Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Justin Robertson in his Deadstock 33s guise has a new album out- my first listen has been very rewarding and there's lots here to get your ears into. Some of it is very much dancefloor oriented (including a Daniel Avery collaboration) but there are many other things going on too, what Justin has called 'lysergic soul and atomic machine boogie'. This track features his wife Sofia on vocals and has bags of atmosphere.
Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Smart lo fi, post punk from American band The Intelligence- the guitars and analogue synths are dreamy and Lars Finberg sings with the world weariness of a man who has seen the future that was promised and doesn't think very much of it.
Monday, 28 September 2015
One of the records I played early on at the party on Friday night was this 1990 Andrew Weatherall remix, slightly overlooked in his back catalogue I think. Sly and Lovechild were a clubby duo, very of the time, but they never really took off and a 1993 album was their last shot. The remix opens with the voice of the Reverend Jasper Williams, full of warnings and dread, and despite the 'we feel real good tonight' announcement this song stays moody. Ominous synths, sitar and kettle drums give this a darker edge compared to some of his other work from the period. None the worse for it either.
The World According To... Weatherall (Soul Of Europe Mix)
This Justin Robertson remix of another Sly and Lovechild song, Spirit Of Destiny, has a dub-house groove and horns. Lionrocking.
Sunday, 27 September 2015
This was my view from behind the decks at a friend's 45th birthday party I played records at on Friday night, decks on the decking with fairy lights and a chandelier in the tree above my head. It was good fun, playing records outdoors for a small but appreciative crowd who wore a hole in the lawn. The man from next door (who went to school with Johnny Marr) asked 'have you got any Northern?' Guests had been asked to bring any 45s they might want playing and a man from a few roads away turned up with Underworld's Rez, which somehow I wasn't expecting.
This new one from East Yorkshire's Mono Life is a lovely piece of work and bodes well for the new album he's working on. Slow, down tempo, pushing all the right buttons and with a feel of those few minutes when the shadows lengthen and the sun slips down.
Saturday, 26 September 2015
Simon said he hasn't been able to read this blog at his place of work because the firewall blocks Bagging Area due to its 'adult and sexual content'- which is news to me, I don't think there's much sexual content here apart from maybe the odd nipple. So today's blogpost heading won't help but it's not that kind of hardcore. Sorry if you were hoping for something else, let's keep it clean.
Hardcore Uproar is a legendary twelve incher (ahem) from 1990 by Together (Suddi Raval and Jon Donaghy) originally a white label produced with the sole intention of played at the Hacienda. It went on to reach number 12 in the UK charts. Opening with a few one fingered (oop!) keyboard notes, courtesy of John Carpenter, the track builds with some crowd noises and cheers (live from a rave in Nelson, Lancashire that got raided by the police), a couple of vocal samples (one of Ben Obi Wan Kenobi from Stars Wars), goes into bleep territory and finally climaxing (eek!) with all out piano house. Simple, home made, incredibly affecting and effective. It's probably best experienced in a northern nightclub or warehouse, strobe lights blinking and dry ice swirling, surrounded by people you don't know who all want to be your friend. As it is you'll have to settle for Saturday morning in front of your computer.
Together went on to remix Contra-Indications by Durutti Column, the brilliant Together Mix. While working on it Jon and his girlfriend were tragically killed in a motorbike accident in Ibiza.
Friday, 25 September 2015
Factory Friday, in response to Dirk, The Swede and others and because it could be fun. Crispy Ambulance signed to Factory in 1980. I was going to post Deaf but I've done it before (years ago admittedly and it is a great song). Dirk mentioned The Presence so I've gone for that, all thirteen minutes of it. At first listen you should be able to spot Martin Hannett's unmistakeable production. Singer Alan Hempsall intones over a proper post-punk sound- gloomy maybe, grey raincoats possibly but with a brightness too.
The Presence was the A-side of Live On A Hot August Night, released on Factory Benelux in June 1981. You can fit all of Crispy Ambulance's back catalogue onto one compact disc and I think you probably should. After signing Crispy Ambulance and failing to sell them in any decent quantities Tony Wilson declared 'no more bands with stupid names'. Then he signed Stockholm Monsters. Factory's failure to sell records in the first half of the 80s by anyone except New Order may have had more to do with their refusal to use pluggers. Or buy advertising. But we wouldn't have it any other way would we? Crispy Ambulance are also immortalised in Half Man Half Biscuit's epic account of shit gigs and band rivalries.
Running Order Squabble Fest
Thursday, 24 September 2015
Wednesday, 23 September 2015
Parisienne duo Vox Low have been one of my top discoveries of this year. In this song they use a vocal sample- 'It's 1940 in this room'- and build around it with some proper tension and release. Not entirely dance, but not really rock either. Something else.
What did 1940 offer the world? The fall of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, the occupation of Paris, war between the Soviet Union and Finland, the evacuation at Dunkirk, the establishment of the Vichy regime, Italy joining the war as an Axis power, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz including the flattening of Coventry and fifty seven consecutive nights bombing, Allied bombing of Hamburg, rationing, the re-armament of the USA in full swing with the first peacetime draft into the army, the Nazi proposal of the Madagascar Plan, race riots in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles, the murder of Leon Trotsky, the deaths of Neville Chamberlain and F Scott Fitzgerald, the suspension of the Olympic Games and the Nobel prizes...
It's 1940 In This Room
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
On the mp3 player that sits in my car and helps me get to and from work there is an edited version of Blue Room by The Orb, their 1992 single that famously saw them appear on Top Of The Pops doing nothing but playing chess. The short version is about four minutes long but always leaves me wanting a bit more. Here's the longer version, with that bit more that I wanted.
Blue Room (Full Version)
The song was deliberately written and timed to run to 39.57 due to the chart compiling company Gallop's then recent decision that no single eligible for the UK charts could be longer than forty minutes long. Hence, Blue Room is the longest single to chart in the UK. Describing Blue Room will only lead me to descend into cliches about journeys and trips so I won't bother, just give up some time to letting it improve your day.
Monday, 21 September 2015
Earlier this year I posted an ep by Manchester based group Multiplier, three songs with widescreen guitars, songs somewhere in Elbow and Doves territory but also Manchester's lost sons The Chameleons, with some shoegaze too. They've had some radio exposure on BBC 6 and local stations and played with iLIKETRAINS, Six By Seven, Blossoms and The Woodentops. They have a double A side single out in October, and have gone straight for the jugular with a pair of songs that sound like they're ready to punch a hole in the speakers. Both tunes also sound like gig songs, dynamic and to be performed live in front of speaker stacks and under lights. Wait By The Gate is carried along by rolling drums and bass and a vocal that recalls Richard Ashcroft in his prime. Chasing Shadows sounds like it should playing over the closing titles of TV series, guitar heroics and all. The single will be on Bandcamp next month, in a pay what you want deal. There's something going on here, give them a go.
I just checked what I wrote last time and noticed that the last time I wrote about Multiplier I put a picture of Edie Sedgwick alongside them so I'm following suit today. She had a strong look.
Sunday, 20 September 2015
It's Sunday and it's a lazy Bagging Area Weatherall mix post, a sartorially themed hour of songs in advance of the Convenanza festival at Carcassonne Castle next weekend, starting out with a fine selection of reggae tunes before going rockabilly, like the old Double Gone Radio mixes used to do. Items of clothing and dress referenced include rude boy style, pink peg slacks, black slacks, black boots, jackboots, two tone shoes, dancing shoes, gloves of both black leather and the colour green, double mirrored wraparound shades, sunglasses, a pair of combs, a faded Levis jacket, leather jackets, black denim trousers and the best dressed chicken in town.
Convenanza is pretty close to a dream festival at Bagging Area Towers but what are the chances of me flying to the south of France for a weekend at the September? Slim.
Saturday, 19 September 2015
The Cramps work like a palette cleanser or paint stripper- no matter what's going on, what you've been listening to or what's going through your head, they strip it all away, reduce it down to the bare bones. That's a good thing.
In 1979 they recorded some demos with Alex Chilton. Many people consider these songs to be superior versions to the ones that came out a year later on Songs The Lord Taught Us. This version of Mystery Plane sounds as good as they look in the picture above, also from 1979.
Mystery Plane (Ohio Demo Version)
Friday, 18 September 2015
More Factory for Friday. Stockholm Monsters were mates from Burnage, on Factory between 1981 and '87, who made some cracking guitar singles housed in some beautiful sleeves but, it almost goes without saying, hardly sold any records. Tony Wilson loved them. Fairy Tales was their debut release from January 1982, produced by Martin Hannett, sparse and spindly with piano and flute and some typically Hannett touches making this anything but ordinary early 80s indie. There are loads more gems in their small back catalogue, including their only album which was produced by Peter Hook.
Thursday, 17 September 2015
This was the song I was going to post yesterday before I got distracted by Paperclip People and by coincidence Primal Scream posted it on social media yesterday with the instruction 'check Throb's yellow flying V'. Ivy Ivy Ivy was the lead single off their second album and the moment Primal Scream went rock- leather trousers and long hair replacing anoraks and bowl cuts. To be honest, it doesn't sound as rock as it did back in 1989 and Bobby's vocal is straight from their indie phase. I think it is pleasingly trashy though. The sleeve is dominated by Throb's crotch. I saw them on the tour to promote this single in a tiny cellar venue in Liverpool called Planet X. There weren't too many more people in the audience than on the stage and I don't think anyone there would have predicted that within months they would be transforming again into loved up acid house heroes thanks to Loaded.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
I was going to post some squealing guitars today but I had a text exchange with an old friend who mentioned the Jamie Xx album (see yesterday) and also that apparently Jamie's favourite album is Paperclip People's 1996 The Secret Tapes Of Dr. Eich. Paperclip People was an alias for Carl Craig, Detroit techno scientist and wizard. The Secret Tapes... is a twelve track dancefloor masterpiece- pure, streamlined, machine music. Being from Detroit it is also gritty and dark. It manages to be both minimal and big sounding. This one, Oscilator, begins with a siren blast on repeat, then the drums kick in and distorted bass hits. After that you get six minutes of modulating, oscilating synths that twist and turn things upside and down. Straight to the point dance music that sounded like the future in 1996 and still sounds modern now. I love the album cover too, the reel to reel tape recorder (a 2012 re-mastered, re-issue had updated artwork. you can buy it here).
Tuesday, 15 September 2015
I'm still massively enjoying the Jamie Xx album. This John Talabot remix of one of the standout songs Loud Places strips it down, keeps Romy's vocal and then goes synth crazy at the end. Probably works best in a club but still sounds good at home.
Monday, 14 September 2015
This is me crossing the finishing line yesterday, smiling at the relief of completing 100 miles on the bike. The second half was really tough going. I got round in six hours and twenty two minutes. My thighs seized up last night and there's an annoying pain in my left knee. In the background you can see the statue of Oliver Cromwell that Manchester's civic leaders moved from outside Manchester Cathedral to Wythenshawe Park. Massive thanks to those people who read this blog that sponsored me- really, thank you.
Ctel posted this a few weeks back, a lovely, melodic piece of minimal house from GEM_DOS. Apparently the main instrument carrying the melody was played live, with the drums and vocal put on afterwards. I can't recommend it enough. Free download too.
Sunday, 13 September 2015
Some of you might start getting twitchy if there hasn't been an Andrew Weatherall related post for a couple of days- I know I do and it's been four days since Wilmot. Here is his most recent two hour Music's Not For Everyone radio show for NTS, the usual mix of the interesting, the out there and the unexpected, including five songs from a project in Skipton that encourages girls to pick up musical instruments and play them, all of which are wonderful. Listen to it here (the embed thing wasn't working at the time of typing). The Selfa Girls Rock Camp is here.
I'm out on my bike today, an organised 100 mile ride from Wythenshawe Park out into Cheshire and back again. I've done the ride before and it's a really good event. Last year I did it in six hours eleven minutes, enough time to listen to the Weatherall show three times and have time to pop off to make a cup of tea. I'm riding to raise money for The Christie. We've lost two friends in the last two years to cancer, both of them too young and leaving husbands and children behind. If you can spare a couple of quid, you can donate here.
Which brings me to the picture, a 1980s advert for a bike. Someone thought that they could sell a golden road bike by using a big haired model in golden shades and golden tights, firing laser beams out of her breasts. Your guess is as good as mine.
Saturday, 12 September 2015
When I posted Boom, a Happy Mondays B-side from 1988, a couple of weeks ago I flipped the 12" over to enjoy the A-side shortly afterwards. If I could only have one Happy Mondays song it would be Wrote For Luck, their essence distilled into a gloriously fucked up but funky racket. Shaun's lyrics are his best, full of truths and wit, and Horse's guitar part is from some other place entirely. Martin Hannett's production makes perfect sense. Shaun said of working with Hannett it was the only time the producer was more out of it than the band. You could have the album version, the various mixes, the W.F.L. Oakenfold and Vince Clarke versions, any of them. In October 1988 The Bailey Brothers shot a video for the in Legends discoteque in town. It is also a work of genius- fill a city centre club with your mates, get them refreshed and roll cameras. Shaun's facial expressions tell the story in themselves.
Friday, 11 September 2015
Over the lifetime of this blog I've written posts about five Durutti Column songs- Sketch For Summer, Sketch For Winter, Otis, The Missing Boy and The Together Mix- which coincidentally would be pretty close to my top five Durutti Column songs if I were asked to make a list. This song is proof though that Vini Reilly continued to write and record minor classics long after the collapse of Factory Records and well into the 21st century. The album Sunlight To Blue...Blue To Blackness came out in 2008 and is well worth tracking down. This is a beautiful little tune, the pitter patter of drums set against Vini's unique guitar sound and softly sung vocals.
So Many Crumbs And Monkeys
Thursday, 10 September 2015
I was driving home last night reflecting on what has been a hectic and pretty intense start to the new school year- in my new role I am now responsible for the induction and mentoring of fifteen newly qualified teachers, six trainee teachers, and ten other new starters. Lots to be getting on with. And a move to a new office. My mp3 player, plugged into the cassette dock in my car stereo, started flashing that the battery was 'dangerously low'. As I noticed the warning Orbital's Are We Here? began to play. Fifteen minutes long, but never less than absorbing with its techno drums, building synths, 'what does God say?' sample,Specials' Man At C&A breakdown and Alison Goldfrapp's vocals. It played on and on and as the track finished and the next one began to cue up, with seconds to spare, the battery died. I don't what the next song was going to be.
Are We Here?
Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Some of you will love this 1994 Sabres Of Paradise single, all slink and skank and lust for life. The vocals were by Wonder, who was one half of yesterday's postees Secret Knowledge. At Cream nightclub, Liverpool, one night in 1994 a scheduled dj appearance in the backroom by Mr Weatherall failed to materialise- transport problems I think. The resident dj and co-owner Darren Hughes stepped up to the decks and played an advance copy of Wilmot. A whole room of people went from dancing to house/techno to doing the reggae dance. The video has Sabres men Weatherall, Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns, and a troupe of majorettes dancing through London at dawn. Magic.
I found out recently that this 1931 calypso song, Black But Sweet, by Wilmoth Houdini provided a good part of the inspiration. Listen to the horn line...
Wilmoth Houdini also went under the names Frederick Wilmoth Hendricks, Edgar Leon Sinclair and King Houdini. He emigrated from Trinidad to New York, was a major player on the calypso scene in the 30s and 40s and lived there until his death in 1977.
Tuesday, 8 September 2015
Passing one of Sale's many charity shops on Saturday I wandered in to peruse the box of vinyl. I left a few minutes later having rescued Secret Knowledge's Sugar Daddy 12" for the princely sum of £1.99. Yes, I've already got the original release but this one was in a different sleeve and had a different version (the Sugar Caned Mix) and another remix on it too (by Paul van Dyke, trancey). Secret Knowledge were Kris Needs (journalist, friend of The Clash and Primal Scream, legendary caner and crow's nest hairdo owner) and Wonder (vocals, big voice). Sugar Daddy came out in 1993 on Sabres Of Paradise and is a long, thumping house track, a big club tune of the time. Also on this charity shop classic is an equally good remix by The Disco Evangelists (David Holmes and Ashley Beedle), with a nod of the head to Quadrophenia. It is a banger.
Sugar Daddy (Out Of Our Brains On The 5.15 Mix)
Monday, 7 September 2015
One of the gems hidden inside Andrew Weatherall's mix I posted last week was this Captain Beefheart song- cosmic, trippy, romantic and beautiful. Anto rates it as a hangover curer. It was on the Captain's 1974 album Bluejeans And Moonbeams which disappointed many Beefheart fans when it was released- they thought it was too commercial, too mainstream. Listen to this to ease your way into Monday morning and reflect on that for a moment. Then click play again.
Sunday, 6 September 2015
At the gig last Saturday night by Cheapskates a man was asking the dj (Clash fan Gary Waugh) if he had a song called Dem A Sus by Harlem Spirit. I'd not heard of it. Harlem Spirit were a Moss Side based reggae band in the 1970s and 80s. Dem A Sus, released in 1980, is a comment on and protest against the Sus laws which enabled the police to stop and search anyone under suspicion. This law was used disproportionately against young black men especially in areas like Moss Side, home to much of Manchester's Afro-Caribbean community. This is a fine piece of British roots reggae.
Dem A Sus (In The Moss)
Saturday, 5 September 2015
Now we're well into September, everyone's back at school with their new school shoes and pencil cases. I've started a new job, same place but new role, which is a bit daunting. It's noticeably darker earlier. Brrrr.
This mix from Andrew Weatherall was uploaded recently, his dj set from the Moine Dubh launch night back in July, recorded at Antenna Studios. It's an hour and a quarter of psychedelia, folk, baroque with a bit of country, moving through Manfred Mann, Jane Weaver, Captain Beefheart's most lovely moment, Townes van Zandt, Melody's Echo Chamber, The Liminanas, Shilpa Ray and Harpers Bizarre to name but a few. It feels just right for this time of the year.
You can listen to it at Mixcloud or at Rotters Golf Club (which if you dig around a bit will also give up his second quarterly reading list). Other Weatherall related news for those that are interested- the first subscription 7" single from Moine Dubh is about to go out via the postman. I resisted signing up for a quite a while, weeks maybe. Then I cracked. He's done a remix of the New Order single Restless which is out in October on green vinyl, one for David Holmes' Unloved group (also October, don't know what colour the vinyl is yet) and one for Beck too. And he's hosting a festival at Carcasonne castle in south west France at the end of the month. If you're going, I envy you.
Friday, 4 September 2015
This is the third post this week by a band or artist which I can't quite believe I've never featured here before (Junior Murvin and Meat Puppets being the other two). The Ruts were a key punk band, bringing reggae influences into their music in a way which didn't seem cackhanded or overcooked. Singer Malcolm Owen and guitarist Paul Fox lived on a commune in Anglesey in the early 70s, gravitating into the punk world via record shops, a Ramones t-shirt and the Pistols on the telly. They pinned their colours to the mast politically, playing several Rock Against Racism gigs and being involved in Misty In Roots' Southall anti-racist collective. They made several belting singles and one album. Staring At The Rude Boys, from 1980, was a comment on the newly arrived 2 Tone bands. And if you're going to stare, it may as well be at rude boys- they're often the best dressed people in the room.
Staring At The Rude Boys (Peel Session)
Malcolm Owen died of a heroin overdose in July 1980 at the age of twenty six, despite recording and singing on several anti-heroin songs with the band. Heroin really was the scourge of the London punk scene wasn't it? According to many of those involved we can thank Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers for that.
Thursday, 3 September 2015
Something triggered this off yesterday. Meat Puppets emerged out of the US hardcore scene and like many of their peers- Husker Du, Replacements, Sonic Youth, Black Flag- soon transformed into something other than hard, fast punk. They grew their hair and audibly let in some pre-76 influences (Neil Young, country) and came up with something new. Lake Of Fire is ragged and loose and hair raising, like the rest of their 1984 album Meat Puppets II. Inadvertently they partially invented alt-country, Americana, the Unplugged set up, Nirvana and Uncut magazine's entire outlook.
Lake Of Fire
Wednesday, 2 September 2015
This came our way yesterday, the new song from David Holmes' new project Unloved (although I think Holmes has joined an already existing duo). Guilty Of Love sounds like a pyschedelic girl group song that could have been recorded at almost any point in the last fifty years, possibly in sun dappled, hazy Los Angeles with Lee Hazlewood involved somewhere, the air thick with cig smoke and perfume. Vocalist Jade Vincent has a very evocative voice. The e.p. is out in mid-October.
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
I heard this out over the weekend, played over a decent sized PA, and it sounded even better than it usually does- what's more after checking I'm amazed that in the last five years and eight months I've been doing this thing I've never posted it. Junior Murvin's Police And Thieves, released in 1977 and produced by Lee Scratch Perry with The Upsetters providing the music, is one of reggae's truly great tunes. Scratch produced it along with The Heptones' Party Time and Max Romeo's War Ina Babylon in a burst of Back Ark inspired creativity. The guitar is lighter than air, the rhythm perfect and Murvin's falsetto vocal floats over the top while burying its way into your head.
Police and Thieves