Tuesday, October 10, 2017

STN recommends... September 2017

Yet again the consistently latest monthly wrap-up in blogland does its job with the playlist of our favourite things from the thirty days just completed:

Friday, September 29, 2017

40 From 40: 2007

Looks like we made it to the end. We close with ten years ago, another of those years right at the end of this survey in which it's driven more by what STN was writing about at the time then what else was happening as the alternative rapidly segregated. What else were we going to lionise, Live Earth? Annoyingly, for the final post it's ended up being one of the most problematic to put links and playlists together for - three tracks aren't housed on YouTube in studio versions and one not at all, the Those Dancing Days track has just disappeared from Spotify, and it's the wrong version for the year in question of You! Me! Dancing! Still, here's forty great tracks from the fortieth year we've covered between 1970 and 2009, and that's what we've been doing this for. Hope you enjoyed it in some fashion.



Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
Johnny Foreigner - Champagne Girls I Have Known
Blood Red Shoes - I Wish I Was Someone Better
Liars - Plaster Casts Of Everything
Sky Larkin - Molten
Future Of The Left - Manchasm
Meet Me in St Louis - All We Need Is A Little Energon And A Lot Of Luck
Foals - Hummer
Crystal Castles vs HEALTH - Crimewave
Battles - Atlas
Au Revoir Simone - Fallen Snow
BARR - The Song Is The Single
Robyn feat. Kleerup - With Every Heartbeat
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
M.I.A. - XR2
Caribou - Melody Day
Holy Fuck - Lovely Allen
Arcade Fire - (Antichrist Television Blues)
The Acorn - Crooked Legs
Grinderman - No Pussy Blues
Pagan Wanderer Lu - Tree Of Knowledge
Bonde Do Role - Solta O Frango
White Williams - New Violence
Radiohead - Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Napoleon IIIrd - This Is My Call To Arms
Burial - Archangel
Panda Bear - Comfy In Nautica
Piano Magic - England's Always Better (As You're Pulling Away)
Laura Marling - Night Terror
Bon Iver - The Wolves (Act I & II)
Johnny Flynn - Tickle Me Pink
Jens Lekman - A Postcard To Nina
Spoon - The Underdog
Field Music - Working To Work
Those Dancing Days - Hitten
Wake The President - Remember Fun?
Lucky Soul - Ain't Never Been Cool
Okkervil River - Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe
Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
Gruff Rhys - Skylon!

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

40 From 40: 1988

What sort of year was 1988? A Don't Worry Be Happy, biggest selling international albums of the year all being released in 1987, Glenn Medeiros, I Owe You Nothing kind of year. On the other hand, and results may vary on whether these were strictly good things, it was also the year of I Should Be So Lucky, the Timelords, S'Express and Orinoco Flow. Down at this end it was a great year for cult alternative noisemaking, smart guys, delicacy and poetry, plus more importantly heavy stirrings of rave and rap culture preparing to completely tear down the fabric. A Guy Called Gerald is the latest Spotify refusenik, although pretty much just for this track, which either suggests licensing has beaten us once more or Gerald Simpson's famously mixed views on its legacy has got in the way.



Sonic Youth - Teenage Riot
Dinosaur Jr - Freak Scene
My Bloody Valentine - Feed Me With Your Kiss
Mudhoney - Touch Me I'm Sick
The Wedding Present - Nobody's Twisting Your Arm
Fugazi - Waiting Room
Pixies - River Euphrates
McCarthy - Should The Bible Be Banned
Throwing Muses - Mexican Women
The Go-Betweens - Was There Anything I Could Do?
The House Of Love - Destroy The Heart
R.E.M. - Turn You Inside-Out
Morrissey - Suedehead
Julian Cope - Charlotte Anne
Wire - Kidney Bingos
The Sugarcubes - Deus
Beat Happening - Indian Summer
Galaxie 500 - Tugboat
Talk Talk - I Believe In You
Frazier Chorus - Dream Kitchen
The Pogues - Thousands Are Sailing
Leonard Cohen - First We Take Manhattan
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Mercy Seat
Pet Shop Boys - Left To My Own Devices
Eric B & Rakim - Follow The Leader
A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo Ray
Humanoid - Stakker Humanoid
Neneh Cherry - Buffalo Stance
Prince - Alphabet St.
Happy Mondays - Moving In With
Pop Will Eat Itself - Def Con One
Public Enemy - Rebel Without A Pause
N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton
Bomb The Bass - Beat Dis
EPMD - Strictly Business
Boogie Down Productions - My Philosophy
Talking Heads - (Nothing But) Flowers
Stump - Charlton Heston
The Fall - New Big Prinz
Billy Bragg - Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

40 From 40: 1992

1992 was not a great year for pop. It was almost an eclectic one, which started with Nevermind knocking Michael Jackson's Dangerous off Billboard number one and ended with the soundtrack to The Bodyguard selling ridiculous amounts, but the UK charts were giving house room to bands like KWS and the toytown techno mini-craze, where Shakespear's Sister's Stay managed eight weeks at number one. SAW had faded and nobody quite knew what to do. 1992 was also the year of high grade controversy in the Sex book, Body Count's Cop Killer and Sinead O'Connor's Pope photo, and of course David Bowie reciting the Lord's Prayer at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. Our collection is for large parts a loud and abrasive one, though consciousness rap, proto-Britpop, indie jangle, soaring electropop and druggy intransigence also score highly.



Ministry - Jesus Built My Hotrod
Cows - Contamination
Blur - Popscene
Jawbox - Cutoff
The Fall - Free Range
Levitation - World Around
Sonic Youth - Sugar Kane
Polvo - Can I Ride
The Lemonheads - Alison's Starting To Happen
Bratmobile - Kiss And Ride
Sugar - If I Can't Change Your Mind
Manic Street Preachers - Motorcycle Emptiness
Pavement - Summer Babe (Winter Version)
Drop Nineteens - Winona
Screaming Trees - Nearly Lost You
The Wedding Present - Flying Saucer
Suede - Metal Mickey
PJ Harvey - Sheela-Na-Gig
Cud - Rich And Strange
Heavenly - Our Love Is Heavenly
Beat Happening - Teenage Caveman
Jonathan Richman - I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar
Arrested Development - Mr Wendal
The Pharcyde - Passin' Me By
House Of Pain - Jump Around
Wu-Tang Clan - Protect Ya Neck
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Papa Won't Leave You Henry
Bang Bang Machine - Geek Love
Pulp - Babies
R.E.M. - Drive
The Charlatans - Weirdo
The Lightning Seeds - The Life Of Riley
Saint Etienne - People Get Real
Electronic - Disappointed
Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - The Only Living Boy In New Cross
The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy - Television The Drug Of The Nation
Beastie Boys - So What'Cha Want
Prince - Sexy M.F.
Flowered Up - Weekender
Spiritualized - Run

Previously on 40 From 40: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

40 From 40: 1984

The big music story of 1984, and really the one that would reverberate around pop for a while to come, didn't start until October 23rd, and even then we didn't know about the effect Michael Buerk's words would have until 31 days later when Bob Geldof booked Sarm Studios for a coming together in the name of charitable festive awareness. Up until then it was the year of Frankie, a combination of Mike Reid prudishness, a million remix 12"s and gnomic Paul Morley-penned statements and T-shirt designs giving them a remarkable cultural heft. Madonna was fast reaching a similar level, her veil and suspenders act at the VMAs being her first of her own many major statements through garments. Michael Jackson burnt his scalp for Pepsi and broke the Grammys record, Marvin Gaye was killed by his father, Bucks Fizz and Vince Neil both had life changing road accidents in very different circumstances, George Michael covered both ends of the everyone-on-the-floor spectrum with Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Careless Whisper, the Police split, and Stevie Wonder ruined everything with I Just Called to Say I Love You. Our 40 convey a curious, colourful, kaleidoscopic time when pop's shiny mavens, arty auteurs and brainbox idealists could rub shoulders, while underneath the underground roughed itself up good and proper. Once more, someone really needs to sort (most of) the Go-Betweens' digital distribution out.



Prince - Let's Go Crazy
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax
Strawberry Switchblade - Since Yesterday
Madonna - Material Girl
The Redskins - Keep On Keeping On
The Special AKA - Nelson Mandela
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Making History
Scritti Politti - Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)
Art Of Noise - Beat Box (Diversion One)
Cabaret Voltaire - Sensoria
23 Skidoo - Coup
Man Parrish - Boogie Down Bronx
The Nails - 88 Lines About 44 Women
Killing Joke - Eighties
R.E.M. - Pretty Persuasion
Hüsker Dü - Pink Turns To Blue
Sonic Youth feat. Lydia Lunch - Death Valley '69 (single version)
Echo & the Bunnymen - Crystal Days
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions - Perfect Skin
The Smiths - Reel Around The Fountain
The Chills - Pink Frost
The Blue Nile - Tinseltown In The Rain
The Go-Betweens - Bachelor Kisses
The Colourfield - Thinking of You
Talk Talk - It's My Life
Madness - Michael Caine
Prefab Sprout - When Love Breaks Down
Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy
Run-DMC - Hard Times
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Saint Huck
Minutemen - Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing
The Replacements - I Will Dare
Orange Juice - What Presence?!
Meat Puppets - Plateau
Cocteau Twins - Ivo
Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumours
David Sylvian - Nostalgia
Robyn Hitchcock - Trams Of Old London
Billy Bragg - The Saturday Boy
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me To The End Of Love

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Monday, September 25, 2017

40 From 40: 1978

So we start the final furlong of the feature and complete the 1970s with the year disco ate the world. Who could complain? Well, middle America and everyone involved with financing the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band film thinking they were onto a sure thing, but the new thing was inescapable what with Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees at their height (apart from the aforementioned movie), Grease, YMCA and the peculiar sideline Rivers Of Babylon all taking off. 1977's other breakout style was already splintering in the wider conscious, though - seven months after the height of their notoreity the Sex Pistols blew themselves out at Winterland, and Nancy Spungen would be dead nine months later. Wuthering Heights brought a fascinating new sound to the pop firmament, Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs less so. Our playlist charts the fascinating places punk was already spreading into, the coming of the machines, The Funk, some reggae, some AOR and a whole lot of jitteriness.



Public Image Ltd - Public Image
X-Ray Spex - The Day the World Turned Day-Glo
Pere Ubu - Non-Alignment Pact
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Hong Kong Garden
Gang Of Four - Damaged Goods
Subway Sect - Ambition
Magazine - The Light Pours Out Of Me
Television Personalities - Part Time Punks
The Normal - Warm Leatherette
The Human League - Being Boiled
Kraftwerk - Neon Lights
Thomas Leer - Private Plane
Sylvester - You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
The Real Thing - Can You Feel The Force
Chic - Le Freak
Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove
Giorgio Moroder - Chase
Boney M - Rasputin
The Cramps - Human Fly
Wire - Practice Makes Perfect
Scritti Politti - Skank Bloc Bologna
The Clash - (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
Culture - This Train
Steel Pulse - Prodigal Son
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Dread Beat An' Blood
Kate Bush - Them Heavy People
Ian Dury and the Blockheads - What A Waste
Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street
Tom Waits - Wrong Side Of The Road
The Walker Brothers - Nite Flights
The Motors - Airport
Blondie - Picture This
Television - Foxhole
The Jam - 'A' Bomb In Wardour Street
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Pump It Up
Buzzcocks - Promises
Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated
The Undertones - Teenage Kicks
The B-52's - Rock Lobster
Devo - Jocko Homo

Previously on 40 From 40: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009

Thursday, September 21, 2017

40 From 40: 1996

Welcome to one of the busiest and most quietly epochal years there ever was if only for the emergence of the Spice Girls. First appeared on TV three months before Wannabe's release, lest we forget. At one end of the pop spectrum Oasis were colonising the land at Knebworth, at the other Take That were splitting, and where those points met Jarvis was pointing his bony ass at Michael Jackson (and, lest we forget, being arrested for assaulting children he'd gone nowhere near) It was the year of the Sex Pistols reuniting and the Stone Roses publicly disintegrating, the hammer coming down at Reading. It was the year of Dave Gahan overdosing and Madonna giving birth. It was the year of Macarena and Firestarter, Gina G and Babylon Zoo, Three Lions and Robert Miles. Tupac died. Bowie released a digital-only single, the first by a major label artist. Virtual Insanity made people internationally go "actually it's the floor that's moving, right?" You'll note a lack of full-on Britpop here in this most Cool Britannia of years, this kind of being the year it chose to celebrate its own being more than produce lasting legacies, and really the closest it comes is those bands who got sucked into its publicity machine's jetstream while idling about their own business well off to the left of what was otherwise going on. Yes, Your Woman did originally come out in 1996, before you say it. No Broadcast or Edwyn Collins on Spotify, BTW.




Arab Strap - The First Big Weekend
Belle & Sebastian - The State I Am In
Animals That Swim - Faded Glamour
Garageland - Beelines To Heaven
R.E.M. - How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us
Trembling Blue Stars - Abba On The Jukebox
Stereolab - Cybele's Reverie
Broadcast - The Book Lovers
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Patio Song
Eels - Susan's House
DJ Shadow - Midnight In A Perfect World
Tricky - Christiansands
Primitive Radio Gods - Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand
White Town - Your Woman
The Olivia Tremor Control - Jumping Fences
Weezer - Tired Of Sex
The Flaming Stars - Ten Feet Tall
Barry Adamson - Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Pelvis
Edwyn Collins - Keep On Burning
Beck - The New Pollution
Busta Rhymes - Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check
Butthole Surfers - Pepper
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Wail
Sebadoh - Ocean
Urusei Yatsura - Kewpies Like Watermelon
The Delgados - Under Canvas Under Wraps
Kenickie - Come Out 2 Nite
Super Furry Animals - God! Show Me Magic
Guided By Voices - The Official Ironmen Rally Song
Jack – Wintercomesummer
Mansun - Stripper Vicar
dEUS - Roses
The Auteurs - Tombstone
The Divine Comedy - Songs Of Love
Beth Orton - She Cries Your Name
Low - Over The Ocean
Bis - This Is Fake DIY
Earl Brutus - The SAS And The Glam That Goes With It
Lionrock - Fire Up The Shoesaw
Tortoise - Djed

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

40 From 40: 1974

Everybody knows rock attained perfection in 1974, it's a scientific fact! This was the year of Abba winning Eurovision, the Osmonds being given their own week of prime-time BBC1 programming, Kung Fu Fighting, Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Centre of the Earth and, in a far-off place, the Ramones' debut at CBGBs. Meanwhile...



Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Cluster - Caramel
Robert Wyatt - Sea Song
Vivian Stanshall - Truck-Track
Average White Band - Pick Up The Pieces
Commodores - Machine Gun
Parliament - Up For The Down Stroke
The Javells feat. Nosmo King - Goodbye (Nothing to Say)
James Brown - My Thang
The Jackson 5 - Dancing Machine
Stevie Wonder - You Haven't Done Nothin'
Labelle - Lady Marmalade
Al Green - Take Me To The River
10cc - The Wall Street Shuffle
Sparks - Amateur Hour
Roxy Music - All I Want Is You
Big Star - September Gurls
Steely Dan - Any Major Dude Will Tell You
Randy Newman - Rednecks
Gene Clark - Strength Of Strings
Gram Parsons - $1000 Wedding
Joni Mitchell - Free Man In Paris
Tom Waits - (Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night
John Cale - Fear Is A Man's Best Friend
Cockney Rebel - Judy Teen
Queen - Killer Queen
Suzi Quatro - Devil Gate Drive
David Bowie - Rebel Rebel
Dr Feelgood - Roxette
Brian Eno - Baby's On Fire
Roy Wood - Goin' Down The Road (A Scottish Reggae Song)
Betty Davis - He Was A Big Freak
Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information
Gil Scott-Heron - Winter In America
George McCrae - Rock Your Baby
Augustus Pablo - Please Sunrise
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Natty Dread
Ansel Collins - Stalag 17
U-Roy - Words Of Wisdom
Rupie Edwards - Ire Feelings (Skanga)

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Friday, September 15, 2017

40 From 40: 1998

In retrospect, something appears to be coming together around 1998. Three of the year's biggest music stories - George Michael's arrest, Elton John's knighthood, Geri leaving the Spice Girls - feel like the first stage of coalescing into the next superstar clique, with Madonna on the outside waving her Kaballah red string (for newcomers, Kaballah was the Scientology of its day) at passers-by. The slow demise of the Spice Girls phenomenon left quite a bit of room to fill in its wake too, 1998 being the year of All Saints' rise, Billie Piper, B*Witched, Boyzone's peak (with Westlife newly formed in the wings), the irresistable rise of 1997's Angels, and in America the release of Baby One More Time and the launch of TRL. And yet if you look at the year's biggest selling worldwide singles - My Heart Will Go On, Believe, I Don't Want To Miss A Thing, It's Like That, You're Still The One - a story far from youth is being told, especially when you remember Jane McDonald had three weeks at number one. This is the year we came closest, we think, to being able to put out an entirely different reserve list, and even now we're not sure it's as strong as it can be. Sod it, it's up now. And actually quite a bit of that B-list is missing from Spotify, as are Royal Trux, Derrero and Silver Jews in the 40 that actually made it. Obscurity for art's sake on our part or labels and bands letting the streaming side down? You decide.



Refused - New Noise
Asian Dub Foundation - Free Satpal Ram
UNKLE feat. Badly Drawn Boy - Nursery Rhyme
Royal Trux - Liar
Six By Seven - Candlelight
Sonic Youth - Sunday
Swell - Make Up Your Mind
Clinic - Cement Mixer
Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
The Olivia Tremor Control - Hideaway
Quasi - The Poisoned Well
Sparklehorse - Sick Of Goodbyes
Eels - Last Stop: This Town
Derrero - Radar Intruder
Beck - Tropicalia
Boards Of Canada - Aquarius
Black Star feat. Common - Respiration
Massive Attack - Inertia Creeps
Mercury Rev - Opus 40
Pulp - This Is Hardcore
The Delgados - Pull The Wires From The Wall
The Beta Band - She's The One
PJ Harvey - The Wind
Cat Power - Cross Bones Style
Elliott Smith - Waltz #2 (XO)
Black Box Recorder - Girl Singing In The Wreckage
Silver Jews - Random Rules
Vic Chesnutt - Maiden
Songs:Ohia - This Time Anything Finite At All
Arab Strap - Soaps
Mogwai - Xmas Steps
Hefner - The Sad Witch
Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap
Kenickie - Run Me Over
Lauryn Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing)
Jurassic 5 - Jayou
Beastie Boys - Intergalactic
Spearmint - A Trip Into Space
Dawn Of The Replicants - Candlefire
Quickspace - Quickspace Happy Song #2

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

40 From 40: 1980

1980 has gone down as the year of unusual numbers of rock deaths - Lennon, John Bonham, Ian Curtis, Bon Scott, Malcolm Owen of the Ruts, Tim Hardin - which tends to overshadow that the improbable pace of development and diversification around these years was coming into its own. Things came from all angles, the clubs becoming a sales influence in the year when Top Of The Pops was off TV for nine summer weeks due to Musician's Union strike action while the indie chart was launched in January to give a sector deep into the shapeshifting oddity of post-punk and its cousins 2-Tone, electronics and goth more exposure. The American hardcore and punk underground reared up with SST starting to put out records other than Black Flag's, while at the other end of the sales scale pop itself went in strange exploratory directions as percussive, feedback-laden sloganeers Adam & The Ants became pretty much the biggest band in the land. And look at rap starting to make itself known in its original, straightforward form down there. These really were accelerating cultures, which is obviously why the year's 40 starts with a knowingly retro record. Peter Gabriel and A Certain Ratio (only available in remixed form) are the Spotify refuseniks this time.



The Barracudas - Summer Fun
The Undertones - Wednesday Week
Martha & The Muffins - Echo Beach
The Soft Boys - I Wanna Destroy You
XTC - Generals And Majors
Paul McCartney - Coming Up
Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime
Adam & The Ants - Don't Be Square (Be There)
A Certain Ratio - Shack Up
Young Marble Giants - Wurlitzer Jukebox
Grace Jones - Private Life
UB40 - King
The Specials - Do Nothing
John Foxx - Underpass
The Cure - A Forest
Orange Juice - Blue Boy
New Musik - This World Of Water
Squeeze - Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)
Diana Ross - My Old Piano
Susan Fassbender - Twilight Cafe
Dexys Midnight Runners - There There My Dear
Magazine - A Song From Under The Floorboards
Madness - Embarrassment
The Beat - Mirror In The Bathroom
Joy Division - Isolation
David Bowie - Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
Mission Of Burma - Max Ernst
The Birthday Party - Mr Clarinet
The Cramps - Garbageman
Dead Kennedys - Holiday In Cambodia
Motörhead - Ace Of Spades
The Jim Carroll Band - People Who Died
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Happy House
Spoonie Gee and the Treacherous Three - The New Rap Language
Kurtis Blow - The Breaks
Kate Bush - Babooshka
Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers
The Jam - That's Entertainment
Robert Wyatt - At Last I Am Free
John Cooper Clarke - Beasley Street

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