Thursday, June 29, 2006


Noir Desir

Noir Desir are a band for whom I have mixed feelings I'm never sure whether I like them or not. Let me explain in the early nineties when they were riding high in terms of popularity here in France our paths crossed for the firt time and I saw them headline a large festival in Montpellier. The only problem was that they followed Les Thugs who were at their prime with their wall of sound coming over like a hardcore version of My Bloody Valentine. As they say a hard act to follow and I can remember that I was not impressed and at the time considered them to be a poor French take on the Clash, and justly or not it was this first exposure that was to colour my views on them. At the same period I was working as a radio DJ, part of the idea was that as a Brit I was there to play Anglo indie rock, despite this I was on an obvious personal voyage of discovery concerning French music and so whenever I discovered something made in France that either got my feet tapping or my ears buzzing I was more than happy to give it airtime and this was how little by little I learnt to appreciate Noir Desir. I have many friends here who are give or take a year or two the same age as me, it has always pleasantly surprised me to see these males knocking forty going ape shit at parties whenever someone spins a Noir Desir disque, such is their hold on a generation!
The reason behind today's post is quite simple last week-end I was giving their box set 'En Route Pour La Joie' a spin when the following lines stopped me dead in my tracks "you know I killed my wife/now brother I don't even remember why". These lines are to be found on their cover of the Nick Cave song 'Long Time Man' which originally appeared on their 1994 live album 'Dies Irae'. Those not living in France won't understand my feelings: Betrand Cantat, the groups vocalist is currently serving a sentence in a French jail for the 2003 murder of his girlfriend, actress Marie Trintignant. Stranger still is that Cantat claims to remember little of why and how this tragic event occurred. Cantat had accompanied Trintignant abroad where she was filming, after an evening where the two had consumed large amounts of alcohol they had a heated dispute back at their hotel where Cantat pushed her causing her to fall injuring her head. The next day upon waking up Cantat discovered his girlfriend in a coma from which she never recovered. Talk about art reflecting life! The band would seem to have a penchant for dark songs a they have also covered 'Helter Skelter'. Despite not approving of what happened I would like to point out out that Cantat and indeed the band are far from being typical women beaters, and hold, for me, very respectable political view that are opposed to such behavior, for which they have often openly lent their support This just goes to show the thin line that we all tread.
Obviously the band are on hold at the moment, so a little bit of music from their older albums, probably my favorite song is the title track from their 1992 album 'Tostaky'. Now I don't know about you but I have always been a sucker for a killer riff and this song is built around one that is up there with 'Walk this Way'. After the said live album which was very much a document of the Tostaky tour that was so full of punk attitude the band came back in 1996 with what was to be their biggest album '666.667 Club', the track 'L'Homme Pressé' manages to dupe the listener with its funky almost baggy intro before plunging head first into something altogether more heavy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Adorable - Fake - part 1

I have already posted on Adorable, a great band that were part of the soundtrack to a period of my life. Likewise I have also mentioned my intention of posting whole albums that are no longer commercially available, and so I have chosen Adorable's second album Fake to open this new theme. First some rules the tracks will be posted over the period of one month (five weeks for the first in the series) at the rhythm of one post a week each Wednesday, Blogger, EZ Archive and God being willing. Each group of songs will be available for one week only before I take down the links. Should the artist or copyright owner take offence I will ofcourse stop posting the album, and should this be the case I would suggest that the person concerned get their finger out and make the album available asap instead of moaning.
Adorable consisted of Piotr Fijalkowski (guitar, vocals), Robert Dillam (guitar), Wil (bass) and Kevin Gritton (drums). They formed in Coventy in 1991 signing with Creation Records the following year. They left us with two albums neither of which are on catalog, the better known pf the two is their debut 'Against Perfection' (1993) which also contains the songs upon which their reputation was built 'Sunshine Smile' and 'Sistine Chapel Ceiling'. Their swan song 'Fake' which was unveiled in September 1994 had the catalog number CRE165, was available on vinyl/CD/music cassette, the first 200 copies of the vinyl came with a bonus 7" 'Vendettta(World Cup Karaoke mix)/Man In A Suitcase (Mr Gritton Has Left The Building Mix), there was Japanese edition containing 'Dinosaur#3' and 'This House Is Rotten - Jason' as bonus tracks. The album was not released in America. Fake was not a commercial success and what with the group splitting and Creation disbanding it has become/stayed rare, a recent web search came up with nothing. Journalists have mixed opinions on 'Fake', Trouser Press consider it to be superior to its predecessor while AMG give it only 3 stars as opposed to the 4 stars they award 'Against Perfection'. Anyway I like it, true its more of the same ingredients that went into the first album, sensual simmering guitar lines, lethargic but mesmerising vocals building up to a catchy chorus, rolling bass lines and shuffling drums, when the recipe works.................And so without further a do today's songs:
1. 'Feed Me'
2. 'Vendetta'
If any of you have any information, stories or anecdotes relating to the band or this album please send me a mail the address is on the side bar, I will be only to happy to credit you if they are used in future post.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Les Inrockuptibles

I'm probably the same as many of you in the way that I consume the music press, sometimes I really don't know why as they seem to have little new and interesting to say, just look at the latest UK publications; Uncut has decided to have Led Zeppelin IV as cover story for their latest edition, and Mojo doesn't do any better I mean what is more essential in 2006 that the Beatles top 101 songs (how many did they write? 120?). It is therefore a pleasure when I come across something a bit more challenging as was the case with a recent edition of French weekly Les Inrockuptibles which had a cover mounted CD of 15 cutting edge artists from Belgium. The publication began its life as a bi-monthly in 1986 and covers very closely the UK/US indie scenes, they have a long running love affair with the Cure and Depeche Mode, they are largely responsible for the huge success of Divine Comedy in France. By 1995 the magazine had a solid readership and started publishing weekly. Despite their roots as a music mag they have managed to combine other art topics such as cinema, theatre and books, the magazine has a pronounced left wing attitude and successfully covers political and social issues. Having said this critics accuse them of intellectual elitism and I must admit that it is not always the easiest of reads.
Back to the CD which comes as no big surprise as the magazine are strong in their support for French language artists, it was produced in collaboration with a Brussels concert hall the Botanique and their annual festival for new talent les Nuits Botanique. As is the case with many of these cover mounted efforts I generally get round to listening to them but this often takes a little time, and in the case of this compilation I found myself quite liking several of the titles, two of which are being posted today.
First up is by Ete 67, which was way before these boys were born though it is a period from which they have been heavily inspired (Doors, Beatles, VU, Pink Floyd.......). The band members met at school and started playing together in 1988 when they were aged between 13 and 16. The years of rehearsals and low scale gigs leading little by little to more and more positive press has paid off and the band released their first album at the beginning of this year. The song that caught my attention is 'Dis-Moi Encore' a nice slice of pop rock that owes just a little to Noir Desir.
Second song 'Mecreant' is by Daniel Helen and is so French it reminds me of many artists including Charlelie Couture. Neither of these songs are likely to win converts to French language rock, but do give them a try as they won't take up much space on your hard drive, and if you do enjoy Daniel Helen there are some extacts from more of his songs to be downloaded here.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Peel Sessions 13

My God it's Monday again, and I see we are up to session 13 which must mean it's been three months that I've been using this theme. To celebrate something musically speaking a little bit different. Had John Peel always been the hip disc spinner that we so fondly remember him as? The answer to this question is rather complicated as it highly subjective, sure being a DJ on a pirate station must be hip in anyone's book, but really calling your show 'perfumed garden' does stink a little! When he got his feet back on dry land and job on the all new wonderful Radio One he called his show Top Gear, a name that might be better suited to a motoring program, still this was the goovy sixties, hence part of the problem with his shows which were very much a product of this era, and the likes of the Fall were still many years away. For the Top Gear show there were sessions so I guess we can consider them as Peel Sessions.
In the early seventies as with many a lad of my age I liked my music to be loud and rocking, something to do with hormones, at a tender age I had picked up a copy of '24 Carat Purple', probably one of the worst record sleeves ever still it was a budget release, a compilation af classic Deep Purple. Now while I will agree with you that they could go on a bit as in 'Child In Time' when they decided to rock they did us spotty teenagers a big service. Rare are males of my age that don't still have a soft spot for that old pub covers band standard 'Smoke On The Water'. The band are still around, and apparently very big in Russia, I believe they are up to their seventh line up! I saw an amusing advert recently where they were tying to persuade us to buy tickets for the bands forthcoming tour as a fathers day gift!
Before Deep Purple had taken the heavy road they had been another band of contenders for fame in the late sixties and as was common then a popular song would be picked up and recorded by different artists all hoping for a piece of chart action, this was the case with 'Hey Joe' which is taken from their second Peel Session as recorded at the beginning of 1969. The best known version of the song remains to this day that by Hendix though it is not my favorite maybe due to over exposure of the Lulu show. The version that I still find fresh and that always seems to bring a smile on my face even to this day was signed by America's answer to the Beatles the Byrds, and I know it's not from a Peel Session but what the hell here it is.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Something For The Week End

Last night Gomez played Washington DC's 9:30 club as part of the tour in support of their latest album 'How We Operate' thanks to the band and their management NPR are now offering the concert as a hefty 95mb download which you can get here, best to use a reasonable download manager just case you loose your connection, with my 56k dial up it's gonna take me hours. Anyway get it while its there, I for one can vouch for them being a stella live act as I had the pleasure of seeing them around the period of their debut album. NPR (National Public Radio?) also have an excellent live set from Scotlands best quite/loud instrumental combo Mogwai recorded at the same venue during May this year available here. Enjoy yourselves with these artist blessed good quality legal downloads. And I think it's nice to see American public money going on something more interesting than military expenditure.

I have previously found reason to post a Happy Monday's song as I have with Kirsty McColl so what better way to celebrate the week end than with 'Hallelujah (McColl mix)', so called because it was Kirsty that provided the throaty vocals on what is my favorite version of this song.

Thursday, June 22, 2006



As I think is the case with many of my fellow bloggers I use the web as a source for research for my posts and I must say in general even when I had thought the band to be too obscure that I have up until now come up with something. So you can imagine my surprise when a Google search for Yargo came up with nothing more than second hand web sites selling their wares, an AMG search actually listed the band but with neither commentary or discography, I then had the bright idea of using the blogger search engine and again nothing, as a last chance after having remembered that the band were from Manchester I tried Pride of Manchester and again came up empty handed, I even looked in the index of 'Rip It Up And Start Again' and was again disappointed, what I had discovered on my journey is that there is a DJ Yargo and something called Fort Yargo!!!!
So who were Yargo and why am I yapping on about them. A four piece made up from Basil Clarke; vocals, Tony Burnside; guitar, Phil Kirby; drums and Paddy Steer; bass. I became aware of them in the late eighties probably 1987/88 when they were touring their first album 'Bodybeat' at the time I was living in Toulouse and I can remember seeing them on the traveling festival Rock En France. I was suitably impressed that I bought the album, a subtle mix of Jazz, funk and reggae with pop sensibilities at times making me think of Prince, It had already been obvious to me when seeing them live that they were no spring chicks and had a firm musical background this was to be bared out by the album which was augmented by the tasteful addition of horns. One of the songs that benefited from this treatment was 'Help' with trumpet played by ex Diagram Brother (anyone remember them?) Andy Diagram.
There was a second album in 1989 still on the London imprint 'Communicate' which while keeping all the good points of the first album added a more upbeat sound even displaying latin and Caribbean influences. 'Free' is one of my personal favorites from the album, a song that illustrates well how the vocal is used very much as an instrument itself, just listen to the play off between the vocals and the guitar. As with the first album sales were not up to the required level for a major, I seem to remember that they also got very little space in the musical press maybe because they were so difficult to fit into a category and that they were part of no musical movement, and this coming so soon after the changes that the spirit of '77 brought. I personally can testify to their power on stage and the enjoyment these two albums still give me almost 20 years later. Their was a third album a live which if I remember correctly was self released, and as is the case with so many similar projects the resulting album is a poor substitute for the real live experience. Somewhere along the way the band petered out and just disappeared from view, I have no idea what they did afterwards and for that mater if they are still involved in music today, if anyone knows feel free to let me know. Anyone thinking of picking up one of their albums should be prepared to fork out or wait to be lucky as the going rate would appear to be around 40 euros. Good hunting!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006



It's official summer starts today, we were even treated to an overcast morning here with some drops of rain falling but nothing of substance and the temperature is way up in the thirties. One of my favorite summer songs more by association than by subject mater is 'Peaches', a softer version was a bit UK hit in '77, by the Guilford Four better known as the Stranglers. When I say association I mean above all the years 1977 to 1979 where the band were to play a large roll in the soundtrack to my life, these were the years that took me from being a spotty 16 year old punk schoolboy to a 19 year old college drop out. Now don't get me wrong other bands were to play an important part in this period of my life including the almost opposite to the Stranglers the over politically correct Clash. My association with the Stranglers was very much by chance, a friend of mine who was also mad about music, though our paths were to separate as he stayed firmly on the path of prog rock, was at school with a boy called Anthony. Now Anthony's father had an old ice cream van and had the habit of calling himself Jet Black, indeed it was the moody/miserable drummer of the at this stage unknown Stranglers. Through this new acquaintance we got to see the band on several occasions, including a local nurses home, before the release of their classic neo psychedelic punk debut album 'Ratus Norvegicus'. We had the good fortune of being invited along to the press party for the albums release, held at a London Pub called the Water Rat or something similar, we even managed to leave with a large amount of press kits which we were to go on to sell to local second hand record shops. Imagine how all this was heady stuff for an impressionable 16 year old. And it didn't stop there either, as months later we were at the Round House to see them, they had Cherry Vanilla and the Jam as opening acts and the hells angels as special guests/security advisors, and they certainly scared us shitless in the dressing rooms after the gig. As was often the case at this period their first Album was swiftly followed up by it's successor, 'No More Heroes' in the same year, what was slightly less common was that the quality was still there for the second album as can be heard on 'Something Better Change'. Hardly resting they came up with their third long player 'Black and White' in 1978 a much more experimental album with a slower pace but a huge success never the less. Despite their popularity the band were beginning to find it difficult to get a gig in London as the towns governing body the GLC was opposing license requests, their were fears of violence coupled with the bands ever present bad boy image in the press; drug arrests, sexism, obscene language on T shirts. This led to the bands decision to promote their own show at Londons Battersea Park in the summer of 1978, they invited the decidedly un punk Peter Gabriel as special guest. Now as if this was not enough band bassist Jean Jacques Burnel invited some of his friends along to party on stage with the band, only they were strippers, now who mentioned sexism, and the young ladies boogied along to tunes from the quartets latest release such as the appropriately named 'Nice And Sleazy'. Ofcouse the press loved it, they were falling over themselves to find excuses to print photos of the gig while strongly condoning their non politically correct attitude. Another song played at the gig was their menacing reworking of the Bacharach/David classic 'Walk On by', which was initially relegated to a limited edition 7" single with the 'Black And White' album. The Stranglers of course went on to have more chart success in the years that followed but for me those first three albums and those heady two years really sum up the essence of the band. Now I guess any 16 olds reading this won't understand what I'm on about but I'm sure there are plenty of you that do.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


(New) New York Dolls

Often credited with creating punk rock, despite this exaggeration The New York Dolls importance in the post 1976 musical fall out should not be under estimated. Even if they had not been managed by the appentice Malcolm McLaren at the end of their short career they had already stamped their mark on the NY scene kickstarting the CBGBs associated bands such as the Ramones and Blondie that were to influence their UK cousins and so start the ball rolling. Musically there was nothing revolutionary about the band, though they did come up good songs up their sleeves such as 'Personality Crisis', it was much more a case of attitude, that all important teenage finger at everyone and everything. Their dress sense was pure outrage at the time, remember this was the early seventies even Bowie had an album cover pulled during this period because he was wearing a dress but never had we seen anything as trashy as the NYD's. Of course everyone one knows (don't they?) that the Dolls burnt themselves out long before achieving their full potential, just the stuff legends are made from. Having recorded two albums their self titled debut and the prophetic 'Too Much To Soon' the band were to stagger to a halt after Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan quit in 1975. Despite the lack of commercial success they had made important friends not only amongst critics but also fellow artists in the making. It was one of these fans Morrissey who persuaded the remaining members (Thunders died in 1991 followed by Nolan the next year) to get back together in 2004 to play the London Meltdown Festival. The gig was well received by fans and critics alike and it looked as if a more permanent reunion could be on the cards but a few weeks after the gig Arthur Kane, the original bassist was to be diagnosed with leukemia and passed away only a mater of hours later. Now I would think that any reasonable band would take the hint call it a day, but no David Johansen and Syl Sylvain have kept at it and have recorded the Dolls third album over 30 years after the second was unleashed. Entitled 'One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This' and set to be released by Roadrunner on July 24, I must say that by the evidence presented on the track 'Dance Like A Monkey' I would much rather they hadn't of bothered as to me it is a very pale imitation of their former glory, still judge for yourself. I guess the band will be telling journalists that it is exactly what Johnny, Jerry, Arthur and original drummer Billy Murcia would have wanted though I think were Thunders to be still with us he would be playing in a White Stripes style band. Not wishing to leave you with a bad sound in your ears here is Johnny Thunders greatest solo moment 'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory' and I think the song title sums up nicely my feelings.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Peel Sessions 12

You must admit that they weren't the prettiest looking bunch were they? And as for their dress sense maybe it's best that we don't mention it but could they write a good tune, even coming up up with a teen anthem that still moves aging kids like me to tears. The song in question is of course 'Teenage Kicks' which I must admit stll gets to me whenever I hear it's opening chords. It is because of John Peel's initial support that the song reached classic status, he went on to say many years later that he sill listened to the song to remind himself of how a great record should sound. Peel's importance in their career cannot be overemphasised as he even went as far a paying for their first session from his own pocket. Despite having recorded six sessions the song itself was never to be part of one. Interestingly enough 'Teenage Kicks' never made it to the pole position in the listener voted Festive Fifty despite it's presence for four consecutive years. I have always had very mixed feeling about bands reforming and I must say that the Undertones getting back together and with another singer is ones that does not get my vote. What with summer officially beginning in two days what better excuse could I find to post 'Here Comes The Summer' as recorded at Maida Vale in February 1979.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Something For The Week End

First up sorry for the lack of activity these last two weeks but what with work illness and my family time has been rather short of late, I promise that I will make an effort. A couple of links for you to start with, Brad over at Bradley's Almanac does not only have excellent taste in music but has the chance to live in a major US city where plenty of good gigs are up for the taking, now Brad being a music lover gets to attend a fair number of these and has the habit of recording them and then posting them on his blog. Well he's done it again and I'd suggest you get your finger out and over there asap while the files are still up as there is an excellent concert from Cat Power's recent gig in Boston.
Regular readers will have noticed that their are certain recurrent themes here one of which is the Rough Trade record label. Now I as with many other boggers regularly use AMG as a research resource, and it was while on one of these visits the other day that I came across a 3 part article revisiting 40 of Rough Trades first 100 singles, the articles are well written and informative and go to illustrate the wide and eclectic range of music that the label made public. You can find part 1 here , part 2 here and part 3 here.
Now I don't know about you but my financial resources have their limits and my bank manager does not consider record buying to be a sound basis for a loan and so there are many artists that I would like to check out with my own two ears, or maybe that I have listened to but to briefly or not in the right mood and so have maybe wrongly classified the artist. This is where digital download services come in handy in particular emusic, I have been a member since July 2006 and can remember the days of unlimited downloads. Now the point is that their subscription service $15 for 65 songs an month with the possibility of buying 'booster packs' has proven to be an excellent and economic way of catching up and discovering new artists, don't forget that if after downloading 1 or 2 songs you find that it is not for you, well you've only spent 2 of your credits as opposed to forking out for the whole album. Recent discoveries for me include Flaming Lips, yes I know sometimes I'm a bit slow on the uptake. Let me explain: when they started to get good press in the UK I went out of my way to listen to them, don't ask me what, and it left me cold, add to this the fact that were touring with quadrophinic sound systems or whatever, I've only got two ears and that's difficult enough, now this stunk of the worst excesses of prog rock as in Pink Floyd, so for me it was no thanks. And now thanks to my subscription I've recently downloaded one of their early albums 'Here It Is' and what do you know I've really got in to it particularly 'Jesus Shootin Heroin' I just love the lyrics, makes me think so much of early Nick Cave. Another band that I've read a lot about but actually heard little is Mission To Burma, one of those rare bands that split before real recognition and come back latter making valid contribution to the musical landscape. They have a new album out 'The Obliterati', not for those of you who don't like noise but for me it was certainly a revelation current fave is '2wice'. Now to round up this little summary of delights to be found on emusic the honour goes to Danko Jones a Canadian power trio currently touring their latest LP 'Sleep Is The Enemy'. My interest in this band is thanks to my old friend Fifi, who told me about an amazing concert they gave in Montpellier a month or so ago, and I must say that upon listening to this I certainly am sorry that I missed them. 'She's Drugs' typifies what is good about this band testerone fueled rock around the three minute mark, no arty solos and with a chorus other bands would kill for.
To close of today's post something I found on one of those cover mounted CD's, a track from the new Sonic Youth album 'Rather Ripped', now if I'm to be honest with you I'd rather given up on the band but from this track 'Incinerate' I would dare to suggest that this is a return to form of their hey day as in 'Daydream Nation', definitely one to check out.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


TV Smith

TV Smith is very much the proof that not all old punks get their original bands back together and there bondage pants and safety pins out of the closet to play the circuit of revival clubs for aging beer belly punks and those to young to have been involved the first time round, it is true that he can often be found strumming away at some misguided punk festival with the likes of Sham 69 and the rest of the sad bunch. The only difference is that Tim, his real name, has lived a full life since then and has continued recording with different degrees of success in both commercial and critical terms. He still gigs on a regular basis more often than not on his own with an acoustic guitar, a mixture of old and new songs, a friendly stage presence, terrible dress sense and enough energy for a band half his age, all of this at the age of 50. I can confirm that it will be an hour and a few euros well spent as I had the pleasure of promoting him on several occasions in the mid nineties, maybe not the best attended of gigs but did we enjoy ourselves!
Upon the the dissolution of the Adverts, TV formed the new wave inflected Explorers who scored a hit with the topical 'Tomahawk Cruise'. This was followed with what was termed at the time as folk punk, his first solo album 'Channel 5' which due to the financial instability of his label was to disappear from the shelves almost before its release date, this long lost platter has recently seen it's first outing on CD. Wasting little time he regrouped with the ex Advert Tim Cross and formed the band Cheap which was to be a gigging concern through the eighties but no record company was to bite the bait and so their only release is the tongue in cheek titled album 'RIP' which came out once the band were no more.
The real renaissance of TV started with his 1992 solo album 'March Of The Giants' which mixed folk music and traditional instruments with his engaged but intelligent lyrics delivered with his charismatic half broken voice as illustrated on the albums title track. At the time we loved it and the album stayed on our playlist until the follow up 1994's 'Immortal Rich' was to be delivered. This album was co produced and featured another survivor of punk who had successfully changed direction Tom Robinson. The sound was slightly more developed as can be heard on 'Thin Green Line' but lost none of its charm. 1998's 'Generation Y' continued in much the same vein though by now he was back to using a full band for recording, the album is a delightful mix of country and folk but keeps very much faithful to it's European roots having said this my personal favorite is 'Statue of Liberty' very mature stuff for an old punk, repeated listens to this album actual reminds me of Al Stewart but with balls! It was here than things started to go astray, having long had a following in Germany TV recorded an album with German punk superstar band Die Toten Hosen, the album was called 'Useless:The Very Best Of TV Smith' and consisted of rerecorded versions of songs from all stages of his career, in my opinion not the wisest of moves on a critical level but the German only 2001 release proved to be successful. 2006 has seen 'Information Overload' being released and rather sadly the title and album cover are almost the best thing about it, the album has a much bigger sound with a production that would appear to be playing up to US FM radio, and as such is the least pleasing of his solo outings since 1992, I'll let you decide for yourself by listening to the cod reggae 'Carrying On'.
Little seems to be readily available though if you are persistent you will find something in the second hand stores and those first three solo albums from the 1990's should find a home in any discerning collection.
A bonus track is up for grabs today a live recording with a band of the Adverts big one 'Gary Gillmore's Eyes', Anyone that has had the pleasure of seeing TV solo, and I mean on his own, will bear witness that this man does not need a full band to do justice to this old chestnut and bring it back to life on stage. Do try and catch him if you can this summer as he will be gigging in Europe, he's even playing a festival called Sound Of The Suburbs in Essen, maybe they'll invite me!

Monday, June 12, 2006


Peel Sessions 11

One of the first generation of punk bands the Adverts were regulars at London's Roxy club through 1976 despite not being issue of the London Pistols/Clash axis. As was very common at the time band members had silly pun heavy stage names, Singer/band leader was TV Smith, Bassist and punk pin-up was Gaye Advert, Guitarist was Howard Pickup and their drummer was Laurie Driver. The stupidity luckily enough stopped with their names and they were one of the first punk bands to get a single in the shops their anthemic 'One Chord Wonders', almost a punk manifesto, which graced Stiff records release schedule. By August 1977 they were both racing up the UK single charts and courting controversy with their pop gem 'Gary Gillmore's Eyes' a morbid tale of an executed murderer donating his eyes to science and the person who received them, this was pretty heady stuff for '77. In commercial terms this was to be the bands pinnacle, as their debut album 'Crossing The Red Sea' was to suffer from the disappearance of their record company. Despite being signed to RCA, they were finding it difficult to record that second album and to shake off their 1234 punk image, so combining this with lack of record company interest and the fact that Gaye was often on the receiving end of vindictive press the Adverts ceased to be in late 1979 after releasing their second album 'Cast of Thousands'. Miss Advert totally disillusioned was to hang up her bass and return to school, if my information is correct she is living in East London with TV Smith and has been a social worker for many years.
They recorded four Peel sessions one in 1977 two in 1978 and one just before splitting in 1979. Both of today' songs are taken from this final session the belated theme song 'The Adverts' with its unpunk piano and the slow menacing stalker like 'I Will Walk You Home'. Both of these tracks are to found on a double CD 'Anthology' which houses 26 studio tracks and a live set recorded at the Roxy.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Something For The Week End

It's been rather a bad week here, after the high of last week-end, I found myself tired beyond belief and as usual at work a public holiday does me no favours as I find myself with five days of work condensed into four. Add to this the fact that I was running a temperature by mid week and managed to totally loose my voice by Friday, much to the amusement of my colleagues. My computer and my 56k dial up internet connection have been so slow this week that I began to think that there was a serious problem and to top this all off yesterday EZARCHIVE was impossible to connect to. So now you know why there have been fewer posts this week than usual. No real topic today just some random thoughts.
Remember the Dillinger song 'Cocaine In My Brain'. Well my head is a bit like that but instead of best Bolivian I have millions of song titles and snippits of tunes running around and jiving for a place at the front of the queue. Well it should come as no surprise that my collection is as disorganised as my head, my CD collection is spread over four rooms and hidden away in numerous pieces of furniture, I am forever rearranging them, generally in alphabetical order which takes a whole day as every 2 or 3 minutes I rediscover something I had forgotten, the joys of record collecting. One of my favorite films and books is 'High Fidelity', I just love the way that when he is depressed he finds a new way to file his collection that makes sense to no one but him. So how do you manage with your collections?
I've been toying with the idea of adding a new feature along the lines of posting the whole of a deleted album over the period of a month. The motivation behind this is that there are many jewels (Sleeper, Adorable, Moonshake, Peter Astor..........) that are no longer available excepting second hand and so I thought why not put some of them up enabling other people to discover and enjoy them. I think maybe one post a week over four weeks with the songs being only up for a week. What do you think? Am I likely to be pursued by the RIAA? If anyone out there knows if it is possible to delete files once they have been uploaded to EZARCHIVE, I would be grateful to learn how.
Merci à Civil Servant who was kind enough to point out to me that the comments feature was only available to members of the blog, which means only me, this ofcourse was an error that has been fixed, though you do need a blogger profile because unfortunately I have recently found spam like comments with links for Playboy amongst other things, don't go looking for them as they have been taken down!
One thing about living here in the south of France is that at times news filters through rather slowly and so it was only today that I discovered that a UK label has at last had the intelligence/good business sense to rerelease something by the Au Pairs. It would appear that they have done an excellent job with this 2 CD compilation of their albums 'Playing With A Different Sex' and 'Sense And Sensuality' complete with demos and remixes and all of this has been remastered, and the asking price seems rather ridiculous at under 15euros/£10. To be purchased without further delay.
And so on today's music, it was actually an advert on the TV that has influenced the choice. A French mobile company have a rather cool ad at the moment with Iggy Pop in it, I too was surprised the first time that I saw it, which contains several seconds of a Stooges number. So I thought what better title can there be to describe a credible artists selling out to publicity than 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'. Some time ago I found this deranged cover of the song floating around on the web by the Ridiculous Trio, great name great cover. Have a nice week-end and see you Monday

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Primavera, Barcelona and Me

We finally hit the festival site around mid day Saturday, my fault really as it was me that decided to take the more scenic coastal road, the main problem being when we hit town we had no idea where we were! After a quick beer we discovered that the only hotels nearby were all 5* and as such well out of our reach, after parking up the car in the town centre we found ourselves a reasonable hotel on the Ramblas. All of this meant that we missed the very first acts, as I need to eat first. My first impressions of the site was that it was rather cold and impersonal, lacking in charm despite being right on the coast, maybe it was the lack of grass as I must say the concrete proved to be rather hard on the feet. Of the 6 stages one was a 3000 seater hall, another was dedicated to dance music and didn't start up until mid night and the smallest stage seemed to host only Spanish groups.
The first act we caught up with was Vashti Bunyan, who despite having been built up by Devendra Banhart as something special was actually very pedestrian I honestly can see no justification for her coming out of retirement, the 4 songs I heard were very flat and going nowhere in a pastoral kind of way , and as I did not feel like sleeping we moved on. next we saw some of LD and the New Critism's set, which was ok they got the feet tapping with their southern country roots, and me laughing at their stupid song titles. It was then that we made our way to another stage and I had one of those life changing experiences, well not really but I did see one hell of a good group, that actually got me dancing, and I'm not talking about foot tapping, an event so rare that my other half cannot even remember the last time she witnessed such an event. The band in question were the Akron/Family. On first sight they didn't look up to much, three hillbilly hippie college types sitting down and a drummer, the bands leader, I'm only saying this because he was stage centre, came over as an extra from the Dukes of hazard. Over the next Fifty minutes or so they had a good time and so did we. Musically they escape definition, their repertoire ranges from gentle acoustic ballads with tight and attractive harmonies such as 'Sorrow Boy' through to fully blown loud psychedelic mantra like feedback laden jams and heavy Led Zeppelin influenced numbers boasting infectious riffs such as 'Raising The Sparks'. I would say seeing the band live is rather like eating a large but good meal; a highly pleasurable experience that may be a little difficult to digest but gives everything you need and leaves you with a smile on your face, their two albums to date are both very good records but not a patch on the live experience, miss them at your peril. Their albums can be bought here or downloaded here. PS they did not stay sitting down for the whole set. By the time I had finished shouting myself stupid, it was time to run back to the inside hall to catch Shellac, to say I was disappointed would be an understatement, I don't think for one second that it was the bands fault but the sound was non-existent, so feeble that it was like listening to very poor quality bootleg, very un hardcore. Upon leaving the hall we heard a lot of noise coming fom the main stage so we wandered off there to see Big Star, when we got there they were playing 'Light My Fire' exactly why when Alex Chilton has so many good songs of his own I don't know. They were ok but did they lack in stage presence the highlight in visual terms was watching them toss a coin to see what song to play next, and Chilton's stage banter would indicate a very bitter man when you hear him saying how his latest album will be heralded as a classic in 30 years time. It was after this that we got to see our only Spanish band Cocconot, who were actually entertaing and pleasant on the ears with their theatrical take on post punk heavily influenced by free jazz.
There was now a little break as Television Personalities had pulled out at the last moment, this did mean however that were able to get ourselves a good place to see Lou Reed. Punctual, he took to the stage at 21h20 as programmed with a distorted guitar work our before plunging head first into his 90 minute set. Lou actually seemed in a good mood, though not very communative with the audience, I actually saw him smile on at least three occasions though he was none to pleased when some arsehole threw a plastic glass full of drink at his feet. Set highlights included 'Dirty Blvd' and two Velvets numbers 'Waiting For My Man'' and 'White Light White Heat' both remodeled in much the same way as Dylan does, so much so that many people did not even recognise the song until it's chorus kicked in, still I thought they were good and they are his songs to do as he wishes with aren't they? I did not dance but was to be found seriously tapping my feet.
It was rather bad luck for Deerhoof as they were programmed at exactly the same time as Lou Reed, and so I guess I was not the only person that missed them though I did get to see the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Three guitars, bass, drums and some idiot friend banging away on a tambourine stage centre with an extremely annoying stage presence and making stupid junior school jokes. Anton Newcome was in fine voice and when the band locked into a trance like groove they really did captivate you. Another band well worth catching especially when they get rid of Mr tambourine man. We got to see a good half hour of Lambchop, there were only six of them on stage and I had been hoping it would be the full works still the grand piano was a nice touch, and they were more than efficient, and as tiredness was beginning to get the better of us it was just what we needed. The last band we saw was Violent Femmes who annoyed more than anything else coming over as a overweight aging badly dressed crowd pleasing cabaret act, who I thought were rather untogether in musical terms.
So we left around 1h30 in doing so we missed three bands I wanted to see Stereolab, Mogwai and The Roger Sisters, but my feet were killing me and my other half was falling asleep on my arm and our hotel did seem to be a long way away.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Peel Sessions 10

OK I'm back from Barcelona, but I think that 3 nights and 2 days of partying is catching up with me, I'm as tired as hell and my voice is totally shot to pieces, I need to rest and probably some sleep would do me some good as well. I did enjoy myself, maybe a little bit too much, and if I can get myself in the mood I will tell you some more about it tomorrow.
While away I received a mail from Tommy the man behind Hauf Jaiket informing me of his new adventure The Story of the Fall, which in his own words 'intends to chronicle the mighty Fall's history song by song', now to me this sounds like great manifesto, and he has got off to a good start. This got me realising that there has been nothing from the Fall here to date, after all Mark E Smith has proved to be one of Peelie's most enduring favorites, so much so that the great man was moved to say that he had run out of superlatives for them as early as 1993. In total the band recorded 24 sessions from 1978 through to 2004. Today's song very much a theme song for the bands music and attitude is 'Rebellious Jukebox' that is taken from their very first time in the Maida Vale studios, only 23 days after John Walter (Peels long time producer) had stumbled upon them at London's Greyhound venue. The importance of this first broadcast cannot be overemphasised as not only did it kick start the long term friendship/appreciation between the 2 men but it was also responsible for them being "discovered' and signed by Step Forward records. The track would later resurface on their debut album 'Live At The Witch Trials' from 1979. Those wishing to further their acquaintance with the Fall should seriously consider purchasing the 6 Cd set of the complete Peel sessions, 97 song, which saw the light of day in 2005, I recently picked up a new copy for less than £20.00 on Amazon UK which is the proof that quality is not always the most expensive.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Something For The Week End

A few weeks back I stumbled upon this advert in some music mag, true my eyes did dwindle a little on the image and then I quickly glanced at the text, it was for a festival going by the name of Primavera and held in the charming town of Barcelona, well I thought Glastonbury has never used a poster like this. So I looked a little bit further and liked what I discovered a festival held almost town centre and with an eclectic line up, made to measure for me I thought and what with Barcelona being about a four hour drive from Nimes, the only problem being I could not get away from work before Friday afternoon and therefore could only attend the Saturday. So I've got my passport packed and am off in a few minutes, and I must say I'm quite excited for a 45 year old boy. Amongst those I'm hoping to see are Big Star, Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Charades, Coconot, Anari, Vashti Bunyan, Shellac, Stereolab, Violent Femmes, Tender Forever, Gang Gang Dance, Lambchop, Deerhoof, Mogwai, Television Personalities.............I know full well that with six different stages it will be impossible for me to see everyone still I shall do my best. The only person I will definitely be seeing, and I guess I won't be alone is Lou Reed, who I have never seen before. I've have read somewhere that his appearance will be with full electric band. Little favorite of mine here from his majestic 'Berlin' album called 'The Kids' probably one of the most harrowing songs ever written but so full of dignity at the same time, I'd love to hear him play it but somehow I doubt it. I will probably stay over in Barcelona and don't expect to be back until Monday night, so I guess next post Tuesday, and I'll let you know if I saw the girl in the poster!


Christine Keeler

Multi-nationals don't you just love 'em? You can buy their products but just don't play around with their name or their image. Remember what happened to Kleenex who were forced to change their name it is a surprise that the Pistols never received an injunction for 'EMI'. Another band that suffered at the hands of trade names were the Glaxo Babies whose response to legal threats was to simply replace the 'a' by an asterisk. Forming in Bristol in the late seventies they were along with the Pop Group the inspirational axis for the flourishing Bristol scene, coming along as they did just before other post punk bands we can label them as being pre-post punk. Their music could be described as both sophisticated and primitive being at times avant gard and at others displaying a pop sensibility that other bands would kill for, this side of the band was well exposed on the single that remains their greatest moment 'Christine Keeler'. A song that tackled rare subject mater at the time as the Christine Keeler in question was a call girl that had been involved in a political scandal in the sixties UK that toppled the then government, best line in the song "here come the radicals cheek to cheek". The song opens with a brief guitar intro reminiscent of 'Friday On Mind' before being joined by a good thumping bass line and quickly followed by the song's signature, a seriously funky saxophone. The half shouted half rapped vocals on the song were to point the way for other post punk bands such as Gang of Four, showing how melodic a dead pan voice could be. The song deserved it's place up in the charts but maybe the undeveloped independent distribution network and lack of day time airplay at the time were to hamper it's chances, not forgetting the songs embarrassing subject mater. The B side 'Nova Bossa Nova' was a good example of their more radical side having little in common with the structure of classical pop songs, and despite it's title has nothing to do with Bossa Nova. Both of these songs are available on the excellent Cherry Red double CD compilation of Bristol music from this period 'Avon Calling/The Heartbeat Singles Collection' that you can buy here at a very reasonable price. The Gl*xo Babies were not destined for a long existence and left behind them just one real album entitled 'Nine Months To The Disco' and the demos compilation 'Put Me On The Guest List' both of which have been out of print for a long time. Cherry Red, according to Amazon have a compilation called 'Dreams Interrupted' due to be released though with no date advertised and the labels web site does not even mention it, I for one would be more than pleased were it to see the light of day.

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