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Saturday, 8 May 2021

It's About Time The Sun Comes Up

It's a month since I last posted anything by Andrew Weatherall and that's too long a gap. Time for a remix, seven minutes of bliss and wide eyed abandon, the aural equivalent of sunrise after a night out that you don't want to end. Brisbane's Confidence Man, a male- female duo who make day glo, straight up, electro/ indie dance for nightclubs and festivals, released Out Of The Window in 2018, a poppy tribute to a night out that never ends and lyrics celebrating the joys of hedonism- 'It's about time the sun comes up/ We don't wanna believe it/ Seven hours later I'm still up/ I can't really see us sleeping'. 

Weatherall presses play on the steam powered drum machine, isolates and repeats extracts of the vocal, pulls in a gorgeous Hawaiian guitar lick, adds a pulsing synth topline and sends everything into 'euphoric chugger' mode, circling round a couple of key vocal phrases, one being the  'Slow down, carry me home/ Lights out, arms open wide/ Exhale, step inside' part. When the beautiful, rising ecstatic/ melancholic chord sequence hits at five minutes thirty it's almost too much to take but then the multi- tracked vocals take over to carry us home, 'try to free my mind/ I only want a good time...'

Out Of The Window (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Friday, 7 May 2021

I Know As Much As The Day I Was Born

This song has been posted at various blogs recently, many of them friends of this blog, but it seems tailor made for Bagging Area in many ways and it's a feelgood, upbeat dance song for Friday- and we could all do with a bit of feelgood and upbeat for Friday. 

Hifi Sean (Sean Dickson) got hold of the master tapes of Fire Island's 1998 cover version of Shout To The Top. Finding the original vocal part, sung by legend Loleatta Holloway, Sean re-wrote the track from the bottom up, in the end providing three different mixes- house, soul/ disco and orchestral horses for courses. Bassline, four on the floor, lovely late 80s pianos, strings, gospel backing vox and then Loleatta. Hands in the air. Hugging strangers. Lights come up. End of the night. Crowd spills out into the night. Here

Hifi Sean was in a former musical life the frontman of The Soup Dragons, the original indie dance crossover band. His journey from there to here shouldn't be too surprising given how enthusiastic he was about dance music back in 1989. The 1998 version of Shout To The Top isn't too shabby either, the work of Fire Island aka Terry Farley and Pete Heller (both men the subject of various posts here in the last eleven years, Boy's Own being one of the cornerstones of my record collection). Fire Island's cover has a more NYC, Salsoul flavour. 

Shout To The Top (Fire Island Radio Edit)

Back in 1984 Shout To The Top was the seventh single released by The Style Council. By this point Paul Weller had put significant distance between his then current band and his previous one. Shout To The Top is a classic Style Council single, the equal of most things The Jam released- those staccato strings, the thumping pace, Weller's vocal, the surge into the chorus. Shout To The Top, then and now, is hugely uplifting dance pop, a message of solidarity and determination and a refusal to beaten down in times of economic and political uncertainty- with a smile on its face. 

Shout To The Top

Thursday, 6 May 2021


I go four years without an Inspiral Carpet turning up here and then suddenly the bassist turns up twice in a matter of months. Martyn Walsh, bass player for the Oldham five piece, has formed a project with Simon Lyon and released a song/ single with a bunch of remixes. The original version of Afterglow is a throbbing, pulsing piece of 80s post- punk, a dash of Hooky found in the bass grooves and a touch of Sisters Of Mercy in the vocals. It is, and I mean this as a compliment, perfect for the Thursday night indie/ alternative night at a club you wouldn't go near any other night of the week, a slice of mid 80s indie- disco for 2021.

The remixes come thick and fast and can be found at Bandcamp.  The pick of the bunch is from Hardway Bros, the nom- de- plume for Sean Johnston, an eight minute electronic dub- drum pads, plenty of bounce, some breathy backing vox and a female lead vocal that keeps coming back to the line 'sunset's so low', and then that bassline coming back in, straight from Lowlife. Released on MFS, the Berlin based label of Mark Reeder (Factory's man in Berlin in the 80s and member of Shark Vegas).

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Fire Tower

This is very good indeed, a ten minute advance on a full album coming out in June, from the combined talents of The Grid and Robert Fripp. Back in 1992 Dave Ball and Richard Norris worked with Fripp with some of these recordings saw the light of day on the albums 456 and Evolver. Recently Richard rediscovered the tapes from the sessions which included unreleased material, unfinished and unmixed tracks. Some new synths and drums, FX and some technical jiggery- pokery were then added to Fripp's '92 soundscapes and voila!, a new album called Leviathan. Fire Tower is a ten minute treat, programmed beats, long tones and drones, bags of texture and atmosphere- something to sink into on a rainy day. 

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

No In Between

This is shaping up to be one of the singles of spring 2021, a joint venture from Craig Bratley and Amy Douglas. No In Between kicks off with Italo/ Balearic analogue synths and a beat taken at a hot summer's day pace with typically strong vocals from Amy before some bleeps from Sheffield circa 1990 are beamed in sideways. There's a dub remix too, a slowed down, bass led head- nodder. You can find both at Bandcamp

Monday, 3 May 2021

Monday's Long Songs

Two long songs today, a bank holiday special, both taken from a 12" single released in 1991 on beautiful sugary pink vinyl from Julian Cope who was at that point at the crest of a wave. Beautiful Love was the first single ahead of the Peggy Suicide album, a trumpet led tribute to Avalon. For the Beautiful Love L.U.V. remix an uncredited Hugo Nicolson loops up various drum parts, handclaps and wobbles, a bass excerpt and some vocal fragments and samples dropped in, a seven minute ride, progressive pop/ house (or something like that). Although it's clearly rooted in 1991's sounds and styles it still works today.

Beautiful Love L.U.V.

If you turned the 12" over- and why wouldn't you?- there was a nine minute guitar led psyche rock, repetition freakout called Dragonfly. Fading in and then driving onward in motorik krautrock fashion, Dragonfly is all heavy Stooges guitars, wah wah organ, a relentless fuzzed up groove cooked up by Cope and Donald Ross Skinner, and some ad libbed vocals and the occasional exclamation of the title. 


Sunday, 2 May 2021

Are You Ready Now?

The Woodentops were a great band, a little out of step with the times perhaps which maybe explains why their music still sounds so good today. Their mixture of rockabilly, fast propulsive rhythms (at least partly due to a stand up drummer with hub caps as part of his kit), acoustic guitars being scrubbed at speed, the sweetly sung vocals of Rolo and a generally bright, sunny outlook set them apart from their peers in the indie world. There's some hints of darker influences in their music, Suicide definitely in there somewhere and Rolo served some time in Liverpool post- punk legends The Wild Swans but their songs were usually upbeat, beat music. Why Why Why was adopted by the Balearic DJs, Alfredo and Leo Mas, out in the Mediterranean and then in the club scene back home, an Adrian Sherwood version of the song and then a live version recorded in Los Angeles in 1986 and released a year later on the Live Hypno Beat Live album. This version was from a session recorded for Janice Long at the BBC in 1986.

Why Why Why (Janice Long Session Version)