Sunday, 20 January 2019

Steve Mason - About The Light

About the Light is my first new music purchase of 2019 and want a great way to start. It's always a pleasure to hear Steve Mason's soothing voice and it's backed up once again by some strong melodies, rousing brass and blissful choruses. This time round the songwriting is, for the majority of the album, credited to Steve Mason and the rest of his band.

It's pressed on great sounding silver vinyl and the back sleeve shows, once again, that Bowie's Station to Station has a lot to answer for.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Ziggy Pop / Iggy Stardust

The tour when Iggy had ¾ of Tin Machine as his backing band.
March 21 1977 at the Agora Ballroom, Cleveland OH.

Iggy Pop - Vocals & Guitar
David Bowie - Keyboards
Hunt Sales - Drums
Tony Sales - Bass
Ricky Gardiner - Guitars
This is a fairly decent audience recorded live bootleg.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Pretending To See The Future

Whilst on an OMD trip, I've coincided listening to their albums with reading their new book, Pretending To See The Future.

It's a history of the band, not as (auto)biography, but as a chronological collection of band, friends and fans memories. It's an entertaining, if sometimes frustrating, history of the band - one where I would've liked to have seen more input from the band with their thoughts on each single and album and more press cuttings of record reviews. The ones included give an insight into both the band and how they were viewed in the press at the time - how I would've loved to have seen that NME review for Pandora's Box that described the band as the missing link between Brian Eno and Hazel Dean.
Anyway, at the time of compiling the book I didn't send in my own memories of the band, so here's the one that has stuck with me the most, probably from around 1984/5...

Listening to a cassette copy of Dazzle Ships whilst playing Spectrum games with my brothers and cousins - we had to wait for the game to load in before we could use the tape player to listen to any music - he didn't pass comment until halfway through the final track, Of All The Things We've Made. At this point he chipped in, with a certain amount of scorn, "Well, this is boring, anyone could write this. It's SO easy to play - there's only one chord". Being a Queen fan, I sensed that music was of little merit to him if it didn't have enough chords chords or meet a certain level of virtuosity, so song containing one solitary chord, strummed with monotonous brilliance throughout the whole song, was never going to win him over. I steeled myself for an argument on the merits of the music, but then I realised - he just didn't get IT! Two chords would've been excessive.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Joan of Arc / Maid of Orleans

So, I'm into the third calendar year of the "listen to all my vinyl albums" challenge and I've just finished the letter O, which meant a lot of OMD. Coincidentally, today is also Joan Of Arc's birthday, so here's (still) my favourite OMD song. Choral samples and white noise percussion is what made a classic pop song back in 1981.

Let's also not forget the follow up single, with the same title (until record company intervention), 40 seconds of noise as an intro and heavy use of the mellotron.

Singing about Joan of Arc wasn't the obvious way to having a huge hit (twice) and so bands stayed clear of the topic until Little Mix's feminist anthem "Joan of Arc" from 2018.

My dad used to lambaste me for listening to so much music, telling me I wouldn't learn anything from it. OMD were always by shining example of how wrong he was.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Vinyl Detective

Taking a break from music, here's some books that I got for Christmas - they appear to be murder mysteries with the USP being that the main character is a vinyl collector and connoisseur. Rarely a page goes by without some reference to music (mainly jazz), vinyl (mainly jazz) or turntables and valve amplifies (mainly for listening to jazz).

80 pages in with the first book and it's just starting to get exciting in a non-vinyl way.

As the blurb says: "And so begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all...."

Sunday, 4 November 2018