Wednesday, December 31, 2008
her space holiday
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
Six. By Seven
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
If anyone else wants to put forward nominations for album/book/film/disappointment/anything-at-all of the year, then get it to me on firstname.lastname@example.org by the turn of the years tomorrow night.
Blackout Crew at number one? Seriously, you have been warned.
Happy New Year.
Freddie Hubbard, one of the great trumpeters of the 1960s, has just died, and so I need to modify my list of musicians whose passing this year meant the most to me. Hubbard, I think, was one of the best examples of the brilliant sideman. His solo records were, even at their best, no more than quite good, but his contributions to the projects of others could be outstanding. Herewith extracts from Fee Fi Fo Fum on Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil (1964), Eye of the Hurricane on Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage (1965) and the lovely Stolen Moments on Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961).
Monday, December 29, 2008
My musical 2008 has been defined as much by live music as by albums - I've attended more than twice as many gigs as I've bought 2008 albums - anyway, here are some of my highlights (and low points) of this year for me.
Most hard-rocking gig by a newish band
Cardiff's finest, The Reasoning, when they blew the roof off the Limelight Club in Crewe. I've seen this band six times this year, and they've never disappointed. This one was the best of the six. This band may not be on people's radar screens yet, but they ought to be. One of their songs is on the #2s playlist.
Most hard-rocking gig by a bunch of grizzled veterans
The mighty Uriah Heep at Manchester Academy 2. They were good the last couple of times I've seen them playing greatest hits sets. This time they took the gamble of playing their new album "Wake the Sleeper" in it's entirety, which might have flopped if the album hadn't been up to scratch. But with an excellent album, it turned into a triumph.
Most emotionally moving gig
This has to be Breathing Space at Mansfield. This was about two weeks after the death of singer Olivia Sparnenn's father Howard from a brain tumour. The whole show was intensely moving, especially the final encore of the Mostly Autumn song "The Gap is Too Wide". Not long after this I lost my temper with a Guardian journalist who insisted that "Amy Winehouse is an icon because she can articulate pain and heartbreak in her songs". He just doesn't get it.
Most totally bonkers gig
Has to be The Mars Volta at Manchester Apollo. A three hour set, no support, no interval, and they played right up to the curfew without going off and coming back for an encore. And the whole thing was one continuous jam. Despite owning all four of their studio albums, I recognised very little of what they actually played. It was intense, complex and very, very loud. Even after nine months I'm still not quite sure what to make of it.
Worst performance by a so-called classic artist.
Andy Fairweather-Low at the Cambridge Rock Festival. "I'm a great sixties icon - you have to bow down and worship me". Reminded me of The Kinks at the 1981 Reading Festival in 1981, and not in a good way. Tedious set of 50s and 60s covers, made no attempt to connect with the audience, and gave me the impression he was was playing for the benefit of Radio Caroline rather than the people in the hall.
The gig that didn't actually happen
Panic Room at the Peel where the power failed, and we didn't get any music apart from 20 minutes of the support band. Fortunately I did get to see the excellent Panic Room a further three times, and there's a rematch of the cancelled gig on January 31st next year - see you there?
At a few songs that filled me with joy this year:
Why Can't There Be Love
Looking for gold
Let The Beat Build
On The Edge Of A Cliff
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
Passin' Me By (Hot Chip Remix)
Forgot these 2:
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Inspired by the news that Blur are to reunite, I thought I'd share this titillating titbit with you all (actually, I just wanted to get another post in before the end of the year). As any of the 115 (have you nothing better to do with your time??) people who've taken a peek at my profile will know, I am 3rd from the left on the second row.
Now, folks, get your magnifying glasses out and scan along the third row to the middle, where at about 9th from the left you will discover none other then Mr. David Rowntree, later to go on and drum with aforementioned Britpoppers. Rather embarassingly, seeing as I make my money selling CDs and am supposed to know a wee bit about what's happening in the world of commercial entertainment, I never realised this until a school reunion a couple of years ago. (No, Mr. R. did not attend - probably had to fly his private jet over the Virgin Islands to keep the engine(s) ticking over - but there was a Lot of Talk...)
Anyways, now I'm up and posting, I'd just like to say a huge THANK YOU! to everyone who's ever posted on here, because I've loved just about everything I've ever encountered. Having served the kids their Christmas dinner from my sick bed, I'm now looking forward to trying out my new headphones (thank you Santa!) on the Festive 'Spill, FP's Christmas playlist, and finally finally finally getting to hear the podcasts.
Happy New Year to us all!
I actually made this quite a while ago, once again just as a means to experiment with the technology, but upon listening, found it way too embarrassing to post and considered re-recording the whole thing, but after procrastinating long enough I decided "ah..bollocks, just stick it up"...so here is my poor first attempt at a podacst.
If you can find your way through my numerous repetitions, umming and erring, near constant stammering and lipsmacking, lower class brogue and general messiness, you should find some interesting music. It's all Japanese music for this debut (perhaps only!) episode - don't worry, there's no Japanoise, it's all pretty indie-tastic with some 70's rock (apologies for my throwaway comment about Led Zeppelin!), electro-indie dance and the inevitable garage rock amongst other stuff.
Let us know what you think, all constructive criticism welcome!
30 Minutes Over Tokyo - Part A
30 Minutes Over Tokyo - Part B
Friday, December 26, 2008
I made a playlist!!
Message From a Black Man--Don Julian and the Larks
Message From a Black Man--The Spinners
Message From a Black Man--The Heptones
Message From a Black Man--The Temptations
Message From a Black Man--The Whatnauts & The Whatnaut Band
RZA--You Can't Stop Me Now
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Not being a Christian but wanting to wish you peole out there a cool yool and a prosperous noo year, here's a slightly late offering: sure the principle is the same...it's not the greatest video in the world, but it's just a reminder that somethings go back to beyond Xtiandom...may your yeahs be yeah and your nos be no...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
By way of a Christmas card, here are some photos of the Christmas market in Europe's "capital of Christmas".... I'll not 'do a Gremlin' - you've all guessed where it is by now.
And here's a link to 'my' alternative Christmas music playlist. Hand on heart, I think you might like this lot. It's always debatable as to whether 'Fairytale of New York' or indeed that 'Hooker's Christmas Card' may be considered alternative as they even get played in supermarkets nowadays. But they're in...
Découvrez Kate Bush!
And if, after three glasses of Harvey's Bristol Cream (which anyone in their right mind would only drink at Christmas...) you really really feel the need to hear some honest to goodness Christmas cheese, well... who am I to stop you?
A last Christmas question to go: (Jack Black voice): "Top Three Christmas Films!!" I'm buying them up on Ebay and have ground to a bit of a halt. I've got the essential:
- It's a wonderful Life - Capra. Clarence gets his wings and George Bailey gets his life back.
- Bad Santa - Billy Bob morphs from an alcoholic no-hoper to another kind of guardian angel.
- Love Actually - just for Hugh Grant dancing to 'Jump' by the Pointer Sisters. You know it makes sense....
Today is a public holiday over here, nothing to do with Christmas of course (the 25th is a normal working day) but in celebration of the Emperor's birthday, which gives me time to put together a Christmas playlist.
I've always been fond of Chrimbo songs, both cheesy and non-cheesy, but when I checked the old collection, they were all hideously noisy dirty garage rock numbers, so i've tried to keep those to a minimum.....unsuccessfully!
Enjoy! and of course Merry Christmas!
The Sonics - I Don't Believe In Christmas
Ten Benson - Black Snow
Badly Drawn Boy - Donna and Blitzen
The White Stripes - Candy Cane Children
The 5,6,7,8's - Rock and Roll Santa
Bantam Rooster - Let's Just Fuck For Christmas
The Sonics - Santa Claus
Noel - Merry Christmas Everybody
Ten Benson - Snowman-Snowgirl
The Von Bondies - No Chimney In The Big House
The White Stripes - Story of the Magi/Silent NIght
Monday, December 22, 2008
I'm off to Bar Humbug for a beer (or the fridge)
these songs added to the snowman for any old reason that I'll make up later:
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Talib Kweli--Get By
Sister Rosetta Tharpe--Down By The Riverside
Mississippi John Hurt--PayDay
Stanley Winston--No More Ghettos in America
Screamin Jay Hawkins--Not Anymore
Common--Retrospect for Life
Common--Book of Life
Sonny Boy Williamson--Fattening Frogs for Snakes
Tricky--Make a Change
Q Tip--Johnny is Dead
Billy Bragg & Wilco--Stetson Kennedy
Billy Bragg & Wilco--Someday Some morning, Some TIme
Modest Mouse--The World At Large
Cover art by our resident artistic genius Saneshane. Delighted that Carole has emerged from her funk and the wandering gypsy, that is Snadfrod, showed up to play too - so now there are a couple of extra tracks in the #3 and #2 posts - go have a listen. Think that Uncle John would approve of the way we have mutated his tradition here on the 'Spill. Thanks to all for a wonderful year of music and madness. With your permission, would like to dedicate this final selection to Blimpy, without whom there would be no 'Spill. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. Here are your #1 picks:
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
FelaKuti--Mr. Grammarticologylisationalism is the Boss
Yes, it's Rory Gallagher, the album that helped is the masterful "Live in Europe" from 1972, so this YouTube clip is exactly contemporary.
Now all I've got to do is start learning that mandolin that is sitting in the spare room waiting for me to pick it up again.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Oh dear...one of the greatest folk/blues guitarists, an inspiration to many, dead at 68 just as he'd been persuaded out of obscurity and was back gigging again. His most famous tune, 'Anji' was THE test of guitar prowess when I was a young thing - I can only manage the bass line myself.
'Blue Monk' (written by Thelonius Monk) is played by Davey; 'Angie' (sic) is played by his mate Bert Jansch. I've added 'Better Git It In Your Soul' a Mingus tune.
Better Git It In Your Soul
As this became quite large in a hurry, thought it best to bring forward the release schedule to allow time to digest. Look for the "number two's" on Thursday and grand finale on Saturday (will try to post a little earlier in the day). Play order is by song title, but have hidden the names so, hopefully, we can keep these up for a while (right click will download & reveal for the curious). Thanks to all for taking part (Abahachi & Proudfoot will be joining us in the next installments). Enjoy:
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Now, I know that experimental underground psychedelic drone noise rock may not be everyone's cup of tea (wait..come back!), and to be fair, it is an acquired taste, but with Blimpy posting the Sun Araw track a while back, I reasoned there was at least some interest in what is personally my favourite record label; Not Not Fun records. So here's a bit of background:
Not Not Fun is a DIY record label run by the lovely Britt and Amanda out of their house in Eagle Rock, California. The label started out as an indie-ish/alt-folk style label (see the Foot Foot track below), putting out mostly local talent (current 'proper magazine' (Mojo, Q, NME have all featured/reviewed them) luminaries such as Abe Vigoda and Mika Miko both cut their teeth on early NNF records) on very limited cassettes and CD's with the occasional vinyl. In the early days, the packaging was the key for NNF releases, I seem to remember one cassette coming with a free beer!!
I got on board pretty early, I can't quite recall how I heard about NNF, but I found myself on their website and on a whim and judging by the description alone, I ordered a copy of the Haunted Castle/ Grey Skull 10" direct from the label. I was over the moon when, just over a week later (come on, California to Tokyo!) a package arrived, containing not only the 10" i'd ordered complete with skull shaped die-cut sleeve adorned with fake cobwebs and a plastic spider, but also another complete LP (stitched sleeve with glued on cloth aeroplanes and sequins) by Weirdo/Begeirdo (which I later learned was Britt and Amanda in their first efforts at music making - imagine a less annoying Moldy Peaches) absolutely free! Now, this could have been a cold and calculated marketing strategy (akin to a dealer giving a free sample), or it could have been a genuine wish to get their music out to as many people as possible, whichever it was, it worked, and 25 LP's (or split LP's), 4 10"'s and 21 7"' s later, i'm still a loyal customer.
Amanda is one half of my NNF faves Pocahaunted and Britt is part of minimal-drone-verging-on-avant-garde-ambient-metal group Robedoor.
The label has evolved a lot since the early days, the releases are still limited, but now mostly vinyl (yay!), with the odd cassette and CD (not to mention 3" CDR freebies!) and the music is now a almost exclusively drone/psychedelic with the odd bit of free jazz noise thrown in (see the Ettrick track below).
This is not a best of, but just a random representative sample of the kind of sounds they put out:
Foot Foot - Pilgrim Hat In Indian Summer
Foot Village - World Fantasy
Haunted Castle - Bleaches and Canyons
Raccoo-oo-oon - Visage of the Fox
Pocahaunted - Silk Fog Traveler
Ettrick - Sky Bellower
Monday, December 15, 2008
Here's a song I mentioned on RR that I thought Treefrogdemon might like, mostly because I think it's about listening to Bruce Springsteen, but also because I think it's pretty, and TFD's 'Spill posts usually involve pretty songs. I don't actually know anything about the Cash Brothers.
The Cash Brothers--Nebraska
And here are my two Errol Dunkley songs, for Goneforeign for comparison purposes.
Please Stop Your Lying (1967)
Love Brother (1968)
I seem to be suffering from a lack of sociability at the moment. I wish it was different. I have had difficulty in joining in with RR too, even though my King Tubby "Laser Rock" nom got on the B list the other week.
Here it is;
I have so much music but I really can't be arsed to listen to it most of the time right now. I must be suffering from some kind of pre Christmas ennui.
Maybe after the end of this week I will be happier - mainly because I am on holiday for the week leading up to the 25th.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
It occurred to me that a continuing bulletin/notice board might be handy, a place to post comments/questions that don't fit with any post, it came about when I posted a comment on Ejay's last post recommending everyone to be sure to hear the Linton poem over on page one, I'm sure he didn't mind but wasn't related to his post: it prompted this idea. There's also been times when I've wanted to make a comment to a fellow Spiller not related to any specific posts, plus there's enough 'cries for help' re. podbean et. al. it might help with that. It could be fresh each week or it could be over on the side there and cleared occasionally. Is it worth the minimal effort?
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I recorded this last weekend and, listening back to some of it just now, I realise that may have been a mistake as I was suffering from a bit of a cold at the time, as a result of which my usually crystal clear voice is rather more muffled than I’d like it to be.
Anyway, this is ToffeeBean 2 in all its glory. The more observant among you will have noticed that there are three parts to this particular Bean – two half-hour long helpings of music and chat, with a quiz thrown into the mix for good measure, forming the meat in a Toffee-flavoured sandwich.
Hopefully, those of you who don’t want to listen to the podcast will at least join in the fun by taking part in the first ever ToffeeBean quiz.
Let me know what you think...
Friday, December 12, 2008
This started with some conversation over in the comments of Japanther's 'Singles Night', I mentioned that most of my 7" singles came from Kingston Jamaica, I used enjoy going there regularly and would always buy whatever was popular at that time, I accumulated quite a few. Kingston is hot, it's tropical and so in the summer every door and window is open and everyone seems to play their music loud so as you travel about you hear a wonderful cross section of all kinds of reggae and it's all on 7" singles or radio. I offered to post a few so here's some that bring back memories of many summers spent there.
1. Rock my Soul by Marcia Griffith, I'3's. Classic gospel with a twist.
2. G.P. General Penitentiary. Gregory Isaacs meditates on time spent there.
3.Get Flat, every posse get flat by The Bloodfire Posse. Came out of nowhere, who the hell are the Bloodfire Posse, nobody knew. First use of electronic distortion in reggae, biggest hit of the year, you heard it everywhere.
4. Melting Pot by Light of Love, a trio of young Kingston women, I love 'em.
5. Time by Kiddus I, I spent some time with Kiddus, he told me how he 'took up a rifle against the inequities of government', he was arrested and spent many years in jail, several in solitary. He told me of a poem he wrote the first night out of solitary where he'd been in a windowless cell, the poem was titled "I saw the moon last night", it made me weep.
6. Final Decision by Sophie George, a young ghetto girl trying to make it as a singer, she writes her own songs.
7. Roots Girl by Brigadier Jerry, Briggy tells exactly what he wants in a girl, she must be a 'roots' girl.
8. Hard Times by the 7th Extension, another group that came out of the blue.
9. Cool Runnings by Bunny Wailer, Another massive hit that everybody was singing all summer, you heard it coming out of every house.
10. Cool Runnings version, the version' was a manipulated instrumental on the B side of a single, the origin of dub.
11. Jah Jah Children by Uriel Dunkley, a singer popular with collectors but not widely known outside of Ja.
12. This little boy is Lost by Jimmy Riley, backed by the Wailers, long time great reggae artist.
13. Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Big Youth, lovely lad, one of the originators of this style.
14. Outformer Parker by I Roy, another in the same league as Youth, don't ask me what the song's about, no idea.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
When I was a younger man, the single was the be all and end all of music for me. Not only did it have the freshest music, (singles always come out before albums) but it was a condension of all the best bits the album had to offer. Between the ages of 18 and about 28 I went to my local record shops (wherever I happened to be living) every 'new release' Monday without fail to see what gems the weeks slew of releases would throw up.
However, as the years advance and the need to keep up with each and every new release dissipates, and the pleasure found in getting to know the intricacies of a complete aｌbum increases, I find that I have more or less stopped buying 7"'s altogether (save for the yearly Not Not Fun Records singles club I always sign up to).
Is it the changing nature of the way we consume music? The idea that it's just not "worth" buying something for 3 or 4 quid when you can just download it for nowt in a matter of seconds.
Is it the notion that as we mature our appreciation of art requiires a deeper level of communication that the superficiality of the 3 minute pop single is unable to provide?
Is the reason altogether more functional? That the constrictions of adult existence; a full-time job, running a household, appeasing partners etc leave no time or room for manouvere that a teenager with no responsibilities cocooned in their private space does have. It takes time and effort to phsyically get up every 3 minutes and change/turn over the CD/record.
Am I just turning into an old git?!!
Is it all irrelevant in these "shuffle" happy times?
I'm not sure of the answer but as a means to avoid forgetting what made and indeed still makes these small discs of wax so special I have been spending a lot of time with my 7" collection over the last couple of weeks.
- As an aside, that is one of the things that I love about RR/The 'Spill - as well as getting turned on to new kinds of music, and it seems, for me at least, that new musical vistas are being revealed on an almost daily basis - it also forces you to take a closer look at youir own collection. If you are someone (like most of us here) that buys/downloads a lot of music, it's so easy for some records to get one listen then get forgotten about for months or even years at a time.
Whilst being by no means a definitive list, here is a random selection of favourites from the records I have with me in Japan (I have another couple of shoeboxes full in the UK but I can't even remember what's in them - lots of early Twisted Nerve releases maybe?!)
Let's have some nominations for YOUR favourite singles (EP tracks and B-Sides are allowed but it has to have been released as a single and sound best in the context of a single).
Mclusky - Lightsabre Cocsucking Blues
State River Widening - Unsung Couples
John Callaghan - I'm Not Comfortable Inside My Mind
Graham Coxon ^ Freakin' Out
M'n'M's - Knock Knock Knock
1910 Fruitgum Company - Goody Goody Gumdrops
The White Stripes - The Big Three Killed My Baby
Riff Randells - Who Says Girls Can't Rock?
Nish - Jwel
Clinic - Distortions
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
OK music fans, you all like quizzes right? here's one. I listen to a fair bit of radio and one service I check weekly is Radio Deutsche Welle, they have a quiz every month, this month's is musical, right up our alley? Here's the bit from their website:
"One of the most popular songs to sing during the holiday season is "Silent Night."
It's been 190 years this month since the Austrian Christmas carol "Stille Nacht" -- or "Silent Night" -- was first sung. It's since become one of the most popular carols and countless famous artists have recorded their own versions of it.
Click on the link below and listen to our medley featuring 11 famous voices singing "Silent Night." We want you to identify as many as possible.
We have a special award-winning DVD collection of Classical Masterpieces to give away to five winners, so get those answers in."
You post 'em here and I'll send 'em in as the Spill's combined effort.
I should mention that the Expansion Outro (For Women) has some space at the beginning, and the actual song starts at around 1 minute 15 seconds in. I didn't know how to edit that out. So be patient, grasshopper...
Tom T. Hall--Faster Horses, The Cowboy and the Poet
TTH--Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine
Bill Withers--Grandma's Hands
Nina Simone--Another Spring
Gil Scott Heron--Message to the Messengers
Common--It's Your World
Tommie Young--Take Time to Know Hiim
Talib Kweli--Expansion Outro (for women)
KImya Dawson--I LIke Giants
Riddles Wisely Expounded
Blackalicious--As The World Turns
Friday, December 5, 2008
My Dad said "the grass is always greener on the other side..."
here's listening to hip hop?,Dads, Grandads, not your Priest, your left handed girl, your self, your social worker (the Angel on your shoulder), dad, the voices, your baby.
It all means nothing 'cos everyone understands 'MOTHER KNOWS BEST'
Her Space Holiday