Sunday, 2 December 2012

1001 Albums Week 3: 222 and counting

Again, slightly behind when it comes to putting this in blog form, but I'm now over a fifth of the way there! Here's what I've been listening to in my third week.
  •  Sepultura - Arise (Not these guys again! If there was such a thing as meat & potatoes metal these guys would be it)
  • Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain , Slanted & Enchanted
Much smarter than their slacker rock reputation would indicate, Pavement were a real treat. Slanted & Enchanted is a terrific debut, but they surpassed it with Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. "Cut Your Hair", "Gold Sounds" and "5-4 = Unity" all being fantastic.
  • Dinosaur Jr. - Bug, You're Living All Over Me
Predecessor You're Living All Over Me may not have made much impression, but 1988's Bug is just a perfect mesh of guitars that change from scuzzy riffs to heavenly hooks in a moment, and great vocals from J Macsis. "Pond Song" and "Freak Scene" in particular are sublime.

  • Kraftwerk - The Man Machine
Great album, and another one of those where, upon listening to it, its influence on some of my favourite music is obvious. For example, I'm willing to bet James Murphy was listening to opener "The Robots" a fair bit when he came up with LCD Soundsystem's "Get Innocuous!"

  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Califonication (I understand this is supposed to be the better record, but having grown up with By The Way I have to say I still prefer that.)
  • Jane's Addiction - Nothing Shocking, Ritual De Lo Habitual
Their albums sleeves may be the definition of NSFW, but I found these two albums surprisingly to my taste. Nothing Shocking was the best, featuring the likes of "Mountain Song", while Ritual De Lo Habitual ran it pretty close, with "Caught Stealing" a particular highlight.
  • The Doors - Morrison Hotel (The Doors never got dreamier than this, "Waiting For The Sun" in particular is just a delight to hear.)
  • The Cure - Seventeen Seconds (Bit of a strange choice to put on the list when The Cure would go on to better this album many times over)
  • X - Wild Gift (Seen these guys live supporting Pearl Jam. Nice bit of post-Ramones speed-punk)
  • Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion (Really cool album, but stare at the sleeve for too long and your eyes will hurt!)

  • Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel 3
Am I getting old? How is it that I'm liking so much of Peter Gabriel's stuff!? In particular I loved "No Self Control" and "Game Without Frontiers" from Peter Gabriel 3, but for me Peter Gabriel is unquestionably my favourite. Not only does it have  the sublime "Solsbury Hill", but with the entire B-Side, from "Slowburn" to "Here Comes The Flood", I found myself being more consistently entertained that I ever thought I could be by a Peter Gabriel record!
I don't know why I've have this stigma with him. Guy Garvey loves him so maybe that should have sent me some warning signs that his work had more merit to it than I thought.

  • The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses  
I want to hate The Stone Roses so much, but there's no denying there's some fantastic stuff here, the closing sequence from "Made Of Stone" to "I Am The Resurrection" being sublime.
  • Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield Again (This was a real treat to find as a Neil Young fan. Cracking album)
  • New Order - Low Life
Yet more New Order I wasn't familiar with? Crikey what's wrong with me? I enjoyed this even more than Technique, and I've now made it part of my record collection. In particular I loved the sequence of "Elegia", "Sooner Than You Think" and "Sub-Culture" on the B-side, each song bleeds into the other so elegantly you'd be forgiven they were part of one big song at times.

  • Paul McCartney - McCartney (Can't quite top Band On The Run for his best post Beatles album, but this has plenty to offer, including "Maybe I'm Amazed")
  • John Lennon - Imagine (Speaking of post- Beatles albums by a Beatle, here's possibly the best of the bunch.)
  • Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left (Years of listening to Guy Garvey's radio show has made me more familiar with this guy than I thought. Sheer acoustic bliss.)
  • Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man, Songs Of Leonard Cohen
These two albums are definitely good cop/bad cop. I'm Your Man is definitely the bad cop, the production is almost unbearably dated, virtually ruining classics like "First We Take Manhattan". Songs Of Leonard Cohen, however, is just pure gold. It's unlikely I'll come across such an assured debut album for some time, "Suzanne" and "Teachers" being particular favourites.
  • Steely Dan - Aja, Can't Buy A Thrill, Countdown To Ecstacy, Pretzel Logic/Donald Fagen - The Nightfly 
Other than Fagen's solo album I was really impressed with this stuff, Can't Buy A Thrill being my favourite. Was just expecting ANother band of troubadours but found them to be more interesting than that.

  • Miles Davis - In A Silent Way (definitely my new favourite Miles record)
  • Herbie Hancock - Headhunters (Something tells me Beck sampled one of the songs from here. Very innovative jazz record right here)
  • David Bowie - Heroes (OK this is now my favourite of the Berlin trilogy, running Station To Station close for my favourite Bowie record too)

  • Iggy Pop - The Idiot
Producer David Bowie's fingerprints run all over this album, made in Berlin during his Low/Lodger/"Heroes" period. Much of the success of this album is down to Iggy's charisma and unorthodox, almost spoken-word vocals, which give a fresh enough take on Bowie's excellent production to really differentiate it from anything either of them had done before.

Again, you can see how the likes of "NIghtclubbing" influenced LCD Soundsystem on "Somebody's Calling Me" (boy, James' attorneys really shouldn't read this!)

  • Moby - Play (So many great childhood memories listening to this album)
  • Fever Ray - Seven (Another of those albums I've had on a Spotify playlist for ages but couldn't remember if I'd heard the whole way through. Suitably freaky electro-noise from an alumnus of The Knife)
  • Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman (Worth it for "Fast Car" and "Baby Can I Hold You" alone. Such a tremendous voice.)
  • Terence Trent D'Arby - Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby 
 Surprised to see this guy on the list, since he's basically just the answer to some obscure question in pub quizzes now. Turns out he did that song "Sign Your Name".
  • Don McLean - American Pie (Not quite the one track album I was expecting. "Vincent" may sound familiar to you if you heard it. "Starry starry night...")
  • Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (I was expecting  just another post-Byrds/ Beach Boys guitar band, I wasn't expecting this to be the band behind "Somebody To Love"!)
  • Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (Sounds like Mick Jagger trying sub-standard bluegrass. Not a good first impression for Mr. Morrison)
  • Eric Clapton - 461 Ocean Boulevard/ John Mayall's Bluesbreakers w/ Eric Clapton/ Cream - Disraeli Gears
Another example of what I'm now calling "the Radiohead effect": the further back in time I go, the more I like Clapton's stuff. 461 Ocean Boulevard was slightly disappointing and a bit hammy for me. His album with John Mayall was rather good, but best of the bunch was Disraeli Gears. Fantastic riffs throughout.

Other corkers I've heard which I found very much deserving of their place on the list are:
  • The Who - My Generation
  • Royksopp - Melody A.M.
  • Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • Boston - Boston ("More than a feeeeeeeeeeliiiiiiiiiiiiiin'")
  • Bad Company - Bad Co.
  • Patti Smith - Horses
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory
  • Beck - Odelay
...while these albums that didn't make much impression on me either way were:
  • Jethro Tull - Aqualung
  • Slint - Spiderland
  • John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
  • Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laugh
  • Siouxsie & The Banshees - Juju
  • Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills 
  • DJ Shadow - Endtroducing...
  • Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms 
  • Def Leppard - Hysteria
  • Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove
  • Fugazi - Repeater 
  • Jamiroquai - Emergency On Planet Earth ("Do do do deeeeew do do dooo do do duuuuh")
Still got more to come, but lately I've been listening to Neil Young's latest album, "Psychedelic Pill" on repeat, so I've been going slower than usual. Come to think of it, next time out I'll probably talk favourite albums of the year. So hopefully see you then!