Thursday, 31 July 2014
I've been listening to King Tubby quite a bit this week. His dub productions are so far out there, space and sound manipulated and played around with but very precise too. His 1976 class King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown, done in collaboration with another gentle soul Augustus Pablo, is the Tubby album to go for and needs to be listened to as a whole really but this track, the album's closer, is doing all the right things for me at the moment.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Richard Fearless has made a new single and it is magnificent, deep, minimal techno. In the way that good techno should it draws you in with a beat and some bleeps and then unfolds over many minutes, increasing the drama and the tension. Gamma Ray is out on August 18th backed with an even more intense remix by Legowelt. There's a snippet below but snippets are annoying so if you click here you can listen to the whole thing- a Soundcloud page that is set to private but accessible to anyone via Fearless's publicity company's page, the first search return on Google.
Sheer Taft, from Greenock, made one of 1991's most brilliant dance records- Cascades (posted before here at least once). Cascades is a sunny, druggy, bubbling delight, sent from Greenock to Camden via Ibiza. It is superb. The version that was on Creation Records classic 1991 dance compilation Keeping The Faith was mixed/remixed by another Creation dance act called Hypnotone (who have also been here before with Dream Beam, possibly twice). Sheer Taft were a duo- Thomas Taft and Ingrid Kudos- who had a second single a year later, an Italo piano house song with vocals from Mito and the writing is co-credited to Hypnotone. It's not as good as Cascades. But then, what is?
Sheer Taft also put out an album called Absolute Sheerness but I've never even seen a copy, never mind heard it. According to the internet Thomas Taft also did gig promotion, was a member of the extended Primal Scream family, disappeared to New Zealand for ten years and had a psychedelic rock band.
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
A punk curio for Tuesday- Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains! was a film released in 1982, shot in British Colombia. The plot centres around The Stains, an all girl punk band created after Corinne Burns (played by Diane Lane, in the middle above) loses her job. There's a full synopsis here and the original 1982 trailer...
The film got a dvd release in 2008 and you might find a copy on any of the popular internet shopping websites. It's pretty dated but Lane gives a good performance and it's good fun. The film also features the UK punk band The Professionals (who appear in the film as The Looters)- Paul Cook and Steve Jones (both at a loose end following the demise of the Sex Pistols), plus Paul Simonon (who flew off to make the film while the rest of the Clash holed up in New York starting work on Sandinista and so missed playing the bass on The Magnificent Seven) and Ray Winstone (who is now most often found encouraging people to bet responsibly NOW! before the next throw-in). The band play their song Join The Professionals in the film, proving to be a punk epiphany for Corinne Burns and later on Ray tries to get off with her in a hotel room while also telling her how frustrated he is as an artist...
The Professionals were an actual band for Jones and Cook and the song is perfectly adequate, functional, second division punk, showing mainly that John Lydon's contribution to Sex Pistols songs was invaluable and unique. And maybe Glen Matlock's songwriting was quite important too.
Monday, 28 July 2014
A friend made me a compilation tape once following a long, rambling alcohol fueled conversation about punk. No purist, he claimed punk was where you find it. The song that grabbed me on that tape that I didn't know was this one by The Posies. It's what journalists call power pop, a genre that they invented to describe guitar music that was punk-ish but also poppy. Power pop is easier to identify than it is to describe. The Knack's My Sharona is an example. This song by The Posies is vastly better than My Sharona (which is a bit annoying). Loopy, hippy lyrics, massive crunchy power chords, quiet/loud dynamics and some ace melodies that transcend 1993's grunginess.
Sunday, 27 July 2014
The Avalanches 2000 album Since I Left You was a one-off work of near genius by a six piece from Australia, made up of over 3500 vinyl samples, and a total joy to listen to. The song that made the biggest impact over here was Frontier Psychiatrist but the rest of the double vinyl album was just as good.
Laid back vibes-check. Jazzy flute sample- check. Ghostly backing vocals- check. 60s style lead vocal sample- check. Sumptuous strings- check.
Since I left You
Saturday, 26 July 2014
The fourth and final transmission from Andrew Weatherall's series for NTS Radio is available below. And in case you missed it, my internet friend Ctel posted an excellent new Asphodells remix at his Acid Ted blog this morning. A stuttering, icy remix of She Lies that really hits the spot.
Or maybe you prefer your hip hop more laid back in the summer, with bouncy rhythms and a 70s feel and a cooler flow. In which case, here's Jurassic 5. For some reason I always associate Jurassic 5 with The Avalanches. Maybe I listened to their records at a similar time although I don't think they were released in the same year. Nope, just checked, Jurassic 5 was 1998, The Avalanches 2000.
Friday, 25 July 2014
More Friday night rockabilly at last- Jerry Arnold and The Rhythm Captains from 1958 and a song about a girl who has expensive tastes and is out of his league. We've all been there. The handclaps on the chorus really make this one, along with the rough and ready production.
High Classed Baby
Hot summer heat like we're having now means hip hop doesn't it, possibly a connection made in our minds due to Spike Lee's sweltering Do The Right Thing film. Company Flow put out several underground records in the 90s and this one, End To End Burners, is the sound of New York in the summer- sweaty, dirty, threatening, with a low slung beat and a fantastic breakdown where the chant surfaces... 'dance to the rhythm and rhyme of Co Flow'.
Legal note: Bagging Area does not endorse the illegal painting of train carriages end to end. It only leads to trouble.
End To End Burners
Thursday, 24 July 2014
1989 was a good year. I don't know if we knew this at the time or just at the age of nineteen (I was anyway) we expected that all years would be like that. This single by Italo House outfit Black Box was number one for six weeks in the UK. It caused some controversy at the time because Loleatta Holloway's original vocal (swiped from Love Sensation) was mimed to by French model Katrin Quinol (pictured lounging about above). Loleatta's lawyers got involved even though sample clearance had been agreed. Loleatta got paid, the single withdrawn and the vocals were re-recorded by Heather Small. I'm not sure the record buying punter really cared- they just found it irresistible for dancing too (and still do).
Originally the line was 'because you're right on time' but somewhere in Italy it got misheard or mispronounced and changed to 'ride on time' which is good because it sounds better. Much like when Gerald ran out of character space on the title display when naming Voodoo Rage and instead went for Voodoo Ray. Happy accidents.
If I've got this right, and there's a chance I haven't, this is the first version with Loleatta's withdrawn vocal...
Ride On Time (Loleatta Holloway vocal)
And this is the remixed version with Heather Small
Ride On Time (Heather Small vocal)
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Tim Burgess remixed by Peaking Lights. This is hot off the press and sounding very nice indeed, gorgeous summer pianos, a stomping electronic beat and Tim's vocals. It won't cool you down but will put a smile on your face as you cross wearily back to the fridge for something cold. Eight minutes and fifty three seconds of lovely stuff and you can listen to it here.
On the whole I think I shouldn't be a fan of hairy, lairy, 70s influenced regressive U.S. rock, but The Black Crowes song Remedy has a satisfyingly crunchy riff, some nice gospel backing vocals and, if it wasn't for the accent of singer Chris Robinson, it could easily be Primal Scream- who we have established previously, I am a fan of. Although their hairy, lairy, 70s influenced regressive rock is just as easy to be sniffy about. I don't buy into the whole guilty pleasures thing and maybe with this song I should drop my dubious principles and just say- good song. Maaan.
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Those of you who have enjoyed Andrew Weatherall's shows for NTS radio will be pleased to see that part three (of four) has appeared on the internet. Part two had a heavy dub and krautrock/cosmische focus along with his own remix of Julian Cope's Dayglo Maradona and Bill Haley. Two hours on the player below so get stuck in while sitting in the sun. What, you aren't on a six week summer holiday like me? Oops, sorry.
It seems particularly sad that with the passing of Tommy Ramone last week, all the founder members of the band have gone. Many bands from the previous generation still have all or many of the founding members alive yet all the Ramones are departed. Apart from having one genius song (pick a song, any song off the first four albums), the band and their first album were hugely important- the 70s punk scene in England used them as much as anyone as the starting point. RIP Tommy (and Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee).
Blitzkrieg Bop (song removed by request)
Monday, 21 July 2014
Husker Du's version of Eight Miles High is just indescribably good, a 7" single worth its weight in gold. Blistering, white hot, ferocious, 60s rock meeting 80s punk, with Bob Mould lacerating his vocal chords and fingertips.
Eight Miles High
There are several live clips on Youtube. This one is Husker Du live in Camden in 1985. Astonishing, sheets of metal feedback from Bob and manic drum thumping from Grant Hart.
Live in 1987 at a Dutch festival from someone's collection of home recorded VHS tapes, slightly less manic...
Sunday, 20 July 2014
The Byrds and Eight Miles High- when folk rock became acid rock. It's the trippy guitars that get all the attention but the bass playing is way out there and the vocal harmonies are superb. I have loved this since I first heard it sometime in the mid 1980s. It was only twenty years old then but felt ancient.
Eight Miles High
Saturday, 19 July 2014
I've got two recent Andrew Weatherall mixes for your delectation this Saturday night. Firstly the second show from his NTS radio residency, the usual eclectic mix of songs and chatter. I'm still playing catch up with the first one.
Secondly, a free cd Andrew and Sean Johnston gave to punters at A Love From Outer Space's 4th birthday, an hour and a quarter of chugginess and sounding spot on for this sultry, stormy weather.
I don't have a tracklist for either. Adds to the fun doesn't it?
Sleep deprivation on a bus traveling backwards through Europe (me travelling backwards, almost everyone else claimed they had to face forwards or they would be sick). It causes strange things to happen. I dozed off briefly and was woken with Shaun Ryder intoning two lines from Black Grape's Reverend Black Grape...
'You do nothing but socialise and become a menace
Put on your Reeboks man, go and play fucking tennis'
This rang around my head for a good while. Then, at about two thirty a.m. we stopped at a service station somewhere in The Netherlands. One of the kids emerged from the top deck, rubbing her eyes, and disappeared into the toilet. When she came out she said 'Sir, are we in Argentina?'
I have no idea.
Reverend Black Grape
Friday, 18 July 2014
I unfolded myself off the bus, after thirty six hours from Krakow to north west England yesterday. Sleeping sitting up is a skill I've not quite got the hang of and my back has suffered. But our school trip to Krakow and Berlin was fantastic, all the moreso because we were in Berlin last Sunday night when Germany won the world cup. The streets of Berlin were flooded with thousands of Germans, most draped in the colours. We'd passed the Brandenberg Gate early on Saturday and had a look at the fan park but decided that keeping sixty-four teenagers safe while watching the final might be tricky. Eventually we all watched it on a big screen in the square outside our hotel and Hauptbahnhof, the main railway station. This ensured a constant flow of fans before and after the match. It was crackers and probably a once in a lifetime experience- watching a country win the world cup in that country's capital city. It certainly won't happen as a England fan.
Berlin is an amazing city, one which I want to return to. There's so much to see and do- in two days we squeezed in sections of wall, Checkpoint Charlie, a trip up the TV tower, Alexanderplatz with its 60s concrete architecture, Sachsenhausen and the Olympic Stadium. Seeing some of the wall was a highlight for me- something that was such a key part of world history and from my lifetime. After Berlin we went to Krakow, which has a beautiful square and buildings, and drank tea (black tea with cold milk, the English way) in Noworolski Cafe, frequented by Lenin in the mid 1910s. And had a couple of Polish beers.
I've downloaded a few of the pics off my phone here...
Holger Czukay of Can, was born in Gdansk, Poland and raised in Germany. He has recently remixed some solo tracks from his 1977 album Der Osten Is Rot and issued them on 10" vinyl through a Berlin based record label, Gronland Records. Click on the link for loads of grooviness. The remixed Sudetenland, with Jah Wobble, Jaki Leibezeit and Conny Plank, is out right now and you can listen to it here.
Friday, 11 July 2014
I'm off on a school trip today so you'll find nothing new here for the next week. We leave north-west England at ten and head for Dover, crossing to Calais and then (hopefully) arrive in Berlin tomorrow morning. I've never been to Berlin so I'm pretty excited about it- plus, by stroke of good fortune and German efficiency, we'll be in Berlin when Germany play in the World Cup Final and are hoping to find somewhere outdoors to watch it, safely, with sixty-four teenagers. Whatever the result, it should be an experience. We've got a load of sights to see- the Olympic stadium, Sachsenhausen, the Berlin Wall, the TV tower, some museums, the Reichstag, Tiergarten Park. We've got two days in Berlin and then we make for Krakow, visiting Auschwitz and Krakow's Medieval market, before returning home next Thursday by an extremely long bus ride from Krakow to Calais.
There are so many Berlin/Germany musical references I could put here- any number of West German krautrock bands, Kraftwerk, Cabaret (the only musical I can really live with), German techno, Johnny Rotten's screaming line in Holidays In the Sun 'I was looking over the wall and they were looking at meeeee!!!', Nena and her ninety nine red balloons, Iggy and Bowie recording several of their best albums and lovers meeting by the wall, Trio's novelty hit from the 80s, various things Dirk and Walter have posted...
How about Michael Rother, ex-Neu!, and something from his 1977 beaut of an album Flammende Herzen (with Jaki Leibzeit on drums)?
Thursday, 10 July 2014
I was never too fussed about Wu Tang Clan. Nothing against them, I just fell out with hip hop around this time. And it seemed like I needed a wallchart to keep track of all the members and their offshoots and solo projects. But I bought a 12" of Method Man and Mary J Blige doing You're All I Need (To Get By) and the B-side was this Chemical Brothers remix of Bring The Pain. When I mentioned this remix to my hip hop obsessed sibling he said 'What the fuck's a chemical brother?'
Bring The Pain (Chemical Brothers Remix)
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
I found this on a music magazine freebie cd recently while looking for something else and thought I'd post it although I know some of you aren't too fussed about The Clash.
Clampdown must be a contender for 'best Clash song that wasn't a single'. It shows off each member's individual talent and the strength of the band. Joe's opening couplet about racial stereotyping and the rise of the far right is stunning...
'Taking off his turban they said 'Is this man a Jew?'
They put up the posters that say 'We earn more than you'
And the rest of the words live up to it, three minutes of righteous anger about right wing attitudes, the dignity (or lack of) of work, workplace bullies, the effect getting older has on the firebrand politics of youth...
'You grow up and you calm down
You start wearing blue and brown'
Every line is echoed by the call and response backing vocals 'Working for the clampdown' and then Joe's conclusion that 'anger can be power'. References in the fade out to Harrisburg, dictators getting their dues, and Three Mile Island. A protest song then.
The music is similarly striking- powerful opening riff, Paul's descending bassline, Topper's bang-on-the-beat drumming, the stop-start dynamics. This is a live version from Lewisham Odeon. Much of this gig seems to have bene recorded and surfaced on bootlegs. It would have made a better full gig live document than the Shea Stadium live album which got an official release a few years ago, which didn't even have Topper drumming.
Clampdown (Live from the Lewisham Odeon)
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Before Max Romeo was chanting down Babylon and chasing the devil he had a massive hit with this song, Wet Dream, in 1968. 'Every night me go to sleep, me have wet dreams' he sings, and then takes it further. Faced with a ban by the BBC Max claimed it was actually about a leaky roof.
Google image search tip- if you type just this song name into Google you get a very different set of images than if you search for the artist name as well as the song title. Just in case you're tempted to do so and at work.
Monday, 7 July 2014
I cycled up to a few miles east of Glossop yesterday to watch the Tour de France as it dipped out of Yorkshire and into Derbyshire. The Tour passing within twenty-five miles of my front door was too good an opportunity to resist and it was a lovely day for a ride. In fact I sunburnt my wrists. An hour before the cyclists shoot along a cavalcade of sponsors' vehicles pass along the route throwing out freebies (caps, Haribos, lighters etc). These four Miffys made me smile.
I took this photo moments before the leaders hurtled past- I was on a hillside right by a hairpin bend. You can see everyone in the picture turning their heads to the left as the leaders and then the peloton appeared out of nowhere. Six helicopters buzzed above us. At this point I wondered if I had enough time to both take a photo and watch the riders. Three seconds or so later they had gone, Kittel in yellow tucked in the back of the peloton. A couple of stragglers came past, then the team cars, and that was it. Gone in a flash. Whooosh. Still, brilliant to have seen it, however briefly.
Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali took the stage and le maillot jaune. I didn't take this picture- I pinched it off the internet. Originally I had been planning to go to Sheffield to see the end of the race but plans changed and I cycled home just in time to see the climax on the tv.
I'm feeling a little uninspired with music to post at this exact moment. Here's The Jam with today's song.
Sunday, 6 July 2014
There's all this top sport all over the place at the moment and then the mp3 player shuffled up this on the way home from work on Friday, just as I was at the traffic lights near home. The World Cup and the Tour de France will be poorer for those injuries to poor old Neymar (definitely out) and poor old Mark Cavendish (probably out).
Public Enemy's Harder Than You Think was a single from their 20th anniversary album How Do You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Lost Their Soul? and proved that Chuck D and co had not lost their edge. It is lit up by a Shirley Bassey horn sample and is probably best known over here as the song that soundtracked the paralympic games two summers ago. This Futurecast remix adds a massive, punishing breakbeat.
Harder Than You Think (Futurecast Remix)
Saturday, 5 July 2014
Andrew Weatheral presents: Music's Not For Everyone. The NTS Edition. by Thoughts On Love And Smoking. on Mixcloud
Friday, 4 July 2014
The High's 1991 single More... is only really remembered because the band's management were busted buying multiple copies from chart return shops to boost it up the charts. Which is a shame because it's a really good post-Manchester single, less Madchester and more chiming guitars. It's easily as good as the best songs from their underrated Somewhere Soon album and should have been a signpost of where they were going rather than the full stop it turned out to be.
Live in a tent in '91 with slightly wobbly vocals, preceded by Say It Now.
Thursday, 3 July 2014
Blue Rondo a la Turk were a briefly hip bunch of baggy suited, jazz-funkateers from the early 80s who unwittingly paved the way for the likes of Matt Bianco. I'm not sure I've ever heard anything by them until recently. Jazz-funk was pretty low on my list of interests in 1982, aged 12. And it has been ever since really. They were mainly known to me as the band The Smiths supported at their very first gig at The Ritz and almost every account of The Smiths' rise uses Blue Rondo a la Turk as symbolising the old guard and old ways about to be shoved aside by Morrissey and Marr with their faded Levis, quiffs, flowers and Rickenbackers.
Blue Rondo's 1982 album Chewing the Fat has been released on cd for the first time with a second disc of extras, the main draw for me being the Andrew Weatherall remix of Klactoveesedstein (or Klacto Vee Sedstein, I can't work out which it is). I downloaded, legally I should add, the Weatherall remix a couple of weeks ago. I keeps the ooh-ooh-ooh-oh-ah vocal part and turns the jazz-funk down and machine-funk up, adding an upfront bassline, pretty good really if not as earthshattering as some of Lord Sabre's recent remixes. I can't find a listen only or streaming version of it on the net, no Soundcloud or Youtube file, and seeing as it only came out in the middle of June I don't think I should share it as an mp3 yet. But you can buy it at the usual digital places for 79 pence/99c if you're an avid Weatherall head. Instead, here's the original.
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Glossop is a small town a few miles east of Manchester, nestled into the Pennines and actually in the county of Derbyshire. It's neighbours are Padfield and Hadfield. Hadfield was the real life setting for The League Of Gentlemen, filmed on the highstreet. Padfield has been the home of Shaun Ryder and Bez in recent years. On Sunday afternoon the Tour De France will sweep by, only a mile or two away before doubling back towards Sheffield for the finish of Etape 2. I'm intending to cycle up there on Sunday morning and stake my place at the side of the road and wait for the peloton to shoot past at some ridiculous speed.
Glossop was also the home of C86 janglers the Bodines whose single Therese is acknowledged as a classic of the period. I also have a soft spot for their 1987 single Slip Slide although I think the consensus is that signing to a major label had sucked the life out of the band by this point. A shame as they had real promise.