Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Downloaded For Love

It's day 3 of my Bent bender, and today's post is about the download only album Downloaded For Love. Back in July 2001 the band, in conjunction with venerable Brit music paper The NME, offered up a new song every day for 10 days on the paper's website. At the end of the day the track was gone, so you really had to be on it. Finally they offered a printable cover, et voila!, a full length LP of the same quality, quirky electronica as it's older sibling Programmed For Love. For free. It was a great idea, and is a pretty good record too. Your Smile In My Eyes is a breezy, easy listening tune with suavé bossa-nova beats, guitars and accordions and some smooth vocals. Pussycats is definitely the goofy side of the duo, with it's kitty noises and repetition of the word pussycats. Some people might find it annoying, but for me it works - the melody and bass pull me in - and I love the sound of the kitty purring at the end. Love Is In The Air is Bent at their beguilingly ambient best. With it's gently pulsing percussion, nature sounds, strings and a lovely guitar motif, and yet another bewitching vocal, you cannot help but drift gently along with it.

If you like these you'll be happy to know that the band have made the album available at it's website's media page which is here. Go get it!

- The first new Kate Bush album in 12 years. Wow, that's been a while.

- Talking Heads back catalogue is remastered and reissued as DualDiscs, with all kinds of previously unreleased audio and video. Remastered by Jerry Harrison. I can barely contain my self.

- Have you seen the tracklisting for the Sire Records 40th Anniversary Boxset? It's 3 CDs and a DVD, and it's almost as cool as the Talking Heads reissues.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More Songs From Music For Barbecues

tasty delicious music for barbecues

Track 1 on side B of Bent's Music For Barbecues EP is Duke Thing. It's a head-bobbingly good downtempo hip hop track. Yesterday I mentioned how adept these guys are at finding and using florid easy listening piano and string bits, and this tune definitely incorporates both - as well as a nice choral bit. In my head I can see a bejewelled Liberace plinking away at his solid gold piano while the Lawrence Welk singers trill on in the background. It's a sleepy little tune that, though I like it, is probably the least impressive song on the EP. Track B2, People, is fantastic. It's a squelchy, '80s electro flavored jam that has nice chunky bass lines, plucky guitar and makes ample use of modem dial-up ring tones - in a non-annoying fashion! Best of all is the vocal snippet that's repeated throughout, a child's voice saying "I hate people" - it gets pitch shifted down and multi tracked into oblivion, and since it's a motto that I myself have been known to utter, I love it. This tune also has more than a little whiff of that deep, Boards of Canada type of melody, and so for me evokes that same nostalgic, childhood feeling that BOC are so good at hitting you with. All in all, a wonderfully varied EP.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Music For Barbecues

tasty delicious music for barbecues

A Bent Primer
This week at SIART is devoted to the British duo Bent, and I will be sharing some of the rarer, less obvious stuff from my collection. Nail Tolliday and Simon Mills have released four albums as Bent. They craft gorgeous, organic sounding electronic music that is quirky, experimental. lush, occasionally very goofy yet always beautiful. They are master samplers, finding all manner of florid easy listening string and piano riffs and chopping them into dreamy pieces for their sonic stews. Their first album, 2000's Programmed To Love, is my sentimental favorite. It's noteworthy for several songs' vocals, largely sampled from Nana Mouskouri records - a rather unhip choice of vocalist whose vocals really make the songs memorable. It also has a delightfully funny song about anal sex on it - Chocolate Wings. It's a great album that I still listen to regularly. Their second album was an mp3 record, Downloaded To Love. Made available online in conjunction with the NME, a track a day was offered, as well as printable cover art. More on this record on Wednesday. Third album, 2003's The Everlasting Blink is a much slicker sounding record than the previous ones but retains the same sense of humor and quirk. It also displays a bit more of a pop song sensiblity as well as some higher profile vocal samples - David Essex and Captain & Tenille. There will be more on those two on Thursday & Friday. Their last album, 2004's Ariels, was a makeover in style, recorded with a live band and real singers on every track except Exercise 4, an instrumental. All Bent albums have a track called Exercise # on it, and though they share a title they are all musically different. I won't be featuring any tunes from Ariels this week - I listen to it a fair amount, but it doesn't hold my attention like the earlier stuff. I hope it was a one off experiment and that they return to the "two guys and a sampler" style of work - I like that stuff way better.

Today's tune is from the 12" EP Music For Barbecues. Released in November of 2000, it features four songs not available on the Programmed To Love album, and they are all good. K.I.S.S.E.S. kicks off side A in stellar style. It starts with some wind chimes, adds a deep guitar riff, then some bumping, shuffling beats, and suddenly you are being crooned to by a mysterious German fraulein. She sings in a pure voice, and though I don't speak the tongue to me it sounds like she's singing about kisses tasting like wine. This tracks is pure bliss, with a glorious break about a third of the way through - it's the strings, so melodramatic, yet so heart tuggingly lovely. In my opinion this tune is one of the best things they've ever done. Song A2 on the EP is Exercise 2. This song was originally unique to this EP, but when the album started to take off their label (Sport) reissued it, bolstered from the orignal 10 tracks to 13, one of which is Exercise 2. Since it's readily available it's not included today. Tomorrow's post will be side B's tracks.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Funky Friday On The Latin Tip

Luaka Bop Records is David Byrne's boutique label with major label backing. Back when the first releases appeared in the late '80s I never thought the label would amount to much - so few of those artist run labels do. They've been shrewd with their choices though, concentrating mostly on putting out latin flavored music from both Central and South America. There have been a few David Byrne albums, a great Shuggie Otis reissue, and some Clinton and Zap Mama records too. They recently put out Luaka Bop Remix. As the title implies, it's the roster remixed. There are remixes of tunes by Shuggie Otis, Si*Sé, and of the bands I've already mentioned. There are no David Byrne remixes on it. Brazilian art popper Tom Ze has been one of Luaka Bop's biggest stars, and they've enlisted Chicago sound master John McEntire to remix Defect 2 : Curiosidade, and the leftfield art rocker handles it well - his style works well with the original. The one band on the label that I really like are Los Amigos Invisibles. They hail from Venezuela and they craft a heady brew of funk, rock, disco and house all topped off with heavy lashings of latin beats and horns, a little bit of Zappa-esque tomfoolery and lots of sexiness. Esto Es Lo Que Hay (Maurim Reggaeton Remix) is, as the title of the remix implies, a reggaeton version of one of my favorite tunes from the band's tasty 2004 album The Venezuelan Zinga Son Vol. 1. I also recommend the band's 2000 album Arepa 3000. They never fail to get me grooving, and always put a smile on my face.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Visit To Ze Tropics

Ze Records was like the hippest indie label of the '80s. A few years ago they were reborn in France and the reissues began coming - compilations like the classic Mutant Disco, albums from bands and singers like Cristina and Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Was Not Was, and all that arty "N.Y. No Wave" stuff. It's all great. Last week I stumbled across this compilation at the record shop - Ze Records Presents Undercover. It's their roster of acts doing cover tunes, mostly from the late '70s and early '80s, although there are a few songs on it that were recorded in 2004. It's a great set of tunes where you get Suicide's Alan Vega doing "Be Bop A Lula", the Aural Exciters skronking out "My Boy Lollipop", and Kid Creole & The Coconuts doing "Lili Marlene". You also get these two gems - James White & The Blacks tackle Irving Berlin's (Tropical) Heatwave, done like you never thought it could be. The sax on this is priceless, and makes me want to reel around the room like I'm drunk it's so woozy and sharp. However, it's the shift in the groove about half way through that kills me, where it goes all smoky with the chick vocals and the funk. It's big. As is Coati Mundi's faithful rendition of the Captain Beefheart track Tropical Hot Dog Night. The big difference is in the latin beats he adds and the appearance by Ruben Blades. Coati's manic delivery fits the tune like a glove, and the arrangements are typically big in that Kid Creole style. A highly recommended compilation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Fill My Empty Room With The Sun

Marjorie Fair are an LA based four piece whose debut album Self Help Serenade has been rocking my hi-fi. They are named after a rose variety. They craft dreamy, shoe gaze-y California pop rock - think Grandaddy, Neil Young, Mercury Rev or The Church. One of my record store employee friends gave me a freebie CD single of the tune Waves. This song had me from the opening drum beats, and got even better in the next few seconds when that gorgeous guitar riff chimes in. It's so melodic and lush and yet a bit scruffy at the same time. I liked the plaintive vocals of singer/song writer Evan Slamka, and felt the music too. I knew I would dig the rest of the album so I picked it up the following week. I like it a lot. I like Empty Room a lot too. It is one of the slower, more melancholic tunes. The BBC review of the album sums it up perfectly - "The personality of this record is one with a vulnerable heart which is easily bruised, but is also positive and kind." It's also interesting to note that it features performances from a few cool guests - sound track composer and Beck co-hort Jon Brion is credited with a few different instruments and "various custom sounds", and drummer Jim Keltner and killer keys man Billy Preston show up on Hold On To You. A lovely end-of-summer rock record, and a pleasant surprise to this listener.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I Will Keep My Shit Office Job

Mobius Band. A modern rock trio. They play a finely balanced blend of moody rock in the style of Interpol (with whom they share producer Peter Katis) mixed with glitchy electronics. The record is on Ghostly International records, home to a mostly electronic roster. I'm not really sure how I feel about it. The singer sometimes reminds me of dude from Weezer and sometimes he reminds me of dude from They Might Be Giants, although musically they don't sound like either of those bands. I do like a lot of the music, especially Twilight, with it's chime like synths, buzzing guitars and bleak-yet-playful lyrics. It's the kind of electro-rock that acts like Caribou and M83 do, but with a tighter pop song structure to it. It's interesting enough that I keep playing it, trying to give it a chance - maybe it will grow on me, maybe it won't.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Dungen's epic 2004 album Ta Det Lugnt got it's US release a few weeks back, courtesy of Kemado Records - expanded with a second disc of 5 songs. They are essentially the brainchild of one man, Sweden's Gustav Ejstes. He wrote, recorded, produced and mixed the record, and it is a stunner. It's an album of late '60s/early '70s classic rock styled music that sounds as if it was recently dug up from a 1969 time capsule. Musically it runs the gamut from blues rock stomp to folky pop filtered through psychedelic fusion, space jazz, ambient chamber music and twee pop. And it's all sung in Swedish. It's breathtakingly good. I've been listening to it for weeks and I still hear something new every time I play it. The arrangements are so big, and everything sounds so authentic that you don't even notice that you don't have a clue what Gustav is singing about. I think that my words can't do it justice. Listen to these two very different tunes, go and buy the album, settle down with it and be prepared to be sonically blown away. Panda kicks off the album in spectacular style, serving notice of what's to come with it's huge drums and psych-rock riffs. Det Du Tänker Idag Är Du I Morgon is a fantastically groovy, spiralling, spaced out instrumental with a breezy '60s California vibe - love the flutes, baby. Destined to be in my top 10 best of the year list for sure.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Let's Hug It Out, Bitch

I became a fan of HBO's Entourage this year. I missed the first season somehow, but it's out on DVD so I'll get my chance to see it. This show has me in stitches. It's consistently funny, with sharp dialogue and lots of great guest stars. The cast is great. Kevin Dillon is hilarious as the has-been-actor and older brother to main man Vincent Chase. Stoner sidekick Turtle is also great comedy. But it's Emmy nominated for-this-role Jeremy Piven who is stealing the show with his "this role is custom made for me" part as Ari Gold, Vince's agent. This is the role he was made to play, where the complete asshole you love to hate but yet still love gets taken to it's peak. His dialogue is great, but it's the tagline to this post that has become "the catch phrase". The other day I surfed over to - yes, lets hug it out bitch dot com is for real - and it's all Piven. Available as a download is a funny little techno song called Let's Hug It Out, Bitch - it's a fairly average backing track by Disco D, with dialogue samples cut and pasted over it. It goes on a little too long but it still made me laugh for a minute or two.

Also in HBO related news...
I'm an even bigger fan of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's my favorite train wreck of a show - some people can't handle it because it makes them too uncomfortable - I love it. The last new season premiered in February of 2004 and was done by March or April. I just found out that the new season premieres on Spetember 25th. It's about time.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Funky Friday Fusion

When most folks think of Jeff Beck it's in the "classic British blues rock guitarist" tradition. He replaced Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds in 1965, sharing the lead guitar duties with Jimmy Page, and the band went on to it's biggest successes. In the early '70s he formed the Jeff Beck Group - with Ron Wood on bass and Rod Stewart on vocals. That's some serious rock music history mojo. In 1975 he released a solo LP called Blow By Blow. It's a radical departure from the rock stuff - a funkier than shit jazz fusion record, with a reggae-fied Beatles cover (She's A Woman), two Stevie Wonder tunes (Cause We've Ended As Lovers & Thelonius) and several originals, all wrapped up tidily in a fabulous Sir George Martin production. You Know What I Mean kicks off the album in super funktastic style, all wacka-wacka porno grooves. And lots of guitar. Funky rhythm picking, searing melody lines, big solos, it's all there. And did I mention it's funky? Another great sounding remaster.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Killing Joke

gang of four thompson twins

I have no time to write today, so it's going to be a short post. The first 2 Killing Joke albums were reissued a couple of weeks ago. Pioneers of post-punk, they're still in action today. Their style is big and loud and agressive, full of tribal rhythms. One of my favorite things about them is that they were unafraid to add synths and dancebeats and be experimental. The reissues feature a few extra cuts, mostly dub versions and alternate takes, several of which are previously unreleased. They both sound amazingly good - 1980's self titled debut in particular has aged very well, and fits in nicely with today's neo post-punk fascinations. Change is one of the bonus tracks. I hear this and think that maybe the DFA or LCD Soundsystem might owe these guys some royalties or something. Second album, 1981's what's THIS for...! hasn't aged as well for some reason - I think it might be the synths and some of the drum machine sounds, but it still moves me deeply to bang my head heavily. Follow The Leaders is the first KJ tune I ever owned on a crackly 7" - and it is still pretty much my fave song of theirs. This remaster really pumps it up - it sounds freakin' huge. A couple of bona fide classics...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Elgin Avenue Breakdown & Walker

gang of four thompson twins

Astralwerks is responsible for a couple of fab Joe Strummer reissues this summer. First up is 1975's Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited by his pre-Clash band The 101'ers. A gritty pub rock band that to these ears sounds like punk rock, this set is packed with extras - 9 songs are previously unreleased. Half of the record is crusty live stuff, but the energy is there, and you can feel the buildup to what the Clash were all about. Letsgetabitrockin' has the loud 'n' fast thing down. It's some classic rockabilly styled stuff, tight and stripped down. Junco Partner (Live) is a cover tune that reappears later on Sandinista - obviously another great pointer towards what was to come. This album bristles with energy, and it's really cool to hear Joe on the verge of stardom. A fantastic piece of music history. It's interesting to note that several of the band members also went on to various degrees of success in bands like PIL, the Raincoats and The Passions.

The other reissue is the soundtrack to the 1987 Alex Cox flick Walker. It's a Western that, by all accounts, sucks, as many Alex Cox movies did. Sure, Sid & Nancy and Repo Man are classics, but the rest? Schwag. But I digress. The soundtrack to Walker can best be described thusly - Ennio Morricone, baby. It's mostly instrumental with lots of Spaghetti western flavor, beautifully orchestrated and played. Tennessee Rain is one of two songs with words on the record, and it was very exciting for me to hear Joe's voice on something I had never heard before. The tune is a gently rambling country and western tune with fiddles and banjo. A lovely little record. While neither of them could be described as classic, if you're a fan of Joe & The Clash you will probably find much to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Garden

Back in June I did a John Foxx post about having just acquired the remastered and expanded edition of his great debut Metamatic. I also got it's follow-up, 1981's The Garden. This album sees John returning to the electronic art rock he explored as the singer of Ultravox! Where Metamatic is pure synth minimalism, The Garden features plenty or real bass and guitar (provided by Jo Dworniak & Duncan Bridgeman) and even drums. There's still lots of electronics, including the so-of-their-time Linn drums that everybody was using. I was captivated by first single Europe After The Rain. So lush and melodic, it's a lovely, warm and even a bit psychedelic pop tune that has a nice acoustic strum and some very pretty piano. When this song came out I was convinced that it would be a huge hit - it wasn't. Still sounds pretty good to these ears - after years of playing my crackly 45, this remaster sounds amazing. Dancing Like A Gun is a return to the style of music his old band played. It features big drums, great double tracked vocals, big rock riffs, and those distinctive synth melody lines. These remasters are great because they all have bonus material - this one has 5 extra tracks. In my opinion, this record is an unheralded classic of the early '80s.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Glasgow School

This week @ SIART is all about remastered reissues. To kick it off in grand style I give you one of Scotland's finest, Orange Juice.

Edwyn Collins and his band were part of the early '80s "Sound Of Young Scotland". They released a handful of singles on now legendary indie label Postcard Records, where they were label mates with Josef K, Aztec Camera and The Go-Betweens. Domino Recording Co. has lovingly compiled all of the music they recorded for Postcard - the singles, b-sides and the unreleased album. It's brilliant stuff - a mix of VU riffage, disco beats, post punk and art rock and a healthy dose of Northern soul. Edwin's lyrics are sharp and funny and very self deprecating. I love this band - their unique jangle has always captivated me. I missed out on these recordings the first time around - the first OJ record I ever bought was their Polydor debut L.O.V.E...Love. I continue to be a fan of the old stuff, and have enjoyed Edwyn's solo records too. He's had a rough year, having suffered a cerebral haemorhage in February. He's in recovery. Enough of the sad stuff, though. If you like what you hear go and buy the CD - it's beautifully packaged with great liner notes, and the tunes are all good. Enjoy.

Consolation Prize

Friday, August 12, 2005

Play That Funky Friday Music, White Boys

When I started down the whole "classic 12"s" road a few weeks ago I had intended it to cover a broader time frame. It ended up going all baggydelic, so I was left with a couple of mp3 rips that didn't fit the theme. Today's post is dedicated to a couple of early '80s classics...

gang of four thompson twins

When the Gang Of Four released Songs Of The Free in 1982, it was the beginning of the end for their fans. It was a blatant attempt to move the band into the mainstream, smoothing out a lot of the old rough edges and turning down the guitars a bit. I loved it. It was the album that introduced me to the band, and it made me the fan I still am today. The lyrics were just as cutting as always, but the groove that had always been there was now more of the focal point. Lead single I Love A Man In Uniform (12" Version) is the perfect summation of the old and new colliding. I love the words, the thick ass bass, those sharp angular riffs, and the gloriously soulful back up vocals all matched up with perfect disco thump. I still think this tune is one of the best things they ever did, and I can't wait to hear the re-recorded version that will be coming out September 20th on new album Whitey's Gift. It's one CD of re-recorded classics with a second disc of covers and remixes by some current bands - Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ladytron, Hot Hot Heat, the Dandy Warhols, the Others, Amusement Parks on Fire, Faultline, the Rakes, Phones, Go Home Productions, and Tony Kanal of No Doubt. That is going to be some seriously good shit.

In 1981 the Thompson Twins were still a full fledged band, 6 or 7 strong. They were an indie rock group that were flirting with synths and Afro polyrhythms. My first exposure to them was the 12" single for Make Believe (Let's Pretend), a tune that I found to be incredibly catchy. Of course it failed to be a hit, the band went on to jettison all of it's members save the core three, and global chart domination through synthpop ensued. Now, I love that stuff too, but the oldies are where my heart really lies - and they've aged a lot better than the synthy stuff has! This song has a great, driving beat, super springy bass riffage, lots of nice controlled clipped guitar riffing, and yes, sitars and some kind of mantra chant thing. Sounds like it might be dreadful but I like it, especially the dance-y break bit towards the end - tight and funky. A memorable lost classic of the new wave era.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sucked The Marrow Out Of Bone

It's the last of the Madchester requests today, and next week I'll be moving on to some remastered reissue stuff. The House Of Love were a Creation Records band. They never did the "baggy" dance thing - they were always a rock band, part of the Britpop side of the equation that was simultaneously blowing up. I remember loving their sound, all lush and psychedelic. They were not a hugely popular act, and in fact I seem to recall that they were kind of maligned in the music press. I couldn't understand it because their blend of classic Brit rock and indie rock worked for me. Sure, they were a bit pompous at times, but that was part of what I liked about 'em. Their biggest commercial success came with their second self titled LP. It's a more polished sounding album, with no less than 4 producers involved (Dave Meegan, Paul Staveley O'Duffy, Stephen Hague, Tim Palmer) and smack dab in the middle of all of the big riffs is this delicate ballad called Beatles And The Stones. It's a lovely, dreamy tune that speaks to the power of music, something we can all relate to.

Look at him shouting out
Loud as thunder out at sea
He wants a bomb
So do we

A bomb from the sky
Is the perfect crime
Shoulder on shoulder and heat

The Beatles and the Stones
Sucked the marrow out of bone
Put the V in Vietnam
The Beatles and the Stones
Made it good to be alone
To be alone

Look at me, proud of being
Proud of being seventeen
Locking in the pocket a smile
Soft from the school
Cut by the rule
Oh I'm dazed and I'm dazed and I'm dazed

The Beatles and the Stones
Sucked the marrow out of bone
Put the V in Vietnam
The Beatles and the Stones
Made it good to be alone
To be alone

The Beatles and the Stones
Sucked the marrow out of bone
Put the V in Vietnam
The Beatles and the Stones
Made it good to be alone
To be alone
To be alone
To be alone
(Alone, alone, alone)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

'Ello 'Ello

It's another Madchester special request today - Goatboy asked if I would put up something by The Beloved. Their breakthrough was the 1990 smash Hello. It's a bit of a hippy dippy rave and techno influenced pop song that is essentially a long shout out to the band's fave personalities and influences - yes, the time honored "list" song. Sure, it's a bit goofy, but damn if it isn't also super infectious. The single featured several remixes by band leader Jon Marsh, and my personal favorite version is Hello ('Ello 'Ello Mix). Kick back and enjoy this sunny, warm flashback to your (probably drug addled) youth.

so welcome to the world, yeah...
all you late-comers, just step onboard
i'm happy, glad you came
so welcome home again!

sometimes i feel we must be going mad

hello peter, hello paul
saints and sinners, welcome all
tommy cannon and bobby ball
hello, hello, hello, hello

consider, if you will
this great big question, unanswered still
oh, can you spot the difference that lies between
the colour blue and the colour green?

sometimes i feel we must be going mad

little richard, little nell
willy wonka and william tell
salman rushdie and kym mazelle
hello, hello, hello, hello...

so welcome to the team
oh, have you worked it out yet?
yeah - the riddle, i mean
what's the answer?
it's plain to see - blue is blue and it always will be

sometimes i feel that the whole world's going mad

mork and mindy, brian hayes
barry humphries and paris grey
little neepsie, chris and do
hello, hello, hello, hello...

billy corkhill, vince hilaire
freddie flintstone, fred astaire
desmond tutu, steve and claire
hello, hello, hello, hello...

charlie parker, charlie brown
leslie crowther, come on down
mary wilson, di and flo
hello, hello, hello, hello...

sir bufton tufton, jean paul sartre
zippy, bungle, jeffrey archer
andre previn and the lso
hello, hello, hello, hello...


Lyrics come courtesy of The where you will also find a rather large number of mp3s to download.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I'm Going 'Round The Bend Again

Last week's "Classic 12"s of the Madchester Era" was a great success - it's pretty amazing how posting these oldies brings the mad hits! Thanks for showing such interest. Several people had special requests that they asked about in the comments from last week, so this week I'll be putting a few of those up. Today's post is for Fons in Rotterdam.

He requested All On You (Perfume) by Paris Angels. These guys were essentially a one hit wonder, and it's all about this remix. They were an indie rock band that, like all of the other indie rock bands of the baggy era, had to get in on the dance beat action. The song was transformed into a shimmering dance track a la New Order - lots of synths and beats but with plenty of guitar too. Unfortunately for the band, the general concensus seemed to be that the rest of the tunes they had were not as good as the single, and the public ignored them. After a brief stint on Virgin they disbanded. Guitarist Paul Wagstaff eventually resurfaced as a member of Shaun Ryder's post-Mondays band Black Grape. People still seem to be very fond of this song, so it guarantees them at least a small part in Madchester's history. I also have to say that I really dig the cover - a very simple yet striking image.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Funky Friday's 12" - Miracles Will Happen As We Trip

The first time I heard Seal's single Crazy I was sold. From his self titled debut album from 1990, it was a piece of super slick, modern soul with touches of anthemic power rock and psychedelia. Of course it couldn't be anything but good - it was produced by Trevor Horn. The man has the magic touch in the studio, and when you have someone as exotic looking (tall dark and handsome) and sounding (a croon as smooth as butta, baby) as Seal to front the song you know it's going to be special. I will admit that after a couple of albums that specialness wore off, because musically they never really went anywhere different. The single for Crazy has a bunch of good remixes on it, including one by William Orbit. My fave from it is the one titled Krazy. The remix comes courtesy of Tim Simenon AKA Bomb The Bass. He takes the smoothness of the original and scruffs it up, with tougher beats, a harder edge and a lot less gloss. I love the original's studio shine, but I also really like this version's scruffiness. I think it would have been nice to hear a few more tunes with this roughness to them on his records - I probably would have bought a few more of them!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Classic 12"s - I Wanna Bomb Your Submarines

Another of the great baggy era bands is The Charlatans. They were a rock band that had a natural groove and a great love for the big rock organ sound. They are one of the few bands of that era who didn't go up in flames - despite all manner of adversity they stuck it out and have continued to make albums. I love them all, some more than others, but it's their debut, 1990's Some Friendly, that is nearest and dearest to me (with 1994's Up To Our Hips being almost neck and neck with it). Today's tasty treat is from the 12" for the track Then. It's the title track, but in "alternate take" form. It's a pretty radical reworking of the song that takes it from it's original '60s psychedelic-rock-with-big-Deep-Purple-organ stylings and turns it into a mellowish downtempo jam with jazzy piano chords. It's smooth and laid back, and makes me get a bit funky. Enjoy Then (Alternate Take).

Fool's Gold Redux
A couple of days ago I posted a strange white label promo remix of The Stone Roses track Fool's Gold. I mentioned that on the flipside there is a remix of another great tune from the band's debut, Elephant Stone. In the comments Paulo X asks "What about posting the flip side, too?" - here you go - Elephant Stone (Remix). It's not nearly as radical a reworking as the other side - basically it adds a couple minutes of instrumental passages and beats to the song.

And While I Have Your Attention...
I got an e-mail today from a couple of crazy Frenchmen who go by the name BoogeRS. It said

"Finally funny and effective music! Finally songs that disturb and change you! boogeRS is young and unconscious, boogeRS is shambolic and efficient. boogeRS send you its first song “You/You” from the CD “In the step ”. Diffuse it, criticize it, buy it or give us your feelings on"

I clicked the link, and lo, they were right on the money with the description. It's lo-fi, scrappy, scruffy pop-rock-dance-disco-punk music - it really is all over the place. They have an audio page HERE where you can listen to a bunch of their tunes, or you can just try You You.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Classic 12"s - You Gave Me Poison

Ah, the Happy Mondays. Another icon of the baggy scene, they were a shambolic, drug addled crew of thugs who somehow managed to create a racket that was both experimental yet danceable. Nobody could tell what singer Shaun Ryder was talking about half of the time - the mush mouth delivery and the accent were no help at all. First album Bummed was produced by madman Martin Hannett, who gave it that cold, echo laden Factory Records sound. Second album Pills & Thrills... was "the big one", produced by Oakenfold and Osborne, full of funkiness of a much warmer variety. Then the label sent them to an island in the Caribbean to record third album ....Yes, Please! with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. They discovered crack and scooter crashes and the record stank and sent the label into bankruptcy. Wrote For Luck (Club Mix) is taken from Bummed, and this version is mixed by Laurence Diana (who engineered the original sessions). A slightly slicker take on the song, I particularly love Shaun's ranting on this track -

You used to speak the truth
But now you're liar
You used to speak the truth
But now you're clever

News! - Football!
It's only the beginning of August but the NFL is back in action, with most teams having reported to training camp last weekend. My boys the Minnesota Vikings have had a good off-season, drafting wisely and also spending some serious $$$ on defensive free agent talent and are the favorites to win their division this season. Live From Mankato is the local paper's training camp blog where you can catch up on all of the day's events, and read a lot of silly comments from other readers. I have to say that it should be an interesting year - no Randy Moss + a real defense = ?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Classic 12"s - Fool's Gold

The Stone Roses. The birth of Brit pop. One of the greatest debut albums ever - the self titled epic, followed by not such a great album Second Coming, followed by the end of the band. It was all over after only a few years, but what a great few years. For me the pinnacle was the almost ten minutes of audio bliss that is Fools Gold. It is the prototype "baggy" moment, where rock and dance meet. The beat is wickedly funky, as is the bass riff, as are the wacka-wacka guitars. The monkey man sings his sing-songy words, the band keeps on chugging, and it's top knotch. I remember thinking that, even at 9 minutes and 53 seconds, it could go on for a couple more and I wouldn't mind. This version of Fools Gold is not the one from the album. It's from a white label promo 12". It has the catalog number STONE ONE etched into it, and an extended version of Elephant Stone on the flip side. It's Fools Gold mashed up with the horn riffs from a classic oldie (which I cannot for the life of me name - can you?) and a bunch of old skool electro samples and some James Brown vocal snippets and a rave-y keyboard bit. It's not nearly as good as the original, but it's still a pretty unique oddity. I tried to find out who did the remix (at one time I thought it might have been A Guy Called Gerald), but failed to find any info at all about it anywhere on the net. If any of you, my gentle readers, have any knowledge of the tune please fill me in.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Classic 12"s - Parlez Vous With You

Classic 12"s proved very popular last week so the theme is being carried over to this week with a few more tracks from the "baggy" era - enjoy.

In 1989 The Fall's Mark E. Smith did vocals on Coldcut's (I'm) In Deep (from their debut album What's That Noise). The following year the cut-n-paste duo returned the favor by providing a hugely propulsive, remixed backing track for Mark E. to rant over. Telephone Thing has giant beats, an enormously thick bass riff, lots of spazzed out shards of guitar, and a classic vocal performance from the man - How DARE you assume I want to parlez vous with you! I'm am amazed at how well the production on this tune holds up - so beefy and danceable yet still rocking hard. I love this track!