Thursday, 17 May 2012

And now for something completely different

I've been stuck in this office for nearly ten hours, and I need some diversion. I had a lovely visit from a departing student, and a serious chat with a colleague I'm doing union casework for, but that's about it. The building is deserted other than a few postgrads doing the English MA, and I'm being lulled to sleep by the traffic on the dual carriageway. Or is it the carbon monoxide? Either way, I need some music to keep me awake.

I'm in the mood for some alternative classics tonight. Let's see what's in my virtual record bag (I do have real records too. Many thousands of them. One day I'll bore you with them).

First up, The Phantom Band with 'Island', one of their more relaxed tracks. They manage to jam folk, psychedelia and krautrock into every song and make it seem entirely natural. I know they got critical acclaim for their debut, Checkmate Savage, but when I'm in charge, they'll be writing the national anthem.

In a similar vein, here's a deceptively lovely bit of Portishead, 'The Rip'. I didn't really make much of them until I got free tickets to see them tour Third, and then it all made sense. Of course, the fact that everyone around me was smoking massive amounts of skunk and my esteemed colleague was drinking 2-pint buckets of Guinness helped a lot. He shouted the foulest abuse at the band for the entire evening. Next day I asked him why he'd hated it so much and he could only remember enjoying the whole thing…

I don't think I've ever played any Labradford here before. They're like an uncompromising Yo La Tengo: minimalist and atmospheric. Often quite creepy. Unlikely to appear on Saturday Kitchen or indeed In The Bungalow With Dick and Dom. Which is a shame.

Wow that brings back memories of sharing a house with stoners. Still, it's an improvement on the Ozric Tentacles they used to like. As a palate cleanser, here's some lovely lovely Quickspace with 'They Shoot Horse, Don't They?:

Anyway, as I'm back here for more marking and further tales of woe, I'll finish on Bonnie Prince Billy's 'Another Day Full of Dread': introduced by John Peel, which always makes me feel happy AND sad. One of the highlights of my life was him taking one of my requests and engaging in a little 'banter'.

Actually, no. I'm going to finish with a couple of happier tracks. First up, a lovely slice of chamber-pop from The Pale Fountains. Britpop killed this kind of thing. The bastards. Oh, and heroin. Cheers, Colombia!

Finally: a blast of utter hippy joy from Ireland's only psychedelic band, Dr. Strangely Strange. Now I know where Gorkys Zygotic Mynci (that's a lovely track) got it from. This track is 'Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal', which described life here very well indeed.

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