Monday, April 14, 2014

The Magical Mystery Listening Tour #56

Back to just "F" albums with this latest batch!

Blur - Fool's Day
Caravan - For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night
Steppenwolf - For Ladies Only
Blur - For Tomorrow
The Rolling Stones - Forest National, Brussels, Belgium 10/17/73
Mansun - Four EP (Wide Open Space)
Mansun - Fourteen EP (Fool)
Genesis - Foxtrot
Peter Frampton - Frampton
Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive!
Peter Frampton - Frampton's Camel
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

Leading things off is Blur's one-off 2010 single, which is a great song that I really enjoy. It's perfectly evocative of a rainy spring day and shows that, if they put their mind to it, they could still make great music together (sadly, they don't want to!). Caravan's 1971 album is a return to form and a great slice of early 1970s English progressive rock, with some great songs including "The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again," "Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss," and "C'Thulu Thlu." Steppenwolf's final album before their break-up is a concept album about feminism and its place in late 1960s/early 1970s America and is solid, incorporating elements of progressive rock with their trademark hard rock (most notably on the excellent title track). Blur's "For Tomorrow" single from 1992 was markedly different from their previous material and showed that they were taking a completely different direction from their debut album. It's one of the greatest British singles of the 20th century, standing alongside anything the Kinks made in the 1960s as a perfect statement on British life. Its B-sides are incredible as well, with tracks like "Bone Bag" "Into Another," and "Peach" as strong as any album track.  The Rolling Stones concert from 1973 is the one from the famous bootleg album A Brussels Affair and was originally planned as an official live album back then before being shelved at the last minute. It's a pristine sounding show with incredible playing and includes tracks from their peak year albums, including Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, and the just released Goat's Head Soup.  Two Mansun single EPs follow: the first is their 4th, for the legendary Wide Open Space single, while the second is their 14th and final release as a functioning band, for the Fool single. Both are fantastic and crammed with excellent B-sides, including several great live and acoustic tracks in addition to non-album B-sides. Following this, Genesis' classic 1972 album Foxtrot is next...nearly every track is a cornerstone of progressive rock, not least of which are the two tracks that bookend the album: opening song "Watcher of the Skies" and closing epic "Supper's Ready." A trio of Peter Frampton albums are next: the first is the self-titled LP that immediately preceded the epic Frampton Comes Alive! and is one of his strongest efforts, combining his great songwriting with his incendiary and lyrical lead playing into a satisfying effort from beginning to end. The second is the aforementioned legendary live album which is still a stunning achievement even all these years later. Despite all of the jokes and wisecracks made about it since 1976, one listen will remind you why it was (and continues to be) as successful as it was. The final album from Peter is his second solo album, another strong effort that also contains the rarely heard (but, in my mind, slightly superior) studio version of his classic "Do You Feel Like We Do." Finishing off this batch of albums is the debut from Franz Ferdinand, which is a distinctive and strong statement of the early 2000s post-punk/new-wave revival. It blew me away when I first heard it on its initial release and it's still a fresh and immediate album.

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