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Monday 31 May 2010

Johnny Boy 'You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve'

7" single from Liverpool's Johnny Boy, from 2003. The album was a bit mixed and didn't set the world on fire, but this is excellent stuff, from it's opening (not Shangri La's, I've been corrected) Ronette's drum beat, to the deadpan vocals and shimmering guitars. Produced by James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers as well, which you wouldn't necessarily guess given it's lack of histrionics and squeeling guitars. It was also, I think, the Single Of The Month in the last edition of the much missed Jockey Slut magazine.

If you ask Mrs Swiss I am the generation who bought more shoes, so I guess I got what I deserved. A mountain of shoes spilling out from under our bed for one thing...

01 You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Dese.wma

Saturday 29 May 2010

Electronic 'Forbidden City'

When Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr left their respective bands and announced they were forming, gulp, a supergroup we all expected a holy union of The Smiths and New Order. Which was probably highly unrealistic. Instead we got some perfect pop, some of-the-time but soon dated dance-y stuff and then some guitary stuff which was overworked and uninspired. But they definitely had their moments.

Moment Number 1. Getting Away With It. Perfect pop, with the additional vocals and songwriting of Neil Tennant. Sumptuous.

Moment Number 2. Get The Message. In the spring of 1991 Get The Message seemed to offer a bright new shiny pop music. It pointed a new way forward, with the production of dance music and the talent of two post-punks/indie-kings. It also had a very ravey but good fun B-side, called Free Will. There was a long feature in the NME when they supported Depeche Mode in a stadium in L.A. despite not having finished writing or rehearsing the songs or the set.

Moment Number 3. The first album. Several great songs- Tighten Up (performed by Bad Lieutenant on their recent gigs), Feel Every Beat, Patience Of A Saint, Reality, one or two others, with admittedly a couple of fillers.

Moment Number 4. Live show at Cities In The Park, Tony Wilson's short lived festival based in Heaton Park. During their last song, just before the Mondays came on, we looked at the stage to see members of New Order, The Smiths and Pet Shop Boys playing together.

Moment Number 5. Disappointed. Good actually.

Moment Number 6. Forbidden City. This song was the lead single for the second album, released in 1996, called Raise The Pressure (mmm, dull title). The album had Johnny playing guitar again, and was co-written by Karl Bartos of Kraftwerk, but this time it all added up to less than the sum of the parts. Too many later period New Order B-sides/album track type stuff, some jangle but little fizz.

This song though was a beauty and is still a joy- perfect guitar pop music, with a typical but outstanding Bernard lyric and vocal about being trapped and wanting to break away, cool-as production, and wonderful guitars. Check out the controlled feedback during the guitar solo. Absolute perfection. If only the rest of the album had matched it. After this there was a slow decline to a third album, appearences on TFI Friday and so on, but briefly and occasionally they burned very brightly.

01 Forbidden City.wma

Friday 28 May 2010

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 14

Bagging Area's Friday night rockabilly pie this Bank Holiday Weekend comes courtesy of Edwin Bruce, with a slice of country in there beneath it's crust. He's best known, apparently, for Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys, but he's here tonight with his Rock Boppin' Baby. Hit it Edwin...

Rock Boppin' Baby.mp3

Mogwai 'The Sun Smells Too Loud'

One of the best tracks I've heard over the last couple of years is this, The Sun Smells Too Loud, off Mogwai's Hawk Is Howling lp from 2008. I bought Young Team when it came out way back in 1997 featuring the mighty Mogwai Fear Satan, and kind of stayed in touch with them over the years, but wouldn't pretend to be an all out fan. At some point last year house favourite and sponsor Mr Andrew Weatherall finished one of his 6 Mix shows with this song, and it took the top of my head off. Beautifully controlled guitar playing, huge tom tom drums, rising and falling melodies, intense, exciting, sad yet euphoric blah blah blah. Describing music is really hard sometimes. A seriously great record, and proof that you don't need vocals or lyrics to make emotional connections in music. Top song name too.

05 The Sun Smells Too Loud.wma

Thursday 27 May 2010

Echolocation 'Another Thing'

Over the last few years I've spent many weekends in Leicester, visiting Mrs Swiss's sister, her husband and their daughter. It turns out Leicester has a decent live music scene, with several good venues (although indie circuit legend The Charlotte has shut now I believe), and we've seen plenty of good bands. Black Carrot from Market Harborough for one, and this lot Echolocation for another. They've just released a new album (their second I think) which turned up in the post yesterday (oooh, freebie, hark at me). I've met them a couple of times before or after gigs, and they seem like a nice bunch of chaps. Even the bassist.

Plenty of instruments on show here, guitars, keys, horns, cello, they seem to have added another member each time I've seen them. This song Another Thing is pretty up-front and direct, featuring a killer guitar riff, a little attitude and frontman Pete's Mark E. Smith-esque delivery. See what you think.

another thing.wma

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Del Shannon 'Gemini' Pilooski Re-edit

Back at the start of Bagging Area I featured the original version of this, Del Shannon's Gemini, a lost baroque/psyche/pop classic from 1968. A song in praise of the elusive Gemini, 'always heavy on my mind, blue eyes', in the way those girls always seem to have been in the late 60s. This is French wonderkid Pilooski's re-edited version and it's arguably better than Del's- faster, toughened up, dance floor drums, cut-up vox in parts, stretched out, but retaining Del's otherness and great vocal. Superb.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

The Charlatans 'Sproston Green'

I really like this and I don't think it's entirely nostalgia. Sproston Green was the mini-epic that closed their first album, Some Friendly (recently re-mastered, with extra tracks. And a tacky badge probably). It closed their gigs in 1989 as well, and was a swirl of Hammond organ, guitars and Tim Burgess's ode to a girl/place in leafy Cheshire, and it sounds quaint but great twenty years on. Sounded cool live too, like a little brother of I Am The Resurrection. That's not meant to sound snide.

You wouldn't have put much money on them still being around two decades later, and as well as being 'survivors', the press had them tagged as 'the unluckiest band in Britain'- they shed guitarist Jon, temporarily lost the bassist Martin to depression, lost the Hammond player Rob permanently to a car crash, and sued their manager for missing money. Then Tim decided to move to L.A. They also sometimes seemed a bit, well, lightweight. In the early-to-mid nineties whenever I heard a new song by them I'd think 'that sounds OK, next time they'll be great'. I'm not sure it happened. They got caught up in Britpop, and made Tellin' Stories, which had some strong songs and good vocals but lost the naive psyche-organ led charm of their earlier stuff. But I came to praise them not bury them, and this is good 'un.

The Charlatans_01_10_Sproston Green (re-mastered).mp3

Monday 24 May 2010

Young Disciples 'Apparently Nothin' '

Acid Jazz seemed really good briefly, a long time ago. The main movers were well dressed and had good record collections, but as some wag said 'Too much jazz, not enough acid'. This single, from 1991, is the best song that came out of the whole scene- Young Disciples' Apparently Nothin', featuring the vocals of Carleen Anderson, and the music of Femi Williams and Marco Nelson.

Apparently Nothin'.mp3

Sunday 23 May 2010

The Rolling Stones 'Memo From Turner'

I thought I was done with The Rolling Stones. I listened to them loads years ago, mainly the 1968-1972 so-called 'classic' albums, amd have had times where I've loved the mid 60s stuff, but I got bored with them a long time ago. Besides, they havn't, as everyone knows, done anything of consequence for decades, and being a Stones fan seems a bit like being a fan of Coca Cola, or Microsoft, or Tesco- a global brand making money first, last and always.

However the recent re-release of Exile On Main Street woke the beast, and when I was in the supermarket last week I gave in and bought the cd. My double vinyl's pretty knackered anyway. I've played it all weekend, it's worked well with this heat we've been having, and it's so good- dirty, distorted, grungy, funky, bluesy, and all those things serious rock critics say about it.

This is Memo From Turner, from the film Performance. Credited to The Stones at the time, it's actually Jagger and Ry Cooder, Keef staying away allegedly due to Keef's then girlfriend Anita romping with Mick on the filmset. Top track this, all woozy slide guitar and Mick sneering about leather boys, Spanish speaking gentlemen called Kurt and daughter's who lick policemen's buttons clean.


Saturday 22 May 2010

The Mighty Wah! 'Talkin’ Blues' (The Story Of The Blues Pt. 2)

I was never into The Mighty Wah!, Wah!, Wah! Heat, or any of the other names for Pete Wylie's ego during the 1980s and into the 90s, but shifted recently. I played records at a wedding (friends of friends, not doing that again, stress and hassle), and the groom insisted I played The Story Of The Blues. Once it was on I realised it was better than I thought. A few weeks back I found a stash of Wah! 7" singles in Oxfam in Altrincham and enjoyed most of them.

This is off the album A Word To The Wiseguy, much of which is Pete Wylie's heart-felt response to the effects of Thatcherism on Liverpool. It's a sprawling album, with some dated production, but some of it stands up today. This version of The Story Of The Blues comes up near the end, the horns from the single version looped while Wylie does some talking over the top, including quoting Sal Paradise from Kerouac's On The Road, and maybe it shouldn't work, but Wylie gets away with it.

4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download The Mighty Wah!_15_Talkin’ Blues (The Story Of The Blues Pt. 2).mp3

Friday 21 May 2010

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 13

The sun's over the yardarm, the crickets are chirping, the railroad train's passing by... no actually that'll be the Metrolink, and I'm not sure they're crickets, but even so, Johnny Carroll and his Hot Rocks want to get on with those Wild, Wild Women. And so say all of us...

4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download Wild Wild Women.mp3

A Certain Ratio 'Shack Up'

Archetypal and brilliant skittery, sparse, northern white post-punk-funk from 1980. Shack Up, a cover of the funk band Banbarra's 1975 single, was A Certain Ratio's third single and the first on Factory Benelux (FBN1 facspotters). When Factory compiled ACR's early singles and e.p. tracks in 1986 they produced a design classic- the album The Old And The New had Shack Up as an extra 7" single, with the single's sleeve glued to the front of the album sleeve. I've just realised I've been listening to this song for nearly two and a half decades. Not non-stop obviously, that'd be daft.


Thursday 20 May 2010

Beak> 'I Know'

I got a track by these towards the end of last year, liked it and then forgot all about it until a friend of mine saw them live recently. Beak> are Portishead mainman Geoff Barrow's other band. A three piece specialising in krauty grooves, with Barrow on drums. I wasn't totally knocked out by last year's Portishead album- easy to admire but more difficult to love, but the krautrock and Silver Apples influences were good. This is more live sounding and doesn't sound like Portishead at all, more on the lines of Holy Fuck, that kind of thing.

Incidentally, Beak> were supporting Chris Cunningham, the Aphex Twin etc video man, who put together a visual and sound montage/performance, with plenty of material of 'an adult nature' and more besides. Various sounds triggered various images and so on. According to CJ, my friend who went as part of a foursome, it was pretty extreme, the females in the party were less than impressed, and the whole night was quite uncomfortable. Which was possibly the whole point. Although he did say Beak> were very good.

4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download I Know.mp3

Monkey Mafia 'As Long As I Can See The Light' (Adrian Sherwood Dub Lighting)

Another Adrian Sherwood remix of an 90s dance act for you, following earlier posts featuring his dub remixes of Primal Scream and Death In Vegas, both a few months back. This is the dub version of As Long As I Can See The Light by Jon Carter's Monkey Mafia, who were a bit big beat, but this, and the original A-side, are chilled out loveliness. It's a cover of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song (actually the second cover of theirs I've posted, the other was by Minutemen, Have You Ever Seen The Rain?). This is spacey, dubby, features some really cool melodica, man, and does everything you'd want it to.

As Long As I Can See The Light (Adrian Sherwood Dub Lighting).mp3

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Andrew Weatherall Limited Edition Birthday Cake

Just what do you get 40 year old man for his birthday? How about a very rare, highly sought after, limited edition, white label, Victorian garb and moustache wearing Andrew Weatherall birthday cake. Sorted.

Thank you Mrs Swiss, I.T. and especially 6 year old E.T, whose idea this was.

Happy 40th Birthday To Me & The Fall 'Bill Is Dead'

Today is my 40th birthday. I don't know how this has happened. One day I was 19/23/28/31 etc and suddenly I am 40.

My favourite Fall song. It seems to sum things up.

4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download Bill_Is_Dead.mp3

Tuesday 18 May 2010

New Order 'Temptation' Live 1981

As a companion to today's earlier post marking the 30th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis, here's a track that shows New Order beginning to emerge from the shadow, and the direction they were heading in. Temptation, arguably their greatest song, in an stunning early live version with different lyrics played at the Ukrainian National Home in New York on the 19th of November 1981. You can get the whole gig on DVD (Taras Shevchenko), featuring the exact moment when rock met dance and dance won (Everything's Gone Green). The above photo is from the gig. The DVD comes with their 1998 Reading Festival appearence and the two gigs couldn't be more different- in New York they seem to be playing for themselves, barely acknowledging the audience or each other, grappling with technology and sound, and the aftermath of Joy Division. 1998 is a virtual greatest hits set, on a sunny day in front of a massive festival audience, the band clearly having a great time. Bernard screams 'Rock the fuckin' house' in the middle of one song. Both performances are great, but very different.

4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download 09 - Temptation.mp3

John Squire 'Penguin Books Decades' Covers

These are nice, and came out last month. I found them through the very good Heavenly Recordings website. Penguin Books commissioned various artists to redesign the covers of five books from each decade from the 1950s through to the 1980s. Former Stone Rose John Squire got the 1980s, and here are three of the results. Zandra Rhodes got the 1970s, Peter Blake the 50s and Allen Jones the 60s. Interesting and well worth hunting copies down I'd say. No Pollacking or tins of Dulux evident though.

Joy Division 'Digital'

Today, the 18th of May, is the 30th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis. I'm sure I won't be the only blogger to mark this occasion. Ian Curtis hung himself the day before my 10th birthday, not that I knew that at the time, but ever since I became aware of them (several of their songs on a mixtape back in the mid 1980s, thanks D.J.) I've always remembered the date. Joy Division have become one of the most talked about, written about, filmed and interviewed bands in recent years. The late, great Anthony H. Wilson called them 'the last true story in rock 'n' roll', which is a good line, but I'm not going to debate whether it's true or not. They are what they were- the young men, the weight on the shoulders. Which is a good, doomy line, but Bernard, Steven and Hooky all dispute it, saying that though the music was serious being in the band was a good laugh, and conversely in New Order it was the other way round.

This song, Digital, was recorded in the band's first session with the equally late and great Martin Hannett and was their first release, on the A Factory Sample e.p. It was also, in one of those slightly spooky coincidences, the last song they ever performed at a gig at Birmingham University on May the 2nd 1980. 16 days later Ian died. New Order would carry on, taking the title of this song and running with it.

4shared.com - music and mp3 sharing - download 01 Digital.wma

Monday 17 May 2010

Jake Slazenger 'ERP'

Mike Paradinas was Jake Slazenger, as well as U-Ziq, and various other pseudonyms. Some of his stuff is great and some I don't enjoy that much. This track ERP and at least one other, Megaphonk, were the stand-outs from an all round good album back in 1995 called Makes A Racket. Massive sounding analogue synthlines, huge vintage drums and basslines, and impossibly funky tracks with whistleable tunes. ERP and Megaphonk have been road tested round these parts, and find favour with family members of all ages. Top stuff. He also came up with one of the best album titles of the 90s (although the album itself isn't as good as Makes A Racket)-Das Ist Ein Groovey Beat, Ja.

4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download ERP.mp3

Sunday 16 May 2010

Plaid 'Scoobs in Columbia'

This utterly wonderful and still fresh sounding, funky, and latin-esque (as in Latin America not the dead Roman language) record was released all the way back in 1992, and hasn't dated a jot. Plaid were Andy Turner and Ed Handley, previously known as The Black Dog, and were Warp Records mainstays, still contributing to it as late as last year, when Warp did that very expensive box set. This record is a joy. It cropped up on that David Holmes Essential mix, and I've got a feeling it was on an advert too- was it that Brazil Nike one at one of the World Cup's? Or did I imagine that?

4shared.com - music and mp3 sharing - download 09 Scoobs in Columbia.wma

Andrew Weatherall 'Fail We May, Dub We Must'

I'm not sure how much more Weatherall I can, or should, post, but here's one more for the road. This is the dub remix of Fail We May, Sail We Must from last year's outstanding A Pox On The Pioneers album. If you havn't got the album, you really should get it. That moustache is getting better and better.

4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download Fail We May, Dub We Must.mp3

52 Minutes 11 Seconds

I was in a race with the man in the picture today. He won. To be fair he set off earlier. I've done the Great Manchester 10k Run, in 52 mins and 11 seconds, finishing 7485 out of 36000, so I'm feeling pretty good about it, but my feet and calves are wrecking. Most importantly, I've raised over £500 for The MPS Society. Thanks to those readers who generously sponsored me. Back with the music later.

Saturday 15 May 2010

Penguin Cafe Orchestra 'Music For A Found Harmonium'

Some lovely soothing instrumental sounds, that became a Balaeric classic, finding it's way on to the first Cafe Del Mar compilation album due to being played by legendary DJ Alfredo. The Cafe Del Mar series ran out of steam and became bland branding very quickly but Volume 1 was good.

4shared.com - music and mp3 sharing - download 01 Music for a Found Harmonium.wma

Music Free Post

I'm still here. I've been having problems with Mediafire all day- can't get it to upload, keeps failing, and I'm still not sure if it's me or them. It was working fine up until Thursday night. Ho hum. Also had a slightly debillitating hangover today, so havn't been in the mood for grappling with IT related issues. Back as soon as it's sorted.

Friday 14 May 2010

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 12

It's Friday night and Elroy Dietzel and The Rhythm Bandits want your Rock 'n' Bones. Elroy was fresh from the Texabilly scene of the mid-1950s, and this single hit regionally in 1957. The Rhythm Bandits disintegrated and Elroy's career seemed over by 1959, so he joined the army, leaving us this slice of rockabilly to soundtrack our Friday quiff and flick knife sessions. Git it on.


Thursday 13 May 2010

The Ballistic Brothers 'Peckings'

The Ballistic Brothers were a post-Acid House supergroup of sorts, made up of Ashley Beedle, Rocky and Diesel, and Nuphonics David Hill, specialising in 'jazz influenced, down-tempo, funky electronica music' (quote from Wiki, doesn't sound too appealing put like that does it?).

This is Peckings, tribute a London reggae record shop. The track is a blast, sounding like it could have come out of Jamaica's Studio 1 in the late 60s rather than Shepherd's Bush in the mid 1990s. Proper skanking action.


Wednesday 12 May 2010

The Style Council 'Headstart For Happiness'

I find it really hard to pass a charity shop without going and having a rummage through their used vinyl. Sometimes there's nothing, sometimes you find some real surprises and sometimes they turn up trumps. With the success of ebay, everyone who had the time and the patience realised they could sell their old vinyl, even if it was just for pennies. The charity shops, especially Oxfam, wised up and set up specialist branches selling books and records, at second hand record shop prices, with hand-written labels saying why it was good/rare. The stock and supply of vinyl in the ordinary, suburban charity shops seems to be dwindling as a result. I suppose also there's a limited ammount of old records to go around. That Barry Gibb and Barbara Streisand album's always there, you can rely on finding Terence Trent Darby's first album gathering dust and sleeve damage, and Phil Collins is an ever-present.

Recently I realised that I've been buying vinyl in the charity shops that either I don't really want or have already got. I bought a stack of Wah! 7" singles a couple of months ago, who I was never really into, although they've grown on me. The buying duplicates thing has led me to having, off the top of my head, three copies of Rip It Up by Orange Juice (all in picture bags), two extra copies of Blue Monday (sadly not with the die-cut sleeve), 7" and 12"versions of Love Missile F1-11 by Sigue Sigue Sputnik, two 12" Beatmasters singles (the one with Betty Boo), S'Express's Theme several times, and two copies of Cafe Blue by The Style Council (who are charity shop repeat offenders). I'm sure there are others but I can't be bothered going to check. I hate the thought of these little nuggets of pop culture going unsold, unloved, scratched, sleeves knackered and ending up in landfill. I suppose I'm denying someone else the chance of owning Rip It Up but I can't take the chance, so home it comes, causing storage and space problems, but safe and loved.

Anyway, back to The Style Council, who's records frequently crop up in the charity shops. They must have been produced in their millions, and dumped in similar quantities, and I've said it before but early Style Council is as good as anything else Mr Weller has done (some examples-Speak Like A Child, Solid Bond In Your Heart, Shout To The Top, Walls Come Tumbling Down), including this one. This is off Cafe Blue, and is a cracking little upbeat pop song, wearing it's Motown and Northern Soul influences proudly, and featuring great twin vocals from Paul Weller and Dee C. Lee. Get down your local high street and see if you can find a copy.

Headstart For Happiness.mp3

The Man From Delmonte 'My Love Is Like A Gift You Cant Return'

It seems that we're back under the rule of the Tories, after 13 years.

Let's try to shake off that big black cloud with some super-jangly indie-pop from 1989, The Man From Delmonte with My Love Is Like A Gift You Can't Return, one of the jauntiest and sunniest records ever commited to vinyl (or cassette more likely), very good stuff of it's kind.

That cloud hasn't gone away has it? As a friend texted me last night, the nightmare begins.

The Man From Delmonte - My Love Is Like A Gift You Cant Return.mp3

Tuesday 11 May 2010

New Order 'Run 2' Extended Version

Technique is perhaps the best New Order album, nine tracks of sunshine pop with the perfect mix of rock and dance. The lp was supposedly/supposed to be recorded in Ibiza, but by the band's own admission they got distracted and didn't get too much done. Stephen Morris claimed all they came home with was 'some drum tracks and a guitar solo' so they decamped after the summer in Ibiza to finish/start the album at Peter Gabriel's expensive Real World studio. And people wonder why Factory went bust.

Run was the third single off Technique, and is peak period New Order. It was remixed by Scott Litt, who chopped out an instrumental part and replaced it with a another chorus. It was then released as Run 2, in a very nice Peter Saville Bold washing powder inspired sleeve, and limited to 20,000 copies. It's relatively rare and if you see it for under a fiver you should probably buy it. The version here is the 5 minutes 22 seconds extended version, which sounds a bit like it was extended for the sake of it, but is interesting enough to the New Order collectors amongst us.

Incidentally this was the song that led John Denver to sue New Order, claiming that it was too similar to his Leaving On A Jet Plane. They settled out of court and Denver has had a co-writing credit on subsequent compilations Run has appeared on. It's hard to believe this was anything other than coincidental plagiarism but it's nice to think of Bernard, Hooky, Stephen and Gillian suffering from writer's block in the studio and someone saying 'Why don't we just rip off John Denver? Who's gonna notice?'


Monday 10 May 2010

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 'Satan Said Dance'

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah- pioneers of the long and stupid band name- released their debut album in 2005, which had equally long and stupid song titles like By The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth and Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood. It was a good album, that reached it's initial audience through the internet and being self-financed and self-released, and also showed the early influence of sites like (worthy and indier-than-thou ) Pitchfork, with an off-kilter, dance edged sound. It also seemed to take in the New York post-punk, Talking Heads thing too, especially singer Alec Ounsworth's David Byrne-esque vocals. Their second album Some Loud Thunder followed in 2007, with even worse cover artwork than the first (which took some doing), had no silly long song titles, and to these ears, was generally not as good. Apart from this song, the mighty Satan Said Dance, a modern take on post-punk-funk that understands the power of the bassline, strange and chaotic noises and a simple but brilliant chorus. And you could definitely dance to it.

05 Satan Said Dance.wma

Sunday 9 May 2010

Half Man Half Biscuit 'National Shite Day'

Epic closer to the last Half Man Half Biscuit album CSI:Ambleside, opening with a crashing guitar riff and drums and then...

'Pulling the ice-axe from my leg I staggered on,
Spindrift stinging my remaining eye'

Needless to say things don't get any better over the next 6 minutes, but lyrically this is a high point of western 21st century culture, concerning bus replacement services, Stockard Channing, disgruntled commuters, junior employees, pedestrian etiquette ('sidle out of the store gingerly, embrace the margin'), fat kids with sausage rolls, poor sods conducting polls, a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets, the Mugabe government, the children of the Calcutta railways, Primark FM, Stringy Bob, rubber-faced irritant Phil Cool, a dead Sanderling, keyboard players, The Doors, Floyd, homeless dogs, and Barry Herpes. All this on his birthday, coincidentally National Shite Day. No wonder by the song's conclusion Nigel Blackwell feels 'touched by the wings of something dark'.

If you don't know Half Man Half Biscuit, or havn't heard anything since The Trumpton Riots, or have them down as some kind of novelty, then click this one and dig in. It's perfect in every way, including the heroically crap drum roll on the last chorus.

Additionally, can I just say this song is not connected to our failure to win the league today- I never expected Chelsea to lose or draw.


Luna 'Sweet Child O' Mine'

After Galaxie 500 split Dean Wareham formed Luna, who at some point recorded this version of Sweet Child O'Mine. Yup, that Sweet Child O'Mine.


Galaxie 500 'Fourth of July'

Starting up here we left off yesterday with some quality indie rock, fuzzy guitars and lo-fi drums, but this time with Galaxie 500, slightly more sensitive than The Mary Chain. This is Fourth Of July, from their second album This Is Our Music, and is a step on from the fragile sounds of their first lp, On Fire. It starts off our Sunday with the line 'I wrote a poem on a dog biscuit, and the dog refused to loook at it, so I got drunk and looked at the Empire State Building, it was no bigger than a nickel'.

Saturday 8 May 2010

Lazycame (William Reid) 'K To Be Lost'

William Reid split up The Jesus And Mary Chain live on stage in America in 1998. Given the nature of the brother's relationship and their ongoing love affair with feedback and booze, it's remarkable they lasted that long really. I couldn't do 15 years in a band, drunk and whatever else, with earsplitting volume night after night with any of my brothers without blood being spilt. William retreated into a solo project called Lazycame, releasing an album called Finbegin and a couple of singles. The album was passed on by Alan McGee, partly because William wanted the cover to feature a picture of himself with a hard-on. McGee must have said no partly because of the music though. It's the most unfocussed, patchy, lo-fi, scatty, scratchy, irritating, and almost unlistenable records I've got or ever heard. At times you want to shout at the stereo 'Fer fuck's sake man, tune the guitar and play a song'. It goes on for ages, stopping and starting, out-of-tune, drifting in and out. One man with a tape recorder, stoned, pressing record, then forgetting what he's supposed to be doing. I quite like it. Someone at Amazon says 'It's not for everyone'- it's probably really not for anyone.

However William could still get it together when he wanted to. This song K To Be Lost (as in, it's OK to be lost, kind of a mission statement) is a cracker, so good it turned up in slightly more polished form on the Sister Vanilla album. It's still gorgeously lo-fi, with typical guitars, cheap drum machine and loopy keyboards, but he pulls it all together. I've just read that last sentence back- I mean it all in a good way.

When they reformed a couple of years back, some wag suggested they had to do it due to Jim's battle with his hairline and William's battle with his waistline. They carried it off though- shades and black clothes can do wonders for the middle aged indie rockstar.

k to be lost.mp3

Jim Reid 'Dead End Kids'

Bagging Area featured Sister Vanilla, Jim and William Reid's sister Linda's band a short while back, so I thought I'd post this solo single by Jim from 2006. It's JAMC-style scuzzy indie rock, a three chord Velvet's riff and 'ooooh' backing vox but Jim carries it off with a bit of gutter panache ('It's just like a grape in a bottle, it's wine today, it's piss tomorrow) and a bit of cliche ('I'm a rock 'n' roll amputation'). Jim did some pretty good covers around this time too- If You Gotta Go (by The Byrds and Dylan, can't remember which one wrote it) and an electronic version of The Saints I'm Stranded, which was excellent. Suppose to complete this post-JAMC mini-series I'll have to look for something postable by William's solo project Lazycame now, something so ramshackle even Alan McGee refused to put it out.

01 Dead End Kids.wma

Beth Orton 'Bobby Gentry'

Beth Orton, the comedown queen. I've got bits and bobs by her-Trailor Park because of the Weatherall productions and She Cries Your Name, some songs she did with Johnny Marr, the Two Lone Swordsmen remixes, and The Other Side Of Daybreak, an album of off-cuts, remixes and extras from Daybreak. This was on it and it's stunning. Starts out with lovely acoustic guitar, great husky vocals, and at the first chorus these beautiful swooping strings come in, and stay throughout the next 4 minutes. It also contains a brilliant line in the second verse- 'Collecting dead rainbows from puddles and mires, and taking them home to warm by the fire', which is a bit hippyish but hits me every time. No idea why it's called Bobby Gentry but it adds to the overall brilliance of this track.

05 Bobby Gentry.wma

The Special AKA 'What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend'

I can't get this out of my head at the moment- superb piece of left of centre pop music. After Terry, Neville and Lynval left The Specials it should have been game over, but Jerry Dammers soldiered on to make the In The Studio album, which reportedly drove everyone left in the band, and those new to the band, crackers. It took ages to record, Jerry's perfectionism in overdrive, people coming and going but contains some belting tunes, not least this one and the life-affirming joy that is Free Nelson Mandela. This song is a belter, showing Dammers sense of humour was intact, and features some amazing horn playing by Rico. There's a very funny video as well, with Jerry as an alien turning up in a bar, talking to a sailor while eyeing his girl, as The Jazz Defektors spiral and pirouette on the club's dancefloor. This is tip-top stuff- 'Your girlfriend has only got one fault, that's you'.

17 What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend [Album Version].wma

Friday 7 May 2010

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 11

Tonight's rockabilly is a little bit doo-wop, featuring The Cheers 1955 hit single Black Denim Trousers (And Motorcycle Boots), a tale of a 'black clad rebel who plays by his own rules' (to quote Lisa Simpson). It's a blast from start to finish, and doesn't end well for our tattooed, never washing his face, never combing his hair hero, as he attempts to outrun a train, in his black leather jacket with an eagle on the back. Mary Lou told him not to go that night, but she and everyone else knew he loved that doggone motorcycle best. When the smoke clears will they ever find the body of the terror of highway 101?


Black Denim Trousers (& Motorcycle Boots).mp3

A Reader Request! Happy Mondays 'Tokoloshe Man'

On the rare occasions when I'm allowed to dj to a (small) room of adults, I get a bit fed up when people ask for requests. 'I'm playing the records', I think, 'I'm inflicting my taste on you, do you go to an art gallery and make requests? Or a gig? Oh, OK'. Miserable so-and-so, arn't I? But on Bagging Area it's different- it's feedback, and feedback is good. Apart from when you hit Send before thinking things through and insult people. Further apologies to Trubshaw, who I needlessly and thoughtlessly called something not very nice yesterday. Anyhow, following this morning's John Kongos post a man called Dirk requested Tokoloshe Man, not the Kongos original but Happy Mondays cover version. So here it is. Maracas at the ready Dirk.

09 Tokoloshe Man.wma

John Kongos 'He's Gonna Step On You Again'

Bit of a follow up to yesterday's Manchester theme this. If ever a cult band and a mass audience met as one it was when Happy Mondays released Step On. The indie/dance scene had already had WFL and Hallelujah from them but Step On had crossover hit written all over it, in huge marker pen letters. The video, on top of a hotel, with Shaun and Bez looking like a modern day Mick 'n' Keef, climbing all over a giant E. The wolf-whistles at the start, the Twistin' My Melons and Call The Cops shouts, the funky guitar riff, that drum beat.

So it came as a bit of a surprise when we learnt, probably via the NME, that it was a cover. South African John Kongos wrote and preformed the original (and also another Mondays' song Tokoloshe Man). In those pre-internet and refusing to buy compact disc days I didn't hear the original until much later when I found a 7" copy at a record fair. It's a cracker as well- fading-in big tribal drumming, that same funky guitar riff, great vocals with half the emphasis different from Shaun's vocals, which throws you out the first time you hear it. Great record.

hes gonna step on you again.mp3

Thursday 6 May 2010

The High 'Box Set Go'

Something reminded me of this song recently, can't remember what, but I listened to it again and enjoyed it. The Manchester scene (I hate the Madchester word, and baggy's even worse) was good fun and felt pretty exciting at the time, even if the records havn't added up to much in the long term. Aside from the obvious (Roses and Mondays), most of the bands managed a couple of good songs but couldn't sustain it. Don't know if Northside count in that or not. On the plus side it was surely the last time British bands were inspired equally by white guitar music and black dance music, and used those influences to came up with something else. They were forward looking generally, not totally retro and revivalist (like Britpop, and the post-Strokes bands).

This band featured Andy Couzens (elbowed out of The Roses), and produced some sparkling guitar pop- this song, also Up And Down, Take Your Time, and a pretty good debut album. Box Set Go was also one of the last Martin Hannett production jobs before his death. After the album they lost their way. The singer John Matthews suffered a drug induced breakdown, and the lovely follow up single (More...) got them into trouble for chart rigging. This is all from memory, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. London Records dropped them in 1993 after a disastrous second album. This, though, still sounds good.


Echo And The Bunnymen 'Angels and Devils'

The tracks I've posted over the last few days have received record low downloads for this blog, which is interesting (previous winners- Billy Childish and Crispy Ambulance). Maybe you've all got them, or don't like them, or got turned off by the political content. If so, fair enough. We've just queued to vote, which we've never had to do before, so looks like it could be a high turnout, so obviously people are interested in the election, which is a good thing. But enough of that...

This is one of the 1980's finest b-sides from a time when bands saw b-sides as something important. Released as the flip to Silver (off Ocean Rain) it's a real late period Bunnymen highpoint. Great Mo Tucker drumming, Will Sergeant's improvised in the studio guitar lines, and great lyrics and vocals from Mac about endings, things falling apart, angels and devils and Jesus. 'Call it a day' it begins, and he sounds like he's ready to. Afterwards Bill Drummond quit as manager, Pete de Freitas went awol, then returned, and they limped on to make another lp, but this song seems to predict Mac's isolation from the others and the inevitable split. In glorious Bunnymen style.

11 Angels and Devils [#].wma

Election Special Number 3

'This is a public service announcement.... with guitars!'

Just about as good a way to start a song, or blog posting, as any.

Neil Kinnock, in 1983, speaking about the re-election of Margaret Thatcher:

'I warn you that you will have pain- when healing and relief depend upon payment. I warn you that you will have ignorance-when talents and wit are wasted, and learning is a privilege and not a right. I warn you that you will have poverty- when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by government. I warn you will be cold when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don't notice and the poor can't afford. I warn you not to expect work... I warn you that you will be quiet-when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient. If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.'

Substitute Thatcher for Cameron.

Joe Strummer 'Know Your Rights'

'You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a crime!
Unless it was done by a
Policeman or an aristocrat

You have the right to food money
Providing of course you
Don't mind a little
Humiliation, investigation
And if you cross your fingers

You have the right to free speech
As long as you're not
Dumb enough to actually try it

Know your rights
These are your rights

It has been suggested in some quarters
That this is not enough
Get off the streets

Know your rights'

This song led to a two hour stand up row in the studio between Mick and Paul about the level of the bass, which Mick admitted years later no-one would ever notice.

I'm not suggesting that the Labour Government have been that good- civil liberty campaigners argue we've got fewer rights and more surveillance than most people in many countries around the world, rights curtailed and surveillance introduced by a Labour government. One million people protested against going to war in Iraq and they did it anyway. I'm not suggesting Joe would have even considered voting for Gordon Brown. Maybe he'd be right. But we've got the right to vote, so let's get out there and do it.

01 Know Your Rights.wma

Wednesday 5 May 2010

The Poets 'Baby Don't You Do It'

Bagging Area hasn't featured anything from the garage for a while so here is a great slice of 60s beat boom pop, rough edged and pumped up, with thumping drums, snarly guitars and an impassioned vocal, from 'Scotland's Number 1 Group'. They only recorded 6 singles, including this b-side, and the equally great a-sides Now We're Thru and That's The Way It's Got To Be.

Election Special Number 2

Morrissey divides opinion amongst music lovers much of the time, and some of his interviews and announcements over the years have been a bit dismaying. However, The Smiths were a massive band for me, and some of his solo career has held up well, while other bits have held up not so well, to put it mildly. This is a great song for two reasons- 1) It's a fantastic slab of glam rock guitars and 2) there's a slew of good lines in it, not least

'We won't vote Conservative
Because we never have'

He follows that one up with 'London is dead, London is dead', but it's the anti-Tory bit we're interested in here. Advice worth following I think.
Check the t-shirt as well. Ooh ahh.

Election Special Number 1

Billy Bragg's bitter sweet tale Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards seems like it's from another time. Peppered with mid-to-late 80s references- The Soviet Union, activism, jumble sales and pamphlets, blacklists, Top Of The Pops and fanzines writers- and earlier political touchstones (Jack and Jacqueline's Camelot, Robert Oppenheimer, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro). It still holds up despite it's quaintness and antiquaintedness. After a gig someone's stacking chairs and mopping up spilt beer while the van waits outside, and at the end 'the revolution's only a t-shirt away'. And here we are, 2010, 3 successive terms of Labour governments, on-going foreign policy disasters, poor policy decisions in education and elsewhere, and dodgy accounts and dodgy MPs (from all the parties). Now it's the Liberals who are the plucky, media friendly underdogs, and the Tories who are the supposed common-touch, government-in-waiting. God help us all. None of them will say anything about immigration other than 'we want it capped'. Howabout someone announcing that immigration is actually a good thing, and listing the ways this country has benefitted from immigration, and other cultures?

Like Drew over at Across The Kitchen Table, I campaigned for Labour in the late 80s and early 90s. I handed out leaflets, knocked on doors, went on the marches. At 4 a.m. on election night in May 1997 I danced in the car-park of The Conservative Club. And it still seems like we're still waiting for the great leap forward but I suspect that on Thursday I'll put my X next to the Labour candidates name. The Liberals don't carry much weight, either round here or in their manifesto, and they're right to demand reforming the electoral system, but I'll still end up voting Labour 'with a peg on my nose'. I can't see that there's any other choice. 'In a perfect world we'd all sing in tune' says Billy in this song, 'But this is reality so give me some room, Waiting for the great leap forward'. See? Still rings true.

20 Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards.wma

Tuesday 4 May 2010

The Stone Roses versus Lily Allen 'Water Lily'

Recent posts here at Bagging Area on both Lily Allen (with Mick Jones) and The Stone Roses reminded me of this- a mash-up of The Roses' Waterfall and Lily's LDN. Loads of bloggers seem to trail mash-ups with 'I don't like many of these new-fangled mash-ups, but this one's good...' , and I'm not going to stray far from that. This was done by a DJ from Blackburn called Sam Flanagan and works pretty well, depending on how much you like either or both of the mashees involved. I think it's good although I'm sure some Roses fans will see it as sacrilege, but then many of them have stood through Ian Brown mangling Roses songs at gigs, so what do they know?

water lily.mp3

New Order 'Regret' (Sabres Fast 'N' Throb)

New Order, as a rule, havn't been best served by remixes, some of which are a bit bland and some are totally shocking. When they returned in 1993, with Factory collapsing all around them, they blazed back in with one of their poppiest and best singles, Regret. Andrew Weatherall's Sabres Of Paradise provided two remixes which are the exceptions that prove the New Order remix rule. Both the Slo' n' Lo' and Fast 'n' Throb versions are from the top drawer. Slo' n Lo' strips Regret back and slows it down for a brilliant dub version, but that's not what you're getting here. This is the almost 13 minutes of Fast 'n' Throb.

This is a not-too-distant cousin of Sabres' own Smokebelch, similar production and shared instruments. It's got that Sabres light-switch production style -nothing fades in or out, it's all done with a flick of the switch, instruments dropping in and out suddenly, being brought back in minutes later. It's also, as the remix name says, pretty fast, galloping along, the hi-hats tsk-tsk-tsk-ing away. In a stroke of genius Hooky's bassline and parts of the melody are played on what sounds like a steel drum, popping up throughout. Huge bass synths come and go, backwards cymbals, and one word of Bernard's original vocal 'burning-ng-ng-ng' appears and reappears. On and on it goes, upwards of twelve minutes. Not a second too long. Great stuff. If you havn't got this or heard it, you're in for a treat.