Wednesday, 11 May 2011

101 "favourite" tracks - No 81 to 90

81. Shriekback, All Lined Up

I came across Shriekback from more or less their formation, as keyboard player Barry Andrews had been in Robert Fripp's League of Gentlemen who I quite liked. I bought their first album, Tench, and a smattering of their later material, and saw them in concert 3 or 4 times. Never very successful commercially, I thought they made a handful of really great tracks of which this is my favourite. I came to dislike the main type of music they played, a very "in-your-face" sort of funky, dance music, but some of their quieter songs were quite exceptional.

Alternates: Coelacanth, Midnight Maps, Evaporation

82. Sigur Ros, Untitled track 2

Another band first heard on Peel. For ages I was unsure of the spelling of their name and so could get any of their CDs! But they are also a band that I feel really declined rapidly over the last couple of years, and I thought Jonsi's solo album was terrible. When I spent a week fishing in Iceland in 2000 (?), our guide claimed to know them well - but I suspect that everyone in Iceland claims to know Sigur Ros, just like everyone probably knows Bjork.

The Sigur Ros movie, Heina, is really great though


83. Siouxise and the Banshees, Overground

It was in 1978 that I started to listen to Peel more or less every night. And that year saw the first two Siouxsie sessions, of which this track was one. For a few years, these were my favourite Peel sessions (and are available on the deluxe CD version of The Scream) until the 1983 Cocteau Twins sessions. I was totally blown away by these two sessions, unlike any music I had heard up to then.

Sioussie and the Banshees played a show at Warwick University near where I lived and though we were only 16 at the time, myself and one or two other school friends went to see it - my first punk show, boy did I look silly (and for the reason of not being dressed like the punks)

Alternates: Anything else from The Scream e.g. Switch, Metal Postcard, Mirage, Carcass . . .

84. Songs: Ohia, Captain Bad'ass

A band (or solo artist really) that I stumbled across on the now defunct music site I think it was a link from their Shellac page, because of the track Steve Albini's Blues. I have gradually collected all the SO albums and most the subsequent Magnolia Electric releases and Linda and I went to see a show at a tiny club in London a few years back. Great stuff, and proof that a really low key production can still work really well.

Once, ages ago, I came across a website with loads of SO live recordings and some great artwork to go with them. Now I can't find either the live recordings or the pictures, or the website

Alternates: Steve Albini's Blues, Hard to love a man like you, most of Ghost Tropic

85. Sonic Youth, Cotton Crown

I saw Sonic Youth's first show in the UK, supporting Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Hammersmith Palais. They wandered on stage, propped two guitars up against the monitor boxes so they feedbacked all the way through the show and played 35 minutes of tracks like Brother James. Great stuff. Since then, I have bought pretty much every SY cd as it has come out, but this is by far my favourite track.

But that said, I really liked Pink Stream from a few years ago too.

A few years back, I was in New York with Emma on a trip to visit US colleges, and SY played a show at the Bowery ballroom that I went to, the only time I have seen them on their "own patch". I have now seen them 8 or 10 times live, stand out shows include the 1988 Daydream Nation shows at the Astoria with rapeman as support or the "Goodbye 20th century" shows in London.

Definitely one of my favourite bands of the last 25 years

86. Spacemen 3, Rollercoaster

When I lived in Kenilworth in Warwickshire, there were very few local bands, perhaps the best known being The Specials from Coventry. I always rather liked Leamington's finest, Silverfish. Spacemen 3 were from Rugby, about 10 miles away. I saw them once at a local venue before they had achieved any sort of fame, and then once a few years later, just before they broke up. This type of drone-based space rock, psychedelia remains a firm favourite with me and more or less any band in this general field gets my thumbs up

Alternates: Che, Mary Ann, Things will never be the same

87. Spirit, I've got a line on you

I first came across Spirit when they played a couple of tracks on the Old Grey Whistle Test around the time of the release of Potatoland (1980?). Another hippy band that I would grow to love. Indeed I have been trying to complete my CD collection of their albums for some while now. I only saw them once - maybe 1984 or so, the Randy, Ed and Fuzzy version. I do have loads of live recordings of them though from all periods of their life.

The other week I came across some old music magazines in a box in the garage. things like Trouser Press, Ablaze, ZigZag, Forced Exposure and Dark Star. The latter has a free flexi 7" featuring Spirit's Midnight Train - now there's a track I haven't heard for a long time.

I was actually really quite sad when Randy California drowned a few years back.

Alternates: Most of the Clear cd, Look to the left,

88. Alan Stivell, The Foggy Dew

Back in 1975, I went on a school trip to Brittany, staying at Roscoff near St Malo. One of the guys on the trip bought Alan Stivell's Live at the Olympia having heard it in the house he was staying at. What a superb record that is. He made me a tape of it back in the UK and I virtually wore it out. It would be quite a few years before I acquired a CD of this.

In the early 1990s, we went on holiday to Concarneu and he played a show one evening while we were there - one of the highlights of my live music watching life. And once Linda and i stumbled across a bar called Stivell in some tiny town on the coast near Concarneau with pictures of him on the walls. I have gradually collected quite a number of his recordings, but there remain at least half a dozen I don't have. This year we are going to Brittany on holiday, so maybe I can get them then?


89. Swans, Blood promise

Alternates: Sex, God, Sex

90. Tangarine Dream, Track 1 from Bootleg boxset, Volume

Peel - 8 mins of ricochet, "old hippies never die"

Cloudburst flight

Tangarine Tree, tangarine Leaves



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