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.
We’re a little behind schedule (World Cup, new jobs and so), but we can swing open the doors to the third edition of the Afterword CD swap, hosted by your good self and @kid-dynamite. Come on in! Our theme this time around, after the on-the-money cold is…..Space. Inner space, outer space, crawl spaces. Get out there man. New members are welcome to the bit of the Afterword that gets physical – yes you’ll need actual blank CDs, envelopes and postage stamps to take part. But the joy of receiving a CD of anonymous musical goodness through your letterbox cannot be underestimated.
In very plain English: you compile a CD of 12 tracks on the theme of Space. We put you in a group with two other people. You post yours to each of them, you get two from your other group members. You post your review of theirs, they post their review of yours. You send us your tracklist. We post them. that’s it. It is usually a lot of fun.
Those rules in full:
1 Sign up by the closing date by just letting us know in the comments to this post. Sign up for CD » Continue Reading.
Side 1, Track 1 is a perennial blog favourite. But have we done the other end? Doves, four albums in, had this mournful yet uplifting cracker as the last track on their (to date) final album Kingdom of Rust. The HjH’s may have been on top of this too with, er, The End followed by a musical jape on Abbey Road. So, the best final tracks on the final studio album where artists got it right at the exit door. Not everyone manages a dignified finale: would anyone want Life Is Wild to be the Clash’s final musical statement? Sometimes a catalogue is just too messy (Pistols, Zappa) to decide what the final track ever was. But for those with a legible catalogue let’s have your nominations for best finale. Studio albums only, live, remixed, collections etc all not allowed. I would say qualifying inactivity period would be at least 7 years. Doves list as ‘inactive’ on wikipedia
That jolly green giant Spotify is trying to lure streaming refuseniks with a campaign emphasising how your 80s favourite tracks are just a click away after all these years. So we have: Simple Minds haven’t forgotten about you Phil Collins wants one more night And so on I cant help but feel them have missed a trick here and we could broaden this 80s appeal with a few witty spins of our own. Foetus is still bothered by what you’ve got on your breath Crass still want to know how it felt to be the mother of a thousand dead Chuck’s ding-a-ling is still waiting for you to play with it.
I’m sure we can help them out here.
Though I don’t tend to get involved in ‘meta’ threads about the site itself, I do read them of course and in the latest threads on Bricameron there’s a widespread feel that ‘people don’t post so much anymore’ . Clearly there are individual reasons why particular people do or don’t, but I would like to share another thought. I don’t know about you, by in friendship groups I’ve had people delete their Facebook profiles (a few), stop actively posting (a few more), transfer from messenger to other platforms (a few more). In my case I would like to call my general feeling Digital Disenchantment. If we ever thought that Zuckerberg was more than a robber baron, well we know now. If we thought that every time we shared a post or video we weren’t adding to the data mountain that all sorts of people were secretly mining, well we know now. So in my own case it’s meant not actively posting anything on FB, and only looking at Pages because work requires it. I’ve come off messenger at the behest of a friend and now use (oh the irony) Whatsapp which of course is owed by…FB. And whose founder has » Continue Reading.
So in between the end of ep 2 of City and the City and Match of the Day master moles introduced me to vapourwave, an entire genre of music I was blissfully unaware of until yesterday. The cornerstone idea seems to slow down and pitch shift music, particularly 80s pop, until what was jaunty and upbeat is now melancholic and threatening. Here’s one of the founders (he became One Oh Trix Point Never) turning Africa by Toto into god knows what… more hilarious videos (including an extreme version of Running UP That Hill) in the comments. Apparently it is not just a joke, but a proper genre that people, like, choose to listen to.
I’m sure we’ve done this before, but hey I’m listening to Daisies of the Galaxy and enjoying Mr E’s Beautiful Blues, released as the first single natch. It was recorded after the album was finalised. Record company and E agreed on a compromise with it as an unlisted track at the end (my copy has a somewhat hopeful record company sticker on the front advertising its presence, presumably baffling to the casual buyer as on turning over to the track listings it is nowhere to be found). So, your best hidden tracks. Hidden means not listed on the cover or the record, so not apparent to the browser. And this was of course around long before CD’s as another favourite is…in the comments. Please don’t post that Ash track of them all being sick.
Hare and Hounds
If you had tried to come up with an indie novelty act in 1981, its hard to think of a more ephemeral idea than three Japanese girls in kwai dresses playing Ramones-style punk rock. A great gag for maybe a 10″ ep, tour and Peel session. Yet, 37 years later here we are at the Hare and Hounds with one of the great survivors from the post-punk era. Not so much of a in-joke, more an international treasure now. Founder member Naoko is joined by sister Atsuko and Ritsukoon. Over an hour and a bit we get twenty-five songs that stick rigidly to the pop-punk-rock template: brief, crunchy riffs, catchy chorus and slogan lyrics. What other band could say ‘This is the first of four songs about food’ – then deliver Ramen Rock, All You Can Eat (a personal favourite), Wasabi and so on. Barbecue Party is a set closer, and Banana Chips elsewhere. There really is no-one else like them. Rock shapes are thrown, audience sing-alongs encouraged, and everyone is firmly in Knifeworld: a more colourful, happy place. Is there another band who can create such a happy and positive vibe: the » Continue Reading.
Lodestone’s recent post prompted a discussion on repetition and saturation. Fear of over-saturation is a thing I have a fear that overplaying will cause certain artists, my very very favourite ones, to lose their magic. Or if you will, if you play Kate Bush every day she will end up sounding like Kate Nash. Kate B not N is one, The Jam are another, David Bowie, New Order and 80s Prince also. Rationing has enabled their magic to stay with me for decades now. Artists not in this very very top bracket in my mental HMV don’t cause this fear, because playing Doves, brilliant though they are, every day for a month is not a real issue. We could also go quasi-religious on this: my outlook being fundamentally protestant in that a listen of Hounds of Love has to be ‘earned’ through plays of several long-unplayed records, while there are on this site many catholics who can happily have Abbey Road on daily repeat and enjoy its magic undimmed. Assuming you are of the protestant persuasion, who is in your ration book?
Year: 2018 Director: Steven Spielberg
At relatives over Easter so instead of our usual Cineword or Odeon we saw Spielberg’s latest at the brilliantly straightforward Kavanagh cinema in Herne Bay. Tickets £4.00! A ‘4 sense’ ticket at Odeon is now heading towards £14 in Brum. Also the joy of local graphics done with Windows movie maker announcing ‘ The feature presentation’. But I digress…what was the film like? There’s spotters badges for Digbeth’s arches (standing in for post-slow-apocalypse USA) and a building in the City I used to walk past on my way to the Barbican centre. But I digress…what was the actual film thing like. It’s one of Spielberg’s family adventures like ET or Jurassic Park, rather than those aimed at a more grown up audience. So we get plucky teen protagonists versus the man, and a good deal less sense of jeopardy than being chewed by a T-Rex.
At stake is a virtual space world called the Oasis that was set up by Mark Rylance (a film-stealing cameo) and Simon Pegg, and is now the panacea that distracts everyone from the utterly f====d up world of 2040. Evil masterminds the the 101/I O I corporation want to » Continue Reading.
Driving home today I was listening to the magisterial Risque by Chic. Sandwiched between Good Times and the equally magisterial My Feet Keep Dancing (tap break!) is the pretty-much filler ballad Warm Summer Nights. Then my mind drifted to the true awfulness that is a one-per-album-record-company-mandated Madonna Ballad (Rain…Love Don’t Live Here Anymore etc). In how many albums are the ballads/slow numbers rather tiresome things to get through before the beat is back. A lot I venture to say. And as for hip-hop ballads. Just saying LL Cool J that’s all.
Elton John may have sold a billion copies of that Diana track but even the ballad man himself surely has his best tracks working at least at a mid-tempo. Sometimes It Snows In April may be the exception, but Prince apart from this was at his best at his up-tempoest. Don’t all say The Dame at once. He was I think equally at home with the ballad and the rocker. The clever so and so.
So – challenge laid down. Which artists can we say delivered their very best at a ballad pace. Where their rockers were rather pants and their ballads rather ace.
Rules: I think we are » Continue Reading.
What’s your 1971?
There was an interesting observation in the Afterword CD swap reviews thread that ‘1991 was your 1971’. Setting aside the Spurs-esque ‘1’s’ part of this, it touches on a thought: that we will all have our own 1971. Not the greatest year ever, but the greatest year for us. For me it’s 1979. I’m 14 and reading NME and going to gigs for the first time. I look back and the albums released this year form the very core of musical tastes. I didn’t buy all these at the time of course on my pocket money, but everywhere I look 1979 is a ground zero for my music. So what’s your 1971 and is it better than 1979?
The Jam – Setting Songs The Clash – London Calling Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures The Cure – Three Imaginary Boys Buzzcocks – Different Kind of Tension (saw them on this tour) Stiff Little Fingers – Inflammable Material Talking Heads – Fear of Music Entertainment – Gang of Four Join Hands – Siouxsie and the Banshees Blondie – Eat to the Beat Ruts – The Crack Skids – Scared to Dance Magazine – Secondhand Daylight Wire 154 The Fall » Continue Reading.
BBC4 have a two-part series on Minimalism. Part one last night focused on its origins in fifties California and in the work of two composers: La Monte Young, who is interviewed dressed as the Oldest Biker In the Gang, and the guruesque Terry Riley. Young is the more enigmatic, allied to the visual art world of Yoko Ono and writing pieces that consisted of instructions to start a fire (the urbane but slightly too well-dressed Charles Hazlewood, our guide, recreates this – and hey next time you have a barbecue you can too.) Riley is more down to earth, cheerfully admitting he hit gold with In C and hasn’t written anything of compareable power since. Ragas, phasing and lots more.
There’s an all-star band who recreate tape loops and have a bash at in C : Adrian Utley from Portishead shows off his collection of vintage reel-to-reels, and Will from Goldfrapp appears in the line up. It is pretty much uncovered stuff from start to finish, and towards the end we get to Steve Reich – who features with Philip Glass in part two next week.
It’s what the licence fee should be paying for.