Adventures of a University Finalist

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

You're My Jailbait Bella Bambina

Live at the Brattle Theatre
Evan Dando - Thirteen (Live)
Evan Dando - The Turnpike Down (Live)

Paul Hester Tribute
Crowded House - My Telly's Gone Bung

Wow it seems that my linkage is bringing in more sheep to my flock. Which would make me a shepherd - something that I'm more than comfortable with. I think the necessary beard and crook ensemble would suit me. Thanks Silence is a Rhythm Too and My Old Kentucky Blog - both upstanding members of the blog community.
On today's menu, we have two live delicacies from the ex-junkie drag queen of Indie, the lovely Evan Dando, both taken off his Aussie import live album, 'Live at the Brattle Theatre/Griffin Sunset EP'. The EP is a handful of acoustic country/folk covers with tips of the hat to Townes Van Vandt, John Prine and Tim Hardin. Despite its production sometimes making it sound like the man is singing in a large damp cave I enjoy it muchly and thus was disappointed to learn that I'd left it up at Uni. Damnation! The live album, on the other hand, has been a large influence on my musical learning curve despite its brevity. Let's just say that I'd never heard any Big Star or owned any Lemonheads albums before. 'Nuff said about that really.
I am rather tired after a heavy day of compiling an 27th Anniversary CD as a present for my parents and for some stupid reason decided that each track had to come from a different year that they'd been together. 1987 gave me a rather large headache and the whole reaching for CDs in far flung places strained my back. Ha! Hence, the shortnature of this post. I wish only to state that the Paul Hester post is my last word on the subject. I've said my piece and I'm sure there's a lot more people who can say more eloquent and insightful things than I about him. Oooh, I should add that you shoud all go and buy Woodface if you don't already own it and then put on 'Italian Plastic' in honour of a great songwriter (despite his disability of being a drummer).

Buy - Evan Dando - Live at the Brattle Theatre
Buy - Crowded House - Afterglow

Monday, March 28, 2005

Cheatin' Woman Bourbon

Tex Perkins - Fine Mess
Tex Perkins - I Know, Y'know, I Know
Tex Perkins - A Name on Everyone

Wow, this post is really breaking some boundaries! It's the Finalist but not as we know it. Not only are seeing three songs that will no doubt spank the monkey that is my bandwidth (hah! egotism is fun) but they're from two separate albums! Count them. Well obviously you can't as I haven't given you any form of indicator up to this point but trust me.
So who is this Tex Perkins bloke I hear you say... well not if you're one of our many antipodean neighbours (G'day, by the way) as he was the rather charismatic and, still is in some cases I believe, frontman of The Cruel Sea and The Beasts of Bourbon. Both of these bands were pretty good proponents of Aussie Rock with the Cruel Sea having a rather exotic surf rock edge to them that enamoured me with them a little bit especially the classic 'The Honeymoon is Over' which I sadly don't have with me at the parental abode.
Tex, although a "dead-set legend" is also a bit of a prat or at least I've thought so since seeing footage of him exiting a The Filth and the Fury preview screening and stating that he'd never heard of The Sex Pistols before. Despite this, post-Cruel Sea he's set about constructing minimalist acoustic blues albums with his band Dark Horses. 'Fine Mess' and 'I Know, Y'Know, I Know' are taken off their debut 'Dark Horses' and 'A Name for Everyone' off the follow-up 'Sweet Nothing'.
'Dark Horses' is a personal favourite of mine not only due to the fact that I've had it for four years but also because I bought in on the strength of one song and thus it was my first of many great impulse buys. Nothing on this earth beats taking a chance on an album, the ensuing anticipation as you make your way home flicking through the liner notes and being finally rewarded when you stick it in the stereo. I still remember sitting on the train going home with Five Leaves Left in my eager hands, reading through the lyrics, and then my jaw dropping when 'Three Hours' kicked in with its bongos. I love bongos.
Yet, I digress. Life on Planet Tom is still good although my body clock has been screwed up by long sessions on The Sims 2: University and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. My essay as a result is still not past the 2000 word mark but hopefully all will be done by tomorrow night but I sincerely doubt it. Also, the Kleptones' A Night at the Hip-Hopera album has finally officially got on my proverbial tits. DJ Z-Trip's 'Uneasy Listening', on the other hand, grows from strength to strength. Check out the Motown mash-up on his site!
Note: Was just reminded of the news that I heard this morning of the suicide of Paul Hester, the drummer of Crowded House. This has certainly saddened me mainly due to my always remembering Paul having this sheer energy whenever I saw him play. Never did I see him without a big grin on his face and maybe that made the news all the more shocking. Right, I think I'm going to go lie in the room with the lights off and listen to 'Together Alone' *sigh*.

Buy - Dark Horses
Buy - Sweet Nothing
Visit - Tex Perkins

Friday, March 25, 2005

Blue Eyed, Soul Minded and Electronic

The Lightning Seeds - Sweetest Soul Sensations
The Lightning Seeds - I Wish I Was In Love

Well, today, children we're going to take a trip down memory lane to one of the first albums that I ever bought (sometime in 2000 - I was a late bloomer) by Scouse legend Ian Broudie and his "band", the Lightning Seeds (no more than a vehicle for Broudie to function through more than likely due to his shyness) called Tilt. The album, the last that the Seeds made, and the last that Broudie himself recorded until last year is an electro-pop gem that if I was really lazy I'd term a "poppier Pet Shop Boys with more soulful vocals than Tennant's monotone" and guess what! I am lazy so that's how I will describe it.
I popped it on my stereo before going to bed last night, after a failed attempt to plod through Electric Soft Parade's second outing, after two years of neglect and although it is as bitty as I remember, tailing off significantly towards the end, it is an excellent album. The opener 'Life's Too Short' is a pure pop gem that should be treasured in its rarity, 'Cigarettes and Lies' is blessed with a lyric as sharp as its melody and 'City Bright Stars' is a pretty bloody good collaboration with Babybird AKA Stephen Jones.
However, two tracks really stick out, maybe because I'm finally smart enough to understand the joke that Broudie's telling with them or due to their simple greatness, and I've uploaded both for your pleasure. The first 'Sweeter Soul Sensations' is beautiful with its sampling of Al Green's 'Simply Beautiful' with Broudie looking to either disguise or jokingly compare his vocal range (something that he's famously always hated) with that of a man adorned with some of the best pipes I will probably ever hear. Broudie holds up too providing an excellent foil to Green's unintelligble groans which is really saying something especially for a Scouser. Secondly, 'I Wish I Was In Love' is a not so subtle reworking of Fleetwood Mac's 'Man of the World' stealing it's title from that particular song's wonderful final line. The song suits him too with his vulnerable and worn vocal style matching well with that of Peter Green's and his bittersweet rather than saccharine words a more than worthy replacement.
Since the album, Broudie has gone on to produce the Coral's three albums, excellent Scouse upstarts The Zutons (as one one wag said "There's only one producer in Liverpool") and I am Kloot. He's also getting bucketloads of royalties off rubbish football compilations for his anthem 'Football's Coming Home' and I pray to God that we never have to see him with his stupid fucking sunglasses on pissing about on whatever replaced Top of the Pops with has beens David Baddiel and Frank Skinner.
By the way, the album is 98p on Amazon UK's Marketplace so go buy it. It's more than worth it despite the crapness of 'Happy Satellite' and 'Crowdpleaser'. Also, I picked it up originally following a Q Best of Year Poll. So Q nor idiotically meaningless polls can be all that bad after all.

Buy - The Lightning Seeds - Tilt
Visit - Ian Broudie

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

These Men Don't Give A Fuck

Steely Dan - Bodhisattva
Steely Dan - My Old School

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen - 70's jazz popster enfant terribles AKA Steely Dan. Steely Dan are a name well known in my household due to my Dad's sincere adoration for them but they're not really a band that I feel have really touched that many heart here in Ol' Blighty although I may be wrong.
Becker, Fagen and their various session musicians (although it hadn't quite reached that point when these songs were recorded as guys like Jeff "Skunk" Baxter were still band members) created some perfect songs, some may say too perfect, and within these gorgeous compostions there, more often than not, lurked a significant lyrical sting in the tail.
Both of these tracks are taken off the Dan's second official album, following the sacking of original vocalist David Palmer, Countdown to Ecstasy. 'Bodhisattva', the opener on the album, is mostly instrumental and shows the sheer musical brilliance that the band could conjure up with its intricate guitar lines, pulsing drum beat and... it's superb just listen. 'My Old School', on the other hand, although as good on the musical front with its horns and tinkling piano is even better for its lyrical bite spat out by Fagen.
The duo have suffered a renaissance of sorts recently when they rejoined to make their first studio album in twenty years, 'Two Against Nature' in 2000 that I believe won a Grammy or two. The Farrelly Brothers showed their pretty great musical taste too when they compromised most of their soundtrack for the otherwise dire, 'Me, Myself and Irene' of Steely Dan covers by the likes of Wilco, the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Ben Folds Five.
On the personal front, zilch is happening except writing an essay on South East Asia which is rather mind numbing but shoudl hopefully be done before I post again on Friday.
Note: The titles refers to the Super Furry Animals' song 'The Man Don't Give a Fuck' which samples Steely Dan's 'Showbiz Kids''s foul-mouthed invective to brilliant effect.

Buy - Steely Dan - Countdown to Ecstasy
Visit - The Official Steely Dan site

Monday, March 21, 2005

Wobbly Legs and Bleeding Hearts

The (English) Beat - Save It For Later
The (English) Beat - Too Nice to Talk To

First things first. Thank you Paul Shrug for adding me to your links on your wonderful blog, We're Here to Help You Thru Yr Changes, the only music blog I've seen yet to release some Todd Rundgren into the masses (something that I'll be doing myself soon in the future). You've multiplied my previous readership by double figures... not that they'll stay too long.
Now coming back to the angelic faces pictured above this garbage.. they are, in my opinion, the second best Ska Revival band to emerge in the wake of the Specials, just behind the pure pop bliss of Madness, The Beat (or The English Beat as they are known across the Atlantic).
The wobbly legs of the title refers to the "erratic" dancing styles of Andy Cox and David Steele, the band's guitarist and bassists, who would famously take their buckled knees and jutting shoulders into the videos of their later group with the golden voiced Roland Gift, The Fine Young Cannibals. The bleeding hearts to the Beat's sometimes heavily politicised lyrics, most poignantly in their song 'Stand Down Margaret', referring of course to a certain Mrs Thatcher.
These two tracks, however, are about girls as all truely brilliant songs are (or at least i think they are) and are taken off their second and third albums, 'Wha'ppen?' and 'Special Beat Service' that saw the band move away from the basic ska template set down down by their debut album 'I Just Can't Stop It' to a slightly darker but yet more pop-orientated sound. Albeit, many contend that their debut is a classic and from the cuts that I've heard I'd be inclined to agree.
'Save It For Later' is covered by Pete Townshend on Coverville's latest podcast which is pure coincidence I assure you but check it out. I haven't done so yet but I'm sure the fool finds a way to butcher it. Oh, the cynicism! I'm sorry but I still can't forgive him for the abomination that is 'Face the Face'. Abysmal.
In the world of me, I have returned home for the holidays to revise and am already missing the drinking, friends and cuddles that go with University life but I'm surviving and enjoying the fact that I can upload pictures without the aid of Flickr here. Take that University firewall! But now, I'm off for sustenance and good quality "puppy time" better known as procrastination from revision.
Afterthought: Have just listened to the Pete Townshend version and it's actually I lovely and subdued live version with an excellent outro with some improvised bittersweet lyrics. I apologise Pete and urge you guys to have a listen.

Buy - The (English) Beat - Beat This!
Visit - The Beat UK

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Let the Hormones Roll!

The Knack - (She's So) Selfish
The Knack - Good Girls Don't

Yet again, I am late with my post but this is due to packing of stuff before I leave in two days. All my CDs are in boxes except my beautiful big orange CD wallet. It's cut down my selection for today but I've managed to find two more power pop nuggets by one of the 70s most hyped bands. The Knack are best known for their classic tune 'My Sharona' thanks to Ben Stiller's Reality Bites and Winona Ryder's 7/11 dance-a-thon.
These two tracks are taken off their debut album 'Get the Knack' - one of the only ones centred around a lead singer's fascination with a piece of jailbait named Sharona. However, despite their self-centred nature, misogynist lyrics and macho posturing they show the band's knack (no pun intended) for great hooks and killer riffs. Doug Fieger's stuttering vocal style really adds to the mix too. Although, they couldn't keep up the tempo for any of their subsequent albums but their first is well worth a gander.
Well, it's off to bed in preparation of a lovely day of playing 'Removal Men' tomorrow. Maybe it'll give me some ideas regarding my future career path after graduation. Enjoy the wonderful guilty pleasure that is flagrant narcissism.

Buy - The Knack - Get the Knack

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Promise Broken, Reparations Made

The Raspberries - Ecstasy
The Raspberries - Overnight Sensation

Apologies for the lateness of this post but the important matter of work raised its ugly head yet again. However, I'm attempting to make up for it by posting two songs by power pop legends The Raspberries.
The Raspberries came out of Cleveland, Ohio in the early 70s, attempted to change the world with four fantastic British Invasion influenced albums (recorded for prosperity on the Power Pop Vols 1 & 2), realised that the world preferred Meatloaf and then Eric Carmen left to birth the beautiful monster that is All By Myself.
These two tracks are taken off the Best Of released as part of the Capitol Collector's Series which was an impulse buy after seeing a random sidenote in Mojo. Since then it has stayed in my CD wallet throughout my stay at Uni from dancing around the room to 'Last Dance' in the first year to lying on my bed moping post-breakup with 'Hard to get Over the Heartbreak' belting out the speakers.
'Overnight Sensation' has to be one of the most ironic statements in pop history as I do believe it was as high that they got on the singles chart briefly before they called it quits. It's a fantastic tune that shows that The Raspberries should be viewed as a seminal cult band on par with other acts like the Flamin' Groovies.
Bedazzled! has a great video of the boys performing 'Go All The Way' in concert that should still be up but if it isn't contact me and I'll try and send it to you as it has to be seen to be believed. Now that that's done it's back to the grind sadly but expect another post tomorrow.

Buy - The Raspberries - Capitol Collectors Series
Visit - The Raspberries

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Drink Driving Rhinestone Cowboy Himself

Glen Campbell - Sunflower

My word, this is a wonderful song. Penned by Neil Diamond, a man whose music I'm not a huge fan of (except Cherry, Cherry) and sung by one of my all time favourite singers - it's just such an infectious little country ditty that wakes you up and makes you want to run outside giggling like a schoolgirl. Well, at least that's what it does to me. It's a known hangover cure too.
Glen Campbell first came to my attention when I mistakenly watched his star vehicle Norwood and when some music journalist said that Wichita Lineman says more with its simple wordplay and delicate melodies than the convoluted rhymes of Dylan could ever evoke. He's right, by the way. The anthology that Sunflower is taken off, The Capitol Years 65/77, is definitely worth checking out for both Glen Campbell's superb interpretations of classics such as Reason to Believe, his work with Jimmy Webb and the best cut - a Brian Wilson cut entitled Guess I'm Dumb. Sadly, the man seems to have gone off the rails himself turning into a drunk driver, renting out his house to The Surreal Life and becoming Alice Cooper's golf buddy. However, the music he made still stands up.
Bleurgh. Went out to the "Sportsman's Ball" last night and now feel ill from over-consumption of alcohol and as a result am going to stay in and watch Napoleon Dynamite or Saw. Why I pay money to go to a poor excuse for a school disco is beyond me. Food was good though despite the inability to taste due to the destruction of tastebuds by cheap German lager.
Note: On Neil Diamond - two points must be made. 1) Why is he so turgid in The Last Waltz? Why didn't he do Crunchy Granola? How much bottom would that have kicked? A lot methinks. 2) Why am I so fascinated by the cover of Hot August Night? How cool is that pose?

Buy - Glen Campbell - The Capitol Years 65/77

Thursday, March 10, 2005

A Little Disclaimer Brought To You By Verdana!

Just to say I'll be posting mp3s on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and possibly one on the week-end if I feel like it). They'll come down after a week so get them while you can. The mp3s are all from CDs that belong to me and that I have purchased legally. I'll try not to post more than one or two by the same artist in each post and will supply info where to buy the album and find out more about the artist. This blog is not about ripping off artists but showing people how wonderful they are. However, if those artists or their representatives don't want their music distributed in such a fashion then they can contact me and I will remove their material. Okay, that's the serious thing done with. Viva le rock, as Adam Ant once said, and now back to our scheduled programmes.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Aussie Pop Rocks

The Lucksmiths - T-Shirt Weather

Well, here's my first proper post in the blog's new format. And isn't that a magnificent picture to start the day with! Some gurning Aussie battlers. Can't beat them no matter how much you physically want to. Trust me - better people than I have tried.
The Lucksmiths are an Aussie trio who specialise in love songs in the second person (if only there were more) that are wonderfully based in the banal niceties of everyday life and in turn elevate said life that little bit higher upon hearing their tunes. They've released far too much superb material to list here but my fave has to be the Happy Secret album due to the appearance of the magnificently titled "Edward, Sandwich Hands" and my girlfriend's fave "A Great Parker" (because she doesn't think she is).
I thought that this song was appropriate as up here at Uni it is anything but "t-shirt weather" with some rather nasty grey clouds blocking out the happy lil' sun. This song, however, acoustic indie-pop at its finest (pah, I spit upon you Belle & Sebastien) makes you feel like it is. Kicking off like an acoustic shamble through "Wake Up Boo" it breaks into a canter that I feel mirrors a song with which I am currently enamoured "Fire Brigade" by The Move. Sadly though, it doesn't replicate the amusing sound effects although I'm sure the boys would have if they had had good reason.
Hmmm, you know reader(s) I think this is the start of a beautiful blog. Or a better than mediocre one at least. Now all I have to do is find a way to get rid of the dots...

Buy - The Lucksmiths - Where Were We? (which this particular cut has been taken off of)
Visit - The guys can be found at the awesome Candle Records website

Monday, March 07, 2005

Sweet Gene Vincent

Gene Vincent - My Heart

Well this will hopefully show you that I am halfway towards my goal of world domination by finally posting a picture via Flickr (what a wonderful site it is too)! Soon there may be more to this post so watch this space!!!

UPDATE: World Domination is mine! Mwahahahaha. I would just like to thank the lovely Matrix from the FusionXHost forums for helping me out with this whole domain shindig. So now you get to sample the wonders of Gene Vincent the balladeer. But remember, he's only going to be up for a week and then he's going to scaramush and do the fandango.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Holy Moly!

Has it really been since Valentine's Day since I posted! I'm a very naughty boy and even naughtier as this is going to be very short. Work has cuaght up with me in a rather severe way not due to my laziness but rather that I'm actually doing it when I'm supposed to! The time depleting exercise of music blog searching doesn't help either. Actually, am considering doing a bit of that old business on here! Should be fun and give this thing a bit more purpose than the usual "saw this movie and it was rather fun" nonsense. Although... I did revisit the wonders of Punch Drunk Love recently in the company of my lovely lady friend and it was extremely enjoyable. Especially when the rather excellent Mr Sandler can't find his way back to Emily Watson's room for the goodnight kiss she has promised him and when he beats the pulp out of the four Utah rednecks with a crowbar. Paul Thomas Anderson - please make another film soon! Adios.. for now. On my return, there may be sweet music and pretty pictures!