Friday, September 30, 2005

creme brulee

First of all, apologies for the audio quality on this one, it was burned from a badly shredding cassette nearly 15 years old! This post is the result of a brainwave I had about local bands that you and about 10 other people cared about and how the download revolution could bring them back from the 'dumper' (I have noticed other Dominoids using terminology culled from old copies of 'Smash Hits'). So there's the background and hopefully future posts might include some not rubbish local bands.

Patrick Skelly and the Prescriptions- Rosalind Berry

Patrick Skelly and the Prescritions- My Dear

That very term 'local band' implies half-arsed crapness but it's the very fact that bands often come from dull provincial towns that acts as a spur to rampant creativity to relieve the boredom. Patrick Skelly and the Prescriptions came from Hartlepool, at the time this stuff was recorded a godawful, end of the line port on the North East coast best known for an amusing local legend regarding a monkey....monkey.... hahahahaha! Patrick recorded with his mates in a local studio that provided the local dole-ites with somewhere to be artistic and shelter from the bitter wind blowing off the North Sea. The influences are easy to spot here and there is an obvious word I could use to describe it but I will refrain due to its recent over-use! I just think this is really well played and well executed and great fun. I still treasure that cassette and will cry when it finally snaps.

No links as they no longer exist but I think they were probably influenced by.........this

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

none more black

Your name is Prince. And you are funky. It's 1988. You've released 'Sign O Times' - your 'What's Going On' - to massive acclaim. So what are you going to follow it with, other than your 'Let's Get It On'?

Prince - Superfunkycalifragisexy

I was 14/15 at the time and "The Black Album" on the dodgy third generation copy I got off a mate was the best thing I had ever heard. Mostly recorded in the persona of Camille, the dirty-minded character first introduced on "Sign O the Times", the whole thing never really gets above crotch level, apart from the bizarre Butthole Surfers-like "Bob George", a scarifying, Prince-as-pimp, audio-drama - eat that, R. Kelly.

Prince - Bob George

Prince pulled the album before it's official release fearing it was too dark. I'm sure that in the 'Lovesexy' tour programme, he hinted that he had been possessed by the devil at the time. But on that tour he did versions of both of these tracks.

Considering how 'Lovesexy' turned out, does the devil really have all the best tunes? Discuss!

Visit NPG Music Online
Visit Prince fansite
Buy The Black Album

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

this is your captain calling

Colin Blunstone- How Wrong Can One Man Be

So the nights close in and thoughts turn to walks through autumn leaves, roaring fires, fine wines, Belgian chocolates and......the Belgian chocolatey voice of Colin Blunstone. The former lead-singer of insurance clerk Beat group The Zombies had and has a fine set of honeyed pipes. I have dim recollections of Blunstone's solo albums as a child but he would usually lose out in my Dad's affections to Steely Dan and my Mam's '70's obsession with David Essex.....we must have a Bread post sometime.....Steve? Even as a nipper I recognised this was a special voice if a little too velvety compared to the far superior rock majesty of The Wombles.

Colin Blunstone- Say You Don't Mind

'How wrong can one man be' captures the whole 70's singer-songwriter vibe, it's warm, cute and quickly digested. 'Say you don't mind' haunted me for years as I kept catching bits of it on the radio without hearing who it was. I love the way the string section grooves along and that hi-fi voice, so unashamedly clear and beautiful. It may be a bit too 'Peter Skellern' for the more cynical amongst us but I would suggest that 'Say you don't mind' is a LOVELY song, no more no less.

Colin is still touring today

This is a good thing to buy

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

the george lucas of pop

Madonna - Burning Up

Mike Watt/Ciccone Youth - Burnin' Up

So, recently I moved in with my fiancee and the great joining of the CD collections took place - not as traumatic as we first thought and there was a lot of crossover.

But listening to her "Immaculate Collection" made me scuttle back to my copy of Madonna's self-titled debut, and that's where the title for this post comes from. How much revisionism can you get on one CD?? Where are all the lesser hits? If you're going to have bloody "Crazy For You", where's "Angel"? If Madonna is famous for allegedly re-inventing herself at the drop of a hat, where are all the tunes where she went a bit "off-message"? Isn't that part of her appeal, or for "reinvention" should we read "removal"?

It's like she's airbrushed the stuff out that made her so interesting in the first place. And the re-edited songs and re-recorded vocals... I'm sorry, luv, but that piano bit at the end of "Holiday" is part of my youth - stick it back in. It's kind of how the "Special Edition" versions of the 'Star Wars' films just aren't as 'special' as the originals, no matter how much THX and glitter old beardy-boy throws at them.

When Madge first appeared in the early 80s it was love at first sight, my first proper pop-star crush. I remember seeing her on The Tube in her groovy day-glo knitwear and weird fingerless gloves. The first album has "Lucky Star", "Holiday", "Borderline", but also a load of REALLY average songs - the kind of songs that you can imagine soundtracking a montage in (say) "Footloose" - the main characters in love, running on a beach, dancing in a barn, trying on endless "hilarious" outfits. It's good to hear that she didn't always know exactly what she was doing.

And the Mike Watt/Ciccone Youth version is here because someone will ask me to post it anyway!

Buy Madonna's first album
Buy Ciccone Youth's "The Whitey Album"
Visit Madonna
Visit Mike Watt's Hoot page
Visit Sonic Youth

Friday, September 16, 2005

running down a hill

Trumans Water formed in San Diego in 1991. John Peel (in)famously played their debut LP "Of Thick Tum" in entirety on his show.

They never really took off, a bit of an indie trainspotter obsession (hi there!). Maybe they were a bit ahead of their time - the means of music production have now become so decentralised that CDR and web-only record labels can afford to distribute ever-more niche musical styles. Artists can themselves release endless CDRs to their audience without excessive financial outlay. Trumans Water released their improvised-vinyl-only-albums-with-hand-made-sleeves and probably bankrupted themselves and everyone they dealt with.

Trumans Water - Aroma of Gina Arnold

"Aroma of Gina Arnold" is for me their best song - ok, it's over 8 minutes long but stick with it, it's a GREAT performance. The abrasive musical style and bizarre vocals are obvious, but underneath the mayhem the lyrics are great. Gina Arnold is a music journalist (and sometime Stereolab vocalist) who sprung up in the early 90s and did a few hack biogs. Trumans Water obviously aren't keen.
They said our youth was dead, how could they know?
We're stinking in our beds, we're lying low.
You're plastic order sucks and it's gonna blow...
Let either side confess they do not know.
I really could care less who paved the road.
You're plastic culture sucks and it's gonna blow...
"Aroma of Gina Arnold" starts with "The Note" - a lot of their songs use "The Note". It's a common-or-garden, bog-standard note, but they make it sound like the guitar strings are rusted and they're playing with a flint instead of a plectrum. They keep circling around and returning to "The Note" throughout the song, but it won't quite settle.

At the 4 minute mark they hit a perverse arhytmical section before they ratchet up the tension. "The Note" reappears at 5.30 - sweet jesus, what have they done to the strings?

After that they keep mucking about with their tunings - the bit at 7.18 makes me feel a bit pissed.

At 8.03 the note rides it to the finish line - phew, back home again!

SteveDomino says: "Every now and then I get the urge to play some incredibly loud music, the kind of stuff that sounds like the perfect soundtrack to running pell-mell down a hill, arms flailing, the whole caboodle. When I get that feeling, I reach for Trumans Water!"

Trumans Water - Playboy Stabtone Bloodbath Go

Visit Trumans Water
Buy Spasm Smash XXX Ox Ox Ox and Ass (features "...Gina Arnold")
Buy Godspeed The Punchline (features "Playboy Stabtone...")

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pub Rock Master Works (Pt 1. Vol 1)

Mean Girl by Status Quo

0:08 A-Chinga Chinga Chinga Chinga...

0:18 Rossi starts to sing. His slightly tentative approach is echoed in the band’s overall sound. It’s as if they can’t quite believe that it can be this simple. This is the sound of a band realising that they no longer need to put on all of that psychedelic puffery that didn’t really suit them: twelve (golden) bars is all they need...

0:52 The line ‘She was a big one, I met at a gig one’, is sung for the first time.

1:13 First guitar solo starts; unflashy and taut, as the tune really starts to chug along. If your head (at least!) is not moving rhythmically back and forth at this point then you are either dead or Brian Sewell

1:54 ...after which Rossi comes in with noticeably more conviction as they all dig into the boogie riff. They have it! The career defining riff that will keep them in beer money and send their children to university (where, coincidentally, one of their children will one day meet the woman who will later become my wife).

2:37 Second solo starts. Dirty and to the point.

3:26 can’t be ending it like tha....oh...oh. Yes they can.

Visit the official Status Quo web site

Buy the original album with this track on
( I got it on a cheapo compilation from Asda actually).

Monday, September 12, 2005

there is a redskin, suffering...

The Cult - Spiritwalker

Perhaps I should just sellotape the 'Kick me' sign to my jacket now! I am going to get slated for this one. Here they come riding over the plains of West Yorkshire, the Four Horsemen of the Goth Apocalypse....The Cult. Ian Astbury expressing the pain and anguish of being the only Native American brave to be born in Bradford. This is the Big rock from the Big country...should that be Big County. The Cult's rock just got bigger and bigger and they provided me with two of the best nights out ever, at Newcastle City Hall on the 'Love' tour and an evening of wonderful dumb metal after they decided to stop messing with the Goth stuff and became a proper rock band on the 'Electric' tour. That gig was at the Manchester Appollo...a real old fashioned rock venue. Did I mention the word 'rock'.

The Cult - Resurrection Joe

I honestly haven't got much to say about 'Resurrection Joe' and 'Spiritwalker', they remind me of nights of rum and black and provincial alternative nights when the delicate creatures of the night donned black to perform their serpentine dance of death to The Sisters, The Mish, The Neph etc. I was always more of a Bunnyman but I did occasionally cut a rug to this nonsense. This post is for anyone who experienced ye olde alternative discotheque c1984- deserve a medal.

Buy all the hits here

Friday, September 09, 2005

lost in translation

I'm new to the rules of blogging - is it okay to post something when you know next to nothing about an artist?? I bought Dungen's "Ta Det Lugnt" earlier this week and have played pretty much nothing else since then. I spoke to Marc-o about having a ban on the phrase "psychedelic masterpiece" and then this bugger turns up!

Dungen - Panda

This album sounds like something from about 35 years ago, something you might catch on an Arts programme late at night on a hotel TV in an unfamiliar city - strange and weird, groovy and funky, not quite right. There are hints of Can, Miles Davis and Frank Zappa throughout the album alongside poppier cuts like "Festival".

Dungen - Festival

The main thing this makes me think of is Os Mutantes - another band that had all the constituent parts of yer average everyday psychedelic pop band, but then something happened in the translation. The overall effect is kind of like when you use one of those online translators to write something in English, translate it to a foreign language and then translate it back to English again. The parts make sense, but the way they're put together is new and slightly baffling - and it has a kind of alien "artsiness" to it.

Anyway, I'm waffling. Dungen is the work (mostly) of one man, Gustav Ejstes, and the Dungen website describes "Ta Det Lugnt" as an "uncompromising, multifaceted musical trip straight in to your head and deep out in to the Swedish forests".

This is the second post that I've done where I must give props to kill all artists - Jerimee has been banging on about Dungen for a while now!

Lots of other blogs have posted tracks from this album (in more coherent posts) so if you need more you know where to look. But this is great, buy it!

Visit Dungen
Buy Ta Det Lugnt

Monday, September 05, 2005

left my mojo in my favourite suit

D'Angelo showed up during the mid-90s Nu-Soul gold rush. His first album, "Brown Sugar" (1995) had some great songs on it (like the title track) but was hampered by a generic R&B production - it just sounded a bit average and a bit of it's time.

It took D'Angelo 5 years to come up with the follow-up, the spaced-out blues of "Voodoo" recorded at Electric Lady Studios.

Yes, there is a heavy Marvin Gaye influence to the multitracked vocals, but there are stronger hints of the work of Funkadelic, Sly Stone and Prince to the whole album. It is truly psychedelic music, the sound of a man who has had his mind expanded one way or the other - the cover photos show D'Angelo involved in various rites; dancing like a loon, sweating buckets and, in one memorable shot, swinging a chicken around. "The Root" is the best track on a fantastic album.

D'Angelo - The Root

The lyrics are classic blues - needing to see a doctor because someone has left a stain on your heart. I love the way that the beat is rigid and sounds like it's right on the money, but it still swings, especially when it dovetails beautifully with the off-kilter Bass and Guitar parts played by Charlie Hunter.

Charlie is a jazz guitarist who records for Blue Note, and was the live guitarist for Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. He is renowned for playing a seven-string guitar, with the lowest string used to play the bass part - I'm not sure if that's what he's doing here but it's head-spinning nonetheless. D'Angelo plays all other instruments and handles all the vocals.

D'Angelo has been in the wilderness since the release of "Voodoo", recently spending time in rehab but there is talk of a new album soon. Questlove of the Roots (who also appears on "Voodoo") spoke in November of last year about D'Angelo's third album:
11 songs are done, most need lyrics, most are in the 7-9 minute range, all are epic as fuck.... there WILL be no radio friendly single...
...before going on to list albums that need to be purchased and studied in order to understand the album, including Funkadelic, Sly Stone, Miles Davis, Shuggie Otis, Beach Boys, Sex Pistols, The Beatles and Jime Hendrix.

Sounds great - I can't wait!

Visit D'Angelo fan site
Visit Okay Player
Buy Voodoo

Saturday, September 03, 2005

more delay

I didn't really get on with shoe-gazing, all those undergraduates from the Thames Valley with their cathedrals of sound and shards of sepulchral majesty. The Pale Saints to me were a bit different...well they were from Leeds for a start. They were often described as an Art-Rock band and so naturally they ended up on that art-rockiest of labels, 4AD, Vaughan Oliver sleeve art and all of them trimmings. They seemed a bit less 'precious' than the likes of Ride, Slowdive and Chapterhouse, a bit quirkier...I met them once when I promoted a gig in Lancaster and they were very nice with the guitarist enthusing over his recently bought Rickenbacker guitar.

Their debut album 'Comforts of Madness' was certainly full of pretty music but there was an oddness about it which made it a lot more interesting than the 'High, Sky, Pie' that constituted the lyrical genius of Ride (strange that Oasis follow a similar dogma. 'Timethief' is a good example of their sound at this time.

The Pale Saints - Timethief

'Kinky Love' is a cover of a Nancy Sinatra song, it's not really typical of their output but it sounds lovely. I like the idea of a slightly bookish and nerdy British indie band singing such self conciously 'sexy' lyrics. It is also beautifully recorded.

The Pale Saints - Kinky Love

The Pale Saints split many years ago but 'Comforts of Madness' is still avalable.

Buy The Pale Saints- 'Comforts of Madness'