Friday 30 October 2020

what did you do in the pandemic, daddy? (3)

Here's a Spotify playlist with a track from (almost) all of the albums which I splurged on between March and September 2020.

Warning: some of it contains language.

The final scores on the format doors:

  • CDs: 3
  • Downloads: 7
  • Vinyl Records: 10

Buying records really shouldn't be as expensive as it is - I dread to think how much I've spent.

But it's such a satisfying format to invest in! Although it can be hard to take a chance on an unknown artist. And I really had to think long and hard before I bought anything.

Still love it, though. And it really does sound better (to my ears).

Thursday 29 October 2020

what did you do in the pandemic, daddy? (2)

First part of this nonsense here.

11. Fiona Apple - "Fetch The Bolt Cutters"
Album of the Year 2
I've never listened to her before and had assumed that it wouldn't be my sort of thing. But the reviews it received made me check this out on Spotify when it was released digitally and it blew me away. Great, unglossy vocals, bonkers rhythms, timely lyrics. She's "pissed off, funny and warm", grieving, raging and full of life. Sort of like the ultimate 2020 mindset. And it really doesn't sound like anything else I've heard all year. 

Cover image from Fiona Apple's "Fetch The Bolt Cutters" album

Bought with birthday Norman Records vouchers along with...

12. Laura Marling - "Song For Our Daughter"

LM soundtracked Little Ms D's birth so we haven't really wanted to revisit her work since then. But she is a great artist (triggering memories aside) and I wanted this after hearing her appearance on the Adam Buxton podcast (Now, I love Buckles but she came across a lot better than him - he'd not really done even minimal research). Anyway this is just obviously great.

13. Miles Davis Quintet - "Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5"

Bargain triple heavyweight vinyl? Featuring complete studio reels of Miles Davis' second great quintet working through pieces in exquisite unedited detail? With studio banter? Where do I sign up?!

Cover image from "Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Vol. 5" by Miles Davis

14. Deerhoof - "Bibidi Babidi Boo"
Free download from Bandcamp of random live and radio sessions. How much Hoof is too much Hoof? No such thing! I've got a fever! And the only prescription is MORE HOOF!

15. Oneness of Juju - "African Rhythms 1970-1982"

Triple vinyl bought direct from Strut Records. Juju play a mix of African rhythms with jazz, classic funk and R'n'B. Came with a free download version of the album which has almost twice as many tracks than are on the vinyl.

Cover of Oneness of Juju - "African Rhythms 1970-1982" 

16. Jonathan Richman - "I, Jonathan"
Ah lovely Jonathan Richman, surely everyone's favourite gentle punk rock 'n' roller. First ever vinyl release of his fourth solo album from 1992, bought with yet more Norman Records birthday vouchers. Includes his brilliant tribute to the Velvet Underground (which sounds nothing like them but also kind-of does) and the classic "I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar". Naive? Not a bit of it. Beautiful and soulful.

17. Guided by Voices - "Alien Lanes" - 25th anniversary limited edition swirly multicoloured vinyl
Bought from - where else? - Norman Records. Actually one of the first things I ordered at the start of spring but it wasn't  released until the end of August. GBV were a band which I took a long time to love but now they're one of my all time favourites. And there's a lot to love. Their discography currently stands at 30 studio albums, 19 EPs, 39 singles and more. The actor Paddy Considine was once asked what was the most expensive thing he'd ever bought. He said an original pressing of GBV's fifth album "Propellor". 

Photo of my copy of Guided by Voices - "Alien Lanes" - 25th anniversary limited edition swirly multicoloured vinyl

18.  Roger Nichols & The Small Circle Of Friends - s/t
Because for all my talk of brutal hip hop, Lo-Fi guitar noise and avant jazz, I do have a deep and abiding love of a particular type of 1960s soft psychedelic sunshine pop. With close vocal harmonies. Way back in the early days of borrowing  CDs and burning MP3s, I copied a handful of tracks from this album, borrowed from one of Mrs D's work colleagues. 14 years later I decided I needed to hear the rest of it and got a CD from the Discogs marketplace.

19. Angel Olsen - "Whole New Mess" on limited edition translucent smoke-effect vinyl
As (almost) an earlier version of last year's "All Mirrors", this is way better than it should be. I like the orchestral treatment on much of the 2019 album but I definitely prefer the simple guitar-voice-and-occasional-organ arrangements here. Plus the handful of tracks which didn't make it to the later recorded but first released album are some of my favourites she has ever done.

My copy of Angel Olsen's "Whole New Mess" on limited edition translucent smoke-effect vinyl
20. Deerhoof - "Love-Lore"
Album of the Year 3
Just when I think I can't love them any more they release this, essentially a mixtape which the band performed live in the studio. Available free from their Bandcamp page. Features avant garde compositions, jazz reimagining, Eddy Grant, The B-52s and the theme to Knight Rider.

Wednesday 28 October 2020

what did you do in the pandemic, daddy? (1)

Well I bought a shit ton of music for a start! At an almost Steve-in-his-college-years level. 

Let's Dissect!

1. They Might Be Giants - "Flood" 30th anniversary picture disc LP
So pretty!

Image of Side A of the album "Flood" by They Might Be Giants

2. Polvo - "Today's Active Lifestyles" 25th anniversary vinyl reissue on multi-coloured vinyl

41 minutes of the mathest of all math rock, springy guitars and proggy time signatures. Plus the vinyl is a beautiful thing. Bought from the mighty Norman Records. Sign up to explore their brilliant selection and experience their fantastic customer service here and I'll love you forever.

Picture of the coloured vinyl edition of Polvo's album "Today's Active Lifestyles"

3. Deerhoof - "Halfbird"
4. Deerhoof - "Milk Man"
5. Rattle - "Sequence"
6. clipping. - "There Existed An Addiction To Blood"

These were all bought as downloads in the first Bandcamp Friday - a day when the music retail site waives its fees to ensure that the artists receive as much money as possible during the COVID lockdown. Rattle are from Nottingham and they were brilliant when I saw them supporting Black Midi last year.
clipping. (punctuation artist's own) are a horror rap band. This isn't quite as good as I wanted it to be but still has some cracking tracks on it.
Deerhoof are one of my favourite bands and I took this opportunity to get more of their stuff. "Halfbird" is pretty raw but "Milk Man" is fantastic.
My key early lockdown homeschooling successes were teaching Little Ms D the words to "Birdhouse In Your Soul" and getting her into Deerhoof. Especially this track. #ParentingGoals 

7. Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp A Butterfly" double vinyl set
The best album of the 21st Century so far? I bought this on download pretty much the second it came out but when I had a chance to buy a cheap copy on vinyl (from it would've been daft not to.

8. Run The Jewels - "RTJ4"
Album of the Year 1.
Just amazing, with timeless themes which are still horribly relevant to America today. Run The Jewels always release their albums as free downloads (making their money through merch, physical copies and live performances) but with this one they asked people to donate to organisations protecting the rights of people protesting the police killing of George Floyd and racial injustice in the United States.
I (almost) ended up live-blogging my first listen (during a Tysabri infusion!) on Instagram.

Screengrab on Instagram post dated June 4 2020, showing the cover of the album "RTJ4" by Run The Jewels. Comment reads, "Today’s #tysabri #infusion soundtrack. Fucking hell! This is huge #RunTheJewels #rtj4"

9. LCD Soundsystem - "Electric Lady Sessions"
Solid versions of LCD classics and cheeky covers, recorded live in the iconic studio. Better than the similarly conceived "London Sessions" from a couple of years ago. I bought this on vinyl from but it was regifted to me for my birthday. 

10. Damaged Bug - "Bug On Yonkers"

Picture showing the album sleeve and vinyl record of "Bug On Yonkers" by Damaged Bug
Limited Edition multicoloured vinyl pressing of bizarro outsider art psychedelic skronk-fest from the leader of Thee Oh Sees, who are a band I'm not that fussed about but this is great. Very groovy, loads of keyboards and who doesn't love a band with two drummers?

Find out more about Michael Yonkers here.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

quite reassuring

I got a letter from my neurologist the other day (if you're as old skool as me, your next thought will be, "I opened and read it, it said they were suckers" but I digress). 

My letter said the following:

I am pleased to inform you that brain MRI compared to the previous scan did not reveal any new lesions.

And then:

This is quite reassuring. 

Image description: The words "This is quite reassuring" taken from a letter I received from my neurologist

Quite reassuring?! If we're looking for a two-word summary, I'd probably go for, "Bloody marvellous" or something similar. But maybe that's just me. 

At the very least it means that Tysabri is doing its job (reducing relapses). And all without so much of the MRI-visible side effects (brain infection). If this the most I can hope for, let me have it, yeah?

Ah well, it did make me laugh, mostly because I can totally hear him saying it. Very low-key. 

I told the MS nurses the next time I saw them and they thought it was funny too. This then led on to a discussion about the florid eyebrows sported by all the neuros at the hospital. I think it's a sign that they're so engaged with their work that they don't have time for frivolities such as manscaping. 

I have plenty of time for taking care of my eyebrows. And yet they remain, resolutely, OFF. THE. HOOK.