Monday, 29 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 13 Alaska by Miracle Mile

13 Alaska by Miracle Mile 2003

This was a tough one . I've got a real soft spot for the pre Marcus Bicycle Thieves as it is the discovery bit (bought on impulse after a review in Q)  and Candids as it was never off the car stereo as my future wife and I drove around California , also I've always been a sucker for  songs about famous people.

When I did the list I originally chose Limbo (Lights of Home one of the best things Trev and Marcus have done) , however last night I made the mistake of playing Alaska and it has gone and sneaked in the back door, so I've had to post this before I play another one and have to do a rewrite..

The cover has you peering between  leaves in on someone's private memories which is what listening to the lp is like. It always gives me a sense of looking back , a mood that tunes into my own memories so that the words start to evoke specific times , places and details , piggy backing on Trevor Jones's original intentions.

The instrumentation is smooth without ever being bland, ranging for the stark piano or guitar to the layered ,where each new listen brings a discovery or a new/forgotten delight.

Seventeen songs and the quality never dips. Ones that I was less keen on initially grow to be firm favourites where initial go to tunes become old friends

anyway here are my five favourites moments

1) the chorus and the fade out of Alaska a one scene story  - "a simple truth or a telling lie"

2) the backing vocals to Wilful like being wrapped in a duvet , and another great fade out

3) the guitar playing on the intro to weather wise before it kicks into a completely different direction (with another killer chorus)

4)   The slightly skitterish backing beat to Malkovich and the slight pause before "high hopes come crashing down"

5) Not my memory or my history but a sadness and celebration to be shared on the so personal it is almost painful Sister Song

Anyway you can buy the lp direct from Miracle Mile's website here and I'd recommend also investing in a bottle of malt to accompany. In fact whilst you are there I'd buy the lot

Here are a couple of tracks that I've mentioned

Weatherwise - Miracle Mile

Sister Song - Miracle Mile

On a related note the new lp In Cassidy's Care is now out (you can also get it from the website and early listens suggest that over time it will also be battling it out for a place on the list

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 14 Played by the Bodines

14 Played by the Bodines 1987

Now I'm pretty safe in assuming this isn't on anyone else's list. Today's post like the last one is also from 1987 and sums up what my musical spilt was. On one hand the polished pop of Deacon Blue , Danny Wilson etc and on the other the indie jangles of the wedding present and today's choice the Bodines.

Featured on /cursed by the C86 tape , there were 100s of bands like the Bodines. However , something for me just clicked. Following  a straight linear route from Orange Juice with jangly guitars , lovelorn lyrics and "unique" vocal styling!

How indie are these haircuts!

Producers of one of the great indie singles Therese which could have been a follow up to Orange Juice's Felicity

Therese by the Bodines

"You scare the health out of me"

The lyrics were full of the kind of emotional angst that every healthy student needs to wallow in

William Shatner - The Bodines

Unfortunately early good press was lost when the signed to a major label and by the time the lp came out their time had come and gone

You can buy a jangletastic masterpiece here that includes the best thing they ever did the non lp single which was full of universal truths

When you think she's lonely you phone just to make sure"

Heard it All - The Bodines

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 15 Meet Danny Wilson by Danny Wilson

15 Meet Danny Wilson by Danny Wilson 1987

My how I loved this lp when it came out , everything from the glossy cover photo, the hats , the gatefold sleeve , the lush production (it has dated a tad but I still love the layered weave of instruments, mixing traditional with a sampler) , the smart lyrics, the bands name (although they soon became to resent the constant which one is Danny question seeing it as "3 men in one grave") , the big guitars that all 80s Scottish bands seemed to play, the strange rhythms and meanderings the songs would take, etc. If only all pop music could be this smart.

Dominated by the we'll release it until it is a hit Mary's Prayer (up there for the perfect pop song), there are lots more hidden treasures on the lp.

Songs about memories , about leaving ,about change. The lp kicks off and ends with a goodbye.

Davy a goodbye to a friend  and I Won't Be Here When You Get Home a goodbye to a lover

I always though Davy was a strange choice to follow up Mary's Prayer with. I would have gone with Aberdeen . It always made me smile as the songs subject makes Aberdeen seem like it was the other side of the world from Dundee!

Aberdeen - Danny Wilson

I remember reading when the 2nd lp came out that the band weren't happy with the production on their debut , if so this may give a clue as to where they wanted it to go

Third single rips along like the half sister of Prefab Sprout's Faron Young

The song I keep going back to is Steam trains to the Milky Way with its nod to Steely Dan ( a future ep was called Strepzil Logic)! I've no idea what it is about but I love all the imagery, the way the songs meanders to a standstill, the subtle Lester Bowie brass , it is one of those songs that I can lose myself in as it takes me back to having a mid afternoon nap in Bronte Hall.

Steam trains to the Milky Way by Danny Wilson

Finally here is clip of them performing some of the songs from the debut live (and a cover of Abba's knowing me knowing you that is great because it plays it straight) as well as some short interview interludes , . In one bit they sum themselves perfectly - stealing everything from everywhere and throwing it into a big mixing pot)

Up there in bands I'd most to see reform , you can get this undervalued pop gem here 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 16 Sugar and Spite by Unkle Bob

16 Sugar and Spite by Unkle Bob 2006

From now on the 80s are going to dominate , mainly as I struggle to find stuff that has the same emotional punch as the stuff so closely linked to memories and "first times". However every now and then something comes along out of the blue.

Linked to the last post in that the debut lp was partly produced by Saul Davies of James.

First of all came the melt in the mouth single

I'm not sure if it was the longing in "wish you were mine" or the ache in "say that you want me" or the sweet harmony backing vocals or the acoustic strum , or the catchy middle 8 but it had me hooked and became one of those songs that I just kept hitting repeat on.

The rest of the lp sticks to this template

The same combination of close harmonies and sweeping melodies means that the lp is crammed with should have been singles let alone should have been hits

Too Many People - Unkle Bob

Among the catchy songs are ballads that hide an emotional punch in the sweet vocals.

You can get the best debut lp for a long time here

The second lp was a little harder in sound but another cracker. The band have split up but lead singer and song writer has recently started to record again using the Unkle Bob name - you can get 4 excellent new tracks here

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 17 Laid by James

17 Laid by James 1993

For some reason every time I do a post on James my visit figures drop like a stone. For loads of people they are either a classic singles band or the ones that did that now annoying Sit Down single. They seem to get only grudging praise and plenty of slagging off from the music press.

But bollocks to all that to my ears they have been one of he most consistent bands over the last 30 years , with only one slight misfire in all that time (and that had 4 or 5 cracking tunes on)

Just pipping the first lp and the last lp before their initial split is the Eno produced Laid.

Recorded on the back of an extended acoustic tour of America it was a conscious move away from the big sound of the Seven

Produced by Eno and emerging from hours and hours of jamming sessions (some of the rejects can be heard on the wah wah sister lp) , the lp has a much more organic sound.

There are quite few sections on the lps recording  in Eno's diary for that year ( A Year with Swollen appendices). He seems to have spent a lot of time trying to get Tim Booth to sing through some kind of  vocal modulator (I'm guessing we a re not talking auto tune) and wondering why singers find the concept so difficult to agree to. You get a good insight into the band politics but it seemed that Eno found the whole process enjoyable and creatively inspiring.

Among the more ambient material are 3 glorious singles. The first Sometimes is firmly rooted in my top 10 and makes great use of the Eno massed male backing vocals that he seems to love so much

Laid is a catchy sexy sing along (although there is a bit of a cop out lyric change for the video

Stick with this one as they stop and go into a much slower version

Say Something is a just an ache of a song

The balance comes from the quieter more grooved based songs. One of the best things they have recorded was rescued form a b side states their intention from the off by opening the lp with a lullaby to loneliness and paranoia

Out to Get You - James

I may be blinkered  (although I can see why the pseudo mysticism , tendency to repeat a phrase 3 times for a chorus , odd dancing beard/hat might annoy some) through endless live concerts but I think this lp never really got the sales or acclaim it deserved - cursed by an accident of birth in terms of being linked to yesterday's scene.

You can buy Laid here

On a related note I saw James play Brixton academy Friday night and they were excellent as ever including a storming versions of Why So Close from Stutter and Medieval from Stripmine. Also a killer final encore of a mass sing along to Sometimes , Getting Away with it , a simply joyous version of Laid and a frantic Tomorrow. The support act was Echo and he Bunnymen.. I had read that they have been a bit of a mess with Mac all over the place at some gigs. However they were amazingly sharp. A 45 min set which was basically a best of with Mac in fine voice. Among the highlights was a killer version of this

Friday, 19 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 18 Secrets of the Beehive by David Sylvian

18 Secrets of the Beehive by David Sylvian 1987

I'm guessing this may be a tad higher on a few lists but 18 is non too shabby.
I sometimes get the feeling that David Sylvian feels cursed by the fact that he has an ear for a melody and fights against it by getting more and more experimental. Whilst I love all that stuff , what I come back to again and again are the lps with the tunes on. When he gets the balance of the experimental and the popular right there is no one to touch him

His debut solo lp nearly had it as it was one of those lps that I played to death when it first came out. The belated follow up to my chosen lp, Dead Bees on a Cake was a contender for a while, however I was kidding myself as it was always going to come back to Secrets.

Part acoustic , part orchestrated ( Ryuichi Sakamoto and Brian Gascoigne share the honours and both do a fantastic job) , the lp is a set of 9 emotive ballads.

It all kicks off by the simple and short piano based September with its strange image of David Sylvian "sipping coke" (this live version merges into another track that appeared on the 2003 remaster)

As with my Everything but the Girl Choice Danny Thompson's bass provides the heart of the rhythm section on a number o tracks which also features Sylvian's brother and ex Japan member on drums.

Highlight for me is Orpheus which for such a low key song has a killer hook in the vocal.

As ever the meaning of the lyrics forever feels just out of reach , just when you feel you have a handle on the song's meaning it slips agonisingly out of reach. I like to think this is some personal reflection on his own musical past ... but hey who knows

 Standing firm on this stoney ground
The wind blows hard
Pulls these clothes around
I harbour all the same worries as most
The temptations to leave or to give up the ghost
I wrestle with an outlook on life
That shifts between darkness and shadowy light
I struggle with words for fear that they'll hear
But Orpheus sleeps on his back still dead to the world

Sunlight falls, my wings open wide
There's a beauty here I cannot deny
And bottles that tumble and crash on the stairs
Are just so many people I knew never cared
Down below on the wreck on the ship
Are a stronghold of pleasures I couldn't regret
But the baggage is swallowed up by the tide
As Orpheus keeps to his promise and stays by my side

Tell me, I've still a lot to learn
Understand, these fires never stop
Believe me, when this joke is tired of laughing
I will hear the promise of my Orpheus sing

Sleepers sleep as we row the boat
Just you the weather and I gave up hope
But all of the hurdles that fell in our laps
Were fuel for the fire and straw for our backs
Still the voices have stories to tell
Of the power struggles in heaven and hell
But we feel secure against such mighty dreams
As Orpheus sings of the promise tomorrow may bring

Tell me, I've still a lot to learn
Understand, these fires never stop
Please believe me, when this joke is tired of laughing
I will hear the promise of my Orpheus sing

Strangely first single in what is pretty much a single less lp was Let the Happiness in. Out of context it seems a little lost whereas in the heart of the lp is is the mixture of hope and despair that all the best sad songs have

I've posted this clip before but it is worth sticking with it for seeing a relatively joyous David Sylvian at the end!

When I finally replaced the lp with the cd tacked on the end was a version of the Sylvian and Sakamoto Forbidden Colours. If this was top 125 singles then this would be high up , but the original , not this version. Good as it is, it sets the lp out of balance and feels like a last minute addition.

So much better for the lp to end with the words

"is our love strong enough?" as that question and doubt is at the heart of the whole of the record.

Waterfront  David Sylvian

You can buy Secrets of the Beehive here

Desert Island Discs 19 Boat to Bolivia by Martin Stephenson and the Daintees

19 Boat to Bolivia by Martin Stephenson and the Daintees 1986

There was a time when I couldn't see this being anywhere outside the top 5. Although it has dropped down a bit over the years it is still a killer lp. I bought this during a very odd 6 months when I was doing voluntary work in Worcester when buying records was the only thing that kept me sane.

Part of Kitchenware's fantastic 4, they had already been going quite some time when the lp came out.

A rag tag mixture of styles but all clocked in Martin Stephenson's sweet vocals painfully honest lyrics and a killer ear for melody.

The sleeve notes were typical of the band , a combination of lyrics for some songs , anecdotes or meaning explanations for other. They were made to be poured over and left you wanting more.

The songs were all very personal

Coleen is a song to his lesbian sister just after she had a relationship breakdown, Look Down Look down the suicide of a someone at school , and Crocodile Cryer written on the day of his grandmothers funeral  when his saddest couldn't compute with the celebration of a life that was happening downstairs

There is ragtime , country , pop , blues , ballads and in the title track (which only made the lp on re release reggae. All types of music in there purest form a 19 yr old had no interest in., however in Martin's world they became magical, helped by the fact that at their peak they were the best live band going.

For someone who had never heard Dave Edmunds or Nick Lowe Running Water was a rollicking sing along. The lyric deals with a local boy who held up a petrol station with a fake gun only for the attendant to tragically die of a heart attack

The lp became my one contribution to life in halls and many a drunken night we would put on our own private gig and sing along to the whole lp
These rather ropey clips don't really allow the warmth of the lp to come across, produced somewhat surprisingly by Bunnymen and Pixies producer Gil Norton
Perhaps the most memorable moment is the simplest. I remember hearing this track live where the whole audience sang along from start to finish , not in a drunken joyous bellow but in a respectful haunting whisper
You can buy Boat to Bolivia here and this version for a strange reason has a 2nd disc compilation of the  other 3 daintees lps

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 20 Pagan Place by the Waterboys

20 Pagan Place by the Waterboys 1984

Some bands you come to late and some you are there near the start. Named after a line in Lou Reeds Berlin lp , I remember hearing Mike Scott's second single December on the Annie Nightingale sunday request show and thinking that it sounded like nothing else (as ever with age came the realisation that it sounded like a lot of other things that had gone before but hey). I was swept up in the semi mystical lyrics , big themes , big voice and self styled big music.

Reading his autobiography it wasn't until the 2nd lp that the music finally began to sound like what he heard in his head.  In a band where members come and go the Pagan Place had the best line up with future World Party Karl Wallinger on keyboards and Anthony Thistlewaite , the "human saxophone".

I'm not usually one for manifestos but sometimes it really can work . Mike Scott wrote detailed notes on what the lp should sound like , the feelings it should evoke , what instruments should feature before a note was recorded. He then got the band to play version after version until the sound matched what was going on his head . Songs were epic with dozens of verses until  eventually a usable core would emerge.

What is surprising is that the lp was actually recorded over 2 different periods with some of the songs made in the same sessions that led to the debut lp. It is a testament to Scott's drive and vision that you really can't see the join. The centre piece epic history lesson Red Army Blues was one of those recorded before Wallinger answered the nme add and joined the band (although he is playing on this live version)

There is something very male about this type of stirring chest beating music (I think everyone needs at least one such lp in their collection). What made this different from the likes of the Alarm , Simple Minds etc was that it pulled on a wide set of influences to make a sound that was its own.

It starts off with two rollicking sing along in A Church not Made With Hands and All the Things She gave , with images that would reappear in future songs. Both made to be sung/shouted along to . There is respite with a great break up song before we are off again.

Rags can only be described as a end of days whirlwind that ties itself up in knots until it crashes about itself with energy spent. I love it .

Rags - The Waterboys

Apparently this was one of the songs that started with about 20 or so verses before being whittled down.

Years later Mike Scott would release another version with some of the extra verses added in and I've always wished I had the ability to weave the 2 together

Rags (2nd instalment)

The lp ends in a swoon awash with acoustic guitars and Roddy Lorimer's crystal trumpet and Mike Scott lost in the music and lost for words

Pagan Place - The Waterboys

At the end of the lp Mike Scott, in interviews,  talked about being not sure what he would do next , of his song writing being stuck. .. until he dreamt of a rainbow.

Dated yes , overly mystical yes , a bit silly I places yes... but all the better for it

You can buy an extended version of a Pagan Place here

Monday, 15 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 21 Dear Catastrophe Waitress by Belle and Sebastian

21 Dear Catastrophe Waitress by Belle and Sebastian 2003

Much too wet and winsome for many , the kings and queens of twee right from the kid's tv referencing band name and I love them.

Their strength is in Stuart Murdoch's song writing which was never more apparent than then previous lp to this when those duties got shared around the band and it is the worst thing they've made (with Murdoch's songs by far the best things on it). A lesson that democracy in music doesn't usually get results.

To the surprise of many Trevor Horn was brought in as producer. I've read it was his daughter who kept pestering him to work with the band and that every time she played them at home he couldn't believe how badly recorded the singers voice was.

Those that were expecting a Two Tribes make over were disappointed , what Trevor Horn did was to produce a smoother and warmer sound and to his word Murdoch's voice never sounded as good.

Belle and Sebastian inhabit their own world , from the covers , to the videos to the lyrics , they all come form the same slightly skewed place

The biggest sing along moment comes form the Boys are Back in Town "inspired" I'm a Cuckoo.  I'm not sure how much it relates to Murdoch's ex Isobel Campbell leaving both him and the band but the "I lost a singer to her clothes" is about as bitter as Belle and Sebastian get.

The video is worth watching for the price of Alan Well's star turn alone!

In amongst all the catchy tunes is one bit of gorgeous summery music whose chorus kind of sums the band up

If I could do just one near perfect thing I’d be happy.
They’d write it on my grave, or when they scattered my ashes.
On second thoughts, I’d rather hang around and be there with my best friend,
If she wants me
If She Wants Me Belle and Sebastian

You can buy Dear Catastrophe Waitress here

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 22 Worker's Playtime by Billy Bragg

22 Worker's Playtime by Billy Bragg 1988

"In a perfect world we would all sing in tune , but this is reality so give me some room"

By the recording of Workers Playtime Billy Bragg's life was in a bit or turmoil. Having thrown himself into red wedge , he had seen labour somehow manage to cock up an election they were expected to win

" mixing pop and politics he asks me what the use is , I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses"

He'd met his future wife who happened to be the current wife of his record label boss. He had strangely scored a number one with a cover of the Beatles "She's Leaving Home" as a double a side with Wet Wet Wet. His live vocal rendition on Top of the Pops saw the popular press go for him with both barrels.

Out of this came his most personal and least political lp. When it came out I played this lp to death (partly as someone I fancied at the time had given me a copy) but mostly because it is full of relationship politics   rather than social politics.

The problem I'd always had with Billy Bragg is although I agree with pretty much everything he says , it all feels a bit preaching to the converted, and apart from Days Like These and Between the Wars , lacks a bit of subtlety.

Workers Playtime is a million Miles away from this.  Recorded with a full band with songs full of wit , emotion and endlessly quotable lyrics.

Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards is the only overtly political song but again this is a more personal  reflection on the election defeat even it does end with the rallying cry "the revolution is just a t shit away" . Still in his live set today , the lyrics of the song tend to change every year , but the original is the best. Here is the closest I can get to the lp version but even then he cant resist some special changes for American tv.

The other issues songs Rotting on Remand and the domestic violence in Valentine's Day is Over both have a lightness of touch that means the "message hits harder". Only on the anti war Tender Comrade does he revert a bit to type. The fact he bravely sings unaccompanied means it does stick out both lyrically and musically form the rest of the lp

The heart of the lp are the personal songs of the heart. The opening track She's got a New Spell features a great bit of Johnny Marr guitar and the prefect throwaway line for a pop song

She's Got a New Spell - Billy Bragg

"One minute she's gone to get the cat in
the next thing I know she's mumbling in latin"

Cara Tivey adds piano and backing vocals and takes some of the harshness from the Essex's brogue

The lyrical high comes with the short answer , with its opening line of

Between Marx and marzipan in the dictionary there was Mary and from then on each line is gold dust

This live version from a radio show is a bit ropey but these songs are meant to be sung with real voices and more of us sing off key than on

However he is at his most personal and vulnerable in the heart string tugging The Only One

The Only One by Billy Bragg

You can buy Workers Playtime here

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 23 The Beachcomber's Windowsill by Stornoway

23 Beachcomber's Windowsill by Stornoway 2010

The all conquering Mumford and Sons have tended to throw all folky pop bands in their shadow. A lot of great bands have got lost in their wake. One of those Stornoway released the freshest debut lp for years.

Melodies to get lost in and a kind of enthusiastic naivety in the lyrics that can only come from a debut lp.

It has an opening 5 songs as strong as any lp , leading off with the gorgeous Zorbing

"Conkers shining on the ground , the air is cooler and I feel like I've just started uni" with an opening line that mentions conkers and uni , they capture a sense of nostalgia that 20 somethings have no right to

The feeling continues and reaches a peak with Fuel Up. Starting with a sigh it is on old man's song in a young band

And it's nine more years you've been driving now
But tonight you're stumbling through your old town
You met up with a schoolfriend who's still just the same
And you talked all the same shit you talked in those days
And now you're drunk and you're sad for the old times passing you by
For there's no rewind so you might as well play while your time is rolling away

"Home is only a feeling you get in your mind  from the people you  love and you travel beside"

There is a real sense of innocence in the sing along pop songs but as with the video there is a dark undercurrent

However among the catchy tunes there are a number of gorgeous  end of the affair songs

including these 2

Cut through the whimsy and there is a real emotional depth without falling into over sincerity

Boats and trains by Stornoway

You can buy one of the best debut of recent years here.

I've been listening to the just released  follow up  and it seems more of a grower , more complex but without some of that joyful innocence that made the debut some good

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 24 Eureka by The Bible

24 Eureka by the Bible 1988

It could easily have been the first lp Walking the Ghost Back Home but I'm going for Eureka (although the much delayed eventual 3rd lp Dodo is a bit of a lost gem.)

Eureka loses some of the quirkiness in the arrangements that the 1st lp has but overall I think it is a better set of songs

Beset by record company interference and rejection , produce by Steve Earle who couldn't quite understand why the band didn't embrace the full rock n roll excess experience , Eureka is full of smart pop tunes that were always doomed to miss the top 40.

Opening single is a bit hit by numbers ..except it wasn't . Melodic verse and big chorus, although you can almost hear the video director thinking "what the hell do we do with this lot"

Honey Be Good followed the path of Graceland form the 1st lp , lot of radio play a couple of re releases and an almost but not quite hit

A lot of the songs followed a similar template, mid tempo , minor key, crisp guitar lines , a smart way with words.... ( and when the template is so good that isn't a criticism.) Skeleton Crew, Wishing game have echoes of Honey be Good.

This also means that when they take a slightly different route different route , the track really stands out .

Cigarette Girls - The Bible

Blue Shoes Stepping  - The Bible

Listening to it now it feels like  a pair of old slippers , everything just fits together the way I want it to

 A bit of then and now,the opening track Skywriting from the anniversary concert. Less hair , bigger waists but the song stays as good as ever

Finally witness 4 people not exactly at home with the interview process!!

You can be Eureka here with a load of excellent extra tracks (b sides , covers and tracks rejected by the record company for Eureka) that had appeared on their random acts of kindness compilation

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 25 Architecture and Morality by OMD

25 Architecture and Morality by OMD 1981

Ten reasons why this is a truly fantastic

1) a cut out sleeve that came in yellow, green and blue (the blue version hangs in a black frame on my dining room wall) that was one of Peter Saville's best

2) a title that means everything and nothing

3) a biggest selling single that somehow got 30 seconds of abstract noise into the top 10

4) it brings waltzing into electronic music

5) the whole lp is genuinely chorus free but as catchy as hell

6) It has 2 songs about joan of arc and one about a ww2 north sea platform - much more interesting than la la I love you

7) Although electronic , it is all about the warmth of the melodies

8 ) those who bought the lp on the back of the sing along singles must have thought "oh my god what have I done this time" as the manic New Stone Age kick  the lp off. I can imagine a few not making it past track one before demanding a refund. Their alternative side never really got the credit it deserved

9) No one quite does the mass choral voices better

10)  It puts to bed the argument that synthesiser music is emotionless

She's Leaving by OMD

You can buy the re release with lost of top quality extra tracks here

Friday, 5 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 26 Colour of Spring by Talk Talk

26 Colour of Spring by Talk Talk 1985

Could have been included for this wonderful bit of drumming on is own

Caught between the 80s sheen of the first 2 lps and the stark minimalism of their final 2 lps , the Colour of spring is a fantastic example of a band beginning to push their limits and reinvent their sound. It could have been an unholy mess with producer Tim Friese-Greene joining Mark Hollis as the main drivers and Paul Webb and  Lee Harris joined by a long list of  esteemed session/guest musicians.

However the different elements weave together to make a record that needs to be sat down and listened to.

There are children's choirs , a mass recorder solo , saxophones , harps all in the melting pot. There are straight forward pop songs

and moments of fragile beauty

April 5th - Talk Talk

And like a lot of the lps as we get to the higher end of the list it has a killer love gone wrong song

You can buy the Colour of Spring here

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Desert island Discs 27 Virgins and Philistines by the Colourfield

27 Virgin and Philistines by the Colourfield 1985

Not sure many people would have guessed that following on form the Funboy 3 Terry Hall's next move would be to go all acoustic 60s pop, and make an lp whose template The Beautiful South built a pretty good career on.

After the initial misfire of the Colourfield single they released one of the perfect pop songs

It is a mixture of state of the nation commentary in Cruel Circus , Armchair Theatre, Faint Hearts and the personal politics of the heart.  all backed by tunes that Bacharach would have been proud of
Sometimes Hall's turn of phrase could bee a bit clumsy but it is singing about the everyday mundane that kicks hard.
The same song for example has the rather trite "but me and the cat own the lease to the flat" and the Morrissey like  "I took passion from compassion I needed the rest / from telling you you looked attractive each time you undressed"
The highlight for me is a cover version . I can never tire of these harmonies to melt to 
You can buy Virgins and Philistines with a shed load of extra tracks here

Monday, 1 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 28 Get Ready by Bucks Fizz

okay ...maybe not

28 Goodbye Jumbo by World Party

I didn't buy this for quite a while partly because I hadn't quite forgiven Karl Wallinger for leaving the Waterboys , partly because Q magazine seemed like they wouldn't stop going on about the lp until ever home had one and partly because all that save the world stuff well it seemed a tad ... hippyish?!

I eventually succumbed when I heard this on the radio and couldn't get it out of my head for about a week

This is one melting pot of an lp. You get a bit of 60's stones and Beatles followed by some 80s Prince, a country soul song  followed by  some jangle gospel , a heart breaking ballad followed by a scuzzy guitar protest song .. well you get the picture.

Somehow it all works and more importantly hangs together as a coherent lp

The lps theme of save the planet seems a bit less idealistic and a bit more urgent. Here was the other single from the lp with Karl in his best Mick Jagger mode

here is an older wiser Karl with that bit of country soul I mentioned

At there worst they can skate on thin ELO like ice however I cant imagine Jeff Lynne ever having the emotional punch of this

And I Fell Back Alone by World Party

or as blissed out as this

Love Street by World Party

You can buy this bit of future retro here