Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Nash The Slash - The Chase

Another tune that is new to me but it turns out I've heard music written and performed by Nash The Slash before as he was a member of Canadian space-prog-pop group FM, appeared on Gary Numan records and did the soundtrack to 90s cult movie Highway 61. Novelty music lovers might remember him as the dude dressed up as a mummy with sunglasses who played excellent electric mandolin and electric violin. 

Riveting synth-y car chase theme goodness. 

"fun, fun, fun on the..."

Monday, 30 January 2023

The Last Four Digits - I Have Rental Car

Heard this tune for the first time today. The band name is vaguely familiar like maybe I learnt about them back in the heyday of Mutant Sounds (?)... anyway back in 1980 they released their one and only record but this is from their unreleased album recorded in 81 or 82. The tracks from these sessions didn't see light of day until 2017 when Timechange Records released the compilation Don't Move.

All the elements of the time are present in this good fun melange: Synth-punk, no-wave, post-punk, new-wave Beefheart damage, miscellaneous etc. to give us something like Fire Engines meets DNA meets Voigt 465 or something like that... 

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Burial - Shutta

It's like post-punk and dub-tech working in collusion to stop a zippy speed garage tune escaping by smothering it in darkness. 

Sometimes I wonder why would we choose to listen to this over an actual speed garage tune from say 1998. 

Is gloomifying a genre anything to be proud of? Is this just kinda pin pricking the hardcore/rave elation balloon and giving back in to 80s miserableism?

Is this the only way for miserable rockist/indie/goth types to enjoy 2 step garage? ie. with all the fun taken out, dysphoric speed garridge if you will.

On the other side of the coin it's in the great British tradition of post-punk dub, sound system culture, Wild Bunch/Massive Attack/Tricky milieu and the darkside of the hardcore continuum innit?

Cracking tune right. One of his best. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Hurricane - Bob Dylan

Does anyone ever say Bob is ecstatic? Because that's what this tune is, totally. The chorus-y bits where the music drops out and it's just the congas with the raucous singing, from Bob & backing vocalists Ronee Blakley & Steephen Soles, is just the ticket, innit? The energetic delivery of this incredible narrative is so inspired. Not so much all about the meaning of the lyrics but also the sound of the words, the way they fit together, the rambunctious manner in which they're performed and spontaneously captured on tape.

Congas are played by the mysterious Luther Rix. It's weird that millions of us know those congas so well but very few of us know the name of the man responsible. Like we should all know the trumpet guy from All You Need Is Love or the the co-vocalist of Gimme Shelter. Actually I'm sure I used to know who that was and I'm pretty sure I saw a mini documentary on that trumpeter on the webs once. We could run into Luther Rix in the street and we wouldn't even know he was the legend who played those furious congas on Hurricane.  


*This post was supposed to be about the criminalisation of words, social media censorship and freedom of speech but I just got tangled up in Bob.

Saturday, 21 January 2023

Burial - Antidawn

After making such a grand statement about Burial in my Best Of 2022 list ie. that he's undeniably THE musical visionary of the 21st century, I''m starting to interrogate that line of thinking (surely I forgot The Caretaker). It was very easy to just automatically write such an assertion as though it were true and believe that most thinkers about such things around the world would also obviously agree. 

Surely Burial aka William Bevan's feeling the pressure of such thinking. It's probably why he hasn't called a release an album since 2007 despite several so called EPs being LP length. I mean last year he had to add EP at the end of the title for his Antidawn release, which is 5 minutes longer than Sgt Pepper's, so we all didn't call it his 3rd album. Is he too protective of his own critical reputation (like My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields was in the 90s)? Is he scared that calling his album an album will ensure it gets too closely scrutinised?

It's an interesting ploy that I think has perhaps backfired upon him. Now we all just think Burial's work is insignificant because it's just his miniature cast offs not to be taken all that seriously. If Antidawn had indeed been called an album I think it would have garnered a lot more interest and that definitely would have been deserved. It may well have been hailed as his 3rd masterpiece. Even if it was only hailed as that by half of the usual critics it still would have been a better result than the dwindling interest it actually got.

Also is it up to him to call an album an album? We should have all just called it an album because it is an album.

Speaking of critics. Some of the laziest and most absolutely wrong bullshit gets tossed around in the name of critique and analysis of Burial: Ambient, insubstantial, not engaging, formless, not an easy listen etc. ad nauseam for fuck's sake!  

It's not fucking ambient dickheads. None of this sound is to be ignored. It's bloody operatic, too emotional, full of sensations many of which are perhaps too liminal for articulation, feelings are switched on and off sometimes in a furious flurry and Antidawn is fucking anthemic! Anthemic: That sounds anti-ambient to me.

It's not fucking Insubstantial! Just because it doesn't have a riff, a break, a bass drop, a bloody verse/chorus/verse or a song structure that represents a god damn pre-existing genre on autopilot doth not maketh this record insubstantial. Antidawn is so substantial it fucks with me for 44 minutes, toys with my soul for 44 minutes, transfixes me for 44 minutes, loses me in its delectable sound-world for 44 minutes, nothing else matters for that 44 minutes.

It's not fucking formless. In fact it is intricately structured to a fastidious degree to give us a spectrum of dramatic effects. Wild swinging jaw dropping dramatic arcs that have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck... now that doesn't sound particularly formless does it? 

It's not fucking not engaging! Antidawn is so compelling it's like your favourite, best, most watched movie. Every little detail is important, to be savoured and pored over. The entire LP is best heard from go to whoa. It's so striking it has me hanging on every tiny spec of sound and all of the vibes for er... 44 minutes.

It's not fucking not an easy listen! Just pump this sucker up to 11 and bam where did those 44 minutes go? 

Friday, 20 January 2023

Burial - South London Boroughs

Skeletal, spectral, skeletal spectral or spectral skeletal it's all what this tune is. South London Boroughs is a skelington of a tune. As pointed out by others in the past, you fill in this tune in your mind with whatever elements you think are missing. A bit like a mirage. That ghost of a Rufige Kru mentasm stab looms large and sends over ten years of 'ardcore musical memories flooding vaguely back. The rhythm is just buggered, quite knackered. I think it was either Mark Fisher or Kode 9 who said you fill in the rest the rest of the beat to compensate for this deficiency. It's like you're a beat doctor fixing up the gimpy rhythm with your mind. The tromp l'oeil effect makes this an illusory tune whichever way you look at it.

Also isn't this what Scorn sounded like circa 94/95?

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Burial: Nite Train

I love how no critic ever mentions broken beat when talking about Burial. Sorry but he's influenced by broken beat. Dubstep fans who want to claim him as their own call him dubstep. While dubstep haters who love Burial claim he has nothing to do with dubstep. Anyway this track is now 18 fucking years old and it's Basic Channel style dub-tech intersecting with ghostly UK garage innit? I like it whatever you wanna call it...

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Juaneco Y Su Combo - Linda Nena

Once you've gotten into Peruvian psych cumbia via the instrumentals from the late 60s/early 70s the next step is to follow the genre as it progresses through the 70s and into the 80s as it becomes much more song orientated. Then mysteriously in the late 80s it abruptly falls off the face of the earth altogether.

Linda Nena from 1976 is one of the most infectious anthems of the genre. It's got Peruvian pop hit written all over it and I guess you gotta to have a crack at singing it even though you don't understand the language because of its irresistible hooks. Once again the rhythm is out-fucking-standing and is just as key to the tune as the vocals are. Peak Peruvian cumbia!

Sunday, 15 January 2023

Russian Sonic Microwave Attack or Cricket Mating Sounds or ???

Six or seven years ago in a doctor's waiting room I remember seeing on a mainstream television channel reports of people in an embassy office block in Havana being deliberately targeted by sonic attacks from the Russian military. I thought "Really is this shit real?" It put me in mind of shonky old sci-fi movies, The Twilight Zone, That's Incredible, ye olde kids's books about spies, The KLF, Hawkwind etc. but I never heard about these stories again. The other day however, while not feeling well, I went through Glenn Greenwald's entire rumble channel and this incredible post popped up from about a year ago. I don't think the CIA could have envisaged where this convoluted narrative would end up. 

It's just a shame that this entertaining and bizarre tale had to come from the nefarious actions of the state and establishment corporate media collaborating in a fraud with intentions to deceive & manipulate us: the public, the people, the citizens. We're just trying to have a good day and yet...

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Midnight Cleaners - Cleaners From Venus

Midnight Cleaners from 1982 is probably the most well known Cleaners From Venus album. This was originally a tape only release. Martin Newell’s diy post-punk lo-fi psychedelic pop is glorious. 

Midnight Cleaners starts out with doomy basslines, then drums, glockenspiel & synths follow through via his bedroom's echo chamber. 

Wow the splendid melodiousness of this never ceases to amaze. In a parallel universe... 

When they hit their stride with superior jangles, angular tangents and ecstatic bursts of majestic bittersweet melodic pop, it’s almost too much.

A month or six ago Martin Newell announced on instagram that this wonderfully blissful anthem had hit 6 million streams on Spotify. Not bad for an unknown 80s band who were always in between scenes. A true cult pop phenomena finally reaching critical mass forty years later.

This. Just when you're thinking this is some Saxamophone instrumental noodle with amazing bass a verse comes in, then bang just the ecstatic everything. Anthem!

Martin's got wistful deep within his bones down to his socks. This is psychedelic raindrops. Cleaners From Venus pack an emotional punch that few bands ever do, all the while being quintessentially English. 

This despondent paean to drudgery, gentrification and dystopia is quaint by today's standards. Nostalgia for nostalgia. If only dystopia was this cute.

"The sun unfolds but it never shines" The glorious gloom of it all. 

Not to forget the dubbed out saxanophone jamz. At this point they were only comparable to The Homosexuals at their most sublime.

Like most of the population I didn’t discover Cleaners From Venus during the 80s. I came across them in the 90s via the compilation cd that came with the book Unknown Legends Of Rock 'n' Roll. Then in the early 00s I found a shonky cdr copy of Midnight Cleaners in a 2nd hand record shop in Melbourne. Anyway it wasn’t until thirty years after the initial release that Midnight Cleaners got issued for the first time on vinyl and yeah I know you really only need this on tape or a shitty cd but I hope Martin got some money from my purchases of his reissues.