Friday, 16 March 2018

No Rest For The Wicked

1976. Here's an LP that is amazing. Power trio shit up there with Blue Cheer, ZZ Top, Rush and whoever. This group is sometimes so in the pocket I can't believe it. I'll analyse it later but for now just enjoy. Sometimes it even reminds me of Television, perhaps it's just the guitars they use I dunno. Rock on!

Mondo Rock is Best Rock

The melody of this (above) top 10 tune entered my mind at 3AM yesterday morning. I reckon I haven't heard it in over 25 years. It's a hell of a tune from an underrated band. They're not cool but they're consummate pop craftsmen who designed the right kind of ear candy for the early 80s Australian radio airwaves. Mondo Rock's double platinum 1981 LP Chemistry produced another 3 hits (below) all of which I loved as a kid.

Synth-y new wave blue eyed soul schtick, which is nice. Ariel Pink would get into this I reckon.

I guess this one's a bit Cars-y. This top 10 hit was a staple of the 80s airwaves. Old wave into new wave. For non-Australian readers singer/songwriter/producer Ross Wilson was in the legendary Aussie 70s act Daddy Cool.

It was a party night 
It was the end of school

This for me is Mondo Rock's all time classic though. I remember being in Melbourne and hearing it on 3XY. It's from 1984, right at the time girls got very interesting. It's full of the excitement of oncoming adolescence with a hint of menace. The lyrics are a bit dodgy though aren't they? Are they?

I've always wondered which beach this clip was filmed at.

Anyway Come Said The Boy only made it to number 2 on the charts. No 1 in my heart, right up there with other early/mid 80s radio classics Don't Change, Boys Of Summer, Ship Of Fools, Out Of Touch etc.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

1971: Heavy Psych/Prog Jams

Now this is what I'm talkin' 'bout. Heavy-psych/sludgey-acid-prog-blues man. This is pure early 70s gold. Get out yer bong or drop some acid, you decide.

Moog driven heavy space prog jam. If there's similar shit like this out in the world please let me know. Sometimes I think 1971 is the best year in music ever. That's probably not a very cool thing to say but I don't give a fuck. This tune blows my fucking mind man. This band is a band. Everyone's contributing good stuff. The rhythm section is cookin' while that keyboard goes mental. The singing and guitars are perfectly complimentary too.

Now this one gets pretty far out into almost drone territory in the middle. Then they pick up the momentum and it comes back into an amazing heavy psych-prog climax with a bass sound from outer space. Incredible shit. I don't think this even got a mention in Japrocksampler as far as I recall(?)

Monday, 19 February 2018

Dio & Metal & ....

There is something very business like about certain metal. The way they trade singers and guitarists like it's a fucking football draft. The bands don't necessarily feel organic or like a gang.

Somewhere on the internet the other day someone mentioned the lead singer of Whitesnake had been in Deep Purple. I always just thought they were an American poodle hair metal band. I did only know a couple of 80s Whitesnake music videos featuring scantily clad ladies. My metal knowledge is somewhat lacking. I guess I'm more into your 70s hard rock, proto-metal, heavy prog and space rock with huge blind spots when it comes to conventional heavy metal and NWOBHM. I've never been able to get into Iron Maiden or Judas Priest like I have with say the likes of Blue Oyster Cult, Truth & JaneyThin Lizzy, Motorhead, Scorpions or Venom (maybe one day but I'm not holding my breath). Where the hell do bands like Accept and WASP fit in? I guess I need to do some research. Actually I've watched all those Banger docos so I suppose I've just forgotten about the shit groups that I don't care about.

I like Deep Purple (LPs like In Rock, Machine Head, Live In Japan etc.). I only really started to recognise their charms when I got old. They do tend to get overlooked as metal pioneers in favour of your Led Zeppelins and Black Sabbaths, particularly these days. It's weird that I know fuck all about them except maybe they recorded once in a castle in Germany and it burt down or something or nothing (?). I guess I know more about the post-Deep Purple activities of Richie Blackmore because I quite liked Rainbow due to several live videos that used to get played on Rage in the late 80s when I was a teenager. Their 1976 LP Rising is a classic.

Then there was Rainbow's Ronnie James Dio who later joined Black Sabbath for a couple of albums in the early 80s. Not that I know much about him either. I was somehow aware that his first couple of solo records were rated by metal heads and then Henry Rollins once mentioned him in a stand up comedy routine in the early 90s.

Anyway what I'm trying to say is the stories of these people David Coverdale (singer of Deep Purple and Whitesnake), Richie Blackmore (guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow) and Ronnie James Dio (Vocalist extraordinaire of Rainbow, Black Sabbath & solo) are all relatively interesting. Why don't Mojo and the like cover this sort of stuff instead of going over and over the minutiae of Bob Dylan's motor bike spokes (Sure I haven't flicked through an issue for years but I assume....)

Maybe I have to start reading the metal equivalent to Mojo or maybe a history of metal. Any recommendations out there? I did read that Chuck Eddy book on 500 metal albums but that was hardly an overview of orthodox metal. More like one dude's trip into heavy music that pissed off many an orthodox metal head.

Scorpions, they were German. They also rocked.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

INXS Invented Hauntology by accident!

I was a kid into INXS and knew all their experimental B-sides but I'd never heard this one until today, I think. Perhaps it wasn't the Australian B-side to The One Thing or maybe I've just totally forgotten about it. Anyway I'm thinking Moon Wiring Club might dig this. INXS invented hauntology by accident in 1982.

Friday, 26 January 2018

RIP Mark E Smith

Go to my twitter for more tributes to the great man. I'm trying not to double up on the stuff I've already posted there. I also don't wanna use all those same words that have been used to describe Mark E Smith and The Fall over and over again throughout their existence. So here are just a handful of tunes and videos from the first ten years of The Fall's recorded output.

1957 - 2018

Recorded in 1977 and released in 1978.

1979's Rowche Rumble is the 3rd Fall single and what a cracker.

B-side to Fiery Jack. The Fall's B-sides were often as good as the A-sides and usually didn't feature on the LPs.

Single number 6 which was also not included on their album of the time. This is why Fall compilations are such an integral part of their discography. Is Totally Wired The fall's finest moment? It's fucking exhilarating. Has a song title ever fitted a song's sound so literally? 

My Favourite Fall LP (well for today anyway, interchangeable with about seven others), released in 1980 on Rough Trade.

Another great stand alone single from November 1981. This is peak period Fall right here folks.

This was the B-side to Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul from 1981. You got bang for your buck with Fall 7"s back then. I guess these were more like double A-sides, doncha reckon?

The B-side to another non-LP single Look Know from 1982. Just to clear up any confusion it was later included as a bonus track on the expanded cd version of Hex Enduction Hour.

C.R.E.E.P from 1984. Another mighty era for The Fall. This is when Brix Smith became an indispensable member of the mid 80s Fall line-up. The shiny new Fall now had boy/girl vocals, hooks galore and rhythms for the dance-floor.

Cruisers Creek a 1985 single. V dodgy vhs transfer of the film clip. Remember when youtube was just a bunch of old shonky vhs tapes?

LA is quite possibly the coolest tune in rock history. It's all happening here: the band, the production, the inspiration, the synergy.....spellbinding! They were not only top of their game, they were top of THE game. Taken from 1985's musical triumph This Nation's Saving Grace. LA is also AA-side to Cruiser's Creek.

1987 single which was a cover of an old 70s tune, maybe a Northern Soul or Motown number. I remember hearing it on a soul radio show 10 years ago and freaked out because I always thought it was a Mark E Smith tune.

There were a bunch of versions of this ecstatic dance-floor anthem. Which one is this? I dunno. Hit The North should have been a global No. 1 with a bullet. 

*There is so much more to The Fall than just this motley selection of tracks. I could go on for days. I haven't even posted any live numbers or Peel Sessions. If you really get into The Fall it can be a captivating passion. 

Friday, 19 January 2018

2017's Best Tunes

I forgot to post a favourite tunes of 2017 list. This list has been sitting in my drafts since mid December but it was only a top 5 or 6 anyway. I've added a handful of other tracks since the Christmas/New Year period. I didn't listen to the radio or watch any music video channels in 2017 but I did check out probably a couple of hundred singles/tracks on youtube. Not hearing them in a radio context doesn't allow for a tune to insidiously worm its way into your brain though. I thought pop's reign had halted and r&b, rap etc. were in poor shape. I still do.

I just couldn't hear any innovations in rap at all, at least not vocally. It all just seemed to be rehashing what Gucci Mane, Future and Young Thug had pioneered years earlier. In times like these sometimes that can be ok because often newer artists consolidate on what the pioneers have already blueprinted. However it just seems like every newcomer is rather pale by comparison to their forefathers. God, Young Thug & Future even did an album together which left not a trace in my memory, that was not a good sign. Jay-Z sounded tired. Geez Tyler, The Creator was even sounding fresh with his old school Neptunes/NERD shtick, it stood out because everyone else sounded the same. Too Much (Vocal) from v1984 was classic b-boys on E stuff plus I quite liked tracks from these new feisty rappers with potential Rico Nasty and Sheff G.

The beauty of hip hop a few years ago was the fact that somehow even in this post-geographical internet age a regional flavour still came through in a lot of leading artists material. So distinctive styles were developing throughout the different neighbourhoods of America. Now you get New Yorkers sounding like wannabe southern trappers, people from LA moving to Atlanta, Rappers from Brooklyn wishing they were from Chicago etc. Where are Rae Sremmunrd from? Cardi B? Vince Staples? Is Travis Scott from Atlanta?  Who knows anymore? It's probably a cyclical thing. I mean you did have g-funk coming out of all sorts of places in the 90s, not just LA.

I didn't think I'd heard any good pop/rock songs last year, not that I tried very hard or at all. However, I actually heard the infectious Imagine Dragons tune, Whatever It Takes, in Emma's car on Boxing Day which I thought was a state of the art soft-rock anthem for the FM airwaves of 2017. No apologies hipsters.

Indie rock is just plain embarrassing now. It's the trad jazz of the 2010s.

Most R&B and their inter-zones sounded staid but there were a couple of things that grabbed my attention. The obvious standout was Kelela's two singles and LP. Apparently there's a Steve Gurley dub of her Truth Or Dare floating around the internet too. Thundercat, SZA and NERD featuring Rihanna had their retro moments.

There were one or two disparate electronic things that caught my ear but they were mainly just little 90s nostalgia trips for me like Lanark Artefacts' Touch Absence, Bicep's Glue, Loft's Funemployed and a few others that have slipped my mind. Other track-y things like Your Kiss Is Sour by Parris and Ploy's Unruly had their charms while Object's Theme From Q was almost something new. Oh and I've only just realised Rudeboyz came back with an EP but I missed it.

So below is my belated best tunes of 2017 list.

Frontline - Kelela
LMK - Kelela
Slippery - Migos feat. Gucci Mane
Blue Light - Kelela
Bodak Yellow - Cardi B (Zora Jones & Sinjin Hawke Bootleg)
Magnolia - Playboi Carti
Too Much (Vocal) - v1984
Goosebumps - Travis Scott feat. Kendrick Lamar
Dark Matter - Jlin & Zora Jones
Mask Off - Future
DNA - Kendrick Lamar
Lemon - NERD feat. Rihanna

Thursday, 18 January 2018

'ardcore Smokey Joe

Gotta love hearing some early 90s rave-y hardcore that has never crossed my eardrums before. Thanks to Simon via Energy Flash for alerting me to this Red Bull article on ridiculously overpriced rave records. Some of these tunes I'd not heard until today.
I love me a bit of kitchen sink hardcore: Breaks, scratching, Italo piano riffs, more breaks, synth riffology, chipmunks, hoovers, cheesy 80s synth samples, pitch-shifted divas, squelches, references to rushes etc. Kiss My Neck has got the lot.

Then there's this, a stone cold 'ardcore classic! Boomzabang, which is less cluttered than Kiss My Neck, has got fabulous beat science, riffs built on rhythms, time-stretching and melodic beats then the hardcore hoovers move in at 3.40 and by 4.20 it's mentastic. Next the track delves into dark lulls with a sampled diva, closing out on a classic break that could go on forever. How I've not come across this before is astounding because this is superior 92 into 93 hardcore slipping into darkside.

Smokey Joe is bringing the joy to my fuckered back and this sweltering heatwave.

Ryo Kawasaki - Mercy Of The Dragon

God only knows how I got here. This is from a 1982 LP by Ryo Kawasaki confusingly titled Featuring Concierto De Aranjuez. The centrepiece of side 2 is Hawaiian Caravan along with Mercy of The Dragon (see below). All of side 2 is good 80s Japanese cosmic stuff. Mucho custom guitar synthesizer action.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Mnemonics III - Pauline Oliveros

Damn fine electronics from the 60s. I have heard this one maybe it's on a different record to this one though or a different cover. Muchas Gracias to the late Pauline Oliveros for these alien frequencies sent from her swirly transmitter. Joy. Ha...I've just realised she was another faculty member of Mills College. Quite a coincidence or is it not one at all? Perhaps my brain was subconsciously playing Alvin Curran and Oliveros deliberately. That does not explain the Xenakis played in-between however. Anyway...

The silver lining to your back going out is the psychedelic unison of the drugs and the music.