Friday, March 31, 2006

Funky Friday By Special Request

I had nothing in particular planned for today, so I'm taking this opportunity to take care of a couple of special requests...

Loose Ends - Hangin' On A String (Contemplating)
This sublime slice of mid '80s Britfunk goes out to Greg who lost his copy of the tune in a hard drive disaster. This is one of those tunes that you should never be without - great programmed beats, killer guitar and a sweet melody make this the closest that any of the Brit funking bands of the era ever got to Jam & Lewis greatness.

Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Maladie D'Amour
Last Friday I did a mutant disco/No Wave post. Loki commented "love that Mutant Disco comp... 'maladie d'amour' has my favourite squirrel lyric copy is nastily warped and waved..any chance you could post 'maladie' in shining metallic mp3 form?" Anybody who likes a song due to lyrical content referring to squirrels deserves to have their wish come true. Plus it is an awfully good tune to boot...

Queen - Another One Bites The Dust
Just because I am really feeling it. Really.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I heart Stereo Total. A duo comprised of the glamorously monickered singer Françoise Cactus and her musical partner Brezel Göring, they are a glorious mash up of styles and sounds and looks. One minute they are rocking like punks, the next it's cheesy Casiotone electro followed by cheap disco followed by rockabilly followed by synthpop. Sometimes all of it collides in one song. It's a heady brew sung in French, German and English. They also have impeccable taste in covers, rendering the classics their own. Songs by the Beatles, Stones and especially VU have all been done, usually to brilliant effect. They've recorded a bunch of records since their genesis in the early '90s, and this week I finally got my hands on the latest, Discotheque. Released in January, it's a collection of remixes, b-sides and rarities. It's great as usual. There is a bitching cover of the Stones' Mother's Little Helper. There is a nice and dubby four piece set of remixes by Mad Professor and some groovy dance remixes by Justus Köhncke, Echokrank and Thieves Like Us. I am really digging the robotic moves of Troglodyten (Munk Edit). It's a great blippy remix full of cool synth sounds, and features some pretty stompin' beats too. Great stuff as always...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Empires And Dance

I began the day excited. It's new release Tuesday, and I would be making my music geek way to the record store to pick up a remastered and expanded resissue of My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, the seminal record by Brian Eno and David Byrne. However, due to the dastardly deeds of Nonesuch Records, that did not happen. The release was pushed back until next week. I was a bit peeved - I wrote yesterday about it coming out today and I hinted at the possibility of a post, and I was geeked up for it. Oh well. I picked up a remastered copy of the Simple Minds' 1980 LP Empires And Dance instead. Damn it sounds great. This album has all that was good about this band - the hard edged rock guitars, the trance-y rhythms, chunky basslines and plenty of ambient synth action. I Travel's rhythm feels like a speeding train and I like the shards of guitar, the blippy keys and the killer disco chorus. Nice blazing geetar solo too. This Fear Of Gods begins with simple key arpeggios, and slowly builds up into a spaced out groover with all kinds of atmospheric texture. It's nice to finally have a copy of this on CD. And next in two weeks we'll have the Byrne and Eno, unless it gets pushed back again...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mystery Walk

Canadian combo Martha & The Muffins travelled kind of a parallel career trajectory to their American peers the Talking Heads - only without the big chart successes and legendary status. They began as a band in 1977, a bunch of art students and friends, six strong. By '79 they were gigging in NYC where they were noticed by a Virgin Records rep who signed them to a deal. One year later they had an international hit with Echo Beach, a memorable slice of new wave. The success caused some friction, and the band lost two of it's original members. They then added a bass player named Jocelyne Lanois, who had musically inclined brothers named Bob and Daniel. Daniel Lanois became this band's Brian Eno, to whom he was an understudy of sorts. The band recorded a couple of albums (This Is The Ice Age - my favorite - and Danseparc) before a further disassemblage occurred, and then there were two. M+M, Mark Gane and Martha Johnson. Three really, with Daniel's invaluable studio acumen shaping the sound of the duo's 1984 record Mystery Walk. Recorded in NYC with a band of studio musicians, several of whom had been involved in recording Eno and Byrne's My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (*the remastered and expanded edition of which is reissued tomorrow next Tuesday April 11th!), the album's leadoff single was the sinewy art funk Black Stations/White Stations. The song turned out to be a sizeable hit in the US, almost making it to #1 on the dance charts. The rest of the album is, IMO, much indebted to the sound of Talking Heads' Remain In Light - funky polyrhythmics, lots of ambient texture, dance beats and some fine studio playing make it a winner for me. Instead of going with the hit, which you may or may not know, I'm digging into the album and sharing three of my faves. Come Out And Dance has some tremendous bass riffage and all manner of cool studio trickery, and Martha sings alone - I really feel the spirit of Eno & Byrne here. In Between Sleep And Reason sounds more like the old Muffins. It's a dreamy pop tune built over a super tight rhythm and bass combo, with a lovely melodic streak in the vocals - Mark and Martha both sing - and some nice nice chime-y, jangly guitar. Mark sings/drones alone on Nation Of Followers. A lowkey groove, oodles of synth atmosphere and one hell of a smoking guitar solo make this one a keeper. As far as I know the only CD version available is a reissue from 2000 that pairs it with Danseparc. These recordings presented today were ripped from my LP, so enjoy the little cracks and pops - they add to the experience!

R.I.P. Swell Maps' Nikki Sudden, aged 49.

I see a Brian Eno/David Byrne My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts post in your future... ;-)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Funky Friday's Mutant Disco

Today's post is inspired by the NYC No Wave scene chapter of Mr. Reynolds' Rip It Up & Start Again. There was a booming post-punk scene in NYC that paralleled the one emerging in the UK. There are several great compilations on the shelves of your local record store that document it very well. It's been fun reading about the genesis of the movement, it's defining songs, and all of the crazy characters.

Ze Records was the most visibly successful purveyor of NYC cool. It's roster was full of the scenes biggest players & characters. Musically it was a slicker, more commercial roster of acts, ranging from the art funk of Was (Not Was) and Material to the disco of August Darnell's Kid Creole and Cristina and his sidekick Coati Mundi - feel the slick vibe and killer one-two punch of Que Pasa / Me No Pop I . The label was pivotal in reshaping the sound of James Chance, taking him from the jazz punk of The Contortions' Contort Yourself to the disco beats of James White & The Blacks' Contort Yourself. The label was also responsible for releasing a couple of my favorite NYC No Wave records - those by Lizzy Mercier Descloux. Originally in the far more raucous Rosa Yemen, she went solo and put out several records of offbeat, leftfield punk funk music. She did a bunch of cool covers too, including this beyotching version of Kool & The Gang's Funky Stuff. Reborn a few years ago, Ze Records has been steadily reissuing the back catalogue, and I recommend investigating it further!

Also worth checking out are the two compilations that the great Soul Jazz Records has compiled. Both volumes are titled New York Noise, and they are sonically a lot more adventurous than the Ze stuff. The sets range from the most severe noise experimentalists like Glenn Branca, DNA and Sonic Youth to the funkier bands like ESG, Konk, Dinosuar L and the great Bush Tetras - Can't Be Funky will have you grooving in no time. The Contortions' version of Contort Yourself above is also from Volume 1.

The most recent of these comps, Volume 2 digs a bit deeper, exposing some of the lesser known names, There are some nice funky gems to be found amid the oddities (Jim Jarmusch on keys with the Del-Byzanteens!). Black Box Disco is a track from the soundtrack to indie film Vortex. A big collaborative effort involving some of Konk, Adele Bertei, John Lurie, Pat Place and Lydia Lunch, it's a wacky, rant-y disco number. Glorious Strangers were Wharton Tiers' band. He was a producer and label boss to many of the scenesters, and Move It Time is an repetitive, edgy Talking Heads-y kind of jam. Cool shit for sure.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Post-punk In 2006

There has been a resurgence in post-punk music over the last few years. The '80s hit that 20 year anniversary mark and became the point of reference for all kinds of bands. It has spawned a spate of '80s inspired post-punkers on both sides of the pond. I love a lot of the bands for obvious reasons. Interpol, The Rapture, Franz F, Futureheads, Maximo Park, Editors, The Rakes, Bloc Party et al have channeled much that is good from that decade's legends. There are also a lot of people out here on the interweb who feel that the second wave of post-punkers have outlived their welcome, recycling riffs that are better left unplayed. I do feel that the genre has definitely been overhyped, but damn, I like the music. Take Sweden's Love Is All. Their debut LP Nine Times That Same Song is 10 tracks of hugely inspired post-punk rock. They are loud and at times shambolic. They have a shouty girl lead singer and majorly skronked out sax. They bust out the door rocking, and barely let up. Ageing Had Never Been His Friend is a stomping disco number with big hissy hi-hats, scruffy guitars, the aforementioned sax skronk, some nice floaty keys and a killer melody. The spirit of Poly Styrene and X-Ray Spex lives on. Busy Doing Nothing is more of the same, but built from cast off parts of songs by The Pop Group. That chang-chang-chang-chang-chang-chang guitar riff has me awaiting Mark Stewart's yelped "we are all prostitutes". This song has a great breakdown - love that bass riff and those glossy cymbals. A tremendously fun record.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Post-punk - A Slight Return

Win were born out of the ashes of Scottish post-punk act The Fire Engines. Formed in Edinburgh in '80 The Fire Engines had a meteoric rise that saw them signed to Fast Product, release a couple of critically well received singles and one album and then, by the end of '81 they were done. Singer Davey Henderson and drummer Russell Burn re-emerged a couple of years later as Win. A much more commercial property than his old band, Win mixed edgy post-punk riffing with slick dance beats and a much bigger production budget. I blogged these guys a couple of years ago, and there is currently a great post about Davey and his music (Fire Engines, Win, Nectarine No.9) over at The Sound Of The Suburbs.

The band's second single You've Got The Power (Chocolate Thrills Mix) was a hit with me right away. As I said the first time around, "If I had ruled the world chart domination would have ensued, but of course it didn't." It has big booming beats, some seriously funky bass and guitar, Davey's distinct voice, and a hook that is hard to resist. Shoulda been a big hit, period.

For some reason it took four years for the band to get an album released. ...Uh! Tears Baby finally appeared in '87 to good reviews, but the band were never able to break out of Scotland. I enjoy the record's mix of rock and electronics, and there is a nice streak of experimentalism at work too. Un-American Broadcasting (their first single) is an attempt at slick funk, with Davey's breathy croon kind of reminding me of The The's Matt Johnson. I love the piano riff, and the weird clattery rattling percussion sounds too. I also like the break in the middle, all spacey treated keys and wacky speak and spell vocals. Not a brilliant album, but one that deserved more attention than it got.

Win's Wikipedia page.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Last week was an orgy of post-punk, so today (and with apologies to Monty Python for the post title) I give you... Donald Fagen.

I had the great pleasure of seeing the Steely Dan singer/keyboardist/songwriter in concert on Sunday night - my lovely wife gave me the tickets for Valentine's day. (aaaawww...) Now, you have to understand that I'm a lifelong Dan fan - one of the very first records I ever bought with my own money was Aja. I am also a fan of the Fagen solo LPs to varying degrees, with his first, The Nightfly, ranking up there with some of my all time favorite records ever. I have always enjoyed the music. It is rock that sounds conventional at first, but is kind of subversive, both in lyrical content and due to the quirks of the duo's music. I have often thought to myself that I shouldn't be indulging in such slickness, but I can't resist. The melodicism is so good and the playing is always impeccable. In the early years, they rocked. There were elements of jazz - the horns, the orchestration, some of the soloing. Over the years the rock edge became dulled, the music slicker, and I still couldn't resist. Donald's third solo LP in 25 years, Morph The Cat, came out last week. It is an instant hit for me, warmer and more inviting than '93's Kamakiriad. It feels like classic Dan to me. The production is slick as always, but it's thicker and fuller sounding than even the last (admittedly not-so-great) Dan album. It's also a lot more guitar oriented than I expected - a very pleasant surprise. In concert the band is 10 strong and tight - Donald, two guitarists, a drummer, bassist Freddie Jackson (the funk meister), keyboardist, a sax player and a trumpeter, and two lovely backing vocalists. They came out and played three in a row from The Nightfly. I got a bit verklempt, because it sounded so good to hear these songs played live for the first time. They played more solo stuff, several Dan tunes (Home At Last, Pretzel Logic), a few covers (Chuck Berry's Viva Viva Rock & Roll), and "poof!", two hours were gone. And it was great. The band is smoking, capable of both precision and loose jamming. I told my wife "best Valentine's day ever." Enjoy the title track from the new album, Morph The Cat. According to D, "a vast, ghostly cat-thing descends on NYC, bestowing on it's citizens a kind of rapture." To my ears the intro sounds like something Dr.Dre would do - low key, funky and slightly menacing. It's got a killer bass groove and some tasty piano vamping and a blazing guitar solo. It's classic Fagen, and oh-so-good...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Another post-punk mix tape free for all today. Some of these songs get mentions in Simon Reynold's book and some are my personal additions to the canon. A lot of these have been posted here before so it makes it easy to share them again. Read the book, listen to the music, be highly entertained. (The compilation pictured above, Rough Trade Shops Post-Punk 01, is another good place to get hold of some great tunes from the seminal label and shop of the era.)

Magazine - The Light Pours Out Of Me - Devoto at his egocentric best, with gloriously sharp riffage.

Way Of The West - Just For White Boys - this is an obscurity from my crate of 7"s - these guys never did more than a couple of singles before disappearing. I always dug this tune, especially the weird ska break in the middle. Nice bass and guitar too.

Killing Joke - Tension - tribal art punk at it's best, with crushing beats and riffs and the demented Jaz screaming about tension. Makes me want ot headbutt something.

Shake Shake! - Shake Shake! - another obscurity, and a one off. They were studio guys (they had recorded with Virna Lindt) who, after this single, went on to record as I-Level and to work with John Foxx. These guys do the quirky, jerky new wave thing to perfection.

Shake Shake! - Yellow Ditty - b-side of that last one...

Visage - Fade To Grey (12" Version) - the classic New Romantic song. This song blew me away back in the day, and can still give me shivers today. Love it.

Set The Tone - Dance Sucker - this one is the shit. Huge dance beats, thick and chunky bass riff and spiky guitars make this an unheralded punk-funk classic.

Famous Names - Holiday Romance - another bit of oddball indie rock from the crate of 7"s, and another one single band (to the best of my knowledge).

Public Image Limited - Public Image - the death of Johnny Rotten. Hello Mr. Lydon, I recognize that sneer...

The Associates - Club Country (12" Version) - Billy Mackenzie, the voice that you either love or hate, and Alan Rankine created music unlike anything I'd heard before. It was art rock and electronics, commercial yet experimental, with Billy's operatics soaring all over the place. This is one of those tracks that thrilled me the first time I heard it, and still thrills me today.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Funky Friday Free For All

Day 5 of music from the post-punk era ('78-'84)...
I'm about half way through Simon Reynolds' book and my head is full of so many great musical memories. It is a great read, and it is extremely satisying to see the history of the music I love so much finally given a good re-telling. It has also had me going nuts with my music collection, listening to oldies with a whole new perspective. It all leads to today's post - I couldn't decide what I wanted to share so I'm going with a bunch of stuff. It's all of the era, and it's all funky in some way, even the most abstract of it. Most of these bands get namechecked in the book, some are my own additions to the discography. It's a mix tape kind of free for all - enjoy!

The Slits - In The Beginning There Was Rhythm - the lyric that provided this blog's name - nuff said.

Cabaret Voltaire - Silent Command - I remember bringing this 7" home and having my bro rib me endlessly about it, amazed that I would want to listen to something so bizarre.

The Human League - The Sound Of The Crowd (Complete 12" Version) - the first glimpse of the new look Human League, now with lovely ladies added! Stompingly good.

Dinosaur - Kiss Me Again (12" Version) - lovely No Wave art disco from Midwestern cellist Arthur Russell.

Madness - My Girl - the nutty boys delivered a much needed dose of humor to a pretty dour time. Classic Two Tone snappiness.

Devo - The Girl U Want (Black Light Odyssey Mix) - a classic bit of subversive pop music for the geeks.

The Scars - All About You - Scottish post-punkers deliver one of my favorite '80s songs ever. Wasn't a hit - shame, shame, but still sounds magnificent.

Fellini - Teu Ingles - turns out Brazil had a vibrant scene too, and last year saw a couple of comps come to light that were real eye openers. All of it is on a par with it's US and UK peers.

Throbbing Gristle - Hotheelsunited (Carter/Tutti Mix) - the grand poobahs of insane performance noise art porn visual over stimulation industrial grindcore, given a bit of a slick remix.

Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle - I heart Simple Minds' earliest stuff. This tune is a sublimely catchy slice of keyboard pop that put the band in the charts and ultimately on the road to bloated stadium rock.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ever So Lonely

Day 4 of music from the post-punk era ('78-'84)...
16 year old Sheila Chandra and her band Monsoon made a big splash on the UK charts in 1982 with their debut single Ever So Lonely. It was a dazzling combination of Western dance, rock, synthpop and a teensy weensy bit of post-punk with all things Indian. What was cool about it was the way they balanced the two worlds - the trancelike melodies and vocals of Indian classical music woven over traditional Western rock, pop and dance structures. This wasn't some cheesy attempt to make pop with Indian flavor, but rather an attempt to make Indian music for the 20th century. Intrumentalists Steve Coe and Martin Smith created a lovely blend of East and West, and Sheila's vocals straddled the two worlds too. The single was a big hit, making the top 10 in the UK. They followed it up with Shakti (The Meaning Of Within), but it only dented the top 40. The record label then forced the trio to release their cover version of the Beatles song Tomorrow Never Knows (recorded for the US version of the LP) as the next single. It flopped, and the band broke up in protest that same year. The label then released the already recorded LP Third Eye in 1983. Although musically it isn't really typically post-punk (there are a few post-punky bass riffs on the album), Ever So Lonely and the rest of the LP definitely share the spirit of the movement's willingness to try new things. This version is the LP version, so it is a lot longer than the single, featuring a nice extended instrumental passage in the middle. Still sounds pretty damn good today, too...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Silver Gun

Day 3 of music from the post-punk era ('78-'84)...
Robert Palmer would not be the first name on your lips if you were asked to name a post-punker. Musically he never wrote anything that resembled the post-punk of the era, but his willingness to experiment puts him on a par with his musical peers. In 1980 he released his album Clues, and it was the beginning of a most musically adventurous period for this established, bluesy r'n'b singer. Despite living and recording in the Bahamas he proved to have an ear for what was happening in Europe, particularly in the realm of electronic pop music and new wave. The record contains several collaborations with Gary Numan, who was part of the vanguard of the burgeoning synthpop movement. The album had (IMO) one of Robert's best tunes on it, the single Johnny & Mary, which criminally failed to make the top 40. The album was a critical success, but didn't do much in the way of sales, especially in the US. His next proper album was 1983's Pride, a further exploration of all kinds of music. The title track took in African juju and Caribbean beats, he covered NYC electro act The System's You Are In My System and even a Kool & The Gang song. It was on the b-sides from this album's singles that he really let his freak flag fly. Pride's b-side, Parade Of The Obliterators, is pummeling electronics and noise. It's the b-side of his version of Kool & The Gang's You Can Have It (Take My Heart) that is one of his greatest experiments. The Silver Gun is a sleek, electronic dance track that features sampled strings, killer sponge-y bass, scratchy guitars, Indian instrumentation, and Robert singing entirely in Urdu. It sounds horrific, but it's actually quite remarkable, with Robert pushing his voice in the style of Eastern mystics or a mullah's prayers. Of course this kind of experimentalism failed to impress the record buying youth, and ultimately led to a shift back to the mainstream, and the successes of the late '80s and early '90s - you know, The Power Station and Addicted To Love. At the time I accepted the shift to power rock with dance-y beats, but looking back it is this brief period of experimental works of the early '80s that remains my favorite.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Day 2 of music from the post-punk era ('78-'84)...
King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp released his debut solo LP Exposure in 1979. Due to his prog roots he isn't usually associated with post-punk, but IMO this album is his post-punk record - just look at that skinny tie (both he and King Crimson get mentioned in Simon Reynolds' book). It features a great lineup of musicians* and is musically all over the place - instrumental ambience, frenetic raging rock, art funk, new wave and dark electronics jostle for space. At the time it's lack of a cohesion might have been a bit much, but I was always thrilled by it's variety, and in today's mash up world it works. One of my fave thing about it is his inclusion of Daryl Hall, blue eyed soul crooner of mega hit duo Hall & Oates. Fripp had produced Daryl's solo LP Sacred Songs, and this album was originally conceived as part of a trilogy consisting of Daryl's solo album and Peter Gabriel's second album (also produced by and with contributions from Fripp). I have always been a fan of Daryl's smooth voice, and it is put to good use on two tracks on this album. The first is You Burn Me up I'm A Cigarette, a straight up rocker with manic guitars and twisted piano pounding. I love hearing Daryl's voice on something so different from Hall & Oates. He also provides the vocals on the beautiful ballad North Star. It's a gorgeously mournful tune (co-written with fellow progger Peter Hammill), awash in Frippertronics and brushed cymbals and Daryl's blue eyed swoon. While it is music made by a bunch of established/ment figures, it has a sense of experimentalism and invention that fits right in with it's post-punk peers. This LP also has a great version of Peter Gabriel's Here Comes The Flood, originally from his 1977 solo debut - it might even be better than the original.

* Barry Andrews (XTC) - keyboards, Phil Collins - drums, Brian Eno - synthesizer, Peter Gabriel - vocals & piano, Daryl Hall - vocals, Peter Hammill - vocals, Tony Levin - bass, Jerry Marotta - drums, Sid McGuinness - guitar, Terre Roche - vocals, Narada Michael Walden - drums, Joanna Walton - lyricist, J.G. Bennett - voice

Monday, March 13, 2006

Rip It Up

Last week brought the US paperback release of UK music journo Simon Reynolds' much heralded Rip It Up And Start Again. It's the story of the original post-punk movement, 1978 to 1984. I've had about a million people (all in Europe) recommend it to me based on music posts here. I lived in the UK from 1979 to 1985, and the stories told in this book are all about my music - the bands, the songs, all of it. I am enjoying it immensely of course, and I've cheated a bit already too - flipping through the index, reading pages about people and bands. This set me off on a flip through the old record collection too, and this week's posts will be music from the original post-punk era. It may be a bit clichéd but I'm starting off the week with the song that inspired the title of the book - Orange Juice's Rip It Up. It's the title track of the band's second LP, and as a single saw them have the biggest success of their career to that point. It's a delightfully catchy tune that adds a bunch of production gloss to the band's traditionally shambolic indie pop. Taking inspiration from the sound of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, the song rides a cool squelchy bass line, has lots of scratchy guitar bits and funky synth lines and features a hot sax solo too. Drummer Zeke Manyika provides a steady, mid tempo rhythm to keep it all together. A great song, and a fitting title for a book about a musical movement that really did rip it up and start again. Stay tuned for more leftfield goodness all week...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Funky Friday Goes South Of The Border

I was exposed to Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass as a young 'un. My parents has several of the LPs, and the slightly cheesy renditions of pop tunes and fun Mexican party tunes made an impression on me - breezy, "Dating Game" music full of horn-y greatness. The memorable and controversial album cover of Whipped Cream was probably what really got my attention tho' - with the naked hottie covered in whip cream. This week Whipped Cream & Other Delights Re-whipped hit stores. It is a set of remixes by Medeski, Martin & Wood, Mocean Worker, Thievery Corporation, John King (Dust Brothers), DJ Foosh, and Camara Kambon. There are also remixes by project co-ordinator Anthony Marinelli, who employs the musical services of Ozomatli (one of my fave multi-culti hip hop acts) on a couple of the tracks. I was a bit worried that this would end up being a cheesy remix set, but it turns out to be pretty entertaining. Most of these are new backing tracks with Herb and his band's horns sampled and layered over it all. Most of them are rooted in the sounds of today's hip hop and dubbed out downtempo music. In the process, most of the originals' cheese has been removed and what's left is a fairly decent set of remakes that doesn't take things too seriously. Perfect for funky Friday...

Whipped Cream (Anthony Marinelli Remix featuring Ozomatli)
Green Peppers (Anthony Marinelli Remix)

A Spot Of Corporate Whoring...
You want the fresh, new freebies and I (with some help from addVice Online) want to hook you up...

The Stills are set to release a new album. I dug their debut a lot. In The Beginning is a new song - it's a bit more roots-rocky than the new wave I expected.

Envelopes are a buzz band from Sweden. Sister In Love is a single from late last year and is a cool bit of shouty indie psych pop.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs are on the verge of putting out their sophomore LP, and their current single Gold Lion is the talk of the blog-o-mundo - and rightly so. The Diplo remix is very tasty. Watch the video, which features a deliciously soiled Karen O doing a great Siouxsie bit.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

My Time Coming, Any Day...

Aaah, the Grateful Dead. I don't really think of myself as much of a Deadhead. I like them enough - I own three or four of the albums, maybe even a booter or two stuffed away in a box somewhere. Any self respecting fan of prog, folk and psychedelic music should lend an ear, and might find something to like. I went through a period in the late '80s when most of my friends were Deadheads, so I endured many hours of having the band's music inflicted on me. I went to shows, shared the mind altering "experiences" and so on and so forth. It left me with a few of their records, a dislike for the rabid singlemindedness of some of the more zealous 'heads, respect for the band's legacy and it's fans' willingness to follow the band all (stinky) summer long. And I never got a "classic" show the 5 or 6 times I saw them. The band's studio albums have been getting the remastered and expanded treatment this year, with the latest batch hitting shelves this week. Terrapin Station from 1977 is one of my personal faves of theirs. An outside producer, Keith Olsen, was brought in for the first time in 10 years, and the resulting album is one of the most polished of the band's career. I know a few 'heads who don't dig the polish, but I love it. The album's title track is a sixteen minute suite that features full blown orchestra and choir and lots of prog-prog-prog. The killer track for me is the album's opener, Estimated Prophet. A seven beat reggae tune, it's like the Dead's "Steely Dan moment", all shiny and grooving, with lovely ladies cooing and some great sax (and and a spine shiveringly good lyricon solo) courtesy of Tom Scott. This is a great headphones track, with guitars all over the place, slick syncopation and mysterious bass. According to singer Bob Weir (and taken from The Annotated "Estimated Prophet") "he and Barlow wrote the song from the perspective of a crazy, messianic zealot, a type which one invariably encounters in Deadhead crowds now and again. As Weir explains: 'The basis of it is this guy I see at nearly every backstage door. There's always some guy who's taken a lot of dope and he's really bug-eyed, and he's having some kind of vision. He's got a rave he's got to deliver.' In Estimated Prophet, the psychopath claims 'My time comin' any day, don't worry about me,' and Weir essentially lets him rave." Love it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

You Wish

Nightmares On Wax have a new LP, In A Space Outta Sound, out today - in the US. UK peeps have to wait until March 20th. I just got it this morning and have given it the once over, once - not enough to have a proper opinion yet. Having said that, it sounds pretty much like what you'd expect from E.A.S.E. (George Evelyn) on his sixth record - lazy day, stoner dub-hop, sunny and warm, an occasional burst of disco or jazziness and lots of mellow repetition. For a lot of people the repetion is boring, but I dig the way E.A.S.E. works a loop. This record initially sounds a lot more raw and stripped down than the last couple have, and that's a good thing. The last few records have been more song oriented, and even though there are a few vocals on this, it largely moves back into the musical realm of Smoker's Delight and Carboot Soul. The dub soundsystem on the cover seems to sum up the LP's approach - a rawer, looser, more electronic sonic stew. You Wish is nice - looped guitar, jazzy Rhodes and a mellow, barely-there beat make this a pleasant way to kill 3 minutes. I like what I've heard so far...

Monday, March 06, 2006

A Zed And Two Tees

I have been on a bit of a ZTT binge of late. Last week I wrote about how a bunch of the ZTT reissues were coming out in the US and posted some Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Another recent ZTT purchase is the Art Of Noise's Daft, a compilation "containing noise-shots" from the the pioneering electronic combo's early output for the label. This was originally released after Trevor Horn and Paul Morley had left the group, the rest of whom continued to record and move in a more traditional pop trajectory. Here's a quote from the liner notes - "members...have now decided that they are competent enough to pursue a conventional rock career." Hehe. Max Headroom, Peter Gunn and Tom Jones and Kiss were all to come. The earliest AON recordings were sonic advetures. It was studio trickery as practiced by the cream of the crop - Horn, Dudley, Langan and Jeczalik, the masters of new technology, the Fairlight programming, the sampling technology, the "high art" of the beat. They took the breakbeats of NYC hip hop and electro and forged musique concrete. They were also capable of melodic brilliance - Moments In Love is still gorgeous 20 years later. Having never owned this music on CD I am really enjoying theses digital remasters. Everything is so crisp and clean. Close (To The Edit) is a giant of the genre - the car revving noises, the industrialism, the voices, that "HEY!" that has been sampled countless times, and those crushing beats still sound fantastic. (Three Fingers Of) Love is a reworking of Moments In Love that slows it down and focuses on some dreamy piano riffing of the melody. Blessed are the noisemakers.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Funky Friday Fits Your Disco Needs

Nothing but classics to coax you onto that flashing dancefloor...

Silver Convention - Get Up And Boogie (That's Right) (1976)

Musique - In The Bush (1978)

Michael Zager Band - Let's All Chant (1978)


Techno Geek
This is some wicked cool touch screen technology that is in development. I love the lava lamp bubbles - WOW!

Thursday, March 02, 2006


These three albums made today's playlist...
Pelding - It's More Fun To Compute
("Pelding" - 2001)
Danish hip-hoppers deliver killer Kraftwerk cover.

Jim O'Rourke - All Downhill From Here
("Insignificance" - 2001)
Glorious guitar riffs and funky sonics - a great headphone rocker.

Swayzak - Japan Air
(Himawari - 2000)
Glacial funk full of icy cool blips, beeps and beats.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sonic Mayhem Cures Midweek Blahs

Forget Devo2.0. Japan's Polysics have been taking all that is good from the originals - the synths, the spazz riffs and loony tunes, the uniforms - and mixing it with surf & noise rock & synthpop & arcade game noises for seven years now. In the process they've revitalized the whole kit and kaboodle - instead of the sanitized rehash of the Disney owned, kid friendly Devo2.0. On the new LP Now Is The Time! Polysics turn in their most accessible album yet. Several tracks are produced by Andy Gill (Gang Of Four), and some of it even gets a bit electro-poppy. Walky Talky is pure Devolution - the synth bass, squiggly guitars and keys, and quirky vocals. I love the keyboards on this - beep bop boop bop. ¡Muy authenico! I also really dig their cover of the old Jerry Lee Lewis (and Iggy Pop) Mike Chapmann/Nick Chinn-penned song (originally recorded by Suzi Quatro) Wild One. I enjoy a good cover - where the band really makes the song their own - and this really fits the bill for me. From the meaty bass to the goofy keyboard breaks to the spazzed guitars this tune has me banging my head along. I heart Polysics.