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Underworld – Second Toughest in the Infants

30 03 2011

Listened: Friday March 4

Underworld always keep it fresh. They can have a 16 minute long song like Juanita/Kiteless/To Dream Of Love and I’m never bored at any of the experiments they do over that 16 minute period. And even though the lyrics are a little obtuse, the robotic voice chanting “your sun. fly. your window shattered in the wind. your coca cola sign rattling. resonator.” is so fun to sing and dance along with.

This album is 15 years old (holy crap) but Underworld never sounds retro to me.

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The Stone Roses – Second Coming

30 03 2011

Listened: Friday March 4

Second Coming was one of the first CDs I ever owned. I might not have even bought it; I might have stolen it from my brother. I was a little on the young side to remember their self-titled first record contemporaneously (though I love it now), so I didn’t really understand how excited people were that Second Coming came out after so many long years (5). I also got this album when I was so innocent that I don’t think I processed until now that it’s called “Second Coming” (which I always read as “This is our second album and we like religious themes”) and there’s a penis illustration on the cover right next to the word “Coming”. Har har!

The two Stone Roses albums are very different, but both have their merits. Tears could be a lost Led Zeppelin song. Second Coming is at once balladeering and funky and has righteous lyrics that are fun to sing along to (“I’m going to break right into heaven”, “love spreads her arms and waits there for the nails”, “all through the night I watch the sky”, “I’ve seen the future in the tracks of your tears”). It’s truly a classic of 90s Britpop, in a wholly different way than The Stone Roses album.





The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards

30 03 2011

Listened: Friday March 4

Jack White’s gimmick of having an internet-wide, 24-hour, vinyl listening party for the Sea of Cowards release totally worked on me.

I had been turned off by his other non-White Stripes project, the Raconteurs, so when he came out with yet another project, The Dead Weather, I missed their first album Horehound completely. But the second I tuned in to the video of the Sea of Cowards record playing in the Third Man offices, I was hooked. I watched for hours as disembodied hands, some male and some female, flipped the record after each side ended. For some reason hearing the songs and watching it go round and round was a million times more interesting than a regular digital listening party. Even as a vinyl fan, this surprised me.

The music itself is also great. Alison and Jack scream so well together; the sexual tension is palpable. The guitars are steeped in sexy sounds too.  Some of my favorite lyrics ever are “Check your lips at the door woman, shake your hips like battleships, all the white girls trip when I sing in Sunday service.” Apparently, I need to check out Horehound!





Primal Scream – Screamadelica

18 03 2011

Listened: Friday March 4

Screamadelica is one of those albums I bought because it was referenced so often in the 90s as a must-have classic British album. And it is.

It’s also one of the more obviously drug-soaked albums that I own, even more so than some of the albums from the 60s or 70s (though it might be said that back in the day the references simply could not be made as bluntly or as frequently without attracting too much attention from the wrong people). The subject matter is clear just from the song titles like Don’t Fight It Feel It, Higher Than The Sun, Inner Flight, Loaded, and I’m Comin’ Down.

The sound of Screamadelica is also nothing like any other albums I own; it’s the 60s, Britpop, house music, and soul mashed into one beautiful mud pie.

Unfortunately, some years after their peak I saw them open for another band (I don’t recall whom) and they were total crap. It was a mess and they didn’t seem into it at all. I’m sorry I was too young during their heyday; maybe they were better. Or not, if they were too rolled out of their minds!

 





M83 – Saturdays = Youth

18 03 2011

Listened: Wednesday March 2

I only bought Saturdays = Youth because it was a cheap download and the couple of song snippets I heard I liked. Despite hearing that, I don’t think I quite grasped M83’s sound until I listened all the way through.

Basically they are a band who is very into OMD and other synthy, dreamy Eighties bands, as well as shoegaze. Despite how wrong that could go, it goes totally right. Songs like Kim & Jessie, Graveyard Girl, and Highway Of Endless Dreams are somewhat referential, yet are super catchy and stay with you. The eighties fetishism trend of the last several years can get very shallow and uninteresting, but this album is not that.





ballboy – The Sash My Father Wore and Other Stories

18 03 2011

Listened: Wednesday March 2

Until I heard The Sash My Father Wore and Other Stories, I didn’t know a lot of the lyrics to Born in the USA. Ballboy’s cover of it let me in on lyrics I missed before. It’s a good song! And as everyone knows, it’s not actually very pro-America (someone should have told Ronald Reagan).

The album’s title track has a classic ballboy awesome-refrain of “You’re a big, fat,  bigoted arsehole” and Kiss Me, Hold Me and Eat Me is also a fabulously amusing song about two cannibals-in-love being afraid to kiss for fear they will eat each other (don’t worry – spoiler alert – it turns out OK).

Musically, Sash is pretty mellow (lots of acoustic guitar and cello) and not as rocking as other ballboy albums, but I still love it!





Coldplay – A Rush of Blood To The Head

16 03 2011

Listened: Friday February 11

A Rush of Blood To The Head is one of those albums I couldn’t wait to hear. After Parachutes, which was clearly great, but also clearly only the start of something big, I wanted to know what was next.

Obviously more experimental than Parachutes, Coldplay take more chances sonically (Politik, Whisper, Clocks) while still giving the fans of beautiful ballads their treats (In My Place, The Scientist, Green Eyes). The evolution kind of reminds me of Radiohead, albeit cuddlier (or wimpier depending upon your opinion).