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Bush – Sixteen Stone

28 04 2011

Listened: Thursday March 10

Sixteen Stone was a huge album for me in high school. Just listening to the songs now reminds me how I went over this album with a fine-toothed comb, including research on the Internet, such that it was at that point. I thought Gavin was incredibly hot (he still is, actually) and spent hours thinking about him. I’m probably heavily nostalgia-biased, but I still think this album is pretty good, especially for a first album.

The Toadies/Hum/Bush show at the Warfield (wish I had that poster) was the first show I went to without parents. My friends Audrey, Chi, and I thought riding BART from Daly City to SF to go to a show was the biggest adventure ever. I remember waiting in line to get in, in the grit of Market Street, having to pretend like we didn’t hear the panhandlers, who freaked us out, or notice the strippers and various undesirables hanging around the Crazy Horse next door. Little did I know it was only the first of many times over the years that I’d do such a thing.

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The Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady

28 04 2011

Listened: Thursday March 10

I took a chance on some Singles Going Steady because it was on sale at Amazon. I’m glad I did, because the Buzzcocks are that rare mix of bratty loud punk that’s also well-written and insanely catchy. What other early punk band can speak of the trifecta of orgasm addiction, falling in love with people you shouldn’t, and things you want to touch but can’t, all with backing harmonies?

I don’t think there would be a Green Day without them.





The Specials – The Singles Collection

25 04 2011

Listened: Thursday March 10

The Specials singles remind me of my friend Audrey and I trying to use the nascent Internet in high school. She had gotten into neu-punk and ska in a big way so we were trying to use the Yahoo directory on a dial-up connection to learn about Green Day, Offspring, Propagandhi, Operation Ivy, Screeching Weasel, and the like. But one of the probably-badly-designed web sites kept crashing her Mac and we rebooted numerous times before we gave up.

This Singles album was in the CD drive, and every time we rebooted, we would hear the beginning strains of Gangsters on autoplay once the computer was totally booted up.

I also remember hearing Ghost Town on the radio for the first time, late at night in bed in my childhood bedroom, and thinking it was the creepiest song ever. The video, which I only first saw recently, is also really great in its early-video simplicity and Englishness. I really enjoyed their set at Coachella 2010, more than I expected I would.

2tone foreva…





Suede – Singles

25 04 2011

Listened: Thursday March 10

First of all, this album cover is insanely bizarre and kind of hot at the same time. Two teenage girls maybe about to kiss, combined with the very modern scratch tag? Who does that?

I’m surprised I didn’t fall in love with Suede back in the day. They were some of the progenitors of Britpop, and after hearing the Singles compilation, I realized I did know a bunch of their older songs from back in the day without being conscious of it.

I bought this album during my “studying” period for Coachella 2011. I think I need to buy the proper albums now. Suede’s performance at Coach blew me away – Brett Anderson was much livelier and more intense than I had imagined he would be. I understand why Suede are beloved even now in their native UK. They can still bring it!





The Avalanches – Since I Left You

21 04 2011

Listened: Thursday March 10

In 2001, I waited patiently for the domestic release of Since I Left You for two reasons. Firstly, Frontier Psychiatrist was part of that magical soundtrack on my trip to Wales, with Desmond Dekker, Gorillaz, SFA, and Basement Jaxx.

Secondly, it was a conversation piece and artifact from the time when building an entire album with extreme sampling was unusual and pretty difficult. I’ve just learned from Wikipedia that it was constructed from 3500 vinyl samples. Dear lord, that must have taken forever.

Further, unlike unashamed crowd-pleaser Girl Talk, the samples are for the most part unrecognizable to all except the most studious music fan. Awesome music is created from songs the listener probably hasn’t heard before.

I’m not sure an album like this will ever be created again. Well, certainly not from a fully vinyl library, but also I think we’re moving towards the Girl Talk style of sampling versus the Avalanches style of sampling these days. Which I’m not sure is a bad thing. Extreme sampling is becoming a lot more mainstream these days, and the artists will give the masses what they want to hear, which seems to be crazy combinations of recognizable songs.





Zero 7 – Simple Things

21 04 2011

Listened: Thursday March 10

Simple Things is a relic of the early aughts space-lounge style (see Air). I bought it in college, but I haven’t listened to it much since. It’s good background music, but not terribly emotionally affecting. Maybe being French makes puts you more at the top of this genre?





Bloc Party – Silent Alarm

21 04 2011

Listened: Tuesday March 8

What was I thinking back in 2005 when Silent Alarm came out? It’s brilliant and I totally missed it. I also totally missed seeing them at Coachella 2006. Regrets, I’ve had a few. “Something glorious is about to happen” – I should have listened.

I didn’t even actually own the album until the project. I had (possibly illegally) downloaded a bunch of tracks and had tried to build the album, poorly. I’m glad I got it all legal and sorted out now.

Every song is a shoutalong, leg-bouncing good time. There have been moments at work that it’s been the only thing keeping me sane, even just in the few times I’ve listened to it in its complete form.