Ok been listening to The Blue Nile’s High. It’s OK – but is that enough for a Blue Nile album. Some atmospherics, a lot of Americana in the lyrics, but not much in the way of Blue Nile epic moody tunes….until the final track which brings everything the album has been about over 7 and a half minutes of epic Nileness, all geared around a simple but georgeous melodic line. In retrospect I can see the first 8 tracks as mere prologue to this mighty closer. So what other albums are saved by an epic final track (and I’ve got another I’ll post in the comments)
Daughter moles has risen to the top of volunteering at her local Oxfam shop, and is now responsible for pricing up all vinyl. She came home today with the staggering fact that Rod Stewarts’ Greatest Hits (the pink satin jacket one, you know the photo of Rodders) was now averagely priced on ebay at £12.00. A little cross-googling largely corroborated her story, that you could pick up a copy for £4.00, but others thought that a good copy might be worth north of a tenner. So, what gives? In my mind this is near the top of the chazza shop least wanted. (Yes she’s seen more than one copy of No Parlez). Is the vinly lifestyle madness now inflating even the last likely artists. And, pity her, any copy which might be above £8.00 they have to listen all the way through to check for pops and scratches.
Your hosts @moseleymoles and @kid-dynamite here, announcing the big red countdown clock is go. We’re going to shut sign-ups for the first edition of the Afterword CD Swap midnight tomorrow GMT as sign-up has gone so well this time out. You can find a description here.
The Kid is handling match-up duties – you’ll be in a three apart from one four if we stick at our 37 current list of sign-ups. Two more would be great so then everyone is in a three. We will post the groups on here next week and then DM your two partners to get their real world addresses, start compiling that 12-track CD and post them off.
The Admins are thinking how we can sensibly post 30 odd CD track listings in a couple of months so you can easily find your » Continue Reading.
Even though they should have been in closed betas for months to iron everything out, inevitably big web platform redesigns take some time to bed in. So I didn’t rush to judgement on the latest (the most radical in over a decade) redesign of venerable mp3 download site emusic. But its been up a couple of months now, and surely time to share some thoughts.
THE GOOD You can search by record label My music is an improvement on previous versions of databases that tracked what you’d downloaded. Wish list and my emusic sync – ie downloaded takes it off one and adds it to the other Removal of emusic downloader, the new ‘in-browser’ downloading is more reliable. Does look a bit fresher visually
THE BAD The removal of almost every functionality from the site bar searching and downloading. No reliable list of new releases recommended for you – as the global new release list always includes mucho dross this is essential. No syncing of downloads with itunes Can’t comment on albums in your lists
NOT YET TRIED any of the apps (tend to use the site just to download from) Daily download
So anyway they debuted a bunch of new songs, played Knocking on Heavens Door as an encore, and Ralf smashed his keyboard up. No sorry it’s a Kraftwerk 3D review. Possibly the band who have elevated quality control and process engineering to the nth degree, no-one goes to a Kraftwerk show expecting anything other than a machine-tooled performance, which is exactly we got at Symphony Hall. All delivered with their signature degree of ironic distance that leaves us guessing exactly how seriously they take themselves. The band’s status as the most important band since The Beatles (OOAA) rests on a comparatively small back catalogue. Over two hours they played Spacelab, Neon Lights, Man Machine, The Robots and The Model off Man Machine (now clearly the ultimate Kraftwerk lp); Computer World, Computer Love and Numbers off Computer World; Boom Tschick and Musique Non Stop off Electric Cafe; Tour De France and Aerodynamique off Tour De France; Trans Europe Express, Radioactivity and Autobahn. All were subtly retooled and retouched, most noticeably on Computer Love which was a lot beefier, and a techno’d-up Musique Non Stop to finish which could have been a Leftfield track. Stagecraft was » Continue Reading.
You may remember some time ago we mused on the demise of various CD swap clubs and so after much delay and DM’ing we present:
The cunningly-titled Afterword CD Swap.
In posts past we have lamented the demise of the Velvet CD swap and the like, so we’ve decided there was enough love across the massive to give our very own version a go. We’ve tried to keep the rules to a minimum to make taking part as easy as possible. For those who’ve never done one before, a CD swap involves you making a compilation, posting it to a couple of other people, who post you theirs. All tracks are anonymous, so you can’t apply your rockist prejudices, you review those you get, others review yours and then the tracks are revealed.
1 Sign up by the closing date by just letting us know in the comments to this post. Sign up for CD swap one: the Beginning, closes at the end of June.
2 We will then pair everyone up with two other people – you compile a CD (more later) and post it to » Continue Reading.
Year: 2017 Director: Ridley Scott
The whole notion of the ‘film franchise’ applies remorseless commercial logic to an artform. Just as wherever you are in the world a Big Mac is a Big Mac – except of course in France where it’s Le Big Mac. So it is now, six movies in, in the world of facehuggers and ‘it’s in the ship’. Ridley Scott’s efforts to reboot the whole thing and provide an origin story for the acid-dripping nightmare in Prometheus showed how tight the franchise expectations now are. Too much sense of wonder, confusing plot (Engineers, prehistoric star charts, WMDs, black goo, Guy Pearce hiding in the attic) and not enough of the woman-in-vest running down dark corridors with a big gun chased by the dark two-mouth drippy acid nightmare thing. Even Ridley can’t fight the feedback cards it would seem, and so Covenant attempts to do two things: to move the backstory started in Prometheus on while giving the fans what they want in terms of Alien action. Actually three things as everyone loved Fassbender’s bad robot, so let’s have more of that. Double Fassbender to go! We set our scene on the colony ship Covenant, en route » Continue Reading.
The recent post on mixtapes got me thinking about these, and how I got to Velvet CD swap just as they decided to wind it up.
So my questions are two:
Is there another similar one to join – the discipline of one CD, hearing other people’s tracks without names and titles, and a host of arcane rules, was great fun.
If not is there another afterworder who would set one up, and if they did would anyone else be interested?
I gave Beck’s Midnite Vultures a spin recently. Much maligned, it’s at least half an album’s worth of killer, concluding with the pretty amazing Debra sung by Beck in a rather magnificent falsetto. No studio available on youtube, so here’s him doing it on Later live. There’s an excellent wikipedia page that left me utterly baffled as to its physiological characteristics – phonation? Ligamentous edges? On this subject. I think we all know a falsetto when we hear one, though again I am unsure as to what a female falsetto is, so examples would be very welcome.
Let’s take it higher ladies and gentlemen, your trouser-tightening falsetto entries please.
What does it sound like?:
Tricky things comebacks. The Stone Roses appear to have no more juice left than for the odd track that merely nods to old glories. Many acts are back with no new material at all, just opting for the shows and the classic albums trail. The promise of new material often appears to defeat bands second time around. So how extra-ordinary that after 22 years Slowdive can return with an album that is the equal of their dreamy nineties heyday. This is really a very very good album: the guitars chime, the bass thrums, vocals dip in and out of the mix as just another texture, and the drums pitter-patter. The pace is stately (from medium-fast to medium to medium-slow), the chords shift slowly and everything unfolds with absolute control and attention to detail. The vocals are a bit deeper than 22 years ago, and the production perhaps wisely opts for space and clarity rather than the gauzy haze deemed essential first time around. There are no standout tracks, as the first six are just great, only Go Get It appearing to trade on their reputation rather than being strong enough to make a whole » Continue Reading.
Year: 1974 Director: Sam Peckinpah
A film where vastly more people have heard of it than actually seen it is always interesting. While it didn’t exactly finish his career: he’d go on to Cross of Iron and, er, Convoy and The Osterman Weekend and (thanks Wikipedia) end up directing Julian Lennon videos, Alfredo Garcia certainly marked the end of his A-list status as a director. Its a film that’s become famous for the vitriol of the reviews at the time: most famously ‘Bring Me The Head of Sam Peckinpah’ and for the way its title has seeped into usage by people who’ve never seen the film, unless Graeme Garden is in fact an aficionado. The last few decades have seen its slow ascent from ignomy to cult status. Now its viewed as Peckinpah’s most autobiographical film – not least for the titanic amounts of alcohol consumed by its protagonist.
The plot is indeed as described: a Mexican gangster boss offers a huge reward for the head of the man who impregnated his daughter, prompting hitmen to scour Mexico. Warren Oates plays a hard-at-heel pianist and bar manager Bennie who picks up the conversation in a bar, and smells a big » Continue Reading.
Has anyone come across a label called Compulsion / Believe – they pop up on both emusic and amazon digital with albums like Eric Dolphy Out to Lunch and Wayne Shorter Speak No Evil. They have generic cover art – always a bad sign – but the albums appear to be identical in terms of tracks, timings and running orders to the . Are these the original albums or some strange re-recording? A quick google reveals Believe may be a French digital music distribution platform but that’s all.
Year: 2016 Director: F. Gary Gray
And so to FF8, FOTF, or as it’s described on our ticket the intriguing Fate of the Fur. Sadly it turns out not to be a PETA documentary but Vin, The Rock, Michelle and the others in cars again. The franchise is rapidly mutating into a US car-heavy version of James Bond, with the US government seemingly happy to entrust (with plausible deniability from Kurt Russell) the fate of the free world to Ludacris in a Lambo. He may in fact be in a Bentley but I need this for the alliteration.
This was a family movie choice, keeping teenagers and adults just about enthralled and excited. There’s a pre-credits sequence which focuses on actual racing, set in Cuba, which is pretty straightforward, then it’s onto a Mendes-style incomprehensible plot set-up involving Charlize Theron as hot hacker Cipher. She’s got one over on F & F mainman Dom, who as ever in these films is just trying to settle down when people step to him. She invites him into her private stealth plane (stolen from Agents of Shield), and blackmails him into stealing nasty stuff for her so she can….well do something vaguely wiki » Continue Reading.
After the musical version, let’s do the literary version. I have just started Beyond The Wub, the Collected Short Stories vol 1 of Philip K Dick. I finished reading all 40-odd science fiction and non-SF novels about a year ago, which I read at about 3 a year. So give me another couple of years to do the short stories (5 chunky vols) and it’ll be back to The Cosmic Puppets. I’ve just read The Wind from Nowhere (completists qualifier – out of print and later disowned by JG) and am set sail on my first (sadly) complete read-through of JG Ballard’s novels, after finishing the Complete Short Stories. I have every novel by Douglas Coupland, WG Sebald, Bret Easton Ellis, Iain Banks (sf only), Michael Faber and Don Delillo. Which authors do you collect/read through systematically.
This came up in the car today and I’d forgotten how it’s built around one monster sample. As is the first one in the comments. So let’s do a ‘songs from samples’ list please. Only two rules: One sample per song, the more looped the better – no MARRS or Bomb the Bass sample blizzards please. Mashups is a different thing (we can do those too – pretend its still 2010 – this is the sampladelic list).
Town Hall Birmingham
There are some gigs that speak for themselves. Cloud Nothings on Wednesday was pretty much: here are our songs, a bit louder and faster than on record. No chat. Is that OK? And then there’s gigs that demand to be dissected and discussed. And so it is with Lloyd Cole at Birmingham Town Hall on Friday Night.
So what happened? Lloyd was onstage at eight, just him and an acoustic guitar for 45 minutes. Late-entry punters caught out got ‘I’m supporting Lloyd Cole, then there’s an interval, then I’m coming back as Lloyd Cole the headliner’. Which he did, for the second half accompanied by his son Will on second acoustic. We got two hours, heavy on the Commotions songbook – this is billed as the ‘Oldies tour’ – with forays into the solo catalogue as far as The Negatives. Almost all of Rattlesnakes, and a good chunk of Easy Pieces and Mainstream. No More Love Songs the most recent, Perfect Skin the oldest. Lloyd’s between song chat was neither minimal nor expansive. He noted that the newest song was twenty years old, and the oldest approaching forty. Will, who doubled as roadie, » Continue Reading.
Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
The Cloud Nothings have been offering reliably fizzy punkypop from for seven years now, and their albums Cloud Nothings (11 songs in 28 minutes!), Attack on Memory, Here and Nowhere else and new one Life Without Sound are all excellent. So after support from Irish musicblog-friendly solo troubadour Cian Nugent here they are at Hare and Hounds just down the road.
It’s Dylan Baldi’s band – situated stage left in long greasy hair, beard and hoodie. The rest of the band fan out – strong silent type bass player and new lead guitarist who has the rocking along to the music move really down. They have the melody/noise balance just right, and if they’ve a standout player it’s drummer Jayson Gerycz who gets a huge amount from a minimal kit. They’re as tight as you’d expect from a band five albums in and play a crisp hour-long set. No between-song banter and no encore, which I think is the right way to go for a gig this size. Just 15 or so songs taken at a pretty fast lick.
What do they sound like? Inevitably heavier and faster than on record, » Continue Reading.
I know there are several The Church aficionados here. This week Spotify Discovery threw up Destination off Starfish which spurred me to think about investigating further. Daunted by the 24 odd studio albums, would much appreciate it if someone could knock up on Spotify or just post here a Beginners Guide To. Ta muchly.
Have we done this? If not then let’s do so now. I am working my way through The Fall’s Complete Peel Sessions and what a mighty thing it is. Though I’m not a Peel obsessive, the session from 1983 that marked the end of the Rough Trade years and saw them canter through Smile, Garden, Hexen Definitive/Strife Knot. Three are significantly extended from the versions on Perverted by Language and benefit from the clutter-free studio production. It’s perhaps the perfection of the Krautrock sound they had at this time, that felt like it could go on forever once they hit a groove. So we’re after not just great artists and songs, but where the session versions really hit the spot. Here’s a mighty version of Eat Y’Self Fitter (in comments) featuring the two-drummer line up in all its glory. And one Wikipedia anecdote to whet your appetite: When Peel had first heard the track – in a session the band recorded in March 1983 – he stated on air that he had fainted and his producer, John Walters, had had to resuscitate him. The fact that Peel took this to his Desert Island and I would have guessed he used » Continue Reading.
It’s a truth often acknowledged on this site that a stellar debut is often followed up by a less than earth-shattering second album. But have we explored a different pattern: a respectable debut, followed by a quantum leap forwards on the second album. The Arcade Fire’s debut Funeral saw them unveil a compelling sound, but one not always fashioned into memorable songs. Its the second album, The Neon Bible, that booted them into the stratosphere: to the sound they added memorable songs, a complete apocalyptic scenario going on lyrics-wise, and an album that held together as a start-to-finish listen. Second example: Leisure is a couple of singles, one an insanely catchy/annoying earworm, and not a lot else. Modern Life Is Rubbish instantly tapped Blur into a completely new depth of songwriting, mod-derived imagery and musical stylings and – well what became the Blur that would come to define Britpop and nineties cool Britannia. Your nominations for quantum leaps between first and second please.
What does it sound like?:
Ah dance music. The heady days of Release The Pressure, Second Toughest or Surrender – when a dance music album was an event, seem a long way away. Watered down in some homeopathic dilution the innovations of the nineties still throb through the charts via Disclosure or Chainsmokers, but it’s a long time since I heard a dance music album – for dancing, for turning up loud, that feels as satifsfactory as Mirage. It’s DNA is Daft Punk, French filter house, and a touch of big beat but it escapes all these influences to deliver a long album that nevertheless is a richly rewarding listen all the way through – and turn it up and you’ll be tapping a foot at the very least. Go Time references Fine Time era New Order, Battlecry has the sort of drops and speaker-destroying bass lines the Chemicals used to deliver, Shangri La offers a mini-epic slower huge-chords experience, and final track Blink could be a long-lost Homework out-take. God knows who they are, but this is a shamefully overlooked classic of last year.
What does it all *mean*?
That someone, somewhere can still create the elusive Great Dance » Continue Reading.
The first Athlete album – Vehicles and Animals, a spry quirky poppy addition to the tail end of Britpop – Westside, You Got The Style, El Salvador. Nice album. Promising debut. Bought. Seduced by perhaps having very young children at the time, and the lead single Wires being about a newborn in hospital, bought the second album in the pre-spotify days when you couldn’t listen easily to a whole album in advance. Utterly turgid sub sub sub Coldplay. One-paced, platitudinous drivel striving for entirely unearned epicness and meaning. So I have finally after a decade of it lurking in the A’s consigned it to the Oxfam pile. Where if I’m not mistaken it will join many other copies of Tourist. Come clean with your regretful purchases you’ve summoned up the courage to bin. I’m not going to post anything from Tourist…
The greatest female soul voice ever steps into retirement today, Aretha Franklin. So it’s time to post your favourite divas here – soul, funky, opera – as long as there’s an outstanding voice. Tragic personal life, outrageous backstage demands optional.Please note VH1 that Shania Twain does not qualify. @gary would surely like to post some more Barbera, and I may well post some Liza later. For now there’s only one way to start off.
Year: 2017 Director: Damien Chazelle
I can’t believe the Afterwrod doesn’t yet have a La La Land review, so here it is. Though you don’t need to be a full on musicals fan, you need to be open to a few basic ideas to enjoy this film. Characters can burst into song and dance in the middle of a scene – fine with me. Open to a bit of jazz? Quite a lot of jazz. Ok? Let’s go then. The story is one of the oldest in the movie business – two dreamers on the make in LA – actress Emma Stone and jazz pianist Ryan Gosling – fall in love with each other, and each other’s dreams. You know what? Success costs and as he hooks up with John Legend (yes) and the success starts coming the cracks in the relationship widen. It’s romantic, it’s a comedy – but most of all it’s a love letter to the MGM musical, to Hollywood and to LA. We go on a whistle stop tour of LA landmarks from the Griffiths Planetarium (Rebel Without a Cause) and gridlocked freeways to the studio backlots. Gosling and Stone twirl, tap dance and croon their » Continue Reading.
Year: 2006 Director: Darren Aronofsky
In the midst of an entertainment culture that’s never seem more focused on guaranteeing excellence – from TV box sets and Josh Weedon helmed reboots – its a pleasure , certainly occasional, perhaps guilty, to focus on a complete howler. Darren Aronofsky, of Pi and Requiem for A Dream, managed to blow 35 million dollars on what appears to be an extended vanity project for then squeeze Rachel Weitz. The film is equivalent to those model portfolio shoots you can do at High Streeet photographers, or the Friday video. All involved, Aronofsky, Weitz and Hugh Jackman – should know way better.
We lay our scene in fifteenth-century South America, where Hugh Jackman plays a conquistador who is in search of the Tree of Life on the behest of the beautiful Queen of Spain – Weitz. No, in fact its the far future, where lotus-position astral voyager Jackman is steering a bonsai tree bubble spaceship into a distant nebula haunted by memories of his dead wife Weitz . Oh wait, in fact we’re really in the present day where Jackman is a brilliant cancer surgeon whose beautiful wife – Weitz in full pixie waif mode » Continue Reading.