Spiritualized – Broken Heart (1997)

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Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space is a majestic album. It was recorded shortly after the break-up of Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce and Kate Radley, the band’s keyboard player. Radley had secretly married Richard Ashcroft of The Verve. ‘Though I have a broken heart/I’m too busy to be heartbroken”. Have a great weekend.

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Chuck Wood ‎- Seven Days Too Long (1967)

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Dexys’s ‘Geno’ featured on their debut studio album Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, alongside a cover version of Chuck Wood’s ‘Seven Days Too Long’. It’s good, but not a patch on the original.

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Evidence – Throw It All Away (2018)

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Dilated Peoples’s Michael Perretta is better known as Evidence. This year, the hip hop artist released Weather Or Not, his third full-length solo album. The project features the single ‘Throw It All Away’. The track features a Stringtronics sample; very cool indeed.

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Dexys Midnight Runners ‎- Geno (1980)

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Kevin Rowland and Kevin “Al” Archer were both members of Birmingham punk band the Killjoys before they decided to form Dexys Midnight Runners. Fans of Northern Soul, the duo sought a horn-driven soul sound and stumbled across a very successful formula. Non more so than on the chart-topping ‘Geno’, a tribute to soul singer Geno Washington.

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Tom Misch feat. Loyle Carner – Water Baby (2018)

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Opening with a sample of The Crusaders’s ‘My Lady’, I was always going to like ‘Water Baby’. It’s the latest breezy number from Tom Misch and this time the London singer-songwriter had the very sensible idea to feature Mercury Prize-nominated Loyle Carner. A purveyor of cool meets zeitgeist, the single is off the forthcoming album Geography. Have a great week.

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Jacques Dutronc – Il Est Cinq Heures, Paris S’Éveille (1968)

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This gentleman is the epitome of cool. In the 1960s, the cigar-chomping Jacques Dutronc was the embodiment of French pop chic. In 1967/1968, he had a string of hits including “It’s five o’clock, Paris is waking”. An early contemporary of Johnny Hallyday, married to Françoise Hardy and a drinking buddy of Serge Gainsbourg… his is a Gallic life lived en plein.

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Tim Buckley – Make it Right (1972)

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With Greetings From L.A., Tim Buckley is pure californication. He had been sleazy before, but the seven tracks on this album were full on sex. The album’s closing track ‘Make It Right’ grooves away the night with a disco-like set of accompanying strings. “Come on and beat me, whip me, spank me, come on make it right again,” he begs, with a rawness that would make Robert Plant swoon.

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Jonathan Wilson – Loving You (2018)

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Jonathan Wilson’s work has featured here before. The Laurel Canyon multi-instrumentalist released his highly regarded Gentle Spirit album back in 2011. Where his sound was once dusty (‘Desert Raven’), it is now cosmic, spiritual even … guest artist Laraaji adds a New Age cherry on top for this journey through the clouds. ‘Loving You‘ is a pre-realease single off Wilson’s new king player Rare Birds. Happy Valentine’s.

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Kevin Morby – City Music (2017)

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Kevin Morby’s fourth solo album City Music is an exploration of urban life. The album’s centrepiece is its title track with its repetitive vocals and intertwining guitars, before it slows back down to a late night walking pace. I think he found his downtown.

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Elbow – Any Day Now (2001)

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‘Any Day Now’ is the opening, standout track from Elbow’s debut album Asleep In The Back. Depite the fame and popularity that would follow a few years later, they would sound no better than this. Drummer Richard Jupp lays down a signature snare beat accompanied by singer Guy Garvey’s Peter Gabriel impression. Have a good week.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1997

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite 9 songs of 1997, bookended by Radiohead. There are no surprises there; I have showed some restraint by not featuring more of their work.

Radiohead – Airbag

Supergrass – Late In The Day

Yo La Tengo – Stockholm Syndrome

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

Embrace – All You Good Good People

Pavement – Stereo

Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space

Björk – Unravel

Radiohead – Let Down

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Honourable mentions also go to: Radiohead for ‘No Surprises’; Radiohead for ‘Paranoid Android‘; Radiohead for ‘Lift‘; Supergrass ‘Richard III‘; Spiritualized ‘Broken Heart’; Yo La Tengo for ‘Autumn Sweater’, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for ‘Into My Arms‘; Daft Punk for ‘Around The World’; NuYorican Soul (featuring Jocelyn Brown) for ‘It’s Alright, I Feel It!’ and The Notorious B.I.G. for ‘Mo Money Mo Problems‘.

I realise now that four albums – classic albums – were crowding out others from my ears in 1997.

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Nat King Cole – Nature Boy (1948)

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‘Nature Boy’ was first recorded by Nat King Cole. Released as a single by Capitol Records in 1948, it is one of the earliest pop songs to feature on this blog. It was written by Eden Ahbez, an unusual chap by any measure. A beatnik poet and proto-hippie, Ahbez chose to wear long hair and Jesus kit. When Capitol Records sought Ahbez and the publishing rights, a deal was far from straightforward. Eventually they located him camping out beneath the first L in the “Hollywood” sign. The back story seems at odds with one of the smoothest sounds in the pop canon. Have a great weekend.

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Brian Eno – Deep Blue Day (1983)

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Brian Eno released Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks in 1983. It was his ninth studio album, but cannot really be called the work of a solo artist. Eno had written, produced and performed the work in collaboration with his brother Roger and Canadian musician Daniel Lanois. The ambient music would find its way onto film scores and this blog (‘An Ending (Ascent)‘). Today, ‘Deep Blue Day’ is more famous for being the soundtrack to the toilet scene in Trainspotting than its original purpose as the music for a documentary on the NASA space program.

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Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done To Deserve This? (1987)

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One of my guilty pleasures today… what have you done to deserve this? This duet with Dusty Springfield featured on the Pet Shop Boys 1987 long player Actually, with that album cover.

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The Fall – Bill Is Dead (1990)

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R.I.P. Mark E. Smith; the legendary contrarian and frontman of The Fall died two weeks ago after an extended period of ill health. Two decades ago, his life was about to hit a rough patch. His marriage to Brix Smith-Start was failing and his father died of a heart attack at the unripe age of 59. His response was to release the album Extricate, which features ‘Bill Is Dead’ with its ironic chant “These are the greatest times of my life.”

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