Unauthorised item in the bagging area
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
There will now be a break in transmissions for a fortnight while we head south to France for our summer holiday, the Atlantic coast for a week (near Royan, south of La Rochelle) and then a week in southern Brittany near Quimper. Static caravans this year, an upgrade from tents. I'm looking forward to the wine, the cheese, the sun and the heat, the sea, the sunsets, the slower pace of life. I'll also be less well connected to events back here so I'll miss Boris Johnson's ascension to the Tory throne and installation as Prime Minister. Since 2016 I keep thinking we've hit the bottom of the barrel but someone or something always comes along to keep scraping lower- Trump's outright racism recently a new low. I'm sure Johnson will provide us some further depths to tunnel. According to reports Jarvis Cocker finished his set at Blue Dot last weekend with his 2006 song Running The World, a song that keeps giving. Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, David Cameron, everyone in the European Research Group, the Conservative Party generally, the Murdoch press and anyone I've forgotten- this one is for you...
Running The World
Ever since The Cure played Glastonbury I've been immersing myself in their back catalogue and this song has been a real earworm for me over the last few weeks. In 1990 The Cure released an album of remixes and extended mixes called Mixed Up, a double album and one that stands up very well still today. Lullaby was a big hit in 1989, fuelled by a claustrophobic Tim Pope video. The extended mix (done by Robert Smith and producer Chris Parry) fades in gently, a funky guitar part and a shuffly rhythm guiding us. Once the bassline hits the whole thing shimmies along, Smith's tale of dread and spidermen, taken to an outdoor disco, dancing under Mediterranean skies.
Lullaby (Extended Mix)
Anyway, that's yer lot for the moment, hope the weather holds up while we're away, play nicely, look after yourselves and each other and I'll see you in August.
Monday, 22 July 2019
Gnod are an ever increasing and decreasing collective who started life based in Islington Mill in Salford and have been unleashing records on the world since 2007. They make long songs. Noisy, experimental, guitar-based songs with drones, long build ups and slow explosions, unsettling and psychedelic, vocals covered in reverb and static. In 2017 they made an album called Just Say No To The Psycho Right- Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine, an album dealing with 'the rampant dehumanisation and destruction of personhood under Western capitalism'. Previously, in 2013, they released Chaudelande and this seventeen minute space rock extravaganza is a wake up call to welcome you to Monday morning. There's a heatwave coming this week- Gnod are already burning.
The Vertical Dead
Sunday, 21 July 2019
Not many things feel as good as being at the right end of six weeks off work, the summer holiday stretching out in front of me. I appreciate not everyone gets the amount of holidays teachers do but it's swings and roundabouts isn't it?
Weatherall back at the NTS shack playing two hours of the weird, wired and wonderful. Tracklist here. Show below. Plug in and play loud.
Saturday, 20 July 2019
Vini Reilly's music as The Durutti Column is among the most special of all that makes up my record/CD/mp3 collection and there's always more to discover, both in albums I already own and in the parts of his vast back catalogue that I haven't uncovered yet. In January 1980 Factory released the first Durutti Column album- The Return Of The Durutti Column- a record made up of guitar parts Vini recorded, with bass and drums on some provided by Pete Crooks and Toby Toman, and then knocked into shape by Martin Hannett. Hannett played around with several new toys not least his AMS digital delay unit. The opening song on the record fades in with birdsong (in fact sounds created by Hannett using echo and delay) and as an intro to Durutti Column Sketch For Summer is all anyone needs- a beautiful, simple, almost mystical piece of music.
Sketch For Summer
The first 2000 copies of The Return Of The Durutti Column came with a free 7" flexi- disc containing two tracks Hannett worked on, bending Vini's guitar and his own experimental noises into new shapes. The second track on the flexi single is this one, all drones and delay at the start, bent strings and flutter and ambient noise with Vini's guitar eventually coming out of the murk.
The Second Aspect of The Same Thing
Friday, 19 July 2019
This is post number four thousand at Bagging Area, the four thousandth time I've written a few words about pop music. Without wanting to blow my own trumpet too much, that's a lot of posts and some kind of achievement- possibly also a sign of an obsessive nature and as Drew sometimes points out a tad self indulgent too. But still, four thousand.
Some musical maths for you. I was thinking about trying to do a Countdown style randomly selected set of numbers (in song titles) and seeing if anyone could use them to calculate 4000. But I've just spent 48 hours living in a field in Lancashire with a group of 14 year olds as an end of the school year experience and I'm quite tired so the maths is staying very simple and involves these artists- Massive Attack v Burial, The Charlatans and The Gentle Waves.
Let The Good Times Be Never Ending
Hold Back A Thousand Hours
Thursday, 18 July 2019
This week's pictures all come from a visit to Hack Green 'secret' nuclear bunker, a Cold War concrete box and bunker in Cheshire from where regional government would take place in the event of a nuclear war. The Cold War officially ended in 1989 following an agreement and announcement from Bush and Gorbachev. The USSR broke up in 1991, the USA won and everyone was happy. The bunker was already outdated at this point I suspect. The machinery and computer systems, dormitories, radio broadcast equipment and all the rest of the gear designed to administer the north west of England in a post- apocalyptic world look pre-1980s. The idea that much could happen from here to successfully help Britain survive an attack by the Soviet Union seems ridiculous (in the same way that the rockets and modules that took three men to the moon fifty years ago look like tin cans held together by the type of screws and nuts most of us have in our tool boxes- thankfully the moon equipment worked while the nuclear infrastructure never faced the test it was designed for).
The year before than the moon landings The Byrds switched from psychedelic rock to an older, gentler sound. The arrival of Gram Parsons in 1968 had pushed them in a solely country rock direction. Gram's appearance was the subject of some legal disputes and his lead vocals on several songs had to be re-recorded by Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman. It's also been suggested that McGuinn was uncomfortable with giving over so many lead vocal slots to Parsons and wanted to re-establish the older Byrds as the key voices. Gram was still irate about this wiping of his voice and McGuinn's re-recordings in 1973 and who knows, if still alive today, he might still be unhappy about it- the Gram vocals have since been re-released on various box sets and extras. There aren't too many albums that can claim to have kick started an entire genre but Sweetheart Of The Rodeo is one- all country rock, alt- country and Americana can be traced back to the eleven songs contained within its grooves.
One Hundred Years From Now
Wednesday, 17 July 2019
This has just gone up at Test Pressing, your one stop shop for all things dubby and Balearic. Test Pressing asked Sean Johnston to put together a mix, specifically two hours of trippy and wigged out tunes from Sean's record box. You can find it here (and download for free) and you won't regret it. I can't get the player to embed.
A couple of years ago Sean put out an e.p. in his Hardway Bros guise, the Pleasure e.p. This song is stunningly effective piano house, guaranteed to spread joy.
Tuesday, 16 July 2019
Some of my favourite songs from the last year or two have been by The Liminanas, a French pysch -rock duo with a knack for writing killer songs. The Gift has Peter Hook on guest bass and he hasn't sounded better in recent years than on this song. They recorded much of their album Shadow People in Berlin at Anton Newcombe's studio. This is his mix of the song (from the B-sides and rarities compilation I've Got Trouble In Mind Vol. 2).
The Gift (Anton Mix)
Monday, 15 July 2019
Freshly arrived into the world, Crooked Man's remixes of Roisin Murphy's recent single Incapable are a pair of long, sexy, burning tracks,
Incapable Mix Pt. 2 starts with single piano notes and at about twenty seconds a bass-hoover sound so exciting it'll have you in knots. From there it's deep and taut and sultry, slowly building in intensity.
Just to prove that you can't have too much of a good thing the Pt. 3 Mix is sparser still, Crooked Man layering bass, fizzy bleeps and glitches around Roisin's voice for eight minutes and thirty seconds of magic.
Sunday, 14 July 2019
I've been meaning to post this for a while, especially since The Vinyl Villain did a Shamen piece a couple of weeks ago. On 1990's En-Tact The Shamen fully embraced club culture, their fusion of indie- rock and electronics complete. Paul Oakenfold, Steve Osborne and Graham Massey worked on some of the songs. Make It Mine and Move Any Mountain were genuine pop- rave monsters. They pushed the recently joined rapper Mr C to the fore. Hyperreal was released as a single in 1991 with this William Orbit remix on the 12".
Hyperreal (William Orbit 12" Remix)
Saturday, 13 July 2019
Plaid's new album Polymers is proving that experimental electronic music can be reflective of the early- to- mid 90s while also utterly modern, techno rhythms adorned with machine melodies- accessible, repetitious, hypnotic and at places liable to take your breath away. Orbital's remix of Maru proves that they haven't lost their touch either. A dancer.
Maru means circle in Japanese and is associated with goodness- a circle is used to mark correct answers on tests and exams (rather than a tick as we'd use). Maru is also a cat, a cat who lives in japan, and is apparently the most watched animal in the world with over 325 million views on Youtube. Here he is relaxing in a box.
Friday, 12 July 2019
The new album from Jane Weaver is turning out to be the unexpected treat of the summer so far. Loops In The Secret Society is a twenty two track reworking of songs from her previous two lps, The Silver Globe and Modern Kosmology. The songs have been stripped back, the lusher instrumentation replaced by clicks and whirrs and drones, Jane's folky vocals more distant and spooked, motorik drum loops and mechanical rhythms, everything put through a grainy, radiophonic filter. They've been joined by some new ambient tracks and more drones. Taken as a whole it could be the soundtrack to a lost British 1970s horror/sci fi TV series, people wandering off the path, David McCallum appearing out of the mist, unexplained events, wicker men, that sort of thing. It's an album in its own right, new textures and tones from the older source material and it sounds close to perfect right now.
This re-imagined take on 2017's single Slow Motion is as good a taster as any but really you need to hear the whole thing.
Thursday, 11 July 2019
On a Factory tip recently I dug out my double disc re-issue of A Certain Ratio's Sextet, their second album, released in 1982 and their first without Hannett at the controls. Hannett was dumped as producer by New Order, Durutti Column and then ACR too which can't have done much for his state of mind. Sextet- so called because they'd recently become a six piece band- is full of good songs, heavy noir vibes and that Mancunian funk. The song that leapt out me was Knife Slits Water, a single from the same year and on CD 2 it's long B-side Kether Hot Knives. I'll save the B-side for another time.
Knife Slits Water takes the group's dark funk, particularly foregrounding Donald Johnson's drumming, a large dollop of echo on the kick drum creating a very futuristic dance sound, some busy bass and the distant but tough vocals of Martha Tilson, lyrics she wrote about sex and sexual politics. Tony Wilson's vision of ACR as white boys playing funk, clad in ex-army khaki with short back and sides and whistles, is perfectly realised here. In 1981 the group had done a Peel Session- Skipscada, Day One and Knife Slits Water- and that's the version I'm posting here. They were years ahead in '81 and still sound like that now.
Knife Slits Water (Peel Session)
The other Factory album that I was rediscovering was Section 25's From The Hip album, a Bernard Sumner produced 1984 lost classic and it's single Looking From A Hilltop, one of the greatest of all Factory's releases. But again, let's leave that for another day. The pictures above were taken in Section 25's hometown Blackpool on Sunday afternoon, the modernist arches of the amusements centre in brilliant Fylde coast sunshine.
Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Billy Bragg posted this on Sunday, a powerful and fantastically well written piece about Morrissey and his dangerous association with the far right, white supremacist propaganda and racist ideology (also taking in Stormzy, Brandon Flowers, Johnny Marr, Donald Trump, Rita Tusingham, The Smiths and culture generally). I can't find anything in it to disagree with.
'Last Sunday, while much of the British media were lauding Stormzy’s Glastonbury headline show as epoch defining, Morrissey posted a white supremacist video on his website, accompanied by the comment ‘Nothing But Blue Skies for Stormzy...The Gallows for Morrissey’. The nine minute clip lifted footage from the grime star’s Pyramid Stage performance while arguing that the British establishment are using him to promote multiculturalism at the expense of white culture.
The YouTube channel of the video’s author contains other clips expressing , among other things, homophobia, racism and misogyny - left wing women of colour are a favourite target for his ire. There are also clips expounding the Great Replacement Theory, a far right conspiracy trope which holds that there is a plot of obliterate the white populations of Europe and North America through mass immigration and cultural warfare.
My first thought was to wonder what kind of websites Morrissey must be trawling in order to be able to find and repost this clip on the same day that it appeared online? I came home from Glastonbury expecting to see some angry responses to his endorsement of white supremacism. Instead, the NME published an interview with Brandon Flowers in which the Killers lead singer proclaimed that Morrissey was still “a king”, despite being in what Flowers recognised was “hot water” over his bigoted comments.
As the week progressed, I kept waiting for some reaction to the white supremacist video, yet none was forthcoming. Every time I googled Morrissey, up would pop another article from a music website echoing the NME’s original headline: ‘The Killers Brandon Flowers on Morrissey: ‘He’s Still A King’. I’m well aware from personal experience how easy it is for an artist to find something you’ve said in the context of a longer discourse turned into an inflammatory headline that doesn’t reflect your genuine views on the subject at hand, but I have to wonder if Flowers really understands the ramifications of Morrissey’s expressions of support for the far right For Britain Party?
As the writer of the powerful Killers song ‘Land of the Free’, does he know that For Britain wants to build the kind of barriers to immigration that Flowers condemns in that lyric? Party leader Anne Marie Walters maintains ties with Generation Identity, the group who both inspired and received funds from the gunman who murdered 50 worshippers at a Christchurch mosque. How does that sit with the condemnation of mass murder by lone gunman in ‘Land of the Free’?
As an explicitly anti-Muslim party, For Britain opposes the religious slaughter of animals without the use of a stun gun, a policy that has given Morrissey a fig leaf of respectability, allowing him to claim he supports them on animal welfare grounds. Yet if that is his primary concern, why does he not support the UK’s Animal Welfare Party, which stood candidates in the recent European elections?
Among their policies, the AWF also aim to prohibit non-stun slaughter. If his only interest was to end this practice, he could have achieved this without the taint of Islamophobia by endorsing them. They are a tiny party, but Morrissey’s vocal support would have given the animal rights movement a huge boost of publicity ahead of the polls.
Instead, he expresses support for anti-Muslim provocateurs, posts white supremacist videos and, when challenged, clutches his pearls and cries “Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me”. His recent claim that “as a so-called entertainer, I have no rights” is a ridiculous position made all the more troubling by the fact that it is a common trope among right-wing reactionaries.
The notion that certain individuals are not allowed to say certain things is spurious, not least because it is most often invoked after they’ve made their offensive comments. Look closely at their claims and you’ll find that what they are actually complaining about is the fact that they have been challenged.
The concept of freedom pushed by the new generation of free speech warriors maintains that the individual has the right to say whatever they want, whenever they want, to whoever they want, with no comeback. If that is the definition of freedom, then one need look no further than Donald Trump’s Twitter feed as our generation’s beacon of liberty. Perhaps Lady Liberty should be replaced in New York Harbour with a colossal sculpture of the Donald, wearing a toga, holding a gaslight.
Worryingly, Morrissey’s reaction to being challenged over his support of For Britain, his willingness to double down rather than apologise for any offence caused, suggests a commitment to a bigotry that tarnishes his persona as the champion of the outsider. Where once he offered solace to the victims of a cruel and unjust world, he now seems to have joined the bullies waiting outside the school gates.
As an activist, I’m appalled by this transformation, but as a Smiths fan, I’m heartbroken.
It was Johnny Marr’s amazing guitar that drew me to the band, but I grasped that Morrissey was an exceptional lyricist when I heard ‘Reel Around the Fountain’. Ironically, it was a line that he had stolen that won my affections. “I dreamt about you last night and I fell out of bed twice” is spoken by Jimmy, the black sailor, to his white teenage lover, Jo, in Sheila Delaney’s play ‘A Taste of Honey’
The 1961 movie, starring Rita Tushingham was an early example of a post-war British society that would embrace multi-racial relationships (and homosexuality too). By pilfering that particular line for the song, Morrissey was placing the Smiths in the great tradition of northern working class culture that may have been in the gutter, but was looking at the stars. Yet, by posting a white supremacist video in which he is quoted as saying “Everyone prefers their own race”, Morrissey undermines that line, erasing Jo and Jimmy and all those misfit lovers to whom the Smiths once gave so much encouragement.
A week has passed since the video appeared on Morrissey’s website and nothing has been written in the media to challenge his position. Today it was reported that research by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a UK based anti-extremist organisation, reveals that the Great Replacement Theory is being promoted so effectively by the far right that it is entering mainstream political discourse.
That Morrissey is helping to spread this idea - which inspired the Christchurch mosque murderer - is beyond doubt. Those who claim that this has no relevance to his stature as an artist should ask themselves if, by demanding that we separate the singer from the song, they too are helping to propagate this racist creed'.
Johnny Marr's set at Glastonbury seemed to be, at least partly, an artist and a crowd revelling in reclaiming those songs from the damage the lyricist has done to their memory, a celebration of outside culture and what The Smiths meant- Bigmouth Strikes Again, There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out- and what they can still mean. But still, with every sentence Billy writes above, the songs are tarnished further.
This re-edit of How Soon Is Now by Maceo Plex will probably annoy the purists but would I imagine sound pretty great chucked into the midst of a DJ set, possibly pitched down a tad. Can't imagine Morrissey's a fan.
Tuesday, 9 July 2019
Last Monday I posted a remix by Duncan Gray of an Albanian group called Pines In The Sun, psychedelic Balearica from Tirana. Now there's another song online (from what is going to be an e.p. out digitally this Friday). Sun is a spaced out, sunset sort of tune, with an addictive wobbly vocal part, some piano, a keening descending synth, some pedal steel guitar, acoustic, live percussion. Cannot get enough of this right now.
Monday's Uptown post led me to two further Andrew Weatherall remixes with Uptown in the title, this pair from 2016. Australian band Jagwar Ma's second album Every Now And Zen looked to the late 80s and early 90s for its inspiration, Manchester's neo- psychedelia and Screamadelica. They'd moved into studio space in Weatherall's Scrutton Street bunker complex and his influence must have seeped through the walls and open doors. He would remix the song Give Me A Reason twice, the first a slowed down, electronic dub excursion, the dull thud of the drum machine pushing it on for nine minutes. The second is a more abstract, even dubbier work out. A robot voice intones 'and left and right and left and right'. The drum machine patters on.
Give Me A Reason (Weatherall Meets Jonnie Two Heaters Uptown Part 1)
Give Me A Reason (Weatherall Meets Jonnie Two Heaters Uptown Part 2)
Edit: the space Jagwar Ma's Jono moved into alongside Andrew Weatherall was not the Scrutton Street complex. I am more than happy to be corrected by those who were there.
Monday, 8 July 2019
Primal Scream's best record of the last decade is a remix. In 2008 they released an album called Beautiful Future, a record which seemed a bit unessential. It followed Riot City Blues and its corny hit single Country Girl. Throb had left the group 'on sabbatical' and this would be the first Primal Scream record without him on it. It turned out to be Mani's last album with the band- by the time More Light came out he'd gone back to The Roses. The tracklist doesn't suggest there's much here to go back to- Zombie Man, Suicide Bomber, Necro Hex Blues. But there was a release that came out afterwards that showed that the raw ingredients could still be remixed into magic.
Uptown (Long After The Disco is Over) (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
From the smooth echo on Bobby's voice and the dub FX in the intro, the four on the floor drums, and the melodica line, Weatherall constructs a disco odyssey, layering sounds. The bass hits at one minute forty and the shimmering, reverb heavy guitar stabs build. A synth arpegio works its magic. Swooping happy/sad strings. Breakdowns. More melodica. Bobby cooing 'you feel so good you never wanted to leave'. Tom toms. More strings. The disco ball throws lights around the room as the track builds and peaks, the room spinning now as the dancers twirl and writhe, in this ecstatic disco of the mind. Fade, echoes and noise, bliss. Fuck yeah.
Sunday, 7 July 2019
A long mix for Sunday from Rude Audio, South London's finest purveyors of dubby, cosmic Balearic disco. This is three hours of excellence taking in some of their own work alongside tracks from the likes of Bedford Falls Players, Lord Of The Isles, LCD Soundsystem, Jono Ma, Silver Apples, Rich Lane and someone called Andrew Weatherall. Press play and enjoy the groove, 'a cavort with the wrong sort, uptown'. Tracklist can be found here.
Rude Audio have got an eight track release out soon, hot on the heels of their Rude Redux e.p. in October last year. Street Light Interference has four new ones and four remixes. The lead track is here, Repeat Offender, bouncy bass and beat, dub echo pinging around, and some keyboard lines wandering in from a John Carpenter film. After four minutes things start to get quite fizzy and more urgent. This can only improve your day, your weekend and your summer.
Saturday, 6 July 2019
Ride's forthcoming album This Is Not A Safe Place promises to be an adventurous and shape-shifting affair. Brand new song Repetition has a synthesised bassline, huge krautrock drumming and the feel of band who have morphed way beyond from where they started. Put this along side Andy Bell's GLOK. More please.
Friday, 5 July 2019
On Saturday night while The Chemical Brothers were block rocking the Other Stage at Glastonbury talk on Twitter turned to the then Dust Brothers 1994 Xmas Dust Up, a cassette given away free with the NME in December 1994. The tape was mixed by Ed and Tom, a window rattling, volume- all-the-way-up, seven song mixtape.
The Dust Brothers- Leave Home
Bonus Beats Orchestra- Bonus Beats
The Prodigy- Voodoo People (Dust Brothers Remix)
Depth Charge- Shaolin Buddha Finger
Renegade Soundwave- Renegade Soundwave (Leftfield remix)
Strange Brew- One Summer ('Lektrik Dawn Dub)
Manic Street Preachers- La Tristessa Durera
Just looking at the sleeve and reading the tracklist transports me back to this cassette causing difficulties for the speakers in a red Nissan Micra back in 94/95- it used to get played a lot for a while.
Bonus Beats Orchestra was Tom and Ed Dust/Chemical under another name. Depth Charge were ace, the 9 Deadly Venoms album was trip hop and big beat before either really got going, and chock full of samples from martial arts films and horror movies. I've posted Renegade Soundwave before and the Leftfield remix is particularly good. Strange Brew were a duo from Manchester, one half of whom, Jake Purdy, lived down our street when we were kids. We'd long lost touch by the mid 90s but used to knock around in a gang all the time in the mid 80s. Funny to have a little childhood, local connection with a free NME cassette. Helpfully someone has transferred their copy of the tape digitally and uploaded it to Youtube. The beats sound quite timelocked but as a whole this still sounds fairly fresh I think.
The Dust Brothers would become The Chemical Brothers not long afterwards. Their remix of La Tristessa Durera was done while still Dust and isn't subtle- squealing noises from the start, various samples from Ed and Tom's pile of odds and ends, lots of sirens and James' vocal. La Tristessa Durera- the sadness endures forever- was written by Richie taking the point of view of a war veteran wheeled out once a year on Poppy Day as a 'cenotaph souvenir', poverty causing him to sell his medal. It is one of the best early Manics songs, showing behind the eyeliner, shock quotes and bluster there was some genuine talent.
La Tristessa Durera (From A Scream To A Sigh) (Chemical [Dust] Brothers Remix)
Thursday, 4 July 2019
This is from a new e.p. by Dan Wainwright (a resident of these parts apparently) a slice of cosmic, Eastern tinged, progressive chug which, at some point in the fourth minute when the soft multi-tracked vocal comes in, reveals itself to be a cover of The Supremes classic Keep Me Hangin' On.
The e.p. then takes a turn into darker territory with a Hardway Bros remix, a moody, low slung groover, the appropriately titled Swamp Dub, which sounds just like a sweaty basement after hours. In a good way.
There's a third track too, The Endless Process Of Release, starting out with synths and coo'd breathy backing vox, some lovely sequenced bass and then a mid-tempo beat gently pushing things forward, various percussive sounds reverberating round the mix, more roof terrace in the sun than cellar rave, until it all starts to build for the last few minutes, twinkling arpeggios and rushing bleeps.
Wednesday, 3 July 2019
I was bowled over by the coverage of The Cure headlining Sunday night at Glastonbury. In the 80s I was an arm's length fan of the band- liked some the singles, dipped into the albums, eventually realised A Forest is one of the great post-punk records, spun around to Inbetween Days and Just Like Heaven, but I was never a knocked out fan. 80s tribalism played a part here, there's no denying it.
Watching bits of Glastonbury over the weekend presented some highlights- Johnny Marr reclaiming his Smiths songs, Billie Eilish lording it on Sunday afternoon, a seventeen year old with some serious confidence and attitude, Janelle Monae's showstopper and a Saturday night blitz from The Chemical Brothers. But The Cure on Sunday night were something else, two hours of perfectly pitched songs, balanced between wonderful guitar/synth pop songs and creeping post-punk dread. Robert Smith's voice has aged far better than most of his contemporaries and the group were spot on, Simon Gallup's bass playing especially so (I've often had him down as a Hooky copyist but he was a post-punk bassist in his own right on Sunday night). In front of a massive crowd with very few smoke and light show gimmicks they played song after song that seemed to connect in Somerset and definitely broke through the plasma screen. They peppered their set with the hits and paced it brilliantly- Pictures Of You was chucked in as the second song, my favourite three mentioned above were all played mid- set, an icy Play For Today and an intense and wired Shake Dog Shake. The encore would have been worth the price of admission to a Cure gig on its own- Lullaby, The Caterpillar, The Walk, Friday I'm In Love, Close To Me, Why Can't I Be You? and Boy's Don't Cry. Genuinely magical stuff and by a band who have done it more or less on their own terms, British post-punk, indie mavericks, surviving four decades and working their way in from the outside.
Pictures Of You
Tuesday, 2 July 2019
Moon Duo have a new album out at the end of September, an announcement that brings me great joy. The new one sees Ripley and Sanae Yamada dig into the sections of their record collections that contain the disco and rave 12" singles. Ripley's usual fluid guitar playing and Sanae's synths are still there but it's a definite move on from the darker, motorik grooves of the Occult Architecture albums of two years ago- the synths glisten and shimmer, yep, like stars in the inky black sky. Gently trippy. It was recorded in Portugal at the Mountains of the Moon with Sonic Boom on production and mixing. I think Moon Duo (and by extension Wooden Shjips) may be favourite current band.
Monday, 1 July 2019
I followed a link to this over the weekend and am glad I did, eight sun dappled and blissed out minutes of glorious sound from Albania. Pines In The Sun are from Tirana, Zig Zag Sea is their debut release and it has been remixed by Duncan Gray who keeps it hazy and dubby and slightly psychey but also snaps it into focus with the guitar solo at about four minutes. That big bubbly keyboard bass riff is wonderful too. Is Adriatic Balearica a thing? It is now.