Radio Song, side 1 track 1 of Out of Time. And the weakest track on the album by some distance IMHO. It has some riffs recycled from Stand, insanely annoying backing vocals (yo-ho-ho), an unnecessary rap section at the end and generally comes over instrumentally as a parody of REM’s sound to date. It’s the worst track on the album, rated by me as no better than forgettable instrumental Endgame. And as a parody track of commercial expectations it is surely eclipsed by Shiny Happy People. A post of best Side 1 track 1’s ever is a regular fixture. So let’s do the darkside – who should have buried their opener mid-way through side 2. We know Dylan is Afterword catnip, so my second entry is from the zim in the comments. Unanswerable surely?
Having unshackled myself from the weekly schedule, and posting when there is a sufficient range of gourmet delicacies from the British Book of Hit Singles…let’s go..it’s supermodels week, and it will not surprise you to know they do not feature in the delights discovered, but rather in the why oh why section in the comments. Here’s a proper singer with a proper pedigree, stepping out from James Brown’s band where she replaced Tammi Terrell, and a terrific stab of pop soul with a touch of the Motown beat. Crazy covers (well crazily awful this week), some nearly tracks of the week, and those supermodels in the comments.
Firstly, who is it whose ‘classic’ album prompted the above post.
Yes that’s right it’s Lou Reed. creator of 22 studio albums. Yet in rock history and popular consciousness (‘civilian land’) it surely has been reduced to Transformer. Produced by Bowie and Ronson. 5 monsters (Vicious/Perfect Day/WOTWS/Sat of Love/NY Tel Conversation) and not a bad track on it. Perfect Day broke out to a new generation with the beeb version. That cover (who would want say the New Sensations cover on a t-shirt). More or less a perfect rock album. Transformer is currently at no 918 in Amazon’s Cd and Vinyl sales. Berlin is 32,000, Coney Island Baby 64,000.
I am partial to Rock and Roll Heart, Songs for Drella and Magic and Loss (131,000 – presumably the sales at this point are like the R number) but this is not really civilian land. Surely only Transformer, and the songs on it, now has real wider currency.
So other artists whose multi-album career is now more or less reduced to a single album. Any raise on Lou? And yes, Peter Frampton is an answer but I think we can agree Lou is possibly a more significant artist.The ratio we » Continue Reading.
Ok what week is it? Week seven, week Ten? Anyway, better late than never (possibly) here are the hits and the misses of the rest of the B’s in the veritable British Book of Hit Singles. First up is a totally anonymous club banger. Anonymous as in who the hell are they? (puts on). Oh it’s this. Again, check out the bass line and the classic filter house sound. Brings to mind all those cartoon covers on the Hed Kandi compilations. Ah memories. In the comments some Crazy Covers and one quite gob-smackingly awful track from 1959.
It’s the first of the month which brings a new set of 99p Monthly Deals for the Kindle. And we all (most) have more time on our hands. My personal selections:
Lit Fic: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving A Good Man in Africa William Boyd The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier by Michael Chabon The Slap – Tsiolkas Abide With Me – Liz Strout Closed Circle – Jonathan Coe Good selection – I can thoroughly recommend the Chabon and Tsiolkas, looking forward to the Boyd
There’s also the new Caitlin Moran on Britpop, How to Be Famous.
Classics Not a great month TBH but there’s the Penguin Classics version of Don Quixote (‘award winning translation’) which I think is made for the Kindle and I will yet again fail to quite commit to the Count of Monte Cristo.
Scifi John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War is very well reviewed, even if I generally steer well clear of military themed sci-fi. I can recommend Jeff Vermeer’s outstanding Annihilation, filmed a couple of years ago, as a genuinely new and deeply unsettling. I’m unconvinced by Adrian Tchiakovsky – he’s written a lot quite quickly – » Continue Reading.
The latest dispatch from the wild frontiers of the British Book of Hit Singles is due very soon, I have finished the ‘B’s’ which includes this artefact. I have listened to it all the way through (you can too but it’s a poor facsimile cover with boxing commentary and crowd nose interpolated) and can confirm that Frank does not sing or even speak a note. So, what other tracks – credited to a single person – feature not a note or word from the person themselves?
Week six takes us from Bizzi to Bowie in the British Book of Hit Singles. No actual Bowie, instead feast your ears on nearly 14 minutes of completely irresistable funky Chicago house from Lil’ Louis. You’ll know the main vocal hook from a thousand other tracks, but this is the motherlode, the original. Where has it been in my life, lodged between Black Machine and Black Riot in the British Book of Hit Singles. The last 5 minutes are non-stop bass nirvana, courtesy of one Gene Perez. Unknown to me, he was the foundation of lots of Masters of Work remixes and it’s no disservice to say that this could be a sample from the thumb of Bernard Edwards himself.
Has reached the Himalayan slopes of the Dead. Telling that apart from American Beauty their picks are all live picks. This is back on form after a few pop people that aren’t really that scary (Britney, Kinks).
Like the sound of the one with Branford Marselis sitting in.
Week Five of the British Book of Hit Singles: Obscurities Only, from Archie Bell to Bizzi. You know the form, so let’s get straight to the finds. Top of the pile, this early 00s Massive Attacky slice of slow-burn trip-hop. Two more gems in the comments, a curio, and the worst track of the week…
Along with many of us I am missing the occasional dip into a chazza, particularly on the books side. Recent purchaser of a kindle, the monthly release of the new book deals is about as close to a rummage through the Oxfam shelves as you are going to get at the moment. There’s history, lots of military history, autobiography, self-help, romance, thrillers, detective and well you get the idea. Literary fiction , classics and sci-fi are the sections of the shop I go for so here are my entirely partial recommendations for the 99p monthly deals:
Classics – strong showing from Penguin Classics and Modern Classics. Really important to get a reputable publisher with translated work. So I’m going for War and Peace, Les Grandes Moulnes and a volume of Katherine Mansfield short stories. Already got, thorughly recommended, is Heart of a Dog by Bulgakov.
Sci-fi – if you’ve not read Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie you are in luck. One of the best sci-fi novels of teh last decade. Peter F Hamilton has gone off the boil a bit recently IMHO, so glad the first heavy slab of his new trilogy, Salvation, is on here. Decently reviewed. There’s a » Continue Reading.
Welcome to week four of the Listening Project: staying safe at home by working through the entire British Book of Hit Singles (BBoHS) from A-Z. Week 4 sees me up to HJH’s and some resistance to the project from Ms Moles (‘Why do we have to listen to stuff you missed first time around and is probably rubbish’). We soldier on! No princes are found without a lot of frog-kissing, and in this case no obscure soul classics without wading through the boyband landfill from the late 90s (see last week for more musings on them).
If you open a page at random then the obscure nuggets are likely to be dance tracks from the 90s and early 00s. This week’s musings are a why? Firstly, it cannot have been radio play. We’re not talking about Professional Widow or The Chemicals here. These tracks cannot have be played on R1 before the specialist dance shows. Were there that many listening to Kiss/Galaxy in the 90s to impact the charts? Second, the natural home of these tracks is clearly the dance compilation. Why on earth would anyone buy a single. You know what, that Ministry or Kiss In Ibiza compilation » Continue Reading.
Welcome to week three of the Listening Project: staying safe at home byu working through the entire British Book of Hit Singles (BBoHS) from A-Z. Week 3 saw us leave the A’s and work through Howie B, John B, Jon B, Lorna b, Mark B, Mel B, Sandy B, Stevie and lastly obscure white female gangsta rapper Tarrie B. As ever in the comments there is some unearthed gold, and some what were they thinking curios. A day late.
Evolving thoughts on the charts: boy it must have been dirt cheap in the 90s to launch a boyband. The lists are full of yer BBMaks, BK and B2K to take just one page. Did the majors have no other ideas than putting 3-5 cute boys in denim and Adidas and getting some watered down R and B behind them.It would seem not. There was even a Specsavers run competition to find Britain’s next boyband which resulted in All Eyes hitting number with She’s A Vision (see what they did there).
Onto the finds/ Two club bangers – one a Latino house salsoul banger from the 90s which I cannot believe did not chart, and a rather more obscure track that » Continue Reading.
When it comes to sucking up vast swathes of time in a vaguely constructive manner, nothing beats video gaming. Our PS4 is having, as we say round here, heavy hammer. And as it also doubles as the DVD player, is probably pulling a full 8 hour daily shift. Here’s our run down of the Moseley Towers gaming world:
Ace Combat 7 – myself and jazzhead son have just finished this uber-Japanese flight combat sim (though it’s pretty arcadey). I played Ace Combat 2 on the original PS and have been hooked since. The story, as always, is bonkers and incomprehensible but that’s not why we’re here. Pulling an immelman turn in a F-14 then sticking two missiles up the tailpipe of a Mig-29. Yes please. The graphics are georgeous, and the learning curve dadfriendly enough for me to finish the game on easy. 20 missions and my only gripe is that as there is no ground-targets only mission I had no excuse to fly the A-10 Warthog.
COD Modern Warfare : Mrs Moles is playing through – very deliberately – this total and utter classic FPS. The ghillie suit! The Chernobyl level, the container ship.
No Man’s Sky. Heavy » Continue Reading.
My family are still just about talking to me, as every so often a gem will shine through the vast muddy field that is the BBoHS week 2: The Alarm – Army of Lovers. In case you missed last week’s debut installment, I am surviving lockdown by (in part) working through the BBoHS A-Z. Rules were in last week’s post, so it’s straight into an observation and then the finds.
Observation: you think this will be a voyage into the deep past, the charts that existed way before you were even born (in my case 1965) and golden hour hits that had already slipped off Radio 1 by the time you got there. Wrong. It’s actually a voyage into the 80s – 00s (my penultimate edition is from 2004 when download were already being counted). And here’s one reason why my listening is dominated by boybands, grunge landfill and faceless dance. The lowest place in the charts that is included was from 1978 on 75. Until 1960 it was a top thirty, so barely half the post-78 total. It expanded to become 40, 42 for one week in the seventies, then a top 60. Someone clever can work out the » Continue Reading.
It’s a fairly standard response in this place to the current situation – immerse yourself in a crazily large audio project. Then share your findings. So here’s mine, for this week at least. I own a copy of hits bible The British Book of Hit Singles – 18th edition, which is the penultimate in printed form (2004). So how’s about working through the whole shebang (about 500 pages) at a page a day. That should take me through the current scenario and out the other side.
Ground rules: it’ll be A-Z. Unfamiliar stuff only. So the whole page that is David Bowie can be skipped (see the ‘it’ll take about a year’)…er skip that as Rebel Never Gets Old reached no 47 in 2004. Need to hear that (don’t get too excited it’s a mashup but an official one).
The greatest hit is it. Not got time to listen to all of A – so clearly it’s their top 10 Hit Nothing and unless my curiosity is greatly piqued (reader it was not, generic late 90s Green Day punky rock) then in this case their other 9 top 75 smashes will remain for others to discover.
Nothing unfamiliar skipped » Continue Reading.
The Guardian is enticing us to try something new with a daily short article and listening guide including a ;start here; album for a new artist each day. Kraftwerk and The Fall were the first two, so nothing needed there. But Alice Coltrane, Curtis Mayfield and Fiona Apple. Ok, talk to me. So have now listened to Journey in Satchidananda (yes nice working music), Superfly (yes yes yes, excellent) and When the Pawn… (not really, a bit Tori a bit Alanis a lot 90s meh). Sleater-Kinney today so will listen to All Hands On The Bad One. Point being I might never have listened to any of these without a prompt.
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 » 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.