As well as new Bob and new Weller there’s an album out this week from someone under 60 that I’d not really cottoned onto. Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa is just fantastic: contemporary pop, some solid singing (one track recalling a certain Amy W) and a disco beat under it all. Built to last, and totally 2020. Ten tracks, not a bad one on there. Perfect for the enforced home kitchen and cooking regime.
Those of us who work in the creative sector are massively heartened by the generosity of artists in responding to the current emergency. Today it’s sci-fi writers. Paul McAuley, one of British sci-fi’s leading authors, has made his ‘best of’ short stories available for free until Friday from the tax dodgers
In these trying times we have to take our comfort where we can. As I get older (and perhaps a bit more sentimental) the pleasure of being re-united with small objects thought lost is an unalloyed joy. In the ten days I have: left a bobble hat at a meeting, been sent a photo of it and collected; left my sigg waterbottle in my office over the weekend; and – on Sun – felt for my front door key in my running shorts pocket. Retracing my steps there it was on the pavement outside the house. It’s still the original from when we moved in a decade ago. These re-unitings give me far more joy than the purchase of anything new. The bobble hat, for example, was sons and though he says he doesn’t want it I’d like to have it around when he leaves home for him to reclaim (and probably lose two days later but that is fine). Your small pleasures please. Snacks I think we’ve covered!
It is fair to say The Go-betweens are much loved in this parish, and seeing Robert live is probably the closest any of us can now get to seeing them live. So it’s great news he is doing a short UK tour, two days in that there London on 4th and 5th June and dates in York, Hebden Bridge, Strathaven and Brighton and….for us midlanders Wolverhampton on the 1st. Hurrah
This isn’t an easy letter to write, but after 13 years (‘member since 2006’) and getting on for 12,000 filesI feel it’s time to say goodbye. It’s not me, I’m still here with my hard drive and itunes folders. But you’re not the person I entered into an annual contract with all those years ago. We have to talk.
When did things go wrong? I guess there’s always been some label churn, but the website relaunch a couple of years ago co-incided with what felt like half the catalogue disappearing overnight. It’s been downhill quickly from there, every month bringing news of more defections and more baffling statements about Blockchain (quick hint – no-one wants it, no-one trusts it). Ours was a relationship founded on some very simple and clear ideas. You bring us indie labels – no-one’s expecting Apple Records or the AC/DC catalogue, and we give you a monthly sub. Simple.
What happened over there? Is it that the labels all left, and Blockchain was the child you wanted us to have to keep us together; or was it that Blockchain was like the jealous girlfriend meme, turning your head while the labels all frowned. Because the » Continue Reading.
I’ve had a little correspondence with @fentonsteve about, no one will be suprised, my Fiio Xi 2nd gen. After just over two years of regular but not even daily use it appears the battery has died, and as I am not a dab hand with a soldering iron I would say that the battery is not replacable by this practical but not electrically skilled user.
What does google reveal? That battery death is a pretty common phenomenon in the DAP market. For £89.00 something has to give and it’s this. I guess they figure most people will break or lose a small electrical item before the battery gives out. Another £89.00 won’t break the bank, but it does seem to be the very opposite of green to buy something knowing you’ll have to throw it away in a couple of years.
what to do then? Can’t find an obvious online battery replacer. They do exist for phones, but I guess this is too disposable a product for anyone to make any money at it. Any suggestions welcome.
Ebay has some refurbished models at approx £60 – am I saving myself some money, saving the item from landfill, » Continue Reading.
The Human League’s third album, Dare, is still a thing of wonder. A perfect marriage of synth adventuring and pop sensibility. But there’s one track that much as I love the album I have to SKIP SKIP SKIP. Because whatever residual affection I might have had for it in the early eighties has been worn away by nigh on 40 years of passive absorption as the only League track that anyone ever plays on radio/every single 80s documentary etc. Luckily it’s tucked away as the last track on side 2, the best place for a mustskippable. We’re not talking about an album with a slightly below par track. We’re talking about a real ‘next’ moment for you.
So, albums you love with tracks you cannot bear. We may have been there before but what the hell it’s the middle of January.
Though Spotify ‘wraps’ the year in the first week of December, and only counts up to the end of October, there’s plenty more counting out there that runs the full calendar year. As we head off into 2020 let’s pause for a second to count up the achievements of last year. While happiness can’t be quantified, plenty of other things can. I did this a year ago and there seems enough reason to run it again if anyone’s interested. 2019 was for me…
13385 scrobbles on last FM (up from 12734 in 2017) 73 books on goodreads (down from 75) 72 films on letterboxd (down from 84)
589k of running on Strava, amazing down a whole 2k from 591. Had I known might have run a bit more on the last one of the year.
NEW ENTRY! Cycling, as cycling to work 2 days a week – 917k.
Your Spotify wrapped (feel free to extrapolate from the Spotify year, your Nike +, stepcounters etc are all welcome in the interests of our curiosities.
I am being dragged kicking and screaming to the world of podcasts, but after hearing a greatest hits version of Fake Heiress am thoroughly hooked (Radio 4). I can get with the dramatisations and breathless narration, but the OVER-LITERAL USE OF MUSIC NOOOOOO… so after a party scene it’s ….. Lust for Life.. when the creditors come calling…. Money’s Too Tight to Mention… finally taken down by the Feds…. It’s All over Now Baby Blue. Come on! Have these people never seen a Tarantino movie? Unbelievably annoying. ps I am 87.
What does it sound like?:
Does a city have a distinctive sound is the central question of this sort of compilation. In the case of Sheffield it’s not a city that produced bands who broke through during the first flush of punk – London, Manchester and Liverpool are perhaps rather more well known. Rather, Sheffield bands came through nationally a year or two later, and added a sense of synth adventure to the choppy rhythms and scratchy guitars of the post-punk template. Things were industrial, post-industrial and futuristic. William Burroughs, JG Ballard, Philip K Dick, Alphaville and above all Clockwork Orange were some of the cultural touchstones.
This huge compilation – almost 100 tracks – charts ten years in the musical life of Sheffield from early Human League through to proto-acid house. In a compilation of this size there’s no way to review each track individually surely, so let’s try and draw out a few themes:
The famous bands There’s a handful of tracks by bands that everyone will have heard of. Heaven 17’s Fascist Groove Thang, ABC’s Alphabet Soup, Dancevision by the Human League, pre-Island Pulp with Everybody’s Problem. Clearly these are the jewels in the steel » Continue Reading.
How is everyone getting on then? I hope you’re not distracted by Black ***** Friday or the clownish disengenuous antics of our overlords and have been ‘on it like a car bonnet’ as the youngers round here say. In an ideal world you’ve had all your CDs and posted yours so we can move onto the reviewening phase. Take this as a gentle reminder to get a shift on if this is not the case.
Each group gets their handles in a comment, so post all reviews and sub-comments under that comment. Should be clear. Post reviews here and not the original swap post. We’ll remind everyone with a deadline before the track reveals so post your track listings and any liner notes to @kid-dynamite and myself. Let the reviewening begin!
Anyone with this cracker may get the Afterword klaxon….
Those with a better retail knowledge please feel free to explain the rationale behind the following. I dropped in to the Wolverhampton HMV this week to find that next door (yes next door) was a new shop called Cherry Bombs selling t-shirts, mugs, water bottles, books etc – exactly the same branded tat filling the non-music shelves of HMV. Not only that but the tat was EXACTLY THE SAME. Not only that but the shop fittings were EXACTLY THE SAME. I know Boots set up next to independent chemists back in the day but this seems bizzarre. Its way wierder than that. Cherry Bombs (stapline: No Music, Just Merch) is a HMV initiative. What da hell? As my offspring would say. 1. Do they think that the very presence of music itself puts people off going in and their focus groups were full of people saying ‘I’d really like a Kurt Cobain poster/Primal Scream mug/Jean Luc Godard mousemat but I’m worried people will judge me for not actually knowing anything about their music or films’. 2. Are the queues at HMV so long that people are giving up on buying their tat due to the crowds flocking the tills with » Continue Reading.
Underworld have been posting a track a week for the past year and now they’ve finished up Series 1. So a 6-CD boxset at £60ish is available with almost 6 hours of music. Much more reasonably priced is the Googleplay (we need an equivalent to the taxdodgers for the privacy-invading searchmonkeys) set at £15.99, £3 more on the tax dodgers. I’m halfway through CD2 and already Another Silent Way/Drift Poem/Better Than Diamonds (one track, 15 mins) sounds like an instant classic. Someone else can post a full review, but it’s sounding like the pulsing beats and shifting chords are right on track, with trademark wibbly sung/spoken stuff over the top.
Can anyone help out? When Simon Reynolds published his superb Rip It Up And Start Again he also made available two extensive discographies as downloadable PDF’s. In the great computer outage that took down my itunes playcounts my copies were also nixed, and after a bit of googling the links are all now broken. From memory there was a ‘core curriculum’ and a ‘further listening’ – the latter being particularly vast. Would be very grateful.
There are artists where greatness comes out like a torrent, and their greatest work will be entirely a matter of individual choice – from Bowie to Abba and The Clash. There are those who have one great album in them – from the Stone Roses to Leftfield. And then there are those where lightning strikes. Just once, but boy what a strike. There are four Mazzy Star albums, all full of their very palatable Velvets meets the Mary Chain schtick. And there’s Fade Into You – when for the only time they pulled all their mood and vibe into an Absolute Killer Tune. There are three Only Ones albums. But only one Another Girl, Another Planet. With some apologies to @freddy-steady whose thread does tread on this . If you can assist, nominations please for otherwise competent, even good artists, with a respectable body of work, who once, just once, are struck by lightning.
Not in yet…. we’re almost ready to set the groups for the next CD swap. So if you want in then just let us know in the next 24 hours. Then @kid-dynamite will Form us all up into threes like some school outing. Theme this time around Change.
As the nights draw in and the mince pies appear on the supermarket shelves, what says autumn more than….. Another CD Swap! After much soul-searching your genial hosts @moseley-moles and @kid-dynamite are back to give the much-maligned CD format its rightful place as the repository of your obscure mixes for one more spin of the CD club. For those who’ve been away for the last couple of years or are new around here, the idea is fiendishly simple and oh-so-90s Choose twelve tracks around a theme and pop them on a CD. Post them to a couple of other people, listen to theirs, then review online. So what’s the theme this time – the Kid says it’s time for Change..of heart, of mind, of gear, of sides…whatever you wish. Timetable and full details as ever in the first comment. And don’t waste a track on this one, we all know how it goes.
And via the magic of a Kickstarter project for only e999 these guys are promising that you can. The machine itself looks gorgeous but really? A breathless Wired article (is there any other sort?) says this excitedly: The Phonocut is an analog vinyl lathe, the first consumer device capable of making custom records immediately, right there in your home (assuming you’re willing to pay $1,100 for the privilege).
The device cuts 10-inch vinyl records, which can hold about 10 to 15 minutes of audio on each side. It’s a connected device; a companion app helps with formatting and song arrangement to better fit your music onto the two sides. But at its core, the Phonocut was designed for simplicity. All you have to do is plug in an audio cable, like from a headphone jack, and press Play.
“It has to be idiot-proof,” says Florian “Doc” Kaps, an Austrian analog enthusiast and Phonocut cofounder. “Even I myself should be in a position to cut the records.”
The machine works in real time. As the music plays, a diamond stylus etches the sound wave straight into the surface of the vinyl. Theoretically, you could put any audio you want on there—a » Continue Reading.
A reddit thread on the demise of emusic led me to this – a online musical locker/library/cloud backup that you can upload all your digital music files to and play through your pc. Nothing new there, like Google play. But it’s got an ios/Android app – again like Play (but unlike Play on the ios which of course doesn’t (I think) have the option for offline play. ibroadcast claims to be free, to store all your music for streaming, and to let you easily build offline playlists for music on the go. So it’s like Spotify if spotify only used your files and was free. Happy to pay for a family Spotify, but the combination of having my many digital music files on my phone easily organisable for free is very seductive as backup and phone. So anyone using it, any experiences good or bad? As far as I can see they are building up their user base and will introduce a premium sometime soon. Thinking it can sit happily as backup with occasional phone use for travel. Anyone using/want to start using with me and check in a couple of months?
I realise some people are going to say ‘what itunes, still’, but for those who do any chance of some advice? Yesterday I opened it as normal and it had changed Edit/Preferences/itunes media folder location from my hard drive to C: and thus could not find any songs as they are all on the hard drive. changing it to the external hard drive in this dialogue box doesn’t work, and everything I close and reopen it it resets to the C:UsersmoseleymolesMusiciTunesiTunes Media instead of the desired F:Back Up Feb 2011Music which is where all the music is. Can anyone help a brother out here? A quick google suggests resetting the Music Library – but that’s not the problem it loads all the playlists, just won’t look for the music in the right place.
Year: 2019 Director: James Gray
Brad Pitt’s interstellar epic has received mostly laudatory reviews, I’m more in two minds about it. Let’s start with the positive shall we, as in these dark times we need all the cheer we can get. The whole thing looks fantastic. The opening sequence, where Pitt is knocked off a space elevator stretching from the earth’s surface into space, is one any Bond movie would be proud of. From there we get a series of sharply-realised environments – a moonbase which looks and sounds like Luton Airport; a grimly functional government facility on Mars; and spaceship interiors which look credible and claustrophobic. Pitt’s face, on which much of the movie rests, is entering its craggy hard-bitten phase like some planetary surface after one too many orbits. Space is quiet, mysterious and empty – with humans and craft small fragile particles of light and warmth.
There’s lots to say about our obsession with wellbeing, Pitt is constantly being checked for his psychological stability and someone proudly proclaims that his heart-rate has never risen over 80 (calling to mind ‘Jerome, Jerome the metronome’ from one of our favourite movies Gattaca. Criminally passed over.). Those who fail are » Continue Reading.
As a part of Project Shelving I’ve been getting more severe with book series. Sci-fi loves a series. Known worlds and characters guarantee sales, and tap into the deep-rooted completist gene we know so well around here. Can we get by knowing that the story we loved in what is now part one now carries on into parts 2 to six. Maybe that mysterious origin/object/event will be finally explained in book 4/5/63. Over the last few years I’ve been consciously re-reading these and fighting the completist gene. Holding onto part one, as it’s very good, and ditching parts 2-6 as they are not. I am here to hopefully provide a counter to that completist gene, and reassure you that in these cases clearing those shelves is the right thing to do. Or you can safely stop at the end of the first book.
Your suggestions please for series where the start should also be the end – interested in fantasy, crime etc – not genres whose series I know well.
Rendezvous With Rama – the original AC Clarke novel is full of mystery and understatement, the three sequels written with (by) Gentry Lee get progressively longer and less rewarding. A » Continue Reading.
We’re all guardians of good taste here right? Yours truly recently contributed to the reggaecast, and we’ve just enjoyed a good rake over post-punk. Philly soul, dub reggae, shoegaze – there’s no genre we can’t parse for a collective playlist of pure gold. Our best albums of the last sixty years has some truly excellent vintages.
Nothing if not up for a challenge, this track coming up on some Spotify playlist has caused me to think about….UK Garage. Can there be a less immediately attractive genre? It has cheesy chart stuff sold by the yard at Woollies in the early noughties written all over it. One which gave the world Craig David rewinding when the crowd said bo selecta, that ‘I like to move it’ track from Madagascar, and So Solid Crew. So, challenge laid down. Can we come up with a playlist of UK garage that we can get behind?
I’ve found another couple, in the comments, taking me up to a grand total of…er, four. Your greatest UK garage tracks please. Reel 2 Reel not needed on voyage, whether featuring the Mad Stuntman or not. If we can do this, there’s nothing we cannot accomplish.
As @vincent points out the greats are about to leave the building. In order to save time let’s get ahead of this avalanche by building a one-size-fits all rock obit. Generic Rock Star was born plain Keith/Albert/de Pfeffel Jones in Moosejaw/Little Micklevor/Barnsley in 1940.
Aged 3 his dad died in the Dambusters raid/was fatally poisoned by a bad bacon sarnie/ran off with the First Sea Lord, leaving GRS to be bought up with six sisters/101 Dalmatians/Gyles Brandreth by his mum.
GRS’ early musical promise was shown aged 8 in the school Nativity play/Festival of Britain/annual moonshine tasting when he stunned an audience with his rendition of Underneath the Arches/Greensleeves/John Cage’s 4’33’
Moving to secondary school he developed a love of woodwork/Lacrosse/goat-wrestling which in later years he would often mention in interviews, usually commenting how much happier he would have been pursuing this as a calling than rock stardom.
His first band – the Dog and Homeworks/Pimple/Sicknote played at the sixth form school disco – prompting the following headline in the local Evening Echo: ‘GRS set for stardom/borstal/career in accountancy’
With best friend Troubled Sidekick he moved to Camden/Alaska/Neptune and quickly became one of the most in-demand » Continue Reading.
It’s not quite that, but Jeremy Deller’s film on rave is on the iplayer only today and tomorrow. It’s not your average music doc, as JD talks a group of 18-year old politics students through his version of the 80s and early 90s, from the miners strike and post-industrial decay to Shelleys Laserdome and more bucket hats than you can shake a stick at. There is copious excellent video footage, and the villain of the piece if there is one emerges as ‘agent of chaos’ Paul Staines who started in rave PR and promotion and now runs the right-wing gossipfest Guido Fawkes.
It’s excellent, and the bits when kids of today get there hands on some vintage Roland kit will have you laughing.
Other thoughts welcome.