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
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.