Blur's Leisure + MBV News + Nirvana's In Utero + 1800s Sea Monster


31. Jul. 2007, 18:01

Blur's Leisure
If you read my journal regularly, you'll know that I often take very unconventional opinions on music. Here's the latest one: Blur's 1991 debut Leisure is one of their best albums. It's fashionable to slag off the record in favor of the two that would follow (and really, few bands measure up to Blur at their mid-90's peak of Modern Life Is Rubbish and Parklife), but the truth is that Leisure is a fine record in its own right. Heady, joyous, psychedelic, it captures some sort of zeitgeist about being young. It's the only Blur record I would put on at a party or play on a road trip, because there's something in those melodies, those dated baggy drum beats and the fey Syd Barrett-esque vocals that make it perhaps the ultimate celebration of youth. This probably makes no sense at all, but it's just one of those records that always lift me up and make me want to dance.
Musically speaking, it's already accomplished. Graham Coxon's swirling art-punk guitars are here in force, doling out chiming licks on the singles (She's So High, There's No Other Way and Bang), creating droning atmospheres on Repetition and Birthday and updating Hendrix for the 90's with the astonishing closing track Wear Me Down. The band's producer, Stephen Street, once said that Graham was a better guitarist than Johnny Marr, and this record proves it.
Of course, the rest of the band are major contributors as well. Damon plays several keyboard instruments on the record, including organ, piano and harmonium, providing the exquisite trademarks of many of the tracks. Alex offers excellent bass as usual (he shines on Bang and Slow Down). And Dave's performances on this album are the wildest he would put to tape until the band's dalliance with indie rock in the late-90's.
Ultimately, it's a great little album and a essential addition to a respectable Blur collection.

My Bloody Valentine News
At this site, Kevin Shields discusses the precise cost of making Loveless, some of his guitar equipment and his plans for a future MBV album. It's an interesting read.
Can I Touch You?
Cigarette in Your Bed
When You Sleep

Nirvana's In Utero
I've decided to discuss one of my all-time favourite albums from now on in each of my journals. Today, In Utero, Nirvana's final album, came to mind. If you haven't heard it yet, it's an astonishing record. Kurt Cobain, in the space of about 40 minutes, subverts the traditional rock guitar riff about 70 times, snarkily rips off his biggest hit, explores brutal pig-squealing feedback, and writes the two most beautifully bludgeoned pop songs of his career (Serve the Servants and All Apologies). It's one hell of an album. Nevermind's pop sheen will always hold a special place in my collection, but this record is art, plain and simple. In Utero shows that even as Kurt's personal life was falling apart, he was still progressing creatively at warp-speed. This album is the harrowing journal of a man's descent into darkness, and the most perverse bit of it is that you can sing along to it. The record works because it's neither a barrage of esoteric, suicidal noise or a glam-pop swirl, it's somewhere in between.

1800s Sea Monster
Just wanted to mention how awesome their track A Funereal Dirge For Lightning Boy is. It's one of the group's flkier outings, with gently strummed mandolin (at least, I think it's a mandolin) and acoustic guitars. Be sure to download it now.

The next few records I'm buying
Lily Allen - Alright, Still
Blur - The Great Escape
Wire - Pink Flag
The Fall - 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong
Slint - Spiderland


  • hasuf

    thanks for linking to the shields article!

    2. Aug. 2007, 18:14
  • febagrotesque

    Yeah, In Utero is definitely their best. It's as close as an album can get to perfection. Kinda like Surfer Rosa, The Else, or Live Through This. I love Nevermind, but it was always a little too poppy for me to take it as seriously as In Utero or Incesticide. I think part of that, though, is that every single kid who claims to like Nirvana and yet totally doesn't get the point ends up confessing that all he/she owns by them is Nevermind. And why? Smells Like Teen Spirit. Yes, I confess I'm slightly bitter. But yeah, when I first discovered In Utero I had it on repeat for a good two or three weeks. It blew me away. It's more emotionally revealing than the others, to me at least. I like a bit of rage and self-doubt.

    9. Aug. 2007, 19:26
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