Welcome to my blog!
UPDATE: Mediafire have suspended my account and locked my downloads. Having endured the tedium of re-uploading everything I had previously hosted on Mega Upload onto Mediafire earlier this year, I can't be arsed re-uploading everything again.
So please don't ask for things to be reuploaded!
I undertake this venture knowing that I don't have the spare time to do it, but feel that these artists NEED TO BE HEARD (please excuse my shouting!). Or is that I think I need to be heard? Or that there are (or have been) some great music blogs that have inspired me to wanna jump on the bandwagon? Probably all of the above??I hope you enjoy the blog. If I turn one person onto these bands that turned me on then it will all have been worth it!
Friday, April 29, 2011
If not, here's a heads-up on a few blogs that are worth checking out.
1) You gotta love it when someone does your own work for you, and probably better than you could do it yourself! La Luna has featured a few albums I was intending to feature on Shoulda Been Huge: Smile by Ride (i.e. the Ride and Play EPs) and Entertainment! by Gang of Four.
And since The Triffids awesome Wide Open Road video has been featured, I'm hoping voixautre will do the right thing and save me the effort by posting the classic Born Sandy Devotional album!
Also, voixautre makes everything available in MP3 and FLAC! Yay!
2) 365 bands in 365 days is an excellent blog that has introduced me to a diverse range of artists, many of whom I had not heard of before, let alone heard!
So far Adelle is up to day 118 and shows no signs of fatigue! I admire her tenacity as much as her musical tastes.
And like La Luna above, she has featured a few bands I was intending to feature, such as Smog and Archers of Loaf. Saves me the effort...
3) And last but not least, Big Plans For Everybody. As well as introducing me to the delights of Be Bop Deluxe, Rushbo has some great stuff available from a few of my faves, such as The Move and Green On Red.
BPFE also features Rushbo's Guide, including hilarious articles on the pitfalls of putting a band together, and rehearsing, performing and recording. As a result I'm toying with the idea of writing up my own experiences.
But perhaps most importantly, Rushbo shares my long held philosophy that "there are only two types of music: Music you like and music you don’t like." Unfortunately, he includes the Eurovision song contest in the former, but we forgive him for his sins!
Hmmm, and if you're wondering why I'm posting on blogs rather than on bands today, it's not just that I'm a slack motherfucker (gratuitous Superchunk plug!). It's also because I haven't been able to separate myself from listening to Totally Fuzzy's awesome new SoundStream player. And in particular, The Fleet Foxes BBC Session.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tindersticks are best described as cinematic and atmospheric. Their sound incorporates country, sixties power ballads, soul, and funk. Their instrumentation includes violins and glockenspiels, and they have performed with string sections and a full orchestra.
They may well be my favorite band. I tend to play the hell out of their albums, then leave them for a year or so. Then I hear/see/read something that reminds me how good they are, and the cycle begins again. Every time I play their albums they sound better than I ever remembered. I always hear hidden depths (sounds, melodies and ideas) that I hadn't noticed previously.
The latest cycle began when I recently watched a French festival show recorded in 2005. I found this show so astonishing I had to watch it again immediately. It occurred to me while watching this show that they are much better live than in the studio - even though their studio albums are uniformly excellent. So when it came time for a Tindersticks post I chose a live album.....
The Bloomsbury Theatre features the best tracks from arguably the two best Tindersticks studio albums: the self titled first and second albums. The Bloomsbury Theatre is notable for being released as a double 10-inch vinyl LP, which includes the awesome My Sister, unfortunately absent from the CD version posted here.
Tindersticks - 1995 - The Bloomsbury Theatre
1 El Diablo En El Ojo
2 A Night In...
3 Talk To Me
4 She's Gone
5 No More Affairs
6 City Sickness
7 Vertrauen II
8 Sleepy Song
10 Drunk Tank
12 Tiny Tears
14 For Those....
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3, Pt4, Pt5
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
As a result, Smudge (and specifically Morgan) are typically mentioned only as a footnote to the Evan Dando/Lemonheads story. Which is a shame, because they are as good (if not better) than the Lemonheads. However, they lacked a few things the Lemonheads had in their favor - a major record label (and the resulting PR) and a charismatic front-person. Being Australian also didn't help at a time when Seattle ruled the world.
Smudge play no-frills, irresistible indie guitar-pop with witty lyrics. Their debut album, Manilow, is arguably their best album, and features re-recorded versions of many of their best songs from their early singles and EPs. The album was reissued in 2006, with a bonus disc of acoustic demos and a session from Triple J's Live at the wireless.
Manilow features song after song of classic indie pop. Ingrown and Superhero are rapid-fire power-pop. Impractical Joke is an effortless, mid-tempo indie pop classic. Down About It is technically a cover of the C'mon Feel the Lemonheads track Morgan co-wrote with Evan Dando. Little Help is yet another effortless, mid-tempo track. Scary Cassettes is paean to Lou Reed, complete with cheesy synthesizer.
Where the album really takes off is the sequence of tracks from Pulp through to Divan. Pulp, an early single, is more power-pop. Dave The Talking Bear is mid-tempo and infectious. Ugly, Just Like Me is a rollicking acoustic guitar based track. Divan, covered by the Lemonheads, is classic Smudge - effortless, with great lyrics about a seemingly mundane topic (i.e. a sofa bed!). The second last track is a cover of the theme song from the 80's sit-com Charles In Charge.
If that isn't enough, the 2006 re-issue provides another CD of equally classic material. The acoustic demos are a revelation, and are arguably better than the albums versions - particularly What Do You Mean I Don't Understand. Outside is fantastic - how this failed to make any Smudge album is a mystery. The Live at The Wireless tracks are pretty faithful to the recorded versions, but provide a few excellent non-Manilow tracks - a full band version of Outside, My Bright Idea, which later appeared on the Hot Smoke and Sassafras EP, and most importantly, the classic Outdoor Type, later released as a single, and covered by (guess who) The Lemonheads on their under-rated Car, Button, Cloth album.
Smudge - 1994/2006 - Manilow
3. Impractical Joke
5. Funny You Should Mention That
7. Down About It
8. Little Help
10. Scary Cassettes
11. Mr Coffee Man
13. Dave The Talking Bear
14. Ugly, Just Like Me
16. Not Here For A Haircut
17. Don't Understand
18. Hell On Hot Bread
19. Top Bunkin' Duncan
20. Charles In Charge
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Tom Morgan acoustic demos:
1. Ugly, Just Like Me
2. Hope You Like Lou (Scary Cassettes)
3. What Do You Mean I Don't Understand
4. Alison Tells Me She's Not Sure That What She's Got Is Contagious
9. Little Help
10. Funny You Should Mention That
11. Outdoor Type
12. Scary Cassettes
13. Impractical Joke
15. My Bright Idea
16. Down About It
17. Tea, Toast & Turmoil
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Sunday, April 24, 2011
This post is in memory of my beloved dog, Daisy, who passed away yesterday.
Eels - 2000 - Daisies of the galaxy
1. Grace Kelly Blues
2. Packing Blankets
3. The Sound of Fear
4. I Like Birds
5. Daisies of the Galaxy
7. It's a Motherfucker
8. Estate Sale
9. Tiger in My Tank
10. A Daisy Through Concrete
11. Jeannie's Diary
12. Wooden Nickels
13. Something Is Sacred
14. Selective Memory
15. Mr. E's Beautiful Blues
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Friday, April 22, 2011
Shoulda been huge unleashes some uneasy listening for Easter in the guise of the misunderstood Sugar mini-album Beaster, the evil twin of the excellent Copper Blue album.
Beaster was recorded over one weekend at the end of the Copper Blue sessions. Band leader Bob Mould was reputedly at the end of his tether, and this manifested itself in the darkest, heaviest and most compelling music Mould has ever produced. Beaster uses the religious imagery of crucifixion and resurrection as a metaphor for investigating relationships. It was wrongly interpreted by some critics as Mould equating his struggles to those of Jesus. It was also perceived as an exercise in self indulgence.
The mini-album commences with the melodic and mesmeric (and mostly instrumental) Come Around, lulling the listener into a false sense of security ahead of the onslaught to come. Tilted is high octane and ferocious. Judas Cradle (the betrayal) is slow and intense, with tortured vocals - arguably the closest Mould has ever strayed towards Heavy Metal. JC Auto (i.e. Jesus Christ Autobiography) (the crucifixion) is faster but no less intense. In contrast Feeling Better (the resurrection) is melodic, positive and optimistic, while Walking Away is atmospheric, featuring vocals over a wonky organ.
Sugar - 1993 - Beaster
1. Come Around
3. Judas Cradle
4. JC Auto
5. Feeling Better
6. Walking Away
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Sunday, April 17, 2011
First, the number of self titled (i.e. debut albums) featured. I could write for many hours on this topic, but I don't want to bore you, dear reader. Suffice to say, there is probably some truth in the old adage about bands having their whole lives to write their first album and a few months to write their second.
Second, the lack of posts from this millennium. The last things I want, dear reader, is for you to think I am a old fuddy-duddy who thinks everything was better in the past. Because this ain't the case! There's plenty of great music around these day. But one advantages of posting long forgotten obscure albums is that they are generally out of print, so I feel safe in the knowledge that I'm not gonna be hauled over the coals by artists or their reps (e.g. management, labels) - which is what happened with my (now deleted) King's X post.
So for this post I looked for something that didn't fall into either category.
I also looked at what album had the most downloads: Rites of Uncovering by Arbouretum. This has been downloaded a staggering 790 times, yet has not received a single comment! This is a topical issue - see Rushbo's rant and the resulting comments. As usual, Rushbo and his readers have hit the nail on the head. I realise that some low life(s) may well be leaching of my download link, but even if a tenth of the downloads came from reading my post, 79 downloads and no comments is pretty pathetic.
Anyhow, here we have Arbouretum's third album, Song of the Pearl. This is another potent mix of elemental blues, folk, gospel and psychedelia similar in sound to Rites of Uncovering, but with more concise songs. There are fewer of the long instrumental breaks and tortured guitar solos that made Rites of Uncovering so absorbing. The first half is generally slow tempo and sparse, while the second half is rhythmically more dynamic.
Opener False Spring is mid-tempo and sparse, with a great tortured guitar solo featuring sounds that you shouldn't be able to extract from a guitar. Down by the Fall Line has minimal percussion, arpeggiated guitar, and spooky guitar feedback. Song of the Pearl is folky, with atmospheric string accompaniment.
Thin Dominion features a rolling tom beat played atop a standard rock beat, and has a subtle funk feel. Infinite Corridors is faster, with Mitch Mitchell like drumming, frenzied duelling guitar solos, a second reverb soaked guitar solo, and a false ending. The Midnight Cry has minimal percussion, yet is propelled urgently by rhythm guitar, with a second rhythm guitar appearing for short bursts, and a great guitar solo that sounds like bagpipes (or is it Irish pipes?). The album closes with the atmospheric and funeral paced Tomorrow is a Long Time.
Another excellent album. Not quite as good as Rites of Uncovering - but how many albums are that good?!
Arbouretum - 2009 - Song of the Pearl
1. False Spring
2. Another Hiding Place
3. Down by the Fall Line
4. Song of the Pearl
5. Thin Dominion
6. Infinite Corridors
7. The Midnight Cry
8. Tomorrow is a Long Time
FLAC: Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Thursday, April 14, 2011
A few weeks back I posted some JPS Experience EPs. I knew I had another EP hiding away somewhere.....and here it is: Breathe, featuring two tracks (Breathe, Block) from Bleeding Star, and 2 non-album tracks which are every bit as good.
JPS Experience - 1993 - Breathe EP
2. Up In the Sky
And here are the three Straitjacket Fits CD singles released from the excellent Blow album. First we have Done, featuring two non-album tracks, including the malevolent Whiteout, the highlight of their 1993 Big Day Out shows in Australia. The versions of Done and Spacing have different mixes than the album versions. IMHO Done is a bit lackluster compared to the raucous album version - but still worth a listen!
Straitjacket Fits - 1992 - Done
Next up is Cat Inna Can, featuring two non-album tracks Sycamore and Satellite, the latter being an excellent cover of the Sex Pistols tune.
Straitjacket Fits - 1993 - Cat Inna Can
1. Cat Inna Can
Last but not least is If I Were You, featuring demos of two of the standout tracks from Blow, Brother's Keeper and Burn It Up. The album versions are pretty faithful to the demos, but the demos are worth a listen for the completist and/or obsessive!
Straitjacket Fits - 1993 - If I Were You
1. If I Were You
2. Brother's Keeper (demo)
3. Burn It Up (demo)
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The Big F were one of the pack of intelligent alternative rock bands (Jane's Addiction, Mary My Hope, The Toll, Warrior Soul, etc) that were meant to slay the hair metal poseurs - only for grunge to come along and slay everything in it's path.
The Big F grew from the ashes of synth-pop band Berlin, best known for the cheesy 1986 hit Take My Breath Away, which became a huge international hit through it's appearance in Top Gun. The Big F were formed as a reaction against everything Berlin represented, and with the intention of focusing solely on the music - whose malevolent aggressive hard rock sound was the antithesis of that of their former band. The band also adopted pseudonyms to distance themselves from their past.
So what was so good about The Big F? First and foremost, they rocked! Like most great power trios, they had a clear, uncluttered, and powerful sound, and a great sense of dynamics. They were prepared to stretch themselves instrumentally, but intuitively knew when to rein themselves in. Their songs sound like they evolved organically from jam sessions, and they had a great intuitive understanding of where a particular song needed to be taken. The vocals at times sound very reminiscent of Eddie Cheddar (oops, Vedder) - some two years before Pearl Jam were unleashed upon the world.
The first two tracks Killing Time and Kill the Cowboy are both fast paced rockers. The former is driven by a relentless driving tom-tom beat. The latter is subdued in the verses, before erupting in the choruses. Why is mid-paced, and built upon a great groove. Here’s the Good Life is playful and dynamic.
Doctor Vine is the standout track. Starting with malevolent minor chord arpegiated guitar, it slowly builds through the first two verses and choruses, employing the same three chords but with continually evolving guitar parts and rhythms, before rushing headlong to the songs conclusion. Superb. Power Pig is another rocker.
The next three songs are arguably the most diverse tracks on the album. Monkey Boy is Aerosmith meets ZZ Top, and is based around another rhythmically intriguing rolling tom beat. Alpert Tango is Zeppelin-esque, and features an almost jazz like interlude. Biz About Brains is in 7/4 time, and has a great funk feel and interesting falsetto vocals. The live Good God is another rocker, opened up by an unexpected tempo change near the end.
The Big F - 1989 - Self titled
2.Kill the Cowboy
4.Here’s to the Good Life
9.Biz About Brains
10.Good God (live)
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3, Pt4
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Cardinal played sublime guitar based orchestral indie-pop with a dark underbelly. The songs alternate between Davies' Bowie-esque and Matthews' smooth soulful vocals. The song writing is superb, and the vocal melodies are exquisite. Although the album was critically well received, you had to have your ear to the ground at the right time to catch it.
Opener If you believe in Christmas Trees, is subdued and sublime, featuring Davies vocals and Matthews violin and trumpet. Last poems, is mellow and succinct.
You've lost me now is the album's highlight. The song is built around piano and vocals, featuring heavenly vocal harmonies. Public Melody #1 is a short, dramatic interlude with a classical feel, featuring harpsichord and organ.
Dream Figure is sparse, dreamy, slowly building guitar pop, featuring great vocals from Matthews and superb vocal melodies. Tough guy tactics has a driving insistent beat, and is the closest the band get to rocking out. The slightly discordant music gives the impression the song may lurch out of control but never quite does (damn!).
The last three tracks are all sparse and subdued. Angel Darling features a Capella verses. Singing to the sunshine features vocals and acoustic guitar, while the albums second standout track, Silver Machines, has a psychedelic feel.
Davies and Matthews both went on to release solo albums after the demise of Cardinal. Matthews debut attracted a fair degree of interest - unfortunately not due to the album's heavenly orchestral pop, but because it represented Sub Pop first attempt to diversify from the grunge sound with which made it's name.
Cardinal was re-released in 2005 with 11 bonus tracks - and I'm embarrassed to admit I still haven't gotten my grubby hands on it....yet!
Cardinal - 1994 - Self titled
1. If You Believe in Christmas Trees
2. Last Poems
3. Big Mine
4. You've Lost Me There
5. Public Melody No. 1
6. Dream Figure
7. Tough Guy Tactics
8. Angel Darling
9. Singing to the Sunshine
10. Silver Machines
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Sometimes maintaining this blog feels like a pain in the butt! It's hard to find time to put in the effort that the music I post deserves.
And what the hell am I doing writing about these bands when I could actually be listening to their (or other bands) music. All good questions, dear reader, and questions I wrestle with every day! And no, I can't multi-task - I'm male after all!
My current thoughts are that I need to enjoy blogging - otherwise it will be reflected in my posts. Or I'll just lose enthusiasm and end up on the scrapheap of former bloggers. So this post is an attempt to do something a little different for my own self indulgent purposes.
Normally when I start writing a post I pretty well know what I'm gonna say, and just sit down and regurgigate it onto the keyboard (no, not literally!). But this time I've had two different ideas on approaching the introduction to this post. They are both rubbish, but I will allow you, dear reader, to select your own introduction:
Intro 1: I have never been into the concept of "heroes". Maybe it says something about my perfectionist tendencies, but I can always find some flaw in anyone ascending the rocky road to herodom before they make it there. But the closest person I have to a hero is Nick Cave. And why hasn't he, of all people, crossed the great divide. Well....hmmm.....it's because he can't sing! And I'm sure he'd be the first to admit it. But everything else he does, he does spectacularly!!
Intro 2: There used to be (or still is?) a show on Australian TV called Rove, hosted by Rove McManus, who I've been told is funny - although I've seen little evidence of that myself. Rove used to (or still does?) ask his guests "who would you turn gay for." If he asked me, my answer would be Nick Cave! Hmm, or maybe AFL footballer Lance (Buddy) Franklin!!
OK, now that that's done...
I've recently been re-reading Ian Johnston's excellent 1995 Nick Cave biography Bad Seed, and listening to The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party, and The Bad seeds albums as I read (i.e. I read, then I listen - as I said, I'm male). During this process I listened to the Red Right Hand CD single, which contains the gem I'm posting here, B-side. Instead of describing this track myself, I'll quote from Bad Seed:
'B-Side' is a 19-minute selection of 23 largely improvised, ad-libbed pieces of music recorded direct to DAT by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds in the past 2 years. The tune snippet titles are:
'God's Hotel', 'Do You Love Me?', 'Sugar-Coated Place Called Love', 'Kiss Me in the Morning', 'Nobody's Baby Now', 'A-Side', 'B-Side', 'C-Side', 'Loverman', 'Born To Be Your Loverman', 'Take The "0" Out Of Country', 'Jangling Jack', 'Sex Appeal', 'Where the Action Is', 'Blow That Babe Away', 'I Let Love In', 'Dadaladaladaladawn', 'Thirsty Dog', 'Man of Steel', 'It's a Crazy World', 'Ain't Gonna Rain Anymore', 'Sweet Maria', 'Lay Me Low', 'Vanilla Essence', 'Do You Love Me? (Part 2)'.
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - B-side
DISCLAIMER: the concept that women can multi-task and men can't is a myth! And this was told to me by a woman. Noone can multi-task. I only used this concept in my post for dramatic effect...........where's my medication, nurse?
Monday, April 4, 2011
This is probably my favorite compilation album. Yeah, I know that most of the tracks are probably rejects from the artists own albums, and/or experiments that didn't work out, etc. etc., but in my humble opinion the whole package (i.e. concept, songs, artwork, hidden track) is a winner.
So where to start?
Let's start with the hidden, uncredited track - Nirvana's Verse Chorus Verse. A. Classic. I still find it staggering that Kurt could dish out a long line of songs like this (e.g. Dive, Oh The Guilt, Aneurysm, Even in his youth, etc., etc.), which crapped from a great height over what the majority of similar bands were doing, and then have the perversity to leave the songs off Nirvana albums. Or in this case, allow the song to appear uncredited!
Then we have American Music Club and Bob Mould - two artists that, dare I say it, shoulda been huge - performing what I assume are outtakes, yet which eclipse the best songs from most bands.
Plus we have Soundgarden's Show Me, possibly their most under-appreciated song (including by the band themselves), which somehow manages to sound more like The Stones that their version of The Stones' Stray Cat Blues (go figure).
And also Straitjacket Fits' Brittle, and intriguing sounding song from an intriguing sounding band.
And when you thought that was all, there's Pavement's Unseen power of the picket fence. While not in the league of their best material, it's still worth a listen, if only to hear them professing their love for REM!
Hey, lets not forget the Beasties It's the new style, rapped to the backing tape from "Hold it now, hit it" (from memory) - not as good as the original, but again worth a listen.
Honorable mentions also go out to Smashing Pumpkins, Uncle Tupelo and The Breeders.
And the mighty Sonic Youth apparently appear on the cassette version (unfortunately not included here - sigh)!
1. Superdeformed - Matthew Sweet
2. For All to See - Buffalo Tom
3. Sexual Healing - Soul Asylum
4. Take a Walk - Urge Overkill
5. All Your Jeans Were Too Tight - American Music Club
6. Bitch - The Goo Goo Dolls
7. Unseen Power of the Picket Fence - Pavement
8. Glynis - The Smashing Pumpkins
9. Can't Fight It - Bob Mould
10. Hold On - Sarah McLachlan
11. Show Me - Soundgarden
12. Brittle - Straitjacket Fits
13. Joed Out - Barbara Manning
14. Heavy 33 - The Verlaines
15. Effigy - Uncle Tupelo
16. New Style - Beastie Boys
17. Iris - The Breeders
18. Memorial Song - Patti Smith
19. Verse Chorus Verse - Nirvana
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Into You (1994)