Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ten stops and home

Christine recently asked me to make a list of albums/new sounds for her to check out. When we were in the late 70s she'd send me cassette tapes of her current listening (Clash, Pistols, Steely Dan, Zappa were all in there) so this is my similar 2009 report back via the blog. So here goes - a very subjective list that I need to introduce with an explanation of my taste (Jacky would laugh about now and say what taste).

Here's a sweeping generalisation for you - it is my belief that everyone's dominant musical taste can be traced back to two different sources (just as apparently my personal DNA can be traced back to one of 7 women). These two sources are The Beatles (the sunny pop side of the musical street)and The Velvet Underground (the darker alternative). It's easy to test - which of the two do you like best? Go to your collection right now - how many Beatle albums to VU? There's your answer. Thereby you can then take your favourite band or singer of all time - let's say it's...oh I don't know - Jim Croce for example and see that your taste traces back to the Beatles. If it's Captain Beefheart your taste traces to The VU. Simple huh.

Clearly from the title of this blog alone it's obvious where my taste lies, therefore my Christine list is influenced this way. Now I know she has a bit of a thing for Nick Cave (VU) and The Killers (Beatles) so she (and anyone else reading) needs to keep my propensity for Beatles inspired pop in mind.

Here are ten of the best I've heard recently (some of these date back 5 or so years but you may have missed them). These are all UK bands too - I'll get to the best of the rest in other posts.

1 and 2 One of the best bands I've heard in recent years is Hard Fi - either of their first two albums is a great place to start - 'Stars of CCTV' or 'Once Upon a Time in the West'. On my recent trip to the UK I picked up a DVD/CD of remixes called 'In Operation' (3 pound from Fopp) but that's not the best place to start. If you are unmoved by 'Cash Machine' - the first song on 'Stars..' - then you can stop reading now.

3 A lot has been made of Artic Monkeys and I admit to being a late comer. I really like the second album 'Favourite Worst Nightmare'. The first one is fine but the second is like their twenty-second if you know what I mean.

4 My children laugh at my enjoyment of Coldplay but I'm sticking by them (the last one was patchy). Possibly overlooked in their canon is 'X & Y' but of the four albums I downloaded as the soundtrack of my recent plane trip to the Uk - this was one (Hard Fi and the next album were the others).

5 and 6 I love later period David Gray. The first four albums are patchy - and not in the style of the last four. So I'd recommend 'Greatest Hits' as a place to start - and his last album 'Life in Slow Motion'. His songs always make me very nostalgic for life in the UK.

7 For more slightly quirky pop try The Coral. Their most accessible album for me is 'The Invisible Invasion'.

8 A future guilty pleasure will be The Feeling. Their first album is better than the second - 'Twelve Stops And Home' is chockablock with fabulous pop songs, catchy hooks all over the show.

9 and 10 - I've listened to the two Kooks albums a lot and recommended them to friends before - the first one is called 'Inside in/Inside Out' and the second is 'Konk'. Both great British pop music. They remind my of + Special Guests.

I'm only scratching the surface here I know - more in future goo goo j'goobs.

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