An Intermission – of lists

November 28, 2009

Because it’s the end of side one. A child of vinyl, I still have to think of sides one and two when compiling records. And it musn’t be too long a record, because vinyl simply couldn’t be. CDs became overlong mainly because you could fill them with that much information. I don’t have the attention span, and there’s rarely been a good double album. I’ll put that 16/17 track album back on the shelf – it’ll drive me mad. Listened to Elliot Smith’s Figure 8 last week, a record I love, and wished it was two or three songs shorter. Choosing those to cull would be a nightmare, but to me it’s too long. Am I alone on this? Or merely the middle-aged grump stuck in 1988? My first CD was Pet Shop Boys ‘Very’, the first of their albums I didn’t like. Gutted. Good that it was them though, modernists. That’s how long I stuck to vinyl. Yawn.

Which brings me to lists. Best records of the year. Useful to find records you’ve missed but horrible, horrible. Music is not a contest. So here’s an unsorted list of records I’ve been listening to repeatedly and enjoying these past months, mostly in the car, on Spotify, and, annoyingly, not on the radio:
David Bowie – Diamond Dogs. PJ Harvey and John Parrish – A Woman a Man Walked By. The Antlers – Hospice. Astor Piazzolla – Adios Nonino. Fleet Foxes. McAlmont and Nyman – The Glare. Britten – Les Illuminations (Heather Harper). Arnold Bax – Tintagel. John Adams – Shaker Loops/Short Ride in a Fast Machine. Steve Riech – Music for 18 Musicians. Doves – Kingdom of Rust. Final Fantasy – He Poos Clouds. Kraftwerk – the remastered albums. The Unthanks – Here’s the Tender Coming. Schubert’s Winterreise – sung by Fischer-Deskau. Estelle – Shine. A compilation I did for a friend which includes songs by Midlake/Ed Harcourt/Band of Horses/Deftones (really! Minerva is genius)/Scarce/Friendly Fires/Black Kids. And The National – Boxer. I can’t take this out of the car. This record works. How many times can you play a record? before it’s entire in your head? This one’s still revealing. Unlike Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles, which is a trip down memory lane rather than a continuing journey of discovery. And I have to skip those tracks – you know the ones. Right now: The Slits – Cut. Bought Animal Collective today. We are a product of our experiences.

And I’ve just done that iPod thing of putting it on random and making a list of the first ten tracks. I kid you not, this is what came up, unedited:

Nina Simone – Black is the Colour/Sly and the Family Stone – Stand/Candy Staton – His Hands/The Temptations – My Girl/The Stooges – Gimme Danger/Nick Drake – Bryter Later/Bowie – Song for Bob Dylan/Neil Young – Down by the River/Scott Walker – Come Next Spring/Beach Boys – Heroes and Villains

Morrissey is on Desert Island Discs tomorrow. Think his list includes any of the above?

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4 Responses to “An Intermission – of lists”

  1. John LC Says:

    I remember listening to “Elephantine” on a compilation CD that I bought in Paris. I was a soldier on leave and in Paris for the first time. For some reason the line, “every great nation, ends up deserving war”, was so profound to me. I was 20 years old and quickly realizing that a soldiers life was not for me. I joined a band in 1994 and KOD was a huge influence in my writing. Did you ever hear other bands cover your songs?

    • stephenhero Says:

      John that’s a great story. What was your band called? I did hear a couple of bands cover our songs and was always surprised at how well they’d worked them out. On YouTube there’s an odd but charming a capella version of Drive That Fast, and a guy doing an acoustic version of Smiling. Which makes me smile.


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