Thursday, November 20, 2008

Felt - Andy Kershaw Session (11-09-1986)

Andy Kershaw Session (11-09-1986)

Here's a rare gem for all you Felt fanatics out there: the Andy Kershaw Sessions from 1986. It features only four songs: When the Dawn Starts Creeping In, Sapphire Mansions, Rain of the Crystal Spires, and All the People I like Are Those That Are Dead. The only thing that really stands out about this session is the inclusion of the ever so elusive song When the Dawn Starts Creeping In. The recording of When the Dawn Starts Creeping In included in this session is probably the only recording you'll be able to find of it on the internet, which really makes this specific session somewhat special to hardcore Felt fans such as myself. Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Boo Radleys - "Wake Up!"

Wake Up!
The Boo Radleys

The Boo Radleys fourth album Wake Up! gave the band huge commercial success... which means that this is their most user friendly album. It's possible to fall in love with the first six tracks or so on your first listen, but the second half of the album takes a few listens to fall for. The Radleys' fuzzbox fed guitars found on their previous albums are toned down a bit this time around and replaced with softer more pop friendly sounds. With that being said, this is by far their most poppy album. "Wake Up Boo", "It's LuLu", and "Find the Answers Within" are instantly lovable pop songs, mixing somewhat fuzzy guitars with horns and wonderfully crafted melodies. It's safe to say that this album was the bridge that connected The Boo Radleys to commercial success and a larger fanbase, and rightly so.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Telescopes - "The Telescopes"

[sorry, couldn't find an image of the album art]

The Telescopes
The Telescopes

This is going to be a very biased review, so be prepared: Probably one of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard in my life. There's no definition for what the Telescopes have done with their second album: The Telescopes. Obviously, they jumped the dream-pop bandwagon that was floating around at the time and developed it into something that was completely beyond anyone's expectations. From the opening track to the last track, this album is a beautiful piece of dreamy art. Who would have guessed that The Telescopes; the band that had just perviously released the incredibly abrasive almost non-listenable album Taste could have produced an album so perfect.

The Telescopes - "Taste"

The Telescopes

The Telescopes' debut album, Taste, packs an abrasive sonic sound full of grungy screaming, powerful fuzz, and ear-piercing feedback. "The Perfect Needle" is by far the most listenable song, and their most renowned track as far as popularity goes. The album itself is, like I said, very abrasive... sounding very much like a less poppy version of The Jesus and Mary Chain's Pyschocandy. That being said... this is not the most easily loved album in The Telescopes' catalogue. This album is the hardest shoegaze is going to come, by far.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stereolab - "Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements"

"Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements" [1993]
The amazingly titled second album by Stereolab, “Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements” is a collage of chord trances and subtle synth that will undoubtedly leave you intrigued. While the album is not immediately catchy, it is an extremely interesting listen, and will gradually become catchier as you become more familiar with it. “Tone Burst” and “I’m Going Out Of My Way” are two highlights from the album, which feature quick tempos and Velvet Underground sounding chord sequences. The music itself is very alien, something that can’t really be defined with words. It’s simple, yet something entirely original emerges from the simplicity. Stereolab has their own sound, it's far out, it's melodic, it's beautiful, it's hypnotic, it's like nothing you've ever heard before.

1. Tone Burst
2. Our Trinitone Blast
3. Pack Yr Romantic Mind
4. I'm Going Out of My Way
5. Golden Ball
6. Pause
7. Jenny Ondioline
8. Analogue Rock
9. Crest
10. Lock-Groove Lullaby

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Pastels - "Mobile Safari" & "Illumination"

The Pastels - Mobile Safari
"On Mobile Safari, the Pastels stretched out to an American audience with their calm and reflective style of blissful indie pop. Stephan Pastel remained the band's primary songwriter, while Katrina Mitchell (drums) and Aggi Wright (bass) began to contribute more this time around. Mitchell sings bittersweet and awkward lead vocals on "Mandarin" and "Token Collecting." Her untrained crooning is part of the allure of her songs. Wright leads on vocals on the festive "Yoga" and composed the instrumental "Mobile Deli." Pastel leads the way on the rest of the songs with his dry and deep vocal style. His delivery speeds up from its normally sluggish pace on the toe-tapping "Classic Line-Up" and "Strategic Gear." He collaborated with former member David Keegan on "Exploration Team" and "Flightpaths to Each Other." The whole trio of Pastel, Mitchell, and Wright collaborated on the disc's final track, the sublimely cool and horn-filled "Worlds of Possibility." Gerard Love added guitar and vocals to some of the tracks, while Luna's Dean Wareham also appeared as a guest guitarist. Mobile Safari was recorded at CAVA Sound Workshops and Stuffhouse Studios, both in the band's home of Glasgow, Scotland. Seattle's Up Records released the disc in 1995." - allmusic review

The Pastels - Illumination 
"Illumination finds the Pastels in a similar mood to its predecessor, Mobile Safari. Scaling back the snappy production and crisp guitars of their earlier releases, the group crafts a collection of subdued, lovely melodies in the vein of the Velvet Underground's third album. While the Pastels lack Lou Reed's lyricism or the Velvets' assured experimentalism, the hushed ambience and sighing melodies of Illumination make it a charming listen." - allmusic review

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Modern Lovers - "The Modern Lovers"

"The Modern Lovers" [1976]
the modern lovers

All I can say about this album is that it's brilliant. Produced by John Cale of The Velvet Underground, excellently. Very amateur and charming, most of the songs being about girlfriends or wanting a girlfriend. "Roadrunner" starts off the album, a fast tempo garage rock song that makes you feel like you're right in front of the band experiencing their energy. "I'm Straight" and "Pablo Picasso" will make you grin, while "Government Center" and "Old World" will make you dance.

1. Roadrunner
2. Astral Plane
3. Old World
4. Pablo Picasso
5. I'm Straight
6. Dignified and Old
7. She Cracked
8. Hospital
9. Someone I Care About
10. Girlfriend
11. Modern World
12. Government Center

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Teenage Fanclub - "Bandwagonesque"

"Bandwagonesque" [1991]
teenage fanclub

Certainly a cult classic. Teenage Fanclub went out on a limb here to create one fuck of a brilliant power-pop record. Inspired by Big Star, Dinosaur Jr, and the likes, this album showcases Teenage Fanclub at their best. Far more commercial friendly than "A Catholic Education" [though, that remains my favorite Teenage Fanclub album]. Overrall, this is a great fucking album. Pure power-pop from start to finsih. The highlights include "What You Do to Me", "The Concept", "I Don't Know", and "Star Sign". If you're just getting into Teenage Fanclub, this is a great place to start.

1. The Concept
2. Satan
3. December
4. What You Do to Me
5. I Don't Know
6. Star Sign
7. Metal Baby
8. Pet Rock
9. Sidewinder
10. Alcoholiday
11. Guiding Star
12. Is This Music?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Bloody Valentine - "Glider" & "Tremolo"

"Glider" [1990]
my bloody valentine

1. Soon
2. Glider
3. Don't Ask Why
4. Off Your Face

"Tremolo" [1990]
my bloody valentine

1. To Here Knows When
2. Swallow
3. Honey Power
4. Moon Song

The Associates - "Sulk"

"Sulk" [1982]
The Associates
Sulk is by far The Associates best album. It shows the band molding itself from a post-punk band into a band that fuses post-punk influences and synth-pop influences into something beautiful. The album features some extremely upbeat songs, and also some extremely gloomy songs. Compositionally the album is extremely mature, we can thank Alan Rankine for that, who plays the guitars, keyboards, and various other instruments. On top of the complexity, Billy Mackenzie's voice makes the album quite the spectacle, turning otherwise typical synth-pop sounding music into something powerful and operatic. This album is full of poppy hits, including "Party Fears Two", which is arguably The Associates most renowned song. "18 Carat Love Affair" is another highlight from the album, the keyboards are beautiful and Billy's voice really shines, working it's way perfectly within the blasting synth, funky bassline, and pounding drums. Sulk really shows The Associates at their best, no doubt in my mind about that. [Side note: I think the version of "Sulk" that I uploaded has a sort of strange track-listing, below is the list of tracks on the album... I think it might be a combination of the original UK release and the 2000 reissue of the album. Either way, every song from the album is on it, plus extras.]

1. Arrogance Gave Him Up
2. No
3. Bap De La Bap
4. Gloomy Sunday
5. Nude Spoons
6. Skipping
7. It's Better This Way
8. Party Fears Two
9. Club Country
10. nothinginsomethingparticular
11. Love Hangover
12. 18 Carat Love Affiar
13. Ulcragyseptimol
14. ANd Then I Read a Book
15. Australia
16. Grecian 200
17. The Room We Sat in Before

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Associates - "The Affectionate Punch"

"The Affectionate Punch" [1980]
The Associates
I know this album, at least for me, was impossible to find on any blog out there, so I’m being nice and uploading it on mine. It’s not my favorite Associates album [Sulk is], but it’s very ambitious. Billy Mackenzie and Alan Rankine set a very high bar when making this album that might be hard to overcome when making future albums. The sound is far more post-punkesque, whatever that means, than their later albums, which eventually evolve into synth-pop music. Here's what's Andy Kellman had to say about it: "All ten songs on The Affectionate Punch are nearly swollen with ambition and swagger, yet those attributes are confronted with high levels of anxiety and confusion, the sound of prowess and hormones converging head-on. It's not always pretty, but it's unflaggingly sensational, even when it slows down. Having debuted with a brazen reduction of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging" to a spindly rumble, multi-instrumentalist Alan Rankine and vocalist Billy Mackenzie ensured instant attention and set forward with this, their first album. Mackenzie's exotic swoops cover four octaves, from the kind of isolated swagger heard in Bowie's "Secret Life of Arabia" to a falsetto more commonly heard in an opera house than a bar. (Dude sounds like a diva, so proceed with caution if you'd much rather hear a voice in line with PiL's John Lydon or Magazine's Howard Devoto.) Though the subject matter of the duo's songs would later veer into the completely inscrutable, there's some abstract wordplay here that scans like vocal exercises or Scott Walker at his most surreal: "Stenciled doubts spin the spine, Logan time, Logan time"; "If I threw myself from the ninth story, would I levitate back to three"; "His jawline's not perfect but that can be altered." Meaningful or not, there's always a sense of great weight. When Mackenzie runs through the alphabet in "A," he could be singing in code about the butterflies of love. Rankine, with help from drummer Nigel Glockler and a background appearance from then labelmate Robert Smith, covers most of the other stuff, specializing in spare arrangements that can simultaneously slither and jump, crosscut with guitars that release weary chimes and caustic stabs, as well as the occasional racing xylophone. Two years later -- a year after the genius run of bizarre singles collected on Fourth Drawer Down and the same year as the high-drama overdrive of Sulk -- Rankine and Mackenzie partially re-recorded and completely remixed this album to spectacularly layered and glossy effect. Get both versions."

1. The Affectionate Punch
2. Amused As Always
3. Logan Time
4. Paper House
5. Transport to Central
6. A Matter of Gender
7. Even Dogs in the Wild
8. Would I... Bounce Back
9. Deeply Concerned
10. A

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Felt - "The Pictorial Jackson Review"

"The Pictorial Jackson Review" (1988)

If you haven't noticed, Felt is one of my favorite bands... that explains why I'm uploading every Felt album (besides The Splendour of Fear, because I bought it off iTunes and can't find it anywhere else.) With that being said... on with the review of The Pictorial Jackson Review. To make it short and sweet, The Pictorial Jackson Review is a great album. I can listen to it all the way through, hum the lyrics, and even occasionally dance along with it while playing air guitar or air keyboard. In my opinion, this album is the definition of a pop album. Lawrence obviously aimed to make a pop album with this one, and since Lawrence is so quirky, he even added two completely instrumental tracks at the end of the album (one being twelve minutes long) just to fuck with our heads. In addition to that, just to add, the guitar in the song "Don't Die On My Doorstep" sounds eerily similar to the guitar in the song "Centerfold" by the J Geils Band, I don't know if anyone else noticed that. In conclusion, The Pictorial Jackson Review is a great poppy record... it's quirky, witty, funny at times, and overall very upbeat (if you ignore the last two tracks, which aren't bad, but they're just not exactly 'upbeat'.) To me, the record records Felt evolving from the music they once made (Strange Idols, Ignite, Forever Breathes, etc.) A Felt fan can probably tell that Lawrence (and the rest of the band, I suppose) tried to take a different approach to song writing this time around, and although it's not altogether perfect, it's still a stellar record. The last two tracks foreshadow what Felt's next album (Trains Above the City) would sound like, and the rest of the album foreshadows what Felt's final album (Me and a Monkey on the Moon) would sound like. Also, Lawrence sings a bit more melodically on this album, making him sound sort of like a young Lou Reed... or an older Lou Reed impersonator.

1. Apple Boutique
2. Ivory Past
3. Until the Fools Get Wise
4. Bitter End
5. How Spook Got Her Man
6. Christopher Street
7. Under a Pale Light
8. Don't Die on My Doorstep
9. Sending Lady Load
10. Darkest Ending

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Teenage Fanclub - "A Catholic Education"

"A Catholic Education" (1990)
teenage fanclub

"Hard to believe now, but Teenage Fanclub first attracted critical attention for a record far removed from the sparkling power pop on which their fame largely rests -- with its gloriously sloppy and sludgy sound, their debut album A Catholic Education instead prefigures the emergence of grunge, its viscous melodies and squalling guitars owing far more to Neil Young than Big Star. With not one but two songs dubbed "Heavy Metal," it's pretty obvious where A Catholic Education is coming from; the title track (also here in duplicate) is a surprisingly snarky attack on the church (at least for a band not exactly renowned for its political agenda), while the great "Everybody's Fool" is a merciless scenester put-down without any of the gentle sarcasm that characterizes similarly themed efforts like Bandwagonesque's "Metal Baby." Regardless, for all its glaring differences in attitude and approach, there's no mistaking the effortless melodicism that remains the hallmark of all Teenage Fanclub records -- in particular, the opening "Everything Flows," for all its meandering abrasiveness, is still as good as anything the band ever recorded, and that's saying something."
- allmusic review by Jason Ankeny

1. Heavy Metal
2. Everything Flows
3. Catholic Education
4. Too Involved
4. Don't Need a Drum
6. Critical Mass
7. Heavy Metal II
8. Catholic Education II
9. Eternal Light
10. Every Picture I Paint
11. Everybody's Fool

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Bloody Valentine - "Geek!" & "The New Record by My Bloody Valentine"

"Geek!" (1985)
my bloody valentine

"The New Record by My Bloody Valentine" (1986)
my bloody valentine

Felt - "Forever Breathes the Lonely Word"

"Forever Breathes the Lonely Word" (1986)

The definitive Felt album, supposedly. I'm not too sure I agree with that, but "Forever Breathes the Lonely Word" is one hell of an album. It's probably the most listener-friendly album Felt ever released. Martin Duffy's organ playing dominates this record, there's no question about it. "Rain of the Crystal Spires", "Down But Not Yet Out", "Grey Streets", "A Wave Crashed on Rocks", and "All The People I Like Are Those That Are Dead" are must hear Felt songs. By far, "Forever Breathes the Lonely Word" should have been a number one selling hit. Every song is very commercial, and instantly lovable... If you're just now getting into Felt, this should be the first album you listen to.

1. Rain of Crystal Spires
2. Down but Not Yet Out
3. September Lady
4. Grey Streets
5. All the People I Like Are Those That Are Dead
6. Gather up Your Wings and Fly
7. A Wave Crashed on Rocks
8. Hours of Darkness Have Changed My Mind