Wednesday 6 February 2008

hello mrs Jones, how's your Bert's lumbago?

>>>>> ST's ALPHABETICON - S <<<<<

Previously in the Alphabeticon: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, singles, N, O, P, Q, R

Right, come on then. We're nearly through this. Only a handful more letters to go, and we'll be done. Just as an indicator of how far we've come, we're now nearly through one set of shelves and onto the CD tower standing next to it. As always, this is not an attempt to list every single record that I own. Rather, it is a tread through the CDs stored in one particular room, and does not include any stored anywhere more accessible, like in the car, near any of the stereos or in an untidy little pile on the stairs.

And quite an eclectic mix they're turning out to be, too....

Anyway. On with the show.

410. The Seahorses – Do It Yourself

The guitarist from the Stone Roses and a busker from York (who I probably walked past many times on Stonegate). Any good? Well, surprisingly so. Perhaps even more surprising was that the busker (Chris Helme) actually wrote a couple of decent songs on the album. I mean, they weren't fantastic or anything, but I've probably listened to this album nearly as much as "Second Coming". I'm also not entirely sure I can entirely forgive them for the use of the phrase "blind cobbler's thumbs" on "Love is the Law". I've not listened to this in about ten years, now I think of it.

411. Sleeper – Smart

Louise Wener
had a big gob, for sure, but Sleeper were actually alright. This album is noteworthy for "Inbetweener" and "Delicious", but they're greatest moments came later with "Sale of the Century", "Nice Guy Eddie" and "Statuesque", good songs all. Also notable for being the unwitting source of the phrase "Sleeperbloke".

412. Small Faces – The Best of

"Itchycoo Park", "Lazy Sunday", "All or Nothing"... what else do you need? One thing that niggles me about the Small Faces is that, as a result of my experiences with the WT's, I get annoyed every time I read about how Ronnie Lane died after a long struggles against MS. No! You don't bloody die of MS... you just have MS when you die. Whenever people talk about it like that -- and they did the same thing with Richard Prior -- they are perpetuating this image of the disease as being a death sentence. It's not a pleasant illness, for sure, but it's not the end. Anyway. The Small Faces. Good band, and responsible for at least one genius piece of lyric writing (see above).

413. Stone Roses – Stone Roses
414. Stone Roses – Turns Into Stone
415. Stone Roses – Second Coming

Such a brilliant band, but it's hard for me to think about the Stone Roses without thinking how good they could have been. Ian Brown himself is the first to admit that they had it all and they blew it.... but for all that "Second Coming" has to be one of the most disappointing albums ever, they still have a legacy that most bands would die for. That first album remains a thing of shimmering beauty, and you can clearly hear their influence in most British guitar bands since. Funnily enough, I hated them with a passion at the time, and I despised all that massive flares nonsense. It was about five years later that I actually listened to the music.... my loss, eh?

416. Simon & Garfunkel – Definitive
417. Simon & Garfunkel – Sounds of Silence
418. Paul Simon – Graceland

Not very Rock and Roll, this pair, but I really could listen to them forever. So soothing. Paul Simon is probably a bit of a burk, but he certainly knows his way around a song. Of course, his partner went on to open a chain of crappy restaurants, didn't he? (coincidentally, there's an article about how brilliant - but uncool - these two are in the Guardian today)

419. The Streets – Original Pirate Material
420. The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come for Free
421. The Streets - The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living

The original urchin, and arguably an artist with a lot to answer for as a likely inspiration for the likes of Jamie T, Lily Allen and so on. I can't help but think that he makes exactly the kind of music that I really ought to hate, and yet I've been with him since the very first album. Yeah, alright, so the early stuff is quite patchy, and his last album was a bit up its own arse, but "A Grand Don't Come For Free" is an absolute masterpiece, from start to finish. He's a poet, innit?

422. Snow Patrol – Songs For Polarbears
423. Snow Patrol – When It’s All Over We Still Have to Clear Up
424. Snow Patrol – Final Straw
425. Snow Patrol – Eyes Open
426. Reindeer Section – Y’All Get Scared Now, Ya Hear!
427. Reindeer Section – Son of Evil Reindeer

Yeah, yeah. I've heard all the jokes about Snow Patrol and you can laugh about them being middle-of-the-road Coldplay copyists all you like... but at their best, Snow Patrol are an uplifting experience. The accent probably helps, but Gary Lightbody's got one of those voices that just oozes feeling, and he's one of those songwriters who is completely unafraid to strip him emotions bare for everyone to see. Just listen to "Run" or "Chasing Cars". It might be cool to hate them, but I think there's an awful lot to like about this band. The early stuff? Not so consistently good as the last two albums. The Reindeer Section stuff is also well worth checking out too.

428. Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks

Proves categorically that the controversy magnets had the musical chops too. Still sounds ace today.

430. Sigur Ros – Agaetis Byrjun

No other band on the planet sounds remotely like Sigur Ros. Their music is unearthly and beautiful. I've got the rest of their stuff on iTunes, but this is where it all started for me. It's like listening to whalesong.

431. Soulwax – 2ManyDJs

The moment I really appreciated the real genius of the iPod was on a flight back from Australia back in January 2004 when I had a sudden craving to listen to this album.... and there it was.

432. The Strokes – Is This It?
433. The Strokes – Room on Fire

Overrated and overhyped show ponies. I stuck with them for the first two albums and then more or less gave up. They're alright, but are they really all that?

434. Suede – Suede
435. Suede – dog man star
436. Suede – Coming Up

I first saw Suede a week or so before their debut album came out in the Summer of 1993. I gave up the chance to see the Velvet Underground performing on the Pyramid Stage to watch the most hyped band of the day performing on the NME Stage. They were superb. It was to be the only time that I saw them live, but even then I'm not sure it softens the blow of missing out on one of the greatest bands ever.... but they were good. My favourite album of theirs has to be"Dog Man Star", simply because it was posted out to me on a cassette (with "Chelsea Girl" by Nico on the other side) by a really good friend when I was studying in Venice. Listening to it will always remind me of that time.

437. Super Furry Animals – Radiator

A good band whose back catalogue I have never really explored. I've not even listened to this one much, having picked it up for a couple of quid. I like their stuff, so I really should give them a fair crack of the whip. Who wouldn't love a band who own their own tank?

438. Spiritualised – Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space

Very good, but sadly underplayed.

439. Soundgarden – Louder than Love / BadMotorFinger
440. Soundgarden – Superunknown

"Superunknown" was absolutely massive, but for me it was all about "BadMotorFinger". Chris Cornell is arguably more famous now for Audioslave, and Soundgarden generally have been enormously overshadowed by Nirvana and the legend of Kurt Cobain.... but people forget that they were a damn good rock band in their own right.

441. Starsailor – Love is Here

Yeah, so the singer is probably a bit of a twat, but the keyboardist used to be the organist in a crematorium round Manchester way, so that probably just about balances itself out. They were built up to be something greater than they are, but that doesn't make them a bad band by any stretch of the imagination. I've seen them play a few times - they got it wrong at Glastonbury when they wheeled Donovan out onto stage with them, but the other couple of times they have been good... much better than expected, actually. The last album was superb too.

442. Frank Sinatra – My Way

I hate him generally, but I get these inexplicable cravings to listen to him from time to time.

443. Dusty Springfield – Dusty in Memphis

Legend. Brilliant, brilliant album and such a gorgeous voice. My favourite ever female singer, and perhaps my second favourite singer of all time (after Scott Walker, obviously)

444. Sandie Shaw – Nothing Less Than Brilliant

I'd love to say that it was Morrissey who put me onto Sandie Shaw and that I bought this album mainly to get her version of "Hand in Glove".... but the truth is far less cool than that. I've always had something of a soft spot for female singers like this (see Dusty above) and her version of Bacharach's "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" is sublime. Oh, and there's "Puppet on a String" too, of course.....
445. Patti Smith – Horses

446. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Extra Width
447. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Orange
448. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Now I Got Worry

Silly, shouty, exclamatory rock music. YAY-AH! Actually, the guitarist from this lot, Judah Bauer, is now working with Cat Power and playing a rather subtler form of music. That's all very well, but I bet he misses this though. This sounds like it was a lot of fun.

449. Spinal Tap – Smell The Glove

A properly brilliant album. It goes up to 11, you see....

450. Stevie Salas Colorcode – Stevie Salas Colorcode

Ask my friend Des, he'll tell you all day long just how brilliant this record is. As if that wasn't enough of a claim to fame, apparently he's the one who play's Rufus' amazing guitar solo in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure". How cool is that?

451. Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
452. Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Overrated. Sorry, but they are. Whiny nonsense.

453. Supergrass – I Should Coco
454. Supergrass – In It For The Money
455. Supergrass – Supergrass is 10

He didn't fall out of that window sleepwalking, you know... he was drunk and trying to avoid waking up his girlfriend's parents by going for a piss, so he attemped to use the open, floor-length window.....and fell out. Rock and Roll! There's so much more to Supergrass than "Alright", but you're right-thinking people, so you already know that. My favourite Supergrass moment was when they were playing Glastonbury in place of the Libertines in 2004. They played in an absolute downpour, and just as we thought it couldn't rain any harder, it did, and the crowd howled at the sky in defiance as one (in the middle of a song). Shortly afterwards, the most gorgeous rainbow came out, and the band stopped playing to admire it with us.

456. Stereophonics – Word Gets Around
457. Stereophonics – Performance & Cocktails

I think the thing that I hate the most about the Sterophonics is that they used to be good and I used to like them. Before it was all lazy, trad-rock nonsense, Kelly Jones used to be able to write songs as good as "Local Boy In The Photograph". He still shows glimpses of that talent from time to time - "Dakota" being a prime example - but in the main he has opted for the easy route. My favorite Stereophonics memory? Not watching them headline Glastonbury in 2002. That woman doing ballet in mid-air whilst attached to a hot air balloon in the circus field was much more interesting.

458. Sonic Youth - Washing Machine
459. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation

I'm determined to make more of an effort with these, but mostly what I can hear is feedback. Must try harder. They're seminal, right?

460. Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
461. Sufjan Stevens - Greeting from Michigan: the Great Lake State
462. Sufjan Stevens - Come On Feel the Illinoise!
463. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
464. Sufjan Stevens - Songs for Christmas

My great musical discovery of 2006. He's christian, plays a banjo and writes songs with the most absurd titles. I should probably hate him, but I just can't. Your ears would have to be painted on not to realise how talented this man is. "Chicago" is fantastic, of course, but "Casimir Pulaski Day" brings tears to my eyes every single time that I hear it.... not something that many songs or singers are capable of making me do. The beauty of it is that he's so prolific that not only does he have a decent sized back catalogue for me to explore, but another album will be along soon and it will no doubt be swiftly followed by another album full of ridiculously high quality off-cuts. Even the Christmas songs are superb. Do yourself and your record collection a favour.....

Lost somewhere in iTunes: Saint Etienne, Salad, Sam & Dave, Santana, Scorpions, Scouting for Girls, Sea Urchins, Seasick Steve, The Secret Machines, Semisonic, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Sepultura, Shaggy, Shakira, The Shirelles, Sing-Sing, Six By Seven, Skids, The Sleepy Jackson, Smash Mouth, Snoop Doggy Dogg, The Specials, Squeeze, Steppenwolf, Stiff Little Fingers, Stranglers, Supernaturals, Sugababes....

Next week --- contain yourselves --- it's T!


Shuffleathon 2007 news

Look, if anyone is feeling a bit hard done by because they haven't had a review, drop me an email and I'll be happy to have a go. The more CDs to listen to, the merrier, eh?

If you're interested, the big table is down here.


  1. Kelly Jones has never written a song as good as Local Boy...

  2. I've seen Chris Helmes' band "The Yards" perform several times - including at Fibbers in York. They supported Love / Arthur Lee on a couple of their UK tours a few years ago - he's a great vocalist, I don't know why he isn't much better known than he is.

  3. Come on....own up to the Status Quo back catalogue.

  4. Sometimes I wonder if you come round to mine while I'm out to do this. (Without the Snow Patrol, obviously.)

  5. and i thought i was the only one who owned a stevie salas cd! "the harder they come" is one the best "shoulda been a hit" records of all time.