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What's in iJamming! Music
Mon, Oct 28, 2002
From the Jamming! Archives:
interviewed in 1978
"A number one single would be a bit scary."
The iJamming! interview:
"'Acid Trax' by Phuture came out and I was just 'Okay, forget all hip hop and all old school rare groove right here, this is it.'"
The Best Of 2001
Tony Fletcher's Top Albums, Concerts, Singles and Books
Strange Currencies:
R.E.M. at Carnegie Hall
In his room:
Brian Wilson at the Festival Hall
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: "Flowers is Echo & The Bunnymen's finest hour since Ocean Rain."
Latest album reviews
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
iJamming! interview:
Jesse Hartman, aka LAPTOP
"Every New York band knows the meaning of failure"
MIX Albums:
Who, what and why you should bother
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
The iJAMMING! chat:

"If I was asked why Sniffin' Glue was so important, it was the way we conducted ourselves, the style of it, just the attitude. It had attitude in abundance didn't it?"
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
THE iJAMMING! Book Review:
SNIFFIN' GLUE: The Essential Punk Accessory
Musing with SALLY TAYLOR:
"I'm not interested in what the major labels have to offer."
From the JAMMING! archives: ALTERNATIVE TV
interviewed in 1978
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
Featured Artist Web Site:
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
The iJAMMING! interview:
"Once you've had your go, what-ever it may be, they want you to piss off, and they can't bear it if you come back, they can't bear it."
They love rock'n'roll but they don't want to deal with the hassle
The full iJamming! Contents
Tony Fletcher's
BEST OF 2001
TOP ALBUMS OF 2001continued

(in alphabetical order)

AIR - 10,000 Hz Legend (Astralwerks)
The other French duo's second album proper is hard going, no doubt - this is one that the words "headphones record" were put together for - but my feeling is it will stand the test of time.
BETA BAND - Hot Shots II (Astralwerks)
If this were a debut, it would undoubtedly have gone into the Top 10, but the Scottish pot-melters made such a botch of their first full album last year that this return to form came as more of a relief than a revelation.
The American trio BRMC are loud, dark, moody, bluesy, derivative as hell and are at their best when singing about the three r's: romance ('Love Burns' and 'Spread Your Love'), religion ('White Palms' and 'Salvation') and rock'n'roll ('Whatever Happened to My Rock'n'roll,' to which title they're sharp enough to affix the words [punk song]).

CATATONIA Paper Scissors Stone (Blanco y Negro) If it was no surprise that 'Paper Scissors Stone' was Catatonia's swan-song, then it was an enormous relief that the Welsh quintet ended their run with such a strong album, especially given the disappointment of its predecessor 'Equally Cursed and Blessed.' Produced by the venerable partnership of Langer & Winstanley, who were the force behind some of my favorite records by Dexys, Madness and Elvis Costello, 'Paper Scissors Stone' is short on obvious singles, but it has both humor ('Is Everybody Here On Drugs?') and pathos ('Fuel') in equal abundance. It's ambitious, with hefty string and brass arrangements occasionally threatening to consume the band's soul, but Cerys' voice, for all her battles with the bottle, is at its finest, especially on 'Shore Leave.' I have a personal sadness at seeing Catatonia disband: they're one of the few bands from the mid-90s that I followed and saw live from earliest days (my first encounter was in Manchester in 1994, at which they Cerys wore sunglasses on stage in one of the darkest clubs I've ever been in); I still own and treasure every one of their early 7" singles, including those in Welsh, which I"m tempted to say remain the best music they put out. That said, it was wonderful to see the band make it - in the UK, if not the USA, where 'Paper Scissors Stone' did not even see release - and Cerys' star factor guarantees that this is not the last we'll see of her by any means.

DAFT PUNK Alive 1997 (Virgin)
Proof that dance music can be improvised on stage every bit as effectively as can rock, jazz, blues and the rest, this souvenir from the duo's first concert tour also helps make up for the 'Discovery' debacle.
FIREWATER - Psychopharmacology (Jetset)
Former Cop Shoot Cop singer Tod A takes on the culture of prescription pills and mood enhancers but prefers wallowing in an artistically inspiring depression, and concludes this superb lyrical third album by falling in love and concluding 'She's The Drug.' A deep record that deserved more attention.
LAPTOP - Opening Credits (Trust Me)
If I hadn't been familiar with so much of this from a 1999 EP on MCA, I would have loved it even more. Still, Jesse Hartman's sharp witted ironica makes for a great debut album by anyone's standards. Read more about Laptop here.
LLOYD COLE & THE NEGATIVES - The Negatives (March)
Retreat to an indie label does not mean defeat, as the Bunnymen also proved. I maintain this is one of Lloyd Cole's best. Read more about Lloyd Cole here.
R.E.M. - Reveal (Warner Brothers)
I can't go along with David Cavanagh of Q who considers it their best yet, and the songs are slower-paced than I would ideally like, but 'Reveal' is certainly their most consistently song-driven album since 'Automatic for the People' and finds Stipe, Buck and Mills settling into a newly contented existence as middle-aged three-piece.
TRICKY - Blowback (Hollywood)
That's the thing about someone like Tricky. Just when you've given him up for dead, he comes bouncing back ready to do battle again. What made 'Blowback' so special was the scope of his presence, even when he sat back from proceedings, allowing all manner of other singers and performers to take central stage. Yes, I am thinking of a modern-day Phil Spector.
An obvious choice would be the Echo & The Bunnymen box set, Crystal Days, which helped rehabilitate the groupy. Equally worthy would be two of Rhino's ever-reliable catalogues of black music, like 'Can You Dig It: The '70s Soul Experience' or 'Say It Loud,' which accompanied the disappointing VH-1 series of the same name. But the ones that did it for me were the re-issues of the first three Neu! albums by Astralwerks. Given that I'm a serious student of all forms of music, and already have my shelves full of Can and Kraftwerk, it might seem amiss of me to have never hunted down the third of the influential 70s German acts, but then, if I haven't, what does that say about the other 99% of the musical population? And given that Neu! Are the most obscure of these acts, and their two most influential albums were released in 1972 and '73, a time at which I was just discovering the joys of David Cassidy and Alice Cooper, it's hardly a surprise I never felt compelled to pick them up before. Listening to these recordings, I can hear the influence of the Velvets in some of Neu!'s one-chord jams, but I also hear the future sound of everyone from Joy Division to PiL to Sonic Youth to Stereolab to Radiohead, along with much of the extreme experimental shit of the early eighties onto the more ambient elements of modern electronica. Most to the point, whereas Kraftwerk always like something futuristic from the past, and Can were committed prog-rockers, these Neu! Records sound surprisingly contemporary - Another way of saying, I suppose, that they are timeless.
NEU! ONE, 1972 NEU! 2, 1973 NEU! 1975
I notice there's more American acts among my favorite singles (or songs, as they're best referred to in this post-45 world) than in my top albums list. There's a reason for that: with more music being released than ever before, and with my not feeling the need to listen to all of it, I'm clearly giving most of my time to the artists I already know and appreciate (many of which are British), forcing others to win me over with individual singles heard on radio, TV, compilations, at clubs or recommended by word of mouth. Again, these are in alphabetical order.

RYAN ADAMS: 'New York New York' It was primarily a love song about a girl he shacked up here with, but after September 11, and with the video prominently displaying the Twin Towers (credit at least one artist for not digitally removing them as if they never existed), who can blame America for taking the song to heart as an ode to its shell-shocked city instead? Either way, it was and is a cracking song, a well-deserved breakthrough in any commercial climate.
BASEMENT JAXX: 'Where's Your Head At' (Astralwerks) The south London duo's second album didn't do it for me the way its debut did, but this song - as punky as dance music gets - stood out from first listen. A lyrically appropriate anthem by the time it saw release as a single too.
BLACK BOX RECORDER: 'The Facts Of Life' (Jetset) The UK trio of Luke Haines, John Moore and Sarah Hixey can be a little too dry and clever for my liking, but by giving this single a modern r&b swing tinged with sixties soulful, they scored a proper UK hit. Wonderful lyrics too.
DOVES: 'Catch The Sun' (Astralwerks) Didn't find myself listening to the album too much, but this song got a lot of airplay - particularly on the Woodstock modern/hippie rock station - and sounded perfect every time.
GUIDED BY VOICES: 'Glad Girls.' (TVT) At their most Big Star like, Rob Pollard's eternally juvenile grown ups finally scored something approaching a hit. Euphoric rock that needs no justification.
MERCURY REV: 'The Dark is Rising' (V2) The opening track from the new album 'All Is Dream' won me over during the Xmas holidays in Britain, where it peeled from radio airwaves on its way to becoming a well-deserved early '02 hit.
PUSSY 2000: 'It's Gonna Be Alright' (V2) Dancefloor mix of the Clash's 'Rock the Casbah' with Sterling Void's 'It's Alright.' Deliriously dumb, and sometimes that's just what we need.
R.E.M. 'Imitation of Life' (Warner Brothers) The album just failed to sneak into my top 10, but its single, the most upbeat moment on there, was a joy to hear every time. A straight-up summer pop song.
SOULSTICE: 'Lovely' (Om) Close-knit San Francisco group with a beautiful house song to rival Everything But The Girl's 'Missing.' That nothing on the act's debut album rivaled it doesn't detract from its charm.
TALKING HEADS: 'Once In A Lifetime' (Sire) A more intelligent remix that was frequently heard on the dancefloor, usually in its sparsest form, that bass line fitting perfectly with the whole tech-house boom of the year.
The Best of 2001: Albums Songs Concerts Books
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