73. Coldplay – Parachutes

Coldplay - Parachutes

73. Coldplay – Parachutes (2000)

1. Don’t Panic
2. Shiver
3. Spies
4. Sparks
5. Yellow
6. Trouble
7. Parachutes
8. High Speed
9. We Never Change
10. Everything’s Not Lost

Who is/are Coldplay?

Their Wikipedia entry is a little verbose, and starts like this; “Coldplay are a British rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and keyboardist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London (UCL). After they formed under the name Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as drummer and backing vocalist, completing the lineup. Creative director Phil Harvey is often referred to as the fifth member by the band. The band renamed themselves “Coldplay” in 1998, before recording and releasing three EPs: ‘Safety‘ in 1998 and ‘Brothers & Sisters‘ and ‘The Blue Room‘ in 1999. ‘The Blue Room‘ was their first release on a major label, after signing to Parlophone.”

My takeaway from that? “Coldplay are a British rock band.”

Why did you buy this album?

I didn’t. This was a gift from my sister, along with U2’s ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind‘. One of those albums has been played considerably more than the other…

What’s it like?

This is where it all started for Coldplay. It’s inoffensive, melodic pop rock, with ambitions towards stadium rock. At the time it was released, it drew comparisons to ‘The Bends‘-era Radiohead, though as Radiohead had just released ‘Kid A‘, that may be wishful thinking by some critics rather than a considered judgement.

Either way, it was apparently a good enough album to be nominated for the 2000 Mercury Music Prize (losing to ‘The Hour of Bewilderbeast‘*), and won the Q Magazine Award for best album, Best British Album at the BRIT Awards, and a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I don’t feel anything for this album. It’s not good enough to make me sit up and enjoy listening to it, and it’s not bad enough to be thrown out of the nearest window. It’s essentially aural wallpaper. I can put it on, and get on with other things without really concentrating.

I may have just described Coldplay’s entire output…

Any stand-out tracks?

If pushed, I’d have to say ‘Yellow‘, ‘Shiver‘ and ‘Everything’s Not Lost‘. The rest are eminently forgettable.

Rating out of 10?

5/10.

Next up: Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head

*Nitin Sawhney was robbed…

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72. The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars

The Civil Wars - The Civil Wars

72. The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars (2013)

1. The One That Got Away
2. I Had Me a Girl
3. Same Old Same Old
4. Dust to Dust
5. Eavesdrop
6. Devil’s Backbone
7. From This Valley
8. Tell Mama
9. Oh Henry
10. Disarm
11. Sacred Heart
12. D’Arline

Who is/are The Civil Wars?

To Twitter! “The four-time Grammy award-winning duo. @joywilliams & @johnpaulwhite”.

Fair enough.

Why did you buy this album?

Having enjoyed the debut, ‘Barton Hollow‘, buying the follow-up was something of a no-brainer, especially after hearing ‘The One That Got Away‘ on the radio…

What’s it like?

This album essentially applies the style of the song ‘Barton Hollow‘ from the debut album to the whole album. This is a good thing.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I adore this album. Unlike ‘Barton Hollow‘, there isn’t a duff track on here. The lack of “bonus tracks” also means that it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome either. I would quite happily listen to this for much, much longer…

Any stand-out tracks?

Devil’s Backbone‘, ‘Tell Mama‘, and ‘Oh Henry‘ are all clear favourites, along with the Smashing Pumpkins cover ‘Disarm‘.

Rating out of 10?

10/10.

Next up: Coldplay – Parachutes

71. The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow

71. The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow (2011)

1. 20 Years
2. I’ve Got This Friend
3. C’est la mort
4. To Whom It May Concern
5. Poison & Wine
6. My Father’s Father
7. Barton Hollow
8. The Violet Hour
9. Girl With the Red Balloon
10. Falling
11. Forget Me Not
12. Birds of a Feather
13. Billie Jean
14. I Want You Back
15. Dance Me to the End of Love
16. You Are My Sunshine
17. Goodbye Girl
18. Marionette (Demo)

Who is/are The Civil Wars?

According to Wikipedia; “The Civil Wars were a critically acclaimed American musical duo composed of Joy Williams and John Paul White.”

Why did you buy this album?

This is another purchase following airplay on BBC6Music. I heard the single ‘Barton Hollow‘ a number of times, so got the album from Amazon.

It also helped that a number of the Nashville-based people I follow on Twitter were raving about them…

What’s it like?

The album itself is generally considered “indie-folk” or “indie-Americana”, which usually means there’s a slide guitar involved…

The majority of the songs are simple ballads or alt-country songs, made up of acoustic guitar and close vocal harmonies. The edition I have, known as the European edition, includes 4 covers, a bonus track, and a demo at the end of the album proper, though these follow the same formula (if you’ve ever wanted to know how Michael Jackson would have sounded if he were from Tennessee rather than Indiana, here you go…).

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I have a lot of time for this album, though I can live without half of the covers included as bonuses. Nearly every track is great, but a couple do fall too far into country music clichĂ© for my liking (I’m looking at you ‘Forget Me Not‘).

Any stand-out tracks?

The afore-mentioned title track, ‘Barton Hollow‘ is the clear highlight of the album, having more energy than most of the other tracks.

Poison & Wine‘, ‘20 Years‘, and ‘The Violet Hour‘ also come highly recommended, with ‘Billie Jean‘ and ‘Dance Me to the End of Love‘ being the highlights from the European edition bonus tracks.

Rating out of 10?

8/10.

Next up: The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars

70. Cellarscape – The Act of Letting Go

Cellarscape - The Act Of Letting Go

70. Cellarscape – The Act of Letting Go (2014)

1. Iterations
2. Look Backwards, Lean Forwards
3. Out Of My Hands
4. We Shape The Clouds
5. Keepsake
6. Epinephrine
7. Circa 39
8. The Same Place (feat. Anneke van Giersbergen)
9. Cartographica
10. Diorama
11. Timelapsetiredsky
12. Resolutions

Who is/are Cellarscape?

Okay Google, do your stuff; “Musical artist”. Ah.

However, top result leads to Cellarscape’s Bandcamp page, wherein we find; “Cellarscape is IMA-nominated artist Paul Terry (vocal harmonies, homemade beats, guitars & orchestrations). His fifth Cellarscape record ‘The Act Of Letting Go’ is IMA-nominated for Best Eclectic Album 2015. Paul’s film scores include ‘Emily’ (starring Academy Award-nominee Felicity Jones and Emmy winner Christopher Eccleston) and 15-time award-winning ‘The Furred Man’.”

Why did you buy this album?

Having bought all the previous albums, there was no way I wasn’t going to get a new one as soon as it came out. Especially as it came in a gorgeous signed art book…

What’s it like?

There are a few albums in my collection that I’ve had for so long that they are so familiar, so welcoming, so much a part of my musical history, that they feel like they’ve always been around. R.E.M.’s ‘Monster‘ is one, as is Weezer’s debut album*. On first listen, so was this album. Despite never hearing any of it it previously, I felt like I knew it already, in a good way!

As with each previous Cellarscape release, this album successfully builds on the established sound, expanding it to a cinematic scale on some songs, whilst retaining the intimacy of the sound on other tunes.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I still love it. Like ‘Monster‘ and ‘Weezer‘, it still stands up years after its release, and I don’t tire of it. In fact, the only reason it came out of my CD player at the time it came out was because I received an advance copy of Treacherous Orchestra’s ‘Grind‘…

Any stand-out tracks?

This is tough to choose, as a different day will mean a different favourite track. However, ‘Timelapsetiredsky‘, ‘Circa 39‘, and ‘The Same Place‘ have been consistent highlights, with ‘Epinephrine‘, ‘Look Backwards, Lean Forwards‘ and ‘Keepsake‘ also getting repeated plays.

Rating out of 10?

10/10.

Next up: The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

*Both, coincidentally, released in 1994…

69. Cellarscape – A Theta/Delta Union

Cellarscape - A Theta Delta Union

69. Cellarscape – A Theta/Delta Union (2011)

1. This Is A Shelter
2. Snowglobe
3. Three Years of Roses
4. Always Unspoken
5. Hiding In Plain Sight

Who is/are Cellarscape?

We’ve gone the usual routes, so let’s go to the album notes for this one; “Cellarscape is Paul Terry: Lead + Backing Vocals, Guitars, Samples, Loops, Percussion + Drums”.

Why did you buy this album?

I’d already bought, and enjoyed, Cellarscape’s first three releases, so getting the next was a no-brainer.

What’s it like?

Again, Paul adds to his sound with each release. This mini-album / EP adds more lush sounding strings, skittery loops and samples, and a bigger overall sound.

Credit must also go to Paul’s collaborators on this (and previous) releases; bassist and photographer Niki Jones, producer and pianist James Bellamy (both former schoolmates too), and violinist extraordinaire Carole Carpenter.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

This is a terrific little album. I remember listening to it fairly intensely first time round, and enjoying it, but this time round I’ve found it to be better than I remember.u

It covers all the bases from lush progressive orchestrated epics to intimate acoustic moments in merely 5 tracks. No easy feat, but it’s pulled off with aplomb by PT and co.

Any stand-out tracks?

Hard to choose one, as they are all terrific. Though, as I’m forcing myself to, I’d go for either ‘Snowglobe‘ or ‘Three Years of Roses‘.

Rating out of 10?

9/10.

Next up: Cellarscape – The Act of Letting Go

68. Cellarscape – Animation, Suspension

Cellarscape - Animation, Suspension

68. Cellarscape – Animation, Suspension (2009)

1. Crawlspace
2. Target Acquired
3. Gravity
4. The Creek
5. Bled Out
6. Patience & Zara
7. You Got The Girl
8. Punchlines
9. Shadowfight
10. The Blessing Way
11. Treading Water
12. Where Vanishing Points Dissolve
13. December Moon
14. Minor Fractures
15. Little Wisdom

Who is/are Cellarscape?

To Facebook!

“Musician/Band”

Oh.

However, worth the visit to the Facebook page for the videos alone…

Why did you buy this album?

This was the full-length album included with my first bundle purchase, along with ‘Copilot‘ and ‘Fifth Phoenix‘.

What’s it like?

This is the album that steps up the sound from the previous two EPs, expands it with more instrumentation, and more complex arrangements, but still keeps the intimacy and overall feel already established.

It’s also 10 tracks longer than each of the EPs. This is not a bad thing…

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

There is a reason I spent so long listening to this album over the EPs when they first arrived. It is genuinely great.

On these listens through (because I couldn’t just have this on once and done), I’ve heard things I didn’t the first time round, and gained a new appreciation for songs that may have somehow passed me by earlier.

Any stand-out tracks?

The opening trio of ‘Crawlspace‘, ‘Target Acquired‘ and ‘Gravity‘ are fantastic, with ‘You Got The Girl‘, ‘Shadowfight‘ and ‘Treading Water‘ also being favourites of mine.

Rating out of 10?

9/10.

Next up: Cellarscape – A Theta/Delta Union

 

67. Cellarscape – Fifth Phoenix

Cellarscape - Fifth Phoenix

67. Cellarscape – Fifth Phoenix (2007)

1. A Brief Time of Bullets
2. Kerosene
3. Transition Sickness
4. Lack of Evidence
5. Curse Included

Who is/are Cellarscape?

Over to Twitter for this one, @Cellarscape; “Music maker as Cellarscape | Composer @SidneyKenyaFilm @EmilyTheFilm | Co-producer @colonyusa podcast | Co-author @boomstudios‘ #BigTroubleInLittleChina books”.

Mr. Terry is a busy man.

Why did you buy this album?

As I mentioned in my review of ‘Copilot‘, Cellarscape is Paul Terry, who is an old schoolmate of mine. After getting back in touch through social media, I bought his first three releases, the EPs/mini-albums ‘Copilot‘ and ‘Fifth Phoenix‘, and full-length album ‘Animation, Suspension‘.

What’s it like?

This is a natural development of the Cellarscape sound, adding drums and strings to the acoustic rock of ‘Copilot‘.

Most of the time, when more instruments are added, the sound changes drastically, but this mini-album avoids that, with the new tones complimenting the existing acoustic-led material.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

As with ‘Copilot‘, ‘Fifth Phoenix‘ was given short shrift when I first got it, with my listening taken up with the full-length album ‘Animation, Suspension‘ instead. Listening to it repeatedly now, especially straight after its predecessor, I definitely like it more than I first did, and get more out of it with each listen.

Any stand-out tracks?

Kerosene‘ and ‘Curse Included‘ make me prick my ears up each time, without fail.

Rating out of 10?

Another solid 8/10.

Next up: Cellarscape – Animation, Suspension