28 April 2011

disco corner

Just a few very old skool disco hits for this lunchtime

Idris Muhammd - Tasty Cakes

Valentine Brothers - Money's Too Tight To Mention

Eddie Kendricks - Date With the Rain ( Disco Mix )

Gloria Gaynor - Honey Bee

And a lovely re-working of a classic, Soulwax - Lipps NYC

27 April 2011

japanease 120 track charity album

Talking of the Japanese disaster, can I also point you in the direction of this a 3 album electronic music collection by some of the biggest names around? 

The blurb from the record company probably describes it better than I could ever do:

"JAPANEASE is a charity electronic dance music compilation available worldwide on various music download services. This is Wordandsounds (music distributor) contribution and effort to ease the terrible suffering resulting from the devastating disaster happened on March 11th, 2011 in Japan. The entire income of sales will be donated to the area of Sendai/Miyagi through the German Japanese Association in Hamburg, Germany. Initiated by Wordandsound and various independent music labels the compilation contains more than 120 tracks (view tracklisting - total track count: 138, previously unreleased tracks: 47) from highly respected artists of the worldwide electronic dance music scene. All people involved in the project, made their contribution completely free of charge"

I've had a listen and it's quite simply amazing.

embalmed japanese concept pop

I subscribe to the Wire magazine, a very classy publication devoted to avant-garde, electronic and experimental music. It's opened my eyes to a lot of music I would otherwise never have had the chance to listen to. This is one such item. It's a mix of Japanese rock, pop, psychedelia, manga tunes, arcade game sounds and all manner of lovely weirdness. Most of the tracks sound quite retro and there's some lovely cover versions in this hour long masterpiece.

It's called 'Futen Carmen meets Keizer Ketchup - Embalmed Japanese Concept Pop' and it's mixed by Andy Votel (of FindersKeepers Records) who seems to be a foreign music nut. I love the cut of his gib. He was inspired to make it after being contacted by Oi Polloi in Manchester, one of the best men's fashion shops in the north. He plays at an Oi Polloi organised fundraiser for Japanese victims of the horrendous earthquake recently. If you are in Manchester on 30th April then I encourage you to attend this excellent event.

More details here: Oi Polloi Japanese Fundraiser

The Wire Article can be found here: The Wire: Adventures in Modern Music: Article

day 30 - my favourite song at this time last year

A double post to mark the end of this little experiment. Hope you enjoyed some of my selections.

Gil Scott Heron - New York is Killing Me

Ray Lamontagne - New York City's Killin Me

26 April 2011

day 29 - a song from my childhood

Lots to choose from but one or two that stick out

Roger Daltrey - Giving It All Away

25 April 2011

24 April 2011

better than an easter egg

Inspired by watching that video of Krupa and Rich at the top of their game I'm going to post this wonderfully poppy song by the Wave Pictures - 'Just Like A Drummer'. 

day 27 - a song that i wish i could play

Buddy Rich/Gene Krupa - Drum Off on the Sammy Davis Jr Show

(One of the coolest videos I've ever seen)

23 April 2011

another summery song

I'm really disappointed I couldn't pick a better tune on my music challenge so to make up for it I'll play some old soul. This is Gene Page with 'All Our Dreams' and produced by Barry White. I love how the song really kicks in on the 1'09'' mark.

day 26 - a song that i can play on an instrument

I have very little musical ability but could probably still just about get a tune out of a bugle

Sorry - this entry is a bit crap, isn't it?

22 April 2011

a lazy song for a lazy day

Gonjasufi - Sheep. This is perfect beach music. Have a lovely Easter

day 25 - a song that makes me laugh

Mainly for the video but the tune is the business too

Casiokids - Fot I Hose

21 April 2011

i think we have a contender for song of the year

Raphael Saadiq - Heart Attack


I'm a big fan of Sade. She comes in for a lot of uninformed criticism about her music mainly, I think, on the back of her 80s output and how zeitgeist-y it was and the fact that some of the tunes haven't aged too well (see the Timmy Thomas blog post) but in my opinion she is a rare jewel. Her output isn't prolific and her media appearances few and far between but that's partly because she's allowed her musical career to take a backseat often and from what I can gather she is painfully shy. It does mean however that her albums are eagerly anticipated and the standards have been consistently high.

She has an ultimate collection out in early May and prior to this she's releasing 3 new songs and a remix of an old one in collaboration with Jay-Z no less. Here it is below. I'm not sure on this one as I'm not Jay-Z's biggest fan nor of the rap-remix type of affair they've turned this song into.

I'm on safer ground with this, also a new release. It's a cover version of Thin Lizzy's 'Still In Love With You'. There's all the trip-hoppy drums, the melancholic delivery, the unmistakable voice and crystal clear production that we all expect on here and the end result is a wonderful re-imagining of the original.

More details and the full tracklisting can be found here: http://www.sade.com/gb/news/

day 24 - a song that i want to played at my funeral

Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man - Mysteries

20 April 2011

daniel steinberg - dominator ep

I'm very excited that the prolific Daniel Steinberg has released yet another super smash EP, this time under his alter-ego of Harry Axt. The Dominator EP was released a few days ago on AFU Limited Records and was recorded and mixed in Berlin. I'm amazed his output is of such a high quality considering his busy schedule which includes his work in front of the crowd and behind the mixing decks at his studio. He's really at the top of his game and can be ranked alongside other A-listers such as Hawtin, M.A.N.D.Y. and Claude Von Stroke. These people rock!

This EP is a lot heavier than his usual output and really means business form the start. Don't Give Up and Domination are full on techno productions with great hooks and a compelling beat. Underwater Poison is more leftfield but is no mere album filler and has Steinberg's trademark speech sample. Suzuko is Steinberg at his playful best. An underlying acid bass with the cutest Japanese singer accompanying makes for a big smile on my face and also my Easter present to myself!

Go to Beatport.comGet These TracksAdd This Player

a lovely morning mix for you all

I came across this mix on one of my favourite blogs: mnml ssgs from the founder of Kontra Musik, Ulf Eriksson. It's a really lovely dubby, atmospheric arrangement.  It's quite low-key and I love it.

day 23 - a song that i want to play at my wedding

Unlikely to happen again but if it does then this one is as good as any

Janelle Monae - Oh Maker

18 April 2011

day 21 - a song that i listen to when i'm happy

Not really feeling it at the moment but this is about the best feelgood song I can think of right now.

Lionel Ritchie - All Night Long

17 April 2011

sunday night groove

Here's a few tracks that suit my Sunday evening mood after a fairly heavy weekend.

First up is Miss Kittin with 'All You Need'. I've managed to track down all 3 available versions, so pick your favourite from these. I am undecided at the moment. The original is a very lovely stripped back sound with nods towards the 'Italians Do it Better' label's output. The Lee Van Dowski remix has a kind of static noise (almost) fidget house feel towards it whereas the Gestaffelstein version plays heavy with echo and reverb. It makes it sound a bit retro, almost like an Depeche Mode tune.

This is 'Epilepsia' by Dinky, a Chilean now resident in Germany. She made this about a year ago but I only got the chance to hear it very recently. I hope you like it too.

Benoit and Sergio are creating quite a stir at the moment in the US and UK. This is a Feb 2011 release - 'Walk and Talk'.  The sound is a lovely kind of minimal soul by which I mean that I can really feel this tune. I heard a lovely mash-up of this recently. I will post it soon. Promise.

The last of tonight's selection is, in my humble opinion, David Gilmour's finest song outside of Pink Floyd. From his eponymous 1978 album - 'There's No Way Out Of Here'.

Hope you liked them. Sleep well.

day 20 - a song that i listen to when i'm angry

Firstly....congratulations Brighton and Hove Albion. Champions.

Bran Van 3000 - Dare I Say

16 April 2011

day 19 - a song from my favourite album

Ooh - another toughie. I'd have to go with Foxbase Alpha.

St. Etienne - People Get Real

15 April 2011

shackleton - blood on my hands (ricardo villalobos apocalypso remix)

I've had this on loop most of the afternoon whilst at work. The deeply sinister 18 minute masterpiece by Shackleton as re-worked by Villalobos himself.

day 18 - a song that i wish i heard on the radio

Black Grape - Shake Your Money

14 April 2011

day 17 - a song that i hear often on the radio

(I must confess I cheated here. I only ever listen to the radio for football commentaries so instead I picked a track I hear a lot on the TV or in pubs or bars. Also, I can't abide this song.)

Tinie Tempah - Pass Out

13 April 2011

fiorucci made me hardcore

Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey created 'Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore' in 1999 as a homage to British dance culture from Northern Soul of the 70s though the Casual culture of the mid 80s ending with the acid rave scene that lead us into the 90s. It's a dreamlike work that works with splices, loops, alternate speeds and is accompanied by an equally mesmerising soundtrack that Leckey created from the songs and MCing of the time. There's no doubting that these were British working class phenomena and brilliantly proves the theory that I've long held that rave was the bastard son of Northern Soul.

If you watch other contemporary videos of the dance scenes they show groups of mainly young men, inevitably with drugs attached, often only drinking water for rehydration and completely lost in their own little world whilst the film forever freezes them in their own time. I've seen this video maybe a dozen times and always leave it a little bit more informed about my musical heritage and my working class background and the role music has played in shaping those and me. There's also unbridled escapism from the drudgery of normal life that the dancehall brings. This is why it had to be a working-class movement and why the establishment never got it. And inevitably when the powers that be don't understand something then they fear it. Fear leads to misinformation leads to the outcry. It will be interesting to see whether the craze of Donk, which seems exclusively popular around the satellite towns of Manchester. I did read a year ago about a documentary about a hard house style of dance music popular in Valencia in Spain and the North East of England but sadly can't find any trace of it.

As a work of art it feels timeless but saying that, I think Leckey was ahead of his time with video mixing. I've seen Safy the video scratch artist support the Fall many times, equally as talented as he is annoying and I imagine as zeitgeist-y as it feels it will inevitably seem old hat. 

As a piece of social history, Leckey's film is an essential roadmap of UKnunderground fashions for the 'Top of the Pops' generations.  Here it is in its entirety.

sixto diaz rodriguez

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez is a first-generation American folk singer of Mexican descent born in Detroit in 1942. He was the archetypal folk-singer with a guitar and first came to prominence doing the festival and hippy circuits of the mid to late 60s. His style reveals a Donovan-like approach to songwriting and his voice has shades of Nilsson in it with large doses of James Taylor. I think possibly, that they shared a style common at the time. Odd to think that singing styles are of a fashion but the more I think about it the more it does seem true.

He signed to Sussex Records (great name for a record label) and produced two albums in quick succession in 1970 and 1971. Sadly, his albums were not big successes and after persevering for a few years his label dropped him from their stable of stars and he packed in the music biz. However, the story doesn't end there. Unbeknownst to him, his songs were massive his in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. There were a few bands that "enjoyed" this secret success. I've heard it atrributed to the musical isolation of those country's musicians at that time. Certainly, if they wanted to make it big then musicians from that country would have had to move abroad to America or Britain. British stars did tour those countries but it wasn't necessarily top of an American folk singer's list of gigs. I digress.

Buoyed by renewed sales of his back catalogue following a re-release from an Australian publishers, he re-entered the world of music and had several Antipodean tours culminating in a farewell gig supporting Midnight Oil, the iconic Aussie protest band. He retired for good (or so he thought) in the early 80s and incredibly in the very late 90s his daughter discovered that Sixto had an almost cult status in South Africa where record sales continued to do well. So Sixto packed up his bags and started touring again. Nowadays success seems to be less transient and he has recorded a third album together with documentaries charting his very unique success(es) and his music has appeared on film scores too.

I like Sixto's music. There's a slightly dated feel to it but I can go with that. He has a very West Coast sound even though he comes from the other side of the States (I guess that's his roots coming through) and there's some very catchy tunes there. He's always had a political conscience with his music and his back catalogue shows this fully. Check out the tune below 'Cause' to see. If you want to discover Rodriguez for yourself then I'd recommend his first album, 'Cold Fact'. It's a delightful album, it really is.

day 16 - a song that I used to love but now hate

Madness - Baggy Trousers

12 April 2011

just a quickie

I've been listening a lot to this, this afternoon. For My Girl (Original Mix)  by Stimming. Hopefully, by the time I next update my blog, Brighton and Hove Albion will be promoted to the Championship. I'm very excited about the game tonight. Wish us luck!

day 15 - a song that describes me

The Smiths - Half A Person

11 April 2011

cw stoneking

If you hadn't heard the story of CW Stoneking (CWS) then you'd easily be forgiven for thinking that his albums were the product of a lost Louisiana bluesman. His two albums, King Hokum and more recently Jungle Blues have been very well received by critics and fans alike and this 37 year old seems to have the world at his feet.

He plays a very old fashioned kind of blues that doesn't just have its roots in, but actually is, Robert Johnson, Howling Wolf and Leadbelly.  CWS is, of course, a white Australian of American extraction raised in an Aborigine colony in the Northern Territories and playing blues in bars at a very precociously young age. His first album was picked up as an album of the year by a radio station and over the space of a year we had a new blues darling.

He does sound authentic but in my opinion, the blues isn't just a sound. There's a tale to tell too and the singer needs sufficient gravitas to properly carry it off. There's plenty of blues singers who are very good but a lot of them just don't seem to have that mystery ingredient. I'm going to be controversial here but I'd include Gary Moore in that group. There's no doubting his proficiency but his blues left me very cold. Most pub blues bands are the same. Even with a good guitarist and a decent singer it doesn't ring true. At the other end of the scale, musicians like BB King, Seasick Steve, Daniel Lefkowitz (who I profiled recently) don't just sing the blues; they seem to live the blues. So back to the question, is CWS an authentic blues singer or a novelty pastiche?

I'm still not entirely certain but I do think he's the real McCoy but I would like to see him extend his repertoire. He's certainly done his homework on his musical heroes but in my opinion he needs to find his own voice too. He first came to a lot of people's attention on the Jools Holland show and without trying to be snobby there is a certain element of 'dinner party music' to that show. I hope that if CWS does get more experimental that the dinner party set who have bought his first and second albums also appreciate his variations in style. I also hope that the music encourages them to explore traditional blues a bit more. 

day 14 - a song that no one would expect me to love

Kandi - Don't Think I'm Not

10 April 2011

day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure

This is the one I was dreading and where I lose all musical credibility. I could go for the safe option and pick something cheesy that everyone likes: Andy Williams - You're Just Too Good To Be True' springs to mind but I'm going to be brutally honest and pick something truly awful that I really like. Sorry, so very sorry.

Rubettes - Sugar Baby Love

08 April 2011

peter bjorn and john - gimme some

I wonder if the trio were scared by the success of 'Young Folks' a few years back. It's certainly brought them recognition and a whole swathe of new fans who had not previously heard of the Stockholm trio. I'd also be interested to know what these new fans thought of the follow-up album, Living Things. It was a very experimental album and not what you'd expect from a band who could make such great pop music. 

It wasn't as if this was their tricky 3rd album either, Living Things was the 5th studio album and they had a secure fanbase and a record company that trusts them to make great music. Hence my question about withdrawing from the limelight and taking time to try out a few things. If they did then I think these things worked a treat as their latest album, Gimme Some, is a return to the indie pop that they obviously love making.

It's a harkback to their roots in pre-Brit Pop indie music of Ride and Stone Roses, Sundays, Sugarcubes and Suede. The whole album is far rockier than I was expecting and the tempo is maintained more or less throughout the whole album. The vocals too have more of an edge with Peter Moran sounding more and more Scouse-like every time I hear him. It's almost John Lennon-like, the way his accent inflects and sounds when singing. Is it just me that thinks this? There's also a little bit of Vampire Weekend in this album too, most notably on 'Dig A Little Deeper' (see video above). My favourite track is the first release from the album, 'Second Chance'. It reminds me of their earlier works but is a bit more rock and roll, as if they've finally learnt to trust their instincts on what is good pop music. The video to this is below - definitely a big nod to the Rolling Stones video to 'Wild Horse' methinks. It will be very interesting to see where they go from here.

day 11 - a song from my favourite band

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Cassiel's Song

07 April 2011

day 10 - a song that makes me fall asleep

Elliott Smith - Twilight 

(Nearly 8 years since he died. It still makes me very sad to consider this.)

06 April 2011

new beastie boys album

I'd like to give everyone a very important heads-up on a new release. I am very excited about the imminent new album from the Beastie Boys in early May. It's called Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2 and this track 'Make Some Noise' from it is expected to feature prominently.

Woop Woop!

day 09 - a song that I can dance to

Booker T and the MGs - Green Onions

05 April 2011

true grit ost

The best modern westerns seem to have eschewed the power ballads in favour of simpler arrangements. I'm reminded of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's Jesse James soundtrack and the 3:10 to Yuma where they both brilliantly evoke the sparseness of the desert, the over-riding loneliness of those who live in it and simmering tensions where law is not so much a rule as a guideline for those fortunate to afford it and within near enough proximity to call on it.

True Grit is no exception and composer Carter Burwell has opted for an instrumental-only album with the tracks based on traditional hymns that would have been well known to the more God-fearing Americans of the late 1800s. In the same way that the Coen Brothers have been very respectful in re-creating a period piece, so has Burwell also paid homage to the music of previous westerns.  I'd recommend watching the film first then sitting down with the sleeve notes to the soundtrack and listen to each composition in its context - 'River Crossing', 'Ride of Death' etc. It certainly helps to place each piece and understand what Burwell was trying to convey.

A few gripes though. Firstly, the Oscars Academy (is that it's proper name?) deemed the soundtrack unworthy of the standards required for consideration. Well, it's just my opinion but I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one, Oscar. Secondly, the film had a Johnny Cash song included in the trailers that seems to have been omitted from the soundtrack. I'm not surprised, to be honest as it is a bit out of keeping with the rest of the album but it could have been added as a bonus track. I'll rate it 6 or 7 out of 10. There's a theme running through the album - well, I say theme it's more a variation of the same tune and it can get a bit samey. It's definitely above average but isn't a classic. I hope that's a fair assessment.

As a bonus for this blog entry I'm going to add the Johnny Cash track that was missed out, 'God's Gonna Cut You Down'.

day 08 - a song that I know all the words to

JJ  - My Life

04 April 2011

late night, early winters

I stumbled accidentally across this self-titled debut EP by Early Winters last week and was surprised to see acclaimed British singer Carina Round involved with this otherwise North American band. The sound is a kind of country/pop mix - the type that is very Radio 2 friendly and I'm not sure it's a good thing. 

The first two tracks have Carina Round and Justin Rutledge splitting the singing duties and although it kind of hints at Americana, I'm not convinced by it. I suspect that the pressures of securing a daytime slot on American commercial radio has shaken the songs of any chance of offering the listener anything other than the usual forgettable fluff. It's not all doom and gloom though - track 3, 'One Time In Your Life' harks back to Carina's past where she was compared to Patti Smith and the track is rockier and the lyrics harder hitting. Perversely, it's when the more whimsical track 4 - 'Spanish Burn' starts that you can really appreciate Carina's abilities. This is in Caitlin Rose/Jenny Lewis territory and Carina more than holds her own. Her voice soars effortlessly throughout and it was quite a lovely discovery on this EP. Track 5 - 'Turn Around' is back with Radio 2 blandness, I'm afraid. 

It's a shame that they didn't take a few more risks with this EP as there are hints that the undoubted talent in this band could be great together but I guess it's been made for their target audience in mind. 

day 07 - a song that reminds me of a certain event

Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers

03 April 2011

father and son (part 2)

So this Sunday afternoon, it's just Gabriel (aged 8) and me (aged badly) lazing around and listening to some cool tunes. The rules are simple - Gabriel chooses a song then I choose one and so on. Here he is:

Hello! I'm Gabriel. I like making film and movies instead of song on the old mixing decks. I'm choosing... You listen and see!

Hi. It's me again. I think I'll go for something a little more laid back. Drivan are 3 parts Swedish and 1 part Finnish. Here they are with Det Gör Ingenting.

This is me, Gabriel, again! Now this song is called ContraMelt B, a remix by Toy Selectah. The real song is by Vampire Weekend.

Gabriel's songs were entirely his own choice and once again, my children prove that they are way cooler than me when it comes to music. I think I'll stick with something a bit downtempo and it doesn't get more downtempo than this, Roads by Portishead.

Now it's back to me. I think I'll pick Sandwiches by Detroit Pubahs because this video is so hilarious although it sometimes gets a teensy bit rude.

Oh, dear. Perhaps I shouldn't have shown Gabriel that song. Never mind, back to something a bit more innocent. A classic from Dennis Brown - Money In My Pocket.

Back to me again. I have to leave after this so it's going to be laid back like most of daddy's. It's by RadioHead. Creep. Beavis and Butthead cover it in this video!

 Haha! "I want teepee for my bungholio!" Great choice Gabriel The final one from me and it has to be Gabriel by Lamb.

day 06 - a song that reminds me of somewhere

Terrorvision - Pretend Best Friend