Monday, November 30, 2009

A Reader Recommends...

This week marks two momentous events in the annals of RR. This week, RobF’s self-indulgent inclusion of Red House Painters’ “Rollercoaster” brought my grand total of A-listers to 20. And today, the Marconium tells me, is the 3-year anniversary of my first playlisted song (Luke Haines’ “Death of Sarah Lucas” – songs about art). Yes folks, that's 20 songs in 3 years. Time well spent, I hope you’ll agree.

The list makes interesting reading (for me at any rate). Is it representative of my music collection? Yes and no. In Belle & Sebastian, Tindersticks, Luke Haines and Paul Simon, it’s got four of my all-time favourites, but the particular songs aren't anywhere near my favourites of theirs. I seem to have spent the 90s listening to trip-hop and one Red House Painters album, but from the last decade we have two of my favourite artists (The Streets and Joanna Newsom) and one of my favourite songs (“Carion”). “Tread Water” by De La Soul was an anthem for me and friends at 6th form (along with the sadly unzedded New F.A.D.S.’ “It’s Not What You Know”), “P.S. You Rock My World” is one of the greatest album closers ever, and the Arvo Part is one of the most divinely sad pieces of music ever written (and still, I believe, the only “classical” piece in the RR Hall of Fame).

If I managed to introduce at least some of these songs to at least some people, then my work here has not been in vain. As these were nominated for very different topics, it’s hard to make a coherent playlist out of them, but I’ve done my best. Already looking forward to the follow-up post in 2013…

James – Gold Mother (Babies and Childbirth)

De La Soul – Tread Water (Lessons in Life)

Red House Painters – Rollercoaster (Coming of Age)

Belle and Sebastian – Lord Anthony (Character Songs)

Luke Haines – Death of Sarah Lucas (Art and Photography)

Tindersticks – 4:48 Psychosis (Mental Illness)

Joanna Newsom – Sadie (Pets)

The Soggy Bottom Boys – Man of Constant Sorrow (I Am… Songs)

Paul Simon – Song about the Moon (er, Songs about the Moon)

British Sea Power – Carrion (The Sea)

Morcheeba – The Sea (Holidays)

All About Eve – Martha’s Harbour (The Sea)

10,000 Maniacs – Verdi Cries (Holidays)

Arvo Part – Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten (Songs that Make You Cry)

Lamb – Gorecki (Devoted Love)

Red House Painters – Dragonflies (Insects)

Pet Shop Boys – Always on my Mind (Guilt and Apology)

The Streets – Empty Cans (Songs with a Twist)

The Streets – Stay Positive (Consolation)

Eels – P.S. You Rock My World (Bereavement)

AOTW: I can't reign in my enthusiasm any longer

Big challenge for RRers this week:

I've run across an album that has captivated me for the past month, and like the following reviewer, nearly dismissed it after only half a song. What a bloody mistake that would have been! Here's a reviewer who agrees:

On the surface, Corb Lund is not going to be an artist you'd gravitate towards. I mean, country-fused songs with complex narratives about war, the cavalry and a strange obsession with horses is not most people's cup o' tea and to be honest, I hit eject the first time I listened to I Wanna Be In the Cavalry. Luckily, I decided to give the record the proper effort before giving up on it and I'm glad I did.

Despite the unique choice in subject matter, you can't deny Corb's lyrical skill. He paints detailed images of fragility, fear, love, and loss all within the context of soldiers from the past. Now, I know you might be thinking, "jebus: 15 songs about war?" .... This record is much more ambitious than 95% of the records I get sent, and I was almost too ready to ignore it. Hopefully the rest of you don't make the same mistake.
And so, at the risk of being ridiculed by RRers everywhere, here is:

Corb Lund & The Hurtin' Albertans
Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!

(See spotify or the box; it's an album, I can't link to 2 or 3 songs)
(Cartoon is one someone did of my Dad!)

Blimpy's Top Ten Albums Of The 2000s.

I might as well weigh in with this, there's probably glaring emissions, which is due to picking the first ten that sprang to mind, and keeping that order too:

1. KC Rules OK - King Creosote
2. Person Pitch - Panda Bear
3. Passover - The Black Angels
4. Original Pirate Material - The Streets
5. Elephant - The White Stripes
6. A Brighter Beat - Malcolm Middleton
7. Midnight Organ Fight - Frightened Rabbit
8. Alas I Cannot Swim - Laura Marling
9. Get Yr Blood Sucked Out - Viva Voce
10. Walking With Thee - Clinic

If you have Spotify, I've made a playlist, which can be accessed here.

I wonder if there'd be any consensus if we picked the best album of the noughties in these here comments.....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shiv's shelves

I'm posting this because Shiv asked me on RR whether my new bookshelves were adjustable enough to hold LPs. Yes they are, for height, but as you see they're not really deep enough!

Cheap as chipboard, though.


Star Wars fever has hit the household! Who needs to spend the huge amount of cash on a lego star wars kit, when you can just build your own!

'Spill points are on offer if you can name the spacecraft, and who would typically fly them?

Also, what's the best thing you've ever made from lego?

Uploaded by

Carole's Seminal Albums - #3

This week's album in the "Carole's Seminal Albums" series is Fairport Convention's 1969 ground-breaking Liege and Lief.

It was Fairport's fourth release and was a departure from what had come before; there were no Bob Dylan covers and the West Coast inspired folk-rock was replaced by a totally English folk sensibility.

This was something that had been hinted at on Unhalfbricking's most folky track A Sailor's Life, as well as by the use of Dave Swarbrick's fiddle playing. A session player on that album, he was a full-time band member by the time that Liege and Lief was recorded.

The main source for much of the material on the album was traditional English folk, as documented by Cecil Sharp. The band member who had driven this shift of styles was Ashley Hutchings, who left the band shortly after the album was released to form Steeleye Span and further develop his interest in traditional forms.

Despite the traditional basis for the material, Liege and Lief is an album that is very much an electric piece, graced by the superb lead guitar playing of the young Richard Thompson and driven by the bass and drums of Ashley Hutchings and Dave Mattacks.

It is also the album that came to define a purely British folk-rock tradition, leading not only to the formation of the already mentioned Steeleye Span but also to Sandy Denny and Trevor Lucas forming Fotheringay , as well as providing an alternative sound for British musicians to follow than the mainstream American blues and rock and roll palette.

Fairport Convention were not the first folk musicians to play to rock audiences, Pentangle were already a popular band in 1969, but they were probably the first band to really take traditional music and properly place it into an electric setting.

It is also important to put Liege and Lief into the context of the times. The psychedelic period was over, the '60s were coming to an end and in both the USA and the UK musicians were looking at older, more traditional forms, paring back on the excesses and getting back to the "roots". We can see this happening in the music produced by The Band on their first album Music From Big Pink and also on The Grateful Dead's 1970 release, Workingman's Dead. The first Crosby, Stills and Nash album also sees a shift towards more acoustic playing.

Liege and Lief is also an important influence on Led Zeppelin's third album, which was largely composed in a cottage in Wales with no electricity, and also on their fourth album, noticeably on The Battle Of Evermore which featured Sandy Denny duetting with Robert Plant and possibly on Stairway To Heaven as well.

As an aside, Robert turns up on Fairport's 2009 release Live At Cropredy '08, where he gets a huge cheer from the crowd, before performing The Battle Of Evermore with Kristina Donahue (Jerry Donahue's daughter) singing Sandy's part.

Here is the original album, plus the two bonus live tracks that were included on the CD re-issue.

Come All Ye


Matty Groves

Farewell, Farewell

The Deserter


Tam Lin

Crazy Man Michael

Sir Patrick Spens

Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Numa Numa Rock Monster

My son discovered this (those boys at Lego Power Miners strike again) and it made me laugh, so I thought I would share it.

Why am I only finding out about this now?

Being a fan of both Jeff Buckley and Cocteau Twins, and having had the huge good fortune of hearing both live, why did I not know about this until I was sent scurrying netwards today by The Guardian? Shame on me. I am now officially obsessed with this song.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Paper clip. Toilet Roll. Sodium. Twitter.

Now if anyone was going to Twitter, surely it'd be McGyver. I don't because I've never found a reason to. RR might be that reason though. As we trudge through the meaningless tedium of our lives, it might help to share what music we are playing to escape from that dull thumping in our skulls. Or to celebrate the glory of being alive. One of those stop and smell the flowers (if you don't have hay fever) - whiskey bottle half full half empty things.
Thoughts? Volunteer co-ordinator?

music + pictures that move = yay

I should mention that I found all of these at DRAWN! link in our links menu at the side.

Rain & Soil from Uniform Motion on Vimeo.

(Hep Hep) The Jumpin' Jive - Cab Calloway from Jack Delgado on Vimeo.


I have always suffered itchy-back syndrome and have developed a rather disconcerting habit of taking every opportunity (door-frames, lampposts, you name it) to have a good scratch. It may come as no surprise then that one of my favourite cartoon characters is Baloo from Disney’s adaptation of Kipling’s “Jungle Book”. My first question is simply:

1. Do you have a favourite animal cartoon character that you feel a certain affinity with?

One of my first memories is of falling headlong off the kitchen table at the age of three or four (what I was doing up there in the first place is anyone’s guess!) I was rushed into Darlington for emergency dentistry. After the dentist, my mum took me to a toyshop for a treat for being such a “brave boy” and let me choose just one toy. I spent ages trying to decide between a plastic sword and a garish plastic helmet with a visor. I finally plumped for the helmet. It was the first choice I remember having to make. I have since realised that it was significant because my choice of the helmet only underlines what I have since come to realise. That I am not such a “brave boy” after all! I tend to shie away from the difficult. I am more interested in self-preservation than being anyone´s knight on a white charger! My question is:

2. What is the first choice you remember having to make? And, do you, like me, feel it set a pattern for later life?

As a teenager one of my favourite novels was Dickens´Great Expectations. When I finally had a chance to see David Lean’s 1946 screen version, I loved it and was particularly happy with Alec Guinness as Herbert Pocket. My question is;

3. Do you have a favourite novel that has so far not been adapted for the screen, that you would like to see as a film? And, if so, who would you like to see in one (or more) of the key roles?

(I have an idea for this one – I have the novel but not the actor. I’ll answer at the end of the thread, if that’s OK).

One day when I was at school, the dinner ladies served a new pudding that I had never heard of before – cheesecake. I decided I didn’t like the look of it and decided that I didn’t like cheesecake. It became a pretty regular item on the menu but I steadfastly refused to try it. For years! When I finally tried cheesecake, I found that I loved it and of course felt a right charlie. My question is:

4. Have you ever made up your mind not to like a food or drink without even having tasted it? And have any of you finally relented and found out just how wrong you were?

And finally, word-play and punning is something of a speciality in these parts, isn’t it? As a language teacher I’ve always enjoyed it. I remember one of my youngest cousins, aged six or seven at the time, telling me the following joke:

“A Japanese Airliner carrying car spares lost its cargo in mid-flight the other day, the people had to run for cover because it was raining Datsun Cogs!”

5. Do any of you have examples of the young ‘uns in your lives surprising you with this sort of word play?

I make no apologies for this last question and the barrage of “cute” replies, I hope it provokes!

Here’s hoping everyone has a great weekend!


Who dat?

No. not me in my Coverville shirt.
No, not Thea Gilmore signing it.
The (other) balding gentleman in behind. His name is Rod Clements and opened for Thea in Birkenhead, impressing my 'date' sonofwebcore and I. But who is Rod Clements?

Show was £12 and worth the price to hear that lovely voice, for Fluff's soulful accompaniment,and for Rod's short opening set. A's for all three. B for atmosphere, C for production, percussion and guitar, so B- overall. A talent like Thea - eight albums by age 30 - would shine brighter in more favorable lighting.

Spill points to DaddyPig for knowing who Rod Clements is/was. (Read comments). So in a blatant bid to keep the thread going, Thea married her producer/manager Nigel Stonier, who also plays with her, which leads to the obvious questions about mixing work and pleasure. Is this a good idea? Can you still be objective at work? Does it inspire or stagnate you working with one person? Other than your kid hearing some great lullabies and carpooling, are there other home benefits? And do we know any examples. Feel free to discuss or go about your merry business as you please.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Separated at birth?

A perfect rose

Alexandra Bastedo

(Seriously, I cant be the only one who sees the connection?)

Mandy's Law: Why it's a Very Bad Thing

This post is created from discussions in Twitter with Dorian and others, about Peter Mandelson's so-called "Digital Economy" bill, essentially a Big Media wishlist allegedly concocted on a yacht in Corfu at David Geffen's expense.

Charlie Stross and Steve Lawson have expressed strong opinions on what it's likely to mean for creative artists who aren't megastars. Go and read what they've written.

Some people have dismiss concerns about this bill as pure hysteria and panicky scaremongering, suggesting that if you're not a heavy download, you've nothing to fear. Yeah, they say that about ID cards as well. How many people still buy that one?

Mandy's Law has the potential for enormous collateral damage. For starters, I have no confidence in their ability to distinguish between legal and illegal downloads without generating a great many false positives. While industry apologists claim they're only going to target a small number of heavy downloaders I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if they used the same shotgun approach as they've used with DCMA takedown notices in the past. And I'm sure Blimpy can tell us all about DMCA takedown notices. After some rudimentary traffic analysis they'll just assume everything that appears to be a music file but isn't from some whitelist of industry-approved download sites must be an illegal download. And out will go potentially millions of nastygrams threatening disconnection.

Think I'm exaggerating? I work in the software industry, as a tester. I know all about bugs in complex software, which is more than can be said for a technological illiterate like Peter Mandelson.

It's likely have a chilling effect on MP3 blogging, such as this very blog. MP3 blogging admittedly inhabits a legal grey area, but it's absence surely will limit the exposure of new bands. The false positive risk may even discourage unsigned bands from giving away free downloads, for fear that fans may be disconnected because isn't on some secret whitelist.

Of course, for the cartel of big media companies, that's not even an unintended consequence - adding a lot of additional hassle for unsigned bands works very much in their favour.

It's OK for industry shills to claim that this won't happen, but I'm not willing to give sweeping powers to the music biz on a vague promise that they won't be evil. Their past track record means they simply do not have my trust.

I also have a problem with the whole issue of collective punishment and guilty-unless-proved-innocent. The typical filesharer is a kid living with parents, or a perpetually-skint student in a shared house. The threat of collective punishment for entire households effectively conscripts everyone into being unwilling enforcers of an unpopular law. At the risk of breaking Godwin's law, it's the way the Nazis enforced order in occupied France in World War II. Hyperbole, maybe, but when you hear filesharing compared to terrorism...

AOTW: Radio Tarifa - Rumba Argelina

I've been thinking about posting this as AOTW for a while. It's something I've never mentioned on RR, I think, but I find it fascinating. The concept of Radio Tarifa, a band from Spain (I'm sure our Spanish correspondents know more about them than I do...) is that they are broadcasting from a radio station in Tarifa, the Southern tip of Spain. The music accordingly combines elements of all the music you might find in that area - Spanish, North African, Arabic - plus they toss into the mix some other types of music as well (there's more than a tad of Cuban influence, I believe). An amazing array of instruments shows up on the album - guitar, tar (persian lute), buzuki, derbouka, ney, crumhorn, tenor and soprano saxophone, electric bass, electric organ...

I've always been fascinated by parts of the world that see a lot of different cultures coming together - by the food and the art and the stories that emerge - and this is an example of that. It's an odd mix, but it really seems to work.

It's in the box.

Here's their website.

Here are a few tracks...

Lamma Bada

"a straight reading of one of the most oft-played tunes of the Arab world...retaining the song's modal structure (ie, all the instruments, even the bass, playing the same line at once)

La Canal

Nu Alrest

An adaptation of a song by a medieval troubadour named Walter von der Vogelweide, "dominated by the crumhorns and the melancholy tenor of Javier Raibal..."

Dalí on What's My Line

Bonus links:
Mos Def & Talib Kweli perform History live on TV, both via HHIR.

You love me... You really love me...

Having seized this opportunity to introduce Mr November 2010 - yes, Jasper is now going to be an actual pin-up in a Pet Calendar produced by the local petfood manufacturers - I want to announce something more serious and important: the opening of nominations for this year's Overs - the Annual 'Spill Awards. Please email abahachi 'at' with nominations for each category (up to three allowed per award), and feel free to append a sentence or two of justification if you wish. I shall endeavour to pull together all the suggestions in a manner which won't really satisfy anyone and certainly won't be nearly as good as Snadfrod's presentation last year, by some time in early January...

1. Album of the Year

2. Older albums that you've discovered or rediscovered this year.

3. Film of the Year

4. Book of the Year

5. Hero of the Year

6. Event of the Year

7. Villain of the Year

8. The Overcooked Award: artist must try harder, whatever the critics think...

Any suggestions for special awards, along the lines of Blimpy's nepotism award or Gremlin's nomination of Roy Keane as Hunk of the Year, gratefully received...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


You sure know how to set the right tone for your participation in any discussion, totally appropriate for your comments on the topic.
This has been my worst weekend in memory, I feel devastated by the response to my recent post, I thought that I was amongst friends here but the manner in which some of you chose to pile on the invective has revealed an aspect of your natures that I never expected. I made some mistakes apparently, you feel that the word 'race' is an unacceptable descriptive word to describe a group, would you have preferred 'Negro's' Would that sit better with your delicate sensibilities? "How the mighty have fallen" is a biblical quote that I thought appropriate to the case that I was presenting given the unbelievable list of world-wide talents, lost, to be replaced by 'what'? Hip-Hop? You chose to attack that rather than deal with my main concern which was the reality of the ghettos in this country, not a single comment was concerned with that. A dozen murders in three days in Oakland, meditate on that.

I shared that post with three black friends this weekend, they all endorsed it totally, two adding the reservation that they were concerned that their own teenage kids were actively emulating their hip-hop heros. From my perspective, living where and how I do and being somewhat aware of some of your circumstances, your lifestyles and where and how you choose to live, I find it disgusting that any of you can, from those perspectives, call me a racist.

And re. the 'piling on', it's not new here, when I posted some months back a question re the mathematical odds of three A lists to the same person out of literally a thousand plus nominations from hundreds of posters, which then keeps happening almost every week. My question was totally ignored, the first comment accused me of denigrating members of this community though I'd made a deliberate point of not doing that but the first to comment chose to ignore that and to attack me, then the rest piled on repeating his words and ignoring my question. 'Herd' mentality is commonly used, I prefer 'flock' mentality.

I was again disturbed by the vicious tone of the comments here when I recently made a casual suggestion that Ms. Fydo would be an interesting guest, and I was more disturbed when one of the group deliberately invited her over to read the vituperation.

And this week it's happened again, none of you have dealt with my main question, the relationship between hip-hop and ghetto violence, you chose instead to, as usual, attack and denigrate the messenger, and then of course you accuse the messenger of denigrating you. In Blimp's 'housekeeping' post I suggested that those who'd participated in this disgusting episode should re-read all the comments and then reflect on them, I hope they have.
I no longer feel comfortable here, to say the least, so I won't be back. I have friends here and if they want to stay in touch I would welcome that, my email is readily available. Obviously everything stated here isn't applicable to all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Meet Me In The Water

H2H#3 - A Red Light for the Greens/Bias Binding

A rather self-indulgent head to head this week, featuring two classic Leicester bands. Both Peel favorites, both as cutting edge as you please (at the time anyway) and both lyrically and sonically joyous. But which one does it best for you?

Deep Freeze Mice - A Red Light for the Greens

Yeah Yeah Noh - Bias Binding

All Come Down...

Performing in The Beta Band, and as King Biscuit Time; Steve Mason has managed to get two tracks into the RR Canon ("Dry The Rain", and "I Walk The Earth", respectively).

After quitting the music biz, battling severe depression, and splitting up with himself over the last few years, he's now back - releasing under his own name - and has the lead-off track, All Come Down from his new record (not out til March 2010) as a free download to get you all in the mood.

It's an "exclusive" on The Quietus, so you have to click here to get it.

Mnemonic, Japanther, SKP, Saneshane - this is the proper hi-fi version, as opposed to the youtube radiorip that I put up before.

Photo by Ryan McGinley.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oi, comics nerds!

Having been through a bit of a comics drought because Lincoln doesn't believe in culture, my friend pointed me in the direction of Jamie McKelvie's Phonogram and by jove! What a corker! Based on the idea of phonomancers and retromancers, Rue Britannia follows the quest to track down the spirit of Britpop, interveaved with the Manics-obsessed ghost of a girl that isn't actually dead. Lots of fun for the Britpop survivor, although I'm enjoying the follow-up collection of stories set over one night in one indie night: Phonogram The Singles Club. Indeed, I'm developing a major crush on Seth Bingo and his trusty be-bobbed sidekick, Silent Girl.

I've also recently discovered Adrian Tomine (very Dan Clowes) and Scott Pilgrim is very good fun: soon to be a film thanks to Edgar Wright, of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead fame. Anyone got any recommendations?

Our new PC won't let me add a pic, so click here to see McKelvie's blog:

you'll act funny when your old

this is just great:
Black Sweatshirt

I did know the same girl in the comic shop.. yep she got it a lot:
DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake

(Ms.Williams has been posted before but it is a class version.. seventeen is different to shoeys)
a mini count up to coming of age:
17 & Over!

my song:
Born In The 70s

closest ninja tune I could find - bet nilf has a better idea:
The Ageing Young Rebel (Gentle Cruety)

just what else is it about?:
Life & Other Sex Tragedies

My mother naturally liked it

Tattoo - the Who
The Trees They Do Grow High - Martin Carthy with Dave Swarbrick
Coming Of Age - Any Trouble
Bogie's Bonnie Belle - Richard Thompson
A Living Wage - Ron Kavana
Read About Love - Richard Thompson

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Let's Grow Up

Growing Up
When I Grow Up
The Boys Are Leaving Town
Teenage Superstars
Teen Love

Mary of the 4th Form
Oh Princess
Young Lover
Young Generation Dub

Just to prove that Hippos don't always attack....

For Nilpferd - we saw this on the telly tonight and went "Ooooooooooooooooohhhhh!"

The Grown Up

You're a big boy now

Carole's Seminal Albums: #2 in an occasional series

This week it is David Bowie's 1970 (released in early 1971 in the UK) album The Man Who Sold The World

This album was where the blueprint for his later incarnation as Ziggy Stardust can first be seen, not least because it is where the nucleus of the Spiders From Mars first comes together.

The album was a real departure from what had come before as far as Bowie's music is concerned. The sound is heavy, riff powered and guitar driven, clearly taking hints from the burgeoning hard rock being played by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Edgar Broughton and others.

The subject matter of the material is dark; insanity, death, war and powerful outsider deities (derived from the works of H.P Lovecraft) predominate. Humanity takes a back seat here, notably in Saviour Machine, where an omnipotent computer decides to kill off the human race.

The Supermen is a very dark song, clearly linked directly to H.P Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and also referring to the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. The riff was apparently one of Jimmy Page's, who "gave" it to Bowie when he was a session player on one of Bowie's 1960s songs I Pity The Fool.

The music on TMWSTW is dominated by the proto-metal guitar of the late Mick Ronson and was the second Bowie album produced by Tony Visconti, who also played bass on the album.

This album was notorious for its cover, featuring a very feminine David Bowie in a gorgeous long satin dress (designed by Michael Fish - who was not a weatherman - he also designed the shirts Jon Pertwee wore as Dr Who) and knee-high leather boots.

Later issues of the album had a more conventional cover, a black and white photo of Bowie looking far more like Ziggy.

Anyway, I believe that this album had an influence that defined the way music developed in the 1970s and beyond.

Bowie's exploration of the androgyny theme on the cover was a seminal influence on the beginning of the Glam movement in 70s rock, which in turn spawned Roxy Music, who along with Bowie were an important influence on the Bromley contingent who were instrumental to the beginning of Punk, especially in the careers of the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Musically, the album took metal styles and pushed them into the commercial arena, not necessarily with this album alone but also with Bowie's later work as Ziggy. It would be difficult to imagine Goth without this album too. The dark themes are really proto-Goth in a very major way.

The Width Of A Circle

All The Madmen

Black Country Rock

After All

Running Gun Blues

Saviour Machine

She Shook Me Cold

The Man Who Sold The World

The Supermen

'Spill Housekeeping

Hey 'Spillers,

Believe it or not, there exists a big, red, "delete blog" button.

The reason I stopped posting over on GU Music was because I was fed up with all the trolling and BS that went on - that was well over a year ago, and if this blog degenerates in the same way then I won't hesitate to press that very button.


Let's discuss this in the comments, please.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gong: Bristol 19th November 2009

It was at the Academy, an OK venue I think, not too big and with a good view of the stage. Unfortunately they don't allow photography inside, so no pics I'm afraid.

Gong have basically got a classic line-up back together and they have a new album too - which I posted here a while back.

The touring line-up is (I think)

Daevid Allen - voice, guitar
Steve Hillage - guitar
Gilli Smyth – voice, space whisper
Miquette Giraudy - synthesisers
Mike Howlett - bass
Chris Taylor - drums
Theo Travis – sax and flute

OK, so first up last night we had the Steve Hillage band, basically the above without Daevid, Gilli or Theo.

I enjoyed them a lot, pretty rave orientated stuff with classic Hillage moments thrown in. Very tight, focussed and danceable. You can see that Steve Hillage has immersed himself in trace, rave and other more modern music while still keeping his core appeal. Definitely music to be enjoyed with an E.

The back projections and lights were excellent too, as they stayed for the whole evening.

Then, after about 20 minutes or so, the main event. They started off with the same players as before plus Theo Travis and the feel of the opening number was a continuation of what went before, maybe a bit more jazz-rock, but very tight and dance orientated. So far, so good.

Then on comes Daevid Allen. The last time I saw Gong was in about 1974 but he hasn't really changed except to get older. Still as weird as ever.

He came out in a wizard's hat type of thing and a sparkly cape arrangement over what looked like psychedelic pyjamas. He looked like Catweazle on acid.

He was surprisingly sprightly for his age, he is easily 70 if he's a day. He was later joined by Gilli Smyth, who added in her patented Shakti Yoni "space whispers" on several tracks and generally grooved away to the music.

I have to say it was weird, they are easily the oldest people I've ever seen playing lived tripped-out space rock. Still, good luck to them.

The set was pretty long, around two hours and was all at a fairly constant tempo, still with that rave/dance intensity and with the excellent Miquette Giraudy and Steve Hillage providing the musical layering and textures. Mike Howlett was a solid bass presence and the drumming of Chris Taylor pushed it all along at a steady pace. I liked a lot of Theo Travis' input but overall he gets a bit drowned out in the mix at times. His flute work was good.

At times the intensity of the music was almost like Hawkwind, hard-driven space rock with wobbly noises and whooshes and at other times veered off to a jazz-rock tinged rave sort of thing.It was pretty relentless overall, with some slow spacey passages.

There was a fair bit of the glissando guitar on the slower bits which was hard to pick out from the synths occasionally, because everything was going through a lot of processing and FX channels.

So, what did I think?

Well, a bit of a mixed bag really. Mostly, I enjoyed it a lot but the whimsy and general silliness of Daevid Allen was a bit wearing at times. I could have done with more of the hard playing and less of the space whispers too.

We stayed for one encore but the second one was a bit of an aimless jam, with more of the same acid rave and whimsy as had gone on before, so we left.

Maybe if I'd been on 'shrooms or acid it would have been a total mind-trip, but I was 100% straight and there were moments where I just wanted them to get on with it and play the music.

I'd definitely see the Steve Hillage Band again, maybe not Gong though.

Fuck Off!

F Word
London Underground
Evidently Chickentown
Plaistow Patricia
Killing In The Name Of (Biancardi Remix)
I Haven't Got a MySpace, Because MySpace Fucking Sucks
Grumpy Old Men
Pardon My Freedom
Cunts Are Still Running The World

Edit: Now with added !!!

I'm in My Happy Place

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I do not appreciate all the fucking swearing.

just as your parents walk in (or child now)

WARNING: may contain nuts.
Bad Luck
GDMFSOB [Unkle Uncensored]
Fuck The People
We Do Not Fuck Around
The Man Don't Give A Fuck [Full Length Version]

my albatross nomination

EOTWQ: Kenneth Tynan special

For no particular reason, this week's questions are themed around the British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, who died 29 years ago last July.

1. Tynan wrote of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, "I could not love anyone who did not wish to see Look Back in Anger." Is there anything that you feel this way about? (Not music, obviously, you know you're not allowed to discuss music... unless you really want to)

2. Tynan was also one of the few critics to "get" Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot - savaged at the time, now revered. What do you think deserves a critical reappraisal?

3. Famously, Tynan was also the first person to say "fuck" on British TV: "I doubt if there are any rational people to whom the word 'fuck' would be particularly diabolical, revolting or totally forbidden." Cue moral outcry, a public apology from the BBC and four separate parliamentary motions condemning it. So... Swearing: is it big and clever? And if yes, can you give a favourite example?

4. As well as a critic, Tynan was a great diarist. Do you keep a diary, or have you ever kept one? Why? How do you feel about yourself when you read it back?

5. Of course, diaries may reveal rather too much... such as Kenneth Tynan's predeliction for spanking. Sado-masochistic sex apart, tell us one of your guilty pleasures.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

OMG! It happened and we missed it!

Hey, visitors to the mothership have been warning us about this for years!!

At least we're on the way up again.

Albatross Songs

I think "Albatross Songs" is worthy of its own post, as started in the Jazz Club comments, so here it is...

So far we have:

"Shiny Happy People" - REM
"Creep" - Radiohead
"Nothing Compares 2 U" - Sinead O'Connor
"The King Of Rock & Roll" - Prefab Sprout
"Born In The USA" - Teh Boss
"Rip It Up" - Orange Juice
"Hi Ho Silver Lining" - Jeff Beck
"You're Gorgeous" - Babybird
"Come On Eileen" - Dexy's

I'd like to add:

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana, the song that came to embody everything they hated about the 'jock meathead' fans that they gathered by having a massive pop smash.

I've heard that Randy Newman hates his most famous song "Short People" cos it's essentially a novelty song.

I'm sure there's many more - any to add, 'Spillers?

Spill Exclusive! Bob Marley not dead!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Alicia Keys' 80s Power Ballad + Free MP3s

This is a RIDICULOUS video, and she still refuses to appear in a video without a piano, but on first listen, I'm taken by it.

And to avoid complete blog fail, here are 50 free em pee threes courtesy of InSound.

Eadweard Muybridge

Goneforeign's brilliant picture reminded me of Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904). He was a very fascinating and eccentric fellow.

In 1872, former Governor of California Leland Stanford, a businessman and race-horse owner, had taken a position on a popularly-debated question of the day: whether all four of a horse's hooves left the ground at the same time during a gallop. Stanford sought out Muybridge and hired him to settle the question.[2] Muybridge's relationship with Stanford was long and fraught, heralding both his entrance and exit from the history books.
To prove Stanford's claim, Muybridge developed a scheme for instantaneous motion picture capture. Muybridge's technology involved chemical formulas for photographic processing and an electrical trigger created by the chief engineer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, John D. Isaacs.
In 1877, Muybridge settled Stanford's question with a single photographic negative showing Stanford's racehorse Occident airborne in the midst of a gallop.
By 1878, spurred on by Stanford to expand the experiment, Muybridge had successfully photographed a horse in fast motion using a series of twenty-four cameras. Muybridge used a series of 12 stereoscopic cameras, 21 inches apart to cover the 20 feet taken by one horse stride, taking pictures at one thousandth of a second. The cameras were arranged parallel to the track, with trip-wires attached to each camera shutter triggered by the horse's hooves.

He developed a zoopraxiscope, an early device for showing motion pictures, which was probably an inspiration for Edison's Kinetoscope. He had a busy life - he murdered his wife's lover, and Philip Glass wrote an opera about his murder trial.

I'm fascinated by the links between still photography and motion pictures.
Here's a little documentary about him...

Tuesday Tunes

In The Dark - The Whigs
Dizzy - Hugo Montenegro
Freedom To The People - The Heptones

Well Blimpy, since you ask....

This came in the post today:

$10US signed including shipping.

What I Bought On My Lunch...

In the 3 cds for £3.00 section, today I purchased:

When - Vincent Gallo (Warp Records, 2001, out of print, hard to get hold of)

"Under The Western Freeway" - Grandaddy (Will Records, 1997, a 9.6/10 classic - I thought I owned this, but found out recently it was "The Sophtware Slump" I had)

"Wagonwheel Blues" - The War On Drugs (Secretly Canadian, 2008, a relatively new one for balance, the old band of the dude Kurt Vile who's making waves just now)

Anyone got any good bargains lately (it doesn't have to be music)?

Free Pixies

Free EP from the 20th anniversary concert for Doolittle.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New On Fence Records

This is a new signing to the beloved Fence Records; 'BE WATER (Je suis de l'eau)' by Fránçois & The Atlas Mountains. You can read more about him here on the Fence Records site.

It's french pop, and the video seems to be nearly all animated using watercolour pictures!!!

In other Fence related news - it seems that 'Spill favourite King Creosote has a new album. Except you can't buy it. It only exists live, and has so far been played only once. I'm listening to it now. I think Kenny is making a stand against folks who think music should be entirely free, as he says on the Fence site:


What was i thinking?! - music should be free for all ... file sharing, spotify, free downloads - all of it very good news for record labels, recording studios, music magazines, record shops, and of course the bands themselves.

i haven't recorded "my first bit of strange in 13 years" yet, and don't intend to for a while, but i have performed the album live in its entirety at the fence halloween weekend in front of an invited audience, the members of which were asked to record the show for themselves on battery powered equipment. i think it went alright. folks are passing their recordings around with my blessing.

captain geeko the dead aviator accompanied me on drums, guitar and samples. we had to practise a few times, and this came as such a shock to our busking nature that our hair began to resemble "see you jimmy" wigs by the start of side B.

"my second/third/fourth ... bit of strange in 14 years" (how quickly time flies) will be performed at fence homegame 7. the line up will change throughout the weekend, and i hope to see some of you there.

don't forget your dictaphones.

Ironically, Fence artists are pretty much the only folks I'm guaranteed to spend my cash on, and Fence artists seem to be the only folks I go to see live these days. Homegame tickets go on sale soon too by the way.

Festive 'Spill Two - The Replay

5 weeks to go to Krimble (sorry), so it's about time to launch Festive 'Spill 2009. Continuing the tradition established by the late, great John Peel (Dandelion Radio do a fine job keeping the official thing going - but our version is just as good, if not better).

Here are the roolz:

- Each 'Spiller (or RR lurker) can nominate 3 songs.

- Songs should be new releases from 2009 (or late 2008 that missed inclusion late last year).

- If you really don't have any faves from '09, you can pick 3 tunes that you think would be appropriate (discovered this year on RR or the 'Spill, perhaps?).

- Email your 3 nominations in order #1 = most favoritest, #3 = least best, but still really good & needs to be heard) to

- Dropbox users: Your e-mail should contain URL links to actual mp3's (Your private folder in Dropbox). If you're on Dropbox, but don't know how to do this, e-mail when you're ready & I can create a folder for you to copy the tunes into. If not on the box, & want to be, ask Tin nicely. Don't use the RR folder as this will spoil the surprise.

- Not on Dropbox? Then you can e-mail actual mp3's - best to do this one at a time to avoid them getting trapped in mail size filters. If all else fails, just e-mail me a list of the tunes and will attempt to find them for you. Afraid that Podbean, Deezer or Spotify links won't work.

- Be sure to include your RR/'Spill/Dropbox name in the e-mail as it's not always obvious who's who, especially if you start using supposedly real names.

- Nominations are on a first come, first served basis. So vote early. If one of your picks is taken, I will e-mail you back so you can make another pick.

- Deadline & broadcast dates? Thoughts in the comments please along with any questions.

- This was a lot of fun last year. Please take part if you can.

- Phew.

Magic Highway

Amazing how this vision of the future is outdated.

Super Bob

Bob Dylan songs as comics. Looks cool, more examples here.

Desperately late ...

DarceysDad, Dave Harding, DaddyPig, Willy Vlautin
(with thanks to RF guitar player Dan Eccles for taking the photo, and drummer Sean Oldham for manning the merchandise stall whilst I buggered about setting this up!)

The picture is indeed from September's Richmond Fontaine gig at The New Roscoe in Leeds. But what with one thing and another, I never got round to doing a review write-up. Too late for that now, I suppose, but the band's natural fit for this week's Readers Recommend Desperate Songs topic gave me an excuse to approach it from a different angle.

Willy Vlautin strikes a chord with me specifically because he writes about the sorts of character that I very, very nearly became. But for one fortuitous choice previously recalled in goneforeign's June Forks In The Road EOTWQ, I would (OK, could) have been an unqualified, disaffected drifter blindly walking a lifechoice fencetop 'twixt working-class nobody and underclass loser; the only difference between me and Willy's desperadoes is that I'd have been northwest UK instead of northwest USA.

I'm not going to repeat the songs I nominated on RR, as I did find links for those, but to prove I could have easily nominated twenty more, here's another couple of favourites that fit the Desperation topic. I've tried to find some of the more uptempo garage-y tunes to counter the softer ones I nominated on the mothership:


If I get a chance tomorrow, I might add a couple of other (non-RF) desperate songs, because I have loved this topic. Of course that means I'm setting myself up for another fall(out) with our Guru if PaulMac's choice doesn't include at least a DsD brace!!
(It's finally GOTTA BE Lorraine Ellison's week, hasn't it?)


Sunday, November 15, 2009

RR Northern Social CD Compilations: an update

I have so much music still to listen to, I've employed a crack team of hip young dudes to do it for me ...

Seriously, I know I'm not the only one still with discs to listen to, so I thought I would start another thread, so we can all keep our promises of feedback on the front page of The 'Spill.

The only comments I have ready to add to the previous thread are in as first response below.

For comments already made last month, go here.

i know this was ripped off the radio and doesn;t sound 100%, but i also knew that there are some 'spillers out there that can't wait either. ....'s the new steve mason song "all come down".

The Twelve Tasks Of ToffeeBoy #11 – James Taylor

At last, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel – however, as our good friends Half Man Half Biscuit were good enough to warn us, said light could well be that of an oncoming train! Anyhoo, the pointless task which I set myself at the beginning of 2009 is now nearly complete, this being the penultimate one.

Back in January I drew up a list of possible contenders to share with the class which I then almost immediately lost and couldn’t quite bring myself to recreate. All I know for sure is that the current taskee was on that list. Over the very nearly two years since I first posted in these parts I’ve almost come to terms with the idea that my taste in music (which I had always thought of as mainstream) doesn’t quite fit into the RR mindset. I did quite well under Maddy’s tenure but with the other gurus (Dorian included) it’s all gone very quiet. I’m currently stalled on 5 A-Listers with only one of those appearing in 2009! So it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise to me when I note that one of my favourite artists has so far drawn a blank in RR-land – Martin Stephenson, The High Llamas, Dean Friedman, Microdisney, Gene and Crowded House for instance are all currently languishing in the null points section – but I have to say that I was shocked (shocked, d’ye hear?) to discover that the subject of this month’s task has failed to trouble the RR scorers.

According to the Mighty Marconium Koko Taylor’s made it once and R Dean of that ilk has two hits to his name – but their younger brother James? Nada. Nichts. Rien. Not a sniff. Now, I’m prepared to accept that the other artistes named above are (largely) best described as peripheral as far as the history of popular music is concerned but surely no one can deny that JT is a significant artist? This year sees the 40th anniversary of the release of his eponymously-titled debut album. Since then he’s released another 15 studio albums, ten of which have reached the US top ten, and ten of which have gone platinum (no I don’t really know what that means either). There have also been countless EPs, singles and ‘Best Of’ compilations – all of which add up to a considerable body of work.

The list of artists that James Taylor has collaborated with over the years reads like a who’s who of British & American popular music. Here’s a small sample of the names: Michael & Randy Brecker, Neil Young, Valerie Carter, David Crosby, Steve Gadd, Art Garfunkel, George Harrison, Don Henley, Carole King, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Carly Simon, Joe Walsh and Stevie Wonder.

But none of this really matters; my point is that, as a song writer, if nothing else, JT is right up there with the very best of them. I love his plaintive voice, his lyrics are honest and often self-referential and to top it all he’s an exceptionally accomplished guitarist - but above all, it's about the melodies. I’m less fond of his rockier numbers – he really should stick to the more folk-tinged acoustic sound – but at his best, he is undoubtedly one of the best around. So why has he never made it to the A-List? F*cked if I know. Doesn’t make any sense at all to me …

The last few tasks have met with generally favourable comments – with this one I fear that I may once more have to face up to the dreaded accusations of … M.O.R! So anticipating such comments let me just say this: No. You’re wrong! Look beyond the (admittedly) relatively easy-on-the ear music and you will find depth and beauty. These are the songs of a troubled man and his hurts and his pain can, at times, clearly be felt – but they’re also the songs of a very funny and entertaining man. I’ve never seen him live but I’ve seen plenty of concert footage and believe me, it’s good stuff.

OK: confession time. Of the 15 albums released by James Taylor, I only have six – and five of them are from the 70s. Hmmm… Hardly representative then, I hear you say. Well … you’ll just have to take it as you find it. Of course if any of you have any other JT recordings that you’d like to share …

If you buy one James Taylor album it should probably be Sweet Baby James – personally I prefer In The Pocket but SBJ is arguably a more ‘important’ album. There are also some very good ‘Best Of’ collections to choose from.

The Music
Something In The Way She Moves
Carolina In My Mind
Country Road
Fire And Rain
Riding On A Railroad
Mud Slide Slim
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
One Man Parade
Walking Man
I Was A Fool To Care
A Junkie’s Lament
Captain Jim’s Drunken Dream
On The Fourth Of July
September Grass

Bonus track to get us all in the mood for the upcoming festivities:
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Official website
Unofficial website