Monday, February 25, 2013

back from the dead??

An admission.

In July of 2009, I got an email purporting to be from Google, with a cease and desist order. This related to an old blog post, featuring some very OLD music.

When I started this MP3 blog (and that term seems very quaint and antiquated now!), I was under no illusions that what we were doing was anything other than... well, illegal. Copyright Infringement. That sort of thing.

But I sold the idea to the other members of Johnny Domino as a way for us to stay in contact with each other and maybe promote the "work" we were doing.

Anyway,  I always told myself (and my now-wife), that if I ever got a C&D order I would pull the plug.

So when it came through, I - quite frankly - freaked out and deleted all of the posts.

WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE:

All the files (images and mp3s) were stored on the Johnny Domino website server, so I should have just disabled hotlinking from the blog. That way, all the writing we worked on (and all the lovely comments we received) would be safe forever.

Durr.

However...

Before I pulled the posts, I created a PDF of the whole site. And I have most of the comments as Blogger automatic-notification emails.

So - for no real reason AT ALL - I've decided to put them all online again, linking wherever possible to the songs we talked about on Spotify. I'll even add a comments digest for posts.

This will take time! And who knows? Eventually we might add some new stuff (somehow!).

But for the moment, I'm just enjoying looking back at a time when (really) pretty much all we cared about was music, before we all got married and (some of us) had kids - hilariously, this is pretty much as wild as our wild young days got.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

live in trouble

Growing up in England in the 1970s and 80s, you couldn't move for variety acts (like family-friendly singing artistes The Dooleys and funnyman Mike Yarwood) popping up on every page of your TV Times. To put this into some kind of context for the benefit of our overseas viewers, Mike Yarwood was a comedy impressionist who started all of his characters with, "Hello, I'm (insert name of person being impersonated, invariably Deputy Dawg, Frank Spencer or Bob Monkhouse)". Never a good sign.

If any younger readers want to complain about how they have it tough, I urge them to listen to these tracks by The Barron Knights. These guys were my Sex Pistols, the best that we could hope for in our Saturday afternoon TV schedule, with their stoopid versions of hit songs.

The Barron Knights - Live in Trouble Part 1
(please note this vinyl is very old, hence the jump in the middle - the missing line is "They flew right off the end / And landed in the Thames / Hand in hand")



To be fair , The BK's had chops, chucking out fairly faithful versions of such popular faves as Leo Sayer's You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, Brotherhood of Man's Angelo and Float On by The Floaters. This was a time when Irish people were thick and homosexuals were intrinsically hilarious ("What?! He doesn't like girls? The very idea!"). Also if you wanted to do an impression of (at the time, very dangerous, foul-mouthed comedian) Billy Connolly, all you had to do was put on a hyper-exaggerated Scottish accent. And shout.

The Barron Knights - Live In Trouble Part 2

This was one of the records I remember playing on repeat as a child alongside The Muppet Show Album and Regatta de Blanc by The Police. Sure, it's all very dated, but the last track (Kenny Rogers' Lucille), genuinely made me laugh out loud when I played it for the first time in years the other day. It's just what people do - re-write the words to popular songs to make your mates laugh.

The Barron Knights will be celebrating 50 years in showbiz next year.

Visit - The Barron Knights
Buy - Funny in the Head: The Best of the Barron Knights

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

there's more of us than them

Happy New Year - I hope you can understand me through all of the gunk in my head from this cold which is keeping me home from work today.

Remember that Domino Rally was originally started as a blog for the band Johnny Domino (currently residing in the 'where-are-they-now' file)? Well, back in the day when we first started the band, we had a connection with a tiny French indie label, Candy CheriƩ. This was the days before the internet and electric light so we communicated by letter and frequent tape compilations. Laurent and Virginie's tapes left both myself and brother Ox with a long-standing love of lyrics written and sung by artists whose first language is not necessarily English.

Now don't get me wrong - we weren't laughing at the funny foreigners with their quaint pronunciation (all the time). It was more that, in a way, it was easier for them to make connections with words that shouldn't strictly go together but that sound great when sung, which is similar to what Black Francis, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, et al do.

This linguistic distance is why I love (amongst others) Phoenix, the recent Travelling - French Actors Crossing Borders album and this track, which arrived in the inbox of music bloggers the world over the other day.

Goodtimes Goodtimes - Sea Shanty



I love this track. Goodtimes Goodtimes is the solo project of one Franc Cinelli, an Italian raised in London, who has a really distinctive delivery which is what reminded me of those old French pop compilations.

Musically it makes me think of someone like Langhorne Slim (and what's he doing now?) especially the picked intro. Hope you like it.

Goodtimes Goodtimes play a couple of UK/London dates over the next week or so - check his MySpace for details.

Almost exactly a year ago I featured another submission to the Rally by The Swimmers - maybe it's something about the New Year that makes me more receptive to new music. Anyway, I'm pleased to report that The Swimmers' Fighting Trees will finally be released in March this year on Mad Dragon/Ryko. This album is one that's still in fairly regular rotation at Domino towers so I'm glad to see if get a wider release at last!

Visit - Goodtimes Goodtimes and buy Glue for a mere fiver!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

yoyo zebra

I've been listening to a lot of Neil Young recently. But any fool knows that if you don't have Decade (err... why?) and you want some Neil Young action, you should get yourself over to the peerless Aquarium Drunkard which regularly cover all things Young-ian amongst loads of other good stuff.

So I'm going to represent the letter 'y' with a cover of Neil Young's Heart of Gold by a rubbish German disco band from the 1970s.

Boney M - Heart of Gold (Neil Young cover)



Sorry.

Visit - Boney M
Buy - Night Flight to Venus

Richard Cook, co-author of the Penguin Guide to Jazz, sadly passed away earlier this year. That book (along with a stint in the jazz department at a local record shop), really led me to a lot of my favourite music ever. With Brian Morton, Cook wrote eloquently and simply. Best of all, he was nearly always right.

One artist that he led me to explore further was American polymorph John Zorn. My first exposure to his music came from the 1989 South Bank Show special about the New York music scene, featuring Zorn and Sonic Youth - I wish now we'd taped the whole programme, not just the SY section!

Over the course of hundreds of albums Zorn has covered a lot of ground so a guide like the Penguin Guide is pretty indispensable - unless you or a close friend has a completist bent and a lot of money.

The Guide rightly points to his breakthrough album The Big Gundown, featuring radical re-workings of Ennio Morricone's music, as an essential release. I think this is pretty much an extension of Zorn's earlier 'game' approach to music, where rules and signals govern the music, rather than a conventional score - for example, he gets legendary jazz harmonica player in to whistle the harmonica theme to Once Upon a Time in America. Most pieces are musical representations of the films they originally scored; in particular the theme to Once Upon a Time in the West pits two howling guitars against each other to represent the final duel. MP3 representations do these tracks no favours at all, so if you're interested, see the link below and buy it, friend!

Because of his love of hardcore (and in particular the mighty Napalm Death), Zorn formed Naked City in 1988, with Bill Frisell (guitars), Fred Frith (bass), Wayne Horvitz (keyboards), Joey Baron (drums), and occasional vocals from Yamatsuka Eye and Mike Patton.

There really isn't a huge amount you can say about this - it's ferocious and utterly visceral and your response is physical rather than intellectual. It mostly makes me nod my head with wide eyes and an open mouth. It's not all ear-bleeding stuff but mostly it's like cleaning your ears out with a switchblade. Mmm-mmm-good.

John Zorn/Naked City - Hammerhead




John Zorn/Naked City - You Will Be Shot



John Zorn/Naked City - Punk China Doll



John Zorn/Naked City - Reanimator



Another great album is the first Masada album, Alef. Masada was an attempt to create a radical new Jewish music - as Zorn said, the idea was to put "Ornette Coleman and the Jewish scales together".

I bought this after borrowing it from Ilkeston library - anyone who has any knowledge of South East Derbyshire will understand how truly bizarre this is.

John Zorn/Masada - Tzofeh

This song is so funky and really gives the lie to the idea that Zorn is just an avant-garde squawker. There are some beautiful lines and some great interplay with Dave Douglas on trumpet. Plus at 3.47 it has one of the best drum solos ever.

Visit - John Zorn / Tzadik
Buy - The Big Gundown
Buy - Naked City
Buy - Masada Alef (expensive import)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

got my lucky harpoon

Cover star: The #1 Google Image result for Italian Disco

Clubhouse - Do It Again / Billie Jean (Steely Dan / Michael Jackson)



Truly horrendous Europop, all the way back from 1983. Is this one of the very first mash-ups?

From the sleevenotes to my copy of Chart Hits 83 (K-Tel - who else?!):
A strong contender for the most ingenious single of the year. The superb meshing of two songs - the traditional Do It Again (performed here a la Steely Dan) and the monster hit Billie Jean (originally by Michael Jackson of course). Another European single, this one made in Italy, but it kept the disco floors warm all over Europe.
(Actually I'd forgotten one of the worst things about this album - the sleeve is a truly eye-f**king shade of hot pink, which completely messes with your vision. As a child, I'd purposefully read the cover then put my hand on top of it and marvel at the shade of green that it had turned...)

Anyway, why am I sharing this? Because filming has begun on Episode 11 of the mighty Yacht Rock! Praise be. I cannot wait! If you don't know what that means, (a) I envy you, and (b) go and watch all 10 previous episodes immediately.

How come the concept of a mash-up is so... five-minutes ago? This next track is one of my absolute favourites. Long-time friends of The Rally will understand immediately why I like this so much...

DJ Shadow - Six Days (Soulwax Mix)




Visit - Yacht Rock
Read - The Blog of the Ghost of Koko Goldstein
Buy - DJ Shadow The Private Repress (import)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

pandemonium

Well, it's been very quiet 'round these parts - work-life balance an' all that. And in our absence Radiohead have killed off the music industry. Ker-azy.

So let's party while Rome burns, dig?

Def Jef - Droppin' Rhymes on Drums


 

Def Jef - God Made Me Funky



The Pharcyde - Pandemonium



These tracks are the result of some recent crate digging, mostly involving digging through my brother's old stuff.

The Def Jef tracks were the source of much amusement to us back in the day. For a start, his name is DEF JEF. Then on the back of the 12" he gives a credit to his hairdresser, which passed into Johnny Domino legend as "Hair by Watusi". On going back to the source, I find that it's actually "Hair by Wasifu".

And there we were thinking his hairdresser had a silly name. Hush our collective mouths.

These hilarious observations aside, these are two pretty banging tracks. Jeffers can certainly flow and Etta James' vocals don't hurt matters. Of the two, "God Made Me Funky" probably has the edge for me - love it from 3.01 when Jeff clears his throat then censors himself ("I ain't effing around..."). Plus the playout from 3.34 will have you in serious danger of snapping yr head off.

Long-time friends of the Rally will now how much we love The Pharcyde (like so). "Pandemonium" is from the soundtrack album to Street Fighter, which Ox got from a clearout at an old McJob he had. I'd forgotten how much I loved this track, at a time when I was severely disappointed by Labcabincalifornia. Still sounds cool to these ears. And the stereo effect at 1.57 just scared the shit out of me.

Buy - Def Jef Droppin' Rhymes on Drums (vinyl)
Buy - Def Jef Just a Poet With Soul (has both tracks on it)
Buy - The Pharcyde Sold My Soul: the Remix and Rarity Collection (includes "Pandemonium")
Buy - Street Fighter OST... but I wouldn't advise it

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In other news, I have to tell you that you should really, really consider getting the "All My Friends" EP by LCD Soundsystem. EMI aren't too keen on bloggers posting tracks (so I won't be) but this is the best thing I've heard in ages.

"All My Friends" wasn't my favourite track from Sounds Of Silver, but listening to the three versions here shows what a fantastic track it is. The John Cale version was always going to be interesting and not even Franz Ferdinand can hurt this song! And the LCD version of "No Love Lost" is frickin' brilliant.

I got it from iTunes (you can get it as iTunes Plus album, which means you can bang it on a CD), but you can get it on CD (minus Cale and "No Love Lost"!) here.