Aug 16, 2009

Molly Half Head? Seriously?

Soundproof Magazine, a Canadian music mag, asked me for my top 20 Manchester albums. Here's my top 20.

If I have missed something obvious, it's too late because I already done gone sent it. I think they're compiling a great big top 20 based on the opinions of Manchester's movers and groovers, the results of which I will post on this here blog.

I wanted to include experimental flute-jazz band Upsurge (are you reading, Sam?), but I couldn't remember any titles. What I like most about my list is that it's meant to be the best Manchester albums of all time, but it's all too modern(ish) and it neglects massive swathes of Manchester music like, y'know, the Bee Gees and the Buzzcocks and, um, anything from the 60s.

1   The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead (I dare you to argue with this)
2   Autechre: Confield (it could have been one of several, to be honest)
3   The Fall: Hex Enduction Hour (ditto)
4   The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses (and not their dire second album)
5   Future Sound Of London: Lifeforms (gatefold vinyl..... mmmm)
6   Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures (ditto my Autechre comment)
7   C Charge: Ripped And Ready (legendary Manc reggae collective)
8   New Order: Technique (dig those filters)
9   Rae & Christian: Northern Sulphuric Soul (an immense achievement)
10   Happy Mondays: Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches (changed my life, man)
11   Molly Half Head: Sulk (no, seriously, I genuinely loved it)
12   Electronic: Electronic (utter cheese, but loveable cheese)
13   Oasis: Definitely Maybe (their one great, great album)
14   808 State: Ex:El (or Ninety, but Bjork swings it)
15   James: Seven (just so unique and captivating)
16   Doves: The Last Broadcast (one word: Pounding)
17   Bola: Soup (Manchester's answer to Boards Of Canada)
18   Black Grape: It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah (a true celebration of Manc attitude)
19   Jega: Geometry (hits you between the eyes)
20   Mr Scruff: Keep It Unreal (even though he's from Stockport)


Eva said...

What, no Take That?

Richard Holden said...

The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead

Fat Roland said...

And there, dear readers, is the ying and yang that you keep hearing about. Take That. The Smiths. The yin. The yang.

(Evangeline, Take That came 21st. HONEST.)

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

No Elbow?

steve said...

Yes, many of these would be on my personal list as well, at least the bands,e specially New Order, the Smiths and 808.

Fat Roland said...

Hurrah, Steve. Lee, no. No Elbow. Not quite there, for me. Probably number 22 (which makes them below Take That in 21st, which seems a little harsh).

Steve Parker said...

808 State I never got, have just been watching BBC4's coverage, and still fail to see the point :-(

Fat Roland said...

That's a bit like telling a Christian, yeah I dig Lazarus and Moses and that, but I've never quite got the point of Christ.

If 808 State ever stopped making music, all the sound in the world would implode. Fact.

JPM said...

There are lots of extras you could put on here...

If you're really going to look at the breadth of music that has come from Manchester then I think The Durutti Column are a huge omission. I'd choose The Return of the Durutti Column. Some really interesting electronic sounds creep in to their work ("as long as Vini doesn't sing" (c) Tony Wilson).

Also wilfully missing is Manchester's punk/post-punk heritage. Buzzcocks? Magazine?

Following on from this is the really interesting work done by Barry Adamson - the man who pioneered soundtrack music, without a film to go with it. Moss Side Story is awesome.

On The Smiths front, it's very easy to plump for The Queen is Dead, but I'd go for Strangeways here we come again, more sophisticated than its predecessor and a greater musical range. This album has really grown with time and shows the 'lost promise' of The Smiths

Deeply unfashionable, but if you're to ask who are some of the most talented songwriters to come out of Manchester and the most influential yuet who don't get the respect they deserve, then you have to give a big up for The Bee Gees. Can you honestly say the world (and our lives) wouldn't be that bit poorer if we didn't have Saturday Night Fever.

And finally, my own personal indulgence The North at its Heights - another slice of Mancunian attitude mixed with musical creativity by the wonderful MC Tunes backed by 808 State. Mines a lager top please Nicky!

Fat Roland said...

Some very good choices there. The list is entirely personal, and the whole post-punk thing (and indeed punk) has never meant much to me. And I think I have The Durutti Column on a compilation somewhere. Maybe. I'm a bad Mancunian.

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