Friday, 18 March 2016

Bass Bits Winds Up But...

God I could on forever. Don't get me started Peter Hook, Tina Weymouth, The Contortions, Gang of Four, The Fall, The Moodists, ESG, The Slits, Ian Rilen, The Pop Group, 70s reggae, PIL, liquid Liquid, Joseph K, Can, every band from the 60s, Michael Henderson, Bootsy fuckin Collins, every soul/funk band from USA in the 70s, Paul McCartney, Fire Engines, Minutemen, Jon Entwhistle, Died Pretty, Pete Wells, Gary Gary Beers, Mark Ferrie, James Freud, Steve Hanley, Andy Rourke, Bruce Lose/Will Shatter, Debbie Googe, Grant McLennan, Steve Kilbey, Kim Deal........somebody stop me.

I wrote this bit about bass players in July 2012. Now I wonder if they've all been covered. I've noticed some omissions though ie. Well I missed Carol Kaye but I guess she's included because I said every band from the 60s and hey she was on every second record made in that decade, the Meat Puppets and all of 80s New Zealand but did Kim Gordon, John Frenett (Moonshake/Laika), the dude in Les Rallizes Denudes, Paul Raven etc. get mentioned in the Bass Bits celebration?

 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. 

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

* Words on Laika taken from me bit here.

Paul Raven plays the bass here with great vigour...a bit like a 60s/Noo Wave guitar style with that chopping of the strings thang. I like this song but I also think it's kinda funny....the seriousness of it all. No mistaking that 80s vibe though. Did Killing Joke make it to the stadiums? Probably only as a support act I'd say.

The sound of late 80s Australian indy psych pop bass. Beautifully melodic and swirling. There's even a break at the 3.08 mark, nice. What's not to like? Always thought it was the dude Mark Lock who was the bass player on all Died Pretty's recordings up to1988 but discogs tells me it's Steve Clarke who took over bass duties in 1989 from whence this tune came.

Classic Flying Nun bass from Robert Scott in 1981! Written by Peter Gutteridge (RIP), later of Snapper.

How could I forget this one? Not played by Kim Deal who'd moved onto guitar but by Joesephine Wiggs. Her name's rather apt here as she fully wigs out here.


David Barbe does an incredible impersonation of Kim Deal here. Sugar fully admitted this was their homage to The Pixies. Very bloody faithful. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Loveless - My Bloody Valentine

Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock - Part VI

After my previous post on Debbie Googe I thought I'd put up this old bit I wrote on on Loveless.

Really do I need to spill another word onto a page about the merits of this LP? This recording is one of the most pillaged albums in rock’s history. The Jesus & Mary Chain laid down the blueprint via Phil Spector, The Beach Boys, The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Dr. Mix & The Remix, Aeroplane Runways and more. Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du and Sonic Youth added the extra flavour and My Bloody Valentine made noise rock at its most beautiful, blurry, melodic, disorientating and come on I have to say it, BLISSED OUT (er..thanks Mr Reynolds). Kevin Shields provided his considerably unique guitar talents along with Belinda Butcher. They together did their extraordinary girl/boy vocal thing. The rhythm section was none too shabby either with the aforementioned Deb Googe on her heavy, dubby and sometimes pummelling bass. Colm O'Ciosoig provided the drums as well as occasional sampling/production/engineering duties. It all began to come together in 1988 with the release of the You Made Me Realise EP and Feed Me With Your Kiss followed by the brilliant LP Isn’t Anything. My Bloody Valentine were on an incredible roll that turned into an avalanche with 1990’s Glider EP & 1991’s Tremolo EP followed by Loveless! Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation may have taken rock to its furthest reaches but Loveless took it beyond the universe and even into un-rock regions ie. ambient and ultra vague dance-rock. This was future rock’s cherry on top. We thought ongoing sonic exploration of rock was to continue but this was it. Loveless has now become an almost melancholy sonic document, like modernist Russian architecture that’s now in ruins, because it was never bettered. Don’t let that get you down though because this is a hell of a peak for rock’s innovation to go out on. Here come the cliches. Loveless was hazy sweet languidity with a noisy and chaotic undercurrent played with frenzied and laconic enthusiasm. Like the band’s name suggested a conundrum was at work here where apathy and hysteria were used to describe the same song. Did I say deliriously indolent? No? Well I have now. What about listless exhilaration? One tends to forget this record also fucking rocked as well as swimming in oceans of intoxicating euphoria, sometimes all at once. Oh yeah, Loveless is also pop music at its finest. Ecstatic aural pleasure at its Zenith.

Someone once commented 'Why didn't they do a whole side of the sort of stuff like Touched and the in between track hazy ambient gear?' That would have been great wouldn't it?

Best opening tune to an LP ever?

That's a good game: Best opening songs to albums. Simon should rally everyone for that can of worms.

* My original review taken from the HC Website. 

Friday, 11 March 2016

Bass Bits - Deb Googe

The mythical Instrumental 2 from My Bloody Valentine. This was issued on a 7" with the first few thousand copies of 1988's Isn't Anything. Deb Googe was soo good. This predates stuff like Aphex Twin, Seefeel, all your dub/hip hop influenced post-rockers and Boards Of Canada by many years. Incredible stuff!

Then there's this. The opening tune to Isn't Anything where Googe gets heavy (wo)man.....She would later get lost amongst the euphoric guitar storm on later records. My Bloody Valentine could have been a whole different band had they continued down these paths......just a thought.

*Sorry if these have already been covered elsewhere in Simon's Bass Bits party, which continues on, but I've only sporadically been able to follow the discourse (due to the rupture in my life's flow).

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Royal Trux

There's a good 2 hour special here on Royal Trux, who were the most consistently great rock group of the 90s. This is a career retrospective of the band and Jennifer Herrema is interviewed throughout by Ajay(?).

Herrema has now got her own dublab show named after an old Royal Trux tune The Banana Question. There are 2 episodes so far and it's an amateurishly ramshackle affair with 80s hip-hop, metal, disco, classic rock etc. all sort of shabbily dub mixed. Quite entertaining. I imagine pro DJs will hate it.

Take the 90s Avant-Rock challenge here with Twin Infinitives. Hey, it took me a couple of years to realise this was a mental scuzzy masterpiece.

They started to get a bit more accessible after Twin Infinitives. Driving In That Car was a few years later from the great 1993 Cats & Dogs LP.

Morphic Resident is reaching almost FM worthy commerciality but they're still them. I'm pretty sure the story goes that the band handed over these tapes to Greg Archilla and he just did what he wanted with the mix. The band liked it and 1997's Sweet Sixteen was the result, another classic.

Another gem from Sweet Sixteen.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

More Bass Bits

Always loved the bass in this. I can't get enough of this type of bass. It seems particularly British, I've got loads of Jamaican reggae and dub records from from the 70s but the bass lines aren't quite like this are they?

This bass style is so versatile. Here it's in more of a soulful context. Geez...nice.

The bass here, played by Harvey Williams (From many a Sarah Records group), is similar and soo good. I guess there are hints of The Specials and Jah Wobble here which makes me think this particular dubby bass style comes from a post-punk heritage. Feel free to let me know if you know from whence it came.

Another version where the bass is a bit more....I dunno...pointy or something. Still very bloody nice.

Heavenly bass. Heavenly tuuune....oh.... no pun intended. Wasn't everything on Foxbase Alpha sampled though? I could post most of that LP here but I'll spare you, just go and listen to it.

Similar bass style to the above to tunes but in more of a hardcore rave context. Me like.

The bass is great in this I just wish it would come even further forward.

More from the Suburban Bas(s)e label. Wicked bass on this in that classic style, I've been talking about.

Massive Bass

That Safe From Harm bass is sampled from a Billy Cobham tune Stratus. It's only part Cobham's track where it comes in at the 3.05 mark but Massive Attack make it their whole tune here. It's like a warm blanket which befits the title of the song nicely!

Friday, 19 February 2016

Bass Bits III - Killer Bass

Liquid Liquid
I don't mean to be so obvious but how could you go past this and didn't it get sampled a couple of times. Bass Most Awesome!

The Buggles
Video Killed The Radio Star
Probably not an obvious choice but I used to love the bass in this.

Bootsy's Rubber Band
Munchies For Your Love

I couldn't sign off without the greatest funk bassist of them all. It starts off slow then his bass starts bubbling up unexpectedly then eventually goes intergalactic by the end of this epic. Timeless bass gold.

*Originally posted here
*Some more bass bits here

Bass Bits II - Tracey Pew

Simon Reynolds is doin a bit on bass bits so I thought I'd put in my Tuppence worth. Well I wrote these a couple of years back anyway.....Immediately what sprang to mind was Tracy Pew of The Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party. There's a reason why he's on the cover of that HITS compilation because he was the heart and soul of the band. He drove them and without him on bass they would have been nowhere and nowhere near as fucking great!

The first one I love is The Friend Catcher particularly when the guitar/clarinet/sax(?) end up following his bassline every now and then. I could post entire LPs but I'll spare you. Mr Clarinet and Happy Birthday are much tighter and clipped but no less effective. A Catholic Skin is so good for the most part it is just one bass note propelling the song forward. Hats On Wrong is a much looser Pew and an indication of what was to come, geez he was good.

Then there's The Red Clock where Rowland S Howard does the old Ozzy Osbourne trick of following his vocal melody with whatever Toni Iommi guitar is playing (or was it the other way around?), except with Rowland's vocals it's to Pew's bass.

King Ink is possibly Tracey Pew's finest moment of bass glory. It's just so fucking grimey, muck is pouring from his fingertips. Human Skin and electricity fusing for a pure expression of filth. How does he keep playing that bassline amongst the rest of the shitstorm that is going down in this song.

Zoo Music Girl's bassline is just dirty funky fun for all the family. I could go on. Tracey Pew's bass on Nick The Stripper and Figure of fun are killer. 

Lastly there's Yard off Prayers On Fire. This is fucking incredible. Pew plays the bluesiest and most lonesome bass I've ever heard in my life. I think it's the only time he ever played double bass on a Birthday Party record.

*Originally posted here                                                                        

Bass Bits Replay - Walk On The Wild Side

Lou Reed
Walk On The Wild Side
Well how could you go past this iconic bassline with a little bit extra thrown in on the jam. Lou's group are fuckn cookin' right here (not Velvets as stated). That's Robert Quine on guitar dunno the other two but they're also awesome. Live in 82, rude form!

A Tribe Called Quest
Can I kick It
Then it was sampled here to great affect! Tribe kickin it to Lou in the goal square!

The Original LP version. Gotta give Herbie Flowers his due. He played two basslines on it, one double bass the other electric so he could get paid twice or so the legend goes. This has been an FM staple since it came out and with good reason. It's probably where I first heard about givin head. Double the bass pleasure!

*Originally posted here