widg‧et /ˈwɪdʒɪt/ [wij-it] -noun: Pointless ramblings from the New Forest. Obviously complete & utter Rubbish. Why must I contibute to all this endless talk about me? My self-indulgent knees, spilling themselves all over the internet. Obviously i am Jon and his hair, I AM HIM!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dance to the Music (Part Three)

Here is the next instalment of my life in music, or more correctly my life outside of music, looking in through the grubby windows at all the sparkly and resplendent people laughing and pointing at me from inside their cocoon of cool. But first a disclaimer for all of those horrified that I should refuse to name any Metallica, Kylie, Hip-Hop or -insert the object of your insane desires here- albums. Everyone is entitled to their own informed opinion, and I am more informed than you, so pop that in your bellybutton and spoon it!

1994Jeff Buckley - Grace
Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible
Pulp - His n Hers
Guided by Voices - Bee Thousand
The Brand New Heavies - Brother Sister

Jeff Buckley - self explanatory, surely. Just give it a spin and the need for words buggers off for a bit. And for the joyless souls who can't stand the fact that the dead sell better/are praised more than the living, he was pretty good before he died too, ahhh (to be read as a knowing ahhh, not a sentimental ahhh).
The Manics - I remember the huge posters of severely overweight naked lovelies plastered all over the Brighton Virgin Megastore (sadly since relocated to the cavernously horrid Churchill Square complex, that bloody nodding dog's got a lot to answer for) to promote the album. I still think the staff should've been made to wear fat suits that week, but ah, such is the stuff of my dreams.
Pulp - This record prompted hours of nude mirror fascination, perfecting Jarvo-synchronised arm movements and hand gestures with micro-precision. But now I am Jarvis' friend on myspace (it still counts) it somehow feels wrong.
Guided by Voices - First heard of this lot via a Breeders cover of 'Shocker in Gloomtown' on their 'Head to Toe' green (jelly!) vinyl ep. Supposedly a bunch of 40 something school teachers, but I venture that was just a marketing strategy myth (not unlike the mini-pops fiasco of yesteryear). All their tracks were recorded using a comb & paper and a big old wind-up gramophone, with a toothpick instead of a needle, to get that authentic lo-fi sound.
The Brand New Heavies soundtracked an entire glorious week on the Isle of Wight, get down with your beastly self!

1995Belly - King
Throwing Muses - University
Moloko - Do You Like My Tight Sweater?
Stereolab - Music for the Amorphous Body Study Centre
Unun - Super Shiny Dreams

An all female vocalised year this one, I was going to list Pavement's Wowee Zowee, but that would have messed it up.
The Stereolab record's only a mini (but perfectly formed) album, recorded to go with some arty bloke's sculpture exhibition in New York. I never got to see it since I was a poor student and it was in New bloody York, but I guess it was the same idea as that V&A Shhh... thing from a couple of years ago, and I very much enjoyed that. Anyway, you don't need the amorphous bodies in front of you to appreciate the music, which I can only describe as pink & spongey.
I saw Unun at the BiC supporting Björk and I had to check twice that the pink be-mohicaned girl on stage wasn't Björk in disguise. The sound is quite sugarcubesy, partly the fault of the aforementioned björk-alike and partly because the guitarist is both a former Sugarcube and the former husband of Björk. The album is so mmmm I couldn't understand why it didn't get a proper release in this country. Good old fashioned Icelandic fun.
Moloko's debut is possibly the first concept album about a chat up line (do you like my tight sweater, see how it fits my body), well maybe the whole album's not about that, but it should be. It included a song from the point of view of the giant from 'Jack & the Beanstalk (or at least one of the many mythical giants from my childhood) and a tune about playing dominoes with a gang of nutty geriatrics & a cheeky monkey. Some of these things may not be true, but listen and dance around your mind anyway.
I came to Throwing Muses through hearing Belly on the radio back at Brock College, this is the first Muses album I bought at the time of release and is still my favourite.
Though it was slated at the time I always thought this Belly disc had a better flow than the first. Maybe there weren't so many individual standout songs, but the album as a whole held together better and had a cohesive sound that I appreciated.
You may be detecting a small 4AD bias at this point, a result of the fact that I was more than a little bedevilled by that particular record company at the time. Ah, the music-noise, the eye-design, the smell of fresh Bovril, it was all there.

1996Lamb - Lamb
Cheikh Lo - Ne La Thias
REM - New Adventures in Hi-Fi
Scheer - Infliction
Alice in Chains - MTV Unplugged

Scheer - I saw these supporting Belly at the Astoria in 95, they made a bloody great racket, though they seemed to disappear into obscurity not long afterwards.
Much as I loathe the whole MTV unplugged phenomenon, Alice in Chains is one of the few bands where this approach makes sense. Coming across like a mellow (but still exciting) greatest hits, it's a shame (to put it mildly) that not long afterwards the singer succumbed, like so many others, to the naughty drugs.
Cheikh Lo is the first african artist I'm listing here, but not the first I'd become interested in. That would be Angelique Kidjo, who I simultaneously encountered on Jools Holland and late night pile of arse, Casey Kasem's America's Top Ten show, more from her later. Anyway Cheikh Lo is both Senegalese and good, if a little throaty.
REM - A strange choice, perhaps, considering all the knockout REM albums to chose from, but I've always preferred records that are a well rounded listening experience, rather than patchy ones with a few genius singles scattered around. Plus it features Patti Smith, the bearded lady who told Debbie Harry to get out of Rock n' Roll, for which I should despise her, but the moustache keeps calling me back.
Lamb was my favourite band in 1997 (I know I'm talking about '96, but I didn't get the album till the end of the year), engineering a collision of clattering beats and alternately sweet & abrasive vocals. Sometimes wrongly and bizarrely categorised as mondeo man's dinner party music by the chin strokers, it would be hard to concentrate on anything else with this playing in the background. I remember dancing like a loon to their set in the pissing rain at Greenbelt, ah the folly of youth, I ended up with a sprained knee and a bit of a cough, ahh (to be read a a sympathetic ahh, not a pathetic ahh).


Blogger Jenniedee said...

Aaah (to be read as a dawn-of-understanding-aaah, not a patronising aaah), isn't it about time you tried free-lance writing for some music magazines? Get off your Thresher-comfort-zone arse and DO IT!

12:52 pm


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