Music life in lockdown week 13

This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home.  Albums listened to for week 13 cover from 15 June to 19 June.

Monday 15 June – Iron Maiden

Continuing on where I left off on Friday, this would have been a day off work if Sunstroke festival wasn’t cancelled.  It wasn’t the only thing cancelled, all gigs I had been due to go have all been rescheduled to next year.  Sadly two that I was looking forward to Pearl Jam and Iron Maiden didn’t get put forward to next year.

To make up for the disappointment I picked a selection of Iron Maiden live albums to recreate the feeling of seeing them live.  It’s a poor substitute for the real thing but it’s the thought that counts.  Iron Maiden release quite a lot of live albums, usually bookending of current tours.

Soundtrack 15 June
Scream for me Belfast!

So I started off with their most recent studio album, The Book of Souls (2015) which is a fantastic record.  Really takes you back to the Powerslave era and an album well worth the wait as Bruce Dickson was recovering from this treatment for throat cancer.  This album was so long that it came as two discs.  It definitely is one of my favourite recent albums by the band.

I caught the band live on that tour at the 3Arena in Dublin and it was a fantastic show.  The companion album, The Book of Souls: Live Chapter (2017) was recorded throughout their world tour.  Quite a lot of live cuts from the new album plus fan favourites from over the years.

I continued the theme of live albums by playing En Vivo! (2012) and Maiden England ’88 (2013) again because it crammed in a lot of live stuff that I would have got to hear that evening in Belfast.  Oh well.  Another live album, Flight 666 (2005) is like a best of album but from all around the world as the title suggests.  It was part of a documentary live film of the first leg of Somewhere Back in Time tour.

Following on from all the live albums, with such a huge back catalogue I went for two best of albums which captures the band over the years.  Somewhere Back in Time – The Best of: 1980-1989 released in 2008.  This double album contains material from their first eight album plus Live After Death.

The second best of album, From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990-2010 was released in 2011.  Prior to buying The Book of Souls which was the first studio album I bought since No Prayer For The Dying in 1990, I had gone off the band for a wee bit during the 1990s.

This album contained material from No Prayer For The Dying to The Final Frontier.  Strangely enough it omits material sung by Blaze Bayley and focuses more on Bruce Dickinson’s involvement.   It is a great collection.

Tuesday 16 June – Down Under

Following the metal mayhem from the day before, today’s soundtrack was all things down under.  I actually forgot one band, The D4 when I was going through my collection but somehow managed to mix them up with The Datsuns.  Strange indeed!Soundtrack 16 June

Just so the neighbours wouldn’t complain at 9am, Crowded House kicked the proceedings off with a best of album The Very Best of Crowed House (2010) is an expansion on the 1996 compilation Recurring Dream.  I must admit I didn’t like them at all in the early 90s when they released Weather With You.  That was on the radio non-stop but my wife wanted to see them once and we went to a gig in Belfast back in 2007.

Upping the tempo a bit, it was time for NME favourites The Vines and The Datsuns.  NME hailed The Vines as “the second coming of Nirvana” because of their grungy sound and their frontman, Craig Nicholls erratic on-stage behaviour.  Highly Evolved (2002) was a pretty good debut and it did tend to be part of the trend towards garage rock bands.  I caught the band live at Reading once and they were in a tent which was pretty packed out.  A bit like the Foo Fighters in 1995.   The last time I saw them in Dublin I was less impressed as it really wasn’t a great gig and they were all over the place.

The Datsuns formed in 2000 and their self-tiled debut album was released in 2002 which had them slotted in the garage rock trend created by the British music press.  Again another good debut but I only got to their second album and kind of forgot about them.  The second album was not as good as their debut.  I caught the band live a couple of times.

Another New Zealand band, Shihad came to my attention from my friend Kirsten all the way from Christchurch.  She sent me the CD, The General Electric (1999) as a present.  Not sure if they are well known this part of the world.

Another Australian band Silverchair also drew comparisons with Nirvana (they were also a three piece).  I have their first two albums so for today, I picked the last album I bought Neon Ballroom (1999).  It’s a really good album and a bit more grown up than their first two which were released when they were 14 and 16.  Quite young.  Almost like an Aussie Ash.

Last but not least, the mighty AC/DC! This live album from 1992 was recorded during the 1991 tour.   I caught the band live in Belfast in 1991 which was a fantastic gig.  I recently saw them a couple of years ago at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin but when Axl Rose took over vocal dues following the departure of Brian Johnston due to problems with his hearing I wasn’t at all keen to see the band again if they came back this way.  Anyway, this live album is great and AC/DC don’t disappoint live.

Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 June – The Best Album In The World Ever?

Lots of music to get through of the next two days and what a collection to listen to.  The Best Album in the World Ever series was similar to Shin which I didn’t buy at the time.Soundtrack 17 and 18 June

I have three volumes here, volume 2 (1996), volume 4 (1996) and volume 6 (1997).  All three albums are great to listen to picking up the era of post-grunge with the arrival of Britpop.  Looking back at that time there were some cracking bands making some great music.  Sadly you don’t get the same nowadays.  God, I feel old sounding like that.

Another CD I picked up was Alterative 90s which came out in 2002.  I actually won this in my local newspaper, The Irish News.  Still has the “Promo only – Not for Sale) sticker on it.  Not too dissimilar to the other two compilations out there, this two disc collection picks up quite a lot of the alt-rock from the US to the indie UK scene it was a very good mix.

NME back in the day would do a single of the week series.  I bought two albums at the time, Singles of the Week (1993) and Singles of the Week (1996).  I can’t remember if these were commercially available in record shops but I am pretty sure I had to buy them via NME.  Anybody reading this I am open for correction.

Of the two CDs here, 1993 edges it for me.  The 1996 collection is pretty good but I think the 1993 edition influenced a lot of what I was listening to back then.

The compilation album, Help (1995) was released with the proceeds going to help starving Bosnian refugees during the civil war in the Balkans.  The idea was to get the biggest bands in the UK to record exclusive songs and present them in a matter of days to get it the shops.  The CD had no track listing and that was only available as a cut out from NME.  I still have my copy of it.  It’s a brilliant album and there are some fantastic team-ups on it.  A solid 10/10 for this album.  All killer and no filler.

Friday 19 June – Black Rebel Motorcyle Club

Ending the working week with one of my favourite bands from the turn of the millennium, Black Rebel Motorcyle Club or BRMC for short.  I remember reading about this band in the local paper’s music section and it recommended their single Whatever Happened to My Rock n Roll (Punk Sung).  It was brilliant and I bought a copy of it on CD.  The band ended up on the NME tour in 2002 and I saw them in Dublin and would get to see them numerous times over the years.  Soundtrack 19 June

The debut BMRC (2001) is a brilliant debut and it captures a lot of influence from Sonic Youth to The Jesus and Mary Chain.  The follow up Take Them On, On Your Own (2003) is more darker and heavier sound to the first album.

I somehow managed to miss the third album Howl (2005) but got back on track in 2007 with Baby 81.  I really liked this album but I will have to get Howl and see how album 3 and 4 compare.  Could do that on Spotify but that’s no fun.  Off to HMV and see if there are any decent priced CDs to buy.

The curse of missing albums again happened with The Effects of 333 (2008) which was download only via their Myspace page.  Remember that?  The time before Facebook.  Explains why I never downloaded it!

Beat The Devil’s Tattoo (2010) and Specter at the Feast (2013) were the last two BRMC albums I had bought.  Both very different in style.  They are great live band.  Last time I saw them they supported Pearl Jam in Milton Keynes.

Check out this clip from YouTube as Mike McCready from Pearl Jam joins in performing Conscience Killer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music life in lockdown week 12

This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home.  Albums listened to for week 11 cover from 8 June to 12 June.

Monday 8 June – The Clash

Kicking off the new working week with the last gang in town…The Clash!  I pretty much selected the best of their studio output here.  I never got the last Clash album, Cut The Crap (1985), but the albums that I listened to today were probably their best work.

Six albums feature here, including a live CD.  Their debut album, The Clash (1977) was their self- titled debut was very much a snapshot in time of what life in Britain was like.  The follow up Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978) continued the same themes from their debut.  Soundtrack 8 June

By the time the band released their third album, London Calling (1979) originally released as a double album, it brought in some new changes bringing the punk rock sound and new post punk aesthetic together.  The album reflected their growing interest in other styles including reggae, rockabilly, ska, New Orleans R&B, pop, lounge jazz and hard rock.

The theme continues on their fourth album, Sandinista! (1980), this time a triple album (on CD it was a double).  Again the band tap into other trends of the 1980s as the album featured different styles like funk, reggae, jazz, gospel, rockabilly, folk, dub, rhythm and blues, disco and even rap!

The last great Clash album, Combat Rock (1982) was one of their best selling including two of their most popular singles, Rock the Casbah and Should I Stay or Should I Go.   The album was also the last featuring the classic line up.  The live album, Live at Shea Stadium (2008) captured the band live in New York City opening up for The Who.  15 tracks highlighting the best tracks from all five albums.  It was a fantastic listening experience and made me wish I had got to see them live but I was still in primary school and about to go to secondary school at this time.

Tuesday 9 June – Depeche Mode

Another great band from the 1980s and I only got to appreciate them over the years.  They were never a band I would have thought I would get to see live and of the three times I have seen them in recent years they are nothing short of amazing and put on a great live show.

Now I am firm believer that there are two types of music – good and bad.  Same applies to the 1980s and The Singles 81-85 was originally released in 1985.  My copy is the 1998 edition features many of their early singles.  Songs like See You, People are People and Just Can’t Get Enough were songs that I would have heard growing up but wouldn’t actually own an album until the 1990s!Soundtrack 9 June

An album that showcases their live ability was 101 (1989) which was their final show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  The album was part of a documentary film of the bands tour.  A fantastic live album.

Violator (1990) is my all time favourite Depeche Mode album.  Featuring singles, Personal Jesus (also covered by Johnny Cash), Policy of Truth and my favourite, Enjoy The Silence.

I picked the other albums to listen to, Exciter (2001), Playing the Angel (2005) and Delta Machine (2013).  It was on the Delta Machine tour that I got to see them live for the first time when they came to Belfast.

Wednesday 10 June – A little bit of everything

Midway through the working week and I pick out a variety of compilation albums to change things up a bit with some punk, Britpop, and alternative rock.Soundtrack 10 June

First up was CBGBs and the Birth of U.S. Punk (2002).  This album features a great collection of songs from the Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, The Stooges, Television, Dead Kennedys, Ramones to name but a few.

Next was Britpop at the BBC (2014) and is a great collection of songs by bands from this era, oddly enough it does have one Swedish band, The Wannadies but I guess that You and Me Song doesn’t look out of place in the scene.  The bonus CD is live versions from the likes of Blur, Pulp, Suede, Ash and Manic Street Preachers on the Evening Session.

Still on the theme of BBC, Evening Session Priority Tunes (1996) is a great collection of songs from the early 1990s from Britpop to grunge and alt rock.  All fantastic.  Again this CD also has a collection of session tracks that were recorded for the radio.

Brit Beat…Later Volume One (1996) is great collection of live tracks of Britpop era bands that have showcased their songs on Jools Holland’s late night programme which was an updated version of The Old Grey Whistle Test.  As the name says Brit Beat, it’s all about the UK artist from the early 1990s.

The next CD I bought all the way from New Zealand while I was there on holiday in 1997.  When I went browsing for CDs I more or less had most of the stuff I was looking at but I am across this CD entitled Triple J Hottest 100 4 (1997) .  Triple J is an Australian radio station and probably the Aussie version of the Evening Session.  This CD highlights the best of their hottest 100 with Australian bands like Spiderbait, 311 and Regurgitator, to American bands like Weezer, Tool, Everclear and some UK bands like Bush, The Prodigy and Underworld.  It is a brilliant CD.  Something for everyone here.

Finally, Greetings from Uncle Sam (1993) is a best of alt-rock scene from the US.  One of the early CDs I bought which introduced me to bands like Sugar, Dinosaur Jr, L7, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, etc.  It is a great CD and captures the scene at the time.  Noticeably absence is Nirvana probably absent from this as they don’t appear on the Columbia record label.

Thursday 11 June – Husker Du

I got into Husker Du thanks to listening to Bob Mould’s new band, Sugar.  Copper Blue is one of my all time favourite albums and while finding some of Bob’s solo stuff I started to listen to Husker Du for the first time.  In a short space of six years this band belted out album after album.

So today I was listening to Zen Arcade (1984), the live album Land Speed Record (1982) which is so fast – 17 songs crammed into 26 minutes a real hardcore racket!.  Other albums New Day Rising (1985), Candy Apple Grey (1986) and the double album Warehouse: Songs and Stories (1987) which was the last studio album before the band broke up.  Soundtrack 11 June

A band I would never get to see live.  There was never going to be a reunion.  Grant Hart sadly passed away in 2017.  I have seen Bob live both solo and also with Sugar.  The live album, The Living End (1994) was probably going to be a good as you get to experiencing them live.

A band with incredible influence on bands that I love like Foo Fighters, Therapy?, Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins.  Dave Grohl once commented if there was no Husker Du, there would be no Foo Fighters.  Bob Mould does eventually guest on a Foo Fighters album later.

Friday 12 June – Metal madness

If it hadn’t of being for the COVID-19 situation I wouldn’t be typing this about what albums I am listening to this particular day.  This was the weekend of Sunstroke Festival which was to make its return to the Irish music calendar for the first time since 1994.  Me and friend Paul were so excited for this two day festival which was being headlined by Faith No More and Deftones.

Also that weekend was the Download festival at Donnington Park in England.  Iron Maiden were headlining that and were due to play Belfast later on that week.  As the pandemic was getting worst all gigs were being either cancelled or rescheduled.  Sadly for us, Faith No More and Iron Maiden never got rescheduled much to our disappointment.

So rather than mope in the corner being disappointed I selected a few albums from Faith No More, Iron Maiden, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Offspring and System of a Down.  Also added were the Jesus and Mary Chain.  Not metal but they were meant to be playing at Sunstroke.Soundtrack 12 June

Midlife Crisis The very best of Faith No More (2010) is a great collection of their best songs including some really great covers.

I got to see System of a Down at Ozzfest back in 2001,  so their debut album from 1998 and the follow up, Toxicity (2001) was played for the first time in ages.

I was looking forward to seeing the Jesus and Mary Chain again so this live collection from Barrowlands in Glasgow had the band playing Psychocandy in full.  Released in 2015 for Record Store Day and then released on CD.

The Offspring were playing Download which we weren’t going to but I haven’t listened to Americana (1998) in a long while so I played that.

Metal legends, Iron Maiden need no introduction.  After seeing them play one of the best indoor gigs I have been to in Belfast in recent years I was looking forward to seeing them live in the open air for the first time.  I had never seen the band outdoors before.  Every time  I have seen them it has been indoors.

To make up for not getting to see them, the live albums Maiden England ’88  and En Vivo! were played.

Maiden England ’88 (2013) was their entire performance at the Birmingham NEC during the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour.  A fantastic live performance I previously had most of the stuff on vinyl but foolishly sold most of it years ago!  I would get to see them live in 1990.

Another live album, En Vivo! (2012) captured the band live in Chile during the South American leg of The Final Frontier tour.

Great music to listen to and it somewhat softened the blow of not getting to see any live shows this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music life in lockdown week 11

This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home.  Albums listened to for week 11 cover from 1 June to 5 June.

Monday 1 June – Megadeth

Having done the ‘Big 4’ of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax earlier in lockdown, I decided to start the new month with a day all dedicated to Dave Mustaine’s Megadeth.

Instead of trying to cram in all my favourite albums and there are quite a few favourites, I opted for the boxset album that was released in 2007.  Entitled Warchest it featured five discs (4CD +DVD).  Disc 1 featured a selection of tracks from their albums in the 1980s – Killing Is My Business…and Business is Good! (1985), Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying (1986) and So Far, So Good…So What? (1988).Soundtrack 1 June

A really good selection of tracks.  My personal favourite from the 1980s was definitely the second album, Peace Sells.

There is a couple covers in here.  No More Mr Nice Guy (Alice Cooper) which featured on the Shocker soundtrack in 1989 and a session take of Anarchy/Problems (Sex Pistols).

The first disc concludes with tracks from Rust In Peace (1990) which was the album that I finally started to take notice of them.  One of my favourite Megadeth albums.  I still have it on vinyl as well as CD.

The second disc takes in tracks from Countdown to Extinction (1992), Youthansia (1994) with some live tracks and a cover of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.  Disc 3 takes us through the late 90s and early 2000s of their output from Cryptic Writings (1997), Risk (1999), The World Needs a Hero (2000) and The System Has Failed (2004).  There is another Black Sabbath cover in here too, Never Say Die (live) which featured on a tribute album to Black Sabbath.

The last disc is a live album from 1990’s Clash of the Titans tour from Wembley Arena in London.  I would love to have seen that tour.  It did come to Dublin but I never got to it.  It’s a really great gig and it even featured Sean Harris from Diamond Head on It’s Electric as well as their cover of the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the U.K.

Tuesday 2 June – Black out Tuesday

No music played that day which was a strange thing to do whist working but as the day went on I was finding it difficult to not listen to anything, so I ended up sticking a Clash CD which I felt resonated well with the protests that were going on.

Wednesday 3  June – Warrior Soul, Living Colour and Rage Against The Machine

Following the previous days attempted music blackout, these are the bands I would have played which kind of captured the mood of what was going on in the world at the time.

I picked three albums each from Warrior Soul and Living Colour plus the last Rage Against The Machine album.

Warrior Soul’s first three albums, Last Decade, Dead Century (1990) was one of my favourite albums from that year.  The follow up was next  Drugs, God, and the New Republic (1991). Also listened to was Salutations From the Ghetto Nation (1992) quite an amazing output of music in three years.  By that time grunge was taking foothold of the music scene which meant many hair-metal bands were losing out to this new wave of alternative rock.  Warrior Soul’s music I think fitted in with the time.Soundtrack 3 June

Next up was Living Colour.  I got into them towards the end of the 80s when funk metal was all the rage.

Remember this is just before grunge explodes and there was some really good stuff coming out then from the likes of Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name a few.

Vivid (1988) was my introduction to Living Colour what a great debut album it was.  Cult of Personality was a big hit for them from this album.  The follow up Time’s Up (1990) was also a favourite at the time.   I must admit that by the time they released their third album, Stain (1993) my interest in the band kind of waned a bit.  Maybe it was due to the overcrowded new bands that I was getting into during the early 90s that I may have overlooked them.  What I didn’t know about this album was that it has been out of print from the mid-90s.  Sadly the band split in 1995 but reformed in 2000.  The last album I bought was Shade (2017).  Need to check out the other two albums from 2003 and 2009.

Rage Against The Machine featured here in week 8 but the album I didn’t play that day was Renegades (2000).  This was the bands fourth and final studio album.  This is a really great album and as it is a covers album, Rage stamp their own sound to the songs.  A very diverse track listing from Bruce Springsteen’s Ghost of Tom Joad (Tom Morello would later join Bruce on tour). the Rolling Stones Street Fighting Man, Afrika Bambaataa’s Renegade of Funk and Bob Dylan’s Maggie’s Farm.  We also get covers of Devo, MC5, The Stooges, Cypress Hill and Minor Threat.  Overall a fantastic album.

Thursday  4 June – Mark Lanegan

What can one say about Mark Lanegan and his baritone voice?  A great vocalist often compared to Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits.Soundtrack 4 June

My first introduction to him was his first band Screaming Trees.  They were part of the Seattle scene and I didn’t get into them until they released Sweet Oblivion (1992).  First song I heard was Nearly Lost You from the Singles soundtrack and that got me interested.  They also appeared on BBC TV for the Late Show on BBC2 which did a No Nirvana special.  That TV programme that opened up a whole new world of bands to into including Pearl Jam, Belly, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Rage, Smashing Pumpkins, to name but a few.  Screaming Tree’s were on it with a fantastic version of  Dollar Bill.

Mark Lanegan also released a solo album after that tour, Whiskey for the Holy Ghost(1994) and this solo stuff was just as good.  Sadly the band ended with a final album, Dust (1996) which is a fantastic record.  My only regret was I never saw them live.  However, I have seen Mark live on numerous occasions, even along with Queens of the Stone Age.

Also played was Oceans of Confusion: Songs of Screaming Trees 1990-1996 which was released in 2005 and is a good collection of songs from their early years up to the last album Dust.

Bubblegum (2004) and Blues Funeral (2012) are two of my favourite albums of his after getting back in this music again following appearances with Queens of the Stone Age.  The best of album, Has God Seen My Shadow?  (2014) was a three disc album featuring songs from his releases between 1989-2011.

Another side project that Mark was involved in was The Gutter Twins which was his collaboration with Greg Dulli from Afghan Whigs.  Saturnalia (2008).  This was a great album and the band are on hiatus at the moment but would love to hear these two get back in the studio again.

Friday 5 June – Afghan Whigs

Quite natural to end the working week with Afghan Whigs after listening to The Gutter Twins the day before.Soundtrack 5 June

The band had been signed to Seattle based label, Sub Pop.  Whilst not a Seattle band as such, they were from Cincinnati, Ohio you would be forgiven to think they were indeed part of grunge movement.  Their major album debut and fourth album, Gentlemen (1993)  was my introduction to the band.    The album got a 21st anniversary reissue entitled Gentlemen at 21 in 2014.

The follow up to that was Black Love (1996).  Greg had been the only other musician who featured on Foo Fighters debut album the year before.  The album is like a crime noir soundtrack.  The band broke up in 2001.

But I was really excited to hear that they were getting back together again in 2011.   The result was a new album, Do to the Beast (2014) which was their first record in 16 years and they were back on Sub Pop.  This was followed up with In Spades (2017) both really good albums and I got to see them live on both tours when they came to Dublin.  Fantastic live band.

The Twilight Singers was formed by Greg during the hiatus from Afghan Whigs.  The band was revived in 2000.  Dynamite Steps (2011) was the album played here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foo Fighters at 25

Today 4 July, 25 years ago Foo Fighters self-titled album was released.

I still remember going to get it in HMV like it was yesterday.  I was really excited to hear what Dave Grohl was planning to unleash nearly 16 months since the death of Kurt Cobain and the end of Nirvana.  I knew they were not going to continue so it was a naturally progression for me to go from Nirvana to Foo Fighters.Foo Fighters

I was fortunate enough to have seen Dave play drums when he was in Nirvana and it was going to be interesting to see how he would do playing guitar.  In fact he had been writing music during the tours.  The debut album was played by Dave Grohl on all vocals and instruments apart from X-Static which featured Greg Dulli from Afghan Whigs on guitar.

The demo tape was circulated and hoping to keep some anonymity he choose the title “Foo Fighters” for the band name.  It created a lot of interest from record labels.  He then decided to form a band to support the album.  Naturally he would have looked at former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic but both of them would decide against it. Krist would eventually turn up on a Foo Fighters record later, Wasting Light.

So the band initially featured Dave Grohl on guitar/vocals, Nate Mandel (Sunny Day Real Estate) on bass, drummer William Goldsmith with Pat Smear as second guitarist.

They made their first appearance at Reading Festival that summer playing in the smaller Radio 1 tent and it created a huge buzz as everybody there wanted to cram into a tiny tent to see the band make their UK debut.

The album produced four singles, This Is A Call, I’ll Stick Around, For All The Cows and Big Me, which I also bought.

With the success of the album and the European tour that autumn/winter I finally got a chance to see Foo Fighters making their Irish debut at the SFX Centre in Dublin that November which was also the closing night of the European tour.  It was a brilliant experience and I loved every minutes of it.  So good that at the end I bought a t-shirt from the show and 25 years later I still fits and I wear it at every Foo Fighters gig I go to.

In celebration of the release of this album and I am going to do my own Foo Fighters Gigography as well as my favourite albums below:

I have seen the band in total 11 times.  Below are some of my ticket stubs.

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November 1995 SFX Centre, Dublin

August 2000 Reading Festival

December 2000 Olympia Theatre, Dublin

July 2002 Witnness Festival, Co. Kildare

August 2002 Reading Festival

December 2002 Point Theatre, Dublin

July 2005 Oxegen Festival, Co. Kildare

December 2005 Point Theatre, Dublin

August 2012 Vital Festival, Boucher Road Playing Fields, Belfast

May 2015 Slane Castle, Co. Meath

August 2019 Vital Festival, Boucher Road Playing Fields, Belfast

The gigs I missed:

Trip to Tip, Thurles, Co. Tipperary August 1997

Ambassador Theatre, Dublin July 2002 (Witnness warm up show)

Slane May 2003

Marlay Park, Dublin August 2007

Foo Fighters Discography in order of favourite albums (not by release year)

The Colour and the Shape (1997)

Foo Fighters (1995)

There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999)

Wasting Light (2011)

One by One (2002)

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007)

In Your Honor (2005)

Sonic Highways (2014)

Concrete and Gold (2017)

The band were due to do a van tour this year to celebrated 25 years on the road.  Sadly with the pandemic all gigs have been cancelled so here’s hoping it won’t be too long before they are back on the road again.

 

 

 

 

Music life in lockdown week 10

This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home.  Albums listened to for week 10 cover from 25 May to 29 May.

Second May bank holiday and I am back behind the desk at “the office” aka the back of the house.

So Monday morning blues while some people are off enjoying the bank holiday whilst in lockdown if that is such a thing.  Time to raid the CD collection and start the week off with a bang.

Monday 25 May – Radiohead v Muse

Wondering what this titan tussle is all about?  I love both bands and both shared the same producer, John Leckie.  That is were people tend to think Muse were Radiohead copyists.  The face that The Bends and Showbiz were  bought produced by the same producer is probably no coincidence but what I have picked here is the first three albums by each band.  All three very different in compared to style and delivery.  They have both gone on to make albums that are so different to how they set out.Soundtrack May 25

Radiohead released Pablo Honey in February 1993.  I hadn’t discovered the band then as I was swept away with the whole grunge revolution at the time.  Creep was considered “too depressing” for Radio 1’s playlist but the song would go on and attract attention elsewhere especially in America.  Early critics of the band dubbed them as “Nirvana-lite”.

The album itself is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but I would say it is a pretty standard guitar based album especially for a debut.   It was the release of The Bends in 1995 which finally got my attention  around the time of my birthday and I bought the album.  I never got to see them live for the first two albums.  After I bought The Bends, I would then buy Pablo Honey and any of the singles associated with the albums.

By 1997, the sound had changed again with the release of Ok Computer.  Critics were comparing the band with Pink Floyd but they were by no means a prog rock band.   The album would be their first UK no.1 and would become part of best of lists for many publications.  I caught the band on tour for this album when they came to Dublin in June of that summer.  The album would feature heavily in any of my best of lists.  I still regard it as their best album.

Muse released their debut album, Showbiz in 1999.  I got into them shortly after the album was released the following year as I was looking for new bands to get into to.  They shared the same producer of The Bends but Muse were definitely not trying to be Radiohead which was more aggressive yet melancholic in musical style.

By the time they released Origin of Symmetry in 2001 their fan base was growing and they sounded like a total different band from the first album.  It included a cover of Feeling Good which was first recorded by Nina Simone.  I remember going to see them on tour for this one.  Caught them a couple of times in Dublin that year.  The first one they played at Dublin Castle and the set was heavy into the new material which wasn’t going down well with the punters who wanted more songs from the first album.

Their third album, Absolution (2003) produced their first top 10 hit, Time is Running Out and would go on to produce three top 20 hits, Hysteria, Sing for Absolution and Butterflies and Hurricanes.

Tuesday 26 May – Jimmy Eat World and Nada Surf

The theme for today’s soundtrack was influenced Tim’s Twitter Listening Party, which hosted Nada Surf on the Monday night.  So for Tuesday’s selection I decided to go for Jimmy Eat World and Nada Surf, two American bands.Soundtrack May 26

Jimmy Eat World’s breakthrough came with the release of several singles from their fourth album, Bleed American (2001).  It was released that summer but following the 9/11 attacks which took place several weeks after the albums release, it was then renamed “Jimmy Eat  World“.  My copy is the renamed album but I also have a copy of the re-released version the title restored.

The band were due to tour with Blink 182 but they cancelled their European tour and Jimmy Eat World done their own headline shows so I bought a ticket and went down to Dublin to see them.  They didn’t disappoint.  So a new band to get into and more albums to discover.

Also played were their second album, Static Prevails (1996) and third album, Clarity (1999).  Singles (2000) was a compilation album of unreleased songs and b-sides.

The two albums I picked for Nada Surf were Let’s Go (2002) and The Weight is a Gift (2005).  My first introduction to the band was Blizzard of ’77 which appeared on a compilation CD from a music magazine.  Not sure which one it was maybe NME, Uncut or Mojo so not 100% sure but I liked what I heard.

To be honest I kind of forgot all about them and then they came to Belfast a couple of years ago and  I went to see them in the Limelight.  They were brilliant live and I picked up some more of their CDs that night, The Weight if a Gift being one of them.  Even stayed behind and met the band afterwards.  Matthew Caws the lead singer signed my CDs for me.  Sadly their new tour this year has got cancelled due to the pandemic.  I hope to catch them live again.

Wednesday 27 May – Bob Mould

Midweek soundtrack is all devoted to Bob Mould.  I first experienced Bob’s music in his post-Husker Du band, Sugar during the 1990s.

Bob would be considered the godfather of alterative rock.  After Husker Du split, Bob did a variety of solo albums before he formed Sugar.  I have picked out six albums here and am saving Sugar for another day on its own.Soundtrack 27 May

Workbook (1989) was his debut album following the break up of Husker Du.   The album was reissued for its 25th anniversary which include a live CD and that is the copy I have.

The third album simply title Bob Mould (1996)  is often referred to as Hubcap was my first purchase.  Along with The Last Dog and Pony Show (1998) both albums played here were repackaged as a double album.  District Line (2008) was the last solo album I bought.

I hadn’t paid much attention to this solo work until the release of Foo Fighters who are the subject for the next day’s listening, Wasting Light (2011).  Bob Mould was one of the guest musicians on that album recording Rosemary’s Baby with Dave Grohl.

This got my interest in Bob’s music again and the following year 2012, he was joined on bass with Jason Narducy and on drums, by Superchunk’s Jon Wurster.  For the release of Silver Age, they went on a series of concerts playing material from the new album, a few Husker Du song and playing Sugar’s Copper Blue in its entirety. I went over to London to see them do that show.

Beauty & Ruin (2014) followed that and I caught the band live in Glasgow that autumn.  It was loud!  Patch the Sky (2016) was described by Mould a third album in the trilogy.

Thursday 28 May – Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl considers Husker Du and Bob Mould as a massive influence.  Without them there be no Foo Fighters he said.Soundtrack 28 May

But for me the starting point was Nirvana. Following the death of Kurt Cobain in April 1994 that was the end of the band.  Dave Grohl started Foo Fighters as a one-man project.   Claiming he done the album for fun, it got interest from major albums and the album came out in the summer of 1995.  I bought it with all the singles released and got to see them in Dublin later in the year.  I now had a new band to follow after Nirvana.

The follow up The Colour and The Shape (1997) is my favourite Foo Fighters album.  It was a more straightforward rock album.   Everlong (the seconds single from the album) is a big favourite of mine.

After that it was turn of two very different unplugged albums.  Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged (1994) was played alongside Foo Fighter’s own Skin and Bones (2206).  The connection here is that Pat Smear was guest guitarist on the Nirvana unplugged set and by this stage he has now joined the Foo Fighters.  Both are good album but MTV unplugged definitely edges it here.

I picked this album, Boxset (1994) by Wool who have a connection with Dave Grohl as brothers Peter and Franz Stahl were in a band called Scream.  Dave Grohl was their drummer and then he joined Nirvana. 

Wool split up in 1996 Franz joined Foo Fighters replacing Pat Smear and he was in the band for most of the 1997 Colour and The Shape Tour.  Pat would rejoin the band in 2005.

Couple of other Dave Grohl projects here got a listen.

Them Crooked Vultures (2009)was an American-English rock supergroup featuring  Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters).  Dave plays drums on this album.   The band has only released one album but there was rumours that there would be a second album sometime.

Finally, Sound City was a documentary film produced and directed by Dave Grohl about the history of the recording studio Sound City Studios in LA.   The connection with Dave was that in 1991 Nirvana recorded Nevermind here and he was inspired to create the documentary after he purchased several items from the studio, including the Neve 8028 analog mixing console, when the studio closed in 2011.

The official soundtrack to the film Sound City: Reel to Reel (2013) featured a supergroup of Dave Grohl and a vast variety of artists.

One of the songs “Cut Me Some Slack” got a lot of attention as it featured Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear with Dave and it was almost like a mini-Nirvana reunion but with Paul McCartney!  It was anything but Nirvana but it was just like a good jamming session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nirvana

Twenty-eight years ago today, Nirvana came to Belfast for the first time playing the King’s Hall.  They were due to play Belfast the year before but with the success of Nevermind it didn’t look like they were going to be playing small venues again.IMG_E4315

I was at the gig with my friend Paul.  I think he was just finished this GCSE exams at the time so what a gig to attend.

We were really excited for this gig.  Nevermind had changed everything for me and it was bringing other bands to my attention, like The Breeders (I would later discover Pixies after this) and Teenage Fanclub.

My recollection of the gig was that it was loud, mad and sweaty.  I was dripping from head to toe afterwards.  Possibly one of the best gigs I have been too.  I know a lot of people will go the sound in the King’s Hall was rubbish etc but when you are caught up in the moment you just go for it.

Only regrets after the gig?  Not going backstage.  Didn’t think we would have had a chance but some people did and I’ve seen signed tickets!  How I kick myself for that one.

Nirvana were due to come to Ireland again in 1994.  This time they would have been playing at the RDS which would have been a big outdoor gig.  At the time nobody wanted to go down and I didn’t want to go on my own.  Another regret.  Should have bought a ticket but would I have asked for refund following his death?  Maybe not.  That would be a good ticket to hold on too.

So where did it all start?

Nevermind was released on 24 September 1991.  It was a commercial success and knocked Michael Jackson off the top spot in America.

Nevermind deluxe

I had heard about the band but hadn’t actually listened to any of the songs prior to buying the album.  The album was bought on sheer impulse and what a great decision it was.  I was blown away by it and it opened the floodgates for the alternative rock revolution.  This was just about being at the right place and at the right time.

Nevermind produced four singles, two of them reaching the top 10 in UK – Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come as You AreLithium and In Bloom both reached the top 20.

At this point I was starting to collect singles so those four would be the first Nirvana singles I owned.  Got them mainly for the B-sides.

Track listing for the singles were:

Smells Like Teen Spirt – b sides Drain You, Even in His Youth, Aneurysm

Come as You Are  – b sides Drain You (live), Endless, Nameless (extra track at end of Nevermind)

Lithium – b sides Been  a Son (live), Curmudgeon, D-7 (The  Wipers)

In Bloom – b sides Sliver (live) Polly (live)

The success of Nevermind also produced other releases to cash in on the new found popularity of the band.

Hormoaning was an Australian only EP which was released in Australia and Japan during the bands tour there.  I remember seeing this in Makin’ Tracks and it was £30 for the CD which was an import at the time.  There was only 6 tracks on it and back then I couldn’t justify paying that much money for six songs.

I managed to get a copy of it on CD so it’s not a first pressing.  It got re-released in 2011 as part of Record Store Day on 12″ vinyl.  Only 6,000 numbered copies were released.  I was third in the queue at Head Records and they only had two copies of it and I got one!  Hormoaning

Four of the songs on Hormoaning are covers which had not been released previously. The remaining two songs are Nirvana originals which previously appeared as b-sides to singles for Nevermind.

Aneurysm and Even in His Youth,  two Nirvana original, also appear as b-sides on the Smells Like Teen Spirit single.

The other four songs are from a Peel Session, recorded for BBC Radio on October 21, 1990. Turnaround (originally by Devo), Son of a Gun and Molly’s Lips (originally by The Vaselines) appear on the Incesticide album. D-7 is a cover of the Wipers song.

Incesticide was released before Christmas in 1992.  It contained non-album single Sliver, demos, outtakes, covers and radio broadcast recordings.

incesticide

Songs such as Hairspray Queen, Aero Zeppelin and Big Long Now were unreleased at the tim are included here.

The rest of the album contained tracks from early single Sliver and Dive from The Grunge Years.

It is a really great album and it was one of my favourites after Nevermind.   I have it on both CD and vinyl.  The CD is pictured.

Now that I am getting into the band I can’t get enough of them at this stage so I have to go back to the beginning for the first album, Bleach.Bleach

Bleach was released by Sub Pop in June 1989.  This is a much rawer Nirvana compared to the Butch Vig production on Nevermind

My copy is a second hand oneIt would get re-released by Geffen in 1992 with two extra tracks.  My second copy is the 20th anniversary edition which includes a live performance from Pine Street Theatre in Oregon 9/2/90.

 

The third and final studio album, In Utero was released on September 21, 1993.  The band intended to diverge a bit from the polished production of Nevermind by bringing in Steve Albini to produce the record.  Word got out to Geffen who were not happy with it and felt it was not going to commercially viable.  Albini declined to alter the album which then lead REM producer Scott Litt to make minor changes to the albums song and remix the singles Heart Shaped Box and All Apologies.In Utero

The album was originally going to be called  I Hate Myself and I Want to Die before settling for In Utero.

The album got mixed views on it’s release.  I even remember my friends wondering what the hell was I listening to.  But their opinion on the band would soon change after this.

I have multiple copies of this. The original CD (pictured) which includes track 13 which doesn’t begin until 20 minutes, Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip as well as the 20th anniversary deluxe edition and the 2013 remix of the album.

Two singles were released from the album, Heart Shaped Box  which featured the B-sides Marigold, Milk It and of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip.

I never bought the second single which was a double A side of All Apologies and Rape Me.

Pennyroyal Tea was due to be the third single released from the album but the single was recalled following Kurt Cobain’s death.  It got re-released as a limited edition 7″ single for Record Store Day in 2014.

The Record Store Day release included the b-side I Hate Myself and Want to Die.

Live albums

MTV Unplugged in New York Unpluggedwas released on 1 November 1994.  The band would play many of their lesser known songs plus covers by the Vaselines, David Bowie, Lead Belly and Meat Puppets who joined them on stage.

The original release (pictured) featured 14 songs from the MTV broadcast).  I also have a copy of it on vinyl as well.

Another post-humous release is From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, Muddyreleased on 1 October 1996.  This album avoids all the songs previously used on the MTV Unplugged release so we get live versions of songs which have not been released before.

The 17 track album covers live cuts from all three albums.  There are some really great live tracks here.

The 1992 Reading festival was Nirvana’s final UK festival appearance.  After seeing the band live in Belfast, listening to the Radio 1 broadcast was the next best thing to experiencing them live again.Reading

My tape copy from 1992 is still intact and it was the most listened tape prior to the commercial release of Live at Reading on 2 November 2009.  My copy is the CD/DVD box set of the entire concert.

Reading tape

Other live albums

 Live at the Parmount which was released on vinyl on 5 April 2019.  I have the DVD edition of this.

The other one, Live and Loud was released on vinyl on 30 August 2019.  Again my copy is the DVD edition of this.

I also have one bootleg CD of the bands final gig in Rome from 1994.  I feel a bit bad actually owning this as you can actually hear Kurt Cobain yelling at somebody recording the gig!  This was way before everybody uses their smartphones at gigs these days.

Finally the last two items of my Nirvana collection are the best of album just called Nirvana with a black sleeve. Nirvana This compilation features the previously-unreleased You Know You’re Right.  It includes a chronological section from the three studio albums and the live MTV Unplugged album including a rare version of Been a Son and the Scott Litt remix of Pennyroyal Tea.  Definitely one for completists.

With the Lights Out Lights outwas released in November 2004 and contains three CDS and one DVD of previously rare or unreleased material including B-sides, demo, rehearsals and live recordings.

This is a very nice collection includes a 60-page booklet which contains liner notes by Thurston Moore of the American rock band Sonic Youth and journalist Neil Strauss, as well as photographs and a chronological catalogue of the band’s recording history, including studio sessions, television and radio appearances, live performances and home demo recordings sessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music life in lockdown week 9

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.Soundtrack May 18

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.Soundtrack May 19

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.Soundtrack May 20

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.  Soundtrack May 21

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.Soundtrack May 22

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. Pearl Jam tape

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music life in lockdown week 8

This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home.  Albums listened to for week 8 cover from 11May to 15 May.

Monday 11 May – Singer-songwriters

Starting the week I went for a selection of artists from the American scene and international scene.Soundtrack May 11

Nick Cave was supposed to have just been to Dublin (Friday 8 May) and I had a ticket for the gig.  Sadly this one was one of many gigs that I have tickets for that have either been rescheduled or cancelled.  Thankfully this is going to take place next year instead.  So making up for not getting to see him, Monday starts with The Best of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds (1998) 16 tracks covering  his early career to the most recent output at the time of release.

Grant-Lee Phillips was in band called Grant Lee Buffalo.  I played one of their albums earlier in the lockdown but like a lot of things I kind of forgot all about them when they disbanded in 1999.  I wasn’t up to speed on his solo works, so I picked up The Narrows (2016).  Think I shall investigate some of this other solo works.

American Music Club lead by Mark Eitzel released Mercury in 1993.  I picked this one out as it was another one of those forgotten about CDs from the time.  I recently listened to the Aids benefit CD No Alternative (1993) and one of their tracks was on it.

Juliana Hatfield was in Blake Babies, Some Girls and also The Lemonheads.  I got into her solo music around the same time as listening to The Lemonheads.  I picked her second album, Become What You Are (1993) to listen to.  Will definitely be revisiting some of her other albums during lockdown.

Tanya Donelly I was familiar with her work with Belly, The Breeders and Throwing Muses.  Have CDs by The Breeders but none by Throwing Muses.  I will have to hunt out some of their stuff as I started to listen to some on Spotify.

Tanya was lead vocalist and songwriter for Belly and Feed The Tree was a bit hit.  She has recorded five albums and I went for the first one, Lovesongs for Underdogs (1997).

Another casualty of gigs being cancelled were Pearl Jam.  I have seen Eddie Vedder live twice and he puts on a great show solo as well as Pearl Jam!  Eddie has only released two albums as solo artist.  I played Into The Wild (2007) which was his debut solo album and soundtrack for the film of the same name.  Songs like Setting Forth, Hard Sun, Society and Guaranteed are all live favourites from his solo shows.

Tuesday 12 May – 2002 part 1

Today’s theme was 2002 following Tim’s Twitter Listening Party,that didn’t happened the previous night with Texas band And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead.   I will shorten this to Trail of Dead to make it easier reading.Soundtrack May 12

A technical hitch meant the live tweeting never happened as everybody tuned in listening to Source Tags and Codes.  I decided to give it another spin the next day.  And that lead me to creating a 2002 theme of the best albums released that year.  A fantastic live act.  One memory I have of them is seeing them in the Astoria in London and a gig ending with chaotic scenes as the band gave away their equipment.  Not often do you see anybody coming out of a gig with bits and pieces of a drum kit!

After listening to Trail of Dead, I selected some albums by Interpol, Sparta, Six By Seven, The Cooper Temple Clause and Primal Scream.

Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights was one of my favourite albums that year.  The first thing that came into my mind was how influenced they were by Joy Division.   They played Belfast in the Limelight (the tiny one) supported by the then unknown Franz Ferdinand. 

Sparta arose from the ashes of At The Drive In.  Their debut album Wiretap Scars was on the playlist that day.

I got into Six By Seven in 2000, so it was going to be their second album, The Way I Feel Today.

Next up was The Cooper Temple Clause.  Their debut album, See This Through And Leave was brilliant.  Some brilliant songs on that album.

Primal Scream need  no introduction.   This was their seventh album which makes a link between the bands two other albums XTRMNTR (2000) and Screamadelica (1991).  A really great album and one of my favourites.

Wednesday 13 May – 2002 part 2

Continuing the theme of 2002 some other favourite albums from that year came from Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Idlewild, Sonic Youth, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) and The Polyphonic Spree.Soundtrack May 13

Both Pearl Jam and Bruce release albums in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in America.  Riot Act was Pearl Jam’s seventh album was heavily influenced by 9/11 and also the tragedy at Roskilde Festival in 2000 where nine fans died at a crush during their performance.

The Rising was Bruce’s twelfth album.  It was also his first with The E Street Band in 18 years.  The album was part of his reflections on the aftermath of 9/11.  The last track on the album, My City of Ruins is quite haunting.

Idlewild released The Remote Part which was one of my favourites of theirs.  It was a more melodic album than the previous one, 100 Broken Windows.  I think they were considered the Scottish REM at this point.

Sonic Youth albums are so different with every release and Murray Street was no exception.  I got into them time Dirty (1992) came out and that was down to the Nirvana influence.  Only ever got to see them live once and my ears were ringing for days!

Next up is the craziest band I have ever had the pleasure of seeing live! The Polyphonic Spree!  If you ever wanted to join a cult, this would be the one to join.  The Beginning Stages of…is a very different album.  Each song is broke up into sections, so all the songs roll into each other but it is fantastic listening experience.

Concluding 2002 was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, will reference the band in shorter version BRMC.  I don’t know why I have this down as 2002.  Wikipedia says 2001.  Must have got the dates mixed up but I think this album fits in well here.  I caught them on the NME tour in Dublin and really liked them.  Just as Interpol were influenced by Joy Division you could tell that BRMC were influenced by The Jesus and Mary Chain.  A great band, I hope to play more of their albums soon.

Thursday 14 May – La La love you!

At last Pixies get a day all to themselves.  It was inevitable that I would get round to listening to them.  The band I got into at the wrong time.  They split up when I got introduced to them but it was thanks to one of my work colleagues who leant me Doolittle (1989) and Bossanova (1990) that I was blown away.  Also unknown at the time I got into them they played at the Ulster Hall.  Didn’t get to see them play on that occasion but made up for it last year.Soundtrack May 14

So along with those two influential albums and indeed two of my all time favourites, I got playing loads that day.  On the pictures shown, there is a box set Death to the Pixies (1997) which collects their best tracks from all four albums as well as a live CD.

Surfer Rosa and Come on Pilgrim (1988) are in re-released box set here.  I only got this last year.  Complete ‘B’ Sides (2001) featuring b sides from six out of eight of their UK singles from the 1980s and 1990s and one US single.  One of my favourites on this is their cover of Neil Young’s Winterlong.

Beneath the Eyrie (2019) is their most recent release and their third album since reforming.  I was looking forward to getting to see them again this year supporting Pearl Jam in London and their own gig in Dublin.  Sadly going to have to wait until 2021.

Friday 15 May – Revolution Rock

In the red corner we have two politically charged bands, Rage Against the Machine and Refused.Soundtrack May 15

Three albums each from each band.  Rage formed in 1991 and their music expresses revolutionary political views.  Their eponymous debut album (1992) came out in right place at the right time.  I don’t know how I managed to play that at home when I was living with my mum and dad!  They must have heard the swearing on Killing In the Name.  So infamous, Radio 1 played the original unedited single with “F**k” going over the airwaves 17 times!

Evil Empire (1996) was the follow up to it and The Battle of Los Angeles (1999) was on next.  A great band live full of energy.  They released one more album, Renegades (2000) which I will write about on another blog. I was lucky to see them in Belfast in 1993.  Last time I saw them was in 2000 at the Reading festival.  They reformed this year but the whole Covid-19 situation has meant all tours are cancelled, including Rage’s return to Ireland in September at Electric Picnic.  Hopefully there will be some shows next year.

Refused are a Swedish hardcore punk band.  I started to take interest in them when I heard one of their songs, New Noise which was from the album The Shape of Punk To Come (1998).  I liked it so much that I bought the album and it is an amazing piece of work.  Inbetween songs there are political interludes which makes this a wee bit different from Rage.  Here we have samples were on Rage’s albums it was always credited as sound by guitar, base and drums.  Refused use technological sounds and also jazz.

What I didn’t know at the time was that they broke up after this.  The lead singer Dennis Lyxzen when onto to form The (International) Noise Conspiracy. But like everything else bands do get back together again and Freedom (2015) was their first album since 1998’s The Shape of Punk To Come.  I really enjoyed the new album and I even managed to get to see them live.  They played Glasgow one year and it was my birthday and I just had to go over and see them live.  They did not disappoint.  I was hoping to see them at Sunstroke festival this time next week but sadly that has been cancelled.  I do hope they make a return visit to these shores sometime next year.

War Music (2019) is their most recent album.  It is an album that fits in with the time we are living in at the moment.  With so much upheaval going on in the world at the moment, it is music by both Rage and Refused that feel right for the times.

Music life in lockdown week 7

This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home.  Albums listened to for week 7 cover from 4 May to 7 May.

Monday 4 May – Listening partiesSoundtrack May 4

One of the things that I have loved embracing about music during lockdown was going onto Twitter and following Tim’s Twitter Listening Party.  Tim being Tim Burgess, lead singer of The Charlatans.

His listening parties are great.  A simple idea, follow the artist online and watch online commentary whilst either listening to the album on vinyl, CD or stream it even.

Two groups here have had a mention on Twitter, Sleeper and Mansun.  Two bands I got into in the 90s.

Sleeper released three albums in the 90s before breaking up but got back together again for a fourth album, The Modern Age (2019).  I did play that but not in the photo.

The three albums listed were Smart (1995), The It Girl (1996) and Pleased To Meet You (1997).  Sadly a band I never got to see live but prior to the pandemic they were doing a reunion tour.  Dates have been put back to next year so hopefully a future Irish date may be on the cards.

Mansun came onto the scene towards the end of the 90s.  Take It Easy Chicken was the first song I heard on Steve Lamacq’s Evening Session.  Played here were the three Mansun albums that I own – Attack of the Grey Lantern (1997), Six (1998) and Little Kix (2000).  Another band I never got to see live.

Tuesday 5 May – Punk and SkaSoundtrack May 5

Picked this theme for today following the passing of The Stranglers keyboardist, Dave Greenfield.  Had been fortunate to see the band few times, twice as support to Simple Minds and Stiff Little Fingers and one of their own headline shows.

So going through my collection I picked out four best of albums and one single album.  Quite a lot to cover here.

The Strangler’s have had loads of compilation albums.  The one that I have is Peaches: They Very Best of The Stranglers  (2002).  This 20 track CD included some of the well known songs like No More Heroes, Golden Brown, Walk On By and Always The Sun.

Stiff Little Fingers are punk legends from Northern Ireland.  Formed at the height of the Troubles in Belfast.  I was too young to like them at the time but as I got older I started to appreciate them and have seen them loads of times.  For the last three years, they have been headlining their own shows at Belfast’s Custom House Square in the summer and always bringing an array of talent with them.  The Strangler’s being one of their guests.

I have a box set of all the Stiff Little Fingers albums but this compilation Assume Nothing, Question Everything: Very Best of Stiff Little Fingers (2012) is a fantastic collection of songs.  Two discs covering their career from their debut, Inflammable Material (1979) to Guitar and Drum (2003).

Kicking off for Ska next was The Beat.  Can be a bit confusing as there are two versions of the band –  The English Beat staring Dave Wakeling and The Beat featuring Ranking Roger.  The latter I have seen supporting Stiff Little Fingers.  To be honest, Mirror in the Bathroom is the only song I was probably familiar with, so this album, You Just Can’t Beat it: The Best of the Beat (2008) covers the best of their career.  Didn’t know the English Beat also had a best of.  Might be one to checkout.

Taking a break from the best of collections, it was time for Sex Pistols!  There is only one album you need and it’s Never Mind the Bollocks (1977).  Again too young at the time to like punk but when you get older you definitely do appreciate it.  A timeless album.

Rounding off the day, it was time for The Specials and The Clash.  I remember The Specials when I was at school.  Ghost Town was a big hit.  I’m trying to remember The Clash when I was that age but I am probably thinking of Rock The Casbah at the time.

The Best of the Specials (2008) features 20 of their songs.  Great music and very relevant for today.  Speaking of relevant, you don’t get more relevant than The Clash.  They have that many collections and I have quite a few, so The Essential Clash (2003) covered all the songs from their career from their debut album in 1977 to their last album in 1985.  The one band I would love to see if time travel existed!

Wednesday 6 May – Oasis v Blur

It finally had to happen.  The Britpop wars!  Where do I start here?  First of all I definitely got into Oasis first before Blur but something happened along the way and then I switched sides.  You are allowed to do that, right? Soundtrack May 6

Anyway, I am sure there will be people who were for either camp or indeed did like both bands.  For me it was Oasis first.  When asked by my friend Eddie did I want to go to the Limelight to see this band Oasis.  My reply was who were they?  Needless to say we didn’t go and the rest is history.  If you were one of the lucky ones to see them in tiniest venue in Belfast I salute you.  I still kick myself of that.  Definitely Maybe (1994) went to no.1 during that gig.  Nice bit of history that for those that were there!

I did get to see Oasis the following year though supporting REM at Slane Castle in 1995.  They were at the height of their popularity and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995) was released later that autumn.

Sadly for me by 1997 it was all over for them as far as I was concerned.  I did have Be Here Now (1997) but no longer have it.  That was the album that turned me off them and I must admit I have never followed either Noel or Liam’s solo careers.

So what now?  By a twist of fate I suddenly find myself liking Blur!  Funny enough it was 1997 that changed it for me.  Song 2 was kind of song you would dance like mad to at your local indie disco but I think it was actually their headline slot the year later that I definitely appreciated them better.  Late to the party, three Blur albums that I have enjoyed are here.  Blur (1997) the one that changed it for me.  The other two are compilation albums, Blur: The Best Of (2000) was my first chance to see them doing the Singles Night Tour.  The live album, Live at the Budokan (1996) captures the band live in Japan at the height of their popularity during the Britpop years.  It is a great album.

Friday 7 May – Riot Grrrls

Closing the working week it is time to listen to some ladies who rock.  Looking at my collection nearly most of the music I am into tends to be male dominated but there are some female groups out there that I like.  Soundtrack May 7

Today I picked two American bands that I love – Sleater Kinney and Vercua Salt.  Quite a few albums to go through by these two bands.  I picked three Sleater Kinney albums and three Veruca Salt albums.  One of the I only had on vinyl so I ended up streaming it on Spotify.  Evil! But when this lockdown is over I am going to hunt down a CD copy.

I got into Sleater Kinney for All Hands on the Bad One (2000).   By that stage they had released four albums.  Dig Me Out (1997) was played also with No Cities to Love (2015).  I got to catch the band on that tour when they played Vicar Street in Dublin.

For Vercua Salt I was listening to them a the tail end of grunge.  First single I bought, Number One Blind was from American Thighs (1994).  Can’t remember why I never bought the album but I managed to get it on vinyl when it was reissued.  So for the purposes of listening to music that day Spotify had to fill in the missing CD slot!  First Veruca Salt album I bought proper was Eight Arms To Hold You (1997).  Ghost Notes (2015) was their last release.  A really great band.  Just wish I had seen them live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music life in lockdown week 6

This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home.

Albums listened to for week 6 cover 27 April to 1  May.

Monday 27/04 – Seattle

Kicking off the new working week with a Seattle theme.  No Nirvana here, today’s listening was all about the relationship between Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.  Both bands have a lot of history together.  Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder are friends.  Both Soundgarden and Pearl Jam have shared the same drummer, Matt Cameron.Soundtrack April 27

But it all starts off with Mother Love Bone.  They formed in 1988 consisting of future Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament the band were lead by the charismatic singer Andrew Wood.  Days before they were to release their first album, Andrew Wood died of a drug overdose.

Chris Cornell had wrote two songs in a tribute to Wood and the project eventually turned into Temple of the Dog.  The band were made up of Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and MikeMcCready from Pearl Jam.  Matt Cameron and Chris Cornell from Soundgarden made up the rest of the band.  Eddie Vedder was also in the band too and contributed to Hunger Strike (his duet with Cornell).  The self titled album was released in 1991 but got new attention a year later with the mainstream success of both Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

Concluding the Seattle listening experience today was Badmotorfinger by Soundgarden and Ten by Pearl Jam.

Tuesday 28/04 – The Breeders

I picked up on the idea to have a Breeders day after missing out on Sunday night to Tim Burgess from The Charlatans who was hosting a listening party and it involved The Breeders second album, Last Splash.  Check out on Twitter #TimsTwitterListeningParty for further details.Soundtrack April 28

So it is all about Kim Deal today.  This was a side project by Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly alongside their full-time bands, Pixies and Throwing Muses.

All four albums got a listen to, starting off with Pod (1990), Last Splash (1992), Title TK (2002), Mountain Battles (2008) and All Nerve (2018).  All Nerve led to Kim quitting Pixies to go full-time with The Breeders.

In the midst of all that, Kim also formed a side project from The Breeders in 1995 after her sister was involved in a drugs bust.  The Amps album was issued in 1995.

Wednesday 29/04 – Placebo

Continuing the theme of a band day, it was the turn of Placebo.  From my collection I picked out their first four albums to listen to.  I got into the band at the time of the first album and have seen them live a few times. Soundtrack April 29

Placebo (1996), Without You I’m Nothing (1998), Black Market Music (2000) and Sleeping with Ghosts (2003).

The band had a big glam influence, covering T- Rex’s 20th Century Boy with David Bowie at the BRIT awards in 1999.  Bowie would also guest on Without You I’m Nothing which was re-recorded.

Thursday 30-Friday 1 May – Wales

Finishing off the week with another theme, this time to my favourite Welsh bands – Manic Street Preachers, Super Furry Animals and Catatonia.

Quite a lot of music to cover here so I listened to all three bands over the two days.

From my collection I picked two albums by Super Furry Animals and a best of, one Manic Street Preachers album and a best of, plus Catatonia greatest hits collection.Soundtrack April 30

First up is Super Furry Animals who released nine albums including one in Welsh.  I went for their first album Fuzzy Logic (1996) released on the Creation label at the height of Britpop and second album, Radiator (1997).

The best of album, Zoom! The Best of 1995-2016 was released around the same time as the band hit the road to play both Fuzzy Logic and Radiator in their entirety.  I got to them do this at the Limelight and it was a great gig.

Skipping through my CD collection of all Catatonia albums, I opted for the Greatest Hits album from 2002.  Two CDs of their best known songs from Way Beyond Blue and International Velvet as well as duets with Space, The Ballad of Tom Jones and Cerys duet with Tom Jones himself on Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

I have everything the Manic Street Preachers have ever done so what am I going to pick to listen to?  I was late getting into them.  Got interested around the time of The Holy Bible but it was the post-Richey era of the band that I finally got into them with Everything Must Go.  After that I picked up their three earlier albums.

Generation Terrorists (1992) is quite good but I opted for the follow up, Gold Against The Soul (1993) which unfortunately gained a lot of critics from the music press at the time but I think it’s a pretty good album.

In order to get loads of Manics songs played, I had a look at the three compilation albums they had released.  Forever Delayed (2002), Lipstick Traces (2003) and National Treasures -The Complete Singles (2011).

I picked National Treasures as it was as good as getting a complete singles played by them although there are some omissions such as their first single Suicide Alley, Strip it Down (from New Art Riot EP) and You Love Us (Heavenly version).  We get 38 tracks covering all the singles released from each album, plus the non-album single The Masses Against The Classes.  I think that reflected the best of their output.  Last song on the album is a cover of The The’s This Is The Day.