What is your favourite compilation CD?

Finding good commercially-released compilation CDs is often difficult. But it does happen! One of this blogger’s favourites is the Warner Dance retail release entitled Electric. This double CD compilation was released to the UK in 2005.

Electric 2 CDs of alternative anthems © 2014 FM DXing

Electric 2 CDs of alternative anthems © 2014 FM DXing

Covering almost a quarter of a century of (predominantly UK-based) electronic music, it includes plenty of new wave. With barely a dud track included,  the music on this compilation is the ideal inspiration for a gym session or simply ‘chilling out’ & reflecting upon life with a cold beverage. Thoughtful pop music can indeed be bliss.

Electric 2 CDs of electronic anthems © 2014 FM DXing

Electric 2 CDs of electronic anthems © 2014 FM DXing

Favourites include:

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)

Gary Numan – Cars (1980)

OMD – Enola Gay (1981)

Vangelis – Blade Runner Theme, End Titles (1982)

Blancmange – Living On The Ceiling (1982)

New Order – Blue Monday (1983)

The Cure – A Forest (1987)

Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now (1998)

William Orbit – Barber’s Adagio For Strings (1999)

Starsailor – Four To The Floor (2003)

Mylo – Drop The Pressure (2004)

The Killers – Somebody Told Me (2004)

Dusting off your collection: the legacy of INXS

During February, even the most uncommitted INXS fans ‘came out of the woodwork’ to celebrate this Australian band’s music. Many of this blogger’s peers are dusting off the memories and reflecting on the musical journey that shaped the albums.

This blogger was a fan of INXS until the early 1990s. The first album that was purchased was Kick on cassette. Frankly, everybody owned this album! A failed search for this blogger’s rarely-played copy was conducted during the INXS frenzy that accompanied the free to air television mini series. At some point over the years, someone has probably stolen it from the cabinet. This is not unusual occurrence, it’s a fate also suffered by the Don’t Change 7-inch!

INXS Kick © 2007 przybysz

In the 1990s, vintage albums would be played in entirety and commercial-free, late at night on the local commercial FM radio station. One night, Shabooh Shoobah from 1982 was played. That broadcast was taped on a cheap TDK D120 and the album was one of the band’s most interesting. It’s strikingly different to the late 1990s INXS sound.

INXS Shabooh Shoobah © 2010 epicletic

Of the albums in this blogger’s collection (below), X from 1990 may be the most underrated. Lesser known album tracks such as The Stairs hold up well to this day. Unfortunately, the album leads with the catchy single Suicide Blonde which might be the artistic equivalent of Blur’s Song 2! (Sorry if this opinion disappoints fans of this song! Each to their own).

Both Kick and X were remarkably consistent albums and it was predominantly through these releases that people such as this blogger became fans. Nonetheless, in the process of trimming the perhaps indulgent B-sides that frequently peppered earlier releases, did the unique and enigmatic edge to their music fade? A certain level of artistic obscurity seems to accompany musical credibility! For musicians, it must be extraordinarily difficult to remain both fashionable (‘cool’) and maintain popularity amongst fickle consumers.

By 1991, INXS probably realized they needed to experiment again. The miniseries suggests this was indeed the case. This yielded mixed results, as Stephen Thomas Erlewine explains succinctly at All Music Guide. Cue Regurgitator’s I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff,  a track which highlights just how frustratingly fickle consumers can be.

Most of the collection © 2014 FM DXing

Should one invite people over… only a single INXS album ever consistently gets played by strangers, and that’s The Swing from 1985. Dancing on the Jetty is this blogger’s favourite track on the album, by a considerable margin. As most fans will know, that album yielded the US breakthrough with two singles

INXS The Swing (Remastered) © 2014 FM DXing

As has been widely reported in the mainstream Australian press, in the television miniseries there was scant attention directed towards Hutchence’s Max Q indie project, nor his earlier single Rooms For the Memory. That track appeared on a magnificent 1987 compilation from the Australian indie movie Dogs In Space which starred Hutchence. In this blogger’s opinion, even in 2014 this film remains thoroughly entertaining, capturing the essence of late 70’s suburban rock, not to forget the pitfalls of living in ‘share houses’!

Max Q autographed © 2011 Luna715

Max Q’s Way Of The World was certainly not a disposable single, but this blogger did buy the Max Q cassette album from a discount bin at Myer… which highlights just how commercially unsuccessful it was. Fortunately, the Max Q singles do still receive commercial radio airplay. Even the video of Sometimes was chosen on an edition of Rage last week by the Sunnyboys that was worth missing (much needed) sleep to watch!

Most of the collection, another angle © 2014 FM DXing

Critics will always be divided about the accuracy of any biographical production. Hutchence’s family might argue on commercial radio about whether the script was reflective enough of his individual musical genius. That alone seems somewhat odd, because it was an INXS (i.e. a collective) biography. One thing is for sure. Making a biographical miniseries has drawn old fans (like this writer) back to the music of INXS. Perhaps through the mainstream attention, the band’s work has even captured a skerrick of a newer audience? And that’s important.

Singles of INXS can be viewed at ARTISTdirect. The solo singles of Michael Hutchence, including the Max Q collaboration can be viewed on Youtube. Readers might also enjoy The Boss covering the classic INXS single Don’t Change last month, whilst performing in Sydney.

Pump up the volume

This blogger has been purchasing music from Legal Sounds from many years. Recently a new album by New Zealand indie band the Naked and Famous was released. Most of their debut album was interesting, so off this blogger headed to download the new album via that site.

Alas, it was disheartening to see what happened once the URL was punched into the browser. Legal Sounds had disappeared due to a change in Russian copyright laws, along with all remaining credit in the account.

Legal Sounds was legal in the host country Russia &/or the Ukraine. However, it has been suggested that the owners of the site used a loophole to circumvent intellectual property infringement of United States’ based record companies. To put it bluntly, the US multinational record companies were ‘pissed off’ as much as independent record companies about a site where a new release album in 320 kbps MP3 quality could be typically downloaded for less than two dollars.

It may be that Legal Sounds was a copytrap. Assistant Professor Ned Snow provides a definition geared predominantly towards a US audience:

Copytraps arise when Web sites lure innocent users into downloading expression that seems legal but is actually infringing. Regardless of whether the Web site appears legitimate, whether a user’s good-faith belief is reasonable, or whether the Web site owner is unaware that the material is infringing, users who download infringing material face strict liability punishment, and the penalties are severe. It is entrapment, with the spoils from the innocent going to large corporate copyright
holders.

Downloading music from Legal Sounds was purportedly in compliance with copyright laws in this country, according to the legal information provided on the site. Nonetheless, being a subscriber felt a bit like being in a relationship that was fun one with an underlying uneasiness; it seemed it was always going to end one day. So Legal Sounds, thanks for memories and exploiting the loophole whilst the fun lasted.

Perhaps there is good reason that people turn to online merchants providing a service of questionable legality that accordingly, lack longevity? Australians who who choose to legally purchase MP3 music may be subject to price gouging. CHOICE Head of Campaigns, Matt Levey says “In Australia you pay, on average, 52% more than an American consumer will for the same fifty top iTunes songs”.

Back to the music! Here are five favoured songs, with their videos compliantly hosted on Youtube. Local artists are included first. Yes, these all have female vocals.

Kimbra – Good Intent

Sarah Blasko – We Won’t Run

Little Birdy – Brother

Lily Allen – Not Fair

Feist – The Bad In Each Other

Two great artists, one is a better marketer

The first artist being assessed is John Lydon from Public Image Limited. This blogger remembers Public Image Limited rather than the Sex Pistols. In Australia, PIL are known for the following songs:

  • Public Image (1978)
  • This Is Not a Love Song (1983)
  • The Order of Death (1990)
  • Open Up (1993)

The latter became a club anthem, with Lydon on vocals as part of electronic outfit Leftfield. Order of Death featured in various films including the smash hit, Blair Witch Project.

Lydon is touring Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne in April. He markets himself in this manner:

Consider the second artist, Chris Isaak. Isaak’s eleven Australian shows have now been completed. The performance of Isaak & his band received incredible reviews. Even this blogger’s parents said this was one of the finest intimate live shows ever attended.

Isaak & his band Silvertone are known for the following songs:

  • Blue Hotel (1987)
  • Wicked Game (1990)
  • Somebody’s Crying (1995)
  • Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing (1995)
  • Go Walking Down There (1995)

Isaak markets himself in a quite different manner:

In this blogger’s humble opinion, these are both great artists, but one can memorably cultivate controversy. ‘Johnny Rotten’ has been been doing that since the late ’70s. See Richard Branson’s autobiographies, for example. Evidently, acting like a ‘prick’ never gets old.

It’s all fun & games but one part is troubling. Acting like an awful human being (even if it is acting), means ultimately others may think that ‘act’ was the real person. Being remembered after death as a horrible person is probably not something this blogger would intentionally aspire to.

Ten favourite ‘love’ songs!!!

Alanis Morissette – Tapes (2008)

http://www.alanis.com/music/flavors-of-entanglement-2008/

Powderfinger – Nobody Sees (2007)

http://www.powderfinger.com/videos

R.E.M. – E-Bow the Letter (2007)

http://www.remhq.com/hqtv/

Linkin Park – In The End (2001)

http://site.linkinpark.com/music/2000/hybrid-theory/

Moby – Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad (1999)

http://www.moby.com/videos

Bob Dylan – Love Sick (1997)

http://www.bobdylan.com/us/music/time-out-of-mind

K’s Choice – Not an Addict (1995)

http://www.kschoice.be/music.asp

Madonna – Live to Tell (1987)

http://www.madonna.com/#

Prince & the Revolution – When Doves Cry (1984)

http://www.allmusic.com/album/purple-rain-mw0000382324

Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980)

http://brucespringsteen.net/albums/the-river

Fischer-Z – So Long (1980)

http://fischer-z.com/discography

Yes, the rumours are true. This blogger owns all of these albums or singles and enjoys a quiet drink whilst listening to them. 

Music on commercial radio Wk 3

With the deadline passed and no original content prepared it is only fitting to post another lazy compilation of five enjoyable songs heard on commercial radio stations located within a 50 kilometre radius,  programmed during the preceding week. Subjective comments from readers on poor quality inclusions (and why) are more than welcome!

After sitting through Ke$ha’s programming of Girl Power Warrior Women Top 20 on MTV last week, although these top five picks are relatively popular they are still a long way from been synthetic, man-hating, cliched pop songs.

beck

beck (Photo credit: marioanima)

Beck – Loser

Blink 182

Blink 182 (Photo credit: eastscene)

Blink 182- Boxing Day

The Creeps

The Creeps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Camille Jones Vs Fedde Le Grand – The Creeps

My daughter's camera. Metallica at the Forum i...

My daughter’s camera. Metallica at the Forum in Los Angeles, USA. December 17th, 2008. She needs a better camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Metallica – Through The Never

Roman Karma Police

Roman Karma Police (Photo credit: urbisnauta)

Radiohead – Karma Police

Ice cool

On the weekend, this blogger bought the 2011 album entitled My Head is an Animal by Of Monsters and Men. For those living under a rock (or indeed an iceberg), Of Monsters and Men are an Icelandic folk/rock ensemble with two catchy singles in the weekly Radio Airplay Chart. That top 40 playlist sadly also contains Mumford & Sons, Taylor Swift, Pink and Guy Sebastian. Oh well…

Of Monsters and Men © 2012 Dave Lichterman

Of Monsters and Men have crafted an usual record which features the singles Little Talks, Mountain Sound & Dirty Paws. Little Talks was a staple on Australian commercial radio in the latter half of 2012 and was voted runner up in the Hottest 100 on public radio network Triple J.

Hottest 100 Masks for Australia Day © 2009 moggs oceanlane

As the 2011 English language album has not been played yet, it is up to those (often self-righteous) music critics to pick the winners. Critics applaud these cuts from the album:
Six Weeks
Lakehouse
Love Love Love
King and Lionheart

A friend living in the cold, yet visually spectacular Reykjavík has been raving about fellow ‘Icers’ Sigur Rós for many years. Reykjavík is the most distant capital city north – of anywhere! Before the GFC, the city was a favoured haven for uber cool, wealthy or travel savvy Generation Y and Generation X North Americans. Now it’s time for Of Monsters and Men to shine globally for Reykjavík.