Record Rewind Play is a music blog, and my personal quest to write about the best new releases, the most exciting new artists, and to combine all those with the best of everything that I’ve listened to, from the pop music of my early years to whatever happens to catch my ear now, whether it’s indie-pop or minimalist electronica.
There’s just me here, and my writing schedule can be erratic, but I try to post at least one track every day, with album reviews either wedged in from time to time or written in one crazy day of effort that I call ‘One Band One Day’.
So where did this love of music come from?
I blame R.E.M. you know. Specifically, I blame them for releasing Out of Time in 1991, and for releasing ‘Losing My Religion’ as a single. I blame them for creating something that had a hold on me like no music had quite managed before. And by ‘blame’, I really mean ‘thank’.
I had loved various pop musics through the 1980s: I had experienced strange dreams about visiting Shakin’ Stevens in his semi-detached suburban home; I had recorded many a Sunday evening broadcast of the Top 40 (and therefore also listened, bewildered, through the last few moments of many a broadcast of ‘Sing Something Simple’); I had been given Now! compilations; I had copied whole albums by the likes of Eurythmics and Simply Red.
I hadn’t quite found my niche, however. And I didn’t quite find it first time after Out of Time. Having used the summer to catch up on the R.E.M. back catalogue, and so, finding there was much more to be loved than just that Athens quartet, I spent some birthday money on a trio of albums that while not exactly the past, present and future of my listening habits, are at least a close enough approximation.
From the past, came Dire Straits, who had just released On Every Street, the long-awaited successor to multi-multi-million seller Brothers in Arms. I’d listened to a bit of Dire Straits growing up, and liked them enough to have once forked out some hard-earned pocket money on their live double LP Alchemy. On Every Street turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, leaving me feeling that their time, and my time with them, had passed. I still have a soft spot for the long, slow build up and extended outro of the title track, though.
Representing the present, the middle ground, was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I mostly bought Into the Great Wide Open on the strength of ‘Learning to Fly’, and it has always been my favourite track on an album that otherwise felt too flat and samey. Again, it just didn’t have the spark I was looking for, or the sense of independence.
But what of the future? Well, holding the mic for music still to come was a young band with an album that older and more cynical heads might have felt was trying to too hard to surf too many indie genres in order to get itself noticed. To me – younger, more naive – Leisure by Blur was the sound of things to come. Here was the guitar sound, the mood that I was looking for.
After that I discovered shoegazing, baggy and indie pop. A friend introduced me to Nick Drake and I fell in love. I found Neil Young, possibly by way of Saint Etienne. I bought monthlies and inkies and collected their free cassettes. I recorded the Evening Session and John Peel. I stopped caring about the Top 40 and celebrated the indie charts instead.
And then, I suppose, there was Britpop, much maligned but really never so bad as some of the retrospective despair would have you believe. As Britpop begat a slew of new British indie bands, I looked west towards artists like Lambchop, Ryan Adams and Wilco, for new millennium inspiration.
Well, perhaps the best answer to that question is to point you at my end of end-of-year round-up for 2013. There you’ll find stalwarts like Suede and Pulp rubbing shoulders with new kids on the block (but not New Kids on the Block) like Chvrches and Speedy Ortiz. I’ve learned to love synths, electronica and minimalism, but I haven’t yet stopped loving the old heroes.