Let’s forget it’s a wet sunday afternoon…

…and dance to one of the few indie novelty songs.

I have next to no idea who a Tribe Of Toffs were (were they a tribe? Were they Toffs?(Is that word now really, genuinely offensive? Toff, not Tribe, obviously). I did see John Kettley and other assorted broadcasters on TV last night, on the Weakest Link, so we all started singing this.

A Tribe Of Toffs -’John Kettley (Is A Weatherman).’ mp3

As one hit wonders go, a bit different, and quite fun, really…

If I were to make a mixtape….

Are there any rules to making mixtapes or in the present day and age, CD-Rs?

Discuss.

I think great music, surprise, and a bit of variety should still count for something, though…

Ennio Morricone -’Theme from the Good, The bad and the Ugly (Le Bon, La Brute et Le Truand).’ mp3

Hot Butter – ‘Popcorn.’ mp3

Toyah -’It’s A Mystery.’ mp3

Enjoy your weekend…

Ravin’ I’m raving

It seems pretty stupid, given that I wasn’t too young to be part of it, that I missed out on a lot of dance culture. Silly me. In fact, I probably, like many indie kids, (and I mean that in the pre-Britpop sense of the phrase) was guilty of being snobby because it didn’t have guitars in it. Oh, and because I really can’t dance. The mad sweaty guy headbanging at the indie disco? That was your host. Working in a record shop changed a lot for me about what I listened to, and whilst an interest in ‘dance/electronica’ type stuff grew steadily throughout the nineties and noughties, it was my record shop clerk days that changed much of it for me.

XL Recordings on the other hand, seem to have come at it all from another direction, having started out putting out records by the likes of the Prodigy, SL2 and Kicks Like A Mule, but nowadays make records with the likes of Adele, the White Stripes and the Raconteurs, and for a time, Badly Drawn Boy. A recent compilation, The First Chapters collects much of this together. Now, while it took me years to ‘get’ The Prodigy, this was a track I loved at the time.

SL2 -’On A Ragga Tip (original 12″ mix).’

This track was actually a hit several times for London-based producer Brian Dougans. I remember seeing this on Top of the pops, oddly enough.

Humanoid -’Stacker Humanoid (12″ original).’ mp3

I also am going to have to put my hand up at this point, and confess that it was only this evening I found out that Brian Dougans is part of Future Sound Of London. Oh well, at least I’m honest. And I’ve posted this before, but it is glorious. And this I did like at the time.

Future Sound Of London -’Papua New Guinea (7″ original).’ mp3

Enjoy…

Presenting…Pearl and the Puppets

A year ago, you may remember that I was bigging up a Glaswegian singer-songwriter by the name of Katie Sutherland who I was absolutely blown away by, firstly after I saw her supporting Emma Pollock, and then playing with Penny Century and the Amateurs.

Anyway, she now has a publishing deal, a stage name, Pearl, and a backing band, so here they are, Pearl and the Puppets.

Now I’m normally pretty loath to write about bands I don’t have mp3s for. However, so blown away by these songs am I that I’m going to suggest you head over to her mySpace. If these don’t impact on you, check your pulse. There’s gold in them there vocals…

Pearl and the Puppets’ MySpace

A wonderful warm sunday in August

Great weather, a picnic with both Mrs. 17 Seconds and Brother 17 Seconds, and other firends, it was a beautiful afternoon today and no mistake.

I then came home, delighted to find that my emusic subscription had been renewed which meant I could download some more stuff.

So, from my massive long list of saved for later stuff, I opted for something that I had read a glowing review of in the latest issue of The Wire which sounded fab, Double Sunrise Over Neptune by William Parker.

It’s a great album that manages to defy categorisation. Is it Jazz? Is it Free Jazz? Is it ‘world’ music? (possibly the one definition that is even more unhelpful than indie in this day and age. I remember some South Africans dying with laughter when they saw that the record shop I was working in at the time had filed Johnny Clegg under this. It wasn’t what they would have thought).

I know next to nothing about Mr. Parker, but I’m sure as heck going to investigate. This album was recorded live in New York in 2007. Normally a bass player, on this he focuses here on double reeds and dosn’ngoni, according to The Wire review. And as the review points out, the spotlight goes to classically trained indian vocalist Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay.

Am I an expert on this music? No, nor do I claim to be. But if you want something to blow your minds and open them, try this. It kinds sums up my day today.

William Parker – ‘Morning Mantra.’ mp3

Presenting…Echo Bloom

Echo Bloom is the project of Kyle Evans. iTunes lists this as folk, but I think the description that arrives on the press release is, for once, actually fairly accurate.

‘From the ashes of a 1920′s German photo documentarian, the genius of Washington DC jazz veterans, and the sweat of a frenetic three-day recording session emerges Echo Bloom’s ‘Jamboree,’ a series of character studies that explore and celebrate American identity in the 21st century. From Presidents to Performers, Prostitutes to Preachers, ‘Jamboree’ runs the stylistic gamut, weaving its tales from equal parts swamp funk, indie pop, alt-country and metal.’ Maybe concept albums are ok after all…

The debut album Jamboree is a gorgeous confection of a variety of influences. On ‘The Trucker,’ the stand-out track for me on this album, he even manages to mix both country and reggae. (I never thought i’d hear that either).

Check this album out, for me it gets ****

Echo Bloom -’The Businessman.’ mp3

Echo Bloom -’The Trucker.’ mp3

There is a blog about the making of the album here

It’s Friday night and all I wanna do…

… is sleep.

Well, here’s three fantastic tracks. It must be thirty-somethingness, that I want to play these on a Friday night rather than going mad to someting er…faster and heavier.

(I’m not that middle-aged, though, I’d rather read The Wire than many of the other music magazines more obsessed with celebrity and/or the past).

Joanna Newsom -’The Book Of Right-On.’ mp3

Kristin Hersh -’Your Ghost.’ mp3

The Men They Couldn’t Hang -’Green Fields Of France.’ mp3 (Found the 12″ single of this in a record shop in Edinburgh the other week, I was ecstatic).

There will be more to come this weekend, there’s a lot to review still…

Album Review: Blow Monkeys

Blow Monkeys -’Devil’s Tavern’ (Blow Monkey Music)

Eighteen years after they last played together, this year sees the return of The Blow Monkeys. The four members, Neville Henry, Mick Anker, Toney Kiley and their charismatic singer the legendary Dr. Robert are back together and…it’s fantastic.

With reformation albums (and you can probably ask the Verve about this), there are going to be difficulties, surely? Well, no, not here. Because whatever those flies on the wall witnessed, the end result is fantastic. The band are certainly not retreading old ground, but producing fantatsic songs that genuinely can add to their canon. There are no re-writes of ‘Digging Your Scene’ ‘Choice?’ or ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way’ but rather, songs that came together without the machines taking over, as Dr. Robert himself acknowledges happened in the eighties. He says that songs like the gorgeous ‘A Momentary Fall’ and the fabulous single ‘Bullet Train’ take them into areas they’ve never been before. To listen to a song like ‘Wait’ now reminds you of how they investigated new ground, but also that they were machine driven at the time, and they sure as heck are not now.

So is there still a ‘glam jazz swing’ element to their music? Well, it’s there, in part, but it feels fresh because they are making something new, rather than treading new ground. And that’s the best you would want from any band, especially eighteen years since their last album. They always mixed up a huge variety of influences, and that continues.

Good to have you back, guys. Don’t leave it eighteen years next time.

****

Devil’s Tavern is released on September 8 on Blow Monkey music.

The Blow Monkeys’ official website/

The Blow Monkeys -’The Bullet Train (edit).’ mp3