Shuffle of the week #35

1. The White Stripes – Little Acorns (Elephant, 2003) [singlepic id=145 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Great song from White Stripes’ fantastic fourth, on which this is the traditional song with ‘little’ in its title. The famous spoken intro was contributed by American TV anchorman Mort Crim, whereupon the combo of the heavily tuned guitar and White’s threatening voice gives this track its great verses.

2. Belle and Sebastian – Dress Up in You (The Life Pursuit, 2006) [singlepic id=307 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Polished indie pop from Belle and Sebastian’s seventh album, loaded with sunny melodies. The Life Pursuit reminds of all the good things that sixties and seventies pop had to offer, including great vocal harmonies and well-balanced instrumentals, like the beautiful horn section in this song. Personal favorite.

3. King Crimson – Moonchild (In the Court of the Crimson King, 1969) [singlepic id=204 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Longest track on this epic album, preceding the title track on side two. The track can in fact be separated into two sections. ‘The Dream’ is a ballad with a prominent role for Ian McDonald’s mellotron (and lyrics provided by English poet Peter Sinfield), while the band completely starts to improvise on ‘The Illusion’. This is in fact nothing more than an elitist patchwork, making it the most disappointing part on the album.

4. The Flaming Lips – Race for the Prize (The Soft Bulletin, 1999) [singlepic id=309 w=80 h=50 float=left]

From bearded men in a dark cellar to an explosion of confetti on main stage: the transition couldn’t possibly be more abrupt. Defining album for the band’s later sound and live performances.

5. Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker (Led Zeppelin II, 1969) [singlepic id=6 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Ultimate air guitar song, highlight on the notorious album and a crowd favorite at live concerts (including several improvisations). Interesting detail: the famous solo was recorded and added after the song was already ‘completed’, resulting in a somehow different guitar sound.

6. The Jam – The Place I Love (All Mod Cons, 1978) [singlepic id=310 w=80 h=50 float=left]

From the third album of this late seventies mod revival band, with the title referring to this as well as the abbreviation of ‘all modern conveniences’, often used in housing adverts.

7. Guns ‘n Roses – 14 Years (Use Your Illusion II, 1991) [singlepic id=216 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Best song (great piano playing) on the only GNR album that survived my record collection throughout the years. Never realized all these years however that it’s actually rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin on lead vocals. Stradlin had already left the band before the UYI-albums were released, after being detoxed from alcohol and drugs.

8. Radiohead – Paranoid Android (OK Computer, 1997) [singlepic id=22 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Does this song need any more explanations? Maybe it’s still best described by Yorke himself, before the first time it was performed live: “If you can have sex to this one, you’re fucking weird.”.

9. Tool – Flood (Undertow, 1993) [singlepic id=311 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Wow, the android perfectly fades into the guitar intro of this song. Subsequently the snoring bass tunes in and the drums brutally smash the song into your face. Penultimate song on this debut album, on my version at least, as most North American versions feature closing song ‘Disgustipated’ as track 69, after 58 silent 1”-tracks (you gotta love them).

10. [singlepic id=308 w=80 h=50 float=left] The Olivia Tremor Control – Paranormal Echoes (Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One, 1999)

And one more nineties track to close with. Just like last time, the Tremor Control makes it to the shuffle just on time, but with their second album this time. Love it or hate it.

Prog Albums Explained: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (side 3)

Progressive rock, a genre to love or hate.  It originated in the late sixties thanks to heavy psychedelic rock influences and was pioneered by bands that wanted to go beyond the standard verse-chorus  based song structures.  As a result, often complex instrumental songs were bundled on concept albums with epic pretensions. It’s well possible that you once caught yourself asking what the hell one of these bands was trying to tell you while listening to one of their albums. The answers are provided here, in Prog Albums Explained. All you need  is the album, a comfortable couch and some good headphones.

[singlepic id=30 w=320 h=240 float=left]



Year: 1974

Genre: Progressive Rock

Preceded by: Selling England by the Pound (1973)

Followed by: A Trick of the Tail (1976)

Related to: Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon



Side 3: (continued from Side 2)

Track 1: Lillywhite Lilith + Track 2: The Waiting Room

Another case of two songs merging into each other, with the second one being another instrumental. Rael is still in the middle of this chaos, when he suddenly hears a blind lady (Lilywhite Lilith) asking him to help her out of the crowd.  In return she will lead him out of this place. So Rael follows her but instead of escaping he’s left behind disillusioned in the darkness:  Then she sat me down on a cold stone, carved in jade. A bizarre noise is approaching now while he stays in ‘the waiting room’. Those sounds originate from unused compositions of the band from 1969, resembling the experimental parts from Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother.

Track 3: Anyway

This seems to be some kind of stream-of-consciousness experience from Rael in which he’s confronted with his death. Death seems to come much faster than Rael expected  (Anyway, they say she comes on a pale horse, but I’m sure I hear a train) and when the piano-driven song is at its highest orchestrated point, Rael looks Death right into the eyes…

Track 4: The Supernatural Anaesthetist

Death is impersonated by the supernatural anaesthetist. He approaches Rael, but it appears that he didn’t come to claim his soul and as such he disappears again.  This is the reason there are few lyrics in this song, which is mainly driven by Hackett’s guitar playing, including a beautiful outro. However, the anaesthetist left a charming impression on Rael: he’s such a fine dancer.

Track 5: The Lamia (+Track 6: Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats)

This track is really reigned by Tony Banks’ keys. Rael is tired of having this schizophrenic flashes in the middle of the rubble, so when he suddenly smells a strange scent, he decides to follow it to see where it comes from. It leads him to a hole in the wall and he succeeds to crawl through it. Now he witnesses the strangest thing: a pool filled with snakes all having female heads and breasts. The entities are seducing him to join them in the pool. Has this something to do with Rael’s criminal record? However, Rael stands astonished doubting his sight, struck by beauty, gripped in fright. Rael enters the pool and the Lamia start to devour Rael’s body but they end up dying because of his poisonous blood! The track flows over to ‘Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats’, a very calm interlude with a zooming mellotron, a sinister warning of what’s to come on side 4…

-Continue to Side 4