Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Munch Bunch

Sounds like something off Ariel Pink's Pom Pom, I reckon. The Mrs had been singing this all day so I checked it out. I don't recall it at all...maybe it didn't make it to country Victoria, Australia telly screens in the 80s.

I remember this though.

This the only other one I recall. The rest are a journey into Emma's childhood tv mind.

Loving Button Moon's theme.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Silver Apples Of The Moon - Laika


Fuck I loved this record when it came out in 1994. I was already into UK post-rock shit and just starting to get into jungle. I saw this as a terrific amalgam of the two. Maybe we didn't really need it but it was ticking all my aesthetic boxes at the time. I'd been big on Margaret Fiedler's previous band Moonshake since they had released the Second Hand Clothes EP in 1992 followed by the classic Eva Luna LP that same year. Big Good Angel from 1993 was the last Moonshake record to feature Fiedler and was a classic for her to go out on. I must admit I never followed them after she left. The Laika project had me very excited though. Along for the ride were ex-Moonshake bass player John Frenett and producer Guy Fixsen. Chuck in Lou Ciccotelli on percussion, My Bloody Valentine's Colm O'Ciosoig as a digital editor and even Louise Elliot from Australia's great Laughing Clowns on the sax & flute. How could you go wrong? You couldn't, Laika didn't!

Silver Apples Of The Moon kicks off with Sugar Daddy and you can feel the city streets with it's sampled noise, rain and trains. Then a sultry propulsive beat kicks in while classic 90s bleeps drift into the mix as Fixsen and Fiedler sing together. Fixsen, who had produced Moonshake, takes on a more prominent role here. As well as co-engineering, he co-writes every tune with Fiedler, sings, plays synth and other instruments including vibes, marimba, melodica, the sampler and even guitar. Laika were about unison whereas Moonshake had been about tension. Fiedler mirrors Fixsen (or is it the other way around?) taking on all the same roles in the band ie. engineering, sampling, playing all the same instruments etc. Next is The Marimba Song which has a trippy, tropical and Can-esque vibe. This tune introduced the band to the world as two versions of it appeared on their debut recording, the Antenna EP. Let Me Sleep has frenetic beats, unbelievable bass, spiralling layers of free sax/flute and a general air of cluttered urban space. Coming Down Glass is an ultra spaced out funky wind-up toy hip hop jam with flute squiggles. The whole thing sounds like it was recorded backwards.

If You Miss starts out oppressive before a vibraphone appears to brighten things up but then it flitters back to darker terrain and continues to fluctuate between the parallel universes of isolationism and blissed out ambience for the rest of the track. In the meantime the hypnotic beat maintains an amazing flow motion. 44 Robbers has Margaret rapping kinda awkwardly like Debbie Harry, taut guitar lines that sometimes veer off into noise, Pacific(state) Island soundz and an incredibly tight rhythm like The JBs. Red River could be a Moonshake tune with it's squalling sax, tense noisy guitar shapes, claustrophobic minimal bass and tumbling out of control beats. Honey and Heat is a mesmerising off kilter urban dub tune with see-sawing samples. The samples here are meticulously crafted and create an entirely unique peculiarity. Expansive rolling rhythms, loopy flutes, eerie samples, choppy guitars and Guy's whispered vocals all contribute to the strange twilight of Thomas. The delightfully jazzy, almost surf instrumental Spider Happy Hour brings proceedings to a close.

Like a lot of UK post-rock's lost generation a duality was at play on this album ie. alongside the urban intensity was also a swirling intergalactic vibe. This often gave the music a disconcerting feel which made you want to come back for more so you could experience the discombobulation again and again. On their next LP, Sound Of Sattelites, Laika would rocket off into the stars completely, leaving the squalor behind them in a vapour trail haze. Silver Apples Of The Moon is a time capsule of intersecting mid 90s musical zones. A real curio. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Rowland S Howard Lane

It's real. Rowland S Howard got a Laneway in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria named after him. I no longer reside in Melbourne so thanks to Darcy B for the picture.

I died first. Where my bloody laneway?!!!

Rowland was of course in a little band The Birthday Party with another bloke called Nick Cave. Now when's Tracey Pew getting his laneway, I wonder? Howard played guitar, occasionally sang and wrote some of the songs on the below classics.

The Birthday Party at their best. Here they were still a little bit arty and very funky. They were traversing the depths of depravity though. When I think of this album I think of Tracey Pew's bass, which is just plain filthy, pure sleaze. Then there are snippets of lyrics like 'Fats Domino on the radio.' Sung by a pained Nick Cave as is 'Ice cream and jelly and a punch in the belly.' Then we've got the clang of Rowland's mental guitar that is actually meant to sound like that. Prayers On Fire is an unholy racket and absurd fun for all the family.

This is The Birthday Party at their most raucous and psychotically over the top. Junkyard is ferociously chaotic from go to woe. The noise reaches fever pitch on tunes like Dead Joe, Blast Off and Big Jesus Trash Can. This cacophony is some of the most uncompromising rock ever produced. Sex and death roll around in this putrid blues. The Birthday Party may have inspired a legion of z grade imitators but no one could match their intense sonic assault.

*My mini reviews taken from here.
**More on Rowland here and here and here and The Birthday Party here.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

What's On The Hi-Fi Part $?

DJ Extreme - 1994 Jungle Volume 10
I can't seem to get out of 90s zones. This is a cracker of a mix. I've been working my way through DJ Extreme's mixes at Hardscore. Listened to all his 92 and 93 hardcore mixes and now I've reached Volume 10 of his 94 Jungle mixes. This is a fabulous trip into the 90s. We've got funky drummers, half-time bass lines, divas, ragga muffins, chipmunk traces, r&b dudes, sinister synth stabs, washes of ambience, drum splatters and just plain mental bass. This mix is worth it for the array of bass lines alone. You tend to forget that in amongst the euphoria of 90s hardcore a darkness lurked just as much. This mix contains big names like Dillinja, Ed Rush, Doc Scott and DJ Phantasy as well as 2nd and 3rd level playaz. Jungle was so good in 94 the B, C & D grade artists are fucking great too. The quality went deep and the beat science rewards were endless. Volume 10 isn't relentless with the beats, space has it's place here as well. Sometimes you think the darkness is going to envelope the whole set and the drums are going to conk out. That never happens though until the end, I guess. Big Ups to the Extreme.

DJ Extreme - 1994 Jungle Volume 9
Here's another DJ Extreme mix which is a bewdy too. This mix starts out with gold ie. DJ Dextrous & Rapid's Rapid. The House Crew, Tango, Marvellous Cain, Dillinja and D'Cruze all pop their heads up in this ace mix. I can't get enough of this shit and let me tell you there is a bounty of it at Hardscore. Time-stretching, remnants of hip hop, traces of 70s reggae, Ragga, Rave sirens, Amens, House, ethereal lulls, elastic booming bass, dubbed out divas, cymbal splashes, bleeps, mini ponds of euphoria, occasional swells of thick bass goo that leap into the drum n bass future and much more feature here. What's amazing is how different Volume 9 is from Volume 10 which is a testament to the genre's flexibility and breadth of vision and probably why the Hardcore Continuum would continue on for another decade before running out of steam. "They played that bloody Jungle music all night!" And why wouldn't you with choice tracks such as these.

The Church - Hologram Of Baal
Ever since Reynolds posted those Go-Betweens & Church film clips a week or two ago it has been hard to get out of these Aussie zones. You might have noticed I was/am quite the Church fan. I seem to have lost 1996's Magician Among The Spirits so I gave this another listen and wow what an underrated little gem this is. By 1998 they had probably lost at least half of their 80s fan base but that didn't mean they weren't still making legendary music. By this stage of the game we'd all ditched the paisley shirts and pointy shoes long ago but The Church continued on their merry way making druggy journeys into sound. I guess their only contemporaries at the time were Mercury Rev (a friend once described Yerself Is Steam as The Church meets Butthole Surfers), The Flaming Lips and Spiritualized. The Kranky label had been releasing psychedelic space rock for a while too by this stage but the Church weren't following trends. They just did what they did best and made one of their best LPs while they were at it. Hologram Of Baal is The Churchiest of 90s Church LPs. It solidified their 90s experimentalism while containing all of what made them great in the 80s making this an album of consolidation for the band. This LP is like a Church progress report of where they had come from, where they had been and where they were going. More gold.

Now this is a state of the art rap mixtape 2015 style. With most mixtapes you can usually tell which region of America it's coming from ie. Drill & Bop (Chicago), Ratchet (California) trap/weird (Atlanta/The South) etc. but Bricc Baby Shitro throws them all onto this mixtape making it hard to tell where he's emanated from. It makes sense then that he's from LA but now hanging out in Atlanta. Even though Bricc Baby's got a handful of producers here, the mixtape remains pretty cohesive. Having Young Thug on your mixtape is a blessing and a curse. Thugga will give your recording a higher profile but he's most certainly going to upstage you no matter who you are. That puts the starpower of Young Thug into perspective ie. no one in the rap game can come close to him and this has been the case since his 2013 classic 1017 Thug. Anyway this is a genre mixtape that considers the state of where hip hop is in 2015. You may not like having this plethora of rap sounds all in one place but it's almost definitive of the year or at least the decade in which it was made.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

2015 Ennui: When's That Rainy Day?


The unlistened to cds, LPs, mixtapes, net DJ mixes and soundclips are piling up. There's not enough time or energy in my life. I am in no way a collector for the sake of having things, being a completest etc. If something's shite to my eardrums it goes out of my life pretty quickly. Then there's the magazines, webzines, blogs and books that aren't getting a look in either. Oh.... and that circus in town that I haven't been to (Was I gonna go to that? Well there is the off chance that a lion may eat its tamer or an elephant running amok)......and I've got 7 unfinished blog posts that have been sitting in the draft box for a good while now.

Let's start with the new, old and new old LPs & cds that are piling up.

I finally got a copy of this like 20 years after it was compiled. This was one of the first things released on Soul Jazz. I think this is some kind of anniversary reissue. Nu Yorican Roots!: The Rise Of Latin Music In New York City In The 60s also on Soul Jazz was fucking gold, so I'm looking forward to listening to day

This should be good...found it on a trip to Adelaide a month or so ago. This came out a few years ago on Soundway. I love a bit of cumbia. Soundway's previous Columbia! was great, as were the 3 cds in their Panama! series ..... should be good ..... one day.

Been looking for this for like 10 years. Warner Jepson's Totenantz arrived in the mail the other day. That cover is awesome! ....don't really know what to expect from this one, which will be a nice surprise....soon....maybe.

This one arrived with the above....can't recall when this was reissued but it was made in like 69 or 70 or 71 or 72. Sonic Youth obviously ripped off the Perspectives Musicales series (of which there 10 LPs, the EMI ones I'm talking about) artwork. Another surprise package.....

Another one that's taken me like 10 years to get and I still haven't played it.....

Well at least I've heard this before but this is like the first proper reissue of Carlo Maria Cordio's classic soundtrack Rosso Sangue from 1981. Looking forward to hearing this in it's complete some stage.

This one I know and love too....but I still haven't played it in it's full audio glory, having only had a crappy mp3 version previously.....oh well.....when's a rainy day?

I was very excited when this arrived but it remains unplayed....could be the first one to get aired. This is a 2015 archival release on Sonic Boom's Space Age label.

God I finally shelled out the cash for this only a few years after it's release. The Lost Tapes arrived a couple of months back..... how can a triple cd of lost Can recordings remain unplayed for so long?

Now this has been in line the longest. I bought it from Beatport when it came out earlier this year. The first Volume was in my best of 2014 list yet this 2nd Volume is yet to rack up any i-tunes stats. Is Deep-Tech still a thing? This has been on my phone for months.....geez....what's going on?

On it's way......another 2015 horror reissue. This one I've never heard but when it arrives it'll have to get in the queue.

Then there's the rap mixtapes...... OMG there are so many!

I'm surprising myself a lot since I started writing this absurd post. How on earth have I not listened to this? I don't even know if Barter 6 is rated or not. Young Thug featured so much in my Best Of 2014 list that I cannot believe the sounds contained within this mixtape have not reached my eardrums yet.

HBK Gang featured a hell of a lot in my Best Of 2014 list as well. Kool John's $hmopcity was one of the best albums/mixtapes of last year so like the above Young Thug it's totally unreasonable that this has had no airplay round at my place yet!!!

Cash Out, Young Dolph, Tink, Teeflii, Lucky Eck$, Boogie, Sauce Twinz & Sosaman, Denzel Curry, TM88, Katie Got Bandz, Bankroll Fresh, Snootie Wild etc. etc. have all released mixtapes/albums of note apparently. Downloaded, not played.

Don't even get me started on the DJ Mixes, articles, books.....

I could go on. My blog would be great if I'd listened to all of the above and written about them wouldn't it? Perhaps I should set myself the task of writing about every one of these releases once heard, surely that is why I started this blog in the first place.

Hang on....I almost forgot this one (below) from last year, which has been in the queue the longest....inexplicably I might not ever listen to it.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Heyday - The Church

Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock Part V

The Church - Heyday (1985)
Quite the befitting title right here. Cherished among fans of The Church, Heyday's full of great tunes like Already Yesterday, Myrrh, Tristesse, Columbus and the blistering live favourite Tantalized. On Night Of Light and Youth Worshipper they reach Forever Changes levels of sophistication with fabulous horn and string arrangements. The Church made the 80s version of the 60s awesome, hang on that's not really fair is it? Although this is probably their most 60s inspired set, it's those shirts that make you jump the gun to such stupid conclusions. There was a lot of 70s, 80s and future Church idiosyncrasies at play here too......... It was most definitely 80s music though, you know like The Smiths were an 80s band. They may have had influences from other eras but just because it didn't sound like Nik Kershaw doesn't mean it wasn't quintessential 80s music!..... er.....that goes for both bands. Still you can get out your pointy shoes and paisley shirts and relive this classic LP. Funnily enough I had a paisley shirt on today, and straight black jeans but unfortunately I don't own a pair of pointy shoes any longer, I had to just go with me brown suede boots. I'm sure Marty Willson Piper would have been proud of my outfit though as would Steve Kilbey, I reckon.

They were the coolest. No doubt. This makes you wanna roll a joint and enjoy your life.

In the classic tradition of AC/DC, playing on the back of a truck for your film clip. Priceless!

This video is sound and vision perfection, doncha reckon?

*A fucking phenomenal live version of Tantalized here. Talk about kickin out the jams, wow!
**I've written about Heyday before here.
***Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock series is taken from the HIGH CULTure website.

Seance - The Church

Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock Part IV

Séance from 1983 is the third Church album and, like their two previous LPs, it's a classic. This time they get Nick Launay to produce. This is a strange combination to be sure and some fans were shocked by the studio affects, particularly the drum sounds, on this recording.  About half of the record is studio trickery, strings and keyboards added to their usual dual guitar interplay. The other half is fairly true to their trippy jangling live sound. Séance is a moody and atmospheric affair. Steve Kilbey travels darker terrain than usual, which is fine because there isn't a bad tune to be found here at all.

*Track 5 Travel By Thought here.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Blurred Crusade - The Church

Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock Part III

The second Church album is where they really hit their stride. Steve Kilbey (singer, songwriter, bass player & slide guitarist) even describes it as ‘an unimaginable leap forward.’ The LP title says it all. It’s a Blurred Crusade. The production here is warm and puts The Church into a lush soft focus. What’s striking listening back to it today is how much keyboard action there is, pianos, harpsichord, hammond and even a Celeste, all played by Kilbey. Nick Ward was replaced by the phenomenal Richard Ploog on drums. Ploog freed up the band to be more spacious and fluid. So began the classic line-up of The Church which continued for the next 8 years. This LP hit the top 10 in 1982 and went double gold in Australia. It opened with the definitive Church song Almost With You, a top forty hit which had a fabulous spanish guitar lead break by Peter Koppes (lead guitar, backing vocals, tubular bells & percussion) very 1982. When You Were Mine was next and what a rocking epic it was. Marty Willson-Piper (electric, acoustic & 12 string guitars) describes it as ‘a snarling beast.’ The guitars here are metallic and driving while the keyboards are eerie and cold. Willson-Piper sings lead vocals on Field Of Mars despite the lyrics being written by Kilbey. This is a wicked haunted trip, complete with the usual jangle, bent lead breaks, otherworldly keyboards and even some bells to top it off. Apparently it’s about a graveyard where a deceased friend of Kilbey’s resides. God that’s just the first three tunes. We’ve got rockin toe tappers (A Fire Burns), almost cosmic country sweetness (Don’t Look Back), sumptuous romantic janglers (To Be In Your Eyes), Hallucinogenic psych outs (An Interlude), mysterious lullabies (Secret Corners) and 12 string workouts (Just For You). Then there’s the all time classic 8 minute epic You Took which contains the lyric that would become the album title and the best way to describe this song. You Took is a band at the peak of their powers resulting in an astonishing display of rock dynamics. While The Church had a few things in common with LA’s Paisley Underground like a love for psychedelia, The Byrds, The Velvets, 12 string guitars etc. they were much more than that. The Church also loved the pop end of prog, recent British music of the time like John Foxx (solo & with Ultravox), Be Bop Deluxe (?), Gary Numan, quite possibly the entire history rock and god knows what else. Most of all The Church were an incredibly distinct unit whose intangible chemistry could never be replicated so their music was always original, never mere pastiche. Glorious.    

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Antipodean Urban Space

Three fucking great mental tripped out driving tunes. Psychedelic post-kraut/punk urban intensity that could have only come from one place and one time, New Zealand in the 80s.
*More on Scorched Earth Policy here.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Ghostface Killah - Twelve Reasons To Die II

I kept seeing this cover everywhere on the interweb. It's obviously a homage to 70s Italian Giallo film posters and it got me intrigued so much so that I coughed up the dough to see what Ghostface Killah is up to now, plus I heard it was pretty good. The last Wu Tang Clan related release I bought was his very own Ironman from 1996 (can you believe that's 19 years ago?). I did have taped copies of Wu Tang Clan's The W and Iron Flag and those tapes were ok but they were nowhere near the magnificence of Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) from 93 and the classic run of solo LPs from 94 to 96: Method Man's Tical, Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return To The 36 Chambers, Chef Raekwon's Only Built For Cuban Lynx, Genius/GZA's Liquid Swords & the aforementioned Ghostface classic Ironman. Apparently Ghostface Killah recorded several other post-Ironman classics (during my rap blackspot era) such as Supreme Clientele (2000), Fishscale (2006) and the first volume of Twelve Reasons To Die (2013) amongst others.

I'm used to listening to modern hip-hop with its crisp drum machines, synth keys, electronic bass and general digital textures so it's weird to hear an album like this. When I first heard 12 Reasons To Die II I thought it was deep crate digging at its finest (Ala Paul's Boutique or Entroducing) with samples of Turkish psych bass lines, Allessandroni fuzz, old funk beats from obscure 45s, strange Euro easy listening, divas from Morricone/Nicolai soundtracks, scratchy dub singles, trippy Moog sounds from library records etc. So I thought it was a sampladelic record, but on about the 3rd listen when I started listening closely, it all seemed a bit too smooth and cohesive. Upon further investigation it was revealed that the backing tracks are actually all live instrumentation (I think) from retro arranger extraordinaire Adrian Younge. So Younge has replicated a sample laden hip hop album by playing all the instruments instead of sampling them. I'm not sure if there's a point to this strategy apart from the reactions 'Wow that's quite an effort!', 'Gee These are Strange days indeed!' or 'Is he following the kind of manifesto put forth by Daft Punk on Random Access Memories, whatever that was?' Anyway Adrain Younge seems to have swallowed a cool 70s pill. Several layers of retromania are at play here. Firstly we are put it in a mid 90s Wu zone with the propulsive and intense rapping of Ghostface Killah and his chums Raekwon & RZA and the return of the Tony Starks pseudonym who originally appeared on the brilliant Only Built For Cuban Linx LP. Secondly Younge's backing trax have a Finders Keepers/Lo Recordings/Now Again etc. vibe which is both 70s and post-millennial as most of us never heard this sort of shit until it got extensively reissued in the last 20 years by the likes of these and many other record labels. Thirdly it's a live instrument recording produced by a one man producer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist harking back to the days when Stevie Wonder did this kind of thing. I'm not really sure what to make of these observations. It is what it is I suppose.

Anyway when Ghostface Killah's voice appears it's like an old friend showing up like nothing's changed since the mid 90s. Raekwon is a welcome feature on five of these tunes and RZA pops up on a handful of trax too. Twelve Reasons To Die II runs at half the time of Ironman and this leaves you wanting more. Which is better than wishing a quality control editor had been employed to get rid of the filler to keep the LP more concise. I'm not really into comic books and I'm not a 100% sure what he's on about on every track but it sounds so good, what does it matter? It all adds to the Wu mystique and there are no bad tunes here. Who'd have thought Ghostface Killah would be making one of the best hip hop albums of 2015? Dunno, but he has.