one faint deluded smile

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

the third tier

scotland 1984

Another month, another really good session for "A Slow Rip"

Here's one hot off the presses:

mp3: untitled (9.5Mb)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Two Basses Good?

hammock style

Monika Enterprises has got to be one of the great modern indie labels. Go and pick up the Monika Force compilation and wonder at the breadth and variety of the synthetic pop on offer. I wasn't too keen on their latest release - "4 Women No Cry" - whose tunes all rely on the Juana Molina home recording schtick but with artists like Barbara Morgenstern, Michalea Melian and Chica and the Folder there'll always be something good to find amongst their CDs. (and do visit 20 Jazz Funk Greats while you're at it as they put me onto them in the first place).

One of my favourite tracks on the comp is

mp3: Contriva - Shadow (Mo Mix)

This is a very simple tune with an acoustic guitar or two, a kick pattern, a fluid bass and 2 other bass synths inter-twining (the most insistent utilses ADSR pulse width modulation - my favourite synth sound). When it finally adds a few more notes and a slight chord change I really become the synth.

This multiple bass deal reminded me of one of my favourite post-rock bands:

mp3 : Ganger - Lid of the Stars (btw- 8Mb)

They were late comers to the whole aesthetic (as was I) living their short timespan at the end of the 90s. But while I can hardly bear to listen to Tortoise anymore (apart from DJ'd) I can always put on "Hammock Style" and enjoy it from start to finish. This is the last track on the album and has a bass synth drone + 2 normal basses playing multiples - the interaction is spellbinding.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Keith Don't Go?

now THAT'S a rock 'n' roll belt

In another of those gob-smacking moments of musical rediscovery, I found out this week that I know every single note of Nils Lofgren's 1st album from 1975. The last time this happened to me was when I first heard Santana's "Caravanserai" after a 25 year 'break' or, to a lesser extent, all those Steely Dan records, but this one came as an absolute surprise. I just can't remember listening to it, let alone owning it, although I must have played it a thousand times to imprint it so heavily on the cells at the back of my brain.

I can only suppose that this amnesia is due to the other things I did in 1975: listening to those great albums from the start of NY punk, seeing Radio Birdman every week and playing music for myself. All of those were of prime importance to me then. And, let's face it, Nils is a real 70s rock star / guitar god, isn't he? I would have baulked at that once Patti Smith caught my ear (although she would probably have adored him).

Oh well, at least I've found the album again even if it does remind me of other people occassionally. There's a smidgeon of Little Feat in the vocals and occassional funkiness and the production sounds exactly like a lot of mid 70s US rock releases - Steve Miller Band's "Ganster of Love", anyone?

But it's full of effortless, keening guitar playing, excellent, hummable pop melodies and lyrics that are actually quite heartfelt in a sort of adolescent way.

Please do try to enjoy a few of them...


Back It Up
If I Say It, It's So
The Sun Hasn't Set On This Boy Yet

Friday, July 08, 2005

Soon Over, Soon Under

can live (from the new Landed booklet)

I just got the next 4 Can remastered edition cds: "Future Days", "Soon Over Babaluma", Unlimited Edition" and "Landed". All sound as good as I'd hoped with the clarity, punchiness, balance and lack of hiss that the 1st 4 showed so easily. This time it's a little harder to see the differences but it's all in the details. So - good to great albums with another great makeover. Here's some comparisons for you:

mp3s: Moonshake
mp3s: Come Sta, La Luna
mp3s: Doko E

The only thing I've done to the originals is to normalise the wav files.

btw, here's my favourite Can albums from most to least loved:

Ege Bamyasi (first and foremost, forever and ever)
Tago Mago (always the bridesmaid)
Soon Over Babaluma (the most under-rated release)
Monster Movie (rockin')
Soundtracks (surprisingly strong)
Unlimited Edition (bits and pieces but still wonderfull)
Future Days (oh so over-rated)
Delay 68 (one great track)
all the others

Momma's Little Jewels

hey, is this the Kings of Leon?

Mott The Hoople were always a bit of a cartoon rock band, with ridiculous Spinal Tap undertones never that far from the surface: Ian Hunter's corkscrew hair and sub-Dylan stylings, the chunky-chunk guitar boogies, those many irksome ballads about the rock'n'roll lifestyle that ruined their albums, abominable lyrics about groupies, the kids on the street, etc and the glam period clothing and "rock god" moves (see this ridiculous pic from the glory days of Top Of The Pops - a picture IS worth a thousand words some times).

But even all this could not dissuade me from adoring them. And, psssst, maybe it's exactly what drew them to me in the first place. I suppose they were brought into my sphere of listening only by the Bowie connection, really. [Why DB would ever give away one of his most listenable, catchy, monumental songs - "All The Young Dudes" - to a bunch of 3 strikes yer out B-grade rockers is one of Glam's most unanswerable questions]. Less stridently working class than Slade, less ridiculous looking in high heels than The Sweet, less older looking that Gary Glitter or Alvin Stardust (sort of) they were, undeniably, writers of a few great tunes.

mp3: Sweet Angeline

Their 1st 3 albums were all over the place and filled with cover versions. But on "Brain Capers" they reached some sort of quality control even if it flopped dismally and they almost collapsed from inertia. 'Sweet Angeline' is one of the better tracks with thumping bass and piano, chunky, simplistic guitars, swirling organ fills and Hunter's trademark nasally Dylan impersonation.

mp3: Sucker
mp3: Soft Ground

When Bowie saved (made) their career they released the "All The Young Dudes" album which, basically, sounded much the same as the last. 'Sucker' shows the Bowie production influence with sax on the chorus and a little lighter touch in the arrangement. You'll have to try to ignore the lyrics which are as obvious as you can imagine. 'Soft Ground' does a weird impersonation of organ driven Deep Purple or some other hard rock band of the time - a curiosity, really, but quite effective in it's own little way.

mp3: Violence

Now part of the Glam Rock heirarchy, "Mott" was released in 1973 with their best collection of songs. It was the last album for Mick Relphs too who went onto fame in the mildly excreble "Bad Company". 'Violence' is one of those great epic rock songs with sound effects and a marvellous tune and, yes, a lovely violin solo.

mp3: Crash Street Kids

'Crash Street Kids' from 74's "The Hoople" continues in that grand, wave yer hands in the air manner. The production's a bit dulled by this stage unfortunately and, if you didn't know better, this could easily be The Sweet at their best!

mp3: All The Way From Memphis

From the same year is this live version of one of their main hits, released on the "Live (30th Anniversary Edition)" cd. The album version is quite pretty in it's way, all piano and highlights but this one is full-on guitar overdrive, flattened out to something only slightly recognisable as they get through the last part of their set, thinking of the joys of the backstage to come.

Yes, they're a silly band but they remain a lovely, guilty pleasure.

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