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Thursday 31 March 2011

At The Top Of The Dial

Poking around the internet I found this, the lead track from a tribute to Joe Strummer album called Shatter The Hotel, all the tracks being reggae and dub versions of Clash songs. It's actually pretty good with several standout versions and worth tracking down if Clash covers are your thing. You can get it at emusic and on Amazon. The album's proceeds go to Strummerville which supprts several worthwhile Strummeresque causes. If you like the Easy Allstars cover albums of Pink Floyd and Radiohead chances are you'll like this too and many of The Clash's songs take easily to dub and reggae-isation. This one is London Calling, covered by Dubtronix ('Dubstep, future garage and beyond' his website says, and hopefully 'weddings, parties, anything, and bongo jazz a speciality' as well), with the great Don Letts and Dan Donovan (currently playing keyboards in reformed Big Audio Dynamite) guesting. Skanking.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Terry Meets Julie And Tjinder

Waterloo Sunset is one of those songs that probably shouldn't be covered, it being some kind of high water mark for mid 60s songwriting. I'm not sure the original Kinks version can be improved on, and there's maybe not much you can do with it other than do it straight (a jazz-metal deconstruction anyone? Sixteen minute techno epic?). I suppose bands do it to pay homage or just because it's fun to play.

Cornershop's version, a bonus track from 2009's Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast, works pretty well though- recognisably Cornershop with Tjinder Singh's vocals and some sitar near the start without destroying the original's charm. Funny band Cornershop. Their breakthrough album When I Was Born For The Second Time was full of great little songs, a mish-mash of styles, and a real wonky charm. It also had that Norman Cook remix of Brimful Of Asha. I love the original, not am too fond of the remix. They seem to have spent the last fourteen years running away from it and success. I bought 2002's Handcream For A Generation but can't really remember much about it other than it had the dreaded Noel Gallagher collaboration and was glam rock in parts. Still, they don't repeat themselves, clearly have wide-ranging record collections and influences, and bring an Asian identity to parts of the music scene not known for cross cultural pollination, so good on 'em.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Bagging Area- World Exclusive

Yes, really.

I posted Time Goes By So Slow by long lost Manchester band The Distractions a few weeks ago, at the prompting of a reader called Dan, who also lives in Sale. It turns out Dan is part of the team at Occultation Recordings, a record label launched in 2009 to release records by The Granite Shore and The Wild Swans. Since then they've released some stuff by The Distractions, Jonathan Becket and are planning a Distractions compilation for later in the year. Recently Dan emailed to offer me a chance to hear and post tracks by Factory Star, currently unavailable anywhere else.

You can find Occultation Recordings here

Does this mean Bagging Area is a proper blog now?

And have I lost my independence and integrity?

And what if I don't like the album? Can I say so?

Factory Star are a band led by guitarist Martin Bramah, who led The Blue Orchids and survived two stints in The Fall (during two of their most revered periods.) He's a proper post-punk guitar player. Factory Star have been around since 2008, gigging and playing a session for (fellow Fall survivor) Marc Riley. They recorded their debut album during three days in Liverpool in January this year, playing live with hardly any overdubs and then mixed it the following weekend. Occultation are due to release it later this month. Factory Star take their lead from post-punk's twin influences- 70s punk (New York variety) and 60s garage, filtered through a very northern Englishness (big mills, railway arches, Manchester suburbs, the cemetery and pylons on the sleeve art). There's wheezy 96 Tears-esque organ all over this album along with clanging guitars and the half spoken, half sung vocals of Bramah. In places it's slightly reminiscent of a Mancunian Pavement (who were often accused of plagiarising The Fall, not least by MES himself). The song titles alone are interesting; Away Dull Care, Cheetham Bill, The Fall Of Great Britain, New Chemical Light, Black Comic Book, Stone Tumbling Stream, Arise Europa! amongst them, and the album title itself, Enter Castle Perilous. Luckily the songs live up to them. There's some good stuff here, for Fall fans and non-Fall fans alike. This is album opener Angel Steps, which gives you a good idea of what to expect.

Monday 28 March 2011

Rub 'n' Scrub

Monday morning. What better way to start the working week than with some reggae from 1982. By this point it was called dancehall I think and there are some serious dub effects going on in this song too. Lone Ranger (Anthony Waldron to his mum) gets busy on the microphone and with the delay button.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Sunday Dub

Augustus Pablo, the world's coolest melodica player, with the title track from the 1977 dub album recorded by Pablo and King Tubby with a top notch cast 0f players- Aston and Carlton Barrett, Robbie Shakespeare, and Earl 'China' Smith. The album re-works Baby I Love You So, the Augustus Pablo song Colourbox covered that was featured here a few days ago. Just right to get Sunday off to an easy start.

Saturday 26 March 2011


While looking for a picture for the previous post I found this and thought I'd share it with you- the front cover of Melody Maker from June 3rd 1989, pretty much the exact day The Stone Roses broke through. I had this on my wall for years, the corners all coming off each time I moved house/flat. I think it's in a file in the top of the wardrobe with hundreds of clippings from the music press from around that time. Yes, I am that sad. Still, great front cover eh?
More of this kind of thing here-

Spring Forward

This song, Mersey Paradise by The Stone Roses, always sounds like the start of spring to me with it's chiming guitars and 'river cools where I belong' refrain. Don't forget to put your clocks forward tonight.

The Stone Roses - Mersey Paradise.mp3

The Steamhouse

So I did go to the pub last night after all.

Sale, where I live, has a pretty rubbish town centre- poundshops, chicken shops, phoneshops, charity shops, several pubs which should be better than they are and threats of violence are everpresent, and some Slug & Lettuce style bars. Grim most of the time. A new bar, The Steamhouse, opened a few months ago and while wandering up the pedestrian precinct we realised we'd never been in. The site of The Steamhouse has housed several dodgy nightclubs and at one point was rumoured to be turning into a lapdancing bar. Walking in was a surprise- nice bar, good beer and what looked like not the normal Sale crowd. We ventured downstairs where a band were setting up, a three piece with stand-up double bass and a Gretsch guitar. In the cultural desert of Sale.

They opened with the words, 'We're going to play some rock 'n' roll, some blues and some country'. And they did- some Elvis, Summertime Blues, Cut Across Shorty, a great version of Brand New Cadillac, and Your Cheating Heart among others, and on request from your Bagging Area scribe Wayne Walker's All I Can Do Is Cry (posted here before and as a guest over at The Vinyl Villain), which rocked. They were good and like an idiot I didn't ask them what they were called. Sorry about that.

Several pints in I also started talking to the manager and raised the possibility of 'doing a night'. Nothing confirmed yet, but there's a possibility of Bagging Area going 'real' as well as 'virtual'. This is Hank Williams with Long Gone Lonesome Blues.


Friday 25 March 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 11

A friend said to me a week or two ago that he didn't know how I could still find something to say about rockabilly songs each Friday, forty odd posts in. I'm not sure I can. This is Rick and The Fairlanes with a slightly crazed rocking instrumental called Danger. Friday evening, unseasonably warm, sun shining. Pub, anyone? Danger.mp3

The Council's Gonna Ask Radiohead To Switch Off Blackpool Lights

It's been a while since we had any Half Man Half Biscuit at Bagging Area. This song, On Passing Lilac Urine, appeared on shuffle mode yesterday. Shuffle mode's been getting on my nerves recently- it's been too shuffly- but this popped up and I had to share it. Best bit? Probably the break in the middle with the line 'I'm Slim Shady, I'm the real Slim Shady, the other Slim Shady's gone to play tennis', but this being HMHB there are plenty to choose from.


Thursday 24 March 2011

Baby I Love You So

I couldn't let Colourbox go by without posting this, the A-side to the 12" single with Tuesday's postee Looks Like We're Shy One Horse on the flip. Baby I Love You So is a cover of an Augustus Pablo track. This is electronic dub at it's best- big, swirly sound with swathes of colourful synths, a massive bassline, reverby guitars, samples and vocals from Lorita Grahame. Seven minutes or so of wonder. Play it back to back with Looks Like... for full effect.

02 Baby I Love You So 12_.mp3

Wednesday 23 March 2011


And back again...

Here's some more Colourbox, this time their debut single Breakdown from 1982, with guest vocals from Debian Curry. There's much less dub and none of the Western samples on Breakdown, just some very 80s leftfield electronic pop but I believe this kind of thing is all the rage with young folk today. Funny how bands then could go from pop to weird, a journey bands tend to do in reverse, if at all. The fact they had a variety of influences and used them all to make their own music that changed and developed over five years, is something to be applauded.



A slight change of tack now- from 80s electronic dubiness to 60s folk-rock. I'm not sure this song is folk-rock, more template making guitar pop. The Byrds' I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better was a B-side from 1965 and an album track. Written and sung by Gene Clark (far left in photo), the chiming 12 string Rickenbacker guitar, pounding tambourine and three part vocals add up to perfection, and my shoddy writing in no way does it justice. One of your favourite guitar bands is in here somewhere I'll wager. The lyric adds it's own little sardonic twist, Gene Clark weighing up the departure of a girl who's done him wrong and deciding he'll feel a whole lot better when she's gone. Well, probably. While I'm here, check out the hair. Best 60s fringes? Probably.

I\'ll Feel a Whole Lot Better.wma#2#2

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Looks Like We're Shy One Horse

One of the records Weatherall played when warming up for the Screamadelica live show on Sunday night was this- Looks Like We're Shy One Horse by Colourbox, a magnificent piece of electronic dub with an extended and very dubby outro. Sounded even better booming through Primal Scream's PA system. Looks Like... was released as the B-side to Colourbox's 1986 single Baby I Love You So. On the same day they released their Offical Colourbox World Cup Theme single. Colourbox went on to collaborate with A.R. Kane as MARRS and hit the number one spot with the mighty Pump Up The Volume. This is subtler and spacier but no less good.

No-one- that's no-one, not one single soul- has downloaded yesterday's live version of Come Together. This is a Bagging Area first, a completely unwanted track.

12 Looks Like We\'re Shy One Horse.wma

Monday 21 March 2011

Screamadelica Live Last Night

Sometimes I think you have to fold your cynicism up, put it away in a drawer, and just surrender to good stuff. Last night Primal Scream were fantastic. Sunday night, second show at the Apollo, it didn't matter a bit. We left with smiles on our faces and looped noises and feedback ringing in our ears.

Weatherall played an hour of tunes as warm up, some dub and a mixture of stuff from his Nine O' Clock Drop and Sci-Fi Lo-Fi compilations mainly. At nine Bobby and the band appeared, Bobby dedicating the show to the memory of Mani's Mum who'd passed on recently. Then, straight into Movin' On Up. Slip Inside This House and Don't Fight It, Feel It made dance-rock seem like the best idea anyone's had. The quiet section- Damaged, I'm Coming Down (with great sax playing, not something I often type), Inner Flight, Shine Like Stars- all played brilliantly. Great visuals too. Higher Than The Sun was worth the price of admission alone- halfway through they switched into the dub symphony version, Mani playing Jah Wobble's bassline, then turning it into a space-dub version of Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love? After that, Loaded felt like all the best bits of your life compressed into five minutes and then Come Together (both versions) that finished with Bobby directing the massed ranks of the Apollo audience/choir in a singalong of 'Come, together as one' while the rest of the band had gone off. They encored with Country Girl, Jailbird and Rocks which, y'know, rocked. The band seemed to be up for it all night. There are times when I've seen Primal Scream and the most Bobby Gillespie can do is hang off the mic stand, but last night he was all over the stage, skipping about and engaging. Andrew Innes seemed to be having the time of his life, althoug I'm not sure velvet trousers are ever a good idea. So, I know this seems like gushing but it was genuinely good, and while I'm sure we can all pick holes and snipe, sometimes you've just got to hold your hands up and let the good times roll. Top gig Primal Scream.

This is Come Together live at Olympia in London last November. Both versions together. Fourteen minutes long. Come together, as one.

Come Together (Live November 2010).mp3 - 4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download

Sunday 20 March 2011

Screamadelica Live Tonight

I'm off to the Apollo tonight to see Primal Scream run through Screamadelica. For someone sometimes described as 'miserable' and 'cynical' I'm pretty excited about this, especially seeing as the reviews have been good, the Apollo's a great venue, I've seen them several times before and they've always been a good night out, and I enjoyed watching the documentary from the boxset online the other night (despite it being a tad shoddy). Just a shame it's Sunday night. Ah well. This is I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have, the ballad that became the starting point for Screamadelica, twenty one years ago.
Looking at the picture, you can see why Bobby Gillespie doesn't smile in pictures too often.

05 I\'m Losing More Than I\'ll Ever Have.wma

Saturday 19 March 2011

Select Shun Six

Let's wrap this up- the last freebie from Select magazine, this is Handsome Boy Modelling School. HBMS were Dan The Automator and Prince Paul (of De La Soul fame). Their 1999 album So...How's Your Girl? was good fun though I haven't listened to it for years, mixing up hip hop beats, samples about male models, and a lightness of touch absent from a lot of hip hop at the time.

08 Holy Calamity (Bear Witness II).wma

Select Shun Five

From Select magazine's May 2000 cd, The Deep End, this is Clinic with Second Foot Stomp. Clinic are a really underrated band, with a back catalogue that's well worth investigating. I posted the DFA remix of Tomorrow back in the early days of Bagging Area and once stumbled across them soundchecking in the basement of The Barbican on a day out in London Town. Second Foot Step has a Velvet's edge, plenty of reverb, doesn't outstay it's welcome and is pretty much perfect in every way. This freebie cd was probably the pick of the bunch, also featuring Mike D's remix of Moby (already posted), Super Furry Animals (singing in Welsh, beautifully), Primal Scream (David Holmes' remix of swastika Eyes, posted at Bagging Area a while back), Eels, Lambchop, Mogwai, Elliott Smith, Badly Drawn Boy, Bentley Rhythm Ace, The For Carnation and Handsome Boy Modelling School (of whom more later).

07 Second Foot Stomp.wma

Friday 18 March 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 10

Seeing as The Fall were here this morning I thought we should have some rockabilly that linked. This is George Jones' White Lightning, as covered by Mark E Smith and one of his line-ups, an ode to the benefits of strong homemade alcohol which has the following effect- 'my eyes bugged out and my face turned blue'. I'll have one of whatever you're having please.

White Lightning.mp3#1#1

Select Shun Four-Ah

Woah, this is good. Why didn't I get the album this song came off? This is Two Librans by The Fall from The Unutterable, given away with Select magazine on the Revolutions 04 cd. The band kick up an unholy riff while MES growls and snarls about two Librans, Oprah Winfrey, bees, blonde September and The Cambodian. Superb. Also given away free in January 2001, Lo-Fidelity Allstars, Primal Scream, The Big Kids, Kelis, Coldplay, Lambchop, Woodbine, Monster Magnet, Magnetic Fields, Outkast, Space raiders, Bloodhound Gang and Atari Teenage Riot. It folded not long after I think.

08 Two Librans.wma

Thursday 17 March 2011

I Could Live A Million

I've been listening to a fair bit of early R.E.M. recently, in the car mainly. Their records on IRS and when Stipe had hair struck me deeply at an impressionable age. It's easy to break the constituent parts down- Michael Stipe's incoherent vocals and delivery, Peter Buck's Rickenbackers, Bill Berry's insistent drumming, Mike Mills' melodic bass playing and his backing vocals- but it doesn't explain the magic. A commenter on Youtube reckons it's their ability to do both melancholy and extreme joy and hope at the same time, which sounds about right. I had a cassette of Chronic Town, never shelling out for the vinyl second hand and all these years later it's still upwards of twentyfive quid for the five song e.p. but what a great set of songs- Stumble, Carnival Of Sorts (Boxcars), Wolves Lower, Gardening At Night and the song here- 1,000,000, which is a stunner. It's an m4a file I've just noticed, which I hope doesn't cause anyone any problems.

04 1,000,000.m4a

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Select Shun Three

Third from Select magazine's free cds, an outtake from David Holmes' Bow Down To The Exit Sign. Song 1 is a lovely laidback instrumental, with strings similar to Don't Die Just Yet. Very nice. Also on the cd several bands who've been and gone- Regular Fries, Wookie, Lowgold, V-Twin, Add N To X, JJ72, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Stanton Warriors and Slipknot which just goes to show that November 2000 wasn't a great time for music, and that I kept this cd solely for this Holmes track.
I'm sorry about the title pun- I'm bored of it's crapness already.

08 Song 1.wma

Select Shun Two

Another track from a series of free cds that came with Select magazine ten-plus years ago. This is Black Box Recorder, a band formed by former Auteur Luke Haines, John Moore (previously in The Jesus and Mary Chain and John Moore's Expressway) and singer Sarah Nixey. They made some interesting records, a bit like a sarcastic and caustic St Etienne. This song, The Facts Of Life, is remixed by The Chocolate Layers, a psuedonym for Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey (both from Pulp, obviously). For the record this cd was Revolutions 01, and also featured Stereophonics (urgh), Queens Of the Stone Age's Feel Good Hit Of The Summer (yes!), Alpinestars (Manc electronica), The Go-Betweens (I really should feature something by them), Tailgunner featuring Noel Gallagher (nein danke), The Automator and Kool Keith (turn of the millenium hiphop), The Delgados (never really checked them out but believe they're very good), Brothers In Sound, My Vitriol, King Adora (ha, remember them), Underworld (Pearl's Girl live) and Grandaddy. Mixed bag then really.

04 The Facts Of Life.wma#1#1

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Select Shun

I was rumaging through a box of covermount cds from music magazines when I found five that came glued to the front of Select, the late and not especially lamented Britpop bible. Select started during the glory days of Madchester but found it's niche with the arrival of Suede, along with St Etienne, Pulp and Denim. It went on to feature Oasis, Blur and Menswear on a monthly basis but at least had the benefit of some good writers, a nice monthly feature with a suggested cover and tracklist for a mixtape and occasional forays into (usually British) dance music. The free cds (The Deep End, and then Revolutions One through to Five) had some tracks I'd forgotten about, with quite a few goodies. Here's one of them.

Moby's Play album sold several gazillion copies and every track on it was licensed to sell some product or other. It had it's moments but familiarity bred contempt, round these parts anyway. Select got hold of this track and gave it away in May 2000- Moby's Natural Blues remixed by Beastie Boy Mike D (centre in picture, as I'm sure you know). I'm pretty sure I remember reading that this isn't an actual remix, and that Mike D and others recreated the track live instead. Which explains the busy, clattering drums, messy instruments, jumbled production and chanted vox. It's actually very good, and sounds nothing like the rest of the Play album. More Select Shun's to follow.

01 Natural Blues (Mike D remix).wma

Monday 14 March 2011

I'll Take You Down The Only Road I've Ever Been Down- Remix

It all ended up a bit silly for The Verve didn't it? After their early days with their ten minute psychedelic guitar trips about men called Sun and 'Mad' Richard claiming that one day he'd learn to fly they found a new audience with the arrival of Britpop and the patronage of Oasis. 1995's A Northern Soul contained various career highpoints and I'm not sure their big seller (Urban Hymns) has held up that well. Too much mid-paced balladry, which they'd actually perfected in some style on the previous album with the song History. The comeback a couple of summers ago was entertainingly funny, with that huge indie anthem singalong at Glastonbury and then an album that led to an enormous collective shrug. Then they split up again. The less said about Richard Ashcroft's solo career the better, but he hasn't yet learned to fly.

The tipping point for them was Bittersweet Symphony in 1997, and then it's follow up, the dirgey The Drugs Don't Work. Bittersweet Symphony had an eye-catching video, ear-catching strings, and a lawyer-catching sample (which led to them having to give all songwriting credits to Jagger-Richards). I still have a softspot for this song, one of the few Britpop songs that's worth anything. The version here is Bittersweet Symphony remixed by UNKLE's James Lavelle, taken from The Drugs Don't Work cd single, a format I actually quite miss. Ashcroft later turned up on Lavelle's UNKLE album singing Lonely Soul, a genuinely psychedelic and soulful urban hymn. This remix is interesting enough if you haven't heard it before but it isn't going to replace the original.

Bitter Sweet Symphony James Lavelle Remix.wma

Sunday 13 March 2011

An Accident With A Three Bar Fire

Sweet And Tender Hooligan, a 12" B-side from 1986, sees The Smiths go into attack mode- blistering guitar introduction and whipcrack pace throughout, with an early showing for Morrissey's fascination with gangsters, thugs and smugglers. If memory serves this was recorded for a Peel Session. A good session's work I'd say. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...

04 Sweet and Tender Hooligan.wma#2#2

Saturday 12 March 2011

Jazz Club

Bagging Area doesn't know much about jazz and it's not even sure what it likes. Sometime ago I found a copy of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew on double vinyl in our local Oxfam. Lovely sleeve, highly rated etc. There's a lot of it I can't make head or tail of however. I bought Sketches Of Spain years ago and can appreciate some of it, but I kind of wish he'd stop tuning up and get to the point. Or the chorus. Maybe that's missing the point. John Coltrane's A Love Supreme? I like the bit in part 4 when the vocal comes in. Bagging Area may be a bit of a jazz philistine.

Recently I read two unconnected references to Miles Davis' 1972 album On The Corner, so when I saw it cheap in Fopp recently I bought it. On The Corner has a very 1972 'street' cover and features loads of electric instruments and unjazz percussion, like tablas. I think I like this. This track, Black Satin, sounds like it could have been recorded at any time in the last forty years, with it's looped rhythm track, brass parps and poops, electric bass, off kilter instruments, and James Brown and Sly Stone influences. Two of the tracks on this album are nineteen and twenty three minutes long respectively and I'd be lying if I said I can enjoy them all the through but parts of this are growing on me.

02 Black Satin.wma

Friday 11 March 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 9

Charlie Feathers with Bottle To The Baby from 1957, in which Charlie discovers that if he's staying out on the town and not getting in until 4am, he's going to then have to rock some more- rock that baby to sleep, give it some milk, and begin to think about settling down. What's more, if he wants any kind of action with Mrs Feathers when he gets in from the pub he's going to have to help with the kids first. A lesson that even pioneering country/rockabilly stars have to learn.

17 Bottle to the Baby.wma#2#2

Not A Friend

Cat's Eyes, the duo formed by The Horrors frontman Faris Badwan and Canadian classical musician Rachel Zaffira, have an album coming out soon. This is Not A Friend which sounds a bit like a Phil Spector 60s girl group recording with Joe Meek in a Holloway Road bedsit.

Cat\'s Eyes - Not A Friend.mp3

Thursday 10 March 2011

All My Brain And Body Needs

I've never really delved at all into Ian Dury's music. I've got a 7" of Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, and there are songs that have always been around but I never felt the need. A while back I saw the Ian Dury film Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll for three quid in the supermarket so I bought it, and the other night Mrs Swiss and I finally got around to watching it. It was really good. Obviously rock biopics tend to follow a certain line- dingy gig, band splits up, new band forms, on the up, bigger gigs, record deal, sex & drugs etc, crash and burn, some wisdom is gained- but it was done very well, and the whole polio and Dury's childhood backstory were well handled. Andy Serkis is excellent as Dury and Bill Milner is outstanding as Baxter Dury, Ian's son. Recommended.

So, when I was passing Fopp recently I popped in and bought a cheap compilation cd and now I can't believe I got to neary forty one years old without these songs being a part of my musical life- Wake Up And Make Love With Me, Sweet Gene Vincent, There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards, Spasticus Autisticus, I Want To be Straight and a load of others. Ian Dury's lyrics, wordplay and delivery were something else and those Blockheads could whip up a storm, and a funky storm at that. I suppose now I can begin the fun of delving into the back catalogue properly.

02 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.wma

Wednesday 9 March 2011


A very nice piece of wonky French house/disco courtesy of Discodeine. No Jarvis Cocker guesting on this one but none the worse for it. Good stuff.

05 Invert (Parce que Edit).mp3#1#1

While I'm here, follow this link if you're feeling strong enough. I know it's for Comic Relief and everything but this may well be the worst piece of recorded music of all time. George Michael does New Order's True Faith. Slowly. With heavy autotune abuse. I managed to listen for almost a minute.


Tuesday 8 March 2011

Lie Down Beside You Fill You Full Of Junk

Mediafire have removed Technova's cover of Atmosphere. Bit random isn't it?

One of my brothers, currently working for a large international sportswear corporation in Nuremberg, has got into the habit of sending me a Youtube link every Monday. The only rule seems to be that it has to be connected to Monday. One of his emails prompted me to post the wonderful cover of Blue Monday by The Times several weeks ago. Yesterday I got sent Happy Mondays performing Hallelujah on Top Of The Pops back in 1990. That episode of TOTP has grown in status, which tells us something about pre-internet, pre-satellite TV days (let's face it, no-one I knew had MTV at home). It seemed like a genuine 'stop what you're doing' moment- Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses appearing on the same show, signifying a seachange in tastes and musical and clothing styles. The idea that one pop TV show could have that importance seems very odd now.

The Mondays bit is hilarious. Shaun makes no attempt to pretend he's singing live, lipsynching with the mic held at arms length and clearly slightly worse for wear, Bez doing his saucer eyed Bez thing, and Kirsty MacColl doing backing vocals at the front of the stage. Kirsty dressed down in jeans, denim shirt and Reeboks, the Mondays dressed up. Hallelujah was a chaotic, messy song but brilliant with it, especially the guitar part. When Vini Reilly first came across the Mondays he stomped out, stopping Anthony H Wilson to tell him Horse's guitar playing was hideous and unlistenable, but possibly the most interesting and original guitar playing he'd heard for years. Hallelujah niggles it's way inside your head frazzling brain cells. The rest of the Madchester Rave On e.p. was equally messy and they never really sounded like that again. After Hallelujah they became more streamlined, more radio friendly, and more polished, Steve Osbourne and Paul Oakenfold's production nous ensuring Pills 'n' Thrills was a hit album (and a really good album) but at the expense of the some of lunacy of their sound- six men sounding like they're playing four different songs at the same time, while a drunk shouts and mutters brilliant nonsense over the top.

Hallelujah isn't on the hard drive at the moment and I can't be bothered ripping and uploading so I'm posting the Club Mix, remixed by Paul Oakenfold and our old friend Andrew Weatherall. Weatherall's first time in a studio I think. The Club Mix starts with a high pitched vocal scream, then some lovely monastic chanting before bringing the bass drum well to the fore, some house piano and then pumping up the bassline. Again it loses some of the ramshackle charm of the original but it's a quality remix of a band about to get big.

Hallelujah(Oakenfold & Weatherall).mp3

Monday 7 March 2011

Don't Forget The Motor City

Carl Craig is a techno mastermind, the key man in the second generation of Detroit house djs and producers. He embodies all those quotes about house/techno being Kraftwerk and Funkadelic stuck in a lift while The B52s are playing, and he makes genuinely emotive machine music with a huge sweep and range. I remember when Paperclip People's album came out being awestruck by it. A group of us saw him play at Sankey's Soap at some point in the 90s, and a friend (who would notice this type of thing) claimed that Carl was mixing on the basslines not the beat, which seemed really clever. I hadn't noticed, being too busy dancing. His first solo album was Landcruising, which had a motorcar theme, appropriately enough for Detroit. This is the opener- Mind Of A Machine.


Sunday 6 March 2011

I Put Your Statue Up In Albert Square

That's Albert Square Manchester, not Albert Square Walford. I had an email from a reader called Dan, who also lives in the cultural desert of Sale. Dan pointed me in the direction of The Distractions, a largely forgotten early Factory Records band. The Distractions released Fac 12, a wonderful piece of guitar pop called Time Goes By So Slow. The record was Single Of The Week in the NME and drew praise from Paul Morley (a bit inevitable perhaps) and Jon Savage, who called them 'the perfect youth club band'. There are so many little gems in the Factory back catalogue and this song is one of them. From Factory they went to Island, and then back to the independent sector with Rough Trade before splitting in 1981. They have become active again recently recording and gigging, and are set to release a compilation album this year. If this little blog helps to shift a couple of copies of that, or just jog a few memories, I'd be very happy.

06 Time Goes By So Slow.wma

On The Pill

In a similar vein musically to yesterday's Chain And the Gang song this is The Pill by Heavy trash. Jon Spencer (of Blues Explosion fame) is a man for side projects, forming Boss Hog with his wife and Heavy Trash with Matt Verta-Ray (formerly of Madder Rose). Heavy Trash lean towards the rockabilly and country end of garage rock. This track is less rockabilly and more psychedelic bad trip.

The Pill.mp3#1#1

Saturday 5 March 2011

Back On The Chaingang

Ian Svenonius was a member of Marxist rock 'n' soul testifiers Nation Of Ulysses, who had a 12 point plan to destroy the youth of America from within or something. Good fun. He was also the front man of Make Up, and most recently Chain And The Gang. This song, Deathbed Confession, is a good 'un- deep and heavy, tongue in cheek, groovy and ever-so-slightly odd. Svenonius confesses to all sorts of things, including killing JFK 'for the CIA' and Malcolm X 'for Federal Express' and faking the moonlandings. Well worth a few minutes of your Saturday evening. Brown suit and tank top- yes or no?



Montreal's Handsome Furs have featured here before. I dug out their 2009 album recently and enjoyed it all over again. They're a couple and a duo, he plays guitar and sings, she plays mini-Korg and sings. Together they kick up a punky synthy racket with a big kick drum underpinning everything. This song, I'm Confused, starts with a great keyboard tone that sounds like a vuvuzuela (stick with it) and then takes off.


Friday 4 March 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 8

This evening's rockabilly is a cracker from 1958- a brilliant ramshackle blast of hillbilly rock 'n' roll from Jimmy and Johnny that threatens to fall apart at any moment, with some wildfire guitar playing. The story of the song is that Jimmy (or Johnny) is so drunk that he can't open the door. On the other side of the door there's a party going on, and he can hear his girlfriend laughing and who knows what's going to happen? If only he could find that pesky doorknob. A warning to us all there. Enjoy your Friday night.

22 I Can\'t Find the Door Knob.wma

Thursday 3 March 2011

Don't Walk Away

Technova's electronic cover version of Joy Division's Atmosphere, finding light amongst Joy Division's shade. This is a really good cover, with moments of beauty- lovely synths (showing the direction Bernard Sumner was already heading in 1980), dancey drums, squidgy bass and a blissed out, treated vocal replacing Ian Curtis' sombre baritone. Assuming this Technova is the same Technova who were on Weatherall's Emission Audio Output record label in the mid 90s, then this is the work of David Harrow, who also records as James Hardway. Weatherall and Harrow also recorded together as a fictional female techno artist Deanne Day (D and A, geddit) and Blood Sugar.

Edit 8th March 2011 Post and track removed by Mediafire and Blogger. I've reposted without the track.

Wednesday 2 March 2011


Time for some more Weatherall I think. This is the Two Lone Swordsmen remix of Ricardo Villalobos' Dexter from 2004. TLS took on the remix but then didn't get the files sent through in time, so did a live remix/reworking using real bass and drums, with Weatherall then doing his sonic knobtwidling. Result? Nearly six minutes of Joy Divisionesque post punk with a melancholic edge. Wonderful stuff.


Tuesday 1 March 2011

My Baby's Got It Going On

Belle and Sebastian seem to be one of those bands where it's dead easy to say 'I love their early stuff', but y'know some of their later stuff is great too. The early records have all the none-more-indie charm and wonkiness, the stories behind them (see Tigermilk), and the bedsit appeal. Admittedly the most recent album did nothing for me, but quite a few of their recent albums, including the ones done with Trevor Horn, have some great moments- The Life Pursuit and Dear Catastrophe Waitress are both chock full of quality songs. Stay Loose, from DCW, is one of the Bagging Areas favourite songs of the 00s. Not that I have a formal list of songs from the 00s. Or any other decade. And dividing songs up into ten year chunks of time never made that much sense to me anyway.

In 2004 they released an e.p. called Belle and Sebastian Present Books. This song, Your Cover's Blown, was the lead song along with the Trevor Horn produced Wrapped Up In Books. Your Cover's Blown features glossier, more upfront production, with sound effects and a song that reaches over five minutes with several different sections (including a bit where the guitars threaten to turn into 60s hippie-punks Love). It's not twee indie.

01 Your Cover\'s Blown.wma