album highly enough, i’ve been enjoying it, off and on, for 35 years or more and it doesn’t get stale.

Tracklist

A1 In France They Kiss on Main Street 3:19
A2 The Jungle Line 4:25
A3 Edith and the Kingpin 3:38
A4 Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow 4:05
A5 Shades of Scarlett Conquering 4:59

B1 The Hissing of Summer Lawns 3:01
B2 The Boho Dance 3:48
B3 Harry’s House/Centerpiece 6:48
B4 Sweet Bird 4:12
B5 Shadows and Light 4:19

Rating: 9.2

Just because I wanted to, here are some cover versions of songs from this album:

 

Crate digging at home

I don’t have enough shelf space at the moment and what I do have has collapsed a few times so I keep a chunk of albums inside a a hollow, two seater, wooden chair. Here they are:

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I’m not sure how many are in there but best guess would be 150 or so. Today I picked out a few I haven’t listened to for a while but, as I have a few days off work, thought I would pop on the turntable again and become re-aquatinted.

This is what I picked out. My copy of The Pixies – Surfer Rosa is a bit knackered but it still plays:

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I have a few Elvis Costello in there but picked out Armed Forces, mostly because the cover is so good:

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I haven’t listened to Rattus Norvegicus by The Stranglers for quite a while so that was picked out, it’s a brilliant album of course and I’m not sure why I put it in the box:

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I haven’t played Joni Mitchell – The hissing of summer lawns for years, so that on is going to get a spin:

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and, finally, Talk Talk – The Colour of Spring, another beautiful cover:

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In case you were wondering, Talk Talk was played first, listening to it now.

Random Item – Number 2 – 65daysofstatic

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This was yesterday but I pressed the random item on Discogs again and it came up with the soundtrack for the computer game ‘No Mans Sky’ which, if I remember correctly, has been slated as one of the worst games ever. I wouldn’t really know as I have never played it, this gives an idea though:

There just isn’t a game here. You get about eight hours of entertainment before you realize there’s nothing to do. Even with limitless exploration, there’s almost nothing to explore. It’s all the same.

One thing the game makers did get right is the soundtrack, performed by 65daysofstatic. When I stumbled across this I was a little skeptical thinking it would all be rather incidental and not very listenable, however, having given it a quick listen I found it not to be at all.

I had a look for a copy and found a guy who was leaving the country and selling off his record collection, so instead of the going rate I got the 4 LP box set for £30. Which is half (ish) of what it usually sells for and the copy I received was mint.

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Below is track 2 from the Side A of the first LP, and it is very much a 65daysofstatictrack and I love the damn thing:

It is a real shame as the music is just excellent and the game is, apparently, terrible, which probably resulted in the music being overlooked somewhat. The track below is ‘Debutante’ and was, I believe, used in the trailer for the game. I do know somebody who bought the game and played it for a while, they took it back and received a refund, as did many people.

Tracklist

A1 Monolith 6:18
A2 Supermoon 4:22
B1 Asimov 5:52
B2 Heliosphere 4:23
C1 Blueprint For A Slow Machine 5:54
C2 Pillars Of Frost 2:57
C3 Escape Velocity 2:55
D1 Red Parallax 4:47
D2 Hypersleep 2:53
D3 End Of The World Sun 7:26
E1 NMS_exteriorAtmos1 / False Suns 9:29
E2 Tomorrow / Lull / Celestial Feedback 10:54
F1 Departure / Shortwave / Noisetest 11:50
G1 temporalDissent / ascension_test1 / koaecax 10:07
G2 Borealis / Contrastellar 8:52
H1 Outlier / EOTWS_Variation1 11:59

I was just speaking to a chap who actually likes the game, although admits that it is incredibly repetitive. Interestingly he mentioned how good the music is but had no idea who it was by, so I was quite happy to speak at length about 65daysofstatic and the 4 LP box set I have of the music. I believe he fell asleep twice during this but I pushed on anyway.

Rating: 9.2

 

New Bjork Video – Arisen my senses

Weird but good, one of the best tracks on Utopia.

Just that kiss
Was all there is
Every cell in my body
Lined up for you
Legs a little open
Once again
Awaken my senses
Head topless
Arisen my senses! (Arisen my senses)
Just that kiss
Was all there is
My hands, my palms pulsating of
The things I want to do to you (the things)
(I want to do to you)
Just that kiss (just that kiss)
Is all there is (is all there is)
We’re weaving a mix-tape
With every crossfade
Is WWW
For him I heed (Is WWW)
Songs from the
Warmth, once again (I’ll send you some)
We’re weaving a mix-tape
Weaving a mix-tape (with every)
Song
For who I am
For, for, with love
With love (and)
Awaken my senses
I’ll weave it
Just that kiss (awaken my senses)
Was all there is
Just that kiss (kiss, kiss) (arisen)
Was all there is (my senses, my senses)
Once again, just that kiss (arisen)
Was all there is (my senses)
For him I heed
Once again, I’m made to merge
For him I heed
We’re made to merge (it’s you)
For him I heed (I see)
For him I heed
For him I heed (am I keen or key or not too keen)
Too keen, to see, to be seen (am I keen or key or not too keen?)
With him I heed
He sees me for who I am (am I keen or not keen?)
For him I heed
To key, to see, to be seen (am I keen or not keen?)
With him, him (am I keen or not keen?)
He sees me for who I am (to key, to be?)

Random Item – Number 1 – Emmylou Harris

When looking at your record collection in Discogs there’s a search button, next to that is a ‘Random Item’ link which I pressed to tell me what I should listen to next as I was being indecisive. It came back with this:

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So this is what I’m listening to. I bought it for £3 from a used bin because I liked the cover. Now I’m going all Country for Christmas.

The album was released in 1979 and is more traditional country than the country-rock sound of Harris’ previous releases. Songs include work by Willie Nelson and Gram Parsons. Rodney Crowell’s “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” featuring harmonies by Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, and came out of theirs ill-fated 1978 recording sessions, where they first attempted to record a “trio” album (nearly a full decade before they actually succeeded in doing so).

The album won the 1980 Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. “Beneath Still Waters” became Harris’ fourth #1 hit, covers of The Drifters’ 1960 hit “Save The Last Dance For Me” and the title track (originally recorded by Loretta Lynn) were top ten hits on the US country charts.

In 2006, the album ranked #20 on CMT’s 40 Greatest Albums in Country Music.

Track List

A1 Sister’s Coming Home – Written-By – Willie Nelson -2:52
A2 Beneath Still Waters – Written-By – Dallas Frazier – 3:41
A3 Rough And Rocky – Written-By – Charles Justice, Shoji Tabuchi -3:50
A4 Hickory Wind – Written-By Bob Buchanon, Gram Parsons -4:01
A5 Save The Last Dance For Me – Written-By Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman -3:30

B1 Sorrow In The Wind – Written-By Jean Ritchie – 3:28
B2 They’ll Never Take His Love From Me – Written By Leon Payne – 2:34
B3 Everytime You Leave – Written By Charlie Louvin, Ira Louvin -2:58
B4 Blue Kentucky Girl – Written By Johnny Mullins – 3:17
B5 Even Cowgirls Get The Blues – Written By Rodney Crowell – 3:56

Rating: 7.25 (even though this isn’t my thing really it is still very well done)

The Retro Store – Parcel 2

My second parcel from The Retro Store arrived today and it was much improved from the first one I’m happy to report. I received a hand written postcard from Peter, who owns The Retro Store, regarding my previous rather scathing review and it was good to see that the customer experience is something that he is concerned about and does want to improve. There will, of course, always be teething problems when a company undertakes new ventures but my original comments based on the experience at the time still stand, hopefully, as the company matures, that sort of thing will be rare.

(Peter, that you spent any money on a Paul Young record means you were ripped off!)

So what was in the parcel? Well, a duplicate to begin with. The note from Peter did advise that they are working on a system for tracking duplicates, which I believe is vital for  venture like this to work. For somebody who is new to record collecting it isn’t so much of an issue, in fact, I would say that this avenue is an excellent way to build up a collection when starting from only a few. In my case I do already have quite a lot so the likelihood is that I am more susceptible to duplicates. The good news is that the album that I already had is absolutely knackered as a result of a drunken night in 1984 where many of my old records where walked over having been left out of their sleeves.

The Psychedelic Furs – Forever Now

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I loved this album when it came out in 1982, and was in my last year of school at the time. I couldn’t afford my own copy then but bought one when I started working in 1983. I’ve been listening to it tonight for the first time in years and still love it. The whole ‘John Hughes Pretty In Pink multiple single issues’ thing did put me off the Furs for a while, but those first three albums are really very good indeed, namely this one, Talk Talk Talk and The Psychedelic Furs, some great tracks on them. So score 1 for the Retro Store even if you got lucky that I screwed up the one I had.

Eric Clapton – Slowhand

r-2763510-1412889071-3200-jpegI don’t have a copy and, to be honest, am not a big Clapton fan, I tried, but what he does I can’t seem to connect with. I like some of the tracks over the years but that’s about it. Undeniably this is a decent album as it appears in a lot of lists of best of this and best of that so a lot of people rate it highly. I like his take on ‘Cocaine’ and I used to play it in a band years ago, but still prefer the J.J.Cale original. I despise ‘Wonderful Tonight’ and Clapton’s version of John Martyn’s ‘May You Never’ is actually shit. The rest is ok though. Not complaining about receiving this one.

The Story Of Star Wars – Original Cast With Narration By Roscoe Lee Browne

r-717031-1239560383-jpegOk, let’s be absolutely clear hear, this is basically an audiobook on vinyl that tells the Star Wars story, it is, quite frankly, ludicrous. Yes, it comes with a booklet with stills of the film and yes it has dialogue from the film and yes I listened to it twice already and yes, I bloody love it and have no idea why! And yes, I could have bought a copy for a couple of quid but I didn’t and probably wouldn’t have, so that is probably the point.

I would think by now you would desperately want to hear some of this record yourself, and I can oblige with the first ten minutes, the rest is out there if you are of a mind to find it.

This all went much better than last time and it will be very interesting to see what arrives next.

 

Abba (no, really) – The Album

I was looking for tracks for a themed radio show that I was planning and one of the records that popped up was Abba – The Album, which I do actually have a copy of. It was gifted to me long with several others from their catalogue and a load of classical albums released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

r-2844381-1303649204-jpegNow, what I am about to tell you next would (and possibly will) result in the response ‘Gay’ from some of my friends, don’t judge them. So I was soaking in the bath listening to the album (this is the exact point where the first ‘Gay’ would occur) and it brought back a lot of memories. I was 10 years old when it was released, from a single parent family who had recently moved from Wales to England, no friends and about to start comprehensive school, a difficult time. The memories it stirred were not specific, more general really but somewhat melancholy and centred around missed opportunities. As a result of this mood I actually listened to the lyrics rather than let the Abba hit machine wash over me as it normally would, and goddamn, they are so bloody sad.

Album opener The Eagle is a bit trippy lyrically but it is essentially about escape from a life that the speaker feels trapped in:

Take a Chance on me is brilliantly produced and was, of course, a big hit, but the whole thing smacks of desperation, if there is nobody else left then don’t forget about me, I’ll be here waiting. Good lord.

And so it goes on with track three, One Man, One Woman:

No smiles, not a single word at the breakfast table
Though I would have liked to begin
So much that I wanna say, but I feel unable
You leave and slam the door
Like you’ve done many times before
And I cry and I feel so helpless

Although the chorus is perhaps a little more positive suggesting that they will see out their problems together to the end, but that is quite sad in itself.

It is dark stuff indeed. Still it goes on with track 4, The Name Of The Game, which seems to be about insecurity as much as the overlaid love story:

And you make me talk
And you make me feel
And you make me show
What I’m trying to conceal
If I trust in you, would you let me down?
Would you laugh at me, if I said I care for you?
Could you feel the same way too?
I wanna know.

Then we have Move On, Hole In Your Soul and Thank You For The Music, this last one was eventually released as a single about 6 years later and formed part of a mini-musical titled ‘The Girl With The Golden Hair’. The track opens with the following lyric:

I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before

Before going on to tell of the gift the girl has been given, the gift of being able to sing. It is overtly joyous as a song but I still feel like there is a dark undercurrent in that, without her voice, she is completely ordinary, nothing special at all.

Tracklist

A1 Eagle – 5:51
A2 Take A Chance On Me – 4:05
A3 One Man, One Woman – 4:25
A4 The Name Of The Game -4:54

B1 Move On – 4:42
B2 Hole In Your Soul – 3:41
The Girl With The Golden Hair – 3 Scenes From A Mini Musical
B3a Thank You For The Music – 3:48
B3b I Wonder (Departure) – 4:33
B3c I’m A Marionette -3:54

That last 3 scenes from a musical thing is all a bit musical theatre to be honest but it is saved by Thank you for the music to some degree. Now I am not going to claim to like ABBA at all, but what I can’t do is say that I dislike ABBA, after all, they undeniably put out some brilliant pop singles and like most people I would find myself singing along but checking to make sure I couldn’t be seen doing it.

Rating: 8.1 (For the very good A side mostly)

New Numan Vid

The end of things from the album Savage: Songs from a broken world. Good track.

Alex Somers – Captain Fantastic (Music from The Film)

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Alex Somers is an American visual artist and musician from Baltimore, Maryland, who attended Berklee College of Music and Listaháskóli Íslands. Since 2010 he has been running a recording studio in Reykjavík where he produces, engineers, and mixes.

You may recognise some of his other work such as Artwork for the ‘Sigur Ros’ album ‘Takk’ or the ‘Hammock’ album cover for ‘Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow’. Somers has produced/mixed a few ‘Sigur Ros’ albums and the solo album from ‘Jonsi’, who he has released an album with as ‘Jonsi & Alex’ called ‘Riceboy Sleeps’.  So he is the kind of guy who is heavily involved but not front and centre and I was a little tentative about buying the music he did for Captain Fantastic having never actually seen the film.

Captain Fantastic Trailer:

alexsAs a lover of Sigur Ros though it seemed to me that it was worth a try but I saw it several times in the record shop and didn’t buy it until it was discounted by £5, it was still quite expensive though. The cover has round corners and the vinyl is, apparently, a duck egg blue. This version is limited to 1,150 copies, which is nice, more importantly though is that it is damn beautiful to listen to.

I do love a soundtrack as, quite often, the music is wonderful when listened to outside the context of the film, as is the case with this one. It is at times a little avant garde and at others modern classical, with some electronic and ambient scattered around. Where it is most appealing I suppose is where Jonsi of Sigur Ros is adding some incidental voices as it imbues the soundtrack as a whole with some grace and majesty.

The film tells the story of Ben (Viggo Mortensen), a father-of-six, who choses to raise his family off the grid in a forest in the Pacific Northwest. His wife is in treatment for bipolar disorder and Ben receives a letter informing him that she has killed herself. He packs up his children and they take a road trip to their mother’s funeral in New Mexico, despite warnings from his late wife’s father that he will have him arrested if he disrupts the funeral. I’ll leave the description there in case you ever decide to watch it in full, wouldn’t want to spoil it.

Often on soundtrack albums there is a theme that repeats and reprises but not so here, there are 24 tracks and almost all are individual pieces and none are disposable. There is a lightness of touch that Somers has, a delicacy, that suggests the music he has created would not be overpowering when used in the film but still manage to have their own identity when listened to as an album.

Tracklist

A1 A New Beginning 1:26
A2 Church 3:13
A3 Campfire 3:56
A4 Funeral Pyre 1:38
A5 She Slit Her Wrists 2:51

B1 Memories 2:14
B2 Fireflies 2:12
B3 Home 1:06
B4 Fell 2:35
B5 Dream 1:29
B6 Near Death 1:38
B7 Water (I’m Right Here) 0:57
B8 School Bus 1:37

C1 Forrest 2:47
C2 Look Forward To 2:58
C3 Keepsakes 3:32
C4 Remembering 7:16

D1 Unsoundness 2:01
D2 Waving Goodbye 0:47
D3 Day Of Your Birth 1:03
D4 Water (Not Go Home) 0:55
D5 Goodbye… 1:33
D Disappear 2:11
D7 Fortress 4:37

Rating: 9.1

 

 

Baxter Dury – Prince of Tears

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Baxter Dury, son of Ian Dury, there, that’s that out of the way first as I am sure that he is fed up of being compared with his Dad, inevitable though it is. My copy arrived yesterday and I played it today knowing only the opening track, Miami, which has had a lot of plays on Radio 6 over the last month or so, in fact, it’s the reason I bought the album. It turns out Baxter had his heart broken last year and this pretty much seems to be a break album, but a very short one clocking in at only 29 minutes, I have 12″ singles that last that long.

The album version of Miami is rather more sweary than the radio friendly one and is a little more sneery and sinister as a result, but damn good, here it is for your listening pleasure:

Miami

Like it? It’s a grower, honest. So the rest of the album, the tracks are short and to the point and some barely feature a Dury vocal at all. One track that does feature a vocal but has about the sparsest lyrics of any song ever and somehow manages to be quite brilliant is ‘Letter Bomb’. It’s one minute and forty two seconds of pop genius with an extremely dark subject matter, don’t believe me? Try it for yourself:

Letter Bomb

In a recent interview he says, “It’s about letterbombs, to be honest. I just wanted to shout it out.” But not long after he admits it was inspired by an earlier romantic split. “A very harsh speaking girl I went out with once, and when we split up she said ‘babe, it’s in the post’. I said ‘what’s in the post’ and she said ‘your feelings babe.’  She was right – boom, uggh!”

If it was 1978 a 7″ vinyl of ‘Letter Bomb’ would sell by the bucketload, really, it would.

‘Prince of Tears’, which is allegorical in a way I think, in a straight forward sort of way, has a video I really like, although the track is another grower really.

Prince of Tears

A1 Miami
A2 Porcelain
A3 Mungo
A4 Listen
A5 Almond Milk
B1 Letter Bomb
B2 Oi
B3 August
B4 Wanna
B5 Prince Of Tears

This is the first Baxter Dury album I’ve ever bought and there is certainly enough here to make me want to go through the back catalogue a bit more. I have heard some of the tracks from previous albums but never in more than a cursory way.

Rating: 8.1

 

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ooops, my bad!

David Bowie Shelf collapse shocker!

One of the shelves holding my records collapsed, it was not a very strong shelf and it was holding rather a lot of albums, so it was not entirely unexpected, it was just a matter of time. Nothing fell out, the whole shelf just dropped and rested on the 7″ singles beneath, but it did mean I had to re-arrange everything and in doing so I was surprised by how many David Bowie singles I had. I knew I had several but this was more than I thought:

db1

db2

And in list form they are:

A Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
B Because You’re Young

A Dancing In The Street (Clearmountain Mix)
B Dancing In The Street (Instrumental)

A Modern Love
B Modern Love (Live Version)

A Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
B Giorgio Moroder – Paul’s Theme (Jogging Chase)

A Fashion (Edited Version)
B Scream Like A Baby

A Ashes To Ashes
B Move On

A John, I’m Only Dancing (Again) (1975)
B John, I’m Only Dancing (1972)

A Breaking Glass
B1 Art Decade
B2 Ziggy Stardust

A Absolute Beginners
B Absolute Beginners (Dub Mix)

A Wild Is The Wind
B Golden Years

A David Bowie / Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America
B Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America (Instrumental)

A Beauty And The Beast
B Sense Of Doubt

A D.J.
B Repetition

A Blue Jean
B Dancing With The Big Boys

A China Girl – 4:11
B Shake It – 3:49

A Tonight
B Tumble And Twirl

A White Light/White Heat
B Cracked Actor

A Let’s Dance
B Cat People (Putting Out Fire)

Hmmmmmm, now then, what if all those lovely B-Sides were put together to form an entirely new Bowie album? Ridiculous, why would anybody do that? Why? Because I love that sort of thing that’s why.

Let’s see, some rules, if the track is both an A-side and a B-Side then choose one of the A-Sides in it’s place. If it isn’t on Spotify then it doesn’t get in and no live versions. There, enough rules, this album is going to be called:

Just add water and stir

(“I’m an instant star. Just add water and stir” – David Bowie, 1975)

Well, I reckon that’s a pretty bloody good album. Party because it makes no sense and yet, for that reason, it does.

 

Vinyl Moon – Volume 027: Skyride

The first album received as part of a new subscription with Vinyl Moon arrived last week. I thought I’d actually give it a bit of a listen before commenting on it, that’s only fair, though the first thing that has to be mentioned is that for international subscribers it is quite expensive at $39 (which today is equivalent to £29.14).

The album arrived in a nice custom mailer and, apart from a very slight ding in one of the corners of the cover, everything was fine. I opened it all up and, just as I had expected, there had been a lot of attention to detail when creating this release. The cover was a glossy gatefold with a embossed title, inside there was a die-cut art insert along with a lyrics and info booklet. The vinyl itself was, transparent blue, or translucent marbled sky blue officially. It all looked rather nice. Here is an image swiped directly from the Vinyl Moon site due to my inherent laziness:

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Looks nice doesn’t it? It does, but the more important thing is what is actually on it, well, here is the tracklist with some of the tracks available for you to have a listen to (but not all of them as some just aren’t available online at all):

Side A

thanks. – Chacho Song
Motherhood – Save Me

Sam Frankl – Gold Rush

Strangelove – From Heights

Plastic Picnic – Bite

Side B

Glassio – Papaya
Ella Rae – Someone Else

Williott – Back of the Prius

Mørk – See You Dance

Skela – Secret

I would suspect that many of the above artists are completely unknown to most people, myself included, but that is sort of the point of the whole series. It is analogue music discovery, which is a nice idea and I do really like most of the tracks , particularly the opener by thanks. who have almost no online presence and, as far as I can tell, this track is their only release.

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I have paid for the next one, so I’ll wait and see what’s on that before deciding whether to continue with the subscription, I’d like to, it is just the cost that is putting me off. All in all pretty much a success this one, it is an interesting and different concept.

vinylewmerapng

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rugby Record Fair

I took a very quick trip to Rugby Record Fair at the town hall today in-between washing the car and doing some food shopping. It’s a small fair so that was OK. I did manage to find some things that I wanted so it was a quick but successful trip.

The first thing I bought was a Catatonia 7″ – Strange Glue which is a nice red vinyl complete with poster that I will never use.

I have entered a Catatonia 7″ collecting phase, this only makes 3 but they are quite cheap and I like them, so that’s good.

I picked up a couple of Stanley Clarke albums, which were also cheap at £4 each. I do like a bit of Stanley Clarke and they are generally not expensive so whenever I see one, or two in this case, I’ll get them.

There was a stall with new, sealed albums all at £10 but there were only a couple I was interested in, and I only got one, which was Odelay by Beck. I’ve been meaning to get a copy for ages so this was fortuitous.

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Finally, a bit of XTC. I used to have 3 or 4 XTC records but I sold them at some point and now, like many other people, I find myself looking to replace what I sold. The only one I had before today was Black Sea. The ones I got today I only had on CD though so this is a first time having the actual LP’s. I watched, for the 2nd time, an XTC documentary the other week and it got me all enthused again. I bought Beeswax – the B Sides just so that I could have both as, even when I had it on CD I only actually listened to the Singles album. They were great songwriters though so I will give it some time.

Loads of tracks I could have chosen for these, but this one is just brilliant writing from the Murmur album, So this one it is.

Bjork – Utopia – New Video

The video for Utopia was released today, and it is gorgeous.

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