Monday, 28 March 2011

A Review: Beady Eye - 'Different Gear, Still Speeding'

Yeah, I know, shut up. It's been out for a month. But I like an album to sit with me for a little bit before I pass judgement. That's how I roll.

I've never got the whole 'Oasis sound like the Beatles' rhetoric. Usually the person saying that, in my experience, is a massive bell end. Of course they fucking don't sound like the Beatles. Borrowed a sneaky couplet, chord change or guitar sound, yes, but no more than you or I. I always found such remarks to be patronising, both to the band and the listener/reader.

Having said that, I groaned, quite audibly, when I first heard Beady Eye's 'The Roller'. I was worried. The 'Instant Karma'-ness of the song could not be ignored. But when the album came out, I gave it a chance...

It's good, actually. Not life changingly great, but it's good. It's a lot better than I was expecting it to be. There's some really interesting sounds going on here. I like the retro rock & roll piano on 'Bring The Light', the driving rhythm on the ironically Dylanesque 'Beatles and Stones', and the Eastern sounding 'Millionaire'. 'The Roller' has even grown on me.

As an Oasis fan, I can say that it's the album they needed to make. Sure it wears a lot of the usual influences on its sleeve, but so what. It's four fifths of a band that ended rather abruptly. It's just as enjoyable to listen to as latter day Oasis, if slightly less memorable.

A lot of people are now eagerly awaiting brother Noel's next move. As am I.


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Baby Playlist #2

'You're my son and you're gonna shine...'

So we're another week on. The place is getting gradually taken over by baby products. I think we now have enough Huggies wipes to last Baby L till he's 17!

Here's some selected highlights from the list of tunes we've been playing to our little baby bump over the last few nights:

Feeling A Moment - Feeder

Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness - Smashing Pumpkins

On My Way Back Home - Band Of Horses

Obscured - Smashing Pumpkins

Why Walk When You Can Run - Paul Weller

Heartbeats - José González

Let There Be Love - Oasis

Every Grain Of Sand - Bob Dylan

Born On A Different Cloud - Oasis

Persephone - Kula Shaker

Weather To Fly - Elbow

Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix

Here At The Right Time - Josh Ritter

Perfect Circle - R.E.M.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Baby Playlist #1

'Operating, generating, new life, new life...'

Exciting times. My wife Lisa and I are expecting our first child in August. We had our 2nd scan on Tuesday and everything is fine with baby. We also now know that it's a boy!

We're reaching the stage now where baby is able to hear, so I've begun to select some tunes for baby to listen to. I've tried to go for songs that not only mean something to either me or Mrs L, but make for interesting pieces of music with sounds that baby can hopefully engage with.

There are two intended outcomes:

1) When baby comes out and is having a rough time of it ie. wailing in the middle of the night, some familiar sounds might help to soothe him

2) He will hit the ground running in terms of good music taste!

Lisa has begun to experience the 'flutters' that will soon become kicks! She says it feels 'like a bouncy ball' bouncing around her tummy! She experienced a couple of these sensations while we were playing these songs to him.

So here are the songs that we played to baby in our inaugural music session last night:

Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys

I Get Around - The Beach Boys

Live Forever - Oasis

Series Of Dreams - Bob Dylan

Detlef Schrempf - Band Of Horses*

When You Dream - Barenaked Ladies

Birdhouse In Your Soul - They Might Be Giants

New Life - Depeche Mode*

Station Approach - Elbow

* - Indicates movement felt in Mrs L's tummy!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Spooky Discovery

I had a little bit of a surprise last Saturday morning, as Mrs L and I were walking to the bus stop, around the corner from our flat. I happened to glance to my left as we were walking past a gate, having never been curious about it before, and happened to see a few stone steps leading up to a couple of gravestones sticking up from the ground. For the first time in the five years we've been living in Eccles, I saw this graveyard that neither of us had ever noticed before!

I must have walked and driven past it literally a thousand times and never noticed it before. I can only guess that it must have been the yard of a now long gone church, possibly on the site the old folk's flats now occupy immediately next to the yard. A google search doesn't seem to turn up any info.

I've always been fascinated with graveyards, for as long as I can remember. Sadly the gate was padlocked and we couldn't have a nosy around.

So the moral of this little tale is, when you have time, and when it's safe to do so, take some time to have a REALLY good look round your neighbourhood. And chat to your neighbours too. Even if you've lived in the same area for even longer than we have lived in ours, you may be surprised (or shocked) at what you may discover!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Better Late Than Never: My Albums of 2010

Yeah, I know, it's a bit late. But I feel like I can now reveal my top 10 list with a bit more clarity and less prejudice than if I had done it in the middle of December.

I'm not trying to earn any cool points here - I don't need approval from any chin-stroking hipster wankers.

Simply put, it's a list of the ten albums that I have enjoyed the most, and continue to enjoy, from last year:

1. Band Of Horses - Infinite Arms
The band I try to get all my friends to like. Luxurious and panoramic.
Fave track: On My Way Back Home

2. Josh Ritter - So Runs The World Away
If I were ever to use the word 'genius' in a non-ironic sense, I would use it to describe the music of Josh Ritter.
Fave track: Folk Bloodbath

3.Paul Weller - Wake Up The Nation
The man's got more guts, passion and originality than most people half his age. Astonishing.
Fave track: Find The Torch / Burn The Plans

4. The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
Urgent, anthemic, thrilling.
Fave track: The Diamond Church Street Choir

5. Best Coast - Crazy For You
Takes me to a place that's warmer than Manchester. There are so many shitty sleeves out there, but this one is a work of art.
Fave track: Each And Every Day

6. Scissor Sisters - Night Work
I LOVE Scissor Sisters. Fuck all you indie cunts.
Fave track: Invisible Light

7. Eels - Tomorrow Morning
Less direct, more synthesised, but as always, still honest and beautiful.
Fave track: Oh So Lovely

8. I Am Kloot - Sky At Night
In a word, gorgeous.
Fave track: Proof

9. Teenage Fanclub - Shadows
If you don't know this band, I feel sorry for you.
Fave track: Baby Lee

10. Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep
An inspirational story, and an inspirational man. Welcome back Edwyn Collins.
Fave track: I Still Believe In You

Honourable mentions must also go to:

Neil Young - Le Noise
Weezer - Hurley
Manic Street Preachers - Postcards From A Young Man
Robert Plant - Band of Joy
Daft Punk - Tron: Legacy Original Soundtrack
Cee Lo Green - The Ladykiller

PS. If anyone's wondering, I like to pretend Arcade Fire stopped making music after Funeral.