Music Notes: August 2014

August 31, 2014 at 8:12 pm (Uncategorized)

The Back-to-school Edition

1. The Bats – Volume 1

Oh, you really need to hear this. Jangly psych-pop from New Zealand. Eight albums in and they are still fantastic. This compl collects the first two albums Daddy’s Highway and The Law of Things (+ extras), plus another CD of EPs and  rarities. It will make your ears happy.

2. The Boomtown Rats – A Tonic for the Troops

After picking up their first album, it was only a matter of time before I got this one too. If the debut was punk influenced R & B, this one was pure new wave. New wave that despite the cheery, catchy tunes, contained songs about suicide, Hitler, euthanasia and alienation. I was surprised I still knew all of the worlds.

3. Mirel Wagner – When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day

Sparse, atmospheric sounds of Wagner’s second disc. Not immediate, but repeated plays reveal the depth and intimacy of the record. Playing Toronto at the Drake in November. I have my ticket.

4. Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay (eds.)  White Riot: Punk Rock and the politics of Race

Came across this volume in a second-hand book store. Fairly interesting collection of stuff on questions of race within punk. As well as texts and interviews by participants, the book includes work by Greil Marcus, Lester Bangs, and Dick Hebdige. Thought provoking to say the least.

5. Massive Attack – The Best of Massive Attack

Why get compilations when you already have most of the songs? Ah, well, you see this one has a nice bonus disc with harder to find stuff and a DVD of all the videos. A cash-in to part the unwary from their hard-earned cash? Most likely, but it still sounds lovely.

6. Roxy Music – Roxy Music

Now, I grew up in the UK in the seventies so I knew the hits, but I’d never really sat down and listened to an entire Roxy Music album, especially the ones before it became Bryan Ferry’s back-up band. This may be the most successful pairing of glam and art school sounds ever. A look back and a look ahead. It’s no wonder the punks loved their early work.

7. 5 Seconds of Summer – 5 Seconds of Summer

My daughter was a huge One direction fan…until she wasn’t. From obsession, she quietly stopped talking about the band. And then, a month or so ago, a new band began to pepper her conversation: 5 Seconds of Summer. It’s a boy band, true, but it’s one where the band play guitars and write their own songs. It’s still too poppy for me (and the better songs sound like Blink 182 – no, I don’t like them either), but it’s a step in the right direction. And the less said about Calum Hood’s penis the better.

8.  Darling Violetta – “The Sanctuary”

Re-watched the final season of Angel recently (the deaths of Fred and Wesley still make me cry). Still love the opening music by Darling Violetta. They no longer seem to have a web page and “their” Facebook page is empty. Alas.

9. Half Japanese – Greatest Hits

Oh and you should really find this one too.  “Firecracker,” which opens this 2-CD set was my favourite song of the summer. This beast which dates to the 90s features tracks from most Half Japanese recordings and a few new songs (including a quite wonderful version of Primal Scream’s “Move on Up”). Jad Fair is playing in Toronto next Saturday.

10. The Clean – Anthology

Ooh, another of those New Zealand pop bands. In fact, Robert Scott of the Bats is the Clean. I don’t want to waste too much time talking about this because it’s time you could be suing to get these songs and listen to them. Like the Bats, simply outstanding.

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