This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home. Albums listened to for week 9 cover from 18 May to 22 May.
Monday 18 May – Chris Cornell
Starting off the new working weeks soundtrack was dedicated to Chris Cornell who tragically died that day on 18 May 2017.
Chris was front man with Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog. He also had a successful solo career as well as being involved with the remaining three members of Rage Against The Machine with Audioslave and then Soundgarden made their reunion and return with the release of King Animal in 2012.
With a vast collection of everything Chris has done with all these bands, the one collection that would be played that day was the posthumous compilation released in November 2018. It beautiful box set of four CDS, 64 songs including 10 unreleased songs.
A very fitting tribute to one of rock music’s most iconic front man who is sorely missed.
Tuesday 19 May – The Charlatans
If you have been following Tim Burgess on Twitter you will have come across #TimsTwitterListeningParty. A fantastic way of connecting bands and fans playing albums by vinyl, CD or steaming and watching the live tweets coming in.
Missed the previous night’s session so today it was all about The Charlatans. I got into them quite late in the 90s, possible mid-90s around time of Britpop but was familiar with some of their earlier songs at student union discos.
Going through my collection I picked out this bunch of CDs to listen to Different Days (2017), Modern Nature (2015), Us and Us Only (1999), Wonderland (2001) and Who We Touch live (2010) as well compilation album, Melting Pot (1998) which contained a best of from their career between 1990 and 1997. A fantastic album with some of my favourites like The Only One I Know, Sproston Green and One to Another. I have managed to get to see them a few times and they are great live. Need to check out some of Tim’s solo work now.
Wednesday 20 May – Britrock part 1
Britrock? Is it a term? We are all familiar with Britpop but what about Britrock their long forgotten about cousin? Over the next two days I would be going through my collection and digging out some forgotten gems.
There were some great bands in the 90s. I always feel it was the best decade in music in terms of style and variety. I liked lots of bands on both sides of the Atlantic so here is the best of the British bands that I was listening to back then.
Starting off with Gun, were from Scotland and released Taking on the World (1989) which was a favourite of mind going into the new decade. I saw then support Simple Minds at my first ever gig. A really good band. I am going to play more of them soon as second album Gallus (1992) is great. Their biggest hit ironically was a cover version of Word Up.
I got into Reef post grunge in 1995. Not a major change in direction music wise it just wasn’t all about grunge in the early 90s. It had a big effect on my tastes but I became more open to listening to other bands. Reef’s first album, Replenish (1995) is played here instead of Glow (1997) which included their big single, Place Your Hands. Definitely another album I will introduce to the lockdown playlist the longer this goes on. A great band live. Managed to catch them a few times in Belfast, supported by A, who are the subject of the next album.
A (definitely a great name for a band) proudly start off my CD collection. Can’t see any other bands getting in there ahead of them unless I start my collection by number and then letter but I am sticking with letters for now. Much easier to process and find things.
A vs. Monkey Kong (1999) was their second album and it is a great listen. I have only seen them in support capacity.
Another album from 1999 was Cay’s one and only album, Nature Creates Freaks. It was heavily influenced by Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Sex Pistols.
Rounding of Britrock for Wednesday was 3 Colours Red who were signed to Alan McGee’s Creation Records who said they were the second best band in Britain after Oasis. High praise indeed. I only have two of their albums, Pure (1997) and Revolt (1999) which included their biggest hit, Beautiful Day.
A great live band. I even had a recording on CD that I made after taping it off Radio 1 and I gave that a listen to as well. They were supported on that tour by Muse! You got to start off somewhere. Would love to have been at that gig.
Thursday 21 May – Britrock part 2
Another day of British rock bands to play and many here were championed by the likes of Melody Maker and NME at the time.
Kicking off Thursday was Symposium, who were championed by NME on the Bratbus tour of 1996 and Melody Maker hailed them as the best live band in Britain. I ended up buying all the singles they released and never owned any off their albums. I saw them live twice in the Limelight 1997 and 1998. The 1998 gig they were supported by A.
Brilliant live band but sadly didn’t make it. However from the ashes arose, Hell is for Heroes. I went for their first two albums, The Neon Handshake (2003) and Transmit Disrupt (2005). They would release one more album in 2007 before breaking up.
Another band that I liked from the early 2000s was Hundred Reasons. They released a lot of great singles from their debut album, Ideas Above Our Station (2002) and were great live. Shatterproof is Not A Challenge (2005) was their major label debut but following the release of the album the band were dropped by Columbia Records.
My Vitriol released Flatlines in 2001. They released five singles from it and it got critical acclaim. The band were described as blend of shoegazing and grunge. Haven’t listened to the album in years and it was great to have another listen.
Friday 22 May – Pearl Jam
Concluding the working weeks listening was Pearl Jam and what a perfect way to book end the week. Starting with Chris Cornell and ending with Pearl Jam.
I got into Pearl Jam at the start of grunge. I pretty much liked all bands from that era and kept finding more bands to listen to. However, Pearl Jam have gone and topped U2 as my all time favourite band now.
No strangers to the lockdown playlist, having previously listened to Ten and Vs., it was time to explore the rest of their discography. I picked five albums to listen to. Starting off with Vitalogy (1994) saw the band fighting on all fronts from not doing promotional videos to taking the fight to Ticketmaster on ticket prices.
The album was first released on vinyl before it got the CD release. At that stage I had stopped buying records and had moved onto CDs. It became their second fastest selling album. Most of the album was written during soundtracks on the Vs. tour. That lead me to seek out a tape that I had recorded in 1994 from Radio 1.
Probably best to describe this as my first Pearl Jam gig even though I wasn’t at it! Staying up late to record the whole show, although found out there was a second encore after Radio 1 finished broadcasting. Nearly a quarter for a century later the tape is still in good condition and played really well too. It was great to dig out this gem and listen to it.
I wouldn’t get to see the band until 2009 when I went over to London to see them and have not missed any gigs since then apart from next month’s cancelled gig at Hyde Park due to the current pandemic but during the 90s this was the closest I got to experiencing the band live.
No Code (1996), Yield (1998) and Binaural (2000) were all favourites of mine and quite easily enjoy their place in my top five Pearl Jam albums. Between these albums I had a couple of chances to catch the band live in Dublin but sadly missed out on those gigs.
I played another live gig by the band in the form of the bonus live CD recorded at the Orpheum Theatre in Seattle. This was the penultimate show of the Vs. tour which featured some songs from the forthcoming Vitalogy album.