Monday, 29 December 2014

R.E.M. Out Of Time




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Tracklist

1Radio Song4:12
2Losing My Religion4:26
3Low4:55
4Near Wild Heaven3:17
5Endgame3:48
6Shiny Happy People3:44
7Belong4:03
8Half A World Away3:26
9Texarkana3:36
10Country Feedback4:07
11Me In Honey4:06


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Following the success of R.E.M.‘s 1988 album Green and the extensive supporting tour which followed, the band took nearly a year to recuperate before reconvening to produce their next album. That album would come in 1991 and be titled Out of Time, and would serve to further expose this once niche alternative band to mainstream commercial audiences. The seventh studio album by the band, Out Of Time was by far the most richly produced to date, with more relatable compositions, an expansion of the instrumentation used, cameos from contemporary artists, and much more attention paid to sonic detail of the finished product. The album combines the elements which were carried over from Green – pop and folk – with the addition of country, funk, and classical elements. The band’s chief lyricist, singer Michael Stipe, moved away from the overtly political themes they had used frequently in the 1980s, towards more personally-relatable and accessible songs, a direction they would continue through the 1990s. Fueled by the blockbuster hit “Losing My Religion”, which became the band’s biggest, Out of Time would top the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, despite the fact that R.E.M. did not tour to support the album. The single and album won a combined three Grammy Awards in 1992 and to date has sold over 18 million copies worldwide. The album commences with “Radio Song”, a lighthearted funk that was completely unique to anything the band had done to that point. The song features vocals by KRS-One, leader of Boogie Down Productions, and also shows off the talents of the band’s drummer Bill Berry. Another popular song from the album to include a guest vocalist was “Shiny Happy People”, featuring Kate Pierson of the B-52s. The song is introduced with a unique string arrangement before breaking into a typical, upbeat R.E.M. riff. It became the band’s fourth career Top 10 hit. The song’s title is based on a Southern phrase meaning “being at the end of one’s rope, however Stipe has also stated the lyrics are influenced by unrequited love.Near Wild Heaven” was another single released from the album, co-written and sung by bassist Mike Mills. It was the first such song to be written and sung by Mills. Mills also provided vocals for “Texarkana”. While this was not released as an official “single”, did well on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. “Country Feedback” was written as a stream-of-conscious by Stipe who claims he sang it in one take as an experiment and it was not re-recorded. The recording features pedal steel guitar by John Keane. With the success of Out of Time, R.E.M.’s status grew to a top-level, major act from their humble beginnings as a “cult band” on colleg radio. They would continue the momentum into the next year with 1992’s Automatic For the People.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Various ‎– Doing It For The Kids




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By 1988, Creation Records was firmly situated as the U.K. indie label -- the one that all others either emulated or reacted against. More importantly, by this time they were varying their roster to the point that the definitive Creation sound of the label's early days -- exceedingly jangly guitars meshed against artless and pitch-poor male vocals -- was only a part of their sound. Early Creation mainstays the Weather Prophets and the Jasmine Minks, not to mention Bobby Gillespie's pre-dance Primal Scream and label-head Alan McGee's own Biff Bang Pow!, still adhere to this style, but Doing It for the Kids also contains the atmospheric proto-shoegazer pop of Heidi Berry's "North Shore Train" and My Bloody Valentine's sublime "Cigarette in Your Bed," as well as the sparky wit of the Jazz Butcher's "Lot 49" and Momus' "A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24)." An interesting mix of bands on the verge of greatness (My Bloody Valentine and Primal Scream), artists at the top of their game (the Times, Felt, the House of Love), and a few also-rans who never quite built on the promise shown here (Emily, the underrated Razorcuts), Doing It for the Kids shows Creation Records at a pivotal moment.

Tracklist

1Jasmine Minks, TheCut Me Deep
2FeltBallad Of The Band
3House Of Love, TheChristine
4Weather Prophets, TheWell Done Sonny
5Primal ScreamAll Fall Down
6Biff Bang Pow!She Paints
7Jazz Butcher, TheLot 49
8Heidi BerryNorth Shore Train
9Nikki SuddenDeath Is Hanging Over Me
10My Bloody ValentineCigarette In My Bed
11Pacific Jetstream
12Times, TheGodevil
13MomusA Complete History Of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24)
14Emily Reflect On Rye
15RazorcutsBrighter Now

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Various ‎– Sleighed (The Other Side Of Christmas)




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The perfect holiday album for a dysfunctional family gathering, Sleighed is a stocking full of Christmas novelty songs, with a couple of notable exceptions. Renaissance electro-folkie Beck donated "Little Drum Machine Boy," which could very well be an outtake from his album Midnite Vultures (except it was recorded in 1996!), and indie rock godfathers Sonic Youth riff out "Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope," both of which were featured on Geffen's 1996 release Just Say Noel. Roasted chestnuts like Bob & Doug McKenzie's rambling "Twelve Days of Christmas" and the heavy duty "Christmas With the Devil" by Spinal Tap are peppered with newer songs by Goldfinger, and the hilarious "I Farted on Santa's Lap" courtesy of Little Stinkers. These chucklers dominate the album, but there are a few real interpretations of holiday songs, the best of which being the Smithereens' earnest blast through "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Tracklist

1Red PetersYou Ain't Getting S*** For Christmas
Producer – Ed Grengo*
2PlankeyeAway In A Manger
Producer – Eric BalmerFrank LenzGene EugeneLuis Garcia (2)
3Local HHave Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
4Mighty Mighty Bosstones*Xmas Time (It Sure Doesn't Feel Like It)
5Home Grown (2)Christmas Crush
Producer – Home Grown (2)Mike Masters
6Less Than JakeGrandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
Producer – Less Than Jake
7Smithereens, TheRudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer
8Spinal TapChristmas With The Devil
Producer – Dave Jerden
9Goldfinger (7)White Christmas
Producer – Jay RifkinJohn Feldman*
10BeckThe Little Drum Machine Boy
Producer – Beck
11Sonic YouthSanta Doesn't Cop Out On Dope
Producer – Sonic Youth
12Little Stinkers, TheI Farted On Santa's Lap (Now Christmas Is Gonna Stink For Me)
Producer – Anthony BeltramiGina Beltrami




Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Fatima Mansions Bertie's Brochures As Requested By Learnandsing


The Fatima Mansions Bertie's Brochures


Get It At Discogs
Bertie's Brochures, another eight songs, is a mixed bag of stuff that evidently didn't fit elsewhere; its tone is low-key, sad and rueful. R.E.M.'s "Shiny Happy People" becomes a snide hip-hop diatribe against the British government ("go g-go g-go go fuck yourself"), but the condemnation of career terrorism in "Smiling" is anything but frantic, leaving room for a little grief to breathe amid the bile. The title song is a touching little number about a curiously misguided life. Plus, it's all sandwiched between three simple, strong, straightforward songs about the vagaries of (gasp) romance: Coughlan's own "Behind the Moon," Scott Walker's "Long About Now" and Richard Thompson's "The Great Valerio." While not a representative record, Bertie's Brochures is Fatima Mansions' most broadly appealing work.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Fatima Mansions Lost In The Former West US Album


The Fatima Mansions Lost In The Former West


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The final Mansions album almost snuck out instead of being released, with sessions split between regular producer Ralph Jezzard and ex-Talking Heads studio hound Jerry Harrison. Adding to the band's confused discographical tangle, two Valhalla Avenue cuts were appended to the American issue of the album, which still went next to nowhere in terms of any level of attention. A pity, because while the Mansions essentially hadn't changed much beyond its initial mode of feedback-heavy aggro and perversely calm adult-entertainment numbers, the overall performances on Lost were some of the band's best. Coughlan remains the central figure, writing everything with one notable exception and singing with the expected gusto, while his main collaborator O Gruama adds some scraggly, nervous guitar parts to his usual arsenal of amped-up rage. With most of the regular Mansions crew along for the ride, along with some guest performers here and there, the band set out with murder on its mind and specific targets in its sights. "Popemobile to Paraguay" starts with all the bile that an ex-Catholic Irishman could be expected to bring to bear -- by the time it's all over, American foreign policy idiocies and the leftover impact of the Cold War are but two of the other issues addressed with Coughlan's usual bile. If the album was nothing but lectures there'd be little point, but the music is always the winning edge to the Mansions' brew, whether the spooked-out mood into mayhem of "Walk in the Woods" or the calmer "Walk Yr Way." The one non-Coughlan number might have been an inevitable thing for the Mansions to do -- a cover of Scott Walker's shimmering paranoid classic "Nite Flights," here given just enough extra bite while Coughlan delivers a vocal worthy of his hero.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Soup Dragons Hang-Ten US Compilation


The Soup Dragons Hang-Ten


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The Soup Dragons' Hang-Ten! is a clattering rush of indie pop that manages to overcome the weak vocals of Sean Dickson, the rudimentary production, and the sometimes overly simplistic songwriting with a wave of pure teenage energy. Recorded on the heels of the C-86 movement, the record is very much influenced by that scene and the nascent noise-pop sound as well. It is built around the trashcan drums of the Jesus and Mary Chain, the fuzzy but not dangerous guitars of the Shop Assistants, the chirping backing vocals and the shambling feel of bands like the Pastels or the Bodines. Of course it isn't the equal of their influences, but tunes like "Slow Things Down," "Pleasantly Surprised," and especially "Whole Wide World" have a ramshackle charm that puts them just below the first tier of '80s U.K. fuzz-pop bands. The seven-minute long melancholy epic "So Sad ( I Feel)" even makes a case that the band could have transcended their narrow scope if they had gone in that more "adult" noise-pop direction (see the Wedding Present for a band that did) instead of jumping for the mainstream on their subsequent albums. Although its appeal is mainly limited to devoted C-86 enthusiasts and Soup Dragons completists (if such a thing exists), Hang-Ten! is actually a pretty decent record. Certainly it was the best work of a band that went on to release nothing but sub-par records.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Death In Vegas The Contino Sessions Japan


Death In Vegas The Contino Sessions

Get It At Discogs
In 1963, Andy Warhol said, "I like boring things. I like things to be exactly the same over and over again." Warhol didn't mean that he was bored by things, he meant that the more you look or listen to exactly the same thing, the more the meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel. Richard Fearless, committed Warhol fan, the man who is ostensibly Death In Vegas and the man who has created the most astonishing album you're likely to hear all year, knows exactly what the pop artist meant. He and his Death In Vegas partner, Tim Holmes, know that in music today, meaning is nothing and feeling is everything. It is better to articulate emotion in any form than to try to say something, because there's nothing left to say and it's increasingly difficult to find anything to care about. Listen to 'The Contino Sessions' and you hear the same thing over and over again, but you never get bored; just as Fearless took as this record's blueprint the endlessly looped, piled-upon garage splendour of Spiritualized's 'Electric Mainline': nobody's saying anything. There's no need. If you liked Fearless' first album, 1997's bruising but unfocused 'Dead Elvis', then prepare to be surprised. Because here is a record that harnesses that record's searing, if misdirected energy to its author's love of rock's notorious underclass - the Velvets, The Stooges, the Mary Chain, the Scream, erm, Neu!: outsiders all - and in doing so fashions a curiously tender, black-hearted modern soul classic; the last great record of the millennium, if we're being pretentious. And hell, why not? There's such a paucity of real, transparently obvious talent out there that it's actually a sheer joy to celebrate a record which stays true to its creators' (admittedly rather bleak) grand vision; a record which manages to combine the excesses and inspired musical mandate of both 'Screamadelica' and 'The Velvet Underground And Nico' while maintaining a level-headed, unimpeachable urban cool. And, appropriately in these information-saturated times, 'The Contino Sessions' is an album that means nothing and is purely about the music. Really, it's all about the feeling. It helps, of course, that Fearless has drafted in his heroes and asked them to interpret his music as best they see fit. There's Bobby Gillespie, sneering lines like,"Eggs bearing insects hatching in my mind" over wired narcotic hip-hop on 'Soul Auctioneer', and Jim Reid, although his turn on the decidedly Mary Chain-esque bleached noise of 'Broken Little Sister' is the album's only weak link. And famously, there is Iggy Pop, whose wide-eyed and unrepentant serial killer soliloquy, 'Aisha', complements perfectly Fearless and Holmes' spiked cocktail of defiant AC/DC drumming and mangled Krautrock. His finest moment since The Stooges say many. Er, 'great', mumbles everyone else. There are songs of alluring beauty, too, which serve to dilute the album's otherwise impervious and claustrophobic eau de smack.Like the brittle organ wheeze of 'Lever Street' and the Felt-gone-gospel slo-mo shimmy of 'Aladdin's Story', or 'Neptune City''s deceptively sprightly brass-parping finale, a song that says, shakily, as only instrumentals can, "Well we got there in the end, didn't we? And wasn't it bloody marvellous?"

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Shack Zilch Japan Album As Requested By Mygeneration


Shack  Zilch


Get It At Discogs
To say Michael Head has had his share of bad luck would be an understatement. Things started off well enough. The Paleys’ take on the guitar ‘n’ trumpet pop of Bacharach and Love sparked a bidding war between labels. They finally signed to Virgin for £150,000, but despite some fantastic singles, including the anthemic Jean’s Not Happening, their biggest hit, Thank You, still stalled just outside the Top 40, at No 46. The band finally split following the death of bassist Chris McCaffrey of a brain tumour in 1986. Zilch was meant to be Head’s big comeback. Now with brother John in the fold, Shack took the West Coast harmonies of the Paleys and relocated them to the English council flat. Again, the band garnered rave reviews. Again they failed to strike it lucky. After Zilch, the story descends into farce: follow-up album Waterpistol disappeared into the ether amid comical tales of burnt-down studios, lost mastertapes and the more serious spectre of heroin addiction. In the meantime, the 90s Britpop boom stole their thunder. By the time their third album proper, HMS Fable, arrived in 1999, they were already being spoken of as the forgotten men of English pop. Songs like Comedy encouraged the NME to hail Head as the country’s greatest living songwriter, but by this time they were middle-aged men who’d missed their shot at the big time. Which perhaps explains why there’s been such a spate of nostalgia for the band of late. There were a couple of Pale Fountains reunion gigs in February and, after a Japanese reissue in 2005, Red Flag records finally rereleased Zilch at the end of last year, meaning their entire back catalogue is now available to the public. If you’re new to Mick Head’s talents, I’d strongly recommend you get yourself a copy of The Magical World of the Strands, a spin-off album from 1997 that consisted of three-quarters of Shack along with Michelle Brown on bass. It’s an album full of classic, whimsical English pop; the sound of perennial Likely Lads growing up with a sense of resigned fatalism. Then, once you realise what the fuss is all about, get yourself Zilch to hear the beginnings of a magnificent band.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Primitives Lovely 25 Anniversary Edition As Requested By Andie




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Formed in the British city of Coventry in 1985, THE PRIMITIVES garnered a following through several singles on their own Lazy Records imprint before signing to RCA for their first studio LP, Lovely. THE PRIMITIVES combined the guitar-based sensibilities of other indie acts like The Jesus & Mary Chain while adding a distinct audio / visual flair thanks to Tracy Cattell’s distinctive vocals and bottle-blonde hairstyle. They are credited with kick starting the niche indie subgenre of “blonde pop.” The album is basically a re-recording of tracks from their earlier singles, but still manages to be a cohesive whole that retains the excitement and energy of not only the original recordings, but still sounds amazing today. This is a great clear and crisp sounding remaster that gives the band the clarity and power that stands out from the twee and boring female fronted indie bands out there nowadays. You get the entire first album, leading off with their most well-known song “Crash”, plus a second CD of bonus tracks that are a treat for fans. Compiled with the help of guitarist PJ Court, this 2-CD compilation also has an annotated booklet boasting rare photos and personal memories from the band. A great first album that has been beautifully remastered, great bonus tracks and still stands up as one of the better albums from its time period…how could you go wrong? I’m glad that Cherry Red got this album back out to the public so that people can get a chance to hear a band at their peak having a great time.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Saint Etienne Foxbase Alpha Japan


Saint Etienne Foxbase Alpha

Also Available Foxbase Alpha Deluxe Edition


Get It At Discogs
It is likely you have heard first song and lead sing, 'Only love can break your heart'. With its catchy vocal melodies, house piano and snappy drums. A cover of Neil Young, changing the original's Waltz time signature to a 4/4 dance beat, and making the song more instant, and getting the kids dancing. Andrew Weatherall also did a mix of the track, which expanded it to fit emphasize the bass line and fitting in a long dub midsection, which was a big hit in clubs at the time. This record is a great example of how a crossover record should work, a significant part of one genre, should clash with another. On this record the melodies of pop, meet with the sharp song writing of indie, and beats and loops of dance music. Also, while some songs are very welcome on the dance floor, others are more suited for winding down at home. The record is best played as part of your post clubbing ritual, and can be just as essential as some exaggerated stories, someone you met that same night and something tasty to smoke. Because, not only does it include catchy and well written pop songs, but also, a handful of chilled out, Orb inspired tracks, and with most of the songs having a slow pace, and the faster songs being sweet enough so as not to disturb the neighbours, we are certainly approaching, sunrise territory with this record. Sitting comfortably alongside other out there pop records with kooky lady singers such as Portishead and Bat For Lashes, but with the dance influences Bjork, Massive Attack and Tricky as well. Saint Etienne never intended to have single singer as a constant member of the group, all of their previous singles were recorded with different women each time, but they certainly made a good choice picking Sarah Cracknell. Her smooth vocals perfectly compliment the indie dance crossover beats, and she takes on the melodies with ease, turning them into the catchy tunes they should be. This record has wide reaching appeal, especially nowadays that very few indie bands can resist the allure of adding aspects of dance music, just as their Madchester based heroes did. Also, now that dance music has become the centre of modern dance music, fans of current chart music, won’t have to stretch their head too far to get what this group was all about. Also, fans of dance music, won’t have to worry too much about this record sounding dated, so long as they can still enjoy, Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld and Screamadelica. Basically, if your looking for an intelligent female fronted dance group to fill out your record collection you’ve come to the right place. If you want something great to play an the evening, your bang on as well. If you want something you can stick on while you have a good time with a lady, besides Portishead, Air and Barry White, this is certainly your best choice.
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