Music Notes March 2012

March 31, 2012 at 10:07 pm (Uncategorized)

Clean out your ears and listen up!

1. Simple Minds – X5

Now when you say Simple Minds, a lot of people think of “Don’t you Forget about me” from The Breakfast Club, a passable pop song. From that point it was all downhill in terms of them producing anything interesting.   This low-priced box set contains Simple Minds first five records (one a double album), and they are nothing short of amazing. The first one is a Roxy/Bowie knockoff that’s not without its charms, but the rest of the albums (including a double) are an electronica treat. Current fave is Empires and dance. Save your pennies, it’s essential.

2. Warsaw – Warsaw

Somewhere between being the Stiff Kittens and Joy Division, the lads called themselves Warsaw (after a Bowie track). They recorded an album they didn’t like and them started to put out a series of simply amazing records culminating with their second and final album Closer. Warsaw contains 17 tracks, many of which were later recorded as Joy division. But for the avid fan, it’s interesting to hear these early versions. I can’t say I prefer them to the later versions, but it’s fascinating to see the seeds emerge.

3. Spiritualized – “Hey Jane”

For most of his career Jason Pierce has cheerfully lifted from the Stooges, the Velvets, Dylan, and old folk-blues records. The more orchestral stuff doesn’t thrill me so much, but this Velvets-style rocker is the single from the new album Sweet Heart Sweet Light out mid-April.  The rather disturbing video runs to 10 minutes, but it’s grimly compelling stuff.

4. Carl Perkins – “Lend me your Comb”

One of the great things about music is that there’s always some absolutely wonderful song out there waiting to be discovered by you. The current issue of Uncut has a CD of originals the Beatles covered. Among them this gem by Carl Perkins. How can you resist a song with the lines: “Lend me your comb/it’s time to go home/Gotta confess/my hair is a mess” ?

5. Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds –s/t

Beyond their first two records, I was never much of an Oasis fan, but I seem to have ended up with both Gallagher brothers solo albums. And to be honest I’m not sure which one I prefer. Liam’s is the rocker, but Noel’s has a quiet charm. Aside from a dull opener, the record is full of good hooks and great sounds. The single “The Death of You and Me” is probably my favourite thing on both albums. The deluxe edition comes with a DVD including some videos and a making of documentary.

6. Plumtree – Best of

OK, so I still haven’t finished the Scott Pilgrim series nor seen the movie, but this is where it started: A 1998 single by Halifax indie-band Plumtree.  Currently, I’m too lazy to sit down and work my way through their catalogue, so this greatest hits package is a good place to start. Stumbling, amateurish adorable pop music.

7. Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days

OK this an an odd one. I was in Banana Republic with my wife. A CD was playing over the PA. “Who is this?” my wife asked. I had no idea, so she asked. Iron and Wine. Can’t remember which album it was . This is their second. It’s full of simple songs that grow deeper with every listen like an old friendship

8. The Ramones – Pleasant Dreams

The sixth studio record was a bit of a disappointment. All things in proportion, the Ramones never completely disappoint, but like Subterranean Jungle, which followed this, it seems to lack direction. Having said that, “We Want the Airwaves” and “The KKK Took my Baby Away” are terrific Ramones fare. Why wasn’t this band bigger?

9. The Small Faces – The Small Faces.

Did I hear right or did I imagine it, there’s going to be a movie about Steve Marriott? Never mind, this one is the second Small Faces album (or third if you count the compilation From the Beginning), but it’s also the second to be called The Small Faces. (and to make matters even more confusing, this version is a mix of the US and UK releases.) Why mention it? Because it’s a great record no matter how you slice it. I’ve never been a big fan of Marriott’s voice, but the music, mod, soul, early psychedelia and more is unbeatable. Listen to “Get yourself together” and not be moved. C’mon, I dare you.

10. The Wall – “Ghetto”

Sometimes a group only has one really great song in them. Shortly after this record was released circa 1980 on Small Wonder Records, singer Ivan Kelly was kicked out of the band after he attacked an old man. I saw them on tour with Stiff Little Fingers the following year. Great song.  Pounding drums, crashing guitars and an anguished vocal about Northern Ireland. Wonder what they’re doing now?

And coming up soon: First Aid Kit with Peggy Sue, and the following week the Cribs. Then in May, Spiritualized, and finally Brian James and Rat Scabies.

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3 Comments

  1. fischerzed said,

    I read this morning the Brian James, Rat Scabies show has been cancelled Refunds at point of purchase.

    • fischerzed said,

      Well, I went back to Soundscapes to get my refund. Initially, the guy wasn’t even sure if they had been selling tickets. “Oh, he said, “you bought the only ticket.” Hmm, that might explain the cancellation.

  2. fischerzed said,

    I think too that I may be fated never to see the Cribs. I passed up the chance to see them last time for an opportunity that didn’t pan out. This time a migraine did me in.

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