Monday, 27 July 2015
Right then- midday today and we're off, hitting the road and driving to The Jura, that bit of France just above Switzerland, eleven nights in a Eurocamp tent at the campsite pictured above. The vino, the fromage, and the jambon are calling me. Thankfully when we booked back at the start of the year we decided to cross from Hull to Zeebrugge so are avoiding what looks like a nightmare at Dover- Calais.
This Dinosaur Jr song is called Run For The Sun and that's pretty much what we're doing. The weather in the north west of England has been poor, nothing in the way of summer except for three hot days at the start of July. So, hopefully France will deliver us some sunshine. In this song Dinosaur Jr channel their inner Beach Boys and turn in something very good indeed. Unlike the video, which is shite. Video only again I'm afraid- I'm putting off making a decision about a filehosting service until I get back from France. Have a good time while I'm away, see you in two weeks. A bientot!
Sunday, 26 July 2015
Andrew Weatherall has been back on the decks and the mic at NTS radio with the July edition of Music's Not For Everyone- this one includes Jah Wobble, King Tubby, Tommy McCook, Wild Billy Childish, Wire, Vox Low and his new outfit Woodleigh Research Facility. I think you'll enjoy it
This Weatherall remix of Jagwar Ma's Come Save Me from summer 2013 has been running through my head for the last few days. It is a stunner and sounds not unlike the kind of job he might have done to an indie guitar group circa 1991, which would lead to them saying 'there's always been a dance element to our music' on page 19 of the NME.
Saturday, 25 July 2015
We had to run around in the car yesterday doing odds and ends pre-France holiday and rifling through the cd compartment I found The Jesus and Mary Chain's 1992 album Honey's Dead. So I stuck it in and played it. The kids, also in the car, were delighted obviously.
There was an interview in Melody Maker when the lp was released where the Reid brothers admitted that they felt they'd almost been made obsolete by Madchester and that Honey's Dead was a shot at reinvention and certainly some of the songs here have an early 90s sheen and the drums are looser than before. The title itself refers to killing off Honey, a trademark of the early years. Opener and leading single Reverence has never been my favourite JAMC song, despite its ominous rumble and controversial lyrics (banned by the Beeb). It was always good live but I can skip it on cd. Far Gone And Out is a good radio song. Teenage Lust is a decent approximation of its title. I've always liked Rollercoaster (resurrected and re-recorded from the four way tour with Blur, MBV and Dinosaur Jr). There's a smattering of good album tracks as well. But this sounded stunning. I've always loved this song but I could nearly hear it with new ears yesterday.
Almost Gold must have been written the day William woke up in a good mood (or the day after he discovered ecstasy), a love song with hardly any self loathing or alienation, wide eyed and up and full of bliss.
'I couldn't give you more than this
I was born and it was bliss
I have died for a thousand years
Tasted salt of a thousand tears
And your kiss was almost gold'
Friday, 24 July 2015
This is the new single by The Libertines. Woah, come back, it's much better than it has any right to be...
Cutting the pace to a half speed reggae time- woah, that's twice, now come back and sit down- the trebly guitars are all present and correct, Pete and Carl take verses each and it sounds alive.
The Libertines reformation didn't look too promising admittedly but Pete and Carl surely know that they're only half as good (at best) individually and apart than when together. Debut album Up The Bracket is a blast, a proper good modern British indie rock album, and they are few and far between. The follow up was weak, we all know that. In between Bernard Butler got this out of them, the best thing they ever did, an absolute peach of a single...
Thursday, 23 July 2015
I was flicking through the random music TV channel again- you can tell I'm off work- and out of nowhere this came on...
Doctorin' The House features some of the more obvious samples you might associate with Coldcut, squashed into a three minute forty five single, with Yazz singing the refrain and doing the dancing. It was in the top ten for four weeks in 1988. To be honest, this single has its charms but I'm a little ambivalent about it.
Whereas their 1995 double cd Journeys By DJ 70 Minutes Of Madness is brilliant- inventive, audacious, witty and fun. And a dancer. It takes in their own Beats And Pieces and mixes in Red Snapper, Junior Reid, Jedi Knights, Depth Charge, the Dr Who theme, Plastikman, Moody Boys, Photek, Masters At Work, Mantronix and dozens more. Turntablism can disappear up its own backside sometimes but this is peerless.
Wednesday, 22 July 2015
There's something about 1990 at the minute- I don't know if it's a twenty five year rule (like the official release of parliamentary records) or that my subconscious is particularly attuned to records that came out in my twentieth year or (most likely) it's just coincidence but I came across the video for this the other night and it sounded brilliant and beautiful. Sweetness And Light was Lush's second single. I bought it on 12" when it came out (October 15th 1990) and I imagine it was Single Of The Week in NME or Melody Maker or both. It's stuffed full of lovely jangly guitars and a great little chord change, shoegaze sheen and Miki Berenyi's whispered singing- today it sounds pretty poppy. The video is a riot of 1990 psychedelic effects.
Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Yes, yawn, repetitve but here's another hour long Andrew Weatherall mix, this time for Crack Magazine. Starts off weird, goes chuggy, gets quite intense with a touch of electro and then shifts gear for the final fifteen. Superb stuff. Dig in. Free download too.
Monday, 20 July 2015
Another Clash sampling song to start the week, following last week's threesome and also suggested by Drew. This time it is from the righteous reggae rock of Armagideon Time, a two note organ riff played by Blockhead Mickey Gallagher and used as the basis for one of Deee Lite's hippy-dippy house grooves Apple Juice Kissing. It's a big jump from 'a lot of people won't get any justice tonight' to 'kissing in the back row, that's how we missed the movie' but it works really well.
Deee Lite are seen as a one hit wonder and there's no doubting Groove Is In The Heart's power to rock a party twenty five years after its release but there was more to them than that one single. The What Is Love? Holographic Goatee Mix is a bubbling, dancefloor treat.
Sunday, 19 July 2015
Manuel Gottsching's E2 E4 is one of the building blocks of modern electronic music, a minimalist hour long piece of musical hypnosis and groove from 1984. The title is a chess move and also refers to the tuning of Gottsching's guitar. It influenced the house scene, was played heavily in Chicago in the 80s, was sampled by Sueno Latino and later remixed by Basic Channel. Essentially though, just click play and listen.
Saturday, 18 July 2015
I just discovered this. Out Cold are the side project of Cherry Ghost's Simon Aldred. This belting Hardway Bros remix from 2013 has a thumping kick drum to go with the soulful vocal and sounds like the sort of record you end up dancing to in a car park in the dim light of morning when there's nowhere else to go but you don't want to go home. Obviously as a forty five year old I don't do this kind of thing anymore.
Lovin' Arms (Hardway Bros Remix)
Edit: Ongoing problems with Mediafire, Boxnet is over the bandwidth blah blah...
Today is the first day of my summer holidays- school finished yesterday and now seven weeks off beckons, with a fortnight in France coming up. I'm starting a completely new role in September so will have to go in for a few days here and there but still, seven weeks off.
This Chemical Brothers with Tim Burgess song from Exit Planet Dust has been getting repeated plays round here this week- cracking rhythm and noise and Tim's nasal vocal. Tim went on to work with Ed and Tom several times, best perhaps on The Charlatans' One To Another single.
Friday, 17 July 2015
Another Clash sampling delight, possibly the pick of the bunch, is M.I.A.'s masterpiece Paper Planes. Producer Diplo sampled Mick Jones' guitars from Straight To Hell, bent them about a little and allowed M.I.A. to do her thing. The gunshots and cash registers on the chorus are perfect and the song is a blast from start to finish.
The DFA remix is alright too.
Paper Planes (DFA Remix)
Thursday, 16 July 2015
Yesterday's post- Garbage sampling The Clash- led me to thinking about who else has sampled The Only Band That Matters, which immediately led me to this song from 1990.
Norman Cook, fresh from The Housemartins, lifted Paul Simonon's bassline from Guns Of Brixton. Lindy Layton sang The SOS Band's Just Be Good To Me over the top. Add a snatch of a rap from Johnny Dynell's Jam Hot, the harmonica from Once Upon A Time In The West, some scratching and a funky beat and you've got a number one single. According to legend Norman hadn't cleared the use of the bassline with Paul and the pair met in a London cafe to come to an arrangement. This song says 1990 to me almost as much as any other.
Wednesday, 15 July 2015
I was flicking through the music channels on the telly the other day, the free ones that come as standard with our box, and on one of them was an hour's worth of videos from the 1990s of bands fronted by women. This one came up within thirty seconds...
I really like this song. I bought it for Mrs Swiss who loved it when it was released back in 1996. The 7" came in a cloth bag with rubber bits on it and it's still there in the 7" boxes downstairs. The tune is insistent, naggingly catchy, the snarky lyrics raise questions about who the subject is and I always had a soft spot for Shirley Manson. It also makes really effective use of Topper Headon's drums from Train In Vain.
Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Andrew Weatherall's new folk influenced record label Moine Dubh is open for business. The vinyl-only subscription cost is £50. This gets you five 7" singles, released monthly starting in September, working out at a tenner a single. The record label was launched in London last month with the various artists playing live. A recording of this event, an hour and half long, is below. Dark, electronic-flecked folk from the dusty corners of the minds and imaginations of Andrew Weatherall, Nina Walsh, Franck Alba, Fireflies, Echowood, Dani Cali, Lowroad and Barry Woolnough.
Monday, 13 July 2015
The new Chemical Brothers album (Born In The Echoes) is out today and being praised as a return to form. This single, Go, came out at the start of May and has already been viewed close to five million times on Youtube which would suggest they're got a pretty healthy surviving fanbase. Go is funky, synthy and fun with Q Tip providing the hip-house vocals- the album also has Beck, St Vincent and Cate Le Bon on microphone duties.
I was in the car the other day and Block Rockin' Beats came on. It's the most blindingly obvious Chemical Brothers song (Hey Boy Hey Girl excepted maybe). Massive breakbeat. Big borrowed bassline. Hip hop vocal sample from Schoolly D. SIRENS! Totally in your face. No subtlety. No nuance. It's completely stupid. And brilliant.
Block Rockin' Beats
Due to ongoing issues with Boxnet this is via Mediafire but I seem to recall people having some problems with it before. Is Mediafire any use?
Sunday, 12 July 2015
Today I am cycling from Manchester to Blackpool, an organised annual event. Fifty five miles starting from Old Trafford and then heading north around Wigan and Preston and then west towards the Paris of north-west England. The last few miles are often done into a headwind coming in off the Irish Sea. Something to do isn't it?
Blackpool's John Robb has reformed his 80s post-punk group The Membranes and they've released a very well received fourteen song lp Dark Matter/Dark Energy- a punky, angular, krautrock influenced concept album, about the creation and continuing expansion of the universe (also affected by the death of John's father while recording it).
Do The Supernova.
Technical advice anyone? I've got two Boxnet accounts for your d/l pleasure. Both have exceeded 100% bandwidth and neither have reset themselves to zero this month. Usually they revert to 0% on the first of the month but they haven't. Anyone know why?
Saturday, 11 July 2015
Friday, 10 July 2015
Back in January 2010 when I was only a few posts into the blogging game I posted this song by Rowland S Howard. He died of liver cancer just a few days earlier, 30th December 2009. Rowland recorded his album Pop Crimes while ill and this song, a cover of Talk Talk's Life's What You Make It, has a slightly different perspective when sung by someone who knows their time is up.
Life's What You Make It
Aged just sixteen Rowland wrote Shivers, recorded by pre-Birthday Party band Boys Next Door. Strange to think that Nick Cave was actually this young once.
Thursday, 9 July 2015
In amongst his guest star filled solo albums and Hollywood soundtrack works there's a David Holmes album which I come back to more than pretty much anything else he's done. The Holy Pictures, from 2008, was a low key affair- no guest vocalists, no Elvis, no genre hopping- but as an album it hangs together beautifully. Based largely on his Belfast childhood and the passing of his mother, the songs are personal, in tone as much as anything. He sings/whispers on the monumental opener I Heard Wonders, which unexpectedly popped up at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. There are some shoegazing influences (MBV go pop), krautrock rhythms and tremolo guitars. Intros suddenly burst into headswimming technicolour. The closing three are Eno-influenced ambient pieces, sombre and affecting. But The Holy Pictures doesn't bring you down, it's uplifting and filled with life. I'm not sure if it's currently in print but can be found second hand- well worth it if you haven't got a copy.
Love Reign Over Me
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
I'd forgotten I even owned this- a remix of St Etienne's How We Used To Live by Dot Allison. Stretched and abstract, some drones, static and whirring noises, and some distance from from Bob, Sarah and Pete's usual sound. Nice though.
How We Used To Live (Dot Allison Mix)
Tuesday, 7 July 2015
Monday, 6 July 2015
This remix of Sinkane by Peaking Lights was recommended by Alexis Petridis in the newspaper last week. It's a sweltering piece of summery goodness, ten minutes of uptempo, busy fun with a non-stop vocal coming via Sudan and the Caribbean. Party music.
Sunday, 5 July 2015
Suicide's Dream Baby Dream is perfection- the organ, the slightly wasted vocals, the hissy drums, the whole narcotic vibe. It's also very attractive to cover, easy to play and a good groove to get locked into. Jez Kerr, front man and bassist for Manchester's A Certain Ratio has done a cover. Very nicely done indeed.
Saturday, 4 July 2015
In the early 1990s there were certain bands whose names seemed to be on every venue tour poster and in all the ads in the gig in the back of the NME or Melody Maker- Chapterhouse, Top, Thousand Yard Stare, Kingmaker- most of them long forgotten now except when they pop up in the ramblings of blogs like this one. Five Thirty (or 5:30) were one of those bands. When I was flicking through part of the record collection the other night I found I had three of their 12" singles and their only album Bed. Five Thirty were a mod influenced trio, who made energetic, slightly psychedelic, wah-wah driven rock. Some of their output hasn't aged too well. They had a fondness for punning song titles- Womb With A View, Junk Male. Some of it still sounds pretty good though and the album has undoubtedly got its moments. You was the lead song on an ep released in October 1991 (which crashed into the charts at number 72, possibly contributing to them disbanding a year later). They had arrived on the coat tails of Manchester, weren't shoegaze, and got made obsolete by grunge. You sounds a bit like The Jam doing The Byrds.
Friday, 3 July 2015
Leicester's eightpiece experimental outfit Echolocation return with their latest recordings, a seven track album called Softer. There's nothing softer about their approach though- their songs have a tendency to start slowly and build, layering cello and trumpet on top of the guitars, bass and the swinging drums. Over all of this vocalist Pete tells tales, utters controlled rants and vents spleen (Kasabian getting in the neck this time).
There's some complex and dense arrangements going on here, but the production is skillful, allowing everyone space and time to unfold fully. They've got some internet press with this release and a review from no less than Mr Luke Haines, who tweeted 'Nae bad. Good singer n lyrics.Loose indie drumbeat/jamming. Construct crit. Echolocation crap name. Name is everything. But its good'. Praise indeed from an Autuer and Black Box Recorder. Buy it at Bandcamp for only five of your pounds (or for ten pounds a limited edition cd with a hand made furry cover).
Thursday, 2 July 2015
Something brand new, ice cold and moody from Andrew Weatherall- should cool you right down. A remix of Pollux by Heretic, with echoes of early New Order in the first half, oscillating, wobbly synths and a robotic voice in the middle and a drawn out cosmic ending. Vinyl release soon I think.
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
I've been listening to the new Crocodiles album a lot, especially the superb single Foolin' Around (posted a week or two ago). Good fun. But all the while there was something about Foolin' Around that I couldn't put my finger on, it really reminded me of another song. And then I worked out what it was...
No Big Deal
No Big Deal was a 1989 single by post-Bauhaus offshoot Love And Rockets. If you image search Love and Rockets you get many more returns for the Hernandez Brothers comic book than you do for Daniel Ash and co.