The last few weeks have been little short of musical alchemy. Every disc I lay my hand on turns out to be gold. Or at least quite good, but that sort of statement doesn’t lend itself to outrageously hyperbolic opening statements. Whether it’s a vinyl copy of Iron & Wine‘s ‘The Shepherd’s Dog’, Cinerama‘s ‘Va Va Voom’ or ‘God Help The Girl’ by Stuart Murdoch and his interchangeable sixties women, they’ve all been a delight to hear. In amongst all of this, I’ve been playing as much Blur as I can fit into any remaining gaps in the day. Lovely stuff. And yet, I continue to keep feeding CDs into iTunes. Why? I want them all to be on the iPod. Will I actually listen to them on the iPod? Clearly, that doesn’t matter, I simply need to keep ripping and ripping. Virtually all of my listening is done via my decent (but nowhere near as decent as I’d love it to be) separates system and yet ensuring that all of those great tracks are there for an emergency situation – provided I have the not-all-that-often-carried-around-with-me iPod to hand – seems essential.
It did get me to thinking about the luxury of choice and what this can mean sometimes. I actually had to make a conscious effort to give Eels, Malcolm Middleton and Kasabian another spin last weekend, just so that they didn’t get overlooked by other stuff. In what world is it acceptable for albums that have been out for all of seven minutes and twelve seconds to have already slipped down the pecking order. And, I hasten to add, they’re not shit. They haven’t slipped due to piss poor songwriting or mediocre vocals. Nope, I just have a constant stream of music pouring into my ears and, at times, it doesn’t really feel like I’m in charge of it. Another good example is the new Magnolia Electric Co album, which I was sent in order to review about four weeks back. I played it five or six times before attempting to put fingers to keyboard, but I haven’t listened to it much since. Not because it’s not brilliant (it’s one of Jason Molina‘s best ever records) but simply because there’s loads of other stuff. I’m an idiot. With each new jiffy bag or reasonably well structured vinyl mailer, I’m running off to switch the amp on, but how much time are all of these records getting? Is it only me that’s suffering from this problem? I imagine it afflicts people who download by the, er, external-hard-drive-load (really fucking catchy phrase) more than most, but there may be a few format obsessives like myself out there who have similar issues. Still, not to worry. I still seem to be falling in love with albums at same rate as always, so it must all be going in somehow.
Back to Blur for a moment. I would imagine you’ve had a look at some of the many videos I posted links to on the site last week by now and, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably still ever-so-slightly taken aback by just how great they were. I had actually forgotten just how much I love that band and it took all of thirty seconds of the video of ‘There’s No Other Way’ to remind me of that amorous instinct. They just look like they’re having so much fun, not to mention sounding bloody marvellous while they’re at it. I’ll confess to having bought a copy of ‘Midlife’, the rather terribly named alternative anthology of their reign as chart-shagging tunesmiths when picking up a few things from Morrisons the other day. It was cheap and it seemed like the done thing. Yes, I have all of these songs already. Yes, even the 7″ remix of ‘Death Of A Party’. Indeed, the packaging is a bit weak, but the songs, oh the songs! A random running order of songs apparently chosen by the band actually serves to highlight just what is so special about Blur. ‘He Thought Of Cars’ sounds imperious removed from the surrounds of ‘The Great Escape’, while ‘Blue Jeans’ suddenly seems like it must have been a huge hit rather than an overlooked album gem. Off to see them shortly and I really, truly can’t wait. If you don’t like Blur you’ll have to humour me. That said, if you don’t like Blur, you’re a nutter and you shouldn’t be hanging out around here.
I’m going to persevere with the twitter account for a bit longer. Quick thoughts on records being listened to at any one time seems like the way to go. That and shameless advertising for the blog.
Anyhoo, that’s me for now. If you didn’t catch ‘Psychoville’ last night, nip over to the iPlayer right now and treat yourself. That link’s also worth clicking on in order to see that in the ‘More Like This’ section, the iPlayer recommends ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’. Splendid. In fact, while I’m on about telly, have a quick zip through last night’s ‘That Mitchell And Webb Look’ for the fantastically well observed sketch about their ‘hit and miss sketch show’.