The This Mortal Coil cover version I posted on Tuesday, a genuine 80s indie classic from Ivo Watts-Russell, Liz Fraser and Robin Guthrie, has been re-edited by In The Valley. You might think that the TMC original is so peerless that it should never be tinkered with. In fact, In The Valley says on his/her/their Soundcloud page 'They told me not to touch the classics, but I did'. And it is worth it, taking the spectral qualities of the Guthrie and Fraser song and marrying it to a Balearic reggae feel. You'll be playing this several times this morning alone (and there's a download button too).
Unauthorised item in the bagging area
Saturday, 30 September 2017
Friday, 29 September 2017
Andrew Weatherall's new solo album is out today. After years of not releasing anything under his own name, self titled Weatherall releases are now like buses, turning up en masse, one after the other. Hot on the heels of the Kiyadub 12" (and the self titled album from last year) comes Qualia, an eight track album on Hoga Nord. Last week this one was put online to whet our appetites, the melodic passage coming over a bit unexpected after the beat heavy opening and the funky guitar riff. There's plenty going on here. More please.
The melodic passage comes over a bit unexpected after the beat heavy opening and the funky guitar riff.
Thursday, 28 September 2017
...'As some are striving to survive, the others thrive'
I posted this song last year and once before that as well but sitting watching one of the Top Of The Pops reruns last week I was struck (again) by the brilliance and magic, the faith and devotion of Pete Wylie's Mighty Wah! in the mid 80s. Come Back sounds like a love song but the verses read as a clarion call, a stand against Thatcher and forces of greed, a call for community and to stand together, a shout to those forced out by economic forces beyond their control to return to the city and to their roots. That reads as much for 2017 as it did for 1984. Pete said on Twitter recently that he wrote and played every instrument of Come Back except for the backing vocal by partner Josie Jones. In the TOTP clip Josie looks amazing, hands on hips, alongside Pete in his leather trousers and blow dried hairdo.
Sadly Josie, a big figure on the Liverpool art and music scene, died in 2015. She had also been the voice of Big hard Excellent Fish's Imperfect List, which I've also posted before here and in its updated form here.
How good is that? How could you ever get tired of hearing that? 'It's all up to you, yes it's all up to you!'
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Back in 2009 something most unexpected happened. I remember the moment I read something like 'you won't believe this', clicked play and the opening seconds of Sea Within A Sea came out of the speakers- a throbbing bassline , motorik drumming and some phased guitar sounds. Farris's vocal covered in echo. The second half of the song with the synth arpeggio part lifting it and then the building keyboard part. Eight minutes of glorious surprise.
Sea Within A Sea
The album that followed, Primary Colours, had other peaks too (Who Can Say is one the last decade's best guitar songs). After that I bought the third album, Skying, which hasn't stuck in the memory and didn't get the following one. The new album, V, is out now and the video for the closing song Something To Remember Me By went online yesterday. The song is synth-led, a black clad leather version of Moroder's pulsing sound topped with Badwan's confident indie/goth vocal. This is pop music, left of centre but direct pop music nonetheless. I like it.
The video has the band signing up with a company to have their bodily fluids extracted and turned into artefacts to be sold via the internet, including a green dildo. Which is nice.
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
After a few years of holding the annual Convenanza festival inside the castle at Carcasonne this year's Convenanza moved to the coast and and the port town of Sete. Convenanza is a three day festival organised by Bernie Fabre with a line up of artists chosen by Andrew Weatherall and Bernie- this year's festival at Sete took place in the outdoor theatre shown above, the Theatre de la Mer where the backdrop is the Mediterranean Sea. I can't get to the south of France for a weekend during term time but I have online sources who were there and provided a running commentary of pictures, clips, tunes and reports over the weekend. The line up for this year looked like this...
As the weekend wound down one of my social media friends was raving about the impact this song had when played in the theatre outdoors after dark. It's a lovely Balearic chugger from 2012 by Coyote with a vocal by Gavin Gordon, the sort of song that takes you up and brings you down...
There's a very good acid tinged remix by Sean Johnston as well, the half of A Love From Outer Space that isn't Mr Weatherall. The same roving reporter on the dockside also pointed us towards this one by Norway's Laars, a mid-paced dj set track that goes a bit loopy in the middle and seems to have set hairs on the back of the neck on end and arms in the air...
The ALFOS dj set, Weatherall and Johnston back to back, on Friday night closed with This Mortal Coil's spine-tingling cover of Song To The Siren, Liz Fraser's voice drifting out from the theatre to the sea, 'Long afloat on shipless oceans, I did all my best to smile'....
Song To The Siren
Monday, 25 September 2017
Nick Cave turned 60 on Friday. I don't know how the dark lord of gothic rock celebrates that sort of milestone but I think we should even if it's a day or three late. Back in July I got a bit obsessed with this song, his 28th single, released back in 2008 (on the Dig, Lazarus Dig!!! album). The Bad Seeds set up a louche lounge bar groove, a fluid guitar part, some brushed drums and handclaps after the chorus, strumming and drumming away for nearly ten minutes. Over this Nick Cave has fun with the lyrics, a series of characters turning up- Janet, Betty X, Miss Polly, a hundred foot tall man, Alina, Deanna, and a nubian princess (who sparks off the following line 'just then a black girl with no clothes on danced across the room, we charted the progress of the planets around that boogie-woogie moon'). This being Nick Cave there are literary references. The song title is borrowed from a William Morris novel and the lyrics borrow from the Odyssey. The video was similarly stuffed full of guests- Will Self, Peaches Geldof, Beth Orton, Tim Noble, Sue Webster and Martin McCarthy, the bassist from The Wonder Stuff. Plus some dancers from the Raymond Revue Bar. Happy birthday Mr Cave.
More News From Nowhere
Saturday, 23 September 2017
In 1986 Laurent Garnier, a young Frenchman who'd been living in London for a couple of years, moved to Manchester. He went to the Hacienda one night and changed his life. Later on he met Mike Pickering and began djing as DJ Pedro. In the 90s he moved back to France, djing, running a label, producing, that sort of thing. In 1997 he put out his second album, 30, which contained this track...
If you have any interest in or love for techno you should take six minutes out of your day today to play Crispy Bacon. It is Gallic techno par excellence and it is difficult to believe it is twenty years old. I'd imagine at club level volume after midnight it can still demolish a dancefloor too. And just in case there's any doubt about whether Laurent Garnier still has it, this year he's put out a three track e.p. on Kompackt called Speicher 95- Tribute. This is the lead track, ten minutes of intense, innovative modern machine music...
I'm away overnight (in Wales with friends for a friend's birthday) and haven't had time to do anything for Sunday. Have a good weekend everyone.
Friday, 22 September 2017
Back in 2013 when Moon Duo released their Circles album, a full on psychedelic blast of bright light and drones, they gave away this song- firstly as an iTunes only bonus track, then as a one sided 12" single and finally as a free download from Soundcloud. You can still get it for free from the player below. High Over Blue is a twenty minute excursion into space and time- phased out sounds, chuggy rhythms, droplets of guitar, reverb laden vocals, slow burning with FX all over the show. Probably more s p a c e d o u t than anything else you'll start today with.
Thursday, 21 September 2017
You could use all kind of superlatives to describe this record. Released in July 1990 it is a landmark British house record in the same way that Voodoo Ray is, a British version of a sound from elsewhere that could only have come from British bedroom and backroom producers fired up by the scenes of 1988-90. Warp Records was supposedly formed specifically to release this record, heavy on bass and bleeps, rattling drum machines and the voice intoning 'L.F.O.'. Warp would go on to release further great records in the aftermath of this one- Testone, Tricky Disco, Tuff Little Unit, other records by LFO- but they are all somewhat in its shadow. It was also a genuine hit, reaching number 12 in the chart (at a time when that meant selling tens of thousands of records).
LFO (Leeds Warehouse Mix)
Wednesday, 20 September 2017
It seems to me that at some point around the turn of the millennium Bjork lost the sense of fun that characterised her 90s solo work. Debut and Post were informed by dance music and possibility, inventive and arty at the same time, but full of life and with a pop sensibility. She has continued to make art but the artier its become, the more multimedia the packages, the more difficult I've found it to engage with and enjoy. Often very impressive but not always that much fun. Her last album was a traumatic divorce record. I understand why she made it but I haven't played it very often. She's just released a new song called The Gate, the first from a new album, and it is about rebirth, hope, moving forward, a utopia compared the the self described 'hell' of Vulnicura. The video is dazzling, a bit hippy-dippy, but dazzling. The song is over six minutes long and while it never quite leaps forward and takes off like I expected it to the first time I heard it, it sounds a step into the light and part of an album that might be fun to listen to.
And as a reminder of what she gave us back in 1993 here's Come To Me, a song about the giddiness of falling in love and absolute devotion, set to a some softly padding drums, a haze of synths and sounds, and strings that sweep in to set your skin ablaze.
Come To Me
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
I don't know about prequels- the three Star Wars prequels are the biggest waste of celluloid time I can think of. Clones. Tax dispute. Jar Jar Binks. Overactive and unconvincing CGI. Ewan McGregor's accent. Yawn.
Rich Lane and his Cotton Dubs on the other hand are always worth keeping an eye on. In the middle of August he released a three track ep featuring Prequels and City of Culture. Prequels is a slow motion, chug affair with a robot voice. It is not a million miles from the Code 61 Belgian New Beat track I posted recently. City Of Culture is top quality electronic dub reggae. The current City of Culture is Hull- I don't know if this is a tribute to Hull or not (Rich is from Wolverhampton which has never been City of Culture). The third track is a dub of the Prequels. You can buy all three for a measly £2.50 from Bandcamp.
Monday, 18 September 2017
Monday begins with an hour from Andrew Weatherall's Rotter's Golf Club Archive Hour, Volume 9 being sixty minutes of weird, wired and frazzled psyche-rock, kraut-rock, post-punk and jazz. I don't know if this is the ideal way to start of the working week but it's all I've got right now.
Holy Mountain – Clouds Over Earthquake
World Of Rubber – Zero
Moebius & Plank - Pick The Rubber
The Gutter Twins – The Body
Baron Mordant – You Are A Door
Paul Haig & Billy Mackenzie – Listen To Me
The Bounty Hunters – Twining Park
The Tenderhooks – It Comes And Goes
Mighty Ballistic Hi-Power – Springheel Jack
Giant Paw – Flood
John Coltrane – My Favourite Things
Faron Young – Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young
Sunday, 17 September 2017
Live albums don't tend to take up much of my time- often they're the sort of record that get played once or twice and then filed and I don't own very many. If it's a recording of a gig you attended I can see the point and I can happily spend time listening to, say, bootlegs of New Order in the 80s but too often they don't do too much for me. I'm sure you can all make suggestions to counter that view (and I'm happy to be corrected). But there's a release coming up of a gig The Replacements played at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey in April 1986 and the songs that have been posted on Soundcloud have got me interested. The studio versions of some of The Replacements songs didn't always do the songs justice- I've posted the unreleased rougher Tim version of Can't Hardly Wait before and it is miles better than the released one on Pleased To Meet Me. The outing Can't hardly Wait got at Maxwell's sounds close to definitive.
Pitchfork have a riotous sounding run through Bastards Of Young here. The Replacements For Sale: Live At Maxwell's 1986 is a double cd, out at the end of the month, making October looking like it's going to be as expensive as September has been. The tracklist is a pretty perfect selection of songs with I Will Dare, Unsatisfied, Answering Machine, Takin' A Ride, Color Me Impressed, Left Of The Dial, Kiss Me On The Bus, Black Diamond, Waitress In The Sky and Fuck School among the 28 songs.
In 1986 the band played Saturday Night Live. They were drunk and swore on live TV and got banned from ever playing on the show again. In a funny little coincidence they are introduced playing Bastards Of Young by the great Harry Dean Stanton who died yesterday aged 91. It has to be said, they sound better drunk than many bands sound sober.
By the time they played Kiss Me On The Bus Paul, Chris and Tommy had swapped clothes...
I don't think Saturday Night Live went out at a funny angle- the Youtube uploader's done it to avoid copyright issues.
Harry Dean Stanton, RIP.
Saturday, 16 September 2017
Until yesterday I didn't know that Grant Hart's song 2541, his solo debut in 1989, was covered by Robert Forster (of The Go-Betweens). Forster put it out in 1994 on a four track e.p.
I like it, Forster's voice is good but he sticks largely to Grant's song, it's a pretty straight cover. When I found it on Youtube and then played Grant's own version afterwards, I found that in the trail of comments beneath Grant himself had logged in and left a comment saying he preferred Forster's version.
The song is a beauty, full of great lines and hard won wisdom. It tells the story of a couple getting together, moving into a new home and then the break up and the leaving. Grant builds in small details that root it in personal experience- Jerry and Jimmy in the first verse who find the place and the phone number, moving in and having to keep the stove on all night long 'so the mice wouldn't freeze', putting their names on the mailbox. The dream turns sour in the second verse though as Grant admits 'it was the first place we had to ourselves, I didn't know it would be the last'. From there the only way is down but all the while through the chorus we get the reminder of the attraction of the home, the big windows to let in the sun. The final verse sees the couple apart and moving out...
'Well things are so much different now
I'd say the situation's reversed
And it'll probably not be the last time
I'll have to be out by the first'
Story telling, moving and real, painting pictures with words, Grant had the full package as a song writer. He recorded the song twice himself, once for an ep 2541, a largely acoustic version (the one I posted yesterday) and then a fuller, band version that came out on his 1989 album Intolerance (which is my favourite). So here's that version too...
Friday, 15 September 2017
I was deeply saddened yesterday by the news that Grant Hart had died aged 56. It seems a bit silly to be actually saddened by the death of a musician you've never even met but there you go. Husker Du are a band whose songs and albums hold a place close to heart. Someone once said that Bob Mould's songs in Husker Du were more consistently excellent but Grant's peaks were peakier and it's easy to roll off a list of Grant Hart songs that completely hit the spot- The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill, Books About UFOs, Green Eyes, Keep Hanging On, Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely, Pink Turns To Blue, Turn On The News, She's A Woman (And Now He Is A Man), Sorry Somehow, Never Talking To You Again, Flexible Flyer, She Floated Away...
Grant Hart was the hippie in a hardcore band- long hair, love beads, drumming with bare feet- who realised early on that drumming in a hardcore band could end up being pretty boring if that was all he did. So they became much more than a hardcore band, spearheading indie-punk through the 80s, paving the way for others to follow. Grant Hart was a drummer who knew how to write melodies and a songwriter who mainly dealt with the heavy stuff, but could cover it with shards of light. He took much of the blame for the break up of the band but he seemed to be the easy one to blame- he didn't hide his problems with drugs. His first solo album Intolerance is open about it. His post-Husker Du albums are full of great songs too- 2541, You're The Reflection Of The Moon On The Water, She Can See The Angels Coming, The Main, My Regrets, Admiral Of The Sea- all come close to his Husker songs and pack an emotional punch. Grant and Bob were estranged for much of the rest of Grant's life, appearing together only once to play two Du songs. They seem to have become more reconciled recently, communication opening up with a band agreed website to sell merchandise and a box set of their early works coming out in November. Their SST recordings still belong to SST who don't seem to want to sell. And they should, so something right and proper can be done with the back catalogue.
Last year I wrote a Husker Du ICA for The Vinyl Villain- you can read it here. I named my 10 track compilation after one of Grant's songs, Keep Hanging On (a song from Flip Your Wig) and used it to close my imaginary record. This is what I said about Keep Hanging On and I stand by every word even more now...
'Keep Hanging On- there are so many songs I could or maybe should have closed this album with but this one always hits me right there. From Flip You Wig, buried away towards the end of side 2, the guitars are deliciously distorted, Greg’s bass builds, the drums thump and Grant sings his heart out. His voice sounds like he is just about hanging on but ultimately this is uplifting, life affirming stuff.
Only angels have wings, girl
And poets have all the words
The earth belongs to the two of us
And the sky belongs to the birds
And poets have all the words
The earth belongs to the two of us
And the sky belongs to the birds
You've given me so much happiness
That I'll wrap up and give you this song
You gotta grab it with both hands
You gotta keep hanging on’
That I'll wrap up and give you this song
You gotta grab it with both hands
You gotta keep hanging on’
Thank you for all the songs Grant. They mean so much.
Bob Mould put this tribute on his Facebook page yesterday morning-
'It was the Fall of 1978. I was attending Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. One block from my dormitory was a tiny store called Cheapo Records. There was a PA system set up near the front door blaring punk rock. I went inside and ended up hanging out with the only person in the shop. His name was Grant Hart.
The next nine years of my life was spent side-by-side with Grant. We made amazing music together. We (almost) always agreed on how to present our collective work to the world. When we fought about the details, it was because we both cared. The band was our life. It was an amazing decade.
We stopped working together in January 1988. We went on to solo careers, fronting our own bands, finding different ways to tell our individual stories. We stayed in contact over the next 29 years — sometimes peaceful, sometimes difficult, sometimes through go-betweens. For better or worse, that’s how it was, and occasionally that’s what it is when two people care deeply about everything they built together.
The tragic news of Grant’s passing was not unexpected to me. My deepest condolences and thoughts to Grant’s family, friends, and fans around the world.
Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember.
Godspeed, Grant. I miss you. Be with the angels.'
Thursday, 14 September 2017
A friend posted this tune on social media yesterday. I could place the title but not how it went. A lot of Bandulu's mid 90s techno worked very well at the time but does sound, two decades later, very thump-thump-thump techno. Bandulu were also capable of moments of ambient magic and Run Run is one of them, a righteous piece of ambient dub from their 1994 ep Presence (and 1994 album Antimatters) with a vocal from John O'Connell. The dub swirls and storm clouds gather. A piano fades in and out. Smoke bubbles. Half time, off beat rhythm. Seven minutes where all is good.
The picture was taken on a visit the other weekend to Mellor, in the hills above Stockport. I read a reference to an iron age hill fort and burial mound up there, out beyond Marple Bridge but before you get to New Mills (Half Man Half Biscuit once told us 'No frills, handy for the hills, that's the way you spell New Mills' and this caused some excitement when we detoured through it, as you can imagine). The photo was taken within the boundary of the hill fort, partially excavated, looking back towards Manchester. You can see for miles, way beyond the city and out to Cheshire and Merseyside. A 5 minute drive away, down the dip and up again, is the field where the barrow is (sadly on private land so not accessible but visible). We stood on the hillside looking at the same landscape, give or take a large city, that local people 10, 000 years ago would have been looking at.
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Bicep's new album, Bicep, is getting a lot of my listening time right now. Bicep, a duo from Belfast but now in London, began as a blog, became a dj pair and then moved into production, inspired by artists like Aphex Twin and Laurent Garnier. This track, out back in June, is a perfect introduction to their sound- starting out sparse and becoming a heady trip, synths buzzing and blipping. The second half takes things down and then back up. If you've got any interest in electronic music or dance music and believe in the possibility of techno/house/electro still having somewhere new to go, give it a spin. Out now on Ninja Tune.
Aura (12" Mix)
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Thunder is a good way to start a song. I was thinking this on Sunday night as thunder rumbled away outside our window, the odd flash of lightning and rain fell like stair rods. And while scrolling through a folder of songs, looking for something else, I found this song and clicked play. It started with thunder and I don't ignore those kind of coincidences. It's a gorgeous song too, a cover of a Mary Margaret O'Hara song, by Ivo Watt Russell's 4AD dreampop collective This Mortal Coil. (off their final album Blood, from 1991). The thunder is followed by a slow heart beat pulse bassline and then we're into dark night of the soul territory- and we come out feeling better.
Help Me Lift You Up
Tragically, the beautiful voice of this song, Caroline Crawley (whose main band was Shelleyan Orphan, a psychedelic, folk-pop group) died in October 2016 after a long illness. Which makes this sad sounding song all the sadder.
Monday, 11 September 2017
On Friday night I got in from an hour in the pub and watched/fast forwarded through a few backed up episodes of Top Of The Pops, currently repeating episodes from the summer of 1984 (but only those ones without any convicted sex offenders presenting). Apart from The Smiths (Heaven Knows..., my least favourite Smiths song), Frankie (Two Tribes, number one, frighteningly 2017 thematically) and Bananarama (Rough Justice, a good song, the three girls dancing like real people actually dance rather than robo-dancers), the thing that jumped out at me- almost actually leapt from the screen on top of me, honest- was Absolute by Scritti Politti.
It's a long way from Skank Bloc Bologna to Cupid And Psyche '85. Absolute, a song I'd largely missed before, is a beauty, full of mid 80s pop and r'n'b flourishes, drum pads and synths and Green gamely strumming a guitar that I can't hear anywhere in the mix. The tune sounds simple but is pretty complex. Little musical parts appear and disappear, subtly different from ones that have gone before. There's some mid 80s funk in there too and some changes and skips that make the song move about and almost cause you have to pause to catch your breath. On top of it all sits Green's vocal, a falsetto that floats away dreamily but somehow holds the whole thing together. I read the description 'avant-pop' somewhere (which seems like a typically serious way to intellectualise something so joyful- and I've no doubt Green and others did intellectualise it) but 33 years later this just sounds like a fucking great, open minded, inventive pop song. What a way to start my weekend and what a way to start your Monday
Also, Princess Diana hair with Nike Windrunner jacket. Sick.
The two Top Of the Pops performances can't be played on Youtube because they are 'blocked in [my] country on copyright grounds'. Top Of The Pops is blocked in the UK. Nope, me either. Here's the video instead.
Sunday, 10 September 2017
This 1988 compilation was the first to attempt to pull together on one piece of 33rpm vinyl what had been going on in Ibiza in the summers of '87 and '88 and which was then transplanted back to the UK. From its eye-catching front cover on in it is a pretty essential purchase, showing the broad church that acid house was at the start. The tracks range from Eurodance (Electra's Jibaro) to sympathetic indie (The Woodentops and Thrashing Doves) to industrial sounds that worked on the dancefloor under the stars (Finitribe, Nitzer Ebb) to the random (Mandy Smith, The Residents). This track, Drop The Deal, was from Belgium's New Beat scene, young Belgian crowds dancing to slow-mo dance music in dark nightclubs. Somehow it made its way to the Mediterranean. Code 61 sampled Jean-Michel Jarre and Harry Belafonte for Drop The Deal. To these ears, the slightly wheezy drum machine aside, this sounds surprisingly fresh.
Drop The Deal
Saturday, 9 September 2017
This is very good, a new one from Doc Daneeka with a vocal from house legend Robert Owens, recorded in Berlin. The rhythm track becomes increasingly busy, the synths phasing in and out and the vocal twisting further around, repeatedly coming back to the word 'unconditional'. Vinyl only at the moment from here.
Friday, 8 September 2017
Well it took a while but it's finally Friday. The first Friday of September, the first Friday of the new school term and new school year- so getting there at the end of a week that has felt like it's been nine days long is worth celebrating. This song, a piece of New York gospel that got picked up and played in several legendary New York clubs in the mid 80s, is a celebration and a half. One of those who picked up on it and played it as the sun came up after all nighters at the Paradise Garage was dj Larry Levan. For a long time this song had brackets after the title which would read (Larry Levan Remix) but it's a mistake, a myth that has been fairly widely debunked. Levan played the record but didn't remix it. It doesn't really matter. Hold your hands up and sing.
Stand On The Word
Thursday, 7 September 2017
Holger Czukay, bassist in Can and artist in his own right, has died at the age of 79. Holger joined Can in 1968 and was a key player, not just on the bass, but in engineering and producing their records and encouraging and exploring the experimental electronics they moved into. His basslines were recognisable and innovative. Can have become one of the names to drop, one of the 'seminal' influences, but they were also genuinely groundbreaking and have layers and layers of sound to soak up. The rhythm section was often right at the forefront and by placing bass and drums at the heart of Can's sound, minimal and repetitive beats, they made krautrock something you could dance to. White, German men making dance music. Drummer Jaki Leibezeit died earlier this year too. Yesterday's Spacemen 3 song was over ten minutes long. This is double that. Plus, you can spot Bobby Gillespie's lyrical steal.
Yoo Doo Right
And just to demonstrate one outpost the Can influence spread to here's a dreamy Carl Craig remix from 1997, Future Days (Bladerunner Mix).
Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Some songs are over ten minutes long because they need to be over ten minutes long, they need time to unfold, to hit that narcoleptic groove, to let that drum machine run on and on and on, to let waves of bliss wash over you. This is one of them. Big City (Everybody I Know Can Be Found Here) was the opening song on Spacemen 3's 1991 album Recurring and their last single. The album version was shorter than the one here and the 7" and 12" singles were 4.35 and 8.35 respectively. This one is 10.51. Let Sonic Boom's blissed out, guitar-led response to acid house take you home.
Big City (Everybody I Know Can Be Found Here)
Tuesday, 5 September 2017
One of the late 80s most infectious singles, sung by the gorgeous Neneh Cherry, produced by Bomb The Bass' Tim Simenon and here remixed by Arthur Baker. He stretches it out, adds a house drum groove and chops up the vocal at the end.
Buffalo Stance was a big hit for Neneh in 1989. Originally it had been a B-side to a poor 1986 single called Looking Good Diving by Jaime Morgan and Cameron McVey, produced and put out by PWL. Nick Kamen later covered it too, for extra awfulness. Given all of that it's amazing that such a good single was the end result. Cameron McVey became Mr Neneh Cherry in 1990- and as far as I know, he still is today.
Buffalo Stance (Nearly Neue Beat)
Monday, 4 September 2017
I read, skimmed more likely, an article recently about albums that are 30 years old this year- REM's Document, The Smiths' Strangeways, Here We Come and The Jesus And Mary Chain's Darklands were the three guitar led biggies. It also included George Best by The Wedding Present, a record Dave Gedge and his band have been touring all year.
George Best is a superb album. Released in October 1987 George Best is the sound of four men plugging in and playing. There is no sense of production to speak of, no studio presence or tricks, just two guitars, bass and drums, recorded as they sounded live. Low budget, no frills. The cover shot picture of George Best and the green frame look like they could have been knocked up in minutes (and what a great shot of George it is). From the moment the needle hits the vinyl (or the cassette tape starts to spool) the 1987 indie kid then got twelve snapshots of Dave Gedge's gruff northern voice over indie guitar rock. Gedge's conversational lyrics and delivery were easy to identify with, a kind of northern (universal) poetry.
The album included a new version of the single that preceded it, My Favourite Dress. It opens with crunchy guitars, a two chord riff, and then the band come in. Gedge's first verse deals with jealousy ('am essential part of love') and then comes the resigned 'there's always something left behind- nevermind'. In verse two a drunken Gedge describes the 'scent of someone else in the blanket where we lay'. And then we get the best bit, the change, and a list of painful reminders of her- uneaten meals, a welcome ride in a neighbour's car, getting soaked walking home, falling asleep waiting up for her to come home- building up to him seeing her kissing someone else and his hand on the dress. A growl as he delivers the final line 'that was my favourite dress you know'. Love and loss in your late teens/early twenties skewered.
My Favourite Dress
Sunday, 3 September 2017
Here's what you'll be spending your money on this month. Weatherall's end of August edition of Music's Not For Everyone, taking in amongst others Khidja, Fontan, a fantastic new disco-tinged song from Duncan Gray, Eric Legrand, King Tubby, Peter Perrett, Wild Woman And The Savages and a new from his own forthcoming solo album
Saturday, 2 September 2017
Oh look everyone, Mogwai just recorded and released one of the best things they've ever done. And it doesn't sound like a nuclear apocalypse either.
Feedback intro leading to Hooky-esque bass, rolling drums, euphoric guitars and gentle singing, everything rising steadily and insistently to a crescendo. Seems to fit in with these end days of summer, the closing in of the nights, the fading sunshine and Autumn's chilly fingers poking at you.
This song, from 2008's Hawk Is Howling, is a masterpiece of flowing, ecstatic, instrumental rock, which could work equally well on a dancefloor. One of my favourite pieces of music from the last decade.
The Sun Smells Too Loud
The picture shows a statue of Friedrich Engels, imported from Ukraine and placed outside the Manchester's new arts centre Home, in Tony Wilson Place. Engels lived in the city in the middle of the 19th century and wrote The Condition Of The Working Class In England based on his observations and research here. Engels had been sent to Manchester by his father, to live in Weaste, Salford, to work at the family firm. It was supposed to 'cure' him of his radical views. It had the opposite effect. Karl Marx visited him several times during his almost thirty year stay. The rest, as they often say, is history.
Friday, 1 September 2017
More on the recent theme, this time a massive crossover hit for SL2 in 1992. On A Ragga Tip reached number 2 in the UK chart. The song is totally irrepressible, with the distorted piano riff, the chantalong MCing, the breakbeat and the bassline. Slipmatt and Lime and MC Jay-J created a song that you can only give in to, bounce up and down, and leave with a smile on your face. It was a song loved way beyond the hardcore/breakbeat scene, a ragga infused rave song that sold over two hundred thousand copies.
On A Ragga Tip
Their previous release was DJs Take Control, a number 11 hit in the UK. The two dancers, Jo and Kelly, must have burned thousands of calories with every show as this performance on BBC 2's Dance Energy shows....
They did Top Of The Pops too, with an audience a little unsure how to respond...