Here’s one for those who always ask “Who actually buys all this stuff?” – Swiss band Hellhammer, officially known as “The worst band in the world” (according to Kerrang Magazine), get their own (slightly) Super Deluxe Edition, including fancy hip vinyl record. Asked why he signed the band, label boss Karl Walterbach cheerfully explained, “Their demo tape was unbelievable, the worst stuff I ever heard!” Hellhammer’s front man Tom G. Warrior of course later formed Celtic Frost and never made a bad record.
After much thinking, drinking and puffing, I’ve finally decided on my 2019 retro list:
Reissues Of The Year 1 The Residents | The Mole Box (6 CDs) 2 King Crimson | Heaven & Earth (24 Discs) 3 Fats Domino | I’ve Been Around – The Complete Imperial & ABC Recordings (13 Discs) 4 Prince | 1999 Super Deluxe Edition (6 Discs) 5 Woodstock – Back To The Garden (10 CD Edition) 6 Michael Rother | Solo (5 CDs) 7 Frank Zappa | The Hot Rats Sessions (6 CDs) 8 The Fall | Bend Sinister – The Domesday Pay-Off Plus (2 CDs) 9 R.E.M. | Monster 25th Anniversary (6 Discs) 10 Ronnie Lane | Just For The Moment – Music 1973-1997 (6 CDs)
If you’re still interested you can view the complete list of 30 on th’ blog.
Berlin artist Reinhard Kleist is working on a graphic novel about David Bowie and his songs. It will likely be something like his books about Nick Cave and Johnny Cash – a mixture of storytelling and re-imaginings of myths and song lyrics. You can preview some illustrations on his “Work in progress” blog.
Now that’s what I call a Wold Championship.
“Starting today, Microsoft is ending all ebook sales in its Microsoft Store for Windows PCs. Previously purchased ebooks will be removed from users’ libraries in early July. Even free ones will be deleted. The company will offer full refunds to users for any books they’ve purchased or preordered.”
It’s December 30 and time to get yer maracas out.
Happy 90th birthday, Mr. Diddley.
The long-awaited definite biography of the mighty Dr. Strangely Strange has finally been announced. Expect tales from the sixties Dublin music scene, about Gary Moore waiting for a babysitter, and lots of pictures of phono fiddles, weird trousers, and orphanages.
In their great tradition to play a “costume show” at their October 31st shows, Phish this year performed the entire album “í rock” by obscure Scandinavian band Kasvot Växt.
In previous years they played albums like “Exile On Main Street”, “Loaded” or “Remain In Light” in their entirety. And the White Album.
Here’s more: https://www.spin.com/2018/11/phish-hoax-fake-scandinavian-band-las-vegas-halloween-show/
The Tempodrom, Berlin
Nick Mason & His Saucerful Of Secrets (as they’re actually called) currently play a European tour, and in Berlin they stopped at the Tempodrom, a venue that usually hosts the likes of Steven Wilson, Bob Dylan or Nick Cave. Not bad for a combo that’s only existed for a couple of months. It starts with ominous sounds – animal noises, weird bleeps, voices from outer space – and before you can think it’s The Orb gone mad there’s the familiar riff of “Interstellar Overdrive”. As played by Sonic Youth. It’s quite clear that this is not yer regular cover band or a cosy nostalgia evening: these five men play with a joy and energy as if they’ve just finished recording their first album. Everything in these songs is intact and recognizable (no reggae version of “Lucifer Sam” no sirree!), but there are different solos, arrangements are shuffled about, and the two lead singers often divide the vocal parts between them (much like The Move on their sixties singles). Yet every single tune has one or two pleasant surprises – like the tiny Sex Pistols quote in “The Nile Song” – and the biggest surprise » Continue Reading.
Another magnificent one gone.
What does it sound like?:
This set collects Nick Mason’s three (it says here) “solo” albums – which is quite misleading, as the first one is a rather brilliant Robert Wyatt album, and the other two are unplayable duo efforts, one of ’em never released before. “Fictitious Sports” from 1981 was recorded in America during downtime from “The Wall”, and it features songs written by jazz pianist Carla Bley, performed by her band with Robert Wyatt on vocals, Chris Spedding on guitar, and Mr. Mason on drums. This is fantastic stuff – everyone involved is obviously delighted to be part of this. It sounds like the poppier bits of “Escalator Over The Hills” mixed with the Canterbury sound and a truly great brass section. And it’s always great to hear Robert Wyatt singing lines like “I like tickling ivories and fingering stones, when my mercury goes up I play with my bone…” (I’m A Mineralist). The two albums with Rick Fenn (who’s always referred to as “from 10cc”, although in my house 10cc are Godley/Creme/Gouldman/Stewart) are from another universe entirely – bland elevator music, everything glossed over with 80s synthesizer sounds and coated in echo and reverb. Each track » Continue Reading.
Wassermusik Festival, Berlin
This was the last concert of the 20 gig-marathon Wassermusik Festival, called “Goodbye UK – and thank you for the music”, held on the roof of the House of World Cultures within spitting distance of Chancellor Merkel’s office. And anyone expecting some sort of “I’m still relevant so here’s my new album” from Green Gartside was in for a big surprise. He came on stage with three musicians, and launched straight into a note-perfect version of “The Sweetest Girl”, helium vocals and Robert Wyatt organ intact. Fantastic. And what we got was a brilliant set of his signature tunes, performed in their original arrangements, and introduced wittily by the great man with (his own words:) “name-dropping bla-bla” – before playing “Asylums In Jerusalem” he gave us a detailed summary of a Nitzsche essay, as you do. Hell, he even played “Skank Bloc Bologna”, did some convincing East Coast rapping on more recent tunes, and even played some new songs. One of the highlights was a rendition of Robert Wyatt’s arrangement of “At Last I Am Free”, another was his guitar playing – whether skanking merrily away on the reggae tunes, imitating Miles’ trumpet » Continue Reading.
Last night at an open air gig in Stuttgart, Germany, Kraftwerk had a live link with the International Space Station – the original Mensch-Maschine. Fabulous.
Here are my year-end list – a top 20 of new music, and a 25 A-Z list of reissues and archive releases because “there’s more old music than new music.” (Bob Dylan)
1. THE NITS | Angst Weird chamber-pop from the Dutch masters, est. 1975 and still the best band in the world.
2. COLIN HARPER | Titanium Flag Cinematic psych-folk which I already praised here.
3. GAS | Narkopop Pulsing neoclassical techno from the deep dark German forests.
4. MARTY STUART & HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES | Way Out West Twanging psychedelic country with a bit of Benny Goodman thrown in from Connie Smith’s husband.
5. ANDROMEDA MEGA EXPRESS ORCHESTRA | Vula Berlin’s avant-prog orchestra/big band goes Sun Ra.
6. STEVEN WILSON | To The Bone Wilson does strange Eighties. Also strongly recommended – this year’s other albums from him: “Blackfield V” (pop-prog with his buddy from Israel) and “Last Days Of June” (Game soundtrack album of instrumentals and remixes).
7. EMEL | Ensen Like some femme arabian version of Massive Attack.
8. PAUL WELLER | A Kind Revolution Edgy and adventurous Weller-rock with an especially groovy instrumental bonus disc. Also recommended – his other albums from this year: “Jawbone” » Continue Reading.
In my Turtles listening marathon (don’t ask) I was reminded of this wonderful song, and it of course includes the fabulous immortal line “You’re my pride and joy, etc.”
Now, are there any other songs with such office routine poetry? Love songs that sound like they were written by an accountant? The only one I can remember is a sentimental German schlager which includes the German equivalent of “as I’ve mentioned above”.
Berlin’s House Of World Cultures has just announced a four-week music festival for next summer. The title is “Goodbye United Kingdom – And Thank You For The Music!”
People are already speculating about the line-up; previously these summer festivals have featured acts like Asha Bhosle, Khaled, Mike Heron, Ernest Ranglin, Tinariwen and Amadou & Mariam. My guess is that it’ll all be tribute bands from the ads in the back pages of Mojo or Uncut… so we could have the music of The Smiths, The Jam, Genesis, Pink Floyd and er, The Beatles.
Just beautiful. Can’t wait for the album.
Coming in October, another volume of the Frank Zappa “Object/Project” series: this time it’s “Uncle Meat”: “Uncle Meat gets the deluxe treatment in this three CD Project/Object Audio Documentary. Included is the original 1969 vinyl mix (restored, remastered and available digitally for the first time), an original sequence that includes unique source material and bonus vault tracks mostly compiled from the recording sessions at Apostolic Studios in NYC between 1967 and 1968.”
Disc: 2 1. Dog Breath, In The Year Of The Plague 2. The Legend Of The Golden Arches 3. The Voice Of Cheese 4. Whiskey Wah 5. Nine Types Of Industrial Pollution 6. Louie Louie (Live at the Royal Albert Hall in London) 7. The Dog Breath Variations 8. Shoot You Percussion Item 9. The Whip 10. The Uncle Meat Variations 11. King Kong 12. Project X Minus .5 13. A Pound For A Brown On The Bus 14. Electric Aunt Jemima 15. Prelude To King Kong 16. God Bless America (Live at the Whiskey A Go Go) 17. Sleeping In A Jar 18. Cops & Buns 19. Solar Czakl
Disc: 3 1. We Can Not Shoot You 2. Mr. Green Genes 3. PooYeahrg 4. Uncle Meat: Main » Continue Reading.
It’s Ramadan round here and so I’m bound to spend my nights with the girls from the Chicks With Discs record club, eating, drinking and discussing music. Mention of the “Dad Rock” albums for Father’s Day here made us discuss (and fight over) the tracklisting of a similar album for mums (do you hear me, Tesco, Lidl, HMV??).
I’m sure someone will join the fun with his own pick.
MUM ROCK (The Album) Side A: Cosmic Dancer (T. Rex) Crazy Mama (J.J. Cale) Mother’s Little Helper (The Rolling Stones) Motherly Love (The Mothers Of Invention) Our House (Crosby, Stills & Nash) Your Mother Should Know (The Beatles) Hello In There (John Prine)
Side B: Ma Baker (Boney M) Mother And Child Reunion (Paul Simon) Tell Mama (Etta James) Polk Salad Annie (Tony Joe White) For A Thousand Mothers (Jethro Tull) Who Don’t Like Kids (Sparks) Mother Knows Best (Richard Thompson)
Hairstyles we have loved – I bet the Johnnies and Robs of this world used to look like that.
Last weekend the Berlin Police department tweeted all their activities online for 24 hours – in German and English. As the linked article mentioned – they do seem to have a sense of humor.
You’ve probably heard about it – the German anti-foreigners group Pegida has released their “anthem” on several music portals, and despite being an instrumental, it went to the top of the charts here and apparently sold shiploads. Today Amazon Germany announced that they will donate their entire earnings from this song to a refugees help organization. 😉
Lee Scratch Perry’s studio has gone up in flames.
Don’t know if it made the headlines abroad – a pair of trousers mysteriously appeared in the German prime time news show.