Saturday, 26 December 2009

Noughty but nice (Part 3) The XTC edition

If I had one wish for the next decade it would be for XTC to release a new LP. Well actually it would be for world peace, an end to hunger and…oh, everything! But in musical terms it would be the return of the best band of the last 30 years. I would make do with an Andy Partridge solo if it was filled with great pop songs as opposed to that improvised Monstrance nonsense but a full blown XTC reunion, preferably including Dave Gregory, is what I’d love to see and despite what I’ve read in Andy Partridge interviews I still see it as a realistic if remote possibility.

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you their last studio LP was Wasp Star from 2000. A fine album that suggested to me they were still at the top of their game with plenty more to come. I particularly liked the final track which sounds like XTC, The Beatles and The Beach Boys in one song. I refuse to believe this is the end.

XTC - The Wheel and The Maypole (2000)

This is my second selection from this album in the last week so don’t expect the links to the mp3s to be live very long. Do yourself a favour – buy XTC.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Noughty but nice (Part 2) – The Todd edition

Regular readers will know I’m a big Todd Rundgren fan. In the New Year I intend to write some posts to explain this to non-believers. His 70s output was phenomenal, the 80s patchy but ended on a high with Nearly Human, the 90s were a total write-off with rapping and bossa nova versions of old hits but what of his Noughties output?
Well, there’s been a fair amount of activity. In 2004 he released Liars to rave reviews, some even proclaiming it his best since the 70s. I wouldn’t go that far but there was some good stuff on it including the single Soul Brother which has quite an amusing dig at todays so called R&B singers.

Todd Rundgren - Soul Brother (2004)

For some god knows what reason he decided in 2008 to follow this eclectic collection with an album of arena rock. Hands up who likes arena rock? Exactly! Fortunately this was Todd’s version of arena rock and a few good songs could be found buried in this fairly mediocre collection. Here’s one of them.

Todd Rundgren - Courage (2008)

Best of all, and I think I might be in the minority here, was his brief stint as singer in The New Cars – that’s The Cars minus Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr (the singers for the uninitiated) and Dave Robinson (drummer). Bass and drums were played by Todd’s friends Kasim Sultan and Prairie Prince. A pragmatic Todd referred to this project as "an opportunity ... for me to pay my bills, play to a larger audience, work with musicians I know and like, and ideally have some fun for a year." This curious Cars/Utopia hybrid toured and released one live album with three new studio songs. I have no idea what the rest of the album sounds like but one of the new songs, Not Tonight, is the best thing I’ve heard from Todd in years. It shows how Todd as Cars singer is not such a ridiculous idea as it manages to sound like classic Cars and it’s the type of melodic pop/rock I like to hear from him. However, maybe that’s just me because I’ve seen lots of negative feedback on the interweb.

The New Cars - Not Tonight (2006)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Noughty but nice (Part 1)

As you know this blog is mainly concerned with older music but since we are nearing the end of the Noughties I thought it would be nice to give a mention to some 21st century music. Not a Top 100 list or anything like that, I’m not that organised, just a few songs that I’ve enjoyed in the last decade.

First an artist who’s all over the blogosphere and I first heard over at Davy’s place. Our boys hate this (“It’s just boring”) but for Mrs Mick and me this has become a sort of ‘our tune’. When I played it last weekend the missus asked me if I wanted to dance (the beer/wine was already flowing) and the boys were disgusted: “Oh my God they’re having sex!!” Which we weren’t, of course, spontaneous nookie being out of the question with those pests around. Er, I’ve gone off topic. I hope I haven’t ruined the song for you.

Richard Hawley - Lady’s Bridge (2007)

P.S. In the new year I plan to buy a new improved turntable and start ripping my old records again and will even post some new improved versions of some old favourites.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

My word is final!

When Mrs Mick foolishly asked the boys to write a Christmas list a few weeks back all three of them included puppy on their long lists. I had to explain to them that I don’t particularly like dogs (always been a cat person) and they took a lot of looking after and we would only get one over my dead body. So……

Say hello to Sparky.

He’s been with us four weeks now and I’m slowly coming round to his charms.

Good points: Very affectionate, learned toilet training very quickly, bit of a babe magnet when I take him out.

Bad points: Never stops eating, chewed my shoes, I have to pick up his shit in those little black bags that are impossible to open.

Since I don’t have any good dog songs I’ve gone for a song that describes his personality.

XTC – Stupidly Happy