The Raconteurs – Consolers Of The Lonely

I went to the cinema today, to get to the cinema it is necessary to walk past a used record shop. It is not necessary to go into the used record shop. I went in. The ‘New In’ box had this in it:

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From the picture it is probably quite clear that it is no longer in the ‘New In’ box and is now in my house. Just in case it isn’t clear, it is in my house now.

I haven’t heard a single track from it, not one, so I was rather excited to get it home and have a listen, but I still went to the cinema so that had to wait a bit. So, The Raconteurs, they are also known as The Saboteurs in Australia, I’m guessing the name was already used in that territory, and consist of Jack White (formerly of The White Stripes, currently The Dead Weather, as well as solo), Brendan Benson (solo), Jack Lawrence (of The Greenhornes, Blanche and The Dead Weather), and Patrick Keeler (also of The Greenhornes).

I’ve only played the album all the way through once but I like it already, being pre-disposed to liking the White Stripes it wasn’t unexpected.

To me it sounds like Jack White took the lead on this album with Brendon Benson taking a bit of a back seat, although there are a couple of tracks where benson comes to the fore. It seems unlikely that there will be any more from The Raconteurs but this is a fabulous album and I’m looking forward to listening to its predecesor at some point, if I can find a reasonably priced copy. Perhaps they felt that the band had run its course, and they did sort of morph into The Dead Weather, but there hasn’t been an official split, so who knows, maybe they’ll find time for another go at it.

The only thing I had from them prior to this was the 7″ single ‘Steady As She Goes‘, and I haven’t actually played the b-side of that yet, so I’d say they were on the radar but not really catching my attention, until now.

Tracklist

A1 Consoler Of The Lonely
A2 Salute Your Solution
A3 You Don’t Understand Me
A4 Old Enough
B1 The Switch And The Spur
B2 Hold Up
B3 Top Yourself
C1 Many Shades Of Black
C2 Five On The Five
C3 Attention
C4 Pull This Blanket Off
D1 Rich Kid Blues
D2 These Stones Will Shout
D3 Carolina Drama

Whoda thunk Adele would cover the Raconteurs? She did:

Difficult to give an album on one listen, but I really liked it (not always a good sign but hopefully it will be on this occasion).

Rating: 8.8

Discogs Decides

The Discogs App random record selector today chose this:

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So that is exactly what I am listening to because I am obedient and do what I’m told by simple computer programs.

Tracklist

A1 Redshape Instrument (Redshape Remix)
A2 Marvin & Guy Un-no (Marvin & Guy Brown Eyes Remix)
B1 Lee Gamble Brainwash (Lee Gamble Reconstruction)
B2 Dark Sky (2) Translate (Dark Sky ‘Psych’ Remix
C1 Vril (2) Paralyzer (VRIL Remix)
C2 Marvin & Guy Un-no (Marvin & Guy Blue Eyes Remix)
D1 Dark Sky (2) Translate (Dark Sky “Pressure” Remix
D2 Marvin & Guy Un-no (Marvin & Guy Black Eyes Remix)
D3 Beatrice Dillon Infinity (Beatrice Dillon Remix)

Secretly Canadian RSD 2017 release.

Miles Davis – In A Silent Way

I have a few Miles Davis albums, and a few years ago I was given 350 of them as MP3’s, though I only listened to a few, 350 albums is a stupid number and I’d never have been able to get through all of them and give them the listening time they deserved. Though it was one of the 350, I have never listened to In A Silent Way before, even though it was released in 1969 and is now approaching 50 years old.

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My copy, that’s it up there, is not in perfect condition, although it is a 1969 European pressing, which is why it isn’t in perfect condition I should think. There are crackly bits here and there and the cover has a bit of a crease in it, however, I still love it.

As I enjoy ambient music, film scores and instrumental post rock this album sits really well with me, it is not inaccessible as some Jazz can be, I’m not sure it is even Jazz at all to be honest. I don’t find it jarring or particularly dissonant, it is intricate but, as the title suggest, in a silent way.

By 1969 jazz music was widely regarded as largely irrelevant and Miles Davis had become one of yesterdays men having once been one of the coolest men on planet earth. The release of In A Silent Way changed all that and established Davis as the first major jazz artist to crossover to a more rock orientated audience. The album was recorded in a single session on February 18th 1969 and is considered by some to be a blueprint for ambient music that later followed.

Better writers than me have written pages and pages about this album, one of which was Lester Bangs, writing for Rolling Stone: “the kind of album that gives you faith in the future of music. It is not rock and roll, but it’s nothing stereotyped as jazz either. All at once, it owes almost as much to the techniques developed by rock improvisors in the last four years as to Davis’ jazz background. It is part of a transcendental new music which flushes categories away and, while using musical devices from all styles and cultures, is defined mainly by its deep emotion and unaffected originality

He’s not wrong. It is an extraordinary piece of music and I find myself getting lost in it, in a good way. I don’t even think of it as an album primarily by a jazz trumpeter, so full is it of great musicianship that all the instruments are balanced and shift from background to foreground quite effortlessly.  Who were these musicians?

  • Bass – Dave Holland
  • Drums – Tony Williams
  • Electric Piano – Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock
  • Engineer – Russ Payne, Stan Tonkel
  • Guitar – John McLaughlin
  • Organ, Electric Piano – Josef Zawinul
  • Producer – Teo Macero
  • Tenor Saxophone – Wayne Shorter
  • Trumpet – Miles Davis

I have been listening to the album a lot over the last week, including on the drive to work the other morning, which is potentially dangerous as I found myself sinking into my own thoughts and driving several miles without quite knowing how I got to where I was. This is something that can happen with reasonable frequency for people who do a lot of driving, but it seems much more likely to occur with this album playing on the journey.

I may be caught up in the joy of discovery, so I will give my rating for this album with a side note that it may be reviewed at a later date, but for me, right now?

Rating: 9.9

 

 

 

Gary Numan – Exile

Exile is the thirteenth solo studio album by Gary Numan, released in October 1997 by Eagle Records. I have difficulty with this, namely that it was 21 bloody years ago, I can’t reconcile with this timespan at all, ten I could accept, but 21, it seems so damn long ago. I was still, just, in my twenty’s. I bought it a couple of years ago and I have only just looked to see what year it was released, hence my difficulty coming to terms with it being 1997.

Its release continued a critical upswing in Numan’s career which had begun three years earlier with the release of Sacrifice. This album is loosely conceptual, based on God and the Devil being two sides of the same coin, not denying God, but questioning whether God is entirely a force for good. Shorty after the release of the album Numan was quoted as saying: “Personally, I don’t believe in God at all, but if I’m wrong and there is a God, what kind of god would it be who would give us the world we live in?

The opening track, Dominion Day, is basically gothic/industrial rock and everything that follows is in the same tone. It’s a mine that he has been digging from the late 90’s until today, and very successfully at times. The track describes a man’s nightmare becoming reality as Christ returns to Earth in scenes reminiscent of the Book of Revelations.

Dark explores Numan’s premise of an incestuous relationship between God and the Devil.  The track was widely used for movie trailers before actually appearing in one,  Alex Proyas’ Dark City.

Dead Heaven is a different telling of biblical tales with Mary not being revered by the three wise men, but ravaged and Absolution muses on the consequences of unquestioning faith.

Thought I saw love
Sacrificed
Mary under three wise men
Thought I saw the Virgin look at me and cry

Exile received some very positive reviews at the time of release but wasn’t a chart success, though the accompanying tour was very well attended. Some fans who had been put off by Sacrifice’s (The previous release)  anti-religious undertones were further alienated by the subject matter and lyrics of Exile. The website remindmetosmile.com (now defunct) changed from a tribute page to one openly critical of Numan for being “so bold that he feels he can mock God and feel good about it“. Numan’s response was:

This sort of reaction always amazes me. Here you have people that genuinely believe that God created this entire bloody universe in just six days, without anybody’s help, and yet they seem to think that He needs their help to deal with little me. If God was bothered about me, He would deal with me“.

I find the reaction of the fans rather odd as, if you go all the way back to Replicas in 1979 the guy is singing, in Down In The Park, about rape machines, which those who were complaining about being mean to God, were presumably absolutely fine about.

You can watch the humans
Trying to run
Oh look there’s a rape machine
I’d go outside if he’d look the other way

There are several youtube videos of the Exile tour but the quality is bloody awful so I won’t share them here, go seek them out if they are of interest.

The album, a double on 180g Grey vinyl was selling for £8 in the now defunct local record store, I still think it was a bargain as it is full of really good songs, not very cheerful songs it’s true, but still good. I wouldn’t put it on at a party unless I wanted everybody to get on a bit of a downer and leave. Also, it didn’t originally receive a vinyl release, there was a pressing in 2008 and the one I have is 2012. Originally it was CD or cassette only.

This and the previous album were very much the beginning of Numan’s upward trajectory although he would not reach the superstar status of his early years he has carved out a place for himself in modern music by not relying on those early releases and insisting on always moving forward by releasing new material and touring it. Recently there have been full album tours, which has been in vogue of late, but he has said himself that sometimes you have to give the people what they want, but he is still putting new music out there and stands or falls by it.

He mostly stands.

Rating: 8.8

 

Belle & Sebastian ‎– How To Solve Our Human Problems (Parts 1 – 3)

One way to make a bit more money from releasing an album on vinyl is to do so as 3 12″ singles rather than as a triple album, which would seem more of an investment even though it would actually be cheaper than the three 12″ singles. Anyway, that’s what Belle & Sebastian seem to have done with their latest releases, How To Solve Our Human Problems Parts 1, 2 & 3. They are about £10 each so the whole thing is (I am going to do this very complicated calculation for you) £30, a triple album would probably be somewhere around £25 and maybe it could have all been squeezed onto a double, which would have been less again. It may be on three EP’s for an entirely different reason of course, they may just not work together as a single entity and the pacing of the E.P’s doesn’t feel right if you play them back to back as one album (which is most easily achieved by streaming them rather than playing the actual records).

 

I picked up two of the EP’s at Rapture in Witney, they didn’t have all three, so I got one from Amazon as well. I could hardly have only two of a three EP set now could I? The answer is yes, I could, and also no, because I would just end up getting it in 3 years time for three times the price.

I haven’t really listened to much Belle & Sebastian that was released after 2003, the last thing being Dear Catastrophe Waitress. There is no particular reason for that, I just never got around to it, I still really like a lot of that earlier work, particularly If You’re Feeling Sinister, which is a brilliant album. I’ll get around to the bits in between eventually.

So this album/EP set, the songs are great, I really enjoyed it as a whole and was a bit surprised to hear how some of the tracks are quite dance orientated, such as Poor Boy, the opening track of the 3rd EP with it’s Wes Andersonesque accompanying video:

It’s a killer single isn’t it?

It is a collection of really good songs delivered in the Belle & Sebastian way but often with a more modern aesthetic and this seems the right direction to go in to me as they can’t keep putting out the same album they did 20 years ago over and over again.

There appears to have been a single taken from each EP, the two above and, what is for me, probably my favourite track from the collection, ‘We Were Beautiful’.

I was blank as I could be
Hearing voices telling me
“Walk away from everything”
But where was I meant to go?
Far away from those I know
To some desolate below
We were in the uber scene
Where they grind the coffee bean
Where the women are oblique
And the boys are paper thin
Ragged beards upon their chin
We were on the outside looking in
Rise above the present day
Rise above the popular melee
I see you the way you are
I see you, the star
We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful before we got wise
We were beautiful with sky and blanket laying low
I am hanging on the line
I’m on duty all the time
I am your Samaritan on call
I could try my best to heal
All the emptiness you feel
In the giving, I will be alive
We were wrapped around our roots
Nothing on except our boots
We were intimate around the waist
We were settling our scores
We were healing over sores
We were living out the pleasure that we lost
We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful for all of time and space
I will tell it to the sun and I will tell it to
If you listen to the night
We can hear the madmen fight
Hear the foxes making out
But the people all immune
Sleeping silent in their rooms
Growing bodies with their sleep
Making plans inside their heads
Making love to shallow friends
Shallow friends
You are not too old to change
Happy only comes after the pain of you and me
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful before we got wise
We were beautiful with sky and blanket fading out
We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful for all of time and space
I will tell it to the sun and I will tell it to your face

The video is described as life experienced at different speeds as the city wakes up over a Saturday morning. Filmed throughout Glasgow, from Crookston in the south-west, through the City Centre to Easterhouse and Cranhill.

EP 1

1. Sweet Dew Lee
2. We Were Beautiful
3. Fickle Season
4. The Girl Doesn’t Get It
5. Everything Is Now

EP 2

6. Show Me The Sun
7. Same Star
8. I’ll Be Your Pilot
9. Cornflakes
10. A Plague On All Other Boys

EP 3

11. Poor Boy
12. Everything Is Now (Part Two)
13. Too Many Tears
14. There Is An Everlasting Song
15. Best Friend

Rating: 9.0

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Open The Gate

On the wall of the used record store there was a Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry triple LP box set. It had been there for about a month and was priced at £30. Every time I went in I looked at it and every time I put it back. Buying things from the wall is not my usual style as they are usually in the higher price bracket. On my last visit the price had been reduced to £20, so I took the plunge and I’m damn glad I did as this Trojan compilation is fabulous.

Don’t know who he is? Well, Lee “Scratch” Perry OD (The Order of Distinction is a national order in the Jamaican honours system) is a Jamaican music producer noted for his innovative studio techniques and production style. Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music with his early adoption of remixing and studio effects to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks. He has worked with and produced for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, the Congos, Max Romeo, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, Ari Up, and many others.

 

 

For a triple album it doesn’t look that track heavy, but a lot of the tracks sort of merge into a dub version with little or no warning so Side A is longer than it looks, and Vampire is a fabulous track running to about 10 minutes (The video above is all three records, sound quality is better at home with the record playing). It is a great compilation of rare extended versions of tracks recorded in Scratch’s black ark studio in the mid to late 70’s.  I’ve read that this is the best of the Trojan label’s Perry box sets – supposedly better than “Build the Ark” or the “Upsetter Box Set“, however, I haven’t heard either of those so can only pass along somebody else’s comment.

Tracklist

A1 Anthony “Sangie” Davis & Lee Perry Words
A2 Devon Irons & Dr. Alimantado Vampire
B1 The Heptones Babylon Falling
B2 The Upsetters Babylon Falling Version
B3 The Heptones Mistry Babylon
B4 The Upsetters Mistry Babylon Version
B5 Leroy Sibbles Garden Of Life
C1 Carlton Jackson History
C2 Junior Delgado Sons Of Slaves
C3 Watty Burnett Open The Gate
D1 The Diamonds Talk About It
D2 The Upsetters Yam – A – Ky
D3 Eric Donaldson Cherry Oh Baby
D4 Watty Burnett Rainy Night In Portland
E1 Horace Smart & The Upsetters Ruffer Ruff & Ruffer Dub
E2 The Congos Neckodeemus
E3 The Twin Roots Know Love
F1 Lee Perry City Too Hot
F2 Lee Perry Bionic Rats
F3 Junior Murvin Bad Weed

This was not on my list of Trojan releases that I was looking for, but sticking to a list can be both a good and a bad thing, in this case it would have been bad, I’m glad I got this and at a decent price.

Rating: 9.1

Rodriguez – Coming From Reality

I was at work yesterday and an album arrived from Amazon. An album that I hadn’t ordered. Turns out that my son had the bare faced cheek to go into my Amazon account and bloody order things. Now it is true that he has permission to do so and further true that he went into my Amazon want list and chose a record from there and further further true that he paid for it using his own bank card as a surprise for me, but really, that child is out of control!

So it was an album by Rodriguez, the one that I think was never actually properly released, or had limited release, but has been now that he has been rediscovered. Let’s go through a bit of Rodriguez history for those that have never heard of him.

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, known professionally as Rodriguez (born July 10, 1942), is an American singer-songwriter from Detroit, Michigan. His career initially proved short lived in the United States, but unknown to Rodriguez his albums became extremely successful and influential in South Africa, where sales of his records outnumbered those of Elvis Presley. Because of scarce information about Rodriguez, it was incorrectly rumoured there that he had committed suicide shortly after releasing his first album.

In the 1990s, determined South African fans managed to find and contact Rodriguez, which led to an unexpected revival of his musical career. This was told in the 2012 Academy Award–winning documentary film Searching for Sugar Man and helped give Rodriguez a measure of fame in his home country. In May 2013, Rodriguez received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater, Wayne State University, in Detroit.

Rodriguez has been living in Detroit’s historic Woodbridge neighbourhood, through which he is seen walking in Searching for Sugar Man. He is known to live a simple life, possessing no telephone or cell phone of his own, and occasionally visiting bars in the Cass Corridor section of Detroit near Woodbridge and Midtown Detroit, such as the Old Miami pub, where he has performed live concerts for small local crowds.

There are only two official studio albums, the first being Cold Fact and the second being this one. Obviously I thanked my son and discovered when doing so that he had no idea what he was ordering for me so I suggested he listen to the track Sugar Man, which he did, and really liked, fairly describing Rodriguez as Dylan if Dylan could sing properly.

Though not on this album, it is the obvious first track to listen to:

 

Tracklist
A1 Climb Up On My Music 4:54
A2 A Most Disgusting Song 4:49
A3 I Think Of You 3:26
A4 Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour 3:23
A5 Silver Words? 2:05

B1 Sandrevan Lullaby-Lifestyles 6:37
B2 To Whom It May Concern 3:22
B3 It Started Out So Nice 4:01
B4 Halfway Up The Stairs 2:28
B5 Cause 5:30

His debut album is his best album but there is still some gold on this release among the tracks that, while still good, seemed to see Rodriguez trying to re-position himself to take advantage of the singer/songwriter boom of the time. There are parallels here with Nick Drake but Rodriguez is still alive and has started gigging again.

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Neither of his albums are available on streaming services, though the soundtrack to the film is, so if you use any of those services you can listen to those tracks at least.

The album was recorded in London with producer Steve Rowland (He’s the guy who would later discover and sign the Cure), The production lacked the grittiness of the first album, which was possibly intentional but results in there seeming to be something a little lacking.  Opener “Climb Up on My Music” is a mellow, organ-heavy track with a screaming guitar riff and “Halfway Up the Stairs” a sweet, cheesy 70s soft rock vibe. There are more strings than perhaps are necessary in places but the man still manages to shine through and I get the sense that had the first album taken off then this follow up would have been an entirely different affair as there would be no search for the sound that he thought the public wanted.

Back in 2013 he played Glastonbury, and by the wonders of modern technology, here is that performance:

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Rating: 8.6

 

Viagogo

My good lady wife wanted to go to a gig, this is a rarity, so I endeavoured to get some tickets, unfortunately they were sold out, however, there were tickets available from secondary sellers.

The tickets were £14 more than the face value price, which was £36, so instead of £72 for two tickets it was £100. Not ideal but I was OK with it. I wanted to get the tickets and understood that there will be a mark up from secondary sellers.

If it had ended there then all would have been fine, except it didn’t. They put a countdown clock on your order of 6 minutes and the pressure builds as you move through each form on the site and try and book your tickets. When you get to the end and have about 80 seconds left you are presented with the final total, which should be £100 right? Nope. There is a £5 charge for posting each ticket, even though they are in the same envelope and then, just to slap you around the face with a wet fish, there is a booking fee of £17, per ticket. PER TICKET! So that £72 face value ramps up to £144. So, essentially, it is 2 tickets for the price of 4, what a bargain.

I shouldn’t have, I hated doing it, but I bought them. She who must be obeyed would have been displeased with me had I not, but damn I begrudge submitting to Viagogo’s daylight robbery. I don’t even want to see the band I bought tickets for very much.

Desmond Dekker – This Is Desmond Dekkar

I now have a re-issue of This is Desmond Dekkar by Desmond Dekker, well who else would it be by? I’ve no idea why the surnames are different though. Another Trojan Records release, and one I mentioned I was going to get, partially because I already know a few of the tracks but also because it is considered a classic.

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Desmond Adolphus Dacres was born in Saint Andrew Parish (Greater Kingston), Jamaica, on 16 July 1941 and spent his formative years in Kingston. Following his mother’s death, he moved to the parish of St. Mary and later to St. Thomas. While at St. Thomas, he embarked on an apprenticeship as a tailor before returning to Kingston, where he became a welder. His workplace singing drew the attention of his co-workers, who encouraged him to pursue a career in music. In 1961 he auditioned unsuccessfully for Coxsone Dodd (Studio One) and Duke Reid (Treasure Isle), he then auditioned for Leslie Kong’s Beverley’s record label and was awarded his first recording contract.

It was two years before he actually released a single and in 1963 “Honour Your Mother and Father” (which was written by Dekker) became a Jamaican hit and kick started Dekker’s musical career. Two more hit single releases followed and it was around this time that Desmond Dacres adopted the stage-name of Desmond Dekker. His fourth hit, “King of Ska” resulted in his becoming  one of the Jamaica’s biggest stars.

In 1968 what is probably Dekker’s most well known song, Israelites ,was released. and in April 1969 it reached number 1 in the UK charts. In 1969 Dekkar took permanent residency in the UK.

Much of the music Jamaican music scene was centred around 45’s and the album This is Desmond Dekkar is a collection of much of his work record between 1967 and 1969, so it is effectively a compilation but omits his first and biggest UK hit. The debut album, titled Isralites contained the track for which Dekker was to become synonymous and that makes this album seem more an individual release rather than a compilation.

Tracklist

A1 007
A2 Sabotage
A3 Shing A Ling
A4 Hey Grandma
A5 Beautiful And Dangerous
A6 Wise Man
B1 Music Like Dirt
B2 Rudy Got Soul
B3 Unity
B4 Mother Pepper
B5 It Pays
B6 Mother´s Young Girl

The album presents a wealth of what are considered his finest compositions, all set to the soothing midtempo style prominent in later-’60s Kingston. They are relaxing but never mellow, and often address the island’s “Rude Boy” gang violence and poverty. Perfect for a replaying by Coventry’s The Specials who grew out of a city seemingly suffering a similar fate and who covered opening track 007. I’m not posting that though, instead here are The Bodysnatchers from 1980 covering 007, loads of energy!

The importance of Dekker in reggae music should not be undervalued, while internationally many believe it all started with Bob Marley, it was Dekker who had the first international reggae hits outside of Jamaica and it was Dekker who gave the world Bob Marley by introducing his nobody co-worker, Robert, to his producer in 1961.

Desmond Dekker (1941-2006) succumbed to a sudden heart attack in England on May 25, 2006. Here he is live, playing the big hits, no idea when this is from but later in his career for sure.

Rating: 9.0

Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone

Back in August 2017 I briefly commented on the Mercury Music Prize nominees and threw some out and added some in, this album was actually nominated and I kept it in because it is a fine album.

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Loyle Carner is a stage name, his actual name is Benjamin Gerard Coyle-Larner, which means that his stage name is a spoonerism of his double barrelled surname, that amuses me.

Carner played his first official gig at The Button Factory in Dublin, Ireland in October 2012 supporting MF Doom. He released his first EP in September 2014, titled A Little Late, which was well received and he supported Joey Badass on his UK tour and went on to play the 2015 UK festival season, including Glastonbury Festival. He went on tour and collaborated with poet and spoken-word artist Kate Tempest in late 2015 and  In October 2015 he played on Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show as part of their Piano Sessions series. In late August 2016, he supported Nasin his show at the O2 Academy Bristol. Then, in 2017, he released his first album.

It wasn’t until I saw the Mercury Music Prize nominations that Carner came to my attention and it was the opening track of the album that was the first thing I heard. Isle Of Arran. 

The song title refers to island in Scotland’s Firth of Clyde known for its beautiful mountainous scenery. Carner explained to BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac: “I spent a lot of time there. It’s where my granddad grew up, it a little island off the top of Scotland and there’s not much to do there. It’s a very long journey (from London) but it’s beautiful, it’s secluded.” ’The track samples 60’s cut The Lord Will Make A Way by S.C.I Youth Choir in what must be perceived as an ironic way as the song counter lyrically with “Standby, didn’t need no help from no damn guy / Man by, I’ve been making waves all my damn life.” The track has emotional and philosophical depth as it discusses why today’s youths see religion as futile when their world is one of despair, inequality and lack of prospects. We can go all the way back to 1977 and God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols to hear:

There is no future in England’s dreaming
Don’t be told what you want, don’t be told what you need
There’s no future, no future, no future for you

Though more personal and contemplative, the message is the same 40 years on.

Listening to the album sequentially there is the sense of being let in to view a life, with conversations taking place between and during tracks and stories being told, also, it’s pretty catchy in places, exemplified below with No CD.

The knowledge that Carner has been diagnosed with ADHD and Dyslexia informs the listener when listening to this track, at least to some degree, but what comes across through the entire album and various bits of interviews I’ve watched is the authenticity of Carner. He is not shouting about bitches or gold chains or guns, but about the realities of his life and how they affect him and others like him, told in his own accent and with what feels like genuine sincerity.

No. Title Length
1. “The Isle of Arran” 3:34
2. “Mean It in the Morning” 2:39
3. “+44” 0:48
4. “Damselfly” (featuring Tom Misch) 2:52
5. “Ain’t Nothing Changed” 3:10
6. “Swear” 0:34
7. “Florence” (featuring Kwes) 3:04
8. “The Seamstress (Tooting Masala)” 2:31
9. “Stars & Shards” 3:04
10. “No Worries” (featuring Jehst and Rebel Kleff) 4:30
11. “Rebel 101” 0:28
12. “No CD” (featuring Rebel Kleff) 4:16
13. “Mrs. C” 3:22
14. “Sun of Jean” 5:14
15. “Yesterday’s Gone” 2:37

Sampha won the Mercury Music Prize for 2017 but in many ways that doesn’t mater as it brought this album exposure to a wider audience just by being nominated. I’m glad I made the decision to get a copy for myself as I’m pretty confident it is going to get a lot of spins.

Rating: 8.7

Jack White – Lazeretto

This was released in 2014, so, yes, I’m 4 years late to the party, but at least I turned up.

In 1799, after one-tenth of the population of Philadelphia perished with yellow fever six years earlier, the city built a quarantine station to house the infected in an attempt to control any further epidemics. Known as a Lazaretto, the hospital – the first of its kind in the US – would detain and examine ships’ passengers and cargo suspected of contagion, a piece of knowledge that I had to look up as I had no idea. In the context of this album it makes a sort of sense as this was a turbulent time in Jack White’s private life as he went through a not entirely amicable divorce, restraining orders and property disputes.

Coming two years after his debut solo album, Blunderbus, it would seem to be not at all unreasonable to expect that his evolution from the limitations of two piece The White Stripes would have been accepted but this is not universally the case, with some commentators still bemoaning that it is not The White Stripes, well of course it isn’t. In Lazaretto we are presented with songs still drawing influence from the old sources but not restricted by them. Album opener Three Women does not go as far as re-working Blind Willie McTell’s 1928 “Three Women Blues.” but is more a starting point for the telling of a modern version of the story, drifting away from the opening line of  I’ve got three women, red, blonde and brunette and finding it’s own story path.

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The title track features some Spanish lyrics: “Yo trabajo duro, como en madera y yeso,” which roughly translates to “I work hard, like in wood and plaster.” White explained his use of Spanish to NPR: “The character who’s singing this song is bragging about himself, but he’s actually bragging about real things he’s actually accomplished and real things that he actually does, not imaginary things or things he would like to do,” he said. “Because sometimes you see people who, they sing from the heart, but they haven’t done anything, you know? And their lives are not very interesting or whatever. So this character in this song actually has worked very hard in his life and he’s done some interesting things.” This goes some way to dispel suggestions that the song is autobiographical, but with White you never quite now,

Some of Lazaretto’s lyrics were inspired by short stories and plays White wrote when he was 19 after he’d dropped out of Wayne State University. He came across the box containing his prose in his attic and though much of it was embarrassing, with just the odd phrase and character being salvageable. “I thought, ‘What if you write a song with yourself?’ Collaborate with your 19-year-old self on a song,” White told The Observer, before quipping: “And don’t give him any royalties.

It was the first single taken from the album backed by a cover of Elvis Presley’s song “Power of My Love.” and  a limited edition 7-inch of the song was recorded, pressed and released in 3 hours, 55 minutes and 21 seconds, breaking the world record for the world’s fastest released disc.

Before we go any further I really should talk about the record itself, not the music but the actual artefact, the Ultra edition. The record has a number of unique features that aren’t really found on other records, at least not all together, some have been done before.

It has 2 vinyl-only hidden tracks hidden beneath the center labels one of which plays at 78 RPM and one at 45 RPM, making this a 3-speed record. Side A plays from the inside out. It has Dual-groove technology and  plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where needle is dropped. The grooves meet for the body of the song. It also has Matte finish on Side B, giving the appearance of an un-played 78 RPM record. Both sides end with locked grooves which esenntially play a few seconds of sound forever. The vinyl pressed in seldom-used flat-edged format. The dead wax area on Side A contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record. There was no compression used during recording, mixing and mastering, it has a different running order from the CD/digital version and the LP utilises some mixes different from those used on CD and digital version. It makes for an interesting and unusual object. It is demonstrated well by White himself in the video below:

Over a decade ago I started to really get into Americana, which is a bit of a broad term, in this case it is American Roots music, so this can be Country, Blues, Bluegrass, Folk and new music that uses all these traditional music forms as inspiration, some examples being Gillian Welch, Jim White, Granddaddy and Ryan Adams, there are lots more. I mention this because there was a time when a track like Temporary Ground would have been of little interest, but now I get it and like it.

It’s a good album I think but despite its unique pressing, or because of it, it is a pain in the arse to actually play. I can’t remember to play from the inside out and have already started one side at the end.

Tracklist

1 Three WomenWritten – Blind Willie McTell
2 Lazaretto
3 Temporary Ground
4 Would You Fight For My Love?
5 High Ball Stepper
6 Just One Drink
7 Alone In My Home
8 Entitlement
9 That Black Bat Licorice
10 I Think I Found The Culprit
11 Want And Able

The lyrics can be heavy going at times, such as on Would You Fight For My Love? above, White lays himself bare emotionally and occasionally he descends into self-pity. Demonstrated on the track Entitlement, in which he says he’s sick of being told what to do and suggests that today’s youth are spoilt brats. Overall it’s a fine sophomore album that doesn’t merit some of the harsh criticism levelled at it, or at least I don’t think so as I really enjoyed it as a whole.

I have all the White Stripes albums but this is the first of his solo material that I’ve picked up. I’ll probably have to get the rest now.

Rating: 8.8

Steven Wilson Live at Warwick Arts Centre

I knew very little abut Steven Wilson, and still don’t know all that much to be honest. I did know a couple of Porcupine Tree tracks but had no idea that he was in the band. So why the hell did I go and see him play live on Thursday? Well that was mostly to keep Dave company, so I had no expectations of the gig, actually, I had low expectations having listened to the latest album once and finding that it didn’t really do much for me.

The gig was at Warwick Arts Centre, which is on the Warwick University campus, which, in turn, is actually in Coventry. The Arts Centre was having some sort of renovation done so the bar I was planning to sit at and have a beer was closed. As a couple of young studs on the loose for the evening, Dave and I went to the cafe and had a baked potato instead, with a bottle of beer. We know how to live.

The Butterworth Hall, where the gig took place, was strangely set up as it was all seater. I didn’t think it strange at first, but as the gig progressed it didn’t really seem appropriate for the sort of music we were listening to with it being pretty loud and pretty damn heavy at times.

I did like quite a few of the songs, after I started getting into it a bit and understood a bit better what he was all about. I was going to say that I couldn’t tell you what most of the songs were called, then I found a complete list, which is useful:

  1. Intro (“Truth” short film)
  2. Set 1:
  3. Nowhere Now
  4. Pariah
  5. Home Invasion
  6. Regret #9
  7. The Creator Has a Mastertape
    (Porcupine Tree song)
  8. Refuge
  9. People Who Eat Darkness
  10. Ancestral

  11. Set 2:
  12. Arriving Somewhere but Not Here
    (Porcupine Tree song)
  13. Permanating
  14. Song of I
  15. Lazarus
    (Porcupine Tree song)
  16. Detonation
  17. The Same Asylum as Before
  18. Heartattack in a Layby
    (Porcupine Tree song)
  19. Vermillioncore
  20. Sleep Together
    (Porcupine Tree song)
  21. Encore:
  22. Even Less
    (Porcupine Tree song) (SW solo)
  23. The Raven That Refused to Sing

I rather enjoyed it in the end and will do some light investigation of what is a rather extensive back catalogue. I’ve streamed a few of the tracks already and they are growers. There was a transparent curtain pulled across the front of the stage for certain songs and projected on, that worked really well each time it was used.

I took a few vids on my phone, they are watchable, bits of some songs and one whole song, problem is, I can’t get them to upload. No matter, there’s similar in the playlist above.

 

Owen Gray – Reggae With Soul

My current obsession is with Trojan records and I have, despite knowing it is a terrible idea that will only lead to disappointment for me and pain for my wallet, begun looking for some of the early releases that are really rather difficult to find nowadays. I have made my first purchase, which is currently in tranist so I haven’t received it yet, and it is by Owen Gray, the 1969 album Reggae With Soul. The copy I bought is 48 years old so I have my doubts about how well it will play but the seller listed the vinyl as excellent so there’s hope. It normally sells for about £35 but my copy was £10, which is why I have some doubts but can’t really pre-judge.

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Just look at that cover, it is filled with happy. Owen Gray is one of Jamaica’s ‘Foundation’ singers whose work spans the R&B, ska, rocksteady, and reggae eras of Jamaican music, and he has been credited as Jamaica’s first home-grown singing star.

Gray won his first talent contest at the age of nine, and by the age of twelve he was already appearing in public, playing drums, guitar, and keyboards. He attended the Alpha Boys a-225777-1433596780-5275-jpegSchool and turned professional aged 19. Gray was a dynamic performer on stage, who could be gritty or suave as the song dictated. He was the first singer (of many) to praise a sound system on record, with his “On the Beach” celebrating Clement Dodd’s Sir Coxsone Downbeat system in 1959, one of the first releases on Dodd’s Studio One label. He was one of the first artists to be produced by Chris Blackwell, in 1960, and his “Patricia” single was the first record ever released by Island Records. His first single, “Please Let Me Go”, reached the top of the charts in Jamaica, and featured a guitar solo from Australian musician Dennis Sindrey who was a member of The Caribs, a studio band that played on many early Owen Gray recordings. The single also sold well in the United Kingdom, as did subsequent releases, prompting Gray to emigrate there in 1962. He toured Europe in 1964, and by 1966 he was well known as a soul singer as well as for his ska songs. During 1966, he worked in the UK and Europe with The Krew, then in 1967 with Tony Knights Chessmen. In the rocksteady era, he recorded for producer Sir Clancy Collins. His popularity continued throughout the 1960s, working with producers such as Clement Dodd, Prince Buster, Arthur “Duke” Reid, Leslie Kong, and Clancy Eccles, including work as a duo with Millie Small, with songs ranging from ska to ballads. He continued to record regularly, having a big hit in 1968 with “Cupid”. His 1970 track “Apollo 12” found favour with the early skinheads, and in 1972 he returned to Island Records, recording reggae versions of The Rolling Stones’ “Tumblin’ Dice” and John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”, although they met with little success. 

During this period, he regularly had releases on Pama and sister label, Camel Records, and one single on Hot Lead Records. He had greater success in Jamaica, however, with “Hail the Man”, a tribute to Emperor Haile Selassie, which was popular with the increasing Rastafari following. Gray spent a short time living in New Orleans before returning to Jamaica where he turned his hand to roots reggae, working with producer Bunny Lee, and achieving considerable success. In the 1980s relocated to Miami. He has continued to release new material regularly, often concentrating on ballads and Gospel music.

Side 1:

Side 2:

It’s surprising how far back I’ve been listening to some of the songs that were originally released in the late 60’s and early 70’s. There’s a load that I first heard by The Specials, here’s a list:

Gangsters (an interpretation of): Al Capone – Prince Buster
A Message To You Rudy – Dandy Livingstone
Too Much Too Young (an interpretation of): Birth Control – Lloyd Charmers
Guns of Navarone – The Skatalites
Longshot Kick De Bucket – The Pioneers
Liquidator – Harry J Allstars
Skinhead Moonstomp – Symarip
Rude Buoys Outa Jail (an interpretation of): Rude Boy Gone A Jail – Desmond Baker & The Clarendonians
Do The Dog (an interpretation of): The Dog – Rufus Thomas
Too Hot – Prince Buster
Monkey Man – Toots & The Maytals
Stupid Marriage (an interpretation of): Judge Dread – Prince Buster
You’re Wondering Now – Andy and Joey
Enjoy Yourself – Prince Buster
Sock It To ‘Em JB – Rex Garvin and The Mighty Cravers

Then there are the Prince Buster tracks covered by Madness, The Prince which is an interpretation of Earthquake, Madness and One Step Beyond. There are covers by The Selecter, The Bodysnatchers and The Beat, but at the time I, and many others, had no idea these were other peoples songs.

Some of the songs I remember from when they were originally released, Everything I Own by Ken Booth for example, lots of Jimmy Cliff and things like Anthea & Donna Uptown Top Ranking, which was considered a bit of a novelty by many when it was released, myself included, but damn it was catchy and ting. There’s Wonderful World, Beautiful People by Jimmy Cliff, I remember that and I’ve convinced myself I heard Young Gifted & Black by Bob & Marcia at some point.

There was Israelites by Desmond Dekker and The Aces which I first remember hearing when being used for a Maxell Tapes advert in the early eighties, where they took the mickey out of the lyrics, I just looked for it, this is it:

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor me Israelites, ah

Just because I’m on the subject, the one where they used Into The Valley by The Skids was pretty funny, “There’s masses of Lamb”:

This all started again when I bought a used copy of The Harder They Come soundtrack by Jimmy Cliff, having liked it so much I started looking out for more in the same genre, a potential mistake as there is just so much to go at, so this needs a structured approach to avoid having to re-mortgage the house.

The fairly new music magazine Long Live Vinyl has a section in this months issue which viiis the 50 best Trojan Records releases, so that has now become my list, not that I expect to find all of them, but it is a decent steer as to where to begin.

I’m not going to list all 50, that is what the magazine is for but I will list out what my initial targets are along with the expected cost of an original and whether there is a re-issue available as Trojan have been through a re-issue program to celebrate their 50th anniversary. There was one bit of the accompanying article that I found quite interesting which was how quick the turnaround of the original 45’s was. Trojan is a British label and in the early days they would be down the local London market stalls listening out for whatever was new from Jamaica, the tracks that people were talking about from the previous weekend, and would press a couple of hundred of them within a week and then distribute them by hand before doing the whole thing again. I think this was when they were still Island Records, which Trojan was born from. Anyway, that list:

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The Pioneers – Long Shot (1969) Original £35, Re-issue £20
Jimmy Cliff – Jimmy Cliff (1969) £20/£18
Desmond Dekkar – This is Desmond Dekkar (1969) £30/£20
Rico & The Rudies – Blow Your Horn (1969) £35/£20
The Ethiopians – Reggae Power (1969) £40/No Re-Issue
John Holt – 1000 Volts of Holt (1973) £20/£12
Ken Boothe – Everything I Own (1974) £20/£18

So that’s the starting point. There are many others which I will still be looking out for but that is looking like £150 right there, one has to at least give the impression of being sensible, right?

 

Fripp & Eno – (No Pussyfooting)

Popped out to a record shop in Witney, Oxfordshire during my lunch break. I’ve been there before but not since prior to Christmas. The used selection is a decent size but there isn’t often much that I’m looking for and they have dividers with the names of bands I do want, but there aren’t any there, which is often disappointing. Today I bought Fripp & Eno for £12, 1973 press but not first I don’t think. It’s not on any of the streaming services so it’s my first listen, it’s bloody good.

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There are only two tracks on the album

Side 1: “The Heavenly Music Corporation” 20:55
Side 2: “Swastika Girls” 18:43

There was a deluxe CD reissue which has:

“The Heavenly Music Corporation (Reversed)” 20:52
“The Heavenly Music Corporation (Half speed)” 41:49
“Swastika Girls (Reversed)” 18:54

Which I’d quite like to hear as the music lends itself to being slowed down or reversed. I believe John Peel once played one of the tracks backwards and nobody noticed, including Peel.

Brian Eno invited Robert Fripp to his London home studio in September 1972. Eno was experimenting with a tape system developed by Terry Riley and Pauline Oliveros (I watched a BBC 4 program on this last week, it was fascinating, called ‘Tones, Drones And Arpeggios: The Magic Of Minimalism), where two reel-to-reel tape recorders were set up side-by side. Sounds recorded on the first deck would be played back by the second deck, and then routed back into the first deck to create a long looping tape delay. Fripp played guitar over Eno’s loops, while Eno selectively looped or recorded Fripp’s guitar without looping it. The technique later came to be known as “Frippertronics”.

I had a software version of ‘Frippertronics’ that I played my guitar through which was odd to begin with as you started with no sound even though you were playing and then it comes in, once you got going though it was really interesting building something up only to hear it slowly degrade, so then you play something else and so on. The Terry Riley piece of BBC 4 explained very well how phasing works, basically if you have teo reel to reel tape recorders with exactly the same thing on and press start, they will, at first be synchronised, say 7 notes repeating, but over time they will fall out of synch and things begin to sound a bit busy as you have 14 notes now, 7 & 7 but playing at a different interval. Over time two recorded will fall back into synch and you will have 7 notes again. The interesting thing about it to me is not necessarily the sound that it creates but how the brain processes it. It can be so slow that you don’t actually realise it is happening and you can become aware that the sounds you were listening to 15 minutes ago have completely changed and you have no idea how it happened. Well, intellectually you do, but not emotionally. It is very much a ‘How did I get here?’ experience.

The best known of Terry Riley’s pieces is called ‘In C’ which I’ve listened to a bit, not the whole thing as it can take 4 or more hours to perform, but it was a game changer in music at the time it was first performed.

‘In C’ consists of 53 short, numbered musical phrases, lasting from half a beat to 32 beats; each phrase may be repeated an arbitrary number of times. Each musician has control over which phrase they play: players are encouraged to play the phrases starting at different times, even if they are playing the same phrase. In this way, although the melodic content of each part is predetermined, ‘In Ch’ as elements of aleatoric music to it (n which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work’s realisation is left to the determination of its performer(s)).The performance directions state that the musical ensemble should try to stay within two to three phrases of each other. The phrases must be played in order, although some may be skipped. As detailed in some editions of the score, it is customary for one musician (“traditionally… a beautiful girl,” Riley notes in the score) to play the note C in repeated eighth notes, typically on a piano or pitched-percussion instrument (e.g. marimba). This functions as a metronome and is referred to as “The Pulse”. Steve Reich introduced the idea of a rhythmic pulse to Riley, who accepted it, thus radically altering the original composition by Riley which had no rhythm.

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Terry Riley: 2015

‘In C’ has no set duration; performances can last as little as fifteen minutes or as long as several hours, although Riley indicates “performances normally average between 45 minutes and an hour and a half.” The number of performers may also vary between any two performances. The original recording of the piece was created by 11 musicians (although, through overdubbing, several dozen instruments were utilised), while a performance in 2006 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall featured 124 musicians.

The piece begins on a C major chord (patterns one through seven) with a strong emphasis on the mediant E and the entrance of the note F which begins a series of slow progressions to other chords suggesting a few subtle and ambiguous changes of key, the last pattern being an alteration between B and G. Though the polyphonic interplay of the various patterns against each other and themselves at different rhythmic displacements is of primary interest, the piece may be considered heterophonic (In music, heterophony is a type of texture characterised by the simultaneous variation of a single melodic line).

Below is a performance which includes Terry Riley who is the bearded fellow at the piano. He is accompanied by Stargaze, who also collaborated with Policia to re-interpret Steve Reich’s Music For Pieces Of Wood, we’ll get into that in a minute.

I bought the LSO’s version of Music For Pieces Of Wood last year when it was released for Record Store Day 2017 and, a few months later another version was released by Policia and Stagaze which used instruments other than wood. This seems a contradiction but it really does work very well, it’s 20 minutes long, if you can spare the time have a listen:

The thing with music of this sort I find is that you need a little time, it is not short snappy numbers that you can blank out as they play, dipping in for a melody or a phrase here and there, this music needs a degree of concentration but you still have to let it wash over you to a degree. It needs a little bit of personal investment, but it is well worth it.

Anyway, I did a little video of walking into the shop, had my mic on so apologies for the heavy breathing! Shop is called Rapture, sister store of Truck in Oxford.

Finally, back to Frip & Eno and (No Pussyfooting)

Rating: 9.0

RECORD STORE DAY 2018

The full list of UK Record Store Day releases has now been published and I have a problem, and that problem is what I would like from it, namely all these:

 

==> Amorphous Androgynous, The – The Isness Abbey Rd Cut
Format:
12″ 180g LP
Label:
Jumpin’ & Pumpin’ Records
More Info:
The now legendary ‘Abbey Road’ version of ‘the Isness’ was the originally conceived version before last minute wholesale changes resulted in new tracks , different mixes and/or edits appearing in a wholly different order for the commercial release of ‘the Isness ‘ in 2002 . The ‘Abbey Rd ‘ version had been initially promo’d to ecstatic reviews , receiving an unprecedented 6/5 stars from Mixmag ‘ it’s like a beam of white light from heaven’.

Brian Eno with Kevin Shields – The Weight Of History / Only Once Away My Son
Format:
12″ Vinyl
Label:
Opal
More Info:
2-track double A side 12 . The unexpected, fully welcome, and deliriously successful pairing of professional ex-glam sound genius Brian Eno and his new sidekick, My Bloody Valentine noise sculptor Kevin Shields. Begging to be listened to on noise-canceling headphones or very, very loud speakers, the duo blast off with a drum track that is instantly, almost comically subsumed into a nine-minute sound-cleanse of bells, drones, and a soaring rocket flare that may be a guitar. Ambient but hardly static, its tones and textures return throughout, as if tracing long and inaudibly developing melodies. Not immediately identifiable as either Eno or Shields’ work, a rich, enveloping piece of music – Pitchfork.

Cure, The – Torn Down
Format:
2LP
Label:
UMC/Polydor
More Info:
First time on vinyl for 16 new mixes by Robert Smith. Presented as a 2LP picture disc set in a die-cut gatefold sleeve with a download voucher.

Cure, The (1) – Mixed Up – Deluxe Edition
Format:
2LP
Label:
UMC/Polydor
More Info:
Robert Smith has remastered The Cure’s remix album from 1990. Now presented for the first time as double picture disc set in a gatefold sleeve with a download voucher.

David Bowie (2) – Now
Format:
1 x 180g 12″ White vinyl album
Label:
PLG UK Catalog
More Info:
The first commercial release of a rare 1977 US only compilation promotional only LP on white vinyl. The tracks are drawn from the Low and Heroes albums (all audio remastered from the A New Career In A New Town box set) and the package now features a newly designed inner sleeve with black and white images taken in Berlin in 1977 by Corrine Schwab.

David Bowie (3) – WTTB
Format:
3 x 180g 12″ Black vinyl album
Label:
PLG UK Catalog
More Info:
This previously unreleased 3 LP was recorded live at Earls Court, London on the 30th June and 1st July, 1978 by Tony Visconti and was mixed by David and David Richards at Mountain Studios, Montreux, 17th � 22nd January, 1979. The newly designed trifold sleeve features imagery by photographers Sukita and Chris Walter.

David Sylvian – Dead Bees On A Cake
Format:
2LP
Label:
UMC/Virgin EMI
More Info:
First time on white vinyl for David Sylvian’s album from 1999. Now expanded with the addition of 4 non-album tracks, The Scent of Magnolia , Albuquerque , Cover Me With Flowers and Aparna and Nimisha .

Ennio Morricone – Drammi Gotici
Format:
LP
Label:
Rustblade
More Info:
White vinyl. Ennio Morricone’s score to a RAI television mini-series of gothic horror, broadcast in 1978

Ennio Morricone (1) – Autopsy [Original Soundtrack]
Format:
Double 12″
Label:
Arrow Records
More Info:
The giallo thriller genre afforded Ennio Morricone the opportunity to push back musical boundaries and take his compositions into the outer realms of avant-garde experimentation. Armando Crispino’s 1975 horror masterpiece, Macchie Solari (commonly known as Autopsy) is undoubtedly one of the more grisly films of this genre and, responding to the heightened subject matter, Morricone ditched all but one conventionally melodious track in favour of a full-on atonal assault of wretched strings and hellish arias.Never-before released on vinyl, it is presented here on double translucent marbled orange 180 gram vinyl, with 350gsm gatefold sleeve. Newly mastered by James Plotkin with liner notes by Lovely Jon.

==> Future Sound Of London, The – My Kingdom
Format:
12″ 180g LP
Label:
Jumpin’ & Pumpin’ Records
More Info:
The Isness is a vast samplerdelic sonic galaxy where a huge range of instruments ( from sitars and numerous eastern instruments to flutes, banjos and conventional rock n roll instrumentation) and countless musicians are employed ,collaged and twisted using the studio as instrument ( much in the tradition and lineage of the Beatles and other 60s exponents) to form a startling new vision of cosmic space music and to redefine the possibilities of what ‘ the song ‘ could be in the new millennia with its by turn : cosmic , wildly surreal , absurdist lyrics on epic songs such as ‘ the Galaxial Pharmaceutical ‘ ‘ the Mello Hippo Disco Show ‘ ‘ Divinity ‘ and many others !

==> Jónsi & Alex – All Animals
Format:
LP
Label:
XL Recordings
More Info:

Madness – I Do Like To Be B-side The A-Side
Format:
LP
Label:
USM
More Info:
Fans of Madness have been requesting a vinyl release of their B-sides for some time now. ‘I Do Like To Be B-Side The A-Side’ contains the B-sides for the first eleven Madness 7 singles. Collated on a 12 LP on heavyweight black vinyl, the album’s packaging has been designed by long-time Madness collaborator Paul Agar and features a wonderfully surreal black and white image of the band on a diving board at a holiday camp, 1950s style. Tracks include ‘Madness’, ‘In The City’ and ‘Mistakes’.

==> Mogwai – Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997)
Format:
LP
Label:
Rock Action Records
More Info:
Ltd coloured vinyl repress of long out of print collection of Mogwai singles, b-sides and rarities.

==> Public Image Limited – Live At Brixton Academy 1986
Format:
2LP
Label:
UMC/Virgin EMI
More Info:
Previosuly unlreased on vinyl. The entire Brixton Academy concert from 1986.

Public Service Broadcasting – People Will Always Need Coal
Format:
12″
Label:
Play It Again Sam
More Info:

==> S U R V I V E – RR7400
Format:
LP
Label:
Relapse Records
More Info:
This is a one-press only, RSD exclusive release. This is a live-in-studio recording of S U R V I V E’s essential synth soundscapes, famous for the Netflix smash Stranger Things score.

==> Sigur Rós – Route One
Format:
LP
Label:
XL Recordings
More Info:

==> Sigur Rós (1) – Liminal Remixes
Format:
LP
Label:
XL Recordings
More Info:

==> Spacemen 3 – Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To
Format:
Double LP
Label:
Space Age Recordings
More Info:
Berry coloured heavyweight 180 gram vinyl double LP in a gatefold sleeve with new artwork layout. Re-mastered by John Rivers at Woodbine Studios especially for vinyl release.

==> Spiritualized – Fucked Up Inside
Format:
Single vinyl LP
Label:
Glass Records Redux
More Info:
Re-mastered by John Rivers at Woodbine Studios especially for vinyl release. Milky clear coloured heavyweight 180 gram vinyl LP in an embossed and hot foil finished sleeve

==> Sufjan Stevens – Mystery Of Love EP
Format:
10″ Transparent Vinyl
Label:
MOV
More Info:
10 featuring 3 new songs by singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens from the critically acclaimed movie Call Me By Your Name Exclusive for Record Store Day, only 5.000 individually numbered copies will be available worldwide

Tom Waits – Brawlers
Format:
Blue LP
Label:
Anti- Records
More Info:
Part of the Orphans collection, available on its own for the first time. Newly remastered. Exclusively for RSD on red vinyl

Tom Waits (1) – Bastards
Format:
Grey LP
Label:
Anti- Records
More Info:
Part of the Orphans collection, available on its own for the first time. Newly remastered. Exclusively for RSD on grey vinyl

Tom Waits (2) – Bawlers
Format:
Red LP
Label:
Anti- Records
More Info:
Part of the Orphans collection, available on its own for the first time. Newly remastered. Exclusively for RSD on blue vinyl

Various Artists (13) – Planet Terror – Original Soundtrack
Format:
LP
Label:
Varese Sarabande
More Info:
Planet Terror was part of a double feature film release between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Planet Terror stars Rose McGowan, who sings on three tracks exclusive to this soundtrack. The majority of the score is composed by Robert Rodriguez with contributions from Graeme Revell, (The Crow, Sin City), Chingon and Nouvelle Vague. White Vinyl. No download code.

Various Erased Tapes Artists – 1+1=X
Format:
3xLP Box Set
Label:
Erased Tapes
More Info:
Produced by label curator Robert Raths, 1+1=X sees all Erased Tapes artists come together and make an album as a collective – sharing the same space, instruments and musicianship in a residency at Vox-ton in Berlin to record 20 exclusive songs in celebration of the label’s 10-year history. The 3-LP set, accompanied by a book of photographs documenting the recording process, is housed in a bespoke, hand-assembled white box with a recessed X that slides open on one side.

Zero 7 – 7 x 7
Format:
Seven x 7″ box set
Label:
New State Music
More Info:
Zero 7’s debut album ‘Simple Things’ sold over a million copies and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and the band as Best Newcomer at the Brit Awards. The album featured singers Sia, Sophie Barker and Mozez. ‘When It Falls’ followed with the same guest vocalists along with Danish singer Tina Dico. Their third album ‘The Garden’ was nominated for a Grammy Award with singers Jose Gonzalez and Sia. Two further albums ‘Yeah Ghost’ and a best of ‘Record’ completed their time with Atlantic Records.For Record Store Day 2018 they are launching an exclusive collectors 7 box set. The package contains seven 7 s, containing 14 tracks picked by the band. 4 tracks are taken ‘Simple Things’: ‘Destiny (ft. Sia & Sophie Barker)’, ‘In The Waiting Line (ft. Sophie Barker)’, ‘Distractions (ft. Sia)’ & ‘I Have Seen (ft. Mozez)’. 3 from ‘When It Falls’: ‘Home’, ‘In Time’ & ‘Somersault’ (split across 2 sides).Another 4 from ‘The Garden’ ‘Futures’ & ‘Today’ (both featuring José González)’, ‘Pageant Of The Bizarre (ft. Sia)’ & the instrumental ‘Dreaming’. The final 2 come from 2009’s ‘Yeah Ghost’: ‘Swing (ft. Binki Shapiro)’ & ‘Pop Art Blue (ft. Martha Tilston)’.Packaging wise – the artwork will be made by the bands’ original design collaborator – Julian House, director of creative agency ‘Intro’, using elements & samples from their iconic ‘Simple Things’ album artwork. The sleeves will also be colour coded & placed into a cruciform overwrap sleeve with heavyweight vinyl. This is the 1st time some of these tracks havel be made available on vinyl & all of them have never been cut as 7 s. Side A. Destiny (ft. Sia & Sophie Barker) Side B. In The Waiting Line (ft. Sophie Barker) Side C. Distractions (ft. Sia) Side D. I Have Seen (ft. Mozez) Side E. Home (ft. Tina Dico)Side F. In Time (ft. Sophie Barker) Side G. Somersault Part 1 (ft. Sia)Side H. Somersault Part 2 (ft. Sia)Side I. Futures (ft. José González) Side J. Pageant Of The Bizarre (ft. Sia) Side K. Today (ft. José González) Side L. Dreaming (ft. Sia) Side M. Swing (ft. Binki Shapiro) Side N. Pop Art Blue (ft. Martha Tilston)

 

At a rough guess, based on previous RSD’s, that is about £675 of records, which means I will need to be more selective. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you would like anyway, if you aren’t near the front of the queue you won’t get everything you want and there is no guarantee that the store will have all the releases anyway, it is often very much about how lucky you get that day. I’ve just gone back and marked ‘Must have’s’ with ==> which lessens any financial blow but not a very small bundle of anxiety that is, ridiculously, already starting to build.

The full list can be found here: https://recordstoreday.co.uk/releases/rsd-2018/?p=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charity Shop visit

Popped into a couple of Charity shops at lunch time where I usually find some oddities or oldies that I fancy listening to, had a bit better luck today though, check it out:

Teenagers have no taste, quite rightly

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about albums I used to own but don’t own anymore. I really have no clue what happened to most of them and their absence means I never really think about them so it’s actually quite difficult to recall what I did and didn’t have. Every now and again a memory will pop up for any number of reasons, not least of which are a couple of Facebook groups where people post pictures of the records they are currently playing and I’ll be scrolling disinterestedly past and suddenly see something and the realisation will come that I bloody well used to have that.

Exactly this happened last week when I was scrolling, scrolling. scrolling and suddenly stopped on this album cover:
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I bloody well had this! I remember having it, though where the hell I got it from I don’t know, then I remember not having it, so where the hell it went I don’t know either. What I do know is that I loved it at the time, so I was probably > 13 but < 16, a very specific time frame within the teen years. Looking back at it now I can appreciate that if you took away the makeup and the costumes, the pyrotechnics etc. then it would be an entirely different proposition than what it was, because in that teen age bracket, it was bloody brilliant, it really was. KISS came along at just the right time with the advent of Stadium Rock where radio stations and promoters were looking for bands to fill large venues. The make-up and the personae were bang on for the early to mid seventies with glam rock breaking around the same time. The music itself, bog ordinary Rock ‘N’ Roll packed full of sexual innuendo, again, bang on for the teen time frame. I loved it.

I don’t know if anybody else remembers how special the discovery of new music was back before the internet when it was all word of mouth or from Sounds, NME or Melody Maker, but it had a different feel about it, as though by discovering it entirely for yourself pretty much with very little to go on it made it’s discovery more special and, odd though it may sound, there was a sort of glow about it, but it was an audio glow. It’s very difficult to describe but this is what happened when I played this album. There were only ever the smallest snippets of information about the band and they would never be on the TV or radio, at least not in the UK, so it was like being part of a secret club in some ways.

I make no apology for liking KISS, or at least early KISS (Unmasked was the latest album I’ve owned and that was 1980, which means I was 13 and I had Alive II first, so maybe I was 11 or 12 when I got it) because, even though to many it is tasteless shite, it was a part of what shaped my tastes and helped me on the path to enjoying, to different degrees, almost everything!

I mean, be honest, if you were a teenage boy you’d lap this shit up wouldn’t you?

Oh, and yes, I bought a replacement copy. Shut up.

 

Spinning some 45’s

Sunday afternoons are a good time to spin a few 45’s, starting with this one:

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Tricky ft PJ Harvey – Broken Homes (B-Side)
Gary Numan – I Die You Die
The Sisters of Mercy – Temple of Love (1992)
The Dickies – Banana Splits
Talking Heads – Once In A lifetime
Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
Blondie – Dreaming
The Tubes – White Punks On Dope
The Raconteurs – Steady As She goes
Sinead O’Connor – Jump In The River (B- Side)
The Cure – The Exploding Boy (B-Side)
David Bowie – Cracked Actor – (B-Side)
Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
Martha & The Muffins – Echo Beach
Black Uhuru – The Great Train Robbery
Spiritualized – Soul On Fire
Bjork & David Arnold – Play Dead
Siouxsie & The Banshees – Christine
John Foxx – Underpass
Mogwai -Party In The Dark
Lena Lovich – Joan
Catatonia _ Game On
David Bowie – DJ
Killing Joke – Sanity
P.I.L. – Rise
Prince – When Doves Cry
The Smiths – The Boy With The Thorn In His Side

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1136278651/playlist/1MiMPfu9CXy8hQitsl7Kvv

This is why I’ve never been asked to DJ at a wedding, the dance floor would rarely be occupied, which, in a way,I’d be quite pleased about.

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Kate Bush – The Kick Inside

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One of the best debut albums ever I should think.

It’s incredible to me that she was only 19 years old. and had written some of the songs when she was only 13. I was 11 when this came out and was very weirded out by her top of the pops appearance performing Wuthering Heights as I, and pretty much everybody else, had never heard anything like it before. I think that, early on, the TV sketches taking the mickey out of her detracted from just how extraordinary she was, although perhaps that the sketches existed at all were testament to the impact she made.

So that one was actually quite clever but the next one, by Faith Brown is shite, I never found her funny so perhaps it’s just me but everything she did was just really obvious I thought and her impressions were tosh:

Anyway, enough of all that. Here is the full album, using a lot of live performances.It was quite a while ago so the film quality varies but it is all quite listenable.

It really is a quite extraordinary set of songs, some of which have very strong hooks and some are a little more contemplative and warrant a more concentrated listen as lyrically they really are very interesting.

SIDE 1

Track 1: Moving 3:08

Dedicated to Lindsay Kemp, a dance instructor, who inspired her to use her body in videos to represent her songs. The use of Whale song is, according to an interview with Sounds; “Whales say everything about ‘moving’. It’s huge and beautiful, intelligent, soft inside a tough body. It weighs a ton and yet it’s so light it floats. It’s the whole thing about human communication—’moving liquid, yet you are just as water’—what the Chinese say about being the cup the water moves in to. The whales are pure movement and pure sound, calling for something, so lonely and sad …”

Moving liquid, yes, you are just as water
You flow around all that comes in your way
Don’t think it over, it always takes you over
And sets your spirit dancing

Track 2: The Saxophone Song 3:44

This was one of her earliest compositions, written when she was about fifteen, in an interview she said “…I love saxophones so I wanted to write a song about them… The perfect setting was this smokey bar in Berlin with nobody listening except me in the corner…”

A surly lady in tremor 
The stars that climb from her bowels
Those stars make towers on vowels
You’ll never know that you had all of me
You’ll never see the poetry you’ve stirred in me
Of all the stars I’ve seen that shine so brightly
I’ve never known or felt, in myself, so rightly

Track 3: Strange Phenomena 2:58

This track speaks about déjà vu, synchronicity and how coincidences sometimes cluster together in seemingly meaningful ways. It has been described as a ‘frank paean to menstruation” by The Guardian.

Soon it will be the phase of the moon
When people tune in
Every girl knows about the punctual blues
But who’s to know the power
Behind our moves 

Track4: Kite 3:00

On the one hand, The narrator is tired of life and stress and wishes she were a kite so she could fly and not have worries. Her wish is granted but she soon longs for the safety ground again. On the other hand, this song is about a sacramental mushroom experience, specifically amanita muscaria. “Beelzebub” is a nickname for this fungus and it is mentioned in the Bible. I suspect it is the latter:

Beelzebub is aching in my belly-o
My feet are heavy and I’m rooted in my wellios
And I want to get away and go
From all these mirror windows

Track 5: The Man With The Child In His Eyes 2:40

She explained this song herself when interviewed on TV: “Oh! well it, its something that I feel about men generally (sorry about this folks) that a lot of men have got a child inside of them, you know? they’re more or less just …grown up kids… and that its… its a very… (delayed laughter from audience), no, no! its a very, very good quality… its really good because a lot of women grow up and get far too responsible and its really nice to keep that delight in wonderful things that children have, and thats what i was trying to say;… that this man can communicate with a younger girl because… he’s on the same level”

I hear him, 
Before I go to sleep,
And focus on the day that’s been,
I realize he’s there,
When I turn the light off,
And turn over,
Nobody knows about my man,
They think he’s lost on some horizon

Track 6: Wuthering Heights 4:25

This is based on Emily Bronte’s classic book of the same name. The song pretty much tells the same story as the book, only at a much higher pitch. In the book, two young people, Catherine and Heathcliff, are brought together and become lovers. Along the way, they struggle with issues of class and family. Wuthering Heights was Bronte’s only novel, although she did publish some poems.

This was a huge hit of course, and I’ve heard it many hundreds of times, but some chap slowed it down so it is 36 minutes long and it turns into a quite extraordinary soundscape that I wouldn’t mind having a copy of, listen for yourself:

SIDE 2:

Track 1: James And The Cold Gun 3:33

EMI wanted this to be the first single taken from the album but Bush insisted it be Wuthering Heights, she was right of course, but this is still one of my favourite tracks of hers. The song was inspired by a contemporary thriller, The Day Of The Jackal. Based on the book of the same name by English author Frederick Forsyth, well that’s one interpretation anyway.

James, come on home
You’ve been gone too long baby
We can’t let our hero die alone
We miss you day and night
You left town to live by the rifle
You left us to fight
But it just ain’t right to take away the light

Track 2: Feel It 3:04

In this track Bush sings openly about sexuality, “It’s not such an open thing for women to be physically attracted to the male body and fantasize about it,” she told Phil Sutcliffe in 1980. “To me the male body is absolutely beautiful.”  Bush added that with this and a few other songs, she expressed desire, “so bottled up you have to relieve it, as if you were crying.”

After the party, you took me back to your parlour
A little nervous laughter
Locking the door
My stockings fall onto the floor
Desperate for more
Nobody else can share this
Here comes one and one makes one
The glorious union, well, it could be love
Or it could be just lust
But it will be fun
It will be wonderful

Track 3: Oh To Be In Love 3:19

The feeling of being in love with someone and never being able to fall out of love with them, but becoming trapped in this situation. How it can be anyone at anytime, a completely random event.

I could have been anyone
You could have been anyone’s dream
Why did you have to choose our moment?
Why did you have to make me feel that?
Why did you make it so unreal? 

Track 4: L’Amour Looks Something Like You 2:27

Almost certainly about a one night stand, but who really knows with Kate Bush, it could have an entirely different meaning.

You came out of the night
Wearing a mask in white colour
My eyes were shining on the wine
And your aura
All in order we move into the boudoir
But too soon the morning has resumed 

Track 5: Them Heavy People 3:05

It could be that she is singing about being in therapy, getting help from ‘heavy people’ therapist, psychologists, a lot of heavy talking to work on your mind. Rolling the ball to you because it’s always up to you yourself to do the hard work in therapy. Of course it could be a dozen other things, maybe actually having several meanings.

Rolling the ball, rolling the ball, rolling the ball to me
They arrived at an inconvenient time
I was hiding in a room in my mind
They made me look at myself
I saw it well, I’d shut the people out of my life
So now I take the opportunities
Wonderful teachers ready to teach me
I must work on my mind
For now I realise that everyone of us
Has a heaven inside 

Track 6: Room For The Life 4:03

She may be going against the position of many second-wave feminists in this song,  saying that women shouldn’t get down on themselves because of men, or it could be about about the womb, or both.

Hey there you lady in tears
Do you think that they care if they’re real, woman?
They just take it as part of the deal
Lost in your men and the games you play
Trying to prove that you’re better, woman
But you needn’t get heavy with them
Like it or not, we were built tough
Because we’re woman

Track 7: The Kick Inside 3:37

The original demo version of this track refers to “Lizzie Wan” (alternately “Lucy Wan”) is an 18th-century English/Irish folk ballad, best known as The Ballad of Lizzie Wan, which recounts the tragedy of Lizzie Wan, who falls in love with her brother and then kills herself while carrying his child. This doesn’t mean that this happened to her but she has always been very close to her brother and it could well be about feelings rather than actions.

I’m giving it all in a moment for you.
I’m giving it all in a moment or two.
I’m giving it all, giving it, giving it.
The kicking here inside
Makes me leave you behind.
No more under the quilt
To keep you warm.
Your sister I was born. Lose me.
You must lose me like an arrow,
Shot into the killer storm.

All of the above interpretations could be rubbish of course, and what is really important is what a song means to each listener and how they interpret it.

The US cover of the album is less interesting than the UK one I think and I don’t know why it had to be different, this is it, Kate Bush in a box:

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Apparently Tori Amos pays homage to this US cover with her debut, Little Earthquakes:

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It’s hard to believe that I’ve been listening to tracks from this album since 1978, that’s 40 years. I didn’t own it when it was first released, 11year olds don’t have that much disposable income, and I can’t remember when I got it but its been a lot of years now. A brilliant album.

Rating: 9.6

 

 

OGWT – My Episode

Having watched the OldGrey Whistle Test the other night I put together my own episode of some favourite performances from lots of different eras. There’s plenty more so I may do another.

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