Freitag, Januar 18, 2008

woof woof baa

I'm laughing my head off at the moment listening to The Beatle Barkers interpretation of Hard Days Night. As for msucial interpretation, there isn't much new to it, only the lyrics have been substituted with dog woofs and sheep baas. I found it in a podcast by the British poet and musician Martin Newell. It is a very entertaining song that becomes even more entertaining with what Martin Newell has to say about his memories of the 60s and The Beatles. You can download and listen to the whole thing here, the song comes on in about the half or so of the podcast.

Freitag, Januar 11, 2008

01 - Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators: Keep Reachin' Up & Amy Winehouse: Back To Black



These two records largely made my year. I like them both so much there was no way of choosing one of them over the other. Each perfectly fits into one of the two halfs this year has been for me. Keep Reachin' Up is me in Manchester, I can see myself sitting on the bed doing make up and getting ready for going out. I can feel this even now listening to it, the memories are so intense. Back To Black is me in Berlin. The images that come up are less, well, images, rather diffused, but the feeling is the same. I feel butterflies in my stomach when I hear these records. The perfect soundtrack for 2007.
Both records were released in 2006. Like I wrote before, I think that even if I made a list of records released in 2007, it would still make a lot of sense to consider albums that came out in the late 2006. A good records, a NUMBER ONE RECORD needs some time to climb to that position, to become worthy enough for this. This is Keep Reachin' Up for me. Ironically, the first time I heard about it was in a Best-of-2006-list, namely as the number one of the best soul records of 2006, chosen by the staff of Picadilly Records Manchester (which was elected "best independent record store" by the readers of Music Week and "one of the best shops at all" by The Observer in 2006). Their praise of Nicole Willis' record sounded so good I just had to get it. I was curious whether the record would keep the promise made by Picadilly Records - whic was stiring the Northern Soul fire that had been burning in me since I came to Manchester. Needless to say that is just what it did.
Back To Black, however, needed a lot more time to make it into my heart. Although I had heard about Amy Winehouse already when her first album Frank was released, I did not mind her at all back then. I have complained about her quite harshly, but in her case endless repetition of her songs, being played over and over kind made way for her record - through the backdoor.
So Keep Reachin' Up won my heart at the very beginning of the year, and in a straight, steady way. Back To Black only had very few time to overwhelm me, because it took the long way round. But both had to get my in the end.

The two records are very much different, regarding their popularity. Amy Winehouse was massive this year, whereas no one seems to have heard of Nicole Willis at all. I got the feeling that the record might be a bit of a grower, not in terms of the music, but in terms of popularity. Musically, they have a lof of things in common. Both are outstanding up-to-date and new Northern Soul records, and, I must admit, the only two modern Northern Soul records I know about. There might be more coming up this year, with songs like the remix of Frankie Valli's Beggin' getting quite some attention. For me, discovering and exploring Northern Soul was the biggest musical gain I got this year - even more than living in the city of music.
2007 has been the year of Northern Soul for me, and what would be more obvious than to mention Amy Winehouse as the woman who made Northern Soul music fashionable this year. You couldn't avoid Back To Black this year, the songs seemed to be in everybody's ears and her name on everyone's lips. But Nicole Willis made way for her in my heart. So now I hope that the people who love Back To Black could make space in their hearts for Keep Reachin' Up...

Sonntag, Januar 06, 2008

02 - The Coral: Roots & Echoes


Similar to Rjd2's The Third Hand, Roots & Echoes has been frequently on the turntable in autumn 2007. And I literally mean "turntable" this time, as there was no way of avoiding The Coral whenever I went out to listen and dance to great records. All of The Coral's albums have their great moments and when I heard the band at clubs or bars, it was not even that likely I would get to hear a song from their latest record. But I have chosen this one as my favourite because it is the one I have listened to most frequently. Plus Who's Gonna Find Me definitely is one of the songs of the year for me, and it is on this album. But then again, I only discovered Dreaming Of You (from The Coral) this year, and it should have been inside my heart and head from 2002 on. But maybe I would not have been ready for this sixties-influenced, bright and shining pop/rock music back then, I think I was listening to quite different stuff then. That is why I'd rather have the latest record as my favourite in this list, but all the others are great, too.
Anyway, Rjd2 and The Coral is what I have been listening to heavily over the past few months, and to be honest, maybe this is one of the reason they ended up so high in the ranking. For the records that you listened to in the first half of the year may not be in your short-time memory when you are compiling the list, and the ones that you found out about by the very end of the year may be to fresh to really mean something to you. You will soon see how I tried to overcome this problem in my number one.

03 - Rjd2: The Third Hand


I have written about this one here. It is still hard to believe I read about this record in a hiphop magazine first. But yeah, Rdj2 used to be a hiphop sampling dj once. With this record, he has created something more atmospheric, more dreamy, more melodic. This has been the soundtrack for my autumn this year. I used to listen to this one all of september when I was riding my bike. It is a bit of a twisted record, I find it very hard to add "labels" to it. But unlike last time I wrote about this record, there is now something I can give you to hear. Please have a look and listen at Work It Out, which represents the feel of the album very well, I think. It may sound repetitive when you've only listened to it once, but If you give it a few more tries you will realise there is a lot going on in the song.

Rjd2, by the way, is not the guy with the crutches, but, among others, the guy in the blue/white checked shirt following him at the beginning.

Mittwoch, Januar 02, 2008

04 - The Clash: The Clash & London Calling


2007 brought me lots of new musical styles to listen to, and punk rock certainly is a very influential one. I always knew about The Clash, but never paid attention to their music until I went to Britain. When I was there, The documentary about Joe Strummer, The Future Is Unwritten, was in the cinemas. I only saw the film after I got back to Berlin, but the big fuzz that was made about it was something I couldn't escape from. One day I heard Rock The Casbah on the local uni radio station. It's a song I had known before but didn't know which band it was from. I also hadn't heard it for a long time, so it was kind of like discovering it for the first time - this wild, energetic, yet bright and jingly song. I then started to listen to lots of stuff from The Clash, that's why I cannot really choose one particular album to put here in the list. There are lots of Clash-classics, and most of them are on these two records: Janie Jones, White Riot, Career Opportunities, Garageland on The Clash and London Calling and Guns of Brixton on London Calling.
I also got some dvds abouth The Clash from the local library in Manchester. The band was everywhere this year, I even ended up in their local pub in Camden one evening when I was in London - and it was not at all intentional, nor something I knew when I got there. I only found out a lot later. Just like I found out how great this band is very late.

05 - The Detroit Cobras: Tied & True


On we go in the new year with old music. This record contains songs from the 60s, all covered by the band The Detroit Cobras. I like that all songs are really powerful, even the slow, sad ones. I read about this record in a music magazine, and the description sounded so tempting I just had to listen to it! I didnt like everything on it at first, only my first favourite song: Only To Other People. I liked it so much that I have the whole album some more spins. It took a bit of time, but now I like it very much. It also quite well represents what kkind of music I particularly listened to this year: energetic, good , loud, and rather often with interesting female singers.

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