26.11.09

SERGE GAINSBOURG : Les Annees Psychedeliques 1966-1971

Photobucket
Seems like this one went in & out of print in a jiffy. It's a strictly limited edition double vinyl set of Portugese origin (c/o cool as fuck boutique label, Le Smoke Disques) that cherrypicks the seriously groovy Gaelic freakfunk of the mighty Serge's druggy late 60s heydey (his most creative period as far as I'm concerned, though I don't pretend to be an authority). A suave 'n' sultry combo of timeless old favourites, super-scarce b-sides, quality unreleased session tracks & a handful of "bonus beat" workouts, it's all been carefully/faithfully remastered & sounds absolument fantastique. Highlights include selections from the Canabis, Mr Freedom, Manon 70 & La Pacha soundtracks, with a surfeit of driving proto-Can rhythms & acid-head orchestrations c/o Michel Colombier & Jean-Claude Vannier (L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches) - the original catalogue # (LSD-005) is simply the icing on the cake! Clued-in 6Ts shufflers will doubtless get a fair bit of mileage out of "Psychotenie" & "No No Yes Yes"'s infectious boogaloo, while fans of Air (who've regularly paid explicit homage to Gainsbourg in the past & recorded this marvellous LP with his daughter) will find "Danger" & "L'Alonette" of particular interest. I've still not decided whether "Requiem Pour Un Cont" is my favourite song ever or not (yes, another "favourite song ever"!) but it's definitely Top 10, & I certainly won't be disappointed if it's blaring out across the crematorium when my coffin's gliding solemnly towards the furnace doors...
Serge Seat
Serge Jane
Serge Camera
Cadavres en Serie

23.11.09

PiL : Bad Baby 22/4/80 Gildersleaves NYC


I've had a bootleg of this performance for a while (ta, Doomette) but didn't realise somebody had actually filmed it as well. Magnificent stuff, the classic PiL line-up at it's unassailable peak - Lydon looks like he's actually enjoying himself, Keith is still awake & Wobble is 100% amazing. Seriously, I could watch this all day... (N.B. Hang around for 5:45, it's priceless!)

21.11.09

BECK'S RECORD CLUB : The Songs Of Leonard Cohen

Photobucket
I only realised the other day that Beck has yet to release a greatest hits comp. - admirable restraint on his part considering the amount of bona fide "hits" he's actually scored (think about it) & the desperate straits the music business is in these days. He's got hours of other uncollated bits 'n' pieces floating about out there too - soundtrack contributions, tribute LPs, off-the-cuff cassette nonsense, etc - I feel a boxset comin' on! I'm rather impressed that he evidently doesn't deem such a predictably commercial measure necessary (so far anyway), though I'm sure Geffen/XL are gaggin' for one?

Moving on, here's the complete second volume of his ongoing, exemplary Record Club project - "an informal meeting of various musicians to record an album in a day" (i.e. they're winging it). This time 'round it's Leonard Cohen's 1967 debut, covered in it's entirety with help from Devendra Banhart, MGMT (!!), Wolfmother (!! x 1,000,000) & various other semi-vacant faux-entities I don't profess to have even a fleeting interest in. The music's good though. Most likely to upset the Cohen faithful are the eye-opening adaptions of "Master Song" (which might've crawled out of Midnight Vultures' neon rubble) & "Teachers" (sounding like it's being simultaneously hijacked by Wavves & Os Mutantes). "Stranger Song", possibily my personal Cohen fav, could be The Go!Team slowly spaghetti-ing backwards into a black hole (for better or worse). It's a faithful, often lovely, recitation of the album overall, though not quite as distinguished as the series' inaugeral entry - too many non-Beck vocals this time 'round & the "party" chit-chat occasionally rankles. As does the sound of Devenda Banhart picking weevils out of his lavish beard...
Photobucket
No sign of this, or the previous Velvet Underground installment, for sale online yet - for the time being at least it'd appear that he's doing this purely for the fun of it, obviously fully aware that the results will ultimately end up being railroaded by crummy blogs like this 'un. The third installment is already well underway & finds Hansen Esq. contemplating Skip Spence's Oar with Wilco (inc. Jeff Tweedy's son!), Jamie Liddell & Feist (amongst others) in tow - Beck previously ran through Spence's "Halo Of Gold" on the More Oar tribute LP a few years back of course (you can find it on the "Tropicalia" single too). Unlike the Banana & Cohen albums, Oar has never been a particular favourite of mine, I've always found it's unavoidably voyeuristic exploration/exploitation of Spence's mental issues a little too explicit tbh, so it'll be interesting to see if these covers revise my opinion at all.
Photobucket
Conceivably, Record Club #4 could be Sonic Youth's E.V.O.L. (according to Rolling Stone anyway), & if his cover of "Green Light" for Record Store Day earlier this year is anything to go by it'll be way more than merely "okay"(pay no mind to Sonic Youth's contribution though, it's abysmal). While we're waiting for #4 (& the imminent Charlotte Gainsbourg LP that he's produced & co-written), you could do worse than cast a palsied eye over this spiffing Beck blog, the alternate (& superior) Modern Guilt sleeve designs are worth a few mins of anybody's time for starters...

LEN

13.11.09

ADAM & THE ANTS : Music For A Future Age (Demos 1977-78)

Photobucket
Circa 1978, The Ants were one of the country's greatest unsigned bands. Adam Ant, the punk rock epitome of literature's "wicked boy" at this point, was haemorrhaging tons of decadent & provocative songs, the band honing them to perfection during a protracted stretch of intense & tribalistic live performances (there's a terrific 1978 show from The Marquee here). In more than one instance I've heard period punk pundits claim that 1977 was a curiously sex-free "revolution", most of it's participants having indulged in too much amphetamine sulphate to engage in any kind of passionate post-pogo tryst, but The Ants certainly seem to have found plenty of time for (ahem) "fun" if Adam's tenaciously priapic lyrics are anything to go by. As you're probably already aware, Malcom McLaren swiped this version of The Ants from under Adam's unsuspecting nose for his rather half-baked Bow Wow Wow debacle ('cept for the brilliant Andy Warren - aka Kurt Van Den Bogarde - who fortuitously defected to The Monochrome Set & currently performs with the Would-Be-Goods). Sadly, now that Decca's much-delayed Young Man Rocking boxset seems unlikely to ever appear (I've no idea whether the cold feet responsible belong to Adam or the label), it's scurrilous archives like this one that ensure the seminal Antz banner remains aloft. AvANTi!
Photobucket
Photobucket
This exhaustive sequence of demos has been previously released under the title Who Taught You To Torture (a line from the classic "Whip In My Valise" of course) &, though it's not quite complete (no "Send A Letter To Jordan" or "Juanito The Bandito", though you can probably live without hearing the latter tbh), virtually every half decent pre-Do It, pre-Dirk Wears White Sox song is included. A mere handful of these tracks turned up, very nicely remastered, on the Antbox compilation a few years back (the excellence of which makes the cancellation of Young Man Rocking even more agonising), but that still leaves criminally discarded "lost" songs like "Il Duce", "Punk In The Supermarket"", "Mice In Freefall" & the titular "Dirk Wears White Sox" itself for you to swoon over. Though The Ants had ditched most of these songs by the time they came to record that debut LP (because they were worried about being forever typecast as kinky artschool Nazi fetishists?), Adam later milked these early recordings for numerous b-sides at the height of Antmania with Marco Pirroni on hand - hence you'll discover a blistering version of "Beat My Guest" if you flip "Stand & Deliver" over, a full-pelt "Fall-In" on "Antmusic"'s b-side, & the fantastically unpleasant "Red Scab" twinned with "Goody Two Shoes"(!). "Greta-X", another terrific seminal Ants number (not included here unfortunately), was remodelled as late as 1985, complimenting Adam's so-so "Vive Le Rock" single. Interestingly, "Fall In" is so early that it's actually been attributed to one of Adam's pre-Ants bands, The B-Sides - it's inclusion on the "Antmusic" 7" earned fellow B-Sider (& later sickeningly gifted Monochrome Set lead guitarist) Lester Square a co-write, which must've been worth a few bob I'd imagine? And that's genuine Antz headed notepaper reproduced immediately below - rather fetching, eh?
Photobucket
Ants77
AdamJord77
N.B. No idea where these files originated btw (I found them on Filecrop), but the original poster's sterling work warrants a friendly nippletweak at least...

Part 1 / Part 2

1.11.09

URBAN IMAGE ARCHIVE

Sioux
Slits
Photobucket
Wire
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Devo
Ubu
Check out Urban Image's terrific site for stacks more amazing period photographs like this lot (you'll have to register to access the whole archive but all they want to do is send you an occasional newsletter I think?) - the Slits & McClaren galleries are my favourites I think? There's a ton of other areas covered too, i.e. not just punk / post-punk, defo worth an eyeball when you have an hour spare...

Top to bottom: Siouxsie Sioux, The Slits, Suicide, Wire, Malcom McLaren, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Magazine, Elvis Costello, Gang Of 4, The Blockheads, Mark Mothersbaugh & Crocus Behemoth.

www.urbanimage.tv