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This tag is associated with 11 posts

Róisín Murphy – Overpowered (2007)

Whether it’s the hot lava landscape of “Cry Baby”, or the sweat-soaked swamps of “Primitive”, or the dark neon city of “Overpowered”, or the icy caverns of “Scarlet Ribbon”, or the urban fast-lane of “Movie Star”, or the oceanic pulses of “Checkin’ On Me”, or one of the other extrasolar songs on this album, they will all lure you at some point. And once crash-landed, you may debate whether to try and escape at all…

Radio Free Metropolis (or Show Me The Monáe)

Janelle Monáe has something she wants to say, and it’s an empowering message of love and empathy (laced with a subtext that raises cautionary questions about our behaviour in the future…)

Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977)

The album, constructed with the help of legendary producer Phil Ramone, remains one of his best sellers. And he was kind of big for listless suburban teens, like myself, who drunkenly sang along to his tunes at parties with friends. He wasn’t shredding any guitars or thundering any drum-kits or speaking in-code about drugs, but it fit right in with whatever else we were grooving to at the time…

The Cure – Disintegration (1989) • Nite Jewel – Good Evening (2009) • Rodriguez – Cold Fact (1970)

This is still hands-down my favourite Cure album. I say ‘still’ because back in my high school days, The Cure were a big fave band for me and my mates. We dug their whole catalogue, but it was great timing that we should witness the release of Disintegration, because after their (partial) dissolution in the wake of Pornography (1982), Robert Smith directed the music toward a more pop-orientated sound, with the hit singles “Lets Go to Bed”, “The Walk” and “The Lovecats”…

The Conet Project – Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations (1997) • Stars of the Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline (2007) • Elvis Presley – The Essential Elvis Presley (2007)

‘Seven, zero, nine, eleven…Seven, zero, nine, eleven…’; ‘Alpha, charlie, lima, delta…Alpha, charlie, lima, delta…’ Then, after a few minutes, they disappeared. This was weird. ‘What the hell is it?!’, was on the lips of many listeners. They became known as Numbers Stations, and no official explanation had ever been given when Akin Fernandez came across them in 1992. So the industrious radio addict started to log the frequencies and the times and the messages of these enigmatic occurrences. And more importantly, he recorded them…

Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996) • Martina Topley-Bird – The Blue God (2008) • Kate Bush – Hounds of Love (1985)

Tortoise deserve a genre named after them. It would at least make things easier for the unimaginative fools (like me) who write about music. Then I could just say: ‘In 1996, Chicago band Tortoise released this landmark album of Tortoise music that took Tortoise in a new direction and changed the way people would think about Tortoise forever. Only Tortoise can play Tortoise the way Tortoise was meant to played.’ It wouldn’t make much sense, but it would be so much easier…

Lush – Spooky (1992) • Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008) • Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Flaunt It (1986)

Remember Lush? Like many bands of the early 90s, Lush became kind of big and also a bit dwarfed by the explosion of the alternate music scene, which gave rise to countless new bands vying for a piece of the booming major-label pre-internet spotlight. Some bands got a bit overlooked in the process. Anyway. Lush produced some damn good music and a couple of really cool albums. This was their first (studio album)…

Sade – The Best of Sade (1994) • Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase (2005) • The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers (1976)

Best Ofs can be strange things. Sometimes they’re a great way of road-testing an artist/band. Sometimes the hits are all you want. Other times you’d be better served avoiding them altogether, and seeking out a particular album. Some bands are defined by their hits (eg: Abba), while others are completely misrepresented by them (eg: Genesis). Whatever the case, this was the first thing I ever got of hers/theirs (Sade is the band, Sade Adu is the singer), so I’m recommending it, because it made me eventually seek out their studio albums…

Marcy Playground – Marcy Playground (1997) • Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (2008) • Jaco Pastorius – Jaco Pastorius (1976)

One band that got lost in the shifting sands of the post-grunge years was New York’s Marcy Playground. They were never gonna be a revolutionary band, but I think they were certainly victims of bad timing, and changing trends within the industry. This, their debut, produced the single “Sex and Candy” which became quite a big hit and propelled them into the spotlight for a while. But it soon faded. And they seemed to disappear from the radar. The thing is, this band wrote some really good songs…

dEUS – Worse Case Scenario (1994) • Pocahaunted – Island Diamonds (2008) • Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygène (1976)

Deus should have been HUGE. Three or four years before Radiohead achieved legendary status with OK Computer and came to define the (somewhat clunky) term Meta-Rock, Deus produced this, their debut album, which was already pointing the way forward. Post-punk, post-rock, post-grunge, art-rock, no one really knew what to call it, but it sure was good. The Belgian band had obviously absorbed the soft/loud Pixies thing; the viola drone of The Velvet Underground; the greasy gravelly personas of Tom Waits…

Langley Parks: Soundscapes, Themes & Noise – free individual track download…

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