Thursday, January 28, 2016

Just look at me, silly Me, I'm as happy as can be (Orson) #509

Orson No Tomorrow/ Everything/ Jessie/ No Tomorrow (Video) (Mercury, 2006)

Orson had a profile problem from the off. An American band who were more popular in Britain.

This single - their first, actually went to #1 in England.

Who were they? They apparently existed from 2000-2007 and I can't tell you anymore like who was in the band without looking it up via google.

See - identity problem. Of course - I'm NOT their demographic so there is no reason why I would know these things. 

This is one of my daughters' CDs that was left behind and I couldn't throw way.

It's okay but listening to it now it's hard to see why it was so successful back in 2000.

Hidden gem: Similar guitar pop without anything too different to the A side here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Living in a glass house, having fun (Yoko Ono) #507 - 508

Yoko Ono/ Sean Lennon Love '90/ Asian Flowers/ Dear Prudence/ Love '90 (dub mix)/ Love '90 (ambient mix)  (GOW, 1990)
Yoko Ono Talking To The Universe/ The Source/  Ask The Dragon/ Where Do We Go From Here/ Rising/ Franklin Summer (Capitol, 1996)

Yoko and Sean commemorated John's 50th birthday in 1990 with this CD single released in Japan. 

You have to hand it to Yoko on many levels. She keeps the flame alive and she does so with cutting edge art. It's not to everyone's taste, I'm the first to acknowledge that, my wife, for one, can't stand her work.

As you can tell from the inclusion of these CD singles, I am a Lennon/Ono completist [and a huge fan of her first three Apple albums and Rising]. Love '90 is a redo of the classic song from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Yoko remakes it in her own image and I can't fault it!

The second title above is a.k.a. Rising Mixes - where some key songs from the album underwent a makeover in various musician's hands. I love the restless spirit Ono has. She's always moving forward and always looking to innovate!

Lead off song Talking To The Universe is a relatively conventional song in the Ono scheme of things. Or, at least, it starts out that way.

Hidden gems: Dear Prudence is the Beatle song given some interesting flavours by Sean and Yoko.

All of the Rising remixes present different sides to Yoko's style. My preference would be something like The Source which twists and turns with a surprise at every corner.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Slip your shoes on and then out you crawl Into a day that couldn't give you more (Oasis) #501 - 506

Oasis D'you Know What I Mean?/ Stay Young/ Angel Child (Demo)/ Heroes (Creation Records, 1997)
Oasis Who Feels Love?/ One Way Road/ Helter Skelter (Big Brother Recordings, 2000)
Oasis Sunday Morning Call/ Carry Us All/ Full On (Big Brother Recordings, 2000)
Oasis The Hindu Times/ Just getting Older/ Idler's Dream (Sony, 2002)
Oasis Lyla/ Eyeball Tucker/ Won't Let You Down (Big Brother Recordings, 2005)
Oasis Layla/ Layla (Demo)/ Can You See It Now (Video documentary) (Big Brother Recordings, 2005)

I didn't realise I had over 500 singles but there you are and I certainly didn't realise I had six CD singles by Oasis, and none of the hits!

The band's decline is replicated in these six - after Sunday Morning Call it's a story or rapidly diminishing returns.

I do like a lot of the overhyped Be Here Now album. So what if they tried to over reach - I applaud their ambition. It's actually a factor missing from the post 2000 stuff!

D'you Know...has attitude and swagger and yes it's a bloated sound but points for getting to number one lads with this first single from the album.

[BTW - was in Manchester this week - sat down in a Caffe Nero around Manchester accents - guy behind me sounded EXACTLY like Liam!]

Who Feels Love? and Sunday Morning Call are from their fourth album - the stoopidly titled Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants. I much prefer Sunday to the eastern raga influenced Who.. but both are worthy singles in the Oasis catalogue.

Noel's vocals are great on Sunday Morning Call, even if he doesn't rate the song, it's one of my favs.

The Hindu Times has a nice guitar riff from Noel but that's about it. Lyla is similar but without the memorable guitar riff. Sounds to me that by this stage they were trying too hard to sound like Oasis. They needed some ambition man.

Hidden gems: Yes, Heroes is the Bowie classic. Oasis keep to the original blueprint but obviously trundle out the guitars in typically bombastic fashion. For me their approach works!!

I really enjoy the slower paced Noel vocal stuff like Just Getting Older, and One Way Road.  Ditto for Carry Us All but with added dynamics. Great song! Nice atmospherics and great Noel vocal on this one.

Helter Skelter is the McCartney song. It keeps to The Fabs template so...not sure what the point was of covering this really. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Turn and face the strange (David Bowie)

Taking a break from the single countdown for the very first time (500 posts - quite a feat) for a sidebar post on David Bowie.

There have been some mightily impressive obituaries to the shock announcement of Ziggy's demise.

Unlike other rock stars who abuse their bodies and talents, David Bowie seemed somehow immortal. The other worldly qualities that saw him fall to earth in Brixton in humble circumstances remained with him until the last breath (and beyond).

Because of my age (58), my own youth and subsequent life has been sound tracked by Bowie songs starting in 1972 with Starman and the re release of Space Oddity. Although I need to point out that I'm not a Bowie obsessive, so I have a large number of his albums but not everything.

I did buy The Next Day on it's release and will definitely grab a copy of Blackstar when I get back to NZ in February.

The Guardian obit ended with this Bowie quote which I have copied to this post - sums up so much about the playful, intelligent, artful man whose death has diminished Planet Earth.

“My entire career, I’ve only really worked with the same subject matter. The trousers may change, but the actual words and subjects I’ve always chosen to write with are things to do with isolation, abandonment, fear and anxiety, all of the high points of one’s life.”

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Car headlights creep across the sea (The Mutton Birds) #500

The Mutton Birds She's Been Talking/ He Turned Around/ Inbetween Man (EMI, 1997)

Don McGlashan is the main man of The Mutton Birds. 

A talented musician - he's been in a few seminal N.Z. bands - Blam Blam Blam and Front Lawn. I especially liked the humour of Front Lawn - a kind of precursor to Flight Of The Conchords.

He's a nice guy too. He and I were once doing the same English papers at Auckland University back in the late 1970's, early 1980's.

She's Been Talking is a typical catchy Mutton Birds song and Don's distinctive tones are a lovely feature.

Hidden Gem: He Turned Around is absent from the parent album Envy Of Angels.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Focus on everything better today (Moby) #499

Moby Slipping Away/ Slipping Away (edit) (Mute, 2006)

I didn't think much of Moby for a start but I've ended up liking Moby a lot. 

My eldest son introduced us, via Play, and I begrudgingly started seeing the appeal.

The clincher was The Bourne Identity and the great use of Extreme Ways over the credits. Bam! There it is. Hooked.

I then got 18 and have been aboard since.

Slipping Away is lifted off his 2005 album Hotel (a rather spiffy album in the cannon) and has a very Moby like way of getting under your skin.

I like the fact that he's not a miserable git, nor is he preachy. The song is uplifting without being overly sentimental (an American condition) and thoughtful - 'hold on to people' is a good message.

Hidden gem: my 'hidden gem' idea doesn't really apply in this instance.