Thursday, April 26, 2007

monkey necklace owl

Back to 4AD AGAIN for the B-Side of 1987's Number 1 smasheroo Pump Up The Volume. As any fool knows this was the collaboration between AR Kane, Colourbox and CJ Macintosh which really brought sampling into the charts. I'd love to say that I got this single at the time but let's face it, I was a real indie snob. I only bought the 12" after hearing this track, the double A side.

M|A|R|R|S - Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)

Apparently (according to youknowwho) this wasn't a happy collaboration, with AR Kane and Colourbox working in seperate studios on the two tracks; Pump Up The Volume being mostly the work of The Box, with minimal input from the Kaners.

As far as Anitina went, AR Kane brought the elephantine-feedback and sheets of guitar noise (plus blissed-out vocals and ickle-baby-acid-head lyrics), while Colourbox supplied the monumental beats and heavy dub effects which really make the track - the best bit is from 4.37 when it all goes underwater before the gallop to the finish line. Still sounds great.

Back in the day, Simon Reynolds would have called this oceanic dub-rock.

Hmmm, Colourbox... methinks I feel a non-alphabetical post coming on...

Visit - M|A|R|R|S (Wikipedia)
Buy - Pump Up The Volume CD (import)

Nina Nastasia - Ugly Face

Oxes - Kaz Hayashi '01

These go together because they were amongst the last artists that I really got turned onto by John Peel. And both of them involved me staring open-mouthed at the radio as I heard something that I really wasn't expecting, which is an experience that I will never have again. Think about it - the media continue to move more and more towards narrowcasting, with genre programs increasingly ghettoised in their own little compartments. The opportunities for exposure to something unexpected are increasingly rare.

Ugly Face was in a late-night Festive 50 show and just gobsmacked me, it's so spine-chilling. I know I've (kind-of) featured Nina Nastasia on here before, but she really is a great artist. And it's so cool to hear Steve Albini's recording style applied to this sort of music, which it suits so well. Plus you don't hear enough bowed saw these days.

Oxes I heard on a live session from Maida Vale which entailed me sitting in the car outside my house, grinning like a tit and not being able to go in until the session finished. I guess they could come across as slightly academic math-rockers but I think they're genuinely hilarious.

I have a theory that they were all massive metal geeks as kids and are trying to get to the motherlode of Great Riffs (as it were), knocking out the keystones of rock lore ad infinitum until they achieve some kind of cosmic high. Whilst pulling rock poses, jumping off things and gurning.

Just listen - it's like Stars on 45 for metal riffs. For example, I reckon there are definite echoes of Iron Maiden in this track, especially the rumpty-tumpty-Run-To-The-Hills section at 0.37

Visit - Nina Nastasia
Buy - The Blackened Air

Visit - Oxes
Visit - Oxes (MySpace)
Buy - Oxxxes

Sunday, April 15, 2007

jacket kite ladder

Apologies for the extended period of radio silence. I should explain that when I started on this alphabetical kick, I set myself some limitations - notably, that I would only post tracks by artists whose name began with the letter in question, that I'd choose only one artist per letter and that I wouldn't feature anyone who'd already appeared on Domino Rally. As such, I've been having a nightmare picking tracks for this post, and the results are possibly more random than usual.

Hank Mizell - Jungle Rock
(oh give me a break, when you've already featured Billy Joel where else do you go?)

This is, quite simply, one of the strangest songs ever, with a pretty weird story to boot. Recorded in 1956, the song wasn't a hit until 1976 when it got to #3 in the UK - leading to what must have been the odd spectacle of Mizell aged 53 miming along to his younger self on Top Of The Pops.

I first heard it on some Rock n Roll cassette compilations that my granddad had - I think he lent them to my dad. These were kind of the early 80s versions of those Time Life compilations that you see advertised on daytime TV between infomercials for Abdominizers, Thigh Masters and suchlike.

It always sounded creepy and unfinished, half-written and hollow sounding. The bass line is all over the place (is it even playing the same track as everyone else during the intro?) and the guitar moves into this strange minor-key thing for the chorus. Plus Hank keeps hammering away at those same two (and a bit) notes for the entire length of the song. Totally relentless nonsense - love it!

Visit - Hank Mizell at Wikipedia
Buy - Jungle Rock (import)

Kitchen of Distinction - The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule

Surely one of the worst band names in history. But from 1989 to 1991 I loved this strange little band. Looking back, they were the shoegaze band for grown-ups - rather than writing lyrics where meaning was "up to the listener to provide their own interpretation (mumble, mumble)", KOD tracks were about stuff. But they still had that whole oceanic walls of sound thing going on - seriously, how many delay pedals do you need to get that guitar sound?

And having said that, I've got no idea what this track is about. I guess it's just about that fantastic, huge swell of noise that comes after "everything went...!". And to ask for any more meaning than that from a pop song is a bit silly, really.

This was the first track I heard by them and over the course of the next two years and many purchases I learnt that it was easily their best track. But the bit at 2.17 still makes the hairs on my neck stand on end EVERY TIME which is more than I can say for many records I bought at the time by their hipper contemporaries (see Moose, Lush, Slowdive, et al).

According to Wikipedia their sound influenced bands like Mansun, The Verve and Interpol.... err....thanks?!?

Visit - Kitchens of Distinction at Wikipedia
Buy - Love Is Hell

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Twisted

Awesome skwee-bo scat singing here. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross specialised in writing new arrangements and lyrics for jazz tunes and here is Annie Ross' amazingly liquid vocal to Wardell Gray's melody. I've never heard the original but Ross' lyrics fit the feel of the track so snugly, I can't imagine how it could sound any better than this. The lyrical flow on show here is simply astonishing and I love Lambert and Hendricks' semi-sung interjections throughout (especially at 1.30).

It swings hard, it sounds supercool and it's funny, too (their version of Art Blakey's "Moanin'" is cool, too).

FUN FACT - Annie Ross played the jazz singer (and Lori Singer's mum) in Robert Altman's fantastic Short Cuts, one of stevedomino's top 10 films of all time!

Visit - Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Buy - The Hottest New Group in Jazz