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Listening Notes – April 2016

Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993)
Alan Parsons Project, The - I Robot [vinyl] (1976)
Galaxie 500 - Today (1988)
Stone Roses - The Stone Roses [vinyl] (1989)
Horrors, The - Skying (2011)
Auteurs, The - New Wave (1993)
Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion (2012)
Placebo - Unplugged (DVD)(2015)
Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail (SACD)(1976)
Chicago - Chicago III (1971)
Sainkho Namtchylak - Stepmother City (2002)
Neilson, Tami - Don't Be Afraid (2015)
Bowie, David - Bowie At The Beeb (Record One) [vinyl] (1968)
Reed, Lou - Rock'n'Roll Animal [vinyl] (1974)

Listening "Notes" for April 2016

  • 02/04 - Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993)

Blur's second effort then. At last some consistently great songs through out the album. There's a bit of meandering and aimlessness in places but all in all an entertaining ride. Not sure if I was a great fan when I first encountered Blur (aside from some great memories of a couple of songs off of there first record) but now, on better audio equipment, I appreciated it a lot more.

I'll eventually wade through the extras on "21" but I've always found it a bit disappointing.

  • 06/04 - The Alan Parsons Project - I Robot [vinyl] (1976)

A much loved remnant of the 70s. Sounds even more impressive on modern equipment and an improved vinyl pressing. OK, it may be AOR but it's an absolute work of genius. Every song could have been a hit single (and probably was).

I always pose this question "what is today's equivalent?"

  • 10/04 - Galaxie 500 - Today (1988)

Excellent late 80's debut from Dean Wareham's Galaxie 500 prior to his stint in Luna. A fantastic "guitar" record - fuzzy and melodic.

  • 11/04 - Stone Roses - The Stone Roses [vinyl] (1989)

I really didn't remember the strangeness and experimentation that reveals itself in this relic of the last breath of the 80s. While most of the songs are reasonably "conventional" I really thought there had been a tracking error on "Don't Stop". Brilliant but quite unsettling I must say. I never understood what "Baggy" meant but I know what it sounds like.

  • 12/04 - Horrors, The - Skying (2011)

A hybrid of all the great glam/goth/new wave rockers but smothered in treacle and haze. Too many influences to call it original but it's a fantastic listen. Definitely right at home in the previous millennium but sounding like rock music should sound in the 21st century. I wish!

  • 14/04 - Auteurs, The - New Wave (1993)

My first exposure to the genius of Luke Haines was via The Auteurs debut record. I haven't stopped listening since.
Uniquely British, the Auteurs, and Luke Haine for that matter, are incomparable with any other band before or since. Sounding as good as it ever has, a record I'll never tire of.

Best track(s): How Could I Be Wrong, Valet Parking, Idiot Brother, Early Years (Actually all tracks are brilliant!)

  • 15/04 - Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion (2012)

Interesting collaboration between Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth). Nothing like their usual output, which disappointed a lot of people. Lots of lovely acoustic instrumentation and simple melodies. Beautiful but strangely unfamiliar.

  • 21/04 - Placebo - Unplugged (DVD)(2015)

Great band, great gig. One of my favourites from day one. Their first album still shines brightest for me.
This is a far more subdued event from that first maelstrom - when unplugged these songs really breathe and show the quality of song writing. Great with strings.

  • 22/04 - Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail (SACD)(1976)

It's Friday night. A relaxing night after bubbles and Shiraz at 21, I needed some big, surround sound pretentious Englishness. It was "Wind and Wuthering" or this. This won through after some "technical" issues. Met my needs admirably!

  • 22/04 - Chicago - Chicago III (1971)

I have never listened to Chicago ever. The rationale for purchasing this record was the ridiculous $10 price tag on the 10 CD box set. There's definitely some great jazzy fusion in evidence amongst this, their third record.

  • 23/04 - Sainkho Namtchylak - Stepmother City (2002)

I couldn't (and won't) try to explain this record. It's strange, otherworldly, confronting in places but full of amazing and startling texture and melody. The drone-like Tuvan throat singing is astounding.

Best track: Boomerang

  • 24/04 - Neilson, Tami - Don't Be Afraid [vinyl] (2015)

Yee-haw! A little bit country, a little bit rock'n'roll and a bit of blues thrown in as well.
First heard at a recent Shut Up and Listen session (thanks Nick!) I bought this on the basis of the first song "Don't Be Afraid" a real slow burning blues gem. I'll be back for more.

  • 25/04 - Bowie, David - Bowie At The Beeb (Record One) [vinyl] (1968)

I just couldn't resist picking up this vinyl, 8-sided beauty. Live in-studio recordings from 1968 to 1972.
Surprisingly developed songs that I once thought quaint and corny. Far from it - you can hear glimpses of that Bowie magic. There's some great interview material as well.

  • 27/04 - Reed, Lou - Rock'n'Roll Animal [vinyl] (1974)

An absolute classic from my pre-punk/Bowie/Lou Reed era. A real snapshot of the grimy underbelly of rock'n'roll when "real life" was portrayed honestly - warts and all. Chaotic and unrefined at times it still delivers in spades. Wagner and Hunter unmatched in the duelling guitar stakes.