Another band from The Paisley Underground (part of which is explained in the first clip below).Theres a bit on The Paisely Underground in a Previous TWIMBLT on Green and Red and a decent article on them and the Paisely Underground from The Guardian here too.
They produced three studio albums of which I have their second one ‘Explosions in a Glass Palace’ and also a live album ‘Beyond The Sunset (live in Tokyo 1984)’. A friend had the first album ‘Emergency Third Rail Power Trip’ which was good but I much preferred the almost psychedelic ‘Explosions in a Glass Palace’. There were some great songs on it ‘You are my friend’ and ‘No Easy Way Down’ being my favourites. The third and last studio album ‘Crashing Dream’ which a friend had I wasn’t a huge fan of. The guitar had gone from jangly to almost folksy at times and while it was good, it wasn’t what I expected from a Rain Parade Record.
Having formed in 1981, they split in 1986 after the release of ‘Crashing Dream’ which was their first and only major label album. One time member David Roback has been a member of Opal and another TWIMBLT artist and one of my musical constants Mazzy Star.
The Rain Parade reformed in 2012
Here’s a compilation from 1984/5 which I first heard being played by alastair – once of this parish. A man with eclectic tastes, and there’s no question that this compilation catered to precisely that eclecticism. It’s a sort of run through of mid-1980s groups. The Smiths – a live version of Girl Afraid, The Moodists. There’s Husker Du’s ‘Real World’ – which I kind of think is their finest moment bar none and almost the platonic ideal of where hardcore met other. There’s the Waterboy’s, back when they/he was brilliant, with an excellent version of ‘A Pagan Place’, The Prisoners, Orange Juice. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, The Cocteau Twins, Billy Bragg, Wah, The Art of Noise ( a revelatory nod to the future ), Nick Cave, Dr. John, Wynton Marsalis, and on it goes. There are, of course, others who glitter somewhat less illustriously at this remove. Who were Time Zone? And what of the Boothill Foot Tappers? Who mourns for them?
The selection is excellent, though they have that murky cassette tape sound which seemed to be perfectly formed for the murky guitar production of the mid-1980s – I’m looking at you David Gedge. Probably not a surprise three decades later.
This was one of a series of same from the NME that stretched across the decade in one form or another and collectively they build up into a picture of both the styles of the times but also – and this is I think crucial – the way in which music companies attempted to shape tastes (though in a way that’s been covered in a previous TWIMBLT).
And tastes these compilations shaped. There’s been a previous post long long ago which dealt with compilations, but more the ones issued by record companies themselves – for yes, at that time they were mostly ‘record’ companies. Pillows and Prayers is an obvious example, as is the less well known Creation sampler from 1988. And Creation had a fair few such samplers.
But sticking with tapes, music magazines like Vox magazine, now long since gone – and others as well. Where else would I have heard the Field Mice? Or Megadeth’s Hanger 18? NME itself, Sounds before it (I think I still have some of their vinyl flexidisks with Voivod, McCarthy and others on them). Melody Maker.
I do wonder though did they lose their utility when there was the transition to digital downloads. Suddenly it was easier to get music without purchasing the magazines as increasingly groups themselves started to upload samples for people. It was farewell the middle mag. And YouTube, obviously, was part of a further shift, where music became much more accessible. That said even today you’ll still find CD’s on the front cover of many music magazines.
I used to have boxes of the cassette tapes from the late 1980s when I started buying the Melody Maker and later NME on a regular basis, up to the arrival of CDs. Sadly in a fit of madness (and pop-cultural vandalism) in the early 2000s I got rid of the cassettes – thinking that there’d be no way to digitise them. More fool me, I see now that there are cassette to MP3 players for next to nothing. Ah well, never again to hear that Melody Maker Romo compilation from the 1990s. And although there’s something of an home industry ripping these comps and posting them up online that one hasn’t turned up. My loss, I guess.
Any other great compilations from music magazines or fanzines that have stuck with people?
Cocteau Twins: Millimillenary
Waterboys: A Pagan Place
Orange Juice: A Place in My Heart
Nick Cave: I Put a Spell on You
The Prisoners: Reaching My Head
Husker Du: Real World
The Smiths: Girl Afraid
The Art of Noise: BeatBox (Diversion One)
The Moodists: Some Kind of Jones
If any of you are parents, you may well have had the same dilemma ….. How do you pass on some of your musical taste.
I would imagine I’m fairly typical of my generation in that I’ve a considerable number of LPs, Cassettes and CDs at home. Not being a regular listener to ‘music radio’ and not having the same amount of time to listen to music as I once did , I’m probably a bit stuck in my musical tastes.
The great thing is though that there’s plenty of my own CDs etc now on my sons ipod, yes theres his own awful stuff like Calvin Harris and other names that I haven’t a notion about but its still dominated by music from my own collection.
Its been a long hard slog though, pretending the car radio was broken, the tape player in the car actually did break too so all those ‘Wheels on the Bus’ and other tapes didn’t get played for too long. Instead it was trial and error. After various tries some family favourites such as The Dubliners became popular which we could all sing along to on various car journeys.
The first selection is Sigur Ros, who he got a ticket to see in the Point for his birthday. His first outing there was to see The Script a few months back. I was due to with him but happened to be away the week of the concert. So he had to go with his Mother….. Before hand there was moaning… “Going to a concert with me Ma!… ” followed later on with “There’s a few lads from school going and NONE of them are going with their Mothers!”. Anyway he got through the embarrassment and enjoyed himself thoroughly.
Nothing particularly special about the selection or order of these, just tracks I’ve heard (or listened to again) over the last while or so that I liked. A bit of a retrospective aspect to them because I transferred a lot of old CDs into iTunes.
Oneohtrix Point Never – Describing Bodies
Monotonal keyboard. Shoegaze by way of synth. Nothing so crass as beats on this track. From a couple of years back and an excellent album.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Finishing Jubilee Street
As noted previously I’m not one to worship at the shrine of all things Cave. Last album of his I really enjoyed was The Good Son, but this on the Bad Seeds album released two months ago is excellent. And the album is impressive. BTW, Barry Adamson plays bass on this and one other track – his first appearance with them since Your Funeral, My Trial which I tend to think is the best Nick Cave album in any of his incarnations.
Steve Kilbey – Pitstop
This is entirely atypical of the rest of the tracks on Kilbey’s most recent solo album. But there’s something about it’s hippyish inflections…
Sonic Boom – Rock and Roll is Killing my life…
A cover of the Suicide track by Mr. Boom, late of Spacemen 3 and now better known as Spectrum, from around 1990 IIRC. I like it. It strips down the original even further and yet throws in more Rock and Roll elements. That keyboard/organ line sounds just a bit rubbish and yet simultaneously perfect for the version.
And here, as a bonus, is Suicide’s original
Nash the Slash – Dead Man’s Curve
In a similar vein to Boom from 1980/81 was a song I loved at the time, and kind of still do – a reworking of the old Jan and Dean classic from Nash the Slash who made his career by playing electric violin swathed in bandages. A dirty job but someone had to do it.
Icona Pop (feat Charli XCX) - I Love It
So out of touch am I these days, bar unfortunately getting a first hand example of a developing One Direction fan, etc, that I first heard this on Need For Speed – Most Wanted shortly after it had been released. Always liked disposable pop and it doesn’t come much more disposable than this (nothing else that they do comes close to this), released last Summer, co-written by Charli XCX – go to woman for such matters, loved on Pitchfork etc, big hit, title track for tv show of dubious merit (for which read none at all), and now that it’s summer once more worth listening to all over again.
Eddie Gale – Black Rhythm Happening
This and the album it is from is so good that it easily deserves a This Weekend all it’s own. 1969 or so, free jazz meets soul meets gospel. The guitar is particularly good.
And a bit more from Blue Note, from a year or so later. Brazilian bossa nova, soul, pop for those days when one goes on a trip transamazonica.
Antonio Adolfo & A Brazuca – Transamazonica
Bob Mould - Star Machine
More partial to the electronica/dance inflected material he has put out in recent years, but this from his latest album brings back happy memories of Sugar. It’s quite some knack he has of apparently almost effortlessly producing one great song after another.
Function - Inter
Function (aka David Sumner), one of those centrally involved in the Sandwell District collective (now sadly defunct, and something that will be dealt with in an upcoming This Weekend…), along with such luminaries as Silent Servant and Regis. This is fantastic. From his (first!) album Incubation released earlier this year – though this track appeared last year on EP. A sort of reworking/updating of Aphex Twin to good effect.
Amon Duul II – Archangels Thunderbird.
Question: Hawkwind and Amon Duul II (well really Amon Duul I but whatever)… which came first? Best not to ask, perhaps. This is from Yeti from 1970 and very fine it is too. Who could not but love this attempt to meld proto-prog/pop/psychedelia (is that the ghost of Louie Louie in the riff that underpins the track) and rock? Who indeed?
The Doors – Verdilec
This is a bit of a curiosity, from a post-Jim Morrison album put out by the Doors, one of two IIRC. Variable quality overall, the loss of his voice was in no way made up for by the contribution of the others stepping up to the plate and microphone. But… some interesting stuff on it including this fusion of pretty much everything they had to hand at the time. I can understand that some would find it deeply irritating but I kind of like the mix of silliness and instrumental competence.
Casino Royale Theme
Just cos… though this 60s thing is beginning to worry me. I usually find Bacharach a bit too…well… depressing. But this, it’s that bassline/keyboard thing I think.
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Rory Gallagher Irish Tour 1974 and other Live Albums April 20, 2013Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
Found these on youtube recently and for a Rory Gallagher fan like myself its fantastic.
I only ever saw him the once but most teenage aspiring rockers worshiped Gallagher. I even got into the habit of wearing brown cords as Gallagher had worn them so they must be cool. Of course ‘Follow Me’ was the theme tune to the immensely popular ‘MT USA’ and probably the best theme tune ever on RTE. It wasn’t just Gallagher himself that was the attraction but Gerry McEvoy, his curly haired sidekick on bass, was so full of energy jumping and bopping around.
I’ve quite a few of Gallaghers albums and funnily enough I got my cassette copy of ‘Top Priority’ down from the box of tapes in the attic to have a listen to….and my nine year old daughter asked me what it was. She’d never seen a tape before!!!
For me it was the ‘Live in Europe’ album that was probably my favourite, although ‘Stage Struck’ came pretty close. The studio albums just lacked that something that the Live ones had. I bought the ‘lost’ album ‘Notes from San Francisco’ and whilst the album itself is good its the bonus Live CD that was the real treat. I could go on about Gallagher but I wont.
Irish Tour 1974 ( Full concert, Remastered)
Historical piece of footage Irish tour 1974
1. Walk On Hot Coals
2. Tatoo’d Lady
3. Who’s That Coming?
4. A Million Miles Away
5. Going To My Home Town
6. Cradle Rock
7. As The Crow Flies
8. Hands Off
9. Bullfrog Blues
Live in Europe 1972
1. Messin’ With The Kid
3. I Could’ve Had Religion
4 Pistol Slapper Blues
5 Going To My Home Town
6 In Your Town
7 What In The World
8 Hoodoo Man
9 Bullfrog Blues
Stage Struck 1980
2 Wayward Child
3 Brute Force & Ignorance
5 Bad Penny
7 Follow Me
8 Bought and Sold
9 The Last Of The Independents
10 Shadow Play
There are many, so feel free to add to them as you see fit. I’ll start off with some obvious ones, Robert Wyatt’s version of Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding which is still at this remove a stunning piece of work, and with it the pretty great Heaven 17 and Fascist Groove Thing, and by the way Heaven 17 were a remarkably political group too and one deeply antagonistic to Thatcherism. Also fans of Tony Benn.
Cathal Coughlan’s output from 1989 is a perfect artefact for the week that Thatcher shuffled of this mortal coil (coincidentally I’d had this post ready for a couple of weeks and ready to roll in this slot today).
Always loved Microdisney and when they split it was heartening to see that Coughlan was quick to return in the guise of the Fatima Mansions. I’m tempted to suggest that that name alone was perhaps the best of any Irish group. In anyone else’s hands it would have been glib and condescending, but with Coughlan it was just right. First album Against Nature was a blast of modulated power. Toned down were the countryish stylings that Sean O’Hagan had brought to the feast and instead here was something that threw a raft of different instruments into the mix including synths. But that voice, an instrument in itself, hardly changed, still oscillating between an howl of cynical rage and a more measured, sometimes melodic, but no less excoriating tone.
Add to that the sheer range of approaches. Only Losers Take the Bus with a propulsive synth beat underpinning it and pushed along by harpsichord and snarling guitars with vocals that were political, explicitly so. 13th Century Boy musically appeared to be an homage, of sorts, to the Pet Shop Boys. The Day I Lost Everything with a chorus that could have comfortably sat on any of the Microdisney albums, but the verses? Not so much. You Won’t Get Me Home also had that tinge of Microdisney with a fantastic verse which the chorus matched perfectly. But something was different, something was more insistent and urgent and the lyrics were more weary and in a sense downright nasty.
Valley of Dead Cars, a speedy albeit to my ears overly soft precursor to much that would come afterwards. Big Madness – Monday Club Carol returning to a more reflective pace with a genuinely lovely keyboard arrangement. Note the political content of the lyrics. And so on with all eight tracks this curious balance between suppressed power and melody.
But it was the former which would be emphasised on the superb Blues for Ceaucescu, namechecked earlier this week, a raging track released initially as an single/EP which revelled in Coughlan’s more – er – metallic/punk side. Again this was political, but the message was closer to home than some might think on first inspection. As he sang… “Meanwhile in London things stay the same – the untenable must be maintained”. Six minutes, powered along by a massive riff and lyrics that meant a damn sight more than most, building to a crescendo of feedback and drums before starting again and then stopping.
Though I listened to the subsequent albums I’ve rarely returned to them as frequently as I do to this. Without question there are great tracks on them but they never held together for me as well as these. And that’s not to dismiss the albums, but this selection of songs and records – for records they were – seemed to present the purest distillation of his output. Perhaps their strength was precisely In a way they were transitional offerings, shifting from one stage to another, and in doing so encompassing that broad range of approaches mentioned above.
13th Century Boy
Only Losers Take the Bus
You Won’t Get Me Home
The Day I Lost Everything
Big Madness Monday Club Carol
Blues For Ceauşescu
Looking into this first and I thought there would be fairly rich pickings but after much searching and reading there wasn’t really that much and most of it is that awful Country n Irish style.
In 1977 Fianna Fail released Colm C.T. Wilkinson singing “You’re Kind of Country”, it was an attempt to get the youth vote. This was the first General Election since the voting age had been reduced to 18.
This clip from RTE gives a report about the song from RTEs Election 77 coverage
Probably the most famous was The Morrisseys ‘Rise and Follow Charlie’ from 1981.
Of course music has a rich tradition and history in politics and struggle, but thats for another day. A few local examples from The Left …..
So back to elections …. Nowadays most parties or candidates tend to use theme songs ,”Things can only get better”, U2s “Beautiful Day” and there were many cases in the US Presidential Election where artists protested at certain candidates using their songs.
So here we are a small selection of Irish Election Campaign songs…. with “The Red Flag” also
If anyone knows of older Irish election campaign songs or if theres a history of them somehwere I’d love to know as I scoured some books as well as the net looking for more information.
Mattie McGraths 2007 song
John Brackens 2011 song
This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Ian Crause March 30, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, The Left, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
add a comment
Salvador Allende. Ian Crause. Disco Inferno. Post-rock. Salvador Allende?
Ah, that Ian Crause. For it can only be Ian Crause, formerly of influential 1990s post-rock outfit Disco Inferno who would be referencing Salvador Allende. Or class dynamics. Or structures of power. Or myth. And putting these in the context of melodic but challenging music.
In the early 2000s he had two solo releases, also brilliant in an understated way, leaning more towards a pop-inflected approach. Two releases, five songs in total and that was that for a decade.
Perhaps buoyed up by the reception a range of DI re-releases received over the past year or so when their sheer brilliance was recognised more widely than it ever was when they were actually extant.
The new material tilts sharply back to the latter days of Disco Inferno and it is not released as a cohesive whole or album but instead as individual tracks on Bandcamp here. There is a three party “The Song of Phaeton” which has cow or goat bells on it, that’s surely a first.
“More Earthly Concerns” kind of throws everything into the mix, and by everything I mean everything. Almost eight minutes long and yet not one is wasted with a swirl of samples, treated half-sung, half muttered vocals. Keyboards and treated sounds shimmer and burst. Bass and guitar arrive, depart, return. It builds to crescendo, then fades back and then builds again ending in a… well… see for yourself.
And the lyrics? In the accompanying notes he writes:
It´s a satire on the spiritual dogma which says that free-capitalism is the economic expression of divine liberty. The affluent choose to buy into this politico-religious idea as it gives a moral imperative for their comfortable lives, even a sense of higher purpose, just as the ancient Romans coopted Xtianity into their imperial worldview to justify their own earthly concerns.
While the part of the second verse which is set in a London sports bar might sound formless, if you listen you might be able to make out a revving Ferrari carrying the melody line to the track in the distance. I worked in the City of London for years and there was often some tit revving a supercar within earshot. It appears to be what they are for.
Been there, heard that and glad someone has managed to work it into music.
“Suns May Rise” continues this approach of choppy vocal samples, is that a sample of George Bush? Does Crause reference ‘the surge’. It doesn’t matter. It is political, angry, melodic, as if four or five groups were playing simultaneously but somehow instead of this being chaotic reinforce each other. And underneath it is a twisty little melody.
“The Vertical Axis”:
The song is a song of circles, arcs and spirals.
It looks at the current class war capitalism we have and whether its supposed basis in the vertical axis of individual success or failure is true or whether it´s a fallacy.
His thoughts conclude:
The last words belong to Chile´s ex President Salvador Allende in the radio message he gave to his nation shortly before shooting himself as the fascists used fighter jets to bomb his palace during the September 11th coup: ‘History is ours’.
“Black Light” takes a serious and timely pop against liberal condescension towards the working class.
I like the explanations as to how some of the sounds are constructed:
Also, just before the first chorus I have used one sound for 3 purposes. What begins as the rope creaking on the wrecked boat becomes the dots in the text between the lines ‘Listened on….’ and ‘Until…’ before ending up as the kick drum for the first chorus. I like this so I am explaining it because I feel it adds to the, erm, ‘fun’.
Perhaps appropriately there’s only one video on YouTube for these tracks – that being “More Earthly Concerns”.
In a way this is the logical extension of Disco Inferno’s relentless experimentation, in a career that in and of itself encapsulated post-punk and after, from the early strongly Joy Division styled offerings of their first album and EPs to the more New Order/Wire like material of their middle phase and on to the post-rock of their final phase. What’s genuinely remarkable is how much more of this territory he demonstrates there is to explore. But I think that the fact it is so strongly politicised is what gives it a greater power still and subtly moves it on from being interesting genre workouts.
There’s a comment on Youtube or Bandcamp that some bands don’t have as many ideas that he (and DI) pour into an individual song in a career. Not far wrong. This music sparkles. Literally.
More Earthly Concerns
Head over Heels (2002)
Starbound All Burnt Out and Nowhere to Go (Disco Inferno)
I’m Still in Love (Disco Inferno)
Tags: cowboy junkies
1 comment so far
Its 25 years since the release of the Cowboy Junkies seminal album “The Trinity Session”.
Recorded , with the band circled around a single microphone in Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity on November 27, 1987 it was released the following year. Somehow the recording reflects this with an almost sparseness to some of the songs. Although they recorded the songs again 20 years later in the same venue and released it as “Trinity Revisited”, it naturally just wasn’t the same.
It was an album I adored for years, chilled out to, smiled to and really enjoyed and recently I got the old records out again and listened to it. Its still great. There’s a lovely freshness to it (and unlike most of the albums that I played to death it hadn’t a scratch on it).
What it had too was a number of brilliant covers, whilst ‘Sweet Jane’ is probably the best known it was the cover of the Hanks Williams classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Walkin’ After Midnight” (made famous by Patsy Cline) that were my favourites.
I’ve a number of their albums and they have some really strange covers . Their first album “Whites Off Earth Now!!” is mostly covers with Bruce Springsteens “State Trooper” and John Lee Hookers “Forgive Me” being particularly odd. The success of The Trinity Session, I presume led to more of their own material appearing on their “The Caution Horses” album and beyond. On Caution Horses they covered amongst others Neil Youngs “Powderfinger”. I’d listen to Youngs ‘Rust Never Sleeps’ and then to The Cowboy Junkies version and it just wasn’t right!
After The Caution Horses came the albums “Pale Sun Crescent Moon” and “Black Eyed Man”. They were good but they had got more ‘electric’ with a slightly harder edge than The Trinity Session”. Singer Margo Timmons voice had changed ever so slightly too and the covers versions just weren’t as interesting.
I saw them about 10 years ago in Dublin and while they didn’t disappoint they didn’t blow me away either. Maybe I just wanted them to play and relive “The Trinity Session”
All the below are from “The Trinity Session” (although “Blue Moon revisited” wasn’t on the original release)