1000 Shades of Grey
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Review Time
So, having dispatched my meagre offering to Threelight, I waited for my Shuffleathon CD to arrive in the post, and last Friday it plopped on to the doormat with a reassuring thud. Tearing at the packaging, I found a nice letter from Cat apologising for any technical difficulties I might experience, and proffering up the following track listing for my aural pleasure.

Girls Who Play Guitars - Maximo Park
Brassneck - The Wedding Present
No I In Threesome - Interpol
Half a Person - The Smiths
Echo Beach - Martha & The Muffins
Fortune Favours Only The Brave - Peter, Bjorn & John
First Day Of My Life - Bright Eyes
Hobart Paving - St Etinenne
Don't Falter - Mint Royale (Featuring Lauren Laverne)
The Golden Path - Chemical Brothers (Featuring Flaming Lips)
Once & Never Again - Long Blondes
Never - The House of Love

With no technical hitches whatsoever, I've now been playing it solidly for a week and my thoughts are as follows:

Girls Who Play Guitars - Maximo Park
I'm not sure if Cat thought to sway my affections at an early stage by introducing some fellow Geordies into proceedings, or just plumped for a thumping great tune. Either way it worked - a top song that really gets us off on the right foot.

Brassneck - The Wedding Present
Unlike the preceding number, this one took a few listens to before I really got into it. However, my perseverance was definitely rewarded, and it carries the momentum of the CD nicely.

No I In Threesome - Interpol
Consider the momentum well and truly carried on, as the lyric exhorting us to try new things could hardly ring truer for the whole Shuffleathon process. So far, so good.

Half a person - The Smiths
I realise that criticising Morissey for being a bit wet and whiny is considered sacrilege in some parts, but I've never really gotten in to the Smiths. However, in small doses and with the benefit of repeated listens, I really enjoyed this song, so thank you Cat. Really should give The Queen Is Dead another go...

Echo Beach - Martha & The Muffins
Still on a four song high, this carries on the euphoric wave with a bouncy paean to wanting to be anywhere but in the office, with a great bouncy tune evocative of all that is good about ska.

Fortune Favours Only The Brave - Peter, Bjorn & John
I always imagine Peter, Bjorn and John as a present day Rod, Jane & Freddie - something to do with the name I think. This song took a couple of listens to get into, but despite the fact that the singer (Peter, Bjorn or John - I'm not sure which, and a little too lazy to find out) sounds like his tongue is too big for his mouth as he splutters and slobbers his way through his F's, this is actually a top record.

First Day Of My Life - Bright Eyes
Changing pace, the CD slows down with the benefit of a bloke and his guitar singing about love in a really nice touching way. Seven songs, seven winners so far.

Hobart Paving - St Etienne
I've listened to this song quite a lot over the last week, and I'll be honest, I really can't stand it. It drags on, and doesn't really seem to go anywhere, and I just don't like it. Is this the start of a downhill trend?

Don't Falter - Mint Royale (Featuring Lauren Laverne)
Thankfully not! I remember really loving this when it first came out, and time hasn't dimmed my love of this brilliant bit of pop. A sparkling return to form.

The Golden Path - Chemical Brothers (Featuring Flaming Lips)
Perhaps not my favourite Chemical Brothers song, this is still a decent record, and provides an interesting bit of dancey variety to an otherwise largely guitar led album.

Once & Never Again - Long Blondes
Back to the guitars, and this again presses lots of good buttons for me.

Never - The House of Love
To finish - well, that'll be an extra helping of guitar to wash down the wafer thin mint at the end of the feast.

So, overall a cracking CD. I feel really fortunate to have received Cat's CD which (with one exception) I really enjoy and have continued to enjoy all week. I'll be sure to shift it on to my mp3 player, and will also be hunting out records by Peter Bjorn & John and Maximo Park to add to the collection. Thanks Cat.

Also big thanks to Swiss Toni, whose brain child this is - I'm delighted I took part, and have received a brilliant CD for my efforts.

I'm now off on holiday, so hopefully will return to find that Cat still speak to me, and Threelight liked at least some (well OK, one) of the tracks on my CD...

Friday, October 12, 2007
It's in the post
With some post now getting through, I took the opportunity to post my Shuffleathon 2007 CD this week. No sign yet of it having arrived at it's destination, but I thought I'd set out the track listing here in any event, and then link to the review when it gets posted in due course.

The tracklisting (cue: drumroll)

1. This is a call - Foo Fighters
2. Mr Brightside - The Killers
3. Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed
4. F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E. - Pulp
5. Talk Tonight - Oasis
6. My Baby Just Cares For Me - Nina Simone
7. It's The End Of The World As We Know It - REM
8. We Have All The Time In The World - Fun Lovin' Criminals
9. Small Bit of Love - The Saw Doctors
10. Back To Black - Amy Winehouse
11. Unfinished Symphony - Massive Attack
12. Hurt - Jonny Cash
13. The Man Don't Give A Fuck - The Super Furry Animals

As a mix CD, I listened to it a number of times in the hope that I'd be able to gauge the pace of the album as a whole, which caused me to change the tracks included several times - out went the Sugababes cover of Living for the Weekend (too slow) and the Star Wars theme music (it just stood out too much), in came REM (because otherwise the middle part of the album seemed a bit too chilled out) and the Super Furry Animals (because Hurt, whilst brilliant, is a little too depressing as a final track). Eschewing more populist Pulp tracks from Different Class for F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E. was a tricky choice - with Misshapes being a particular personal favourite, but I really love the way that F.E.E.L.I.N.G. builds to a crescendo, and it just seemed to fit better at that point in the album as a whole.

Friends of mine won't be surprised by the strong Indie element of the album, or the appearance of a Saw Doctors song, but hopefully it goes a bit beyond the plainly predictable, and straddles a sufficient number of genres to ensure that there's at least one song on there that goes down well with its recipient.

If that's you, and you are reading this, I look forward to reading the review. If it isn't you, feel free to listen to the tracks in order and then let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 04, 2007
A warm 1000 Shades welcome to Smaller Than Life, the blog by occassional JonnyB stand in, and genuinely funny bloke Salvatore Vincent, who (by a handy quirk of fate) is ideally positioned to warn me of the joys that lie in wait, in about two months time.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Shuffling along
Despite largely keeping quiet about my musical tastes on here (and pretty much everything else in my life in recent months) I've signed myself up for the Shuffleathon 2007, which is being organised by Swiss Toni. The idea being that everyone's names go in a hat, and are drawn at random, and you then send the person you've been allocated a mix-CD with at least ten songs on, for their listening pleasure, whilst someone else returns the favour.

This morning, sat in my inbox, was the email telling me who I am supposed to be sending my CD to, which makes the whole thing all the more real, and potentially means that the person who pulled me out of the hat will be now scouring my archives looking for information on my musical tastes (or not, as the case may be). If you are that person, can I point you towards the A-Z of music feature on The Art of Noise, where I contributed to almost all of the letters (not A or B mind) which should give you a flavour of my tastes. However, I'd add, that if you can't be bothered with that much work, that's not a problem - I still look forward to receiving your CD.

For the poor unfortunate receiving my CD, it's currently about 90% decided, with my plan being to load it all on my ipod as a play list, to check it all fits together as an ensemble, before I burn it on to CD. If anyone is reading this and knows something about writing music to CDs using itunes, am I correct in thinking all I have to do is burn the playlist onto the CD and it'll then merrily play in a CD player, or am I going to lumber some poor unfortunate with a CD that won't play? (Yes, I probably should have worked this out before signing up, but where's the fun in that?)

Right, anyway, better get rummaging through my CD collection for those final couple of tracks I think I want to stick on the CD - will post a track listing here once the dust has settled, and am duty bound to post a review of the CD I receive as part of the process.

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