Tuesday, 30 September 2014
I have decided to accept the self imposed challenge to post a song each day this week with a Latin title- that's Latin the dead language rather than latino or latin American just to stick some rules on it. It may require some thought to get through the week (although Friday is sorted).
The Black Lips were a decent little garage band who appeared towards the end of the last decade. They got a lot of press for their bad behaviour- pissing on stage, spitting in each other's mouths etc- which overshadowed the songs a bit. This song is a good 'un, less raucous than the rest of the album it came off. Came, saw, conquered.
There was also a Diplo remix, which kept the bassline and sound effects but redid the drums and looped some of the rest up a bit.
And, here we go again, an Andrew Weatherall remix which as far as I know was only released on a compilation/mix cd he put together called Watch The Ride. If you can wait until teatime on Wednesday you'll be able to dl it.
Veni Vidi Vici (Andrew Weatherall Dub)
Monday, 29 September 2014
I love this 12", released on Warp back in the early 90s by Rhythm Invention. It still sounds good, with a driving beat and bassline and it's far more direct than a lot of Warp's stuff.
There are many people who would say, 'yeah it's good, but really it's all about the Ali Cooke remix on the other side.'
Ali adds some hip-hop at the start, a stuttering vocal snippet and when those synth strings hit at three minutes thirty odd seconds, ooh, goosebumps, yeah, I think they're right. Awesome, as the kids say. Tune as we used to.
Sunday, 28 September 2014
Polygon Wood (West Corner) July 1917
Polygon Window, Aphex Twin, 1993. Still sounds like the future.
The new Aphex Twin album, Syro, is well worth some of your money if you haven't got it already. Loads to explore within it from the warm synth action of Minipops 67 to the gorgeous minimalist piano at the end.
Polygon Window, Aphex Twin, 1993. Still sounds like the future.
The new Aphex Twin album, Syro, is well worth some of your money if you haven't got it already. Loads to explore within it from the warm synth action of Minipops 67 to the gorgeous minimalist piano at the end.
Saturday, 27 September 2014
Here's something brand new, electronic and from the Kompakt record label in Cologne, also home to Kolsch (maker of two of my favourite records of recent years- Der Alte and Goldfisch). After a jarring intro it settles into a pulsing beat. Handclaps come and go, snatches of vocal, synth chords and some throbbing noises, everything shifting around to keep it interesting. Weval are a Dutch duo, this is out on vinyl in November.
Drew had DJ Shadow's Dark Days at his place this week. Almost the same day I got an email from DJ Shadow's people pointing me towards his new stuff at Bandcamp.
There are three songs on the e.p. on his new label Liquid Amber, two new and a remix. Ghost Town is recognisably Shadow- spooky piano, hip hop influences- but with a pretty frantic beat, inspired by future bass. Mob is a headnodder. Six Days (Machinedrum remix) is a mash of bass, soul vocals and drum machine and is really good, my favourite of the three. While he may never recapture the heights of his mid 90s work, or the acclaim, all three are worth having a look at.
Friday, 26 September 2014
I said last week I was trying to think of some Scottish rockabilly to cheer up our Scottish friends following the referendum but couldn't. Then Mr Charity Chic suggested The Shakin' Pyramids, Glasgow's own rockabilly band. I'd never heard of them but this song, from 1981, is a cracker. They learnt their skills busking on the streets of Glasgow in the late 70s and put out two albums and several singles and eps between 1980 and 83.
Me and Mrs Swiss are out at a 40th birthday bash tonight. The invite reads 'dress to impress with a dash of red'. Any ideas?
I have wandered down a Clash shaped alleyway this week so if you don't like them, you'll have to bear with me for one more post. The Clash's approach to Middle East politics may have come across as a bit simplistic on the sleeve of the 12" but, let's face it, it can't have been any worse than the West's dealings over the last few years. Maybe both sides should just get down to some tunes on a ghettoblaster. As it is we get it wrong and make a mess time after time. Our government oppose IS but support Saudi Arabia (some of whom fund IS). And while we act in revulsion at terrorist beheadings of British and American citizens, the Saudi legal system executes its criminals by- yup- beheading. And so on and so forth.
Back to The Clash. On Wednesday, after posting Complete Control, I got an email from Dubrobots saying nice things abut the blog and pointing me towards his own 12" remix of Rock The Casbah, which is a pretty smart job with a stripped down, funky, extended intro and chopped up vox. It would work well played out somewhere. Free download too.
Everyone knows Topper Headon wrote the music for Rock The Casbah, finding himself alone in the studio one morning before anyone else had got out of bed. Joe added some words and job done. It was their biggest hit in the US until the Levi's advert. The video is a hoot- even though the man who wrote the song isn't in it, having been sacked and replaced by Terry Chimes.
I was reading a Clash forum comment thread once, with some people saying they don't like this song or Should I Stay Or Should I Go mainly it seems because they were hits and had videos, and presumably that just isn't punk maaan.
Thursday, 25 September 2014
For the first time from Jamaica
Dillinger and Leroy Smart
Delroy Wilson, your cool operator
Ken Boothe, for UK pop parade
With backing band sound system
If they've got anything to say
There's many black ears here to listen
Joe Strummer's attendance at a reggae all nighter at Hammersmith Palais led to a set of lyrics for possibly their finest 45. It opens with the line up from the poster above and ends with his disappointment at the pop music on stage, the lack of roots rock and being threatened while hustling for drugs. In between it's got some of the finest lyrics he ever wrote- white youth and black youth needing a better solution, the new groups in their Burton suits turning rebellion into money, Adolf Hitler, Robin Hood and the 'British army waiting out there,weighing 1500 tons'.
In 1988 I was given a C90 cassette containing a load of Motown songs, all of which were brilliant. You can probably imagine the tracklisting. Tucked away on side 2 was Ken Boothe's 1974 number one Everything I Own. I don't know why the tape-maker stuck it on,a lone reggae song among the Detroit hitmakers, but there it was, a delectable nugget of Lover's Rock.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Joe Strummer fell in love with Granada in Spain, visiting first with girlfriend Palmolive, drummer of the Slits. He returned there often including spending time there in 1984, sheltering from the fall out of sacking Mick Jones and taking The Clash Mk II on the road, when these pictures were taken. He continued to visit for the rest of his life. In May last year he had a square named after him- Plaza de Joe Strummer. He also produced local local punk band 091, who he first heard on a jukebox in a bar. Like Joe's hi-tops I'm not sure they've dated very well.
Complete Control was released 37 years ago yesterday. Complete Control, written to complain about the record company and Bernard Rhodes (who told the band he wanted 'complete control', who then pissed themselves laughing). Complete Control vies with (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais and Bankrobber as the greatest non-album single The Clash made. The original version was produced by Lee Scratch Perry and then remixed by Mick Jones.
This live version is one of the most exciting things you will ever see or hear.
'I don't trust you, so do you trust me?'
'You're my guitar hero'
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
I've been digging Dreadzone recently. Their dub inspired techno hits the spot, uplifting and righteous. Greg Dread has a Soundcloud page that is worth rooting around in, all sorts of rarities, versions, remixes and live shows. Here's a couple of highlights.
Dreadzone versus King Tubby
A vocal version of their 90s classic Little Britain featuring Earl 16. The instrumental version of this song was all over the place at one point and has some cultural resonance today in the light of the referendum and the issue of devolution for the regions. It's strange to think that Dreadzone supported the Gallagher brothers at Knebworth.
Monday, 22 September 2014
Yesterday was lovely, largely. The sun shone all day, in the morning I had a great cycle ride round High Legh and through Tatton Park. Later on we wandered round Knutsford town centre, poking around a few pricey antique shops, went for a cup of tea and some cake, sat in the sun for a bit. Some idiots* in Leicester town centre spoilt it a little but you can't have everything. The late September sun was making me wonder whether this would be the last really nice day of the year, as a sunny day at this time of year always does.
Then this song was linked to somewhere by someone- Last Rose Of Summer by North Lanarkshire's Delgados. A beautiful, fragile and quietly-noisy song. The Delgados made a bunch of fine records and were named after Pedro Delgado, Tour De France winner in 1988 and the 1985 and 89 Vueltas. No bandwidth so no download. This was from a Peel Session.
* Those idiots would be, in no particular order 1) Referee Mark Clattenburg 2) United's panicky, under equipped defence 3) Leicester's thug-in-chief Vardy 4) Dutch 'genius' Louis van Gaal who has splurged £160 million quid without noticing we have a somewhat leaky back four.
Sunday, 21 September 2014
I logged into my Boxnet account yesterday to upload Crystal Clear by The Grid, one of those ace 90s dance tracks with a dub-techno beat and acid squiggle, and found that I have used 1654% of my bandwidth for this month. Which is well over ten times what I usually use. Which was a bit confusing. I skimmed through my files to find that Ohm's Tribal Tone (Sabres Of Paradise Remix) had been previewed over 7000 times. Which is about 6970 more times than even my most popular downloads get downloaded. So I don't know what's happened there. But my bandwidth for the rest of September has now gone tits up. Very strange.
Saturday, 20 September 2014
A proper intense, hour long mix from Richard Fearless who is channeling his electronic/techno mojo. Seamless flow with peaks and troughs, synth strings and drum machines. This might not be everyone's cup of Earl Grey on a Saturday night but it's working for me right now. No tracklist for added record shop, white label mystery vibe.
As well as his expansive, trippy Time And Space Machine guise Richard Norris puts out some deeper, darker, dancefloor oriented music, what he calls post-midnight 'basement filth'. A single has come out this month for New York's Throne Of Blood label. There are several remixes including one by Sean Johnston's Hardway Bros but I think this is the pick of the bunch- Ivan Smagghe turning the bassline up and adding some 60s organ and gothic horror. Tense.
Friday, 19 September 2014
In tonight's rockabilly slot I can offer you Andrew Weatherall dressed rockabilly. And a new remix that he's done for Atari Teenage Riot. Nope, I didn't know they were still going either.
The remix isn't remotely rockabilly- it's a long, slow groove with the arpeggiator turned up to max and as cool as the other side of the pillow.
Hope all you disappointed Yessers up in Scotland are managing to pick yourselves up today.
I get quite a lot of unsolicited emails offering me bands and artists to listen to and post, and- I'm sure this is a familiar feeling among bloggers- I don't have the time to listen to all/much of it, some of the emails and descriptions just don't grab me, and occasionally feel a little guilty about it.
I got an email from Paul, in a post-punk band from Newcastle called Yellow Creatures, and followed the link. This is good stuff- radio static followed by a repetitive and interesting guitar riff, a deep singing voice and some building tension and release. Definitely post-punk inspired but there's enough originality to keep it from being a photocopy of 1981- and it's quite a while since I heard something new from a guitar band that got me anywhere near excited. This song is from an ep out this month called The Year Of Everything and Nothing.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
I wouldn't dream of 'telling' anyone in Scotland how they should vote in today's referendum, and it's a well known fact that up to 80% of music blogdom is made up of midddle aged Scottish folk, some of whom I count as my friends, but I think I'd like to at least ponder on the subject for a few minutes.
From a British point of view my feelings have always been that we should stay together, that union makes us stronger.
But... I think if I was Scottish I'd be voting Yes. There's a clear dissatisfaction with the relationship and the impression that Scotland has long been ruled by English governments- not alongside or with but by a London-centric (Tory) English elite. Counting Tory MPs in Scotland in recent years would take less than two fingers. The arguments about rising prices in supermarkets following independence and whether Scotland would still get the BBC and other similar ones seem to be the workings of Cameron and his friends suddenly panicked that the polls have been getting too close for comfort (and that took them by surprise didn't it?). The Better Together campaign has been arrogant throughout, patronising and, from watching down here, hasn't really engaged people. And while Alex Salmond doesn't do much for me, Alistair Darling does less.
For Cameron to become 'the Prime Minister who lost the Union' would also be fun to watch- he's managed to avoid any of the controversies and policy disasters of his government sticking to him personally and he'd have to wriggle really hard to get out of this one. Although the prospect of the Tories getting an easier ride in what's left of the UK general elections due to the absence of Scottish MPs is a concern for any of the left in the three countries left behind.
It also seems increasingly clear that anything other than an overwhelming No victory, which seems unlikely, will lead to a significant shifting in the relationship, even if the Better Together campaign wins. If 45-49% of Scots vote to leave, then something has to change regardless. The opportunity to stick one in the eye of the political elite, one that will really hurt not just a piffling mid-term by-election result, is something that I can imagine motivating a lot of people, whether they're nationalist or not. As a writer pointed out somewhere recently, Scottish nationalism doesn't necessarily mean what nationalism can in England- it's about self-determination. That a desire for a fairer, more equal society has been a major part of the debate is also encouraging. In England many people seem to have lost sight of that and blithely go along with the widening gap between rich and poor.
It's also been really good to see so many people getting interested in a political issue, expressing opinions and discussing and arguing (even if as JC argued over at The Vinyl Villain this week some of the debate has been childish, sloganeering and intolerant). Compare the whole thing to electoral turnout a recent general elections. Since the 1980s people have turned away from politics and politicians in apathy and disgust (and it's the politicians fault this has happened, they're responsible for that not the public). In Scotland well over 90% of people have registered to vote and 16 and 17 year olds have shown they can grapple with political issues too- well, what a surprise! Maybe the bottom line is that this is what happens when a large number of people, who feel ignored for years, suddenly feel empowered.
Comsat Angels, Sheffield's finest, from 1980. I am friends of a friend with the guitarist of Comsat Angels. DJing at a party I played this song when he walked into the room. The guitarist turned around and walked straight out again. Ooops.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
I read welcome news at the weekend- Half Man Half Biscuit have a new album out in October. Rejoice.
In 1986 they released the single Dickie Davies Eyes, an absolute HMHB masterclass. Led by organ and building slowly from the opening line you know you're in for a good ride- 'mention the Lord of the Rings just once more and I'll more than likely kill you'. Nigel Blackwell goes on to marry together Roger Dean posters, snot disposal, Brian Moore's head and London Planetarium, a wok, Cadbury's Flake and oral sex, Michael Moorcock ('Moorcock, Moorcock, Michael Moorcock you fervently moan') and 'a Romany bint in a field with her paints suggesting we faint at her beauty'.
But she's got Dickie Davies Eyes.
Dickie Davies Eyes
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
This off cut from The Asphodells sneaked out a while ago on a compilation album- gas powered drum machine and some of those lovely mournful, keening sounds Weatherall uses a lot at the moment. I've no idea what the title means.
Prejoy (Barbaric Splendour Version)
Monday, 15 September 2014
Down in the basement, James Dean spends his Monday morning pondering his next vinyl selection.
The new Time And Space Machine remix compilation, The Way Out Sound From In, is rapidly taking over my stereo. Eight high quality Richard Norris remixes including Warpaint, Jagwar Ma and Temples that hang together really well as an album and take in a variety of sounds, from acid rock to Balearica to spaced out danciness. This is slow burning remix of New York's Cheval Sombre. Listen, enjoy and then go out and get the album.
Couldn't Do (The Time And Space Machine Remix)
Sunday, 14 September 2014
Saturday, 13 September 2014
This new song from Peaking Lights came out in August ahead of a new album Cosmic Logic next month. On first listen I wasn't too sure- some of the swirling, dubby, kaleidoscopic parts of their sound have disappeared. This is more straightforwardly electronic, more 80s. It's growing on me now though.
Peaking Lights are one of those bands where I think the remixes are often better than the originals. The dub version of the last lp and the John Talabot remix of Beautiful Son are my favourites of theirs by a long way.
Friday, 12 September 2014
Some contemporary rockabilly tonight from J.D. Smith, active on the London scene playing blues, rockabilly and skiffle. Pretty good this- and not a cover of the more famous Jump either.
After six weeks I'd forgotten how manic and busy a week at work is. So thank the Lord it's Friday.
There was sad news yesterday with an announcement via Mani on Twitter that Robert 'Throb' Young had died. Throb was guitarist with Primal Scream from the second album through to 2006. The guitar on I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have and Movin' On Up, the slide guitar on the bluesier Screamadelica songs and Loaded, the vocals on Slip Inside This House, the killer riff on Jailbird, Medication, Vanishing Point... the list goes on. Lifelong friend of Bobby Gillespie he joined Primal Scream on bass but soon switched to guitar and nudged them towards rock 'n' roll and away from 80s indie. Throb left in 2006 due to 'personal difficulties' and his appearances in the Screamadelica anniversary film two years ago suggested some of those problems persisted.
This is the epic ten minute title track from Screamadelica that didn't actually appear on Screamadelica but on the Dixie-Narco e.p. 'Spaced out, star child, screamadelica...'
Thursday, 11 September 2014
This is Kosmo Vinyl. According to Wikipedia his occupation is 'talent manager'. He joined The Clash's team in 1979/80, when Bernie Rhodes stepped back in to manage the band. Kosmo was spokesman, road manager, fixer, mouthpiece and all round aide-de-camp to the Strummer, Jones, Simonon and Headon as they went about breaking into the USA. He introduced them on stage and is heard on the Live At Shea Stadium album, supporting the Who in 1982. Before working with The Clash he was involved with Ian Dury and The Jam.
Kosmo contributed a vocal performance to the song Red Angel Dragnet, on Combat Rock. Paul Simonon takes the lead vocal on Red Angel Dragnet, speaking/shouting about a trip through New York City at night. Kosmo adds some lines from Taxi Driver, that famous psychotic stuff from Travis Bickle about how 'some day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets'. Paul's descent into late night madness, over a jerky, funky backing, then goes free association (presumably with input or written wholesale by Strummer), loads of memorable lines about champagne on ice, Alcatraz, woman afraid to walk through the park at night, the Guardian Angels, the dream of living like they do in the movies, hands up for Hollywood, saving the girl, who shot the shot that shot the cop that made him drop? Silly stuff but highly enjoyable. This version is from the Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg bootleg, a rougher mix with organ to the fore, slightly different vocals and ending, and without Glyn Johns' later FM sheen.
Red Angel Dragnet (early version)
Kosmo (real name Mark Dunk) married an American and has lived in the States ever since. His current occupation is managing a large New York apartment block. A West Ham United fan in exile, 3474 miles from Upton Park, he spent the 2011/12 football season producing a pop-art influenced collage of the result of every game the Hammers played that season and then posting them on his blog Is Saitch Yer Daddy? He's been at it ever since. They were exhibited in London last year- something I only found out about a couple of weeks ago while looking for something else on the net. Here are a couple, the first one with my team beating his 1-0 at Old Trafford. No guarantees that will happen this season.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
This fine slice of pop and politics came up in an internet discussion the other day- The Redskins searing indictment of Tory policies, workers/boss relations and the dole, over a Motown beat, horns and clipped Telecaster. In this clip, live on The Tube, a striking miner is invited to speak over the intro and Channel 4 producers cut the mic. Meanwhile the audience dance in their DMs and bomber jackets. Different times, yet somehow still the same. The 12" version has an extra five inches of agit-prop funkiness. Keep on keeping on!
Keep On Keeping On (12" Version)
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
This has appeared from Timothy J Fairplay in a Junior Fairplay guise and it's out soon on one-sided purple vinyl. Purple! One sided! No giant fold out poster though.
This is dance music like they used to make in the 90s- a breakbeat, a shout and some Korg. Highly effective and makes you tingle a little at the memory of nights lost in dark clubs full of dry ice and people who swore you were their best friend. And maybe briefly you were.
Monday, 8 September 2014
I'm going to ease myself into Monday with this sprightly Richard Hawley cover of Early Morning Rain. The song was written by Gordon Lightfoot, a hit in 1966, and has been covered by many, from Bob Dylan to Elvis to Neil Young to Paul Weller. In the song, the narrator stands at a wire fence watching a Boeing 707 take off, taking someone far away. This mood seems about right for a Monday morning in September.
Early Morning Rain
Thinking about it now, with some time distance between us, I vastly prefer this Richard Hawley to the grungy riff monster of his last album.
Now I want to hear the fragile post-acid trip comedown Hawley of Can You Hear The Rain, Love? from the Late Night Final album which may well be the best, most beautiful thing he's ever done.
The richness of his voice, the lyric and the musical box melody set off against that hum and throb noise underneath is stunning.
Sunday, 7 September 2014
The news of an imminent Aphex Twin album, Syro, has set parts of the internet ablaze with excitement, rumour and cynicism in almost equal quantities. The first official release is the track below- Minipops 67 [120.0] [source field mix].
Several listens in I'm enjoying it- nice squelchy bassline, some lovely melodies matched with some unsettling voices. This being the work of Richard D James there's no way of knowing how recent a recording this is- he could have easily pulled something off the shelf he did fifteen years ago or just last week, or whether this took days to complete or he pissed it out in half an hour. But for the moment, it bodes well.
Saturday, 6 September 2014
Friday, 5 September 2014
I saw this on a music TV channel the other day- Little Richard doing rockabilly standard Hound Dog in 1964 for Granada TV's Don't Stop The Rock. Granada TV had some real pedigree when it comes to music television although unless I'm missing it they don't do so much at the moment. Little Richard's performance is amped up, the band are rocking and the audience are having the time of their lives.
Satta Massagana is an old Ethiopian Amharic phrase, which translates straightforwardly as 'give thanks' or 'He gives thanks' but there seems to be some dispute on various internet pages abut the usage of it with some commenters saying it has negative connotations. When The Abyssinians wrote and recorded this roots reggae classic I would guess they're using it positively- the song, from 1976, is a beaut with off kilter horns, killer vocal harmonies and a riddim that has been worn to death by others. Magnificent. And also, if you're interested, Joe Strummer's favourite reggae song (and he borrowed the phrase Satta Massagana for the end section of Jimmy Jazz, off side one of London Calling).
This afternoon we are going to the funeral of our friend JG who died from cancer recently. To give thanks.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
This is a Timothy J. Fairplay remix of a duo called Khidja, a Romanian pair who make Eastern/Turkish house music. It's got a really good groove with some trippy sounds on top. I will try not to make the old mustafa dance joke.
Back to work today after the long summer holiday.
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Big day today- child number two, our daughter ET, starts at secondary school, getting the bus on the main road, full uniform and bags, and all the kit and caboodle that comes with it. As a secondary school teacher I've seen thousands of children do this but it all seems a bit different when it's one of your own. On the bright side, she's confident, she's looking forward to it and she seems ready. Onwards and upwards.
Yo La Tengo have some great songs in their back catalogue, including this one, a slow, fuzzy song that packs a punch.
Big Day Coming
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
At the turn of the century Death In Vegas made a couple of albums that were full of guest vocalists- Dot Allison, Paul Weller, Iggy Pop, Jim Reid, Liam Gallagher, and Bobby Gillespie for starters. Dance beats and production with a scuzzy rock glazing. In 2004 they went back to a duo and made a largely instrumental album called Satan's Circus which got slated almost everywhere. Which was a shame because it contained some good tunes, doffing their caps to Neu! and Kraftwerk (with one song called Sons Of Rother, the Neu! man mentioned by name) . After this one Richard Fearless disappeared off to New York, with a moustache and Black Acid before returning with 2011's excellent Trans Love Energies. This was the opener on Satan's Circus; live sounding drums, cosmiche keyboards and an all round West German groove.
Ein Fur Die Damen
Monday, 1 September 2014
Woah- my thighs don't work very well this morning. My arse has more or less survived the ride though, you'll be pleased to know. One hundred miles in six hours and eleven minutes. I'm well chuffed. Thanks again to those who sponsored me. Our team total in raising money for The Christie currently stands at just shy of two thousand pounds.
September always seems to me as the month of change, more than any other except January (and January is pretty grim really). The end of summer, the start of Autumn, the nights noticeably drawing in, back to school... The weather forecast for this week is really good, naturally, after a wet and chilly August. September Gurls by Big Star is inexplicably great, those crashing chords, heart wrenching lyrics and general sense of love lost, the one that got away. I love it, and I'm not an especially big fan of Big Star.