Madness kick things off with Nightboat for Cairo. The band are equally split between fez, pith helmet or Arab headdress in costume choice – apart from someone who’s a sailor. Lots of nutty dancing. Repeat of Barbara Dickson singing January February. Dull dull dull. Which Dexys up next emphatically are not. Four-man horn section, De Niro caps and Kevin Rowland doing a 1000-year stare as if he can actually see the Wigan Casino in the far distance if he concentrates hard enough. Glossy new wave next from The Pretenders with Talk of the Town – in a cunning video that makes it almost appear that they are in the studio. Only the access to a better quality of video editing software gives it away. Or did they have to hand-colour each frame of the tape in those days. Behind the Kid this week is a new neon effect logo for the eighties. Legs and co work out to Leon Heywoods Don’t Push It – a slice of disco funk. One of those tracks I have absolutely no emory of hearing on 275 285 at the time, or at any time since. UB40 are back with Food for Thought – they » Continue Reading.
Year: 1970 Director: joseph Sargent
2001 wasn’t the only film released at the end of the sixties that featured a passive-agressive computer running amok and threatening mankind. Colossus: The Forbin Project to give it its somewhat confusing name, was made before 2001 but its ending was so downbeat the studio dithered over its release, enabling HAL to steal all of Colossus’ thunder. Made with a fraction of Kubrick’s budget, Colossus is a smart studio sci-fi pic that looks forward to some of the best of seventies set-bound sci-fi such as Westworld, Logan’s Run and Soylent Green, and back to apocalypse flicks such as Dr Strangelove. I would also say that James Cameron sat down and wrote The Terminator not long after seeing Forbin as Skynet is basically a Colossus running Windows 84. Daft Punk and Kraftwerk may have well loved the ice-cold vocoder’d voice of Colossus, very different from HAL’s soothing tones.
At the start of the film a new supercomputer installed beneath the Rockies is brought online to provide super-fast and infallible control of the US nuclear arsenal. Working its way through algorhythms faster than the humans can keep up, it contacts a similar computer in Russia and they » Continue Reading.
We start with the hyperactive liquid gold. I can’t help but love a group of chancers for whom a TOTP appearance was so clearly the equivalent of an Olympics gold. Then it’s a repeat of the Genesis in the studio clip from two weeks ago AKA Phil’s Shirt. After their manful attempt on Spirit of Radio last week legs and co are back on more familiar turf – doing a flapper hoofer number to the Brothers Johnson Stomp.
The ‘can I prolong my career by going a bit disco’ movement continues with Doctor Hooks Lamentable sexy eyes. Now, is this a band that anyone on the blog can find a single kind word for? Apart from the fact that he really did have one eye. He had some maracas last time out, this time Rays been upgraded to congas.
Ver Priest are on next, an ace performance of Living After Midnight. Great pop song and they’re live in the studio after a brief stop down the leather and studs emporium. Make that ‘give me every single stud you have in the shop please’.
Great how The programme reflects the tribal face-offs there were at break in the fifth form. From » Continue Reading.
in lieu of a great modern TV show lets go back to the 20 March 1980. Easter hols have got the better of me and I’m a week behind. this one has disappeared from the iplayer, but for those on TiVo you can still enjoy…
Ska is still hot, and The Bodysnatchers invade the stage. Brilliant to see an all-group sounding and looking great entirely on their own terms. A slight number (Do Rock Steady) but a feisty performance.
You really do have to see this week’s highlight for yourself. Yes it’s Legs and Co do The Spirit of Radio. There’s a lot going on here. Some coloured negative video is overlaid with some picture-in-picture box that well, tells a story. They get up, have some tea – generally start the day with a friendly companion. Later on their is lots of slo-mo miming with a transistor radio. Then there’s some freaky dancing.
Squeeze do a straight up good performance of Puling Mussels from the Shell.
i had Sad Cafe down as a one-hit wonder but here they are again with their other hit, My Oh My. The song, and the band’s duds, are straight out of 1976 but hey » Continue Reading.
Inspired by @attackdog ‘s post on Scottish Music Hall singers, can anyone shed light on a remembered music hall moment that is driving me crazy as I can find no evidence for it out there. As I remember it, heard on Radio 2 or 4 in the seventies, it was a song sung by Arthur Askey to the tune of In the Hall of the Mountain King. To that ner ner nerner nanna na tune he sung the words
Mother owned a coffee shop, coffee shop, coffee shop Mother owned a coffee shop In Portobello Road
Now, it may not be Askey. It may not be exactly those words. Can anyone help?
Slightly later than normal, here’s your semi-regular survey of the national’s music life circa 1980, as reckoned by the BBC and the chart company, so more Marti Webb and less Crass if you will.
Introduced by Steve Wright in a boating blazer – cool on Paul Weller for circa five minutes a year before – we open with a riot of spandex, lame and leotards. It’s the Dooleys channelling ABBA in full disco mode on Love Patrol . The Police are already too big to appear on the show it seems and send another annoying video of their holidays in New York for Sue Lawley. Stewart Copeland is still finding it amusing to bash his drumsticks on anything around him (here some sweets).
Our first highlight occurs with Legs and Co, who are in for the Detroit Spinners. They have set up a roadworks, complete with scaffolding and one of those tents that used to appear over a hole in the road. From which they emerge in hardhats, highheels and dungarees. Imagine the Village People came from daytime ITV in 1978 and you’ve got some idea of what’s going on here. They are ‘Working Their Way Back to You’ » Continue Reading.
Year: 2014 Director: Jonathon Glazer
Glazer’s third film, the product of ten years work, topped many best-of-year lists in 2014, without setting the box office on fire. Watching it it’s clear why, it’s a sombre, beautiful and largely wordless experience that remakes Glasgow and the Highlands as deeply alien worlds. Scarlett Johansen, unearthly in beauty in most contexts, here is an alien wandering the streets of Scotland tasked with abducting willing Scotsmen. We see her don a dead woman’s clothes, then stalk her prey in a white transit van – picking them up on pretexts and taking them back to a house that appears to house an enormous subterranean oil tank, into which her victims sink. The plot is slender, so I won’t dwell on it too much. Glazer isn’t interested in the details of why the aliens are here and what happens to the abductees – this is explored much more in Michael Faber’s source novel. Rather, he’s interested in how Johansen’s predator moves through the human worlds of shopping centres, ring roads and hotels as a tiger might through a herd of gazelle. It was much noted on release that Glazer used non-professional actors and hidden filming – » Continue Reading.
Great article on the BBC news site about the sister break to the Funky Drummer, the Amen Brother break. On a track by 60s R and B group The Winstons it has been copied 1500 times apparently by everyone from salt n Pepa to Oasis. No-ones had any royalties as (I think) you can’t copyright a rhythm. Now there’s a fundraiser towards one of the men behind it. Read the article, includes a pretty good mash up feat Bowie, prodigy, Winehouse et Al to show what they mean.
At the end of a Members compilation I was listening to yesterday is a cover of this remarkable song, in which Mr Wallis sustains a first-person narration throughout the song from the point of view of a ‘police car’ – with a shotgun under his seat and a v8 heart. It’s the song KITT never sung.
Your first-person narration songs, as bonkers as possible. Teacups, drumkits, loft extensions, pandas and dodgy builders. Crazy narrator points of view please.
No metaphors or similes though. You are not ‘like a motherless child’. You are a motherless child. In this thread anyway.
A good week on Top of the Pops. Jefferson Starship are over the chart rundown. Then Elvis Costello and the attractions are in e studio with Cant Stand Up For Falling Down. It’s a bouncy clip, literally so at the end of the song when EC pulls out a neat levitation trick in classic Earth Wind and Fire style. It’s a week of studio trickery- Jake Burns in slo-mo and a plethora of tricks for The Vapors Turning Japanese. well just one – they intercut the rather plain looking band with stills that appear on page one of the Google images search ‘cliched samurai and sumo’. Either that or the director is a secret Hokusai fan. There’s a fetching video of Michael Jackson doing Rock with you in what appears to be a natty sequinned pyjamas and wellies combo in front of a green laser. Some awesome working men’s club disco next from liquid gold. There’s a drummer in Celtic socks, tight shorts and a tie. The guitarist is rocking princes symbol guitar 15 years before prince did. Again, did Top of the Pops make it as far as Minneapolis? I like to think of the purple one watching Brackleys » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
On their first album for seventeen years Swervedriver decide, in my view correctly, that a comeback album had better connect you with why people liked you in the first place. It’s straight outta Oxford circa 1990 and sounds all the better for it. Languid vocals, pattering drums and gauzy washes of guitar abound in a set of strong songs with an easy mid-pace flow the dominant rhythm. It’s if possible even more melodic than I remember from them first time around, with less rifferama and softer guitar work. English Subtitles, in my view the standout track, is just beautiful and (should) have you reaching for the replay button.
What does it all *mean*?
The worst-named genre of all time has life in it left. And as with all such bands the vocals are buried so deep in the mix that they could be singing, in very lovely ways, about frozen peas, or world peace. I might go and see them on tour in May as they’re coming to Birmingham.
Goes well with…
Sitting in the park with the sun out and some cold beers. Driving through Monument Valley with the top down. It’s a » Continue Reading.
We open (at least I think we do, my TiVo started a bit late) with a Blondie video for Atomic. On the unedited version I may have missed Shakin Stevens making his debut with Hotdog. Lots to enjoy with Blondie. Debbie literally looks great in a bin bag. There’s interpretative backing dancers, and some metal squares hung from the ceiling in a kind of Andy Warhol vibe. Then The Beat are in the studio with Hands Off She’s Mine. Has Saxa lost twenty years or is that not him on the sax? A repeat of the Buggles studio clip playing Plastic Age – that marigolds wearing keyboard player is a right wag isn’t he. It’s not a bad pop song. Then a dull Tourists song on repeat – so Good To Be Back Home. Now hide behind your sofa. First sighting of Fern Kinney with the monstrously catchy We Are Beautiful. Yet another repeat of a cliff video for Carrie. It’s a good programme – The Ramones are next with Baby I Love You. How cool do they look? Very. Jeans, leather jackets, fringes and colour coded t-shirts. The editors insert some lovely cutaways to the Totp orchestra playing along, » Continue Reading.
Quick check in with others. I’ve lost my mp3 player, and in its absence have finally started using my iphone 5 as a music player when out and about. Having demo-ed both spotify premium (ie offline) and itunes it seems that Spotify drains the battery at a significantly slower rate, but that itunes gives a slightly better sound quality. Would others agree?
moseleymoles on Blue Oyster Cult
One of the joys of the old place (both of them now) was the threads in which a slightly less celebrated act was given a thorough airing in a thread dedicated to them. In that spirit here’s my take on an act that if they ever had their due, have now slipped well off the radar. So welcome to the Blue Oyster Cult thread and if you’ve never heard anything by the Cult beyond Don’t Fear The Reaper don’t be afraid..
BOC started in the late sixties as an American answer to the emerging heavy metal/hard rock acts from the UK, particularly Black Sabbath. Their first three albums: BOC, Tyranny and Mutation, and Secret Treaties, mine a fairly conventional rock sound – enlivened by Donald ‘Buck’ Dharma’s guitar and lyrics that mined mysticism, World War Two and arcane mythology amongst others.
After building up their reputation as a hot live act, their phase as top-notch album-sellers started with the live album On Your Feet or On Your Knees, and two subsequent studio albums, Agents of Fortune and Spectres. These albums saw their sound coming into focus and the airing of a slew of their best-know » Continue Reading.
While it’s not a vintage totp by any means this week there is still much to enjoy even if its Simon Bates hosting in a caramel colour leather jacket. Matchbox do the old double bass spin several times,. Keith Michell’s reading of Captain Beaky seems to go on for about ten years. There’s a video for Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down that sees Elvis hanging around in a French cafe while the Attractions…fall down; Jon and Vangelis’ awesomely silly video features a bloke in a leotard dancing on a flying moog; Dave Edmunds is in the studio doing Singing the Blues and Marti Webb is too doing Take That Look of Your Face from some Lloyd webber show. Kenny Rogers is no 1 with Coward of the County. The Shadows do one of the worst ‘lets go disco’ career moves ever with the lamentable Riders In The Sky. I feel strangely compelled to post Kiss’ I was made for loving you.
But the jewel in the crown is the Flying Lizards – on totp with not Money but TV – there are a lot of them onstage in some sort of performance art happening. The wonderful @totpfacts tells us » Continue Reading.
moseleymoles on A short introduction to some East Coast writers of the eighties
Picking up Donna Tartt’s latest novel The Goldfinch at a local charity shop got me thinking about how, while I’ve lived out my life through new wave, goth, acid house, britpop – literature isn’t quite like that. Movements take decades to crystallise rather than months. But there was a group of young American writers who resembled if not a group, then a loose scene – those described as ‘the Literary Brat Pack’ in the mid-eighties whose image and much of its writing drew heavily from the music and creative scene of New York. They were young, wore shades after dark, listened to music, went to clubs, took drugs and wrote about…mainly other people who were young, wore shades etc…
Tartt was famously at Bennington, an exclusive East Coast college with Bret Easton Ellis in the early eighties as was Jonathan Lethem. Ellis became famously associated on the New York party scene with Jay McInery. Add Tama Janowitz and you have five writers whose work all features heavily on my shelves.
As an impressionable teenager and avid reader these writers – many of whom wrote debut novels set » Continue Reading.
The Institute Birmingham
After missing their Meltdown a couple of years ago I thought I might never have the chance to see the Mary Chain live. But no here the brothers Reid are, joining the complete album gig movement with their classid debut. Jim takes centre stage looking like an IT manager on a stag do, while deep in the dry ice lurks William – same haircut as on the Psychocandy sleeve. Filling out the stage are a tight band, including the crucial reverb-heavy drummer who provides the wall of sound beat so crucial to their sound. We get all of Psychocandy, and assorted b-sides and non-album singles. Great sound, and everyone onstage seems motivated. Perhaps the lack of touring means there’s enough to find in the songs to keep everyone interested. After an hour and twenty and about twenty tracks they’re done.
A certain age, black the preponderant colour. More men than women. Dyed hair or no hair.
It made me think..
I recall that Psychocandy was viewed as something of a let down, so much hype had been invested in them after Upside Down and Never Understand. What a great album, perfectly » Continue Reading.
Year: 2015 Director: The Wachowskis
On a rainy day at the end of half-term I accompanied two 12-year olds to the Wachowskis first original sci-fi script since The Matrix. The 12 certificate is probably an indicator that there would be less cod philosophy and more pecs. The set up sees Mila Kunis as Jupiter, eking out a life as a frankly unconvincing house cleaner whose life is changed etc when she discovers she’s a member of an aristocratic family who rule the galaxy. But of course as many people want her dead as want to help her, and only Metallica-roadie look alike Tatum Channing and – oh my it’s Sean Bean as a roguish world-weary ex-cop – are really on her side. It looks great – at times a bonkers mix of cyberpunk, medieval gothic and Boris Vallejo fantasy. Mila gets hitched in a spaceship that appears to have been cut and shunted with Salisbury Cathedral. Bean and Eddie Redmayne chew the scenery most satifactorily as the Brits Who Can Act. Mila Kunis does not have much to do except look scared, control the world’s bee population, and run away again in the company of some male saviour. Until the » Continue Reading.
Well let’s put all the fixtures and fittings back, which must surely include the semiweeklyish survey of the nation’s former chart show. This week’s, available to our UK residents on the iplayer includes a real highlight – Steve Wright endorsing ‘a really great live band – because I’ve seen them’ which is none other than AC/DC miming in the studio to what sounds a badly rerecorded version of Touch Too Much. Several bits of the track appear to be entirely missing – but it is a mighty, mighty appearance nonetheless. Playing support are The Tourists – Annie Lennox channeling Amelia Earhart , a dull video from Cliff, Bob Geldof in full paranoiac messiah mode leading the Rats through Someone Looking At You, there’s eurodisco from the Nolans, blink and you’ll miss em Jam copyists the Chords (given the dreaded ‘I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more from them in the future’ from Steve – the Toppie equivalent of the chairman’s vote of confidence), the deeply spooky and somewhat brilliant 17 fromThe Regents, and two two tones – The Selecter doing 3 Minute Hero, and a live video from The Specials who are still number one. Brief clip of Queen on » Continue Reading.
Recently the Last FM community has been gnashing its teeth over the latest itunes update, which moves it to 64-bit and renders it impossible to scrobble to last fm from via its itunes plugin.
What you say? Last FM is a music database website with desktop clients and plug-ins that enables you to consolidate your playcounts from itunes, windows media player, Spotify etc into one place. It’s clearly been struggling recently to sustain itself and the itunes issues shows no signs of being fixed anytime soon though there are unofficial work-arounds in the forums.
I love last fm, wish it well, but can’t help feel it’s time may be drawing to a close. So, should I start to think about somewhere else to scrobble to – their word for recording playcounts. And, crucially, who offers a migration function for the 20,000 odd scrobbles on my last fm profile?