31 July 2013

31st July - Rilo Kiley's Take Offs and Landings

Artist – Album: Rilo Kiley – Take Offs and Landings
Released:  31st July 2001
Sounds Like: An answer!
It’s always been a curious source of disappointment for my laddish mates and inquisitive girlfriends that I’ve never really had a celebrity crush. When queried on it (which happened as recently as a few months ago) I tend to look sheepishly at my feet and mumble “Courtney Cox”: an answer that was patently acceptable back in her Friends heyday of the nineties but is horrifically outdated with her almost twice my age (which will be achieved on 15th June 2014 when she celebrates her 50th; the next day, I will turn 26, smashing the symmetry). Where blokey university mates had posters of Jessica Alba in Sin City or the lead singer of Paramore plastered lovingly on their walls, I have the Blues Brothers, and Jack Lemon and (the admittedly beautiful) Shirley MacLaine from the Apartment on mine. All that being said, if I just remembered more often that I’m in love with Jenny Lewis, lead singer of Rilo Kiley, I would have a reply in stock that would brook no arguments. As well as being the literate, evocatively voiced singer of a cool indie band, a sometime actress, and a full 12 years younger than Courtney Cox, she is just simply gorgeous (yes, that makes for a similar CV to Zooey Deschanel, but Jenny’s so much less in your face about it). Gorgeous. I permit you to take a minute to Google or Wikipedia her. Go on…
See, isn’t she cool?
Of course, there’s a danger that her prettiness may blind me to the naffness of her band. But I think – I think – that this is a fine album. Songs such as ‘Wires and Waves’ have the driving melodies and infectious hooks that made ‘Portion for Foxes’ a minor hit for the group a few years later, whilst the gently soothing ‘Science Vs. Romance’ is a lovely slow burner. ‘Pictures of Success’ is pleasingly melodramatic, whereas ‘Bulletproof’ makes good use of Lewis’ sweet vocals. There’s certainly nothing revolutionary about this record, but its simple folk and poppy indie makes for a rewarding listen. And I’m not just saying that to impress Jenny.
Albumaday... rating: 7/10
1.       Go Ahead – 3:34
2.       Science vs. Romance – 5:43
3.       Wires and Waves – 3:17
4.       Pictures of Success – 6:51
5.       August – 3:18
6.       Bulletproof – 1:57
7.       Plane Crash in C – 5:11
8.       Variations on a Theme (Science vs. Romance) – 0:36
9.       Small Figures in a Vast Expanse – 3:19
10.   Don’t Deconstruct – 2:37
11.   Always – 4:00
12.   We’ll Never Sleep (God Knows We’ll Try) – 2:54
13.   Rest of My Life – 2:10
14.   Variations on a Theme (Plane Crash in C) – 1:35
15.   Spectacular Views (Salute MY Shorts!)
Listen to ‘Wires and Waves’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlP9Opw8ZHg

30 July 2013

30th July - The Strokes' Is This It

Artist – Album: The Strokes – Is This It
Released:  30th July 2001

Sounds Like: This is it

Is This It was the first game changing record of the 21st century. It sold bucketloads worldwide, contained three awesome singles and topped most end-of-year - and even end-of-decade - lists. It made it cool again to let your hair grow scruffy and long, to squeeze into a pair of the skinniest, crotch framing jeans possible and to strum away at your electric guitar. It paved the way for the success of The Libertines, Kings of Leon and Franz Ferdinand (admittedly by pilfering quite liberally from the likes of The Velvet Underground, Television and Tom Petty), and single-handedly made alternative rock cool again. Which is not too shabby for a debut.

Some of its success can be put down to the fact that it was brought to us by five good looking, hip New Yoikers, and it certainly helped to have such a celebrated list of influences, but ultimately it did well because it so good in itself. With a selection of songs as good as this it simply couldn’t fail. ‘Last Nite’ is the perfect encapsulation their sound: driving beats, explorative bass, whining guitars and Julian Casablancas’ laidback, cool delivery. Singling out one track over the others doesn’t really do it justice though, as they’re all special: ‘Is This It’, ‘The Modern Age’, ‘Soma’, ‘Someday’, ‘Hard to Explain’ and ‘Take It or Leave It’, they're all great.

Following the abominable terrorist attack by Al Qaeda on the Twin Towers the September after this album’s release, the Officer Krupke-style police bashing ‘New York City Cops’ – featuring the chorus of “New York City cops, they ain’t so smart” – was understandably pulled from the US version of the record. The seismic effect of 9/11 causes me to refrain from calling the album one that changed the world; however, it's impossible to deny the huge impact it had on 21st century popular music.
Albumaday... rating: 10/10
1.       Is This It – 2:35
2.       The Modern Age – 3:32
3.       Soma – 2:38
4.       Barely Legal – 3:54
5.       Someday – 3:07
6.       Alone, Together – 3:12
7.       Last Nite – 3:18
8.       Hard to Explain – 3:48
9.       New York City Cops – 3:36
10.   Trying Your Luck – 3:28
11.   Take It or Leave It – 3:16
Listen to ‘Trying Your Luck’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzCTobvdsxo

Also released on the 30th July:
2002: Bruce Springsteen – The Rising

29 July 2013

29th July - Teenage Fanclub's Songs from Northern Britain

Artist – Album: Teenage Fanclub – Songs from Northern Britain
Released:  29th July 1997

Sounds Like: Good enough for Nick Hornby

Teenage Fanclub are hardly ever mentioned when it comes to lists of the great bands of the nineties, or the best Scottish groups, or even the most successful Big Star tribute acts. Which, frankly, I find appalling, as over the length of their near 25 year life they have continuously showcased their innate ability to churn out brilliant pop hooks and gorgeous, Californian harmonies. They’re one of my favourite bands and their power pop orientated, sunny and melodic sound is exactly what I want from most of my music.

That being said, I have to admit that Songs from Northern Britain is not one of my favourite albums. Although it is one of Nick Hornby’s, so if you too are a fan of Arsenal, lad lit and becoming less and less funny with each book you write, then it may be the one for you.

By the time of this, their sixth album, the Fannies had all but eschewed their rocking, electric sound and had favoured the acoustic indie folk part of their game. As a result, this record, although abundant with excellent songs (‘Ain’t That Enough’ particularly is dazzling; it’s no exaggeration to say that I would rank it amongst the greatest love songs of the last 20 years), lacks a bit of an edge. Other bands compensate for their almost-twee sound with humour – a la Belle and Sebastian – or interesting experimentation, like The Magnetic Fields or They Might Be Giants, but neither of those options seem to be in Teenage Fanclub’s repertoire. Instead, we have twelve songs that are about being in love, and not the horny, let’s-pretend-we’re-bunny-rabbits love or the dramatic, I-could-die for-you-love, or even the twisted, I’ll-be-watching-you love, but the comfortable, let’s-have-hot-chocolate-and-snuggle love. Which is just a bit too lovely.
The upshot is that today’s album is stocked full of brilliant songs but ultimately it makes little or no lasting impression on the listener. Nick Hornby aside.

Albumaday... rating: 7/10

1.       Start Again – 3:11
2.       Ain’t That Enough – 3:42
3.       Can’t Feel My Soul – 3:21
4.       I Don’t Want Control of You – 3:08
5.       Planets – 2:50
6.       It’s a Bad World – 4:20
7.       Take the Long Way Round – 3:25
8.       Winter – 3:46
9.       I Don’t Care – 3:06
10.   Mount Everest – 5:15
11.   Your Love Is the Place Where I Come From – 3:29
12.   Speed of Light – 3:53

Listen to ‘Ain’t That Enough’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdeqYx-9-AQ

28 July 2013

28th July - R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant

Artist – Album: R.E.M. – Lifes Rich Pageant
Released:  28th July 1986

Sounds Like: Classic, political college rock

The contrast between R.E.M.’s early, cultish image and their all conquering status a decade later is startling. Despite each of their albums being granted critical acclaim, when their fourth album was released they were still seen as an underground act. Lifes Rich Pageant, however, stands as one of the first markers to their ascent to eventual global stardom.

Unlike previous releases, the band’s sound was much cleaner and clearer here, and songs like ‘Fall on Me’ and ‘I Believe’ have gorgeous poppy melodies that make them sound like perfect radio fodder. The cover of Cliques ‘Superman’ is as disposable as R.E.M. got at this juncture in their career, although it still remains great. Michael Stipe’s brilliant, unique voice wraps itself around some of his less cryptic set of lyrics (relatively speaking of course), and he, for the most part, is decipherable.

That’s not to say that the guys were selling out for greater commercial success. Stipe’s lyrics have a political bent for the first time, and songs like ‘Cuyahoga’ stand as some of the best environmentally-minded songs ever. ‘The Flowers of Guatemala’ seems to be an indictment of the US-backed military regime in Guatemala in the fifties, whilst ‘Swan Swan H’ is an obtuse examination of the American Civil War. Furthermore, as accessible and enjoyable as the indie folk of this album is, it still diverges unexpectedly at times, never more so than the odd flamenco turn of ‘Just a Touch’.

No, the band didn’t compromise their identity to curry more favour with the record buying public; people just finally started to realise their brilliance.

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       Begin the Begin – 3:28
2.       These Days – 3:24
3.       Fall on Me – 2:50
4.       Cuyahoga – 4:19
5.       Hyena – 2:50
6.       Underneath the Bunker – 1:25
7.       The Flowers of Guatemala – 3:55
8.       I Believe – 3:49
9.       What If We Give It Away? – 3:33
10.   Just a Touch – 3:00
11.   Swan Swan H – 2:42
12.   Superman – 2:52

Also released on the 28th July:
1992: Barenaked Ladies – Gordon

27 July 2013

27th July - New York Dolls' New York Dolls

Artist – Album: New York Dolls – New York Dolls
Released:  27th July 1973

Sounds Like: The Rolling Stones meets the Rocky Horror Picture Show

On the cover to the New York Dolls’ self titled debut album, David Johansen, Johnny Thunders and co gaze back at you, half fascinated and half menacing, and sporting aggressively applied make up and drag. Looking like extras from the Rocky Horror Picture show, they make a startling, campy vision that contains just a hint of danger. The look also just so happens to be a perfectly accurate embodiment of their sound.

Album opener ‘Personality Crisis’ jumps out at you with the full shebang, full of brash guitar riffs, wolf whistles and over exaggerated Mick Jagger-esque vocals. Its decadent glam rock is seen as the best in their oeuvre, and was selected by Rolling Stone Magazine as the 271st Greatest Song of All Time. Although the tempo does sometimes lessen from the full on assault of ‘Crisis’, the rest of the album continues to rock out on a regular basis. ‘Looking for a Kiss’ is dark R&B, ‘Lonely Planet Boy’ is odd, otherworldly folk, ‘Frankenstein’ is visceral rock and roll and ‘Trash’ is the perfect punk pop song.

It’s thrilling stuff. However, it’s also a lovely and sunny Saturday and so I’m gonna go out now and enjoy my day. See you tomorrow!

Albumaday... rating: 9/10

1.       Personality Crisis – 3:43
2.       Looking for a Kiss – 3:20
3.       Vietnamese Baby – 3:39
4.       Lonely Planet Boy – 4:10
5.       Frankenstein (Orig.) – 6:00
6.       Trash – 3:09
7.       Bad Girl – 3:05
8.       Subway Train – 4:22
9.       Pills – 2:49
10.   Private World – 3:40
11.   Jet Boy – 4:40

Also released on the 27th July:
1993: Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

Also released on the 27th July:
1984: Metallica – Ride the Lightning

26 July 2013

26th July - ZZ Top's Tres Hombres

Artist – Album: ZZ Top – Tres Hombres
Released:  26th June 1973

Sounds Like: It’s got legs

This morning I woke up at the foot of the bed, still wearing my tie and suit (although I had at least managed to unbutton the shirt), with the lamp still on and the laptop, fresh from a last minute Albumaday... posting, still on and snuggled up next to my head. Evidently it was quite a heavy one and I just couldn’t be happier that I had the foresight to book today off work. Not to sound too smug, all you unfortunate workmates...

I don’t remember much about the walk back from the pub, but I do recall playing the Arctic-cool ‘La Grange’ on my ipod far too loudly over and over again. Its John Lee Hooker-influenced blues and throaty A haw, haw, haw, haw, a haw are damn near perfection. And I’m pleased to report that the rest of the album attains a similarly high standard – the opening couple of ‘Waitin’ for the Bus’ and ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago’ which together saw frequent radio airplay, the heavy, heavy sound of ‘Master of Sparks’ and the soulful ballad ‘Hot, Blue & Righteous’ are all worthy companions to the standout single.

I used to think ZZ Top were a bit of a gimmicky band, with their matching beards large enough for a flock of birds to make a nest in, MTV-ready music videos and shiny, synthy singles such as ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’, ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ and ‘Legs’. It’s a pleasure to find out that they actually have roots in much purer, undistilled blues rock, and it’s a hell of a lot easier for my hungover brain to deal with.

Albumaday... rating:  8/10

1.       Waitin’ for the Bus – 2:59
2.       Jesus Just Left Chicago – 3:30
3.       Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers – 3:23
4.       Master of Sparks – 3:33
5.       Hot, Blue & Righteous – 3:14
6.       Move Me on Down the Line – 2:32
7.       Precious and Grace – 3:09
8.       La Grange – 3:52
9.       Shiek – 4:05
10.   Have You Heard? – 3:15

Listen to ‘La Grange’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vppbdf-qtGU

Also released on the 26th June:
1974: Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom

25th July - AC/DC's Back in Black

Artist – Album: AC-DC – Back in Black
Released:  25th July 1980
Sounds Like: It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black.

It’s hard to listen to pre-Spinal Tap hard rock and not conjure up images of miniature Stonehenges, spontaneously combusting drummers, and amps that go all the way up to 11. Almost everything I listen to from the early metal era brings to mind ‘Big Bottom’. In the proud history of parody bands, from the Rutles to Lonely Island, Spinal Tap are the most hilariously accurate, perfectly executed and stunningly realised. Undeniably, one of the reasons that it was so successful was because the genre itself, unlike the often pretentious indie rock or the are-you-looking-at-me hip hop, is just plain fun. As good as A Mighty Wind (a similar film by the same guys) is, folk and country music is just too self-effacing to be laugh out loud. However, although rock music back then may have been dominated by sweaty, overly hairy men who either like to sing about dungeons and dragons or sex and drugs and rock and roll (and that in itself is funny), it also contained bombastic drumming and exhilarating guitar solos designed solely to make you clench your hand into a fist and punch the air in delight. 
No album in history has better captured the sheer adrenaline rush of rock at the time than Back in Black. It foregoes the obsession with myths and legends and just goes for the old sex and drugs (and drink), and its made all the better for the knowledge that they truly were living it. It’s almost something of a disappointment that they didn’t write the seminal ‘Life in the Fast Lane’, as it so aptly sums up their lifestyle. That being said, however, they did compose some absolute classic anthems, with the likes of ‘Back in Black’, ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’, ‘Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’ and ‘Hells Bells’ all appearing here. Yes, it is a all a bit Spinal Tap-py – ‘Givin’ the Dog a Bone’ isn’t far removed from ‘Lick My Love Pump’ – but that’s all just part of the fun.
Following the death of legendary lead singer Bon Scott in 1979, there was a danger that this album could have been funereal, particularly given the uniformly black album cover. In actual fact, the album is more like the most celebratory wake ever.
Albumaday... rating: 9/10

1.       Hells Bells – 5:10
2.       Shoot to Thrill – 5:17
3.       What Do You Do for Money Honey – 3:33
4.       Given the Dog a Bone – 3:30
5.       Let Me Put My Love Into You – 4:16
6.       Back in Black – 4:14
7.       You Shook Me All Night Long – 3:30
8.       Have a Drink on Me – 3:57
9.       Shake a Leg – 4:06
10.   Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution – 4:15

24 July 2013

24th July - The Go-Go's' Beauty and the Beat

Artist – Album: The Go-Go’s – Beauty and the Beat
Released:  24th July 1981

Sounds Like: Girl power (pop)

Sometimes I love this blog. I didn’t really know The Go-Go’s before today, but now I think that they’re just brilliant. 

For some reason (i.e. because I only knew ‘Heaven is a Place On Earth), I always thought that Belinda Carlisle was just like Barbara Streisand – huge in the eighties but since revealed to be a purveyor of cloyingly poppy schmaltz. Jane Wiedlin, on the other hand, was the author of one of my guiltiest pleasures: the power pop ‘Rush Hour’, which I must apologise to numerous long-suffering neighbours for singing to as loud as possible when intoxicated. Together, and teamed with three other female rockers, I had assumed they were just another girl group, like those around when I grew up: The Spice Girls, Atomic Kitten and the Corrs (OK, so there was a guy in that one, but he was definitely there to be heard and not seen).

Nope, The Go-Go’s are much, much better than that. The album starts with the vital single ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’, full of infectious melodies and poppy harmonies. ‘How Much More’ is classic New Wave, giddy and shuffling and thinly veiling its heartbroken lyrical content. ‘We Got the Beat’ was the other single, containing dirty, grinding verses and a sugary sweet chorus, that sounded somewhere between The B-52’s kitschness and The Tom Tom Club’s modernity.

It’s not just one of the best albums by an all female group. It’s not just one of the best albums of the new wave, post-punk era. It’s up there with the best of all time, full stop.

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       Our Lips Are Sealed – 2:45
2.       How Much More – 3:06
3.       Tonite – 3:35
4.       Lust to Love – 4:04
5.       This Town – 3:20
6.       We Got the Beat – 2:36
7.       Fading Fast – 3:41
8.       Automatic – 3:07
9.       You Can’t Walk in Your Sleep (If You Can’t Sleep) – 2:54
10.   Skidmarks on My Heart – 3:06
11.   Can’t Stop the World – 3:20

Listen to ‘How Much More’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvIj6bGPTRs

23 July 2013

23rd July - Solomon Burke's Don't Give Up On Me

Artist – Album: Solomon Burke – Don’t Give Up On Me
Released: 23rd July 2002

Sounds Like: The king of rock and soul

So, on the day the new prince was born, the summer sunshine finally fled the sky, which was then ominously seized upon by granite grey clouds and dramatic thunder and lightning. It was the same sinister portent that you may expect from an Omen film. Coincidence? Most likely. Meaningless? Indubitably! But then again...

Today’s album is more about rebirth than birth, as Solomon Burke, the self-styled ‘King of Rock and Soul’, found a new lease of life. He originally found fame in the early sixties, laying down some of the definitive soul and R&B recordings of the ea, such as ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’, ‘Cry to Me’ and ‘Down in the Valley’. By the millennium though, his star had faded somewhat. He hadn’t troubled the charts for decades and he spent years jumping between smaller labels. At Fat Possum Records, though, it all came together. Aided by some of the most gifted songwriters in the business (amongst the contributors here are Van Morrison, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and Nick Lowe), Burke is at his very best; wrapping his rich, exceptional voice around reflective but assured lyrics. Bookended by the fantastic title track and the autumnal ‘Sit This One Out’ – the first, all pleading Deep Soul and impassioned vocals, one of the best performances of his entire career, the latter weary and exhausted – the album is populated solely by amazing soul tracks.

Burke spent the rest of his life releasing further critically acclaimed albums until he died in 2010. We have this powerful, passionate album to thank for returning him to his throne.

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       Don’t Give Up on Me – 3:45
2.       Fast Train – 5:43
3.       Diamond in Your Mind – 4:24
4.       Flesh and Blood – 6:07
5.       Soul Searchin’ – 3:59
6.       Only a Dream – 5:09
7.       The Judgment – 3:30
8.       Stepchild – 5:10
9.       The Other Side of the Coin – 3:46
10.   None of Us Are Free – 5:29
11.   Sit This One Out – 4:33

Listen to ‘Sit This One Out’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ_p4uMDZVc

Also released on the 23rd July:
2001: Super Furry Animals – Rings Around the World

22 July 2013

22nd July - Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True

Artist – Album: Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True
Released:  22nd July 1977
Sounds Like: Elvis is king

With my debit card in the ticket machine at Oxford Road on Saturday afternoon, approximately five minutes before my train was due to leave for Liverpool, I drew an inopportune but unshakeable blank. I hadn’t the foggiest what my pin number was, and after three clueless attempts at guessing it, my card was securely locked. Ironically, a large portion of the blame for my monumental brain freeze can be ascribed to the scorching heat, but, without a doubt, another contributing factor was Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True – a record I had playing through my headphones at the time and had crooned its way to my full and undivided attention. 

The album, Costello’s first, is a masterclass in pub rockery. It’s no exaggeration to say that Costello is one of the finest singer-songwriters this country has ever produced, and his idiosyncratic penmanship and cynical quippery is well evident even at this early stage. ‘Welcome to the Working Week’ gets us started perfectly: in less than a minute and a half, Elvis hammers through an insanely catchy punk rock melody, memorable chorus and sneeringly brilliant lyrics. From the exquisite ballad ‘Alison’ to the jilted pop of ‘(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes’ (featuring the immortal line “I said ‘I’m so happy I could die’, she said ‘drop dead’ and ran off with another guy”), the album is peppered with literate punk and new wave highlights.

Less Than Zero’ stands as the best track on the album, but it could have been even better – the US version also included the dark, reggae-tinged ‘Watching the Detectives’. Had that have been included, this would have been a nail on ten out of ten. As it is, it’s still a well-earned nine.

Albumaday... rating: 9/10

1.       Welcome to the Working Week – 1:22
2.       Miracle Man – 3:31
3.       No Dancing – 2:39
4.       Blame It on Cain – 2:49
5.       Alison – 2:54
6.       Sneaky Feelings – 2:09
7.       (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes – 2:47
8.       Less Than Zero – 3:15
9.       Mystery Dance – 1:38
10.   Pay It Back – 2:33
11.   I’m Not Angry – 2:57
12.   Waiting for the End of the World – 3:22

Listen to ‘Less Than Zero’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHQK3yo9CBA

Also released on the 22nd July:
1974: Stevie Wonder – Fulfillingness’ First Finale
Also released on the 22nd July:
2008: Dr. Dog - Fate

21 July 2013

21st July - Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction

Artist – Album: Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
Released:  21st July 1987

Sounds Like: Raucous, rough and rowdy rock, la

So, I’m back at the flat now after spending the last couple of days in Liverpool (to see a girl, tee hee!). It may not be Paradise City but, I’ve got to say, it is a grand old town. Strolling around the docks, visiting the Museum of Liverpool and it’s football orientated exhibition, and standing outside the Beatles Story museum (well, we weren’t going to pay the £15.95 each to go in!), I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that, as good as the place is right now, it’s hard to deny that it's seen better days. The same can be said of Guns N’ Roses style hard rock too.

In 1987 scouse singer songwriter Black scored a big hit with ‘Wonderful Life’, Liverpool and Everton were two of the best sides in England, and hard rock was so popular that Appetite for Destruction would become the highest-selling debut album of all time. Whilst a large amount of this success can be attributed to the inescapable mega-smash ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’, the record earned so many sales and rave reviews through its freewheeling, heavy guitar work, anthemic choruses and fiery odes to hedonism and the pleasures and dangers of living life to excess. Although there’s a few of songs revolving around the ever-popular subject of girls (‘My Michelle’ and ‘Rocket Queen’), we also learn about the bands favourite poison (‘Nightrain’), their drug of choice (Heroin as detailed in ‘Mr. Brownstone’) and the numerous horrors involved with city living (‘Welcome to the Jungle’).

Subject matter aside, the album just wouldn’t have sold so many in today’s world. Prodigious guitar solos have been passed over in favour of dance beats and synthesizers, whilst no amount of auto-tuning could make Axel Rose’s pained cat-like vocals palatable. Still, like a visit to the capital of Merseyside, it’s brilliant to bang it on and reflect on former glories.

Albumaday... rating:  9/10

1.       Welcome to the Jungle – 4:34
2.       It’s So Easy – 3:23
3.       Nightrain – 4:29
4.       Out ta Get Me – 4:25
5.       Mr. Brownstone – 3:49
6.       Paradise City – 6:46
7.       My Michelle – 3:40
8.       Think About You – 3:52
9.       Sweet Child o’ Mine – 5:55
10.   You’re Crazy – 3:17
11.   Anything Goes – 3:26
12.   Rocket Queen – 6:13

Listen to ‘Mr Brownstone’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVYDnQwi3OQ

Also released on the 21st July:
1978: Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food
Also released on the 21st July:
1992: Sonic Youth - Dirty

Also released on the 21st July:
2003: Dizzee Rascal – Boy in Da Corner

20 July 2013

20th July - Mott the Hoople's Mott

Artist – Album: Mott the Hoople – Mott
Released:  20th July 1973

Sounds Like: Ziggy Stardust + T-Rex x New York Dolls = Mott the Hoople

Well, I’ve got to admit; I didn’t exactly have high hopes for this one. Maybe it’s the clunky band name (it has the “the” in the middle of it rather than the front, that’s just not the done thing!), maybe it’s the horrendously seventies album cover with a two tone pink (pink?!) background and tiny images of the band, slipped in as if they weren’t sure whether to include them at all so they did it and hoped no one would notice. Most likely it’s because the only song I knew by them was the admittedly classic ‘All the Young Dudes’, which, though brilliant, was donated to them by David Bowie and therefore suggests that they couldn’t even write their own hits. I’m happy to report though that my doubts were way off the mark – this album is great fun.

The central theme of the album is the disillusionment that is brought about by success in the cutthroat world of music, but the album is shot through with wit and good ol’ rock and roll to such an extent that these misgivings don’t weigh it down. Whilst the beautiful, mournful ‘Ballad of Mott the Hoople’ recounts the tale of the band’s near break up and the misleadingly up-tempo ‘All the Way from Memphis’ adorns the story of how they set off on the road without their guitars with insights into his utter exhaustion with the whole business (“you look like a star, but you’re still on the dole”), proceedings are lightened up by the delightfully anarchic ‘Violence’ – as lead singer Ian Hunter yelps the title he his attacked by a barrage of violins – and the straight faced dance rock of ‘Honaloochie Boogie’.

Unfortunately, as great as the album was, the sense of disenchantment couldn’t be dispelled and not long after this record Mott the Hoople disbanded. Maybe that’s the real reason I didn’t try them as seriously as I should’ve – they didn’t have enough time to forge a lasting legacy beyond their one, Bowie-penned megahit. Whatever, I know now that this is a fantastic album.

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       All the Way from Memphis – 4:55
2.       Whizz Kid – 3:05
3.       Hymn for the Dudes – 5:15
4.       Honaloochie Boogie – 2:35
5.       Violence – 4:37
6.       Drivin’ Sister – 4:42
7.       Ballad of Mott the Hoople – 5:40
8.       I’m a Cadillac/El Camino Dolo Roso – 7:40
9.       I Wish I Was Your Mother – 4:41

Listen to ‘All the Way from Memphis’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvarPF5zlUA