In my motor, my planet killing motor what tools up and down between the seaside and the smoke on a five sevenths a week basis is a cd thing. The cd thing has 6 flavours of music onna disc wiv a laser. Innit.
So I thought I'd possibly precee what's going on in the 15 hours a week I spend en chariotte and the sounds I listen to at the moment. Frequently I am driven there, to the CD selection, by the endless misery of the agenda of Radio 4; nicely presented sure enough but also depressingly so. As an aside - John Humphries - you are an intelligent enough bloke for a media-type (which is to say if you're bright, you don't generally end up as a presenter - sorry luvs!) but listening to you being cynical to *everyone* you interview even when, frequently, you attack people representing *both* sides of an argument, gets too depressing. Impartiality is a journalistic pre-requiste hopefully - but adopting the other side's arguments and trying to put them across as a devastating Paxmanesque argument when you've just done exactly the same to the opposite side makes you sound like some bipolar manic you want to pour half a pint of gin and tonic inside of. Ahem.
So. Music. Currently my line up looks like this. John Coltrane - A Love Supreme, CSS - Cansai der Ser Sexy, The Twang - Love It When I Feel Like This, Manic Street Preachers - Send Away the Tigers, Biffy Clyro - Puzzle, Stone Roses - Best Of.
The short form follows;
John Coltrane - it's a classic. The lack of compression or mastering can produce some nasty spikes in listening volume but it's a classic. Love or hate, it's all done. Listen and stroke your goaty while clicking your fingers at the cool cats you are leaving in your right-hand-lane stream.....man.....
CSS. A very very interesting proposition at close listening. It's almost gloriously wayward between fantastic and fairly errr *what*. If you sequenced the best four tracks on this album in order, I think you'd think you had come across some *seriously* good new combination of Talking Heads, indie cool-chick chic with a little Bjork voice and some fantastic song writing. Once inna generationally good as it were. I'm thinking Patins, Let's Make Love from Above, Off the Hook, Alcohol. However, other tracks can be fucking awful which suggests to me a talent finding its way. They are very young and brazilian which must argue for a hell of a fight to get international recognition. Don't be surprised if they either zero or blow up HUGE on the next album. Outside bet - a very significant band in the making.
The Twang - what a funny album. It's a band with schizoid tendencies. The first two tracks have a serious debt to The Edge, all echo-back guitars and pretty good vocal hooks. Reminds me of a band with an 18 year old guitarist who is SO comprehensively ripping off his idols it's really quite blush-worthy. But then the rest of the album starts getting quite interesting. The band is fairly, let's make that TOTALLY, confused in song-writing styles in a way that record labels didn't used to let happen. It's sort of U2, then a bit Hard-Fi but which is really only then a staging post to Mike Skinner i.e. The Streets tales of fucking and fighting with a healthy dose of Happy Mondays / Stone Roses vibes thrown in. Weird. Might end up quite liking this or hating it. I'm really surprised they made it out without a record company A&R chopping it to pieces. On reflection, despite this being a hit and miss affair, that variation is probably a healthy barometer of A&R approach these days in some shops.
Manic Street Preachers. Oh dear. This is Manic by numbers. I mean, your average Manics album can hit you like a Chinese takeaway - a good idea at the time, decent on the menu, appetising to the eye but then curiously leaving you hungry shortly thereafter. This isn't even that good. Bassist Nicky Wire said it's a "glossy punk album". It's not - it's Manics sounding tired apart from when Neena from the Cardigans picks them up on the single. The second track repeats 'this one's for the freaks' for all the hardworn Manics fans. If they'd done it aged 21 with Richie writing the lyrics it would have been ok. As a bunch of mid to late 30's sounding pissed off with a very lame melody and unconvincing Bradfield vocal delivery and the usual (sorry - *always* very very average drumming from Sean), it's frankly embarassing. This band used to say they wanted to make an 'Appetite for Destruction' killer. This wouldn't make your granny cough.
Biffy Clyro. I have a love affair with nearly-great bands. A perennial weakness for veeringly challenging the almost fantastic.... The first track here has a full orchestra, full choir and massive guitars with a great hook line and the old Nirvana / Pearl Jam half-speed chorus trick. This track is the epitome of the fine line between great and stupid and teeters right on that line like no other I've heard in recent history. It's stupid-great :) . The rest of the album is variable. The band are studiously 'not playing the game' as you can see on their youtube vids with big beards despite being lean and not bad looking. Oh well lads - up to you :) . You do realise appealing to the girls could make the difference between Quite Nice and Kwik Fit in your late 30's right?
Stone Roses - Best Of. I think this is a real classic. Funnily enough I bought the original Stone Roses the week it came out and hated it aged 17 I believe. Hating an album seems to me to be a decent minority barometer of the fact I might absolutey love it later. What a shame John Squire had a wank-fest-noodle over the whole of the Second Coming album; if you listen to it thinking 'if he didn't solo over all the singing, this could be quite good' you'd be exactly right.
So that's the listening in the car reet now. Listening in the motor is like a box of chocolates, you never know which one you are going to get next, whether it's going to be a caramel delight or a lemon cream and whether, old chums, it'll get smeared all over your sticky face at 90mph......