Dienstag, 16. Februar 2010

(Us and) All our friends are so messed up

I seem to enjoy the sleazy late 80's junkrock version of the Pagans much more than the short sharp shocks of their classic period. It just "resonates more deeply with me".

Pagans - Family Fare MiniLP

First up is "Her Name was Jane", a song that already appeared on the 1982 Cleveland Confidential compiled by Pagans vocalist Mike Hudson. Then it was done by "The Severe" but apparently written by Pagans bassist Tim Allee, so I guess it counts as a Pagans song. Anyway, the new version greatly benefits from Hudsons vocals and has all around more driedupoldmensexdrive to it. Next up is the excellent juicy Morphineroller "I Do" - a song Johnny Thunders would have loved to have written, but unfortunately he was this sapless dunce with no songwriting talent whatsoever and so couldn't even dream to get close to a gem like this. Take a listen to the gem: >>>The Pagans- I Do
Third number on side A is just some pointless recital over some pointless guitarscreeches (the downside of addiction) and consequently for the bin. At least it adds historical context:"George Bush is president and James Brown is in jail!"

Another shot of Pagans

However, Side B picks up the pieces, starts strong and never lets up."I Stand Alone","Slice Of Life " and "All Our Friends Are So Messed Up" are all exceptionally lovely songs with just the right amount of everything from pointy pricky to velvety fluidy things, from hazy dawns to sobering up a bit at 7pm.
These also were recorded a year before and sport another production, which is a bit flat, but still OK for 1988, I guess. (Have you never noticed how rockmusic from 1983 onwards always sounded like crap? Remember - 1983 - the year everything went down the toilet. But more on that in a future post)

Here's the complete MiniLP ripped from vinyl with the Korg MicroBR and transmogrified into LAME VBR -2 mp3s:
>>>Pagans - Family Fare - Glitterhouse Records - 1989

Dienstag, 24. November 2009

Life... But How To Live It?

Actually, this silly blog only exists to present one very special record. Well, I certainly took my time...

Let's pretend that it's possible to decide on the merits of a certain musical production in purely material aesthetic or rather thermodynamic terms, let's leave questions of historical momentum and relevance aside for the moment and we find
there is an easy way to discern if the rockular music/song/band in front of us is any good: we just have to apply a criterion called "energy".
Does the Rock give off energy or does it draw energy from you, the listener?

When a song can' t stand on it's own four legs and the players have to lend support to keep it upright while it's only desire seems to be just to sink back into murky entropy or when they constantly have to shovel more coal in the engine to keep up the appearance of some sort of forward motion the song will be sucking energy not only from the musicians, but also from you - you lent an ear so it's your responsibility as well to keep the song alive, but obviously all the good will invested by you is in vain, all the efforts are doomed from the start cause the song never had the spark of life in it, it's just a monster of futile labour that never had any spirit breathed into it.
When a song falls flat like that there can be a number of reasons for this to happen:
The timidity of players that either lack confidence on their instruments or that happen to be in a stadium where they haven't yet attuned themselves to one another, may be the most important one, but oftentimes also a fatal misconception seems to prevail amongst the participants, that in order to create music it's enough to play alongside one another instead of together.
Sadly what you get with this approach isn't music at all it's just cold indifferent sequences side by side that add up to... nothing.
(I find it obvious that pre-recorded drum/sample tracks and the predominant trust in sequencing machinery doesn't help the state of affairs here - no, in order to have MUSIC, the live band model is still your best bet)

But let us take a look at the other case, the winning scenario:
When it clicks,
when the rhythms interlock and the players push themselves off of each other, when they work - no, not work - play with the stuff the others pass at them, running with it, adding themselves, playing it back without so much as aiming - no need for consideration here, they know where and when to let go -, to let the impulse be assimilated and transformed by the others, a simultaneous giving and receiving... (Oh, blimey, feeling a bit fuzzy today?)
and all the while the song seems to move by and through itself and anything the players do really becomes an extra that is now able to elevate and lift the Rock to a new level...
Then the magic happens and
the whole becomes more than the sum of it's parts.

(Do I really have to name names? For starters take these: AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Scorpions, Jesus Lizard, Hüsker Dü and that wedding band up in the Sparrows Hills of Moscow)

I better stop now as all this starts to sound rather esoteric, my intention being of course pure hard social science.


This ship is not a machine, it's a living loving breathing organism, thrashing and rolling about in the skies, throwing it's weight around effortlessly, touching ground in resounding heartbeats, a fourbodied unity with quicksilver moves,
at it's center Katjas voice - one of the instruments and so much more - breathing fire and chill, reaching out and leading the way boldly and determined then bringing you in again with a sure hand.
I guess what I want to say is, this album is good. Very good.
It's Life But How To Live It?'s third and final LP and it shows the band at it's apex. With The MiniLP the year before the band became airborne but Ugly with it's 11 songs burning with a passion that never lets up, brimming with the precious energy (I know only of one other case that gives off such a rush - the first two Minor Threat ep's (If you get the two-in-one disc it's one case) ), is a miracle.
It shows what in the early nineties still could be done with the tired old corpse of the Jacobine scenester rock called Hardcore.

Finally, on to the Downloads:
If you don't know the band, have a taste before downloading the whole set:
>>>Life But How To Live It? - Come Back

I only ever had the tape version of the album so my mp3s come from there but I think they sound quite alright - bouncy and lively .
VBR -2 compression and the scans containing the lyrics are included!
>>>Life But How To Live It? - Ugly

Mittwoch, 4. November 2009

War Machine - Unknown Soldier

Girls always get all the attention and here at the brotherhood we are in no way swerving from this pattern. I probably wouldn't have picked up this record with it's post-nuclear watercolour cover art that spelled "We are 2nd rate backyard Thrashers from Birmingham" hadn't my eyes fallen on the name of the singer: "Bernadette".
Turns out they're not from Birmingham at all, they were from Newcastle and this debut album collecting songs from three previous years is a pretty energetic one with some nice ideas . The band stands at the crossings of NWOBHM, Thrash and the stuff that's mouldering in the "Wave" category of dank subterranean 2nd hand record shops. Unfortunately, the thing that makes the music really stand out and memorable - Bernadette Mooney's vocals - makes it also hard to listen to over the whole distance - there just isn't enough variation when she seems to end up every time with the same high pitched nasal whine.

She wails like a banshee closing in for the kill.

I'd really recommend to take it in in small doses - then it becomes a rather enjoyable ride.
Test-ride the first number on Side A:
>>>Sacred Hold
Then get the whole set, ripped from vinyl in VBR-Lame, here:
>>>War Machine - Unknown Soldier (1986)

Dienstag, 20. Oktober 2009

Phil Lynott's Mom

Sean Keating - An Allegory

In 1949, Philomena, a young Irish emigrant found herself with a black child out of wedlock in a Birmingham mother and baby home - a "workhouse" she calls it - run by the usual assortment of despotic nuns.

Originally an hour long programme from the BBC ripped from their iPlayer (it´s now off-line), I cut most of the part people like Midge Ure and Bruce Dickinson take over the narration, so you get Philomena's gripping tale (the scene where she screams at the church's altar is ripe for a movie adaptation), Philip's childhood and his first band experiences in a black polo necked sweater.

Samstag, 11. Juli 2009

In my dreams I´m always running

Hardheaded Soul

Can´t find much on this three-to-four-piece from Eindhoven, Holland. (This is their site: http://www.dse.nl/~kolonne/msp/muziek/hhs.htm)
They started in the early 90´s, toured across Europe including the Balkans and Russia and their singer and bassist Martin S. Past travelled twice around the globe on a bicycle. However, to my attention they came not by their velocypedal prowess but through a flexi that supplemented an issue of Austria´s leading Hardcore fanzine Flex´s Digest. (Now if I could only find this flexi, I´d be presenting it here as well, but frankly, the chances are slim.) Sacro Egoismo obviously took a liking to HHS, since they also brought out a 7" in 1995 , which is the one we have here - Waiting for the Black Train Jack .

With their dominant rhythm section pushed and shoved forward by it´s powerful noisy bass, one could compare HHS to No Means No or the Amsterdamian polyrhythmic fringe core of The Ex and Dog Faced Hermans but Hardheaded Soul just let out more raw howling emotion and they were - well, yes - a bit more soulful than these bands. If "Emo" actually had a heart we could even glue that oft´ derided term to those Hollanders.
The organic interplay of four musicians really working together must have made them a massive force live, evidenced by the B-side of this here single which was recorded in a venue in Zürich, their touring power captured quite well on vinyl.

For this single Hardheaded Soul were:
Martin Scheet Past - vocals and bass
Len - gitaar
Short Kees - drums
Tall Kees - gitaar

So if you´re in for a hearty treat of Bulldozer Blues, clicketyclick here:

>>>Hardheaded Soul - Your Money is a Monster

and here:

>>>Hardheaded Soul - Missing In Action

The cover to the single was a wraparound poster with red´n´black art and the lyrics. I took it on me to scan it piece by piece and stitch it back together digitally, for you to marvel at it´s expressive power. The whole affair´s ready for download >>>here

(And if anyone could point me in the direction of more of their material I´d be eternally grateful)

Samstag, 21. März 2009

Of Birds And Lice

(Karel Appel,1952)

Talkin´ to birds...
>>>Fats Waller - Ooh! look-a there, ain´t she pretty (1936) (click on divShare to go to the Downloadpage)

Play loud!

Wanna come around for Sunday afternoon tea?
No one to talk with - all by myself, I´m through with flirtin´, it´s you that I´m thinkin´of. Ain´t misbehavin´, savin´ my love for you.
Believe me - I don´t go nowhere, don´t stay out late, no place to go...
- Now wait a minute, what´s that racket startin´ up ... that full blown ramba zamba of a swing septett behind you, that´s what I´m talkin´ of... Yeah right, that´s just the radio! So you don´t go out late? At least have the decency to step outside of the Club when you call me to tell me all those liesss!

>>>Fats Waller - Ain´t misbehavin´ (1943) (click on divShare to go to the Downloadpage)

Play loud!

Dienstag, 17. März 2009

T.O.D - Trash On Delivery

The Pistols were a Glam band after all.

A01- The Babysitters -Everybody Loves You.mp3
A02- The Genocides - Private Hell.mp3
A03- The London Cowboys - Lets get Crazy.mp3
A04- Marionette - My Baby sucks Real Bad.mp3
A05- Bad Detective - Favourite Record.mp3
A06- The Barracudas - You Gonna Miss Me.mp3
B01- Marionette - Too Far Gone.mp3
B02- DogsDAmour - Teenage.mp3
B03- Suffragette - Do You Want My Love.mp3
B04- Garrie J Lammin - I Heard The Devil.mp3
B05- Nikki Sudden _ The Bible Belt - Waiting For The Siege.mp3
B06- The Babysitters - Livin Out Rock N Roll.mp3

If you ever wondered what happened to all those British New York Dolls fan club members who didn´t hook up with Johnny Marr, in this here compilation you´ll find the answer.
Well, I surely didn´t realize there was a question in need of asking here, what I wondered though was, what was the matter with all those Dogs D´Amour records with their ridiculous watercolour covers cluttering up our 2nd hand record stores?

Since London was on smack since Nancy came to town and the strong urge of the English male population to dress up in drag needed an outlet once more after all that blue collared Oi fancilessness and Post Punk drearydrabness, a new genre was proclaimed: "Glam Punk".
So, Glam! it was once more. But these bands didn´t have many similarities with the Slades, Sweets or Suzies of the 70ies - they weren´t Glitter, they were Sleaze Glam.
What made these bands tick was an unsound fascination for (the way overrated) Johnny Thunders and sloppy musicianship. They concentrated very hard on being sleazy though. So hard in fact, that all the required frivolous gyrating and pouty mouthed sneering (just wondered if that´s even possible - "pouty mouthed sneering" - probably not at the same time) at times tended to diminish their musical momentum a bit. So some of these shaggy bands weren´t the greatest, sounding mostly like the local opening act for bigger and better bands and none of them came close to Hanoi Rocks (who had moved to London in 1982 - a year before this compilation came out), but - and that´s a big but - BUT due to their over the top antics one thing they surely were not: bland.
Maybe they would have fared better, had they ripped off London Calling like Hanoi Rocks did, instead of emulating Johnny Thunders.

(Did I mention that Johnny Thunders is vastly overrated? Probably the most overrated fuckup in the history of popular music.The guy didn´t have any songwriting talent whatsoever! Did you ever listen to "You can´t put your Arms around a Memory"? Really? On paper it might look like a great loser anthem, but then listen to it! You call this drearydrab and bland (yes, bland - they weren´t, he is) underwritten piece of crap a song?
Let me tell you it´s never a good idea to have two obnoxiously grinding and monotonous verses in a row, then when the listener has lost all hope for change, finally the chorus comes around and any change is good at that point, right? Wrong. Turns out the chorus is even worse in it´s G-A-D blandness (again). Give me back my obnoxiously grinding and monotonous verse! Ah, here it is. No really, to ruin a shit song with an even shittier chorus - that kinda commands respect.
And don´t get me started on his guitar playing.
There are so many talented junkies out there - Richard Hell, the Big Star boys, the Stooges possee, Dee Dee, even Dougherty has a shard of talent - so why canonize this sapless Thunders fella? The Dolls were alright, Johnny Thunders was shit, shit, shit! Oh, but was he influentshaaal. Enough already with the parenthesis rant and)

back to the record at hand:
Some of the bands collected here got better over time (the Dogs D´Amour f.i.) some ended up in L.A (the London Cowboys (Jerry Nolan! Glen Matlock!) f.i.), some even got signed to the big league (The London Cowboys f.i.). And some did an excellent job the first time round on this compilation (Bad Detective or Garrie J. Lammin f.i. took more of a Power Pop approach) I feel obliged to add after reading through my babble again, realizing that I made T.O.D seem quite horrid when it´s actually great fun - the later the evening the better it sounds!

However, there is one standout track to be found here and that comes from Nikki Sudden, who strangely enough cut back on his Keithisms here and delivers almost a bouncy and pushy The Fall reproduction with a sweet Aah-Ah-Ah--Ah-Ah chorus. No seriously, this is one great song.
>>>Nikki Sudden & The Bible Belt

The whole set of shoddy (let´s see, have I used all my s-adjectives - sleazy, sloppy, shaggy, shoddy - damn, forgot seedy and shabby) Rock´n´Roll fun in VBR on Sharebee:

>>>Trash On Delivery (Flickknife 1983)

And now I have to look for more Nikki Sudden & The Bible Belt and maybe pick up one of those damn Dogs D´Amour albums.

Sonntag, 15. März 2009

You're lazy and you're indiscreet and you're bad in bed as well

- Well, I've had no complaints before.

Sally Timms and The Drifting Cowgirls featuring Marc Almond - This house is a House of Trouble
(Don´t judge a record by it´s cover.)

If there was a musical genre called Domestic Quarrel it would be populated by Southern Soul and Country duets (Also, the first Prolapse album comes to mind - I´m plannin to post this in the near future) but this would be the opener of the K-Tel box set "The Best of Domestic Quarrel Rock".

I love the Mekons. I love Sally Timms. I love Marc Almond. (Very much.)
So put these three together and it´s critical mass time in the love bomb department!
I use this explosive device in every one of my DJ sets - yes, boy/girl you can dance to the sound of crashing dishes - and usually get ZERO response from the jaded but uncritical masses filling my dancefloor - and girl/boy I can tell you: my ballroom´s always full - this very fact may show you how utterly boring the zeroes and how underdeveloped the taste in their inhabitants turned out - worse than the 90´s and their inhabitants as if that were possible.

>>>Sally Timms and The Drifting Cowgirls feat. Marc Almond - This House is a House of Trouble (You can download the track by clicking on divShare)

On the flip side of this 12" the Mekons are in straight country mode and Miss Timmses voice soars and rises in this tearjerker:
"The sun comes up like a shadow..."
>>>Sally Timms and The Drifting Cowgirls - (chained to) The Anchor of Love

(She is such an unconventional Honky Tonk Angel)

Also rather good - this rebel rousing folk song:
>>>Sally Timms and The Drifting Cowgirls - My Little Pony

And if you ask yourself how Marc A., the seedy Disco Queen and sleazy Chansonniere got in touch with those Leedsian rootsrockers - in `87 his boat was actually sailing close by, it was called Mother Fist and had quite a handful of handsome sailors on board, f. i. this one:
>>>Marc Almond - Melancholy Rose