Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Introspective Raincoat Student Music – Sugarplum Fairies [#641]

The second album from Sugarplum Fairies, a band I discovered on Peoplesound back in the nineties. Following Flake was never going to be easy but Introspective Raincoat Student Music works so so well.

The usual mix of lovesick, cheated and disgruntled arts/English Literature/Philosophy student lyrics with a very distinctive low cost lo-fi sound before lo-fi was a thing. This is the kind of music that laughs at today’s hipster music because it was hipster before it was trendy not to be trendy before people knew it was trendy to be a trendy not be trendy hipster with vaping irony and a beard.

Of course, when you’re in love with something for a long time, like for example I was with their first album Flake, and something new comes along, the temptation to sneer and be tentative about the newcomer is natural. Eventually you get over this initial hostility and learn to love what comes next. IRSM became a favourite for me slowly. I think it was how I connected with the lyrics and the situations described within that did it for me. Life changes as must a bands music. Sometimes quickly, sometimes subtly.

Indeed, IRSM left me wanting more and it wasn’t as long to wait three years for the next Sugarplum Fairies album Country International Records   .

 

 

Available via:

And probably on Spotify if you’re desparate

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Impossible Princess – Kylie Minogue [#616]

Kylie_Minogue_Impossible_PrincessMrs Gnomepants V1.0 is the keeper of this album of which I have a digital rip. Weirdly, and possibly because of you know “internet downloading”, I appear to have a fusion of two versions of this album: the original 1998 CD rip and the 2003 Special Edition.

Of the two versions, it’s the original I prefer, I’m not sure why producers think remixing things is something people want to hear. I mean imagine someone going into the Louvre and remixing the Mona Lisa the making the remix the only version people could see. There would be uproar!

Impossible Princess is a marked divergence from Minogue’s usual pop princess style and, I think at least, is her best work. She has said of the album that she would never do another like it and it is her least favourite. Also, sadly, exposure wise, it didn’t fair as well as other albums, especially in the UK, as its release coincided with the death of Princess Diana, so was renamed Kylie Minogue and release was delayed until the buzz had died down.

This and Air’s Moon Safari are two albums that define a period where there were a lot of changes in my life every time I hear songs from it, fond memories are invoked of people I’ve not seen in ages and events and activities partook.   It still, even nearly 20 years since its release and about ten years since I last listened to it, sounds amazing.

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Hotel Paper – Michelle Branch [#592]

Hotel_Paper.jpgTrying to cash in on the popularity of grumpy skater chick Avril Lavigne, music execs yoink another young lady with attitude into the limelight. That lady was Michelle Branch.

I remember how the American music execs positioned itself to launch Branch to the European side of the pond.  This previously unheard of artist started to appear on late-night European chat shows and a couple of her songs popped up here and there as incidental music on TV shows. Even the Guardian newspaper’s Saturday supplement suggested that no middle-class proto-hipster’s coffee table would be complete without a carefully placed copy of the album to wow their less cultured dinner party guests.

I bought it. I liked it. I listened to it in conjunction with the more feisty Lavigne. I watched as almost like a light switch being turned off, Branch seemed to dissolve into the general white noise of music, overshadowed by Lavigne and later, more successful artists.

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Ha Ha Sound – Broadcast [#565]

HahasoundWhen we last saw Broadcast, they were working with Focus Group Investigating Witch Cults in the Radio Agea hauntological psychedelic album with a tragic epitaph.  Ha Ha Sound is Broadcast’s second studio album.

This traditionally “difficult” second album demonstrates the further development of Broadcast’s musical talent. Indeed, while lacking the finesse (and additional production from Focus Group) having heard the later Witch Cults first I was reluctant to spoil my impression of Broadcast by polluting it with earlier works. But in this instance I was rather surprised by how much I like it.

Think Portishead only 30 years ago.

 

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