Chart for stowaways – 7 April 2018

This week’s top albums look like this:

  1. Sparks – Hippopotamus
  2. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury
  3. Tracey Thorn – Record
  4. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials In Several Earths
  5. David Bowie – Legacy
  6. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
  7. The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  8. The Chemical Brothers – We are the Night
  9. Alabama 3 – Exile on Coldharbour Lane
  10. M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts

The oldies chart II

A year ago, I presented you with the top twenty old studio albums (for the purposes of this, that’s anything more than a decade old) from my personal iTunes playlists, based on number of plays. Last year’s position here is shown in square brackets – let’s see how they have changed!

  1. I Monster – Neveroddoreven (2003) [-]
  2. Camouflage – Sensor (2003) [-]
  3. The Beloved – X (1996) [2]
  4. Kraftwerk – The Mix (1991) [1]
  5. Depeche Mode – Violator (1990) [4]
  6. The Postal Service – Give Up (2003) [-]
  7. Espiritu – Another Life (1997) [3]
  8. Kraftwerk – Trans Europa Express (1977) [15]
  9. Kraftwerk – Die Mensch-Maschine (1978) [16]
  10. Röyksopp – Melody AM (2001) [5]
  11. Saint Etienne – Tiger Bay (1994) [9]
  12. Kraftwerk – Computerwelt (1981) [-]
  13. Manu Chao – Próxima Estación… Esperanza (2001) [6]
  14. Everything But The Girl – Walking Wounded (1996) [7]
  15. Massive Attack – Blue Lines (1991) [8]
  16. Alabama 3 – Exile on Coldharbour Lane (1997) [10]
  17. Delerium – Karma (1997) [11]
  18. Alpinestars – Basic (2000) [14]
  19. Delerium – Chimera (2003) [-]
  20. Front Line Assembly – Civilization (2003) [-]

The oldies chart

Here’s a chart of the most listened to albums on my playlists in the last five years, which were released prior to 2003. Too complicated? OK, these are the top 20 oldies for stowaways:

  1. Kraftwerk – The Mix (1991)
  2. The Beloved – X (1996)
  3. Espiritu – Another Life (1997)
  4. Depeche Mode – Violator (1990)
  5. Röyksopp – Melody AM (2001)
  6. Manu Chao – Próxima Estación… Esperanza (2001)
  7. Everything But the Girl – Walking Wounded (1996)
  8. Massive Attack – Blue Lines (1991)
  9. Saint Etienne – Tiger Bay (1994)
  10. Alabama 3 – Exile on Coldharbour Lane (1997)
  11. Delerium – Karma (1997)
  12. 1 Giant Leap – 1 Giant Leap (2001)
  13. Delerium – Poem (2000)
  14. Alpinestars – Basic (2000)
  15. Kraftwerk – Trans Europa Express (1977)
  16. Kraftwerk – Die Mensch-Maschine (1978)
  17. Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993)
  18. Gotan Project – La Revancha del Tango (2001)
  19. Zoot Woman – Living in a Magazine (2001)
  20. Apollo 440 – Electro Glide in Blue (1997)

Live – April 2013

Dubstar

Unfortunately this post got pushed back a couple of weeks due to bad planning on my part, so if you didn’t know that Dubstar were back for a one-off gig in London then I’m sorry you’ve missed it already. Keep an eye out for more!

Pet Shop Boys

They’re back after a break of nearly 10 months to promote their new album Electric, touring across Europe over the summer. Catch them in Russia, Denmark, France, Spain, the UK, Germany and Japan, with more dates no doubt to follow.

Full list of dates at Songkick

Goldfrapp

Back with a new album which they’re previewing in Manchester in July before heading onto London and who knows where else.

Full list of date at Songkick

Massive Attack

I’m not sure if Massive Attack actually ever stop touring, but in the next few months you can catch them in Manchester before they take a summer break and then head to the USA in the “fall”.

Full list of dates at Songkick

Alabama 3

Having recovered from the 1990s, they’re back, kicking off their tour next month in Guildford before moving onto locations as curious as Southampton, Inverness, Holmfirth, and Dublin.

Full list of dates at Songkick

Alabama 3 – Exile on Coldharbour Lane

How do you feel about country music? Not that great? Me too.

Alabama 3 (inexplicably known as A3 if you’re American, making them sound a bit like a third rate boy band) are entirely not from the midwest, and seem to have relatively little background of making country music. Apparently originally called The First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine (UK), the whole project seems to have simply grown out of a desire to try a fusion of country and acid house.

Their debut album Exile on Coldharbour Lane opens with the bold statement “Let’s go back to church,” on a track called Converted, which is a fairly gentle religion-infused country track driven by a 303 bass line. Most of the album follows a similar vein.

Despite all feeling very familiar to me, the whole thing seems to have been a bit of a commercial flop. The album peaked at number 153 in the UK, and the only hit single was Ain’t Goin’ to Goa, which only just scraped the tail end of the top 40 on its second attempt, seemingly not helped by a slew of huge-name remixes. Despite opening the TV series The Sopranos, the exceptional Woke Up This Morning only managed to peak at number 80 (twice). Which must have all been rather disappointing.

The wonderfully atmospheric Woke Up This Morning passes the baton onto the hilarious U Don’t Dans 2 Tekno, which in brilliant country style (I want to say bluegrass, but I don’t honestly know enough about the genre) tells the tale of a friend who enjoyed The Drugs a bit too much. “You don’t dance to techno, hip hop or electro,” they sing, and it’s difficult not to smile.

Bourgeoisie Blues is almost entirely impossible to spell correctly, but brings a sweet gospel flavo(u)r to the album, and this is followed by Ain’t Goin’ to Goa. As I recall it got a lot of radio play, and I remember it well, presumably from its second release, so it was slightly surprising to me to see it was such a minor hit. Or perhaps the memory cheats.

The excellence continues. Mao Tse Tung Said is absolutely brilliant, Hypo Full of Love (The 12 Step Plan) catchy and wonderful. And the final track is the fantastic Peace in the Valley. All in all, Exile on Coldharbour Lane is an extremely good album, and comes highly recommended.

Buying Exile on Coldharbour Lane isn’t as easy as it should be. Here it is on Amazon.com, which seems to be the rare and exciting “explicit” edition, and this is the link for Amazon.co.uk.