Wednesday 30 September 2015

Top 3 LP Covers Of All Time

I was filling in a questionnaire about best LP covers the other day and found it really hard. My conclusion in the end was that movie posters are much better pop art than album covers. What surprised me most was how much I didn't give a fuck about the artwork for albums. Perhaps movie posters are better because they promise so much yet the actual movie rarely delivers on that promise. Movie posters as an entity unto themselves seem like a much more successful artform than the poster as part of the combination with the movie or album artwork by itself. Album artwork really seems to be an afterthought doesn't it? Music doesn't need it's sizzle to be sold because it speaks for itself.

Sure I had a few other favorites but below are my top three LP covers of all time and the music is awesome too...just slightly magnificent.

Big Fun is surely the best LP cover ever. The soundz within are bloody exceptional too!

In Concert is quite possibly my fave Miles record.....uh and that cover!

An amazing trilogy of funky ghetto pimp shit that really suits the tunes. The album sleeves for In Concert & On The Corner were once described as 'tastelessness' by Canadian jazz magazine Coda, ha...the last laugh is on you Coda, tastelessness never tasted sooo good. Don't you love how people with a different taste to you describe it as no taste as if there couldn't possibly be an alternative to their specific tastes. Stupid. I love these Corky McCoy cartoon covers more than the covers Mati Klarwein did for Miles Davis but they're great too (see below), if a little tasteful.

How good is the Live/Evil one? Fucking mental.

The two different styles of cover art really sum up where Miles was at, at the time. A culture clash of high culture and trash. Davis was making mercurial epoch defining art and designing sonic templates for future genres to plunder but he also really wanted to be down with what was happening on the bad ass fonkay streets. He wanted to eat his cake. I think he did and then some.

Monday 21 September 2015

Portishead - Third - ?

Why am I writing about this now? Old news I suppose but....I dug it out the other day and gave it a spin. This LP was universally acclaimed and ended up in a lot of best of the 00s lists. I don't recall any reviews at the time but it seemed like everyone liked it and thought it was a good idea. Portishead moved away from the trip-hop and headed into much whiter zones. I mean Beth was always white as a ghost but in a Dusty/Janis wish I was black kind of way. Was she once a Janis Joplin impersonator? With the hip-hop and soul samples turfed here for tributes to Can, United States of America via Broadcast, Pram, Silver Apples and whatever else they were referencing beyond track 6 etc. it all seems a bit odd. It's a bit like, I dunno, The Stereophonics releasing a jungle album. On Third, it was like Portishead wanted to rewrite their own history and state the case that: We too could have been a UK post-rock band circa 94. Third would have fitted pretty neatly into that category. The best thing about Dummy though, was the fact that they weren't indie or post-rock or Brit-pop. On Dummy they were stark blue eyed soul with hip hop beats encased in a dub mentality. It felt pretty new or at least of it's time with their re-situation of John Barry with bleak torch singer amongst dubbed out trip-hop. I think their debut and the underrated follow up were quintessential 90s records that are still worth listening to, depending on how much time you spent in Cafes in the mid 90s that is. So why all the plaudits and respect for Third? I can only think that perhaps the 00s were worse than I thought and people were grasping on to anything. I mean it's tasteful and everything but.... fuck by the time they get to Deep Water's country twang, I wanna smash the fucking stereo in.

Friday 18 September 2015

Cherry Moon On Valium....again

Sorry this isn't something new, just the old Cherry Moon On Valium mix from 2011 but I just watched this for like the 20th time and I never get sick of it. They should do another mix. I converted this to mp3 and put the audio into my i-phone a couple of years ago and it is one of the most played things ever on my phone. I keep meaning to make a compilation of all the original tracks at their real speeds, I think I've probably got half of them. Then just looking at the track list I realised there's a few I haven't recognised in their slowed down form. Anyway I posted this ages ago but hey it's fucking timeless, innit?

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Young Thug - Best Friend

Diggin that vibe....on this. I love everything about Young Thug, his moves, the way he wears his clothes, his videos and...Oh yeah his singing. He is so cool and funny. There's also something disturbing about him which adds to his greatness. Best Friend is from the mixtape Slime Season which was was released this week but apparently he's got a whole other album ready for release! More on Slime Season once I've got me head around it. Slime Season isn't as mental or rough as 1017 Thug but it sounds real good though.

He's really killin the sound and vision combo isn't he?

He's sold me. Get me some lean. Every other rapper pack up and go home.

Funny bastard.

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.

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.

Thursday 3 September 2015

2015? Part 2

Simon Reynolds chooses this as his pick for 2015 so far here in my comments. Atlanta's Future was the kingpin of weird rap before Young Thug came along and remains just as relevant as Thugga. They both come from the same church ie. Lil Wayne worship. His 2012 album Pluto was choice as was this year's Beast Mode mixtape which I wrote about here. Future had a couple of other good mixtapes Dirty Sprite, Astronaut Status and Streetz Calling but last year's official album Honest was a tad disappointing. Fuck Up Some Commas originally appeared on the Monster mixtape from last year as well as on 2015's DS2.

Turn On The Lights is classic anthem from Pluto.

Real Sisters was on Beast Mode as well as appearing on DS2.

This is the closing tune on Beast Mode.

Future featured on this great tune from Jeezy last year which made my end of year list.

Anyway back to now....the Mrs chooses this as her 2015 pick. Goin back to Live To Tell vibes on this one fo shizzle.

Same name different song. Vocally he's a bit reminiscent of Billy McKenzie doncha think? He kinda does with deep tech what Daniel Bedingfield did with 2-Step Garridge on Gotta Get Through This sort of...maybe....I dunno.....does he?

I think he originally did an acoustic version of this anyway....

Hard for me to go past this one from Beatking for 2015.

Oh and I really like this...sure it's got a bit of Dre/Snoop circa 92/93 RJ & Choice have their own swagger though which raises this tune beyond mere pastiche, is it not awesome? Iamsu! is a star. Call me retromaniacal....... 

Iamsu! with RJ & Choice again....

Tuesday 1 September 2015

2015 - How Shit?

I've gotta say 2015 has got to be the worst music year since fuck before the 2nd World War, I reckon. I'm stuck in 90s musical zones (see above) myself and don't particularly care that my listening isn't drifting back to the now. In fact I want to stay right in those places when and where the possibilities seemed endless. Me and the Mrs discussed a furniture shop closing down near our house the other day and ended up in the terrain of "Is that it then? Music's finite so i guess furniture is too." I was saying how these retro interior design shops had become so uninspired and formulaic, why would anyone want to spend money on this new old shit when there's plenty of old shit anyway?. The retro eclecticism, of the products in these shops, is disappearing up it's own arse at an accelerating rate. Is it that no one is game enough to say right here's a new style? So we just continue down these tasteful but conservative aesthetic avenues? Nobody's killing their idols. There's way too much reverence. We lived through a modernist time but that has gone. Where are the generation gaps? The kids don't even want one. Teenagers don't seem to exist anymore, kids don't leave home until they're over 25 now. You used to leave home and disassociate yourself from your family and become a whole new you, severed from the past. Emma went to the Bowie exhibition in Melbourne last weekend and said there were kids sans parents there. I thought what the fuck? These youngsters are going back 40 years. In 1985 diggin the 60s seemed old but it had only ended 15 years prior. When I was 17 (by then we had Public Enemy, The Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jnr., Acid House, Hip-Hop etc.) I wouldn't have been caught dead being interested in a culture that was 40+ years old. Strange days indeed.

*This is raw thought data that's still being processed in my mind.

**A retro curio in itself. First issued in 1971 (maybe the year I was born) on his Hunky Dory LP then was later released as a single in 1973 when Bowie had reached stardom. It became a massive hit in the UK.