Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Albums of the Year 2013

- by postmillennial artists

1. Arctic Monkeys – AM
2. Foals – Holy Fire
3. Biffy Clyro – Opposites
4. Savages – Silence Yourself
5. Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions
6. Jagwar Ma – Howlin’
7. Toy – Join the Dots
8. Beady Eye – BE
9. Drenge – Drenge
10. The Strokes – Comedown Machine
11. Public Service Broadcasting – Inform – Educate - Entertain
12. Deap Vally – Sistronix
13. The Vs – The Vs
14. British Sea Power – From the Sea to the Land Beyond
15. British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy
16. The Temperance Movement – The Temperance Movement
17. Trentemøller – Lost
18. Poliça – Shulamith
19. Bastille – Bad Blood On The Dance Factory Floor
20. Everything Everything - Arc

- by premillennial artists

1. Queens of the Stone Age - .... like clockwork
2. David Bowie – The Next Day
3. Black Sabbath – 13
4. Deep Purple – Now What?!
5. Suede – Bloodsports
6. Primal Scream – More Light
7. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
8. Depeche Mode – Delta Machine
9. Gary Numan – Splinter
10. Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
11. New Order – Lost Sirens
12. Johnny Marr – The Messenger
13. Elvis Costello and the Roots – Wise Up GHOST
14. Manic Street Preachers – Rewind the Film
15. Stereophonics – Graffiti on the Train
16. Hawklords – Dream
17. The Orb featuring Lee Scratch Perry - More Tales from the Orbservatory
18. New Model Army – Between Dog and Wolf
19. Nik Turner – Space Gypsy
20. Tricky – False Idols

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Best albums of the first half of 2013

1. David Bowie - The Next Day
2. Queens of the Stone Age - ... Like Clockwork
3. Primal Scream - More Light
4. Black Sabbath - 13
5. Deep Purple - Now What?!
6. Savages - Silence Yourself
7. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
8. Suede - Bloodsports
9. Biffy Clyro - Opposites
10. Depeche Mode - Delta Machine
11. Beady Eye - BE
12. Alice in Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
13. Johnny Marr - The Messenger
14. New Order - Lost Sirens
15. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito
16. Jagwar Ma - Howlin
17. Foals - Holy Fire
18. Sigur Ros - Kveikur
19. Public Service Broadcasting - Inform - Educate - Entertain
=20. The Strokes - Comedown Machine
=20. Andrew Stockdale - Keep Moving

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top tracks of the 2000s

I'm proud to present my latest labour of love: a Spotify playlist of my favourite tracks of 2000 - 2009. 658 tracks at the moment, and counting. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Books of the Year

1. Why We Get Fat... and What To Do About It - by Gary Taubes
2. State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974 - Dominic Sandbrook
3. Explorers of the Nile - Tim Jeal
4. The Origins of Our Species - Chris Stringer
5. Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle - Daniel L. Everett
6. Code Talker - Chester Nez
7. The Island of the Colorblind - Oliver Sacks
8. Sweet Track to Glastonbury; Somerset Levels In Prehistory - Bryony Coles
 9. On the Gleaming Way: Navajos, Eastern Pueblos, Zunis, Hopis, Apaches and Their Land - John Collier
10. Various books on digital photography / the Sony A200 DSLR :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Something From Nothing? audio download

Debates, 'Conversations With...' and 'Evenings With...' are great, but I prefer to listen to them on my phone while I'm out walking, cycling or shopping, rather than sitting down to watch the whole thing on YouTube. Especially when there are not many visuals to look at. That is the case for 'Something From Nothing? A Conversation between Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss', a recent 2-hour 'conversation' and Q&A session recently uploaded to YouTube at

Here are two MP3s of the audio.

Part 1 - the conversation

Part 2 - the Q&A.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Books of the Year 2011

Amazon Listmania list, with links to all the books on Amazon, here.

1. Stephen Pinker - The Better Angels of our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes
2. Norman Davies - Europe: A History
3. Brian Switek - Written in Stone: The Hidden Secrets of Fossils and the Story of Life on Earth
4. Ronnie Corbett - And It's Goodnight from Me
5. John le Carré - Our Kind of Traitor
6. Leonard Mlodinow - The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
7. Steve Knopper - Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age
8. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow - The Grand Design
9. Oliver Sacks - The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
10. Michael Shermer - The Believing Brain
11. Jon Ronson - The Psychopath Test
12. Nick Lane - Life Ascending: Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
13. Jared Diamond - Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed
14. Mark E. Smith - Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith
15. Mark Stevenson - An Optimist's Tour of the Future
16. Penn Jillette - God No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales

Saturday, April 09, 2011

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To...

Vol. 40 April 2011
If you need the download link, contact me on Facebook / Twitter / by email / in the comments below.

1 Adele – Rolling in the Deep
2 Elbow – Neat Litle Rows
3 The Young Knives – Love My Name
4 The Duke Spirit – Everybody’s Under Your Spell
5 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
6 Chapel Club - Surfacing
7 Radiohead – Morning Mr Magpie
8 The Strokes – Under Cover of Darkness
9 David Bowie – Hole in the Ground
10 Anna Calvi – Blackout
11 Smashing Pumpkins – Freak U.S.A.
12 Justice - Civilisation
13 TV On the Radio – Will Do
14 PJ Harvey – This Glorious Land
15 Kings of Leon – Pyro
16 White Lies – Bigger Than Us
17 Radiohead – Lotus Flower
18 British Sea Power – Living is so Easy
19 Elbow – Open Arms

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Films of the Year 2010

1. Toy Story 3
2. Inception
3. Another Year
4. Animal Kingdom
5. The Town
6. 127 Hours
7. Four Lions
8. Winter's Bone
9. The American
10. Creation
11. Black Swan
12. True Grit
13. The Social Network
14. The Ghost Writer
15. Cemetery Junction

Haven't seen The King's Speech, Made in Dagenham, Machete, Enter the Void, Monsters, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Kick-Ass, Shutter Island, Exit Through the Gift Shop and many others yet.

Best film from 2009 seen first in 2010: The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Worst film: The Expendables - I managed 8 minutes before switching it off.

Friday, December 31, 2010

My Books of the Year 2010

Not all of these were published in 2010, that was just when I read them for the first time.

1. Matt Ridley - The Rational Optimist - persuasive arguments about the history and future of human civilisation
2. Derren Brown - Memoirs of a Conjuror - warm mixture of memoir and assorted anecdotes, shot through with unexpected vulnerability. His explanation of his life philosophy brought a tear to my cynical eye
3. Christopher Hitchens - Hitch-22 - written with his usual panache but with added poignancy given the circumstances
4. Bill Bryson - A Walk in the Woods - the audio book was the perfect accompaniment to many long walks in the spring of 2010
5. Stephen Fry - The Fry Chronicles - eminently readable, but what did we expect?
6. Chris Stringer - Homo Britannicus - a history of the presence of humans on British soil, taking us on a breathless trek around the various sites of prehistoric habitation in Britain
7. Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Nomad - not as fascinating as the first volume of her memoirs, but that was to be expected. Nevertheless some interesting insights into her life, work and philosophy
8. David Aaronovitch - Voodoo Histories - A good summary of major conspiracy theories. The cover blurb promises deep analysis of the phenomenon, which was rather lacking, however.
9. Alan Alda - Things I Overheard Whle Talking To Myself - a very enjoyable audio book read by the author, in which he muses on life's big (and small) questions.
10. Sam Harris - The Moral Landscape - this started out promisingly as a manifesto for a new evidence-based morality, but lost its way a little in the second half

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My Albums of the Year 2010

1. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
2. Dreadzone - Eye on the Horizon
3. Klaxons - Surfing the Void
4. Slash - Slash
5. Kula Shaker - Pilgrim's Progress
6. Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle
7. Interpol - Interpol
8. Chemical Brothers - Further
9. Alter Bridge - III
10. Grinderman - Grinderman 2
11. Groove Armada - Black Light
12. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
13. Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - The Logic of Chance
14. Maximum Balloon - Maximum Balloon
15. Baba Brinkman - The Rap Guide to Human Nature
16. Portugal. The Man - American Ghetto
17. Tricky - Mixed Race
18. Nas & Damian Marley - Distant Relatives
19. Menomena - Mines
20. Manic Street Preachers - Postcards from a Young Man
21. Foals - Total Life Forever
22. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
23. UNKLE - Where Did the Night Fall
24. Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown
25. These New Puritans - Hidden
26. The National - High Violet
27. Faithless - The Dance
28. The Black Keys - Brothers
29. Yeasayer - Odd Blood
30. Vampire Weekend - Contra

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To…. vol. 39

Vol. 39 November 2010
Download here (large zipfile). Click on blue Download button then wait for the seconds to count down before clicking on Download File Now.

1 Klaxons – Echoes
2 Interpol - Barricade
3 Arcade Fire – Ready to Start
4 Manic Street Preachers – The Future Has Been Here Forever
5 Tricky – Kingston Logic
6 Gorillaz – Doncamatic (feat. Daley)
7 Biffy Clyro – Mountains
8 Dreadzone – Tomorrow Never Comes
9 Alter Bridge - Isolation
10 Maximum Balloon – Groove Me
11 Underworld – Always Loved a Film
12 Grinderman – Worm Tamer
13 Foals – Blue Blood
14 The Van Jets - Onawa
15 Menomena – Oh Pretty Boy, You’re Such a Big Boy
16 Baba Brinkman – She’s Ovulating
17 Kula Shaker – Winter’s Calling

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To…. vol. 38

Vol. 38 June 2010
Download here (large zipfile). Scroll down to the blue DOWNLOAD button, the download should start automatically after 15 seconds. If not, you may have to click on the 'Download' link on the next page.

1 Gogol Bordello –Pala Tute
2 Blur – Fool’s Day
3 The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing
4 Muse – Neutron Star Collision (Love is Forever)
5 Chemical Brothers – Swoon
6 Smashing Pumpkins – Astral Planes
7 Faithless – Not Going Home
8 Foals – Miami
9 Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Sick Tonight
10 Karen Elson – The Ghost Who Walks
11 Nas and Damian Marley – Tribes At War (feat. K’naan)
12 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
13 Crystal Castles – Celestica
14 Gogol Bordello – Last One Goes the Hope
15 Chemical Brothers – Horse Power
16 Dreadzone – Gangster
17 Smashing Pumpkins – Song for a Son
18 UNKLE – The Healing

Thursday, April 01, 2010

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To - Vol. 37 April 2010

Download here (large zipfile). Scroll down to the blue DOWNLOAD link, the download should start automatically after 15 seconds. If not, you may have to click on the 'Download' link on the next page.

Vol. 37 April 2010

1 Slash – By the Sword (feat. Wolfmother)
2 Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Get Better
3 The Radio Dept. – Heaven’s On Fire
4 The Dead Weather – Die By The Drop
5 Gorillaz – To Binge (feat. Little Dragon)
6 Cults – Go Outside
7 Black Keys – Tighten Up
8 Doves - Andalucia
9 David Byrne and Fatboy Slim – Please Don’t (feat. Santigold)
10 The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio
11 We Are Scientists – Rules Don’t Stop
12 Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Great Britain
13 Massive Attack – Pray for Rain (feat. Tunde Adebimpe)
14 Them Crooked Vultures – Mind Eraser, No Chaser
15 Stone Temple Pilots – Between the Lines
16 Broken Bells - October
17 LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls
18 Blood Red Shoes – Count Me Out
19 Lightspeed Champion - Marlene
20 Groove Armada – Shameless (feat. Bryan Ferry)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

This Month I Will Mostly be Listening to...

Vol. 36 March 2010

Download here (large zipfile). Scroll down to the DOWNLOAD link, then on the 'Download' link on the next page.

1 Gorillaz - Stylo
2 Broken Bells – The High Road
3 Crookers - Remedy
4 Jesca Hoop – Feast of the Heart
5 The Besnard Lakes – And This Is What We Call Progress
6 Groove Armada – Paper Romance
7 The Courteeners – You Overdid It Doll
8 New Young Pony Club - Chaos
9 Citadels – The Chemical Song
10 Yeasayer – O.N.E.
11 Gorillaz – Rhinestone Eyes
12 Them Crooked Vultures – New Fang
13 Blood Red Shoes – Light it Up
14 Groove Armada – Look Me in the Eye Sister
15 Vampire Weekend – Giving Up the Gun
16 UNKLE – Natural Selection
17 Bombay Bicycle Club – Evening/Morning
18 Florence and the Machine – You’ve Got The Love
19 Massive Attack – Paradise Circus (feat. Hope Sandoval)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Month I Will Mostly be Listening to...

Download here (large zipfile). Scroll down to the grey DOWNLOAD link, then on the blue 'Download' link

1 Muse – Undisclosed Desires
2 Yeasayer – Ambling Alp
3 The Rakes – The Light from your Mac
4 Raveonettes – Bang!
5 De Staat – The Fantastic Journey of the Underground Man
6 Wild Beasts – All The King’s Men
7 Peaches – I Feel Cream
8 Wolfmother – California Queen
9 Pearl Jam – Just Breathe
10 Biffy Clyro - Boooom, Blast & Run
11 Editors - Papillon
12 Bad Lieutenant – Sink or Swim
13 Skunk Anansie – Because of You
14 Ian Brown – Just Like You
15 Florence and the Machine – Dog Days are Over
16 Datarock – The Pretender
17 Kasabian - Underdog
18 Vampire Weekend – Horchata
19 Rammstein – Rammlied
20 Carl Sagan – A Glorious Dawn (feat. Stephen Hawking)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Top 75 Albums of the Decade 2000-2009

Well it's that time of the decade again - eek! Ten years ago we were stocking up on tinned food and preparing for society to melt down after Y2K, as well as stocking up on champagne and party poppers ready for the party of the millennium. Sigh! Time, therefore, to take stock of the musical legacy of the decade. And thanks to blogs, filesharing, streaming, Youtube, the Hype Machine and specialist online radio stations, we've never had so much music at our fingertips before. So the job of distilling all these down to a small(ish) chart is by no means an easy one, but here goes...

1. War Stories by UNKLE (2007) Underrated stone-cold classic, featuring collaborations with the likes of Josh Homme and Ian Astbury. Dance grooves meet snarling guitars.

2. Kid A by Radiohead (2000) Groundbreaking follow-up to OK Computer

3. Return to Cookie Mountain by TV on the Radio (2006) In which TV On the Radio deliver on the promise of their debut album

4. Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol (2002) Interpol's stunning debut channels Joy Division, Magazine and the Psychedelic Furs to create something dark, brooding and powerful

5. Blackbird by Alter Bridge (2007) This amazing album, by unreconstructed, devils-horn finger sign flashing heavy rockers Alter Bridge, manages to blend 70s hard rock with 90s grunge stylings, and features 14 classic tracks with no filler. Has been on heavy rotation here since its release

6. Is This It by The Strokes (2001) This album single-handedly kicked off the US hipster rock revival that brought us the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kings of Leon

7. Attack Decay Sustain Release by Simian Mobile Disco (2007) Best dance album of the decade (although Justice runs it a close second)

8. In Rainbows by Radiohead (2007) The hype surrounding its unorthodox release distracted from the fact that it is a killer album

9. Fever To Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003) 'Maps' is arguably the anthem of the decade

10. Demon Days by Gorillaz (2005) Damon Albarn's music here transcends the cartoon-character focus of the debut

11. Youth & Young Manhood by Kings of Leon (2003) Outstanding raw bluesy debut

12. Cross by Justice (2007) Squelchy lo-fi dance with massive beats and hooks

13. Kasabian by Kasabian (2004) Britain's answer to the post-punk channelling of Interpol was a reinvention of Madchester, to great effect

14. Global a Go-Go by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros (2001) A slow-burn grower, that I only really grew to appreciate after Joe's early demise

15. The Dream by The Orb (2007) A massive return to form for The Orb, thanks partly to the input of Dreadzone's Tim Bran

16. Dear Science by TV on the Radio (2008) More accessible than 'Cookie Mountain', this is a mesmerising success

17. Myths Of The Near Future by Klaxons (2007) Manic dance-punk meets art-rock

18. Come with Us by The Chemical Brothers (2002) The hipsters had moved on, and the Chems have struggled to get a good album review this decade. This remains a classic dance album, however

19. Reality by David Bowie (2003) Bowie's second 'return to form' album in 2 years. Since then, nothing. Please, sir, can we have some more?

20. Think Tank by Blur (2003) The sound of Blur working through the loss of guitarist Graham Coxon is eclectic yet surprisingly coherent

21. Silent Alarm by Bloc Party (2005) A reinvention of sophisticated guitar pop

22. Gorillaz by Gorillaz (2001) The hype initially distracted from the songs, but these have shone through in the long run

23. Black Ice by AC/DC (2008) Finely crafted hard rock album, packed with hooks and the trademark Young brothers' riffs

24. Oracular Spectacular by MGMT (2008) Hyped to death by the music press, it's a good job this album lived up to expectations, and more

25. Antics by Interpol (2004) Somehow deemed a 'disappointment' on its release, this builds solidly on their debut

26. Church Mouth by Portugal. The Man (2007)
This band came out of nowhere (well, nearly - Alaska) and blew me away with this album 2 years ago

27. Alligator by The National (2005)
Downbeat and eloquent, for me this was the National at their best

28. Vampire Weekend by Vampire Weekend (2008)
Audacious blend of preppy harmonies with African sounds

29. Push the Button by Chemical Brothers (2005)
It received another critical mauling, but this album starts with 3 classic dance-floor fillers and continues with one corker after another

30. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys (2006)
For those of us who had been playing their demos on repeat for most of 2005, the quality of this album was no surprise

31. Hail to the Thief by Radiohead (2003)
Another album that suffered a critical backlash at the time - undeservedly, as this is a solid addition to the Radiohead canon

32. Heathen by David Bowie (2002)
Bowie 'return to 70's hey day form' shock horror album

33. The Satanic Satanist by Portugal. The Man (2009)
Highest entry on this list from 2009, PTM reach maturity with this wistful, idyllic album

34. All Hour Cymbals by Yeasayer (2007)
Soaring harmonies that nod to Fleetwood Mac, simple yet complex pop melodies. If you haven't it heard it yet, do so

35. Amnesiac by Radiohead (2001)
A dense, dark album, recorded at the same time as Kid A

36. We Are the Night by The Chemical Brothers (2007)
The knockers continue to knock, but the Chems continue to deliver - this time the dance-floor fillers are leavened with more psychedelic fare

37. Songs For The Deaf by Queens Of The Stone Age (2002)
Acclaimed 3rd album by QOTSA. Features the track 'No One Knows'

38. Our Love to Admire by Interpol (2007)
The critics were sharpening their knives, but Interpol delivered a 3rd album which revealed progression, improved songwriting and heart-on-sleeve lyrics

39. Invaders Must Die by The Prodigy (2009)
The Prodigy are back, motherf***ers

40. The Back Room by Editors (2005)
'The British riposte to Interpol' - sums it up really. Their second album lost it a bit, but this was majestic

41. A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay (2002)
42. We Are the Physics Are OK At Music by We Are the Physics (2008)
43. Nite Versions by Soulwax (2005)
44. Era Vulgaris by Queens Of The Stone Age (2007)
45. Black Sheep by Julian Cope (2008)
46. You Have No Idea What Youre Getting Yourself Into by Does It Offend You Yeah? (2008)
47. Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends by Coldplay (2008)
48. The Age Of Understatement by The Last Shadow Puppets (2008)
49. Only by the Night by Kings of Leon (2008)
50. Censored Colors by Portugal The Man (2008)
51. As Heard on Radio Soulwax Vol.2 by 2 Many DJs (2003)
52. The Eraser by Thom Yorke (2006)
53. Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand (2004)
54. West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum by Kasabian (2009)
55. Derdang Derdang by Archie Bronson Outfit (2006)
56. Acres of Dead Space Cadets by Elle Milano (2008)
57. Angles by Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip (2008)
58. Pocket Revolution by dEUS (2005)
59. The Loon by Tapes 'N Tapes (2006)
60. Crystal Castles by Crystal Castles (2008)
61. Colour It In by The Maccabees (2008)
62. LCD Soundsystem by LCD Soundsystem (2005)
63. Made in the Dark by Hot Chip (2008)
64. Hot Fuss by The Killers (2004)
65. Funeral by Arcade Fire (2005)
66. Voices of Animals and Men by The Young Knives (2006)
67. Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever by The Cribs (2007)
68. Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys (2007)
69. Cuts Across The Land by The Duke Spirit (2005)
70. Guero by Beck (2005)
71. Show Your Bones by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2006)
72. The Warning by Hot Chip (2006)
73. Box of Secrets by Blood Red Shoes (2008)
74. Antidotes by Foals (2008)
75. Idealism by Digitalism

Also available as Amazon Listmania! lists here, here and here:

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

This Month I Will Mostly be Listening To...

Download here (large zipfile). Scroll down to the blue Download button, which may or may not be sandwiched between two rows of adverts, then on the 'Download' link

Vol. 34 September 2009

1 Reverend and the Makers – Silence is Talking
2 Manic Street Preachers – Peeled Apples
3 Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning
4 Florence and the Machine – Drumming
5 Ian Brown – Marathon Man
6 The Dead Weather – Hang Me From the Heavens
7 Cornershop – Who Fingered Rock 'n Roll
8 Wolfmother – New Moon Rising
9 Simian Mobile Disco – Cruel Intentions
10 Pearl Jam – The Fixer
11 Julian Plenti – Only If You Run
12 Portugal. The Man – The Sun
13 Kasabian – Secret Alphabets
14 The XX - Crystalised
15 Biffy Clyro – That Golden Rule
16 Arctic Monkeys – My Propeller
17 Radiohead – These Are My Twisted Words
18 Ian Brown - Stellify
19 Calvin Harris – Dance Wiv Me (feat. Dizzee Rascal)
20 Modest Mouse – Autumn Beds

Monday, June 15, 2009

First 6 months of 2009

As we near the halfway mark in the year, I thought I'd make a list of my favourite albums of the year so far.

1. The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die - massive return to form
2. Portugal. The Man - Satanic Satanist - last minute addition to the list, leaked just in time, it's another masterpiece from Alaska's finest
3. Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
5. White Lies - To Lose My Life
6. Franz Ferdinand - Tonight
7. Fever Ray - Fever Ray
8. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Fruit
9. Emiliana Torrini - Me & Armini
10. Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications
11. The Maccabees - Wall of Arms
12. Morrissey - Years of Refusal
13. U2 - No Line on the Horizon
14. Doves - Kingdom of Rust
15. Bat for Lashes - Two Suns
16. Neil Young - Fork in the Road
17. Various - War Child presents Heroes
18. The BPA - I Think We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat
19. The Veils - Sun Gangs
20. PJ Harvey and John Parish - A Woman A Man Walk By

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To...

Vol. 33 July 2009

Download here (large zipfile). Scroll down to the blue Download button, which may or may not be sandwiched between two rows of adverts, then on the 'Download' link

1 Placebo - For What It’s Worth
2 Gossip – Heavy Cross
3 Kasabian - Fire
4 Simian Mobile Disco – The Audacity of Huge (feat. Chris Keating)
5 Jarvis Cocker - Angela
6 Doves – The Greatest Denier
7 Little Boots – New in Town
8 The Dead Weather – Treat Me Like Your Mother
9 Hot Chip - Transmission
10 The Maccabees – No Kind Words
11 Franz Ferdinand – Can’t Stop Feeling
12 We Have Band – You Came Out
13 Ladyhawke – Back of the Van
14 White Lies - Death
15 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
16 Prodigy – Warrior’s Dance
17 Metric – Satellite Mind
18 Bombay Bicycle Club – Dust on the Ground
19 Graham Coxon – Sorrow’s Army
20 TV On the Radio – Heroes

My Albums of the Year 2008

Somehow I forgot to post this here in January. Silly me. So here it is now. AC/DC looks very unlikely at the top of the list, and I must admit it has faded from view in the first 6 months of 2009, but then again what hasn't? With the constant onslaught of new albums to listen to, there are very few that stay in heavy rotation for long. But it definitely did give me the most pleasure of any album last year, and I think it will be remembered as a classic rock album.

1. AC/DC - Black Ice
2. TV On the Radio - Dear Science
3. We Are the Physics - We Are the Physics Are OK At Music
4. Julian Cope - Black Sheep
5. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
6. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
7. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
8. Hot Chip - Made in the Dark
9. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
10. Does It Offend You Yeah? - You Have No Idea What You Are Getting Yourself Into
11. The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
12. Portugal.The Man - Censored Colors
13. Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel
14. Justice - Planisphère (EP but so what?)
15. These New Puritans - Beat Pyramid
16. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
17. The Dandy Warhols - Earth to the Dandy Warhols
18. Tricky - Knowle West Boy
19. Asian Dub Foundation - Punkara
20. The Pretenders - Break Up the Concrete
21. O Fracas - Fits and Starts
22. Foals - Antidotes
23. The Kills - Midnight Boom
24. dEUS - Vantage Point
25. Elle Milano - Acres of Dead Space Cadets
26. Metronomy - Nights Out
27. Duels - The Barbarians Move In
28. Operator Please - Yes Yes Vindictive
29. Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Angles
30. Beck - Modern Guilt
31. Kings of Leon - Only By the Night
32. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
33. Portishead - Third
34. Hercules & Love Affair
35. Various - Fabriclive 41 - Simian Mobile Disco
36. REM - Accelerate
37. The Whip - X Marks Destination
38. Ladytron - Velocifero
39. The Courteeners - St Jude
40. We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery
41. Soulwax - The Mashup Machine
42. I Am Kloot - Play Moolah Rouge
43. The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia
44. Correcto - Correcto
45. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
46. Fear of Music - Actor/Actress
47. Ghostland Observatory - Robotique Majestique
48. The Cure - 4.13 Dream
49. Was (Not Was) - Boo
50. The Rascals - Rascalize

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Final Vinyl - please

So Jack White thinks vinyl is going to save music, does he? Well as someone who was buying music before he was born (first single: Popcorn by Hot Butter, bought 2nd hand from a market in 1971, first album The Sweet’s Biggest Hits) I have plenty of history with vinyl. I spent my college years moving from one shared house to another, carefully packing my precious collection of records and cassettes in crates and lovingly transporting them to each new location. A collection which, with regular investment on an extremely limited budget, slowly grew to be something I was proud of at the time - a couple of hundred albums(!). So I think I know enough about it to list some of the down sides of Jack’s plan:

- Vinyl is heavy. Schlepping crates around is a pain and can easily result in damage to your back or to the records themselves
- Vinyl is fragile – albums can warp due to heat, due to their own weight or due to pressure during storage, and scratches can mysteriously appear on irreplaceable items.
- Album covers are vulnerable to damp and mould
- Music on vinyl is not exactly portable, you have to play it on specialized equipment in a specific location
- Vinyl offers a maximum of 25 minutes continuous music

Given my nomadic lifestyle at the time, the arrival of Walkmans and ghetto blasters in the early 80s already made me favour cassettes over vinyl for portability. But when CDs exploded in the late 80s, their low size, weight and fragility made them the perfect replacement of vinyl, and I stopped buying vinyl altogether. Then in the mid-90s, affordable PCs with CD-rom burners came along which made it possible to make perfect copies of audio CDs, and a worthy successor to the audio cassette had arrived. Suddenly you could make perfect copies of any CDs you could borrow off your friends or from a library. Finally, around the turn of the millennium, decent quality MP3 formats and software showed up, which allowed you to make your own compilations, and upload and download music.

Thanks to all these post-vinyl innovations, I and millions of people like me now have music collections running into the thousands of albums, rather than hundreds. We have discovered artists we would never have heard of and go to more concerts than ever – I, for example, went to 16 gigs and 2 festivals in the 3-year period 1996 - 1998, compared to 33 gigs and 6 festivals in 2006 - 2008.

Vinyl will never return to the mainstream. Vinyl is for music snobs with deep pockets. Vinyl is a fad. There’s another format for music which is also gaining a lot of popularity at the moment, and for which I foresee a much rosier future - on-demand streaming services such as Spotify. If I were Jack White, I would try to switch bandwagons as quickly and quietly as I could, before the vinyl fad passes and he's left looking rather foolish…

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To... Vol. 32 April 2009

This compilation has somehow slipped into a bi-monthly cycle in the last 6 months, but I think this schedule works ok. Maybe I should change the name to 'This Bi-month I will Mostly be Listening To'... or not, eh. Let me know what you think in the comments - should I make more of an effort to get one out every month like in the past, or are you happy with it like this? And if the latter, does it need a name change? Suggestions?

Download it here. (Scroll down to the blue Download button, which may be sandwiched between two rows of adverts)

1 Depeche Mode - Wrong
2 Bloc Party – One Month Off
3 Royksopp – Happy Up Here
4 The Maccabees – Love You Better
5 Pearl Jam - Brother
6 Fischerspooner – The Best Revenge
7 U2 - Magnificent
8 Maximo Park - Wraithlike
9 Peter, Bjorn & John- Nothing to Worry About
10 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
11 Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone
12 PJ Harvey & John Parrish – Black Hearted Love
13 Noisettes – Don’t Upset the Rhythm
14 White Lies – Farewell to the Fairground
15 Thermals – When I Died
16 Oasis – Falling Down
17 The Rakes - 1989
18 The Horrors – Sea Within a Sea
19 Doves – Kingdom of Rust
20 Kings of Leon - Revelry

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This Month I Will Mostly Be Listening To...

Vol. 31 February 2009
Download here - scroll down to blue Download button (in between the 2 rows of adverts)

1 Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses
2 The Prodigy - Omen
3 Morrissey – I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
4 Sky Larkin - Beeline
5 M.I.A. – Paper Planes
6 U2 – Get on Your Boots
7 Kaiser Chiefs – Good Days Bad Days
8 White Lies – To Lose My Life
9 The Brighton Port Authority – Toe Jam (feat. David Byrne & Dizzee Rascal)
10 Cut Off Your Hands – Oh Girl
11 Nirvana vs Destiny’s Child – Smells Like Booty (finally a proper release for this classic Soulwax mashup!)
12 CSS - Move
13 Franz Ferdinand – No You Girls
14 James Yuill – No Pins Allowed
15 Brakes – Hey Hey
16 Santogold – Say Aha
17 Morrissey – Something is Squeezing My Skull
18 Justice – The Party
19 Kings of Leon – Use Somebody
20 Pete & The Pirates – Blood Gets Thin
21 The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – The Sun Ain’t Shining No More
22 Late of the Pier – Random Firl
23 AC/DC – Big Jack
24 Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill (De La Edit)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

STORM by Tim Minchin, 2008.

In a North London top floor flat,
All white walls, white carpet, white cat.
Rice paper partition, Modern art And Ambition

The host's a physician,
Lovely bloke,
Has his own practice,
His girlfriend's an actress -
An old mate of ours from home,
And they're always great fun,
So to dinner we've come -

The fifth guest is an unknown,
The hosts have just thrown us
together for a favour.
The girl's just arrived from Australia,
And she's moved to North London,
And she's a sister of someone.
Or has - some connection.

As we make introductions,
I'm struck by her beauty,
She's irrefutably fair,
With dark eyes and dark hair.
But as she sits, I admit:
I'm a little bit wary,
As I notice the tip,
Of the wing of a fairy,
Tattooed on that popular area,
Just above the derrière,
And when she says "I'm Sagittarius!"

I confess, a pigeonhole starts to form,
And is immediately filled with pigeon,
When she says her name is *Storm*

Conversation is initially bright and light-hearted,
But it's not long before Storm gets started.

"You can't know anything.
Knowledge is merely opinion."

She opines over her Cabernet Sauvignon
Some unhappily empirical comment made by me.
Not a good start I think,
We're only on pre-dinner drinks,
And across the room my wife widens her eyes,
Silently begging me "Be nice!"

A matrimonial warning,
Not worth ignoring.

I resist the urge to ask Storm,
Whether knowledge is so loose weave,
Of a morning, when deciding whether to leave,
Her apartment by the front door,
Or the window on the second floor.

The food is delicious,
And Storm whilst avoiding all meat,
Happily sits and eats,
As the good doctor slightly pissedly holds court on some anachronistic aspect of medical history.

When Storm suddenly insists:
"But the human body is a mystery
Science just falls in a hole
When it tries to explain the nature of the soul."

My hostess throws me a glance,
She, like my wife, knows there's a chance,
I'll be off on one of my rare, but fun, rants.
But I shan't, My lips are sealed,
I just want to enjoy the meal.

And although Storm is starting to get my goat,
I have no intention of rocking the boat,
Although it's becoming a bit of a wrestle,
Because, like her meteorological namesake,
Storm has no such concerns for our vessel.

Pharmaceutical companies are an enemy,
They promote drug dependency,
At the cost of the natural remedies,
That are all our bodies need,
They're immoral and driven by greed,
Why take drugs when herbs can solve it?
Why do chemicals when
Homeopathic solvents can resolve it?
I think it's time we all return to live,
With natural medical alternatives.

And try as I like,
A small crack appears in my diplomacy dyke.

By definition, (I begin)
Alternative medicine, (I continue)
Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved, not to work.
Do you know what they call
'Alternative Medicine'
That's been proved to work?

-- Medicine

So you don't believe in any natural remedies?
On the contrary, Storm, actually,
Before we came to tea,
I took a natural remedy,
Derived from the bark of a willow tree.
It's a painkiller, virtually side-effect free.
It's got a, a weird name,
Darling, what was it again?
Baspirin? Oh, yeah -
Which I paid about a buck for,
Down at the local drugstore.

The debate briefly abates,
As my hosts collect plates.
But as they return with dessert,
Storm pertly asserts,
Shakespeare said it first:
There are more things in
Heaven and Earth,
Than exist in your philosophy
Science is just how we're trained, to look at reality,
It doesn't explain, Love or spirituality.
How does Science explain
Psychics, auras, the afterlife,
The power of prayer?

I'm becoming aware,
That I'm staring,
I'm like a rabbit suddenly trapped,
In the blinding headlights of vacuous crap.
Maybe it's the Hamlet,
She just misquothed,
Or the fifth glass of wine I just quaffed.
But my diplomacy dyke groans,
And the arsehole held back by its stones
Could be held back no more.

Look up, Storm, So I don't need to bore ya,
But there's no such thing as an aura,
Reading auras is like reading minds,
Or tea leaves, or star-signs,
Or meridian lines.
These people aren't plying a skill,
They're either lying, or mentally ill.
Same goes for people who claim
To hear God's demands,
Spiritual healers who think
They've got magic hands.
By the way, why do we think it's okay,
For people to pretend they can talk to the dead?
Isn't that totally fucked in the head?
Lying to some crying woman whose child has died,
And telling me you're in touch with the other side?
I think that's fundamentally sick.
Do I need to clarify here,
That there's no such thing as a psychic?

What are we - fucking two?
Do we actually think that
Horton heard a Who?
Do we still believe that Santa brings us gifts,
That Michael Jackson didn't have facelifts?
Or are you still so stunned
by circus tricks,
That we think the dead would
Wanna talk to pricks like John Edward?

Storm, to her credit,
Despite my derision
Keeps firing off cliches
With startling precision
Like a sniper using
Bollocks for ammunition.

You're so sure of your position,
But you're just close-minded,
I think you'll find tat
Your FAITH in science and tests,
Is just as blind as the
faith of any fundamentalists,

Wow, that's a good point,
Let me think for a bit.
Oh wait, my mistake,
That's absolute bullshit.
Science adjusts its views
Based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation,
so that belief can be preserved.

If you show me that, say,
Homeopathy works,
I will change my mind,
I will spin on a fucking dime.
I'll be as embarassed as hell,
Yet I will run through the streets yelling,
Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And whilst its memory
Of a long lost drop of onion juice is infinite,
It somehow forgets all the poo it's had in it.

You show me that it works,
And how it works,
and when I've recovered,
from the shock,
I will take a compass and carve
'Fancy That',
On the side of my cock.

Everyone's just staring now,
But I'm pretty pissed and I've dug this far down.
So I figure.. In for a penny, in for a pound!

Life is full of mystery, yeah,
there are answers out there.
And they won't be found,
By people sitting around,
Looking serious,
And saying: Isn't life mysterious,
Let's sit here and hope,
Let's call up the fucking Pope,
Let's go on Oprah,
And Interview Deepak Chopra.

If you must watch telly,
you should watch Scooby-Doo,
That show was so cool!
Because every time
There was a church with a ghoul,
Or a ghost in a school,
They looked beneath the mask.
And what was inside?
The fucking janitor,
or the dude who ran the water slide!
throughout history,
every mystery
ever solved,
Has turned out to be -
Not Magic!

Does the idea that
there might be knowledge frighten you?
Does the idea that
one afternoon on Wiki-fucking-pedia
Might enlighten you,
Frighten you?
Does the notion that there might not be a supernatural,
so blow your hippy noodle,
that you'd rather just stand in the fog of your
Inability to google?

Isn't this enough?
this world?

Just this
Wonderfully Unfathomable,
Natural World?

How does it so fail to hold our attention
That we have to diminish it
with the invention
of cheap man-made
myths and monsters?
If you're so into your Shakespeare,
Lend me your ear
To gild refined gold,
To paint the lily,
To throw perfume on the violet,
Is just fucking silly
Or something like that.
Or what about Satchmo?
I see trees of green,
Red roses too...

And fine, if you wish to,
Glorify Krishna and Vishnu,
In a post-colonial,
kind of way,
Whatever, That's okay.

But, here's what gives me a hard-on,
I'm a tiny, insignificant
Ignorant bit of carbon.
I have one life,
And it is short and unimportant,
But thanks to recent scientific advances...

I get to live twice as long,
As my great-great-great-great
uncleses and auntses.

Twice as long!
To live this life of mine,
Twice as long,
To love this wife of mine.
Twice as many years,
Of friends, of wine,
Of sharing curries and getting shitty,
At good looking hippies,
With fairies on their spines,
And butterflies on their titties.

And if perchance, I have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,

We'd as well be ten minutes back in time
For all the chance you'll change your mind.