Monthly Archives: June 2012

Rocks In The Attic #83: Thompson Twins – ‘Here’s To Future Days’ (1985)

Rocks In The Attic #83: Thompson Twins - ‘Here’s To Future Days’ (1985)Just before I started the Rocks In The Attic blog, I had a clear-out of my vinyl collection and took anything I would never listen to down to the charity shop. There was quite a bit of stuff – mainly 80s compilations, like the Now That’s What I Call Music series and some Heavy Metal compilations with the likes of Saxon and other similarly-titled bands on them.

In that pile of records destined for the charity shop was this album, plus its predecessor, Into The Gap. I hadn’t listened to either record – in fact I don’t think I know any songs by the Thompson Twins, or at least none that I could associate the band with. I saved these two albums because I happened to notice on the back of this one that it was produced by Nile Rodgers.

This album comes with a free five track record of remixes – which I actually prefer to the actual album, as the material sounds a bit more direct and to-the-point than the songs on the album.

On listening to this record, I think I made the right decision by saving it from the charity shop. Donating this horrific record wouldn’t have been very charitable.

Hit: King For A Day

Hidden Gem: Alice (Remix)

Rocks In The Attic #82: Simon & Garfunkel – ‘Bookends’ (1968)

Rocks In The Attic #82: Simon & Garfunkel - ‘Bookends’ (1968)The cover to this album always makes me laugh, being the prime example that Frances McDormand’s controlling matriarch uses in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous to prove that rock musicians are on drugs (“Look at their eyes!”). I guess she’s right – they look pretty wasted.

I love this album. It sounds, to me, slightly out of its time with the electronic noises at the start of the album dating it later than April 1968 when it was released. I have the Spanish version of this album, which means that although it looks (and plays) the same as the international release, the song names on the label in the centre of the record are in Spanish – such as Viejos Amigos (Old Friends), El Dilema De Punky’s (Punky’s Dilemma) and La Oscura Sombra Del Invierno (A Hazy Shade Of Winter).

Hit: Mrs. Robinson

Hidden Gem: At The Zoo

Rocks In The Attic #81: Aerosmith – ‘Honkin’ On Bobo’ (2004)

Rocks In The Attic #81: Aerosmith - ‘Honkin’ On Bobo’ (2004)Aerosmith really know how to disappoint. When I first heard about this record – that it was going to be a back-to basics Blues record, produced by their old-time 70s producer Jack Douglas – I was so excited. After almost twenty years of trying to rewrite their past, and becoming a shadow of their former selves, this idea seemed to make sense. They’ve realised that their Geffen output was sub-par! They’re going back to their Blues influences! And just to make sure it all works, they’ve got Jack Douglas back on board to produce the record! What could go wrong?

This album is so bad it’s offensive. Everything sounds so clean and polished, they end up sounding like the resident jazz band on the Starship Enterprise. Any indication that they were going back to their roots was then completely swept aside when they went out on tour to support the album. The accompanying tour DVD – You Gotta Move – shows them getting massages and travelling to shows separately in private jets.

If there is one good thing to come out of all this, it’s the fact that they started playing their older material on tour. During their Geffen days they pretty much only played Geffen material live. When I first saw them touring Get A Grip in 1993, and then twice touring Nine Lives in 1997, they pretty much only played their Geffen singles, plus a few album tracks from the respective album they were touring, rounded off with an encore of their three big Columbia singles – Dream On, Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way. Since they reacquainted themselves with their older material for Honkin’ On Bobo, they now tend to play roughly a 65/35 split – with their older stuff still taking the minority – but at least they’re playing a decent amount of 70s material and not acting as though it doesn’t exist.

Hit: Baby Please Don’t Go

Hidden Gem: The Grind

Rocks In The Attic #80: Les Rythmes Digitales – ‘Darkdancer’ (1999)

Rocks In The Attic #80: Les Rythmes Digitales - ‘Darkdancer’ (1999)My good friend Danny Beetle got me into LRD when we were DJing together. I ended up buying all the 12” singles from this, plus the full album. Danny once saw Stuart Price (the guy behind LRD) browsing through the records at Manchester’s Vinyl Exchange. That’d be a pretty sweet sight to see.

I remember once, I was DJing on a Friday or Saturday night. It was still relatively early so there were only a few people in. A young girl got up from her table walked over to my booth and asked me if I had any “Lez Ryth-mez Digita-lez”. I guess she didn’t do too well in French. I ended up taking pity on her, not laughing in her face, and playing some anyway.

There are two big hits off this record – Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat) which I think was used on a Sunny Delight TV ad; and (Hey You) What’s That Sound? which Price gives a full writers’ credit to Stephen Stills on (the song is based on the lyric from Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth).

This is LRD’s second album – I’ve never heard the first one – and not long after this was released he was poached by Madonna to become her musical director. This isn’t bad a bad record to listen to, given that effectively it’s a dance album. His leaning towards 80s sounds akin to the like of The Pointer Sisters and Georgio Moroder make this an interesting enough listen.

Hit: Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)

Hidden Gem: Sometimes

Rocks In The Attic #79: Bon Jovi – ‘Slippery When Wet’ (1986)

Rocks In The Attic #79: Bon Jovi - ‘Slippery When Wet’ (1986)Hmm. Well, everybody needs a bit of hair-rock in their collection, don’t they? Don’t they?

This album is pretty much exactly what you expect. Big choruses, and dumb lyrics. I haven’t deciphered the lyrics fully but I doubt they deal with politics, world hunger or the threat of global overpopulation. There is a song called Social Disease though, which I guess could be about the AIDS crisis.

Wikipedia tells me that currently this album is the 21st best-selling studio of all time. There are only so many strip clubs in the world though, which probably explains why it stalled at #21.

Hit: Livin’ On A Prayer

Hidden Gem: Raise Your Hands

Rocks In The Attic #78: David Bowie – ‘Space Oddity’ (1972)

Rocks In The Attic #78: David Bowie - ‘Space Oddity’ (1972)This is a strange album – considered by many to be the first proper Bowie album, this was originally released as David Bowie in 1969, before being repackaged with a different title and released with a different cover in 1972. I have that version – the one with Bowie looking stoned with spiky orange hair on the cover.

I remember being taken to Rock Circus by my parents when I was 8 or 9. Rock Circus was a museum, in Picadilly Circus (hence the name), run by the same people who do Madame Tussauds. Alongside the usual eerie-looking waxworks was a room set up like a small theatre. We took our seats and the first act was Bowie himself doing Space Oddity. In a spacesuit. Revolving around the stage, going upside down and such. Obviously this was just a waxwork, but it looked pretty good – enough to forever stamp that song onto my brain. I think, if memory serves, that Bowie was then followed by The Beatles doing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and maybe With A Little Help From My Friends. Or maybe The Beatles opened for Bowie, I can’t quite remember.

This isn’t a fantastic album. There are flashes of brilliance, but overall it’s full of hippie nonsense and only a tentative sign of things to come.

Hit: Space Oddity

Hidden Gem: Memory Of A Free Festival

Rocks In The Attic #77: Queen – ‘Queen II’ (1974)

Rocks In The Attic #77: Queen - ‘Queen II’ (1974)This comes from the days before Queen could write a decent melody, turning a rock song into a pop song. Seven Seas Of Rhye turns up on this album as the last song, but even that is a heavy song with only a slightly catchy vocal line that takes it out of the dirge of the rest of the album.

People might buy this album expecting Bohemian Rhapsody to be included – the cover of the album was later used by the band to iconic effect in the music video to that song. Unfortunately, there’s nothing even hinting at the genius of that song.

Queen are an odd band – loved by millions but similarly derided by millions. They’re a rock band that appeal to a pop audience. Here, they’re still a rock band having trouble appealing to a rock audience.

Hit: Seven Seas Of Rhye

Hidden Gem: Nevermore