Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Animal Tracks Mix

To be honest, it took me a few minutes to get the connection between the tracks in this playlist. Then I realized that either the artist or the song had some sort of animal reference in the name. Once that was clear, things made a bit more sense. I always appreciate someone who can find creative ways to stick to a theme, so well done Alan. I'm sure I couldn't have been as creative.

This is a fairly diverse mix of songs, including soundtracks, pop songs, a novelty tune, a new wave classic, and others. Some of it I liked, most of it I didn’t, but that’s how this goes, correct? I’d rather listen to something new and maybe find something I like than just listen to exactly the same things over and over again. Thanks to Alan Williams for putting this together.

Main Title/John Williams/Jaws - From The “Jaws” Soundtrack
I wonder if there is anyone over a certain age who would not instantly recognize this. I’m reasonably sure that my niece who is 15 would recognize this. To be honest, I’m more familiar with this piece of music than the movie, which I think I might have seen once back in the 70s.

The Bird On The Second Floor - Bernard Cribbins
For some reason, probably due to some weird licensing restriction, this track isn’t available to me (listening on Spotify, 
because I can't find the CD that Alan sent in the pile of junk on my desk).

The Animal Song - Savage Garden
I had heard of Savage Garden, but until today I had never heard Savage Garden. I’m pretty certain that this will be my only exposure to Savage Garden.

House Of The Rising Sun - The Animals
As with the Jaws theme, this is a track that I would be surprised if someone who grew up in the US or UK didn’t instantly recognize. A classic tune, always welcome.

Kitty Jay - Seth Lakeman
This is… some sort of folk song? Fiddle, voice, maybe some other instrument? In my mind I imagined sweeping vistas of green mountains with men in kilts and women with flowing red hair and some villainous English lord skulking in the background. Or maybe I’ve just seen too many shows on Masterpiece Theater on PBS (which in the US shows a lot of BBC period dramas).

Bond Smells a Rat - John Barry Orchestra (Diamonds Are Forever)
I haven’t seen this movie in decades, but I still recognized this piece of music.

A Good Heart - Feargal Sharkey
For some reason I was sure that Feargal Sharkey was much older than 59 (only six years older than me), but obviously I was wrong. How the man who recorded “Teenaged Kicks,” which John Peel considered his all-time favorite song went on to record this is beyond me. The weird thing is that I’m a fan of Maria McKee (the songwriter, from the band Lone Justice), but this song isn’t for me.

Dolphins Make Me Cry - Martyn Joseph
What is this I can’t even.

Shoot the Dog - George Michael
All I know about George Michael is that he was in WHAM!, and my sister liked them back when. I knew he had a solo career, but I couldn’t name you one song from it. Songs like this (and the one above) remind me just how out of touch I am with popular music.

Where Eagles Dare - The Band of Royal Lancers
I think I saw this movie with my maternal grandfather, a WWII veteran and former US Marine. This has that classic WWII war movie / action-adventure sound to it. I can see the credits rolling over an airfield somewhere in Europe with strapping young men about to take off into the wild blue to do heroic battle, interrupted by a commercial for Turner Classic Movies.

Stand and Deliver - Adam & The Ants
A classic from the New Wave/New Romantic times. Early Adam & The Ants was always over the top and fun.

I Came Upon A Roadkill Deer - Bob Rivers
One of my cousins has a huge collection of novelty songs like this. I avoid that cousin whenever I’m back home.

Blackbird - Dido
As with Savage Garden, Dido is someone I’d heard of, but had never heard. And as with Savage Garden, I’m pretty certain this will be all I ever hear from Dido. Good beat, though.

Bat Out of Hell - Meat Loaf
Another one that is unavailable to me for some reason. No matter, because I’ve heard this song eleventy billion times on various classic rock stations over the years. Don’t let your meat loaf, or something (I think that’s a Butt-head quote, but I could be wrong…) (listening on Spotify).

Eleanor - The Turtles
A classic tune. I have an aunt that I like named Eleanor (everyone calls her Ellie), so I always have fond memories of this song.

Wild World - Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens
“Tea For The Tillerman” is such a classic album. I think at one point I owned it on vinyl. I was glad to hear this track.

The Future Holds A Lion’s Heart - Darren Hayes
My initial impression is that this is the main theme to an 80s teen movie where the protagonist from the wrong side of the tracks fights against some kind of injustice and eventually prevails and gets the girl from the rich family, and walks off with her into the sunset with the collar on his polo shirt popped and a bandanna around his neck, and I’m just going to stick with that.

Four White Stallions - Counting Crows
Every time I hear this band I want to punch the lead singer in the face, so my opinion of this track should be considered biased and unreliable.

Albatross - Fleetwood Mac
Early Fleetwood Mac. I’m only familiar with their “Rumors” era stuff, but they’ve really got a deep and interesting early catalog also.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A mixed bag.

I received this mix from Rosalind. I had no idea what to expect, and I think at the end of it, I still don't. Full of surprises, Rosalind.

We start out with Cut the Cake, by Average White Band.  It is definitely funky. I am transported to a disco scene where people wear sequins and bell bottoms, everyone's dancing and someone has dreams about making it big somewhere.

We move into Shape of Things by Blossom Dearie. This is a change of gears somewhat. It is jazzy and cheerful sounding, but a bit dark if you actually listen to it. Jazz and murder marry, I find.

Straight into Nothing Ever Happens by Del Amitri. I remember this from somewhere, and liking it a lot. It's very much a child of its time, pop rock after all, singing about things changing and never changing. 

Tomorrow's Girls by Donald Fagen is a jazzy pop song that I don't know how to feel about. I find the lyrics annoying. No girls are your girls, Mr Fagen. I wish I was more eloquent and then I could put my finger on why I find this song upsetting. I think it just hasn't aged well. Or maybe it's me, and I just don't like girls described as having hungry eyes under any context. 

And then a song about war. A slightly humorous one. The Minotaur's Song by the Incredible String Band.  It's psychedelic folk, which makes me think of my mother and flower dresses. 

Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes reminds me a bit of Flight of the Conchords. It's a bit my mother in flower dresses as well, which of course would not be unlike Flight of the Conchords. It's not, by the way, it´s Kevin Ayers.

Leonard Cohen with Alexandra Leaving. Man. Cohen always hits the nail on the head, doesn't he? What tremendous grief for a loss that is still to happen. Or at least that's how it feels to me. The way some people are lost to you the moment you meet them.

Journey by Duncan Browne reminds me somewhat of James Taylor, Bob Dylan? Very folksy, the sort of music that my parents would listen to when they were hanging out with friends.

 Mary Hopkin & Morgan Visconti with Dog Eat Dog lies somewhere between folk and pop and the singer's voice sounds a bit young Dolly Parton. 

Only to do What is True feels bluesy. It's by a band called Medicine Head. I don't know what to make it. In my notes I wrote the title, followed by "It is" and then nothing. I just started writing about the next song. Which, I mean, I've gone back, and tried. And no. I think it is a temporal anomaly and I just can't seem to grip any corner of it.

Bathsheba Smiles by Richard Thompson feels very much like the typical aren't women treacherous and deceitful line. 

Abhainn an T-Sluagh by Runrig I loved. I don't know if it is the musicality of the language or the music itself, but it is beautiful.

And suddenly, Broadway. Ute Lemper with Speak Low. I don't think I've ever watched the musical this is part of. It's nice.

Dogging by Fascinating Aida. There's a pastime you don't hear songs about very often! And it will probably stay that way. It reminded me of Les Luthieres, an Argentinian group some friends of my parents loved and my parents would send me and my sister elsewhere while they listened.

Fighting Away the Tears by Feist. I don't know. I mean, Feist is cool and all, but this song seems oddly out of place in this mix.

And to end: K-Passa with an unnamed track. iTunes recognises it as Innominate, which I think means nameless anyway. It's a cool song, and a good end to the mix.

Overall I think I found some interesting things I had never heard before and will follow up on, thank you, Rosalind!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Mix Club CD – Anime Soundtracks

Many thanks to Alan for this cd and the extremely comprehensive set of notes to go along with it (which should be readable here).

Well, this promises to be an interesting experience. I haven’t watched a great deal of anime or read any manga to speak of, although I’m aware of the culture and some of the tropes. I’m going to dive right in and start listening. The cd has selections of a few tracks from different anime series, so I think it will be interesting to compare and contrast.

Azumanga Daioh

  1. Let’s Begin

This sounds pretty much what I was expecting - a bouncy, upbeat tune that sets the scene ...

  1. Soramimi Cake (the opening theme, or OP, for the anime by Oranges & Lemons)

… for what sounds like cute girls singing about cake (I assume). Very catchy.

  1. New School Term 1

So, a change of pace. This sounds like a recorder being played in a school hall and I can imagine the feelings of nervous anticipation.

  1. What Do You Mean?

This sounds like lounge jazz, so it took me slightly by surprise. I’m intrigued to know the context of this now.

  1. The Six Are Always Together

Back to the upbeat stuff, and I’m imagining the protagonists holding hands and spinning round in circles to this.

  1. Raspberry Heaven (the ending song, or ED, for the anime by Oranges & Lemons)

Even though my knowledge of Japanese is limited to the ability to describe every part of a sword and what to do with it, I think I prefer the vocal sections. I like the way that they mix English and Japanese too - is this a common thing?

Flying Witch

  1. Kowata Makoto

Ah, the comfy anime. I really like this - a simple piano track accompanied by guitar. Lovely.

  1. A Lingering Freeloader

More relaxing stuff. This reminds me of the Animal Crossing soundtrack, at least the bits at night time, where you potter round the village talking to the night owls.

  1. Flying Witch

This is very evocative - I can picture the young witch swooping through valleys and over mountains.

  1. The Happiness of Dreams and Waysides

The more I hear of this, the more I like it.

  1. Nichijou no Mahou (the ED for the anime, sung by the voice actresses for Makoto and her cousin Chinatsu)

And a song to finish with, a very sweet duet too. I think this is one anime that I would really like.

Getsuyoubi no Tawawa

  1. Track 1

OK, so I googled this one for context ...

  1. Track 2

… and I can sense the ‘bouncy’ theme. Ahem. Actually, it sounds interesting that, breast fixation aside, there is anime that is just about people talking, without any space ships, ninjas or superhero drama.

  1. Getsuyoubi no Tawawa ED

A nice theme song to finish on.


  1. Nichijou no Title Kyoku
  2. Fukkatsu no Yukko

This sort of reminded me of Peter and the Wolf, after seeing that used recently in an episode of season three of Fargo. I get the orchestral Disney comparison too.

  1. Choushizuku Yukko
  2. Happy Shinonome Kenkyuujo
  3. Nichijou no Talk

Hmm, this doesn’t really grab me as much as the other things, perhaps because it does sound more like a western soundtrack (not Western, but you know what I mean).

  1. Kigen no Yoi Hakase
  2. Kawairashii Doki Doki Kan

I think maybe I need to see this anime for the context to make sense.

Non Non Biyori

Track Listing:
  1. Nanairo Biyori (this is the season 1 OP by nano.RIPE)

Ah, back to the proper stuff. I like this! Lovely, catchy stuff.

  1. Ren-chon and a Sunny Road

This is a wistful piece, and more recorder music as well (I assume). The recorder is a heavily underutilised instrument, outside of school assemblies and folk music.

  1. Non Non Biyori Theme

I can hear the theme here, reprised from the previous track (or maybe the other way round). Nicely done.

  1. Exciting Day

Appropriately enough, this conveys a sense of nervous anticipation.

  1. Meet You Tomorrow

I am amazed at the care and attention that goes into some of these pieces, with far more going on than the generic, aural wallpaper that we get in western drama series.

  1. Spring Has Arrived

The harmonica on this really reminds me of something, possibly the Harvest Moon theme, or something along those lines. Really nice.


  1. Gondola no Yume

Enough with the pastoral settings and school girls, we’re off to the future! Now, this doesn’t sound like the future I was expecting, but it really works. I can picture a world where people are getting on with their lives as gondoliers on a version of Venice on a terraformed Mars.

  1. Mizu no Kagami

Love the ethereal choir on this.

  1. Rainbow (season 1 ED)

Oddly enough, this reminded me of an Oasis song transposed up several octaves, but I really like it.

  1. Neo-Venezia no Suisaiga

Actually, I think I would really like this one. I’ve been obsessed with Venice ever since playing Tomb Raider II and later on, Assassin’s Creed II, then writing a Nanowrimo set in the city. I will have to go there one day, but in the meantime this anime sounds intriguing.

  1. Euforia (season 2 OP)

And a lovely closing theme. There are plenty of tracks on there that I would listen to again, and I certainly want to watch Flying Witch and Aria.

Thanks Alan!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Mix From Nancy

My mix arrived from Nancy. Looking at the songs it seems that there's a bit a theme running through the choice of tracks, a kind of outdoors, nature, landscape mix.

There are a few tracks here that are familiar, but many that aren't, including a couple that are completely new to me. Here's the track listing and some thoughts on each one:

1. Mama Nature Said - Thin Lizzy
I know Thin Lizzy and although this track is probably nearly as old as I am, it's a good one. Good choice of an opener to the mix.

2. The Dog Song - Rachael Ray
There are some interesting effects in this track, with a good piano tune running throughout.

3. Muswell Hillbilly - Southern Culture on the Skids
I've heard this before, but I had no idea who wrote / sang here. I like the electric organ track, and the lyrics are pretty good too, great build up for the next track.

4. This Year - The Mountain Goats
I'd never heard of The Mountain Goats before, but I really liked this track. Some good lyrics as well as a catchy tune.

5. Walk Through The Bottomland - Lyle Lovett
A bit more of a relaxed tune after The Mountain Goats, bringing the tempo back down. Good choice to place this in the mix here. Some good duets, and I like Country Music too.

6. Down To The River To Pray - Alison Krauss
Alison Krauss has a great voice but sadly I don't really like the song.

7. River Deep - Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner
Probably the most well know track on the mix, and one that's been covered by many other artists.

8. Sunshine - Maysa
This was another new one to me, and I do like a bit of soft jazz.

9. Poison Ivy
For some reason the artist details dropped off of this one, and although I feel like I should recognise who the artist(s) are I have no idea. Good track though.

10. Eagle In The Sky - Sean Arington
When I first played this I actually thought this was someone else, but this is another artist that I'm not familiar with. Really liked this one though. Possibly my favourite on the mix.

11. Blue Ridge Mountains - Fleet Foxes
Blue Ridge Mountains always makes me think of Laurel & Hardy, and although at one time the Fleet Foxes were quite popular in the UK, I never really got into them. I think it's the singing. Instrumentally I like their music, but the voice track is a little odd (to me at least).

12. Aloha - Walter Hyatt
Another one that is unfamiliar and reminds me of 1950's movies.

13. Bird Song - M.I.A
Upbeat and catchy, and probably my second favourite in the mix. Can you count all the different bird species that are mentioned?

14. Walk Between Raindrops - Donald Fagen
This is a great choice for a closing track to the mix, it winds you down after nearly an hour of listening and finishes things off nicely.

Thanks to Nancy for my mix, I've been listening to it quite a bit, and my thoughts above may well change, so the above are really just my initial thoughts, as I listen again in the car or with headphones I think my brain picks up on different things. I'm looking forward to a lot more plays over the coming days. Kudos Nancy - great choice of tracks.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Return of the Mix Club

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?

The idea has been floated of running another one of these, and Nancy has offered to run the administrative bit of matching up people to send and receive mixes. I think that the best place to do this might be to add your name as a comment to this post if you're interested and we'll take it from there.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Prog Rock Arrives

My CD from Rosalind arrived yesterday. Haven't had a moment to listen to it yet, but will do so and review soon.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Unsettled Weather

Here's a weather-themed mix from Ann. Not delayed in the Christmas post - it's me that's delayed. A curious mixture of thing I knew, things I didn't know, things I thought I knew but didn't, things I thought I didn't know but did, things I thought were one thing that turned out to be something else,

Forever Autumn - from Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds
A spoken intro, straight out of a 1950s scifi film (which I suppose it is really, give or take a couple of decades), and then something that surprised me with its familiarity. The familiarity of something not heard for a very long time but familiar all the same. But this is the Moody Blues, surely? At least, it's the chap who sang with the Moody Blues? I'm sure that's who I remembered it as being anyway. Smoky, dreamy and nostalgic.

The Thunder Rolls - Garth Brooks
That's Brooks, not Crooks, I guess. The thunder really does roll, which is a bit twee. Years ago when I used to spend time in upstate New York pootling along a stretch of US 20, I hatched a scheme to drive the full length of that road from Massachusetts to Oregon. I never did carry it out - I guess it's not too late - but this is the kind of music that I imagine playing on the stereo as I pass through the plains of South Dakota. Brooks has that Country Twang, as irritating to my ear as the nasal whine of the hardcore Englsih folkie, but I've been trying hard of late to come to terms with contemporary Country and while I wouldn't go outr of my way to listen to this, it's perfectly agreeable when it comes up.

November Rain - Guns 'n Roses
Is this really Guns 'n Roses? I don't really know what Guns 'n Roses are supposed to sound like because I've tended to avoid them on the basis that they would be loud, discordant and in your face. Which isn't a very sensible approach to music at all. As if proof were needed, I like this a lot. It feels a lot more like late-60s West Coast rock than 80s heavy metal and it packs in a surprising amount of subtlety. At nearly nine minutes it's hardly an exquisite little pearl though!

Ride Like the Wind - Scorpions
Isn't this the German outfit whose rather tasteless album sleeve caused some controversy recently after being pulled from Wikipedia by the moral police? Anyway, this sounds as though they're trying to be Guns 'n Roses and not quite getting there. Nothing to object to but it hasn't grabbed me yet.

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall - Roxy Music
Bob Dylan's genius was writing songs that could be bent and manipulated in all sorts of ways and still survive to sound great. Bryan Ferry's was to bend and manipulate just about any song to make it sound fresh and original. Put the two together and you've got real class, which this undoubtedly is.

Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics
What can I say? Love it to bits, as I love just about everything Annie Lennox does.

Water on Glass - Kim Wilde
Typically slick and bouncy eighties fare. The opening suggested something more exciting to come, but what arrives is pleasant without grabbing me.

Southern Freeze - Freeze
I thought I didn't know this one but I did. A disco track with a lovely warm soulful voice over a humdrum synthetic ground.

It's Raining Men - The Weather Girls
Something very familiar - the sound of countless office discos and the odd provincial gay club I've ventured into. Great fun, but should ideally be listened to in a slightly drunk crowd.

Traffic and Weather - Fountains of Wayne
I though it sounded like a great title for a song about crawling home down a snarled-up Western Avenue on a wet Friday night (I've done that a few times). In the end I wasn't sure if it was meant to be taken seriously. "We belong together like traffic and weather." Hmmm. Not my kind of thing I'm afraid.

Lightning - REO Speedwagon
More 1980s theatrical rock. It's a very American genre, this; I can't imagine a British band doing this kind of thing successfully. It would fit in well with that coast-to-coast drive and I imagine this helping me get through the industrial wastelands of northern Ohio and Indiana.

Ravel in the Rain - Black
This is something new to me, but I'd very much like to know more. Dark, dreamy and velvety with some quite delightfully lyrical flights on guitar and sax.

Rainy Days and Mondays - The Carpenters
It's cheesy, of course, but there's cheese and cheese, and Karen Carpenter's distinctive variety was always more than a lump of plastic-wrapped cheddar. Nothing too subtle, and not especially pungent either. I wouldn't seek this out but I wouldn't be dismayed if it came up in the mix.

Tender Falls the Rain - Randy Crawford
It's difficult to have too much Randy Crawford. Not one of her monuments, perhaps, but very welcome.

I Won't Let the Sun Go Down On Me - Nik Kershaw
A familiar slice of 80s synthpop. Nice; nothing special for me.

Windy Town - Chris Rea
Chris Rea always sounds to me like Leonard Cohen fronting Dire Straits. There's not much of the profound poetry of the former, nor the lyrical guitar of the latter, but the effect is always agreeable.

Fairytale of New York - The Pogues and Kirsty McColl
A real (Christmas) cracker to finish with. So familiar it doesn't need a comment from me, save to say that the juxtaposition of the rough-and-ready voice of Shane Macgowan with the trained voice of Kirsty McColl was an act of genius. The band are fabulous as ever and this is my favourite of all the ubiquitous Christmas songs.

An interesting and on the whole very enjoyable mix. Thank you Ann!