Showing posts with label 80s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 80s. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Australian Post-Punk Update


I used to write about music quite a lot here on me blog and Australian Post-Punk was a favourite topic of mine. The real stuff, I mean, that happened in the late 70s and early 80s. None of this faux shit from the last 20 years. Anyway there has been some activity over at Jonny Zchivago's legendary Blog Die or DIY? with some posts of stuff that's never been reissued since those olden days ie. Philip Brophy's Tsk Tsk Tsk. I've never been able to find their records in physical form or in a file format. So go here to find the Venitian Rendezvous EP, Nice Noise EP, Caprice EP and Spaces LP.





While you are over at Jonny's site don't forget to check out some other choice Antipodean post-punk. He has posted a bunch of Sydney stuff including a stack of seminal compilations on the Terse Tapes label, a coupla things from the M Squared label, some primo Slugfuckers, a Negative Reaction tape and miscellaneous Systematics releases.

There's also some other seminal Melbourne experimental post-punk but those records have been reissued in the last few years so you've probably got those Essendon Airport, Asphixiation and Primitive Calculators LPs/cds.

Speaking of The Primitive Calculators they have released a new LP On Drugs and it's here.


Friday, 4 May 2018

Models - Cut Lunch



Confusingly this 1981 EP/mini LP Cut Lunch made both the singles charts and the albums charts.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Mondo Rock is Best Rock



The melody of this (above) top 10 tune entered my mind at 3AM yesterday morning. I reckon I haven't heard it in over 25 years. It's a hell of a tune from an underrated band. They're not cool but they're consummate pop craftsmen who designed the right kind of ear candy for the early 80s Australian radio airwaves. Mondo Rock's double platinum 1981 LP Chemistry produced another 3 hits (below) all of which I loved as a kid.



Synth-y new wave blue eyed soul schtick, which is nice. Ariel Pink would get into this I reckon.






I guess this one's a bit Cars-y. This top 10 hit was a staple of the 80s airwaves. Old wave into new wave. For non-Australian readers singer/songwriter/producer Ross Wilson was in the legendary Aussie 70s act Daddy Cool.



It was a party night 
It was the end of school

This for me is Mondo Rock's all time classic though. I remember being in Melbourne and hearing it on 3XY. It's from 1984, right at the time girls got very interesting. It's full of the excitement of oncoming adolescence with a hint of menace. The lyrics are a bit dodgy though aren't they? Are they?

I've always wondered which beach this clip was filmed at.

Anyway Come Said The Boy only made it to number 2 on the charts. No 1 in my heart, right up there with other early/mid 80s radio classics Don't Change, Boys Of Summer, Ship Of Fools, Out Of Touch etc.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Dio & Metal & ....



There is something very business like about certain metal. The way they trade singers and guitarists like it's a fucking football draft. The bands don't necessarily feel organic or like a gang.

Somewhere on the internet the other day someone mentioned the lead singer of Whitesnake had been in Deep Purple. I always just thought they were an American poodle hair metal band. I did only know a couple of 80s Whitesnake music videos featuring scantily clad ladies. My metal knowledge is somewhat lacking. I guess I'm more into your 70s hard rock, proto-metal, heavy prog and space rock with huge blind spots when it comes to conventional heavy metal and NWOBHM. I've never been able to get into Iron Maiden or Judas Priest like I have with say the likes of Blue Oyster Cult, Truth & JaneyThin Lizzy, Motorhead, Scorpions or Venom (maybe one day but I'm not holding my breath). Where the hell do bands like Accept and WASP fit in? I guess I need to do some research. Actually I've watched all those Banger docos so I suppose I've just forgotten about the shit groups that I don't care about.

I like Deep Purple (LPs like In Rock, Machine Head, Live In Japan etc.). I only really started to recognise their charms when I got old. They do tend to get overlooked as metal pioneers in favour of your Led Zeppelins and Black Sabbaths, particularly these days. It's weird that I know fuck all about them except maybe they recorded once in a castle in Germany and it burt down or something or nothing (?). I guess I know more about the post-Deep Purple activities of Richie Blackmore because I quite liked Rainbow due to several live videos that used to get played on Rage in the late 80s when I was a teenager. Their 1976 LP Rising is a classic.



Then there was Rainbow's Ronnie James Dio who later joined Black Sabbath for a couple of albums in the early 80s. Not that I know much about him either. I was somehow aware that his first couple of solo records were rated by metal heads and then Henry Rollins once mentioned him in a stand up comedy routine in the early 90s.

Anyway what I'm trying to say is the stories of these people David Coverdale (singer of Deep Purple and Whitesnake), Richie Blackmore (guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow) and Ronnie James Dio (Vocalist extraordinaire of Rainbow, Black Sabbath & solo) are all relatively interesting. Why don't Mojo and the like cover this sort of stuff instead of going over and over the minutiae of Bob Dylan's motor bike spokes (Sure I haven't flicked through an issue for years but I assume....)

Maybe I have to start reading the metal equivalent to Mojo or maybe a history of metal. Any recommendations out there? I did read that Chuck Eddy book on 500 metal albums but that was hardly an overview of orthodox metal. More like one dude's trip into heavy music that pissed off many an orthodox metal head.



Scorpions, they were German. They also rocked.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

INXS Invented Hauntology by accident!


I was a kid into INXS and knew all their experimental B-sides but I'd never heard this one until today, I think. Perhaps it wasn't the Australian B-side to The One Thing or maybe I've just totally forgotten about it. Anyway I'm thinking Moon Wiring Club might dig this. INXS invented hauntology by accident in 1982.

Friday, 26 January 2018

RIP Mark E Smith

Go to my twitter for more tributes to the great man. I'm trying not to double up on the stuff I've already posted there. I also don't wanna use all those same words that have been used to describe Mark E Smith and The Fall over and over again throughout their existence. So here are just a handful of tunes and videos from the first ten years of The Fall's recorded output.


M.E.S.
1957 - 2018



Recorded in 1977 and released in 1978.



1979's Rowche Rumble is the 3rd Fall single and what a cracker.



B-side to Fiery Jack. The Fall's B-sides were often as good as the A-sides and usually didn't feature on the LPs.



Single number 6 which was also not included on their album of the time. This is why Fall compilations are such an integral part of their discography. Is Totally Wired The fall's finest moment? It's fucking exhilarating. Has a song title ever fitted a song's sound so literally? 



My Favourite Fall LP (well for today anyway, interchangeable with about seven others), released in 1980 on Rough Trade.



Another great stand alone single from November 1981. This is peak period Fall right here folks.



This was the B-side to Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul from 1981. You got bang for your buck with Fall 7"s back then. I guess these were more like double A-sides, doncha reckon?



The B-side to another non-LP single Look Know from 1982. Just to clear up any confusion it was later included as a bonus track on the expanded cd version of Hex Enduction Hour.


C.R.E.E.P from 1984. Another mighty era for The Fall. This is when Brix Smith became an indispensable member of the mid 80s Fall line-up. The shiny new Fall now had boy/girl vocals, hooks galore and rhythms for the dance-floor.



Cruisers Creek a 1985 single. V dodgy vhs transfer of the film clip. Remember when youtube was just a bunch of old shonky vhs tapes?



LA is quite possibly the coolest tune in rock history. It's all happening here: the band, the production, the inspiration, the synergy.....spellbinding! They were not only top of their game, they were top of THE game. Taken from 1985's musical triumph This Nation's Saving Grace. LA is also AA-side to Cruiser's Creek.



1987 single which was a cover of an old 70s tune, maybe a Northern Soul or Motown number. I remember hearing it on a soul radio show 10 years ago and freaked out because I always thought it was a Mark E Smith tune.



There were a bunch of versions of this ecstatic dance-floor anthem. Which one is this? I dunno. Hit The North should have been a global No. 1 with a bullet. 

*There is so much more to The Fall than just this motley selection of tracks. I could go on for days. I haven't even posted any live numbers or Peel Sessions. If you really get into The Fall it can be a captivating passion. 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Ryo Kawasaki - Mercy Of The Dragon


God only knows how I got here. This is from a 1982 LP by Ryo Kawasaki confusingly titled Featuring Concierto De Aranjuez. The centrepiece of side 2 is Hawaiian Caravan along with Mercy of The Dragon (see below). All of side 2 is good 80s Japanese cosmic stuff. Mucho custom guitar synthesizer action.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

new age



This is the only part of Channel For The Light on the youtubes and the best bit isn't on it!

I've discovered a few new age related things on the interwebs since that post where I mentioned the Crystal Vibrations blog. Hidden Valley has been keeping the scented candle burning for old new age tapes on the blogosphere since CV became inactive in 2012. This dude is obsessed with the legendary Californian label Valley Of The Sun. Many of that label's classic catalogue of 80s tapes have been posted there, a couple of which i've not heard.

For those who need more there's a whole bunch of new agey stuff at the Sounds Of The Dawn blog too.





Upper Astral had an incredible run of tapes from 1981-1983.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Sister - Sonic Youth

TIM'S ULTRA ROUGH GUIDE TO ROCK - PART 9?


Sonic Youth - Sister
I think Schizophrenia, which opens Sister, was the first Sonic Youth song I ever heard. This was on a visit to the big smoke in 1987 and it was played on either 3RRR or 3PBS in Melbourne. What an introduction to a phenomenal band. I’d listened to the Primitive Calculators, The Birthday Party and Cosmic Psychos before but who knew you could make noise beautiful? This is probably the Sonic Youth album I’ve played the most. The cover was perfect. This is the sound of skyscrapers, cows. suburbia and intergalactica all rolled into one. Cotton Crown still sounds unbelievable today with its girl/boy vocals and those swirly out of tune guitars then when that change where the bass goes bezerk Sonic Youth elevate rock to one of its loftiest peaks. This band were on an outstanding roll that had begun with the two previous LPs and would continue for their next three records. Then as elder statesmen/women of art rock they had a terrific late re-flowering and issued a classic trilogy of albums that began with 2002’s Murray Street. Sister = Awesome!


Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mac Bits....


I loved this when it came out. I would have only been like 8 but it got played to death on the regional radio station of my childhood 3MA when I lived in Buronga. Of course I wouldn't have realised the Stevie Nicks connection. Maybe I thought it was Fleetwood Mac though, I mean it's co-produced by Lindsay Buckingham. I think I actually only learnt that a year or two back!






This was on a hits compilation (Chartbusters?) when I was like 10. I wouldn't have realised who he was until at least 5 years later. I remember my sister thinking he was a bit of alright. I dunno though, he's stacked on a few pounds and isn't as cool as he was during the Rumours/Tusk era or even circa The Dance. Is this a good tune? I have no idea. I can't get it out of my head though.

Monday, 16 May 2016

The Dadacomputer

Again & Again &...

Whilst moving house recently a printed out image of the cover to this tape came out of one of my boxes. I'd printed it out a couple of years ago as I thought it was an incredible piece of pop art as previously mentioned. I'd only seen the cover and heard one of their tunes back then but a few months after that original post I found a cd in a second hand record shop in Melbourne. It was a little confusing though as it was credited to The Birth Of 5XOD. It was only like $6 so I bought it anyway. When I finally got home and did the interweb research I discovered it indeed was the same album Minimal Wave had reissued. I'd just never heard of 5XOD (or Five Times Of Dust) but I soon discovered they'd released 4 tapes in the early 80s and contained members Mark Philips and Robert Lawrence who were the original band Dadacomputer. Confused? Anyway it wasn't until blog Die or DIY? put up a file of 5XOD in 2014 that I ever heard them. Last year Johnny Zchivago of the aforementioned blog put up a whole lot of stuff from Mark Philips, Robert Lawrence and other associates of The Dadacomputer/5XOD and fuck that was like an avalanche of revelation

Getting back to the original Dadacomputer tape from1981, it has since become a cult classic at my home, on the internet, amongst electro fiends and.....er... hipsters and continues to grow in stature by the minute. So much so that a tune from the tape has been included on the 4 CD compilation of UK electronic music from 1975 -1984 Close To The Noise Floor. In fact it's the first track on that collection, as if the compiler was trying to make a statement about the merits of the band. There's also a tune from 5XOD included as well. Anyway The Dadacomputer tape is a classic of it's ilk. The primitive melodic electronics are like an unholy union created in the interzone of Computer World and 20 Jazz Funk Greats except it is fabulously unique. Which makes that description kind of deceptive. The contents range from computer-y disco to proto-house to trippy journeys into sound to minimal pre-IDM through to the just plain weird/normal. The Dadacomputer are neglected alien space babies lost inside el cheapo computers from 1981. On the surface it seems sonically rudimentary but on closer inspection it is perhaps sophisticated. Had enough paradoxes, oxymorons, confusion etc? Well I'll stop there.

Eventually I'll do a post on Map 7 which is an epic 10 tape series by Map (ie. Mark Philips 1/2 of The Dadacomputer) from 1981 because it is awesome.


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Big Black & Stuff


I used to think this was a top tune/racket, still pretty good innit?. Those Big Black records were good as I recall. The Rapeman album and the first three Shellac 7"s I thought were classics back then, sure I haven't listened to them in years but old Steve had a bit of talent. I couldn't get fully into Shellac's debut album At Action Park so I didn't really follow his work after that. Dog And Pony Show is the outstanding tune I remember from that LP. He did a great job recording, producing, engineering (whatever he used to bloody call it) particularly on that first Breeders LP, Pod and of course Surfer Rosa from The Pixies. He recorded a million bands, most of which are probably not worth listening to. Steve produced some non angry men like Labradford and Low. He even produced a couple of good Australian bands ie. Crow and Dirty Three. One aspect of Albini's personality that really endeared me to him was that he was a huge Wildlife Documentary fan. Rock people didn't say shit like that in the 80s/90s. I thought that was pretty bloody punk or was it anti-punk? It certainly was not cool or in any way fashionable. I also liked Albini's writing. He might have been the reason I first got turned on to Slint's Spiderland as he wrote a review of it in the pages of Melody Maker, I'm pretty sure. He also produced their inferior debut Tweez. Come to think of it I'm pretty sure I read an article that Steve wrote where he went through a bunch of records he'd recorded and he slagged off Surfer Rosa. He was was just being honest, many thought he was a c***. You used to be able to just write what you thought back then and it was ok. Now all these sensitive little kittens would call him a bully or a troll, wankers! I think I'd rather be a c*** than a troll. Trolls just remind me of those stupid little dolls with pink hair.



Anyway enough words have been spilled onto pages about Albini and I'm not trying to get a job at Mojo so the reason he's being discussed here is because there's a recent podcast with a conversation between Albini and Ian MacKaye from Minor Threat and Fugazi. I was having a depressing Sunday and trying to take a nap so I thought 'Why the hell not? This might lull me into sleep'. Funnily enough the only time I ever saw Shellac was when they were supporting Fugazi at The Collingwood Town Hall in Melbourne, perhaps in 93 or 94. Shellac were an incredibly impressive live unit, Fugazi were alright but I think I may have left during their set in search of a pub (no booze at these shows, god even the Puritans loved their booze). This podcast chat is a couple of old geezers reminiscing about the good ole days. One thing I didn't know was that MacKaye had done a project with Al Jourgensen, he of Ministry and immense drug taking fame. So that must have been weird because wasn't MacKaye straight edge? How on earth did they get along? Anyway I've never heard that record by Pailhead....I might check it out....nah I doubt it. Ian and Steve discuss recording, the UK, crashing at people's houses, Chicago, Touch & Go, Wax Trax, a mutual love of Adrian Sherwood, boring shit, more boring shit and there's plenty of arse kissing despite them being occasionally critical of one another. It wasn't as boring as I thought it might have been. I must admit I did nod off towards the end, hey it was long, they are musicians ie. they sometimes make good music but that doesn't mean they're dazzling conversationalists and geez...guess what? It's only part 1 apparently.

Anyway this goes out to Ant, my first blog member who loved his Fugazi back in the day and followed Shellac long after I did. Let me know what part 2 is like as I don't think I'll be downloading that one.

A better podcast featuring Albini sans tedious twat MacKaye is here. Albini discusses his love for Baseball and it turns out he's he's a celebrity poker player and lover of cats.


I loved this cover of Supernaut when it came on the radio in 91 but I don't even think I knew it was a Black Sabbath tune at the time. All I'd heard of Sabbath back in 91 was the Paranoid album which I had on a cruddy tape and on the other side was Pink Floyd's Piper At The Gates of Dawn. That's a strange combo but I guess they both became beloved by my rock brain. I can't say I was a Ministry fan, like my mates were but this is Jourgensen and co along with Trent Reznor on vocals. Now, I did not know that he was singing on this until yesterday. Is it true? and who really cares? I still like it despite being aware of the Black Sabbath version for like 20 years now. Steve Albini would hate it.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

CHBB


Here's something that has sat in my i-tunes unplayed for a long while. My version doesn't sound quite this good though. So my mp3 might be a bootleg or a demo, I dunno. The Electro Maggot played a version of this track the other day. The actual physical item of this, which is a 10 minute cassette from Germany in 1981, is impossibly rare and fetches big $$$ on e-bay. CHBB only did 4 releases all of which were 10 minute tapes that I am led to believe were only issued in runs of 50. Anyone can find that fabulous Liaisons Dangereuses LP from 1981 in some form or another but these four tapes are sort of The Holy Grail of German Post-Punk. So CHBB are Chrislo Haas and Beate Bartel. Krishna Goineau joined these two later to make up Liaisons Dangereuses but obviously wasn't part of CHBB, so that above youtube title is slightly misleading. The 4 CHBB tapes have never been reissued and I'm not even sure they're anywhere on the web any more. They're just not some obscure collectable though, the music is excellent and right up there with the Liaisons Dangereuses album for innovation. One of CHBB's tunes showed up on that Metal Dance 2 compilation a couple of years back. Who knows if there will ever be a proper reissue of the nine tunes contained within these infamous four C-10s? 

It's pretty good, innit? Thanks for reminding me Electro Maggot.


This one's a mad killer tune from the first tape. I'm pretty sure if you stripped this down to the synth and drum machine it'd pretty much be techno in 81, wouldn't it?


This is gold from the 3rd tape



Classic post-punk tropes from the first tape.


And here's a little bit of a classic from Liaisons Dangereuses that was also on their one and only self titled LP.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

On The Hi-Fi - Part !!!


The fog has lifted slightly but I feel like I can barely string a cohesive sentence together. I'm strugglin to get past 'I like/don't like' sort of writing at the moment. Deep analysis might be out the window until my brain gets flowing again. Sometimes it seems you need to be a musicologist to review this (above) kind of shit but no, I'm gonna give it a Space Debris crack. This is very bloody good. Before we had jungle we had the polyrhythmic mentalness of this Latino shit. Some of this music is as outre as Miles in the 70s while some of it sounds like it could have been off the soundtrack to The Love Boat. Many a legend is to be found on this comp that came out 20 years ago including Palmieris Charlie & Eddie, Joe Bataan, Ocho, Grupo Folklorico etc. This new version has an added cd with 8 tracks that weren't on the original collection.  Do I need to mention Cuba, Boogalooo, Salsa Classic, Puerto Rico, New York, Fonkay or whatever? This is Superfly, sometimes soulful, jazzy, summertime and everything else in between! Makes you want to drink cocktails in the sun and dance like you think you are the greatest dancer ever.


LIVE IN ALCALPULCO - DDAA (1981) (Tape 2)
Well I was not expecting this. I had previously heard DDAA's Nouvelles Construction Sonores Sur Fondations which was a lengthy drifting sonic art collage released in 1991. When the opening tune Ready With The Answer came on with it's rubbish bin percussion and mental guitar I was so shocked I thought this was a different group altogether. It caused a flurry of research and no it wasn't two different groups, it was the one and only DDAA. As far as I can tell they were a 3 piece who had formed in France in 1979. This release is surely where Sun City Girls got all their inspiration. Live In Alcalpulco is fabulously minimal stuff that sometimes sounds like a Middle Eastern no-fi Slint gone acoustic with drums made of cardboard. Then it goes psych post-punk like a No-Wave group stranded in the desert jamming while imbibing mushrooms then incredibly inventive drones, space invader noises and gamelan-esque percussive sounds enter the fray. The crowd of two like it a lot and clap enthusiastically (surely this is a faux-live record). I thought I was hip to all the under-underground classics by now, but no way, I was not even aware of this double cassette until today. Subterranean Gold!


I have been waiting for a new release from Gesaffelstein since his classic Aleph from 2013. I guess this isn't the true follow up to that masterpiece of 'beautiful paranoid atmospheres, bangin streamlined EBM and Cold Rushes.' It does have the cold and paranoid atmospheres but not so much the bangin club tunes. I assume Maryland is a horror film because this is quite the grim soundtrack. An hour earlier my brain had been comparing Burzum's ambient black metal tunes to those of the mid 90s electronic doom/gloom-core variety ie. Miro, The Mover, Reign etc. so it was weird that this turned up as surely Gesaffelstein loves all that stuff. Wall Of Memories could be a Burzum track with it's simple but bizarre piano phrase that is chilling to the (hard)core. Could a horror score be album of the year two years in a row?

*The Space Debris airwaves have been featuring the aforementioned Burzum plus the likes of Bathory, Ulver, Celtic Frost, Wolf Eyes (??), Bene Gesserit, Skin, Swans, Crime & The City Solution, Clint Ruin & Lydia Lunch, Terror Danjah, Isolee, Ricardo Villalobos, Arthur Russell, Future, Young Thug and er.....Gong. A little old school hip hop has been on the decks too including the likes of LL Cool J, Schooly D, EPMD, Slick Rick, NWA, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Dr Dre etc. with a blog post coming up on these ye olde artists and the current state of Hip-Hop.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Volatile - Lime Spiders



My current theme tune. The lyrics here perfectly encapsulate my current mental state particularly after a migraine that's lasted over 24 hours. This is the 3rd in the series of Space Debris Theme Tunes. Here's the first and the other one.

*Quick note on Lime Spiders: They were a classic 80s garage band but by this point in 88 their attraction to metal with perhaps an eye to commercial crossover started to seep through. Cool bands started to admit their love for the great AC/DC. Great tune.

 

As is this. I guess this is their most famous tune which was a massive underground hit and it's a bewdy. This is a version from 1984 but I'm sure there was a demo of this kicking around a lot earlier and played on the likes of 3RRR in Melbourne. Correct me if I'm wrong. They had other great tunes too.

Monday, 29 September 2014

New Ariel Pink


Just noticed this was released. It's taken from his new album Pom Pom. Sounds like The Byrds or an 80s jingle jangle facsimile. Not sure if that's a good thing or not yet. Slightly reminiscent of The Church at their 80s best, musically anyway.  Both Ariel Pink and Steve Kilbey are complete vocal and wordsmith talents incomparable to anyone really.

Monday, 18 August 2014

What I'm Diggin!


Antipodean reissue of the year without doubt! The long out of print Derry Legend from 1989. The best band to come out of New Zealand in my book. This was originally released on Flying Nun!? Although they seem to get written out of Flying Nun's history and most histories of NZ music actually. More on this later ie. a full write up, when I've fully convalesced. Check out these previous posts for Axemen genius.


Don't know much about this dude but this is some of 2014s best rap/ratchet. Apparently there's another volume.


King Kev's 2014 By Any Means is not as immediate as his Stranger Than Fiction from last year but I'm startin to really dig this a lot. What a fuckin talent! That voice! What a badass!


Lovin this. What a team Bloody Jay & Young Thug. Bloody Jay has a new solo one out as well, I can't keep up.


My favourite LP to listen to while me and my dog sit by the fire with our feet up. Hey I'm an adult! .......well sometimes.
Not Really Diggin


10s Hardcore continuum soundz. Hey I really enjoy Kid Lib but the rest I dunno?

???


A new Rustie album how excitement! Now, I'm not so sure. It's early doors yet though.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

RIP Alexander Shulgin

Simon Reynolds tribute to Alexander Shulgin here. Well I didn't know much about him until today. He rescued MDMA from historical obscurity in 1976 and is now a legend. Somewhere along the way MDMA became known as Ecstasy. I'd like to thank him for the hits and the memories. In my teens I remember first reading about Ecstasy in The Age (Melbourne equivalent to The Guardian/New York Times) in an article that featured S'Express and 70s fashion. I recall being fascinated by this drug and the subculture surrounding it. I'd probably only ever been pissed previously and never even been stoned. I think I cut this article out. Then a few months later there was an entire expose on Ecstasy and it's effects on its users in like The Age's weekend magazine (probably sourced from The Guardian actually). It had all these great modern fried psychedelic graphics of people being wasted on E. I cut that one out as well. You'd think I was well on the way to being a total E head but I reckon it would have been five years at least until I tried it. Maybe Shaun Ryder and Bez, from The Happy Mondays, put me off trying it any earlier. I was a very infrequent user of the substance but I gotta say I enjoyed it every time.

Then there's the music it helped create. Wow, Shulgin couldn't have foreseen such a flourishing musical movement being created for and by this drug. Ecstasy has been the catalyst for some of the greatest genres of the modern music era of the last 30 years and still continues it's influence today. MDMA was revolutionary and that's an understatement. I've possibly listened to more music created for and by Ecstasy than anything else. It's a testament to the drug that you don't even have to be on it to enjoy this music. Rest in Ecstasy Mr Shulgin.





I could go on probably forever posting E related tunes. Oh hang on this captures something about E-ing. That moment when you think you've been ripped off and bought a dud. Then minutes later it kicks in big style.


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Grip It! On That Other Level - Ghetto Boys

HIP HOP I IGNORED PART 2


Now this is some hip hop I can really get behind. Once I put on this cd I instantly started liking it. Ghetto Boys sound is not unlike their peers Public Enemy, NWA and Ice T, so I guess it had an immediate familiarity. Grip It! On That Other Level has that classic late 80s old school sound, so damn funky and full of great stories that are masterfully delivered. So this album is quickly heading up my hip hop classics list, with the bullet. Now, I remember reading about Ghetto Boys in the NME and Melody Maker in the late 80s. They were described as the most morally bankrupt bunch of thugs in hip hop. That statement should have had me running to my local record shop in Grafton to order a copy of this album ASAP (gee I was a sensitive lil' youngster). Still it wasn't hard to avoid them with no national JJJ radio at the time and I don't recall them getting played on Rage or The Factory which was the home of all things rap back then. The press led me to believe they were arseholes of the highest order. Some of the themes included rape, murder and even cannibalism. I do recall some journos being conflicted though because their beats were so damn good, they're songs were undeniable. A couple of years later living in Melbourne I remember talking to a friend and she asked me 'Should I keep going out with this guy? All he listens to is Geto Boys and it's all bitches and hoes.' I don't recall what my response was though. Anyway this was the first time I'd sat down to listen to a Ghetto Boys LP and I wasn't sure if I'd heard any of the tunes or not.

Grip It! On That Other level was their second album and it was issued in 1989. This album is usually considered their best. They were from Texas which was pretty different from the usual New York and LA. I guess they put southern rap on the map. In many ways they helped pioneer gangsta rap and horrorcore. Some of the samples here had already been around the block a few times such as Curtis Mayfield, Incredible Bongo Band and Dennis Coffey. They also sampled stalwarts Parliament and James Brown. Surprisingly they also sampled such white rock as Pink Floyd and The Steve Miller Band. Not forgetting a smattering of dialogue samples from the movie Scarface. I don't think Grip It! was particularly successful upon its initial release but became a sleeper hit, eventually selling hundreds of thousands of copies. In retrospect it has become a canonical album appearing on many lists of classic rap records. It was also repackaged with some trax remixed and released under the title of Geto Boys, put out by Def Jam the following year. This also must have coincided with the spelling change from Ghetto Boys to Geto Boys

It starts off in classy stylee with Do It Like G.O. The beats are gold with samples of Superfly, Apache and Scorpio (all staple breaks from the original NY street parties). Niggas, KK, bitches, guns, politics, mo-fos, racism and black history are all mentioned in this opening tune so they pretty much lay it all on the line from the beginning. Gangster Of Love is next and its a filthy tune that's perhaps a little misogynist. It comes with a pro condom message though with much bragging of how many chicks he can do in one night. There might event be a little romance amongst the nastiness. The sample of Steve Miller Band's 'Gangster Of Love' line from The Joker, as well as the guitar part, is genius and makes this pornographic tale so damn catchy. Gangster Of Love has got to be one of the greatest hip hop tracks ever recorded. Talkin Loud Ain't Sayin Nothin is a bleak ghetto tale. Its rapped with great aggressive gusto about having integrity and hating bullshit artists and pretty much everyone and everything. It also contains a choice James Brown sample. Read These Nikes is pretty self explanatory. Its a violent thug anthem  'Remorse what the f*%# is that? I'll beat your your mamas ass then go and get a six pack!' Size Ain't Shit is a brag about being scrawny but having a big dick, a big gun, a jail history etc. with a brilliant keyboard line that wouldn't be out of place on an an acid house or bleep and bass tune. Seek and destroy has the funkiest of beats with fabulous def rhymes like something from a rap battle. As stated several times during the track this is a dope jam and they even mention peace a couple of times?!

So that's halfway but I don't even think this was ever released on vinyl. Anyway the second half starts with a defence of Public Enemy. No Sell Out is a conspiracy theory about black music being kept down by the industry. I recall at some stage in this era Public Enemy's Prof Griff being accused of antisemitism. I can't recall if this claim was true or not. They even sample their hero's Fight The Power. Let A Ho Be A Ho could be a feminist manifesto or most probably misogyny of the worst kind. Scarface is like an ultra violent 80s movie in rap form. This is rap story telling in excellis with great minimal beats courtesy of James Brown I think. Life In The Fast Lane has a sweet Parliament sample. Harmonica really suits this funky disco jam.  There should be more harmonica in rap it really works well. This tune is a real old school 'day in the life of the ghettto' jam, reminding me a little of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and it's absolutely brilliant. Trigga Happy Nigga is a party jam complete with exciting band intro and Al Pacino Scarface samples galore. Its funny how offended people were by this kind of thing when these kind of of stories were all over the tv, movies and the news. I always looked at rap as similar to movies like Westerns, Gangster films, Horror flix, blue movies etc. but for some reason people thought this was real (some of it was I guess), I assume because it's usually sung in the first person. People were quite willing to watch something like Rambo but were frightened by hip hop tunes with similar themes. People are strange. Mind of A Lunatic is like an aural video nasty. This track with its themes of insanity, mass murder, rape, attempted suicide and asylums is dark and horrific but it's set to a beautiful funk track. This was probably The Geto Boys at their most controversial. When you compare it though to some of the mid 90s underground Memphis rap is almost seems quaint now.

In the end they're nowhere near as morally bereft as I was led to believe. There's Black Power, advocacy for contraception, integrity and even mentions of peace. Geto Boys are also hilarious and compared to some of today's rappers are nowhere near as amoral or wasted. There was militaristic aggression about them. Not forgetting these are some of the dopest hip hop jams ever committed to tape. I gotta say this is a bloody classic album, one of the best hip hop has to offer. I'm glad I had this idea for this series just to hear this gem.

  

Friday, 9 May 2014

VHS Head


A new VHS Head album Persistence Of Vision is on its way and I'm looking forward to its release. His first record Trademark Ribbons Of Gold was released in 2010 just before I started my blog. I couldn't believe it wasn't all over the Internet and in end of year lists. I guess it didn't fit anywhere in particular. It was 2010 and it didn't fit into its genres of the time like dubstep or whatever else was hip at the time. Its a frantic and experimental album. I understand it was made from samples and snippets of his 80s VHS video collection. In particular VHS Head was fond of the video company logo tunes or as they call them in the biz idents The effect was a bit like having the history of 80s video culture condensed into 64 minutes then thrust at you like an aural assault weapon with barely any time to think. This be not for the faint of heart. It's not unlike something Jon Oswald might get up to but much cooler. It's kinda funky and has an 80s disco vibe with a 2010 flava and I reckon some tunes could even get played out (on the dancefloor). While the sounds aren't arranged in an orderly pastiche 80s fashion, they are meticulously arranged. God knows how long Trademark Ribbons Of Gold took to make but it may be some indication that it's taken VHS Head nearly 5 years to release a new LP. It's A rush for sure and you might recognise bits and pieces here and there, particularly if you loved your 80s VHS trash. Sounds don't really hang around long enough they just fly past you. It does have a nostalgic vibe though. Probably the closest relation to it in current music is the music released on GhostBox (theoretically more than anything). Its retro but its also presented in a futuristic audio blaze. It has become one of my favourite records of the 10s, the 2010s or whatever no one has bothered to name this decade.

I Know nothing about Persistence Of Vision but let's hope
 its just as compelling as Trademark Ribbons Of Gold.