Mark Hollis - Mark Hollis

Mark Hollis - Mark Hollis

I was daydreaming as I walked to work the other day, as one often does. I was thinking about Mark Hollis, then about Talk Talk, then finally Laughing Stock. That's why I brought this album, because my thoughts warmed up as I thought about how Laughing Stock was once in my Top 5. Thinking about it, I'm not too sure that's changed at all. I haven't attempted to create a Top 5 albums list in years - probably because it would be a fruitless and depressing activity.

This album is beautiful. It's a lot like Laughing Stock I guess. Meandering. With later Hollis work you basically get mellow acoustic production with splashes of dreamy vocals, ebbs and flows. Thinking about it now it's just dawned on me that Talk Talk must have been instrumental in the creation of the post-rock genre. The elements were already all there by Spirit of Eden.

Damn, what a pretty little piece. Hollis' work is all about the space. You never fell rushed, the silences (and there are plenty of them) give you time to stop and think.

Yeah, I think Mark Hollis will stay in my Top 5 for another few years yet.

Alarm Will Sound - performs Aphex Twin - Acoustica

Alarm Will Sound - performs Aphex Twin - Acoustica

Bang! Cock/Ver 10 hits you like a kick in the teeth. The drum arrangements are downright amazing. What great interpretations - the potential for screwing this up is huge. Plenty of people have attempted this sort have stuff in the past and the end results are generally disappointing to say the least.

These guys have come up with some very inventive ways of creating the sounds - apparently they had to knock together some strange instruments to imitate the original recordings. Actually the attention to detail is phenomenal - check out the simulated acoustic scratching, inspired stuff indeed.

From what I understand this is some sort of Steve Reich related group - I think they may have performed a couple of the albums he composed. I have no idea whether he was involved with this particular project at all.

Truth be told I'm not a massive Aphex Twin fan - don't get me wrong, that's not to say I don't like the stuff I've heard. Actually I've really loved what I have heard, it's just that I've never owned any of the albums and hence I've never dedicated any real time to it. After listening to this I think that's going to be changing very soon.

Girls United - Wunderbaustelle

Girls United - Wunderbaustelle

Again with the Berlin goodness. Another Goldmund related project I believe - though I'm pretty sure they're not playing at the upcoming festival (shame, though there are plenty of other great artists to keep things interesting).

Really cool mixture of all sorts of stuff - damn near impossible to describe really. Bits an pieces of foundish sounds, lots of bits draw towards an electro vibe but then again there are some acoustic pearls on here too.

Wrong Track! jumped out at me straight away. It almost feels like the point where the album decides it's going to allow it's electro under belly to poke it's head through. Very upbeat and rocky. After that it felt like it was happy to let the electro joy shine - some tracks (like Blair is in the Air) almost sound like old Fischerspooner productions.

Seems to be a good dollop of humour here too. Hopefully I'll get to catch these cats live soon enough.

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

All of a sudden I've been completely swamped by music that really does it for me. When I last wrote about Spoon I was surprised by them secretly becoming my favourite band. Since then I've completely accepted them as one of the greatest indie bands of all time. Their latest offering is just helping to cement that position.

Don't You Evah is great bit of radio friendly perfection. That the funny thing with these guys - every song is a top indie radio hit, but it's not like everything else. Fundamentally it's quite simple I guess - good pop always gives the appearance of being simple... though I guess if it was actually that simple there would be more good stuff around.

Come on world, pay attention this time, this really is some seriously good stuff that deserves to push everything else off the charts.

Fog - Ditherer

Fog - Ditherer

Umm... drop everything right now. Nothing else matters... get down on your knees and worship Fog.

Got hold of a copy of this (even though it's not out until August) just before going away on my trip last week - stayed up listening to it even when i needed to sleep because I was so enraptured. Several times during my trip I stopped to think about how much I was looking forward to getting back home to give it another listen.

These are pop masterpieces... they must be, I'm on the second listen (the first being over a week ago) and I already know lots of the hooks. Here's the thing though - it twists and turns so much that everything takes me by surprise.

Is the old Fog work as good as this? Should be able to tell you soon - just purchased the entire back catalogue. Man, I can't wait to catch these guys at the Goldmund Festival.

As Fog themselves put it -

"There are people in the world that like weird noises and there are people in the world that like pop songs and then there are some people that like both... and we're those people."

See, I'm those people too. Now it all makes sense.

Out at Sea

ClipperI'm Back! Yes, I've been out at sea for the last week (didn't you notice the lack of new material?). The first week of training for next adventure turned out to be a hell of a good week.

In September I'll be setting out to cross the Atlantic Ocean (Liverpool to Salvador, Brazil) with 17 random strangers... well actually, 16 strangers and one new friend (Barry) who happened to be training with me this week.

It's hard to know what to expect when you turn up to something like that. I guess the thing is that you can be sure that the people you're about to get on the boat with all have something in common - they're all out to do something different, already that's bound to create a pretty strong bond. Luckily enough I ended up at sea with 7 absolutely fantastic individuals.

I'll probably post a few little bits about the race as I get further into the training.

Don't worry, we'll get back to the music very soon (Fog being top of the list).

Sarah McLachlan - Mirrorball

Sarah McLachlan - Mirrorball

What a voice. I can't believe anyone could possibly sound this good in a live performance. Seriously, it's absolutely flawless. I've never listened to her stuff before so I have no idea how it compares to the studio work but it's probably worth a listen.

For the most part the music sits quite happily with it's little safe hat on. It's nice enough but there's nothing original/inspirational happening (aside from the vocals). It's girl music really - the crowd is full of screeching 15 year old girls soaking up their idol.

Stand out track would have to be Fear. It's one of the more downbeat ones but her voice really shines.

If I were a 15 year old girl I'm sure I'd worship this.

Ice Cube - The Predator

Ice Cube - The Predator

Gotta love this. Wicked (excuse the pun) beats, politically infused lyrics and buckets of attitude. That is, after all, what hip-hop is all about.

It shows that it was predominantly written during the L.A. Riots - check out We Had To Tear This Shit Up for an example of the police hate that that was going on at the time. Read up on Rodney King if you want to understand why. It Was A Good Day sounds just like a 2Pac track - more positive but only to hit home the message that things are pretty screwed in the ghetto.

Great (funky) samples - damn, what is that bassline in Dirty Mack? I hate it when I know I know a track but just can't think of what it is.

History and hip-hop lessons abound.

Seasick Steve - Doghouse Music

Seasick Steve - Doghouse Music

Just look at his name! "When you're Hobo Low there ain't nowhere to go, there ain't nuttin lower than Hobo Low." I think that lyric alone should give a pretty good insight into Seasick Steve's sound.

Naturally he has plenty of tales to tell. In Dog House Boogie we're treated to a synopsis of his life and the album is rounded off with a cool little story about a dog he once had.

This is some of the coolest blues I've ever heard. It's just got a great blues attitude - it works so well when it's written/performed by someone who's actually lived the life. Looking at my itunes I've basically just gone through and given everything my top rating.

If there's only one blues album you ever listen to, make it this one. It really is that good.

Jean Jacques Perrey - Moog Acid

Jean Jacques Perrey - Moog Acid

I don't understand what's going on here. Is this new Jean Jacques Perrey? It certainly sounds like Perrey - on the other hand it's clearly modern.

If you've never come across his stuff before you need to go do some digging.

As I understand it he was a travelling salesman that used to demo synths way back in the day. He turned out a whole bunch of wicked and innovative stuff - E.V.A. being the most famous (I think). Air or someone do a great remix of Cosmic Bird. In fact, lots of people have remixed his stuff over the years.

I think the Plastician Mix has to be my favourite. It's got a cool swagger.

Syndicate content

Back to top