Friday, 25 July 2014

Push The Sky Away...

A Late Understanding Of Nick Cave's 2013 Album

I bought this LP when it first came out at the start of 2013, quickly shelved it and thought I'd probably never listen to it ever again. I thought this is the most boring Nick Cave shit ever. 'No Mick Harvey, bring Blixa back, where's Ed Kuepper? Wasn't he meant to playing on this?' Were my thoughts. A couple of weeks ago I pulled it out for the first time since February 2013 after seeing a cool poster on the interweb for his current tour. I thought maybe I missed something. I mean it was high in end of 2013 lists and quite rated (I do have a mistrust of post millennial rock criticism and don't read reviews).


The first thing I noticed when I put the cd in the computer was that bloody itunes had blanked out the pubic hair of the lady on the front cover (Nick Cave's Wife?). I still found it a little boring. Something dragged me back though. Several listens in and I was diggin it like no Bad Seeds record since the 80s. This is the Grinderman comedown and it's no rock record. That what I had to come to terms with, Push The Sky Away having little to to with raucous Cave. Lyrically Cave's in fine form. His words are just as fucked up and lewd as anything from the 2 classic Grinderman LPs. Kudos must go to producer Nick Launay for keeping the record subtle and nuanced. No other band could have made this album. The Bad Seeds minimalism and restraint is so affective here.

It's track 3 that got me in. Water's Edge is musically co-written by Thomas Wilder and it has an edge like something from say Your Funeral, My Trial... A minute in and you're expecting Blixa Bargeld  to chime in with his idiosyncratic guitar and vocals. I could have sworn that was a Barry Adamson bassline but looking on the liner notes he only plays on 2 tracks toward the end. Maybe Marty was channelling Adamson's ominous spirit. Water's Edge has a seductive menace and creepiness reminiscent of 80s Bad Seeds. Particularly when its Cave whispers in your ear "But you grow old and you grow cold/But You grow old and you grow cold/You grow old." Then Nick's singing shit like "Their legs wired to the world/Like bibles open/To be speared." This tunes a bloody classic. 

This is followed by Jubilee Street one of Push The Sky Away's centrepieces. This is a slow burning sprawl of a song that swells and swells to its loud conclusion. Jubilee Street is one of those seedy streets that every city capital has. Cave sings classic lines like "The Problem was she had a little black book/And my name was written on every page/ Well a girl's gotta make ends meet even down on Jubilee Street/I was out of place & time/And over the hill/And out of my mind." Were these words sung by Grinderman they'd have been sung with joyous nihilism but in The Bad Seeds hands the sense of guilt and remorse close in. It must be a couple of years on in the tune when he sings "These days I go down town in my tie & tails.' .Then comes the lyric of the LP: "I've got a foetus on a leash."There are allusions to being transformed whilst the song swells into redemptive euphoria.

Mermaids is a lascivious tune from a voyeur's point of view. Yeah remember when Nick Cave was pervy ie Watching Alice from 1988's Tender Prey. That's where this track sits with a little humour. Mermaids contains great lecherous lines like "I was the match/That would fire up her snatch." Later he's "Fired from her crotch/Now I sit around and watch." Finishing Jubilee Street is creepy. I'm not fully sure what he's on about here perhaps a dream. The Bad Seeds create a dark and disturbing vibe here that shows Cave doesn't always need to whack you over the head to get his point across. The restraint and plaintive singing from Martha Skye Murphy (?) after Cave has sung words like "Last night your shadow scampers up the wall/It flied/It leaped like a black spider between your legs and cried." creates an indecent feel. It's some kind of nightmarish vision with tremendous haunted xylophone from Jim Scalvunos that plays in unison with the keys.

Higgs Boson Blues harks back to The Bad Seeds vision of American blues which First Born Is Dead from 1985 was steeped in but this time it includes the whole world as America. Visions of driving black roads, flame trees, crossroads, Robert Johnson, Lucifer, Memphis, heat, rooms with views, flop houses, preaching in new languages, bell hops, cleaning ladies, yellow patent leather shoes, being hot, Hannah Montana, monkeys with gifts, missionaries with small pox and flu, driving his car down to Geneva, rainy days and finishing with Miley Cyrus floating in a swimming pool in Taluca lake. This is Nick Cave at a career best songwriting peak. It's Steve Kilby-esque in its psychedelic fabulousness. The title track is last and it fits with the 2010s vibe of downer euphoria, conflicted feelings, emptiness etc. Is it a lament or a paean to salad days or none of the above? One thing I do know is Push The Sky Away is one of the most beautiful songs The Bad Seeds have ever recorded.

Strange days indeed. From hate to love in 17 months. I didn't expect to be writing about this record  right now let alone making grand statements like this is one of the finest Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds albums ever recorded. No Doubt. Huh.



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sex Drugs & Ratchet Again.....With Beatking


More Sex, Drugs & Ratchet. I think Beatking's music is the most fully realised confluence of 90s rave culture and 10s rap so far and it's such an addictive sound. This one from last year's got rave horns, talk of mixing Es with codeine and echoes of 4 Hero's (Mr Kirk's Nightmare and Where's The Boy?) cautionary tales. Beatking says "These Molly's are gonna kill you in 5 years. But it's not 5 years right now so mix that shit with codeine." Not quite the same but 5 years is a long way off so party on right?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

We're In The 70s Again...


A really great weird list over at FACT on their top 100 LPs of the 70s. It's just one LP per artist. I love how they really don't stick to the rock-crit consensus. I couldn't have predicted that they'd put half of these in their list. I own about 63 of these records. There's no Bob, Neil, Bruce, Pink Floyd, The Clash or even Led Zep! That should rile up a few rock bores. Some of my faves on the more esoteric side of things from the list include A.R. & Machines Echo, Guru Guru's UFO, Libra's Schock, Annette Peacock's I'm The One, Bruce Haack's Electric Lucifer,  Rot by Conrad Schnittzler, Flower Travelling Band's Satori,  Fern Kinney's Groove Me, First Utterance from Comus etc. Hawkwind make an appearance but no Ash Ra Tempel or Amon Duul 2. Funkadelic but no Parliament or Bootsy. Heaven forbid no Big Star what will the indie kids say? Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality over Vol. 4 and Paranoid. That would have been a hard choice. As would the Bowie decision with at least 11 classics to choose from. No T-Rex! No AC/DC! They went wild with their Lou Reed pick Live-Take No Prisoners. Nico in, John Cale out. No Iggy, that's outrageous! The 70s I guess was a peak time for fine albums so really they could have made a top 200. Can's Ege Bamyasi over Tago Mago, Future Days and Soon Over Babaluma. There's plenty of Krautrock, Jazz, Avant Garde, Punk/post-punk and the just plain weird. Not much Glam (That was more of a 7" trip) or Prog, No Country at all (it must have exhausted its hipness).

Of the punk & Post-Punk we've got Wire, The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcock, Stiff Little Fingers, Suicide, No New York, Patti Smith, Cabaret Voltaire, Crass, Pere Ubu, The Slits, New York Dolls, Nurse With Wound, Throbbing Gristle, Modern Lovers, The Residents (another hard choice, so many classics), Richard Hell, Devo and Talking Heads who all make the cut. Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures is mysteriously overlooked. The Saints (I'm)Stranded is the highest placed punk record, right on FACT!. No Radio Birdman though, or X-Ray Spex, Dictators, Germs, Gang Of Four (is Entertainment not one the best album of the 70s?), Magazine, Television or The Ramones?! Metal Box by PIL is oddly missing. There ain't no Tubeway Army, Pop Group, Durutti Column, Thomas Leer & Robert Rental, Swell Maps, Minny Pops or Gary Numan solo. Der Plan's Geri Reig would have been my left field pick with its gloriously demented electronic toy town post-punk German stylee.


Soundtracks are thin on the ground. You could make an excellent list of 100 70s soundtracks I reckon. I think there are only 3 OSTs in the list. I'd have probably had Life On Earth, Eraserhead, Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, Death Line, Quintet, Wickerman, Enter The Dragon, Shaft, Cannibal Holocaust, The Taking Of Pelham 123, Phantasm, Vanishing Point etc. etc.


On the soul and funk tip Curtis Mayfield makes the grade with his excellent Curtis/Live but Isaac Hayes doesn't. Stevie Wonder in, Michael Jackson's Off The Wall out!? Sly Stone, Gil Scott Heron, Last Poets, Shuggie Otis and Millie Jackson are here. The Meters, James Brown, Bill Withers, Al Green, Betty Davis, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, Teddy Pendgrass, The O'Jays, The Isley Brothers et al. are not. My esoteric Pick would have been Lightnin Rod's Hustlers Convention from 1973 which is a proto gangsta rap concept album that is some funky superfly shit man. On the disco tip no Risque from Chic or Donna Summer's Once Upon A Time. But we do get Cerrone's Cerrone 3: Supernature and the aforementioned Fern Kinney.


There's no records from Sweden ie. International Harvester, Harvester or Trad Gras Och Stenar (I'd probably have included an LP by each of those groups even though they're all pretty much the same group). Maybe my other Swedish pick would have been Algarnas Tradgard's Framtiden ar ett Svavande Skepp, Forankrat I Forntiden. That's a nice slice of folky space prog jams. From France you get Serge Gainsbourg, Magma, Ghedalia Tazartez and Heldon. Some other French weirdness would have been good too like Pole's classic meandering electronic psych trip Inside The Dream from 1975. Brazil still seems to be on the hipster map with several entries, however Milton Nascimento & Lo Borges sprawling opus Clube Da Esquina misses out as does Jorge Ben, Edu Lobo etc. On the Yank/Brit folkish tip you get Linda Perhacs, Judee Sill, Bridget St John and Robbie Basho but no Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan, Dr Strangley Strange, Tim Buckley (losing his hipster cache?) or my fave of the lot John Martyn. It would have been a toss up though for a Martyn LP between Bless The Weather, Solid Air, Inside Out or One World. Only one LP from Japan shows up so there's no Les Rallizes Denudes, Masahiko Satoh, People, Far East Family Band or Brast Burn. Nothing from Turkey at all! I'd have perhaps put in Baris Manco's funky Anadolu psych classic 2023 or LPs from Mogallar, Bunalim, 3 Hur-el or Eric Koray's masterpiece Electronic Turkular. On the Avant Garde front you get Bernhard Palmigiani, Charlemagne Palestine, Gavin Bryars, Basil Kirchin, Harold Budd, Robert Ashley etc. I reckon Taj Mahal Travellers August 1974 would have got my overlooked vote for its eerie deep psych drone goodness.


I could go on forever, perhaps I should have made my own list. Klause Schulze's Moondawn gets a guernsey but it could just have easily been 7 of his other 70s classics. Tangerine Dream's Ziet would have got my vote over Phaedra. On The Corner from Miles Davis seems a conservative choice to me. I'd have gone for something like Get Up With It, Dark Magus, Big Fun, Agharta, In Concert or Live/Evil. Cult bands like The Screamers, The Electric Eels and Simply Saucer, I don't think had official LPs released in the 70s, which could explain their absence. On the more rock front The Rolling Stones, Blue Oyster Cult, The Allman Brothers, Thin Lizzy, Steely Dan, Budgie and The Pink Fairies don't get a look in. I guess those bands are for other lists. FACT do things their way and the worlds a better place for it.

Here's ten LPs that haven't been mentioned yet in this or the FACT article that are essential 70s recordings in my book:
Edge Of Time - Dom
No Other - Gene Clark
For Your Pleasure - Roxy Music
Ball Power - Coloured Balls
Tres Hombres - ZZ Top
Split - Groundhogs
If Only I Could Remember My Name - David Crosby
Alien Soundtracks - Chrome
Delta Momma Blues - Townes Van Zandt
Dub From The Roots - King Tubby

Wow this has made me realise once again how rich and deep the music goes in the 70s. I'm lookin forward to going through all my Miles Davis and Klaus Schulze records oh and then there's some I've never heard from the FACT list. I might finally check out Henry Cow, Millie Jackson, Cymanade, Judee Sill or Gary Wilson. I never could get into Stiff Little Fingers, Joni Bloody Mitchell, Genesis or pre-Swordfishtrombones Tom Waits though. But hey any list with Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats at number 1 is fine by me.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Under Currents


Lovin this! It's got a really sad lost future vibe running through it. Like what happened? Is that all there is? What now? Who's got the vision?  Is this retro-future better than other versions of futures put forth by other artists in other genres of popular culture/music? Why does no one care? Not even us. Featuring the new millennium's only guitar legend Mikey Young.


.....and this from like 2 years ago now. Featuring the main man Brendan Huntley (from Eddy Current) hopefully still in fingerless gloves. My theme tune of the last 2 weeks, except I did mind gettin caught in the rain. Every time I get on my bike it bloody rains.


Classic from 2008 with Mikey & Brendan together in Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Dunno if this is their video or a custom made fan job. There's was something so peculiarly Australian about Eddy Current that was so fabulous, you couldn't ignore it. Then there was Brendan who is so damn charismatic. They didn't seem fake either like say The Arctic Monkeys or The White Stripes. Primary Colours feels like it was released a lifetime ago but it's only 6 years old. That can't be right? I saw this album Primary Colours (from which the above track is from) along with Ooga Boogas Romance & Adventure get reveiwed on daytime tv by Dicko (ex-Australian Idol Judge) and David Reyne (ex drummer of shite 80s girl pop group The Chantoozies and brother of Australian Crawl's James). Reyne had a go at the drummer of Eddy Current and said with disdain that they reminded him of The Saints as if the Saints were the worst band to come out of Australia and not the greatest. This made me think Reyne was a turd, even though he was in the classic 80s tv series Sweet & Sour (which was about underground inner city hipster post-punk/new pop bands). Primary Colours even made it into the end of year Pazz & Jop Poll in The Village Voice of all places. They placed somewhere in the top 70 which was pretty good but Guns & Roses' Chinese Democracy placed ahead of them!? Make of that what you will.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Controversy

Created a bit of discussion over at Mess&Noise with my thoughts on the new Total Control album. Someone called me Space Dickhead which I liked, might even change my name to that. Big ups to Anok, checkers, MelonHCST, Seahunt, __v & amazinglyblended.

You can check out my love here for Mikey and his cohorts Ooga Boogashere as well!

I'm not sure what the Mess&Noise meant by linking that Tinashe remix, by Drake, in the forum though (If it was sarcasm it didn't come across. They're a bunch of writers though surely they understand that sarcasm doesn't work in written text) As much as Drake might come off as a winging rich arsehole in his music (which I only very occasionally like) he does have some sense of the now and not just the resigned retro now. My point on that post was how pointless are remixes (well 99.9% of them)? Having said that I love the original version of 2 On by Tinashe, that's a 2014 killa.

Random thoughts: What the fuck is the difference between trap and ratchet? Do I need to know? Should I care? C'mon all you micro-genre nerds what's lowdown?



Wednesday, 9 July 2014

2 On -Tinashe, Drake & Other Remixes.


This is pretty much a Drake version of 2 On and it's pretty good but not really bettering the original. After the first minute of Tinashe's original he takes it over and makes it his own for the rest of the tune.


Then there's this which is pretty odd but this stays Tinashe's track. Although the whole vibe of the tune is moved to somewhere else not as compelling. The rap ain't anywhere near as good as the original Schoolboy Q cameo though. What was Vado thinking? How on earth was he gonna top one of the great rap cameos of all time? He shouldn't have even bothered. I imagine Schoolboy Q being not too threatened by its lameness. I love that string loop thing though, nice. Remixes: What were they for again?


The Original and Best Version. 2014 Classic!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Gangster Stripper Music 2 - Beatking


Here's another killah tune from Beatking's mixtape Gangsta Stripper Music 2. Echoes of Darkside Hardcore, Gabba, Marc Arcadipane and more. This could be the tune of 2014!


Similar influences here as well as a bit of 90s Dutch, Belgian and the omnipresent 666 Mafia.


This one is incredible too. Haunted, disorientated and faded!

Rome Fortune


Well the backing track is like Kraftwerk, then there's a Moonshake(the group)-like sample followed later by a Pole-esque unskank at the end. It's an incredible production whether the producers are hip to these references or not.


More haunted soundz similar to Burial ala Drake, Schoolboy Q etc. The sound of sweet emptiness.

Total Control - Typical System



I'd already decided to review this LP before I'd heard it. I liked their previous record Henge Beat from 2011. I guess they are a side project band but I can't tell these days what the main bands are for these people and what the side projects are. So I guess you have to take them all on their own merits. Hey I'm a fan of Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Ooga Boogas and UV Race some of whose members are in Total Control. I wasn't however expecting to be so disappointed by this record. Sure Total Control show they have fabulous taste in punk/post-punk/synth music but is that enough at this stage of the game/epoch.

It all kicks off with Glass a Suicide/Numan/Foxx pastiche. Then Expensive Dog which is just like a Wire song. Flesh War is better like a new romantic Eddy Current tune. A chorus you're not expecting turns up and you're in pop heaven for a moment and the previous two tracks are forgotten. The guitars and synth intermingle perfectly. In fact you can't help thinking why didn't they go over the top with the production on this one to give it a chance at being a top 10 hit in the pop charts! Systematic Fuck is next, in my notes it says systematically fucking boring, huh? Liberal Party starts off promising with synths, drum machines, maybe a sax and an insidious guitar line. Then you're thinking well this could have been made in 1981 by The Makers Of The Dead Travel Fast. Nothing modern, now or futuristic is happening here or anywhere else on the record. There is no attempt to use the attitude/manifesto's that caused their influences to create such visionary work. Total Control are content to reproduce the sounds of trailblazers but not attempt anything revolutionary/innovative themselves, not even really attempt to extend on their heroes ideas. Are they/we just resigned to repeating the past future over and over. Nietzsche has been mentioned as an influence on this record but that feels like a cop out and a little too convenient doncha think?.

Two Less Jacks is a bit like er.....Gang Of Four. Black Spring is a bit more organic. It's a trippy psych gem (If you're in need of another one of those that's up to you I guess). I'm trying not to say Black Cab or Spaceman 3 but I just did. The Ferryman follows and it's synth noodling for 2 minutes & 42 seconds that's not unpleasant. Hunter is weird electronic goodness that I wish Typical System had more of. The keyboards & guitar seem barely controlled. The vocals have a desperation and the sweet girl backing vocals add an unexpected juxtaposition. Safety Net is more Numan/Foxx/Human League in indieland schtick with Mikey Young's unmistakable guitar which gives the tune an odd vibe. But then I just can't help wishing it would turn into an Eddy Current Suppression Ring song with Brendan takin over the microphone with his fingerless gloves and the rest of the Eddy Current boys kickin out the jams in their unique style. Instead Safety Net just plods into inconsequence to end the record. Probably not really what the world needs now. Flesh War & Hunter are the standout tunes and I really wanted to love the rest of the record as much as those tracks but....

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Kevin Gates ...Again



More Kev! Anything that mentions Patrick Swayze but spelt wrong has gotta be good. Add in Whoopie Goldberg and it's pure gold. I find this hilarious and don't even understand it.


Well this one reminded me of Lick My Nuts (below) which was made by Kev's collaborator here Juicy J . Kev tellin it like it is. He is the new King right?


Lord Infamous, DJ Paul & Juicy J - the early 90s Memphis rappers/producers who are more influential today than they ever have been.


4.30 AM .....they just keep comin from King Kev and there's way way more check out these as well.

This one from 2013 as well


I think he's been in prison but he's managed to
 release this 2014 jam. He's on a roll.