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March of the Internet Nobody, day twenty five: Melodic Randomiser Unspooled, part lots…

Time for your final (for now) weekend dose of Melodic Randomiser Unspooled, my semi-regular lucky dip into the musical gems that live in their little plastic boxes under the stairs.

Today’s selection brings together early sampling, rough edged 1970’s pub rock and ’90s dance superstars, all from the UK.

First up, something from the Crew Cuts compilation, a 1984 collection of breakthrough hip hop pioneers which includes this classic cut and paste masterpiece, Beat Box by Trevor Horn’s Art of Noise

…then we go back to 1978 for an entire album of raw rock and roll from Johnny Kidd‘s former backing band, The Pirates, here’s Skull Wars

…and we finish up with arguably one of the most important bands from the ’90s dance scene; Underworld and Pearl’s Girl.


Hope you enjoyed that, stick around, there’s another quick bonus post coming up soon…

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2017 in Melodic Randomiser, Music

 

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March of the Internet Nobody, day eighteen: Melodic Randomiser Unspooled, part many…

As I predicted last weekend, a Melodic Randomiser Unspooled post is the easiest way to fulfill my daily blogging duties on a Saturday, so join with me in enjoying some more nostalgic musical treasures from the boxes of cassettes under the stairs.

Today we have another eclectic selection that spans the decade when music was going through a paradigm shift, due to the increasing use of electronically created music. Everyone from prog rock stalwarts to ex-punks were experimenting with the huge range and variety of music that could be achieved using synthesizers, incorporating exciting new textures and sounds into their existing oeuvre, enabling them to stay relevant in this brave new world of musical exploration.

The first of today’s cryptic triptych is from one of those prog bands who narrowly avoided being eclipsed by the new wave of cutting edge electronic bands by embracing new sounds into a back catalogue already rife with elaborate synthesizer noodling; Yes.

Drama was released as the decade began and was the album when production genius and keyboard whiz Trevor Horn came onboard, after founder member Rick Wakeman departed the band, blending their trademark flamboyant style with shinier production and a sleeker, more modern sound.

And here you can enjoy the full album in all its dramatic glory.


Then we have a band who grew from the ashes of proto-goth punks, Bauhaus and honed their sound into a mellower, more melodic style as Love and Rockets and this is their Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven album, released slap bang in the middle of the ’80s.

Here is The Dog-end of a Day Gone By.

Lastly and not at all leastly, one of the pioneers of UK electronic music in ’80s, Depeche Mode, who were making sparse, bleepy pop when Yes released Drama but by 1990 had matured into an edgy and decidedly darker band, Violator being a massive critical and commercial success for them, beginning a debauched and reckless few years during which frontman Dave Gahan actually died twice.

This is their huge worldwide hit, Enjoy the Silence.

Well I don’t know about you, but that certainly brought back some memories.
Tune in for this month’s final edition of Melodic Randomiser Unspooled next weekend.

There’s a bonus post coming up later, so watch out for that and I’ll see you tomorrow for SoCS and whatever I think of to do on my day off.

Cheerio.

 
 

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March of the Internet Nobody, day eleven: And another thing…

Since I’m on the subject of music and as I’m on a posting binge anyway, I thought I’d share a new music recommendation with you.

I downloaded this album ridiculously early this morning whilst working overtime (during a break, obviously, health and safety fans) and have only just finished listening to it now.

If you like a bit of well executed modern space rock, with vocal harmonies, bursts of playful bounciness and a track that could be a distant cousin to Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan, then this might be for you.

This self-titled release is the first full length outing from Holy Monitor, who hail from Athens in Greece, following two EPs in the last couple of years. If you have even a passing interest in new psychedelic rock, then you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t check them out, which you can do in full, right here.

You are, once again, welcome.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2017 in Blogging, Music, Video

 

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The return of Melodic Randomiser Unspooled…

I thought it was time to delve once more into the little plastic boxes of nostalgia that make up my vintage cassette collection, just because I haven’t done a Melodic Randomiser post for a while and it seemed like a good idea.
The box I dragged out from under the stairs this time is as eclectic a selection as any of them and this one offered up a fine juxtaposition of styles.

First we have the epitome of ’90s indie pop, Travis, with their debut album, Good Feeling, from which I’ve picked my favourite single, All I Want To Do Is Rock

….followed by Hey Dude, by hippy rockers Kula Shaker, from their first album, K

…and completing this most unlikely trio with the full album of the frankly unhinged Captain Lockheed And The Starfighters by bonkers Hawkwind alumni, Robert Calvert:


So there you have it, a playlist you won’t find anywhere else, I hope you find something to enjoy.

Stay tuned for further trips back in time in the not too distant future.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Blogging, Melodic Randomiser, Music, Video

 

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#atozchallenge: K is for Rock…

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Ummm, ok, it doesn’t begin with K.

But I’ve been run off my feet today and just haven’t had time to write anything, so I’m going to cheat for today’s A-Z challenge and share some K-related rock tracks from my collection.

One of the most willfully avant garde rock bands of the ’70s, in an era when intellectual pretentiousness, drama and bombast were practically compulsory in the world of prog, King Crimson stood head and shoulders above their less highbrow rivals.
Their continually changing lineup and eclectic mix of styles probably explains their longevity and their wide appeal accounts for the fact that they are still going strong now.

This concert was recorded in Japan in 2003 and if you’re a fan it’s well worth a watch. If you’ve never heard them before, watch it, then go and listen to their back catalogue.

Speaking of less highbrow rock, here’s some that soundtracked much of my teenage headbanging years; the glorious, big-haired, spandex-clad riffage of Swiss metal band, Krokus, with their 1980 album, Metal  Rendezvous.

One of my favourite intros to a metal album, too.

A bit more up to date for the next one and a song that starts with a K, from the modern pretender to prog’s crown, Muse and Knights of Cydonia

…returning to the good old days to end this quartet of classics, with one you may not expect in a list of rock tracks; this is Kraftwerk (yes, those robotic Germans) and a surprisingly punchy moment from early in their career, here is Heavy Metal Kids.

Play loud and enjoy, see you tomorrow.

#atozchallenge

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in A - Z challenge, Music, Video

 

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#atozchallenge: C is for cassette (Melodic Randomiser Unspooled 7)…

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is for cassette.

As anyone who follows this nonsense will know, I have been gradually working my way through my audio cassette collection for a while and I thought that this third edition of the A-Z challenge would be the ideal time to add a new Melodic Randomiser Unspooled post.

Today’s trio of tapes are all ’90s British classics, starting with Blur and their debut album, Leisure, here for you to enjoy in its entirety…

…followed by Black Grape, the side project of ex-Happy Mondays frontman, Shaun Ryder and their It’s Great When You’re Straight, Yeah album, from which comes this, In The Name Of The Father

…and finishing off with another Manchester band, Inspiral Carpets and possibly their greatest moment, This Is How It Feels, from the Life album.

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#atozchallenge

 

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty nine. Melodic Randomiser Unspooled 6…

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It’s been a long day today and since I’m now relaxing with a drink and a few tunes, I thought I’d make this Just Jot It January post the next in my series of cassette-library-plundering Melodic Randomiser Unspooled features.

So here is the first handful of plastic boxes I pulled out of the understair archive…

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…starting with metal icon and ex-Scorpions, ex-UFO axe-man, Michael Schenker.

This track is from the Michael Schenker Group album, Armed and Ready.

With my usual obtuse eclecticism, the next tape out of the box was Dazzle Ships by electro-pop pioneers Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, so here’s Telegraph

…and just in case you detected any sort of theme, pattern or method in my musical madness, here’s the entire, sprawling, bombastic, camp and overblown experience that is Frankie Goes To Hollywood and their gloriously over the top debut album, Welcome to the Pleasure Dome.

You’re welcome.

#JusJoJan

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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Just Jot It January, Music, Video

 

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Just Jot It January: Day twelve – The next day…

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Before I start the 12th post of JJIJ, I’d like to thank everyone who commented on yesterday’s David Bowie tribute, it’s good to know just how many of you were touched by his life and work.

Having said that, I just want to follow up that post with some reflections on how Bowie’s death was received in the UK.

Even after having spent the day reading (and writing) the tributes to him all over Facebook and on various blogs, it was still with a sense of unreality that I sat down to watch the news last night, because there was no warning, no way to ease ourselves into the idea that we were about to lose an icon of modem music.

Of course, with hindsight we are all now aware that the signs were there, hidden in plain sight on his latest album, Blackstar, with its themes of death, illness and one last transformation; from corporeal megastar to ephemeral legend in one small step, the ultimate space cadet left the planet for the final time.

When we know that we are soon to lose someone who means so much to us, we prepare ourselves, consciously or not, so that when we attend the funeral, watch a memorial service or read an obituary, we have already reached the point which enables us to put aside our sadness and celebrate the life of the one who is no longer with us.
But when the news comes as a shock, when we are caught unawares by such a loss, the reaction is often one of raw grief and irrational anger, that we have been deprived of the chance to properly say goodbye.

So it is a measure of how much a part of our psyche he’d become that, within hours of the news of his passing, after the posthumous message of Blackstar became clear, fans, journalists and fellow musicians alike were praising Bowie’s ability to surprise us, even at the end.

Indeed, it seems that the only person outside his immediate circle of family and friends who knew of his battle with cancer was Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who was working with Bowie on the Lazarus stage show, for which he provided the soundtrack. Van Hove was apparently told of the singer’s illness when they started work on the project and was asked to keep it confidential.

Despite the sadness of yesterday’s announcement however, the overwhelming tone of the news coverage was one of celebration that we’d all been fortunate enough to share the planet with a man who made music and culture so unpredictable and fascinating.

Celebrity fan, Simon Pegg, summed it up perfectly with this tweet…

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…while Channel 4 News ran this piece, fronted by Paul Mason, (usually their economics editor, but clearly a huge Bowie fan) which caught the mood of the nation nicely…

…and followed it with a live feed from the former David Jones’ birthplace, Brixton in South London, where thousands of fans gathered to leave tributes at the Bowie mural there, and to remember him in the best way possible; by singing the songs that gave pleasure to so many, exactly the way he would have wanted.

Even anchorman Jon Snow, (himself a fan) signing off at the end of a show almost entirely devoted to the singer’s life and legacy, couldn’t hide his feelings, his voice cracking with emotion as he read a message from Bowie’s long-time friend and collaborator, Brian Eno.

So we said goodbye to a man who transcended fashion, musical fads and the very idea of what makes a rock star, making him a hero to millions of fans over five decades, all of whom, I’m sure, will pass on their love of an artist who never stopped evolving and ch-ch-ch-ch-changing.

It seems only right that I should finish this post with the album that brought David Bowie to the attention of yet another generation of new fans, when he returned to recording in 2013 with The Next Day.

It’ll be a long time before a man like him falls to Earth again.

#JusJoJan

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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Just Jot It January, Music, News, TV, Video

 

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Just Jot It January: Day eight. Melodic Randomiser Unspooled 5…

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I’ve chosen to use today’s Just Jot It January post to bring you 2016’s first edition of the musical retrospective rummage sale that is the Melodic Randomiser Unspooled, my tape shuffle jukebox.
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So if you like ’80s pop, shouty ’90s metal, or tripped out, reggae-tinged dub, this is the post for you.

First up, everyone’s favourite blond bombshell, Ms Ciccone herself, Madonna and the early career remix album You Can Dance.
Here, in its flamboyant, shoulder-padded glory, from the deluxe edition no less, is Where’s The Party

…which segues not at all smoothly into the angry, angst-ridden noise of Danzig and their imaginatively titled album, 4, from which comes this cheery little number, Brand New God

…and ending with another complete change of pace and direction with the sublime groove of Sabres Of Paradise and the cassette single of Wilmot.

Now, you don’t get that on Radio 2.

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#JusJoJan

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The last rock ‘n’ roller…

I’ve been a huge fan of music for 40 years and over that time I have discovered a great many bands and artists who have stayed with me, such was the impression they made on me when I first heard them.

And when one of those cornerstones of my personal music heritage passes away, it always seems right that I should pay my respects somehow, even when the subject of any such tribute would almost certainly scoff at it for being over-sentimental nostalgic bollocks.

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Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister, 24/12/45 – 28/12/15.

My taste in music has always been eclectic, purely because (with the exception of embarrassing childhood purchases like The Bay City Rollers and Showaddywaddy) I have continued to listen to everything I have ever bought, so I’d never seen any contradiction in being a Pink Floyd fan who loved  Kraftwerk, or a Rush devotee who was also massively into New Order, although the tribal subdivisions of youth sometimes caused some friction, of the “you-can’t-be-a-headbanger-and-like-Gary Numan-too” variety.

All of which I ignored.

I didn’t want to be in their gang anyway. Or anyone else’s for that matter.

But then one band, one voice, one thunderous, gloriously over-the-top wall of noise arrived and for a while it was all that I listened to with my small group of junior metal-head school friends.

Even in an era where metal, punk and new wave were all still popular in the record shops and on the chart rundown every Sunday, this astonishing sonic assault was nothing like we had ever heard before and Motörhead soon became the very epitome of “heavy” rock.

And this particular blistering album by them was rarely off the turntables and tape decks of our teenage bedrooms at the time.

The band’s frontman, Lemmy, is credited with being everything from “the godfather of grunge” to “the hardest working man in rock” and was once described as having a voice “like a man who gargles with hot gravel”, but however the media portray him he has only ever described Motörhead as a rock ‘n’ roll band and has repeatedly corrected journalists who labelled them as “Heavy Metal”.

Lemmy did, after all, first find success in another of my all time favourite bands, Hawkwind, the stoner space rock collective who would eventually sack him for reliability issues brought on by his already herculean intake of amphetamines, resulting in his subsequent speed-related arrest on the Canadian border whilst on tour with them in the late ’70s.

Here he is playing with his trademark thundering bass style on perennial Hawks crowd pleaser, Silver Machine…

Undeterred, Lemmy formed Motörhead a few years later and has been fronting the rotating line-up ever since; their style never changing from the original frantic, bass strumming, drum galloping, speed soloing, throat shredding, grimy rock bulldozer that finally found them international fame with the archetypal Lemmy tune, Ace of Spades.

Seemingly indestructible for the last three decades or more, Lemmy Kilmister died today, only a short time after being diagnosed with cancer.

It’ll be a long time until someone who so perfectly embodies the term “rock ‘n’ roller” comes along again and the world will be a less entertaining place for his passing.

Killed By Death, indeed.

Like I said, he wouldn’t have given a toss about any fawning retrospectives on his contribution to music, so I’ll leave you with the best possible tribute to one of the world’s last real monsters of rock; the man in his own words.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Lemmy: The Movie, enjoy.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in Arts, Music, Personal anecdote, Video

 

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