>>>>> ST's ALPHABETICON - V <<<<<
Previously in the Alphabeticon: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, singles, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U
So, our weekly trawl through some of the dustier shelves in my back room. You know, someone was actually asleep in the toilets at work this afternoon. In trap four. Proper snoring asleep. Rob came over and told us all about it and everyone thought it was dead funny... although I did mention that perhaps the poor bugger had a problem: medication, narcolepsy... something like that. Maybe someone should check? How would you like to wake up in the toilets in your office at 2am? I went down there, and sure enough, snoring. I slammed the door of the trap next door, loudly blew my nose, pulled the flush and slammed the door again. Someone emerged, blinking from the cubicle, washed their hands and splashed the water sleepily onto his face and left. Well, at least he's alright, eh? What a place to fall asleep. It's wrong on so many levels...
Where were we?
Ah yes, "V".
489. The Verve – Urban Hymns
"The Drugs Don't Work" was the number one in the UK singles chart on the day I moved to Nottingham; the day that Diana died / was killed [insert the absurd, ill-thought out conspiracy theory of your choice here]. I quite like the Verve, and this album has got a few fantastic songs on it, but it's never entirely floated my boat and I'm not sure why. I saw them at Glastonbury back in 1993, in the days before they attached the definite article, and in a festival that included Suede, Van Morrison, The Kinks, the Velvet Underground, the Lemonheads and umpteen other fantastic bands, they were probably the best thing I saw all weekend. Richard Ashcroft clearly has a touch of whatever Johnny Borrell has too.... a desperately over-inflated sense of how talented they really are. Still, he is talented though: 'Bittersweet Symphony" sounds as great today as it did back in 1997.
490. The Vines – Highly Evolved
Worth the price of admission just for "Get Free", but otherwise an album that doesn't entirely satisfy.
491. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
492. The Velvet Underground – Loaded
493. The Velvet Underground – White Light / White Heat
494. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
495. Lou Reed – Transformer
496. Lou Reed – Berlin
497. Lou Reed – New York
498. Nico – Chelsea Girl
499. John Cale – Fragments of a Rainy Season
500. John Cale – Close Watch: an introduction to John Cale
Ah. Now we're talking. This is a proper band.... although for reasons best known to myself, that night they headlined the Pyramid Stage, I chose to go and watch Suede on the Other Stage instead. I caught a bit of them (playing "Venus in Furs") when I was walking back up the hill to my tent. Ah well, I'm older and wiser now, even if it's sadly far too late to get another chance to watch the VU in action properly. What a band though, eh? It famously took "The Velvet Underground and Nico" (the banana album) some 25 years to go gold, and David Bowie apparently took to standing on a New York street corner handing out copies of the album to passers-by and trying to tell them how good it was. It's a bloody brilliant album. All of their albums are brilliant. "Pale Blue Eyes" and "Jesus" are two of the best songs ever recorded, and "Sweet Jane" contains the greatest "Just watch me now!" ever committed to record. Lou Reed's solo work is also fantastic. "Walk on the Wild Side" makes "Transformer" his best known solo album, but "Berlin" is probably the more satisfying listen, and the much more recent "New York" is worth a go too. Having said that, his concert at the Albert Hall was one of the most tedious gigs I have ever been too in my life. In fact, it was the most tedious bar Bob Dylan. He looked like he was having a great time, but I reckon he must have been the only one. Ah well, legend. John Cale's work is probably less immediate and is a lot more stylised, although it's not all screechy viola solos... songs like "Paris 1919" and "Child's Christmas in Wales" stand up to almost anything. Superb. And as for "Chelsea Girl", well, she was working with people like Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, John Cale and Bob Dylan. How could it be shit? Her voice is perhaps an acquired taste, but I love it. There's some of my favourite albums in this lot, that's for sure.
501. Suzanne Vega – Solitude Standing
Come on, it's got "Tom's Diner" and (especially) "Luka" on it. What more do you need?
502. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
I was introduced to this band very late - only a couple of years ago actually, thanks to Cat's inclusion of "Add it Up" on her shuffleathon CD for me. I knew "Blister in the Sun", of course, but their brand of very distinctive folk punk is exhilirating. I love the way the drums play such a prominent role in their sound.
503. The View – Hats off to the Buskers
Meh. It's alright, I suppose, but I'm a bit bored of "Same Jeans" and I'm not really sure that they've got much else to offer. And anyway, hands up who washes their jeans after less then three days wear? Really? Think of the environment!
504. Verbal Warning – A Kick in the Verbals
A friend of mine's punk band. I'm not sure that they're ever really going to go anywhere, being as they're all in their 40s now... but on the other hand, they spend most weekends playing pubs, clubs and festivals for beer money, sometimes supporting their idols like the Stiff Little Fingers. I don't think you can argue with a hobby like that, eh? And you know what? they're actually pretty good too! More power to them, I say.
Lost in iTunes: Van Halen, Viva Voce, Von Bondies, Voxtrot
Next time... Scott Walker, obviously.