Chart for stowaways – May 2020

May saw Pet Shop Boys dominating the charts, with I don’t wanna climbing to the top of the singles and Hotspot holding onto the albums for the whole month. Meanwhile, Florian Schneider‘s untimely death saw Kraftwerk turning up all over the single and album charts.

Here’s the album chart for 16th May:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot
  2. The Beloved – Where it Is
  3. Kraftwerk – 3-D Der Katalog
  4. Sparks – Past Tense – The Best Of
  5. Everything But The Girl – Temperamental
  6. Chicane – Behind the Sun
  7. Kraftwerk – Die Mensch-Maschine
  8. 1 Giant Leap – 1 Giant Leap
  9. Kraftwerk – Trans Europa Express
  10. Kraftwerk – Computerwelt

No More Q

I have to say, I was sorry to read about the demise of Q Magazine, which publishes its last issue this month after running for 34 years. In its early days, Q was comprehensive, witty and sartorial, and an entertaining read. I still have a few copies from the 1980s, and they’re worth revisiting from time to time. By the 1990s, while the music world obsessed with indie rock, they kept their broader, more mature appeal, and while they sometimes drifted a little too much into the realms of the Loaded sense of humour, it was still a strong publication.

The regular features were, of course, excellent, with Who The Hell and Where Are They Now? being instantly unforgettable. Even the reviews sections – often running to tens of pages per issue – were detailed and generally fair.

So that’s it, after 34 years, another piece of history disappears, partly thanks to our changing media landscape, but primarily due to the ongoing lockdown. It isn’t easy to fully explain the nature of the loss here – we’ve lost a lot of music publications in the last few decades, and a few remain, but nothing with the broad, open-minded appeal that Q offered. Q is dead, long live Q!

We have, of course, talked about Q a lot on this blog. Like it or leave it, it’s been a pretty influential publication over the years. Apart from attempting to cover the annual Q Awards (2019 will come soon, but here are 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and various posts about 1990-2012, including parts 1 and 2 of the winners), we also reviewed their U2 cover album here, and have probably mentioned them a number of other times.

Preview – The Beloved

The Beloved‘s brilliant reissue series continues, this time with their debut studio album Happiness, which was originally released in early 1990. The double CD version is an essential purchase, backed with The Wolf Studio Recordings, a new compilation of contemporary recordings from Wolf Studio. It’s also released on double LP, which has the original ten tracks spread across two discs, making it one of those albums where some of the sides contain less than ten minutes of music, and also necessitating a change in track order, so maybe this one is for completists only.

Either way, the music is great, and let’s celebrate that with the brilliant The Sun Rising:

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020

I don’t often write about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, mainly because I don’t entirely understand what it is. I posted previously about one of this year’s potential “inductees” (whatever the heck that word actually means) and gave it some coverage previously here, but that’s literally it.

But now we have confirmation: as of 2020, that little plinky plonky synthpop group (as, amazingly, they still continue to be known in their native UK) Depeche Mode got indicted in the “performer” category, alongside The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., T. Rex. Meanwhile, the Ahmet Ertegun Award was given to Jon Landau and Irving Azoff.

Since I haven’t covered it for a few years, it’s maybe worth mentioning that 2019 saw new indulgences The Cure and Radiohead, while 2014 saw Peter Gabriel industrialised, and that’s about all that I can see of interest.

There are more details at the official website here.

Eight years of stowaways

So it is that we limp past the eight year mark for this blog. Little did I think, all those years ago, that it would still be going after all this time. Well, it barely is – I used to post every day, then every weekday, then a few times a week, and then the fun of the lockdown meant I barely had any time to slow down and listen to music, let alone to write about it.

But I can’t really complain – I’m still here, eight years on, looking back at over two thousand posts of general music-related drivel. I was going to post something linking back to the first post, but I see now that it was about Pet Shop BoysWinner, which I always thought was unfairly derided, but it was hardly one of their finest moments. So let’s do this instead, which definitely is – here’s Thursday:

Preview – Sparks

Well, Sparks are back again already, with their ninety-fourth album, and what might be one of their highest-charting in the UK, A Steady Drip Drip Drip. Here’s Lawnmower. I wouldn’t want to remind them that they’re both in their seventies already, but don’t they look great?

Chart for stowaways – April 2020

April was the month when the lockdown really started to hit, and when the chart consequently slowed right down to a crawl. There really weren’t too many changes from March, apart from some fun re-entries from the likes of Moby and New Order. With so few changes, it’s probably worth just focusing on the albums this time, which on 11th April looked like this:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot
  2. The Beloved – Where it Is
  3. Sparks – Past Tense – The Best Of
  4. Nightmares On Wax – Smokers Delight
  5. The Orb – Abolition Of The Royal Familia
  6. Caribou – Suddenly
  7. Sparks – Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins
  8. Moby – 18
  9. Pet Shop Boys – Battleship Potemkin (OST)
  10. David Bowie – Is It Any Wonder