52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy....

>>>>> ST's ALPHABETICON - R <<<<<

Previously in the Alphabeticon: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, singles, N, O, P, Q

And so on to the soothing comforts of pointless cataloguing. Welcome to another exciting installment in my regular and utterly futile trawl through one particular set of shelves in my house... a set of shelves that perhaps hold a little over half of my CD collection, and pretty much none of the ones that I have bought in the last six months. Come to that, I don't think it even contains any of the ones I listen to a lot... they're all sat next to stereos, or in the car or somewhere more accessible like that. In fact, now we're a bit further down the alphabet, I've actually had to push the futon to one side to get access to the lower shelves...

Anyway.

After the tumbleweeds blowing across the Qs, the Rs are a positive party town....

369. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine
370. Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles
371. Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire
372. Rage Against the Machine – Renegades

I've latterly become something of a big fan of this band. I was familiar with "Killing in the Name" and "Bullet in the Head", of course, and "Wake Up" was very well used in the end credits for "The Matrix".... but it was only comparatively recently that I have felt motivated enough to dig further through their back catalogue. Why? I think it was listening to Audioslave that did it.... good band though they were in their own right, listening to them just made me think how good RATM were. There's simply no one like them. Chris Cornell is a good singer, but with that band he simply isn't a patch on the furious invective of Zack de la Rocha. They've recently got back together, and if I get the chance, then I am definitely going to see them. They're not all that sophisticated and it's mainly a lot of muscular ranting, but I reckon the world needs bands like this.

373. Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Stunningly virtuoso duelling acoustic guitars tackling Metallica covers. What's not to like? I think the most amazing thing of all is quite how they both manage to make their guitars into such effective percussive instruments at the same time as furiously picking out solos - when you see them live, their hands are a blur. Superb.

374. Otis Redding – Blue

doobie-doobie-doobie. DOO. BEE.

375. Raconteurs – Broken Toy Soldiers

Shockingly short, but not bad side project for Jack White and Brendon Benson. They were shit live though, and there's nothing to match the genius of "Steady, As She Goes", either.

376. Right Said Fred – Up

Horribly, I think we actually have two copies of this CD in the house. There's nothing I can say to make the shame go away. Well, except to say that "Deeply Dippy" remains as pure and as joyful an expression of the effects of the first blush of love as ever committed to song. Possibly.

377. Rocket From the Crypt – Scream, Dracula, Scream!

Fun. I bought this when I was studying for my MA at the University of York. It's shouty, brass backed rock and roll, but who couldn't love songs like "Born in '69" or "On A Rope"?

378. REM – Murmur
379. REM – Green
380. REM – Out of Time
381. REM – Automatic for the People
382. REM - Monster
383. REM – New Adventures in Hi-Fi
384. REM – Up
385. REM – Reveal
386. REM – Around the Sun
387. REM – Singles Collected
388. REM – In Time 1988-2003

I feel as though I've grown up with REM. Like a lot of people my age, it was "Losing my Religion" that first piqued my interest, and "Automatic for the People" was simply ubiquitous back in the say. I left it at that for a few years, but then I started to explore their back catalogue and to tentatively look forwards to some of their less successful recent albums. "Reveal" and "Around the Sun" are a bit patchy and uninspired, but "Up" and "New Adventures in Hi-Fi" are both superb and "Monster" has its moments too. They've been massive of course - few bands have been bigger - but the fascinating thing about them is the way that they have been able to maintain such interesting textures in their music over such a long period of time. They've still got it live, too.

389. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Uplift Mofo Party Plan
390. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Mother’s Milk
391. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
392. Red Hot Chili Peppers – What Hits?
393. Red Hot Chili Peppers – One Hot Minute
394. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
395. Red Hot Chili Peppers – By The Way
396. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium

I first started listening to the Chili Peppers back in about 1989 and around about the time that "Mother's Milk" came out. It's a patchy album, but I was in my dubious heavy metal phase at the time and was sufficiently interested to go backwards through their back catalogue. When "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" came out, I was hooked. I don't think I had that album off my stereo for much of the next 18 months, and since then I've picked up everything they've done. The socks-on-cocks funk metallers are long gone, of course, and now they deal in beautiful, beach boys-esque harmonies and textured, shimmering guitar... peaking with "By The Way". They're now one of the biggest bands in the world and you'll only every get to see them playing an enormodome near you.... on the evidence of their last album though, I think they've peaked. It's not that "Stadium Arcadium" is a bad record, it's just that it's pointlessly long, with the good songs hidden by poor quality control. I'm not giving up on them just yet though. Of all the bands I like, this lot might be the ones who have made the biggest progression -- from the barely literate priapic nonsense of "Special Secret Song Inside" all the way to the harmonies of "Dosed" or "Zephyr Song"....

397. Razorlight – Up All Night

Johnny Borrell is clearly a hateful man with an overly large sense of his own worth. To my ears they still sound a little bit lightweight (and their last album was appallingly short)... but they might just be on to something. "Golden Touch" is hopelessly overexposed, of course, but that doesn't make it any less of a good song.

398. Ramones – The Chrysalis Years

onetoofreefour! Not a classic Ramones collection by any means, but this triple CD set was worth it just for the presence of "Loco Live". And it only cost me a fiver.

399. Radio 4 – Gotham!

There was a reason I bought this. I think it was a song I heard somewhere, together with a vague notion that I'd read about the band being good. The fact I can't remember what that song was probably says it all. Terrible name too, at least in the UK.

400. The Dan Reed Network - Slam
401. The Dan Reed Network – The Heat

Ah, another legacy from the metal years that I can't quite bear to get rid of. Dan Reed is hardly metal, being rather too sappy and keyboard driven for that, but I have very fond memories of listening to these albums over coffee and biscuits with my friend Des at school. "The Heat" is a stinging critique of George Bush's war on Iraq, you know.... the first one. Still relevant today, you see?

402. Radiohead – Pablo Honey
403. Radiohead – The Bends
404. Radiohead – OK Computer
405. Radiohead – Kid A
406. Radiohead - Amnesiac
407. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief

I bought "The Bends" in Coventry on its day of release and on a whim. It didn't take me long to realise that I'd picked a winner, and I think it may still be my favourite Radiohead album of all. I knew "Creep" of course, and had actually seen the band playing the "Whip Round" disco at the Warwick Students Union... so called because the band get paid from the collection pots that get taken around the bars and shaken at disinterested students who are mildly resentful at the noise that is interrupting their conversations and has meant the jukebox has been switched off. I've seen them live several times since: in a big top, at Glastonbury, at South Park in Oxford and at Nottingham Arena.... and, with the exception of that last gig, they've never been anything less than interesting. You have to take your hat off to quite how brave a band they are: "OK Computer" is widely hailed now as a classic now, but the band had already started to push the envelope. "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" simply pushed it even further, constantly challenging our notions of what to expect from a mainstream rock band. Compare and contrast with Oasis, for example. I wasn't totally sold on those albums at the time and mourned the absence of the guitars, but listening to them now it's easier to appreciate them... although I still think they'd have made a better single album with a bit more editing than being separately released. "Hail to the Thief" is ok, but not as good as either. I haven't got my head around "In Rainbows" either, but I will tell you this: I proudly paid nothing for it. My reason for doing so was that awful gig they played at Nottingham Arena that I paid £30 to see. I read a very interesting argument the other day suggesting that the whole "honesty box" thing went against the principles of barter, where the seller begins the transaction with a price that then forms the basis for the negotiation of offer and counter-offer. By setting the initial price at zero, Radiohead were asking their fans to offer upwards... which is counter-intuitive as by offering it for nothing, they were saying it was worth nothing. Interesting. Anyway, I think it's fair to say the band aren't on the breadline. Like REM, they're a band who have been consistently interesting for many years now, and as such are to be cherished.

408. The Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks 1964-1971
409. The Rolling Stones – Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)

Two greatest hits complations (one was a gift). That's about right really. I like them well enough, but every year they continue to flog themselves around the world with new product and an absurdly expensive tour is another year I think a little less of them. Diminishing returns and all that. At their peak, they were fantastic, of course. I do love the story about Mick Jagger putting "little Mick" into a hollowed out piece of wood filled with bees though... the stings are supposed to make it bigger, you see..... Idiot.

Lost somewhere in iTunes: Rainbow, the Rapture, Rare Earth, The Raveonettes, Reef, The Rembrandts, REO Speedwagon, Reverend & The Makers, Rialto, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Rilo Kiley, Robots in Disguise, the Ronettes, Royksopp, Run DMC, Rush, The Rumblestrips....

Next time..... S !

--

Shuffleathon 2007 Update

Yes, still going. I've sent out a couple of replacement CDs to Wombat and JamieS to replace the ones that they never got (you know who you are!). If anyone else feels hard done by, either because they never got their CD, or because their lovingly crafted CD didn't get the review it deserved, then please let me know. Happy to oblige.

ShufflerPosted
Received
1. Tinayes
review
2. Sarahyes
no sign
3. Cody Bones
yes
review
4. Mark
yes
review
5. Michaelyes
review
6. Hen
yes
JamieS review
7. Cat
yes
review
8. bedshaped
yes
review
9. Pynchonyes
review
10. J
yesreview
11. The Great Grape Ape
yes
review
12. Ian
yes
review
13. Martin
who knows?
not a peep
14. Monogodo
yes
yes
15. Threelightyes
review
16. Paul
yes
review
17. Charlieyes
review
18. LB
yesreview
19. Katyola
yes
review
20. Lisa
yesreview
21. Graham
who knows?
not a peep
22. Del
yes
review
23. Spins
yes
pending!
24. Ben
yes
review
25. Dragon
yes
yes
26. Adem
yes
review
27. Mike
yes
review
28. JoeInVegas
yes
yes
29. Wombat
yes
CD from ST in the post!
30. Max Bob
yes
review
31. Stevious
yes
review
32. Asta
yes
review
33. Alan
yes
review
34. Russ L
yes
review
35. E.
yes
in the mexican postal system
36. Mike T-D
yes
review
37. JamieS
yes
CD from ST arrived
38. Briskate
yes
review
38. Me
yes
review

From an original idea by lovely YokoSpungeon....

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3 Comments:

  • At 9:25 pm, Blogger wombat said…

    SWISSTONI ROCKS MY WORLD!

    i received my st shuffleathon cd today. i can't WAIT to listen to it! THANKS!

    (oh and i did receive my replacement shuffleathon cd two weeks ago -- from an unnamed source.)

    yay, me!

     
  • At 10:40 pm, Blogger Stef said…

    Dan Reed Network.... Vaguely rings some bells. Very vaguely. Blimey, mis-spent youth!

    In Rainbows is actually very good, best one in a while IMO and I'm not a big Radiohead fan.

     
  • At 2:32 am, Blogger Cody Bones said…

    As one of bloglands most accomplished musical critics, I would appreciate your opinion on my latest post, if you have a moment. Thanks

     

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