A wise man once said,“They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? Carpe…hear it?….Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
So perhaps it was a slightly manic and woolly-cardiganed Robin Williams that produced this monologue whilst playing a ‘fictional’ character but darnit, them’s some inspiring words that we could all adopt in our multifaceted lives. At least that’s what I’ve been told.
Having got in contact with me once before and in doing so broken the first and second rules of CD Club, YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT CD CLUB, the underground movement to enlighten mankind through the mutual appreciation of music came to me once again with yet another month of sacrificial offerings. This time the vigilante tune-loving fellowship had taken on new and tumultuous dimensions.
It was, allegedly, a sad month due in part to the loss of Bench Yokel, the Slick Hick, the man who exposed these malcontented misfits to Spiderbait, Jem and the Boards of Canada. It was rumoured that Bench Yokel had attempted to fix a flux capacity to his DeLorean one night after watching all the Back to the Future movies back to back, with tragic consequencies. My guess, however, is that he got bored of the UK and went back to Oz (as in ‘stralia not Kansas). Needless to say a vigil was held in an undisclosed location (it’s a wonder that anyone turned up then) and his last known words were read to all that gathered in that place. Ironically, they were regarding escapism in his last musical contribution, Wolfmother.
“A bit Reef, a bit T-Rex, a bit White Stripes, a bit Who, a bit Zeppelin, a bit Ozzy….remember when you used to get stoned to all your Dad’s old LPs? This still has that trippy element to it. Its not out over here just yet, I got my copy from Australia, where Wolfmother reside. They’re playing the Big Day Out at the mo and will be over here soon. Meaty power chords fused with still-beating funk.”
Despite his loss, it was also a happy month for the CD Club because, I was told, they replaced him with a new member, Shaky Hands.
Shaky Hands (Demon Dunker)
Turin Brakes – JackinABox
“Turin Brakes’ new album JackInABox doesn’t immediately strike as one of their best to date. Perhaps it is because it feels is as if the tracks could have been taken in isolation from 12 different albums, such is the seeming lack of flow between each. Don’t be deceived, there are some brilliant tracks on this album! ‘Building Wraps Round Me’, combines long instrumental guitar rifts (with just the right level of country twang), beautiful soft melodies and the more alternative side to lyrics that we are used to from the artists. ‘Fishing for a Dream’ is equally good and the soft sounds and slight electronic whine of ‘Come and Go’ put the listener into a state of mental bliss as it washes over and numbs the senses. Perhaps the best flow is from here to the hidden track which introduces a delicious and simple piano over more whining guitars. ‘Last Clown’ is definitely a reminder of what fans became used to from the Optimist LP, with the focus on cleverly constructed, confronting lyrics. ‘Forever’ is an intricately written and smooth love ballad. JackInABox is definately a mixed bag, but still very good. Keep listening! My top 3 albums of 2005 – Jose Gonzalez, Arcade Fire and the Go! Team.”
Ghost (Diamond geezer in the rough)
System of a Down – Hypnotize
“Somewhere between attempting to crawl out of a Slipnot moshpit and reacting to Metallica’s new single with ‘oh, those old fools should’ve given up years ago’. And it certainly steals a few good measures of twang from the classic Primus ‘Sailing the Seas of Cheese’ album. Not the best lyrics ever, but they are foreign, or American, so we’ll fo’give their sorry asses. They are a scary-looking bunch and I almost weed myself when I saw them on MTV, but that just adds flavour to the cheery pantomime tale about heroine, bombs, pesticide, whores with bad feet, bananas and terracotta pies. As for my fave albums from the 2005 menu: Soulwax – Nite Versions, Pendulum – Hold Your Colour and Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV. My least fave was Badger’s offering this month, DE9 Transitions by Richie Hawtin, very disappointing. I don’t think he did his research this time, Badger usually brings a stonker, not a stinker!”
el Pres(Ambassador for New Zealand music)
Architecture in Helsinki – In Case We Die
“Despite the name, Architecture in Helsinki are not some new wave 80’s throwback. If AIH were a house, they would be a 10-storey ramshackle affair like something from Dr Seuss. A quirky assortment of 15 Aussie musicians, AIH have produced an album that merrily rambles along its 42-minute jangly pop-path. My favourites of the year just gone: 1st – LCD Soundsystem, 2nd – Fat Freddys Drop – Based on A True Story, 3rd – Kanye West – Late Registration. Least fave: British Sea Power – understandably, I forget the title.”
Badger (Psychosomatic Saffa insane)
Rickie Hawtin – DE9 Transitions
“Hawtin uses the latest groundbreaking technology to bore the listener to death. Pull your head out Richie!…..”
Trucker (The Northern Soul)
Babyshambles – Down in Albion
“Insightful, yes, coherent… in parts. Much like a Syd Barrett solo release post ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’; ‘Down in Albion’ will not only please die-hard Libertines fans, happy to have one more spin on the wheel with their guru, but also DiA is sure to grow on listeners new to Pete’s ramblings and melancholy-hope. On DiA there is much room for the Tower Hamlets poet-laureate to present his introspective opinion – stories in the first person, cutting much closer to the bone than those provided in the media blitz this year and with a thoroughly rousing backing track to boot. Looking back at 2005’s CD Club offerings, my three favourite albums would have to be Employment by The Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm and the mighty Franz Ferdinand You Could…”
Von Pijinstein (Too shy-shy, hush-hush, eye-to-eye)
Test Icicles – For Screening Purposes Only
“Despite being one of the hot contenders for the year’s crappest name this is very much a meat and two veg kind of album. With extra gravy. Test Icicles have been lauded by Zane Lowe for quite some time and knowing that he puts on a monster show every weeknight on Radio 1, I bought the album on his recommendation. To tell the truth though, it aint really my cuppa tea, it’s a bit Lapsang Souchong when I like plain old PG Tips. That’s not to say it wont be loved by many though, the grinding clatter and boiterous yelling will link left-side to right-side in a good number of heavy-loving, thump-lubbing brains. The record from ‘05 I thrashed the most was Gorillaz-Demon Days. It felt like I was listening to an audio book rather than an album. Story-like almost. Doubt Damon Albarn will get the same amount of creative license for Blur’s next studio album.”
A-Train (Drop him like he’s hot)
My Morning Jacket – Z
“If I were a betting man I’d say that MMJ appreciate the whinier aspects of Radiohead and the yowlier elements of The Smiths. The reggae/alt-country organs and gee-tars of ‘Anytime’ are an endearing flashback to 80’s kid-filled village hall disco parties. Similarly, ‘Off the Record’ provokes images of dungarees and Dexy’s Midnight Runners. And for all you Oasis fans out there, ‘Lay Low’ is a must. LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire and Gorillaz proved the top trumps for me last year. Seeing them live is even better! Least favourite of the year? Only one contender really, British Sea Power, yawn!”
Dr Dave (He’s a baby)
Unfortunately Dr Dave could not contribute this month because he had exams. But he did have time to tell me that Arcade Fire,The Kaiser Chiefs and I am Kloot satisfactified him more than *@^$ did in 2005.
Rhys-o-matic and The Silver Fox both went so far underground that they could not even be contacted regarding comment on their album choices for the month although the former did leave these words about his Scandanavian gift. “Takk…by the ghostly Sigur Ros, would be the perfect musical accompaniment to a harrowing episode of Tove Jansson’s Tale from Moominvalley, in which Moomin Poppa and Moomin Momma lose the Moomin kids in a tragic Moomin accident and wail at the Moomin moon all night long for days and days and days…”
No doubt, with the release of some highly-anticipated albums (starting with The Strokes and the uber-hyped Artic Monkeys in January) we should be hearing bigger and better things from the Underground boys this year.