Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Looking at the stats this morning, I noticed a link from something called feedjit.com and wondered how that ‘f’ got in there? Don’t think I’ll ever get a beat on how all that works and how people end up here. Those seeking drugs and porn must be sorely disappointed. There have even been some typing in “plant food” and I know Amy and Eric played a Garden Centre during their recent UK jaunt but c’mon.
Still battling this cold and reckon that these olbas hankies are making it worse. The elixir itself is good for clearing the heid. These are not but they do paint an amusing looking red blotch around the nasal region. I was out of the game last night. Woke up around 10.45pm and decided that I should probably be asleep. This morning was a bust too and I expected the lurghi to engulf me completely but I dragged myself out and don’t feel quite so gubbed. This has no bearing on whether I’ll pass out again though.
While I’m vertical, I should deal with some e-mail...
And finally... it’s that time again. 33 x 365 (12045 days) tomorrow (April 1st) since a certain half-arsedly photocopied rag modestly christened “The Next Big Thing” made its way into the world. Happy birthday to us.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Watching a snow blizzard blow over what passes for a prairie outside of the day prison window this morning was depressing. After the past few weeks of relatively decent temperatures, it’s cold and insidiously damp. Of the type that seeps into your bones. In addition to this, I’m pretty sure the lurghi is working its magic to clobber me in the coming days. My wee nose is redder than Rudolph’s right now.
Despite the fact that I have a fairly low threshold for “urban” music in general, here’s something that came to my attention at the weekend. Having hummed and hawed about posting it, the video itself is excellent, not least because it was inspired by M&K’s “Lessons Learned”.
In addition to this being their favourite type of music, the clip seizes the style of the Zapruder Kennedy assassination footage as it may have been captured on the technologu of now. In these days of being deluged with “fluff”, this is fairly hard hitting and should stir up a lot of attention. And hopefully stir a whole ‘nother demographic for Matt & Kim.
In the new Mojo, Phil Alexander suggests that anyone who doesn’t think that the JJR is the best rock’n’roll band on earth right now is a fool. If so then I’m one of those, in at least 72pt red capital letters. If they truly believe that statement to be true then we’re doomed and would do well to turn our backs on the form once and for all. Ben Vaughn tried to tell me that r’n’r was dead and I didn’t listen. He even wrote it down for me. I was having none of it.
When I read statements like that, I can almost taste the desperation. It’s OK to buy into that notion but when it’s so blatantly awry then you have to start to think that it could be more than a taste blip. So pity the fool folks, as he breaks into another packet of hankies.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Ah, British Summer Time... The snow is back on the hills and the temperature has plummeted in correlation with the clocks going forward. It’s practically Easter and this time next week I’ve got a week’s pass from the day prison. There are all kinds of practical things I need to do during this period but as always, we’ll see. Still it does prefer a light at the end of the tunnel. One of the things I’ve been putting off forever is making a will and in recent times have been pondering this. It’s pretty tough trying to decide who will be heir to this Dictators “Bloodbrothers” 8-track you know.
Getting back to the white powder, it must have been the right kind of snow though because it’s disappeared pretty sharpish. None of that stuff we had at Christmas that hung about for weeks that stopped us getting about. No point really because the trains and planes not running will see to even greater inconvenience wrought over the next wee while. Speaking as one that hasn’t had a pay increase for a couple of years now, I know how it is with the crawlspace up before the thin end of the wedge. Still, I don’t have the means of bringing the country to a standstill to protest so I’ll just have to tholl it.
It was remiss of me not to mention Ken Fox yesterday when I was assembling this. I actually forgot he was Canadian and was in The Scenics ‘tween 1980 and 1982. It’s a cold, damp evening here and I’m going nowhere both figuratively and physically. Getting to this point has been a minor ordeal in itself. So you’ll excuse me if I don’t feel like prattling on...
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Jon Strider' s "Fresh Tracks" (New Sky) is a peculiar beast. I wouldn’t even have listened to it if I hadn’t noticed that it was Swedish. The cover looks like it’s a Chris De Burgh record and not a giant leap from sounding like Don Henley but really not bad at all. Well arranged and played bar-room AOR of an old-fashioned quality that individuals of a certain vintage certainly wouldn’t hate. The lesson here is not to judge a CD by its cover.
Symply Bill's "Sound Experiment" (s/r) - A Kingsport, TN based singer/songwriter. Neither folk nor country, maybe a little of both. That moniker isn’t doing him any favours and there’s a typo on the sleeve that should read myspace.com/symplybill. Similarly not moving me is Lonnie Kjer/Stefan Mork's "13 songs". Angsty Danish folk with a tiny hint of Lynchian twang but little else to recommend it. Tony Denikos is a seasoned Americana-rer based in Maryland. He has a lot of heavy hitters helping him round out his sound on this here “Already Gone” album. These include Warner E. Hodges providing a CCR type shape to the alternate take of “Lauralite”.
There’s a quote by Andrew Loog Oldham to Uncut magazine inside the info booklet of the Born 53 CD that seems to be being associated with the contents. This skews any worthy aspect that this mature country blues ramble might have. “Foreign Accent” is firmly lodged in Knopfler territory but they seem to have a sense of humour and I get the feeling they’re pleasing themselves. Sometimes it seems like there isn’t a generation gap anymore but something like this hammers it home that there certainly is. The skiffle-y version of “Don’t Do It” really made me want to hear The Fleshtones “J-Geils” twist to that very tune.
The Neighbourhood Bullys “What” (Rank Outsider Records) is co-produced by Mike Chapman. They’ve got a kind of power pop Dictators/Cheap Trick thing going on with a side dynamic that recalls The Knack and also Redd Kross. They’re pushing all the right buttons but I’m not entirely sold on the songs, “Sux 2 B U” is every bit as awful as the title suggests. Having said that, give me the NB’s over guff like The Hold Steady any day of the week.
Revolve are a Gothenburg power trio and “Burning Money” suggests what might have happened if Cheap Trick was the template for The Hellacopters instead of the MC5. I’m not a great fan of three piece bands but this one kicks up quite the racket. They’re not exactly breaking new ground but they’re giving it a good bloody pummelling.
Slowman is back. Back where he started according to this new album. That’s somewhere between Stevie Ray Vaughn and Robert Cray. “Southside” bears a bit of a resemblance to “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. I shouldn’t even let on that I recognise that. Imagine what that could do to a guy’s credibility, assuming he had any? More than proficient, at its best, Slowman reminds me of Henning Staerk. Superior veteran pub rock stylings as only the Scandanavians can pull it off. “Don’t Wanna Know” in particular entertains a lyric that chimes with my particular worldview.
Patrick Crowson will appeal to fans of Chris Whitley, Paul Burch and Townes.
The Scenics “Sunshine World” (Dream Tower Records) comprises studio recordings from 1977/78 and it’s plain that the NY underground had a mainline to Toronto. This isn’t punk rock per se, more a Talking Heads/Velvets hybrid with a side of “Adventure” period Television. It stands up pretty good and predates what would have been the Danceteria years in Manhattan where Art Rock and Punk atoms were split never to come together again in quite the same continuum. Arguably the PR that eventually broke in the USA was a co-opted Edgy College Rock. Sure it was diverse but by that time there were corporations involved. Still in Scenics-ville, “How Does It Feel To Be Loved” is their Velvets side given full reign to provide an almost theatre score to an off-off OFF Broadway recon of Lou and Co at Max’s. Recorded between ’77 and ’80 in a stark, live, low tech manner it stands up bloody well and if you close your eyes and squint you’ll hear Lou channel his inner Tiny Tim.
Remember, this was captured in a time before everyone finally woke up and grabbed a copy of the VU debut. The version of “Beginning To See The Light” swings in a Byrds-y fashion while the rendition of “Real Good Time” was recorded when they opened for The Troggs in June 1978. This veers between faithful and straight out liberty taking but somehow it’s a snapshot of a far less cynical time when the notion that “anyone can do it” quite patently did.
Joel Alme’s “Waiting For The Bells” (Razzia) should really be available on a box set of 7” singles. With big hole dinked centres and labels that look like old Spector acetates. The unabashed Righteous Brothers via Pete Wylie pop soul harks back to a time when AM radio would have been all over this like a rash. This sound is so out of kilter with now that it’s practically radical. Shades of “Herd” type brass punctuate the already gospel like nature of these torch tunes. The arrangements are pretty spectacular and I know these things can be created synthetically now this really sounds like they went the whole nine yards. Who cares if “No Class” sounds a wee bit like “Badlands”?
Eleven orchestral manoeuvres with the power to deck you, that may never be heard outside of Sweden. That’s just not right.
And sticking with Scandinavia for the wind-out, Jasmine Kara’s “Blues Ain’t Nothin’ But A Good Woman Gone Bad” ignites some forgotten Chess chestnuts for a contemporary audience. This 21 year old is the polar opposite of the karaoke singers that are constantly paraded before us. This set bridges the chasm between what has become pigeonholed as “urban” and the biblical meaning of “rhythm and blues”. They used to call it soul until that term was co-opted too.
Actually, it doesn’t matter a toss what they CALL it because when you hear it, it’ll knock you on your arse. .In this post-Winehouse environment I think there’s a place for an artist that can belt it out and I’ll be damned if Jasmine Kara doesn’t have a shot at it. One appearance on Jools Holland and the blue touch paper would be lit. The ska-flavoured “Try My Love Again” is a shoe in hit “single” if there still is such a thing. Here’s a project where great songs have been put together with a cracking singer and an ace band. No finagling or delusions in sight.
“Grits aint Groceries” is my hitpick but this is a class act all the way. Jasmine may be no relation to Irene Cara but surely headed for some kind of fame and I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t LOVE to hear her tackle Annika’s “Leaving You Behind”.
It’s “British Summer Time” kids! Rejoice and look out that swimming cossie. If I go out today, I expect to see water beds on legs soaking up the rays. And there are rays at the moment strangely although snow is forecast at “low levels” next week. I guess this is just ahead of the UK closing for business over the Easter break and beyond. The greed of mainstream politics has broken the populace. If one of the karaoke singers from one of these TV shows was to stand as prime minister then they’d probably win. After all, they get much more attention.
The playground antics of our choices to run the country are frankly a bit worrying. Katie Price must be in with a shout. Ever since David Sutch passed on there hasn’t been a viable alternative because I reckon that neither Rory Bremner nor Armando Iannucci would feel comfortable with just how far-fetched supposed reality has become.
There was just a news item on about some “curriculum for excellence” being introduced to the education system here in Scotchland. If anything is guaranteed to raise my hackles it’s the use of the word “excellence”. It’s my belief that such a beastie should be the norm. As soon as the idiots start using the label then you can be sure that “below average” would be more like the outcome. In these times of jumping through hoops and (grimace) “ticking boxes”, actual excellence (in Bill and Ted terms) is a fallacy. Meanwhile “be excellent to one another” and don’t be surprised by just how far down the food chain that Britain will end up over the next few months.
Overseas readers, come visit, fill your boots before the lights go out altogether and there’s no way of getting about this shithole of a country.
On a lighter note, some things you may care to partake of...
The new Dig It! Has the JJR on the cover. You know what I think of them and the mag, as always has the scoop on all the latest r&r action from all over.
Some fresh air is in order, I’ve already done my ironing and having posted this, am heading out of doors. I may be some time and might just keep walking...
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
This has turned out to be a resume of the week. Folks have been dropping by to read Ben’s piece on Alex so I deliberately held back the flood gates so that they wouldn’t have to wade through acres of me doing my LD bit to get to it. Having stuff like that to put on here is both a thrill and a privilege. You can read it over at the BV site and while you’re at it maybe grab copies of his latest recordings. Everyone a Rambler 65 (as opposed to maserati). Writing of that calibre also makes me forget (briefly) that I was put here for better things than some of the shit I’ve had to contend with over the past few days. I have that Friday afternoon mellow feeling but am aware that this weekend is an hour shorter. That could easily get my hackles up if I dwell on it but at this point, said situation is some way in the distance. Even factoring in the speed at which one’s free time scoots in like the proverbial rocket. So at this juncture, we’re all alright.
Is the browser problem still happening to you? I thought I’d fixed that. Perhaps I need to upgrade to one of these generic templates but don’t really want to.
Tuesday pretty muck sucked part from that. Mainly down to a shenanigan with my trying to renew my road tax. First online, then on the telephone. My insurance details aren’t on their database so they couldn’t process my application. To find this out, I had to go through the automated sequence from hell eventually talking to someone. Only to be faced with “computer says no” indifference. Once I get all of this sorted out, I’m going to tear the DVLA Customer Relations dept. a new one. Via the good old postal system with an envelope and a stamp, the whole nine yards. I imagine that I should just file that under “these things are sent to try us” but it utterly hacked me off and someone must pay.
“It’s just computers” (I swear, that's what she said) and “You’ll just have to go to a post office” were the indifferent statements that made my blood boil when I called the agent with regard to why said info wasn’t coming up on the database. I thanked the person "for being of no help whatsoever” and hung up, stopping just one smidge short of spontaneous combustion. The bisom's tone was what really capped it off. I know computers are a pain in the rectum but I don’t expect the representative of a place I’m paying to provide a service to just fob me off.
The expression curmudgeon applies to me. Guilty as charged. Not being one of life’s bubbly go getters, I hope that I don’t portray a number of faces to suit any particular situation. Having said that, if someone asks me for help, or advice or whatever then I’ll do my damndest to do what I can. An ethic that seems to be in short supply this last wee while. If someone pisses up my back and tells me that it’s raining then woe and at least thrice woe betide them and the tussle with the broker’s representative was one of those. Like a follow on from the DVLA run in from last night.
These droids are not programmed to operate out with a radius of being a dimbulb. Is it too much to expect to get some service? A couple of answers?? I don’t think so and all of this fucked me right off. The start of the week had been pretty reasonable. It never occurred to me that I might be overdrawn at the karma bank.
There was the hooking up of some Wild Horses fans with some 30+ year old signed photos. The catch was that they donate something to a charity of their choosing. Conscience will be their guide. This is perhaps some more of this rock’n’roll ministry practice showing itself or maybe I’ve lost the plot altogether. I had also reconnected with folks that I should have never become disconnected with in the first place. A peculiar twist of fate with an outcome I never expected.
In closing, I will indeed always “go to the post office” in future because there you can get stuff done. The DVLA can jolly well stick their “online” service where the sun divnae shine. Laminated and torn sideways for extra sensitivity.
Anyway, it’s very gratifying to see the press on the new Mose Allison record and also that Amy is being recognised as having made a very cool contribution both on the duet “A New Situation” and her dad doing “Everybody Thinks You’re An Angel”. The people who are writing about “The Way of The World” seem to be blessed with a sense that eludes your average “Americana” or whatever scribe that trots out the generic ignoramus reaction to her instrument. The “Before Mose there was nothing” lobby must be thrilled that this new album is finally out.
Let’s see what else, I’m chuffed to have made Amy Rigby’s diary. I think she’s kidding about the “cheerier film” bit. Also in recent times, I swelled the ranks of The Beat Army so I’m not doing too badly. They’re reporting here today that the price of alcohol is being raised to save lives. Is the government really that stupid? There are sections of society that don’t fucking eat because they’d rather neck booze for whatever reason. So now they’ll eat less. The money will be diverted to the health service or something. Aye. Right. Are you familiar with the expression “shower of bastards”? I dare say you are. I know that the Rev. Thewlis is spitting feathers .
Got a loan of some Bonanza DVDs from a colleague recently and was immediately blindsided by the fact that they don’t start with common theme tune. Is nothing sacred? Guess not.
Thank the lord then for Bucks Burnett’s Eight Track Museum... (thanks to Martin for the link)
Thursday, March 25, 2010
THE GO-GO will be officially a decade old on Saturday 3rd April.
10th Birthday Bash - 10.30 - 3am, downstairs @ Studio 24, Edinburgh. £7/£5
with two live sets from THEM BEATLES
60s Pop Beat Garage Soul Mod & Psychedelia played by the ever-fresh DJ's Tall Paul Robinson & Big Gus.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Always progressive, Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. is back at Otto’s Shrunken Head this week – and with a long-overdue return by our special guest singer, Rosalie Morris!
THURSDAY, MARCH 25th / And the last Thursday of every month! /OTTO'S SHRUNKEN HEAD / 538 East 14th Street (just west of Avenue B) in ol' Manhattan /Two modernistic shows, from 8:00 sharp until 10:00 / With special guest Rosalie Morris, plus the usual DJ "Son of Scratchy", salty snacks, and no cover!
Progressively yours, Michael
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.
"Ballads, Boogies & Blues"
also on Twitter and Facebook
P.S. For those of you with a bent for beef, we had our fill on Sunday at the Brooklyn Beefsteak. B-E-E-F!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I do believe this is a scoop. From the one, the only Ben Vaughn...
I met Alex Chilton in the early Eighties in New York City. We were introduced by our mutual friend Mike. I was just starting my music career and Alex was the guy who produced the Cramps and I needed a producer so I handed him a demo of my songs. He took it, examined it from all angles as if he’d never seen a cassette tape before, looked me in the eye and asked, “Is this original material?” I nodded yes and in a very blasé voice he said, “great” and put it in his pocket. My friend Mike and I shrugged at each other. We assumed the tape would be tossed.
A few years later I had a record deal and was booked by the same agent who handled Alex and he put us together on a tour of the Midwest. At the first sound check in Kansas City, Alex strolled in, introduced himself and told me how much he liked the cassette as if he had just received it and said it was “a gas” to be working with me. I loved the words he was saying but again, the blasé tone threw me off. I was beginning to see why “misunderstood” always preceded “genius” when Alex’s name came up. It was hard to figure the guy out.
We went on to do a few more tours and spent a lot of time together. He wasn’t an easy guy to get to know. He could be silent for long periods and you had to get used to that dead air. But then he could suddenly go off on a two-hour dissertation about the South during Reconstruction complete with exact names, dates, and places. Or recite every one of Lawrence Olivier’s lines in “The Entertainer” from memory. And then, out of nowhere, more dead air. He was “an interesting bunch of guys” as my dad would say.
But we had fun. I enjoyed egging him on about how much I loved Gary Puckett and The Union Gap which always touched a nerve, possibly reactivating a professional rivalry from the Sixties. “Listen to yourself!” he would moan, “Listen to yourself!” One time he pulled the car over and demanded I eject a cassette of Mel Torme’s “California Suite” and throw it as far as I could into the bushes off the Missouri interstate. I had to get out of the vehicle to really give it my best shot and he almost drove away without me. For some reason, the only thing we were able to agree on was that Freddie Cannon still “had it” as a performer.
When not touring, Alex and I stayed in touch, visited each other in our respective cities, and at one point even tried writing songs together though we never really finished anything. In the mid-nineties, I was producing a dark “midnight sessions” blues album by Alan Vega and told Alex about it. He loved Alan’s voice and offered to pay his own way from New Orleans to be involved. We recorded over three nights and called the album Cubist Blues. It was released in the States and in France. We played two shows to promote it, one in NYC and one at a festival in France.
Soon after that I moved to L.A. to score for films and TV. In 1998, I was hired to provide music for That ‘70s Show and the creators wanted the opening of the show to feature the cast singing along in a car to their favorite hit song. After throwing around Seventies song titles like “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Eighteen,” I asked if maybe we could use a song that wasn’t actually a hit in the Seventies--but should have been. “Sure,” they said, “As long as it’s great.” One of the writers was a Big Star fan so I asked him to run down to his office and grab his CD of the first album. I played “In The Street” for the producers and they went nuts. It was a classic Hollywood moment. They jumped up and down and yelled, “That’s our song!”
After a discussion about re-recording it at a faster tempo to sound more like The Who or Bad Company, the business affairs people went about securing a deal with the song’s publishers. I called Alex and told him the news. He was thrilled. He always thought the song should have been a hit. “Better late than never,” he said. And it was good for the show too. They had a quality theme song that was actually written in the Seventies. It was good news for everybody.
Turning it into a TV theme was not easy. Even with the quicker tempo, we had a hell of time fitting the first verse and chorus into the allotted thirty seconds given to us by the network. It was amusing to learn later of the conspiracy theory in the rock world that Fox had censored the line about the joint. Definitely not true! We could hardly fit in the first verse much less the second verse containing the drug reference. But Alex inspired that kind of loyalty among fans and critics. They wanted to take care of him and defend him against the evils of the entertainment business. That’s how it is with misunderstood geniuses.
But the truth is Alex was happy to see “In The Street” finally get the exposure he felt it deserved. Every time we spoke on the phone through the years he would lead off with “How’s our show doing?” I’ve heard reports that that his royalties from the show paid all of his bills from that point on. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know he was paid quite well over the last twelve years. And he seemed more content than ever in the end. When I last visited Alex in New Orleans he was in love with his gal Laura and seemed relaxed and excited about life.
It’s going to take a while for me to realize that he’s gone. Sure, I’ll miss his music like everyone else but mostly I’ll miss his blasé tone and unpredictable nature.
“An interesting bunch of guys” indeed.
Sincere thanks to Ben for letting us have this...
Monday, March 22, 2010
Everybody knows that the finite format for enjoying popular music is the 7” single. Even something like Radiohead might sound better like that, not that I’m about to listen to that guff on the off chance. And that brings me to a few excellent examples of the breed that I’ve encountered lately.
Caroline Andersen’s “Birthday Suit” on L’Edonista is pressed on hot pink vinyl. As perfect a burst of cheeky (no pun intended, particularly if you’ve seen the sleeve) motorised pop as you’re ever likely to encounter. Brought to you via the good offices of Captain Morten Henriksen, effervescence guaranteed. I think there’s an album in the works so as soon as that is on its way then you’ll be getting the skinny. See what I did there? You’d never think for a moment that I’m sitting here kvetching over how much my car MOT is gonna shake me down for. Caroline has a way of making you forget about stuff like that.
I mentioned Juanito Wau’s One Mouth Band before and his debut 45 is out now on the charmingly monikered I Shit In The Milk imprint – pressed on white vinyl with brown print, very fetching. No matter how broad-minded your mother is she won’t like this. Beatboxers beware as this human (?) hot rod delivers his satanic oral revs in a way that will outright worry Bobby McFerrin fans. I feel a strange affinity with this guy because I used to perform similar noise-making experiments. My excuse is not being able to hold a tune. But Juan can – you betcha. Brilliant and uncompromising, the wildest thing I’ve heard in a very long time. (Cheers Inigo)
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Paul Collins in Madrid last October and have been digging reinvestigating his excellent back catalogue. This split single with The Beat and Radio Days on Italian label Surfinki is a great example of just how he’s still cutting a dash here in 2010. The PCB side is toting a kind of Skeletons do Billy Joel shindig and RD are operating in a universe not entirely removed from that of Teenage Fanclub. (Thanks Juanco)
The Eruption Organisation has unleashed their first foray into 7” vinyl with a split 45 that features a side apiece by The Bonnevilles and Thee Phantom Herd. The former are Free or Frankie Miller having done some kind of RJ deal with the devil. I was expecting something entirely different but this could have wide appeal and is several light years better than anything I’ve heard by The Raconteurs to drop a name. Other than the fact that I believe said combo knocked out a version of (I think) “Headin’ For The Texas Border”. Thee PH are not without their charm also and I’d venture that this could be how the JJR could sound if they took their hooves off the decibel level. This is swingin’ lowdown dirty bluesmanship. “Lordy” richt enough and will raise you a “have mercy”.
I would hope that you’d all have the A-Bones “Not Now!” by now but maybe you don’t have the 45 of “Shallow Grave”. Written by Andy Shernoff and performed with the gusto you’d expect from the Nortonian royalty. When I spin this it makes me miss them SO MUCH I can hardly stand it. And in addition you get a non-LP cut. What’s not to grab.
Twinning Madrid with NYC is not a new concept. There’s been a tunnel between the two for a long time and The Thunderbolts is a cocktail of two Dictators (JP and Ross) and three died in the wool (The Pardos and Juanco) Spanish rock guns for hire. Japanese label Target Earth has released a JP song “On The Tip” with a cover of the hymn “Stay With Me” sung by Miguel as a shiny black thing that ought to put a bustle in your hedgerow.
Still no word on the car, no news is er, no news
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Stereo Total is something I never tire of. Acts come and go but these folks just plough a unique furrow that just confounds and delights time after time. They embody a rock’n’roll aesthetic that those who concoct a sound out of a modular record collection concept will never ever achieve. A bottomless pit of heart and soul.
Some folks don’t get it, but that usually means that they never saw 'em live. Not that the show is anything like the records but that’s another aspect that sets them apart. For complete satisfaction, I think you need to experience both. Seeing them unlocks a portal and I expect they’ll be on the road to promote their new Disko B release “Baby Ouh” so take opportunity when it presents itself and thank me for the tip later.
“An attempt to record exactly the music that Stereo Total would like to hear on the radio themselves”. And the world would certainly be a much better place if “I Wanna Be A Mama” was on heavy rotation. Much of the lyrics are in French, German and even Spanish. This means that philistines like myself can’t experience what are obviously great lyrics but the joy of the Total is that it’s not necessary. Had I been taught languages at school with this as a carrot then I would be a cunning linguist for sure. Stereo Total’s radioactive electronic discoglam is a refreshing cram of disparate elements. Everything but the kitchen sink but there might be one of those in here too. How else could they have got that sound.
I like to take time out from this fucked world to visit this much preferable orbit. This is no acquired taste and I pity the fools that try to write this combo off. As infectious, top of the line pop music goes there are few greater exponents. Some drongo said to me that they just keep making the same album over and over. And the problem with that is what exactly? Of course, the accusation itself is entirely unfounded.
Yes, there are just two of them. No, they sound NOTHING like The White Stripes. End of sermon.
The very latest instalment of de-clutter is that of some signed Wild Horses photos. This was a band formed by Brian Robertson and Jimmy Bain after they’d just left Thin Lizzy and Rainbow respectively. They played Grangemouth Town Hall sometime in 1978 and Brian Guthrie and I co-promoted that. It was the show that put me off putting on gigs because the turnout – despite the profile of the individuals – was dismal if I recall. I imagine that Brian would be able to tell you who the other bands were and maybe even the set.
Anyway, I discovered a facebook page dedicated to them yesterday and put the wheels in motion for the items in question to canter off to be with folks that might like ‘em. They’ve been stored in a box for 30+ years and will be released into the “wild” very soon.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
I wouldn’t even have listened to Billie Joe Armstrong’s induction of The Stooges had it not been on the DFFD blog. To hear him quote Scott (Top Ten) Kempner from “Please Kill Me” was pretty amazing and of course, The Dictators were one of the combos that are responsible for carrying the torch of this group across several generations. Essentially when nobody else gave a shit. It was also odd to hear them and The Cramps mentioned together.
A growing number of folks recognise that The Dics deserve wider recognition too. There are even more who don’t even know that such a force of nature exists. I purposely will not use past tense even although a question mark lingers over whether or not they’ll ever roll in the thunder again.
Even a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist like myself is capable of hope. Particularly on a Friday afternoon with the refrain of "Every day is Saturday" rattling around the old noggin.
Mr Spence would like to invite you to...
ERUPTION at PIVO PIVO, 15 Waterloo Street, Glasgow; SATURDAY 20TH MARCH; 8.30, £5
Another great ERUPTION night ahead with Glasgow's 'orrible KBD punkers, THE JACKHAMMERS, in the company of THREE! great punk/rock'n'roll/garage bands from Leeds. Come on out and act stoopid ....or be even more stoopid for staying in!!!
I would like to add that - in my experience - staying in is not "stoopid" but a lifestyle choice/art form. Ha ha.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
There’s a certain album that’s been in my collection for 35 years now. Released March 1975 to make sure that my destiny was manifested in an entirely different direction. Rumour has it that a Church of Scotland minister once told my granny that he thought I’d be involved in religion and I think that went down very well. Disappointingly for her and whoever else, he evidently meant rock’n’roll not some annexe of god-bothering.
Anyway, it is an extreme honour to be associated with the DFFD credo and my thanks to Karen and Sal for asking me to recall the time when The Dictators Go Girl Crazy came into my life. Gracias kids!
I never knew Alex but met him several times over the years. The first of those was in The Blue Lagoon chip shop at the top of Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. I think, toward the ends of the 80’s when BMX Bandits opened for him at Glasgow Tech, it’s pretty hazy. Over the years, he developed a very strong connection with Scotland where ostensibly his career was rebooted by a bunch of guys from Bellshill known as Teenage Fanclub. Sometimes, if asked what my favourite Big Star record is, I’ll answer “Bandwagonesque”. Just to potentially rile the person who poses the question. More often than not though, it just gets a laugh.
This is sad news indeed for fans of undiluted music everywhere. There goes another of those “real” artists that they just don’t make anymore. On the times that I met him he was very nice, charming even. He could also be a “wee shite” and I certainly witnessed that though I wasn’t on the receiving end. Davie Scott does a stunning Alex impression that beautifully captures the playful malevolence of the subject.
Alex did two of the most amazing shows I’ve ever seen in my life. One, with TFC at the old 13th Note in Glassford Street. It was 1996 and doubly memorable because it was right after our first visit to Stockholm for The Nomads 15th Anniversary when we actually met the gang for the first time. Fiona and Gary picked Avy and I up at the airport and we went directly to the show. Hurry, hurrying and in the throes of going loco. If I close my eyes, I can still hear the apocalyptic version of “Telstar” that the Fanclub and Alx did together. The other was in the relocated, reconstituted 13th Note Club on Clyde Street where the man was in full wind up mode and he, Davie and Francis Macdonald served up a double-fried set that included a systematic deconstruction of “Duke Of Earl” lasting some 8 minutes or so. I think it was prior to this visit that I got a call from Jason McPhail early one morning to say that Mr Chilton was being refused entry to the country at Glasgow airport and did I have any ideas as to how we could get him in. As I recall, Captain Cruickshank came to the rescue citing that he was there to do something for the BBC. In those days you could pull that.
Just a few days ago when in Stockholm, Mr Ulf asked me what year we saw Alex in Berlin. “1990”, I replied and he showed me a bootleg album that could well have been recorded at that very show.
My sincere condolences go out to his many friends, fans and of course family at this time. I’m sure that this has come as a huge, unexpected shock to everybody. If anyone would like to share their memories, I would welcome them here. This guy was another part of the foundations that this thing is built on.
You may also like to look at these photos that Randy posted on facebook and one-time Windbreaker Tim Lee's note from the same resource. I don't know if you have to be on there to view these but I think they're for public consumption. Guess I'll find out soon enough.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The responsibility of updating this thing daily is getting to me. Again. Heck, it’s difficult to come up with a snappy facebook status let alone compile an anecdote or review. I’m doing my best but am more than aware that this is not necessarily good enough. Kind of like the modern equivalent of when an issue of the fanzine came out. People would ask, probably with the best of intentions, when the next issue would be. On that score, Mr Percival brought this to my attention and no, I’m not reprinting them so please don’t ask but blimey… I have an inkling as to who the seller was but I’m not certain.
One aspect of my existence that shows no signs of abating is my ability to procrastinate. I fear also that I over-subscribe to the doctrines of Larry David and his angle on calling etiquette. I value space and respect that of others but in one particular instance, there’s something that I need to do. It’s something I should have done a long time ago but the opportunity never arose. At the same time, I’m a little reticent. Of course, it’s completely in my dna to expect the negative. I’ve been like that all my days, it’s a defence mechanism of sorts. Still, in the infinite possibility that everything happens for a reason – I feel like I need to give it a shot. Wouldn’t say I’m “feart” exactly but something bordering that like “apprehensive” mayhap.
I keep getting asked about what I think about The Stooges being indicted into that HOF business. You say inducted, I say indicted… you know how the next bit goes. Good luck to them, I hope it works out in the long green department. As for the live clip, I turned that off. At those prices, the attendees should get a piece of the stage to take home – not just be able to “invade” it. Embarrassing is a word that springs to mind although before I get accused of contrariness, please respect my right to have an opinion that may not chime with yours with regard to athis. I know you’re happy for them, I am too but wasn’t part of the (no) fun the fact that the establishment loathed them? “He’s Iggy – he’s supposed to be annoying” said one chap. It’s a fine line between that and irritating and Wee Jimmy crossed that some time ago in my estimation. Er, thanks for enquiring.
I’m feeling disenfranchised today. One of those “there has to be more to existing that this” kind of fugs that takes a while to pass. I’ve met people who claim not to get these but I believe such claims to be blethers. Not being bubbly or bright (in any sense of the second word there) can sometimes be an advantage but not when it segues into full-on depression. I don’t really have much to despair about and am very busy with this and that. I should be content that anybody gives a hoot let alone anything else. The rats and their frantic race are getting on my wick and my own personal fuse might just be getting shorter. If that’s possible.
It would be cool not to black out as soon as I sit in front of the TV but I think someone might be trying to tell me something with that.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The most recent instalment of my attempting to lighten the load of stuff that’s built up here over the decades turned out to be pretty cool. In 1976, or thereabouts, I purchased a Kays guitar from Leckies in Falkirk. This Woolies guitar always looked great but I never took it up but did some pre-wiiii (or however many i’s are involved) posing with it at down the ages. It’s been kicking about and in most recent times seemed bound for a charity shop. However, for some reason, I just couldn’t part with it. Some higher force was evidently guiding me toward yesterday when this instrument was adopted by a new owner. A Mr Eric Goulden, now that name is familiar. Where have I heard that?
Anyway within minutes the instrument was ringing out “Take the K.A.S.H” and other popular classics and sounding pretty chuffed with itself. In terms of recycling, this is another echelon entirely. Up there alongside the recent hook up with the Rev Murky Munster and them 78 RPM discs that were bound for a skip before I rescued them some 15+ years ago. I’m not being smug but I feel a certain satisfaction with regard to having given this stuff a new lease of life, like a caretaker or some sort of transplant for an inanimate object, extending the lifespan to be used as intended to be when manufactured, not languishing in landfill someplace assisting the planet’s demise. I’m getting a wee bit melodramatic now so I should can it. And of course, Eric and Amy have shows in Bristol, Portsmouth, Brighton and Birmingham over the next few days, if you’re in the vicinity cut along and see them. Noise up your friends and take them along too.
A constant desire to maintain some kind of karmic equilibrium is a priority for me. At the deepest, darkest depths of 10.35am on a Wednesday that can be a problem but there have been plenty circumstances lately where I realise that there’s not much to moan about in the grand scheme. Of course, the bigger picture is always difficult to see when the concentration is on some asinine detail that was never of importance in the first place.
It’s SXSW time. Well tomorrow, when intensive activity is focussed upon a gazillion acts. It’s a bit like the Edinburgh Fringe for music in as much as a couple of acts will score some kind of means to make the alleged hipsters pee their pants with faux excitement. I would like to go and experience it but hasn't it just got too big?
Give me Berlin Independence Days any ol’ time.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Just watched “Requiem for Detroit” on the i-player seeing as how I fell asleep during it last night when it aired. No real reflection on the piece just further indication of my slipping into narcolepsy. The Julien Temple portfolio just keeps on coming and I enjoyed the doc overall but it was very depressing. To see a city like that in virtual ruin, the commentary was fairly sobering. What i wasn’t so keen on is the fast cut, power-point type nature of cramming as much in to satiate those with no attention span. For me, I would rather have seen more architecture. Outside and in.
Interesting to see John Sinclair be as carnaptious as ever. The premise that the Motor City is a snapshot of the future in addition to offering some small glimmer of hope for transformation was odd. Like I said, I would have liked it to be a little slower and for there to be less stock footage used as atmospadding. Still... worth watching so here’s a link. I’m not sure how this works outside the UK so apologies if this turns out to be a bum steer.
Just waiting for my first houseguests of this new semester... I hope their Irish shows went well over this past couple or three days. Need to go into the kitchen now and get the stovies moving, now that I have the oatcakes that I forgot to pick up this morning.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I don't really have anything much to say today. Went to see "Breakfast at Tiffany's" this afternoon. What a great film. If the cliché of "they don't make them like that anymore" it certainly applies to something like this. "Moon River" has reduced me to rubble for years now and it still does. From the minute that it sweeps into the score with the cab that delivers Holly Golightly to the store.
I'm about three-quarters done with the housework ahead of my guests arriving tomorrow. No time to rattle on, there's still much to be done.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Made it. I miss my Stockholm peeps and the tube-clearing, dry cold climate too. This weekend will be taken very slowly, close to the bunker with the exception of a Tesco run and a screening of “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” along the road. It’s also likely that a visit by two top entertainers will drop in here on Sunday so I’m looking forward to that.
Today, I earwigged at least three individuals come out with the “can see where you’re coming from” line that’s joined “don’t even go there” in irritating Jerry Springer-speak that’s slithered into the language banks. It sounds ridiculous because the Brits simply don’t have the twang for it. In much the same way as African Americans could probably never say “awa’ an’ bile yir heid” properly. It’s all symptomatic of the slide that culture is taking. Pre-programmed guff that phuts out in loops. If they thought for a minute about how retarded it sounds, they wouldn’t do it. Or maybe that’s the optimistic Friday me hoping out loud.
Oh yeah and I just made an important executive decision to attend an important shindig in June. Not one for acting on impulse but have just lately been thinking that the crew is more important than the long green I don’t have.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I’ve been out of sorts all day. Not least because I didn’t wake up until 6.15am but that’s just part of it because there had been at least three times during the night where I thought it WAS time to drag myself out of my pit. The effect to the daily routine got thusly knocked out of whack and then I realised that exactly a week ago, I was heading for the airport.
Now there are two things here that disturb me. While the memories are warm and fuzzy (and no, I haven’t peed myself) certain aspects of the days seem drawn out, like they’ll never end. Then I get home and “zip”, it’s time to go to work again. This is also indicative at weekends also. So why does valuable leisure time go in at least three times as fast as the grind? The older I get, the less I can get to grips with that. Really.
There's been a lot of information to process today. Some good and some a little devastating but it's not possible to unscramble eggs as I may have proclaimed before. So, I'm not sure whether I like the trailer for The Runaways movie plus I've been reading Kim Fowley's reaction to it. And there are messages to deal with so I'll get to what's getting posted tomorrow.
Five hours in the day prison then home and we'll figure what gives from there.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Thanks to those that contacted me with regard to errors, dodgy spelling and just plain errata with regard to my Stockholm report. I have no excuses that would be particularly valid plus I discovered a couple more howlers myself. My coping mechanism is a little bit fugged up. Maybe excess ice or something. More likely the something part.
The practice of going away for a wee while for an intensive hit of fun is generally followed by a sobering process. I always go through a period of decompression after a trip. The intensive good time gives way to an extreme jones-ing for more of the same. In stark contrast, the day to day bullshit foisted upon one by individuals that couldn’t run the proverbial brewery piss up just narks you off to the extent that you could quite conceivably “go postal”.
It’s gonna be a short one tonight, here are the Batusis show dates...
Glasgow ABC2 (May 3)
Sheffield O2 Academy2 (May 4)
Liverpool O2 Academy2 (May 5)
London Islington Academy (May 7)
Hatfield Forum - Attic Room (May 8)
Oxford Academy2 (May 10)
Southampton Joiners (May 11)
Bristol O2 Academy2 (May 12)
Birmingham O2 Academy2 (May 13)
You can find the entire lowdown at Uberrock.
And Sir Jeremy remembers the golden age of fanzinery over at Mudkiss. It was very good of him to include some NBT action in there. Gracias an' that.
Amy and Eric have shows in Ireland and Englandshire over the course of the next week. Please check and support these as proximity allows.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
It was an early start on Thursday morning and the outbound trip went very smoothly. You hear Ryanair horror stories but I have to say that – despite and even including so long a hang at the airport – it’s one of the easiest schleps I have ever made. Edinburgh airport isn’t such a bad place to have to wait in. mainly because the Wetherspoon’s bar provides a reasonable service that won’t break the bank.
The trip into town from the airport was equally simple. Buses are ready to pick up passengers when the flight arrives and its 80 minutes from there into the City Terminalen. It only took 75 this time though despite rush hour. Some amazing snowscapes and ice formations to see on the way in too amid the odd snow flurry. I have never seen so much of the cold white stuff. Certainly not in a long time and being that it was so cold, it retained its white colour. No giant slurpies to wade about in.
Nick's succinct tips on how to traverse the city meant that I scored a 72 hour travel ticket (200Kr) and was on the bus to his part of town in a matter of minutes. The familiar sight of Bröderna Olsson meant that I hadn’t got my directions confused. I’ve been here often enough to have a beat on the general bearings. During early visits it seemed like everything was really spread out but it’s actually a fairly bijou cityscape. Of course, if you’re walking you have to build in time. And in this weather it helps to stay well away from the eaves of the buildings less you get iced.
The sharp blue, sinus clearing cold was bracing and if you were layered then it was fine. A hat or two was mandatory also. Conditions underfoot were treacherous here and there but I didn’t land on my arse. Nearly though on a number of occasions and I’m sure the locals were wondering who this daft looking wee “breakdancer “ was.
It was a nice low key start to the visit staying local and visiting a new joint called Babajan. Great to see Joakim, Hanna and Hedwig before they headed off to Portugal. From there it was back to Chez Vahlberg prior to an early night. Friday was shaping up to be action-packed and I was flagging to be honest. Shored up though by the effortless journey which was utterly hassle free. I don’t have many days like this let me tell ya.
Top notch breakfast fortification courtesy of Nick and Eva set me up to face the day, Mr V was working too ahead of the big Debaser event in the evening. I sauntered up to the Amigo offices to hook up with the Executive Director of the big shindig, Mr Ulf. From there we headed over to the Razzia World headquarters via his gaff close by. Martina and Daniel Ledinsky are two of the coolest people I have ever had the pleasure of hanging with. Their unique angle on running a label in this day and age is both refreshing and astonishing. I think their Aussie sojourn done them kids good because they’re limbering up to punch way above their weight. (That boxing analogy is for you, Marty).
From there to Cafe Tranan for the finest meatballs on earth. M & D got me hooked during my last visit and I was keen to see if indeed they were as good as my recollection was. I need not have mothered because they were. Served with lingonberries and mash, honest to the big fella – these things are just the business. I could gibber on and on but it would only make me very hungry and also very sad that I can’t hook up with them very lunchtime for this experience.
Two dangerously cool individuals with their fingers firmly on the pop pulse and outright sweethearts. I think their Australian sojourn did them a power of good and thusly they’re ready to get a whole bunch of new projects rolling. Not least of which is a very important album to readers of this portal, coming in the autumn. No names, no pack drill for now. Extremely gracious hosts and bloody nice people, you don’t get many of these to the pound. If there were more kids like this involved in the music business, perhaps it wouldn’t be going down the pan. Just sayin’.
I would be very interested to get Mr Peter Zaremba’s opinion on these spherical delights...
From there, another saunter back closer to Debaser. Dropped in to the Bengans store which is a lot like FOPP. Met Qina at Slussen and headed uphill to the Old Beefeater Inn where Nenne joined us. It’s always a total trip to hang out with these gals. A couple of refreshments later and we’re headed down to the gig where Anette Voladora is in the small queue. Once inside Debaser it was a huge social event…
So here’s how it all went down… with the lights around about 11pm.
At this point, it should be stated for the record that this event, and indeed this particular vista of Swedish Rock would not exist (particularly for me) if it wasn’t down to the vision of Ulf Lindqvist. And it was he who made this retrospective happen - every which way. We owe him no small debt of gratitude for him bringing us all together and through our friendship, I have an extended family unit out yonder that goes beyond just music. It’s an enormous privilege to be able to be part of all that. Words cannae really convey...
So The Real Cool Night Revisited houseband was assembled by Måns Månsson, the Leonard Bernstein of garage rock and the program was presented in a revue type style with the various “acts” being ably bolstered by Johnny Elfström and Jonas Lundberg. The Crimson Shadows section of the programme cranked forth "Even I Tell Lies" with Indy Neidell (ex-moneybrother) on organ.
Mike of Maryland Cookies ventured up and sang “Don't Lie To Me”. He looked a wee bit like Ricky Gervais. Thomas Söderlind might have been jetting off next day but represented his combo by dropping by to deliver a belting run through “Don't Push Me Around” (Not the Zeros song) with fellow onetime Slammer, drummer Jonas (Lundberg).
Then it was Stefan Kery in his Stomachmouths guise with “Too Much”. I didn’t get a chance to meet him unfortunately. Jan Liljekvist of Shoutless performed “Insane”. During this, if I recall – Eva Voladora and I made our way to the front for the upcoming attraction.
The expression “guitar hero” has been undermined by the computer game in recent years but a proper analog version of this rare breed was coming next. Robert Johnson jacked up the fever by several notches with a shredding “Ramblin’ Wreckless Hobo” and “Bottlebeat”. He told me later that this might just have been the last time he’d ever go onstage. I like to think that was a fib, told for dramatic effect. Sure you’ve seen people play the six or however strings but not like this one. Seriously.
Events took a paisley turn with Per Ahlén and Jonas Engberg of Wayward Souls. “Unknown Journey”. A pre-madchester-tastic taste of pölsadelia.
I’m not sure when the last time Robert Jelinek was on stage but he has presence and charisma to burn. Måns stepped in for the indisposed Hans Ingemansson to do the memory of Backdoor Men proud with “Out Of My Mind” and The Creeps “She’s Gone”. These performances were electric and not just in the fuel sense. And finally… Nick Vahlberg and Hans Östlund brought down “Where The Wolfbane Blooms” and “5 Years Ahead Of My Time”. I don’t need to tell you that those two guys are responsible for bringing this music to the fore and indeed making all of this possible. With 4-Eyed Thomas being their Andrew (Loog) Oldham (Oldjham – ha ha) – everyone in the room had been affected by The Nomads to some degree, some of us beyond the point of help or indeed recovery. Not the kind of kick I would care to go without.
And then it was an ensemble deconstruction of the hymn that is “You’re Gonna Miss Me” before it was all over. The crowd howled for more but there was no more to give. The celebration of the compilation release was always going to be a special event but I think all concerned surpassed themselves. Mans , Johnny and Jonas did a sterling job and I imagine there was some relief when it was all over. The whole thing seemed to jet past in a blip. – somewhat punchdrunk rather than drunk drunk by the close of the night. Or should that be early hours? No point in asking me. It was a particular gas to finally meet Bådde, Ms N’s other half. What a geezer!
And also Tuija Stargirl, it was about time.
I always find it very humbling to run into folks who are familiar with this and whatever else I’ve been doing, to the point of being a bit bashful. It’s simply not possible to list everyone but I sincerely hope they know who they are. Reacquainting with my old pal Gunnar Johansson was a trip too. Some of you will be aware that we fought in the trenches together during the original garage wars back when the material being celebrated at the show was still fresh.
The evening drew to a close around 4am.
Next day, with a surprisingly clear head – I took a bus – over to the other side of town for a rattle around with Mr Ulf. Got a copy of the new release by Uncle Mort favourite, Oskar Schönning entitled “The Belgrade Tapes” at RuntRunt with “unsung lyrics” by one Annika Norlin. That name is probably familiar.
The Robster met us at Nostalgip Alatset and from there it was a quick pitstop at Ritorno, a cake and coffee shop that made no small impression. Very nice place indeed.
Then back to Ulf’s for the customary journey through the annals of popular music where Nick joined us. Some refreshments later, a little Thai food from downstairs hit the spot and we were bidding farewell to our host – who had donned his jammies by this time and was just about to put the cocoa on I think – and made for Bröderna Olsson to hang with the Stockholm massive. Chairman Rob was left in charge around 11pm after we’d had a couple of bloodshots for the road home. I figured it was best not to tie one on with having a bit of a journey looming for the next morning. So that was about that. The end of another stonking adventure in the company of individuals who make a difference.
The daunder home went without incident. To the point that the plane touched down in Edinburgh 25 minutes ahead of schedule. No amount of Dr Marten heel clicking would transport me back so the game was the proverbial bogey.
A real cool 72 hours in every sense of temperature control. No question ‘bout it!
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. kindly asks that you take note of its performance this week at the world famous Rodeo Bar. Thank you for your attention.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10th / RODEO BAR /
375 Third Avenue (at the corner of 27th Street) in Manhattan / Two ribald shows, from 10pm sharp until 12:30am / No cover!
Yours most truly,
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.
"Ballads, Boogies & Blues"
Monday, March 08, 2010
I'm having trouble concentrating on my Stockholm report. Mainly because the most important organs are still there I think. Either that or there's always the possibility that I just dreamt it. Anyway, I shall give myself a stern shake and will get to the facts as soon as possible. Not tonight though.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
We are very pleased to announce this year's Project Ability show in Mono. This exhibition explores nature and the landscape that surrounds us, the physical environment and the memories connected to it.
The opening features live music from Golden Grrrls and Sparkling Shadazz, and dj sets from David Bellingham and David Shrigley.
The exhibition and opening has been organised by Alison Mitchell and Stephen McRobbie of The Pastels and continues the long-standing collaboration between Project Ability, Monorail Music and Mono.
Mono / Monorail Music
12 Kings Court
Thursday 4th March, 9pm.
Happy Real Cool Time Revisited Release day!
This is going to be very brief because there are chores to be done. These include the extreme rock’n’roll practice of “ironing” and similar outsider activities. So if you have some time then JD King has been busy and the latest chapters of Metaphors are available here.
And also, Wreckless Eric recalls Barney Bubbles.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Overseas folks should consider visiting old Blighty this year. As our currency slides down the proverbial pan, you furryners ought to come and fill your boots before the country is shut down altogether. I thought a “hung” parliament sounded like a good thing before I found out that it wasn’t some kind of public execution apparatus to deal wit’ them what’s been bleeding us dry for always.
Getting my currency for the impending schlep Scandi-ward was something of a shakedown. I don’t think the exchange rate has been so poor in a long, long time. It’s lucky I don’t have a taste for the high life although I’m not ready for it to limbo so low just yet.
This AM, I was out and waiting for the shop to open at 6. Actually I had hoped it would already be rolling when I got there but used the time it did to practice with some very low temperatures. Just as well that the music will provide some incendiary relief then. The cold I can deal with, hopefully it’ll be bright and blue.
This BBC thing is a bit vexing. Instead of playing to their once considerable strengths in some areas – cases in point would be Radio 6 and the reinvention of Radio 2 – they’re morphing into a publically funded commercial broadcaster. Or at least they’re aping that insipid competition and axing the genuinely good things that remain in their canon. It further marginalises their reason for existing. My own small part of the listenership has recently been reduced considerably. Where I would listen past 6pm, I simply don’t now because I can’t abide BBC Scotland’s “request” show. If I wanted to listen to “Real Radio” then I would. I don’t want this kind of shit from someone I’m paying a “licence fee” to.
My good friend, Sir Tom Morton had R*bbie FUCKING Willi*ms foisted on his show recently. He copes well with the limitations placed on him though and there’s little else to do but see out the rank shortcomings of those that call the shots. I am no fan of the fitba’ but do listen to “Off The Ball”, a show that gets booted off FM on to AM regularly, there’s no need for this. The BBC as an entity has to be on the endangered species list because as they sideline the good stuff, more crap will creep in and snuff the life from the organisation.
As has been documented here and elsewhere before, the fragmentation of consumption these days means that there’s no consensus. Plus, when you can listen to WFMU or North Fork Sound or P3 or Sirius or…. – you don’t even need to own a music collection anymore. Not really.
I should take advantage of this decent weather to truck on down (on shanks’ pony) to do some close to last minute “chopping”. Of course, it’s likely that it’ll be left until the actual last minute but you never know. The clocks go forward this month and by that time the days will be well and truly “drawin’ oot”. This means leaving the house and returning in daylight. The older I get, the more I appreciate that. It's still bloody hill-billy though, even in the sun. Word on the Stockholm pavie is that they’ve had the most snow in 20 decades with a minus 17 forecast for Friday.
Always fancied myself as an Arctic explorer, me. Or have I?
Monday, March 01, 2010
Veronica Falls debut 45 "Found Love In A Graveyard" (Captured) is out now. I really liked them when they opened for The Pastels/Tenniscoats toward the end of last year. A post-Velvets pop aesthetic delivers them from the trap that much of “Indie PLC” churns up in the name of art. Additional marks for a great, simple version of the Rok’s “Starry Eyes” on the flip.
Thee Sgt Major III break out a frantic, rug-cutting, short sharp stomp entitled “Ice-Cold 10”. They include the young, fresh Sangster/Bloch tag team and this is a good ol’ pacific northwest twist on The Quick channelling The Fastbacks. Good times. A red marbled 7” on Book Records.
Best Coast is an LA lo-fi ensemble that trades in a primitive girl-group sound approximation. This EP, on Group Tightener, is just one of a bunch of 7” format releases spread across several imprints. Possibly related to the universe of the Vivian Girls and other groups that have taken up the baton of the Shop Assistants, this sounds like it came out of Glasgow circa 1985 and would make no sense at all on anything other than pristine black vinyl.
Pretty Fuck Luck is a Spanish phenomenon in the exploration of blues explosion. “King Loser” is a ramshackle, lolloping deconstruction of The Stooges playing skifflebilly on toy instruments with a savage bottom end. The "Thirteen Knocks” EP on Alehop! also includes “Raven Strip”, a bumpin’ grind but not as you may be familiar with.
Felon Y Su Mierdofon is another Alehop! release that fuses the concept of the primal blues with an electronic ska type program loosely based on a bizarre world version of The Specials. Actually that’s bollocks but it’s pretty far out beyond the more extreme moments of Stereo Total. Elements of some kind of spazzed techno jolt approximating Vic Mizzy are also evident. It all makes some kind of cohesive sense when it’s flying out of the speakers even although it really shouldn’t. Pretty far out is not over egging this particular pudding.