Saturday, 23 July 2016
A quick turn around and I'm off again, with the family this time, down to the Dordogne in South West France for the next couple of weeks, stopping off in the Loire for three nights on the way back. It's looking good.
I'll leave you with a couple of songs to speed us on our way and to keep you happy. Rikki Turner's new band The Hurt released a cracking song a few months back, the moody and epic Berlin. The new one is a cover of Nico's One More Chance and is a stately throb.
The new Hardway Bros ep Pleasure Cry is one of my records of the year thus far. This song, Argonaut, was written specifically by Sean Johnston to be played on the boat at Croatia's Electric Elephant Festival. It starts off like Weatherall's mix of Come Together and then heads off into the sunset putting its arms around you and doing a little dance.
And just so's there's some screaming guitars and drawled vocals here's J Mascis and The Fog covering Teenage Fanclub's Everything Flows with Mike Watt on bass. It then diverts into Pavement's Range Life and The Ruts' In A Rut. Is it any good? Of course it is. It is seven minutes of good.
See you in August.
Friday, 22 July 2016
I got back last night, home again after a week away with sixty nine 15-18 year olds, who due to their teenage nature got into one or two scrapes in The Netherlands, Belgium and France but who all had I think a fantastic time. For many of them seeing the battlefields and cemeteries of the Ypres Salient and The Somme was a pretty profound and interesting experience. The weather was amazing. I believe you've had some sun in Blighty too. The temperature gauge on the pharmacy in Poperinge read 36 degrees on Tuesday. Very very hot.
I was saddened to hear of the death of Suicide's Alan Vega. Suicide were a genuinely groundbreaking punk synth duo who fried the heads of punks in the UK when they supported The Clash. This is as good as anything they did- and as good as anything most other people do too.
Keep Your Dreams
Friday, 15 July 2016
The Swede posted Lee Hazlewood yesterday, a fantastic cover version by Leicester's Children Of Leir. Go there first yeah?
I'm going away today, to Europe by bus with sixty-eight secondary school children. Amsterdam, Belgium, the battlefields around Ypres and staying two nights in a chateau. I will be back next Thursday night. See y'all then.
Lee sings this with the lovely Ann Margret (pictured above), a cowboy lament to the loneliest place in the world.
Greyhound Bus Depot
Thursday, 14 July 2016
In the film 24 Hour Party People Steve Coogan's Tony Wilson has a conversation with God, at the end of the film on the roof of the Hacienda the night it closed down. God assures Wilson that what he's done is going to go down in legend but that it's a pity he didn't sign The Smiths. God also tells him he was right about Mick Hucknall ('His music's rubbish'). Wilson finishes the conversation by saying that The Durutti Column make very good chill out music. Which they do- but there's something about Vini Reilly's music that lifts it above the realm of the chill out, there's some real emotional heft to his songs- happiness, sadness, loss, tragedy, melancholy, ecstasy (both kinds). Vini is often dismissive of his music calling it 'trash... with the odd spark occasionally that seems to work... by accident. I never know whether it's any good or not'.
On his 1990 album Vini worked with the new technology available, programmed beats largely rather than Bruce Mitchell's live drums, sequencers and synths and with less guitar than previously. The album is a triumph, showing Vini's ability to make great, inventive and moving instrumental music. This song is one of my favourites from it. I've been trying to narrow down Durutti Column's work to ten songs, partly with one of The Vinyl Villain's imaginary compilation albums in mind, but it's proving difficult.
Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Slab were Nina Walsh (Sabrettes label boss and currently one half of the Woodleigh Research Facility alongside Andrew Weatherall) and The Drum Club's Lol Hammond. In the mid 90s they made a handful of techno records, often quite banging, in-your-face style techno. Their track Atomsmasher was remixed by Weatherall into a stripped back number with bleeps and bloops. It is equally laid back and intense, if that's possible.
Weathersmasher (Atomsmasher Andrew Weatherall Remix)
Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Dreadzone's 1993 single Fight The Power was a timely piece of protest against the Criminal Justice Bill. It's peppered with sampled speech, a vocal snatch borrowed from the Beastie Boys too, a pumping keyboard riff and bouncing bassline and it doesn't sound any less relevant today- it's just the specific target has changed. Amusingly the person who added the captions for MTV had them down as Deadzone.
Fight The Power '95
Monday, 11 July 2016
This is one of those singles that pretty much got away but remains alive due to the efforts of middle aged bloggers like me. Johnny Boy were a London/Liverpool two piece working with loops and guitars. They released this single in 2004, single of the month in Jockey Slut (the final print issue which is where I heard about it) and it got to number 50 in the charts. It rides in on Phil Spector's drums and tambourines, adds a sheet of guitars, an anti-consumerist message and ends up chucking in a chantalong finale and a wall of noise. It rushes by and then stops dead. It should have been massive. The follow up album was decent but didn't have anything to compare to this. Yeah yeah.
You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve
Sunday, 10 July 2016
In 1996 I bought Prince Far I's Cry Tough Dub Encounter Chapter 3, a dive further into dub. It was a re-issue of an early 80s release, full of deep basslines and space and sound FX, mixed by Dub Syndicate (Adrian Sherwood). I found it again recently when rifling through my records, having largely forgotten about it. The Voice of Thunder, as he styled himself, is in full effect on this album. Good stuff for a Sunday morning in July.
'Prince Far I come shake the nation, Prince Far I come tell it to the young generation'
Shake The Nation
Saturday, 9 July 2016
A bonus post for Saturday night, just because. Lots of people I know are off to Castlefield tonight to watch New Order. I hope they have a great time. I'm not going (wife is away overnight so I'm here with the kids) and I'm not getting into the whole debate I've spent some time having with different people about the current incarnation of the group.
In 1985 New Order released Lowlife, one of their many, many 80s peaks. On it, opening side two, was an instrumental called Elegia, a tribute to Ian Curtis. The version on the album was under five minutes. When the Retro boxed set came out in 2002 the bonus fifth disc contained the full length seventeen minute version. It is very beautiful and very long. And here it is...
Elegia (Full Length Version)
Things at work are quite intense at the moment and the time to do them seems to be running out rapidly, the weekends are full, and the time to just sit and do little is short. Sometimes you just need to listen to a track like this, beautifully melodic techno from Orbital, originally released on the III ep back in 1991...
Friday, 8 July 2016
Pete Wylie has a version of The Mighty Wah! back out on the road with a handful of gigs this month and bunch more in November. It is a blogging requirement by constitution and tradition that The Story Of The Blues is posted by music blogs at least once annually. I've posted it before and a very smart re-edit version which some of you enjoyed a lot. In a break with expectation instead I'm posting another 12" Wylie epic from 1984.
Come Back (The Story Of The Reds) and The Devil In Miss Jones (Combined and Extended)
Thursday, 7 July 2016
I've discovered there's another early 1990s Weatherall remix I've never covered before to follow that Meat Beat Manifesto one from a few weeks ago. This one came out in 1990, a remix of a song by Word Of Mouth featuring Linda Love, seemingly a one-off project written and produced by Paul Sadler. Crunchy breakbeat, parping bassline, stabs of guitar and Linda's vox make for a good 'un. As she sings, 'what it is, what it is'. As for our guiding light's shirt, garland and fan combination- it is what it is.
What It Is (Ain't Losin' Control) (The Big Bottom End Mix)
Wednesday, 6 July 2016
Over half way through 2016 and the Pete Astor album- Spilt Milk- from back at the start of the year is still sounding really good. This one opens the record, has that Velvets chord change and guitar tone going on and but I think it's Pete's vocal delivery, his phrasing, that really makes it. If you haven't got a copy yet, you should consider it.
Tuesday, 5 July 2016
I don't know who Paprika Kinski is and the internet doesn't give much away but this song I found last night is a total delight. It's French sounding, psyche influenced, with motorik drums and covered in a dreamy pop coating. Tres bien.
Monday, 4 July 2016
I came across these two clips at the weekend, Joe Strummer and Latino Rockabilly war playing a benefit gig in Notting Hill in 1988. The film was recently re-discovered by the cameraman who was part of a community video group at the time. The quality isn't perfect- the bass in the first clip sounds like a repeating fart-but they're worth watching. First up is Joe and the band covering Big Audio Dynamite's V Thirteen, a song Joe and Mick Jones co-wrote. Joe giving it plenty with the riffing arm. If The Clash had survived intact after Combat Rock this is a pointer as to where they might have gone.
The other one is this version of Straight To Hell, taken down a notch or two but no less intense. Zander Schloss's guitar playing is a little over complicated but this is nicely done.
Sunday, 3 July 2016
I rediscovered this tune recently, a massive piece of sultry, dirty electronic soul, from around the year 2000. It was huge at Electric Chair, the Unabombers' night in Manchester around that time. Turn Out The Lights is a cover of a song by Larry Young's Fuel from 1975 or thereabouts. Let the Moogs run riot.
Turn Off The Lights
Saturday, 2 July 2016
I've posted this before but thought it might be worth looking at again. Bernard Sumner's got a very distinctive voice, not a great voice maybe, but it's very recognisable. He's popped up on guest vocals in various places, with 808 State and The Chemical Brothers most famously. In 1997 he sang on a song with Sub Sub, not long before they mutated into Doves. The song- This Time I'm Not Wrong- came out on 12", the last release ever on Rob's Records (Rob Gretton's label, New Order manager). It sounds much more like Doves than Sub Sub and when their studio/rehearsal room burned down the Williams bros and Jimi Goodwin took it as a sign to move on. Listening to this, it's pretty clearly where early Doves song Catch The Sun came from.
This Time I'm Not Wrong
The 12" also has an early version of Firesuite.
Friday, 1 July 2016
My friends in the Midlands Echolocation have a new album out, Empire, Blood And Bones, available now at Bandcamp. They used to claim they were 'the most hated band in Leicester' but have gone a step further by now styling themselves, a little iffily, as 'the provisional wing of the Leicester music scene'. Over guitar, drums and bass, plus trumpets and flugelhorn, keys, cello, fiddle and whatever else is lying around the practice room, front man Pete tells tales of existential doubt, life and work in the retail sector and socio-political unease.
My current favourite is second song the post-punky Barking Up The Wrong Tree- opening with a sequel of feedback and a driving beat Pete sings his discontent as piano and guitars build. A trumpet mourns during the chorus. Following the band members on social media gives further insight into their likes (Bury F.C. and Leicester City, Jeremy Corbyn, Nick Cave, Belgian beer, Wussy) and dislikes (Cristiano Ronaldo, the BBC, Adele, Glastonbury, Donald Trump). Opinionated bassist pictured above.