Monday, 28 November 2016
Be-Bop Deluxe's 1978 LP 'Drastic Plastic' was Bill Nelson's attempt to embrace the UK's burgeoning New Wave scene, but the group's fanbase appeared less than impressed. As a result of this relative failure, Nelson disbanded Be-Bop Deluxe, retaining just keyboard player Andy Clark for his next venture. In the event, Bill Nelson's Red Noise released just one LP, 1979's 'Sound-On-Sound', after which Nelson commenced a prolific solo career that continues to this day. 'Sound-On-Sound' contains some great moments though, not least the band's second and final single 'Revolt Into Style'.
Bill Nelson's Red Noise - Revolt Into Style
Saturday, 26 November 2016
Charity Chic's weekly 'Dylan Covered' series pitches an original Bob Dylan recording in direct competition with another artist's version of the same song, leaving the reader to cast a vote for one performance or the other. Most of the time (see what I did there Bob aficionados?) this doesn't pose a problem for me. I've spent more hours of my life listening to and thinking about Bob Dylan than is probably healthy for a man of my age, so Bob will usually get the nod. He's far from infallible though and I'm happy give credit to a good interpretation where it's due. But Charity Chic has twisted the decision making knife a little further on a couple of occasions, by pitching Bob directly against another of my favourite artists. Already in the series I've had to mull over Dylan vs Robyn Hitchcock (see here for the result of that encounter) and this week, Dream Syndicate's fabulous reading of 'Blind Willie McTell' is up for the popular vote against Bob's sublime original (here). I've been a fan of The Dream Syndicate since 'The Days of Wine and Roses' in 1982, which seems an awfully long time ago now that I come to think about it. The band split in 1989 and I've continued to follow Steve Wynn's busy career as a solo artist in the years since. I'm slightly horrified to note the paucity of Steve's music in my back pages, so by way of recompense, here's the title track from his 1999 LP, a personal favourite and a song which was the highlight of a concert I caught around the turn of the century.
Steve Wynn - My Midnight
Friday, 25 November 2016
When I was a very young child, I lived in constant fear that after my parents had come in to my bedroom to say their goodnights, they would leave the house, never to be seen again. Dad was always the last to try and settle me. Very early on, I was unhappy with the actual word 'goodnight'. To my young brain, it sounded too much like 'goodbye' - too final. If he accidentally uttered 'goodnight' while tucking me in, tears of panic would ensue and it would take some time to calm me down. Eventually, after much trial and error, he found some words that I was okay with. 'Nighty night for now', he'd say cheerily, as he switched out my light. My infant logic determined that Dad's calming phrase contained a firm promise that the night was only temporary and everything would be as it should be come the morning. I slept easy.
Nighty night for now Dad.
Thursday, 24 November 2016
Well wouldn't ya know it. Just a few weeks after I bemoaned the lack of any recent music by The Blackeyed Susans (in this post), along comes a brand new EP - hopefully the precursor to a full length album in 2017. 'Lover or the Loved' is scheduled for release on December 2nd, though one of the EP's four songs is already available to enjoy - and what a stunner it is. 'The Good Life Never Ends' was written by the late great David McComb of The Triffids for his final band Costar, though his recording has never received an official release. 'The Good Life Never Ends' clearly means a lot to The Blackeyed Susans, as they've previously recorded an intense live reading of it in 2008, for a David McComb tribute album. Here are all three versions.
The new Blackeyed Susans EP 'Lover or the Loved' is available to pre-order here.
David McComb & Costar - The Good Life Never Ends (Demo)
The Blackeyed Susans - The Good Life Never Ends (Live 2008)
Friday, 18 November 2016
Mrs S & I returned from our London odyssey a couple of days ago (she exhibiting her ceramics on the King's Road, me odd-jobbing for my elderly Aunt in East Ham) to a world without Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughan, Leon Russell & Mose Allison and where Donald Trump will soon be the most powerful man on the planet. Donald Trump. I'm still reeling. Since we got home, I've been doing my best to catch-up with as many blogs as possible. It'll take a while, it's been quite a week. Swiss Adam has the right idea - fight the darkness with 'up' tunes - melodies to make you whistle and hum. In that spirit, I humbly submit 'Trouble', the forthcoming Moshi Moshi 7" single by North London band Girl Ray. It may be a song about 'apathy and hating yourself', but my goodness, what a great pop song it is. 'Trouble' is released in a limited edition of 300 on November 25th. Order it here, but be quick about it.
Tuesday, 15 November 2016
One Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks back, I spotted a comment on a post over at Is This the Life by a reader by the name of Iano1, recommending an album by a band I'd never heard of. The post in question was one of the stops on TheRobster's brilliant World Tour series. The recommendation by Iano1 was for 'House in the Tall Grass', the third LP by psych-infused Japanese band Kikagaku Moyo. I'm always intrigued when I get a recommendation on the back of something I already like, so without further ado I checked out 'House in the Tall Grass' on their Bandcamp page. Rather good it is too. Thanks Iano1.
Saturday, 12 November 2016
The one record I own by David Sylvian is a 2005 album entitled 'Snow Borne Sorrow', which is credited to Nine Horses, a collaboration between Sylvian, Steve Jansen and Burnt Friedman, with assistance from Arve Henriksen, Stina Nordenstam and Ryuichi Sakamoto. 'Snow Borne Sorrow' is an icily beautiful thing. I admit that I know little about Sylvian's work in general, but I can't imagine he's ever put his name to anything quite so sublime as 'The Librarian'.
Nine Horses - The Librarian
Thursday, 10 November 2016
Here's one that sometimes causes a bit of confusion. The mighty 'Heavenless' has long been credited to Don Drummond Jr & The Skatalites, although in reality, the trombone on this Clement Dodd produced Studio One scorcher is the work of Vin Gordon. I only own this classic tune on CD, though I'm pleased to note that Soul Jazz Records have recently reissued it on 12". I have to say that I'm extremely tempted.
Vin Gordon - Heavenless
Monday, 7 November 2016
Mrs S has been beavering away in her studio for the past couple of months, fashioning as many ceramic delights as possible for an event taking place in London in a couple of days time. We're heading off to the smoke tomorrow morning and won't be back for at least a week. I've had to up my game in the real world while she's been in full-on creative mode, which means I haven't had much time to prepare posts to cover my absence, but I now find myself with a couple of hours to spare, so I'll see what I can achieve when the pressure's on!
Here's something that dropped into my in-box over the weekend. The band is called Opposite Sex and they hail from New Zealand. The phrase 'New Dunedin Sound' has been bandied about in relation to Opposite Sex, though they possibly wouldn't thank me for repeating it. They've described what they do as 'an absurdist-logico mix of Euro pop, Beat poetry, and subterranean lo-fi adventuring'. Their second album, 'Hamlet', gained a limited self-distributed release last year, but has recently become more widely available. From it, this is 'Oh Ivy'. If you're intrigued by what you hear, check out the whole album. See you in a week or so.
Saturday, 5 November 2016
I first heard Visqueen's spooky interpretation of the popular 1968 TV theme 'White Horses' on an episode of Andrew Weatherall's 'Music's Not For Everyone' radio show back in the summer. This oddly disturbing reading of a seemingly innocent little song has just been released on a compilation, 'Easy Listening Vol.1', through Must Die Records. The tunes on 'Easy Listening Vol.1' emanate from the Tse Tse Fly multimedia art cooperative in Dubai and range from the mildly haunting to the frankly terrifying. None are what I'd necessarily think of as easy listening. If the sound of 'White Horses' whets your appetite, you can check out the whole album here - if you dare.
Wednesday, 2 November 2016
These days, we all have the technical capability to prepare individual playlists to suit every specific occasion - the shower, the school run, the morning commute, the gym etc etc. I must admit that I usually just stick to old fashioned, unthemed compilations, though were I pressed to put together a playlist to accompany me as I stood on the central reservation of the M25 during rush hour, 'Entranced Earth' by The Myrrors would be the first tune on it. 'Entranced Earth' is the title track of the Tucson band's third LP, which was released earlier this year. It's relentless, claustrophobic and more than a little unsettling - and, to be perfectly honest, I'm also finding it a bit addictive.
Check out the whole album here.
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