Saturday, 23 January 2016

Sex for your ears

A kind of Blue is the jazz album that many rocks fans have in their collection - Miles Davies lived a life that was pure rock and roll, and he played from the soul - I bloody love this album. It truly is sex for your ears.

Well as all you groovers know vinyl is back in a big way, and currently there's a new magazine, one of those part work things, on sale at newsagents. And each issue comes with a classic jazz album on genuine virgin 180g vinyl - even better the first issue is priced at a special low of £4.99 and comes with A Kind of Blue, on 180g vinyl - man, the album is worth at least £20 so this is a bargain you won't want to miss.

I think the regular price of the magazine will be £14.99, but coming with a LP record and an excellent magazine looking at the record in question, it is a set worth collecting. I've subscribed anyway - I'm not that knowledgable on Jazz, so I'm going to use this collection to explore the genre. Previously, A Kind of Blue and a few Louis Armstrong albums have been the only jazz in my collection.

I love Kind of Blue...did I mention that it is sex for your ears! And not just your standard run of the mill sex but sex with a hot chick from a fetish bar.

Monday, 11 January 2016

DAVID BOWIE: Where the fuck did Monday go?

Two days ago I reviewed David Bowie's new album, Blackstar - that was Saturday and today,
Monday I'm writing about his death.

Where the fuck did Monday go? Bowie asks on one of the songs on his new album, which seems to be a seven track meditation on mortality. It's an amazingly good album, but very bleak, black even and no doubt, Bowie, knowing the end was close, designed it to be his last word.

Something happened on the day he died, spirits rose a meter and stepped aside - Blackstar

Look up here, I'm in heaven
I've got scars that can't be seen
I've got drama, can't be stolen
Everybody knows me now -
Lazarus, the second track on the new album.

Bowie was, without any doubt, one of the most influential artists of the rock era. He is truly immortal like only a select few - John lennon, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and  Elvis Presely all come to mind and Bowie's name will take rightful place besides these true icons, for each of them have left an imprint on music that has become a part of rock's DNA and not just in musical terms but in their very persona. There was something about these people that made them stand out, made them truly great. And Bowie was definitely a great.

Bowie lived the rock and roll lifestyle to the full - drink, drugs, bisexuality all played a large part in his life. It can be argued that the 1970's was his most creative decade with albums like Low, Ziggy Stardust, Station to Station, Hunky Dory and Diamond Dogs all cementing his position as rock's greatest innovator but albums that came after his golden decade were pretty damn good, in fact for Bowie it seemed as if his golden years never really ended. Scary Monsters and Super Creeps kicked off Bowie's 1980's  and although he entered a fallow period following this record, his 1983 album, Let's Dance was his most commercially successful - Let's Dance, to my mind, was too poppy and had none of the brilliance of his 1970's work, but it did yield several hugely successful singles in Let's Dance, China Girl and Modern Love.

In the early 1990's Bowie seemed to turn his back on his solo career and instead became a member of Tin Machine, but although he intended the band to be a democracy it was the Bowie name that dominated. Bowie constantly shifted styles in the following years, scoring many successes but to my mind his next truly great album was 2002's Heathen, which was followed a year later by the even better (to my mind) Reality. One track on the album, Never Get Old just rocks as Bowie screams out, 'never gonna be enough money, never gonna be enough sex, never gonna be enough drugs.Never ever gonna get old.' But you know what - Bowie had gotten old and it suited him.

 Then Bowie seemed to fade away and official word was that he had retired, while rumours did the rounds that he was seriously ill, dying even - He surprised fans in 2013 when he released a new album, the Next Day which sounded both fresh and at the same time a rollback to Ziggy era Bowie. His final album, Blackstar came out last weekend, released on Bowie's 69th birthday, and then he once again took fans by surprise by dying after secretly battling cancer for more than 18 months. NO doubt Bowie had planned for the last album to be released on his 69th birthday, all too aware that his own end was imminent. Bowie, it seemed, had died the way he had lived...on his own terms.

Bless you gave so much and we carry you in our hearts.


Saturday, 9 January 2016

Blackstar - David Bowie goes Noir

Bowie's new album, his 25th studio platter, is the sound of an artist giving the modern music industry the finger - still this shouldn't come as a surprise as Bowie's often pulled the rug from under our expectations and gone in a totally unexpected direction. Remember the Berlin Trilogy all those years ago!

Well after his previous album, The Next Day which saw Bowie return to the recording studio after ten years and release a set that owed much to classic Bowie, we could have been forgiven for expecting more of the same when a new album, Blackstar was announced back last year. Of course those of us who know Bowie's work would have expected no such thing, because we know the Thin White Duke, the stardust covered Alien, the starstruck jester is a man of many faces and many sounds. And Blackstar is a kick in the bollocks for those who wanted more Ziggy era-alike vibes...this album is more Low than Scary Monsters...and may be the best thing he'd done for some considerable time. Expect awards aplenty - album of the year, and all that.

Containing only seven tracks - admittedly mammoth tracks, the shortest being 4 mins, 40 seconds, while the longest is 9 mins, 58 seconds - the album is short by modern standards, but it matters not for there is no filler here and each track propels upwards with a jazz infected vibe. I've been playing the album constantly now for the past two days and it's really under my skin - I liked The Next Day but I have no doubt this is better...much better.

Donny McCaslin's saxophone drives the album and is every bit as important to this set as Bowie's voice - the songs are all about death, the end of days...basically your everyday bundle of laughs...and done with such craft that they really get under your skin and each new listen brings up new aural delights, and the odd thought provoking lyric. Bowieologists already are likening the album to his great Berlin experiments Low or "Heroes."  Though that may be missing the point -  Blackstar is its own strange, perverse thing, the ­latest move in a boundlessly ­unpredictable career.