The musical adventures of 2009 – February!

 Februarys a pretty bleak month, certainly weatherwise and if you consider the annual Brit Awards that took place this month, then music wise as well.  And it was reasonably quiet on the music buying front as well. Not a great deal in the way of new releaseses, although by far, the best purchase of the month was the new cd from MORRISSEY, entitled “YEARS OF REFUSAL”. An excellent, uptempo affair, which seems to see Morrissey in an unusually cheery mood. Its a joy from start to finish and one of his best albums in ages. This has been on repeated play throughout february to blow away the icy cobwebs of this very chilly month.

   The only other new cd i purchased this month is from a new group called EMPIRE OF THE SUN. Hailing from down under, although new to music under this name, singer LUKE STEELE has previously been making musical waves with his former band THE SLEEPY JACKSONS and has here teamed up with NICK LITTLEMORE of never heard before psychedlic popsters PNAU. Definetely riding in on the success of MGMT these guys deliver their own version of sun drenched, psychedilc shiny pop and have an album whose cover is a colourful cross between MGMT, ADAM ANT and STAR WARS. In fact the guy behind the counter in ASDA curiously examined the cd before asking me if this was a new album by Mr Adam Ant himself.

 Picked up the FRIENDLY FIRES cd, and these guys have been gaining rave reviews while touring with GLASVEGAS, FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE and WHITE LIES. The lead singer has been likened to Mick Jagger, more to do with his stage presence than his looks i would think…..and hope. This cd will definetely make you feel like getting up and having a dance and im sure the guys will gain ever more fans when festival time comes around.

  Finally got a “real” copy of KINGS OF LEONS “ONLY BY THE NIGHT”, the album thats cemented their fame as britains current number one favourite band. Its also helped them pick up awards at the Brits for Best Album and Best International Band.

   Oh the Brits. Were do you start? i had actually forgotten all about them, as i had got caught up in the bizarre plotiness of the recent Indiana Jones film. On turning the awards ceremony on i thought the Kingdom Of Crystal Skull scriptwriters had continued on their space journey and were penning the events of this years awards. It was the only explanation for witnessing what looked like four singing aliens who were descending to earth to heal us humans with the gift of song. But alas, there was to be no Speilberg encounters of any kind as on second glance i found it was only the flab four, TAKE THAT themselves, singing their wee hearts out before once again leaving this mascarade of an awards ceremony empty handed.

   It was amusing enough for a little while, whether it was watching the total bemusement on everyones faces when IRON MAIDEN won Best Live Act or David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff leering and perving at Fern Cotton in front of millions but it soon descended into total nonsense. Kings of Leons deserved their awards as the album has sold shit loads in Britain and ELBOW are now getting the recognition they so rightly deserve, but overall it was, as usual, rewarding album sales rather than anything resembling musical talent. By the time the dreadfull nominations for Best British Single were read out and more horrifically, GIRLS ALOUD winning! It was all over.

    A nice little introduction from Brandon Flowers kicked off the Pet Shop Boys megamix performance as they were awarded Outstanding Contribution To Music, and he also popped up singing a few lines of the bands classic 1987 number one hit ITS A SIN. LADY GAGA was worbling along amongst all this as well, and up until now i havent heard any of her stuff and have no desire to do so in the forseeable future.

   The cheapest and bizzarest buy of the month for my has been David Bowies “TONIGHT” cd.  Found for only a pound it featured the 80s pop hit BLUE JEAN as well as the classic LOVING THE ALIEN. On sticking it on for a little listen i was dumbstruck by track two by the fact that i was actually listening to David Bowie doing REGGAE!!!!! this was quickly followed by a cover of the Beach Boys “GOD ONLY KNOWS” done in a Walker Brothers style. There was another dance with reggae elsewhere on the album, and by the end of the cd i had definetely felt that i had got my moneys worth from this musical oddity.

   I managed to replace another two of the many cds ive lost over the years this month, adding THE STROKES “ROOM ON FIRE” and AC\DCs “BACK IN BLACK” back into my collection.

 This month has also seen the build up for this years T IN THE PARK pick up a pace, with the release of more tickets and some of the acts that will be appearing. All in all its been nothing short of disorganised chaos with artists being named then said definetely not to be playing, only to be added again with the ongoing updating of the line up (NINE INCH NAILS and JANES ADDICTION to name two). And nobody really knowing who the hell is playing and on what day. Ive also been following the ongoing madness of peoples thoughts and comments on the T in the Park forum. People who are clearly off their heads, and still sitting there wondering if theyll release another headliner name even after theyve already named four headliners for the 3 day event!

   And apparntly a lineup already consisting of BLUR, THE KILLERS, KINGS OF LEON, SNOW PATROL, RAZORLIGHT, MANIC STREET PREACHERS, GLASVEGAS, THE SPECIALS, FRANZ FERDINAND, BLOC PARTY, NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS, ELBOW, JAMES, FRIENDLY FIRES, KATE PERRY, MOGWAI, THE VIEW, SQUEEZE, KEANE, MAXIMO PARK, LADYHAWKE, PETE DOHERTY, WHITE LIES, YEAH YEAH YEAHS, PET SHOP BOYS, BJORN AGAIN and a hell of a lot more isnt enough for these people who dismiss all of this as mediocre and uninspiring and are still religiously praying for some great revelation to make this event truly amazing.

  I mean, what the hell do these people want? They wont be happy until theres an announcemnt that the CAPRENTERS are getting back together again, not only with the dead Karen Carpenter back on drum and vocal duties but also a resurrected Jesus back in the line up! Well he was one of the original Carpenter, wasnt he?

  But is all amusing, harmless fun anyway and passes the time away till the crazy T in the Park weekend actually comes around.

  And a special mention goes to the guy who found a colourful way off getting his point across by calling a fellow commentor a “COCK JUGGLING THUNDERCUNT!”

 An excellent phrase that i for one wont get tired off using. Well there is plenty off them out there!

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Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  

The musical adventures of 2009 – January!

As the New Year partying finally comes to an end, you find yourself lying, dying in your bed, your body telling you that you’re going to pay for all the alcoholic abuse you’ve put it through, wondering if its worth your breath uttering resolutions that probably wont even make it till the end of the month, never mind the end of the year, and also wondering what craziness this year is going to bring and what music is going to soundtrack it.

  Well my half hearted attempts at any kind of new year resolutions have had varying degrees of success so far. Cutting out smoking got off to a great start, and in the first two weeks of the year there were only two moments when i found myself grabbing for menthol medication. So i know i can take it or leave it, although at the moment im doing more taking than leaving, but its still early days so we’ll see how it goes. As for drinking, ive had a very sober time, with only one night of mild drinking occuring, accompanied with the brutalising of many 80’s power ballads on Sing Star. Im sure theres going to be plenty of drunken stories and adventures on the horizon though.

   So with my quiet and sober january days and nights ive been scouring the sales and charity shop bargain bins as well as looking out for any new releases in the music world to kick off what should be, as always, a colourful, unpredictable and entertaining year in music.

   A journey to Glasgow is always incomplete without a visit to Fopp (or flopp as jodie likes to call it), which is always littered with great bargains, good and bad. After having taken jodie to the Irn Bru festival and managing to fly round most of the rides in just over an hour, including the one which has verified my fear of heights by rising as far up as it could go without hitting the roof, then shooting down and various speeds, all in the name of alledged fun. ‘stick your hands in air’ screamed some crazy kid beside me, while my knuckles were turning white as i held onto the metal bar for dear life. If any word came to mind beginning with the letter F while on this ride, it certainly wasn’t Fun. So after surviving our yearly irn bru funfair frights i felt it only right to treat myself to a couple of cheap price cds.

  So while leaving jodie outside finishing off her steak bake i promised her i would only be a couple of minutes as i popped into fopp. Realising this was a blatant lie she was in right behind me, telling me my time was already up. After informing her that there was, literally, a shop full of shit that i could gladly indulge in buying (they even had a couple of MR. MISTER cds) i bribed her with the promise of hitting poundland to buy her usual shit when i was finished.

  With only £8 to spare i decided to choose wisely. So i got the WE ARE THE PIPETTES cd for £3, which i had previously only had as a copy, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds DIG!!! LAZURUS DIG!!!.  The Pipettes are like a modernised version of all those 60s, phil spectorish all girl bands. Its an excellent cd, which just makes you just want to sing and dance. This did get colin into trouble one time with his ex, when she demanded to know why their daughter had started singing one of her favourite songs from the album, DIRTY MIND. Well i feel that having young children subjected to all the x factor nonsense and pop pish thats masquarading as music these days is far more harmful to their childhood than anything that the Pipettes have to offer.

   DIG!!! LAZURUS DIG!!! is a fine album as well. Nick Cave is a very intelligent and witty songwriter and theres always something that will put a smile on your face while listening to his dark broody music.

    As i no longer work in the Cavern, i feel that my days of casually losing cds on a regular basis are behind me and im always on the look out to replace any of my favourite cds that ive lost along the years with my unique drunken dj-ing style.  I managed to pick up MOON SAFARI by Air over the christmas period and was more than happy to have this excellent album back in my collection.

   Hitting the Valhalla record shop in Kilmarnock i managed to reaquaint myself with a few old friends. For the third, and hopefully last time, i bought Bloc Partys first album THE SILENT ALARM, the Stereophonics debut cd WORD GETS AROUND (yeah i know how much i go on about them, but this was a pretty decent album with some good tunes on it) and DIAMONDS AND PEARLS  by Prince, one of his finest albums of the 90s and could easily sit proudly beside any of his masterpieces of the 80s.

   I also picked up Nicky Wire’s solo album I KILLED THE ZEITGEIST. I was a bit worried that i was repeating a mistake i had made years earlier by thinking it would be a good idea to buy an album which featured JOHN SQUIRE, from the Stone Roses singing, but gladly this album by the Manic Street Preacher bass player is a far more tuneful and enjoyable affair. By no means is he a great singer but his slightly off tune vocals are quite endearing and, as proved many times with the Manics, he does have a way with a good melody. Its a nice little cd that rewards with repeated listening and will do nicely unitl the new Manics album comes out later in the year, which could be very interesting as it features lyrics that had been written and left by Richey when he disappeared 14 years ago.

  The first new release of the year comes from the hottly tipped WHITE LIES, whose debut album of the same name nicely slipped to number one on its first week of release. It doesnt really offer anything new, its a throwback to the cool end of the early 80s as well as trying to fill the gap until the next Editors album comes out. The Editors and Joy Division seem to be the biggest influences on this album and you can also hear a little of the killers here, a touch of the Cure there, the spirit of Echo and the Bunnymen files around and a gorgeous Duran Duran chorus complements early single TO LOSE MY LIFE. As i said to colin when we saw them supporting Glasvegas at the Barrowlands at the end of last year ‘i’d buy it!’. Well i did, and i love it. In fact the cds hardly been off since i bought it and im sure by the time i drunkenly stagger into a tent at this summers T in the Park, i’ll be down the front, jumping about like a maniac, back in my own little 80s heaven.

  I was very excited about the new Antony and the Johnsons cd coming out, and even more so when colin informed me that it was better than their last one IM A BIRD NOW. A bold statement as IM A BIRD NOW is one of my favourite albums of recent years. Very personnal as its helped me through many moments of madness in recent years and a cd i always love returning to, not just when im feeling down or sad or just want to be alone but also because its fills me with calmness and peacefulness. Its simply a  beautiful and sad piece of music from a unique voice in the music world.

  His new album, THE CRYING LIGHT, is another excellent selection of amazing songs that i feel i will never tire of listening to.

   Just before you think that ive left all my dodgy music buying behind me, dont panic. That part of lunacy will never desert me.  After leaving a charity shop in Ayr, i had found the bargain of the month by purchasing Madonna’s LIKE A PRAYER for £1 and the GREATEST HITS of Billy Ocean for 50 pence!

   LIKE A PRAYER is an excellent song, and the first time i heard JOY RIDE on the new Killers album, i swore to god i thought Brandon Flowers was going to break into this song at one point. Give it another listen, hes so close to going there.

  And Billy Ocean (have you seen him recently? bloody hell, he looks more like God than Morgan Freeman did in either Bruce Almighty or Evan Almighty) no matter what you say, theres more than enough songs on this cd for me to get my 50 pence worth. It concentrates more on his big 80s hits, theres no RED LIGHT SPELLS DANGER or LOVE REALLY HURTS WITHOUT YOU. But theres CARIBBEAN QUEEN, LOVERBOY, THERE’LL BE SAD SONGS and the bizzarely titled GET OUTTA MY DREAMS AND INTO MY CAR! where at one point in the song he asks someone to ‘touch his bumper’, wel i think (and hope) its his bumper hes talking about.

    And i still pray for the day that i open the papers to see that hes teamed up with those 90s mod rockers to form the ultimate supergroup, BILLY OCEAN COLOUR SCENE! I think i could die happy after seeing that collaboration.

   I mentioned in my A to Z alphabetising of my cd collection that i was on the look out for a copy of Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylors 1987 solo album THUNDER, and hallelujah to colin who found a copy, searching the web, from Germany. You are indeed, my man, a golden god.

  After leaving Duran Duran in 85, Andy just wanted to do what he thought he did best, and that was to rock out. This is total 80s rock, and some people would say it should have been left there, but who gives a shit what some people say. On this album he teams up with another legendary guitarist, STEVE JONES from the Sex Pistols, who also helped write the songs. These songs sounded refreshingly familiar to me, even after some 20 odd years. I could quite easily jump in a time machine back to the 80s and happily stay there.

  Finally got THE SELDOM SEEN KID by Elbow, the one that won them the Mercury Music Prize last year. Im not a massive fan of this band, although i have now got all their albums, but do like some of their stuff and maybe will sit down at some point and go through them all again to see if i can appreciate them any better.

   Rounding off my music buying for january is the new album from Franz Ferdinand, simply called TONIGHT. Its apparantly a night out with Franz Ferdinand, which takes you out to the disco dancefloor, to after hours partying and raving and finally stumbing home in the early hours of the next morning all bleary eyed and danced out. They havent reinvented the wheel here or anything, its undeniably Franz, but why should they try to change it when it works so well for them. And if you’re quick you can get the limited edition package which comes with an extra cd called BLOOD, which is basically a selection of their new songs, all dubbed up if they dont already feel dancy enough for you.

    Thats us for january, so we’ll just have to wait and see what february has in hold for us. The Brit Awards are just round the corner so im sure i’ll have a few chosen words to say about the winnersand the sinners once its all done and dusted.

   And we’re getting closer to festival season, with the first few names just announced for this years T in the Park, or what is on first glance looking like De Ja Vu in the Park.  With a recession hitting and money worries at an all time high for everyone it looks like festival organisers are playing it safe this year. Connect Festival is having a year off with the promise of returning in 2010, and Kings of Leon and Snow Patrol have just been announced as two headliners for T 2009. It now seems that Kings of Leon are the house band for this event and it was only 2 years ago that Snow Patrol headlined the event. And Kate Perry, whose only had two chart hits singles out is headlining the NME stage on the saturday night.

    Considering we never went near the main stage for the main headliners last year, i dont think theres anything to worry about as theres many great treats to be found at this event on the other smaller stages and tents. Last year alone i had an excellent time discovering great performances from the 1990s, My Morning Jacket, Vampire Weekend, Frightened Rabbit, Alabama 3 as well as some better known established acts.

   I’ll be keeping a watchful eye as the line up unfolds over the next few months and if all else fails i’ll be following the instructions of Rick Witter from SHED SEVEN when he informed everyone in the crowd after their performance to GET PISSED. DESTROY!

Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 11:27 pm  Comments (1)  

Alphabetisize!…………….Z!

 Im sure anyone mad enough to be following my alphabetical musical journey will no doubt be expecting a funny, witty tale about those bearded rockers ZZ TOP to round off my adventures, but alas, i dont have anything by these guys on cd at all.

    In fact, the last letter of the alphabet is represented by only 2 cds. The debut album by THE ZUTONS and the only album by Billy Corgans inbetween daytime Smashing Pumpkins job, ZWAN. I have no drunken live stories to tell about either of these artists and cant even say that i have been a regular listener to any of these cds.

   So my musical journey from A to Z, fizzles into the sunset, instead of going out with a bearded bang. But its not the end, more like the first recorded chapter of my on going, insane love with almost all things that are musical.

    As that crazy old song went “music was my first love, and it will be my last. music off the future and music off the past”, and if i have misquoted that line in anyway, then i have done my job right. Music and songs mean different things to different people. To me, i just love the way music can make you happy, sad, full of life, lonely, want to dance and shout or just want to lie back and think. But most of all music is fun and  music is a big part of my life and hopefully ive shown that with some of the crazy stories ive shared with you which have been soundtracked by the good, the bad and the down right ugly of the music world.

   Well ive got nothing left to share with you guys, at the moment, but i wont say goodbye because theres still an ocean of charity shops and bargain bins just waiting with hidden treasures for me to find. So until the next time if you find yourself guiltily listening to something that you know you really shouldnt be, but find yourself strangely enjoying it, you dont need to say anything. You know that i understand.

Published in: on January 18, 2009 at 8:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Alphabetisize!……………..Y!

 Paul Young, Neil Young and the Yo-yos. Not some supergroup to rival the golden oldie grouping of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but the only 3 artists which i have under the letter Y.

  Theres a few things i can say about Yo-yos. Crazy toys with string which are hard as hell to master and seem to have no apparant reward once you can finally master them, or delicious minty chocolate biscuits, but if you’re looking for a description as to who, musically, the Yo-Yos are, then im sorry but i wouldnt have a clue what to tell you. Again i sit wondering where and when i had found out that owning a cd by the Yo-Yos would change my life, musically or otherwise.

    The only thing that Neil Young and Paul Young have in common in the music world is that they share the same surname. After that they may as well be performing on totally different planets. Neil would definetely stand out as the most talented, rocking and writing many classics over the years. but if it was a choice between these two to sit down and listen to then i would probably go with Paul. His big 80s hits were part of my teenage soundtrack.

  And the guy ovbviously had a great sense of humour as well. You only have to listen to his ‘unique’ version of JOY DIVISIONs ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ to tell that.

Published in: on January 18, 2009 at 7:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Alphabetisize!………………..X!

 I dont own a single cd by an artist beginning with the letter X. So to stop this being the shortest entry ever about music im going to give a little thought to the cds i once had but have now, one way or another, lost. Lets call them my X’s. (not to be mixed up in any way with Ex’s. Oh no!).

    I dont know how i managed to lose as many cds as i did. Many cds disappeared in the Cavern. The Cavern sold drink. I was sometimes found drunk in the Cavern while in charge of cds. You try and work it out. And it was never the cds that i couldnt care less about that went missing, it was always my newest ones or ones that i liked and loved. Its a surprise that i havent lost jodie at any point over the last 9 years.

  I have started trying to re-buy some of these cds whenever i could and whenever they were cheap enough and the fact the Cavern is no longer with us means that i should have no trouble in actually holding onto these cds now.

    Ive just bought Bloc Partys debut album for the third time! (it does take some kind of foolish genius to be able to lose a cd more than once). This also happened with the Scissor Sisters first cd. Ive also managed to replace Prince’s DIAMONDS AND PEARLS and, this will sound as crazy to you as it does to me, a Stereophonics cd. But it was their debut cd (why couldnt i have lost some of their other shit?) and it does have a few good songs on it, Traffic, Thousand Trees and Local Boy In The Photograph.

   Ive even managed to lose cds in the pub, only to find them reappear years later. No shitting you. Franz Ferdinands second album was lost when i had a night off a few years ago to go on a Starstudded trip to Edinburgh and i ended up buying a new copy, minus the free dvd, from fopp for a few pound. Then about a year and a half later it suddenly appears as if from nowhere, just sitting around in the Cavern. This also happened with Led Zepplins PHYSICAL GRAFFITTI which took something like a 2 year vacation from my collection before fnally returning.

   I finally rebought AIRs ‘MOON SAFARI’ at christmas there. I love this cd and once again have no idea how i managed to lose it.

    I had a HOT CHIP cd for all of 4 hours one time, not even getting a chance to hear it between buying it from asda and then losing it in the Cavern when it was ‘borrowed’, never to be seen again. The two box set singles of Duran Duran have also disappeared down a big Black Hole. And if Big Stephens holding my triple 10th anniversary copy of the Manic Street Preachers HOLY BIBLE hostage, he has still yet to ask for any kind of ransom demands.

   Mad Steph has PARKLIFE and BLUR by Blur which i think are now high up on my list for bargain bin hunting.

   Theres probably loads more, ocean colour scene, pearl jam, abc, david bowie, the cure, pulp, michael jackson, all spring to mind but hopefully i can keep this misplaced lunacy down to a minimum from now on. And unlike an Ex, i would welcome most of these X’s back into my life any time.

Published in: on January 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Alphabetisize!……………….W!

 Apparantly im a BIG fan of Paul Weller. It would be the only explanation for having 9 of his solo cds. Wouldnt it? I do like his music, but im not as mad on his stuff as this number would have you believe. Colin did try and go and see him live at T i n the Park a few years ago, when he was headlining the NME stage on the Saturday night. I wasnt moving from my spot, getting ready for my spiritual experience watching Sigur Ros. He came back long before the end of his set, maybe because of the torrential rain and maybe because, as he said, “theres people down the front throwing pints of pish over everyone!”

  As mad and as uncool as this may sound, i do love Wet Wet Wet. And after a few bargain bin experiences over the festive period, i now have almost all their stuff on cd. Not everyone shares my love of this band, on buying their latest album a year or so ago, Dave disgustingly exclaimed “why are you buying this? its only giving them an excuse to make more music!”

  Anyway, ive seen them live 4 times, every one of them a great live experience. The last time was back in the 90s when they were playing at Parkhead. It was meant to be on the saturday, but was moved to the sunday because it was going to clash with the funeral of Princess Diana. If you remember she died in a horrific car crash in Paris with her then boyfirend Dodi. In fact its now remembered as ‘The Day That Dodi and Di Died Day!’.

     It was an all day affair, getting the bus up there then having a good few hours to roam around, find a few pubs that were reasonably safe to drink in (remember i did say we were going to Parkhead) and get into the full Marti party spirit. We did find a suitable place, that was pretty lively and also had some kind of wet wet wet afternoon disco on up the back. On buying our drinks and heading up the back, someone made a passing comment something like “good luck, they’ll eat you alive up there” to us, to which colin replied something in the vain of that we would be fine and it was maybe everyone else that maybe needed the luck.

    The place was mental, full of 30 and 40 year old drunk mothers with their daughters and resembled some mad kind of alternative universe where in that world it was the mothers who embarrased their daughters and not the other way around. At one point there was one girl who was almost reduced to tears after her mother had grabbed colin up for a dance then half way through decided it would be a great idea to swap tops, just like they do after a football match, with each other. Colin didnt need to be asked twice, so he wipped off his top and the mother also obliged leaving her just dancing around with her bra on. Who said Wet Wet Wet weren’t hardcore rock n roll.

  It was a great day, oh and the gig was pretty good as well.

  Got all the White Stripes cds, although lost their most recent one in the Cavern and have yet to find it at a reasonable bargain basement price to buy it again. Also seen them live twice. Its unbelievable what Jack White can do with a guitar and the sound he and Meg can make on stage.

   Got 5 Weezer cds, including two which i picked up in a charity shop for £1 each. and also have 5 Robbie Williams cds, although none of his most recent stuff because basically im guessing they would be pretty shit. Although back at the start of his solo career he did have a good ear for a catchy tune.

   Got the best of The Who as well as Tommy and Whos Next? and caught a little of them when they played at T in the Park. The best moment was staggering around the field, going from stage to stage, while the strains of BEHIND BLUE EYES could be heard flying around the festival site, as i said to myself at the time ‘it doesnt get much better than this’. Although im sure i also said to myself round about the same time ‘where the hell am i?’. Also got a trio of Whitesnake cds and caught them live a few years ago at the Exhibition Centre in Glasgow.

  A bunch of artists on 2 cds are We Are Scientists, who are excellent and a lot of fun live, Whiskytown (Ryan Adams old band), the Wonderstuff, the Wildhears, Whiteout (a group who played at the long forgotten Rock On The Water down the harbour at Irvine, and never ever came to anything after a couple of infectiously catchy singles), Tom Waits and Witness, who’s UNDER A SUN album i fear may remain a lost classic.

  Finishing off W, theres albums from the usual wide range of artists, with best of’s from KIM WILDE, WINGS, STEVIE WONDER, JACKIE WILSON and (no laughing out there), BRUCE WILLIS. This cd of his is a bit of a collectors item as it has his first album THE RETURN OF BRUNO in its entirety, as well as its soul shaking follow up WHAT DOESNT KILL YOU ONLY MAKES YOU STRONGER.

  Theres also cds from the WATERBOYS, WHEATUS (sorry!), PATRICK WOLF (excellent!), WILT (?????), the WOMBATS, WILCO, WORLD PARTY, WARM JETS and finally last but no way least is a great cd from WAS NOT WAS called WHAT UP DOG?. It features their big hit single WALK THE DINOSAUR, but its full of great and bizzare songs. It features other great singles SPY IN THE HOUSE OF LOVE, SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA and OUT COME THE FREAKS, a cover of Otis Reddings CANT TURN YOU LOOSE, the sinatra-a-like WEDDING VOWS IN VEGAS, the excellent elvis costello written SHADOW AND JIMMY as well as the gorgeous ANYTIME LISA. The bizarre is reprensented by two crazy songs, DAD IM IN JAIL, which features some mad vocoder screaming guy basically on the phone manically telling his dad that he was in jail and WHAT UP DOG, which is a deep Barry White spoken piece about a guy who walks into a grocery store and after finding that hes forgotten his wallet and cant pay for the stuff hes picked he then tells the guy behind the couter that ‘damn ive forgotten my wallet…..but i did bring my credit card!”, making sure that this guy knows in no uncertain terms that hes talking about his dog when hes remarking on his credit card. Crazy!

Published in: on January 18, 2009 at 11:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Hallelujah!

Thank the lord, that bollocks masquarading as a music talent programme has came to a finish once again. Although not before dragging another classic song through the mud.

  How many shit versions of Hallelujah can there actually be? Even the one attempted by myself on the acoustic guitar and vocals by jodie last night had more soul than what was on parade on the X factor.

  And if Alexandra doesnt make it in the music business (we can always live in hope) then she’s definetely got a future in acting, if that atrocious, over the top display of Gwyneth Paltrow award winning histrionics has anything to go by.

 And she wasnt the only one whispering thank god last night, although im sure, more of us were thanking the lord that this shit was over.

 Now we’ve gotta watch this piece of emotionless drivel fly to the top of the charts.

 Ive got a funny feeling that leonard cohen will shortly be setting out on a scuba diving expedition to ressurect the soul of the late, great jeff buckley from his watery grave and slap this lastest X factor winner around the face endlessly with two big wet fish until she realises what the fuck shes doing.

   I can already picture the scene next thursday night at my quiz when i stick on jeff buckleys excellent version of hallelujah only to end up, probably, is some sort of wild west bar room brawl when some mindless fucker says that it doesnt come anywhere near the sheer sonic gospel tearful version of Alexandras that we witnessed on the X factor!
NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

 Death to the Xcrement Factor all it stands for,  all who sail on it and everyone who waves to it as it leaves the port.

 Its a Titanic programme just waiting for its own (Vanilla) Ice Berg!

Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Alphabetisize!…………….V!

  Im sure ive got URBAN HYMNS still sitting around the house, somewhere, although i know the case for the cd is long gone, and im sure with a little bit of searching i’ll eventually come across it. Anyway, apart from that, ive got the VERVEs first two cds as well as the best of that was released a few years ago. And their new one is on my list to get when i have a spare bit of cash.

   As i briefly mentioned earlier me and my mate colin ssaw the band at the Barrowlands around the time Urban Hymns was just coming out. Another drunken night, where one of the girls was sick in the hall that was with us and then tried to grab anyone she could to dance with her for the whole gig. There was plenty room around where she was standing but this was really only beacause she had spewed on the floor. We also popped into Bairds bar before hand, the rough and ready Celtic pub right next door to the old dancehall. Coloured top to bottom in green and full of mean looking bruisers its nearly enough to put you off leaving the house ever again, but as usual when it comes to scotland and drinking, common sense usually takes a back seat so our drunken escapades that night included the two girls staggering up to the pool table, slamming change down and demanding they were up for a game next, while real life headbanges in vests in the middle of december looked on bewilderdly and also colin swirling a purse round his finger with no care as to how this looks to the average person at the bar before it finally came flying off and shot across the room until it slapped someone in the face. Never a dull moment.

   Oh yeah, and one of the girls fell down the stairs so had to stagger along to the train station while we shot ahead to get a well deserved bucket of KFC.

   “Im a vegetarian!” declared one of the girls, hungerly as we offered her some chips before her sister reached into her pocket, brought out a couple of pound and slammed in on the train table before launching into the bucket for a piece of chicken “fuck vegitarians” she shouted, “im bloody starvin!”.

  Theres the classic 1984 album from Van Halen as well as a double greatest hits, and two cds from VAST, which if i remember off hand stands for VISUAL AUDIO SENSORY THEATRE, or something like that. Very good stuff, where they mix heavy guitars with those mad monks that do all the chanting.

   And ive got two cds by the VINES, and also saw the group when they played an early gig at the QMU in Glasgow. Mainman craig already showed a hint of insanity when we caught him, sitting on the stairs watching the support act, PETE YORN, while hitting his empty plastic water bottle off his head. Then when playing, he kept making bizarre, funny rock poses and stuff and also jumping into the crowd, mid-solo without missing a note. A complete crackpot.

  The debut album this year from VAMPIRE WEEKEND is excellent, and ive managed to catch the band twice now. Theyve been wowing the fans at all the big festivals this year and also saw them more recently at the Barrowlands, where they even did an excellent cover of Fleetwood Macs ‘EVERYWHERE’.

  As for last years debut cd from the VIEW, apart from a couple of singles theres nothing really to write home about, i seriously dont see what the big fuss is about these guys.

  Finish off the letter V with two best of’s that couldnt be anymore different if they tried.

   One is a collection of songs from the legendary VELVET UNDERGROUND and the other is from those eternal fancy dress partyers the VILLAGE PEOPLE.

  All i can say is that ive never, drunkenly, stood in the middle of a dancefloor/pub/middle of the street and did manic hand dance movements to the Velvet Underground. Im sure most of you guys out there would say the same thing (apart from probably DAVE!) which means that although this band is the essence of coolness, if it came down to it we would all secretly pick the Village People.

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Alphabetisize!………………..U!

  Another section which should take no time at all to run through and should also be, hopefully, fairly painless as theres less than half a dozen artists under the letter U.

  Way out in front is U2 where ive managed to count about 13 cds, which include the two double best of’s and a live bootleg cd i picked up in Ibiza one year the same time i found Duran Duran Unplugged. In fact i think ive got all their cds except from October and Rattle And Hum.

    I know its easy to hate U2, ‘biggest band in the world’, and all that, but i quite like them and the twice ive seen them have been up there with some of the best gigs ive ever been to.

   Parkhead was good, although we were raging after fighting our way to get close to the front we then were confronted by the horrific prospect of watching the Utah Saints, live. Thats a bollocks statement right there if there ever was one. Live my arse, its all a bunch of pre-programmed shit. So we buggered off for a walk then took up residence at the other end of the stadium, on the terraces and enjoyed every moment from there. I remember big burning crosses on the screen while they were doing ‘BULLET THE BLUE SKY’. A song we found could be hummed along to almost half of the verve live set we witnessed years ago at the Barrowlands.

   The other time was at Murrayfield when they were touring their POP album. By their own accounts, this is nowhere near their best album, its full of good songs that werent totally realised properly at the time (theyve actually said at various times that they would like to go back one day and redo the album) but live they took on a new lease of life.

  The live show was spectacular, with one of the biggest screens ive ever seen on stage, i remember then doing ‘MIAMI’ to a cartoon backdrop of palm trees being blown away by hurricanes and roaring waves lashing out of the sea and engulfing buildings, it was pretty stunning stuff.

  If i was to pick my favourite of their albums i would go for ACHTUNG BABY, a change of direction for them at the time, but still full of great songs.

   And my acoustic version of ONE this year at the camp site got a few shouts of drunken approval when oen person actually shouted in the direction of our tent to ‘turn it up’. I can only come to the conclusion that they thought we had the ipod on and if that was the case then i’ll take that as excellent drunken compliment.

  I also like UB40s take on the whole reggae thing, and as well as having half a dozen of their cds, ive also seen them live one as well. A pretty surreal experience as it was sometime in the last 10 years at the Exhibition Centre and support came from The Pretenders, or Chrissie Hynde and whoever was left of the Pretenders, but both sets were great.

 Ive got 3 cds from Midge Ure, a guy who rarely gets the recognition he deserves, and has done a hell of a lot more, music wise, than most people will realise.

  By the mid 70s he was already topping the charts with 70s glam poppers SLICK, as well as being in the RICH KIDS. He actually auditioned for the Sex Pistols, but of course didnt look the part, and he toured playing guitar for THIN LIZZY at one time.

  As the lead singer with Ultravox he took them to chart fame during the 80s and also wrote and lent vocals to VISAGE including the classic FADE TO GREY.

   Of course everyone knows about his involvement with Live Aid and helping write Do They Know Its Christmas? and he also topped the charts as a solo artist in 1985 with IF I WAS. He even recorded a song with Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott (YELLOW PEARL) which ended up being the theme tune for TOP OF THE TOPS for a while.

  I saw him playing live once down at the Magnum in Irvine where he played an excellent set mixing solo material with stuff that he had done with Ultravox and more. And Ultravox are back together and ready for touring next year, and by the time its over im sure colins borther Gus, if he hasnt got one already, will probably have a restraining order out against him for the safety of the band.

  Theres an Undertones best of, which amongst many other great songs features the late John Peels favourite single, TEENAGE KICKS.

  And i’ll finish off this short section with actress/comedian Tracy Ullman who turned her hand to singing for a bit in the 80s and churned out the pop classics BREAKAWAY, SUNGLASSES and THEY DONT KNOW and could well be the missing link between all those 60s motown, phil spector girl groups and the PIPETTES.

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Alphabetisize!……………..T!

 TEENAGE FANCLUB are another of my all time favourite groups. Coming from Bellshill in Glasgow, they share a connection with the Beatles, not only in that there are 3 singer/songwriters within the band, but that they also make timeless beautiful music. With 8 cds of their music i have a great majority of their music, although im sure theres loads of early stuff, offical and unoffical, that i could still get if i looked in the right places.

 Kurt Cobain was fan of this groups music, as he was with quite a few scottish acts at the time, such as the Vaselines and the BMX Bandits and the best introduction to this band would definetely be with listening to BANDWAGONESQUE. Amongst many great songs on this cd is ALCOHOLIDAY, a song which i usually take great pleasure in crucifying with the help of an acoustic guitar whenever the opportunity arises.

  Seen these guys play quite a few times now, 2 or 3 times at T in the Park, a packed Barrowlands, the Mitchell Libraries and the Oran Mor and theyve always been amazing.

  On 6 cds each are TEXAS, TERRORVISION and TEARS FOR FEARS.

 Ive been a fan of Tears For Fears as long as ive been into music, THE HURTING and SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR are excellent albums. Theres also some good songs peppered amongst their other releases over the years. Roland Orzabel is a self proclaimed massive Beatles fan, and on their most recent album from a few years ago, this kind of shows. Because the album sounds like its been recorded by a big fan of the Beatles that basically sounds like Tears For Fears trying to sound like ELO who are trying to sound like the Beatles, but dont let that put you off.

   TERRORVISION were a great, good time rock band who had a knack for coming up with infectiously catchy tunes. OBVLIVION, JOSEPHINE, PERSEVERENCE and TEQUILA. At one gig they were handing out free tequilas to the peope in the front row which isnt really the wisest move when youve been jumping around, singing, and gasping for air for about an hour before hand. But i did manage to keep in down.

   Also saw TEXAS once and they do have a shit load of great tunes.

 TRAVIS are on 5 cds, which i would say THE MAN WHO is the best of the lot. Im sure i saw them live at the Tsunami gig at the Exhibition centre, but i couldnt (and wouldnt) stake my life on it. And drunkenly caught them at T in the Park when they were co-headliners on the sunday along with Green Day. I was pretty fucked by the time i got to withing hearing distance of them, but they were good. Although hearing them belt of NIGHT FEVER had me wondering ‘what the fuck was going on!’. Theyve always been good with a cover though and if you ever hear their version of KILLER QUEEN you would swear it was QUEEN that were actually doing it.

   THE THE are also on 5 cds, and were basically mainman MATT JOHNSON and a revolving set of musicians, who included at one point JOHNNY MARR. Theres a cd of HANK WILLIAMS cover versions which is actually very good as well as classic albums SOUL MINING (featuring the excellent ‘THIS IS THE DAY’) and INFECTED.

  TURIN BRAKES have some great songs scattered over the 4 cds i have of theirs and i have no shame in telling you i have THEN JERICO in my collection, although some of you may raise eyebrows at me having 3 of their cds. One of these is a cheap best of, and another is a cd released way after their hey day (did they have one?) when MARK SHAWS attempted solo career vanished before it even appeared to start. But the best of the bunch is THE BIG AREA cd, which is full of unashamed, over produced 80s pop. Im still scouring charity shops and bargain bins for their first album, so if you ever stumble across it, give me a shout.

 I would be as well getting this out of the way now…….i have 2 TAKE THAT cds. Im sure i never actually physically went out and bought them, it was more like when you never ordered something from that Britannia Music Club thing they would just send you something out anyway, and you usually couldnt be arsed sending it back. Thats how ive managed to end up with these cds. Honestly! And to be fair, they did write the odd good pop tune, BACK FOR GOOD was, and still is an excellent song, and who could resist drunkenly belting out A MILLION LOVE SONGS anytime it came on?

   Other atrists with 2 cds each are THERAPY? (screamager is still an fantastic song), TALKING HEADS, THE TEMPTATIONS (..’i know you’re gonna leaavvveee me, but i refuse, to let you go….’) and irish group THE THRILLS, whos gig at the Carling Academy years ago seemed to be like a blink and you’ll miss it affair. At one point we were ready to head into the venue when we realised chris wasnt with us and on returning to the bar we were in he was casually standing at a table, oblivious to the fact we had left the pub. This was the same pub, (if not the same night) that a karaoke was on while we were in. Never one to shy away from things like this i stuck my name up for ‘HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF’ by Duran Duran, and felt that i wasnt THAT bad at it. Although the table of people beside us seemed to disagree. And they were DEAF!!!! (im not shitting you!). Half way through the song, there seemed to be mad waving of arms going all over the place at the table before they all got up and left. Cheeky Bastards.

  Anyway, on getting chris, we shot into the venue, saw the Thrills short set and were back in the pub in what seemed like less than an hour.

  “Were we just at a gig there?” someone actually asked.

 I got into the TRASHCAN SINATRAS through colin, who is a walking encyclopedia on this group. A band who have been around for about 20 years now and actually come from sunny Irvine, i was converted by the gorgeous sounds of their WEIGHTLIFTING album, which reminded me of very early, and very good era AZTEC CAMERA.

 Theres a THIN LIZZY greatest hits cd as well as the LIVE AND DANGEROUS one. ‘LIVE AND BLOODY LOUD’ more like, as we all found out one very early morning in IBIZA when alistair decided that a blast of THIN LIZZY would be the ideal thing to wake us up before heading, at a crazily ludicrious time with massive hangovers to the water park. Colin not only managed to be sick on the bus, but actually through a hole in the plastic bag that we had given him to try and prevent him from making a mess. He then flumoxed the driver by simply turning his hat round as a preplexed driver stood, scratching his head trying to find the vomitting culprit. Then on getting to the entrance to the water park, colin assured the guy dressed up as some cuddly animal character that if he even attempted to come anywhere near him to have a photograph taken he would ‘knock his head off’.  ROCK N ROLL my man, Phil Lynott would have definetely approved.

  The rest, as usual, are all on one cd each, such as the TREMELOES (here comes my baby is a top tune), the TEARS (brett and bernard from Suede), JAMIE T, TINY DANCERS, TLC (ive no idea why), TRAIN (and its not even the one with Drops Of Jupiter on it!), and TOPLOADER (jesus!).

 From the 80s theres best of’s from THE THOMPSON TWINS,  TALK TALK, THUNDER, TEARDROP EXPLODES and a solo album by Duran Durans ANDY TAYLOR.  Not his first solo album (which was called THUNDER and im still looking for on cd. ANYONE??) but a cover versions album called DANGEROUS, which im sure could be dangerous to your hearing if you were in the room while it was on.

  TERRIS were one of those bands i read about in NME who were gonna be, but never were, the next big thing. As like the 22-20s i cant really remember what these cds sound like so will maybe have to revist them again soon.

  Finally, THE TWANG. Now i bought this ages ago, in what i thought was a mad moment of bargain hunting for only £3, although many people would now tell me that the actual bargain would have been keeping the £3 in my pocket. Up till now i havent even listened to the bloody thing, and feel that may stay like that for a while to come.

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 8:06 am  Leave a Comment