Archive for October, 2008

October 26, 2008

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 10

As a follow up to last weeks TEN4SE7EN I got my copy of The Real Tuesday Weld’s new album ‘The London Book Of The Dead’ through the post.  It comes as an ornate hardback complete with poetry, pages of artwork and a beautiful dust-jacket.  It’s a snip at fourteen English pounds from the Antique Beat Website.  Now on to this week’s ten songs including Indie, Rap, Jazz, Soul, Pop and Electronica.  Variety is the spice of life don’tchakno:

The relentless grinding Electro beats of Akala’s last album ‘Freedom Lasso’ occasionally made me long for the more organic sounds of his brilliant debut LP ‘It’s Not A Rmour’ (I still loved ‘Freedom Lasso’ by the way).  So it’s exciting to discover that his new ‘Acoustic Remixes EP’ (While not actually being purely acoustic) is the best thing he’s yet done. The new version of ‘Bit By Bit’ is the stand-out track, with the more laid back Acoustic-flavoured backing serving to highlight just how good a rapper Akala is.  Hopefully this new sound will be further explored on a future LP.

‘Williams’ Blood’ is from Grace Jones’ new record ‘Hurricane’ (Her first new LP to hit the streets in almost two decades!) which will be in the shops next week.  It’s Gospel-Disco with soaring backing vocals and an effecting story recounted in the lyrics.  The “Let me fly” bits half-way through really do take flight and I’m couldn’t agree more with the closing snatches of ‘Amazing Grace’.

Kelpe’s own Remix of ‘Shipwreck Glue’ is an inventive six-minute instrumental with a crunching Bass sound that could snap a shot putter’s neck muscles.  Plus, any record that uses the sounds of a ping-pong game as percussion, has got to be good.

The Harpsicord on Mister Modo & Ugly Mac Beer’s ‘Not Afraid’ gives it a Sixties Phychedelic vibe which has been contrasted with modern Hip-Hop and sweet Soul vocals from Jessica Fitoussi.  You know you’re gonna love it (The rest of the new LP sounds totally different by the way, check it out).

Nikolaj Grandjean’s ‘The First Picture’ is gently strummed acoustic Indie with a subtle Spanish flavour.  Listen in the dark for a haunting intimate music experience.

From the screech of “Aaaiiyyy-yeah!” at the start you know Of Montreal are out to have fun.  ‘Id Engager’ is funky Indie-Dance with hilarious lyrics and the hookiest of Pop hooks.  The “Play with you, play with you” backing vocals are also rather wonderful.

‘On A Letter’ is shimmering and beautiful Indie Guitar music from The Sea & Cake.  It’s from their seventh album ‘Car Alarm’, so they’re a band worth further investigation.  The blissful Guitars at the end are like tranquil waves lapping on the shore.

Stressed Out bring Jazz meets Rap on this masterful cut from back in 1995.  ‘Jazzy Wit Da Joint’ is like the mellow sound of House Of Pain after a whole week smoking Cheeba (Unfortunately the mp3 included below is only a sanitisied radio version, if you’ve got the Diirrrty version Email it please!).

Wild Beasts make wonderfully eccentric Pop music proving once again that Domino is a label with great taste.  On ‘The Devil’s Crayon’ the sharp campy vocals bring to mind Antony Hegarty and the Calypso/Indie music is reminiscent of the glorious oddity of a great Sparks single.

Here’s a sumptuous Soul number to round out the ten tracks from Aussie singer Kylie Auldist.  It’s on the always reliable Tru Thoughts and label mates The Bamboos are on production/backing-band duties.  ‘Make Me Want More’ reminds me of the sublime ‘I Think I’ll Call It Morning’ by Gil Scott-Heron (No bad thing).

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP FILE WITH THE TEN SONGS.

Akala MySpace / Purchase
Grace Jones MySpace / Purchase
Kelpe MySpace / Purchase
Kylie Auldist MySpace / Purchase
Mister Modo MySpace / Purchase
Sonar Kollektiv (Nikolaj Grandjean’s Label) Website
Of Montreal MySpace / Purchase
Stressed Out at Vinyl-Addicts / Purchase
The Sea & Cake MySpace / Purchase
Wild Beasts MySpace / Purchase

Advertisements
October 22, 2008

THE WHO – Who’s Next: Extended

The idea of listening to (Or watching) something “As the artist originally intended” has always obsessed me.  Leading to me doing things like forking out wodges of cash for the rare original CD version of Guns ‘n’ Roses ‘Appetite For Destruction’ (With the banned cover).  Because in my mind, the album would be somehow sullied by listening to it while holding the sanitised cover in my hands (Although logically speaking, I’d have to concede it sounds exactly the same).  Another example is me tracking down two rare import CDs of The Smiths’ ‘Meat Is Murder’, one for the correct sleeve art and the other for the correct track listing (I combined both into my ultimate replica version!).  I even compiled a rough mix of The Beach Boys’ ‘Smile’ and was pleasantly surprised to find (When Brian Wilson got round to finally releasing it) that it was quite close to the actual track listing.  I also adore painstakingly restored/reconstructed film masterpieces like Leone’s ‘Once Upon A Time In America’, ‘A Fistful Of Dynamite’ and ‘The Good The Bad & The Ugly’ as well as Samuel Fuller’s ‘The Big Red One’ and Ridley Scott’s ‘Kingdom Of Heaven’.  Almost without exception when a project is returned to it’s origins, it’s a vast improvement.  Philosophy wise, I’m basically the anti-Lucas.

It was nearly ten years ago when I purchased the first remastered version of ‘Who’s Next’ (The Who’s 1971 masterpiece).  I instantly loved it, Keith’s furiously inventive Drumming, John’s peerless Bass playing, Roger’s exhilarating Vocals and of course Pete’s explosive Guitar playing.  It documents a band at the peak of their powers and perhaps Rocks finest moment.   I was also fascinated by Pete Townshend and John Atkins’ liner notes talking about the aborted ‘Lifehouse’ project/double-LP/film/Rock-Opera/live-show that had been the basis for the truncated ‘Who’s Next’ LP.  In brief, Pete was forced to abandon this grand multimedia project when it became to unwieldy to finish to his satisfaction.  It became Pete’s version of ‘Smile’, though thankfully he emerged out the other side with his sanity relatively intact (Unlike poor Brian Wilson).  When I listened to the generous selection of bonus tracks (From the same sessions) I was struck by how good they were and crucially that they were not half formed demos or partly recorded instrumentals but infact fully functioning Rock ‘n’ Roll beasts that were sonically cohesive with the other tracks.  I yearned to hear the ‘Lifehouse’ album “As the artist originally intended” but I thought no more about it, content to listen to the existing album while playing windmill air-Guitar to ‘Baba O’Riley’  (Incidentally, if you’ve never done this, I suggest you’ve never truly lived – Watch this bedroom rockstar on YouTube).

Fast forward and I’ve spent the best part of the last year idly trying to put my attempt at ‘Lifehouse’ together.  The chief difficulty lies in the fact that unlike Pete’s earlier ‘Tommy’ the songs from ‘Lifehouse’ contain a minimal amount of the narrative (This was intended to be imparted in an accompanying film).  I found the “Rosetta Stone” to understanding ‘Lifehouse’ was The Wachowski Brothers 1999 film ‘The Matrix’.  Always keeping this film in mind makes the ‘Lifehouse’ plot easy to digest.  Of course Pete’s story came nearly three decades ahead of ‘The Matrix’ and years ahead of the internet.  So here’s a basic plot outline (As I understand it/it makes sense to me):

In a distopian/totalitarian future Britain pollution/radiation is everywhere so the population of Britain sit plugged into ‘Lifesuits’ that simulate life (Like ‘Virtual-Reality’) so that no one need leave their homes.  The suits are all connected to ‘The Grid’ (Like the internet) and they provide food/water/entertainment to the user.  Up in the Scottish countryside the pollution isn’t as bad, so the food that sustains the Lifesuit users is grown there (‘Baba O’Riley’).  One oppressed farming family (‘Water’) hears about a secret concert/festival in London called ‘Lifehouse’ (‘The Relay’) designed to bring back Rock music and awake the masses (‘I Don’t Even Know Myself’).  They and others travel to this gig (‘Let’s See Action’, ‘Going Mobile’).  Along the way there are various subplots involving romances starting/ending (‘Bargain’, ‘Love Ain’t For Keeping’, ‘Baby Don’t You Do It’, ‘Naked Eye’).  At the concert the band (The Who themselves are the group) take vital-statistics from the people and feed them into a computer/synthesiser to generate music in the hope of generating the perfect transcendental note (‘Join Together’).  Most embrace this new philosophy (‘Time Is Passing’, ‘Pure & Easy’, ‘Getting In Tune’) but some become disillusioned with the movement the band are starting (‘Too Much Of Anything’, ‘Put The Money Down’).  Eventually the authorities surround the “Lifehouse” and try to shut it down.  The Leader of the authorities takes to the stage and appeals for the concert goers to leave (‘Behind Blue Eyes’).  The band grab the microphone back and defy the Leader (‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’) and when the concert reaches it’s crescendo they succeed in playing the perfect note (Because the people have become at one with the music and the band themselves) and everyone at the concert ascends to a higher plane and escapes the authorities (‘The Song Is Over’).

Once I’d got the plot fixed in my head it was a lengthy but enjoyable task of placing the songs in the correct order within the narrative.  I can’t tell you how many times I’d come to a track listing I’d called “Finished” only to re-order it a week later after spotting a lyric that seemed out of place.  Here is the running order that I feel holds together best:

Side One
1. Baba O’Riley (From the original LP. Recorded at Olympic Studios, May 1971)
2. Water (From the ‘Odds & Sods’ Compilation. Recorded at Eel Pie Studios, May 1970)
3. The Relay (From ‘The Who’s Greatest Hits’ Compilation. Recorded at Olympic Studios, 26th May 1972)
4. I Don’t Even Know Myself (Bonus Track from the 1995 Re-Issue of ‘Who’s Next’. Recorded at Eel Pie Studios, May-June 1970)
5. Let’s See Action (From the ‘My Generation’ Compilation. Recorded at Olympic Studios, May-June 1971)
6. Going Mobile (From the original LP. Recorded at Olympic Studios, May 1971)
7. Bargain (From the original LP. Recorded at Olympic Studios, April-June 1971)
8. Love Ain’t For Keeping (From the original LP. Recorded at Olympic Studios, May 1971)
9. Baby Don’t You Do It (A thrilling cover of a Marvin Gaye song which was a bonus Track from the 1995) Re-Issue of ‘Who’s Next’.  Recorded at The Record Plant in New York, 16th March 1971)
10. Naked Eye (From the ‘Odds & Sods’ Compilation. Recorded at Eel Pie Studios, May 1970)

Side Two
1. Join Together (From the ‘My Generation’ Compilation. Recorded at Olympic Studios, 22nd May 1972)
2. Time Is Passing (From the ‘Odds & Sods’ Compilation. Recorded at Olympic Studios, 12th April 1971)
3. Pure & Easy (From the ‘Odds & Sods’ Compilation. Recorded at Olympic Studios, May 1971)
4. Getting In Tune (From the original LP. Recorded at Olympic Studios, May 1971)
5. Too Much Of Anything (Bonus Track from the 1995 Re-Issue of ‘Who’s Next’.  Recorded at Olympic Studios, 12th April 1971)
6. Put The Money Down (From the ‘Odds & Sods’ Compilation. Recorded at Olympic Studios, 6th June 1972)
7. Behind Blue Eyes (From the original LP. Recorded at Olympic Studios, May 1971)
8. Won’t Get Fooled Again (From the original LP.  Recorded at Stargroves Studios, April 1971)
9. The Song Is Over / Pure & Easy (Reprise) (From the original LP. Recorded at Olympic Studios, May 1971)

The original tracks have been retained (With the obvious exception of the John Entwistle penned ‘My Wife’).   Four of the additional eleven tracks were recorded at the same May 1971 Olympic sessions that the majority of the original LP songs came from.  The rest were variously recorded at Pete’s own Eel Pie Studios (A year before the Olympic sessions), at The Record Plant in New York (Immediately Prior to the Olympic sessions) and three were only layed down in 1972 after ‘Lifehouse’ had already been shelved in favour of ‘Who’s Next’.  Most of the tracks can be found if you get either of the re-issues of ‘Who’s next’ (The second Deluxe re-issue is preferable, since you get a bonus contemporaneous live concert recorded at The Young Vic, to give you the live ‘Lifehouse’ experience).

So in conclusion, here is a Zip file containing all the elements you need to “Extend” your copy of ‘Who’s Next’ into something that isn’t quite ‘Lifehouse’ but is a whole lot closer than the original release.  I’ve included alternate artwork I’ve made (Pictured above), this unwieldy essay and of course the eleven mp3s to add to the eight you’ve already got.  What’s that I hear you say, you haven’t got the original eight tracks, well… go buy a copy!  (And no before you ask, I won’t be posting them, blow the cobwebs off your wallet!) You can print the artwork and burn off the two CDs or simply create a virtual copy in iTunes (You could even give it to your dad for Christmas).  Enjoy!

WHO’S NEXT: EXTENDED KIT Zip

Here are some notable links:

Click here to buy a copy of ‘Who’s Next’.

Here are some decent quality clips of The Who performing tracks from ‘Lifehouse’ back in the day:
Baba O’Riley (Shepperton Studios, 1978)
Water (Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970)
The Relay (Old Grey Whistle Test, 1973)
I Don’t Even Know Myself (Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970)
Naked Eye (Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970)
Join Together (Top Of The Pops, 1972)
Behind Blue Eyes (Hammersmith Odeon, 1979)
Won’t Get Fooled Again (Shepperton Studios, 1978)

Click here to buy the absolutely essential live-compilation/biography DVD ‘The Kids Are Alright’.

Whilst browsing YouTube I came across this dude who is quite simply Keith Moon born again (Zak Starkey leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion).
Drumming along to ‘Baby Don’t You Do It’
Drumming along to ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’

Buy Pete’s ‘Music from Lifehouse’ DVD.

‘Lifehouse’ on Wikipedia

The Who liner notes Website (An essential resource).

WhiteFang’s Who Info Site (The sleeves of seemingly every record!).

Pete’s Eel Pie Records Site

The Who’s Official Website

October 18, 2008

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 9

Here are another ten songs that have come to my attention this week.  Seven are brand new but three are oldies/goldies that are just new to me (No doubt many will have heard them already).  If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.  Without further ado:

‘Love, Hugs & Hip-Hop’ has a heaven sent chorus backed up by a delicious concoction of Kraftwerk and Jazz.  Carlos Nino & Lil’ Sci (aka What’s The Science?) have created a brilliantly original sound with quivering Strings conjuring up the first sparkling rays of spring in a secret leafy glade, rather than the mean streets of New York or Baltimore brought to mind by other abrasive Hip-Hop productions.

Don Cavalli’s ‘Aggression’ is a dusty old Blues song with a youthful spring in it’s step. Like an old pensioner who’s just called bingo!  You’ve gotta love those Jon Lee Hooker style “How, how, how” bits.

‘Sardines For Dinner’ has a funky, echoey, almost skiffle backing with Fella Vaughn’s ear-catches rhymes about what sounds like a well spent youth.  It’s a crime against humanity that a track this good is only 53 seconds long.

Ghostface Killah’s ‘Daytona 500’ is hardly brand new (It’s from 2003’s ‘Shaolin’s Finest’ LP) but it’s new to my ears.  A great repetitive groove with relentlessly inventive raps, what more do you need.

On ‘Make Love That Lasts’, Karl Blau’s voice sounds laid back and seductive while his lyrics paint beautiful strange pictures “Face like a TV, food is my DVD, want to see a scary movie, just feed some soy to me”.  A song so lo-fi and delicate that a gentle breeze could blow it away.

The second song of the ten that’s from a while back is Max Romeo’s ‘Birth Of Reggae Music’ from 1985.  I love the staccato rhythm of his voice on the chorus and the New-Orleans-Funeral vibe.

Here’s just one superb track from The Real Tuesday Weld’s fantastic new LP with an intoxicating American-Deep-South-Banjo, meets European-Clarinet sound.  ‘The Decline & Fall Of The Clerkenwell Kid’ could have sound-tracked some wonderful forgotten Orson Welles film he made between ‘The Third Man’ and ‘Othello’.  It has to be my pick of the week by a long chalk.  If you’ve got any sense whatsover, go get a copy of their album.

‘Oh Katrina’ is like a glorious lost Kim Deal song that Frank Black probably suppressed in favour of one of his own songs about being molested by an Alien in Mexico.  If only Blondie were still making music as fun as this Pop nugget from Tender Trap’s 2002 ‘Film Molecules’ album.

Those Dancing Days’ music doesn’t sound dis-similar to The Ting Tings (No Bad Thing).  ‘Shuffle’ is a clever song that’s lyrics are entirely comprised of the titles of other songs.  A Joy for geeky music-spotters everywhere.

‘Little Fucker’ is a smouldering Fuzz-Guitar blues song from Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power & The Amorphous Strums.  I adore the venom drenched way the title is spat out.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP OF THE TEN TRACKS.

Carlos Nino & Lil’ Sci MySpace / Purchase
Don Cavalli MySpace / Purchase
Fella Vaughn MySpace / Purchase
Ghostface Killah MySpace / Purchase
Karl Blau MySpace / Purchase
Max Romeo MySpace / Purchase
Tender Trap MySpace / Purchase
The Real Tuesday Weld MySpace / Purchase
Those Dancing Days MySpace / Purchase
Vic Chesnutt MySpace / Purchase

October 12, 2008

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 8

Hilarious! The news that Sarah Palin was found to have “Abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired” made my week.  I can’t wait to see what John Stewart makes of it (Check out this brilliantly nerdy Sarah Palin flow chart).  That wasn’t the only good news, I’ve also tracked down ten more tracks for your delectation (What a segue!):

Blitzen Trapper’s ‘Furr’ is a bit like Donovan singing a bizarre Stephen Merritt style acoustic campfire song about literally becoming a wolf.  The wailing Dylan Harmonica solo is rather wonderful.

I was initially put off by the slick production on Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Radio Nowhere’ when it came out last year, but this week it’s grabbed me by my ears and won’t let go. Starting off with bleak lines like “Crushing the last lone American night”, then building towards catharsis with lines like “I want a thousand guitars, I want pounding drums, I want a million different voices speaking in tongues!”

The wonky blues of ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ brings to mind the sound Arctic Monkeys if they’d just took a sojourn in the Mississippi Delta to soak up the atmosphere.  Cage The Elephant’s album brings in other influences (Not just Blues) like Pop, Rap, Indie and Punk.

Next up is a Remix (Courtesy of Speaker Killer) of Grannie’s favourites Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.  The incendiary House-Piano on ‘Beggin” is straight from ‘Going Back To My Roots’.

You’ll love ‘Kriss Kross’ from the first instant when the piercing Echo & The Bunnymen strings come in.  Guillemots are clearly a band of grand ambitions.

On ‘Connection’, Hawney Troof Raps over a woozy Jazz backing.  Slightly disorientating, lyrically dense and tragically short.

I’m just discovering the odd Daniel-Johnston-like world of Jay Reatard.  The shambolic Pop-Rock of ‘All Over Again’ is just the tip of his talent.  Check out his Matador singles compilation (If only for the ace 45 destroying artwork).

‘A Hold Of You’ is a simple love song from Lambchop’s brand new album.  Unsurprisingly (Given Kurt Wagner’s voice), it’s unspeakably gorgeous.

‘Circles ‘Round The Moon’ is a nursery-rhyme style sing-along from Nana Grizol.  Absolutely charming, hummable and at 1.29 it’s far too brief.  A simple remedy can be found by listening to the whole of their ‘Love It Love It’ album.

I was never totally convinced by Tilly & The Wall’s last album.  However, ‘Beat Control’ is the first track I’m hearing from new record.  If this sprightly Electronic-Pop single is anything to go by, I’m going to be falling head over heals in love with the LP.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP OF THE TEN TRACKS.

Blitzen Trapper MySpace / Purchase
Cage The Elephant MySpace / Purchase
Bruce Springsteen MySpace / Purchase
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons MySpace / Purchase
Guillemots MySpace / Purchase
Hawnay Troof MySpace / Purchase
Jay Reatard MySpace / Purchase
Lambchop MySpace / Purchase
Nana Grizol MySpace / Purchase
Tilly & The Wall MySpace / Purchase

October 4, 2008

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 7

I’ve spent a pleasant week reading a stack of new books I’ve just bought like Marjane Satrapi’s engrossing and witty ‘Chicken With Plums’ and Alan Moore’s unsettling ‘From Hell’ ( A journey into the mind of Jack The Ripper).  In-between these highly recommended reads I’ve found time to track down ten more new and exciting sounds and here they are:

The opening line “Remember when we we’re young” sets the tone for this wistful Country inflected Indie single from Dawn Landes.  Take a stroll down down memory line on ‘Straight Lines’.

Down The Tiny Steps bring to mind one of my favourite song writers Malcolm Middleton.  Just like some of his finest songs, ‘Summer Is For Going Places’ is quirky Indie-Pop and it’s got some beautiful Banjo work.

‘Tenen No Neu’ is a mad flurry of clattering Drums, pulsing Bass and Electronics from Duchess Says.  Instead of the normal lyrics you might expect, singer A-Claude opts to set the tempo by shouting things like “Chicka chika chang” and “Cha Cha Cha”.

Next up is an irresistible Indie-Pop gem from 1989 by Frazier Chorus‘Dream Kitchen’ has joyous vocals, distinctive production flourishes and celebratory strings, plus there’s even time for a sparkling Xylophone solo. Why, oh why am I only hearing this two decades late, I’m now addicted.

‘The Sons Of Your Funk Mother’ begins with a gravel-raw Captain Beefheart style declaration of “It’s time for some raw, rare, greasy, sleazy, slimy, sexed up Funk”.  The Grits then proceed to deliver just that (And a bit more besides).

John Hill’s ‘Europa’ is the lead track from his 1971 ‘6 Moons Of Jupiter’ album.  Susan Christie reads poetry over haunting cosmic Jazz in a Patti Smith style (It’ll take you on a journey).

It was a wrench to choose just one track to highlight from Madlib’s new album.  ‘Gamble On Ya Boy’ features some relentless rhymes mining the familiar bragging theme (With more style and wit than most).

If the Cool Kids album has left you hungry for more I can highly recommend Restiform Bodies’ ‘TV Loves You Back’ LP.  ‘Panic Shopper’ is my highlight, featuring a non-stop tag-team Rap.

‘Make Dance’ is a bit of a mystery, it’s a track from the new Golf Channel Recordings 12″.  Beyond that I couldn’t give you any more details.  It’s got one of those awesome Eighties bass-lines and soulful vocals.  It’s a slow burning and sexy House number with a hint of gospel and a smouldering Dave Gilmore style Guitar solo.  Unquestionably my track of the week, so many thanks to the genius that created it (Whoever they may be). (Eureeka! MusicLikeDirt has indentified this as a Re-Edit of Chic’s ‘Flash Back’ from their 1981 album ‘Take It Off’.  They didn’t even give it a single release back in the day… madness!  To my ears the Re-Edit distills and refines everything great about the original).

Last up is a creepy, dark, moody and absolutely intoxicating Dubstep sound-scape from King Cannibal.  I’ve been listening to ‘Flower Of Flesh & Blood’ for a while and it’s been slowly and surely working it’s way into my heart.  The kind of record that The Prodigy should be making.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE TEN TRACKS AS A ZIP FILE.

Dawn Landes MySpace / Purchase
Down The Tiny Steps MySpace / YouTube
Duchess Says MySpace / Purchase
Frazier Chorus MySpace / Purchase
The Grits MySpace / YouTube
John Hill Purchase
Madlib MySpace / Purchase
Restiform Bodies MySpace / Purchase
Golf Channel Recordings Website / Purchase
King Cannibal MySpace / Purchase