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Embrace – The Good Will Out

15 07 2010

Listened: Thursday July 8

The Good Will Out is Embrace’s first album, which in 1998 was a little late to the Britpop party at least in America. This album was big in the UK, but I would bet few Americans know anything about them.

Embrace have a very Wall of Sound like production – there’s a lot going on underneath each song. The songs are very anthemic and singable and I think this is a stronger album than Drawn From Memory, mostly because the strings are not as heavily used as on Drawn.

I also love the cover photo – brilliant.

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Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News

15 07 2010

Listened: Thursday July 8

Good News is the album that really got me into Modest Mouse. I had been a casual fan for years, due to my good friend Audrey being a big fan while we were in college. I heard their music all the time and even saw them play a show at the Great American Music Hall. I owned a couple of albums, but I didn’t know deep in my bones what total badasses they are.

When Good News came out, Audrey and I had mostly drifted apart as friends, so I hadn’t been to Modest-Mouse-land for a while. Hearing songs like Float On and Ocean Breathes Salty made me want to go back and review all their prior albums and that’s when I suddenly realized how classic they are.

I’ve since fallen madly in love with all their early work, and I can’t imagine my musical life without them. Thanks, Good News!





Travis – Good Feeling

15 07 2010

Listened: Thursday July 8

Good Feeling is one of the classics of college life for me. All the songs are great to scream along to and rock the air guitar. There’s also the right amount of young-person-angst mixed with optimism in the lyrics.

Happy could be such a cheesy song with lyrics like “I’m so happy cuz you’re so happy”, but somehow it’s not. Happy was a staple of early Travis performances; they always ended their shows with it, which worked out perfectly, since by that point everyone was unabashedly happy. It’s still one of my favorite Travis songs to this day.

The last time I saw Travis, Fran was singing Falling Down and jumped up on a seat next to an audience member. Then he actually did fall down on her just as he was singing “I’m falling down” and apologized profusely. Life imitating art quite literally.





Various Artists – The Golden Age of Northern Soul Vol 3: Blackpool Mecca

15 07 2010

Listened: Thursday July 8

This is one of those entries I’ve been itching to write. I have to thank my former coworker Mike for introducing me to a great documentary called This England, about the Northern Soul scene of the 70s and early 80s. If you love any kind of music (especially dance music & DJs, since this is where that culture originated) you should check it out. One warning though – even if you are decently familiar and comfortable with UK slang and accents, some of the people in it will challenge you with their Northernese. I think I can understand most of them upon repeated viewings, but it took me a bit.

I picked up the Blackpool Mecca album in particular because I loved the opening song in the documentary, Turnin’ My Heartbeat Up by the MVPs, and this album is where I could find it.

I love many of the other songs on this album, especially Soul Improvisations part 2 by Van McCoy, Hold Back The Night by The Trammps, Are You Ready For This by the Brothers, and Phoenix by Aquarian Dream. I need to pick up the rest of the albums in the Golden Age series and see if the songs are all this great.

One bummer is that another of the songs I love from the documentary, Out of My Mind by Rain featuring Charity Brown, is still quite rare and doesn’t appear to be available anywhere on CD. Guess I need to figure out how to use the YouTube to MP3 tools I know are out there!





Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – God Fodder

15 07 2010

Listened: Thursday July 8

I’ve learned another new term, from the Ned’s Atomic Dustbin Wikipedia entry – Grebo Rock. I didn’t know that was a thing, I guess because it was a UK-centric subculture.

Ned’s is another band I saw way back in high school at BFD 2. I remember them being quite good, and I have a tape somewhere of their performance, which was re-broadcast over the radio.

Ned’s definitely have an unusual sound – they had two bassists, one playing the high end, one the low end, which might have had something to do with why it seems special.

This album has great energy and makes for good work music. It’s like a wave I jump on and ride until the end.