Category Archives: Music

The Summer of Doom

My recent listening habits haven’t been jolly. I suspect they reflect the dumpster fire that World News is at the moment.

The Stranglers – Rattus Novigus

A big alternative band of the 80s, who were personally big in my 90s. I saw them live (without original lead singer Hugh Cornwell, which was off-putting) at one of the Leeds Free Festivals at Roundhey Park, and their Greatest Hits lp was constantly on my mate Foz’s stereo when I went around. Attitude-wise, they’ve always struck me as the same joking about – but oh so deadpan – that Faith No More also displays. So recently, I’ve been working through their back catalogue, listening to ENTIRE ALBUMS. So I started with their debut Rattus Norvegicus and not got very far beyond that. Its got one of my all-time songs, Get a Grip (of Yourself), and the leary “do they mean it or are they being ironic” Peaches (both on the aforementioned mates Greatist Hits tape). But what was new to me and has become my theme tune over the last month or so is their hauntingly stomping Goodbye Toulouse, which apparently is inspired by Nostrodamous prediction that this French of city will suffer a catacymisic end. Doom my friends, doom.

Recently keyboardist Dave Greenfield passed away. His bandmates released this poignant song on their latest LP.

Iggy Pop and James Williamson – Kill City

Made in the aftermath of the Stooges’ implosion from drug use in the early 70s from sounds which were meant to be that band’s fourth album after Raw Power. Guitarist James Williamson would get Iggy to do vocals on weekend release from the rehab. Lacking the fire of Raw Power, It’s like a big sleazy soundtrack to a 70s gangster film, telling stories from the viewpoint of its anti-hero stars. Listen to Joanna and its not the loving romance song you initially think it is. This is the remastered version, with all sorts of sounds filling out the rather flat vinyl version I picked up second-hand in the 90s and held on for grim life in my post-student days.

Jawbox

How did I miss this band in their 90s heyday? I’m doing general discovery with this band, who came out of Washington DC and were peers of my beloved Fugazi. Recorded two LPs on independent label Discord Records before being on Atlantic for two, then disbanding in the late 90s, members going in other directions (including the wonderful Office of Future Plans), and then reuniting to tour in recent history and reissue the two major label releases on their own label. Phew!

Here’s the out-and-out rocker, Breathe of their Atlantic debut, which made the hairs on my neck stand up on end when I first heard it.

And talking of Doom, let me introduce …

Spotlights

Another discovery band, who’ve been on Mike Patton’s Ipecac label since the 2010s. Described as “Doomgazing” they really are a fantastic mix of atmospheric rock music, with breathy vocals, occasional grimaced shouting, crash bang wallop drumming, space rock(!), sludge, doom, progish leanings (but from NY state). I picked up on them since Ipecac are promoting their latest LP, but this is the one I keep on playing on repeat.

Recent Earworms

As external reality continues to break down/malfunction, my listening has gone firmly psychedelic.

On the Metal front, Dog Fashion Disco have a new lp out which has me nodding at my desk…

This Orbital and Sleaford Mods collaboration really captures the moment regarding my feelings about the current political climate. Also there’s lots of things, culture references etc, that keeps my Diseased Brian Entertained on this one πŸ™‚

Amon Tobin – one of those “why have I only just discovered them”, moments. Will be losing myself down the rabbit hole of eclectic electronica over the coming months. This is the track I discovered him.

and at the more get up and go end of his work, the track which I think is a wonderful imaginary soundtrack to Warhammer 40K Space Marines going into battle in their Rhinos, a type of Tank/APC πŸ˜€

Devin Townsend has a new LP out , called Lightwork, which I’m picking up as a Chrimbo pressie to myself πŸ™‚

Recent listening discoveries

Recently, things have been a bit weird, in both the external and internal worlds.

Here’s some music that has been my soundtrack.

Mood changes recently πŸ˜€
From the same stable as Primus in the 90s.

and in those bleak-bored moments, lots of this, my official staring into the uncertain void…

Little Lost Warbot

I’m currently listening to a “five-star” rock playlist on a rediscovered IPOD classic which was put together pre-2015 over a good course of a decade. This was my typical work-journey music, that blotted out other bus passengers conversations and was the soundtrack to my frustrations at the time.

It is an artefact from a time before I fell out with Heavy Metal/Alt/Hardcore Punk, roughly dated 2015 (the year when Lemmy died). It’s like the very shouty soundtrack of the thoughts of a Giant Warbot πŸ˜€

Some standout tracks amougst the mercilous onslaught of METAAAAAAAAALL \m/ πŸ˜€

Recent Earworms

One for the bubbly psychedelic crowd SHPONGLE!!!

Metalcore done right, Propagandhi, who I picked up on after watching a documentary on Prime about Fat Wreck Chords (NoFx’s record label) who they were signed to in the 90s.

And lots of L7, in a sort of 90s trip down memory lane that turned into a oh they have a new lp out (Scatter the Rats), which this is from.

They too have a documentary L7: Pretend that we are Dead on Prime.

Also watched a couple of the Women of Rock Oral History Project interviews, which includes Donnita Sparks (L7) and Kira (Black Flag)

Finally picked up Scarred for Life volume 2 , which is the second compilation of imaginary 70s/80s UK TV theme tunes.

Recent Musical Explorations

My fallout with metal continues.

Currently obsessed with Talking Heads back catalogue, after deciding to take the plunge and explore it after realising their song “Once in a Lifetime” is one of my top 5 favourite songs and that isn’t changing anytime soon. Β “Remain in Light” is on heavy rotation on the media player, and as well as various short documentaries about the band (the 1977 Southbank show, which is up on youtube, is especially good. Β  It’s also turned into a sub-obsession withΒ David Byrne, who I find so damn clever and engaging. Here’s him doing Talking Heads’ Making Flippy Floppy.

He’s also/was Autistic – which makes sense to me and I suspected it by the way he carries himself and the way he doesn’t make eye contact, This video has his incredible positive take on it:

Also worth noting, he runs the positive news site Reasons to Be Cheerful

In other news I’m drifting in a world of ambient/electronic music I’ve not explored since the days of Mega Dog ( a big Hippy Rave that used to show up in Leed Uni Refectory, which featured Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Bianco De Gaia etc) in the 90s. I momentarily got over-excited aboutΒ The Future Sound of London (who are actually from Manchester) releasing an album calledΒ Yage, until I realised its an album of remixes of a track off 90s Dead Cities release. Still bloody good, and has reconnected me with the band who have done a metric shit-ton of releases (under various guises) from their 90s heyday.

Finally, on this track, Trent Reznor’s and Atticus Ross’ Watchmen soundtrack is part of the reason I tune in to watch the current TV series.

On the new music front, I cheerfully put money down for Battle’s new lp Juice B Crypts. Now down to 2 members from 4 in the original line up, and three in the last line up, their music remains fluid, yet an intense mix of electronic samples and rock.

The Days of the Week

These are the days of the week as I see them now, instead of the dull boring/miserable associations I used to use.Β  May it enlighten you and make your days HappyMad too πŸ˜€

Miraculous Monday.Β I used to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff I assign myself to get done in the week (the dark side of goal setting). Now I just acknowledge the miracle that I’m alive, and the joy of fill my plate high with stuff to do and make sure I have fun doing it.

Terrific Tuesday. Tuesday used to be this draggy non-entity of a day. Not any more, this is where I really get my head down and into the week’s work!

Magic Wednesday. A day of celebration, because at Midday you are suddenly going towards the weekend, rather than away from it πŸ™‚

Thrilling Thursday.Β It’s nearly the weekend (or the start of the weekend if you are young/young at heart) so get excited!

Fantastic Friday. The fun-filled wrap up of the week’s work.

Slack Saturday, Ok there’s fun stuff to do with the family, but Saturday is the day

Smashing Sunday – Sunday boring and sleepy?Β  NEVER!!! πŸ˜€

As a FREE bonus for reading this post, here’s Blue Man Group with Mediation for Winners πŸ™‚

BeCauSE I haTe yER Ears :P

So as the day gently comes to an end with Tea and Cake for Newts, I give you the gift of music. Shall I perhaps give you some Led Zepplin, with lion like Percy the Lion roaring gently pure nonsense while Grand Wizzard Sir James Pageofabook fiddles with his double necked penis guitar and Mr Big Beard of Bozo hits his beer bongos, all of them ignoring the bass player MR Dull? No I shall give you a band that has made me piss myself with laughter ever since I heard their classic “Let’s Eat The Baby (Like My Gerbils Did) ” on the late (and much missed) John Peel’s Late Night Show. So here we go on Day 23 of my Noise no one else likes….The Happy Flowers with “My I Gave The Cat Some Acid“.

You are responsible for creating your own Happiness

Wayne Coyne (lead singer of psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips) on the subject of Creating Your Own Happiness.Β  It took me a long time to LIVE this one fully and I really wish I had done it sooner. Because it really is Awesome and Full of Win πŸ™‚

P.s I have a wife that puts up with me as well πŸ™‚

I found this completely by accient btw, while looking up cover versions of King Crimson’s 21st Schizoid Man (of which the Flaming Lips do a really trippy version – which I’ll post in a follow up post).

Of course I can’t get away with this post without including this graceful upbeat song by them πŸ™‚

1970s Nightmares

For some reason I’ve been obsessed with the darker side of the 70s. Its bleakness, its repressed emotions…

Started by watching Ben Wheatley’s adaptabtion of JG Ballard’s High-Rise.

At its heart its a Sci-fi story (without ray guns, spaceships or robots) the setting really transported me back to that time in both style and tone. Outstanding performances by an ensemble cast. Jeremy Irons is particularly chilling yet very fragile and human as the Architect of the building and Tom Hiddleston as the lead character shines but does not outshine the rest of the cast.

Total recommend from me, reminds me of some of the dark stuff you’d used to see on C4 & BBC2 in the 80s (not surprising this was funded by Film 4). A highly intelligent and well shot film, but not one for when you need a happy-cheery film

Meanwhile Radiohead ruin and soil many people’s childhood memories of shows like Trumpton and Camberwick Green with their video of their song Burn the Witch.

And continuing the theme of music and Black Magic, I picked up the Dark Horse Comic’s Graphic Novel version of That Damned Band.Β  Without giving too much away its a beguiling mix of 70s Heavy Metal excess, the band that the story is about Motherfarther screams Led Zepplin (with elements of other bands of the time ), psychedelia (the cover which drew me in reminded me of the 13th Floor Elevators) and good old horror storytelling.

CA_DamnedBand1-630x420

Of course the prize for creepy 1970s goes to Scarfolk Council, the blog/book/design project about a town stuck in a paranoid version of the 1970s.

scarfolk