Saturday, 27 February 2010

John Foxx and Ultravox!

I have now played all 3 of the John Foxx era Ultravox albums, Ultravox!, Ha Ha Ha, and Systems of Romance, and am kicking myself for having lived without them for so long. They are all masterpieces. My favourite track on first listen would have to be Young Savage.

I've also been listening to some John Foxx solo material, including a few collaborations he did with Louis Gordon and also with Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins. The genuinely solo material is quite 'stripped down' and bare in places, whereas the albums the collaborative ones are much fuller sounding.

Still plenty of albums left on his Metamatic label to track down.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Independent record shops

Having finally finished reading Julian Cope's Japrocksampler I have now moved on to a book I've had for a few weeks now, Last Shop Standing by Graham Jones. I am normally the world's slowest reader but this one has got me well and truly captivated, and my train journeys to/from London this week have sped past. Not even the annoying guy on his phone for almost the entire journey could distract me.

Having grown up, as I suspect many people did, in a town with a couple of great, independent record shops amongst the dreadful chain stores, this story is a very familiar one. I remember feeling very sad when our local record shop closed down. I still have many of the second hand and new LPs I bought there, and had it not been for that shop my collection would be nowhere near what it is today ... I just wish I'd bought more. The guy who ran the shop was really friendly and knowledgeable, and always on hand to give his opinion. He offered great prices when I went to sell stuff I no longer wanted, and fortunately/unfortunately was way too nice to be a ruthless business man. It was also the place to get gig tickets from and again, without that outlet, I would not have seen anywhere near as many bands. I always wonder what he's doing now.

As usual I've bought far too many CD's again this week, including the first 3 Ultravox albums, from their John Foxx era rather than Midge Ure, which I'm looking forward to playing tomorrow. Also picked up some expanded editions of a couple of early Fall releases.

Not sure I'll end up selling on the Ultravox CDs, but my web site does contain 100s of records and CDs for sale from all sorts of genre: punk, new wave, post punk, indie, alternative, experimental, avant garde, goth, industrial, psychedelic, hippy, space, krautrock, ambient, dance, techno, house, etc.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Krautrock, Japrock, Progrock, Postpunk ... a few recent finds

Being fortunate enough to visit London with work on a reasonably regular basis, most weeks I manage to find time to visit a record shop or two after work. Over the last few weeks in particular I have picked up a wide variety of CD's which do not fit neatly into a single musical category, other than the fact that I like them. Perhaps instead of trying to come up with a meaningful title for this post I should have justed called it "Me rock".

Probably my favourite out of the latest batch is John Cale - Paris 1919. I had heard the odd track on last.fm so was not buying blind, but this is a truly brilliant album. My only dilemna now is that having bought what seems to be widely regarded as his best solo work, anything else I buy may be a disappointment. I did notice that he's performing this at the Festival Hall next month but it seems like tickets sold out pretty quickly - I'm just hoping it's the sort of thing that might appear as a BBC4 documentary later in the year.

Other great finds have been a couple of CD's from Van Der Graaf Generator. I now have four in total having recently added H to He Who Am The Only One and Still Life to the collection. Whilst these are both great albums, I do find I need to be in the right sort of mood to listen to Peter Hammill's 'shoutier' material ... I could however listen to his ballards every day, regardless of mood.

Having now finished reading Julian Cope's excellent Japrocksampler book, I did try and track down some Japrock CD's but this did unfortunately not bear any fruit. I was however a bit more successful with Krautrocksampler and managed to find a copy of Harmonia - Deluxe. For anyone who doesn't know, Harmonia are Michael Rother (Neu), Hans Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius (Cluster). This is a perfect album in every respect and has been played daily since I found it.

And finally, for this blog entry anyway, a couple of CD's by John Foxx, on his Metamatic label: A New Kind of Man and Impossible, both featuring Louis Gordon. As I think I've mentioned before, John Foxx is one of those artists that I didn't give adequate attention to at the time. I particularly like Impossible which sounds simultaneously modern and retro. Looking through the Metamatic discrography on Discogs it seems that there are plenty more releases to track down. I also need to get hold of the 3 albums that he did with the pre-Midge Ure Ultravox!

As with all my CD's, I generally don't keep them in physical format, and now having upgraded to a massive 160Gb iPod even less so. Those that I'm selling on can be found on my web site.

Records and CDs for sale