Mar 15

My Own Private Record Club*

FT110 comments • 5,486 views

boredoms vcn This is a post listing the records I’m listening to for my YEAR OF ROCKISM**, as outlined here (cut and pasted from Tumblr):

I’m going to listen to one album on a once-a-day basis for a week, a different one each week. Not in order to write about them or anything, unless I decide I want to. Just a minor attention-span workout, the listening equivalent of that “20 minutes of brisk exercise daily” or “5 a day” advice. I realised now I don’t review albums any more I’ve got out of that habit of intensive listening, except for Popular, which is done very much with writing as the aim. It would be healthy to get it back, I reckon.

The albums will mostly be a) stuff I already own that b) I know I like but c) have never really given the time they deserve. The listening cycle is Friday to Thursday, until such time as I miss a day, at which point it will shift currently Tuesday to Monday. Albums below:

Week 1 – 16/1/15 – 22/1/15: WU-TANG CLAN – “Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers” (Comments 1-13)
Week 2 – 23/1/15 – 29/1/15: BRIAN ENO – “Music For Films” (Comments 14-15)
Week 3 – 30/1/15 – 5/2/15: SKY FERREIRA – “Night Time, My Time” (Comments 16-20, 58)
Week 4 – 6/2/15 – 12/2/15: MILES DAVIS – “Sketches Of Spain” (Comments 21-56)
Week 5 – 13/2/15 – 19/2/15: LIZ PHAIR – “Exile In Guyville” (Comments 57, 59-67, 70)
Week 6 – 20/2/15 – 26/2/15: FKA TWIGS – “LP1” (Comments 68-69, 71-85)
Week 7 – 27/2/15 – 9/3/15: KANYE WEST – “The College Dropout” (Comments 86-100)
Week 8 – 10/2/15 – 16/2/15: THE BOREDOMS – “Vision Creation Newsun”

*You can talk about the records if you want, of course! You don’t have to, though. This is simply bookkeeping.
**I am not using this word seriously.


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  1. 91
    Tom on 3 Mar 2015 #

    My sympathies Rosie! I can’t think of many albums, by him or anyone, that would be improved by those circumstances. Though actually, hearing a carriage of fans sing along to every word of 808s And Heartbreak after a defeat might be quite interesting.

  2. 92
    thefatgit on 3 Mar 2015 #

    I like the idea of Kanye better than I like Kanye, therefore I had maybe a couple of singles on my iPod (Through The Wire and Jesus Walks) off TCD. I was initially impressed with his attitude and perseverance, and as the years have passed, I’ve been equally fascinated and repulsed by what he has done. I’m going to say this once, while my head’s above the parapet, but there are times when Kanye wipes the floor with Jay Z, artistically. Although I’ve probably heard TCD only once (and probably not all the way through), I remember it as a fantastic debut. I have no idea why I didn’t push through and make the purchase. I really should make the effort to buy a copy or at least stream it.

  3. 93
    swanstep on 4 Mar 2015 #

    @Tom. I can recommend Kanye’s second album, Late Registration (the one with ‘Gold Digger’ on it). It’s 70 minutes long and has a lot of guff on it really, but the ten or so best tracks are fantastic. Sweetly produced by Jon Brion (who was riding high at the time with production for Aimee Mann and Beck and for himself for Eternal Sunshine) it was many an indie-kid’s entry-point for Kanye, including mine. Since then, Kanye hasn’t really disappointed me – there’s always a lot of nutty guff with him but the good stuff kills. Anyhow, I’ve never gone back to listen to The College Dropout so this week’s listening project is on point for me.

  4. 94
    Ed on 4 Mar 2015 #

    Fantastic clip of West rehearsing his verse in Never Let Me Down, watched by Pharrell Williams, offers some support for the argument that Kanye > Jay-Z:

  5. 95
    Tom on 4 Mar 2015 #

    #93 I know Late Registration better than TCD – I went back and listened to both but it was when I was doing Pitchfork and Guardian stuff so I had a lot of enforced focus on new music (not a bad thing really!) – anyway “Gone” is pretty much my favourite Kanye West track of all.

    This is almost certainly going to be the first of these listening projects to overrun its week, though – hopefully I can catch up at least one listen and end on Friday.

  6. 96
    Tom on 4 Mar 2015 #

    Re Kanye v Jay-Z, it seems to me that Kanye’s strengths as a rapper are often in areas Jay-Z doesn’t really bother with: Kanye likes punchlines more, he is interested in boasting but not really in feuding, he likes to explore his vulnerability and fucked-upness, which Jay-Z really doesn’t care about on record. To generalise very very broadly, Kanye raps about himself, Jay raps about his work, and he is more interesting about becoming the biggest rapper in the world than about being it. After The Blueprint, his stuff gets a lot stiffer, or drier, or anyhow less engaging. At his best, he’s incredible, though, the way his flow around the rhythm is so loose and conversational and then hardens up in an instant.

  7. 97
    Tom on 6 Mar 2015 #

    I think this is going to be the first album where I admit defeat – 5 listens in 7 days and I’m keen to move on. Weird, because it’s obviously a really good record – “Breathe In Breathe Out” is the only thing that feels subpar. I think it might be because Kanye is such a strong personality it’s exhausting spending such regular time with him? I dunno, though.

  8. 98
    Ed on 7 Mar 2015 #

    Chuck Eddy has a great line in ‘Stairway to Hell’ about Led Zeppelin IV, something on the lines of – I don’t have either of my two copies in front of me right now – “This album is a golden calf. It will allow you no other gods.”

    I think that’s the effect Kanye was going for with TCD. And probably every record since, now I think about it.

  9. 99
    Ed on 7 Mar 2015 #

    Got it now: “The fundamentalists are right. This music, by any biblical standard, should be illegal. It is a golden calf… Zoso is a jealous god, it will accept no competition, it demands that you devote your life to it”

    Sounds exactly like Kanye…

  10. 100
    Tommy Mack on 7 Mar 2015 #

    Or as Chris Rock put it ‘oh, he good but man, he know he good!’

    I know jack squat about Kanye other than that he seamlessly morphed from critical darling to tabloid antagonist. I should really put him on my running playlist (I would listen to way more rap but I can’t combine listening with anything even remotely work related and my wife has little time for rap so I never play it in the house)

  11. 101
    Tom on 10 Mar 2015 #

    And we’re back, with The Boredoms’ Vision Creation Newsun.

  12. 102
    lonepilgrim on 10 Mar 2015 #

    now you’re just making things up ;-p

  13. 103
    Ed on 11 Mar 2015 #

    So I wondered what Julian Cope thought of this one, and he made me really want to listen to it:


  14. 104
    Tom on 11 Mar 2015 #

    Haha yes I would imagine the Arch-Drude would approve.

    It’s a very smooth listen, this, the 68 minutes fly by.

  15. 105
    Phil on 11 Mar 2015 #

    A bit late on this one…

    “with Twigs on Saturday I put it on while I was tidying up and I was thinking FFS I’m not even going to get through this week, what’s the protocol for not enjoying a record at all”

    There are two albums which, on first listen, made me react so strongly that I was halfway out of my seat to take it off before I stopped to think (and leave it on). One was the Goldberg Variations (on harpsichord; quite an austere reading, straight through with no repeats & no tempo changes). The other was cLOUDDEAD’s first album. Needless to say(?) both are now among my favourite pieces of music.

    Re the Boredoms, I have to say – in the immortal words of Sudden Sway – “Sounds good. But what does it *sound* like?”

  16. 106
    Tommy Mack on 11 Mar 2015 #

    Phil @ 105, music I hated so much you had to turn it off: Nirvana Teen Spirit actually frightened me when I was a kid, the anguish in Kurt Cobain’s voice and the queasy churn of his FX pedals. MC5’s Kick Out The Jams, I bought cos I love(d) RATM’s cover of the title song. I thought the MC5 album was the worst dreck I’d ever heard and took it straight back to Selectadisc where I swapped it for The Stooges’ Fun House.

    Needless to say both Nirvana and The MC5 are now firm favourites of mine. More tellingly, it’s arguably what I hated most initially that I now enjoy in them.

  17. 107
    Ed on 13 Mar 2015 #

    This one was new to me, and I am very pleased to have been introduced to it.

    I started out with it ticking off the reference points: Can, Remain In Light, Supernaut, electric Miles Davis, Hendrix’s 1983…, The Private Psychedelic Reel, Oval. And although I love all of those things, I worried that the Boredoms were aiming the album a little too precisely at my particular cultural and demographic niche.

    But then I heard the one with the Air / Daft Punk vocoder in it – I still haven’t got the hang of the titles, sorry – and my resistance crumbled.

    I now think it’s best approached like Avatar. If you don’t think too hard about what its effects are and how it creates them, it’s possible to have a rollicking good time.

  18. 108
    Garry on 15 Mar 2015 #

    #105 – I know what you mean about cLOUDEAD’s first album. Took some getting used to and almost gave up on first listen. But I’d heard one of the few full-membered Anticon tracks which I had loved, so gave cLOUDEAD another go and love it. Played it a lot on the radio.

    I saw Yoshimi live once with her OOIOO group. I don’t know if it was her young daughter or that of another member, but she was all of two or three and on her dad’s shoulders while wearing the largest industrial headphones which could fit her head.

    As for Boredoms, I’ll give anything they’ve done at least one listen.

  19. 109
    Mark M on 15 Mar 2015 #

    So, in the spirit of listening to something completely different, I gave Vision Creation Newsun a go. And lasted into the sixth track, which is far, far longer than I expected. I think Mr Sinker mentioned elsewhere that he had The Boredoms mentally filed as all-out noise – I did too. I guess that was their first incarnation and, not being part of the conversation about them, I never had any cause to update that. In any case, not within a galaxy of being my bag, and definitely not compatible with writing an essay (which is what I was trying to do), but definitely neither dull nor unlistenable.

  20. 110
    Tommy Mack on 14 Jul 2015 #

    Thought I’d missed my chance to chip in here but as this seems to have stalled I don’t feel too bad at screwing up the continuity.

    So…I properly love the Sky Ferreira album: 24 hours, what a song! Brilliantly sequenced too, the last three songs are really beautiful, it feels like the album’s moved through the evening and, like it says, into the night time. I’m not mad keen on the hyper compressed and distorted production but there’s plenty going on musically so it doesn’t get wearing.

    Kanye: he’s a hard guy to take, I’ve had mates like him: a volatile cocktail of arrogance and insecurity. At first, my reaction was ‘get over yourself’ but actually the guy’s got plenty to say, like a man arguing with himself, wrestling with contradictory ideas. Loads of smart production ideas and some, ahem, sick flows too. Musically He seems less in your face than Jay Z but as a personality obviously more extrovert and needy. The long rambling tale at the end of how he signed to Rockafella is strangely absorbing too. The only things that really grate are the casual misogyny (isn’t he meant to be the smart guy who’s better than that?) and the bizarre chip on the shoulder anti-intellectualism of the skits (a real missed opportunity: there are loads of valid criticisms you could make of modern students: careerist, hard-line, superficial etc but ‘idiots wasting their time with their head in a book, gonna end up broke cos they’re not out working’ is a bizarre, ignorant stance to take. ‘dad was so hungry for degrees, he stole my degree! ‘ made me laugh though.)

    Listened to Late Registration and Yeezus too. Both got some great stuff: highlights possibly better than TCD but both quite uneven albums. LR in particular relies a lot on some VERY expensive samples.

    Still haven’t got round to listening to Liz Phair: I decided to get to grips with The Stones’ Exile first and then go back to back or track for track or both. I’m enjoying Exile, all the more as it’s everything that used to annoy me about 70s Stones in excelsis.

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