I Just Want To Lay On This Block Of Ice

Superb blast of garage rock by John Dwyer’s Thee Oh Sees, from their The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending The Night In album from a couple of years back. Any of their stuff is worth spending some time with.

BlockOfIce.mp3

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Swaggering

Some lo-fi, garage rock goodness for you this lovely Tuesday. Ty Segall is from San Francisco, and plays either on his own or as part of a three piece. Simple rhythms, overloaded acoustic guitars, muddy vocals- gutter punk stuff, similar to Thee Oh Sees or Black Lips.

Last day of August. End of summer. Back to school.

Harrumph.

swag.mp3

Pressure Drop A Drop On You

Pressure Drop, by Toots And The Maytals, is one of the great reggae songs, and was covered in brilliant rock reggae style by The Clash (b-side to the English Civil War single). Neither are the version posted here on this Bank Holiday Monday evening- this version of Pressure Drop is by The Specials, and before you scratch your heads and go checking your original Two Tone vinyl album tracklists, this wasn’t done by a version containing either Terry Hall or Jerry Dammers. In 1996 a rump version of The Specials led by Neville Staple, and joined by Lynval Golding, Roddy Byers, Horace Panter and a host of other folk released an album called Today’s Specials. Neville Staple has carried on gigging and recording throughout the 80s and 90s, and was always including Specials and covers songs in his sets. So the recent reformation (albeit without Jerry) wasn’t the first time the band had reformed, or partially reformed. Anyway to get to the point, they covered Pressure Drop, and while it’s not as gloriously ragged as either the Toots or Clash covers, it’s good and sounded great wafting around earlier, with this late summer sunshine we’ve enjoyed today.

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 26

Back after a fortnights absence this week’s rockabilly action comes from Dublin courtesy of Imelda May. She’s done Later With Jools Holland and supported all kinds of big bands (big as in famous rather than big as in Glen Miller), but we won’t hold either against her. I got this free on a magazine cd recently, and it’s definitely got the rockabilly spirit and sound. She’s a sneaky freak mind…

04 Sneaky Freak.wma

Live And Direct From My Living Room

After the end of Big Audio Dynamite Mick Jones formed a band with mate Tony James (formerly of Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik), and started off making guitar and sample based punk-riff-rock, distributing everything for free over the internet. I saw them at some point at Night And Day, good fun, very hot and sweaty, no Clash songs, but a good night out. By 2007 the songs had sharpened up and they issued a cd album The Last Post, with a cover featuring a load of the memorabilia Mick has collected over the years, and is now displaying in his mobile rock ‘n’ roll museum. Bring it up North Mick! This song, Why Do Men Fight?, was the closer to the album and the best, a cool guitar riff, driving bass, four to the floor drumming, and Mick’s meditations on the nature of blokes and why they can’t help punching each other- ‘religion, race, colour, creed, law, jobs, drugs, whatever’. Alcohol, girls and football seem to be missing from the list but hey, this is a good, simple song, great when played loud in the car.

We’re off camping for the Bank Holiday, despite the mixed weather forecast and below average end-of-summer temperatures. Brave or foolish? Time will tell. Don’t worry, the rockabilly’s all set up for later. Have a good weekend.

12 Why Do Men Fight-.wma

I’ll Sell My Guitar And Never Look Back

Arab Strap guitarist Malcolm Middleton released a solo album in 2005 called IntoThe Woods. This song Break My Heart was the opening track and a single. Set to soaring, uplifting, guitars and strings backing it contains some of the most jaundiced and bleakly honest lyrics I’ve heard.

‘You’re gonna break my heart and I know it
But if you don’t
You’re gonna break my unhappiness and destroy my career
I’d rather feel full than sing these shit songs
I’ll sell my guitar and never look back’

Later Malcolm ratchets up the long, dark night of the soul with

‘If I don’t have you I’m condemend to sing shit songs
I’ll fuck my guitar and drink myself to death
I don’t want to sing these shit songs anymore’

Sung in his strong Scottish accent against such a great song musically, totally believable and totally honest, caught in the bind between his art, his view of his art, and his personal life.

01 Break My Heart.wma

Burmese Days

Mission Of Burma were an American post-punk band, a three piece guitar band with a fourth member, Martin Swope, who played ‘tapes’, which sounds pretty cool and very post-punk. Inspired by punk they tried to stretch it and change it with tempo changes, strange chord progressions, being a bit arty and unconventional, and with the aforementioned tapes. This song, That’s When I Reach For My Revolver, came out in 1981 and is probably their best known, and is a thrilling blast of post-punk energy. They split up in 1983 partly due to one of them having tinnitus, although they did reform a few years ago

I’m looking at the case for this cd (a re-issue) and remembering in a flash I bought this in HMV in Richmond, posh south London, land of The Rolling Stones. We were there several years ago for the wedding of Mrs Swiss’ best friend, and I’d been asked to do the record playing for the reception. Transporting myself, Mrs Swiss (unknown to us just pregnant with child number 2, so feeling a bit off colour), wedding clothes etc, record playing gear and records, to London from Manchester in a Fiat Punto, having left child number 1 with grandparents made the whole thing a mad rush. We had a couple of hours in Richmond, wandered round, bit of lunch, bought Mission Of Burma cd, all very pleasant. The ceremony and reception were in Richmond Park, I think in what used to be a hunting lodge, with fantastic views over south London. As I set up the gear for the disco the venue manager informed me there was a decibel reader above the bar. I could see it flashing green. If the music got too loud, the display would flash red and then cut the sound out for ten seconds. As you can imagine this was inevitable, and I tripped it three times, once during the brides’ only request (Ms Dynamite) and the third time, towards the finale of the evening, during Iggy’s Lust For Life. The really funny thing was when the sound cut out, people would continue dancing to silence for a couple of seconds, then stand still and look around, and then give an almighty cheer as it came back on, slightly lower in volume than before. At which point I’d gently (or not so gently, depending on alcohol intake) shove the fader up and watch the lights edge closer to the red. The other disco points of note were a bloke pestering me to play Doug Lazy’s Let It Roll promising a group of dancers if I did, and the bride’s sister standing right in front of the decks with her arms folded, scowling at me for a good ten minutes. Happy days. Strange but wonderful how looking at the cover of this Mission Of Burma cd brings it all back.

01 That’s When I Reach for My Revolver.wma