Sunday, 22 April 2007
I recently purchased Lenny Kaye's 'Nuggets' compilation which got reissued a few years ago now. It's basically a collection of some rare, and some not so rare, psychedelic garage rock songs for the years 1965-1968. It's got some excellent tunes on their, with some excellent fuzz box guitar work and Hammond organs. Some of the better known stuff includes things like 'I Had too Much to Dream Last Night' by the Electric Prunes, which is obviously fabulous,'Psychotic Reaction' by Count Five, 'Liar Liar' by The Castaways, and 'You're Gonna Miss Me' by 13th Floor Elevators which are brilliant. But it also has some stuff on there which I hadn't heard before. There are some excellent cover versions. A dirty, garage version of 'Respect' by The Vagrants, which, in my opinion, is probably better than the original Otis Redding version, but I'm not sure anyone is going to beat Aretha's. There is also a wicked version of 'Hey Joe' which has been sped up and rearranged in a 2 and a half minute pop song with fuzzy guitars by The Leaves. I strongly recommend you go out and try and get hold of this, obviously the easiest way is going to be this compilation, but you never know, picking it up on 7" would be bringing sexy back. It is mainly the whole vibe of the compilation that is attractive though. All these bands literally writing tunes in their parent's garage, possibly after school or college, and it coming out with some fantastic rock and roll that is all under 4 minutes long. Concentrated rock and roll. Fantastic. It's this scene that bought us people like The Stooges, the MC5 and many others, and for that, Ladies and Gentlemen, we should be eternally grateful.
Some of the bands here have been really helped by this compilation, albeit about 40 years to late, but still. People like the Electric Prunes wouldn't have been reissued I don't think if it wasn't for this compilation, and I must go out and get some of these bands records, as this is a good taste, but there is more to dig underneath
Meanwhile, Patti Smith has released a covers album, which although initially sounds like a bad thing, it's actually really rather good. Some of the covers, such as 'Gimme Shelter' are a bit standard, but her voice is holding up. It is really the covers that she has changed a bit though that really stand out. There is a fucking blinding version of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' which is almost unrecognisable. It has got some of her bizarre poetry at the end, is really slowed down, and her voice is fantastic on the whole track. It is worth purchasing for this cover alone. There are also blinding versions of 'Are You Experienced?' and 'White Rabbit' to name a few, so go out and buy that.
I am also currently listening to 'Loveless' by My Bloody Valentine a lot at the moment. 'Only Shallow', 'I Only Said', and 'Come in Alone' are magical. The other thing that is being regularly played is the song 'Staralfur' by Sigur Ros. Now I am going to admit I don't know a great deal about Sigur Ros, so if anyone has any recommendations about where to start etc, that would be nice. I am going to borrow 'Takk...' of a friend, so don't worry about recommending me that one. I have also just found out that The Fall were once offered a recording contract by none other than Tamla Motown. How good is that? Apparently it was the offensive lyrics at the start of 'The Classical' that put them off. Shame.
Also, for some reason I can only get it to come up with lots of options for this weeks T.V Eye, but basically it is the top one that I want people to watch. This tune is brilliant and funny, and it is a cool video. It is definitely in my next DJ set.
Currently listening to 'Hex Enduction Hour' by The Fall
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
Animal Collective are fantastic. They make beautiful, interesting music. It is so refreshing to hear something so odd and beautiful and hazy as Animal Collective in a musical world dominated by the likes of The Kooks and all the other dribble of indie music. They sing songs about silly things, and make them seem like the most important things in the world. All their songs build up majestically but always surprise you, never going for the obvious build up with climax, but just being magical. The explosion of sounds on 'Banshee Beat' when they sing the line "going down to find the swimming pool" is just the best. The group are known as Animal Collective because they are just that, a collective. The line up usually consists of Avey Tare, Geologist, Deakin and Panda Bear, but isn't concrete. Panda Bear releases plenty of solo stuff, and everyone has hands in all sorts of projects. Anyway, they are refreshingly good, beautiful harmonies and perfect fodder for a sunny spell like we are currently in.
They remind me of a dreamy cross between more recent Flaming Lips, a very good thing indeed, the gentler side of the Velvets, an equally good thing, The Beach Boys, Modest Mouse and TV on the Radio, who are fucking fantastic also. When I first heard AC I didn't think too much of them, so don't worry if you don't get them straight away, but for anyone who is a fan of the bands I just mentioned, or are just generally interested in properly interesting music, as opposed to boring music, then you should listen. I think they are doing ok in America, but I feel they are a bit less known over here in the UK, but obviously not being in America it's kind of hard to tell how well bands are coping. Their latest record, 'Feels' is probably a good place to start, but they have 7 to choose from, though I haven't heard them all. They also run a record label called Paw Tracks which releases some of their stuff aswell as other artists. If you want real information, rather than just a ramble, then myspace or wikipedia are probably the best places to start. I can't be bothered to give you the details and tracklistings and labels etc of all their releases.
I've also managed to blag tickets to go and see the Maccabees at the Old Market in Brighton tomorrow night, though not through the readership levels of this blog (ha!), which I am looking forward to. It's a semi-homecoming gig for the band. The last time they played Brighton it was at the Concorde, and thorough mayhem insued. Fighting with bouncers, singing along, girls getting punched, police, the lot. Mainly the bouncers fault I hasten to add, but it was rock and roll. They are getting ready to release their debut album 'Colour It In' which is sure to be the indie kids record of the summer. So that will be nice. I haven't been to a show in a while, due to the last two shows I planned to go and see both rescheduled for May, rubbish. I'm sure you'll get some form of review from me after the show.
Currently listening to 'Sung Tongs' by Animal Collective
Saturday, 14 April 2007
A new T.V Eye for you to all watch. This is Rod Stewart and the Faces doing their version of 'Maybe I'm Amazed' on Sounds for Saturday in, I think, 1972. It's excellent. It also ties in with my new Faces blog. Cool.
Currently listening to 'The Hunter' by Free
Currently listening to 'The Hunter' by Free
Friday, 13 April 2007
The Small Faces were one of the mod bands of the '60's, but with truckloads more talent than most of their peers, except obviously The Who. Steve Marriott and the boys have so many good tunes, that most people have forgotten. All you hear these days is 'Itchycoo Park' and maybe 'All or Nothing' which are both amazing, but don't really do them justice. They started out with success in the singles charts, with 'Whatcha Gonna Do About It' and other brilliant '60's pop songs. Marriott can either do his cockney voice, which is witty and suits the pop numbers, or belt out a pre Robert Plant wail, for the harder stuff. But it was their concept album of 1968, 'Ogdens Nut Gone Flake', that really marks them out. You need this album. It's a psychedelic trip out, music ranging from gentle ballads, to full on rock and roll, complete with compering in between tracks from the legendary Stanley Unwin, which consists of words mixed up and muddled up in his own inimitable way, telling vaguely of a story about a guy called Stan. Just listen.
Eventually though, when the band realised that what they had made in the studio was unable to be played live, Marriott got disillusioned with his band, and eventually left to join Humble Pie. And this is where the story gets sweeter. Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart heard of this, and both being big fans of the Small Faces, they tried rescuing the band, creating just simply The Faces. The Faces are rock and roll. They drink booze, they shag women and they play guitar. Brilliant. With tunes like 'Stay With Me' and a fantastic version of 'Street Fighting Man', you have to hear the Faces. Whatever Rod Stewart has done since, no matter how unforgivable (four volumes of the American Songbook? Fuck off, he is from Scotland) The Faces are brilliant. John Peel thought they were the best live band he has ever seen. And I wouldn't argue with him, would you? There is also talk of a Faces reunion pretty soon, which would be cool. Ronnie Wood has said that there is a lot of red tape for them to get through first, but if he is talking about it, then it must be on the cards.
I saw a fantastic band on Wednesday night in Shoreditch, called the Daze, who if you get a chance to go and see then I strongly recommend it. They are rock and roll, the throw their guitars around, and its just fantastic. They have a myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/thedazelondon which you should check out. Listen to 'Shake' first.
Currently listening to 'After the Goldrush' by Neil Young
Monday, 9 April 2007
Despite my early decision to not go to Bestival due to financial reasons, you can probably guess that the announcement of The Scream as the final headliner just made it too good to miss. So the line-up is wicked, lots of my friends are going, hopefully the sun will shine. It is going to be beautiful. If you have never been to Bestival then I strongly advise you go. It's the most beautiful festival, all the signs are hand painted, there are massive banners everywhere and it just looks really cool. Everyone wants to have a good time. I've saw some quality performances there last year, namely Kid Creole and the Coconuts who were insanely good, Devendra Banhart and The Fall among others. You know the line up is going to be safe, as Rob Da Bank curates every year, as it is an offshoot of his Sunday Best record label, which is home to the likes of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis and the Dub Pistols, both of which I imagine will play. DJ's go on late into the night, including this year the mighty 2manyDjs. Also the website for the festival is the coolest in the world, bar none. Check it at www.bestival.net. See you there!
I have also enabled anyone to make comments about articles on here, so feel free to post a comment.
Currently listening to 'One World' by John Martyn
Sunday, 8 April 2007
There have been some new additions made to the blog of late, all of which can be found on the right hand side. A simple news feed with just the top music headlines on, named 'What Goes On' after the Velvet Underground track, and also T.V Eye, my YouTube video find of the week. These will be mainly concert performances of bands both old and new, but will also sometimes be any other form of music-related footage. They also might not always last a week. Suggestions welcome.
Currently listening to 'Crocodiles' by Echo and the Bunnymen
Currently listening to 'Crocodiles' by Echo and the Bunnymen
Primal Scream are rock and roll. I was first introduced to them properly, as opposed to hearing 'Rocks' on the radio, by my mate Shep, who had a minidisc with 'Screamadelica' on and the best tracks off 'Give Out But Don't Give Up' on and we listened to it at the school swimming gala in about year 9, which would have been 2002 I think. In the sunshine, with 'Loaded' or 'Movin' On Up' on, and it was fan-fucking-tastic. I have since become slightly obsessed. I think most music fans get obsessed about a few bands in their lifetime, for me it was Primal Scream and The Cooper Temple Clause when I was young and easily influenced, and I would, and still do, buy anything they do regardless of how good it is, and would also see them live at any opportunity. I have probably moved on slightly with my tastes, but my love for both these bands remains strong. Anyway, that was a tangent. I own every album Primal have every released, including their debut 'Sonic Flower Groove', which doesn't contain the track included on the famous C86 tape given away with NME in the 80's, 'Velocity Girl', which is probably why it didn't too well, and the self titled follow up 'Primal Scream' which includes 'I'm Losing More than I'll Ever Have' which got remixed by Andy Weatherall to become their breakthrough acid-house classic 'Loaded' which formed the direction for the 'Screamadelica' record. I also own 'Ivy Ivy Ivy' on 12" single, which is the lead off track from the second LP.
I know exactly the moment that I fell in love with Primal Scream. It wasn't on that sunny day by the pool, but it was infact when I went out and bought 'Screamadelica' after that day and put it on in my room, and the exact moment I fell in love with them is when the bass kicks in on track 2, their acid house cover of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators 'Slip Inside This House'. Genius. And every record has sounded different, they all have different vibes. 'Sonic Flower Groove' sounds like the Stone Roses, two years before them, 'Primal Scream' is garage rock, 'Screamadelica' is an acid house record, 'Give Out...' is a soul and blues record, 'Vanishing Point' is a trip-hop record, 'Echo Dek' is a dub version of 'Vanishing Point, 'XTRMNTR' is the most brutal electroclash punk album ever made, 'Evil Heat' is a kinda of disco version of 'XTRMNTR', and I suppose their latest, 'Riot City Blues', is the closest they have come to a repeat of a sound, as it is a daft version of a cross between the self-titled and 'Give Out...'. I don't think any other and has changed quite so much in the course of their career. The Scream are open to anything. If it sounds good, they'll do it. No one has that kind of confidence, or dare I say it, ability, anymore.
And live they are so rock and roll. So many bands go through a processed 'performance' at gigs. With the Scream, you have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. The second time I saw them, they were the loudest thing I have ever heard. Mani's bass amp blew up, so he proceeded to lob his bass around into things, causing catostrophic noise mid-song, then fucked off stage. It then took a chant of 'Mani! Mani! Mani!' led by Bobby G himself to get the man back on stage. Mani then came on, swore at the crowd lots and started to play again. His bass then cut out again. He was fucked off, so off he went. The band carried on, but then Mani wouldn't come out for an encore, so our encore was just a fucked Bobby Gillespie singing a ballad with no instruments, and not very much tune. Fucking brilliant. The gig was a blinder before the bass incident, which luckily for us punters happened quite late on. The XTRMNTR stuff was blistering that night. 'Shoot Speed/Kill Light' was amazing, with the lights tripping the audience out. Can you imagine Razorlight or Bloc Party ever doing anything like that night? No. So, this is a hearty tribute to the legend that is the rock and roll collective of Primal Fucking Scream, know what I mean?
Currently listening to 'Give Out But Don't Give Up' by Primal Scream
Tuesday, 3 April 2007
So the annual ticket rush for Glastonbury took place this weekend. Well, annual minus the year that is taken out for whatever it is taken out for. Anyway, I got mine, did you get yours? I think the registering thing was succesful, in that I have never been able to get tickets before, and this year it was a doddle. Amazing. I don't know what all the fuss is about. Some of the headliners are a bit weak, only the Who really attract me. I don't think the Arctic Monkeys have a big enough sound to headline, but then they were meant to be alright at Reading, and they were going to headline one year so why not this year. The Killers second album is weak. But The Stooges are playing, so one happy customer here. And you don't really go to Glastonbury for the music do you? I don't know, I've never been, and to be honest I am only going this year so I know what it's like. If I don't like it I will say, because I am turning down the Beastie Boys at Bestival to go to it this year, for financial reasons. So it better be fucking good.
Currently listening to 'Berlin' by Lou Reed
Sunday, 1 April 2007
The other week, Radiohead sent waves of excitement across their internet-orientated fanbase when the band posted a photograph simply entitled 'mixing it', on their official website's blog, Dead Air Space. The photo, showed singer Thom Yorke stood outside, possibly in London, wearing a bodywarmer and tea-cosy hat. Although to most, this photograph may seem slightly irrelevant, it's title was for many, myself included, a thrilling clue as to the present production status of their forthcoming record, due for release later this year. The as-yet untitled record will be their seventh studio album, one which fans have been eagerly following it's production by way of the band's frequent Dead Air Space blog-postings, which have for the past 2 years, given insight into exactly what they are working on, often accompanied by personal photographs of the band at work.
Last summer, Radiohead went on tour, playing a few dates across Europe, then a full on trip around America. The shows were widely acclaimed, featuring a great deal of new songs, often as many as 6 per show. With the help of well-concealled mp3 recorders and camera-phones, fans made sure a great deal of the new material found its way onto the internet and in particular, the video website YouTube.com, giving eager fans all over the world, a taste of what is to come. New songs expected to feature on the next release include "Videotape", a fragile piano-centred peice on which Thom's excells himself both vocally and lyrically. "Down is the new up" is perhaps the most impressive of all the new material - the song starts with Thom Yorke beat-boxing followed by an irrestiable funk beat, curtosey of Phil Selway, with Jonny Greenwood up-chucking bar-chords in a slackened reggae style. Ed O'Brien's backing vocals are some of the most distinguishing he's provided, whilst Thom's stray into Prince territory toward its feindish ending. Others that must not be missed include "Bangers and Mash", "Bodysnatchers", "15 Step", "Open Pick" and "Arpeggi".
Amongst these promising new songs, are a few older pieces the band have been developing on-tour since as far back as the Ok Computer era. In particular, the much bootlegged "Nude / Big Ideas (Don't get any)" remains a massive favourite with both the band and their fans. Signs that it will finally find a home on the next record have never been more clearer. Whilst fansite forums, such as ateaseweb.com speculate the next album's track listing (and title!), Radiohead, accompanied by long-term producer, Nigel Godrich, guitar-tech 'Plank' and album artist Stanley Donwood, have toured the countrysides of England, stopping for weeks at a time, at various stately homes to set up their mobile studio and continue working on the songs. Quite where they are at this moment remains a mystery; we can only hope they are indeed near the end of what has been, for Radiohead fans, an exciting albiet long journey.
Perhaps another great mystery is not just when "LP7" will be released, by how and by whom? Radiohead's 6 album deal with EMI's Parlophone label, ended following the release of Hail To The Thief and whilst Warner-Chappell-Music have extended their contract to publish new Radiohead songs, the band are techincally unsigned at this time. XL recordings, home to The White Stripes, PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke's solo album, The Eraser, are one of the many indie-labels which have expressed a great deal of interest in signing Radiohead, (who have spoken of bitter feelings toward their former label and the music business in general) although there do not appear to have been any devolpments in this regard. Perhaps Radiohead will release their next record independantly, via their website radiohead.com? This would in fact, be a world first! A major artist proving record labels are a thing of the past?
Only time will tell, and as summer 2007 quickly approaches, the world waits for the next Radiohead album...
See http://www.radiohead.com for further info.