Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Twin Hype

Really liking this right now. Reminds me of something from 1974. Not sure what, but something.

Lynch Mob

Ever since seeing Eraserhead on TV at a tender age, I've been following (and often enjoying) the work of David Lynch. Actually, my fascination pre-dates even my first viewing of his films-- just seeing the box of the Eraserhead VHS was creepily seductive. In recent years, however, his experiments with digital video have left me a little cold. Inland Empire, for example, has sat on my shelves, unwatched, for over two years. So, I was a little hesitant about seeing The Air Is On Fire, a solo Lynch retrospective, recently. But I took the plunge, and I'm glad I did. Much of his artwork (paintings, noise machines, sculptures, manipulated photos) displayed the requisite eerieness even as they rehashed familiar themes and tropes. But the room full of doodles on napkins, matchbooks and scraps of paper, collated over 25 years, was a real insight into the guy's mind, and the cinema showing a continuous three-hour compilation of shorts was revelatory. The Grandmother, in particular, holds up really well as a pre-cursor of many Lynch obsessions, and was better than I remembered from my first viewing 20 years ago.

Spookily, having seen the show on Saturday, I turned on the radio on a snowy day in Scotland two days later to hear that Lynch has just released two (!) singles. Though his interest in sound is obvious (cf. his production of Julee Cruise's Into The Night, as well as his curating and production of Industrial Symphony no.1 and his collaborations with Angelo Badalamenti and Alan Splet) this is his first foray into music as a solo performer (he did a little vocal take on the Dark Night of the Soul project earlier this year). The first, Good Day Today, is fairly weak, like an Underworld out-take. However, the other one, I Know, is not bad. Nice Vaughn Oliver artwork too, but don't give up the day job(s), David.

Here's a little Playstation ad I found, directed by Lynch.

And, as we mentioned Angelo Badalamenti, how about some Blue Velvet soundtrack to download?

Download Mysteries of Love by Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch (Julee Cruise version) mp3

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thin Stuff

Le Corps Mince de Francoise. It really trips off the tongue doesn't it? Their new single Gandhi is out tomorrow. Happy Mondays meets MIA, you say? Well, I can't disagree, but it's kinda pleasant nonetheless.

There's also an Andy Weatherall remix available. Do you remember when every single had to have an Andy Weatherall remix? It was compulsory, if I remember correctly. Relive those days below.

Wagnerian Tragedy

Now that Wagner has left the X-Factor (I don't watch it- it's strictly Strictly in our house) can he please get back to designing frocks? Whaddya mean, you don't follow me? Surely you've noticed that Wagner is really rag-trade barmpot John Galliano after a heavy night?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Greatest Hits

This is surely what the internet was invented for. Thanks, Tim Berners-Lee. An ongoing archive of every issue of Smash Hits.

Especially striking is how much the magazine focused on music from across the spectrum, at least in its early days, and didn't just focus on chart fodder (despite its name). See this issue, for example. Monochrome Set, the Mo-dettes, Lee Dorsey, The Passions, Alternative TV...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Carry Bag Man

Another ace blog to peruse if you ever tire of my intermittent posting rate: Bagging Area. Which comedian recently suggested that "Unexpected Item In The Bagging Area" should become our national motto? I can't remember. Anyhoo, take a look: good posts, well written, deftly-chosen mp3s. That's Bagging Area, incidentally, not Irk The Purists, obv.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

God-damn. Why did he have to become so crappy circa 1987?

The article that led me to this incredible clip was this excellent appraisal of Dirty Mind some 30 years after its release.

Could It Be Magic?

A quick mention for a wonderful blog I've been greatly enjoying for the past week or so: the strangely-entitled (and misspelled, surely?) Know Your Conjurer. A man after my own heart, and with similarly wide-ranging tastes, its author has recently posted about Lee Dorsey, Guided by Voices, This Heat and Ween, so you can get an idea of where he's coming from right there. Despite my jealousy at its author creating more blogposts in a month than I can usually manage in a year, I thoroughly commend it to the house.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Small Wonder

God damn, even as the record industry collapses, there are some fantastic songs being made. Maybe these two things are connected. Anyway, here's another goodie, this time by Small Black (presumably Small Black are not Santiago Durango and Dave Riley [hmmm....too obscure, I think- US punk ed.]).

It's on the ridiculously-monikered Jagjaguwar Records. More info here.

Court, Can I Get A Witness

The papers here have been getting into a froth over the last few days over a firearms officer from Scotland Yard giving evidence at an enquiry into a shooting and (allegedly) covertly inserting song titles into his statement, rather in the manner of certain football pundits of recent memory. "Fair enough," I thought, outraged, upon first hearing about this on a radio news bulletin (in no way pre-judging the case, no siree). "It's one thing to play silly buggers on Match of the Day, where there's little at stake except for John Motson's wig falling off. It's quite another to do it in a court of law during an enquiry into a death. Throw the book at him."

But now I've read the reports rather than hearing just the outline of the case on the wireless. And I have to say, I'd be prepared to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. For one thing, if you read the coverage (e.g. this report from The Independent), he either had an extremely broad musical taste (Donna Summer, The Membranes, XTC, As Tall as Lions (who hell they?-ed), film soundtracks) or this is a huge coincidence. Furthermore, those self-same reports claim that not only was the officer inserting song titles into his evidence, he was inserting snatches of lyrics (Enough is Enough isn't actually the name of the Summer/Streisand collab- it's entitled No More Tears), and words which merely hinted at the titles of songs (the phrase "self-preservation" supposedly standing in for the title of the tune [Get a Bloomin' Move On] which concludes The Italian Job). Oh really? And as for extracting individual words and common phrases from the officer's evidence ("faith", "daylight", "line of fire", point of no return") and inferring that these must be references to songs by George Michael, Coldplay, Journey and Duran Duran respectively- well, puh-leeze.

I'm not saying he definitely didn't do it. The references to popular music are so tenuous and vague that presumably it's only because someone in the Yard couldn't keep stumm that the case has come to light (I simply can't imagine that anyone looked at his evidence and suddenly said "Wait a minute! These are all song titles!"). But really: the connections between what he said and the intent that he is alleged to have had are so threadbare that even the most half-witted defence lawyer could drive a coach and horses through the allegations if there is ever an internal investigation. In other words, whether he did or didn't do it, this is hardly a watertight case.

Don't believe me? Here's the opening paragraph of the lead story in the Independent at time of writing:

A new wave of strike action across the public sector began last night with massive disruption to the London Underground, as 11,000 staff began another 24-hour walkout that will affect millions of commuters. A Bonfire Night strike for firefighters also looms on Friday, as no progress was made during talks with brigade officials yesterday, according to sources close to the discussions. Tensions rose when two demonstrators were injured during the latest round of industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), after they were hit by vehicles trying to break the picket line.

Now lets take a look at the song titles those sneaky sub-editors have smuggled in, eh?

"New Wave": clearly a reference to the song of the same name by Common on his 2002 album Electric Circus. "Strike": obviously the 1984 single by The Enemy Within (Adrian Sherwood & Keith LeBlanc) in support of the miners. "Last Night": The Strokes, natch. "24": Emmy the Great. "Millions": probably a reference to the Tortoise track Millions Now Living Will Never Die. "Yesterday": a little-known tune penned by one P. McCartney. "Fire": The Ohio Players. "Union": The Black Eyed Peas. "Hit": The Sugarcubes.

The defence rests, your honour.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Marble Index

Typical. You wait 30 years for some Young Marble Giants copyists, then two come along at once. The first was, of course, The XX (tipped for the Mercury back in December by yours truly) though, apparently, they're just XX now. The second is LA's Warpaint; their new single Undertow is below. Download it for free. No, I'm not on their payroll.

Of course, many of you will be saying "Young Marble Who?" If so, you can hear the real thing, straight outta Cardiff, below.

Download Young Marble Giants Wurlitzer Jukebox mp3 (deleted Jan 2011)

Buy Young Marble Giants Cds