Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

House of Love – House of Love [#593]

The_House_of_Love_(1988).jpgLike most teenagers, I was fortunate enough to be Bez to my old school friend, Mike’s band Jean Pierre O Malley & the Gieger-Muller Tubes. I attended most practice sessions (mostly on the promise of a few pints of beer afterwards) and I accepted that they would do cover versions of songs I didn’t really know.

We did a set of two songs, the Stones’ Paint it Black and the more obscure Christine by the House of Love. We had a slight standing ovation (three people, mostly groupies) and a huge round of applause from all those present. The band then split un-acrimoniously but the strains of Christine resonated around my head for several years after.

Then, one evening, during the Great Internet Download Free-for-All of the mid-noughties I saw that the album House of Love was available for me to download. I immediately put Christine on and relived that night of proto-fame at the Bishop Eton Parish Centre Youth Talent Show 1992.

I have to say though, we were better.

Comments Off on House of Love – House of Love [#593]

Heaven or Las Vegas – Cocteau Twins [#576]

Cocteau_Twins—Heaven_or_Las_VegasOh dear me. Scottish shoe-gazing shenanigans with the band’s 1990 release Heaven or Las Vegas.

There I am, at that futile point in ones life where you are dabbling with new scenes, trying to find a genre you identify strongly with. At the same time, I am exploring cinematography, in particular the works of David Lynch, and watching cult TV series typically featuring 90s yuppies shagging and dinner partying; the media’s way of saying “hey your life is mediocre, this is the life you want”.  When what do I hear? Only Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser wailing away on some incidental music.

Later I discover that this Fraser woman is the same woman singing about Pearly Dewy Drops on the Uncut 4AD Sampler CD that I have (it was my very own 4AD3DCD) and on the This Mortal Coil CD I was gushing over.

I happened to mention this to a hipster friend. He was such a hipster, he didn’t have a beard or wear half mast trousers, because beards and half mast trousers would be on trend ten years later and he was too cool to lead a trend so far in the past. Hipster friend pointed out that I “should” like Cocteau Twins and that I should use “arcane internetery” to “obtain” their back catalogue, not just for myself, but to also pass to him so that he could survey the same and ensure that it was truely safe for my delicate ears to digest.

Heaven or Las Vegas is Cocteau Twins’ sixth album. A much more developed sound than their earlier albums and not as abusive to the ears. You could quite happily drive across somewhere like say, Scotland or Ireland, with this on your car stereo without it feeling out of place. Indeed, Fraser’s mumblings are a little more intelligible and soothing than before. Of course, as with most of the albums in my collection, I came to it too late to enjoy the excitement of watching a band grow and blossom. Instead I came to Cocteau Twins at the end of their career, too timid to venture beyond their greatest hits and in a different situation from one where I could sit, chill and absorb at leisure as I could in my twenties.

Comments Off on Heaven or Las Vegas – Cocteau Twins [#576]

Godspeed and Silver Linings – Sugarplum Fairies [#531]

Godspeed & Silver Linings - Sugarplum Fairies This is the penultimate album from Benny and Sylvia’s Sugarplum Fairies (SPF).

I’ve been a fan of SPF since buying their first album Flake through the late lamented Peoplesound website in 1999 and since then I’ve bought all but one of their albums, even to the point of being one of the first to pay towards the crowd funding of Images We Get.

Late last year I learnt of the band splitting and the release of their (to date) final album Sunday, Suddenly which is the only album of theirs I cannot bring myself to buy. I used to wonder why some people got hung up when their favourite band broke up. I’d seen Yes split more times than a gold medal winning gymnast, The Tubes went their own way too as did Dead Can Dance but I didn’t really feel anything about them splitting. But something about SPF splitting just made me feel like a close friend had died. Sad.

Godspeed has a distinctly different sound to Flake, Chinese Leftovers and Country International MusicMore mature and professionally produced, the last sweet drips of juice from a perfectly ripened musical fruit.

Comments Off on Godspeed and Silver Linings – Sugarplum Fairies [#531]

Garlands – Cocteau Twins [#510]

CocteauTwins-Garlands-smallWhen I said I liked the Cocteau Twins I should have clarified that I liked a couple of tracks. It’s just that when you mention you like a band you often get inundated with advice about which albums you “should” like.

This is one such case. Apparently I “should” like this album because I’m a “fan”. I can actually understand that because a lot of the album sounds like early Dead Can Dance and there are occasions where you can detect the seeds of early goth, shoegazing and dream pop and it is easy to suggest a recommendation based on hearing other bands of similar sound.

This is the Cocteau Twins’ first album but really, it gets to a point where all Cocteau Twins stuff sounds the same. Indecipherable caterwauling from Liz Fraser droning guitar wibbles from one of the blokes and synthetic moodscaping from the other. If I was held captive in a car driving somewhere late at night in the post rain wetness while perhaps bleeding to death or coming down with a fever, this would probably be ok to listen to.

 

Comments Off on Garlands – Cocteau Twins [#510]

Fur and Gold – Bat For Lashes [#506]

FurandgoldcoverMiddle class wank mag, The Guide which is usually given away in Saturday’s Guardian, once said that Fur and Gold was the album must have for the noughties coffee table and that if you were to be taken seriously by your painfully middle class Land Rover dinner party guests you should put this album on the surround sound system and look hautily at ones guests when they contemptuously deny all knowledge of its existence. And thus the hipster was born.

I “bought” this album purely because I liked the track What’s a Girl to Do? and because I kind of had a warm tingle whenever I thought of lead singer Natasha Khan. However, the rest of the album was a disappointment so I’m glad I only “bought” this album because of course downloading music for free, pretty much like uploading music videos to Youtube, home taping and bootlegging, killed what was left of the music industry.

Which might account for the reason why nobody’s heard of the band since.

Comments Off on Fur and Gold – Bat For Lashes [#506]

Four Calendar Cafe – Cocteau Twins [#493]

Four-Calendar_Café For some reason, for years I thought the Cocteau Twins were a French band. Turned out Liz Fraser was just singing with a mouthful of gobstoppers or something.

This is the band’s seventh album is distinctively different to those that came previously with a much more mainstream appealing focal point and, disappointingly, the singing is intelligible.  Nice, middle class mid-nineties dinner party background for young aspiring professionals trying to show off how cool, hip and in touch with culture they are before they spaff it all off by getting married and having kids.

Comments Off on Four Calendar Cafe – Cocteau Twins [#493]

%d bloggers like this: