Music bought in 2010

New [on LP]

Set Your Head On Fire by The Black Box Revelation
The Black Box Revelation is a Belgian combo consisting of Jan Paternoster and Dries Van Dijck. Just like The White Stripes, they are able to produce a full rock sound with just the two of them. Certain tracks on Set Your Head On Fire, their first full album, tend to border on the noisy and the dirty. Sometimes, it sounds like they merely hit 'record' without thinking twice about it. Other times, the results are quite stunning.

In This Light And On This Evening by Editors
Editors made a name for itself by composing and playing post punk or indie rock. Honestly, I've lost count of all the different sub genres in music nowadays. This third album sees the band enter synth pop, to the dismay of (some of) their hardcore fanbase. I don't complain.

25 Years of Def Jam by Various Artists
I'm not a major hip hop connoisseur. Sure, I know the classics the genre spawned (e.g. Rapper's Delight; Me, Myself and I; Still D.R.E. ...), but that's how far my knowledge stretches. In an effort to broaden my musical horizon, I bought this 4-LP compilation of Def Jam's biggest acts. Call me an aspiring wigga if you want to, but I like this stuff.

Orphans : Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards by Tom Waits
$125!! What the hell!? Well, you do get seven 180 gram platters. But still, what a price. My most expensive vinyl boxset so far. And the content? Brilliant, just brilliant. Check out LowDown today.

Bullet in a Bible by Green Day
Outstanding live album that introduced me to a couple of unknown Green Day songs. I'm particularly fond of Minority and Hitchin' A Ride. One complaint: the CD-version of this album contained the DVD as well; why can't we vinyl lovers get the same treatment?

21st Century Breakdown by Green Day
I already bought this album last year, but this is the collector's edition. What's special about it, you ask? Well, you get three 10" discs (one for each of the album's acts) and a CD-copy of the album, all packaged in a gorgeous and very thick book that also contains sketches and the lyrics. Very nice, if a little expensive at $69.99 plus $15.99 for shipping and handling plus $10 import tax. Damn you, customs!

Das Pop by Das Pop
Belgian band on the verge of an international breakthrough. It could use a better album title, though. Their 2011 follow-up, The Game, is rumoured to be even better.

Absynthe Minded by Absynthe Minded
Lead single 'Envoi' cleverly mixes original music by the band with a poem (translated from Dutch to English) by acclaimed writer Hugo Claus. Absynthe Minded - a great band name - have signed a contract with a French major and are scheduled to make it big any time now. They completely deserve it.

Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band
A 10" single, released to endorse Record Store Day. You haven't heard of RSD? It's an annual event that celebrates independent record stores. Big and small artists with a fondness for these outlets release special editions, extended plays, unreleased tracks etcetera. It takes place in April and, as you can guess, it's a dream come true for real music lovers. Springsteen wrote Wrecking Ball as a tribute to the Giant's Stadium, a concert/football venue that was torn down after Bruce's performance. The lyrics make specific mention of the events.

Plundered My Soul by (The) Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones made a contribution to Record Store Day as well. I have not yet taken the time to listen to this song, so I can't give you an honest opinion.

Warning: by Green Day
Wow! Green Day's 2000 offering is a blast. Splendid songs include the title track, Church On Sunday, Misery, Deadbeat Holiday, Waiting and especially the beautiful Macy's Day Parade. I never thought Green Day could write such a poignant, emotional song.

The Night Is Yours/The Days We Care About
by Isbells/Marble Sounds
Two Belgian bands on one 7" single, Isbells on side A and Marble Sounds on side B. Isbells is more famous for the time being, but The Days We Care About by Marble Sounds is the best song of the two. Discover it today.

Begin To Hope by Regina Spektor
Ah, the lovely and talented Regina Spektor. What took you so long to release your breakthrough album on vinyl? Ardent fans had to wait 5 long years - I purposely held off on buying the CD. At long last, we can enjoy Spektor's 2006 effort. Regina makes up for it and sweatens the deal by including 4 bonus tracks not available elsewhere, plus 5 songs previously released on EP only. How kind.

Foundling by David Gray
David Gray's follow-up the excellent Draw The Line is yet again filled with honest, heartfelt piano-driven pop songs. Gray is a professional and it shows. Or he shows.

Dance The Way I Feel by Où Est Le Swimming Pool?
I have to be honest: I had never heard of the band before founding member Charles Haddon sadly committed suicide after his Pukkelpop performance in August of 2010. It's a shame the band only got worldwide attention because of said sad fact. However, and it must be said, Dance The Way I Feel is a thoroughly brilliant floorfiller. Too bad Mr. Haddon never had the chance to enjoy the success.

Easy Wonderful by Guster
Guster's song One Man Wrecking Machine - as featured on the Disturbia soundtrack - is a terrific song. Easy Wonderful continues Guster's tradition of delivering perfectly crafted pop tunes - take the opening track Architects & Engineers for example. The band continues to enjoy a small following, but they do deserve more recognition.

The Promise by Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band
Springsteen delivers again - and in spades. This collection of songs from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town sessions is just excellent all around. Never before have "outtakes" held so much value; there are no mediocre musings on offer. Particular highlights include an alternate Racing In The Street (much more epic compared to the original), Gotta Get That Feeling, Ain't Good Enough For You, Candy's Boy and the saddening title track. The Promise earns an easy and major recommendation.

Tumbling Dice by The Gaslight Anthem
The Gaslight Anthem are a relatively new (but extremely excellent) band. This 7" single release sees them taking a shot at the classic Rolling Stones song. It takes balls (a whole lot, in fact) to cover the Stones, but The Gaslight Anthem does it with ease. I expect great things from Brian Fallon and company.

The Social Network by Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross
Soundtrack to "the best movie of 2010". The dark, brooding and sparse musical landscape makes for an infectious listening experience.

New [on CD]

Shine A Light by (The) Rolling Stones
Two CDs of vintage Rolling Stones goodies. Sure, ardent fans already have these multiple times, but who can resist the asking price of $5?

Accelerate by R.E.M.
A return to form for the Georgian band, housed in a DVD-size case featuring a bigger booklet and a DVD with the behind-the-scenes film 6 Days. Living Well Is The Best Revenge, Supernatural Superserious and Accelerate are all more than worthy of your attention.

Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy
$0,50 for this classic release!

Amnesiac by Radiohead
I have not yet taken the time to listen to this album. Wallet-friendly at $1, though.

The Goonies by Dave Grusin
Limited to 5000 copies and only available through the VareseSarabande website, we Goonies fans had to wait 25 years to finally get our greedy mitts on David Grusin's beautiful original score. The well-written, informative and extensive booklet is just the icing on the cake. A quintessential release that finally fills a gaping hole in many a fan's collection.

Christmas in Paris by Various Artists
Soundtrack to the Belgian movie of the same name. Produced by Benjamin Royaards and featuring a song by Nathan Ambach a.k.a. N8N (two personal friends of mine), buying this was a no-brainer for yours truly.

Is Van De Wereld by Kapitein Winokio
Anneke Caramin, acclaimed artist and girlfriend of Dimitri Sakelaropolus, made the cover art for this album. Wow! I had to buy it, of course, but I have not yet taken the time to listen to the songs.

Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah) by a-ha
The very last recording of a-ha turned out to be one of their best ever. It doesn't make their farewell any less of a bummer, but what a way to say goodbye. Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah) belongs to the top-tier of a-ha's oeuvre.

Loft by Wolfram de Marco
Affordable at €2, this soundtrack to the Belgian film (soon to receive a major Hollywood motion picture remake) was a blind buy before I even saw the film. Luckily, it turned out to be a fine score.

Memorial Beach by a-ha
This birthday present completes my collection of a-ha studio albums (minus Hunting High And Low, which I only own on CompactLaserDisc). Not their most popular effort ever, but very good nonetheless (especially Dark Is The Night For All, Cold As Stone and Locust).

Second-hand [on LP]

Ghetto Supastar by Pras, Mya & ODB
Haha, yeah! The 1998 superhit (weeks and weeks at the top of the official Flemish Ultratop charts). Ah, nostalgia. I have never seen Warren Beatty's Bullworth, which included this song on its soundtrack.

Hey, St. Peter by Flash & The Pan
A fun singalong written by George Young (brother of Angus and Malcolm of AC/DC fame).

The Logical Song by Supertramp
Supertramp are an underrated band. Nobody will ever recognize its band members when they're walking down the street. Come to think of it, that may be a blessing. They've got the fame and the money, but not the unwanted attention.

2-4-6-8 by Tom Robinson Band
Tom Robinson is one friendly chap. Ten years ago, he gave a free concert in Heist, Belgium. Afterwards, he autographed for everyone - including people who could not afford to buy his CD. A classy bloke.

Jeanny by Falco
Too bad Falco met his early demise in 1998, because he was quite the unique artist. Blending different genres in different languages. Plus, how many Austrian guys made it all the way to number one on the Billboard charts? Jeanny, the story of an abducted girl, proved to be very controversial and Falco received a lot of flak. Ignore the naysayers if you can, for Jeanny is a masterpiece.

Wonderful Life by Black
No flak for Black, though. Wonderful Life is uplifting, inspirational and splendid.

Maak Er Wat Van! by Bert en Ernie
Now that's more like it! Bert and Ernie, from Sesame Street fame, are very popular in The Netherlands and Belgium in a localized and translated version thanks to two incredibly talented Dutch actors, Paul Haenen and Wim T. Schippers. The Dutch Sesame Street is allowed to create its own sketches, a rare honour granted by the Jim Henson estate. Various albums featuring stories and songs have been released over the years and Maak Er Wat Van! was the first one I acquired. That was in 1988, when I was 4 years old, on a compact cassette. When I saw the vinyl version for a mere $1 on a flea market, I had to buy it for nostalgia's sake. May Bert and Ernie live forever!

Mah Na Mah Na by The Muppet Show
More Jim Henson-inspired goodness. Is there a single person alive who does not crack up when he/she hears Mah Na Mah Na? Is that even possible?

Beat It by Michael Jackson
Although I own several versions of this song, the 7" single was a steal at a mere $0,20.

Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
Idem for Billie Jean.

Sancta Maria by Enrico Caruso
An old, creaky 78rpm on shellac. I have no yet taken the time to check it out.

Cry Wolf by a-ha
12" maxi single featuring an extended cut of the title track. Not necessary, but nice for fans.

Bop Till You Drop by Ry Cooder
Ry Cooder will forever be remembered as 'the man who introduced the world to the Buena Vista Social Club', but let's not forget his own recordings. His take on Little Sister is highly original and addictive.

Love Over Gold by Dire Straits
Simply one of the best albums of all time, featuring the epic Telegraph Road (over 14 minutes!) and the perfect rousing and rocking Industrial Disease. Just try to stand still.

The Wild, The Innoncent And The E-Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen
A very welcome present from a family friend that makes my Springsteen album collection a little more complete. Only three to go now: Nebraska, Human Touch and Live In New York City. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) is hilarious: The record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance!. This album, however, bombed ... world domination didn't loom until his next album, Born To Run.

Waiting For The Sun by The Doors, October by U2, Live Under A Blood Red Sky by U2, The Best Of by Jefferson Airplane & Frozen Alive! by Albert Collins
Four more present from said family friend (thanks!) that currently remain unlistened to.

Julian De Backer, 14 March 2012