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?