Dead Flowers

Well when you're sittin back, in your rose pink Cadillac Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day, I'll be in my basement room, with a needle and a spoon. And another girl to take my pain away -Jagger/Richards

Friday, October 28, 2005


There are lots of downloadable live music by immensely talented (but very non-commercial)* bands on Elephant6.

Elephant6 is an independent record label (set up by a group of friends) which promotes small and upcoming bands. Something like Subpop label (early Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, etc).

Some good bands (and they are growing commercially too) promoted by Elephant6 are Neutral Milk Hotel (Jeff Mangum solo project), Olivia Tremor Control, Of Montreal, Elf Power and Apples in Stereo. The most impressive aspect is that all these bands have their own unique sound and style. There are many other bands on the lable too. I have not tried them yet.

Neutral Milk Hotel is the one I recommend (other bands are also good ). They have been around for a while and have been selling records too. But do not expect to find any of their studio stuff here in India any time soon. Rely on the net instead.

*ironically, they still manage to sell records.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Vinyl: The real thing

I love the sound of music on the old fashioned vinyl records. The music of the '60s & '70s (both Hindi and English) sound best (and purest) on LPs. The sound which is reproduced by CD's is just a bit too clean for classic rock. Music which we hear on CD's is not how it was recorded. The original sound was recorded in analog ( at least till the mid '80s) which is digitalised and pressed onto a CD these days.

I can't really recollect what prompted me to start collecting records (probably to hear how my favourite artists 'really' sounded in the studio). But over the years I have managed to get hold of some priceless records (the collection stands at 250 odd records, nothing special, but getting there). Apart from the music, the whole exercise of digging out second-hand record shops (in Delhi and Bombay, again Bombay scores way, way over Delhi), calling up obscure collectors and kabadiwallas, etc was (and is) great fun too.

And how can we forget the art of producing cult album covers. I believe it died with the demise of the long playing records ( 6" or 5" of CD can never match 12" of vinyl).

Now my top five 2 LP (double) albums from my collection:
1. Exile On Main Street - The Rolling Stones
I am a Stones freak. And this is very close to Let It Bleed.
2. Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin
It has got 'Down By The Seaside' and 'Custard Pie' and the album which I possess is the original 1975 pressing with the interchangeable window album cover. I think it is my favourite Zepp album too.
3. Bitches Brew - Miles Davis
This album split the jazz world right down the middle. Some called it the mutation of jazz, I call it the Trip. And McLaughlin's guitar playing is way beyond words.
4. Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan
I don't need to say anything.
5. The White Album - The Beatles
An example of how pressure brings the best out of some people. This was the beginning of the end of the empire called The Beatles. But can anyone figure it out by listening to the songs?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bombay and Music

There are many things about Bombay which makes you love her. I believe the most impressive thing is that people here in Bombay know their music extremely well. Consequently, the music stores here are stacked with music I have never found anywhere (legal stuff, of course). [Not even in Delhi (pirated music, yes), where I have, over the span of my eight year stay, visited each and every music store (both legit and pirated)]. Rhythm House (an institution in itself) near Colaba has great Box-Sets. Even Planet-M here offers some amazing international music ( I picked up two Jesus and Mary Chain albums!).

Finally, one event that cemented my belief beyond doubt took place this past weekend. Mumbai Mirror along with Sony Music had a three day CD exhibition and sale (flat Rs.99 for any CD) in Bandra. Initially I was apprehensive about this whole event. I thought it was going to be one of those events where CD's by worthless artists would be up for sale. Somehow I convinced myself to give it a shot, thinking I might find something even moderately interesting. But I was in for a huge surprise.

The moment I entered the venue, I was completely taken aback. The hall (a huge one) had tables stacked with countless CD's. There were countless heads too.

As I started sifting through the CD's, I was amazed at finding stuff I had never seen in any store ever, not even here in Bombay. After four hours of toil I ended up with CD's (32 including 2 &3 CD box-sets) that would make any music lover mighty envious.

1. Bob Dylan: 3 CD bootleg series vol 1-3 (Rs.297 for a box-set worth Rs.1600)
2. Led Zepp: 2, 3 & House of the Holy ( I guess they had the whole collection but was sold out before I got there)
3. Primal Scream 4 albums including Vanishing Point
4. Oasis: Morning Glory and Don't Believe The Truth
5. Suede: Coming Up
6. Supergrass: Greatest Hits
7. Stereophonics
8. Ac/Dc: Back in Black (there were 5 albums)
9. David Gray: White Ladder
10. The Clash: 2 CD box-set
11. Radiohead: Bends

These are the stand-outs (there were albums by Floyd, etc which were sold out already). I also picked up albums by RATM, Leonard Cohen, Toad The Wet Sprocket, RHCP, Alanis and Green Day. There was so much to buy. And I really mean so much. All these for just Rs 99 per CD. It has still not sunk in. Bombay.