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Grant Hart – Top 10

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Grant Hart – Top 10

Posted on 17 September 2017 by Dorian

I’m not a huge fan of eulogising the dead, I think that praise and recognition is something that is much more powerful when someone is still alive. However, I do understand the sadness, and need for catharsis, that people feel when someone important to them passes away. In the case of someone like David Bowie it is in part due to the huge impact their music has had over the decades. In the case of someone like Grant Hart, who died of cancer aged only 56 this week, it is in part due to the lack of perceived impact they had on the musical landscape.

Grant Hart has never been afforded the same level of respect as his Hüsker Du band mate Bob Mould. He didn’t write and sing quite as many songs with that band as Mould did, but many of his contributions stand amongst the bands best. His solo work gets far less attention and even though he formed a new band (Nova Mob) some three years before Mould formed Sugar you won’t see anniversary editions of either of their albums in your record shop.

Here is a selection of ten of my favourite tracks from across his career, a hard job to whittle down to such a short list. I’ve split the songs (presented in chronological order) 50/50 between Hüsker Du and solo work. I urge you to seek out the albums that these songs are taken from. The non-Hüsker Du work is well represented on Spotify although harder to buy in physical form.

Diane

This song, from Metal Circus, is about a real life murder and is perhaps better known as a single that the band Therapy? released 15 years later.

Pink Turns To Blue

Zen Arcade is my favourite album by the band, and an extremely influential record demonstrating much more scope and invention than a hardcore punk band was supposed to display. I’ve decided to only pick one song from any album for this list and it was tough to exclude ‘Never Talking To You Again’, but this is possibly my favourite from the album. Also one of the few songs where I could find really good quality live footage.

Terms Of Psychic Warfare

New Day Rising was always going to suffer following Zen Arcade but it is still a great album. This excellent footage gives you two bonus tracks; ‘Powerline’ and ‘Books About UFOs’.

Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely

It says something about Hart’s growing stature in the band that both singles taken from their first major label release, Candy Apple Gray, are his compositions. This is one of them.

Back From Somewhere

Bob Mould famously told Grant Hart that he would never have as many songs on a Hüsker Du album as him. On their final release, Warehouse Songs And Stories, Hart had nine of the twenty tracks.

The Main

Intolerance is a really fascinating album, with Hart handling all musical and production duties on the record. ‘2541’ almost made this list, but this piano driven song about drug addiction is one of his most powerful recordings.

Admiral Of The Sea

I picked up the 12″ single of this track shortly after it was released. I remember spinning it over and over when I got home.

You Don’t Have To Tell Me Now

This song, from Good News For Modern Man, is another example of hart’s gift for introspective love songs. This version is a live audio recording from what may have been his last live tour.

You’re The Reflection Of The Moon On The Water

In which Grant Hart goes all ‘White Light/White Heat’ for his 2009 album Hot Wax.

For Those Too High Aspiring

His final release, 2013’s The Argument, isn’t the easiest of listens. It is a sprawling concept album based on John Milton’s Paradise Lost and needs a few listens to get into. It is worth the effort though, like Zen Arcade it proves that the best work is ambitious and cerebral and takes a bit of effort to understand. This is the last song from his final album, and seems an appropriate way to end this list.

By Dorian Rogers

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Sixteen of the Best Songs of 2016

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Sixteen of the Best Songs of 2016

Posted on 29 December 2016 by Dorian

We recently published our Top 20 Albums of 2016, but this only reflected a section of the amazing songs that came out this year.  There were great albums we missed, albums that just missed out and songs that came out on single this year. So, as a bit of an end of year bonus, here are the best songs of 2016 that didn’t feature in our end of year album list.

16. ESP Ohio – Royal Cyclopean

It wouldn’t be Neon Filler without a Robert Pollard track, and this horn driven gem from his latest collaboration with Doug Gillard is one of his best this year.

15. The Wedding Present – Rachel

There are rumours that this year’s Wedding Present album may be there last, if that is the case then they are finishing on something of a high.

14. Childish Bambino – Me and Your Mama

Donald Glover is a successful comic actor, the face of the young Lando Calrissian and a Grammy award-winning singer, sickeningly talented.

13. The Shins – Dead Alive

The Shins releasing a song that sounds like they could have recorded 15 years ago may not seem that exciting, unless you think early Shins is about as good as music gets. Which I do.

12. Allo Darlin’ – Hymn on the 45

Allo Darlin’ sadly called in at day in 2016, but just as they played their final shows they released one last single. A final document, if nothing else, of why they’ll be missed.

11. Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales

Car Seat Headrest is the work of Will Toledo, this year’s bespectacled indie geek de jour. The album justifies the hype this time around.

10. The Avalanches – Subways

The new Avalanches album may not be much of a step forward given the huge gap between this and their debut recording, but there were enough good songs to make it worth a listen.

9. Parquet Courts – Human Performance

The New York band have been releasing consistently great music since they broke through with Light Up Gold in 2012. The title track from their latest album shows them in almost subdued mode.

8. Angel Olsen – Shut Up and Kiss Me

2016 was a bit of a breakthrough year for Angel Olsen, her 4th LP getting a lot of attention and radio play. This track showcases as much fuzz-pop as folk and is a bit of a break from the softer country vibe she’s associated with.

7. Case/Lang/Veirs – Best Kept Secret

Three of the best vocalists in country-pop come together and, unsurprisingly, the results are great.

6. Okkervil River – Judy on the Street

Every two or three years Will Sheff’s band release an album and they all range from good to excellent. This track from Away is no exception to the rule.

5. Teenage Fanclub – Thin Air

More than a quarter if a century in and Teenage Fanclub can still produce some of the best melodic guitar pop around.

4. Girl Ray – Trouble

One of the best bands that we saw at Indietracks this year and one of the bands to watch out for in 2017.

3. Field Music – Disappointed

Due to its release at a busy time we sadly didn’t get round to reviewing Field Music’s excellent 2016 album Commontime. We still loved it though and can assure you it was a typically excellent release from the Brewis brothers. This was a single and one of the best tracks.

2. Luke Haines – Smash The System

Smash The System saw Haines revisit some of his previous themes, with a number of nods to his Baader Meinhof album. The Monkees references in this song are confusing but welcome.

1. Eyelids – Slow It Goes

Eyelids didn’t have a new album out in 2016, that is coming next year, but they did release this song and showcased what we can look forward to. Excellent video as well.

Compiled by Dorian Rogers

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Top 10 Songs From 1991- One Of Music’s Best Ever Years

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Top 10 Songs From 1991- One Of Music’s Best Ever Years

Posted on 04 December 2016 by Dorian

This year is widely seen, even as it continues, as being one of the worst years in history.

Political upheaval, bloody conflict and ecological collapse are all themes of the year, as is celebrity death. The latter has been particularly true in music with a number of musical legends leaving us this year.

It has also been a year of notable musical anniversaries with loads of excellent albums celebrating their 10th, 15th, 20th, or 25th anniversaries.

Most notable to me has been the number of great albums from 1991 that celebrating a quarter of a century this year. It may be my age (I was a music obsessed 19 year old in 1991) but it is striking just how many amazing records were released in that year.

Among the albums released were debuts by acts as varied Blur, Mercury Rev, The Smashing Pumpkins, Orbital, 2 Pac, Massive Attack, St. Etienne, Pearl Jam and Mr. Bungle. Julian Cope, Throwing Muses, Dinosaur Jr, Uncle Tupelo, Slint, KLF and Talk Talk all released albums that were arguably their career best during the year.

The best of year lists for 1991 read like those “100 albums to hear before you die” books with Primal Scream’s Screamadelica, REM’s Out of Time, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and Nirvana’s Nevermind all hitting the shelves of HMV and Virgin.

It also marked the release of Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque, an album that doesn’t get talked about as much today but beat all of the above to be voted album of the year by Spin magazine, and is one of the albums that I always go back to.

So here, in honour of its 25th anniversary, is a selected Top 10 of 1991.

10. Pixies – Alec Eiffel

9. Talk Talk – Myrrhman

8. Mercury Rev – Car Wash Hair

7.  Slint – Good Morning Captain

6.  Dinosaur Jr – The Wagon

5. Throwing Muses – Counting Backwards

4. REM – Half a World Away

3. Julian Cope – Beautiful Love

2. Uncle Tupelo – Watch Me Fall

1. Teenage Fanclub – Alcoholiday

Compiled by Dorian Rogers

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European Referendum Top 10

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European Referendum Top 10

Posted on 22 June 2016 by Dorian

This week will see the British public voting in a referendum to decide whether to remain part of the European Union or not. We are a music site, not a political one,  so we aren’t here to influence whether you vote in or out and we will remain impartial.

However, if you are voting and not sure which way to jump, perhaps our European Referendum Top 10 will help you to decide.

British Sea Power – Waving Flags

Immigration is a hot topic in the European debate. British Sea Power take a more welcoming stance than many “Oh welcome in” they sing.

Bis – Eurodisco

“The party’s at its end” sing Scottish popsters Bis. Is this an unlikey foreshadowing of the end of our relationship with the EU?

Allo Darlington- Europe

A British band with an Australian singer performing a song about Europe in Vienna. If that isn’t an endorsement of freedom of movement I don’t know what is.

The Divine Comedy- Europop

“It’s taken time but I’ll think you’ll find that everything is alright” sings Neil Hannon. Is he singing about the European project? Probably not.

Guided By Voices- The Littlest League Possible

This song is about independence and being a big fish in a small pond. Will the UK be better off as the only fish in a small pond?

Billy Bragg – There Is Power In A Union

Billy isn’t a European Union enthusiast exactly but he is voting remain, so that seems reason enough to see this as an endorsement of a different kind of union than it was originally intended.

The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Stay of go? That is the big question. And this is the laziest song choice on a fairly lazy list.

Phil Ochs – Love Me I’m A Liberal

Liberals get a lot of bad press from both sides in the debate. Phil Ochs had a similarly disparaging view back in 1966.

Gruff Rhys – I Love EU

Gruf Rhys is pretty clear when he sits in the debate and this is his “official” pro-remain anthem. I’m sure that there are Brexit songs out there, but I suspect they aren’t very good.

Roxy Music – A Song For Europe

I have no idea where Bryan Ferry stands on the Europe question, I suspect he is closely monitoring any potential effect on his share portfolio. Former Roxy Music colleagues Brian Eno and Phil Manazanera have both come out in favour of remaining however. Read into that what you will, this is an excellent song whichever way you look at things.

Compiled by Dorian Rogers

 

 

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent 2016 Competition Launches

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent 2016 Competition Launches

Posted on 14 January 2016 by Joe

Details of this year’s Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent competition, which offers UK and Ireland based acts a chance to play on one of the iconic event’s main stages, have been announced.

As well as a main stage slot, the winner will receive a £5,000 talent development prize from PRS for Music Foundation. There are also £2,500 PRS development prizes for two runners up.

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We are also delighted to announce that Neonfiller.com’s editor Joe Lepper will once again be among a panel of 40 music writers, who will be helping to compile a long list of 120 acts.

This long list will then be whittled down to an eight-strong shortlist by judges including festival organisers Michael and Emily Eavis. All eight will then compete at a live finals at Pilton Working Men’s Club, near to the festival site, in April, when the winner will be announced.

The competition is free to enter and open to any musical genre. But you need to get a move on as it is only open for entries for one week only, from 9am Monday 18th January until 5pm Monday 25th January 2016 via glastonburyfestivals.co.uk.

When entering acts need to supply an original song on Soundcloud plus a link to a video of themselves performing live.

For the last two years the quality of the eight finalists has been so high that all were offered slots at that year’s festival.

Declan McKenna performing at Glastonbury last year

Declan McKenna performing at Glastonbury last year. Photo by Joe Lepper

The 2015 winner Declan McKenna, who was aged just 16 when he won, has since been signed by management company QPrime, which also handles Metallica, Muse and Foals.

Last year also proved a breakthrough year for Nadine Shah, one of Neonfiller.com’s three long list entrants in 2013. As well as the release of her critically acclaimed album Fast Food, Nadine also featured on two tracks on Ghost Poet’s album Shedding Skin.

Commenting on the launch of this year’s competition Emily Eavis said: “New music has always been a huge part of what we do at Glastonbury, and the Emerging Talent Competition has become an incredible way for us to discover and help draw attention to the very latest talent.”

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Top Five Protest Songs of 2015

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Top Five Protest Songs of 2015

Posted on 27 November 2015 by Joe

From the tragic consequences of US gun laws to the UK’s ongoing debate around inequality and low wages as well as worldwide debate around the plight of refugees fleeing war torn Syria, it’s been another year where political songwriters have had lots of inspiration.

Here we take a look at our five favourite political songs. All can be loosely called protest songs, but also offer more than that, often looking at the real lives of those affected by the political decisions taking place.

Darren Hayman – Down Among the Dead Men

Chants for Socialists is a rare political album from Darren Hayman. As you would expect from the former Hefner frontman it carries none of the bombast of Chumbawumba. Instead he has taken the lyrics from Victorian socialist William Morris, set it to music and given it a modern take with a choir of friends and those living nearby Morris’s former London home.

On this, one of the album’s standout tracks, Hayman successfully conveys a comforting sense of comraderie among the hopelessness of a world of social injustice, all sounding like a mix of The Kinks and a Victorian pub singalong thanks to co-writing duties from frequent Hayman collaborator Robert Rotifer.

Villagers- Little Bigot

A few years it would have been inconceivable that Ireland, with all the atrocities its Catholic society forced on women and gay people would allow same sex marriages. In the year Ireland really came of age Villagers frontman Conor O’Brien penned the album Darling Arithmetic, which is as much about Ireland’s attitude to gay men like himself as it is a wonderful collection of songs about love.

He is keen that this shold be seen as a love album first and a protest album second, but on Little Bigot he rejoices as finally the old way of thinking is cast aside. “So take the blame, little bigot. And throw that hatred on the fire,” he sings.

Belle and Sebastian – Cat with the Cream

Politicians and the banking elite are the smug cats here on Belle and Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch’s bitter take on British politics. Written after the Tory led coalition came into power in 2010 it was not released until this year when the Conservatives won an outright victory and looked to lap up even more cream. ‘Tory like a cat with the cream’ sums up many of that party’s politics wonderfully, but Labour and their ‘grubby little red’ MPs and the Lib Dems ‘flapping hopelessly’ also come under fire.

John Howard and the Night Mail – Tip of your Shoe

This is the second mention in this list of protest songs for Robert Rotifer, who in between fronting his own band Rotifer and helping Darren Hayman out, also collaborated this year with 1970s singer songwriter John Howard as part of the Night Mail. Here Rotifer’s lyrics and Howard’s wonderful voice and music take on xenophobia and right wing media commentators, especially ones of the likes of Katie Hopkins, who spout all sorts of vile political rubbish on their “21st century toilet wall” of social media.

Southern Tenant Folk Union – Slaughter in San Francisco


It seems incredulous that the US government still allows gun ownership to go unchecked in yet another year of horrific shootings. The school shootings are particular tragic and provide the sad inspiration for Slaughter in San Francisco, among the best songs on Southern Tenant Folk Union’s album The Chuck Norris Project, which is packed full of protest at a range of issues from bigotry to gun laws.

Here singer Rory Butler provides genuine emotion as he shows the horror of such incidents through the eyes of one of the frightened young victims. It’s one of the year’s most heartbreaking songs that sadly is set to have resonance for years to come until the US legislature finally sees sense on gun crime.

Compiled by Joe Lepper

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We gave an indie band a bad review…the response from one fan shocked us

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We gave an indie band a bad review…the response from one fan shocked us

Posted on 09 November 2015 by Joe

A strange thing happened last week following an album review we posted. For the first time in around six years of reviews and features we got our first piece of Twitter abuse.

We’ve had fans disagree with one of our views before. There have been people telling us our end of year best of lists are wrong to miss out a particular band or album. We’ve had bands respond sometimes with sadness about a review, but mostly with happiness for getting a mention. We’ve even been persuaded to change our minds about a review after strong lobbying from fans.

But we’ve never been sworn at and we’ve never been told to censor a review just because one of their fans disagrees with it

Here’s the particular Twitter response, from @coolguitarboy

swearyone

We were pretty surprised that our negative review for the debut album by London quintet The Leaf Library could garner such a response so we reTweeted it and copied @coolguitarboy in.

Then came something back from him  that was thankfully less sweary-pops, but nevertheless also worrying.

secondone

This response is something that we hear from time to time among indie music fans, in particular, that their beloved artists are somehow sacred because they don’t earn the mega bucks of their major label contemporaries. They believe that music reviewers and blogs should not print anything critical about them. But why not?

These bands and their labels are producing a product that they are asking consumers to buy. They then hire PR people to send them to people like us to review. If that product is not original, not interesting, perhaps just a bit bland surely it is right that reviewers give their honest opinion. Independent bands and labels are not charities. They are producing things to sell and if they sell a lot then perhaps they either run out or end up doing a deal with a major? Its business, but for the most part on a very small scale.

Of course subjectivity is also involved in a review, one fan’s “awesome must buy” is another reviewer’s “unimaginative mess”. But surely differing opinions on an album are allowed?

Surely it would be better for the likes of ‘coolguitarboy’ to tell us why an album that we have given a bad review of is so good.

Sufjan Stevens fans did this to us for our review of his Age of Adz album. They were so good at arguing their case that I went back and relistened and relistened and ended up agreeing with them. I was wrong on that one. Maybe I’m wrong about The Leaf Library.

I’ve yet to meet a label or a band that advocates such censorship and that they should be given protected status. Even Leaf Library shared our review, with a little joke too.

leaflibrary

They did this because a) they still recognise that someone has taken the time to listen to them rather than ignore them b) they are probably really nice people and c) they take reviews from small blogs like us with a pinch of salt.

The final point is the insinuation that blogs like ours are on the gravy train (admittedly a pretty rubbish one involving free CDs and gig tickets) and also don’t buy CDs or support independent music.

We spend vast sums each year on music both live and on disc. We also pay for the upkeep of this blog to promote those that do not often get reviewed. We get no money for it and give up our time to do that.

Just ask artists like John Howard, one of the most fiercely independent and talented artists around, or labels like Gare Du Nord records and their roster that includes the hugely talented Alex Highton, Rotifer, Picture Box, Ralegh Long and Papernut Cambridge. Or ask labels like Fika Recordings, Brighton’s Bleeding Hearts or Wiaiwya, who did release The Leaf Library’s album but have also attracted favourable reviews from us in the past. All will vouch for our credentials as a blog that is extremely keen to promote good music.

But if any of the above produce something that is poor we will also give our honest opinion. We  will not lie about a product that we believe is not up to scratch.

The bands themselves don’t want to be treated like a charity case. That demeans them more than a bad review by someone who has taken time to listen to their music and give an opinion on it.

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Guided By Voices – Closed For Business

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Guided By Voices – Closed For Business

Posted on 22 September 2014 by Dorian

So, Guided By Voices have split again, as announced a couple of days ago via their Facebook page and website. The second time they have formally split, the first being in 2004, and the end of the second edition of the “classic line-up”.

GBV Closed

In this second version they never made it to the UK, an aborted ATP show was the closest they got, and I have my doubts that Bob Pollard will ever return to these shores in any musical guise.

The Guardian responded to the news with an article asking if it was possible to pick the five best songs by the band. I have tried this task and found that there are just too many songs to make that possible. I decided to scale down the task; so here (in no particular order) are my top five from the six “comeback” albums.

Doughnut For A Snowman

Everywhere Is Miles From Everywhere

Planet Score

Bad Love Is Easy To Do

Waving At Airplanes

By Dorian Rogers

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Top 10 Albums – Here’s Mine, What Are Yours?

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Top 10 Albums – Here’s Mine, What Are Yours?

Posted on 10 July 2014 by Joe

We’ve covered our Top 100 alternative and independent albums, Top 10 debut albums and also compiled lists of our favourite folk and psychedelic albums. But I thought for a change I’d take away the restrictions of time and genre and present a list of my top ten albums as a way of finding out what your Top 10 Albums are. It’s a trickier task than you may think. I have constant nagging doubts that I should have included Lou Reed’s Transformer or Blondie’s Parallel Lines. You will face similar dilemmas. Feel free to tell us your Top 10 albums of all time in the comment box below.

10. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)

pauls_boutique

Following their huge debut album Licensed to Ill the Beastie Boys second album went in a more experimental direction under producers The Dust Brothers and became one of the best ever examples of sampling. From Public Enemy to The Beatles through to Curtis Mayfield and film soundtracks there are hundreds of snippets that make up each track. The end product is a tribute to music and modern culture and an outstanding album from start to finish. To find out more about the songs and riffs featured on the album click here.

9. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Gorilla (1967)

Gorilla-bonzo-dog-doo-dah-band-15383680-500-500

As a child, back when there were record players and cassettes and MP3s were the stuff of a mad man’s dreams, this was one of a handful of albums I used to beg my parents to play. This debut by art college psychedelic 1920s jazz mash up specialists is fun thanks to the humour of songwriter and vocalists Vivian Stanshall. But above all its got great tunes thanks to the involvement of Neil Inness, who went on to form the Rutles and has an outstanding ear for a good pop song. With tracks such as Cool Britannia, the Intro and the Outro and I’m Bored regularly used in advertising, TV and film this obscurity from a silly age will be surprisingly familiar.

8. The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree (2005)

mountaingoatstree

There are autobiographical albums and then there’s The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats and its frontman and songwriter John Darnielle. Here he lays bare an adolescence in the shadow of domestic abuse where he escapes into music, romance, drink and drugs. Its an album about survival and must have taken a huge amount of courage to write. Final track Pale Green Things, recalls the death of his step father and is so emotional and personal he can’t even play it live anymore. It is an impressive piece of work that shows the courage of young people and led me to become a fan of Darnielle and his band ever since. For more about The Mountain Goats read our Top Ten Bands That Changed Our Lives article here.

7. Fairport Convention- Liege and Lief (1969)

fairportconvention-liegeandlief_LRG

A running theme of the albums I’ve selected is an admiration of the effort that has gone into their writing and production. Fairport Convention Liege and Lief’s was written and recorded following a tragic motorway accident in which their drummer Martin Lamble died and guitarist Richard Thompson’s girlfriend Jeannie Franklin also lost her life. What emerged was one of the most influential folk albums of all time as their mourning, painstaking research into traditional English folk and rock roots came together to create an outstanding set of songs. From Tam Lin to Crazy Man Michael this album is to this day one of the most exciting of any genre.

6. Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Highway+61+Revisited+Bob+Dylan++Highway+61+Revisite

I came late to Bob Dylan. It was something about the voice, the Christianity and whole 1980s rock star image that put me off. Then I saw Martin Scorcese’s documentary centred around his mid 1960s albums and the time he went electric. From Bringing It All Back Home to Highway 61 revisited to Blonde on Blonde it remains my favourite period of Dylan’s music. Of the three Highway stands tallest, just. Like a Rolling Stone is its most well known track but the power of Ballad of a Thin Man and Desolation Row are among those that keep me coming back to this album time and again.

5. The B-52s – The B-52s (1977)

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When Rock Lobster, one of the singles from this debut from the Athens based band, was re released in the mid 1980s, I had no idea just how talented they were. I loved Rock Lobster but after getting this debut album I was awestruck. Ricky Wilson’s guitar playing is unique and in they were also blessed with three incredible vocalists, with Ricky’s sister Cindy particularly standing out. Her emotion on Dance This Mess Around and Hero Worship alone are worth the cover price alone. For more about The B-52s read our Top Ten Artists That Changed Our Lives feature here.

4. XTC – English Settlement (1982)

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On a monthly basis I kick myself for not including this in our Top 100 Indie and Alternative Albums list. Our XTC album of choice was the excellent Drums and Wires. But as the years have gone by it is English Settlement that I now believe was the Swindon band’s masterpiece. Sure it has the singles Sense Working Overtime and Ball and Chain, but it’s the lesser known tracks such as No Thugs in Our House and English Roundabout that really shine here. It was to have opened the door to fame and fortune, but sadly coincided with a chronic bout of stage fright for song writer Andy Partridge who was unable to tour following its release or indeed since. For more about XTC read our Top Ten Bands That Changed Our Lives article here.

3. The Clash – London Calling (1979)

london

Of all The Clash albums none are so perfectly executed as their third London Calling. Steeped in Caribbean and US influences this manages to expertly show The Clash for what they were a London punk band with a global outlook. This topped our Top 100 Indie and Alternative Albums list and remains one of my favourite albums thanks to superb lyrics on tacks like Lost in the Supermarket and instant pop appeal of tracks such as Train in Vain. Listening again it barely ages and remains a timeless classic. Read our full review of London Calling here.

2.  David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971)

Dory

Last year I detailed my surprise discovery that David Bowie wasn’t just a silly man dancing in his pyjamas wth Mick Jagger. He was in fact the coolest man in music as albums such as Low, Heroes and this pre-Ziggy album clearly show. Of all his albums that I’ve recently discovered this is my favourite due to its sheer quantity of classic, inventive pop songs. Any album that has the tracks Changes and All You Pretty Things is deserving of a place on this list. But to add in Life on Mars, Queen Bitch and Quicksand as well makes this album one of the best pop albums of all time..

1. The Beatles – Revolver (1966)

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Hey what about Sgt Peppers, Joe? Well, what about it? This seventh UK studio album from the Fab Four is by miles and miles of old George Martin infused studio tape the best Beatles album and in my view the best album of all time. You want pop? It’s got it in Taxman and Dr Robert. You want stunning orchestral melodies? Well, why not check out Eleanor Rigby. Or maybe awesome rock rifts are your thing, in that case She Said She Said will appeal. It’s even got the children’s classic Yellow Submarine, and on Tomorrow Never Knows a track that quite rightly is used to herald the start of counter culture. And then there’s the production with Martin’s backwards loops redefining music. Sgt Peppers is good, but this was the real game changer for modern music.

by Joe Lepper

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Record Store Day 2014

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Record Store Day 2014

Posted on 18 April 2014 by Dorian

I may not be willing to queue up from 6am anymore, but I still get excited about Record Store Day each year. the number of participating shops might be dwindling, two of my local participating shops have ceased to be since I first heard of the event, but the list of limited or exclusive records being made available seems to get longer each year.

Go to the Record Store Day site and you’ll see 17 pages listing the different items available ranging from ∆ ∆ (the secret of being first in a list is using some alphabetically tricky symbols) to Zoe Howe (a book rather than a record in this case).

Record Store Day 2014

 

The only way to be certain of getting the items you want from the list is finding a shop that stocks most of them (I’m lucky in that Brighton’s Resident Records always has a huge stock of titles) and get there very early. I’m going to have to hope that my (relatively) short list of “wants”, including Devo, Neko Case*, Grant Hart, Luke Haines and The Lemonheads aren’t on the lists of all the early risers.

Among the pick of the other Record Store Day releases is a vinyl limited edition reissue of The Twilight Sad’s astonishing and haunting 2007 debut album Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters.

Remastered with bonus tracks, including demos, the album has not lost its impact, with lead singer James Graham’s beautiful Scottish vocals sounding better than ever on key tracks such as Cold Days from the Birdhouse.

However, top of my list is a glow-in-the-dark 10″ version of the Ghostbusters’ theme tune. The original 12″ release of the Ray Parker Jr classic was one of my first record purchases, but was sadly mislaid some years ago. A limited edition luminescent version can finally fill that hole in my collection, if it isn’t snapped up before I get there that is.

There has been some controversy this year, and a recent Quietus article explores some of the problems that the day creates for independent labels. Independent labels losing out to the majors in terms of getting vinyl pressed is one issue, but also highlights that there could be a place for a UK based pressing plant in an invigorated climate for vinyl. Another concern is that this year there are 643 releases, compared to 277 three years ago, which suggests that the quality of releases is being compromised in favour of sales that the event generates.

These reservations aside, it is a successful event that clearly helps a lot of the shops that take part and gives an annual boost to a struggling part of the highstreet. Perhaps some tweaks in the next twelve months would be wise by the organisers, scores of average releases will undoubtedly lessen the impact of the more interesting ones. However, if it gets people through the doors of their local record shop spending money, then perhaps that is enough?

By Dorian Rogers

*Since I originally drafted this post I have seen that the Neko Case and Jason Lyttle 7″ version of  ‘Satellite of Love’ has a list price of £14.99. One of the criticisms that people have of Record Store Day is that loads of the releases are overpriced and therefore aimed at Ebay and not fans. Charging £14.99 for a 7″ inch single, even if it is a limited edition coloured vinyl single, is just too much.

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