Sunday, 29 July 2012

Julian Cope - Crazy Farm Animal...

I just finished re-reading Head-On, and it was just as awesome and entertaining as I remembered it being, if not more so.  It was incredibly exciting when it came out and I devoured it then, but hey, I was so much younger back in 1995 ; ) We had just gotten into Julian Cope a few years before after my friend Jon McCann read an interview with Robert Plant, saw Cope's name, and looked into his work.  Always thankful that he did.  We used to be incredibly hungry for any interesting music that we hadn't heard back then, always on the lookout for something new, and I'm really pleased that all of us still are.  I think the first thing Jon bought was Peggy Suicide and I remember annoying everyone because I became obsessed with If You Loved Me At All and would play it over and over again in the car.  I remembered last night that the cassette contained the song Uptight not on any other format, and so I had to seek it out.  Strangely, this song isn't on the 2009 Deluxe Edition that nevertheless has 29 bonus tracks.  I was also always very fond of this remix of Head, Heed: Of Penetration & The City Dweller - Head Remix,  that I had on a dub compilation called 110 Below - Journey In Dub. But I'm getting away from myself.

I remember having one-and-a-half 90 minute cassettes of Cope and Teardrop b-sides that I taped off Jon.  Some really great stuff on there, his cover of Pere Ubu's Non-Alignment Pact, Disaster (another of my faves), and Crazy Farm Animal, which I always thought was such a great song.  Really good lyrics, the overall feel - its prolonged opening swells,  then how the song proper alternately mellows and kicks in, before clip-clopping then riding a wave out - is just such a good listening experience.  The B-side to China Doll, here's the Spotify link .  It was later included on Leper Skin: An Introduction To Julian Cope 1986-92. And then there's this live version recorded for a Janice Long Session 12/12/84 that came out on Floored Genius 2: Best Of The BBC Sessions 1983-1991:

And the A-side China Doll video, featuring Pete DeFreitas, drummer for Echo & The Bunnymen, two weeks before he died in a motorcycle accident on the same bike he's riding here.  For one of rock n' roll's most interesting stories, see the part in Cope's Repossessed (second part of the autobiography) about DeFreitas' adventure in New Orleans recording the Sex Gods album and also, if I remember correctly, there's some info on it in Chris Adams' excellent book,  Turquoise Days: The Weird World Of Echo & The Bunnymen.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Chainsaw Kittens - Sore On The Floor...

YES!!!! Sore On The Floor is finally on YouTube!  As I mentioned in my first post on Chainsaw Kittens, this song is A SONIC BLAST OF PURE AWESOMENESS, perfectly capturing the feeling of rolling around with someone you really fancy.  One of the most EXCITING songs of all time.  Opening track on their Pop Heiress album.

Check out Tyson's new project here, and contribute if you can.  And here's my recent interview with him about it. 

The Flaming Lips - She's Gone Mad (Tyson Meade, Chainsaw Kittens)

My interview with Tyson Meade about his very interesting new project - going to China to record an album with students and promote goodwill between East & West.  He's got a Kickstarter campaign going if you want to contribute, it all sounds very cool.  I've posted before about my enthusiasm for his old band, Chainsaw Kittens.  Highly underrated, should've been a lot bigger than they were. Only yesterday I found out that The Flaming Lips covered the Kittens' She's Gone Mad on their The Day They Shot A Hole In The Jesus Egg, the expanded version of In A Priest Driven Ambulance with 23 bonus tracks of b-sides, demos, covers, and unreleased songs.

The original can be found on Chainsaw Kittens first album, Violent Religion.  And here's Tyson and Beau Jennings performing it at Okie Noodling 2012:

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mabel Joy - Sylvan Road

I've been really into this song today after discovering it this morning.  At first it reminded me a bit of Gol Gappas' lovely West 14 but now it's a little more like the gorgeous slower Go-Betweens numbers.  I've also always loved the name Mabel.

I was going through my iTunes wish list, looking for something new to listen to, when I came across The Palace Of Light's Beginning Here & Travelling Outward. I can't quite remember why I had put it in my wish list in the first place, possibly something to do with Nick Haeffner, but I was intrigued and glad I bought it.  Opening song, Safer:

I can't find out much info about either band, except that they were both on Bam Caruso.  And this, posted on the Spring Records blog, and written by Bam Caruso founder Phil Smee:

The Palace of Light were one of our best kept secrets. A group of like-minded guys who worshiped at the feet of Cyrus Faryar, Fred Neil, Scott Walker and Mickey Newbury and boasted a singer with an amazing voice. Their debut album contains musical tales of epic proportions and should really be made available once more.” Far from the excess that marked the 80’s, “Beginning Here and Travelling Outward” (1987) was, again in Mr. Smee’s words “light years ahead, in terms of content and production of virtually any other band´s first offering... textures of sound , woven like a complex web, overlay the songs, (all originlas) and turn each and every one into a mini-symphony...It’s 1988 and the art of music making is alive and well in the hearts of at least four young people called The Palace of Light”. Mark Brendguitarist of the band recalls: “We got some good reviews and played a few gigs inLondon, then gave up for nearly a year. In the summer of 1988 we decided to have another go, and reconvened to record three songs at Cold Storage in Brixton, South London, … One of the tracks we recorded was Books, which you can hear on this single. …. there’s a string trio led by Marcus Holdaway, who later joined the High Llamas. We’d circulated the three newly recorded songs to some record companies, and I remember some A&R men coming to see us, though we didn’t get any offers. Then in 1989 we recorded two sessions in a studio in Stoke NewingtonNorth London. One of the songs we recorded there was Catherine, the other track on this single” When the drummer left, the group started playing live as a trio and decided to change their name and press a promo single, drawing on the material recorded since the Palace Of Light album. They settled on Mabel Joy as the band name (after the Mickey Newbury song, “Frisco Mabel Joy”), chose Catherine and Books for the single, and decided to call their label Hummingbird. It was 1991. Some 7 incheswere pressed up. But the single was never properly released. Some copies were sent out for review, and to radio stations, but there was no distribution and it was never sold in shops. So, the record you now have in your hands is something of an anomaly, as it is a reissue of something that wasn’t really issued in the first place. The single got a couple of reviews, and maybe even some radio play, but it didn’t really achieve anything. Mabel Joy pressed on, and in 1994 returned to Bam Caruso for an album, Wish I Was, before splitting up. 

The Palace of Light were a band completely out of step with the times. They had obscurity in their genes, so perhaps it is fitting that this – the first Palace of Light reissue – should be of their most obscure record, one that was never really released in the first place. But a true lost gem of a record, indeed!!

A very nice find today.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Robyn Hitchcock - Madonna Of The Wasps...

Have been on a big Robyn Hitchcock kick for months again, this seems to happen all the time too, I probably never really stop listening to him.  Madonna Of The Wasps, the opening track on 1989's Queen Elvis, is one of my favourite songs of all-time.  It's such a great pop song. Whenever I put it on, this huge feeling of pleasantness washes through me, seemingly slowly and simultaneously, if that's not a paradox.  Enchanting music with that generous touch of melancholy in the lyrics and voice, it's like a beautiful lingering intake of breath with a gentle, gentle sigh to follow.

Live on David Letterman:

Live with The Decemberists, Shepherd's Bush Empire, Feb 9th, 2007:

And, appropriately, live at Pestival, 2009:

The version from The Kershaw Sessions is definitely worth hearing too.  That was the first Robyn Hitchcock album I bought, sometime in the mid-90s, having always been fond of So You Think You're In Love, and was hugely impressed by the songs on this record.  Have loved his music, and lyrics, ever since.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Robyn Hitchcock - Adventure Rocket Ship...

Finally got around to listening to Robyn Hitchcock's Olé! Tarantula record the other day, what an incredibly good album!  I love Robyn Hitchcock's songs but am only recently hearing some of the later records.  The opener, Adventure Rocket Ship, is a glorious rocker, enormously catchy and filled with Hitchcock's usual wonderful lyrics.  I particularly like the line "I wish I was the future, I'd kiss you in the past".

I actually came across this song watching the Cooking With Rockstars podcast,  featuring 2 sessions with Mr. Hitchcock.  Very entertaining, making 'Food Pie'.

And the album closer, N.Y.  Doll, is lovely.  About Arthur Kane, the bassist for the New York Dolls. As Robyn says here, he wrote it after seeing the movie, New York Doll.  Live at The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY 6/11/09:

I'm quite fond too of A Man's Got To Know His Limitations, Briggs, which also appeared on Obliteration Pie.  Live at Islington Academy:

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Catch Up (Reviews + Interview)...

I reviewed the new Philip Jeays record, My Own Way, which is pretty great.  I need to do a proper post on Jeays, and have been meaning to for ages, I highly recommend checking him out.  I was introduced to him as "the British Jacques Brel" back in 2005,  immediately heading to Brixton to see him play that night on that alone, and have been very impressed ever since.  The title track from the new record:

Very fond of the new Monochrome Set album, Platinum Coils, one of the best records of the year so far.  Hip Kitten Spinning Chrome is its wonderful opener, a very catchy pop song with intriguing lyrics:

And Go-Kart Mozart's long-awaited On The Hot Dog Streets.  Not only does it look fantastic, complete with list of books read, albums listened to, and other tidbits during the making of the record, but it is also an artistic statment where nearly every song will get stuck in your head for weeks after hearing it.  Not too much from the record on YouTube but I like this slower number:

And I had the chance to interview Artmagic at their record release party at St. Pancras Old Church.  Artmagic is Richard Oakes' from Suede's new project, a duo with Sean McGhee.  That was exciting!  Both were very nice and had a lot to say.  Two of my favourites from their album, Become The One You Love, performed here live at Perry Vale Studios.

You, a very fine pop song:

The lovely Half-Life:

Catch Up (DJ'ing)...

Playing Catch Up this evening.  So much I'd like to write about, so hard to find the time these days.  I DJ'ed at The Negative Creep Independence Day special.  The remit was "grunge" but I expanded that to 90s American Rock (though didn't get to play any GBV or Superchunk as I had planned).  What I played:

Alice In Chains - Them Bones
Soundgarden - Outshined
The Afghan Whigs - Somethin' Hot
Pixies - Letter To Memphis
Mudhoney - In'N'Out Of Grace
Big Black - He's A Whore
Sonic Youth - Ca Plane Pour Moi
Cracker - Teen Angst
Nirvana - Son Of A Gun
Throwing Muses - Counting Backwards
Dinosaur Jr. - Freak Scene
Sonic Youth - Sugar Kane (requested)
Rancid - Radio
The Breeders - Cannonball
Faith No More - Midlife Crisis
Fugazi - Waiting Room
Mudhoney - Touch Me I'm Sick

And on August 3rd, I'll be DJ'ing for the first 2 hours at THE BEST NEW CLUB IN LONDON, DEBBIE!  All-girl pop and rock!  What I played at the very first DEBBIE.

Sophia now has a DJ Facebook page.  You should like it, and go see her DJ, she's Ace.  Where else do you get to hear Benny Goodman's Sing Sing Sing and Pantherman's Pantherman in the same set?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Love Kitten...

Finally getting around to listening to a Rare Girl Group Gems From The 60s mp3 that Patrick from WZBC had put up from one of his radio shows, some truly excellent stuff on there.  Unfortunately the mp3 is no longer there but the playlist is here to seek out the individual songs. It was through Patrick that I found out about Lesley Gore's glorious Sometimes and he usually plays some interesting stuff, so check out his show.

Am utterly enchanted by Noreen Corcoran's Love Kitten. Played with such wild joy, great backing vocals, and her own voice is gorgeous.  Such an Amazing Song!

And it turns out this is a cover of an April Stevens single.  The original itself is a sumptuous delight.  So smooth and relaxed, plus check out the purring! Found an mp3 of April's version here along with some info.