Greatest Hits 2019

Time now, at the start of the year, to explore some of the reviews you might have missed in the last year or two. Here’s a selection…

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.

Music for the Masses 36 – 16 March 2005

Show 36 was the last before the three week Easter break, and would see Music for the Masses in its springtime Wednesday slot for the last time. Actually, it could have even been the last outing of the show, as the post-holiday scheduling shakeup always meant a few shows dropped out. Fortunately – or unfortunately – it lived on to die another day, this week with New Order as the Artist of the Week.

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Show 36: Wed 16 Mar 2005, from 6:05pm-8:00pm

Broadcast on LSR FM, online only. Artist of the week: New Order.

  • Chicane – No Ordinary Morning
  • Veto Silver – Neon Lites
  • Mory Kante – Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Mix)
  • Sylver – Who Am I?
  • Andy Pickford – Zweifarbig Bomber (Part 2)
  • Télépopmusik – Don’t Look Back
  • New Order – Blue Monday
  • Alizée – Moi… Lolita
  • Ladytron – Seventeen
  • Daft Punk – Robot Rock
  • Vic Twenty – I Sold Your Heart on eBay
  • Black Box Recorder – The Facts of Life
  • Annie – Always Too Late
  • New Order – True Faith
  • Depeche Mode – Only When I Lose Myself
  • Dusted – Always Remember to Honour and Respect Your Mother (Part 2)
  • Basement Jaxx – Good Luck
  • Komputer – Looking Down on London
  • Marvin the Paranoid Android – Marvin
  • New Order – Krafty
  • Lemon Jelly – Come Down on Me
  • Lionrock – Rude Boy Rock

Music for the Masses 31 – 9 February 2005

It’s always a pleasure to be able to hide the odd nine-minute gem in the middle of a radio show, such as the brilliant Virus Mix of Everything But The Girl‘s Lullaby of Clubland. Surprisingly, the webcam shows me looking relaxed in the extreme.

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Show 31: Wed 9 Feb 2005, from 6:05pm-8:00pm

Broadcast on LSR FM, online only. Artist of the week: Massive Attack.

  • The Grid – Heartbeat
  • Trance Atlantic Air-Waves – Chase
  • Sylver – Take Me Back
  • The Human League – Love Me Madly?
  • Everything But The Girl – Lullaby of Clubland (Virus Mix)
  • The Postal Service – We Will Become Silhouettes
  • Inspiral Carpets – Saturn 5
  • Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy
  • Camouflage – The Great Commandment
  • Visage – Fade to Grey
  • Pet Shop Boys – How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously? (Ragga Zone Remix)
  • The Orb – Once More
  • Massive Attack – Karmacoma
  • Mirwais feat. Craig Wedren – Miss You
  • Lemon Jelly – The Slow Train
  • Moby – Lift Me Up
  • Mylo – Destroy Rock and Roll
  • Ron Grainer – Doctor Who Theme
  • Massive Attack – Butterfly Caught (Paul Daley Remix)
  • Kings of Convenience – Know-How

Music for the Masses 26 – 15 November 2004

The second Monday evening show saw the station’s webcam working for the first time in 2004, which therefore meant me (right) and my special guest Carl (left) spent much of the show trying to get ourselves seen on the internets.

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Show 26: Mon 15 Nov 2004, from 6:05pm-8:00pm

Broadcast on LSR FM, online only. Artist of the week: Saint Etienne.

  • Daft Punk – Aerodynamic
  • Chicane – Saltwater
  • Conjure One – Sleep
  • Mory Kante – Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Mix)
  • Zero 7 – I Have Seen
  • Madonna – Nobody’s Perfect
  • Saint Etienne – Who Do You Think You Are?
  • Front Line Assembly – Everything Must Perish
  • William Orbit – Barber’s Adagio for Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix)
  • BT – Return to Lostwithiel
  • Sylver – Turn the Tide
  • Recoil – Jezebel
  • Moby – Run On
  • Saint Etienne – The Bad Photographer
  • X-Press 2 feat. Dieter Meier – I Want You Back
  • Hal feat. Gillian Anderson – Extremis
  • Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400
  • Sohodolls – Prince Harry
  • Apollo 440 – Heart Go Boom
  • The Beloved – Sweet Harmony
  • Orbital feat. David Gray – Illuminate
  • Saint Etienne – Amateur
  • Giorgio Moroder – Chase (Jam & Spoon Remix)

Five underrated artists

Another fine list from my archives, originally posted on my old website on 21st November 2003. In case it wasn’t immediately obvious, I was living in Germany at the time.

Herewith five artists who are big in Germany, and ought to be big in the UK, but nobody has ever heard of them…

  • One-T + Cool-T – I’ve no idea where they’re from, but they have a really catchy hip hop track with a fantastic video out at the moment called The Magic Key, which is big all over Europe. Except in the UK, of course. It just spent its 18th week on the German chart.
  • Samajona – A Berlin-based girl band, who appear to be big all over eastern Europe. Their current single Miss You ought to be enough to give Girls Aloud a run for their money, only it’s in German, which isn’t really a terribly commercial idea.
  • Sylver – A Dutch dance duo, who are now on their second album. They had a minor hit in the UK with Turn the Tide a couple of years ago. A lot of their stuff isn’t that great, but Livin’ My Life and the current single Shallow Water are particularly noteworthy.
  • Within Temptation – I’ve no idea what most of their material is like, but I just heard a very good industrial rock track called Mother Earth. They seem to sound a bit like Evanescence, except the vocalist uses opera influences, which is interesting. No idea where they’re from.
  • Wolfsheim – A German electronic group, who seem to have built up a big cult audience in Germany through the 1990s. I’d never heard of them before, but they’ve done a couple of really good singles this year, including Kein Zurück and Find You’re Here.

I could also mention Bernd das Brot, but that’s probably not a terribly good idea. Oh, and the German Popstars: The Rivals band, the unfortunately named Preluders are quite good, too. Or rather, like Girls Aloud, they’ve got a good production team behind them.

Chart for stowaways – 18 October 2014

Here are this week’s top ten albums:

  1. William Orbit – Strange Cargo 5
  2. Faithless – Outrospective
  3. Alpinestars – White Noise
  4. The All Seeing I – Pickled Eggs & Sherbet
  5. Maps – Turning the Mind
  6. Goldfrapp – Tales of Us
  7. Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain
  8. Electronic – Get the Message – The Best of
  9. Alpinestars – Basic
  10. Sylver – Chances

Sylver – Nighttime Calls

Some Euro ages reasonably well… some, not so much.

A whole decade ago this week, Dutch duo Sylver released their third album, the inaccurately named Nighttime Calls. The debut album Chances (2001) had the brilliant Turn the Tide and not a lot else, and follow-up Little Things (2003) had a couple of good hits but was largely average, so did the follow-up have more to offer?

Well, as with a lot of Europop, it goes very much for quantity over quality – there are fourteen tracks altogether. First up is the lead single Love is an Angel, which sadly is every bit as vacuous as the title suggests. Things do start to look up after that though – Take Me Back is still pretty meaningless, but is every bit the happy, cheesy dance that you expect from a Euro act, and it has a very catchy synth line too.

Summer Solstice may sound a little as though it’s still stuck in the 1990s, but it does have a great synth line, making it easily my favourite song on here, and the following track Who am I is pretty good too. Sylver always like to drop the full-on dance for a track or two on their albums, and this is the one this time round – it’s more pop than Euro, and it works well.

The next trio – Make itDrowning in My Tears, and Sympathy – are rather more pedestrian. They’re still great Europop, but nothing more meaningful than that – and there’s a bit of a clue there for how to make the most of this album. Enjoy it for what it is, and don’t try to find anything deeper.

You might start to question this judgement with Where Did the Love Go and Fallin’, as they’re largely dreadful, but Tomorrow picks things back up to “average” again, so everything is OK.

The closing trio of Don’t Call MeWhere Did I Go Wrong and Sometimes doesn’t hold any particular surprises either. Again, as with much of this album, you can enjoy it if you suspend your judgement a bit and just want something to nod your head to, but groundbreaking this is not.

So Nighttime Calls isn’t total Eurotrash, but neither is it anything particularly special either. Which is a shame, as Sylver have, on occasion, been very good indeed. Just not this time.

You can find Nighttime Calls on import from Germany here.

The Best Singles of 2004

I also found this one in my archives, dated December 2004…

Air “Cherry Blossom Girl” (Virgin; January; #175)

Without a doubt the most beautiful track on Talkie Walkie, which is one of their best albums to date. The single that was available in the UK, a Canadian import, features no other tracks of interest, but the original should have been a huge hit.

Bent “Comin’ Back” (Open; August; #89)

An absolutely beautiful track from the duo’s third album Ariels, and without a doubt a return to form. Astoundingly, despite unfavourable reviews, this became one of their most successful singles, and the album fared better than either of its predecessors.

Delerium feat. Nerina Pallot “Truly” (Nettwerk; February; #54)

Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber made their name in the UK with classic stomping dance tracks, and continue in that vein with numerous new mixes from well known names. A welcome reworking of one of the best tracks from their recent album Chimera.

Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan “Silence 2004” (Nettwerk; November; #38)

The third full UK release for the track that made Delerium in the UK. This time, as well as the best of the earlier remixes, it contains new versions by Above & Beyond and Filterheadz, neither of which detract from the splendour of the track. A welcome reissue to promote their recent Best of compilation, the only thing missing is the original album version.

Depeche Mode “Enjoy the Silence 2004” (Mute; October; #7)

A welcome return for the track that made the group one of the forerunners of electronic music. A multitude of new remixes of this and other tracks propelled the single back into the top ten and helped the remix album towards the right end of the charts.

Dirty Vegas “Walk into the Sun” (Parlophone; October; #54)

Finally, the long-awaited return from one of the best new bands of 2002. Unfortunately, the world seems to have forgotten them, and poor reviews and lack of airplay meant the single barely charted and the album didn’t make it at all. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad track though. Easily as good as anything on the first album, this is another essential track for them.

Enigma “Boum Boum” (Virgin; October; #108)

A fantastic return to form for an artist who has fallen behind the times somewhat in recent years, backed up with wonderful remixes by Chicane and Wally Lopez. Somewhat unsurprisingly, though, it didn’t manage the charts, despite being Cretu’s first UK single in four years.

Erasure “Breathe” (Mute; November; download only)

A fantastic return for a band who have seen relatively little success and a lot of unfavourable reviews over the last decade. It probably won’t be a hit when it receives its full UK release in January, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.

Faithless “Mass Destruction” (Cheeky; May; #7)

Occasionally Maxi Jazz comes out with astoundingly insightful and ingenious lyrics. This is one of those moments. It’s not the pounding four-to-the-floor insanity we might expect from Faithless, but it’s still a fantastic track, and herald for a good fourth album.

Goldfrapp “Black Cherry” (Mute; March; #28)

Yet another single from the wonderful album of the same name. This time the tracks included were minimally spread across the three formats, but included wonderful remixes, videos, live versions and a new exclusive b-side.

Kraftwerk “Aérodynamik” (EMI; April; #33)

Finally having dragged themselves back into the studio for the rush-released Tour de France Soundtracks in 2003, the true godfathers of electronic music returned with another single and continued on their travels with yet another world tour. The single features four exclusive new versions which no self-respecting home should be without.

Lemon Jelly “Stay with You” (XL; November; #31)

After a break of eighteen months, Lemon Jelly returned at the end of 2004 with possibly their best track to date. It may lack the charm of Nice Weather for Ducks, instead bringing together influences from French dance music as well as many familiar sounds, but it’s an instant classic nonetheless.

Pet Shop Boys “Flamboyant” (Parlophone; March; #12)

Many people are of the opinion that 2003 was one of the boys’ best years to date, seeing them returning to their more familiar electronic sound, and being rewarded with reasonable success for their troubles. This, the second single from their second hits album PopArt, was backed with numerous stunning remixes, the video, and a brand new b-side.

Soho Dolls “Prince Harry” (Poptones; November; #57)

The group made their name in the summer touring with Client, and, thanks to that, achieved a minor hit with their first single. It’s very raw and electronic, even more punk than Ladytron, and absolutely bristling with attitude.

Sylver “Love is an Angel” (??; October; no UK release)

Rumour has it that this is a true return to form. Having seen less success than deserved since their wonderful debut Turn the Tide, this track took them back into the German Top 20. Still no sign of any UK success, though.