Back to main "Listen" page

Listening Notes – May 2016

  • Electronic - Electronic (1991)
  • Jethro Tull - Aqualung [DTS 96/24] (1971)
  • Stooges, The - Funhouse [vinyl] (1970)
  • Groove Armada - Lovebox (2003)
  • Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (2010)
  • Blackfield - Blackfield II (2007)
  • Porcupine Tree - In Absentia [DVD-A DTS-5.1] (2002)
  • Fagen, Donald - Kamakiriad [DTS 5.1] (1993)
  • Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak (1976)
  • Refused - The Shape Of Punk To Come (DTS 5.1] (1998)
  • Cibo Matto - Stereo Type A (1999)
  • Wilson, Steven - Hand. Cannot. Erase [vinyl] (2015)
  • Nilsson, Harry - A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night (1973)
  • Reid, Terry - Super Lungs (The Complete Studio Recordings 1966-1969) (2004)
  • Cure, The - Standing On A Beach The Singles (Vinyl) (1986)
  • Massive Attack - Protection (1994)

Listening "Notes" for May 2016

  • 01/05 - Electronic - Electronic [vinyl] (1991)

Fantastic collaboration between Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner post-Smiths break up. More New Order than the Smiths, I possibly enjoy listening to this more than similar era New Order. Up there amongst my favourite awkward late 80's/early 90's recordings.

  • 03/05 - Jethro Tull - Aqualung [DTS 96/24] (1971)

Is this quite possibly, my favourite record?!

I have never tired of this - I haven't got a fucking clue what it's about but for me it's the pinnacle of my early 70's musical apprenticeship.

This 5.1 surround audio version is one of the discs in the new "40th Anniversary Adapted Edition" remixed and mastered by Steven Wilson. The only way previously available was a mega expensive deluxe vinyl/CD/DVD/BD.
It is such a revealing mix with all instruments show-cased and to the fore. Fantastic musicians, fantastic songs.

  • 04/05 - Stooges, The - Funhouse [vinyl] (1970)

To comment about this remarkable recording would be to do it no justice at all. One of the most essential recordings in my collection.

  • 07/05 - Groove Armada - Lovebox (2003)

A real mixture of rock, R&B, electronic beats, gospel and sing-a-longs.
Despite having a bit of an identity crisis - this fits the bill nicely for a sunny, calm Saturday afternoon.
Not to be taken too seriously then.

  • 08/05 - Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (2010)

A third record by those Canadian moodists. Sounding quite epic at times it still manages to engage.
Being such a big band, (there's 7 core members), you could easily accuse AF of being bombastic. They are far from it on the evidence of this, the focus on brilliant song-writing and impeccable delivery. A band I'd love to see live.

  • 10/05 - Blackfield - Blackfield II (2007)

My VIP Gold tickets arrived today for Steven Wilson's October gig in Auckland. I made a pact with my boy Peter to see Mr. Wilson fronting any of his 5 or 6 bands. The time has now arrived - well 6 months away actually!. Probably my favourite musician and producer of the last decade - it's simply a must see.

Blackfield is also a another vehicle for some great songwriting and the conjuring up of more of those wonderful minor scale melodies.

  • 13/05 - Porcupine Tree - In Absentia [DVD-A DTS-5.1] (2002)

Fantastic mid-life (I assume they have finished?) Porcupine Tree - highlighting a soft pop sensibility melded with a hard metal exterior. There's definitely lots of heavy stuff going on but also subtlety and melody galore. Wilson's guitar can cut like a razor but .....

  • 14/05 - Fagen, Donald - Kamakiriad [DTS 5.1] (1993)

A bad Donald Fagen sounds pretty good to me. While this album was not universally lauded (apparently?!), this is just great big toe-tapping "Dan/Fagen-esque" dollops of goodness. Great for a swinging Saturday evening.

  • 16/05 - Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak (1976)

I heard bits of this great record (discussed as someone's favourite record) on National radio on my journey home. It sounded absolutely fantastic. Those twin guitars get me every time.

  • 17/05 - Refused - The Shape Of Punk To Come (DTS 5.1] (1998)

This is just about "Prog" in all of it's inventiveness, and as far removed from what a purest might call "Punk" as you can get. But it still IS "Punk" in attitude and "who gives a fuck attitude". I just love this.
I orignally ordered the 2x CD 1x DVD version from Amazon but was sent a 5.1 DTS version instead. They did sort it out , sending me my original order and letting me to keep this absolute gem!! Bonus time!

Best track: New Noise.

  • 19/05 - Cibo Matto - Stereo Type A (1999)

Brilliant second outing for these Japanese New Yorkers. Just what you would expect from these incredibly inventive immigrants. Jazzy, poppy, funky and toe tappingly good. Not quite as bonkers as "Viva La Woman" but distinctly themselves. Sean Lennon lends a hand.

  • 23/05 - Wilson, Steven - Hand. Cannot. Erase [vinyl] (2015)

Mr Wilson's latest masterpiece, based on the life and undignified death of Joyce Carol Vincent, is a continuation of his prodigious output during the last decade. Joined by his brilliant band it's a restrained, straight forward rock record sans the Jazz that predominated on his last outing.

I've bought tickets to his Auckland show. Can't wait!

  • 25/05 - Nilsson, Harry - A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night (1973)

A bit of a flashback to a time when one mocked ones parents for listening to Englebert Humperdinck but secretly harnessed a somewhat restrained appreciation of the cheesiness. This a great crooning covers record which elicits similar sentiments. Perversely listenable.

  • 26/05 - Reid, Terry - Super Lungs (The Complete Studio Recordings 1966-1969) (2004)

One of the big advantages of biking the 30 kilometres to work and home is the time it gives me to listen to exceptional podcasts. These include "The Joe Rogan Experience", "Sound Opinions", "Song Exploder", and a very recent discovery, "WTF with Marc Maron". This morning's magical podcast from "WTF" included a fabulous interview with Terry Reid. I remember listening to largely unknown Terry Reid in my last years at high school. I just needed to follow up this evening with side two of "Super Lungs" a great compilation of his early years. Brilliant!!!

Best Track(s): "Superlungs, My Supergirl" "Stay With Me Baby"

  • 29/05 - Cure, The - Standing On A Beach - The Singles (Vinyl) (1986)

Not having any Cure records on vinyl is a travesty - now remedied. This is a great early singles compilation. One of the few recordings that include "Killing An Arab" which has been removed from subsequent compilations. A great song about a book Robert Smith referenced "The Stranger" by Albert Camus.

I'm still a great fan of their first albums and singles. This certainly reinforces this. Essential stuff.

  • 31/05 - Massive Attack - Protection (1994)

I listened to a fantastic pod cast, episode 538 specifically, from Sound Opinions this morning, proclaiming the brilliance of 1991 as a break through year for rock music. One of those artists was Massive Attack. While this isn't from 1991, it's a good reminder of their influence. While not recognised as one of their best records (in some quarters I might add) it's still a superb album.