Wednesday 30 April 2014
Last week I read somewhere that Greg Dulli and the Afghan Whigs had recorded a live session for KEXP and it was now on YouTube. As this would be one of the first live performances by the band in a long time I headed straight over to check it out. It was better than I expected with Dulli on top form. I have seen him several times over the years with the Twilight Singers, The Gutter Twins and on his own but I have never witnessed the Afghan Whigs and watching the live performance on YouTube has got me looking forward to the gig at Oran Mor even more than I already had been.
Anyway, on to my latest discovery. I'm not sure why I clicked on the link half way down the right hand side for Lucius live at KEXP as I had never heard of them but I am incredibly glad I did for I discovered a band that has gotten me very excited. I watched the full performance, loving the harmonies of the two singers who looked like twin sister with their matching outfits and hair dos.
Afterwards it, a Google search was conducted and I found that they had released their first album. Widewoman only last month in the UK and duly purchased it. I then read the Guardian's review of the album, the lead didn't inspire much confidence "catchy 60s style pop, beautifully sung but ultimately unconvincing" I read on and as the review progressed wondered if I had been listening to the same group or whether the KEXP performance was completely different to how they sounded in the studio. I especially baulked at the sentence "Wildewoman and Tempest sound faintly familiar like Hiam or Florence Welch covering Mumford and Sons while shooting for festival anthem territory" I fucking hate Mumford and Sons and nearly cancelled the album right there and then but thought they can't be that different on record surely? I went back and listened to the KEXP performance again and decided I was right the first time.
The following day the album arrived, Juno really do give a great service and that's been it, it has taken up residence on the turntable. I still haven't gotten round to listening to the Larry Heard or Afghan Whigs albums yet and the only reason that I have heard Imelda May's latest offering as it is on cd and I listened to it on the laptop while working yesterday. I think that Tshepo Mokoena, the Guardian reviewer needs to get her ears cleaned out as their is absolutely fuck all unconvincing about this album. It is filled with lovely songs exquisitely sung and played.
You can check out the KEXP performance here, it's well worth it.
Lucius - Wildewoman
Monday 28 April 2014
I know absolutely nothing about the Rainbows and after consultation with the world wide web I'm still none the wiser. What I do know that this is a perfect example of the girl-group sound from the mid sixties. Very of it's time which is no bad thing in my book. It may have been released in 1966 on the Dot label but I can't be 100% sure as mine's is a promo copy. And that's your whack.
I'm beginning to think that I must have been a right bad bastard in a previous life. Firstly my phone fell out of my pocket yesterday and smashed . Then our evening out in Glasgow was curtailed by a right dodgy stomach which had nothing to do with dinner as it started before we even got to the restaurant meaning that we were back in the hotel by 8pm and spent the night watching the A-Team. And when I thought that it could get any worse I got home yesterday afternoon fired up the stereo and in the middle of the best album of the year so far (more of which later in the week) my lovely vintage Technics amp purchased only a fortnight ago decided to pop a channel!
The Rainbows - Down The Block
Saturday 26 April 2014
The purists won't like this!
I absolutely love it. I know that a lot of people will be sneering at this and will accuse Lisa Stansfield of bandwagon jumping but when the result is this good who gives a fuck. Carry On is a track from Stansfield's latest album, "Seven", her first in ten years and the original track is good but Andy Lewis' remix aims the track directly towards the sprung maple dancefloor and in doing so creates something really special, that stomping beat the insistent strings and Stansfield's voice, pleading and just this side of manic at times, magic!
The song has been released as a limited 7" single available here.
I'm not quite sure if I agree with Ian Levine's comment that "it is the best record of the last twenty years" but I do agree that it's the best thing that Stansfield has ever done.
Fuck the purists.
Lisa Stansfield - Carry On (Andy Lewis remix)
Friday 25 April 2014
Today's Guerilla classic puts the emphasis directly on the house aside of things moving away from the more progressive sounds usually released by the label. The track is also not that typical of the sounds produced by React 2 Rhythm. The band are probably best known for their track Intoxication which came with two absolutely cracking remixes from a little known duo at the time who would go on to be the epitome of Progressive house, Leftfield.
React to Rhythm had been together since the late 80s but it was 1990 before they released their first single, "Rhythm Addiction" on William Orbit's Guerilla label. An album and four further 12" singles would be released before they split in 1992.
All Or Nothing, as I said is probably the most out and out housey thing produced by the band this could have something to do with the main mix being rejigged by a relatively unknown Miami dj, Danny Tenaglia , who like Leftfield would go on to be a household name amongst House heads remixing a myriad of artists from A Guy Called Gerald to Yoko Ono.
This weekend I will be mostly relaxing as Airdrie are now free of the battle for League One survival. I will however be willing them on to another victory over Stenhousemuir to make it seven games unbeaten on the bounce and only one defeat in 15 matches. Quite a feat when compared to the team's form up until the end of January. Then it's off into Glasgow with L for an overnight to commiserate on turning 45.
Have a good weekend people
React 2 Rhythm - All Or Nothing (Danny's Fireball mix)
Thursday 24 April 2014
Forty-five as I keep telling myself is just a number, before yesterday it was always a pretty cool number but now I'm not so sure. Today I find it a tad depressing.
Earlier this year I thought about doing the 45 at forty-five countdown, JC's excellent feature from a few years ago but to be honest I found it rather too difficult a task to choose between the singles in the red box and anyway my absolute favourite was released 6 years prior to my birth and therefore would be excluded as I couldn't possibly have bought it at the time. So I have decided to post the single that I have owned the longest, thirty five years sometime this year.
I bought Alternative Ulster at the record stall at Wishaw Market. The stall had a lot of the punk singles of the time but mainly specialised in Heavy Metal and also had a large stock of badges and patches. I would become a regular customer over the next couple of years badgering my mum to take me to Wishaw on a Saturday so I could root through the singles and if none took my fancy I would always come back with at least a couple of badges. Luckily my aunt and uncle lived in the town so regular visits were not a problem.
The single was bought at the time as much for the cover as the music. I used to sit and look at it for ages wondering what it would be like to have soldiers on your street, a prospect which was not without it's merits to a ten year old who wasn't really aware of why the troops were on the streets in Northern Ireland.
Even now when I hear that simple guitar intro the hairs on my neck stand up and my pulse beats that little bit faster. Back in 1979 I could make out most of the lyrics but didn't have a clue what they were on about but I knew that they were angry and felt that they meant it. The track was raw, fast and furious and more's to the point when I got it home and played it on my parents Philips music centre my mum said that it was a horrible racket and to turn it off. What better recommendation was there than your parents hating a song.
Stiff Little Fingers - Alternative Ulster
Wednesday 23 April 2014
Tuesday 22 April 2014
Don't Freeze On Me is a humdinger of an R& B rocker from L.A released in 1962. It is the flip side to a much more pedestrian tune "It Might As Well Be Spring " from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "State Fair" which is not without it's merits but pales in comparison to this belter. I know nothing at all about the singer Jessie Mae and with the voice that she ably demonstrates on both sides of this forty-five find it hard to believe that this is the only single she produced. But as is common in this sphere of music during the 60s that may be exactly what happened. Time and time again you find the same story, somebody went into a studio somewhere in the US cut a record and more often than not if it wasn't picked up nationally went back to the day job. I suppose it would have been impossible for all of the records produced at this time to have been picked up and I doff my cap to the many crate diggers out there who continue to discover these gems.
Jessie Mae - Don't Freeze On Me
Monday 21 April 2014
Dorothy Norwood will not win any awards for the lyrical content for the lyrics for today's track but that doesn't matter as it's the groove and the way the words are belted out not the actual words that are important on this piece of smouldering funk.
As far as I can find out "Get On Board The Soul Train" is the flip to Dorothy's first single which seems a bit puzzling as it appears that she was releasing albums for five years prior to "There's Got To Be Rain In Your Life (To Appreciate The Sunshine)". The a-side is a good ballad but it's Get Aboard that does it for me.
You are most cordially invited to get on board.
Dorothy Norwood - Get Aboard The Soul Train
Sunday 20 April 2014
Not sure if this really fits with the mellow Sunday theme, the lyrics certainly don't but I think that this Billy Franks classic should be given frequent airings and not just at Easter as should Eventide the excellent album that the song comes from. My relationship with this song was recorded here. Once again I raise a glass to Mr Davy H for enabling me to hear this song again after over twenty years.
The Faith Brothers - Easter Parade.
Saturday 19 April 2014
It's Record Shop Day today but I didn't get up at 06:00, trek into the town and queue outside Monorail for a couple of hours this morning, as after scouring the list of releases extensively I couldn't find anything that warranted that sort of effort this year. I will visit Monorail later in the week or maybe next weekend and see if the couple of things that did interest me are still available, if not nae dram as they say. I decided that the money saved will be put to better use on a couple of northern soul singles that I am trying to find at the moment.
Anyway back to the what I think will be short lived series of posts on new music. Mike at Crashing Through Publicity sent me through something a few weeks ago that caught my eye.The blurb said that Luxembourg Signal was the new project featuring members of The Trembling Blue Stars whom I loved. Although Distant Drive isn't the most cutting edge piece of music it is a damn fine example of jingle jangle, summery indie guitar music which harks back to the time when every release from Sarah records was an essential purchase if you wore stripey t-shirt and anorak.
The single will be released on the 29th of April on limited 7" and digital form and is well worth purchasing.
Friday 18 April 2014
That was a quick week off! The boys were away to York with their Gran and Granpa and I was fucking painting again! I just love annual leave, it's such a relaxing time. Anyway that's another room finished only another two and the bloody hall and stairs to go by which time no doubt another room will be needing done again.
Shall we get back to the Guerilla back catalogue this Easter Friday and probably my favourite release on the label although the lack of correct English in the tittle still irritates me. U Make Me Feel So Good was released in 1992 and was the work of Charlie Hall and Lol Hammond. It is a typical progressive throbber and none the worse for that although even back then the main vocal sample had been a little overused but really fits in with the vibe of the tune. Listening to this last night brought back some happy memories and doesn't really sound that dated although others will probably disagree with that. The Drum Club produced some excellent 12" singles although for some strange reason I never got round to buying any of their three LPs.
A crucial match for Airdrie tomorrow, a victory would see us safe from relegation or having to get involved in the play-offs something that a couple of months ago would have looked inconceivable.
Have a good Easter weekend people.
The Drum Club - U Make Me Feel So Good
Monday 14 April 2014
I don't know that much about The Glories, in fact apart from this single the only other song I have heard by them is a rather wonderful version of Try A Little Tenderness not a patch on Otis' of course but then I don't think anybody will ever come close to matching his rendition for me. Give Me My Freedom is a different type of tune altogether, an up tempo girl group dancer very much in the vein of Martha and The Vandellas which was popular in Mr M's in the late 70s it was released on the Date label in 1967.
I just love this kind of thing.
The Glories - (I Love You Babe But) Give Me My Freedom
Sunday 13 April 2014
I posted this cover of the Anne Briggs song a couple of years ago but think that it warrants a further listen. I found a mint promo copy of the album that this comes from in the "dance 12" section of Oxfam Music on Byres Road for a quid about a year ago. Somebody not only fucked up on the filing but also the price!
Rose Melberg - The Time Has Come.
Saturday 12 April 2014
Not sure how much mileage there will be with this feature but over the past few weeks a few things have arrived in my inbox that I have really liked and thought that if I found one a week that Iliked I could post them on a Saturday as I post bugger all else.
The first thing that attracted me to today's track Rain was the fact that it came with a Pilooski edit, whose stuff I usually love, however on this release it is the least interesting mix and doesn't really do anything for me.
For me the original mix of the tune has a very 80s feel to it, not something I that I would usually endorse but it does work. The pick of the bunch is fellow frenchman Ivan Smagghe's dub, a deep dubby krautrock type track which I think that a couple of bloggers might also like.
The embed function doesn't appear to be working so here is he link to the soundcloud page
Here's the PR bumf :-
April 14th marks the release of the ‘Rain’ EP from Paris-born London resident Tim Paris out on influential cult label My Favorite Robot Records. Tim is best known currently as one half of It’s a Fine Line with Ivan Smagghe, and as a respected underground figure with releases on leading labels including Young Turks, Kompakt, Moshi Moshi, PIAS, Items&Things, Soma, F Communications, Souvenir and Eskimo.
Opening with the original mix of ‘Rain’ which features the sultry vocal tones of Coco Solid and captures quintessential vintage indie melancholy. It’s merged with subtly modern electronica, occupying a sonic space akin to M83 and I Break Horses.
The EP comes complete with an inspired selection of remixes; Pilooski’s captivating remix is dark, heady and bass-heavy, Ivan Smagghe delivers a haunting dub edit, and the EP closes with Tim Paris’ own entrancing Liquid mix of the same track.
‘Rain’ also features on Tim Paris’ debut album ‘Dancers’ which is also released on My Favorite Robot Records on 24th March.
Yet more impressive facts come in the shape of Paris’ other killer remixes (that he’s done either solo or with Smagghe) for The XX, Femi Kuti, Battant, Au Revoire Simone, Ewan Pearson and Tiga, plus his long list of DJ fans that includes James Holden, Trevor Jackson, Maceo Plex, Jamie Jones, Soul Clap, Ewan Pearson, Michael Mayer, Magda, Laurent Garnier, Tiefschwarz, Catz n' Dogz, James Priestley, Mandy and Joakim.
Following an illustrious career as a DJ, producer, musician and owner of highly-regarded label Marketing Music, Paris’ skill is more than simply the manufacturer of nightclub fodder. His new album is populated by fully-developed songs that effortlessly merge synth pop, proper indie, new wave, post punk, disco, house and electronica into a shimmering and seductive whole.
My Favorite Robot Records is a Canadian based label that has received much praise for recently released full length albums from the likes of Jori Hulkkonen, Fairmont, & Sid Le Rockand has been a home for Tim's releases and remixes in recent years.
The multi-talented Coco Solid is musician, writer and artist Jessica Lee Hansell hailing from Aotearoa, New Zealand. Acclaimed on her home-turf and abroad, the outspoken Maori-Samoan-German Aucklander is an eclectic artist that’s part of Parallel Dance Ensemble (Permanent Vacation Records) and electro punk noize quartet Badd Energy
Friday 11 April 2014
Back to the Guerilla twelves as promised and this one's from 1993. Schudelfloss is the work of Dr Atomic (Steve Perret and Justin Parfitt) and as far as I'm aware the only thing that they ever produced but what a track. A prime example of the kind of stuff that was floating my boat around this time. One of those tracks yoy could lose yourself in and topped off with samples of HAL 9000. The version posted is the Dentalfloss dub mix, remixed by Spooky which has always been my favourite. A favourite of both Sasha and John Digweed in it's High On Hedonism mix it featured in the second Digweed Renaissance compilation.
It's a tricky one for the Diamonds tomorrow away to Brechin City. I will be glued to the radio and Twitter.
Have a good weekend people.
Dr Atomic - Schudelfloss (Dentalfloss Dub mix)
Thursday 10 April 2014
Slipping a note under your father's studio door offering to do some vocals on his recordings is quite a novel approach to trying to spend some time with a parent but that is what Moon Unit Zappa did. She then hung about the studio reciting words and phrases she had picked up from school and the malls of the San Fernando Valley. Her father then inserted the vocals into a track he had been working on resulting in Valley Girl the only Frank Zappa single ever to chart in the Billboard charts in the US.
The record was nominated for a Grammy, not bad for a satirical comment on the Californian youth of the early 80s. The song has nothing whatsoever to do with the appalling film Valley Girl, starring Nicolas Cage, released the following year which Zappa tried to stop.
I got into Zappa in my early teens when Jim, one of the older hippies I was hanging about with lent me Zappa In New York and The Mothers, Fillmore East albums. I still listen to him on occasions but now find it difficult to make it through a whole album in one sitting.
Frank Zappa - Valley Girl
Wednesday 9 April 2014
I got really annoyed yesterday, not only was I informed that the mint vintage Technics SU 7300 amp that I had purchased and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of had gone walk about. Apparently I had taken ownership of and signed for it the previous afternoon. When I informed the useless fucker on the other end of the phone I had done no such thing the reply I received was "well somebody's signed for it"! The upshot is that it is now under investigation. So who ever the thieving bastard is I hope he gets electrocuted and blows up his whole system when he connects the amp up and switches it on.
The thing that really vexed me and ensured that yesterday was not going to be one to record for posterity was an interview that Steve Lamacq did with Evan Davies. According to the dj that who do with a decent feed btw, "grunge had been all encompassing for the previous few years". Fucking really!! Not the way I and the thousands and thousands of people who were out dancing every weekend remember it. Bob Stanley was a bit more level headed about the whole thing but when he said that basically outside of the confines of the UK nobody gave a shit Lamacq countered that it was all about the "UK celebrating itself" what a load of pish. As for Evan Davis' insightful questioning well he should maybe stick to the economics because he gave the impression that knows hee haw about music, Saint Etienne were Europop, apparently! FFS!
Here's the thing I had very little time for this "little Englander" scene fuelled by second hand dusted down riffs and lyrics about very big houses in the country or being a rock and roll star. I did like a bit of Pulp though, but I never really grouped them in with "Brit Pap". I preferred the sounds that were being made by people in their bedrooms with the aid of synths and samplers and aimed predominately at the feet.
I think that the whole "Brit Pop" thing was the invention of those who couldn't dance or were unwilling to look like a twat on the dance floor combined with those who were too young for the late 80s dance and indie thing, felt cheated and needed a "scene" of their own, so hyped up a load of mediocre bands and created a monster.
Anyway, enough of the rant but the way that the BBC have been going on about this you would be forgiven for thinking that there was nobody else making music in 1994 other than smart arsed ex students and gobshites from Manchester. Here is one of my favourites from that year and not a guitar in sight.
Sabres Of Paradise - Wilmot
Update - the amp has duly arrived. Apparently a problem with the labels. Not caring it looks great and has a deep warm sound. Still pissed off about all this Brit Pop stuff, of course.
Tuesday 8 April 2014
An early contender for album of the year came out a couple of weeks ago. Holly by Nick Waterhouse is a no messing slice of R&B. Everything about this album screams retro from the Van Morrison vocal styling through the five tracks on each side to the mega thick vinyl and heavy duty cardboard sleeve. But it sounds so fresh to me. It is rather short, with a running time of just thirty minutes. That's not a problem, however because as soon as it's finished I just flip it over and start again. Waterhouse's first album, Time's All Gone was good but this one is so much better, tighter and with a swagger about it. I would really love to hear these tracks live in a small club somewhere.
Nick Waterhouse - Sleepin' Pills
Monday 7 April 2014
Hank is not the kind of name that I would associate with soul and when I first came across this single I had to think twice as to whether to take a punt on it. When I got it home I was glad that I did there is a mid tempo King Floyd penned track with some great brass stabs but it is the ballad on the other side that I play the most, there is something about the quiver in Hank's voice that grabs me. The lyrics are all about Hank giving his all and being under appreciated in his eyes anyway, nothing ground breaking there but it has something that has me picking it out of the box and giving it an airing on a regular basis.
It transpires, after a little research on the excellent "Sir Shambling's Deep Soul Heaven" that Hank had dabbled in many aspects of the music bis. Production with the Fabulettes. Singing not only as a solo artist but also as a member of the Enticers and the Jades. He also had a stake in a few record labels in New Orleans. But his main thing was as a dj in the Big Easy.
Still don't think that Hank is a soulie type name though.
Hank Sample - You're Being Unfair To Me
Sunday 6 April 2014
"She" is from a cd that I had forgotten about and which was bought on a whim as I really liked the cover. All I know about Iowa Super Soccer is that they are from Poland and their first album, Lullabies To Keep Your Eyes Closed To, from which this tune has been selected was released in 2008. They released a second album in 2010 but as yet I haven't bought that one. Not sure why because I really like their first effort.
Iowa Super Soccer - She
Friday 4 April 2014
My wander through some of the finer moments of the Guerilla back catalogue will have to be put back another week. After the terrible news of the untimely death of one of the founding fathers of a genre of music that changed my life and that of millions of others it was only fitting that I pay tribute on a Friday.
You can find obituaries to the musical pioneer Frankie Knuckles all over the net from the Guardian to the Economist websites and I don't really want to rehash other peoples words. All I would add is that his productions and remixes have given me a lot of pleasure over the years, stirred my emotions as much as some the greatest soul sides and without the aid of chemical stimulants. Also from reading the obits and also the post by Echorich on his blog that until he mentioned it in a comment at SA's bit I was totally oblivious to, Knuckles seems to have been an all round nice guy into the bargain.
My big problem is picking something to post, Your Love and Tears are too obvious and will have been posted all over the web and most of the other 12" singles I posses have yet to be ripped to the computer. So I decided to go for one of his remixes which was kind of obvious because if anybody could make a good track into something really special it was Knuckles and if anyone had the ability to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear it was him, well him and Weatherall but in completely different ways. My initial thought was his Def mix of Change by Lisa Stansfield which I was sure that I had but cannot find at the moment. Then it was going to be his mix of Let No Man Put Asunder until I remembered the brilliant mix of Fire Island's cover of Shout It To The Top. So I played both and couldn't decide between them and as a result you have two classic mixes from the man to listen to.
Rest easy Frankie in the knowledge that not only did you give pleasure to millions of people but you were also responsible in a large part, for a skinny, white, lower middle class Scots boy's conversion to and worship of house music.
Have a good weekend people.
Fire Island feat Loleatta Holloway - Shout It To The Top (Frankie Knuckles Classic Club mix)
First Choice - Let No Man Put Asunder (Frankie Knuckles 12" remix)
Thursday 3 April 2014
I think that a little bit of Portuguese funk by way of Italy is the order of the day.
Marta Ren apparently is the number 1 soul diva in Portugal a former member of the band Sloppy Joe and vocalist with The Bombazines. Here she is more than ably backed by the 8 piece band The Groovelvets.
2 Kinds of Men was released last year on the excellent Record Kicks label based in Milan whose back catalogue is worth digging deeper into.
Marta Ren & The Groovelvets - 2 Kinds Of Men
Wednesday 2 April 2014
A few weeks ago SA posted that he had produced a mix for the brilliant Cooking Up A Quiet Storm, where quite a few people featured down the right hand side of the blog had also contributed. Not one to be outdone by the actions of others. I too have compiled a playlist and submitted it for Mark's approval, it has been edited and uploaded to mixcloud. Have a listen.
Tuesday 1 April 2014
I have been listening to the 68 Comeback Special discs a lot recently. It must have been quite amazing at the time when this was broadcast to see a man that most people thought was washed up by nearly a decade of starring in pish films and whose relevance had never been lower pull off probably the greatest comeback since Lazarus. You get the feeling from the recording that Elvis was having a ball during the four onee hour performances.
It is easy to sneer at Elvis but when you listen to this, the recordings before he went into the army and the From Elvis In Memphis recordings you kind of appreciate him as an artist. Although for somebody of my generation let alone those younger it is nigh on impossible to comprehend just how dangerous and exciting this guy was in the 50s.
Btw - Time to rejoice I am in my favourite town in the world today, fucking Luton!
Elvis - Trouble/Guitar Man