Thursday 7 April 2011 – #musicdiaryproject

So on return from the Hospital one of the first things I did was put on some music, took a shower, surfed online and checked e-mails I did this with Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes on in the background, it definitely caught my interest and I’ll be going back for further listens.

Whilst surfing I finally listened to some Opera Clocks on their MySpace page, Belongings is definitely their strongest song to date although I can get hold of two previous singles on eMusic, which I think will do at some point but they weren’t as strong as the new single and disappointed me a little, although that could have been due to the illness. I also listened to a few 30 second previews of tracks from albums on eMusic, saving All Eternals Deck – Mountain Goats, Mind Bokeh – Bibio, Get Well Soon – Sarabeth Tucek and Badlands – Dirty Beaches for later. These were albums that I had come to my attention through either through reviews / free tracks on DiS or Pitchfork or being aware of the artists beforehand and seeing they had new records out.

After this I deposited my ill self on the sofa, watched TV and then finally fell asleep for the rest of the afternoon

After waking up, I watched Episode 6 of Treme, which I have been enjoying although in a very different way to The Wire (which is understandable). Music is very central to Treme and much has been written of David Simon’s reluctance to make the music (and in fact any) references in the programme accessible to those unacquainted with New Orleans music or the place itself. This is not something that has concerned me as the drama has been engaging, finely acted and as a lover of music I always like and am open to hearing new things. So far during the series the music I’ve enjoyed most has been that played by and in scenes involving Chief Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters), very rhythmic, drum and percussion heavy and funky very funky. I’ve actually just Googled and found that my favourite piece of music from Episode 6 was from a scene with the Chief and the Gang practicing for the parade and was  “Shallow Water, Oh Mama” by The Golden Eagles. The Marching Band scenes are also fantastic both for spectacle and music with a particular note to “Feel Like Funkin’ It Up” by The Rebirth Brass Band (brilliant horns). Overall the music in the programme can be divisive, swinging between the fantastic and the irritatingly unlistenable, but it has new introduced new styles and artists to me which I’m looking forward to exploring.

After Treme I had some hot cross buns and watched the new Louis Theroux documentary (I discussed with my wife how a meeting between Prof. Brian Cox and the leaders of that church would make for interesting viewing) then I took myself off to start this blog.

As I mentioned in the opening blog entry whilst opening an account choosing a layout, writing the first entries and uploading photos I listened to:

Wounded Rhymes – Lykke Li (like the sound of this on first play through)

Vicki Leekx Mixtape – M.I.A (alphabetically it was next to Lykke Li in the playlist)

After which I stayed at the computer surfing , mainly reading about music and listened to:

Few tracks from Opium – Matt Berry, as it came alphabetically in the Recently Added iTunes playlist after M.I.A.

Last Night At The Jetty – Panda Bear (after reading Sick Mouthy’s latest #musicdiaryproject blog and deciding to listen again to the track I downloaded from Pitchfork back in February. I haven’t listened to it much so far although I have really liked the other songs from Tomboy which were released as singles last year and am looking forward to Sonic Boom’s mix of the album)

UFO – Papercuts (alphabetically it was next to Panda Bear in the playlist)

Kapputt – Destroyer (something I had been after for a while and was looking to buy on import suddenly turned up on eMusic with no fanfare considering the reviews (typical eMusic!), been wanting to listen all week. Underwhelmed on first listen, will have to go back again)

Sweet 17 – Dirty Beaches (free download, alphabetically it was next to Destroyer in the playlist)

He Gets Me High / Jail La La – The Dum Dum Girls (free downloads from Sub Pop website, really good find, alphabetically it was next to Destroyer in the playlist)

Ego – Burial & Four Tet & Thom Yorke (noticed I had listened to it on Wednesday looking at my Last.FM profile and fancied listening again)

Banjo or Freakout – Banjo or Freakout (on preview on eMusic I  two tracks instantly jumped to my attention so I downloaded the whole album and put the two tracks (105 and Idiot Rain) in my March and April playlists. I had been meaning to listen to the album in full on the back of these tracks, so gave it a listen from start to finish before sleeping, looking forward to another listen)

A common theme I’ve noticed so far in writing this blog is how much music I download from eMusic. I’ve been lucky with eMusic  as I subscribed early on and admirably they’ve stood by my original subscription plan which means I download around 7-8 albums a month for the price of two CD’s. With the loss of Beggars Group and Rough Trade late last year this really hit what was on offer at eMusic. In the US they had the selling point of having one or two major label back catalogues as a consolation, but this it not available and is not looking likely to be available anytime soon to UK users and in any event goes against what eMusic was launched for and is not much of a consolation. This has led to a lot of UK subscribers leaving, however even with the amount of downloads I have I always find that my Save For Later list is overflowing as there is still a good selection of music on independent labels, so I’ll be staying until they change my subscription plan.

In the last entry I touched upon writing a little about how I obtain music. Well obviously eMusic and I still love buying physical music in the form of CD’s and sometimes vinyl if unavailable on CD or in addition if there are extra tracks. For singles or one off tracks I do use iTunes but now generally use Amazon downloads as they’re cheaper. I also take advantage of artists giving away tracks on their websites, on record company websites or through other websites like Pitchfork. I never download illegally and would never do so.

I decided a couple of years ago however that from 2006 to 2008 I had been buying far too many CD’s / downloading blind from eMusic and not listening enough to easily over half of the music I had obtained (or embarrassingly not listening at all in some cases). So by mid-2009 I decided to cut back on what I bought and would listen beforehand to ensure what I bought / download I would actually meaningfully listen to. The launch of Spotify has greatly aided my new approach and this is now my “try before you by” calling point. I even use it to try a few tracks on albums available on eMusic rather than rely on just the preview function, as 30 seconds is never enough and doesn’t do any piece of music justice. I keep a Wishlist of new releases on Amazon which I might be interested in hearing / buying and as they are released add to Spotify if available. Some albums however I will buy blind if the artist is a favourite or it is a trusted recommendation or sometimes for the pure thrill of finding something new.

So far this year I’ve bought 11 albums on CD (9 new releases, an old album for £3 from Fopp and the super deluxe edition boxset of Screamadelica), all of which I have made a point of listening to all the way through on purchase and then again on repeated listens, which has also become an approach I’ve taken which I’ll pick up in the next post.

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Wednesday 6 April 2011 – #musicdiaryproject

A trip to London to attend a course meant that I had more listening time than for my regular commute however the walk to the train station, the 25 minute trip to London and the subsequent tube journey was largely taken up by Collings and Herrin Podcast No. 157 which Andrew Collins and Richard Herring had just released.

Prior to leaving it was Shaun Keaveny as usual on 6Music, only for a short time I was in a rush to get out and get the train plus I was feeling really ill, songs of note were:

Freak Scene – Dinosaur Jr.

Silver – Echo & The Bunnymen

When I reached London I decided I would put on the Current – April 2011 Playlist after the podcast finished and was rewarded with the following:

Mermaid – Okkervil River (the first single from the new album, and sounds more beautiful with each listen which has raised my expectations for the album)

With Love – Elbow (that piano part is definitely stolen from the Moon soundtrack by Clint Mansell)

After the course finished, I decided to head back to the office (maybe via the Doctors) and then home and not being in the best of health just stuck on the Current – April 2011 Playlist again for the trip home. Although I wasn’t feeling great the fantastic weather counteracted that along with the following tunes that really lifted me up:

Bad Girls – M.I.A

The Stars Came Out Once The Lights Went Out – The Veils (the new EP is simply wonderful and I love the concept of an EP, especially in the current age of music)

Civilian – Wye Oak

Amazing and Wonderful – Peaking Lights

Never Change – Parts & Labor

Hurricane – Parts & Labor

Monoform – Vessels

Ego – Burial & Four Tet & Thom Yorke (this is my own vinyl rip from the 12″ and definitely the stronger of the two tracks  as it is more Four Tet whilst Mirror is more Burial. I love the popping vinyl noises on the MP3)

105 – Banjo or Freakout

Bloom – The Veils

Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People (think this will be massive at some stage, I do hope the rest of the material is as strong)

Grey Lynn Park – The Veils

Albatross – Wild Beasts ( I remember something finally clicked with this track on this listen as I got off the train and walked through the station back to the office, looking forward to the album now)

Take My Hand – Matt Berry

I’m Comin’ Down – Primal Scream (felt like this summed up the situation when it came on as I walked home as I was really unwell at this stage)

The Wall – Yuck

When I got in new symptoms had presented so I rang NHS Direct who put me straight through to a nurse who told me to go straight to A&E, so I did and therefore no more music was listened to for nearly 18 hours. I did ask my wife that if they kept me overnight could she bring me my iPod and headphones so I had company throughout the night, but luckily they let her stay with me so there was no need.

I should note that from memory I wouldn’t have been able to recall the above so I do have the benefit of using my profile at Last FM, which I have been using for nearly five years. In some ways I don’t like Last.FM and I never use the radio function, I used this briefly more as novelty when it was new but the audio quality is terrible. However Last.FM does appeal to my nature of documenting what I listen to and what I’ve listened to (along with iTunes Play Counts), sometimes it’s interesting to look back. However it also makes you a slave to scrobbling and listening to music though devices which can scrobble, browsing the website messageboard is always an amusing read to see how precious people are over their scrobbles and stats. I intend to buy some Hi-Fi separates in the next 12 months so it will be interesting to see if my use of Last.FM will decrease.

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Tuesday 5 April 2011 – #musicdiaryproject

So for Tuesday’s music, I again listened to Shaun Keaveny Breakfast Show on 6Music, tracks I remember listening to were:

If I Can’t Change Your Mind  – Sugar

VCR – The XX

Life on Mars – David Bowie (reminded me of Karl Pilkington’s “Songs of Phrase” – “You Never See An Old Man Eating A Mars Bar”, and I had Barbara Ann by The Beach Boys for a couple hours lodged in my head as that represented the “Bar” in the aforementioned “Songs of Phrase” puzzle)

Belongings – Clock Opera (again, reminded me I must look online for more information)

Tuesday’s listening for the walk to work was to the Current – April 2011 Playlist (see below) on shuffle and featured the following tracks on the way to work:

Bad Girls – M.I.A

Idiot Rain – Banjo or Freakout

Think You Can Wait – The National ( a new single snuck out under the radar a bit, pretty good)

The Night Will Always Win – Elbow

I was too busy to go out at lunch and worked through until I left work around 7.45pm on the way home I listened to:

Shook Down – Yuck

Bloom – The Veils

The Stars Came Out Once The Lights Went Out – The Veils

Amazing and Wonderful – Peaking Lights

I can’t really remember much from when I got home in as I suddenly felt very ill and was asleep by 9pm, so didn’t watch any TV but I think I previewed the album by the Singing Adams on eMusic (it was either Tuesday or Wednesday evening) which sounded so dull that I didn’t even flag it to listen later.

Thought I should add a bit more information as regards my regular listening habits. I live around 15 minutes walk to the office, so listen to music on my iPhone on the way to work, at lunch if I fancy a walk around the town centre and then on the walk home. I generally go to work in London once a week which means I have an 1 – 1.5 hour commute each way, depending on trains, which allows for a longer listen whilst commuting. At home I’ll generally listen to music on the computer whilst surfing or working, sometimes though I’ll stick on an album on iTunes and lay back / sit on the bed and give the record 100% of my attention, the last record to receive this treatment was The King of Limbs – Radiohead.

I started the week with a listen to the new Adam and Joe podcast and podcasts have actually become something of a staple listen for the walk to work. When the Ricky Gervais podcast launched in 2005 they became a standard iPod commute to work listen, this was replaced by the Ricky Gervais audiobooks and the entire library of XFM shows I acquired.

Prior to this and once these podcasts / radio shows were exhausted the commute was generally soundtracked by Playlists created on iTunes. I make bi-monthly playlists which contain favourite songs from the two month period, mainly made up from new albums I’ve bought though sometimes from old tracks which I’ve discovered / re-discovered. I still have all these “Current” playlists stored back to 2006 which is when I shifted over to iPod and iTunes from WMP and a iRiver MP3 player. However I’ve shifted to a monthly playlist format for 2011.

I’ve included podcasts in this record of my weekly listen as although they are not music, they are central to my listening habits and unfortunately have if anything reduced the amount of music I listen to. Particularly in the last 2 years I’ve started listening to the Collings and Herring Podcasts (and many other assorted Andrew Collins and Richard Herring podcasts – 6Music / AIOTM etc.), the sheer length of their weekly podcast and the fact that I went back and listened through their back catalogue has taken up a lot of my listening time. Has my love of music diminished over this period? No if anything it has stayed the same or even increased, it just has meant that I have probably focused my listening on new records and listen less to older more familiar records. I will pick up in a later post my purchasing habits and what I spend the majority of my listening time listening to.

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Monday 4 April 2011 – #musicdiaryproject

So by way of update of the week so far Monday’s listening started with the usual listen to the Shaun Keaveny Breakfast Show on BBC 6Music , this has been my pre-work listen since around 2006 when it was still Phil Jupitus on the Breakfast show.

Now is probably the best time to give a little background on how I listen to music.

Much to my shame I now no longer have a separate stereo after the loss of my beloved Sony separates (made in the 80’s) after Uni and after a procession of lacklustre all in one systems a burglary last year left me without a Hi-Fi (I chose not to replace it). So now I use my iMac (using JBL Alien Speakers), MacBook (very little use as the speaker is so poor), my Panansonic TV and Samsung DVD player (for the odd listen to a new album on CD) and my iPhone with either Shure EC2 Headphones or with a set of Harmon Kardon speakers in the kitchen for cooking listening. For listening to Radio I now use my iPhone through the Tunein Radio App (highly recommended).

So sadly I do a lot of my listening in front of a computer, which is located in a spare room / music room / office, so I can listen without surfing or working by siting on the bed but I do inevitably get drawn to the computer like a moth to the flame when listening, probably out of habit.

Previously in the morning I would listen to 6Music until I got out of bed and then flick to the iMac and play a selected playlist on shuffle loud enough so I could hear it all through the house whilst getting ready. However now with the iPhone app the radio is truly portable and I listen to 6Music throughout until I leave for work.

As with any radio show not all the music will catch your attention but certain tracks will, on Monday 4th April the tracks on the Shaun Keaveny which struck me were:

Belongings – Clock Opera (Single of the week, sounds like a more electronic Elbow, made mental note to search on the internet to see what they have released and when this track is available)

Daft Punk is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem (played in honour of their final show at Madison Square Gardens, this always sounds fantastic)

Da Funk – Daft Punk (mental note that I must buy Homework from Amazon for some reason I don’t have it!)

Stuck on the Puzzle – Alex Turner (not a huge fan of the Arctic Monkeys other than a few songs from the first album but the tunes I’ve heard from Submarine soundtrack sound fantastic so I will buy it at some point. Would love to see the movie at some point but I’ll wait for the DVD as the local Vue is (1) unreasonably priced (2) never shows any good films for longer than one week and that’s if you’re lucky but they do show the latest 3D kids’ movies on 8 screens mainly involving slightly different 3D Turtles (thanks Charlie Brooker for that one) and (3) I would rather enjoy movies in the comfort of my home nowadays rather than “share” the experience with the fellow cinema goers who I’ve had the “pleasure” of watching movies with in recent years; which is  a shame as I used to love the event of going to the cinema and the magic of the dimming lights and the projection of beautiful images on the big screen (even when I spent 18 months as a film reviewer, the impact never wore off).

Who’s In Control? – British Sea Power (probably one of my most played tracks this year due to loving it on the BSP album and also the mount of times I’ve heard it on 6Music)

The walk to work and lunchtime stroll around the shops (mainly HMV to check new releases but definitely not buying anything from there)  was the Adam and Joe 6Music podcast “Denny Different” for their return show, which included the hilarious Rebecca Black parody “Saturday”, and, as with most podcasts, made me look slightly crazy in public for random outbreaks of loud laughter.

On the way home:

Finished the Adam and Joe Podcast

Take My Hand – Matt Berry ( as in the comedian from Mighty Boosh, Darkplace, IT Crowd etc. from his new Witchhazel album which I downloaded from eMusic the other day after liking the first six tracks when listening on Spotify. Fits into a kind of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti soft rock / easy listening 70’s pop bracket, without the Lo-Fi element of Ariel Pink however.)

Usually a Monday evening at home would be looking through new releases on the internet, adding things I like to wishlists and Spotify to check out further. However this week by Monday I had started to feel rather ill so I watched a couple of films with my wife and then went to bed. I would recommend Mike Judge’s Extract, great cast (Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Ben Affleck, Kristen Wiig, JK Simmons), for fans of quirky American indie comedies.

However before going to bed I added the newly acquired from Rough Trade Lykke Li and Cat’s Eyes albums and listened to:

Get Some – Lykke Li (sounds like Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles and I chose it as a quick first listen as it gives me rush as soon as the drums kick in having heard it a few times on 6Music)

Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes (title track, first on the album, played one track before sleep, sounds like a good opener, certainly sounded better than their support set at Brixton for Primal Scream)

UPDATE: Of course I forgot to mention the music in the films, Hot Tub Time Machine being a film of 40 somethings re-living their youth had an 80’s soundtrack of varying quality. Die In Your Arms Tonight by Cutting Crew featured heavily, but the stand out track was Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order although I had Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield lodged in my head for the rest of the evening. Extract had a blues-heavy soundtrack of which I could identify literally none of the songs or artists though it went well with the movie but didn’t have me Shazamming it any point or searching IMDB or Wikipedia.

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Hello …

This is somewhat of a very belated sequel to the original reallyrandomrecords , which I imagine no one ever read, why would they? I only link to it now as 6 odd years ago I decided to write a blog solely of lists, lists of different varieties were envisaged however I only really made lists of music as and when I had time or was enthused to do so.  So it had lists of music I had been listening to at certain times as well as the compulsory end of year “best of” lists. However looking back at it now, it does provide an interesting comparison to my current listening and also how I listened and what I was like at 25, well interesting to me…..

Anyway I (re)started the blog as I read about the Music Diary Project which really appealed to my fascination with not just music and my love of it but also how people interact with it and how those interactions with each other lead to discovery of new music.

This week however hasn’t panned out how I planned in any way, shape or form. An untimely illness and an eventual trip and overnight stay in hospital has drastically altered my normal routine of listening to music and also the opportunities I’ve had to listen to music.

I fully intended to write everyday and certainly was not intending on starting on a Thursday evening, I also would have have listened to a lot more music in the 4 days that have elapsed so far if it wasn’t for a series of unforeseen circumstances. However I suppose the snapshot nature of the project, a week of people’s listening and the same week for all, is designed to capture whatever circumstances they are in at that specific week.

Finally before chronicling the week so far (which I intend to do tonight and tomorrow) as I’ve put together this new blog; registering with wordpress, selecting a profile; a banner photo; a pic for this entry and also actually writing this I’ve listened to the new Lykke Li album, and iTunes has now moved on to the M.I.A mixtape “Vicki Leekx”, due to the fact I was listening to the “Recently Played” playlist and alphabetically they followed each other. The current track as I write is “Bad Girls” which has been listened to a fair bit over the last month since I got hold of the mixtape, and is a current loved track and reminded me what M.I.A is capable of after I ignored the largely derided /\/\ /\ Y /\.

The mixtape has now finished …

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