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Sunday 28 February 2010

The Orb 'Little Fluffy Clouds' (Seven Inch Mk I)

It's funny how, for a type of music so suited to the long form (12" records, mix tapes, 4 hour dj sets, tracks regularly running over 10 minutes ) the acid house/club culture/dance music scene 20 years ago produced some storming 7" records. Maybe it was the punk/post punk influence, making music that worked for 3 minutes 30 seconds. This is a great example, the 7" mix of Little Fluffy Clouds. This is my favourite version- it's perfect, no need to extend it, just Rickie Lee Jones' ramblings over those synths and samples on 7 inches of black vinyl.

Other examples off the top of my head? Sub Sub 'Ain't No Love Ain't No Use', MARRS 'Pump Up The Volume', S'Express 'Theme', The Beloved 'It's Alright Now' (incidentally if anyone has the 7" mix of this one as an mp3 I'd love a copy). There must be others. I know there were/are loads of tunes, less poppy chart oriented ones probably, that needed extending out over the 12", but the 7" dance single seems like a great part of pop culture.

I shared a house with a friend for two years who was a big Orb fan, so it wasn't until we moved out that I realised I'd hardly bought anything by them, just used to listen to his, and I still have Orb shaped gaps in my record collection to this day. Must do something about that.

Little Fluffy Clouds (Seven Inch Mk I).mp3

The Horrors 'Whole New Way'

One of the revelations of last year was Primary Colours by The Horrors, in particular the tracks Sea With A Sea (electro-krautrock Joy Division) and Who Can Say (Joy Division with the 'she cried', Shangri La drum beat bit completely ripped off a Rowland S Howard song from 2004 called She Cried). Regardless, good modern rock songs from a bunch of haircuts and tight jeans you wouldn't have expected it from. They followed it up at the end of last year with this 7" single, Whole New Way, which pumps up the 80s influences. Good stuff.


Saturday 27 February 2010

Paul Simonon Havana 3am 'Hey Amigo'

I realised the other day I've done a post-Clash Mick post and a post-Clash Joe post, so I thought I better do a post-Clash Paul post, seeing as Paul Simonon was and remains the beating heart at the centre of the only band that mutters. The best looking man in West London. The coolest man ever to wear a bass guitar. Guns Of Brixton. Cheekbones. Paint splattered kit, years ahead of The Roses. Reggae influences worn on the sleeve. Skinhead chic. Finest quiff since you know who. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I could go on, but it would turn into some kind of homoerotic love letter. Ahem.

Paul Simonon's post Clash career is not littered with goodies, unless you count his paintings. In fact if it wasn't for the lp he did with Albarn two years ago, we'd have very little to go on. And I'm not going to post any of The Good, The Bad, And The Queen anyway. After The Clash finally split (1985, Cut The Crap, no Mick, shite album) Paul eventually formed Havana 3am. Inspired by punk, bull fighting and Cuba the album doesn't hold many rewards to be honest. Singer Gary Myrick died of cancer after it's release, causing Paul serious distress. This is the best track, Hey Amigo, a cross-breed of spaghetti western and dub reggae. It's actually really good. Just don't go looking for the whole album. It's Paul Simonon folks, it couldn't be all bad could it?

I've got nothing Topper did after The Clash, so I suppose this is the end of this particular mini-series.

08 Hey Amigo.wma

Friday 26 February 2010

Minutemen 'Little Man With A Gun In His Hand'

Another Minutemen track, from an earlier record, Little Man With A Gun In His Hand from the mini-lp Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat. Judging by the download stats at mediafire you lot wern't that bothered by the first Minutemen track but I'm posting this one anyway, cos it's ace. Guitar and bass interlocking and building, til the payoff vocal of 'Little man with a gun in his hand... little man with a gun in his hand'. Give it a go. You might like it. Might make a change from all the Weatherall we've all been listening to.

08 Little Man with a Gun in His Hand.wma

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 4

This is the daddy- Wayne Walker's All I Can Do Is Cry. Little known as a recording artist, but a widely recorded song-writer, including songs for Elvis, Johnny Burnette and Waylon Jennings, this is pure rockabilly gold. Driving rhythm and guitar, love lorn lyric, killer chorus. This song appeared when I guested at The Vinyl Villain during his Merry Month Of May series of guest-posts last year, but it's too good not to be done again. As the legendary series of rockabilly cd's claims 'this'll flat git ya'.

All I Can Do Is Cry.mp3

Thursday 25 February 2010

Yura Yura Teikoku 'Dekinai'

This song came on my mp3 player on the way home from work yesterday. I had no idea what it was, and don't remember either downloading it or transferring it to the player.

Yura Yura Teikoku are a Japanese three piece, the name translates as The Unstable Empire, and they formed in 1989. A bit of internet research gets them described as 'Can meets dub', 'psychedelic 70s rock and power pop', 'psyche pop and garage rock', and (gulp) 'soft rock'. Wait come back. Don't click back in your toolbar. Stay with me. They released a lp with this track on it on DFA (see, phew, told you it'd be ok). This song's great- from the fast clattery drum intro(begging to be sampled by somebody), to the guitar and the vocals (in Japanese and it doesn't make any difference that I havn't a clue what he's singing about). A bit like a more focused, poppy Yo La Tengo. Highly recommended.


DMCA Nonsense

The DMCA have removed my David Holmes posts again despite me re-posting them without the links to the songs. So what they're saying this time is, I can't post text about David Holmes or pictures of him either. Is Holmes so important that only qualified journalists can publish articles about him?

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Minutemen 'Have You Ever Seen the Rain?'

I was watching Nurse Jackie the other night and two versions of this song were played, including the original by 60s rockers Creedence Clearwater Revival. Which made me remember that I have a version of this song, Have You Ever Seen The Rain? by Minutemen from 1985. By their standards this is an epic, clocking in at 2 minutes 24 seconds.

Minutemen were post punk 'corn-dogs', signed to SST, home of Black Flag and Husker Du. Minutemen played jerky, sparse, politically- edged songs, often in around a minute or two. They don't really sound like anyone else, and are true post-punk; inspired by punk but not Sex Pistols clones. Their 1984 double lp Double Nickels On The Dime has 40-odd songs on it, and hardly a duff moment. Some of their stuff is truly great. This was from their 'mersh' period (Minutemen slang for going commercial). Needless to say, they never crossed over, despite supporting REM in the mid-80s.

Singer and guitarist D Boon died in a van accident in 1985, and the band broke up, re-appearing as fIREHOSE. Bassist Mike Watt is an all round good guy, having done stuff with The Beastie Boys, and recently playing bass for The Stooges re-union. There's a good Minutemen doc on dvd We Jam Econo, worth seeking out. In the meantime, here's Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

06 Have You Ever Seen the Rain-.wma

The Impossibles 'The Drum' (Weatherall Mix)

A request (kind of) for North Country Bhoy. The Drum by The Impossibles remixed by Andrew Weatherall from 1991. Pretty rare I reckon.
Great picture of Weatherall in Victorian clobber in office, isn't it?


Tuesday 23 February 2010

Dexys Midnight Runners 'Because Of You'

This song came up in discussion at the pub quiz the other week (yes, I do a pub quiz). Kevin Rowland is one of the most unique pop stars we've ever had. Three seperate versions of Dexys, each with a different look and sound. What was your favourite? Searching For The Young Soul Rebels era New York docker look with donkey jackets and wooly hats? Raggle taggle gypsy, fiddle-loving Come On Eileen? Don't Stand Me Down's Ivy League suits and slicked down hair? Or even Kevin in a (man's) dress for that solo lp that only sold 100 copies. I almost bought it just because I felt bad for him at that point.

This song, Because Of You, is a real gem, from Dexys version 3. It's probably as well known to those of us who lived through the mid 1980s as the theme tune to a silly BBC sitcom Brush Strokes, about a window cleaner. It took Kevin and what was left of Dexys back to the UK top 20. By that point he'd stopped attacking journalists in the street, and soon after disbanded Dexys altogether. There was a series of documentaries on BBC2 a few years back called Young Guns Go For It, dissecting 80s pop groups. The one about The Smiths was excellent, as was the one about Dexys. It revealed the full extent of Kevin's breakdown, illness and paranoia (from memory, he sacked Big Al from the band for wearing a red wooly hat because he thought the hat was an attempt to upstage and usurp Kevin as band leader). Like I said at the start, unique. And frequently brilliant.

This post is dedicated to fellow pub quiz team member NB, who became a father for the first time last night. Best wishes to NB, EB and baby GB.

05 Because of You.wma

Monday 22 February 2010

Acid Brass 'What Time Is Love?' (Version K)

We've been away this weekend just gone, and spent quite a bit of time in the car. I made a cd for in-car entertainment and put this on it, having re-discovered it recently. I'm pretty sure the mp3 came from Moggieboy over at Ripped In Glasgow originally, so thanks/apologies to Moggieboy for re-presenting it here. It has fast become a family favourite.

The KLF were surely made for the internet- destroying piles of albums that never got sample clearance, burning stacks of cash, deleting their entire back catalogue, retiring from the music business. Click/dig around a bit and it's all out there. Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty made inspired records, with even more inspired reasons for making the records. If you havn't read them, and I know some of you have, any of Bill Drummonds books are worth reading, especially '45' and last years '17'.

Jeremy Deller is also inspired. He famously re-enacted the Battle of Orgreave from the miner's strike, recorded the Acid Brass album (you know, brass band versions of acid house hits) and last summer staged a procession through Manchester featuring scouts, goths, a musical fish and chip van, unrepentant smokers, mobile libraries, a hearse with a floral Hacienda and boy racers in souped up cars. With banners.

This then, to get to the point, is the Williams Fairey brass band (from Stockport) version of What Time Is Love? It is not a novelty track. It is an essential part of your download collection.

Parp parp par-par-par par-par-par-par par-par parp.

Acid Brass_What Time Is Love (Version K).mp3

Sunday 21 February 2010

St Etienne 'Speedwell'

More from Bob, Pete and Sarah. Speedwell was originally the b-side to Nothing Can Stop Us, 'the first real song we wrote' according to the liner notes for the re-issue of Foxbase Alpha. It's on the second disc of extras and may be on some of their compilations as well. They seem to have released more compilations than albums. In the liner notes Bob Stanley reckons this track is Moby eight years early- a gospel sample with a beat underneath. It's a bit more than that. The liner notes add that Paul Heaton (Housemartins, Beautiful South) said this was the 'best piece of art produced' that year. It's not quite that.

06 Speedwell [-].wma

Friday 19 February 2010

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 3

Wanda Jackson, self-styled Rockabilly Queen, ripping it up with a Riot In Cell Block 9.


St Etienne 'She's The One'

I got a box set for Christmas which I already had (Rome Series 2 if you're interested), so I took it to my nearest HMV in January and to exchange it for something else, not expecting to find too much of interest. I ended up getting the first two St Etienne albums, reissues with b-sides, unreleased tracks, different mixes etc. Foxbase Alpha sounds like springtime, specifically springtime twenty years ago. I've been playing it to death.

This is She's The One, a perfect summary of St Etienne's ethos back then- a mix of northern soul, 60s pop, clubby production, Sarah Cracknell's breathy vocals and a great sample ('in this world of up and down'). Both Foxbase Alpha and So Tough are well worth getting- loads of good stuff on the second discs.

Thursday 18 February 2010

R Dean Taylor 'Gotta See Jane'

R Dean Taylor was the first white person to record for Motown, maybe best known to us as the man who took There's A Ghost In My House to the charts (later covered by The Fall). I can't remember when or where I first heard this, co-written with Brian Holland of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame and produced by R Dean himself, but it's a belter. Starting with car engine noises and squeeling tyres, which are always a great way to start a record, and then going into 'red light green light, driving through the dark night'. Gotta See Jane, 1968, top song.

01 Gotta See Jane.wma

The Standells 'Dirty Water'

A blast of premium grade 60s garage band goodness, The Standells Dirty Water. I was in King Bee records in Chorlton a while back and found this on 7", and started to make for the counter until I noticed they wanted £20 for it, which I would have had difficulty justifying to Mrs Swiss. Or myself for that matter. This got to number 11 on the US chart in 1966. Altogether now.. 'Frustrated women, have to be in by twelve o'clock'

Dirty Water (Stereo).mp3

Wednesday 17 February 2010

One Dove 'Jolene'

Companion post for the recent One Dove activity round these parts and general dubby-house, post-club whatnot. Photo from long defunct Select Magazine, who championed One Dove before falling heavily for everything Britpop.

Tuesday 16 February 2010

A Is For Acid Ted

Acid Ted (link on the right) has shut up shop. For the last two years he has blogged an encyclopedia of dance music, A to Z, 1300 posts from acid house to the present day. Ctel's blog was one which I visited on a daily basis. He responded to requests for tracks and reposts, gave me my own post (S Is For Swiss Adam, when I asked for the Weatherall remixes of Jah Wobble's Visions Of You, wherein he provided a not entirely accurate biography of me) and sold some very nice t-shirts. He supports charities for seriously ill children. His site was one of the main inspirations for this one. A gentleman, all said and done.

This is Jah Wobble's Bomba, remixed by Mr Weatherall. This one's for you Ctel.

05 Bomba (Club Mix).wma

Monday 15 February 2010

More Audrey 7

Aramchek (another Weatherall and Tenniswood guise) with Benicassim. This is a pretty hectic, beat-y, vaguely latin track from Rotters Golf Club back in 2001. Describing dance music is difficult at times. Photo is from a friend who saw AW dj-ing at The Electric Elephant festival in Croatia last year (number 2 in a series of 2).

The Slits 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine'

One of the central strands of 1977 punk was that 'they can't even play their instruments'. Seems to me (not that I was there) that The Pistols could all play, and at least half of The Clash were talented musicians when they started and more by the time they finished. Many of the other bands knew more than three chords.

When they started The Slits couldn't play. Ari Up, Palmolive, Tessa Pollitt and Viv Albertine had ideas, anger, humour and enthusiasm though. Assisted by Dennis Bovell's reggae production skills they made their first album Cut, an inspired mix of punk and reggae, with songs about shoplifting and typical girls. They mucked about with peoples' ideas of how a female punk band should look and present themselves. And like many punk groups they had a great cover version- I Heard it Through The Grapevine.


Sunday 14 February 2010

The Jesus and Mary Chain 'Coast To Coast' (Alternate Vocal)

When Automatic, the JAMC's third album, came out in 1989 they were looking like yesterday's men. Dance and Manchester had happened, and suddenly black leather and feedback were a bit old hat. It didn't help that Automatic wasn't a great lp either- a few good songs, but all produced to sound the same, lyrically repetitive. Drum machines had moved on too, and William and Jim hadn't kept up really. Coast To Coast was one of the few off this album that had the old Mary Chain magic and menace, so it was good to hear this alternate version of the song, with William singing it, when the JAMC box set came out last year (The Power Of Negative Thinking). Sounds very different from the Automatic version and just as good. Course, when the Reid's eventually fully digested the musical, chemical and technical changes that were in the air they re-appeared a year or two later with a much better album- Almost Gold.

Coast To Coast w Alternate Vocal -- William Reid.mp3

The Weather Prophets 'Well Done Sonny'

Some small but perfectly formed c86 style indie for Sunday morning. I was going to post Almost Prayed, my favourite Weather Prophets song, but it's been posted at various blogs over the last few months, so you can have this instead. I first came across this song on a Creation Records sampler called Doing It For The Kids, an whole album for the value price of £1.99. It was chock full of indie goodness- fringes, leather jackets, stripy t-shirts and winkle-pickers. Kids these days don't know what they're missing.


Saturday 13 February 2010

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros 'Yalla Yalla'

Joe Strummer's years in the wilderness ended in the late 90s with this track and the album that followed it (Art, Rock and the X Ray Style, awful Damien Hirst cover). After splitting the rump version of The Clash in 1985 Joe drifted around, releasing bits and bobs, but mostly suggesting he'd lost his fire. Eventually he hooked up with Richard Norris (of The Grid), who co-wrote and produced this track. The album this came off had some good songs on it, and put Joe back on the road. His new band, kids and session men, were well drilled and could do Clash songs justice. He followed it up with Global A Go Go, which was much better, and then Streetcore, finished and released after he died.

I saw Joe with The Mescaleros three times, twice at Manchester Academy, on fire both nights, and once at Nynex, a bit lost in a quarter full arena going on at 7.45. The first time at the Academy the band were showered with beer from the opening chord of the first song, Safe European Home. For the encore a visibly emotional Joe re-appeared with a small child on his shoulders, and finished off with Bank Robber, prowling the lip of the stage with a mic stand swinging around his head and then this- Yalla Yalla.

Yalla Yalla.mp3

Richard X, Hope Sandoval and Jarvis Cocker 'Into U'

I've been listening to the Massive Attack and Hope Sandoval song (Paradise Circus) over the last few days, especially the Gui Boratto remix, and that led me back to this. Richard X, acceptable face of the mash-up (or something). This was off his album from a few years ago. He took Mazzy Star's Fade Into You, jazzed it up and got Jarvis to sing over it. That's a technical description of the recording process. Very good track it is too. Wasn't convinced by some of the rest of the album (Liberty X?).

Looking for pictures to accompany this post, it was beardy Richard X, beardy Jarvis or Hope. Hmmm....

14 Into U.wma

Friday 12 February 2010

One Dove 'Breakdown' (Squire Black Dove Rides Out Mix)

One Dove were one of the 'should've beens' of the 90s. Dot Allison, Ian Carmichael and Jim McKinven (once of Altered Images) released several great dubby-poppy-dance singles (Fallen, Transient Truth, White Love, Breakdown) and one lp Morning Dove White, which should've been as big as Screamadelica, but wasn't. The album soundtracked home listening for me during autumn into winter 1993, and has Weatherall's magic dust all over it. This is the Weatherall remix of Breakdown from the 12" single, an 10 minute epic. Pour a glass of something and let it wash over you.

'Can you remember the shadow of the dove?'

Breakdown (Squire Black Dove Rides Out Mix).mp3

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 2

Vince Taylor's Brand New Cadillac. Top grade rockabilly later covered by The Clash. You know what to do.

01 Brand New Cadillac.wma

Thursday 11 February 2010

The Jam 'Ghosts'

This may be pushing it after having two posts removed yesterday, and this song being on a major label, and Mr. Weller having a reputation for being a bit narky about stuff like this, but anyway...

It's funny how the internet works- I wasn't planning to post this song. I was at The Vinyl Villain where a day or two ago he posted Absolute Beginners by The Jam (a Canadian e.p. release trivia fans), and the video for When You're Young (one of my favourite Jam songs). So I watch the video and fall into a Youtube time-hole, resurfacing 40 minutes later having watched some Jam videos, some Style Council videos, and some good footage of The Jam playing a Danish pop show to promote their final album The Gift, including this song Ghosts. The Gift gets overlooked out of all The Jam's albums, and it's maybe got a couple of clunkers but any record with this song, Carnation, Happy Together, Running On The Spot, and A Town Called Malice on it can't be too shabby. I think this is one of Weller's best- definitely stretching their sound out with horns and fewer guitars. He walked away from The Jam shortly after, the biggest band in the country, not yet aged 25. Extraordinary. Sharp dressed man too.

And I havn't once used the phrase Modfather... duh

24 Ghosts.wma

Wednesday 10 February 2010

They Got Me

Both my David Holmes posts have been removed by the DMCA. So, if you downloaded I Heard Wonders, make sure you don't go and buy the album. That'd never do.

? And The Mysterians '96 Tears'

One of the all-time 60s garage rock greats, covered scores of times, it's got that cool organ sound, and Question Mark's great vocal. I got an original 1966 7" copy off ebay a while back for under a fiver, which pleased me no end. The main issue now we've all gone digital and have our music in a big long list is...where do you and your pc file this track? Under artists beginning with punctuation marks? With ? spelt out as Question Mark (some of the records do it this way). The tag thing won't let me label this post as ? and the Mysterians. Decisions, decisions...

Are there any other artists beginning with a punctuation mark? Apart from Prince and his squiggle?


Tuesday 9 February 2010

Grant Hart '2541'

I hate business speak and jargon. I sat through a meeting at the end of work today (and I don't work in a business environment) where people used phrases like 'giving you the heads up', 'upskilling' and 'actioning'. I've started to visibly flinch when I hear them. Foul.
That's not got anything to do with this post, just wanted to get it off my chest.

Since Husker Du split up Bob Mould has been the busiest, with solo albums, Sugar and writing scripts for wrestling. Bob's solo stuff is good in parts, but it's dour. Grim and dour. He had an album called Black Sheets Of Rain, which works quite well as a title for his whole post-Husker solo stuff.

Grant Hart had the drug problems and suffered by being seen as being the second song writer in Husker Du. Also, he was a singing songwriting drummer, like a post-punk Phil Collins. But he was first off the mark with this 1988 release 2541, off an album called Intolerance.

This sounds nothing like Husker Du (depending on your taste for US hardcore that'll be either a relief or disappointment). Lots of organ, great tune, story telling lyrics. A couple move into a new home (2541), with 'big windows to let in the sun'. The song's got loads of little lines painting pictures ('got hold of a van and a man and moved in the very next day', 'we had to keep the stove on all night long so the mice wouldn't freeze', that sort of thing)and then moves on to the couples splitting, and moving out of 2541. Great little song, not dour at all. Just giving you 'the heads up'.

Monday 8 February 2010

Sheer Taft 'Cascades' (Hypnotone mix)

A week or two ago I posted a couple of tracks from the 1991 Creation Records dance compilation Keeping The Faith. As chance would have it this came up on the mp3 player during this evening's trek down three motorways to get home. Sheer Taft, according to discogs, were Thomas Taft of Greenock and Ingrid Kudos. They released another single Atlantis (which I havn't got, and don't think I've ever heard) and an album Absolutely Sheer (ditto previous bracket). This is Cascades, remixed by previous postee Hypnotone. Dubby, electronic, Creation house. Sounds pretty good to these ears.

Cascades(Hypnotone mix).mp3

Primal Scream 'Living Dub'

Following yesterday's post, some more dub. This time Primal Scream get the heavy delay, echo and bass treatment, courtesy of Adrian Sherwood.

01 Living Dub.wma

Sunday 7 February 2010

Massive Attack vs Mad Professor 'Radiation Ruling The Nation' (Protection)

I've been listening to quite a bit of dub recently. Some of the proper Jamaican variety but also the post-punk and 90s dance variety. There was an Ashley Beedle mix for Beats In Space floating around just before Christmas, with this track on it. It also had a dub of The Pogues on it. Dub-Irish folk-punk. The whole Massive Attack vs Mad Professor lp is good, one of those cases where buying two versions of one album made sense. Adrian Sherwood did a similar job for Primal Scream on the Vanishing Point album. This is the lead track off the No Protection album- the dub version of Protection featuring Tracey Thorn. Nearly nine minutes of echo, bass, snares, sound effects and Tracey's vocal chopped to bits. It gets into a serious groove about five minutes in. Top track.

Radiation Ruling The nation (No Protection).wma

Sharon Tandy 'Hold On'

This is so good they had to invent a new genre name for it- freakbeat! Hmmm. This piece of 60s mod pop is South African Sharon Tandy, backed by mod band Fleur-de-Lys, who contribute a demented guitar solo/instrumental section. Top vocal, top song.

12 Hold On.wma

Saturday 6 February 2010

The Kinks 'Too Much on My Mind'

A second great lost Kinks track, off their Face To Face album. This is a beauty.

04 Too Much on My Mind.wma

Friday 5 February 2010

Iggy and I.T.

Iggy Pop is one of the few people active in music who deserves the overused title legend. Forget the insurance adverts. He's made five solid gold-plated albums (The Stooges, Funhouse, Raw Power, The Idiot, Lust For Life), lived it to a greater excess than most and kept his marbles, shacked up with Bowie in Berlin in 1977 (now there's a film that needs making), inspired most of the people you like, looks great, and still seems like an intelligent, articulate bloke. But this post isn't really about Iggy. It's about I.T.

Our son was born a bit over eleven years ago, and had problems from the start. Intensive care from birth for two weeks, hearing aids from two months, various surgeries from five months. At eight months he was rushed to hospital with hydrocephalus, and underwent emergency surgery. They punctured his head to release fluid and then fitted a VP shunt to let his cranial fluid circulate. Days later he was diagnosed with MPS 1 (Hurler's Disease), a very rare and very serious genetic syndrome. No cure. A bone marrow transplant would deal with some of the problems and allow him to live beyond ten years old, but still with multiple issues. Over the next 18 months I.T. had two bone marrow transplants (the first failed, I donated for the second which worked). Since then we've shifted into the lives of parents with a disabled child with multiple special needs and learning difficulties. Despite skeletal problems, severe deafness, severe learning difficulties, a leaky heart valve and sundry other symptoms I.T. became a walking, talking life-and-soul kind of child, charming all who met him. In 2008 I.T. contracted pneumonia (weak immune system which never fully regrew from the bone marrow transplant). The pneumonia crossed into his bloodstream and spread to his brain. Hospitalised- stroke, meningitis, near death, brain surgery, intensive care, increased deafness, skills lost that have had to be re-learned. Not good. Since that time, in the last few months, I.T. aged eleven has started puberty, brought on early by the meningitis. Special needs with puberty is an interesting mix, and Mrs Swiss and I, and our daughter E, are finding it tough.

I've thought long and hard about this post, and I've been in at least two minds about publishing it. I'm not looking for sympathy, or even to widen awareness about these hideous diseases (go to The MPS Society if you want to know more). But as it's developed over the last few weeks this blog seems to be about music and the affect it's had on me, which when put like that seems pretty egocentric, but we'll let that pass for a minute. I.T. doesn't really like music- hearing aids make everything a tinny, distorted mess. I've got records that sound like that anyway. He hardly ever makes a response to music, and I suppose in some ways that's affected me, as I always thought I'd pass some musical taste on to my son, even if he went on to reject it all in his teens. Anyway, to cut to the chase, the only time I can remember he's responded positively to a song I've played was in the car, a few years ago, driving over the North Yorkshire Moors on the way to Scarborough for a family holiday. I had a cassette in (a cassette!) and Iggy's The Passenger came on. An inexplicably good song, one riff repeated for two minutes, coke-numb vocal, two hooks but stupidly good. Out of nowhere, after the first la-la-la-la la-la-la-la bit, I.T. joined in, and sang it the next time it came around. I was moved. Thanks Iggy.

10 The Passenger.wma

More Audrey 6

Another track from house favourite Andrew Weatherall (Audrey Witherspoon, Lord Sabre). This one is under the Planet 4 Folk Quartet guise and was on the original Help (War Child) album back in the mid-90s. It's a very pleasant dubby, piano thing, just right for Saturday mornings. I picked up the cd in a local charity shop, so I guess charity has benefitted twice from the sale of this song but you're still getting it for free. So, if you should pass a collecting tin of any kind over the weekend, do the right thing and drop a quid in.

16 Message to Crommie.wma

Ramones 'Baby I Love You'

This is one of my favourite records. Baby I Love You, covered by The Ramones, produced by Phil Spector (vocals done at gunpoint some say...), they actually got on Top Of The Pops with this. The Ramones are three quarters gone, Phil Spector's in prison, the album this is off is much maligned, but the band, the song, the production and the delivery are spot on.

I've stuck this on at at least two weddings I've played records at, at the end of the night, and the sight of couples of all ages sashaying/careering around the dancefloor will live with me forever. Wonderful.

32 Baby I Love You.wma

Neu! 'Hallogallo'

About ten years ago I decided to get into krautrock, probably after reading someone going on about it in an interview. I then saw some obscure music tv programme where a group of musicians and journalists were sat around discussing it. The music playing in the background sounded impossibly good. So I went out and in a £20 spree (no internet then to go and find tasters for free) bought Can's Ege Bamyesi and The Faust Tapes. The Can lp was good, impressive, could see what they were talking about. The Faust Tapes was unfathomable. But neither sounded like what I'd heard on the telly. My interest waned, until at least the next payday, probably longer. Later on, I took the krautrock plunge again, and bought two Neu! lps, Neu! and Neu!2 and suddenly it all made sense. All that talk of 'motorik rhythms' and 'treated guitars' (both phrases sounded really good) were there, especially in the ten minute opening tracks of those albums and the third, Neu!75. Music to lose yourself in. Driving pulse beat, repetition, warm sounds. Fantastic.

I still can't make head or tail of The Faust Tapes mind.


Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night

Friday night is rockabilly night. Turn up your jeans, grease up your hair, roll up your sleeves, turn up the stereo...

...Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio.

03 Train Kept A-Rollin'.wma

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Beat The Devil 'Plea Bargain'

I'd forgotten about this until it popped up on my mp3 player on the way to work twice late last week. I think they came around in about 2007, benefitting from the post-White Stripes blues boom. Not that they sound anything like Jack and Meg. Beat The Devil are from Brooklyn, a trio (or sextet according to the photo) of drums, bass and a harmonium playing singer Shilpa. This is a kind of smokey punk-blues, and if those three words together put the seed of doubt into your mind, ignore it. This is a cool song, with a great vocal- listen to the way she sings 'so relax, I think you got a bug up your ass'. I dunno if they're still going, and their website only shows one 5 track mini-album to buy. You should definitely 'click, click, click' this one.

Plea Bargain.mp3
Edit- I've just checked- they split up. Shilpa Ray is now in Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers.

New Order 'Isolation'

More from New Order. This is from a cd that came out in 2004 called In Session, featuring the post-Gillian line up doing tracks for the Beeb. It's got several songs from 2001's Get Ready, versions of Paradise, Touched By The Hand Of God, Your Silent Face and Atmosphere, a superb housed up, piano-led version of True Faith and this, Isolation from Closer, Joy Division's second/final album. This is really good- Joy Division re-booted and re-tooled.

02 Isolation.wma

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Wonders Weatherall

Andrew Weatherall's remix of yesterday's David Holmes track.
Edit Post removed by Blogger, reposted without track.

Echo and the Bunnymen 'Ocean Rain' (alt. take)

Echo and the Bunnymen had it all- top songs, seriously good guitarist, bassist and drummer, cheekbones, lips, overcoats, ex-army gear, hairspray, quotes, attitude, mad but inspired management (Bill Drummond), gigs in strange places, magic and mystery. Four essential albums, numerous eps, singles and b-sides, one less essential album, a break-up, and reformation with diminishing returns. Last year's Ocean Rain shows suggested they've still got something, but in the 80s they had the lot. This is a different (earlier?) take of the title track from 'The Greatest Album Ever Made' (c. Ian McCulloch), and though it's got less drama than the version which finishes the album it's still worth a listen.


Monday 1 February 2010


Love this song. Off David Holmes' lp The Holy Pictures, featuring Holmes singing, great guitars & bass, and sounding very JAMC-ish. There was a good video which doesn't seem to be on Youtube anymore, featuring footage of the May '68 Paris riots and a good looking beatnik-hippy couple pulling each other. More importantly there is also a cracking Andrew Weatherall remix which it won't surprise you to learn I a) rate very highly and b) will post sometime soon. This is good enough though to have a slot of it's own.
Edit Post removed by Blogger, reposted without track.

Clinic 'Tomorrow'(DFA Remix)

Clinic, from Liverpool, have been around for about a decade, chucking out great little records. Velvets style organ, two chord stomp, and Ade Blackburn's nasal vocals. Their first single was the brilliantly titled IPC Sub-Editors Dictate Our Youth. They always make an effort with stage clothes- surgeon's outfits, Sgt Pepper jackets with surgeon's masks, Hawaiian shirts with surgeon's masks. When I stumbled across them soundchecking last year they were in their home clothes. Most strange. You like to think they'd wear the masks for a soundcheck. This is Tomorrow off last year's Do It! lp, bent into new shapes by James Murphy's DFA (LCD Soundsystem), came out on 10" vinyl. Very good.