Now where was I? Oh yes… “The Blueprint” by Jay-Z. For the first couple of tracks I was wondering “When’s it going to start?”. Somewhere in the next one it did start, eventually. The tempo of the entire album seems to be a sort of slow shuffle. Some nice musical ideas throughout, but basically it’s this geezer going on and on about how f***ing great he is despite the hardships and troubles of his life. A too-long (well over an hour) borefest in my opinion. I nodded off for a while about 2/3 of the way in and don’t think I missed very much. “Blunderbuss” by Jack White shows his versatility in that just about every song is different from the others. All original compositions apart from one cover, too. The playing is exemplary, the material not quite there I feel, and I’m not sure I like his voice much when he’s singing in the higher registers. A good but not great one. I don’t feel a need to own this. “Bone Machine” by Tom Waits. I was surprised to discover I didn’t have this and was unfamiliar with nearly all of it. Some pretty extreme examples of what has » Continue Reading.
Saw this bunch of herberts earlier, which was a very good experience. Currently a bit annoyed that my expected parcel, that I paid extra to have delivered on a Saturday, has not arrived. Tracking on the delivery company’s website says the parcel arrived at their depot 4am this morning. No further updates. No note in my letterbox to say I’d missed the delivery, no text, email or call. Nada.
Has anybody else been following this series of programmes on BBC Radio 4? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b054zdp6 Anthropologist David Graeber explores the ways debt has shaped society over 5,000 years. Early weekday afternoons. Nine parts broadcast so far, all on the iPlayer, one more to come.
One of the most interesting things I heard, early on in the series, was that the concept of debt preceded the invention of money. Money having been invented as a means of quantifying and managing debt. Also that, contrary to received opinion, barter as a means of exchange came well after the invention of money. Currently he’s doing a pretty effective hatchet job on the IMF and the global banking industry over their pauperization of the Third World to the benefit of the West. Recommended, though it may make you depressed and/or angry.
My nomination for this melancholy title has to be Iain Banks, of course. This was brought to mind by the Student bookcase thread. Surely no self-respecting student these days should be without “The Wasp Factory” or “Espedair Street” on their shelf or in their bag. Whether in his Iain or Iain M. persona his books were almost uniformly brilliant. I wasn’t overly keen on A Song Of Stone. The others were all cracking reads without exception. What a tragedy that he went so quickly, too, and left no unpublished work to ease our pain.
Here’s the definitive one to start us off. By The Coasters.
Sound quality trumps price, unless we’re talking silly money of course. Any personal recommendations, audiophiles?
One of the album that got played a lot at a circuit of parties that I went to around that time. This was the standout track for me. Tony Wilson – New York City Life from “I Like Your Style” 1976.
The Union Chapel, Islington.
One of the series of “Daylight Music” free lunchtime gigs put on by Arctic Circle on most Saturdays at the venue. They were a sixteen-piece band on this occasion (lineup seems to vary), including the composer/arranger/conductor. Two trombones, trumpet, tuba, soprano sax/flute, alto sax, two tenor saxes, baritone sax, piano/electric guitar, electronics/laptop, electric bass, drums, percussion, vocalist and conductor. These folks are probably big Sun Ra fans, judging by the sound and subject matter. They were playing selections from a forthcoming album about the future colonisation of Mars, “A Place Glowing A Brilliant Red”. Excellent dynamics, going from total floor-shaking blasts of brass to playing quietly enough to hear the percussionist playing the triangle. Funky rhythm section, well-scored brass ensemble parts and some good free-jazz-squalling wackiness when required. The female singer knows how to sing convincingly in proper-jazz style and all the brass players apart from the tuba guy and the 2nd trombonist played good-to-excellent solos during the performance. They have a previous album available (which I purchased on CD for a tenner) entitled “From Scratch to Structure”, which is a 7-movement suite about the rise of human civilisation from the invention » Continue Reading.
Earlier I was listening to a recording from Frank Zappa’s last tour in 1988, wherein he refashioned the lyrics of a medley of Beatles songs into “The Texas Motel Medley”, a satire on the American right-wing tele-evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, who had just previously been caught out consorting with a prostitute in Louisiana. In this medley “Norwegian Wood” becomes “Norwegian Jim”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” becomes “Louisiana Hooker With Herpes” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” becomes “Texas Motel”.
It struck me another set of not-so-rude but equally topical lyrics could be substituted in “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” to comment upon our upcoming UK general election. Laydeez ‘n’ gennulmen, I give you “The Tories Have Won The Election”.
Picture yourself on a zero-hours contract On minimum wage, if you’re still employed Nobody smiling except for the bankers And stinking-rich Bullingdon Boys.
The Tories have won the election. The Tories have won the election. The Tories have won the election. Oh shit!
“Black Monk Time” by The Monks is an interesting aural artefact. It’s very hard to believe this was recorded in 1966. Full of the “punk” attitude that oozed out again 10 years later, it shows antecedents of both The Ramones and The Modern Lovers and some of the weirder elements of the post-hippie “freak” scene. I could hear the drone-rock experiments of early Soft Machine (We Did It Again”) and Kevin Ayers & The Whole World (“Shooting At The Moon”) and also Can etc. in Germany. Haphazard and sloppy in both playing and composition, it’s not really a keeper but certainly a must-hear slice of history.
“Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath is a landmark album in that it was the starter of a musical style that has persisted to this day. The compositions aren’t that great, and neither is the playing really. It has it’s moments and despite the sludgy sound it has moments of beauty. Not one for repeated listening but not objectionable by any means.
“Black Sabbath Vol. 4” by Black Sabbath is more of the same, for the most part, albeit with improved playing and production. The writing isn’t much better, with a few exceptions, being mostly » Continue Reading.
Cheech & Chong were unfortunately omitted.
This popped up on my ongoing personal randomiser a little while back.
Harmony singing at it’s finest.
I trawled through my previously-unheard “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” Facebook posts, copied and pasted and edited them into this synopsis:
So I got this book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” for Chrimbo from my nephew and his missus. They really should have removed the “Half Price” sticker before wrapping it but never mind that. Although I have no plans to die in the immediate future, I’ve decided to give all the ones I’ve never heard a listen, just in case I’ve missed something amazing (and, of course, to confirm my prejudices when these prove correct).
Taking the unheard listed albums in alphabetical order by title, my first was “Ace Of Spades” by Motorhead. I’d heard most of it over the years but never the complete thing in album order. The otherwise loathsome Gary Bushell was probably correct in saying “Motorhead are Heavy Metal in the only meaningful sense of the term – everyone else is just pretending” in his 5-star review of this album in Sounds, all those years ago. I shall be buying this for playing loud in the car.
The next in my list was U2’s “Achtung Baby”. I was not » Continue Reading.