Unauthorised item in the bagging area
Monday 30 November 2015
Dubrobots got in touch and shared these two new songs with me, out soon on North Of Chepstow Records. None other than Don Letts played it on 6 Music, a fact which still has Dubrobots reeling. Don Letts obviously has exquisite taste because this is a wholly excellent track, dub influenced and sublime.
This remix by Wry and Slobby takes it even further and actually sounds like dub made by funky robots. The robots keep a human horn player as their underling. Occasionally they order him to play the horn, which drifts in and out in a Ghost Town sort of manner. The robotic bassline could make kitchen white goods join in the dance.
Sunday 29 November 2015
If I was going to make a compilation album by late 80s and early 90s indie bands singing songs about sex then this would be on it. It's not something that has occurred to me before but just recently I heard Going Down by The Stone Roses followed by De Luxe by Lush and the thought popped into my head. De Luxe is rather great really, crashing drums, shimmering, psychedelic guitars and the lovely Miki's vocals. Lush were a bit derided at the time, portrayed as bandwagon jumpers with friends in the press, ligging every night in Camden. They got a bit of flak for the photo shoot (above) too if I remember right- but some of the songs have stayed the course.
Saturday 28 November 2015
Sometimes I find I just want something big, brassy and up front- musically I mean, I'm not after not a Coronation Street matriarch coming round to beat me with a rolling pin. The rolling bass, cowbell and drumbreak of Doug Lazy's 1990 hit Let it Roll are instantly recognisable. Partly inspired by Mantronix this was quickly labelled hip house- and that's exactly what it is. House music's beat and groove with hip hop's clothes and vocals. Doug Lazy was a Washington DC radio dj, got a break in a studio, sampled Marshall Jefferson, MARRS and Big Daddy Kane and went top 30 in the US and then all over Europe. This record was a big favourite in certain clubs up north and while the rapping might sound a little dated but it still has groove in spades.
Let It Roll
Friday 27 November 2015
Michael is more than happy for me to share with you the Factory cassette given away with Select magazine in 1991. If your eyesight can't make out the text from the inlay card above you've got songs by Northside, New Order, Cath Carroll, Happy Mondays, The Wendys, Revenge, Electronic and Vini Reilly. A mixed bag but definitely worth grabbing. All the songs can be found here as individual files. The tape was given a Factory catalogue number, a real honour. The Factory catalogue numbering system is worth a post of its own at some point I think.
You can also get Michael's mp3s of the Creation Records compilation tape here (Sheer Taft, Love Corporation, Boo Radleys, Swervedriver, Slowdive, The Telescopes, Teenage Fanclub, Silverfish and Bill Drummond, almost all rare, out-of-print songs). If you click here you can find the Secret Tracks 2 compilation (Primal Scream, Ride, St Etienne, One Dove, Aphex Twin, Lush and Frank Black amongst others). All transferred from gloriously hissy cassette, Drew's favourite format. Dive in.
Thursday 26 November 2015
That Adrian Sherwood-LSK dub of Space Oddity I posted at the weekend got me back onto a Sherwood and On U Sound tip and going through my folders I found this from the Test Pressing website back in 2010, an hour long mix of dubbed out Sherwood delights. The original page is here, which also reveals the tracklist- African Head Charge, Dub Syndicate, Doctor Pablo (the Dr Who theme) and Creation Rebel. Sherwood's output is so vast and varied that one nine-song mix can't hope to do anything more than dip a toe into the waters. If you go here there's a live dj stunning set done for The Boiler Room, with lashings of delay and reggae vibes, and a crowd who possibly didn't know what they were in for.
Adrian Sherwood The Producers Series #1
Wednesday 25 November 2015
Steve Cobby, Yorkshireman and formerly of Fila Brasilia, has put out some excellent music this year, much of which has been featured and praised over at Acid Ted. Steve has produced a soundtrack, worked on in association with the Hull Truck Theatre Company, based around the revolutions in Eastern Europe in 1989. It contrasts the fight against totalitarian Communist regimes with the youth of Britain's own revolution going on in fields near the M25 and abandoned warehouses in North West England and elsewhere. There's also a connection made to the present day and the government's policy of ideological austerity. The soundtrack is full of great tunes, imaginative and engaging, and definitely worth getting hold of. The limited edition cd is available from Steve's Bandcamp.
Revolutions #1 is melodic, motorik krautrock...
Whereas Revolutions #2 and #3 are house music through and through...
Revolution #4 goes slow and low, some Fender Rhodes piano sounds, more attuned to the end of the night comedown...
Tuesday 24 November 2015
Bagging Area synth favourite Timothy J. Fairplay is back with an e.p. out as the debut release for Glasgow's Work For Love label. All four tracks are up to his usual high standard and fit together beautifully. Fairplay's multiple releases this year will probably not feature in any of the upcoming serious magazine/website's end of year lists and more's the pity- there have been more ideas and tunes going on in his output from this year alone than most will come up in a decade.
Monday 23 November 2015
At 7.37 am on this day in 1998 our eldest was born- Isaac. Whisked straight off to ICU he has since then put up with severe deafness, learning difficulties, two bone marrow transplants before the age of two, umpteen operations for skeletal problems, pneumonia, meningitis and more besides. That he is today seventeen is something of a minor miracle. The picture above shows him emerging from a shop in Amsterdam a few weeks back that took his fancy. Becoming the parent of a disabled child isn't what you expect as a twenty-something and there's no doubt that it has been a bumpy ride for us but he brings a massive amount to us as well and his determination to go on when others would give up is staggering. Isaac doesn't really like music so I can't post a request. The number 1 single when he was born was Believe by Cher but I'm not too fussed about that record. The seventeenth song in the downloads folder on my computer is this by 808 State. Not too bad a choice. Happy birthday Isaac.
Sunday 22 November 2015
Dame David Bowie has a new single out, ten minutes long. I haven't got around to it yet so cannot comment. But yesterday reader Paul Bob Horrocks pointed us to this, Adrian Sherwood's On U Sound dub version of Space Oddity which will do very nicely indeed. Full of dub apocalypse imagery- 'this is mind control to keep you dumb', 'Planet Earth is doomed'. Happy Sunday.
Saturday 21 November 2015
Some Saturday morning indie to put a spring in your step on your way to the cornershop/barbers/wherever it is you might be going today. Put a coat mind- it's cold out there. A proper coat too, not some flimsy anorak like an 80s indie kid. Felt were archetypal 1986 indie and could make moments of perfection like this one (and fellow 1986 release Ballad Of The Band, back of the sleeve pictured above).
Rain Of Crystal Spires
Friday 20 November 2015
Factory Friday. Reader Michael recently got in touch. He kindly pointed me in the direction of some mp3s he had of various cassettes that came with Select magazine, including the Factory Records one (which had the honour of a Factory catalogue number, FAC 305c. These things matter.) Two of the songs on the tape are by Factory legend Cath Carroll. Originally a member of Manchester's punk band Glass Animals, later renamed Gay Animals, they had the intention of being 'the lesbian Rolling Stones'. To a bit more acclaim she formed Miaow who were on the famous NME indie compilation c86 (possibly at least partly through her connections as an NME writer). Miaow signed to Factory in 1987 but disbanded a year later. Cath recorded a solo album for Factory- England Made Me released in 1991. This song is a lovely piece of indie-electropop. Tony Wilson always said she should have been a massive star.
Moves Like You
Michael has links for the full Factory cassette, the Secret Tracks compilation and the Creation one too. I'll check to see if he doesn't mind you having a look at them. Sharing is caring.
Thursday 19 November 2015
I got in last night without a clue about what I was going to do for the blog today- nothing at all was coming up, I imagined I'd be sitting drumming my fingers on the keyboard. Out of nowhere this song popped out of my subconscious. Any Love was Massive Attack's first single, self released in 1988. Co-produced by Smith and Mighty it's an absolute belter, a rough and ready cover of a Rufus and Chaka Khan song, driven by a hip hop breakbeat and a stunning vocal from singer Carlton. I didn't hear it until after Blue Lines came out and the first version I heard was on the Hymn Of The Big Wheel e.p. (confusingly titled Massive Attack). The version on there was a remix by Larry Heard and this is the one I always go to first- slightly smoother with a clubland bass and the vocal pitched down a bit and the tempo up a tad. There's a great, excuse me, juxtaposition in this remix- lyrics that are critical of a single man going out and pulling because 'any love will do' up against the slinky, sexiness of the sound of the song.
Any Love (Larry Heard Mix)
Wednesday 18 November 2015
I haven't got much to say today, feel a bit blogged out and uninspired. If you haven't got around to listening to the Mbongwana Star album yet, I thoroughly recommend it. This song is like having jump leads attached to you and then the engine left running- deep, electric energy from Kinshasa.
Tuesday 17 November 2015
Big Audio Dynamite mixed up guitars, hip-hop, film samples, house, reggae and more besides, a band consisting of the descendant of Russian Jewish emigres, the sons of Jamaican immigrants and a couple of East Enders. Mick's song Beyond The Pale, co-written with Joe Strummer, is a celebration of roots and lineage, migration, the cross pollination of people, immigrants and cultures, a warning about racism and Saint George. It's funny (funny peculiar) that what Isis and the English far right want are the same thing- people living in closed communities, surrounded solely by 'their own kind'.
Beyond The Pale
Monday 16 November 2015
Peace Together was a project based in Northern Ireland in the 1990s which raised funds for cross-community activities for young people. In 1993 a single was released with vocals from Feargal Sharkey, Peter Gabriel, Nancy Griffiths and Sinead O'Connor. Therapy? contributed a song to it. Liz Fraser and Robin Guthrie of The Cocteau Twins did a remix. So did Sabres Of Paradise. This eleven minute fifty nine second remix took up the B-side of the 12". It is really good Gaelic dub, tin whistles, bodran, echo and delay, rim shots. Jah Wobble's lovely bass. Give up twelve minutes of your day to sit and listen to this. We could definitely do with some peace.
Be Still (Sabres Of Paradise Remix)
Sunday 15 November 2015
It's the ordinariness which is most affecting when horror strikes like it did in Paris on Friday night. We were in Paris two weeks ago- I took this photo of the Eiffel Tower. A fortnight later it's a warzone. There were scores of people blown up by suicide bombers in Lebanon as well but what's closer to home is what gets the coverage, due to its nature and the ordinariness. Going to a restaurant, sitting outside a bar on a Friday night, going to a football match, standing in a gig venue watching a band. These are the things we take for granted. I saw a tweet yesterday morning, re-tweeted by Tim Burgess, by a woman looking for her boyfriend, a photo of a man with long hair, smiling. Nick Alexander was doing the merchandise stall at The Bataclan. Later on it was clear he'd been killed. She also tweeted later, a picture of the two of them. Killed while selling t-shirts. Sometimes it's the numbers and scale of atrocities that affect the most and sometimes it's the human details.
Saturday 14 November 2015
This record could be dropped at any social occasion and cause dancefloor mayhem. At our staff social last night, upstairs room at a bar in town, the dj played nothing but hip hop, good quality hip hop mainly. I requested Fight The Power and got it. A bunch of teachers dancing to hip hop may be the least funky thing you can imagine but that's the way it is. White Lines, released in 1984, was a lot of people's first exposure to hip hop. It's an impossibly exciting record.
Friday 13 November 2015
Friday's Factory treat today is from across the Pennines due East, from deepest Sheffield in 1982, by Cabaret Voltaire. A vocal sample asks 'There's 70 billion people on Earth. Where are they hiding?' over some early 80s industrial electro. The 12" single came with a John Robie remix which turned it further in the direction of the dancefloor but I've posted that before and the original is still worth your time. There's a staff social on tonight at a bar in town. I'd be highly surprised if Cabaret Voltaire get played.
Thursday 12 November 2015
By 1993 house music had split into several branches. Progressive house was pumping drums, tribal sounds, long building tracks with a psychedelic edge and took itself quite seriously. Eventually some of it turned into trance which is where I jumped off. This record from 1993 by Fortran 5 is a good example- kettle drums banging away, spiraling synths, a Middle Eastern chant, a bit trippy. Fortran 5 were a duo of David Barker and Simon Leonard, signed to Mute and did some work with Kris from The Orb. Good stuff. Thinking about it now, there's a David Holmes remix of this as well.
Edit; as Drew has pointed out, this is actually the David Holmes remix.
Persian Blues (Full On Orchestral Symphonic Mix)
Wednesday 11 November 2015
Here's today's post which didn't publish this morning for some unknown reason.
The ultimate extension of Keith LeBlanc's 1983 Malcolm X record was this, the motherlode of righteous hip hop, the pinnacle of Public Enemy's career, the greatest protest record of them all- Fight The Power. One record pulling together the history of the civil rights movement, the upsurge in interest in Malcolm X, Spike Lee's film making, The Bomb Squad's screaming, pummeling production and Chuck D's angriest, most on-point lyrics (the verse that goes 'Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me, straight out racist that sucker was simple and plain, motherfuck him and John Wayne, people get ready 'cos I'm black and I'm proud, I'm hyped and I'm amped, most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps' is as good as it gets). Again, not on the hard drive but do you want the full seven minute version of the video? Yeah, boyeee!
There are some technical gremlins loose in the machine- yesterday's video won't un-embed.
Tuesday 10 November 2015
Yesterday's sampling of a 1960s Africa American civil rights leader led me back to this song from 1983, a far more provocative and abrasive record than Moodswings. Keith LeBlanc made the record using a Malcolm X speech and a drum machine, some bass and guitar. Malcolm's widow Betty Shabazz gave permission for the vocal samples and half the writing credits and subsequent royalties went to Malcolm's family. Fired up by the sounds and style of Grandmaster Flash, LeBlanc's use of Malcolm's voice was pretty groundbreaking in 1983, one of the first sample-based records. I don't have it on the hard drive at the moment so I'm afraid you'll have to make do with this video.
Monday 9 November 2015
To start the week, at what can be a bit of a miserable time of year, we need something soothing and uplifting. Moodswings were a late 80s duo made up of Grant Showbiz (formerly roadie and guitar tech for The Smiths and Billy Bragg) and James Hood (drummer for the Pretenders and Kid Creole and The Coconuts). Inspired by club culture, sampling and all the rest they made a very of its time album most of which still sound spretty good today although the drums have dated. It's a datedness I like admittedly. The 1991 single Spiritual High married that Soul II Soul drumbeat, Jon and Vangelis, Martin Luther King and Donna Summer with Chrissie Hynde on vocals.
This dubbed out nine minute version is a delight and a pick-me-up.
Spiritual High (Moodfood Megamix)
Sunday 8 November 2015
I keep coming back to the music of Timothy J. Fairplay at the moment and I think you should too. This is a live recording of four covers of John Carpenter soundtracks from the end of September- Assault On Precinct 13, The Philadelphia Experiment, Christine and Halloween- and hits all the right buttons. John Carpenter's synths were always ripe for a slo-mo dancefloor re-boot with a drum machine.
I re-found this hour long mix too, a free download, from the people at Substance, mixing his own stuff (Junior Fairplay and Haunted Doorbell) with that of others (including some of the best artist names I've read recently- Grackle, Pagan Sector, R-Zone 13, Paradise Box).
I've got no great insights into any of this, no stories to tell- just sharing the music with you to help you have a nice Sunday.
Saturday 7 November 2015
Michael's comment on yesterday's post reminded me that I have an mp3 of one of Select magazine's free cassettes- Secret Tracks. Select Magazine gave away several really good cassettes- the Factory tape Michael referred to, two editions of Secret Tracks and a Future Tracks one, often loaded with different versions or unreleased songs. Select started in the Manchester days, got heavily into Britpop and eventually died a death due to the rise of the internet. Given away in April 1994 Secret Tracks Side A is as follows...
The Shamen - Phorever People (Tommy D Phat Mix)
Cud- Somebody Snatched My Action
Cypress Hill- Scooby Doo
Chumbawamba- Give The Anarchist A Cigarette
Danny Red- Rise Up
Therapy?- Knives (Live)
Sabres Of Paradise- Theme II
Secret Tracks Side A
Friday 6 November 2015
When Electronic released their first two masterful singles (1989's Getting Away With It and 1991's Get The Message) they seemed to have the future in their palms. They talked of collaborating with a variety of people all based around the core of the pair. Bernard wanted a break from New Order. Johnny had left The Smiths. Both wanted to do new things and break new ground. I always imagined this would lead to something a little different than just the song-based tracks that made up the first album (which I love by the way and many of the songs on it are first rate). The other stuff ended up on B-sides but I always thought they should have pursued this and made an instrumental, dance music album as well as the dance influenced pop. Lucky Bag was on the flipside of Get The Message, Hacienda house with Italo piano. Lean To The Inside was a classy, more chilled piece which came out on the Feel Every Beat 12". A whole album of this kind of thing could have worked really well.
Lucky Bag (Miami Edit)
Lean To The Inside
Thursday 5 November 2015
Tymon Dogg is best known round these parts as the man who recorded a song with The Clash on Sandinista (Lose This Skin) and as a member of Joe Strummer's Mescaleros, contributing guitar, fiddle and song writing to some of Joe's best 90s work. He has a solo album of his own out now and the good people at Blue Soap Music let me have a digital copy gratis. Tymon always seems like one of the archetypal free spirits, a wandering musician who pitches up when he wants to and follows his muse, hippy ideals and punk attitude. Made Of Light reflects this- it's not always an easy listen and covers a variety of styles, moving from baroque harpsichords to acoustic songs via Spanish guitar, English folk-psychedelia and politicised lyrics. But it's never less than interesting and is worth checking out. The stand out is A Pound Of Grain, a song that started life as a co-write with Joe Strummer and finished after his death- a rousing tune about the cost of the food processing industry and industrial agriculture. It also namechecks Bob Dylan and borrows from Leonardo da Vinci. Parts of the video aren't for the fainthearted and could put you off your dinner.
This clip was put out by Tymon back in 2012, an unreleased song from the Combat Rock sessions with a video filmed to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Joe's death, with Joe, Mick, Paul and Topper backing Tymon. Shades of Minstrel Boy.
Wednesday 4 November 2015
Here we go again- as you probably know The Stone Roses have recently announced three big gigs next summer, two at Manchester City's ground (we'll get to that later) and one at T In The Park. Rumours that the gigs may coincide with a new album circulate, more in hope than expectation I think. Half the internet is in a frenzy, already poised over their laptops ready for Friday morning when the tickets go on sale- and then sell out in fifteen minutes. The other half scorns them- 'Has there ever been a more over-rated band?' I read somewhere.
When they first reunited in 2012 I was very excited, this time less so and I'm not entirely sure why. I went to Heaton Park- it was great. I managed to get into the Warrington Parr Hall free gig too a month earlier- that was even better. It was totally unexpected, it was a small venue, it was done in the spirit of the band. This time it feels more conventional- two gigs in a football stadium feels ordinary, rockist even- football stadia are for Oasis, for Bon Jovi, for U2. And it's at Man City's stadium, while Ian, John and Mani are United fans. At least at the gigs the Etihad will be full I suppose. Seeing them play live three years ago, against all the odds, was fantastic and whatever people say about Ian's vocals (yawn) they can play. It felt like unfinished business, washing away the way they broke up, the disastrous rump Roses at the Reading festival. I can't summon the same excitement this time. Maybe when the ticket sales open I'll feel a pang, maybe someone will get on the website and book tickets, maybe I'll try. But right now I feel a bit jaded about it.
I like to remember them this way. Standing Here was on the B-side of the She Bangs The Drums 12", a crazy feedback opener, a lazy (in a good way) Hendrix groove, strange wordy lyrics and a beautiful dreamy, coming-down coda. Effortless and electric. I loved them then- now half the world loves them too. Maybe that's my problem. Indie purist snobbery blues.
Tuesday 3 November 2015
The French vibe continues. Le Volume Courbe- Charlotte Mariounneau and her friends, people like Kevin Shields, Martin Duffy and Chris Mackin- have a new album out and there's this lovely song on it, a shimmering ode to friendship. It sounds a bit like My Bloody Valentine after they got a little drunk and your idealised French girl wandered in and started singing over it. Everyone had a good time, hugged and had another drink. Tres bien.
Monday 2 November 2015
I may be guilty of going round in ever decreasing circles at the moment with the blog. When we got back from France and the Netherlands there was a card among the pile of letters that came through the door while we were away. The card was from the postman and usually a card from the postman is because he can't get a record through our letterbox. Maybe I should get a twelve inch wide letterbox installed. The record was Andrew Weatherall's remixes of Unloved's Guilty Of Love. Unloved are David Holmes, Keefus Ciancia and Jade Vincent- I posted the single a while back, a smoky blend of 60s girl groups, soundtracks and Jack Nietsche. The 12" version contains two Weatherall remixes- a vocal remix and this splendidly atmospheric dub.
Sunday 1 November 2015
What a treat- you get back from a week on the continent with a day apiece in Paris and Amsterdam and glorious weather throughout and find a new Andrew Weatherall remix waiting for you.
H Friend is/was an obscure Italian/cosmic disco record from Bernard Fevre, as Black Devil, back in the late 70s and has been reworked by Lord Sabre for a release in two weeks time. It is a pulsing, synthesised dancefloor number, setting the controls for the heart of Rimini.