Listening Experience: Sweet Baboo – The Boombox Ballads

Does the world need more pop music? I’m sure I’m not the first music writer to wonder this. Pop by its very jaunty and melodic nature makes the question unavoidable. Sweet Baboo’s latest album The Boombox Ballads is definitely jaunty, but does it answer my initial question? My heart and feet say yes; my head may need more convincing. Sweet Baboo’s… Read more »

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Crate Digging Prague: Bazar-CD

Along with Happy Feet and CD Krakovská, Bazar-CD forms a triangle of crate-digging opportunities near the heart of Prague. Despite the convenient location, Bazar-CD is not a store I frequent because earlier experiences were off-putting.  Though the store had one of the best selections of vinyl: good quality and a decent amount of artists you actually wanted… Read more »

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Pitchfork’s Top 200 Songs of the 80s – What’s Missing

Pitchfork’s musical summary of the 1980s was released last week. My own immediate response, like the many who are on the sub-Reddit, focussed on what wasn’t there.  Scott Timberg at Salon offered a more balance take on the list. He praised the list’s insight and criticised some choices and omissions. Scott Creney at Collapse Board took the list to task also for its oversights… Read more »

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Listening Experience: Flying Saucer Attack – Instrumentals 2015

It took me a while to get into this record, hence the belated review. It was not a lack of familiarity with Flying Saucer Attack’s material. I knew their music back in the nineties when the band took the lessons from shoe-gaze and offered the world a sound at once textured and emotionally nuanced. Instrumentals 2015, an… Read more »

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Listening Experience: Meg Baird – Don’t Weigh Down the Light

Putting on Don’t Weigh Down the Light was akin to flicking on an old projector. Images of open roads, endless skies and distant yet familiar face flickered in my mind, grainy and heavy with memory. Though Meg Baird is a songwriter and performer capable of more than impressionistic moods, those moods are among the most absorbing aspects… Read more »

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Crate Digging Prague: Gramodesky Letná

I open the door, damp from the drizzle outside, and hear a familiar song. The owner is playing “Progress” by Midnight Oil. It’s from their live album Scream in Blue, possibly my favourite release by the band, brimming with their live energy. Could there be a chance he has it on vinyl? Before committing myself to a… Read more »

One Response to “Crate Digging Prague: Gramodesky Letná”

  1. Slow reptile

    “The singer left to become a politician” Yes, exactly: “say no more”. Great story. I don’t think I know that Oils song, nor much of their later stuff. The album I know best is Place without a Postcard, which wikipedia informs me was not so well regarded because it was softer than their earlier stuff; also, it was recorded in Sussex, oddly enough. I didn’t know either that it took them 7 years to release their first album, I didn’t realise they’d formed that early (’71).

My Skip List

We all have one and here’s mine. It’s a list of songs from beloved albums which I skip over whenever I listen to them.  As far as my listening memory is concerned, they don’t exist. 1. “Somewhere” by Tom Waits from Blue Valentine Tom Waits’ sixth album is steaming storm drains, thick droplets of rain, men… Read more »

4 Responses to “My Skip List”

  1. Slow reptile

    I have the same reaction to ‘Somewhere’ though wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a false start. Or perhaps it is, but an intentional one… It does seem to change the way you hear ‘Red Shoes’ amble in (that is, when I don’t skip). A comparison that comes to mind is the crashing cymbals and discordant strings right at beginning of Miles Davis’ Porgy and Bess, which by contrast seem to make the trumpet later sound that much quieter and more solitary … I’m pretty sure I skip ‘Arctic World’ and ‘Woah’ too – they just don’t quite cut it on an album full of anthems.

  2. Slow reptils

    Work Hard/Play Hard I would say I skip half the time. It’s a very silly song. Sometimes I’m in the mood…

    I’ve never remembered the titles on Unkown Pleasures, and it’s been a long time since I listened. But I think of it as the kind of album I’d put on and let play through.

    But then are we talking records or CDs here?

  3. Slow reptile

    “Unknown Pleaures” I mean! Embarrasing mistake….

  4. Slow reptile

    Oh, the above was a response to another comment I wrote which doesn’t seem to have appeared. I’ll try again.

    I haven’t listened to ‘Unknown Pleasures’ in a while but I think of it as one to put on and let play through. So, yes – how dare you!

    Actually, I skip tracks all the time on Cd and the computer, but less often with a record just because it’s more trouble.

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Near Enough Could be Better

On the weekend I did something I haven’t done for a long time. I watched a tribute band. A Beatles’ tribute band no less. The band played well, mop top wigs screwed down in place, guitars held defensively over the solar plexus, heads shuddering just so as they harmonised. And the crowd, many too young for the first wave… Read more »

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Listening Experience: Luno – Close to Silence

More artists should re-record their own songs. Jazz artists have long made alternate takes available. Pop musicians should do the same. I don’t mean a re-mix. I’m talking about an entire re-performance. Songs are not fixed. Music’s essence is its openness to constant interpretation. Luno have done exactly this on their latest release Close to Silence. The band… Read more »

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Locked Grooving

Digitalisation’s advantage over analogue is its greater capacity…and its increased volume range…and its supposed fidelity. Though, mostly it is the increased capacity. However, analogue has one little trick and depending on how committed you are, that little trick can balloon an album out to infinity. The inner groove of a record holds about two seconds of music. Actually… Read more »

One Response to “Locked Grooving”

  1. Slow reptile

    Continuing my Midnight Oil facts: apparently ’10, 9, 8′ also has a locked groove. Take it away wikipedia – ‘The album’s closing track “Somebody’s Trying to Tell Me Something” contains a note held by the group for what seems like an eternity, which would continue into the album’s runout groove, and emulated on the CD version for just over 40 seconds.’

    I won’t comment on the vicious slander against vinyl in your first sentence.

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