Thursday, 30 April 2015
I was listening to Ride the other day, sparked off by an interview with them in The Guardian recently (about their re-union) and a recent clip of them playing live for a radio station I saw somewhere online. I think I've said this before but I often thought the guitars on their first few e.p.s and the first two albums were tremendous, a swirling, overdriven, effects pedal pleasure. The drumming was top notch too. It was the vocals (and the lyrics) that were off putting- although I realised this weekend that I can live with Mark Gardener's vocals much more than Andy Bell's. After the second lp they fell under the spell of Oasis and the brasher 90s version of Creation Records, and started making classic 60s rock. Much less interesting. Their early stuff definitely has its moments- Chelsea Girl is the first song on their first piece of vinyl.
Wednesday, 29 April 2015
I finally bagged a vinyl copy of this Andrew Weatherall remix recently, two years after it first came out digitally. Seven minutes thirty six seconds of chuggy, cosmic, Italo brilliance.
Complotto Geometrico (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
This song continues the (unintentional) sun/clouds theme I've been riffing on here recently- Toy and Jane Weaver with an excellent slice of psyche-folk (released for RSD 2015). The guitars remind me a bit of Ocean by The Velvet Underground, and a few other things I can't quite put my finger on. Understated and restrained.
If you haven't got Jane Weaver's album from last year, The Silver Globe, please go out and get it right now.
Monday, 27 April 2015
The recent Moon Duo album- Shadow of the Sun- is getting to be a favourite of mine for this year. On vinyl it's an eight track album with an additional two songs on a 7" single. Husband and wife duo Sanae Yamada and Ripley Johnson have added a real life, human drummer this time around and the usual two chord, drone rock is all present and correct. The real beauty though is the song In A Cloud. It's a slowed down, gorgeous ballad- spacey guitar chords, hazy and loved up vocals, and a guitar solo that drips like honey. It's almost Balearic in its summery loveliness.
In A Cloud
Sunday, 26 April 2015
Ctel posted this at Acid Ted last week. I have played it multiple times since. I don't know how much our readership overlaps so I thought I'd post it here too as it really deserves to reach a wider audience. Pearl's Cab Ride are a nine piece funk and soul band from Humberside. Mono Life is a musician/producer based in Yorkshire. In this just shy of ten minutes remix Mono Life sends Pearl's Cab Ride on a trip that takes in a bit of dub, some horns, heavy and wobbly bass, a stretched vocal and the second summer of love. It's a lovely, sprawling joy ride- that's not to say that it drifts or lacks focus- it's all worked out perfectly. It's like having your hand held while watching the sun come up, like the endorphin rush when being kissed for the first time. Sunrise even makes the Manchester Ship Canal look beautiful and romantic. This needs a proper release, preferably on 12" vinyl.
Saturday, 25 April 2015
This is a treat- an hour long mix by Timothy J Fairplay for Pinkman records, from the darker edge of the dancefloor. I can hear the soundtracks from horror films, Goblin, electro, Bladerunner and dark, dry ice filled rooms in the early-to-mid 90s. Timothy J has called this Rare Gloom, which suits it very well. The mix includes a limited edition 7" single he did for RSD and a new one from his ravier alter-ego Junior Fairplay. Free download. This, I've just noticed, is my 2500th post.
Friday, 24 April 2015
In the middle of the last decade Two Lone Swordsmen moved from making high quality machine funk to adding live guitars and bass and digging out the rockabilly and garage band influences, with Weatherall singing. In 2004 they put out From The Double Gone Chapel (which had a cover of the Gun Club's Sex Beat) and then in 2007 the Wrong Meeting double set of albums in a lovely box with an art print and a t-shirt. In 2005 or 2006 they did a short tour as a 'proper' band including a gig at Sankey's Soap which I attended. The picture shows them playing in Edinburgh. The Soundcloud player below is a live recording of the band playing the title track from Wrong Meeting at the Bloc Weekender, posted by TLS guitarist Chris Rotter. Very good too- dirty guitars, rolling rhythm, sleazy fun.
I think there was video footage of this somewhere on the net at some point but I can't find it at the moment.
Thursday, 23 April 2015
I'm not going to move on from this little Alex Chilton inspired run without mentioning Teenage Fanclub. When Bandwagonesque came out in 1991 music journalists were falling over themselves to praise it and then the really clever ones started saying they were just ripping off Big Star. Which led to a thousand indie kids beating a path to the record shop to buy Big Star records. I always thought they sounded as much like Neil Young and Crazy Horse, or a slightly mellower Scottish Dinosaur Jr as much as Big Star. But anyway, Teenage Fanclub have many wonderful songs. I was going to post God Knows It's True but JC did that recently at the Vinyl Villain so I'll go with Everything Flows from A Catholic Education instead. The ramshackleness of their early days is a joy to behold. In this song they also nailed a pretty specific feeling in the lyrics.
Wednesday, 22 April 2015
There can't be many bigger fans of yesterday's postee Alex Chilton than Paul Westerberg. In fact, he even wrote a song called Alex Chilton. Westerberg's 80s indie-punk band The Replacements deserve a place in every record collection. Starting out as snotty teenage Mid West punks they (matured is probably the wrong word) eventually made several excellent albums, the pinnacle being Let It Be, a stone cold classic. They managed to sabotage their career on multiple occasions, through drunkeness, bad timing and bad luck. Left Of The Dial is one of their ragged anthems, a tribute to where on your radio tuner you need to go to find more interesting sounds.
Left Of The Dial
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
This song by The Box Tops was a big hit in 1967. Written by Wayne Carson Thompson it's a perfect little 60s number, less than two minutes long, and with a great organ break and aeroplane sound effects during the middle eight. It's astonishing too that Alex Chilton was only sixteen years old when he recorded the vocal. He sounds so much older. One of those songs that seem to be linked permanently with footage of helicopters and Vietnamese jungle.
Monday, 20 April 2015
There will always be room in my life for at least two Soul II Soul records. Back To Life is where British soul met house music and went to the top of the charts. It sounds as much like 1989 as anything else from that year. The video is seductive too, the lighting on the steps, the richness of the colours, the roof top party, the sense of inclusiveness.
The other is Get A Life from 1990, which I love as much now as I did then. It has a slightly tougher, reggae feel, plus those superb strings. Jazzie B's vocals combined with the kids chanting 'What's the meaning, what's the meaning of life?' work brilliantly and you cannot beat the drop at 2.13, followed by Jazzie's conclusion- 'so there it is, work it out for yourself... be selective, be objective, be an asset to the collective...'. Good advice in general I think.
Get A Life (12" Mix)
Sunday, 19 April 2015
Yesterday was quite eventful in its own way. I didn't get up early and go to queue up outside Piccadilly Records for Record Shop Day. I went for a bike ride and managed 45km in the sunshine. Very nice. Then at about 2.00 pm I went into town and popped into Piccadilly Records where I got the Andrew Weatherall remix of Noel Gallagher's In The Heat Of The Moment and the Timothy J Fairplay and Scott Fraser remixes of Finitribe's 101 (on bright orange vinyl), both of which I wanted. The 7" single of Johnny Marr's cover of Depeche Mode's I Feel You had long since sold out.
In a way I wasn't too bothered. I expected it would be sold out and I'm not sure I like it that much anyway. The mechanical guitar riff is good but I was never very fond of the stadium rock Depeche Mode and don't especially like the song.
Looking at the list of releases for Record Shop Day 2015 it looked to me like at least half of them were re-issues, in some cases of albums which really don't need re-issuing as they're widely available anyway. Stuff that is actually new was in a minority. Piccadilly records was extremely busy, large numbers of young folk, make and female. I hope they keep buying records and that this isn't just a retro-fad.
Tim Burgess of The Charlatans was in the record shop, just hanging about. He was interviewed by Sky News roving vinyl news team and was due to dj in store at 5. A few people asked for pictures and autographs. I browsed a little bit and then went for a cup of tea at the Manchester Coffee Co. just down Oldham Street towards Piccadilly Gardens. As I ordered my brew I noticed Tim having a coffee at the back and ten minutes later as he left we had a chat- about me seeing The Charlatans at The Albert Halls a few weeks back, me seeing them in 1989 ('wow' he said, 'long time ago'), Record Shop Day and my purchases, and the fact that he was djing while United play Chelsea (we lost, one-nil. Weakened team due to injuries, away from home, played fairly well, not too disappointed). I have to say, he seemed like a lovely fella.
This is from The Charlatans recent Modern Nature lp. If you haven't got it, you're missing out.
Lot To Say
By the time I wanted to go home the tram system southbound was down so I had to get a bus. A bus. I haven't been on a service bus for years.
This is a Charlatans single from 2008, when no-one was interested anymore. Oh Vanity is Time Is Tight crossed with New Order and there's nowt wrong with that.
Saturday, 18 April 2015
The last time I posted an Andrew Weatherall radio show for NTS it cost at least one of my readers a little money. Wallet out and bank details at the ready Swede- he's back.
I found this graffiti on a door near Kidwelly castle last week. Excellent work I think you'll agree.
This is some early Jamaican ska from 1959 by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, an instrumental with a nagging horn riff. Apparently Byron Lee had brought back an electric organ and a Fender bass from a trip to the USA and used them on this single- neither instrument had been seen before in Jamaica. It's about this time that Jamaican musicians made the move from imitating American r'n'b to creating something uniquely homegrown.
Friday, 17 April 2015
Another of my South Wales sunset photographs- it's amazing what you can do with a mobile phone isn't it? This was the stuff of science fiction when we were kids.
I heard this again the other day, playing through a tinny speaker as I passed a doorway. It sounded wonderful.
Love Is a Wonderful Colour (12" Mix)
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Browsing one of the shelves holding cds the other night I pulled out the only two I own by New York's Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The first was the five track self titled ep, their debut release, from back in 2001. I loved (and still do) the final song Our Time, a raw and rough, spine tingling song setting Karen O's vocal against Nick Zinner's gut wrenching guitar...'It's the year to be hated...' she sings, 'this is our time'. And it sounded like she meant it.
A year or so later they released their first album- Fever To Tell. It is the only other thing I bought by them. Looking at the track listing I can't remember too much about any of the songs apart from the single Maps which went onto win awards and gets placed in lists in magazines and all sorts. And it deserves it.
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
I heard a new song from Red Snapper on the radio last week, on 6 music. I didn't even know Red Snapper were still going but I always liked their jazz-tinged techno/techno-tinged jazz. This song, Wonky Bikes, is off an album from last year (Hyena) and is being released around now as a single- hence, no download. Live sounding and direct, not too jazzy, not too techno either.
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
I read Kim Gordon's memoir Girl In A Band last week and very good it was too. The book divides into three main parts: her upbringing in California and her entry onto the world of art in the late 60s and early 70s; her move to New York and the best part of three decades spent in Sonic Youth and married to Thurston Moore; the bringing up a young family of her own while being part of an experimental guitar band and the effects of Thurston Moore's affair and the break up of her marriage. The entire book is cut through with a sense of loss and questioning, as the ramifications of Thurston's actions lead her to re-assess most of what went before. The breakdown of the marriage clearly brings the band to an end- more loss. Her childhood also contained the loss of a brother to mental illness and she constantly questions her relationships- with men, with art, with life. The chapters are often brief but full of insight, a series of postcards from her life. By the 90s the book also brings in a wide supporting cast, including Kurt Cobain (more loss), the New York art and fashion worlds, the gentrification of the city (loss again), Beck, and The Beastie Boys. It's sad in parts, angry and furious in places too, moving but uplifting too as a new Kim emerges at the end. It's a thoroughly affecting read and another first rate female rock autobiography from the last couple of years to hold up alongside Viv Albertine's and Tracey Thorn's books.
Sonic Youth moved from indie to major in the 1990s, having seen the pitfalls of The Replacements and Husker Du doing the same in the 80s and wanted to avoid making the same mistakes. Their output didn't really suffer- Goo (on Geffen) stands up strongly, close to Daydream Nation and their 80s indie-punk classics. Dirty Boots, Kool Thing and Bull In The Heather are all just as good as Teenage Riot (well, almost as good as Teenage Riot), Expressway To Yr Skull and Death Valley '69. They were just recorded in bigger, more expensive studios.
Death Valley '69
Monday, 13 April 2015
The National Grid have recently announced a new design of electricity pylon, following a competition- a T shaped one, like almost every other European country has. I even overheard some people discussing it in a pub recently. The common view on the news has been that the old 'hulk' style pylon that we've had for decades are unlovely and unloved, but I have to say I like them. Obviously there are some rural views that are spoiled by them but I like the way they seem to march across the countryside.
I heard this song on BBC 6 Music last week, Sad Robot by Nick Warren and Guy Mantzur and enjoyed it, a fine piece of electronic music- robotic bassline, lots of whooshes and rushes, disembodied and chopped up voices. This is what they call progressive house.
Sunday, 12 April 2015
There's all this politics in the air at the moment- a lot of unpleasant right wing posturing going on. Let Alabama 3 soundtrack your Sunday morning politics with some revolutionary Marxism set to an acid house beat. Storming stuff, at the barricades or on the dancefloor.
Mao Tse Tung Said (Radio K Mix)
I'm not advocating freedom coming from the barrel of a gun- but we've got to get rid of these Tories.
The picture came from marxistleninist.wordpress.com, a revolutionary Communist website. Is a picture of a pretty girl reading the little red book counter-revolutionary?
Saturday, 11 April 2015
For those of you in need of some Weatherall related goodness on an April Saturday night, here is a two hour live set- Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston- playing on the Isle of Skye last weekend. Contains didgeridoo from the outset.
We got back from South Wales last night, after a nine hour trek, including three hours parked on the M6 between junctions 14 and 15 due to a crash further up. There were car loads of people standing around on the hard shoulder.
South Wales, the Carmarthen Bay area where we stayed, is beautiful. We got the weather, several lovely beaches and some amazing sunsets. Kidwelly castle, Tenby. No wifi, no 3G.
This is by Justin Robertson's 90s dance act Lionrock, pulled randomly from the hard drive.
Rude Boy Rock
Friday, 3 April 2015
When I posted the Underworld remix of Orbital's Lush recently I asked if there had ever been a compilation of Underworld's remixes of other artists. Ctel from Acid Ted suggested eight remixes by Underworld that could make up such a compilation. Eight would be the maximum you could fit on a single cd- almost all of Underworld's remixes are ten minutes long. Seemingly it is Darren Emerson's stock period of time and it enables these tracks to work their magic slowly and build up a head of steam. This one, a remix of Sound System by The Drum Club in 1993, was one of Ctel's choices. It's a beauty. It's a cliche to say that an Underworld track sounds like train but this one does, a train that whooshes through your head, made of techno and E.
Sound System (Underworld Remix)
Apologies for the lo-fi quality of this mp3. You'll have to turn it up.
For the record the others Ctel went for were Underworld's remixes of Mental Generation's Cafe Del Mar, The Chemical Brothers' Leave Home, Happiness by Front 242, Dreadzone's Zion Youth (posted here a while ago) and Human Behaviour by Bjork. We discussed the Shakespear's Sister Black Sky remix. I'd stick the One Dove one in too.
That's yer lot for the next seven days. We are off to South Wales for a week's holiday. Amongst the usual holiday stuff I'm contemplating a visit to Cardiff to visit the UK's oldest record shop (Spillers). Have a good Easter everyone.
Thursday, 2 April 2015
Downstairs in the room where the records are I've been playing Ultramarine, Orbital, The The, That Petrol Emotion, Dot Allison, Joy Division and New Order and The Wedding Present recently. That's probably obvious from what I've been posting. In the car and on the move I've been listening to three new albums- Moon Duo, Mugwump and LoneLady, which have all worked well shuffled up together.
LoneLady's been getting some press and rightly so. Her second album Hinterland has just come out (on Warp) and is a funky affair- early 80s Manchester sounds and tone (New Order, ACR, Factory, empty nights at Hacienda before anyone went), some skittering guitars and a love of concrete. She's from Manchester and some of this record feels like a walk around underneath the Mancunian Way at dusk. Austere but with a lightness of touch too.
This is the video for Bunkerpop, filmed in a concrete World War II bunker near Hull. I can almost smell it.
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
No April Fool's stuff here. Since posting Big Decision the other week I've spent a bit of time re-listening to That Petrol Emotion. I've enjoyed two different parts- the mid 80s, clanging guitars TPE of Manic Pop Thrill and Babble and the remixed TPE of 1990-91. V2 was a single in 1985. The sleeve detailed the abuses of female prisoners in Northern Ireland's prisons. The record is angry and clamorous, squally guitars and drums almost drowning out Steve Mack's vocals. There are screams and fury building up to an abrupt ending.
Around the time the 80s became the 90s they underwent some line up changes and started working with producer Scott Litt, known for producing R.E.M. Probably not coincidentally they started getting the acoustic guitars out, slowed things down and sounded a little like R.E.M. Their records from this time are redeemed by the remixes, including Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley's work on Abandon (Boys Own Mix) retaining the anger and energy of the mid 80s and adding the 90s club .
Abandon (Boys Own Mix)
I remember there was a Weatherall interview where he said a band (and I'm sure he was referring to TPE) had been suspicious of the whole remixing lark and left a guitarist sitting in the studio while Weatherall did the remix, to ensure he didn't completely get rid of the guitars.