Tuesday, May 31, 2005


"I used to have a drug problem, but now I make enough money so that it's not a problem anymore." - David Lee Roth

There are those that would call for the album 'Skycraper' by David Lee Roth to be re-titled as above, but I am not of that view. 

David Lee Roth - Just Like Paradise

On this track Dave is right there, hanging off the side of a mountain. “Life is good,” he is saying, “live the consumerist dream!”. “Join me”, he urges, “Spend, shag and snort in the fast lane with the top down. Trust me! I have done this before!”

David Lee Roth - Damn Good

Next - imagine this! David Lee Roth is your best mate. You are sitting around the campfire with him and Steve Vai, who plays some kind ‘Stairway to Heaven’ rip off. It sounds good! You are in a reflective mood and realise ‘THESE TIMES ARE DAMN GOOD’. Steve Vai plays an avant guard solo that we need to steal for another song.

I dedicate this one with no irony at all to my fellow Dominoids.

Buy 'Skyscraper'

Join the 'Roth Army'

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

break your mama's back

Devo - Uncontrollable Urge

It was only a matter of time and I got there first! As a band we are very varied in our tastes and so far in Blog-land I am the obvious pop-kid. There are a number of significant musical meeting places in Domino-ville and I think it is a safe bet to say that we all love Devo.

I'm not getting into the whole bizarre world view, artskool quirky Devo philosophy thing. I don't understand half of the things they bang on about and I'm not entirely sure whether they do. As far as I'm concerned they are a great, tight, danceable rock and roll band. They would probably hate that description but what the hey!

The two tracks I have picked demonstrate their musical brilliance and single minded musical vision. They also demonstrate their undoubted sense of humour. Other people could theorise on their imagery and serious side, I hope they do. I just want to say, this is a great band...so....Devo are a great band. I thank you.

Devo - Be Stiff

Club Devo

Buy Q: Are We Not Men? A:We Are Devo

Thursday, May 19, 2005

the class is in session

Gary Byrd & The GB Experience (feat. Stevie Wonder) – The Crown

A quick post for a VERY long track (10 minutes plus of Old Skool Hip Hop Edutainment).

I have mixed feelings about Stevie Wonder releasing a new record. Being the dictionary definition of “Musical Genius” only gets you so far at Domino Towers – Mr Wonder has got a lot of ill- thought-out collaborations to make up for...

But I haven’t heard it yet and in my heart of hearts I want it to be across between “All Day Sucker”, “Superstition” and all of “Innervisions”. Actually, if it’s half as good as anything he did from 1971-1974, that’ll be just grand.

“The Crown”, along with “The Message”, was one of the first rap songs I ever heard. Am I imagining it, or does this sound like a forebear of Native Tongues rapping (De La, A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers etc)? It’s really Gary Byrd’s tune – he wrote the lyrics for a few songs on “Songs in the Key of Life” - 'Village Ghetto Land ', in particular.

Whenever I hear “The Crown” it always makes me think of the Summer of 1983 – I’m 10 years old playing in my mate David Boultbee’s garden whilst listening to a tape of the charts (does anyone tape the charts anymore?). It was really hot so we were playing a game that basically involved sticking our heads in buckets of ice-cold water. It was great.

If anybody knows how to get hold of a copy of “The Crown” on CD, please let us know! This mp3 is ripped from my vinyl copy of "Chart Hits '83".

And if anybody has any extra info about Gary Byrd that would be great too.

visit steviewonder.net
Buy Songs In The Key Of Life
Buy Innervisions

Monday, May 16, 2005

listen to the flower people

The Three O'Clock- Jet Fighter Man
The Paisley Underground was a California based sixties revivalist scene from the early to mid Eighties. The leading bands were The Three O'Clock, The Rain Parade, The Long Ryders, The Dream Syndicate and The Bangs....who became The Bangles. Meanwhile in the South R.E.M. were getting off the ground, always busy denying their folk-rock roots.

I was only ever vaguely aware of all this via The Whistle Test and the NME but there were some great songs. 'Jet Fighter Man' is not one of them but it IS great bubblegum and Michael Guercio's voice is quite startling! The Rain Parade's 'You are my Friend' is much better and Steve, when I talked about 'regal psychedelia', this is what I meant! Fans of 'Listen to the Flower People' by the mighty 'Tap will hopefully know where I'm coming from...perhaps! The Rain Parade certainly made their intentions clear, their debut album labouring under the title 'Emergency Third Rail Power Trip'....man!

The Rain Parade- You are my Friend

Of the other bands The Long Ryders were much more muscular and rootsy, The Dream Syndicate were more of a Velvets type thing and The Bangles went pure pop. Not a major musical scene but influential enough for Prince to produce a psychedelic album, 'Around the World in a Day'.

Meanwhile in the UK we got C86 three years later with its attendant half baked revivalist tendencies but more of that some other time....

Buy The Three O' Clock
Buy The Rain Parade

Sunday, May 15, 2005

something for the weekend

When we got our first stereo, my dad got out all of his old 7-inch singles, which were kept in an old ice cream tub - cool. At a young age I just thought that most of them were naff and embarrassing and over the years I would use them to fill up compilations tapes for friends – the songs were short and the chances are that people wouldn’t have heard them!

Gradually I grew to love many of the songs as they represented the state of pop in a time pre-Beatles, and they seemed to tie in with my love of 1950s graphics, styles and B-movies.

A lot of the time I would play songs for their titles alone – James Darren’s “Goodbye Cruel World” promised to be a peerless Joe- Meek-style 50s death song a la “Johnny, Remember Me”. It turned out to be about a guy running off to join the circus, complete with comedy sound effects, which made me love it even more!

One of the songs I played relentlessly was Nino Tempo & April Stevens’ “I’ve Been Carrying A Torch For You So Long That I Burned A Great Big Hole In My Heart”, which held the record for the longest song title for 20 years, unsurprisingly.

Nino Tempo & April Steven - I’ve Been Carrying A Torch For You So Long That I Burned A Great Big Hole In My Heart

I loved that song so much that I listened to it for about 10-15 years without playing the other side – which turned out to be the A-side.

Nino Tempo & April Steven - Deep Purple

“Deep Purple” is one of the strangest songs I’ve ever heard, a weird woozy soft-psych masterpiece from a time before psychedelia. The strange off-kilter chord progression, wacky vocal harmonies, wheezy harmonica and the weirdly sexual spoken section in the middle. It was a revelation to hear it and I bitterly regretted never having turned the single over before!

Released in 1963, Atlantic Record boss Ahmet Ertegun thought that “Deep Purple” was the worst thing that Nino & April had recorded. It won the 1963 Grammy Award for Best Rock and Roll Recording - in your face!

Visit Nino Tempo & April Stevens for a more complete history
Buy Nino & April

Monday, May 09, 2005

trance nation

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Rahway Wasadi Jhok Faridan Di

Apologies... if a ten minute song consisting of someone singing in a language you don’t understand to minimal musical backing does not automatically rock your boat. (World Music is a dirty word, cultural tourism etc... I've heard it all before and I don’t care. It’s MUSIC! If you are tragically blinkered in your outlook then it’s your loss.) Normal service will resume presently...

Why is this worth listening to?

This is soul music, the sound of a man doing ecstatic vocal gymnastics in heaven. This is a trance-beat slip road to a higher state of consciousness. It leaves my head spinning and my adrenaline pumping. It makes me wonder at the capabilities of the human voice. It convinces me that ‘call and response’ vocal lines are a good thing -we need more of them!

In the end, I literally don’t understand a word of it, but I think I kind of get it.

This track is taken from a great compilation of Sufi music in the Rough Guide series - buy it here.

Also, you can find out more about the great man himself here.

Friday, May 06, 2005

this is pop

XTC - Grass

So as we enter May and all around is mellow fruifulness what better way to greet the month than with XTC, Swindon's finest purveyors of pastoral psychedelia. Here is a band with not one but two great songwriters, Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding.

General Elections seem bring out all that is bad about the English condition, narrow mindedness, inability to recognise we are no longer a great power and fear of the unknown. XTC's Englishness is warm, mildly eccentric and slyly humorous. I hear echoes of The Beatles and The Kinks in their songs but they articulate the small town/rural experience without resorting to any 'hey nonny nonny'. I recognise their world and feel comfortable in it.

If you want quirky and jerky go for their first 3 albums, if you want to hear a band at ease with its influences and revelling in the wonders of small things then get any album from 'The Black Sea' onwards. One more thing...can we have a new album please?

XTC - Ladybird

Visit XTC's website