Thursday, 31 December 2015
A just shy of four hour long set from Andrew Weatherall at Closure in Amsterdam at the start of the month. Hit play now and when it finishes you'll just have time to see what crap is going on with Jools before starting your countdown to New Year. Have a good one!
If anyone knows what the trippy tune with the vocal at around 55 minutes is, please let me know.
It's the last day of a pretty grim and depressing year if viewed through the TV news and the papers. Taking refuge in music, hiding from the storms (literally over the last few days) with the stereo playing and a drink to hand, might be hiding but it's a decent form of escapism. This 1991 song from Shack, the great lost Liverpool band (it's a cliche to write that but it's true), is a beautiful gem. Scouse psychedelia with harmonies and trippy 1966 guitars but with all the benefits of a 1991 extended mix, a breakdown, 90s drums and outro. Sublime.
I Know You Well (12" Extended)
Wednesday, 30 December 2015
Do you want a record for your party? This is the one I'm recommending today, a massive dance record made in a giant rave machine and released into the world last month. Split Secs featuring Alona remixed to perfection by Sean Johnston's Hardway Bros.
Tuesday, 29 December 2015
Alright? I hope you've had a good Christmas break with plenty of indulgences. I may have overindulged a tad here and there and feel like a morning busting my lungs on the bike in some winter sunshine would do me some good. But anyway, on with the music...
Acid Ted is doing a month by month run down of his year- you should go and have a look at it. His second favourite track from January was Richard Norris' remix The Forest by Black Rivers (two thirds of Doves), a smooth, psychedelic masterpiece that I also posted but forgot about. Mr Norris has turned in some stunning remixes in recent times- Warpaint, Public Service Broadcasting, Temples and Noel Gallagher are probably the highest profile ones. This one from earlier this year is pretty sweet, Jacco Gardner sent on a spaced out trip through the cosmos...
And here's one from a few months back, a remix of Amateur Best, light and airy, housified with a touch of disco.
There's loads more stuff to dive into at his Soundcloud page.
Thursday, 24 December 2015
It's Christmas Eve- I haven't got anything planned to be happening here for the next few days and I don't expect to be blogging again until the 28th or thereabouts. I hope all of you have the Christmas you want, whatever you're doing, wherever you are and with whoever you're with. I'll leave you with this...
My end of year list had a couple of omissions that I thought I should cover. The first was LoneLady who I just completely forgot about- the album Hinterland is full of sparse early ACR style guitars and bass, a record inspired by the spaces underneath the Mancunian Way.
The other was this single called We Start Over from Steve Cobby complete with a gorgeous vocal by Trudie Dawn Smith. Steve Cobby appeared in my albums of the year list but this single is rather special too and it slipped my mind.
The remix by Apiento and Lx is what I am calling deep chug. Guaranteed to have arms waving in the air and the hugging of strangers on New Year's Eve. See you in a few days.
Wednesday, 23 December 2015
Last White Christmas by Basement 5 doesn't really sound like anyone's version of festive fun but it's a dubwise, post-punk classic regardless. The names who passed through the band's ranks is like a late 70s roll call- Don Letts (B.A.D.), Dennis Morris (photographed the Sex Pistols and Bob Marley amongst others), Richard Dudanski (The 101ers, The Raincoats, PiL), Leo 'E-Zee Kill' Williams (B.A.D., Dreadzone), Winston Fergus, Charlie Charles (The Blockheads). To top this they were produced by Martin Hannett who said it was the heaviest, most difficult production work he ever did.
Last White Christmas
Tuesday, 22 December 2015
On this day in 2002 Joe Strummer died of a heart attack at home after walking his dogs. I think he is still sorely missed, not just by his family and friends (which goes without saying really) but by his fans, his people. 1970s punk has had such a high profile over the last decade, autobiographies and documentaries abound, the clamour for a re-union would have been immense (especially as Paul and Mick both continue to record and perform), and his views on British and world political events would have been sought. Of his solo albums Rock, Art And The X Ray Style, released in 1999, was his step back into the world and it captures the spirit of Joe as much as any record he made since The Clash split up. On Tony Adams he sings about a power cut in New York over thumping timpani and pays tribute to Arsenal's troubled captain. On Yalla Yalla Joe and Richard Norris play electro-dub and raise their arms aloft. On Sandpaper Blues The Mescaleros shoehorn umpteen musical styles into four minute highlight with cowboys, African chanting, male voice choirs, hand drums and mariachi and Madeira. On Diggin' The New Joe sings 'You gotta live in this world, diggin' the new' and that kind of sums up the man up- always looking for the next thing, open to new ideas and experiences. I miss him.
Monday, 21 December 2015
I rediscovered this the other day while looking for something else- Andrew Weatherall's ten minute long remix of the Moody Boys from 1992, percussive dub house that goes through several distinct phases and when those strings come in at the end it's all quite epic. Perfect for the Monday before Christmas.
Centre Of The World (The Potless Mix)
The Moody Boys were Tony Thorpe and Jimmy Cauty (up until 1992 when he retired from the music business following The KLF's explosive finale). Their records merged African music with club culture which is far more evident in the Nubian Club Mix (video below, I don't have an mp3 of it on this hard drive). Guaranteed to put a smile on your face- unlike Christmas shopping three days before the event, which is what I have to do now.
Sunday, 20 December 2015
Here is my list, self indulgent as Drew says, but fun to do. I've enjoyed more new music during 2015 than any in recent years. These are the albums and songs/singles that have struck a chord with me and that have stuck with me since their release.
12. Mbongwana Star 'From Kinshasa'
Traditional African forms coupled with electronics. Still startling.
11. Mick Jones 'Ex Libris'
Vinyl only, six track instrumental.
10. MonoLife 'Phrenology'
The skull from Hull with some cracking old school dance music.
9. The Orb 'Moonbuilding 2703AD'
A return to form, four very long pieces full of ambient buzz.
8. Le Volume Courbe 'I Wish Dee Dee Ramone Was Here With Me'
Contains two of my favourite songs of this year- The House and Rusty.
7. Steve Cobby 'Everliving'
It could have been 'Revolutions' as well. Both are full of sumptuous electronic tunes and ideas.
6. Gwenno 'Y Dyad Olaf'
Perfect psychedelic pop sung in Welsh (except for the one sung in Cornish).
5. Crocodiles 'Boys'
Dirty, sexy, brash guitars from San Diego. If you haven't heard Foolin' Around, click play now.
4. Moon Duo 'Shadows Of The Sun'
Loads of uptempo two chord motorik psyche but with In A Cloud they had one of the year's most beautiful, almost Balearic guitar moments.
3. Sexwitch 'Sexwitch'.
Six covers recorded by Natasha Khan, Toy and Dan Carey. The intense stomp of the Middle Eastern songs take some beating and Natasha's vocals are superbly focused while also slightly unhinged. Possessed and obsessive.
2. The Charlatans 'Modern Nature'.
Recorded after the death of drummer Jon Brookes, a band back on form and determined to celebrate life with some of the best, soaring songs of the year- So Oh and Come Home Baby especially.
1. Jamie Xx 'In Colour'
A history of dance music from house to grime, emotionally charged from start to finish, with moments of ecstasy, clarity and genuine beauty. I'm still playing it from start to finish.
The hand and influence of Mr Weatherall is all over this section. That's just the way it's been this year. Both lists show I've been veering far more towards dance/electronics this year. A top seventeen for no real reason.
17. Noel Gallagher 'In The Heat Of The Moment' Andrew Weatherall Remix
It came out last year online but was released on vinyl in April. Glorious remix.
16. Dubrobots 'Forever'
This Cardiff based producer sent me two versions of this massively dub influenced song. Still rattling my ribcage.
15. Public Service Broadcasting 'Gagarin' Richard Norris Remix
The album did nothing for me but this remix, full of Spanish acoustic guitars, sent Yuri to Ibiza.
14. jennylee 'Never'
Warpaint's foxy bassist with an early 80s single that pushed the right buttons.
13. Gwenno 'Chwyldro' Andrew Weatherall Remix
Further, stranger, slower.
12. Unloved 'Guilty Of Love'
David Holmes' new project taking in 60s/70s filmscores with a girl group vibe. Also had two long dubby Weatherall remixes.
11. Vox Low 'Cast Upward Through the Waves, A Ruby Glow
Strange stuff from a French duo finding weird spaces between rock and dance.
I'm getting repetitive strain from typing those three words- this one took early New Order and merged it with some sparse electronics and a spooky vocal refrain.
9. Timothy J. Fairplay
Timothy J released several superb four track e.p.s this year, full of vintage synths- Stories Of Prison, Love And Columbium, No News From New York. Take your pick. Together they'd make a potential album of the year.
8. Paresse 'Rosita'.
Super smooth stuff from Scandinavia. Wraps your ears up all warm.
7. Haunted Doorbell 'Unconnected Thoughts On Jacking'
I'm cheating here- Fairplay again, this time with Matilda Tristam. Four outstanding instrumentals joining the various dots. The e.p. and title track gave us the song title of the year. Beautiful Sheffield is exactly as it sounds.
6. Patti Yang Group 'I'm Ready'
Chris Rotter, Matty Skylab and Patti Yang with a thumping piece of hymnal house. Do you want a free download?
5. Jamie Xx 'Loud Places' John Talabot's Higher Dub
I posted this last week. It's stunningly good, reworking an album highlight into something else with mesmerising, euphoric peaks.
4. C.A.R. 'Glock'd' Asphodells Remix
Super glam stomp, a massive wobbly bass, dirty guitars, French accented vocals; the sound of the future.
3. Sinkane x Peaking Lights 'Mean Dub'
This ten minute dub version of Yacha was the sound of my summer. All four tracks on the reworked dub e.p. were top quality stuff but Yacha is something else entirely and from somewhere else entirely too. Fast dub.
2. Pearl's Cab Ride 'Sunrise' (MonoLife Extended Trip)
A Humberside funk and soul sixpiece taken on a long trip by MonoLife- trumpet, distorted vocal, two note bass, drifting but always moving forwards. Beautiful.
1. Mike Garry and Joe Duddell 'St Anthony: An Ode to Anthony H Wilson'
This came out in August, an emotional tribute to Mr Manchester set to Joe Duddell's Your Silent Face inspired strings, full of Mike Garry's poetic references to the city and its sounds. All proceeds go to The Christie so if you haven't bought it yet, there's another reason to do so. Almost inevitably, there's a Weatherall remix on the other side (which isn't too shabby either. In fact it's very, very good). Still prone to move me after umpteen listens.
Saturday, 19 December 2015
One of the great things about Creation Records in the 80s (and up to the point they signed the Gallagher brothers which pretty much ruined the whole thing) was the number of compilation albums they put out rounding up their roster of artists. If you couldn't get hold of or afford to buy every 7" single the compilations were great round ups and primers. Doing It For The Kids came out in 1988, fifteen tracks for £1.99, including better known bands like Primal Scream, Felt, the House of Love, The Weather Prophets and My Bloody Valentine and lesser known ones like The Jazz Butcher, Nikki Sudden, Razorcuts, Pacific and Momus. Momus was Nicholas Currie, a one man indie Pet Shop Boy,dance pop with some very adult themes. This song stood out as being cut from different cloth even in the variety of Doing It For The Kids.
A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24)
Friday, 18 December 2015
Durutti Column have been running through my musical choices a lot in recent months. This song is a beauty. Perfect guitar playing, much of which doesn't sound anything like ordinary guitar playing, with Vini's fragile vocals and Bruce Mitchell's understated drumming adding to the dreamlike quality. I don't have the song as an mp3 on the hard rive right now and it's getting late so here's some Youtube videos. These two clips are interesting when compared. The first is from the remastered edition of the album LC, a little more focused and punchy than the original 1981 release
The original, below, has a burst of the Youtube uploader's VHS static at eleven seconds and is much more subdued and atmospheric. The footage of Vini is pretty nice. LC was the second album following debut The Return Of The Durutti Column, self produced on a four track TEAC. The title LC is latin, Lotta Continua- continuous struggle, the struggle continues.
Thursday, 17 December 2015
Posting Stella Grundy's solo track last week- go and check it out if you missed it (and make sure you get to the end for the 'Hello Shrewsbury! Rock and roll...' line at the end)- made me go back and look at some of Intastella's stuff. I've posted People before, a genuinely top record. The picture above is from a gig at The Boardwalk. Reader Michael, over in Ireland, reminded me of a legendary TV performance from 1993 with Stella rocking it in Y-fronts that look like they were bought in the Arndale Market.
Two years previously they were on The Word. My memory suggests they appeared on the same episode as Nirvana made their first appearance on British telly.
Dancer Little Anthony was a familiar face from Manchester's clubs. I remember sharing dancefloor space with him many times in the early-to-mid 90s. He was always very smiley.
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Drew posted this last week but on the off chance that there's anyone who missed it there or who reads this but not Across The Kitchen Table I'm going to share it here today. I've been playing it daily since I first heard it. John Talabot's remix of Jamie Xx's Loud Places. Drew called it mesmerising- which it definitely is. Add euphoric. And gorgeous. At ten minutes long, if you click replay twice that's half an hour of your day gone in a blissful haze, lost with that line or two of Romy's vocal isolated and repeated, and those wonderful drum patterns and synths. Between them Jamie, Romy and John also nail the happiness/sadness that is part of dance music and club culture- the communal joy of dancing against the loss of the lyrics. She's not waiting around, she's going, going, gone.
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Paul Simonon, Bagging Area hero, bass player for The Clash (and Havana 3am, and more recently The Good, The Bad And The Queen and Gorillaz), painter, motorcyclist and 'the most handsome man in West London', turns sixty today. So, Happy Birthday Mr. Simonon- hope it's a good one. Paul brought the ska, the dub and the reggae influences to the band along with the visual sense that served them well in their clothes, record sleeves, posters and stage backdrops. His bass playing by 1980 was vastly improved from the early days where he put his fingers on painted on notes on the neck of his guitar. The bassline in Bankrobber is one of his best.
In fact, December is a big month for Clash anniversaries- Sandinista was released thirty-five years ago this month and London Calling thirty-six. Releasing double or triple albums a few weeks before Christmas, too late for end of year lists- all part of the grand Clash plan.
Monday, 14 December 2015
Like a lot of other people who grew up in the 1970s one of my recollections is of government public information films where various everyday happenings promised death or at least severe injury- rugs on floors, plugs, roads, water, electricity, the countryside in general. A few years ago I was in a record shop and having been aware of the Ghost Box record label saw an album by The Advisory Circle ( the work of Jon Brooks). The man behind the counter recommended it, saying it was inspired by public information films alongside with musical influences like Broadcast, krautrock and soundtracks. I bought it on the spot. It's undoubtedly retro but there's enough going on for it to be much more than an exercise in nostalgia. The synths are warm and clean, the drums pitter-patter. It's haunting in places, evoking that world of Sunday afternoons, grey skies and damp British weather. This album and the whole series Ghost Box series of albums are beautifully packaged too if you need another incentive.
This clip compiles some of those public information films and in the grimmest of ironies features Jimmy Saville warning people about danger.
Sunday, 13 December 2015
There's no real hope of me feeling remotely festive until work finishes on Friday but here's a second Christmas song for this weekend- 'cos nothing says Christmas like old-school hip hop, Adidas tracksuits and gold chains. Run DMC, all the way from 1987, sampling Clarence Carter's Back Door Santa. 'It's Christmas time in Hollis, Queens, Mum's cooking chicken and collard greens'.
Saturday, 12 December 2015
We're getting our tree today so it seems like a good time to post a Christmas song, no matter how much I try to avoid it. Low's Just Like Christmas a a cracking little tune- sleigh bells disguising the fact that by the time they got to Oslo the snow had gone and it wasn't like Christmas at all.
Just Like Christmas
Friday, 11 December 2015
Cath Carroll's band Miaow with a magic slice of jangly indie-pop from 1987, sounding more C86 than Factory. Includes yodelling and has a wonderful period piece video too. Belle And Sebastian for one have surely heard this record.
Thursday, 10 December 2015
My continuing exploration of the musical adventures of Andrew Weatherall goes on. It's not my fault really- he keeps putting new stuff out, has been in a purple patch for some time now and is the sort of artist the internet was made for. This is a newie from the forthcoming Woodleigh Research Facility album, recorded with former Sabrettes main woman Nina Walsh and on this song Youth. It's long and dubby with distorted horn noises and a chuggy rhythm.
Wednesday, 9 December 2015
Stella Grundy, once of Manchester's Intastella, has had a second life as an actor and has been performing a one woman play, The Rise And Fall Of A Northern Star (based around the character Tracy Star). This song is from the album that goes with it- a driving, Jah Wobble powered tale of the darkside of the music industry, packed with hard won experience and Northern grit. It'll wake you up, shake you about a bit and stick in your head all day.
Tuesday, 8 December 2015
I seem to be falling into posting a new Timothy J. Fairplay song on a weekly basis- maybe Timothy Tuesday should become a regular slot*. This is one of four new tracks for an e.p. out early next year. Spooky synths, wobbly bass, kickdrum.
* Actually, I've just checked and it was November 24th when I last posted a Timothy J. Fairplay track, a fortnight ago.
Monday, 7 December 2015
King of The Slums, a much talked about but ultimately not much heard mid-to-late 80s Manchester band. The electric violin prevented them from being an easy listen, setting them apart from their contemporaries and the songs seemed to be powered by speed rather than E. They had tunes to spare and a frontman who had something to say, who also had a winning way with song and album titles- Vicious British Boyfriend, Barbarous English Fayre, Fanciable Headcase, Bombs Away On Harpurhey, Once A Prefect and Unfit Mother to name a few (while the group's original name was Slum Cathedral User). Mark E Smith may have been an influence. This clip is from BBC2's Snub TV, shot live in Manchester and causing mayhem.
Sunday, 6 December 2015
Various people and happenings from the early to mid-90s have happily re-emerged into my life in recent days via social media. And I found myself singing this. Circa 1994 the Beastie Boys were a cultural colossus- music, clothes, magazines, record label. This B-side is an immense slab of punk rock celebrating the most derided haircut of all time and name checking its celebrity wearers.
Saturday, 5 December 2015
Someone asked me if I had digital copies of these three songs. I do. So here they are. Sabres of Paradise in session for John Peel, March 13th 1993, recorded at the Sabres basecamp and not released anywhere officially. These rips came from the much missed Ripped In Glasgow website. The audio quality is much better than rips from radio to cassette to mp3 sound like you'd think they should be. The three tunes are all excellent and the recording session dates from after the Haunted Dancehall album so are pretty much the last thing the band did before Weatherall moved on to Two Lone Swordsmen.
Duke On Berwick
Friday, 4 December 2015
I'm keeping the reggae riddims riding for Factory Friday with X-O-Dus, a Moss Side reggae band who released a single for Factory way back at the start. Produced by Dennis Bovell English Black Boys is a wonderful slice of politically conscious roots reggae. X-O-Dus played the Russell Club where Rob Gretton saw them and recommended them to Factory, with Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus jumping at the chance to release a 12", although various delays meant that English Black Boys and the B-side See Them A Come were recorded in 1979 but not released until 1980. Wilson managed to get Bovell to man the controls, who was riding high having produced records by The Slits and The Pop Group. X-O-Dus played several Factory nights including sharing the stage with Joy Division, Durutti Column, The Distractions and ACR. They gigged regularly, got played repeatedly by John Peel but this was their only release during the band's lifetime.
English Black Boys
Thursday, 3 December 2015
I heard this song out in a pub recently, one of those moments where you really tune in and hear a well known song properly. Could You Be Loved is so recognisable from the off, that muted guitar part and the uptempo reggae rhythm while Bob Marley asks the questions and gives salient advice, 'the road of life is rocky, and you may stumble too, so while you point the finger someone else is judging you'.
Could You Be Loved
Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Since discovering his Revolutions album and my recent post I've been digging around Steve Cobby's back catalogue and his Soundcloud page where there are an array of delights to be found. This one is really special, off his album from this year Everliving- an extended intro, ambient wash followed by a repeated synth pattern and some shakers, it continues to build, new sounds and rhythms being brought into the mix, all light and airy. Some distortion at three minutes changes it slightly, still building at its own pace, then a drop out... and just when you want them, sampled strings and drums send it onwards. A winter warmer for you.
Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Andrew Weatherall was back at the controls at NTS a few days ago with two hours of his customary wide-ranging brilliance Music's Not For Everyone. It includes two new remixes (one less a remix, more complete destruction according to the man himself) and one from his new band with Nina Walsh, The Woodleigh Research Facility. You can listen to it here (Mixcloud won't embed again for some reason).
Another Weatherall project is here, with the rarest vinyl remix he's released yet. Lil Mo is a crowd funding project, an attempt to restore an Austin A60 Suntor camper van, the incentive being that for a £5 donation you get a Weatherall dub mp3. For a mere £250 donation a limited 7" version of that dub is yours, one of only five copies. Hurry though- one has been claimed already. If you're feeling really flush you could donate £500 and get for the 7" single numbered 001. Despite my completist nature with all things Weatherall my contribution has been just a fiver for the mp3.
Finally we've now received three of the five Moine Dubh singles from the subscription only singles club and they are shaping up to be a very nice set- strange, dusty folk music. Random copies have a little patch of cloth, hand printed, initialed and numbered- I haven't been lucky yet. Drew has (verdict... 'a bit pish'). When the first single missed it's release date, due to the newfound interest in vinyl pressing plants from the major record labels bumping little independents down the priority list, Moine Dubh sent subscribers an mp3 by The Woodleigh Research Facility. The album entitled The Phoenix Suburb (And Other Stories) is shaping up to be a cross between a bit of folk, a lot of strangeness and a bucket of dub and is due for release in January.