Monday, July 09, 2007


Holiday Six Pack

Yes my friends it's that time of the year again. There is a ferry waiting for me in the port of Marseille, tomorrow morning I will be on the island of Corsica. Should things go well I'll be back at the end of the month with my batteries recharged and loads of new ideas.
Until then here's six songs for you with a holiday theme, see you soon!

Big Audio Dynamite - 'Everybody Needs A Holiday'
Marine Girls - 'Holiday Song'
Refused - 'Summer Holiday vs Punk Routine'
The Kinks - 'Holiday'
The Olivia Tremor Control - 'Holiday Surprise'
The Pixies - 'Holiday Song'

Sunday, July 08, 2007


We'll Never Turn Back

I guess I'm quite lucky as I can recognise what is good in most forms of music even actually appreciating some of it. despite my personal preferences I respect much traditional music and have long been a blues fan and of it's younger brother, rhythm 'n' blues. I've had the good luck to have seen some of the leading lights of these musical forms live: BB King, Buddy Guy, Dr John but the performer that left the strongest impression was Pops Staples who I saw at a Blues Festival in the early nineties when he was touring his first solo album 'Peace To The Neighborhood' released when he was in his seventies . He had not be non productive until then, far from it, he was the mentor behind the Staple Singer, one of the bands that were the foundation of Stax Records, if you don't know their take on the bands 'The Weight' where they made the song their own and to my mind recorded the definitive version, well stop what you're doing and go and buy it right now! The Staples singers as the name suggests were part of that long American tradition of family members singing together: The Carter Family, The Osmonds, The Partridge Family, The Jackson Five, Pops provided the musical backing for his four daughters. As is often the case there is one of the bunch that is just that little bit stronger and goes on to forge a respectable solo career, in the case of the Staple Singers this was to be Mavis. She has recently released her 9th solo album on as many different labels 'We'll Never Turn Back', this latest outing has seen the light of day on one of the coolest labels I Know of, Anti. Anti are the philanthropic side of US punk/skate label Epitaph whose rooster includes such delights as Tricky, Bettye Lavette, Michael Franti and Tom Waits. The album sees Mavis backed by one of the few guitarists capable of replacing her father Ry Cooder and one of America's greatest living drummers/percussionists Jim Keltenr. The results are more than satisfactory as Mavis goes back to her gospel roots and delivers 12 songs of strife and struggle that sadly seem as relevant today as they did back in the 20's or 30's, her gritty soul divas voice more than does justice to these songs and the sentiments that they convey. Not a duff song amongst the 12 tracks my current favorites are the funky sounding '99 And A Half' and the stomping 'This Little Light Of Mine'. An album that goes along way in proving that the devil does not have all the beat tunes!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


These New Puritans

A name that is enough to strike fear in these troubled times of religious extremism be it in the form of Christianity, Judaism or Islam, the name may one day have that effect of fear as these boys will be seriously bothering the pop charts in years to come if their is any justice. They are a four piece from Southend a town that today is little more than a satellite of the sprawling monster we call London. When I was a boy Southend was the seaside resort preferred by east enders, I still have fond memories of day trips there with my parents and grandparents, days that would inevitably end up with a fish and chip supper in a pub beer garden before returning home. This beer and chips attitude was prevalent in the music the town unloaded onto the world in the 70's as this was almost pub rock central often referred to as the Canvey Island Delta with bands such as Dr Feelgood, Eddie And The Hot Rods, Mickey Jupp, Lew Lewis and The Kursal Flyers. But all of that is history and I am more than pleased to see that town has made it's way into the 21st century in musical terms at least with this four piece. These New Puritans were completely unknown to me before I was contacted by their label Angular Recording Corporation who are based in south east London and sound like a good spirited bunch, who in much the same way as Factory Records before them, play artfully with image and traditional ideas, for example they have given catalog numbers to various map references! Amongst the artists that they have worked with are The Long Blondes and the Kaxons both of which have had singles released on the label, 'Separated By Motorways (Sexamatronic mix)' by the Long Blondes is up for free download. These New Puritans would appear to be one of the bands that they are developing along with the Fucks (?), our heroes are currently in the studios recording their debut album scheduled for a year end release.
At the beginning of the year the band were approached by the Dior fashion house with the idea that the band provide the music for their forthcoming men's fashion show. The band up until then had never composed a song longer than four minutes long, the result of this commission was 'Navigate Navigate' that provided the soundtrack for the full 16 minute shown. Written and recorded in just over a week the 12 minute version released as a 12"single and digital download from Rough Trade does not disappoint. The song is built on a solid marching beat, not that stupid a thing when you consider it was composed for top models to strut their stiff to, that is not a 1000 miles away from 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'. It is a nervous twitchy masterpiece that does not fail to keep your attention despite it's 12 minutes, a solid beat, abrasive treble heavy scratchy guitars and a solid pop hook that many a lesser band would kill for. If you want reference points, they have got me thinking of early Talking Heads and Edinburgh's post punk heroes Fire Engines and Franz Ferdinand despite this retro feel they manage to retain a modern edge. I for one am looking forward to their album hitting the stores. I have uploaded 'Navigate Navigate' as a 3 minute edit to give you an idea, to experience the full strength version you'll just have to dig into your pockets, that I'd say is normal. Now where are my jellied eels?

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Sista India / Wrath Of The Blackman

Not got a great deal to say today. After Mondays post I got round to digging out an old Fun Da Mental 12", and my memory did not disappoint me another great culture bending mix with good sentiments thrown in for good measure. I really find it hard to believe that this band have not made it gig time yet, maybe they've rattled too many cages.

1. 'Sista India (Education Mix)'
2. 'Wrath Of The Black Man (Oppressor Mix)'

With regards to the Monkeys song on the Shamen's 'In Gorbachev We Trust', it is 'Sweet Young Thing' that clocked in at under two minutes on their self titled debut album from 1966.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Peel Sessions 60

If I'm to be honest I'm not the worlds greatest fan of electronic dance music, let's just say techno and rave has left be more or less cold. Having said that there are certain things that I do like I'm a big sucker for full throated house divas another is the way electronic music has proved to be crossroads for the meeting of western and eastern music and has, to my ears, largely succeeded something that cannot be said for guitar driven rock. A good example of this is Transglobal Underground, a collective that works together on an on-off basis, giving it's members the time to pursue other interests. Their manifesto is to use their love of dance music, avant garde, Arabic and world music to come up with their own highly listenable and danceable groove. The bands core is made up of Natasha Atlas, Alex Kasiek, Man Tu and Count Dubulah. The band recorded two Peel Sessions today's songs are taken from the first that dates from February 1983.
1. 'This Is The Army Of Forgotten Souls'
2. 'Yalla Chant'
3. 'Shimmer'

Sunday, July 01, 2007



So has it really been 30 years since Bob Marley & The Wailers delivered 'Exodus', many people are saying it was his best album, I'm not too sure about that, it was though the album that took him over the threshold to international stardom. The late 70's were the hey day for reggae with Jamaican import being easily available in the UK and two majors heavily featuring the style, Island and Virgin with their Front Line sub label. It was also the era of the 12" single, a format that was not well suited to punk with it's short sharp shock songs though was made to measure for reggae and the the market was flooded with reggae 12", obviously not all of them were good. My personal collection include many expensive imports and importantly many UK releases from the blossoming UK reggae independent Greensleeves that had the good sense to licence many Jamaican releases. Such was the case with Michael Prophets 'Gunman' presented here in it's full almost 7 minutes. A topical song at the time relating the problems of the troubled times on the Caribbean island and a great song to boot.
Yesterday's Shamen post has proved to be rather popular and as such has used up almost all of my band width with File Den, if you get a message regarding lack of band width don't worry on Thursday 5 July my counter will be back to zero and the songs will be downloadable again. Someone has posed the question about the Monkey's song, if anyone knows the answer feel free to leave a comment, nothing to win just the glory of it, if no one comes forward I will reveal the song Thursday. On the subject of file hosting services, I recently received a message that the Head Of David links were not working, sorry but I tried them myself and there was no problem, if you are having problems try changing your browser, it is always a good idea to have two on your PC as for unknown reasons sometimes they bug, personally I use FireFox and Internet Explorer. Another point I believe the file hosting services that I use do not support download managers and so maybe your download manager should not be on default position? Last point before I run off to the kitchen to cook Sunday dinner, MyDataBus has recently changed a little and to be honest I not too sure that it's for the best so if any of you are having problems with files that are hosted there do let me know I can always find another service, any suggestions?

Saturday, June 30, 2007


In Gorbachev We Trust

Regular readers will know that it is rare that I post a whole album as one of the good things about Cd's is that much more old and rare albums are available than in the good old days of vinyl, downloading services have in the last year accelerated this phenomenon with certain titles now only available as downloads, the important point being that they are available and I do not consider it to be the place of serious music bloggers to post whole albums that are still commercially obtainable UNUSED. Every once in a while I will see an album sitting on my shelves and an Amazon and Google search will only drag up the second hand dealers, this was the case with The Shamen's 1999 album 'In Gorbachev We Trust'. The album is a snapshot of the band in transition between the 60's influenced psychedelic guitar rock and the full blown hip hop rave house nightmare that was to trouble the worlds charts. I am no great fan of what the band went on to become much preferring this very indie and DIY nature of things where the swirling and at times angry stabbing guitars were still present along with the newer elements of sampled and electronically created sounds. They were by no means the only band working in this new area that would become labeled indie dance, probably their closest contemporary was Pop Will Eat Itself another guitar band that got bit by the machine bug and to such good effect! The album's title sums up a feeling of hope that was prevalent at the time, the arms race was as good as finished, the USSR was opening up and the Berlin wall was soon to become history and for the first time since WWII the eastern bloc was no longer being portrayed as the baddies. Interestingly enough one of the album's strongest songs 'Jesus Loves America' is a very scary warning concerning religious fundamentalism that unfortunately was to become a reality with George Bush appearing to take orders directly from him above. All in all a very pleasing album, no need for me to rabbit on about it, a right click and save as and it can be yours.

1. 'Synergy'
2. 'Sweet Young Thing'
3. 'Rasberry Infundibulum'
4. 'War Prayer'
5. 'Adam Strange'
6. ' Jesus Loves America (fundamental)
7. 'Transcendental'
8. 'Misinformation'
9. 'Raptyouare'
10. 'In Gorbachev We Trust'

P.S. The album includes a Nesmith/Goffin/King composition that was originally recorded by the Monkeys,

Friday, June 29, 2007


The Ten Best Baggy Bands?

It's Friday and so here is the famous list as decided by those taste makers at Uncut, despite the fact that they gave them a number from 1 to 10 I don't think for one minute that this is a strict classification.
1. The Happy Mondays, absolutely no surprise here as they are perhaps the band that best sum up the form of music. Originally from the harder side of Manchester, if they hadn't of made it in music they would probably all be in prison by now. Two albums that was them finding their direction in the late 80's that was followed by the genre defining album 'Pills Thrills And Belly Aches' to herald in the new decade, ever since then it's been downhill ropey live album, coke hell in the Bahamas and shit album, splitting up, pointless reunion tours. They back together again with a new album out next Monday, can't wait..............
2. Stone Roses, slightly less hedonist than the Monday's with a more laid sound probably due to their heavy consumption of grass. Hardly the most prolific of bands but they did manage to leave us one classic psychedelic guitar album in 'The Stone Roses' 1999 before smoking away a fortune at the expense of Geffen and taking 6 years to deliver the bloated 'Second Coming' that sounded like Led Zeppelin out takes. And they were gone after a dodgy Reading appearance, very little chance of a get back tour from this bunch.
3. Flowered Up, personal favorites of mine with their loopy songs sung in a typical East London voice with language that I last heard as boy in Green Street Market as barrel boys were selling their wares, they were the proof that southern boys could take drugs and make good music. Their debut single 'It's On' was originally released by Heavenly and drags you in with its stomping beat and use of flute, this is the original version far superior to that that would turn up on their sole album 'A Life With Brian' 1991. The following year they released their swansong in the 12 minute long 'Weekender' a tale of rave culture and it's ups and downs a very brave and pertinent song that has always made me think of film maker Ken Loach, this version of the song was recorded live at 1992's Glastonbury Festival. And they too were gone.
4. World Of Twist, see Tuesday's post.
5. Blur, hard to remember but at the beginning they were aligned with baggy circa 'Leisure' 1991, probably more out of journalistic laziness than anything Else. They were one of the rare baggy bands to survive the demise of the musical form by reinventing themselves and continually changing. Hardly surprising that in the 90's they were the only band capable of standing up to Oasis. Still together in an on off sort of way when Damon has time from his many other projects.
6. Paris Angels, who you may well ask, I checked out their "classic" 'Perfume' single again and can now remember why had already forgotten about them.
7. Inspiral Carpets, see last Monday's post.
8. New Fast Automatic Daffodils, already posted on them back in March 2006. An excellent band introducing a colder edge to the music with infectious rhythms and dogmatic vocals, three classic albums 'Pigeonhole', 'Bong' and 'Body Exit Mind' before disappearing due to a criminal lack of interest.
9. James, I never really liked the second hand folky Smiths influenced version of the band but I did love the funk inspired rebirth of the band with 1991 'Gold Mother' the album that gave us the incredibly sexy 'How Was It For You'. Success went to their heads and they trod the same path as Simple Minds that led to leaden indie stadium rock as could be found on their follow up 'Seven', they continued until splitting in 2001 though they were incapable of returning to their heady past glories. 2007 has seen a well received reunion tour, I for one remain dubious. James were also on the Bill of 1992's Glastonbury where they recorded this version of 'Gold Mother'.
10. The Farm, now here were a bunch that could be described as bandwagon jumpers but we can forgive them their sins for their beat heavy classic pop album 'Spartacus' featuring their house take on the Monkey's 'Stepping Stone'.
There is of course one very big omission from this list in the Charlatans who were as baggy as anyone else and of the highest quality and are of course along with Blur another band that survived the movement to go onto bigger things.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The Baggy Bad Bunch

Uncut has listed the 10 worst baggy bands as being; Ocean Colour Scene, Northside, The Mock Turtles, The Soup Dragons, Airhead, My Jealous God, The High, Intestella, The Real People and The Bridewell Taxis. As with all lists there will be many people who would argue the errors and omissions, I have one question to ask what does indeed make a good baggy band? Is it the ability to consume large amounts of hallucinogenic drugs? Is it a penchant for dressing up like a football hooligan / brickie out on the piss? Or is to do with the music? Baggy it is largely accepted means psychedelic / acid house influenced guitar music with that funky drummer beat, so in musical terms our 10 unlucky bands were certainly baggy but was their music any good? Have their songs stood up to the test of time? Certain of these bands I still have fond memories of and others I have almost forgotten (The High?), and so it was that I dug out their CDs to give them another spin to see if they really were as bad as the revered journalists in Uncut Towers would have us believe..
Northside, a little bit harsh picking on there age, since when has youth been a problem in rock 'n' roll? And so what if Tony Wilson had proteges, someone had to nurture talent, and his track record is good enough that we should trust him more than the average second hand car dealer! I've given their sole album 1991 's 'Chicken Rhythms' another spin, having been produced by Lightning Seed Ian Broudie it still sounds fine to me and definitely does not suffer from the over familiarity that the closest of the baggy big boys to them, the Stone Roses does. 'Shall We Take A Trip' remains their crowning moment and should be taken as I believe it was intended, tongue in cheek. 'Moody Places' is a good example of why they were good with it's rolling bass line paving the way for the effect heavy weaving guitar lines over which we find the dream like vocals. It is true that they remained minor league, but since when has lack sales equated to low quality?
The Soup Dragons, we certainly can't say they lacked sales as their Rolling Stones cover, 'I'm Free' was a global smash, was it any good? Yes it was though as with many big hits familiarity has taken the sting out of it's tail. When we first heard it, it sounded fresh, with it's lethargic reggae beat, horns and toasting, I can remember it being a very big dance floor hit. The album from which it was drawn 'LoveGod', 1990 really embraced the rave led feeling of the times very well a still to this day sounds like a very good pop album with baggy influences. 'Sweetmeat' with its southern sounding slide guitar pointed the direction to their next album 'Hot Wired' where they took the Stones sound even further but in doing so lost record sales and fans by the truck load, similar to Primal Scream with their Dixie inflicted 'Give Out But Don't Give Up' follow up to 'Screamadelica'.
My Jealous God, are a band that I have already posted on in April last year. I still think that they are a band that could have gone further with their up front psychedelic groove rock if there had been a little bit more interest but by 1992 musical trends were changing and baggy was rapidly on it's way to the revival circuit. 'Everything About You (the Knowledge)' is an extended mix by Manchester's A Guy Called Gerald that shouldn't disappoint dance floor fans.
Undoubtedly some of you will disagree with me and a think that these bands deserve nothing better than a place in the musical scrap heap of forgotten bands, others will think, yes but what about the Mock Turtles?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


World Of Twist

No regrets, as the Walker Brothers would have said, for posting another Rolling Stones cover today, it comes in the shape of this amazingly danceable and uplifting reworking of 'She's A Rainbow (12" version)', a song that regularly filled the dance floor of Montpellier's Rockstore in the early 90's. This is signed by one of the good baggy bands, Sheffield's World Of Twist, contemporaries of that other band from steel city UK, Pulp, The original World Of Twist line up as formed in 1985 was short lived and failed to see the end of the following year. A new version of the band was to appear in Manchester around 1988, despite their obvious liking of bubblegum pop they were taken in with the blossoming Madchester scene and the band attracted good press and the inevitable record companies waving their cheque books. Described by Uncut as being the weird arty side of baggy it should come as no surprise that they teamed up with Manchester's maverick producer Martin Hannett for their take on the Stones song, this was to be one of his last credits. Their debut album 'Quality Street' released by Circa in 1991 suffered from lacklustre production that as with so many other bands before them and since failed to capture the bands live energy, despite this it an album well worth checking out as it is their only recorded legacy. They were never to finish their second album as lead singer and band leader Tony Odgen suffered a nervous breakdown and retired from the music industry. He was to resurface in 2005 displaying his love of bubblegum with a new project The Electric Bubblegum Pop Explosion, regrettably we were to be robbed of his talent as he passed away the following year.

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