Showing posts with label Simon Reynolds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simon Reynolds. Show all posts

Sunday, 5 July 2015

UK Post Rock - The Lost Generation

In keeping with my recent recent posts about MainIce & Techno Animal I thought I'd go into a bit more detail on UK's Lost Generation of Post-Rock. Good ole Professor Reynolds was writing about these groups in the pages of Melody Maker from at least 1991 onwards. There's was an article in the 91 Christmas issue of Melody Maker with no byline that I assume was penned by Simon. It documented the first stirrings of a new (non)scene that included a bunch of disparate musical units committed to taking their music to the limits well away from the commercial alternative business of the time. Cranes were the hot topic with their 91 classic Wings Of Joy but they weren't what was soon to be called post-rock. They were a one off post-goth/industrial band with, and I quote 'a lush Scott Walker/Euro cabaret grandeur.' Anyway AR Kane's (forefathers of UK post-rock) label H.ark get a mention with their roster containing Papa Sprain & Butterfly Child. Kevin Martin's label Pathological rate a mention too with his own great band Techno Animal plus Oxbow (whatever happened to them?). Avant Yanks Cop Shoot Cop and Twin Infinitives era Royal Trux get thrown in the mix as well. But it was future post-rock icons Disco Inferno, Bark Psychosis and Main who were the most celebrated/anticipated in this article as some kind of future saviours of what was still being called Avant-Rock. Two years later in 1993 the lost generation were still dubbed as Avant-Rock along with the speculative term Cyborg-Rock, which never really gained any traction. I guess weird non UK bands like Young Gods and The Boredoms would have fitted this category with relative ease. In the UK though more and more groups like Insides, EAR, Moonshake Scorn, Ice, Seefeel were displaying un-rock tendencies in a beyond rock context so this wasn't a classification that was to properly fit. Avant-Rock still implied that the genre was still rock'n'roll at its core despite innovations and modern tendencies. While half of what ended up being called Post-Rock still rocked in some mutant form, the other half was not so rockin. Hence the term Post-Rock making perfect sense.

The thing is this music was already under my skin so by the time Simon Reynolds came up with the term Post-Rock for these bands in an article for Wire magazine's May 1994 issue (reprinted in Bring The Noise pages 186-193) it kind of didn't really matter. I've never really thought about it before but I guess it was named in hindsight as the scene had been going for 3 or 4 years already. As is usually the case with these things a demise was on the way with only a few classics of the genre to be released after 1994. Post-Rock now also included the likes of O'rang, Laika, Flying Saucer AttackPram & Movietone. Parallels were being drawn to other artists on the outer musical limits like Paul Schutze, Jim O'Rourke, Thomas Koner, Aphex Twin, Eddie Prevost, Zoviet France etc. In an article in Melody Maker in July 1994 past artists were retroactively inducted into a post-rock hall of fame lineage from The Velvet Underground to Krautrock legends Neu, Faust & Cluster to Brian Eno to Post-Punk groups like PIL, Cabs and The Pop Group to 80s UK noise/bliss rockers from JAMC, MBV, Spaceman 3, Loop, The Cocteau Twins, AR Kane etc.

Post-Rock was all about samplers, drum machines, studios, effects, sequencers, jettisoning the guitar as a riff apparatus and integrating the techniques of dub, 70s Miles Davis, Can, hip-hop, ambient & techno into rock. Guitars were still sometimes used but in more of an unfamiliar and un-rock way. Mixing real time instrument playing with sampling was the raison d'etre for some which gave the recordings a really strange edge. Others opted for a wholly synthetic approach. This bunch of groups rarely sounded like one another, they were on the outside, went out into these zones alone and wore that status like a badge. Some were beat scientists, while others severed beats altogether and space was the place. Anyway that doesn't really sound like Explosions In The Sky does it? This UK shit was the shit! This was the sound of my bedroom in the early 90s while your more accessable rock/pop stuff (Shoegazers, Breeders, Pavement, Mazzy Star, Portishead etc.) from the era made it into the lounge rooms of the share houses I lived in at the time, Post-Rock was not embraced by all and remained in the ghetto of my bedroom (along with strange septic tanks like Slint, Trumans Water, Thinking Fellers Union 282 et al.). This parallelled how Post-Rock was pretty marginalised in the outside world too apart from Stereolab who were quite the cult band.....I suppose.

I think a top 14 of the original UK Post-Rock is in order. This is when the term made sense, meant something and the music was bloody great.

Hydra-Calm (compilation) - Main [1992]
Eva Luna - Moonshake [1992]
May - Papa Sprain [1992]
Transient Random Noise Bursts With Announcements - Stereolab [1993]
Iron Lung - Pram [1993]
Under The Skin - Ice [1993]
Quique - Seefeel [1994]
Hex - Bark Psychosis [1994]
Evanescence - Scorn [1994]
DI GO POP - Disco Inferno [1994]
Silver Apples of The Moon - Laika [1994]
Herd Of Instinct - O'rang [1994]
Further - Flying Saucer Attack [1995]
Re-Entry - Techno Animal [1995]

*The top 14 has just one record per artist.
These are in chronological order.
This list is by no means comprehensive.
Each of the top 14 will be featured in a future blog post.

**Stereolab, Flying Saucer Attack & Third Eye Foundation all released gems after 1995. I must admit I didn't really follow the next wave of  Post-Rock groups from the UK. I'm actually struggling to come up with any of their names beyond the Flying Saucer Attack affiliates Piano Magic, Crescent and Amp.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Bad Moon Rising - Sonic Youth

I haven't been posting as much due to, you know, life and that but also because I've been doing some writing for a web site. This writing is eating into my blogging time, anyway whatever. So I've decided to include some of these writings here in a little series called Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock. This first one is on Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising. I think I could write a major article by expanding this small piece or maybe being this concise is just right.

This is a weird album. Bad Moon Rising has a mysterious atmosphere that just hangs and engulfs all in its path. This is the most singular Sonic Youth LP making it unique in their catalogue. Like David Lynch did with Blue Velvet, Sonic Youth shine a light on the dark underbelly of the suburban American Dream. Perhaps coming to the conclusion that it may in fact be a nightmare. Sex, mental illness, hippie optimism and its ultimate disillusion, subversion, nihilism, death, transgression and power are all covered lyrically here. Sonically the clangs and the air of alienating dissonance mirror that of the urban sprawl and the squalor it entails. This LP moves at a creepy catatonic pace that parallels life in the sleepy suburbs. The pace only picks up with a burst of violence that is Death Valley 69. A bit like Charles Manson’s endgame to those dreaming of a hippie utopia throughout the 60s.

*This really is a concept LP which would have been very uncool at the time. How did it get past the taste police, I wonder? This has me thinking about a piece Simon Reynolds did a few weeks back about a Thurston Moore quote about 1985. The gist was that in 1985 Thurston thought it was quite radical to reference music from the rock no go zone of 1968-75, citing Green River as the catalysts for this move. Perhaps this double think allowed him to make a concept LP in 1985 as well.

*Bad Moon Rising got reissued a month or so back I've just noticed making this post quite topical and not as pointless as I thought.

*Then there's this (below) that everyone seems to be reading, even my Mrs who's not even a Sonic Youth fan (While she was a massive Pixies fan, she was more into your Guns & Roses, Temple Of The Dog, Mother Love Bone, Jane's Addiction, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Screaming Trees in your late 80s into early 90s rock period). I've only read the first paragraph and it's a fucking classic. She calls Thurston Moore a phoney. I sense it will be a great read with a start like that. She's has quite a gift for writing amongst her many other talents.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

UK Garridge 101 - Part 3

Here it is then one of the two Steve Gurley remixes of Lenny Fontana's Spirit Of The Sun previously mentioned in the post UK Garridge 101 Part 2 in a discussion with Simon Reynolds. We believe this to be the Full Vocal Mix by Gurley. Feel free to correct me if Simon is wrong. The Ballistic Beatz Dub version remains unfound and unheard by me. It's a mystery. Where is it?

I've found The Ballistic Beatz Dub in a mix from DJ Cemtex called rather creatively Past Garage Vol. 1. 

It's A London Thing from Scott Garcia & MC Styles, another 97 speed garage classic! I only discovered this last year too. At some stage last year I had an epiphany about Speed Garage which I just didn't dig at the time after being a jungle fiend. I thought it was backwards disco pop shite. I didn't pick up on 'the encoded traces of hardcore and rave'* ie. the way jungle skills were transposed onto vocals and other bits of 2-Step. The rhythms weren't as fucked up but traces of the deranged remained intact in more subtle ways and in other areas of the tunes. It was those recent Deep-Tech trax that made me reassess the garridge genre. Now I can't believe how many great tunes there are which is exciting as I'm discovering good stuff all the time. Sadly I don't see this happening with Grime. Hey I quite liked Boy In Da Corner though and I have been known to change my mind. I had this great homemade speed garage mix I made but my computer died (think I lost all files). Trying to piece it back together. Don't trust zipcloud, bunch of arseholes!

Richie Boy & DJ Klasse - Madness On The Street
Uh huh! This is the version I know. Fabulous. It's even got guitar samples in it! Are they the same people as the Stamp Crew who also have a version on youtube? Maybe they just changed their name. Who knows? This garridge/2-Step thing is confusing at times. So many versions of one track, different names, white labels etc. This one is true gold though.

Back to hardcore now. Speaking of unfound tunes I cannot find the version of D'Cruz's Bass Go Boom remixed by DJ SS & E.Q. on youtube. Several uploads of the remix seem to have been taken down. The Bass Go Boom remix was on last year's Suburban Base compilation and it's an absolute killer, one of the best jungle tunes ever made according to these ears. It was another tune I had not consciously heard before, previous to buying that compilation but I believe I would have remembered it as the time-stretched out of control drums and distorted bass are unfuckingbelievable. Anyway we're stuck with the original here which is good but not a patch on the DJ SS & E.Q. remix. Hey do yourself a favour it'll be the best $1.69 you ever spent on i-tunes. I think I'm gonna spend a dollar sixty nine on the other remix. Imagine if it's better than the DJ SS & E.Q. one?!

*Almost forgot this footnote. A quote from Simon Reynolds in a piece on his Energy Flash blog.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Dolphin Tune - Aquarius

I'd heard this back in the day but didn't realise it was called Dolphin Tune. Is it really? Is this where the term Dolphin Jungle comes from? Is that even a term or do I just think it is? Or did it already exist so he was just taking the piss out of himself. I was a sucker for this stuff back then, the good tunes anyway, still am i suppose. This is a bewdy, I reckon. Perfect for my current headspace. It just seemed an unlikely hybrid that juxtaposition of ambient/new age and jungle beatz/choppage. Did someone say ambient jungle? The flip is fucking wicked too probably even better, especially if you get a couple of versions going at once like 40 seconds apart. When I first heard jungle I guess some time in 92 on RRR or PBS in Melbourne on a show called Roots, Ragga & Dub where they started having like monthly jungle specials, which I used to tape but those tapes are long gone, dammit! Anyway that's what I reckon they were doing playing the same track out of sync with at least two records possibly even more or other tunes entirely. It was like music being beamed into my crappy East Brunswick bedroom from a planet inhabited some super hyper spazzoid aliens. Don't let the fact that this is a Photek alias put you off. This isn't as methodical or detached as some his other material.

Forever grateful to the Professor of 'The Hardcore Continuum' Simon Reynolds who adds another contribution to my blog in the comments box:

"probably does come from that tune, but also Bukem was doing things like "Atlantis" and the whole sound of Good Looking / Looking Good is just aqueous isn't it?

there was 93 track by Nebula II on Reinforced called "Eye Memory' that actually has dolphin noises on it! The title is based on that idea that if a dolphin looks you in the eye, it'll never forget you."

I remember Atlantis but not sure I'm familiar with Eye Memory. Funds back in the day went mainly on gettin wasted so it was radio, tapes or clubs where you heard the music. Import 12"s were bloody expensive as were styluses. Loved those Nebula II trax on those Reinforced comps though.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

UK Garridge 101

Another tune I only just discovered from 1998, well identified, as I'm pretty sure I've heard it before and maybe it's in a mix I've got. The vocal version is good too. So Grant Nelson is apparently like the godfather of UK Garridge and was doing it long before everyone else. I read somewhere that Nelson is still doing his thing in House related zones. He was also Bump & Flex so this is him remixing himself.

Turns out Steve Gurley did a remix of Things Are Never by Operator & Baffled. I can't work out if it was his dub version in that previous post or not. Anyway this is a tune from 2000 he did and it's a cracker. One wonders if there is an actual vocal version of Hotboys though, because I've not been able to find one. Bloody hell! Steve Gurley was in 4 Horseman Of The Apocalypse and Foul Play. Then he became a leading producer of UK Garridge and a remix extraordinaire. Legendary enough for ya? I'm expecting him to show up at some point in the Deep-Tech milieu, if he hasn't already that is.

Simon Reynolds adds the Gurley remix of 'things are never' is so much better than the original - which is good - but it's incredibly baleful and rolling. but it's not on YouTube, which is odd, i remember it getting played a lot on the pirates, so obviously well loved. i might try to dig it out and digitize it and put it up myself.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

UK Garage With Simon Reynolds

"Double 99 and Gant are just pure classic speed garridge. Deekline is sort of 2step turning into breakstep (breakstep really not a good development in my opinion, with a few exceptions - although he liked to call it Nu Rave, Deekline - sort of starts to merge into the nu skool breaks scene which you may nor may not recall - Rennie Pilgrem and others that my memory fails to dredge up. Stanton Warriors were the big breakstep act as I recall. But all of it -- speed garage, 2step, breakstep, proto-dubstep like Horsepower Productions, proto-grime like Pay As U Go Kartel, Oxide & Neutrino, and So Solid Crew - could be subsumed under the rubric "UK garage". Which runs from about 1996 in its earliest stirrings through to 2003-4 when grime and dubstep broke off as separate entities - so that's like an eight year period of great music and ferment in the UK dance underground, but also spilling into the charts. "I Don't Smoke" was a hit single."

*This was left by Simon Reynolds in the comments box of the previous post. Seeing as nobody clicks on the comments box I've put it here, hope you don't mind Simon.
As I've said, this is around the time I got off the Hardcore Continuum. I Don't Smoke went to number 11 in the UK chart for DJ Dee Kline in 2000, the year after it's original release. Horsepower Productions feature prominently in that J Rolla Proto Dubstep Mix with 3 tunes. Nu Rave & Nu Skool Breaks are familiar terms as I would have tuned into radio shows playing this music at the time but obviously got turned off by it. This is also around the time (99) I stopped going to clubs. I gave 2step a go but I just couldn't get into it. As far as Grime went I didn't hate it but I didn't love it (like I loved jungle) either, I guess that's indifference or at least tolerance, if it was within earshot. Having said all that it seems I'm open to reappraisals as some Speed Garage, 2step & Breakstep are now seeping into my consciousness in a very good way.

Oh Boy - Fabulous Baker Boys
This is a beauty from 97.

Destiny - Dem 2
Also from 97 and heading into 2step

187 Lockdown - Gunman (Original Mix)
This is a "Tune" from 97 as well.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ratchet & Trap Explained Part 2

"That description of ratchet doesn't really capture the stylistic essence of things like "Rack City" and all that followed it, though does it - "simple rhythms, kicks and claps, squelchy synth bass" - i'm not sure i can do any better, though! Deceptively simple, i think would be the first nuance i'd add. Mustard's tracks are like Dre's classic beats, in way -- not doing anything very flashy or obviously avant, but real groovy. harder than it looks, i'll bet. With Mustard, the signature features are the snare rolls with the paradiddle-like military feel, the HEY!HEY!HEY!HEY! Marine-regiment doing-drill chants, and, more recently, those re purposed and slowed-down 90s house licks and vamps."

This was left on the comments page of Ratchet & Trap Explained by the one and only Simon Reynolds. Now that's an explanation of Mustard & his ratchet. Onya Simon! To tell you the truth I thought Anonymous may have been him or some other such luminary.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


Funnily enough I was listening to Faust and Eroc's Eroc 1 today and hello to make my bad days a little brighter here's David Stubbs and his book Future Days: Krautrock And The Building Of Modern Germany. There have been other good books on this topic of course. Particularly gonzo rock guru Julian Cope's KrautrockSampler, which is long out of print. Then there was The Crack In The Cosmic Egg by Steven & Alan Freeman which has also been out of print for some time but is a fabulous resource for the more obscure side of the genre. A scaled down internet version of this encyclopedia by the Freemans is available here in pdf form. Stubbs is of course a legend from the Melody Maker in the 80s. He wrote an excellent book a few years ago Fear OF Music about how modern music isn't given the same respect critically, culturally and monetarily as modern art is. Simon Reynolds really revs up the book with an astonishing  quote "Future Days does not capture Krautrock so much as unleash it. At long last the definitive book on the ultimate music." Now that's saying something. As I recall a highlight of the 90s Reynolds & Press book The Sex Revolts was a chapter on Can which blew my mind. The best writing on the German group Can ever or any other group for that matter. Maybe there's better to come. Stubbs seems to show up at  times in my life when I'm in bad health. There's a picture of me reading Fear Of Music on a hospital bed from a few years ago. It's like he knows when I need cheering up.

Any reason to play Can is a good reason.
You really need to listen to this LP as a whole.
It's Genius (and I hate that word's over use!).

Monday, 26 May 2014

Lean & Mustard

Mustard On The Beat (at) Ho(me) still. Love the bass pressure in this one. Doesn't August Alsina (and Mustard brings his a game on the beat) just capture losing it perfectly, that point where you're so wasted (sorry faded), just when it's all gonna go pear shaped. Cough mixture be the drink of choice among this lot, Reynolds reliably informs me. I was comparing the wasted sound of this scene' tunes to being sonically akin to mixing painkillaz (and by that I mean codeine or Oxycontin) with alcohol & whatever else. Dextromethorphan is a popular ingredient in cough medicine in America, which in high doses can causes hallucinations. But the cough mixture of choice is the one containing codeine and promethazine. It all reminds me of a story Jim Carroll wrote in his book Forced Entries, if memory serves, about the New York scene in the early 70s. When there was a heroin shortage they'd get into the cough syrup with the codeine in it, just get it over the counter at the Chemist (Aussie term for drugstore) no questions asked.  There was a great Townes Van Zandt track too, Waitin' around to die, that was a love song of sorts to one his many drugs of choice codeine. Now kids and the rappers mix these syrups with soda and call it lean which my brother in law told me about last year. I think I was asking him "what do you reckon is in those red polystyrene cups in all these music videos?" He then said "You mean lean." I went "right" thinking it was something like what the Peruvian musicians have been into since the 60s, Chicha. Chicha being an old Inca alcoholic drink that was used in rituals and festivals. Anyway I was a bit off the mark. Actavis (the pharmaceutical company) even pulled the plug on production on their Promethazine Codeine syrup a month ago due to its growing cult and the way it's being abused. Lean apparently causes euphoria along with motor skill impairment and a dissociative feeling from other parts of the body("I can't feel my face, I'm so numb") . Some rappers have even been overdose victims of Lean mixed with other substances. The promethazine is the catalyst for intensifying the euphoric effects of the codeine in your system. There's a whole list of other slang names for Lean: Purple Drank, Sizzurp, Texas Tea etc.

A cumbia/Chica tune from 1970. Sex Drugs & Tropical Chicha! Good vibes on this one man.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Sex Drugs & Ratchet

DJ Mustard's still on the beat round these parts. Reynolds mentions a few more here This one I can't deny. I love that minimal spooky fade out at the end but Mustard makes spooky a 'subdued mood of depressive hedonism.'* That's the best description I've heard so far of this sub genre of a sub genre.

Mustard has turned me around on other things. I couldn't get into this at all when it came out. I knew the sonic production was v cool. I thought it was depressing though but now I get that downer euphoric vibe. Like painkillaz and alcohol. I'm not even sure what other drugs this relates to weed, ice? A heroin-y E maybe? Anyway it's a hell of a vibe. Only took me 2 years to get it. Jesus what next Drake?

Actually It was probably this tune that got me to go back and listen to Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid... cd. How is Mustard not on this beat?

I hated Gas Pedal when I first heard it, then hated it again when I gave it another go. I think it was Reynolds who said (and I agreed) it was just a rip off of Snoop & Pharell's Drop It like Hot but then he had it in his singles of the year. So I gave it another go, still hated it. 5 months later now I'm fully into it. The druggy vibe can't be too wasted because they still be horny dudes. The vibe of this song encompasses a panopoly of drugs and alcohol while being on the prowl for some tush (kids, that means booty).

Then there's magic! (I know this is a bit off topic but it kinda fits.) I get chills every time I hear this. I mean it's pop, it's got hooks and it's so fucking anthemic I can't believe it. And I hate that whole New York cultural tyranny thing, makes me never wanna go there. But this song is so good it doesn't matter what it's about. It could be about my dog doing a poo and I'd still get chills every time I heard it. Z does mention E's, well MDMA during this track so that gives you an idea of where the euphoria in this lies. I mean apart from the songwriting and musical arrangement which is enough. A bit like MBV's best tunes it's so euphoric it feels like your on drugs anyway. This is the sonic equivalent of Champagne and an E chased with a few lines of coke.

Also I think this maybe the best pop tune in history.

*That's me paraphrasing a Simon Reynolds quote.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Don't Touch That Stereo Part I

Millie & Andrea - Drop The Vowels (2014)
This is one of the dudes from Demdike Stare and some other bloke. For some reason I'm really enjoying this record which I didn't really expect to. I don't think anything much new is happening here. There a bit of post dubstep, some gamelan vibes, isolationist type ambience, a dose of Basic Channel, hardcore continuum styles, drum & bass pops its head up, tech-house (that was a thing wasn't it for a minute there in the 90s?) and I dunno it's all a bit zombie rave (that should so be a genre). Not really hands up in the air more like your arms fall off as you try to raise them above your waste. Is it undeconstructed or reconstuctured deconstruction or constructed unreconstruction? More to the point does anyone give a shit at this point? More nails in the coffin for rave in the best possible sense.

Clouds - Ghost System Rave (2013)
A bit late on this one. Ghost System Rave was only hipped to me in early January by Reynolds via Energy Flash. This is far and away the best album I missed last year, the only other contender being Holden's The Inheritors. It most certainly would have made my top 9. As far as album titles that describe their contents go this is perfection. Whilst the ingredients suggest the 90s, something pulls this away from mere retro-activity. Perhaps Future 1 is the only exception to that rule here as it soundz like an obscure 91 grimey 'ardcore gem that Blog To The Old Skool might have dug up. Ghost System Rave is not just techno micro-genres revisited. Its like you're hearing an early 90s rave through a ghost's ears. You feel like you've heard it before but you haven't, not like this. This is a delightfully askew musical experience. It sounds/feels like you've already dropped the drugs and you're occupying an inbetween dimension. This is an incredible musical achievement. Rave from the otherside. We just had Zombie Rave and now this is Ghost Rave.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Simon Says Intros

The new year's topic is intros see here. I'm just goin with my definition of an intro which is before the proper singin starts. First thoughts were Marquee Moon, The Stones, A Hard Days Night but I thought everyone would have those so here's my first one Teenage Riot from Sonic Youth. It starts so clean with just one guitar until 13 seconds in.  Then comes Kim's murmurs and whispers.  By the 45 second mark it sounds like about 5 guitars plus sporadic drums and I think Kim's chanting "speed desire." It's all very sensual until 1.22 when one of the great riffs revs up and by 1.47 it's in full flight along with Shelley's crackin drum beat. By 2.05 Thurston's at the mic and well the rest is pretty good too.

Then on the same record Daydream Nation there's Candle. This starts with some of the most lovely clean spidery guitar you are likely to ever hear. At 0.48 the drums kick in and the guitar takes an anxious turn down a dark lane. By 1.10 the vibe's picked up and the riff and beat's changed to a chug just in time for Thurston to step up to the mic.

Rock peaked here didn't it?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Paul Morley

We Can Only Aspire!

Reynolds at Blissblog hipped me to this article on The Stones at Glastonbury. Morley talks festivals, rebellion, baby boomers and the future. I loved this quote: 'Festivals are the rock generation's equivalent of cruises.' Read the best article written this year here at The Guardian website. Actually I've heard that there are real rock n roll cruises, you know for senior citizens with too much money, where they do their jiving or twists or whatever these foggies do. There has even been an indy one somewhere around Melbourne or Sydney I do believe.

'Mayday! a hipster has messed up his hair! Oh hang on
"is it meant to look like that? Oh."
False alarm crisis averted!'

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Laughing Clowns - New Bully In The Town

Drummage: A Reprise

New Bully In Town
Laughing Clowns

The drums on this track are the hook, the...fuck let's face it they are the whole song. How did I miss the post-punk drummer of all post-punk drummers in the original Drummage blog conference/party started by Mr Simon Reynolds at the end of last year? Listening to the Ghost Of An Ideal Wife LP from 1985 the other other day New Bully In The Town stopped me in my tracks while I was doing the er... dishes. The drummage swings like mad and blew my mind and not for the first time. You could put more than half of the Clowns catalogue on here but this'll do for now. According to Ed Kuepper this is a humorous song influenced by 2 old songs. One was an old hillbilly instrumental and the other a 1920s blues track. Laughing Clowns 2 main players were Ed on guitar & vox and the incredible Jeffery Wegener on the drums with a revolving line up of other instrumentalists. Wegener even once played in a later/near the end line up of The Birthday Party, after Phil Calvert was no longer required, for some final live dates in Europe. Wegener even played in an early version of The Saints. If I recall this correctly early on at Laughing Clowns shows Wegener and his Kit would be front and centre of the stage. That's how important/integral Jeffery was to the band.

*Writing about drumming is really hard particularly if you're not a drummer. I had a few lessons at school in grades 5 & 6. I even once had to fill in at a rehearsal for my brothers band. I was in year 7 and they were all  form 6ers doing their HSC (year 12). Eventually though they got fed up as I really couldn't keep time. 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Boring Monday Night

it was either watching Master Chef or some other shite tonight. Luckily I went on the interweb and found this on Hardly Baked one of Simon Reynolds other blogs. This is a true time capsule and fuck me it made my week if not my month actually. Simon found it on the Our God Is Speed blog who in turn found it on the Exile On Moan St blog. So I thought I'd continue the tradition and pass it on. This is an incredible glimpse into Berlin in 1983. Even more so though, is the glimpse you get of the British idea of Berlin and Germany in 1983. It's got Die Haut, Malaria, Einsturzende Neubauten, etc.

This is as German as I got in 1983. This really swings!, quite unexpectedly. I thought Nena was the biggest spunk (er...that's Australian for good looking) I'd ever seen. That final part of The Tube In Berlin Special where a British guy is at the Russian War Memorial reminded me of this song which I haven't heard since about 1984. If I recall correctly she had a follow up single I really loved as well but I can't remember the title of that. Oh hang on here it is!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Surf influenced Drummage

Simon Reynolds is still bangin on about drums so here's a couple more. Well it's pretty hard to get heard behind the twin guitar attack of Masuak and Tek but here's some great drumming to go with those surf guitars. Ron Keeley with the sticks.

Then there is this which was all about the drums. Loved it the first time I heard it which was on the Countdown awards cica 84/85. This was power surf drummage! Mark Kingsmall on the skins.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Ultimate Drums

Sing Sing - Not Drowning, Waving

To me this is the ultimate drum tune. Not Drowning Waving were kind of an experimental ambient art rock pop band from the 80s in Melbourne. In 1988 they went to Rabaul in Papua New Guinea and recorded an LP with a bunch of locals. They had recorded this song before but nothing like this version. Beautiful, uplifting, scary and intense all at the same time! It still amazes me to this day!

Saturday, 8 December 2012


Just realised I never put this on me blog. Gee I wonder what I feel like doing tonight? Anyway just putting some thoughts together on 2012. I know I only exist as a ghost in this world but looking at some end of year lists I've become quite perplexed. Firstly who the fuck is Frank Ocean and secondly who the fuck is Kendrick Lamar? Am I missing out?

Anyway Simon Reynolds asks here Is anyone who listens to EDM, Brostep, Electrohouse writing about it and assessing it critically or is it a scene without an in depth discourse? Then I thought how many times can you say this sounds great, it's a totally banging tune, this'll go off on the dancefloor etc. I mean you could say how functional it is, point out influences, outline where the good bits are and talk about equipment. This is party music after all and one of its main functions is to not think. It is one part of a pleasuredome  to block out the dreariness along with the drugs, the dancing and the naff clothing. Is it necessary to get serious about fun? That doesn't sound like much fun. Getting in depth about this scene seems be the antithesis of this particular pop culture.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Sopranos/Nostalgia for the future

Funny that I mentioned Tindersticks in that last post. I've just started rewatching The Sopranos from season one and I'm gonna watch the lot. Anyhoo in an excellent episode towards the end of the first season  called Isabella The Tindersticks song Tiny Tears appears during one of Tony's meltdowns. I was surprised and thought 'yeah! they had some great songs and were a bit of a funny band.' I'm intending on pulling those first couple of records out of the closet maybe. The first one and that live one were pretty good stuff. Were they Boz Scaggs fans? Their other influences were pretty obvious though Hazlewood, Van Zant, Scott Walker, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Triffids etc. It was funny having this British group with all these Australian influences. I guess Gallon Drunk were a bit like that as well, you know sounded a bit like they could have been from Melbourne.
Good tunes for panic
attacks on the toilet!

The Dreamy Isabella.
Been loving the music on The Sopranos. There were so many good songs used and put to good use as well. Kasey Chambers turns up on one episode where Ralphie becomes a captain with the Captain. Her voice may sometimes be grating but there is no denying her talents as a formidable songwriter.

Anyway I'm still obsessed with the whole hardcore/darkside/jungle/ambient jungle etc.90s timeline thing. I must admit though I can't bring myself to listen to possibly my favourite record of the 90s Tricky's Maxinquaye. I think this was pretty much the only record I listened to in 1995. In Energy Flash's Trip Hop chapter Simon Reynolds waxes lyrical about the record and with good reason, it's fucking brilliant. It is a dark record though, dark times personally too and perhaps I just played it to death. It was a bit of a shame though that his debut was his Pet Sounds or Exile On Main St...... er ..... meaning his peak, his Masterpiece, his piece de resistance. Then again who cares it's one of the all time great records!

Best LP of the 90s?
After tracking down a bloody lot of the great tracks from the hardcore etc. era I'm now onto AOJ. Album orientated jungle. One of the few other records I did listen to in 95 apart from Maxinquaye was Omni Trio's The Deepest Cut and 4Hero's Parallel Universe (that may have been 94). Also getting back into A Guy Called Gerald, Spring Hill Jack and finally tracking down that Jacob's Optical Stairway LP which I never heard until the other day. I guess that's because jungle's twistedness was starting to be straightened out and I didn't go much further with it after that. I couldn't get into Roni Size/Repazeant and all that. Maybe I missed some things by getting off the train before techstep. Now I'm supposed to mention MC Esher (no he wasn't a rapper) and how jungle parallels the impossibilities, confusion and illusions that he created. Kodwo Eshun summed it all up nicely with the often quoted "rhythmic psychedelia." K-Punk says "temporal delirium" What more can I add. This was in no way nostalgic this music (ironically talking about it now is), it was speeding into the future with no map or coordinates and with unprecedented vigour. This was twisted, elastic, sharp, slimy & shapeshifting music for hopped up Martians going interstellar.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Energy Flash/Hauntology

Here is a quote from page 164 of Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave & Dance Culture written by Simon Reynolds and originally published in 1998 but this is a 2012 edition.

'Imagine the theme music for a 50s Government film about Britain's new garden cities: serene, symmetrical, euphonious, evoking the socially engineered for a post war New Order.'

Here Mr Reynolds was referring to some of the music that Aphex Twin was making early in his career. I wonder if Boards Of Canada were reading this but didn't they already exist? or if the GhostBox crew were taking notes because it sounds like Simon Reynolds invented Hauntology 6 or 7 years ahead of its time, well the theory and subtext to it anyway. When I first heard BOC I thought shite they remind me a little of Seefeel & Aphex Twin, which to me was in no way a bad thing! I wonder if Simon is aware of this portentous quoted passage or realises his complicity in the entire idea/genre? I know he is a big fan of the whole thing and has scribbled many words on the topic via his blog and in an article for The Wire magazine many moons ago.