Late Night Stargazing

Posting that glorious track by 10,000 Maniacs a couple of weeks back in the Acoustic Afternoon series had the rather pleasant effect of making me go back and revisit the other records by them that I own.

King amongst them, other than the “MTV Unplugged” album, is their 1987 album “In My Tribe”, the first album I ever bought by them.

This is the closing song from that album, and it’s simply quite, quite beautiful:

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10,000 Maniacs – Verdi Cries

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

More cover version fun now, and a song which is currently featuring in an advert for…actually, I’m not sure what it’s for, and even if I did know I wouldn’t give it a free advert here.

See, the thing with music used in adverts, it usually falls into one of three categories for me:

  1. Song that I love which immediately makes me feel annoyed it’s being used in an advert;
  2. Cover version of a reasonably well-known song, but performed by a (usually) female artiste playing either a piano or, more likely, a ukulele;
  3. The much rarer song or cover version which I’ve never heard before and instantly want to own.

Tonight’s song falls in to the third category. I’m not even particularly fond of the original, but I could listen to this singer recite my internet browsing history and adore it (although I’d rather he didn’t, and if he did, hope he wouldn’t record and release it to the likes of you.)

This version first appeared on the soundtrack to “I Am Sam”, and also featured as a bonus track on the US version of his 2001 album “Poses”, which explains why it had never crossed my radar before:

dbdb2285cf1bc5cc15de35e54bd502b5_953x953x1Rufus Wainwright – Across the Universe

Gorgeous.

More soon.

Footnote: I’ve just seen the advert again. It’s for an electronics company, trying to sell us stuff which will change our world, for the better. Note to the marketing guys: given the chorus of this song, this may not have been the wisest of choices to soundtrack your advert. Unless you were being ironic, which I doubt.

Late Night Stargazing

As I was saying, I’m a firm believer in making the workplace as tolerable place as possible, and this is often achieved simply by being pleasant and/or funny.

I am aware, of course, that it’s a fine line between being amusing and being the tedious, office joker, who thinks he’s hilarious but who everyone else finds an irritant. Like this chap:

Or worse still, Colin Hunt:

The thing about both of those characters is that they have no filter, they’re unable to stop themselves making jokes no matter how unfunny or inappropriate they may be.

I would hope I have a little more finesse than that.

An example, which leads me on to tonight’s song: this week I went to a sales pitch for a new software program we’re considering purchasing at work. The presentation involved screen shots and demonstrations of the program, and of course some had been filled in with names of fictional insurance claimants, one of which was a Mr James Taylor.

I managed to stop myself from piping up that he couldn’t claim as he only had Third Party, Fire & Rain cover when I assessed that a) this wasn’t really the time or place; b) that nobody else in the room was likely to get it anyway, and c) it really wasn’t that funny in the first place.

Which doesn’t seem to have prevented me from telling it here. Hmmmph.

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James Taylor – Fire and Rain

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Ordinarily, I’m very wary of a band announcing that they’re quitting, and then a couple of years later making another announcement that they’re reforming again.

But when the band in question is LCD Soundsystem, I’m more than happy to cut them some slack.

Here’s the first track I ever heard from their second album, Sound of Silver, a bleepy, throbbing, downbeat classic:

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LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Just as it’s impossible to see everything you want to when you’re actually at Glastonbury, so it’s almost impossible to watch everything that the BBC screens from the biggest and best festival in the world. I have an awful lot stacked up on my recorded/to watch list.

I’m writing this before the Foo Fighters headline the Saturday night (I’ve seen them a couple of times before – once supporting Oasis in Cardiff, which has always struck me as being the wrong way round, and once headlining at Hyde Park, with Motorhead, and Queens of the Stone Age supporting them – and I expect them to be fricking awesome), but my highlights so far have been The Pretenders, Royal Blood, Lorde, Katy Perry and, of course Radiohead.

The Oxford group delivered a breath-taking set, getting the balance of their more avant-garde bleepy moments and The Hits just about right.

One particular highlight was their rendition of “No Surprises”, not least for the spontaneous cheer that goes up after the line “Bring down the Government, they don’t speak for us”:

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Radiohead – No Surprises (Live at Glastonbury 2017)

To mark the 20th anniversary of the original release of the OK Computer album that first featured on, the band have recently released a remastered and expanded version of the album; here’s the same song lifted from that:

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Radiohead – No Surprises (OKNOTOK Remastered Version)

And finally, around the time of the original release of OK Computer, the band developed a reputation for producing visually stunning videos. I’ll leave you with the promo for “No Surprises”. Don’t have nightmares, now will you?

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Over the past few weeks in the build up to the General Election, and occasionally before that, I’ve written posts about current affairs and posted a song which seemed vaguely fitting to accompany the piece.

I am conscious that some might construe a song I’m posting as an illustration of my thoughts, or even as a joke.

Which is why, after the events in London at the end of the week, the song I had lined up for tonight’s post suddenly took on a new meaning and seemed a very distasteful record to post, even though I had no intention of writing about the horrific tragedy that was Grenfell Tower. Yet.

So I have scrapped the intended song, in favour of the one which immediately precedes it on the same album. If you’re familiar with Underworld’s “Dubnobasswithmyheadman”, then you’ll know exactly which song has been bumped and why.

This is the version from the 2014 remastered release, a throbbing, pulsating classic:

Underworld – Dubnobasswithmyheadman

Underworld – Dark & Long (Remastered)

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Back in the mid-1980s, my parents bought a video player. Yeh, I know, posh, right?

This prompted me to make regular visits to my corner shop, where an extremely limited selection of videos to rent had been installed.

Because the selection was so limited, I would often end up renting the same film more than once. Usually, this was deliberate, but occasionally it would be accidental.

Such was the case with David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet”; rented it once, watched it, then shortly afterwards rented it again thinking I’d not seen it.

I’m going to put that down to Dennis Hopper’s utterly terrifying portrayal of Frank Booth, which I had probably blocked from my mind after the first viewing.

“Blue Velvet” introduced me to a song that I’d somehow managed to have never heard before. No, not the titular song, but tonight’s choice, which was mimed to by Dean Stockwell (he of “Quantum Leap” fame) in one of the oddest scenes from an already odd, surreal (it’s David Lynch, after all), film:

And here’s the original:

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Roy Orbison – In Dreams

More soon.