Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Year's End

Here's a round up of a few things from 2014 as the year dribbles to its conclusion. I missed this from earlier this year; a Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve re-imagining of New Energy, in three phases- some 60s backwards psychedelia followed by the more familiar beat driven techno and then the wonderful drone section. There's loads more Avery stuff, remixes, radio sessions and so on, at his Soundcloud page.

There's also the trippy Roman Flugel remix of All I Need which has all the right things in all the right places.

Underworld's dubnobasswithmyheadman was 20 years old and the re-issued box set was 2014's possibly best bet if you were buying just one big box of music you already own. It cemented in my mind the view that dubnobass... was the best album of the 90s. This video was chosen by the band as the winner in a competition.

The stand out music book of 2014 was Viv Albertine's autobiography Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys. Totally honest, warm and funny, uncomfortable in parts but fascinating and written entirely in the present tense which gave it real immediacy. If you haven't read it, you should read it.

And I'm just beginning to listen to FKA Twigs. There's something going on here...

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Fairplay And Bratley

Here's a couple of recent things from the Scrutton Street Axis, both tracks from the house music end of things and both a tad spooky. Craig Bratley's Beat On The Drum has some deep, repetitive techno with a robotic voice and a very freaky,disturbing video.

Timothy J Fairplay has posted the demo of another Junior Fairplay tune on Soundcloud, Faxes From The Future (winner of the most retro-futurist song title award 2014). An early 90s breakbeat, one fingered keys, disembodied voices, oscillating noises. I'm really hoping that there's going to be a Junior Fairplay album.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Chapter And Verse

I got Bernard Sumner's autobiography (Chapter And Verse) for Christmas. I haven't read it yet but have spent some time flicking through it. Bits of it sent me off towards the record collection and to Youtube. Which is where I found this piece of footage from thirty years ago.

January 1984 and The Tube is filmed live from the Hacienda. Onstage are The Factory All Stars who play four songs- 52nd Street's Cool As Ice, ACR's Shack Up and New Order's Confusion (all three together as a medley). Then Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart (sung by Caesar from The Wake). There are way too many people on stage, several singers and a multitude of musicians (including members of The Wake, Quando Quango, ACR, 52nd Street, Bernard from New Order and Marcel King). They all seem to be having a good time and yes, it is a bit shonky but it is very good fun too.

Later on the same evening and also on The Tube a young lady called Madonna will make her first British TV appearance, miming and dancing. There is a story that Peter Hook offered her some cash to dance in the dressing room but I'm sure that's not true.

Sunday, 28 December 2014


A Man Called Adam's sunset hour Balearic house-inflected songs, their best stuff at any rate, are a treat at any time of year. Here in northern England we currently have cold, with some snow, sleet and all sorts of wintry stuff. Mr Andrew Weatherall, mentioned once or twice in these parts, did several remixes of A Man Called Adam's Chrono Psionic Interface. The Godiva and Dodivor remixes are both very good, long and lush and spacey. Embarrassingly I bought a five track 12" vinyl ep in Chorlton's King Bee records a few months ago and got home to find I had all the mixes on one or another 12" singles already. Now I've got them with a slightly different cover, which isn't a bad thing I suppose.

CPI (Godiva Mix)

Lady Godiva performed a naked protest against regressive taxation of the workers. Today this would wind you up in prison rather than celebrated in a pre-Raphaelite painting.

This afternoon and tonight we are at a family party, twenty seven of us in total, ranging in age from a few months old up to ninety five. The chances are someone will fall out with somebody.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Meanwhile In The Real Pop Music World

I had a conversation with a colleague at my works Christmas do who didn't know who Joe Strummer was ('oh yeah' he said when I told him Joe was in The Clash, 'they did that song I Bought The Law didn't they?' I think I did an actual facepalm). I looked at my 2014 List as I was typing it and thought 'is this deliberately obtuse?' So today I'm doing music from the real world in 2014.

Hideaway by Keisza is ace, with that massive early 90s bass drop and one take video.

You'd have to have a heart of stone not to find something about Pharrell's smash Happy not to like. Except that you may have heard it once too often by now.

And here's yet another class Beyonce tune (shame about the silly Jay Z rap in the middle which adds nothing and actually detracts from the song). This came out at the tail end of 2013 but I've heard it repeatedly this year and always enjoy it.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Boxing Day

Imagine- wandering down to Acklam Hall on Christmas Day and/or Boxing Day to watch The Clash play. 1979 too- they'd just released London Calling.

Hope you've had a good one. Boxing Day football today (United versus Newcastle).

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Another Christmas Post

Another Christmas post, this time from the king of festive cheer Mr Billy Childish. I saw him do this song live in London, on a very warm day in May, a few years ago. Good fun. As Billy sings repeatedly over a killer guitar riff, merry fucking Christmas to you all. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, whoever you're doing it with- have a good Christmas.

Christmas 1979

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Post

Time for a Christmas post- aside from the obvious (The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl) Christmas songs are in limited supply at Bagging Area. This one by Low is a perennial favourite though and the funny thing about it is, it's not really about Christmas, it's just that driving to Oslo it started to snow and it was just like Christmas. It wasn't really Christmas at all.

Just Like Christmas

Monday, 22 December 2014


Twelve years ago today Joe Strummer died, having just got in from walking his dogs. I'd been out in town doing some last minute Christmas shopping. Mrs Swiss phoned as I was on the tram home (my first mobile phone I think). I got in and it was all over BBC News 24, footage and interviews with whichever punk related people the Beeb could get hold of (including Bob Geldoff. Pfffff.). It was and still is the most I've been affected by the death of someone I don't actually know. Joe died of an undiagnosed congenital heart condition- it could have gone at any time. Amazing really considering the amount of energy he poured into every performance that it was something as normal as dog walking that caused it in the end. Pete Townsend said something along the lines of 'Joe's heart always beat twice as fast as everyone else's'.

I saw Joe play with The Mescaleros three times in a couple of years before his death, twice at Manchester Academy and once at the arena supporting The Who. The two gigs at the Academy were an absolute blast, a man reborn. At one they came on stage, launched into Safe European Home and the place erupted. The closing double of Yalla Yalla and Bankrobber ended with Joe prowling the stage, mic stand over his shoulder. A young boy appeared on stage and he ended up on Joe's shoulder too. This song is from an appearance on Jools Holland's Later in 2000, the year he died.

This song is taken from an unreleased acoustic in-store performance, which I think Davy H provided me with many years ago. I've got a feeling the appearance was in Portland, Oregon but I could be wrong. The four track session is made up of Trash City (from the Latino Rockabilly War days) Island Hopping (Earthquake Weather) and X Ray Style and The Road To Rock 'n' Roll (from The Mescaleros).

Cheers Joe.

Trash City (acoustic in-store performance)

Sunday, 21 December 2014


The MA 1 bomber jacket seems to be having a fashion moment- I've seen a few young people in them recently and Gallagher Senior wore one on stage with Johnny Marr last month (it's on Youtube, they're doing Lust For Life). It got me wishing I still had mine (from donkey's years ago). I had a black MA 2 in the mid-90s as well, which I loved (which went missing/was borrowed). This pair of photographs were from a fashion shoot in the 100th issue of The Face (September 1988). I think the model was called Alex. You can run the risk of looking like either you're on your way to a neo-Nazi meeting or you're a bouncer, but they are a great jacket.

Ultramarine's Stella was posted at another blog this week, the 12" with the Stella Breathes and Stella Connects versions. Ultramarine made acid house inspired music, with a dash of something English and pastoral. Stella, from 1991, is tailor made for listening to while enjoying a lazy afternoon in the sun, lying in long grass. Unfortunately it is late December but that shouldn't take away the beauty of this.

Stella (Album Version)

Saturday, 20 December 2014

2014: A List

This is my list of the stuff I've enjoyed most this year. There is nothing objective about rating or comparing music, any Best Of... can only be subjective.

There are two compilations that have taken up some of my listening time in 2014- Kompackt's 'Total 14', two discs of electronic tunes from the Cologne based label, with a high hit rate. The Time And Space Machine's 'The Way Out Sound From In' was a compilation of Richard Norris remixes that worked like a proper album and sounds adventurous and open minded. I liked the Ellis Island Sound album- a bit world music, a bit Talking Heads and Brian Eno. The Amazing Snakeheads 'Amphetamine Ballads' is a menacing, swaggering rock 'n' roll record shot through with hard drink, quiffs and cigarettes. Hollie Cook put out her second album 'Twice', ace Prince Fatty reggae with Hollie's gorgeous and intimate voice. My top five, at the time of writing, looks like this.

5. Aphex Twin 'Syro'
It might not have broken new ground but as a set of electronic sounds it was as good as it was unexpected.

4. Neneh Cherry 'Blank Project'
Raw, honest and stripped back. A proper album.

3. Pete Molinari 'Theosophy'
Totally retro- good songs, well played and sung, a cut above.

2. Warpaint 'Warpaint'
I started listening to this back in January and haven't got bored of it yet. Dreamy, stretched out grooves with the songs hidden somewhere inside.

1. Jane Weaver 'The Silver Globe'
A month ago I had only just heard of the Jane Weaver lp. It's been on my turntable more or less ever since. David Holmes and Andy Votel produce. The synths are cosmic, the singing beautifully English, the arrangements fantastic.

Singles/EPs/Remixes/Internet Only Releases/Etc

I don't know what has happened to guitar bands this year. Many of them sound very hackneyed to me. Or maybe my tastes have just narrowed recently. Most of the sounds that I've had on repeat since January have been from the dance music end of things. I loved the Death In Vegas 'Gamma Ray' 12",  really intense and absorbing techno. Several remixes buttered my toast- Khidja's trippy 'Mustafa' as remixed by Timothy J Fairplay and Richard Norris' 'Freaks' re-done Hammer horror style by Ivan Smagghe. I bought Maurice and Charles' 'I, Carpenter' on 12" on a whim and it throbs darkly with Escape From New York samples. I posted an Andrew Weatherall remix top nine last Saturday- the Julian Cope One Three One band Dayglo Maradona 'Rock Section' Remix (only on white vinyl novelty fans) was the best. The Hardway Bros four track 12" from last month (Sleaze) has been on heavy rotation recently.
My top five goes like this

5. Warpaint 'Disco/Very' The Time And Space Machine Remix
Rolling, sexy, trippy dance rock.

4. Junior Fairplay 'Sugar Puss'
Let's party like it's 1992. Breakbeats and Korgs. On one sided purple vinyl.

3. Tim Burgess 'Oh Men' Peaking Lights Remix
Stunning, driving, electronic reinterpretation of Tim's country song.

2. Friendly Fires and The Asphodells 'Before Your Eyes'
A two track chilled, cosmiche collaboration from the St Albans threepiece and Weatherall/Fairplay. This one came in a lovely thick sleeve and on orange vinyl and the A-side especially is superb.

1. Frank Ocean, Diplo, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon 'Hero'

The Frank Ocean, Diplo, 50% of The Clash collaboration came out on the internet as a tie-in with Converse. It is a sort of hip-hop, doo wop, punky soundclash that sounds joyously great, while Frank sings about the experience of being a black man in modern America. The only thing wrong with it is at two minutes and forty six seconds it is over too quickly.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Oh Men

Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, the two members of New Order who don't hate each other, have done a remix of a Tim Burgess solo song, Oh Men. Tim co-wrote the song with Kurt Wagner (Lambchop) and Peter Gordon (Love Of Life Orchestra). The Other Two remix sounds a bit late era New Order, a bit Kraftwerk. It is sprightly and out now on vinyl (along with the wonderful Peaking Lights remix and versions from Grumbling Fur and Carter Tutti). There are only 500 copies worldwide. They've still got some at the ever brilliant Piccadilly Records.

No-one falls out quite like Manchester bands do they? Bernard and Hooky, Morrissey and Marr, Morrissey and Rourke, Morrissey and Joyce, Ian Brown and John Squire, Ian Brown and Reni, all of Happy Mondays, Liam and Noel... I'd like to see an Mcr loathing-each-other supergroup. Put them all in a rehearsal room and see what happens.

Thursday, 18 December 2014


Here's some super slinky 70s stuff from Glass Candy, a cover of Herb Alpert's classic. Glass Candy always manage to stay just the right side of the line- they skirt it pretty close sometimes- but make no mistake, this is class. Listening to this I feel like I should be reclining in my 25th floor New York apartment overlooking Central Park, in one of those suspended plastic bowl seats, with a large weighty tumbler in my hand (spirits splashed over ice), while my girlfriend lounges in a see-through nightie idly flicking through Cosmopolitan. I am wearing polyester flares and a polo-neck, smoking. A chimp plays the trumpet.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Big Surprise

This song, as far as I know, is the most recent thing Mick Jones (and Tony James) recorded and released as Carbon/Silicon. It's a lovely, mellow tune with a smile-and-the-world-smiles-with-you kind of feel and an I'm-a-survivor kind of message. It'll make you feel good, possibly a little teary, a bit seasonal. There are Santas in the video. Good work Mick.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Out Of The Black

This is a bit good and thanks to Echorich for the tip off- a remix of Out Of The Black from Neneh Cherry's excellent album Blank Project. The songs on the album are really stripped back and percussive, Neneh's singing blues and jazz influenced. This remix by Hot Chip's Joe Goddard puts some clubby sounds and dynamics into it, alongside Swedish popstar Robyn.

And tying recent postees together neatly, in this Big Audio Dynamite video for C'mon Every Beatbox, Neneh Cherry busts some moves and cuts some rug. I always love the way Mick and Don sing alternate lines in this song (and there's a guitar solo pinched from Jimi Hendrix). Surely this was where Roddy Frame got his inspiration for Good Morning Britain from too.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Be What You Wanna Be

Saturday night- A Certain Ratio, live at Academy 2 (I much preferred it when this great gig room was called The Student Union Main Debating Hall. I also preferred it when gigging didn't require a bank loan at the bar. No draught beer in the venue. Four cans of lager, fourteen quid. Fourteen quid! Robbery!). This shot, nabbed from the band's website, is towards the end. Drummer Donald Johnson has switched to bass and is doing backing vox with Denise while guitarist Martin Moscrop is on drums. They swapped back mid-song.

The gig ran roughly in chronological order. Early stuff early on (Do The Du, still as funky as can be, and Flight). A cover of the Brian Eno song that they got their name from. The house sounds of their '89-'91 back catalogue made up the bulk of the set and were top notch- a massive Good Together, the dancepop of Won't Stop Loving You and a crowd pleasing Be What You Wanna Be, and the mainly middle aged audience dancing about at the front, grateful for babysitters on a wet and cold Saturday night. Off briefly and then back on for Shack Up, sung by Denise, who doesn't look a day older than she did when she first sang with the band. ACR's recorded songs are all very of their time- live they all fit together really well and make a coherent sounding set. On the tram home I met and spoke to Simon Wolstencroft (Funky Si), a former drummer of The Fall and a man in early versions of both the Stone Roses and The Smiths.

Be What You Wanna Be

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Love

A change of pace today and some frenetic mid-80s goth synthpunk from New Jersey's Screaming For Emily, an alternative dancefloor classic by all accounts. I heard this on an internet radio show last week and thought 'that sounds good'. Pretty unfestive too.

The Love


I haven't finished my 2014 list yet- apologies for the tardiness, I know you're all waiting eagerly for my annual run down. As a sort of pre-list, a bowl of soup before the main course, here's a list of Andrew Weatherall's best remixes of 2014. A top nine (to the best of my knowledge there have only been nine remixes this year, which makes 2014 a bit of a quiet year for Lord Sabre). The links will take you to either Youtube or Soundcloud. I can't give away nine downloads in one post. Disappointingly to date only two of these have had a vinyl release, another two are available on cds. The internet only remix trailer is a sign of the times.

9. Primal Scream 'Goodbye Johnny' Andrew Weatherall's Nyabinghi Noir Mix
Dark and unsettling, stripped back with a sax and guitar stabs.

8. Noel Gallagher 'In The Heat Of The Moment' Andrew Weatherall Remix
Big and with bells. Noel arrives briefly at four minutes in.

7. Blue Rondo a la Turk 'Klactofilthedstein' Andrew Weatherall's Mixling
Techno remodelling of 80s jazz-funk. Better than that sounds.

6. She Lies 'Needed You' The Asphodells Remix
Lovely electro remix of Berliners. 

5. Atari Teenage Riot 'J One M One' Andrew Weatherall Remix
Arpeggiator set to full, long and well worth it.

4. Richard Sen 'Songs Of Pressure' The Asphodells Remix
Stoned dub. 

3. Group Rhoda 'King' The Asphodells Remix
Digital dub. 

2. Sam Roberts Band 'We're All In This Together' Andrew Weatherall Remix
Insistent drum machine, long with some gorgeous keening sounds.

1. Dayglo Maradona 'Rock Section' Andrew Weatherall Remix
Nine minutes fifty three of bliss, taking Julian Cope's fictional baggy band and sending them home.

Saturday, 13 December 2014


I'm going to see A Certain Ratio tonight, Manchester's perennial nearly men and women. I've seen them several times live and they're always good. I thought I'd post up some live clips to see me on my way out.

This one is ACR live on Granada TV, New Year's Eve 1991, playing 27 Forever and Mello. Personally I love the house music ACR (Good Together, the whole MCR album, The Big E, Won't Stop Loving You, 27 Forever and Mello) as much if not more than the early 80s Factory Records punk-funk incarnation. I imagine Tony Wilson made this appearance happen.

From a year earlier, live at London's Town and Country Club. I don't know where Denise is- tied up with Primal Scream maybe.

And this is an unplugged version of Won't Stop Loving You, done much more recently.

Speed Of Dark

Emiliana Torrini's Speed Of Dark from last year's album Tookah- slow, dreamy, soft focus, a touch of 80s electro-pop about it but modern too.

Speed Of Dark

I think today is Christmas tree buying and decorating day.

Friday, 12 December 2014

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 162

I'll try to squeeze one more drop of rockabilly out for your Friday night. Derrell Felts and The Confederates, extolling the value of having a playmate (thinly veiled sexual metaphor perhaps). In under rocking three minutes. Released on Dixie records. Southern boys.


Tied Together

This song is the third in a row of this type of thing- I hope you're getting a good mixtape out of this. Sean Johnston's Hardway Bros released an ep in November called Sleaze. All four songs are good, two are superb. Thoughts On Modern Living is a full on slow-mo techno thing with that sampled speech that I've heard before somewhere 'You don't have to tell me things are bad, everybody knows things are bad...', taken I think from the Great Depression in 1930s, building as the voice's rage increases. It's too good to post, you should seek it out yourself. The other stunner is this chilly remix of Legato by Kasper Bjorke. Sleaze is still available on vinyl, on Throne Of Blood. You should buy a copy as an advent present to yourself -it's worth six quid of anyone's money.

Legato (Kasper Bjorke Remix)

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Hunters In The Snow

This is a gorgeous, brooding piece of electronic music from Paresse. Throbbing bass, icy atmospherics, slow tempo. Driving to and from work in the dark this kind of thing makes the miles disappear (frighteningly sometimes I cannot remember parts of the journey at all, even major stuff like joining the motorway).

Hunters In The Snow

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Some hard-edged funky techno from the mysterious Man Power- if you haven't heard any of his stuff you should seek some of his stuff out. The west coast of Britain, according to the news today, is about to be hit by a weatherbomb- not a storm, not some wintry bad weather, a weatherbomb. Run, hide, panic buy!

Kiloton (Hardway Bros Remix)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


I've been caught in a B.A.D. trap recently which means you get snared too. This was a 12" B-side (not on my copy of the 12" though, a U.S. release maybe), a dub/beatbox version of E=MC2.

Albert Einstein Meets The Human Beatbox

Monday, 8 December 2014

Be My Friend

                                                    Cream nightclub, Liverpool.

This song- a long forgotten end-of-the-night, scouse house classic- would be more suited to being posted on Saturday night but I've saved it for a Monday morning in December. Maybe that journey to work will be improved slightly. People Get Ready were a Liverpool group (collective, few people, one man and a drum machine operator plus some dancers- lines got a bit blurred in the early 90s). I knew someone who was mates with someone and was given a copy of the 12" not long before I left Liverpool University in 1991. I'd forgotten about it until recently when I randomly heard the main vocal line on my head. It's got a crunchy drum sample, one of those great early 90s piano parts and a big, positivity-vibe female vocal- 'Be my friend, treat me well, take my hand, be my friend'. It used to get played at Cream, in the early days. It puts a smile on my face. Maybe it'll put one on yours.

This one below was the pick of the remixes for me although many swore by the Sure Is Pure Golden Dub. All the versions are at this Soundcloud page, some to download for free . The breakdown and drum rolls in this one provoke massive hands-in-the-air moments.

Sunday, 7 December 2014


Would you like a laid back, slightly stoned and fairly obscure Sabres Of Paradise remix for Sunday morning? That's handy, I've got one right here.

Indigo (Sabres Of Paradise Remix)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

For A Life That's Fit For Living

Good morning Britain.

This 1990 Aztec Camera single is a real favourite of mine. Roddy wrote this state of the union address and realised it sounded so much like a Big Audio Dynamite tune that it would be rude not to ask Mick Jones to join him. This mix from the single isn't too different from the original version, adding some strings.

Good Morning Britain (Julian Mendelsohn Mix)

Norman Cook did a mix which reconstructed it a little and added a touch of 808. It could be described as polite acid (but could have gone so much further).

Good Morning Britain (Morning Acid Mix)

The main message of the chorus, after four verses dissecting each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, seems just as relevant today as it did twenty four years ago...

'The past is steeped in shame
But tomorrow's fair game
For a life that's fit for living
Good morning Britain'

Say no to Farage and the small minded Little Englanders. Vote Frame and Jones.

The video is a real period piece.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Where I Learned To Play

By the late 1990s Joe Strummer was emerging from of his wilderness years and able to look back at fucking things up so badly with The Clash and the commercial failure of Earthquake Weather. His 1999 album Rock, Art And The X Ray Style, the first with The Mescaleros, is much underrated but contains a bunch of good songs. This one was written for Johnny Cash and has some basic clattering drum machine percussion, a low key guitar part and Joe looking back at his early years. One of his gifts was being able to take a simple lyrical idea, something honest and sincere, and make something moving out of it, turning a little piece of personal hard-earned wisdom into something universal.

The Road To Rock 'n' Roll

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Ian McLagan

Ian McLagan, 12th May 1945- 3rd December 2014.

She Don't Even Care

I was going to post this on Monday but got carried away with Jane Weaver so it's coming up today- plus, as I scraped the ice off the windscreen yesterday morning and tried to unfold my frozen solid gloves, and the car's temperature gauge read 1 degree last night, it would seem we are well and truly into winter. Some media scaremongers are saying there could be eight inches of snow this weekend. And this Teenage Fanclub song, off 1991's Bandwagonesque, is gorgeous.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Alien Nights

I had some of my monthly download subscription at emusic to use up and found a bunch of Hardway Bros remixes of different people. This one is ticking all my boxes at the minute- a super sleek, upwardly mobile space-house remix of Italian duo Alien Alien.

The Nights (Hardway Bros Remix)

It put me in mind of Blade Runner. Although Pris was a replicant not an alien.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

It's Hard Being A Man

I was in the record shop in town on Saturday looking at the 45th anniversary boxed set of the third velvet Underground album (my favourite of theirs, a record I can come back to umpteen times). I didn't buy it. I haven't bought it. Yet. But I came home and played VU while cooking tea, the 1985 album that rounded up some unreleased songs (some found in a bin at the record company). The opening song is I Can't Stand It, which is unsurpassed, an absolute template, a song beyond compare. The rhythm guitars are tinny and choppy, Sterling Morrison's guitar solo is unhinged and Lou's drawled delivery is superb- as are the nonsense of the lyrics with those thirteen dead cats, a purple dog wearing spats, the mop assault and Shirley or Shelley (who won't come back).

I Can't Stand It

The boxed set has cleaned up the songs. The 80s version of I Can't Stand It is the one we're all familiar with but the 2014 mix might just be even better.

Meanwhile I am still reeling from reading in a review that it was Doug Yule who sang Candy Says, not Lou Reed. Should I have known this?

Monday, 1 December 2014


Argent- silvery white, a tincture of silver.

Jane Weaver's album The Silver Globe is the Piccadilly Records album of the year and they don't often get it wrong. Jane is a Liverpudlian folk musician who has moved up and beyond to produce a properly cosmic album, with silvery white flashes shot all the way through it. There are still some traces of the folkiness in the vocals and on some of the quieter moments. And there is space rock, motorik drumming, glorious synths and drones, and a lovely warm retro-futuristic romance. I think it's got a post-apocalyptic theme running through the lyrics too. Worth a punt if you're looking for something to ease you through the long dark nights of December.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Johnny Favourite

Drew's post on Friday of David Holmes' My Mate Paul put me in mind of his epic debut single (Holmes' not Drew's), Johnny Favourite, a fifteen minute progressive house stomp (done with Sabresmen Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns).

Johnny Favourite is named after a missing singer in the 1987 film Angel Heart. In the film Mickey Rourke plays Harry Angel, a private detective hired by Louis Cypher (geddit), to find the singer. In the Deep South he runs into all kinds of trouble- Robert de Niro peeling hard-boiled eggs, southern horror, the beautiful Lisa Bonet and some very messy voodoo...

I haven't seen Angel Heart for years. I remember it as having atmosphere and tension. I'd like to see if it still stands up. Holmes' track does.

Saturday, 29 November 2014


Something new on the net from Frank Ocean- everyone's saying it's his first work for two years but they seem to be forgetting Hero with Diplo, Paul Simonon and Mick Jones from earlier this year. The song (fragment might be more accurate) is pretty low key and under two minutes long. It opens with distorted, phased backing, sounding like someone's playing it on a laptop next door. Frank's staccato vocals add to the disorientation. Then there's some Stevie Wonder electric piano and singing, smoothing things out. Intriguing.

Friday, 28 November 2014

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 161

A charming MTV feature from the 80s on the then rockabilly revival with interviews from The Stray Cats, The Blasters and The Rockats and a not-at-all-basic guise to rockabilly. For added 80s-ness it's been uploaded from VHS, complete with tracking lines and squiggles. And MTV was a music channel back then- imagine that!

It has been a very long week, more like a fortnight really, and quite intense. Get a round in someone- I'll get the next one.

Talking In Tones

This limited edition single from The Charlatans came out at the end of September. It doesn't scream single at you but it's very good, a lovely tune that sticks in the memory, touched with melancholy. It's good to see a band as long in the tooth as they are, who could just give in to the heritage circuit, still doing something new and quite different from the sound of their glory days. The band have a new album out in January, their first since the death of drummer Jon Brookes.

What's that you say? The video's a bit shit?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Today On This Programme You Will Hear...

Greg Wilson is a dj legend and famously the Hacienda's first dance music dj. He is also said to be the first British man to mix live on TV (on The Tube). He took a long sabbatical in 1983 but has been back since 2003 playing disco, electro funk, house, dance music generally, around the world.

This Greg Wilson edit of 808 State's Pacific State contains that Jesse Jackson sample that Weatherall used for his Come Together remix. Some wag said that Pacific State is just Stranger On The Shore for the E generation but it's easy to be sniffily reductionist about things. This record is a club classic and still has the ability to make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up.

Greg Wilson's Soundcloud page, with edits, mash ups and dj mixes, is here. You could pick your way through it for days and still not play it all. His blog Being A DJ is here.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Covered Wagon Medicine Show

Medicine Show was/is one of Big Audio Dynamite's best songs- one of the best singles of the 1980s if you ask me- and a show of post-Clash songwriting  and production strength from Mick. Six minutes of choppy guitar riffs, drum machines, spaghetti Western samples triggered from Don Letts' keyboards and proper funny lyrics. It sounds like good fun and was innovative too. The United States got a different version, or at least a remix. I don't know why- it doesn't sound especially American or FM radio, the guitar riff is chopped up a bit and song has less of a flow than the original. Of interest to the completists among you (and thanks to Dubrobots).

Medicine Show (U.S. Remix)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


                                                   Salvador Dali by Man Ray, 1934

This is good, discovered and shared via two internet friends a few days ago. A lovely bass-led dubby deep house track (with a great acid bleep and whooshes), from Leftside Wobble. Nice vocal too. Listening to it makes me feel young again, despite physical evidence to the contrary.

Monday, 24 November 2014

My Life Ain't No Holiday

I'm posting this for no reason other than I chanced upon it on Youtube over the weekend and it follows on from yesterday's post. Technique is my favourite New Order album. Maybe because it was released in 1989 and that year was just right time, right place for me. Power, Corruption And Lies has innovation and Lowlife has brilliance but there's something about Technique that is spot on- every note is in exactly the right place, it has the perfect mix of late 80s Ibiza, Mancunian dance and rock, Bernard's most personal lyrics and that superb acid cherub cover. This song is as good as any of the other eight and this TV performance on Big World Cafe shows how good they could be, back when they pretended to like each other (cheers PBH for that line). The show also promises Belgian New Beat and Mariella Frostrup.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


At 7.37 am sixteen years ago today our first child, Isaac, was born. He had breathing difficulties from the start and spent the first two weeks of his life in hospital, two hospitals actually, in the special care baby unit and then maternity. He ended up spending a lot more time in hospital over the following years. At eight months he was diagnosed with a serious genetic disease, Hurler's disease, following a series of problems- deafness, hernias and then hydrocephalus. Before the age of two he had several operations and two bone marrow transplants, one of which nearly did for him. He has lived with many serious health issues and some severe special needs. In 2008, due a very weakened immune system, he contracted meningitis and survived. A very long operation to straighten his back was delayed by the meningitis and then some months later done successfully. Three years ago he had a cochlear implant which has changed his life, opening up a new world of sound to him. Funnily, a lot of this stuff I'm describing here seems like a long time ago- chronologically and in other ways too.

This list of medical issues and procedures only partly defines him and us. There's no denying it is and has been very difficult at times and that more troubles probably lie ahead. But almost everyone who meets him and gets pinned down for a chat leaves feeling happier. He knows far more people than I do. He makes friends wherever he goes. He has endless reserves and goes on where many others would just take to their beds and stay there.

So, turning sixteen today is a big deal in lots of ways.

Run Wild

Run Wild was a late addition to New Order's 2001 comeback album Get Ready. The tune is lovely, acoustic guitars and melodica and a sweet tune. Unusually the lyrics were written by Stephen (not Bernard), written for his and Gillian's seriously ill daughter. It's always struck a chord with me.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

In The Heat Of The Remix

Here's a remix us Weatherall heads may not have seen coming- an eight minute reworking (with Balearic bells on) of Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds. Noel's vocal contribution is restricted to one line through a megaphone four minutes in after a long build up- the rest is in pure Weatherall remix territory with a massive bassline (looped from the original track presumably), some lovely hi-hats and arpeggio action, and those bells clanging out. I'd imagine Noel might approve of this, having mispent some of his youth in the Hacienda. Noel often comes across as a witty interviewee, good fun over a few pints. But I think he mislaid all his decent tunes somewhere in the mid 90s and hasn't managed to relocate them since. If you want to see the bewilderment of some of the more conservative end of Noel's fanbase, look at the comments on the Youtube post. For the rest of us, a bit of a treat.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Some Feedback

The Jesus And Mary Chain came on stage last night and announced they would play the encore first, then go off for a few minutes and return to play Psychocandy. They then launched into April Skies, Head On and Some Candy Talking, all crystal clear and fine, William's guitar twice as loud as everything else put together, the occasional missed note or out of tune string not mattering a jot. Two more songs later they ramped up the noise with an massive version of Reverence. Two minutes and a bit after that they were off- having played Upside Down, loud and drenched in squealing feedback.

A brief public information film from the early 60s projected onto the stage wall advertised the pleasures of moving to East Kilbride and they reappeared with Just Like Honey. Then we got the rest of Psychocandy. The projections (biker gangs, Super 8 home video footage), strobes and dry ice splashed all over the stage, added some visual drama. There isn't much to look at with The Mary Chain- five middle aged men dressed in black not moving much, apart from Jim occasionally lifting the mic stand up. At some reunion gigs you get a communion between band and audience, a mass singalong, arms around shoulders, joy at hearing songs you thought you'd never hear live again, beery good times, nostalgia. The Screamadelica shows were a joyous celebration. Not here. Psychocandy is an album about alienation and while the audience weren't alienated, we stood and watched, apart from some sporadic moshing down the front. This was noise, feedback, earsplittingly loud, with Jim's vocals and the melodies sneaking through the distortion, like in You Trip Me Up. The Living End and The Hardest Walk, garage riffs with a wall of ringing noise. As the band left the stage, William's guitar bleeding loudly against his amp, Game Over, in 80s video game graphics, flashed up and down the back wall. Still alive, still kicking. Game Over.

Paris, Upside Down, a few nights ago.

Like A Vir...shhh

This Madonna song caused a bit of a stir in the school yards of the mid-80s when it was released- use of the word 'virgin' (snigger snigger). Teenage Fanclub covered it in 1991, quite fantastically, smothered in acres of beautiful distortion with sleepy vocals. When JC posted it a good while back at The Vinyl Villain it gained a takedown notice from the DMCA. When he re-posted it much later, he would not even name the song for fear of attracting the attention of the internet police. Sneaky, unnamed and hush hush. You ain't seen me right.

Like A Secret

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Just Like Honey

Tonight, six months after paying for the tickets, I'm going to see the Jesus And Mary Chain play live, Psychocandy and related songs, at Manchester Academy. It's twenty-nine years since Jim and William Reid released the album, one of the key albums of underground British 'rock' (rock seems like the wrong word somehow- this isn't rock, it's shattering glass or something similar). I've been looking forward to this and while it can't replicate mid-80s JAMC and I'm not sure I'm that much in favour of bands playing albums in their entirety (just play what you want, or play all the hits)- I love 'em.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Like A Rolling Stone

The daddy of all the 'Like A ...' songs is Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, one of those songs that tops lists and thoroughly deserves to,a man moving ahead of the art form, faster than all the others. A six minute long 7" single, with a whip crack start, amphetamine energy, wired organ and some of the best lyrics ever- crazy poetic verses and sneering, questioning choruses. Dylan's version is the original and definitive. 1960s mods The Creation had a go, a little polite with the backing but a decent stab I suppose.

Like A Rolling Stone