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blogonblogoff - side b

'everything is nothing if you've got no one'

Monday, December 22, 2003

Then I just go to sleep
Okay more stuff to listen to that I completely forgot until I got back to Manchester. The Soulsavers series of mix CD's are completely brilliant - Fear and Loathing on the Wheels of Steel. All completely unofficial and without any tracklistings, great mix of soul, funk and rock. The guy has a proper record out too, but I've not listened to it yet because setting up my full size record player out from my brother's room is a full day operation mainly because I have to get our kid to clear some space in his Aladdin's cave of junk.

There's also a great mix tape by Kid Koala called Scratchratchratchratch that is quite old but I love it. Oooh some great stuff by the Pernice Brothers too including an excellent Janice Long session, right that's it I think. I'll spend the Christmas holidays listening to a shed load of albums and deciding whether to donate a lot of records to charity shops like I did this weekend. People are always surprised when you donate some decent music. None of that Val Doonican, Jim Reeves or Bros.

Before I go Laura Cantrell is playing on John Peel on Tuesday night.

Posted by Edward @ 12:53 PM GMT
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Thursday, December 18, 2003
Dead iPod in the ear
Nearly every single magazine and newspaper has named the iPod as their must have gadget of the year especially now that all the celebs have one. iPod's Dirty Secret is a great backlash video against the poor battery life that the iPod has. This guy's iPod battery only lasted 18 months and then it wouldn't hold any charge. As a owner of the first generation iPod I haven't had much of a decrease in battery power two years down the line, maybe 30%.

I know that Apple have started to replace batteries if you buy after sales service but it could work out to be a very expensive gadget. Something to think about before splashing out for one. I'll wait for the fourth generation of iPod's before upgrading. Apple should look into it a bit more. The community are getting a bit tired of the little things that should be solved. I wonder how the other MP3 players cope with internal rechargables.

Regarding the best of list I did yesterday I would like to add Luma Lane's debut mini LP - reminds me of Joy Zipper, beautiful sounds and vocals.

Posted by Edward @ 01:16 PM GMT
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Wednesday, December 17, 2003
The soundtrack to my life
Time for that end of year list of music that I really enjoyed. I thought I better get it done early in case I don't have time over the Christmas holidays. Anywa as usual this list would number the fifties if I my memory could serve me. I end up missing loads of things but here goes...

  • Aidan Smith - The At Home With... EP's show Aidan to be the emerging talent to look out for, it really helps being on Twisted Nerve. His performance for In The City although short and shaky was nothing short of brilliant. Songs of wit, humour, love and sadness so enjoyable. Look forward to his debut album. Adian is also my artist of the year

  • The BMX Bandits - Down At The Hop LP, the return of my favourite band of all time. Such an enjoyable album it's difficult to imagine they have been away for seven years. Loads of Beach Boys influenced pop. Their gigs are equally brilliant and more importantly fun, a lot of bands have forgotten this element.

  • Magnet - On Your Side LP, Evan Johannsen has created such beautiful sounds from his lap steel guitar. Sounds that wrap themselves in your mind.

  • The Bear Quartet - Angry Brigade, I listened to a lot of the Bear Quartet's back catalogue as I am releasing a record by them on my label. Their latest album is superb, anthemic tunes, stripped down pop that's intelligent and get's you jumping around to it.

  • The Sea And The Cake - Sound And Vision taken from their album One Bedroom. An excellent cover of Bowie's song.

  • The Postal Service - Give Up album, made without either of the collaborators meeting it's suprising how well the music and lyrics fit together, bits of electronica thrown into great indie pop songs.

  • Is This Music? - various compilation of Teenage Fanclub covers. A Japanese only thing that deserves much respect in getting together excellent covers that are not just fillers.

  • I Am Kloot - I Am Kloot LP, second album that improves on their first album by a substantial margin. Same dark songs that have real prescence.

  • Manecas Costas - Paradiso De Gumbe, His debut album on the new Late Junction label. His performance at the opening of the Bath Music Festival made a great impression on me. Songs full of real rhythm that are steeped in his local culture and surroundings.

  • The Strokes - Room on Fire, second album bum album, I don't think so, I enjoyed this more than their first.

  • Fourtet - Rounds, the genius Kieran Hebden returns once more with more enjoyable folk, jazz, electronica influenced music.

  • Pernice Brothers - Yours Mine And Ours, another beautiful album. I am so grateful for that chance meeting with Mark in New York a few years ago who said I should listen to these guys.

  • The Innocence Mission - Befriended, so delicate and fragile you can feel it. Their sixth album.

  • Nice Man - Sauchiehall And Hope, Francis MacDonald from Teenage Fanclub and The BMX Bandits releases his solo debut album. Superb power-pop and country tinged songs.

  • Cat Power - You Are Free, Chan Marshall comes up with the goods again. I Don't Blame You on Jools Holland, haunting Werewolf and the superb Free are my highlights.

  • The Tindersticks - Waiting For The Moon, simply a wonderful album.

  • As you can tell I am running out of superlatives so I'm just going to say the following records deserve much listening: Calexico - Feast Of Wire; Colder - Again; Manitoba - Up In Flames; Orchestra Boabab Pirates Choice; Cannonball Jane - Street Venicular; Europa 51 - Abstractions; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Nocturama; Mogwai - Happy Songs For Happy People; Stephen Fretwell's new EP's, David Tyack and Malcolm Mooney with the soundtrack to Rip Van Winkle; The White Stripes - Elephant; Soledad Brothers; The Hope Of States EPs; Mr David Viner; Blur - Out Of Time; The Buena Social Club presents series including Ibraheim Ferrer and Ormoa Portunondo; The Fall - The Real New Fall LP; Camera Obscura - Please Try Harder; Lamb - Between Darkness and Wonder; Dizzee Rascal - Boy In Da Corner; Spearmint - My Missing Days LP

I also listened to :

  • Elliott Smith's entire back catalogue including so many excellent live gigs. Sadly no more.

  • East River Pipe's early stuff from Sarah Records era and beyond.

  • Portishead thought I should after Beth Gibbon's superb solo efforts.

  • Loads of soundtracks including Ameilé, American Beauty, Charlie Brown Christmas, The Royal Tannebaums and City of God.

  • Lot's of soul from compilations like the Talcolm Soul series to Sam Cooke, Eddie and Ernie and Barbara Lewis.

  • David Bowie, Louis Armstrong, Bob Marley, Trojan Reggae comps, Heavenly, Yellow Magic Orchestra....

  • And of course the music I am releasing on Heliotone Records namely Anthony Atkinson and Mundane Music.

Radio programme of the year for me again goes to the wonderful Greasy Kids Stuff on WFMU. Gig of the year probably goes to the Twisted Nerve night for In The City just for having it at the Bridgewater Hall, although many Purr nights at Moles Club in Bath were enjoyable.

Bloody hell this list is getting out of control. I listen to all of this stuff then put it away for a while and then listen to it again reviving the sensations of a first hearing again. Maybe it's a bit too long and I should say these are the ten best records or songs I enjoyed this year but why? We shouldn't be discriminative about these things especially in the press. Are these end of years lists that important? I would put ten artists who have hardly any exposure just to get more people to listen to the talent beyond their usual circle which some magazines do to a certain extent. I like what I listen to, yet as always welcome new artists to break in and grab my ears. I hope I listen to a fair share of unknown and commercial acts everyday.

I've already got another list of records to try and get for next year.... along with the dozens of records I just don't have the money to buy at the moment. It could be a very pocket damaging 2004. Almost zero social life this year but music will always get me by.

Posted by Edward @ 09:34 PM GMT
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Thursday, December 11, 2003
Is there a storm coming or are we just another shower?
Again the wait for my record pressings is killing me. It's probably the most unpleasant thing about running the label. It used to be okay as I knew pretty much exactly when I would get them as the plant would have tracking. I suppose that's what you pay for in postage charges. Now I get them half way across the world there's non of this certainty and with the Christmas post filling the postal service up I don't know where it could be. Maybe the answer is it to get all the releases I plan to do in a year pressed at once then just release them over the course of a year. Blimey I will have exact release dates like proper majors, that would be a change. I might need more storage for the records but it's better that they are over here than on a ship somewhere. Anyway when they do get here it will be some quality tracks by Mundane Music - music to make you smile.

The benefits of working at a University are the long breaks you get. Only problem is the mass rush to get things done before the break. Suddenly the momentum has gathered and work is required. Going into University at 8 in the morning is a strange experience. It's so dead I feel completely our of place. At that time in a city centre there would be the mad rush to work. To get the same effect you would probably have to start work at 5 am. Now then, I remember coming out of work at 5:30 am once and it wasn't that quiet in Manchester. I managed to get the first bus home. Those were the mad dot com days.

Posted by Edward @ 10:53 PM GMT
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Tuesday, December 2, 2003
The spotlight so clear
I know most people will have seen this because they work in an office where they get a hundred emails a day full of bad links, jokes and forwards but hey I've just got.

Sleath Disco - reminds me of Friday night, or was that Saturday? Reminds me of this dance tutorial on how to dance properly.

For the past three years I've enjoyed the offerings of Electric December. Basically an digital Advent calendar. All the 'gifts' are done by people and companies in the South West region, best thing is that all the gifts are available for viewing now rather than waiting each day. Some are better than others. If you don't come from Bristol or Bath then you won't recognise the places in the Building Blocks game on Day 2. Generally it's quite a good showcase of what the creative bunch the South West are and some different sides to Christmas and issues. Now where is that North West version.

Posted by Edward @ 01:18 PM GMT
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