Friday, February 23, 2007

Tune Box revisited

It's been a while since I delved into the Magic Tune Box, so here's a little insight into the strange sounds lurking within that silver music machine:

1: F.E.A.R. (with Dann) by Ian Brown (B-side): Remixed version of Ian Brown's strongest post-Stone Roses track. Brings in a female vocalist, who gives a more melodic interpretation of the lyrics. Doesn't really compare with the album version.

2: Magic Pie by Oasis (from the album Be Here Now): The first respite from the thunderous guitars that signalled the start of Oasis' third album. Magic Pie was unfairly maligned, as was much of the album, but stands up well when revisited 10 years on. Includes one of Noel Gallagher's best lines: "An extraordinary man can never have an ordinary day". Too long at seven minutes.

3: Wasted Little DJs by The View (from the album Hats Off To The Buskers): Jingly-jangly indie from Dundee's finest. A fine blend of Libertines-esque guitars and Scottish accents.

4: Sweetness Follows by REM (from the album Automatic For The People): Like most of this colossal album, Sweetness Follows is a downbeat, lyrically perceptive track built around Michael Stipe's almost shy drawl. I haven't listened to the album for years, but this track reminds me just how huge it was.

5: Depression by Black Flag (from the album Damaged): Noisy, uninhibited and extraordinarily powerful live, Black Flag were a major influence on Kurt Cobain, as demonstrated by the uncomprising Depression, which even covers a theme later broached by Cobain.

6: Northenden by Doves (from the album Lost Sides): Doves have never really reached the level that their talents suggest they are capable of. I think I've seen them live nine times since they first burst on the scene with debut album Lost Souls in 2000. B-side Northenden is typical downbeat indie fare, with exquisite guitar work throughout.

7: Pro (Your) Life by Arab Strap (from the album Elephant Shoe): Falkirk's Arab Strap are an acquired taste; their tales of misery and woe, backed by plaintive guitar and electronic drums, are never going to appeal to the masses. In this song, Aidan Moffat gives an alternative (male) view of abortion.

8: Submarine by Black Grape (from the album It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah): That Shaun Ryder was able to put the heroin-fuelled disintegration of the Happy Mondays behind him and re-emerge with Black Grape is testament to his never-say-die spirit. Their debut album was packed full of bouncy, feel-good party songs, all set off brilliantly by Ryder's acidic wit.

9: Space Invaders by Arctic Monkeys (Unreleased demo): Hinting at the genius that would become evident on Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not is standard Arctic Monkeys fare; world-weary lyrics delivered in a Sheffield drawl by Alex Turner, whilst the band rattle through at break-neck pace.

10: Biting The Soles Of My Feet by The Electric Soft Parade (from the album Holes In The Wall): The ESP's debut album, recorded when brothers Alex and Tom White were just teenagers, gave us the concept of "prog indie", bringing an archetypal indie sound to songs typically eight minutes long or more. Biting The Soles Of My Feet is typical of the band's sound at the time.

It seems that the Magic Tune Box was in a very indie mood today.

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