Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Heart Still Beating – Roxy Music [#574]

Roxy_Music-Heart_Still_BeatingBryan Ferry and chums sleaze their way through an hour and 8 minutes of live music recorded in Frejus, France, 1982.

This is Roxy Music’s third live album complete with saxophone fellatio from Andy Mackay and guitar wanking from Phil Manzanera though surprisingly it was not released until 1990.

I think by this time Ferry’s pals had had enough of the whole lounge lizard vibe and were starting to look at future career prospects. Indeed, the album Avalon, the promotional tour from which Heart Still Beating is a recording, was to be the band’s last. Although technically, they did what most successful bands do and they did release several live and best of compilations after. Indeed, Ferry had only just got started and he wanted to stay afloat and even at the grand old age of 71 (at time of press) Ferry still oozes across the stage with his performances like some leery lecherous old granddad who’s got his eye on your twenty-year-old daughter. And not just for the job as his secretary.

Heart Still Beating as an album covers a nice range of Roxy Music’s work while also focusing on their more relatively modern love songs compared to their saxophone riddled earlier works. A good start for those unaware of Roxy Music’s historical bag of tricks and those wanting to see what that old rascal Ferry has to offer.

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Headlines and Deadlines: The Hits of A-Ha – A-Ha [#572]

Back in the dark days of the mid to late eighties, when it was acceptable to go out wearing lurid colours, leotards and sweat bands, a unique music video was doing the rounds on Saturday morning children’s TV shows and it wasn’t anything to do with Brian Pern.

A woman reads a comic in a steamy cafe when suddenly she sees one of the characters winking at her, next thing she knows she is pulled into the comic and having swoony near smoochies with said comic book guy, curiously looking like A-ha’s lead singer Morten Harket. Iconic. Almost as iconic as the use of plasticine in a music video.  As it happened, my middle brother was fond of the band too so, as you can imagine, I was subjected to frequent plays of their music until he too disappeared. Sadly not into a comic world of spanner wielding motorcyclists but to the more sinister South Coast of the UK. Comic book world would definitely have been cooler though.

Headlines and Deadlines was one of the last “multibuy” CDs I bought (5 for £20) at Virgin Megastore. Ah Multibuys, how I miss you. MP3 streaming and downloads just aren’t the same when you pay per track or pay upwards of £8 for a flaky album. Thank goodness for the likes of Music Magpie and Amazon, doing to major record retailers what major record retailers did for independent record shops. For me, listening to the album is like taking a float down memory lane, sitting on a natty couch in a cruddy bedsit. Cheap, nostalic plastic pop.

 

 

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Boy with the Arab Strap – Belle & Sebastian (#216)

Boy with the arab strapBoy with the Arab Strap – Belle & Sebastian

Belle and Sebastian are another band I was told I would should like. I hate that. I hate being told I should like something.

Anyway, as it happens I should have liked them and I do. Should have because had I been into Belle and Sebastian earlier I might be able to wear a soul patch, ponce about with a beret and call myself a hipster. As it happens I’m way too cool for all that and besides, Belle and Sebastian are so last year and a poor shade on what they used to be like when Stuart was in the band.

See. I know all the hipster talk.

Besides, there is no one in the band called Belle and I’m buggered if I can remember anyone called Sebastian being in it either.

Anyway, this unremarkable album tries to recapture the momentum started by If You’re Feeling Sinister by being extra quirky in sound (it fails) and the sixth form bandishness achieved through Lazy Line Painter Jane in It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career (and failing again). John Peel once said about Belle and Sebastian “Who?”; a sentiment held by many today too. However there are some memorable tracks on this album and you could say that all the albums following this release are shite. That way you too can start to grow that goatee and affect those charity shop tweeds.

 

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Music Project–Album #42– A Secret History –The Divine Comedy

imageA Secret History by The Divine Comedy

Two today because I’m feeling generous.

There is a certain sound that conjures up memories of the 1990’s. Granted, I spent most of the 1990s in a haze of solitude and unemployment. Indeed, I did not really venture much further musically than the compilation album Shine 9. Instead I spent most of the 90s listening to Mike Oldfield, Yes, Triumvirat and whatever I happened upon on my cassette tapes. Those were the days. Days of sitting round, doing nothing. Wasting time.

 

I suspect that The Divine Comedy’s greatest hits, this album, appears in my music library due to Gay Jamie who no doubt put it on one of his many MP3 CDs he wrote for me back in the early noughties.

 

The Divine Comedy are that sound. The sound of the nineties. I’d not listened to this album before I began this project and, apart from a couple of tunes I’d heard on the radio or in other compilations, I’m not all that familiar nor enamoured with the band or their work. I was also surprised by the fact that they wrote the theme tune to Father Ted. So that was a surprise when it started playing midway through the listen.

 

Anyway, I think I’ll just keep the tracks I like off this album and bin the rest.

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Music Project – Album #35 – A New World Record – ELO

A New World Record by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

 

If you have been around since the seventies, chances are you’ve heard ELO. Chances are you’ve even heard of their music. Chances are you even probably know more than Mr Blue Sky. 

 

I’ve liked ELO since childhood and even to this day, I find their music easy to listen to and never offensive. Indeed, I would probably go as far to say, listening to ELO frequently involves me saying “Oh! They did this did they?!”

A New World Record is the sixth ELO album and was released in 1976. It has a number of their hits such as: Telephone Line and Livin’ Thing. According to my records I’ve only ever listened to this album twice before (in MP3 format since 2001). Still enjoyable but surprisingly short at just over 36 minutes in length…..

 

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Music Project – Album #28 – A French Kiss in the Chaos – Reverend and the Makers

A French Kiss in the Chaos by Reverend and the Makers

I met Jon McClure some years ago, just as his Makers were starting out in the big wide world of showbiz. His then girlfriend Laura Manuel (One of the Makers) was working with Mrs-soon-to-be-ex-Gnomepants and Gnomepants Manor would often receive demo cds of the Reverend’s new work.

 

Personally I thought he was a wanker.

The Mrs liked him though and went skinny dipping somewhere wild with the whole band.

Laura was ok though.

Jon was a wanker.

Anyway, historically, I liked their first album. This is their “difficult” second album. It’s shit. Don’t bother.

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Music Project – Album #27 – A Curious Thing – Amy MacDonald

A Curious Thing by Amy MacDonald

Well it’s was a curious thing as to why this album was in my music library. None of the songs seemed familiar (apart from the cover track at the end) and I couldn’t work out why. Then I realised it was a case of “Oh I like the first album, their other albums must be just as good” – This is not a good philosophy to have.

In brief:- Scottish chick with guitar. Hurt. I’d do her.

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Music Project – Album #25 – A Change in the Weather – Bliss

A Change in the Weather – Bliss

25 hours of listening in 96 days of 24 hour listening remaining.

I went to see Chris Isaak with Laura Beachball in 1991 and the band that was supporting was called Bliss. At first they were booed but the audience warmed to them rapidly. I did likewise.

The following day I ran into town and bought the album from HMV in that future proof format – Cassette Tape.

What a knob.

Of course they never made it big and as the CD vanished off the shelves forever, the tape became one of my valued possessions. That’s not to say I never listened to it. I did. I listened to it many times over the following years until my cassette player was packed away never to return. Before packing away the player, I connected the bugger up to my PC and copied the precious audio from the cassette tape.

I’m glad I did.

A few months later, I got a new car. With an in car Cassette player. “I know” I thought, “I’ll listen to some of my old cassettes”.  Then….driving down the M1 imagine my horror when Rachel Morrison starts sounding like she’s having a stroke. Imagine my horror growing as tape starts spewing out of the aperture.

Bloody glad I ripped the cassette now though. Bloody good tunes..

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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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Music Project Album #10 – 10cc – 10cc

10cc –  10cc

The following entry has been written by a “special” guest writer – Zoefruitcake.

Stegzy delayed playing 10cc by 10cc as he knew I liked 10cc, and then decided I should be the one to write about it. So tonight he popped it on, we settled down to listen…and I discovered something.

I’ve got a CD called Changing Faces – The very best of 10cc and Godley and Creme. In the distant past I paid someone at work to record it from my cassette tape on to that CD and it has great songs on it like Wall Street Shuffle, Under the thumb (still one of my all time favourite songs) and Dreadlock Holiday. I’ve listened to it for years, and along with watching a BBC 2 showing of 10cc in concert circa 1970-something (which I enjoyed so much when I saw it that I actively wished time travel existed) I thought I was a fan of 10cc.

Tonight I was proved wrong, because 10cc by 10cc is a big pile of steaming horse shit that didn’t talk to me in the slightest. Ok, so it didn’t contain any of the later big hits I enjoy so much, but I expected to enjoy it and feel some connection. Nope. Maybe if I was younger and less tired I would play it a few times to see if it grew on me but I’m confident that unless this was the last album on earth that isn’t going to happen.

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