Thursday, 22 June 2017
'...but then again who does?'
Sean Young's Polaroids she took during the filming of Bladerunner are really something else.
And here's even more Bladerunner. You may have heard there's a new film imminent, Bladerunner 2049. Spain's disco/house producer Vicmoren has a free download of his theme to the new film on Soundcloud. Vangelis evidently referred to, this is ten minutes of minimal soundtrack electronica well spent.
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Back in 1989 808 State released Ninety, one of the first UK house albums. Ninety is chock full of summer of '89 acid house filtered through a group of four men all trying to get all their ideas onto every song- crashing drums, vocal samples, mad and delirious synth lines, songs with mulitple melody parts playing at the same time, sirens, everything. I had it on cassette and remember well driving to Glastonbury in June 1990 , arriving at the site with Ninety on the car stereo. We pulled up, opened the car doors to get out, Cobra Bora thumping away. A hippy crawled out of the hedge right in front us, said hello, asked us if we wanted to buy 'anything' and then shambled off.
Monday, 19 June 2017
Inside this giant mobile mirror ball is Graham Massey, once/currently of 808 State. In front of the mirror ball are a New Orleans style marching band called Mr Wilson's Secondliners accompanying him on brass and percussion as he spins house classics through the streets of Manchester, as part of yesterday's Manchester Day parade. Now in its eighth year the parade was played out this year in standard Mancunian weather- blazing sunshine, thirty-odd degrees heat. Even just standing still was a sweaty business. As the parade finished in Exchange Square, Massey and his band kept the party going a little longer with a wonderfully ramshackle version of Planet Rock.
Sunday, 18 June 2017
Sometimes things just come together nicely, one thing from over there and another from over here. On Friday the Pulp Librarian posted this Polish promo poster for Bladerunner on Twitter. On Saturday while watching something completely unrelated on Youtube this long trancey remix of Vangelis' Bladerunner soundtrack turned up on the right hand side. A rather good expansive, trippy re-working of the film's soundtrack by Tranonica.
Saturday, 17 June 2017
I was having a conversation online recently about the wonders of the Various Artists compilation album, which at certain times has been a real work of art. There are others I could go on about at some length but these are the three that immediately come to mind, all released within a few years of each other (and all tied together as well).
I've written before about Creation Records 1991 dance/house compilation Keeping The Faith but it is a perfect example, a well put together round up of similar minded artists and tracks defining a moment in time. From the opening minutes where Fluke take off on a Pan Am to Philly through to Hypnotone, a pair of Primal Scream remixes, Weatherall's definitive remix of My Bloody Valentine, Love Corporation, J.B.C., Sheer Taft, Danny Rampling's The Sound Of Shoom and World Unite here isn't a duff track and it is full of great moments. The Tears For Fears sample in J.B.C.'s cover of We Love You sums up how far Creation Records have shifted in 1991- 'dj's the man you love the most'. World Unite by World Unite is a majestic ambient house dub excursion- bubbling synths, up vocals with an eye on the dancefloor. The only thing I know about World Unite is that it was written by Potter and Stacey. And I love it still.
In the mid-to-late 80s Creation excelled at budget compilations, often a way to keep the wolf from the door and keep the cash coming in. At a knock down price of £1.99 1988's Doing It For The Kids was an essential purchase- The Jasmine Minks, Felt, Primal Scream (early indie version), The Weather Prophets (their song Well Done Sonny is below), The House Of Love, The Jazz Butcher, Biff Bang Pow!, My Bloody Valentine, Momus, The Times, Nikki Sudden, Pacific, Heidi Berry, Emily, Razorcuts. It is almost the complete picture of post-Smiths indie. And completely untouched by what was already brewing that would lead to Keeping The Faith. A snapshot of a time.
Well Done Sonny
The last one is this one, Retro Techno/Detroit Definitive Emotions Electric, a 1991 double album of the futuristic sounds of Detroit, a pulling together of the work of Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May, wall to wall techno classics that still sounds like its ahead of everyone else. From Model 500 at the start of Disc 1 Side 1 through to the massive drums, rhythms and bleeps of The Groove That Won't Stop, this is better than most 'proper' albums. The closing track is a sublime version one of dance music's set texts, the unreleased mix of Strings Of Life by Rhythim Is Rhythim.
Strings Of Life (Unreleased Mix)
This could become a series I fear. Feel free to chip in with your own suggestions.
Friday, 16 June 2017
A flat in this house on Palatine Road was once the home of one Alan Erasmus. In 1978 he co-founded Factory records along with Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton. Martin Hannett and Peter Saville soon joined. The label operated out of this flat throughout the 1980s, a short distance from where I grew up. The tales of Factory Records and its bands are the stuff of legend- no contracts, fifty-fifty split between label and bands, the artists own the music, the Hacienda must be built, Ian Curtis, So It Goes, Granada TV, Joy Division, New Order, the numbering system, A Certain Ratio, Durutti Column, Section 25, Stockholm Monsters, The Distractions, Crispy Ambulance, 52nd Street, Quando Quango, The Wake, James, The Railway Children, The Royal Family And The Poor, Miaow, Happy Mondays, the Factory egg timer, die-cut sleeves, tracing paper sleeves, no band photos on the sleeves,... In 1990 Factory moved out of 86 Palatine Road and into Factory 251 in town.
Yesterday a blue plaque was awarded to 86 Palatine Road in recognition of Factory's cultural, civic and artistic importance. Shaun Ryder unveiled the plaque. Of course given that he demanded the destruction of the Hacienda to prevent it becoming a museum piece Tony Wilson may not have approved of this recognition of a piece of Manchester's musical history. But if buildings are going to be awarded blue plaques for the part they played, then this is as deserving as any.
There are so many songs that illustrate Factory's brilliance in the 80s. On this song Otis, from Durutti Column's 1989 album (named after its creator Vini Reilly), Otis Redding's voice is sampled along with vocals credited to Vini's friend Pol. Reilly's guitar playing is fluid and lighter than air, echo on the arpeggios underpinning and enveloping the spectral Otis vocal- 'another sleepless night for me'. And then 'come back, come back'.
Thursday, 15 June 2017
Andrew Weatherall must have been going without sleep recently given his prolific remixing output. Here's three new ones for your Thursday.
This one is a weird, frantic, dubby thing with scratchy guitar and yelping, not a million miles from The Slits. It's not The Slits though, it's The Orielles, out on Heavenly. This is Part 2, so there must be a Part 1 somewhere too. I'll keep you posted.
This is the Mix 2 of of Balearic Queen Nancy Noise's Azizi's Dance, following Mix 1 which I posted last week- subtle and spacey with some snatches of conversation just out of earshot and rather nice.
Finally, Weatherall has turned in not one, not two, not even three, but four different remixes for Swiss pioneers Yello, all different versions of the track Frautonium from their new album. This one has bleeps and noises and glides about the place.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
My daughter Eliza was born fourteen years ago today, arriving at four minutes to five on a Saturday morning back in 2003. She's been barely a moment of trouble ever since apart from a worrying diversion into Ed Sheeran's most recent album. Chatham troubadour Pete Molinari had a song for an Eliza on his 2010 A Train Bound For Glory album.
When I was fourteen, in 1984, the number one single in the UK this week was Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Cold War epic Two Tribes, riding in on Trevor Horn's thunderous production. Not quite as good as Relax but then not much else at that time was. The spoken intro warning of nuclear war still sends shivers down the spine. This version (below) was for the 30th anniversary of their Welcome To The Pleasure Dome album.
Tuesday, 13 June 2017
Mad Professor brings you some speaker shaking dub for Tuesday. Neil Fraser was born in Guyana and emigrated to London aged thirteen. He built his own recording studio and began making music there in 1979. Throughout the 1980s he put out albums on his own label Ariwa Sounds. Especially of note are volumes 1 to 12 of Dub Me Crazy, a series of original and inventive British dub albums, making use of new digital resources. The first Dub Me Crazy was in 1982. When it was re-released in 2005 it came with two untitled dubs as additional tracks, presumably cut from the original vinyl running time for reasons of space (and bass). John Peel was a big fan and regularly playing tracks from the different Dub Me Crazy albums. This is the first of the two untitled extras from the first album and is all horns and bass. As good a way to start the day as any.
Monday, 12 June 2017
Despite her woeful performance as Prime Minister, unpleasant views, potential alliance with a highly dubious Northern Irish political party and the nasty tone of her election campaign there's a good part of me that wants Theresa May to carry on, limping on for months as a Prime Minister with no authority, unable to choose her own cabinet, unable to get what she wants through parliament, constantly hamstrung by her decision to have a general election. It also holds off the grimness of Boris Johnson.
Totally unrelated, this is a track from a forthcoming Timothy J Fairplay ep on Hoga Nord. Mindfighter is like an 80s video game soundtrack with everything turned up, tuned up and sped up.
Racunari was a magazine for computing enthusiasts published in Yugoslavia in the 1980s and 1990s. If you want more front covers on a sexy, retro-futurist, former-Communist theme, then go here.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
Cigarettes After Sex have found themselves in possession of a beautiful sound, a slow motion, monochrome crawl through a guitar led ambient haze with some highly ambiguous and androgynous vocals (courtesy of singer Greg Gonzalez). Lots of late 80s and early 90s reference points, you can spot them yourselves I'm sure. Their debut album is out now and is sounding like one that we'll be listening to for some time.
Keep On Loving You
Saturday, 10 June 2017
Friday, 9 June 2017
Getting up this morning to find that the exit poll which caused my jaw to drop several inches when it was announced at 10 pm last night was pretty much spot on was a wonderful feeling. I stayed up for a while but went to bed before it was clear what the result was. This morning's news- Theresa May's cynical bid for a personal majority completely scuppered, hanging on as the leader of a minority government was good enough on its own. The massive increases made by Labour, the collapse of UKIP, the high turnout especially among younger voters, the rejection by the voters of an entirely negative Tory campaign- these are the things that put a smile on the face. Having been on the losing side so often politically, Friday 9th June felt like victory.
With perfect timing, to celebrate, here's a new Andrew Weatherall remix, this time of Nancy Noise.
Non-UK readers- the man in the picture is Lord Buckethead.
I wrote this without knowing what the election result was so I've no idea if this morning is one of elation or despair. Despair I expect. Anything else is a bonus.
Some of the teenagers I work with like to say (ironically I think) 'I didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose me'. East Yorkshire's Mark Osborne didn't choose the thug life, he chose the Mono Life. Mono Life's first album, released back in 2015, was a Bagging Area end of year favourite. A couple of weeks ago he released his second, Sandalphon. I wanted to give it a good listen and live with it rather than type up a hasty review. This means that he's had to fight for airtime with some recent big hitters who've put out new albums in May, Jane Weaver and The Charlatans mainly.
Sandalphon is an album not just a collection of tracks put together, it works as a coherent whole, buzzing with ideas and invention from start to finish. Opening track The Science Of Love And Deception with juddering synths and beats is a powerful statement of intent and from there on he covers the gamut of electronic styles, from acid house to big beat, via Crockett And Tubbs, an 80s style electronic funk. Phantoms rides in on a cool breakbeat and bleeps. Radiate echoes Leftfield's dub techno. Dusky is low slung and optimistic. Closer The End (Keep Smiling) opens with washes of noise and builds from there, darker and less sunny than much of what's gone before it. Some piano finds its way in and then the distortion and static returns for the end. Mono Life has one foot in the past for sure, dance music's back pages are where this comes from, but there's also an eye looking forwards to an electronic future.
Thursday, 8 June 2017
Right then, time for action, time for change, time to see what is going on. Today is the day. By this tomorrow we should know what we face. The way I see it there are three potential outcomes of this general election.
1. A victory for a socialist Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn. If I am to believe my Twitter timeline this is a completely plausible outcome, but I fear it is unlikely.
2. A hung parliament. Seeing as there can't be any parties out there who would prop up a minority government led by a politically damaged Theresa May, I'm guessing this would result in a progressive alliance of Labour, SNP, PC, possibly some Lib Dems, and the Greens. I am happy with this as an outcome.
3. A Tory government, a cabinet of barbarians, who will hold power for the next five years, driving us off the cliff face and into some sort of post-EU, post-human rights, right-wing elective dictatorship where the poor are left to fend for themselves and Britain becomes a Poundshop, Daily Mail outpost off the coast of northern Europe.
I'm not looking forward to this.
In 2013 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds released an album called Push The Sky Away, the first without long term cohort Mick Harvey. It has a warmth that singles it out in Nick Cave's back catalogue and on this beautiful closing song, a most un-Bad Seeds sound, an almost post-club sound with some optimistic, life affirming lyrics...
'I was riding
The sun was rising from the fields
You've got to keep on pushing and keep on pushing
Pushing the sky away
And some people say that it's just rock and roll
Oh but it gets down right into your soul
You've got to keep on pushing and keep on pushing
Pushing the sky away'
Push The Sky Away
It's a thing of beauty, even if you're not much of a Nick Cave fan. But it's not a song to take to the barricades or the polling station. This is though, Chuck D and Flavor Flav telling it how it is...
Harder Than You Think
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
The weather's gone horrible. The political situation is, um, tense, with no guarantee of a good outcome despite the surge of the last two weeks. The view on the TV is depressing beyond belief. Time for one of Aphex Twin's most inventive and feel good tracks- Alberto Balsam floats by on a lovely warm synth melody. The rhythm track is stop-start percussion. I read somewhere that the hi-hat is a cigarette lighter being clicked, which makes me love it even more. Some of Richard D James' stuff is brain rattling techno and fried acid and some of it is aural balm. This is the latter.
Tuesday, 6 June 2017
This post follows on (coincidentally) from Drew's on Friday where he posted a different mix of the same song. William Orbit's Water From A Vine Leaf is a long progressive house tune from 1993 with a Beth Orton vocal. Over twenty years on it sounds good to these ears, still has a freshness about it. This remix is even better than the original mix though I think. In 1993 Underworld were on top of their game, Emerson, Hyde and Smith capable of turning out ten minute remixes that reshaped the source matter and drove it onwards. This one adds a certain moodiness to Orbit's original version, perfect for the dancefloor and the headphones. Underworld really should compile their best remixes- they had so many from this time.
Water From A Vine Leaf (Underwater Mix Part 1)
Monday, 5 June 2017
It's a new week, back to work after the half term holiday and this is a new track from our spiritual guide Mr Weatherall, taken from a compilation called Moving House put together by Belgium's Mugwump, which is as good a compilation album of chuggy/electronic/dance music you'll hear this summer. You can buy it here.
The Weatherall track is a big one. A steamhammer industrial beat with chanting from somewhere east of the Bosphorus. Rather good.
On a recent jaunt to Glasgow Weatherall played a dub set at The Vic Bar at The Art School, a precursor to A Love From Outer Space upstairs at the same venue. Thankfully someone had the good sense to record it.
Sunday, 4 June 2017
Just up the road from us later on today a concert will take place at Old Trafford cricket ground, where Ariana Grande and a host of pop stars will perform with all the proceeds going to the families affected by the bombing at the arena two weeks ago. The One Love Manchester concert has shown the best side of human nature- fair play to Ariana Grande for coming back so soon and bringing so many people with her- and also some of the worst- ten thousand people applied for tickets either they weren't entitled to (free ones for those at the arena gig) or to sell on at a profit. The line up includes Pharrell Williams, Justin Bieber, Take That, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry.
A smaller scale fundraiser is taking place at the Deaf Institute on the same day including Marshall Jefferson, Mr Scruff, Graeme Park, Steve Cobby, Dave Haslam, Peter Hook and The Light, ACR, Denise Johnson, Badly Drawn Boy.
This city has shown what it's made of in the last two weeks (and I'm sure any other city would have done the same) and it's moving and heartwarming to see. I've been moved to tears I don't know how many times during the last fortnight.
Saturday, 3 June 2017
This picture shows the sunset in the hills above Ulverston a week ago. This Steve Cobby Sunset mix, for Thump Magazine, is a bit special, chock full of his own work (original and remixes). Very much sounds for the summer.
Bushfarmer - Cobby & Arthurs
Big Wow - Steve Cobby
Babylon On The Hudson - Steve Cobby
Templehof / Blue 13 -Steve Cobby mix
Tonto Rides the Gain / John Kennedy - Steve Cobby Mix
Tumblefish / Cobby & Mallinder
Teleseme / Steve Cobby
Darren Emerson / Graceland - Steve Cobby mix
Boule De Suif / Steve Cobby
Absolute / Cobby & Welton
Balearic Gabba Soundsytem / Gomasio - Steve Cobby mix
Tan Bello Que Duelo - Steve Cobby
This came out on line on June 1st and is what happens when Danish dance producer Trentemoller gets Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg to sing on one of his tracks. You could argue that this is so in thrall to The Cure, Siouxsie and early 80s goth-rock that it's almost a Batcave tribute act but that would be churlish because this is so well done and so good that you should just let it push your buttons while you career around flapping your arms like a chicken. It wins, yes, hands down.
Friday, 2 June 2017
I've been listening to a lot of spoken word and poetry stuff recently and burned a cd that worked well- the intro to Misty In Roots' Live at Eurovision, John Cooper Clarke's Twat, yesterday's Steve Cobby and Russ Litten track, Joe Gideon and The Shark's Civilisation, Allen Ginsberg/Tom Waits' America/Closing Time, a Joe Strummer and Jack Kerouac ghost duet track, Weatherall's remixes of Mike Garry's St Anthony and BP Fallon and David Holmes' Henry McCullough plus The Deep Hum (At The Heart Of It All) that he did with Michael Smith, a few other things on similar lines. And some Linton Kwesi Johnson dub poetry. Dub and poetry go together very well indeed, like chips and mayonnaise, like punk and speed. This one, Inglan Is A Bitch from 1980's Bass Culture album, is full of righteous anger at the way Jamaican immigrants were treated in Inglan. The man himself said that 'writing was a political act and poetry was a cultural weapon'.
Inglan Is A Bitch
Thursday, 1 June 2017
A week today the people of the United Kingdom will go to the polls. Voting Tory is obviously so completely wrong that we will talk of it no further. Views of Jeremy Corbyn are polarised too, among Labour supporters and voters as well as the wider electorate, but the election campaign and the choice facing us has thrown everything into new light, and views of Corbyn have been shifting with people getting on board who previously had doubts. It seems blindingly clear to me (in England at any rate, Scotland and Wales have different issues and different options and Northern Ireland is a different situation again) that if you have any interest in wanting a fairer society, anything approaching some kind of social justice, a society where there will be an NHS for all and an education system that is relatively equal for all, a country where the many are not downtrodden for the benefit of a wealthy few, then there can only be one box to place your X. Whatever your thoughts on Corbyn, Labour are offering a manifesto that promises hope- for the many, not the few. Will they win? I don't think so but it's tighter than it was a few weeks ago and if the polls are correct it's getting tighter still. I'd like a Labour government with the Green's Caroline Lucas in the cabinet, by far the most impressive of the debaters at the leadership TV showdowns (which Theresa May is too frightened to attend despite seeing herself as strong).
That's my soapbox speech over, at least until next Thursday. Hull's Balearic campaigner Steve Cobby and realist poet Russ Litten have recorded a song borrowing the name of Labour's manifesto, for the many not the few. Smart electronic funk, a bubbling bassline, horns and flutes, and Russ's words. The original track was a free download. They performed it at a rally in Hull and it turned out Corbyn already had it as his ringtone. You can now get a four track e.p., complete with Corbyn himself edited into one of the mixes Tackhead stylee, for the cost of £1 (all proceeds to the Labour Party). It's here. You can get the single original version as a free download here. For the many, not the few.
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
While visiting the Strawberry Studios exhibition at Stockport museum a while back I found a reference to a prehistoric site in the hills above Stockport. I don't know what the Venn diagram of people interested in Factory Records and people interested in prehistoric sites looks like but I like to imagine there are other people out there who can get excited about both. Yesterday, with Mrs Swiss a bit under the weather, I offered the kids an afternoon out- let it never be said I don't show my children a good time. We set out to find Mellor, a village in the hills near Marple, which has an iron age hill fort. Taking a slightly circuitous route (we went the wrong way, yes), including a detour into New Mills ('handy for the hills' as Nigel Blackwell remarked) we found the hill fort complete with a reconstructed iron age round house. Less than a mile north is Brown Low barrow (pictured above), an iron age burial site that involved a bit of a walk uphill through a field. From the top of the hills at both sites we got amazing views over Manchester, Cheshire and out to Liverpool (Liverpool cathedral just visible on the horizon though probably not in the shot below).
Back at the start of the year Little Barrie released a single called Love Or Love. This stunning piece of psyche-rock was the B-side.
(Nothing Will) Eliminate
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Traditionally a British camping trip should combine sunburn with hours of pouring rain and this one delivered on both. Friday evening was gorgeous, the tail end of a day where the temperature gauge in my car read 30 degrees when I left work. Saturday afternoon was spent around and in a tarn on top of a hill near Water Yeat before at 3.30 pm the heavens opened and it rained all night. Sunday gave us sunshine and sunburn around Coniston Water followed by more rain of biblical proportions yesterday. But its definitely worth getting away from the world, going offline and spending evenings sitting round a fire drinking booze and talking bollocks with friends, especially so after the events of the past week. A dripping wet tent that needs to be dried out is a small price to pay for living outdoors for a few days.
Back in the music world I've been spinning this a few times recently and prompted by my friend Meany offer it for your delectation today, Horace Andy's cover version of The Clash's Straight To Hell. I've written about Straight To Hell recently, a Strummer song of immigration, refugees, suffering and dislocation. Horace recorded it many years ago but was never happy with the rhythm. A conversation with Eric Blowtorch led to the pair digging the track back out and fixing it (out now, 10% of all proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders and a Big Youth dub on the B-side). This is reggae roots style, Horace's vocal floating over the organ, bass and drums. Campfire music.
Saturday, 27 May 2017
We're away this weekend, camping up in the Lake District. If we weren't I'd be going along to Strummercamp, the annual Joe Strummer bank holiday festival held at Manchester Rugby Club in Cheadle. This year's line up features Spear Of Destiny, The Membranes, TV Smith and Department X, and good vibes with good people. If you're nearby and at a loose end, day tickets and weekend tickets are still available. Say hi to DJ Gadge if you see him.
Clash time. This is a ten minute unofficial mix of Bankrobber plus it's versions Robber Dub and Rockers Galore (with Mikey Dread on the mic), flowing into one another. Turn up the bass.
Bankrobber/Robber Dub/Rockers Galore
I'm not back until Monday so no posts til Tuesday I expect. Enjoy your weekend.
Friday, 26 May 2017
Now that the sun has appeared, suddenly and in a blaze of heat and light, this four track ep that Peaking lights put out back in February makes perfect sense. The lead song, Little Flower, has a spoken/chanted vocal by Chloe Sevigny and the music is pure psychedelic-dub- tropical- disco with the emphasis on upbeat repetition. The second track Conga Blue has a similar vibe with a heavily vocodered backing vocal. There's loads going on to lift the spirits.
Thursday, 25 May 2017
The Charlatans have a new album out tomorrow, Different Days. The single came out at the end of April, a chiming and clanging guitar led tune with some of the six string magic down to Johnny Marr.
The new album has all kind of special guests on it-Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert from New Order, Paul Weller, Anton Newcombe, Ian Rankin, ACR's Donald Johnson and Kurt Wagner among them. I hope it doesn't get weighed down by this multitude of guest stars. The previous album, Modern Nature, was a stunning record, full of songs shot through with sunshine and loss, a band writing their out of tragedy (the death of drummer Jon Brookes). The single above sounds like a Charlatans song to be played on sunny days from your car stereo or heard through open shop doors and windows. That's good enough for now.
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
What happened here on Monday night and what we woke up to yesterday morning defies belief in so many ways and it's difficult to know what to say, especially in a music blog. Equally, it's hard not to take something like this personally when it happens so close to home. My family and my workplace knew several people at the Ariana Grande show at the MEN on Monday night.
Manchester is one of the most culturally diverse, multi-cultural and inclusive cities in the country. As Dave Haslam said on Twitter yesterday 'You've got the wrong city if you think that hate will tear us apart'. We don't do small mindedness, racism and intolerance. One deluded, indoctrinated, murderous little fucker does not prove anything about the people we know as our neighbours. Anger and hatred and rage are understandable reactions to the deaths of twenty two people, including children, on a night out to see a gig, but the minute we give in to hate we have lost. We stand together, we feel anger but we love life, we love love and we hate hate.
This song by Doves came to mind and the opening line which gives this post its title. And also this part...
'We don't mind
If this don't last forever
See the light
But it won't last forever
Seize the time
Cause it's now or never baby'
At times like this football seems like a very small thing in terms of importance but it's also a massive part of this city's history and traditions. With any luck tonight United will bring home a European trophy, with a multiracial, multicultural team of young black British Mancunians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Equadorians, Dutchmen, Italians, Belgians, Armenians and more besides. United we stand.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
On Saturday night we had a party at a friend's house. The hostess and myself share a birthday and this year we decided to have a joint celebration. Rather than dj at my own party (which could have been a little anti-social) I set up the mobile disco gear and burnt a load of cds, sequenced in the order that seemed right at the time. The first disc was all northern soul, ska and party reggae. This song sounded immense- that horn fanfare and the swell of the vocals. From 1969, it is an amazing tune, sung by The Flirtations, three girls from South Carolina (Ernestine Pearce, Shirley Pearce and Lestine Johnson) but written by the British songwriting team of Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington (who later came up with The Rubettes). But all that is history- the song is all that matters now and if it doesn't make your heart beat a little bit faster, there's no hope for you.
Nothing But A Heartache
Monday, 22 May 2017
Jane Weaver's recorded music is so otherwordly, it seems to exist in its own perfectly formed universe. Seeing her perform live at Band On The Wall on Friday night, a packed out venue with some difficult sight lines and a band of four blokes dressed in black, makes her music a bit more earthbound and of this place. This is not a criticism at all. The songs still take flight and Jane's vocals soar over the motorik drumming and shades of Hawkwind guitars. Single Slow Motion is a perfect slice of electropop, and the Silver Globe songs get the full 60s folk plus 70s sci-fi via loopy psychedelia treatment. There's a real warmth to the tunes and the playing, the songs coloured by dappled sunshine and shadows, with a sense of wonder in them, but for every drone or keyboard squelch there's also killer verses and choruses, psych with songwriting. This gig is a brave move in some ways- the album Modern Kosmology was released on the day of the show so most of the people in the audience, me included, are hearing many of the songs for the first time. I'd like to see her play them again in a month or two when I've got to know them. As a result of having lived with this one since early April, when I woke up the following morning, this was the tune going round my slightly fuzzy head.
Sunday, 21 May 2017
Bass-O-Matic were William Orbit's 90s house outfit who hit the top ten with Fascinating Rhythm, a single I have a lot of time for- early 90s positivity, pianos, a rap from MC Inna Onestep and the lovely vocals of Sharon Musgrave.
For a sultry and less poppy take on Fascinating Rhythm Renegade Soundwave offered up this version, also a tribute to Claudio Caniggia, Argentina's long haired forward at Italia 90, a man fouled three times as he danced and dribbled his way through Cameroon's defence before being scythed down. This being Renegade Soundwave the focus is very much on the bass.
Fascinating Rhythm (Claudio Caniggia Mix)
Saturday, 20 May 2017
Fresh up on the net after the limited vinyl release for RSD, The The with a one off reunion of Johnny Marr, James Eller and Zeke Manyika (1989 line up with Johnson, Marr and Eller pictured above. Johnny Marr's hair and clobber was pretty much what I was trying to achieve at that time). A tribute to Matt's brother, Andy Dog, as I'm sure you all know. This is a very special piece of music.
Friday, 19 May 2017
I'm bookending this working week with The Replacements. After posting the outtakes on Monday I was listening to a couple of their albums and I Will Dare came on with that little guitar riff at the start and then Paul Westerberg sings...
'How young are you?
How old am I?'
And today, as it happens, I turn 47.
The number 47 doesn't seem to have very much going for it. As Wiki points out it is the fifteenth prime number, the thirteenth supersingular prime and the sixth Lucas prime (nope, me either). It is strictly non-palindromic and in binary is represented as 00101111. A U.S. Maths professor used it to prove something funny to his students about numbers and this led to a long running visual gag in Star Trek. It is the atomic number of silver (my hair may be going that way). Mars has a forty seven year cycle around the sun. The Brooklyn hip hop collective Pro Era used 47 repeatedly because they felt that it represented perfect balance in the world and tension between the heart and brain. They also had a 47 logo that looked a tad swastika-like. It is the international dialling code for Norway. The Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn are forty seven degrees apart. There are forty seven Ronin in the Japanese story of the same name. More up this blog's alley, FAC 47 was the Factory anvil badge.
Frankly, there are more interesting numbers than 47. I'm spending the evening of my 47th birthday watching Jane Weaver play her psychedelic/electropop/folk music at Band On The Wall. I'll let you know how it was.
I Will Dare is a cracking little song off 1984's Let It Be album. The guitar solo was played by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck who was astonished by the amount of alcohol The Replacements could put away. And as he pointed out, R.E.M. were hardly the soberest band in the mid 80s.
I Will Dare
Thursday, 18 May 2017
The timer keeps edging upwards this week- after yesterday's thirteen minutes plus existential dub disco from AMOR today I give you twenty minutes of dub techno heaven from Berlin. Released on Basic Channel's own label in 1994 Quadrant Dub I and II together are a/the definitive piece of mid 90s Berlin machine music, split over two sides of a 12" single, one mix fifteen minutes long and the other twenty. This record has the ability to suspend time. And space. It is twenty three years old and still sounds like it is the future.
Quadrant Dub II
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Something even longer than yesterday's eleven minutes plus extravaganza from The Early Years is this from Glasgow's AMOR (and played by Weatherall on his Music's Not For Everyone show last week). Paradise is a hypnotic and joyful musical exploration, this side of disco and that side of experimental. It came out at the end of February this year, has an irresistible groove and is beautiful in every way.
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
This is a b-side from an obscure London band released as the third track on a cd single called All Ones And Zeros back in January 2006, recorded at Death In Vegas' Contino Rooms by DiV's Tim Holmes. The Early Years put out several records around this time, then disappeared for a few years and came back in 2011 with a single called Complicity and then back again last year with an album called II. That's the facts out of the way.
This song, I Heard Voices, is a long and expansive trip. It starts out with some noises and a lone repetitive guitar part. A krauty groove comes in. A voice starts muttering. There's an organ adding some drones and textures. The guitars are spindly and psychey, painting their way through the first part before really coming to the fore in the fifth minute. By the ninth minute things are way up and beyond, the drums thumping and the guitars taking it on and on, in a loop but doing something different too. At ten minutes thirty seconds there's a shift and the whole thing is driving itself home, guitars grinding their way through and to the end at eleven forty. This could easily be overdoing it in terms of length and focus but the band avoid that, keeping the interest and the drive, with the rhythm totally locked in, the playing compulsive, building something new.
I Heard Voices
Monday, 15 May 2017
I'm not sure The Replacements made a perfect album but they came pretty close with 1984's Let It Be (and in typical fashion the soul bearing and emotion of Answering Machine, Androgynous and Unsatisfied were undercut by thrashy instrumentals like Gary's Got A Boner and Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out and a Kiss cover). The strength of the album is also shown by the songs that didn't make it. Perfectly Lethal is driven by Bob Stinson's ragged guitar playing and the sense that they might be about to fall apart but are enjoying the ride.
They didn't always get it right on their albums with production and song choice. The version of Can't Hardly Wait they recorded for Tim but didn't include is vastly better than the one that came out with horns on it on Pleased To Meet Me. What rational band would record this song and then decide to leave it off an album. It's all part of what makes them one of my favourite bands.
Can't Hardly Wait (Tim Version)
Sunday, 14 May 2017
It's that man again. Andrew Weatherall has a slew of material coming out, remixes galore. Alongside those David Holmes, Mark Lanegan and Heart People ones this one just came out on vinyl and download, two remixes of Frank Butters Presents; Cult Of Glamour, a vocal and a dub. Synth arpeggios, tom toms, cymbals and a snare drum to rattle your brain.
New remixes of Yello, The Early Years, Piano Magic and Nancy Noise have all been trailed on his Music's Not For Everyone show over the last few months.
And then May's MNFE comes along for your Sunday morning musical adventures.
Saturday, 13 May 2017
Drew was waxing lyrical about the pleasures of Daniel Avery's Drone Logic album yesterday and then I found this, a very recent two hour shift he put in at NTS Radio. Two hours of what I hear you ask? Techno. Mainly wonderful, glorious techno.
Last month I wrote about the new single from The Hurt, a Manchester four piece with Rikki Turner at the wheel. Sleeping was co-written with Stephen Evans from Cabbage. When I wrote about them in April I said 'Sleeping growls and grinds, Rikki's baritone vocals recalling a northern Nick Cave, hiding his face from the light. Darker Sun is a brooding, bass led thing with overloaded guitars and female vocals, a soundtrack to a night out under the streetlamps in the rain'. And I'm sticking with that for now. Out now on Blindside Records.