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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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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Field Music Play…

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Field Music Play…

Posted on 02 October 2012 by Joe

There are some ground rules for a successful cover version that apply to all but the ropiest of lost cause tribute bands.  Ensuring the cover sounds different to the original while avoiding parody is key. An admiration for the original also helps give authenticity and passion but the crowning achievement is to produce a cover version that sounds even better than the original.

Few have achieved that, with Jim Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower and Johnny Cash’s Mercy Seat being among the rare exceptions. With this in mind we find ourselves listening to an eight track  mini-album  by newly Mercury Music Prize nominated Field Music, bringing together their covers of tracks from the likes of John Cale and The Beatles that have already appeared on charity singles,  magazine give aways and B-sides.

The tracks that work best are when they successfully put a  Field Music spin on it, filling it with tempo changes, jerky arrangements and their, perhaps now trademark, guitar string bending. Opener Terrapin is perhaps the best example of this and achieves the rare accolade of bettering the original, which is a painfully dire psychedelic mess by the late Syd Barrett.

Another success is their take on Roxy Music’s If There Is Something, which takes away the original’s cheese factor, plays around with its intricate guitar arrangement and benefits from Field Music brother Peter and David Brewis having similar north east of England accents to Roxy frontman Bryan Ferry. The Beatles Don’t Pass Me By is another triumph, with the original’s psychedelic rock and change of pace proving the perfect foil for Field Music. Their version also benefits from not having Ringo Starr singing on it.

Less successful is John Cale’s Fear is a Man’s Best Friend. It’s a great song and while they do a passable version, they don’t add much more to it or attempt to play around with its stomping piano moments. Born Again Cretin, originally by Robert Wyatt, is full of admiration for the original, but fails to top it. But then again who can? And while I like the two Pet Shop Boys covers, of Heart and Rent, it is the latter that really shines. David Brewis’s vocals brings out the sadness in this pop gem perfectly. Once again the similarity in accents between the brothers and North Shields born Neil Tennant helps.

7/10

by Joe Lepper

 

 

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October Preview

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October Preview

Posted on 01 October 2012 by Dorian

Here is our October preview of the best music releases and events in the coming month. Items marked with an * are currently scheduled for review on the site.

Albums

Album of the month: The Greatest Hits Of Boston Spaceships – Out Of The Universe By Sundown*

We wouldn’t normally pick a best-of collection as our album of the month but as this is the first Boston Spaceships album to get a UK release we’ll make an exception. Collecting 15 tracks from the bands five albums it represents some of the best music of Robert Pollard’s career. (Out on Fire Records on the 8th October)

Boston Spaceships - Greatest Hits Of Boston Spaceships

The Greatest Hits Of Boston Spaceships

1st October

Dark Dark Dark – Who Needs Who

Bob Mould – Silver Age*

Tim Burgess – Oh No I Love You

The Soft Pack – Strapped

Field Music…Play (read our review)

8th October

Tame Impala – Lonerism*

Why? – Mumps etc.

Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth (read our review)

Tall Ships – Everything Touching

15th October

AC Newman – Shut Down The Streets*

Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man

Jim Jones Revue – The Savage Heart

Jason Lytle – Department Of Disappearance

22nd October

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Lost Songs

Of Montreal – Daughter Of Cloud*

Peter Broderick – These Walls Of Mine

29th October

Neil Young – Psychedelic Pill

Madness – Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da

Gigs and tours

Tour of the month: Field Music

Field Music have been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and you have the opportunity to see them on what may be their last tour for some time.

  • Oct 03 2012, Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree
  • Oct 04 2012, Glasgow, Oran Mor
  • Oct 05 2012, Leeds, The Cockpit
  • Oct 06 2012, Liverpool, Kazimier
  • Oct 10 2012, Southampton, Cellars
  • Oct 11 2012, Cardiff, clwb Ifor Bach
  • Oct 12 2012, Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
  • Oct 17 2012, London, Electric Ballroom
  • Oct 18 2012, Brighton, The Haunt*
  • Oct 19 2012, Bath, Komedia
  • Oct 20 2012, Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre
Field Music

Field Music

The Twilight Sad tour the UK in October:

  • 18 Thur NEWCASTLE Cluny
  • 19 Fri WAKEFIELD The Hop
  • 20 Sat MANCHESTER Sound Control
  • 22 Mon BIRMINGHAM Hare & Hounds
  • 23 Tue LONDON Dingwalls
  • 24 Wed BRISTOL Louisiana
  • 25 Thur CAMBRIDGE Portland Arms
  • 26 Fri LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
  • 27 Sat PRESTON Mad Ferret
Cheatahs – The new Wichita Records signings on tour, including several dates with The Cribs
  • 17 October – London, 100 Club w/Veronica Falls & Mazes
  • 23 October – Oxford, Academy 2, w/The Cribs
  • 24 October – Norwich, Waterfront w/The Cribs
  • 25 October – Liverpool, 02 Academy w/The Cribs
  • 26 October – Manchester, Apollo w/The Cribs
  • 29 October – Manchester, 02 Academy w/The Cribs
  • 30 October – Sheffield, 02 Academy w/The Cribs
  • 01 November – Leicester, Academy w/The Cribs
  • 02 November – London, The Others
  • 06 November – London, Village Underground w/Cloud Nothings

The Tallest Man On Earth – Dates across the UK and Ireland through October

  • HMV Forum Kentish Town, London, Oct 23
  • Colston Hall Bristol, Oct 24*
  • Vicar Street Dublin, Oct 25
  • Mandela Hall Belfast, Oct 27
  • HMV Picture House Edinburgh, Oct 28
  • HMV Ritz Manchester, Manchester, Oct 29
  • St Bartholomews Church Brighton, Oct 31
Efterklang – The Danish band play live with the Northern Sinfonia
  • 23.10 GATESHEAD, NEWCASTLE, UK – The Sage
  • 24.10 EDINBURGH, UK – Usher Hall
  • 27.10 COVENTRY, UK – Warwick Arts Centre
  • 28.10 BRIGHTON, UK – Dome
  • 29.10 MANCHESTER, UK – Bridgewater Hall
  • 30.10 LONDON, UK – Barbican

Festivals

The festival season is over in the traditional sense, but there are still interesting festival events happening through the Autumn.

Oxjam

Oxjam is a nationwide music event throughout October with events nationwide raising money for Oxfam. Our event featuring Rotifer, Tigercats and Danny Kendall is sure to be on of the best but you can look for events throughout the month in your area on the Oxjam wegottickets portal. You can find out more about the event, and about the good work that Oxfam does with the money raised, by visiting www.oxfam.org.uk/oxjam.

Oxjam

Oxjam

A Carefully Planned Festival

A Carefully Planned Festival is a multi-venue festival featuring 100 acts in Manchester on the 20th and 21st October. Amongst the bands playing is Neon Filler favourite Free Swim who will be playing track from their brilliant new EP She Dreams In Lights. More details can be found at www.acarefullyplannedfestival.wordpress.com.

Other stuff

Magical Mystery Tour on DVD

On the 8th October you will have the opportunity to purchase a the much maligned 1967 Beatles film on DVD and Blu-Ray. The soundtrack has considerable high points, including ‘I Am The Walrus’, but the jury is out on the film that was considered one of the band’s bigger follies.

The Magical Mystery Tour

The Magical Mystery Tour

To get your album/gig/tour/film/book/festival/t-shirt included in our monthly preview please send details to dorian@neonfiller.com.

By Dorian Rogers

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