There’s a six part Grateful Dead documentary on Amazon Prime called Long Strange Trip. It was interesting (and I say this as someone who doesn’t like their music).
Year: 2017 Director: Nick Broomfield/Rudi Dolezal
Towards the end of what is a predictably gloomy, gruelling story told in reverse chronology, a still at the top of her game Whitney Houston is asked how she’d like to be remembered. As befits someone who, as the movie shows, consummately managed to handle characters as diverse as an out of his depth Terry Christian and the pissed-up old perv who was Serge Gainsborough, Whitney answers that she doesn’t much care, but would like to be thought of as ‘nice’. Whitney was nice. In fact, part of her problem might well have been that she was too nice. I certainly didn’t enter the cinema with such an impression. I was never a fan and although I didn’t actively dislike her music at the time, I was very much a take her or (preferably) leave her merchant, finding her vocal gymnastics and obligatory power ballads slightly irritating, if just about tolerable. In latter years however, since her tragic demise, I actually did start to dislike Whitney, or or any rate, her legacy. Every cut-price TV talent show perpetually seemed – and seems – to have a roster full of Houston would-be’s, desperately trying to » Continue Reading.
As well as the usual (Brian Wilson, Syd, etc.), a I am approaching The Massive for links to pop and rock performers (and the rest) who have formally diagnosed mental disorder.not a subjective diagnosis based on what you think (I.e. someone is a wierd or obnoxious so must be psychotic or psychopathic).
In the long run, this content will help add something to a chapter I am planning to write on the therapeutic value of performing for an entertainer or musician with vulnerability to mental disorder. I will post more when there is more to say.
Over the last few weeks Fabs fan Paul Merton has been looking at some “what ifs” of Beatledom, namely “What if they’d never broken up? What if they were still playing live? What if they made another album?”
Of course the Afterword did this years ago, but I thought some of you might find this four part Radio 2 series of interest. Tonight’s final episode concludes the second part on the 1974 album that they could have made. Will it compare to the AW’s version? What will @tiggerlion make of it all? Does anyone care?
Link to the series overview in the comments.
What does it sound like?:
The concept: take a bunch of pretty well known Punk tunes and re-arrange them for performance by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and singers from the English National Opera The result: In the main, it all works – Pretty Vacant, No More Heroes and Neat Neat Neat sound like they were made for this sort of re-arrangement, and Love Will Tear Us Apart gains an air of the sea about it – almost like it could be used for a Sunday Night BBC Drama about Shipping Line in the mid-1800s. The atonal saxophone squawk on Oh Bondage Up Yours is “fixed”, and Ca Plane Pour Moi is just not a strong enough tune for this treatment, and stripped of it’s over eager vocal and high pitch Oo-oo-oo-oo (which is here, but just sounds too tuneful), it loses a lot of it’s “Europunk fun” Teenage Kicks also loses some energy and urgency, but remains listenable. And Should I Stay Or Should I Go just about squeezes into the “OK” bracket The thing that lets it down for me is the singing over the orchestral backing (Disk 2 of the Deluxe Edition is the instrumental tracks only, » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
When Edgar Froese passed away a couple of years back, many thought that would mark the end of Tangerine Dream. Not so – the current line up of the band return here with this two cd set, combining both studio and live material.
The first disc, Muon, gives us just short of an hour of studio recordings, the highlight of which is the almost thirty minute improvisation the 4.00pm Session. This complex piece ebbs and flows like the band’s classic seventies material, while still managing to retain a contemporary feel. This piece alone is worth the price of admission. Other pieces are a version of the theme to Stranger Things, together with a well-constructed reinterpretation of 1975’s Rubycon.
The second disc, Tau, has six live tracks recorded in 2016, clocking in at thirty-six minutes. This gets off to a promising start with Mothers of Rain and Power of the Rainbow Serpent, before sagging a little with the next couple of pieces and then ending on a high with a powerful version of Shadow and Sun.
What does it all *mean*?
An interesting release which shows there’s plenty of life left in this band yet.
… the Monterey Pop festival came to a close.
This useless information has been brought to you by that BBC4 prog on hippies.
Landscape’s “The Hell Holes of Your Anus” album is a brilliant piece of work, containing as it does more musical invention than most artists have in their entire catalogues. Hidden away on side 1 is something called Sisters. I’ve always thought of it as the theme tune to a TV show about a pair of feisty crimefighting nuns.
Do you have any tunes/bits of music that are basically theme-tunes in waiting?
To all you dads out there, mine died 30 years ago, but I am privileged to be one now. Many great songs about dads, this is one of best, but I am sure there are others …
I’m not sure whether this will be of any interest to anyone on here, but it is a wee story that is going to be published in a local magazine in its next issue. As it is for local publication, it is a bit heavy on people and places that most folk around here will relate to, and this this is the edition I have sent to the editor, so hopefully any errors of spooling and punc;tu:ation will be fixed by him.
1968, the year after the Summer Of Love, and I was 15. It was a sunny summer in Kintyre, and my friend Malcolm Kelly and I were both milk-boys for Bill Davidson at Kirk Street Dairies, and we both had other jobs…for me it was cycling out to Stewarton, Drumremble and Macrihanish every Sunday to deliver the Sunday Post, and for Malcolm it was cleaning the grates and laying the fires in the council offices up at Witchburn, so we had plenty of free time and most important, we had money to spend! Happy days! A lot of our time was spent on the public tennis courts down where the playpark opposite TESCO’s is now, and we » Continue Reading.
Obviously this poll was held before Jason & Lorde released their albums but, by golly, it’s got No1 bang on!
Just out of interest how many of these “Top 25” have you actually listened to?
This song is so sexy and life affirming.
Summer holidays are getting nearer and it’s time to stock up with a few irresistible reads to enjoy while on vacation. On the beach, in a hammock, on a flight….
My favourite beach is on the east coast of Öland. It doesn’t seem to have a name and its location is a local secret. Peaceful, picturesque and magnificently devoid of tourists. There’s only one drawback: we have to share it with a herd of local cows who sometimes come down for a dip. Imagine heaven with heifers instead of angels and you get some idea.
I’m currently enjoying Chris Brookmyre’s Flesh Wounds. Witty, exciting, satirical, perceptive and with a great ability at describing characters: he’s one of the UK’s most enjoyable readers. Scotland should be very proud of him. He just gets better and better.
But summer is saved! A kind friend just sent me two of the Peter Grant novels by Ben Aaronovitch. I’ve read the first and I am hooked. He too is amusing, very well-read on the history of London and a stupendous story teller.
So, which authors will you be packing for a holiday read?
Kafka, Beckett, Milton, Sartre, Faulkner, Melville ……
Or perhaps you » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
It must be difficult for the offspring of musicians when they try to make their own way in the business. It doesn’t help if the publicity blurb draws attention to their parentage in the very first sentence. Once you know Jessica Lee Morgan is a product of the marriage between Mary Hopkins and Tony Visconti, you expect a strong, pure voice and dynamic songs. No pressure.
Top marks for perseverance, then. Morgan’s last album was the quirky electronica of 2010’s I Am Not. This time, she’s gone for a mainly acoustic sound, playing guitar, saxophone, ukulele and kazoo herself. Her partner, Christian Thomas, co-produces and plays bass with Simon Adams on drums. Guests help out on nifty guitar: her brother, Morgan Visconti, Paul Cuddeford and Julian Hay. The sound is intimate. Close your eyes and they are in your front room.
Her voice is mellow rather than strong and pure. This poses a problem when many of the songs are clearly bitter fuck-off-and-die messages directed at some hapless male, hopefully not Thomas. The words bite on the page, but her voice is far too polite to nail the bastard. Especially when the music lacks » Continue Reading.
It occurred to me that if I want to see an image of a greying, tired-looking, middle-aged bloke I just had to wait for an hour until the early-evening lager worked its way through my system and I’d see myself in the strategically place mirror in front of khazi. And I was bored of that, but I’ve never got tired of fingering my way through a new acquaintance’s collection of the hard, physical stuff. So, in the interests of full disclosure I’m going to show you mine in the hope you’ll show me yours. Of course, if my first attempt to use Imgur goes belly up I’ll look like a nob.
What does it sound like?:
Michael Nau sounds as though he created Some Twist by himself in his back room wearing a tank top and flares. It is pleasingly unpolished and its style has me reaching for my seventies phrase book. However, looks can be deceiving. Nau is assisted by a group of musicians, the nostalgic feel is quite deliberate and the bright, breezy melodies and soft-focus production belie an undercurrent of frustration and disappointment. It’s so bad, it’s bitch-in.
The opener, Good Thing, has a smile on its face but sorrow in its heart. I Root could have been written by Chrissie McVie. Is that Elton John’s piano on Wonder? The Load, with its step change half way through and its horns would have fit beautifully on Nilsson Schmilsson. Oddly, the song with the most seventies title, How You’re So For Real, sounds least like the music of that decade.
There are lovely textures on these songs rubbing against the lazy, hazy, chillaxin’ vibe. Nau is in a world of his own, unhurried and gentle. The drummer has little to do with regard to rhythm, so he concentrates on musicality and punctuation. Nau’s vocals glow with warmth and » Continue Reading.
As time goes on, the 1950s becomes an increasingly fascinating place – certainly, one that has been (to date) far less mined by cultural archaeologists that the decade that followed it. One can easily set aside the thought that this is a book written by someone who is well-known in another medium because it is, simply, a brilliantly written, accessible slab of social and cultural history whose author tells the tale with a light touch that belies the very substantial groundwork he’s put in.
I’ve read a lot on this era – both primary sources and retrospective books like Pete Frame’s ‘Restless Generation’, Dave Gelly’s fantastic ‘An Unholy Row’, and Ken Colyer’s cranky autobiography ‘When Dreams Are In The Dust’ – and Bragg not only uses his sources well but has trawled very widely and drawn from some very obscure sources indeed (like Michael Moorcock’s late 50s fanzine ‘Jazz Fan’, regional newspapers, and Lonnie Donegan’s fan club brochures).
Bragg’s way with words is terrifific. There are some great turns of phrase every so often that raise a smile, and if I had any fears that there might be chunks of lefty polemics or overly laboured comparisons between skiffle » Continue Reading.
From the ever wonderful Clive James…
When you tell people once too often that the missing extra heat is hiding in the ocean, they will switch over to watch Game of Thrones, where the dialogue is less ridiculous and all the threats come true. The proponents of man-made climate catastrophe asked us for so many leaps of faith that they were bound to run out of credibility in the end.
The usual calls for witch-burning will no doubt ensue, and the authority of the keyboard player of D:Ream Brian Cox invoked, despite the fact his hit should have been retitled in line with his worldview ”Things Are Worse Than We Thought and we only have 50 days/weeks/months/years to save humanity*
Question for the guitarists on here….
Listening to the new Royal Blood album that came out Friday (so far so good). I know that they consist of just a drummer and bass player, yet the sound is pretty full on. I read somewhere mention of the use of an “Octave” pedal ?? to get the sound.
So, in simple layman’s terms (you are talking to someone who’s musical ability is pressing the play button on a CD player), how do they create such a full sound with such a seemingly simple setup ?
Apologies if this awful subject is covered elsewhere on here but I only found Vulpes Vulpes’s commendable link to the Just Giving page.
The absolute cause of this tragedy is yet to be known, but we can make some observations. Mine are:
This is an awful event that almost certainly wouldn’t have happened if the residents had been more middle-class, influential and litigious.
Theresa May has responded woefully to this, and is about as far from her original USP of ‘strong and stable’ as it’s possible to be.
Corbyn is shamelessly exploting this event for ‘the cause’. Are you confident the many tower blocks in Labour-run areas are safe Jeremy? Because if you’re not, your recent posturing looks utterly deplorable.
That said, the public seem to be on your side. Just consider though, that Blair and Cameron would have been on the scene in minutes, emoting for all they were worth with the survivors, but I thought we’d moved beyond such superficiality?
Colin H on Dinosaurs
On October 1970 the Melody Maker revealed astounding new research that antedated the Mock Jogger and his garage band cronies at least 30 years prior to the existing understanding of their formation. Somehow swept under the carpet by the Rolling Stones’ publicity machine, this remarkable research deserves to be re-examined. It means Jogger is about 112.
Here is the text from that original 1970 expose:
‘MICK – YOU NEVER TOLD US!’
Nothing is new – back in 1932 the Melody Maker was raving about The Rolling Stones.
Our delightful picture shows an incredibly camp looking band who must have been a sensation. Al Smith was the drummer and the Jagger-like lead singer was Jack Lewis – “an accomplished dancer, a noted athlete and once schoolboy boxing champion of Great Britain”, according to the contemporary report. Al used to lead a group called the Broway Melody Makers until he formed the Stones, “a bright and popular act”.
The review goes on to say of Jack Lewis: “besides his terpsichorean efforts, which are a big feature of the act, he gives a clever exposition of ball-punching to music. Dolly Lewis, his sister, sings and dances equally well, and » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Those who attended recent gigs may well have seen this box on sale – it follows the format of the previous Elements sets in that it’s a two cd set of rarities, much of it previously unavailable on cd.
The first disc is a mixture of live material, rehearsals and alternate versions. The live stuff dates back as far as 1974 and reaches right up to last year. Highlights for me are The Great Deceiver and Cirkus. Of the studio material, some of which dates back as far as 1969, it’s particularly interesting to hear instrumental takes of classics such as In The Wake of Poseidon and Islands.
The second cd is notable for bringing together all the various elements of Larks Tongue, from Part One right through to Level Five. Again, this is a mixture of studio and live performance spanning the last forty odd years – and what fantastic innovative music and playing it showcases. Surely the band’s finest hour, especially when taken as a whole.
The package includes a super, informative 24 page booklet which perfectly complements the music.
What does it all *mean*?
One that is aimed at the » Continue Reading.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium, London
I never got to see Guns N’ Roses as a kid: I was about 14 when Slash called it quits, and I never had any interest in seeing LA’s finest hard rock JD-swiggers without him. By the time I lost interest in them, they’d become a bloated caricature of rock excess with Axl Rose routinely arriving 3 and 4 hours late for shows and causing riots by so doing.
So I was a little amused that we were late for this gig.
By the time we got there, it was about 8:20. The Olympic Park is a proper shlep from the wilds of Berkshire and we thought there was no way they’d be on before 9. But as it turned out, we missed It’s So Easy, Welcome to the Jungle and half of Rocket Queen. Ironic, as Alanis Morissette might observe.
Didn’t matter, though. I never thought I’d see Slash, Axl and Duff on the same stage again and yet not only here they were, but here they were warm, smiling, going back-to-back in solos, Axl laying a fond hand on his top-hatted compadre’s arm every so often. It » Continue Reading.
I’m off to rock the carpet cleaner. The woman with the mad bassets is disturbing the village peace again. I believe it’s a ritual. A regular twisted working in terms of commitment to mental disturbance.
So… in the interest of Cosmic Balance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0AEdWgnTm0&list=PLntbIZRWCtIe5GeU6TH7N_oZKtBHYtc6U