Tuesday, July 25, 2017
... what the heck is that? I was doing well with it but I've hit a period of thinker's block.
I couldn't even call it writing. Anyway, perhaps it's temporary. Perhaps it'll last longer than that.
Thanks for dropping by. The stats say that more than a million hits have been made here since it all kicked off. I know that's a drop in a bucket to the interweb but it seems like a lot. So gracias if you're someone that has assisted with massaging these numbers.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Monday, July 17, 2017
It was an honour to be asked to scribble a couple of paragraphs for the back of the OS COURETTES 10 inch field recording "It's Alive from Tambourine Studios" (in Malmö, Sweden) on Chaputa! Records of Portugal.
As you’re likely aware, this two person force of nature is one of my favourite acts currently doing the rounds and they pack more punch than many groups twice their number. Primitive is where they live and when you catch them in person you’ll find out exactly why.
Meanwhile, you can practice for just such an occasion if you grab a copy of this and play it several times daily at a volume that makes the foundations of your cave rattle in addition to shaking and rolling at the appropriate junctures.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
“Hey, the fools made the rules. It’s all German engineered”.
That Alan Vega always had a way with words and the roll call of discontent that makes up “DTM” is charged to the gunnels with all the bile and distrust that the man always had with convention. It’s delivered over a crackling, electronic pulse that packs the ideal undertow. First time I came into contact with IT was during the Punk Mass that celebrated Suicide’s rise from the gutters of the long-gone New York at The Barbican. Always a sound born of decay and destitution, it took a while for the world to catch on. It’s still catching on and the body of work that both Alan and Marty have wrought will confound and delight future generations in equal measure. Forty laps of the sun down the line, Alan has come up with one hell of a death rattle.
“Hey – how about the anti-christ. Celebrate the pain!” That’s something that was always prevalent in his work. It was an often unfettered celebration of pain with a telescopic depth and groove. No matter how unconstructed it may have seemed when it first hit your ears, you could never listen the same way twice. “Fade to black. Fade to Hispanic”. There are parallels here with what Lynch has done with the resuscitation of Twin Peaks. Uncompromising and unfiltered, however long Trent Reznor chips away at the seam he’ll never come close to any of this. Take it as you find it or get off the fucking bus. In what must have been a difficult time for Liz and Dante, IT has come together as what may well be Vega’s best work, a disjointed industrial urban symphony that reflects how I’m sure that Alan saw where this world was going. A year down the road since his passing, there is so much more to rail against.
To attempt to describe the majesty of IT in words is pointless, a large swathe of the populace won’t get it. It’s a real gift to those of us who do. And who were lucky enough to watch it gestate. These pieces are something to be experienced and the louder the better. Undoubtedly this is a crucified soundtrack to what is looking increasingly like a wrong century. Vega is unfettered and visceral in death as he ever was in life. You can get it in whatever format you favour (apart from cassette or eight track) on FADER LABEL.
In “Prophecy”, he declares that he’ll go “on and on”. That goes without saying.
“It’s war baby”. Too fucking right and Alan Vega is still leading the charge.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Monday, July 10, 2017
Sunday, July 09, 2017
Friday, July 07, 2017
Thursday, July 06, 2017
It had been 35 years but last night something great happened. Super rock was once again reverberating through Auld Reekie (Edinburgh). The force of nature that is The Fleshtones landed in Bannermans to kick off their latest foray across that is, for now at least, Europe.
Of course the other nations caught on first. This sceptic isle is always late to the party but better that than never. They picked up where they left off in Spain at the end of January. Rockin' and boppin' as only they can.
A lot of familiar faces came out as did some first timers, I think everyone was agreed that this wasn’t just another show. Perhaps they’ll measure gigs they attend by this one?
When all is said and done however few acts match the unparalleled heights of these guys in full flight.
It was Kenny Fox’s first time up this way. He’s only been in the band for 26 years. From “Bigger and Better” through “Gotta Getaway” (Dedicated to Billy Miller) to the anthem that is “American Beat”. This wasn’t your average Cowgate Wednesday night.
“Don’t you understand the world has changed?” asked the band on Roman Gods. I think most realise that it has and not necessarily for the better. In other ways the more it changes, the more it stays the same. One thing is for sure, it’s a better place for the fact that they're still out there, plying their trade against the sometimes seemingly all-enveloping gloom.
Tonight they’re in Gatesheid (Newcastle ‘pon the Tyne) with those Coyotemen.
Verily The Toon will be jumping!!
Tuesday, July 04, 2017
Sunday, July 02, 2017
Saw Teenage Superstars yesterday, the second instalment of Grant McPhee’s two part document of Scottish music’s formative years and its connection with further afield. Indeed, I gave a lot of this local produce the rubber ear in the early days. A mixture of being obsessed with American “punk” before the term was turned into a half-assed brand. Much of this film is based around the west coast strain of pop. “Big Gold Dream” was the east coast take and I think McPhee did a good job. I went to bury it but couldn’t. Despite still intensely disliking much of the produce, the story was told well. Many of the perpetrators are good people. Just don’t ask me to listen to their music. Some aren’t, but they played their part too as life goes.
In the same sense, I never got Creation – or Postcard Records. Whilst I recognise the “scene” around these it took the interest shown from friends overseas to create my perspective. It took me a long time to admit that the Mary Chain made some good records. They were just such horrible oiks. As was another of their “kin” who I won’t even mention but he haunts the film like a bad smell. He has to be in there I guess because he’s turned out to be a pivotal figure. And for the mentions of The Cramps in the film, there’s no suggestion that they were briefly on the label that McGee ran. Joe Foster is good in this and it’s to the shame of some others that they didn’t make themselves available to support this venture. I have friends in Scandinavia and Spain that will LOVE this. I thought about them all the way through the film.
It defines the two cities that are just 52 minutes apart but spiritually what, I feel, like a world. The humour of Glasgow is intact and the appearance of several lesser known players is welcome. There’s definitely a career as Jack and Victor Version 2.0 for Duglas T Stewart and Sean Dickson beckoning. Grand to see the elusive David Keegan and mi amigo Martin Hayward here.
Ian Hoey hosted a wee Q+A after the screening with Wendy Griffin (Producer) and Angela Slaven (Editor/co-producer). All concerned worked to the wire to prepare the film for these EIFF screenings and there are plans to tour a double bill in October or thereabouts. I presume that means throughout the UK? Plans are underway to screen it further afield and I can feel the anticipation across the waters big and wee. There’s even a wee glimpse of the cover I did for the 53rd and 3rd release of “My First Band” by The Ben Vaughn Combo in here and reference to the connection between TFC and Alex Chilton.
You get one chance to do something like this and on this occasion the years of selfless pursuit have pretty much nailed a decent snapshot of what it was to live through the fermentation. The inclusion of Thurston Moore here and Kim Deal’s voice over connects the scene back to the US. The subject matter of this episode in particular really chimed with America’s burgeoning underground at the time. Who could have thunk it? Bellshill spawned several monsters whose influence has carried way beyond any feasible expectation. It’s doubtful such magic could ever happen again because it would be contrived and hijacked straight out of the box.