Saturday, January 31, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

30th January 1969 The Beatles

 
The Beatles did this.

Numbers # 14 The Beastie Boys

Song of the Day # 377 The Oh Sees

 
Built on a bedrock of Motorik drumming, guitar and bass. Neu and Can. The basis of so much great music nowadays. A prolific San Francisco based band that have been putting out stuff, consistently since 1997.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Songs Heard on the Radio # 30 Chris Farlowe & the Thunderbirds

 
A good one to turn in on at the end of a long day.
 
 

Courtney Barnett - New Single

 
Pedestrian at Best. Taken from her forthcoming debut album and at first I'm not completely sure but no doubt she'll win me over. Also coming to play in my home town soon.

29th January 1964 - Roddy Frame

 
A man not born to be fifty. But today he's 51. This comes from his album Seven Dials, one of my favourite songs of last year.

Numbers # 13 Big Star

 
Of course.

Song of the Day # 376 Robert Wyatt

 
To follow up on his birthday yesterday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Songs Heard on the Radio # 29 Vince Taylor

 
 
This has featured on here before but there's no shame in putting it on again. Probably the best British Rock and Roll record though Taylor himself was American. Also one of my very favourite records of all. Never fails!
 
 

28th January 1945 Robert Wyatt

 
The Man's 70th Birthday!
 
 

Songs About People # 73 Martin Luther King

 
I work on a university campus where Martin Luther King gave one of his last official speeches before he was shot. He was in the process of being given an honorary degree by Newcastle University. Not many heroes left but he surely qualifies as one. And here's a song from Times New Viking which sounds like a font but isn't one. Nice! Good luck with deciphering the lyric.
 

Numbers # 12 The Broken Family Band


Song of the Day # 375 Unknown Mortal Orchestra


New to me. Portland, Oregon via Auckland New Zealand. This is reminiscent of The Shins but great nonetheless. Not quite so fond of the video it has to be said.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Songs Heard on the Radio # 28 Deerhunter

 
This definitely pricked up my ears!
 
 

27th January 1968 - Tricky

 
It's difficult to grasp now how unsettling Maxinquaye sounded when it came out. I'd never heard such a genuinely paranoid record.

Numbers # 11 Rufus Wainwright

Song of the Day # 374 The Stems

 
Eighties Garage Band from Perth, Australia. Not perhaps as adventurous as The Triffids. This is classically in the Needles and Pins, Shake Some Action tradition.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Numbers # 10 King Buster

 
Not perhaps the most enlightened lyric.

Instrumentals # 20 Steelism

 
Gideon Coe is back on the radio. One of the best DJs I've ever heard.

Series of Songs Played at my Local # 1

 
Another totally spurious series. Started, only because I happen to be here. At Rosie's you can put nine songs on for a couple of quid. Here's what I played tonight.
 
  1. The Faces - Debris
  2. Big Star - Give Me Another Chance
  3. The Flying Burrito Brothers - Hot Burrito # 2
  4. Marvin Gaye - That's The Way Love Is
  5. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Long As I Can See The Light
  6. The Shins - New Slang
  7. Ann Peebles - I Can't Stand The Rain
  8. King Stitt - Fire Corner
  9. R.E.M. - Talk about The Passion
 
 

26th January 1958 Anita Baker

 
Anita Baker's second album Rapture, came out in my second year at University. It was a complete revelation for me and my friends at the time. I didn't have any records in my collection like this at this point. The most sensual, beautiful music. It's her birthday today. Will have to give it a listen tonight.

Numbers # 9 Camper Van Beethoven

                                              
                                                Can't beat a good discordant instrumental.

Song of the Day # 373 The Supremes

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Things I've Found on My Local's Jukebox # 55 Japan

 
A conversation with Rosie's regular Mark turned from Duran Duran who we both disdained to Japan. Mark claimed this to be the only decent thing they ever did. I'd disagree, being a huge fan of the band, but it went on the jukebox nevertheless.
 
 

Numbers # 8 R.E.M

 
This series has not quite accomplished the objective it set out to. Still, here's one of R.E.M's great melodies.

Song of the Day # 372 Julie Driscoll

 
Powerhouse singer. And a touch of the Hair soundtrack which I imagine was pretty ubiquitous at the time.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Keith Levene


The Smiths / The Go Betweens / Felt

 
A remarkable triple bill from 1983. For £3.00!

Things I've Found on My Local's Jukebox # 54 - Belle & Sebastian

 
It's been Belle & Sebastian week. This comes from Push Barman to Open Old Wounds a compilation of early singles and EPs which is as representative of the band as anything they did. Sounds odd in a pub but I don't care!
 
 

Numbers # 7 Mose Allison

 
The incomparable Mose.

Song of the Day # 371 - Can

 
I realised that for some reason Can had not yet featured on this. Consider this wrong righted.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Numbers # 4 Cilla Black

 
The Smiths did a cover. Much to Johnny Marr's displeasure. It probably caught Morrissey's attention due to its title which is very 'Smiths'. Good song mind.

21st January 1968 The Jimi Hendrix Experience

 
This was recorded. Rolling Stone Brian Jones and Traffic's Dave Mason played on the session. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Song of the Day # 368 Waxahatchee

 
'I left you out. Like a carton of milk.'
 
That's a pretty good line. The rest of the song lives up to it too.

Numbers # 3 Bob Dorough

 
This turned into a De La Sol song!

Song of the Day # 367 Belle & Sebastian


 
It's something of a surprise to me that I've taken a year to put Belle & Sebastian on this series though they've featured elsewhere plenty. Yesterday their Ninth studio album came out. I had planned to buy it, waited for it with great anticipation but yesterday, listening through to it online, too much of it sounded like The Pet Shop Boys and St. Etienne to me. Nothing wrong with either of those bands but it's not particularly how I want Belle & Sebastian to sound. They have too great a legacy of their own.
 
So I went back to their early singles and EP compilation Push Barman To Open Old Wounds. They were a quite incomparably gifted band. And just as importantly they made a stand against those British bands around them at the time who were complacent and opportunist. Whose horizons were narrower. 
 
This might be the rockiest thing the band ever did. Spaghetti Western soundtracks, Love, The Smiths, Left Bank chic, a shelf-full of books and films and themselves mixed up in a blender and poured out into a bowl  Splendid! Belle & Sebastian. They knew how it felt to be Seventeen. They should have made a film with Wes Anderson. Their early records are one outstanding soundtrack after another.
 
'Sunbeam shone, mousy girl on the end pew
You'd stay home, oh if only they let you
Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie

Municipal pool, you're a junior life saver
But you're friends are all serious ravers
Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie
Reading Judy Blume
But you came too soon

You're too tall, much too tall for a boyfriend
They run and hide, from your buck tooth and split ends
Don't be scared, like the books you've read
You're the heroine
You'll be doing fine

Wouldn't you like to get away?
Bestowing the memory of good and evil
On the ones you left behind
The heartless swine

And you love like nobody around you
How you love, and a halo surrounds you
Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie
In the Autumn cool
Say cheerio to school

Listen Dear, I've been watching you lately
If I said all these things you would hate me
Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie
At the church bazaar
I nearly went too far

Wouldn't you like to get away?
Give yourself up to the allure of
Catcher In The Rye
The future's swathed in Stars and Stripes

Wouldn't you like to get away?
Kerouac's beckoning with open arms,
And open roads of eucalyptus
Westward bound
.'
 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Songs Heard on the Radio # 27 Tubeway Army

 
Quite some Number 1 in the UK in 1979. This single and the album that accompanied it made a huge impact and Numan a huge star. Kids talked about in playgrounds the length of the country the morning after Top of the Pops. My payground included. One of those rare occasions when the right song was Number 1 and that you realise in retrospect with time and judgement what a great record it is and more than a mere memory from your youth. Numan was much derided at the time but I imagine a fair bit of this was envy. A blazing single.
 
 
 

Numbers # 2 The Associates

 
This is an extraordinary record. One of the strangest singles ever to hit the Top 10 in the UK which it did in 1982 one of the very best years for Pop Music there's been. Incredibly commercial on one level but quite otherworldly and strange at the same time. It seems to be about the tipping point of hysteria brought out by massive chemical indulgence. I remember it appropriately from pretty much my first hormonal, teenage party. The Associates made many other exceptional records but this was their blinding moment.

Song of the Day # 366 Aldous Harding

 
An interesting one this. A singer-songwriter from New Zealand. Here's how her record company Lyttleton Records describes her. Rather over the top but a good read anyway.
 
 'Aldous Harding has been wowing and amazing audiences around New Zealand for the last 3-5 years. This self titled album is her debut album release and Lyttelton Records is very proud to be able to offer you something very special that will no doubt become a true classic.
 
Aldous has never written a song called ’1984′. She has, however, written many songs of quiet strength that have been ringing through the hills of an astounded Lyttelton for the past few years.
Her music has been the best thing that has ever happened to wayfaring loners that shuffle into bars at the wrong times of day.

 She has been the saviour of those falling in home-cooked opium furrows.
She has kept sailors in check with cheek and a strong-songed tongue.
And now she will be all yours for an album length period of time, and you may have your picnic and feast upon the music. So lucky one, close your eyes. Turn your nose towards water. Settle in. Listen to this one closely.'

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Songs Heard on the Radio # 26 The Tennors

 
Pauline Black of The Selecter came good again in her afternoon show. Really interesting rethink of the Simon & Garfunkel song The Only Living Boy In New York.
 
 

Felt

 
In follow up to the Felt review below I'd direct you to music journalist and musician Bob Stanley's excellent article on the band and the same album from his blog.

365 Days, 365 Songs


I realised today, through recounting, that this series is exactly a year old today. Once round the sun. 365 days, 365 songs and to my knowledge 365 different artists. We'll see how far we can take this!

  1. Andrew Oldham Orchestra
  2. Dion & the Belmonts
  3. Big Youth
  4. The Left Banke
  5. The Undisputed Truth
  6. Ted Taylor
  7. The Real Kids
  8. U-Roy
  9. The Regents
  10. The Nits
  11. The Velvet Underground
  12. Jacques Dutronc
  13. Aretha Franklin
  14. The Lovin' Spoonful
  15. The Shins
  16. Carl Orff
  17. Minutemen
  18. Peggy Lee
  19. The Chambers Brothers
  20. The Thompson Twins
  21. R.E.M
  22. Louis Armstrong
  23. Bugsy Malone Soundtrack
  24. Dennis Brown
  25. Charlie Rich
  26. Roky Erikson
  27. Richard Harris
  28. Fleetwood Mac
  29. Ricky Nelson
  30. Linda Lewis
  31. The Breeders
  32. XTC
  33. The Byrds
  34. The Isley Brothers
  35. The Swinging Blue Jeans
  36. Al Green
  37. Warren Zevon
  38. Cal Tjaeder
  39. Tim Hardin
  40. The Creation
  41. The High
  42. Melvin Van Peebles
  43. Yamasuki
  44. Nina Simone
  45. Cowboy Junkies
  46. Black Blood
  47. Ride
  48. Friend & Lover
  49. Chicory Tip
  50. The Psychedelic Furs
  51. Elvis Costello & the Attractions
  52. Os Mutantes
  53. Nico
  54. The Paragons
  55. Dmitri Shostakovich
  56. The Au Pairs
  57. The Sir Douglas Quintet
  58. Gregory Porter
  59. Pharell Williams
  60. Television
  61. Miriam Makeba
  62. Billy Fury
  63. It's a Beautiful Day
  64. Simon & Garfunkul
  65. C.W.Stoneking
  66. Derek & the Dominos
  67. Grace Jones
  68. New Order
  69. Ivan
  70. Darrell Banks
  71. Los Saicos
  72. Dr. John
  73. Dalek I Love You
  74. The Mynah Birds
  75. Bonny & Sheila
  76. The Aristocats
  77. The Flamin' Groovies
  78. Broadcast
  79. The Blue Orchids
  80. Desmond Dekker
  81. Love
  82. The Rolling Stones
  83. Guided By Voices
  84. Parquet Courts
  85. The Screaming Trees
  86. Neil Young
  87. Kate Le Bon
  88. Patti Smith
  89. The Black Lips
  90. Mighty Hannibal
  91. Nyuyorican Soul
  92. Vernon Green & the Medallions
  93. Cornershop
  94. Dorothy Ashby
  95. The City
  96. The Smiths
  97. Subway Sect
  98. Deerhunter
  99. Black Merda
  100. Scott Walker
  101. The Charlatans
102. Magazine
103. Lush
104. The Stoney Poneys
105. The Allman Brothers
106. John Cale
107. Toni Harper
108. Tammi Lynn
109. Althea & Donna
110. Bobby Womack
111. Japan
112. The Strangeloves
113. David Bowie
114. The Handsome Family
115. Echo & the Bunnymen
116. Grant Lee Buffalo
117. The Jim Carroll Band
118. Waylon Jennings
119. Carl Douglas
120. Otis Redding
121. Peter & the Pirates
122. Strawberry Switchblade
123. Ben Harper
124. Shoes
125. The Capitols
126. Dusty Springfield
127. Fats Domino
128. Buddy Holly & the Crickets
129. Josef K
130. The Feelies
131. The Heptones
132. Minnie Ripperton
133. The Go Betweens
134. France Galle
135. Loretta Lynn
136. Half Pint
137. Death in Vegas
138. Sun House
139. The Liminanas
140.  The Organ
141. Gladys Knight & the Pips
142. Viv Albertine
143. The Ikettes
144. The Ronettes
145. The Fresh & Onlys
146. TV On The Radio
147. Grizzly Bear
148. The Jimi Hendrix Experience
149. 23 Skidoo
150. Nicodemus
151. Serge Gainsbourg
152. The Moles
153. Devo
154. The Go! Team
155. Kim Wilde
156. Brian Eno
157. The Langley Schools Music Project
158. The Cure
159. George Jones
160. The Gun Club
161. David Hemmings
162. Sugar Chile Robinson
163. John Phillips
164. October Country
165. Lloyd Cole & the Commotions
166. Francois & the Atlas Mountains
167. Dexys Midnight Runners
168. Andy Williams
169. Kraftwerk
170. Jackie Mittoo
171. Martha
172. The Chills
173. Richard Barrett
174. Mazes
175. Strawberry Alarm Clock
176. Bruce Springsteen
177. J.D.McPherson
178. Elliott Smith
179. Liz Phair
180. East Brunswick All Girls Choir
181. Future Islands
182. Split Enz
183. The Walking Who
184. Townes Van Zandt
185. Bill Callahan
186. The Mantles
187. Sam & Dave
188. Aztec Camera
189. Jimmy Scott
190. Reigning Sound
191. Sparks
192. Rosetta Hightower
193. Big Star
194. Crime
195. Johnny Cash
196. Moby Grape
197. Katty Line
198. Sinead O'Connor
199. Ultimate Painting
200. The Kinks

201. Jan & Dan
202. Santigold
203. The Boomtown Rats
204. Tim Rose
205. Toots & the Maytals
206. Bobby Darin
207. Billy Swan
208. Marcia Griffiths
209. King Creosote
210. Led Zeppelin
211. Hortense Ellis & Prince Weedy
212. SBTRKT
213. The Pogues
214. Twin Peaks
215. The June Brides
216. The Nips
217. Kate Bush
218. Midlake
219. The History of Apple Pie
220. Dr Alimintado
221. Dr. Savannah's Original Savannah Band
222. White Reaper
223. Orange Juice
224. The Bangles
225. The Allah-Lahs
226. The Exciters
227. Ty Segall
228. Agincourt
229. Baxter Dury
230. The Tyde
231. The Pretty Things
232. The Pastels
233. The New York Dolls
234. Life Without Buildings
235. Felt
236. Sugar
237. Bo Diddley
238. Music Go Music
239. The Troggs
240 Mark Mulcahey
241. U2
242. Hiss Golden Messenger
243. Nilsson
244. Spacemen 3
245. Buffalo Springfield
246. Immigrant Union
247. The Fall
248. Phil Phillips
249. Scritti Politi
250. Slapp Happy
251. Phosphorescent
252. ATV
253. Caitlin Rose
254. Opal
255. Frank Sinatra
256. Lena Horne
257. Hookworms
258. Urge Overkill
259. Jeff Buckley
260. Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66
261. The Sundays
262. The Monochrome Set
263. Joan As Policewoman
264 Bradford
265. The Growlers
266. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
267. The Who
268. Marcelo Carmelo
269. The Wipers
270. Eric Burdon & The Animals
271. Mission Of Burma
272. Thurston Moore
273. The John Steel Singers
274. Pixies
275. Brigitte Fontaine
276. Tindersticks
277.McGough & McGear
278. Le Roux
279. Yo La Tengo
280. Smoke Fairies
281. ABBA
282. Steely Dan
283. Jimmy Cliff
284. The Beta Band
285. John Lennon
286. Young Fathers
287. Lou Reed
288. Beth Orton
289. Julian Cope
290. Tuff Love
291. John Denver
292. Leonard Cohen
293. The Beach Boys
294. Jim Noir
295. James
296.. My Bloody Valentine
297. Barrington Levy
298. Spectres
299, Fun Boy 3
300. The Saints

301. Grandaddy
302. Eleanor Friedberger
303. The Delgados
304. Villalog
305. My Morning Jacket
306. Miaow
307. Vampire Weekend
308. The Shop Assistants
309. Francoiz Breut
310. Alice Coltrane
311. Blonde Redhead
312. The Shirelles
313. Cass McCombs
314. Creedence Clearwater Revival
315. John Grant
316. Bobbie Gentry
317. Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band
318. The Unthanks
319. Slim Cessna's Auto Club
320. Jessica Pratt
321. The Faces
322. Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside
323. Warpaint
324. Dandy Livingston
325. Ex Hex
326. Ought
327. The Delines
328. Kings of Leon
329. Morton Valance
330. The Twilight Sad
331. Michael Head & the Strands
332. The Czars
333. Sun Kill Moon
334. Woods
335. fIREHOSE
336. Tricky
337. Adrian Crowley
338. Caravan
339. The Vacant Lots
340. Tommy James & the Shandells
341. Charlie Brown
342. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
343. Eurythmics
344. Judy Collins
345. Fraser A. Gorman
346. The B 52s
347. Courtney Barnett
348. Benjamin Brooker
349. The Cartoons
350. Joanna Gruesome
351. The Embarrassment
352. Uncle Tupelo
353. Sleater Kinney
354. Tess Parks
355. The Brian Jonestown Massacre
356. Panda Bear
357. Sons of Bill
358. Gold-Bears
359. Curtis Harding
360. Simply Saucer
361. Liam Hayes
362. Cowboys International
363. Natalie Prass
364. Thin Lizzy
365. The Rails

Numbers # 1 Johnny Cash

 
I had a series on here about numbers a while back which I discontinued through lack of my own interest. But I'm going to repeat myself. This time it'll be sequential and I hope I'll follow it through to the end of the month for reasons of my own. Here's a great cover. Johnny Cash takes, I think U2s best song and turns it into something remarkable.

Sgt Pepper must Die! - Overrated Albums

An article from way back on The Guardian. Always a big conversation topic amongst muso types. I've added my own opinions of the verdicts.

Sgt Pepper must die!

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated? It's meant to be a classic album, but all you can hear is a load of boring tripe ... we've all felt that way. And so have the musicians we asked to nominate the supposedly great records they'd gladly never hear again





 

 

 
 Tupac Shakur All Eyez On Me Nominated by Mark Ronson, producer
This was Tupac's biggest record, and is seen by rap fans as the greatest latterday hip-hop album. But I've never got the cult of Tupac. Sure, he was in a lot of pain but he never said anything particularly clever - Notorious B.I.G. was far superior. People really related to the emotion in his voice, but it didn't resonate with me. No one would doubt Tupac's "realness" - he was shot nine times, for God's sake, and he began recording this album hours after being released from prison - but it doesn't compare to Biggie. Dr Dre produced it, and I didn't rate his production, either.

Problem was, Tupac was so prolific. He would write 50 songs in a weekend. Maybe he knew he was going to die, so he recorded relentlessly. I bought it at the time because it had one song on it that I'd play in clubs, but one out of 20 isn't great. In fact, there are 27 tracks on it - it started the trend of putting loads of songs on rap albums. Tupac wasn't up there with Dylan - Dylan was a brilliant poet. Eminem is probably the Dylan of rap, whereas Tupac just sounded like he was whining.

My Opinion: Can't say. Never heard it, though Tupac never appealed to me.



Nirvana, NevermindNominated by Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips

It's better to be overrated than underrated. Besides, it's not the musicians' fault Nevermind is overrated - it's the public's, or the critics'. But you don't find yourself ever longing to listen to it, because there were - still are, in fact - so many mediocre bands that sound like it, that you're constantly experiencing it. I never get out Nevermind and think: what great production, what great songs. Nevermind had a poisonous, pernicious influence. It legitimised suffering. The sainthood of Kurt Cobain overshadows the album: Kurt's lyrics, his attitudinising and navel-gazing, were hard to separate from the band's image. You can never just hear the record. For me, Bleach and In Utero are superior. Even the album cover seems cheap: that stupid dollar bill just seems to have been airbrushed in there. If Alice in Chains had done it, we'd have thought it was a joke, but because it was Nirvana we thought it was oh-so-clever. If you think you're going to hear an utterly original, powerful and freaky record when you put on Nevermind, as a young kid might, Christ you're going to be disappointed. You're going to think, "Who is this band that sounds just like Nickelback? What are these drug addicts going on about?"

My Opinion: Quite wrong. A lot of bad things were influenced by it but as Coyne says, that's hardly the musicians fault. It's a great record and really it stands on it's own and can't be blamed for the bad music and bad attitude that came in its wake. I like Bleach and In Utero too but this is a blistering album.


 
The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds Nominated by Luke Pritchard of the Kooks

Of all the albums that get written about as "classics", this one least deserves it. Having said that, it contains one of the greatest songs ever written: God Only Knows, which is melancholic yet uplifting, pure yet fucked-up. But the rest of the record is a total let-down - I felt that way from the very first listen. Pet Sounds is a million miles away from Sgt Pepper or Dark Side of the Moon. I do appreciate the lyrics, and I know it's an album about getting older, but as a concept album, it doesn't quite add up. Good tunes, yes - Wouldn't It Be Nice is a great pop song - but most of the other tracks just don't resonate for me. I apologise unreservedly to everyone who loves every word and note, every last crackle, on this album, but that's how it is. Oh, and it's got the worst sleeve of any major album, ever. Feeding time at the zoo? I don't think so.

My Opinion: A very good record though I'd never put it on top of the list. But I think it's resonant and profound in its own way.



The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses Nominated by Eddie Argos of Art Brut

They're totally overrated. Plus they covered Scarborough Fair. I don't understand why people still play their music in nightclubs - it makes me really angry. When I'm drunk in a club I usually end up arguing with the DJ who's playing them. The Stone Roses were an awful, awful band. They were uncharismatic, their lyrics are nonsensical and their music is dreary. Also, we have them to thank for Oasis, although at least Noel Gallagher is funny and Liam is a bit of a pop star. The Roses make me think of kids older than me swaggering around with bowl haircuts and affecting Manchester accents. It makes my skin crawl. And all their fans are so smug: "Oh, you don't understand it." I do understand it! It's ridiculous that it regularly gets voted in at the top of those "greatest British album ever" polls. They spawned a new thug-boy pop culture.

My Opinion: I could have seen The Stone Roses in 1989 at the beginning of their climb up their wave in a small indie club in Norwich. I had a cold. It's a very good record though it's been vastly overplayed in Britain over the past twenty five years to the extent that it's difficult to remember how good it sounded when it came out.



The Strokes, Is This ItNominated by Ian Williams of Battles

The Strokes were just rich kids from uptown New York; the children of the heads of supermodel agencies who formed a rock band and thought they deserved respect because of that. Suddenly the downtown, older form of punk rock got co-opted by the system. If ever there was a point where Gucci and rebellion were married together, it was right there. The Strokes have, basically, been responsible for five or six years of a new form of hair metal, in the guise of something more tasteful. Their music is post-9/11 party music because it came out that week and everybody wanted to dance. They're seen as the rebirth of rock in the UK - but it's a very conservative, old-fashioned idea of rock for the 21st century. As for their punk credentials, I'm not going to say anyone's more authentic than anyone else ... But the Strokes are the new Duran Duran; the new decadence for the new millennium.

My Opinion: He makes his point well but this sounded beautifully fresh when it came out. I played it endlessly and genuinely contemplated moving to New York at the time partially off is back. It still stands out and the band have nothing to do with Duran Duran!
 
Television, Marquee Moon Nominated by Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand


 
People expect us to love Television the way they think we love Gang of Four and were influenced by them - but we don't and we weren't! Marquee Moon is one of those records that I thought I loved, but it was only after a few years I realised I didn't love the album, just the first 10 bars of the title track, which are pretty astonishing. Those guitars that play off each other and the way the instruments go into wonderful places and the guitars are totally insane and that big cascade of drums - it's incredible. Then your attention wanders. You know when a boring guy is explaining to you the technical spec of a car, the fuel injection system and the leather seats, and his voice becomes so much background noise? Once I took the needle off this record, I realised I hadn't heard it at all. But what annoys me is the way people pontificate over the album; it's one of those staples of student halls of residence. People wax lyrical about it, but the reason it's so popular is because it's a prog rock album its okay to like. Because the words "punk" and "New York" and "1977" are associated with it, it's deemed cool. Really, though, they're a band who give guys who like 20-minute guitar solos an excuse. They were the Grateful Dead of punk, and I always hated all that jam-band stuff. They have the ethos of a jam-band but the aesthetic of a New York outfit. If anything, the Strokes took the look of Television, the aesthetic - and the Converse sneakers - and ignored the jam-band aspect. They took those first 10 bars of Marquee Moon and did something great with it! Tom Verlaine's lyrics didn't have much impact on me. I'm always uneasy when singers in bands profess to be poets - they can veer into pomposity and pretentiousness. But I've got to be careful: I once said something about Jim Morrison and the Doors, about their pseudo-poetry, and immediately all these articles on the internet appeared saying, "Kapranos slams Morrison!" I'm not slamming Television - I respect them. But Marquee Moon is an album I admire more than enjoy.

My Opinion: I couldn't disagree more. This comes pretty much towards the top if not the very top of any list of records I ever make. It's quite timeless. I've had it with me for thirty years and never tire of it.

The Beatles, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Nominated by Billy Childish, prime mover of British garage rock


I was a big Beatles fan - I had a Beatles wig and Beatles guitar when I was four - so I know what I'm talking about, but Sgt Pepper signalled the death of rock'n'roll. Rock'n'roll is meant to be full of vitality and energy, and this album isn't. It sounds like it took six months to shit out. The Beatles were the victims of their success. This is middle-of-the-road rock music for plumbers. Or people who drive round in Citroens - the sort of corporate hippies who ruined rock music. I bought it the day it came out: it was ideal for a seven-year-old. These days, well, it's my contention that it represents the death of the Beatles as a rock'n'roll band and the birth of them as music hall, which is hardly a victory. The main problem with Sgt Pepper is Sir Paul's maudlin obsession with his own self-importance and Dickensian misery. (Paul McCartney is the dark one in the Beatles, not John Lennon, because he writes such depressing, scary music.) It's like a Sunday before school that goes on forever. It's too dark and twisted for anyone with any light in their life. Then again, when he tries to be upbeat, it rings false - like having a clown in the room. The best thing about the album was the cardboard insert with some medals, a badge and a moustache. But the military jackets they wore on the front made them look like a bunch of grammar-school boys dressed by their mummy. When I was in Thee Mighty Caesars we did a rip-off of the sleeve for an album called John Lennon's Corpse Revisited, featuring the Beatles' heads on stakes. This isn't the greatest album ever made; in fact, it's the worst Beatles album up to that point. Live at the Star Club trounces it with ease.

My Opinion: I'll agree. I think Sgt Pepper is vastly overrated but for different reasons to those Billy Childish states. With Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane it might have gone some way to deserving the status it instantly acquired and has pretty much maintained. As it is I think it has one great song, A Day in the Life, some good ones, some plodders, Sgt Pepper itself, A Little Help From My Friends and She's Leaving Home and a few that sound very dated. Rubber Soul, Revolver, The White Album and Abbey Road every time for me.

Abba, Arrival Nominated by Siobhan Donaghy, former Sugababe turned solo artist



I love the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, all those great pop melody-writers, but there's something about Abba that I hate. Maybe it's going to parties with shit DJs for most of my childhood that has made me hate them. Abba were forced on people from my generation, so there's a natural resentment towards them. Through my mum I discovered Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, and if I'd done that with Abba maybe I'd have appreciated their brilliant pop songs. On Arrival, the particularly annoying songs are Dancing Queen, Knowing, Me Knowing You and Money, Money, Money. And if we're talking about the reissue, you can add Fernando. Nick Hornby may well say they're part of the canon now, but I still don't have to listen to them. Yes, they wrote some of the catchiest melodies of all time. But then, The Birdie Song is catchy, too.

My Opinion: Dancing Queen an annoying song! I have this record though don't play it much. Abba are surely a singles band but I'm with Lester Bangs and John Lydon in rating them very highly.

Arcade Fire The Neon Bible Nominated by Green Gartside of Scritti Politti


People who enjoy this album may think I'm cloth-eared and unperceptive, and I accept it's the result of my personal shortcomings, but what I hear in Arcade Fire is an agglomeration of mannerisms, cliches and devices. I find it solidly unattractive, texturally nasty, a bit harmonically and melodically dull, bombastic and melodramatic, and the rhythms are pedestrian. It's monotonous in its textures and in the old-fashioned, nasty, clunky 80s rhythms and eighth-note basslines. It isn't, as people are suggesting, richly rewarding and inventive. The melodies stick too closely to the chord changes. Win Butler's voice uses certain stylistic devices - it goes wobbly and shouty, then whispery - and I guess people like wobbly and shouty going to whispery, they think it signifies real feeling. It's some people's idea of unmediated emotion. I can imagine Jeremy Clarkson liking it; it's for people in cars. It's rather flat and unlovely. The album and the response to it represent a bunch of beliefs about expression and truth that I don't share. The battle against unreconstructed rock music continues.

My Opinion: Very well put. Amongst bands of the last ten years that I think overrated I'd put Arcade Fire at the top of the list.

Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Nominated by Tjinder Singh of Cornershop


This album is a sort of lab experiment, put together by scarf-wearing university types. There's a certain irony in a song like Money that takes pot-shots at greedy corporations, when this album made so much money. There's also irony in these super-wealthy elite prog musicians positing themselves against The Man, having a go at the machine. The light shows, all the technology and white-coated technicians at their disposal, make them very much part of the machine. I appreciated the early stuff Pink Floyd did with Joe Boyd, but this is a bloated concept album that made punk necessary. It says, "What a crazy world it is!" and "Everyone's demented!" It's meant to be imbued with the spirit of Syd Barrett, God rest his soul. I'm amazed that it's up there in the pantheon, because I can't see any virtue in it whatsoever. Lyrically, it's banal and doesn't say anything beyond "greed is bad". Radiohead are the 21st-century Floyd, which says it all really.

My Opinion: I'd agree. Leaves me cold.

The Doors LA Woman Nominated by Craig Finn of the Hold Steady


In America when you're growing up, you're subjected to the Doors as soon as you start going to parties and smoking weed. People think of Jim Morrison as a brilliant rock'n'roll poet, but to me it's unlistenable. The music meanders, and Morrison was more like a drunk asshole than an intelligent poet. The worst of the worst is the last song, Riders on the Storm: "There's a killer on the road/ His brain is squirming like a toad" - that's surely the worst line in rock'n'roll history. He gave the green light to generations of pseuds. A lot of people told him he was a genius, so he started to believe it. The Velvets did nihilism and darkness so much better - they were so much more understated; what they did had subtlety, whereas the Doors had little or none: they were a caricature of "the dark side". I actually like Los Angeles, but the Doors represent the city at its most fat, bloated and excessive. Morrison's death does give rock some mythic kudos, but that doesn't make me want to listen to the music. In fact, if it comes on the radio, I change the station.

My Opinion: I'd stand by The Doors though they're consistently mocked. This is an incredibly powerful record from start to finish.

The Smiths Meat Is Murder
 

Nominated by Jackie McKeown of 1990s

I'm a Smiths fan and I like most of their records, but this is the weakest link in the canon. With the debut and The Queen Is Dead, you could cut up Morrissey's lyrics and they could be pages from the same book. For Meat Is Murder, he seemed to make a list of topics to write about. It was a protest album, which defeats the idea of Morrissey as romantic. The cool-guy cover with Meat Is Murder written on his helmet rams it down your throat. The title track is offensive, not least because of the loud, gated drums and 80s production that you get on Huey Lewis and the News records. Morrissey was obviously suffering from a loss of nerve or lack of faith when he wrote these songs. It took him years to write the first album in his bedroom. By the second album, he started panicking and pointing fingers at teachers at school and thinking up things like, "Oh, meat is murder and, oh, we're going to get attacked by thugs in Rusholme." Barbarism Begins at Home is where the Smiths betray their jazz-funk session-guy roots; it's absolutely treacherous to listen to, even if it was brilliant fun to record. You can just see the rolled-up jacket sleeves. It's everything Morrissey hated. Meat Is Murder is Red Wedge music for sexless students. It's like being stuck in a lift with a Manchester University Socialist Workers' Party convention.

My Opinion: Meat Is Murder is a wonderful record by any judgement!

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band Trout Mask Replica Nominated by Peter Hook, ex-New Order and Joy Division

 
Steve Morris, New Order's drummer, was a great fan of his, but Beefheart was one of those things I found unlistenably boring. I desperately wanted to like it because Steve loved it so much, but I had to admit defeat. Ian Curtis found it easier to convert us to the Doors, put it that way. Trout Mask wasn't a work of untutored genius, it was untutored crap. When you're beginning as a musician, people try to educate you with music like this, but I never understood the allure of Captain Beefheart. I certainly didn't last all four sides. There are very few records I gave up on, apart from Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music and Trout Mask Replica. It sounded like somebody taking the piss. But then, I've never been a great fan of jazz, and this erred on the selfish side of jazz. It sounds like you feel when you've taken the wrong drugs, like going to your mate's dope party on speed. I'd listen to it with my head in my hands. Trout Mask was highly regarded by post-punk bands because of its idiosyncratic approach to rhythm and song construction - but those bands were full of shit, weren't they? I wouldn't have put it at the front of my record pile to impress people; it would have been at the back with my Alvin Stardust and Bay City Rollers records that they sent me from the record club I belonged to at the time. These days, I would rather listen to the Bay City Rollers than Beefheart.

My Opinion: I don't have this album and it's never appealed despite the fact that I'm a big Beefheart fan. I suspect I'd find it indulgent.

What kind of heathen dislikes the Velvet Underground and Nico? Novelist and music lover Ian Rankin gives his reasons



This is a sacred cow but that doesn't mean it can't be turned into hamburger. You can start before you even listen to the music. The front of the album bears the name Andy Warhol and a yellow banana - there's no mention of the band whatsoever. The back of the album says it was produced by Andy Warhol alongside the Velvets, so straight away I'm annoyed. It's one of the worst-produced albums of all time - put it on a modern hi-fi and you'll think: this sounds like shit. It's muddy, the volume comes and goes, the guitars are all out of tune, as is the viola. John Cale is one of the great Welshmen, but the viola on Venus In Furs sounds like a Tom and Jerry sound effect. And Nico's voice is flat throughout - she sings English the way I sing German. Talk about looks being everything: she was a supermodel trying to sing in a rock band, but she couldn't sing - she gave good dirge.

It all flags up that the Velvet Underground were just part of Warhol's circus, his Factory; just another product. Once you start thinking about the Velvets being part of that, the notion of them waiting around for the man is ludicrous. As far as introducing the idea of nihilism to rock, the first Doors album, which came out the same year, was far better produced, far darker, and more nihilistic. Ditto the first Mothers of Invention album. Those two were from the west coast; the Velvets were from New York. And this was New York trying too hard. There's a line in Venus in Furs about "ermine furs adorn imperious". Those are four words that should never appear in a rock song and here they are put together. And the last two tracks are completely unlistenable: The Black Angel's Death Song and European Son, which constitute 11 minutes and one fifth of the album.
Nevertheless, as Brian Eno said, almost no one bought this album but the ones who did put a band together, so it was important - as the beginning of the black raincoat brigade.

My Opinion: Wrong. Poor production is the most appropriate criticism you can direct at this album. Otherwise, one of the best records ever made. Certainly among the most important.

The Rails

And here's an article from The Guardian giving the background on the band.

The Rails (New band of the day No 1,675)

Take Richard and Linda Thompson's daughter and a guitar Zelig and you've got folk-rock that's positively in the Pink
The Rails
The Rails … Making tracks, building up a head of steam, and so on. Photograph: Paul Kelly Paul Kelly/PR
Hometown: London.
The lineup: Kami Thompson and James Walbourne.
The background: The Rails are a new duo specialising in folk-rock, although the term "new" is used advisedly. The male half of the pair has been playing guitar for long enough to have been hailed a "teenage prodigy" after working with everyone from Son Volt and the Pernice Brothers to Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Davies, the Pogues and the Pretenders (Mojo called him a rock Zelig, a neat way of capturing his ubiquity). He even recorded a solo album for Heavenly, prompting Nick Hornby to describe him as "an unearthly cross between James Burton, Peter Green and Richard Thompson". "Walbourne's fluid, tasteful, beautiful solos drop the jaw, stop the heart, and smack the gob, all at the same time," proclaimed Hornby, one of the greatest music writers ever to be named after a toy train company.

Talking of Richard Thompson, the female half of the Rails is vaguely related to him, and by vaguely we mean she's his – and Linda Thompson's – daughter (as well as Teddy Thompson's sister, we have just ingeniously surmised). It was Hornby who gave Walbourne his pass into British folk-rock's foremost dynasty when he introduced him to La Thompson. Through her he met Kami when they both worked on Linda's 2007 album Versatile Heart – and they later recorded together, before going on the Rails, as Dead Flamingoes. Her own CV is pretty full, including stints touring with Sean Lennon and Bonnie "Prince" Billy and issuing her own solo album, Love Lies, in 2011.


Together, Walbourne and Thompson, who got married in 2012, are a force worth taking seriously, a fact concluded by Island Records, who decided to reactivate the Pink Label for their benefit. And so it is that Fair Warning, the Rails' debut album, will be released on the same imprint that gave us classics by John Martyn, Nick Drake and Fairport Convention. It was also produced by Edwyn Collins, that other legendary folkie (well, he did used to wear his fringe like Roger McGuinn's), and features Eliza Carthy on fiddle. Carthy must have been exhausted because there's a lot of fiddle on the record. Maybe that's why they called it Fair Warning. The instrument is used to decorate, or just plain deliver, a mixture of traditional and original songs, the latter unearthed from the famous folk archive at Cecil Sharp House. They chose songs "so icky, and potent, and heart-wrenching, they could have been written 500 years or 10 minutes ago, it doesn't matter". The other proviso was that the arrangements should be simple, even simplistic: "Singing, fiddle, electric guitar, no tricks" – that was their want-list. "You can hear everything, it's bare," they've said. "It's hard to convince people to make a record like that now but the sound is fantastic, it's so direct."
 
Fair Warning could, we suppose, give or take some of the technology, have come out at any point since Liege and Lief in 1969, which means, give or take some of the production, it could have been sung on street corners at any point since 1569, or whenever Olde Englishe Folke was the music du jour. There are vernacular interventions from the modern era, though. On Breakneck Speed Thompson gives someone "props" and mentions her "fragile, fucked-up heart", not a term used in many madrigals, but we could be wrong. William Taylor – which sounds like a lightly rocked-up version of a trad arr ballad – is, Thompson explains, "the ultimate bitch revenge fantasy for every guy you've had a shit time from", to coin a phrase from the Middle Ages. Panic Attack Blues alludes to Xanax, caffeine and cocaine and feeling "strung-out and left all alone". It also has what they used to call a lyrical guitar solo, such is its eloquent expression of the protagonist's pain ("I'm giving up, I'm checking out … It's time to leave these earthly shores"). Many of the songs seem to be about that hardy perennial, the fall-out from degraded male-female relations. "Our long-term goal is to make the perfect divorce album, obviously," joked Thompson. Shoot out the lights, someone.

The buzz: "Both Rails have reached their station" - Mojo.
The truth: They're the best folk-rock Thompson-affiliated duo since Richard and Linda.

Most likely to: Walk on a wire.

Least likely to: Renege on their love.
What to buy: Debut album Fair Warning is released on April 7 by Island's Pink Label.
File next to: The Pogues, Van Morrison, Fairport Convention, Richard and Linda Thompson.