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Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Chemical Brothers and Wayne Coyne 'The Golden Path'

The Chemical Brothers have done the guest vocalist thing as much as anybody. I was going to post Out Of Control, but JC at The Vinyl Villain put it up a week or two ago. Out Of Control (vocals and guitar by Bernard Sumner) is as good as any of the past decade's New Order tracks. Bad Lieutenant did a blinding version of it when they toured back in October, segueing into Temptation. Some of The Chemical Brothers stuff leaves me less impressed- too obvious, too many guest vocalists, too many collaborations with Noel Gallagher. But they pull it off from time to time. I think this is great- great track and production, cool vocals from Flaming Lip Wayne Coyne. And it always sounds good in the car to/from work.

13 The Golden Path.wma

The Wirral's Greatest Living Poet

Half Man Half Biscuit- laugh out loud funny, biting satire, popular culture skewered, more references than a South Bank Show Special, detailed knowledge of football arcana- I salute you.
And you've got to love a caravan shaped guitar.

'No frills, handy for the hills
That's the way you spell New Mills'

This is currently my daughter's favourite song. I'm just glad she hasn't asked what fair trade cocaine is.

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train.mp3

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Huck Whitney 'Fresh Cream'

Lovely piece of acoustic instrumentalism here, nylon guitar strings, great melody. Huck is guitarist with London garage band The Flaming Stars (tons of lps, check out Named And Shaned, Born Under A Bad Neon Sign or compilation Ginmill Perfume, all at e-music and elsewhere). Actually they're much more than a garage band. Huck (far left on photo) wrote a theme tune for Quantum Of Solace which was never used. More fool them.

Huck Whitney_02_Fresh Cream.mp3

Ray Lowry- 1979 'War Artist'

We've been to Salford Museum and Art Gallery today. There's nothing like dragging two children, one with special needs, round an art gallery and museum. Salford's has two main attractions- Larkhill Place, a mocked up Victorian Street, which is ace and kids love it, and a temporary exhibition (on until 7th March) of cartoons, paintings and photos by The Clash's 1979 US tour 'war artist' (c. Joe Strummer) Ray Lowry. Born in Salford, Ray contributed cartoons and illustrations to the NME, The Face, Punch and Private Eye during the golden ages of all those publications. He spent many years living in Rossendale, several towns in a valley halfway between Bury and Burnley, next door to someone in knew when I worked up that way during the 90s. It's free and well worth a visit. The Clash pictures are cool, there are early versions and sketches of the London Calling sleeve, some interesting oil paintings of Salford, and a load of Ray's correspondence with a friend. Ray died suddenly in 2008, and seemed to spend much of his later years either in the pub or trying hard to stay out of the pub. As I said, well worth a visit if you're a fan of any of the above.

The track here is the original version of Should I Stay Or Should I Go, not the one that made it onto Combat Rock and to number 1 on the back of that Levi's advert. Mick Jones saw The Clash's fifth lp as a double, after the double London Calling and triple Sandinista, and it was worked on as Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg, a 15 track monster rather than the slimmed down radio friendly lp that cracked America in 1982. There are versions of Rat Patrol... out there in internet land, including the extra tracks that later turned up as B-sides like First Night Back In London and Cool Confusion,and some that were never officially released like Walk Evil Talk and The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too. It also has longer and different versions of lp tracks like Inoculated City, Atom Tan and Straight To Hell. I'll post some at some point if anyone's interested. Joe and producer Glyn Johns won the day and Mick's lp was shrunk and edited and glossed up. Should I Stay... is probably their best-known song. This version is different enough to make you want to listen to it again, longer (naturally), rougher, different vocals and more of Joe's Spanish bit. This one's for Ray Lowry-gone.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go.mp3

Friday, 29 January 2010

More Audrey 5

Friday night disco action, released at the end of last year. Detachment's HAL remixed by Weatherall. It's a good 'un.


Thursday, 28 January 2010

Quando Quango 'Atom Rock'

I published a post the other day about The Durutti Column, where I said that Factory Records was the greatest record label ever, and seeing as no-one left a comment arguing about it, I think we're all agreed on that one. So maybe this'll become a regular feature. Quando Quango were the first band of Mike Pickering, years before he made pop-house with the massively popular M-People. Atom Rock is very Factory- clipped white boy funk, short back 'n' sides, and produced by B-Music (New Order's production pseudonym). It's a great record, and features the massively talented Johnny Marr moonlighting from his day job. Can't imagine this track went down that well in Morrissey's house though.

07 Atom Rock.wma

Ten City 'That's The Way Love Is'

I have been known to play records at peoples' parties. This started about 10 years ago, when people started having 30th birthdays and getting married. I had, and have, no beat mixing skills, and only began doing it because I had a decent sized record collection, and a modicum of taste. Some have been brilliant, some pretty good, and the odd one have been disasters. One time at a wedding I got harangued and berrated by a bus-load from Merseyside who either wanted 'white-labels' or records played while they stood in a circle and a couple of blokes would do 'funny' dancing in the middle. That was the last time I did a wedding for friends of friends. A few years back a friend had a birthday in a room above a pub in the centre of Manchester. The crowd were 30ish, through to mid-to-late 40s. Late on I played MARRS Pump Up The Volume, and the dancefloor (y'know the sort, wooden square clipped together with carpet on all four sides) filled with Manchester Mums and Dads, out for the party, a few beers, and the house music of their youth. I managed to keep it going in this vein for as long as I could. Eventually, I either ran out of house records or we ran out of time. The ex-clubbing crowd finished their drinks, put their coats on and went home to relieve the babysitter (insert your own joke about relieving the babysitter here). And it sort of said something about a generation of people who are too old to go clubbing, or it's too inconvenient to go clubbing, or they can't stay awake past one a.m., or they wouldn't know where to go these days. I include myself in all of those categories. But house music will get them up on the floor in a room above a pub for an hour or so. Hallelujah.

That's The Way Love Is [Underground Mix - Edited Version].mp3

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

New Order 'Lonesome Tonight'

New Order are among the greatest musical combo's ever to walk the land. I could probably write thousands of words about them, but I don't have the time and you'd probably get bored reading it. In the early to mid-80s they regularly produced magic, at the drop of a hat. Listen to Everything's Gone Green and hear the exact moment rock met dance and got off with each other. Listen to Temptation and hear it perfected. Listen to Thieves Like Us and hear Bernard's musings on the nature of love over the crispest of drums and washes of synths. Listen to True Faith and hear big-selling chart music with soul and passion. Etc etc etc. True greatness. Lasted up until Regret I reckon. By that time they'd fallen out and were making a record to help Factory stay afloat. They've had a few moments since then, and the live shows in the last few years have been good, despite Gillian's absence. Anyway, this is Lonesome Tonight, the b-side to Thieves Like Us. New Order's b-sides were better than most bands a-sides.

Random fact-when I was a kid growing up in Withington, M20, I used to deliver Peter Hook's newspaper. Didn't know who he was at the time. Can't remember what paper he took either. Nothing like a good anecdote is there?

13 Lonesome Tonight.wma

Monday, 25 January 2010

Lil Lost Lou 'Bad Bad Girl'

I saw Lil Lost Lou supporting Wild Billy Childish in a basement in Stoke Newington on a trip to London last May, and was impressed. They'd borrowed a drummer and were still looking for their harmonica-ist just before they went on stage, but played really well, and had some good songs, including this angry little number. This was a limited 7" released last year, it's a fast rockabilly, bluesy, country-punky, snarly thing. I wouldn't want to make her angry though. See what you think.

Bad Bad Girl.mp3

Hypnotone 'Dreambeam (Ben Chapman Remix)'

Following on from yesterday's post about Keeping The Faith this is Hypnotone's Dream Beam, not the version that appears on that compilation, but the Ben Chapman remix, probably the better version. In Sefton Park in Liverpool they used to hold a festival (Lark In The Park I think it was called). Not being a permanent resident of Scouseland I only went once, not the year the Roses and the La's played unfortunately, but I do remember sitting by the pond/lake and the intro to this record bleeping and booming out across the night. It sounded huge.

Dreambeam (Ben Chapman Remix).mp3

Sunday, 24 January 2010

JBC 'We Love You (The Great Awakening)'

By 1991 Creation Records had caught the dance music bug and released a cracking compilation called 'Keeping The Faith'. It rounded up various Creation dance acts, rock acts gone dance, rock acts remixed by dance acts and was all quite nepotistic. It was a well loved album in these parts, not least because it featured Weatherall's jaw-dropping remix of Soon by My Bloody Valentine, but also Philly by Fluke, Primal Scream's Come Together remixed by Hypnotone, the Terry Farley remix of Loaded using the original Bobby Gillespie vocal, and tracks by Love Corporation, Sheer Taft and World Unite, all of which soundtracked the times perfectly. Listening to many of these tracks today still puts a massive smile on my face, even if some havn't dated that well. The track featured here is JBC (Creation stalwart The Jazz Butcher) covering a hoary old Rolling Stones sneer-fest We Love You, including that great 'dj's the man you love the most' sample. And in those days he certainly was.

We Love You (The Great Awakening).mp3

Durutti Column 'Otis'

Factory Records was the greatest record label there was. You can chuck in Stax, Motown, Creation, Rough Trade and any others you like depending on taste, but none of them had what Factory had, and so much of Factory's greatness was accidental, the right people in the same place at the same time- Anthony H Wilson, Martin Hannett, Rob Gretton and Joy Division, Peter Saville. It all ended it tears, financial collapse and heartbreak but then what did they expect? No contracts, 50-50 split, the artists own everything, a bottomless money-pit called The Hacienda. Art for art's sake. On the label right from the start was Vini Reilly, making beautiful records. Initial copies of their first album, The Return Of The Durutti Column, came in sandpaper sleeve, designed so it would gradually destroy the rest of your record collection. Apparently Joy Division were paid to glue the sandpaper to the cardboard, Ian Curtis glueing and the other three sitting watching an adult video. Despite the sandpaper there was nothing wilfully destructive about the music. This track is from the later Vini Reilly album, and features the sampled vocals of Otis Redding (years before Moby had the same idea). Tony Wilson said, 'with apologies to Steve Cropper, neither man has ever sounded better'. Durutti Column play the Lowry tonight, performing their Paean To Wilson. I wish I was going, but instead still have this to listen to.

02 Otis.wma

Friday, 22 January 2010

The Fall 'Theme From Sparta FC'

This has been sitting in my drafts folder for a week or so, so I thought I may as well click 'publish post'. It dawned on me recently that I've been listening to The Fall for nearly 24 years. Not 24 years solidly, that'd be a recipe for insanity (although I know people who arn't far off that). 24 years in bursts. In 1986 a friend did me a compilation tape, the beginnings of my real interest in music. As I remember it featured ACR (Shack Up, Do The Du), New Order (Ceremony, Love Will Tear Us Apart live), Sugarcubes (Delicious Demon and Birthday), Bodines (Therese possibly), a load of other stuff, and The Fall (Victoria I think). He did a follow up tape in 87 which had The Fall's version of A Day In The Life and the Sally Cinnamon single, and other stuff I can't remember. I played them to death.

I'm not a total Fall addict. I wouldn't pretend to be an expert, and I know at least two people who scoff at my part-time Fallery. I havn't got anywhere near all their albums. I've seen them play a couple of times. Read MES's book, quite enjoyed it, read Dave Simpson's 'The Fallen', enjoyed it more. I've got some of the early stuff. I really like the stuff they did for the Fontana label, though I believe the hardcore fans don't rate it. In the 90s Extricate was great, especially Bill Is Dead. Also loved the White Lightning e.p. I bought Fall Heads Roll (2000 and something). Trust In Me is a really good recent Fall song. My point is I've never felt the need to get it all and have 40 plus Fall albums, but it's all there, loitering, being Fall-like, available whenever you want to get into it. This is amongst the best things they've ever done, no matter what period, what line-up, what label, what year. Theme From Sparta FC-

'English Chelsea fan,
This is your last game,
Take your fleecy jumper,
You won't need it here,
We're not Galatasaray,
We're Sparta

Joe Gideon and The Shark 'Civilisation'

This is one of the best things I heard last year, London duo Joe Gideon and The Shark. Bloke on guitar and vocals (Joe Gideon) and girl on drums (The Shark I suppose). Think they might be brother and sister- yeah, I know, we've all heard that one before. The album is worth a listen, this being the best track, an epic song about leaving home to find out who you are, away from Mum and Dad watching over you, leaving home to 'learn the ways of man', taking in monasteries, Rome, Greece, the 9 to 5 at Debenhams, a Queen who showed him his crown jewels, Lars from Trio and the payoff piece of wisdom- 'the circumference of a circle is twice the diameter within'. Great stuff.


Paris Angels 'All On You (Perfume)'

After The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays gatecrashed Top Of The Pops in November 1989 there was a scramble to sign anyone with a guitar and a cagoule. This led to some good bands and records-World Of Twist, recently covered over at Acid Ted, especially their Sons Of The Stage single. The High's first lp had several good songs, Up And Down, Box Set Go, Somewhere Soon. Intastella- I seem to remember Dream Some Paradise being good, but can't find my copy (if anyone can oblige with an mp3 I'd be grateful). There were others, but the hit rate soon petered out. There was also this, clearly indebted to New Order and Happy Mondays, but a great single all the same. Crisp beats, guitars, twin boy-and-girl vocals, loved-up but threatening to mug you at the same time. Paris Angels followed this with two other singles, signed to Virgin, released an inferior version of this single and a poorly received album. They also got themselves in trouble with the all powerful music press (if memory serves, journalist accused band of being smackheads, band beat journalist up, music press stopped writing about band). Changes at Virgin saw them dropped before a second album. Guitarist Wags ended up in Black Grape. I saw them live twice and this was the standout live as well as on record. Funny how with Madchester, and to some extent punk and post-punk, loads of bands could release one great single, but couldn't repeat the trick. Anyhow, we're left with this one piece of brilliance.


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Terry Edwards 'Never Understand'

This is Terry Edwards' barnstorming cover of Never Understand by the Jesus and Mary Chain. Instrumental version- JAMC drumming with sax and trumpet playing the melody and the noise. Terry Edwards has played with loads of people, including Gallon Drunk, and fronts or fronted the Scapegoats, and also covered The Fall (Totally Wired) and The Clash (Version City) among others. This is the best though- top track.


Wild Billy Childish 'Medway Wheelers'

Another track from Mr. Wild Billy Childish. A tribute to a Kentish cycling club his mother joined in June 1944. Not your usual topic for a rock and roll song, but then he's not your usual rock and roll star. Great riff and tune, with the band tripping over themselves to get to the end.

06 Medway Wheelers.wma

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

More Audrey 4 'Stalker'

House favourite Andrew Weatherall released a solo album last year, A Pox On The Pioneers. If you havn't got it you need to get over to Rotters Golf Club and buy a copy. Mixed up rockabilly, glam-rock, ACR style post-punk funk, Fun Boy Three vocals, electronics and Victoriana. The digital version available from the download stores had 12 tracks, whereas the cd had only 10. One of the extras was a dub version of album opener Fail We May, Sail We Must. The other was this track, Stalker, an instrumental. It follows the sound of the rest of the album, a bit more electronic maybe. Very good anyway, although you can see why it was left off the full cd release. The photo at the top of this post was taken by my brother's girlfriend at the Electric Elephant festival in Croatia incidentally (Audrey in straw hat). Seemed to fit with the post...


Edwyn Collins 'Don't Shilly Shally' (Spotter's 86 Demo Version)

Edwyn Collins has been widely written about on various blogs, not least over at The Vinyl Villain, and I'm not sure I can add too much. Edwyn's partner Grace Maxwell wrote an excellent book, published last year, about Edwyn's stroke and subsequent recovery. It's well worth some of your time and money. When my son suffered a stroke (side effect of meningitis, and various other problems and complications he has, due to a very rare genetic disease) both Edwyn and Grace responded to me through myspace, which was very touching, and shows the decent folk they are. I saw Edwyn last year when he played Manchester, with Roddy Frame on fire on lead guitar. It was the most heart-warming and moving gigs I've been to. One of the musical highlights, alongside Blue Boy, was this- the encore of Don't Shilly Shally. You surely don't need me to tell you how good it is. This is the Spotters 86 Demo version, from the A Girl Like You single. Sometimes I think I prefer this to the proper single release. Anyway, enough from me, get downloading, don't shilly shally...

03 Don't Shilly Shally [Spotter's 86 Demo Version][Demo Version].wma

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Television Personalities 'Look Back In Anger'

Dan Treacy of Television Personalities has had a chequered life and career, including drugs, prison, Creation Records, Part Time Punks and Bill Grundy. This is very basic, very lo-fi, and very, very good. I love it when you can hear fingers moving on and off guitar strings.


Monday, 18 January 2010

Del Shannon 'Gemini'

I only discovered this in the last year or so, after getting into some of those Pilooski Dirty Edit re-edits. This is a real treat- off Del Shannon's late 60s baroque- psyche 'lost masterpiece' (everyone in the 60s has got one of those havn't they?) The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover. Ended up buying a re-issue of the album on cd, and it's good-ish, but this is clearly the standout. The Pilooski edit's good too, and out there somewhere in internet land, but this is better. He did a similar job on The Human Beinz 'Nobody But Me', equally great source track and re-edit. Brilliant song, great instrumentation, great vocals. Enjoy it.

07 Gemini.wma

Sunday, 17 January 2010

A Certain Ratio 'Won't Stop Loving You'

One of the great lost singles of the period, this early 90s A Certain Ratio single began life as a song called The Big E (hmmm...), after ACR left Factory for the bigtime of A&M. The major label thing didn't work out, but did produce some great songs- Good Together from the Four For The Floor e.p., and this from the MCR album. This is ridiculously good- remixed/produced by Bernard Sumner- all kick drums and snares, keys, bass and a suitably lovelorn vocal, with Denise Johnson on backing vocals. When ACR had a renaissance a few years back it was their early stuff that got re-issued and re-discovered (Shack Up, Do The Du, Skipscada etc), and rightly so, but these later songs, especially this one, are top stuff. They played the Band On The Wall then and recently, and were great. Frontman Jeremy still sports the regulation Factory haircut. Shame the khaki Desert Rat shorts have gone, but you can't have everything.

Won_t Stop Loving You.mp3

Hedford Vachel 'Toys' (Richard Sen Remix)

Great dance record to brighten up your Sunday, from 2006 Hedford Vachal (shrugs all round? Me too) remixed by Richard Sen. Vocoder vox, descending disco bassline, squiggles and squelches, long breakdown in middle- it's got the lot. 

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Stereolab 'Les Yper Yper Sound'

Stereolab- I'm no expert. Liked what I heard but never got into it in a buy-loads-of-records way. There was a 3 cd box-set called Oscillons From An Anti-Sun I bought and this was on it. I think it's a remix of a single Les Yper Sound. This is something else. 5 minutes of krautrocking rhythm and lounge-techno noises and buzzes. I've been rediscovering Saint Etienne recently,through the re-released and expanded Foxbase Alpha and So Tough albums, and in the liner notes Bob Stanley said they offered Stereolab a split single at some point in the 90s. Stereolab turned it down because they were worried it would chart. That's either admirable or stupid but either way I like it.

03 Les Yper Yper Sound.wma

Bjork 'Big Time Sensuality'

This song, Big Time Sensuality by Bjork, came on my mp3 player on the way to work the other day, and it transported me for a few minutes, back to the heady days of 1994. I met the future Mrs Swiss on a mutual work night out, and the party ended up in the Paradise Factory nightclub on Quay Street, behind the BBC building in Manchester. It was a fairly straight friendly gay club. I say straight friendly, one night a hardcore lesbian called us 'filthy heterosexuals', but there you go. Our courtship lasted several weeks, often ending up in Paradise Factory. There were a few records which were spun week-in week-out at that time- Tinman's 18 Strings, that disco remix of the Doobie Brothers Long Train Running, The OT Quartet's Hold That Sucker Down, The Hed Boys Girls And Boys (the vocal went 'The girls and boys... are dancing on the floor', went down well as you can imagine), and this one, Big Time Sensuality. I havn't followed Bjork's career that closely over the years since Debut. I loved Army Of Me and few others, some stuff moved me less, but Big Time Sensuality was a real time-and-place record, with a great video shot on the back of a truck. The line 'I don't know my future after this weekend, and I don't want to' spoke volumes. So when it popped up the other day, totally unexpectedly, it took me right back to that dancefloor and our earliest days. So, a bit indulgent and soppy, but Mrs Swiss, this one's for you.

08 Big Time Sensuality [The Fluke Minimix].wma

The Boys Next Door 'Shivers'

I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago when I posted about Rowland S. Howard. This is the song he wrote aged 16, which became a millstone around his neck, still having to perform it 30 years later. Sung by a fresh faced Nick Cave, The Boys Next Door's 'Shivers', from before they became The Birthday Party and moved to London. All together now... ' And my baby's so vain, she's almost a mirror'

10 Shivers.wma

Friday, 15 January 2010

P.P. Arnold 'Am I Still Dreaming?'

It's Friday night, the wine is open, the kids are in bed, so time to cut some rug, to this perfect piece of mod-soul-pop, featuring the killer voice of P.P. Arnold and, I think, some Small Faces on backing, released on Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label. Simple pleasures are the best.

11 Am I Still Dreaming-.wma

More Audrey 3

Three Weatherall posts in a row. Reckon we'll have to change tack for a while after this one, the final song off the From The Double Gone Chapel lp, this is a dirty, chugging, bass and guitar led instrumental.

12 Driving With My Gears in Reverse (Only Makes You Move Further Away).wma

Thursday, 14 January 2010


Smokebelch, smokebelch, smokebelch.

This isn't the original 12" with it's 10 minute Entry and Exit mixes, or the legendary beatless version, or the drumming majorettes and piano breakdown David Holmes remix. This is a curious one- off a triple cd dj mix box-set, in a PiL Metal Box style tin, called Cut The Crap, released by/in connection with Back To Basics, the Leeds nightclub. Weatherall mixes cd 3 (cds 1 and 2? Ralph Lawson and someone else, can't be bothered to go downstairs and check, sorry). This version of Smokebelch is credited to Two Lone Swordsmen not The Sabres Of Paradise, and on the tracklist is titled Smokebelch (For Ali). Alistair Cook was B2B's co-founder and dj who died in car crash in 1993, and this version of Smokebelch is a suitably sombre affair and tribute, all deep cello and bass. It's a wonderful version of the greatest tune of the 1990s.

12 Smokebelch.wma

More Audrey

This came out a couple of months before the pair of Two Lone Swordmen Wrong Meeting albums in 2007. It was a pretty big signpost for where Weatherall and Tenniswood were heading. They took a house track by X-Press 2 and replaced the housey stuff with guitars and live drums. This song soundtracked a drive to mid-Wales and short holiday in a log cabin near Aberystwyth, along with Sister Vanilla (on the cd I mean, not sharing the cabin with us). I thought Weatherall going scuzzy garage rock was a cool move. I still do. His Pox On The Pioneers lp from last year was on heavy rotation round these parts.

Witchi Tai To was originally a hit for a Native American jazz musician, Jim Pepper, back in the 70s. He based it on a Native American chant he'd learnt as a child. X-Press 2 (Junior Boys Own, hit single Lazy with David Byrne) got the bloke out of Polyphonic Spree to sing on their version. Weatherall duffed it up. Result- a totally unexpected TLS remix.


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Cramps 'Bikini Girls With Machine Guns'

I love The Cramps. I love the way Lux and Ivy took high camp, trash, pop-culture, B-Movie shlock, mixed it with punk and blues and treated it so seriously. Real outsider culture. Their early stuff is raw and dirty, gothic and cartoony. They also kept making good records- 1986's A Date With Elvis and 1990's Stay Sick have bigger budgets and more gloss but stand up really well alongside their earlier stuff. This is off Stay Sick, and sums up their aesthetic pretty well- Bikini Girls With Machine Guns.

03 Bikini Girls With Machine Guns.mp3

Fad Gadget 'Back To Nature'

This was the first single by Fad Gadget (Frank Tovey), released by Mute in 1979. It's an amazing record- synths, found sounds, drum machines, vocals. The lyrics are disturbing; ''Back to nature- bodies burning in the sun, Back to nature-just like lemmings everyone'', but Fad and his lover will be alright ''under the geodesic dome'', ''sitting in the shade of the rubber tree, I'll kiss you and you kiss me''. Wait for that final stretched out ''and you'll .....kiss me'' towards the end. Tension and release. I've no idea really what it's about. It always makes me think of a post-apocalypse love-song (happy happy joy joy), but that could just be me. Whatever it's about it's utterly great- groundbreaking, synth-laden, doomy pop.

01 Back To Nature.wma

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Pete Shelley 'Homosapien'

I don't know how many people watched Buzzcocks on Top Of The Pops, and thought 'that Pete Shelley, he's a bit camp', or ever wondered if Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn't Have Fallen In Love With) was not sung by a man to woman, but by a man to a man, but surely when this fantastic single was released in 1981 the penny must have dropped on punks and post-punks everywhere. 'I'm a cruiser, you're a loser'... 'Homo-superior, in my interior' and so on. Brave stuff for the early 80s I'm guessing. Great song. This one's for RM.

Homosapien (Dance Version) [A].mp3

The Nails '88 Lines About 44 Women'

Back in the days when we went nightclubbing at least every weekend, we'd sometimes troop over to Liverpool where a friend did the projections and lights at Cream. After pummeling our senses in the back room to Weatherall, Holmes or The Chemical Brothers, we'd meet back at the projectionists house and play records, smoke cigarettes and drink tea til the sun came up. After some clubby tunes and some more chilled out stuff, the projectionist would delve into his 7" boxes and play some wonderful random nonsense, which made perfect sense at the time. This was one of the songs that often got played. I liked it so much the projectionist found a 7" re-issue on the Rough Trade Record Club label, and gave it to me and Mrs Swiss as a wedding present. I know very little about The Nails, and I'm happy to keep it that way. The B -side of this song is not great, photos of the band arn't encouraging and I've never wanted to further damage my love for this song. It does exactly what the title says- there's 88 lines about 44 women, almost all of them great, some sparse drum machine backing and some 'aaaaahh aah aah aah aah aaaaahh's thrown in. That's it. And it's all you need.


Monday, 11 January 2010

The Jesus and Mary Chain 'Everything's Alright When You're Down'

Hmm, there's definately something up with the Big Audio Dynamite mp3. I've re-upped it, re-uploaded and re-upped it, and it's still not working. Maybe Mick doesn't want you to have it. Anyhow, here's something from The Jesus and Mary Chain. Peter Hook said in his recent book that they were the worst band ever to play the Hacienda (and you'd imagine there's a pretty long list for that acolade). They made some truly great records though, and this is one of them.

Everything's Alright When You're Down [Single Version].mp3

Big Audio Dynamite 'I Turned Out A Punk'

It seems to me that Mick Jones always got the raw deal in The Clash. Admittedly, according to Joe Strummer Mick could be 'no fun to work with...like Liz Taylor in bad mood', and maybe he succumbed to Rock Star habits when The Clash were supposed to be different from that but even so... In 1991, years after the band had split and then become friends again, Mick was still viewed as the bad guy of The Clash. An NME interview asked The Manic Street Preachers what they liked about The Clash- 'Joe's lyrics, Paul's cheekbones, Topper's drugs, fuck off Mick' was the reply. Yes, the Manics could be deliberately gobby and provocative but it showed how pop culture sided with Joe and Paul, the political one with the heart of gold and drop-dead gorgeous one who did all the designs and played super low-slung bass.

And it was Mick's band. Mick started it with Paul. Mick wrote almost all the music. Mick wrote the tunes on the first album- the really punk one. Mick played almost all the guitars in the studio. Mick produced the records from London Calling onwards. Mick was the one looking ahead to funk, soul and hip-hop, who turned New York onto The Clash. I'm not slagging Joe and Paul you understand- I love 'em both dearly. I just think some people needed to cut Mick some slack.

Mick also had a far better second band than the others as well. Big Audio Dynamite's first lp is great- Medicine Show, The Bottom Line, E=MC2- and there's plenty in the rest of the B.A.D. back catalogue to go at. Mick has also turned out to be the archivist of The Clash. His exhibition of Clash and pop culture memorabilia looked fantastic. He knocks out some good songs still in his current band Carbon/Silicon (Why Do Men Fight? for example). The punk rock wars are over, I dunno who won, but I think Mick Jones is one of the good guys.

This song is from the end of B.A.D. Their latter days were a bit desperate, but on their last lp, F-Punk, there was this little gem. You'll have to turn it up loud (that's not a punk rock instruction, the mp3's a bit quiet).

I Turned Out A Punk mp3
Edit: apologies folks, there's something up with the file. I'll try to fix it.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

The Kinks 'Misty Water'

The Kinks wrote at least as many of the great songs of the 60s as anyone. They had great hair, and wore clothes second only to The Small Faces in their mod-nattiness. They also had warring brothers, one of whom, Dave Davies, nearly killed the drummer by throwing a cymbol at him at a gig. Their 1967 lp The Village Green Preservation Society is now routinely held up as their masterpiece but it sold pretty poorly at the time. Ray Davies had songs that he left off it, which were almost released in the USA as Four Respected Gentlemen, but that was then shelved. How anyone could leave this song, Misty Water, as an out-take is beyond belief. This has been covered by Mr Wild Billy Childish, who doubles the tempo and the noise. I might post it at some point. In the meantime, enjoy a lost song from pop's most mythologised decade.


Saturday, 9 January 2010

Robert Calvert 'Lord Of The Hornets'

Odd but good- Hawkwind offshoot Robert Calvert's Lord Of The Hornets.

'Asleep in a hive in the base of a hollow tree
Behind a shed in a garden in Norbury
And when he whispers commands in his megaphone
They swarm to his call and he knows that he's not alone

He's lord of the hornets'

Lord Of The Hornets.mp3

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Jim Jones Revue

This is what is often called 'life affirming rock 'n' roll'. Played by men old enough to know better, loud, raucous, overloaded, in the red, everything-louder-than-everything-else etc. It's a riot of drums, guitars, screaming vox and pianer. From a cd release last year 'The Jim Jones Revue Are Here To Save Your Soul' which rounded up 4 singles, a's and b's. Recommended by a friend who saw them live somewhere. Get your quiff greased up and go.

03 Rock N Roll Psychosis.wma

LCD Soundsystem v John Cale

LCD Soundsystem are great- yeah they're arch, knowing, record-collectors that make music that sounds like The Fall in a disco, and they're all the better for it. There's something about Losing My Edge, a song narrated by an aging hipster who's losing his edge that surely speaks to all of us. Sound Of Silver topped loads of polls at the end of 2008, and had some great songs on it- North American Scum, Someone Great, All My Friends. When they released All My Friends as a single/digital bundle, as well as some remixes they got other bands to cover the song and released them as well. Cracking idea. Franz Ferdinand covered All My Friends, as did John Cale, which is what I'm giving you here. John Cale v LCD Soundsystem. Still looking good, John Cale, unlike his old mate Lou Reed...

All_my_friends v John Cale.mp3

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

More Audrey

Primal Scream have made some great records over the last 20 odd years- many of their best ones have been touched by the hands of Andrew Weatherall. They can still be good without him (Burning Wheel, Vanishing Point or the XTRMNTR album say), but their best moments are often either his productions or his remixes. They're a reliably good night out for a gig, especially since Mani joined them, but they can also take their eye off the ball with alarming frequency (much of Give Out But Don't Give Up, Riot City Blues had a few duff moments, Beautiful Future was patchy). When Ivy, Ivy, Ivy was released I saw them play a basement called Planet X in Liverpool, along with a couple of dozen other people. All leather and long hair, they finished with I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have, Bobby on his knees on the low stage, guitarists all over the place. If anyone had told them or the crowd that within months they'd be at the forefront of a new musical movement with a Weatherall remix of that particular song... well, let's just say it would've been highly unlikely. Back in 1990 the third single in their dance traitor re-birth was Higher Than The Sun, with various blissed out remixes, one by The Orb, at least two by Weatherall, one featuring Jah Wobble. It was one of the records released that spring and summer that seemed to point a new way, along with singles by Saint Etienne, The Orb, The Shamen and Electronic, shiny, left of centre, distorted, twisted pop music, on the dance floor but with old-style indie attitudes, with a real sense of possibilities and the future. Not sure where that got us in the end. This one, the American Spring remix, is probably the least well-known. Weatherall takes off most of Bobby and replaces the main riff with a harpsicord. Lovely.

02 Higher Than the Sun [American Spring Mix].wma

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Red Snapper remixed by Radioactive Man

'Four Dead Monks' by Red Snapper (jazz/techno) remixed by Radioactive Man (Keith Tenniswood, One Lone Swordsman), from an album of remixes of Red Snapper tracks called 'Redone' (2003). Very nice electro-techno machine music, bings and boings in all the right places.

03 Four Dead Monks.wma

Monday, 4 January 2010

The House Of Love 'Never'

I reckon we've all got bands or records we love, that we know secretly, arn't, maybe, really, that good but we love them regardless. This is one for me. I bought this on 12" towards the end of the summer 1989, along with some more 1989-ish records. I played this one endlessly. As a song it found The House Of Love caught in a difficult place. They were set up by the music press as the next big thing after the demise of The Smiths, but The Roses and Mondays blew this kind of guitar pop away. The House Of Love looked outdated compared to the baggy trousers and flared jeans of that year. Poor Guy Chadwick. He always seemed to have a look on his face that said 'this isn't going to work'. He was caught between his first lp (on Creation) that critics and skinny white boys loved, all shimmer and 'sonic cathedrals', and this single, which was *gulp* rock-y. The press slated it, and everyone else was going dancey. He was caught with a talented guitarist Terry Bickers, driving the band round the bend, soon to be dumped out of the van mid-tour at a service station. And it got me, caught between living at home for the summer and going back to a student life in Liverpool. And although I suspect it isn't really that good I still love this song , with it's 80s drums intro, clunky lyrics and out-of step-with-the-times-ness.

08 Never.wma

Wild Billy Childish

'I'm Mr Wild Billy Childish and I'm your man', sings the man himself in Bugger The Buffs. I remember reading about Billy Childish back in the late 80s/early 90s in the NME, but never went any further with it. In those pre-internet days, you had to make a trip to a record shop, and gamble on them having what you were after, and then decide which records to spend your small amount of cash on. He next cropped up for me in 2002/3 when I read about his then band the Buff Medways and the lp Steady the Buffs. Bought it, listened to it, thought 'Christ, this is lo-fi, sub-Kinksy stuff', and filed it. I went back to it a year later and began to get it, and have been buying into Billy ever since. When I joined e-music I realised there were tons of his albums on there and Damaged Goods run a really good download and internet shop. Which must be completely at odds with Billy's no-plastic, back to Edwardian times outlook and agenda. I managed to see him live twice last year- once on a weekend in London for a friends 40th, when I persuaded the group to trek up to Stoke Newington to watch Billy and the Musicians of the British Empire play a basement club. They were on fire. The second time he came up to Manchester to open a blues and poetry festival. He read poetry and played blues, and sold me a couple of his books. He's a completely honest and direct performer, dressed in period clothing, a one man cottage industry of paintings, books, poetry and songs. He's Mr Wild Billy Childish and he's my man. The song here is from last year's 30 year round-up compilation 'Archive From 1959', and it's as a good an introduction to his rock 'n' roll side as you'll get.

04 Archive from 1959.wma

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Almost There

I think these links work. It looks a bit messy, but it is quarter past eleven, and I've had a little red wine. Next challenge- put a link into a post I've written. That's for another day. Thanks to those who helped.
03 Life's What You Make It.wma
Careering (Peel Session).mp3
14 Fowler's End.wma

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Technical Ineptitude

As I said when I started, I'm still trying to get the hang of this blogging malarkey. I know the links don't work. I've been struggling getting to grips with mediafire and embedding and URLs and various different technical blah-de-blahs. As soon as I figure it out I'll sort out the links. It's driving me potty at the moment to be honest but I'm enjoying the other bits. Apologies etc


On the Saturday before Christmas I went to see PiL at Manchester Academy. I was in two minds about this from the moment I first read about the tour. No Jah Wobble, no Keith Levene (they can't stand each other apparently). Also, I wasn't sure whether Lydon would be the slightly pantomime figure of the Sex Pistols re-unions and the butter advert. They came on and played Public Image, hard, fast, great bass playing. Lydon then abused a beer thrower to such an extent no more beer was thrown throughout the 2 hours of the gig. Poptones, Death Disco, Careering, This is Not A Love Song all followed, all fantastic. It went on a bit too long in the middle, but was enlivened by Lydon swilling from a bottle of wine and then spitting into a kitchen bin between songs. 'I'm 53, singing for 2 hours plus and fighting off various infections' was the explanation. They encored with Rise and Open Up, after a frightening set closer of Religion. 'Public Image Limited' he told us, 'Serious facking music for serious facking people'. All in all, a re-union to be proud of.

I met Lydon in 1995. On honeymoon, on a barge moored by Regent's Park in London myself and my then-new wife Mrs Swiss, went into central London for a drink. We went into The George on Wardour Street, and sitting with largish group of men was John Lydon. We took a seat near the toilets (nice) and when his bladder could take no more lager he finally visited the men's. On his way back to his seat I ambushed the punk rock legend with a camera. He obliged, and asked what we were doing in London. On hearing it was our honeymoon, he blessed our marriage (!) and accosted a passerby to photograph the 3 of us. My favourite wedding photo.

mp3: Careering (Peel Session)

Rowland S Howard 1959-2009

Rowland S Howard was the guitarist with The Birthday Party, and before that The Boys Next Door. He joined Nick Cave and Mick Harvey, and aged 17 had already written Shivers, the underground Oz-rock classic. After The Birthday Party split, amid chaos, vomiting and drugs, he drifted around fronting the odd band (These Immortal Souls) and released some solo lps (Teenage Snuff Movie in 2000 and Popcrimes in 2009). By the time Popcrimes was released Rowland was suffering from liver cancer and waiting for a transplant. He died on December 30th. He was a unique guitarist, songwriter and singer- and he could record a decent cover as well. On Teenage Snuff Movie he did White Wedding (yes, that White Wedding) and here for you to download Talk Talk's Life's What You Make It (given some grim irony by his state of health, I guess)

mp3: Life's What You Make It

Friday, 1 January 2010

The Black Balloons

OK, here we go. I'm new to this so bear with me if stuff doesn't work. I wouldn't say I've been an early adopter with internet things, but about 3 years ago I discovered some of the music blogs. The first ones I remember reading and going back to on a daily basis, and eventually leaving comments at, were Audio.Out and The Vinyl Villain, then Acid Ted, 17 Seconds, The Ghost of Electricity, Song By Toad, Across the Kitchen Table, and in the last year Ripped In Glasgow- all inspirations for finally getting this off the ground. Following a guest post for The Vinyl Villain in May 2009 I began to think about doing a blog more seriously, but it was only in the last few weeks that it began to ferment properly in my mind. I 'm not sure I've got a clear idea yet of what I'm going to post and write about. It won't all be one type of music, I don't know yet if it'll be old or new music, I don't see much point in posting songs which are widely available but I don't want to be wilfully obscure. Often though the most interesting music/art is made away from the centre, towards the fringes. What I think is going to happen is I'm going to write about some songs, and hopefully attach some kind of story or justification to each one. I dunno if that's going to be of interest to anyone but I'm going to have a stab. So, here we go.

I originally stumbled across Audio.Out when I was looking for mp3s of early Andrew Weatherall remixes. STX had posted several on his blog but the links were dead. I left a comment and he kindly obliged. I think I should start this blog by completing a circle from where I started, and featuring someone who I've followed for nearly 20 years. Andrew Weatherall records take up a large part of my record collection, his outlook is spot-on, and these days he's sporting a lovely Victorian-style moustache. I've not got set up yet for ripping vinyl, so I've scoured my cd's for a Weatherall track that hasn't been covered at either Acid Ted or Ripped In Glasgow. From a Rotter's Golf Club compilation Machine Funk Specialists (2001) Fowler's End by The Black Balloons, sounds like the kind of thing Weatherall and Tenniswood could knock out in their lunch-hour, but a diverting enough piece of electronic music for 3 minutes and 16 seconds. Fowler's End- a place, or the last bit of a scouse Premiership footballer? Who knows.

mp3: Fowler's End