Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Saturday 31 March 2018

I'll Be Playing Concerts In The Mud

Periodically it's good to remember this 2014 song from the combined talents of Frank Ocean, Diplo, Paul Simonon and Mick Jones. Put together as something to do with Converse it goes way beyond a cheap commercial tie in. Mick's shimmering guitar part and Diplo's beats are the perfect accompaniment to Frank Ocean's meditation on being a young black man in the USA- 'I'm a badboy, I'm a punk'. The West Los Angeles Children's Choir join in and lift it further upwards. I don't think all four were ever present in the same room at the same time- Frank's vocals were done elsewhere, at a different time- but it doesn't show or matter. At the time there was talk of other tracks Mick and Paul put down with Diplo but it doesn't look like anything came of them, so this is all we have. The only real disappointment is that it's all over in under three minutes.


Friday 30 March 2018

Bonus Freaks

                                                           Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1968

Moving on from the late 80s of the last few days to something brand new for today- a Good Friday release from FiniFlex, and what could be described as a massive late 80s industrial acid house tune with trademark FiniTribe multi-tracked vocals, thumping machine drums in all the right places. Finiflex are from Edinburgh, Davie Miller and John Vick who used to be FiniTribe. Bonus Freaks is a tribute to all the people who get out there and keep the music scene alive, going to gigs, buying new music, seeking new things. There's an album called Suilven due later this year to follow this single and the Ta Ta Oo Ah single which came out towards the end of last year, a Bagging Area end of year favourite. John Vick says that the songs are designed to be played live, to 'rattle the ribcage and remind you you're alive' which makes Bonus Freaks make perfect sense.

Buy here.

Thursday 29 March 2018


Jumping forward slightly from the last three day's posts to 1989 with a pair of dreads from East London, Alex Ayuli and Rudy Tambala. As AR Kane they made some bewildering and beautiful music, combining guitars with synths and breakbeats and what would become shoegaze. The pair used the term dream pop to describe their music, and the ambient, dubby swirl give many of their songs a dreamlike state. They released two albums- in 1986 their debut 69 followed in 1988 by 'i', both on Rough Trade. In 1990 they put out an e.p. of remixes from 'i' called rem'i'xes, with Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie providing three new versions and AR Kane themselves three more. This one is lilting and sweet but off kilter and experimental too.

Sugarwings (AR Kane Remix)

With Colourbox (as MARRS) they they would make Pump Up The Volume, an experience neither band enjoyed and wasn't repeated, but which resulted in an international hit for MARRS and 4AD. The A-side, a number one single, is an amazing record, a groundbreaking piece of UK house music, laden with samples and a propulsive rhythm. There were so any problems with sample clearence that different versions were released in different countries. Pump Up The Volume was mainly the work of Colourbox and DJs Dave Dorrell and CJ Mackintosh. AR Kane's contribution was pretty much solely a guitar line. The B-side was largely an AR Kane song but with drum programming from Colourbox's Martyn Young and while not sounding much at all like Pump Up The Volume is a great track in its own right.

Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Feed Me With Your Kiss

A very different part of 1988 today compared to Monday's Ofra Haza song and yesterday's 1987 early UK house music. This is the noise and melody and headspinning WTFness of My Bloody Valentine. Isn't Anything has many moments. The lead single off it, Feed Me With Your Kiss, is one of them. Feed Me... has a monstrous, pile-driving riff, cavernous rock drums and then that trick Shields developed of the male/female vocals seeming like they're from another song, just enough out of sync to make it sound very odd on first hearing. And on later hearings too. By the time they got to Loveless he'd more or less buried the vocals completely (most of which seem to be about sex, S&M sex or sex while on drugs), hiding the human voice underneath the layers of sound and distortion they cooked up in a endless sequence of recording studios in London. The eps that they released on Creation between 1988 and 1991 contain an embarrassment of riches, songs that anyone else operating in the guitar and noise area would have killed to have written and produced- Slow, Drive It All Over Me, Emptiness Inside, Glider, Don't Ask Why, Off Your Face, Swallow to name but seven.

Feed Me With Your Kiss 

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Tired Of Getting Pushed Around

In 1987, in between the first and second Fine Young Cannibals albums, David Steele and Andy Cox made a house record (Roland Gift was off making Sammy And Rosie Get Laid). The name they used for the record, Two Men A Drum Machine And A Trumpet, is a pretty good description of the sound of the single (except it should also include Robert Mitchum somewhere in there as it is he who provides the vocal sample). It's a decent slice of early house by two men who went from The Beat to FYC, always doing stuff that was interesting and good for dancing to.

Tired Of Getting Pushed Around

This performance from Top Of The Pops in January 1988 is good fun- Andy and David miming guitar and bass, a couple of dancers with nifty footwork, Yazz looking very cool on keytar, a dj/percussionist, a trumpeter (miming badly) and a Humphrey Bogart lookalike (miming badly).

Monday 26 March 2018

Im Nin'alu

Ofra Haza's Im Nin'alu (a version of a 17th century Hebrew poem) was a genuine crossover hit, one of the first songs from what used to be called World Music to be bought in large quantities by western audiences. Im Nin'alu is also a widely sampled record that played a significant role in the development of the American hip hop scene and the birth of UK house music.

Ofra Haza first recorded her version in 1984 although she had performed it on an Israeli TV show back in 1978. Eric B and Rakim sampled the famous vocal part for their 1987 song Paid In Full. In 1988 a reworked version, inspired by Eric B and Rakim's, crossed over in various countries, not least West Germany where it was number one for nine weeks. Following that MARRS may or may not have re-sampled it for their groundbreaking number one record in August 1987, Pump Up The Volume. Public Enemy used it in 1991 on Can't Truss It, but it's fair to say it was possibly a little overplayed by then. Ofra re-recorded it in 1997 and 2008 but it's this version, snapped up by the remixers and producers of 1988, that is the keeper.

Im Nin'alu (Played In Full Mix)

Sunday 25 March 2018

I'll Be Down When You're Down I'll Be Up When You're Up

Both Tim Burgess and Jez at A History Of Dubious Taste noted that North Country Boy by The Charlatans was 21 years old yesterday. North Country Boy is a wonderful guitar record, both thrilling and poignant. The Charlatans were on a roll in 1997, having come through the post-Madchester slump to find that the world was suddenly in tune with them. Another 1997 single, one that easily the equal of NCB, is How High. Opening with a burst of distorted guitar, a clever switch from mono to  stereo and then a rush of words from Tim. The song shoots by, led by Mark's guitar, without a proper chorus. The words 'How high' open the verses and the song surfaces for a bridge part that changes twice-

'Love I'm fixing holes
The ones you break up
Come in from your drive
And the hand that rocks you
Cuts you up like
Lyrics of your life'


'Hang on to your hopes my darlin'
Don't let it slip away
And the hand who holds you
Keeps you warm
And helps you live today'

...before dive bombing back into the torrent again. I'm sure Tim said that lyrically he was inspired by Wu Tang at the time but the main influence here has always seemed to be mid-60s Bob Dylan, the amphetamine rush of phrases and lines pulled from wherever/the ether- he even chucks in a Dylan reference- 'pledging my time til the day I die'. There's also the line that finishes the first verse which has always resonated with me- 'like lyrics of your life'. I don't think Tim Burgess is acknowledged as a lyricist but around this time he was very good at nailing a feeling.

How High

The single came with a song that didn't make the Tellin' Stories album, one of those songs that only the fans know about, called Title Fight- looped drums, multiple guitars and again a pile up of words. Well worth the £1.99 it cost on either vinyl or cd.

Title Fight

Saturday 24 March 2018

Fantastic Racket

Davie Miller, one part of the mighty FiniTribe, shared a mix recently ahead of a jaunt to Berlin to play alongside Michael Pederson and Hollie Poetry. This mix, Fantastic Racket, is exactly what it says it is and more, starting out slow and spacey and accelerating and hypnotising from there, heading dancefloorwards. Music from Eyes of Others, Mary Yalex, Donald Dust, Moscoman, The Black Madonna, Bawrut, Kalbata, Kuniyuki and Maria Rita Stumpf. 

Friday 23 March 2018

Lick Wid Nit Wit

In 1993 Sabres Of Paradise gave away a track to the cd compilation series Volume (Volume Seven) where it appeared alongside other mid 90s luminaries like Teenage Fanclub, Bang Bang Machine, Sub Sub, Stereo MCs, The Boo Radleys and (pre-The) Verve. Lick Wid Nit Wit didn't appear on any other Sabres release and was never available on vinyl. Until now. A 12" single has just come out on Electric Dreams with Lick Wid Nit Wit on the A-side and two remixes by A Sagitarriun on the B.

Lick Wid Nit Wit is seven minutes of echo-filled dub techno with a booming kick drum. At the time of typing there were nine copies of the vinyl left here.

The version that is still formally unavailable however and the one that takes the dub to the fore is this one.

Lick Wid Nit Wit (version)

I think this version was sourced from a radio show- I got the file from a fellow Weatherall fanatic online. The standout features of this version are the bassline, which surely ended up morphing into Wilmot, and the vocal (which I'm assuming is Wonder). This is a properly dubbed out Sabres stew, magnificent stuff.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Staring At The Sun

A new Wooden Shjips album comes out in May. They released a new single back in January. Sometimes they've left me a little underwhelmed and Ripley's other band Moon Duo have given far more but the new song- Staring At The Sun- is a beauty.

Possibly the most laid back song I've ever heard. Ripley's guitar drips out of the speakers, over a narcoleptic beat and stoned vocal. There are some crunching chords intermittently but not enough to tip it off balance. Staring At The Sun drifts on, beautifully, but without ever losing focus for over seven minutes. No real aim, just being.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Good Thing

I was playing some records at the weekend, some newly acquired ones and pulling out some older ones. I discovered that my 12" copy of Come Together by Primal Scream, the one with the Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley mixes, is pretty knackered. The sleeve is worn but the disc is worse- the condition is such that if you found it in a charity shop for a couple of quid you'd think twice about whether it was worth it. I'll have to replace it. I suppose it is 28 years old and has been played a lot, often at parties and similar, when maybe I'm not best minded to be as careful as I should be.

On the other hand I pulled out a pair of 7" singles by The Woodentops from 1986 that looked like they were made and bought yesterday. The first was the 7" Good Thing single, backed with Travelling Man, a perfect pair of songs, in beautiful and pristine condition.

Good Thing

The other was the double 7" pack, two discs in a gatefold sleeve, with different sides playing at either 33 rpm or 45, just to confuse me. Disc 1 is Everyday Living and Why and Disc 2 Move Me and Well Well Well. Here are Rolo and co playing Everyday Living at Roskilde in 1987, demonstrating well why they struck a chord with both indie and dance. They had something a little different and flirted with success. I don't know if they deserved to be huge, they were probably a bit to idiosyncratic to be massive but they were a cracking band.

And until last night I hadn't ever seen this video, a promo for Give It Time, off 1986's Giant album.

Tuesday 20 March 2018


Following Inga Mauer's recent remixes of Daniel Avery (out now) and Curses (posted last week) I did some further investigation. Inga Mauer is, according to Avery, the best techno dj in the world right now. She comes from Syktyvkar in Russia so she's topical too, with our current news about nerve agents, false flags and diplomat expulsions. In 2016 she put out a 12" called From Cologne To Clone with this hypnotic track, Metadose, on it, which is very good indeed.

I found an ep from last year, four tracks released on Shtum as Shtum 012. It's dark and intense but not claustrophobic. It also sounds like those classic 90s techno records but modern and futuristic too.

My Flights Without You

I am very taken with this set she did for Boiler Room in St Petersburg. I don't know much about the Russian techno scene- in fact as we've established recently I don't know much about the UK techno scene either- but this is a masterclass in tension and release, rise and fall and the metronomic beat. The fact that she does the first twenty-odd minutes dressed as a Wookie is even more impressive.

Monday 19 March 2018


I don't know if this is an idea that could run or not but...

This song off Prince's 1985 album Around The World In A Day came up recently and knocked me sideways a little- genuine lightfooted brilliance, a mid-80s funked version of 60s pop-psychedelia about the joys of childhood.

Paisley Park

'Admission is easy, just say you
Believe and come to this
Place in your heart
Paisley Park is in your heart'

In 1996 the first full length Two Lone Swordsmen album, The Fifth Mission (Return To the Flightpath Estate), contained this track as its closing statement, a loopy, stoned trip through the aforementioned flightpath estate at dawn. The synth chord sequence just after two minutes, and then recurring throughout the eight minutes plus, is rather wonderful. 

Paisley Dark

Sunday 18 March 2018

Days From Now

A couple of weeks ago Daniel Avery played a free dj set in eastern Bloc records in town, ahead of an allnighter at Soul Kitchen. The free one in the record shop seemed like a good idea despite the sub-zero temperatures so I ventured out, not really knowing what to expect but half thinking that Eastern Bloc would be a few middle aged techno heads standing around stroking their chins and maybe a handful of other people. I turned up to find a completely packed out Eastern Bloc and a queue. I joined the queue even though I was a good 25 years older than everyone else in it. It was one-in, one-out and there were 8 or 9 people ahead of me. Plus a group of people who went straight to the front of the queue and were let in. The bouncer eyed me a couple times, no doubt wondering why a middle aged man was attempting to gain entry to an event populated by students and locals in their early 20s. Every now and then the door opened and it was obvious a full on techno event was taking place. Young people are into techno. I didn't know this. I didn't get in. I stood around in the queue for a while and then went home, deflated.

This 2 hour mix by Avery is ideally suited to the headphones. Some of the subtleties in this might get lost in the car. Set some time aside to really tune in. This Daniel Avery Radio 1 Essential Mix is a set that starts out ambient and gentle and then builds from there, taking its time unfolding over a couple of hours, showcasing the influences that have gone into his forthcoming album.

Daniel Avery – Days From Now 
Rote – First Sleep 
Hypnoxia – Active Tension 
Daniel Avery – Decision Two 

Alessandro Cortini – Lotta 
Innerst inne – Du Skulle Tagit Med Dig 
Oscar Mulero – Depth In Clarity 
Saint Etienne – Like A Motorway (Skin Up, You’re Already Dead) 
Daniel Avery – Endnote 
Daniel Avery – TBW17 
Tropic of Cancer – I Woke Up And The Storm Was Over 
Nuances – I’m Going To Meet The One I Love 
Daniel Avery – Embers 
Struktion – Strukture 
Volruptus – Hessdalen
London Modular Alliance – Tinker
Dez Williams – On The Verge 
Second Storey – Ajunlei 8 (The Exaltics Remix) 
Stenny – Fortress 
Charles Green – Gamma Rays 
Norwell – Transz 
Two Lone Swordsmen – Neuflex 
Carl A. Finlow – Wafer Thin 
Mor Elian – Fairplex Drive 
Lanark Artefax – Touch Absence (Intimidating Stillness Mix) 
Cleric & Setaoc Mass – 188 
Versalife – Missing Link 
Daniel Avery – First Light 
Daniel Avery – REHBGBV4367

Saturday 17 March 2018


This remix of Baxter Dury's Miami is going to be released on Record Shop Day. RSD has become redundant, some limited edition releases to be fought over once the eBay scalpers have pillaged the racks plus a load of unasked for reissues. Yes, there are one or two things I'd like. No, I won't be queuing up to get into a record shop.

Miami is from Baxter's album that came out last year, that I meant to listen to and didn't get around to. This expansive, electronic remix with gorgeous sweeping strings, a disco beat and Baxter's seedy, in character vocal scattered about, is a joy, and comes to us from the combined talents of Parrot and Jarvis Cocker.

Friday 16 March 2018


Drew posted this song a couple of weeks ago over at Across The Kitchen Table. I loved it the first time I clicked play and have been playing almost daily ever since. I can't hurt to re-post it here, in case anyone missed it over at Drew's blog.

The Lucid Dream are from Carlisle and have been around for a decade releasing 3 albums, making a guitar led, psychedelic racket. The new song, SX1000, as a bit of a departure. It sounds like a 1990 acid house remix of an indie guitar band where the remixer has chucked most of the source material away and turned the acid all the way up.

How good is that? Right up my alley and the video is excellent too. It appears judging by the comments at Youtube and elsewhere that The Lucid Dream's fanbase aren't all happy about this change in direction. This is Bad Texan, released back in 2016, a full on guitar, northern rock song. Very good too.

Thursday 15 March 2018


This new track from Mr. Fingers, ahead of a new album this year, sets the heart racing a bit. He put an e.p. out at the end of 2016 called Outer Acid which I loved, especially the techno/sci fi track Qwazars. Electron is a lush riot of warm synth sounds, pulses and drum machines.

Wednesday 14 March 2018


Curses is a Berlin based dj and producer. Curses are also a metal band and another Curses were a Canadian hardcore punk band. It is the Berlin Curses I am offering you today. Together In The Dark is a very Teutonic sounding song, precise drums, throbbing synth bass, a detached vocal and some bass borrowed from early 80s New Order.

This Inga Mauer remix is five minutes of dark, mystery laden, intense techno.

This song, Another View, came out in September 2017 and is knee deep in 80s influences. Possibly overly 80s influenced but I like it regardless.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

The First Time Baby That I Came To You

I was watching a recent re-run of Top Of The Pops, currently in the middle of 1985. Mainly the 1985 repeats are confirming that at the top end of the pop charts 1985 was a terrible year. Occasionally something brilliant shines through the dross. Last week it was Scritti Politti. They did the same thing to me last year when I was left broadsided by Absolute. This time it was The Word Girl, a genuine top ten hit. The Word Girl's reggae rhythm, shimmer and lighter than air vocal melody make it is mid 80s pop, there's no mistake about that, but its instrumentation, arrangement, production and Green Gartside's voice lift it way up above the songs that surrounded it in the chart. It floats, promising to go somewhere else, then drawing back. The digital reverb makes the song seem like it is constantly echoing itself.

It is also not a song to be taken at face value, not a simple song about a girl but a song about language and meaning. The title can also be read as The Word 'Girl'. What seems to be a song about a girl becomes an oblique discussion about obsession and possession, gender politics, the meaning of words, the construction of language. Green had decided to shift into making pop music holed up in Wales following several panic attacks. He listened to American r'n'b and read Marxist theory. Speaking to Sounds in 1985 he said (of The Word Girl) "I was taking stock of all the lyrics of the songs for the new album and, lo and behold, in every song there was – this girl, or that girl. It seemed a good idea to show awareness of the device being used, to take it out of neutral and show it didn't connote or denote certain things. It was important to admit a consciousness of the materiality of referring to 'girls' in songs."

The Word Girl

Scritti Politti's journey is succinctly told in this excerpt from a documentary about Rough Trade.

Monday 12 March 2018


Tapan are a Belgrade based production duo whose debut album Europa came out earlier this year. Tapan, I found out, can also mean a drum used in Balkan and Turkish music. The five track album relies heavily on percussion and rhythm along with local instrumentation. Europa was written as a response to the migrant crisis of 2015 and 2016 and the route that many migrants took, through Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, to a Europe that decided it didn't want them and turned them away. Tapan wrote 'Europa was recorded during long jam sessions in Belgrade as the media spotlight started to dim. The city became the purgatorial destination for a large number of migrants, whose journeys had been cut short'.

Third track Bogovi is the soundtrack to a nocturnal trek- industrial rhythms, slashing guitar chords and horns, a journey though the dark. Strong stuff and worth some of your time.

Sunday 11 March 2018


Bicep's Opal, a track from last year's debut album, has been remixed by Four Tet. This isn't a full scale overhaul or re-working, but more of a subtle job- some tweaks, some filters, the whole thing stretched out with some of the melodies pulled to the fore.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Warning Sign Of Things To Come

One thing leads to another- I few weeks ago I missed out on tickets to see David Byrne on his upcoming. C'est la vie. Then I read an interview with him which referred to a film from 2016 I meant to watch but didn't get around to. The name of the film is 20th Century Women, and that's what it's about. I enjoyed it a lot, the story a single mother in her 50s and two much younger women, co-raising her son, a teenager, in late 1970s California. The film is peppered with the music of Talking Heads from their '77 debut and the 1978 follow up. On Thursday I pulled out Talking Heads 1978 album More Songs About Buildings And Food and played it through a couple of times, an album I first got into in 1987. And now today you're getting a song from that record, Warning Sign.

By 1978 Talking Heads were clearly something a little bit different, benefiting from the rush of CBGB's punk, but clearly not punk, a four-square guitar band who were showing they could make people dance. And while David Byrne may have been leader, dominant mouthpiece and main songwriter the rhythm section, Tina Weymouth and husband Chris Frantz, were developing something just as unique as Byrne's strange way of looking at the world lyrically. Warning Sign opens with Frantz's drums and some wonderful reverb splashed all over his snare, then followed by Weynouth's circling bassline. A guitar joins in and the group set up a groove that goes on for almost a minute before Byrne joins in with his nervous, neurotic vocals, echo and a slur adding some menace to the song. Brian Eno's subtle production pays off throughout the song. As someone says over at Youtube 'I could live in that bassline forever'.

Warning Sign

Friday 9 March 2018

Ad Hoc Toast Rack

A few weeks ago I was sent a four track e.p. from Manchester's Ad Hoc Records, a local label (local to me even if not to you) putting out the 'very best of Manchester's current electronic scene'. I didn't get around to listening to it until earlier this week, which was my loss but is now my gain, and your's. First track is Heart Strings by Yadava, a beautiful piece of 2018 Balearica, with synthetic strings and busy rhythms, more suited to sitting by Mediterranean than the Medlock.

There are two tracks involving Two Tail, one with Sid Quirk- I must add here, I don't know who any of these people are, the names are just names to me- before the final track which ticks all my boxes. Cut A Rug by RareBIT is more uptempo Balearic goodness, a heavily treated vocal, some trumpets and a skippity drum track. Lovely. You can buy the whole Ad Hoc Presents: Vol 2 here for just £4.00.

The picture shows The Hollings Building, known locally as The Toast Rack, a masterpiece of 1960s Mancunian architecture. A local photographer took this picture and put it online. I can't find who it was, so can't credit it- if by chance it's you, please get in touch.

Thursday 8 March 2018

Hold Unknown

A new song from Dinosaur Jr, a single on Adult Swim, is out now. I don't know if you can buy it anywhere but you can listen to it. J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph could have made and released this song at almost any point since 1987 but that doesn't mean it's not a magnificent piece of music. J sounds, in his singing and playing, both energised and typically slack.

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Past Bedtime

I found a cd I made many years ago, a compilation of early Warp bleep 'n' bass records, futuristic techno from Sheffield- Tricky Disco, Tuff Little Unit, LFO, Kid Unknown, all that sort of thing. It sounds fantastic on the car stereo (and it's not even a very good car stereo), the bass making things vibrate and rattle, the bleeps loud and the vocal samples reverberating around my car on my way to and from work. I am especially struck with this one at the moment, the B-side to Tricky Disco's Tricky Disco 12" from 1990, where the bleep 'n' bass is pitted against Gregorian chanting.

Tricky Disco (Past Tricky's Bedtime Mix)

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Those Dreams Keep You Free

This song keeps appearing in short bursts on the TV, advertising a fragrance (Marc Jacobs). I feel I can say without fear of contradiction that this 1979 Suicide single is one of the peaks of late 20th alternative pop culture.

Dream Baby Dream

A Youtuber has uploaded Dream Baby Dream with this entrancing video...

Monday 5 March 2018

Mickey Foote

Mickey Foote has died. Mickey was The Clash's live soundman and the man who produced The Clash's debut album. The raw ferocity of Mick Jones' guitars and Joe's guttersnipe vocals, the mad dash through Janie Jones and I'm So Bored With The USA, the snarl and bite of What's My Name, the thumping Career Opporitnities and the trash reggae of Police And Thieves, all owe something to Mickey. Amusingly Mickey was sacked as producer by Strummer, despite being a friend since the 101ers days, for the punk crime of speeding up the 7" mix of Clash City Rockers (because studio trickery like varispeed was just not authentic, maaan). He also produced the brilliant Ambition by Subway Sect. In recent years Mickey was back in the press for being one of the faces of a campaign against Donald Trump and his decision to despoil the Aberdeenshire coastline with a golf course.

RIP Mickey Foote.


Sunday 4 March 2018

Snowmageddon's Not For Everyone

This weather eh? Storm Emma, Snowmageddon, the beast from the east, the pest from the west. It's been very cold, that's for sure- snow, ice, wind, sleet, more snow, more wind, more cold. Luckily Andrew Weatherall is back with the latest edition of Music's Not For Everyone to warm the cockles of your heart.



Saturday 3 March 2018

And May You Always Have No Shoes

With No Shoes, the opening song from the Charlatans 1997 album Tellin' Stories, has been buzzing around my head recently. It's a song that is blatantly in thrall to mid 90s rock 'n' roll, a post-Britpop shuffle and with Gallagher-esque vocal tics. It opens with some harmonica and a burst of wah-wah guitar and then drum loops supplied by a Chemical Brother (Tom Rowlands I think). Stoned and groovey. The album was released following the death of Rob Collins but he played on much of it.

With No Shoes

I'm sure I read somewhere that Tim's lyrics were inspired by The Stone Roses legendary 1989 intro tape, a trippy and slightly menacing piece of music- a rolling bassline, lolloping drum loop and screeching sound (all sampled from a 1987 hip hop record, Small Time Hustler by Dismasters). It apparently also contains a voice whispering 'with no shoes'. It is a valuable addition to your ever-growing mp3 collection.

The Stone Roses 1989 Intro Track

Small Time Hustler

Which also gives me an excuse to post this picture of Ian, Mani and Reni on that tour of 1989, when they were capable of blowing ecstatic heads wide open and also of turning up to play to audiences of a couple of dozen.

Friday 2 March 2018

I'm Telling You Now And I'm Telling You This

'Life can be an onward, downward chip'.

Some music from The Fall for Friday. Gut Of The Quantifier is from 1985's magnificent This Nation's Saving Grace, an album Mark E Smith reckoned was one of their best (or at least he said that in an interview once). The Fall line up in 1985 was Mark, Brix and Craig Scanlon on guitar, Steve Hanley on bass, Karl Burns on drums and Simon Rogers on keys. This incarnation of the band were tight as you like. Gut Of The Quantifier shows this group could cook up killer riffs (Hanley's bass riff on the song below is immense and the guitars are wired and exhilarating), could get a proper groove on and wrote music that borrowed and stole but sounded unique. You can trace the outlines of various older songs in Gut Of The Quantifier- Junior Walker, The Doors and Lipps Inc for three, all pulped together with a semblance of James Brown. Over this amped up garage band rock MES delivers one of his finest sermons. Some excerpts follow which I won't attempt to annotate or comment on-

'I'm not saying they're really thick
But all the groups who've hit it big
Make the Kane Gang look like
an Einstein chip'

'Here are your wedding pictures
They are black'

'They take from the medium poor to
give to the needy poor
Via the government poor
Give it to the poor poor
They're knocking on my door'

'Who are the riff-makers.
Who are they really?
How old are the stars really?
Half-wit philanthropist, cosy charity gig'

Gut Of The Quantifier

'I'm telling you now
and I'm telling you this,
Life can be a downward chip'

Thursday 1 March 2018

She's Got Herself A Universe

Madonna's Ray Of Light single and album are 20 years old. The album is a modern pop showpiece, borrowing from all over the place, mainly but not only dance music and dance music production, to make something new and up-to-date. The single was a blast, a riot of acid-tinged electronics merged with a soaring chorus and a feeling of freedom, flying, re-birth. Madonna had been through several life changing experiences in the previous couple of years, not least the birth of her daughter, and a desire to capture this newness, 'wonderment' she called it, was uppermost in her mind. The person chosen to bring it to life was William Orbit and he brings the sound, the electronic and dance influences and the production techniques. Ray Of Light, the single, still sounds fresh today. Orbit deliberately pushed her vocals as far as he could, making her sing just beyond the top of her range, a semitone above where she'd usually peak, to get that reaching and slightly straining effect. I was deep into stuff in 1998 that was often quite a long way from Madonna but I loved this single- and still do.  The video was also bang up to date...

The 12" and cd single came with a range of remixes. William Orbit's own 8 minute Liquid version of Ray Of Light was well worth the cost of a cd single (£3.99 probably), a stretched out, less hyper take on the pop version, with looped electric guitar parts for the intro and then burbling synths and bass, the vocal covered in reverb.

Ray Of Light (William Orbit Liquid Mix)

I may come back to the Ray Of Light album at a later date- I haven't listened to it for a long time but it's got a lot of songs worth re-investigating. While putting this post together I cam across this semi-ambient, floaty remix of Drowned World with a great backwards guitar part, again by Orbit himself- Drowned World- A Reverie Remix. Rather beautiful.

Punk bonus- Mark Vidler, as Go Home Productions, was a master of the 00s mash-up/bootleg scene. He spliced Ray Of Light with Pretty Vacant, added the filth and fury of the Pistols on Bill Grundy and some gig chatter of Lydon complaining about being spat upon.

Ray Of Gob