The Never Ending Playlist Week #1

2. Makes Me Wanna Die – Tricky (1997, Island Records, Taken from ‘Pre Millennium Tension’)

The first Tricky album ‘Maxinquaye’ is a masterpiece. The kind of record that no matter how many times you listen to it, you hear something new, something different every time you hear it. The sort of record that thirty years or so after its release, some gonk will be writing about on a poorly designed blog, and call it ‘nearly perfect’.

The second Tricky album ‘Pre-Millennium Tension’ is not a masterpiece. Its way too strange and too threatening to be that. It’s a record that sounds smothered, and wrapped up in (probably anyway) drug induced paranoia to the point where it is suffering from it. Its bleak, its claustrophobic, and a little awkward.

But it has its moments, like ‘Makes Me Wanna Die’, which despite its title is actually rather uplifting if ambient ballads can be that .

Here is another one of better tracks off of ‘Pre Millennium Tension’

Tricky Kid – Tricky (1997, Island Records, Taken from ‘Pre Millennium Tension’)

The Never Ending Playlist Week #1

  1. Buddy Holly – Weezer (1994, DGC Records, Taken ‘Blue Album’)

By Never Ending I of course, mean until I got bored of it…

The first week as ‘Music Editor’ of the Surrey University student newspaper was eventful. I arrived in the office once Wednesday morning after lectures to find a small bundle of records waiting for me. There were four records, one tape (ask your dad), and a CD in total. I rubbed my grubby hands with glee, and then I opened the package.

There was a Gill Scott Heron 12″, a Skip MacDonald tape, something by a Goth band, that was so awful I don’t think I got past track two of it, and a couple of dance white labels that I can’t remember much about. The CD was by the way a two track promo CD by Weezer. Track Two was ‘Buddy Holly’ and after an all that came before it, ‘Buddy Holly’ sounded like the greatest song ever written. I mean it isn’t but for about seventeen minutes in the winter of 1994 if felt like it.

Here are a couple of the other tracks on the single release of ‘Buddy Holly’

My Name in Jonas – Weezer

Surf Wax America – Weezer

The Sunday Shuffle

Effervescent (Chimes) – Spiritualized (2004, Arista Records, Taken from ‘The Complete Works Vol 1’)

Morning everyone. Sundays on here will be the day of the shuffle. One track (maybe more) provided at random from one of four devices in this house that is capable of shuffling music. Todays device was the iPod Nano, largely because I took it running with me on the day I wrote this.

Spiritualized, are, as anyone who knows me, probably my favourite band of all time. So I am really pleased with the choice today. ‘Effervescent (Chimes)’ first appeared (I think) as the fourth track on ‘Run’ one of the early Spiritualized singles. The sleeve of the 12″ glowed in the dark, which although clearly a gimmick, was kind of cool.

Here is the A Side in case you needed it.

Run – Spiritualized (1991, Dedicated Records, Taken from ‘Lazer Guided Melodies’)

Nearly Perfect Albums #1

Community Music – Asian Dub Foundation

I’ve said before in various other places that there are eight records that I consider to be ‘absolutely perfect’.  Albums where everything from the artwork to last note of the last track and everything in between is absolutely perfect.  They are albums that if I was reviewing them would garner a Ten out of Ten review.  They are a pretty rare beast.  

Strangely this new series is not about those eight records but it’s about the albums that sit just underneath them.  The Nine out of Ten albums or in some case the nine and a halves.  Albums that are ‘Nearly Perfect’. 

Records that are still brilliant, outstanding, life affirming pieces of music.  Records that will improve your life and general happiness.  Albums that will enhance your prowess as a lover if you choose to have them on in the background whilst ‘doing some loving’.  Selecting to play these records at a party will instantly make you friends, and if you listen to them whilst cooking in the kitchen, they will make your food taste better.  Guaranteed.

They are in no real order and of course you can disagree with me.  That’s what the comments section is for.   I’m going to start with the wonderful, the timeless, the incredible ‘Community Music’ by Asian Dub Foundation.

Rebel Warrior – Asian Dub Foundation (2000, East West Records, Taken from ‘Community Music’)

One of the most amazing things about ‘Community Music’ is the diversity.  One minute we will be hearing some cool breakbeats firing away over a scratchy bassline, then it might go a bit dubby and then from literally nowhere a guitar comes in with a riff so huge that you could park a bus in it.  Then that guitar will turn into a sitar and then just as you’ve got use to that it turns back into a guitar and at the same time you are getting a history lesson or a political message or a lecture about police corruption as well.  It sounds messy but folks, it works, somehow, don’t ask me how.  It just does and that by the way is just the first three songs.

Real Great Britain – Asian Dub Foundation (2000, east west Records, Taken from ‘Community Music’)

After that you get a bunch of songs that sound like they are happy to tickle your ear seductively but are just as happy to boot you in the face at the drop of a hat and then around forty minutes in you get ‘Taa Deem’.

Taa Deem – Asian Dub Foundation (2000, East West Records, Taken from ‘Community Music’)

‘Taa Deem’ is astonishing.  A five minute blast of the sampled voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan looped across some chunky guitars and some quite frankly booming drums and frantic breakbeats that just bounces around in your head relentlessly.  Its one of those songs that just wears out the repeat button.

Scaling New Heights – Asian Dub Foundation (2000, East West Records, Taken from ‘Community Music’)

The last track on the album is called ‘Scaling New Heights’ and that is kind of apt, and whilst this is quite lazy of me to say it – that’s exactly what this album does.  It goes places that no other album that I can think of has gone before or after for that matter.  Its ambitious, its political, but best of all  its nearly perfect.  

Randomly Shuffled Songs #5

Last Year – Best Coast (2012, Mexican Summer Records, Taken from ‘The Only Place’)

Best Coast are a two piece from Los Angeles comprising of Bethany Consentino (vocals, guitars) and Bob Bruno (everything else). When their first album emerged in 2010 their music was kind of lo-fi, with vocals hidden behind fuzzy guitars and mountains of reverb. The press loved it and the band were quickly hailed as musical geniuses.

‘Last Year’ is taken from the second album, the much less lo-fi ‘The Only Place’ an album which is all summery and pretty much an advert for the state of California (you see that bear up top its cuddling a map of California). It is heavily inspired by 60s country records and Fleetwood Mac, which I agree, makes it sound ghastly.

Thankfully, whilst it was influenced by Fleetwood Mac and Loretta Lynn, it sounds nothing like either of them. Its very jangly, very upbeat and by dropping the reverb and upping the vocals it made the vocals of Consentino come into their own.

The Only Place – Best Coast (2012, Mexican Summer Records, taken from ‘The Only Place’)

Tomorrow we will have something slightly different.

Randomly Shuffled Songs #4

My Body Is A Cage – Arcade Fire (2007, Merge Records, Taken from ‘Neon Bible’)

Intervention – Arcade Fire (2007, Merge Records, Taken from Neon Bible’)

Church organs are funny things. Sometimes when a band uses them on a track and they sound majestic and otherwordly and I am left thinking that there is not enough church organs in modern music.

Other times they sound bloody morbid and I am left thinking that they have absolutely no place in modern music. For the purposes of balance I have decided to post an example of both from the same record. That record is ‘Neon Bible’ and for those of you that are remotely interested in these things, it was the first album I ever loaded on my iPod Classic back in June 2010.

That same iPod Classic this morning gave me ‘My Body Is A Cage’ on the shuffle. Its an example of where the church organ sounds rubbish. It makes the song sound bleak and when after about 2 minutes the military sounding drums crash in over the top of it you hope that the organ will stop, but no its still there right until the end. It ruins the song.

Then on other hand you have ‘Intervention’ which is an example of a church organ sounding fantastic. Here the organ sounds upbeat, cheerful and even when Wim Butler sings about his family dying or something, the organ blares away like its Christmas or something. Its bloody brilliant.

Randomly Shuffled Songs #3

All I Need Is Some Sunshine In My Life – Yak (2017, Yala! Records, Only released as a Single)

Yak, for those in the dark, were, despite having one of the worst names in the history of rock, for a time one of the great hopes of the UK indie guitar scene. They originated from Wolverhampton and formed part of a small West Midlands scene (lazily called B-Town by cocaine addled music hacks) that gained a reputation for incendiary live shows and woozy psychedelic sounding indie rock. They went on an indefinite hiatus in 2019.

The clever people reading this will know that of course, this is a cover version, I didn’t know that until about ten minutes ago. The original was done by the band Dixie Nightingales (and we will skirt around the name here) and it is a soulful, gospel tinged thing of wonder. It was I think also performed by Samuel L Jackson in the film ‘Black Snake Moan’ but I’ve never seen it so I can’t tell you if its any good or not. The Yak version is a million miles from the original, which is not a massive surprise, they replace the soulful harmonies with guitars, feedback, creaky microphones and a little bit of what a producer would call ‘atmosphere’ and you know, it sort of works.

Here is the original should you wish to compare them.

Randomly Shuffled Songs #2

Headache – METZ (2012, Sub Pop Records, Taken from ‘METZ’)

The great thing about Random Shuffles is that on occasion your phone, iPod and other device that plays music will throw up something that you had long since forgotten about. Enter METZ, and in particular their debut record, which, is also called ‘METZ’.

It was a record I played an awful lot when it first came out, but haven’t really listened to since 2017. At the time I really liked its ferociousness and the sheer pace of the whole thing. You get ten songs in less than 30 minutes and I totally accept that they might not be to everyone’s tastes, but if you ask me there is something beautifully chaotic about their music.

Of course METZ is also a city in France, so this can also be the second instalment in the “Bands Who Have A City In Their Name” series, that I am not really doing yet.

METZ do not hail from the city that they are named after, but rather are from Ottawa in Canada. Their music has been described as sludge punk. I’m not sure what that is or whether there is or ever has been a thriving sludge punk scene. If you want a lazy comparison METZ sound like those early Dinosaur Jr records which were I imagine highly influential in the sludge punk world, particularly as they were writing songs about sludge back then.

Sludgefeast – Dinosaur Jr (1987, SST Records, Taken from You’re Living All Over Me’)

Randomly Shuffled Songs #1

Muddy – Jamila Woods (2019, Jagjaguwar Records, taken from the album ‘Legacy! Legacy!)

As a middle aged white man who lives in one of the least culturally diverse villages on earth I am of course perfectly positioned to talk to you all about black female artists singing about Blues legend Muddy Waters. Which is handy because the first song to come up on the random shuffle this morning was exactly that.

Jamila Woods for those who don’t know is from Chicago and has been likened to Nina Simone. This track comes from her second album ‘Legacy! Legacy!’ which I recommend heartily to you all. ‘Muddy’ sees Woods caught between two things – the adoration of her hero, Muddy Waters and an angry rage at the appropriation of his (and other black artists) music.

Post Number One

Not Phil Collins.

Hello. This is a blog about music and not, badgers. If you are looking for a blog about the removal of badgers, you are in the wrong place. You are also a bastard because badgers are brilliant. Apart from when they jump out of hedges and growl at you for waking them up, then they are vicious snarling beasties from the bowels of Hell itself. Possibly. They are still cooler than you and I though.

Anyway, welcome. Feel free to say hi in the comments below.

The plan is to try and post at least one song a day. Sometimes those songs will be part of a series, like this one for instance…

Cheer It On – Tokyo Police Club

Which is the first entry in the series called “Bands who have a city in their name”.

Sometimes the song won’t form part of any series, its just been posted because it came up randomly on my iPod. For the next week at least, until I work out how to do this properly, all posted songs will be courtesy of a random shuffle. Sometimes, they will be great, like the one below, in fact and its possible that on occasion they might be rubbish, and possibly even the actual band, Garbage.

True Adventures – Sea Power

A little word about the music. It will be available for a week or so and then the links will be removed. If you like what you hear, download the artists music, or stream it on one of those streaming services that we all use so the band get paid. Thank You.