My London Weekend, 27th and 28th April : “David Bowie is…” exhibition at the V&A and Dexys at the Duke of York’s Theatre

Girls, cocaine, alcohol, rock’n’roll, sex, beers, drugs, television sets in the swimming pool ! Yes, that was my lost weekend when all excesses were made possible thank to the Eurostar and a few quids! Ok, London is not the most affordable city in the world and what it has won as worldwide city on one side, it has certainly lost in authenticity on the other side but this is overall such a great and energizing city that this is always a pleasure for one to get their 2 hours and a half of train to get there.

Be relieved ; I will not talk to you about the beauties of Oxford Circus or Tower Bridge but I will focus on the music spots I went to and share a few things I really enjoyed.

  • 27th April

– 8h13 : Paris Gare du Nord : Eurostar leaving ! ok, not very rock’n’roll… and 9h30 : arriving ihe London Underground St Pancrass station !

-10h45 : “David Bowie is…” exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum

First note that no pictures are allowed in the exhibition, which is a good thing… and means you have to read this article! This exhibition had been forecast for a long time and the fact that David Bowie came back out of nowhere to announce his new LP “The Next Day” in January and then published it in March was a pure coincidence. Of course, he had nicely allow the exhibition’s curators to use all costumes, suits, clothes…and dresses he had worn throughout his career but nobody was aware of such a come-back. David Bowie is therefore again everywhere now whereas I remember the time when we all thought he had disappeared from public and artistic life.

I was expecting the exhibition to really focus on the fashion side as I had read that the clothes were all there and analysed in detail. This is indeed the case but much more than this and this exhibition is COM-PUL-SO-RY fo all David Bowie and rock’n’roll fans! First, the sonic landscape is excellent ; every visitor first receives a great quality headset and the music and words interact with the place where you stay when visiting the exhibition. Then, this is actually about all aspects of the Thin White Duke’s career : fashion indeed but of course music, in and out influences, context, the Berlin years, movies, etc… As far as I am concerned, this is the most moving music event I have seen in ages and there is in particular a spectacular room with a 10-meter high ceiling showing fantastic live performances of the great man. Count around 2 hours for the whole visit such detailed and rich this exhibition is. Go there but book now as this already close to being sold-out.

– 15h00 : Rough Trade East, Brick Lane

Rough Trade East

Please go to the “Favourite Records Stores” page to know more about this shop. I would say that this is a great place in a rising neighborhood which reminded me a bit of Williamsburg in Brooklyn and having such a big records store in these ages is something quite crazy that has to be supported. I would just give a bit of criticism by saying that I found not too much choice for such a big store (compared for instance to Waterloo in Austin or Gibert Joseph in Paris).

– 20h00 : Dexys, Duke of York’s Theatre

Dexys - Kevin singing with Bill Paterson & Lucy Morgan

Good times for great artists or bands who had more or less disappeared : David Bowie, My Bloody Valentine…and Dexys (formerly Dexys Midnight Runners). I had already written a few posts about one of my favourite bands ever, either about their classic LP “Don’t Stand Me Down” or them being in my Top 100. But seeing them live was really something I would never have imagined and I must say that I probably was the happiest man in the universe for 2 hours and a half. Well, me plus the audience in the theatre as it had been a long time since I experienced such enthusiasm through a concert (well, too much concerts in Paris probably as UK audiences are known for having much more communication between artists and fans).

Dexys - Kevin Rowland & Madeleine Hyland

Dexys - Kevin Rowland & Pete Williams

The show was based on the recent great “One Day I Am Going To Soar” LP, played in order and in its entirety. This album is actually based on a kind of love story that ends badly but full of witticism, humour and charms. Amazing leader and singer Kevin Rowland (what a voice…) was on stage with between seven and ten musicians depending on the songs and the least one can say is that this is very rich and soulful music. Having back Jim Paterson on trombone was in particular very moving so important he is in Dexys’ history and sound.Dexys - encore!

The second part of the show was based on old songs from all periods and LP’s and the performance succeeded in growing in quality and stature. It was really the kind of shows you do not want to end. The band finished with a gorgeous playing of their masterpiece “What’s She Like”, with Kevin singing beautifully onstage and…elsewhere!

  •  28th April

After all these emotions, nothing better than a good run in Regent’s Park (1h10 minutes as I slightly lost myself…) and a good English Breakfast with toast and Marmite!

The Roundhouse - London Graham Nash - Proud Camden

I took advantage of my last hours in beautiful sunny London first with a walk in the Camden neighborhood near the famous Roundhouse theatre and more precisely with a visit to a photographic exhibition around Graham Nash’s work. Yes, indeed THE Nash from Crosby, Stills and Nash is as well a very crafted photograph and this exhibition is worth having a look if you happen to be nearby.

Ziggy - 23, Heddon Street

I kept on doing my pilgrimage near Soho, first by buying a couple of records at the Sounds of the Universe store (home of the great Soul Jazz label) and then by taking a few pictures of 23rd, Heddon Street, the place where David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars ” cover was shot. Of course, things have changed and there are no more sense of deep London there anymore but still an important landstone in the history of rock music.

File:ZiggyStardust.jpg Heddon Street - London - April 2013

All these rock places plus hundreds of anecdotes can be found in the nice book “Streets of London” published by Le Mot et le Reste. Not the kind a book to read from A to Z but very enjoyable to have it around when visiting the city.

Now leaving London by the 15h31 Eurostar… but I will be back soon for sure !

TOP 100 Artists/Bands of all Times : 26 – 30

30. The Smiths

Image result for the smiths live from : Manchester, England, UK / first great sounds : 80’s / style : jingle Mancunian angst / essential albums : Hatful of Hollow (1984) , Meat is Murder (1985), The Queen is Dead (1986) / Click for more on the blog

The Smiths are considered one of the most important bands ever in the UK and this is true they changed the lives of many people, including your host. With Morrissey on lyrics and voice and Johnny Marr on guitars and music, they had found one of the most creative pair ever and the list of beautiful and great songs is endless. They had as well an amazing intensity in their musical output as they basically last five years (1983-1987). Morrissey has had an interesting solo career with ups and downs and Johnny Marr has been collaborating…with everyone (New Order, Bryan Ferry, The Cribs, Modest Mouse, The The, etc…) but their spark and peak was without any doubt in the Smiths.

29. Nick Drake

 from : Birmingham, England, UK / first great sounds : 60’s / style : warm folk / essential albums : Five Leaves Left (1969), Bryter Layter (1970), Pink Moon (1972)

Dead too early at the age of 26, Nick Drake was virtually unknown when he lived as nobody bought his three indispensable LP’s, despite collaborations with great musicians such as John Cale or Danny Thompson on double bass. His music could be described by folk by the lazy but this is far more than that and on the contrary of the image of miserabilism he can receive, his songs were full of joy and warmth and have a quality in getting you elsewhere. Discover Nick Drake and you will get a lifetime reward.

28. Television

 from : New York, NY, USA / first great sounds : 70’s / style : poetic punk rock / essential album : Marquee Moon (1977)

Ah, New York in the late 70’s, my favourite music period ever… Lead by the great Tom Verlaine on voice and guitar, Television’ musical output is inversely proportional to the influence they have had on hundreds of bands. “Marque Moon” is their masterpiece and the kind of records you could/should listen anywhere, whenever you feel it (late night being a right moment to do so) and with which you will discover every time new subtleties, especially in the magical tricks in the guitar sounds.

27. Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü / Sugar)

 from : Minneapolis, MN, USA / first great sounds : 80’s / style : powerful American rock / essential albums : Zen Arcade (1984), Candy Apple Grey (1986), Warehouse : Songs and Stories (1987), Workbook (1989), Copper Blue (1992), Silver Age (2012) / Click for more on the blog

Of course, it would be unfair to forget Grant Hart as co-leader in seminal band Hüsker Dü but for me Bob Mould was the main force in the band and on top of it he has had an amazing career afterwards either on a solo basis or with his second band Sugar. His style is really not revolutionary as he plays powerful rock with emotional lyrics but he does it the perfect way and with such strength and emotion… In the latest movie “This is 40” by Judd Apatow, actor Paul Rudd bears a Bob Mould tee-shirt so, yes, the guy is cool!

26. Dexys Midnight Runners

 from : Birmingham, England, UK / first great sounds : 80’s  / style : Celtic Soul / essential albums : Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980), Don’t stand me down (1985), One Day I’m going to soar (2012)

Yes, I know, they did “Come On Eileen”, the song everyone knows… (actually, quite a great song!). But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Dexys Midnight Runners is basically Kevin Rowland’s band in which he tried to create something new mixing a punk rock sensibility with a love of soul music and literature. The results were/are incredible and their music would bring a dead man back to life such powerful and emotional their songs are. The guy is a perfectionist maniac and has been out of the music business for ages ; his come-back last year, although one of the most unexpected one, gave us a tremendous new LP and fantastic shows.

Best of 2012 : Top 20 !

This is already festive season time and our worldwide-famous best of 20 of the year. No smart words to write down this year as an introduction except that no excuse not to be interested in music in 2012 as choice and diversity are here more than ever.

Albums

 Channel Orange

Album of the Year – Frank Ocean “channel ORANGE”. Frank Ocean had been around for a few years either in the collective Odd Future or  as being one of the guests of last year shared album between Kanye West and Jay Z…but really nothing was preparing us for such a beauty. A tremendous record which one can really identify as being part of the 2012 culture and themes but bearing at the same time a sense of history. The music is a mix of soul, hip-hop, R’n’B, pop, rock with a beautiful voice reminding the greats such as Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder. I particularly liked as well as the interludes within the LP that make you feel this is more than one simple record. Album of the year!

 Animal Joy

My number 2 – ShearwaterAnimal Joy”. Once more and as in previous years, an excellent record from Shearwater, the Austin, TX based band. I had the pleasure in seeing them live twice in Paris this year (first one in La Maroquinerie with a great talk with their singer Jonathan Meiburg and the second one in La Boule Noire this time having a talk with the great rock critic Michka Assayas). I take the risk of repeating myself but this band is really amongst the best we have either for the intensity of the music or the class of the songs and I do not understand why they are not more famous. If you never heard a Shearwater record before, start with this one.

 

My number 3 – Paul Buchanan “Mid Air”. 2012 has been a kind of old-guys-being-back list and Paul Buchanan is the first example. This is the first solo LP of the singer of The Blue Nile and this is an album not to share but to listen to on your own very late at night. Based almost only on piano and voice, this record seems so fragile and strong simultaneously, bringing a sense of sadness and serenity complicated to explain with words.

One Day I'm Going to Soar

My number 4 – DexysOne Day I’m Going To Soar”. Talking about come back, this one was probably the most incredible and unexpected one of all times. This blog has been a huge fan of Dexys Midnight Runners (their 1985 LP “Don’t Stand Me Down” being a masterpiece as far as I am concerned). The issue is that band leader Kevin Rowland had lost himself in a perfectionism will and that apart from two weird solo LP’s, the name Dexys had been buried for 27 years…. Built with the help of former Style Council man Billy Talbot, this is as if Dexys had never left the music scene, with this fantastic white soul style. A very moving return.

 

My number 5 – Benjamin Biolay “Vengeance”. Vive la France ! Hyperactive Benjamin Biolay has returned again with a great LP, mixing very different styles and guests (including Carl Barat from the Libertines and French rapper Oxmo Puccino). Fewer ballads than usual but always that emotion one can feel I guess even if they do not understand the lyrics. Looking forward to seeing him on stage in 2013.

Other great records of my top 20 (by alphabetical order)

 Alabama Shakes “Boys & Girls”. Debut album from the Athens, Alabama, soul and southern rock oriented band. This record could have been out forty years ago but is really fresh as well. Click on les Inrocks Festival review to get a better flavour of the band.

  Fiona Apple “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do ” Tiny American chanteuse back with her leaner album in terms of instrumentation, with songs that directly go under your skin.

  Cloud Nothings “Attack On Memory”. Nothing revolutionary in leader Dylan Baldi’s music but such a pleasure to hear a pure guitar-band, influenced by Nirvana and by German repetitive rock at the same time. Pitchfork Festival review available when clicking.

 Hot Cheap “In Our Heads”. London dance band Hot Chip’s 2012 LP might be their best. If you like your classic New Order dance period and beautiful nostalgic melodies…

  Howlin Rain “The Russian Wilds”. Every year, a psychedelic rock record gives me shivers down the spine. Last year was Jonathan Wilson, this year this is Ethan Miller’s band new LP.

  JapandroidsCelebration Rock”. Two crazy motherf*****s from Canada on guitar and drums making noise as if they were ten on stage (as seen at the Paris Pitchfork Festival) but with a “je ne sais quoi” of nostalgia that makes them one of the current bands to get interested in.

  Kendrick Lamar “good kid, m.A.A.d. city”. This, the official debut from young L.A., California, M.C. Kendrick Lamar is my favourite traditional hip-hop record in a very good year for the genre. Produced partly by Dr. Dre, this narrates the story of an 25-year old guy hanging out in Compton and has the best beats and samplings (hello Beach House) I have heard in a long time.

  Bob Mould “Silver Age”. Good old Bob… In a year when the three Sugar albums have been reissued and when he played “Copper Blue” on stage, Bob Mould took the time to give us this new LP, finding back the muscular guitar oriented sound of these first Sugar records. An important and appealing personality, Bob Mould is more relevant than ever.

  SpiritualizedSweet Heart, Sweet Light”. Talking about classic bands, here is another one. And this is probably one of the best records in Jason Pierce’s long career started in the 80′ with the Spacemen 3. If you like your gospel melodies with repetitive mantra, this record is for you (click for Festival les Inrocks review)

 Tame Impala “Lonerism”. Kevin Parker, leader of this Australian band, is simultaneously a complicated young man and a huge music lover, both qualities that created a monster of a modern psychedelic record. This is probably the album in our list that requires the most listening as their music is very rich and hides many beauties.

  The Walkmen “Heaven”. Like for instance Spoon, The National or Shearwater, The Walkmen are part of these great American middle-aged bands whose punch and melodies know-how is to cherish. What is difficult with these bands is distinguish an album from another as they are all excellent. I found a very moving maturity in “Heaven” and the songs were perfect for live shows.

 Paul Weller “Sonik Kicks”. Our all-time favourite non-smiling British citizen, Paul Weller has once again delivered the goods mixing his beautiful melodies with a rejuvenated interested in repetitive Krautrock. This guy should really be a model for all young musicians as his never-ending enthusiasm is something to cherish (as seen on stage).

  Jack White “Blunderbuss”. This is probably the most beautiful cover of all year (hello blue, goodbye red) but this is not the reason why Jack White is here. Amazing first solo record, mixing soul, retro rock, ballads and even…hip-hop influences. We do love values of hard work in this blog and this is not a coincidence to find musicians such as Jack White (and Paul Weller and Benjamin Biolay…) in our end of the year list. Tremendous shows as well all year-long for Jack White!

  Yeti Lane “The Echo Show”.  This is the second LP of this French band and one of the most enjoyable LP’s of the year. I must say this is the ideal target for our blog as we like melodic repetitive music here! I had the pleasure in seeing them live as well at the Rock en Seine festival and they are very good on stage.

 Neil Young with Crazy Horse “Psychedelic Pill”. Last but not least, 2012 was also the year of our beloved Canadian with no less than two records done with the beautiful Crazy Horse and one biography (“Waging Heavy Piece”). Fantastic long songs with lots of feedback ; keep on rocking in the free world, Neil!

Other top 5’s (Frank Ocean and Tame Impala everywhere!) :

  • New Musical Express (UK weekly mag.): 1. Tame Impala “Lonerism” 2. Grimes “Visions3. Frank Ocean ”channel ORANGE 4. Crystal Castles “(iii)” 5. Alt-J “An Awesome Wave
  • Uncut (UK monthly mag.): 1. Leonard Cohen “Old Ideas” 2. Bob Dylan “Tempest” 3. Jack White “Blunderbuss” 4. Dr John “Locked Down” 5. Frank Ocean “channel ORANGE”
  • Mojo (UK monthly mag.): 1. Jack White “Blunderbuss2. Frank Ocean “channel ORANGE 3. Bill Fay “Life Is People” 4. Leonard Cohen “Old Ideas” 5. Dexys “One Day I’m Going To Soar”
  • Paste (US web mag.): 1. Frank Ocean “channel ORANGE” 2. Father John Misty “Fear Fun” 3. Titus Andronicus “Local Business” 4. Fiona Apple “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do ” 5. Sharon Van Etten “Tramp”
  • Pitchfork  (US website): 1. Kendrick Lamar “good kid, m.A.A.d. city2. Frank Ocean “channel ORANGE3. Fiona Apple “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do ” 4. Tame Impala “Lonerism” 5. Swans “The Seer”
  • Les Inrockuptibles (French weekly mag.): 1. Alt-J “An Awesome Wave” 2. Tame Impala “Lonerism” 3. Liars “WIXIW” 4. Frank Ocean “channel ORANGE” 5. Django Django “Django Django” Their “best of 2012 Hors-Série” is as usual recommended as still excellent and coming with a CD of their prefered tracks of the year.
  • Magic rpm (French monthly mag.): 1. Chromatics “Kill For Love” 2. Chris Cohen “Overgrown Path” 3. Kindness “World, You Need A Change Of Mind” 4. Grizzly Bear “Shields” 5. Dominique A “Vers Les Lueurs”
  • New Noise (French bimester mag.): 1. Electric Electric “Discipline” 2. Dinosaur Jr. “I Bet On Sky” 3. OM “Advaitic Songs” 4. Mark Lanegan Band “Blues Funeral” 5. Cloud Nothings “Attack On Memory
  • Sound Opinions (US music podcast)   Greg Kot’s 1. Frank Ocean “channel ORANGE” 2. Kendrick Lamar “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” 3. Tame Impala “Lonerism” 4. Killer Mike “R.A.P. Music” 5. Kelly Hogan “I Like To Keep Myself in Pain”     Jim DeRogatis’ 1. Tame Impala “Lonerism” 2. Kelly Hogan “I Like to Keep Myself in Pain” 3. Frank Ocean “Channel ORANGE” 4. Melody’s Echo Chamber “Melody’s Echo Chamber” 5. Spiritualized “Sweet Heart, Sweet Light”
  • Fargo (Paris records store): Top 2012 records in no particular order (4 records in common)
  • Ground Zero (Paris records store): Top 10 – not available yet.
  • Other Music (NY records store): 1. Andy Stott “Luxury Problems” 2. Frkwys Vol. 9 Sun Arraw & M. Geddes Gengras Meets The Congos “Icon Give Thank” 3. Actress “R.I.P.” 4. Kendrick Lamar “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” 5. Daughn GibsonAll Hell”

Box Sets and Reissues

Many fantastic reissues this year (The Blue Nile, Sugar, Everything But The Girl, The Beat, Can, etc…) but if I had to choose three of them, no hesitation :

Blur “21”  Yes, you read well, 21 records (well, actually 18 CD’s and 3 DVD’s…) summarizing Blur’s career. They went back on tour as well and found time to play together between Damon Albarn’s numerous side-projects and Graham Coxon’s solo records and probably published the Single of the Year for me (“Under the Westway“). Beautiful box in which to dig every other day.

The Beatles “Vinyl Box Set”  Expensive indeed but having the complete works of this quite famous band remastered in a nice box with a beautiful book might be priceless. (re)discover if need be…

Roxy Music “The Complete Studio Recordings” Jump on it ; very cheap and indispensable CD Box Set if you want your place to look like home. Best band ever?

DVD’s and Blue Rays

Experiencing Blue Ray for movies is like doing the same when you have your first automatic gear-box for cars ; very difficult to give up when you have such a degree of quality definition in pictures and sounds. I therefore warmly recommend the two following extraordinary movies in this format :

LCD Soundsystem ” Shut Up And Play The Hits” 3-Disc set with on one side the full last ever show shot in 2011 at the Madison Square Garden with guest such as Arcade Fire and on the other side the melancholic documentary about leader James Murphy future life. Basically, what will be your life when you split a music band at the height of their powers?

Led Zeppelin “Celebration Day” This is the famous 2007 one-shot concert with Jason Bonham (John’s son) on drums. 20 million people (including me) had applied on the internet to see that show and one can see why here : one of the best songs ever written played by these great men.

That’s it for 2012. Please surf on the blog as there is plenty to watch and read and see you in 2013 for the follow-up of our Top 100 bands/artists of all times!

1985, a fantastic year for records: 10 golden eggs!

The general idea here is not to show once more a subjective best of concerning a past year but scientifically proving that one has to go further than the regular clichés about music related to a specific period in time. For anybody, 1985 could appear as a kind of void, stuck between the early 80’s post-punk period and before the arrival of the Madchester era (Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and many others). WRONG! 1985 is a amazing year for records as you may see below (in no particular order). And frankly, apart maybe for a few tracks, major part of these records could have been made at any other decade.

Please click on covers to get more news on albums from the “All Music” site.

Cover (Meat Is Murder:The Smiths) The Smiths: “Meat is Murder” Morrissey and Marr at their top with probably their best LP with “The Queen is dead”.  Contains two of their best songs with “The Headmaster Ritual” and “Barbarism begins at home”. One should never insist enough on the quality of the Morrissey/Marr songwriting and the intensity they both created. As time passed and as our musical knowledge maybe a bit higher than when listening this record at seventeen (!), the diversity of styles is amazing too. (9/10)

Cover (Steve McQueen:Prefab Sprout) Prefab Sprout: “Steve Mc Queen” For the cover, the melodies, the warmth, the weirdness, the genius in 4-minute pop songs and for “When Loves Breaks Down”, thank you Paddy McAloon. (9.5/10)

Cover (Psychocandy:The Jesus and Mary Chain) The Jesus And Mary Chain: “Psychocandy” Ah the Reid brothers…. William and Jim, the internal fights (reminds you of another band?), the accent from Glasgow, the fuzz noises, the Beach Boys melodies, the hits! This record could really go out at any moment in time and has been so influental to musicians and music lovers everywhere.  And contrary to one of our best French journalists forecast at the time, it has aged as well as Jacques Brel. (9.5/10)

Cover (Our Favourite Shop:The Style Council) The Style Council: “Our favourite Shop” After the success of The Jam, Paul Weller surprized all his fans by creating The Style Council with Mick Talbot with the will of more freedom and being able to go a bit away from rock and get closer to his jazz/soul roots. This is their best album and every track is a winner, mixing left-oriented messages (the Thatcher years in the U.K.) amidst great dancing music. And what a great cover, one on which to spend hours (shoes, ties, actors, Curtis Mayfield,…)! (9/10)

Cover (Rain Dogs:Tom Waits)  Tom Waits: “Rain Dogs” First part of Tom Waits’ career was excellent but one was finding in it what one was expecting: piano-bar-late-night-drinking-wolf songs. And then Tow Waits met his wife-to-be Kathleen Brennan on the set of “One from the Heart” from Francis Ford Coppola, changed his approach to music and became the artist we all cherish now. After first groundbreaking LP “Swordfishtrombones” in 1983, Tow Waits went on with “Rain Dogs”, one the best LP’s ever done, mixing atmospheres, weird stories and an incredible musicianship (Keith Richards plays on a couple of tracks). Nobody has ever done such beautiful sounds and everybody should have this album in their records’ collection (if such a thing still exists…) (10/10)

Cover (Don't Stand Me Down:Dexys Midnight Runners) Dexys Midnight Runners: “Don’t stand me down” Apart from the aficionados, who does really know the genius of Kevin Rowland? Three amazing LP’s only but such classy music. I have been listening for “Don’t Stand Me Down” for years and everytime with the same joy and emotion. The LP is based on a kind of dialog betwen Kevin and Bill Graham and bears the most euphoric song I know with “This is what she’s like”. Discover this LP and you will be rewarded (10/10).

Cover (This Nation's Saving Grace:The Fall) The Fall: “This Nation’s saving Grace” The late and great DJ John Peel favourite bands, The Fall has made thousands of records so it may sometimes be difficult to recommend one of them. This is the supposed Fall “peak” period when Mark E. Smith acid words were followed by great music (file under “psychobillypostpunkpsychedelic”…).  As John Peel once said : “The Fall, always the same, always different…” (9/10).

Cover (Low-life:New Order) New Order: “Low Life” Please refer to Peter Hook’s concert review for a brief story of Joy Division and New Order. Just to write down this is to my mind the best New Order record as a LP (and “Perfect Kiss” my prefered New Order song) (9/10).

Cover (Fables of the Reconstruction:R.E.M.) R.E.M.: “Fables of the Reconstruction” The first LP you hear by one of your top bands is always special so I was afraid of not being objective regarding “Fables”. But no, last year reissue with plenty of bonus confirmed that this is singular music, mixing Americana weirdness, jangle-jingle sounds with a huge post-punk UK influence (the fact that this album had been recorded in the U.K. is not a coincidence). When Stipe/Mills/Berry/Buck were cutting edge music makers… (9/10)

Cover (Virgins and Philistines:The Colour Field)  The Colourfield: “Virgins and Philistines”  Terry Hall’s third musical project after the Specials and Fun Boy Three, The Colourfield is probably his less famous as it only lasted for a few years and two LP’s. I may not have the talent neither in English, nor in French to express my feelings about this glorious LP so please listen (or alternately click on the cover to read a nice review about it). Amazing out-of-time music, like a musical comedy where everything could hang suspended in the air. The fact that the blog you read bears this name is self-explanatory (10/10)

Also more than recommended:

The Cure “The Head on the Door”, Madness “Mad not mad”, Nick Cave “The first Born is dead”, Sonic Youth “Bad Moon rising”, Prince And The Revolution “Around the World in a Day”, Tears For Fears: “Songs from the Big Chair”, The Pale Fountains “…From across the Kitchen Table”, Hüsker Dü “New Day rising”, The Pogues: “Rum, Sodomy and the Lash”, The Dream Academy “The Dream Academy”, Kate Bush “Hounds of Love”, Microdisney “The Clock comes down the Stairs”, Propaganda “A Secret Wish”, Talking Heads “Little Creatures” and Big Audio Dynamite “This is Big Audio Dynamite”.

And here is a summer 2011 update! All Music had done as well as the same time I did this 1985 selection their records of that same year. Click to find out the results!