Music diary project – Day Seven

April 10, 2011

10:15 – 10:45
Bon Iver – re:stacks
Robert Wyatt – Shipbuilding
Billy Bragg – The Saturday Boy
Rachael Yamagata – I’ll Find A Way
Daft Punk – Something About Us
Dido – Here With Me (skipped after 30 seconds)
Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place
Ani Difranco – Overlap (live) (stopped after 2:30)

How: Spotify playlist on laptop, hooked up to external speakers
Where: kitchen
With: partner

I decided to experiment with The Guardian’s “Songs that make us cry” collaborative playlist, while we had breakfast. I chose the Bon Iver, then left the rest to shuffle. Mixed results – dry eyes – and more than a few bitchy remarks about some of the selections. By the time we got to the Ani Difranco live track (over 11 minutes long, and EXACTLY the sort of thing they play in the deli at lunchtimes), I felt that there was no more useful mileage left in the experiment.

10:50 – 11:50
June Tabor – Ashore (whole album, but I only listened to tracks 1 to 6)

How: CD
Where: morning room
With: partner

Background music for reading the papers. I’ve played this a lot in recent weeks. Second version of “Shipbuilding” this morning! Went to have a bath during track 6. When I came back downstairs, the final track was just ending.

11:15 – 11:45
Desert Island Discs: Terry Gilliam
- Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel
- Original Pinocchio soundtrack – When You Wish Upon A Star
- Tom Waits – Alice
- Parno Graszt — Odi Phenel Cino Savo / Azt Mondja A Kisfiam
- The Beatles – Taxman
- Van Dyke Parks – Opportunity for Two
- Richard Strauss – Ein Heldenleben (final movement)

How: BBC Radio 4, via portable digital radio
Where: in the bath
With: just me

This wasn’t typical. For long weekend soaks in the bath, I usually take up the portable Logitech speaker dock, hooked up to Spotify on the iPhone – but I’d forgotten to bring it over from Nottingham, so took a punt on the radio and stumbled across the start of Desert Island Discs. There was nothing that Gilliam chose that I disliked, so this was a happy accident.

12:20 – 13:00
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (tracks 1 to 9, some of track 10)

How: iTunes on laptop, with external speakers
Where: kitchen
With: just me

Although I love its title track, the rest of this album isn’t quite doing it for me, and this play didn’t change things. In particular, I’ve begun to find Robin Pecknold’s voice rather wearing in extended doses. The more envelope-pushinng track 10 (The Shrine/An Argument) held my interest more than the rest, but I had other stuff to do by then…

16:52 – 17:00
John Grant – Chicken Bones
John Grant – Silver Platter Club

How: iTunes on laptop, with external speakers
Where: kitchen
With: just me

“Chicken Bones” was an earworm killer – and as I had hit the “jolly bit” of John Grant’s album, I let it run onto the next track.

17:35 – 17:55
Gerry Rafferty – Right Down The Line
England Dan & John Ford Coley – I’d Really Love To See You Tonight
Andy Kim – Rock Me Gently
The Pretenders – Back On The Chain Gang
Neil Sedaka – Laughter In The Rain

How: iTunes Genius playlist on laptop, with external speakers
Where: kitchen
With: just me

This was the first time I had activated Genius on the new-ish laptop. A nice, comfortably familiar AOR pop playlist ensued.

17:58 – 18:27
Pink Floyd – Grantchester Meadows
Jennifer Moss – Hobbies
Joanna Newsom – Ribbon Bows
Mary Halvorson Quintet – Right Size Too Little (No.12)
Laura Nyro (with Alice Coltrane) – Map To The Treasure
Daphne Oram – Rockets in Ursa Major (Excerpt 1)

How: BBC 6Music streamed through laptop, with external speakers
Where: kitchen
With: just me

I caught the end of Jarvis Cocker’s show, and then it was onto Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone, which I had enjoyed the other week and had resolved to listen to more regularly. This turned out to be a special on female musicians, which would have been great if it hadn’t been for the announcement that this week’s featured album was to be Joanna Newsom, who I cannot abide. Some interesting stuff, and it was good to let someone else choose the music for once – but this selection wasn’t quite working for me.

18:27 – 20:10
Marva Whitney – Mama Don’t Know About Sugar Bear
Donald Byrd – Love Has Come Around
Tamiko Jones – Let It Flow
John Davis & the Monster Orchestra – Ain’t That Enough For You
Massara – Margharita
Fantasy – He’s Number One
Scissor Sisters – Fire With Fire
Take That – It Only Takes A Minute
George Michael – Precious Box
Yazoo – Walk Away From Love
Hot Chip – Thieves In The Night
Caribou – Jamelia
Kingdom – Bust Broke
Permanent Vacation ft Kathy Diamond – Tic Toc
Katy B – Easy Please Me
DJ Sprinkles – Ball’r (Madonna-Free Zone)
Nicolas Jaar – Etre
Michael Brook – Andean
These New Puritans – Hologram
These New Puritans – 5

How: iTunes DJ (manually re-ordered) on laptop, with external speakers
Where: kitchen
With: just me

Once again, iTunes hit the spot good and proper. Some useful rediscoveries and some great segues. I spent most of this time doing the ironing.

20:10 – 21:10
Various Artists – DJ Kicks: Wolf + Lamb vs Soul Clap (whole album)
How: CD
Where: kitchen
With: me and partner

During the second half of the Nineties, I bought shedloads of mix CDs. These days, I buy maybe two or three a year. I bought this unheard, on a hunch, and it turned out to be a super-lucky punt. My only frustration is not having an unmixed version, which I could have had if I’d bought it on download rather than CD. This played while dinner was prepared, and while we ate it – although a large part of it was drowned out by a long conversation on issues relating to the ban on gay men giving blood.

Favourite track of the day: Caribou – Jamelia
Worst track of the day: Discounting Dido and Ani Difranco, which I switched off before completion, it was Joanna Newsom – Ribbon Bows


Music diary project – Day Six

April 9, 2011

12:00 – 12:40
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs (whole album, but I only listened to tracks 1 to 3)

How: CD
Where: cottage kitchen / morning room / bathroom
With: me and partner

Played while I tidied up and did the dishes, then I wandered outside to start work on the garden towards the end of track 3 and left the CD playing. K commented favourably on the album when we played it in the car on Monday morning. I didn’t think he was paying it any attention today, but I later discovered that he tweeted about it: “The King Of Limbs is giving me goose bumps“. We sometimes communicate in the most roundabout ways.

13:05 – 13:45
Katy B – On A Mission (whole album)

How: CD
Where: cottage kitchen
With: just me

The right music for the right time of day / weather / mood.

13:50 – 14:40
Ripperton – Niwa (whole album)

How: CD
Where: cottage kitchen
With: just me, occasionally partner

One of my favourite electronic albums of 2010, which deserved greater recognition than it got. I wandered outside during track 5, to continue the gardening. Caught snatches of the rest of the album, depending on how near I was to the open back door.

18:30 – 18:37
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs (whole album, but I only listened to tracks 7 and 8 )

How: CD
Where: cottage kitchen / morning room
With: me and partner

I came back inside from the far end of the garden, to discover Radiohead playing again (track 6 was just ending). This is the first time all week that K has chosen the music!

19:00 – 19:40
James Blake – James Blake (whole album)

How: CD
Where: sitting room
With: me and partner

Played this while we sat and read. K said that he liked this new fashion for more “textural” music. We both enjoyed the album, although K was occasionally perturbed by some of the bass frequencies. (He had only heard it in the car before today, which edited out a lot of the bass.)

19:40 – 20:20
Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting (whole album, except track 1: Night Air)

How: iPod connected to main hi-fi
Where: sitting room and kitchen
With: me and partner

I decided to retain the “textural” mood. We enjoyed it, but K thought it wasn’t “in the same league” as the James Blake. The album continued to play while we ate a fine roast chicken supper.

20:50 – 23:30
Soundtrack: There Will Be Blood (Jonny Greenwood, Arvo Part, Johannes Brahms)

How: DVD / TV
Where: sitting room
With: me and partner

We were both struck by how superbly well the soundtrack worked. While K took a toilet break, I Googled – and found to my surprise that it had been scored by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. K recognised Part’s Fratres, and Brahms played over the end credits. I haven’t been logging incidental TV music, but this experience was of a different order.

23:40 – 00:25
The Weeknd – House Of Balloons (whole album)

How: iTunes on laptop, hooked to external speakers
Where: kitchen
With: just me

Played while I tidied up and did the dishes; downloaded earlier from http://the-weeknd.com/ (official free download). Plaintive, downtempo, R&B-tinged Pitchfork-indie from Toronto. Reminded me a lot of last year’s Gayngs album. Much discussed of late, which piqued my curiosity (although I stopped short of actually reading any of the discussions). Liked it.

Favourite track of the day: no particular standout, but I enjoyed Katy B’s “shout out” track Hard To Get, particularly for its jazz-funky backing track.
Worst track of the day: not applicable, as I enjoyed all the music I heard today. Result!


Music diary project – Day Five

April 9, 2011

06:30 – 07:15
Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise (whole album)

How: iPhone
Where: walking to work, office
With: just me

Up super-early for a Very Important Task, discombobulated after less than six hours’ sleep, I needed something sparse and pretty. This is my favourite electronic album of the year so far. It was perfect early morning listening.

09:00 – 09:03
Jason DeRulo – Ridin’ Solo

How: Capital FM
Where: coffee shop
With: me and “barista” (if we must)

Sheesh. Why DO local radio stations only play hits that are months and months old?

12:40 – 12:45
The Streets – Weak Become Heroes

How: Spotify on iPhone
Where: walking to lunch
With: just me

I was adding this to The Guardian’s “Songs That Make Us Cry” collaborative playlist, and felt the need to play it again. It didn’t make me cry… for once.

12:45 – 13:20
DJ Shadow – Six Days
one or two unidentified tracks
Oasis – She’s Electric
Air – Sexy Boy
Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire

How: speaker system in deli
Where: deli
With: staff and patrons

The volume was a bit louder today. I had to Google the lyrics of the DJ Shadow to ID it, thinking it was some piece of Simply Red/Lighthouse Family fluff. Oops. My apologies to the Great Man. Second Oasis track in less than 24 hours, while Air confirms my earlier plea for a Moon Safari Official Product Recall… and, er, can we add “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” to the list as well, please?

15:50 – 16:05
James Blake – I Only Know What I Know Now
Guido – Mad Sax
Superchunk – Digging For Something

How: iPod on full shuffle
Where: walking home
With: just me

Pretty good choices for a) the hot, sunny afternoon and b) my whacked-out state of mind.

16:12 – 16:45
Panda Bear – Last Night At The Jetty
David Allen & Euterpe – Good Morning
The Beatles – Girl
Savoir Adore – Sarah’s Secret
Phreek – Weekend
Tamiko Jones – Let It Flow

How: iTunes DJ on laptop, manually re-ordered; external speakers
Where: at home, pootling on laptop
With: just me

Where full shuffle often fails to satisfy, iTunes DJ (formerly known as Party Shuffle) always delivers. I like the way it gives me a working pool of 15 random suggestions, which I can then manually re-order or delete. This sequence worked well, leading me from sun-drenched meadows to the doors of the disco.

16:45 – 17:20
Boystown Gang – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (extended mix)
Who’s Who – Hypnodance
Ellis, Beggs & Howard – Big Bubbles, No Troubles
Ian Dury & the Blockheads – Quiet
Rebirth – Evil Vibrations
Kaine ft Kathy Diamond – Love Saves The Day
Boom Clap Bachelors – L-O-V-E (Tuff City Kids remix)

How: iTunes DJ on laptop, manually re-ordered; external speakers
Where: at home, on the cycling machine
With: just me

I’ve recently started using the cycling machine in earnest, after all but ignoring it over the past five years. It’s a pretty boring way of spending 36 minutes, though, and not all my soundtrack choices have worked. So, for the first time, I lugged the laptop and external speakers upstairs to the spare room, and stuck with the iTunes DJ choices (which I’d progammed with intense physical activity in mind). This mix was a raging, unqualified success, with some great segues, which both held my interest and matched my energy levels.

17:20 – 17:40
Earth Wind & Fire – Reasons (live version)
Grupo Semente & Teresa Cristina – Cordão de Ouro
Mulatu Astatke – Boogaloo

How: iTunes DJ on laptop, manually re-ordered; external speakers
Where: at home, showering and changing
With: me and partner (from track 2)

As if by magic, the mix switched down to “Reasons” within seconds of stepping off the cycling machine. I lugged the kit up another flight of stairs, and let the mix continue while I got myself clean and dressed.

18:10 – 18:40 ; 19:50 – 20:00
The Unthanks – Last (whole album)

How: CD
Where: in the car, travelling from Nottingham to Derbyshire, with a pub stop-off
With: me, my partner and our friend Richard

Something was playing on Radio 3 when we set off, but the track listing isn’t yet up on their website. After the Radio 4 news headlines, I stuck this on as background music. None of us payed it much attention, as we were too busy talking.

20:10 – 20:45
Disco Discharge: Disco Fever USA (disc 2, tracks 1 to 9):
- Boystown Gang – Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday
- Teddy Pendergrass – Life Is A Song Worth Singing
- Double Discovery – Step On Out
- Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch – One Love (12″ Version)
- Johnny Mathis – Begin The Beguine (Special Disco Version)
- Area Code (212) – Duke’s Train
- Ultimate – Ritmo De Brazil
- Paradise Express – Dance (12″ Mix)
- Gloria Gaynor – Love Is Just A Heartbeat Away (Nocturna’s Theme)

How: CD
Where: cottage hi-fi, wired up to three sets of speakers in three different rooms
With: me and partner

This played while we unpacked and K prepared dinner, then continued at lower volume while we ate. Second Boystown Gang track of the day! K commented on how much he was enjoying the compilation.

Favourite track of the day: David Allen & Euterpe – Good Morning (I sang along, loudly and badly)
Worst track of the day: Jason DeRulo – Ridin’ Solo


Music diary project – Day Four

April 7, 2011

09:15 – 09:30
Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
AGF/Delay – Most Beautiful Kill
Funeral Party – The Golden Age Of Knowhere

How: Spotify on iPhone
Where: walking to work
With: just me

“Everywhere” was my morning earworm, so I surrendered. Delightfully sunny-spring-morning-appropriate, although it did confirm that I prefer the Vampire Weekend version. Then a couple of shuffles from the “albums not yet heard” playlist. Funeral Party are going straight in the bin, ugh, not for me at ALL.

10:00 – 10:04
Beach Boys – Student Demonstration Time

How: Spotify on iPhone
Where: office
With: just me

This won an ILM “Worst Beach Boys Song Ever” poll (which took place in 2009, but the thread has just been revived). I have a macabre fascination with bad music, so went straight to Spotify. Good Lord, this is the Beach Boys?

10:55 – 11:05
Doyle & the Fourfathers – Never The Bride / The Governor Of Giving Up / Lonely In Our Glory

How: Spotify on iPhone
Where: office
With: just me

They’re supporting The Undertones at the Rescue Rooms tonight. I accidentally played the B-side first. The A-side was much better, so I tried the last track on the album. It didn’t grab me.

13:15 – 13:45
Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil
other unidentified tracks, played at low volume, none of which registered
Saint Etienne – Only Love Will Beak Your Heart

How: speaker system in deli
Where: same deli as Tuesday
With: staff and customers

I don’t think I’ve ever had a significant positive musical experience in this deli; several negative ones, though (someone in that place is overly fond of mournful singer-songwriters, who could only be appreciated in wholly different circumstances). Again, the music was only at the threshhold of audibility. So even when they play tracks I like, I’m barely aware of them.

16:30 – 17:10
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

How: Spotify on iPhone (tracks 1 to 5), iTunes on laptop, external speakers (tracks 6 to 11)
Where: walking home; at home
With: just me

Enough with the first plays and random punts. This is my favourite album of 2011 to date (it’s also my favourite PJ Harvey album to date), and I’ve been thinking a lot about it this week.

18:50 – 19:10
Panda Bear – Tomboy (tracks 1 to 7)

How: iTunes on laptop, external speakers
Where: home
With: just me

Everybody else is playing it, so why shouldn’t I? Enjoyed it to start with, was tiring of the sound of it by track 7.

20:20 – 22:30
Doyle & the Fourfathers – one and a half songs
The Undertones – debut album plus remainder of live set

How: live gig
Where: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
With: my friend Michelle, audience at gig

We caught the end of the support set, then took position at the very front, against the crash barriers. There must have been music between the acts, but it didn’t register at all. Great gig, will be reviewing it first thing tomorrow morning.

22:35 – 22:38
Oasis – Live Forever

How: DJ on record decks
Where: Rescue Rooms bar
With: punters at the bar

Heard this while buying post-gig drinks, before heading outside. The Rescue Rooms bar has vinyl DJs every Thursday evening. My favourite Oasis song, always good to hear it.

Favourite track of the day: The Undertones – Teenage Kicks (live)
Worst track of the day: Funeral Party – The Golden Age Of Knowhere


Music diary project – Day Three

April 6, 2011

09:45 – 09:48
Vendela – Punk Rock Song

How: YouTube on iPhone
Where: office
With: just me

I came to this via Twitter, which led me to Popjustice, which led me to YouTube. Enjoyably daft Scandi-pop with silly lyrics about 1977 and Patti Smith, which appealed to my “popist turncoat” side.

12:30 – 12:35
Martin Solveig / Dragonette – Hello

How: Spotify on iPhone
Where: leaving the office, out on the street
With: just me

Sometimes, the best way of dealing with an earworm is just to give in and play the damned thing.

12:35 – 13:35 (intermittently, with pauses)
Big Audio Dynamite – No, 10, Upping St. (tracks 1 to 6)

How: Spotify on iPhone
Where: out and about in the city centre
With: just me

I’m seeing BAD tonight, so this was preparatory listening. “Hello” into “C’mon Every Beatbox” turned out to be a remarkably effective segue.

14:30 – 14:44
Britney Spears – Heaven On Earth

How: Spotify on iPhone
Where: office
With: just me

Marcello Carlin’s forensic dissection of this track (from his forthcoming book-of-the-blog, The Blue In The Air) compelled me to play this again. I’m not much of a Britney fan and so I never really gave her Blackout album a chance, but a favourable consensus is slowly building around it – particularly for the way that it accurately foreshadowed the commercial dance-pop of the past two years – and, yes, this is a terrific track (and only Marcello could correctly spot the Scritti Polittii connection!)

15:20 – 15:28
Nebraska – This Is The Way

How: YouTube on iPhone
Where: office
With: just me

A Facebook friend posted the YouTube on her wall, and I followed the link. Able, sunny, funky, French-sounding (although actually Dutch) filter-disco-house from September 2010.

17:30 – 17:45
Basement Freaks – Something Freaky
Daniel Owino Misiani and Shirati Band – Ngeruok Joshirati Pt 1
Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal – Regret – A Kader Barry

How: Spotify on iPhone
Where: walking home
With: just me

A shuffle of my “albums not yet listened to” playlist yielded these three, including two pieces of African music. Basement Freaks didn’t really do it for me, and neither did the last track of theirs that I played, so that one’s coming off the playlist.

19:15 – 20:00
Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing
Fyfe Dangerfield – She’s Always A Woman
Rolling Stones – Satisfaction
Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
Boy George – Everything I Own
Adele – Rolling In The Deep
Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong

How: BBC Radio Nottingham
Where: at the radio station
With: BBC staff, and listeners to BBC local radio in the East Midlands

I did a half hour stint on the radio this evening (click here for Listen Again, starts at 32:30), talking to James Lloyd about stories in the news today – which, in my case, involved yakking on about Big Brother, Rupert Murdoch, John Prescott, Vince Cable and Mariah Carey. These were the tunes that preceded my broadcast, and which were played between our slots. I enjoyed “Everywhere” the most.

21:00 – 22:45
The Kinks – Lola
New Order – Blue Monday
unidentified ska track
Big Audio Dynamite live set: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Medicine Show, Beyond The Pale, Robin Hood (Riding Through the Glen), A Party, V. Thirteen, Bad, Just Play Music, C’mon Every Beatbox, Sightsee M.C! Other 99, The Battle Of All Saints Road, Rewind, 20th Century Fox theme, The Bottom Line, E=MC2, Rush

How: live gig
Where: Rock City, Nottingham
With: fellow gig-goers

Although I interviewed Don Letts for the Post, I wasn’t on reviewing duty for this gig – and I’m not about to reverse that situation by reviewing it here, either. Suffice it to say that BAD were great, Mick Jones was unexpectedly smiley throughout, the punk rock dads frugged like it was 1986, and that “The Bottom Line” and “E=MC2″ were the highlights.

23:40 – 00:00
Burial – Street Halo EP (all three tracks)

How: iTunes on laptop through external speakers
Where: home
With: just me

First play. Really liked this. The first track was a bit of a clubbed-up curveball (comparatively speaking), then the second and third tracks reverted to more recognisable type. Ideal late evening listening. I’m not bored of this formula yet.

Favourite track of the day: Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2 (live at Rock City)
Worst track of the day: Fyfe Dangerfield – She’s Always A Woman


Music diary project – Day Two

April 5, 2011

09:25 – 10:15
Katy B – On A Mission (whole album)

How: iPod, via headphones
Where: Walk to work, office
With: just me

First play of an eagerly awaited album. I resisted the temptation to skip the tracks I already knew, in favour of hearing the whole thing in context. I had read a lot about this album, and it lived up to expectations.

13:00 – 14:00 (intermittently, with pauses)
Spotify playlist: UK Top 100 – Parade, Martin Solveig/Dragonette, Peter Kay & Susan Boyle, Diddy – Dirty Money, Katy Perry, Taio Cruz, Enrique Iglesias, Rihanna, Adele.

How: iPhone, with headphones
Where: office, walk to/from deli, office
With: just me

Ugg, this felt like homework. Even the songs I like were dragged down by their neighbours.

13:00 – 13:30
Alicia Keys – Fallin’ (plus other unidentified tracks by other artists)

How: sound system in deli, almost certainly on shuffle
Where: deli
With: me and patrons

This wasn’t the same deli as yesterday; I divide my loyalty between two establishments. This place alternates between Radio Two and some sort of hidden MP3 player on shuffle. The volume was lower than usual today, almost to the point of inaudibility, but there was no mistaking the Alicia Keys track. One of the other tracks sounded like early 90s ambient techno: Banco De Gaia, Bandulu, that sort of thing.

(At least it wasn’t Air’s Moon Safari, or Moby’s Play, or The Sodding Gotan Project, as all three remain deathless stalwarts of this city’s “continental cafe bar” scene. Perhaps it’s time for some sort of Official Product Recall.)

14:40 – 14:50
Tiesto/Diplo/Busta Rhymes – C’mon (Catch ‘Em By Surprise)
Glee Cast – Thriller/Heads Will Roll

How: iPhone YouTube, with headphones
Where: office
With: just me

Three tracks in the current Top 40 can’t be accessed via the Spotify playlist, and so my completist streak compelled me to seek them out. Birdy’s cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” can’t be played via the YouTube app, so that’s a treat in store for later.

I had to stop the Glee Cast’s Michael Jackson/Yeah Yeah Yeahs mash-up halfway through, as it was unbearable: turns out that Jessie J’s “Do It Like A Dude” isn’t the worst track in the Top 40 after all.

17:45 – 18:05
Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting (tracks 1 to 5)

How: iPod, via headphones
Where: Office, walking home
With: just me

Another long-awaited first listen. Enjoyable, but my first thoughts were that James Blake and especially Nicolas Jaar have the edge when it comes to this sort of thing.

23:20 – 23:25
Birdy – Skinny Love

How: YouTube on laptop, via in-built speakers
Where: home
With: just me

After an evening spent writing pseudonymous romantic fiction in silence (or rather, while K watched the telly), this Bon Iver cover provided a sweet end to the day – and also to my accursed “listen to everything in the Top 40″ project.

Favourite track of the day: Birdy – Skinny Love
Worst track of the day: Glee Cast – Thriller / Heads Will Roll


Music diary project – Day One

April 4, 2011

This week, I’m taking part in Nick Southall’s Music Diary Project, which runs for the next seven days. The project involves logging all the music that we listen to, day by day: what we’ve played, how we’ve listened to it, how we chose it (if indeed we chose it all), and how we enjoyed it. It’s not really about reviewing the music as such; it’s more about taking a collective snapshot, and seeing what emerges.

(Note: I’m not including soundtracks or incidental music heard via the TV.)

Here goes with Day One, then.

8:40 – 9:30
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (whole album)

How: CDR, car stereo
Where: car from home to work
With: partner

Listened to “for evaluation purposes”. Second play of the album. Enjoyed it less than the first play; it sounded less sepulchral and more whiney, and the spaciousness which I’d enjoyed the previous night didn’t translate to the car stereo. Not yet sure whether I’ll buy it. Chosen with partner’s tastes in mind. It also needed to be something gentle but immersive; only certain musical moods work on our Monday morning drives from Derbyshire back to Nottingham. (I always choose the music, and I usually favour non-dancey electronica.) I had burnt the CDR specifically for the journey, as the car has no facilities for hooking up an MP3 player.

9:30 – 9:50
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs (tracks 1 to 4)

How: CDR, car stereo
Where: car from home to work
With: partner

Again, listened to “for evaluation purposes”. First play. Enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to; I’ve been steadily losing interest in Radiohead over the past seven or eight years, but this jolted me back to full attention – particularly during Track 2 (Morning Mr Magpie). We were caught in a couple of traffic jams, which allowed for closer listening as the bass frequencies were easier to hear. Decided I would probably buy it. Again, the CDR was burnt specifically for the journey.

10:45 – 11:10
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs (tracks 5 to 8 )

How: iPod, via headphones
Where: Round trip from office to coffee shop
With: just me

Having enjoyed the first half in the car, I wanted to complete the album. The second half seemed quieter, gentler, more meditative, and this matched my mood well. On the strength of this, I bought the CD in Fopp at lunchtime, along with the Katy B album (released today).

11:00 – 11:02
Tinie Tempah – Pass Out

How: radio – Capital FM
Where: coffee shop
With: proprietor (who almost certainly wasn’t paying even the slightest attention)

Track was playing at low volume; I had to strain my ears to ID it.

11:18 – 11:22
Acid House Kings – Are We Lovers Or Are We Friends?

How: iPod, with headphones
Where: office
With: just me

I spotted the band name when scrolling through the iPod menu. Hadn’t realised I owned the track (it was burnt from a Word magazine cover mount), and wanted to hear what the band sounded like. Quite enjoyed it. Reminded me of Camera Obscura.

12:05 – 15:20 (intermittently, with pauses)
Spotify playlist: UK Top 100 – Jennifer Lopez, Adele, LMFAO, Black Eyed Peas, Nicole Scherzinger, Wiz Khalifa, Jessie J, Katy B, Rihanna, Dr Dre/Eminem/Skylar Grey, Mann/50 Cent, Katy Perry, Lady GaGa, The Wanted, Adele, Snoop Dogg/David Guetta, Kanye West, Chris Brown, Cee Lo Green, Bruno Mars, Alexis Jordan, Noah & the Whale, Chipmunk/Chris Brown, Tinie Tempah/Ellie Goulding

How: iPhone, with headphones
Where: office, city centre, office
With: just me

ILM are running a poll on the current UK Top 40. As I’ve only knowingly heard 17 of the current 40, and as I like to keep myself in the loop chart-wise, I decided to work my way through the playlist (which I update weekly), in descending order from #1, scoring each track out of 10 and re-arranging them in descending order of preference in Excel. Anal, moi?

An enjoyable exercise, as my sweet tooth remains undimmed by the passing of the years and my tolerance for identikit “in the club” bangers is high – but by the time we get to Alexis Jordan/ Noah & the Whale/Chipmunk/Tinie Tempah ft Ellie Goulding (numbers #22 to #25), I’m flagging, my ears trashed out from the sugary excess. Time to take a break.

12:45 – 12:55
Bibio – Mind Bokeh – two or three tracks

How: in-store sound system, via CD
Where: Fopp, Nottingham
With: staff and customers (none of whom seemed to be paying any attention to it)

Didn’t particularly register. Pleasant enough.

13:00 – 13:30
Various 1990s tracks, not all recognised, including Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away / Oasis – Slide Away / Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now / Pulp – Babies

How: in-store radio
Where: city centre cafe/deli
With: staff and customers

The deli usually plays their own music, but today they were tuned to an unknown radio station that played nothing but 90s music. Irritated by the Kravitz; enjoyed the Pulp.

16:20 – 16:45
TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light (tracks 1 to 5)

How: iPod, with headphones
Where: office
With: just me

Today’s third “for evaluation purposes” play. I usually use Spotify for such things, so today is not at all typical. Sounds fine in its way, but I’m not immediately grabbed, possibly because I’m not in the right mood. Will re-visit at a more receptive time.

16:50 – 17:35
Shuffled MP3s on work PC:
Bettye Lavette – Let Me Down Easy
James Litherland – Where To Turn
Nocera – Summertime, Summertime
Radiohead – These Are My Twisted Words
Peech Boys – Come On, Come On (Don’t Say Maybe)
Busy Signal – Tic Toc (Green Money Liquid Re-Rub)
Jackie DeShannon – Don’t Turn Your Back On Me
Mandy Smith – I Just Can’t Wait
The Cuban Boys – The Nation Needs You
Cocteau Twins – Aikea-Guinea

How: Windows Media Player on shuffle, with headphones
Where: office
With: just me

I’ll be losing this hard drive soon, and the small collection of MP3s that sits on it. (It was a much larger collection, acquired over the past four or five years, but I trimmed it right down a few months ago.) Time to shuffle through them, before it goes. As I listened to the mix, which flowed remarkably well, I realised that I probably wanted to retain all this music, so I cut-and-pasted the MP3s to my personal area on the network drive.

Shuffle often doesn’t work too well for me, but the gods were smiling this afternoon – and so this ended up being my most pleasurable listening experience of the day.

17:45 – 18:00
Spotify playlist: UK Top 100 – David Guetta/Rihanna, Pink, Jessie J, Jeremih

How: iPhone, with headphones
Where: walking home from work
With: just me

One OK track, two rubbish ones (which I diligently endured in their entirety), one uninspiring one. Oh well.

22:45 – 23:20
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs (whole album)

How: CD, home hi-fi
Where: home
With: partner (first two tracks only)

It was either this or the as yet unplayed Katy B CD, but I wanted something gentler that also wouldn’t piss off my partner. A very pleasant late evening listen, while I performed admin tasks on the village blog and drafted this post.

Favourite track of the day: Morning Mr Magpie – Radiohead
Worst track of the day: Do It Like A Dude – Jessie J


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