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

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I have been tagged by Antickpix.

I have to- List seven songs I am into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they are any good, but they must be songs I am really enjoying now. Post these instructions in my blog along with my seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they are listening to.

So, the exercise. It would be hard to select songs, but I would list one standout track from some of the albums I have gone back to in the last seven days.

1. "Charlotte Sometimes"- The Cure (from Concert- The Cure Live)
2. "Mahgeetah"- My Morning Jacket (from It still moves)
3. "Michael"- Franz Ferdinand (from Franz Ferdinand)
4. "April Skies"- The Jesus and Mary Chain (from Darklands)
5. "Grey Lagoons"- Roxy Music (from For Your Pleasure)
6. "Sign 'O' the Times"- Prince (from Sign 'O' the Times)
7. "Paper Thin Walls"- Modest Mouse (from The Moon and Antarctica)

Do not know anyone in the Blogworld, so the latter part is totally ruled out.

PS: Since the list is restricted to only seven, I had to ignore a lot of other songs & albums. I do not want to edit the list, so I add here one more album which has been constantly under rotation for the last ten days. Arrested Development's absolutely classy "3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of...,". The standout track- Natural.

Last time I heard this album in full was probably in 1996!!! I only have the decade old worn out tape (HMV, Rs.50), but when you play an album like this after ten years, the sound quality is relegated to the background. Yes, this album too was officially issued in India in the early 90s on HMV. Ask any store for this album today, they won't even know if there ever was a band of this name.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Return of Classic Rock (in America)

A pretty interesting write- up in Rolling Stone magazine talks about the revival of classic rock in America. How teenagers have started to dig 60s acts like Zep, Cream, Beatles, etc in a big way.

This might be called a revival in the American context, but in India teenagers growing up (in the last decade and a half) with classic rock (that too limited to few bands) is nothing new. In fact that is the only option (or was until we got Napster). Near total dearth of news and unavailability of independent music are probably the primary reasons. Let alone indie bands, even huge and talented modern rock bands like Wilco, Modest Mouse, Flaming Lips, etc are not available in the music stores in our country (oh! DCFC's 'Plans' is there). No wonder that whenever local rock bands are inquired about their influences, the answer is always Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd or Black Sabbath or Deep Purple(??) or AC/DC or some Death Metal band. Needless to say, the result is that they all sound the same.

Until and unless Indian arm of these record labels do not change their strategy, classic rock is very much safe here.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

1 million people for a concert!!!

The Rolling Stones free concert in Rio is expected to attract about 1 million people!! For a lot of people the Stones are totally irrelevant. But when was the last time that an album or a band was instrumental in making social, cultural, political change?!

Relevant or not, I still love the Stones. And if this piece of news hints towards anything, there seem to be millions more.

PS: Altamount was a free concert too. But Rio is definitely not going to be another Altamount. The Rolling Stones are a huge brand now. And they have a lot to lose.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Cure- A Few Hours After This

A Few Hours After This is one of my favourite Cure songs (it's a non- album track). What a brilliant way to describe a chance meeting. Meeting a hot girl in a bar you will probably never see again.

It really is an awesome song.

The Cure- Faith

Everything about this album has already been analysed to the core. And even if I were to find something new, the sheer complexity of this album would render me incapable of expressing it in words.

However, people who complain that the sound of bass is generally overshadowed by other instruments, this is (like other Cure albums) the album for them. I have never heard that instrument sound so huge. Never. From the opening minute, you start to sink with those mighty bass notes. And by the 37th you are totally numb.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Roxy Music- Roxy Music

Roxy Music's self titled debut can easily be counted among the greatest debuts ever. And when we talk about Roxy Music and their place in the rock n roll history, mention of the great John Peel becomes imperative. Peel consistently featured them, like many great bands in their early days, on his shows which brought them in the limelight (that is another story however). I guess Roxy's first ever public performance was on the John Peel Show.

Roxy Music was a ground breaking album. The album that started 'Glam'. From the sleeve to the music. The album sounds like a mash of sounds. Every instrument (and there are many) fights for its space and in the process collide and merge beautifully. My main admiration is caused by the fact that the songs seem have that art school finish, yet feel so easy to listen to. It takes just a couple of listens to click.

The stand- out tracks Ladytron, If There Is Something, Would you believe?, Virginia Plain & 2HB.
"I've always imagined I'd die by driving into the back of a truck while trying to read the name on a cassette, and people would say, 'He would have wanted to go that way.' Well, I want them to know that I wouldn't."
-John Peel

A little digression, but I just could not resist. After all, Roxy's existence is really not complete without Peel.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Inside Photo

This is the best I could find. The animals and the things lying on the table are not very clear. But it will give you an idea how fucked up and debauched these guys look.

Beggars Banquet- The R.S.V.P cover

This is the artwork which was sanctioned at the time of original release. Absolutely insipid at the first look. But like me, people who own this album on vinyl would be aware that things are not as boring as it looks from the outside. Rather, it is pretty satanic inside.

The vinyl comes in a gatefold cover. As you unfold it, you will encounter a pretty sinister shot of the Stones (the b/w shot shows these guys wearing tattered clothes, inside a spooky dungeon sitting around a dining table with weird cats and crazy food items covered with dust and mud. looks like a true beggars banquet. but you need to see it to believe and truly enjoy it). Full 24 inches wide. It perfectly reflects the sound and feel of the album. Absolutely dark.

I just can't find that inner photo anywhere on the net. I would have loved to put it here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Beggars Banquet- Toilet Seat Graffiti

Now this is what you call being really, really nasty. This was the original cover for the album, but LONDON did not have the balls to sanction it. Finally came out in the 80s. One of those brilliant sleeve artwork.

BOB DYLAN'S DREAM..........................................

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Mighty Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Saheb

Khuda ka noor tujme hoo-ba-hoo hain

Khuda hain aur khuda ke baad, tu hain

To say that Nusrat was among the leading voices of the last century would not be an exaggeration. In fact he deserves that status.

He is probably the only musician whose death made me very, very sad. Maybe because I grew up listening to his music. And there have been many occasions since then that while listening to his voice, I have found it mighty hard to hold back my tears. Ah! I miss him so much.

What a tragedy that he left us when the world had just started to discover his genius. His collaboration with both old- school giants like Ry Cooder, Michael Brook and Peter Gabriel and modern rock musicians like Eddie Vedder and Massive Attack resulted in some of the best alternative music 90s had to offer. He was the only musician from the sub-continent since Pandit Ravi Shankar to qualify as a true rock star. And that is an unquestionable fact.

Fortunately, I discovered Nusrat very early in my life. It did not take me long to graduate from a casual listener to a hard- core fan. I ended up possessing huge amount of tapes and CD's. From available-at-the-paan-shop compilation tapes to not-to-be-found-anywhere-but-Jama Masjid, Delhi pirated Pakistani live show tapes (there is a tiny second hand vinyl record shop in the Jama Masjid area of Delhi which also sells these amazing tapes of his very early live shows on these small Pakistani labels).

Now to list some of his best tapes and CD's, according to me. It is a very tough job given the unstructured nature of his catalogue, but I will try.

1.Dead Man Walking- The Score
Throw that DMW soundtrack if you bought it because of Nusrat. Buy The Score instead. It has got the unedited versions of 'Face of Love' and "Long Road'. Nusrat, Vedder & Cooder (he will make you feel as if he played on 'Sister Morphine' just the other day) create sheer magic.

2.Live at The Royal Albert Hall
Because it contains some of his most popular songs in its pure and original sufi style performed at one of the most revered musical venues. Also because it was the first Nusrat live album I bought. It is now out of print.

3.Real World releases
I do not have to say anything about this series. All I can say is that if you have a fat spliff, a warm jacuzzi and one of these Real World CD's you will see the real world.

4.The pirated Pakistani tapes
For the sheer beauty of the traditional Qawwali sung in some shrine. And also because these tapes highlight how important and brilliant his backing vocalists and band members were. He would have been incomplete without them.

5.The Last Temptation of Christ soundtrack
Though not a complete Nusrat album but it is one hell of a soundtrack.

There just cannot be another Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Saheb.