Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Temporary Close Down

Over a week ago a reader, John Medd, commented that there have been too many Jesus And Mary Chain references here recently. Bagging Area is happy to take constructive criticism but time is up on the JAMC ban. In 1991 punk trumpeter Terry Edwards released a cracking e.p. called Terry Edwards Plays The Music Of Jim And William Reid, four trumpet led covers of Mary Chain songs. I posted Never Understand not long after this blog started. This track is Terry's version of The Hardest Walk, where he finds more melody in Jim Reid's vocal lines than anyone knew existed.

Long term readers will know that Mrs Swiss and I are the parents of a disabled child. He has a rare genetic disease, Hurler's Syndrome, one of the MPS set of diseases, which has left him needing two bone marrow transplants before the age of two to keep him alive, various skeletal problems (and major surgery on his back and knees), severe learning difficulties and loads more besides. I.T., twelve now, is having his umpteenth operation on Monday to have a cochlear implant fitted. Born partially deaf in both ears any hearing he had in his left ear was destroyed by meningitis in 2008. The cochlear implant sends digital signals to the brain, a new type of hearing. If the op doesn't work, he's not lost anything really and if it does we may go ahead and do the same in his right ear where he still has some hearing, but copes with severe loss using hearing aids and lip reading. A cochlear implant has to destroy any natural hearing that's left so we can't take the risk of him losing everything by doing the right and the left ears in one go and it not working. They won't switch the implant on for a few weeks, so it's going to be a while before we know whether it's worked or not, and then repeated trips to get the implant sorted and working properly. He'll probably deal with it all fine- he usually bounces back pretty quickly after operations, and while getting used to the implant and a new way of hearing may take some time he'll get to grips with it. It certainly won't stop him talking. It's the rest of us who get battered by these experiences, operations, hospital stays, new proceedures and equipment to get to grips with. Brain surgery obviously carries some risks also.

The Hardest Walk? It might not be the absolute hardest, but the walk from ward to operating theatre with a child who doesn't want to go and is increasingly anxious, hates being anaesthetised and can't fully understand what's happening is far from the easiest walk, and neither is the walk out of the theatre afterwards leaving the anaesthetised boy behind who was kicking and screaming seconds earlier. No matter how many times I've done it, and it's over thirty now, it gets no easier.

So, there won't be much going on round here for a short while. Enjoy Terry Edwards, and see you in a few days.

01 The Hardest Walk.wma

Saturday, 29 January 2011

They May Say Those Were The Days

I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing, as the Pet Shop Boys once said. Jane's Addiction weren't really my cup of tea, certainly not when Ritual De Lo Habitual came out in 1990, and look at the way they dressed. You wouldn't do that in the north of England in 1990, even if you secretly wanted to. I do remember seeing the video for Been Caught Stealing and thinking it sounded good. I didn't get the album until many years later and was surprised that there was quite a lot I liked. Been Caught Stealing for one, the ten minute sex and drugs epic Three Days for another, and this song Classic Girl. If Jane's Addiction are as wikipedia says an alternative rock band, then this song emphasises the alternative rather than the rock, no squeeling guitar solos or Led Zep drum and bass breakdowns here, just really cool phased guitar and a yearning quality, for a classic girl. The lyric which made my ears prick up was the verse that goes-

'They may say 'Those were the days'
But in a way, you know for us
These are the days
Yes, for us these are the days'

Which sounded like a pretty good rejection of nostalgia (presumably the 60s or 70s) and embracing our times. Of course now those lines are twenty years old and I regularly feature songs from those days which maybe is partly me saying 'those were the days' but I hope this isn't entirely a place for nostalgia, if at all. Are these the days? For us, and the kids listening to their music, I suppose these are still the days.

09 Classic Girl.wma

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 4

OFSTED eh? They come in, crawl all over you, scrutinise everything you do, watch you work and comment on it, make a load of judgements and then leave. The sun still comes up the next day. For the record, we did pretty well and don't expect to see them again until 2013/14. Relief is the main feeling I think, and knackeredness. Open a bottle of something Mrs Swiss.

This is Gene Maltais, whose Raging Sea we rocked to a few weeks ago when this series crawled out of the grave. Gene has a crazy baby. Hope she doesn't steal hubcaps on her way home from school.

crazy baby.mp3

And Yes, Yes, Y'all Was The Siren Call

Scritti Politti have got their first career spanning compilation out soon and there's good article to promote it in the latest issue of Mojo. Back in 2006 Green Gartside released a homemade Scritti album, White Bread Black Beer, containing some beautifully sung songs with guitar and drum machine backing. This was the opening song- The Boom Boom Bap, a lovely tribute to and lament for the old school hip hop Green fell for in the 80s. Not that it sounds anything like old school hip hop. He manages to sweetly sing lines borrowed from those early records and make them sound like something else entirely - the boom boom bap, the tap a tap tap, the big beat drum, the yes yes y'all and the siren's call, hard times, sucker mcs, Jay's game, the Brewski point, the beat of my heart, wake up , Hollis crew, rock box, it's like that, juice joint Jane, hooks can kill, jinging dollar dollar bill, I love you still... I always will.

01 The Boom Boom Bap.wma

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Save Me From Me

I've never been entirely sure about Pavement or Stephen Malkmus, I liked some stuff and thought some was close to rubbish, a bit too clever by half. This track Pencil Rot was free with a magazine covermount cd, and I loved it. It was the first song on his 2005 solo album Face The Truth so I bought the album cheap from ebay- couldn't tell you anything about any of the rest of it, the track titles ring no bells at all. Pencil Rot is fantastic though- it's a riot of synths, fuzzy detuned guitars, with an urgent, driving rhythm and lyrics about a villain in his head giving him shocks, leather bound poison, secondhand weakness, privilege, spikes on your feet, dancing to the top of the human shit pile, unmade beds, ghosts, more poison and pencil rot. I don't know what it's about. Maybe it doesn't matter.

01 Pencil Rot.wma

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Version Francoise

Ed Ball co-formed Television Personalities with Dan Treacy during the punk period, set about Bill Grundy, Part Time Punks, Syd Barratt amongst others and set up their own record label. Ball also formed The Times who released records regularly between 1980 and 1999. While finding a home at Creation in the 80s and 90s Ball found the time to record various (sometimes tongue-in-cheek) celebrations of acid house, drug culture and Manchester/London at the time. This is Lundi Bleu, his version of New Order's Blue Monday with Bernard Sumner's lyrics translated into French. It's a post-acid house, 8 minute monster which finds time to turn into Neil Young's After The Goldrush at the end. Very lovely and very of it's time. Art Dept IAMT, currently in Nuremburg, this one's for you.

The Times - Lundi Bleu (Man New Age Mod Mix).mp3

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A Equals Action

We got a phonecall at work yesterday which makes this an important week for us. Mark Perry and ATV didn't have the Office For Standards In Education in mind when they wrote Action Time Vision but it fits quite well. I don't know how much blogging I'll manage over the next few days. If I don't post much before Friday, it's because I'm a little busy. See you on the other side.


Monday, 24 January 2011

I Left My Bag In Newport Pagnell

The Freemans Catalogue in the mid-80s featured a little known indie boys section. Our models-Craig, Johnny, Andy, Steve and Mike- show off the summer range. Shoes and sunglasses models own.

This version of Is It Really So Strange came to light on the Unreleased Demos album, recently leaked on the net. It's not so much a demo, more a full but unreleased version. Recorded during the 1986 sessions for the Ask single, it was shelved and when the band needed a B-side for Sheila Takes A Bow they used the Peel Session version of this song instead. The guitar playing on this track shimmers and shines, truly brilliant, and Morrissey delivers his lines about the north, the south, lost luggage and killing a horse. Then you think, 'they rejected this, it wasn't good enough'.

10 Is It Really So Strange_ [Demo].mp3

Sunday, 23 January 2011

While The City Was Busy We Wanted A Rest

Mercury Rev recorded at the BBC's Maida Vale studio in 1999 for a Peel Session, with a lovely laidback cover of Captain Beefheart's Observatory Crest, perfect for this time on a Sunday when the light's gone, and 'Monday's coming like a jail on wheels'.

03 Observatory Crest.wma

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Marching Orders

In 1999 Jason Pierce sacked three members of Spiritualized, the bassist, guitarist and drummer no less (leaving Spiriutalized with only a gospel choir, brass section and strings for rehearsals I guess). Sean Cook, Mike Mooney and Damon Reece retreated to Bristol to lick their wounds and then formed Lupine Howl. In 2000 they released their debut single Vaporizer, impressive psych-rock. I didn't buy anything else by them other than this single in the end though.

03 Vaporizer [Long Version].wma

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 3

I think strictly speaking this week's return of rockabilly cut isn't really rockabilly at all, more jump blues or swinging r 'n' b, but it's Friday night, let's not split hairs. This uptempo, life affirming record by The Jesse Powell Orchestra featuring the vocal talents of the brilliantly named Fluffy Hunter should have you clapping your hands, stomping your feet, walking right in and walking right out.

01 The Walkin' Blues (Walk Right in, Walk Right Out).wma

Jump, Jive, Harmonise

This is East LA's 60s Chicano garage/soul revue band Thee Midniters (or Thee Midnighters) with a filty blast of stuff, vocalist Little Willie G urging the listener to jump, jive and harmonise. They had some big regional hits with Land Of A Thousand Dances, Love Special Delivery and Whittier Boulevard and various members coming and going, one leaving to go to Los Lobos, and they still play today. Thee Midniters are also reckoned by some to be the first to use the double E in The, but I suspect that could be contested...

Thee Midnighters_02_Jump, Jive, And Harmonize.mp3

Thursday, 20 January 2011

If You're Looking For Trouble...

The other day our daughter E.T., 7 years old, asked about Elvis and as we were by the computer I got Youtube open and searched for the '68 Comeback Special. Soon we were watching the opening section of the show, Elvis singing Trouble in black shirt and red neckerchief, jet black hair and tanned skin, then seguing into Guitar Man with the banks of guitarists behind him shot in silhouette against bright white lights. Woah, I'm saying to her, look at that. To be fair, E.T. stayed the course, watched the clip and then wandered off pretending to be unimpressed, saying 'he died from too many burgers'. Mrs Swiss and myself however were left floored by the '68 Comeback Special, as I am whenever I see it. Stunning performance. Totally staged, hyper choreographed, cynical TV opportunism by Colonel Tom obviously, but stunning performance. I'll say it again, stunning. Audio track below.

I'm left wondering if and where I could get away with wearing the black shirt and red neckerchief. Without looking like a total dick.

01 Trouble-Guitar Man.wma

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Vaccination Time

Finger as ever firmly on the pulse I've heard The Vaccines for the first time this week. The NME is calling them the future of British guitar music, they're in the BBC's 10 to watch for 2011 list, they've already had a three song slot on Later, and they've released the grand total of one single. Hype? You got it. The band sensibly say the media create the hype and then complain that bands are overhyped, and all they can do is make songs and if other people like them that's a bonus. But are they any good? I reckon they could be- they've got guitar pop skills with Ramones-y choruses, the warm fuzz of The Jesus And Mary Chain, the danceableness (new word alert) of early Franz Ferdinand, and the mocassins of The Bunnymen. I don't know what young people listen to down at the disco these days, but if was seventeen again I'd be throwing myself around to this- If You Wanna (a demo version it says here).


Surface Noise

Acid Ted featured Two Lone Swordsmen's remix of the Kenny Hawkes' track Ashley's War on Monday, a new one to me and very nice it is too. This is the return leg- Kenny Hawkes remixes Hope We Never Surface by TLS, a good length piece of electronic funk. Hope We Never Surface was on the Stay Down album (the one with the painting of the deep sea divers on the cover), which I listened to over the Christmas holiday and was struck by two things- firstly, it was much better than I remembered, full of lovely bass, weird noises, laid back sounds and drums, and a load of depth I'd not noticed when it came out- really good understated electronic music. Secondly, the sleeve was crinkled where the cat had pissed on it.

Hope We Never Surface (Remix By Kenny Hawkes).mp3

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Guiding My Boat

Richard Hawley has never sounded better than on this 2003 B-side (Run For Me was the single, from the Lowedges album). It's a cover version but sounds much like a hymn. In Hawley's hands, with a huge guitar sound and his deep, enveloping voice it's a song that picks you up, gives you a hug and sends you on your way.

Troublesome Waters.mp3

Monday, 17 January 2011

You Better Run, Run, Run

A Primal Scream song for Monday from their sonic terrorist, war against vowels phase. When The Kingdom Comes was the second B-side on the 12" of the Accelerator single, the last record Creation released. It features Paul Weller on 'auto-destructive 12 string Rickenbacker' and Kevin Shields 'sonically speaking' (both quotes from the back of the sleeve). You can probably guess who was responsible for which bits when you listen to it. The song sounds a bit like they made it up on the spot at the end of the night when they'd dragged Weller out of the pub and into the studio, Bobby Gillespie's lyrics probably took longer to sing than they did to write, and it's a fairly derivitive piece of pop-art, rock 'n' roll- despite all of this, I like it.


Sunday, 16 January 2011

Trish Keenan

I've just read on the web that Trish Keenan, vocalist and one half of Broadcast, died on Friday morning following complications with pneumonia arising from swine flu. She was 42. Broadcast have been making highly acclaimed records for Warp since 1997, fusing 60s pop art and modern electronics, 2003's The Ha Ha Sound being a personal favourite (the cd version coming in a lovely hardback book). 2009's Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age was chock full of interesting and arresting moments, retro and futuristic at the same time. This is Two Lone Swordsmen's remix of Come On Let's Go from 2000, one of the first records I bought using the then-newly-fangled-to-me internet mail order system at Warp. RIP Trish Keenan.

cmonletsgo tlsremix.mp3#2#2


Fujiya and Miyagi, Brighton's dancey and krauty fourpiece, have a new album out later this month. I've quite liked a lot of their stuff in the past without ever totally loving it, although there is a rather nice Two Lone Swordsmen remix from several years ago I've played a lot. This is the B-side (is it a B-side? Or just an extra track in a digital bundle? Not sure), where they get remixed by Erland And the Carnival, about whom I knew nothing until a few minutes ago when I googled them and found out they do English folk music and contain a former member of The Verve and the Good, The Bad And The Queen (Simon Tong). I've not knowingly heard anything by them, so can't tell you whether this remix is typical or not, but I do like it.

Ventriloquizzing (Carnivalisation (Remixed By Erland & The Carnival)).mp3

Saturday, 15 January 2011

This Is The Music Of A Hip Hop Band

Stetsasonic's Talkin' All That Jazz sounds a bit dated now but still quite exciting. Formed in 1979 they were one of the first hip hop acts to use 'real' instruments as well as turntables when performing live. The lyrical focus of this song sounds quaint as well- a justification for using jazz samples in their tracks, as the music is part of their history and culture. In 2011 it seems strange to think the sampling debate used to based around issues like this. Still, a cracking tune, with some good samples and the MCs chucking out all kinds of vocal wordplay, humour and anger. This track also appeared on the Rebirth Of Cool compilation album , filled with jazz influenced hip hop and hip hop influenced jazz which I played loads in 1991-2, but probably hasn't been out of the sleeve for about eighteen years.

13 - Talkin_' All That Jazz.mp3

Friday, 14 January 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 2

One of the great things about rockabilly is there are tons of songs and singers to discover and unless you're a total afficionado you can come across someone who's 'an unknown legend' but totally new to you. In that line, tonight I give you Gene Maltais, whose The Raging Sea I got into recently on the Rocket In My Pocket compilation (out on Ace Records). I've since discovered I've got it on another comp, and another track by him on yet another comp, but somehow have missed them or not listened to them properly- easily done I find when it's a compilation of twenty-five plus songs. Gene Maltais has got a truly great voice and a rocking guitar sound, and this song is the quiffed up business- play it 'til it wears out. Gene wants to love his woman 'like a raging sea', which is just less than 'the force of a thousand suns', a unit noted over at The Ghost Of Electricity blog a while back as very powerful indeed. Top stuff for your Friday night.

CJ- if you happen to be reading this, does the photo of Gene Maltais remind you of anyone we know?

03 The Raging Sea.wma

Thursday, 13 January 2011


My Bloody Valentine cover Wire's Map Ref 41N 93W for a Wire tribute album released in 1996. Wire's original has an instantly recognisable guitar part, and a sing-song vocal. Kevin Shield's noisy bunch manage to keep the essence of the Wire tune while drenching it in their own distinctive noise, adding the boy-girl MBV vocal.

My Bloody Valentine - Map Ref 41N 93W.mp3

You Are The Last Of The Buffalo

There are records on my mental wishlist which I've been looking for for years and this is one of them- Burning Lights by Joe Strummer. It was released on the soundtrack to the film I Hired A Contract Killer in 1990, deep into the midst of Joe's wilderness years. The 7" is said to be the rarest of Joe Strummer records (said by the people who know these things). The B-side is Afro Cuban Bebop, with Joe backed by The Pogues (hiding as The Astro Physicians).

Burning Lights is one of Joe's best songs of any period, and recently I found a download of it. Isn't the internet great? I was stupidly pleased to get this and at least now I own an mp3 of it, if you can actually own a string of digital code. It's taken directly from the film with Joe performing it in a bar, just voice, guitar and congas with some film noise leaking in at the start and the end, and it's a wonderful little song with a heart wrenching vocal, by a man who knows his time has gone.

'Some dreams are made for children
But most grow old with us
And when the air can hope to hold on
To the ground from dust to rust

Burning lights in the desert
Such a sign only you would know
Your running tyres, they're out of pressure
Such a sign only you would know

I've been a long haul driver
Moving things but the cops don't know
Now I can see the writing
You are the last of the buffalo

Burning lights in the desert
Such a sign only you would know
Your running tyres, they're out of pressure
Such a sign only you would know

Now I've been to California
And I've been to New South Wales
Sometimes I pull over
When I realise I've left no trace

Burning lights in the desert
Such a sign only you would know
Your running tyres, they're out of pressure
Such a sign only you would know'

I think, ladies and gentlemen, those words are honesty, beauty and poetry.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Weirdness From The Wirral

I was listening to a new mix by Bagging Area's unofficial sponsor and sartorial guide Andrew Weatherall last night, a mix he did for Heavenly Records which you can find here-


I wasn't going to include the link- I've followed my own unwritten rule of just posting one track per blogpost so far, and Acid Ted featured this link and another one a few days ago, but what the heck.

Two things stood out- firstly there's an unreleased Weatherall dub of Alice Gold which fits in very nicely with all those other dubs he's done recently. I hope someone at Rotters Golf Club is planning to stick them out as an album. Secondly, the opening track is deeply weird and very good. Forest Swords are a one man producer/band, unknown to me before hearing this mix from Audrey. Now I'm addicted to it. Ambient sounds with dub basslines and space, Ennio Morricone's twangy guitar, and tons of atmospherics and reverb. Spooky, interesting, odd and very good, this is Glory Gongs by Forest Swords. Well worth checking out I think.

4 - Glory Gongs.mp3

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Glossop Rock

The Bodines came from Glossop, a small town nestling in the Pennines to the east of Manchester. This single, Therese, was on the legendary c86 tape (given away free with the NME), an indie disco regular, compilation tape staple and the only thing they're really known for at all. And very good it is too in that 1986-7, Smiths-influenced, pre-Roses way. They screwed it all up/got screwed up (delete as appropriate) like so many of these bands did by signing to a major label who dropped them as soon as their album didn't shift millions. Or even thousands. Or hundreds maybe. They re-recorded Therese for the album, Played, although the original Therese single came out on Creation. I've got the major label subsidiary (Magnet Records anyone? Me either)album Played on vinyl and looking at the sleeve I honestly couldn't tell you how any of the songs go, apart from Therese and a vague recollection of Slip Slide which I think a friend put on a compilation tape for me around that time.


Monday, 10 January 2011

A Reader Requests

A reader called Freesoundcollective (possibly not his/her real name) has asked for a repost of Luna's cover of Sweet Child O'Mine, yes that Sweet Child O'Mine, done for a radio session. Luna were Dean Wareham's follow up to Galaxie 500 and this cover is a genuine thing of beauty so I'm more than happy to oblige. If you haven't heard this before, you really should.


The Queen Is Deader

Stumbling around the internet a week or so ago I came across an album of demos and unreleased instrumentals by The Smiths. In the past I've listened to The Smiths so much that I can't really hear them anymore so I was intrigued by this album. It contains demo versions (presumably early takes) of various songs- Is it Really So Strange?, Death Of A Disco Dancer, Sheila Take A Bow, Girlfriend In A Coma, Frankly, Mr. Shankly, and There is A Light That Never Goes Out among them- that sound like what they are, which is demos. The arrangements are slightly different, they lack the finished gloss of the album track, different vocal melody, slight lyrical change, and so on. Interesting enough but still, unreleased demos are unreleased for a reason usually. Hearing Frankly, Mr. Shankly with a trumpet part makes you realise they were right to take the trumpet off. There are two unfinished instrumentals, Johnny Marr and the rhythm section trying out tunes that for whatever reason didn't become Smiths songs. Again, interesting enough . A seven minute rough version of Rusholme Ruffians, an instrumental Shoplifters, a few other things that I can't remember right now.

The one that got me hooked though was this one, The Queen Is Dead- monarchy baiting, cheerless marshes, heads in slings, bad piano playing, sponges and rusty spanners, rain and hair, apron strings, castration, drugs, the church, the pub and the band's awe inducing guitar, drums and bass attack. The Queen Is Dead may well be their finest moment- Johnny, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce's swaggering, feedback-ridden music and Morrissey's funniest and most scything lyrics. This version is The Queen Is Dead before they decided it needed to be shorter, so you get everything you'd normally get but Marr, Rourke and Joyce playing out of their skins for an extra two minutes. If that doesn't get you excited I don't know what will. Or you don't like The Smiths, in which case, fair enough. Always a personal favourite in the Bagging Area bunker, ever since I read years ago that they thought it 'went on a bit' I've wondered what the full version sounded like. Now I know.

04 The Queen Is Dead [Demo].mp3#2#2

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Top Gear

Cars don't going to feature here at Bagging Area very often but today's post is car inspired if not a full discussion and comparison of motors that would keep Clarkson happy.

We have two cars. One is an increasingly shabby Volkswagen Polo that trundles between home and my workplace, rapidly approaching the eighty thousand miles mark. It's pleasingly basic- steering wheel, three foot pedals, hand break, gear stick, cassette player, working electric window on the driver's side, broken electric window on the passenger side. It's full of old compilation cassettes, fag ash, wrappers and packets, pebbles and grit, and the mp3 adaptor thing that means the cassettes are only there for mp3 player battery dying moments. The other car, the 'family car', I only really get to drive at weekends. I suppose it's our son's car really, seeing as part of I.T.'s disability benefit pays for it and he qualifies for it through the Motorbility scheme. It's got electric everything, and a sensor that beeps to warn you when you're reversing too near a wall. Not that this stopped me reversing into a wall a few weeks back. It's got a cd player, which was the most exciting thing about it for me, and it's various storage compartments are bursting with homemade compilation cds, mainly filled up with tracks from blogs better and older than this one.

To cut a long winded post short that isn't really about cars at all, I reached in one of the storage areas yesterday and pulled out a cd cleverly titled Easter 08, stuck it in the player and this came on- Freelance Hellraiser's mash up of Christina Aguilera and The Strokes, A Stroke Of Genius. The Guardian's Alexis Petridis reckoned this was the song of the last decade. It's one of those songs the whole family can sing along too, including the instrumental parts. Ace. When I last posted a mash up, a reader at the back-up, Wordpress version of Bagging Area left a comment saying 'But who listens to mash up's anymore?'. Well, when they're this good I do.

a stroke of genius.mp3

Saturday, 8 January 2011

His Eyes Are For You Only

A few years ago (and looking at the back of this cd I see it was 2004 which is probably more than a few years) I got into a band I'd been dimly aware of but pretty much completely ignored. My loss. Scritti Politti had been a pop-soul band with Lady Di hair as far as I was concerned, and I knew little about their post-punk roots. The 2004 Early compilation was a revelation- from the squatting scene, lo-fi, DIY, scratchy music, bass led with clattering drums and Clash baiting lyrics (Skanc Bloc Bologna). Really good stuff. At the same time Green Gartside released a new Scritti album- White Bread, Black Beer- which had a load of good songs on it. When I got around to playing this song it did awake some distant memories and I played it to death, eventually finding copies on 7" and 12" as well. The 'Sweetest Girl' has a lovely, hissing drum machine part, great understated melody, beautiful vocals and one of the best piano parts you'll find, played by Robert Wyatt. Arms length lyrics, a dissection of love- Green Gartside was one of pop/post-punks intellectuals, inspired by philosophy as much as Sex Pistols, and none the worse for it. This is an absolute killer tune.

12 The 'Sweetest Girl'.wma#2#2

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night

We haven't had much rockabilly round these parts recently and I'm in the mood so here's Dale Vaughn in the mid 1950s asking the question How Can You Be Mean To Me? A seriously wild slice of the rockabilly pie.

01 How Can You Be Mean To Me.wma

More Crocodiles

Bagging Area featured San Diego's Dylan-haired, sunglasses wearing, polka dot shirted, scuzz rockers a month or so ago. They had an album out in 2010, Sleep Forever, which missed out in my end of year review because I didn't get it until a few days ago. It's good, and unusually for these times, it feels like a real album. Only eight songs long but when it finishes I just want to stick it on again. This song is Hearts Of Love, the Mary Chain influence still written large but this has melody, fuzz, tons of reverb, some warmth, good production and a huge big chorus bubbling up from the Crocodiles gutter. I like it a lot, and the other seven are just as good.

Hearts Of Love.mp3

Thursday, 6 January 2011

January The 6th Epiphany

From their final Peel Session, Half Man Half Biscuit's Epiphany, not on any formal release as far as I know, and one of their best songs.

It finishes...

'Please take me with you on one of your outings
I hear you're going to Billing Aquadrome
I've never been to Billing Aquadrome
Let me go with you to Billing Aquadrome
Please let me go to Billing Aquadrome
I'll be busking this at Embankment tube tomorrow

January the 6th Epiphany'

47. Epiphany.MP3

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Modernism 3

Third in this mod mini-series, Millions Like Us by Purple Hearts, a buzzy single from 1979 with a cracking guitar riff and lyrics about belonging and inclusiveness. The Purple Hearts story has it that they formed with the sole intention of supporting Buzzcocks to perform their 'rock opera' Reg. They went on after the gig releasing several more singles and some albums before the mod revival petered out.

13 Millions Like Us.wma

Modernism 2

Mod revivalists Secret Affair's 1979 debut single, Time For Action. 'This is the time for action, this the time to be seen' sang Ian Page, and thousands of Jam fans agreed sending it to number 13 in the charts and the cover of Smash Hits. Is it any good? I dunno. It's fun but clearly indebted to others. Secret Affair reformed a few years ago and gigged last year sharing a double header with fellow mod revivalists Purple Hearts playing Brighton and Islington. Somewhat obviously.

15 Time for Action.wma

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


I love mod. I love the whole aesthetic- the clothes, the shoes, the coats, the hair, the outlook. It's old hat I guess, but it's made a deep impression on me, increasingly as the years go by. I was just old enough to be affected at some level by the Quadrophenia inspired mod revival of the late 70s, although I couldn't claim to have been an eleven year old mod. Like Roots Manuva said 'Brand new, you're retro'- if you don't want to dress like every other bugger in suburban south Manchester but want something that can work on a daily basis, mod works. I often find myself cooing at over-priced vintage coats, desert boots, Chelsea boots and brogues, three button jackets, striped blazers, the stuff in the Fred Perry Outlet.

One of the great things about the mod story is that the original mods of the late 50s and early 60s loved modern Black American music- r 'n' b, modern jazz, blues. Every mod revival since has been primarily guitar based, mainly due to the sounds created by the 60's mod bands, who took their love of soul and r 'n' b and shook it up with guitar, bass and drums, The Who and The Small Faces being the best known. Ironically the source material isn't too far away from the starting points of rockabilly, who favoured their Black US jump music crossed with country, but that's an aside. In the 90's Oasis and Blur and a succession of major label 'indie' bands pillaged mod for looks and stylings. A few years previously the Acid Jazz scene borrowed heavily, with a more authentic stress on Black American influenced dance music. The Jam did more than anyone to popularise it before that, and Weller had to reject it and his army of parka'd followers to move forward but The Style Council were as mod as anything else he did. As was the more trad mod stuff of the 90s- Wild Wood, Stanley Road et al. What I think some people have found suspect about it is the sense of style over substance, that the clothes were the most important aspect- but most British music/youth movements have been based around dress, which was one reason why everything seemed so dull, from say 1996, through to the early 00s. No tribes, no rules, no style. The last genuine, groundshaking youth movement in this country was acid house, and that had it's own look and aesthetic, just as strong as mod. I suppose mod's various revivals have been associated with guitar rock rather than forward looking dance music, which tends to attract a laddish audience and everthing that goes with that. More's the pity.

In the 60s The Creation released several great mod records. Eddie Philips pioneered playing the guitar with the violin bow (and look what that led to). They looked sharp. They made music that was 'red with purple flashes'.They had some great tunes, including this one- Biff! Bang! Pow!. This is souped up r 'n' b. It also gave Alan McGee the name for a short lived band and ultimately the name for his record label. Dig it. Youth explosion.

Biff! Bang! Pow!.mp3

Monday, 3 January 2011

New Year Random Dub

As I sink into the realisation that I have to return to work tomorrow this track is picked at random from the Bagging Area hard drive. Final Chapter by Prince Far I, deep dub from his Cry Tuff Dub Encounter Chapter 3. I got this on vinyl, a re-issue in the 90s and recently found it on emusic, who have masses of quality dub at knock down prices. Advert over. Enjoy the bass.

Prince Far I_04_Final Chapter.mp3

Sunday, 2 January 2011

A Country Parish

Gorillaz eh? What to make of them? I've not been entirely convinced from the start and last year's Plastic Beach only began to make sense to me when I saw the footage of them playing it live on TV. Paul Simonon and Mick Jones being present didn't hurt either, and the stella guestlist at Glastonbury made my jaw drop. Especially Mark E Smith's appearance- 'Where 's north from here?'

On Christmas Day they released The Fall through their website. Recorded while on tour I've been living with it for the last few days and think it may be the best album they've done. By they, obviously really I mean by Damon Albarn. It's got several lovely electronic funk tracks, loads of vintage synths and vocoders and a few 'what does this button do?' bits. What I think really makes it though is a) it sounds like an on-tour record, full of moments of ennui, of joy, of revelation, of the love of making music with few or no commercial considerations, and b) it's not weighed down by all those special guests. No Lou Reed. No De La Soul. No Shaun Ryder. No Snoop. No Bobby Womack. No one, other than Mick and Paul chipping in on unobtrusive guitar and bass. The absence of all the guests adds rather than detracts. This is a pretty magic album and this is one of it's key moments- a lovely country-ish ballad, starting with bursts of FM radio (a bit like the start of Dexys' Burn it Down, except C 'n' W songs this time), and then some lovely half euphoric, half melancholic piano and Damon's vocals about Texas, the road, space dust and whatever else. It fits the post-Christmas, post-New year lull very well and it's very, very good. I suspect it may get removed soon as well by the internet police so get it while it's hot. If you haven't found a copy of the full album to download, do so sharpish. I suggest Castles In Space might be a good place to start.

The Parish Of Space Dust.mp3

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year And Lend A Hand

Happy New Year. My head hurts. Bagging Area is One today.

More importantly you need to go over to Acid Ted. The mysterious Error: Operator has given Acid Ted an exclusive mix. Error: Operator made one of 2010's most interesting albums, low key electronics and vocal samples, including Arthur Miller, and Eisenhower talking about D Day.

You can have the exclusive mix by donating to Acid Ted's chosen charity, The Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust. Ctel lost his son three years ago to a brain tumour, and wrote a poignant and honest account about the illness and it's effect on his son and him and his partner. Speaking as someone who has spent huge chunks of the last twelve years on childrens' intensive care wards, cancer wards and in childrens' hospitals I know how important fundraising is, so get over to Acid Ted, cough up a couple of quid, download the mix, and have a good New Years' Day.

This is Error: Operator's Follow, remixed by Wing Commander.

Follow (Wing Commander Remix).mp3