Music Notes August 2011

August 30, 2011 at 8:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Nice things for your ears…

1. The Velvet Underground  – Bootleg Series volume 1: The Quine Tapes

Robert Quine, later of Voidoid and Lou Reed fame was a huge Velvets fan, and this three CD set is a reflection of that. The shows date from concerts in San Francisco in November and December 1969, and while the sound is, well, bootleg, quality, they are listenable. The set lists include fan favourites, but also several songs the band never recorded in the studio. Plus, who’s up for a 38 minute version of Sister Ray? Cool.

2. Link Wray – Some Kind of Nut: Missing Links volume 3

Now without Link Wray, what would music sound like? A lot tamer that’s for sure. This album is like a lot of compilations, some good, some bad, some ugly. Nevertheless, there are a few truly unhinged cuts (“the Girl Can’t Dance”) which make it all worthwhile. I saw Link Wray play at the Horseshoe Tavern in 1996 or so, and he was just amazing. 

3. Kate Bush – The Hounds of Love

Yeah, I remember Kate Bush. Never a big fan, or so I thought, but I knew all the hits (always had a soft spot for “Army Dreamers”). Anyway after both Mojo and Uncut ran big pieces on her, I thought I’d better give this one a second listen. You know what, it’s pretty good. Not just for the hits like “running up that Hill” or “Cloudbusting” but for cuts like the very heavy “The Big Sky.” shed your prejudices and give this a listen.

4. Wire Chairs Missing

I may be developing a Wire thing. Pink Flag, their first, is a great album. Extremely disciplined, stripped down punk. And Chairs Missing, their second is more of the same, and something else. In addition, there’s tape loops, synthesizers, flutes and a more mature songwriting. Not to mention classics like “Outdoor Miner” and “Heartbeat.” Wire never stop moving.

5. The Fall – Grotesque (After the Grammar)

In addition to Wire, I’m spending a lot of time listening to the Fall. Grotesque is a high point (one of many). With “Container Drivers,” “NWRA” and “New Face in Hell” (my daughter hates this song), there’s a peculiar blend of rockabilly (Mancabilly) and Mark E Smith’s eclectic words. Most editions of the album now come with bonus singles. Disturbing and beautiful.

6. Lori Anderson – O Superman

Dunno why, but earlier this month I had an overwhelming urge to hear this song again. Although song might be too strong a word for this eight minute event. Build around a tape loop of huh-huh-huh, the song mixes messages from mum and American war planes.  Hypnotic, but I’m not sure if enjoyable is the word.

7. Adrian Sherwood –Never Trust a Hippy

It seemed odd to think of this release as Sherwood’s debut. After all, Sherwood has been mixing and producing a “sound” since the late 1970’s. This record, under his own name doesn’t stray far from the territory of dub reggae and electronica. Pulls you in by the third song. I don’t expect it made many converts but if you’re a fan of Sherwood it’s worth picking up.

8. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – The Death of You and Me

I’m in the process of making a change in my employment status and as decision time comes closer, I’m having second thoughts. But the output of the Gallagher brothers since the demise of Oasis might make the decision for me. The last few Oasis records weren’t, err, very good, but the Beady Eye debut was pretty listenable, pretty catchy. Now this from Noel, and I think I like the title track better than Liam’s work. Instantly memorable. Nice.

9. The Shadows – Greatest Hits

The Shadows were the British Ventures. They were also Cliff Richard’s backing band, and what was it John Lennon said, before the Shadows they was no British music worth listening to. Surely an exaggeration, but it demonstrated the importance of the band. This collection contains 16 different songs in both mono and stereo (the story behind that is explained in the sleeve notes). The band was a great interpreter of other people’s songs, but sadly, at least by the evidence offered here, their own songs often tended toward the whimsical. Still, that’s no reason not to have their version of “Apache” in your collection.

10.  Teenage Head – Frantic City  

There’s a whole class of bands that should have been stars. Teenage Head must surely be high on that list. Melodic Ramonesy punk-rock ought to have been a recipe for success, but somehow they never quite made it. This one contains classics like “Let’s Shake” and “Disgusteen.”  Lovely.

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