Shuffle of the week #52

1. Django Django – Firewater (Django Django, 2012) [singlepic id=395 w=80 h=50 float=left]

One of the finest things that came from London the past few years, being a great debut album full of neo-psychedelia and irresistible rhythms.  This is one of those catchy tunes, think of a natty kind of early Animal Collective with a thrilling outro full of vocal harmonies. And as the quest for continuity remains the greatest fetish down here: drummer and producer David Maclean is the brother of John Maclean, sampler of The Beta Band.

2. Roxy Music – In Every Dream Home a Heartache (For Your Pleasure, 1973) [singlepic id=398 w=80 h=50 float=left]

More arty stuff from London, with Roxy Music’s second album (feat. Bryan Ferry’s then girlfriend Amanda Lear on the front cover) , released after the self-epynomous debut and the successful single ‘Virginia Plain’.  At that point, Phil Manzanera was meanwhile promoted from roadie to the band’s most skilful musician, the spot of bass player had become an everlasting interim vacancy and Brian Eno was at the point of leaving the band. It’s the track that kind of stands out on the album, being a spoken declaration of love to an inflatable doll, while it musically reminds of Talking Heads meets David Bowie. After Ferry is in control for the first three minutes, Manzanera is allowed to go on an instrumental razzle before Eno concludes the song with an ode to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

3. Arcade Fire – Wake Up (Funeral, 2004) [singlepic id=155 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Like stated earlier here and by many others elsewhere: a modern classic. Based around life companions Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, this Montreal band was gradually created in the beginning of this century after many temporary members and as many (on stage) fights. Funeral points to the many deaths within Butler’s and Chassagne’s  families while the album was created, although it didn’t result in a very dark sounding album. This song turned into a large venue hymn after several famous performances, by the band itself as well as other happenings. Not a personal favorite, although I like the ‘Mr. Blue Sky’- transition.

4. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Walk Like a Giant (Psychedelic Pill, 2012) [singlepic id=286 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Sixteen minutes jam from Neil and his jamming friends, reuniting on this album after almost ten years. I think of it as a great album, on which Young doesn’t give a shit about the musical conventions in the world surrounding him, and freely travels back 40 years in time, to the world he wasn’t capable of changing back then.

5. Motörhead – No Class (No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith, 1981) [singlepic id=135 w=80 h=50 float=left]

The same amount of brutal power, but a little more to the point, originally from the band’s second studio album. Lemmy founded the band already in 1975, after having left Hawkind, but the classic line-up with Fast Eddie and Philthy Animal arised one year later. The self-epynomous debut album followed in 1977, supported by the ‘Beyond the Threshold of Pain’ tour. 1979 brought Motörhead’s second album Overkill, including this song that became one of the band’s famous live anthems. The wonderful name of that supporting tour?

6. Nirvana – Rape Me (In Utero, 1993) [singlepic id=397 w=80 h=50 float=left]

The tensions between Cobain and MTV during the Unplugged performance were already cited last time, and this song also has his own story within this context. It was the second single (along with ‘All Apologies’) from Nirvana’s third and last studio album and this time Nirvana wanted it to play at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. However, MTV insisted on replacing it by ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, leading to a refusal by the band to play at all. In the end (money, pressure, business, grubbiness), the argument was resolved by Nirvana agreeing to replace it by ‘Lithium’. However, Cobain gave MTV the creeps by starting to play ‘Rape Me’ before ultimately switching over to ‘Lithium’. Great track, good album.

7. Tindersticks – Ballad of Tindersticks (Curtains, 1997) [singlepic id=273 w=80 h=50 float=left]

A fan of their early work, especially that great second album. This third album as a whole certainly can’t top that level, but contains some of their best tracks. It must be a tough job to bring this drawn out music live, and that’s exactly where this song is about.

8. My Morning Jacket – Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 1 (Evil Urges, 2008) [singlepic id=107 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Predecessor of last week’s shuffled album and like I said earlier: a band that tries something new now and then, and sometimes that results in a fail. Or was this album just the essential step in ultimately ending up with the genius of Circuital? Whatever, this album in fact doesn’t contain more than a bunch of mistakes, a trio of solid songs and the sole reason that keeps the record in your collection: Part 2 of the shuffled song.

9. Jimi Hendrix Experience – Can You See Me (Are You Experienced, 1967) [singlepic id=25 w=80 h=50 float=left]

One of those typical power trio tracks on Hendrix’ debut (along with ‘May This Be Love’), inspired by Eric Clapton’s Cream and with a prominent role for drummer Mitch Mitchell. Blues rocker Hendrix injected his play with the booming psychedelic rock, supported himself with a steady bass player and drummer like his Yardbirds heroes Clapton, Beck and Page and defined the new genre of hard rock.

10. Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Pt. 2 (Brain Salad Surgery, 1973) [singlepic id=396 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Well, this also was some kind of a power trio, although in a totally other way. Keith Emerson eventually became one of the most famous keys wizards in the history of rock music and originally played in The Nice, Greg Lake sang and played the bass in King Crimson and Carl Palmer came from the less known group Atomic Rooster to play the drums. This was their fourth album, after the self-epynomous debut, their most famous album Tarkus and Trilogy. With their own record label and recording studio (an abandoned cinema), they were ready to push all limits on this records, resulting in prog in its most extreme form. By the way: Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell was originally approached by Emerson and Lake to join them, after which Cream’s manager recommended Carl Palmer. Oh, and Lemmy? He once was a roadie for Emerson’s former band The Nice.

Shuffle of the week #32

This is an ode to the shuffle. How better to get a good insight in your digitized album collection than by a classic shuffle? Finally discover the albums you never got into, finally throw the ones away you will never get into and worship those classics that never grow old again. The Shuffle of this week:

1. Love – Live & Let Live (Forever Changes, 1967) [singlepic id=196 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Oh, the snot has caked against my pants… One of the best tracks from one of the all-time best albums, featuring a great combo of acoustic and electric guitars. Being Love’s third album (“You said you would love me forever!” – “Well, forever changes.”),  it was also the last with the ‘original’ line-up. Troubles already arised during the recording of this one, as a number of band members were originally replaced by famous LA session musicians like Hal Blaine (drums) and Carol Kaye (bass). I guess I’ll take my pistol.

2. The Who – Heinz Baked Beans (The Who Sell Out, 1967) [singlepic id=292 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Staying in the same year, with the The Who’s third album.This is the one minute-intermezzo that follows up the shattering opening track, being one of the ridiculized commercials that link the songs together. Written (and ‘sung’) by John Entwistle, and reminding of Dylan’s ‘Rainy Day Women’- brass band on fast forward. Really great album.

3. Sigur Rós – Avalon (Agaetis Byrjun, 1999) [singlepic id=293 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Album (‘A Good Beginning’) that makes you search for certain symbols and notations on your keyboard, after which you surrender and decide to just enjoy the music. Second album from the band, a richly orchestrated one, on which this is the closing track. It consists of an alternative take of the instrumentals on ‘Starálfur’, closing the album in a dark way, resembling GYBE.

4. Mogwai – Katrien (Young Team, 1997) [singlepic id=285 w=80 h=50 float=left]

However, the shuffle used the previous track as intro for what was about to follow, more post-rock from the late nineties. Because I mainly listened to their later work the past couple of months, I kind of lost this great debut out of sight.

5. Paul McCartney & Wings – Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Band on the Run, 1973) [singlepic id=252 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Time for some magnificent uptempo pop rock from the master himself. Closing track from his most praised album, with great vocals while the piano is set on fire . The instrumental powertrip towards the end can perfectly compete with some excellent prog rock from the same era.

6. The National – Anna Freud (The National, 2001) [singlepic id=291 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Another closing track, from The National’s debut album. Never given a fair chance after the hype that originated around the band later on, but that may not be an excuse to deny it.

7. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Born in Ontario (Psychedelic Pill, 2012) [singlepic id=286 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Another seasoned rock god with his legendary support group. One of the most accessible tracks on this great jam album. Sure, Neil searches for inspiration in his Canadian roots once again, but does it bother anyone?

8. Strawberry Alarm Clock – Strawberries Mean Love (Incense and Peppermints, 1967) [singlepic id=290 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Typical psychedelic rock from ’67, very much resembling the sound of Jefferson Airplane. Not only instrumental, but also concerning the alternating vocals that remind of Balin and Slick, while as far as I know, there was not even a female vocalist involved in this band.

9. Nick Drake – Poor Boy (Bryter Layter, 1970) [singlepic id=288 w=80 h=50 float=left]

Talking about female vocalists, track from Drake’s second album on which the backing vocals are provided by Pat Arnold and Doris Troy. Just like on his debut Five Leaves Left, Drake is supported again by a number of great guest musicians like Richard Thompson and Dave Pegg from Fairport Convention and John Cale. Beautiful piano part.

10. Neutral Milk Hotel – The Fool (In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, 1998) [singlepic id=287 w=80 h=50 float=left]

This week’s shuffle somehow closes in style, as it ended up to be an ode to instrumental music. From Neutral Milk Hotel’s second album, and reminding of what Beirut would come up with later.