One of my favourite songs ever

Today’s choice was influenced by the Reading Festival that I’m going to tomorrow. I picked a band I’ve seen at the festival in years past; New Order and their album “Technique“.

What a strange album this is; it is really two albums joined together. Part of it is the traditional New Order guitar and bass whilst the other part is pure dance techno. “Fine Time” is undoubtedly one of my favourite tracks of all time; the beat just makes you want to get up and dance. This track has a heavy influence of Ibiza where they spend 4 months recording the album. This track in particulary really stands out from the rest of the album because it doesn’t fit with the rest.

Saw them at the festival in 1998 along side The Beastie Boys.

Thank god for Spotify

Thank god for Spotify otherwise I would never be able to relive my old vinyl; like today the awesome album “Permanent Waves” by Rush.

In my old Rush collection this was the earliest in their back catalogue that i owned. I don’t see the need to play my old vinyl now Spotify is around although that doesn’t mean I’m going to get rid of the vinyl. Prior to this they were a bit too heavy for me; however revisting these albums I’m swaying to their more heavier guitar based sound. Whilst this is no Moving Pictures it still a good album.

This album signaled a change for Rush from the out and out progressive rock band to something more radio friendly; there are still a couple of track at over 7 minutes but there is also a few shorter tracks suitable for radio.

Old CD

Today driving home I listened to “Tin Planet” by Space.

Like yesterday this is also an old album not played for a long time. However in contrast to yesterday’s choice I very much enjoyed revisiting it. It has a mainly electronic feel to it but accompanied by heavy guitar. The singer doesn’t have a fantastic voice but I remember he was quite charismatic so I guess you can get away with it being a frontman.

The lyrics are also quite comical but the underlying themes in the tracks are a bit dark, about serial killers and murder. The funniest line has to be from “The Ballad of Tom Jones” which is a duet with Cerys Mathews.

I’ve never thrown my knickers at you
and I don’t come from Wales.

Vinyl revisited

A jump back to an old vinyl friend that I’ve now got on MP3; “Violator” by Depeche Mode.

This is one of my old vinyl album that I felt I had missed since no longer having a deck. I heard “Enjoy the Silence” last week in the hotel in Salzburg and it brought back memories of this album (they seemed to play 80s music during breakfast; I wasn’t complaining). It was probably the last vinyl album I got before getting a CD player. I had thought it was one of my favorite Depeche Mode album (after Black Celebration). But when listening to it tonight out running it didn’t sound as good as I remembered. Still some great tracks but a couple of fillers.

Nevertheless by time of the second listen I had appreciated that it’s a good album. Depeche Mode had shaken off the kid pop feel of their early stuff and developed a dark moody side. But not got as far as the self-induced implosion of later years. This was probably at the high of their success in America being released after the finish of the “Music for the Masses” world tour documented in the film “101”. A good film and live album as well.

“Enjoy the Silence” is my favourite track but “Personal Jesus” was the big stand out track and a worldwide success; quite a bleak but interesting video.

Finish off with a quick note on my run. It was one of those runs that we runners dream love. The first mile felt bad like I was running through treacle. But after that point I felt invincible which doesn’t happen very often when I’m running. Ended up doing quite a long run in the end and felt great at the end.

Post 200 !!!

Well this is my 200th post so I felt I had to choose something appropriate and worthy. A bit tricky because I was out running yesterday and am low on fresh music on my iPod. However I found this gem lurking; one on my favourite bands. I went with the compilation album “Hits” by Pulp.

This is a great compliment to the other Pulp studio albums I have since it’s perfect for out running. All the best tracks in one collection. From the sublime “Babies” with its so catchy guitar riff through to “Sunrise”. The songs are only from the Pulp “classic” line up.

I haven’t got enough unplayed music left for another 200 posts without bending the rules of my blog. I think I’m going to starting drawing more on the resources of Spotify for those albums I have bought on vinyl and either no longer own or can’t play. This of course can only be at home.

I had planned to do the 200th post last weekend when on holiday in Salzburg; I intended to do some running out there maybe tackle one of the small mountains. However once at the hotel my kids decided they wanted to go to the gym in the evenings; so I ended up running on a treadmill instead. It was great fun for us to be doing some exercise together down in the gym. I’m pleased to say that although my son is now just a bit taller than me and significantly younger I could still run further than him on the running machine. Sad I know but pleasing for a middle aged man.

Not everything old glitters

Poking around Spotify today I bumped into an old friend not heard for probably nearly 20+ years; “Grace Under Pressure” by Rush.

This was my first experience of Rush all those years ago. A friend at school played it to me one day at their house and I was hooked. Later on I went through their back catalog to find other music of theirs I liked. The time of this album Rush seemed to change style quite often; using more keyboards and then switching back to a more balanced mix with guitars.

What stuck me about listening back to this album was it felt a bit dated. When listening back to “Moving Pictures” I loved it but that feeling wasn’t there with this one. Don’t get me wrong there are some great tracks and you can’t fault how they are great musicians; Neil Peart was probably at the height of his drumming skill. My favorite track is probably the fast “Between the Wheels”.

One feature of this album worth mentioning is the lyrics are pretty dark; describing a bleak world influenced by the Cold War which was at it’s worse during the eighties.

Return of the cool air

Today driving to work I listened to “International Velvet” by Catatonia.

This is a good album that has aged well. Cerys Matthews vocals are very sweet on this album; just listen to “Johnny Come Later” to hear them at their best. I always find the opening track “Mulder and Scully” seems to start half way through with the chorus. Of course when this album was released the X Files was a massive worldwide success.

It has quite a strong Welsh feeling in places which is why my wife liked this so much at the time being from Cardiff; the track “International Velvet” does have the classic line

Every day when I wake up I thank the Lord I’m Welsh

The album was nominated for a Mercury Music prize in 1998 but lost out to Gomez. Now that was a winner that I never rated highly.

It was a welcome return to colder air tonight when out running. Only a few more weeks and I’ll be back in cold weather gear with hat and running tights !!!