Short blogs by an over-enthusiastic radio presenter.

‘Forgotten?!’ you remark with a suspciously raised eyebrow? Well, the dominance of the over-familiar singles, Shining Light and Burn Baby Burn make it so easy to forget how good the rest of the album actually is. A sweet pop gem! Ingredients including delicately balanced guitars deliver some memorable melodies and superb moments of songwriting have given us choruses we’re still singing 10 years later. But by far, the tastiest ingredient of them all is… Charlotte Hatherley.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to rebrand as Shak’s Sex #Shlogg. I’m talking more than anything about Hatherley’s backing vocals. I truly believe they are the sole reason that elevate this from a good, to a great album. She has sprinkled so many moments of magic over Free All Angels, starting with the opening track, when she echoes ‘Yeah we’ve been walking barefoot all summer’. To be honest I always thought Shining Light was just OK, until I played it on my show one night and it got stuck in my head. The next day, I realised I was singing Hatherley’s harmonies on the chorus, not the actual chorus! My absolute favourite song from the album is Sometimes.

As a bonus though and much to my surprise, it soon transpired that the whole album was just a taster – it all led up to the creamiest, most delicious icing on any cake you’ve ever tasted. And that was the final b-side to the final single from the album – There’s A Star. The song in question is Grey Will Fade – written and sung by Hatherley, I think her third songwriting credit in Ash. I know it’s not strictly from the album but it’s the whole era isn’t it? It really is dreamy stuff:

If you like that, go and listen to Sometimes afterwards!

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Lollapop!

Lollapalooza, Grant Park, Chicago.

It was Lollapalooza this weekend. I’ve still never been to a festival outside the UK, even though flying all the way to Chicago is probably cheaper than buying a day ticket for Reading or Leeds. I’ve also never used a toilet inside a festival – I wonder if music fans in the US have the option to venture to their nearest Starbucks. Then again, maybe they don’t need to. Maybe Lolla’s shit don’t stink?

Tremendous headliners this year but what on earth were Lolla chiefs thinking putting Muse and Coldplay on at exactly the same time? I think they’ve swayed a bit towards their homies, making sure that Eminem and Foo fighters don’t clash. What?!!

Festival goers who like rock music then, got it good this year. But I’ve always been fascinated by setlists, particularly those of bands who’ve built up a strong back catalogue. A couple of simple questions for now: For those who’ve now seen either Muse, Coldplay or Foos at Lolla 2011, what was the one song that really blew you away? Did they manage to throw a curveball your way? (For hardcore fans, I believe those are the difference between great and superstellar shows) Or was there a song you wish they’d played but didn’t?

I haven’t seen Muse since the Absolution tour but I just have the feeling that Dead Star hasn’t been heard live for a while. Its opening would be enough to tear fluffballs off clouds. I saw Coldplay at the iTunes festival a couple of weeks ago and it was magical – but hearing 42, White Shadows or Square One would’ve been truly eargasmic. And Foo Fighters? Well they lasted 2hr 40m onstage at the iTf so they pretty much played EVERYTHING… except DOA strangely.

Anyways, I look forward to your setlist reviews of Lolla 2011. Thanks for reading and I welcome you all to my #Shlogg.

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