365 Albums – Week 5

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22. Dire Straits – Dire Straits

Dire Straits - Dire Straits A fantastic mixture of country and rock with some of the most famous and recognisable guitar solos. Largely down to the lead guitarist Mark Knopfler, or Guitar George ‘he knows all the chords’ if you will. If you don’t get that then go listen to Sultans of Swing and come back to carry on reading.

The first, and self titled album by Dire Straits, shot them onto the music scene, and it’s no surprise. Their popularity also grew in America at the time too who then, and still now have a penchant for country music.

Listen to: “Sultans of Swing” or generally anything by Mark Knopfler.

Score: 3/5

23. Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds

Justin Timberlake - FutureSex_LoveSounds Through my early teenage years, I really, and somewhat indiscriminately didn’t like JT, no idea why, it was just this unjustified deep seated dislike. Anyway, once upon a time I happened to come upon a free ticket to see him, not one to pass up the opportunity for a free gig, I went along, Unklejam were supporting at the time who I was partial to. After 10 minutes of watching the performance my opinion had flipped, I’d previously been entirely ignorant to him as an artist, and realised that in-fact is what he was. He was actually a musician and multi-instrumentalist, who sang, wrote, and played his own songs. I was sold. and I’ve not looked back since. Anyway to prevent any unnecessary fan-girling, try out the brilliant songs below and see if you can be swayed.

Listen to: “My Love (ft. T.I.)” or “What Goes Around” or “

Summer Love/Set the Mood”. Actually you know what, pretty much anything on the album.

Score: 5/5

24. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV (Zoso, Symbols, whatever else you want to call it)

Led Zeppeling - Led Zeppelin IV I don’t give out many fives, as you may have noticed if you’ve looked through some of the previous reviews, so to see two in a row is rare, and rarer still is the likelihood it will happen again during this project, it just happens to be the way the albums cropped up. I’m not going to bore you with a load of adjectives about why Led Zeppelin are actually the shit (they are), I’m just going to tell you to listen to one of the founding groups at the forefront of what we call rock and roll. and just listen to, and enjoy struggling to count the number of modern bands whose influence has come from them. Particularly I can hear a lot of Jack White and the White Stripes in the song The Battle of Evermore, can’t place what track though…

Listen to: “Black Dog” or “Rock and Roll”, and if you want to go for the obvious, the infinitely famous  “Stairway to Heaven”

Score: 5/5

25. Dizzie Rascal – Boy in da Corner

Dizzie Rascal - Boy in da Corner Review

Listen to: “Fix Up Look Sharp”

Score: /5

26. -

TBC ReviewListen to: “”.

Score: /5

27. -

TBC ReviewListen to: “”

Score: /5

28. -

TBC ReviewListen to: “”

Score: /5

365 Albums – Week 4

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22. Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

Johnny Cash - At Folsum Prison It was difficult to pick an album by Johnny Cash, after he did release over 100 albums. Yeah 167 according to Wikipedia… So I just grabbed oneListen to: “Cocaine Blues” or “”.

Score: 3/5

23. The Beatles – The Beatles (The White Album)

The Beatles - The Beatles (White Album) Melodic, easylistening, and by the sounds of it just a little before Beatlemania got out of control. Some bizzare lyrics as you come to expect with any Beatles album… Or to be honest any album from the late 60’s and early 70’s really. A crazy time, or so we’re led to believe. It’s not packed with Beatles hits end to end, but then again their career spanned loads of albums. If you’re looking for that, try a live album or a greatest hits compilation.Listen to: “Back in the USSR” or “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

Score: 4/5

24. The Offspring – Ixnay On The Hombre

The Offspring - Ixnay on the Hombre Plain, simple unadulterated, youth and angst. That’s what the album gets across. A fun sample of the plethora American Pop Punk Rock that the 90’s-00’s plentifully spawned.Again, not an album playing hit after hit by the band, but it does contain one of my favourite Offspring songs. The tracks below are definitely worth checking out.

Listen to: “Gone Away” or “All I Want

Score: 3/5

25. Lou Reed – Transformer

Lou Reed - Transformer Lou Reed, formerly of The Velvet Underground, is not for the easily offended or those of sensitive dispositions.Musically the album is fantastic with plenty of songs you will certainly of heard over the years.

Lyrically however, he was not opposed to profanity and innuendo. I’m glad to have included in the album in this. And check out the following songs.

Listen to: “Walk on the Wild Side” or “Satellite of Love”.

Score: 4/5

26. Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream First heard of The Smashing Pumpkins in around 2007 when I was 17 and went to Leeds Festival, they were one of the headliners, and admittedly there was very little else on I wanted to see, so I went to watch their set, despite knowing nothing by them. They either had, or were just about to release Zeitgueist after a 6/7 year hiatus I would later find out. I think what I liked about the band, was probably Billy Corgans voice. That and some of the guitar reminded me of Feeder, or should that be Feeder reminded me of Smashing Pumpkins… Anyway brilliant album.Listen to: “Cherub Rock” or “Today”.

Score: 4/5

27. Sugarhill Gang – Sugarhill Gang

Sugarhill Gang - Sugarhill Gang A ground breaking album, and depending who you ask the album that contains ‘the first rap song’ in actual fact it was more the first one to achieve these levels of popularity. Easy to listen to, happy, and very upbeat, and of course, who doesn’t know all of the words to rappers delight?
Listen to: “Rappers Delight” – obviously.

Score: /5

28. Kendrick Lamar – Section 8.0

Kendrick Lamar - Section 80 This album just didn’t engage me, maybe I’ll give it a second listen through in future. But despite it’s fairly critical acclaim and well rounded reputation (generally averaging about 4* or 90% in most reviews), it just didn’t click with me. Sorry Kendrick.

Listen to: don’t.

Score: 1/5

365 Albums – Week 3

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15. Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced?

Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced Enjoyed listening to Jimi, particularly because he’s one of those artists that everyone loves, and yet only really know that one or two songs by. Great album, some bits slower and more intimate than I was expecting to find and with more blues about them in placesListen to: “Foxey Lady” or “Purple Haze” depending on which version you listen to, Europe or North America. Both great songs.

Score: 4/5

16. Chic – C’est Chic

Chic - C'est Chic First album I’ve done that’s encroached on the Disco genre. Also included a balled or two on the album, but I guess that was the done thing at the time. For some reason this album just screams ‘Wedding Music’ to me. It has an collection of upbeat dance-worthy disco too. Again another album with some great funky basslines.Listen to: “Super Freak” or “I Want your Love”.

Score: 3/5

17. Primal Scream – Screamadelica

Primal Scream - Screamadelica Before the lyrics even kicked in to the first song Movin’ on Up the clean guitar riff just instantly made me think of 60’s era stones. Sympathy for the devil instantly came to mind! That said, the longer I listened the more i felt like it started to drag. There was an upbeat song every now and then to keep you interested though. It was in interesting mixture of Rock and Industrial music though.Listen to: “Movin’ On Up” or “Come Together”

Score: 2/5

18. The Streets – Original Pirate Material

The Streets - Original Pirate Material Not what I was expecting, chose this album because I already knew most of the songs of the followup A Grand don’t come for free, It was entertaining and clever from start to finish with a helpful sharing of samples from catchy songs. Despite the fact that Mike Skinner doesn’t actually ‘sing’ per se, it was a great album, and he’s a good lyricist.Listen to: “Has it come to this” or “The Irony of it all”.

Score: 3/5

19. Royal Blood – Royal Blood

Royal Blood - Royal Blood Love listening to albums like this, raw, rock. It makes me feel 14/15 again, at a period when I used to have so much more time to go to live gigs, local bands and such. It’s amazing what a band consisting of two (yeah, you read right, two) people can sound like. The album was recorded using only vocals, a drum kit, and a bass guitar, with the exception of two or three tracks including shakers and a tambourine. I still can’t work out how they produce some of the sounds they do. Apparently the album was also mostly recorded with tracks in one take, no overdubbing / mixing down. I love it.

Listen to: “Ten Tonne Skeleton” or “Little Monster”.

Score: 4/5

20. Prince – Purple Rain

Prince - Purple Rain Notoriously difficult to listen to online, I’m using YouTube at the moment because there’s a problem with my Deezer account. Prince doesn’t seem to like any of his music being available via YouTube, which made tracking down parts of this album pretty difficult, and had to make do with a couple of live tracks. On the whole a good album, enjoyed, it, not great, but good.

Listen to: “When Doves Cry”

Score: 3/5

21. Blink 182 – Enema of the State

Blink182 - Ennema Of The State I Picked this album, in light of the recent and resoundingly ultimate separation of 1/3 of Blink 182, in my opinion it’s no great loss, but we won’t focus on that. So the album, I was disappointingly underwhelmed. Despite an incredible fondness of Blink 182, shared with most people my age. Due to for the most part growing up with and hearing their songs endlessly played on the radio and music channels (Yeah back before people used YouTube for music, and just watched it on TV). In listening to their albums in their entirety though, they’re not the constant upbeat, carefree band that their singles make them sound. I digress. There were a few standout songs that I enjoy from the album straddling the rest.

I do feel I may have reviewed this album a little harshly, probably down to me expecting the whole album to live up to all of the incredible singles they’ve released over the years. Ah Well. Just buy their greatest hits instead.

Listen to: “Adam’s Song” or “Whats My Age Again?”

Score: 2/5

365 Albums – Week 2

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8. Catfish & The Bottlemen – The Balcony

Catfish and the Bottlemen - The Balcony Refreshing to hear music like this, it doesn’t grace my ears too often, whether it’s because I don’t live in that scene (anymore). Or if it’s because Rock finds itself looked on with the same popularity as other genres these days. Throughly enjoyed listening to the album, and I’m livid I didn’t see them while they were up and coming and I was living in North Wales!

Listen to: ‘Kathleen  and ‘Pacifier’.

Score: 4/5

9. Jamie T – Panic Prevention

Jamie T - Panic Prevention Picked this because I know people that have been a fan for years, and they’ve become popular again recently with a song called Rabbit Hole, currently doing the rounds on the radio (and it’s pretty catchy). Great album, and lyrically he’s incredible. It’s definitely a fairly unique fusion of Rock and Hip Hop.

Listen to: “Back in the Game” or “Sticks And Stones”

Score: 3/5

10.  Rory Gallagher – Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher - Rory Gallagher Technically gifted, musician whose influence is still very apparent in a great deal of todays rock. The second the album started I thought there’s sounds of KOL,and a few others. One of my favourite guitarists, hope you might enjoy listening to him too. Couple of semi -instrumental tracks on the album also which make for some easy listening at work.

Listen to: “Bullfrog Blues” or “Laundromat”

Score: 5/5

11.  David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Davie Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars A short album, by all accounts, plenty of classic well known songs on this album though. It’s interesting that even a few of the non-singles from this album took off, and achieved quite a reputation. Ziggy Stardust (Intro reminds me of The Darkness, can’t place the song though). Brilliant album with a story, even if that story is a psychedelic cocktail of drugs, paranoia and an incredibly active imagination.Review

Listen to: “Suffragette City” or “Ziggy Stardust”

Score: 4/5

12. Sub Focus – Sub Focus

Sub Focus - Sub Focus Change of pace again! Keeps me on my toes. Lucky enough to have seen Sub Focus a number of times, and I’ve never left disappointed. What I particularly like about Sub Focus, it that he’s been active since 2005 releasing music. Now in 2015 he’s still only released 2 albums. Both of which have been fantastic, and he’s ben touring on and off continuously. Perhaps it’s a sign that RAM Records don’t rush the artists to release content, constantly, meaning that only the best is release. Fantastic Drum & Bass album. Few hit’s you’ll recognise too.

Listen to: “Let the story begin” or “Could this be real”

Score: 3/5

13.  Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue

Electric Light Orchestra - Out of the Blue I really wanted to rate this album higher, it was melodic and fairly clean, but I just couldn’t get into it, it seemed a little on the repetitive side, and almost as though it should be the soundtrack to a movie with the change of mood throughout. There was the obvious standout track, the ELO song that everyone knows if you ask them to name one however, and I did also enjoy Birmingham Blues.

Listen to: “Mr Bluesky”

Score: 2/5

14.  – Stevie Wonder – Talking Book

Stevie Wonder - Talking Book So easy to listen to, love the Soul / Funk, again it’s easy to hear so many modern musicians influenced by his style in this. Also it might be because I’m more used to hearing live versions or more of his modern songs, but his voice seems a lot softer in this than I expected when I first started the album. Maybe it’s his youth coming through. Superb album, catchy beats, and particularly love the bass-lines in most of the tracks. Convinced me to pick up my Bass guitar even for the first time in a while.

Listen to: “Superstitious” which is the obvious hit and “You’ve got it bad girl”

Score: 3/5

365 Albums – Week 1

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1. Childish Gambino – Because The Internet

Childish Gambino - Because The Internet First album of the year! Entertaining to listen to, not the sort of stuff I’m used to hearing, very varied, crosses a huge range of styles. Sometimes feels like trying to fit too much into one song.

Listen to: ‘V. 3005′  and ‘II. No Exit’.

Score: 3/5

2. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue I don’t mind Jazz & Blues, quite enjoy them in fact, unfortunately it’s a sad fact that they aren’t the cultural mainstream anymore. Really enjoyed listening to this. Not to mention the instrumental Jazz & Blues is really easy to work along to.  Did a little reading into him too, an accomplished musician, and someone who has had a profound impact on past, present and future music.

Listen to: The entire album, seriously it’s only 45 minutes, and you won’t regret it.

Score: 5/5

3. Glitchmob – Love Death Immortality

Glitchmob - Love Death Imortality The first thing that came to my head as the album began, was that I was about to see one of any number of old Tekken games load on my screen. It’s just that kind of music, mostly instrumental, and very electronic. Again, the sort of music I can enjoy working along with.

Listen to: “Can’t Kill Us”

Score: 3/5

4. Milky Chance – Sadnecessary

Recognised more songs than I expected when listening to this album, doesn’t seem to have been reviewed by any magazines. A good mixture of instrumental, and traditional songs in what has been described as Psychadelic folk / Folktronica, but don’t let them put you off.

Listen to: “Stolen Dance” or “Down by the river”

Score: 4/5

5. Kodaline – In A Perfect World

Kodaline - In A Perfect World Fantastic (And seriously underrated) album. Definitely not to everyones tastes but the reviews  go from 1* (Q) to 4* at the other end (Clash) I thoroughly enjoyed it, and thankfully having a rather large screen at work was able to watch the videos as well. Nearly every song has one, and they all tell fantastic stories, well worth a listen.

Listen to: “High Hopes” or “Brand New Day”

Score: 4/5

6. Dream Theater – Systematic Chaos

Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos Cue a bout of range from lifelong Dream Theater fans. I actually saw DT back in 2007 at Download festival, and it’s why I chose to check out this album from the same era. I’m now sat here with mixed feelings. I thoroughly enjoyed the set they played, and I’m sure I got caught up in the atmosphere of their set. Upon listening to the album, they are obviously very technically gifted musicians, but it just didn’t give me that same feeling.

Listen to: “Prophets of War”

Score: 2/5

7. The Black Keys – Turn Blue

The Black Keys - Turn Blue Fever, had a lot to live up to. El Camino, The Black Keys debut album, which had a great reception, was a great album, and was always going to be difficult to beat. It proved true, Turn Blue, didn’t live up to the first album, as is unfortunately the case with a lot of artists, second albums don’t seem to have the same love, time and attention devoted to them during production as debut albums, that perhaps bands have been working on for a long time. There were plenty of tracks to tap your foot along to. One of the Diamonds in the rough was definitely Fever.

Listen to: “Fever”

Score: 3/5

I resolve to…

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Well, I’m not normally the sort for resolutions. I don’t even bother normally to be honest. That might explain why you’re now getting a post about resolutions nearly half way through January. (Yeah that’s how quickly the year goes!)

Frankly they annoy me, if you want to get fit, do it. But why make a resolution you’re gonna give up on? 80% of January ‘New Year Resolution’ gym sign ups drop off by week two of February.

That and I’ve started playing rugby again twice a week now and running too, so that’s where I’m getting my exercise.

Don’t get me wrong that goes for loads of other types of resolutions too.

So how about something different. To widen my tastes in music, I’m opting to try and listen to a different album every day this year, not a handful of songs, but album start to finish, something I’ve not listened to before.

I’m taking suggestions for albums, think of it like a

‘365 albums everyone should listen to before they die.’

Send me your suggestions on Twitter @Ashk90 (I’ll also try and make up the 12 days I’ve not already done.

Check out albums so far, here.

Ash’s Music Picks – The Day We Caught The Train

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Hey strangers, is anyone still out there? I don’t know if there is. Anyways if you haven’t given up on us while we’ve all been moving into adult life recently, thanks for your patience! My current job is coming to the end of the contract and it’s that time where I’m hunting for new jobs (yay!). On the other hand once I find one, hopefully I won’t be working ten million hours a week and will have a little more free time for stuff like this!

So anyway, the old ones are the best, and I stumbled across this delight the other day while looking through some of my older music library. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I still don’t believe this was released in 1996!

Ocean Colour Scene – The Day We Caught The Train

When was your Lollipop Moment?

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Many of you may already watch TED videos in your spare time as I do, they vary in style from Inspirational, Motivational, Restoring your faith in people, Wonders of Modern Technology & Science and more!

I’ve often whiled away hours watching them.  I want to highlight this one to you though, it’s not one of the more recent TED videos, but it brings home a fantastic point. Watch it and ask yourself; Have you had a Lollipop Moment?

TEDxToronto: Drew Dudley – Leading with lollipops


Ash’s Music Picks – Finale (Netsky Remix)

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If you’ve read any of my posts in the past, you’ll probably be aware, I’m quite a Netsky fan, but not just his original work, he adds his own unique spin on some other artists you may have heard of.

Without further adue, partially because I’ve just been going through some of my old YouTube playlists, and partially because it’s been way too long since I’ve made use of this shiny blog on the interwebs;

Maedon – Finale (Netsky Remix)

The Vikings Are Coming

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So, thanks to the lovely people at LoveFilm I was lucky enough to be at the European premiere of Vikings. I’ll simply say this: Having seen the first episode, you should take the first opportunity you get to watch it.