Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Nation Of Language “A way forward”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Nation Of Language
Album Title: A way forward
Year released: 2021
Details: Limited edition, red/blue split

The skinny: One of the pitfalls of creating a Best album of the year list before the year in question is even over is that you’re bound to miss an album or two, one of which might’ve made it on to said list had it been heard in time. Such is the case with Nation Of Language’s terrific sophomore release “A way forward”. Given that it was released so late in the year, December 2nd, 2021, to be precise, I wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t the only music blogger kicking themself for not giving this one its due. I had really liked the New Order and OMD synth pop of the trio’s debut the previous year, the aptly named “Introduction, presence” but with all the craziness that was last December, I only gave “A way forward” a cursory spin upon its release. Then, early on in the new year, I happened upon their live performance at KEXP on YouTube and was completely blown away and drawn to rediscover the album. Not long after that I was procuring on of these exclusive, limited edition blue/red split vinyl pressings from Rough Trade and its been on my turntable off and on ever since.

Standout track: “Across that fine line”

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Breeze “Only up”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Breeze
Album Title: Only up
Year released: 2021
Details: Limited edition, yellow

The skinny: Breeze is Toronto-based producer and musician, Josh Korody. He wrote, recorded, and mixed his second album under this moniker in only eight days back in February 2021. He also solicited the collaboration of many members of Toronto’s vibrant indie rock community to make “Only up” and well, it is just a fantastic record, my fourth favourite from last year. And it’s funny because I originally passed on it when I got an email from Hand Drawn Dracula announcing its release. But then, the track “Come around” came up on a Spotify release radar playlist and I was blown away by its faithful homage to 90s Madchester, especially to The Happy Mondays. As I wrote in my end of the year post, I shared the song with my friend Andrew and we both discovered the album together in a sort of virtual listening party. Two months and many more listens later, I was pulling the trigger on this limited edition vinyl pressing on the November edition of Bandcamp Friday. The album is a ready-made retro 90s dance party. So much fun.

Standout track: “Come around (feat. Cadence Weapon)”

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2003: #26 Black Box Recorder “Andrew Ridgeley”

<< #27    |    #25 >>

Black Box Recorder was formed in 1998 when Luke Haines, who had found previous success with his Britpop-era band The Auteurs, formed a duo with former Jesus and Mary Chain drummer John Moore and the two of them approached Sarah Nixey to provide vocals. I myself didn’t get into the synth-based, indie pop trio right away. In fact, it was my friend Tim that suggested I give their 2003 album, “Passionoia”, a go, likening their sound to that of Saint Etienne but with the dark lyrical content of The Auteurs. Tim was dead on and of course, I loved the album right off. Unfortunately, like most of Haines’s projects around that time, the project was short-lived, and “Passionoia” ended up being the group’s third and final album.

Track seven on said album was a fun number called “Andrew Ridgeley”. That’s right. That Andrew Ridgeley.

“I never liked George Michael much
Although they say he was the talented one”

A portrait of the artist as young music fan is turned on its head in Haines’s hands. He writes a fictional version of singer Sarah Nixey’s youth, who dutifully reads her lines in that fabulous sing/speak thing she does. A lovelorn teen who buys her first record because of the lesser known half of Wham!, and then discovers the reason why you should never meet your heroes. Randy Andy tumbles down from the sparkling clouds in her eyes when she spies him many years later and she realizes he is only human.

“I was brought up to the sound of the synthesizer
I learned to dance to the beat of electronic drums
I came alive to the smouldering fire in your eyes
I love you now and I will til the day that I die”

Musically, “Andrew Ridgeley” is a synth pop suite in three movements: the tentative and twinkling verses, the picked up and thunderous dance floor choruses, and finally, the breathy and joyful puffed up clouds. If only all pop music was this smart.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2003 list, click here.