Hallowe’en type post

There are lots of things that scare me. The thought of John McCain and Sarah Palin winning the American Election. Things happening to the people I care about. Disaffected kids that I teach failing their exams in my subject. Carrie, The Shining and the original version of The Ring (the Japanese version, not the flaming remake).The existence of scary Californian copyright law (which has seen me lose another post; this time after I was sent the mp3 from their UK company, and the US company freaked out before checking with the UK. Talk about Cultural Fascism).

This song is gothic not just in sound, but in lyrics, with its’ talk of forests, mandrakes and one of my favourite lyrics ever ‘Your epitaph will ever say/your sun went down while it’s still day.’ Not planning on dying before I hit forty (I’m not a teenager anymore *tongue in check for any readers too stupid to understand irony*) but who are the Screaming Marionettes. I spent years trying to track this down; eventually found it (surprise, surprise) at Kensington Market in London, then London’s premier goth hangout. I can find next to nothing about this band on the web, any info gratefully received etc..

UPDATE 2/11/08: I have found this web address for info about the band, who went on to become the Marionettes (not the indie band from Aberdeen). This is a fan’s myspace site.

Screaming Marionettes -’Like Christobel.’ mp3

And this is perhaps one of the scariest tracks ever, it attacks the listener, which is pretty cool.

Wolf Eyes -’Stabbed In The Face.’ mp3

And ‘cos it’s Hallowe’en, the best horror pop song/short film of all time:

Michael Jackson’s Thriller Video

(yes, 80s Goth, Noise and Michael Jackson in the same post. That’ll teach ya to pigeonhole)

Hooray – finally getting the recognition they deserve

Wow…it’s like the eighties and the (early) nineties all over again. After a gap of about fifteen years, The Cure are back on the cover of NME! And they’re going to get the Godlike Geniuses Award from the NME next year. It seems like a far cry from the days when the NME was either slagging them for being hasbeens or not writing about them at all…hopefully Echo and the Bunnymen will get their due next (perhaps to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Ocean Rain)

Their new album 4:13 Dream is fantastic, definitely a four an a half star album, IMHO.

And assuming this works, this will enable you to check out some of the tracks off the new album.

Enjoy, folks…

Guilty Pleasures from the closet

Everyone has them, the songs we’re not meant to like, the songs that Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious et al died so that we wouldn’t have to listen to.

And quite often they may be made by people whose work we cannot otherwise stand.

This track is a case in point. I am very happy never to have to hear ‘Everything I do, I Do It For You’ by Bryan Adams ever again.

So why is it, that this track, which I should despise beyond all measure, almost as muchas anything by his compatriots Celine Dion and Nickleback * involuntary shudder* is great?

Bryan Adams -’Summer Of ’69.’ mp3

(I know, other bloggers have laid down all manner of defences of me, and I repay them by posting this.)

Thank the Lord

(Bet Che wouldn’t have taken any crap from people purporting to represent artists and exploiting folk!)

A couple of days ago, I was deeply concerend when Steve at Teenage Kicks was going to pull the plug on his excellent John Peel-inspired blog.

To my intense relief, he has announced he will continue.

So in honour of Steve, and his immaculately researched blog, this is the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks, (yes, John Peel’s favourite ever song, I think we all know that now!)

This is not a long post from me, I’ve spent an hour and a half marking…

Undertones – ‘Teenage Kicks.’ mp3

By the way, this has appeared at Condemned to rock roll which makes for great reading.

The Fightback Begins

As I wrote a couple of days ago, I had a post removed a few days ago.

This was not just of a handful of mp3s but of the entire interview of Glasvegas, a band I have given a lot of positive coverage to, not just when they were a small band, but as they signed to a major. I have tried, also, to be very tactful when writing about Glasvegas not to criticise them, and my tact has been commented upon.

To say I have been angry and frustrated would be an understatement. As I have made clear right from the very beginning, the point about this blog was the promotion of music and certinaly not deprive musicians of their earnings. To be made to feel like a criminal by an organisation that has the moral highground of nothing is pretty sickening.

I’m certainly not the only one who’s been affected. Coxon Le Woof at To Die By Your Side had a similar thing happen to him earlier in the month, and Steve at Teenage Kicks had the same thing the day after me, as did Chad at Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands.

There have been supportive posts at The Vinyl Villain, and Song By Toad as well as a lot of supportive comments, from readers, musicans and people who do run record companies. It’s been discussed on websites -and I’ve had more comments about this than any other. To my horror, Steve is talking about jacking it in. It will be a sad loss to the blogging world if he does.

I have certainly considered it, but I have decided that I can either let these bullies win, or I can stand up to them, in the hope that they leave us alone.

So, if you’re up for helping fight it, then that would be great. Because, frankly, to take down posts without warning is bordering on extremely dangerous behaviour. The law should be there to protect everyone. The law is not there simply as a tool of the rich and powerful.

Some artists have been very supportive of the stuff I have written about them.

This guy is one of them.

Dom De Luca -’It’s A Sad, Sad Day.’ mp3

Come on, Care!

As I may have mentioned a few times (this is MY blog, after all) 17 Seconds Records’ first signing (there will hopefully be more, my Parents are actually now asking who the next signing will be) are Aberfeldy.

Now, this version is NOT the version that can be downloaded and bought, but it is the version that was gievn away for free through the South By Southwest website earlier this year.

I am still not receiving the communiques I had asked for when I tried to do something similar months ago for another BAND whose management have so far failed to get in touch AND whose record company’s rottweilers are being immoral.

Anyway, enjoy this song, then go and get the great single off iTunes, leave feedback and help 17 Seconds and Aberfeldy on the way to ruling the world.

Aberfeldy – Come On, Claire (free download version).’ mp3

Presenting…Ex Lion Tamer

Ex Lion Tamer is the one man band from Edinburgh consisting of the enigmatic Tony T who works…well, I won’t reveal where he works, but he does make some damn fine pop music.

Yes, cooler-than-thou people I said POP. Tony T describes his influences as being ‘Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Yazoo, Erasure, Rob Hubbard – things that sound clean’ and says that Ex Lion Tamer sounds like the ending credits of low budget 80s teen movies – played on your mate’s Amiga. With a gift for sarcasm that would put P.E. teachers to shame, he may be making one or two of those up. Though not the bit about the Amiga.

The name does indeed come from the song by Wire -some of you were just itching to point that out, weren’t you? – but this is no three girl rhumba. Instead, check out the myspace and see how good it really is:

Ex Lion Tamer’s myspace

Grrr…stand up to bullies

Extremely displeased by bully boy tactics.

I checked my email this morning to find an email from Blogger saying that links had been removed ‘Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others.’

Now, I cannot actually check the article concerned, which was an interview with James Allan of Glasvegas, because it was removed. Yes, not just the mp3 (which I had believed that I had removed, given that I allowed my account to lapse with the file hoster concerned, as I felt that they had seriously let me down a few months back) but the whole interview, which frankly speaking, I consider to be MY intellectual property.

I would like to say that I do not blame Glasvegas for this. They’re a great band, James Allan was a charming interviewee and his sister and manager Denise remembered that he had promised me a place on the guest list when they played Edinburgh last month. However, I do feel that removing mp3s of demos that the band had made available for free on their website is somewhat unjust. Yes, I posted them, they were free. Added to which, james Allan had commented that before many of the songs were out, fans seemed to have learned the lyrics to the songs from blogs.

Until a few months ago, the first three singles from the band (recorded prior to their signing with big record company, I won’t name it here,) were available to download from a well-known online retailer. You now cannot buy them from said retailer. Now, if the band chose to do that, that is their choice. BUT: if you have previously enabled things to be either downloaded for free or to be downloaded, then withdraw that, people will distribute them ILLEGALLY, and if they were once available to buy -guess what, the band won’t make the money that it might have done!

Back when I interviewed the band in January, James Allan was very modest, and even with the signing frenzy that was happening, didn’t seem to have let it go to his head. From what I saw onstage last month in Edinburgh, he still hasn’t. As well as coverage in the NME (three covers this year, I think), what has helped them was the coverage in blogs like this. Oh, and bizarrely, people like me who played them to their students in aesthetics, and the students went and bought the album and singles.

There are those who see all copying and distribution of music as being the same as walking into the shop and stealing multiple copies. I beg to differ. Whilst I have had to cut down on music buying of late (there’s, y’know, bills to pay, and there is a recession coming -sorry, but the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, this is not scaremongering), I have bought pretty much everything by Glasvegas I could lay my hands on. Including buying a copy on vinyl even though I’d been sent a promo CD and buying a copy of the LP for brother Seconds’ birthday. I might also add that when I reviewed the album in September I stipulated at the end of the review ‘Don’t copy this, go and buy it.’ Short of going and buying thousands of copies of the album and giving it to strangers in the streets, I don’t think I could have done more to promote the band.

So why the hell am I being made to feel like a common criminal?

Like I say, this is not a rant at Glasvegas, but at people who feel that they can use bully-boy tactics and scaremongering. As I’ve mentioned before, I co-run what is Scotland’s newest and smallest record label. I hereby declare that I will never, EVER hound people who promote the bands whose records we release. And may I be struck down if I do.

Glasvegas’ album is out now. It’s brilliant, go and buy it. And go and buy the Aberfeldy single, it’s brilliant too.

If you are the sort of person who is trying to concentrate on internet crime; here’s a tip: deal with the real criminals: people who exploit others. Not bloggers who do this out of love of writing and music. The web police are no more than manifestations of George Orwell and William Gibson’s worst nightmares come to life.

After that rant, there’s only one thing I could possibly post:

Crass -’Do They Owe Us A Living?’ mp3

I had been going to post ‘Police and Thieves’ by the Clash, until I remembered that it is on a label with big scary lawyers (well, very likely).

Oh, and I will post the review of the Mogwai/F*ck Buttons/Errors gig tomorrow, it was brilliant).

Album Review: Dark Captain Light Captain

Dark Captain Light Captain – ‘Miracle Kicker’ (LoAF Recordings)

This debut LP is a real treat. Sitting down to listen to it again before writing this review, I couldn’t help myself, and at the end, had to play it all over again…

Supported by the likes of Zane Lowe, Rob Da Bank and Mark Radcliffe, amongst others, DCLC specialise in a gorgeous sort of trippy folk-music. The press release mentions both The Strawbs and Can, and that seems appropriate. I’d be willing to bet that the people who fell in love with the Erland Oye-Royksopp-Kings Of Convenience Norwegian axis will fall in love with this too.

Sure, mixing electronica and folk is far from a new idea, but hearing it done this well is a rare treat. From opener ‘Jealous Enemies’ to closer ‘Miracle Worker’ this album is consistently wonderful.

…why deny yourself the pleasure?

****

Miracle Kicker is released on October 27 on LoAF Recordings

Stream the album here and see for yourself!

Dark Captain Light Captain’s official site/Dark Captain Light Captain’s Myspace

Album Review: The Present

The Present -’World I See’ (LoAF Recordings)

*Sigh* I have really, really struggled with this album. I have now played this three times and I have to confess, I like it less and less with each listen.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy listening to challenging music. I enjoy the work of noise artists like Merzbow, Yellow Swans and of course, Wolf Eyes; albums this year from the likes of David Grubbs, Hair Police and Fuck Buttons have been challenging but they make for rewarding listens. This on the other hand, seems like the soundtrack to someone going mad.

It’s received plaudits from the likes of Gang Gang Dance, and Panda Bear, people whose work I enjoy too. Whilst it may be trampling on musical boundaries, it’s also trampling on me too. Whilst a track like ‘Stabbed In The Face’ by Wolf Eyes may attack the listener, there’s still something that grabs you. If this is the world they see, then that’s as maybe, but I don’t want it in my head.

*1/2

World I See is out now on LoAF recordings.

Have I been unfair? Stream the album here and make up your own mind.