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Thursday 31 May 2018

You Don't Have To Be Afraid

I was listening to Julian Cope's Peggy Suicide album last week. I was looking for something I hadn't heard for a long time to soundtrack my drive to the Lakes and it caught my eye. Released in 1991 it signalled a new Cope. He went on to make a further opus for Island, Jehovakill, who then dropped him, at this clear turning point in his career. It was the period when the post-80s pop Cope was formed, with his lyrical references to organised religion, feminism, paganism, ecology, Mother Earth, prehistoric sites- the Cope world view. It was also a move away from the pop sound of the previous decade and into a heavier, psychedelic rock sound. He was at a peak of press interest (the weeklies loved him and the new spate of monthlies were on board too). His hatred for the Thatcher government and the poll tax demonstrations/riots took pace during the making of Peggy Suicide, with Julian attending the London demonstration dressed as Squibsy.

Peggy Suicide is a double album and an 'artistic vision' record. The band were a mix of old (Donald Ross Skinner, Rooster Cosby) and new (Mike Joyce and Mike Mooney). Some of the songs sound, not dated maybe, but of their time- 1990/91 drum beats, Manchester funky rock- but there are some career highs here too, perfectly sequenced, leading us through the album in a certain order, lyrically and musically. Beautiful Love is a gorgeous, lightfooted calypso song about Albion and dolphins. Hanging Out & Hung Up On The Line is dense Detroit rock. Drive, She Said is a stunner. But on the drive up the M6 the one that struck me most was Safesurfer, seemingly a tribute and ode to contraception and safe sex, from the opening line 'I saw my old man exploding out of a tunnel' to the huge Mick Ronson- inspired guitar track. Eight minutes of epic Cope magnificence that no one else could have made.


Wednesday 30 May 2018

Forton's Not For Everyone

I nearly missed this while I was away, the latest from Andrew Weatherall's monthly shindig Music's Not For Everyone. You can find the tracklist here which should help you spend next month's record buying budget. 

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Bug In The Bassbin

Back from the Lake District, sun beaten and more than ready for a week off work, with a pile of records to play that I bought the weekend before (and the new Wooden Shjips album, not yet bought but certain to be purchased once I get into town later on this week).

There's been a thing on Twitter recently where people have been posting pictures of 10" record sleeves, 10 pictures in 10 days. I did it.  Some of you have been joining in. I was going through my 10" records and found my copy of Innerzone Orchestra's Bug In The Bassbin, released/reissued on Mo'Wax in 1996 but originally recorded in '92. Carl Craig put his nose ahead of the pack on Bug In The Bassbin fusing techno with jazz. Sounds like a terrible idea but isn't. It's fantastic. Bug In The Bassbin was picked up in the UK by some of the leading DJs including 4hero, Goldie, Mixmaster Morris and Giles Peterson, and when played faster than intended (at 45 rpm), played a major role in the dawn of drum 'n' bass.

Bug In The Bassbin (Sessions Version)

Friday 25 May 2018

Everything Connected

I got the new Jon Hopkins album at the weekend, a beautifully packaged album on two vinyl discs (which are pressed onto a sumptuous deep blue vinyl to match the album cover. Occasionally I buy  a new record and am shocked to find when I take it out of the inner sleeve that it has been pressed on black vinyl. I'm happy with black vinyl too- I don't really need all these colourful discs).

Hopkins suffered from writer's block after his 2013 album and according to an interview I read recently found his way out of it with a combination of meditation and hallucinogens. The album is a beauty, a record to lose oneself in, expertly paced with a balance of electronic grooves, meditative piano pieces and tracks which are physical, that demand a response from the listener. In places the rhythms and the drums threaten to run away with songs, the synths and instruments having to twist themselves inside out to keep up. The one that keeps me flicking the needle back at the moment is the ten minute techno track Everything Connected, a monster of beats and bass and synths, building and dropping and getting a little bit frazzled. It is, as people like to say, a banger. It fits well with last year's Bicep album and that recent Four Tet remix of Bicep.

I am now away for a few days. We are taking ourselves off after work tonight to the Lake District for a few days, camping and living under the constellations Hopkins has adorned his record with. See you for more blogging fun early next week.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Cowgirl In The Sand

I was in a record shop the other day- I know, fancy that, a record shop- and this song was playing over the shop's speakers and it sounded super. I love hearing a song I've not heard or played for years unexpectedly, in a different context. At that point Neil Young and Crazy Horse in 1969 playing on and on around a couple of chords and coming together for the verses every couple of minutes... let's just say it sounded like the best thing I'd heard that day.

Neil and Danny Whitten both play solos throughout this song but it never feels like those kind of virtuoso guitar solos (that on the whole I really can't stand). It is looser and less planned, less flashy than that. And even though it goes on for ten minutes it never really feels like it. Neil apparently wrote Cowgirl along with Cinnamon Girl and Down By The River in a single day when he was ill with a high temperature.

Cowgirl In The Sand

Wednesday 23 May 2018

All My Dreams

This sounds like one of those songs that is going to soundtrack summer, that should be blaring out of car windows rolled down at traffic lights and piped out from shop doorways and bars- an incredibly funky, smart and sexy song from Roisin Murphy celebrating going out, dancing and general good times for all. This is from one of a series of four 12" singles Roisin is putting out (at nearly 20 quid each they are a tad pricey mind). This is very, very good however and works well played before or after yesterday's Gabe Gurnsey song.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Ultra Clear Sound

Gabe Gurnsey, one half of modular synth duo Factory Floor, has been working on solo stuff. This track, Ultra Clear Sound, is the first fruit of it, a sweaty, intense and futurist vision, co-produced and mixed by Erol Alkan (who seems to be signing and working with some of the best electronic talents out there at the moment). Gabe's album Physical is out on Phantasy in August and if this song is anything to go by it could well be a dark summer pleasure. Conclusion- I'm well into this.

Monday 21 May 2018

Something In Italy

Brian posted Scritti Politti's single Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) a few days ago so I thought it might be worth showing the distance Green Gartside travelled between their first single in 1978 and Wood Beez in 1984. Scritti formed as a collective , operating out of a South London squat, fired up by punk and Italian Marxist theory. They intended to demystify the recording and releasing of records, priting the costs of their single on the sleeve and providing phone numbers of studios and pressing plants. Skank Bloc Bologna came out on Scritti's own St. Pancras label, a pioneering piece of DIY.

The song is firmly post-punk, with scratchy guitar, a melodic dub bassline carrying the tune and percussion dominated by cymbals. It all sounds very spontaneous and freeform. Green's lyrics are full of real life, prosaic imagery with references to Tesco, the Bull And Bush, Harringay, Number 26 (cigarettes) and marmalade, and what I've always taken to be a pop at The Clash ('rockers in the town the magnificent six'). John Peel picked it up and then Rough Trade signed them. Six years later they made Wood Beez (for a major label admittedly). I'm not sure anyone else from that era travelled as far musically as Scritti Politti. Except maybe The Clash (and probably not even them).

Skank Bloc Bologna

Sunday 20 May 2018


Almost a year ago The Sexual Objects put out a 10" single on Fife's Triassic Tusk label. I played it quite a bit at the time and then it got mixed up in a pile of records- I like 10" singles but they're easy to misplace and can get lost between the sleeves of others. When I found it again last week I also realised that I'd hadn't blogged about it. The single was a four track comprising the original version of the song Sometimes and some remixes, with one each from Boards Of Canada and Andrew Weatherall. The Weatherall one is a stripped back, dubby treat, riding on the bass, an echoed guitar chord and some repeated vocal lines. Nine minutes of head nodding and a repeated 'get my kicks' vocal part.

The Boards Of Canada remix is also a keeper, with washes of synth and organ eventually joined by piano and some lovely musical box melodies. Voices fade in and out, before the whole thing swells into something really beautiful at two and a half minutes, a mini-epic. The vinyl sold out along time ago but you can buy the four tracks digitally at Bandcamp and listen to them all on the player below.

Saturday 19 May 2018

48 Thrills?

Today is my 48th birthday. I suppose I have to face facts that I am now late 40s rather than mid-40s and that 50 is bearing down on me. Age may well be nothing but a number but also you have to come to realise that you are not a young person anymore, you are in fact middle aged and increasingly so as each year passes by. There aren't many songs with 48 in the title- but there is this one which promises me 48 thrills this weekend. Maybe.

48 Hours

Due to a pile up of other events and commitments this weekend my initial plans have not come to fruition. Andrew Weatherall and A Certain Ratio shared a gig at the Hebden Bridge Trade's Club last night (which I wanted to go to but couldn't). Steve Cobby and Darren Emerson were DJing at Band On The Wall last night too (which I wanted to attend as a back up to the ACR/Weatherall gig but couldn't) and tonight Weatherall is doing a Wrong Meeting event at the Golden Lion in Todmorden but I can't attend that either. So without any of those plans coming off I shall have to take it a bit easier and be a bit more local, a bit more sedate and a bit more middle aged about my birthday.

Kiyadub 45

I don't remember being consulted about the aristocracy holding their wedding on my birthday either. A member of the British royal family is marrying an American. I will not be watching it. I believe the royal family should be abolished and that having a monarchy is not just undemocratic but anti-democratic, that we can never really even pretend to have a goal of a fair and just society while we have a monarchy. I am quite cheered by opinion polls that suggest a majority of people are at best 'politely disinterested' but also, y'know, stuff your street parties and the idiots with union flags camping out on the streets of Windsor, cheering on an institution that does not care about them a single jot. Rant over, as Drew says.

Elizabeth My Dear

Actually, rant not over. The FA Cup Final is on today as well, kicking off at 5.30 between my club, Manchester United, and Chelsea. My opinion, seeing as I'm giving them out today, is that Jose Mourinho is a bad thing, an outdated, negative, narcissist who wants the praise for himself when they win and blames the players when they lose, a man who thinks spending massive sums of  money is a substitute for coaching. I didn't want him to get the job 2 years ago but we're stuck with him for the moment and obviously I'll still be wanting United to win.

Friday 18 May 2018

Alehouse Futsal

There's a new Half Man Half Biscuit album out today, always a cause of celebration. The lead track Alehouse Futsal appeared online a few weeks ago. It's business as usual lyrically, that is, moments of laugh out loud genius punctuated with insight and references to popular culture and history...

'Your softly spoken friends
Their fortnight in the Fens
Your time slip stories I avow
Are boring the arse off me now
I’m gonna put up a wall in your through lounge
My animosity knows no bounds
I’m gonna give you alehouse futsal'

And this part from the middle eight...

'Picnics with craft beer
Elbow in Delamere
Your brand new 10K PB
Haile Gebrselassie'

No One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fucking Hedge Cut is out today, available from Probe Plus. I am especially looking forward to the songs Man Of Constant Sorrow (With A Garage In Constant Use) and Knobheads On Quiz Shows.

Thursday 17 May 2018

Daytime Just Makes Me Feel Lonely

I had an urge to hear the music of The Byrds this week, the mid 60s, jingle-jangle, folk-psyche Byrds. It was the result of listening to Michael Head's Adios Senor Amigo in the car going to and from work this week. There's a Byrdsian influence on Adios Senor Pussycat, in the playing, the chords and the harmonies.

A long time ago I posted Feel A Whole Lot Better, my favourite Byrds song, with its chiming Rickenbacker guitar riff. But I also found a lot to re-love in this one, a minor key Gene Clark masterpiece, written when The Byrds were still The Jet Set. It's shot through with melancholy and loneliness as he describes being in the big city Los Angeles, without her. The opening guitar riff seems to hint at what would happen in 1966 with Eight Miles High.

Here Without You

Wednesday 16 May 2018

How Can I Keep My Feelings At Bay?

This track is from an ep that came out last month, is really good but is also likely to freak you out if played through headphones late at night. Eyes Of Others is an Edinburgh based musician/producer and remixed here by Sordid Sound System, dubbed out post-club music with backwards, slurred, reverb drenched vocals and a ton of bass.

The Geoffroy Mugwump version is worth a look too, a bit more direct and aimed at the floor of a Belgian indie-disco. The beat and looped vocals work really well alongside the Vangelis Bladerunner style synths.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Adios Senor Pussycat

Michael Head and his Red Elastic Band played at Gorilla on Sunday night. I got an offer of a ticket earlier in the week and I'm really glad I said yes (despite trying to kick a cold that left me feeling shitty all weekend). Gorilla is a small venue underneath the railway arches on Whitworth Street, capacity 500 people (sold out, rammed and somewhat warm) and is the ideal place to see Michael Head in many ways- great sound, intimate and with a committed audience.

The Red Elastic Band comprise of two guitarists, a young long-haired Fred Perry clad bassist, a drummer, a cellist who makes a massive contribution to the sound and a trumpeter (who I've read today is Andy Diagram, formerly of James and also Mick's first band The Pale Fountains- his trumpet parts make me wonder why every guitar band doesn't have a trumpeter). The songs from last year's Adios Senor Pussycat album sound wonderful, dynamic and full of life, influenced by Love clearly, but modern and sharp too, Mick's familiar marriage of melancholy, warmth and bad luck. Picasso and Picklock stand out, beefed out by the players compared to the album versions. Mick is a charismatic and genial host, stumbling in his words occasionally between songs, but not in his singing and playing and the band are as tight as you like, changing tempo or direction effortlessly. The audience would no doubt have been pretty happy just to have heard the songs from Senor, of which we get plenty, but they are interspersed with songs from Shack and other periods of Mick's life- opener is an unreleased beauty called Pretty Child (which has had several names over the years); an intense, survivor's gallop through Streets Of Kenny; a clamorous Comedy as the only encore; Waterpistol's Mr Appointment; and a brilliant version of 1991 psychedelic-Shack single I Know You Well. Back in the 90s an NME front cover proclaimed Mick Head as the best songwriter in Britain and over 90 minutes he goes a long way towards proving that opinion right- how he is playing in venues this small while some of his contemporaries play arenas and stadiums is a mystery, but we win, as we get to see him close up and with all the subtleties and intricacies that you get at small gigs.

I Know You Well (12" Mix)

Adios Senor Pussycat

Monday 14 May 2018

Tiny Foldable Cities

New tracks from Orbital could potentially be a let down, a bit Orbital-by-numbers- press the right buttons, get the right sounds, presto. Thankfully this doesn't seem to be the case with Tiny Foldable Cities, a new track played at their gig at the Apollo I attended back in December last year. There is a Philip Glass element to the melody part from the intro, set off neatly by the buzzing bassline. Dramatic and full of life. Eye catching video too.

Sunday 13 May 2018

Fanfare Of Life

Looking back at my posts over the last week shows a fair amount of dub influenced music. Today's song is in that vein too, a magnificent piece of 90s dub-house from Neil Barnes and Paul Daley.

Song Of Life was a 1992 single and also on Leftfield's 1995 album Leftism, a rousing enough piece of progressive house in itself but for my money the Fanfare Of Life version from the 12" release was the one (later on it appeared on the first volume of the Cafe del Mar series, an essential 90s compilation, one I played through from start to end last weekend when the sun shone). Fanfare Of Life takes a dubbier approach, a slower build, synths that give goosebumps and the looped vocal sample of Bulgarian singer Yanka Rupkina). The introduction of the drums at 1.36 is a moment but the breakdown not long afterwards into the dub bassline is tremendous too.

Fanfare Of Life

Saturday 12 May 2018

Road Block

Sometimes it's only proper Jamaican dub from the mid 70s that really fills that hole, that provides the basslines and the rhythms and the s p a c e. And then you realise you must have Augustus Pablo's melodica snaking around on top. And King Tubby at the controls. And all is good.

Road Block

Road Block was on 1974's Ital Dub and was written by Bob Marley and Aston Barrett, a version of The Wailers' Rebel Music. Here's the whole album for your Saturday morning skank. It won't help you get much done but you'll have a good time doing very little while this plays.

Friday 11 May 2018

Attention Attention! Mesdames Monsieurs

Andrew Weatherall has done two remixes of a song from Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds' latest album, It's A Beautiful World, with both being released on 12" as part of RSD 2018 along with a pair fun piano house remixes from Mike Pickering and Graeme Park. I picked up a copy online without any bother or paying over the odds and without having to queue up at dawn outside Piccadilly Records.

The dub mix is super space age dub, electronic drums and fuzzy synth bass, a bit of Noel and Charlotte Courbe's spoken word part. It builds over ten minutes, gathering pace and intensity, and is a lovely job. It has upset the Dadrock fans however. Some of the comments over at Youtube are a treat-

'Dear Andrew Weatherall, Please Stop. Regards, Everyone'

'Noel really lets Andrew do anything, huh?'

'Noel Is my favorite artist but this Is.. so not biblical...'

'This is the worst of the 3 remixes. I like the other two but not this one'

'What a piece of garbage'

'this is shiiiite'

And my favourite from a Youtube user called Marco...

'My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined'

The vocal remix has a 'real drums' rhythm track and is a bit looser than the dub, some shimmering wobbly parts and more of Noel's vox. It works well back-to-back with Weatherall's remix of Mark Lanegan done last year, dark, foreboding and rocking.

You might think the feathercuts would be more into this one...

'I can’t find any reason to listen this song. Original song is better in every aspect'

'Noel is biblical but this is God awful I'm afraid'

Marco appears over on this one too, he really doesn't like remixes...'My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined'.

'Awful drums'


'Fucking rubbish'

Anyway, as you were, as someone is wont to say.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Hello This Is Gorgeous, Does Anybody Out There Read Me?

More from Primal Scream- this is what I was actually looking for when I got distracted by Echo Dek. Kill All Hippies was the opener to 2000's war on vowels XTRMNTR album. It was an album on heavy rotation (as they used to say) round here. I bought the vinyl for home listening and a copy on cassette for the car. Kill All Hippies samples the voice of Linda Manz (from Dennis Hopper's 1980 film Out Of The Blue) and eventually winds itself up, kicking into a distorted riff and a drum loop, a filthy bassline from Mani and some heavily processed electronics. Bobby consoles himself with a falsetto explanation of art v commerce.

Cool video.

Two Lone Swordsmen chipped in with a couple of remixes, pioneering the use of the hashtag as well as putting even more numbed out, dislocated electronic funk into proceedings than the original track  had.

Kill All Hippies (Two Lone Swordsmen #2)

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Duffed Up

I was listening to Primal Scream's Echo Dek album on Monday as the sun started to heat the day up and blue skies appeared for the third day running. In 1997 Bobby and co. gave Adrian Sherwood the tapes to their Vanishing Point album and let him do what he wanted to them. Echo Dek is largely stunning, full of thundering bass, heavy rhythms, static and hiss, echo and delay and door bells ringing. The second track on the album is a reworking of Get Duffy, a Martin Duffy keyboard led groover from the source album. Duffed Up heads into a dub/skronky jazz soundtrack area with a horn section and harpsichord. Massive Attack and Mad Professor's No Protection pulled off the same trick in 1995, experimental mid 90s dub funded by major labels (and the Oasis millions).

Duffed Up

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Stop Wasting Time

Sunday night ended up with a bit of an impromptu gathering in our garden due to it being a bank holiday Monday the following day and very warm and sunny. The drinking started at about 5pm and carried on through til late. The neighbours were all given the benefit of various albums and compilations playing from inside the house out into the garden, starting off with the Mastercuts Classic House comp (vinyl, sounding a bit crackly and worn in places), then the first four sides of Sandinista!, with the switch from Voodoo Ray to The Magnificent 7 working very well indeed. Sandinista! works really well on cd, and Mick Jones' remastering on the Sound System edition is spectacular, revealing new delights with almost every listen.

Side 2 of Sandinista! is essentially a Clash mixtape, opening with Rebel Waltz, a much overlooked moment of brilliance, a Mose Allison cover, some sweltering Simonon dub (The Crooked Beat), a blinding rock song (Somebody Got Murdered) and then The Clash and Mikey Dread kicking it out in a proper reggae style with One More Time and it's dub sister. One More Time is Strummer's depiction of ghetto poverty and the civil rights movement of the 60s, with the band on fire in the Electric Ladyland studio. It is followed by Mikey Dread's heavier dubbed out version.

One More Time
One More Dub

Monday 7 May 2018

Worker's Playtime

May Day is a worker's holiday, first established in the UK in 1978. In 1988 Billy Bragg gave us his most perfect song, Waiting For The Great Leap Forward, a song written from personal experience of an 80s vision of revolution, benefit gigs, fanzines, activism and t-shirts. Billy is a wordsmith but words can be easily missed if the music isn't good enough. Thankfully Waiting... has a tune good enough to complement the lyrics. I could try to pick the bones out of the lyrics and give some analysis but they're best presented as you hear them, as a rush of Billy's thoughts, scribbled on the back of a beer mat...

'It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro's brother spies a rich lady who's crying
Over luxury's disappointment
So he walks over and he's trying
To sympathize with her but he thinks that he should warn her
That the Third World is just around the corner  

In the Soviet Union a scientist is blinded
By the resumption of nuclear testing and he is reminded
That Dr. Robert Oppenheimer's optimism fell
At the first hurdle
In the Cheese Pavilion and the only noise I hear
Is the sound of someone stacking chairs
And mopping up spilt beer
And someone asking questions and basking in the light
Of the fifteen fame filled minutes of the fanzine writer

Mixing pop and politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the great leap forwards

Jumble sales are organised
And pamphlets have been posted
Even after closing time there's still parties to be hosted
You can be active with the activists
Or sleep in with the sleepers
While you're waiting for the great leap forwards 
One leap forward, two leaps back
Will politics get me the sack?
Here comes the future and you can't run from it
If you've got a blacklist I want to be on it

It's a mighty long way down rock 'n roll
From Top of the Pops to drawing the dole
If no one seems to understand
Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman
In a perfect world we'd all sing in tune
But this is reality so give me some room
So join the struggle while you may
The revolution is just a tee shirt away
Waiting for the great leap forwards'

Have a good bank holiday everyone.  

Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards

Sunday 6 May 2018

Now So Much Waste How We'll Be Teased

It is the 50th anniversary of the events of May 1968 where students and workers in Paris staged a series of strikes and demonstrations that very nearly brought the government down, tapping into and inspiring a year of revolution and turmoil. Back in May 1988 it was the 20th anniversary and I remember watching an excellent Channel 4 documentary about it and reading various articles and features while I was supposed to be revising for my A Levels. 

A year later, May 1989, The Stone Roses released their debut album which was peppered with references to May 68 (along with a regicide fantasy) which made The Roses seem like a political band, revolutionaries maybe, a view of them that has been lost over the years. On Bye Bye Badman Ian Brown sings about the smoke and choke of tear gas and the neutralising effect citrus fruit has on  CS gas (something an old man told them in a pub according to interviews). The lemons on the album cover and T-shirts repeat this. 'I'm throwing stones at you' Ian croons, to the policeman in the picture above, the cobblestones of the streets of Paris underneath which would be found the beach. Ian would return to May 68 on solo songs (Corpses In Their Mouths was a Situationist slogan of the time). 

The song on that sparkling debut album that precedes Bye Bye Badman is the one I can keep coming back to, that hasn't become over familiar. Don't Stop is Waterfall backwards. It's an easy studio trick, reverse the tape and see what happens- trippy whooshing sounds, stoned, Satanic vocals and a 60s vibe. But Don't Stop is much better than merely a lazy studio mucking about session. John Squire's backwards guitar riff is a joy, sucking the distortion and lead lines into new shapes and Reni's new rhythm track puts it in touch with another revolution, the one of 1988-90 that was taking place in nightclubs, warehouses and fields. For the words John listened to the backwards Waterfall vocal and then wrote down what the lines suggested, resulting in something close to poetry.

'Don't stop, isn't it funny how you shine?
Here the sea spray give
I was with her
We're under the ship so get me over
Now that was me, listen
Now she fishes now, listen
There was no one out there we used
There is the news for me useless
Now so much waste
How we'll be teased
Don't stop, isn't it funny how you shine?
Don't stop, isn't it funny how you shine?
Oh won't you just ask me you're an imbecile
What's the matter for everyone I feel
Pain, blues singer
He's playing just a guitar from the top
I wake I still look I feel loose
We're all here now who's the first ease into my heart
He must be one of us'

Saturday 5 May 2018

Let The Music Use You

The Summer of Love, 1988 version, is being celebrated in many places at the moment, not least at Mixmag. Two veterans of the scene and Boy's Own alumni, Terry Farley and Pete Heller, have put together a mix of records that were big that summer. This could easily be accused of being a total nostalgia trip if the tune selection from the Boy's Own duo wasn't so great, including This Brutal House, Adonis, Ralph Rosario, Tyree, A Guy Called Gerald, The Night Writers, Turntable Orchestra, The Beloved, Marshall Jefferson and Ce Ce Rogers. Get Farley and Heller's words on the records are here. It is a bank holiday weekend here and this is an ideal soundtrack to three days off.

Friday 4 May 2018

White Rose

I am in a bit of a Moon Duo/Wooden Shjips groove right now and have been returning to the pair of albums Moon Duo released last year, Occult Architecture 1 and 2. The first volume was closed by a final track that was a scorching, repeating and hypnotic delight, White Rose. While digging on the internet last week I found some live versions that are superb. This one was filmed for a session with KEXP and is a masterclass. Once that drumbeat sets off and the drone gets going it could quite happily go on and on and on...

And then I found this one from a festival called Endless Daze held in South Africa last year, which is like the other one but even more so, especially Ripley's reverb drenched guitar playing.

Thursday 3 May 2018


This is a track off an obscure 12" released in 1990, 5 tracks inspired by house music and the warehouse party scene, made by Matt Gray under the name Westworld (a name already in use in the 80s by the Sonic Boom Boy band). Dreamworld opened side AA and is simplicity itself- a rising and falling synth sound, washes of strings, some percussion and then a thumping kick drum, an Italo-house sequenced bassline and a piano riff to raise arms in the air. The sort of track that makes complete strangers hug each other ask the key questions- what's your name? and where are you from? and what are you on?


Last month Gerd Janson released a re-edit of The Slam, a track from the A side of the original 12"- sirens, cowbells Mantronix style, wailing vox and a rolling piano riff, out now on vinyl should you wish for a fuller, deeper audio experience.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

How Soon Is Dub

You may think that the recorded works of Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce are so sacrosanct that they shouldn't be mucked with. I don't as it happens, I'm more than  happy for people to rework and remix almost everything and anything if it's done well. Plus, seeing as Morrissey sees fit to spew shit all over his legacy there's no reason why the odd bootlegger and remixer shouldn't (and given his 'all reggae is vile' comment back in the 80s this seems even more fitting). This is a dub version of How Soon Is Now, using the original track, especially Johnny Marr's wonderful guitar parts, and adding the dub elements in increasingly as it rides on. As a bonus there's precious little Morrissey involved in it too.

How Soon Is Now? Dubweiser Remix

Tuesday 1 May 2018


I discovered recently that there is a piece of rock 'n' roll history right under my nose, here in sleepy Sale. This advert for Smile Recording Studios, 'the friendliest in the north west' no less, used to operate in the cellar of a house near where I live. As in, I can see it from where I'm typing this and with a good throw could hit it with a tennis ball. In 1975 Manchester's premier punk band recorded a demo there, 4 tracks of high octane proto-punk from Slaughter And The Dogs. Only £6 an hour too. I have been tempted to go and speak to the owners and ask them if I can have a look in their cellar for the distant essence of music history, to see if any lingering remains can be found.

Slaughter were a formative influence on members of Joy Division, The Smiths and The Stone Roses to name but three local bands fired up by Wayne Barratt, Mick Rossi, Brain Grantham and Howard Bates. Run by Steve Foley, who started in his parent's home in Salford on a two track, Smile relocated to Upper Chorlton Road, Whalley Range, a couple of miles away. What do we get for our trouble and pain? Whalley Range. On a comment thread somewhere, Steve lists the bands who recorded using the facilities at one of his studio set ups- Salford Jets, The Alarm, Frantic Elevators, Fast Cars, Gerry And The Pacemakers, Martin Hannett and St Winifrid's Choir (although a user of Smile reports that the studio drum kit was 'truly shit'). But, still, Slaughter And The Dogs, across the road from my house. Wonderful.

Cranked Up Really High