Monday, 31 December 2018
Happy new year everyone, hope you have a good one.
I was going to put together a list of contenders for the worst person of 2018. You can probably imagine who'd be on it- start with the government, the European Research Group, much of the rest of the Conservative Party, and work out from there to include the racists and fascists of the far right. The thing is, we've not even hit the bottom yet, and politically 2019 could well be worse than 2018.
On the other hand, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
This is Many Animals from Davie Miller (Fini Tribe, Finiflex) and featuring new music from Edinburgh DJ and producer Joseph Malik, a two hour radio show trawling through the outer reaches of electronic music, some funk, some hip hop, some dub, some AMOR, Brendan Lynch's freak out remix of Paul Weller, Amy Douglas and much more besides. Enjoy. See you all in 2019 for more of the same.
Brian pointed out the day before yesterday that when putting together an end of year list it is always the case that you'll miss or forget something. I agreed. The other situation is buying a record after posting the end of year list that then becomes a clear contender for said list (I spent some Christmas money in Piccadilly Records two days ago on just such an album, which I imagine I'll come back here to in a few days time). The record I forgot about was Moon Duo's 12" single from January, a pair of covers that I should have put in my list. The first was their version of Alan Vega's 1981 single Jukebox Babe, a two chord homage/motorik groove...
Vega's original is New York rockabilly at the turn of the 80s, brittle and wired...
The other side of the Moon Duo 12" was a slowed down cover of No Fun. Today is New Year's Eve and I shall be back later if I find the time get something else written for the end of 2018. See you tonight.
Sunday, 30 December 2018
This track combines two of my current musical favourites, Scandinavian dance music and the remixes of Keiran Hebden as Four Tet. Lovesick (Four Tet Remix), by Prins Thomas and Christabelle, was originally a 2010 release, and is now part of a massive three hour, three cd mixed set (or double vinyl) celebrating twenty five years of Prins Thomas. Slow motion 21st century Norwegian disco.
Saturday, 29 December 2018
This was on the last episode of Andrew Weatherall's monthly radio show, a reworking of a 2008 song from Headman with A Certain Ratio's singer and bass player Jez Kerr on treated but distinctive vocals. Headman describes it as his usual post-punk sound updated with Italo-disco and synth-pop. The 2018 rework was posted on Twitter by Jez and said to be a Weatherall rework but I can't find any reference to that in the Music's Not For Everyone show or on Youtube where it is said to be a rework by Robi (Headman himself). Either way, Weatherall or Headman, this is a pumping bassline, horn-led, dance floor thumper, not too far from Jez's day job, early 80s mutant disco funk. Stick it on the next time you have guests round and see what happens. You can buy it at Bandcamp.
Friday, 28 December 2018
This bit between Christmas and New Year is actually the best bit of the festive season, not quite sure exactly what day it is or what you're supposed to be doing. Into this blur of overdoing it and the general fug that surrounds us I'm going to chuck these random pieces of pop culture. The picture above shows Kirk Douglas, a Christmas film kind of bloke if ever there was one (The Vikings, Paths Of Glory, Spartacus) relaxing in his mid-century modern style home. Kirk recently turned 102 years old.
One of the best presents I got this Christmas was Beastie Boys Book, a book by the two surviving Beastie Boys and their associates that is no ordinary rock autobiography and all the better for it. In one chapter Ad Rock describes his Toyota Corolla and the mixtape that sound-tracked that period of his life in the early 90s. Ad Rock says that The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground is the greatest record since the invention of recorded sound (or something similar) and let's be fair, it is a classic golden age of hip-hop, crossover dance hit. Based around a Sly and The Family Stone drum sample rapper Humpty Hump (rapper Shock G's alter ego) brags about his amazing sexual prowess, attained despite his comical appearance, the boring uniformity of other rappers and the Humpty Dance, a loose, anything goes, just-get-down-and-do-it kind of dance as opposed to the drill formation dancing of MC Hammer. Sure, there may be aspects of the song that are a little dated but we could all do with a little bit of doing the humpty hump...
Two apologies- I don't have an mp3 of The Humpty Dance at the moment so it's video only and also the video is TV friendly so bleeps out the profanities.
Tim Burgess is a good Twitter follow and always seems like a really nice bloke. He recently tweeted this clip, The Charlatans in October 1990 at an amphitheatre somewhere on the West Coast of the USA playing their debut single Indian Rope- loose limbed, organ led garage shuffle. There's a really nice breakdown section in this live version...
Indian Rope is a fine song, a sign that from the start this group were not bandwagoneers at all and had a winning way with a tune.
Lastly, for no reason other than it needed to go somewhere and this post is as good a palce as any, here is Robert Palmer, live at San Diego State University in 1987, the man from Addicted To Love and Some Guys Have All The Luck, covering Husker Du's New day Rising, the righteous blast of hardcore punk that opened the album of the same name.
Have a moment to let that sink in. And here's Bob, Grant and Greg cleaning your ears out back in 1985.
New Day Rising
Thursday, 27 December 2018
This was the view from the window of Apollo 8 as they went around the moon and experienced an earthrise, fifty years and three days ago.
This is Four Tet's remix of Joe Goddard's Apple Bobbing, nine years old but still sounding very fresh and light on its feet. Four Tet always seems to be a couple of steps away from the pack.
Apple Bobbing (Four Tet Remix)
Wednesday, 26 December 2018
This should stir you out of your Boxing Day haze. The Shunt Voltage are from Manchester and released this at the end of November- a monster of a groove, synths battling over the top and a robotic voice. Intense. At £1 for both the original and Unleaded versions there's no need to go fighting in the sales for a bargain either.
Tuesday, 25 December 2018
Monday, 24 December 2018
I've pretty much avoided Christmas this year on here, no seasonal songs at all, so I'll try to enter into the spirit of things by posting these two today (and giving the Monday Long Song a rest for a week or two). Low's Just Like Christmas is a thing of beauty, a song I've posted several times before but which is always welcome. The sleigh bells and the sleigh ride rhythm are are joy, as are the lyrics- the band in the van travelling from Stockholm to Oslo seeing the snow fall.
Just Like Christmas
Sleigh bells ringing are the opening to Darlene Love's Winter Winterland, one of the songs on A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector album from 1963. If you have to listen to an album of Christmas songs, it should really be this one (although I'll make a shout for Wild Billy Childish's Christmas 1979, the title track of which I've also posted before).
And if you need something longer Steve Cobby has put together this mix, just over an hour of lesser known festive songs from the crooners and shakers including Dinah Washington, Dean Martin, Julie London and Nancy Wilson.
Whatever you're up to, wherever you are and whoever you're with, have a happy Christmas. Peace and love and all that.
Sunday, 23 December 2018
Unless he sneaks something out between today and New Year's Eve this looks like being the final Andrew Weatherall remix and release of 2018, a seven minute re-working of Scottish post-punkers The Twilight Sad. Weatherall adds that metronomic drum machine and sends the whole thing through an FX box called 'Early/Mid 80s New Order'. A friend aptly described this as Widescreen Goth. I just hope there will be a proper 12" release because it's a fine example of the art of the remix (you can buy it as a download but somehow that's not quite enough).
While we're talking about New Order the two warring parties of the group have managed to put together plans for a deluxe version of Movement (out next year, currently being advertised at upwards of £100. No, I won't be buying it). Movement was New Order's painful first album, recorded in the wake of Ian Curtis' suicide with Martin Hannett not necessarily always making things easier but making them sound better, and the three surviving members plus Gillian Gilbert trying to work out how to not sound like Joy Division. Bernard famously can't stand it and while some might agree it's not their best work it also has plenty going for it, some wonderful interplay between the fantastic sounding guitars, bass and drums not least.
The double cd is packaged in a nice box, with the original album on vinyl with the 12" singles from the subsequent months of 1980 and into 1981- both versions of Ceremony, Everything's Gone Green and Temptation- and a DVD. I have all the vinyl and don't need to buy it again. The cd (which if available separately I would shell out for) has all the extras- the Western Works demos, the Cargo demos (both of which give an idea of how Movement would have sounded without Hannett) and some other its and bobs. The DVD has the live performances- Hurrah's in New York in 1980 and at the Peppermint Lounge, same city, 1981 (one or both possibly attended by friend and reader Echorich, maybe he'll confirm in the comments) and two TV appearances (Celebration at Granada Studios and At The Riverside from BBC2).
The Western Works demos have been available for some time as a bootleg and online. Western Works was a studio in Sheffield, home to Cabaret Voltaire. On September 7th 1980 New Order spent the night there recording songs for what would become Movement with all three surviving members taking turns singing (Hooky on Dreams Never End, Bernard on Homage and Stephen on Ceremony and Truth). It's an interesting artefact, a group trying to work out how to make it work and fairly easy to find online but here's the then slower version of what would become the album's opener.
Dreams Never End Mix One
Saturday, 22 December 2018
List time again, for what it's worth.
It looks like 2018 has been a very good year for albums, a format everyone keeps suggesting is dead or dying. Making a long list was very easy. There are albums that came out at the start of the year I'm enjoying, albums that have come out recently I'm still getting into and albums I haven't heard yet which I feel sure I should have (Beak for one, The Orielles for another and Neneh Cherry for a third).
Floating around above my top ten are all of these albums and placing them in order seems very arbitrary. All of them have brightened up my year and all are worthy of a mention- Factory Floor 'Soundtrack To A Film'; Mogwai 'Kin'; The Orb 'No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds'; Hollie Cook 'Vessel of Love'; Gwenno 'Le Kov'; J Mascis 'Elastic Days'; Tracey Thorn 'Record'; Echo Ladies 'Pink Noise'; The Advisory Circle 'Ways Of Seeing'; Half Man Half Biscuit 'No-one Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fucking Hedge Cut'. A week ago AMOR's debut album Sinking Into A Miracle arrived. If it had come out sooner I think it would have made the dozen below.
I should also mention a pair of albums out this year but not of this year- Primal Scream's Memphis Sessions, Tom Dowd's recordings left unreleased for two decades, and Joe Strummer 001, a compilation of Joe's solo years with enough newly uncovered material to make it feel like a treasure trove. Today is the sixteenth anniversary of his death and the world feels like a poorer place without him.
Previously unreleased, this is a Joe and Mick Jones song from 1986. Ten minutes inside Joe's mind with some of Big Audio Dynamite accompanying.
Albums of 2018- a top twelve
Gulp 'All Good Wishes'
Ace kraut-folk from Wales, full of invention and melody.
Rival Consoles 'Persona'
Perfectly judged laptop electronic dance music that works just as well at home/in the car. Very rhythmic and abstract in places but never without tunes.
A 2018 return for the duo from Fini Tribe- an album named after a mountain, aimed at the head and the feet with multi-tracked vocals, synths and chugging electronic drums. Uplifting and fresh.
The Liminanas 'Shadow People'
Ten songs from France's best kept secret, ten versions of a psych-folk-Velvets-1960s for the modern world.
Chris Carter 'Chemistry Lessons 1'
Twenty five short electronic pieces- dance music, ambient, reflective industrial tracks, littered with found voices and shot through with melody. Brilliant and warm.
Jon Hopkins 'Singularity'
Starting and finishing with the same note, a sort of cosmic joke, and between the two some of the year's wildest techno and electronic tracks (especially the ten minute journey of Everything Connected) plus some very beautiful minor key piano pieces.
Mr Fingers 'Cerebral Hemispheres'
This record has been a bit overlooked I feel, a double album by one of the men who invented house music. He spreads it around on this in a multitude of styles and the peaks are very peaky. Acid peaks Techno peaks, Dub techno peaks. All sorts of peaks.
Spiritualized '...And Nothing Hurt'
If this ends up being the last Spiritualized album then Jason has finished it in fine Spaceman style. Bleak in places but well worth committing too and an album that rewards with repeated plays.
The Lucid Dream 'Actualisation'
They blew me away at Gorilla in September- I was expecting them to be good after the single SX1000 early on in the year but not that good. The album then followed it up in spades, a perfectly 2018 cut-and-shut job combining acid house, psych-rock and dub.
Gabe Gurnsey 'Physical'
The sound of a night out, late 80s drum machines, synths and some impressionistic vocals parts. Funky and sexy, and drenched in the smells of clubs- cig butts, dry ice, perfume and sweat.
Daniel Avery 'Song For Alpha'
Minimal techno, buckets of reverb and some lovely ambient noise, designed to be listened to from start to finish, packaged beautifully and utterly absorbing.
Wooden Shjips 'V'
In a year when most of my favourite and most played albums have been electronic and dance music based the album sitting at the top of my list is the fifth lp from San Francisco's rocker Wooden Shjips, setting out on a trip through their record collections (psychedelia, stoner grooves, krautrock) but done with a lightness of touch and some real earworm melodies. Ripley's guitar playing and his tone are as good as anyone since the turn of the century. Why do I like this so much? It makes me happy.
There have been so many great songs, singles, remixes and eps this year that I could easily extend the length of this list but 40 seems like enough (and although his name appears all over the place below I have actually left some Weatherall tracks out of this). There are probably things I've forgotten too that I'll kick myself about next week. In the meantime here's a second list...
40. Johnny Marr 'Hi Hello'
39. audiobooks. 'Dance Your Life Away' Andrew Weatherall remix
38. A Certain Ratio ft Barry Adamson 'Dirty Boy'
37. The Liminanas ft Peter Hook 'The Gift'
36. Timothy J. Fairplay 'An Introduction To Consumer Electronics' ep
35. Field Of Dreams 'Nothing Is Perfect' original and Andrew Weatherall remix
34. Aphex Twin 'T69 Collapse'
33. The Twilight Sad 'Videograms' Andrew Weatherall remix
32. Steve Mason 'Walking Away From Love'
31. The Long Now 'Restoration'
30. Underworld and Iggy Pop 'Teatime Dub Encounters'
29. Echo Ladies 'Overrated' Robin Guthrie version
28. Daniel Avery/Jon Hopkins remix 12"
27. Hardway Bros 'The Laser' ep
26. Tracey Thorn 'Sister' Andrew Weatherall remix and dub
25. Factory Floor 'Heart Of Data'
24. Lost Cat 'Postcode'
23. The Vryll Society 'Light At The Edge Of The World' Richard Norris Dub
22. Gabe Gurnsey 'Eyes Over'/Eyes Over Extended Dub
21. Bob Mould 'Sunshine Rock'
20. Noel Gallagher and His High Flying Birds 'It's A Beautiful World' Andrew Weatherall remixes
19. Ride 'Tomorrow's Shore' ep
18. Roisin Murphy 'Plaything'
17. Rude Audio 'Rude Redux' ep
16. Daniel Avery 'Slow Fade' ep
15. Woodleigh Research Facility 'Heilige Siedhr'
14. Marius Circus 'I Feel Space' 12"
13. Craig Bratley '99.9' ep especially Take Me To Bedford Or Lose Me Forever
12. Daniel Avery 'A Quick Eternity' Four Tet Remix
11. Mogwai 'We're Not Done'
Circle Sky 'If I Let Go'
Richard Norris and Martin Dubka slipped this single out, a totally beguiling song from the heart of a very human sounding machine.
Lana del Rey 'Venice Bitch'
This took the top of my head off a couple of months ago- ten minutes of lullaby vocals about being 'fresh out of fucks forever', of being together and apart, some gorgeous atmospherics and a stunning guitar part.
The Lucid Dream 'SX1000'
Roland synths banged all the way up, bassline from '89- acid house reinvention from Carlisle.
Amy Douglas 'Never Saw It Coming'/Crooked Man remix and dub
Straight out of New York and remixed and dubbed out of Sheffield, September's moment of late autumn sunshine Balearica.
Gabe Gurnsey 'Ultra Clear Sound'
A direct and sleek single ahead of the album back in May. A proper heads up moment.
Andrew Weatherall 'Making Friends With The Invader'
From a two track 12" called Blue Bullet, a long exploration of dub and guitar that I cannot get bored of hearing. The other side is pretty smart too.
The Confidence Man 'Out The Window' Andrew Weatherall remix
Weatherall's had another excellent year as this list shows and this remix is up there with his recent best, a gorgeous gospel/rave/steel guitar tribute to staying out all night and coming home as the sun comes up.
Death In Vegas 'Honey'
Ten minutes of sleek, seductive techno from Richard Fearless and Sasha Grey. What 12 inches of vinyl was made for.
Circle Sky 'Ghost In the Machine'
I thought If I Let Go was good but this one worked its way into me a few weeks ago and refuses to leave. Futuristic and cool as fuck, deep and light and magical.
Roisin Murphy 'All My Dreams'
Roisin has blazed a trail through 2018 with four 12" singles recorded with Maurice Fulton, eight songs designed to work on the floor, covering a bewildering array of electronic styles. If there's a better song out this year that this one, I haven't heard it. Massive drums and bass, experimental dance music but still with a foot in pop and some great juddering shifting sections where the floor seems to give way beneath you. By way of explaining Roisin sings 'ridiculously sexy, this is ridiculous'. Ridiculously good. For good measure she directed four videos too and this one looks like good club nights feel.
Edit: I forgot this one- Four Tet's remix of Bicep's Opal, an end of year listmaker without a shadow of a doubt.
Friday, 21 December 2018
We've still not finished 2018 but it looks like Steve Mason's got the early part of 2019 sown up. Walking Away From Love is the second song to be released from January's About The Light album and rides on a great choppy guitar riff, the Magic Bus, handclaps and a great chorus. The video is rather beautifully shot too.
At just after 12.00 today I finish for Christmas and New Year, two weeks off. I've been crawling towards this point all week. Hallefuckinglujah.
Thursday, 20 December 2018
I know people moan about social media and the negative impact it is having on us, our kids, our politics, our mental health, our social skills and the price of milk but it does have its upsides. Without social media for example this piece of blisteringly good space disco from 2012 would have passed me by. Thanks Mark.
Seriously, this is like music made by angels, a mindbending and heartrending chugger, the controls set for the heart of the sun. Lord Of The Isles is based in Edinburgh. Trippy, Scottish Balearica. Downloading the whole ep will set you back 800 Japanese Yen (which looks like a lot but is actually a bit over 5 quid).
Wednesday, 19 December 2018
One of Primal Scream's finest post-Screamadelica moments is this one, Autobahn 66 (from 2002's Evil Heat album). Ignore the title, the song's a beauty, a shimmering krautrock groove, ticking and hissing drums and a cooler than fuck bassline, spacey synths and melodies beamed in from out there. Over this Bobby whispers his stream of consciousness- dreaming, always dreaming, dreaming my life til the day that I die, colours so beautiful, softer than silk. It's no surprise that the desk was being manned by Weatherall (with then fellow Swordsman Keith Tenniswood). My virtual friend Chris Mackin laid down the bass part and then in his own words 'went out til 5 am celebrating'.
Autobahn 66 (album version)
According to Discogs there was a promo release of Autobahn 66 that had a 7 minute 26 second instrumental version. If anyone's got it, I'm right here. The single version I bought contained the Radio Edit and an Alter Ego remix of Autobahn plus Substance D. This is a top notch single release, well worth whatever I paid for it 16 years ago. Alter Ego are a duo from Dramstadt in Germany and their remix is less cosmic, more mechanical, and yes, more Teutonic.
Autobahn 66 (Alter Ego Remix)
Substance D is Weatherall's remixed version of the album track A Scanner Darkly (also from Evil Heat and produced by himself and Tenniswood). Substance D is deliciously dirty mutant funk built around the same drum machine that powers Autobahn 66.
Tuesday, 18 December 2018
Bjork in 1993 was a joy, making records that were fully influenced by club culture, records filled with rhythm and joie de vivre that also sounded great. She was a joy to look at too. Her songs were remixed to great effect by the best people of the day- I've posted the Sabres Of Paradise mixes of One Day before, Black Dog warped her and the Fluke versions of Big Time Sensuality are the definite versions for me. There are two more here, one from 808 State's Graham Massey, a man in large part responsible for Bjork's dancefloor experiences in and around Manchester in the early 90s, and one from Justin Robertson, resident of an M postcode at the time.
Big Time Sensuality (Justin Robertson's Prankster's Joyride)
Violently Happy (Graham Massey Long Mix)
Monday, 17 December 2018
At 14.44 Sabres Of Paradise's Clock Factory is a very long song, a whole side of vinyl on 1993's Sabresonic album. Long songs like this can drift is you're not careful, the mind starts to wander, thoughts of the day ahead or what went wrong yesterday take over. But Clock Factory is more focused than that, too disquieting to be truly ambient, too engaging to lose focus. Weatherall, Kooner and Burns taking a trip into the murk before surfacing into the light at the far end.
Sunday, 16 December 2018
My Bloody Valentine made the four piece indie guitar band sound like something else entirely with their 1988 album Isn't Anything. There were other bands in a similar area- Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth for two- but they don't really sound like what Kevin Shields, Colm O' Ciosoig, Belinda Butcher and Debbie Googe were doing. MBV's 1990 single (and a year later Loveless album closer) Soon is another thing again.
Shields found a new way of playing and most people assumed it involved tons of pedals but apparently not. Shields mainly just used open strings and tunings and the tremelo bar. In the studio (or multiple studios in the case of Loveless) Shields sent his guitar through one amp, his and Belinda's vocals split through different amps and mics and made a huge sound. The drums on Soon sound sampled, played by Colm but in pieces and then sampled to make drum tracks. Shields got into sampling while recording Loveless but says he was mainly sampling the guitars, feedback and distortion mostly, while the vocals were often done early in the morning after being up all night recording. In 2007 Shields said that what you can hear on much of Loveless is 'the sound of the guitar bending. What you hear is the sound between sound.'
Soon is a stunning song. The video, a little dated now perhaps, manages to do it some kind of justice, a low budget hazy and washed out approximation of what Soon sounds like.
Saturday, 15 December 2018
When David Holmes gets it right he really gets it right. This long instrumental is a good way to start Saturday, riding in on a busy drum part and some twiddly guitars before the organ and keys take over (vibraphone and Wurlitzer according to the sleevenotes).
Jackson Johnson was recorded in New York in 1999, appeared on his 2010 compilation The Dogs Are Parading and has been added to the re-issue of his 2000 album Bow Down To The Exit Sign but wasn't on the original release. Which is a bit mystifying as it's top drawer stuff.
Friday, 14 December 2018
I'm a tea drinker. I drink multiple cups of tea a day- since giving up the cigs I think it's only the tea that keeps me going sometimes. But there aren't any songs about tea on my hard drive. Coffee on the other hand is well represented. Coffee is cooler than tea, more sophisticated- to us Brits coffee is the continent, pavement cafes, and frothy milk. Now the high street is littered with coffee shops selling a bewildering array of coffees all served by your expert barista who's happy to stamp your loyalty card. Our first cup is served by Lalo Shifrin, an unsettling instrumental from the film Bullitt (hence the picture of Steve McQueen at the top).
The caffeine is kicking in now. The Bullitt soundtrack can be a bit jittery even without a shot of the black stuff. In 1994 James Lavelle put out a double vinyl ep called The Time Has Come, a bunch of remixes from Howie B, Portishead and Plaid. Plaid did this, breakbeat- jazz- trip hop that isn't a million miles from Lalo Shifrin..
In 1989 Edwyn Collins released his Hope And Despair album, a lovely collection of songs. This one, drum machine led and with a lovely circular guitar riff, builds for nearly five minutes as Edwyn croons. Gorgeous.
Coffee Table Song
Blur's 1999 album 13 was a reaction to the Britpop thing. Graham Coxon sings and wrote it, describing his battle with alcohol over a chirpy indie-pop tune with a sqwarky, string-bending guitar solo. A bit of an ear worm.
Coffee And TV
To finish before the barista chucks us out for nursing one cup for an hour, here's Wild Billy Childish And The Musicians Of The British Empire, from the magnificent Thatcher's Children album, and a three chord rush tirade sung by Nurse Julie...
Thursday, 13 December 2018
Rich Lane has done this cover of LFO's mighty 1990 bleep 'n' bass track LFO, the 12" that showed British techno was something special and able to stand on its own two feet, with its own character and feel that stood apart from Detroit. Rather than just re-edit it or use samples Rich has rebuilt it from scratch, keeping the original's power and mystery but giving it a nudge into late 2018. The bassline alone is enough to improve my mood.
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
This makes three Across The Kitchen Table inspired posts on the bounce. Back in October Drew posted Orchestra JB's single Free Spirit, a loved up 12" from Billy Brown in 1990. The follow up a year later was this one, equally loved up, opening and closing with the sound of waves breaking on the shore, that chunky drum beat, a lengthy harmonica part, and a grin-inducing house piano riff. Come Alive is peppered with vocal samples including the 'tonight let's all make love in London like it's 2001'. 2001 now seems like a very long time ago.
Come Alive (Love In London)
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Back in November as part of the Monday Long Song thing he kicked off earlier this year Drew posted the nine minute version of Morning Wonder by The Earlies, a wonderful piece of music, sort of psychedelic folk with krauty rhythms. You can find it here with the download link still intact. In places it reminds me of this still amazing sounding Brendan Lynch remix of Paul Weller from 1993, Weller sent twisting around the kosmos by producer Brendan Lynch, on a dub- jazz- electronic mayhem trip.
Kosmos (Lynch Mob Bonus Beats)
Only a few years earlier The Style Council had their last hit single and Top Of The Pops appearance with their cover of Joe Smooth's house classic Promised Land. Everything about this clip is great- Weller and Mick Talbot on twin pianos, Dee's performance at the front, Mick's beard, the fun they all seem to be having.
Monday, 10 December 2018
Back in the long song for Monday thing after two weeks off, this time with a Balearic groover from 1996 courtesy of the combined talents of Sally Rodgers from a dream team of A Man Called Adam, Faze Action and The Idjut Boys. This starts off with pipes and waves lapping on the shore and then picks up the pace, plenty of percussion, Sally's vocals and little flourishes of Spanish guitar. There are a bewildering number of different mixes and versions of this, all worth investigation. This one is very nice indeed and likely to slow your circulation somewhat in the run up to Christmas.
Dust Of Life (Swoop Edit)
Sunday, 9 December 2018
It goes without saying that Pete Shelley is a songwriting genius. His lyrics about unrequited love, sexuality and masturbation gave him and Buzzcocks a unique voice and over the course of a few years at the end of the 70s and into the 80s they wrote some of the definitive songs of the period. Some of their songs are among the finest of all late 20th century pop culture- Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't Have Fallen In Love With) obviously but also Boredom, Why Can't I Touch It?, Harmony In My Head, Everybody's Happy nowadays, What Do I Get?, Moving Away From The Pulsebeat, Autonomy... the list goes on and on. His death on Thursday at the age of 63 is a massive loss and the outpouring of tributes across the internet over the last couple of days shows how deeply people have been affected by Buzzcocks and Pete's songs.
I was once in the car with mother-in-law and Singles Going Steady was in the tape player. She couldn't believe that someone would write a song called Oh Shit never mind record it. We were out of the car before this one came on...
And this 1981 solo single is a work of brilliance too, forward thinking and progressive musically and lyrically, funny and brave- 'homo superior/in my interior'- and still sounds great on a dancefloor today.
Saturday, 8 December 2018
Every time I read a description of yet another young guitar band who have arrived with jangling guitars, rippling melodies, Teenage Fanclub harmonies, a certain sense of being young, cocky and slightly wasted, I think 'yeah, ok, thanks, but I may have heard this all before...'. However Melbourne's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have got all those things, enough to make me question my jadedness, and I think they may have a little bit more besides...
An Air Conditioned Man
Friday, 7 December 2018
Food for Friday again today. Following on from honey, sugar, wine and lemons today I give you apples, a rich source of song titles.
Milltown Brothers were/are a five piece from Colne, Lancashire (not Burnley as was often said of them although apparently they were regulars at Turf Moor). They had bowl haircuts and an organ led sound that got them drawn into the fringes of the late 80s Manchester scene. They had some coverage from the NME including a single of the week (a much coveted award at that time), a near hit with Which Way Should I Jump? and then a major label deal with A&M in 1990. But what we're here for today are apples, specifically Milltown Brothers' 1990 song Apple Green which at this distance sounds pretty fresh, infectious 60s inspired pop, the work of a band who maybe got missed, chewed up and spat out back in the early 90s. They re-united in 2004 and have released an album as recently as 2015.
A Man Called Adam came through at the same time but from a different part of the country (Middlesborough, Teeside) and from a different background (dance music, 60s soundtracks, acid jazz and a Balearic epiphany). Their 1991 album The Apple is a Bagging Area favourite with several songs that are often palyed round here, Barefoot In the Head, The Chrono Psionic Interface and Righteous Life for starters. And the album's opener...
Also from 1990 (but here in a re-edited version from 2016 by Rhythm Scholar) A Tribe Called Quest were part of hip hop's second wave, part of the Native Tongues collective and had a real way with both tunes and words. Bonita Applebum was about a girl from high school who clearly stuck in the memory...
Bonita Applebum (Rhythm Scholar All Nite Excursion)
Manic Street Preachers burst out of South Wales in the early 90s, in a riot of mascara, feather boas and heavy rock. In 2009 they released an album called Journal For Plague Lovers which contained a song called Peeled Apples (a song I don't think I've ever heard in its original form). They commissioned some remixes and Andrew Weatherall peeled the Manic's apples further, a heavily percussive stomper with some guitar parts echoing through.
Peel Apples (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
Lastly, a Joe Strummer's song from his Mescalero years, a top ten Strummer solo song for sure. Johnny Appleseed is a joy, with a rollicking rhythm on acoustic guitars, a full throttle vocal and lyrics about bees, Martin Luther King, a Buick 49 and Johnny Appleseed (a character from the early years of the USA, a pioneer who scattered apple seeds wherever he went). This song makes me really miss Joe Strummer.
Rene Magritte's 1964 painting says 'This is not an apple'. It isn't- it's a picture of an apple. That, I suppose, is the joke.
Thursday, 6 December 2018
More space-disco from Norway today with Lindstrom and I Feel Space, a track inspired by I Feel Love. Norway by way of Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer. I Feel Space was released back in 2005 but in no way sounds thirteen years old, its Italo synths and rhythms sounding completely current in 2018 (but then I think I Feel Love still sounds modern, which goes to show how ahead of the game Moroder was).
I Feel Space was covered by fellow Norwegian Marius Circus earlier this year, a 12" single which came with a very tasty, slightly acid-tinged Andrew Weatherall remix. I posted it here.
I Feel Space
Wednesday, 5 December 2018
There were two pieces of unwelcome news at the tail end of last week. Firstly it was announced through social media that Gary Haisman had died, aged only 60. Haisman was a face of the London club scene, an enthusiastic devotee and early adopter of acid house, a regular at Shoom and the voice and face of this top 3 hit...
We Call It Acieed was D-Mob's 1988 single, the first sign for much of the general public that something was afoot, that there was what sociologists in the 60s liked to call a youthquake taking place. Top Of the Pops agreed- Steve Wright introduced D-Mob and the single wearing a smiley t-shirt, his finger ever on the pulse. Gary was a member of the Boy's Own collective with Weatherall, Farley and co and played a significant part in putting on parties and club nights. Weirdly, he sent me a friend request on Facebook a little while ago- which is how I learned of his death as his fmaily and friends started posting tributes and their memories of him.
Within a day the death of DJ Paul 'Trouble' Anderson was announced, also way too young at the age of 59. Paul DJed in many of London's key clubs in the 80s and 90s, was at Kiss during its pirate days and afterwards and who pioneered the New York sound into the clubs in the mid 90s. Paul was one of the first black DJs to play in London's West End, was a major influence on Norman Jay and Soul II Soul and was still playing house nights and soul weekenders until recently. Both Gary and Paul played their part in the culture and enriched the lives of those who participated, listened to the music, and went to the clubs and parties. RIP Gary. RIP Paul.
Tuesday, 4 December 2018
The Best of 2018 lists have begun and have prompted me to catch up with a couple of things I missed or overlooked earlier on this year. My favourite find so far, originally released back in March, is CCCL (Chris Carter's Chemistry Lessons Part 1). Carter was a quarter of Throbbing Gristle and a half of Chris And Cosey. Chemistry Lessons Part 1 is a round up of tracks he's recorded between 2010 and 2017, twenty five in total, all fairly short (most at around three minutes) and recorded using modular synths, digital synths, drum machines and found sounds and voices. The voices are cut up and treated and dropped in and out among the synths- there are nods to early 80s synth-pop, snippets of analogue industrial sounds, lovely little melodies bubbling away, some brief hits of Warp-style early 90s techno and some retro-futuristic lounge music and it all hangs together really well. It's a delight. Try this one.
Monday, 3 December 2018
There's something glum about early December, the lights and trees are too soon, the relentless terrible songs when the event is still over 3 weeks away and there's a lot to get through before you can step off the work wheel for a while. It's wet and dark and cold. This song came out in September last year, some Scandi-disco from Bjorn Torske and Prin Thomas. Torske and Thomas are both veteran producers and DJs in the Norwegian house scene where disco drums, space synth melodies and a krautrock devotion to repetition are to the fore. Just what is needed to beat the December blues.
Arpa (12" version)
Sunday, 2 December 2018
Jeez- the previous Circle Sky single (If I Let Go) was a good one, a real 2018 highlight, but they've now given us this one as a follow up. A sublime piece of subtle, emotive, electronic music that reveals a little more each time you click play.
Saturday, 1 December 2018
The first Jimi Hendrix Experience album is one of the few 60s albums that I still sometimes pull out and listen to from start to finish. As well as the heavy blues and riff rock Hendrix was able to do so much more, out there and otherworldly songs with backwards sounding guitar and drones and a haze that could only really have come from somewhere else entirely.
Love Or Confusion