Music life in lockdown week 23

This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home. Albums listened to for week 23 covers from 24-28 August.

Monday 24 August – Alice in Chains

New working week which is devoted to Seattle and the grunge revolution. August 21 past was the 30th anniversary of Alice in Chains debut album Facelift (1990) and what better way to start the week. If truth be told, I wouldn’t get into the band until the release of their second album Dirt (1992). The lead track from the album, Would? featured on the Singles movie soundtrack which was a great album that didn’t have any Nirvana on it. Nirvana opened the floodgates for me in discovering all these new American bands.

Between 1992 and 1994 they released two EPS – Sap and Jar of Flies which explored a more acoustic side of the band instead of turning the volume up to 11. Both EPs are brilliant and songs from these records also feature on the MTV Unplugged album from 1996 which featured a new song Killer is Me.

The MTV Unplugged was Alice in Chains’ first concert in two and a half years, and contains live, acoustic versions of the band’s biggest hits and lesser-known songs. This album is one of my favourites of the MTV Unplugged series a close second to Nirvana’s set with Pearl Jam in third place. I literally get goosebumps listening to this.

The last studio album by the band with Layne Staley was their self-titled third album (1996) which featured a very sad looking three-legged dog on the cover. Sometimes referred to as the Dog Album or Tripod. The album was not as successful as Dirt but contained some great songs like Grind, Heaven Beside You and Again.

Sadly Layne passed away on 5 April 2002, exactly 8 years since Kurt Cobain died.

The retrospective album Nothing Safe (1999) is a best of/greatest hits album which would be a sampler for the Music Bank boxset. Nothing Safe contains songs from previous albums FaceliftSapDirtJar of FliesAlice in Chains and Unplugged, as well as the previously unreleased track Get Born Again, recorded between September and October 1998. It is a great collection and good introduction to the band.

Tuesday 25 August – Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam have been no strangers to the lockdown tunes and I have really enjoyed revisiting their albums over the last couple of months. Rather than a repeat listening I have opted for some personal favourite from the band in the form of the official bootlegs that the band release.

Two bootlegs featured here are from my first two Pearl Jam concerts. It took me so long to actually get to see these guys. August 18 2009 I managed to get tickets from their fan club for a show in London where they played at the O2 Arena. Normally I am sceptical of big arenas but this show was amazing. It felt so intimate even if people were situated in the higher up seats were standing up. A great show and really worth the wait to finally see them.

With the release of Backspacer (2009), a European tour took place in June and July 2010, where the band performed in Northern Ireland for the first time at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. Previous Irish visits over the years were at Dublin and Cork but it was impossible to get tickets back then. I may be biased to say that this is my favourite Pearl Jam gig. I have seen them loads of times since including some Eddie Vedder solo shows but playing in my home city kind of ticks all the boxes. So good was this show that a wedding party had come along to the gig and Eddie called them out and played Among the Waves for them as their first dance – class!

Lost Dogs (2003) is a compilation of a difference as it mainly features b-side material along with previous and unreleased material. One of the songs on the album includes the hidden track 4/20/02 at the end of disc two, a tribute to Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley. Eddie had wrote that song whilst the band were recording Riot Act.

Pearl Jam Twenty (also known as PJ20) was a  documentary directed by Cameron Crowe about the band.  Crowe completed filming in April 2011, after using 12,000 hours of footage of the band for the documentary. A really great documentary on 20 years of Pearl Jam. I got to see the film at QFT in Belfast. The documentary charts the history of the band, from the demise of Mother Love Bone, their battle against Ticketmaster and the tragedy of the Roskilde Festival in 2000. You can feel the sadness there after Andy Wood dies and also how the band were feeling after the tragedy at Roskilde.

The soundtrack is a companion piece to the film with select live tracks over the years with demos and home recordings. A nice celebration of the band who are still going strong to this day.

Wednesday 26 August – Soundgarden

Like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden have featured quite a lot during lockdown as well a Chris Cornell’s solo stuff. Again instead of revisiting albums previously listened to here, I went for a live album and two best of albums.

The first best of Telephantasm (2010)  followed with the band’s reunion earlier that year. The career-spanning retrospective album includes an unreleased track, Black Rain, taken from the Badmotorfinger recording sessions. The album includes select cuts from their albums including Birth Ritual from the Singles soundtrack. This album is a good introduction to the band.

If you want to take it further, Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path is a 3-CD compilation album from 2014. The album is a collection of rarities, live tracks, and unreleased material spanning the group’s history. It includes previously released songs, such as Live to Rise, Black Rain, and others, as well as a newly recorded rendition of a song from the band’s pre-Matt Cameron 1985 demo, The Storm, now simply titled Storm. The 3- CD set is split as originals, covers and oddities and is a nice collection.

Live From the Artists Den was recorded at the final show of the King Animal tour in 2013 at The Wiltern in Los Angeles. A posthumous release since lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Cornell’s tragic and untimely passing in 2017. I got to see the band when they came to Dublin for this tour and it will be a record I will definitely keep returning to as it was a brilliant live album.

Thursday 27 August – Mudhoney

The original’s from the Seattle scene. Again it was thanks to the Singles soundtrack that was my introduction to them with the track Overblown. I picked out their early works here and hope to have a listen to their most recent output later.

Mudhoney (1989) was their first LP after several singles and an EP Superfuzz Bigmuff. I was listening to the 2008 deluxe edition which expands on the original. Piece of Cake (1992), My Brother The Cow (1995) and Tomorrow Hit Today (1998) were their all released when the band were on a major label.

Mudhoney’s sound is pure grunge which kind of sets them apart from their peers.  They are overlooked by many who would probably know Nirvana more than Mudhoney but the band are a major influence on the early Seattle scene.

Here Comes Sickness (2000) is a collection of recordings that the band have done for BBC including session tracks recorded for John Peel (1989), the Evening Session (1995) and the rest of the album was recorded live for the John Peel show from the 1995 Reading festival.   Also quite fitting to listen to this today on what would have been the Reading Festival weekend which I expand more about on the next day featuring Nirvana.  I got to see Mudhoney earlier that year supporting Soundgarden in Dublin.

Friday 28 August – Nirvana

Closing the week of all things Seattle with Nirvana, the band who started it all for me.  This was a gamechanger and was really just a case of right album at the right time. I look back fondly of that era and feel lucky enough to have seen them live.

Nirvana have been here before on lockdown tunes so without repeating myself again I went for the last two collections of the band – With the Lights Out (2004) contains three CDs and one DVD of previously rare or unreleased material, including B-sides, demos, and rehearsal and live recordings.

This collection was due to have been released in 2001 to mark the band’s 10th anniversary but it never happed due to the legal battle between Cobain’s widow Courtney Love and Dave Grohl and Kris Novoselic.  But it finally seen light of day three years later.

It included a 60-page booklet which contains liner notes by Thurston Moore from 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.

 A very nice collection and definitely one for completists.  If you want the shorter version then you go for the 2002’s best of album Nirvana which included the previously unreleased You Know Your Right.  The demo of the song was included in the boxset.

Quite fitting that I picked Nirvana to end the week on the Reading Festival weekend which of course was cancelled this year due to the pandemic. Nirvana played here first in 1991 when they were lower down the bill headlined by Iggy Pop. A year later, the success of Nevermind brings the band to a headline slot.

Live at Reading (2009) features the band’s headlining performance at the Reading Festival on August 30, 1992. It had been bootlegged for years and I have a copy of the performance that I taped off the radio.  A 25 song strong set just sounds brilliant and you wish you had been over there for that.  Thankfully I got to see them in Belfast a few months beforehand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.