Playing Favourites: Ladytron KCRW Session

I began something of a love affair with the albums of Ladytron in 2013 and have been playing them relentlessly ever since.

I’d previously heard ‘He Took Her To A Movie’ on a Lamacq Evening Session, donkey’s years ago, circa 2001, and of course it wasn’t long later ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’ was so big. Quite why it took me a decade to fall into them properly will remain a mystery. And it just so happened that the timing of my fandom fell in the early part of an 8 year barren spell for albums, ‘Gravity The Seducer’ of 2011 being the last release until this year’s eponymous ‘Ladytron’. Typically me to find them just as they go dark. But it was a good chance to play their old stuff over and over and get into the back catalogue without the distraction of new stuff.

In 2009 they visited the US radio station KCRW for a live set during the promotion of that year’s album ‘Velocifero’. I discovered this many years later while in a YouTube rabbit hole. For some reason the official channel doesn’t have it, but this channel does.

And while I don’t listen to a lot of their live output, some of the versions here are the best I’ve ever heard. Discotraxx in particular.

Perhaps this set is a more accessible way to get into them than their albums, particularly some of the earlier albums have tracks that really aren’t all that accessible. Perhaps the occasional song in Bulgarian doesn’t help! The hooks, though…

And I just like watching how they do their thing live. It helps that this set contains some of my favourite songs.

Anyway, this is a band that really ought to be more in the popular consciousness than they are, beyond niche or specialist stations. I imagine they’ve influenced a great many artists who are. Give it a whirl.

Set:
1. Tomorrow
2. Destroy Everything You Touch
3. Soft Power
4. Black Cat
6. Discotraxx
7. Versus
8. Runaway

 

 

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Playing Favourites: Disclosure – Settle

‘Playing Favourites’ is an irregular series in which I share some of my favourite albums, or just whatever I’m listening to at the time. I’ve wanted to do this since I started the blog, then Christine’s album adventure inspired me to make the effort to actually do it.

These aren’t really reviews and they aren’t new discoveries, though they might be sometimes. More a slightly self-indulgent sharing of some things I like. Some albums will be very well known, others may just have a few highlights, others I think deserve to be bigger and more widely-known than they are. All in my humble opinion, of course.

First up is something for this amazing hot summer of 2018 we’re enjoying.



Disclosure_-_Settle

Album:  “Settle”
Artist:  Disclosure
Year:  2013

Spotify (direct link):

 

This is a great listen for the summer!

It combines a mixture of vocal pop with more club-focused dance tracks, with a strong house influence. This is an album of collaborations with Disclosure providing the music and guest singers lending their voices.

When MJ Cole released ‘Sincere‘ and ‘Crazy Love’, back in about 2000, the sound I hoped would follow is what Disclosure have created in this album. It really does feel like an advancement on that style (which was a clear departure from the UK Garage scene it was included within) – I’m glad it exists.

 

 

Probably the most familiar songs from the time of release are ‘Latch’ featuring Sam Smith giving a great performance, and ‘White Noise’ featuring AlunaGeorge. ‘White Noise’ makes me feel like I’m in a club aged 20 again.

Other highlights include ‘You & Me’ (ft. Eliza Doolittle), ‘Defeated No More’ (ft. Ed MacFarlane from Friendly Fires) – and ‘Voices’ (ft. Sasha Keable), which I never heard anywhere at the time yet is one of the best on the album.

For me, ‘When A Fire Starts To Burn’ and ‘Grab Her!’, though very catchy, they aren’t my thing. The first has a really good hook and I wish they’d not looped the vocal so often as I think it takes away from it. The other I don’t care for at all and it just doesn’t fit the rest of the album. I think they learned this for ‘Caracal’, the second album, which is more flowing.

What’s interesting about ‘Settle’ is at the first few listens it sounds like an upbeat summery album to while away the day. Then when you listen to what they’re saying you find there’s a lot more depth to it.

There are 14 songs on the original release, the Deluxe version adds four more including the infectious ‘What’s In Your Head’.

Top Tracks

I planned to have a ‘top tracks’ section before I knew which album would go first. It just so happens the first pick has at least seven that I think would be considered standouts on most albums! There’s a lot of good stuff on this one.

  • Latch (ft Sam Smith)
  • White Noise (ft AlunaGeorge)
  • You & Me (ft Eliza Doolittle)
  • Voices (ft Sasha Keable)
  • January (ft James Woon)
  • And from the Deluxe edition are ‘What’s In Your Head’ plus the Disclosure remix of Jessie Ware’s ‘Running’ which is totally different to the original (which is also really good).