I decided to make E a DOUBLE POINTS WEEK to spice things up a little. Did it work? Let’s see…
Einsturzende Neubauten – Halber Mensch (Germany)
Two people (Adrian Slatcher and George Sandison) suggested this record, which I found quite surprising, because it is horrid. It sounds like Twiki (the unlovable robot companion of Buck Rogers) being thrown into a power plant.
As I listened to it, I tried to imagine what you could do as it was playing (Dance? No. Sing along? No. Cook? No. Clean? No. Drive? No.) eliminating option after option until I got to hurting people. You could, if you were so inclined, hurt people to Halber Mensch. Indeed, there was a certain type of film in the 1990s, post Silence of the Lambs, where people did just that. Bad people in, let’s be honest, bad films. Films that I didn’t want to watch then and I don’t really want to think about now but here we are, aren’t we, Adrian and George, with our soundtrack to hurting people playing as I type these words. Words that will probably hurt your feelings, but I can’t help that because you made me listen to Einsturzende Neubauten. You created this monster. It’s on you.
Eiffel – Le quart d’heure des ahuris (France)
While almost anything would sound great after Einsturzende Neubauten, Eiffel (suggested by Chris AKA ‘Pet Idiot’) were genuinely a bit of all right. Kind of like the more commercial end of Sonic Youth’s stuff but also very French, which is a combination I can really get behind.
Efterklang – Parades (Denmark)
I also liked this (suggested by Saul Hay Gallery) very much. It had a nice Sigur-Rós-but-if-they-had-got-their-shit-together vibe to it. Dreamy, but not too dreamy, and interested in actual IRL. I’m going to be revisiting this one.
Alec Empire – The Destroyer (Germany)
Graham Cox was taking, in his own words, ‘a huge risk,’ by suggesting this unrelenting album of, it could be argued, quite similar songs. I like it when people take risks but, on this occasion, it didn’t pay off. Sorry, Graham.
East 17 – Around the World (UK)
And speaking of risks, Donna Morris recommended East 17.
Well, as it turns out, I have quite a lot of time for East 17. You can hear the influence of Move Any Mountain-era The Shaman on their early stuff, they (correctly) covered Pet Shop Boys, when they started to mellow they looked to the likes of D’Angelo and Boyz II Men for inspiration not, say, Bread (looking at you, Barlow), and Stay is clearly an absolute Christmas banger.
I still don’t like Deep though. I fear I never will.
Eleni Vitali – Ta Dimotika tis (Greece)
So, after the sleigh crash that was Demis Roussos singing Christmas carols last week, Socrates Adams redeemed himself in my eyes by suggesting this. Good for him, I say. Good for him.
The Ex – 27 Passports (Netherlands)
There were moments on 27 Passports (recommended by expletive undeleted) when the guitar got a bit end-of-a-Wedding-Present-song-groovy and began to pique my interest but it never consumed my soul in the way I was hoping it might.
EOD – Named (Norway)
Fat Roland proving that if he puts his mind to it, he can turn up with the goods. No stealing ideas from Dave Hartley. No anger-recommending Chaka Demus & Pliers. No trying to get two goes. Just straightforward using his actual expertise as an actual music journalist to recommend actually good albums actually. Named is great. I loved it. See how easy that was, Fats?
Ēriks Ešenvalds – The Doors of Heaven (Latvia)
Plashing Vole actually suggested Euros Childs but I had too many UK choices and he very kindly changed his pick to Ēriks Ešenvalds. Then, I couldn’t find a copy of the recording he suggested so I compromised again and listened to The Doors of Heaven which I quite liked but didn’t love.
I did listen to my first Euros Childs record this week though (Miracle Inn) and thoroughly enjoyed it, so the Vole gets a moral victory even if he doesn’t get an actual one. Sometimes that is enough though. Sometimes that is enough.
Enemies – Embark, Embrace (Ireland)
I hadn’t heard of Enemies when Kate recommended them, so I looked them up, and can I just say, Enemies have the most perfunctory Wikipedia page I have ever seen. Somebody really should give that page a spring clean and put a bit of pep in it because a band with as much ambition as Enemies deserves a more fitting biography.
Everything is Recorded – Everything is Recorded (UK)
Picky Bastards recommended this Richard Russell project. Coincidentally, it was something that I had been planning on revisiting soon anyway having only giving it a couple of listens when it came out (which was why I gave it the nod over Euros Childs. Sorry, Vole.)
It is an album with a handful of obviously great tracks and others that I suspect will grow on me after a few more listens. Arguably it feels more like a collection than an album, which I guess is a side effect of the recording process. A very good collection mind you. It’s the album I listened to today that I’m most likely to listen to on Monday. That will have to be reflected when points are dished out.
Ennio Morricone – Greatest Western Themes of all Time (Italy)
Recommended by Rachel Bentley. You don’t need me to tell you that it is excellent.
And so, the DOUBLE points…
- Ten points to Donna Morris for correctly noticing that pop music is actually amazing. Erasure would have beaten East 17, obviously, but nobody suggested them.
- Eight points to Fat Roland for actually taking things seriously and recommending a great album.
- Six points to Picky Bastards for reminding me of an album I needed to return to.
- Four points to Rachel Bentley for the Morricone.
- Two points to Kate for introducing me to Enemies.
Plus the following…
- Six bonus points to Plashing Vole because if Picky Bastards had had another pick up their sleeve and Vole’s choice of Euros Childs had gone into competition it would have got that many points. I think that’s fair. I hope it is.
- Three bonus points to Socrates Adams for not making me listen to another Christmas album. That definitely isn’t fair, but what are you gonna do, eh?