Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Vinyl: Continuing thoughts

Some more thoughts on vinyl and possible future purchases, in no particular order.

The Black Keys
I saw The Black Keys play the Astoria (rip) back in 2005 (?) It remains one of my favourite gigs. The stage was virtually empty just two men, a set of drums and a stack of amps but the sound produced was immense. Stripped down blues roots rock at it's very finest, and if I was buying on vinyl I'd probably want to go back to Rubber Factory. Their latest album Turn Blue is to my mind a bit of a disappointment it's not bad as such it just doesn't meet expectations and doesn't reach the heights that the previous two albums Brothers and El Camino do.

Somewhat clich├ęd I know but Nevermind is an album that defined my generation. I will confess to only having a passing interest when they had their day, Inutero and Bleach meant very little to me and I liked bits and pieces from Nevermind but not the whole thing. The first of Nirvana album I loved start to finish was Unplugged in New York which my brother and I used to play on loop whilst we played Doom. I've grown up a lot since then or at least got older and I've come to love Nevermind and recognise how brilliant it is and worthy of every piece of praise it's receive or the years! Add to all that the seminal cover art.

The Beastie Boys
The Beastie Boys seem have always seemed like good fun, three friends who liked playing word games and being a little bit silly. I can relate to that. Their music has a playfulness and a freedom that comes from having enough success to do whatever they like, which luckily has always sounded good to me. Their are plenty of worthy albums to choose from with excellent songs and equally iconic album artwork: the Blues Brothers-esque drive through of Ill Communications (arguably the "best" album); the plane tale of Licence to Ill; the 360 street photo of Paul's Boutique (an album I listened to extensively whilst designing ducts!)
But, for me, nothing quite sums the Beastie Boys up as well as Hello, Nasty. It may lack the raw brilliance of Ill Communication's Sure Shot or Sabotage and the cheeky humour of Licence to Ill's She's Crafty and Girls but it makes up for it in consistently lively and entertaining songs. The cover says it all here are three friends apparently riding through space in a sardine can, intergalactic pioneers!

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
One of the things that amazes and amuses me in equal measure is how Nick and co  can produce such diverse songs from some of my favourite songs to a rare few which I struggle to listen to all the way through, and every thing in between. This makes picking a single favourite album very difficult.Murder Ballads will always have a place in my heart as the first Bad Seeds album I owned and as such was my intro to Nick definitive style of blood and rhetoric (with that album very much dwelling on the blood). In my late teenage years this loving violence or violent love seemed a perfect antidote to the nauseating pop of the day, much aided by the Nick and Kylie collaboration Where the wild roses grow. I've always (perversely perhaps) enjoyed the image of Nick recovering in Australian rehab (which I imagine to be something like One Flew Over) obsessing over the girl on the TV in the only program deemed calm enough to show the patients - Neighbours.
Dig, Lazurus, Dig! is raised to deity level by the inclusion of More News from Nowhere a tale of life on the road for an ageing musician retold as the Odyssey and is quite possibly my favourite song of all time. The double album of The Lyre of Orpheus and Breathless fits together so perfectly, The Boatman Calls is an album that I keep rediscovering and find more in each time, so much to choose from!

Thoughts, comments and suggestions welcomed!

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