Tuesday, 29 March 2011

29th March 2011: E:B:4

You may have noticed that I didn't put a Choose My Music request on Twitter today. This is because my partner Anna wanted to have a go and pick my listening.

To make sure there was no fixing or anything like that going on I got Anna to write down her selection - and she chose Bay E, Row B, CD 4 which lead me to this.

Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom
This is going to so weird, but as a Reggae fan and an ex Reggae buyer for Tower Records, I'm not hugely into a lot of Bob Marley's material. He definitely wasn't the reason I got into the genre - that accolade is reserved for Lee Perry & The Upsetters. But my love for all things Black Ark did eventually lead me to Bob's early career. This era and all the preceded it is covered excellently in this 4 CD box set.

Bob Marley's early career started with local 'music entrepreneur' Leslie Kong in 1962 when he recorded the ska vocal track Judge Not which had a small amount of success. Two further releases were issued on Kong's Beverley's label - but after receiving no airplay on Jamaican radio Marley decided that the best way forward was to start a vocal group.

The Wailers were soon snapped up by Coxsone Dodd who ran by far the biggest studio on the island called Studio One. Here Bob recorded some hits he would eventually re-record later in his career - and this CD contains the early cuts of One Love & Stir It Up

After releasing around 30 tracks for Studio One financial difficulties lead to the break up of the Wailers - Bob moved to America but returned 8 months later to reform the group and sign to Lee Perry's Upsetter label. It was at this point that The Wailers, with the help of Perry, laid the foundations of what was going to turn Marley in to a legend.

My favourite Wailers tracks were recorded during this era - Small Axe, Duppy Conqueror and the brilliant Mr Brown were all released under Perry.

The Perry / Marley relationship didn't last too long after Bob recruited the bassist and drummer of Perry's studio band as full time members of The Wailers - causing a rift between the two that was never resolved.

Bob Marley and The Wailers eventually signed to Chris Blackwell's Island label and this for me is where my interest in Marley ends - the driving bass heavy rhythm session was diluted after Blackwell felt that the original recording for their Island debut album 'Catch A Fire' was "too black". One remix later, to add electric piano, synthesizers and additional guitars helped to make the album appeal to a more western audience.

There is one more reason I bought this set - it ends on a live version of Redemption Song - recorded in Pittsburgh on 23rd September 1980. Bob never performed live again and passed away just 8 months later.

There is a digital version of this set on Mflow for a bargain £14.99 or you can buy a CD copy from Amazon here which is a fair bit more expensive at just shy of £30.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Audiophiles - Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three

28th March 2011

As I discussed on the main part of this site that I, like many audiophiles, love to discover and share new music.

There are not many things in life that can give you as much pleasure and joy than hearing a new piece of music which totally grabs you. The kind of song that makes you immediately hit the online shopping portals in order to make that one amazing purchase.

And with the explosion of the internet over recent years, we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to source music from so many sites. Pandora, Last FM, Spotify, Mflow and many many more bring us music like never before.

So I figured to go alongside Choose My Music I should also set up a page to highlight anything new that I have found recently. Now these might not be brand new artists - just people I have discovered at this moment in time.

Introduction over...lets get cracking.

Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three

Album: Riverboat Soul
Released: 2010
Discovered At: Daytrotter
Twitter: @PokeyLaFarge
Myspace: Pokey LaFarge

I often love to browse the Daytrotter website for bands, usually stopping at the artists with interesting names. This one stood out mainly on the basis that I have a cat called Pokey.

Funny how these things turn out.

What I discovered was a 27 year old with a voice and style that you usually only just make out behind the crackle of an old 1930's 7".

His mix of early jazz, ragtime, country blues and swing shows him as a real American roots purist. But what makes this stand out more is that while many current artists, who wish to recreate the sound of this time period, often use a mix of covers and traditional standards. Not here. Every track is original and brilliant yet keeps in with the not only with the style and delivery but also lyrically.

There does appear to be some buzz around Pokey LaFarge right now, according to his Twitter feed someone just sold one of his limited edition 7" singles for $150 on Ebay. (although the fact it was produced by Jack White might have helped)

I first heard this over 24 hours ago, and thanks to Spotify I have listened to nothing else since.

I ordered my copy of the album last night and, if you want something different in your collection, I strongly suggest you do to.

Scroll down to hear songs from the album. You can buy a digital copy from Mflow for £7.99 or, if you a like me - a hard copy from Amazon here

Sunday, 27 March 2011

27th March 2011 C:A:20

Who doesn't love listening to music on a Sunday...it should be made compulsory.

Thanks to the brilliant DayTrotter website I have been been on a musical journey since 7am this morning, which got me thinking about adding an additional section to this site which covers all my musical discoveries. I am also considering, seeing as this blog is now one month old, to do a monthly round up of all the albums that have been chosen for me.

As always it would be great if you could share this site. Twitter, Facebook and wherever else you feel is relevant. 

Today's Choose My Music was picked by Caroline O'Doherty  who I have been following on Twitter for a few weeks after being tipped off about a website called Album Masterpieces in which people take turns to pick 5 albums (one a day Mon-Fri) that they feel are bodies of work you can play from start to finish without skipping a track. In an unusual case of perfect timing I am actually picking my top 5 next week. 

The selection Caroline made today was C:A:20 (Bay C, Row A, CD 20). This lead me to.....

Doves - Lost Sides

Remember Doves? They were the band that could do no wrong before Elbow got big. 

Lost Sides is a two disc set released in 2003 and was a collection of B Sides covering the period between the bands first two albums; Lost Souls in 2000 and The Last Broadcast in 2002. 

The album was issued twice. Initially at the end of 2000 as a single CD album, the copy I have is the second release which contained a bonus disc of re-mixes. 

I must admit, I am not a big fan of B Side collections (with the execption of Suede's Sci-Fi Lullabys) or am I usually bothered by a collection of remixes. I actually only bought this album because MVC were shutting down and it cost me £4.99. I know this because it still has a sticker on the front. The fact that the sticker is still there is a strong indication of how much I have listened to this.

Listening to the first CD it appears to be a mix of pure instrumentals and standard Doves vocal tracks. I am assuming they are in some form of chronological order as the album does appear to get better towards the end. 

The majority of the songs here sound like the standard Doves affair, just not quite as good. Often there are reasons why songs are relegated to the flip side. Oddly there is this track, which seems to sound more like Supergrass 

There really isn't much that stands out on this release. The remix cd is marginally better - especially Four Tet's mix of M62 Song.
I have a feeling, as much as I love Doves, this is likely to go back on my rack with the £4.99 MVC sticker still in place. Still - for your listening pleasure I have added a couple of tracks here which you might enjoy.

Friday, 25 March 2011

25th March 2001 I:B:23

Welcome back to Choose My Music. Today I have managed to find a way to add tracks to every post thanks to the wonderful people at Mflow. If you are not a member of Mflow, I suggest you get on it now...or drop me a message and take advantage of their referral scheme.

To accommodate this great service from Mflow I have also had to move my blog, so this site is now hosted on Blogger as opposed to the very restrictive Wordpress.

Anyway, lets not mess about for this one.

This weeks selection came from a chap called Andy who, like many people I have discovered since starting this blog, has such a magnificent passion for music. He also knows my sister...but you don't care about that.

After a little bit of alphabet confusion Andy chose I:B:23 which for the first time, lead me to a boxset. In keeping with the social media lead aspect of this site I had to go back to him to ask which CD I should play (he chose CD 3)

The Front Line Box Set

Front Line was a reggae label started by Richard Branson in 1978 and was a sister label to Virgin.

Virgin Records has been releasing reggae singles since 1974 and Branson, noticing the links created between punk and reggae fans took John Lydon over to Jamaica to sign some artists. The trip was a huge success with artists such as Prince Far I, Big Youth and Sly Dunbar (from illustrious group Sly & Robbie) all signing on the dotted line.

Front Line is by far a favourite label of mine, mostly because the mid to late 70's Reggae is by far my favourite era as the music became more political.

The CD's in this collection each have a theme. Roots & Reality, Love & Harmony, Dub Encounters and the one I listened to, Dangerous Deejays.

The Deejay culture in Reggae laid down the foundations for rap and hip hop 20 years before Grandmaster Flash and The Sugarhill Gang. The practice known as 'Toasting' was developed in Jamacian music sometime in the last 1950's by Count Machuki. He would go to sound systems and add vocals to the hit Ska tracks of the day. Eventually a whole wave of Deejays came to the forefront of reggae thanks to people like U-Roy, I-Roy, Dennis Alcapone and Dillinger to name but a few.

There are some classic tracks in this box set, including the wonderful 'Natty Rebel' by U-Roy which makes use of The Wailers hit 'Soul Rebel'

Other notable tracks include the heavy heavy sounds of Price Far I on 'Message From The King' and Poet & The Roots 'Five Nights Of Bleeding'

This truly is a fantastic Reggae box set which focuses solely on a very short, yet very productive period of Jamaican music. Price wise it is perhaps a little much for someone who is starting out, but most of the albums released by Frontline have since be re-issued and can be picked up quite cheap

23rd March 2011 D:B:1

The more eagle eyed of you will notice that there has been a slight changed to the system here at Choose My Music.

All the bay and row numbers have been replaced with letters due to an apparent form of human conditioning which makes people, when asked to choose a number between 1-9, appear to always favour the number seven.

So far on Choose My Music there have been nine selections, of which six of them all came from the 7th bay. I am sure Derren Brown could explain why this is, but as far as I am aware he doesn’t read this.

So from this morning the selection process has changed. The bays have been re-branded A-I and the rows are now A-B. Already this has shown to work and create more variance.

Another thing I must say before I get down to business is that I am hugely grateful that my plea for you to share this site has been wonderfully acknowledged by you. My last post broke all kinds of previous Choose My Music records and also put me in contact with some lovely new people….sharing is good my friends….please continue to do so using the little buttons at the bottom of this post.

My latest request for Choose My Music was answered by many. Oddly a chap called Matt picked an album which had already been chosen before. Then the second tweet I received had a letter missing. The third was from someone known only to me as @HelpMeEscape and he chose D:B:1 which lead me to this

David Holmes Presents The Free Association


David Holmes came into my consciousness during a rather prolific period in the early 2000’s. Having already provided music for the Oceans 11 soundtrack, which was a favourite of ours at Andy’s Records in Ipswich when it was released. He quickly moved on to the fantastic mix album Come Get It, I Got It in 2002. I distinctly remember the cover of this album had the words

“Introducing the Free Association”

It was another year before that introduction was completed.

This album was a significant departure for David Holmes, who generally worked as a solo artist up to this point. He recruited American based rapper / punk rock lover / clothes designer Sean Reveron and British based singer / songwriter Petra Jean Phillipson. Add to this a fantastic array of musical instruments and you get a rather good album indeed.

As followers of my other music project (A2Z) have perhaps come to know, I like my music with a bit of variation and nothing comes closer to variance than the opening two tracks.

Don’t Rhyme No Mo is a rather eccentric, almost schizophrenic opener which sets up the remainder of the album very well before moving over to the brilliant (I Wish I Had A) Wooden Heart which for me is one of the stand out tracks – mainly because of Phillipson’s vocal delivery and style which fits perfectly with a typical ‘Holmes-esq’ backing track.

That is not to say the album is over after the first two tracks have ended. The Hendrix inspired ‘Everybody Knows It’s True’ and two further Petra Jean Phillipson vocal tracks ‘Somedays’ & ‘Pushin A Broom’ are also rather impressive and worth anyone’s attention.

I imagine most fans of David Holmes have this album, and seeing as it wasn’t too much of a commercial success you can actually get it quite cheap. If you are looking for something a little bit different then it would be worth forking out for.

21st March 2011 7:2:12

Thank you so very much for visiting Choose My Music....yes I am being super nice to everyone as the reader count for this site have hardly been spectacular after a promising start.

So I will start this post with two pleas:

1) If you like this site, please let people know. I have put share buttons at the bottom of each post. If you feel that way inclined then I would be very thankful.

2) If you think I am missing anything or have any further suggestions then feel free to let me know - either on Twitter or leave me a comment

Today's Choose My Music has again been picked by Dom Walsh. The random combination of numbers he chose was 7:2:12 which meant today I have been listening to......

Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Spiritualized were formed way back in 1990 following the eventual demise of Spaceman 3, a band fronted by Jason Pierce. This album, the band's third, was a critical smash when it was released in June 1997 -it went on to beat Ok Computer by Radiohead and Urban Hymns by The Verve as NME's album of the year.

I distinctly remember being introduced to this album by my good friend Jim (Jamie) Baker, who caused many a musical awakenings during my teenage years. We were in our first band together at school - a rather marvellous outfit which was originally going to be called Kreeping Jesus but eventually took on the name Delirious. We recorded one song called Maniac Dog, the recording session took place in the front window of a guitar shop*. Anyway...I digress....

On my first listen, in Jim's bedroom, I wasn't very taken with it and it was at least another 5 years until I actually purchased a copy for myself and I must admit, it has been a similarly long time since I last gave it a listen.

This album really does sum up everything I love and hate about music. I found myself conflicted throughout the whole listening experience. Part of me was desperate for it to continue, while at times I also found myself hoping that the album was about to end. I shall explain.

The beauty of this album, and what Spiritualized really do best is what some musicians might call 'building'. Listening to tracks like "All of my Thoughts" "Stay With Me" and the album opener start off quiet and rather minimal, slowly building to something much bigger than what was initially presented at the start. This kind of thing gets me every time. You know that point where you suddenly hear an instrument in the mix

But, and it is a big but, I cannot stand long, overblown songs that appear to have no end. Sadly there are a few of these on here too.

It is these exact reasons why I have never been able to get on with Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin. This album is full of tracks which to me are just way too long - and that makes my skipping finger twitch. At one point I actually found myself trying to communicate with the CD player by telling it to shut up.

I suppose this album needs to be listened to when you are in the right mood, at the right time in the right conditions. I know that if I was sitting at home on a dark night with my headphones on I would have loved this much more. Unfortunately I was sitting in my car on a Monday morning on the Derby Ring Road, making my way into work.

In the right conditions this would be a 4 star album. Today it was a 3 1/2.

* I eventually got sacked by Delerious for reasons long forgotten. Jim, to my absolute pleasure and joy still continues to record music with his band The Officers

18th March 2011 9:1:13 & 7:1:33

Apart from helping me rediscover my CD collection, this little project of mine seems to suggest a pattern of human thought.

The majority of random selections so far have resulted in people choosing a higher end bay number (usually 7-9). I am not sure what this means, but I am sure someone who is more versed in human decision making would be able to shed some light on to the matter.

I took an unusual step with this Choose My Music selection. I decided to let someone make the selection the day before. Usually I ask for selections in the morning just before I go to work, but in time when we can communicate with people globally with nothing more than a click of a button I felt that my timing was excluding a lot of people.

So last night the request went out to Choose My Music for today’s commute to work – I got some very quick responses – the quickest came from someone who I have only recently started following on Twitter by the name of Peter O

He chose the combination 9:1:13 (Bay 9, Row 1, CD 13) which meant on the drive to work I got to listen to:

Various Artists - Barrio Nuevo – Latin Funk .Latin Rock. Latin Disco. Latin Soul

There were three things that struck a chord with me as my hand counted along to CD13.

Firstly this album is on the rather brilliant Soul Jazz label. A compilation with their name of it is always a sign of quality.

For those not aware of Soul Jazz, they are a British based label who specialise in releasing compilation albums that predominantly feature black music such as Reggae, Soul & Jazz although more recently they have delved into post-punk and electronica.

I first came across the label through their excellent Reggae collections – most notably their Studio One and Dynamite series. You would do very well to check them out.

The second thing that came to my mind was this album came to me during the height of the Cuban music explosion following the release of Ry Cooder’s release of Buena Vista Social Club. Working in independent record stores at the time we were inundated with requests (from usually middle class, wax jacket types) for not only the BVSC album but also various other Cuban / Latin albums.

The beauty of Barrio Nuevo (as with all other Soul Jazz albums) is the tracks they pick – they are always great examples of the genre but are also not choice you would be familiar with. The Patti Labelle track ‘Teach Me Tonight (Me Gusta Tu Baile)' is one such song plus slightly lesser known War tracks like ‘War is Coming’ and ‘Me and My Baby Brother’

There are also 2 ‘unknown’ tracks on this album which is due to a printing error. The track list on the back of the CD misses out tracks 5 & 6 entirely. One of them I know is ‘Jungle Fever’ by The Chakachas…which brings me on to my third memory…

….We used to love to play this CD and watch the uncomfortable faces of the OAPs who used to frequent our little market town shop on a week day morning when ‘Jungle Fever’ was played in its entirety.

Happy Days

My second Choose My Music selection this week was made by a brilliant music loving twitter person who goes by the name Substandard Nerd

He picked the combination 7:1:33 and picked out this little gem

Ben Sollee - Learning to Bend

Ben Sollee is a vocalist and cellist, originally from Kentucky. The fact that he was billed as a such instantly appealed to me, with my love of all things unusual.

I first discovered Ben on a music website called Aurgasm, who bill themselves as featuring 'your favourite music you've never heard of' and I was instantly struck by him.

Firstly his vocals are stunning. Second, I couldn't quite pitch his music. One minute he is playing Bluegrass, the next he is on Folk before going off on a bit of a Jazz tip. Thirdly, how often do you hear someone playing the cello and singing? Not that often I bet you.

This is a really nice album, although more suited to a Sunday read of the papers as opposed to doing housework - which I was at the time.

I strongly suggest you check out his version on Sam Cooke's 'Change is Gonna Come'. It is simply brilliant and amazingly beautiful.

Ben Sollee - A Change Is Gonna Come by diegosan

Panning for Gold is also a very good stand out track

08 Panning For Gold by Bensollee

14th March 2011 7:1:25 & 7:2:7

It's been a busy week or so and I finally realised writing or being part of 3 blogs is rather quite tricky time wise.

The first selection I am going to cover was picked by a wonderful chap from Norway by the name of Preben (also known as @ohpebbles on Twitter). This combination 7:1:25 was picked at random on Monday 7th March.

Sizzla - Royal Son Of Ethiopia

People who knew me well at a certain time in my life would know that I went through a huge reggae phase, which lasted many years. Rather oddly I got in to reggae in an almost chronological order - starting with Ska, working my way through Rocksteady, Dub and ending up in the rather brilliant 1970's roots era.

I really struggled with anything beyond 1979 as Reggae music started to go digital as soon as the 1980's took hold -and this has never sat well with me for some reason.

Sizzla's output is rather prolific by anyone's standards -releasing around 42 albums in a 16 year period. It is fair to say they are of varying quality.

Royal Son of Ethiopia was released in 1999 and is perhaps the album which made the UK reggae audience sit up and notice him a little.

To be honest, this CD starts a little of the weak side, with rather formulaic rhythms which lack any great depth, or bass for that matter. Although once you hit the middle period (mainly tracks 4 to 7) the album really does come into its own. Overall its a good album - but there was much better to come over the next couple of years.

I rarely listen to Sizzla any more, there are a few things that don't sit right with me. Allegations that Sizzla's lyrics incite violence and the murder of homosexuals, which lead him to be refused from entering the UK in 2004. He also had shows cancelled in Canada in 2007, was arrested and deported from Spain in 2008 and had further gigs called off in Germany during 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately this kind of attitude is quite rife within modern Rastafarian music.

In 2010 Sizzla also travelled to Zimbabwe to perform for Robert Mugabe's 86th Birthday celebrations which reportedly damaged his reputation in the country. He has since been given land in the country which has also not gone down well amongst his fan base.

My second selection this week was chosen by Tom (@drwinston001 on twitter). He chose the combination 7:2:7

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse present Dark Night Of The Soul

Lets start with this. If you have not heard or heard of Sparklehorse go buy yourself a copy of Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot and start from there.

Sparklehorse is essentially one man - Mark Linkous who suffered terribly with his mental health and a terrible addiction to drugs. In 1996, while touring with Radiohead he overdosed on anti-depressants, valium, alcohol and heroin while in London - the upshot of which nearly lost him the use of both legs and left his confined to a wheelchair for 6 months.

This album was released in 2009 and was a collaboration between Linkous, producer Danger Mouse and film maker David Lynch.

Although it is not billed entirely as a Sparklehorse album you can certainly hear the influence and the input he had on it. Dark, moody and a little bit floaty it has some brilliant collaborations with The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys, Julian Casablancas, Iggy Pop and more.

This story does not have a happy ending though. Mark Linkous sadly passed away on 6th March 2010 after commiting suicide.

It was a huge loss for the music world.

Memory Tapes - BBC 6 Music

I have been mega busy this week, hence why I have still not written up the Choose My Music selection from Monday...if you are looking for that then I am afraid this isn't it either.

Today I had the great pleasure of appearing on Lauren Laverne's BBC 6 Music show on her brilliant Memory Tapes section. Essentially this is where you get to talk about a mixtape / CD you have made or been given and select some music from it to play.

Not only did I get a couple of minutes talking to Lauren (who is lovely by the way) but then I got to take over the 6 Music play list for 15 minutes.

You can here the entire conversation and my 15 minute mix here

Memory Tapes by dominikrpaczko

The full track listing for the entire mix is

1) Intro: DJ Yoda - Amazing Adventures of DJ Yoda
2) Race For The Prize: Flaming Lips - Soft Bulletin
3) Bra: Cymande
4) Waiting on the Stairs: Pela - Anytown Grafitti
5) Loser: Beck - Mellow Gold
6) Groovy: Bille Vision & The Dancers - I Used To Wander These Streets
7) Here It Goes Again: OK GO - OH NO
8 ) Waving Flags: British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music
9) Sir Duke: Stevie Wonder
10) Forrest Whitiker: Brother Ali - Shadows on the Sun
11) In Transit: Albert Hammond Jr - Yours To Keep
12) Hand in Your Head: Money Mark - Push The Button
13) Meatshake : Ugly Duckling - Best Of Ugly Duckling
14) The W.A.N.D : Flaming Lips - A War With The Mystics
15) Over and Over Again: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - S/T
16) Hospital Beds: Cold War Kids - Robbers & Cowards
17) Babies: Pulp
18) Letter from God to Man: Dan Le Sac v Scroobius Pip - Angels
19) Black & White Town: Doves - Some Cities
20) A Day At The Races: Jurassic 5 - Power in Numbers
21) Girls : Beastie Boys - Licence to Ill
22) Just A Friend : Biz Markie - The Biz Never Sleeps
23) Why Can't We Be Friends : War - Grooves and Messages
24) Highness: Envy & Other Sins - We Leave At Dawn
25) O Valencia - The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
26) Sheriff Fat Man - Carter USM
27) Pool Party: Aquabats - Myths, Legends & Other Adventures Vol 2
28) Tale Me Home: Brother Ali - The Undisputed Truth
29) Born in 69: Rocket From the Crypt - Scream Dracula Scream
30) I Was Born ( A Unicorn) : The Unicorns - Who will Cut Our Hair After We Have Gone
31) Nine : Forward Russia - Give Me A Wall
32) Airbag : Easy All Starts - Radiodread
33) Wheels: DJ Yoda - Amazing Adventures of DJ Yoda
34) Palm The Joker: Brother Ali - The Truth Is Hear EP
35) Barcelona Loves You: I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends

4th March 2001. 7:2:33 - Picked by Cerys Matthews

My second Choose My Music post of the day - to be honest I was going to leave it a few days considering I have been banging out these posts left right and centre. Plus it appears this site is read more by spammers than actual people...but hey ho...who says internet scum can't have good music tastes.

The whole reason why there is a second post today is because the brilliant Cerys Matthews was kind enough to have a a little play with my game. And seeing as I consider her Cockahoop album as one of my favourites I figure that is a pretty good reason to post again.

Cerys chose the combination 7:2:33 (Bay 7, Row 2, CD 33) and picked out this little gem

Steve Wonder - Music Of My Mind

Being born in 1979 I was part of the rather unfortunate generation who's first taste of Stevie Wonder was the single 'I Just Called To Say I Love You'. A song which I find horrible on so many levels I can barely bring myself to think about it. It's a shame his most well known hit is so cringe worthy as his 1970's output was nothing short of brilliant.

The album was released in 1972 and was the beginning of perhaps kick started the most brilliant run of albums ever recorded. Music Of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness First Finale and Songs In The Key of Life were all released in a 5 year period which is phenomenal by anyone's standard.

There are two things that stand out within this album, first is the length of the tracks - the first two alone clock in at over 15 minutes and on average each song lasts over 5 minutes each.

The second is this album could almost been seen as the time when 1960's Soul and R&B music collided with the 1970s. The use of synthesizers is prevalent throughout alongside the harmonica, which is rather basic by comparison. During my background checking there are suggestions that this album is one of the earliest works of black music to make use of synthesizers (although I seem to think The Aggrovators brilliant "Doctor Seaton" was released in the same year)

During this listen, which is the first in sometime is the very minimal use of drums, and where they do appear it seems to be more about adding depth with percussion as opposed to keeping rhythm...which is always a good thing.

Overall a cracking album from an artist who eventually went on to duet with Blue....what a shame.

4th March 2011 3:2:15

Chances are this may or may not be the only post for Choose My Music today.

After being given 8 weeks redundancy notice at work yesterday I am obviously not 100%behind getting anything constructive done. My plan for this site was to try and do one post per week but this is already my 3rd with a couple of days spare.

Anyway, 3:2:15 was picked by Adele Mitchell. A lady who, judging by her tweets, has the perfect twitter combination of loving good music and supporting a great
football team...she was bound to pick a cracker.

The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

As with most people The Flaming Lips came into my life during the release of their previous album The Soft Bulletin which many would point to as their first real critical and commercial success - but it was Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots which really broke them in the UK and was also the album which truly made me a fan.

I can honestly say that on its release in 2002 I had never heard anything like it, and outside of the Flaming Lips I have heard nothing that matches it since.

An unusual concoction of acoustic and digital musical instruments fills a landscape which holds so much depth the album since been released in digital 5.1 surround sound.

The LP is likely to be recognised by the more popular tracks such as Flight Test, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt.1 and Do You Realize?? which all stand out as songs in their own right. But they also fit nicely into the whole body of work - blending in to the album and creating a fantastic opera for the modern age.

If you don't own this album then you should buy it....if you already have it then why not listen to it today..and if you do...why not try and find the secret message in somewhere within the CD packaging.

I finally got to see The Flaming Lips live in 2009 in Birmingham and it was by far one of the greatest gigs I have ever seen. Glorious us every aspect...I have never seen a band that treats their shows like one big party.

While doing some background fact checking, I also found out a rather brilliant hip hop album was released called Yoshimi Battles The Hip Hop Robots - so that's something for me to check out while I wait for the offers of a new job to come rolling in.

2nd March 2011 1:2:3

I like to have a general 'listening to things' routine - years ago you had the choice of music, analog radio and good old fashioned humming. Now, thanks to wonderful world of science and technology, there is a full catalogue of podcasts and digital radio stations that have been thrown into the mix.

Usually my Wednesday commute to work is taken up by listening to the Spurs Show podcast on the way in and BBC 6 Music on the way home. The fact that someone over 100 miles away took the decision to record their podcast a day later than usual caused me a commute crisis this morning....

....or it would have done if it wasn't for Choose My Music!

So the call went out this morning and was answered by Dom Walsh (who I mentioned in the last post). A guy who I have communicated  and done music projects with, yet have never met. He would be one of my Twitter Bffs if I was down with how them kids like to speak.

Dom chose the combination 1:2:3 (that's Bay 1, Row 2, Cd 3 for the new people). So today I listened to:

Badly Drawn Boy - Have You Fed The Fish?
Have You Fed The Fish

Badly Drawn Boy has always been one of those artists where it has really taken me time to get into them. Arcade Fire were a similar band - I got a copy of their Funeral album not long after release and it took me months to truly appreciate it - BDB is no different.

I remember when this album was released in 2002 - I had just started working as Manager for Music Zone in Burton on Trent (after a stint of managing Andy's Records in Ipswich). The album was quite highly anticipated after the eventual success of his d├ębut and the About A Boy OST, which was released just a few months prior.

After my first listen I was very unimpressed, second listen I started to slag it off, third listen I was sick of it...lucky for me my Assistant Manager at the time loved it and played it virtually every morning - I am not at what point it all clicked in my head but I landed up starting to enjoy it.

Now, it could be argued that if you feed a prisoner Marmite every day for a month they would eventually land up accepting it as a suitable bread based condiment - and perhaps my enforced listening to this album eventually got me to like....essentially how commercial radio play lists work, cranking out some dirge of a song repetitively which embeds so much into your brain the next thing you know, you are standing in the queue at HMV.

I'm not sure how long it has been since I last heard the album fully - but I do truly love it. I think the real reason it took me so long to like it is because listening to it while buzzing around in my shop meant I never really got to 'hear' it. There is depth, texture and great lyrics - something which is never immediately apparent upon a first listen.

This album did also make me feel a little guilty. I have a couple more Badly Drawn Boy albums which were released after Have You Fed The Fish? and never got into them....perhaps I need to try again.

28th February 2011 7:1:16

This morning I put out my first official call for Choose My Music, which not surprisingly was answered by Simon (@spursimon on Twitter). A man who's love for music is verging on obsessive.

I am already colaborating on a site with Simon alongside another Dom (@bwfcdom83 on twitter) called the A2Z Project where, for the past 20 weeks we have been sharing our favourite albums following the rules of the alphabet - so in week one we picked a band beginning with A, week two B....you don't need me to go any further on that one.

Anyway, I was pleased that Simon was my first Choose My Music picker -surely the random sequence of numbers which filtered through his brain onto my twitter feed would bring about some fantastic music.....

......Well I am afraid to say it didn't.....not quite anyway.

Sex Pistols - Pirates of Destiny

Sex Pistols - Pirates of Destiny - Front Cover Sex Pistols - Pirates of Destiny - Tracklisting

Considering the Sex Pistols only released one album I do appear to have a disproportionate amount of music relating to them in my collection. When I first got into the band I would pretty much buy everything and anything I could lay my hands on - and as most of it was of a pretty poor standard I could usually pick them up on the cheap.

This album is nothing more than a confusing collection of demos, outtakes, interviews, backing tracks and rather oddly, an audio clip of an Australian TV advert promoting some Pistols greatest hits package. To give you some kind of idea about just how good this album is - the back cover of the CD states:

Let they buyer beware! Recording quality is suspect!

And yet even that wasn't enough to put me off.

I used to love the Sex Pistols, I still remember clearly to this day the first time I ever heard them. I was walking home from school and was approached by a friend Christopher Martin (who used to make good use of the local library's music department). All he said was "Listen to this" before shoving a head phone in my ear...I was hooked! I barely remember listening to anything else for weeks after that afternoon - which shaped my music tastes for years to come.

These kinds of Pistols albums were no doubt very important to me at this time. I didn't get the opportunity to grow up with this band - they were long gone by the time I was born. All I had was the stories, rumours and the movie Sid & Nancy. This collection of tracks actually shows the band developing their craft through a decent enough set of demos. The live tracks, although barely audible, at least gave my young imagination a chance to wonder what a live gig of their would be like.

The more I listened to the album this morning the more I started to enjoy it to be honest. It brought back some good memories of school friends either rarely seen or simply long forgotten - but as an example of good music it was a terrible choice.

It did also remind me that I once won a karaoke competition in Turkey by singing Sid Vicious' version of My Way to a packed hotel bar full of very pleasant holiday makers & their kids - I swore and shouted my way through it and was oddly asked to go back the following week to do it all again (finishing in 2nd place this time)


Oddly my first post on 'Choose My Music' has nothing to do with music at all.

Its just a little welcome.

The plan is every now and then I will put a request on my Twitter account for someone to choose my music (check out the rules section for more info) I will choose what ever has been selected at random and write about it here.

I am not sure what I will write. Maybe it will be a review, perhaps some story about something, perhaps just a general ramble which relates to whatever was chosen.

Whatever it will be, I am sure it will be fun. Hopefully you might discover a new artist or band or at the very least get to see some of the more cringe worthy items currently sitting in my CD racks.

However it pans out I am sure we will have a lot of fun.