Monday, August 31, 2009
Just in from Geographic HQ...
Late summer rain here in Glasgow...
But it was beautiful a few weeks ago when we shot the video for Vivid Youth. We had a little bit of promo budget for Two Sunsets and decided it could best be used on a video which we hoped would not only capture something of the image of the song, Vivid Youth, but also show The Pastels and Tenniscoats in the same place at the same time, which is how we recorded Two Sunsets. We'd wanted to do something with Blair Young for a long time and were really happy that he was available and up for it. We decided together to use film (Super-8 and 16mm) and the main shoot took place at Loch Lomondside, about 20 miles from Glasgow, on two summer days, 2009, with Pastels, Tenniscoats and some friends. Check it out here...
Vivid Youth / About You is currently available as a super limited 7" single which can be picked up in Monorail and other good record shops and online from www.dominorecordco.com/mart.
Meanwhile the complete completeness that is Two Sunsets will finally be available from Monday, 7th September, on heavyweight vinyl (with download coupon) and on cd.
Excitingly, we are also about to embark on a few shows with Tenniscoats and hope to see you there...
2/9 Glasgow, Stereo (with Veronica Falls). 8PM. 0141 222 2254.
3/9 Leeds, Brudenell Social Club. 7.30PM. 0113 275 2411.
4/9 Birmingham, Moseley Folk Festival (with Saint Etienne and others). 0778 944 0026.
5/9 Bristol, Thekla (with The Fauns). 7PM. 0117 929 3301.
6/9 London, Bush Hall (with Veronica Falls). 7.30PM. 020 8222 6955.
7/9 Paris, Point Ephemere. 0033 1403 40248.
SP / KM
No further forward on the Reigning Sound front then and languishing in a general state of spreading oneself too thinly. These are two factors of several that are causing some reflection at the minute. I'm back at that regular pit stop of feeling like knocking it all on the head. Looking forward to being off next week and trying to recharge but fear that them batteries are at the stage where they actually need to be replaced as opposed to any simple rejuicing. If I actually arrive at any tangible way of achieving that then there will be some reason for rejoicing. It should be stated that I'm less than optimistic.
Been checking out the soundtrack to "Inglorious" as they advertise it on TV. The credits rolled too fast to catch them on screen. As with all Tarantino movies, the score is top notch and cut into the images like Aldo Ray's hillbilly Brando party piece. Full details here.
That's some fairly decent entertainment, particularly the dialogue for Christoph Waltz. He was like a completely relentlessly evil cyborg version of Norman Wisdom with shades of 'Allo Allo. Worth the price of admission for him alone.
Ongoing random mail strikes, hikes in fuel duty and a general disregard for any sort of reliable, consistent service. Sounds like a mission statement for the UK plc as a (w)hole. The wearing down process continues unabated as does the trajectory of up around the U-bend. Tried to go anyplace lately? It's a case of delay after delay and having to suffer ultra-overpopulation of railway carriages and what passes for a road system. As for Edinburgh, forget that. It's more or less closed and the rat run along one side of Princes Street surely doesn't conform to the Health and Safety legislation that's causing ever-deepening hassle on top of everything else.
So this month is our highest yet in terms of visitors and even although it's not always convenient to update daily, the spirit is at least willing even although the flesh would lollygag all the sodding time if it got way with it. However, cool things are afoot and those will become apparent in due course...
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Inglorious Basterds = very entertaining, David Simon at the Book Fest = great, Withered Hand at the NPG = 24 hours too late. Got the date wrong, some kind of neuron misfire no doubt. I'm beat. Hoping to get the Reigning Sound album in Glasgow tomorrow. Wish me luck....
It's time for Sounds of the Sixties... after that, some supplies to get and then off to Edinburgh for some Tarantino, Withered Hand and David Simon - in that order. Who knows what else in between? If you have any clout with any higher powers then I'd appreciate if you'd have a word that he or she might cool it with the rain.
Post office is on strike (again) so there's no point in heading down yonder...
Friday, August 28, 2009
Another day, another perspective... the news about Dean Turner threw me for a loop. 37 bloody years old? What the fuck is that all about?? I'd been thinking about Magic Dirt quite a bit lately. Even went to the extent of blogging a tirade against the denizens of Rock Radio because the band never got to be bigger than Metallica or whoever. Which, to my mind they always deserved. But anyway, the whys and wherefores and plain old should have beens are little solace when you hear about something like this. All you can really do is break out the music and play it at the considerable volume at which it was meant to be enjoyed.
Today I got an e-mail from Arlanda Express, just a newsletter thing but I took it as an omen that in any ideal situation, Dean would still be with us and I'd be on board said transport heading for the Voladoras show tonight. Reality precludes either though I'm afraid.
So let's see, couple other things here to keep you from wearying whilst I attend to other matters...
Jo Callis has now officially left the Rezillos, read his statement here.
Matt and Kimmel... or is that Got in Himmel? Wee Commando comics flashback there... but in real life, some good things do happen and Matt and Kim were on Jimmy Kimmel the other night as they continue to sweep the USA. Evidently there are kids out there that have good taste. It's time their counterparts on this sceptic isle got hip. Anyway, you evidently are hip so if you don't have satellite or super cable (like me - do we even get Kimmel here?) then you can see what we all missed. And do something about getting your tickets for the upcoming shows in November.
And to close this one, Alec Downie on "The Barra'lands" Pt. 1.
Got a full dance card tomorrow but I guess I’ll be on here in the am at some point...
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Pfffffff... it's getting to be that I dread logging on. Such has been the spate of people who made a difference shuffling off this mortal coil of late. In the tradition of there not being a formula for unscrambling the proverbial eggs, this practice will undoubtedly gather pace but it still blows.
My visits here will be on the DL over the next few days. I hope that the reaper will take something of a breather or at least go gather up a couple of hearsefuls of bastards that deserve to die. You know who they are and perhaps you even have your own "favourites" list? That's perfectly OK. I know that I do.
So you lucky kids in Japan, The A-Bones are in your airspace.... that has to be a great thing!
A-BONES NEWS... JAPANESE TOUR
Friday, August 28 Shimokitazawa (Shelter), TokyoWith Firestarter (ex-Teengenerate), Jackie and the Cedrics and Supersnazz
Saturday, August 29 Shinjuku (Loft), Tokyo with the 18.104.22.168’s
Sunday, August 30 Hatagaya (Heavy Sick), Tokyo Norton Records DJ Dance Party with Billy and Miriam plus DJ Daddy-O
Monday, August 31 OYS, Nagoya With Jackie and the Cedrics
Tuesday, September 1 Rock Rider, Osaka With Jackie and the Cedrics JEFF CUYUBAMBA PHOTOGRAPHY OPENING IN TOKYO – SHAKE SOME ACTION Super suave A-Bones pal Jeff Cuyubamba will have a photo exhibit of his fab rockin’ snaps on the same block as the Tokyo shows. “Little Jeff” has been documenting New York garage bands since=2 0the early days of the Dive—this gallery show will be amazing! Presented by Shinjuku Erostika. The show is called SHAKE SOME ACTION (what else?)—check this out!!!
More Norton Action here!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Couple of things you might like to partake of while I wrestle with some level of domesticity...
Episode 1 of Ericland, the perfect companion to the latest radio show that you can access from the same portal...
Brother Don flagged this thing up and you should pay particular attention to items #35 and #36.
Sure, we could increase profits by using overseas manufacturing plants and discounted labor. But that's just not the way we do things at Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co., don'tcha know...
THURSDAY, AUGUST 27th / And the last Thursday of every month! / OTTO'S SHRUNKEN HEAD / 538 East 14th Street (just west of Avenue B) in ol' Manhattan / Two exacting shows, from 8:00 sharp until 10:00 / With DJ "Son of Scratchy", salty snacks -- and no cover!
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.
"Ballads, Boogies & Blues"
My complaint today is much like other days. Not enough time coupled with a distinct fug. There's a ton of stuff to try and do, organise or otherwise and let me assure you, the art of procrastination is not "deid". Distractions are being volleyed and it doesn't take much to divert my attention from what ought to be a priority.
But anyways corrections must be made and I thank Tommy Perman of FOUND for alerting me to the fact that I got his combo mixed up with Meursault. So go back and read Sundays report again with that in mind. My apologies for the mix up or the shake up depending on how you call it. Also The Thanes will not be appearing at henry's on Thursday as previously reported and as it states on the poster outside the club. The bands you will have to run the smoke gauntlet to see are Les Bof!, The Bottleneckers and Lord Rochester. At least I got one right...
But now I must take my leave because I have to get this joint prepared for the arrival of Ms Amy Allison in the morning. Running after the last minute has elapsed as always but still, hoots will be had and fantastic new recordings will be made.
That's a stick-on certainty.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Weary would best describe my worldview today. Been doing some sums and despite from some grand plans to go and catch some of my fave acts and people across Europe, the cold hard facts present a case of a localised credit crunch. Or is it the triumvirate of snap, crackle and nae pop thrills for the time being. Still, as much as my gallivanting gas has been put on a peep there's still a lot going on around here so I shouldn't bitch and whine too loudly.
There's always someone worse off than yourself after all. Right? And the Scots might be at the arse end of the popularity stakes right now but I found it in poor taste yesterday that the leading item on the news was England winning something called "The Ashes". Then it went on to report on these terrible fires in Greece where they're not light on that particular commodity right now. Draw your own conclusion as to the inappropriateness of all that.
Ah, that's what you come here for. A little levity mixed with international comment... Oh, it's not? I must have got that wrong. Won't be the first time.
Musicwise, The Thanes and Lord Rochester appear to tearing it up at Henry's Cellar Bar in Auld Reekie on Thursday (27th). That's what it said on the poster outside.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
It’s all go. Being that it was kinda truncated by my lateness in dragging myself out of my scratcher. No idea when the last time that happened was and no excuses. So much to be doing and so little available in the first instance but prior to all that, here’s a report on yesterday...
Having managed to extricate myself from the bunker, I figured that I’d go and try and pick something up to send to Ben and his wife for his newly arrived twins. This didn’t prove to be as simple as was anticipated and I really don’t want to send Scots stuff that was made in China. Nothing agin the Chinese but that’s plain wrong. So I’m no further forward on that score for now, plans B and C are under consideration.
So I made my way down to the National Portrait Gallery where they’ve been having shows on a Saturday afternoon through the Festival curated to some extent by Avalanche Records of Cockburn Street. It was the launch of the new St Judes Infirmary album and Zoey Van Goey opened. Nice idea, good space and an excellent time of day to watch some music. This was borne out by the fact that there was a good crowd and even although it was free, it’s not always easy to get people along. Plus, you have to down there, I wouldn’t say that it benefits from footfall. The building is being refurbished but this was a cool idea on somebody’s part. Excellent call. See you at Withered Hand next week?
ZVG were great. Really. And charm personified with a Modern Lovers/Velvets leaning and even a version of “I’m Sticking With You”. One of the guys had a bit of the ”Rich Stim’s” about him and you can never get enough of that. Sweet, off kilter pop then and the girl, Kim has a strong folk/pop style that should get to anybody that comes into contact with them. A short sharp set that certainly left me like I could have a couple more but I guess there wasn’t time.
I’ve seen St Judes Infirmary two or three times. They did a Christmas song many moons ago that I go back to every year. It came in a handmade sleeve and hinted at some promise. This far down the line they’ve gone the route of a Nick Cave/Badalamenti/Mazzy Star. It’s very earnest and for me there’s nothing that sets it apart from so many other things. It’s not hungry and as opposed to ZVG, I was pretty glad when it was over. Nothing intrinsically wrong with it at all but familiarity with the ingredients and the fact that some of them give me gutache means that there’s nothing for me at this table.
The estimable Mr Coyle who I ran into there assures me they’ve got something and I respect his opinion. Tam is one of the good guys who has gone above and beyond for music in Scotland and further afield for eons now. We agree to disagree as he heads for Arbroath and I saunter in the direction of the book festival. A quick shifty around, I noticed that there were no copies of Tom Morton’s book there. Maybe they were sold out?
And so to Filmhouse for “Playing With The Past” which was totally sold out. I can’t get enough of these live score with images events right now and was pleased when a second chance to catch this became available. Eagleowl kicked it off and their distinctly analog take on the form sets them aside from the more electronic nature of the other two outfits. I think it was Meursault that did the accompaniment to “Camera makes Whoopee” that lost me when the “singer” sang the “credits” to that particular piece. It was a bit too Pat Kane via James Allan and I was ready to go home to be honest. It had been a long day. FOUND were pretty good in a proto-Underworld sort of way. The event on a whole was really worth a look though. Perhaps if there was a way to tighten up the changeovers then it might retain the momentum a bit better.
Hopefully, the popularity of this will make Filmhouse consider more events in a similar vein.
Being that time of the year when the transport infrastructure is shown up to be utterly hopeless, I was briefly jazzed by having caught the 11.05p train. However, it sat in the station while the Polis and station staff futzed around. It was a bit of a zoo so the great one himself knows (Ralph Kramden) knows what the next two would have been like, might find that out next weekend because at least then I’ll have someone else along for the shindig. Another full day of activities planned so stay tuned.
I need to get this place in order for the imminent arrival of an illustrious visitor from yon US of A that’s saying such nasty things about the daftest wee country in the world. “Boycott Scotland”? Did you ever hear of such a thing?? The fuds that came up with that can away and “bile their heids”. That’s “boil their heads”, incase you were wondering...
From Lenny Helsing...
RIP – Ian Thomas
Ian Thomas, bass guitarist of mid-‘60s Australian R&B fixated beat-punks THE MISSING LINKS has died after a short illness on Monday August 17th 2009, in Phnom Penh. The ‘LINKS from Sydney were infamous for their unkempt image, unleashed on the public such truly shocking electrified punk-outs as ‘You’re Drivin’ Me Insane’, ‘Speak No Evil’ and the incredible ‘Wild About You’. The last-named gained extra punk credentials 10 years further down the road when The Saints included a version on their debut 1977 LP ‘(I’m) Stranded’.
On The Missing Links’ only LP released on Philips in early 1966 Ian would also take the lead vocal spot for a version of ‘Nervous Breakdown’ and his own great ‘Not To Bother Me’.
Originally a member of THE SHOWMEN along with wildman drummer Baden ‘Hutch’ Hutchins, the pair then hooked up with The Missing Links whose original line-up had just broken up. Ian returned to The Showmen after the new ‘Links split again a year or so later, then had a brief recording career using the name Thomas Hood.
Links’ vocalist & frontman Andy James (real name Anderson) has said that Ian Thomas was “a true original”. He certainly gave The Missing Links an extra dose of menace with his gargantuan, tough as nails bass sound.
Thanks to Beccy Connell of Australia’s Born Loser fanzine for letting me know of Ian’s demise.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Time to take a minute to draw breath and let you know about this stuff...
Mr Percival flagged up this Telstar event taking place at the end of the month.
Sid Griffin is LIVE on the Mark Radcliffe Show this coming Monday night on BBC Radio Two at 8pm UK time talking about Neil Young's recent box set.
And more JD King!
RJaP's "100% Pot Success" is available for download now from all the places where they go in for that sort of thing... they're also heading for Oslo, Paris and somewhere in Belgium during September.
Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives honours The Ramones legacy and features many unreleased stories and photos.
Finnish journalist and Ramones webmaster Jari-Pekka Laitio Ramone’s latest Ramones book entitled Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives is the result of nearly 5 years worth of work. It is full of poignant stories that reflect what Joey Ramone (RIP 2001), Dee Dee Ramone (RIP 2002), Johnny Ramone (RIP 2004), as well as the rest of the Ramones family have impacted their fans worldwide.
Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives has interviews and text written by 90 contributors and has 224 pages, and 295 photos/drawings. This book brings together the Ramones family as never before, there are interviews by every surviving Ramones member: Ramones drummers (Tommy Ramone, Marky Ramone, and Richie Ramone), bassist CJ Ramone, and Johnny Ramone's wife Linda Cummings. The introduction is written by Tommy Ramone.
Reluctant to offer fans stories which have been relayed thousands of times before, Jari-Pekka provides new information about the band. His focus is on the Ramones impact on the history of Rock N'Roll. This work is best described as a tribute book. Other Ramones publications have dwelled too much on the fights, problems and other negative aspects of the band's legacy. Lacking are the positive stories that are integral to the history. Jari-Pekka offers candid and positive opinions/stories from people who were influenced musically and inspired by the Ramones.
Contributors to include Seymour Stein (founder of Sire Records), Hilly Kristal (founder of the CBGB's club), Rodney Bingenheimer (radioDJ/ KROQ-FM) and Maria Montoya-Kaye, Walter Lure (Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, Waldos), Wayne Kramer (MC5/DKT), Andy Shernoff (The Dictators), Glen Kolotkin (producer), Noah "Noki" Citrin (an important friend to Joey in the 60's), and Bam Margera (Jackass).
It also features stories and recollections from all kinds of musicians, including Punk Legends and pioneers such as Dez Cadena (Misfits, Black Flag, DC3), Henry Rollins (Black Flag, Rollins Band), Charlie Harper (UK Subs), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Philistines), and Vinny Stigma, and Roger Miret (Agnostic Front).
Other Punk and Rock'n'Roll bands contributing are: Rob Wright (NoMeansNo and The Hanson Brothers), Andy Cairns (Therapy?), Kenny Håkansson, Nick Royale and Robban Eriksson (The Hellacopters), Bela B. (solo artist, Die Ärzte), Bumblefoot (Guns N'Roses), Happy-Tom and Euroboy (Turbonegro), Johan Blomqvist (Backyard Babies) and Tom Wisniewski (MxPx).
Also included are several Heavy Metalists recalling their reverence and love for the Ramones. Among them are Frank Watkins (Obituary and Gorgoroth), Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth, Bloodbath), Phil Campbell (Motörhead), Jon Larsen (Volbeat), Miland "Mille" Petrozza (Kreator), and Ricky Warwick (solo artist, Almighty).
Jari-Pekka has been dedicated to running the biggest and most updated Ramones homepage since 1995 (http://ramones.kauhajoki.fi ), and has authored the books, Heaven Needed A Lead Singer: Fans Remember Joey Ramone (2002), and Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone (2004).
”I am happy to get the chance to show Ramones fans lots of unreleased photos and drawings prepared exclusively for this book” Jari-Pekka Laitio Ramone states. This book has never-before-released photos and drawings by people like Jenny Lens, George DuBose, and Bobby London.
More information: http://kauhajokinyt.fi/~jplaitio/kolmoskirja.html
Interviews/ orders: firstname.lastname@example.org / http://ramones.kauhajoki.fi
Friday, August 21, 2009
Attention Ramones fans of Espana... A message fro the Rt. Hon. Monte Melnick via his myspace...
"I'm very happy to say my book “On The Road With The Ramones” will be out in a SPANISH EDITION. My Spanish publisher is MUNSTER RECORDS & BOOKS. The end of September I will be going to Spain to do special press events and in store book signing appearances. More information will be posted later.
AHORA EN ESPAÑOL - De Gira Con Los Ramones Esoy muy feliz de que mi libro tiene ahora una edición en español. Mi publicador en español es MUNSTER RECORDS & BOOKS.Finales de septiembre voy a ir a España hacer eventos especiales de prensa y hacer apariciones para firmar el libro en tiendas de libros finales en Septiembre. Más información sobre esto vendrá.
Rock On! Monte
Ah, best time of the week, getting home as a Friday segues into the pm. Getting to the car prior to the journey might the farthest point from Monday but I've gotten used to this arrangement of being able to take care of niggly business during this weekend add-on. Plus it's not chucking it down, probably waiting until I get 50 yards down the road but, ach - bring it the eff on!
What a difference a day makes eh? On Wednesday, Scotchland was a top place, the veritable Brigadoon. As of about 1.25pm yesterday, in a monologue resembling the faux-suspense of an X Factor final crossed with a sermon by an I.M. Jolly impersonator, Kiltland’s rep plummeted. I imagine that immigration departments across the US are ordering up boxes of rubber gloves as this is being blogged. However, sales of "kilt towels" to Libya are set to explode (I couldn't resist that). Boom Boom (Ouch...).
The only avenue left is to poke scorn at this decision as there is quite obviously some very scummy stage management going on here. I'm not sure how the Christmas shopping will be in our new best friends' country. Anybody clue us in to the price of Levi's out yonder? So Bertie Bassett Tanyergranny or whatever his name is/was (not to be confused with the liquorice allsorts guy) has left “the building”. Compassion is all very well as an idealistic theory but in the stark glare of the boom lights it doesn't play out. I really can't wait to see "The Daily Show" tonight (we get it a day late).
Still there was good news yesterday too. Ms Hazel Rigby was reunited with her stolen guitars, swiped from her place in New Orleans. Let’s hope that’s the one and only time that her space is invaded and that she goes on to have a positive association with the place from here on in. And further non-despondency, I learned today that Annika (Norlin) has a weekly column in the Stockholm "City", the twice weekly equivalent of Metro.
A cooler commentator in any language you won’t find...
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Click here for clips of the CJ show from London the other night that Martin shot...
Since I got back to the bunker tonight, it's stopped raining and the daftest wee country in the world is in the full glare of the world's spotlight. Other than that, my thoughts are with those who'll be making the scene at the Roky sermon down south tonight. Look forward to hearing all about it and indeed to tomorrow because that'll mean it's the weekend. Has your (working) week been on slo-mo, or is it just me?
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
There never were enough hours in the day but just lately it seems like there are even less. My intention to spend less time in front of a computer has come to nowt too. Something may well be about to give and that could well be what's left of my mind. The administration of everyday life is the biggest factor of the wearing down process.
Or maybe getting bogged down in shite is a better description? Either way, I'm sure you're more than familiar with the process. Things could suck a lot more and such efficiencies are relative pipedreams along with the ongoing de-clutter.
Anyway, I have things that have to be done so I’ll leave you with a couple of things to check out. If I get things sorted then maybe there’ll be a short burst of energy later but it’s not likely. So...
The Tremolo Beer Gut is (are?) headed for Scotland in October and they’ll be tearing up Nice’n’Sleazy with Big Ned who I’d never heard of but am bloody impressed with. Not too many people can pull off such a blatant Badalamenti number on a cut called "Bad Angel". And they have a single out on Optimo too?
And this is Brother Don's hitpick, from his v. own stomping ground of San Fran. Such a cool city that Hello Saferide wrote a song about it... anyways The Invisible Cities do the Flamin' Groovies "You Tore Me Down". See what you reckon...
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Ramones and the celebrating thereof can sometimes be a bittersweet undertaking. The actuality often gets overtaken by the individuals involved or just some kind of clunky revising of what seemed to be the most simple songbook on earth. Not so. There has to be heart, soul and spirit involved and I have to tell you that the songs have seldom sounded better than they did last night.
I knew it would be good but wasn't expecting monumental. And so many songs that you'd never have heard the actual band play. It was something of a pleasure then to go home with my ears ringing to the sound of some seriously joyous noise. These things did more for the memory of the band in this short hour than has been done in a long, long time. They distill the fabric of that ripped denim powerhouse with a genuine passion for rock'n'roll. Not the commodity known as punk rock. This was Riverdales-type good!
And of course there are the credentials...! Any lesser mortal dedicating "Glad To See You Go" to Michael Jackson might have seemed trite. "You're gonna smile, you're gonna laugh". Not half.
So here was that chunky Wild Kingdom guitar tearing it up with a double solid rhythm section. What a joy to hear these cracked off by a real drummer and not some clockwork monkey making short work on the old biscuit tins. I'm not taken to grinning uncontrollably but there was no other way. And the crowd was great. Some old enough to know better but we didn't care because the excitement was back. If you could trap this kind of energy in a jar then we'd be on to something and gas or electricity could go fuck themselves.
And there was a little bit of CB's about the room. Not even the second most salubrious spot in town but a pretty decent venue nonetheless. So I hope that some of you folks will go to Camden tonight and that it turns out to be the blast that Glasgow was. You kids out there in Scandanavia and Spain should be thinking about how to get these guys out to your backyard too because this is an exercise in everything that's positive about what made us what we are.
No cynical, misguided ego trip just a schlepp down memory lane in the company of the greatest pop catalogue on earth. It was always about the music and an hour in the glory of this will reinforce that. I might not have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. Leaving the place, people were heard to say that it was "better than any Ramones show they had ever seen". I'll leave you to draw your own conclusion to that. Murray saw it too so he'll hopefully second this emulsion. My thanks to Daniel Rey, a real gent and one of the great guitar wranglers. Grand to be able to catch up with him again. And as for the upcoming Joey album, Ed Stasium has all the raw material so it'll be coming out in due course. The fact that we'll finally get to hear it being the most important factor in all this.
As I tap away here in sleep mode, the CJ Ramone tour bus is heading toward London. Following last night's blitzkrieg on Glasgow, I urge you to get along to the Camden Underworld show tonight. More later. Then they're headed back to Germany and I can't find the other dates right now but I will.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Literally heading out the door to catch CJ Ramone and Daniel Rey at Ivory Black's in Glasgow. Danny will be playing almost literally just through several walls from where he was last September with Ronnie Spector. Last act I saw in the place was those fabulous Voladoras and I think it was called Strawberry Fields then. It's essentially a large bar that these days seems to specialise in punk and metal. I'm curious as to just how many this'll cajole out of the wood tonight. Hopefully at least twice as many as would consider going to see Wiggy Ramone. Last time I saw Chris was during the Odor Eaters incident with John, though I doubt he'd remember that. OK, couple of things and I'm gone...
Incase you're overseas or haven't heard or even both, Jo Callis has left The Rezillos. Where this leaves them isn't clear at this juncture but I imagine time will tell. Jo posted this info as a facebook message so no crossed wires involved this time...
Matt and Kim have 4 UK shows as part of a major jaunt with Swedish combo, The Sounds. Not to be confused with the singular British band of almost the same name from Liverpool or wherever. These will go down toward the close of November as follows...
Saturday 21st Nov - Birmingham Academy
Sunday 22nd Nov - Glasgow Oran Mor
Monday 23rd Nov - Manchester Academy
Tuesday 24th Nov - London Electric Ballroom
Ok, more after some school night punk rockin'.... see you over there?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Ian Foster hails from Newfoundland and “Room In The City” is his second album. It’s a quiet, unassuming creeper. First time I spun it, it barely grazed me but I did like the look of the girl on the cover. His vocal style is like a less-affected Steve Forbert and not unlike Chris Isaak while sounding nothing like either. Did you ever hear Will T. Massey? There’s a kinship with him here too. These are good old-fashioned songs delivered with an honesty and sense of craft. This is the kind of guy who will go out and play these and build an audience person by person, the best way to go if you have the patience and the stamina. I get the feeling that Ian Foster does.
Nashville, TN based - Mike Cullison does a nice line in honky tonk country rock and his “Blue Collar Tired” set will go some way toward setting you up for the day. Kicking off with “Wish I Didn’t Like Whiskey”, it makes a good foil for “The Whiskey makes You Sweeter” and I look forward to making a segue of the two somewhere down the road. The title cut takes some pointers from the “Blue Collar” movie soundtrack with its factory line, punch and die type rhythm. “Pour Hank on the Pain” is just about as RigRock a title as you might find in this day in age. This sounds like it might be on Diesel Only but it ain’t but it is worthy of your investigation. When I was doing some digging while putting this together, I noticed that our old mucker LP had given it the thumbs up way back in February. He always was way ahead of the curve that guy.
Steven Alvarado’s “Let It Go” is his fifth album. On Mott St. Records, it has a crack team of players on it and it’s quite latterday Springsteen although I’d have to say that the songs are better. Maybe it’s closer to Greg Trooper now I think about it a little more. I don’t see this so much as Americana, it’s more electricity-fused acoustic. Not really pop but courting certain elements of that. Essentially these are stories set in very able arrangements that deserve to be heard. But where? As the planet continues to disappear up its own hint end, there are less and less places to connect with good, honest music like this. Check it out in the confines of wherever you may be accessing this via the wonders of not-so modern technology.
Spanking Charlene might sound more like a pastime than a band name but it’ll grow on you like Smashed Gladys did. Trust me. “Dismissed With A Kiss” is their debut album and they're augmented by producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel and fellow Yayhoo, Keith Christopher. Two gents that are no slouches on your two favourite types of music. Those being rock and roll. SC won a contest that got them a deal with Little Stevie Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool label but there’s no sign of that of yet. Anyhoo, first things first. This is some pretty entertaining US pub rock that sizzles with that patented blues/punk/country gristle. A wee bit X here, a smidge of Guadalcanal Diary there. That’ll do for me as I ease myself into Sunday afternoon in the direction of some harder stuff. That's music, not liquor incase you were wondering. Wonder what’s happened to the follow up? There are demos on their myspace but no info. I’ll let you know if owt turns up because I think you’d like SC.
All of these came from Hemifrån...
"2000 and Fifties: The Whisper Story"
"There is nothing new under the sun." Alright, hear that. Under the ground, well, that’s another story. The underground, if you like it, is where the action is. Elvis conquered the world breaking cover from a subterranea of blues and boogie the white folks had crossed the street to avoid, but which all the while was a time-bomb ticking as the pulse beneath their feet. The Beatles, incubated in underground Hamburg, broke cover to reconquer it. Punk, meanwhile, made the underground the foreground, reinventing culture randomly. Its imprimatur is everywhere today, its foremost pioneers assimilated at last to a point unthinkable even ten years ago.
The Boss reaching down to cover Suicide’s surrealist hymn "Dream Baby Dream" is the tasteful end of a spectrum where today John Lydon plugs butter and anarchy is a commodity. Martin Rev, Suicide’s musical, as opposed to lyrical, vocal half, composer of "Dream Baby Dream", is one of those for whom the underground is the only ground, whose insight makes it into – for his many admirers and fans – holy ground. And it is from Rev that came the music for "Whisper", subject of a new remix project conceived and produced by its lyricist, veteran pop and punk operator Marty Thau, whose career has already seen go from the sound heaven of early Van Morrison to the concrete soul of Richard Hell, with stops along the way to rear the Ramones, Blondie, Real Kids, New York Dolls, and Suicide, whose eponymous debut album established a parallel chorus-verse since responsible for countless electronic rock’n’roll mutations.
By a virtue of a fortuitous Facebook hook-up, about a year ago Thau came across Jeremy Gluck, former singer and songwriter of second generation garage punk heroes The Barracudas, whose solo work includes late-Eighties "I Knew Buffalo Bill", a collaboration with Nikki Sudden and Rowland S Howard considered the first "alt.country" work. Already a hardcore Suicide fan, Gluck couldn’t believe his luck to find himself in touch with Marty Thau, and duly interviewed him for top UK fanzine Bucketfull of Brains.
It didn’t stop there, though. At a point when both were looking for a new challenge and renewed commitment to music, by degrees an interest in collaboration became evident but was not catalysed until Thau suggested Jeremy covering "Whisper", a song written by Martin Rev and himself included on Rev's instrumental CLOUDS OF GLORY LP in 1980, which he also co-produced. Thau always believed WHISPER might be something special if it had a lyric, so he wrote one but did nothing with it until he decided to give Gluck a shot at doing the vocal.
Mediated by e-mail, chat and some furious file transfers, gradually "Whisper" was knocked into shape: Jeremy would send Marty draft vocals, the latter communicated instructions back by email and the odd call and when he finished he sent Marty the files to assemble and mix. Over a period of weeks the correct treatment appeared and at a local studio Jeremy laid down his parts. After a false start, an agreed new female part was finally nailed by Jeremy’s partner, Kate McEwan.
The files were duly despatched to the States where Marty assembled and finessed them into a polished production resembling nothing more than what might be called "Amartycan Graffiti", uniting and acentuating as it does elements of the Fifties romantic pop sensibility that informs the instrumental original while introducing late Sixties touches that taken whole create a strange, timeless feel that is both intimate and chaste, flying in the face of the vogue for crude pop and replacing sex drive with a kind of muted love cruise. It’s refreshing, disarming and deceptively catchy, Rev’s ingenious backing track a hit worthy of an imaginary "Alphaville" chart; joined with the soft-focus vocals, especially McEwan’s breathy and whispery anti-attack, this is elegant, retro-pop of a kind in too short supply.
Initially the idea was just to do a "Whisper" single but the project expanded. Different versions from different producers - each interpreting the song in their very own inimitable style but using Jeremy’s and Kate’s vocals however they wished – has resulted in llar mixes by Brendon Moeller, Beat Pharmacy’s rising remix and DJ star; revolutionary mixer Dub Gabriel, whose version is an homage to Suicide and dramatic departure both; UK rising star Amurgit, who offers a reggae take; and more to come.
With digital distribution due from The Orchard, run by Thau’s old friend and colleague Richard Gottehrer and with whom he originally managed Blondie, and interest bound to be serious from across the underground rock’n’roll and club spectrum, the WHISPER EP is going to make a lot of noise. Release date TBC.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
You might have heard the term math-rock bandied about, well if such a strain doth exist then MX-80 Sound are presumably in the quantum or advanced nuclear physics rock bracket. That’s not to say that their racket isn’t accessible to the lower strata. No sir. No ma’am. Their frequencies can be enjoyed irrespective of your IQ but the way these sounds tweak your subconscious could perceivably leave you scarred. This stuff is so smart that it undertakes procedures on the listener that no other act in the history of rock music has ever hinted at. Their instruments haven’t been sterilised but they’ll cut you clean and sew you back up before you can say “Myonga Von Bontee”.
This CD-R is available from the band’s website and contains the “Big Hits” EP and “Hard Attack” plus the additional outtake “Sad Girls”. This music swept into my existence over three decades ago and it’s making no allusions to leave. I wish you could see then live. If these guys were playing Wembley in a specially constructed stage then I’d consider the world to be a much better place. And why the fuck weren’t MX featured in all this 50 years of Island Records malarkey? Because they were at least 50 light years more sophisticated than Robert Palmer? Not a bad observation sport.
You can also score a copy of the "15 Laffs" 7” that came with Forced Exposure several light years ago. One of my most prized 45’s of all time. And the Bruce Anderson CD is now available from CD Baby and perhaps Volcanic Tongue too.
The Rise and Fall of BMX Bandits is a deluxe collection in a damned elegant digipack courtesy of that excellent Madrid imprint, Elefant. This retrospective was compiled by Duglas himself to represent the journey from 1986 until, well right now. It includes a lot of stuff that’s been unavailable for some considerable time and other gear that’s been unearthed for the first time. Kicking off with “E102” from their 53rd & 3rd debut 45, that cut in particular has aged well. I wasn’t convinced at all back then and thought it was a bit “mock rock” like Bob Harris considered the Dolls. Still, I realised that I was wrong and a finer distillation of pop music through the times very probably doesn’t exist.
Could “Your Class” really have sounded this ethereal in 1989? It really shimmers here, the mastering is beautiful. Surely it would have been all over the Top 10? And that version of “Baby Loves Lovin’”, that one’s worthy of Springfield, Mo’s finest. So no downloads folks, this is a tactile bijou package that includes the great, long gone Emma’s House “Whirlpool” and even their Northern Soul stomper take on Tom Waits “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” that The Ramones kicked into touch some time before old T became the big deal he’s become. The version of Galaxie 500's “Tugboat” with Angel Corpus Christi is on here too.
Folks around Glasgow are urged to make a note in their diaries that the band will be playing the best-looking venue in town, The Classic Grand on September 12th.
So keeping this kind of interrelated thread going for a bit longer, Cineplexx has just had a compilation issued here by Cherry Red. Sebastián Litmanovitch’s “Nuevahola” is a series of soundscapes that spans 1997 to the present. Born in Argentina but based in the fine city of Barcelona, the music on here includes contributions by Duglas and Stuart Bandit and also Norman Fanclub. There’s a definite Glasgow connection with the sound which is a spacious, filmic affair that goes from lush and sweeping to fragile and introspective via all the aspects of 60’s and 70’s pop.
It sounds like it would have been very much at home in the stable of el records, Mike Alway’s label from way back whenever that Cherry Red distributed. The name Cineplexx is odds with the connotations such a word has here in the UK. In many ways the project should be called GFT or Filmhouse. No Cameo I’m afraid, that’s already been sullied by those codpiece toting individuals. This is a classy verging on arthouse prospect. No mega buckets of popcorn or chemically-enhanced cheese in the mix here. Don’t believe the stats that say organic isn’t good for you, it certainly is where music’s concerned. “Nuevahola" also includes a dust bowl, weather-beaten version of “Paint it Black” the like of which you’ll never have heard before.
A nice introduction to a guy with a cool line in alternative treatments using acoustic guitars, synthesisers and pretty much anything else he can get his mitts on.
Better a tad late than never I suppose. Just realised that I hadn't mentioned that The Primevals are playing in Wishaw (pronounced Wishy) today. I hope the weather is a little less inclement thereabouts. Thanks to Paul for the heads up.
Tomorrow they'll be at Duckstock in Glasgow and will be onstage at 4.45pm - ish. Full details here.
I need to be gathering my thoughts and what have yer to bring this thing up to speed over the next day or so. Lot of "localised flooding" around these parts so bloocks to that for a game of soldiers. Did think about going into our local town centre to see a combo that I've heard were half-decent but I imagine that's likely to have been cancelled. Still, if there's a lull in the monsoon then maybe your scribe will brave the elements. Not very likely but there's always the possibility that I'll discover something on the "bunker supplies" front to be deficient.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I've had it with clutter in all forms. Digital and physical. Even although the former doesn't take up much actual space, it's still choking my hard drive. That sounds like some kind of twisted euphemism I know but it's not that interesting believe me. Been putting off getting a new system but I'm not sure how much longer that'll be possible.
Why do I download stuff that I'll NEVER listen to? A virtual attic-full that is slowly becoming like the actual one upstairs. Still, it's the comfort factor of knowing it's there, right? Just incase. My head is calibrated oddly with regard to that kind of thing these days. All those Mojo's I was on about? Lying up there waiting to be inventorised prior to disposal. The procrastination is undoubtedly linked to some kind of psycho-atric desire to hang on to them but I’m battling that.
While mulling all this over, I found what happened to Gerard Cosloy's place in Austin. He and his are fine but I imagine that a pretty decent collection of "stuff" in general literally went up in smoke. This kind of thing really gives me the collywobbles and reinforces my need to get with slimming down on the pack rat tendencies.
It's also the time when the utility bills come in and I have to fart about with meter readings and all that crap. The estimates are too low and I don’t want that accumulating and coming back to bite me. Pretty responsible sort of behaviour I think you’ll agree for a wild rock firebrand such as mysel'? I hate these comparison sites. They're supposed to help but my own angle is that they're all involved in a big racket and not the kind your favourite band makes either. Still I'm pretty cheap to run so I dunno if it's worth the headnip for a couple of bawbees.
I need to take care of this now though or it'll drag on. None of these “my life in the song titles of BÖC” on facebeak for this laddie tonight but I will break out the Stalk-Forrest Group CD to provide the soundtrack to my drudgery.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Short and sweet tonight, I feel worn down and not exactly in any frame of mind to communicate to any degree. If this changes then I'll jump back on but it's unlikely. However, if you click here, you'll get the lowdown on who is playing with Roky in the UK next week.
Unfortunately I have to sit this one out but nae doobt you'll all hep me to what I missed.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Of course, that first part of last night's hit and snooze should have read "three halves". I was a bit pissed off having dragged the auld bahookie into Edinburgh when ideally a night on the sofa interspersed with the odd volley on here would have been preferable. Howe'er, I'm getting a wee bit ahead of myself so let's rewind a touch... Dropped my guests off the station yesterday am and headed back to the bunker before setting out for the Hippodrome. I was determined not to talk myself into not attending that event for some cockamamie reason that didn’t really fly. I’m a past master.
Anyway, The Southwell Collective’s scoring of "Finis Terrae" and the short film "St Kilda – Britains Loneliest Isle" was nothing short of phosphorescent. A decent turnout too which was good. The sextet did an immaculate reconstruction of an imaginary score just like they do on a proper soundstage. There were no limitations as they ventured from that which bordered on prog to full-on Badalamenti. Particularly groovy were the smokey Nico-like tones of the narrator, Isobel Morris. She has a project by the name of Bruise that I haven’t checked out yet but I’m pretty sure it’ll be worth hearing.
Anyway, the collective are doing the Highlands and Islands. I was surprised that it wasn’t stopping in Glasgow which made me all the more lucky to have caught them in a place as unique as The Hippodrome. It’ll be interesting to see how “Playing With The Past” measures up to this. So the culture bar was set pretty high with that
Would love to tell you the Janeane Garofalo thing was the funniest show I’ve ever seen but in all honesty I think it was one of the worst on a whole host of levels. Expectations were low anyway having read some reviews and things but part of me wanted to overturn those. I’ve liked almost everything that I ever saw her do but not this. Can’t really figure out if she was really that unprepared or if that’s part of the “script” but I can categorically state that, making like Richard Ashcroft’s drugs, it does not work.
The venue sucked too and Eugene Merman from Flight of the Conchords struggled with a short opening ramble. The evening was a textbook example of why I don’t go to see comedy very often. The audience didn’t seem to be too enamoured either. So too bad, if you were thinking about going to this – I think there are shows up until Saturday, save your money. Under normal circumstances, I’d say each to their own but I abhor waste and further to that – disappointment is even worse.
I had hoped the reviews were wrong, this one pretty much sums it up. The show is different every night? I wouldn't count on it. A couple of people leave and I'm not convinced it wasn't a ploy. I would have liked to leave too. Not sure about the health and safety aspect of that room she's playing either. It wasn't easy to evacuate under standard conditions (hur hur, he said evacuate). I also think that the "unprepared" vibe is entirely calculated.
It's full on festival antics up at the bunfight that is the Gilded Balloon. It resembles a fairground with every type of food concession on the planet at prices as horribly inflated as a bouncy castle.
Not conducive to a good time really. The emphasis is very much wheel 'em in, Upturn 'em until every conceivable penny is shaken down and schlep 'em out. The city was mobbed so it must have been a good day for them. I have no other hard and fast plans to attend anything except maybe Kim Edgar on Friday. I'm hoping that she won't be accompanied by a certain local musician that I can't abide and by the day of the show I might do that fabled Hutton procrastination thing. Prior to that though you may care to check in at the re-located for the festival only Go-Go!
Festival Special... Thursday 13th August
with Les Bof! Live! (french 60s garage & beat!)
12.30 am til 5am (band going on 1am) in the Park Room, Gilded Balloon (Teviot), Bristo Square.
£7.50 - tickets available on door, and from Gilded Balloon Box Office.
DJ's Tall Paul Robinson, with special guests
Holly & Sarah (Eyes Wide Open - Glasgow)
playing 60s garage beat pop soul mod & ska.
Many thanks to Cornelius Pearce and The Bang Bang Club who are letting us take over one of
Finally, still in Edinburgh - they're fucking with another landmark people. You know what to do. (Thanks to Andrew for the link via facebook)
Sunday, August 09, 2009
It's been a busy old day, one of three halfs really. I'm plum tuckered out and do not be feelin' the urge to compile any kind of reportage right at the minute. As it is, I'm trying to sneak this small post in before Sunday segues into Monday but I fear that ship has sailed because of the timezone thing. Anyway, more tomorrow...
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Somehow or other I just passed out last night. The head vice was sort of back and that's the only way to shake it off. As I prepare to head out I'm listening to "Carl Perkins Cadillac" by the Drive By Truckers on NoFoSo and thinking to myself that there's something of the "Love Will Tear Us Apart" about it. It also reminded me that "Judas Kiss" by The Del Lords is a similarly moving piece and that I meant to chase up whether of not the shows they were supposed to play might happen. That's the thing about having no recall. Even scribbling it down on a piece of paper ain't infallible right now. maybe I need one of these nintendo things that exercises the grey matter? Er, aye - right... best to probably ride the slipsteam of semi-conciousness.
Still, better get the heck off this thing and deal with what's gotta be done before I needs to be elsewhere. No time for the regular languishing today.
Here's something that might keep you occupied (irrespective of whether you saw it before)... The Blank Generation. Available to watch online for a limited period.
Thanks to T. Tex Edwards for the link...
Friday, August 07, 2009
The news about Willy DeVille is a downer and even although it was sort of expected, that doesn't make it any easier to take. Anyway, much hairing about the city of Glasgow pencilled in for tomorrow but for now it's time to take in the relative tranquillity of a Friday afternoon. All going well or to plan, maybe both - I hope to catch this too prior to my first tussle with the Edinburgh festival on Sunday and the Janeane Garofalo thing.
"More Modern Short Stories from HS" gets a release in Germany as of today via Universal, isn't it about time the UK caught up? Still, here's a taste of what we're missing.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
It was something like 19 degrees when I wandered round for the paper at 6.15am this morning. Summer has made an impromptu reappearance here in the rapidly tanking UK. Spent the day in Ed-boro yesterday with my Las (not Glas) Vegan homies Val and Greg. It was day of traipsing, Guinness and deep-fried mars bars then some more Guinness. Good times that also included a schlepp around the Botanics.
Some primo nosh in the Filmhouse bar and closing at The Cameo where it was too late for a school night for me to join 'em to see "Moon". Ran into one Fay Fife there though so it was nice to see her again for the first time in some years. Since the first reunion show at The Liquid Rooms in fact. There is no news to the effect that there are any more Rezillo shows in the pipeline if you were wondering.
So anyway, some local and not-so action coming up in the immediate to mid-range future...
FRIDAY 7TH AUGUST:
EYES WIDE OPEN at the TWISTED WHEEL, Queen St., Glasgow - EL TORO and THE BRUTES, plus guest DJ Jamie Kidd (Get The Records On). Eyes Wide Open is a 60s garage, psych & freakbeat dance party - and this is their last night at the Twisted Wheel before they relocate to Blackfriars.
SATURDAY 8TH AUGUST:
LES BOF!, EL TORO, and THE BRUTES at HENRY'S CELLAR BAR, Morrison St., Edinburgh. A killer triple bill of quality garage & beat to blow away the Embra Festival blues!
The Swirlin' through The Vortex Lux thing is in Coventry this weekend, saturday 8th at The Tin Angel.
No relation to the Philly one presumably?
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Had a moderate Friday feeling last night because I'm off today. Doing the tour guide thing around auld reekie and heading up and down the nooks and crannies to partake of the odd hostelry or three. There could be some of that Sassenach dish known as haggis involved but that's not clear at this juncture. I've still to assess the dietary requirements.
It's funny. This thing going out on facebook at the same time as the blog must confuse people. It's a little like those cable channels that repeat all the time. Seems like there's no escape or respite. Perhaps both.
Which brings me to the point, the "Playing with the Past" event that I missed due to a conflicting schedule during the Film Festival is to be given another airing too. On August 22nd (a Saturday, methinks). Must get a ticket for that sorted out.
The weather would appear to have taken a turn for the better despite the driechness yesterday. The building site appearance of the toon is somewhat unsightly through the drizzle that's been coming down of late. We might even make it down to the peedly parliament, who knows.
I shall be off the air completely for the remainder of the day and will check in with anything worthy on the flipside. Maybe.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Stop rubbing your eyes... I might be in on this stramash too but meanwhile...
THE FLESHTONES GO BACK TO SCHOOL!
Post-Punk Performance at The University of Leeds is proud to present the FILM PREMIER:
PARDON US FOR LIVING BUT THE GRAVEYARD IS FULL – by Geoffray Barbier
Introduced by Dr Philip Kiszely
September 9th 2009 - 6:00–7:30pm. stage@leeds
The film is being premiered at the University of Leeds’ international conference event, Post Punk Performance, and features alongside speakers such as Paul Morley and Dave Haslam, and an evening performance from legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke.
Conference convenor Dr Philip Kiszely: “I’m delighted to be able to premier this movie at an international conference on post-punk music and performance. The Fleshtones’ breath-taking rock'n'roll has all too often been over-looked, but their importance as a band is immeasurable. They are absolutely at the heart of this event, and I’m looking forward to screening Geoffray’s documentary in the amazing stage@leeds venue. At last, the Fleshtones are getting at least some of the recognition they deserve.”
Evening event only: £12 (£10 conc. NUS or unwaged) – movie premier, John Cooper Clarke, Frank Sidebottom + punk & post-punk dj the Duchess.
Full Conference: Reduced rate for non-participatory (audience) attendees (see link below). Includes evening event + addresses from Paul Morley, Dave Haslam, Claire Monk and Richard Witts. Also, papers on the Fleshtones by Steve Coleman and Michael Rose.
Click here to register for either rate and further details.
(Thanks to Prof. Steve Coleman for the info)
Monday, August 03, 2009
I could really do with disappearing off the face of the earth for a month. Just to see what it's like. No nothing and especially no computers. Pretty sure that it wouldn't be the end of the world. Not that it’s likely to happen mind you because as church mice go, I'm fairly alarmingly skint.
Still, it could be considerably worse and if I managed to find a way to monetize all the crap I don't need (that's in physical volume and also in less than spiritual terms) then maybe, just maybe...
Still it's "Festival" time and the building site known as Auld Reekie will be packin 'em in for the next month. It's pretty hard work trying to cross reference the schedules and it shouldn't be a chore but it is. It's also an expensive pastime this culture lark. However more grave matters have become apparent and the very foundations of our nation have been shaken.
Next they’ll be claiming the shortbread tins are made in China.
Thank heavens for Wreckless Wradio then... new podcast in the ether now!
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Bonnier Amigo has embarked on a series of collections from the vault of MNW. An important portal over the past three decades to a vast mine of every type of music you can think of. Of course, practically all of it is Swedish language so perhaps of limited interest to those who don’t speak the language. However, to those of us who never let a language barrier get in the way of enjoying some primo rock action – there’s a wealth of gear to discover here.
There are prog and postpunk comps that look like they might be worth investigating amongst the 18 2 x cd sets that have already come out. But let’s start here with two that would possibly be of immediate interest to NBT-ites.
Stry Terrarie (real name - Anders Sjöholm) was a mainstay of many units across the years. Best known of these outside Sweden was arguably Babylon Blues. He also produced the album, “Enjoy The Creeps”. I never heard the Garbochock tracks before and those sound a little like Roxy Music produced by Joe Meek. I’m looking at the name Mats Gustafsson on the Besökarna cuts and wondering if it’s the same guy that’ll be tearing up a small Edinburgh hostelry later tonight with The Thing?
A general postpunk keyboard driven thread runs throughout from the earlier more frantic material through to the broader based Scandanavian rock model. Rymdimperiet’s quasi-funk leaves me a little cold but that doesn’t hang around for long, that was perhaps a glitsch in transit. Even The Clash approximations of the earlier BB stuff offers promise of what was to come afterwards. It’s cool to hear them grow up. Covering the period from 1978 to 1991, this doesn’t include any Ebba Grön or subsequent collabs with Thåström – there’s much to get your old hearing gear around here.
Wilmer X were one of the first Swedish lingo bands I ever heard. They were and remain a far more traditional unit in the style of mid-seventies pub rock groups like The Brinsleys. They combined that with a Groovies type rock’n’roll sensibility that would ultimately flirt on the outer limits of power pop. Like Eddie and the Hot Rods channelling Manfred Mann, Wilmer X has cut a swathe and remained popular over the years by laying down a timeless, bar-rock blueprint that can only really be pulled off by guys who know the script inside out.
At some points they might sound like (the) Status Quo, then maybe Foghat but the Scandanavian ability to crisply deliver the goods never lets it descend into mere parody. On the other hand, “Gå Hella Vägen” is as good as most of The Undertones catalogue. This kicks off in 1980 so I guess it was several years out of kilter. Had it started in 1978 then it could almost have been charted in tandem with what was happening around the world.
Red hot rhythm and blues, blastin’ beer bust beauties that must be some kind of fun to catch in a bar although at the prices they have over there it’s the powerhouse music that’ll have to be doing the intoxicating. And watch out for a very special comp coming soon from this direction, more on that when available...
Coincidence with the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing notwithstanding, some important notes from space have been captured and etched into 12” vinyl by Sick Thirst. These infectious “repeat-o-rock” tones may or may not be perpetrated by a duo. The only clear information about Moon Duo is that Ripley of Wooden Shjips is involved and this is a primitive, ever more Velvets-y descent into the maelstrom. The Shjips are positively orchestra material compared to this. Designed to be played at 45rpm, the trick is to set the controls for 33rpm and let it marinade your grey matter.
So what you get is 4 songs for the price of two, at album speed it sounds like satan fronting Blue Cheer attempting to create Suicide type modulations. JD King’s concept of the 45 at 33 is once again proven to be several light years ahead of its time. I suspect this drone-tastic squall to be the martian black angel’s death song being channelled by an earthly San Franciscan host prone to what some could figure as experiments in sonic terror. Wonder what goes on if you plays it backwards?
Anyway, this is available now in places where fine records are sold but move fast, it won’t be around for anything like forever in this magic vinyl format.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Did you hear the new Willie Nile album yet? Entitled “House of a Thousand Guitars”, it’s a real rush of blood to the memory of the great roots rock scare of the mid-80’s. Anybody who misses The Beat Farmers or The Del-Lords will find much solace here. It’s the kind of album that you hope and dream Springsteen could still make.
Those of us who no longer enjoy spring chicken status will recall that Willie was being hailed as “a new Dylan” around the time that Elliot Murphy and the aforementioned Boss were. This is his sixth album in all these years and it really does crackle. When I first heard it I was sure that Scott Kempner was playing guitar on it but seemingly not.
“Doomsday Dance” would have been something The Cramps could have customised. “Love Is a Train” is a little Forbert-y and enjoys an almost Alvin-esque soundscape. Again, the band sounds so grandiose. You can almost taste the desert and see the heat haze. American music rather than Americana. “House” is blessed with a lot of soul and sounds like it lived. I’m not up for asking for much more than that at this point. It’s chock full of the kind of guitars that turn me to mush and I just found out that there’s a vinyl edition, me - me!.
And while we’re on the subject of that American beat, I was a little disappointed to find out that Amy Speace had been to Glasgow a couple of months ago. There was some word to the effect that she might tour with Mary McBride but that never happened and she snuck in on her lonesome (with her band). Her most recent long player is “The Killer In Me” on Judy Collins’ label, Wildflower Records. As with the Willie Nile album it draws on a vast bank of roots history and blends folk, country and blues through a pop strainer. If you like Maria McKee, Syd Straw and Mary Lee’s Corvette then it’s a shoe in that you’ll find much to enthral you here. In addition to the fact they had their own gig, Captain K tells me that she opened for Colin MacIntyre at Oran Mor too. So maybe third time lucky with regard to catching a show...?
The Loose Acoustic Trio ’s zydeco-flavoured good time that is “Sorrow Be Gone” has wormed it’s way under my skin in recent weeks. Even the porch version of “Pinball Wizard”. From Portland, Oregon – they’ve kicked up a pretty swingin’ affair. “Love Me, love You” reminds me of ACC’s take on “Jet Boy, Jet Girl” and the whole accordion fuelled shebang is very tasty indeed in a twistedly straight way. Who couldn’t love a group that’s down with “Soup On A Bun”? It comes in a very nice quality quasi-digipack too on the Big Book imprint. A tasteful operation all round.