February 2015

Here’s my month of Pop Music-related stuff for February 2015, starting with a monthly playlist of songs that came my way. After that you’ll find links to interesting things I saw online about Pop, followed by a few words about records I bought and things I did.

Monthly Playlist

Lots of interesting stuff this month. The return of Blur, new stuff from Courtney Barnett and Matthew E White, lots of new discoveries (Nev Cottee, Kenny Rankin, Levon Vincent, Ibeyi). For best results play on shuffle…


Interesting Stuff I Came Across Online

A history of 1990s UK music told through the covers of Select magazine

My pal Jon Bounds listened to every single Beatles song in chronological order, and then wrote about it here. Talking of The Beatles, this article about their 1960s US TV cartoon series contains links to all episodes.

Bobbie Gentry is my favourite pop star ever. This article in The Quietus about her in the forthcoming book from the 33RPM series is great. Also in The Quietus, This interview with Hank Shocklee sheds some light on the processes involved with the making of a number of classic Public Enemy tunes.

Talking of Hip Hop, the Straight Outta Compton trailer did the rounds and looks great

WhoSampled.com provided an overview of the top 10 most sampled Reggae tunes.

On the subject of samples, The Amen Break was everywhere this month. Someone made a wooden representation of the wave form, the BBC made a radio documentary about it, and this campaign was launched to raise cash for surviving Winstons.

The Periodic Table of Synthpop

The Periodic Table of Synthpop

Stuart Maconie had a go at the posh in pop. On a similar tip, this oral history of Shoegazing talks about perceptions of class in the early 1990s Indie scene. And talking of Shoegazing, this video of My Bloody Valentine from 2008 contains the infamous ‘holocaust’ section of You Made Me Realise in all it’s glory

Luca Sticagnoli’s solo acoustic version of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck was quite something

The days of the Cover Version in Pop might be numbered. New records will now be released on Fridays, apparently. And streams now count towards the album charts. Here is some ‘deep analysis’ on that from Popjustice. Meanwhile, Data will save music, it says here.

Peter from Popjustice wrote this great piece about One Direction fans and pop music fandom.

Which leads nicely on to Duran Duran vs Spandau Ballet in the battle of the New Romantics on BBCs 1980s ‘Pop Quiz’

This film of Neil Young in 1971, dicking around on his ranch, was very nice. This film of Keith Richards dicking around with a synthesiser was less bucolic.

ISIS declared war on Pop Music.

ISIS declared war on Pop Music.

 The British Library is creating a directory of sound collections. And the UK Charts launched a lovely online interface for their archive which will have serious implications for the Corinthian spirit in Pub Quizzes.

Charles Manson called off his wedding just before Valentines Day day when it was revealed that his bride-to-bed had some less than romantic ideas.
Nice old US newspaper ad for copyright ambulance chasing.

Nice old US newspaper ad for copyright ambulance chasing.

Writer Pete Paphides posted a great, 80-minute mix of tunes from the Ace Records catalogue. And talking of Ace, their new compilation of 1960s Italian Girl Pop looks great (a few of these made their way on to my monthly list)
Australia will take part in the next Eurovision Song Contest. They will only compete the following year if they win. This means Australia are going to win the Eurovision Song Contest. (It’s like FIFA were in charge, but with shitter pop songs)
The story of Mingering Mike was equally weird and lovely.
The Mixtape heralded social media sharing, it says here, and this infographic showed how vinyl records are made.
Mark E Smith from The Fall is a massive softy.

Mark E Smith from The Fall is a massive softy.

This project takes the discarded elements of the MP3 encoding process and uses them to make music. (This link started a massive row on social media about the efficacy of MP3 technology, which I don’t think is the point of the project, but well done everyone, just the same.)
The marvellous Clickhole launched a fake music app. Since comedy is just just tragedy + time, expect this in the app store soon.
The original, 10-minute test versions of This is Spinal Tap were uncovered on You Tube. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here.
The 1985 US local TV news report about ‘Cocteau Twins Fever’ is quite something.
How Kraftwerk travelled

How Kraftwerk travelled

Buying Records 

I didn’t have a great deal of time this month, but still managed to pick up one of two things. 13 records in total, and with hopes for more next month. That I’m more excited by the Sarah Brightman 12″ than The Monkees LP perhaps sums up the month in crate-digging.






…and finally

Writing & PhD

I posted two lengthy written pieces to the blog that were created as part of my PhD. I’m now in a Pop Music Writing Group with some other researchers. The idea is we each right 2000 words a fortnight on a given topic. Both of mine are posted to this blog, so have a look if you’re interested. The first (The ZZ Top Paradox) is about Pop Music and Time. The second (Walking Through The City With Headphones On) is about Music and Data.

In other PhD news, I went to a meeting with the Audience Research Team at the BBC in fancy London and also to a 24-hour Data Hackathon. Both were very interesting and have given me the necessary push to get as busy with the data side of things as I have previously been with the literature in the field. I’m still struggling to get my head around the fact that people are prepared to pay me to do this. I’m very fortunate.

More next month…


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