Charity Shop Adventures – This is ridiculous

The last time I posted about charity shop purchases was August 17th 2019, which is roughly 3 months ago. I just checked and since that time I have picked up another 324 CD’s, which in itself is ok, except I don’t really have anywhere to put them. I’ve been looking for some shelving units to buy but they are either ridiculously expensive or extremely poor quality, none of them can store the quantity I need them to, like this:

These hold 84 CD’s so I need at least 18 of them (That;s £575, and I probably don’t have the wall space to put them up or the desire to drill 50 or so holes in the wall)

There are lots that will hold around 1000 but all of them have negative reviews of some sort, although several positive as well. Like the one below (£160), recesses at the end of each shelf where 6 CD spines can’t be seen, which doesn’t worry me that much, but negative reviews around assembly instructions being sadly lacking put me off a little. This one holds 1060, although 120 of them can’t be seen because of the recesses.

I’d like to custom build something that would perfectly fit the space and accomodate everything, however, I am shit at DIY so that’s a non starter.

Would this put you off buying something?

Yeah, me too. I’m going to have to have a think and figure something out.

POTW 2 (20/11/2019)

2:54 – 2.54


I saw this album on CD in a charity shop and picked it up as part of a 3 for £1 deal. I was intrigued by the complete lack of information, I wasn’t sure if 2:54 was the band name or the album name, turns out it was both.

they are an alternative rock band from London comprising sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow. In mid-2010 they formed 2:54. The bands name stands for two minutes fifty-four seconds into their favorite Melvins track, “A History of Bad Men”. This makes no sense to me at all but names have to come from somewhere I guess.

They first came to public attention in 2010 after putting one of their demos online. Their debut single, “On a Wire”, was released in 2011. The sisters were joined for live shows in 2011 by bassist Joel Porter and drummer Alex Robins. Their self-titled debut album was released in May 2012.

The line up following are: Collette Thurlow on guitar and vocals, Hanna Thurlow on guitar, Alex Porter on bass and Alex Robins on drums.

On the way back from town I popped the CD in the car stereo and was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. It has a lot of the elements that I like in Indie rock and was far more accomplished than I’d been expecting. I was reminded of bands like Ride, Curve, Lush and others from that musical arena. It was the song above, ‘Scarlet’ that I probably liked most on first listen, so if you haven’t already, press play and try it for yourself.

The track ‘You’re Early’ has strong hints of Garbage I think, mostly in the vocal delivery at times:

They must have had a reasonable promotional budget behind them back in 2012 when the album was released as there are several videos accompanying the album, well, at least 4:

Tracklist

Revolving
You’re Early
Easy Undercover
A Salute
Scarlet
Sugar
Circuitry
Watcher
Ride
Creeping

For me, the album is great value at 33 British pennies and a copy can be aquired for about £3 on Discogs Marketplace

Record Shops – Hong Kong

I’ll was in Hong Kong for just under a week in July so I had a look to see what record shops there were to visit. Part of the reason for putting it here was so I would be able to find it and refer to it while I am there.

I did that, tried to find two of them, they didn’t appear to exist anymore and I gave up, it was very dissapointing, although I stil had a very nice time.

Hong Kong Island:

Classic Shop: Room 201, Won Hing Building, 74 – 78 Stanley Street, Central. Tel: 2541 7733. Email: classicshop@wtt-mail.com

Collectables: 1/F, Hong Kong City Hall Low Block, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central. Tel: 2559 9562. Email: collectableshk@yahoo.com.hk. Website: http://collectables.jrstation.com

Walls of Sound: 3F, 38 Cochrane Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2805 1584

Kowloon:

The Beat Records: G/F, 53 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 2780 0956. Email: thebeat53@yahoo.com.hk

Old Sound Collection: 13/F Sino Centre, 582-592 Nathan Road. Tel: 2359 9826

Paul’s Records: Flat D, 5/F, Wai Hong Building, 239 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. Tel: 9841 7136

Shun Cheong Record Showroom: Room 801, Wing Lung Bank Centre, 636 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 2332 6397. Email: service@shuncheongrec.com. Website: http://www.shuncheongrec.com

White Noise Records: 1/F, 720 Shanghai Street, Prince Edwards, Kowloon. Tel: 2591 0499.

Zoo Records: Shop 325, 3/F President Commercial Centre, 608 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 23092911. Email: webmaster@zoo-records.com. Website: http://www.zoo-records.com/

Back To Music: 1F, 45 Main Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island, Hong Kong

POTW 1 (Playlist of the Week)

Playlist of the Week, it’s a playlist, weekly. There’s not much more to say about it than that.

Stina Nordenstam

I went to the local rubbish tip last week and had a quick look through the stack of CD’s they have there that people were going to throw away as landfill. Amongst the Westlife, Boyzone and Robbie Williams CD’s, which are going where they belong, was ‘The World is Saved’ by Stina Nordenstam, which was a delightful surprise and a bargain at £0.50p

Ive been listening to Nordenstam since around 1998 when I heard a cover version of ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince. I was rather taken by the fragility of her voice and various tracks by her ended up on several mix CD’s that I used to listen to in the car (before MP3 playlists).

She was born in Stockholm and, as a child was greatly influenced by her father’s classical and jazz music collection. Early comparisons were made with artists like Rickie Lee Jones and Björk. Her early albums, ‘Memories of a Color’ and ‘And She Closed Her Eyes’ were jazz-influenced with elements of alternative rock. 1997’s ‘Dynamite’ began a more experimental path—most of the album was filled with distorted guitars and unusual beats. A 1998 cover album, ‘People Are Strange’, followed in the same vein. In 2001 Nordenstam went with a more pop-influenced sound on ‘This Is Stina Nordenstam’, and features guest vocals from Brett Anderson. Nordenstam’s 2004 album ‘The World Is Saved’ continued the path set on This Is…, but presents a more realised sound and acknowledges her earlier jazz influences.

‘The World Is Saved’ is her last album release, 15 years ago in 2004, so I’ve no idea what she is up to now. The last thing she seemes to have been invloved in musically was back in 2007 with David Sylvian’s band ‘Nine Horses’.

The voice that Nordenstam uses on her official releases is a voice she chooses to reveal as, though it may seem juvenile at first, and tentative, it is quite deliberate, she is more than capable of much more than she allows the listener to hear but she uses her voice to help tell the story of the words she is singing, with long pauses at times that can be quite unnerving.

This is Stina Nordenstam is the first of her albums I bought, but it was both the Purple Rain cover and that of The Doors – People are Strange, that first brought her to my attention. Nordenstam doesn’t do many interviews and often disguises herself with wigs and suchlike and this has had a twofold effect, on the one hand she has to a degree, protected her anonominity, and on the other, it has restricted her success. From what little I do know of her, I suspect she would be just fine with that

The choice of cover versions on People Are Strange is an intersting one, here are the tracks:

Tracklist

1Sailing – The Sutherland Brothers / Rod Stewart3:14
2I Dream Of Jeannie – Theme3:56
3Love Hurts – Everly Brothers  0:32
4Lonesome Road – Traditional2:04
5Bird On A Wire – Leonard Cohen3:41
6Purple Rain – Prince3:48
7Swallow Strings – Stina Nordenstam1:08
8Like A Swallow – Traditional2:44
9Reason To Believe – Tim Hardin4:10
10I Came So Far For Beauty – Leonard Cohen4:01
11Come To Me – Stina Nordenstam3:28
12People Are Strange –The Doors3:35

All of her albums are available on popular streaming sites so go and discover if anything you’ve heard here appeals to you in any way.

To finish, there is a video available of a young Nordenstam not being typically Nordenstam from 1989, before her first album was released, here it is, the girl can sing.

FKA Twigs – Cellophane on Jimmy Fallon

I shared the official video of Cellophane in Your F***ing Sunny Day 45, (which I realised I forgot to post so I just did it), and it’s a great video and a great song, but I saw this performance on the Jimmy Fallon show yesterday and wanted to share it as well, it’s really quite beautiful.

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 45)

Aurora – A Different Kind Of Human – Step 2

Back in 2015 the John Lewis Christmas advert featured a cover of the Oasis song ‘Half a world away’, performed by Aurora. This advert is actually quite a big thing in the UK and every Christmas it becomes a water cooler conversation. Over the years there have been some pretty good cover versions and the odd original, these are the ones released as singles:

Release
date
TitleArtistsPeak
position
23 November 2009“Sweet Child o’ Mine”Taken by Trees23
12 November 2010“Your Song”Ellie Goulding2
11 November 2011“Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”Slow Moving Millie31
9 November 2012“The Power of Love”Gabrielle Aplin1
10 November 2013“Somewhere Only We Know”Lily Allen1
6 November 2014“Real Love”Tom Odell7
6 November 2015“Half the World Away”Aurora11
10 November 2016“One Day I’ll Fly Away”Vaults53
10 November 2017“Golden Slumbers”Elbow29
8 February 1971“Your Song”Elton John7

you may remember the Aurora track from 2015:

Anyway, the point I was getting to was that I had no idea who it was singing but saw the advert repeatedly that Chritmas and there was something about her voice that I really liked, but I never really investigated any further, I’ve no idea why.

I did see this about a year ago where she was covering Massive Attack, and doing it very well. Again I didn’t investigate any further.

Cut to last week and I did this:- Your F***ing Sunny Day where I included a track by Aurora (Apple Tree) which put her back in the forefront of my mind so when a few days later I saw this in HMV reduced to £9.99 I picked it up.

So, some detail, basically from Wikipedia, Aurora Aksnes (born 15 June 1996), known mononymously as Aurora (stylised as AURORA), is a Norwegian singer-songwriter and producer. She spent much of her life in Os, Hordaland county, Norway.

Aurora did not originally expect to perform music professionally, preferring to keep her music private: “I never really wanted to sing, or to be on the stage at all,” she said. “I just wanted to write, maybe become a doctor or a physicist or something of that kind.” When she was 16, Aurora performed a “really long and boring song about world peace” at her high school’s leaving ceremony and a classmate put the video online.

Around the same time, a friend uploaded a track Aurora had recorded as a Christmas gift for her parents to SoundCloud. These two songs were discovered by a representative of Made Management, a Norwegian management company, who invited Aurora to visit their office for a meeting in early 2013. “At first I thought no,” she recalls. “But then my mum said I should think about the idea of sharing my music with the world because maybe there’s someone out there who desperately needs it. And that could actually be a good thing.” In a few hours both songs received thousands of visits in Norway, which earned Aurora some notoriety in her country, in addition to a fan base on Facebook.

Aurora then set about working on her songwriting for around a year before giving her “first proper live performance” at a Norwegian music festival. “I don’t think I was born to be an entertainer, I used to really be afraid of playing live on-stage. Obviously it’s terrifying! But now I look forward to it every time. I’ve learned not focus on myself, cause it’s not about me. Now I only think about giving everyone the best experience. A magic moment.”

I opened the album when I got home and it was a nice surprise to find that it was a nice clear blue vinyl:

There’s an interesting genealogy to why I would like this album, at least I think it interesting. During one of my many charity shop visits looking for CD’s I picked up a copy of Body Talk by Robin, a performer I have paid absolutely no attention too really, but I popped the CD on in the car for my journey to work and, despite it being further towards Pop that I normally listen to, I really liked it, in fact, it’s a fabulous album. What it did was open me up to more music that drifts into the pop spectrum, and it opened me up to the song ‘The River’, the opening track of the album, which I swear I’d heard before but can’t remember where or when.

I think what I like about the music that Aurora is producing is that while it clearly has many pop elements it still seems to retain and outsider feel about it as though it is a stream meandering alongside a river of pop but never quite joining it. She also seems to be rather quirky, and I like quirky.

The more I listen to this album the more I like it, it’s a quick grower, which is not always a good thing but I think in this case if Aurora continues the way she is then she could well become a Bjork like musician who continues to make and break her own rules, which the music industry needs. Homogenous music is a boring dead end, we need difference.

The Seed (above) is a lovely, but quite scary view on our current environmental crisis and has a very simple point to make, and it makes it very well, ‘You cannot eat money”

Just like the seed I don’t know where to go
Through dirt and shadow, I grow|
I’m reaching light through the struggle
Just like the seed I’m chasing the wonder
I unravel myself All in slow motion [

You cannot eat money, oh no
You cannot eat money, oh no
When the last tree has fallen
And the rivers are poisoned
You cannot eat money, oh no

Tracklist

A1The River
A2Animal
A3Dance On The Moon
A4Day Dreamer
A5Hunger
A6Soulless Creatures
B1In Bottles
B2A Different Kind Of Human
B3Apple Tree
B4The Seed
B5Mothership

Here is a great performance from this years Glastonbury festival, an event I will never get to go as tickets sell out in a nanosecond.

0:40 – The River 4:22 – Churchyard 8:56 – All is Soft Inside 14:12 – Warrior 18:10 – Soft Universe 23:25 – Runaway 27:51 – Apple Tree 31:40 – The Seed 36:27 – Forgotten Love 40:15 – I Went Too Far 44:21 – Queendom 48:27 – Running with the Wolves

This is a raw feed from Glastonbury 2016 on the John Peel Stage, it starts at 20 minutes so scroll forward, fabulous performance.

1 – Black Water Lilies 2 – Warrior 3 – Winter Bird 4 – Under the Water 5 – Runaway 6 – Under Stars 7 – I Went Too Far 8 – Running With the Wolves 9 – Conqueror

She has an authenticity, or at least that’s what I perceive, that I really like and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what she does next.

The White Room

Back in the 90’s, 94-96 to be precise, there was a short lived music show on TV called The White Room hosted by Mark Radcliffe and Jo Whiley. I really liked this show and have no idea why it didn’t last very long, other that that, possibly, Channel 4 messed it all up. Anyway, back then I used to always have a videotape in the machine ready to press play and record just in case something good came on TV, The White Room rarely disappointed with some great and unexpected performances, not least Prince and NPG (The theme music is by Dave Stewart in case you wondered), oh and Prince married Mayte of course, though they weren’t at the time time of the performance below.

I think I still have the videos in the loft somewhere, although I don’t think I have a video player anymore.

The Manic Street Preachers where only two years on from The Holy Bible and the loss of Richey Edwards, Design For Life hadn’t hit the charts and their performance on The White Room would have been one of the first times they had ever played it live. One of the things I also licked about the show was that it wasn’t one song and you’re off, it would be two or three quite often, all played live.

I think it’s a pretty good show when Oasis, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Pulp, Marc Almond, Bryan Ferry, Jimmy Cliffe, Wilson Pickett, Chris Farlow, Dreadzone and Skunk Anansie are all in the room and then they open with Bowie!

The Bluetones made their TV debut on the White Room, several year later I saw them on what turned out to not be their farewell tour at Napton Festival, which is tiny, a local festival for local people, there were probably a maximum of 200 people there and the most popular band were a Stone Roses tribute act who were on before the Bluetones. The band took to the stage very very late and didn’t seem particularly happy to be there at first, but they did the hits and put on a decent show.

Now I’ve not made it any secret that I like a bit of Gary Numan and he too was on the show. There were some stellar artists that appeared, perhaps as it was one of the few alternatives to Top Of The Pops at the time, post The Tube.

As I look back through the videos I can find on youtube I am constantly reminded how great this show was, it was almost as though they gave me a call every week and asked me who I wanted on the show. Case in point, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds with P J Harvey, I would have definitely asked for this!

So they call me up, in an imaginary scenario, and ask me, “What do you want to see next week?” and I answer rather offhandedly, “Shane McGowan and Sinead O’Connor”, and they reply “Sure, no problem”. The song is really good by the way, don’t skip it.

I was very fond of Elastica when they first appeared on the scene, I still have a couple of CD singles somewhere. They seemed pretty cool, the sort of people you’d want to be in a gang with I guess. The first album is very good, the whole Stranglers law suite aside (The song “Waking Up”, written about being an underachiever, received positive critical reviews. However, it also prompted a lawsuit from the publishers of The Stranglers, who claimed that Elastica took the song’s riff from The Stranglers’ “No More Heroes”. The case was settled out of court – It was more than a just a resemblance, it was a straight lift).

A couple of stunning tracks from Portishead, the version of ‘Over’ being performed 2 years before it appeared on their second album and it’s a noticeable different , and fabulous version. Again, I love this band and there they are on the telly, this show was so good, with the odd exception, almost everything was killer.

This was a great period for Paul Weller, with the albums Wild Wood and Stanley Road being released, two of my favourites of his and perhaps the best of his solo work. He made a couple of appearances on the show, probably promoting both albums, I’ve gone for Sunflower, but could have gone for Changing Man or Peacock Suit, they are out there if you want to see them.

The show was, of course, the one where Iggy Pop wore plastic see through trousers, which was pretty shocking at the time.

I saw pretty much all of the clips above when they were first broadcast and I do wish there was a programme on TV now that was as good. There’s nothing much, other than Later…..with Jools Holland, that comes even close. There wasn’t much faffing about, little chat, just bands getting on stage and playing.

And there is this:

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