What’s your image of right-wing politics in music? EC being a tool, Oi and skinheads, country and western rednecks, Bowie doing that interview and gesture, New Order/Joy Division and the uneasy imagery of industrial music. The Quietus has a fairly jaw-dropping set of articles on the continuing and evolving influence of far-right and fascist politics in ‘alternative’ music. The one in this post is the introductory article, which surveys most of the above and sets the scene for the real eye-openers which occur in the second article, posted in the comments. They are not easy, and at the end you’ll know who the Order of Nine Angles are, which is actually a thing rather than a Dennis Wheatley invention. I will be fascinated to hear what you make of it all. I would maybe not click the links at work, as the politics is NSFW.
Friday saw the re-emergence of pepperoni pizza and scrambled egg chez Moles after all four of us managed 31 days of veganism. We have all got very acquainted with Naked bars, W Indian Veg Patties and the suchlike. The revelation was how quickly you can adjust to the 1000 forms of Alpro instead of milk in tea and coffee etc. The Oat is the best all-rounder, the almond good in porridge and they all make the base soya seem a bit gruel-like. Though we all like a little cheese, and eggs, I think I’m going to stick with trying to reduce milk consumption, as so much of it is unthinking and automatic, in tea, coffee, porridge etc. How was your January effort at reform then?
Listening to Love and Money’s excellent ….All You Need is Love and Money debut album yesterday, alongside better-known tracks Candybar Express and River of People is Love and Money. By Love and Money. On …all you need is Love and Money. Going the extra mile on the eponymiser. So, who else liked their name so much they put it on an album, and a track on that album. If only the Beatles had a track called The Beatles. Instrumentals allowed, though more points for a track not just called Love and Money on Love and Money by Love and Money, but with love and money in the lyrics. You get the idea. One incredibly famous not the Beatles example in the comments to clear that one up. No youtube clip for Love and Money though.
What better day than #bluemonday to swing the doors open to the CDswap salon for the first meet of 2019. For our new members we come to you from the wonderful world of the nineties, before Spotify playlists, when CD burning was a thing. It’s still a thing everyone! The idea is fiendishly simple: choose twelve tracks around a theme and pop them on a CD. Post them to a couple of other people, listen to theirs, then review online. As ever @kid-dynamite and your good self are your hosts.
So what’s the theme this time? We are going into colour people. Or rather in homage to a certain reissue we are going White. Get your musical mojo working on all matters white, colourless and pale. Artists called white, tracks with white, lyrics about pale riders, er…white albums…even an album you’ve got on white vinyl. Schedule, full details etc in the comments, where all you need to do is post a comment and you are in.
I’m not enough of a jazz aficionado to post a proper review but after last year’s discovery of the lost Coltrane tapes there’s another massive find from the vaults out there. In 1972 Charles Mingus broke a years-long musical silence, including concerts in Detroit with a quintet. Recordings from the run via a radio broadcast have emerged – clocking in at four hours of Mingus magic including interviews and announcements, from a short-lived artists space called Strata Gallery.
I don’t quite have the language to really describe these recordings but they sound absolutely brilliant. The tracks are long, long takes on Mingus classics and jazz standards. The quintet all sound at the top of their games, and it hits that spot where there’s improvisation going to the outer limits without ever losing sense of the tune at the base of it all.
Here’s the Pitchfork review which has lots of clever language and gets it right.
Charles Mingus: Jazz In Detroit/Strata Concert Gallery/46 Selden is on Spotify and emusic. Have a listen. It’s great.
Year: 1900 Director: Alfonso Cuaron
It’s weird how films can happen now. Time was when your local cinema got Star Wars six months after you read the reviews, and three months after the city centre Odeon. Then in the eighties films started to be in every single cinema in the world the day after the reviews came out, or the day before in the case of Steven Seagal movies. Now we’re back to the throttling of supply once more, only instead of your local fleapit being at the back of the queue, it’s anyone who doesn’t have Netflix. Roma, one of the foreign language releases of the year, by A-lister Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Children of Men, some Harry Potters) was in a few cinemas for a couple of week to get it into the Oscar listings. Then – bang- straight back behind the Netflix paywall to be a footsoldier in the streaming wars. Take that Prime.
Which is how I watched this film, on a friend’s reasonably large telly this Sunday. And if there’s a film I would go straight to the cinema to see it on a proper film screen it’s this. To the film’s overall tone of nostalgia » Continue Reading.
As we head off into 2019 let’s pause for a second to count up the achievements of last year. While happiness can’t be quantified, plenty of other things can. I did this a year ago and there seems enough reason to run it again if anyone’s interested. 2018 was for me…
12,734 scrobbles on last FM (up from 12270 in 2017) 75 books on goodreads (up from 67) 84 films on letterboxd (up from 70)
And 591k of running on Strava, up from 503.
Your Spotify wrapped, your Nike +, stepcounters etc are all welcome in the interests of our curiosities.
TLFC hitmakers will be touring in April coming to a snug venue near you. Got our tickets for the Hare and Hounds – tickets I am guessing will sell out fast.
Paging @leicester-bangs @kid-dynamite @deviant808 @kaisfatdad and anyone else who’s interested in electronica. The Guardian have a list of the ten best mixes of 2018 up now and most of them are currently downloadable from soundcloud, straight from the link. As we say round here fill yer boots! Not a clue if Ziur, Forest Drive West or Leif are triumphs or tragedies but that’s some good headphone listening over the hols sorted.
It can be exhausting round here sometimes. B-sides, demos, remasters and early years. So much stuff, so little time. So occasionally, very occasionally, I’m happy to Listen Like A Civilian. Isley Brothers? Early years, motown era. I’m sure it’s all great but right now I’m perfectly content with a bog standard Epic Greatest Hits covering the seventies era of Summer Breeze, Harvest for the World and a surprisingly good going-disco track called, er it’s A Disco Night. No real desire to find those deep cuts or anything else really. Same (shockingly) with Dr Feelgood. Happy with the UA Singles. So, lay it on the line. What Greatest Hits/singles comp is the only album you own by an artist.
What does it sound like?:
So while having as of two years never knowingly listened to any Metallica (Enter Sandman aside) I have now spent a number of weeks closeted first with master of puppets and now …And Justice For All. It’s 147 songs in the Deluxe Box Set.
This is the senior Moles review, Daughter Moles in the comments. Hers is about ten times longer…you have been warned.
Firstly, the album itself. Daughter Moles will be riffing on the intricacies of this track played on that tour and stuff like that. The riffs are still pieces of granite, the drums thud, the guitars occasionally wail and there’s growly vocals. The songs are a bit longer than on For Whom… and in the case of To Live is to Die there are slow sections that contrast nicely with the full on sludgerama that is their default sound. On this track, there’s perhaps a whiff of a new genre emerging, thrash prog. Mmm. The slow bits could be lifted from late-70s Rush. Elsewhere, as on opener Blackened it is all thrash all the time.
Interesting that they went for a more recognisable heavy metal sound next on the » Continue Reading.
This was my favourite news from the past week. MIT (of course) boffins have invented a plane that flies with no moving parts at all. It creates ‘ionic wind’ with lots of ion particles pushed from a powerful electrical field, these then hit air molecules, push those back and voila thrust.
The video is absolutely spooky. Just a silent machine gliding through the air.
Late entry from…..The Ting Tings! Marmite band as ever but I’m liking their garage-pop vibe on this.
What does it sound like?:
Ah The Fall. At the last count there have been approximately 286 compilations all with the same basic premise: where do you start if you haven’t started?
Part One: Me and The Fall I go back a bit with The Fall. I saw them at least three or four times: from memory at Oxford Poly, at a WOMAD, at Finsbury Park and lastly about ten years ago in Leamingon Spa. They were a ‘Peel band’ shared with sixth form friends, and I acquired copies of most of their albums working backwards from Slates. They’re all worth significant amounts of money now. They were one of ‘our bands’ to break through to Top of the Pops and magazine covers in an era when indie was still just that. Like many, I lost touch with them in the early nineties – a combination of immersion in dance culture, careers and families. They’re one of the bands that me and Ms Moles agree on, which helps.Mp3s and streaming have allowed me to explore I can find lots to like in their work after Middle Class Revolt, but it’s individual tracks rather than albums. Before that it’s » Continue Reading.
Year: 2001 Director: Bradley Cooper
I can’t believe that a significant proportion of our membership has not been or thought about going to see this blockbuster, even if prodded to by others. Family Moles saw it at the new Hummingbird cinema in the Custard Factory on Sat night, and a great 2.5 hours entertainment was had by all. So, be prepared to put your scene-based rockistry away for once and bow down before the altar of Big Entertainment. Everything is Big in this amped-up version of the evergreen showbiz tale of woe.
Gaga is immense, literally so, as the camera cannot get enough of her otherworldly robostar persona which fills the screen in close-up countless times. Her voice is gigantic, whether turning everything up to 11 for La Vie En Rose at the start, or giving it the full tragic diva Big Ballad at the end. This will sound so much better through the cinema sound system than our Samsung at home. There’s even a meta-moment when the face we’ve been staring into for a good hour and a half appears on a billboard the size of a football pitch: now everyone knows what we know, she’s a star.
Bradley » Continue Reading.
Year: 1961 Director: Mia Hanson-Love
Films about clubbing. If great films about making music are in short supply, great films about clubbing are even shorter. John Simm gurning in Human Traffic, Kevin and Perry gurning in ibiza, Paul Kaye…in fact British films about clubbing generally just involve a lot of gurning. There’s no gurning in Eden. As befits a French film about clubbing the whole look of the film is immaculate, from the first scene in an early nineties rave deep in a forest, to the very-well dressed writers group at the end. Eden, a French film by director Mia Hanson-Love, takes an unpromising musical subject: the French garage scene of the 90s that gave birth to Daft Punk, and spins a tale that’s IMHO one of most successful films about music.
It follows Paul, a Parisian dj and producer, over sixteen years from 18ish to 34. He gives up his studies to pursue an initially-successful career as a DJ, fuelled by a love of garage (and drugs, the film is not short on chopping out action). However, and this is much the most interesting part of the film, it’s not structured like a classic success story: the coming together/early » Continue Reading.
The I Feel Love hitmaker is heading out on his first ever tour at the ripe old age of 78. On the surface sounds unmissable, but I had a quick peek at the event description on the Symphony Hall site. Giorgio will be conducting, playing the vocoder…and telling personal stories that have never left the studio before…hmmm….and paying tribute to his muse Donna Summer by having her perform ‘live on screen’ with her band…£48-73.
On second thoughts…sounds like actual Giorgio time is being carefully managed…an the whole thing could be pretty gruesome. I’m a pretty big Moroder fan (Electric Dreams apart) but I think I’ll sit this one out. Anyone planning to go?
The midfield engine-room of the CD swap, @kid-dynamite, has posted the track listings that he has received right here, right now.
This is the best book about music I have ever read. It is not often that I can say anything is the best ever after the age of fifty. Best album, best gig, best novel, best film all much more probably lie in the past much more that the future. But this – a book about twentieth-century classical music (mainly Western Europe/America) – at the age of 52 is the best book about music I have ever read. I’ll come back to why in a little bit.
Ross is the classical music critic of the New Yorker, and this is his first book. Written in 2007 it was shortlisted for a Pulitzer, which while is not a cast-iron guarantee of quality, is a marker that this is something a bit special. His aim is two-fold: to tell the story of what has been seen as a difficult, often elitist and obscure, period of music. How did we get from Italians whistling Verdi arias in the street to Stockhausen’s unproducable works in less than a century. And to explain why this music might be less obscure and unlistenable than at first it seems.
Ross picks up the story in » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Oh Orinoco, oh Uncle Bulgaria. Did you ever think that forty years down the line your Colonel Parker, your Guy Chambers, would be providing orchestral chops for the musical terrors of Stonehenge. Or, in other words, what a long strange trip it’s been.
When I signed up for this gig my thoughts were ‘Never actually listened to Hawkwind. God knows what they sound like now, but it’s good to move out of the comfort zone.’ On inspection of the press release their record label has provided, the following words ‘For their 31st studio album (giving The Fall a run for their money) the band have collaborated with legendary composer and conductor Mike Batt to recreate a selection of Hawkwind songs with extra orchestral arrangement’.
Yes, dear reader. It’s the LPO lurgey once again. We’ve traded down somewhat from Aretha and Elvis, to now find the UK’s Championship level space-rockers getting their best known tracks (or are they….) rinsed through with light orchestral backing.
I’m a gonna go with this two ways. If you can ignore the press release, the awful cover which sees a cartoon of ‘ver Wind playing cricket, and the Wombling » Continue Reading.
We’re nearly there spacers, but there’s a few more things to do before the parachutes pop and we splash down on episode 3 of CD swap. 1. Anyone who’s not sent out their CDs hop on it. Your swap buddies are waiting! 2. Get listening now to the goodies you’ve got and post your reviews here: https://theafterword.co.uk/cd-swap-iii-in-space-no-one-can-hear-you-review/ we’d really like them in by mid-September. 3. Send your track listings/liner notes etc to @kid-dynamite and @moseleymoles for the big reveal in three weeks or so time.
Fairly sound article in The Guardian today questioning the future of the ‘rock canon’ – ie it won’t be rock, it won’t be one canon, it won’t be just albums. An intriguing question unanswered is of course how you do draw up any kind of list once the album is not the gold standard.
In the ultimate aggreation of all best albums lists ever Kid A is no 6. I’m with him when he says that’s baffling.
Sorry to appear twice in the blog feed, but you have only two days left to sign up for the current edition of the Afterword CD swap: themed around Space. I won’t repeat the process, but if you can burn a standard audio CD and get to a post office we want you. Sign-up here, or check the set-up and your registration at the Space launch post (see what I did there..) below. After 5pm Sunday @kid-dynamite will be putting all who signed up into the Pod Bay and launching you in groups of three to boldly swap, I’ll stop now. Anyway, 5pm Sun please for sign-ups.
The Godzilla hitmakers are on UK manoeuvres early next year, in a line-up that seems to include Bloom and Roeser hurrah. Never seen them, so this is as good as I’m going to get. Not saying their appeal is more selective, but seeing them at the Institute in Birmingham seems a good opportunity.
On a Spinal Tap note they are playing the enticingly named Stanislaus County Fair in Turlock CA ‘free with fair admission’ – surely time for Jazz Odyssey?
Gene. Perennial mid-afternoon act on the NME stage of the nineties. Martin Rossiter a second-rate Morrissey with his controversial interviews. That memorable quote ‘they chose the only time in history when sounding like the Smiths was a bad idea’. There at the birth of indie landfill. Except now. I’ve listened to Olympian and Drawn To the Deep End and they are great. Just great. Much better than I thought at the time. I’m not saying if they were starting today they’d have been world-conquering, but Steve Mason’s guitar lines, Rossiter’s vocals and the all-round sturdiness of the songwriting have aged surprisingly well. Other bands please who were second-raters at the time who have now become firm favourites.