Sunday, February 17, 2008

Columbus too / perimeters of nails

When Russell posted links to my last two posts on Public Address, I was surprised..thanks for the warning, RB. Needless to say that the hits went through the roof and I had a bunch of responses both via the comments box and quite a few via email. Some are best not thought about again, but suffice to say, damn there are some thin skinned folk out there.

However sitting here tonight watching Indonesian variety TV (if you ever wondered what became of those 70s Top Of The Pops sets..and many of the bands that played on them..yep, they are sitting in production soundstages in Jakarta, alive and well) the joy evident on the screen (massed swaying, grinning, singing along headscarves somewhere in Jabotek) there made me feel like I need to be a little more positive this time around, so, having ranted and opined enough, how about the casual playlist that worked for me today….

Blam Blam BlamThe Bystanders
A lovely Mark Bell song from the Blams’ only full album, Luxury Length. I love Mark’s glistening guitar and the loping soft funk groove that so deserves to be sampled. Most of the focus on the Blams is, now, placed upon the undeniable talents of Don McGlashan, often overlooking Mark’s work. I was always a Mark Bell fan…his almost musicianship and songwriting were crucial to the band. A wonderful man too…

John CaleAntarctica Starts Here
This is so slight you almost miss it tucked away at the end of Paris, 1919, an album which stands as Cale’s finest post Velvets moment. Produced by Chris Thomas, this rather forlorn paean to lost fame, with an almost inaudible whispered vocal, is an appropriate end to what is both a lovely and rather moving long player that once meant a lot to me.

signs Joey RamoneWhat A Wonderful World
Yes, its cheesy as hell, but I shed a tear every time I think of poor Joey. His life didn’t seem to be either happy or charmed, and then it top it off he died so young, whilst watching all those who claim him as an influence coining it. I guess it wasn’t a wonderful world for Joey. This is very ironic but wipes that tear away.

The GordonsThe Coalminer’s Song
The Gordons were NZ’s first rave act. Whilst the rest of the world didn’t get hardcore wall of sound nosebleed rave until the late eighties, down in lil’ NZ we had the Gordons from 1980 onwards. Whilst they may not have sounded like a rave act in the latter sense, their intent was the same, and they coupled that with an almost Beatlesque melodic charm (later Beatles that is). This, from their first EP, pre-Flying Nun, was our pre-going out choon for much of 81 and 82.

Thom Yorke - Cymbal Rush (The Field Late Night Essen Und Trinken Remix)
I’m not a Radiohead fan, I must be honest (not since they stopped doing the noisy stuff far too long ago and turned into average prog), but I did rather like the Thom Yorke solo release from 2006. More to the point I liked what he did with it, in retrospect a clear pointer to what R/H were to do last October. This, from a single, is a killer re-rub courtesy of The Field (whose own album last year was rather good) and is probably a better shot at what Radiohead have been trying to achieve in the past decade than anything R/H have done themselves. Which must make this both satisfying and frustrating for Thom, no?

hercules Hercules & Love Affair - Blind (Frankie Knuckles Mix)
Without wanting to seem overly trend conscious, I’m waiting with some anticipation  for the album from these guys. I bought the single before this and loved it. And then downloaded this from an mp3 blog. I will buy the album because I like it. Isn’t that how it works? It's like radio (which no-one listens to much anymore the figures say, although I'm not 100% sure about that). And isn’t that what the paranoid home taping, home burning, downloading is killing our music crew miss? This Knuckles mix is stunning.

The shadow of old school Bristol bass-meisters, Smith & Mighty hangs over this. I don’t know what dubstep is…seriously…it all sounds so retro, but I’m told its very modern. Whatever, the Pinch album was another of 2007’s moments for me. I guess when you get very, very old, you think you’ve heard everything least that’s what my dad used to tell me.

Elvis CostelloAlmost Blue
Just to confuse matters, not from the EC album kwerkof the same name but, perhaps, my favourite Costello album produced by Geoff Emerick, Imperial Bedroom. There is a killer live take of this from the fast fading Chet Baker (Elvis wrote it for Chet), which I like to play when I’m morose, but not today. Elvis’s soft piano led shuffle is fine.

KraftwerkThe Model
The live version from the Minimum-Maximum double from 2005. The studio version of this is what it is but I love this take which adds, bizarrely enough, an almost human funk to it. On this album, they play the songs we all know, love and were influenced by as if they were a touring rock band, complete with mistakes and missed words. They almost, god save me for using the phrase, rock. Quite something…

Aretha FranklinIt Was You
For the past two months I’ve been 51BTy6d4ZUL._AA240_besotted with the incredible recent double album of Aretha outtakes, Rare & Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of the Queen of Soul (surely a shorter title was available???). This was the unreleased stuff, for gods sake....listen to the track I’ve sampled above, and them buy the whole damned thing. The voice, the voice….she may have had a patchy post Atlantic career, but listen to this stuff, there was a time when Aretha wrote the book, and no-one has come close.

Ok that'll do.....


Rowan said...

Hi Simon,

you might want to check those links to the mp3 files, they seem to be broken,


Rowan said...

Never mind ... I just pulled out the old vinyl and played The Blams. I must agree with you about Mark Bell, I always thought the boy had talent (songwriting and guitar playing). Even after all these years a song like Motivation, which was probably one of their first, still makes me smile with the sophistication it had. Especially since at the same time I was struggling to write simple melodies with clever hooks and getting it nailed only occasionally.

Simon said...


Yes I agree about the I said on my site..very musically literate (and had a great tune or did you Rowan!)

Bob Daktari said...

Frankie Knuckles remix of Blind, is, um... well blindingly good :)

Simon said...

whoops, that is the mix I'm playing...I'd go back and edit but I'm too lazy

Danielle said...

Snap! on the Aretha, which has been playing in our house for the last little while. I think we've actually been saying the same thing as you: 'this was the unreleased stuff, for god's sake!'