Sunday, 16 February 2014

David Bowie - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars

Generally speaking, I think David Bowie is a kind of "you had to be there" type of character. To a particular generation of people, predominantly, as far as I can tell, the post punk/New Romantics, his work appears to have had a significant impact and inspired many, Boy George, Duran Duran, Visage, Spandau Ballet, into becoming artists themselves. As someone a little too young to have been into Bowie during this time, he doesn't have quite the same effect on me. Some of his stuff is great but the rest I can do without.

In fairness, this album, which was another whim purchase a year or so ago, leans towards the latter, the fact that it's a concept album is a plus point. I particularly like Starman and, of course, Ziggy Stardust, Mick Ronson's guitar playing is for me, as a casual listener to Bowie but a big guitar fan, one of the highlights here.  Of the slightly less well known songs, to me at least, I like Moonage Daydream.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys

Based purely on the lyrics, this is my favourite album of the last few years. I think Elbow's Guy Harvey, is one of the best lyricists around. In particular, Lippy Kids' lyrics are so evocative. It's a song about growing up, especially that point in life when you transition from child to young adult. The lyric "One long june I came down from the trees and, kerbstone cool, you were freshly painted angel walking on walls, stealing booze and hourlong hungry kisses." is one of my favourites of any song or artist. Other songs I love are "Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl", apparently about Garvey's first girlfriend and things that were important to him and the band when they were in the their early days, and "The Night Will Always Win" which is about loss and absence.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Adele - 21

Right, I'm going to assume that the entire population of the world  has at least a passing familiarity with this album so there's not much that I can add in terms of any new insights. I think you either love what Adele does or you hate it. Personally, I love it. As a performer she's not about breaking new creative ground or redefining musical paradigms, she's just an incredibly good singer and, more often than not, that's enough, especially when you've spent most of your time recently listening to instrumental music! My favourite track is  Don't You Remember

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Darren Hayman - Lido

I wasn't aware of  Darren Hayman, prior to hearing this album I now follow him on Twitter and am working my way through his back catalogue. I think I heard about him/it from one of the other blogs I follow, although I can't remember which now. I downloaded it originally, without listening to it first, because of the concept, as a Prog Rock fan concept albums hold no fear for me! which is inspired by the  outdoor swimming pools dotted around the country.

Again, it's instrumental album but, unlike the other albums I've written about recently, it uses mainly "conventional," largely acoustic, instruments, except for some sound effects and field recordings taken at the actual locations of the Lidos themselves. Some of the Lidos are still in use while others are now closed and all the pieces on the album are named after the individual Lidos.

I suppose the purpose is to try evoke something of the atmosphere of being at the Lido on a sunny day and I think it works. The music is largely mid to slow tempo and I'm tempted to describe it with terms like "charming", "quirky" and "whimsical". My favourite track is Parliament Hill.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

I'm Off

On the spur of the moment, in the spirit of "everyones' doing it so why can't I" that inspired this blog in the first place. I'm moving my blog to Wordpress. I can now be found here

Monday, 20 January 2014

Dawn Chorus - Day 5

Just a short posting this morning. Todays' Dawn Chorus is Frank Turners' "Polaroid Pictures" from his album "Tape Deck Heart". There's no particular reason why I'm hearing it today, I haven't listened to the Album for a while. I like it though. Good choice brain!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Dawn Chorus - Day 4

It's a bit late in the day really to be doing this and have it count as a dawn chorus. I was up early, considering it's the weekend, doing some chores and errands so was a bit too preoccupied to think about the days' dawn Chorus. However, there is a song that's been rolling around my head most of the day which is Bessie Smiths' Send me to the Electric Chair. Last night I was posting a new jam on This Is my jam and actually chose Aint Nobodys' Business If I Do but it's Send Me to The Electric Chair that I've been thinking about since. I'm a big Bessie Smith fan. I love the way her songs combine dark humour and real emotional strength.