the things i listen to a lot;


22 Ene 2008, 13:21

My Top 10 Artist List, according to Last FM (as of Jan 20th 2008)

1. Trembling Blue Stars
2. Boards of Canada
3. New Order
4. The Wake
5. Blur
6. Milenasong
7. Electrelane
8. The Field Mice
9. Slowdive
10. Hood

What was the first song you ever heard by 6?
Figs Tree, which, incidentally, is also my favourite song of Milena's. Kate had been raving about Milenasong for ages, and how she wanted to bring her over to Glasgow from Berlin, where she was living at the time, to do a gig. Long before this dream was realised, I was listening to the Symmetry show on Radio Magnetic one night, and this song was played. I didn't know what it was until after it had finished, but it reeled me in immediately; her voice reminded me of Beth Gibbons and the music was suitably eerie with strange looped effects and what sounded to me like a Mellotron (always something that makes me happy). It was a freezing cold winter night and the rain was pummelling on my bedroom window, and I felt at one with this song immediately. When the DJ said that it was by Milenasong, I joined the dots and inherited Kate's enthusiasm. I ordered the album online the very next day.

What is your favourite album of 2?
Music Has the Right to Children. Do you realise it came out ten years ago this year? It's one of my favourite albums of all time; it reminds me of cosy nights in a flat in Prestwich, too much weed and Jack Daniels, being sixteen. Nowadays I mainly listen to it in the bath, where candlelight and Lush scents suit it down to the ground. It's a timeless record and I know I'll listen to it regularly for the rest of my life.

What is your favourite lyric that 5 has ever sung?
Hmm. Difficult one, this, given the size of their back catalogue and Mr Albarn's way with words, but I'd have to plump for - from Resigned - "I'll forget to breathe one day / I've never stopped to think why". It's the very last line on Modern Life Is Rubbish and on an otherwise largely sunny album, it hits you like a hammer around the head.

How many times have you seen 4 live?

What is your favourite song by 7?
I prefer Electrelane's later stuff, but I think Film Music still has to be my favourite song of theirs. They captured a certain atmosphere on that record which is actually very difficult to pin down. I miss them already.

What is a good memory you have involving the music of 10?
Funny - for a band I love as much as I love Hood, a lot of their songs evoke particularly bad memories for me. I guess that's because I used Cold House as a sort of aural drug while I was going through the break-up of my last relationship, and listened to it continually in a tiny box room in an awful house in Withington, the line "I can't stand the thought of you alone" from You Show No Emotion at All swirling in my head like a testament to what I wished other people were thinking about me, and they weren't. But good memories are associated with my discovery of the band in the first place - my friend Michael put several Hood songs as a sort of postscript to a live Doves CD he sent me, to fill up the rest of the disk space, and again, it was that balmy summer when I was sixteen. Nevertheless, Hood's music is not happy, that's not what they're for.

Is there a song of 3 that makes you sad?
Everything they've made in the last decade? Har har. But yes - the last songs on side one and side two of Power, Corruption And Lies respectively; Leave Me Alone and Your Silent Face. Wistful sad. Not sad sad.

What is your favourite lyric that 2 has sung?
Ah, Boards of Canada lyrics. There have been many in-jokes between me and my friends about this. Something about David Koresh? No, it turned out that if you played the record backwards, it was still gobbeldygook. They're not a lyrical band, of course, but One Very Important Thought always makes me smile. Defend your constitutional rights. No-one else will do it for you.

How did you get into 3?
How did I get into New Order? Have you got all day? It's probably the best thing that ever happened to me, musically. It was the early 90s and I was listening to tinny Eurodance records by 2 Unlimited and Cappella and the like, and not very much else. There's no great pop music heritage in my family - at least, none that was passed down to me - so at the age of nine, all I had to go on was what was played in the chart rundown on a Sunday afternoon. Factory had recently gone bust and London Records, who inherited New Order, were trying to push them for as much money as they could make after the relative disappointment of Republic. I think I'd heard Regret on the radio - who didn't, in 1993? - but it went over my head, as most music did. My life changed when they reissued True Faith (they actually called it True Faith '94 or something wanky) and it became apparent to me what dance music, what pop music, could be. Something vital, something absolutely fucking massive. I mean, that song is a colossus. It's faultless, as far as pop songs go. It bowled me over. I had it on a Now Dance compilation next to yer Dr Albans and yer MC Sar & The Real McCoys, and it pissed all over the lot of them. That one song opened my eyes and ears to everything that was around me that I'd been ignoring. Now I was alive.

What was the first song you heard by 1?
The first Trembling Blue Stars song I ever heard was She Just Couldn't Stay, when John Peel played it one night. Ironically, it's now one of my least favourite songs of theirs, but at the time I liked it a lot, it intrigued me. Peel raved about it/them - he didn't mention that it was Bobby of Field Mice fame, it took me a few more years to work that one out. I had a long bus journey coming up the following week, and I remember going into Avalanche to buy some CDs to listen to on the journey. I picked three albums off the new release shelf, as I was in too much of a hurry to look through the racks; I got The Closer You Get by Six By Seven, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out by Yo La Tengo, and... Broken by Whispers by Trembling Blue Stars. And they were always a band I liked, never loved. It was a good five or six years later that I really began to take notice of them - and now look, they're #1 on my "most listened" list. There you go.

What is your favourite song by 4?
My favourite Wake song is O Pamela, hands down. I only started listening to them out of a certain sense of obligation; I had become a Factory obsessive (see two questions above for explanation) and they were a Factory band. But this was the first song of theirs I heard, after I picked up a battered copy of Here Comes Everybody in a backstreet second-hand record shop in Edinburgh purely because it had a FAC number, and it's a perfect first song for a near-perfect album. They did that whole synths-and-guitars thing, I thought, better than New Order were doing at the time. It's a sad song, in principle, but it's euphoric; it makes me jittery, makes me want to get up and dance, or run, or something. There's a sense of movement to the song that I adore.

How many times have you seen 9 live?
None - too young, missed the boat. :(

What is a good memory you have involving 2?
Oops; I think I've inadvertently answered this already, a few questions above. But I'll think of another one - Happy Cycling was the first song played at the first-ever To Amy With Love, the clubnight I ran with Valentine Records and that gave me all of the best nights out of my life. So there was a particular journey that started with that quiet, laidback little drum loop. Who'd have thought.

Is there a song of 9 that makes you sad?
Spanish Air is a song so sad that if I listen to it too closely, I almost feel suffocated. It has huge production and a wall of reverberating guitars that twinkle as if they're crying, a plainitive violin somewhere in the melee, and the stoical vocal; "there's nothing here for me now". And drums ten feet high. It's far too easy to get lost in that song, and not be able to find a way out. And yet I still listen to it, quite a lot.

What is your favourite album of 5?
My favourite Blur album has got to be Modern Life Is Rubbish (isn't everyone's?). It reminds me of childhood summers when I'd sit in the park and copy out the lyrics onto A4 paper, coercing unwilling friends into singing along with me, and gradually, just gradually, they fell in love with it too. I'm not sure Blur have ever made a record that sounds particularly cohesive, but Modern Life is crammed so full of good ideas, good songs in whatever genre, that it doesn't seem to matter.

What is your favourite lyric that 3 has sung?
Hmm... New Order lyrics. Let's face it, they're never going to make it into the canon. I could quote Ceremony, but as Ian Curtis wrote the words, it would feel a bit like cheating. How about: "Every second counts / when I am with you / I think you are a pig / you should be in a zoo". Bernard Sumner couldn't even sing it without bursting into laughter, and he bloody wrote it.

What is your favourite song of 1?
Sacred Music is my favourite Trembling Blue Stars song, as I'm sure my will also testify. It's a little slice of perfection - I'm probably biased because I'm a sucker for any heart-wrenching song with a good soaring string part, but this is in another league. Lyrically it's beautiful, musically it's understated and brilliant.

What is your favourite song of 10?
Favourite Hood song? I was thinking about this just the other day, funnily enough. It has to be Any Hopeful Thoughts Arrive, much for the same reasons as I picked that Trembling Blue Stars song above. It certainly has a similar atmosphere to it - and it also has a good string part which spirals into a fierce panic at the end. I'm also very envious of songs with genuinely brilliant electronic drums, which still manage to sound organic. This one does.

How many times have you seen 8 live?
Blimey, how great would it have been to see the Field Mice live? Sadly - again - I missed the boat on that one.

What is your favourite album of 1?
For a long time it was Broken by Whispers by a long way, but since their most recent album, The Last Holy Writer, came out, it's necked its way slowly in front, and now I think it's head and shoulders above anything else they've done. I get a certain satisfaction when I think that a band's most recent album is my favourite. It means they're moving in the right direction, and it whets my appetite for more.

What is a great memory you have concerning 9?
Hmm. Hmm. Erm. Don't get me wrong, I love Slowdive. But they're a band I've never particularly shared with anyone, and their records are ones I tend to listen to alone, when I'm in a certain mood. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I know anyone else who particularly likes them. "A poor man's Ride", I think I've heard people say? Nah. Ride are a poor man's Slowdive.

What was the first song you heard by 8?
I'm not sure I actually remember. It's likely to have been Let's Kiss and Make Up, although I don't recall the time or the place.

What is your favourite cover by 2?
I've just had to scour my iTunes library and my record rack to check whether Boards of Canada have ever done any covers. My sources say they haven't. If anyone can confirm otherwise, please do send me MP3 evidence as I'd love to hear it.


  • galgo23

    Not strictly a cover, but i do have in my posession their remix/reinterpretations of Colonel Abrams Trapped and Midas Touch by (??) Midnight Starr. They're a bit ropey though...

    13 Mar 2008, 17:59
  • nicolas-ck

    Hmm new order...I always liked "You caught me at a bad time, so why don't you piss off?" and then the synth that follows. It's 1980's sountrack heaven. As for The Wake, I discovered them the same way! Being a factory obsessive. I get the impression that Tony Wilson was a bit of a twat about it though...I think there could have been more O pamelas and more Something no one else could bring's...Caesars in his element again though I feel. Can't wait for the new album to surface.

    20 Abr 2009, 4:22
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