heard on the wire

Hurrying to the spoil, he has made haste to the plunder

It’s been a while since this blog featured anything by the greatest band of all time and a rainy afternoon in Brussels is as good a time as any to put that right.

Unknown Pleasures was Joy Division’s first LP, a magnificent work that has arguable only ever been bettered by the band’s magnum opus, Closer. It contains the greatest song of all time, New Dawn Fades, as well as the astounding Day of the Lords and Shadowplay.

By name and by nature, the latter tends to overshadow the subsequent track, but Wilderness is one of the band’s great understated moments, complete with one of Ian Curtis’s most brutal, laid-bare lyrics.

Joy Division :: Wilderness

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Wilderness isn’t a recurring theme in popular music, and certainly not in relation to fish-eating birds. But that’s how it has appeared to Maher Shalal Hash Baz¹, the artistic alter ego of Tori Kudo, a Japanese composer and musician, whose 2003 LP, Blues du Jour, is an smorgasbord of jazzy nonsense enlivened by the occasional delicious nugget.

Maher Shalal Hash Baz :: Pelican of Wilderness

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Unlike Tori Kudo, The Wilderness Years don’t have a Wikipedia entry — they have scarcely troubled the web at all, the only mention being a track listing from a 2005 radio show, whence this recording comes.

The Wilderness Years :: It all takes time

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Thence to a band that spent most of its career in the relative wilderness, only to emerge briefly with a hit single reputedly written as a deliberate attempt to have a hit single. Wake Up Boo made the UK top ten in 1995 and is still a staple of middle-of-the-road daytime radio. But the Boo Radleys were so much better than that, having scooped many a deserved best-LP-of-the-year for 1993’s Giant Steps, which was on almost permanent rotation on my “Walkman” for several months.

The Boo Radleys :: Take the Time Around

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¹ The name taken from the Book of Isaiah verses 8:1 and 8:3, which translate, roughly, as, “Hurrying to the spoil, he has made haste to the plunder.”

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