10 Awesome Albums

1. “Blonde on Blonde” – Bob Dylan

Blonde on Blonde

For some reason I had this on repeat during the dark days of 2001 when I was totally lost in life. I stayed in bed for about 6 months and the only thing I really done was listen to music. Loudly and with the lights off and curtains drawn. The only way to listen to good music! Amazingly, the album didn’t depress me further but helped me out of the hole.

If I had to pick standout tracks they’d be:

2. “A Rush of Blood to the Head” – Coldplay

A Rush of Blood to the Head

This was the first album I streamed when I got my first ever PC in 2002. I also attempted to illegally download it by holding a mic up to the pc speakers! I’ve come a long way since.. I listened to it a lot just as I became a “man”.

Best tracks:

  • Politik” – (What an intro to an album!?)
  • Clocks” – (That bit at the end with just the piano…Ynom)

3. “Brothers in Arms” – Dire Straits

This is a bit of a cliche to have in your favourites list but I don’t care. It’s awesome.

Standouts:

Brothers in Arms” – (That solo!!)
The Man’s Too Strong” – (Awesome folkiness!)

4. “Talkie Walkie” – Air

Talkie Walkie

I’ve been listening to Air for at least 12 years now. It’s absolutely beautiful chill out electronica from France of all places. I want to make music like this some day.

Best tunes:

  • Biological” – (Sciency love song extrordinaire!)
  • Alone in Kyoto” – (Such a delicate, subtle but awesome track)

5. “The Soft Parade” – The Doors

The Soft Parade

The Doors have to be here somewhere and I wasn’t going to pick an obvious album. Having deconstructed and even recorded every single Doors album song in my time as well as having been in a Doors tribute band at one stage, I know these songs inside out and can appreaciate them, even the weird ones, more than most.

I feel like the Doors had fun with this one and let loose their respective influences in what on the surface sounds like a mismatch of styles but when you dig deeper or even just treat each song on it’s own merits, there’s some real gems here. Everything from Rock to Ballads, to Jazz to Country!

Favourite tracks:

6. “Definitely Maybe” – Oasis

When I first got into music seriously and was learning guitar, Oasis was fairly popular. The first band I joined in the late 90s were mad for Oasis and Britpop in general and before I turned them into a Doors tribute band (ahem!) we had good fun with some of Oasis’s songs. I remember really enjoying playing these songs on stage:

7. “The Bends” – Radiohead

Similarly re Oasis, we played a lot of Radiohead songs in the bands I was in. The Bends was out then and is still probably my favourite Radiohead album. Loved these ones:

  • Street Spirit” – (Lovely finger style riff throughout)
  • High & Dry” – (Hard to sing but nice acoustic feel)
  • Just” – (Intense!)

8. “Mellow Gold” – Beck

Mellow Gold

 

Beck has a way with words…and music! There were some great old style influences in the tunes on this album. These songs are permanently in my head:

9. “The Black Album” – Metallica

The Black Album

I learned to play lead guitar or maybe guitar in general with Metallica’s riffs. This album used to get me to sleep at night…in a good way! Standout tracks include:

10. “Pet Sounds” – The Beach Boys

Pet Sounds

Are you a Pet Sounds or Sgt Pepper person!? Sgt Pepper was obviously groundbreaking but there’s a bit too much messing with electronics and recording tricks for me. Pet Sounds is just beautiful music from start to finish from the genius mind of Brian Wilson and has way more depth than Pepper. I love these most:

Musical Drives Around Ireland

Considering how deeply and how long I’ve loved music (both listening and playing) it’s a little sad how few of the very many famous and iconic Irish music locations I’ve visited. Apart from coming from the same part of Dublin 12 that gave rise to half of Thin Lizzy’s lineup, Drummer Brian Downey and lead man Phil Lynott, and visiting the latter’s grave in Sutton Cross cemetery, Dublin once upon a time, and going to the odd gig here and there, I really havn’t got about at all. Maybe a road trip is on the cards for me some day soon!?

Big Names:

Birth places, schools, recording/gig venues etc.. of some of the world largest, best known and most influential musicians can be found dotted around Ireland including names such as U2, Van Morrison, Thin Lizzy and more recently Hozier, Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan, The Script and Walking on Cars. Bono & U2 unsurprisingly top the polls as the icons who’s landmarks are the most visited. Places like Bono’s birthplace on Cedarwood Road, Dublin, his school Mount Temple, Windmill Lane studios where U2 recorded a lot of music and Bono’s current home in Killiney, Dublin.

Videos:

Apart from Irish musicians, Ireland, and particularly Dublin has also been the location for many famous music video shoots by international artists from Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl” recently, through “Stop” by the Spice Girls – filmed in Carnew Street, Dublin, to “Pour some sugar on me” by Def Leppard – filmed in Mount Merrion House, Dublin and “Our Love” by Caribou – filmed in Lough Ine House, Cork. O’ Connell’s Bar in Galway, scene of Sheeran’s video tops the polls as the venue most people would like to visit!

Venues & Landmarks:

Ireland also has many famous venues including the 3 Arena – Dublin’s biggest and best known purpose built music venue, the Olympia Theatre, Whelan’s of Wexford Street (where Ed Sheeran got inspired watching Damien Rice allegedly), The Róisín Dubh in Galway and the Academy in Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. Famous Irish music related landmarks include The U2 owned Clarence Hotel on the quays in Dublin City Centre, The Irish Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum Experience in Temple Bar, Bruxelles Bar off Grafton Street, O’Donoghue’s Bar – The Dubliner’s haunt on Merrion Row, Freebird Records on Grafton Street and the famous Irish music statues of Phil Lynott off Grafton Street, Rory Gallagher on Main Street, Ballyshannon and Molly Malone on Suffolk Street, Dublin.

So why not stick on an Irish music playlist and head off on an Irish musical landmark road trip!?

This post was inspired by the Chill Insurance “Irish Drives” series.

Leon

America

My cover of maybe my favourite Simon & Garfunkel song. Its always moved me, especially the line “Cathy I’m lost I said though I knew she was sleeping…I’m empty and aching and I dont know why….”. Been there.

Vocal (+ backing vocals), Rhythm Guitar, Bass and Strings by me. Performed, recorded, mixed and mastered via PC in Reverb Studios.

Cats in The Cradle

My cover of the Harry Chapin song. I remember fucking this up badly with 2 mates in my first ever Karaoke attempt years ago. Hope this makes amends! Acoustic guitar, Bass, main and backing Vocals.

Needle and the Damage Done

My favorite song of Neil Young’s. Main plus dissonant backing vocal with acoustic guitar and bass. Bit more than usual!