Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Goth Electro Tribute to Depeche Mode – Various Artists [#541]

UnknownAnother tribute compilation album featuring artists nobody has heard of covering a band people have heard of.

Today, Goth Electro bands mostly murder 12 classic Depeche Mode songs but surprisingly, I’m willing to reduce the sentence to manslaughter with diminished responsibility. Or maybe even just a “slap on the wrist don’t do it again” common assault charge.

Because on about fifth listen, some of the tracks actually work. It’s that age old thing of music suiting the environment and situation. Here I am, listening to the album in bed, late, alone at night while Mrs Gnomepants is out at an Ezio gig, and it’s kind of fitting.

Goth electro is not my favourite gothic sub-genre by any means. It’s a little too cyberpunk for me, wet streets, stupid hair styles and skin-tight plastic clothes in a post industrial futuristic vampire nightmare. This album is that, only with Depeche Mode.

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Exciter – Depeche Mode [#441]

exciterdepechemode.pngHi there! Steelrattus again, on day 3 of his 10 day guest stint.

Today’s album is Exciter by Depeche Mode. An album I know nothing about. My research tells me this was released in 2001, and is the tenth album by Depeche Mode. Apparently the picture on the album is an Agave attenuata, and used to produce tequila, although I couldn’t find why this was chosen. It was a popular release, arriving in the Top 10 in both the UK and USA. It consists of 13 tracks, and was re-released in 2007 with some additional tracks.

I don’t know a lot about Depeche Mode full stop, with the exception of being able to recognise their most famous track, Enjoy the Silence. To be fully compliant with the terms and conditions of Stegzy’s Music Project I have listened to the album. It’s kinda dark in places, but also kinda pop-y in places as well. I asked TheWife™, who knows a couple more Depeche Mode tracks than I, if she recognised it and she asked if it was Duran Duran. And it does sound rather Duran Duran in places. Again this is probably a 3/5 album for me, that is listenable to in places, but it didn’t evoke strong feelings for me. As always, YMMV.

Here’s Dream On, which appears to be the highest charting of the singles released from the album…

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De Afrekening Vols 4 & 5 – Various Artists [#346]

During the height of the download free for all, I was taken by the idea that my musical tastes were fairly limited. I was also struck by the idea that the majority of introductions to new music used to come from cassette compilations made by friends or those cassette compilations found discarded on the road, possibly by car thieves.

So I took the initiative to download compilations created professionally or by fans. De Afrekening is one such professionally produced compilation founded from a Belgian radio and record chart broadcasting program featured on Studio Brussel. There were many De Afrekening compilations available at the time and I recall downloading many. However, it now appears that I only have the two remaining ones.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 07.05.23Volume 4 contains the following:

Liberty Song  – Levellers
Nearly Lost You – Screaming Trees
Rockin’ the Res – John Trudell
Rosie – Claw Boys Claw
In Liverpool – Suzanne Vega
Changes – Sugar
Stockholm – New Fast Automatic Daffodils
Suspicious Minds – Dwight Yoakam
A Letter to Elise – The Cure
Cold by the Sea – Betty Goes Green
Sting Me – The Black Crowes
This Is Not a Song – The Frank & Walters
Dit is mijn huis – De Mens
Goodbye – The Sundays
Soap Bubble Box – Nits
I Had a Dream, Joe –  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Generations – Inspiral Carpets
Als de rook om je hoofd is verdwenen – Tröckener Kecks

 

No songs that really grab me on this selection, lots of indie Madchester rubbish and it’s nice to see Susanne Vega there but I’m not all that enamoured with this compilation.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 07.05.12For Volume 5:

Two Princes – Spin Doctors
You Suck – Consolidated
Creep – Radiohead
Would? – Alice in Chains
Courage – The Tragically Hip
Feed the Tree – Belly
Cats in the Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe
Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
If I Can’t Change Your Mind – Sugar
Why Should We Wait? – Soapstone Mountain
I Feel You – Depeche Mode
Sugar Kane – Sonic Youth
The Ballad of Lea and Paul – K’s Choice
Your Town – Deacon Blue
Somebody to Shove – Soul Asylum
Can’t Call Me Yours – The Scabs
Little Baby Nothing – Manic Street Preachers
Underwhelmed – Sloan

This volume contains a few good tracks, notably including Belly and Depeche Mode. Some other classics including Ugly Kid Joe, which always reminds me of 1993 and Spin Doctors, who feature later in the music project, also feature on the compilation.

While the idea of discovering new music through compilations was good, using the De Afrekening compilations as a method to achieve this was probably not a good idea.

 

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Construction Time Again – Depeche Mode [#306]

Depeche_Mode_-_Construction_Time_AgainMore from Martin Gore, Dave Gahan and co, this time with their third studio album featuring the renown Everything Counts. This is a further departure from the Vince Clarke Depeche Mode era but still the fingers of Clarke linger like an audio version of a shitty smell.

It’s after this album that the more familiar Depeche Mode sound starts to flourish but this is a good stopping off point for those keen to identify the beginnings of early industrial genre music.

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Black Celebration – Depeche Mode [#192]

Black Celebration - Depeche ModeBlack Celebration – Depeche Mode

This is where Depeche Mode tries to turn synth pop into some dark S&M fetish club. And it works. Later albums do it even better but this is possibly the first in their catalogue that does it. It is Depeche Mode’s fifth studio album. It succeeds in being dark by ripping the band from their poppy beginnings, like some Vince Clarke exorcism has taken place and summoned some sort of sexy winged pain mistress through a doorway to hell. To feast on your soul.

This album is delicious. It’s like licking dark chocolate off the boots of Lilith Silver. Because she tells you to.  A great album to begin a teenager’s journey into gothdom.

 

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The Best of Depeche Mode Volume 1 – Depeche Mode [#162]

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 17.20.12The Best of Depeche Mode Volume 1 – Depeche Mode

Worked a guy once who said that the greatest band in the world ever was Depeche Mode. Of course I mocked him.

A couple of years later after we had lost contact and I had changed jobs, I realised he was right. They’re so diverse. From plinky plonky synth shite in the early 80s to sophisticated synth ballads and remixes. DM are as multitalented as a room full of mature student graduates.

There are songs on this compilation that everyone over the age of 25 will remember and the urge to resist a bit of air drumming is hard.

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A Broken Frame – Depeche Mode [#24]

A Broken Frame– Depeche Mode

I was surprised to find this album in my library; I’d never heard of it.

Turns out this is the second studio album by DM; the first following the departure of Vince Clarke. Seems like Martin Gore described it as “our worst album”. It shows.

I’m not familiar with any of the songs on here and if you’d said to me this was DM I’d have said “Is it?!”

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101 – Depeche Mode [#15]

101 – Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode’s music incites a strange mix of emotions and feelings. Kind of kinky dirty but also grimey in the same way. I suppose it’s because I know some members had a really bad smack habit so often images of Grange Hill’s Zammo slumped in a dirty public bog, hypodermic needle in his arm and dirty burnt silver foil in his hand come to mind.

Saying that, some songs especially those off Songs of Faith & Devotion onjour images of Martin Gore and Dave Gahan in bondage gear flagellating each other in some weird S&M orgy involving penguins and matchsticks. Dunno why….it just does.

My first post-childhood exposure to Depeche Mode, as in one where I was starting to become aware of popular music, occurred in 1992 when I was a student at Sheffield Hallam University. It was while supporting my studies working at Halfords I met a strange chap (who smelt of used sleeping bags) whose belief was no Sunday was complete without 7 hours of constant Depeche Mode. I suppose the repetition helped. I even went and bought their albu Songs of Faith and Devotion, the tracks from which became the soundtrack of those days. Mostly because it was the only CD other than Mike Oldfield that I had with me during my stay at Uni. But I’ll go into that more in about a year or so…when I get to S.

101 is a live album. As with all good live albums they provide a snap shot of a band’s catalogue at the time of going to press. Indeed, I find live albums a good way of determining whether or not I’ll like a band. With some exceptions. But we’ll get to that in a few months time.

Recorded in 1989 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl,101 is a good collection of Mode favorites. Most importantly it has an accompanying live concert video which I saw back in the mid nineties. I recall seeing it when at Ginger Chris’ house. Everyone was smashed out of their heads on their intoxicant of choice and discussions regarding Egyptian spirituality, UFOs and conspiracies were rife. I suppose that situation reinforced the imagery I described earlier in this entry.

Mode, like Abba, are one of those bands who feature on everyone born in the 1960’s to 1970’s personal life soundtrack. I’m sure there are some younger readers who will also say “Ah but they feature on my life soundtrack too”, and that may be the case. Such is the power and distinctive style of Depeche Mode. Indeed, this live set contains some of their earlier more poppie tunes (I maintain the best thing that Depeche Mode ever did was persuade Vince Clarke to leave) such as Just Can’t Get it up enough and People are People

It would be pertinent to expect to see a fair bit of DM during this project.

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