Posted by: dan | September 4, 2009

the checkout: august

August09Header

Dan: Another month gone again? If they keep going at this rate it’ll be Christmas by next Sunday!

It’s been a quiet month for new releases – very few big-name albums are being released at the moment though next month looks like it’s going to make up for that. I’ve spent August exploring some older albums and investigating bands that I should have paid attention to long ago which means I’ve got a fair amount to talk about. Ben’s not got quite so much so I’ll let him go first. Onward to our August purchases!

Ben: Not many bits for me this month. Let’s have a look:

Talking HeadsArctic MonkeysMeetingMrMiandadPanda Bear - Person Pitch

Two albums and two EPs. Not too bad.

The big highlight for me is Talking Heads’ Little Creatures – a bargainous copy of the reissue with DVD picked up in a secondhand shop in Guildford for a fiver. Like it? I blinking love it. It’s got two big singles on – Road to Nowhere and And She Was – but is otherwise chock full of goodies. My Talking Heads exposure has been limited to everything up to and including Stop Making Sense so this has been refreshing. I particularly like Creatures of Love but there’s nothing I really skip over.

Person Pitch by Panda Bear was completely unknown to me a week ago, given as a present by a visiting friend (who runs the excellent People Watching blog of which I am contractually obliged to plug). It’s a nice wee experimental electronica album which immediately won points with me by sampling Scott Walker early on. It’s great driving music – ambient, evocative – but sitting down to listen with headphones on is a struggle. It’s fun playing spot-the-sample, mind.

Those EPs – one is the latest (and probably last) Duckworth-Lewis Method release bought out of sense of obligation. It has a so-so acoustic version of Meeting Mr Miandad and a pretty dull video for the same. I’m glad the campaign is coming to an end – the album’s still a great pop throwaway but man, they’re struggling to keep my interest. Arctic Monkeys’ Crying Lightning is fun but a little lacklustre. It’s not got the demanding thrust of previous lead singles which may explain why I’ve not given their album much thought at all. Quite happy to donate a few quid to Oxfam for the pleasure, though.

There was something else I received this month but we’ll leave that for another day…

Dan: I’m splitting my music experiences for the month in two. I’ve bought some albums but I’ve borrowed a few old vinyls from my parents too. I shall start with this months new album purchases:

BibioDeathVesselLuckyElephantMSTUMercuryRevMilesDavisRadioheadTalkingHeads

Before I go into my thoughts on these albums, I should try to wrap up a loose end from last month. There were 4 of David Bowie’s albums that I’d not listened to – now there are only 2. I have listened to Earthling and Hours, and I wasn’t particularly impressed with either. Earthling is almost enjoyable in places, but is generally irritating. It sounds like Bowie is trying to sing over the top of a nightclub and failing. Hours is more conventional, but ultimately uninspiring and dull. I shall try and get around to Heathen and Reality soon.

Back to August and a slew of new artists for me. Monkey Swallows The Universe’s debut The Bright Carvings was incredibly twee but I liked it nonetheless. As a result this month I purchased The Casket Letters which is their second and last (?) album. It’s much more defined and while it doesn’t cover any new musical ground it’s a nice enough indie album. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Bibio’s Ambivalence Avenue. I heard Haikuesque and hoped the rest of the album would be as nice. If MySpace didn’t crash Firefox and he was on Spotify I could have researched a bit more and found that it’s mostly unoriginal, copying themes and styles from other indie dance bands.

Mercury Rev’s Snowflake Midnight is a lovely little record, but I’ve found myself with little desire to return to it. On the plus side it’s helped me to appreciate Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion a bit more.

It felt odd to come home and find out my first Radiohead album was purchased on the day they announced they weren’t going to make any more. Radiohead always felt very depressing to me and I never really explored them much as a result. OK Computer has set me straight. It’s not exactly uplifting but it’s incredibly accomplished and full of brilliant (and bizarre) songs.

You might have to give me some time with Miles Davis as Kind Of Blue isn’t taking. I’m not averse to jazz but it’s really not my area of expertise.

After falling more and more in love with Stop Making Sense over the past couple of months I found Talking Heads: 77 on vinyl. Psycho Killer is still as good as it ever was though the rest of the album only hints at the greatness of some of their later tracks.

Death Vessel should win an award for ‘misleading band name’ as their slow indie guitars and vocals style is a little lacklustre in places but beautiful in others. Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us is an odd album, but enjoyable.

Lastly we come to the only album I’ve bought that was actually released in August. It’s also the best album of all my purchases. Another quirky indie record, but Lucky Elephant’s Star Sign Trampoline is engaging, bouncy and a delight to listen to.

On to the borrowed albums, and a whole glut of music I should really have heard well before now.

BlondieCSNYJoniMitchellPinkFloyd

Four vinyl copies of some big name albums. I can hear you all spluttering with shock and I can only apologise. The reason for my delayed exposure to these albums is because of some shockingly erroneous pre-judgmental opinions. I hate Pink Floyd’s Money and Blondie’s Heart Of Glass. I never bothered researching any further. I was wrong. Dark Side Of The Moon is a brilliant piece of work that flows like some ethereal energy stream. It’s so amazing to listen to that it’s even made me appreciate Money. I still can’t listen to it on it’s own though. Parallel Lines has almost the same story. A roaring but bouncy album full of brilliant pop, it’s hard to dislike any track in particular. Except Heart Of Glass. Debbie sings on every other track on the album, so why does she squeal on Heart Of Glass? The music is fine but her vocals drive me nuts.

As for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Deja Vu and Joni Mitchell’s Blue, I’m not so swayed. CSNY’s record is okay but I’m not desperate to play it again and again and there’s no standout track. I think it might like it more when I’m older or maybe it just needs more time to develop. Blue is nice enough but suffers the same problem. Nothing grabs me and it just slips through my mind. I know it’s generally raved about but I don’t get it. At least not yet.

~~~

I have talked for far too long now so here’s the usual roundup of our favourite tracks from the month and a Spotify playlist link (I’ve not included anything from the ‘borrowed vinyls’ section as half of it’s unavailable).

Our Favourite 5 Tracks of August

Ben:

Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning
DLM – Meeting Mr Miandad
Panda Bear – Take Pills
Eugene McGuinness – Fonz
Annie – Me Plus One

Dan:

MSTU – Bloodline
Death Vessel – Bruno’s Torso
Lucky Elephant – The Pier
Radiohead – Let Down
Mercury Rev – Senses On Fire

Got Spotify? Listen to 9 of the above 10 songs by clicking here! (Panda Bear is currently unavailable).

As we both discussed Talking Heads love, Ben’s choice of video is the (frankly bizarre) Road to Nowhere.


Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere

As hinted at above, we have some other musical things to discuss shortly. Stay tuned…

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Responses

  1. Much love for the Talking Heads, brah.

    😉

    • Y’know, I’d never really considered Talking Heads until Linehan linked to a video and you wittered about them. I owe you thanks.

      Thanks!


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