The UK Hitlist

Seems like I had enough time on this last visit home to do some proper shopping. Of course it was all CDs, books, wine and Animal clothing. Here are the highlights. Click on the images to get to the amazon pages.

Where Have All the Good Times Gone?: The Rise and Fall of the Record Industry
Bought this remaindered hard-back for just £3: I’m a sucker for books about the music biz. But this one had better be good: it felt like a brick in my suitcase.

Excellent funky mod-friendly dancefloor pop rock from the Blow Up label
Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984/Compiled By Simon Reynolds
Of course I have – had? – almost all these tracks somewhere in my collection, but finally seeing the 20-song compilation available for £5 at Fopp made me realize I want them all in one place.
The Modfather: My Life with Paul Weller
Some British books are guaranteed a release in the States. This is not one of them.
Then We Begin
The Blow Up label hooked me up with a ton of music. I found it hard to refuse.

To the 5 Boroughs
Coals to Newcastle, of course, but discounted to £5 at the Fopp store, I realized it was a hole in my collection I needed to fill.
The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs
I skipped Welsh’s ‘Porn’ for reasons I can’t explain. I’m looking forward to this one instead.

Fur and Gold
The Echo label was once home to Mono, Baby Bird and other stellar stars. Anything bearing its logo should be worth a listen. I hope.
Fabriclive30 - Stanton Warriors
Got given a group of Fabric Live CDs, for which I’m most grateful. And I have extra fond memories of Stanton Warriors delivering a manic DJ set in NYC some five-six years ago. Glad to know they’re still going strong.

The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. are of the many hip acts on the British scene I’d previously not heard of. Glad to hear it’s acoustic; there’s only so many loud young British bands you can digest in one long sitting.

Again, you can blame Fopp for having this in front of the store for just £5. This is somnabulistic music: I was able to sleep through it on the plane. I think that’s a compliment!
Do Not Pass Go
Courtesy of my friend Jeni, a memoir of Monopoly coupled with a real-life journey round the board.
More from Blow Up. This is percussive/synth/organ-based psychedelic instrumental rock. With a scooter on the back cover in case you didn’t know it was aimed at mods.
Fabric30 - Rub-N-Tug: Mixed By Rub-N-Tug
Keep those complimentary Fabric compilations coming.
The one that got away. I saw this in Fopp and thought it was worth the impulse purchase. Lyrics by Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon. Music by Air. Vocals by Charlotte Gainsbourg. Like an idiot, I left it on the shelf. Heard one song on the Word magazine’s freebie CD and have been kicking myself since. iTunes here I come.

Let’s not forget some Singles
Chelsea Dagger
Though I figure I’ll soon get sick of the A-side, I’ve fallen for the B-side ‘Dirty Barry Stole The Bluebird’ as an equally clever but not so obvious piece of trash-rock.
Hush Boy
Basement Jaxx return. To form? Depends if you ever think they lost it. Me, I love it.
Oh Stacey (Look What You\'ve Done)
…And I’m a fan of The Zutons, but this disappoints. How’s the album?

To the Ramones
Of course it sounds like it was recorded in 1977. And who knows, maybe it was? Great power-pop-punk all the same. The B-side is entitled, in rather more London fashion, ‘Goldhawk Road.’

And I wouldn’t be me without bringing a bottle of wine back in my suitcase.
Chateau Musar red is one of the most unique wines in the world – made in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon from an unsual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and some other red grapes – and it’s also one of the best. In the States it costs a fortune. At Roberts and Speight in Beverley, there are still several bottles of the superb 1995, alongside the 1994 and 1996, all at £16 and less. Anyone want to get me a Christmas gift, you know where to find it! Visit the Musar site and see that Serge Hochar hopes to make wine from the 2006 vintage, despite the recent violence, just as he made wine from every single vintage during the Lebanese Civil War.

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3 Comment(s)

  1. snotty moore

    13 October, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    Louis Barfe’s book is worth buying at cutout prices, but he is no stylist and has few new stories to tell.
    Bat for Lashes be crap- posh sub-Bjork girlies are the femmy equivalent of wet posh boys impersonating Jeff Buckley. (But I strongly recommend the new Joanna Newsom record. That is serious)
    Get Cape etc. are not actually acoustic. They sound like Tortoise doing emo. Which may or may not be a bad thing.
    Tim Moore is the Lidl Bryson- he isn’t bad at gags but can’t actually talk to people. But every London based writer admired how he sold a travel book that he didn’t need to travel to write. (It isn’t all that good though)
    The Charlotte Gainsbourg record is drab, about as good as Air’s collab with Alessandro Baricco (i.e. unintelligible). She can’t sing. No one wrote any songs. Still, her old man didn’t get good till his thirties.

    But Justin’s Bar Mitzvah? That’s genius, though it must have come out in 2005. Have you ever heard dead Aussies the Eastern Dark?

    As for wine, you’re in the wrong country for pop. Nowhere else is wine so viciously marked up. I’ll see you in Spain…

  2. 14 October, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    Just goes to show how huge the catalogue of stuff out there is when most of the purchases you mention I’ve never heard of, and the one that seemingly is unknown to you (Spinner) is something of a household favourite down here.

    And is the Blow Up stuff anything to do with that rather excellent sixties movie?

  3. John Matthews

    16 October, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    Well I really like the Charlotte Gainsbourg record. There’s some really beautiful atmospheric tracks on there, I think Air have done a good job.

    Admittedly she can’t sing but hey, when did that ever matter?




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