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

Thursday, July 13, 2006

what seems like an interlude now.....

Whilst I'm waiting for my shuffleathon CD to work its way through the postal system, I've somehow managed to find myself in the position of carrying out a virtual shuffleathon CD exchange with TheCatGirlSpeaks. Cat had caught wind of the shuffleathon over at bedshaped's blog and was so taken with the idea that she spent a bit of time thinking up what would have gone on her CD. We got talking:

ST: if you can burn it, I bet I can find you a recipient....... even if it has to be me!

Cat: my problem is both lack of know-how and lack of equipment. My employers obviously don't want me spending my working days making CDs as they have selfishly not provided me with a CD burner. I've no PC at home, so am a bit stuck!

ST: In the spirit of virtual shuffleathons, I'll send you a tracklisting to the CD I'd send you, if you like. Although, of course, I actually will be able to send it to you.

Cat: why don't you review my "virtual CD" (I'd imagine you know the tracks on it, just remember that some of them were chosen for sentimental reasons as opposed to artistic merit! - doing this made me realise how much music is linked to events and people in my head) and I'll review your "virtual CD"?

ST: OK - you're on.

So here we are then.

Let's start with my review of Cat's CD:

1) There is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths

Ah, the shortcut to my heart. As probably everybody knows, I adore The Smiths, and this is probably my favourite of their songs. Yes, perhaps it is a bit obvious, but that doesn't take away an iota of its impact. Ah, the darkened underpass. There was a time when this song really spoke to me. It still does.

Excellent start.

2) Everything Flows - Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub are one of those bands that I resisted for a long time. I think I took an irrational dislike to them around the time of "bandwagonesque" or "Thirteen" and I held onto the grudge until the moment I heard "Sparky's Dream". From that moment onwards, the guitarist's stupid haircut and the slightly fawning coverage in the NME stopped being a problem and I allowed myself to be seduced by their music.

This song is much earlier and perhaps a bit rougher around the edges than some of their more recent stuff, but it's a lovely record. God bless the Fannies!

3) Suffocation Blues - The Kevin McDermott Orchestra

I've never heard of this band before, but on first listen it seems like a pleasantly acoustic little number. It's a bit of an old lyrical conceit - the first verse is about a woman sitting alone in her room, and the second verse is about a young man sitting alone in his room. I'm just thinking that they might be getting it together in the third verse when the song ends. I quite like this actually.

It's a touch overbilled though: one bloke and his guitar doesn't sound much like an orchestra to me.

You snogged this guy after a gig? Did he have that crappy haircut then too?

4) Add It Up - The Violent Femmes

A band that I've heard of but not heard anything by. Wobbly and slightly whiny lyrics at the start.... and no doubt a big guitar soon. Oh yes... here we go. It's a bit shambolic and strangely reminscent of The Libertines, actually. The backing track sounds oddly like the Stray Cats too... sort of shuffling and acoustic. Big guitar solo and then the big finish. It sounds like it was recorded on the cheap but it also sounds quite dirty and urgent. I like it.

5) Set You Free - N-Trance

I know this one. Of course I know this one. It's a stone cold classic and definitively not my cup of tea at all. What would you call this? Euphoric House or somesuch? This is all very well, but I can't listen to this stuff for pleasure, and it conjures disturbing images of Monday night discos ("The Top Banana") when I was at University.

I've heard far worse than this, but no thanks.

6) My Lady Story - Antony and the Johnsons

One of the most incredible voices I have heard in a long, long time.

I first heard that voice when I saw Antony performing "Hope There's Someone" alone at a piano on "Later..." (mercifully without any 'helpful' boogie-woogie accompaniment from Jools). I was probably sat in front of my telly impatiently waiting for some no-mark indie band to come on, but I was utterly transfixed by this fat bloke in a dress and wearing a terrible wig.

Utterly unique and often deeply moving stuff.

7) Central Reservation - Beth Orton

I quite like Beth Orton and I have her first album, but I have never really understood why so much fuss seems to be made of her. She's okay, but is she really all that? Having said that, this is a really lovely record. I love the leisurely pace of it and her voice sounds great.

This has the slightly melancholy edge to it makes it perfect listening for a Sunday.

8) Groove is in the Heart - Dee Lite

A classic, for sure... but we're back at that Monday night disco again.

Actually, I think it must be impossible to hate this song - it's just so absurdly upbeat and catchy. I think I'll draw the line at downloading it though; it though, I know what this one sounds like already, thank you very much. That whistling bit is already lodged in my brain and I have absolutely no doubt that this bloody song will be appearing in Friday's earworm list, so thanks for that.

9) Ten Storey Love Song - The Stone Roses

I don't like "Second Coming" very much. I thought their debut album was stunning, but was deeply, deeply disappointed by the sub-Led Zeppelin nonsense they subsequently produced. A five year wait for this? At least this song didn't contain any of the silly and overlong guitar wig-outs that ruin the rest of the album.

Having said that, I saw them live in 1995 and they opened their set with "I Wanna Be Adored" - "She Bangs The Drums" - "Waterfall" - "Ten Storey Love Song". I still don't think I've ever seen a better half hour at any concert I have ever been to. They were magnificent, and this song blended right in.

I think that was John Squire's last gig, actually. Have I ever mentioned that I also saw Izzy Stradlin's last gig with Guns'N'Roses? No? Consider it done.

People tell me that the album isn't as bad as I remember it, but I'm now just listening to the four or five minutes of rubbish before "Breaking into Heaven" kicks in, and I still can't be bothered with it.

Oh, and Ian Brown couldn't carry a tune in a bucket in the studio, never mind live. Never, ever go and see him perform live. I've had that misfortune twice (as a solo artist) and I won't make the mistake a third time. Arrogant tosser.

10) Hairdresser on Fire - Morrissey

Ah. Marvellous song. It's not my favourite Morrissey song, but it's one that I don't listen to often enough. I must put "Bona Drag" on.


Is that it? I was expecting 12 songs really. Oh well.

I like. I'm going to playlist this one up in iTunes and give it a proper listen now.


Right. My turn. I'm going to deliberately avoid any of the songs that I put onto my shuffleathon CD...

1. "Farmer in the City" - Scott Walker

From "Tilt", one of his more recent and more difficult albums. After 11 years of listening to this, I still can't really fathom what it's about. Is it an auction of some sort? Eerie. Compelling. He's a genius, obviously.

2. "Talk (Thin White Duke remix)" - Coldplay

I don't normally do remixes, but this one I really do like. As the riff was lifted from Kraftwerk in the first place, this sort of takes it back to where it came from.

R. E. M. I. X.

3. "Ladykillers" - Lush

Ah. A real blast from the past and something of a guilty pleasure. I've got this on CD single, if you can remember such a thing.

4. "Apply Some Pressure" - Maximo Park

This is a gem. Urgent, frantic, geordie.

5. "An Innocent Man" - Billy Joel


6. "More Than A Feeling" - Boston

Absurd slice of MOR with a brilliant guitar solo. Another guilty pleasure, I'm afraid.

7. "PDA" - Interpol

I always say that Interpol are the band that personnifies my music taste: four skinny white blokes playing slightly doomy indie rock.

Smiling is overrated.

8. "This Mess We're In" - PJ Harvey (feat. Thom Yorke)

This is beautiful, haunting duet from an excellent album. I love the bit where Thom Yorke's pained, half-mumbled wail echoes the words that PJ is speaking.

9. "Sweet Jane" - The Velvet Underground

...worth it for Lou Reed's playful "....just watch me now!" at 2:06.

10. "Interlude" - Morrissey & Siouxie Sioux

Gorgeous. This was recorded as Morrissey was transforming into something of a crooner (and for my money he still sounds at his best today when he is backed by an orchestra and not by a slighly limited bunch of rockabillies). Siouxie sounds great too.

11. "Born of Frustration" - James

Very underrated this lot, in my opinion. Yes, obviously Tim Booth was (and no doubt is) a bit of a prat, but they wrote some fantastic songs.... This is surely one of the best whoops ever committed to record, isn't it?

12. "If You Could Read My Mind" - Johnny Cash

I was talking about this the other day. Beautiful. Heartbreaking. You can hear his voice cracking as he sings. This had to be the last song on the CD - you can't follow this.

[please note, although the temptation was almost overwhelming, I have resisted the urge to put any Keane songs onto this CD....]


This is exhausting. I'm **almost** all compilationed out.


  • At 12:47 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    So now I'm confused, ST.

    Aren't you supposed to wait for TheCatGirl to review your cd?

  • At 1:29 am, Blogger Mandy said…

    Oh my God. I bought my best friend that Morrissey/Siouxie "Interlude" CD single way back in 1994), and we spent an entire weekend learning it so that we could sing it as a duet to the instrumental that was thoughtfully provided on the CD. She played Morrissey and I played Siouxie, unless I'm getting it backward. Those were good times. I love the crap out of that song.

  • At 3:10 am, Blogger Del said…

    Listening to 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' right now. Ah, sweet wonderfulness. And that remix of Talk is great too, for entirely different reasons.

    And with you all the way on Breaking Into Heaven. What were they thinking? Waiting for 5 years then having to sit through that nonsense.

  • At 6:00 am, Blogger Michael said…

    ST-You may know of another Violent Femmes song, just covered by another band. Gnarles Barkley covers the Femmes song "Gone Daddy Gone" on the St. Elsewhere disc.

  • At 7:03 am, Blogger Aravis said…

    Love the Femmes. They remain one of my favorites from my high school days. Every once in awhile we were able to get the dj to play Add It Up at our dances when the vice principal wasn't paying attention. I still have their self-titled cd. You've never heard Blister in the Sun? That's been in movies and some commercials here I think...

  • At 8:13 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    Oh Sarah - do try and keep up. As it's a virtual shuffleathon, I have to list the tracks over here, just as Cat listed the tracks on her CD over at her blog.

    Tsk. It's really very simple.


  • At 9:19 am, Blogger LB said…

    it bloody isn't simple, I am totally confused also.

    no Keane? tsk.

    cheeky scamp.

  • At 10:44 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Ah, ST - but I thought I had kept up....just that you appear to have put a review of both cds up on your site rather than just listing your cd tracks?

    Tsk indeed.

  • At 11:17 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    ah, but go and look at Cat's listing of her CD... she has done the same. It's the virtual shuffleathon equivalent of enclosing a note saying what the song means to you.



  • At 12:08 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    I see.

    It's merely a difference in style - not really a "dur" moment at all.

    I took the route of no note - no influence as Del did with the cd I received. You've done it differently.

    Confusion cleared up. Clearly.

  • At 12:34 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    yeah, yeah. What-EVAH !

  • At 2:07 pm, Blogger Cat said…

    Ah, ST, you've done me proud, although I can't believe you were a Violent Femmes virgin - they appeared on Sabrina the Teenage Witch once, don't ya know! (Beats the OC every time.)As far as I can recall, Kevin McDermott did have a pretty dodgy haircut back in the day, but I had a pillar box red bob in a Swing-out-Sister stylee (in fact much the same as I have now, just in a more natural colour) so was hardly in a position to comment.

    Nice track listing, and many thanks for resisting the Keane thing. Loving the fact you've given me a couple of gifts, Interpol, the Velvet Underground and James. Some tracks I don't know though, which will be interesting. I'm on a flexi-day today (wonderful concept) and given that I'm paying £1.80 for 15 mins to write this in an internet cafe, you'll have to wait til Monday for my review...

  • At 2:12 pm, Blogger Cat said…

    Oh, and does this mean I get to go in the magnificent table? Cat

  • At 5:22 pm, Blogger Paul said…

    Like Cat, I rather missed the boat with the shuffleathon. But if you do it again, I'd be well up for getting involved.

    Central Reservation is indeed a beautiful record.

    Why, if you think Ian Brown is crap (and I'm not arguing with you) have you been to see him more than once?

    Blister in the Sun is the song played at the end of Grosse Point Blank, and was also the last song played on Radio 1 by Kevin Greening (I'll get my coat).

  • At 5:36 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    apart from the Stone Roses gig I went to, I've never *paid* to see Ian Brown. I saw him once at Glastonbury when he was a miserable, arrogant sod who teased the crowd with the intro to "Fool's Gold" before sneering "that's enough of that shit" and playing something utterly shit instead. He also seized what he thought was a George Cross out of the crowd and tried to burn it onstage. A nice gesture against nationalism perhaps, except that it was a Manx flag, and he couldn't get it to light.

    The second time was when he was supporting (I think) James. He did nothing but hurl abuse at the crowd, and I think we were supposed to be impressed by Ibrahim Aziz's glove with the lasers in the fingers. Ooooh!

    By contrast, I saw John Squire perform solo once, and although I wasn't very impressed with his solo stuff, at least was graceful enough to play some of his classics - which he actually sang more tunefully than Ian Brown has ever managed.


  • At 6:21 pm, Blogger HistoryGeek said…

    I'm going to add my "you've never heard the Femmes?!" exclamation.

    Wow, this must be one of those cultural divides in music that often happens to me. The Femmes were sort of a gateway band from mainstream to more punk rock during my junior high years.

  • At 7:11 pm, Blogger bytheseashore said…

    Urgh. First the Mary Chain and now the Violent Femmes. Is there anything else I've missed off my CD?


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