The two most expensive records in history were both sold at auction in 2015. One of those albums was the first-ever copy (serial number: 0000001) of the legendary 1968 album, The White Album by the Beatles. A touchstone of Western culture, the album was released half a century previous and has influenced modern music the world over.
However, the most expensive of the two albums, at a cost of $2 million (more than double the cost of The White Album), has only ever been heard by a handful of people and is now rumoured to be owned by the United…
Best served through headphones, these 3 tracks all create their own space in time.
The first track, “Go!”, is from an ambitious album telling the story of the Space Race through guitars, drums and archive audio.
A few times a week, I drag my creaking legs on a 5 or 6-mile run and this song makes me fly. Outside of my head, all the unwanting public can see is my huffing and wheezing but inside, I’m blasting my way to the moon sat beside the Apollo 11 crew.
Typically, there’s not much of my day that’s not accompanied by some…
In every hope that we’re turning some sort of corner (or at least peeping around it) in 2021, only 1 of these 3 Recent Decent tracks focuses on the impending doom of our civilisation.
The other 2 are simple, easy-going heartbreakers.
Amongst all the madness, it feels like we might need a member of the Kuti family to unite behind. …
The stories of 4 albums that all faded into obscurity as quickly as they were released, before going on to be hailed retrospectively as lost classics of their time.
This edition of Recent Decents slipped right out of my fingers. Having only just discovered the first track, “Can I Help You?” by Amnesty, in the last week, I instantly knew it would be straight into this mix.
Despite being a fan of the longer slow-build tracks, rightly or wrongly, I tend to judge a new song from the first couple of notes. “Can I Help You?” was one of those that gripped me straight away. It starts with a drifty guitar and a few brass notes but pretty soon it’s a heavy, heavy beat that hooks you in.
In 1981, Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” was about to set new records and provide the soundtrack of the decade. The song is a genre-defining track which is the pinnacle of the electro-pop sound of the ’80s. It is instantly recognisable from the first second due to its unmissable heavy synth beat.
It would top the charts the world over, setting new records on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet, even before its release, it would see the birth of an underground movement and the death of an icon.
In 1964, whilst releasing family-friendly doo-wop records with The Four Preps, Ed…
As with the rest of the world, there is a lot happening right now in the UK.
Despite 4 elections in a decade, we’ve been through 10 difficult years of Conservative rule who started the decade with bleak austerity before branching out into divisive Brexit politics, then ending it with a record-breaking poor showing against the pandemic.
It's hard to pick out the positives from this. But there are a few and Sleaford Mods are one.
They are a visceral shove back against 10 years of punch-down politics and working-class oppression.
Musically, they are hard to describe and best understood…
The notoriously strict People’s Republic of China might not be the first place you’re looking to for new music but as always, the best underground scenes are born out of adversity.
In the past few decades, China’s alternative scene has boomed.
After years of protectionism, the government introduced the “opening up” policy of the 1980s — a period of reform which focused on engaging with the rest of the world, economically and culturally. Amongst other things, this would expose the next few generations to a world of influences. China’s music scene is now bursting with creativity.
The entertainment and culture…
The 2020 Mercury Music Prize has just been awarded to Michael Kiwanuka for his album, KIWANUKA.
Every year in the UK, this prize is awarded to the best album released in the past 12 months by a British artist.
However, the word ‘best’ has been hotly debated since the Mercury Prize was first awarded 26 years ago. I’ll take a look at some of the groundbreaking albums that lost out to lesser-known artists.
In 2006, when Alex Turner stepped up to receive the award for Arctic Monkey’s debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, his coy…
As classic songs go, there are not many that are more famous than “Mack the Knife”. The song is synonymous with Bobby Darin, a singer who worked across multiple genres but was most famous for his big band swing records of the 1950s.
The song was Bobby Darin’s best selling single and is now part of the fabric of modern music. It was the biggest hit of 1959 and is the third most successful song ever according to Billboard magazine, ahead of modern classics such as Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk”.
The lyrics tell the tale of a debonair serial killer…
Music discovery, connections and history.