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Sunday, 31 October 2010

I Swear I Saw Her Angel Wing

The Stone Roses' Second Coming was not as bad as critics painted it, but some of it isn't that good either. It's best songs -Breaking Into Heaven, Ten Storey Love Song, Love Spreads, Begging You- have tons of guitars, and huge drums and bass, but ultimately work because of Ian Brown's vocals. I've been pretty critical of Ian Brown and his solo career especially in the past, but the Zepness of Second Coming with a singer who could squeel and hit all the notes would turn it into just another rock album. Ian's limitations make the songs work, so fair play to the monkey king- especially as he's said he didn't like most of the songs and sang some of them under extreme duress. The vocal to Tears is the guide vocal. Apparently Ian said he wouldn't sing it again even with a gun to his head. This song, Tightrope, is my favourite off the album and for some reason it was playing in my head when I woke up today, all smokey campfire singalong, lazy acoustic guitars, some cracking backing vox (Reni presumably) and one of those John Squire lyrics that are a hymn to a woman. It's just about the only song on the album where they sound like a band, all in the room at the same time. I don't know if that's true, but it's how I hear it.


Saturday, 30 October 2010

Pink And Black

Some weekend rockabilly for Saturday morning (although I'm mainly grooving to various bits of dub around our corners of the internet at the moment). This is Pink And Black by Texas rocker Sonny Fisher, and looking at the picture I wouldn't want to spill his pint. Or even look at it.

14 Pink And Black.wma

Friday, 29 October 2010

Roar Roar Like A Dungeon Dragon

One of the best things about doing this blog for me has been how it's led me back to some stuff I haven't listened to for years, decades even. The recent Pharcyde and Public Enemy posts being two examples- it's years and years since I deliberately put on any hip-hop, and I haven't gone mad and started wearing my jeans really low or nodding my head slowly while driving the car or anything, but the door has re-opened slightly. This is another great piece of early 90s hip-hop from A Tribe Called Quest's second album The Low End Theory. I'm sure a lot of work went into recording, sampling (Hendrix, Kool And The Gang, The Ohio Players, Jack McDuff, and The Emotions), arranging and writing this track, but over a great bassline it just sounds like seven men standing around a microphone and making rhymes about whatever comes to mind- effortlessly cool.

14 - A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario featuring L.O.N.S..mp3

Protect And Survive

We had a family day out yesterday to Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, near Nantwich in Cheshire. Let no-one say we don't show our kids a good time. The bunker is not so secret any more, there are signs for miles around, but this lump of concrete and underground passageways and rooms would've been where parts of north-west England were run in the aftermath of a nuclear attack. It's all quite spooky- press offices and a radio room for broadcasts, early warning systems, horribly dated computers and phones, desks for top ranking civil servants and ministry officials, decontamination suits and areas, geiger counters, a dormitory with bunk beds. Chilling posters, wall charts and documents about casualties, food dumps, walking wounded, death rates. That Protect And Survive film playing. Gives you a shiver. In the shop you can buy Cold War relics and artefacts, Hack Green pencils, the Protect And Survive leaflet from 1980, and Hack Green snowdomes with the snow replaced by fallout. Yep, we bought one. The place was deemed redundant in 1993, sold off, and has become a macabre tourist attraction. Recommended if you're in the area.

One of the displays was the exact piece of equipment that Thatcher used to order the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands War. The Belgrano was sailing away from the Falklands exclusion zone but was sunk regardless. I remember this clearly at the time as an eleven year old, knowing at some level this was wrong, one of the first events that began to politicise me (followed fairly quickly by the miners' strike a year or two later).

It all made me think of this track, by an obscure Creation act- Jetstream by Pacific. It was on the cut-price Creation sampler Doing For The Kids from 1988, which I've bought on cassette and vinyl (twice). This song has some sweet acoustic guitars, some polite electronics, boy-girl vocals and samples from parliament about the sinking of the Argentine ship. I know little about them, and the net doesn't turn up much. I think at some point a friend taped their album for me, but it's long gone, leaving us with this indie anomoly- one part of the 80s which hasn't been revived recently.

11 - Pacific - Jetstream.mp3#2#2

Thursday, 28 October 2010

So He's Lying On Top Again

In fact, having listened to yesterday's Belly song Feed The Tree and this one Gepetto back to back (both off their 1993 album Star), I think this one may be even better. Just pressing play makes getting up at the end of October worthwhile.


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Johnny Marr News And Stuff

Local hero, Bagging Area role model (haircuts, dress sense, beautifully inventive guitar playing- OK maybe not the guitar playing. Don't manage the haircuts that well either) and all round good guy Johnny Marr has contributed a track to a download only compilation for the homeless charity Centrepoint. If you head on over to centrepoint.org.uk you can find his cover of the 1969 Rabbit Mackay song Tendency To Be Free, and download it for 99 pence. All the tracks on the album are from 1969, the year the charity was founded. I'd never heard of Rabbit Mackay before, and while the original is on youtube I've not been able to find an mp3 of it to post, which was my intention and I'm not posting Johnny's cover, cos it's for charity innit. Johnny applies some blistering guitar, a cool bassline and some good vox, ending up with a stomping, abrasive song which is well worth just under a quid of your money.

Johnny Marr's charitable work has directly impacted on my family. My son I.T., who has various needs (severe learning difficulties, severe deafness, skeletal problems, various other things, is currently going through puberty- we have some interesting times at the moment!) used to attend Pictor School, a special needs primary school in Timperley. It goes without saying it's a fantastic school, and when I.T. left to go on to secondary this year tears were shed all round. Johnny Marr's nephew attends the school, and a few years back Johnny and the U.S. trainer firm PF Fliers put out a limited edition signature pump, sold on ebay with proceeds split between Pictor School and an Autism charity. That's a picture of one of them up at the top. Obviously I bought a pair. It was funny how someone whose records I'd bought since the mid 80s and followed avidly had this link to my life and our son. Johnny popped in at the school at least once, and promised to come back and play guitar with the kids- I'd love to have seen I.T. playing guitar with one of my heroes, and questioning him relentlessly about what day his binmen come, which supermarket he shops at and whether he uses the bus or the tram (all I.T. obsessions).

So, without rambling on too much more, I'm not posting the Rabbit Mackay cover but you can have this instead, Johnny Marr covering Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice It's Alright. This was given away with an issue of Uncut magazine back in 2005. A decent acoustic cover version with some good harmonica- and it's not often I get to type that.

Johnny Marr - Don't Think Twice, It's Alright.mp3#1#1

Take Your Hat Off Boy When You're Talking To Me

Lovely US indie hit from 1993 from Tanya Donelly's Belly- an ode to mortality and respecting your woman, wrapped in a great tune and with some chiming guitars. Belly called it a day in 1996 after taking Radiohead on tour with them and themselves supporting superstar era REM. Tanya Donelly continues to record as a solo artist, leaving Belly's back catalogue stuffed with little gems like this one and it's follow up Gepetto.

01 Feed the Tree.wma

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Strings Go Eeee Eeee Eeee Eeee

The title's probably the only time I'll compare this record with The Ting Tings Great DJ.

Following the previous post, 27 Forever by A Certain Ratio, here's another dance record where I'm posting a version which is not my favourite mix- possibly not that a good theme for a series I'll admit. Derrick May was one of the Belleville Three, along with Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, who invented techno or at least the Detroit version of it. Strings Of Life (from 1987) is one of the holy artefacts of dance music, with it's glorious mix of strings, piano and clattering drums. It can lift the lid off a club or a front room, and acquired it's name after May took it to Frankie Knuckles, who played it seven times in a row when dj-ing and then christened it Strings Of Life. This version is obviously mind-alteringly good. To my mind though the best version is the so-called Unreleased Mix which was on the Retro Techno/Detroit Definitive compilation album and does exactly what it says on the tin. I've got it and it's downstairs and I'm a bit lazy at the moment, so I'm posting this version. I know, not good enough service really is it? Imagine what would OFBLOG say.

Strings Of Life (Piano Mix).mp3

27 Forever?

A Certain Ratio are chiefly praised for their late 70s/early 80s scratchy punk-funk but their late 80s/early 90s stuff is just as good. They seemed to live permanently in the shadow of Joy Division and New Order. The Four To The Floor e.p. and MCR album successfully incorporated samplers and sequencers into their songs just as New Order were hitting the dancefloor with Technique. All these things got mashed together when they re-recorded and re-released their early calling card Shack Up with a remix by Electronic, which I've got somewhere and genuinely can't remember if it's any good or not. I'll have to go and listen to it I suppose.
During the 90s ACR released a whole load of singles on Rob's Records, Rob Gretton's label- New Order's manager who found himself at a loose end when NO stopped talking to each other. One of the best ACR singles from this period is this one, 27 Forever. My favourite version is the 'normal' 12" mix but I don't have that on the hard drive, so this is the Jon Da Silva remix. Don't let that put you off though- Da Silva keeps all the right elements intact and just toughens up the drums a bit. Today this sounds like a pretty good reflection of what you'd hear in some of Manchester's bars in 1991/2ish, and being ACR it does that slightly maudlin, sad dance music thing really well.

A Certain Ratio - 27 Forever (Jon Da Silva Remix) (92).mp3

Monday, 25 October 2010

Happy Birthday

As well as Keeping It Peel Day it's also Mrs Swiss's birthday. Should I have timed these posts the other way round? Ah well. This is pretty much her favourite song, and is guaranteed to get her feet moving, especially in that lovely pair of new shoes. Happy Birthday honey.

Needle In A Haystack - The Velvelettes.mp3

Keeping It Peel

Today is Keeping It Peel Day, a celebration of the life, work and musical loves of John Peel. Organised by Webbie who runs the wonderful Football And Music blog (link down to the right), I thought I'd join in. I've been running through the enormous number of bands and artists I love, like and admire who had Peel Sessions, and have made various mental commitments over the last few weeks before going for this one. You so nearly got The House Of Love. I've also got a folder containing all of Half Man Half Biscuit's Peel Sessions with various ruminations by Peel before or after the song, including one (can't remember which at the moment) after which he says 'Half Man Half Biscuit- when I die I want them buried with me', which is pretty poignant. If I can find it I'll post it this week. I eventually decided on reverting to Bagging Area type and giving you a track from the only Sabres Of Paradise Peel Session. Sabres were Andrew Weatherall's early 90s band, as you all surely know. Their Peel Session had three tracks -this one, a tribute to top nutter Vivian Stanshall called Stanshall's Lament, and two others Duke On Berwick and Blackfriars Sunday. All three are lovely, laid back electronic music.

Credit where it's due- all three Sabres tracks came from a reader of the outstanding but now sadly retired Ripped In Glasgow blog. So three cheers for Mr Weatherall, three more for Moggieboy and his reader, and at least three for John Peel.

Stanshall's Lament.mp3

Sunday, 24 October 2010

I'm Not Numbed Out Anymore

Before the gentrification of city centre Manchester the whole Market Street area was a shithole. Some of it still is. Underneath the pedestrianised road, with an entrance opposite where Urban Outfitters is today, there were some steps and an escalater which rarely worked leading to the Underground Market- a rabbit warren of alternative clothes shops and boutiques, market counters, places that would print Who targets onto the back of your parka and sold sew-on patches for denim jackets, formica cafes and shops you never dared look at never mind go into. Out the back was a record shop called Yanks, which sold records with the corners of the covers cut off. At some point in the late 80s Yanks moved to large basement behind McDonalds on Oxford Road. I think it changed it's name, but I can't recall what to for the life of me. They still sold records with the corners cut off, but far more of them, a totally random selection of stuff, old, recent and new. They also sold 12"s, and had huge numbers of dance records. It was in there in 1991 I bought this single -Jah Wobble's Visions Of You. The A-side had the single version and other side, the AW-side had three Andrew Weatherall remixes- Pick 'n' Mix 1, Pick 'n' Mix 2 and The Secret Love Child Of Hank And Johnny. All three on one side of vinyl added up to about twenty minutes of tripped out, mangled, looped and loopy, clattering drums, organ, one of those Jah Wobble basslines, droplets of Sinead O'Connor's backing vox, and all kinds of lovely stuff. The art of the remix isn't represented any better anywhere than on this 12", where completely new music is made out of source material. The one I've posted here is the Pick 'n' Mix 2, seven minutes plus to make your Sunday better for you. I love this record.

Incidentally Jah Wobble's autobiography, Memoirs Of A Geezer, is a good read- the PiL years (or 18 months or so) brilliantly described, Wobble's myriad of projects with a variety of people and few punches pulled, the London Underground announcement 'I used to be somebody, repeat I used to be somebody', the time lost to boozing. There's a three cd round-up on Trojan that's good too. Recommended.

Postscript- it's just occured to me I have a Wobble story. A good friend (who'll probably read this, maybe he can chip in) tried to get Wobble to headline a mini-festival he was involved in a year or two ago, and apparently Wobble's list of demands didn't go down too well. I can't remember the details but pine nuts were muttered about frequently. As in 'he can get his own fuckin' pine nuts...'. The festival went ahead, without Jah Wobble.

And finally, I don't know why there's two pictures of Jah up there, but I can't get rid of one of them. We'll have to live with it. Jah Double.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Please Try Again Later

Transit Kings are Dr. Alex Paterson, Jimmy Cauty and Guy Pratt of respectively The Orb, The KLF and bass sessionista/late era Pink Floyd, so you can probably imagine what this sounds like but don't let that put you off. This is upbeat, nicely laid back electronic music with twinkly piano and guest guitar by Johnny Marr. He's been popping up all over the place round here recently. Very pleasant, not as muso-ey as it could, and good for diverting your attention away from whatever's sucking your soul out on Saturday night TV. Yeah, I know you don't watch X Factor, it was your husband/wife/significant other who had it on...


Keeping It Peel-ish

There was a brief comment conversation at Across The Kitchen Table yesterday, as part of Drew's excellent Keeping It Peel Top Ten, about a Peel Session by The Cramps. A little internet research reveals this was in 1986, and featured three songs from the Date With Elvis album- What's Inside A Girl, Cornfed Dames and Give Me A Woman. I don't have it, and the few webpages I looked at last night either had dead links or formats my aging computer won't open. I have got this though, which was also from A Date With Elvis and is a radio session but I don't know where from, although I'm assuming it's the same tour. No-one rocked and reeled like The Cramps.

(Hot Pool Of) Woman Need (Live Session Version).mp3

Friday, 22 October 2010

Ari Up

Ari Up (The Slits)
17th January 1962- 20th October 2010

05 In the Beginning There Was Rhythm.wma

Strung Out In Heaven's High

I posted a song called Elephants by LA band Warpaint back in June and they've got a new album, The Fool, out on Rough Trade on Monday. There's another tenner gone. The tracks I've heard so far sound very good- you can get Undertow for free from their website. This is a cover of Dame David Bowie's Ashes To Ashes they provided for a compilation recently, and it replaces Bowie's early 80s synth-pop with their signature blissed out, hazy, fluid post-punk sound and dreamy vocals. Soothing and calming and ever so slightly narcotic.

This one's for my compadre Harvey, who's a big fan.


Thursday, 21 October 2010

Zig Zag

Bagging Area has been zig-zagging all over the place recently, from 80s indie, to rock, to vintage hip hop to acid house, post punk, Irish punk and God knows wherever else. Eclecticism- we got it. Or randomitis.

Anyway - tenuous link ahoy!- here's Zig Zag Wanderer from Captain Beefheart, a zippy piece of souped up r'n'b/fast electric blues. As everyone knows Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica is a work of unparalleled genius. If I ever manage to listen to it all the way through I'll let you know if I agree. This song is from the much more listenable Safe As Milk album, and let's be honest, the man and his band at this point looked sharp. Very, very sharp.

Zig Zag Wanderer.mp3

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Full Time

So, farewell then Wayne.

This is not intended to be the outporings of a bitter Man United fan, and it's not like it's a sudden realisation either, but the current furore about Waybe Rooney's decision to leave United kind of sums up what's happened to football since the mid 1990s. Rooney has released a statement today following Sir Alex Ferguson's press conference yesterday, explaining that the reason he wants to quit the club is due the lack of assurances he got from the manager in August about United signing the top players. Wayne wants to win more trophies, he says, and moving to a richer club who can afford to buy the best players in thre world is the way to do that. United fans (and I've been attending matches at Old Trafford since United v Brighton in 1982) can't be too upset though can they? He's only doing to us what he did to his boyhood team Everton six years ago.

Obviously for United fans this is a bit of a shock. Some might say that's pretty rich, and some might say it's well deserved, it couldn't happen to a nicer club etc etc, and there's no doubt that United have done well out of all the money that's been sloshing around football over the last fifteen years. United expanded the ground due to winning trophies in the 90s, benefitted from huge TV money income and selling shirts to muppets home and abroad. On the other hand it takes a bit of getting used to- although we've spent massive amounts of money on players (Ferdinand and Berbatov to name but two) we've also had more than our fair share of successes in bringing players through from youth level, and for a while a good few local lads. The fact that three of them are still turning out regularly over fifteen years later, one-club men, is the exception rather than the rule- but it still made some United fans think there was a little bit more to the club than just the nine year old boy/top trump/tabloid newspaper/Sky TV/transfer market/fantasy football model which is what the whole thing has turned into. I'm not going to sit here and say that Chelsea or City are to blame either. They're just symptoms of the way the game has changed. In a world where there are no rules, no regulations, how a club gets it's money doesn't really matter does it? If football was any other industry, almost every club in the country would be bankrupt and forced to cease trading.

Sky and the Premeir League together with almighty The Champions League, have created this beast, and players' agents now spend their entire time whispering in their clients' ears about the money they can make by moving. So we've got Super Sunday and Judgement Day every weekend and the same clubs playing each other in mid-week European matches every season, and the same clubs winning every trophy at home. Maybe City will break it up. Maybe Liverpool's foreign owners have stuffed them. Maybe the Glazers will stuff United. I'm not sure I care too much anymore.

Equally I know that clubs have always bought and sold players, but there seemed to be less of it, no 24 hour rolling news with rumours to fill it with, fewer agents and hangers-on, the players weren't multi-millionaires at the age of 22, and the transfer fees were far, far smaller. It seemed a little less obscene. More players made it from local youth teams, more time was spent building a side, and the whole thing seemed less mercenary. Maybe that's just naivete on my part though.

As I said I don't intend this as a bitter Red rant, (I'm not bitter, honest) and I don't want to come out with a load of the internet comment board style rubbish I've seen over the last two days, but modern football has precious little that feeds the soul in any way, and this episode is just another nail in the coffin.

Song choice- The Smiths' Money Changes Everything, featuring the wonderful guitar work of Johnny Marr (who's a City fan in case you're wondering. Nice touch eh?).

money changes everything.mp3#1#1

So You Wanna Mess With The Coke?

From twee indie yesterday to militant black hip-hop today. Public Enemy are/were the greatest of all the 80s hip-hop acts, but look and sound somewhat dated today, especially compared to the multi-million dollar, lifestyle aspirational accessory rap music has become. When I posted Passing Me By by 90s rappers the Pharcyde a couple of weeks ago I never thought it would become the most popular (as in most downloaded) track we'd have here at Bagging Area, but it is, so let's see what happens with this one.

After the pinnacle of all of Public Enemy's albums- Fear of A Black Planet (feel free to disagree)- they lost focus and direction and members a little. An album called Greatest Misses was put together featuring new tracks on one side and remixes on the other. One of the new ones was this song, Gett Off My Back and it's is a much overlooked part o their back catalogue featuring two George Clinton samples (Parliament and Funkadelica I think), some great chanting backing vocals, heavy but funky drums, some squeeling noises, and advice about the perils of drugs from everyone's favourite clock-wearing, gold-teethed, reality TV show appearing, black power sidekick Mr Flavor Flav. Tip-top hip-hop with a sense of fun and freedom that was sometimes absent.

Public Enemy - Gett Off My Back.mp3

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tortoise Backwards

A cracking piece of old school style indie, firmly in the Belle and Sebastian tradition, from London band Esiotrot. This song is guitars, horns and ramshackle melody, with a vocal defining teenage longing and lust- a tribute to Emily Scott 'the clergyman's daughter', whose skirt the singer admits he wants to lift up. The best line is 'she hangs out with kids who speak in tongues, our tongues are otherwise engaged'. A really good song, and the only thing by Esiotrot I've heard. Can't quite understand why I've never looked further into them.

Emily Scott.mp3

Monday, 18 October 2010

Mirror Mirror

Effi Briest are an all female band from New York. I thought they were a six-piece but there's seven of them in the picture so maybe I'm wrong. They play slinky but sinewy, hypnotic post punk, with some great fluid guitar playing and thumping drums. A listener on Radio 6 described them as 'Hawkwind fronted by Siouxsie', but I think they're better than that. There's echoes of The Slits in there but with less shrieking and more groove, and a dollop of krautrock. Their album from this year, Rhizomes, is well worth a listen.

Mirror Rim.mp3

Sunday, 17 October 2010

You Are The Door

The La's- keepers of the mystic flame? Or overrated 60s revivalists?

They hated their first and only album and slagged it off relentlessly in the press.
Their gigs at the time featured live versions of the songs on the album that didn't sound that different from the recorded ones.
The only track Lee Mavers liked was the fourth song on the Timeless Melody 12" that was recorded in a barn somewhere in Liverpool.
There She Goes is a modern classic.
The original 12" or 7" pressing has a really good sleeve but is identical to the later release in every other way.
Lee Mavers has lived off this song for years, funding occasional live comebacks.
John Powers formed Cast. On it's own this is a crime.
Internet obsessives have the only true recordings that sound like the sound in Lee's head.
Lee will only record new songs on an original 1960s studio desk with 60s dust on it.
The record company continue to find 'new' La's stuff to release.
The album is great. Flawed maybe, but great.
When Timeless Melody came out I thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever heard.
Some of these things are true.

This is I Am The Key (which wasn't on the album or it's singles), recorded for Manchester's Key 103 radio station in January 1989. Like many of The La's songs it sounds brilliant he first time you hear it. Then it nags it's way into your brain. Then you can't listen to it again for six months.


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Cease To Exist

I was going to post something else today but it can wait. Drew over at Across The Kitchen Table has posted the Peel Session version of Wave Of Mutilation by Boston's alt-rock heroes Pixies. This is the UK Surf Mix of the same song, originally from the 12" of Here Comes Your Man, a single from the ever marvelous Doolittle album. The UK Surf Mix slows the song right down and features some lovely surf guitar from Joey Santiago, and Black Francis' Charles Manson/Beach Boys inspired lyrics.

07 Wave of Mutilation [U.K Surf mix][Version].wma

Friday, 15 October 2010

Long Haired Biker Types

Wooden Shjips are four long haired gentlemen from San Francisco who like to find a chord and then groove on it for a side of vinyl. This song Motorbike is relatively restrained clocking in at under five minutes. Coming from a Doors-y, late 60s angle with detours into krautrock territory, they've released various bits and bobs (albums, e.p.s, compilations of tracks) and you probably only need to get one, but they're good fun while they're on the turntable.

Apparently they're best known for being the chosen band to soundtrack a fashion show Bobby Gillespie was involved in. Fight the power.


Thursday, 14 October 2010

Lorca's Corpse Just Walked Away

I had a 'when did I put this on my mp3 player?' moment in the car this morning-The Pogues' mournful, stirring and elegant (not a word usually associated with the Pogues) tribute to Federico Garcia Lorca. Starting with a military drum beat and building slowly, while Shane sings about Lorca's murder at the hands of Genral Franco's falangists during the Spanish Civil War. Lorca was an internationally acclaimed poet and playwright, outspoken critic of Franco and fascism, and a leading light of the Spanish Generation of '27. Franco's men took him at some point in August 1936 from a friend's house and along with three others shot him at Fuente Grande on the road betweenViznar and Alfacar. His body was buried somewhere in the vacinity, and despite recent attempts has not been found.

In Shane's hands the lyric is full of drama and symbolism, and some insensitivity ('the faggot poet they left til last, blew his brains out with a pistol up his arse') but there's no doubt where Shane's sympathies lie, and at the end when the killers come to mutilate the dead and terrorise the town, Lorca's corpse gets up and walks away. History lesson over- Lorca's Novena is from The Pogues' Hell's Ditch album, produced by Joe Strummer.

The Pogues - Lorcas Novena.mp3

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Groundbreaking record that invented an entire youth movement anyone?

Phuture's Acid Trax was released in 1987, twenty three years ago. Listening to it now it still sounds like the future.

DJ Pierre, Spanky and Herb J invented acid house with this record, and it was partly by accident, twiddling and abusing knobs on the Roland TB 303 Bass Synthesiser to get that squelch. Then realising the squelch was the thing. I love happy accidents. It's minimalist, it's funky, it's trippy, it's loud. It's one of those records that fills any room it's being played in.

Acid Trax.mp3

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Mrs Kennedy Jumped Up, She Called 'Oh No'

From 1987 one of the first cut and-paste montage set to a hip-hop drumbeat records, and still one of the most effective. I'm sure almost anyone with half an idea, some newsreel vocal samples, a drum machine software package and an hour or two could do something similar, but Steinski was first. This groundbreaking 7" single was given away free on the cover of the NME. Who now give blanket coverage to Mumford And Sons and suchlike. Truly they were different times...


Watch Out For The Black Acid Man

As Death In Vegas fizzled out (and they had a fair few moments- bits of the big beat first album Dead Elvis, guest vocalist heavy The Contino Sessions, the Bollywood/electro-clash, Liam G and Paul Weller Scorpio Rising, some of the krauty one I can't remember the name of) Richard Fearless relocated to New York and resurfaced in 2008 with a new band- Black Acid. 'The dark soulful psychedelic rock of Death In Vegas with a new twist' according to the press guy. This song F.U.R. was the A-side of a single, and takes the scuzzy synth-punk of Suicide as it's starting point, and it isn't half bad, if you like that kind of thing. On the B-side, Glitter In The Gutter, it's distorted slo-mo garage rock. It's the only thing by them I've either got or heard, but the rock is winning over the dance in Black Acid.


Monday, 11 October 2010

Theme Park Rockers

Another mid-80s leftfield guitar band with big hair tribute to Alton Towers. Rollercoaster was one of the last songs recorded by the original Echo And The Bunnymen line-up of Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson and the late Pete de Frietas. This was a B-side to their 1987 single Lips Like Sugar. The Bunnymen understood, like all the great bands of the period, that good/interesting B-sides were as important to the fans as the A-side. Resurrected from earlier sessions Rollercoaster is untypical Bunnymen- the band kick up a load of sturm and drang while McCulloch screams and shouts about God knows what. It has more in common with earlier Bunnymen songs and a chorus reminiscent of the Cutter, and some impressively loud drumming. RIP Pete de Freitas.

12 Rollercoaster [#].wma

Easy Streets Are Not For Me

In 1992 The Jesus And Mary Chain released this single, Rollercoaster. It's a good slab of mid-period Mary Chain noise and melody with a typically self-loathing lyric. What's remarkable in retrospect is that the tour to promote the record featured not just the Reid brothers, but also Popscene-era, pre-Britpop Blur, Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine. For around a tenner. You'd be lucky to see four decent bands like that on one day of a festival now and get change from a hundred quid. The song was also on their (relatively) dance influenced album Honey's Dead in a slightly different version, an album which brought them back from the dead after Madchester made them look a bit old hat and redundant. Honey's Dead also had the depraved Teenage Lust and the beautiful Almost Gold. After the British Rollercoaster tour they joined Lollapalooza in the States, which by all accounts didn't go very well. The Reids admitted they wished they'd jumped ship after the third show. Press at the time suggested they'd had an altercation with Ice Cube and some of his entourage, which you would pay good money to see if only for the differences in dialect, language and dress. As Ronan Keating so helpfully pointed out a while back, life is a rollercoaster.

12 Rollercoaster.wma

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Hearts Are The Easiest Things You Can Break

When The Jesus And Mary Chain covered someone else's song it came with shards of feedback, broken glass, earsplitting volume and a gallon of Special Brew. So it seems only fitting that when covering them Richard Hawley should head in the other direction- keeping the girl group drum pattern, and then layering rich vox, twanging guitars and some lushness to the Reid brothers ode to a girl, or drugs, or possibly just candy. Cracking cover version to set off an unseasonably sunny Sunday.

06. Some Candy Talking.mp3

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Churchill Was A Shopping Bag

Back in 1987-ish I used to have a pile of video cassettes permanently by the tv in case one of 'my bands' suddenly appeared on the telly- occasionally someone would make Top Of The Pops, or one of ITV's attempts at doing a similar show (The Roxy springs to mind), Friday evening and then Saturday morning with The Chart Show (which had an indie chart and dance chart in a three week rotation, along with a metal chart) but also more promising programmes like Rapido and the two series of late 80s heaven that was Snub. There were also a few late night weekend slots- I remember seeing The House Of Love playing live on a slightly worthy forerunner to The Word called World Music Cafe (I think). We were spoilt a bit as well here in the north-west. Granada had several music shows, including The Other Side Of Midnight which had the first TV appearences of The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. Thank the lord for Anthony H Wilson. At the start of a presenters sentence a video would be slammed into the recorder and Play and Record pressed. I accumulated several video compilations, which are in a decaying state in a box in the loft. These videos travelled to university with me where after a night out we'd stick one on and enjoy. Or shout at.

This song, Only Losers Take The Bus by Fatima Mansions, was one of them. There was a video featuring Cathal Coughlin lip-synching while tied to a chair under a single light bulb. The song jarred a bit, in between either something Madchestery or JAMC or something similar. I'm pretty sure the clip came from Snub and may well be on youtube, but in the half arsed way I do things here haven't checked. Also the mp3 isn't of brilliant quality. And I've never understood why Churchill is a shopping bag or anything else about this song, except the bus is clearly entry level public transport.


Friday, 8 October 2010

Gardener's Question Time

Clark makes weird, distorted, abstract, funky (and difficult to describe) electronic music for Warp, and has done since 2001. This is Growl's Garden from last year. I've got to be in the right mood for his stuff but this and his 2006 album Body Riddle are stunning in places.


Young Soul Rebel Version

Dexys Midnight Runners' cover of yesterday's northern soul smash isn't too shabby either.

A couple of friends of mine bumped into Kevin Rowland in the street a few months back, both big fans. They approached him and one of them asked to shake his hand, telling Kevin how one of Dexys albums had been a key album in his life. 'Which album?' Kevin asked. 'Searching For The Young Soul Rebels' my friend replied. Apparently the look on Kevin Rolands' face made it clear it wasn't an opinion he shared. Which tells you something about artists, seeing as Young Soul Rebels is pretty much the only Dexys album to get universal adoration. It's thirty years old this year, re-issued this month with the 'legacy' treatment- extra tracks, sessions, unreleased songs, booklet and so on. That'll be the sound of a record company wringing a few more drops out.

06 Seven Days Too Long.wma

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The First Time I Called You Girl They Say You Wasn't Home

How much wood would Chuck Wood chuck if his baby was gone for seven days?

13 Seven Days Too Long.wma

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Yes They Are

Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham October 2010. Jarvis Cocker is here to remind us that those people are still running the world. A brilliant piece of bile-pop.

running the world.mp3

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

You Don't Love Me And I Know Now

Overfamiliarity doesn't dull the edge of this glorious rocksteady tune (originally from Studio One in 1967, and impossible to escape from in it's 1994 re-recorded version, when Dawn Penn returned to the stage after a long break). This song, You Don't Love Me (the No, No, No part was added to the title in the 1994 version) has been sampled and covered by loads from Rhianna to Ghostface Killah to Lily Allen, but it's the beautiful smokey vocals and horns that I keep coming back to, and unless I've got my mp3 versions mixed up, this is the original one.

Various Artists_10_No, No, No.mp3

Monday, 4 October 2010

Sweetness That I'm Thinking Of

From 1987 Neneh Cherry's worldwide hit single Buffalo Stance. Worldwide smash. Poppy. Hip-hop-ish. Housey. Top stuff.

neneh cherry - buffalo stance.mp3

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Sandpaper Blues

The Durutti Column's Sketch For Summer (from the first Durutti Column album, titled Return of The Durutti Column) is as cool a piece of post-punk, instrumental, Factory music as you're going to hear. The guitar's all Vini Reilly, everything else is Martin Hannett. Not sure it's too appropriate on a day we've had several inches of rain, but it makes the thought of Monday and work a little easier to deal with.

The Return Of The Durutti Column was issued first time round in a sandpaper sleeve, so that over time it would destroy the rest of your record collection. Factory legend has it a number of them were hand-glued by members of Joy Division for some extra cash, and that Ian Curtis did most of the glueing while the others watched a porn film. If it isn't true, it should be.

01 Sketch for Summer.wma

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Signs In The Street That Say Where You're Going

The punk cover (as opposed to it's second cousin the ironic cover) is one of the pleasures of post '77 punk rock. Husker Du's cover of The Byrds psychedelic masterpiece Eight Miles High may well be the high point of both all punk covers and Husker Du's back catalogue. It's absolutely blistering and well worth a few minutes of your weekend.

01 Eight Miles High.wma

Friday, 1 October 2010

Bodies Are Missing For Weeks

I got bored to the back teeth with alt-country years ago, but Calexico can often rustle up something good. This 2001 single is stunning and a million miles away from a dusty, croaky singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar- mariachi horns with indie/alt country lyrics and vocals. Spaghetti Western music you can dance to.


I'm King Euphoria, She's Queen Victoria

We haven't had any Half Man Half Biscuit for some time, so let's rectify that straight away and welcome in October with 27 Yards Of Dental Floss.
'Fired by wine she was almost mine
Til a fight broke out at the bar
Third rate Les in his Burberry fez
Had gone just a little too far
Nailing down his bailing twine
To the laminate floor
He sang a salty song about
A girl from Bangalore
27 yards of dental floss
And she still won't give me a smile'
If you're one of the surprisingly many who downloaded With Goth On Our Side a few months back you'll love this one too. HMHB were in session on 6 Music back in August with three new songs and the promise of a new album around Christmas. Killer new line? 'I shot a man in Tesco just watch him die'.

27 Yards Of Dental Floss.mp3