Saturday, 30 April 2016
If (Come The Revolution Mix)
Friday, 29 April 2016
This is an updated version of Big Hard Excellent Fish's Imperfect List from a couple of years ago. The original came from the combined talents of Pete Wylie, Robin Guthrie and Josie Jones (and on the 1990 version Andrew Weatherall). The original list had range of targets from the late 80s and the re-worked list brings things up to date while also showing how little has changed.
Both versions mention Hillsborough. The justice the families of the 96 have been finally been given this week is truly right and proper. It also sadly confirms what many of us have known all along- that football fans in the late 80s were treated worse than cattle and seen as scum, that we were despised by an establishment that was engaged in something that was tantamount to class war and governed by a lying and corrupt government that colluded with a lying tabloid press that actually hated its readers, and that events were manipulated and covered up by at least one, probably two, corrupt police forces.
In 1989 I lived in Liverpool while at Liverpool University. I shared a house with a friend who was at Hillsborough, not the Leppings Lane End but another part of the ground. He returned home with both parts of his ticket- no one checked him into the ground. The Saturday after the disaster we were in Liverpool city centre. At six minutes past three the city centre stopped in absolute silence. Nothing moved and nobody spoke. It was one of the most moving, emotional minutes I've witnessed. As a Man United fan I've always felt deeply ashamed by the songs some of 'our' idiots sing and the heart of the matter is while it happened to be Liverpool fans who were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough in 1989, it could have been any of us, at another match, in another ground. Yes- this is justice for the 96 and for their families. But it is also justice for all of us.
Remember- don't buy The Sun.
Thursday, 28 April 2016
I saw this recently, an excerpt from Bob Mehr's excellent sounding new book on The Replacements, and it made me smile...
Paul Westerberg called time on The Replacements re-union recently having fell out of love with it again. He called the re-union 'whoring himself'. I've said it before- The Replacements were such a great little band. Paul's gone straight back to work, recording and releasing an album with Juliana Hatfield as The I Don't Cares. This upbeat song has clanging Westerberg guitars, a bitter-sweet lyric and drawly vocals from the pair of them. Good stuff.
King Of America
Wednesday, 27 April 2016
Woods have made several albums, mainly in the Americana kind of area, beards, denim workshirts and hunters caps. I adore the song Blood Dries Darker, from 20101, which is still on my car mp3 player having survived many culls of songs I liked and then got fed up with. Their new album Sun City Eater In The River Of Light is a step onwards or to the side maybe. It's shot through with sunny psychedelia and wah-wah pedals and on this song, Can't See At All, dub reggae.
Tuesday, 26 April 2016
I've flip-flopped around with Primal Scream's RSD cover version of Mantra For A State Of Mind, starting off thinking it just sounds lazy, then liking it more (Jason Pierce's guitar probably making the difference). The original S'Express version (from 1991) is pretty wonderful, discofied and then a housier last few minutes. As Craig at Plain Or Pan pointed out, it isn't a million miles from Don't Fight It, Feel It.
Mantra For A State Of Mind (Club Mix)
And just because I'm kind to you this is the Weatherall remix of Find 'Em, Fool 'Em, Forget 'Em, a loved up, piano and synth driven excursion with heavy breathing and airhorns, also from 1991.
Find 'Em, Fool 'Em, Forget 'Em (The Eighth Hour Mix)
Monday, 25 April 2016
Sometimes the songs that seem to be the obvious songs to post are indeed the ones that are obvious songs to post. It is Monday. Prince wrote Manic Monday for Apollonia 6 but pulled it and offered it to The Bangles.They then Banglified it, turning it into a number two hit in both the UK and the US in 1986.
This Top Of The Pops performance has Susanna Hoffs achieving peak Hoffsness.
Sunday, 24 April 2016
Those early 90s Andrew Weatherall remixes have been hanging around my stereo a lot recently- there's something about them that is really pushing my buttons right now. You probably guessed that. There are two remixes of Jah Wobble's Bomba, from his Invaders Of The Heart period (with Natacha Atlas on vocals and in the picture above). The Miles Away Mix is a glorious acid house riot, from the marching band fanfare that opens it to the shouts of 'Musicaaaaaaa' and the almost chaotic clash of rhythms and sounds. Played loud it sounds like the maddest moment of the best party you went to. Slinky and sexy. The bass playing is superb too, obvs.
Bomba (Miles Away Mix)
Saturday, 23 April 2016
The death of Prince was shocking. Growing up in the 80s he was inescapable and while I was never a huge fan I liked some of his singles/songs- you couldn't not like at least some of them. I saw him play in Manchester two years ago, a friend had a spare and it seemed like a good opportunity to see a legend. Over the two hours he blew the audience at Manchester's indoor arena away, song after song after song. The thing that really struck me was the crowd. I'm used to going to gigs that are attended by roughly 60%-80% middle aged men, many either in leather jackets or cagoules depending on the band. Prince's audience ranged from younger teenagers to people in their 60s, racially mixed, glammed up twenty-something couples, gangs of forty-something women, obsessive men on their own, gay and straight- the most socially diverse gig crowd I've ever been a part of. I've since grown to love some of his songs that previously were just part of my musical wallpaper. The energy he put into the show, dancing, playing guitar, singing was immense- partly why it is so shocking that he's died less than two years later aged just 57.
I have always liked this one.
There is a Jesus And Mary Chain cover version of Alphabet Street which, trust me, you don't want to hear right now. It doesn't do anyone any favours.
If you were around in 1990 this Prince penned song was inescapable too.
Friday, 22 April 2016
Until a couple of days ago I never knew there was a video for Apex Twin's 1993 song On (from the e.p. On).
I caught it by accident on TV, on a music channel I flicked onto while waiting for a lift. On is a delicious track- it could be serene ambient were it not for the buzz and distortion of the bass and the harshish drums. Yet it still manages to be beautiful. I was then doubly surprised that the video was directed by Jarvis Cocker, making brilliant use of water dripping, a beach, a deep sea divers outfit, a cardboard cut out of Richard D James and stop-motion photography. The only shame with the video is it's only three minutes forty five seconds long. Luckily the e.p. version is seven minutes long.
Thursday, 21 April 2016
Before he was a Dust and then a Chemical Brother Tom Rowlands was in a band called Ariel who had several unsuccessful attempts to have a hit. Not all was lost though- some of their songs hold up. This Dean Thatcher remix of Rollercoaster has bags of 1990 charm, a step or two removed from Dean's wonderful St Etienne Flying remix.
Rollercoaster (Dean Thatcher's Flying Mix)
Wednesday, 20 April 2016
Bank cards, cheque books, notebooks out and ready- Mr Weatherall wants to rid you of some more of your hard earned cash by playing records. Firstly another edition of Music's Not For Everyone, including a new hypnotic remix by himself of Solar Bears...
And then there's this, two and a half hour recording from a festival in Amsterdam, which is an exercise in the art of slowburning chug...
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
French duo The Liminanas are back with a new album- Malamore. The single Garden Of Love, with Peter Hook's bass playing, has already attracted quite a bit of positive attention- quite right too. The rest of the album lives up to it, Lionel and Marie using the starting point of French 60s pop (Serge, Ye-Ye, Francois Hardy) and adding some Velvets shade and some psychedelia light. Organ, fuzz guitar, rattling drums, breathy vox. Probably the best Franco-beatnik album you'll hear this year.
This live performance for Figaro TV of Russian Roulette rattles and thrums and buzzes.
Monday, 18 April 2016
I've written about Manchester based band Multiplier before a couple of times here and here. They've recently signed a record deal and the first fruit of this is a new single, out last week. Love You To Death is a huge sounding song, dominated by Andy Gardner's vocals and sweeping strings. Some of their earlier songs were quite shoegazey, atmospheric and slowburning, others in a Chameleons vein. This is more direct- think the more epic Bunnymen songs, Doves widescreen northern rock.
Sunday, 17 April 2016
One for the dancers, the ravers and the dewy eyed today - an hour long mixtape with the sounds of the summer of 1990, Bocca Juniors, St Etienne, That Petrol Emotion, Sheer Taft and Mr Weatherall in amongst it all, put together by Clandestino and Leeds veteran dj Nick Smith.
Saturday, 16 April 2016
Today reader and former blogger George plants his peanuts- that's not a euphemism. He emigrated to Portugal a year or two back and is actually planting peanuts today. The peanut planting season begins now.
Here's a song about peanuts from Kid Congo Powers and The Pink Monkey Birds. Anaphylactic shock to a garage rock beat (to misquote the Pet Shop Boys).
I Found A Peanut
Friday, 15 April 2016
In their 1993 and third Peel Session The Orb launched a sonic assault that was a long way from the trippy ambient dance they were renowned for- a cover of No Fun. Sit up and listen to this it seemed to say. It's raucous, as snarly as Johnny Rotten on a bad day and could harsh your mellow, if it weren't so much fun.
No Fun (Peel Session)
Thursday, 14 April 2016
In 1990 the original line up of Big Audio Dynamite released their last song, Free, for the soundtrack of a film called Flashback. Dennis Hopper and Kiefer Sutherland starred in Flashback- a radical hippie on the run for twenty years (Hopper) and an FBI agent sent to bring him to trial (Sutherland). I've seen it, many years ago, 1990 probably- I seem to recall enjoying it at the time. The song didn't appear on any B.A.D. albums except the Planet Bad compilation although it turned up in a re-written and re-titled form on BAD II's Kool Aid. It's a very late 80s becoming 90s house influenced, Stussy-clad number. Good, catchy fun if not the best way to remember the line up of the band that had achieved so much over the previous years.
Free (Film Version)
Free (Club Mix)
The video has Mick and the B.A.D. boys lip syncing and dancing/shuffling over footage and clips from the film. Gives you a flavour of both in one handy package.
Wednesday, 13 April 2016
Wussy, from Cincinatti, have been getting some deservedly good press and are about to play some UK dates. A friend of a friend runs the record label they are signed to (Damnably). They also have a single coming out for Record Shop Day, this New Order cover. Really rather good- just listen to those guitars.
The other side is this, slowburning with shades of shoegaze.
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
I was involved in an online discussion a few days back about Husker Du- a friend put forward the suggestion that their cover of The Byrds' Eight Miles High was their best song. Debate ensued with some agreement but also a reluctance to say that their best song as a cover, especially with a pair of songwriters as gifted as Bob Mould and Grant Hart.
Their last album, Warehouse: Songs And Stories (from 1987), also caused some discussion. Made as the band were getting fully on each other's nerves (they split shortly after), Grant and Bob's songs alternate across the four sides of vinyl, with Bob getting the upper hand numerically (deliberately according to both Bob and Grant). Grant was in the grips of heroin and his drumming is a little untogether on the record while at the same time Bob has audibly stepped up his song writing. The guitar playing is a blitz throughout, jagged shards and buzzes of feedback, the melodies chiming through. The dynamics of the songs are intense too- slow build ups, faster tempo choruses, fade ins and outs, clanging chords after the song has finished. I could pick any of Bob's songs off Warehouse to illustrate the strength and depth of his talents. This one will do nicely.
It's Not Peculiar
And just in case you were wondering whether he still has it, he does. This is from his newest solo album Patch The Sky- less angry maybe, more at peace with himself, but no less contrary.
Monday, 11 April 2016
Back to work after a two week break. Something is needed to ease the pain.
This is from an On U Sound compilation called In Dub Haze. Playgroup, a group of whichever musicians who happened to be in the studio at the time corralled and produced by dubmaster Adrian Sherwood, with a self-explanatory tune. 1982 I think. 1982! Sounds like it could have been made last night.
Epic Sound Battle
The picture above was taken from a Victorian covered walkway beneath the promenade at Scarborough Spa. Waves were thumping against the stonework. They did warn us...
Sunday, 10 April 2016
The new Underworld album Barbara, Barbara We Face A Shining Future is a real return to form, the duo sounding completely re-energised and refreshed. I'm not sure that they really recovered fully from losing Darren Emerson, their songs since his departure have sometimes seemed a bit below par to these ears, lacking something. Their new regime of writing a song a day for this one, being spontaneous, has paid off. The album strikes a balance between the first few songs that have pounding drums and buzzing synths, Karl's chants and found lyrics sounding more and more like a dancefloor Mark E Smith and the second half which starts off with a slow South American inspired instrumental and then for the final few songs turns euphoric. It's also a shortish album, only seven songs but focussed and concise. Lead single I Exhale, an almost glam sounding stomp, has been out for some time now. You've probably heard it already but there's no harm in hearing it again.
Saturday, 9 April 2016
It's still the Easter holidays here and while I'm back to school on Monday my kids have another week off. I'm dragging the holiday feel out while I can before commuting and targets and suit and tie take over again. The picture shows Cayton Bay, a beautiful beach just south of Scarborough. We popped down at sunset a couple of nights ago. There was even someone surfing. And an abandoned pill box, ready to repel Nazi invaders from across the North Sea in the 1940s, redecorated recently by local youth.
So beaches, tides coming in, Eastertime, my recent posts of early-to-mid 90s dance music... all lead to A Man Called Adam. I've posted some of their stuff before- Barefoot In the Head, CPI, Estelle- and this is another one to add to their list of top moments.
Friday, 8 April 2016
Sunset in Whitby last Sunday captured on my phone. Lovely.
Musically I'm picking up right where I left off before going on holiday with a tune that has been playing repeatedly in the caravan we stayed in just outside Scarborough. In 1995 Andrew Weatherall remixed Throbbing Gristle's United no fewer than four times. All four mixes (retitled Re-United) came out on a Psychic TV cd single called Sirens along, with three other songs, and were credited to both Psychic TV and Weatherall. The four mixes taken together form a wonderful thirty minute suite. The pick of them is Mix 3, eleven minutes of mid-90s housiness. The second half where piano and bass play off against each other is especially good.
Re-United Mix 3
Friday, 1 April 2016
Walter beat me to the post when he blogged October (Love Song) by Chris and Cosey a few days ago- a beautiful 1983 single from two members of Throbbing Gristle. In 2004 an album of remixes of Throbbing Gristle tracks came out, called Mutant TG. As industrial and electronic pioneers Genesis P Orridge and co always got respect from dance music artists. One of the highlights of the album was this tremendous nine minute version by Detroit techno legend Carl Craig. Hot On The Heels Of Love is TG's most accessible song and had a dancefloor groove already. Carl sends it onwards with techno...
Hot On The Heels Of Love (Carl Craig Re-Version)
From today I'm off on holiday for a week, staying in Scarborough in North Yorkshire, so there'll be nothing here until next weekend. Be good.