Saturday, December 4, 2010

Update from the edge of the world

For extremely complicated reasons I won't go into, I've been spending the last couple of months back home in Europe which has been quite a change to say the least.

I've not felt like posting anything as you may have guessed but today I have a small story to tell.

A few years ago I wrote a post about my brother Ed and his refreshing attitude (here).

This week we were discussing music like we usually do when we just get a chance to chill out and hit 'random' on the stereo. When the U2 song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" came on, my brother said that this could be his theme song. My heart fell because my brother, because of his disability, has never had a serious girlfriend and lives quite a lonely existence. I imagined him listening to these songs and being laid low by the experiences. I thought of the inherent yearning quality of the U2 track and privately wondered about the expectations of life. Yes folks, I am a deep thinker.

So we were silent for a moment. Then my brother continued. "Yeah, this is my song. I'm always losing my wallet, my car keys, my phone numbers.... I'm always looking for something!!"

I love you Ed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Crying In The Library

I was in a fragile mood on Sunday, but that doesn't really tell the full story of how I felt tears welling up unexpectedly during a brief sojourn in the children's section of the library.

I sat down with two books, one of which I don't remember now. The other was a large pictorial history of the rock band Queen. I just thought it might be an interesting light read for a few minutes, and I was in no real sense a fan. I don't own any Queen albums. I know the big hits but none of the album tracks. My strongest (and most shameful) memory of them was politely informing another boy in my 3rd Form class that Freddie Mercury was "a poofter". I certainly had a way with words when I was 14.

And yet here I was, many years later, moved to tears by the explanations of how, despite becoming ill in 1987, Freddie fought to his last breath to make the music he wanted and to make the most of every moment with his loved ones and colleagues before finally succumbing in 1991. It was truly inspirational. And then, to read some of the lyrics of his last works, knowing his time was short, was very moving.

A few years ago I might have made a patronizing comment about how he was still out there performing somewhere. Now, I don't think he is. But it isn't patronizing at all to say that the man continues to inspire, enthrall and entertain through his extraordinary legacy. And that is all any of us can hope for. Or aim for.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Just a quick shout out to "Where This Kind of Music Happens", a new blog with a great roster of new wave and synthpop artists featured. Be sure to check it out!

Also if you like mooning over music magazines from the early '80's, then check out Brian's awesome Smash Hits archive.

From the indie pop scene I've been enjoying Consolation Prizes, with posts of bands like Friends Again, Jazzateers, The Go-Betweens and many more.

I'm noticing not only that there seem to be a lot more music blogs springing up, but most of them are being updated daily. Here's to discovering something new!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Meg & Dia, Red Umbrella, Quiet KY

Meg & Dia - Here, Here And Here (2009)

I bought it because it was a recent release. I expected something maybe like the Indigo Girls or maybe Tegan & Sara.

The Verdict: This album rocks, hard.Surprisingly accessible and melodic. The only downside was that after four or five similar tracks I was out of breath. I was expecting a change of pace but there wasn't one (at least on what I heard). But good driving music.

Rating:   9/15

Red Umbrella - Wishing For Boardwalk (2006)

Another one where I liked the cover and artwork. No expectations.

The Verdict: I had put this on before and remembered that I liked it. The first track is a good, surging pop song. The next couple of tracks just drifted off a little for me. Not sure on this, might be a grower.

Rating:   7/15

Quiet, KY - Two Blue Ruins (200?)

I liked the quirky art. Self-released, so no idea what this might be like.

The Verdict: A winner all the way! Excellent, accessible acoustic settings. If this was by a major band on a major label these songs would be on all those acoustic compilations with Radiohead, Magnet, Nick Drake and Badly Drawn Boy. A gentle, delicate, warmly sung pleasure. Very, very good indeed.

            Rating:   14/15

Worthy Download:   The whole Two Blue Ruins album! But not apparently available anywhere right now. Try "Florentina" or "Mr. Welles" to get a taste.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kate Lush, Simian, Let's Get It

I've been mulling over how to get this blog going again in a way that maintains my interest while providing some fresh content and, most importantly, gets me away from the kind of posts that take days to write.

Here's what I've come up with. On the one hand, I have boxes and boxes of CD's that I have acquired one way or another, most of which I plan to sell or trade on. On the other hand, I have very limited time and a fifteen minute commute to work which is about the only time I can settle down and actually listen to anything.

I going to provide lightning reviews of albums selected at random from my boxes. These will mostly be lesser known works from the last decade or so from a bunch of different genres, but to keep things interesting I'm not going to filter anything. So, my 15 minute commute could include several tracks from one album, or several different albums if I really don't like what I'm hearing. I'll select one track to post which is the best I heard and rate the albums based on how much time I actually decided to spend listening to it.

Let's roll the dice and see what happens.

Kate Lush - Don't Wait Too Long (2008)

I picked this one out because it's Australian and produced by Michael Carpenter. I didn't know what to expect but I do like antipodean pop in the style of Neil Finn, Bic Runga, Carla Werner and others.

The verdict: Too bland for my taste. Some tracks might make good soundtrack selections, and there is something of a Crowded House influence in places, and country pop in others. Just nothing special.

Rating:   5/15                         Buy my copy here!

Simian - Chemistry Is What We Are (2001)

This caught my eye because it's on the Astralwerks label and they tend to work with interesting electronic artists, and I noticed they were British. Nice sheep-dog, too.

The verdict: Yuk! I skipped the first track because it took too long to start. I gave the next track a few more seconds, but it was much too ambient with beeps and blips and no discernible structure. By the third track, I was hitting eject. Just not my thing at all.

Rating:   2/15

Let's Get It - Digital Spaces EP (2009)

I got this just because it was a recent release with attractive artwork. I see a lot of albums on the Fearless label and I got the impression they were mostly emo and punk-pop. In other words, I wasn't expecting much from this.

The verdict: A pleasant surprise! I only had time to listen to three of the tracks (there are 6 total) but I liked what I heard. So much going on, but it felt cohesive and interesting. I'll put this on again.

Rating:   11/15                          Check them out here!

Worthy download:   Let's Get It - Duck, Duck, Grey Goose

Download is low quality, for sampling purposes only. If you like it, buy it here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ordinary Man - Goodbye America (1987)

Apparently, I'm the only internet fan of late 80's pop group This Other Eden. Over the last couple of years I've managed to post all three of their singles for A&M, while the remaining tracks from the long lost Freewill album presumably remain locked in the A&M vaults (about time for an iTunes release at least, surely?)

I was intrigued last year by a brief comment I received in an email from Chris Thow, who formed the band with Mike Perry. He mentioned that they had previously released a single for EMI called "Goodbye America" and toured with Go West. I had never heard of this and began to dig around.

I discovered this single by Ordinary Man which was released in 1987 and I had to wait until I tracked down a copy before I could confirm it was the single Chris had referred to. Indeed it was!

Another couple of great tracks.

Ordinary Man - (I Can't Believe It's Come To This) Goodbye America
Ordinary Man - Under Pressure

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Producers - Rare Demo Tape

Here is a cassette tape I found in a box at a record store. At first I thought it was an album advance, but quickly discovered it was an original 1983 demo tape produced for a record label.

After two strong albums, The Producers and You Make The Heat, popular Atlanta power-pop outfit The Producers underwent some personnel changes, as Kyle Henderson (vocals/bass) left for a solo career. As the band searched for a new sound, only two tracks ("Table For One" and "The Boat Song") would appear on their third album Run For Your Life, which they eventually self-released in 1985.

Side One
  1. Begin At The Beginning
  2. Dance On My Heart
  3. World Of Dreams
  4. Table For One
  5. Renaissance
Side Two
  1. The Boat Song
  2. Rain Is Falling
  3. Found Out The Hard Way
  4. Full Circle

Alternative download

For more on the Producers, check out the excellent official fan site.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Glen Burtnick - Talking In Code (1986)

Remembering rare, obscure and just plain interesting vinyl releases from back when a CD meant you had money in the bank...

1. Crank It Up
2. Talking In Code
3. Little Red House
4. Perfect World
5. Hole In My Pocket
6. Brave Hearts
7. Hold Back The Night
8. Talk That Talk
9. Heart On The Line
10. We're Alright


Sunday, February 28, 2010

More on Banderas

I was looking around for what the two members of Banderas (Caroline Buckley and Sally Herbert) have been up to since. Not sure what Caroline has been doing, but Sally has been involved with some of the most important and influential artists of the last few years, including Radiohead, Florence & The Machines, Robbie Williams, Travis, Kylie Minogue, and many more.

She co-wrote this track with Claire Tchaikowski, and I love both the track and the video:

Sally has a MySpace page here.

Banderas - Ripe (1991)

Reposted by request:

Banderas - Ripe

I've also updated all the links at the original post, including several remixes. Enjoy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Living In A Material World

Since last fall we've had a lot of fun putting together my daughter's new jazz dance routine. I'm not a massive Madonna fan by any means but "Material Girl" has always been my favorite song of hers, at least in my head. I'd remember the video and the bits I thought were cool. Then I'd play it and remember that the beginning was too slow, there was entirely too many "dilly-o's" and her girlish squealing got really irritating. That and then the song just seemed to go on forever.

Fortunately, in my role as creative music editor, I had the opportunity and the tools to turn all this around for my daughter's dance routine. After being veiled in secrecy for a while, I'm now pleased to introduce you to my own remix. After initially going bonkers and throwing in beeping price scanners, ringing cash registers, and popping camera lightbulbs, I scaled it back a tad and produced what I call the "Megabucks" edit. For a start, it's under three minutes long, as required for competition entries. Then, I took my favorite bit and put it at the beginning, mixed in just enough effects to complement the music and gave it a proper ending. Oh, and that is my voice over an imaginary store intercom.

You can probably tell we invested quite a bit in the costume design and in putting the props together. It all came together very nicely.

Madonna - Material Girl (Megabucks Edit)

I now have a website I created to advertise my custom music projects. It's at

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

John Adams - Strong (1987)

As promised here is the solo album by former Private Lives frontman John Adams. It's very dance orientated and typical of the late 80's sound. And he looks very debonair, too.
  1. Strip This Heart
  2. Passion
  3. Strong
  4. Stranger Than Love
  5. Message To Rudi
  6. What Do You Want From Me
  7. No Turning Back
  8. Don't You Think It's Time
  9. Someone To Believe In
  10. Hold Back The Tears

[Update Feb 2013] Download from Putlocker

There was also a solo single released in 1985 which I will post later.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Commando - VI (1987)

Don't know much about Commando except that they are (were?) Swedish and were originally called Commando M. Pigg. This was their sixth album, fairly obviously.
  1. Tracklist:
  2. Shoeshine Boy
  3. Thunder In My Heart
  4. Baby Blue
  5. Blue Moon
  6. Oh Baby
  7. Just Made Love
  8. Roll Away The Stone
  9. Jesus Baby
  10. Tell Me
  11. Lonely And Cold

Eva Sonesson (vocals)
Peter Puders (guitars)
Anders Karlsmark (bass)
Anders Hernestam (drums)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Private Lives - Prejudice & Pride (BY REQUEST)

I've had several requests to re-upload this album. What's held me back is that I don't own the original, and the tracks I have are in various bit-rates and condition. But, seeing as I don't expect to get the album myself anytime soon, here is what I do have.

This one I ripped myself from the 7" single. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 192 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 320 kbps.

Found on the internet. Ripped at 148 kbps.

The B-Side of "Living In A World". Very crackly, I'm afraid. I found it under a tire. Ripped at 320 kbps.

John Adams (writer and lead vocals) is a bit of a dour bloke, isn't he? I'll post his 1987 solo album next if there is any interest. It's a bit more upbeat.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Softly, Softly

Yeah, I'll be back. Thanks for all the encouragement, especially from Matt Fretton and my buds Phil and XOLondon. You guys rock!