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  • Neil Young - Hammersmith Apollo Mar 15 2008 - Stranger from Sugar Mountain

    Mar 16 2008, 12h49

    Sat 15 Mar – Neil Young, Pegi Young

    Neil Young has around 40 albums to his name, plus half a dozen unreleased albums and a whole bunch of oddities and rarities. It’s nigh on 30 years since his first solo album. So it’s entirely possible for two people to both own a dozen Neil Young albums and have no point of common reference (although they’d probably both have ’Harvest’). There are a couple of best of’s, but by all accounts they are patchy and include a lot of odd choices.

    So going to see him live was a daunting prospect. I wanted to be sure that we wouldn’t be sitting there going ’buh’ for two and a half hours. So I checked out the web for set lists and found Sugar Mountain, which helpfully lists every song he’s played live since August 1969. I was able to pick out the key albums and tracks to give a whirl as a primer. I would never normally do this for a band, but I felt it was justified this time!

    The stage was set up looking like an artists’ studio or bohemian coffee lounge, with brightly coloured pianos, dozens of guitars, chairs for the musicians scattered about and in the corner a tiny pump organ. At the back of the stage, there were large painted canvases stacked up and during the course of Neil’s electric set, the artist would bring up different canvases to represent each song.

    The support act was a band fronted by Neil’s wife, Peggi Young. An utterly forgivable bit of nepotism, she played through a number of pleasing but undistinctive country songs, including a Gram Parsons cover.

    Neil took to the stage under cover of one of the artist’s canvases that had a big ’N’ on it, to the surprise and amusement of the audience. Moving to the centre of a big circle of acoustic guitars, he showed off his odd habit of clapping along with the audience. It seemed a fairly natural gesture, but for me it highlights the odd relationship he developed with the audience. In a way it’s slightly patronising to clap along, as though he’s urging them to hurry up so he can get to playing - but then again it could be humble, saying that he’s no greater a man than the people in the crowd. Or more likely, it just marks time while he’s waiting for quiet.

    - Side note - the Apollo was massively overcrowded. A couple of people showed us there tickets marked ’Standing on the steps in the circle’. This guy was an ex-fire warden and was worried about the H&S implications, with good cause! The other main problem with the venue was the temperature, which went from ’too warm’ to ’bloody soporific’ towards the end of the electric set, a fact that meant we were both nodding off during the 15 minute grungefest of ’No Hidden Path’, one of the weaker songs from the recent Chrome Dreams II album.

    Anyway, the acoustic set. It was an absolute joy to me to have a musician brave enough to just come out and play some songs on his own. If the songs are good enough, they’ll stand on their own. Just about every act I can think of has to be backed up by at least three guitars and a drumkit, even for more acoustic songs. Opening with From Hank to Hendrix is as good a way of saying ’hello!’ to an audience as any, with the opening From Hank to Hendrix, I walked these streets with you, Here I am with this old guitar, Doin’ what I do. The second song, Ambulance Blues, was one of the highlights of the set for me. It’s a soaring, lilting song with lyrics that start as traditional Western-riverboat-Indians fare, then descend into random eccentricity before delivering a paranoid sting in the final lines.

    One of the things that impressed me about both sets was how close the songs sounded to the original recordings. Neil’s voice has aged, but not by much. For the electric set, it helps that most of his band members have been with him for 20-30 years. Still, the live sound production was superb, very well suited to softer acoustics of the Apollo.

    Highlights of the acoustic set included ’Homegrown’, a banjo song that Neil himself said was pretty stupid. He got the audience to vote whether they wanted to hear about plant-life or dogs and although dogs (’Old King’) definitely won, he played plant-life (’Homegrown’) anyway, claiming that was how democracy worked! Harvest and Out On The Weekend were both superb and illicited singing along from some members of the audience. (By singing, I mean tuneless murmuring). ’A Man Needs A Maid’ was fabulous as ever, but the genius stroke was replacing the London Symphony Orchestra with the only synthesizer of the evening, a small keyboard sitting on top of Neil’s grand piano. The verses were sung with piano accompaniment, but the orchestra sections were replicated on the synth - superb! Saves paying two dozen extra musicians. The more unfamiliar songs were also decent and enjoyable. Damn, looking at the set list the only ones I knew were off ’Harvest’, ’Harvest Moon’ and ’Ambulance Blues’ from ’On The Beach’. The pleasure of acoustic solo performance easily covered the cracks though.

    The audience was a little vocal and restless during some of the pauses between songs, but Neil took his time between each track. I thought his struming of the pre-tuned guitars in their stands, making a simple three-chord sequence was paticularly amusing. The applause was nothing less than rapturous throughout the evening though.

    There was also a rambling story about his Grandma Jean working in the mines in Canada, organising the local sing-songs and seeing a lot of ’action’. All good stuff in my opinion. Part of the appeal of Neil Young is the escapism aspect. His songs are full of tales of far-away lands, distant American highways, rivers and deserts full of nature, love and automobiles. He’s a stranger from another world and his eccentricities amplify that.

    The electric set was less succesful in my opinion, although still pretty damn good. I was surprised by the appearances of ’Hey Hey, My My’, ’Powderfinger’ and ’Fuckin’ up’, songs from his sometime backing band Crazy Horse which I thought were all off-limits. They were very welcome though, ’Powderfinger’ from the Rust Never Sleeps album in paticular. Rust Never Sleeps was a Young album I got in my first wave, way back in the mid-ninties, so it was very familiar. ’Fuckin’ Up’ suffered from it’s long ending and the inherent risk that if you make the ending of the song too big, the main song will just start up again and you’ll have to play the whole damn thing twice.

    The songs from the new album, Chrome Dreams II stood up very well. ’Dirty Old Man’ is one of those songs that comes across so much better live when it’s a full on, high volume stomp. On the record it sounded too thin reedy, with the driving bass-line mixed too far down. ’Spirit Road’ is a classic Neil Young song though and there are many more from the album that would have been quite welcome.

    Although not ’No Hidden Path’, which is the duller of the two long songs. ’Ordinary People’, with it’s saxaphone and false endings would have been a much better choice.

    The weirdest moment of the evening came after ’Fuckin’ Up’, as a cardboard angel microphone stand was lowered from the lights onto one part of the stage, only to be raised, lowered and raised back up again. There seemed to be a disagreement, then a dozen roadies appeared, wheeling on a grand piano. This was followed by an impromptu sounding rendition of ’Tonight’s The Night’, where Neil seemed to forget most of the words and gave his band random and confusing directions, before telling them to play more and more quietly and stopping halfway through. What was all that about?

    After the band bowed and said goodbye it was pushing well on for 11:30pm, far later than most acts would play. There was time for one more encore though, which was preceeded by the arrival of a pantomime-style Turk and a gong. The gong was duly bashed, introducing ’The Sultan’, Neil’s first ever single. ’The Sultan’ is an obscure and lost instrumental from 1963, but stands up well for highlighting Neil’s guitar playing.

    Then the lights came on and everyone was bloody glad to get into the cool night air, even though it was raining. I am seriously glad I got to see Neil Young live. It was more than just a great show. Neil is a legendary performer and brings a wonderful mythic quality to his songs. A normal night for him perhaps, but a special night for most of the audience.

    03-15-2008, Hammersmith Apollo, London, England
    w/ Rick Rosas, Ben Keith, Ralph Molina, Anthony Crawford & Pegi Young

    Acoustic: From Hank To Hendrix / Ambulance Blues / Kansas / Sad Movies / Mexico / A Man Needs A Maid / Harvest / Love In Mind / Journey Through The Past / Homegrown / Love Art Blues / Love Is A Rose / Out On The Weekend / Old Man //

    Electric - with band: The Loner / Dirty Old Man / Spirit Road / Powderfinger / Hey Hey, My My / Too Far Gone / Oh, Lonesome Me / Winterlong / No Hidden Path // Fuckin’ Up / Tonight’s The Night // The Sultan
  • Teh Mummas and Teh Puppas

    Mai 15 2007, 20h35

    Here are all of the mis-tagged titles for The Mamas & the Papas, including their numbers of listeners score.

    The Mamas & The Papas: correct!
    Mamas Papas 32
    Mamas 8
    Tomcraft Vs Mamas & Pappas 37
    Mamas and Popas 12
    Mamas + Papas 12
    Mama Cass With The Mamas & The Papas 40
    Mamas and the Papas (The) 24
    The Mamas & The Papas (& frien 22
    Mamas and the Paps 11
    Mamas The Papas 6
    The Mamas && The Papas 11
    Mamas & Papas, 5
    The Mamas & Papas 7
    Mamas ans the Papas 6
    The Mamas & The Papas 8
    The Mamas an the Papas 9
    The papas and the mamas 9
    Mamas & The Papas - 8
    The Mamas and the Paps 7
    Mamas &Papas 3
    The Mamas & Pappas 5
    The Mamas & the Papas 5
    Mamas and the Papa's 5
    The Mamas & The Papas (& friends...) 8
    mamas cass 3
    Mamas And The Papas 5
    The Mamas & The Papas 5
    The Mamas & the Papas 4
    Mamas and Papa 4
    The Papas & The Mamas 4
    Oldies Mamas And Papas 4
    Mamas &The Papas 3
    The Mamas ans The Papas 4
    Mamas & The Papas 4
    papas & mamas 3
    Mamas &Amp; The Papas, The 4
    Mamas N Papas 3
    Mamas & the Papas,The 4
    816.The Mamas & The Papas 4
    The Mamas & The Papes 4
    The Mamas %26 the Papas 5
    Mamas und Papas 4
    The Mamas And Pappas 3
    Mamas & The Paps 3
    The Papas & Mamas
  • Mer du Japon - AIR live Kentish Town 16 March

    Mar 17 2007, 23h43

    Fri 16 Mar – AIR

    The support act for Air was slightly unsettling. It was a young guy with long blonde hair, playing an acoustic guitar and singing along. The creepy part was how much he sounded like Phil Collins. Given that on Friday I won a comic relief email auction at work for a signed Phil Collins picture, costing me £25 (ohmygod) it was a moderate coincidence. I think it's immensely brave to stand up on a stage with just a guitar and try to entertain an audience. You're not reliant on anyone else, there's just you and the spotlight. The guy wasn't astounding, but he was competent on the guitar. I'm sure the Genesis tribute bands wouldn't chuck him out of bed.

    Then the lights dimmed and the unexpectedly excitable crowd burst into cheers. I dunno, I expected the Forum to be full of 30 year old art-school men in berets, smoking through a tube and occasionally nodding. Air are better than that.

    AIR. One unusual thing about AIR is that many of their songs are instrumentals. The joy of going to a concert, generally, is getting involved in the music. The easiest way to do that is to sing along. So when there are literally no words, or when the words are mumbled in a foreign language, what happens?

    They were brilliant. It was an awesome concert. AIR generally tread a fine line between being a beautiful butterfly and being bloody boring. The thought that you might get a song that's 10 minutes of piano plonkery was never far from my mind.

    But AIR transcended that. With 4 + 2 albums (do you count Premiers Symptomes and Virgin Suicides? You should!), each of which contain a number of killer tracks, AIR are in a good position to deliver a superb performance without playing Radio #1. I have to say, I'm not overly familiar with their work outside of Moon Safari and 10,000Hz Legend, so I'm not an expert on track titles. There were a few early ones that impressed, such as Mer du Japon ('Do AIR have a fast song?' I asked). There were a handful of other tracks from Pocket Symphony. People in the City went down a treat, being upgraded to a loud, rocky number. Run didn't work so well, but the microphone delay effect must be a difficult thing to pull off live.

    But the denouemont was the highlight. The run down from Don't Be Light and the encore with Alone in Kyoto, Sexy Boy and La femme d'argent was simply brilliant. Kelly Watch the Stars was thrown in there too, but they seemed to be playing it as badly as possible, with duff notes and the sound mixing all wrong. Something happened during Don't Be Light, the whole concert suddenly gripped me in a new way, as though the music had broken through. One of those sort of moments, hardly an epiphany but a new appreciation of a band. Beautiful.

    Undoubtedly my favourite song of the night was La Femme D'argent. Every time I put on Moon Safari it's there straight away to tell me that I've made a good choice. And now here it was at the end of the concert, sending us on our way.

    AIR aren't reliable on their albums. But they are unique. They have personality and flare. They don't rock. But they do make you feel.
  • I LOVE the NME chart!

    Fev 13 2007, 20h29

    Hurrah! I sat through the whole of the NME Chart show once again. The Killers song that I quite liked seems to have vanished off the online chart. Read My Mind is a pretty good single, not as pompous as When You Were Young or as saxaphonic as Bones. The Killers have carved themselves a little niche and if they keep writing songs in that style, they'll generally enjoy some success.

    10 The Long Blondes - Giddy Stratospheres
    Dull, dull, dull, but hey, it sounds a bit like My Bloody Valentine. Keep pushing kids! One day you'll offend someone.

    9 Maccabees - About Your Dress
    Great video, made on a budget of 50p with lots of finger pippets. It also feature finger-puppet sex, which was a pleasent novelty. Unlike the song which was classic indie bilge. The lyrics made some kind of sense though, so that's got to be a bonus.

    8 Willy Mason - Save Myself
    It's the Willy Mason revival! This one wasn't on the chart show, so I haven't heard it.

    7 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Desecration Smile
    In a chart dominated by 'Hotly Tipped New Bands!!!' it's a real pleasure to see the 'chilies hawking a re-written hoary old ballad. If only they wrote 4 really good songs per album than about 30 wishy-washy, uninspired ones.

    6 The Horrors - Gloves
    It's the Goth revival! Here's a bunch of people pulling in different directions. The guitarist is playing any old w***, the singer wants to be in Joy Division or The Cure, the keyboardist has found a chord he can play over and over and the drummer is being adequate. A complete mess. If they could play their instruments, they'd be prog.

    ******
    HOT NEW ONE!!!!!
    ******

    The Twang - Wide Awake
    Hurrah! It's the Baggy revival! Again, there's a tune here. It makes me feel all fuzzy and nostalgic for bands like The Farm and The Mock Turtles.

    5 Maxïmo Park - Our Velocity
    It's the Hot Chip revival! I really liked the 'trick' video for this, where the band seems to consist of hundreds of members, but it's all just the four of them superimposed over each other! Almost as good as having an Umlaut in your name so nobody tags your tracks properly. I liked the keyboard in this song. The guitar player and singer were s***. The keyboardist should ditch them and run off laughing into the stratosphere of half-decent music, while they languish in the hell of dribbling rubbish.

    4 CSS - Off The Hook
    CSS won lots of points for having a 'tune' that you could possibly 'hum'. Features four amateur musicians riding along on the wave of a girl who is quite good at singing.

    3 Cold War Kids - Hang Me Out To Dry
    My word, this song is fantatic! I love it so much! It's a simple track, but so atmospheric and meaningful!
    That's what I'd be saying if the riff the song is built around wasn't completely dreary and the lyrics weren't boll***s. And the name of the band wasn't so awful.

    2 Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
    HA HA HA AHA HA AHHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!

    1 The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control
    What the hell is this doing at number one? It was released about 6 months ago! They've had another single since then, what the f*** happened to that? Have the Gossip taken on the policy of re-releasing singles until they chart? That's for bands like Silver Sun and Space. That said, Standing In The Way of Control is acceptable. My opinion of it? The same thing I said for CSS.

    Good grief, there's nothing in that chart that's worth hearing twice. I'm only glad that The Rumble Strips didn't feature with their unbelieveably bad song, Alarm Clock. I mention them because they are exceptionally awful and therefore destined for greatness and sleeping with supermodels.

    Great. Keep listening!
  • Lorraine Live In London - Lovely!

    Nov 17 2006, 21h03

    Lorraine Bowen, possibly the kitschiest queen of lovely Casio music ever to grace the lovely world, played last night at The Theatre Museum in London and myself, along with a few select friends had the great privilege to attend her concert.

    It was a lovely tiny venue, properly intimate in the way that Kentish Town Forum can't quite manage, despite what the NME seem to think. We got their fairly early and were able to secure some seats in the 'round table and candles' area. So jazz club! Even if the candles were fake flickering LED's in misty glasses.

    Anyway, "What about the show, moron?!" I hear you think. So, about the show. We were warmed up with a rather amusing video to Burger Song which showed Lorraine driving a 'Meaty Treats' van over various animals, while the screen was literally licked with enourmous tongues during the 'Tongues, tongues, tongues and testicles la la la' section. We'd be a bit more fickle if we knew what we were eating with our Dill Pickle!



    The lady herself arrived on stage, dressed in an enormous map of London, which she later revealed was actually once a duvet from John Lewis! She opened with Swinging London and carried on with a London theme that took us through the evening. Some of the London links were a bit tenuous, paticularly Pier Song which was there because it was about leaving London!

    Although the first through tracks were just her singing with a backing track (good enough for me!) she was joined by a three piece mini-orchestra consisting of Cello, Trumpet and Piano! They played through what our friend Jonno calls some of the more melancholy songs, such as the wonderful Floating and Landy Shanty.

    It was a fab evening's entertainment. Lorraine is so naturally witty and amusing, cracking cabaret style jokes between the songs. As I've said before, what appeals to me about Ms.Bowen is the edge of reality to the songs, singing about the overlooked joys of the day to day such as swimming, reading other people's letters on the bus and of course, cooking Crumble!

    Other highlights included Botanical Gardens, which featured two poor sweaty guys dressed as palm trees swaying about behind Lorraine; the use of a Congestion Charge symbol placed in a very feminine position and dissing of Maddona (It's so easy writing songs these days, just take an old tune and sing a nursery rhyme over the top!)

    There was also a lovely tribute to Tony Hatch, writer of Downtown and Don't Sleep In The Subway, both of which she performed on her Casio Keyboard mounted on an ironing board. She also showed us Tony's expensive chords, which require a large cheque to be sent to the Royal Music Corporation before you can use them. She also revealed her favourite chord was 38 C - which for some reason she had to play by leaning right over the keyboard?!

    This led a nice Casio medley into Crumble, then a techno/trance/house breakdown at 400bpm and finally Burger Song, with lyrics to the chorus that folded down from the front of the ironing board.

    She closed with a few more tracks with the 3-piece, culminating in Kippers For Breakfast, which I hadn't heard before but is clearly a winner. We said to hello to her afterwards at the bar, but it was all a bit much for me and my fear of hobnobbing with the stars, so I hid behind the camera and took a few snaps.

    Lorraine is a star and the concert was an absolute treat. We'd love to see her again sometime soon!
  • Classic Song of The Day - Bizarre Love Triangle

    Nov 7 2006, 22h09

    I probably first encountered Bizarre Love Triangle as part of a mega-mix of New Order songs that I heard on LP at my cousin's house. It was my cousin who got me liking my first 'proper' band. Before, the only singles I'd listened to had been James Bond soundtracks and some Def Leppard song. I probably had it on a compilation tape after that, but it was when I got Substance on tape that I discovered what a great song it was.

    Recieved opinion seems to be that New Order's best tracks are Blue Monday and True Faith, but for me nothing can beat the fresh, upbeat, feel-good sounds of Bizarre Love Triangle. For most of the early 90's I'd casually mention it as the best song ever.

    It appears in two incarnations, as the synthisizer version on Substance and the guitar version on Brotherhood. There are numerous remixes about, but the single/Substance version is the best.

    At it's heart, BLT is an utterly eighties track. It has that choral stab between that the Pet Shop Boys over-used on some of their songs. It has cowbell, synth noises that don't sound like any instrument, slap bass... all very eighties. It could have sounded cheesy, but because the arrangement is so thick and there's so much going on at once it has a real strength to it. It's not at all murky though, all the lines are crystal clear.

    The lyrics aren't anything to write home about, #Every time I see you falling, I get down on my knees and pray# is hardly... Joy Division. But in the context of this song they're wonderful. Barney's tone lilts up and down over the chorus, with the two phrases ending slightly differently, which makes the #see the words that I can't say# bit all the more exciting. In live concerts Barney always belted that line out and it sounded great.

    It also has one of those great intros where you can recognise the song from just about the first note. Anyway, forgive me while I delve into weirdness -

    What I really love is the sense of motion that the song creates, it has a superb momentum and energy. It puts me in mind of sunshine, of running impossibly fast through fields and cities against clear blue skies. It also has this crystalline sense to it, as if the notes are glassy and somehow brittle yet strong. For me, the song represents absolute joy.

    Bizarre Love Triangle is a thing of rare beauty and it's good for dancing too. Hurrah the New Order.
  • Mansun - Great band, completely lost

    Out 29 2006, 16h54

    I don't think there are many bands who failed to live up to their potential as much as Mansun. These were obviously smart, philisophical guys, or at least a cut above most of the other indie bands of the time in terms of producing intriguing music and thoughtful lyrics (even though they "aren't supposed to mean that much" as they claimed on An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter).

    I've seen Mansun play live three times, once headlining at Guildford and one time at the V99 festival. But the first time I saw them was supporting Shed Seven at Kentish Town Forum. They gave me the kind of impression that they were better than the main act, but I couldn't really get into them as I wasn't familiar with any of their music. They were cool though and I have to admit Shed Seven were a lot of fun too.

    Attack Of The Grey Lantern was an album I had a lot of time for. I got it in Leeds after my friend Muz recommended it - previously all I had of Mansun was the Wide Open Space single, which I'd loved. Some people claim that Attack was a one-story concept album, but unfortunately this appears to be nonsense. There's no reconciling the different lyrics on the songs, although there's definetly a repetition of themes, paticularly the Dark Mavis riff.

    Six hit me at just the right time, my late teens. It's a perfectly pretentious piece of over-educated whiffling, attempting some interesting things but not quite achieving them. There's greatness in there, but it's an over-wrought album, too tense and tied up in shoe-gazing to be a real classic. Although it should have been, the cover art is fabulous and there are elements that are symptomnatic of being a classic album. I'm listening to Being A Girl now and it's no bad thing at all. I had this one on tape for ages and I think I may have had a bit of a ropey copy, as on CD it isn't nearly as distorted as I remember it being. It's certainly an atmospheric album.

    As for Little Kix and Kleptomania - Frankly, it's about time I discovered them. I enjoyed I Can Only Dissappoint U a great deal. I just felt that I'd parted ways with Mansun before Little Kix came out. I'd grown deeply weary of Six as an album, so I wasn't too excited by their final release.

    In more than a few places Mansun touch genius. Closed For Business, Shotgun, Taxloss and many other tracks are simply superb. They have mystique about them that was cemented in 2003 when they split up and as far as I know, none of the band members are pursuing any musical careers.

    There's another world where Mansun released the album they were capable of, that got the critical claim it deserved. We'll never see it!
  • 20 albums, listed in listy style.

    Out 24 2006, 20h55

    20 albums? Piece of pie!

    Reveal - REM.

    This is my topster, topster album of all time. Bright, sunshiney and full of brilliant tunes and lyrics. Hurrah the REM.

    Everyone Is Here - The Finn Brothers

    The same as above, only a bit more melancholy. An album I keep coming back to and keeps getting under my skin.

    Closer - Joy Division

    I don't listen to it anymore, but it's an unsurpassed piece of golden wonder. Terrifying too.

    Ta Dah - Scissor Sisters

    I know its brand new, but I'm enjoying it a heck of a lot.

    Phantom Power - Super Furry Animals

    This is the ultimate SFA album, at the end of the period where every album was better than the last instead of 'just as good'.

    Air - Moon Safari

    Not a perfectly constructed album, but it's more of a mood and atmospheric than thousands of others.

    Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd

    I'll see you there. :)

    Hot Shots II - The Beta Band

    Slightly better than Heroes to Zeroes, it's the Betas most complete album. A hundred styles tied to a bluesey laid back feel, that Hot Chip seem to be continuing with.

    Selling England By The Pound - Genesis

    The height of the Gabriel era, I find this one more accessible than the excess of Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

    Coming Up - Suede

    Important at the time, it's sounds a bit too plastic these days, but it's still a great pop album.

    Brotherhood - New Order

    Classic New Order, they don't sound this much like a solid, coherent band again until Get Ready. Which is odd as they were probably quite stoned at the time.

    Science And Nature - The Bluetones

    Absolutely outstanding stuff from the Britpop band that doesn't know how to die. They had a new album out two weeks ago!

    Since I Left You - The Avalanches

    It's made entirely of samples! And it's amazing!

    OK Computer - Radiohead

    I only listen to it once every two years now, but I enjoy it when I do. Once, it was the bestest album ever.

    Protection - Massive Attack

    Impossible to overstate how brilliant Massive Attack are. They're brilliant.

    Sumday - Grandaddy

    For The Group Who Couldn't Say and Stray Dog And The Chocolate Shake.

    Music Of The Spheres - Ian Brown

    His greatest achievement, really. Not much guitar, but superbly composed tracks.

    Harvest - Neil Young

    I need a maid! Every tracks a winner, never mind the LSO backing, Out On The Weekend is amazing.

    XTRMNTR - PRML SCRM

    Fuck, sick, fuck, this is the shoutiest album ever. The songs are more like nukes than music.

    Low - David Bowie

    It's brilliant. But Low.

    Yeah, I like them.
  • Wonderful!

    Out 6 2006, 21h17

    Yeah, the new Scissor Sisters album is great. It's not awesome, but it's damn fine. It makes me hope that they'll be around for years and release many, many, many albums.

    I wrote a long piece about Stevie Wonder's recent album, A Time To Love, but knocked the PC socket and lost it all. I'll re-write it tomorrow.
  • Oh god I'm listening to Suede again

    Set 27 2006, 18h04

    It's like being 17! When they were good, they were very very good, but how far they fell, no-one can see because it was so bloody far.

    Suede were an important band. They mattered, they made great music, they were heroes. This was furthered by the Suede music books, allowing fools like me to work out how to play The Wild Ones and Lazy. The first time I got those songs sounding right was astounding, the licks crawl across the guitar like yogurt dribbling down a naked arse. Well, maybe not so messily or perverse, but very pleasantly anyway.

    What did Suede do that set them ahead of the rest? It's probably the combination of very good to excellent guitar playing with atmosphere. Brett Andersen was never better at writing lyrics when he was blown away on every substance he could lay his skinny white fingers on. The peak of their achievement, for me, was the Stay Together EP, with it's wonderful B-sides, Living Dead and dark star. Although Coming Up was awesome, it was more plastic and pop-culture than the spiky, dinginess of Stay Together. What did we get when he cleaned up for Head Music?

    And the ambulances know
    Everything Must Flow.

    Suede were dead. And the bloody Rollo remix. Worst - thing - ever.