Ebooks for materialists

Ebooks for materialists

You probably won’t be surprised to know that I love music. I have bought over 650 albums over the last 15 or so years and my collection is still growing fast. Almost every one of those albums I have bought on CD. And yet, the first thing I do when I get a new CD is rip it so that I can listen to it in digital format on my iPod. I’ve often thought about why it is that I hold on so tightly to the physical medium, even though music is readily available and easier to acquire as digital downloads. I think it’s because I’m a massive materialist. An album doesn’t really feel like an album unless I can touch it. I like being able to flick through the album artwork and liner notes. I like the craft involved in packaging. And I like displaying...

Music of 2011

Music of 2011

As we come to the end of another year, it’s time to look at the best music released in the last twelve months. I think it’s been a pretty good year, overall. I’ve bought 14 new albums released in 2011 and attended 9 live events, and none of them were particularly disappointing. I’m not going to try to review them all, but here are my top five albums of 2011… #1 – My Morning Jacket, “Circuital” My Morning Jacket are a band I’ve been following at a moderate distance for some time. Their breakthrough success Z and 2008’s Evil Urges were already among my favourite albums ever so I was very excited about this year’s release. Turns out it surpassed all my expectations and earns its place at the top of my list...

69 Love Songs and the working day

69 Love Songs and the working day

As an extravert1 I find myself in situations at work where interactions with others dominate my day. Whether it’s meetings, asking people questions, answering other people’s questions or simply reading and sending emails, there’s always some interaction going on. I really love that aspect of my job, which means it’s somewhat frustrating during those times when I have to sit down by myself and work alone, which do happen quite regularly. When I have to work alone, I find that listening to music, especially music I know well, allows me to concentrate by providing a backdrop that goes some way towards replacing the interaction that drives me. And this is where 69 Love Songs comes in. The 1999 classic by Stephen Merritt, aka The Magnetic...

Review: Bright Eyes at Leeds O2 Academy

Review: Bright Eyes at Leeds O2 Academy

If Conor Oberst can be summed up in one word, it must be prolific. The Nebraska songwriter has released 22 albums under various names already, and he’s only 31! Last night’s performance opened with a set by Jenny & Johnny, the latest project of Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis who is a long-time collaborator of Oberst’s1. As if to flaunt the inbredness of the US music scene, their drummer was Jason Boesel, perhaps best known now as a key member of Oberst’s project The Mystic Valley Band. Jenny & Johnny started out as a sort of electrified country outfit but by the end were cranking out some very original indie-rock tunes that definitely made me want to check out their album. Bright Eyes came on about 8.45 and played for a full 2 hours...

Reviews: Flaming Lips and Kate Bush

Reviews: Flaming Lips and Kate Bush

Another two albums to review today, both based around a “reinvention” theme, and both bought for me by my brother Jon for my birthday last weekend. The Flaming Lips (et al.) – The Dark Side of the Moon I know I’m a bit behind the curve here — this album came out about 18 months ago — but it has only just made it into my collection and it fits well with the theme. For reasons known only to themselves, Oklahoma psychedelic nutters The Flaming Lips have teamed up with singer Wayne’s brother’s band Stardeath & White Dwarfs to record a complete end-to-end cover of Pink Floyd’s 1973 masterpiece The Dark Side of the Moon. On a first listen to this, I was horrified! A band I respect had taken one of my favourite musical masterworks...