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Thursday 31 January 2019

Somewhere Down The Road

Last week the Madchester Rave On blog posted up a 12" single from May 1991, remixes of The Lilac Time's Dreaming by Creation dance act Hypnotone. I'm not even sure I knew that these remixes existed and if I did I don't think I'd heard them before. Hypnotone had a classic 1990 release on Creation, the magnificent, bleepy Dream Beam and an excellent eponymous album in the same year. They remixed Primal Scream and Sheer Taft. This remix of Dreaming is very 1991 and a very chilled, spaced out affair. The whole 12", with the original song and a different version of the remix was posted by MRO here.

Dreaming (Wave Station Remix)

The Lilac Time started out in 1986, an indie/jangle-pop/folk band founded by Stephen Duffy (formerly Stephen Tin Tin Duffy) and his brother Nick who veered from major to indie in the 80s pitching up at Creation around 1990 and being managed by Alan McGee. In 1987 they released a beautiful, jaunty but melancholy single called Return To Yesterday, a song I never seem to get bored of and one I've posted before.

Return To Yesterday

The lyrics, written over 30 years ago now, seem to take on a new meaning in the light of our current political situation.

'It was the day before the day before yesterday
When we thought everything would now go our way
We inherited a fortune of innocence
And they took it all away
We travel on the last bus from sanity
Through province town to cities of obscurity
And somewhere down the road it occurs to me
That I might have missed my stop
But I will not return to yesterday
Or smooth out the human clay
We'll face this new England like we always have
In a fury of denial
We'll go out dancing on the tiles
Help me down, but don't take me back
I heard a lover calling to Saint Anthony
Sadly treating love like her property
Only battles can be lost and so it seems we do
But I'm hoping for a change
I left you at the bus stop in working town
Now the service has been cut re-named slumber down
I can see you on the bars of your brother's bicycle
Now I hope you're not alone
And all the politician creeps
I know they want them back
And the couturier weeps
She knows they won't come back
And the lovers who seldom speak
I know they want them back
And me falling back into your half term kisses
No I will not'
Duffy seems to be writing about loss of childhood and how the future isn't what it was promised to be, that adult life is emptier than it seemed as a child. I can't help but feel Duffy is coming out against nostalgia here, he isn't wanting to go back to childhood or teenage years, despite the lure of the half term kisses, but something has been lost. 
Both sides of the Brexit argument could fit in to this, the Leavers who want to return to the mythical England of their imagination and the Remainers who feel they've been betrayed, sold out and ignored and who suddenly in 2016 found themselves in a country they didn't recognise. The chorus- ''we'll face this new England like we always have/in a fury of denial, we'll go out dancing on the tiles''- speaks for itself. 

Wednesday 30 January 2019


Sometimes the internet is a wonderful thing. Someone posted this on Facebook and I've been mildly obsessed with it for a few days now. In 1994 Nina Walsh launched Sabrettes, a record label that was an offshoot of the Sabres Of Paradise record label (she also registered the Sabrettes tartan seen above with The Scottish Register Of Tartans but that's a side issue here).

Innersphere made techno. In 1994 they released an album called Outer Works and three 12" singles. One of them, Necronomicon, was remixed by Sabres Of Paradise on one side and David Holmes on the other. This is the David Holmes remix but played at 33 rpm rather than 45 but then pitched up to +8, stretched out for over eleven minutes. It is head nodding heaven and totally absorbing- a looped bassline, some long keening sounds, a wiggly acid squiggle, all very hypnotic. You can lose yourself inside it very easily.

Just for comparison here's the Holmes remix played at the intended speed, 45 rpm- still good but considerably more banging in tempo and 1994 attitude.

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Hand It Over

The Top Of The Pops repeats are up to 1987 now which is making for some pretty awful episodes. Last week though the run of bands to keep your finger on the fast forward button came to an abrupt halt with The Smiths in all their glory miming to Shoplifters Of The World Unite (the episode was first broadcast on February 5th 1987).

The Smiths wouldn't survive 1987, splitting up in the summer after Marr took a holiday, but they sound imperious on Shoplifters. The slow T-Rex riff, the swampy groove and Marr's guitar solo sounded wonderful back then (and still do now). We're going to have to leave to one side everything Morrissey has said in the 21st century and concentrate on his performance here- the double denim and Elvis/Smiths T-shirt, his gyrating dance- unique and then some. His lyrics for Shoplifters are something else too. No one else would have or could have written these words (or borrowed them from other sources and stitched them together). The final verse for example...

'A heartless hand on my shoulder
A push and it's over
Alabaster crashes down
(Six months is a long time)
Tried living in the real world
Instead of a shell
But before I began
I was bored before I even began'

This is the instrumental demo version from that Smiths bootleg that regularly does the rounds on the internet. 

Shoplifters Of The World Unite (Instrumental Demo)

In April they were back on Top Of Pops with another non-album single, Sheila Take A Bow. They also travelled up to Newcastle to perform Sheila and Shoplifters live on The Tube (and it turned out to be the last time they'd play in front of any audience). The idea that something like this could be broadcast on Friday at teatime seems incredible now. Truly, they were different times....

Monday 28 January 2019

Monday's Long Song

Over on social media this weekend a friend posted a Beth Orton song from 1996. Touch Me With Your Love was on Beth's debut album Trailer Park and was also released as a single in January 1997. The production and mixing was by Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood, then Two Lone Swordsmen.

This sent me back to Trailer Park where Weatherall and Tenniswood contributed to three other songs including the otherworldly and breathtaking ten minute album closer Galaxy Of Emptiness, a song that unfolds gently, is in no great hurry to get anywhere quickly and all the better for it. Beth sings 'Won't you please knock me off my feet for a while?' and this song does just that.

Galaxy Of Emptiness

Sunday 27 January 2019


This is new from Richard Norris, the first fruits of his current ambient direction and label Group Mind, a gentle instrumental that drifts very nicely, drone overlaid with melody.

The shoreline above is the Atlantic, Messanges, south west France, pictured in the summer of 2017. Just in case you were wondering.

Saturday 26 January 2019

A Very British Coup

This week Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested that if The House Of Commons continues to make every effort to avoid a no-deal Brexit the Queen should suspend parliament. There you have it, if there was every any doubt, the actual face and voice of a right wing coup, not by thugs in jackboots but by Old Etonians with upper class accents. Suspend democracy to get what you want. 'If Adolf Hitler, flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway...', as Strummer put it in 1978. 

So this is very well timed indeed, a new song from a very post-punk line up of Jah Wobble, Keith Levene, Richard Dudanski, Youth and Mark Stewart and this fantastic musical melting pot, a comment on the madness of Brexit, a piece of 2019 brilliance. Even more excitingly, there's a Weatherall remix to follow. Levene and Wobble's former PiL colleague, Brexit and Trump cheerleader Lydon, is nowhere to be seen.

Friday 25 January 2019

Remote Control

Two different songs with the same name.

In 1977 The Clash's debut album came out. It opened with the jerky, amphetamine rush of Janie Jones and was followed by Remote Control, a Mick Jones song written in response to the Anarchy Tour. Over a crunching, sped up Kinks style riff Mick complains about civic hall's bureaucrats, grey London town, the police in the panda car, pubs closing at 11pm, big business, being poor, money men in Mayfair, parliament and people who want to turn you into a robot. All good punk stuff. Unfortunately the song became unmentionable when CBS released it as a single without their consent, which for Strummer, Jones and Simonon symbolised everything they stood against. In a way through it all worked out well- Mick went away and wrote Complete Control, one of their finest moments, which opened with the lines 'They said 'release Remote Control', but we didn't want it on the label'. In truth Remote Control isn't by any means a bad song and Mick says they always liked it, they just couldn't play it on ideological grounds.

Remote Control

Back to the band I started the week with for the second Remote Control. In 1998 The Beastie Boys released their fifth album, Hello Nasty, a twenty song tour de force that Adam Horowitz reckons is their best album. The third song is Remote Control, kicking off with a super catchy riff and Mike D leading on the mic, finding links between satellite dishes, videos games, chain reactions, diamonds from coal, rainy days, Don King and 'cameras on Mars on space patrol, controlled on Earth by remote control'.

Remote Control

The two bands are linked by Sean Carasov, known to the Beastie Boys as The Captain. Sean started off as part of The Clash's entourage, selling t-shirts on tour and working his way up to become tour manager Kosmo Vinyl's right hand man. He's also in Joe Strummer's Hell W10 silent film. Sean moved to the USA and became part of the Beastie Boys' circle, eventually becoming their tour manager in the Def Jam days. Later he became an A&R man and signed A Tribe Called Quest to Jive Records. Mike D and Adam H both write fondly about Carasov but also the feeling he left something heavy behind him and the issues he had with alcohol. Sadly Sean took his own life in 2010.

Thursday 24 January 2019


Riot Grrrl got fairly short shrift in the UK music press in the early 90s but the feminist ideas it espoused are widely accepted as the norm now, especially in the wake of #MeToo, as is its punk rock spirit, music and politics. Bikini Kill were Riot Grrrl's leading band. They formed in Olympia, Washington in 1990 and released three albums and a bunch of singles before splitting in 1997. Their album titles give a good idea of where they were at- Revolution Girl Style Now! in 1991, Pussy Whipped (1993) and 1996's Reject All American. Their singles compilation from 1998 is a good place to start. They've just announced a reformation and have gigs planned for the US. This 1995 single is a righteous blast of mid 90s feminist indie-punk.

I Like Fucking

Vocalist Kathleen Hanna uses the song's two minutes sixteen seconds to vent some anger, ask and answer some questions and declare herself in favour of fun (something Riot Grrrl was accused of being against). 'Do you believe there's anything beyond the troll-guy reality?' she asks, replying 'I do, I do, I do'. Hanna goes on to address rape and body image issues, switching voices in her vocal style between American girl and Riot Grrrl. She demands action and strategy ('I want it now') before declaring herself in favour of sex and fun and the right to do what she wants- 'I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure babe'.

Wednesday 23 January 2019


Also from 1976, like yesterday's Lee Perry song, and recently rocking the floor at Weatherall and Johnston's A Love From Outer Space night (not that I attended, I'm picking this up from social media) is Can's ...And More. The West German group get down to the disco and pick up some steam, Jaki Leibezeit's irresistible stomp extending their hit single I Want More (this was the B-side and on the album Flow Motion).

...And More

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Black Vest

I'm trying to think of a situation that wouldn't be improved by sticking some Lee 'Scratch' Perry on. Not coming up with much.

Black Vest is off 1976's Super Ape album, ten dub cuts made with The Upsetters at The Black Ark. This song is particularly good, a bubbling bassline from Boris Gardiner and some deliciously delayed horns.

Black Vest

Monday 21 January 2019

Something's Got To Give

I've had a lot of Beastie Boys going on in January- the book, a 550 page joy, was the starting point. I've gorged on 1989's Paul's Boutique, the sampledelic album recorded in Los Angeles with the Dust Brothers, Yauch, Diamond and Horowitz on the run from their Fight For Your Right To Party days and Def Jam. I've played 1992's Check Your Head and 1998's Hello Nasty in the car to and from work. Ill Communication (which I think may be their best, just pipping Paul's Boutique). The 1999 double cd anthology The Sound Of Science, a round up of hits, singles, B-sides and unreleased songs. A double DVD with allmnner of videosa nd experts that someone bought me back in the early 2000s. I've begun thinking about an Imaginary Compilation Album for The Vinyl Villain's long running series. It's been Beastie-tastic.

In 1992 they moved into a property in the then unfashionable Atwater Village and built a studio/offices/live rehearsal space/basketball court they called G-Son (after what was left on the sign on the front of the building after some of the letters had fallen off). It was accessed up this flight of stairs...

Having started out as a punk/hardcore band the Beastie Boys set up their guitars, drums and bass and set about making an album with live instruments rather than samples. Joined by producer Mario C they spent 1991 making what would become Check Your Head, a twenty track soup of hip hop, funk, punk, soul and rock that laid out the template for much of what would make the 1990s. Half way through the record comes this laid back piece of space rock, led by some killer MCA fuzz bass, a rotating Leslie speaker on the vox and a lot of echo, a plea for tolerance and understanding.

Something's Got To Give

'I wish for peace between the races
Someday we shall all be one
Why fight yourself?
This one's called Rectify
There's something coming to the surface
There's fire all around
But this is all illusion
I've seen better days than this one
I've seen better nights than this one
Tension is rebuilding
Something's got to give
Something's got to give
Someday, we shall all be one
Jesus Christ, we're nice'

Sunday 20 January 2019

The Sunday Night Blues

Often, around about this kind of time of night, a small group of us meet up on Twitter to moan about the Sunday Night Blues. Drew is polishing the kid's school shoes and making packed lunches. I've had some essays to mark. Jake has been tidying the house. All of us preparing for the working week, the grind of Monday morning and the long haul through 'til Friday. It's worse in winter when the lack of sunshine and daylight bring the lingering black cloud on sooner and the existential dread of SNBs really kick in.

I wondered if posting something joyous and uplifting would help, drive the bastard blues back a little and make Sunday night more bearable. Drew wavered, saying that he wasn't sure that even something as smile-inducing as the South Street Player and his early 90s garage house masterpiece would do the trick. See if it helps....

(Who?) Keeps Changing Your Mind

I was thinking that this fuzz guitar, tropicali gem from Os Mutantes in 1968 could help, a shot of musical happiness...

A Minha Menina

Either way, I think a glass of red wine is in order.

Let Me Follow You Down

One of the things I like about blogging is that you can chuck in a curveball with no build up, lead in or preparation. After a week of ambient, electronic, early Balearic, early 90s dance remixes and B-sides and 21st century techno/house, today I'm offering you a Bob Dylan song from 1961.

Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

Nearly 60 years ago Bob Dylan was a kid in Greenwich Village, an up and coming folk singer with a corduroy cap, a guitar and harmonica and a deal with CBS. As Bob says at the start of the song, he learned it from Ric von Schmidt, but it was also played by Dave van Ronk, who may have learned it from Rev. Gary Davis. There's something about the guitar picking, the rhythm and Dylan's vocal that makes it just right for Sunday morning.

Saturday 19 January 2019


Down the road from here at Broadheath, behind the retail park, they're building a load of new houses. This involves demolishing some Victorian factory/industrial units, which if nothing else provides me with some photographic content. The beautiful linotype works (pictured below in sunnier days) seems to be protected from destruction I'm pleased to see- it's currently covered in scaffolding and plastic sheets. I'm guessing it's being converted into flats.

I'm hopping back to Thursday's post musically and an early St Etienne B-side that I'm enjoying again. Filthy was the other side of the Only Love Can break Your Heart single, their debut, and has a deliciously murky sampled wah-wah guitar part and a rap from the then teenage Q-Tee. Everything, from the drums up, is drenched in reverb.


The other version of Filthy which has appeared on various compilations and 12" singles is a dubbed out version, Pete and Bob going mad with the echo unit.

Studio Kinda Filthy

Friday 18 January 2019

So Right

This came out last August but I only found it recently, a John Talabot remix of Marie Davidson. John Talabot is a Catalan DJ and producer who has remixed the Xx as well as releasing his own album way back in 2012. Marie Davidson is a French- Canadian producer and musician who put out an album last year called Working Class Woman on Ninja Tune (which includes a track called Workaholic Paranoid Bitch). House music from Barcelona and techno from Montreal. Talabot's remix of Davidson's So Right is a nine minute dub techno excursion, a deep dive into metronomic drums, moody synths and spectral, echoed voice. I like this a lot.

In 2014 Talabot remixed Bicep. This alternative mix was given away free somewhere- a long, somewhat bleepy version and like a lot of Talabot's remixes is a mid-tempo, mid-set sort of tune.

Satisfy (Talabot Alt Mix)

Thursday 17 January 2019


I last posted this song three years ago in January 2016 and it's fair to say a lot has happened since then. Theresa May stumbles on, unable to act, held hostage by her own red lines, her own party and the wingnuts and closet racists of the right wing, and her deal with the DUP. A government that can't deliver whatever it was the 52% imagined they were voting for. The vox pop sections of TV news and the papers are currently full of people saying they want it over, they want out and they're happy with a hard Brexit so 'we' can get back to being 'great' again (never mind the fact that almost everyone who uses that phrase seems to think that the word Great in Great Britain means amazing or powerful and isn't actually just a geographical term to describe a landmass containing England, Scotland and Wales). Many of these people seem to have an unlived, deluded nostalgia for a England of the early 1950s, a post-Dunkirk and World War II but pre-Suez Crisis country, with an Empire overseas, where the milkman came every morning whistling as he left glass bottles on doorsteps, the birds chirruped in the trees and you could get an appointment at the doctor's the same day (and there weren't any people with darker skins or eastern European accents living down the road). I fear we are heading for a No Deal Brexit and that there are plenty of people happily welcoming this, all of whom are also suddenly experts on WTO rules and tariffs. How leaving the E.U. is going to achieve this is unclear to me. From where I'm sitting, it looks like a total disaster, for all of us. People that want to live in the past usually get stuck there. Does any other nation other than the English have such an obsession with its past, a past that never really existed? The only faint glimmer of hope is that the Tory Party will have to own this fuck up forever (and if this whole debacle led to the break up of the United Kingdom, that would be an even sweeter irony).

Back to the song and a total change of mood. St Etienne's third single was Nothing Can Stop Us, an uptempo slice of indie/dance/northern based around a Dusty Springfield sample and the then new vocalist Sarah Cracknell. The single was a double A-side, the flip being Speedwell, a chunkier, deeper, house influenced tune. The 12" single was followed up by second 12", released a week later, with two remixes of Speedwell and an instrumental version of Nothing Can Stop Us. The remixes of Speedwell were by Dean Thatcher and Jagz Kooner, as The Aloof, and are superb. Totally 91.

Speedwell (Flying Mix)

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Drop The Deal

'Please remain in your seats, we'll have a full report in a moment' says the voice at the start of this record (a sample from an episode of Miami Vice), a 1987 release from Code 61, a Belgian New Beat outfit, and a track heading for the open air nightclubs of the Balearic isles. A vocal sample of a prayer from Jean Michel Jarre. A Harry Belafonte sample and some eastern sounding melodies. A robotic voice intoning 'drop the deal'. A woman talks about business. The drum machine punches away, the clock running down. What could it all mean?

Drop The Deal

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Signals Into Space

First album to purchase of 2019 comes from Essex and Ultramarine who have been making ambient dance music since 1990. Signals Into Space doesn't really break any new ground but does what it does very nicely indeed. Some of the tracks, especially those with singer Anna Domino, have a jazzy edge to them to go alongside the pastoral psychedelia, the sunrise soundtracks and the outward looking ambience. This is an eleven minute sampler for the whole album.

Monday 14 January 2019

Monday's Long Song

This Monday's long song is an seven minute meditation from Newcastle's Steven Legget, a slow moving, elegiac tribute to a Turkish bath at Newcastle's City Pool built around cello and waves of electronics. The album this track is from, Bathhouse, also takes field recordings from Crete and uses them to construct luscious ambient music. It has long since sold out on vinyl but is available digitally from Bandcamp. To be honest, at just under seven minutes this track isn't nearly long enough- it could be twice the length and I'd happily let it wash over me.

French artist Moebius (Jean Giraud) brought a distinctly European sensibility to comics, a semi-surreal style that was a world away from the Wham! Pow! Blam! world of Marvel and D.C. His comic art is wildly imaginative and the colours shimmer, the people seem real but other and the worlds and places he drew became a standard for sci fi films. He grew up watching and reading Westerns and was inspired by the endless skies of the Mexican desert (having lived there briefly with his mother in 1956). Between 1984 and 1986 he drew The Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer for Marvel, bringing his European bandes dessinees style to superheroes. If any Marvel comic was going to fit with Moebius, it was Silver Surfer.

Starwatcher (pictured at the top of this post) was an androgynous stargazer in a trippy, hypnotic world and is Moebius' career high. Published in French in 1986 and long out of print- a second-hand copy will set you back a couple of hundred quid. Moebius' Starwatcher and his artwork generally is perfectly suited to today's ambient sounds.

Sunday 13 January 2019

Upside Down

Sometimes you find a picture so great that it alone determines a post. This picture of Diana Ross is such a picture.

Upside Down was on her 1980 album Diana, a record itself with a memorable picture on the sleeve.

Upside Down (and the rest of the album) was written and produced by Chic, and became a number one single in various countries (number two in the UK). Chic were at the top of their game in 1980. Diana Ross was looking to freshen up her sound for the new decade. Predictably there were clashes between Edwards and Rodgers on one side and Ross on the other, in the studio and afterwards. Diana had the album remixed to make her voice more prominent and Chic nearly removed their name from the production credit in response at their work being tampered with. They relented- the album went on to sell ten million copies worldwide which must have softened the blow.

Upside Down

Saturday 12 January 2019


Do you want a free download of a previously unreleased Andrew Weatherall remix (a dub) of Marius Circus' cover of Lindstrom's I Feel Space (the song that kicked off the whole Scandi-disco scene and a Norwegian version of Donna Summer's I Feel Love)? Of course you do. Why wouldn't you?

I'm quite partial to this kind of thing. This throbbing, glacial Ewan Pearson remix of Polaris, beautiful sequenced bassline and electronic handclaps to the fore, is quite the thing for January 2019 too (it came out in the middle of last December and I missed it).

Friday 11 January 2019

Group Mind

That's week one done. To celebrate the end of the working week here's a brand new mix from Richard Norris who's on an ambient tip at the moment. He's just started a group/label/forum/series of events called Group Mind and kicked it off with a two hour mix of ambient, drone and deep listening. A sure fire way to improve your day, switch your mind off for a while and focus on something else. Includes tracks from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Wilson Tanner, Jas Shaw, Penelope Trappes, Elaine Gazzard, Hiroshi Yoshimura, Alarm Will Sound, Erland Cooper, Chihei Hatakeyama, Richard himself and BBC Radiophonic Workshop legend Delia Derbyshire.

Thursday 10 January 2019

Big Wheel

This is Manchester three piece The Empty Page, possessors of fuzzed up melodies and a certain wracked beauty, and also blessed with having something to say. Click play, listen, cough up a quid (or fifteen for a rather nice vinyl album release here).

Guitar/drums/bass three pieces have a particular dynamic, a democratic approach to sound that twin guitar bands (either four or five pieces) don't have. The guitarist (usually also the singer) has to cover rhythm and lead, the bass is often more prominent and important and the drums get a more equal billing, it's like all three members have to do more but also have more significance- I'm thinking The Jam, Husker Du, Minutemen, Nirvana, The Jimi Hendrix Experience to some extent, Motorhead, 5:30 (remember them?).

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Everything's Alright

I was given a Talk Talk 12" single for Christmas. Within a few days it was Mark Hollis' 64th birthday. It seems remiss of me not to post something to pay tribute to this. The 12" included this dub mix of Such A Shame from 1983 which is not essential but for some reason I really like. A very 1983 use of technology and the spare time and inches offered by the format.

Such A Shame (Dub Mix)

That led me to digging around in my physical and digital Talk Talk collection and I uncovered this.

Life's What You Make It (Extended Remix)

Again, not essential maybe- the single version of Life's What You Make It is one of those songs I will keep listening to for decades to come- but this version stretches it out and offers a different view of the song. And that's more than enough.

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Get Ready To Go

This photograph did the rounds on Twitter before Christmas (I think I found it via Dave Haslam but initially it came from The National Archives). It shows four Manchester mill workers in 1905. Our view of mill workers in the Victorian/Edwardian period is that life and work must have been unremittingly grim but these four young women seem very relaxed in front of the camera and have found something to laugh about. The faces could have been pictured yesterday in many ways, they don't seem to be specifically pinned down to one hundred and four years ago (apart from the condition of their teeth, showing dentistry was a luxury many could not afford in a pre-NHS Britain). The tight curls in the hair are interesting- I wondered if it was to keep it tied up and out of the way of machinery that could easily have scalped them if a strand got caught but Mrs Bagging Area suggested that it could have been a way to get curls, which then suggests that this was done prior to a night out. It throws up lots of aspects to ponder but ultimately what a great snapshot of the lives of people in early 20th century Manchester.

Not linked to the picture in any way other than I read a reference to it recently and I could imagine the four above getting down to this song if they'd been born several decades later and were into 80s post-punk. APB were a fourpiece from rural Aberdeenshire, Scotland and inspired by DIY and the sound of groups such as Liquid Liquid they made this song, released in 1981 on Aberdeen's Oily record label. The bassline alone is worth the price of admission, never mind the slashing guitar chords and totally on it disco-punk drums.

Shoot You Down

Although the band didn't know it copies of Shoot You Down made their way to New York where they found a home on the floor of NYC's best clubs, places like Danceteria, which is where circa 1983 Beastie Boys heard it, danced to it, and then wrote about it in their new book.

Monday 7 January 2019

Monday's Long Song

Back to work today- I know some of you will have gone back last week  and therefore won't have much sympathy but it's still a wrench. Time spent out of the grind of commuting and work is time well spent. Here's a long song to ease myself back into the work routine, a lovely chuggy seven and a half minute track from London's Apiento from spring 2017. Apiento finds a musical sweet spot somewhere in the middle of the Balearics, Belgian New Beat and deep house with a melody borrowed from further east (picture taken in Wallasey last week, not a very Balearic place at all, especially mid-winter but a decent day trip).

Sunday 6 January 2019

Let Invocation Commence

New year is a time for change, for embracing the new and breaking free from repetitive habits. Sometimes though one has to say bollocks to that because some old habits are worth hanging onto and here's one of them- Andrew Weatherall's back at NTS with the latest Music's Not For Everyone. The December edition was a real late 2018 highlight, a feast from start to finish. The tracklist for this one is here. Meanwhile, as the man himself says in his introduction, sit back for 'further adventures in the end times'.

Saturday 5 January 2019


I missed these back in the middle of December, Aphex Twin dropping more previously unreleased tracks onto his Soundcloud page (on the page he goes under the name user18081971 but it's widely accepted to be Richard D James). These two are particularly good, a pair of alternative versions of his piano track Avril 14th, both beautiful and prime examples of his talent. Both are also available as free downloads. A way to improve your day in just five minutes.

This one is Avril 14th with the notes played backwards and plenty of reverb.

And this one is Avril altdelay, a version with even more reverb and delay.

Friday 4 January 2019

The Right Is Ours, We'll Take The Chance

Bad Brains were four Rastafarians who started out under a different name (Mind Power) in the mid 70s as a jazz-fusion band who were broadsided by punk. In 1979 they recorded their debut single (released in 1980 and almost single-handedly inspiring the US hardcore scene), one minute and twenty-nine seconds of fast, loud, furious Washington D.C. punk.

Pay To Cum

The chorus, as far as I can tell, goes like this (if it is the chorus, it only happens once)-

'I come to know now with dismay
That in this world we all must pay
Pay to write, pay to play
Pay to come, pay to fight'

Pay To Cum concludes with this-

'And so it's now we choose to fight
To stick up for our bloody right
The right to sing, the right to dance
The right is ours, we'll take the chance

At peace together
A piece apart
A piece of wisdom
From our hearts'

There's a lot in there for something that only lasts roughly ninety seconds. They were banned from playing in D.C. and moved to New York. Over they years they also recorded as a reggae band (and often brought funk, soul, hip hop and heavy metal into their sound) also splitting up and reforming with different line ups several times. I used to have a cassette with this as the opening song and it always seems to me that it is perfectly suited to being track 1 side 1 of a C90 tape.

Thursday 3 January 2019


Every year I buy an album right at the end of the year, from that year, that then becomes one of my favourites of that year (but too late for the end of year lists). This year it was Bjorn Torske's album Byen, bought almost on a whim in Piccadilly Records a few days ago. I bought it because I had some Christmas money to spend, I have of his older work, am currently in a Scandi-house phase and I liked the sleeve.

Byen is super sleek space disco- the driving basslines are smooth, the synths are cosmic, the percussion and drums are crisp and made for the floor, and everything has a lovely sheen. Opening track First Movement starts with waves crashing and seagulls calling, long descending synth chords and then some congas come in to nudge things forward. From track two, Clean Air, the synth and piano lines begin to rise and while there's no great hurry or urgency the tempos increase to clubbing speed. There are deep house grooves married with reflective moments. Gata adds some magical guitar chords to the mix and a male voice choir chanting over the Italo grooves. On side four the eleven minute long track Night Call is a chunky Scandi-disco centrepiece, the sort of track that should lead you into a New Year. Really lovely stuff for mid-winter. Try these two.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Do Androids Dream Of 2019?

We're now in the year Blade Runner was set. We have until November for all the aspects of the film to be realised- replicants, flying cars, off world colonies, Voight- Kampff empathy response machines (although it wouldn't surprise me if these do exist). Maybe Blade Runner isn't very far from our 2019 at all- in the film corporations are all powerful, product and advertising is everywhere, the climate is seemingly broken (perpetual rain and night), the wealthy isolate themselves living high up above the streets where everyone else exists. Deckard's Esper machine is voice controlled and has the functions of Google Earth, the ability to manipulate photographs.

In Blade Runner's 2019 people dress in a cross between 1940s film noir and early 80s synth pop.

In the meantime, Vangelis' soundtrack remains a repeated joy.

Tuesday 1 January 2019


Bagging Area started nine years ago today, taking a few faltering steps into the blogging world, unable at first to even work out how to copy and paste a link to a song. Since then I've written pretty much daily, found blogging to be a really good way to distract myself, made all sorts of friends and connections that I wouldn't have done otherwise and have hopefully contributed a little to the enjoyment of music. Blogging was a bigger deal in 2010 than it is now- the landscape has changed and I suspect music blogs are a tad anachronistic in 2019- but I've got no plans to stop so it's a matter of just keeping going and seeing where it takes me. Thanks to all of you who read this, to those who comment and to those who I've met in real life. Salut.

Some songs with nines in them.

Jim and William Reid from their Darklands days, re-edited here with a juddering electronic bassline...

9 Million Rainy Days (Los Lopez Edit)

It wouldn't have been Bagging Area without Andrew Weatherall. Here Lord Sabre remixes Suns Of Arqa in fine style. Chunky acid house vibes...

City Of Nine Gates (Andy Weatherall Remix)

And finally London rock 'n' rollers The Flaming Stars with a drop of the dark stuff...

Nine Out Of Ten