Sunday, September 27, 2015

I'm walking through streets that are dead (Bob Dylan) #462

Bob Dylan Love Sick (Live)/ Can't Wait (Live)/Million Miles (Live)/Cold Irons Bound (Live) (Columbia, QLT 41473, 1999)

I'm not sure how I happened upon this - maybe it came with a CD as a bonus?

The label says 'demonstration-not for sale' which indicates I may have got it second hand after a reviewer sold it but that's unlikely. I don't recall.

I'm not a Dylanologist by any stretch - clue: I have all the classic albums but not Self Portrait (I sold a vinyl copy in a purge many years ago) or the last half dozen or so albums after Time Out Of Mind so that kind of tells you a story.

Why not the latest albums? Actually it's the voice and the stream of blues infused songs (weird - I love blues songs generally and I love his sixties and seventies voice).

Love Sick is okay apart from being pretty depressing until the last line payoff.

Hidden gems: nope - these aren't the droids you're looking for, move along, nothin' to see here...

It's me - not him, I get that. He's a genius and beyond petty criticism. It's just that these songs don't move me or speak to me like all the material on Hard Rain, Blood On The Tracks and Desire. Not His fault!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

You've got to believe it'll be alright again (Duran Duran) #461

Duran Duran What Happens Tomorrow/(Reach Up For The) Sunrise (Sony/BMG, 875650 1, 2004)

My wife was a big Duran Duran fan back in the day but actually I inherited this CD single (twenty years later) from one of my daughters. And it's a pretty cool pop song with hints of the Britpop that was current in the 1990s and into the new millennium.

It actually doesn't sound much like DD though. If it came on the radio you'd struggle to identify the band. There's even a whiff of (poppier) Oasis about it to my mind.

Hidden gem: Yes! A gem and this time - it's Simon LeBon's vocals that clue you into the band's identity. There's a nice hint of classic DD in other words.

Both videos are included because the songs are cool, and the videos have always been an integral part of the Duran Duran story.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

You, you and me we take a ride on a rocket ship (The Datsuns) #458 - 460

The Datsuns Harmonic Generator (Live)/ Sittin' Pretty (Live)/ Fink For The Man (Live)/Little Bruise/O Woe Is Me/Freeze Sucker (V2/Hell Squad, V2CP 151, 2003)
The Datsuns System Overload/ Don't Shine Your Light On Me/Killer Bees (EMI/Hell Squad, 3769472, 2006)
The Datsuns Stuck Here For Days/ Kick And A Bang/Sky Is Falling/One Eye Open (EMI/Hell Squad, 3697302, 2006)

The Datsuns have been on a wild rocket ship ride and I've been there every (rocky) km of that ride. They started while at Cambridge High School (where I was Deputy Principal) and one of the band's brothers was good friends with my eldest son. Somewhat bizarrely, that connection has given me a personal investment in their progress.

The Harmonic Generator EP has Live At Radio 1 versions of tracks from the debut album - a wide eyed exciting selection of songs. The EP leads off with Harmonic Generator so I'll treat that as the A side.

For me it's one of the weaker songs on the debut. Which tells you how great the debut album is - yet to be bettered by the boys actually.

System Overload is well named - too much going on - it's loud but not especially coherent.

Stuck Here For Days is like System - from Smoke and Mirrors. It's got a cool early Led Zep vibe going on.

Hidden gems: Fink For The Man and Freeze Sucker are two personal favourites (along with MF From Hell) and they are delivered brilliantly on these radio sessions. EXCITING!!!!

Killer Bees is not on parent album (Smoke and Mirrors) but probably should have been - it's a ragey little number (btw Don't Shine Your Light...was also a non starter on the album - in that case a better decision).

Kick and a Bang is also a rager and would also have been a welcome addition to Smoke and Mirrors but wasn't included for some reason. Strange. What's going on guys?

The other two tracks on the EP are also absent from the parent album, but again - no great loss.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It's the same room but everything's different (Crowded House) #457

Crowded House Distant Sun/ Walking On The Spot/ When You Come (Live)/Skin Feeling/Weather With You (Live) (EMI, 8809962, 1993)

The older I get the more I see Beatle clues in The Crowdies songs, the older Nil Fun gets the more he takes on a McCartneyesque post Wings persona.

In that the catchy amazing chunes of his Enz and Crowded House daze (read Beatle/Wings era) recede more and more into a wonderful past and the more a barren melody run stretches on and on.

Is it a case of been there dun that, don wanna do it no more? I don't know but it sure is a puzzler how these great men refuse to toe the genius line into their post mega selling output.

Distant Sun sounds like a Macca outtake circa Red Rose Speedway. That's a good thing btw. It's a cool song and a stand out from Together Alone.

Hidden gems: Most of the B sides are from Together Alone including the feeble Paul Hester effort Skin Feeling. Poor bloke - being in a band with Paul McCartney...oops - I mean Neil Finn.

The real hidden gem here is the live version of Weather With You: one of my fav CH songs. The crowd singalong is pretty good in this loose-ish version. Let's face it though - any version of this kiwi classic is pretty fine!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The hero knew what he had to do (David Crosby) #456

David Crosby Hero/ Coverage/ Fare Thee Well (Atlantic, a7360CD , 1991)

The Croz!

David Crosby can write some jaw droppingly quirkily magnificent songs - pick anything on the first classic solo album (If I Could Only Remember My Name) or anything done as a Byrd or his stuff on the first albums of CSN and CSN&Y.

You're right - that's all stuff before 1971! 

Since then it's been a little more spotty in the jaw droppingly quirky department. 

This track came from the Thousand Roads album, which I quite like actually, but which sounds a lot like a Graham Nash album with the Croz's vocals replacing Nash's. 

Hero is a nice catchy song and having Phil Collins on it at his gazillion mega selling peak doesn't exactly hurt.

Hidden gems: Both these are not included on the parent album. Both are fine songs but both suffer even more from a dose of the Graham Nash association. 

Don't get me wrong - I'm a fan of Graham but I do miss those jaw droppingly quirkily magnificent songs. Instead David sounds cool (as always) but it's a normal cool as opposed to the weird cool that I REALLY love!

Monday, September 7, 2015

So I look in your direction (Coldplay) #453 - 455

Coldplay Shiver/ For You/ Careful Where You Stand (Parlophone, CDR6536, 2000)
Coldplay Talk (radio edit)/ Sleeping Sun (Parlophone, CDR6679, 2005)
Coldplay Prospekt's March EP (Life In Technicolor ii/ Postcards From Far Away/Glass Of Water/Rainy Day/Prospekt's Mark, Poppyfields/Lost+/Lovers In Japan/Now My Feet Won't Touch The Ground  (Parlophone, 2647372/5099926473727, 2008)

Owning up to liking Coldplay is almost a guilty pleasure. 

Yeah - okay - I like Coldplay. I have all their CDs and that includes some live ones that are less than essential. I can even name three members of the band (Guy something, Jonny Buckland and Chris Martin - the fourth member alludes me though).

There - I've said it.

Chris Martin seems like a genuine bloke, writes well, sings well, and he records for Parlophone!! Nuff said.

Shiver is a great song that has managed to remain in the live set over the years. 

Talk and Life in Technicolor ii are also up tempo Coldplay songs with heft. I like them. Yes, I do!

The guitar from Jonny is a Coldplay trademark and when it's used well the song is (usually) a cut above the rest. That's certainly the case in those three A sides.

Hidden gems: the B sides to Shiver were not on the parent album (Parachutes). Sleeping Sun was also not on XandY. Most of the Prospekt's March EP was also not included on Viva La Vida.

So you definitely get value for money with Coldplay CD singles. 

Any hidden gems though? The raft of songs on the Prospekt's EP are gems. Only problem is, because of the various snippets and styles, they all kinda roll into a seamless whole rather than their separate parts. That's cool though - means repeat plays bring out a load of little hidden nuggets.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I'm the Carnival of Peace (Bon Iver) #452

Bon Iver Blood Bank/ Beach Baby/ Babys/ Woods (Jagjaguwar, Jag 134, 2009)

The Blood Bank EP was Justin Vernon's follow up to the amazingly brilliant debut For Emma, Forever Ago.

Pretty cunning that. The expectation after Emma was immense so, go with an EP.

Blood Bank itself is a haunting song but it was left off the album and that was a good decision. It's slightly at odds with the vibe of For Emma. It just lacks the gravitas of that album at its best.

Hidden gems: Beach Baby is amazingly good - would have fitted the vibe of For Emma without any problem. Has that same wonky guitar sound and vocals that linger in the air and drift off in sadness. 

The other two are more sound experiments and an acquired taste. They do show him thirsting after new soundscapes which is great but one listen of this kind of thing lasts me a long time.