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Monday 30 June 2014

Chromatic Rhythms

                                                    Alfredo Hlito's Chromatic Rhythms II, 1947

                                                                           Helio Oiticica's Metascheme, 1958

                                                                   Juan Mele's Irregular Frame No. 2, 1946

I've long been a fan of abstract art and the use of shape and colour, and while I'm a big fan of Jackson Pollock I also like the order and space of regular lines and grids. Probably the result of a life time spent looking at record sleeves and the like. These abstract South American artworks from the 1930s and 1940s were in the paper at the weekend and are part of a exhibition opening at the Royal Academy. They're not a million miles from Mondrian's grids (also currently showing somewhere, the Tate possibly). So I thought I'd share them so you can look at them too.

You Call Glastonbury Glasto...

...You'd like to go there someday
When they've put up the gun towers
To keep the hippies away.

So said Half Man Half Biscuit's Nigel Blackwell and judging by the bits I've seen on the telly this weekend it looks like it's happened. Most of the footage made Glastonbury look like a gap year training camp.

I saw a couple of highlights along with some shockers (Metallica- how much could you stand? I managed 93 seconds). I think the girls won.

M.I.A. resplendent in gold and with a whole forward line of rappers and singers blowing it up on Friday night. That sample from Straight To Hell and those gunshots and cash registers clanging out over rural Somerset are hard to beat.

Edit: This video, uploaded by the BBC onto their own Youtube channel, has now been removed by themselves. Apparently someone was wearing a t-shirt with a political slogan they don't like. No to censorship, yeah? Last night there was still 20 minutes worth of her set at their own website- confusing huh? Paper Planes starts around  13 minutes in.

The day after Warpaint brought their dreamy, bass led groove to the fields. Their album is sounding good again after a month or two away from it. You have to stop looking for the songs and let their sound wash over you.

Goldfrapp, strobe-lit and black clad, a sexy electro-glam stomp.

I also watched Blondie doing Atomic at some point while reading the paper on Saturday morning. I am sorry to report it was dreadful.

Direct from the beeb...

Sunday 29 June 2014


Back to the clothing related songs. There have been a load of helpful suggestions, far more than I'll get around to posting- Vicar In A Tutu (The Smiths), My Favourite Dress (The Wedding Present), Peacock Suit (Paul Weller), The Boy In The Paisley Shirt (Television Personalities), Jo Jo's Jacket (Stephen Malkmus), Underwear (Pulp), Autumn Sweater (Yo La Tengo), Bellbottoms (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion). Thanks to George and Brian especially for their input.

I remembered I had this lost late 1990s single by Genelab on cd single (I'm out of bandwidth again so there's no mp3). The song's narrator details a girl (Lou), her anorak (on which they shag), and her leaving and his heartbreak, over a sweet guitar part, some backing vox and a crunchy drum beat.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Bobby Womack

RIP Bobby Womack.

Giant Return

I'm interrupting the run of clothes themed posts today but, don't worry,  they'll be back.

The Slits second album, 1981's Return Of The Giant Slits, is a step on from Cut. Full of African sounds alongside their Jamaican interests it lacks the clearly post-punkiness of their debut but takes in a wider variety of sounds and is fuller, wider, worldlier (and WOMADier). It is also less scratchy, less sought after, less celebrated. Return... was produced, like Cut, by dub reggae man Dennis Bovell. It seems very much less '79 and more '81. It is also, as far as I can tell, out of print here and has been for some time. Second hand copies on popular internet selling and auction sites are offered at anywhere between twenty-two pounds and fifty-nine pounds. Uh?!

Luckily, if you can put up with Youtube's lo-fi uploads, it is available for listening to.

Or What It Is?
Face Place
Walk About
Difficult Fun
Animal Space/Spacier
Improperly Dressed
Life On Earth

Friday 27 June 2014

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 150

Rockabilly as a genre is particularly clothes obsessed and I've posted a number of rockabilly songs celebrating pink pedal pushers, cat clothes, a black leather jacket and motorcycle boots, be-bop glasses and blue suede shoes. Carl Perkins was responsible for blue suede shoes but it's best associated with Elvis Presley. The '68 Comeback is pretty special.

Have a good evening, whatever you're wearing, wherever you are.

My Adidas

                                           A pair of Adidas Kopenhagen (from the much sought after City range)

Today we turn our attention towards footwear. A good outfit starts with the shoes and works its way up. Mr Charity Shop Chic recommended Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoe by Elvis Costello. I was thinking of this, one of hip hop's earliest examples of product placement (and earning Run DMC a lifetime supply as well). Run DMC didn't wear the Kopenhagen pictured above- the shelltoe (or Superstar) were their thing, wide laced. The Kopenhagen and other city trainers were much  more of a UK, terrace culture thing. I don't often wear trainers anymore outside sporting activity but have owned multiple pairs of Adidas in the past. Trainer fetishism is widespread in the north-west. Trainers mind- I have noted a worrying trend developing, people in Britain calling trainers sneakers. Ugh.

If sir or madam requires something else less sportswear oriented for your feet, here's Elvis Costello with his Attractions on Top Of The Pops in 1977.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Red Pullover

Clothing in song titles part three: recommended today by C from the wonderful Sun Dried Sparrows. This red pullover would look pretty good with yesterday's denim jacket, although personally I can't wear a polo neck- very irritating on the throat.

Red Pullover was a 7" single by The Gynaecologists, released in 1980 and played by John Peel (and this sounds exactly like what Peel would play). C said she remembered Peel playing it on his radio show, thrity four years ago- isn't it funny, the things we remember? I can't find any reference to anything else they recorded and very little info about the band other than the song on Youtube and this on 45Cat. I'd never heard of it before but I'm glad C mentioned it because I really like it even if it's a little disturbing- rudimentary drum machine on factory setting, some minimal instrumentation and quite haunting spoken vocals in a regional accent, Teeside possibly, in a typed out, folded half sleeve, probably put out in a pretty small run. A long lost, very obscure record. Maybe having made one 7" single they achieved their ambitions and did nothing again which would be very 1980, post punk in ethos.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Full Denim Jacket

There are more than a few echoes of Bizarre Love Triangle era New Order in this Black Merlin track, celebrating the denim jacket. It's a classic item of clothing. I've owned a couple and I don't remember ever washing one- they must be self-cleaning.

This track's pretty good too.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Freakum Dress

Drumming my fingers near the keyboard it occurred to me that following Joe Strummer's Cholo Vest yesterday we could have a week of posts of songs with items of clothing in the title. For no particular reason. Feel free to make suggestions. I did think of The Charlatans song White Shirt but George posted that recently at Jim McLean's Rabbit (I think) and he doesn't like it when people do posts of songs he has posted recently.

Everyone needs some Beyonce in their life- her stuff is frequently both poppy and hard edged, innovative with mass appeal. And she's fierce. Fiercely fierce. This 2006 song, Freakum Dress, is catchy as flu and is about having that one killer dress ('every woman got one', short and backless is an option but I'm sure there are others) and what that does to the wearer and the viewer.

Monday 23 June 2014

Cholo Vest

Joe Strummer's Earthquake Weather had an excellent single- Island Hopping- as good as any of his solo stuff. The 12" came with three extra songs including Mango Street, an wonderful extended version of Island Hopping. A second B-side song was this one. Cholo Vest has a really pretty, latinesque melody which is completely at odds with the wilderness years, self loathing lyric.

'Nobody thinks about you when you're gone
No kind memories linger on'

Cholo Vest

Sunday 22 June 2014

Mountain Of One

Wake up, Sunday morning, the sun should be out over most of the UK, and reach for a lovely, blissed out piece of terrace bar Balearica from Richard Norris's Time And Space Machine (remixing A Mountain Of One). Burbling electronics, bongos, some voices and snatches of Spanish guitar. Top hole.

There's a compilation of Time And Space Machine remixes due in August, including Mr Norris's versions of Warpaint, Tame Impala, Jagwar Ma and Temples amongst others which could well be worth some of your hard earned cash.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Hot Pursuit

African Head Charge have been putting out records since the early 80s, mainly through Adrian Sherwood's On U Sound. Their sound takes in dub, tribal music and psychedelia. In the 1990s they were in tune with certain sections of club culture. This one, from Drums Of Defiance (versus Professor Stretch), is a belter, with some hollering on top of the groovy musical stew.

Hot Pursuit

This morning I will be manning the book stall at the Park Road Nursery summer fair. This is not how I imagined my weekends would turn out when I was younger.

Friday 20 June 2014

It Turns Out I Have A Thing For Girls With Red Dyed Hair

Yes, I do.

I got in from work last night with no firm idea what today's post was going to be. A few half formed ideas were at the back of mind but nothing concrete. I had a dental appointment (broken tooth, upper back left) and after that I met Mrs Swiss in Sale to buy a couple of things from Argos- she is redecorating both the kid's bedrooms and they are swapping rooms. There is stuff from both rooms all over the house. I wanted to be ready to watch the England game at 8 (which we lost. Obviously- same old England, just disappointing us in a different location). We had tea and then I opened my emails and this song appeared, as if sent by the blogging Gods.

Boz Boorer and Eddie Argos (ex-Art Brut) have collaborated to make this summer single, Girl From Atlanta. A really nagging guitar riff, high tempo, some ace backing vox and Eddie's deadly/not-at-all serious vocal tribute to the girls from his favourite city. The lyrics are a hoot, comic and tragic. One listen in and I was hooked. I could see it possibly becoming annoying quite quickly but right now it's great.

I'll see if I can summon up some rockabilly for later. No promises at the moment mind.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Love's Got The World In Motion

You've got to hold or give
But do it at the right time
You can be slow or fast
But you must get to the line
They'll always hate you and hurt you
Defend and attack
There's only one way to beat them
Get round the back
Catch me if you can
Cos I'm the England man
And what you're looking at
Is the master plan
We ain't no hooligans
This ain't no football song
Three lions on my chest
I know we can't go wrong

Moving Further Away

A humdinger of a Weatherall remix that appeared on a very pricey Horrors vinyl box set from 2012 for Thursday. The drum machine wheezes away, a bleepy arpeggio repeats and builds, and the Farris chorus part comes in and out. Hypnotic.

Moving Further Away (Andrew Weatherall remix)

I would pay good money for a Weatherall remix of Beyonce.

Wednesday 18 June 2014


This Happy Mondays performance of Performance on Tony Wilson's late 80s, late night Granada tv show The Other Side Of Midnight is jawdropping. Firstly because of the insistent, scratchy funk that the musical Mondays have dragged out of some unholy swamp. Horse's guitar playing is particularly good- horrible but good. Secondly because of the terrace chic of sweatshirts, trainers and baggy jeans, previously unthinkable for an indie band or a Factory records band but soon to be the default dress for a generation. Thirdly because of Shaun's glasses. But mainly, fourthly, because of Shaun and Bez's performance- a chemical analysis of Bez would reveal him to be at least 73% ecstacy at the point of filming. Shaun may be a pill or two behind him. They own this. They make it their own.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Dance To The Beat Of The Drum

Do you want a download of the Andrew Weatherall remix of Julian Cope's fictional 1989 baggy band Dayglo Maradona? For free? (the 12" white vinyl is strictly limited. Obviously). If the player below doesn't work you can get it here. Eleven and a half minutes of big drumbeats, piano, Cope's intermittent vocals and general '89 vibes. 'Rock section...rock section'.

The track is the musical spin off of Cope's soon-to-be-published 'time-shifting gnostic hooligan road novel' One Three One. I'm not going to attempt to summarise the plot.

Monday 16 June 2014

Airborne, Travelling

We got back from camping tired but largely dry having had a cracking weekend in the Ulverston area, no wifi, no signal. My hay fever went a bit mad last week and I felt really shitty on the Friday night but recovered to enjoy Saturday. It was not even spoiled that much by listening to England lose to Italy on a tiny radio while sitting around a camp fire. Next stop- defeat to Uruguay, followed by defeat to Costa Rica. Drew- I have no expectations of England winning at all. And in a way, I don't mind, if they at least play well while losing.

Ellis Island Sound's Regions album is one of my favourites of this year, along with the ones from Pete Molinari and Hollie Cook. Regions is laid back, funky and from somewhere midway between krautrock and Afrobeat (or an English version of those). The lead single Intro, Airborne, Travelling had a couple of remixes. This one by Scott Fraser (from Mr Weatherall's Scrutton Street axis) toughens it up and stretches it out.

Intro, Airborne, Travelling (Scott Fraser Remix)

Saturday 14 June 2014


We are camping in the Lakes tonight, for child number two our daughter ET. It is her eleventh birthday. Somehow we have managed to combine going to a campsite on top of a hill with England's first game in the world cup (at eleven pm). Hopefully we will find a pub nearish to the campsite. Otherwise it's everyone round a small transistor radio annoying any campers who want to get to sleep.

This rather good electronic song by Sean Johnston's Hardway Bros came out on a compilation called Correspondent a few months back. I'm guessing the title refers to when it was recorded, a year ago today.

14.6.13 here

Today is also the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of Bunnyman and Sex God Pete de Freitas, killed on his motorbike in Staffordshire. His last public appearance was in the video of this Julian Cope song. There's a very good article in the latest Mojo magazine about him. He was one of a kind.

Friday 13 June 2014


In 1966 Bob Dylan was so hot he could toss off songs like this as album tracks. And he looked like the coolest man on the planet.

Absolutely Sweet Marie

Thursday 12 June 2014

Brazil Two

Mark from Cooking Up A Quiet Storm has compiled a Brazilian themed mix to celebrate the big kick off, taking suggestions from contributors and bloggers. My contribution was this morning's Os Mutantes song. There are nineteen more in the mix which you can find here with the tracklist or you can listen below. All the artists are Brazilian, including Gilberto Gil, Sergio Mendes, Astrud Gilberto, Jorge Ben and Pele. Goooaaaalllll!

Brazil One

Yay! The World Cup kicks off today, all the way from Brazil. Nothing the current art department produce gets anywhere near the poster that advertised the 1950 tournament (also in Brazil) but never mind. We may also have to ignore a) FIFA's absolute corruption b) protests from the locals about the cost c) the poverty in the favelas just a stone's throw from the stadia d) the likelihood that England will be knocked out by the end of the group stage; then we may be able to enjoy a festival of football. Tonight, Brazil versus Croatia.

From 1968, Brazil's own psychedelic protest group and the mind blowingly good Os Mutantes. Just listen to that fuzz guitar and that tropicalia backing.

A Minha Menina

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Love For Sale

I've been playing Pete Molinari's latest album a lot recently. It came out last Monday and it's still revealing its charms on a daily basis. Theosophy is his fourth lp and, put simply, it's his best collection of songs, recorded and mixed really well. Some of this must be down to the production and mixing skills of Andrew Weatherall and Tchad Blake. There's nothing here that isn't retro, defiantly retro, and the songs sounds like they could come from anywhere between 1955 and 1966 but that doesn't detract from an album that I'm loving from start (Hang My Head in Shame) to finish (Love For Sale). This is that album closer, lightly 1966 psychedelia in tone, which rattles along with double tracked vocals, a smashing slide guitar part and some funny noises appearing here and there (Weatherall's input possibly). Have a listen and then go and buy your own copy on cd or vinyl at Cherry Red Records. I'm awaiting my vinyl copy.

Love For Sale

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Rise And Fall

I found this excellent documentary on Youtube over the weekend, The Rise And Fall Of The Clash, directed by Danny Garcia and co-written by Mick's schoolmate (and subject of Stay Free) Robin Banks. The footage and talking head interviews are fairly standard but within this film lurks some awkward and uncomfortable truths. The title is a bit of a misnomer- it's about the fall of the band rather than their rise and the aftermath of their gigs at Shea Stadium where they seemed to have cracked the US with a hit lp (Combat Rock) and a pair of singles (Rock The Casbah and Should I Stay Or Should I Go?). The causes of the fall are pretty well known- Topper's sacking, Joe's insistence on bringing Bernie Rhodes back as manager, Mick's timekeeping, the internal and political contradictions of being famous and successful versus being a political band who started out in a squat- but this film has some insightful interviews with some of the main players and bystanders- Mick Jones himself, Pearl Harbour (Paul's girlfriend at the time), security man Raymond Jordan, Terry Chimes/Tory Crimes, Viv Albertine, Tymon Dogg, Mickey Gallagher and Vic Goddard. The cast are divided about Bernie Rhodes, central to the story and the split- some think he's an anarchic genius who gave The Clash an edge they needed. Some think he's an enormous bellend.

The second half of the film is where it becomes less well-known and more compulsive. The story of The Clash Mk2, without the sacked Mick Jones and with three new members- Pete Howard, Nick Shepherd and Greg 'Vince' White. The treatment these three got was, to be frank, appalling and how Joe and Paul went along with it is jaw dropping. Vince White deserves some kind of award. Joe and Paul then go onto to record and then leave to Bernie to finish and mix the Cut The Crap album, a record largely expunged from the official histories of the band. Grim, uncomfortable and fascinating stuff. Even if you've little interest in The Clash or think you've seen enough Clash documentaries, you should set aside ninety minutes for this.

Monday 9 June 2014

Fade Away Again

After The Slits broke up Ari Up sang maybe her best vocal take on this 1981 New Age Steppers cover of the Junior Byles song Fade Away (posted recently both here and at Jim McLean's Rabbit). New Age Steppers were Ari, dub maestro Adrian Sherwood, his Creation Rebels and a rotating cast/collective of like minded musicians.  They were also the first release on Sherwood's On-U Sound label- some of their dub is deliberately harsh and abrasive, confrontational. Fade Away is a dubbed out delight from start to finish.

Fade Away

Sunday 8 June 2014

I Heard It Through The Bassline

The Bagging Area Slits-fest continues with this astonishing piece of live footage from Berlin in 1981, playing Man Next Door- freeform dub live with The Pop Group's Bruce Smith on drums, Neneh Cherry on backing vox and dancing and Ari, Viv and Tessa in full effect for eight minutes. There really was nothing else like them.

Man Next Door was originally a John Holt hit, based on a Dr Alimantado song, based on a Dennis Brown song.

As an extra I've been hammering this recently, their cover version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine (B-side to Typical Girls). It is the best dub-punk cover, bar none, and I have posted it before but it bears repeating. Tessa Pollitt's bassline is out of this world- as Ari Up sings 'I heard it through the bassline'

I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Saturday 7 June 2014

You Never Called, I Waited For You, But These Rivers Of Suggestion Keep Dragging Me Away

It's something like that. One of the joys of early R.E.M. is that everyone hears what they think they can hear.

Michael Stipe has just announced that he's releasing his first post- R.E.M. music, a soundtrack to a friend's film. Most of the world will probably do little more than shrug. They carried on far too long, almost nothing after New Adventures In Hi-Fi sticks in the memory and they began to have an air of pomposity which became offputting. So it's funny to watch a clip like this one, live on the David Letterman show in 1983 playing Radio Free Europe and So Central Rain, when they were a frenetic, Wire-y, mumbling, American post-punk band dressed in second hand clothes. And then to shed a little tear.

Friday 6 June 2014


It's worth remembering that seventy years ago today the Allies launched the D-Day landings, putting 150 000 men onto the beaches of Normandy to push the Nazis out of France. The average age of the soldiers was twenty two, so most of the surviving veterans today are in their nineties. By the time of the next significant anniversary there won't be many of them left. And they did something that successive generations, like us, haven't had to do, which we possibly take for granted.

Photographer Peter Macdiarmid has created a set of Then And Now photos, superimposing photos of Normandy in 1944 over pictures of the same places in 2014. They are very affecting. Here are two of them.

I can't think of any particularly appropriate music to go with this.

Thursday 5 June 2014

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 149

Another punk/rockabilly cover version for you, thanks to reader David. The Polecats have been rocking out of North London since 1977 and according to a well known online encyclopedia were still touring Europe, Japan and the US in 2012. Their line up included Boz Boorer, long time one of Morrissey's bequiffed lieutenants. Here they tear into Buzzcocks.

What Do I Get?

Edit: Yes, I am an idiot. I have just published this tonight, Thursday. Sack the blogger.

Wide Open Road

The Triffid's 1986 song Wide Open Road is a few years after yesterday's Wild Swans song and from the other side of the world but seems to be cut from similar cloth. It's a big break up song, a tearjerker, less claustrophobic than The Revolutionary Spirit, but it has a yearning, outward-looking, questing feel in common. The Triffids were just one of several Aussie bands in the 80s who were pulling all the stops out.

Wide Open Road

Wednesday 4 June 2014


There's something about this song, The Revolutionary Spirit by The Wild Swans, that could somehow only have been made in Liverpool in 1982, something essentially early 80s scouse about it. The Wild Swans were the baby of Paul Simpson (pictured above with flat cap, neckerchief and Telecaster). Paul's led three different line ups of The Wild Swans over the years but there's something really special about the first line up. Isn't it often that way? The Revolutionary Spirit was paid for, produced (in mono) and drummed on by Bunnyman Pete de Freitas and is a yearning, heart felt, uplifting, post-punk masterpiece. It was also the last record released by legendary Liverpudlian independent label Zoo.

The lyrics are a mini-epic in themselves, starting with these opening lines... 'Lost in the delta of Venus, lost in a welter of shame'... and a chorus that takes it further still... 'All is quiet where angels fear, Oh my blood relations the revolutionary spirit is here'. William Blake eat your heart out.

Label owner Bill Drummond reckoned it was the best thing Zoo put out and he might be right. Bill Drummond often is.

The Revolutionary Spirit

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Bottom Dub

I was listening to this in the car at the weekend- The Legendary Skatalites In Dub, wherein The Skatalites get mucked about with by King Tubby. The car isn't the ideal place to listen to dub, too much of the subtlety and the bass gets lost, but it was a lovely day and it sounded really good. This track in particular, with it's beautiful bassline, was superb.

Bottom Dub

Monday 2 June 2014

Brown Rice

I read about this in Viv Albertine's book and went straight to Youtube to listen to it. Brown Rice is the opening track off Don Cherry's 1975 lp. Aside from some skawking horn bursts it's not really jazz at all, jazzy but something else. Jazz experts may disagree. There's a hypnotic eight note bassline, some 'world' instrumentation and Don whispering something that sounds like a child's rhyme. Very floaty and entrancing.

Brown Rice

Sunday 1 June 2014

Clothes Music Etc

Viv Albertine's autobiography, Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys (out now) is a brilliant read- frank and fearless and written very much in her voice (you can hear it clearly throughout). The mid-to-late 70s take up an appropriately large proportion..... Sex Pistols, The Clash, Malcolm, Subway Sect, Don Letts, Johnny Thunders, Chrissie Hynde et al but it is Viv and The Slits who are at the heart of the book and the spirit of those times as seen through her eyes- provocation, feminism, empowerment, guitars, dressing and how to present yourself but also the upfront sexism/misogyny they faced from within the music industry (from the local pub scene upwards), hostility from members of the public, violence, confrontation, spitting, and overarching it all the desire to do and be different. There's also stained jeans, periods, sexually transmitted diseases and a sympathetic portrait of Sid Vicious. At the time of writing I'm only half way through it, so haven't got beyond the split of The Slits yet but it's a compelling read.

Not at all Typical Girls.