Tuesday, 6 September 2011

33. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

Now this is a bit of a cheat because as a floppy-fringed, indie guitar loser boy, of course I've heard Loveless before, but not for years. And going back to it a couple of days ago was a strange experience, it was like hearing it for the first time, hearing it for it really was, after all the hype and nonsense which surrounded the album on its release had disappeared. I was sent to the album after listening to Pure X, when I was left hankering for more twisting and chopping guitars, more buried vocals. What I hadn't realised before is that Loveless is in fact a pop album, pure pop. When Loveless came out at the time it was often described with words such as: experimental, dense, impenetrable, cacophony, and for me back then, a 14 year old from a small town, a half-hour bus journey away from the town with a decent record shop, where you would still be lucky to find a solitary copy of Loveless amongst the latest albums by Marillion and Motley Crue, those words made a lot of sense. At the time I admired the album, perhaps because I was told I should by the tastemakers, but I couldn't love it. But listening to it now all I can hear is huge catchy riffs, massive hooks, and pop song after pop song. That's not to play down its adventurousness - nobody's guitars sound like the churning, seesawing, fuzz and roar of My Bloody Valentine's guitars, and of course it's a world away from the trudging rock bores it was competing with at the time, and whilst I have a huge soft spot for the bands who eventually followed in their wake, bands like Slowdive and Chapterhouse, they barely touched the surface of what MBV achieved here. But whilst MBV might be out there on their own with their textures and sounds, there isn't one song on Loveless that isn't anchored firmly to the floor by a massive tune. Of course you can't hear the words, but this isn't Waits, Dylan or Cohen, you don't listen to MBV for words, you listen for the sounds, and after a few listens you realise Loveless is a drugged, majestic, unhinged version of Bananarama's greatest hits. Which is the highest praise possible, of course.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

32. Kasabian - Empire

All quotes below are lifted from the recent Observer interview with Kasabian. It gives you more an understanding of their music than my writing ever could.

Lead singer Tom Meighan is in WH Smith, stockpiling Monster Munch and Capri-Sun against any unknown European food the band might be served on their two-day round trip.

Meighan spots the band's security man, Marty Farrow, wedged into a seat nearby, and shouts at plane-silencing volume: "Got any porn mags, Marty? Hey, Marty, did you bring any of them Mayfairs?"

We're pondering the legality of the war in Iraq when the shout comes again – "Golds!" – and Meighan makes his clattering entry from the upper deck. He rushes through, wrenches open the door to the driver's cabin, and disappears. I can hear the murmur of urgent discussion within, and then the bus begins to slow, to enter a service station. I ask what Meighan was shouting. "Golds," sighs Farrow. "It's his word for McDonald's. He can spot them from miles off, those golden arches."

Where are they going?" He has seen the rest of the band, boarding the tour bus. "Going to get a Ginsters, y'think? Shall we go and get a Ginsters, mate? Actually, that's not a bad shout, is it, a Ginsters? Seriously, that's not a bad shout."

"Has anyone seen my Danny Dyer book?" asks Meighan

Friday, 2 September 2011

31. Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

Cold. Grease. Slow-witted. Lonely. Kasabian. Overdrawn. Blackpool. Alienated. Rising damp. Infection. Bored. Tired. Rival football fans in same train carriage. Football fans. Football message boards. Football. Kasabian. Disenfranchised. Gastroenteritis. Gas leak. Broken Britain. Senseless death. Cold chicken skin. Negative Equity. Lump. Grey. The Bigg Market. Kasabian. 2 Meals for £5. Panic attacks. Super morbidly obese. Underclass. Illness. Broken heart. Scared. Kasabian. The Trafford Centre. Darkness. Black eye. Mould. Kasabian.