31 December 2013

31st December - Live's Mental Jewelry

Artist – Album: Live – Mental Jewelry
Released: 31st December 1991
Sounds Like: Pearl Jamming
On Mental Jewelry, Live sound like a blend of lively R.E.M. and soft Pearl Jam. In fact, the Pearl Jam comparison carries further as Ed Kowalczyk manages a passable Eddie Vedder impression, spouting woolly philosophies in his low croon. Yeah, I like that Pearl Jam reference actually. Live on Mental Jewelry are a Pearl Jam-lite.

And that, my friends, is that. 365 days gone and 365 blogs done (with a smattering of specials thrown in for good measure). No more will I have to hammer out a 400-word post at five to midnight semi-drunk. No more will I have to listen to the most obscure niche genres known to man (anti-folk, dark ambient or horrorcore anyone?). No more dodgy headphones, no more pouring over Wikipedia pages and no more Elbow.

When I set out on this Stupid Boy Project back in January I mentioned a few different reasons for taking it up, with one of them being that I wanted to explore my labyrinthine itunes library without just turning to the same few tracks repeatedly. I think that I can safely say mission accomplished, as I’ve discovered countless artists, albums and songs that have I’ve really enjoyed. I hope that you, dear reader, have had almost as much fun following me.

And now, let’s drink and party and bring in the new year! Roll on 2014!

Albumaday... rating: 6/10

1.       Pain Lies on the Riverside – 5:11
2.       Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition) – 3:18
3.       The Beauty of Gray
4.       Brothers Unaware – 4:45
5.       Tired of Me – 3:26
6.       Mirror Song – 3:38
7.       Waterboy – 3:07
8.       Take My Anthem – 4:37
9.       You Are the World – 4:23
10.   Good Pain – 5:39
11.   Mother Earth is a Vicious Crowd – 4:10
12.   10,000 Years (Peace Is Now) – 5:08
Listen to ‘Pain Lies on the Riverside’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP5XavjhhQc

30 December 2013

30th December - Rough Trade's For Those Who Think Young

Artist – Album: Rough Trade – For Those Who Think Young
Released: 30th December 1981
Sounds Like: Sexy shoulder pads

Sometimes it's completely fine to judge a book by it's cover. Rough Trade's For Those Who Think Young is just as dated as those silhouetted shoulder pads on the front. That being said, there's plenty of love for Eighties New Wave music here in the 21st century, and if you can deal with some ancient synthesizers then the likes of the title track, lead single 'All Touch' and the funky 'Prisoner of My Skin' are worth further investigation. 

And now it’s time to get your smart suits and ball gowns on, parade down the red carpet and sit next to lots of people you know you should know; for tonight is the first and last annual Analbumaday… awards gala. Yay! Yay!

With no budget whatsoever to work with, I’m pleased to announce that we won’t be able to afford those mind-numbingly boring introducers to each category, or even Ricky Gervais compering (insulting everybody on the planet), so let’s just get straight on with handing those awards out. Here goes:

The golden oldie award for oldest album

Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley (23/03/1956)

The I-wasn't-born-yesterday award for most recent album

Jens Lekman - I Know What Love Isn't (03/09/2012)

The always-the-bridesmaid award for most appearances on "also released today"

They Might Be Giants (9 times)

The Mr Consistency award for highest average rating (more than one album)

Arcade Fire (The Suburbs and Funeral - both 10/10)

The haven’t-I-seen-you-here-before award for most appearances on the blog, sponsored by Elbow™

Bob Dylan
Bruce Springsteen
The Beatles
The Rolling Stones (5 each)

The wooden raspberry award for worst album

Dixie Chicks - Wide Open Spaces
Children of Bodom - Hate Crew Deathroll (both 4/10)

And drum roll please…

Analbumaday's greatest ever album

R.E.M. - Automatic for the People (11/10)

That’s all folks!

Albumaday... rating: /10

1.       All Touch – 3:32
2.       Attitude – 4:03
3.       For Those Who Think Young – 4:04
4.       Bodies in Collision – 2:50
5.       Prisoner of My Skin – 3:12
6.       The Sacred & the Profane – 4:34
7.       Baptism of Fire – 3:23
8.       Fakin’ It – 3:35
9.       Blood Lust – 3:49
Listen to ‘All Touch’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BOZYM8kw6I

29 December 2013

29th December - Christopher Williams' Changes

Artist – Album: Christopher Williams - Changes
Released: 29th December 1992
Sounds Like: Scraping the Barrel

What can I tell you about Christopher Williams? Um... not a lot. Honestly, I haven't got a clue who the guy is. Changes (or at least the bits I managed to find on Youtube, the record not being good enough to be in the gargantuan Spotify library) seems to be a completely inoffensive, if uninspiring, R&B album. The first song I listened to I quite liked until I realised it was actually just the soundtrack to an advert and the real song hadn't started yet. I really wouldn't think that it's worth your time unless you're massively into your slow and sensual neo-soul, and even then I'd recommend that you take a few cold showers and put something a bit more substantial on like Otis Redding or Marvin Gaye. 

Wikipedia - which we must never doubt - can fill in some of the other gaps in our knowledge about the man himself...The nephew of legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, he most certainly has not been living off that claim to fame his whole life. No. He has starred in films such as 1991's New Jack City, and the 1990 police drama New York Undercover, in which he gave a memorable performance as "the singer". Some people thought he had died of an unknown illness in 2005 but it turned out that was just an internet hoax. So, that's not really anything... And he categorically did not beat up Halle Berry when he dated her in the late Eighties/ early Nineties, despite what you think, and he reckons it was probably Wesley Snipes that did it. Which seems like something you wouldn't want to say about someone who is liable to beat you up.

What a hero. Definitely someone worth my blogging about and you reading about. Cheers guys. 

Albumaday... rating: 5/10

1.       All I See – 4:18
2.       Don’t U Wanna Make Love – 6:53
3.       Good Lovin’ – 4:48
4.       Come Go with Me – 4:59
5.       When a Fool Becomes a Man – 5:26
6.       Changes – 5:10
7.       Where Is the Love – 3:55
8.       Let’s Get Right – 5:14
9.       Where Are U Now – 6:28
10.   Every Little Thing U Do – 4:44
11.   Please, Please, Please – 4:19
12.   Dreamin – 4:40 

28 December 2013

28th December - Buck Owens' I've Got a Tiger By the Tail

Artist – Album: Buck Owens – I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail
Released: 28th December 1964
Sounds Like: Honky Tonk Man

Do you know that bit in the Blues Brothers where Jake, Elwood and the band pose as the Good Ol' Boys to hijack their gig? The one where Elwood asks their landlady what kind of music usually plays there, and she replies: "Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western"? I kind of feel like the audience were hankering for a bit of Buck Owens.

Owens was one of the pioneers of the Bakersfield sound: electrified country music that took some cues from the nascent rock scene but remained resolutely cowboy. Steel guitars and rooting tooting rhythm sections are the name of the game, and the music is designed to get off your seat, slapping your thighs and taking up a bit of line dancing. If it all strikes you as a little bit limited, it may be worth remembering that the Beatles were big fans (they regularly performed his excellent single 'Act Naturally') and the Rolling Stones and the Byrds were directly influenced by this album. 

Still a full album of it is just a little bit too much for me.

Albumaday... rating: 6/10

1.       I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail – 2:12
2.       Trouble and Me – 1:54
3.       Let the Sad Times Roll On – 2:14
4.       Wham Bam – 2:01
5.       If You Fall Out of Love With Me – 2:15
6.       Fallin’ for You – 2:01
7.       We’re Gonna Let the Good Times Roll – 2:15
8.       The Band Keeps Playin’ On – 3:02
9.       The Streets of Laredo – 2:55
10.   Cryin’ Time – 2:30
11.   A Maiden’s Prayer – 2:33
12.   Memphis Tennessee – 2:27 

Listen to ‘I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBeOddejiGw

27 December 2013

27th December - The Pretenders' Pretenders

Artist – Album: The Pretenders – The Pretenders
Released: 27th December 1979
Sounds Like: Someone’s not impressed

So today was the day of a marathon journey back to Manchester after Christmas, a mere 286 miles on the map but 7 hour drive in horrible wet and windy conditions today. With just getting home being the main task for today, I didn’t have time to fully review this album. Luckily, I had it on my ipod, and a lovely little sister in the passenger who was happy to review it for me. Here’s her take on the album:

Track one: nernernernerner office clerk. Mum and Stuart Pickford. Makes me want to dance like in The Breakfast Club when they’re all high. Prefer her singing (not a clue what she’s on about mind you) to the electric jibber jabber of track two. Track 4, festive Caribbean (bit like in A Muppets Christmas Carol with the rats in Hawaiian shirts). Doesn’t sound like there’s much of a structure, a bit of a jam sesh… ‘Stop Your Sobbing’, I think I’d sob if she were being so mean! I like her more commercial sounding ones. Don’t reckon I’d like to have a barney with the lady! Nice guitar bit in the track after ‘Stop Your Sobbing’. Youtube misheard lyrics. I do think there’ll be no one like her in whatever room she’s in. I’m liking the album more as it goes along… “Stars in the sky” one makes me want to don a hippy skirt and floaty dance a bit like in The Lovely Bones when she’s enjoying her trippy heaven.

Albumaday... rating: 4.7/10 (per my sister!)

1.       Precious – 3:36
2.       The Phone Call – 2:29
3.       Up the Neck – 4:27
4.       Tattooed Love Boys – 2:59
5.       Space Invader – 3:26
6.       The Wait – 3:35
7.       Stop Your Sobbing – 2:38
8.       Kid – 3:06
9.       Private Life – 6:25
10.   Brass in Pocket – 3:04
11.   Lovers of Today – 5:51
12.   Mystery Achievement – 5:23

Listen to ‘Kid’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyCbkI9EgEA

Also released on the 27th December:
1967: Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding
Also released on the 27th December:
1967: Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen

26 December 2013

26th December - Warren Zevon's Stand in the Fire

Artist – Album: Warren Zevon – Stand in the Fire
Released: 26th December 1980
Sounds Like: Mad, Bad and Dangerous 

Oops, technical error there guys! Hopefully any of you keen readers out there who saw my half-finished piece before weren't too put out...

Boxing Day. Regardless of what day it actually lands on, Boxing Day has to be the most Sunday-ish day of the year. You could go and battle the hordes to pick up some slightly reduced junk in the January Sales, but that ain’t me. Alternatively, some have sought to soothe their hangovers with a day sitting zombified in front of the television, looking at (as opposed to watching) a full day of sports. Unfortunately, I tend to find that on Boxing Day I’m still with all the family and so to slink off and watch the football would be considered poor form. Nope, it’s a day of sitting around, sporadically tidying up, and drinking cups of tea. Fortunately, 33 years ago Warren Zevon released a live album which is electrifying enough to take some of that boredom away.

For a guy with only legitimately well-known single - the hilarious, 'Sweet Home Alabama'-alike 'Werewolves in London' - Zevon has more than a set lists worth of excellent rockers. 'Stand in the Fire', 'Excitable Boy' and 'Lawyers, Guns and Money' are grade-A anthems, with Zevon sounding like Springsteen's edgier brother. The roof-raising finale 'Bo Diddley's A Gunslinger/Bo Diddley' is a masterstroke; a totally convincing take over of what a more straight laced artist might have thought was an untouchable classic.

I think I may have found a new Boxing Day tradition.

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       Stand in the Fire – 3:26
2.       Jeannie Needs a Shooter – 4:00
3.       Excitable Boy – 3:52
4.       Mohammed’s Radio – 4:45
5.       Werewolves of London – 4:48
6.       Lawyers, Guns and Money – 3:49
7.       The Sin – 3:06
8.       Poor Poor Pitiful Me – 4:08
9.       I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead – 4:28
10.   Bo Diddley’s A Gunslinger/Bo Diddley – 4:15

Listen to ‘Excitable Boy’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eUsSXXc8wU

Also released on the 26th December:
2006: Omarion – 21

25 December 2013

25th December - Gorillaz's The Fall

Artist – Album: Gorillaz – The Fall
Released: 25th December 2010
Sounds Like: Happy Christmas everyone 

It’s Christmaaaassss! 

Whenever somebody new learns about my little stupid boy project they all tend to ask the same question: “Whyyyy?” Once the peculiar mix of confusion and somewhat patronising pity has washed from their face, people tend to get in to the idea and their second question is usually the same too: “you got an album for every day?!” It’s hard to believe, but yes, some poor fool did release an album on Christmas Day. It may have just been a bit of a marketing gimmick for an otherwise under-the-radar Gorillaz album, but the online release on Christmas Day of The Fall is to me a Christmas miracle. God bless us everyone.

Albumaday... rating: 5/10

1.       Phoner to Arizona – 4:14
2.       Revolving Doors – 3:26
3.       HillBilly Man – 3:50
4.       Detroit – 2:03
5.       Shy-town – 2:54
6.       Little Pink Plastic Bags – 3:09
7.       The Joplin Spider – 3:22
8.       The Parish of Space Dust – 2:25
9.       The Snake in Dallas – 2:11
10.   Amarillo – 3:24
11.   The Speak It Mountains – 2:14
12.   Aspen Forest – 2:50
13.   Bobby in Phoenix – 3:16
14.   California and the Slipping of the Sun – 3:24
15.   Seattle Yodel – 0:38 

Listen to ‘Bobby in Phoenix’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Jh7r6d2u-Q

24 December 2013

24th December - Yngwie Malmsteen's The Genesis

Artist – Album: Yngwie J. Malmsteen – The Genesis
Released: 24th December 2002
Sounds Like: A barrage of guitarrage

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
I frantically surfed the ‘net with dismay
Was no record released on this blasted day?

My blog was all set up for completion with care,
But no album occurred for me to lay there.
Google “album Christmas eve” and you’ll find there’s no hits
I huffed in my seat ready to call it quits.

When out of my laptop there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
The Genesis had started with a sound loud and brash,
Made of classic-metal tendencies and lots of guitar flash.

Heavy metal epics and blistering solos,
Fingers that bled like Rudolph’s red nose.
I jumped for joy and cheered “I’ve found one!”
(then remembered my family sleeping and kept myself schtum)

Merlin’s Castle’, ‘Dying Man’, ‘On a Serious Note’
Voodoo Child’ (the one Hendrix wrote)
Excellent tracks from the Swedish virtuoso
My cheeks were a-flush with a Christmassy glow

Most days, it’s true, I prefer things less rocking,
But I was happy to find Yngwie in my stocking.
He was there to help me out of my Christmas Eve plight.
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Albumaday... rating: 5/10

1.       Birth of the Sun – 9:25
2.       Plague in Lucifer’s Mind – 4:30
3.       Dying Man – 8:47
4.       Black Magic Suite – 12:53
5.       Merlin’s Castle – 4:55
6.       Voodoo Nights – 8:42
7.       Hello – 1:51
8.       Voodoo Child – 12:18
9.       On a Serious Note – 5:55
Listen to ‘Birth of the Sun’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqy2Am2NqAQ