Friday, January 10, 2014

Time Machine: Ten Favourite Albums from 1993

Alright, so this post was originally intended to be posted in late 2013, but, well, never quite came together in time.  There were a lot of mentions in the music press in 2013 of bands commemorating the 20th anniversaries of some of their releases.  That got me thinking: 1993 was a pretty good year for music.  So I've put together a list of some of my favourite albums released during a year that fell smack in the middle of my musical coming of age.

As an companion piece to this post, listen to the LafMusik: The 1993 Mix while you read.

Depeche Mode - Songs Of Faith And Devotion

Favourite Tracks: 'I Feel You', 'Condemnation', 'Mercy In You', 'Higher Love'

Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream

Favourite Tracks: 'Cherub Rock', 'Hummer', 'Rocket', 'Mayonaise'

U2 - Zooropa

Favourite Tracks: 'Zooropa', 'Numb', 'Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car', 'Dirty Day' 

Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish

Favourite Tracks: 'For Tomorrow', 'Advert', 'Chemical World', 'Oily Water'

The Verve - A Storm In Heaven

Favourite Tracks: 'Star Sail', 'Slide Away', 'Already There', 'Blue'

Suede - Suede

Favourite Tracks: 'Animal Nitrate', 'Moving', 'Pantomime Horse', 'Metal Mickey', 'Animal Lover'

Nirvana - In Utero

Favourite Tracks: 'Scentless Apprentice', 'Heart-Shaped Box', 'Pennyroyal Tea', 'Rape Me', 'All Apologies'

Catherine Wheel - Chrome

Favourite Tracks: 'Crank', 'Broken Head', 'The Nude', 'Pain'

Duran Duran - Duran Duran (The Wedding Album)

Favourite Tracks: 'Too Much Information', 'Ordinary World', 'Come Undone', 'Femme Fatale'

The Breeders - Last Splash

Favourite Tracks: 'Cannonball', 'Invisible Man', 'Saints', 'I Just Wanna Get Along'

Friday, January 3, 2014


As a teenager, I used to love creating mix tapes for myself and for friends and now I'm going to try doing it in the digital realm.  As a brand new addition to the written blog, I've created a Cloudcast on Mixcloud.  For the inaugural installment, it's a "Best Of" of sorts and features some of my favourite songs released in 2013.  Be sure to follow me there as I'll be posting more mixes in the future.  Feel free to send me your comments and song requests.

Have You Heard: KAISER CHIEFS - 'Bows & Arrows'

Leeds' Kaiser Chiefs are back with another preview from their forthcoming fifth album Education, Education, Education and War.  Back in December they gave us the first sampling in the form of 'Misery Company' (which you can check out below along with a trailer for the new album).  Now, you check out 'Bows & Arrows'.  The album is the first to feature new drummer Vijay Mistry who replaced founding member and chief (pun not intended but welcome) songwriter Nick Hodgson.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ear Candy From The Distant Past...2013

Another year has come to a close and once again, thank you to everyone who stops by the blog to check out my ramblings (even if they were quite sparse this past year).  While I haven't been as diligent as I would have liked when it comes to posting stuff, I have had the time to find and enjoy some great albums and songs that were released in 2013.  

SULK - Graceless

If 2013 should be remembered for anything, it's the wealth of great new bands that released debut albums.  One such band is London's SULK.  Their debut Graceless is chock-full of swirling guitars and pounding drums.  With the production duties handled by veterans Ed Buller (he produced Suede's first three albums) and Marc Waterman (he produced Ride's debut Nowhere), it's no surprise this album sounds like a lost gem from the early 90s.  

Standout tracks: Back In Bloom, Flowers, Marian Shrine, The Big Blue

SUEDE - Bloodsports

What a difference a decade makes.  In 2003, Suede limped to the finish line after the previous years A New Morning failed to do anything except disappoint.  Fast forward to 2013 and the release of Bloodsports.  Spiritually, this is the true follow up to 1996's Coming Up.  Suede are back and are clearly refreshed and refocussed.  This surely has to be the blueprint for how a reunion album is done. 

Standout tracks: Barriers, It Starts And Ends With You, Hit Me, Sometimes I Feel I'll Float Away

TRIPWIRES - Spacehopper

Yet another new band who released a dandy of a record this year.  Even though Spacehopper is a relatively recent discovery by yours truly, it quickly jumped into my most played and loved albums of the year.  Spacehopper is a psychedelic, sweaping and cinematic tour de force.  Frankly, this is the type of album Radiohead should be making.  They're not, so thankfully, we have Tripwires.  

Standout tracks: SpacehopperA Feedback Loop Of Laughter, Shimmer

JOHNNY MARR - The Messenger

The Messenger might be ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr's first proper solo album, but it is packed with everything you would expect.  Marr is thirty years into his career but you wouldn't know it to listen to this record.  While most artists that far into their career deliver a safe, watered down version of their former selves, the songs on The Messenger have the energy and originality that a lot of up and coming bands wish they had.  

Standout tracks: The Right Thing Right, Upstarts, Lockdown, Generate! Generate!

PEACE - In Love

There hasn't been a record that has made me feel like a teenager again in quite a while.  In Love did.  It is a near perfect record that was a breathe of fresh air from the indie for the sake of being indie pastiche that seems to dominate "alternative" radio.  In Love oozes swagger and confidence and the songwriting shows a maturity well beyond the age of its creators.  

Standout tracks: Lovesick, Follow Baby, Float Forever, Sugarstone

MILES KANE - Don't Forget Who You Are

For his sophomore album, Miles Kane enlisted former Lightning Seed frontman Ian Broudie to produce.  The result is a winning combination of in your face, bombastic rockers and tender, vulnerable ballads.  Kane's songwriting seems to have a new found confidence, and collaborations with the Modfather Paul Weller and former XTC man Andy Partridge I'm sure didn't hurt.  Now about that second Last Shadow Puppets record?

Standout tracks: Don't Forget Who You Are, Better Than That, Darkness In Our Hearts, Out Of Control

Honourable mention: Primal Scream - More Light, The Fauns - Lights, Exit Calm - The Future Isn't What It Used To Be, Arctic Monkeys - AM, My Bloody Valentine - MBV, Editors -  The Weight Of Your Love

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Who The F#%k Are: Tripwires

Some bands deserve to be so much bigger than they are.  Such is the case for Reading, England's Tripwires.  Luckily for them, time is on their side and if the quality of the songs on their debut Spacehopper are any indication, look out!

Tripwires list influences ranging from Neil Young and Yo La Tengo to the Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth.  While certain influences are more apparent on Spacehopper than others, there is no denying that Tripwires have crafted a brilliant debut full of just enough of the loud/quiet dynamic and an endless supply of soaring choruses.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Retro Revisit: Suede at Rockpalast - 1997

Check out Suede performing a full set on German television show Rockpalast on March 30th, 1997 shortly after Brett Anderson cut his (then famous) fringe.