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Thursday 31 August 2023

Rare Earth Technology

David Harrow's new album Rare Earth Technology is out tomorrow, nine tracks that are experimental and explorative by nature but accessible and open too, rattling with ideas and the possibilities of sound. Throughout Rare Earth Technology there are bleeps, thuds, echoes, twangs and whooshes on top of the slo- mo rhythms and bounce of dub.  Opener Noiseword is a ten minute ride of synths, noises, waves, chatter, melodies, pattering drums and percussion. At six minutes it picks up the pace, the birdsong and tropical noises suddenly pulled into focus by the kick drum. Canyon Sound is rocking, slow mo dub. Third track Concrete And Water is somewhere between the two, dub and experimental sound design playing off against each other, a melodica heard faintly over percussive clunks. Forwards Backwards, all echoes and reverberations, picks up a chuggy rhythm, more dub space and sounds bouncing around. A guitar line surfaces in the middle and then vanishes again as the drums pull back to the fore. Ghostwalking is in a similar place, abstract rhythmic dub. The sounds on Ikiga seem to come from somewhere near the Fourth World music of Jon Hassell and Brian Eno, primitive urban electronics. On Illusion Control the tempo is cut in half, the drum machine joined by blasts of air, crashes and then a synthline, futuristic and filmic. Rare Earth Technology is here to buy/ listen, available from tomorrow.  

David's musical background is deep. He was a mainstay in On U Sound, wrote and recorded with Anne Clark and Jah Wobble in the 80s, released as Technova in the 90s, wrote and produced with both Andrew Weatherall and Billie Ray Martin in the 90s, and has had a subsequent musical life in Los Angeles as James Hardway and in more recent years making ambient/ acid/ experimental modular synth music infused with dub. Earlier this year David released Jitter, a two track acid house EP on Mighty Force and Full Circle, a seven track celebration of Roland synths, chuggy, deep, acid house electro. On his birthday at the end of June David played the album live in Tokyo. The title track is lovely, six minutes of shuffly, squelchy fun. 

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Keep The Mystique

The Secret Soul Society operate out of South Wales, the name for the music of Cal Gibson. Cal relocated to South Wales from Nottingham after spending much of the 2000s making music as half of Neon Heights. He picked up and plugged back in after some time away from music and now has a new album out on Hell Yeah!. Keep The Mystique is fifteen tracks long exploring a variety of styles and sounds, each track a contrast to the one that came before it. There's an off kilter nature to The Secret Soul Society, a wonky, psychedelic edge to the songs, music that draws from dub, house, jazz, soul, reggae, Afro- funk and various points in between. There are snippets of songs/ samples/ sounds dropped in and out that give the album a kaleidoscopic quality; there's always something always going on on the edges that makes the ears prick up. 

Keep The Mystique opens with a smooth one- two, the songs Cards On The Table and The Island gliding by. Third track Searching steps things up a gear, a slightly faster pace and dubby bassline pushing on, while a guitar twangs away and a voice repeats the line, 'I've been searching for you everywhere'. 

The second half of the album has a run of songs that struck chords with me, songs that are trippy, wigged out fun. Freak Scene (not a cover of the Dinosaur Jr song of the same name) is bouncy and percussive, equal parts tropical dance music and dubby house.

Whoop Whoop is a joy, several minutes of loopy, cosmic Balearica, a lighter than air feeling bottled and played over a driving two note synthbass, with splashes, whooshes and other found sound exotica dropped in and out. 

Bang The Bongo is bongos (obvs), rattling rhythms and hand drums joined by synths, keys and chanting. Keep The Mystique can be bought and listened to at Bandcamp

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Too High Too Low

Some new songs to distract from the customary end of August dread that starts to sink in around this point of the year. If you like dark, intense, chuggy acid thump, this pair should be right up your alley. First up for today is the latest from Rich Lane, this time back with his Chug Norris hat on. The Dark And Sweaty EP has two tracks, Black Mass and The Ceiling. Coming in with a thudding kick drum and some acid whooshes, The Ceiling is designed for a dancing, specifically in dark, hot sweatboxes. After a minute of build up an impossibly deep voice interjects- 'You're drenched in sweat'-  and then the bassline takes over, grinding and bumping. A soulful voice joins in, Sheila Kerr singing about sweet reverberations and perspiration dripping from the ceiling. Machine music coupled with human voices, metronomic beats and emotional vocals. 

The Ceiling is available at Bandcamp. The Dark And Sweaty EP is there too. 

The second song for today comes from the combined talents of Sleaford Mods, Billy Nomates and Hardway Bros. Sean Johnston has done an unofficial edit of Mork And Mindy, a song from Sleaford Mods' 2020 album Spare Rib, one of Jason Williamson's transmissions from failed state UK, this one starting off on a council estate in the early 80s with Action Man and Sindy getting it on on a Sunday afternoon while his parents are out. Billy Nomates guests, singing 'Too high too low/ It doesn't make a difference I know'. Sean switches the vocal parts around and pumps up the drums and the acid, bringing a new slow burning, thumping energy to the song. The M&M Hardway Bros Acid Edit is a track that works extremely well in a hot, sweaty, low ceilinged building. You can get it at Bandcamp as part of a four track EP of edits, Beyonders Present: Case Edits Vol 1. All four are worth the price of admission (£3.96), Sean's especially. 

The video for the original version of Mork And Mindy is memorable, Jason, Andrew and Billy in a house with a box of toys and some musical equipment, the smell of Sunday afternoons in the 80s drifting through the screen.

Monday 28 August 2023

Monday's Long Song

One of the albums of the summer has been JIM's Love Makes Magic, a ten songs that marry sunkissed acoustic guitar and piano with Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonies, a Balearic record in feel and sound. There were some dubs a while back that stretched the song Still River Flow into a new direction. Now there are a pair of Crooked Man remixes of the song Phoenix, the Crooked Goth mix and the Crooked Fire mix. Phoenix (Crooked Goth) is out now at Bandcamp (and to order on 12" vinyl), a timeshifting, warped eleven minute opus, the acoustic guitar and vocal isolated and then joined by the dull thump of a drum. The vocal gets echoed out of shape, bouncing around the mix. At two and half minutes a skippity rhythm kicks in and it all goes further into the blue, sunburnt and fried. At five minutes in there's a drop out that leads to some cavernous reverb and vocal and then a lovely, long slow rebuild. The second remix, Crooked Fire, is also almost eleven minutes long but not available until Friday. 

The original album version of Phoenix is a delight, an after hours, after sun song, with guitar, strings and a lovely, FXed vocal. 


Crooked Man (Richard Barrett/ Parrot) is from Sheffield, half of bleep rave outfit Sweet Exorcist and the man who produced Roisin Murphy's Roisin Machine and then remixed the entire thing into Crooked Machine back in 2021. One of the stopping off points in between those two projects was his 2018 album Crooked House, an album of house/ deep and bleep house/ bent out of shape house. 

Make Up

Edit: I should of course have mentioned that Phoenix is a cover of a song by The Cult, from 1985's Love album- the one with She Sells Sanctuary, one of the '80s finest full on goth- rock songs.  

Sunday 27 August 2023

Forty Five Minutes Of Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess is an instantly recognisable figure as frontman, singer and lyricist of The Charlatans, the young man with the pudding bowl haircut of Indian Rope and The Only One I Know who has weathered the fads, phases and storms of the music industry and life and who still looks barely a day older than he did back in 1990. Outside The Charlatans he's written three books (including the brilliantly titled Tim Book Two), all three showing him to be a considered, thoughtful and witty writer. He has made six solo albums, from 2003's countryfied I Believe to the synths and FXed sax of Same Language, Different Worlds with Peter Gordon, with songs written and recorded with Lambchop's Kurt Wagner in between. He has a record label O Genesis which has put out solo albums by members of Factory Floor, by Martin Duffy and by The Membranes, among others. There is, it is fair to say, more to him than met the eye when he first shook his fringe with The Charlatans in January 1989. 

Today's mix is a selection of Tim Burgess solo/ with others/ outside The Charlatans that starts out with some gloriously frazzled, hazy ambient drift and ends with some block rocking beats and industrial thump. 

Forty Five Minutes Of Tim Burgess

  • Stoned Alone Again Or (Seahawks Remix)
  • Tobacco Fields
  • Another Version Of The Truth
  • Hours (Tandy Love Remix)
  • Begin (Carter Tutti Remix)
  • The Economy II (Prince Fatty Remix)
  • Life Is Sweet (Album Version)
  • White (Factory Floor- Gabe Gurnsey Remix)
Stoned Alone Again Or was a 2012 one off 12" single, remixed by Seahawks as a ten minute ambient epic, indie rock taken as far away from its roots as it can go. Seahawks are ambient/ Balearic duo Jon Tye and Pete Fowler, who have released umpteen albums and singles since 2010- I recommend Escape Hatch, Starways and Paradise Freaks as good starting points. 

Tobacco Fields is from Tim's 2012 solo album Oh No I Love You. It is a beauty, with barroom piano, a frazzled vocal and an ambient backdrop, co- written with Kurt Wagner. 

Another Version Of The Truth was on As I Was Now, a solo album recorded between Christmas and New Year in 2008 but not released until 2018- music that is experimental, krauty and pop. The group for the album consisted of My Bloody Valentine's bassist Debbie Goodge, Josh Haywood from The Horrors, Martin Duffy and Ladyhawke. 

Hours was on Oh No I Love You. Some editions of the CD came with a disc of remixes- the Tandy Love remix is by Andy Votel. Others on the second disc were by Tom Furse of The Horrors and Gabe Gurnsey of Factory Floor, whose remix finishes this mix. At the time Nik Void of Factory Floor was Tim's partner.

Begin is from Same Language, Different Worlds, an album made with New York avant garde composer Peter Gordon, a member of the legendary Love Of Life Orchestra. Begin was remixed by Carter Tutti, Chris Carter and Cosey Tutti of Throbbing Gristle/ Chris and Cosey fame/ infamy. Oh Men, also on the album, was remixed by Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, Peaking Lights, Grumbling Fur and Carter Tutti- that's quite the line up. 

The Economy II is also from Oh No I Love You, dubbed out in 2013 by the superb Prince Fatty.

In 1995 The Chemical Brothers released their debut album Exit Planet Dust. Tim had been a regular at The Social, the Sunday afternoon/ evening party thrown weekly by Heavenly Records and Tom and Ed at The Albany on Great Portland Street. Tim sang on Life Is Sweet, a song which became the album's second single. On an album not short of bangers, Life Is Sweet still stands out- a furious synth riff, crunching beats, whooshes, sirens and a dirty bassline, and Tim's vocal, a celebration of mid- 90s hedonism. The Chemical Brothers returned the favour by working with The Charlatans on 1997's Tellin' Stories, most notably on One To Another.

Saturday 26 August 2023

Saturday Live

Neil Young's ongoing release programme shows no signs of letting up- he's recently appeared live again and still records new albums with Crazy Horse and whoever else is around. The recent brand new/ re- release of Chrome Dreams is either his 44th album or the first official release of an album that he shelved in 1977 (but was widely bootlegged). Or both. He recycled some of the songs and some of the recordings afterwards, some of them dating back to 1974 (like Star of Bethlehem) and some recorded for Zuma (Sedan Delivery) but then turning up on Rust Never Sleeps (albeit in faster and rawer form, a response to punk). Too Far Gone didn't see the light of day on an official release until Freedom in 1989. Chrome Dreams does sound like a 'great lost' Neil Young album, some songs played acoustically next to an audible campfire and some with an amped up Crazy Horse. The album starts with Pocahontas and Will To Love, then Star Of Bethlehem, Like A Hurricane, Homegrown, Captain Kennedy, Sedan Delivery, Powderfinger and Look Out For My Love. The asking price of £44 for three sides of vinyl is a step too far for me though. 

There's never a bad time to hear Like A Hurricane. It was recorded at Neil's Broken Arrow ranch with Crazy Horse in the autumn/ winter of 1976, eight minutes of guitars, thudding drums and Neil's lovelorn vocals. When Chrome Dreams was shelved Like A Hurricane appeared on American Stars And Bars in 1977 and has been played hundreds of times live ever since, including at Sheffield Don Valley Arena in June 2001 when I saw him. 

Like A Hurricane

According to the internet Neil's most played songs are (in order from the top) Heart Of Gold, After The Goldrush, Old Man, Needle And The Damage Done and Cinnamon Girl. There are many Neil Young live albums worth hearing. In March 1970 Neil and Crazy Horse played two nights at Fillmore East, the last tour with guitarist Danny Whitten, who died in 1972. This is the full on sixteen minute version of Cowgirl In The Sand from the Live At The Fillmore East album (officially released in 2006).

Cowgirl In The Sand (Live At the Fillmore East)

In 1971 Neil toured on his own, just acoustic guitar and harmonica, road testing many of the songs which would make it onto run of classic albums in the early/ mid 70s. Ohio was written in the immediate aftermath of the Kent Sate University shootings, Neil's anger and sadness backed on the studio version by David Crosby's howling backing vocals. The full album Live At Massey Hall came out in 2007, recorded decades earlier in Toronto, Canada on January 1971. Ohio came out as a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young 7" single in June 1970, just weeks after the shootings. 'Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming', Neil sings, 'We're finally on our own...'

Ohio (Live At Massey Hall)

Jumping forward two decades a revitalised Neil and Crazy Horse toured the world, playing the classics with songs from the pair of then recent albums Freedom and Ragged Glory. This performance at Buffalo, New York, captures them on fire, cranked up and dealing with the detritus of the Reagan and Bush administrations, the Gulf War, the turn of the decade and their rediscovery by a new generation of bands and fans. 

Friday 25 August 2023

Jezebellearic Beats

Jezebell's end of summer album hits the digital shelves today, a twenty track monster titled Jezebellearic Beats Volume 1- the artwork for the album borrows/ pays homage to the original Dave Little sleeve art for the classic 1988 Balearic Beats album. The music Darren and Jesse make as Jezebell shifts between boundaries and blurs lines, between club and poolside, between dancefloor banger and early evening livener, between sunset and sunrise, and between sampling and editing. All these can be found on Jezebellearic Beats Volume 1. About half of the tracks have been released previously and some have featured here in the course of the last two years- the eight minute summer 2022 epic Jezebellearic, the twelve minute soft- rock/ soul dreamscape of Jezeblue from earlier this summer, the beatier Concurrence, the low slung, just setting out fun of Trading Places (11AM) and its more upbeat, more up for it cousin Trading Places (3PM), the spaced out dubby Balearic chanson of Jezebell et Moi, Can't Cope's echo- laden swirls and early 90s trippiness. 

Within this album there are traces of other people, samples of vocals and instruments; Laurie Anderson, Beastie Boys and Money Mark, DJ Alfredo, Max Berlins, Herb Alpert, Julian Cope, Talking Heads, and David Byrne and Brian Eno are among those who show up, making themselves known within Jesse and Darren's chuggy/ cosmic/ Balearic/ indie- dance grooves. There are Rich Lane re- masters and a pair of remixes too, their blissed out remix of D:Ream's Pedestal and the Jezebell version of Red Shift by Man 2.0. There are many new tracks as well, not least the closer Swamp Shuffle, which is perfectly named. 

Jezebellearic Beats is infused with the spirit of acid house, the irreverence of an anything goes attitude coupled with a love of the music and a respect for those who came before. When I posted Jezeblue back in July I suggested that the slowed down and blissed out summer groove of the song was as much about memory as about music, about the way that memories make us who we are. Jesse said that all music is (for him) about memories that are just out of reach- 'not personal memories but... a collective memory just out of everyone's reach'. That feeling can be found all the way through this album- there are plenty of feel good, uptempo moments too, music for dancing and for parties but they're alongside something that feels much more fluid and less tangible, music that skips between boundaries and limits and leaves you in a different, better place from the one it found you in. 

Jezebellearic Beats Volume 1 is available at Bandcamp from today, pay what you want/ for free. 

Thursday 24 August 2023

Tenth Floor Down And Cabaret Sauvage

Two more new tracks from Bagging Area favourites, both released earlier this month. First up is courtesy of Dirt Bogarde, Stourbridge's finest, who has shifted slightly from acid house thumpers to some post punk dread. Tenth Floor Down has a Killing Joke/ Joy Division descending bassline and ominous synth swirls, things sounding a little tense and with gritted teeth. The acid works its way in and a female backing vocal softens things a little, but its a gripping, intense ride. Buy it at Bandcamp.  

In a similar sonic area is the latest track from Pye Corner Audio, Cabaret Sauvage, four minutes of dark, dystopic, radiophonic murk, a punk- funk guitar riff beamed in from early 80s Talking Heads, synths that could come from sci fi TV from the same period and a bassline that throbs. Buy it at Bandcamp.

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Bagging Area Interview: Eyes Of Others (And Remix EP)

Back in May I saw Eyes Of Others play at The Castle in Manchester, a memorable night in a small venue. Eyes Of Others make (self described) 'post- pub couldn't get in the club' music- synths and drum machines, bits of guitar, sing song vocals, occasional bursts of acid, music that draws on the space of dub, the pioneering electronic sound of early New Order, psychedelic in the way The Beta Band were,  with some sideways on lyrics. The self titled album came out in May on Heavenly, one of my favourites from 2023. Since then John has been on tour playing small gigs and festivals throughout the summer. Through a short series of connections John, who is Eyes Of Others, agreed to do an interview, the second Bagging Area interview this year/ ever (after the one with Duncan Gray of Tici Taci earlier this year). Thanks to Dan for being the fixer in this instance. 

Bagging Area: You’ve been on the road recently playing venues across the country (I saw you play at the Castle in Manchester and really enjoyed it) and some festivals. How’s it been? How have the gigs gone?

Eyes Of OthersIt’s been a fun trip. We’ve played lots of different types of venue from Churches to old Legions to record stores over the last few months or so. Had a really good one with Optimo Espacio just there too. The best bit has been chatting to folk after the gig, around the bar or at the merch stand. That’s when you get a good sense of how the tunes are hitting, what’s working and what’s not.

Bagging Area: Heavenly Records have a such a strong history and varied back catalogue. It feels like a good fit for your music and outlook. How does it feel to be on the label?

Eyes Of Others: I’ve been a fan of Heavenly’s artists since I was a kid so they have always been on my radar when I started to make my own music. I think I first heard of Heavenly after hearing they released the Manic’s Motown Junk. So it feels right to be working with them - good bunch of people. The roster is pretty diverse in sound at the moment so from my point view I feel kinda free to make the music I want, as there no box or genre that I’m expected to slot into. That’s what you want as an artist.

Bagging AreaI hear some early New Order in your sound and there’s a strong dub feel to the album, lots of echo and space along with the synths and keys. Is dub a big influence?

Eyes Of Others: Yeah of course. A lot of the dub influences came through Stuart Evans, who mixed and co-produced the album. He introduced me to a lot of dub a number of years ago when we worked together at Green Door Studio in Glasgow. Stu uses the Roland Space Echo like an instrument, inspired by the likes of King Tubby or Scratch Perry. I kinda wrote the tracks with his creative flair for dub in mind. It adds a wildness to everything as he makes the most of the Space Echo’s predictable unpredictability.

Bagging AreaThere are a lot of animals in your songs- a psychedelic cow on the cover of the album, a song sung from the perspective of a cow at an abattoir, a photo of you with an owl on your wrist, single art with sloths, dogs and pigs, lyrics about filling up your birdfeeder. Where does the strong connection with animals come from?

Eyes Of Others: Hmmm, I grew up on a farm so cows, dogs, birds etc were just part of my everyday. I think we look around at all the bullshit we have created as humans and then  we look at animals and realise something lost. Their lives seem much simpler. But who am I to say? We’re kinda lucky in the UK. No poisonous snake is gonna bite you (yes there’s the adder but come’on) or lion gonna dismember you. So I maybe have a rose-tinted view of animals because of that. …They’re probably bastards just like us aren’t they! There was talk of reintroducing wolves to Scotland. I’m up for that. That would give rambling an edge. Also I love dogs, really want one as a pet. But it’s weird isn’t it having a pet, when you start thinking deeply about it. Really weird dynamic; playing fetch, picking up poo, talking to it as one would a baby.

Anyway, still want one.

Bagging AreaWhat’s your favourite song about an animal?

Eyes Of OthersTom Waits - Dog Door

Bagging AreaThis blog is a big fan of Andrew Weatherall. His remix of I See You In The Shrubs was pretty out there even by his standards, weird, meandering dub. How did the remix come about? What did you make of it when you first heard it?

Eyes Of Others
My friend Davie had known Andrew for many years and passed him the track hoping he’d play it at shows, on NTS etc. Andrew then came back with a question: ‘Weatherall remix?’. So that was a bit of a surprise. The deal was in return I’d remix one of his tracks in the future…so I’m still due him one. When I first heard it I couldn’t really get my head around. It wasn’t what I was expecting. But that was Andrew Weatherall, he gave you what you didn’t yet know you wanted and it was marvellous. 

Bagging AreaIs there anyone else you’d like to remix your songs?

Eyes Of OthersAfrican Head Charge, Beatfoot, Callum Easter.

Bagging AreaI love the structure of the album, the ebb and flow, all leading up to Big Companies, Large Tentacles and the 303 acid squiggle explosion two thirds of the way through that song. It feels like a proper album and all done in 41 minutes. What’s next for Eyes of Others? 

Eyes Of OthersThanks, that’s great to hear. I have a remix EP that has just been released featuring Ana Helder, Decius, The Orielles and Fantastic Man. I love all that they did. I’m also writing some new tracks for an EP and will be announcing some shows for autumn soon. 

Bagging Area: Thanks John. An African Head Charge remix would be a treat, looking forward to hearing the new songs. 

The remix EP is out now, four new takes on songs from the album. You can get it here. The Ana Helder remix of New Hair New Me adds some hefty kick drum and a synth soundscape to John's original, the bassline breaking through before it takes off in different directions, synths and sequencers bouncing here and there. 

Decius, no strangers to fast and hammering beats take Safehouse and do just that to it, piling the thump factor up for a minute or two, then a bleep and a wailing vocal before John's voice fades in near three minutes. In a basement club, in a dark and sweaty room, this could cause pandemonium. 

The Orielles remix of Once, Twice, Thrice is in the vein of last year's album, twitchy, experimental and unpredictable, a glitchy reimagining of the song, with John's voice fed through filters and FXed, the synth melodies gradually working through to the fore. 

The fourth remix on the EP comes from Fantastic Man, a remix of Big Companies Large Tentacles is aimed at the floor, sleek techno rhythms and Eyes Of Others squiggly acid album closer. 

Tuesday 22 August 2023

The Lion, The Sloth, The Sons Of Slough And Hardway Meets Monkton

I've spent the last two Friday nights getting the train from Manchester Victoria up to Todmorden, a twenty five minute train journey that drops me off a two minute walk from The Golden Lion, a pub (run by the most brilliant and generous hosts Waka and Gig) in a small town in West Yorkshire variously described as a portal, the vortex and the best pub in the world. 

On Friday 12th August Paul Simonon and Dan Donovan were due to play a DJ set. I bought a ticket back in March, the prospect of being in a pub with the bass player from The Clash too tantalising to miss out on. The Lion was busy from late afternoon, the crowd eagerly anticipating an evening with former members of the Clash and Big Audio Dynamite. News came through from London that Paul was unable to travel due a back injury. Dan Donovan stepped up solo and played a blinder, spinning reggae, dub and dancehall to the packed pub and later on some Clash songs. One of the many highlights of Dan's set was this 1985 Barrington Levy song...

Here I Come

I missed the last hour due to the train times back to Manchester- last train out of Tod is at 12.06am- and the need to connect with the last tram out of the city centre but it was a very good night. Hopefully Paul can make the trek north at some point to play at The Lion. One of the sights of the evening was the appearance of a giant sloth working its way through the pub just before Dan took to the decks. It seemed perfectly natural and exactly as things should be. 

Last Friday, 19th August, was a long planned tenth birthday party for Duncan Gray's Tici Taci label, a night with the mighty Sons Of Slough (Duncan and Andrew Weatherall's brother Ian) playing a live set upstairs with a Hardway Bros/ Monkton DJ set afterwards downstairs (Hardway Bros being Sean Johnston and Monkton being Duncan). Chris Rotter and Rusty provided warm up DJ duties, chilled tunes for those in the back room and beer garden. 

Sons Of Slough played to a packed room, heat dripping off the walls and ceiling by the end. They kicked off proceedings with their cover of New Order's In A Lonely Place, a song they released as a tribute to Andrew back in 2021 as IWDG, Ian dedicating the song to his brother and then taking up melodica. 

In A Lonely Place is a moody song, New Order finding their way out after the death of Ian Curtis. Andrew was a huge fan of Factory and early New Order. Ian and Duncan's cover adds some hefty 21st century bottom end to the song and a slo mo acid house rhythm. The only line from Bernard's original lyrics that made it into the final IWDG version is 'how I wish you were here with me', a poignant one for obvious reasons. 

This footage shows Ian and Duncan playing In A Lonely Place a few weeks ago in Windsor, a live set in front of an invited audience. There are clips of the set on various people's Facebook pages but none on Youtube to link to yet. 

After In A Lonely Place Sons Of Slough played a seamless, non-stop set of acid house, electro, oompty boompty music, songs from their 2021 Bring Me Sunshine album, synths, keyboards, vocoder, melodica, guitar and laptop put through the Lion's top class sound system. 

Downstairs Sean Johnston had made a start playing songs, waiting for Duncan to join him. The whole pub becomes a club once night falls, the mirrorball bouncing beams around the stone walls and floor. The crowd at The Golden Lion are, without fail, friendly and lovely people, everyone up for a good time, a cross generational smiley crew who want to dance. 

Sean played Jah Wobble and Sinead O'Connor's Visions Of You early on and some slow paced stuff before Duncan joined him and they started to ramp it up a bit, playing back to back, thumpy, wiggy acid house/ dub disco tracks spanning the last four decades including Secret Circuit's Jungle Dogs (Tiago Remix), Liaisons Dangerueses, the new Rich Lane one, Mandrake, Rule Six's The Ride (a summer 2023 Tici Taci release) and Peza's edit of Mystic Thug and Rock The Casbah. And loads more that I can't remember or didn't know or was too lost dancing to to want to know.  

Jungle Dogs (Tiago Remix)

Monday 21 August 2023

Monday's Long Song

One of this year's best compilations is Dream The Dream: UK Techno, House And Breakbeat, 1990- 1994, a double album compiled by Richard Sen. The most well known name on the ten track album is Bandulu, whose 1992 track Amaranth- Love Lies Bleeding is on side one, but otherwise its mainly long lost acts and names from the world of ambient/ ambient techno, progressive house, tribal house and early trance-  obscure UK records. Centuras, Strontium 90, Orr- Some, Biff' um Baff'um Boys, Epoch 90, Mind Over Rhythm, Dream Frequency, As One and UVX. The selection and sequencing is perfect, the album working not as a series of unconnected records but sounding like a whole, a document of a time that in lots of ways still sounds like the future. 

Tokyo by Centuras opens the album, a track originally from a 1994 EP Ascension, ten minutes of slowly building ambient techno, glassy synths and layers of spacey sounds, sci fi and futuristic, with drums finally not making an appearance until three minutes in and even then taking their time. 


When he was DJing out in the Czech Republic in the mid- 90s Richard discovered that in Czech his name Sen translated as Dream. The name of the compilation, Dream The Dream, is a loop in itself. The sleeve art features his long filed away photos from the KAOS weekender rave in 1990, the pictures having a dreamlike quality too. 

Sunday 20 August 2023

Forty Minutes Of Ambient Americana

Of all the photos I took in Lindos, Rhodes two weeks ago, I think this is my favourite. We went a few miles down the coast to Pefkos, a seaside resort and after eating wandered down to the beach. On the way back up I noticed this room, a rest stop for taxi drivers. 

There was a Saturday afternoon a week after Isaac died when I put some music on, the first time I'd chosen to listen to music since he'd gone. The only music that seemed to work for me was ambient music, no words or chords even, just something to fill the awful, chasm of silence. The tinnitus that appeared after his death was quite extreme, it still is at times, and ambient music drowned it out. One of the features of the Greek islands is the constant noise of the cicadas, insects that live in the trees and make a sometime huge sound, coming and going in what sounds like an orchestrated way, swells of ambient insect noise. Lying by the pool I found that the cicadas sometimes matched my tinnitus, a similar pitch and frequency to the sound in my ears. In some ways I found it quite comforting and the cicadas were as much part of our holiday as the sun, the pool, the mousaka and the acropolis. They also reminded me of the music I listened on that Saturday afternoon in December 2021, an afternoon that felt so long it could still be going on. The albums I played were by three artists who make ambient Americana, traditional instruments such as pedal steel guitar used alongside synths and FX pedals to create a wash of ambient sound- Luke Schneider, Nashville Ambient Ensemble and SUSS. This is a forty minute mix of some of the tracks from those three.

Forty Minutes Of Ambient Americana

  • Luke Schneider: Lex Universum
  • SUSS: We Pointed Them North
  • Nashville Ambient Ensemble: Cerulean
  • SUSS: Ash Fork AZ
  • SUSS: No Man's Land
  • Luke Schneider: Invicta Affectio
  • Nashville Ambient Ensemble: Elegy

Luke Schneider is a pedal steel guitarist. His debut solo album Altar Of Harmony came out in 2020. It is an entire world in itself as a record, otherworldly soundscapes. Both Lex Universum and Invicta Affectio are from it. Luke's  new album came out this summer, It Is Solved By Walking, five new pieces of music.

SUSS's We Pointed Them North is from an EP titled High Line, pedal steel, ebow and loops that sound like wide open spaces of the American landscape- the Paris, Texas landscape. SUSS are from New York oddly enough. No Man's Land is from Promise, SUSS's full length album from 2020.  

Ash Fork AZ is from Night Suite, a record inspired by driving long distances through the night on Route 66- endless road, truck stops, horizon, the white line down the centre of the road going on ahead. 

Nashville Ambient Ensemble are exactly as their name states. Michael Hix's synths and keyboards played alongside more traditional instruments, including Luke Schneider on pedal steel- their Bandcamp page uses the phrase The New Weird South to describe their experimental and improvised music. Their album Cerulean came out in March 2021. Their latest album, Light And Space, came out earlier this year. 

Saturday 19 August 2023

Saturday Live

Sonic Youth are a band who I sometimes have mixed feelings about but there's little doubt that back in 1988 they were heading upwards with a furious punk rock/ art rock energy melding noise and tunes. In October 1988 they released Daydream Nation, a double album opus recorded in July and August of '88, a record that somehow caught the U.S. punk zeitgeist, building on the bands from a decade earlier who laid the foundations- Husker Du, Minutemen, The Replacements, Black Flag et al. Daydream Nation led Sonic Youth to Geffen and their 1990 album Goo and their experience and advice led Nirvana to the same major label. 

The 2007 re- issue of Daydream Nation came with a second CD, live versions of every song on the album recorded as they toured in 1988 and 1989. The songs on the album are a band on a songwriting hot streak, alternate tunings and tight playing fused with melodies and a careering confidence- driving drums, squealing guitars, feedback and distortion, drawled vocals, Sonic Youth giving it their NY punk/ art all while touring venues in the USA and Europe.

Hey Joni (Live at Paradiso, Amsterdam, 1989)

Silver Rocket (Live at Noise Now Festival, Dusseldorf, 1989)

Candle (Live at Cabaret Metro, Chicago, 1988)

Teenage Riot (Live at Paradiso, Amsterdam, 1989)

Total Trash (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1988)

In 1996 they pitched up at Rockpalast in Germany, the world by that point a different place in punk rock terms and Sonic Youth terms. Sometimes they could play gigs and be so obtuse that it seemed a little pointless. I remember reading a review of them flying to the UK for a single gig at All Tomorrow's Parties (or somewhere similar, one of those festivals) where a usually sympathetic reviewer described them tuning up for an hour and concluded that he couldn't work out why they'd bothered to cross the Atlantic to do this. But here, they do a good job, songs, noise, focus, the 'hits' (Teenage Riot, Bull In The Heather, Sugar Kane). 

Thurston Moore's autobiography is due soon and being well talked about already. It will have to be good to equal Kim Gordon's Girl In A Band which is a superb account of her life and times. The end of their relationship, following Thurston's affair with another woman, led to the end of the band and Kim is pretty open about it in her book. The live version of Bull In the Heather at Rockpalast in '96, Kim at the mic, shows how vital a part of the band she was. No Badger Required has dedicated August to female artists and yesterday featured Kim with a few words from me. You can read it here

Friday 18 August 2023

Weatherall Remix Friday Ten

Weatherall Remix Friday is back today after a month's absence. When walking down the Bridgewater Canal from Stretford Marina to Castlefield a few weeks ago this piece of graffiti jumped out at me. I'm not sure if it's a Two Lone Swordsmen tribute (they did sometimes style their name as 2LS) or a local artist's tag but either way it fits with today's Weatherall and Tenniswood remix. 

In 1998 Ganger released a trilogy of 12" singles, all called Trilogy, with remixes by Two Lone Swordsmen, Underdog and D across the three discs. The TLS remix is the one featured here today, a lo fi, dusty and abstract piece of music, all squiggles, bleeps, static, little guitar parts, echo and whatever else Andrew and Keith scooped up from the masters,  dropped in and FXed. It gathers a little pace eventually with percussion and a low key rumbling rhythm. A snare works its way to the fore, a mechanical TLS drum sound taking the lead while the noises and loops percolate around it. On it goes, passing the eight and then nine minute mark, an exercise in lo fi TLS submerged meandering, eventually coming to a halt one second shy of ten minutes. 

a [Untitled] (Two Lone Swordsmen Remix)

Ganger were a Glaswegian post- rock/ krautrock group who released several singles and an album between 1996 and 1999, eventually signing to Domino. 

Houghton festival took place last weekend. Back in 2017 Andrew appeared at the decks following Ricardo Villalobos and Craig Richards and played a two and a half hour dub set. It's available at Soundcloud and really is dub of the highest order, Mr Weatherall proving he could move between genres at will and with ease. 

This set, recorded at a festival in Anglesey in 2016, is another current favourite, a two hour wigged out ALFOS trip through the Andrew's record box taking in among others Johnny Sender, Secret Squirrel, Scott Fraser, Duncan Gray, Anzano, Club Bizarre, The Rimshooters, Mustang and a seriously good edit of Captain Beefheart, always for dancing, always building, up and ever onwards. I don't think anyone else could put together a set like this. Listen here

Thursday 17 August 2023

Mostly Remixes

Matt Gunn's album Mostly Fiction came out earlier this year, ten tracks of electronic goodness that closes with the rippling, bleepy, ambient euphoria of Learning Through Loops

The first of a set of remix EPs came out at the start of the month- Mostly Remixed 1 features a pair of remixes, the first an Al Mackenzie remix of Learning Through Loops and the second a Matt Gunn remix of the epic Space Drohne. Al hits the button marked 'thumper', the drums kicking in from the off with blasts of synth, rumbling bass, rattling percussion, rising chords and eventually sirens and melodica- a widescreen/ sci fi/ house remix that make rainy summer days feel good. Find it at Bandcamp

Play it alongside this for maximum fun- Bass- The Final Frontier (David Holmes remix), one of 2023's best remixes so far, a seven minute David Holmes remix of Jo Sims, one of four songs from an EP that came out on Pamela records in July. I wrote about the EP at Ban Ban Ton Ton last month.  

Matt's remix of Space Drohne, the Floor Mix, is eight minutes of action in a similar sphere, drum machines, space synths, rave synths, breakbeats, synth arpeggios, synth bass, the machinery of Behringer, Roland and Moog in full effect. 

Al Mackenzie is a member of D: Ream and also puts out work under his own name. His latest release, a two track EP called Hold Your Own, came out on Field Of Dreams at the start of August. Get it here. The title track is my pick of the pair, nine minutes of thumpy, wiggy acid house. Music that sounds good in the dark. 

Download all the above and stick them all together in one playlist/ on one CD for maximum enjoyment, a late summer mixtape. 

Wednesday 16 August 2023

More Bands In Places They Shouldn't Be

Following my two previous posts in this series, the first here and the second here, today I offer you some more television appearances from bands whose pluggers and record labels booked them onto tv programmes that may in retrospect have been a little ill advised. The mid 80s was a golden period for this sort of thing with bands miming on lunchtime television, early evening chat shows and children's tv in order to shift more singles.  

In October 1985 Prefab Sprout appeared on Hold Tight, filmed and broadcast by one of Scotland's regional independent broadcasters. The actual appearance was at Alton Towers, the Staffordshire theme park. Prefab Sprout are playing their classic 80s single When Love Breaks Down. It doesn't look especially warm. The crowd are seated in temporary seating, swaying on demand and largely out of time. Paddy McAloon attempts to hide his embarrassment behind a pair of aviators. The band spend much of their time concentrating on remaining steady on the swaying, springy platforms. 

On 5th January 1980 The Clash, who famously refused to do Top Of The Pops because they wouldn't mime, appeared on TISWAS, ITV's Saturday morning kids tv show.  The four members are interviewed by Sally James and offer a copy of London Calling as a prize for a lucky viewer. Sally keeps talking, presumably in an attempt to make sure no one swears. Topper is clearly stoned. At two minutes thirty nine seconds Paul leans over to spit on the floor in front of a group of small children. It's all over fairly quickly, probably to everyone's relief. 

In 1990 Ice T appeared on BBC2's art programme The Late Show. Nothing that incongruous in some ways- it was an arts programme after all- but somehow Ice T, at that point the leading exponent of gangsta rap, guns, chains and women in tiny bikinis, appearing on a fairly staid and stiff arts programme more used to hosting panel discussions of the writings of Salman Rushdie, is all kinds of dissonance. In this section, closing the programme, Ice T does Lethal Weapon. His rapping, done live, is flawless and the sense of LA menace is palpable in front of a completely, sterile empty BBC studio. 

The show was already a music lover's dream, if not for the right reasons. In November 1989 The Stone Roses were riding the crest of a very large wave and pitched up on The Late Show midweek, an accident waiting to happen. The programme went out live, Tracey MacLeod introducing the fourpiece playing Made Of Stone live, the band looking impossibly cool and sounding on it as well. As they hit the first chorus John Squire's guitar hits the BBC's noise limiters and the sound cuts out suddenly. Drummer Reni begins giggling. Ian begins to ask questions. Tracey returns to the camera and apologises, moving on to the next item (about photographer Martin Parr). 'They ask you to come and then they mess you about', Ian complains behind her. 'We're wasting our time lads', he goes on, and then louder, 'Amateurs, amateurs'. It is brilliant TV, and let's be honest, much better and more memorable than if they'd just played Made Of Stone. 

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Nostalgia For The Future

I've lots of recently released music to share. The new EP from The Long Champs came out two weeks ago on Tici Taci, a label celebrating ten years of releases while also continuing to put out consistently good music. The EP's title track, Nostalgia For The Future, is a six minutes of chug, submarine sonar bleeps, mangled guitar lines, faint echoes of voice and from two minutes twenty six a fuzzy, distorted bassline that push everything onward. Layers of guitars and feedback bounce around the track, some nostalgia for late 80s and early 90s indie- dance guitar bands spliced into 2023 cosmic Welsh chug. 

The EP features two more tracks- Mind Trip, Right On and A Hungry Ghost. Mind Trip, Right On, is slower paced, a bumping bassline and various FX toplines playing off against each other. A Hungry Ghost has more of those squally guitars, backwards guitars and bursts of feedback, with insistent drums and a tambourine. You can listen to all three here.  The Long Champs 2020 album Straight To Audio is still available physically at Bandcamp, full of slo- mo, indie dance, ALFOS chug treats. 

Tici Taci are releasing four compilations to celebrate the ten years of operation. Decade Volume 2, sixteen tracks selected by label boss Duncan Gray spanning the years 2015- 2017, an embarrassment of riches including selections by Duncan himself, Uj Pa Gaz, Veneno, Planet Jumper, Tronik Youth, The Long Champs and James Rod. The compilation finishes with Duncan and Sraah Rebecca and their song Erotica Nervosa, a sleek six minutes of bump and grind. Over throbbing bass Sarah sings of sexual obsession, how freedom's just a word until you lose it and of being reborn in the fire. Decade Volume 2 can be bought here

Monday 14 August 2023

Monday's Long Song

These wild goats on a cliff at dusk looking down at the humans in Lindos town eating and drinking on rooftop terraces, looked like they might be making judgements about us or at the very least wondering what we were all doing. 

This song came up on a CD I made for the car. I'd pulled it out of a pile in the car- as much a mobile CD library as a car really- and put it in the stereo. Ten minutes of transcendence from Kenneth Bager, recorded in tribute to Andrew Weatherall, originally from an EP titled Stones & Steel and then also from an album last year, Late Night Symphonies (which you can get here). 

Late Night Symphony (Tribute To Andrew Weatherall)

It kicks off with a thumping beat and then some hugely distorted bass. The wobbly, tough edge gradually gives way to something more elegiac- a piano that hints at Smokebelch, some synth parts that grow in intensity and then a refrain which pulls in all the right places emotionally. Halfway in a violin takes the lead and then we're off for a gloriously melancholic/ euphoric five minutes.

Sunday 13 August 2023

Forty Five Minutes Of Prins Thomas

Forty five minutes of Scandi space disco/ psychedelic house from Norwegian DJ and producer Prins Thomas to ease you into Sunday. His remixes/ diskomiks are a rich vein of music and his own releases are well worth exploring too (along with his records with Lindstrom). The mix below is little more than a sampler but it turned out really well (if I do say so myself), a dizzying mix of electronic sounds, cosmic disco, Balearic/ ambient styles and some quite intense dance music.  

Forty Five Minutes Of Prins Thomas

  • Prins Thomas: Gran Paradiso
  • Rusty: Everything's Gonna Change (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)
  • Dungen: Achmed Flyger (Version 2)
  • Daniele Baldelli and DJ Rocca: Space Scribble (Prins Thomas Remix)
  • The Orb: Alpine (Prins Thomas Short Yoga Break Version)
  • Deo' Jorge: Sparking Plugs (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)
  • Quixote: Before I Started To Dance (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)

Gran Paradiso is from Prins Thomas' Italia Uno EP, twisting, giddy psychedelic acid- ambient, released in 2013. 

Rusty's Everything's Gonna Change came out in 1989 and then again in 1992, Italo house that was big, nay massive, in Sasha's DJ sets. Prins Thomas' remix from 2013 is a smooth, sultry, lush ride. 

Dungen are a Swedish band who make pastoral psychedelia, long guitar epics. In 2017 Prins Thomas remixed songs from their Haxan album, ending up with an entire new album, ten songs sent into new directions. His version of Achmed Flyger is bubbling bass- led psyche.

Italian legends Daniele Baldelli and DJ Rocca's Space Scribble came out in 2011 with Prins Thomas' remix on the B- side of the 12". Daniele is one of Italian music's innovators, one of the originators of the cosmic disco scene and sound. Space Scribble is a huge piece of electronic music, seriously good stuff. 

The Orb's Alpine dates from 2016 and the Moonbuilding 2703 album. Prins Thomas provided three remixes of the track, including the one here which is said to be ideal for a short yoga break. I've never done yoga so can't really comment. 

Deo' Jorge's Sparking Plugs came out in 2021, part of an EP called Robotic Souls which also contained a cosmic Hardway Bros remix which was big round these parts. Prins Thomas' remix is very good indeed, finding a Balearic/ cosmic disco sweet spot and spinning it around for nine and a half minutes. 

Quixote are a French group about whom I know very little. Discogs says they make leftfield, krautrock, nu- disco and that's good enough for me. Before I Started To Dance came out in 2008. For his remix Prins Thomas added bass, guitar, omnichord, melodica, synth, drums and percussion- a little bit more than just sticking a new drumbeat underneath the song. Hummed backing vocals, acoustic guitar, a driving bass, some jangle, thumping rhythm and then some harmonised vox, extended on and on. Lovely stuff. 

Saturday 12 August 2023

Saturday Live

The third of my holiday reads, started by the pool and finished on the flight home, was Greame Thomson's Themes For Great Cities: A New History of Simple Minds. Thomson's book covers the early years of the band, their formation in late 70s Glasgow and the development into the classic five piece group- Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, Brian McGee, Derek Forbes and Mick MacNiel- and then the records they make up to the moment where they walk through the door into arenas and stadiums post 1984. The albums they made between 1981 and 1984, after getting their debut Life In A Day out of the way are an astonishing run of records- Real To Real Cacophony, Empires And Dance, Sons And Fascination/ Sister Feelings Call and New Gold Dream (81- 82- 83- 84). Their influences hover over those earlier albums- Bowie, Iggy, the West German bands, Eno, The Velvet Underground- and the keyboards equally part of the sound with the guitars, driven by Derek Forbes' incredible basslines. Instrumentals, dub space, washes of ambient sound, tape loops, sax, FX pedals and Kerr's lyrics, semi- stream of consciousness transmissions. Funk and disco are in there too, Grace Jones, Chic, underground New York dance records, early hip hop, and by 1984 a new kind of European pop sensibility is driving them. Thomson's dissection of the songs and the albums, their recording, the process and influences is excellent, a vividly drawn portrait of the group and these years. 

I've never seen Simple Minds live, the anthemic, post- McGee and Forbes version of the band never appealing to me. I'm not that fond of seeing bands in football stadia either. Recently they have dug back into their earlier albums and played those songs again and I'd be tempted to go if they played near here again. This twenty minute appearance on The Tube in 1982 shows what a good band they were in the early 80s, four songs played by a band who know how good they are and how vibrant they sound. The Hunter And The Hunted, the brilliant, ascendant, optimism of Someone Somewhere (In Summertime), New Gold Dream (81- 82- 83- 84) and the spangled and magnificent The American. By this point McGee had already left the drum stool, replaced by Mike Ogletree and then later by Mel Gaynor (whose drumming is part of what propels them to a much bigger and more anthemic sound, destined for bigger stages and spaces).

Also in 1982 they played at Rockpalast in Cologne, West Germany. The gig is ninety minutes of sensational music, from the slow building, minimalist intro and then they play Love Song, starting slowly with Burchill's FXed guitar and the thumping, prowling rhythm section, the tension building for several minutes before Kerr even steps to the spotlight in the centre. After that there is an almost perfect Simple Minds gig including Changeling, Thirty Frames A Second, Sweat In Bullet, King Is White And In The Crowd, Promised You A Miracle, I Travel, Celebrate, The American, Sons And Fascination and Room.  

Friday 11 August 2023

I'll Walk The Seas Forever More

Sinead O'Connor's funeral took place earlier this week, an outpouring of sorrow and loss for a woman who clearly had a huge impact on many people. David Holmes dedicated his monthly God's Waiting Room radio show for NTS to Sinead, a two hour tribute with Sinead songs scattered throughout- I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, Black Boys On Mopeds, Jah Nuh Dead, Trouble Of The World, Troy, Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Silent Night and David's superb splicing of Nothing Compares 2U with his own remix of Orbital's Belfast. Alongside these songs are others courtesy of Grian Chatten, Bob Dylan, The Clash, John Lennon, Sly and Robbie, Keith Hudson and Janis Ian. It's a stunning way to spend a couple of hours and a beautiful tribute to Sinead. You can listen to it at Mixcloud and find the full tracklist at NTS

David was part way through recording an album with Sinead, titled No Veteran Dies Alone, eight songs completed including Trouble For The World (which came out on Heavenly in 2020). He'd introduced himself to her at Shane McGowan's 60th birthday event and on his Instagram page described recording her vocals as being in the presence of greatness, 'like recording Nina Simone, Billie Holiday or Karen Dalton'. 

More Sinead- Rich Lane created his own unofficial remix of Sinead's Jackie, a song from her debut The Lion And The Cobra. Rich made it in 2016 to play at a gig in Dublin. It's not available to buy or download (more's the pity) but you can listen to it here, an electronic throbber with 808 blips and cowbell and Sinead's voice on top.

In 1994 Sinead made an album called Universal Mother. Fire On Babylon, produced by Bomb The Bass's Tim Simenon, was released as a single and appeared on Top Of The Pops to promote it. The grooves/ bytes/ TV studio seem almost to small to contain the power and intensity of her vocal, not to mention the huge dub bassline that underpins it. Sinead is singing live and the moment at three minutes where she comes back in singing 'Fire!!!' is both breathtaking and bone chilling. 

Lyrically Fire On Babylon deals with Sinead's mother and how Sinead was treated as a child. The video for the song didn't hold back, a film made by Michel Gondry (who also made videos for Bjork's Human Behaviour and Protection for Massive Attack) and which depicted Sinead's childhood. It's a fierce, intense and mesmerising video and song- like the woman herself. 

Thursday 10 August 2023

Ten Leaves On A River Bank

One of the books I read on holiday was Tracey Thorn's My Rock 'n' Roll Friend, an account of Tracey's friendship with Lindy Morrison. Tracey first met Lindy backstage at a gig. Lindy marched into Everything But The Girl's dressing room looking for lipstick- Tracey describe's Lindy's entrance, Lindy depicted as a force of nature. She goes on to describe and dissect her thirty seven year friendship with Lindy and her part in story of The Go- Betweens. As the book goes on Tracy seethes with righteous anger about Lindy's role and position in the Australian band, how Lindy has been written out of the group's history- by journalists and when they reformed in 2000 by Robert Forster and Grant McLennan (a group she joined in 1980 and was an essential part of as a three piece and then five piece). Tracy articulates the way the music press played down Lindy's role, how it was often portrayed as being all about the two men, the songwriting partnership. Lindy was a key part in the band, not least visually- a tall, blonde, unconventional drummer playing behind two bookish men. 

The Go- Betweens moved to London, finding it a miserable, unfriendly, cold and wet place. They lived with Nick Cave and The Birthday Party- no one worked except Lindy, the men all falling into a life of being artists sitting around taking drugs and waiting for songwriting inspiration to strike. Lindy and Robert are in a relationship which implodes (and so does the band, the two men ending it in spectacularly sexist fashion, Robert sacking Lindy as simultaneously Grant sacked his girlfriend Amanda Brown- and was then surprised when Amanda left him). As I read the book I cringed slightly, wondering if I'd fallen into the same (male) trap when writing about The Go- Betweens. 

It's also a book about friendship and affection, the nature of female friendships especially, about connections and the passage of time, about the wild, frank and outgoing Lindy and the reserved and more cautious Tracey and what attracted them to each other. Lindy is the member of The Go- Betweens who is the most rock 'n' roll but as a woman she's criticised for her behaviour. She came from a feminist punk background and music journalists are terrified of her and describe her in ways they never would men. There is much food for thought within its pages. 

It's a book which requires little or no knowledge of anyone's bands either, of The Go- Betweens or Everything But The Girl, although it sits very well with having read Tracey's Bedsit Disco Queen and Robert Forster's Grant and I (Forster's book and its title alone support much of what Tracy is saying, Lindy once again written out of the story). Tracey writes really well, is incisive, self- aware and analytical. She is fairly fearless too in addressing aspects of relationships, her own as well as Lindy's. 

This song is on the 1984 album Spring Hill Fair, recorded in France. Producer John Brand used programmed drums on many of the songs and trying to get her to play to a click track which led to conflict with Lindy, conflict she didn't back away from. 

Draining The Pool For You

The second book I read was a novel, Benjamin Myers' The Perfect Golden Circle. It is the best novel I've read in years, an atmospheric, fully realised story of two men in the summer of 1989. One is Calvert, a traumatised Falklands veteran. The other is Redbone, a cider- punk veteran of free parties at Stonehenge and the Battle of the Beanfield living in a van. Their friendship is the core of the novel. In 1989 they are in their third summer of creating corn circles and through the long, hot summer of 89 they plan and carry off increasingly bold and intricate designs in farmer's fields in the south of England. Myers goes off into various places as the book unfolds, returning to the two men and the almost mystical aspects of their crop circles. It's a gentle and insightful book, beautifully written, poetic in parts and with characters that stick in the mind when the book is put down. 

In 1990 Led Zeppelin released a compilation box set with crop circles on the cover. I shared a house with someone who bought it and the front cover was eye catching even if I didn't care much for the music. On the whole I can live without Led Zeppelin- I like some of the first album and the folky, mystical songs on the third are good- but its a type of music that doesn't do a massive amount for me. Priapic cock rock- I can imagine Tracey and Lindy discussing it in those kinds of terms. I have a fondness for Kashmir though, ridiculous as it is. Maybe its the ridiculousness that appeals. 


Crop circles are probably better connected with The KLF. I'm sure Redbone in The Perfect Golden Circle would be a KLF fan. Kylie Said To Jason came out in July 1989, at the height of crop circle mania

Kylie Said To Jason (Full Length Version)

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Acropolis Now

We got back from Rhodes in the early hours of Monday night/ Tuesday Morning. Our pre- holiday fears about the wildfires and cancellations were unfounded- many of the local people we spoke to said the fires were not directly threatening Lindos and had been made to look worse on the television than they were. Some of the staff at the hotel had been affected and evacuated from their homes but they wanted us back and contributing to the local economy. The first few days were noticeably quieter than usual, the tourists returning in greater numbers by the end of the week. As a result we had the run of the hotel pools for the first few days. Rhodes at this time of year is very hot and very sunny. The town of Lindos is dominated by its Acropolis.

It was the first thing we saw from our balcony each morning and the last thing at night, illuminated against the night sky. Lindos town is built into a gap in the rocks by the harbour, a maze of streets and houses, restaurants and bars with roof terraces and shops. The Acropolis dates back to at least the third century BC, the Temple to Athena at the top overlooking the sea. It's the sort of place which it is impossible to get a bad photo of- I won't bore you with all my holiday snaps but the Acropolis and Lindos are spectacular and very photogenic.

It was in use through the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods, then occupied by the Knights of St. John (who fortified it and built many of the castle walls around it) and then by the Ottomans. During the Italian occupation (1912- 1945) it was restored, badly, and the Greeks have been working to restore and protect the site since then. It is a hot walk up to the Acropolis but well worth it. The Greek attitude to handrails and guardrails once up there is very different from here. There are several places were you could walk straight over the edge and fall hundreds of feet to the rocks below. It's a wonderful place to visit and left a deep impression on me. 

Back in 2012 Warrington musician Paul Fleming (also the Bunnymen's touring keyboard player), recording as Baltic Fleet, made an album of krauty/ cosmische/ post rock instrumentals on an album called Towers. One of them was this one...

Last Friday, while we were sunning it up in Rhodes, was Bandcamp Friday and a rush of interesting new music flowed through the internet into inboxes. Among them was the latest from Woodleigh Research Facility and Nina Walsh's Apparently Solo series, this one being Volume 4. Borderlands has been floating around for a while on Youtube and it was in one of Andrew Weatherall's NTS radio shows, a track Nina wrote on a midi keyboard that had been set up for Andrew to use at Facility 4 back in 2019. Nina's composition had a Smokebelch- esque feel to it, even more so when classical viola player Sarah Sarhandi was asked to contribute strings to it. Andrew went onto remix the track and it was planned to be included in a WRF event at the Barbican, an event which never happened when Andrew died in February 2020. Nina's original version, Andrew's eight minute remix and Jagz Kooner's remix (Jagz being a Sabres Of Paradise cohort of Andrew's) are all at Bandcamp. Andrew's remix adds sweeping synth strings, trademark rolling tom toms and twinkling melodies and a sense of widescreen, celestial floatation. Jagz pitches the tempo up slightly, the drums a bit thumpier and drops in some vocal snippets, Andrew asking questions about stars and rockets and machines.