2006: The Best of the Music

I started this list thinking that I hadn’t listened to enough new albums this year to come up with a top ten, but in the end that wasn’t the problem: the problem is that so many are from the same old bands I always go on about. Blame it on the iPod, and on the copious ripping of CDs I didn’t do as a result. Note for the benefit of lawyers that I said didn’t do, because ripping CDs is illegal in Britain, so the only legitimate way to fill up a 60-gigabyte iPod is to spend approximately £15,000 at the iTunes Music Store. Thus, I didn’t rip twenty years’ worth of CDs to the 250GB external hard-drive I didn’t buy specifically for that purpose, didn’t spend six months of the year revisiting old music I’d forgotten about, and haven’t been shuffling through it at random, album by album, on the device specifically not bought for doing so. M’lud.

Apart from not doing to any of that, here’s what I have been enjoying.

Read More · 29 December 2006 ·


It really makes no sense to post anything right now, what with having been so busy that I haven’t had time to write anything or find any interesting non-work-related links, but this can serve as a placeholder until I get around to the usual Decemberness of review round-ups and all that. What I really wanted to mention was that half of one of my favourite (and sadly defunct) Australian bands—and the songwriting and vocal half at that—has reemerged as The Girls From the Clouds, and I only found out when I heard that Candle Records was closing down. So get over there to snatch up a copy of Lalalala before it evaporates like wispy cirrus on a January day (Australian, not Scottish).

Oh, and thanks for all the thanks. More substantial stuff next week, I promise.

6 December 2006 ·

The Beatles’ Discography in Limerick Form

Please Please Me 1963

Please Please MeThe savage young Beatles could play
A whole album of hits in a day.
Please Please Me still pleases
The lads and their squeezes
In Liverpool, oop round are way.

Read More · 8 October 2006 ·

Snow Patrol

We were out at Meadowbank stadium a second night in a row last night to see Elbow and Snow Patrol, two of my favourite bands of recent years. Muse were going to be a hard act to follow, and it was raining as we walked there, so I wondered if this would be a more sedate affair. But the rain cleared up just as we arrived, and we ended up in almost the same spot on the field as the night before.

Read More · 26 August 2006 ·

Knights of Hyperbole

When I told a friend who reads this site that I was going to see Muse at T on the Fringe, he laughed and rolled his eyes. “You and Muse! Muse, Muse, Muse!” I had to concede his point... it’s possible that I may have hyped the band just a tad over the years.

Read More · 25 August 2006 ·

Dandys Rule OK

The Dandy Warhols played at the Liquid Room last night as part of T on the Fringe. I was looking forward to this, because I missed them the last time I had the chance (Melbourne, 2001—feeling too broke). Because of their latest album, though, my expectations were modest; it just doesn’t do a lot for me.

But I’d forgotten how much I loved their first four—ever since hearing “Minnesoter” on the radio in ’98, they’ve been one of my favourite bands—and they played a ton of stuff from those, as well as some from Odditorium and a new track, “Have a Kick Ass Summer (Me and My Friends)”. They opened with “Godless” and “Get Off” from Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, then a few from Welcome to the Monkey House, then “I Love You” from Come Down... and then one I barely recognised, because I haven’t listened to Odditorium enough.

Read More · 19 August 2006 ·

Take a Bow

Given that it took four months of listening before I reviewed their second album, I figured I should wait at least a week before reviewing Muse’s fourth, Black Holes and Revelations. Given also the rave nature of that review and my one for Absolution, I wondered whether I should bow to the inevitable and post this one in all-caps. OH MY GOD, IT’S AWESOME AND YOU SHOULD ALL BUY IT...

Read More · 13 July 2006

Jarvis Cocker’s MySpace page has a new solo track, “Running the World”.

10 July 2006

A Short Post About the Divine Comedy

Listened to the new album a couple of times so far, and it’s a corker. Victory for the Comic Muse (not to be confused with 1990’s out-of-print Fanfare for the Comic Muse; or, more likely, to be confused with it often) harks back to the classic Divine Comedy sound even more than Absent Friends did, with Nyman-esque strings, sampled guest appearances by 1920s toffs, and lyrics about faded Englishwomen “of a certain age” falling apart on the Cote d’Azure.

An early review said this was one for the fans but won’t win them any new ones. On the contrary, I think any DC album would win them new fans; it just depends which one you happen to pick up first (mine was Fin de Siècle). Victory for the Comic Muse is no exception: all the best aspects of Hannon’s work are here. Your man’s muse is still strong.

20 June 2006 ·

Eyes Open Under the Iron Sea

After listening to relatively little new music this year, the summer is shaping up to be big, with new releases on their way from The Divine Comedy, Nouvelle Vague, Thom Yorke and Muse. The first contenders for dominance of yours truly’s temporal lobe are 2004 heavyweights Snow Patrol and Keane, both of whose new albums I picked up as soon as they came out.

Read More · 13 June 2006 ·

The MP3 Collection

As mentioned the other day, yes, I’ve bought an iPod, succumbing to their shiny white allure at last. It isn’t my first mp3 player, though: I’ve had two years of mixed results with various flash-based players. Allow me to bore your ears off (or eyes out) with some tales of temperamental technology...

Read More · 17 April 2006 ·

This probably won’t interest anyone except Graham, but in preparation for D-Day (where D stands for ipoD; I’m finally getting one after 2–3 years of faffing around with flash-based mp3 players, not just for the capacity but for the navigation interface) I’ve been ripping my CD collection of various favourite artists, and in the process have discovered that one by A Certain Musician is copy-controlled—or at least is behaving the same as another that I know is. Which is par for the course for anything released during 2003—but this CD was released in May 1999. Napster hadn’t even appeared, mp3s were still a novelty, and already they were experimenting with making everything cactus for future listeners, or so it seems. No, WEA, I am not re-purchasing one of Mike Oldfield’s crappiest albums in DRM downloadable form seven years after first buying it, so what good did that do either of us?

26 March 2006

Mark Morriss of the Bluetones

When I mentioned to James that I was going to see the Bluetones, he said he thought they’d split up. But no, they’re still going, and kicked off a new tour in Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms last night.

Read More · 9 March 2006

Sufjan Stevens’s Christmas album.

25 February 2006 ·

Clap Your Hands Say Anything

This is going to seem pretty pointless when I’ve just spent all week doing everything else except post here, but the RSS 2.0 feed for this site is now human-readable—assuming said human is using Mozilla or Firefox. That’s right, I’ve added an XSLT stylesheet to convert it into HTML. All those months of XML work have finally paid off... in the form of a page that isn’t even directly linked from the front of the site (unless you choose Show Site Navigation Bar Always in Mozilla). And if you’re using Safari it overrules my XSLT with its own RSS format and defaults to the 1.0 file anyway (which doesn’t have the XSLT, because it’s RDF); and who knows what happens in IE6/Win, so really, what’s the point.

Read More · 24 February 2006 ·

It hasn’t been a great music month for yours truly, because the amp is in for repairs again, but there have been a couple of exceptions. I’ve finally discovered the Killers (via the US special edition of Hot Fuss, which for no discernable reason has a different track order and several different tracks from the UK special edition) and have been re-acquainting myself with Lloyd Cole’s Rattlesnakes, which I first heard way back in 1984 but had never bought on CD; it still sounds pretty good.

Album of the month for January, though, was Spoon’s Gimme Fiction, a hot tip from Bill that pushes all the right alternative buttons. Shades of the New Pornographers, the Pixies, all that stuff, you know the drill. They have next to no profile on this side of the Atlantic, although the album has had a UK release. I liked it so much that I went scouting for more and ended up buying their previous albums A Series of Sneaks, Girls Can Tell and Kill the Moonlight online. (Their debut, Telephono, is out of print and goes for $50 or more, which is almost as annoying as track listings that change from country to country.)

Read More · 15 February 2006 ·

Who better to help squeeze your music library onto a 2GB iPod than a logician? [Note to self: ditch the cheap mp3 player from Richer Sounds.]

6 February 2006

Learn more about E-Learning, Politics and Society with Edinburgh University’s online MSc in E-Learning.

←Music in 2005