Just an FYI

You might have noticed by now (or not) that things have been pretty quiet here since last summer. I’ve long since effectively put an end to this blog and have moved on to other things. Namely, I’ve been working at writing fiction and have found myself at my most prolific in years. And yet, I recently found myself missing the act of writing about music. But rather than return to these stomping grounds, I’ve decided to start afresh so this here will be the final missive on Music Insanity. Indeed, I am planning on pulling everything on this site down completely in the next week or two.

I’d like to take this time to thank everyone who took the time to stop by these pages, click the Like button, or even leave me some comment or other. If you’re interested to see what I’m up to these days, stop by and say hello to me at mylifeinmusicallists.wordpress.com.

Ciao,

JP Robichaud

My record collection (part 65: …getting my goth on)

Sisters of Mercy band photo

Back in the early days of this blog, I had had the brilliant idea of creating playlist-slash-mixed tapes based on the different sub-genres that had been stuffed under the “Alternative” genre umbrella. Incidentally, but definitely not coincidentally, I posted a goth playlist just in time for Halloween 2012 that I entitled, “Time to get your goth on“. I mention this in August 2016, mired in the depths of summer heat and sun, because I just received on my doorstep a vinyl reissue of one of my favourite “goth” albums of all time.

Sisters of Mercy 'Vision Thing' box set

Indeed, when I heard last summer that Sisters of Mercy’s debut album, “First and last and always”, was going to be released as a box set with the 12″ singles from the album, each of the four discs on 180 gram vinyl, my interest was piqued. Then, a month or so later, when it was announced that the goth innovator’s sophomore effort, “Floodland”, was getting the same treatment, I was sorely tempted and more than once thought about clicking on the “Order” button on Amazon. Then, finally, this year I caught wind of the box set release of 1990’s “Vision thing”, their third and so far final album, and I didn’t hesitate for a moment.

This set has been on pre-order with Amazon for over two months and thankfully for me, the price dropped to a respectable amount but even at its highest price, this set is worth every penny. Each disc was remastered from the original master tapes and pressed to 180 gram vinyl and the singles play at 45 rpm. It all sounds very lovely, brilliantly dark and intelligent and angry. There were two huge bonuses for me with this set: first, the B-side track on the 12″ single for the mighty anthem “More” is a track I heard never heard before, called “You could be the one”, and is simply amazing, and secondly, the set came with a download card for the whole set, which means I have been listening to this set for most of the week, even before I had had the time to give it a spin on the turntable last night. I am enjoying this set so much that all of a sudden, that set for “Floodland” is back on my radar.

And since we’re talking about recent additions to my record collection in the “goth” oeuvre, I thought I’d mention one more album that his graced my collection of late.

Dead Can Dance 'Into the labyrinth' on vinyl

I know, I know, Dead Can Dance aren’t really and truly a goth band. But seriously, name me a band that has been pigeon-holed in this genre that actually considers themselves goth. Andrew Eldritch of the Sisters of Mercy hated the term. Yet still, the folk and world music Australian “project” led by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry has been the darling of goth fanatics everywhere since their inception. And while I am not a fan of all their work, I love their album from 1993, “Into the labyrinth”, especially the incredible Brendan Perry penned single, “The ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove”. So when I saw it being reissued, I jumped at the chance at purchasing it for my shelves. The double disc version I received was graced with cover art I didn’t recognized, definitely different from the CD version I already owned, and included two songs on the fourth side that I had never heard before: “Bird” and “Spirit”. These two tracks were apparently bonus tracks on the 1991 compilation album “A passage in time” and while quite lovely, don’t quite feel like they fit this album. Not that I am complaining at receiving extra material…

But I digress and since this post was inspired by my excitement at receiving the ‘Vision thing’ box set, here is one of the great tracks off of that album: “Doctor jeep”.

And yeah, here is the obligatory turntable shot, taken during its first spin…

'Vision Thing' on the turntable

Best tunes of 1990: #13 The Sundays “Here’s where the story ends”

The Sundays

You might’ve noticed that things have been a bit quiet around these parts since the musical blitz that was Ottawa Bluesfest. I saw some incredible shows there this year and then, spent the ensuing fortnight on vacation. I was decompressing and being, well, a bit lazy. My wife and I spent a week in Toronto, where we visited her family, some old friends, and basically, played like tourists in our old stomping grounds. It was a great week, albeit ridiculously hot and humid for the majority of the days.

So in fact, this entry on my Best tunes of 1990 series is a perfect track to start back in on. The Sundays’ “Here’s where the story ends” epitomizes for me the dog days of summer. It is jangly and full of sunshine, yet you don’t have to make a lot of movements to be able to dance to it, which is great because anything more than an Ally Sheedy/ragdoll twirl will have you sweating buckets in this heat. The peppy yet subdued guitar strumming backbone of the song reminds me of The Smiths but Harriet Wheeler’s vocals are completely different than those of Morrissey. Less affected and more natural and yes, actually cheerful.

The Sundays were formed by Wheeler and David Gavurin in 1988. While they added members to become a four piece by the time they recorded any material, the original duo were the main creative force behind this British alternative rock band. They released their debut album, “Reading, writing, and arithmetic”, in 1990 and it was a creative and commercial success, reaching number 4 on the UK charts and 39 in the US, mostly on the back of “Here’s where the story ends”. They released two more albums in the nineties, with each selling about the same amount of units as the debut. After that, silence. They have never officially broken up but it’s been almost twenty years since their last release. Apparently, Wheeler and Gavurin, after taking time away to raise their two children, have been working on new material, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether it will ever see the light of day. The couple are notorious for taking their time and are perfectionists when it comes to their own music.

Still, we have a pretty solid body of work from the band in the 1990s. “Here’s where the story ends” is a particularly lovely slice of joy.

 

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1990 list, click here.