Monday, 21 December 2015

I Hate Christmas by Three Litre - Record of the Week!

It's that time of year again... the week when we can have more than one record of the week! And, where we can indulge ourselves and pick tunes and songs chosen previously. So, to kick it all off we bring you an Indie classic that should have been a smash back in 2002.

Now, don't be fooled by the title, it's not quite as throwaway as it at first appears to be given the title...

But I won't spoil it too much for you; you have a listen and see what you think for yourselves.

This is one of my all time festive favourites. It combines melancholy, humbug, longing, hopes, dreams, a wry smile here and there along with all the trimmings of sleigh-bells, church-bells and a choir. Yet it starts so simply with that acoustic intro that gets stung by that chiming electric guitar after the first line.

Very merry stuff. And don't you get me started on New Year!

You can buy this on CD at amazon...
Or on eBay...

Find out more about Three Litre...
Drowned in Sound review of this single...
A Guardian (yes, the Guardian) review of the single...
Track featured in this Christmas Mixcloud mix...

Monday, 20 July 2015

Roundabout (Live) by Yes -- Record of the Week

We read a little while ago that Yes bass player and founder-memeber Chris Quire had been diagnosed with a rare and virulent form of lukemia... but were shocked and very sad to read news of his passing so soon afterwards.

So, by way of tribute to him we offer this live recording of 'Roundabout' as our Record of the Week.

Some will say that this captures the band in their heyday: at maximum pomp and circumstance. Many see the album that this tour promoted -- 'Close to the Edge' -- as one of THE classic Prog Rock albums. Ever. Certainly one of my favourites and played constantly to this day here at Not Just Towers, although I no longer have the Roger Dean poster on the wall.

With one change to the line-up that recorded the album -- Bill Bruford being replaced by Alan White on drums -- we see and hear the band play 'Roundabout' from the bands' earlier 'Fragile' album.

This video concentrates visually on guitarist Steve Howe and vocalist Jon Anderson, but Chris Squire gets to make an appearance here and there... but you can't fail to notice that deep, vibrating almost lead-guitar-esque bass driving things along frantically. We see him leap into action a couple of minutes into the performance and from then on that bass is providing a bedrock of rhythm and, at times, melody.

Fantastic band and, with some changes here and there, still playing this song and other classics around the world to this day.

Chris Squire was an almost ever-present member of the band over these past 45-plus years(!) and we were fortunate enough to see him along with this same classic line-up play in Braintree, Essex back in 2004. And the quality, beauty and perfection of the performance brought tears of wonderment to my eyes. So, yes (if you'll pardon the pun) they are and always have been that good.

Buy and download 'Fragile from amazon...
Buy the CD of 'Fragile from amazon...
Buy and download 'Fragile' from iTunes.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

New Precision by Be Bop Deluxe - Record of the Week

Am so pleased to have found this on the web.

When this music was released, Be Bop were my favourite band of the moment and Bill Nelson was becoming a musical hero. Naturally, I went to see them on the tour to promote this and it was a real highlight.

A bit of history. Prior to 'Drastic Plastic', Be Bop Deluxe were seen as a prog-ish rock guitar band and, when your first album is called 'Axe Victim' you get an idea of the kind of thing we're talking about. But Bill Nelson always had this melodic and jazz-esque edge: it wasn't just noise or runs and riffs. No there was always something more to it as 'Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape', amongst others, clearly demonstrates. So, for me, it was no real surprise when this track arrived in 1978 on their final studio album.

But the music press were confused and didn't quite know what to make of it, declaring that it wasn't a guitar album and that Bill was creating a vastly different sound and we'd all be disappointed. Well, this fan wasn't.

As you can clearly see and hear on this rendition of 'New Precision', Bills' guitar playing is very much to the fore and, if anything, has moved into another dimension. It's no longer the tried and tested blistering rock riffs and runs. Here we have a new wave, classy, intricate, melodic, complementary guitar brilliantly played (of course). On this record, Bill used a new guitar synthesiser (with a Yamaha SG2000) as well as the standard set-ups -- as seen here with that white Stratocaster. Or was it the other way round?
For me, this album is their best offering. I loved it then and I adore it now. A wonderful piece of work. And its partly down to that new guitar sound. Quite stunning.

A live version (may even be this same recording) of this can be found on the album 'Radioland -- BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert'...
Get the CD of Radioland from amazon...
or download Radioland from iTunes.

The studio version is on the album 'Drastic Plastic'...
Download 'Drastic Plastic' from amazon...
or download 'Drastic Plastic' from iTunes.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Billions and Billions by Stellardrone - Record Of The Week

Its all thanks to Ben Mynott and his Fluidnation sessions on chill.dab that we heard this… and then we investigated more.

All the way from Lithuania, Stellardrone provide the perfect aural wallpaper for working to… chilling-out, cooling down, eating, getting ready to sleep… in fact, the perfect soundtrack to just about anything you can think of!

This particular track has all those lovely synth beds behind all the billions and billions of notes dancing about in a cool, calm and collected manner. It builds and builds, again gently, never causing you any anxiety at all.

Quite perfect. Quite uplifting.

Buy and download the album direct from Stellardrone

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Pride Before a Fall by The Church - Record of the Week

I really have been meaning to post this for ages… well, the waiting stops here.

We heard this haunting, chilled-out piece of wonderfulness some months ago now. It arrived on the scene as the signpost for a new Church studio album, 'Further Deeper'.

That too has now arrived and is one of my picks for Album of the Year for 2014. But back to 'Pride…'

We have, to some degree, the trademark chiming 12 string-esque guitar sound, we have Kilbey's gentle and ethereal tones. But the whole effect is somehow fresher and brighter, in a melancholy way. All quite beautiful. I find that with each new release from this band that they do become my Favourite Band of All time. I am loathe to give the title to anyone because I just like so much stuff and so much of what I like is different but, I can reasonably safely say they are one of the few acts that I would ensure I purchased the latest offering from.

The aforementioned album -- Further Deeper -- that this is from is one of their best. Up here with 'Starfish', 'Heyday', 'After Everything Now This', the new record maintains the freshness we can feel and hear on 'Pride…' and in 'Laurel Canyon', 'Volkano' and 'Miami' they give us some stellar musical moments to treasure.

I hope you enjoy this track as much as I do and, if you are not familiar with the bands back-catalogue then I urge you to investigate further.

Buy and download album from the Church Shop