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Sunday 31 March 2024

Forty Minutes of Belfast

This occurred to me as an idea a few weeks ago. I've been playing Orbital and Mike Garry's Tonight In Belfast a lot, it's become one of those songs for me. The idea of segueing different versions of Belfast together popped into my mind driving home from work. I did wonder if it might be too much, an overload of Belfast but there are some things you can't have too much of. I toyed with some kind of Easter mix for today, and almost went with all the versions of A Man Called Adam's fabulous Easter Song but on Friday (Good Friday) this mix came back to me and I thought I'd resurrect it for today. Roll that stone away and immerse yourself in Belfast. Happy Easter. 

Forty Minutes Of Belfast

  • Belfast
  • Belfast/Wasted
  • Tonight In Belfast
  • Nothing Compares 2 Belfast
Orbital released Belfast in January 1991, one of three tracks on their III EP along with Satan and LC1. Belfast was discovered by David Holmes and Ian McCready after they booked the Hartnoll brothers to play their Space Base night in May 1990. Orbital left a tape with the track on, later on named after the city they had a great visit to and night out in. The vocal sample, also widely heard in The Beloved's Sun Rising single that year, is of soprano Emily Van Evera, singing O Euchari. The chiming synths, bubbling bass and operatic vocal combine to produce something genuinely moving, ecstatic and otherworldly- one of British house/ dance music's great moments.  

Belfast/ Wasted features the voice of Gavin Fulton, available on the CD/ booklet series Volume (Volume 3, 1992). It then came out as a single in 1995 and then on the Wasted best of compilation. Gavin's vocal takes the track into a new area. 

Tonight In Belfast has the voice of Mancunian poet Mike Garry, speaking the words to his poem Tonight. It's one of the best and most affecting single tracks I've heard this year, Mike's words perfectly accompanied by David Holmes' magnificent and euphoric remix of Belfast from Orbital's 30 project, their thirtieth anniversary box set. Mike's words and Orbital's music came together on the suggestion of DJ Helen. Mike's words come over like a eulogy, a hymn to a lost love- sometimes I find it difficult to hear it without thinking of Isaac. 

I just wanna paint pictures of you
Write poems and songs just about you
I wanna hold you up so high you're gonna need a spacesuit
I love to speak your name aloud

Simply because I love its sound
And it feels like I'm kinda calling you
It feels like I'm kina talking to you
It feels like I'm trying to break through
You know across this divide

I'll tell you what
Let's slip beyond the confines of this world
Let's forget every single thing we've learned
Let's rewrite the way this world does turn'

Nothing Compares 2 Belfast is from David Holmes' NTS show that he did in tribute and in memory of Sinead O'Connor following her death last year, Belfast with Nothing Compares 2U, with Sinead's voice at the end speaking directly and openly in the way she did. 

Saturday 30 March 2024

V.A. Saturday

In 1991 Network Records compiled a twelve track compilation titled Retro Techno/ Emotions Electric, a definitive round up of the early Detroit techno classics that set a fire underneath dance music which is still smouldering. The key figures- Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins, known as the Belleville Three- are all represented, a trio who invented techno in a Detroit suburb, who met as teenagers and using some turntables, a synthesiser and a multi- track tape recorder. The Belleville Three weren't operating entirely in a vacuum although hearing their music it seems so otherworldly and futuristic that it seemed that way. They were avid listeners of a local radio show hosted by DJ Charles 'Electrifying Mojo' Johnson who played Parliament, Funkadelic, Prince, The B- 52s, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode. 

Retro Techno had liner notes which included an interview with the three techno creators where the famous Derrick May quote about techno being 'George Clinton and Kraftwerk caught in an elevator with only a sequencer to keep them company'. There is a short piece by Liverpudlian DJ and journalist John McCready and a discography. And then there is the music which was and still is the sound of the future- here's one from each of the Three, Model 500 (Juan Atkins), Kevin Saunderson and Rhythim Is Rhythim (Derrick May). 

No UFOs (D- Mix)

The Groove That Won't Stop

Strings Of Life (Unreleased Mix)

Friday 29 March 2024

Paint The Sky In Dreams And Patterns

Back in January an album by 100 Poems came out, seven tracks brought together as Everything's Balearic When You Believe. In the middle of January it brought some relief from the cold and dark days of midwinter, an album its creator Mike Wilson describes as one of 'joy, happiness and positive vibrations'.  Now in late March, as the evenings are lighter, the air sometimes smells and feels like spring is about to spring and we have the promise of the clocks going forward at the weekend, it feels even more like Mike's description than it did two months ago. 100 Poems are from Dublin, not the first place that comes to mind when the word Balearic is mentioned. But if the spirit of Balearic music as played by Alfredo and other DJs in Ibiza's open air clubs in the 1980s is that you can play whatever you like, there are no rules, if it sounds good, play it, then there's every reason to expect find it in Dublin as anywhere else.

Everything's Balearic When You Believe is seven tracks long, open minded and expressive, drawing from dub and pop, house and downtempo, sundowners and swimming pools, blissed out and beatific and filled with magic. It's available at Bandcamp at a name your own price deal. 

Paint The Sky In Dreams And Patterns opens with the sounds of a gig, an open air free festival type gig. Then a gently psyche guitar part weaves in, building and rising, drums thump in, horns and keys come in layers and we are indeed painting the sky in dreams and patterns. 

Thursday 28 March 2024

Agent Cooper Coffee Dreams

Markus Cooper, the man behind Bedford Falls Players, released one of my favourite EPs last year, the Three EP with Marimba Marmite, his remix of Matt Gunn's Learning Through Loops and Matt's remix of BFP's Chug Hug. Markus has followed it this week with a seven and a half minute excursion into David Lynch goes cosmic disco territory called Agent Cooper Coffee Dreams. It fizzes with energy and invention, synths crackling over a rattling drum machine, some familiar chord sequences and a sense of possibilities. The titular Agent Cooper- Kyle MacLachlan's Dale Cooper- turns up in sampled form. It's a fantastic piece of music, life enhancing and giddily ecstatic. You can buy it here for just £1.25. 

Twin Peaks was already the home to some memorable music, David Lynch's dreamworld mystery detective series having music stitched into from Julee Cruise's song that played over the titles to the music created by Angelo Badalamenti for the soundtrack. Julee's song Falling came out in 1989, a year ahead of the series starting, on her album Floating Into the Night (an album Lynch and Badalamenti co- wrote). The song is built around a very distinctive low end guitar part that harks back to the 50s but is smothered in a very 80s ambient/ Cocteau Twins sound, with Julee's voice a spectral presence. 


Angelo Badalamenti's The Pink Room soundtracked one of the most memorable scenes from the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Laura Palmer enters a world known as the Pink Room, a rabbit hole of hallucinations and sensory overload. 

The Pink Room

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Daydream Repeat

Four Tet's new album Three came out recently, his twelfth album (roughly) and following on the footsteps of 16 Oceans (released just as lockdown kicked in four years ago and part of the soundtrack of that time for me) and 2017's New Energy, it showcases and encapsulates everything that the Four Tet sound has come to be- skippy rhythms, layered string parts (harps, guitars, whatever they are, those signature string sounds- I love them), washes of ambient synths and the lightness of touch he brings to everything. There are eight tracks, two sides of vinyl, a concise and compact record that reveals a little more with each play. Opening track Loved came out last year, a beautiful piece of music built around a hip hop breakbeat, a shaker and  some slightly mournful but brightly coloured synths. Forty minutes later Three closes with Three Drums, also out last year, an epic piece of music that twists and turns and draws the listener in, an emotive piece of electronic music. In between he uses his familiar sounds and shifts them around- hisses and static, drums occasionally slightly out of sync to surprise you, strings, loops, harps playing little melody lines, ambient moments and dancefloor moments. Gliding Through Everything flutters. Skater is led the unexpected appearance of a guitar that could have come from a Cure record in 1990 and an echo- laden vocal sample. So Blue is broken ambient, traces of synth, a unintelligible female voice and two minutes in another slow motion drum break. 

On Daydream Repeat he locks into an urgent, propulsive groove and there are bursts of noise, possibly a guitar distorted to pieces, a piano line twinkling over the sheet wall of feedback, that suddenly drops out leaving the drums and the piano dancing around. It's superb stuff, the work of  a master craftsman at the top of his game, finding new ways to move us. 

The record sleeve doesn't give much away, a collage of repeating rectangular pictures, coloured in water colour washes, the tracklist on the back with minimal credits, and the number 3 on either side of the label on the centre of the record. Inside the sleeve there's a piece of light green A4 paper, with part of the sleeve on it, as if done at the work photocopier in a rush. Very enigmatic. 

Tuesday 26 March 2024

I Guess That's Why I've Always Got The Blues

The Jesus And Mary Chain came to town last weekend, two nights at the Albert Hall in Manchester (one sold out and the other close to) with a well received new album to promote- Glasgow Eyes. I went on Friday night in a late addition to my gig calendar. The band appeared on stage at 9pm on the dot, William an explosion of frizzy grey hair and semi- acoustic guitar, Jim centre stage all in black. There's no concessions to showbusiness, no projections, no chatter between songs other than the occasional 'thanks' from Jim, just darkness, lights and dry ice- and seventy minutes of Mary Chain magnificence. There's a slightly shaky start, Jim's microphone not switched on until first song jamcod (from Glasgow Eyes) is halfway through and the bass and drums are very loud in the mix, right up with William's guitar sonically. 

They aren't as loud as they've sometimes been- back in 2016 when they played Psychocandy they were earsplitting. Tonight, maybe due to playing in an old venue where lumps of building could come loose, they're at a less extreme volume but even so they're handing out earplugs behind the bar. After jamcod they launch into their songbook, playing songs from all parts of their forty year back catalogue- Happy When It Rains and Head On get tossed out early on, the sweet rush of Honey's Dead's Far Gone And Out from Honey's Dead follows and then a thumping, full on All Things Pass (the song that saw the warring Reids back together in 2008).

Jim looks little different from the younger version of himself from the 80s, bending over the mic as he sings/ speaks his vocals. There are no false starts or wrong notes, everyone is on it, an audible sense of momentum building as each song passes- new song The Eagles And The Beatles, an electrifying Cracking Up, a lovely Some Candy Talking, the grime and scuzz of Taste Of Cindy and In A Hole and a gnarly, throbbing, swaggering Sidewalking, one after the other. Blues From A Gun lifts things higher, William's guitar lines bouncing round the old chapel as Jim sings of stone dead trippers, the state of his hair and always having the blues. It's exhilarating stuff, four decades of Mary Chain songs hitting home, a guitar driven distillation of 20th century pop culture. 

The last three are from three different slices of their history- Venal Joy from the new album, I Love Rock 'n' Roll from 1998 and then Just Like Honey, one of their many mid- 80s indie classics. The encore does a similar job with the slow burn of Darklands and new song Girl71, finishing, aptly and amusingly, with the William Reid's destructive late 90s blast of snotty noise I Hate Rock 'n' Roll. 

It's easy to forget how brilliant Sidewalking is, a 1988 single that cut and welded feedback and Bo Diddley to a hip hop drum sample (Roxanne Shante's Roxanne's Revenge), extended on the 12" to nearly eight minutes as Jim makes missing the last bus and having to walk home sound like the ultimate in rock 'n' roll outsider depravity. 

Sidewalking (Extended Version)

Monday 25 March 2024

Monday's Long Songs

Rheinzand were a recent Sunday mix post here. Coincidentally, not long after they announced the release of a new version of their second album Atlantis Atlantis, six of the songs remixed by Pete Blaker with new layers of instruments played by Pete, Reinhard, Mo and Charlotte. The first has the somewhat iffy title Ibiza Macht Frei (but having said that I've been a Joy Division fan since the 80s so Nazi influenced names aren't anything new or that we haven't dealt with before). Pete's reworking of Ibiza Macht Frei is a gorgeous eight minutes of slow motion drift, waves lapping on the shore as washes of synth build in a pink cloud, sax breaking through like shafts of sunlight. 

Pete's sonic refurbishment of Facciamo L'Amore is even longer, ten minutes of dubbed out majesty, a beautiful crawl through slow burning euphoria that just keeps giving as it plays. The album, Atlantis Atlantis (Sonic Refurbishment), will have a further four Pete Blaker remixes and can be ordered here

Sunday 24 March 2024

Forty Minutes Of Mark Peters

Back in 2018 I discovered an album called Innerlands by Mark Peters, eight guitar led tracks that skirted the edges of shoegaze, ambient and cosmische, a record that was the first thing I reached for for a while, Mark's guitar taking the place of a voice. Mark is from Wigan and his music has a very strong sense of place. The front cover of Innelrands was an Ordnance Survey style map and the eight tracks were all named after very north west England sounding place names. His second solo album took that windswept, moorland sound to the great open spaces of the American south west. Since then two EPs have added further geographical refences to his back catalogue, with the Alps and Peter Street. Mark's playing builds on the sounds of other, earlier guitarists- there are shades of Vini Reilly, Michael Rother and closer to Mark's home, Nick McCabe. In the 00s he was the guitarist in Engineers, whose shoegaze/ dreampop can be heard in a variety of current bands. The mix below is a forty minute snapshot of music from his various releases since 2018 and makes a really good Sunday morning soundtrack. 

Forty Minutes Of Mark Peters

  • Windy Arbour (Ambient Version)
  • Switched On
  • Twenty Bridges (Andi Otto Remix)
  • Sundowning (Richard Norris Remix)
  • Alpenglow
  • #1 Peter St
  • Ashurst's Beacon (Ambient Version)
  • Gabriel's Ladder

Windy Arbour (Ambient Version) is from Ambient Innerlands, the drumless version of Innerlands released in 2019, an atmospheric wash of piano, ambient synth sounds and electric guitar. Ashurst's Beacon is the last track from Ambient Innerlands. Ashurst's Beacon is an 18th century tower constructed on top of a hill near Appley Bridge in Lancashire, constructed to warn of invasion by the French. 

Switched On was the longer, dubbier verison of Switch On The Sky, a summer 2022 single and track from the Red Sunset Dreams album which followed. Dot Allison provides the voice, a perfect match for Mark's guitars and synths. 

Twenty Bridges was on Innerlands. In 2019 a remix album, New Route Out Of Innerlands, came out, which included a remix by Ulrich Schnauss (formerly in Engineers) and this lovely piece of ambient/ sound collage by Hamburg's Andi Otto.

Sundowning was also on Red Sunset Dreams and also features the voice of Dot Allison. It came out as a single in October 2022 with this glorious Richard Norris remix, Mark's guitar relocated to sunset in the Balearics. There's also a superb live version of Sundowning you can buy here

Alpenglow was on The Magic Hour EP, a four track digital/ 10" on yellow vinyl release from exactly a year ago, March 2023. Two new tracks, Alpenglow and The Magic Hour paired with two remixes. Alpenglow shimmers and shines like sunshine on snow as some very motorik drums glide away underneath. 

#1 Peter St is from another four track EP, this one titled Progress and out earlier this year. The photo on the sleeve shows Manchester's new skyscraper skyline as seen from Windy Arbour, a hill at Billinge near Wigan. 

Gabriel's Ladder is from Innerlands, three minutes and thirty six seconds of guitar textures and melodies, an emotive soundscape. 

Saturday 23 March 2024

V.A. Saturday

Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy is a long standing DJ, radio host and presenter. She has compiled two compilations for Heavenly Records, Balearic Breakfast and the follow up Balearic Breakfast 2. The first was released in June 2022 and has long since sold out- second hand vinyl copies are currently well into three figures at Discogs. Balearic Breakfast finds the Balearic spirit wherever Colleen sees it- dance music, 80s electronic synth pop, deep house, ambient. The album starts with Joan Bibiloni, a very calming and chilled opener and then heads into Cantoma territory (Phil Mison, Cantoma's main man, is a Ibizan veteran). Linkwood Family, Mildlife, Lady Blackbird and Andrew Weatherall's Asphodells all show up before the album ends with first Caoifhionn Rose and then Mike Salta and Marty Mortale. At that point, all that's left to do is to go back to the beginning, with Joan Bibiloni and the ambient burblings and dreamlike state of Sa Fosc...

Sa Fosc

Balearic Breakfast 2 followed twelve months in June 2023, more of the same, a wonderfully selection of tracks from the corners of the musical world, the rarely known and lesser heard, a tracklist that includes Mental Remedy, Manolo's gorgeous Amalfi Drive, Gallo, Residentes Balearicos, Hard Feelings, Midlake and Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve, Lunar Dunes and Dip In The Pool. It's impossible to pick a best or favourite- they all work so well in slightly different ways. Try Lunar Dunes and the self- descriptive Moon Bathing. 

Moon Bathing

Friday 22 March 2024

Glasgow Eyes

The new Jesus And Mary Chain album, Glasgow Eyes, is out today, the first since Damage And Joy in 2017. Jim and William Reid recorded it at Mogwai's studio in Glasgow, the aptly named Castle Of Doom, and it comes out forty years after their debut Psychocandy- it shares some of that albums DNA, an uncompromising nature and a general sense that the brothers recorded it while feeling pretty pissed off. 

The songs on Damage And Joy were to some extent a celebration, the classic Mary Chain guitars, verses and chorus sound, about as sunny side up as Jim and William can ever be. Glasgow Eyes is different, it feels a bit broken down, skittery and fragmented. The songs have drum machines that hiss and pound, on some songs hammering away and on others spluttering. William plays some filthy lead lines, squally guitar sounds. There are some chugging, descending basslines of the sort that have underpinned JAMC songs since the Darklands album in 1987. There are stuttering synths and static, lo fi electronics and FX, the ghost of Suicide hanging around. Sometimes the songs take shape and then fall apart. It sounds like an album, like a group of songs recorded at the same time, some written in the studio, experiments turned into tunes. Girl71 is an outlier, a song more typical of their April Skies and Damage And Joy sound, a melodic three chord trick with uncharacteristically optimistic vocals. 

For much of Glasgow Eyes Jim's words and vocals swing between his customary self- loathing and misanthropy, dark pain numbed by drink and drugs, blank eyes and sneery voice and an often expressed love- for 'her/ she', for 'you', for 'everyone', for rock 'n' roll, for discotheques, for The Stones, Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys, the Pistols and The Crystals and The Velvets. Last song Lou Reid is six minutes of stop- start dynamics, rising and falling tempos and William's feedback. On The Eagles And The Beatles, over some chords Joan Jett left lying around, Jim almost tips into self- parody- 'I've been rolling with The Stones/ Mick and Keith and Brian Jones/ Bill and Charlie have gone home/ Andrew Oldham's on the phone'. Somehow, through a combination of blank eyed cool and sheer conviction, he gets away with it and by the second or third listen you're singing along. On the first single JAMCOD he sings about the band, the brothers and their bust up in 1998 that finished them first time around, and on another he sings the name of his band. It's a close knit, insular, self referential world they inhabit. 

Opening song Venal Joy spits its way into the world, clattering in on a synth riff and drum machine that could have last seen the light of day on 1989's Automatic and Jim kicking off with, 'You got a kingdom come but you don't have a future/  I know you like to be cool but it just doesn't suit ya/ I was kicking the cane cos the cane wasn't able/ I'm addicted to love so we can fuck on the table...'. They sound not exactly energised (half the time they sound like the made some of this lying down) but they do sound plugged in, like they give a shit and made a record they wanted to. 

I'm going to see them do it live tonight and will report back forthwith. In fact through a turn of events I won't go into here I've got two spares- if anyone's in Manchester tonight with nothing to do and they fancy an evening with the Reid brothers, give me a shout. 

And finally, this may seem cryptic but it's a message to Geoff who will understand- for many reasons you're going to need a lot of love and strength to get through today. I will be thinking of you and will raise a pint to you tonight. 

Thursday 21 March 2024

Ray Lowry Access All Areas

An exhibition finished last weekend that I wished I'd gone to sooner (it opened on 1st March) so I could have spread the word a little with a post here. The Saul Hay Gallery is in Castlefield, an independent art gallery in a former railway cottage by the canal, just one knocked through downstairs room. Ray Lowry, the cartoonist and artists whose work will be familiar to anyone who read NME, The Guardian, The Face or Private Eye in the 1980s. Maybe he's even better known for his drawings of The Clash, They band took him on their 1979 tour of the US, inviting him to be, as Joe Strummer put it, their war artist. He sat by the side of the stage with a sketchbook and bottle of ink, finishing the pictures back at his hotel room later. He caught them offstage too and drew out the front and back covers of London Calling. His sketches of them on stage, at soundchecks and live before American audiences, are incredible, capturing perfectly the energy and movement of Strummer, Jones and Simonon, with Topper and Mickey Gallagher behind them. The exhibition is a mixture of prints of these pictures of The Clash, some of his NME cartoons and drawings and some oil paintings from the 1970s, beautiful paintings of Manchester and Cadishead in the mid- 70s (Ray was born in Cadishead near Irlam, by the Manchester ship canal). 

I'd seen many of the pictures before but its always a pleasure to see them in the flesh. Many of the prints had already got red stickers on them, indicating they'd been sold (some for four figure price tags). What really gave me a buzz though was a table by the window on which were several of Ray's sketchbooks, available to leaf through. There were loads of preliminary sketches of The Clash, some just a few pen strokes, but all the players instantly recognisable. Flicking through the pages I got a genuine little jolt of electricity at seeing these sketches and being able to touch them (with white gloves on), the thought that these were done live by Ray Lowry, at the side of the stage as The Clash soundchecked or roared through their songs live, forty four years ago in Atlanta, Georgia and Santa Monica, Berkeley and Cleveland. 

Ray Lowry died in 2008, suddenly aged 64. His son looks after Ray's legacy and work and put this exhibition together. At the time of his death he lived in Waterfoot, one of a ribbon of small towns in the Rossendale valley, twenty miles north of Manchester. I had my first full time teaching job at a school near Waterfoot back in the 90s. The art technician was a young man called Kieron. We used to chat in the smoking staff room (a cupboard really, near the science labs). After a while he mentioned he lived next door to Ray Lowry, said that Ray was lovely, liked a pint or two, happy to talk, often giving away his sketches and drawings to anyone who showed an interest. Looking back I regret not being cheekier and that I didn't end up with a page from one of these sketchbooks (or something similar). 

This is London Calling's title track recorded live at the Tribal Stomp in Monterey, California, on 8th September 1979, war declared and battle come down. 

London Calling (Live at Monterey)

Wednesday 20 March 2024

All Hands On Deck At Dawn

Echo And The Bunnymen played a pair of sold out gigs at Manchester' Albert Hall last weekend, two nights celebrating their 1985 singes compilation Songs To Learn And Sing. I was there on Saturday night, the middle of my action packed musical weekend. The Bunnymen, Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant plus four shadowy auxiliary Bunnymen, are a slick outfit these days. Mac is centre stage and all in black, saying little between the songs but in good voice. Will plays stage left, switching guitars and peeling the lead lines from the last the last forty three years off nonchalantly, head down. They play two sets, one at 9pm and one at 9.50pm, a short ten minute gap between to the two, presumably so Ian can have a mid- gig cigarette. The Albert Hall is an atmospheric venue, perfect for the Bunnymen, back lit and with dry ice with the old Bunnygod figure on the back drop occasionally lit fully. 

The first half is a mix of old and new, opening with the post- punk thump of Going Up and All That Jazz, and then Flowers from 2001. New song Brussels Is Haunted  follows Rescue, Will leading the band through the 1980 single. The first set finishes with a strong pair of songs, Never Stop and Bring On The Dancing Horses, all 80s grooves and cool.

After a short break they're back. My memories of the second set are hazier but its wall to wall classic album tracks and singles, a singalong Seven Seas in the middle, culminating in The Killing Moon and The Cutter. An encore has them play an extended version of 1987's Lips Like Sugar, sounding superb on the packed floor of the Albert Hall. They follow it and finish with Ocean Rain, the drama and dynamics of their 1984 album's title track played for full effect, hushed and sparse instrumentation, Mac crooning behind dark glasses, and everyone coming together for 'all hands on deck at dawn, sailing to sadder shores'. 

Ocean Rain

Tuesday 19 March 2024


Lisa Moorish, singer with Kill City back in the early 2000s, has been out of the music industry for some time. She's been drawn back in writing a solo album called Divine Chaos, out later on this year. It's been led by a single released a couple of weeks ago, an electro- pop song about Sylvia Plath. Two decades ago Lisa was told she bore a strong resemblance to Sylvia Plath, something that sparked a dive into Plath's books and life and the uncovering a number of parallels between Sylvia and Lisa. The song has been remixed by David Holmes, so frequent a visitor to these pages he's practically resident, and the pair of remixes are a joy, David going full on acid house on the remix, the squelch and kick drum alongside Lisa's vocal giving it massive dancefloor vibes. 

The Dub Mix strips the vocal away, concentrating solely on the mirror ball action, eight minutes of unfettered, strobe lit wonder. You can buy both remixes and the original version at Bandcamp.

Incidentally, if you're interested in a small but beautifully packaged, meticulously researched and beautifully written account of Sylvia Plath's time in Paris in 1956, Dave Haslam's My Second Home is still available to purchase from Confingo Press. Dave's series of books for Confingo are all worth collecting, small enough to fit in your pocket, an essay zooming in on a detail in pop culture from the past but with something to say about the present too. Dave's books include Picasso in Paris in the early 20th century, All You Need Is Dynamite (the story of an early 70s terror cell the Angry Brigade based in Manchester's Moss Side), Courtney Love's sojourn in Liverpool in the early 80s, and the life of Cressa, a Mancunian face and former Stone Roses dancer/ associate. The next one in the series is out next month, the tale of the time Grace Jones turned up at Strawberry Studios in Stockport to sing with A Certain Ratio. 

Monday 18 March 2024

Monday's Long Song

Fluke's 1997 12" single Squirt came with a remix of Slid,  a track from 1993. The Modwheel Mix is ten minutes of late 90s progressive/ deep house, a track that has some of Underworld's DNA running through it. Modwheel is Tom Middleton of Global Communications, a man whose work is always worth listening to. This is a dancefloor number, easily slipped into any part of a late 90s DJ set, the vocal providing a slight contrast to the soaring, sunny day drums and synths. Never mind all that pre- millennial tension, this is infectious and optimistic dance music. 

Slid (Modwheel Remix)

Sunday 17 March 2024

Pete Wylie And Wah! Live At The Deaf Institute And A Forty Minute Mix

Pete Wylie is touring again, playing the hits and the misses of his and Wah!'s back catalogue with a full band, promoting along overdue Best Of album, Teach Yourself Wah! Pete may not have the biggest back catalogue and has had a few bumps in the road over the last four and half decades of making music, but his best songs are as good as anyone's and there are several which I hold very dearly. We arrived at The Deaf Institute last night before 8.30 to find Pete and the band on stage, Pete mid- anecdote (Pete Wylie is perpetually mid- anecdote, his stand up/ stories/ tales are as much part of the Wah! live experience as the songs and he is sharp, funny and candid). It was a bit frustrating to arrive late and it became clear we'd already missed Come Back (a favourite of mine and I was gutted not to hear it) and the room was packed, so we ended up crammed in by the door, unable to move much or get to the bar and constantly bumped into as people came and went including a bouncer who caught me off balance and sent me careering into the couple standing next to me. 

The first song Pete played after we arrived was the 1983 single Hope (I Wish You'd Believe Me), Pete in fringed cowboy shirt, leather kecks, top hat and green Telecaster, and in good voice. The songs are legendary, one after another, Pete prefacing each with the comment, 'the record company thought this would be a big hit... it wasn't' followed by laughter. There is much laughter at Wylie gigs, he's a natural raconteur and story teller- sometime sits difficult to tell if its songs separated by talk or talk separated by songs. The songs are full of love and heart, Pete mentioning friends who have gone before many of them- an emotive FourElevenFortyFour is dedicated to Josie Jones. The first song of the encore, Seven Minutes To Midnight is dedicated to John Peel and he speaks warmly and movingly about his friend Janice Long before singing for her. He tells a long and very funny story about Tony Wilson's funeral and the enormous bouquet that arrived with the message With Love From Liverpool accidentally ordered in two foot high letters, dominating every other floral tribute at the funeral, Peter Hook approaching him with the words, 'you wanker'. Disneyland Forever is done solo on acoustic guitar, a song written after meeting Gerry Conlan, one of the Guildford Four, backstage at a gig GMex in the early 90s. Gerry told Pete how much John Peel's radio show meant to them when they were in prison and how Pete's songs were part of that. When Pete asked Gerry what he was going to do after being unjustly imprisoned for sixteen years, Gerry replied he didn't know but it would be Disneyland forever. 

Pete launches into The Day Margaret Thatcher Died, the Prime Minister who was on record as saying she wanted the 'managed decline' of Liverpool, with as much venom as ever, ending it with Michael Gove, Jacob Rees Mogg and Esther McVey inserted into the song. Mid- set they play Sinful, my favourite Wylie song, guaranteed Bagging Area catnip, and trailed with the remark, 'the record company thought this would be a big hit... and it was!' Arms aloft, everyone cheers and amusingly they then mess the opening up, have to stop and start again. Behind him there are projections and loops of videos and clips from TV, young and beautiful Pete Wylie and Josie Jones from the 80s looped as 2024 Pete sings and plays. They play is hometown epic Heart As Big As Liverpool, a song that a room full of Mancunians (and a good number of scousers) respond to enthusiastically. 'It's a song about community and belonging', Pete says, 'and optimism and we need that today'. Free; Falling In Love With You from 2017's Pete Sounds is Pete and Wah! channeling Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Wah! do the encore without leaving the stage, Pete saying the steps to the backstage are too much for his knees. Seven Minutes To Midnight is electrifying, urgent, clanging 1980 Cold War dread repositioned for 2024 and we finish, with the curfew approaching, with The Story Of The Blues, Pete's biggest hit and the song he'll always be known for. If it was the only song he'd ever written it would be enough.

Today's Sunday mix was a fairly obvious choice. Pete solo, in various Wah! incarnations and with friends, songs of strength and heartbreak as one of his albums had it. 

Forty Minutes Of Pete Wylie And Wah!

  • Imperfect List (Version 1)
  • Hope (I Wish You'd Believe Me)
  • Don't Lose Your Dreams (Excerpt From A Teenage Opera Part 154)
  • Sinful (Tribal Mix)
  • Come Back
  • FourElevenFortyFour
  • Make Your Mind Up (Time For Love Today)
  • Talking Blue (The Story Of The Blues Part Two)

Imperfect List, a 1990 single, was a Wylie record done with Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie and Josie Jones as Big Hard Excellent Fish. For the 12" it was remixed by Andy Weatherall , four mixes under the title Rimming Elvis The Andy Weatherall Way. Josie recites a list of hates, some universal, some very 1990, some very specifically Liverpudlian, all very relatable. Pete's story about Morrissey's usage of it as walk on music and his associated anecdotes about the singer are very funny and on point. 

Hope (I Wish You'd Believe Me) was a 1983 single, backed with a cover of Johnny Thunders' You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory. Wah! do pop soul.

Don't Lose Your Dreams was under the name Pete Wylie and Wah! The Mongrel, a 1991 single and hasn't made either the tracklist for the Best Of or the setlist for the gigs. Which is a shame as I love it, massive early 90s guitars and synths, Pete at his optimistic best, 'Don't you ever lose your dreams/ No matter how far you may tumble/ When people criticise your schemes/ Your wild extremes/ Don't ever lose your dreams'. Another Wylie song that mentions Jack Kerouac. Should have been a massive hit. 

Sinful was a 1986 single and a big hit. Pete promoted it on Top Of The Pops and on Wogan, memorably aided by Josie on Paul Weller's pop art guitar and three dancing nuns, the Sisters Of The Anfield Road. The Tribal Mix is even better, seven minutes of dancefloor gold, a thumping proto acid house drum track and Pete's vocal. The Tribal Mix was remixed by Zeus B. Held. 

Come Back is a magnificent and stirring love song to his city and a plea to those who have left to look for work elsewhere in the unemployment ravaged early 1980s, a 1984 single and the emotional centrepiece to the Word To The Wiseguy album from the same year. A massive if Springsteen was scouse sound and a hugely, defiantly northern record. 

FourElevenFortyFour was on the 1987 album Sinful, an overlooked album. This song has some very 80s production but gets away with it, a love song with a title and chorus that references the enigmatic 4- 11- 44 number. 

Make Your Mind Up (Time For Love Today) is the opening song on 2017's Pete Sounds, an album partly crowdfunded by fans- I was one of them- and recorded at Pete's Liverpool studio Disgracelands. A friend tells me Pete has a piece of carpet from the actual Gracelands. 

Talking Blues (The Story Of The Blues Part Two) is the second half of the 1983 smash hit The Story of The Blues, Pete talking over the looped Phil Spector sound, talking about people being thrown away, about those with power, about hope and pocketbook psychologists, class struggle, love and everyday life and 'something Sal Paradise said'. That's the story of the blues. 

Saturday 16 March 2024

V.A. Saturday

Soul Jazz started out in 1991 doing reissues of old albums, before switching to compiling various artists compilations. Their Nu Yorica album from 1996 complied 60s and 70s salsa, Latin and funk and sold a lot of copies. In the cross- pollinated, crate digging world of the 1990s, people were lapping up this kind of thing up, opening ears and minds. Soul Jazz cared about the music, the sleeves were always well put together, the music was always well chosen and of high quality. In 1998 they release 100% Dynamite, a double vinyl reggae compilation, which was the kick starter to series of Dynamite albums as well as a seemingly endless deluge of Studio One albums. Soul Jazz turned the reggae compilation into an artform, a university of reggae according to Chris Blackwell.  

200% Dynamite came out in March 1999, a quarter of a century ago. My copy is well thumbed and played, the soundtrack to many nights at home and out. It has a host of legendary names- Jackie Mittoo, Augustus Pablo, Dawn Penn, John Holt, Toots And The Maytals, Prince Buster, Tommy McCook, The Upsetters- all represented by lesser known but infectiously brilliant tracks. Soul Jazz spread the net wide too not confining themselves to the classic sounds of early 70s Jamaica but heading into the 80s. The second track on 200% Dynamite is Tenor Saw's Ring The Alarm, a 1985 dancehall smash...

Ring The Alarm

Herb Man Dub by The Skatalites, was recorded at Black Ark and mixed at King Tubby's, a decade earlier, 1975. You won't hear a better instrumental that this today.

Herb Man Dub

Friday 15 March 2024

Big Weekend Incoming

It's a big weekend of music related activity coming up, starting tonight and running though until Sunday evening by which point I will be in need of a lie down. We'll go in reverse order. As the flyer above shows on Sunday The Flightpath Estate DJs (on this occasion Martin, Dan and me) are returning to Blossom Street Social in Ancoats for our third mission there, playing records from 3pm until 8pm. We are joined by guest Rob Fletcher, the man responsible for legendary 90s Manchester techno and electronic music club night Herbal Tea Party. The four of us will be playing back to back, three tracks each and then switching and it will be a seamless showcase of our track selection and turntable skills. Obviously. 

If you're in Manchester on Sunday afternoon, please come down and say hello. Dan has a test pressing of our forthcoming double vinyl album Songs From The Flightpath Estate Volume 1, the album we're putting out with The Golden Lion featuring Two Lone Swordsmen, Justin Robertson, Andy Bell, The Light Brigade, Justin Robertson, Sons Of Slough, 10: 40, Richard Sen, Rude Audio and Hardway Bros, so some of those tracks, if not all, will get their first airing in public. 

On Saturday night I'm at Manchester's Albert Hall to see Echo And The Bunnymen who are touring to celebrate 1985's Songs To Learn And Sing, Mac, Will and the rest of the current line up playing two sets with a short gap in between. I've seen them a few times in the last ten years and when they're good, they're very good. 'Lay down thy raincoat and groove', was the advice of the Bunnymen back in 1983 on the release of Never Stop- decent advice still. 

Never Stop (Discotheque)

The night before the Bunnymen (tonight in other words) we're at Manchester's Deaf Institute to see a second member of The Crucial Three, Pete Wylie, on tour with a full band promoting Teach Yourself Wah!, a Pete Wylie and The Mighty Wah! best of. A small venue, Wylie's between song storytelling and patter, some of the best songs of the 1980s, good reviews coming in from other gigs on the tour.. . I'm really looking forward to it. 

Seven Minutes To Midnight

Seven Minutes To Midnight came out in 1980, the second/ final single of Wah! Heat, a clanging, clamorous post- punk single written in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent moving of the hands of the doomsday clock to 11.53. In the intervening forty three years the clock's hands have moved back and forth a little and were altered most recently in January 2023, now set at ninety seconds to midnight. That apocalypse just creeps closer. 

Thursday 14 March 2024


There were a lot of good albums released in 1996, a year that doesn't necessarily jump out in memory as being a vintage year. I'm not sure why this thought occurred to me recently but it did. There were a good number of well above average albums in 1996: Two Lone Swordsmen's The Fifth Mission (Return To The Flightpath Estate) was released, a double album that redefined where Andrew Weatherall's head was at; Everything Must Go by the Manics was a big guitar album, full of post- Richey songs about renewal and escape; Beck's Odelay, a pick 'n' mix record everybody loved; New Adventures In Hi Fi, the last R.E.M. album by the original line up and their last essential lp for me; Murder Ballads by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds; Underworld's Second Toughest In The Infants; Richard D James by Aphex Twin; Millions Now Living Never Die by Tortoise; Belle And Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister; Stereolab's Emperor Tomato Ketchup. These are all albums that I can still pull out and listen to, none seem too dated or attached to that part of the mid- 90s as to be timebound and some of them have moments that could be contemporary. 

Of all the albums released that year few had the impact that DJ Shadow's Endtroducing... did, a record that broke new ground, crossed over, opened doors, and moved the music it originated from onto somewhere new. Created by Josh  Davis using a single AKAI MPC60 sampler, a Technics turntable and a tape recorder, Endtroducing.... is the result of years of crate digging, of finding drum breaks, strings stabs, basslines, guitar parts, organs and horns, snatches of vocals and voices from TV and film, of plundering bargain boxes for unusual records and avoiding the obvious sources, finding samples in funk, jazz, soundtracks, psychedelia, and from Bjork, Tangerine Dream and Metallica. DJ Shadow found the records, sampled them, chopped them up, looped them, layered them and made something new. It's ostensibly a hip hop album, that's the world Shadow was coming from, but it's as much sound collage as rap. Endtroducing... was released on Mo Wax in the UK, a label which was very cool and on a roll in 1996. It took longer for his native US to catch up. From the sleeve on in, a gatefold photo of Josh scouring the racks at Rare Records in Sacramento, to the four sides of vinyl it's a fully realised and self- contained world, the kind of album that should be listened to in a single sitting, from start to finish. Here are three slices of sound from it...

What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4)

What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4) starts out like a lounge- jazz instrumental interlude that becomes a slow paced trip hop track, built around a sample of The Vision by Flying Island. Josh drops in some scratching and flute, choral voices and a sax. 


Spooked out and on edge, a walk round the block in an unknown part of town after dark, Stem is constructed around a descending acoustic guitar part and contains a sample of Love Suite by Nirvana (not that Nirvana, the British 60s Nirvana). Strings and rapid fire drums eventually shatter the mood before it finishes with some screeches of violin. 

Midnight In A Perfect World

Midnight In A Perfect World was released as a single in September 1996, opening with a burst of vocal, and centred on some electric piano, sampled from a David Axelrod song from 1969, The Human Abstract. There's a slow paced hip hop drum break, various bits of vocal (one from Marlena Shaw), the word 'midnight' looped over and over, a bassline from Pekka Pohjola, creating a tense and mournful atmosphere, and ending in a stuttering conclusion. 

Wednesday 13 March 2024


One of my favourite singles of last year came out in mid- December- it got a bit overlooked as a result but has grown and grown as 2024 has gone on, taking up more and more of my listening time. Anzu by C.A.R. is electro- pop perfection, throbbing acid house/ dance pop. It has wobbling synths, a smokey vocal telling tales of adventures in a pub now lost to market forces, singer Chloe weaving lines of personal history, hedonism and squalor into something quite moving. There's a darkness in the song, a yearning, and then the synths change, there are rippling toplines and chord changes and everything surges forwards. Drums thump in and Chloe picks up her theme, 'walls close in... guerrilla shadows, hopped on having fun'. Totally infectious and emotive dance music. 

When it was released back in December it came with a GLOK remix, Andy Bell stripping it down and building it around a two word phrase from the lyric, 'basement sounds'. Last week a pair of Hardway Bros remixes came out, pushing Anzu further on into the disco. The Hardway Bros Remix is crunchy and cosmic, a four four stomper for souls dancing under the mirror ball or in the kitchen, Chloe's vocal on top of Sean's shimmering synths and arpeggios. Seven and a half minutes and not a second too long. 

There's a second version too, the Hardway Bros Conqueror Dub, all wobbly oscillations, signature Sean synth sounds, funky drums, acid squiggles and heavy bottom end, Chloe still there singing of 'cigarette smoke' and giving half glimpses of the past. Buy them both here

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Wild God

A new Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds song was released last Wednesday. It took me a few listens to fully get it but now I can't stay away from it. Wild God starts out slowly with what sounds like the end of another song, then begins to gather pace and oomph, the musicians setting out slowly and quietly and swelling as the song moves onwards. Nick's words seem to tell of a man looking back from his life in a retirement home, a wild god, but there are plenty of obtuse and currently unexplained lines as well as a reference to Jubilee Street (from 2013's Push The Sky Away) and a girl who died in a bedsit in 1993. The explosion just after three minutes in as the choir kicks in and Nick sings, 'bring your spirit down', packs a powerful punch, lifting the song and the listener- well, this listener for one. The sound becomes big and orchestrated but it's clearly Bad Seeds too, with the drums shifting things away from the synth oriented music of his recent albums with Warren Ellis. Wild God's long ending is full of passion and joy, an ecstatic finale with Nick still singing, 'here we go', as it fades out, the song sounding like it could go on. 

A while ago, being interviewed for a film, Nick said that after several years of grieving the loss of their son Arthur in 2015 and all the awful trauma that came with it, Nick and Suzie made a conscious decision to be happy. 

'It's strange reading those scripts back, those lyrics from my son brought back. And, you know, they're ok, they're actually kind of beautiful, really. But at the time they never revealed themselves as such. I just thought that I was writing a lot of rubbish. 

That was one of the things I lost. That was one of the things I lost hard, a sense of belief in myself, like I'd fucked up bad, that me and Susie had looked away for a terrible moment, and this reflected savagely on everything else. A belief in the good in things, in the world, in ourselves evaporated. But you know, after a while, after a time, Susie and I decided to be happy.

This happiness seemed to be an act of revenge, an act of defiance. To care about each other and everyone else and to be careful, to be careful with each other and the ones around us.'

That's what Wild God sounds like to me- a conscious decision to be happy, to record the joy and euphoria that can be found in music. I'm sure the album will tell more. At the Red Hand Files this week he said that Wild God (also the title of the album) is  a 'series of complex and interlinking narratives' and that 'an acutely vulnerable and mysterious 'event' resides at the heart of the album's central song, Conversion'. Wild God is also a song that seems to reveal a little more each time I play it, something new seeping out with each play. The album isn't out until the end of August which seems a long way off from here. 

Monday 11 March 2024

Monday's Long Song

Two weeks ago I posted a Monday long song by Marshall Watson, an epic ten minute science fiction ambient/ house/ cinematic/ progressive ode to the cosmos called Astro Pan. The post is here. Last week Marshall followed it with this, Orbit Atrophy, another interstellar electronic epic, but this time laced with strong, dark acid. It's available at Bandcamp and makes a perfect partner to Astro Pan; play them back to back and they make a grand, far out twenty minute trip.  

Sunday 10 March 2024

Forty Minutes Of The Cramps

The Cramps, in some ways, are the perfect rock 'n' roll band. The took everything that punk, 60s psyche, 50s rockabilly and the cartoon magnificence of sci fi/ horror/ comics offered and turned it into a thrilling, high octane, nerve shredding, electrifying blast of guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Lux and Ivy treated it as both the most important thing in the world and something that was always tongue in cheek- serious fun. 

The Cramps formed in 1976 after Lux and Ivy met in Sacramento in 1972. There are two main bursts of recordings- the first in the late 70s and early 80s and a second in the mid 80s/ 1990 with three further albums in 1994, 1997 and 2003. Lux died in 2009 which brought the group to an end. The Cramps are the very essence of punk infused rock 'n' roll and every so often they are exactly what I want to hear. 

Forty Minutes Of The Cramps

  • New Kind Of Kick
  • Drug Train
  • Bikini Girls With Machine Guns
  • Love Me
  • Bop Pills
  • Mama Ooh Pow Pow
  • Cornfed Dames (Peel Session)
  • What's Inside A Girl?
  • Journey To The Centre Of a Girl
  • All Women Are Bad
  • You Got Good Taste
  • Her Love Rubbed Off

'Life is short/ Filled with stuff', Lux sings on New Kind Of Kick. Minimal guitars and drums thump away behind him. There's a surge of nasty, brutish and short energy and a pun about Judy and Dick. New Kind Of Kick was the B-side of The Crusher, a 1981 single. 

Drug Train is from 1980, a 7" single. 'You put one foot up/ You put another foot up/ You put another foot up/ And you're on board the drug train'. 

Bikini Girls With Machine Guns is from 1990's Stay Sick, my favourite Cramps album, the sound a full on rush of Ivy's guitars, thumping Nick Knox drums and Fur Dixon's bass playing. Lux was at his best, lyrics combining sex, 50s horror and rockabilly, black leather and high heels. It's a rush of high energy rock 'n' roll and laugh out loud funny at the same time. Mama Ooh Pow Pow (an ode to spanking), Journey To The Centre Of A Girl and All Women Are Bad are from the same album. Given Ivy played guitar, co- wrote the songs, produced and co- managed the band, we can take Lux's view  that all women are bad with a pinch of salt. Bad meaning good I think. Bop Pills is a cover of a 1956 song by Macy Skip Skipper (released on Sun Records) and is the opening song from Stay Sick!, a manic appreciation of amphetamines and dancing. In Amsterdam a few years ago I found a Dutch copy of Stay Sick! with a slightly different cover photo and bought it on the spot. 

Love Me is a cover of a song by The Phantom from 1960. The Cramps' version was the B-side to Drug Train, an artefact from 1980. 

Cornfed Dames is from 1986's A Date With Elvis, the classic line up making a classic Cramps album. This version is from a Peel Session from the same year. In Cornfed Dames Lux finds sex on the farm, 'whip that cream til the butter comes' he sings, before concluding, 'I ain't no farmer'. 

What's Inside A Girl? was a 1986 single and also from A Date With Elvis and contains some of the best lyrics of the 20th century- 'well you can say it by satellite but baby that's cheating/ The President called an emergency meeting/ The King of Siam sent a telegram/ It said 'a wop bop a loop bop a wop bam bam'.

You Got Good Taste is from the 1983 mini- album Smell of Female, a second hand record shop mainstay, recorded live at The Peppermint Lounge, New York in February 1983. Despite Lux introducing it as being about Gucci wearers, I think it's actually about cunnilingus. 

Her Love Rubbed Off was originally by Carl Perkins in 1969, a bonus track for those who bought Stay Sick! on CD in 1990.

Saturday 9 March 2024

V.A. Saturday

One of the features of the 1988- 1992 period was the indie- dance Various Artists album, often a cheaply packaged affair rounding up the big hitters and also rans, compilations called things like Happy Daze, sleeves adorned with daisy age, day glo rave graphics. These compilations were often TV advertised, aimed at the mass market and casual buyer, the people that hadn't bought all the 12" singles. 

Today's VA is from 1991, a double disc set simply titled Rave 1, and was put together for the German market, young indie- dance kids in Cologne and Berlin, all loved up in the newly re- united Germany. Across two discs you get exactly what you'd expect from a 1991 indie- dance compilation- Happy Mondays and Kinky Afro, The Soup Dragons and I'm Free, The Farm and All Together Now, EMF's Unbelievable and I Believe, James and Lose Control, Northside's My Rising Star, Primal Scream's Come Together, Jesus Jones and Right Here Right Now, The Shamen with Make It Mine and Inspiral Carpets with She Comes In The Fall are all present and correct. What makes Rave 1 a little different is that these are all represented by the 12" versions, extended mixes and different takes, and in some cases mixes and versions that weren't widely available. There is also a very under the radar and very of its time cover of Come Together (Beatles not Primal Scream) by Howie J And Co. 

Exhibit A: The Charlatans.Then was a fantastic early Charlatans single, easily the equal of The Only One I Know, powered by a  Martin Blunt Motown bassline and some Rob Collins organ, Tim cooing on top. The Alternate Take is slower, looser and more groovy, less a pop song, more a 60s/ 90s psyche groove. It was on the Then 12" and CD single, released in September 1990. 

Then (Alternate Take)

Exhibit B: My Jealous God were signed to Rough Trade and released Pray as a 12" in 1990, led by singer Jim Melly who developed a bit of a motormouth reputation. My Jealous God got a fair bit of press from NME and Melody Maker although I think the backlash hit them too, accusations of bandwagon jumping. The band were from South London and had a follow up on Rough Trade and then a single in 1992 on Fontana but their album was shelved. Pray is wah wah driven indie- dance. 

Pray (12" Mix)

Exhibit C: Flowered Up and Phobia, a November 1990 single from the London band, a five piece led by Liam Maher who made some real period piece records. The Paranoid mix is from the 12" single and was remixed by Marc Angelo who is the brother of glamour model Linda Lusardi and who cut his production teeth on the UK reggae and dub scene working with Dennis Bovell, Prince Far I and Creation Rebel. Phobia was Flowered Up's second single, following on the heels of It's On. Their debut album has recently been re- issued for the first time by Heavenly. The Paranoid mix shuffles along nicely, the funky bassline to the fore, percussion and drums giving this version a proper indie- dance groove. 

Phobia (Paranoid Mix)

Exhibit D: Primal Scream. The Hypnotone remix is the lesser known remix of Come Together, fading into the background a little compared to Terry Farley's Suspicious Minds version and Andrew Weatherall's genuine ten minutes of genius version. The HypnotoneBrainMachineRemix is a superb version in its own right though, Tony Martin's raved up take chopping the band up, looping vocals, horns blaring out, synths to the fore, bubbling bassline and drum machines, everything louder than everything else, breaking down for the shout, 'This is a heist!' (or 'This is the hype!'), more looped shouts, this time of 'Bass! Bass!', and some tumbling drums. This is a remix that sounds like a Primal Scream record being played at the same time as a Public Enemy record and an Altern- 8 record. Yes, that good. 

Come Together (HypnotoneBrainMachineMix)

Friday 8 March 2024

Pamela One To Four

Pamela Records is a London based label with to date only four release to its name (three already out and one to come shortly), run by Dave Jarvis and Darren House. Pamela is a sister label to Moton Records (and hence the joke of the name, which I think is Tamla Motown pun). Pamela 001 was one of the last releases by Andrew Weatherall before his untimely death in February 2020- in fact if memory serves Pamela 001 arrived on my door mat just a few days after Andrew's death. The EP has four Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh tracks, led by the track The Moton 5 (another Motown. Jackson 5 pun I'm guessing). The Moton 5 is a slinky number built around a deeply chuggy groove and some machine based noises, occasional bursts of timpani and synth chord key changes, and a huge descending, slightly Eastern sounding synth string part. 

The other three tracks on Pamela 001 show how high Andrew's quality control was- all three are the equal of the lead track and all stand alongside anything else Andrew recorded under his own name. Slap And Slide has the inclusion of a burst of slap bass, something fairly rare in Weatherall world. March Violets sees the return of Andrew's steam powered drum machine and some very WRF bleeps and FX (and is named after one of the novels in Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir trilogy,highly recommended if you fancy some detective fiction set in Germany in the 1930s). The Moton 5.2 finishes the EP off, a further deconstruction of the lead track, uberchug, chug as a way of life. 

Pamela 002 didn't appear until three years later, in the summer of 2023, a four track EP by Jo Sims titled Bass- The Final Frontier. It came with a David Holmes remix that was one of my favourite pieces of music from last year, seven minutes and twelve seconds of wobbly, slo mo, supercharged sci fi acid house. 

The flipside of the 12" had two further tracks, Demons Of Dance and Mumbo Jumbo. The former is a bass led beast, a fuzzed up electro crawl. The latter is a wiggy and spaced out treat pushed onwards by a rattling drum track. 

Pamela 003 followed a few months later, an EP from Anthony Teasdale called Tango de la Boca. Once again, four tracks across two sides of a 12" single, with the title track a chunky, sundown moment with a rippling piano line.

The EP also featured A Pavement In Palma and Deep In The Forest Something Stared and was completed by the Balearic sounds of It's 5am Somewhere

Pamela 004 is next, four tracks from Justin Robertson. I pulled together a fifty minute mix of Justin's recordings as Deadstock 33s a few Sundays ago (it's here) and by happy coincidence his Pamela EP comes out at the start of April. Justin's EP keeps the standards high, not just of the Pamela back catalogue but of his own releases and recordings from recent years. There's plenty of wired dub basslines, chuggy drums and spacey FX, a wonderful four track, twenty five minute release. Opener In Minus Shadows is a dubby delight with a front foot bassline and some guitar that could come from an early New Order record. The distorted effect on the voice makes the vocal sounds like its been beamed in from some other world, and is a close cousin of the track Justin gave us for The Sounds From The Flightpath Estate Volume 1. The snares rattle and echo while the kick drum thuds away. It's followed by Endless Motorcade, propelled by a faster, pumping drumbeat, with revving engines and a foreground synth bassline. Sci fi bleeps and FX swirl around. Cup Of Silence follows, basement chug, thumping kick drum, melodica, shakers, flutters of flute and more disembodied vocals. The dub bass returns, a Sabres Of Paradise style speaker shaker. Of Ghosts rounds things off in fine style, drum machine gainfully employed and plenty of squelch and filters bouncing around. Washes of synth chords come in, again recalling early 80s New Order, the promise of an imaginary Factory electronic dub offshoot from 1983, and then bleeps riding over it all.