Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

In Ear Park – Department of Eagles [#622]

In Ear Park by Department of Eagles

There has been some discussion of late about the longevity of albums in the music market and how, because of the likes of Spotify (a Facebook infected platform), Apple Music and Google Play, albums have only a few years left in them. This is a discussion that people have been having for some years now, indeed, there have been discussions about why modern artists are required to provide fans with a selection of their other works when, surely just by the hard work put into making one song alone, the fans should just be thankful and worship the artist just for that one pitiful track. Kids today eh?

And why not?

Well, this is an example of where I’ve downloaded bought an entire album purely because I liked one track. Really I should come up with a tag for this kind of thing as it seems to have happened regularly.

Sometime ago, the song No One Does It Like You kept coming up on random playlists and internet radios where the software decides what music you would like. So often did it surface, I had to find out what it was from.

From the sounds of the song, I thought it had been dredged up from some 1960’s hipster compilation I had but I was mistaken, it was, in fact from the 2008 album  In Ear Park by Department of Eagles.  I suspect that the reason it kept coming up was that I’m a big fan of the 4AD label and many of the artists on that label such as Tanya Donelly, Dead Can Dance and Kristin Hersh to name but a few.

Over the years, including the recent weeks before writing this article, I’ve tried to enjoy the other tracks on the album. I don’t know what it is, but something just doesn’t gel with me. Whether that be mood, time, situation or just the fact it’s a little unfamiliar and not catchy enough beyond No One Does It Like You. 

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If It Was You – Tegan & Sara #605

 

Tegan_and_Sara_-_If_It_Was_You_cover.jpg

If It Was You – Tegan & Sara

 

Possibly one of the best films ever released in the last 40 odd years, in my opinion, is Brian De Palma’s extravagant semi-musical tour de force Phantom of the Paradise. What, you might ask, does this 1970’s “blockfluster” have to do with a Canadian duo of thirty-somethings? Well…quite frankly this….

The split screen sequence of de Palma’s film stuck with me for such a long time that it also influenced some of the films I made at university (check them out on my Vimeo page). I love how it’s choreographed and edited. I love how the use of two cameras to show two distinct stories adds interest and innovation as well as allowing the viewer to experience often unseen detail on each watch. Genius.

So when I saw Tegan & Sara’s video for their song I Hear Voices and how it has loads of subtle nods to Phantom of the Paradise, I fell in love with the song and simply had to get the album. Unfortunately, while I’m still very moved and enamoured with the track, the other songs on the album still don’t grab me, but I keep the album “just in case” and because I “should like them”.

If It Was You is the third album by the band, released in 2002. It does have sounds similar to other angry chicks with guitars from the same era, kind of like evolved from Belly or Throwing Muses with maybe a bit of Courtney Love chucked in.

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Hits – Pulp [#588]

Pulp_HitsJarvis Cocker and Sheffield’s finest with an hour and twenty minutes of lyrics illustrating gritty northern GenX premillennial social situations.  How times have changed. Yet Pulp is still powerfully relevant and reflective of youthful experiences.

This is the band’s final (at time of press) Greatest Hits compilation and features all the familiar Pulp tunes. I obtained the album having spent years avoiding Cocker’s band like the plague due to the band’s seemingly undue popularity amongst my peers. However, having reflected on how the band’s music seemed to pop up in film soundtracks that I liked I gave them a go by trying their Greatest Hits album. My opinion remains the same, but whenever I feel a little less northern, I give the album a listen and immediately feel all gritty post-industrial.

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Forever Delayed: Greatest Hits – Manic Street Preachers [#489]

ForeverDelayedNME dubbed this “the album that should not exist”. Bloody hipsters.

I totally wished that the Manics hadn’t been so bloody mainstream or as a youth I’d have so gotten into them. Or so I thought in the nineties, as the “Indie” scene was rapidly pulling the wool over the listening public’s eyes as more and more “indie” bands appeared in mainstream charts, programmes and chat shows.

The Manics were one of those bands that I liked but didn’t want to fully embrace by getting any of their albums. I suppose fear of scorn from my contemporaries added to that, especially as my “indie” mates were all “No mate, the Manics went shit after their lead singer jumped into the Avon Gorge at Clifton”, my goth mates sniggered and said they were too happy and my shoe gazer friends shrugged and gazed depressively into the tips of their brogues whenever I mentioned the band.

Yet nearly every song on this album I like. Yes, I know that’s the purpose of a greatest hits album, but I suppose it is an excellent example of the “if one likes the “best of” then buy it and nothing else approach” as I still like this snap shot of the band’s golden age; Songs so full of hopelessness against a joyful melody. Exactly how Abba are. Artists take note, this works.

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Desert Light – Yes [#362]

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 19.46.27This is a bootleg from a concert in the series I saw Yes at in 2002. I then saw the band one last time a year later I think.

I grew up with Yes. They have a special place in my heart and mind as well as a place in my music collection. Sadly long time member and bassist, Chris Squire, passed away earlier this month so it is unlikely I will get to see the band again. I have read that Squire’s old pal Billy Sherwood of Squire/Sherwood collaboration The Unknown has stepped up to cover the massive Chris Squire hole in the band. Moreover, lead singer Jon Anderson is also no longer with the band, Rick Wakeman pops in and out, Steve Howe must be pushing 934 and Alan White is looking a bit tired these days too. It remains hard to imagine how long the band will continue without Chris in the engine room.

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Century Child – Nightwish [#256]

Century Child - NightwishCentury Child – Nightwish

More big boobed long haired gothic operatics from Finland’s second greatest export. Century Child is Nightwish’s fourth studio album. It shows.

At this stage, the music sounds unnatural compared to the previous three albums. Synthetic. Forced. Like rhubarb. Bless the Child and the cover of Phantom Of the Opera (but only for pure amusement) are the only two tracks on this album that are akin to previous works. The rest sounds strained. Awkward. Unnecessary. The sound is tired, the singing like a cheated jigsaw.

The follow up album to this, Once, mirrors this strain and really is a last hurrah. Century Child is probably one just for hard core fans. Unlike me.

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Cammell Laird Social Club – Half Man Half Biscuit (#242)

Cammell Lairds Social ClubCammel Laird Social Club – Half Man Half Biscuit

Cammell Laird Social Club  is possibly one of my most favourite albums. Not only is it a sly dig at Buena Vista Social Club but it’s possibly the finest bit of musical wit and whimsy that has ever existed.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bourne Identity & Bourne Supremacy Soundtracks – John Powell (#213 & #214)

Bourne Identity & Bourne Supremacy Soundtracks by John Powell

Bourne Identity & Bourne Supremacy SoundtracksGripping drama needs a gripping soundtrack. From what was a promising start to a trilogy (that now seems to be developing into a larger multifilm series) comes John Powell’s tense soundtrack.

I think the composer did very well to capture the various nuances of the film with these soundtracks and it often drowns out the dialogue in the film. However, this is forgivable for without the soundtrack the excitement wouldn’t build as well as it did. Take track 3 of the first album, Treadstone Assassins; it definitely builds the tension, adds a little bit of “here comes a film that can even have it’s own spin-off TV series” and tickles the auditory senses with “wow, bet you didn’t expect that”.

Furthermore, the cold wet European locations used in the film are also depicted aurally in these soundtracks. Powell is definitely a composer to look out for.  Maybe not akin to John Williams or Danny Elfman, but certainly on the same bus….

Here I’d usually include a youtube video relating to the albums but it appears that the Youtube Copyright Nazis have been blocking access to most of the best ones. I really don’t know why copyright holders (like SONY) are such blanket fascists when it comes to digital media. I guess you’ll just have to watch the film….

 

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The Best of Gothic Rock – Various Artists [#167]

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71aYVc-ahvL._SL500_SY355_ The Best of Gothic Rock- Various Artists
Only it’s not.

It’s not what I’d class as “Gothic” anyway. At least with my modern more refined ears. Instead I would call these two compilations “The Best of Big Boobed Operatic Singers Accompanying Euro Goth Metal Bands” . 

Both albums contain a nice introduction to bands such as Nightwish, Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil. Ideal music for a middle aged wanna be goth to indulge in, reinvent themselves and annoy the wife with.

As we will see, these albums had a profound influence on my own musical tastes and we will be seeing a few of the bands featured, multiple times over the course of this project.

Track listing as follows:

Volume 2 =
1. Within Temptation – Mother Earth
2. Nightwish – Bless The Child
3. Beseech – Illusionate
4. Trail of Tears – Liquid View
5. Lacuna Coil – Swamped
6. Therion – Ljusalfheim
7. Myriads – The Sanctum Of My Soul
8. Flowing Tears – Serpentine
9. Within Temptation – Deceiver of Fools
10. Moonspell – Nocturna
11. Sentenced – Guilt and Regret
12. Divercia – Everlasting
13. After Forever – Monolith of Doubt
14. Tristinia – Tender Trip on Earth
15. Sirenia – Sister Nightfall

Volume 3 =

1 The Rasmus – In the Shadows 4:16
2 Within Temptation – Running Up That Hill 3:57
Epica – The Phantom Agony 9:00
Nightwish  – End of All Hope 3:54
5 After Forever – Intrinsick 6:52
Tristania – A Sequel of Decay 6:31
7 Apocalyptica feat Nina Hagen – Seemann 4:00
8 Tarot – Pyre of Gods 4:34
9 Sonata Arctica – Victoria’s Secret 4:43
10 Sirenia – At Sixes and Sevens 6:44
11 Therion – Enter Vril-Ya 6:37
12 Penumbra – The Last Bewitchment 5:10
13 My Dying Bride – My Hope, My Destroyer 6:47
14 Autumn – Along Ethereal Levels 4:05

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Music Project – Album #11: 18 – Moby

18 by Moby

Ah Moby. Your baldness makes you who you are.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Moby. To me, his albums are nothing but coffee table music. The kind of music you put on when you’ve got some girl back to your flat that you want to romance over very large glasses of red wine in the warm autumn evenings.

Unfortunately, every music editor for television documentaries and films since 1997 has immediately turned to Moby for incidental or illustrative music. 18 is one of those albums where you spend the majority of the time listening to it half expecting to see the irritating toothy grin of “Professor” Brian Cocks [sic] loom into view and give one of his patronising monologues about why you are doing the dishes.

After you have washed Brian Cocks’ blood off your hands you then start to muse about which film the song you are listening to appeared in (Extreme Ways is the end credits tune for the Bourne films). Your date looks on horrified at the bloodied corpse of Brian Cocks and listens to your pleas that it was for the best as you could never let him take the over Sky at Night since Patrick Moore’s death. It was for the good of the nation. At this point she picks up her bag and leaves. The evening spoilt. Thanks to Brian Cocks. Brian Cocks and his baldy musical chum Moby. He looks at you from the album cover. Grinning that “Heh! I’m famous for playing bits of records me!” smile and you vow to track him down and do the same to him as you have done with Brian Cocks.

Then, while you clean up the bloody cadavers of Moby, Cocks, Cameron and anyone else that takes your fancy, you think “Hey! What I could do with is some nice background music. I’ll put that Moby CD on…”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18_(Moby_album)

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