Thursday, September 28, 2006


Meek Warrior

Any of you that are regular readers might remember how taken I was with the Akron/Family back in May this year when I saw them in Barcelona. I'm happy to announce that they are back with a new album 'Meek Warrior' that was released this week on Michael Gira's Young Gods Records, the label has nothing to with the Swiss band of the same name. Since the release in March last year of their debut album the band have been making friends on various stages and at numerous festivals around the world, at the same time they were refining the seven songs that were to become this album in dressing rooms, airport lounges, hotel rooms, tour busses indeed anywhere they they could find the space when inspiration came knocking. The songs were laid down during frantic sessions in the windy city of Chicago, often between two gigs in distant cities. The band were lucky enough to record with one of their hero's the free jazz drummer Hamid Drake who has played with Don Cherry amongst many others. Upon delivering the finished tapes to label boss, Gira, they heard him exclaim how while working themselves almost to death they had also built themselves a new identity that maybe they didn't recognise themselves yet before disappearing to listen again to what he called this special album. The song 'Gone Beyond' he has described as being like a palliative hymn. Various adjectives could be used to describe different parts of the album including wild, elated, meditative, gentle, raging, chaotic, hilarious, this short list is by no means exhaustive though I hope you understand the wide range of emotions displayed through it's 35 minute length. For the moment my preferred track is 'The Rider (Dolphin Song)' with it's heavy guitar riffs it conjures up images of the Beatles experimenting with eastern sounds, it is also the song that reminds me the most of the live experience. It is nice to see that the album is starting to stir up some interest for the band in the UK, where maybe they have hit the nail on the head as Meek Warrior has already found itself favourable compared to Led Zeppelin with a the mix of folk and hard rock as pioneered by the band back in the seventies. As for the future, Akron/Family are back on the road with up and coming dates in Canada, and promise a new album for early 2007, I for one already can't wait and am keeping my fingers crossed that I might see them in a venue soon in the south of France, and if they don't know where to play they can always drop me a line!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Blaggers ITA

The band that saw the light of day at the tail end of the eighties with the goal of fighting fascism was originaly called Blaggers. They were openly left wing and proud to be an anti fascist skinhead band, their first gig was supporting the Angelic Upstarts, those early gigs were very much a case of wearing their beliefs on their sleeves as many of them were benefits for various left wing causes. They recorded an average album for Oi Records called 'On Yer Toez' which would be of little interest were it not for the political content. During this period the band started to build a solid following in Germany and changed their name to Blaggers ITA, added a trumpet player, by 1991 they were using an onstage rapper to further develop their sound. 1992 saw their second album with the in your face title of 'Fuck Fascism, Fuck Capitalism' released, obviously due to its title airplay was rather thin on the ground. Their third release 'United Colours Of Blaggers ITA' was to find itself a place in the indie top ten. This success lead to interest in the band from major labels despite their anti capitalist stance, and the band eventually signed with EMI, and for some of their supporters this was a sell out akin to the clash signing up with CBS. This marriage in hell was to leave us with the one album the very nineties titled 'Bad Karma' one must bear in mind that at the beginning of the decade the UK was tired and run down after the wreckage of the Thatcher years. A recent relistening to the album reminded me how powerful and diverse the record actually was, it's always nice to see big record label money going to good use! The credits on the back could well read The Clash, Karl Marx, Senser, Black Panthers, Manic Street Preachers............. get the idea? 'Famine Queen' mixes dance and rock sensibilities together with success, some nice shades of Led Zeppelin and a droning Eastern influence. 'Slam' is a 100mph no hold bared race with funky guitars sounding like something from a prime 70's TV cop show. And as for 'Hate Generator' if it is possible, this sounds like it should have been on 'London Calling'. The Blaggers ITA did not out stay their welcome at EMI and left by mutual agreement shortly after the albums August 1994 release. From here on it was more or less downhill with vocalist Matty being kicked out the following year due to his uncontrollable heroin addiction that was to lead to his early death in 200. The band called it a day in 1995, though they did reform as Blaggers AKA in 2001 to play some German shows.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Tom Waits & CSi

November 21 sees the release of a new Tom Wait's project, his first since 2004's 'Real Gone', entitled 'Orphan'. A 3 disc, 56 song set with each disc being subtitled there is 'Brawlers', 'Bawlers' and 'Bastards'. In brief the first disc contains the Roadhouse side of the man, primal screaming blues spanning from Muddy Waters to T. Rex by way of Captain Beefheart. Number two is the lonesome ballads as tender as they are sad. Bastards explores the strange and unusual side of Waits, the side that gave birth to his excellent trilogy of Island albums that started in the early eighties. there is a deluxe limited edition, does any one actually know what limited means?, that comes complete with a 94 page hand made booklet, that most of you probably won't read, still it's a collectors edition. I have decided that as my birthday falls a mere 14 days after the release date that I shall be treating myself to a copy. In the meantime there is a preview track for subscribers of EMusic, and me being a subscriber and a nice chap I've decided to share it with you and so here it is 'Bottom Of The World' from the Brawling disc.
A few weeks back I posted on the current Jones/James project Carbon Silicon inc, and their belief in sharing their music with you by way of free downloads, well they've put up three new tracks 'Why Do Men Fight', 'The Network's Going Down' and 'Really The Blues'. It is the last of these three tracks that is my current fave with its very eighties sound that reminds me of Blondies 'Atomic' until Mick Jones voice comes in however much I like him his vocal chords are not a patch on those of Ms Harry, it then takes a seventies turn with backing vocals resembling the Stones circa 'Gimme Shelter'. Check it out and see what you think.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Peel Sessions 23

Hands up who can remember listening to Peelie and the theme tune that he used at the beginning of his shows that he would talk over to inform us of the delights or horrors that he had in store for us that evening. The song was an old standard originally by Elmore James called 'Pickin' The Blues', and as with many blues standards had been revisited by a new generation of (white) musicians, Peel if my memory serves me correctly used a version by a little known band on Capricorn Records, that I once owned on some cheap label sampler. Interesting fact our hero detested talking over records and this was a practice that he avoided like the plague except for his theme tune. The reason I mention this is that last Monday Mercury records released a compilation of The Housemartin's BBC recordings inspiringly titled 'Live At The BBC' personally I would have called it 5 get excited at aunties or something along these lines. A very good compilation indeed that along with the Peel sessions includes songs recorded for Janice Long as well as various live broadcasts. The band became firm Peel favorites, maybe because of their honest approach, nothing to do with them being from up North, and were to record four sessions between July 1985 and November 1987. From the first one I have not chosen the most obvious of songs in 'Stand At Ease' what actually inspired my choice is the similarity between the beginning of the number and Billy Braggs early work as both artists were signed to the same label. The story is that Bragg, already with Go Discs was suitably impressed with the Housmartins after sharing the stage with them at numerous benefit gigs that he gave them a helping hand. From their early days they had incorporated acapella versions of old standards into their stage show, something that was rather out of line with trends at the time though it was this approach that was to give them their only number one single with their cover of 'Caravan Of Love' it was not every week that Peel had artists recording their no. 1 hit single for his famed session series as they had done in April 1986. The link between today's opening sentences and The Housmartins is that for their third visit to the BBC studio in June 1986 they reworked 'Pickin' The Blues' acapella style, what nicer way to pay homage to the great man.
By the summer of '88 they were no more, leaving us with just two albums, those Peel sessions and memories of four ordinary looking lads who did a damn good job of making pop music mean something more than just pop. Everyone knows that band vocalist Paul Heaton went on to form the Beautiful South and as for the bands little bassist Norman Cook he hasn't done too bad for himself either, Pizzaman, Freakpower, Beat International and Fatboy Slim being the names he has recorded under since 1988.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The Dutch Radio Recordings

It has always perturbed me a little to hear music from dead heros and seems even stranger to be listening to a live from someone who is dead. the dead person in this case is the ex leader of the Sound, Adrian Borland who suffered from severe depression and decided to call it a day in April 1999 when he committed suicide. The Sound were one of the bands that had, in musical terms what was needed to be up there with the U2s and Simple Minds in the eighties, maybe what they lacked was ruthless determination this they replaced with their sheer bloody mindedness that meant they did more or less what pleased them, this won them certain fans and lost them the support of the industry bigwigs.
It is obvious that the band and Adrians post '88 solo work retains a cult following to this day, for proof one needs to look no further than the well kept web site Brittle Heaven that is dedicated to them. The band had an important fan base in Holland and for this reason their gigs were often recorded and broadcast by Dutch Radio. A short series of Five of these recordings, made between 1981 and 1985, have recently been released at attractive prices and can be found here. I have treated myself to the last in the series that was recorded at Utrecht April 9, 1985. By this stage the four piece had been joined by Ian Nelson on saxophone to fill out the sound this can be heard to full effect on their long time stage favorite 'Missiles'. According to the sleeve notes Adrian was suffering from flu and as they say the show must go on, the beginning of the album is maybe a little bit rough as I guess his vocal chords were not properly warmed up, but by the time we get to 'Silent Air' everything is fine. The band released an official live album during their lifetime called 'At The Hothouse' which was recorded at London's old Marquee club in wardour street, anyone that had ever attended a crowded concert there will be able to confirm that this is good title for the album. Maybe it's because it's new but I find the Dutch Radio recording is a lot more urgent than both the official live and the BBC in concert disc, I'm looking forward to checking out the other four CD's when funds and wish lists allow me to.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


A Feeling Of Deja Vu

I mentioned the other day in passing my involvement in the anti NF struggle in the UK in the 70's. It is true that with age I have come to believe firmly in the rights of free speech, within certain limits, this means that far right wing parties and beliefs should be able to express themselves as abhorrent as their view might be, this does not necessarily mean that they have the right to carry out the beliefs. I guess it is maybe the aging liberal in me that does not accept that someone can be a lost cause. It was nevertheless in my opinion a black day for Europe last week-end when an average of 7% of those that voted in Germany choose to support Neo Nazi parties. I rather liked the analogy in the German press where they likened the situation to that of an alcoholic taking a drink!
With the undeniable rise of right wing politics in Europe, and the steady increase of the percentage voting extreme right I though some anti racist music is well in order today. First up the debut single from Elvis Costello 'Less Than Zero' that uses the rise of UK fascism in the years between the two world wars to get his point over. The Stranglers are not considered to be a political band, indeed feminists would put up a good argument against this. Their second album 'No More Heroes' had a political feel about it from it title, and the opening track 'I Feel Like A Wog' was a very upfront in your face way to make a comment. Of note to non UK readers wog was a degrading term used to describe black people, the word itself was derived simply enough from gollywog. The Specials were a highly committed political band, supporting many worthy caused during their short existence. I have always like the song 'Racist Friend' for no other reason than we all know someone who has dubious or ill thought out views and in my opinion there are more and more people who fall into this category. Now it would be unfair not to post anything American on the subject, after all American history is full of racism, don't forget that the Klu Klax Klan did exist and it was no joke if you were black and found yourself face to face with them. Our US contribution comes from Garland Jeffreys and is 'Don't Call Me Buckwheat' a very catchy song about racist name calling.
Of course these songs are others like them did not and will not change the world, it is very often a case of preaching to the converted, though if they make people think that can't be a bad thing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Old, New and Borrowed

A quick round up today of new or at least new to me releases with something borrowed and old thrown in for good measure.
Joan As Police Woman is already an intriguing enough name so much so that you not quite sure whether it belongs to a group or a person. It is in fact a she, the she being New Yorker Joan Wasser who has lent her vocal skills and her deft violin playing to records by Anthony and the Johnsons, Flaming Lips, Rufus Wainwright and Nick Cave amongst others. Now striking out on her own she has a new album 'Real Life' in the shops that I have seen described as being twisted soul with punk sensibilities, listen to her latest single 'Eternal Flame' and maybe you'll understand why she has been called a torch singer for the 21st century.
The Fratellis who would appear to be current darlings of the good old NME, and can be seen headlining the weeklies Rock 'n Roll Riot tour in the UK from October 10 onwards. They have a name that gives way to images of New Jersey Italian ice cream sellers though they are actually from Glasgow, and their recently released debut album 'Costello Music' may well confuse some Elvis fans. Check out 'Skinny Girls' that was available on the vinyl version their 'Henrietta' single to see how well they rock, no surprise really that they won themselves many friends this summer on the festival circuit.
The Bhuntam Philharmonic are actually a duo composed of Stoppa and Neil Arthur (ex Blancmange). Influenced by dub, hip hop, Kraftwerk and various Eastern musical forms, the instrumental 'Snakecharmer' can be found on their self titled debut album.
Gogol Bordello have been around the web for a while now but it was only recently that I heard 'Dogs Were Barking' on a compilation and immediately understood why this this strange mix of the Pogues and les Negresses Vertes makes them so popular live.
Susanna & the Magical Orchestra provide the borrowed with their second album 'Melody Mountain' that is composed entirely of cover versions and as the Norwegian duo have stated in their defense "these songs are simply our folk music, they were part of our environment, whether on the radio or played by our parents or friends". I say there is no need at all to make excuses when the record is as good as this, witness their take on Joy Divisions 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'. If you are interested in more do give the album a try and above all their sublime version of AC/DS's 'It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll)', that can be found over at Copy Right.
Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers are the old for today. The band had their origins in the states and after moving to London in the early 70's became one of the leading lights in the London based Pub Rock movement. They released the one album in 1974 before calling it a day the following year. That one album 'Bongos Over Balam' has recently seen a welcome re-release on CD, 'Goodbye Nashville, Hello Camden Town' is not only a good song but also displays some nice word play and a healthy sense of humour.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Peel Sessions 22

Being white lower middle class and born at the beginning of the 60's it would be fair to say that radical chic holds no surprises for me. Hell! I even spent a few hours in a Police cell after demonstrating against a National Front meeting at the Newham town hall, an action that intellectually I regret though on a gut level I can still justify my presence. I spent some time in Moscow in the early 80's, no regrets on this score. I frequented radial book shops, great places for picking up T shirts such as my genuine Sandinista T shirt that my 12 year old son now wears, read some great books and met some wonderful people. My involvement at the the time was heartfelt, and many of these causes are still very dear to my heart, I am to this day opposed to racism and I hope that I will be to my dyeing day, I believe in supporting equitable commerce projects even if the products are more expensive, and I believe firmly in my and your rights to question. To rip apart whatever you want, not to take no for an answer, to question authority, to question decisions made on your behalf, the list is endless. It often saddens me to see how politically unengaged the youth of today actually are, this is more than evident in the music industry, for so many struggling musicians today their choice of playing music all to often appears to be more of a calculated career move rather than something more gut level. don't get me wrong I know there are a lot youngsters that do care and that there are politically engaged groups and that there are youngsters that believe in the music that they make. One such group is Fun-Da-Mental, who have found themselves recently under negative scrutiny from the ever irresponsible UK press, and attracted attention from attention seeking UK Mps, ever since they released their latest album 'All Is War' a record that poses some rather uncomfortable questions for these post September 11 days. So much so that their song 'Cookbook DIY' has been (intentionally) misinterpreted by the more stupid elements of the press and the more dishonorable members of parliament have called for band leader Aki Nawaz's arrest under anti terrorist laws. These short sighted leaders of ours have claimed that the song glorifies suicide bombers, rather than scratching a little bit further and realising how the song examines the hate that breeds hate through the eyes of three different parties; the idealistic suicide bomber, an academic without ideals that is prepared to sell his know how and the government research scientist who is paid to discover new ways of killing. of course this is not the only song on the album that grabbed my attention, friendly titled 'Bark Like A Dog' examines white post apartheid attitudes in South Africa over an exhilarating Zulu chant and metal fusion style guitars while staying dancable! All said and done an excellent thought provoking album, and musically speaking their mix and match approach to world music is more often a success than not so do your self a favour and check it out. For those of you who are either too lazy or non native English speakers do log into the bands web site where they have gone to the bother to explain each song as well as publishing the lyrics. In terms of press I guess they have been just a little bit overwhelmed as there are 46 pages of press cuttings up for view as well!
John Peel and his sessions, you though I had forgot about them, didn't you? Well no true to form the balding Liverpool supporter, not only had radical tastes in music but also appreciated radical thought and as such the band were invited to lay some tracks down on four occasions between 1992 and 2000. 'Frontline' is taken from their April 1993 visit and 'Mr Bubleman' from July the following year. I won't pretend to be a rabid fan the band, although I can remember way back in 1993 their single 'Sista India' was a firm favorite on my radio show, what I am sure of is that I am more than happy that they are around to shake us out of our complacency from time to time.
By way of footnote I would like to point out that I am strongly opposed to terrorism/war of all sorts be it fanatical Islamic, state sponsored Israeli, US interventions, African atrocities .............the list is sadly endless, so don't be stupid and think that this post is supportive of such actions, and above all don't be a knee jerk and label Fun-da-Mental as Bin Laden's disciples, listen to them you may just learn something.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


I Wish

Having worked in radio at a time in France when it was still possible to find some decent listenable music and interesting stations, I now find that I have the tendency to listen to news based stations if I listen to the radio at all while in the car. A few weeks back I fell upon an old station called Europe 2 that had probably for demographic reasons changed their musical policy to something more friendly to my ears though hardly radical. Their playlist policy is very much in the vein of U2, Placebo, The Clash etc so hardly groundbreaking stuff but listenable in a foot tapping way. What with my boys being back at school at the reprise of sporting activity, I'm finding myself spending a lot more time in the car, and so it was the other day that while coming back home from basket ball training I heard the most ridiculous song, so much so that it made me laugh and almost caused me to crash the car! Maybe you know the song 'I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker' by Sandi Thom, always be careful of people that don't know how to spell and above all their own names unless of course it is Noddy Holder! The song itself is a very lightweight piece of folk chanting, though what I found to be offensive and insulting to the point that it is completely ridiculous is the lyrics. I was there and I never saw a punk rocker with flower in their hair, such people we called hippies! And then the smug smart couplets and the nostalgia for a period when she no doubt was not even born wishing for the days when footballers had long hair and dirt on their faces. I was confused and laughing at the stupidity. What is true is that she is no punk rocker, this being more of an attitude than a way of dressing, and if you were to have been born in the late 50's I rather doubt that you would have made the grade as the whole movement had its roots in real rebellion and a desire to change that gave us those fertile post punk years. A word of warning the song reminds me very much of Tracy Chapman and 'Revolution' and we all know what happened to her? Real female punk rock was abundant at the time and one of the best examples and a nice response to Sandi's song is the debut single from X Ray Spex 'Oh Bondage Up Yours'. Fronted by Poly Styrene and her power vocals and striking visual image conjugated with the raw honking sax provided by Laura Logic who later went on to form Essential Logic. They released one album in 'Germ Free Adolescents' that contained a good mixture of energetic straight ahead upfront in your face punk numbers and more moody atmospheric songs. One song from this album that has always stuck in my head is 'Warrior In Woolworths' built on a fuzzy guitar riff with shade of funk thrown in but above all it's the childlike word play in the title and ever present in the song that pleases me. A 56 track double CD compiling everything they ever recorded and including their Peel Sessions has just been released and is called 'Let's Submerge', I must say I'm just a little bit pissed off as I replaced my vinyl copy with an early CD re-issue containing only 16 tracks and I probably paid more then that I would today!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Ted Hawkins

A very busy week for me, too much to do at work and not enough time, not enough hands and bosses that understand less and less as they ask for more while paying less! On the positive side I have at last started to catalog my music collection, I've got as far as the digital side and with a bit of luck the CD part will be well underway this week-end. Who knows I may even discover things I had completely forgotten that I owned.
Something on Ted Hawkins was planned for last Monday but............... and so here it is today. Rather a sad story concerning our hero he was born poor in Mississippi, ill treated by adults around him and never got round to learning to read as a child. It was while he was in reform school that inspiration knocked at his door when Professor Longhair visited the school and his sights were set on making music. This project was interrupted when he spent a three year spell in prison from the age of 15. Upon leaving prison he found himself like many others not knowing what to do and so found himself drifting from Chicago to Philadelphia to Buffalo before heading back down south to LA and sunshine in 1966. By the end of the decade he had cut his first single but when he realised that no royalties were coming his way he decided to take to the streets and busk. The 70's and until the mid 80 were very much wilderness years for Hawkins, he had layed down some tracks at the beginning of the 70's that were not to be given a commercial release until 1982, and another album followed in 1986. He was discovered by a young Radio One DJ called Nick Kershaw who persuaded him to move to the UK. It was while based there until 1990 that his mix of soul, folk, gospel, blues and country found a wider audience. He recorded numerous sessions for Kershaw, and it is from these that the following songs are take 'Bring It On Home Daddy' with its warming baritone introduction, 'Happy Hour' and 'Daytime Friend' these last two songs having been influenced by his street life. What I really like about him is the fragility in his voice and his organic approach to strumming his guitar. I guess that by the early 90's he was homesick and decided to try his luck again in the States, but nothing had changed and he soon found himself back on the streets of Venice Beach playing for small change. The real sad part to the story is that finally in 1994 Geffen records released 'The Next 100 Years' which was widely acclaimed in critical circles and the stardom that he deserved was just a touch away when just before the new year rolled in a stroke robbed us of his talents.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Canning Town Boy Made Good

For those of you that don't know London too well, Canning Town is one of the poorer/harder parts of the East End of London being situated on the edge of London's once thriving docks. My father was born and raised there, he got out, though my grandfather, a provincial seafarer who came to the big smoke during the depression to find work and spent the rest of his life as a docker, didn't. I have fond memories of him as often I would stop off and have a pint with him as I headed off to the Bridgehouse, a popular East London venue in the 70's, to catch a gig, he was always asking me what I was doing in that "old knocking shop" as apparently the Bridgehouse was an once a brothel, hardly surprising really what with all those sailors passing through.
my roots are obviously not today's subject, it is David Essex. I know, me as well sometimes I wonder exactly how my brain functions, still maybe David is up for a critical re-appraisal ! I often heard people say when I was at school that there were three ways of escaping the East End 1) become a gangster, 2) become a footballer, 3) become a pop star, well David had tried the first having been part of the West Ham Junior team before Turning his hand to music. He was one of the many artists that went to make up the soundtrack to my teen years as provided by wonderful radio one, Essex was maybe more what my sister and her friends would listen to as I was more into Glam and Glitter than teenie pop stars. What I do recognise today is that many of his songs have passed the test of time and as such are still floating around in my head, occasionally coming to the surface for no known reason.
In the mid sixties he was a drummer for local R'n'B groups playing much the same circuit as the Small Faces, by the end of the decade he had been signed by Decca as a solo artist but failed to chart. His big break came in 1971 when he was chosen to play the lead role in the London stage musical Godspell, which placed him firmly in the critical limelight. It Wasn't until 1974 when he starred in the film That'll Be The Day that his became known to the wider public. He was author of the moody song 'Rock On' from the soundtrack that became his first UK hit and sole chart success in the USA. There was a follow up film in 1975 Stardust, two films that come highly recommended portraying life on the edges in 60's/70's England that owe much to the Ken Loach school of film making. The album that sent him to the top of the teen charts, and gave him a place in many a young girls heart was also released in 1975, 'All The Fun Of The Fair' which needlessly to say featured some of his biggest hit singles, 'Hold Me Close' highlighting his cheeky East End drawl, a song that would have been equally well suited to the vocal talents of the then ascending Rod Stewart. Despite the tag of being a teenie bop artist he was much more of a complete performer as can be heard on 'Rolling Stone' which features on the same album, a song that pays homage to the Temptations amongst others. His career as a top recording artist slowed down by the late 70's due in part to his predominately young female audience growing up and changing their allegiances and also the wipe the slate clean attitude after the big punk bang. He returned to theatre work and has released the occasional album, this autumn he heads out on a lenthy UK tour. Today the wavy long locks of his youth are long gone giving way to grey cropped hair as he resembles a mixture of David Soul and Malcolm McDowell.
I'm obviously not the only person to recognise his talents as bootleg/mashup wizard Go Home Productions put together 'Essex Dove' which uses David's vocals from 'Rock On' over the Doves 'Firesuite' to very good effect.

Thursday, September 07, 2006



Four short sharp shocks for you today from the belle epoque, all of which I owned on vinyl at the time.
Chelsea - 'Right To Work'. A classic debut single that was originally on Step Forward in 1977. Don't be fooled by the song title as it is not a rant against the then rampant unemployment in the UK but more Gene October moaning about not being able to get his equity card, so as Mark P said at the time a rousing punk anthem with dodgy lyrics. Chelsea as I mentioned the other day boasted Billy Idol and Tony James amongst their ranks though they were both long gone by the time this was recorded. Despite having played their first farewell gig in late '77 the band is still on it's (last legs) and can be caught playing the punk festival circuit. Interesting fact concerning Gene October, it was he that persuaded the manger of a gay London nightclub to take a risk by becoming the capital's first punk club, the Roxy, in 1976.
Art Attacks - 'I Am A Dalek'. with a typically stupid title for the time their sole single was to wait for the band to split before hitting the shops in April 1978. The band was led by one Savage Pencil, who was better known as a cartoonist in the then popular music weekly Sounds, who effectively called it a day when he decided to follow his studies. Still this stands out as a good picture of what was good independent punk rock at the time hardly surprising as various band members went on to be play with the Motors, Monochrome Set and Wire.
The Nosebleeds - 'I Ain't Bin To No Music School'. Why the name? Edmund Garrity, later to be known as Ed Banger, was roadieing for his friends band Slaughter and the Dogs when they supported the Sex Pistols at their second gig at Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1976. As violence flared Ed was injured by a flying bottle and his friend Pete suffered a nosebleed, thus the inspiration for their name. Released on Manchester's Rabid Records in 1977 and given a helping hand with an appearance on Tony Wilson's So It Goes T.V. program it sold in excess of 10,000 copies. In band arguing led to Ed Banger quitting and group guitarist Vini Reilley leaving to start his own band, Durutti Column.
Psychos - 'Young British And White'. little bit of a fetish song for me I had this on the Raw records compilation 'Raw Deal' that I wore out long before I was twenty by over playing. Some of the bands on the album had had singles released and for others such as the Psychos this was their first and only song to reach the public. I know nothing and have been able to come up with even less concerning the band still the song struck a chord with me and summed up lots of peoples feelings at the time with its refrain "young British and white, what a big deal".

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Carbon Silicon inc

A fair number of you probably know the Rolf Harris classic 'Two Little Boys', the title of this song was what sprung to mind when considering a post on the latest venture heralded by Mick Jones and Tony James, Carbon Silicon inc. Their friendship might not quite go back to school days but does date back over 30 years. The duo were founding members of the seminal UK punk band London SS legends despite never having played a single gig. What happened after is as they say history with both men's careers following similar paths until they were to reconvene as a unit at the debut of the century. Tony James went on to form the punk/pop-art Generation X with Billy Idol after the pair had spent some time with Gene October in an early version of Chelsea the demise of the band left James free to form the provocative future looking Sigue Sigue Sputnik which kept him busy through the eighties. As for Jones, after finding the person he wanted to front his next group he thankfully managed to persuade him to leave the 101ers and so it was that Strummer/Jones became another legendary songwriting partnership while at the helm of the Clash. Upon being kicked out by Strummer, Jones wasted no time in pursuing his interest in dance music with his new project Big Audio Dynamite which was to sadly peter out in the nineties. That last decade of the 20th century was not to be kind to either of the two men, and they both started to follow other paths, though during this period they were to discuss how to start a grown up group with maybe Jack Nicholson! The got to work together again in 2002 citing the ability to burn cds and mp3 technology along with P2P networks as the original inspiration, they composed their first song built around the title 'M.P. Free'. Around this time Jones returned to his rock/punk roots when he produced the Libertines second album, this experience proved to be another inspiration as creative juices began to flow and more and more songs were born. These early compositions relied heavily on machinery and samples but by mid 2003 the guitars were getting heavier as they said themselves leading to the adoption of a real live rhythm section, as James switched to second guitar, and a first gig in 2004. The same year saw the web site go live as the band practiced what they preached and posted works in progress. They have continued this way for the last 2 years and visibly have no desire to release hard product as their first real album A.T.O.M. (A Twist Of Modern) has been available on their web sit since July 28 this year. While it is true that neither of the two men really need to work again, it is still honorable of them and much to their credit that they believe in spreading their music as opposed to making money, I agree that the music they are making is hardly revolutionary but what is different is their way of existing outside of the music biz norms. This may well have back fired a little when one executes a web search very little comes to light, even the mighty AMG has no entry for the band, nor do they mention them in their entry on Mick Jones, it's almost as if a record is a prerequisite for existing in this world that appears more and more to be controlled by (deaf) accountants in suits as opposed to business minded music lovers. I don't want you to think that the music they are producing is no good and suggest that you waste no time in downloading the 14 songs that constitute the album here. Current faves are 'Night Falls' that reminds me of the more experimental side of 'Combat Rock' and 'What The Fuck' which follows a line that goes from Bo Didley, the Who and The Clash to Carbon Silicon inc. Just to show that old interests remain intact this member of the last gang in town has penned a song paying tribute to those that record and share their shows 'Gangs Of England', I think Joe would approve.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Peel Sessions 21

This really wasn't planned, above all as there was a song from today's band posted last Thursday, but there again I often get the feeling that this blog leads a life of it's own! Those of you that actually read what I write will have realised by now that I'm no spring chicken and that I have two sons and a job and a house........... Obviously all these take up time as does this blogging business. What I have realised the older I get is that we don't see our friends as often as we maybe should, 1500km the English Channel and some 25 years have made sure of that my chums from school are just a distant memory. When I arrived in France, at the end of the eighties, I was lucky enough to fall upon a bunch of like minded music loving, alcohol consuming party hell raisers such as myself. This period could almost be compared with Lennon's lost week-end as we spent so much time indulging ourselves and punishing our livers while we tasted Montpelliers night life. As they say all thing come to an end, we are now all either married, living with someone and maybe got kids as well and above all we are all now past the big 40, for my part I have moved and now live in a neighbouring town. Basically what all this means is that it is rare that we meet up above all collectively, and last Friday was one of those rare occasions, and as always we were left wondering the next day while nursing a throbbing head just why don't we get together more often? By Sunday my head was almost functioning correctly and so I set about looking for today's Peel Session, when I stumbled upon 'You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends' while searching and my thoughts kept returning to that song, so what the hell! Despite the fact that only days before I had posted something else from the Wedding Present, the song imposed itself, so exceptionally today's post is dedicated to my friends.
I have always had a soft spot for the band loving the gruff vocals, the frantic guitar strumming, the soaring bass lines and those wonderfully long song titles, I know that I was not alone as the band were Peel favorites, and David Gedge stayed a Friend until the end. They recorded nine sessions between February 1986 and March 1992, and were obviously in synch. with the balding one's listeners as the Wedding Present had 41 songs enter the famous festive fifty over the years. As already mentioned the band had a way with cover versions and laid down their own version of Orange Juice's 'Felicity' both songs are taken from their first session and can be found on the 'Tommy' album which collects together their first four singles and early Peel Sessions.

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