When I was about 19 in the mid 90’s in the midst of the Britpop scene, I used to wander the aisles of the Princeton Record Exchange (Princeton, NJ) looking for the latest and greatest up and coming bands. Back in those days record collecting wasn’t as easy as following the links on the “world wide web”. You had to read, read, and read some more. And sometimes, I went with my intuition if an album cover caught my eye. And so it was with the 2nd Strangelove album, Love and Other Demons. A “blind” purchase, if you will – it instantly became a favorite record. There was a connection to the band Suede, but I truly had no idea about that when I bought the album. It has remained a treasured album in my collection for over 22 years since. A perfect mix of hope, melancholy, and a sense of being out of control. I loved it, love it, and will always love it. Singer Patrick Duff in particular spoke to me on a deeper level. Lyrically, I related to the themes of loss, love, and despair. Vocally, he was somewhat indebted to the nuances of Depeche Mode’s David Gahan, as filtered through the glam rock sensibility of Suede’s Brett Anderson. The years passed, the band sobered up, broke up, and Patrick forged his own path as a solo artist. But that path was quite unlike any he had walked before.
Another year gone by, another year filled with musical delights. We lost quite a few musical legends starting in December of 2015 – Scott Weiland, Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, Prince, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael to name just a few (and let’s not mention an overall list of artists who have left us in 2016). I lost my Aunt unexpectedly back in February the morning after attending a Black Sabbath show. The year was filled with unexpected highs and unexpected lows for me. As with anything in life, sometimes you have to feel bad to feel good (and vice versa). I made some friends, lost some friends, and reconnected with some old friends. Throughout it all, I had music playing. Here are my top albums of 2016:
Another year gone by too quickly. Nothing left to do but try and recount all the great music releases of 2013. We saw the return of David Bowie, (3) new Mark Kozelek records, band reunions, and high-profile hip-hop releases. We also saw people upset with Miley Cyrus quite a bit and while I don’t enjoy her music I thought that the controversies were overblown. I was really looking forward to the new Eminem record but ended up liking only a few songs. Kanye West’s new record didn’t really do anything for me and I couldn’t get into the long-awaited My Bloody Valentine. My list is lacking some of those albums that are on other sites – some of them I didn’t dig all that much and some of them I just didn’t replay very much.What can I say? I march to my own beat. On the flip side, I loved every Mark Kozelek related album, discovered a few gems, and rocked out to Black Sabbath. So here’s a look at 50 music releases from 2013 that I played over and over again. I’ll see you in about a week with the 1st article of 2014.
Part 42 of a series that will run the last Friday of each month throughout 2013 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays
The mid 90’s were a glorious time to be a music junkie. The Britpop era was in full force and it seemed like every week there was another new band or record that was a “must have”. These were the days before Itunes, torrents, and Bandcamp made it easy to discover new bands and download new songs almost instantly. My routine would usually consist of driving to Siren Records in Doylestown, PA to see if they had what I was looking for. If they didn’t have what I needed, I’d cruise up I-95 until I arrived at the exit for the Princeton Record Exchange. Once I was inside the corridors of the record store, time seemed to stop. I’d wander endlessly (after trading in a ridiculous amount of CD’s for credit, of course). If I didn’t have something in mind, I’d check each CD’s cover art to see if I could figure out what kind of music was waiting for me. And this is the story of how I discovered Strangelove – one of the 50 bands or so that live in my “top 5 of all time” (something like that).
Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores lesser known tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.
It is absurd to call this track a “lesser known” track – to those in the know, that is. To most of the American music audience Suede are unfortunately all but unknown (and even then, they are known as The London Suede). The album this track is taken from, Coming Up, was released in 1996 at the beginning of the end of the Britpop era (the nail in the coffin would come in 1997 with the release of Be Here Now by Oasis). To me this song sounds British, it sounds Pop, but it doesn’t necessarily sound “Britpop”. On the previous record, Dog Man Star, Suede excelled at dramatic songs with overwrought string arrangements. Memorable and eerie guitar refrains were provided by Bernard Butler. By 1996 Butler had left the band and there was a real question whether Suede could carry on – and if they could, would be they be any good? It was a DIFFERENT Suede, that’s for sure, but the 1st record of the era is one of my favorites by the band. This single in particular always brings a smile to my face and brings me back to the carefree days of youth. It peaked at #8 on the UK charts and didn’t chart at all in the US. Smile and sing along with Brett Anderson to these lyrics:
High on diesel and gasoline, psycho for drum machine
shaking their bits to the hits,
Drag acts, drug acts, suicides, in your dad’s suits you hide
staining his name again,
Cracked up, stacked up, 22, psycho for sex and glue
lost it to Bostik, yeah,
Shaved heads, rave heads, on the pill, got too much time to kill
get into bands and gangs