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Thursday, 24 May 2018

Cowgirl In The Sand

I was in a record shop the other day- I know, fancy that, a record shop- and this song was playing over the shop's speakers and it sounded super. I love hearing a song I've not heard or played for years unexpectedly, in a different context. At that point Neil Young and Crazy Horse in 1969 playing on and on around a couple of chords and coming together for the verses every couple of minutes... let's just say it sounded like the best thing I'd heard that day.

Neil and Danny Whitten both play solos throughout this song but it never feels like those kind of virtuoso guitar solos (that on the whole I really can't stand). It is looser and less planned, less flashy than that. And even though it goes on for ten minutes it never really feels like it. Neil apparently wrote Cowgirl along with Cinnamon Girl and Down By The River in a single day when he was ill with a high temperature.

Cowgirl In The Sand

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

All My Dreams

This sounds like one of those songs that is going to soundtrack summer, that should be blaring out of car windows rolled down at traffic lights and piped out from shop doorways and bars- an incredibly funky, smart and sexy song from Roisin Murphy celebrating going out, dancing and general good times for all. This is from one of a series of four 12" singles Roisin is putting out (at nearly 20 quid each they are a tad pricey mind). This is very, very good however and works well played before or after yesterday's Gabe Gurnsey song.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Ultra Clear Sound

Gabe Gurnsey, one half of modular synth duo Factory Floor, has been working on solo stuff. This track, Ultra Clear Sound, is the first fruit of it, a sweaty, intense and futurist vision, co-produced and mixed by Erol Alkan (who seems to be signing and working with some of the best electronic talents out there at the moment). Gabe's album Physical is out on Phantasy in August and if this song is anything to go by it could well be a dark summer pleasure. Conclusion- I'm well into this.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Something In Italy

Brian posted Scritti Politti's single Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) a few days ago so I thought it might be worth showing the distance Green Gartside travelled between their first single in 1978 and Wood Beez in 1984. Scritti formed as a collective , operating out of a South London squat, fired up by punk and Italian Marxist theory. They intended to demystify the recording and releasing of records, priting the costs of their single on the sleeve and providing phone numbers of studios and pressing plants. Skank Bloc Bologna came out on Scritti's own St. Pancras label, a pioneering piece of DIY.

The song is firmly post-punk, with scratchy guitar, a melodic dub bassline carrying the tune and percussion dominated by cymbals. It all sounds very spontaneous and freeform. Green's lyrics are full of real life, prosaic imagery with references to Tesco, the Bull And Bush, Harringay, Number 26 (cigarettes) and marmalade, and what I've always taken to be a pop at The Clash ('rockers in the town the magnificent six'). John Peel picked it up and then Rough Trade signed them. Six years later they made Wood Beez (for a major label admittedly). I'm not sure anyone else from that era travelled as far musically as Scritti Politti. Except maybe The Clash (and probably not even them).

Skank Bloc Bologna

Sunday, 20 May 2018


Almost a year ago The Sexual Objects put out a 10" single on Fife's Triassic Tusk label. I played it quite a bit at the time and then it got mixed up in a pile of records- I like 10" singles but they're easy to misplace and can get lost between the sleeves of others. When I found it again last week I also realised that I'd hadn't blogged about it. The single was a four track comprising the original version of the song Sometimes and some remixes, with one each from Boards Of Canada and Andrew Weatherall. The Weatherall one is a stripped back, dubby treat, riding on the bass, an echoed guitar chord and some repeated vocal lines. Nine minutes of head nodding and a repeated 'get my kicks' vocal part.

The Boards Of Canada remix is also a keeper, with washes of synth and organ eventually joined by piano and some lovely musical box melodies. Voices fade in and out, before the whole thing swells into something really beautiful at two and a half minutes, a mini-epic. The vinyl sold out along time ago but you can buy the four tracks digitally at Bandcamp and listen to them all on the player below.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

48 Thrills?

Today is my 48th birthday. I suppose I have to face facts that I am now late 40s rather than mid-40s and that 50 is bearing down on me. Age may well be nothing but a number but also you have to come to realise that you are not a young person anymore, you are in fact middle aged and increasingly so as each year passes by. There aren't many songs with 48 in the title- but there is this one which promises me 48 thrills this weekend. Maybe.

48 Hours

Due to a pile up of other events and commitments this weekend my initial plans have not come to fruition. Andrew Weatherall and A Certain Ratio shared a gig at the Hebden Bridge Trade's Club last night (which I wanted to go to but couldn't). Steve Cobby and Darren Emerson were DJing at Band On The Wall last night too (which I wanted to attend as a back up to the ACR/Weatherall gig but couldn't) and tonight Weatherall is doing a Wrong Meeting event at the Golden Lion in Todmorden but I can't attend that either. So without any of those plans coming off I shall have to take it a bit easier and be a bit more local, a bit more sedate and a bit more middle aged about my birthday.

Kiyadub 45

I don't remember being consulted about the aristocracy holding their wedding on my birthday either. A member of the British royal family is marrying an American. I will not be watching it. I believe the royal family should be abolished and that having a monarchy is not just undemocratic but anti-democratic, that we can never really even pretend to have a goal of a fair and just society while we have a monarchy. I am quite cheered by opinion polls that suggest a majority of people are at best 'politely disinterested' but also, y'know, stuff your street parties and the idiots with union flags camping out on the streets of Windsor, cheering on an institution that does not care about them a single jot. Rant over, as Drew says.

Elizabeth My Dear

Actually, rant not over. The FA Cup Final is on today as well, kicking off at 5.30 between my club, Manchester United, and Chelsea. My opinion, seeing as I'm giving them out today, is that Jose Mourinho is a bad thing, an outdated, negative, narcissist who wants the praise for himself when they win and blames the players when they lose, a man who thinks spending massive sums of  money is a substitute for coaching. I didn't want him to get the job 2 years ago but we're stuck with him for the moment and obviously I'll still be wanting United to win.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Alehouse Futsal

There's a new Half Man Half Biscuit album out today, always a cause of celebration. The lead track Alehouse Futsal appeared online a few weeks ago. It's business as usual lyrically, that is, moments of laugh out loud genius punctuated with insight and references to popular culture and history...

'Your softly spoken friends
Their fortnight in the Fens
Your time slip stories I avow
Are boring the arse off me now
I’m gonna put up a wall in your through lounge
My animosity knows no bounds
I’m gonna give you alehouse futsal'

And this part from the middle eight...

'Picnics with craft beer
Elbow in Delamere
Your brand new 10K PB
Haile Gebrselassie'

No One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fucking Hedge Cut is out today, available from Probe Plus. I am especially looking forward to the songs Man Of Constant Sorrow (With A Garage In Constant Use) and Knobheads On Quiz Shows.