Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Blimey, it's been a while, hasn't it?! In explanation for my prolonged absence, I'd like to offer up something that should resonate with every music-loving reader of this blog(which will be most of you).
Perusing my local library one day (as is my wont) I came across that book on the left. Its bumpf advised that it was a journey of discovery by a rock fan into classical music. Now, as classical music has always been very much a closed book to me (way too much wailing and shrieking and incidental music), I thought I'd give it a go. Little did I know I was unleashing a monster.
Hunter tells us that, like me, he has never had any time for the classical genre but, being a chap who doesn't like to have a closed mind about these things, he decided to immerse himself and try to learn to love it. With that (and taking advice along the way) he starts at "the beginning" of music as we know it and works his way forward.
A travelogue of the highest order, Hunter's book is a great introduction to this most impenetrable of genres. He doesn't hesitate to take the piss where he thinks it's due and makes recommendations along the way, managing to find a modern comparison to most of the music he's listening to. Nick Hornby/anal-type that I am, I found myself compiling a list of potential downloads within the first 20 pages! Finding some of this stuff has been a trial because most of the classical music blogs are elusive and make no concession to modern music. There is no TotallyFuzzy for the classics so Google has been a boon!
Which brings us neatly back to my absence. I've spent the last month or so finding and listening (although not exclusively, as Hunter does) to classical music and I've made some astounding discoveries. Some has been up there with the best stuff I've ever heard (true!) and some has been utterly unlistenable shite. The up side to this (although I would forgive your doubts) is that I will be recommending some of the good stuff here, along with the blogs where it can be found.
I can't recommend this book highly enough if you want to open up a whole new world to yourself. Go out and buy it. Meanwhile, give my "classical" posts a chance and a listen. I would be VERY interested to know what you think.
p.s. Seb Hunter also has a classical blog type thing called "The Bitterest Pill" which sub-titles itself "Classical Music one step at a goddamn time". Check it out. It's good.
Monday, 31 August 2009
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Forget "No Sleep Til Hammersmith"; dump "Live In Leeds"; shove your "Live & Dangerous". To these ears this is the best live rock album ever released.
From the opening bars of Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) to the closing of Roll Another Number (For The Road) Young and The Horse crunch through the numbers, predominantly from the "Rust Never Sleeps"/"Live Rust" albums but with additional Young classics such as Cortez The Killer and Cinnamon Girl as well as Young's treatment of Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind, all delivered with an intensity and sound that makes your hair stand on end.
Throughout you can almost feel the static in the air and the stupendous production and sound quality really make you feel like you're there. This is the ultimate electric guitar record.
Clocking in at a couple of hours it's a long listen but well worth it. Be blown away.
Sunday, 5 July 2009
JP likes, in (it seems) no particular order, ska, reggae, punk, balearic beats, dance music and skinhead girls.
What you'll like is the VAST collection of stuff he's got on his blog, stuff that covers all of the above and more.
There's loads of hard to find compilations on there, from that below to the Street Sounds hip-hop collections of the late 80s. Very much worth your while checking his site for an eclectic mix of tunes.
In 1979 I was 12. I'd had my first record player for my 11th birthday and my record collection was thinner than Victoria Beckham, consisting mostly of Blondie and Showaddywaddy (anyone under 40, look it up).
My cousin, John, was 4 years older and a punk and his records were a revelation to me. He introduced me to The Damned (see later post) but he also had this which, having taped it off him (again, kids, look up "tapes"), I played to death.
20 Of Another Kind became my punk primer and I went on to buy albums by every one of the bands on this album (with the exception of Belgian novelty act Plastic Bertrand - the horrors in that sentance "Belgian"+"novelty act"), informing my musical choices for the next 10 years at least.
I can categorically say that this is the album that got me into music and you need it. Trust me.
Plastic Bertrand - Ca Plane Pour Moi ; The Jam - In The City; The Skids - Sweet Suburbia; Otway And Barratt - Beware Of The Flowers; Sham 69 - Borstal Breakout; The Cure - Killing An Arab; Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device; The Adverts - Gary Gilmore's Eyes; Generation X - Ready Steady Go; 999 - Homicide; The Stranglers - No More Heroes; The Boys - The First Time; Patrik Fitzgerald - Irrelevant Battles; Sham 69 - If The Kids Are United; The Jolt - No Excuses; Otway And Barratt - Really Free; The Heartbreakers - Born Too Loose; 999 - Emergency; The Lurkers - I'm On Heat; The Jam - 'A' Bomb In Wardour Street.
P.S. Clearly home taping didn't kill music - nor will blogging.
Saturday, 20 June 2009
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Dashing Blade opens his site with the comment "just some stuff I reckon you should hear before you die" and I couldn't agree more.
Bizarrely the site pretty much mirrors my own record collection so imagine my delight when I found it!
Mixing great music (anything from ABC to New York Dolls) with some unusual entries such as radio broadcasts, audio books and "Sounds Of The Rainforest", a free Sunday newspaper CD, and inordinately well-written commentary, A Dashing Blade is a fascinating delve into one man's sounds and interests and that, alone, is certainly going to keep this writer coming back for more.
Anyone dismissing John Otway as simply a mentalist novelty act does so at their peril. I picked this album up in a bargain bin in 1979 on the strength of "Beware Of The Flowers" and, after initial disappointment that the rest of the album was nothing like that, grew to love every track.
Opener "Place Farm Way" is as good a traditional folk song as you'll hear anywhere, as is "To Anne", a paen to lost love. These two songs, albeit tinged with Otway's slightly bonkers delivery, have a real beauty that seems timeless in the great songwriter tradition."Beware Of The Flowers", however, ramps up the volume and was one of the major contributing factors to Otway & Barrett's "success" at the height of punk (see the Wikipedia entry for Otway's views on his success), Barrett's guitar more than a match for the "Guitar Hero" generation. Back to traditional, but more up tempo, story telling next with "Alamo" before "My Body Is Making Me", archetypal Otway body talk.
"Josephine" is in the same vein as "Place Farm Way" and "To Anne", a gorgeous pastoral tale of May Day celebrations, but Otway can't resist more nuttiness with "Schnott", "Riders In The Sky" (yes, that one!) and "Running From The Law". Runouts, "I Wouldn't Wish It On You" and "Can't Complain" lack the fascination of the earlier tracks but are still wonderful songs.
Otway is a grossly underrated songwriter, perhaps because of his delivery and approach, and this album, to my mind, showcases his talents in all areas. The CD reissue is now coupled with the pair's self-titled debut album which is not as good (although it does contain the hit single "Really Free" and "Racing Cars", the latter which came as a free 7" with my copy of the album).
I can't recommend "Deep & Meaningless" enough; I guarantee you'll be hooked.
www.musiczoo.co.uk (Willy Barrett's site)
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Thursday, 4 June 2009
J R Heat Warp of The Heat Warps and Willard of Never Get Out Of The Boat! have come together to create the wonderous thing that is For The Love Of Harry (see below) but each have their own blog, both marvellous in different ways.
The Heat Warps collects together classic albums and rareties primarily from the 60s and 70s rock and funk pantheon, with Beatles, Dylan, Dr John, krautrock et al, all lovingly bundled together and annotated and described with finesse. There's info a-plenty on each album and if J R doesn't give it to you he shows you where to go for it. Dig in!
Never Get Out Of The Boat! is a veritable smorgasboard of stuff you didn't know you wanted until Willard brought it to you on a plate. From Zappa and Beefheart to Americana and Dylan, rareties to the fore, Willard's collection will keep you entertained for hours. He also has a Friday Night At The Movies slot heading his site for those times when music just can't cut for you. Yummy!
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
He doesn't fart about chatting, he doesn't put up stuff that the NME loves, he puts up stuff that Pedro loves and that's what matters. Pedro wants you to love what he loves. He loves his music.
Listen to him.
Sunday, 31 May 2009
Saturday, 30 May 2009
The most inappropriately named person in blogbiz, Lazy's a sweet guy. All he wants is to be appreciated. And, boy, is he appreciated in this neck of the woods.
Classic reggae and dub, soul, a splash of mod and psych and some great white boy rebel rock, Lazy's got 'em all. He's got a couple of sister sites too to check out.
Like the man says, "it doesn't hurt to say thanks".
Thanks, Lazy. Stay free...
Thank you On-U Sound - another winner!
The genius (and, frankly, mental) Lee Perry still at the top of his game and, augmented by the On-U production team and Dub Syndicate, he really pulls it out of the hat with this one.
Politically charged, crystal sound and utterly faultless (and a killer cover to boot)!
No track by track analysis from me here; it's an album you need to listen to of a piece. Turn up the bass, crack open a Red Stripe and enjoy.....
Friday, 29 May 2009
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Good day to one and all and welcome to what I hope is going to be a (mildly) entertaining mix of my favourite music and blogs.
I hope to be able to recommend some records that I think are worth at least a listen and, whilst I won't be posting downloads (that's illegal, you know) I will be recommending other blogs which may or may not feature the record in question in some sort of capacity. Read on....