Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dark Days - Part Two

Unfortuately I have no excuses. Well, saying that there might be a tiny excuse as my first girlfriend was into Asia. For a spotty faced teenager, even dumbing down to this extent could be entertained for the promise of some late night fumblings. And dumbing down is surely the end result of listening to this kind of twaddle. Fortunately, the album released in 1982 left my ownership many, many years ago but the emotional scarring is still there.

Just to remind those too young or too disinterested, Asia were yet another supergroup. The principal players were Steve Howe and Greg Downes who both came from Yes, John Wetton from King Crimson, and Carl Palmer from of course - Emerson, Lake and Palmer. And they were shit. And they still are shit judging from the information I found out indicating that they are reformed and touring. In fact, just to prove that there is synergy in this world I found out here that the support group on their US tour are none other than The Alan Parsons Project! Now that is scary.

Just so all you disgruntled fans can't complain too much, I have a full list of UK dates . But for the sane ones amongst us pick the one closest to you and make sure you're out of town. Treat yourself, you know you deserve it.

December 1st - Falmouth Pavilion December 2nd - Bournemouth BIC Pavilion December 4th - Liverpool Academy December 5th - Perth Concert Halls (Scotland) December 6th - Glasgow Academy (Scotland) December 7th - Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre (Wales)December 8th - Frome Cheese & Grain December 10th - Newcastle Academy December 11th - Nottingham Rock City December 12th - Oxford Zodiac Club (Academy) December 13th - Manchester Academy December 14th - Wolverhampton Civic December 16th - London Shepherds Bush

If you really fancy it here is their most famous song:

Asia - Heat of the Moment (mp3)

which you can buy right here

And for everybody else some alternatives from 1982:

Kate Bush - There Goes A Tenner (mp3) Buy

ABC - Poison Arrow (mp3) Buy

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go (mp3) Buy

Human League - Being Boiled (mp3) Buy

Monday, May 28, 2007

Feel the Force

Thirty years seems to fly by extremely quickly. There I was one moment queueing for ages outside the Odeon waiting to catch up with the latest craze. And the very next I'm a middle aged (but twinkle-eyed) sloth reading about who their favourite Star Wars character is based on six films (as outlined in this months 'Empire'). Yes, my Dad was right and life does seem to pass by in an instant (rather like the hyperspace button on the 'Millenium Falcon'). In 1977, the world was still excited by the prospect of space travel. The Apollo missions of 1968-1972 were still a fresh (if rather costly) memory and it seemed only a matter of time before mankind would embark on another feat of exploration. After all the shuttle programme was well into its design phase and hopefully this would realise the ambition of cheaper space travel.

I think that Star Wars series has provided more let-downs than highlights over the years (Empire Strikes Back versus all the rest), although the franchise has provided a share of amusement in places. It seems that only 'Lord of the Rings' has the kind of marketing muscle to offer any alternative - and that is a sobering thought. I have all sorts of misgivings about the injustices of the 'Hollywood system' against any other kind of cinema. Injustices that appear to injure the rights of less mainstream directors in the USA, or any director in another country, to make truly thought-provoking films. Indeed, Star Wars and perhaps Jaws before it seemed to sound the death knell for truly artistic film making in Hollywood. Not that either were bad films - Jaws is in fact one of my favourites - but they provided a blue print for change. The rise of the blockbuster saw a parallel decline in films that made you think. Strangely, while Star Wars was investing a new form of conservatism into film a revolution was occuring in music. The Pistols has released 'God Save the Queen' and punk was upsetting 'middle england'. Punk rock filth was causing middle-class fury and it appeared that Britain and perhaps the world would never be the same again.

Ultimately who would have thought that after another thirty years the majority of punks would be forgotten, Strummer and Vicious would be dead, and thirty-five years after Gene Cernan had been the last human to walk on the moon (alledgedly), no other human would have left the earths orbit? But still the legend of 'Star Wars' lives on - what a bizarre world we live on.

Here to make me feel better are a few tasty morsels from 1977 that hopefully will provide inspiration for another thirty years. Somehow I think that 'Star Wars' will outlive them all.

Talking Heads - Psycho Killer (mp3) Buy

Donna Summer - I Feel Love (mp3) (Patrick Cowley Mix) Buy

David Bowie - Heroes (mp3) Buy

The Stranglers - No More Heroes (mp3) Buy

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dark Days - Part One

Its confession time at 'The World Won't Listen' as a routeway through to my musical soul is opened. Ever since my Dire Straits post a while back I have recieved a degree of ribbing from some quarters about my musical convictions. Not that I'm complaining mind, as the pointed remarks are genuinely deserved. You can't go posting music by Dire Straits without much soul searching. Now Davy H over at The Ghost of Electricity has gone and posted an entry about the 'Wizard of Oz' inspired Toto. Hmmm, just where is all this going I wonder. Will we soon have Matthew at Song, by Toad posting Dollar? How about JC our very own Vinyl Villain revealing that number eight in his 'Great Unacknowledged Albums' series is Shakin Stevens and 'This Ole House'? Or Crash at Pretending Life is Like a Song waxing lyrical about the neo-marxist hidden messages inside 'Agadoo'?

Whatever the outcome I've decided to lay all the cards on the table and come clean. Over the next few postings I will reveal the results of a dark quest into the inner sanctum of my record collection both past and present. Namely the albums that shame me. The ones that continue to gather dust but should have been thrown out years ago. The ones that were thrown out, but their memory still clouds my soul. It will be a hard quest but a necessary one because afterwards I will be exorcised and my demons released.

So to begin:

The Alan Parsons Project - The Turn of a Friendly Card

Just what was I thinking? And to make things even worse I actually possessed three other albums at one point. I first listened to this lot when my brother got the 'Pyramid' album back in the late seventies. They were prog rock and Parsons had infamously engineered Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' in 1973. Remember readers that this was the height of New Wave and Mr Vicar was deeply immersed in The Cure, Magazine, and The Jam. Somehow I was under the false illusion that I needed to widen my musical horizons by listening to Alan Parsons. I think in retrospect I must have been possessed as there seems to be no other plausible explanation for my foolhardiness. In fact, there may well be some credence to this statement. Parsons used to get all sorts of 'artistes' to work as guests on his albums. They included the likes of Colin "brokenhearted" Blunstone, Arthur Lee, Steve Harley and John Miles. Perhaps they were all under his spell. Needless to say that the aforesaid albums have all been consigned to the album scrapheap and are probably propping up some corner of a charity shop as I write. There I feel better already, but only by degrees as there is worse to come. Oh yes far worse!

Visit your local record fair and buy them if you dare my friends - the demons may get you as well. But as an antidote I also post something far more appetizing to your souls. The Cure and one of their greatest albums - 'Seventeen Seconds'. Released in the same year, 1980, to provided some sort of synergy.

The Cure - Play For Today (mp3)

The Cure - In Your House (mp3)

Buy The Cure right here. And if you want to make the same mistakes as the Tutu Vicar buy Alan Parsons here

Monday, May 14, 2007

Busy Bee

Busy, busy busy. Sorry to all about my absence over the last couple of weeks. The pressures of coursework from students means that this time of year is always hard. My time is taken by others I'm afraid. Still, I hope to make amends (by degrees) over the coming weeks, even though there is much to do before calm returns to Vicar Towers at the end of June. So a few offerings to keep my dwindling band of followers happy:

Elvis Costello - Welcome to the Working Week (mp3) buy

Grinderman - Honey Bee (Lets Fly To Mars) (mp3) buy

Billy Bragg - The Busy Girl Buys Beauty (mp3) buy