66. Cellarscape – Copilot

Cellarscape - Copilot

66. Cellarscape – Copilot (2006)

1. Pulse
2. Static
3. Repeat, Erase, Unite
4. In Your Own Way
5. Wearing Masks

Who is/are Cellarscape?

No Wikipedia page for Cellarscape, yet, so I head to the “Music” page of paulterryprojects.com, and find “Cellarscape is Paul’s solo project, combining vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars, string sections, and homemade beats.”

Why did you buy this album?

Way, way back when I first joined Twitter, I went looking for people I knew in order to follow them. I managed to find a couple of former schoolmates, including a certain Paul Terry. Since leaving school, he’s been pretty busy, and, amongst other things, he’d recorded a number of records under the name Cellarscape.

Not one to pass up the opportunity of new music, and looking to show support for an old acquaintance, I bought the two EPs and album available at the time, including this one.

What’s it like?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m fairly terrible at critical listening, and pigeon-holing artists/albums into genres. This is especially the case when the artist in question is someone I know…

However, I’d describe this EP as intelligent, acoustic-led alt-rock, but even that doesn’t do it justice.

(Paul, if you’re reading this, get in touch and let me know how you’d describe your music!)

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

I didn’t listen to ‘Copilot‘ much when I first got it, as I also had ‘Fifth Phoenix‘ and ‘Animation, Suspension‘ to take in, with the latter taking up the bulk of my time then.

Revisiting ‘Copilot‘, and listening to it exclusively for a while, I realised I’d missed quite a bit! It’s genuinely great, and a really good starting point for any artist to aspire to. If Cellarscape had only released this EP so far, I’d be quite happy, but he’s gone on to bigger and better music, as we shall soon see…

Any stand-out tracks?

Although all tracks are good, ‘Repeat, Erase, Unite‘ is a clear favourite, so much so that I end up listening to it two or three times in the course of playing the record.

Rating out of 10?

8/10.

Next up: Cellarscape – Fifth Phoenix

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65. Kate Bush – The Red Shoes

Kate Bush - The Red Shoes

65. Kate Bush – The Red Shoes (1993)

1. Rubberband Girl
2. And So Is Love
3. Eat the Music
4. Moments of Pleasure
5. The Song of Solomon
6. Lily
7. The Red Shoes
8. Top of the City
9. Constellation of the Heart
10. Big Stripey Lie
11. Why Should I Love You?
12. You’re the One

Who is/are Kate Bush?

To Twitter, and @KateBushMusic; “There is no other recording artist in the world today quite like Kate Bush – Musician, Vocalist, Songwriter & Record Producer”.

Fair enough.

Why did you buy this album?

This was another birthday or Christmas present I bought for my wife. She has good taste*.

What’s it like?

It’s a more commercial sounding album than ‘Hounds of Love‘, with less prog elements.

I think…

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

I want to. The problem is, immediately after listening to it, I’ve forgotten it.

I do enjoy listening to it, but once it’s finished, I struggle to recall anything special about it. The songs are generally good, although, apart from a couple of exceptions, don’t really hang around in my head for any length of time afterwards.

Any stand-out tracks?

Of the few I can recall after listening,  ‘Lily‘ always makes me stop what I’m doing and pay attention, and, again, an opening track wins a mention, in this case ‘Rubberband Girl‘.

A notable mention also goes to ‘Why Should I Love You?‘, which I always thought sounded like a Prince B-side. Lo and behold, in the personnel listing for that track; “Prince: keyboards, guitar, bass, vocals, arranger.”

Rating out of 10?

6/10.

Next up: Cellarscape – Copilot

*Mostly…

64. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love

64. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love (1985)

1. Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)
2. Hounds of Love
3. The Big Sky
4. Mother Stands for Comfort
5. Cloudbusting
6. And Dream of Sheep
7. Under Ice
8. Waking the Witch
9. Watching You Without Me
10. Jig of Life
11. Hello Earth
12. The Morning Fog

Who is/are Kate Bush?

Wikipedia tells us Kate Bush “is an English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer”.

She’s also from the same town that I grew up in…

Why did you buy this album?

This album was on my wife’s Amazon wishlist. Seemed like a good choice, so I bought it for a birthday or Christmas present, we forget which!

What’s it like?

Confusing. In a good way.

I’ve always found it hard to categorise Kate Bush; she’s too progressive to be straight pop, yet too pop to be fully prog. Prog-pop seems a fair compromise, but then there’s songs like those on the second half of this album that really defy description.

Essentially, Kate Bush is her own genre…

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

I’ve heard this album a few times prior to listening to it for this blog, and it’s always just washed over me, mostly because I’ve been listening to it as music in the background, rather than concentrating on it.

Now, however, given the chance to actually listen to it, I’ve loved nearly every minute of it. (Utah Saints have somewhat tarnished the otherwise brilliant ‘Cloudbusting‘, so thanks for that…)

Any stand-out tracks?

The afore-mentioned ‘Cloudbusting’ is up there, along with ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’ which I first owned on a Q magazine covermount cassette…

There’s also ‘The Big Sky’, which reminds me of Peter Gabriel for some strange reason, and from the 6 song suite ‘The Ninth Wave‘, ‘Jig of Life‘ always stands out for me.

Rating out of 10?

9/10. Would have been 10 if the Utah Saints hadn’t used ‘Cloudbusting‘ so successfully.

Next up: Kate Bush – The Red Shoes

63. Jeff Buckley – Mystery White Boy

Jeff Buckley - Mystery White Boy

63. Jeff Buckley – Mystery White Boy (2000)

1. Dream Brother
2. I Woke Up in a Strange Place
3. Mojo Pin
4. Lilac Wine
5. What Will You Say
6. Last Goodbye
7. Eternal Life
8. Grace
9. Moodswing Whiskey
10. The Man that Got Away
11. Kanga-Roo
12. Hallelujah / I Know It’s Over (medley)

Who is/are Jeff Buckley?

To his verified Facebook page; “Musician/Band”.

Thanks…

Why did you buy this album?

Having already bought ‘Grace‘ on MiniDisc, I was pleasantly surprised when this album was released in 2000, especially as in some places it was bundled with the original ‘Live at Sin-é‘ EP. I bought this box set on one of my frequent trips to Manchester’s big HMV store; I was a music student, so the purchase was justified…

What’s it like?

Unlike ‘Live at Sin-é‘, which was recorded in one venue over a couple of nights, ‘Mystery White Boy‘ is a compilation of live recordings made over a period of a year during the tour to promote ‘Grace‘, in venues in Germany, Australia, France, and the US. As such, it shows how good Buckley and his live band were at the time, but doesn’t quite gel as well as a single recorded gig might have.

It’s mostly made up of tracks from ‘Grace‘, some slightly reworked to be performed live, with three new originals, and a couple of covers. Some work, others not so much…

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

It’s okay…

While it’s good to listen to Jeff Buckley live with a band, some of the recordings aren’t perfect, and the compilation approach to the album means that the performance doesn’t quite flow as well as an unbroken set might.

Oh, and the re-worked version of ‘Eternal Life‘ on this album is also nowhere near as good the previous version on ‘Live at Sin-é‘ and ‘Grace‘.

Any stand-out tracks?

Dream Brother‘ and ‘Last Goodbye‘, both recorded on the European leg of the tour, are my personal favourites, with ‘Grace‘ from an Australian show also worthy of note.

Rating out of 10?

7/10.

Next up: Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

62. Jeff Buckley – Grace

Jeff Buckley - Grace

61. Jeff Buckley – Grace (1994)

1. Mojo Pin
2. Grace
3. Last Goodbye
4. Lilac Wine
5. So Real
6. Hallelujah
7. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over
8. Corpus Christi Carol
9. Eternal Life
10. Dream Brother
11. Forget Her

Who is/are Jeff Buckley?

According to his website, jeffbuckley.com; “Jeff Buckley was born in California’s Orange County in 1966 and died in a tragic drowning accident in Memphis on May 29, 1997. He had emerged in New York City’s avant-garde club scene in the 1990’s as one of the most remarkable musical artists of his generation, acclaimed by audiences, critics, and fellow musicians alike.”

Hard to argue with that.

Why did you buy this album?

I first bought this album on impulse during my first year at university. I was walking through the centre of Manchester, heading for Piccadilly station and a train home to London, when I stopped in the big HMV on Market Street. I had, at that time, a brand-new portable MiniDisc recorder in my pocket, and a handful of MiniDiscs I’d recorded from CD stashed elsewhere about my person. HMV had some albums actually released on MiniDisc, with artwork and plastic cases and everything, and I browsed those whilst keeping an eye on the time.

Noting a 2-for-1 offer on selected MiniDiscs, I grabbed two that had artists that a) I’d heard of, and b) I actually wanted to listen to; Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Greatest Hits‘, and Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace‘. Simon and Garfunkel was a safe bet, looking at the track listing, and tutors, flat-mates, and other fellow students had raved about Buckley, so I went over to the nearest counter and paid for them, getting a look I assumed was reserved for those using the trendiest of niche recording technology. Either that, or he knew mp3 was on its way…

Some years later, with my trusty MiniDisc player now gathering dust in a box somewhere, I realised I owned ‘Live at Sin-é‘ and ‘Mystery White Boy‘ on CD, but not the landmark album I’d enjoyed on MiniDisc. I bought the CD version of ‘Grace‘ to complete the collection, and the rest is history…

What’s it like?

After the occasionally self-indulgent and sprawling ‘Live at Sin-é‘, this is Buckley focused and doing what he was clearly born to do. With a full band behind him, and with only 10 /11 songs* to showcase himself, this is a superbly slick and wonderfully varied rock album, mixing originals with covers, including that version of ‘Hallelujah‘. You may have heard it…

It’s been widely acclaimed as one of the best albums ever made, and I am not going to dispute that.

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

It’s been a while since I last listened to this album, and I’ve really missed it! There’s no song on there that doesn’t belong, and although the additional posthumous song ‘Forget Her‘ threw me for a while, having been used to the original release ending with ‘Dream Brother‘, it now feels as much a part of the album as everything else.

Any stand-out tracks?

All of them stand-out for different reasons, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll pick ‘Corpus Christi Carol‘, because when was the last time you heard a rock singer doing Benjamin Britten, ‘Eternal Life‘, ‘Last Goodbye‘, and ‘Dream Brother‘.

There’s also ‘Mojo Pin‘, ‘Grace‘, ‘So Real‘, and ‘Lilac Wine‘. Oh, and ‘Lover, You Should Have Come Over‘. And ‘Forget Her‘.

And ‘Hallelujah‘…

Rating out of 10?

10/10.

Next up: Jeff Buckley – Mystery White Boy

*’Forget Her‘ was added on posthumous releases, so wasn’t on my mini-disc version.

61. Jeff Buckley – Live at Sin-é

Jeff Buckley - Live at Sin-E

61. Jeff Buckley – Live at Sin-é (1993/2003)

Disc 1
1. Be Your Husband
2. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over
3. Mojo Pin*
4. Monologue – Duane Eddy, Songs For Lovers
5. Grace
6. Monologue – Reverb, The Doors
7. Strange Fruit
8. Night Flight
9. If You Knew
10. Monologue – Fabulous Time For A Guinness
11. Unforgiven (Last Goodbye)
12. The Twelfth Of Never
13. Monologue – Cafe Days
14. Monologue – Eternal Life
15. Eternal Life*
16. Just Like a Woman
17. Monologue – False Start, Apology, Miles Davis
18. Calling You
Disc 2
19. Monologue – Nusrat, He’s My Elvis
20. Yeh Jo Halka Saroor Hae
21. Monologue – I’m A Ridiculous Person
22. If You See Her, Say Hello
23. Monologue – Matt Dillon, Hollies, Classic Rock Radio
24. Dink’s Song
25. Monologue – Musical Chairs
26. Drown In My Own Tears
27. Monologue – The Suckiest Water
28. The Way Young Lovers Do*
29. Monologue – Walk Through Walls
30. Je N’en Connais Pas La Fin*
31. I Shall Be Released
32. Sweet Thing
33. Monologue – Good Night Bill
34. Hallelujah

Who is/are Jeff Buckley?

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Jeff Buckley “was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist”.

Succinct as ever.

Why did you buy this album?

This is actually the “Legacy Edition” of ‘Live at Sin-é‘, containing a full document of recordings Buckley made at the Sin-é coffee house in New York. I already had the original 4-track EP version, containing ‘Mojo Pin‘, ‘Eternal Life‘, ‘Je n’en connais pas la fin‘, and ‘The Way Young Lovers Do‘, having purchased it as part of a box set with later live compilation ‘Mystery White Boy‘.

Listening to various songs from this extended edition over the years made me realise I was probably missing out on something special, so I waited until it was a reasonable price on Amazon, and went for it, resigning the EP edition to a box in our attic†.

What’s it like?

It’s pretty simple. The whole collection is just Buckley and his guitar, singing a mix of covers and original material, in a coffee house in New York’s East Village.

At its best, it shows a remarkable talent honing his skills, with some brilliant performances of soon-to-be classic songs. At its worst, it shows a somewhat self-indulgent side to Buckley, a little too fond of noodling on his guitar and stretching songs past their breaking point (*cough* ‘The Way Young Lovers Do‘ *cough*).

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

When he gets going with his own material, and keeps it relatively brief, this album is great.

When he interacts with the crowd/coffee shop patrons/sound tech, and improvises some brief snatches of songs, it’s good.

When he stretches a 3 minutes Van Morrison song out to over three times its original length, it’s tedious.

Any stand-out tracks?

Eternal Life‘ is one of my favourite Jeff Buckley songs, and the version here is great.

Notable mentions also go to ‘Je n’en connais pas la fin‘, being as it is the only song request I’ve had be accepted by BBC 6Music to date, and, of course, ‘Hallelujah‘.

Rating out of 10?

8/10.

Next up: Jeff Buckley – Grace

*Tracks from the 1993 EP. All others unreleased until 2003 edition.

†Along with 3 Colours Red’s ‘Pure‘, Dido’s ‘No Angel‘, and the soundtrack to ‘Mission: Impossible 2‘.

60. David Bowie – ★ (Blackstar)

David Bowie - Blackstar

60. David Bowie – ★ (2016)

1. Blackstar
2. ‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore
3. Lazarus
4. Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)
5. Girl Loves Me
6. Dollar Days
7. I Can’t Give Everything Away

Who is/are David Bowie?

If you don’t know by now, start here

Why did you buy this album?

The release of this album took me somewhat by surprise, despite having heard the singles ‘Blackstar‘ and ‘Lazarus‘ previously. On the day it was released, I heard enough of the tracks on BBC 6Music to warrant buying it, and it arrived on my desk the following day. The day after that, it was announced that David Bowie had died.

What’s it like?

Typically of Bowie, this album defies categorisation, being a real mix of styles, including jazz, art-rock, hip-hop, folk-pop, drum and bass, and a fair few more, in only 7 tracks.

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

This album has grown on me, even during the few listens I gave it for this post. I still find it too short, even though it’s longer than both ‘Ziggy Stardust…‘ and ‘Low‘, though mostly that’s because I really want to hear more of this electronica / nu-jazz / alt-rock hybrid form developing through the album.

Any stand-out tracks?

As is becoming par for the course for me, the opening track, ‘Blackstar‘, is one immediate stand-out, and it’s repeated hearings of this track that prompted me to buy the album.

My other stand-outs are the last two tracks ‘Dollar Days‘ and ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away‘.

Rating out of 10?

9/10.

Next up: Jeff Buckley – Live at Sin-é