Greatest Hits 2020

Happy New Year! To celebrate, here are ten reviews from the last few years that you might have missed:

Music for the Masses 39 – 7 May 2005

For the final run of Music for the Masses, from April to May 2005, I had secured the coveted Saturday night slot, building people up to a stomping night out in Leeds. Or alternatively helping them to revise for their exams. Or potentially neither; it was rather difficult to tell. But looking through the playlist, I can see a slightly more uptempo seam running through the show, culminating with the Electromix at the end of the show.

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Show 39: Sat 7 May 2005, from 6:00pm-8:00pm

Broadcast on LSR FM, online only. Artist of the week: The Shamen.

  • Morcheeba – World Looking In
  • Erasure – Here I Go Impossible Again
  • 1 Giant Leap feat. Robbie Williams & Maxi Jazz – My Culture
  • Mylo – In My Arms (Sharam Jey Remix)
  • The Shamen – Comin’ On (Beatmasters Mix)
  • Sylver – Make It
  • Aurora – Ordinary World
  • BT – Orbitus Terrarium
  • Kraftwerk – Aérodynamik
  • The Shamen – MK2A
  • Depeche Mode – Freelove (Live) [The Live Bit]
  • Stereo MCs – Connected
  • Technique – Sun is Shining
  • Felix – Don’t You Want Me
  • Yello feat. Stina Nordenstam – To the Sea
  • New Order – Jetstream (Arthur Baker Remix)
  • The Shamen – Indica
  • Binar – The Truth Sets Us Free
  • Talk Talk – Talk Talk
  • Mirwais feat. Craig Wedren – Miss You [Electromix]
  • Elektric Music – Lifestyle (Radio-Style) [Electromix]
  • Front Line Assembly – Everything Must Perish [Electromix]
  • Fluke – Absurd
  • Bent – The Waters Deep

The Electromix feature from this show still exists, and will be included on a future Playlist for stowaways.

Morcheeba – Fragments of Freedom

After nearly five years on the charts, trip-hop trio Morcheeba returned with perhaps their most contemporary album yet, Fragments of Freedom (2000). Their third release, it was their biggest hit, and highlights a band at the top of their game.

The opener is the lovely third single World Looking in, which, as with nearly all of their singles, barely made any impact on the charts. Despite their pop stylings, it would not be unfair to think of them as an album act. Lead single Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day follows with a somewhat triumphant sound, although again it crept onto the charts at number 34, giving them – amazingly – their biggest hit single. It would possibly benefit from losing the “hey hey hey” from the chorus, but in general it’s a good song.

Love is Rare is good, but it doesn’t really grab you by the ears. Let it Go tries, and it’s a good song, but you’re unlikely to remember it for too long. Then there’s a bit of a mid-album lull, with A Well Deserved Break, In the Hands of the Gods, and Love Sweet Love. All entirely pleasant, but this is background music more than something to actually listen to – steel drums or no steel drums.

Next comes Be Yourself, another single, which picks things up again somewhat. It’s relatively late in the album, but there’s a trio of particularly good moments with this, Shallow End, and Coming Down Gently. Shallow End in particular has all the hallmarks of a Bond theme from the start, and builds into an exceptionally good song – definitely one of the best on this release.

While this album was a substantial hit, Morcheeba clearly never got the recognition they deserved – Fragments of Freedom may not be perfect, but at worst it’s just a bit forgettable, and at best it’s really rather good. Later tracks include Good Girl Down, a pleasant, sometimes almost jazz-like song, which is spoiled only by Bahamadia‘s half-baked rap.

The largely instrumental closing track Fragments of Freedom is better, although it does go on a little bit too long for comfort. But in general, it closes a pretty competent album, from an act who really deserve to be better remembered.

You should still be able to find Fragments of Freedom without too much effort – this import edition looks interesting, with a bonus “CD-ROM,” whatever one of those is…

Retro chart for stowaways – 21 May 2005

Here are the top albums from exactly a decade ago:

  1. Morcheeba – The Antidote
  2. Moby – Hotel
  3. Basement Jaxx – The Singles
  4. Mylo – Destroy Rock & Roll
  5. New Order – Waiting for the Sirens’ Call
  6. Client – City
  7. The Chemical Brothers – Push the Button
  8. a-ha – Singles 1984-2004
  9. Everything But The Girl – Adapt or Die – Ten Years of Remixes
  10. Kylie Minogue – Ultimate Kylie

Live – October 2013

Here are some of the live highlights coming up around the world over the next few months:

Empire of the Sun

Yes, those bonkers Aussies are on tour right now, and over the next few months will be visiting Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Full list of dates at Songkick

Goldfrapp

Finally back with the new album Tales of Us and some live dates for you, in the USA, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland, the UK, and Australia.

Full list of dates at Songkick

Bomb the Bass

Just a one-off if you’re lucky enough to be in Paris next week, otherwise there’s nothing to see here…

Full list of date at Songkick

Sparks

Their Revenge of Two Hands One Mouth tour takes them in the coming weeks across the USA and Canada before jumping back to the UK and France in late November.

Full list of dates at Songkick

Morcheeba

Seemingly everywhere in Europe over the next couple of months: starting with Luxembourg of all places, and then all over Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the UK, Spain and Austria.

Full list of dates at Songkick