29.6.10

THE HUMAN LEAGUE : On Viennese TV (1980)

The original Human League, recorded live for Viennese TV in 1980 & rescued from a 30 year old VHS tape (though not by me, I should add). Quality is pretty shaky but, like me, you've probably become accustomed to leftfield musical artefacts of this vintage displaying mandatory built-in cassette wobble? You're unlikely to find visual documentation of their "Perfect Day" cover (later adapted by the B.E.F. for Music Of Quality & Distinction Vol.1) anywhere else I reckon, so make the most of it...

26.6.10

RIP RIG + PANIC : Go, Go, Go! (This Is It) 7" (1981)

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They say one's mental faculties are the first thing to go &, as I get older & increasingly jaded, Rip Rig + Panic begin to make more & more sense. I dunno if I'm comfortable with that or not...

I can remember RR+P being all over the music press when I was a kid - they even made it into Smash Hits I think? - but I have to shamefacedly concede that I only got 'round to listening to them a decade or so ago. "Go, Go, Go! (This Is It") was their 1981 debut, a 7" on Virgin, & though not quite as out there as they later ventured it remains a stupefying matrimony of The Face's Hard Times funk agenda & Albert Ayler's ESP skronk. It's a fantastic bloody mess, a full-on voodoo invocation almost, God bless Branson for pulling his wallet out & granting Gareth Sager & co. day release from whichever high security retreat they were doing time in to record it. The b-side's called "The Ultimate In Fun (Is Going To The Disco With My Baby)", a title that still virtually drips with sarcasm. And the sleeve illo's a saucy little number by some guy called Leonardo Da Vinci (he's like Banksy but older).

RR+P's entire back catalogue has finally been reissued, albeit only digitally c/o iDoom, et al. 99p a track seems a bit rich however, so I'd perhaps suggest that you use the snippets available on there to assess whether RR+P are your thing or not, & then hunt down all the original vinyl via eBay (most of it pops up quite frequently). Accordingly, next time you see Sager propping up the bar in some tatty London boozer, buy him a pint or 3 to balance the books royalties-wise.


P.S. I've just amended this post from way back & updated the links to include the extended 12" mix (it's not included with the current reissues).

25.6.10

FLYING SAUCER ATTACK : Outdoor Miner 7" (1995)

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Back in the mid 90s, at the height of their prolificacy, Bristol's Flying Saucer Attack were knocking out 7"s in such manic abundance that it was a full-time job keeping up with them (especially if you were signing on as I was). Despite a couple of carefully collated anthologies, several of these singles have been regrettably overlooked, including one of my personal favourites, 1995's "Outdoor Miner"/"Psychic Driving" (c/o Domino I believe?). Up top is a dreamy, fuzzy, & perhaps slightly pointless cover of one of Wire's greatest songs. Though a pleasant enough attempt, I'm sure they realised from the offset that they'd not be able to improve on the flawless original. Underneath, literally on the dark side, lurks an archetypal piece of opaque FSA bad trip shoegazery, at which they'd become assuredly adept by this point. Not a groundbreaking record on anybody's terms, least of all FSA's, but it's sad to think this might've been allowed to slip away into total obscurity unlamented, hence this little reminder...

N.B. Lovers of "Outdoor Miner" might be curious to hear this.

24.6.10

FACTORY FLOOR : Aeromodelling Club (2007)

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Lots of interest in my Factory Floor post from earlier this month. Good to see that not everybody is worshipping at the scutty altar of Aerial bloody Pink or, worse still, eyeing up the crummy new LCD Soundsystem LP for hipster sustenance. I've had a couple of requests to put up Factory Floor's subsequent releases but would prefer not to as they're all still in print - that said, the Planning Application 12" is already becoming very difficult to acquire (buy it now while you still have the chance, it's my favourite release by them so far). I'll gladly share this curiosity with you though - a very early F.F. track from some compilation or other, that's long since drifted back into obscurity. I've not been able to surmise from where it originates exactly, so drop me a line if you have any concrete info please! It was recorded when the band where still a duo I think &, though it's not a patch on their current direction, it certainly makes an interesting digression...

20.6.10

THE NECTARINE NO.9 : Hanging Around (Remodel) (2005)

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The Nectarine No.9 have been back on the playlist 'round here recently, I'm pleased to announce. The brainchild of Fire Engines visionary Davey Henderson, & an understandably laconic reaction to his painful major label tribulations with the massively underrated Win in the late 80s (there's an alternate universe out there somewhere where Win are as gargantuan as U2 y'know), The Nectarine No.9's puzzling commercial failure remains one of the 1990s' great musical anomalies. Initially bankrolled by Alan Horne's Postcard label during it's brief rejuvenation in the mid 90s, & knee-deep in critical plaudits, The Nectarine No.9 seemed like surefire contenders for Official Coolest Band In The World Ever, their V.U. / Van Vliet / Bill Burroughs-instilled art school glam rock deadset - in theory, at least - on satiating both Mr. Mojo Reader & Ms. Artrocker Hipster alike. Sadly, 'twas not to be, & following a decade's worth of often tremendous (but totally ignored) LPs, Henderson & co. finally seemed to lose heart & admit defeat. Their final album, I Love Total Destruction (harumph!), remains one of their finest but limped into the nation's weather beaten record shops almost apologetically (or so it seemed). The band had already ceased to exist by the time "Hanging Around", one of the LPs most accessible songs, had been overhauled & readied for single release. It's projected flip, a rough 'n' ready stagger through a Sun Ra classic, still sounds marvellously deranged. As far as I can surmise, the single only ever existed in promo form, copies of which can occasionally by found on eBay for mere pence (tsk). As a swansong it's surprisingly upbeat & celebratory, & provides a seamless segue into Henderson's current outfit, The Sexual Objects, who are essentially more of the same musically but with a heavier emphasis on Bolan & early Modern Lovers. As with all of Henderson's bands to date, long term collaborators from his Fire Engines, Win & The Nectarine No.9 remain steadfastly on board. The handful of limited edition 7"s they've released to date have all immediately sold out, & supposition suggests that they're preparing an LP as we speak - don't miss out again will you?

P.S. Whatever happened to Jock Scot?

19.6.10

MARK STEWART & THE MAFFIA : Jerusalem 12" (1982)

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Picked this up for a couple of quid yesterday. It's the initial pressing, packaged in a Crass-style fold-out sleeve & apparently quite r.a.r.e. nowadays, though I really wouldn't know tbh. I've been a fan of Mark Stewart since the early 80s, from the very first time I heard Peel play this benchmark 12" basically. As I was slightly too young to be aware of his earlier tenure in The Pop Group back then, Stewart - & this single - seemed to loom out of nowhere without prior warning, gouging a deep & enduring impression. It's almost certainly the first On-U Sound release I heard too, & Adrian Sherwood's splintered, claustrophobic production job still sounds like the musical equivalent of an inner city riot.

Though Learning To Cope With Cowardice, "Jerusalem"'s mother LP, is a longtime favourite, my copy's on vinyl & has therefore been reluctantly archived in The Shed so it's a genuine thrill to hear this again (particularly in it's original, intended 12" format). Point of interest: "High Ideals + Crazy Dreams", sequenced here medley-style with "Jerusalem" itself, only appeared on the single. The flip, "Welcome To Liberty City", is the same version you'll find on Learning To Cope With Cowardice, so there's no need for me to upload it here.

On/Off, Toni Schifer's long promised Mark Stewart biopic premiered in April. Schifer reportedly spent 2 long years trailing Stewart & picking his Byzantine brain, so it promises to be compelling viewing. No DVD release in sight as yet however.

18.6.10

PETER COOK & DUDLEY MOORE : The L.S. Bumblebee (1967)

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Just when you thought the 1960s couldn't get any stranger... Have a listen to this brilliant & hilarious 7" from messers Cook & Moore (aka Derek & Clive), recorded in late '66 for their Not Only... But Also... Christmas special & released early the following year (around the same time as they were filming their appearance in Stanley Donen's Bedazzled in fact). Hanging around Cook's wildly popular comedy club, The Establishment, the duo evidently witnessed mid 60s London at it's most swingingest, hence their satire of English kaleidoscopic whimsy is absolutely bang-on target ("Oh, druggy druggy, freak out, baby" - God knows what Decca must've thought!). That said, it actually pre-dates Sgt. Pepper by at least 6 months, & Moore has claimed that it was actually intended as a parody of Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys rather than paisley-decked, acid-steeped psychedelic London. Surprisingly "The L.S. Bumblebee" failed to chart, & was in & out of print so quickly that by the mid 70s bootleggers were attempting to pass it off as a Beatles out-take!

12.6.10

FOLK DEVILS : Hanks Turns Blue 7" (1984)

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Though Folk Devils weren't necessarily revered in their time, it seems like everybody who loved them back then (in the mid-late 1980s) is still borderline evangelical about them now. Formed by the late, great Ian Lowrey from the wreckage of the promising (but short-lived) Ski Patrol, Folk Devils' debut was this rabble-rousing 7" double whammy on Ganges Records (bankrolled by Ray Ganges of Rude Boy fame). Allegedly recorded for £180 (the band's combined dole money), it's a seditious, sinewy marriage of inflammatory punk & alcohol-ravaged blues. Imagine Jeffrey Lee Pierce's Gun Club, circa Fire of Love, bloodied, high on something cheap & unpleasant, & stalking the streets of Notting Hill afterhours. John Peel quite rightly adored them, playing the 7" to death & booking them in for 3 legendarily snotty sessions in quick succession. Quite why they remain unreleased, & their 3/4 singles out of print, is anybody's guess.

11.6.10

BORIS : Buzz In (Optimo Remix) (2009)

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Continuing the techno/psychedelia crossover, I've just unearthed this intriguing hook-up between spaced-out Japanese metallers Boris & JD Twitch, one half of Glasgow's ever-versatile Optimo (who seem as happy remixing Flux Of Pink Indians 7"s as they are DJ-ing back-to-back with Ivan Smagghe these days). Commissioned as part of Scion's A/V remix project (it's called "doing a corporate" I believe?), it actually dates from last August so I've been dismally slow on the uptake this time 'round. Twitch's overhaul is characteristically radical: "Buzz In" originally appeared on Boris' Smile LP in standard "rock" form. His remix dispenses with practically the entire track, rendering it virtually unrecognisable while tripling it's length. I'm only a couple of plays into it as I type & am not quite sure what I make of it yet, it's certainly rather euphoric. First impressions? I'm vaguely reminded of the KLF - not sure why! - & I'd definitely be much happier if the final minute of Fennesz-esque electro-ambient wash was an hour or so longer. Am sure it makes much more sense on a massive system so, as I'm off to see Twitch here tonight, fingers crossed he'll do the honours? Tally ho.

10.6.10

THE PASTELS : Marc Riley Session 10th March 2010

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Nice to know that The Pastels are still out there somewhere, eh? It's now 13 years since their last "proper" album, 1997's Illumination, a siesta of Axl Rose proportions. Not to dismiss 2002's The Last Great Wilderness set - it's one of their loveliest records but is, of course, a soundtrack rather than a collection of Pastels songs. And their collaboration with Tenniscoats, though charming naturally, compromises The Pastels' core sound somewhat. I'm assuming that the lack of a new Pastels LP is down to their perfectionism rather than simple lethargy?

Currently comprised of just Stephen & Katrina, with a pool of occasional contributors constantly at hand, they're apparently "still working on a new LP for Domino", due Godsknowswhen. Perhaps these 3 charming songs will be on it? For want of a metaphor, I've turned to their Myspace page where they describe their "accidental sound" as "gentle clang" & "sudden suddenness", & who am I to take issue with that?
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I've Still Got My Pastels Badge

6.6.10

FACTORY FLOOR : Bipolar 7" (2008)

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"East London post punk posers" Factory Floor seem pretty much ubiquitous at present. They've already toured with Liars, Cold Cave, The Horrors & (splutter) Fuck Buttons, & both The Guardian & NME were quick to pick up on them & enthusiastically sing their praises (at inordinate length). I await their worryingly foreordained appearance on Later... with a sense of impending doom. Though I'd normally be gravely concerned by delirious hype from such dubious quarters, Factory Floor seem sufficiently ambitious, talented, & no-nonsense that I'm confident they'll eventually shake off the hangers-on. They're currently in bed with Blast First Petite & seem intent on pursuing a much more brutal, electronic/Industrial direction (with remixes by Chris Carter & New Order's Steven Morris in the offing) than the guitar-driven angularity of their earlier, post punk-referencing recordings. Either way, it's hardly the sort of thing to endear them to T4's numbskull audience &, thereby, I'm not prepared to write Factory Floor off as fly-by-night hipster fodder just yet.

Typically, it's those earlier releases that I'm slightly more fond of, particularly last year's excellent Planning Application 12" (out of print in theory, but still up for grabs if you turn over a few rocks). 2008's Bipolar was their debut, a swiftly deleted single on their own Outside Sound label. An edition of 500 orange vinyl 7"s, it's already long gone.