Friday 31 December 2021

BEST OF 2021


The Only Cat Left In Town - Moon Wiring Club
Hymn To Eternal Death/Demonic Trip Through Hell - Controlled Death
Dagara: Gyil Music of Ghana's Upper West Region - Dagar Gyil Ensemble of Lawra
Overheard Conversations/First Vows/Winter Visit - Sulk Rooms
The Superceded Sounds of​.​.​. The New Obsolecents
Aethertalk - Szlazak
Springtime - Springtime

After those above outstanding recordings there were several others I enjoyed such as Ghost Party Delirium from Moon Wiring Club, Carnage performed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, God's Waiting Room plus the Superdank cassette by Lo Five, Toi Toi Toi's VagantenThe Hall Of Counterfeits by Steve Kilbey & The Winged Heels plus Nick Edwards, the artist formally known as Ekoplekz, had at least five nifty releases Landfill Electronikz volumes 1 & 2, Beyond The Corner & Not For The Trees plus the Aethertalk EP under the alias Szlazak as mentioned above.


New Long Leg - Dry Cleaning

Florence Shaw is obviously a fucking charismatic superstar...

...along the lines of Mr Baron Mordant of eMMplekz (in)fame...'s all about snatches of lyrical dialogue germinating in Shaw's mind that then seemingly accidentally spill out of her brain into the real world. It feels voyeuristic to be hearing these private utterances being involuntarily murmured out loud, like being miked up to someone talking to themselves on public transport or in front of a mirror in a pub toilet... 

...each sporadic thought is a puzzling miniature oral treatise that can be illuminating, confounding, absurd, embarrassing or more often than not inane...

...but I can't help thinking she’s in the wrong band. The backing band play the overdone, over-revived retro post-punk to 90s post-hardcore pastiche of influences game ie. Wire, Gang Of Four, Magazine, The Wipers, SY, Polvo, Unwound ad nauseam. All me absolute favourites but c’mon!

It’s kinda incongruous. If they had to be post-punk, her vocal delivery would be more suited to a post-punk sound with more spaciousness for her delicious words to shine like PIL, New Age Steppers, Fatal Microbes, Young Marble Giants, Homosexuals, Annie Anxiety, The Slits, ESG et al....

......maybe I'm the one being short-sighted, perhaps I just need to be emphasising Florence's vocals and lyrical content innovations above everything else like we did with say The Sex Pistols and X-Ray Spex. While those bands rocked with white knuckled punk abandon it was the vocalists delivery & subject matter that were startling and new at the time of arrival... 

...We spend an LP peaking inside Shaw's interrupted/non-linear thought processes, rummaging through the clutter of her mind, experiencing the brain fades and the overloaded mental sensation of always being connected yet so disconnected in this wifi/i-phone/zoom age. She delivers deadpan random phrases that encapsulate the drab euphoria of the endless nothing that is 2020s pandemic lockdown life...  

...then I go back to thinking really though she might be better off in an entirely different less tired genre...

...Like Bjork being way too good for The Sugarcubes, will she realise her band are holding her back and go solo next year...

...still New Long Leg is pretty hard not to like because Shaw is so awesome at capturing all the blunted paranoid indignation, petty annoyances, tiny pleasures, slight disappointments, mild desperation, loneliness and the despondent elation in the listlessness of this particular moment, sometimes all within one phrase. Plus by the time of the final track Every Day Carry the band and Florence Shaw have struck cohesive in the red noisy gold so you are ready to forgive any misgivings.


Disco Se Aagay - Nermin Niazi and Feisal Mosleh
Sweet Stuff - Sylvia
Under The Influence Vol. 9: A Collection Of Rare Funk & Disco - Various
Wamono A to Z Vol. II - Japanese Funk 1970​-​1977 - Various
Wamono A to Z Vol. III - Japanese Light Mellow Funk, Disco & Boogie 1978​-​1988 - Various
Saturday Night: South African Disco Pop Hits-1981-1987 - Various
Greg Belson's Divine Funk: Rare American Gospel Soul and Funk - Various
Silk Road: Journey Of The Armenian Diaspora 1971-1982 - Various
Fine Anyway - Rogér Fakhr
Grauzone - Grauzone
Peel Sessions - Clan of Xymox
Fiori Chiari, Fiori Oscuri - Alvin Curran
Habibi Funk 015: An Eclectic Selection From The Arab World Part II - Various
Instrumental Modal Pop of 1970's Egypt - Baligh Hamdi
Giant + Guitar - Omar Korshid
With Love - Omar Korshid
Cameroon Garage Funk - Various
Super Somali Sounds from the Gulf of Tadjoura - 4 Mars
Tezeta - Hailu Mergia
High Tide - Eddie Suzuki New Hawaii
Trujillo: Perú 1971​-​1974 - Manzanita y Su Conjunto
Navarro con Polenta - Jorge Navarro
De Las Colonias Del Río De La Plata - Viejas Raíces
Cat - Hiroshi Suzuki
Ai Ga Nakucha Ne - Akiko Yano 
Esperanto - Ryuichi Sakamoto
Kenka Oyaji - Hoodoo Fushimi
DJ Notoya Presents Tokyo Glow - Various
Magical Nights: Saigon Surf Twist & Soul (1964​-​1966) - Phương Tâm
Unforgotten Sessions S1/S2 - Miro
The Most Famous Unknown: Expansion Packs 4/5/6/7 - Marc Acardipane
The Revenant Tapes - Ekoplekz
Interval Signals - Ekoplekz
Dirty Workshop Magick - The Assembled Minds
Scared Famous​/​FF>> - Ariel Pink's Haunted Grafitti

Nermin Niazi and Feisal Mosleh's delightful 1984 LP Disco Se Aagay is one of the best records I've heard ever so this is my highlight of the year old or new LP-wise, hands down!. New wave Hindustani synth pop disco by a teenage British-Pakistani brother and sister duo. Like if Human League were fronted by a 14 year old Pakistani girl from Birmingham with incredibly sophisticated Asian disco-pop melodies and heritage. So thanks to The Discotan label from Los Angeles for rediscovering and reissuing this gem!

An infectiously audacious folky singer-songwriter with tinges of acoustic pop, jazz, soul, country-psych etc. in the vein of a mid 70s Californian troubadour except this was recorded in 1977 in a Beirut basement (the bonus tracks in Paris during 1978) by the legendary enigmatic Lebanese musician Roger Fakhr. It’s sung in English so there’s barely a hint that it comes from a Lebanese artist. Fakhr has collaborated with other legendary Lebanese musicians such as Fairuz, Issam Hajali & Ziad Rahbani.

It’s got glorious hooks galore. Some tunes are melancholy while others are jauntily upbeat. The instrumentation is pretty spare: mainly acoustic guitar & reverbed vocals with the occasional backing vocal harmony, tambourine, flute, piano & hand drums. 

On a couple of the bonus tunes from the Paris recording he even gets positively funky & electric with the guitar, bass, psych FX, keyboards, wah-wah & even the use of a drum kit! 

Suffice to say the entire LP is melodically exquisite with beautiful accompanying arrangements.

It’s absurd to think that most of this great record was only ever released during the 70s in a very small quantity of hand copied cassettes with a rudimentary but quaint texta designed cover.

So we have to thank the wonderful Habibi Funk Records for their persistence in getting this album out into the world in 2021 as Fakhr originally declined a reissue several years earlier.

Habibi Funk had a couple of other notable releases ie. Habibi Funk 017: Chant Amazigh from Majid Soula plus Habibi Funk 015: An Eclectic Selection From The Arab World Part II a compilation from Various Artists.

Z Records have done it again with their 9th instalment of the Under The Influence series. Alena Arpels has done a stellar job of compiling little known obscure gems that were apparently "originally pressed on vinyl in very small quantities between 1970 & 1983. Many of the tracks included in this compilation were never commercially released but given away by the artists to family and friends." So we get a whole lotta funk, boogie, funky soul, disco, jazz-funk etc. It's partay time folks! 

Great labels such as 180G, Cultures Of Soul, Terrestrial Funk & We Want Sounds continued in 2021 to take care of our disco, funk, soul, jazz-funk, boogie and funky gospel needs. Praise the Lord!

Ostinato Recorords killed it again this year with the unheard, to western ears at least, compilation of tunes from 4MarS. How the fuck do you describe the music of 4MarS??? Well it's big and it's got the lot: Maximum African reggae (Not really like Jamaican Reggae at all) with African choral singing, Middle Eastern psych synths, brass sections, Egyptian rhythms and funky Asian flavoured flutes which all meld together for this snazzy soulful masterpiece of East African music from the Gulf of Tadjoura

Analog Africa released one of their greatest African compilations in 2021. This time it was the untamed funky sounds from 70s Central Africa, Cameroon Garage Funk. This contained raw free funk that just has to be heard to be believed. This is right up there with 2008's African Scream Contest. Although I shouldn't be shouting out to them at all after bad business practices during the pandemic ie. not refunding damaged goods due to unreasonable return time limits when basically trade had come to a halt in Australia. So up yours Analog Africa! 

Hailu Mergia & the Walias Band had another ye olde stone cold classic cassette reissued in 2021. Tezeta (1976) on the Awesome Tapes From Africa label is more choice Ethio-Jazz that any Ethiopian music aficionado needs to wrap their ears around.

The Egyptian guitar pioneer Omar Khorshid originally released this LP in 1974, while living in Beirut, on the Voice Of Lebanon record label.

He had been in Egyptian guitar groops, pop singer backing bands & orchestras but wanted to fully explore the potential of his electric guitar & other electronics. His roots were still firmly Arabic just with added psych-funk, fuzz & synth. A deliciously brilliant style developed & is on display here!

This year the fabulous We Want Sounds label from France reissued it on vinyl.

A good indication of how fucked Western Society is right now is that Ariel Pink got cancelled in 2021. The US political system is a corrupt duopoly so whichever side wins it's a losing situation. However according to the establishment left ideologues running everything in America (& the rest of the West) almost 50% of Americans are deplorable human beings with totally unacceptable political viewpoints that need be silenced. So Ariel Pink despite being of Mexican and Jewish heritage was labelled a white-supremacist for voting republican thus he was promptly sacked by his record company Mexican Summer. Here in Australia some fans I know fell for this absurd rhetoric too and quickly denounced Ariel. Funnily enough Mexican Summer were only too willing to take my money for this reissue though. Anyway it's a double vinyl compilation of his 2001 Masterpieces FF>> and Sacred Famous. Great music from one this millennium's few musical visionaries.    

Perhaps i'll write about some of the other great reissued records in this list at a better mood in time.......



At the start just as you're getting into a tune by Stevie Wonder or Chambers Brothers the film-makers cheapen the astounding music by interrupting it with interviews and social context etc. Put the interviews in-between the tunes! It's not that hard and it wont frustrate the shit out of the viewers. Hopefully there'll be a blu-ray box set of just the raw concert music footage. I have no problem with the historical content, the triumphant musical tales, civil rights battle stories, gritty realism newsreels etc. but I just wanted the concert, not snippets of greatness. I mean this is some of the best music of the 20th Century... anyway... it's still a hell of a television event. The threads, the swagger, The funky psychedelic soul, Mongo Fucking Santamaría, Ray Barretto, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, Sonny Sharrock, Hugh Makesela, Nina Simone and Sly & The Fucking Family Stone.

C'mon Disney (Well it was on Disney here in Australia) what about 8 hours of this stuff uninterrupted! It is way more innovative and exciting than George Harrison having a little tantrum about god knows what?!

The final season was fantastic and heartbreaking.

Kelly Macdonald kills it as DCI Joanne Davidson. The legendary trio Ted, Kate & Steve at Anti-Corruption Unit 12, catch bent coppers once again. I still loved it in its sixth season, but is that it?

Still the best televisual drama in history. It's the best 86 hour movie ever made innit? It now has added resonance in these illiberal times. 


*Not quite understanding why everyone's telling me how to live and what to think in the current political climate. I'm fine thanks I have a brain. 

**Not digging the rise of authoritarianism coming from all political angles here in Australia and the seeming acquiescence to it. 

***Understanding even less: The people who have weaponised compassion but are then calling their fellow human beings idiots, scum and vermin!


Thursday 16 December 2021

Masonna - Ejaculation Generater

Now this is lovely! Sit back, relax, have a cocktail with an umbrella in and enjoy the elegance and splendour of Masonna. Nice!

The Glory Box - Intersect

The Glory Box from Melbourne with 1990's Intersect. I was a teenager. JAMC meet JD with a dash of 80s American guitar noise. Splendid I thought. I still quite like it.

*I forgot that  Fitzroy's PolyEster Records had a label for a while. The Donkey EP from which this song emanates was issued on that imprint. PolyEster also released vinyl by the fuzzy psych group Tyrnaround and the 60s girl group meets the new wave of The Wet Ones

Another tape I missed out on but here it is on bandcamp. I know next to nothing about Thomas Ragsdale, the name behind the moniker Sulk Rooms, but this is more choice drifting ambient drone in the isolationist vein. If you're getting tired of all the substandard Aphex/BOC death of rave H****ology that is persistently lingering on into the third decade of the new millennium here's a sub-zero temperature drop to take you to the wintry outer reaches of your consciousness. Not that it's unpleasant, it just doesn't play up to your brain's insatiable cravings for remnants of 90s rave culture. Loving this a lot. 

Wednesday 15 December 2021

The Superceded Sounds of​.​.​. The New Obsolecents

I keep missing all these limited editions of vinyl & cassettes because I'm not across everything I'm into as 2022 has been a disastrous year for my brain. Anyway this would have been nice and the closest most of us are ever likely to get to owning a physical edition of a Philips 21st Century Prospectives Series LP. These design people today are going to great lengths for their art. Anyway cover aside this is Howlround in collaboration with DJ Food recorded a few years back. This music was commissioned by Johnny Trunk for an all night soundtrack to the Museum Of Last Parties soirée in 2016 which was held at The Museum Of London. Last year The New Obsolecents had time up their sleeves so they culled many hours of tape into this nifty lil' chunk for your listening pleasure in 2022. Isolationist vibes here, pretty fucking choice!

Bloodclot.... ED RUSH




Wednesday 8 December 2021

Major Tom (völlig losgelöst/Coming Home) - Pete Schilling



When I first heard the bass in this song a few years ago in the background to a scene in the tv spy drama The Americans I thought "Is this the Hunters & Collectors?" Then when the verse started I thought maybe it's Wire or a Wire solo/side project. Then the song was pushed to the foreground in the sound-field of the show and I realised the gloriously soaring 80s chorus was being sung in an accent. Research had to be done. Major Tom (völlig losgelöst) is sung by Neue Deutsche Welle musician Pete Schilling. So it turns out this tune didn't crack the top 40 here in Australia while just over the Tasman Sea in New Zealand it reached no. 13. It went to no. 14 in America and was a number 1 hit in many European countries including Schilling's native Germany. Of course it went to numero uno in Canada! Anyway it's a classic.

Hang on the plot thickens...while most of the English speaking world already knew this song I did not but it turns out I had heard it before in an episode of Breaking Bad. It's the song Gale Boetticher is singing in English on the karaoke video found in his apartment in the fourth episode of season 4: Bullet Points from 2011. 

*Perhaps the title of this post should be Sad Old Man Discovers Song On TV Show Then Reads About It On The Interwebs. 

The English version & video released a few months later in 1983. This version might even be better than the original!

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Richard H Kirk 1956-2021

I've only become aware of Kirk's death in the last week as I'm no longer following media or going online on a regular basis to protect my brain from nonsense. You can thank the morons on both sides of the political spectrum for that. That in turn means both media teams who toe their narrow radicalised party lines. Name calling is what politics has become and you don't even realise you're doing it. Funnily enough this is the sort of subject matter Richard H Kirk, who died mysteriously on the 21st of September, was interested in from the early days of Cabaret Voltaire up until his final recordings. Cabaret Voltaire's paranoid vision was straight out of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, Ballard, Boroughs and other futuristic and dystopian novels, movies and current affairs. He had a deep distrust of government, and if I recall correctly he thought all politics was corrupt. So his concerns were more relevant than ever in 2021 with the rising tide of authoritarianism in democratic countries, twitter's thought crime, mass psychosis, the surreptitiousness of big tech, The Great Reset etc. Kirk's visions of dystopia are almost fully realised in Western Civilisation today.

I've written about my love of Cabs before so I'm just gonna post some of his music that I've been listening to recently. He had something like 40 solo aliases such as Sandoz, Dark Magus & Al Jabr plus a bunch of collaborative projects like Acid Horse & Sweet Exorcist. He was part of at least three distinct music movements: Industrial (Experimental electronic post-punk), 80s conform to deform alternative dance music and Bleep & Bass (A distinctly British Variant of Techno). His music appeared on labels such as Industrial Records, Rough Trade, Factory, Virgin, Some Bizarre, Wax Trax, Blast First, Warp, Mute, Touch etc. Plus he had his own label Intone.

Sweet Exorcist is Richard H Kirk's groundbreaking project in collaboration with Richard Barrett aka DJ Parrot. They became the first act to release an album on WARP Records.

Thursday 25 November 2021

John Murphy: Drums, Screams, Trumpet, Guitar, Electronic FX, Songwriter, Vocals, Gong, Samples, Gamelan, Timpani, Synth...

Speaking of John Murphy, who played drums on peak era Associates records from 80-82, here he is along with with Ollie Olsen performing Rooms For The Memory.  Whirlywirld never officially released this song unfortunately. This audio is apparently taken from the desk at The Crystal Ballroom in Melbourne's beachside suburb St Kilda in 1979. This was Whirlywirld's first ever live show. Michael Hutchence would later record this tune for the film Dogs In Space (1986).

The first time Michael Hutchence collaborated with Ollie Olsen. Their musical partnership would later blossom into the Max Q project, that would also include John Murphy, a few years later. The drum programming is credited to Olsen here but there is a dude playing drums in the clip but I can't make out if it's Murphy or not.


The best incarnation of Whirlywirld recorded this EP in 1978 and disbanded before ever playing live. This line up included John Murphy, Andrew Duffield (Models), Dean Richards (Equal Local, Hot Half Hour), Simon Smith  and Ollie Olsen


Signals was co-written by Murphy & Olsen and appeared on the flipside of the Whirlywirld EP which was recorded in 1978 but released in 1979. Wicked bleak minimal electronics.

John Murphy formed this noisey Melbourne group in 1985. They are a little known obscurity of a subterranean scene compared to the cult underground groups he worked with like SPK, Lustmord, Death In June, Current 93, Whitehouse, Shriekback, Nurse With Wound, Box The Jesuit, Hugo Race's True Spirit etc. God knows what Murphy's contribution is here. He was playing guitar, drums, effects and even singing by this stage. 

Murphy continues his musical partnership with Ollie Olsen with Orchestra Of Skin & Bone. Their one LP was released in 1986 and pretty much dropped all synthetics for acoustic instrumentation played with an intense hard edge. Sometimes would later be revamped by Max Q into an unlikely dance-rock tune to become a top 40 hit in Australia.

Speaking of Max Q this Todd Terry remix from 1989 of Ghost Of The Year is fucking awesome. 

Max Q was an Australian underground/overground crossover supergroup sensation. The Band consisted of John Murphy, Gus Till, Bill McDonald, Michael Sheridan, Arnie Hanna, Ollie Olsen and Michael Hutchence. Murphy is in fine form with this rhythm. If you stripped the vocals off here it would resemble a Basic Channel/Chain Reaction style of minimal tech many years before it even existed. Tuuuuune! 

This 1990 EP was improv avant-noise-metal inspired by Hendrix & Chrome apparently. It pretty fucking choice. Murphy on drums, Michael Sheridan on guitar and David Brown on Bass. They were mind-blowing live!

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Crashing Cars In Germany

Quite possibly my favourite Bowie songs (as opposed to his instrumental trax) along with The Bewlay Brothers, Five Years, Life On Mars &...

When i first heard this on Melbourne radio as a 15 year old in the 80s I couldn't fathom what I was hearing. I knew it was music that I'd been waiting for. I mean i knew The Model as it was a top 40 hit when I was in primary school but subconsciously that was filed along with great synth-pop like Soft Cell, Human League etc. and the Euro new wave of Plastic Bertrand, Falco et al. but Autobahn was a whole other type of beast altogether. 

This was around the same time I first heard The Velvet Underground as those brilliant archival records VU & Another View were getting loads of airplay on underground Melbourne radio. It was a similar thing too as I'd heard "Walk On The Wild Side" as a pre-teen and was then a staple of classic FM radio but tracks like Ocean, Foggy Notion, Rock'n'Roll etc. were totally something else. The connections between these two acts wouldn't reveal itself to me until a few years later. 

Two revelations that would grow, stay relevant and stick with me forever. Anyway back to cars.

As I've said many times before New Wave was the best music for pre-teens and this great song left an indelible impression on me.

I never heard this until I was in my 20s. The Scottish Associates didn't have hits or appear on pop tv in Australia so they were a group you had to discover on your own somehow. I think I got into The Associates because legendary Melbourne drummer John Murphy of Whirlywirld, Orchestra Of Skin & Bone, Max Q and The Dumb & The Ugly fame joined the band for their peak chart era. Anyway tuuuuune! 

Oh I was meant to write something tying all these records together with road movies in some kind of meaningful way mentioning journeys and destinations and how that line is blurred blah blah but er... I forgot. Sometimes writing about music is pointless and dumb anyway. Just listen to these fabulous tunes!