Monday, April 30, 2007


Peel Sessions 51

I know it's been out for just over a month now, blame it on snail mail, but it must not be forgotten that David Gedge and his glum band otherwise known as the Wedding Present were along with the Fall the archetypal post 1976 Peel band, a point borne out by the elevated number of Sessions recorded by both them and his following project Cinerama. The Complete Peel sessions is a 6 CD box set that dare I suggest might have been a more essential purchase if the 3 live discs had not been included as apart from the Peelie 50Th birthday bash the live sets are far from the bands best, recorded long after the bands high point of 'Bizarro' and 'Seamonsters' . There are two things that have grabbed my attention the first is that wonderfully grim up north style sleeve, that in many ways goes to sum up Gedges down to earthiness normal man vibe, though this of course could not be further from the truth as the ex schoolteacher is indeed a very bright and well informed man, I somewhat doubt that he has ever crossed the door of a bookies for example. His difference can further be seen by the songs that are amongst the most pleasing on this set, those of the three sessions of Ukrainian folk songs. Having already laid down 'Hopak', a song that they often played at sound checks, in November 1986, Pete Solowka suggested that they did something really radical and record a whole session of Ukrainian music. Radical it was as these were the days before the new folk revival, probably the only band doing something similar was the Pogues but they sung in English. And so it was with the help of fiddler Len Liggins that they recorded these 5 songs in October 1985:

1. 'Katrusya'
2. 'Svitt Misyats'
3. 'Tiutinyk'
4. 'Yikav Zozak Za Dunai'
5. 'Hude Dnipro Hude'

I guess you can't really get much further removed from cloth caps, whippets and mushy peas can you? The record buying public were obviously behind this project as when the first two sessions were compiled as 'Ukrainski Vistuosi v Johana Peela', the bands first release after signing to RCA, it's 40,000 sales were enough to put the it at 22 in the national album charts, the real one not the indie charts! Now this was good news as it frighted the shit out of daytime jocks who were genuinely worried that they might have to learn a foreign language. By 1991 Solowka had left the band and along with Liggins had turned the Ukrainians into a full time affair, I saw them in 1993 and they certainly provided you with a good night out. This departure led to the Wedding Present regrettably shutting the door on Eastern European folk music a shame really a bit colour up north goes down just fine.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Who Invented Love?

The Young Playthings are a UK band based in Oxford and London that have recently been making friends for themselves on the live circuit after opening for The Pippettes the length and breadth of the land. After having released three singles since 2005, the time for them to release their inevitable debut album has arrived, an event scheduled for May, 15 by the UK indie label/co operative Smalltown America. A quick glance at 'Who Invented Love's?' art work should set the tone, a cartoon style design that owes more to Hanna Barbera, the creator of The Flintstones and Scooby Doo amongst others, than it does to indie pop, still we all have our roots and influences don't we? The opening four songs do not disappoint as the accent is firmly on fun with that good old vibe of feel good running through the tunes. I guess it wouldn't be too inaccurate to describe them here as falling somewhere between Green Day and The Frank & Walters with a pleasing nerdy edge thrown. I was particularly taken with 'So Good, So Bad, So Good' that manages to stir up memories of Buddy Holly, Doo Wop, Del Shannon and NYC girl groups, in other words a song with bags of attitude and feeling. After these four songs the album looses the plot a little and fails to work as a whole as there is too much variety involved before the band has managed to stamp their trade mark, imagine that The Clash had delivered London Calling as their first album I doubt that it would have been as well received as it was. Though taken as individual songs their are plenty of gems to be discovered a fine example would be 'Last Night In Los Angeles', subtle shuffling drums, fluid guitar lines, refined harmonies (one of the bands definite strong points) and an all important youthful enthusiasm that at times leads to the impression that the song is being played just a little to fast!
In conclusion a solid debut, but no classic leaving that all important space for improvement, don't forget it's easier to climb than to fall! With it's enthusiasm, soaring harmonies and well crafted tunes It should find friends with lovers of intelligent indie pop that want a good time, and I rather doubt that they'll have much problem in shifting the 800 copies.
Bonus track 'Yr So Fit (For Me)' a non album track and single release from 2006 illustrating a more punkish side to these three boys.
Anyone know who invented love? They have a hell of a lot to answer for!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


The Best Kept Secret In The World?

I don't know about you but I can always remember reading in the music press about classic albums or artists, such as Big Star, that back in their day never sold enough copies to pay the bus ticket back home, now I will be the first to say that sales do not necessarily equate to quality, though it did often get me scratching my head and wondering why these classics failed to grab the attention of the masses. I guess part of the reason is that these artists are often what we might call critics bands or maybe even musician's musicians. Today's chosen gang are quite possibly the best band in the whole world, proof of their esteem amongst their colleagues is that when the worlds greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band needed a bassist to replace Bill Wyman they looked no further than Doug Wimbish. The nucleus of Wimbish along with drummer Keith LeBlanc and guitarist Skip McDonald began playing together in NYC at the beginning of the 70's and a decade latter they had become the house band at Rap pioneering label Sugarhill Records. As such they were the musicians that performed on such influential songs as 'White Lines' and 'The Message'. This was followed by a brief spell at Tommy Boy Records before a chance meeting with Adrian Sherwood led to them relocating to the UK. Here they once again assumed the role of house band this time for Sherwood's highly influential On U Sound label where dub and studio wizardry was pushed to the limits to good effect. it was while here that our trio formed Tackhead with the addition of vocalist Bernard Fowler. Their 1989 debut album 'Friendly As A Hand Grenade' has stood the test of time with it's proficient playing doing nothing to detract from the feeling of these funk/dance/rock crossover tunes as can be heard on 'Airborn Ranger'. They continued working with On U Sound artists and formed a special relationship with ex Pop Group vocalist Gary Clail. The slightly less rewarding 'Strange Things' was released in 1990. The early 1990's saw guitarist McDonald recruit the talents of his fellow journey men for his new project Little Axe. It would appear that his manifesto here was to put a new take on that original black American form of music, the blues. Mission accomplished, with the aid of Sherwood behind the mixing desk they mixed the fore mentioned blues with gospel, rock, reggae and funk to come up with the critically acclaimed 'The House That Wolf Built', 1994 and 'Slow Fuse', 1996. As a band the project was put on hold until 2002 when they hit back hard with 'Hard Grind' on blues revival label Fat Possom, maybe this rebirth was due to renewed interest in the blues thanks to the likes of The White Stripes, still their return was more than welcome. The band have now found a home on Peter Gabriel's Real World, it's nice to see those Genesis royalties going to good use, and delivered the goods again last year with 'Stone Cold Ohio', their fifth album to date. It has been genuinely difficult to choose a track from this album as the bar has really been set that high in terms of quality, I've gone for 'Same People' which is a fine spirited cover of an Alen Toussaint song where they manage with so much class and feeling to put the voodoo back into New Orleans swamp music.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Hillbilly Alert

I must say that in much the same way that Iggy Pop can be relied upon to get his wrinkled willy out on stage so can Hayseed Dixie be relied upon to deliver the goods when it comes to deep bluegrass cover versions of rock classics. This time round they have delved into one of Punk's classic albums for the opening track for their fresh on the shelves album 'Weapons Of Grass Destruction', don't you just love these sensitives boys way with words! The song in question is none other than 'Holidays In The Sun', band member Barley explains his thoughts behind this song by saying "I miss the Cold War. I think we all do, really. At least back then everybody had a clear and distinct picture of who was trying to whoop who. The Berlin wall was the concrete (literally) symbol of this certainty, and this song sums up the longing for those times of old quite perfectly. You know . . . it’s a nostalgia piece really." In musical terms it's much of the same stuff as can be found on their other albums, this version is about so far removed from the original that it almost sounds romantic! I guess it's pretty much a case of you'll love it or hate it, as for me it put a smile on my face, and with the state of my the back these last couple of days that can't be such a bad thing, though I will say that I still prefer the panzer like XXX full strength version that made sure we weren't sleeping while listening to 'Never Mind The Bollocks'.
The band will be taking their energetic live shows just about everywhere this summer including the home of heavy metal festivals, Donnington and excluding France. I can't think of a better way to spend a summer evening than watching these bastard sons of the Dukes of Hazard bashing away with their mandolins and banjos while nursing a glass of warm cider!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Bristol Dance Three Pack

Ever since the arrival of punk, Bristol has been a fertile source of new music, not always the most commercial of sounds though in general of artistic merit. Part of the logical fallout of the bastard rhythms of post punk was a new generation that openly embraced dance music. Massive Attack are probably are very good example of how a band can be inventive in musical terms and still be popular. For me their 1994 album, 'Protection' was a big eye opener into a whole new realm of music with their grooves managing to be both sophisticated and street level at the same time. one of their definite strengths lie in their ready acceptance to collaborate with other artists, a fine of example of this is Tracey Thorns vocals on the song 'Protection', Tracey was of as everyone knows the singing half of Everything But The Girl who has just released, 'Out Of The Woods', her first solo album in twenty years. Another collaborator on this album was Tricky who was also to taste fame under his own name particularly with his 1995 debut album 'Maxiquaye'. A larger than life personality who was verging on the edge of sanity, sadly a nervous breakdown left him a normal human being and his music a lot less interesting. 'Black Steel' was an inspired cover version of the Public Enemy song that can be found on his debut album, personally I prefer the 'Been Caught Stealing Mix' complete with it's loud guitars. Neneh Cherry first came to our attention as the energetic singer and dancer from the post Pop Group, Rip Rig And Panic, she went on to have a very successful solo career with music not the far removed from that of Massive Attack, she bravely took the decision to quit music while still a popular figure to raise her children. She has since resettled in Sweden, a country that one boasted her father Don Cherry as a citizen, her latest music venture, CirKus, is still groove based and their debut album 'Laylow' is well worth your time. I was lucky enough to catch them live last year and a very good gig it was with Neneh's vocal chords being as powerful as ever. One of the stand out moments was the lilting reggae/rap of 'Your Such An' that was introduced with an amusing dedication / put down of George Bush.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Unashamed Publicity

And in my opinion deservedly so! The album in question dates from 1979 and originally saw the light of day on the Jake Riviera set up and Warner Brothers financed Radar Records, which was of course the home to Elvis Costello. The album has long been unavailable excepting a very expensive Japanese import, and now 28 years after its original release it has been put back on the shelves by Rhino and for a very modest sum for such an important work. The album was the first from the Bristol based noise warriors the Pop Group who had a strong radical left agenda to preach. As AMG so rightly state the name of the band is to say the least ironic, the band's love of word and sound play was also evident in the title of this album, 'Y'. Their sound definitely had it's roots in intellectually radical free jazz, and as such song structures would often be sacrificed for random ideas the sort of thing that might look great on paper or after a joint, their saving grace as far as our ears were to be concerned was their use of both funk and reggae that made their abrasive sounds exciting and if my memory serves me well, danceable to inebriated students. The reggae edge was well exploited on this album as it was produced by UK reggae producer Denis Bovell in his down time between producing chart artist such as Janet Kay, it goes without saying that the Pop Group were never to disturb the charts, one of their early singles was called 'We Are All Prostitutes', Marxist dogma was not a staple of Radio One in the late seventies. Listening to the album 28 years down the line it sounds every bit as fresh and rewarding if one takes the effort to listen to it as it did, it back then. It has also sent the memories rushing back of my youth and above all crazy anything can go gigs at London students union bars and halls!
By 1983 the adventure was over and the bands foghorn soapbox vocalist Mark Stewart had formed Mafia and released his excellent debut alum 'Learning To Cope With Cowardice', Stewart's political rantings and dub heavy musical soundscapes were to become one of the many outstanding features of Adrian Sherwood's On U Sound label. His fellow band mates were also to play with numerous bands of note including Rip Rig And Panic, Public Image Ltd, The Slits, Guided By Voices, Pig Bag and the Gl*xo Babies.
Of all of the songs on the album probably the most accessible was 'She Is Beyond Good And Evil' that unsurprisingly enough was also the lead single despite it lacking a sing along chorus and so it was destined to linger in the then ghetto of the Indie charts. Do yourself a favour and but the cd now before it disappears for another decade or so.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Peel Sessions 50

Funk, in general when we think of this kind of music it is the black US artists such as Clinton (George of course) and his different bands or maybe Sly, a style of music that often had so much going on that the sound was maybe at times a little confused but what the hell it got our arses moving which after all it was intended to. My first real meeting with funk was the metal pop hybrid of Wild Cherry's 'Play That Funky Music', a little bit obvious but still a great song, and a direction that would be followed years later by bands such as Extreme. It must be said that during the seventies the nearest we got to funk in the UK was the sterile likes of Level 42 and the UK Jazz Funk, hey slap my bass, movement. One of the fall outs of punk was the currently much in vogue post punk years and their melting pot attitude to music making, certain artists such as The Slits and Public Image Limited, incorporated heavy dub influences into their musical offerings, while other bands such as The Gang Of Four were to delve into funk for their foot tapping influences. Now it goes without saying that a white boy from the industrial north of England did not have the same sense of rhythm as an Afro black from the Bronx the result was that wonderful hybrid often labeled indie funk that was a very clean mechanical cold, yes almost industrial sound.

One of the undisputed leading lights behind this was a band that hailed from Aberdeen, a cold forbidding austere town in the North of Scotland that at this period was best known as being a large fishing port, this was before North Sea oil brought undreamed of wealth to the town, APB was the bands name. I've seen the band described as being the missing link between between The Gang Of Four and early Red Hot Chili Peppers, the only thing that I would add is that they were obviously a big influence on their fellow Scots Franz Ferdinand. Interestingly enough the band were at the end of the day to go down much better in the far off city of New York than they were in their home town. They were invited down to the big smoke by Peelie for two sessions, the first in December 1981:
1. 'My Love'
2. 'Higher The Climb'
3. 'Crooner's Lullaby'
4. 'From You And Back To'
This music here was much more brutal and sparse sounding than that from the follow up session from December the following year where the sound was larger and richer. As with many bands from this period the dream was not to last and despite their US popularity that had led to them to opening for James Brown and playing NYC's famed Ritz club and so by the end of the decade they were no longer a viable concern. Interest in them and this musical period had led to their 'Something To Believe In' album being given the double cd treatment and an excellent disc of their BBC Radio sessions (Peel, Powell & Jensen) being compiled by Young American Recordings. 2006 saw the band getting back together to profit from this renewed interest and have even gone as far as recording their third album 'Three'.

Due to a careless mistake, I double clicked when ordering the Radio sessions, I am now the proud owner of two copies. The reader that can name the most bands from Aberdeen (Scotland) will become the proud owner a factory sealed copy of the cd. Entry's are to be e-mailed to before Friday May, 4, please put APB competition as the title. I do of course expect serious names and not silly made up band monikers, my decision will be final and announced May, 7 along with the posting of the second APB Peel session. Good luck!

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Good Taste Bad Taste

Last week end my partner and myself were invited to a diner party, older readers probably know the sort of affair, four or five couples that have known each other for many years though today we probably only meet up two or three times a year at the most. As is usual with these affairs conversation revolved around a) our children, b) our work, c) whatever happened to so and so and d) music which was after all one of the things that bonded us together all those years ago. As has been the case with our lives in general, the way they have taken different paths so is the case with our musical tastes, personally I am rather proud that at my age I am still listening to such a wide variety of music and that I still find myself excited by a new band or sound much the same way as I was when I was a teenager. Sadly this is not the case with my friends, with the notably exception of Jeff and GG, as far as the others are concerned music stopped in 1990, with the exception of certain mass appeal artists. And so my ears were treated to what my host considered to be cutting edge music, the latest Scissor Sisters, Mika and an album of Stones classics Bossa Nova style. I was bored and my ears were feeling offended. These bands might be OK for the odd song but to be forced to listen to their albums from start to finish borders on torture, above all when considering that the CD age has put quantity over quality, rare is the album today that clocks in at under the 60 minute mark, with vinyl it was more often or not two times 20 minutes. Listening to these two artists I was struck by the resemblance to eighties synth/dance music and one name stuck in my head that of Jimmy Somerville. The next day I dug out some old record by Bronski Beat and The Communards, and yes I was right there was a similarity between the two generation though I much preferred the falsetto warble of Jimmy Somerville over that of media friendly nice clean boy Mika. The Bronski Beat songs have the advantage over the Cummunards materiel in so far as they are not just good songs but politically motivated. 'Smalltown Boy' was their debut single that set the scene for what was to follow with it's synth based mix of pop and house, 'Ain't Necessarily So' displays a certain maturity, today listening to it it reminds me of Steely Dan, and had a subversive sensual feel to it.
I wonder if 25 years down the line people will look back with the same affection at Mika and the Scissor Sisters work?

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Spring Clear Out

Sometime back I created a Sound of the Suburbs e mail address that I placed on the side bar enabling those of you that don't wish to leave public comments to contact me as well as labels and bands to send me their latest wares. Of course this letter box receives a lot more junk mail than interesting mail. Concerning the bands, the labels and the promotion companies that have sent me musical links I do eventually listen to all of them at least once, and as is to be expected the majority are not to my liking and don't spend much time on my hard drive. There have been a few that have been the exception, almost a revelation and have been posted almost immediately. And there are others that have gone into a dossier named Blog Possibles, due to lack of time this has got bigger and bigger, so the other day I decided it was time for action and gave each of the artists a second listen, this meant that some of them were to be destined for the scrap heap, and as for the others, well they make up the back bone of today's post. For the majority of the artists I know nothing or little but we don't need to know the singer or the band to enjoy the music do we?

1. Ist are a real mystery to me, I think they are American, but this is all I know about them, who sent me the mail I don't remember, a Google search has come up with nothing and so I'm starting to wonder do they exist? Their song that grabbed my attention was the compact 60 seconds of 'I Am Jesus And You're Not' rockabilly trash with breakneck speed vocals.

2. Sir Salvatore hail from San Francisco and are are a relatively new band though as is often the case these boys are no newcomers to the world of music making. The band will be releasing a six track cd entitled 'Those Men Are Not Astronauts' at the beginning of May, 'Hooray The Projector' is a fine guitar led indie pop song and 'Publickley' is a much more atmospheric affair both songs can be found on the cd and show a certain promise, a band to watch.

3. The Dealership are also from America and have been together since 1995 when they got together while studying at UC Berkeley. They have released three albums. 'California' from 2001's 'TV Highway to the Stars' displays a healthy baggy influence without the more dance element, there are definite shades of The Stone Roses and The Charlatans here. If you like this there are a whole load of other tracks to download from the band's site.

4. Winterpills have been labeled as Americana and have just released their second album 'The Light Divides'. From the evidence of the two available tracks, the female led 'Hankerchiefs' and the more upbeat 'Broken Arm' I would say an album well worth checking out.

5. Von Südenfed is the name given to a project between Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner from Mouse on Mars and Mr Mystery himself Mark E Smith better known as the Fall's ringmaster. Their album 'Tromatic Reflexxions' has been picked up by Domino and is due for June release. 'The Rhinohead' could almost be signed the Fall and displays a welcome pop edge whereas 'Flooded' is another beast altogether with Smith rapping over some heavy mechanical funk.

6. The Basement probably need little introduction for many of you though for me me they were a recent discovery, I would describe them as being somewhere between an Irish Showband, Bob Dylan and the Waterboys! 'Close The Door' is a pleasant enough piano led romp with it's vocals and harmonies owing more than a little to the Beatles, 'Bringing Out The Dead' an instrumental, is wacky enough and loose enough that it charms you through it's 2 minutes 21 and you don't even miss the vocals.

As they say that's all folks!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Peel Sessions 49

I'm not quite sure when it was announced,the end of February? All I know is that I must have had my head firmly wedged in a bucket of sand of maybe even cement to have let news as important as the reformation of the original line up of the Only Ones be missed by myself. I guess this is going to be very much of case of don't hold your breath and don't blink as no one not even London's finest bookmaker's are willing to offer odds on the given length of this return of the four original members of one of the finest bands to have come to light in those turbulent years of '76/'77. Peter Perrett, vocalist and songwriter, by his own admission is in a bad way physically after spending the best part of the last thirty years as a junkie, his good friend Johnny Thunders is reputed to have once advised him to clean his act up! Having said this reports from the rehearsal studios are so good that apparently he no longer needs a fix of oxygen between numbers, and there is even talk of them entering the studios to lay down some new material.
It would appear that this move was sparked off by an offer to play All Tomorrows Parties (April, 27), this has now been followed by a short UK tour, 6 dates starting June, 1 and a festival appearance at the beginning of September, as I have already said it remains to be seen if they manage to fulfill these obligations and I am under no illusion regarding the possibility of seeing them here in the south of France - Nil. Still I wish them luck and must admit to being just a little envious of those of you that are going to catch them.
To celebrate I'm putting up the four tracks that made up their very first session for Peel originally aired in September 1977. I know that some of these songs have already been posted here but those links have long been lost in cyber space.

1. 'Lovers Of Today' which was their first single, released on their own label and the song that started a label bidding war for the band. Perrett has since regretted their choice claiming they should have signed to another, nameless label, because he had done drugs with the label boss!
2. 'Oh No' not their most memorable song and somewhat out of character for the band it being an out and out rocker and lacking the bands trade mark atmosphere and dynamics, though it does feature a nice bit of very free guitar playing by John Perry at the end and it really sounds like he was enjoying himself. As Far as I know this song was not featured on any of their official CBS releases, maybe under a different name? Though a version does exist on the outtakes compilation 'Remains'.
3. 'Telescopic Love' a lovely slice of English psychedelic pop that was later to figure as the b side of the 'Another Girl Another Planet' 7" single with the title changed to 'Special View'.
4. 'Inbetweens' that would later feature on the bands second album 'Even Serpents Shine'.

This session along with the three others that the band recorded for Peel have been compiled with two BBC In Concert recordings under the title of 'Darkness And Light' for a double CD release by Hux. Their three official CBS albums are available on another 2 cd set which includes their debut single and b sides for a very reasonable £11.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


God And Other Stories

This was the title of Peter Astor's last solo album that dates from 1993 and it was in March of that year that I promoted his gig in Montpellier. I must say that at the time Astor's previous bands, The Loft and The Weather Prophets were just names I'd come across in the press but don't worry I have since done my home work and caught up with those early Creation bands that he fronted, and well worth my time it was as well. I can remember that gig posters were rather loud, being an image from the album sleeve of a flamenco dancer in different shades of red, not very rock 'n' roll, though here in the south of France maybe the image was not too out of place. The gig, was great, though not that well attended around a 100 people in an 900 person venue, despite this I was won over. I can remember us having a healthy presence of local musicians for the concert, all of whom seemed to consider Astor to be some God like figure in the scheme of musical evolution. The result of which was that I checked out his earlier albums, 'Submarine', 'Zoo' and 'Paradise' and there wasn't a dud one between them! These four albums, two a piece for Virgin and Danceteria, have long been relegated to the realms of second hand shops. Interestingly enough Peter Astor would still appear to be in favour with Alan McGee as a compilation of songs from these four albums called 'Injury Time' with the track listing having been selected by the songs author is a new feature of the Revola catalogue. The two numbers posted today, taken from 'God And Other Stories', do not feature on this compilation though I would suggest that they would not have been out of place on it. 'No Food Is Blue' has a title that reminds me of my days as a psychology student and was picked up by myself and other jocks on Radio Alligator as the lead track from the album, no surprise really as it is a nice little pop gem with a catchy hook. 'Big Dumb Song Again' the albums closer is a mixture of pop number and ballad that is so infectious that I get the impression that I have already heard the melody somewhere else, this of course may well be the case but I can't for the life of me put my finger on who or what it was!
Since 1993 Peter Astor has stayed active with different projects such as Wisdom Of Harry and Elis Island Sound, two very different projects both distant in terms of musical style from his earlier work, but more from them another day.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Jealous Again!

It's true that a times I miss living in a large, big happening town such as my birth place, London, this feeling is often accentuated when I see the bands that are passing through these large centres of population. This was very much the case when I saw the advert for tomorrow's gig in Paris, is this the right word for a DJ set? Regular readers will have already witnessed the praise that I have been heaping on Go Home Productions and so missing the chance to see him perform along side his contemporaries, top French bootleggers DJ Zebra and Loo And Placido has rather put the dampers on my day. I do find it rather strange that the 'gig' should start and finish so early after all this is night time party music, this might be because the event is taking place in one of the capital's prestige concert halls! Anyway if I were to go I'd probably find myself to be the oldest person in attendance! To cheer myself up a little I've given GHP's recent comic relief mix that was commissioned for radio 6 another spin and well worthy it is with its as ever inspired choice of tunes mixed in this time with selected comic snippets, the whole 60 minutes is dowloadable as two files; pt1 and pt2. Those that don't know DJ Zebra can check out their download page where there are always a good number of files up for grabs.
I am a recent convert to the UK music mag The Word that has just celebrated it's 50th issue, above all I appreciate it's more in depth thought provoking articles that do not not limit themselves to just the music and do much more than scratching the surface as the more established press seems to do these days, I often get the impression that I know much more than the so called journalists recount in their articles. I read with interest their review section, more a case a quality above quantity, and as such was pleased to stumble across their review of GHP's 'Mashed' album that has recently seen the day of light on EMI, a well thought out article signed by David Hepwoth that I tend to agree with especially his closing thoughts that he feels a certain nostalgia already for the days when GHP's work was only available as hush hush naughty free downloads in other words when bootlegging earned it's name and reputation as an underground peoples movement.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Brown Horses or Wild Sugar

A pair of Stones cover versions today that have been rolling around my head for the last few days, interestingly enough both are from artists that I wouldn't normally listen to twice. 'Wild Horses' is signed by the Sundays, who are just a little bit too twee for by taste and I have never really appreciated Harriet Wheeler's voice. Having said that this cover grabbed my attention when I discovered it hidden away as a B side for one of their Parlophone singles in the early 90's, I find that her dream like vocals suit this wistful but straight forward romp through the song. The song apparently featured in a US TV commercial in 1994, anyone know what it was for, Marlboro, Cherokee Jeeps? Probably because of this the song has been tagged onto the end of their US version of 1992 album 'Blind'.
'Brown Sugar' is another altogether more demanding and possibly rewarding cover that features the combined talents of Ryan Adams and Beth Orton. Now where it not for the presence of Ms Orton I would probably not have given the song a second listen as in all honesty I always though the young Adams to be over rated, recent reports of him following in the footsteps of the Grateful Dead would appear to back me up. Though on the other hand I've had a soft spot for Beth Orton's work ever since having been hooked on her gentle folk dance numbers from her debut 'Trailer Park'. The combing of the two on this song has proved to be inspired, instead of the rocker as in the original the song is now presented as a mournful piano led ballad full of the necessary sadness that does an excellent job of summing up the real despair behind the songs title. Keef should be impressed!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Made In France

Ever since I can remember I've been using public libraries, as a child I was always down there borrowing books to feed my thirst, as I got older and interested in music I started using the record lending service, which was a great way to learn about jazz and classical music as at this period popular music was a dirty word for librarians. Some thirty odd years down the line I'm still visiting my local library on a regular a basis and am pleased to say that contemporary music has now found itself a place there, or at least it has in France. I find this a great way for checking out new or unknown artists with the minimum of financial risk, of late I've also started borrowing at least one disc by a French artist each visit, the choice is often rather arbitrary and may be made by the bands name, album name, sleeve design or as was the case with today's band a song title.

And so it was to be that Maximum Kouette exploded out of nowhere into my life and for no other reason than their latest album, 'Et Elors', rounded itself off with a ditty entitled 'Fuck Me Tender'. I was intrigued was this some dumb punk thrash take on the old Elvis standard on something different altogether? Well the song is in fact inspired by the other song but has a life and soul all of its own and is well worth a listen, the introduction is a nice sleazy jazz sax over some good old vinyl surface noise, followed by a laid back French temptress in full chanson mode and the naughty chorus complete with Elvis style 'Uh hu hu'. The rest of the album is a nice mix of guitar led punk pop with enough new technology for it not to be too retro. I particularly like their use of sax and trumpet to such good effect without being invasive and the strong in your face female vocals that are at times menacing and at others seductive. Over all the album is a good time fun record and I'm sure that live the band are more than capable of warming up the coldest of audiences. 'Va T'Faire' is a good example of this with it's grunge meets industrial guitars being the backbone to this infectious pop number that boasts electronics straight out of the eighties and as for the lyrics let's just say they are none to polite, maybe just as well the majority of you will not understand them!! Now that's got you wondering and running for your French/English dictionaries hasn't it?
As for the band, a healthy seven piece, they date from the mid 90's Paris bar/club scene where they spent the last years of the century paying their dues and refining their repertoire. It wasn't until 2000 that they released their first album, 'Et Alors' from 2006 is their fourth to date. If you like what you've heard there are some MP3 files illustrating their earlier albums for download on the bands web site and who knows maybe one of you will even buy one of their records.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Peel Sessions 48

Well I've been away for the week end, my boys were lucky enough to get in some end of season skiing, and as such have just got back to Nimes after a five hour drive, so this weeks Session will probably be brief and to the point.
No excuses at all for revisiting artists when their is merit and even if there was no merit it is my blog and as such I'll post what I want. back in August last year we had a look at Marc Bolan'sacoustic work with T.Rex, well there were to be two more pre-fame sessions that had a more electric edge to them and are fine examples of an artist in mid transformation. From November 1969 is the Eddie Cochran standard, that was a live staple of many UK groups at this period maybe thanks to the Who's explosive live version on 'Live At Leeds', 'Summertime Blues' with its nice touch of bongos and primitive guitar solo. This primitive side is also present on 'Hot Love' from the same session a much more direct recording than the later official studio version. By the following year and Bolans last Peel Session the band were fully electric as can be heard on 'Ride A White Swan' and the missing part of the puzzle, producer Tony Visconti, and fame and fortune were just around the corner.

Thursday, April 05, 2007



While thinking of something to post for the Easter weekend, I quickly dismissed the more obvious such as Echo & The Bunnymen or Patti Smith before stumbling upon the New Christs, who a bit like JC himself have a habit of coming back from the dead, as recent as last year they were back with a new line up and playing selected dates in the old continent. Seeing as ever since first hearing the Saints classic debut 45t '(I'm) Stranded' back in '77 I've had a soft spot for Australian rock, something that goes a lot further than Nick Cave, Inxs and Midnight Oil, I thought sharing some Antipodean rock with you was well over due. The New Christs were formed from the ashes of Australian band Radio Birdman, who's main claim to fame apart from being an excellent band was their cover version of the Hawaii 5 O theme, they have an excellent compilation available on Sub Pop. Rumour has it that ex Birdman vocalist Rob Younger formed the band when he was offered the opening spot on Iggy Pop's 1974 down under tour. Having won over the audience with their high octane garage rock the band decided to try and make a go of it and rapidly released two singles on Sydney indie Citadel Records, despite these 7"s gathering good reviews Younger was to find himself the sole band member when the others quit to return to their day time bands, Celibate Rifles and Hoodoo Gurus. This was to herald the first of many line up changes. I caught the band on stage in Toulouse at the tail end of the 80's and was seriously impressed. Today's music comes from a 1987 12" single 'Detrius' that compiled the 4 tracks from their first two classic singles.

1. 'Born Out Of Time'
2. 'No Next Time'
3. 'Like A Curse'
4. 'Sun God'


Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Why Wasn't This On The Album?

The post could be also called the missing title track, the track in question is 'Sreamadelica' by Primal Scream. Anyone know why it was absent from the album of the same name? The album was of course one of those that helped to define the musical landscape of the 90's, and it must be said it is an album that has well stood the test of time with its inspired mixture of 60's and 70's classic rock, think Motown, think Rolling Stones and the then trendy acid inspired house. This track I have as the B side of the 12" promo of 'Movin' On Up' and ever since the first time I heard it's wonderful dreamlike ten minutes of Herb Albert meets House Diva groove machine I've been in love with it. If you don't know the song then go ahead and treat your ears.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007



Last Sunday I had a run in with French passport control police and British airways at Marseille airport. Let me try to explain, my eldest son who is 13 was due to depart for the UK and spend his Easter holiday's with my parents. When we presented ourselves at the check in desk we were asked for a document authorising him to leave the country, now this is not the first time that he was to travel on his own, but the said document that is delivered by your local town hall had not entered our thoughts and British Airways, deemed it not necessary to remind us when we booked, a change in their policy as on previous occasions it was them that drew our attention to this. To cut a long story short despite both his parents being present and having the same documents with us that we would need to provide at the town hall, our request was refused by an arsehole policeman, who hid behind rules are rules. While I can understand the reason behind this document, that is apparently unique to France, I can only state it's inadequate nature as it is only required if the minor is travelling on his identity card which is delivered free, a child that has his own passport that delivered for a rather heavy fee, is free to come and go as he pleases. As I said son was refused permission to leave the cuntry, and unsurprisingly was very disappointed, BA claim it is not their fault and are refusing to refund our ticket, hiding behind conditions of booking.......................There are presidential elections here in a few weeks, though nothing will change.
My immediate reaction was one 'Fuck The Police', which was originally by Cromptons bad boys NWA and a live cover version by Rage Against The Machine, both of these are dedicated to my son who likes rap and RATM. On reflection I would say it was more a case of 'I Fought The Law' and the law won, live by the Clash in Holland October 1981 or if you prefer live by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros in LA November 1999. Which reminds me wasn't there talk of there being a live Strummer album in the pipeline around the time of his death, I guess it will be released one day and until then are plenty of bootlegs in circulation.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Peel Sessions 47

The beginnings of That Petrol Emotion were in the ex Undertones home town of Derry in 1984 where some demos were laid down, Alan McGee heard these and invited the boys over to London to record a single. The band gelled together and started gigging under the name of Novacaine Combo with the vocal duties being handled by Sean O'Neill and Reamann O'Gorman. They were not happy with the results of the vocals on the recorded single and so started searching for a singer, and in walked the recently arrived from Seattle Steve Mack who passed the audition with flying colours. The band's name was changed to TPE and the vocals re-recorded for the single, 'Keen' that was released in September 1985. Strangely enough record companies were not queuing up at the doors to sign the band and so a second single, 'V2' was released on their own label. The following year saw their debut album 'Manic Pop Thrill' released under a one off deal with Demon, it was probably the good press that they were now generating that got them signed to Polydor, where they stayed for one album before jumping ship to Virgin where they were almost to find real fame and fortune but that's another story.
Both last weeks session and this week's from November 1985 were recorded long before the band were to release their debut album, testimony of Peel's faith in the band.

1. 'Tight Lipped'
2. 'Circusville'
3. 'Cheapskate'
4. 'Mouth Crazy'

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