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Old 03-15-2010, 11:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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This looks awesome Im gonna got on that mixtape and hopefully a few of those albums. Pop is one section that my library is lacking in... scratch that, I just did a search for 'pop' and I didn't even get one song.
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Cheers buddy. Hope you enjoy the mix too.

I should mention at this point that not a lot of these albums I'm thinking of are from the 60s and 70s, as most of the albums I have from those decades aren't really what you could call pop music. I'll do my best to represent them fairly though.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:36 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loveissucide View Post
Really enjoying the posts so far, Cupid & Psyche is fantastic stuff.
your name is Guy?
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Old 03-16-2010, 01:53 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zeppy111 View Post
your name is Guy?
It's a classic Brit-ism

guy = mate/old chum/buddy etc
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
It's a classic Brit-ism

guy = mate/old chum/buddy etc
ah I was gonna say, **** will go down if someone here shares the amazing-ness that is my name!!!

Excuse the non-britism
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:41 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Good call on Scritti Polliti and especially St. Etienne. I will get on the comp too as I would like to hear a couple of things from other bands.
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Old 03-23-2010, 03:52 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Long time no update. I'll get another three and another mixtape up fairly soon as well.

Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit (2006)

Twee pop's a weird little phrase to go around using. I don't know about anyone else, but for me it brings to mind, among other things, those really annoying Red Bull commercials (I've always been torn between which is the most irritating - the ads or drinks themselves...probably the drinks considering how with the addition of vodka they taste like urine). I think of the phrase as something that's affectionately derogatory myself - a way of saying that whatever music you stick that label on is gonna be pretty bright, chirpy, harmony-laden, very melodic indeed and more often than not something with a real feel-good factor about it.

From the little I've heard of them (I've been meaning to dig around their discography more since what might as well be the dawn of time), it's the perfect way to describe the noises that Belle and Sebastian are famed for making. What you see in the form of the group's (to date, although from what I've heard it won't be so long before we have another one heading our way) latest album, the Life Pursuit. This here was also one of the very first albums I thought of when I was dreaming up this thread. It fits in with the kind of vibe that a lot of the albums I've already covered and will cover in future have - whenever you've kinda had enough of all the high brow, arty, avante-garde stuff (which, of course, is all very nice in itself), this is another great album that'll have you nodding your head all the way. The melodies are wonderful, the songs are beautifully structured and fine-tuned just enough so they really leave a mark. I remember the Life Pursuit first coming to my attention when I was flicking through the music channels back when I were a nipper, thinking how boring and edgeless everything I was seeing was, and then a few minutes later I came across the below video. The song sums up this wonderful album in all its glory when all's said and done. Since this is the only Belle and Sebastian album I own, I don't know if it's their best, I can only highly recommend it.



The Desert Rose Band - The Desert Rose Band (1987)

A country album in a pop thread? Surely this can only mean terrible, terrible things? Well, that's obviously not the case in my admittedly totally subjective opinion. Part of the reason I crossed paths with this album is that I'm a pretty big fan of the singer Chris Hillman's work with the Byrds, Gram Parsons and Manassas and, when all's said and done, his work in general. Another part of the equation is that ever since somehow being exposed to country music in some shape or form through the music of Elvis Costello and the Beatles, I've gone on to pick up the odd album here and there and, gotta say, I'm actually quite a fan of it, particularly the sound of a pedal steel guitar over a set of lyrics which I myself find bearable. The best country rock (which as an umbrella term is the area I find myself enjoying the most) just has this laid back and carefree vibe about it which is totally unique to its own musical tradition, at least to me anyway.

Enough waffling about all that anyway and more the above album cover that's currently staring you in the face. The Desert Rose Band were basically the brainchild of Byrds founder Chris Hillman and a gentleman by the name of Herb Pedersen, who between them went about injecting a mix of originals and country standards with the energy and panache of Hillman's work with Gram Parsons in the Flying Burrito Brothers and the infectiousness (I'll let you decide if that's a word or not) of pop music. What this leads to is, yes, country pop, but one which in its pop elements alone is so memorable, what with the great melodies, killer choruses and the way the vocal harmonies between Hillman and Pedersen really give it all that extra kick. There's also how it seems to effortlessly fuse pop music, the laid back atmosphere of country and the energy of rock 'n' roll and even bluegrass into one seamless package. Basically, this is the first and by far best Desert Rose Band album, and probably my favourite with Hillman's involvement since he left the Flying Burrito Brothers. The guy's got a terrific voice too. Such a bright, uplifting album - keep an ear peeled for arguably the catchiest chorus of all time on One That Got Away and the gorgeous, Beach Boys-style harmony-off in the shape of Once More. The song in the video below's not exactly one of my favourites off the album, but hey...



Frank Sinatra - In the Wee Small Hours (1955)

The Tom Waits fans among us may find the above sleeve art kinda uncanny. With good reason too, as you're officially looking at the inspiration for Waits' Heart Of a Saturday Night sleeve art, and for all I know one of the inspirations for that album's sound (it certainly seems like it to me anyway). So, apart from all that, not to mention its being quite possibly the only album released in the '50s that I'll mention here (at least as far as I can remember without another dig through the vaults), this goes to show you the perfect example of what a few more albums you'll find in this thread will be - torch music! Simple, good old-fashioned easy listening stuff. This one in particular is probably the most famous Frank Sinatra album (I can think of a few more individual songs which are more renowned), and is also an album which makes it on to a lot of journo-originated top album lists. Often, if you're a shameless musical elitist like me, that's reason enough to be turned off. Doing that here couldn't be more of a mistake though.

You see, although my musical knowledge of pre-'60s music is very limited, without doing hours of research and listening to countless more albums (driving myself insane by asking 'now then, is this a concept album?), In the Wee Small Hours is definitely among the first concept albums, the concept. Seeing as this was recorded and released via a music industry which was much more single-based in a commercial sense than it would be about ten years later, this alone makes it a standout. That concept itself is one that attempts to recreate a kind of lovesick, late-night sense of isolation in musical form, and is one that definitely succeeds in that respect. True, that's a bit more of a credit to Frank's songwriters and whoever selected the songs for him to sing than anyone else, but you get the picture. Anyway, no, it hasn't got the big band swing of a lot of his other works that I've heard, what with this being the definitive (and, to my knowledge, best) snapshot of Frank the crooner that there is with its very mellow sound which, in combination with the man's great voice, really does nail down the intended concept and stick it where anyone can see it. To sum up, the only times I listen to this album end-to-end are either very late at night or very early in the morning, and doing so really does this album a lot of favours. One of the truly classic pop albums this.

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Old 03-23-2010, 07:48 PM   #18 (permalink)
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As far as Belle & Sebastian goes it's If You're Feeling Sinister>Dear Catastrophe Waitress>The Life Pursuit>Tigermilk>The Boy With The Arab Strap>Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant>Storytelling.
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:35 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Are you implying that you've never heard If You're Feeling Sinister? If so, please listen to it ASAP before I have to disregard you're entire pop thread... :P Thanks for the reviews, I really enjoyed the first mixtape so far and learned that David Byrne was a member of Catherine Wheel. I guess I'm a little slow. Also, your review may have inspired me to finally go out and discover what St. Etienne is all about, as I think I have yet to hear a single song. They've been on my list of bands to check out for quite a while now.
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:48 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loveissucide View Post
As far as Belle & Sebastian goes it's If You're Feeling Sinister>Dear Catastrophe Waitress>The Life Pursuit>Tigermilk>The Boy With The Arab Strap>Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant>Storytelling.
I can't remember which one madeUrban's album list (got a feeling it was Dear Catastrophe Waitress), but I made a mental note to check it out when I first read through is thread but, evidently, never did. Thanks for the beginner's guide link you sent me as well - just finishing dee-elling it as of a few seconds ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by music_phantom13 View Post
Are you implying that you've never heard If You're Feeling Sinister? If so, please listen to it ASAP before I have to disregard you're entire pop thread... :P Thanks for the reviews, I really enjoyed the first mixtape so far and learned that David Byrne was a member of Catherine Wheel. I guess I'm a little slow. Also, your review may have inspired me to finally go out and discover what St. Etienne is all about, as I think I have yet to hear a single song. They've been on my list of bands to check out for quite a while now.
I'll do my best

And, yeah, David Byrne's first solo album was with the Catherine Wheel, just before he went off and did My Life In the Bush Of Ghosts. As far as solo Byrne goes, the former, Rei Momo and Grown Backwards are well worth checking out too. Look Into the Eyeball's the most blatantly accessible of the lot though.

Good to hear you dug the mix as well. There'll be another one coming up whenever I get the next three done, which should be fairly soon.
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