Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Ease Down the Road – Bonnie Prince Billy [#410]

Back when I was in “lifestyle training” my mentor told me I should like Bonnie Prince Billy. Should, as in must. To gain the “Hipster – Level 8” achievement I had to listen to Bonnie Prince Billy and report back to the mentor about how much I appreciated his work.

Let loose, I went forth and researched. I discovered that Bonnie Prince Billy is actually a guy called Will Oldham who is also a sometimes actor. Much like a more laid back Chris Isaak with a penchant for doom and gloom rather than soppy pitiful whining. Deeper into the research I obtained this album, popped it on and listened awaiting enlightenment and the “Achievement Unlocked” sign to flash up in mid-air above my head.

It didn’t.

I reported back that the whole album was a little too slow and laid back for me. I couldn’t think of a particular time when listening to the album would be suited (other than when reading the Guardian supplements on a lazy Saturday while sat in my nice middle class domain). I reported that his lyrics inspired depression and lacked optimism. I explained that the affect Bonnie Prince Billy had on me was one of overwhelming “WTF”.

At this point my mentor nonchalantly held up his hand like some bearded yogi atop a Himalayan mountain to silence me. Leaned forward and whispered:

“You have failed”

I asked for explanation and was told that:

  1. I had selected the worst album to begin my embarkation into the world of Palace Music, Oldham and Billy.
  2. I had not listened to the music correctly
  3. I had not understood the subtle lyrical nuances present in the tracks
  4. My soul patch was not prominent enough
  5. I should get some John Lennon glasses and wear roll-neck sweaters

So I called him a pompous knob sock and never listened to his music recommendations ever again.


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Black Ships Ate the Sky – Current 93 (#196)

Black Ships Ate the SkyBlack Ships Ate the Sky – Current 93

Black Ships is everything I could ever want from an album. Unusual styles. Big names collaborating with lesser known artists. Weird lyrics. Concept album.

I like to listen to this album when I’m feeling poorly or low. Meditative, the album reaches into the dark recesses of one’s psyche and stirs up visualisations of terrifying times. This makes me think of the classic woodcut from 16th Century Basle which depicts the aerial battle between black spheres and white spheres.

Black ships eating the sky

Of course it has nothing to do with that event, that is just me. The actual album has some manic tracks that invoke panic and fear interwoven with artists like Marc Almond, Bonnie Prince Billy and Anthony (of Johnsons fame) singing versions of the 1763 Methodist hymn “Idumæa” by Charles Wesley.

If you want your music to make you feel unusual, this album will do it for you. I suggest that you avoid consuming anything too psychotropic when you’re listening to it though. Some of the tracks and lyrics can be too stressful.

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