Begin again – revisiting the beginner’s guides

In all, between 2014 and 2015, this blog posted 66 beginner’s guides. The idea was to present six things:

  • Key moments – why you might have heard of these people before
  • Where to start – my thoughts on which of their albums to buy or listen to first
  • What to buy – the three items you should track down next
  • Don’t bother with – an item that is probably best avoided, or definitely should wait until you graduate to the level of completist
  • Hidden treasure – one song that’s hidden away somewhere and should be located at all costs
  • For stowaways – some collected highlights from their posts on this blog

They were very popular – in fact, for a long time, Depeche Mode‘s was the most popular post on this blog, and while that does suggest to me that it reached the wrong audience slightly, it’s still a good thing. They were also divisive – inevitably, people disagreed with a lot of what I wrote and told me so in angry or passive-aggressive ways. This is the internet, after all.

So what’s happened since they were written? Here are some highlights:

  • Air released a vinyl-only box set called Music for Museum, which you can probably skip for now
  • Conjure One released Holoscenic, which is nearly as good as their debut album, so is probably worth tracking down
  • Crystal Castles came back with a new lineup – I haven’t heard it yet, but the feedback seemed positive
  • Depeche Mode returned with the fantastic Spirit. You wouldn’t want to start with it, but it should be high on the list
  • Erasure keep churning albums out every couple of years, and finally seem to have returned to the consistent quality of the late 1980s and early 1990s
  • Goldfrapp have a new album, but it’s not quite as good as the previous one
  • The Human League have a new best of to consider, A Very British Synthesizer Group
  • Hot Chip keep throwing out great albums every time you turn your back for a moment
  • Jean Michel Jarre has managed three fantastic new albums: the two Electronica volumes and Oxygène 3
  • Kraftwerk now have a diverting live collection to consider
  • New Order now have the fantastic Music Complete to add to the list, which wouldn’t be a bad thing to add to the “what to buy” list either
  • Pet Shop Boys brought us the lovely Super
  • Röyksopp reappeared with two albums, Do It Again and The Inevitable End, before taking what looked at the time like an early retirement
  • Saint Etienne reissued their reissue series and just came back with Home Counties

You can find the index to all the beginner’s guides here.

Chart for stowaways – 24 June 2017

Here are the albums this week:

  1. Kraftwerk – 3-D Der Katalog
  2. Saint Etienne – Home Counties
  3. Erasure – World Be Gone
  4. Depeche Mode – Spirit
  5. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  6. New Order – Music Complete
  7. Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
  8. New Order – Lost Sirens
  9. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
  10. Gorillaz – Humanz

Chart for stowaways – 17 June 2017

Here are the week’s top singles:

  1. Erasure – Love You To The Sky
  2. Saint Etienne – Sweet Arcadia
  3. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 17)
  4. Depeche Mode – Where’s the Revolution
  5. Saint Etienne – Magpie Eyes
  6. Kraftwerk – Trans Europa Express
  7. Pet Shop Boys – Undertow
  8. Erasure – Be Careful What You Wish For!
  9. New Order – Restless
  10. Jean-Michel Jarre & Pet Shop Boys – Brick England

Chart for stowaways – 10 June 2017

Here are the latest albums:

  1. Kraftwerk – 3-D Der Katalog
  2. Erasure – World Be Gone
  3. Depeche Mode – Spirit
  4. Saint Etienne – Home Counties
  5. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  6. Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
  7. New Order – Music Complete
  8. David Bowie – Hunky Dory
  9. New Order – Lost Sirens
  10. Gorillaz – Humanz

Greatest Hits – Vol. 10

A couple of times a year, I like to take a little breather and highlight some of the reviews that you might have missed on this blog in the past. Here are my choices this time. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed that, why not check out Volume 9, here?

Chart for stowaways – 3 June 2017

These are the week’s top singles:

  1. Depeche Mode – Where’s the Revolution
  2. Pet Shop Boys – Undertow
  3. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 17)
  4. Goldfrapp – Anymore
  5. Depeche Mode – Cover Me
  6. Jean-Michel Jarre & Pet Shop Boys – Brick England
  7. Depeche Mode – You Move
  8. David Bowie – No Plan
  9. New Order feat. Brandon Flowers – Superheated
  10. Pink Floyd – Interstellar Overdrive

The playlists for stowaways

On Music for stowaways, I’ve always tried to be flexible: some features don’t really work out, and get killed off; others die a natural death after a while; and of course, plenty more get flogged like dead horses. The playlists aren’t an example of any of these though – I simply didn’t have time to do any more. Which is a great shame, as I really enjoyed doing them. Hopefully one day, I’ll find the time to run off some more, but in the meantime, here’s a compendium of all of them to date.

MFS001 – Pilot (13 March 2013)

A half-hour sample of some of the delights that would turn up on the Playlists for stowaways.

MFS002 – Norge (10 April 2013)

An hour-long exploration of the musical delights of Norway.

MFS003 – Comme Mode (12 June 2013)

An hour-long journey through the large roster of artists who sound like – but aren’t quite – Depeche Mode.

MFS004 – Flight Risk (21 August 2013)

An hour-long collection of tracks that should sound pretty good on a flight (better than this one, anyway).

MFS005 – Soundscapes (25 September 2013)

An hour-long tribute to the BBC Radio Derby show Soundscapes.

 

MFS006 – Who? (20 November 2013)

An hour-long music and sound effects adventure from the worlds of Doctor Who.