Ever since iTunes opened up its store to customers in India, it has been bliss for me. I can now buy music at very reasonable prices – songs for as low as R12 and in some cases, even full albums for a dirt cheap R30. The opening up of the iTunes Store was the best thing to have happened for Indian music lovers but some of us, especially of the grey-haired (or, no-haired) vintage, the real deal is often all about buying the album in its physical, touchable form. There is a certain something about peeling off the plastic and opening up the jewel case of a new CD that digitally downloaded albums just can’t match. Read more

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I have read that when Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks came out in 1968, it created hardly a ripple. That enigmatic album, perhaps Morrison’s best work, took some time before it was critically acclaimed and then became the one album that you just had to have in your collection. Van Morrison, who has made nearly 40 albums in his 50-plus-year career, and whose music has been categorised variously as soul, R&B, Celtic, folk, country, rock and so many other labels, was 23 when Astral Weeks was released 43 years ago.   Read more

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I’m in a once-familiar city that has changed in weird ways. The weather alternates between muggy and hot or wet and rainy. I know few people in town now and everything seems new, strange and even a bit complicated. The fact that I’ve had to make the trip in not very happy circumstances doesn’t make things any better. So, lying down in bed in the dark one night, I reached into the innards of an old iPod for something familiar.
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During a bit of downtime at work the other day, I put on The Gaslight Anthem’s new album, American Slang, on the sound dock I have in my office (yes, you could say I enjoy some privileges at work by way of being a somewhat higher form of pond life) and a colleague dropped in. He heard a few bars, stuck up his nose, saying, “Very nineties,” and left, going back to his own lair presumably to listen to the recently re-mastered (and issued with 10 additional, hitherto unpublished tracks) 1972 album by one of rock’s most famous bands. Read more

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Ever since last week when I first heard Pearl Jam’s Backspacer, their newest album, I’ve been obsessively listening to it over and over again. It’s a mighty fine album and if you read the review in last Saturday’s Rock ’n’ Roll Circus in Hindustan Times by my colleague Indrajit Hazra you’ll know what I mean. Backspacer is a whopper; a cracker of an album from the band. Pearl Jam has been around for nearly 20 years, much longer than what many bands take to burn out or become their own stupid caricatures—I’m sure you know the ones I’m talking about.
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