Friday, December 29, 2017
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
The Danny Fields Section
So it turned out that all those years of hoarding weren’t in vain. I’d posted something about the Madrid exhibition before I took off there but hadn’t seen anything other than some snaps of the way it was coming together.
Walking down those steps to the space, I could never have envisioned the way that it would look. Certainly not the stuff that I’d included. The photos and the art are one thing but to breathe life into material that’s spent the best part of four decades in boxes is something that never crossed my mind, I felt like I was definitely the weak end of it all.
Turns out some of that stuff looks pretty good and what a joy it was to be able to discuss the joys of paste up with a good few like-minded patrons that dropped by. For all of this to go down in my adopted city, it’s all a bit squiffy to contemplate. It was great working with Ruth and Francisco to put it together. Now that all the projects are pretty much done and dusted it’s maybe time to just not plan anything for a while other than maybe a jaunt here or there. I get real sick of me during periods like this.
The time between now and this proposed Brexit shit shouldn’t be wasted. Perhaps common sense will prevail and it won’t happen but I wouldn’t be holding my breath in expectation of that. I count 14 and a bit months to go as bonkers as possible and if we get beyond that then let’s just take it as it comes. We can’t be unscrambling those eggs but there will undoubtedly be breakages along the way. There was an outbreak of that common sense I referred to earlier in America yesterday, let’s hope it’ll catch on. Meanwhile, it feels like the shortest day has been going on for a week. It's hardly gotten light in recent times.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
I just realised that I hadn't posted anything in December. I've been busy and I should really tell you why but for now, the best Seasonal music since them Pantone kids put out "Cancion de Navidad" broke cover earlier today.
Yes, there's a virtual SCREECHING WEASEL celebration of the stupid season in all their trademark glory. Many attempts to ape the way Ben picked up The Ramones baton but few have even come close to coming close. These two gems will take you from "Christmas Eve" to "New Year's Eve", what you get up to on either end has sod all to do with me.
This is the Sp*tify link, it is however available from all vendors of the file format. Perhaps this time next year there'll be a groovy wee seven inch version?
As a response to some cockamamie Rolling Stone list, here's Ben's 27 contenders from the Pop Punk Pantheon!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
|Frankie Teardrop by Roberto Majan|
It’s been a crazy few months and 2017 closes out with the advent of an exhibition in Madrid to mark the 40 calendar years since PUNK, the commodity began to take hold. It’s also a little over that since this malarkey set sail so we’ve all grown older somewhat disgracefully over the years.
We can debate the whys and wherefores down the road but I’m beyond thrilled to be involved with mi amigas and amigos at LA FIAMBRERA where the show will run from Friday December 1st until February 4th 2018.
Alongside a collection of print artefacts, there’s an interpretive strand where artists associated with the gallery have created a piece to reflect what this four letter word means to them. The results are very impressive and I imagine that those graphically closest to NBT hearts will be Shag’s "Smash It Up" and Roberto Majan‘s interpretation of an audience at a Suicide show entitled “Frankie Teardrop”. There’s also a photographic aspect that collects work from some of the most prolific names of the time including Ramones images by Danny Fields and also Ian Dickson, Bob Gruen, Sheila Rock and Ray Stevenson. Limited run signed prints of these will be available to buy at the gallery during the run of the show.
Smash It Up by Shag
If you find yourself in Madrid then please drop in and have a look. If you’re looking for an excuse to visit a great city and you’ve been umming and ah-ing about where to go then let me tell you that you need look no further.
Stay tuned for news on an important event that’s being planned for the close of the show because you might want to tie that in with your travel plans.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
The prospect of trying to shepherd a bill as rammed as this seemed like a heady prospect. It’s usually bad enough with two or three acts but there were a lot of bodies to get on and off stage.
What we maybe didn’t factor in to that concept was that they were doing it for Stewart. And somehow it took on the form of flying by the seat of your breeks. Just like the man himself might have assembled it.
Hadn’t been to the venue before but it’s a great place. Like a bijou St Andrews on the Square perhaps. By the time we got in, David Scott, Jamie Gash, Duglas T Stewart and Chloe Phillips were already on stage. I’m sure there was somebody else too but I was a little distracted by familiar faces in the crowd. The Thanes were next doing a short set of Poets material with original member Fraser Watson on stage with them. I believe they hope to do it all again at some point.
THE THANES do THE POETS
Was it Rab Noakes and Roddy Hart next? I think so. It was all getting to be a bit overwhelming as folks that I hadn’t seen since at least the funeral were appearing all over.
I think Emma Pollock appeared with Rab too, then Kim Edgar and Karine Polwart with Emma. Karine performed a Cruickshank favourite. Joan Osborne’s “One of Us”. Not the song with the gabba gabba refrain. This was the thing about Stewart, if he liked something he would tirelessly bang on about it. I was subjected to why this was brilliant on many occasions and became convinced that indeed it is.
Did Sandy Semeonoff perform “Grizzly Bear” next? I think he might have. He was incredible, like a one person Daddy Long Legs. Then he introduced The Pastels the way Calvin Johnson did. They did three songs including a version of ‘Different Drum’ that really hit the spot. The overwhelmingness has given way to flat out disorientation at that point. I’m not sure of the running order from here but The Primevals raised the roof and then Iain Shaw followed them with a rendition of “Dinosaur Egg”. Justin Currie and Stuart Nisbet were next up (I think), Stuart sung a song 'wot he wrote' that I could imagine Amy Allison singing. Brian Hogg and Brian Young did a couple of songs and then it was time for Mowgli and the Donuts. John Cavanagh introduced them by suggesting that there had maybe been a pact between Wilf and Stewart that the band wouldn’t play live again until Robert Mugabe had been deposed. Something you couldn’t rule out.
The stories and the flashing images above the stage just added to the happening like nature of the night. The Crunchies closed the proceedings in rapturous style. Versions of “The Letter” and The Velvets “Rock n’ Roll” were transcendental enough but it was The Hooters “I’m Alive” that really hit the message home that he actually is. Not in terms of taking 2 hours to doddle down the Byres Road but there was a distinct presence.
THE CRUNCHIES do THE HOOTERS
Richard and Helena and Lorraine and Sushil and everybody really managed to put something together that went beyond justice in celebrating the good Captain. The perceived chaos never occurred and there’s no way that the attendees didn’t get the fact that such a thing could likely never be repeated. Of course, that’s not to say we shouldn’t try.
But let’s coast on the outright triumph of this one. Muchas gracias to everyone that took part to create something that I don’t think even Krunch would be inclined to mump about.
A seriously great time was had by all. In case it's of interest, the outcome of the Lou Reed adventure ended up in Stewart becoming a firm friend of the legendary grouch. And Lou picking up the studio tab. All was well that ended well. Just like Friday night.
Terrible phone pics by me.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
I’m not sure how much sense it’ll make because both my Cabeza and my Corazon are still holed up out in Madrid someplace. They don’t have much use for their physical host right now but hey, I’m getting ahead of myself here so let me try and explain. When I set out with SESENTAFEST, I guess I never thought about it too much. The whole premise turned out to be somewhat ambitious for someone with less than no conventional ambition.
I turned six decades old and figured it would be a gas to organise an extended shindig to mark that occasion. The closest thing I ever did like this was to get married back in 1979. I don’t recall much about that. The honeymoon was in London and during the time there, an opportunity came up via my pal Howard to go and see Motörhead in the studio. That was vetoed for some reason but we did see The Psychedelic Furs at The Moonlight Club in West Hampstead.
A friend and I put Dave Alvin and The Guilty Men on at The Grand Old Opry in Glasgow a while back. Despite only selling 13 tickets in advance, we got 260 walk up and it worked out with us making 20 quid each on the night so that was really my extent in terms of putting on a show. When I say putting on, I mean coming up with it and bringing in the professionals. This was punishment for Jonathan Vidal who was instrumental in my discovering I had an extended family that I didn’t know about. All I can say is that playing “All Pop, No Star” by The Slingbacks that fateful night at the Wurlitzer Ballroom in October 2008 opened up a whole alternate dimension to me. Throwing a stramash that would last from the closing hours of Thursday November 2nd until the wee hours of the 5th seemed like the way to go. I have no dependants other than those I've adopted and if I get hit by a bus tomorrow then at least everyone will remember the occasion as a true rock n’ roll experience in the city that only ever sleeps during siesta time. As I type this, I realise that next October is my 10th Wurliversary...!?
The DJ tag team of Los Sangria-Las got things moving. This was my pal Sara and I playing records in the wonderful WEIRDO! BAR, my other home away from home where the throng got in about the Cafe de Licor and other treats. It really was fun to trade tuneage with my wee Spanish sister and I hope we can do it again. She has such great taste and sense of exactly what to do in a room. We rolled from there and down to Wurlitzer for a wee small hours nightcap though it was closer to morning than it was to night.
Friday the triple action of Wreckless Eric, Amy Rigby and Amy Allison took the stage. As entertainers, songwriters and just plain old great folks go, this was a dream come true. None of them should need any introduction but if they do then I envy you. We jumped around like crazy folk to the musical selections presented by Diego El Sotano and Head and Banger. Everything went swimmingly.
Those gathered to play all had some connection to these recent years and to the history of NBT. Saturday was my actual birthday and we kicked off with Reine Laken playing their hearts out on two songs, a huge thing because they’d never been out of Risør. Their gift to me was “I Want Your Love” and “Hate To Say I Told you so”. The fact that they nailed it is one thing but they had my love from the day and minute I met them. Suzy and Los Quatto were next. Completely instrumental in this taking place and recalling the "1-2 Tutti Frutti" battle cry.
This could not have taken place anywhere else but Wurlitzer. The epicentre of what has become an important source of transfusion to me gave the whole thing a gravitas that having at home in Scotland would not have provided. The location and the setting and the people elevated everything. Sure, I threw it but those that attended booted the whole stramash into the stratosphere.
Photo by Tom Erik Kristoffersen
I met Andre and Line Dahlmann in Madrid too and that was a massive moment. They’re the kids I never had and what do you know, they have a kickass popular music group. Not only that but they covered and made a record of them doing “Fireball”. The first record I ever bought at age 6. They were in cahoots with those Nomads. Who in addition to agreeing to come to this malarkey, they only went and recorded a brand new song for the occasion and the commemorative 45. I was moved to tears let me tell you and I’m a hard-faced old sod. Young Marco Padin of Ghost Highway Recordings had these chestnuts struck into vinyl and there’s a beautiful little 45 doing the rounds. I don’t believe it either but I have physical proof.
Anyway it was a heck of a turnout, an international gathering of the punk rock clans with Ross Nelson breezing in from Australia even. I think we were nudging 80 out of towners in the end, many of whom hadn’t visited the fabled city before. NBT has been for me what playing the pipes was for my father, it has allowed me to meet and get to know like-minded crazies across the world.
It wasn’t just my birthday, Rocket To Russia turned 40 on November 4th too. And it was Nancy’s but sadly she couldn’t be there other than in spirit. Ulla, Kaisa and Aku did though.
When it comes to Madrid, I’m always wary of having talked it up too much. What if all these people didn’t take to it the way I did? There was no need to worry, since the mass invasion I’ve had about a dozen revellers check in to enquire if there’s a Samaritans group that might assist with their transition back into reality. This was an experience that they’re keen to play on repeat just as soon as it’s humanly necessary. I’m always buoyed up to discover that it’s not just me that gets it.
Attendees were urged not to bring gifts but many gave that the rubber ear. The idea was to have a charity box with proceeds going toward permeating Madrid's R n' R supremacy for future generations of the unique metropolis. MENUDOFEST provides a musical grounding for kids by putting on daytime events in the city’s clubs. Venues open (often not long after they’ve cleared out the big kids) to welcome the prospective stars of tomorrow with parents and family members. Artists and bands pitch in to provide their services to assist aspiring youngsters to make as big a racket as possible. Some of the really young ones give the ‘avant jazz’ types a run for their money. I think we raised around 500 euros around the time of writing and that might increase a wee bit before I settle at the end of the month.
All that remains to be said is that the world outside the hallowed walls ceased to exist for a bit. Mi amigo Jo Espen said that Wurlitzer is our Bang Bang Bar/Roadhouse. Anything can happen in there and it absolutely did. If you’re familiar with “It’s A Wonderful Life” then you’ll know the “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends” credo.
I sure felt like George Bailey over that weekend.
This is just a hobby for me, nuthin’ y’hear... a HOBBY?? My arse. It ceased being that a long time ago. Who could ever have believed it’d become a vocation. My granny used to tell a story about how some minister or someone told her that I’d come to represent some form of religion, he evidently neglected to mention that it was rock n’ roll.
SESENTAFEST definitely happened but I’m fine with anyone considering that something so damn groovy could never have happened. I have the bruises to confirm that it did. Massive thanks to everyone that contributed by playing and coming and going crazy to what really turned out to be beyond all reasonable expectations of a bloody high old time.
Here is Amy's report. I get something in my eye every time I look at it.
I'm currently working on photos so maybe there'll be a pictorial to accompany this at some point. Then again... meanwhile you can get a wee idea of what went down here. Photo album by Mona Di Pontty.
Friday, October 27, 2017
Friday, October 20, 2017
The twelfth edition of the annual party out of bounds that is FUNTASTIC came to an end 5 days ago. We attendees are decompressing and wondering how it’s possible to throw such a shindig and actually gain momentum rather than lose it, probably something to do with gravity. Or maybe even those laws of physics that Scotty from Star Trek used to babble on about?
The on-board currency
Whatever the hell it is, if you could bottle the atmosphere in this outta space bar then you’d really be on to something. That’s why folks go every year. To cavort in the UFO and let the freak flag fly. Southern Culture On The Skids even had a song (from their latest album no less) about such activity. However, as ever, I’m getting ahead of me’sel’. I was lucky enough to arrive in Alicante to be able to hitch a ride into the ‘drome. (Gracias Russ + Saskia)
A hen party arrived just ahead of us so that delayed getting to the ship. The opening stramash was in full swing and The Hollywood Sinners were banging out that racket in the way that only they can. The Meows (from Barcelona) followed and they specialise in Dictators-type activity which is never a bad thing. I was too busy blethering to watch much of Shannon and the Clams and they did just fine without me.
The opening party ticket action
T’was an early rise for a dazed breath of air on Friday morning and later in the day, I made it to the beach and even went into the Med. It was warm. Anyway, it was there that Sara and I plotted some Sesentafest activity before heading back to prepare for what was always likely to be an extended session. It was time to pick up the wristbands that would allow us to get on board and John Schooley started the ball rolling with his one man band. It was still light outside and the joint was just filling up.
Me in a terrible wig with
(Pic by Cheryl Abramson)
I missed Jon and the Vons and Hobocop, the latter are a variation on S&TC because I met some friends that I hadn’t seen since the previous flight. The Mindreaders brought this year’s taste of Medway to the Mediterranean next by providing a twist to some punk rock standards that really hit the spot with the crowd. It was at this point that I noticed Steven Tagg-Randall wasn’t shooting film. I still don’t know why. I miss being able to catch up.
I caught snatches of Futuro Terror and The Kaisers. Both raised the excitement level. Dirty Fences did nothing for me so I took that as an opportunity to go put on the terrible Dracula wig that I’d picked up in Asda. My mate “Heino” reckoned it was a bit (Dave) Vanian. Anyway, I managed to alarm Stella but not Maitane who busted me right off. The Neanderthals were perfect to close the live music selection on this Friday 13th. The numbskull frat rock was just what the soused crowd needed. Daftie reworks of garage classics. Todd-o-phonic Todd (Abramson) led the DJ action inside when they were done and it went hell for leather until 8am. Not Todd but a rolling collection of ace spinners through the night.
Crackhouse - Damn they were good!
Disorientation was setting in at this point. This was further confounded when I tried to have the apartment building reception book me a cab. I had to have the guy bring a calendar to point that no, it wasn’t Sunday already. I took a birl down to Rockstar Bar where there’s always a happening and everybody seems like the night before never happened. There’s never anyone that looks like a burst ball. You get those special powers, I tells ya. OK, we’ve established that it was still Saturday and it was important that I get up to the venue this year to see Crackhouse. They include mi amigo Mr Bratto. Little did I know that they would provide the assault that probably my favourite of the whole shebang. They left me giggling like a little girl by the sheer magnitude of their stupid punk rock majesty. Puy saw me. I’m guilty as charged.
The Pacifics hail from Dublin and they’re like The Undertones crossed with Untamed Youth. Todd was smitten. Les Lullies are some of the guys from Les Grys Grys. They’re the Hellacopters/Aussie Rock take on what that band does. If they provide a gateway drug for youngsters to the stuff they plunder then I’m down with it. They throw all the shapes.
Control Freaks started fine and fell away but that was OK. There were people to hang in the outdoors with. The Gruesomes picked up where The Neanderthals left off. The Montreal combo were very entertaining but with only the front man retaining the hairstyles that put them on the map during the big garage scare of the 80s. The Revelators really whipped up the room with their stripped down blues holler. The Midwest monster precursor to folks like Daddy Long Legs.
There’s an FDC 45 with two outtakes available now from here.
Which brings us to The Schizophonics, I’d seen them in Edinburgh where a meagre crowd was treated to an animated set that left some of us breathless at the hyper-animated antics of front man, Pat Beers. He and Lety (drums) are also in The Little Richards and also the El Vez punk rock revue so we’re talking high calibre. The recordings thus far suggest a strong whiff of the MC5. Live, there’s a lot more going on – musically. Pat’s acrobatics seem to suggest that he’s not playing because how could he? In front of the packed FDC crowd, the energy level crackled throughout the room and afterwards I heard some chatter that suggested they were playing over a hard drive triggered during the set. People have gotten so attuned to listening to paint dry that they can’t accept this velocity of show. If you don’t like the music then fine, we can debate that but to gossip or harrumph with accusations of miming is really fucking short-sighted. If you flat-out don’t like them then that's OK but they’re about as far from faking it in these hyper-dupe as you can get.
There’s a Scientists/Spacemen 3 type pummel nestled in there that maybe isn't evident in the recordings (yet). I also detect a hint of that sound that bands like Husker Du or those on SST were known to brandish. I don’t care for any of that but on this occasion it added to what is already a solid rock n’ roll foundation. This suggests to me that they might court appeal outside the circle of the converted. Encoring with “Looking At You”, I think that Rob Tyner would be proud. This rendition made me think of Matt and Kim if they had a motor city transfusion.
Southern Culture On The Skids will need no introduction to NBTsters. Something that really registered with me was how much Rick Miller looked like Lou Whitney. And for a minute I wondered what it would have been like for The Skeletons to let rip on the ship. These folks are veterans. They put on a great show and well, when the closed with the Ronnie Cook/Link Wray double header the place went berserk as only the Funtasticos can.
|SCOTS have the Funtastic ladies dish |
out the 8 piece box
SCOTS scooted a little after 3 and because of a logistical glitsch (I made an arse of the booking) I needed to get back to pack, check out and take a cab to the airport at stupid o’ clock. Next year I’ll be staying an extra day. It starts with feeling like there’s all the time in the world then all of a sudden you have to leave for a flight at stupid o’ clock when all of your friends are still howling at the October moon. Several hundred Goo Goo Mucks going radge like it’s going out of fashion.
I managed to locate and bid farewell to a bunch of the kids and duly beamed myself back to terra firma just after the pyrotechnics. Meanwhile, the ship continued to birl for a few more hours. The moon would have been down and the sun would have been on the way up when the 8am descent into Benidorm got underway. I was on a different, way less appealing craft at that point wishing I was still giving it laldy with my homies old and new.
Paloma and Varo done damn pulled another chestnut out of the fire. Bring on Lucky 13!!
For a total pictorial, head HERE!
For a total pictorial, head HERE!
Monday, October 16, 2017
Friday, October 06, 2017
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Now them nights are drawing in, maybe you want to keep warm by other means than by turning the heating on?
Why don’t you get
flushed with a copy of Code Name: Cocktail?
The Grade “A” Fancy kids have teamed up with Vicky Sweat of Liquorsnapper.com to produce another handbook of aperitif possibilities to take your mind off the world turning to shit. Classy mixes to get you sozzled to the point where all that matters is the company that you scoop them in.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Friday, September 22, 2017
Friday, September 15, 2017
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Monday, September 11, 2017
Sunday, September 03, 2017
The Dahlmanns with Andy Shernoff 45 that I put out is now available to record shops. They're only record stores in the USA so maybe it'll make it to a few of those too. So you can order it from your friendly neighbourhood emporium. There aren't many left so don't dilly dally.
Distribution is via Munster Records.
Hear what it sounds like...
Friday, September 01, 2017
It’s getting autumnal already. I'm pretty sure the leaves didn't start to drop until way later last year. It's also darker in the mornings and all that malarkey. Somehow or other we find ourselves stumbling into September so I’ll attempt to jump start this again. No promises because these are busy times. It won't be updated every day. A questionable ability to be able to prioritise notwithstanding, the spirit is partially willing but it can’t legislate for the flesh.
Just so you know.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Dave Alvin responded to yesterday's facebook post.
"The Ronnie Rocket sessions were a whole different thing. It was me along with Stephen Hodges on drums/percussion and Don Falzone on bass. Those tracks were wild!!! As I've said before, that stuff sounds like Miles Davis Bitches Brew sessions as played by a Chicago blues band on LSD. Some of my best guitar playing up to that time."
Someone out there can find these tapes and have David Lynch release them, right?
Get to it!
Sunday, August 06, 2017
You know how a lot of Europe shuts down in August? There’s a bit of that going on here only my attention is diverted and it’s all sort of unconscious. Truth be told is that I’m trying to spend less time in front of a screen. This includes TV too with the exclusion of watching the Twin Peaks parts multiple times.
I spend all day every day fannying about on a computer. Don’t be thinking that I’ve got a life or anything like that. That would be entirely the wrong end of the stick. Right now I’m in the middle of trying to figure out the SESENTAFEST monster. That needs all my attention. If it seems like I know what I’m doing then that is entirely an illusion. The road to hell is paved with positive intention but on the other hand, it’s the thought that counts. And my head is exploding with the constant barrage of what needs to be done. And how there doesn’t seem to be time to explore them all.
Somehow or other, with the help of a crack team of helpers – I'll figure it out.
Or die trying.
Saturday, July 29, 2017
I like what I like.
Sometimes this causes me problems because there’s stuff that friends and associates like that they can't conceive of me not liking. It’s often mistaken for contrariness but in fact it’s straight out ‘dislike’. I meet people whose music I dislike who I like and there’s also music I like made by individuals that I have no time for.
This is an ongoing problem that I attribute to nothing more than not wishing to waste whatever time is left on anything resembling the emperor or his missus's new wardrobe. The more huge something is, the more horrible it tends to be but I blame such popularity on the idiots that follow it or them or whatever.
There are exceptions of course and people have to make a living. I read something earlier about an existential threat to the music business. That last word there is the culprit. As soon as something becomes a business then the goalposts move. When I started out, music in general wasn’t so much a business as a place for malingerers and ne’er do wells. My granny constantly nagged me not to have anything to do with it. I now thank her for driving me toward that dark side.
That was the charm and since then it’s become possible to learn how to be part of the music business at school and college. Again, I have friends that indulge in this dilution of the art. They too must make their way just like that shit act that was never any good but they drag their arses on to the circuit anyway.
*Shakes heid*. One shouldn't get this wound up of a Saturday morning.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
... what the heck is that? I was doing well with it but I've hit a period of thinker's block.
I couldn't even call it writing. Anyway, perhaps it's temporary. Perhaps it'll last longer than that.
Thanks for dropping by. The stats say that more than a million hits have been made here since it all kicked off. I know that's a drop in a bucket to the interweb but it seems like a lot. So gracias if you're someone that has assisted with massaging these numbers.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Monday, July 17, 2017
It was an honour to be asked to scribble a couple of paragraphs for the back of the OS COURETTES 10 inch field recording "It's Alive from Tambourine Studios" (in Malmö, Sweden) on Chaputa! Records of Portugal.
As you’re likely aware, this two person force of nature is one of my favourite acts currently doing the rounds and they pack more punch than many groups twice their number. Primitive is where they live and when you catch them in person you’ll find out exactly why.
Meanwhile, you can practice for just such an occasion if you grab a copy of this and play it several times daily at a volume that makes the foundations of your cave rattle in addition to shaking and rolling at the appropriate junctures.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
“Hey, the fools made the rules. It’s all German engineered”.
That Alan Vega always had a way with words and the roll call of discontent that makes up “DTM” is charged to the gunnels with all the bile and distrust that the man always had with convention. It’s delivered over a crackling, electronic pulse that packs the ideal undertow. First time I came into contact with IT was during the Punk Mass that celebrated Suicide’s rise from the gutters of the long-gone New York at The Barbican. Always a sound born of decay and destitution, it took a while for the world to catch on. It’s still catching on and the body of work that both Alan and Marty have wrought will confound and delight future generations in equal measure. Forty laps of the sun down the line, Alan has come up with one hell of a death rattle.
“Hey – how about the anti-christ. Celebrate the pain!” That’s something that was always prevalent in his work. It was an often unfettered celebration of pain with a telescopic depth and groove. No matter how unconstructed it may have seemed when it first hit your ears, you could never listen the same way twice. “Fade to black. Fade to Hispanic”. There are parallels here with what Lynch has done with the resuscitation of Twin Peaks. Uncompromising and unfiltered, however long Trent Reznor chips away at the seam he’ll never come close to any of this. Take it as you find it or get off the fucking bus. In what must have been a difficult time for Liz and Dante, IT has come together as what may well be Vega’s best work, a disjointed industrial urban symphony that reflects how I’m sure that Alan saw where this world was going. A year down the road since his passing, there is so much more to rail against.
To attempt to describe the majesty of IT in words is pointless, a large swathe of the populace won’t get it. It’s a real gift to those of us who do. And who were lucky enough to watch it gestate. These pieces are something to be experienced and the louder the better. Undoubtedly this is a crucified soundtrack to what is looking increasingly like a wrong century. Vega is unfettered and visceral in death as he ever was in life. You can get it in whatever format you favour (apart from cassette or eight track) on FADER LABEL.
In “Prophecy”, he declares that he’ll go “on and on”. That goes without saying.
“It’s war baby”. Too fucking right and Alan Vega is still leading the charge.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Monday, July 10, 2017
Sunday, July 09, 2017
Friday, July 07, 2017
Thursday, July 06, 2017
It had been 35 years but last night something great happened. Super rock was once again reverberating through Auld Reekie (Edinburgh). The force of nature that is The Fleshtones landed in Bannermans to kick off their latest foray across that is, for now at least, Europe.
Of course the other nations caught on first. This sceptic isle is always late to the party but better that than never. They picked up where they left off in Spain at the end of January. Rockin' and boppin' as only they can.
A lot of familiar faces came out as did some first timers, I think everyone was agreed that this wasn’t just another show. Perhaps they’ll measure gigs they attend by this one?
When all is said and done however few acts match the unparalleled heights of these guys in full flight.
It was Kenny Fox’s first time up this way. He’s only been in the band for 26 years. From “Bigger and Better” through “Gotta Getaway” (Dedicated to Billy Miller) to the anthem that is “American Beat”. This wasn’t your average Cowgate Wednesday night.
“Don’t you understand the world has changed?” asked the band on Roman Gods. I think most realise that it has and not necessarily for the better. In other ways the more it changes, the more it stays the same. One thing is for sure, it’s a better place for the fact that they're still out there, plying their trade against the sometimes seemingly all-enveloping gloom.
Tonight they’re in Gatesheid (Newcastle ‘pon the Tyne) with those Coyotemen.
Verily The Toon will be jumping!!
Tuesday, July 04, 2017
Sunday, July 02, 2017
Saw Teenage Superstars yesterday, the second instalment of Grant McPhee’s two part document of Scottish music’s formative years and its connection with further afield. Indeed, I gave a lot of this local produce the rubber ear in the early days. A mixture of being obsessed with American “punk” before the term was turned into a half-assed brand. Much of this film is based around the west coast strain of pop. “Big Gold Dream” was the east coast take and I think McPhee did a good job. I went to bury it but couldn’t. Despite still intensely disliking much of the produce, the story was told well. Many of the perpetrators are good people. Just don’t ask me to listen to their music. Some aren’t, but they played their part too as life goes.
In the same sense, I never got Creation – or Postcard Records. Whilst I recognise the “scene” around these it took the interest shown from friends overseas to create my perspective. It took me a long time to admit that the Mary Chain made some good records. They were just such horrible oiks. As was another of their “kin” who I won’t even mention but he haunts the film like a bad smell. He has to be in there I guess because he’s turned out to be a pivotal figure. And for the mentions of The Cramps in the film, there’s no suggestion that they were briefly on the label that McGee ran. Joe Foster is good in this and it’s to the shame of some others that they didn’t make themselves available to support this venture. I have friends in Scandinavia and Spain that will LOVE this. I thought about them all the way through the film.
It defines the two cities that are just 52 minutes apart but spiritually what, I feel, like a world. The humour of Glasgow is intact and the appearance of several lesser known players is welcome. There’s definitely a career as Jack and Victor Version 2.0 for Duglas T Stewart and Sean Dickson beckoning. Grand to see the elusive David Keegan and mi amigo Martin Hayward here.
Ian Hoey hosted a wee Q+A after the screening with Wendy Griffin (Producer) and Angela Slaven (Editor/co-producer). All concerned worked to the wire to prepare the film for these EIFF screenings and there are plans to tour a double bill in October or thereabouts. I presume that means throughout the UK? Plans are underway to screen it further afield and I can feel the anticipation across the waters big and wee. There’s even a wee glimpse of the cover I did for the 53rd and 3rd release of “My First Band” by The Ben Vaughn Combo in here and reference to the connection between TFC and Alex Chilton.
You get one chance to do something like this and on this occasion the years of selfless pursuit have pretty much nailed a decent snapshot of what it was to live through the fermentation. The inclusion of Thurston Moore here and Kim Deal’s voice over connects the scene back to the US. The subject matter of this episode in particular really chimed with America’s burgeoning underground at the time. Who could have thunk it? Bellshill spawned several monsters whose influence has carried way beyond any feasible expectation. It’s doubtful such magic could ever happen again because it would be contrived and hijacked straight out of the box.
Saturday, July 01, 2017
Friday, June 30, 2017
NBT 28 is not a magazine with a “free” single.
If anything, it’s the other way around but the two parts make a whole. Like some people do.
It’s also available as two individual parts.
The “friends and family” concept via PP still seems to confound some people. And it seems like it’s an option that may not be available in some territories? If that’s the case then add £1 to the total and that seems to just about balance out. Apologies for sounding like a broken record but I feel like a putz when I have to chase people up for the extra. To reiterate, I wanted to make this affordable so there is no smoke and there are no mirrors. Therefore it’s imperative that the correct amount drops in. It has to be better than the days of the International Money Order.
Does anyone know if you can get such a thing as International reply coupons anymore?
One other thing, I’m sorry but there are no back issues. Those shot the craw at least a lifetime ago. They do turn up for sale on the interwebs now and again though. The ones that had 45s with them turn up on discogs. There may even be some on there now.