Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hey, I had every intention of posting something today but had more pressing matters to attend to. I guess that could well come together tomorrow. Or not.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another two down...

RIP - John Martyn

RIP - Billy Powell (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

also, I missed this...

RIP - Angela Morley (composer)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So yeah, "The Transatlantic Feedback" was the latest instalment of the Monorail Film Club on Sunday past. The fact that a documentary like this exists in the first place is a testament to the influence of the subject and the temerity of the film-makers. The influence of these five GI's pioneering work in deconstructing sound has been recognised and reverberates constantly throughout the oeuvre of much of today's music. Mr Cruickshank has a theory that their "managers" were aping what Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert were doing with The Who. The suggestion that the band was engineered by these individuals burst the bubble for several people who attended the screening. I think they'd rather that revelation hadn't been floated. However, there's no disputing that seeing those Beat Club clips in such great shape indicated just what a force of nature that the monks were.

The way the story is told is a departure from how these things often play out. The guys tell their own story and the talking heads are kept to a minimum. There will be a lot more by way of extras on the DVD release and you can sit in your living rooms and get to grips with those. Meanwhile it was a joy to see it on a cinema screen and hopefully there are still a few places out there where you can catch it on the big screen.

I think Roger passed away before the film was finished and of course, Dave Day died last year. It was to my eternal torment that we couldn't hear his banjo to full effect during the London show. still you cannae win them all. It must be a trip to experience someone who never heard these guys before. The film was introduced by John Cooper who went to great lengths to organise this loan from Dietmar at Play Loud! He told the story of his long quest to get a hold of the album which is almost impossible in this day and age, when you can just make a pitstop at a website or whatever to ease whatever particular jones.

The throng gathered in that place of worship known as the GFT certainly appreciated his efforts in getting the film here. The DVD is available now I understand and me reckon that you NBT types will dig it a great deal. If you can't hold out for the cinematic experience, and sadly this ain't heading to any multiplex soon, then roll the heck up.

Next month's MFC film (part of Glasgow Film Festival) is "The Wrecking Crew", to be introduced by, er, me...

Monday, January 26, 2009

It was an effort but I managed to drag myself out of the house yesterday.

There was an early screening of "The Wrestler" that I figured would help bookend the proceedings. Being that I was to attend the screening of "Transatlantic Feedback" in the evening. "The Wrestler" is pretty good and not at all like most modern movies. Rourke is pretty amazing and so is Marisa Tomei. I guess it's a case of championing the underdog whilst keeping uncertainty intact. The end is as open to conjecture as another New Jersey based drama was of late. You want to see a decent flick? Then this is it...

In these days of dwindling audiences and general indifference , it was jarring to see such a horde of youngsters queuing to get into The Garage. Earlier in the day, I'd seen a gaggle of little "emo types" hanging about the back of the place as I made my way up Hill St to the flyover. On the way back into town we find it's a band called Escape The Fate. I had never heard of them until that point and wondered how a band with such a crummy name could elicit such a following. I imagine it's the internet and having found out they're on Epitaph then that at least explains their profile.

Obviously there are still labels out there that can garner an audience that is entirely parallel to any alleged mainstream hype. I'd say the oldest of the kids were perhaps 15 or 16. Now I got a look at a band arriving in their van and they looked like McFly going to a costume party as My Chemical Romance. Not a good look to a fogie like me but then again, I'm well out of the range of the target demographic. Actually, I have no flippin' idea if that was ETF or not but what these kids do clearly works in a way that so many other things aren't. For a start, here was evidence of a physical following. Not massaged numbers. And there's your generation gap right there.

I checked out their myspace and it turns out that it sounds like that sanitised pap that masquarades as "alternative". At least to me. But it's not for me so good luck to them. Maybe they're all over Kerrang, an important part of what happens in this day and age is that you don't have anything to do with stuff that is of no interest. I do like to hear everything but I don't have to. I do like to try and keep some kinda finger on the pulse. Just as a marker.

But anyway, I just looked at the time and it suggests that it's time I wasn't here. I'll get to The Monks in due course. But not tonight...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In keeping with my recent inability to organise, this may be my only post today. If I stick to the original plan then that will almost certainly be the case.

Either way, don't forget the screening of The Monks documentary tonight. Particularly if you're in a 50 mile radius of the GFT blast zone. There's also a Jamaican Burns Supper at The Old Fruitmarket that involves Sly and Robbie, Edwyn Collins, Norman Blake, Sushil Pilot, Duglas T. Stewart and Rachel Allison. And food.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now, I could reproduce the entire Norton Newsletter here or you could skip over there and read it for yourself. Complete with fantastic photos and news of the upcoming A-Bones extravaganza! I figured as much...

Just click on Norton News when you get there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Browse the online brochure for the 2009 Glasgow Film Festival...
It's official. The UK is in recession but Scotland won't be officially screwed until April. That's either got something to do with the way that the stats are compiled or they're expecting the Homecoming/Burns hype to turn our economy around. Haggis sales this weekend are expected to be brisk. Whatever credibility Rabbie ever had was dealt a heavy disservice when Eddie Reader decided to make an album of his songs. Somehow, this led the charge to wheedle in a whole bunch of professional Scots. Walking effigies of the heather and biscuit tin, tartan toting albatross that is considered an aberration by those who are trying to forge a "brand".

I hate, hate, hate the expression "brand". Those with a vested interest try to make it mean more than "logo" but at least there was a place for one of those. Provided that it's not plastered all over the place to try and eke out a little glamour by association. Anyways, tis Friday again (slipped in a wee bit o' Rabbiespeak, oops it happened again... my appo-loggies) and this is good irrespective of the sinking ship status we find ourselves in.

Banker, merchant or otherwise has long been rhyming slang but has taken on a whole new meaning of late. Bankers have joined the ranks of politicians as the individuals that we can have no confidence in. And a couple of days into hearing "President Obama" referred to, I have to admit that I'm a little sick of it. Some of my closest and dearest friends are believers and I hope for their sakes especially that he will indeed make a diggerence. The fact that he's too "shiney" for my tastes are neither here or there. There are two words athat i've used in conversation to wind people up lately but i'll refrain from using those here.

It's not the Barack fella's fault that he's inherited a big bowl of wrong but I think that all the hope and goodwill should be tempered with a modicum of "what about the people round about him". On the upside, when I hear him talk, he reminds me of Dave Alvin for some reason. If Dave were President then I'd KNOW the US was in good hands.

But anyway, we are indeed in this thing together. Despite the default human condition being seemingly set to "arse-covering", let's hope that we can salvage something from the alleged long tunnel of austerity. Miniscule green shoots and tiny little lights at the end notwithstanding.

So yeah, "school" is out until Monday so things are pretty buoyant. The Monks film is on at GFT on Sunday so I hope to see a whole bunch of you locals there. I'm inclined to keep the Rabbie Burn's theme going as I close this segment. I could e-mail an mp3 of my father doing "The address to the haggis" to anyone exiled away from "the daftest wee country in the world" or whatever the tag-line is. All you have to do is send a message via the contact link with "Haggis mp3" in the subject box.
RIP - Mickey Gee
Oh dear, long time pal Fenderwoods has started a blog so he can share the "highlights" of his collection with us mere mortals... Dig in at own risk...

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The Jadewalkers host this highly convenient shinding down at everybody's fave local spot Wreck Room. DJ Kymber Lee NYC and Emma Vikingskull spin all night and invite to serious fun. If you actually live a serious life, then that's not what we mean by serious. We mean fun.

Anyway, Wreck Room updated their kitchen so now the food is safe and really good. The kitchen is open very late and offers everything from wings, sandwiches to steamed mussels. Cream Bean is still highly recommended in these tough times as it's only $ 4 (translation, that's a can of beer and a shot of Jim). That doesn't count as food though....

If you don't feel like dancing there's plenty of pool tables. All though we don't see how you will be able to resist moving those bones since the music will be so rockin'.

Drive By this special event. Perfect place to go before, after or all night. So if you have plans to, say... see Magic Christian at Rehab early on Fri -Drive By Wreck Room afterwards. Same goes if you're off to Midnight Til' Death. Get started at Wreck Room.

See you Fri! 940 Flushing Ave @ Evergeen Ave. L to Morgan Ave

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I need to do a bit of computer housekeeping tonight so once I'm done with that, the blighter will be switched off. Apologies if you e-mailed and got a "full" notice. "Fool" I could understand but...

Go to So Many Records So Little Time and hear Sonny and Cher's "It's The little Things"... and a whole bunch of other very cool stuff. The Glasgow Film Festival program launches today at some point, I'll give you the nod thamorra prior to heading out...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A couple o' quick notes: The 13th Floor Elevators box-set will be a limited web-order only release, so get those orders in asap! (esp with the Pound doin' very nice against the Euro)...

Hardly my favorite mag, but Maximum Rock 'n' Roll has a nice two page spread (and back page pic) regarding my pet project from last year; the Nixe LP in their latest issue...
What are governments for exactly? - Part 7846b

It has been brought to our attention that new noise legislation is about to be introduced that could destroy live music in the UK.
The government wish to consider it a legal requirement that anyone apply ing or re-apply ing for an entertainment licence must have a noise volume control device fitted in the venue.
This will be the final nail in the coffin for pretty much ALL entertainment in the UK as the level at which these devices cut the power off is ridiculously low.
In our experience any venue that has one in use cannot have any electric music as the power is constantly being cut mid-song - and even applause at the end of a song can cut it.
Many smaller promoters have a hard enough job as it is without having events disrupted by these devices. Apart from the fact that they will cause annoyance to the audience!
Whoever came up with this idea has most likely never been to a rock'n'roll gig in their life. Please sign the petition now!

How about fitting noise limiters to the fuckers that gibber through an acts set? I think that would be acceptable. Or applying an electric shock generator to mobile phones so that divots who scream down them when people are playing get fried? Anyway, I don't really hold with this kind of thing but this is important. Maybe not life and death but getting there.

And it wouldn't be a new day without another passing, would it. I missed this yesterday actually...

RIP - Bob May

This song is not for wee Georro Bush. I caught about 20 seconds of U2 on TV last night and felt sick. As the big West Wing vs The Wire soap opera pilot goes live today, I sincerely hope that my friends efforts and hopes are not pissed into the wind as the plotline develops.

Of course, there are other big events going down today. Matt and Kim's "Grand" being released. Plus it's payday so I'm flush for about 20 minutes.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I do get myself into some fankles. This often comes as a by-product of not wanting to let people down. Other times it's borne of the reality of "if you need something doing, do it yourself, then you only have one person that you can blame".

Your reporter here excels in both avenues and also in the art of procrastination. Lately I've been seriously considering trying to spend less time at a computer. Being that I achieve the desired reduction at work then this will have to be tackled at home. However, it's proving to be easier to consider than do. I many ways, it's as bad as those who seemed to be glued to a mobile phone. At least I have no truck with that particularly bad habit.

While I have been known to use one, I do so very seldom. My desire to be like a small number of folks who will have nothing to do with such a device is an aspiration that is within my reach. At the same time, I appreciate the necessary evil status when logistics get futzed but then, and only then.

I can guarantee that when we get to the pub or wherever then the bloody thing is switched off. Honest injun. Are you even allowed to say that in this day and age of political correctness. The need to apply that same sort of discipline to my computer habits is where I'm at. Not sure how many steps it takes but I'll get there. Eventually. Possibly.
Lou Molinaro talks to Nick Vahlberg via the interweb...

Update: I just discovered this via The Nomads myspace...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Things “Some Kind Of Kick” (Nicotine) provides a full on pummel not unlike The Jim Jones Revue album. Their relentless old school teen punk is designed to be played with the volume on tilt. They’ve discovered and forged their own identity. I think I’ve said before that it’s down to the keyboards. The result owes just as much to the first Modern Lovers record as it does to any psychobillious pshennaigans.

They’ve managed to inject a fresh energy into the common or garden take on the garage disease. Plus they have youth on their side. Maybe that will construct a bridge to lure future generations away from whatever the latest dilution of the already fetid Libertines oeuvre toward the original source. Did you watch that Cramps clip I posted yesterday? Tell me one act that you’ve come across lately that even comes close? In terms of excitement, then these Dublin kids at least have a shot.

What The Things are pushing is nothing new but then again what is? Kudos then that they haven’t just reinvented the wheel either and this particular chemistry should provide some high octane thrills for those of you that follow a particular persuasion. I hope they retain this snarl for some considerable time to come. The album closes with a reflective, relatively slow song called “Sandy Tells Me”. It fuses something of Inspiral Carpets with early Gun Club. Let’s leave calendars and time out of it and present you with the fact that that these kids have made a bloody good debut album. That’s enough to be going on with.

Talking about The Modern Lovers, Jonathan Richman has a multiple language album “¿A Qué Venimos Sino A Caer?” out on Munster. A collection of songs sung mostly in Spanish, French and Italian. Recorded at his home in San Francisco and also Tarifa in Spain, right by the Gibraltar Strait, close to Africa. There’s one exception in English, the sublime, acoustic northern soul vibe of “My Baby Loves Loves Loves Me”. As far as I know this is a special edition and what’s more there’s a limited vinyl pressing so you might want to grab that before it vanishes.

Note to self. Go upstairs and fetch the ML debut. A fitting close to an excellent musical weekend just prior to turning back into a pumpkin, or maybe that should be punk-kin?
From: Leee Black Childers c/o Murray Ramone/Shock and Awe myspace...

Rock and Roll Evolution. On the evening of January 30th, I will be appearing onstage in the Purcell Room at The Royal Festival Hall discussing the strange but true source of glam rock and its inevitable bastard children. Through a show of my photography throughout the 1970's, I'll show rock and roll springing from the teased wigs and false eyelashes of the flaming creatures who once walked the streets of New York -- to grow into its true culmination --ANARCHY!!!

Friday, January 30th, 7:45 PM. The Purcell Room @ The Royal Festival Hall.
London, England.

Rupert Smith talks to Leee Black Childers.
Here we go again...

RIP - Tony Hart
I was just trying to figure out when the last Shoeshine Records showcase for Celtic Connections was. I think it was 2000 but I don’t altogether trust anything I think anymore. So something like 9 years down the ‘pike, it was time to do it all again. The ABC in Glasgow is a great venue, the sightlines are excellent I don’t think I’ve ever been at a show there with bad sound. Seeing an act on a proper stage makes all the difference. For everybody.

Boa Morte (from Cork in Ireland) kicked things off with their soundtratmospheric mood music. Lost a wee bit in translation and even in direction in places for me but they have their moments. The fact that they were playing as people were coming in was a distraction and what they do requires some concentration. And silence, because some of it is very quiet. I guess you could call it post rock with an organic twist.

BMX Bandits set only just seemed to begin when it was done. With most of the songs coming from “Bee Stings”, the eight piece line up literally soared. I heard some people in the lavvies complaining that they should have closed the evening. That kind of controversy is what makes the world go around. “Witchi-Tai-To” was equal parts stunning and mesmerising. It left a massive jag of positive energy in the room. Update - bandits interview here.

It was a surprise to learn that Norman Blake and Euros Child hadn’t done the duo thing in public before. This bodes well for the eventual album that will be delivered from the two, possibly later in the year. Their Simon and Garfunkel vs McGuinness Flint stylings were just the ticket for an inclement January nicht. Closing with a song called (I think) “Cave Dance”, this is a real shapeshifter that goes from being Rockpile via The Beach Boys into a Ron Mael staccato prog via Suicide conclusion. They could fashion a whole EP out of this one alone. The have another show, at the CCA next Saturday (24th). Update - I forgot, the did a great version of "Love Is In Motion" by Michael Brown and Ian Lloyd's Stories.

I hadn’t seen Attic Lights since the opened for the Hacienda Brothers many moons ago. That was the last time I was able to spend time with the great Chris Gaffney so the memory is inseparable. They’ve come a long, long way and the Americana-esque tendencies have given way to distinct west coast (of Scotland) pop. It’s a pretty confident crew that kicks off with their “hits”. Delivering most of their recently release debut album, the presence of a string section (The Cairn String Quartet) really upped the ante. The Lights also performed their take on the Minder theme, “I Could Be So Good For You”, which will grace the new version of the TV show that is about to appear on Channel 5 shortly.

Can’t remember when the last time I saw a four band bill where at least two of them didn’t blow but this thankfully bucked that trend. The icing on the cake was the dj antics of Camera Obscura’s Traceyanne and Carey. Proving that slapping a cd into a desk between sets is an outmoded concept and I know the audience appreciated the human touch. I’d like to go on record at this point to say that I was sold way before they played Arthur Alexander. Andy Dunkley would be proud of you ladies.

You can find photos of all the bands here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I never saw this before... (discovered via the Staysick board)

I’m listening to North Fork Sound while I attempt to backup and delete stuff from the computer and The Herd’s “From The Underworld” just came on. Always a favourite, the almost never make them like that anymore if ever. But sometimes they do.

The first taste of the Adiam Dymott album is “Miss You” (Razzia) builds on the promise of “Memory Loss” and is structured atop the burundified drum track of Fatboy’s “Born To Love One Woman”. 2 minutes and 56 seconds of unadulterated glitter-rock dynamite and ginchy in the extreme. This is rock’n’roll, not rock and roll, sonically and texturally first rate.

How is it that old parental warning about “the beat” went again? Well it just got very infectious again to the point of tribal. Ladies and gents, the queen of the wild frontier! I wish it could be pressed on 7” black vinyl and the flipside would be the instrumental track. Irrespective of format shortcomings, this is excellent. An utterly caffine-free pick me up.
OK, let's leave that fact that the opening track on Bruce's new album seems to lift the basic components of "I Was Made For Loving You" by Kiss. It's sort of unfortunate but there you go. I know that some of you hate Springsteen like I do Primal Scream and I know of others who detest both. Some were won back by "Dream Baby Dream" recently. Americans (and Germans, another maligned breed) can do irony but maybe it doesn't manifest itself like the Brit versh of that particular commodity and why the fuck should it? It should be stated that I also have a soft spot for Kiss but have become appalled at Simmons in particular. My Kiss are better than The Stranglers routine is, I believe, a firm crowd pleaser .

However, Walmart and the Superbowl notwithstanding - you can't write off a large chunk of his back catalogue. And I imagine that it's this material that will make up the content of the tribute shows taking place in two weeks time at Debaser in Malmo and Stockholm. The info is here if you're in a position to cut along to either of these events.

Mark Hagen's recent interview with the man himself will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on January 24th. When he was there, Mark suggested to The Boss that he listen to Hello Saferide. Bruce, if you did that, then as far as I'm concerned you can recycle whatever the heck you like. With bloody bells on. Ha ha.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What year is it? Mott The Hoople reunion info...

(Got this from a myspace post by Mr T. Tex Edwards)
Thanks to HT for the heads up!
(click on image to make it legible)
Another one gone, damnit! Can't the grim reaper take a breather or go after the more deserving??

Anyway, it's the weekend and that's something. I have a wee pile of stuff to root through here and am looking forward to that. I'm also mildly pissed at the whining about The Stooges not being inducted into some ridiculous self congratulatory bunfight. There are some good acts in that fictitious shack but not too many and maybe the criteria was a little more pure then. What was once a well-intentioned recognition of art is now way dilapidated. Surely it doesn't matter. The guy who was the missing link between garage punk and most everything since that's been worth listening to, is gone. No corporate do on earth can make up for them apples.

This virtual nursing home ought to be condemned. The real kudos lies with staying out of the Rock and Roll (no 'n's for these people) Hall of Tame. So, celebrate your heroes and heroines, or just your plain favourite music. Having it validated by a bunch of numpties is not necessary because life, as we're learning recently, is too too short and filled with more stuff than there is time to consume.

So there, got that out of my system. I'm off to play Adiam Dymott's debut single "Miss You" abnormally loudly in tribute to Ron A. Toodle fecking pip anatt!
RIP - Sir John Mortimer

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Enough with people shuffling off this mortal coil already. As if life wasn't depressing enough.

However, the weekend is in sight and if I can get it together, I'll be attending the Shoeshine Showcase on Saturday evening. Of course I'd prefer to be at P3 Guld in Gothenburg but them's thar breaks. Paris tonight for the Fleshtones would be a hoot and a half too.

Anyway here's a wee taste of what's in store at P3 Guld...

RIP - Gary Kurfirst
RIP - Ricardo Montalban

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Despite my best attempts at procrastination, I made a little progress today. Not much but some. In keeping with that, this will be brief. One thing, I have a copy of the version of the "Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne" 10 inch by Primal Scream that's looking for a home. Got it for somebody that doesn't require it so let me know if you do.

As you may, or may not know, I have no time for this crew despite their leaders affiliations with acts that form the very basis of the NBT existence. I'm sure there was something else to run up the mast but I can't recall what it was. Just heard that Tory twerp David Cameron on the radio and his voice and slimy persona has given me the dry boke. As Harry Enfield-esque characters go, this one takes the entire box of caramel wafers.
RIP - Patrick McGoohan
He's back to save the world! Wreckless Eric on the Wrecession!
Jonny Dongel goes pop-psyche!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Check out the Rough Trade Shops blog. Bloody darn entertaining.
(Thanks to Sandy for the link)
Incase you don't check The Houndblog as regularly as you should, there was this link to a radio thing of Iggy talking about Ron Asheton. It's pretty cool.

Here's the scoop on that Velvets book...

This selection of interviews and writings by Spanish Velvet specialist Ignacio Julià draws a chronology of the band and members from its inception in 1965 to today. Featuring the expanded and revised translation of his classic book on the band, the original 1986 Feed-Back —based on the longest interview ever granted by guitarist Sterling Morrison—, it has grown to be a deluxe edition crowded with pictures and memorabilia that now includes, amongst other features and reviews, exclusive interviews thru the years with Lou Reed (4), John Cale (3), Maureen Tucker (2), Doug Yule (1) and Nico (1).

As told to the author, who since the early Seventies has studied the band and interviewed all its members. The Velvet Underground didn’t end with Reed leaving in 1970, or with the untimely deaths of Warhol and Nico in the late Eighties, but with Sterling Morrison’s passing in 1995. He becomes a very alive central voice in these chronicles of a transatlantic musical journey that transformed the very foundations of rock’n’roll in the Sixties as much as Dylan or The Beatles did. From their avantgarde beginnings to pop music’s deepest mythology,

Feed-Back documents the rock icon while grasping for the flesh and truth inside the legend, in a series of exclusive conversations and critical appreciations that run from the early Sixties to the present, including the Velvets solo careers until today. Rare photographs and memorabilia illustrate this personal diary that will engage fans and newcomers alike.

Hardback limited edition, 20 x 20 cm (270 pages) Worldwide distribution by MUNSTER

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tis the right end of Monday again and this will be short and sweet. I really hope that I can wake up tomorrow and not have to post another RIP. Phast must be working overtime on the Grim Reporter right about now. Mr McLean tells me he has "the Munster Velvet Underground book" for sale and it's £35 for shop callers (Avalanche, Glasgow). I've never seen it, nor did I know anything about it but maybe you do and maybe you want it so Sandy's yer man.

Received my Rezillos download today, it really doesn't have the razzle of going into the store and coming out with a bag containing vinyl. Forget cd-ingles, we don't need that landfill. Proper music should be presented in a proper manner. Don't you think?

Time to turn this and the radio off. I might even go for a wander seeing as it's not raining...
RIP - Claude Jeter (Swan Silvertones)
RIP - Freddie Mack (Mr Superbad)

Info courtesy of Stewart Cruickshank. Link to obit will be made when available.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In keeping with the Trakwerx habit of issuing cds in the coolest, most diy fashion imaginable this latest 17 Pygmies concept entitled "Celestina" comes on like David Lynch plotting a course for the Floyd. If grandiose space rock flips your switch then you’ll find much to stimulate the old ‘shroom habit here. Eleven movements rather than conventional songs then, and not entirely like anything I’ve encountered in recent times.

Cult With No Name's "Careful What You Wish For" has hards of Bowie, Bolan and even Leo Sayer dna shaken up in a test tube with that of Ben Folds. A very 70’s piano sound that makes for a strange juxtaposition with the decade that followed it to concoct a strangely commercial, almost baroque pop. The cover of The Stranglers “Golden Brown” is somewhat unnecessary but I’m biased on that score. This is a US release so maybe the song isn’t so ubiquitous over there plus I just outright dislike the group responsible.
CWNN shouldn't be made suffer for my prejudice.

"Nervous Constellations" by Smouldering Ashes could almost be a folk pop companion to "Celestina". It has that Espers doing "Flaming Telepaths" kind of Fairports vibe. Roxy Music coupled with Wind In The Willows too. This is the sort of thing that could catch on with the All Tomorrows Parties scene. Lots of Atmos. It also reminds me of The Paradise Motel. The Ashes are a melding of some aforementioned Pygmies with Animated Mayfly Festival (no, me neither) and others into an entity that I think will infiltrate the nervous systems of anybody that comes into contact with them.

The Maxwells hail from Springfield, Mo. and they’re cut from the same cloth as The Skeletons. Musical styles will come and go but there is nothing on this earth as refreshing as good ol’ rock’n’roll performed the way that nature intended. Straight from the heart and directed at the soles of your feet. Trad as all get the f-word out, The Maxwells are the kind of group that are worth going that extra mile for. They make the kind of music that will tempt you back from the precipice. Make you holler like a damned old fool. That kinda malarkey. On their own Staggeroo imprint, the label’s theme song is perhaps the coolest instro that I’ve heard since The Zantees version of Leon Payne’s “Lost Highway”.

Featuring Springfield alumni, Joe Terry and J. Wunderle – this set of songs will hit the spot every time out. They almost never make ‘em like this anymore. The Maxwells practice a lost art that should be slapped with heritage status forthwith. I hope that one day soon this will be available on vinyl, because this is analogue heaven here on our misguided earth.
Trying to get some info together on some recent gear but meanwhile go to Adiam Dymott's myspace and listen to Black Cloud. Pretty damned good!
A treat for you folks in
Germany, Austria and Switzerland!

3 Feb Bierstindl Innsbruck
4 Feb Rote Sonne Munich
5 Feb B72 Vienna
6 Feb Forum StadtPark Graz
7 Feb Kino Ebensee
8 Feb El Lokal Zurich
10 Feb Mousonturn Studio Frankfurt
11 Feb Privat Club Berlin
Lowside of the Road:
A Life of Tom Waits
by Barney Hoskyns

(Published by Faber & Faber
on March 5, 2009)

"Just about the most absorbing, satisfying, and (whisper it) important biography of a modern artist that I can recall reading. Absolutely outstanding."
(Danny Baker, BBC London)

"It's about time Tom Waits received biographical homage from a rock writer of Hoskyns' stature."
(Stephen Poole, The Guardian)
Next Saturday, 17th January. Further details...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Being an information junkie, I sometimes wonder how other people react to the stuff that they’re ingesting all the time. For instance, the last couple of days have been awash with some shortlist of acts that are expected to rise to prominence during 2009. I’ve listened to each and every one and while I don’t outright detest any of it, I wonder exactly what qualifies any of it to be hoisted above the parapet. And what can really become super-popular anymore anyway? There are no sure-fire means to set any kind of heather on fire except to build an audience person by person. And even then, it’s a hellishly slow burn. I’m beginning to face the sad fact that music just isn’t that important to people anymore.

If they care at all then it’s because it’s tacked on to some game or other. I’m not talking about us here but this is pretty small potatoes. I always check out what people whose taste I respect flag up. Lots of people used to but now doesn’t translate into any kind of buzz at all. I don’t think that the socio-political terrain is changing like it should either. I don’t think people are angry, I don’t think they’re mad as hell and I think they’re pretty much just resigned to taking it.

I’ve never known the malaise to be quite this desperate. There’s more excitement about the prospect of getting a pint for 99p than there is about anything. Getting blasted, that’s the way to go. The constant bombardment is getting me down. I admit it. What would be the point in refuting that? However, I might be down but I’m not fucking out. Not yet. The bastards that caused all this are hoping that we will be though and I hope to hell that there’s some of second wind ready to blow through their cosseted world. For all of our sakes.

Never mind though, America gets a double whammy (I’ve heard that expression be used a lot on the radio this week) on January 20th. It’s the presidential inauguration AND the day of the Matt and Kim album release for “Grand".

Notes to Obama: John Waters

This new BMX Bandits Love EP will be available on 7" (and download) this coming Monday. The Duglas produced Nick Garrie single will also be out on the same day. I was going to reproduce the blurb from the Elefant Records site but I'd rather you visited it.

This Spanish label puts out great stuff in excellent packaging with all the heart and soul that's been buried in this so-called reality fixated world. Real music made by real people. You think it might catch on?

Friday, January 09, 2009

One screening only at GFT - The Monorail Film Club
on Sunday 25th January presents The Transatlantic Feedback
Not to be missed!!
Digesting the past week and the ramifications it has on things down the pike. I believe wholeheartedly in the "what's for ye will not go by ye". Loosely translated it means if your number comes up then you have to deal with it. And that I will. As, if and when.

In the meantime, it's a world without Ron Asheton. Here's Mike Watt on the subject. In my opinion there would never have been a Stooges reunion without him. I remember the time that J. Mascis brought Ron to Glasgow with The Fog. I wasn't there but the excitement was palpable. In my opinion, that "tour" set the scene for Iggy to get his old troupe together. Anyway, here's what MW had to say.

If you go over to Jim Marshall's place then you can find out what James Williamson has been up to. No Raw Power for Coachella then methinks...

The only good news I received this week really is that Annika Norlin won the best lyrics Grammi. If you go to the website, you'll see a photo from the occasion that pretty much sums up what is so special about this person.

And there goes another one...

RIP - Dave Dee
RIP - Ray Dennis Steckler (Thanks to Ben for the heads up)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Art Fein's 23rd Annual Elvis Birthday Bash in L.A. -

Thursday January 8th, 2009

Venue change: the Avalon, 1735 Vine in Hollywood, just north of Hollywood Blvd across from the Capitol Records Tower.

5:30 through 10:30 p.m.

$25 admission
Benefit: proceeds go to L.A. Fallen Firemen's Memorial

Benefactor: L.A. City Councilman Tom Labonge

Acts so far:
Jimmy Angel, Ray Campi, Danny Dean, Lisa Finnie, Blasters, Manny Gonzales, I See Hawks In L.A., Groovy Rednecks, Keith Allison, Carlos Guitarlos, Michelle Shocked, Dusk Devils, Rip Masters, Lisa Haley, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Mojo Monkeys, Lightnin' Willie, Karma, Ronee Blakley, Rod & The Tonemasters, Dave Serby & The Sidewinders, Charlotte Orlove, Clive Kennedy, Joey Buttler, Ridge Route Romeos, Glen Glenn (?), Justin Curtis, Mike Stinson, Harry Orlove, Barry Holdship, Simon Stokes, Lori Dewitt & Todd Eckhart, and from France - Ervin Travis.

The Elvis Bash continues to be the nation's leading Elvis Birthday celebration drawing people from L.A. and all over the world. More guests are being added.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Chez Asheton update. This piece has been updated from the original post.

The comments after the article feature a great entry by Danny Fields and a lot of other stuff that is somewhat "inappropriate" under the circumstances. The human condition is not pleasant.

These I-94 BAR tributes are more in keeping with the positive rememberance.
RIP - Alfred Shaheen (info via Staysick digest)
The new austerity blew a little closer to home today. Not entirely unexpected but I'm continually disappointed when things pan out the way they're foretold. As you may or may not be aware, I'm very much from the "half-empty" school of thought. In light of this, I don't feel much like gabbing but here are a couple of things you may care to check out...

The jury is pretty much out on Elvis Costello these days. I know some of you still care though. And I do too, when he enlists the help of my good friend, Ms Laura Cantrell.

Elsewhere, read Mike Davis of the MC5 on the passing of Brother Ron Asheton.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The frost this morning was pretty severe and curtailed any computer activity prior to leaving for work. To my mind, it's the best time to try and get stuff up here. Any futz with my basic routine can knock things awry for the remainder of the day. This is one of those. So I come home to the news about Ron Asheton and I have to say that it's a shock. All the more heartbreaking because he could have been there for a few days before the discovery.

The noise the man made will live forever though. It's a damn crime that he never got to enjoy the fruits of his labours in recent years. To me, the only good thing about the reunion was that finally Ron got the recognition he deserved. And a boatload of money hopefully. I have it on good authority that he was happy in recent times so that's something at least.

Here is a screaming example of life not being fair. Not at all. Go to the Houndblog, this is the best thing I've found on the subject so far and the way RA should be remembered!
RIP - Ron Asheton (!)

Monday, January 05, 2009

It's always the same, the best laid plans and all that. Seem to have been off work for far longer than any achievement aound these parts would suggest. Dread of actually returning set in early yesterday or maybe even on Saturday. I've been thinking lately that maybe I'm lucky to actually be employed at the minute so I'll keep the grumbling to a slow peep. It's hard to get motivated to anything when you're faced with a constant barrage of statistics that are patently designed to ram home the message that one way or another, one is right royally rogered.

I should really have done the blood donation thing tonight but as I've intimated before, I hate the venue. Sports centres and yours truly don't get along. Keep meaning to make an appointment to make an appontment for either Glasgow or Edinburgh but have failed miserably thus far. Their numbers are way down apparently. I believe, that if it was still in the Town Hall here then the numbers would steady. Anyway, it was a long day and I spent most of it in front of a screen so I'll leave you with this piece about The Long Ryders by fellow rock'n'roll veteran Fred Mills ahead of their Atlanta shindig. Oh yeah, and this.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sohodolls do The Lords of the New Church

Download it free, Sohodolls is the seventh band on that page and you can grab "Open My Eyes" from there.
Back as the festivities were kicking off for the segue between years, you may remember my attending the David Scott Seasonal Shindig in Stirling. That's more S's tha Shir Shaun could shake the proverbial schtick at... The more alert of you will also recall my discovery of Kim Edgar, an artist who until then I’d never encountered. So anyway, since then she kindly sent me a copy of her debut album which reflects the chops that she displayed in The Tolbooth.

A wee bit of history then, Kim came to the attention of the bods who do Burnsong thing, this shouldn’t be confused with the tartan mafia that tend to hijack Rabbie’s work. There are many talented individuals who have been involved with this and so far none of them have appeared in an ad for the “Homecoming” if you get my drift…

“Butterflies and Broken Glass” contains 10 songs that fall outside the notion that this is just folk music. These are stories that convey the fact that Ms Edgar is not someone who could easily be associated with any particular pigeonhole. Karine Polwart and her band are evident across the course, indeed her husband Mattie Foulds produced this set. “Heavy Skies” is the cut that grabbed me most first. Like all good records, this takes a little time to settle. The heart tugging string-driven ambience of “Skies” is not unlike the mood set by Lou Reed on some of Berlin. “Cinderella’s Slipper” reminds me of Ivor Cutler but that might just be me.

I’m a wee bit loathe to mention Kate Bush but if it makes anybody sit up then there are shards of her influence to be heard here I think. Songs like “House on the Hill” and “Scissors, Paper, Stone” are destined to become favourites as Kim gains ground. The use of understated brass on the record is very cool. It punctuates the overall feel and almost sounds Swedish, on “Climber” in particular.

Great promise lies within this short introduction to a lassie that is destined to become very popular indeed over the fullness of time.

And talking about the fine climes of Sweden, it has been somewhat remiss of me not to hep you to the Autisterna album that Groover Recordings put out a couple or three months ago or thereabouts. “Sista Scenan” is the bands debut, all in their native tongue but such is their way with melody then you’ll hardly notice. This also reminds me that I don’t have the most recent Vapnet collection either. I wish Stacey Shackford would come back and get Glasgow back in the mix, Svensk-wise.

From Denmark via a Dutch label – SPEkTR present “B/W vs Technicolor” on Tocado Records. It’s John Barry in the realm of Robert Johnson and Punchdrunks via Messer Chups, designed to pay homage to the more esoteric soundtracks that have been laid down over the course of history. Manoj Ramdas was involved in an early incarnation of The Raveonettes and will join The Tremolo Beer Gut on their upcoming tour. These are imaginary themes to cinematic scenes you’d dig the heck out of seeing. Like someone had discovered a whole chestful of ITC TV show scores that never saw the light of day because they were too, too far ahead of their time.

Check out their myspace and choose your favourite and hope that this phenom might grace or shores at some point. SPEkTR reminds me of Señor Scott’s Mondo Morricone soundscapes. These compositions sound very like the people who influenced them but with a cool twist.
Join me in an experiment? Indulge an old timer to try and stick one to the smoke and mirrors merchants that are desperately clinging to some outmoded belief that there is a record industry. There is a music industry but that’s different and there are successful exponents of that who love music and buck the trends. Here's where we gird our collective loins and join those individuals who will see to it that there is a future in some way or another.

This experiment will set you back 79p. About 14 shillings and 20 old pence in pre-decimal currency by my reckoning, not even a flipping euro. It would be cool if you’d click on this link. While you’re doing so it is perfectly acceptable to yell or whisper (your choice) – I don’t want any of your goddamn versions of “Hallelujah”. No – I want to rock. The link takes you to The Rezillos "No.1 Boy" and if enough of us do this then we’ll get more. You can do this from anywhere on the planet and from outwith I believe.

I’ve no idea why it’s not on iTunes and I know a bunch of you use that but it’s not so we have to relieve ourselves using the appendage we’ve been graced with if you dig? It might even make a 7” single version possible somewhere down the line and you KNOW you want one of those…

Update @ 4pm: The single will be available on iTunes on the day of release but it would be cool if you could just get past the modernity of all this and just spring for the pre-order. It's all part of the experiment so get that old lab-coat out of mothballs and let's put the wind up the blighters. I don't ask for much and maybe it'll all fall on it's arse but It's worth a tumble methinks!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Just watched Prog Rock Britannia , a pretty entertaining ride interspersed with music that didn't sound good when it was made and that hasn't improved since. It reminded me of a record fair I went to in Berlin once so I'll certainly take those memories.

Was all set to deal with some reviews today but that's been interrupted but could well happen tomorrow. Almost all of the things I half-promised myself I'd do before I came off on holiday remain undone. It's that unscrambled egg syndrome again to close with a not-so clever prog analogy. Going to be another cold one tonight by all accounts... but forget any trials and tribulations that you, or the world might be experiencing. The name of the person who will play Doctor Who in 2010 is about to be announced.

Friday, January 02, 2009

RIP - Bernie Hamilton
RIP - Wilbert "Junkyard Dog" Arnold

(info from Amy Allison)
1.Road of Broken Dreams / 2. No Sound /
3. Threw This Away / 4. My Angel /
5. Dream Baby Dream / 6. Other Lives /
7. Victim of Dreams / 8. I Am Time /
9. Breaks Me / 10. Cold Outside /
11. Anybody /12. Hollywood / 13. Killer /
14. Drifter / 15. Train Station /
16. The White River / 17. Silver Street /
18. Everybody and Their Excuses / 19. This Is

A new collection of songs from ex-Barracudas\Jeremy Gluck, including originals and covers performed by various different line ups of musicians and singers, featuring Nikki Sudden, Alcohol, Superczar and Circo Fantasma.

Original artwork by Jeremy Gluck and photography by Tyron Francis. Building on the legacy of "I Knew Buffalo Bill" with two songs written with Nikki Sudden and covers of the latter's songs. It brings together over 20 years of work and literally sets the stage for Gluck's new band The Yohawks.
Holy Jumping George! The crème eggs are in the shops, the holiday ads are all over the TV and well, things are approaching normality. Or are they? There’s an ad for an insurance company that includes a clip of the Alice Cooper band doing “Is It My Body”. What the hell is that about?? Well, I know what it’s about but nothing is really sacred anymore. It’ll be Frankie Teardrop recommending Tesco next or maybe Sainsbury? Nothing would surprise me anymore.

But it’s so far so good here in the bunker. I’m impervious to the soul-sucking insincerity that I associate with the passing of time. The latest half-baked event to be foisted upon Scotland as a whole is “Homecoming”. In 2009, those who have left this part of the world are being encouraged to return in order to celebrate Rabbie Burns 250th. Far as I know, he’s not coming so why should anyone else?

The main TV ad features a gaggle of Scots capped off with Shir Shone Connery interpreting Dougie McLean’s “Caledonia”. In keeping with the general air it makes my skin crawl, not unlike the BBC’s recent Hogmanay travesty – “Is it pokemon?”.

Anyway, things start to return to what passes for normal. Christ, there are even trains, perhaps to capitalise on the fact that fares go up today. New year maybe, same old song and dance with regard to screwing the punter. I hope that some of you will visit Scotland during the coming year though because there’s no way any of us will be able to visit you the way that sterling is tanking.
RIP - Bill Landis (Thanks to HT for the link)

(Bill was the man behind Sleazoid Express and some of the material in the memorial is definitely not work friendly. It also contains images that could cause offence.)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I’m not gonna be around this computer thing too much today but what better way to begin a new set of numbers than with something of an exclusive to sandblast those cobwebs away.

Named after the instro-stramash that is track 7 on their debut or the street in Brooklyn? I’m not entirely sure but “Grand”, the second M&K opus is upon us on January 20th , courtesy of Fader Label.

There’s a belief that an act should appeal to an audience that is 10 to 12 years younger than they are. Young ‘uns give the illusion that they're more sophisticated these days so it may no longer apply. Although that may not be the right word in these torrid torrent times, I guess the kids wouldn’t be down with the expression "spoiled". It used to take weeks or even months of serious effort to hear or get something this cool.

Matt & Kim retain that old time sense of mystery. Sure, you can hear them on your computer but they have the chops and the charisma to convince people that they want, nay need the product, to have and to own. They make music to believe in, not a commodity, for kids of all ages. Reflecting all that is great about the fleeting nature of all great things. Having been privileged to witness the phenom first hand, I have no qualms in telling you that Matt(hew) & Kim(berley) are the real deal.

A couple of true misfits (and I mean that in the coolest sense of the expression) engrossed in their art. The reason that they’re able to do this is that fundamentally, they create this stuff for themselves. They do their way and, if you’re prepared to go with, then you’ll have a very good time. A generosity of spirit exists within these songs. Then there’s the sound. And finally there’s the live experience. M&K aren’t choreographed and they don’t do encores, a one gal drum corps/one guy organ grinder that has stumbled upon a lethal formula not unlike The Ramones but not like them.

Experience these sensations individually or collectively but know this, what they achieve is way more in keeping with the spirit of real punk rock than the latest bunch of shouty oiks that are alleged to be of any consequence week. “Grand” contains a virus that I’d dearly love the world to catch. No antidote required.

Two songs, “Daylight” and “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” can be found online if you look. Regular visitors to this portal may well be familiar with both by now. 11 songs in total clock in at just about the half hour mark. There’s no excess flab here. All wheat, no chaff is the order of the day. Even those with zip of an attention span won’t have time to get bored. “Lessons Learned” is a serious real contender to be the most ubiquitous song this year and each cut could well be a “single” as we old-timers used to call them.

Available as “files” and on cd and vinyl, there’s a version for every persuasion. If you have trouble remembering what fun sounds like then you need to make this pitstop. And when they stop by your neighbourhood then please, cut along and bask in the buck wildness.