In the age of Spotify, the compilation CD might be as redundant as dial-up internet. But for me, they were an essential component of my teenage soundtrack. In this article, I’ll be revisiting an experience shared by so many music fans of my generation: listening to a collection of songs curated by someone else.

Always displayed prominently in HMV, there were lots of compilation albums. If you followed the charts, there were those interminable ‘Now’ albums. But if indie was more your thing, there were compilations like ‘Shine’, ‘The Bands’ or this one – ‘Reloaded’. Why did we buy them? For me, they were a way of discovering new bands without having to splash out on whole albums or buying endless singles.

On getting this CD out, my first thought was: look at some of this stuff! My second thought was: look at some of this stuff. There isn’t space to talk about every single track, but let’s jump in and take a look at the highs and lows of ‘Reloaded’.

Continue reading

This fortnight, Nick and Alastair present their inevitable The Falcon & The Winter Soldier conclusions, then decompress with lovable scifi-romcom Palm Springs.

But first, tis the season for Alastair’s annual Oscar predictions, while Nick’s read teen alien meltdown comic Alienated by Si Spurrier and Chris Wildgoose.

And then they join the masses in receiving the gift of The Falcon & The Winter Soldier (12:18), Marvel’s much-discussed latest TV show about the weight of the Captain America legacy, including spoilers to the very end from 19:45.

Finally, Nick and Alastair live through the eventful day of Palm Springs (36:13) with Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, including somehow yet more spoilers from 39:37.

Download the podcast directly in mp3 here!

Listen on YouTube over a static image here!

Subscribe on iTunes! Reviews welcome!

Get the show on Spotify!

Listen on Stitcher! Reviews also welcome!

Subscribe in multiple Android podcast apps here!

This week I’m revisiting an album that was either a triumphant return to form or the sound of a band who’d stopped trying depending which review you read. But contemporary critics almost always got Oasis albums wrong. So let’s look afresh at their 2002 album, Heathen Chemistry.

Oasis are one of my all-time favourites, and this came out at the peak of my Oasis fandom. But unlike some of their other releases this one has languished more-or-less unplayed in my CD collection for years. I loved it in 2002, but how will it sound now?

First impressions are pretty good. The Hindu Times has all the basic constituents of a good Oasis song: swagger, soft drug references and a chorus involving “rock ‘n’ roll”. It’s like a matured version of Rock & Roll Star, the opener on their still-blistering 1994 debut, Definitely Maybe. But it’s also got some of the downsides of the archetypal Oasis song; for example the tedious weather references (“you’re my sunshine, you’re my rain.”). What any of this has to do with Hinduism is anyone’s guess. Overall it’s a paint-by-the-numbers Oasis song – which is something you can say of the whole album.

Continue reading

Remember Feeder? ‘He’s got a brand new car… it’s got leather seats, it’s got a CD player, player, player, player’. How about now? This week I’m revisiting their massive breakthrough album, Echo Park.

Feeder was music almost everyone could agree on. Indie enough for people like me, heavy enough for the nu-metal kids, catchy enough for those who just listened to chart pop. They were unlikely to get turned off in the sixth-form common room or at a party. No doubt there will have been an iconoclast or two who hated them, but generally speaking, the consensus was that Feeder were ‘alright’.

But they weren’t anyone’s favourite band, either. Whilst writing this, I asked my sister if she remembered them. With only two years between us, we used to share a lot of music back then. She replied that she bought their albums and went to their concerts without even really liking them that much.

Continue reading

This fortnight, Nick and Alastair are so neck deep in superheroes, you’d think it was 2019, with Wonder Woman 1984 and Invincible.

But first, Nick’s continued sheltering behind comfort viewing, going all the way back to The West Wing, while Alastair stays on the cutting edge of politics with We Are The Wave.

In the end, they settle for moderate relevance by reviewing a film from late 2020 – Wonder Woman 1984 (14:37), the eagerly awaited sequel which ended up taking a pasting from reviewers – will Nick and Alastair push back at the consensus like they did with New Mutants?

Reaching the present day at last, it’s time for Amazon’s new cartoon superhero adaptation Invincible (31:50), with full stinkin’ spoilers from 39:15. And seriously, if you’re gonna watch, your hosts recommend going in without having those twists ruined if you still can.

Download the podcast directly in mp3 here!

Listen on YouTube over a static image here!

Subscribe on iTunes! Reviews welcome!

Get the show on Spotify!

Listen on Stitcher! Reviews also welcome!

Subscribe in multiple Android podcast apps here!

Got time on your hands? Yeah, me too. So how about checking out some new tunes?

Lockdown’s meant I’ve discovered more new music than I have for ages. So this week, I’m taking a break from revisiting teenage albums to share this carefully curated list (well, thrown together after a few bottles of West Country idiot juice) of covid-era releases to help get you through lockdown. I hope you enjoy them.

Continue reading

It was the multi-platinum selling album that dragged British indie-rock out of the doldrums. But at the time, Is This It more or less passed me by. In this article, I’ll be revisiting this seminal debut album, and asking: in hindsight, is it all it’s cracked up to be?

The Strokes were the ultimate in don’t-give-a-fuck, New York cool. Back in high school, this gave the band associations I didn’t care for. I associated them with a certain type of apathetic trendie; the kids who’d been into Ibiza dance music just a year or two earlier and suddenly morphed into bed-haired indie fans. The least cool trait in their book was to be seen to care about anything. Whilst I was being politicised by the Iraq War, these guys directed their snark towards anti-war protesters and Bush supporters alike.

I suppose what they were afraid of was being into anything that the piss might feasibly be taken out of. This album, right down to its mildly sexually suggestive cover art, was a safe bet. They all owned it. Just like they all owned By The Way by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Consequently, I thought the album wasn’t for me.

Continue reading

This fortnight, Nick and Alastair jump on the burning train of internet discourse and watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League, stopping on the way to take in Pacific Rim: The Black.

But first, Alastair’s still in high-concept dystopia territory with Alice In Borderland, while Nick insists on taking an early look at The Falcon & The Winter Soldier.

After which, at last, they descend slowly and dramatically into the sprawling four-hour world of Zack Snyder’s Justice League (11:13). Our heroes didn’t like Batman V Superman and found the original cut of this film pretty boring – will they finally turn round on this uncensored full-length epic version?

And last of all, a quick stop with Pacific Rim: The Black (29:53), sticking to that dystopian theme.

Download the podcast directly in mp3 here!

Listen on YouTube over a static image here!

Subscribe on iTunes! Reviews welcome!

Get the show on Spotify!

Listen on Stitcher! Reviews also welcome!

Subscribe in multiple Android podcast apps here!

This week, I’m revisiting R.E.M.’s Around The Sun – an album that really pissed me off at the time. Will time heal this most disappointing of wounds?

Context matters, so I’d better explain how I came to this album. My introduction to the colossus of alternative rock that was R.E.M. was through their excellent 2001 album, Reveal, and from there I discovered the rest: Automatic For The People, Out Of Time and Document.

R.E.M. are an enigmatic band, whose albums contained big singalong hits alongside poetic, thoughtful tracks with often quite esoteric, folk-infused lyrics. R.E.M. were, in my opinion, one of the biggest bands in the world because they were one of the best bands in the world.

Continue reading

“Something of a rarity this, a Christian band who are neither Celtic nor crap,” was Q Magazine’s 1999 verdict of Delirious?, probably Britain’s most successful Christian rock group (and question mark enthusiasts). In this article, I’ll be revisiting the album Audio Lessonover? – and a teenage obsession.

In my mid-teens, Christianity was a big part of my life. Church had evolved from something I did because some of my friends attended, into a central pillar of my identity. This mostly involved trying to appear as ‘spiritual’ as possible and looking forward to going weekend Christian youth events where I would discover Delirious?.

Q Magazine had been correct; most of the music at these events wasn’t great – mainly samey worship songs. But Delirious? were different. The Christianity was inspiring, not preachy, and with their Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers influences, here was a band that not only shared and reinforced my beliefs, but was also capable of accompanying the emotional ups and downs of teenage life.

Continue reading