Friday, 27 January 2017

Five a Day: Week Four. One Artist per day

Minogue Monday 

Aphodite - what a great album. Joyous electro pop like Little Boots' first album Hands. Very 80's but no the less great. unashamed Bouncy pop songs. Lyrically yeah not very interesting but that's all my complaints are. Plus All the Lovers is a great great single.

Body Language - starts as a minimal electro feel with Slow, then turns minimal house tracks and then just gets funky and it's glorious. Cohesive sound to the album this time. Her voice is amazing. Someday is beautiful tune as well. I ended up buying this this morning a charity shop. I surprised myself. 
X - there is a mix of soul inspired tracks and electro pop tracks which is slightly disorientating that it doesnt stick to one style. Regards they are great songs. There is specifically like a Pet Shop Boys Vibe on the electronic tracks and a loose Amy Winehouse feel to the soul ones. Some tracks mirror mainstream pop from the time and suffer from it. See Nu-di-ty and heartbeat rock are the best example of this. 

Impossible Princess - Mr James Dean Bradfield and Brothers in Rhythm are credited on this LP so I had no idea what to expect. It can't keep a consistent tone which I always find frustrating. It is in places a dark and trippy dance album ala bjork but in others it could be a Garbage record. Some gems on here that in the style I wasn't expecting and very interesting listen to Kylie take a side step in music direction. 

Fever - starts poor with what feels entirely loop based songs. Apart from Can't get you out of my head (which is still catchy as hell). After a few tracks that are not upbeat enough to be danceable or slow enough to be slow. However after Come into my world and in your eyes, the pace picks up and my foot starts tapping.


I just want to say all these albums are 5 mins longer than one of my fave LPs of all time, Rocket to Russia by Ramones, and they all feel twice as long. Listen to that, Instead!

Yes - It's a jazzy folk rock album without many memorable moments, no its not bad, no I would not complain if I had to listen again but would I reach to buy it nope. Definite highlight was Looking Around ( which is repetitious but it just builds and build with every cycle of that riff.) every little thing features the Don't Fear the Reaper ( it's meant to be Day Tripper) guitar riff in the right ear too. 

Time and a word - starts better than the last. Much more dynamic sounding. The orchestra is a great addition to the sound. The organ work is sublime on this thing too. It gets a bit weird after the first few tracks. Blink and you won't know what's happening. Tracks that are more soloing than actual songs get really disorientating. 

The Yes Album - this is what I feared would happen. They have expanded upon the bits of the songs I don't like. The dense rock sound, everything feels like a solo not just an instrumental passage, vocal segments that are one repeated stanza and repeated between solos. Track number 2 is just a classical guitar workout. Then the rest are just solos with classical guitar interludes and with sudden leaps in tempo up and down its just chaotic. However great use of stereo. 

Fragile - Roundabout has such a delightful funk bassline but it goes on too long. I actually thought the track had finished with (Yet another) Classical guitar but that was only half the song. The rest of the album I just didn't get. More classical instrumentals and meaningless words and virtuosity. 

 Close to the edge - 3 tracks on this album. Just didn't get the first two. Really long slow things that just didn't click with me. The last track brings back that funk bassline of Roundabout and found my foot tapping. 

I have come to the conclusion after suffering all day that Yes are not my cup often. I admire the skill. Love the keys on all these albums but that is not gonna bring me back to these albums. Sorry Yes but but it's a no from me. 

And on that night as he closed his eyes to go to bed and all he could hear was improvised organ lead symphonic rock music


Under the western freeway 
The broken down comforter collection 
The sophtware slump 
Just like the fambly cat
All the bands albums sound the same. They are all equally enjoyable; some are a bit too long, some are too folky but all are lofi pych indie gems and will happily listen to them again. If you like Pixies and Flaming Lips. These are your guys

Alice Cooperday

Killer starts as a Glam rock album then moves into rock music ala Free/ Faces and then moves into some progier stuff towards the end but it never stops rocking. Stripped back dirty rock and roll. 

Schools out - American Glam rock. In places it's The Stooges and in places it's New York Dolls but most confusingly there are horn and string sections in this thing. Unexpected but work really well ; Blue Turk is just a straight up jazz track and Luney tune has some giant strings. It's Harder to pin down Alice Cooper based on the guy he has been Pigeon holed into over the years.

Billion dollar babies logical progression after Schools out. More ambitious, bigger sounding, but doesn't lack the tunes. Elected is a smashing track as is no more Mr nice guy. 

Welcome to my nightmare - shock rocks definitive album that falls flat on my ears. It's too theatrical, a bit noodley and I just don't find myself invested in the concept. The theme of these albums is there is always some corkers on these albums even if the album as a whole doesn't work. 

Goes to hell- don't like it. The tracks are much lower, the riffs aren't as dirty and most are ballads. I hate ballads. It seems to last twice as long as well. Also one of the tracks borrows the effect of the guitar on shaft.

Paul Simon's Day

The Paul Simon Songbook - a solo take on the acoustic guitar lead folk music that he was producing with Art Garfunkel. Billy Bragg borrowed a line from Leaves That are Green for his anthem A New England. It's also very Dylan esque too. There is also one track that just shouted Courtney Barnett to me and that's mainly the vocal delivery. I like it. The songs are never boring. 

Paul Simon - does this album really start with a reggae track or did I just imagine it? This is Folk with fiddles and harmonica. It's got light percussion and a full drum kit in places. It is more dynamic than the last but doesn't sound as interesting. Very middle of the road to me. 

There goes Rhyming Simon - glorious folk rock album. Feels like it should be middle of the road but it's cohesive sounding. Some great piano lines, from interesting ( one man's ceiling is another man's floor) to heartfelt lyrics and great arrangements. Kinda feels like Hunky Dory minus Queen Bitch. 

Still crazy after all these years - this album, upon looking at the cover, looks naff. Never seen Paul Simon with a mustache. Looks are deceptive cos this is amazing. It's soulful, funky, folky, jazzy. The song writing is witty and playful. I actually found myself smiling at the track, 50 ways to Leave your Lover, when the funk break comes in. 

Graceland - you can't do a day of Paul Simon with his 'classic' album. Previously being a massive Talking Heads fan all this sounds like is Talking Heads with BIG eighties synths (You can Call Me Al), Acapella (homeless) and a certain swing to it (whole album). Cohesive album sound. Toe tapping, interesting and unlike his debut in every way.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Five a Day; Week Three

Day One

DWNR - Dem Atlas - punchy cleanly produced hip hop with some great rhymes

Egobese - Political Animals - Lo fi funky old school hip hop. great use of sampling, mix of acoustic and live driving. Some glorious bars. Very unique packaging. (the physical release is a cassette housed with a Sega Genesis box).

Scum - Napalm Death - I like 50% of this album. The conventional metal sections are glorious riff driven metal. The 50% of the music I don’t like it the grind core bits; the bits that are seemingly just noise. however it’s the grind core bits that are the point of this band aren’t they.

Internal Wrangler - Clinic - Lo Fi experimental garage rock. there are bit that sound like The Fall, Bits that sound like Young Marble Giants but the main thread sounds like The Sonics.

I had a dream you were mine - Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam -  A modern oldies record. Everly Brothers Harmonies and Bob Dylan guitars combined with bright synths and spacious drum machines.

Day two

Rennen - SOHN - started as some off the wall electro and then seemingly slows down into more generic sounding downtempo electro pop; the thing I became allergic to last year. When it became the standard 'change of Direction' album sound. 

Bleed American - Jimmy Eat World. Starts like a good pop punk album and then falls apart by track four when a soppy acoustic number comes in to spoil it and after another pop punk track, another acoustic ditty. No what I was expecting in a bad way. The hit The Middle is great and some tracks have good hooks but it sounds like a pop rock album with some good ideas but mostly just bland. JAMC reference too haha 

 Encore un dernier baiser - Niagara - glorious female fronted French synth pop with bright horn sections and disco guitar Ala Nile Rodgers. Famously mentioned in Losing My Edge by LCD Soundsystem. I am dancing on the metro as I type this. 
The Scientists (The Pink album) - Scientists - Loud Garage punk rock ala Iggy Pop and the Stooges. It's enjoyable but it does sound like they heard Raw Power / nuggets comp and Copied it. Also mentioned in Losing My Edge. 

Ultimate care 2 - Matmos. An intense concept album based around recording internal and external noises a washing machine makes. Parts sound like waves and parts sound like African rhythms. Worth a listen for the concept alone.

Day Three

You will never be one of us - Nails - reached the top 50 albums of the year of one of my fave music reviewers so was worth a listen. Hardcore punk mixed with metal. For my liking it does too much of the loud nonsensical grindcore bits because outside of these sections the riff quality normally is great, I find myself headbanging to them, The double bass drum metal technique is sublime and noise elements of fret noise and wailing walls of guitar is a great couple the to grindcore. 

New Skin - CRX - Side project of Nick Valensi of the Strokes fame. The album is very much in the vain of powerpop with a few left field ideas from metal or new wave stuck in just to keep it interesting. It does sound primarily like The Strokes though. The front cover is cool. 

Bamboo Diner in the Rain - The Wave Pictures - the garage rock of The Sonics, the Soul organs of Booker T and the MG's and The Rolling Stones take on blues and country music all smashed into one makes this a really really great listen. The really dry and comic song writing is also really what makes this thing unique.
 Song Cycle - Van dyke parks. Folk baroque pop. Glorious orchestration with folk/Classical guitar. It sounds like if the songs of Pink Floyd ala Piper at the Gates of Dawn without the distorted guitars or rock drum kit. Odd comparison but when you hear at least some of it. His voice is treated in a similar way and the odd rhythms are there too. 

 TOTP2 - Keith Top of the pops and his minor UK indie celebrity all star backing band. Song writing is of the smart yet cynical variety. Sounds about Morrissey and being free to like what music you like. Musically indie, given the title of the band but it's very lo fi, a very dense sounding album.

Day Four 

Some marvels of modern science - Diagram Brothers. Okay I cheated, I was in a foul mood this morning so give myself an album I probably would like and I do. It's a less aggressive just as political Gang of Four. As good as XTC and the fire engines but more obscure. And a template for Franz Ferdinand and the post punk revival sound in Britain. 
Degenerates - The Passage. Wow, this is like early Soft Cell/Associates to my ears. Memorabilia type stuff. No songs stand out, it's just a synth album. XOYO is a good start and wackier than I remember but unfortunately most the rest is flat. 

Gentlewoman, Ruby Man - Matthew E White and Flo Morrissey. Covers album that breaks the mold. No straight covers. Using the lyrics and chords and creating new compositions from them. They have a funky soul rock flavour to them which is just delightful.

Yessir Whatever - Quasimoto. Love the work of Madlib so was excited for this. Love his production style and there are some great samples on this thing. Quasimoto is his higher pitched alter ego and on first hearing it it's great. So unique in the field of hip hop. 

Migration - Bonobo this is the type of music I had an allergic reaction to last year, slow meandering electronic music. No big dangerous drops or pounding beats. Not upbeat enough to be dance music and not chilled enough to be ambient. This is pleasant enough but I don't get the major appeal.

Day Five  
Yesterday’s Gone - Loyle Carner - Well produced thoughtful London Grime/hip hop ala Kate Tempest’s latest album. 

The Grateful Dead - Grateful Dead - probably because it’s the bands debut but it’s sounds like a standard blues rock LP (unfortunately) and in some places like The Doors.(fortunately) I expected more but it’s probably some of the later albums the band hits the experimental sound that is raved about so much.

Hang - Foxygen - Soulful, Rocky, jazzy pop music. Really great interesting compositions, Scott Walker/Bowie esque vocals and inflections of ABBA to some of the songs. It has the ‘sound’ of a vintage record and sounds much older than this year.

Modern Ruin - Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes - well produced Melodic Hardcore punk rock. More polished and less aggressive than the other material I’ve heard from him. I thought his voice sounded like early Muse, Matt Bellamy in places.  Colt 45 ish actually. 

Dissed and Dismissed Tony Molina - 11 minutes of Ash type punk rock style songs about heartbreak. Blink and you will miss it.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Musician and Designer rolled into one Human: Part Two.

So yesterday I talked about what I did and then threw out the window. Today I am going to talk about what the work looks at the minute. Half of the music I still need to record and all of the music I need to render and actually burn to disc so the design has been doe before the music. That is a weird way round admittedly but it may change again.

I only recently fell in love with the work of Barney Bubbles so maybe I didn't understand his work enough to do a spin on it. What I knew I understood was punk which was a catalyst for me getting into design. I have ripped it off so many times but this time I really wanted to do something with it.  Something physical; I got a book for Christmas which is scans of man's collection of punk flyers, posters, album covers and it was a very physical thing. The message was in the music put was also in your hand with the fanzines.

My first approach was drawing the song titles again in black fine liner on white post it style notes. This suffered the same problem as the first versions. Try and order a bunch of squares into a comprehensible order for a track listing. No no not working.


So instead of typographic illustrations I just went screw it! I'll just write the song names. Hey, that looks good. It looks a bit bare. What if I scribble the song illustration next to it. Perfect. Song listing sorted. I then had an idea (two in one blog post) Four Tracks that we'd recorded as a band they could go on one EP and then the rest of the tracks could go on EP two...but what do you call EP Two. Where could you wake up? In a bed? The wrong side of the bed? Perfect!

Front Cover for EP 2 was easy but one was harder. I tried replicating the last one but it looked ugly so went for a hangman type thing where all of the letters are Z's replacing the correct letters of Waking Up. 

Below are my mock ups of the front and back cover. 

To add a bit more gravitas to this was to scan the covers in and then print them out on coloured card and then build the digi pack for them. Going back to having something physical and something unique. There will only be one digipack made like the one in your hand. 

So that's my journey to get to an album cover I like, the music is coming soon and thank you so much for reading.

*disclaimer waking up on the wrong side of the bed is not a political metaphor and is not me telling you that I woke up a tory one morning. The wrong side of the bed is an anger metaphor.*

Monday, 16 January 2017

Musician and Designer rolled into one Human: Part One.

I am a musician, sorry I am a man who plays music but I am also a designer. Knowing music like I do I understand the importance of the marriage of the two. Now imagine you have to design for your own music.

That's the crisis I found myself in at the end of last year as I was putting together a collection of songs that I had recorded. I played around for ages in sketchbooks trying to work it out and I settled on a style not dissimilar to the work of the great Barney Bubbles. I'd fallen in love with a font called 'Compacta' and that's how I was going to do it.

Using the bright colours and play that Barney Bubbles had in his work (for Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and Hawkwind), I was going to produce a small illustration for each of the songs. These would be arranged on the back cover in track order. Presented below are what I was thinking.

For the front cover; I put the emphasis on play. I wanted to call the album 'Waking Up', as in waking up to the world; politically, emotionally and just in general waking up because we all do it on a daily basis. If you are reading this, you have woken up at some point today. a little brain storm session I had with myself; sleep > snoring > zzzzzzzzz. This was to be the cover;

 However after problems with arranging the tracks on the back cover, having doubts with the front cover and the option to re-record some of the tracks with a band (of my Dad and Bro); I fell out of favour with these designs.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Five a Day: Week Two

Day One - 

Torch song - Radiator Hospital - DIY recording sound which I love, unfortunately it sounds to me like Martha style punk rock minus the quirky lyrics or instrumental hooks. Album seems to go up and down too often with these slow folk esque numbers. It's starts strong and ends strong but lacks consistent filling.

The Fame - Lady Gaga - having enjoyed her new album I wanted to go back to the beginning. I have had a soft spot for Just Dance and Poker face but the rest I never really liked. Musically it sounds like the buzz at the time; 80's revival. I don't understand why Little Boots didn't make this big. That is much more interesting than this. Lyrically it is impressive for the most part; songs about being the downside of celebrity while simultaneously being the biggest act in the world. There is also two funk numbers on here.

Too Bright - Perfume Genius - only hearing Queen before this I had hight hopes this track was played daily on 6Music. This is deceptive. The LP has more in common with a lone Piano and man album than a downtempo flavour of Queen. Tracks with synth arps have a suicide feel, Unfortunately these are in the minority. Slow and steady piano ballads don't and never have done it for me.

Well Well Well - Milburn. I don't know who came first the monkey or the Milburn but the instrumentals sound identical. The Lyrical content is also the same.

Psychic Life - Jah Wobble and Julie Campbell. What a delightful slice of electro, dub, soul by this legend of bass and upstart better known as Lonelady. Many ideas that come together so well unlike the Lady Gaga album that seemingly just smashes styles together.
Day Two -

Bluesbreakers - John Mayall with Eric Clapton - British blues is a curio; it birthed some of the best players in British history but it itself is just an imitation of the American stuff. This album to me sounds like a slower Dr Feelgood (I know they came afterwards but that's the context I heard it in). Yeah, there is a some great solos especially the drum solo in the version of What'd I Say.

Darkest before dawn - Pusha T - I was recommended this by the Internet but it's just really awful. The bad electronicly produced hip hop that's about bitches and money and the homies. About the evil of money and then on the same LP saying how much money you have. And the rhymes are dire. I have never heard so many Dilla references in one album.

Dead wood falls - Jen Colher - this is the debut album of the girlfriend of Courtney Barnett. It's a lot folkier than I expected but then again I do quite like a bit of folk now and again. Heartfelt songs, beautiful ballads.

Big science - Laurie Anderson - a collision of musical styles and ideas. Some work but thankfully a lot do. Laurie shows off some diverse range of instrumentation and vocal phrasing making this a very unique project. At least to my ears. Great early use of vocoder on this LP too.
Enjoy it while it lasts - Spector - up and coming hip young act of 2012 debut is an album I sneered at when it was first released because I thought it was bland mediocre indie pop and now I think it's enjoyable indie pop. The tracks have catchy hooks, upbeat and some great mellower cuts too. It's not perfect. The way I see it is its a less dark white lies LP.
Day Three -

Life's too good - The Sugarcubes. Art pop, unashamed art pop. Wacky compositions, great duel lead vocals and just great pop songs. It reminded me of Grimes in places, of a Franz Ferdinand, of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Strawberry Switchblade - Strawberry Switchblade. The drum machine that is used on Sweetest Girl by Scritti Politti opens the album with the hit? Since Yesterday. Unfortunately it a lot sounds a bit dated and muddy. Another Day has a great rigid arpeggiated synth line that opens the track.

Attack Decay Sustain Release - Simian Mobile Disco. Sounds like twisted disco. Four to the floor dance grooves with warped and distorted vocals. This has been on my to listen list for an age and it's as great as it was going to sound like in my head.

Solid Gold - Gang of Four. This is the follow up to Gang of four's Entertainment album and it's not what I expected. It has the same agit vibe to it but it's slower and not as angry sounding. The politics are still there and that great guitar sound but it lacks punch.

TV Broke my Brain - Man Made. Indie pop record from the band that features the son of the ever fantastic Johnny Marr, Nile Marr. Some gems on this album. The upbeat tracks have great hooks and the slower tracks are really heartfelt. Where the album falls down is it doesn't flow. The tempo just seems to go up and down too much for me. Don't let that stop you listening to this.

Day Four -
Instructions - Heck - hybrid of punk and metal the riffs are too technical to be punk but feels too much influenced by Hardcore not to be metal. Regards of label this is an intense noisy, punchy riff fest. Which is why it feels odd that there is some piano on here and harmonica, at first a bit odd it actually embellishes the sound quite a bit.

Good Girl Gone bad -Rhianna. This dreadful. Her breakthrough album and its just messy. Umbrella is a great pop single with an acoustic drum sound that never appears again. There are some loud hair metal riffs in the same song with 808s and afrika Bambaataa references. There is soul horn section a la Amy Winehouse on a track with the most appalling rhythm. There is an painfully bittersweet acoustic ballad no one wanted. The main thing is some of the instrumentation is good. That's it.

A Thinking Animal - Narcs. Political 90's alternative style band. Grungey punchy songs (Think Pixies) with Noisey Guitars and Pounding drums. Great Album cover too. This is my recommendation to you as it was a recommendation from a friend who is putting them on as a support for a local gig.
Subway Gawdz - Too many Zoos. God's of busking in New Yorks subway does not translate particularly well to record. They are from the school Brass that PigBag taught, loud brass and pounding rhythm. However the studio removes the energy of them live, adds a sub bass and yes the addition of adding rappers is a nice change it feels like they ran out of ideas.

Follow the leader - Eric B and Rakim. You know that first album yeah, let's just do the same thing but with filler that just show off our turntable technique with no new bars from Rakim. Yeah, it's enjoyable and sampling yourself is quite funny but it isn't anything more than the first.

Day Five -

I see You - The Xx - this is perfect. Change of pace or more an increase of it. The songs are fuller sounding and just as delicate. Super clean production. Most enjoyable LP this week.

School -Jim Bob. A concept album about school with acoustic guitar and brass bands by one half of my of my fave 90s bands. Yeah. It is great. I love the comedy in Jim Bobs lyrics that speak so poetically and honestly about something we all seemingly suffer. Reminds me of Half Man Half Biscuit.

Henry the Human Fly - Richard Thompson. Where so you start with an artist catalog this the beginning I suppose. This is not what I expected from the singer songwriter guitarist. From what little I'd heard I thought it would be one man and his guitar but this was a whole band affair and is all the better for it. Reminds me greatly of Billy Braggs work which is probably why I like it so much.

Talk Talk Talk - The Psychedelic Furs - when me and Vincent first listened to these guys they sounded like a poor mans cure. I don't know what we heard but this is great. A Darker sounding Teardrop Explodes / Simple Minds is the best way to describe this LP, kinda like Joy Division or Bauhaus or Echo and the Bunnymen in that sense. Glorious.

Black Friday - Cypress Hill - This is old school at it’s best. The use of sampling is dirty so you can hear the vinyl distortion. The samples come friday surprising sources (Son of Preacher man’s opening guitar appears in this album). The Beats are glorious, the flows are great (if a little disturbed) and This is the album that features the glorious Insane in the Brain.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Five a Day; Week one

Day One -

Teenage Dream - Katy Perry - Boring minimal production. Seemingly synth bass, drum machine and light keys/strings for most of the tracks. California Girls is a highlight and one other track called Circle the Drain which has kinda a pop punk feel to it, It does use the chorus too much, but is better than most of the synths bassy productions.

A Can of Bees - The Soft Boys - Fairly obscure post punk band but this is a great LP. It’s very much like a clash of the early punks Velvet Underground, The Stooges and the Modern lovers with surreal lyrics. I’ve got it; they are like XTC. Really worth a listen if you like all of the bands mentioned; there is even a John Lennon cover for all you rock and rollers.
The Shining - J Dilla - Some of the Beats sound like they are just about to fall apart at any moment and the rapping over the top sounds the same but some tracks where the beat sounds more solid the tracks flow a lot better. There are some glorious strings and sound effects on this thing. It’s more chaotic than I expected.

Pipes of Peace - Paul McCartney - It’s really odd hearing the voice of so many classic songs sing with a piano and a fairly dated drum sound. The overdriven lead guitar sound has dated too. A lot of the songs are quite good and are really well arranged. I really don’t like Say Say Say; the drums are weak and the duet format (it’s with Michael Jackson) is off putting; it just feels limp.

24K Magic - Bruno Mars - Funking disco is back brother. I really don’t like a lot of this blokes previous work but this has a genuine funk feel to it, in the vain of Prince (with the bright keys) and James Brown (with gorgeous horn sections). There are also some great slower ballads on this thing that are just pure emotional stuff. It does feel a bit too short at 33 minutes but rather have 33mins of great stuff than 33min of good and then 15 mins of filler. Short and sweet!

Day Two -

It’s a bit Complicated - Art Brut - Noisy Post Punk ala The Fall with conscious humour towards lyrics (it’s very much like Half Man Half Biscuit) and almost spoken; it kinda sounds like The Wedding Present in that regard. I really love this album more than I ever thought I would.

Film of life - Tony Allen - Afro funk delight. infectious rhythms that make you wanna dance, Pulsing bass lines, great vocal collaborations and some fabulous horn arrangements on these tracks too. Get’s jazzy in places too. I will be listening to more of this man for sure.

Wasn’t tomorrow wonderful - The Waitresses - I am so confused with this record. Known for their christmas hit but this is something else. It’s like X ray Spex due to the horn section, the rhythm is like Devo and The guitar is playing funk like the Talking Heads. Then some songs sound like two tone stuff. All sung like a Raincoats record. It’s baffling but awesome.

 On Fire - Galaxie 500 - I never did get shoe gaze well I did get the more aggressive stuff but not really the dream stuff. `This album is really slow and all the tracks sound the same apart from the last which is a cover of a George Harrison song which picks up the pace a little and gives us something tangible to listen to. An classic of the genre but I honestly don’t see the appeal.

Under Heavy Manners - Prince Far I - great Rockers LP from the late 1970’s with some unusual arrangements and some of the early tracks it sounded like The Clash might of borrowed heavily from them. He is a reggae voice I have been meaning to listen to because the clash admired him so and I have really enjoyed this in my ears.

Day Three -

Healing is Difficult - Sia - Abstract Hip Hop beats, String seconds and voice samples from the girl who has dominated the charts with the most bland pop singles I have heard in a while. This is her second album and it is much more experimental in places than any of her hits. The Strings make it sound like Clean Bandit. The Beats sound like they are from a Grimes Record. PS there is also a house track towards the end for some reason.

Beauty and the Beat - The Go-Go’s - It’s a New Wave. This is an album of power pop gold with the great great song “Our Lips Are Sealed” which I know from the Fun Boy Three cover. So many catchy hooks, bittersweet harmonies and great

Howlin’ Wolf - Howlin’ Wolf - I always thought when I was younger that the Blues was all like The Blues Brothers. But later found that the early blues started like this. Howlin’ Wolf’s self titled is a great album; the songs are short and sweet and the arrangements are really impressive; the piano lines on this thing are fab along side the rhythms.

Telefone - Noname - This is s glorious female lead slice of clean produced hip hop with some great guest features of more artists I am yet to discover. Recommended to me by a close friend and I was not disappointed. It is a very honest album with vulnerable songs along side the more playful songs.

Vengeance Falls - Trivium - Being surrounded by metal heads all my educated life, I heard bits and pieces of metal and in uni this was recommended to me as an album. I like this album, I really like this album. It’s the more melodic side of metal that I like; yes there are heavy riffs and pounding drums but with words I can understand. Thats a key for me. I found myself tapping along to this album all the way through

Day Four -

Swordfishtrombones - Tom Waits - I always feel out of place listen to the great Mr Waits in the day light. I always feel you need to be in a basement bar. But this is precursor to Rain Dogs and you hear some of the ideas used on RD here first. I love the narrative to Tom Waits Songs. I love the bravery of just having a voice and organ/brass sections. The jazzy rhythms of the beats/words, really unusual.

Only the Now - Tom Robinson - Despite being in music all his adult life this is his first album for many many years and he is just as political as always. Singing for the downtrodden, the poor and the heartbroken. Using all the tools of the studio and with the help of some guests he managed to make a really solid album. There is a Beatles cover here too.

Emotion - Carly Rae Jepsen - Recommended to me by my fave youtube music reviewer. This Lady had a hit not too long ago with “Call Me Maybe” which was awful. This, I was told, was a change of direction. None of the tracks are as annoying as that single. It it’s very synthy with 80’s pop vibe. It kinda sounds like what Grimes was trying to achieve with her last album just not as adventurous. Some good songs no doubt but it suffers lyrically and from her having voice not being distinctive.

Le Tigre - Le Tigre - You start your album off strong with your best song but things can only go downhill. Yes, That song is amazing but it doesn’t carry the whole album, unfortunately. Some good riffs, some other songs and  but some of the ideas from one song are just repeated like a call and response between the right and left channel or even a slight lowing of the pace you lose something to the feel.

Majesty - Flamingods - Now this is a tough one to describe so I had to google it to see if someone else had explained better than I could and so here it is. It’s ‘blissful psychedelia’; think George Harrison’s versions on indian music with less of the rock elements (little full drum kits or guitars). The perfect record for a summers day and not a headphones and jumper combo like I am today.


Day Five -

Destination out - Jackie McLean - A fabulous recording by an artist that needs more credit. The Saxophone on this things is immediate and takes prominence in the mix. This also is a great example of vibes in Jazz; I never did get it, but it’s a good change in tone to the piano. The Drumming and bass are just intense as well. The only problem is the stereo; it is off putting to have a whole drum kit coming from one side with the softer instruments on the other. It’s not that balanced.

In the Lonely Hour - Sam Smith - The album starts with a fast paced piano led track with a really annoying chorus and none of the other tracks sound like that. One track even wheels out an 808 for no reason. There is little of interest happening for the most part and despite it being a short album the make it feel longer. He does have a good voice but again as with Carly Rae Jepson it’s that that distinctive. The string section are glorious though.

Band on the Run - Wings - Sounds like an extension of Paul’s Later work with The Beatles; some great songs; See Jet and Band on the Run. There is also a few great saxophone parts on some of the tracks. It’s a pretty great solid rock album with folk elements towards the end by one of the legends on modern music.

Chapter 7 - Ezra Collective - Listened to a session by these guys and had to check out the album and it’s amazing. It jazzy, It’s funky and in amongst the Jazz unlike the session, their are some great bars a guest MC and then great Vocal jazz performance. The album ends on a great slice of instrumental reggae too. Worth a Listen.

Pure Heroine - Lorde - despite being Bowie approved, I know little of Lorde. She had a massive hit with ‘Royals’ but the album is boring. All songs are about the same speed, using the same stripped back production. I do like her voice and it was great to see her tribute to Bowie at the brits last year but this album just isn’t doing it for me.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Getting my Five a day

I am starting a new mission this year to get five a day. Not the fruit, I am going to try and listen to 5 albums every weekday for at least this month but would love to make it last the year.

I am going to be unprejudiced on my choices; Most "pop" albums I don't listen to out of hand because the singles are boring or bad but that doesn't mean it's all bad. Most metal albums I reject based on the nonsense that my friends recommend me (Eric and Thomas that's you). Most C86/early indie pop I reject because I tried once and it sounded like bad imitation of The Smiths. Most Folk I reject with it stereotypically being slow, boring with an acoustic guitar and lone vocal.

So I am gonna listen to nearly everything and will be reporting my findings and results here for you all to witness. I think I will aim for once a week post about the albums. I am not expecting it to be a joy ride especially with some of the albums I have in mind but it should be interesting. May as well get out of my comfort zone with music rather than extreme sports (see diagram below).
Seems Legit
Don't be alarmed if you see on my spotify if I am listening to something odd my account hasn't be hacked and If you have any recommendations for albums that are worth my time or are worth a one time listen let me know in the comments. All the best!