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Wednesday 30 June 2021

Kempe Stoned

The Vendetta Suite, the one man project of Northern Ireland's Gary Irwin, has just put an album out, titled The Kempe Stone Portal (the sleeve adorned with an 1849 painting of the Kempe Stone, a prehistoric tomb on the Dundonald road near Belfast). Gary grew up with Belfast's acid house scene in his ears and started working for and with David Holmes all the way through to Holmes' magnificent The Holy Pictures album in 2008. The album is the result of ten years work, twelve tracks taking in electronic pop with echoes of New Order, dub techno reminiscent of Sabres Of Paradise, a few lovely Balearic moments and some chugging 4AD style shimmer rock. This one is Morning Star and is currently hitting all the sweet spots. 

Halfway through the album there is a slinky cover of The Jesus And Mary Chain's cover of Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love. The album is available in vinyl and digital formats at Bandcamp.

The Reid brothers knew how to cover a song, usually in a ton of feedback and snarl. Their version came out in 1988 and I wore out my cassette copy of Barbed Wire Kisses playing side two's first four songs over and over- play, rewind, play, rewind (Sidewalking, Who Do You Love, Surfin' USA and Everything's Alright When You're Down, some B-sides better than many of their peer's A-sides). 

Who Do You Love

If you want to find another updated version of the spirit Jim and William Reid recast for 2021 the new two track release from Danish producer Trentemoller should satisfy. The lead song Golden Sun is all pattering drum machines and sunlit melodies, slow paced synth work and a lovely late 80s indie guitar line, shades of the Cocteau Twins and The Cure .

The flipside, in every way, is Shaded Moon, a stuttering drum machine just like the Mary Chain circa 1988, a Joy Division bassline and then some William Reid indebted guitar work, all sounding referential but thoroughly now too. Buy both tracks here

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Now You're Looking Back

This song came out in March 1991, the lead song on a four track EP from Ride called Today Forever. It followed their debut album from the year before, Nowhere. At the time I wasn't too fussed but now, thirty years later and heard on the heels of the Ride re- union and Andy Bell's releases as himself and as Glok, it sounds like a superb blast of early 90s shoegaze/ rock, fading in on a crystal guitar line before the bass and drums punch their way in and pull you in. Then there's walls of fuzz, twin distorted guitars and Byrdsy toplines and those trademark vocals, slightly behind the music. 


Here they are on Top Of The Pops looking impossibly young. They were young but they look really young. Long sleeved t- shirts, fringes and avoiding looking down the camera's lens.

Fast forward nearly three decades and they put out Weather Diaries in 2017. This was my highlight, a beautifully, swooning piece of 21st century alt- rock, driving bassline, chiming guitars and lovely twin vox from Mark and Andy, singing about summer love and the beach and in the 'summer is gone' a real sense of loss. There's a soaring, keening guitar line over the chorus and then a dive back in that really hits the spot.


Here they are in session for KEXP, older and wiser. 

Monday 28 June 2021

Monday's Long Song

Since Andrew Weatherall's death Nina Walsh has been keeping their two person project, Woodleigh Research Facility, going on her own. The WRF started with an album in 2015, a low slung, dubby, steam- powered drum machine, set of instrumentals called The Phoenix Suburb (And Other Stories)- the title a reference to the Crystal Palace area where Andrew and Nina recorded at Youth's studio, named Facility 4. In 2018 a second album appeared in limited vinyl quantities with individualised sleeve artwork and sold through a car boot sale, 127 To Facility 4 (a second pressing saw some copies sold via the WRF website which is where I was fortunate and quick fingered enough to get one). Several one off digital and/ or physical releases have also been put out-  a 2017 track called S.O.M.A.25, a hard edged, techno tribute to Soma Records released for their twenty- fifth anniversary compilation and two years later Heilige Seidhr came out on Hoga Nord to celebrate the 2019 Convenanza. Then at the start of 2020 the WRF announced a series of monthly, digital only releases, three new tracks a month for a year, a huge burst of creativity and industry. When Andrew died in February 2020 it put those releases into a very different light, eleven epitaphs sent forth at the end of each month. The onset of Covid and the first lockdown a month later added to the sense of loss around those releases. The torrent of ideas and music in those thirty six tracks, songs and poems set to music is still revealing itself, a wealth of back catalogue treasure to explore. 

Nina has packed up and moved out of London (and is building Facility 5 out west). She is keeping the spirit and sound of Woodleigh Research Facility alive with a trickle of releases. Last month a new Nina written and produced WRF EP came out, Vernal Invocation, three new pieces of music led by Lex Talionis, seven minutes of that familiar drum machine sound, some dancing keyboard melodies and some moody synths.

Backed up by two further instrumentals, Alcyone and Salacia, the EP is proof that Andrew's musical partnership with Nina continues to bear fruit after his passing, something about him audibly evident in the grooves and sounds. 

In Greek mythology Alcyone was the daughter King Aeolus. She married Ceyx but foolishly the pair displeased Zeus and Hera and Zeus threw a thunderbolt at their ship. The gods took pity on the pair and changed them into kingfisher birds (or halcyons). 

Salacia was the Roman goddess of the sea, worshipped as the goddess of salt water and guardian of the depths, the personification of calm and sunlit ocean waves. She married Neptune and they had three children, the most famous being Triton, half man, half fish. That's got to be inconvenient in daily life in the 21st century but he maybe he made it work two thousand years ago. Salacia sounds aquatic and oceangoing. 

Sunday 27 June 2021


If you head over to The Vinyl Villain today (and every Sunday for the foreseeable future) you'll find JC and Drew going through the singles of The Fall. That may well sound like a Herculean labour but Drew has been known to undertake- voluntarily- the task of listening to every Fall album released in chronological order in one weekend before. 

In 1988 I bought the tenth Fall studio album, The Frenz Experiment. It contained their cover of Victoria, an actual top forty hit for Prestwich's finest. The album has been seen as a bit of a mis- step by many purist fans, a bit Fall on autopilot, Brix pushing the group in a more commercial direction, and there's no denying it has a more accessible sound compared to some of their records but there's plenty to enjoy- The Steak Place, Carry Bag Man, Oswald Defence Lawyer, Get A Hotel and Bremen Nacht all do it for me. Mark E Smith is in minimalist lyrical form in part, a less is more approach, in contrast to the torrent of words he often used to spill into the mic. On the album's opening song, the first I heard when I snapped the cassette deck shut in March 1988 and pressed play, is Frenz- a groove as much as a song built around a two note Steve Hanley bassline and Mark ruminating on the number of friends he had (not enough for one hand) with the unsaid insinuation that he was surrounded by hangers on.


Saturday 26 June 2021

Hypnotic Response

Richard Norris has three albums out now or imminent- there's The Grid/ Robert Fripp collaboration which I wrote about here, a forthcoming Circle Sky album out soon and a solo album called Hypnotic Response out now. Hypnotic Response is six analogue synth instrumentals, foreground ambient psychedelia, mesmeric kosmische with tranced out grooves summoned from an old Korg drum machine. This is In Flight, the album's opening track, an insistent resurrection of tones and sounds from the Federal Republic of Germany in the mid 1970s. Available at Bandcamp and elsewhere. 

Friday 25 June 2021


There's been a lot of R.E.M. in the blogosphere over the last few months. The Vinyl Villain had a year long weekly series tackling every one of the band's UK singles in chronological order and co- writer Robster has now started a weekly imaginary singles series (based on the evidence that R.E.M. didn't always represent themselves best by their choice of singles). Craig at Plain Or Pan dissected Catapult last week. Back in April I pulled out their first four albums and really listened to them again for the first time in years (and then went on to Green and In Time too). I got stuck on Murmur for days, listening to the re- issued CD in the car going to and from work and then at home too on my old vinyl copy. 

There's something magical about Murmur and by magical I mean something that's difficult to pinpoint precisely, it has an inexplicable quality and is way more than the sum of the parts. The songs on Murmur were in part the product of hundreds of gigs in bars and small venues but on wax/ tape they become something else, the magic transforms the songs. The sympatico production of Mitch Easter and Don Dixon, totally in tune with the group's influences- 60s folk rock, 70s punk and post- punk- is part of the magic. They had the the desire to make an album that didn't sound like it was recorded in 1983 but could have been recorded at any point in the previous two decades. Then there's the chemistry between Peter Buck's guitar playing, all Rickenbacker arpeggios, the Berry- Mills rhythm section (especially Mike Mills' melodic bass playing) and the three part harmonies. On top, the indefinable voice/ words/ vowel sounds/ growling of Michael Stipe. Much has been written and said about his vocal style in the early years, the timbre of his voice, the off key moments and ability to suddenly turn a song on its head and the words- impressionistic lines and images, words jammed together that suggest meaning, a sort of Southern US poetry. Maybe trying to unpick the words and the way the four young men played together is fruitless- it doesn't matter how they did it, just be transported by what they did.

Shaking Through is my current favourite, the jangle of the guitar, the thump thump thump thump of the bass drum and Stipe soaring over the top, something about geisha gowns and denial and then that weirdly brilliant chorus- 'shaaaaaaking through/ ooopppppuurrrtune'. Magical. 

Shaking Through

The deluxe CD re- issue included a full live show, the group recorded at Fat Larry's Hideaway in Toronto, 9th July 1983. There aren't many live CDs I can listen to in full repeatedly but this is one, R.E.M. in 1983, an exhilarating, life affirming experience. 

Sitting Still is essential early R.E.M., the Byrds transported to Athens, Georgia in the 1980s, Stipe only really properly audible for the line 'waste of time/ sitting still', those harmonies really nailed on.  

Sitting Still (Live 1983)

9-9 is clipped post- punk riffing, Gang Of Four influences in evidence, while Stipe really makes the listener work, on record and live, only surfacing for the phrase 'conversation fear'. 

9-9 (Live 1983)

Edit: Martin blogged about early R.E.M. today as well here, a very similar first paragraph to mine and a really moving post about Camera. 

Thursday 24 June 2021

Iron Chair

I started the week with an Orb related release and we're bouncing back in that direction today with one of the remixes from the Abolition Of The Royal Familia Guillotine Mixes album, out back in April. There's a host of Orb- linked names offering up new versions of tracks from last year's album- Youth's ten minute odyssey Shape Shifting Pt 1 is superb, a long drawn out ambient first half and a driving beat driven second. David Harrow contributes two remixes, both well worth the price of admission. Moody Boys, Andy Falconer, Sendelica and Kris Needs all turn up and then there's this beauty from Gaudi, the album track bent into all kind of new shapes and positions. 

Ital Orb (Iron Chair) Gaudi Remix

Wednesday 23 June 2021


The new EP from Petwo Evans, a four track release called Bootstrap, came my way a couple of weeks ago and it's already worming its way into my subconscious. The opener Dr. Rhythm has a distinctly Warp Records edge to it- tough beats, bleeps and space. At times it feels like the track is being mixed live, a DJ flipping between two or three different records. Pretty addictive stuff- the amped up soundtrack to a computer game set in a disused quarry maybe. 

Lock 10 came out in May, piano riffs and squelching noises. Drums/ percussion start to join at one and a half minutes, synths and then the thump of the kick drum. Moody, repetitive, invigorating club music. At volume this sounds immense.  

Petwo Evans is a duo, Rich Thair of Red Snapper and DJ Jake Williams. They recorded the EP in a remote farm overlooking the Welsh landscape using found instruments- a tumble dryer, plastic tubs and bits of metal and a broken piano (is there such a thing as a broken piano? If it plays, it plays). They looped and processed and spliced it all in with the synths and the drum machines and turned it into a release that reflects a lifetime listening to dance music, the post- industrial landscape and in a theme that keeps coming round at Bagging Area, 'the Blade Runner- esque thrill of driving through Port Talbot at night'. Digital and vinyl available at Bandcamp

Tuesday 22 June 2021

When I See Your Eyes Arrive

Back in 1998 as the decade and century rushed to a conclusion people started fretting about Y2K, the millennium bug and aeroplanes dropping out of the sky. Mercury Rev had been a minor US alt- rock band with some major drug problems and poor sales and were about to be dropped. Their manager left and the drummer followed. Jonathan Donahue slipped into depression and took refuge in childhood favourites, fairy tales set to classical music. From this chaos and dissolution came Deserter's Songs, an album that turned out to be one of 1998's best records. 

Holed up in the Catskill Mountains, writing on a piano and reconnecting with guitarist Grasshopper, sharing studio time with The Flaming Lips (a band Donahue was a member of at the same time) they began to record the songs that would become Deserter's Songs, a fragile, melodic, gently wasted album, filled with acts of leaving, with ghosts and farewells. They both assumed this would be Mercury Rev's last throw of the dice. Somehow during the sessions the band/ duo signed to V2 and the money that followed allowed them to complete the album, filling the songs out with Dave Fridman, adding strings, horns, woodwind. This song, originally written by Donahue back in 1989, was found on an old cassette and reworked...

Goddess On A Hiway

There's a back to the land/ get our heads together in the country/ Bob Dylan after his motorcycle crash feel to Deserter's Songs. Add in to the fin de siecle vibe circulating by 1998, replacing all that mid 90s confidence. 'I got us on a highway/ I got us in a car', Jonathan sings, leaving somewhere. Later on in the songs it's about her, 'the goddess on a highway/ goddess in a car', leaving. 'And I know it ain't gonna last'. The rest of the album sounds similarly blasted and wrecked, the sound of some people trying to hold it together- Holes, Tonite It Shows, Opus 40, Hudson Line. At the end the final song opens with what sounds like a house music piano riff being played on a harpsichord, the final splendour of Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp. 

Before he started writing the songs for the album Donahue had been approached by The Chemical Brothers to play on what would become The Private Psychedelic Reel. At a time when he'd more or less given up and hit the bottom, the request and recording re- energised him. In the UK, Deserter's Songs was then championed by Tom and Ed, especially in the NME and Melody Maker, and it all took off. The NME made it album of the year, the monthlies gave it five stars. The Chemical Brothers provided a remix adding their crunching 90s swirl of FX and beats to Mercury Rev's 19th century chamber music- and picking out the word that is the opposite of the album's main lyrical themes- 'hello...' 

Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp (The Chemical Brothers Remix)

Monday 21 June 2021

Monday's Long Song

The new album from Orb boss Alex Paterson and old Orb partner Andy Falconer- released under the name Sedibus- is turning out to be one of early summer's real treats. Recent Orb albums have been a bit hit and miss and 2020's Abolition Of The Royal Familia had some very good, long tracks towards the end and some lovely remixes too but some misfires too. The Heavens is beautiful, immersive ambient house from start to finish, only four tracks but each one a journey- littered with samples, some familiar ones, space and NASA samples recurring, the thumping kick drum and dub bass present and the trademark Paterson sense of humour evident too. Dr Alex and Andy Falconer last worked together thirty years ago on Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld and in some ways this album seems to have picked up where that one left off. All four tracks are superb, weightless, organic and absorbing stuff. Unknowable, all eighteen minutes of it, is a trip. 

Sunday 20 June 2021

Tak Tent

The latest issue of The Wire (number 449 dated July 2021) has a lengthy feature on the growth of internet radio stations and an A to Z of 100 essential online stations. The Wire has been dedicated to exploring and focusing on experimental sound and music since 1982 and the internet radio stations in the article cover have a global reach- from China to South America and all points in between. Closer to home, one of the stations they've recommended in their list is Tak Tent Radio, based in central Scotland and with a similarly wide and eclectic range of music on offer- everything from Turkish psyche to dub, from weird folk to obscure Swiss coldwave. This is what The Wire said....

Last year Ali at Tak Tent emailed me out of the blue to say he'd found some of my Isolation Mixes done in the first lockdown and asked if I'd like to submit a mix to Tak Tent. I was stunned and flattered obviously and I've since done three mixes, one, two and three, lots of ambient, drone, Balearic, some techno, bits of dubby stuff, some Blade Runner and some Escape To New York- the sort of stuff that goes on here mainly. 

There's loads to explore at Tak Tent not least the regular spots from Richard Youngs, a genuine talent, hugely prolific and maker of all kinds of outsider music- experimental avant rock and folktronica if you're looking for labels. There's one here, a show done only using 10" vinyl, and the one referred to in the magazine, an hour of all vinyl, all acapella music here

Richard is also in AMOR, a slinky avant- disco outfit who have made some really good records in the last few years. One of the first records that dropped into my porch back at the start  of this year was their LEMUR 12", four slices of brilliance led by this song, Unravel, which I've posted before but that's no reason not to post it again- a sublime, dreamy, groove based seven minutes.  

Saturday 19 June 2021

The Drop

It's been ages since I posted an entire Andrew Weatherall mix and that is simply not good enough. This one dates from May 2011, a CD giveaway to the first hundred people through the door at A Love From Outer Space at The Drop on the occasion of ALFOS's first birthday. It's a largely ambient style hour and a twelve minutes, taking in Sir Richard Bishop, Leyland Kirby, Nils Frahm and Anne Muller, Carlton Melton, Conrad Schnitzler, Mushy, Gnod, Far East Family Band and Blancmange. It's a perfectly judged and paced, pianos and synths and drones, with some trippy choral stuff towards the end, music both obscure and accessible. Find it at Mixcloud

Richard Bishop- Sir Richard Bishop- began with experimental rock group Sun City Girls and has played with Will Oldham, Bill Callaghan and Devendra Banhart. His work is usually guitar based, drawing on musical styles from around the world. It turns out I have a few things of his on my hard drive, mainly from his 2009 album the Freak Of Araby (and I can only guess they came my way after searching on the internet for his music following Mr Weatherall playing them on either his 6 Mix or Music's Not For Everyone shows). This one comes from that album...

Sidi Mansour

This one is from his 2011 album Polytheistic Fragments, the album the opener on the mix above is taken from. 

Cemetery Games

Friday 18 June 2021

A Cosmic Flash

From his 2020 album Self Civil War, an album still getting replayed round these parts, Julian Cope and a song with a first half that is an instrumental organ- guitars- bass freak out over a thumping motorik rhythm before the man himself joins in on vox. 70s guitar solos and acoustic guitar breakdown, working their way down and down before the drums come back and a dirty fuzz part begins the build to the end. 

A Cosmic Flash

Thursday 17 June 2021


Back in 1993 Paul Weller, then on the crest of a wave and reborn after his wilderness years, released a seven minute remix of one of his songs, a space rock/ dub monster with samples from NASA, rockets taking off, a wah wah guitar isolated and distorted, crunchy drums, sounds whooshing around the place, panning from left to right, squealing siren sounds and bass parts that sounded like your speakers were about to pop. It was picked up early on by Andrew Weatherall who used to play it at the end of his sets at Sabresonic (a sweaty, filthy dungeon underneath London Bridge on Crucifix Lane) and according to those present, it caused mayhem. Eventually, when everyone had lost their shit and tried to find out what it was, Weller released it on the Hung Up single. There was a promo 12" which claimed, not unreasonably, that the two versions contained within the black plastic grooves were 'a sonic aural explosion of dub beats'. 

Kosmos (Lynch Mob Bonus Beats)

Lynch Mob was the production name used by producer Brendan Lynch. He worked with Weller on his early solo albums and were both with Young Disciple bassist Marco Nelson, Indian Vibes, a one off project who had a bit of a splash with Mathur, psychedelic sitar dance music for the 90s, a Dave Pike Set cover. The 12" came out in 1994 with various versions and remixes and was a hit in France. 

Mathur (Extended Mix)

Mathur Adbutha (Lynch Mob Beats)

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Cosmic Soul Cosmic Dub

From Cosmic Silence in Belgium yesterday to Cosmic Soul and Cosmick Dub from Germany and the USA today. Nhii, Munich born and New York based, is a DJ and producer who builds some of his tracks around North African sounds, the superb Impermanence EP being a case in point. This one is much more club oriented, a synth based slow burner, dark and groovy. 

Cosmic Soul

Peaking Lights have been featured here before several times, a husband/ wife duo who met in San Francisco, moved to rural Wisconsin and then back to California. Lucifer, released in 2012, is a back catalogue highlight, a technicolour swirl of psyche/ shoegaze/ motorik/ synth/ dub. They reworked Lucifer into Lucifer In Dub as a companion album, a head spinning, sleepy headed blur of clattering percussion, dubbed out basslines and echo. 

Cosmick Dub

Tuesday 15 June 2021

Cosmic Silence

This is yesterday's long song, delayed to Tuesday by my daughter's birthday. Reinhard Vanbergen has become my go to Belgian musician over the last year with 2020's bumpity- bumpity Balearic/ house/ disco Rheinzand album, this year's album celebrating a restaurant in Ghent with Charlotte Caluwaerts and now this eleven minute instrumental.

Cosmic Silence is out on Kenneth Bager's Music For Dreams label, a digital compilation called Copenhagen 21. Starting out slow and ambient and bringing a gently rippling synth sound in before a violin drifts in, long keening sweeps of the bow against the strings- I have to be say that the violin is not my favourite instrument usually but here it is very special indeed, all the pieces in place building gradually and filling the room. Quite the trip. 

Copenhagen 21 is at Bandcamp and Cosmic Silence, one of nineteen tracks on the album, is here. In 2019 Rheinzand remixed fellow Belgian Mugwump's No Trepidation, a very swish piece of electronic music with a couple of unexpected turns. 

No Trepidation (Rheinzand Remix)

Monday 14 June 2021



Eighteen years ago today this baby was born, our child number two and daughter number one, Eliza. Unlike her brother's traumatic entry to the world and subsequent difficulties, she was an easy birth (obviously that's easy for me to say, I wasn't the one doing the hard work at that exact moment) and she has been a joy to be around ever since. Reaching the point where both your children are eighteen or older is a good way to make you feel old but having a lively, witty, grounded and occasionally sarcastic eighteen year old around also keeps you feeling young. She has a week's worth of partying planned, from today through to Friday but today's the actual day so happy birthday Eliza. 

Back in 1987 when I was seventeen The House Of Love released a single that became their calling card, the shimmering indie rock of Shine On. In the lyric Guy Chadwick (definitely not a teenager at the time, not even in his twenties I reckon) sings, 'I'm so young/ Just eighteen' before Terry Bickers' guitar soars into the stratosphere and the chorus kicks in, 'she/ she- she- she shine on'. So, keep shining Eliza, on and on. 

Shine On

I was seventeen when I first heard this song and eighteen when they released the single Christine and their debut album. These records are indelible imprints of my youth. In the way that things worked back then the band were indie sensations, darlings of the NME, Creation Records wonderkids and as a result hawked around the major labels by Alan McGee. They signed to Fontana for a typically large advance. The group's drug use was spiralling at the time and the first thing Fontana did was release a single without the band's consent (Never, a record I adore but which the general feeling was fell short of the songs that propelled them in the first place). Terry Bickers, guitar whizzkid, was increasingly uncomfortable with all aspects of chasing fame and fortune and life on a major label and his relationship with Chadwick broke down. Bickers' drug use and mental health deteriorated jus as they worked on an expensively recorded album for Fontana and a mammoth sixty date tour was about to start. I saw them play at Widnes Queen's Hall on 27th November 1989 and the tensions were evident from the floor of the venue. The following week Terry was kicked out of the tour bus at a service station near Bristol. A week later The House Of Love played Portsmouth Polytechnic with hastily recruited Simon Walker on guitar. This re- recorded version of Shine On was included on their Fontana album and released as a single in March 1990. The single hit the dizzying heights of number twenty and they made their only Top Of The Pops appearance, Bickers out of the group and on his way to forming Levitation. In a lot of ways this was the end for them, even though they crawled on for a few more years, increasingly desperate attempts at flogging singles in multiple formats and albums to recoup the advance Fontana threw at them. They never recaptured what briefly made them special in 1987- 8. Despite Guy Chadwick's ambition, some bands just aren't built to be big. 

Sunday 13 June 2021

The Fool

The new Andrew Weatherall mixes of Warpaint's The Fool came out yesterday, double vinyl edition for Record Shop Day. The album originally came out in 2010 with two songs mixed by Andrew, the fabulous, slinky gloom of Undertow and Baby. Weatherall and Nina Walsh worked with the LA fourpiece, recording the songs in the studio and Andrew then mixed them and sequenced them. This wasn't a Screamadelica or Morning Dove White production job. The rest of Andrew's mixes for the remaining seven songs weren't used, the band for some reason going with different mixes and a different running order to the one he put together. Let's be honest- a new version of this album appearing eleven years later with all of Andrew's mixes, in the order he envisaged and a song that was left off back in 2010, a year after he died, can't help but feel a little exploitative. The band and label have every right to release whichever mixes they want to of course. If the mixes were worth releasing then Warpaint and Rough Trade should have gone with them first time round.  If they weren't, then it does feel a little money grabbing to release them now. Having said that, I popped in to Piccadilly Records at midday, no RSD queue and bought a copy. I like Warpaint, I have done since before The Fool came out, and didn't buy that album on vinyl at the time so buying this with Weatherall's connection balanced out feeling exploited  somewhat. 

As I said before, this isn't a Weatherall production job, this isn't Andrew and Nina being given the master tapes and carte blanche to do what they want with them. This isn't an early version of Weatherall and Walsh's Woodleigh Research Facility either. This is very much Warpaint sounding like Warpaint sound- post punk influences, dub basslines, stoned vocals, harmonies, West Coast USA via West London in 1978, shadowy, gliding songs, submerged sections and sudden bursts of sunlight. Majesty stands out in this mix, the rumble of the bass and drums to the fore and the spindly guitar notes on top with lots of space between the instruments. Baby, the same as the first release, is all acoustic despair and ennui, Nina's fingerprints visible. After a slow fade in/ intro, Composure lifts off as the bass and drums lock in and surge forward in the mix, the bass low and growly, the guitar notes dancing on top and the push- pull dynamics of the song very alive. The ending and sudden fade out is lovely too. there are lots of little touches, voices fading out at the end of songs, switches being flicked, that you notice when listening closely. Lissie's Heart Murmur (and I thought twice about even mentioning this song and its title given the horrific scenes at the Denmark- Finland match at the Euros yesterday) is dark and wallows in itself, piano spiralling over the rhythm section and a wash of reverb. When you know it's Andrew at the desk you can hear it- I'm not sure if I didn't I would say' yep, that's Andrew's touch' but I guess that's the heart of this release- he mixed it, he didn't produce it. Set Your Arms Down is the one for me after a couple of listens. In Andrew's version he placed it at the album's end (rather than the start as it was in the 2010 edition). The song is a propulsive album closer, building in intensity, those post- punk drums and bass driving the song on. People often compare Warpaint to The Slits and on this song, you can hear it, if The Slits had been from 21st century Los Angeles not 70s London- angular guitars blended into the sound, rattling snares, the throb of post- punk dub but a wider, bigger sound than The Slits had. Set Your Arms Down builds to a spectacular finish and then drops out, a few more seconds of sound and fades out, a good way to finish. Throughout this mix of The Fool the guitars are more post punk, less jangly- the previously unreleased Jubille has some choppy 1979 style guitars- and Andrew's mix places the bass and drums front and centre over a wash of reverb and atmospherics. 

Jubilee (Demo Version)


What have we learned? It's early days and I haven't lived with it yet but the album sounds very good- it would do with Weatherall mixing it wouldn't it? Do I want gold vinyl? No, I don't (and the pressing doesn't seem brilliant either, a lot of crackle on side C, something that is a recurring issue with coloured vinyl). Is it overpriced? Yes it is- I paid less than thirty quid but some of the online retailers are asking for closer to forty which is nonsense. Is it a lost classic? No, I don't think so. Is it the version I'll listen to from now on? Yes, it is. 

Saturday 12 June 2021

It's Hot

On this, another song in advance of their album in September, The Liminanas and Laurent Garnier have really found their groove with Que Calor- thumping Velvets drums, sharp, reverb laden vox, whoops, Kingsmen guitar riffs, psyche organ riffs, the smell of jazz cigarettes and dancing, love beads and hair being tossed around, incense and fuzz pedals. 

In many ways this song really reminds of this 2015 fuzz- rock, sex and drugs blast from San Diego's Crocodiles. Both have smart animated videos too. Back to back fun. 

Friday 11 June 2021

I Found The World So New

This is the beach at Thurstaston on the Wirral, a quiet and sandy stretch with cliffs in danger of collapse behind it and the Dee estuary and North Wales in front. We went last weekend, the first time I've been to a beach or the sea for ages. The tide was out so we didn't see much sea but just being on a beach after so long was lovely. 

The debut album by Australian samplers/ band The Avalanches came out twenty years ago- we'll let that pass without too much comment but twenty years, WTF etc. Since I Left You famously is made up of 3, 500 samples, a swirling, technicolour, happy go lucky, kaleidoscope of a record, dizzy and in love with summer, sun, the sea, parties and living your best life. 

Since I Left You

The single Frontier Psychiatrist was/ is a fine example of the art of turntablism, the band's turntablist Dexter Fabay cutting and scratching. This remix by Mario C, a long time Beastie Boy associate, takes it all further. 

Frontier Psychiatrist (Mario Caldato's 85% Mix)

Since I Left You is out now as a twentieth anniversary double CD/ quadruple vinyl edition with fifteen remixes including ones from Prince Paul, the recently deceased MF Doom, Stereolab, Cornelius and this techno/ disco thumper remix of A Different Feeling by Carl Craig.

Thursday 10 June 2021

Session Rising

The Beloved's 1990 single The Sun Rising is seen as a sunset song, chilled out ambient house for the moment when the night starts to get going, and also as a bit of comedown classic, morning after music. This version from Mark Goodier's Radio 1 Evening Session in September 1990 is way too thumping for either moment, more a full on, here comes the rush, hands- in- the- air with eyes tightly closed soundtrack. Jon Marsh remixed it live in the studio for the session, pushing everything up, up and away- bells arriving at forty seconds, the driving bassline, the piano and the appearance of the vocal sample at two minutes thirty- three, all hair raising and ecstatic. 

The Sun Rising (Evening Session Remix)

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Paisley Dark Is In Your Heart

Paisley Dark is a label based in Leeds specialising in dark, psychedelic electronic music, edits and remixes and original works. Recently I posted the Jesse Fahnestock re- edit of Spacemen 3's How Does It Feel, a deep, dubbed out version of Rugby's finest's druggy gospel sounds. This one, again by Jesse in his 10:40 guise, appeared at the end of May, a skewwhiff take on a hypnotic, slowly building song that sounds like it's come from somewhere else, a radio tuned into another reality- Inner Meet Me from The Beta Band's  second EP, The Patty Patty Sound (from 1998). Those first three Beta Band EPs really were something else. Jesse's 10:40's Outer Hebrides Dub is five minutes of pulsing, trippy sound and can be found at Bandcamp (free downloads available while they last). 

Inner Meet Me

Also out on Paisley Dark is an edit of Julian Cope's Safesurfer, his 1991 ode to contraception. The Jezebell edit is slightly shorter than the Archdrude's original and burns more slowly- descending bassline, hissing hi- hats, swirling, looped, chopped up vocals smothered in echo before Copey's refrain, 'You don't have to be afraid, love/'Cos I'm a safesurfer darling'. I've no idea who Jezebell is but this edit is clearly an act of love. Available at Bandcamp, free download while stocks last. 

Safesurfer (Peggy Suicide version)

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Tears In June

Richard Norris continues to produce his Music For Healing series, monthly long form pieces of ambient/ deep listening. It started in March last year, and turned out to be an excellent way to deal with the pressures of lockdown. This year's releases have all been named after the months they appear in- June's is a particularly special piece of music. It's at Bandcamp. As it plays, the twinkling synth parts and washes of warm drone, there are moments where it really reminds me of Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack and especially Roy Batty's death scene with Rutger Hauer's partly improvised monologue. 

'I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the Shoulder of Orion. I watched C- Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.'

Tears In Rain

As June plays it attains a real sense of weightlessness, of being beyond gravity, the feeling of drifting through space. This feed from the International Space Station provides some very fitting footage to go with Richard's music. 

Monday 7 June 2021

Monday's Long Song

Our friend in Portugal, George, emailed me last week with the suggestion that this song would make a very candidate for the Monday long song slot. He's absolutely right. 

Mother Sky

Recorded in 1970 for the soundtrack of a British- West German film Deep End and released on their own Soundtracks album, also in 1970, Can's Mother Sky is fourteen and a half minutes long and starts with a jolt, seemingly mid- jam, Michael Karoli's guitar solo already underway. After a few minutes of this, with Damo Suzuki musing on vocals about mother sky, madness and purity, Can get down to the kind of groove that gives them their reputation- a stunning, mutant funked up rock groove, Jaki Liebezeit's drumming somewhere between jazz and rock without really sounding like either.

In 2008 French DJ Pilooski put out his own edit of Mother Sky, half the length of the original but centred entirely around the monstrous groove. 

Mother Sky (Pilooski Edit)

Sunday 6 June 2021


Jas Shaw (of Simian Mobile Disco) has released three EPs this year, each seven tracks long and each named Sollbruchstelle (German for breaking point). Due to lockdown as a result of Covid and a diagnosis of a rare disorder which leaves him without properly functioning antibodies he has shut himself away, eating, sleeping and producing music in one room. The result is twenty one tracks written and played using synths and keyboards, minimalist and ambient (foreground ambient not background ambient), repeating patterns and motifs, detours into neo- classical, mechanical textures but emotive too. 

You can buy all three at Bandcamp. Sollbruchstolle 1 Become The Scenic Route is here, Sollbruchstolle 2 Absent And Incorrect is here and Sollbruchstolle 3 Snacks Of Carelessness is here, only £3 each. There's a lot to take in in one sitting which is why I suspect he's split them across three separate releases over three months but there's much to get out of them too- introspective and reflective as you'd expect given Jas' situation but outward looking at the same time. 

Saturday 5 June 2021

Thunder Underbelly

Some epic leftfield music from Renegade Soundwave back in 1990 for a Saturday in early June. This is Thunder, techno/ electro built around a pounding breakbeat, a throbbing dubby bassline and a distorted guitar sample or two, intense dance music made for hot nights in dark nightclubs. There's a Perry Como sample buried in there too. Superb sounding stuff, over three decades since it was released. 


From a few years later, 1994, this is Renegade Soundwave remixing Pop Will Eat Itself, a dark, dubbed out, claustrophobic, industrial piece of music, with samples this time from Tom Waits and Jeru The Damaja. 

Underbelly (Renegade Soundwave Blackout Mix)

Friday 4 June 2021


Uptempo feelgood dance music for Friday from the current queen of that kind of thing. Roisin Murphy's Machine was one of 2020's highlights, an album that ran the gamut from house to disco, Roisin's vision and entire temperament over four sides of vinyl. The man she made it with, Richard Barratt aka DJ Parrot also aka Crooked Man, has now remixed the whole album and turned it into one of 2021's highloghts. Like the source material the tracks are strong enough to standalone as dancefloor smashers and designed to be listened to at home, the songs segued into one another. 

The opener takes Machine's Kingdom Of Ends, a song which was a masterclass in barely controlled tension, which threatened the biggest drop but held it back like a dam constantly about to burst. Kingdom Of Machines takes the tense synths and brings in a bleepy bassline before the kickdrum starts hammering away.

Crooked Machine's closer Hardcore Jealousy employs a rave hoover and a breakbeat, the sound of 1989 in 2021- not in a revivalist or nostalgic way, just in a Roisin/ Crooked way. 

Thursday 3 June 2021

I'm Aching And Empty And I Don't Know Why

In the eleven and a half years I've been writing about music here I've never once written about or even mentioned Simon and Garfunkel or Paul Simon- which is a little bit strange as they are one of my earliest musical memories. All of the following started to run through my head a week or two ago when a Simon and Garfunkel concert was showing on one of the cable channels, a re- union concert with thousands of cheering New Yorkers and a stage full of musicians. 

Back in the late 70s my Mum bought us a compilation album of hits of the 60s, cover versions by session musicians paid by the hour, knocking 'em out in London recording studios. The Top Of The Pops series are well known- this wasn't one of those but an even more budget album. It had Harlem Shuffle, Windmills Of My Mind and Get Back on it and Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer. There must have been six or seven other songs but those four are the ones I remember. The Boxer made a big impression on me, Paul Simon's lyrics showing a young me, nine or ten years old, something about the power of words and phrasing and what happens when an artist marries them to a good tune. A decade later, in the summer of 1988 I remember watching The Graduate and then rifling through my mum's singles collection for her 7" of The Sound Of Silence. A few years later on I bought Simon And Garfunkel's Greatest Hits, one of those albums that sold in the millions and could be picked up in second hand or charity shops for pennies. This song is seared into me...


Based around a road trip Simon took in 1964 with his girlfriend Kathy, America is as good as any song of its kind. The opening line, 'let us be lovers/ we'll marry our fortunes together', jumps out of the speakers followed by Simon's beautifully painted details of the couple's bus trip. The search for 'America', literal America and metaphorical America, ties the song straight into all those giants of American culture, Kerouac's road, the pioneers of the 18th and 19th centuries and Walt Whitman. The search in the vast continent of North America that is really a search for self and for meaning. The last verse is a killer, capable of moving the hardest of hearts- '' 'Kathy I'm lost' I said, though I knew she was sleeping/ 'I'm aching and empty and I don't know why/ Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike/ They've all come to look for America'. I've never been to New York and I'm sure the New Jersey Turnpike is just a motorway junction but it holds a special place in my personal mythology. 

By 1987 Paul Simon had recorded the album Gracelands. The single You Can Call Me Al,  with Chevy Chase starring in the video, was inescapable. Paul Simon had broken the cultural boycott of South Africa's government and the apartheid system. As a card carrying socialist and supporter of the African National Congress  in 1987/8 the words of Billy Bragg, Paul Weller and Jerry Dammers carried more weight with me than Paul Simon's songs so Gracelands was verboten (although Joe Strummer was a massive fan of the album). Plus it seemed to be very much a yuppie/ compact disc album back then, not the sort of thing to be caught listening to. I still don't own a copy but it would take a churl to deny the power of the songs, not least this one which is the very essence of life affirming pop coupled with African music. Simon travelled to South Africa and met and played with a number of musicians. This song was written with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, singing in Zulu, and with Youssou N'Dour on percussion. 

Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes

This dub/ remix by Scandi- house producer Todd Terje is a joy too, a smart example of the art of the re- edit and how to push a song back onto the dancefloor several decades after it was recorded. 

Wednesday 2 June 2021

This City's Made Of Lights

Way back in 1989 Galaxie 500's album On Fire caused a bit of a sensation- the shimmering guitars, mid tempo metronomic drums and Dean Wareham's falsetto vocals spread over two sides of vinyl housed inside an orange sleeve all came together to make a very immersive, self contained record. When the Blue Thunder EP came out in 1990 they included their cover of New Order's Ceremony, pretty much the best cover of a New Order song in existence.  

Dean went on to form Luna with Britta Phillips, and also record and release as Dean and Britta. Last year they covered Neon Lights, a homage to Florian Schneider who died in April last year. The cover is a sparkling, shimmering piece of music, a dreamy indie cover of Dusseldorf's finest men- machines.

Neon Lights

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Web Of Intrigue

It's June already- here's a summer anthem from 2017 to welcome in the month of Juno, Roman goddess of marriage and wife of Jupiter. Leonidas and Hobbes work remotely, one in Edinburgh and the other in London. Their EP The Rags Of Time contained this song, Web Of Intrigue, a summer tune if ever I heard one- flamenco guitar, Chic guitar and strings and horns that seem to be about to burst into a 60s blockbuster film theme.

Heavy Weather is less in yer face, a downtempo, acid edged groove with an Afrobeat vocal and a naggingly brilliant synth topline. You can buy the digital here , available in six different mixes (and the last few copies of the 12").