Monday, November 29, 2004

Some Classic Future Sound Of London

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Ah, the good old days. Future Sound Of London had a good run during the '90s, creating mesmerizing, ambient electronica. They let their experimental side rule, and often the results were smoking, although it could get a bit pretentious. They went from their early days of straight up electro house to crazy, noise filled ambience mixed with fat breakbeats. Then they decided to go off of their rockers and become a hippy prog rock band. For me the magic was gone. These are some of my fave FSOL moments.

Papua New Guinea (Original 12" Version) (from the Papua New Guinea CD single issued in 1996). An absloute classic dance tune.

The Far Out Son Of Lung And The Ramblings Of A Madman (from 1995's ISDN).

Snake Hips (from 1995's ISDN)

We Have Explosive (Radio Edit) (from 1997's We Have Explosive CD single). Crushingly huge.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

An Iffy Three Pack

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Minneapolis trio Iffy were born out of the ashes of long time local favorite band Run Westy Run. Where Run Westy was indie rock, Iffy are a slick pop-rock-funk act. They released their debut LP Biota Bonda back in 2001, and I was instantly snagged by it. I found it's combination of super catchy, melodic songs, fat beats of both the hip hop and disco kind and rockin' guitars to be irresistible, and felt like they would make a splash with it. It reminded be a bit of Beck, albeit less "arty" and more soulful. The record barely made an impression on most people and I was very disappointed that the band's label didn't do a better job of promoting it. The band have been working on a follow up for a couple of years now, but there is no release scheduled yet - maybe sometime next year.

Some of you who live in the US may have heard the tune Superbad Girl coming out of your TV recently - it's being used in a K-Mart commercial. A supremely funky bass riff, bumpin' disco beats, wacka-wacka guitars and a sweet melody made this tune an instant standout on the album - guaranteed to get you moving.

Double Dutch is a great pop song. It's got a sunny chorus, funky vibes, and is full of all kinds of little psychedelic details - listen to it on your headphones for full effect. This song should've been a hit.

Orignal Green Light is a killer '70s funk flavored slow jam. Deep bass, lots of watery keys and guitars, and a bit of cool trumpet towards the end. Sweet and soulful.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Funky Friday - We Wanna Talk To You

No time to write much today, so simply enjoy this extremely funky tune from 2003's Later That Day... by Lyrics Born - Cold Call. A laid back groover with a sense of humor.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Swell Maps

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A couple of weeks ago I picked up the Swell Maps career retrospective International Rescue. I had never heard any of it before - it was an impulse buy. Formed in the early '70s by Nikki Sudden and Epic Soundtracks, they created a shambolic rock music that has been described as post punk, but is really pre-punk punk, if that makes any sense. It really reminds me a lot of the Buzzcocks - as writer Paul Morley commented in the NME in 1979, they "play restless, relentless music which, in attack if not in sound, comes close to that irregularly economic and parched Buzzcocks period just after Devoto's departure." It's pretty spot on, and you can hear their influence on bands like The Libertines today. I am really enjoying this record - it rocks and it's sharp and catchy, and it makes me want to hear the albums proper. Enjoy these...

Real Shocks

New York

More on the band here and here.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Genius Poet Twat

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It took me two years but I finally got around to seeing the brilliant Tony Wilson (the "twat") / Factory Records biopic 24 Hour Party People over the weekend. The movie captures the insanity of it all very well - the drugs, the excessiveness, the Peter Saville "art" of it all. It's such a great era in music history, and IMO the flick does a great job of capturing the whole mood. My enthusiasm for the movie carried over to work today where I played the soundtrack CD - it's such a good one! The film is split into two halves - the first half is mostly about Ian Curtis (the "genius") and Joy Division's rise and fall - so here's the mighty She's Lost Control. The second half of the picture focuses on the Happy Mondays (Shaun Ryder, the "poet") and how their lavish spending on drugs and studio time did the label in - the track that helped spawn "Madchester" was Hallelujah, here remixed most gloriously by Andrew Weatherall, Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osbourne. If you're one of the few peeps out there who haven't seen the movie by now, I heartily recommend it and the soundtrack.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Funky Friday's Gloomy Soundtrack

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Massive Attack have applied their dense, moody soundscapes to the upcoming Jet Li flick Danny The Dog.The soundtrack is instrumental, and if you have liked the last couple of Massive LPs then you will probably enjoy this album's mix of string filled atmospherics, metallic beats and beefy guitar riffs - it sounds very much like those last few records. One Thought At a Time is a very hard hitting spy movie theme with some nice harpsichord sounds. I Am Home is a more typically Massive hip hop cut, although it is still pretty hard hitting. Good stuff for this rainy, gray day...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Who Lives In A Pineapple Under The Sea?

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My daughter and I are all geeked up for the big opening weekend of the Spongebob movie. Being the good Dad that I am, I also picked up the soundtrack album which includes music from The Shins, Motorhead (!), Wilco, and Ween - it's a pretty indie-tastic set of tunes, most of which were written especially for the movie. Pitchfork panned it, but I have to admit that after only one listen I would disagree. It had me and my co-workers very entertained this afternoon. Here are a couple of tunes of note -

The Flaming Lips - Spongebob & Patrick Confront The Psychic Wall Of Energy - a pretty typically whimsical Lips tune.

Prince Paul, The Waikikis & Wordsworth - Prince Paul's Bubble Party - one of two hip hop cuts on the album. If you watch the show you know that bubble blowing is one of THE ways to kill time for these lads - this song features dialogue from the classic "bubble blowing technique" episode, where Spongebob teaches Patrick & Squidward how to blow truly artistic bubbles. "Bring it around town!"

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Can - Monster Movie

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Mute Records is remastering and reissuing the back catalogue of seminal Krautrockers Can, beginning with first album, 1969's Monster Movie. The band members were from all kinds of different backgrounds - Irmin Schmidt and Holger Czukay from the academic world of New Music, drummer Jaki Liebezeit from the free jazz scene, guitarist Michael Karoli was the rocker and African American singer Malcolm Mooney was a sculptor evading the draft in Paris. Together they created a bold new rock, mixing classic rock and pop elements with wild experimentation in the studio and electronic trickery, all laid over fantastic grooves. Outside My Door is a bluesy rocker that features the fine rantings of vocalist Mooney and the blazing guitars of Karoli. Great stuff, and I look forwarad to picking up the rest of these albums as they come out!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

A Certain Ratio Versus Fila Brazillia

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Back in 2003 Fila Brazillia got the chance to produce and remix some A Certain Ratio tunes. A three track EP was the result. Wild Party is remix of an old Factory Records single from 1985. The Fila boys smooth it out, giving it some bouncy new beats and spacy keys. I love ACR's mutant disco and funk - that spirit lives on in Fila Brazillia's music, and I feel their two styles blend very nicely on this tune.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Funky Friday Is Casual Friday

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The ever excellent NYC label DFA Records has just released Compilation #2. It's a 3 CD set with two unmixed discs and one mixed disc (mixed by Tim Sweeney and Tim Goldsworthy). It includes most of the vinyl 12" releases from the last year or two, some B sides and some unreleased stuff. As always, it's great - unrelenting disco beats, spiky guitars and enough experimentation to keep things interesting. Black Leotard Front's Casual Friday is a crazed 15 minutes of disco - yes, fifteen minutes. A stellar groove, reminiscent of Playgroup, it builds up, breaks down, spaces out and features some amusingly sexy lyrics, repeated over and over again. It's fabulously funky and weird and arty all at the same time. Fantastic!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Pallas Athena

Thanks to Fons in Rotterdam I now own two of David Bowie's singles from his Black Tie White Noise album. I have always enjoyed that record, and these singles for "Jump They Say" and the title track are pretty fun. The mixes are what make them interesting - particularly the remixes by Leftfield and Meat Beat Manifesto. I have always been a fan of Jack Dangers' music - it hasn't really changed much over the years, but for some reason I love it. His remix of Pallas Athena has all of the classic MBM elements - the booming "god" sample at the beginning, the chunky polyrhythms, the dub elements, the chanting. It takes a so-so instrumental into booming dub selector territory. A killer groove.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

A Handful Of Covers

The Soft Pink Truth's cover of Minor Threat's Out Of Step is from their new LP Do You Want New Wave Do You Want The Soft Pink Truth? - all covers of classic hardcore songs by folks like Crass, The Angry Samoans, Die Kreuzen and The Swell Maps. Done up in Drew Daniel's usual quirky glitch house style, and in this case with the lovely vocals of Dani Siciliano.

The Damned do a unrelenting take on the Beatles classic Help! - a minute and 42 seconds of nonstop riffing and frantic pacing. Excellent.

Wondermints do Abba's Knowing Me Knowing You - they take it from saccharine pop song to midtempo rocker, filled with loads of cool guitars, and it works amazingly well.

Japan do the classic Velvet Underground song All Tomorrow's Parties (12" Version). Sylvian croons, Rob Dean's guitars are nicely strangled, Mick Karn's unique fretless bass and sax and some nice electronic atmosphere over Steve Jansen's propulsive beat all add up to one of my personal fave cover tunes ever.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Funky Friday - Hiding The Truth And Rights

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Thievery Corporation released a new EP this week called Babylon Rewound. It's a bunch of remixes from their last album, done by themselves, Kid Loco and Voidd. It also includes a previously unreleased tune, Truth And Rights. It's a typically nice dub and hip hop blend with guest vocalist Sleepywonder toasting. Lyrically it relates directly to this week's election in the US - "The prostitutes gather at the top of Constitution Avenue to dictate what I can say or do", or "They keep hiding the truth and rights but we gonna find it, the forked tongues the blue bloods cold hearts they're the ones who design it". Beats to move your feet with words to make you think - a perfect combination.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Vintage Funk Sound Of Connie Price & The Keystones

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Today's tune is a sweet slab of funk called Double Dutch, brought to you by LA funk revivalists Connie Price & The Keystones. It has some cool wah-wah guitar, honking sax and some spooky keyboards all riding a tight, funky drummer beat. Their debut LP Wildflowers is out now on Now-Again/Stones Throw Records and is a very nice mix of funk and soul, jazz, reggae and Afrobeat and cinematic soundtrack stuff. If you're familiar with The Breakestra you'll dig this - band leader Dan Ubick was part of that group, as well as having contributed to records by Macy Gray and Madlib. The record is instrumental save for one cut, and it's all good. I had heard nothing about this record, and when I was in my local music emporium on Tuesday they were playing it - I was sold. Feel the funk.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Music Bloggers For Democracy

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From two albums released during Papa Bush's administration in the early '90s - the words ring true today.

The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy - Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury

Consolidated - Friendly Fascism

Consolidated - Brutal Equation


Monday, November 01, 2004

Music Bloggers For Democracy

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Paris - What Would You Do

Faithless - Mass Destruction

Sonic Youth - Peace Attack

Visit The Big Ticket for a list of other music blogs participating.