Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Finders Keepers Radio

I was surfing the net for something musical to excite me the other day and I thought "Have Finders Keepers released any 'old stuff' this year that I might have missed?" Now I don't remember the answer to that. I did however discover these Finders Keepers Radio Podcasts. The 10th anniversary show reminded me of where my head was at in the mid 00s. The only current stuff I was into then was Animal Collective and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti give or take a Deerhoof or two. I didn't engage with Grime (except for Dizzee, The Streets & Lady SOV, call me commercial) or Dubstep at the time so I got into this weird old stuff that was being reissued by Finders Keepers and the likes of Trunk Records plus others. I definitely recommend listening to this podcast but it's a weird old game for sure. So you go back in time 10 years and hear stuff that was already old by 30+ years old then. Talk about atemporal. Reminiscing about reminiscing about stuff that was unheard by you but reminiscable by others from around the globe. Then I had a little look at my cd collection and realised I had over 30 releases with the Finders Keepers label!!! So obviously, I liked it a lot. With these guys it's a bit like autism, they're slow on the uptake but once it's all behind them they can really get into it. I can't imagine Votel et al. listening to Young Thug, Future, Beatking etc. now, but In 15 years time they'll be able to go back and neatly pick out what was awesome, an anomaly or really strange about the state of current southern rap though. Andy Votel's voice is incredibly close to that of another (in)famous Manc Jonny Vegas. I keep picturing him as Vegas. 808 state's Graeme Massey gets a second act on these podcasts as a possible cult comedian because he plays this character The Worm which is pure genius. The host Pete Mitchell is an actual real living embodiment of Alan Partridge which is something to behold.

Do't get me wrong Andy Votel and his cohorts have brought a lot of great music into my life. Here's my top 5 Finders Keepers releases that I own.

This is still my favorite without doubt. A few years after this was released I met someone who was perhaps 15 years my senior from Hungary. I showed her this on my I-pod during a uni lecture and to my surprise she sang along to every tune and then gave a run down of who they were, what they used to be and where they were now. She thought it was really weird that I was into this shit. I never saw her again.

Before Finders Keepers even started Czechoslovakian soundtracks were very bloody hip but they were only available on shitty bootlegs. My first purchase from Finders Keepers was the Daisies soundtrack. I think I'd seen that Czech new wave film in 91 or 92 as part of the Melbourne cinematheque programe, maybe. Anyway this one, Valerie, is a fabulously haunting Eastern European soundtrack gem from the early 70s. Gold.

This might be the best thing Finders Keepers ever released. I was only hipped to the Thai Luk Thung and Molam shit a year or 2 earlier but fuck this comp is still probably the best this genre has to offer. Pure gold.

Iranian Goddess with state of the art Middle Eastern production. I think that's all I have to say! Pre-Rev Iranian pop in excelis! Fucking heartbreaking!!!

This is also fucking great! FK released this last year and one of the best things they ever released. Here 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Top 3 LP Covers Of All Time

I was filling in a questionnaire about best LP covers the other day and found it really hard. My conclusion in the end was that movie posters are much better pop art than album covers. What surprised me most was how much I didn't give a fuck about the artwork for albums. Perhaps movie posters are better because they promise so much yet the actual movie rarely delivers on that promise. Movie posters as an entity unto themselves seem like a much more successful artform than the poster as part of the combination with the movie or album artwork by itself. Album artwork really seems to be an afterthought doesn't it? Music doesn't need it's sizzle to be sold because it speaks for itself.

Sure I had a few other favorites but below are my top three LP covers of all time and the music is awesome too...just slightly magnificent.

Big Fun is surely the best LP cover ever. The soundz within are bloody exceptional too!

In Concert is quite possibly my fave Miles record.....uh and that cover!

An amazing trilogy of funky ghetto pimp shit that really suits the tunes. The album sleeves for In Concert & On The Corner were once described as 'tastelessness' by Canadian jazz magazine Coda, ha...the last laugh is on you Coda, tastelessness never tasted sooo good. Don't you love how people with a different taste to you describe it as no taste as if there couldn't possibly be an alternative to their specific tastes. Stupid. I love these Corky McCoy cartoon covers more than the covers Mati Klarwein did for Miles Davis but they're great too (see below), if a little tasteful.

How good is the Live/Evil one? Fucking mental.

The two different styles of cover art really sum up where Miles was at, at the time. A culture clash of high culture and trash. Davis was making mercurial epoch defining art and designing sonic templates for future genres to plunder but he also really wanted to be down with what was happening on the bad ass fonkay streets. He wanted to eat his cake. I think he did and then some.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Portishead - Third - ?

Why am I writing about this now? Old news I suppose but....I dug it out the other day and gave it a spin. This LP was universally acclaimed and ended up in a lot of best of the 00s lists. I don't recall any reviews at the time but it seemed like everyone liked it and thought it was a good idea. Portishead moved away from the trip-hop and headed into much whiter zones. I mean Beth was always white as a ghost but in a Dusty/Janis wish I was black kind of way. Was she once a Janis Joplin impersonator? With the hip-hop and soul samples turfed here for tributes to Can, United States of America via Broadcast, Pram, Silver Apples and whatever else they were referencing beyond track 6 etc. it all seems a bit odd. It's a bit like, I dunno, The Stereophonics releasing a jungle album. On Third, it was like Portishead wanted to rewrite their own history and state the case that: We too could have been a UK post-rock band circa 94. Third would have fitted pretty neatly into that category. The best thing about Dummy though, was the fact that they weren't indie or post-rock or Brit-pop. On Dummy they were stark blue eyed soul with hip hop beats encased in a dub mentality. It felt pretty new or at least of it's time with their re-situation of John Barry with bleak torch singer amongst dubbed out trip-hop. I think their debut and the underrated follow up were quintessential 90s records that are still worth listening to, depending on how much time you spent in Cafes in the mid 90s that is. So why all the plaudits and respect for Third? I can only think that perhaps the 00s were worse than I thought and people were grasping on to anything. I mean it's tasteful and everything but.... fuck by the time they get to Deep Water's country twang, I wanna smash the fucking stereo in.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Cherry Moon On Valium....again

Sorry this isn't something new, just the old Cherry Moon On Valium mix from 2011 but I just watched this for like the 20th time and I never get sick of it. They should do another mix. I converted this to mp3 and put the audio into my i-phone a couple of years ago and it is one of the most played things ever on my phone. I keep meaning to make a compilation of all the original tracks at their real speeds, I think I've probably got half of them. Then just looking at the track list I realised there's a few I haven't recognised in their slowed down form. Anyway I posted this ages ago but hey it's fucking timeless, innit?

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Young Thug - Best Friend

Diggin that vibe....on this. I love everything about Young Thug, his moves, the way he wears his clothes, his videos and...Oh yeah his singing. He is so cool and funny. There's also something disturbing about him which adds to his greatness. Best Friend is from the mixtape Slime Season which was was released this week but apparently he's got a whole other album ready for release! More on Slime Season once I've got me head around it. Slime Season isn't as mental or rough as 1017 Thug but it sounds real good though......Go Bestie!

He's really killin the sound and vision combo isn't he?

He's sold me. Get me some lean. Every other rapper pack up and go home.

Funny bastard.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

On The Hi-Fi - Part !!!

The fog has lifted slightly but I feel like I can barely string a cohesive sentence together. I'm strugglin to get past 'I like/don't like' sort of writing at the moment. Deep analysis might be out the window until my brain gets flowing again. Sometimes it seems you need to be a musicologist to review this (above) kind of shit but no, I'm gonna give it a Space Debris crack. This is very bloody good. Before we had jungle we had the polyrhythmic mentalness of this Latino shit. Some of this music is as outre as Miles in the 70s while some of it sounds like it could have been off the soundtrack to The Love Boat. Many a legend is to be found on this comp that came out 20 years ago including Palmieris Charlie & Eddie, Joe Bataan, Ocho, Grupo Folklorico etc. This new version has an added cd with 8 tracks that weren't on the original collection.  Do I need to mention Cuba, Boogalooo, Salsa Classic, Puerto Rico, New York, Fonkay or whatever? This is Superfly, sometimes soulful, jazzy, summertime and everything else in between! Makes you want to drink cocktails in the sun and dance like you think you are the greatest dancer ever.

Well I was not expecting this. I had previously heard DDAA's Nouvelles Construction Sonores Sur Fondations which was a lengthy drifting sonic art collage released in 1991. When the opening tune Ready With The Answer came on with it's rubbish bin percussion and mental guitar I was so shocked I thought this was a different group altogether. It caused a flurry of research and no it wasn't two different groups, it was the one and only DDAA. As far as I can tell they were a 3 piece who had formed in France in 1979. This release is surely where Sun City Girls got all their inspiration. Live In Alcalpulco is fabulously minimal stuff that sometimes sounds like a Middle Eastern no-fi Slint gone acoustic with drums made of cardboard. Then it goes psych post-punk like a No-Wave group stranded in the desert jamming while imbibing mushrooms then incredibly inventive drones, space invader noises and gamelan-esque percussive sounds enter the fray. The crowd of two like it a lot and clap enthusiastically (surely this is a faux-live record). I thought I was hip to all the under-underground classics by now, but no way, I was not even aware of this double cassette until today. Subterranean Gold!

I have been waiting for a new release from Gesaffelstein since his classic Aleph from 2013. I guess this isn't the true follow up to that masterpiece of 'beautiful paranoid atmospheres, bangin streamlined EBM and Cold Rushes.' It does have the cold and paranoid atmospheres but not so much the bangin club tunes. I assume Maryland is a horror film because this is quite the grim soundtrack. An hour earlier my brain had been comparing Burzum's ambient black metal tunes to those of the mid 90s electronic doom/gloom-core variety ie. Miro, The Mover, Reign etc. so it was weird that this turned up as surely Gesaffelstein loves all that stuff. Wall Of Memories could be a Burzum track with it's simple but bizarre piano phrase that is chilling to the (hard)core. Could a horror score be album of the year two years in a row?

*The Space Debris airwaves have been featuring the aforementioned Burzum plus the likes of Bathory, Ulver, Celtic Frost, Wolf Eyes (??), Bene Gesserit, Skin, Swans, Crime & The City Solution, Clint Ruin & Lydia Lunch, Terror Danjah, Isolee, Ricardo Villalobos, Arthur Russell, Future, Young Thug and er.....Gong. A little old school hip hop has been on the decks too including the likes of LL Cool J, Schooly D, EPMD, Slick Rick, NWA, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Dr Dre etc. with a blog post coming up on these ye olde artists and the current state of Hip-Hop.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

2015? Part 2

Simon Reynolds chooses this as his pick for 2015 so far here in my comments. Atlanta's Future was the kingpin of weird rap before Young Thug came along and remains just as relevant as Thugga. They both come from the same church ie. Lil Wayne worship. His 2012 record Pluto was choice as was this year's Beast Mode mixtape which I wrote about here

Turn On The Lights is classic anthem from Pluto.

Real Sisters was on Beast Mode as well as appearing on DS2.

This is the closing tune on Beast Mode.

Future featured on this great tune from Jeezy last year which made my end of year list.

Anyway back to now....the Mrs chooses this as her 2015 pick. Goin back to Live To Tell vibes on this one fo shizzle.

Same name different song. He kinda does with deep tech what Daniel Bedingfield did with 2-Step Garridge on Gotta Get Through This sort of...maybe....I dunno.....does he?

I think he originally did an acoustic version of this anyway....

Hard for me to go past this one from Beatking for 2015.

Oh and I really like this...sure it's got a bit of Dre/Snoop circa 92/93 but is it not awesome? Iamsu! is a star. Call me retromaniacal...

Iamsu! with RJ & Choice again....

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

2015 - How Shit?

I've gotta say 2015 has got to be the worst music year since fuck before the 2nd World War, I reckon. I'm stuck in 90s musical zones (see above) myself and don't particularly care that my listening isn't drifting back to the now. In fact I want to stay right in those places when and where the possibilities seemed endless. Me and the Mrs discussed a furniture shop closing down near our house the other day and ended up in the terrain of "Is that it then? Music's finite so i guess furniture is too." I was saying how these retro interior design shops had become so uninspired and formulaic, why would anyone want to spend money on this new old shit when there's plenty of old shit anyway?. The retro eclecticism, of the products in these shops, is disappearing up it's own arse at an accelerating rate. Is it that no one is game enough to say right here's a new style? So we just continue down these tasteful but conservative aesthetic avenues? Nobody's killing their idols. There's way too much reverence. We lived through a modernist time but that has gone. Where are the generation gaps? The kids don't even want one. Teenagers don't seem to exist anymore, kids don't leave home until they're over 25 now. You used to leave home and disassociate yourself from your family and become a whole new you, severed from the past. Emma went to the Bowie exhibition in Melbourne last weekend and said there were kids sans parents there. I thought what the fuck? These youngsters are going back 40 years. In 1985 diggin the 60s seemed old but it had only ended 15 years prior. When I was 17 (by then we had Public Enemy, The Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jnr., Acid House, Hip-Hop etc.) I wouldn't have been caught dead being interested in a culture that was 40+ years old. Strange days indeed.

*This is raw thought data that's still being processed in my mind.

**A retro curio in itself. First issued in 1971 (maybe the year I was born) on his Hunky Dory LP then was later released as a single in 1973 when Bowie had reached stardom. It became a massive hit in the UK.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Munch Bunch

Sounds like something off Ariel Pink's Pom Pom, I reckon. The Mrs has been singing this all day so I checked it out. I don't recall it at all...maybe it didn't make it to the telly screens of regional Victoria in the 80s. We only had two channels...

I vaguely remember this though.

This the only other one I recall. I'm pretty sure this show was actually French but dubbed into English. I would have been none the wiser back then though. The rest are a journey into Emma's childhood tv mind.

Loving Button Moon's theme. "I am the moon" "Howard Moon"... The Boosh guys must have loved this.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Silver Apples Of The Moon - Laika


Fuck I loved this record when it came out in 1994. I was already into UK post-rock shit and just starting to get into jungle. I saw this as a terrific amalgam of the two. Maybe we didn't really need it but it was ticking all my aesthetic boxes at the time. I'd been big on Margaret Fiedler's previous band Moonshake since they had released the Second Hand Clothes EP in 1992 followed by the classic Eva Luna LP that same year. Big Good Angel from 1993 was the last Moonshake record to feature Fiedler and was a classic for her to go out on. I must admit I never followed them after she left. The Laika project had me very excited though. Along for the ride were ex-Moonshake bass player John Frenett and producer Guy Fixsen. Chuck in Lou Ciccotelli on percussion, My Bloody Valentine's Colm O'Ciosoig as a digital editor and even Louise Elliot from Australia's great Laughing Clowns on the sax & flute. How could you go wrong? You couldn't, Laika didn't!

Silver Apples Of The Moon kicks off with Sugar Daddy and you can feel the city streets with it's sampled noise, rain and trains. Then a sultry propulsive beat kicks in while classic 90s bleeps drift into the mix as Fixsen and Fiedler sing together. Fixsen, who had produced Moonshake, takes on a more prominent role here. As well as co-engineering, he co-writes every tune with Fiedler, sings, plays synth and other instruments including vibes, marimba, melodica, the sampler and even guitar. Laika were about unison whereas Moonshake had been about tension. Fiedler mirrors Fixsen (or is it the other way around?) taking on all the same roles in the band ie. engineering, sampling, playing all the same instruments etc. Next is The Marimba Song which has a trippy, tropical and Can-esque vibe. This tune introduced the band to the world as two versions of it appeared on their debut recording, the Antenna EP. Let Me Sleep has frenetic beats, unbelievable bass, spiralling layers of free sax/flute and a general air of cluttered urban space. Coming Down Glass is an ultra spaced out funky wind-up toy hip hop jam with flute squiggles. The whole thing sounds like it was recorded backwards.

If You Miss starts out oppressive before a vibraphone appears to brighten things up but then it flitters back to darker terrain and continues to fluctuate between the parallel universes of isolationism and blissed out ambience for the rest of the track. In the meantime the hypnotic beat maintains an amazing flow motion. 44 Robbers has Margaret rapping kinda awkwardly like Debbie Harry, taut guitar lines that sometimes veer off into noise, Pacific(state) Island soundz and an incredibly tight rhythm like The JBs. Red River could be a Moonshake tune with it's squalling sax, tense noisy guitar shapes, claustrophobic minimal bass and tumbling out of control beats. Honey and Heat is a mesmerising off kilter urban dub tune with see-sawing samples. The samples here are meticulously crafted and create an entirely unique peculiarity. Expansive rolling rhythms, loopy flutes, eerie samples, choppy guitars and Guy's whispered vocals all contribute to the strange twilight of Thomas. The delightfully jazzy, almost surf instrumental Spider Happy Hour brings proceedings to a close.

Like a lot of UK post-rock's lost generation a duality was at play on this album ie. alongside the urban intensity was also a swirling intergalactic vibe. This often gave the music a disconcerting feel which made you want to come back for more so you could experience the discombobulation again and again. On their next LP, Sound Of Sattelites, Laika would rocket off into the stars completely, leaving the squalor behind them in a vapour trail haze. Silver Apples Of The Moon is a time capsule of intersecting mid 90s musical zones. A real curio.