Royal Blood – Royal Blood (2014)

Stu’s Album of the Month for September

I was watching the recent T in The Park 2014 Friday night coverage and enjoying acts I’d tuned in for such as Manics, Biffy Clyro and Chvrches…….but wasn’t quite expecting a band I’d never heard of to eclipse them all. Two guys, one drumkit, and…..wait…..a bass Guitar? The noise was epic.

So the influences are all there to hear. Queens of the Stone Age, Led Zeppelin and White Stripes to name a few. Having said that these guys bring new blood to a long line of rock royalty. If you haven’t heard this album yet, stop what you are doing and listen.

I was so excited to hear that these guys were touring in November and were playing The ABC in Glasgow. Less excited when their entire UK tour sold out in 90 seconds. Biffy Clyro are selling out stadiums in the UK at the moment, these guys are sure to be next.   

 

Mogwai – Mr Beast (2006)

Stu’s Album of the month for AprilMr_beast_cover[1]

It has always surprised me how successful Mogwai have been despite; a)Their complex and anti-mainstream approach to music, and b)Their oddly chosen band name. Either way there is no arguing against the fact that these boys from Glasgow are a talented bunch.

I once had a conversation with a mate where we discussed “when is the prime time to listen to a Mogwai album”. Unfortunately it was a rather fruitless discussion but the following situations were tabled; whilst reading, traveling on a train, cycling to work, eating a pot noodle whilst hungover……. We simply couldn’t come up with the perfect situation. And in a way that’s the beauty of Mogwai. They cannot be pigeon-holed. Every album is a different and complex journey through dramatic and hypnotic landscapes. However, Mr.Beast is probably their most accessible record.

So what do you chaps make of Mogwai?

Steely Dan “Gaucho” (1980)

Manuel’s Album of the Month for April

I’m an audiophile. As good as a band’s music can be, if their albums sound like crap, they lose major points with me (hear that, early Muse?). Steely Dan’s recording philosophy ensured you felt as if you were in the studio as each album was being made. Theirs are some of the best-sounding recordings you will ever come across. Although most of the credit for this goes to the overly-obsessive Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, their sound engineer Roger Nichols should also receive an equal amount of praise. I suppose he has over the years — he won eight Grammies for sound engineering over his career.

Earlier this year I acquired a pair of Sennheiser HD800s, and recently built a DIY headphone amp to complement it. Listening to albums like “Gaucho” on my new rig has been an absolute pleasure. Repeated listens of this classic compelled me to make this my April Album of the Month.

Stu will be visiting in a couple of weeks. Hopefully he’ll listen to this album on my setup and then comment on this post, even if he doesn’t like Steely Dan. Mork and Keef, what do you think of SD and “Gaucho?”

The Proclaimers – Sunshine On Leith (1988)

Stu’s Album of the month for March

OK……I’m no doubt setting myself up for a few pelters here but what the hell. The Mighty Brothers Reid of Edinburgh have been producing Scottish Folk\Pop\Country tunes for over 30 years now, and this is correctly attributed as being their best album. I realise they aren’t exactly the coolest cats in town, but they certainly know how to produce a catchy pop song. It’s easy to write them off as being nothing more than merchants of music for the masses but I genuinely think they are excellent song-writers and lyricists. No really……

Of course the opening track, and unofficial Scottish national anthem, is the big hit, but for me that’s just the start of what is a cracking wee album. The title track of Sunshine on Leith is simply beautiful. I challenge you to listen to this album in its entirety and come away feeling anything other than uplifted, sunny and generally happier than you were 46 minutes prior.

Oh, and did I mention they were from Edinburgh?

Broken Bells – After The Disco (2014)

Stu’s Album of the month for February

The Broken Bells debut is one of my favourite (and most played) albums from the last few years. So it’s not a great surprise to say that I have been looking forward to hearing “After The Disco” since I read about it last year.

I got the album the day it came out and although not as instantly appealing as their debut, I have enjoyed it immensely. The record has a more natural flow than their previous release, which comes as no surprise really as Broken Bells always seemed to be more a collection of great songs than a true album. So in short, this is a very, very good follow up, and I think it’s fair to say if you enjoyed their first outing this is sure to deliver.

Ocean Colour Scene – B-sides, Seasides & Freerides

FrontI was listening to the Gaslight Anthem’s b-sides album which made me think of my favourite b-sides album ever.

It is a tough call between Oasis’s Masterplan and this album but I think OCS just shade it for me.

I remember buying the deluxe limited addition version of this album when it came out…I was and still am pretty big OCS, though their recent albums haven’t been as good as their height in the 90s.

Some great tracks on here including acoustic version of Day We Caught the Train and The Circle, plus the obligatory Day Tripper, which was always the last song on there set.

I went to see them at the Ulster Hall in Belfast just after Marchin’ Already was released. Probably one of the best gigs ever…plus another time at the Barrowlands they played for about 3 hours with 3 encores!

Awesome band!

 

The Jeevas – Cowboys and Indians (2003)

Front

People can be divided on Crispian Mills…Some say genius…some say annoying fecker.

I was a huge Kula Shaker fan and quite like the Jeevas too despite them only lasting two albums before he reformed Kula Shaker.

I went to see them on this tour and they were awesome live as well. The first album 1.2.3.4 was probably more like Kula Shaker with this album more of a homage to american culture.

I remember at the time How Much Do You Suck? and the Master of War cover were big at my uni for the anti-bush war at the time.

My favourite track is probably Rio Grande at the end of the album. I like to sing it to Annabel to get her to sleep 🙂