Say Hello to Heaven

I was late jumping aboard the Soundgarden bus, but I spent a whole lot of listening hours with Cornell since I first heard that band in the mid-90s.  Nothing struck me or stayed with me quite like Superunknown, right enough.

… well, that and his contribution to Singles.  Man, Seasons was one of my favourites for such a long time and it’s still one that I tend to pick out for a listen.  When Soundgarden split I hoped Euphoria Morning would be like that one.  It wasn’t, but I learned that was no bad thing cause that’s a helluva great album.

I dropped off after the buzz of that first Audioslave album wore off.  In all honestly, I only paid a little bit of attention to stuff over the last 15 years, but I jumped back on the Cornell Express when King Animal landed.  I’m awfy fond of that album, y’see.

Anyway, I guess today’s been an odd one. Processing Cornell’s passing and reflecting.  The Moments he soundtracked coming into focus. 

While I didn’t love everything he put out, nor did I keep up with it, 38-year-old Jim obsesses over Superunknown, just as17-year-old James did.

He was a helluva talent.  A great songwriter, musician and one of the finest vocalists I’ve ever heard.  I still felt there was a lot more to come from him… another defining moment.  Not this, though.

But, y’know, it doesn’t matter how he left.  It matters that he was here.

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Caught in the spell of stormy weather

Did I mention that the new Afghan Whigs album came out last Friday?  I pre-ordered it and, aside from hearing the three tracks shared by the Whigs prior to its release, I managed to avoid the album stream until I got my hands on the LP.  It arrived Monday, so I had a bit of catching up to do.

I’ve listened to this thing a few times (I’ve taken advantage of the digital download post-haste and it’s been the sole soundtrack to my commute the last few days) and it’s a darker record than 2014’s Do To The Beast.  I’m still wrapping my head around it, but it’s a pretty incredible piece of work.  Hearing the three tracks within the context of the album really brought something quite powerful to the tracks that I didn’t appreciate.  I can’t quite explain it, but I know you know what I mean.

The whole thing is wonderful, though.  From the artwork right to the sequencing (spot on and brings out the best in each track).  It’s short too; weighing in at 10 tracks and 36 minutes.  The shortest Afghan Whigs album to date.

Dulli & Co. have made something special.

I dare say I’ll write about this properly, but this is an album of the year contender for sure.

 

“Check on Amazon cause it’d be roughly that much”

 

So, Mark Lanegan Band‘s Gargoyle was released on Friday.  I actually pre-ordered it a while back via that Amazon, but I cancelled the order on Friday as it hadn’t been dispatched and I needed my Lanegan fix.  So, I figured I would nab it while I was in town (I work in the city centre, y’see).  Seeing an opportunity, I heading to the local independent retailer at break (just a 5-minute walk from the office).

Now, I won’t go into it in too much detail, but despite having bought many things from that place over the years, I’ve had reason to avoid it for the last, well, a good few years.  Mostly cause they’re a bit rude and not even in the Jack Black from High Fidelity type of way.  Anyhoo, a few folks I know like the place and I figured I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.  Plus, I was gonna be the winner, cause I’d have Lanegan (plus I would have supported the indie brick and mortar place – go me!).

Anyhoo, I browsed the racks and didn’t see it.  Actually bumped into a chap I know who was also looking for it.  He was buying something else, so I ventured to the till with him and we enquired about it.  Hadn’t come in yet.   I could have visited another one of the record stores, but I thought I’d get it there if he was expecting it, so I asked the likely price (as you do).  Incredibly, he didn’t know!  What?  Don’t be absurd, I thought.  He actually suggested I “check on Amazon cause it’d be roughly that much”.  Clearly inconvenienced by the question (despite there being only two of us in the store).  I really shoulda said I would do that and I’d order it there while I’m at it, but I looked at my fellow Lanegan hunter and wished him well.

Fortunately, my fellow Lanegan hunter dropped me a line to say it was in Fopp for £20.  Pretty much the exact price it was on Amazon.  So, I got it.  Go me.

So much for supporting your local independent record store.

As for the album, well, initial thoughts are that The Guardian / The Observer are easily impressed.  It’s good, but, well, I keep hoping for one of Lanegan’s dusty records.  Don’t get me wrong, while there’s nothing as great as Phantom Radio’s I Am The Wolf or Torn Red Heart, it might just be more consistent overall.  There are some nifty vibes and a few outstanding songs… but I suspect it’ll really start revealing itself over a few listens.