Saturday 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween/Birthday M

Today is M's 6 birthday, L myself and my sisters in law will be taking 10 miniature hooligans 10 pin bowling. That last sentence is somewhat disingenuous as my part in the proceedings is merely to ferry a few of the little darlings to the bowling alley. I will then have a free pass for a couple of hours as my mother has volunteered to watch Leo. As I will be about 10 minutes from Glasgow, I think a visit to Fopp and Oxfam music is the order of the day and back home to prepare the sandwiches, jelly and juice for the adults.

Yes, my eldest was born on Halloween, scaring the crap out of both his mother and I (long story) and has continued to do so ever since.

Here is the only northern soul themed Halloween song that I can think of and what a belter it is.

Azie Mortimer - Haunted

And since it is Max's birthday here is one of his favourite songs (scarily I'm not kidding)

The Fall - F-'oldin' Money

Friday 30 October 2009

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

Today's track comes from an artist who with the other 2 members of her band, One Dove was responsible for one of my top 21 tracks ever, Fallen (darkest hour mix). Since then Dot Allison has embarked upon a solo career which has not been as successful as it should have been, in sales at least; especially for her debut album Afterglow. She has also collaborated with the likes of Massive Attack, Death In Vegas, Pete Docherty and most recently Paul Weller on her latest album.

The track posted comes from her second album, which to tell you the truth I'm still not sure whether I like or not. It certainly doesn't get the play that her debut does. Allison totally changed direction, with a much darker electro vibe being the order of the day. The album was produced by Keith Tenniswood, Lord Sabre's partner in crime in the Two Lone Swordsmen.

Substance, for me is the standout track on the album which is transformed here by Felix Da Housecat into a pulsing slab of electroklash which at the time was being touted as the next big thing. The mix certainly harks back to the electronica of the early eighties which is again back in vogue. Felix Da Housecat was the wunderkind of Chicago house, releasing his first single Phantasy Girl  at the tender age of 15 with a little bit of help from his mentor DJ Pierre. In the early years of this decade he championed the electoklash sound and was responsible for the standout track of that sound, Silver Screen Shower Scene. He is much in demand as a DJ and remixer and recently released the album He Was King.

Dot Allison - Substance (Felix Da Housecat mix)

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Drift Away

Midweek and the weather up here is miserable.

I hate the first week after the clocks go back not least as I have to try and remember how to reset the bloody timer on the boiler, you think that I would be able to remember as it's only been six months since I last had to do it but no!

Time for a bit of life affirming soul music I think.

First up we have Dobie Gray with his version of the song first recorded by John Henry Kurtz, me neither, Drift Away. This song has been covered by hundreds of people, however I think out of the versions I have heard this is my favourite. Gray's name will forever to me at least be synonymous with Out On The Floor a classic northern tune.

Dobie Gray - Drift Away

Secondly we have another cover, this time a duet from Jerry Butler and Betty Everett another two very well known voices to the soul fraternity. Here they cover Let It Be Me, best known version to me is by the Everley Brothers whom I must confess, I thought wrote it until I thought that I better check  before posting. It turns out that it was originally a French song first performed by Jill Corey in 1957. Another track which has been covered extensively and probably extremely badly by David Hasselhoff.

Jerry Butler & Betty Everett - Let It Be Me

Now isn't that better.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

The Raveonettes Go Pop

A couple of weeks ago two of the most eagerly awaited releases, in this house anyway, popped through the door. Tarot Sport by the Fuck Buttons and In And Out Of Control by The Raveonettes.

Tarot Sport blew me away so much so that I played it 3 times on the trot and tracks have been played every day since.

In And Out Of Control on the other hand, I don't know what to make of. On the face of it and after the first listen the title for this post seems apt but then again with titles like Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destoyed) and Oh, I Buried You Today are hardly the stuff of hit pop songs. A lot of the tracks are certainly sugar coated not in itself a bad thing but as I've said before, what drew me to the band in the first place was the feedback and the chaos of their early stage performances which reminded me of The Jesus And The Mary Chain, however I also loved the harmonies and the boy/girl vocals which are still very much apparent but that  edge that could just be heard in their earlier recorded output has disappeared.

The album is in no way bad, it's just that I was hoping that this time Sune and Sharin would make the album which transfered the experience of them live onto vinyl. I know, never bloody happy.

I will be present when they play Oran Mor on the 15th of December and hope that they will be as good as they have always been live, although after listening to this album I have my reservations.

The Raveonettes - Suicide (from In And Out Of Control)

The Raveonettes -  That Great Love Sound (Live)

Monday 26 October 2009

T.I.C. Who? I Haven't A Clue Either.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday perusing Boy's Own, The Complete Fanzines which arrived the week before last but haven't had a chance to look at until now. It brings back a few memories, not of the Boys Own scene, being stuck up here in Scotland, I wasn't aware of them until 1988 but of the mid eighties in general and especially some of the tunes that are mentioned Farley Jackmaster Funk, The Woodentops, Joyce Simms etc.

I decided to have a rumage through some of the 12" singles that I bought at the time. On looking through them I came across a single which I don't think that I've played in 20 years and can't remember buying, so I stuck it on. It is a cover of a 1972  tune by a band called Hot Butter but with added samples from the Woodstock soundtrack but still can't think why I bought it and don't have a clue about the band T I C?

As one does in such situations I decided to Google it but the results were less than helpful. it is listed in Discogs but with no more info than I already know from the sleeve, apart from the fact that some joker is trying to sell a copy for 40 quid, get a grip man.

What I do know about it is that it was recorded by Calais Brown and Tim Hunter in a studio in Edinburgh, which tends to make me think that I heard it in some chemically induced state probably in the Pelican Club in Aberdeen and rushed out to buy it the next day to be played once and to be forgotten about until now.

T I C - Popcorn '88 (The Woodstock mix)

Sunday 25 October 2009

Just Because . . .

I'm drunk and I've always loved this track, although it never did my cred any good.

Deacon Blue - Dignity

Shadow Boxing

Not the sort of thing for a Sunday but as I'm typing this after having friends for dinner and indulging in  a few too many glasses of Cloudy Bay and a rather fine XO Cognac, courtesy of a birthday present from my little brother, what the hell.

For years I sought out the original of Shadow Boxing by Nasty Habits. I bought the remix a few months after it came out and loved it and always thought, if the remix is this good what must the original sound like. I had never heard it in it's entirety,  only mixed in with other tracks, drum and bass was never that big up here. So for years I looked for the 12" but whenever it came up on ebay I was always out bid and on Discogs it was always a bit too rich for my liking, until one night after a few I decided that it had to be purchased.

When the 12" arrived and I played it I felt somewhat disappointed  as it was not nearly as good as the remix,  a view that has not changed since.

Shadow Boxing is probably the definintive drum and bass track for me and also probably one of the darkest tracks I've ever heard.

I've posted both the original and the remix and would be interested to hear what people think. I know that drum and bass isn't everybody's bag but give them a listen.

Nasty Habits - Shadow Boxing

Nasty Habits - Shadow Boxing (remix)

Saturday 24 October 2009

Free Speech For All, Even Racist Bastards

I wasn't going to comment on the row that having that fascist bastard on Question Time sparked off but I've been so hacked off with what I have heard that I need to say something.

I've heard some contradictions in my time. For the protesters outside of the BBC to say that it was their democratic right to protest was fair enough but when that demonstrating is to silence the views of a democratically elected member of the European Parliament it  is a bit much. No matter how insidious and repellent those views are,  I think that they should be heard so that we can formulate responses to the lies that are pedaled and inform the people who voted for the BNP and those thinking of voting for them of the half truths and distortions they are being fed.

Why was the format of Question Time changed? I,  for one would have liked Baroness Warsi to explain the Tories policy of privatising Royal Mail which Kenneth Clarke had let out of the bag earlier in the day. Or for Jack Straw to explain why the government were letting the banks go back to business as usual in relation to bonuses. Rather than that we got did Griffin deny the Holocaust, why did he share a platform with the KKK. All questions that need to be answered but not on Question Time. With all due respect to the Question Time audience, these are questions to be put by someone like Paxman who could really have torn the creep to shreads in a Newsnight interview.

I also find it quite amusing to see the Tory Party so outraged by the BNP, considering their bedfellows in the European Parliament.

Did anybody else pick up on Bonnie Greer's patronising comment about Griffin's 2:2 degree. Was it her intention to give the impression that those who did not attain a first were more susceptible to having racist views? As it certainly came across like that to me.

After watching the show my view of Griffin was of a pathetic individual, who doesn't even have the courage of his convictions the way he continually tried to refute direct quotes that he had previously made and could not construct one even half decent reasoned arguement. The more that this clown and his bone head thugs are exposed for what they are the better.

For all those who were demonstrating, I believe that free speech should be for all, not just those we agree with and give the UK population the respect they deserve,  most of us are intelligent enough to see through the lies that these hate filled creeps spout and will deal with appropriately.

The Farm - Love See No Colour

It's Not Happening

How do you fancy a wee bit of Americana from British Columbia?

The Be Good Tanyas were formed in Vancouver at the end of the 90's. It's Not Happening was the only single released from their second album China Town released in 2003. Their sound is a mixture of folk, country and bluegrass with some really lovely harmonies.

That's about all I have to say about them apart from Jolie Holland is a former member of the band.

The Be Good Tanyas - It's Not Happening

Friday 23 October 2009

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

Today's track will certainly blow the cobwebs away.

I think when Anthony Acid got hold of rather a good garage track he decided to throw everything including the same drumming sample as used by the Goodmen on Give it Up and the riff from CLS's Can You Feel It into the mix and as a result created a schizophrenic monster of a house track.

Smooth Touch were Erick Morillo and Kenny Lewis. The original 12" of House of Love featuring the vocal talents of both Cynthia Seijo and Althea McQueen and was released on Strictly Rhythm in 1993. The version featured here is the remix which appeared on the 6x6 Records label the following year.

Have a good weekend

Smooth Touch - House Of Love (In My House) (Raise Your House Mix)

Thursday 22 October 2009

Everybody Loves A Cover, Right?

This Last Town Chorus' cover of Modern Love by David Bowie makes the most melancholy Camera Obscura cover sound upbeat, my favourite being their cover of Some Guys Have All The luck.

The Last Town Chorus is the name of the band Megan Hickey originally formed with Nat Guy in 2001, although she is now the only constant member. I suppose that if you had to classify the sound it would be alt country well Hickey does play a lap steel guitar.

She has produced 2 albums, The Last Town Chorus and Wire Waltz where the posted version of Modern Love can be found.

This was another band that I first heard on the, John In The Morning show on KEXP

The Last Town Chorus - Modern Love

As an added bonus here is Camera Obscura's version of Some Guys Have All The Luck, however it is a jauntier version than the one I heard the last time I saw them live. Tracy Anne says that it is a Rod Stewart song, I thought that it was a Robert Palmer tune, however after extensive research (searching Wiki) it appears that it was first a hit in 1973 by The Persuaders, so there you go.

Camera Obscura - Some Guys Have All The Luck

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Hey Jack Kerouac

It was forty years ago today that Jack Kerouac died a rather ignominious death in Florida. The man who seemed so full of enthusiasm and hope in his early writings spent the last few years of his life as a bitter, rambling, anti-semitic (allegedly) drunk.

Kerouac may not have been the greatest writer in the world, probably not even the best writer amongst the Beats. But to me as an impressionable teenager with On The Road, he was responsible for writing the most vital, exciting book that I had read and which I have re read maybe  five or six times and continued to enjoy. The rest of his writings range from the very good, Dharma Bums and The Subterraneans to the downright unreadable mess that was Visions of Cody.

For a really insightful read on the beats and the love triangle that formed around Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Cassady's wife, Carolyn, Off the Road by Carolyn Cassidy is worth getting hold of.

10 000 Maniacs - Hey Jack Kerouac

Monday 19 October 2009

The Bastard Child of Nancy Sinatra and Ennio Morricone

That was one of my first thoughts on hearing Hands Free (If You Hold My Hand) last summer.

Sonny J, real name Sonnington James III (aye right!) is an English musician/producer from Liverpool. The music on his debut album is a real mish mash of styles and samples, think the Go Team and The Avalanches and you are in the right ball park. I absolutely love it.

If you're not familiar with him and you live in the UK, you probably have heard his first single, Can't Stop Moving, as it was used in a TV ad for Fabulous Radio 1 but don't let that put you off as it is a rather fine single also, really uplifting with more than a hit of northern soul and Jackson 5 in the mix. I'm sure that I read somewhere that when this single, which was originally self released came to the attention of a few industry types it led to a small bidding war between the labels with EMI winning out as they agreed to put the single out on the long moth balled $tateside label, but don't quote me on that I may just have made it up.

Hands Free was the third single from the album and was released in June last year and although very reminiscent of the mid sixties, sounds really fresh to these ears, although I'm a sucker from that kind of stuff. I think that this may be right up Mondo's street.

Sonny J - Hands Free (If You Hold My Hand)

And below is the result if you get Quentin Tarantino in to do the video.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Guten Tag

Guten tag damen und herren. Back from Berlin, what a cool city, what I got time to see of it. Did see quite a few neo-nazi skinhead types hanging about a square, drinking beer near my hotel which was quite disconcerting.

The weather was a bit miserable and cold, made me feel like home, apart from when I left Glasgow on Thursday the weather was dry and a positively tropical 17 degrees. .

Here is an absolutely cracking track from Moderat, the collaboration between Apparat and Modeselektor which came out on Berlin's BPitch label and was recorded in the same studio in Berlin where David Bowie recorded Heroes.

Hopefully the posts will get back to some sort of regular frequency this week.

The picture above is of the Holocaust memorial on Behrenstrasse  which I found to be an effective and extremely thought provoking piece of art but what do I know.

Moderat - Nr.22

Friday 16 October 2009

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

This came on the ipod on the way up to Ardnamurchan. I had forgotten how good it was and thought that it would be a nice Friday dancey track.

I'll not bore you with any facts*, other than it's on Skint and remixed by that label's main man.

Lo -Fidelity Allstars - Vision Incision (Incision In The Midfield mix)

* Due to being done on Wednesday night when I should have been packing for Thurs trip.

Friday 9 October 2009

Half Term

It's half term or the October Week up here and I will be away up north to the most westerly point on the British mainland, Ardnamurchan for a few days with the family tomorrow. Returning mid week only to go off to Berlin with work which will encroach on my weekend.

So nothing to see here until next Sunday.

I'll leave you with a one of my favourite Weatherall mixes and a brilliant mix by the Mad Professor, I'm in a bit of a dubby mood, tonight.

The Orb - Perpetual Dawn (Ultrabass II mix)

Massive Attack vs The Mad Professor - Radiation Ruling The Nation

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

I know nothing about this track. Discogs was of little help and the band's name just brought up a very, very funny Monty Python clip when put into Google.

I think that I may have bought this in 23rd Precinct as they had an annoying habit of putting a huge white sticker with the name of the band and track in marker on the front.

It is a bit of a house chugger that went very well with the Aloof On A Mission and that's about it.

The Popular Peoples Front Of Judea - Together (What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us? mix)

Thursday 8 October 2009


While trying to think of a track for tomorrow's post this track popped into my head, I don't know why as I'm not particularly fond of it. When you mention it to clubbers/ex clubbers of a certain age, quite a few that I know get all dewy eyed and start to reminisce about where they first heard it, how good it was etc.

I have tried time and again to see what all of the fuss is about and am still don't have a scooby doo as to why so many people I know love it so much. It is not a bad record just a quite ordinary early rave era tune. Here is the review from one punter on discogs

"The Sound Of Eden' is the finest piece of music to come out of the Rave scene in my opinion. It's a record that will truly stand the test of time because of it's undenying beauty and incredible euphoric feeling. A piece of dancefloor genius that makes guys as well as girls weep. Stunning Rave/House music that will light up any dancefloor, with a vocal and piano breakdowns to die for, backed perfectly by powerful but very funky beats. Fantastic

I didn't even buy it when it first came out, the version here is the original but it is from the 1993 re release which I bought for the X-Press 2 mix which doesn't do much for me either if the truth be told.

I have just played it twice and still nothing. If you can, please illuminate me on why this record was so popular.

Shades Of Rhythm - Sound Of Eden

Wednesday 7 October 2009

True Blue

No this has nothing today with one half of the bigots of the old firm. Although I was worried that it may be appropriated by that mob when I first heard it until I remembered that most of them thought that the parodies of themselves that Cher and Tina Turner turned into in the 80s and 90s was more Rangers supporters idea of good music than Bright Eyes.

Neither does it have anything to do with Thatcher and her true blue meanies.

Conor Oberst evokes strong feelings in a lot of people what with his ill thought out remarks on John Peel, his air of petulance and the references to being the latest in a long line of new Dylan's.

Bright Eyes first came to my attention when I heard Lua from the then, forthcoming 5th album I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, which is quite simply a beautiful track so I bought the album and the 6th when they were released on the same day in January 2005, there wasn't much else that came out that month. I loved both, although quite different and within a couple of weeks had bought the back catalogue courtesy of Fopp and the 5 quid cds. Does anybody else miss the days when Fopp was still Fopp?

I have not kept up with Oberst's solo stuff or his latest incarnation as one quarter of The Monsters of Folk.

True Blue was the b-side of First Day Of My Life which was the second single from I'm Wide Awake It's Morning.

Bright Eyes - True Blue

Bright Eyes - Lua

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Gladys Knight

Did you catch Gladys Knight on Later last week? What an incredible voice she still has. She has always been my favourite of the really famous soul singers. Her performance was in stark contrast, sadly to that of Martha Reeves, who was terrible when she appeared on the Hootenanny.

Any way here is one of my favourite tracks by Gladys Knight and the Pips

Gladys Knight and the Pips - Here Are The Pieces Of My Broken Heart

And in case you missed it, here is Gladys on Later

Monday 5 October 2009

Autumn Leaves

I wasn't going to post this as it is too bloody obvious but after the nod from DVD that it is acceptable and the fact that it is rather beautiful, what the hell.

Coldcut - Autumn Leaves (Irresistible Force Full Chill Mix)

Croatian Surf Rock

Were you aware that there was a large following for surf rock in the Balkans? No, me neither until my mate S told me about a cd that his older brother had copied for him. Intrigued I gave it a listen and sought it out. I love a bit of Ennio me, however preferring Once Upon A Time In America to Once Upon A Time In the West.

For A Few Guitars More is a tribute to the work of Ennio Morricone's Spaghetti Western soundtracks by bands from around the globe who specialise in the "surf rock" sound and splendid it is, too all that reverb and atmosphere. The Balkan connection comes from the fact that the album is on the Dancing Bear label from Zagreb, Croatia.

If you are able to find a copy and you like the work of Morricone or just want to hear what the Bambi Molesters sound like I would thoroughly recommend this cd.

Bradipos IV - Titoli (A Fistful of Dollars)

In The West - Once Upon A Time In The West

The Penetrators - Guns Don't Argue

Sunday 4 October 2009

Nothing Is Forever

How about a huge piece of runny Cashel Blue for a Sunday?

Here is a track that I found courtesy of late night telly after a night out on the lash in 1992. I remember hearing it on one of those late night music shows on either ITV or Channel 4 and thinking that's not a bad tune and buying it the following week.

I had forgotten all about it until the post on Matthew Sweet, when I recalled that I had a dance 12" single with the title Nothing Lasts Forever or something similar, so I dug it out yesterday and it is not that bad. I know absolutely nothing about the band but checked the single out on Discogs and to my horror the track was re-released on the PWL label, (although mine is on 380 records) which suggests that the programme that I may have heard it on could have been The Hitman And Her as I seem to recall that that was on at this time.

Ultracynic - Nothing is Forever

Saturday 3 October 2009

Just Because

I know people who refer to this as plastic soul. They don't know what they are talking about.

I'd rather listen to this than any of that cack-factor pish.

Maxine Nightingale - Right Back Where We Started From

Divine Intervention

Divine Intervention is the first track on the 1991 breakthrough album, Girlfriend from Matthew Sweet.

Sweet had been in bands from the early 80's in Athens, Georgia, where he collaborated with Michael Stipe and then Stipe's sister in a band called the Oh-Ok. In 1985 he went solo and signed with Columbia records where he released one album Inside to critical acclaim but limited sales. In 1989 he released a second album which sold just as badly as the first and as a result was dropped by his label and around the same time split from his wife.

In 1990 he started work on the album which would eventually see the light of day as Girlfriend but was initially titled Nothing Lasts. The title was changed due to the fact that Sweet wanted to use a picture of a 14 year old Tuesday Weld on the cover. Weld, those permission was sought to use the picture, then in middle age did not object but did have reservations of the connotations around the use of the picture and the album title and so Sweet changed the title.

When released, this album sold extremely well in the US and gave the artist the break he had been seeking. The theme of relationships in all their guises and Sweet's honest, confessional lyrics struck a chord with the record buying public and critics a like. The album has some really good rock tunes but most of all it is the ballads, such as Winona, a song about everybody's favourite shop lifting movie star that grab me, although the track posted in it's final form falls into the former category.

From the first chord of Divine Intervention I was hooked, there is something about the guitar sound on the track which got to me, it is almost psychedelic and when it comes back in, all too briefly after the false ending it sounds even better. I have also included the demo version which can be found on the second disc of the legacy edition of the album which is well worth investing in.

Matthew Sweet - Divine Intervention
Matthew Sweet - Divine Intervention (Goodfriend version)

Friday 2 October 2009

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

Let's continue the celebration of possibly the most important dance collective/label(s) of the early nineties with the third release by X-Press 2.

X-Press 2 are a trio comprising of Rocky, Diesel and Ashley Beadle, the former 2 were a DJ duo who also produced some excellent remixes in the early days an example of which can be found a couple of posts back. Ashley Beadle is a prolific house producer, some of the guises he has produced records under are the Ballistic Brothers (also with Rock & Diesel and David Hill), The Black Science Orchestra who also had releases on JBO, The East Village Loft Society and many more.

Say What! is probably my favourite track by X-Press 2, although it didn't get the same attention as either Musik Xpress or London X-Press. It just bounces along with amazing energy and I just love the breakdown about 4 and 1/2 mins in. All in all a good track for a Friday.

X-Press 2 - Say What! (London Underground mix)