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.

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