charts w/e 8 July 2012 20120716

This was a good week. Paul Heaton released a new album: Paul Heaton Presents… The 8th and it’s an absolute belter. I’ve been a fan of his since the beginning, through the Housemartins to the Beautiful South and into his solo career. I got to see him at King Tut’s last year and it was phenomenal! Anyway, the new album is like nothing he’s ever done before. It’s a concept album with a story running through it, a story which, unless you’re made of stone, will give you goosebumps at the end. Brilliant!

Nick Harper at Corrie Hall

Nick Harper next. He’s another artist I’ve been a fan of since the beginning. I saw him a few times at Roy Harper gigs (Nick’s dad, in case you were wondering!), but it wasn’t until I moved to Arran that I got to see him playing solo. I’m very happy to be able to say that he’s coming back this year, to the same venue! I cannot wait!

And on to Jonathan Coulton. What a busy music week this has been! Of course I’d Jonathan Coulton. What self-respecting nerd hasn’t? But it had never quite clicked. I had Thing-a-Week 1 but never really listened to it more than once through. Then came The Incomparable podcast, episode 98.

We tackle the works of Jonathan Coulton as our Geek Music Appreciation series continues. Join guest host Lex Friedman as he and our panelists build a JoCo playlist and discuss why Coulton has so much geek appeal. But just because Lex is guest-hosting doesn’t mean that Jason Snell won’t make a dramatic appearance at the end, so keep listening!

I spent the weekend listening to JoCo, after creating a Spotify playlist of all the songs mentioned on the podcast: JoCo incomparable playlist and spent that Sunday morning learning to play You Ruined Everything. In fact, serendipity intervened in that when Merlin Mann posted a link on his Tumblr to a video of JoCo playing that song.

[Merlin’s Post]

It’s the first new song I’ve learned in a long time and it was a whole lot of fun. I’m inspired to learn a couple more for my next gig. Not many Arran residents will be familiar with his woe I would guess!

And Merlin is to thank also for the introduction to Peter Holsapple & Chris Starney. I’d never heard of them until he posted an audio clip on his Tumblr:

[Merlin’s Post]

I will definitely be following this band / these artists some more!

It’s interesting to note that is now listing TV shows and movies that I watch on the AppleTV. I finally finished Season 1 of the Wire and it finally started to reel me in. I only persevered because so many respectful people said I should, but it ain’t no House! charts w/e 14 July 2012 charts

This week I learned of Peter Holsapple & Chris Stammey when Merlin Mann posted a song of theirs on his blog or weblog: Kung Fu Grippe. Very good they are indeed and I’m grateful to MM for the discovery.

But Paul Heaton. Paul beautiful Heaton. His new album is out: Paul Heaton Presents the 8th … and it’s a belter. I’ve listened to it a few times, including once on headphones and it needs more of my attention. The premise is a guy who goes to jail and then gets out and what happens to him. It’s a thing of beauty and I’ve not been so struck on first listen to an album since Kate Bush’s Arial. So good! charts

Wow, I’ve not done one of these since 2007!

I don’t listen to as much music as I used to, mainly because of the number of podcasts I listen to each week. It’s still very important to me though.

It has been a big week for The The. I’ve posted some of my favourites in a previous charts post:

The The post

Last chart of the year (featuring Spear of Destiny)

23 Dec 2007 – 30 Dec 2007

Spear of DestinyGeorg Friedrich HändelАквариумPaolo NutiniNic JonesNine Inch NailsMichael JacksonStephen FrySpice GirlsJona Lewie
1 Play Spear of Destiny
2 Play Georg Friedrich Händel
3 Play Аквариум
4 Play Paolo Nutini
5 Play Nic Jones
5 Play Nine Inch Nails
7 Play Michael Jackson
8 Stephen Fry
8 Play Spice Girls
1 10 Play Jona Lewie

Ah yes, Spear of Destiny keeps Handel from the top. How about that ladies and gentlemen. I always listen to Messiah on Christmas day in the morning but it’s so darn long I don’t think I’ve ever heard the whole thing.

But, to the Spear. What a trip it was to listen to them again. I liked them a lot in the mid 80s. Post punk was the label given to them. Kirk Brandon certainly was an angry man and rather politicised too, just the sort of thing a boy in his teens should be listening to really whilst guzzling six packs of Lamot lager, Diamond White, Rossco’s homebrew and the odd quarter bottle.

World Service (1985) and One-Eyed Jacks (1984) rock, and Outland (1987) takes me back to my army days big time.


Spear Of Destiny
Spear Of Destiny
Never Take Me Alive
Spear of Destiny
Аквариум (Aquarium in Russian) will be an artist of the week for certain at some point. They are very, very good.

Happy New Year fellow last.fmers.

Last fm charts

No time for much any more. Trying to pack and it’s mental. Probably dismantling the network and boxing up the computers in the next day or so. I’ll keep the MacBook out through.

Here’s last week’s charts. Yeah, I discovered May Windhouse. She’s good. And Dave made me seek out Ace of Base too, after his post about some cover or other. Good fun.

Oh, and talk about vanity – I’m in my own charts! I was listening to recordings of myself on the way to a gig so I could get the lyrics in my head again. I’m no Yam Hinewouse but I ain’t bad.

And Led Zep I just plain rocks. Can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get around to it.

Top Artists this Week (see more)

16 Dec 2007 – 23 Dec 2007
Amy WinehouseAce of BaseYann TiersenRed Hot Chili PeppersJohnny CashLed ZeppelinStephen FryJona LewiePaul McCartney
1 Play Amy Winehouse
2 Play Ace of Base
2 Play Yann Tiersen
4 Play Red Hot Chili Peppers
5 Play Johnny Cash
6 Cams
7 Play Led Zeppelin
6 8 Stephen Fry
3 9 Play Jona Lewie
2 9 Play Paul McCartney
4 (featuring Pete Murray)

9 Dec 2007 – 16 Dec 2007

Pete MurrayStephen FryNick HarperThe KLFNine Inch NailsWaterson:CarthyPaul McCartneyWizzardBand AidGenesis
5 1 Play Pete Murray
17 2 Stephen Fry
3 Nick Harper
4 Play The KLF
4 5 Play Nine Inch Nails
10 5 Play Waterson:Carthy
21 7 Play Paul McCartney
21 7 Play Wizzard
19 9 Play Band Aid
5 10 Play Genesis

Pete Murray is an Australian and I’d never heard of him until my good friend Philippe asked if I would sing a duet with him on the track Opportunity. I learned it in an afternoon and we rehearsed a few times and pulled it off very well as it happens. Unfortunately the recording I made of the concert was too hot and the whole thing clipped all the way through. So, I’d best let you listen to the original then!

Stephen Fry reads the Harry Potter audiobooks and does so very well. I’m just starting the final one now and am really enjoying them!

Nick Harper is a definite for featured artist on day. Meanwhile, enjoy Pete Murray.

Pete Murray

Weekly charts (featuring Nine Inch Nails)

Cutting it fine again this week!

Top Artists this Week (see more)

2 Dec 2007 – 9 Dec 2007
Nine Inch NailsThe Wonder StuffВладимир ВысоцкийRoy HarperBryan SuttonMartin CarthyPete MurrayPixiesThe Greencards
8 1 Play Nine Inch Nails
2 Play The Wonder Stuff
3 Play Владимир Высоцкий
4 Play Roy Harper
5 Play Bryan Sutton
6 Play Martin Carthy
6 Play Pete Murray
8 Play Pixies
9 The Greencards
10 Pat Walsh

Nine Inch Nails are at the top this week. This is mainly thanks to the inspiration I got from bevester who recommended Year Zero. I’ve been a fan of NIN since Pretty Hate Machine but haven’t bought any of their music since Downward Spiral. Not really sure what that is, but there you have it. So I was excited to hear Year Zero and it didn’t let me down. It has that trademark NIN angst and I loved it right from the start. I guess as a concept album I should get familiar with the lyrics but that usually comes later for me.

The song I listened to most on Pretty Hate Machine was Something I can Never Have. And it still gives me the chills. I remember locking myself away with PHM and a bottle of White & Mackay after being dumped one time and playing it loud.

I did see them perform once in Glasgow (May 1994) but I remember very little about it.

So many thanks bevester for the reco and here are some tunes for y’all’s enjoyment. (including Hurt, which Johnny Cash covered on American Recordings IV and made it his own and now I play the JC version — planning on playing it today at my leaving gig as it happens!) The NIN version is really good too though.

Something I Can Never Have
Nine Inch Nails


Nine Inch Nails


Weekly charts (featuring Mika)

25 Nov 2007 – 2 Dec 2007

Suzanne VegaMikaMuseBeppe GambettaSergei RachmaninoffStephen FryNine Inch NailsSteve Gibson with Leo Laporte
1 1 Play Suzanne Vega
2 Thomas Luis de Victoria
3 Play Mika
4 Play Muse
3 4 Beppe Gambetta
6 Play Sergei Rachmaninoff
2 7 Play Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman
1 8 Stephen Fry
9 Play Nine Inch Nails
10 Steve Gibson with Leo Laporte

This week’s artist is Mika. Lorraine heard a track of his on the radio whilst babysitting Hamish in the car while he slept as I and Freya were having fun in the park. She liked it well enough to buy the CD and it really is great. His vocal range is incredible and his music pop-tastic. Sort of a cross between Freddy Mercury and Robbie Williams.

I hope he’s not a flash in the pan!

Thomas Luis de Victoria is a CD that I have of choral music and it’s really good for aiding concentration or playing really loud to mediate to.


Weekly charts (featuring Suzanne Vega)

Cutting it fine this week folks! Without further ado, here are last week’s charts:


Top Artists this Week (see more)

18 Nov 2007 – 25 Nov 2007
Beppe GambettaSuzanne VegaThe Wonder StuffPierre BensusanRoger WatersTalking HeadsTony McManusStephen FryBig Audio Dynamite II
8 1 Beppe Gambetta
2 Play Suzanne Vega
3 Play The Wonder Stuff
4 Play Pierre Bensusan
5 Play Roger Waters
33 6 Play Talking Heads
7 Play Tony McManus
7 Stephen Fry
9 Play Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman
10 Play Big Audio Dynamite II

Beppe‘s at the top. His new one (Slade Stomp) is really very good.

Things are beginning to look a bit more representative of my actual music tastes now. I won’t go into them all this week as I’m sure the ones who haven’t yet been my featured artist will be one day. Stephen Fry is the audio books of Harry Potter, and Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman is a CD called Songs from the Victorious City which I was overjoyed to find (it wasn’t that hard actually). I used to listen to it a lot on cassette during my university days, playing cards with my mate and rolling Camberwell carrots. The Victorious City is a direct translation from the Arabic for Cairo. It was a real treat to hear those tunes again.

And so to this week’s artist. Many years ago, when I was still quite wee (must’ve been around 1987) I caught a documentary on Suzanne Vega. It was late at night, I was tired and only half watching. One tune really caught my attention and I started watching intently after that. The tune was Fancy Poultry (from her second album, Solitude Standing). I then bought that album and her first one and listened to them a heck of a lot. They were very much part of the soundtrack to my mid to late teenage years. I continued to follow her work and got a new CD whenever one was released. She evolved and changed styles and producers and got a bit more experimental and I just loved her stuff. I got to see her in Edinburgh back in 1993 and again here in a school gym hall in Luxembourg in about 2002 and then at a festival in Belgium the following year. She’s really great live. At the Belgium gig I was already part of the Towie Tree (the forum on her own web site) and so was able to go back stage and say hi to her. It was great to meet her.

I have learned to play a few of her tunes on the guitar, including my very favourite The Queen and the Soldier.

I knew that she had a new album due out and checked this week. Sure enough, there it was, Beauty & Crime and it was DRM free on Amazon! I’ve listened to it a couple of times and like it but I don’t know it well enough yet to comment. It’s with a new producer again (she divorced her previous producer, Mitchell Froom a few years ago) and features the vocals of her daughter Ruby and KT Tunstall!

I could write more and more coherently but I’m really tired and it’s time for bed.

Anyway, here are a few samplers for y’all.

Suzanne Vega
Blood Sings
Suzanne Vega

Weekly charts (featuring The The)

11 Nov 2007 – 18 Nov 2007

Beastie BoysThe TheBert JanschRadioheadLou ReedTommy EmmanuelNine Inch NailsPeter GabrielBeppe Gambetta
1 Play Beastie Boys
2 Play The The
3 Play Anna Massie
3 4 Play Bert Jansch
5 Play Radiohead
6 Play Lou Reed
7 Play Tommy Emmanuel
7 Play Nine Inch Nails
9 Play Peter Gabriel
9 Beppe Gambetta

My profile is beginning to reflect my musical profile more accurately as time goes it. It was time this week to address some gaps. First up, the Beastie Boys. I was a fan of the Beasties since Licensed to Ill, and it’s still a cracking album. When I was doing my basic training in 1988 at AAC Harrogate, we all had to do a party piece. Mine was Billy Connolly sketch (the one about getting caught ‘having a wank’) and the full version of Paul Revere from Licensed to Ill. It went down pretty well as I recall (although I think the Billy sketch was better received!). Then came the classic Paul’s Boutique, the Beasties seminal album in my opinion. An incredible set of samples and hip-hop that was way ahead of its time and relatively unknown compared to Licensed to Ill. We even tried to find the real Paul’s Boutique from the address given in the album (in Brooklyn) when we travelled the US in 1993, but it was to no avail! (I could link to the post I made but for some REALLY annoying reason Vox displays only some of my tags – why is that Vox?) Then came Check Your Head, another ground-breaking album in the same vein as Paul’s Boutique. Brilliant. Ill Communication didn’t sit so well with me; I just never really bonded with it in the same way and I that was the last B-Boys album I bought. So, I spent some time this week spinning the old Beasties albums and filling a gap in my profile.

Next up, and this week’s featured band, is The The. Despite their really annoying name, I’ve loved this band right from the start (well, I never really dug Burning Blue Soul and still don’t, but that was originally released as a Matt Johnson solo album). I shan’t go on about them, just to say that Matt’s one of my favourite lyricists of all time and I’ve always really related to his words and the music. “The future is now, and it’s all going wrong; bodies queue for nothing for it’s to nothing they belong”, etc.

Annie Massie is a young Scots lass who plays a variety of instruments really, really well. I first saw her at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow back in 2004 (I think) and was blown away. She plays mainly in the traditional Scots vein and can flatpick like no other gal I’ve ever seen. And she’s so wee! Her music is terrific and I highly recommend her CD Glad Company. I’ll certainly have her as a featured artist one day.

I’ve mentioned Bert a lot so browse previous entries. He was my featured artist last week.

Fellow Voxer Bevester inspired me to dig out some Radiohead again. I hadn’t listened to them in a while and it was good to hear them again. Kid A is my favourite with Amnesiac a close second (but they’re all good). Those two albums were a lot of work, and I mean a lot. This is not easy listening and needs repeated spins to get it. But once you get it, it really pays you back, big time!

Lou Reed’s New York was the first CD I ever bought. I enjoy his music and the Velvet Underground a lot. This week I had to share my story at an AA meeting and so played my playlist called Spiritual on the iPod on the way in to town. There’s a song on The Raven called Vanishing Act that is just wonderful. So I listened to that a few times over the last week, along with a lot of other Lou stuff.

Tommy Emmanuel. If you play guitar you should certainly know about Tommy. And if you don’t play, you should still go and see him. One of the best performers I have ever seen.

Nine Inch Nails. I used to listen to them a lot. Pretty Hate Machine got me through some hard times, particularly Something I Can Never Have. Downward Spiral was great. Fixed and Broken rewarded repeated listens but were tough going at times.

Peter Gabriel. Brilliant. Love his solo stuff and Genesis. As with Bowie, his most recent stuff is some of his best in my opinion. Up was terrific!

Beppe Gambetta is an Italian flatpicker. I saw him last night and will write about him there with some audio. I had lessons with him too back in 2005. He’s a really nice guy.

So that’s it for this week. Enjoy the The The tunes (see, told you their name was annoying!) I’ve included two from Shades of Blue since it’s not such a common one (it’s a 4-track EP).


The The