Sunday, January 31, 2010

Free CDs - January throwouts

Well, we promised we'd offer you the CDs that just don't fit in our collection - not that we think these necessarily stink, just that they're not our cup of tea.  One man's meat - etc.

The rules are:

Don't talk about fight club

We're going to be capricious and completely subjective about who gets whatever CD.  Simply tell us your reasons for wanting any or all of them, and we'll send them to whoever appeals most.  This means you'll need to include a valid email address so we can contact you for a snail-mail address if you're the lucky (?)  recipient.  Of course we promise not to use this info for any nefarious (or other) reasons or to sell it or anything else (what else could there be? Piling them up and setting them ablaze?  Baking them into cookies and munching on their emaily goodness?)   

Beats selling them on eBay.

Billy Bragg - William Bloke
Come - Near Life Experience, Eleven : Eleven and Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Ben Harper - The Will To Live and Diamonds On the Inside
Lightning Seeds - Sense
Sugar Ray - Floored

So start emailing and let us know what you want and some padded-baggy goodness could soon be on its way to you.  The list will also be posted as a sidebar and we'll do our best to keep it updated.

January - Wrapup


January gave us the great category debate.  We solved this argument succinctly: music is good.  It doesn't matter who did it, what it sounds like, where or when it was recorded or who played on it - if you like it, then it's good.  It's as simple as that.  Don't try and categorise it or label it or put it in a box.  Put the fucking thing in whatever player you have, turn it up, take a breath and LISTEN to it.  Try to remember the joy you got from hearing it for the first time, without the preconceptions of myriad opinions, including mine.  Just listen and enjoy, start a riot, start a band, write a song or story or just dance around like a fucking loon.  Enjoy it because life is too fucking short not to.

The best thing about this project is it's kick started a new chapter in Mine and YourZ (truly)'s relationship.  Regardless of how mindful a couple are of complacency within their little world, it still has a habit of creeping in.  We're each other's best friends but even best friends have dull moments.  I'm not saying we'd become dull and boring, but the invigorating feeling enabled because of this shared task feels almost like the first heady days of our relationship.  And it's a wonderful feeling, let me tell ya.

Not only this, but it's taken us back to one of the things that brought us together in the first place: a common love of music.  Our first date, the one where we both got so drunk we could hardly stand, where we stood on an inner city footpath and kissed like teenagers, where we knew this, at long last, was the real thing...  Yes, that date was to see Dallas Crane and supports at the now-closed Hopetoun Hotel.  Dallas Crane were awesome but so fucking loud we retreated outside so we could also talk and smoke (remember those things?)  Prior to this, our past was built on musical excursions to various Big Day Outs with large crews of relative strangers.    

And now we're both listening to more music than we have in years.  Not only are we writing about it, but we're talking about, reading about and even watching more music than we've done in ages.  The wonderful collection we have, unlike any other collection in the world, has been a constant source of delight as we work our way through it, trusty pointy stick in hand.  It has also provided some pure cringe-worthy moments for both of us (for me, none more so than when the pointy stick touched down on Kylie Minogue - sorry honey).

It opened up and revealed to both of us music we'd totally forgotten about, either because of time or sheer numbers.  A lot of music we bought, listened to then put into the collection and forgot about almost straight away as something new drew our attention away (you should see us with pretty, shiny things - can keep us occupied for hours).  It's the reason I have the Forgotten Gems category, not just to inform you, but to also remind myself.  It also gave YourZ (truly) music I now consider my life richer for knowing.  In January, this accolade belongs the the Modfather himself, Mr Paul Weller and the stunning Wild Wood.  It also showed my lovely wife that not all of my taste is in the back half of my pants.  I am still stunned and surprised she took a shine to Pavement, for instance.  There is just no measuring this woman!

Each month, we're also going to give away a CD to someone who we think truly deserves it.  The joy of music is not in keeping it locked away but in sharing it.  This month, we've decided to give away the wonderful James Hunter CD, The Hard Way, to my parents as not only will they appreciate it and play it far more than we do, but it's a minuscule way for me to say thanks for all the musical joy they've given me over the years.  You never know, though, next month it could be YOU.

Oh yeah, thanks to all of you for reading and for commenting too.  We look forward to your continued company as we wend our way through our collection and hope you have enjoyed the ride so far.  Now it's time to sit back, buckle up and get ready for February.

Rock On!



Oy, he's long-winded.   But he's right, you know.  (YourZ says: I can't believe she said this!  I'm gonna mark this momentous occasion on the calendar, hahahaha...)  This blog's given us so much to talk about, to laugh about and to enjoy - I can hardly wait for the rest of the year.

OK, to put my 2 cents worth in - I just want to urge anyone with a reasonably-sized music collection to do just what we're doing.  Not to write about it (unless that really floats your boat, in which case go for it) but to remember why you bought the music in the first place.  I realise that with the advent of downloads and carrying all your music on one little device, what we're doing here might seem outdated to some.  If you have it all there and just press Shuffle, you'll get those Forgotten Gems come around anyway - every now and again.  But I know we still exist in a small bubble of time when we can speak to people like us, who have music available in several formats (this house has six if you count vinyl singles and LPs as two).

So choose a format, assemble your collection, grab a blindfold and your equivalent of our pointy stick (pictured right for your delectation - stop laughing now) and pick out some music.  Put it on.  Listen to it.  Rinse and repeat.  Invite your friends over and make a party out of it!  It's way fun, and if the last month's been any indication, it'll just keep getting better this whole year.  Which is a relief, let me tell you - I must confess I had a minor worry at the start that it could turn into a chore.  But no more.

Boogie Down!


Katalyst Presents Dusted - Essential


Welcome to our first compilation review.  In our introductory note way back at the start of this month, we said we'd pick one out of our extensive collection of compilations and review it for your reading pleasure.  For both of us, there was no argument about which compilation we'd pick first.  Katalyst Presents Dusted won hands down. 

So, if you could put together a collection of songs guaranteed to keep a party rockin', who would you put on it?  I think someone must have asked this question of Ashley Anderson, otherwise known as Katalyst, because he has put together quite possibly one of the greatest collections of tracks known to man, deftly mixed together on two discs of pure listening pleasure.  But Dusted is more than a compilation or a mixed tape. Katalyst has seamlessly blended old school, new school and rare grooves into a listing transcending the very idea.

Oh sure, it doesn't have anything approximating hard rock or even medium rock, for that matter, but he does have the original track Eminem sampled to use for My Name Is..., Labi Siffre's I Got The... and some of the world's biggest hip hop luminaries in acts such as A Tribe Called Quest (Check The Rhime), Public Enemy (Burn Hollywood Burn), Wu-Tang Clan (Uzi (Pinky Ring) ) and Run DMC (Down With The King) as well as some classic old school acts like Fred Wesley, The JBs, Roy Ayers, Nina Simone and The Meters.

It's surprising how well this blend of old and new works and this album never fails to inspire and delight.  But it's in his own tracks he really shines, highlighting both his love of hip hop (Let The Music Talk) and funky grooves (Uprock This).  Both are instant classics.

If you've not heard this collection before and you want something 100 percent guaranteed to kick start your party, even if the party is of one, you won't find anything better.  It even makes me wanna dance, something very few recordings can do.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP hit repeat and let 'em dance all night


Party party party party - this 2-CD album is an essential for an "all back to mine" event.  We saw him - erm "live" - a couple of years ago and he was a-ma-ZING!

As a collection of songs, it works beautifully - from the first strains of California Soul to Run-DMC's Down With the King on CD 2.  My personal favourites are the funky tunes (have I mentioned I like to dance?) especially Cherrystones and I Changed My Mind.

But the rappier and rockier songs work too - showing he's well worth all the gongs he's garnered as a music producer and DJ.  This is the second copy of this album we've owned after the first one walked - and I'm voting for it as one of the CDs I'd buy first if the whole collection vanished tomorrow.  Nothing else to say but...

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (invite your best mates over and get the cocktail shaker out)

For more information:

In our collection we also have What's Happening

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ed Kuepper - The Butterfly Net


Some of these albums just transport me to another place, another time... and this was the early 90s, when I went to see Ed perform and stood - well, close enough to punch him, had I been so inclined.  But why would I - he looked just like a cuddly koala bear, with his trademark semi-shy stance and floppy blonde hair.

Much is made of his career in bands (seminal punks The Saints, the Laughing Clowns, etc) but as a solo artist his music just shines.  Those jangly guitars, happy-sad lyrics and gorgeous pop hooks - beautiful.

A couple of years ago we had a party where I invited an old friend, staying in town because his son was in hospital nearby.  He repeatedly requested we play Mr Kuepper, but I refused, believing it wasn't really the kind of music for a party.  I'm still of that opinion (sorry Richard) but it's a great driving album and I'm elevating it to kitchen music - particularly for Black Ticket Day, Not A Soul Around, Real Wild Life...

Look, if you haven't heard any Ed, seriously go and click on the link and have a listen.  It's great guitar-based pop-rock.



Ah, Ed, what wonderful punk-rock-star memories his name evokes.  He probably doesn't remember but years ago, in a land far, far away (okay, about three hours south of my present location), I was in a band who had the privilege to support Ed when he played at a local university.  It was a wonderful show, full of crusty punks, indie kids and stunned university beer-rats looking for another place to crawl.

We'd played our set (a brilliant run through of indie-pop originals) and sat backstage with a bunch of friends and copious amounts of alcohol.  As the second support finished (I think), Mr Kuepper staggered through the back door and into our midst, a half-empty bottle of vodka in one hand and a cigarette in the other.  He gave us all a 'fuck-with-me-I-dare-you' look before heading off to find his band mates. 

A young girl, either naively brave or foolish (or possibly both), stepped into his path and timidly asked for his autograph.  The response still reverberates in my ears - a stunning, expletive-laden diatribe complete with gesticulations and spittle.  It was kind of like watching an explosion for the first time and something I will never forget.  He then wandered onto stage as though nothing happened and launched into his set.  It was pure, unexpurgated self-indulgence and only what anyone would expect from a punk-rock luminary.

I don't know what to say about this collection except that it is but the tip of a ridiculously large back-catalogue of material.  And this only includes his years as a solo artist.  If you don't know any of his music, stop reading this immediately, go to your favourite music download site and download Way I Made You Feel, Honey Steel's Gold, Also Sprach The King Of Euro-Disco, Nothing Changes In My House, Real Wild Life and Not A Soul Around.  Do it now and don't fuckin' argue.  Learn from this mistake and consider yourself told.


For more information:

In our collection we also have Honey Steel's Gold

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kid Loco - Kill Your Darlings


As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm a sucker.  Without harping on this, it might be viewed as a negative by a lot of people, but in my case, my sucker-worthiness has worked in my favour.  Sometimes. 

One such good example is Kid Loco.  Years ago, I became friends with a DJ who also worked in a local record shop.  He was a nice bloke but was mostly interested in trying to get as much product out the door as possible.  Fair enough - the whole objective of retail is to do this very thing.  But he could see me coming from ten miles away and knew just how to pitch something to me to make it irresistible.  90 percent of the time, I would crumble with little resistance.  What makes this even more irksome is his strike rate for picking something I'd really like was very high indeed.  (I'm glad he moved on some years ago, otherwise I'm sure our collection would be double what it is now).

One such gem is Kill Your Darlings.  Jean-Yves Prieur, or Kid Loco, is a quintessential French musician/producer/DJ whose sound is chilled to the point of coolness only the French seem to be able to achieve.  He sound is so laid-back, you could be floating on a cloud (probably of illicit greenery, if you catch my drift).  And with song titles like Here Come The Munchies and Three Feet High Reefer, there's no doubting where some of his chill comes from.  Now, where did I put those chips?



Sunday morning, coming down.... couldn't be a more appropriate time to play Kill Your Darlings.  It's one of those albums I have to thank YourZ for (thanks, honey!) because I'd never have heard of it otherwise.  And it's full of gorgeous, gorgeous songs.

My personal favourite is Little Bit of Soul, which is just so sing-along.  But all of it is fabulous in that eclectic mix of trip-hop and - whatever else it's made up of.  Who cares? 

It's not surprising I'm fond of this, as Air's Moon Safari is also a personal favourite.  Ah, the French.  The best part is, this album's exactly the right length.  That is, it lasts from when I leave home in my car to when I arrive at work.  Result!  But I'd also like to experience this again soon in that Sunday-morning way (hint, hint, YourZ!)

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (lay back and let it wash over you)

For more information:

In our collection, we also have the compilation album Another Late Night: Kid Loco

Thursday, January 28, 2010

James Hunter - The Hard Way


Listening to The Hard Way is a bit like dropping into an episode of Mad Men.  James Hunter effortlessly recreates the feeling of early-60s smooth American white-people's music - although sometimes with a hint of dangerous rock-and-or-roll.  It just makes me want to reach for a pitcher of martinis and light up a Lucky Strike.

Just how good is that show, anyway?  And what is it about American TV in the Noughties that it reinvented itself with these OMG scripts and fuck-off acting?  Right now I'm panting for the DVD of the latest series - too long to wait for it to be screened in the Antipodes.  But I'm also enjoying Dexter, as mentioned in our sidebars, and we just gulped down the entire four series of The Wire available here, plus the sheer excellence of Breaking Bad.... and we're still waiting for more spin-off goodness of Battlestar Galactica after the series ended (sob).

It used to be US television was far inferior to the British product.  But now YourZ and Mine(self) spend time nudging each other over the excellent sets and furnishings in Mad Men (we're both Eames-era junkies) - or gripping our seats in the rollercoaster writing of Breaking Bad - or checking our watches to see if we can squeeze in just one more episode of The Wire before bedtime.

But all this isn't telling you how I feel about this album.  And I'm not as passionate about it as I am about Mad Men.  I guess I don't mind it - but frankly I'd rather listen to some recordings of music from back in the day - like my Stax Collection - rather than new music sounding like it was recorded back in the day.  Oh, but that doesn't include Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who can play at any party I throw from now till whenever.



I'm a sucker.  Just ask Mine.  She probably has countless examples of why I am, of this I have no doubt.  But at least I know what I am.  This can go part way to help alleviating losing great amounts of hard earned dollars to snake oil salesmen or con artists trying to sell me national monuments.  But put a pretty girl behind a counter who knows how to use her, erm, charms, and I've already paid for whatever she's trying to sell.

Such was the case when I walked into my local music store and the young, firm beauty behind the counter was sashying around while listening to The Hard Way.  In other circumstances, things might have gotten embarrassingly hard indeed.  Thank goodness for air conditioning and a modicum of self-control, let me tell ya.  The end result was predictable though; I walked out of the store with this CD in my hot and somewhat sweaty palms.

James Hunter is a Englishman who sounds like a lot of the old soul and RnB singers (the first, true and only RnB as far as I'm concerned).  He sounds like a lot of the music my parents loved and listened to when I was growing up, music I find weirdly comforting, given I'm generally a rock pig.  Hunter is talented, unpretentious and in possession of a very fine soul voice.  But what really sets him apart is he not only writes all of his own songs but he plays a mean guitar too.  The authenticity is undeniable and he has garnered fans in people such as Willy Nelson, Chris Isaak and Van Morrison, as well as nominations for a number of the more prestigious music awards.

Personally, I like the ska flavour of Carina, the rockin' Don't Do Me No Favours (the yelps he pulls off in this are pure joy) and the bossanova-flavoured She's Got A Way.  But it's the last track, Strange But True, which comprises only Hunter's vocals and an acoustic guitar that stays with me long after this recording finishes. 

As Mine said, this music would have no problem finding a home in the soundtrack of Mad Men.  Sure, it might have been done before, but James Hunter has a way of making it his own and wow, daddio, what a way it is.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP, shake up a dry martini and shimmy 'till dawn

For more information:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Go-Betweens - Bellavista Terrace: Best Of The Go-Betweens


When Grant McLennan died in mid-2006, the world mourned the passing of not just a great songwriter and half of one of Australia's best song writing teams but also a damned nice bloke to boot.  His legacy began with one of Australia's finest indie bands, The Go-Betweens.

My first taste of this band was the much-discussed Cattle And Cane, the one with the 'weird' time signature (it's 5/4, folks, and not weird at all).  The discussions should have been about how wonderfully Australian the song is, how it challenged the pap called pop music at the time and why the hell this band never achieved the fame they so richly deserved.  It's frustrating to think that the template they developed was usurped and used so effectively by others (yes, The Smiths, I'm looking at you).

But enough of this bitterness.  I'm sure both Grant and Robert Forster would not begrudge anyone any success, such as the gentlemen they were, are and always will be.  This collection, cobbled together in 1999, includes a fair cross-section from their back catalogue and some of my personal favourites such as Was There Anything I Could Do, Spring Rain, Dive For Your Memory and the absolutely, shimmeringly sublime Streets Of Your Town.

As Mine says, we really should have more of this band in our collection.  It beggars belief we don't, considering some of the crap we do have.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP and sing along.


The Go-Betweens - more affectionately known to me as the Gobs - gave me one of my most memorable rock moments.  Being a person of somewhat limited stature - OK I'm short, alright? - I'm in the habit of getting to the front of stages by being a Buffalo Gal and going around the outside, frequently ending up at one side or the other.  At this particular concert, it meant I was side-on, with an excellent view of the drums, the bass player of that time (probably John Wilsteed, thanks Wikipedia!) , and occasional glimpses of the late Grant McLennan.  But the rock moment I'm referring to is when the band took the stage and Lindy Morrison sat down behind the drum kit.  She was wearing a knee-length(ish) skirt, which promptly became a mini as she hiked it up so she could straddle the bass drum.  And looking around, I realised I was the only person who actually saw that.  A special moment.  No, not pervy.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

Both Tallulah and 16 Lovers Lane helped form a backdrop to a very thrilling part of my life - when I left my first husband, moved hundred of kilometres, started a new job and quickly jumped head-first into a new relationship.  This compilation does include some of my favourite songs, and has a surprise hidden track at the end  - their tribute to actress Lee Remick.  It's great as a sampler for their trademark jangly guitars with mournful-sounding lyrics.  Well worth a listen, and hopefully as a jumping-off point for purchasing more of their back catalogue.  Which I guess we should, or maybe we should just bite the bullet and get a proper turntable so we can play the damn black plastic again.  Whaddya say, YourZ?


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Garbage - Beautiful Garbage


I'm not playing Garbage enough.  This was made abundantly clear when I started playing this album and bounced around to it non-stop for ages.  Now I want more, more, more and I'll be rectifying that ASAP.

What's not to love?  Breathtaking production from drummer Butch Vig (of impeccable lineage) and those scorching sounds from Shirley Manson, this and the other albums are a great asset to any music-lover's collection.

I've seen them, um, three times?  The first as a support(!) to Alanis Morissette.  I was working with a couple of young dudes in a small office at the time, and they said they were going, so I asked if I could tag along with them.  They bought the tickets, I supplied the cash.  Young dudes, remember?  So when we get to the gig, I'm dismayed to find we are not on the floor part of the venue to jump up and down, no, we are in seats, nosebleed high above the stage, with other people sitting behind us who complained when I wanted to bop about a bit. Sigh.  And then there was Alanis.  Reader, I left only two songs into the whiny Canadian's set, thankful I wouldn't be streaming out of the arena with the rest of the plebs.

I've also seen them at a festival where I didn't get close enough to the front, but then later at a solo show where I was right THERE, close enough to get a great eyeful of Shirley.  That woman can move and sing at the same time like just about nobody else I've seen.  Oh wait, I'm not including Iggy Pop, but then I have suspicions he's an alien.  And in a weird kind of segue, I need to watch the Terminator TV series where she plays a Terminator android.

There are rumours they'll do another album and tour it... Butch, the world is waiting! 

PS I have When I Grow Up as my ringtone....



As Mine said, what's not to like about Garbage.  Mine didn't introduce me to this band but she certainly increased my appreciation of them.  Their songs are superbly crafted pop heavily disguised as big, brash rock songs and the production is so damned polished, you'd swear you're listening to Britney or Christina or one of those pop divas.  The musicianship, the arrangements and sounds exude confidence and quality.  And then there's Shirley; the bad, bodacious babe who is everything those little try hard divas wanna be.  Her voice moves effortlessly between prissy princess and rock bitch.  Oh, and she looks so good she would make a marshmallow hard. 

This album, like all Garbage albums, has a few power ballads but is mostly comprised of up-tempo tracks perfect for turning up loud and disturbing the neighbours.  I've only seen them live once, at a festival, but clearly remember the massive crowd eating up everything the band threw at them.  I also remember the crowd bouncing up and down like a single organism.  There's not too many bands who can do this to a festival audience. 

Favourite tracks on Beautiful Garbage are probably the obvious ones.  I love the electrobeat start to Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go) and the intro to Androgyny is simply awesome.  The soft/loud template has never sounded better or more polished.  And the barking guitar sound and scratches on Untouchable is something else.  I don't know whether it's their best album but if this one's any indication, I'll be listening to the others soon.


For more information:

In our collection, we also have Garbage, Version 2.0 and Bleed Like Me

Monday, January 25, 2010

Faithless - Outrospective Special Edition


What is this atmospheric shit - sounds like 'B' grade video game music.  Oh, wait a minute, here comes something interesting...  Oh, no it's not, its just a bit.  What the  fuck?  Okay, maybe I'm being picky but any song that takes ages to start then stops before it really goes anywhere shouldn't be the first song on an album. 

There are a couple of good tracks on this.  Not Enuff has a sort of pre-grime, dub-step beat and a tidy rap coupled with a very smooth female melody line, just the kind of thing I like in my hip hop.   Most of the tracks are along the lines of the first and don't interest me in the slightest.  Muhammad Ali starts with a kind of disco feel joined with another very good rap then brings up another great hook.  Lyrically, it's a clever homage to the great man as well as being a bit of biography of the rapper.  The rest of the album features more of the same atmospheric stuff.  Okay, time for the Reperspective, the remix disc.

This CD held my attention for as long as it took me to skip through the tracks.  Again, maybe I'm being a bit picky but seriously, this disappointed me.  I'd only ever heard good things about Faithless and to be honest, both discs had maybe a half-dozen songs that held my interest for their length.  But then, I've never been a fan of this kind of dance music except for Massive Attack, who do it way better.

VERDICT: THROW IT OUT (after ripping Not Enuff and Muhammad Ali)


Ooooh, this was harsh.  It's been a rough week for both Your and Mine(self) with the loss of our beautiful cat after nursing her back from the brink a couple of months ago.  That's why I'm feeling vulnerable, I'm (firmly) telling myself.  There I was, wondering why I hadn't played this CD for so long, thinking about how I would explain this purchase to Your (which of course I bought for the remixes - I've barely listened to the plain unvarnished version).

I was glad I was in the car when Crazy English Summer came on.  "Great," I thought, "I love this song!"  And then I was singing along to - Sometimes I feel like I'm glad to be free/ Sometimes I still want your arms around me/ Sometimes I'm glad to have left you behind/ The crazy English summer's put you back on my mind

I burst into tears.  Because this song recalls the pain I felt after a relationship (before YourZ, well before) when I was so devastated by my loss, I had to go to counselling.  In fact, I recall sitting on my sofa, in my little flat, listening to this song over and over again and sobbing my heart out, until I was in such emotional turmoil I dug my fingernails into my legs and raked them until they bled, because the physical pain was preferable.

Funny, I could have sworn that feeling was over long ago.  I'm not in love with that person any more, and I'm not even sure that what I felt then was love - more a kind of all-consuming obsession.  I'm telling myself it's only because I'm feeling emotional this week.  Is that PMS I spy?  Or is it just that listening to that one song can put me back in that moment, particularly because it affected me so much?  But it's left me feeling a bit indecisive about Outrospective or rather about  Reperspective, which is what the remixes are called.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (but let's skip that song, OK?)

For more information:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Come - Near Life Experience



Oh, you want more?  Very boring.

I can see why this band's in YourZ collection - 1996, signed to Sub Pop, etc.  But really, it hasn't travelled well.  I guess the best thing I could say about Near Life Experience is it's mercifully short.



I wish I could remember why I have this band in my collection, I really do.  The time of its release might have something to do with at as I was pretty much into anything noisy, guitar-orientated and alternative.  That this also included the wonderfullly ragged vocals of Thalia Zedek, who sounded like a more-in-control version of Courtney Love, probably only added to its appeal (in fact, I think Thalia was probably everything Ms Love was never capable of being: a great singer, songwriter and musician - sorry, Courtney - no, please, put down the axe...)

The other thing about this particular album, and probably another contributing factor in my purchase of it, was its similarites in sound to PJ Harvey, another big favourite (although Polly Jean has remained so to this day).  What is quite disconcerting is that there are three Come albums in our collection and I don't think I've listened to any of them for many years.

Listening to Near Life Experience, I have to say, was a treat, kind of like seeing an old friend you don't talk to anymore because you've both taken different paths in life.  But this is the great thing about music - it takes the listener on a journey, be it to the future, to the past or to some distant fantasy land.  It reminds me of a time when I lived in an inner-city terrace with a bunch of friends and drop-ins and spent many nights dissecting the world while listening to angst-laden music like this.  Ah, those were the days, my friend but I'm really pleased I'm not there anymore.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (but not too loud, please) okay, okay, that's enough - THROW IT OUT

For more information:

In our collection, we also have 11:11 and Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Clash - The Singles


I would love to say, for credibility, I was a fan of The Clash right from the start but the reality is when they first came out, I was more interested in Kiss and Cheap Trick and other bands who were part of the 'establishment' they, and the punk scene in general, often railed against.

But I liked them well enough to buy the Double A side vinyl single for Should I Stay Or Should I Go/Straight To Hell.  (Yes, I still have it and again, no, don't bother asking).  I also remember fondly watching the videos for London Calling and Rock The Casbah.  My reasons for not getting into them more then are many and varied, none of which would have any great interest to you now, dear reader.

It wasn't until some years later when I was working as a volunteer DJ for a community radio station that my appreciation grew into outright love.  If asked now, I would say London Calling is my favourite album of all time.  If our extensive collection were lost tomorrow, the first replacement I would get would be this one as I can't imagine not having it.  The impact of this single (double) album has had on popular music is undeniable.  It's a pinnacle moment in modern music history.  (Just in case you haven't gathered by now, I really do like this album a lot). 

This collection, The Clash - The Singles, is another great starter record for anyone who don't know or are just getting into the band.  Given The Clash were never really a singles band anyway, I personally find the collection lacking but this is a personal observation and no reflection on the quality of the material. No, not at all, no way... 

VERDICT: TURN IT UP and pogo like your knees are still young


A lot of my last year of school (*cough* 1980 *cough*) was spent sitting on the floor of my best friend's house, listening to her brother's copy of London Calling and reading all the words on the inside sleeves of those big black plastic things... LPs!  I remember now.  It was a bit of a surprise buy for him, as he'd been a Deep Purple, AC/DC-head up until then.

I also remember playing Rudy Can't Fail over and over and over again when I was trapped in a small country town due to following my first husband through hell AND high water.  It seemed a good soundtrack to the scenes from the Falklands invasion I was watching on TV at the time.

I think we got this CD because we didn't have any Clash on CD, and it's not bad for filling in some of the gaps.  But as we have London Calling and Sandinista there now, the main point of this one is to have Rock the Casbah and Radio Clash in one convenient location.  Both of which have wiggled me around many dance floors in the past, and no doubt will continue to do so into the future.

To my great disappointment, I've never seen the Clash play live, but a few years ago I was lucky enough to see Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros perform.  A moment (but only a moment) of silence, please.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (smashing guitars entirely optional)

For more information:

In our collection we also have London Calling, Sandinista, Combat Rock, The Story Of The Clash Vol 1 and Live at Shea Stadium

Friday, January 22, 2010

Billy Bragg - William Bloke


Ah, Billy.  Our relationship began all those years ago, on a late-night TV music show, not with any of your recordings but with the vocal stylings of one late-lamented Kirsty MacColl (of whom, I'm freely betting, more will appear here).  Her version of your song  A New England held me transfixed.  In fact, so enamoured was I of Ms MacColl's version, I sneered at yours when I was introduced to it a short time later.

It wasn't until I heard Talking with the Taxman About Poetry - which opens with the delightful Greetings to the New Brunette and also features the transcendant  Levi Stubbs' Tears - that I really understood what you were all about.  But I've always preferred your personal songs to your political ones, despite agreeing with what you have to say, you old-skool lefty.

I've seen you - um, three or four times, can't remember - and for a while there you were one in a whole range of blokes-with-a-guitar I saw back-to-back (Luka Bloom and Elvis Costello also featured as such, I recall).  But William Bloke doesn't have much on it I like.  Everybody Loves You Babe made me smile, and The Space Race is Over echoed my feelings so well - didn't we all dream of walking on the moon?  But generally this doesn't have much in it to warrant keeping it in the collection.

Fear not though Billy, I think your best-of album Must I Paint You A Picture? will be on my to-buy list.  I can see this blog's going to prove expensive, in the end.



If there is such a thing as English country music, then Billy Bragg is definitely one of its biggest proponents, particularly on William Bloke, his eighth album.  Musically, this album moves between quiet, stripped back tunes reminiscent of Randy Newman (with a similar kind of humour too) to mid-tempo numbers.

Lyrically, Billy continues to tread pretty much the same ground he's always done, moving between quasi-political and protest songs to more personal songs about love.  Gone is the raw, raggedness of his earlier releases and in its place is a smoothness in production that, quite frankly, makes it bland and boring.

I like Billy.  He's intelligent, articulate and passionate.  He also enjoys a beer or three. He has a wonderful wit and because of this, his column in Q Magazine is one of the first things I read with each new issue.  As it is, I would love to say I enjoyed listening to this and although I tried hard to, I couldn't. Sorry Billy...


For more information:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Beastie Boys - The Sounds Of Science


Ah, the Beastie Boys...  What can I say about this trio without sounding too sycophantic? I suppose I could say listening and getting into this band was my first foray into what was then the new world of rap and/or hip hop (the definition is still elusive to me - if anyone can give me a good one, I'd be mighty pleased).

I suppose I could also say they inspired me to look beyond my guitar rock leanings to a whole world of great music.  I suppose I could also say they helped inhibit, and then rid me of the idea that good music should be made by real instruments and not with turntables and samples.

They did all those things.  But primarily, for me, they opened doors for me to become involved.  As a musician, my past is littered with memories of bad bands, average bands and one or two really good bands.  But the best band I was ever in was a hip hop band, as a guitarist/writer/producer because it allowed me to explore all the styles of music I love without inhibition, something no other band enabled me to do.  I love The Beastie Boys for this.

The Sounds of Science is the best starter kit for anyone who doesn't know this band.  For the fan, it's brilliant to have so many of the Beasties best songs gathered in one place.  It's a bit like seeing them live, where they mix it up between a straightup hip hop show (3 MCS and 1 DJ) to their live band mode.  Personally, I never tire of hearing songs like Sabotage, Sure Shot, Root Down or Hey Ladies.  Yeah, there's a good dose of misogynism and schoolboy humour, but they're also guaranteed to Shake Your Rump.



Mmmph.  Ergh. *sigh*.  My reaction on finding out I had to listen to not one, but TWO Beastie Boys CDs.  Because while I quite like them, the thought of getting all the way through this promised me a headache.  My brain's wired for music, and a lot of what rap artists do is just yell at you.  For hours.

That said, there are a bunch of tunes I love on this best-of collection. And there's no doubt I enjoyed the band live when I saw them with YourZ in 2005 at a festival where we also caught the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and the Chemical Brothers.  The Fatboy Slim remix of Body Movin' is a favourite - and I'm sure we all have to Fight for Your Right

There are others, but for me the joy of a Beasties song is when it's dropped into the mix by a consummate DJ.  If you don't believe me, check out The Dirtchamber Sessions released by the Prodigy.  Damn, must buy that one again.


For more information:

In our collection, we also have Licensed To Ill, Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty and To The 5 Boroughs

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Asian Dub Foundation - Enemy Of The Enemy


Oooh, now I know what YourZ means when he bangs on about Forgotten Gems.  This cross-genre dancey, bangy, bhangra-reggae mix just got me itchin' to find a dance floor.  There's something so inspirational for the hips about the cut-through sound of a tabla combined with some really dubby bass.  I'm more familiar with their 2000 release, Community Music as I'd once had a copy of it (whatever happened to that?) but this is just as good.  Swinging between different paces, it's another one I want to select tracks from for my Shuffle's range of "gym-spirational" music.

Speaking of which, that's another area where YourZ and my good self couldn't be further apart.  When it comes to pumping iron, he's all about the shouty-boy music - Clutch, Karnivool, Queens of the Stone Age etc.  Whereas I like me some power-pop, big beat and dancefloor fillers - much like these dudes.

In case you're interested, the song 1000 Mirrors features Sinead O'Connor.  But that's one of the slower ones and I'm just looking around for a dance floor.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (dance, dance, dance)


Mine and YourZ (truly) had a discussion last night about categories in music.  This stemmed from my idea that, as an exercise, it would be interesting to categorise each band we review and put together some sort of statistical analysis at the end of the year.  Mine disagreed for a number of reasons but primarily because she shares my dislike of categorisations.  I countered that I didn't like them either but that the music industry thrives on them as do a lot of the fans.

For the sake of the argument, we went through the selections we'd made so far and applied an arbitrary genre category to each.  The problem with this is the word 'arbitrary' because where I might see a particular act as one genre, Mine sees it as another.  Asian Dub Foundation was one such act.

To me, this is mainly a hip hop album.  It has more melody and rhythmic complexities than rap and while is uses electronica elements, could hardly be considered so because of its live instrumentation.  Yet we argued about it.  In reality, it has all the above elements without being any one of them in particular.  Heck, it could even be said to encompass world music elements as well.  The argument's still not resolved and probably won't ever be.

Why am I telling you this?  Mainly to give you an understanding of what Enemy Of The Enemy sounds like, without applying a particular genre category to it.  It's undoubtedly great music, full of clever beats consistently crossing cultural boundaries.  It's what I call intelligent dance music.  And this isn't a category, this is a reality.


For more information go to:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Paul Weller - Wild Wood


I have always been a fan of The Jam.  The Style Council, not so much.  I mean, I do have an extremely rare edition of The Beat Surrender single (which I won't part with so don't bother asking) but apart from this, I wasn't into the band.

Having said this, Mr Weller's voice is so distinctive, I couldn't help but like what he did when I heard it. Yet somehow, I missed a lot of his output in the intervening years. Thankfully, Mine didn't.  I firmly believe she would leave me at the drop of a hat if Paul wanted her.  Makes me grateful he lives on the other side of the world and doesn't like flying.

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing him perform live last year (probably my gig of the year, truth be told).  What a showman he is and what a band he has supporting him.  The passion he evokes was evidenced by the audience reaction and in the cross-section of ages at the concert.  He really is a multi-generational artist.  I know there were parents and children at the show, equally as entranced by him.

Part of me feels remiss that I've spent so many years not listening to him, particularly now I've become familiar with this album.  For instance, I can't get the song Wildwood out of my head.  It's a superbly understated piece of brilliant guitar rock and almost brings me to tears with every listen.  Then there's Sunflower, a song whose title I thought would imply some sort of hippy ode but instead turns out to be anything but.  The ageless sound of Can You Heal Us (Holyman) and the turned upside-down reprise are simply wonderful as is All The Pictures On The Wall.  If you've not experienced any of Mr Weller's output and you consider yourself a fan of good music, then I can't recommend this album highly enough.

I'm now off to listen to Stanley Road.  I don't believe it can be any better than this but I'm prepared to be wrong.



My hero, my inspiration, the musician I've most closely followed through my life, and hasn't he kept his looks??!! (He's another one on my list). This was his second solo album after the Style Council split, but I've been a fan since The Jam. Yes, I was a mod (She's a mod, she's a mod, yeah, yeah yeah) and my love for the Modfather continues.

Here's the deal. In 1985 I was living in Bendigo, a small town inland from Melbourne, Australia, with my first husband. I was unemployed and broke, and the Style Council were playing in Melbourne on my birthday. I hinted like anything that all I really wanted for my birthday was to see them, and that weekend we packed up the car for what my then-husband said would be "a weekend waterskiing with his friends". "Ha ha" I thought, "this is just to make the special occasion even more special". But then we took another road, and - guess what? We spent the weekend waterskiing.

Furious, I promised myself I'd catch the Style Council the next time they toured. They broke up. Then I learned Mr Weller isn't fond of flying, and I had to wait 26 years to see him. To ensure I fully enjoyed the experience I saw him twice - once in Sydney (with YourZ), where we live now, and then flying more than 700 kilometres (about 450 miles) to see him in Brisbane by myself. Scored the set list from that concert, which now has pride of place on our fridge. However, I'm not the only person I know who flew silly distances for him. My ex, who I introduced to PW many years ago, flew more than 4,000 kilometres (about 2,500 miles) from Broome to Adelaide for the same experience.

So trying to give my opinion on Wild Wood is a bit difficult. I think it's a great album - not as good as Stanley Road, which is one of my favourite albums of all time. In my opinion, it's better than his latest, 22 Dreams, which I'm not as keen on as he is. I felt it was a bit MOR, to be frank. But I can listen to Wild Wood any day, in any mood, especially for Sunflower and Wild Wood. In fact the worst Paul Weller album will always be better than some of the best albums from other artists, because his voice sings in my heart, and it always will.


For more information:

In our collection, we also have Stanley Road, 22 Dreams, Days Of Speed, Heliocentric, Heavy Soul and Paul Weller

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sugar Ray - Floored


Oh, that Sugar Ray.  OK, I remember now.  But I've never listened to this album before and I'm sure everyone who bought Floored because of the hit single Fly would have been scratching their heads as much as I did.  I mean, it's mostly shouty boy music.  Kinda Rage Against the Machine-ish.

It reminds me of the furore raised by No Doubt when Don't Speak was so mega for them.  I remember one work mate saying she threw their album Tragic Kingdom out because none of the other songs "were anywhere near as good and they were all too loud".

On Floored the only other song I recognise is RPM with its catchy refrain "I will let you down".  Their version of Adam and the Ants' Stand and Deliver really didn't ... deliver anything new, and most of the other songs gave me a headache.  So, a whole album for two songs?  My reaction's predictable.



I mentioned previously I used to write for a music publication, doing reviews, interviews and such.  This album was one of those I received to review.  Again, my dodgy memory being what it is, I don't remember what sort of review I gave it but I do recall being intrigued by the fact they had a DJ in the band (this was the late 90s).  These days, this is nothing unusal.  But then, the combination of rock guitars and scratches was new and kind of exciting.

But this in no way makes Sugar Ray or Floored trend setters.  For the most part, the album merely shows the band's template copies of the different alternative styles being played by better bands in their home state of California at the time.  With scratches. 

Then there's the song Fly.  It stands out because it's so very different from the rest of the songs on the album.  This song is a very obvious ripoff of the sound of another California band, Sublime, who fairly patented this kind of cruisy, dubby, summery sound.  Given this album came out not long after the tragic death of the lead singer of Sublime, Brad Nowell, I can't help but view the song, and Sugar Ray, with cynicism and contempt.

Oh yeah, the less said about 'Stand and Deliver', the better.  As Mine said, it fails to deliver, on any level.  Why this album has remained in the collection is anyone's guess.  Any takers?


For more information:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dusty Springfield - Am I The Same Girl?


My experiences of Dusty, like Mine's, go back years. My love of music comes from my parents, who had a wonderful collection of LPs (remember those?) My Dad was also a reel-to-reel tape fanatic and spent many hours recording huge selections of music. He borrowed, bought and begged music from a large array of sources and my musical education began by picking my way through these tapes, song by song.

It was in front of that tape deck, as a pre-teen, that I developed a love of both rock and pop music, a love that continues to this very day.  It also opened my mind to an understanding of the wide variety of music being made and to the idea that I didn't have to restrict myself to a single genre.  In fact, it was here I first learnt to despise the way people would judge others by what they read, listened to or watched.  My parents loved all sorts of music, from contemporary rock to marching bands, from folk to funk and from polka to pop.  Oh sure, they had their favourites, both individually and collectively, but they never restricted themselves.

My mother loved the girl singers like Petula Clark, Connie Francis, Nancy Sinatra and, of course, Dusty.  I distinctly remember songs such as Wishin' and Hopin, I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, I Only Want To Be With You and You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and more.  Ask anyone born in or before the 60s and they will know these songs. 

The shame of it is none of these appear on this album.  In fact, the only song on here I would consider a classic Dusty track is Son Of A Preacher Man.  The rest of this album is filled with songs you might recognise even if you aren't familiar with the Dusty versions, songs like the Carpenters classic (They Long To Be) Close To You, Bacharch and David's This Guy's In Love With You and Spooky.  It also includes her take on Windmills Of Your Mind, which brings something beautiful and quite sad to the song.  I particularly like the lovely acoustic guitar in this one. 

On the whole, this is a lovely album, particularly if you're a Dusty fan and looking to complete your collection with rare takes of songs.  And with a voice like hers, you really can't go wrong.



Dusty and I go way, waaaay back. My family spent most of 1973 on the road, in a Kombi van driving across Europe, through Iran, Afghanistan, (I know!) Pakistan and India. I spent most of the time either squeezed in next to my mother in a front-seat two-in-one seatbelt situation (that no doubt was just as highly dangerous and illegal then as it is now) or curled up in the back on top of our sleeping bags, listening to a bunch of cassettes my father had picked up in Singapore. They were all cheap knockoffs, mostly with typewritten labels. And while I feel a pang at the thought of the money we did Dusty out of then (among others including the Beatles and the Stones), I kind of feel better at the thought that I've spent a great deal of money on Ms Springfield's output since then. (Did you like the way I avoided the term oeuvre there?  Took a lot of restraint, you know.)

Lying in the back, reading or just watching the scenery go by, I fell in love with the white-soul diva. OK, the cassette also had Petula Clark on it, but Don't Sleep In The Subway will never compare to Son Of A Preacher Man for me. This particular album was purchased purely for the fact that I didn't own the title track on CD after coming to know it well on that cassette, all those years ago. In fact, this CD must contain the fourth or fifth Preacher Man and Breakfast In Bed I own. But it does have a bonus - never-before-heard versions of Spooky and Close To You.

I've previously mentioned my kitchen music - and this CD ordinarily resides on that shelf, for turning up and singing my heart out to while chopping, mixing and baking. I'd swear it makes the food taste better...

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (you know all the words)

For more information:

In our collection we also have The Ultimate Collection and Dusty In Memphis

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sick Puppies - Welcome to the Real World


Generally in the category of shouty boy music as far as I'm concerned, the Sick Puppies were fun to see live, and their first album reflects a hint of the more polished performance they've since grown to deliver. 

This isn't an album I'd choose to stick on for personal enjoyment, but that's not because I don't appreciate its musicianship: it's just not my kind of music.  I do like Time Will Pass but feel the lead singer's voice is a little thin to be unsupported on such a well-structured pop song.  Could be a great song for someone with a bit more pop sensibility to cover?  Mostly the band's shooting adolescents in a barrel with their glumness (Nothing Else Matters) but the single Rock Kids is a damn fine poke at the music industry that really made me smile.  And for a first album, its execution stands up well - decently mixed and competently played.  Just not my thang, y'all.



I met the Sick Puppies years ago, just after the release of this, their first album.  They were young, good-looking (particularly Emma the bass player) and very talented, with a huge sound for a three piece.

Mine and Yours (truly) saw them in a small, fairly empty club on a week night.  At the time, I was reviewing for a local street press music magazine and had taken the tickets because no one else would.  I recall I wasn't really happy about this but did it anyway.  But man, was I pleased I'd taken the job on.

The Sick Puppies played to the place like they were in front of a packed stadium.  They were relentless in their attack and totally won over everyone in the room.  As a result, I wrote them a sterling review and was rewarded with a call from their management to ask if I'd like to meet the band, review their album and maybe write an article.  I said yes almost too quickly.  I didn't want to come across as gushing as I was still young enough (just) to think it wasn't cool.

Meeting them turned out to be a treat too.  They were very comfortable and easy with each other but a little wary of the whole 'press' thing.  After assuring them I really meant what I said in my live review, they relaxed and I wrote a great piece.  Their manager followed up with phone calls and emails to thank me for the job and invite me to further gigs.  This is almost unheard-of behaviour in the music business.

I also got to review Welcome To The Real World.  I can't exactly remember what I wrote, but I know I liked the album a lot.  It was such an accomplished, mature rock sound for a band so young (they were all still teens at the time).  I saw them at another show some time later and remember wondering why their star hadn't risen.

Then along came that video, filmed by vocalist/guitarist Shimon, and loaded onto YouTube (see it here).  He did it to cheer himself up after the death of a close relative but, with the addition of their song All The Same as a soundtrack, the band suddenly had a huge hit and the world came looking for a piece of them.  The rest, as they say, is now history.

But let's get back to Welcome To The Real World.  I honestly hadn't listened to it for quite some time, being fickle-eared and all.  But the surprising thing about catching up with it again is how great it still sounds, all things considered.  Hindsight being what it is, I can see it put the world on notice that the Sick Puppies would only get better.


For more information:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Regurgitator - Mish Mash


This isn't the best Regurgitator album. But for the barest millimetres, the pointy stick could have landed on a number of better ones, like their debut Tu Plang or their poppy follow-up, Unit.  But it didn't.

It's not a bad album, as 'Gurge albums go. It could've been covers of Oasis songs or Dan Brown put to music but thankfully, it's not. The big(ish) claim to fame regarding this album is it was recorded during their 'Band In A Bubble' show of a few years ago, where the band and a few extras locked themselves in a glass house for three weeks in the middle of Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia.

They were filmed from every angle as they struggled to write and record songs and also cope with the fact they were being watched 24/7.  There were inspirational moments, arguments, fights, silliness and lots of malarkey.  The tracks written and recorded in the Bubble were then polished and released as Mish Mash.  At the end of the three weeks, the band came out of the Bubble to perform to a huge live crowd.  Quan Yeomans, guitarist and vocalist for the band, soon moved to Hong Kong, where he currently resides.  Make what you will of this.

Mish Mash is an appropriate title for the album as is does seem to be bits and pieces of everything lumped together.  This isn't a particularly bad thing as throughout their career, Regurgitator have made a habit of reinventing themselves, sometimes numerous times within a single disc.  Previously, this added to their overall charm and kept the listener on their toes.  With this album, though, I think there's a bit more mish than mash.  But the energy of their tracks is undeniable.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (at least for the first half of the album, anyway)


When I think of Regurgitator, one emotion always flows to the top of my consciousness - regret. You see, I had the chance to see them play for free in '96, when I left accounting to study broadcasting, but because I hadn't heard any of their music I opted out of following my fellow students to the concert. I was a bit older than them, and frankly the name of the band just put me off. They came back raving about how good it had been.

And then I heard Tu-Plang. And I realised this was exactly the sort of live act I love - mixing genres, providing a good hard dance beat with some rockin' guitars and unafraid of electronica. The sort of sound that prompted me to be up front for Primal Scream and later got me to fall in love with Apollo 440.

However, I'm not that keen on Mish Mash. The first song's really good, the sort that reminds me why I like them so much, some are so-so and some are a little patchy. But it's reminded me that I need to establish exactly which songs from all the albums in our collection are the booty-shakin' variety, and put them on my Shuffle for pumping at the gym.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (skip the boring ones)

For more information:

In our collection we also have Tu Plang, Unit, Eduardo And Rodriguez Wage War On T-Wrecks and Love and Paranoia

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pavement - Wowee Zowee


My initial reaction to this album - to dismiss it as the shoegazer version of boy music - was abruptly changed this morning, when I listened to it for the first time in my car. I'd previously given it a go at home, while other things were going on, and hadn't had the time to really pay attention. And it's a lot better than I thought. I can tell you it's especially good cranked up to 11 at 4.30 am on the way to work for the fourth early shift in a row. Vibrated my car's windows, yo. Caused some head-banging and steering-wheel drums. I think some early-morning delivery drivers in trucks were bemused at the sight of a small middle aged lady rockin' out in a hatchback.

That initial reaction's not so surprising, come to think of it. When the worldwide phenomenon that was Nirvana broke, I officially considered myself "old" for a long time - because I simply didn't get it. It took me about six months to a year before I began to appreciate the grunge sound, which I think I can thank Helmet for. I caught them live at a music festival around the time of Betty and thoroughly enjoyed it. Well, I was there to see Iggy Pop, so I guess my "rawk" gene had been engaged for the day.

So, Wowee Zowee. While described as "lo-fi", I can actually hear what's being sung most of the time. There are even country elements in it, which made me smile. The lyrics are intelligent and occasionally witty. Given all this, I might give the rest of Pavement's albums in our collection a go. A girl's gotta have something to get her heart started on those early mornings. I wonder if YourZ wants to catch them on the reunion tour?

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (long hair optional for headbanging)


I was once in an indie band in a small city in the western world. We rehearsed a lot, wrote a lot and got heaps of gigs. In my eyes, the pinnacle of our career was supporting Pavement when they toured. It was around the time of Slanted And Enchanted, their now-seminal album of articulate lo-fi art-rock. Our indie cred couldn't have been higher.

We had supported many good bands before, names I could say and you, dear reader, would recognise. But Pavement were in a league of their own. Apart from being nice blokes (and that lead singer, Steve Malkmus, was a bit of an indie poster boy and made all the girls swoon) they were also responsible for an album of such standing it's still talked about today. To say we were a little awed would be an understatement. I remember standing to one side of the stage and watching them perform and thinking to myself 'I just shared a stage with these guys'. Just thinking about it gives me a bit of a thrill. I still have a poster of that gig - it's one of my prized possessions.

But this isn't why I own this album. I own it because it's good music. Even after 14 years, it still sounds urgent, vibrant and alive. And weirdly good. But then this band have never been normal and this has always been part of their appeal.

At the gig I played all those years ago, the drummer at the time, Gary Young, handed out Real Estate pamphlets to everyone as they came into the venue. In the middle of the set, when his drumming duties were minimal, he lay on the stage and rode an air bicycle and then did some star jumps. We were so enchanted by the silliness we thought it was cool. Apparently the band didn't because not long after this tour, Gary was sacked and replaced.

The new drummer, while not the character Young was, brought better skills and tightened up Pavement's often shambolic sound. I preferred the 'Gary' version only because it gave the music a feeling that it could all collapse in a feedback-laden heap. But anyway...

Wowee Zowee has a veritable smorgasbord of flavours, with something to please even the most difficult listening palate (if you only like metal or hard rock then you're shit outta luck, I'm afraid). I forgot how good this album was, usually satisfying my urge to hear this band with Slanted and Enchanted. This is something I'm going to have to change, if only to refresh my memory.


For more information:

In our collection we also have Slanted & Enchanted, Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, Terror Twilight, Brighten The Corners and Slanted & Enchanted - Luxe & Redux (Tenth Anniversary Edition)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Roisin Murphy - Overpowered


Roisin Murphy is responsible for the vocals for some of the smartest dance music I'd ever heard when she was part of the duo, Moloko. I'm not a big dance music fan but really liked what they did.

I was hoping Roisin would continue in this vein and, for the most part, she has done. Elevating dance above the standard 'doof-doof' to something more is always going to be a hard ask but in Overpowered, she seems to have done it.

But this is what I would definitely term 'girl' music. It's great to play loud and dance about to, if so inclined, but it doesn't feed my inner-caveman and he's always hungry. Thankfully, this is also the sort of music that inspires Mine while she is cooking. The outer caveman is very thankful for this, let me tell ya.

Gripe time: what is it with tiny credit lists. I know CD sleeves are small and sometimes, an artist has a lot of people to give credit to. For trainspotters like me, however, using 2 point font means, short of buying a magnifying glass, I have no chance of reading them. Ms Murphy is most certainly not alone in doing this.



I was a fan from her Moloko days, so buying this album wasn't a stretch for me. It's one of my kitchen CDs - I like to play it when I'm on a cooking binge, as its danceability helps bounce me around through the gruelling bits, plus it's not so deep it distracts me. Kitchen music needs to be either danceable or singable - light or super-familiar. There's a CD shelf in the kitchen which usually holds a few compilations (the variety keeps me hopping) plus some big-ass songstresses like Ella Fitzgerald and Dusty Springfield.

While I was doing a bit of research for this post, I was surprised to see her dissing Lady GaGa for copying her looks. But then Roisin's always had her own wild fashion style, and if GaGa did copy it I'd think it'd be more of an homage rather than a straight lift. I guess I just don't like to see female artists catting it up. I prefer Overpowered to The Fame Monster, anyway.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (But careful if you're dancing while holding sharp knives!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kylie Minogue - Fever


La la la, la la la-la la.... you know how it goes. Or maybe you don't. Maybe you've lived under a rock as far as La Minogue is concerned, but I certainly haven't. In fact I've seen her live in concert - just the once - and it was truly spec-frackin'-tacular. OK, it's pure, disposable pop. So what? You know you can't get it out of your head, boy your lovin' is all I think about....

Fever is the album that broke her in the US and yet I've been a fan since way, way back. Not quite back to Loco-Motion days, but definitely since Michael Hutchence from INXS introduced the world to SexKylie. Better The Devil You Know is still one of my all-time favourite dancefloor tunes. (How many times, Kylie? "A hundred times or more...")

There's no denying she's easy on the eyes and does great video - check out Confide In Me, Did It Again, Spinning Around (those shorts!), and OMG the Barbarella takeoff of Put Yourself In My Place. (Look out, that's the raunchy version).

It's not often I buy a Kylie album, generally preferring to grab the greatest hits or Live versions, because as a pop princess, the singles are what it's all about. This album's as expected - a couple of real killers, plus some fillerish stuff. No real duds, which is a bonus. This is a woman who knows her (gay-friendly, dancefloor-oriented) market and caters to it. Bravo.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (put your hands in the air)


Oh, lawdy, while I love the idea of what Mine and YourZ(truly) is doing with this blog, I must admit I was concerned that I'd be stuck having to review music such as Ms Minogue's Fever.

I have nothing against her. In fact, to use a tired cliche, I have something I would definitely like to hold against her - ME! Yeah, I know, me and most red-blooded men on the planet. I think she is sexy as any trouble you could want and smart to boot.

The music has some smart moments too, but for the most part, it sounds all a bit the same, really. What really does my head in are the lyrics. It is all about being adored and loved and is full of hooky choruses that, sure, might sound great on the dance floor but do absolutely nothing for me.

I guess I have to question Mine's judgement when she said in our very first review of Lily Allen that she is 'all about the lyrics'. For the most part, the lyrics La Minogue sings are modern-day love poems for teen girls. This is definitely territory I've never walked through, let alone spent any time in, thankfully.

Having said all this, I have no problems turning the sound down and watching just about any of her videos. Nope, no problem at all.


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In our collection we also have Kylie - The Rhythm Of Love and Kylie - Intimate And Live

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Lightning Seeds - Sense


I have vague recollections of this band for some reason I can’t figure out. Listening to this album didn’t help. It kind of sounds like a Pet Shop Boys rip-off but I might be wrong. It certainly sounds like nothing I would pay money for even though I have brought some absolute crap in the past.

I’m hoping Mine thinks the same way.



It's funny, but I haven't listened to this album all the way through for ages. And while the title track always makes me smile and sing along, by the time I got to A Cool Place I was thinking how this could be just another generic late 80's-early 90's British indie-pop band (think Prefab Sprout, XTC, Teenage Fanclub).

In fact the whole album's a bit same-y. Not to say that it's bad, but it made me realise why I've taken my favourite songs and put them on my iPod. Because I don't really need all of them. Mind you, although Blowing Bubbles isn't one of the songs I've iPodded, it'll always make me smile, because of its status as "The Michael Jackson song" in a previous relationship I had. (Get it? Oh boy, I've made some enemies there.)

I must admit I haven't bought any more of the band's work - although I've been tempted by Jollification and I'm very fond of their football song Three Lions.

Anyway, I've been wondering why I've hung on to this album for so long, and now I know. I've been waiting for the invention of the iPod! Objective achieved.


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