>At The Top Of The Dial

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Poking around the internet I found this, the lead track from a tribute to Joe Strummer album called Shatter The Hotel, all the tracks being reggae and dub versions of Clash songs. It’s actually pretty good with several standout versions and worth tracking down if Clash covers are your thing. You can get it at emusic and on Amazon. The album’s proceeds go to Strummerville which supprts several worthwhile Strummeresque causes. If you like the Easy Allstars cover albums of Pink Floyd and Radiohead chances are you’ll like this too and many of The Clash’s songs take easily to dub and reggae-isation. This one is London Calling, covered by Dubtronix (‘Dubstep, future garage and beyond’ his website says, and hopefully ‘weddings, parties, anything, and bongo jazz a speciality’ as well), with the great Don Letts and Dan Donovan (currently playing keyboards in reformed Big Audio Dynamite) guesting. Skanking.

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>Terry Meets Julie And Tjinder

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Waterloo Sunset is one of those songs that probably shouldn’t be covered, it being some kind of high water mark for mid 60s songwriting. I’m not sure the original Kinks version can be improved on, and there’s maybe not much you can do with it other than do it straight (a jazz-metal deconstruction anyone? Sixteen minute techno epic?). I suppose bands do it to pay homage or just because it’s fun to play.

Cornershop’s version, a bonus track from 2009’s Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast, works pretty well though- recognisably Cornershop with Tjinder Singh’s vocals and some sitar near the start without destroying the original’s charm. Funny band Cornershop. Their breakthrough album When I Was Born For The Second Time was full of great little songs, a mish-mash of styles, and a real wonky charm. It also had that Norman Cook remix of Brimful Of Asha. I love the original, not am too fond of the remix. They seem to have spent the last fourteen years running away from it and success. I bought 2002’s Handcream For A Generation but can’t really remember much about it other than it had the dreaded Noel Gallagher collaboration and was glam rock in parts. Still, they don’t repeat themselves, clearly have wide-ranging record collections and influences, and bring an Asian identity to parts of the music scene not known for cross cultural pollination, so good on ’em.

>Bagging Area- World Exclusive

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Yes, really.

I posted Time Goes By So Slow by long lost Manchester band The Distractions a few weeks ago, at the prompting of a reader called Dan, who also lives in Sale. It turns out Dan is part of the team at Occultation Recordings, a record label launched in 2009 to release records by The Granite Shore and The Wild Swans. Since then they’ve released some stuff by The Distractions, Jonathan Becket and are planning a Distractions compilation for later in the year. Recently Dan emailed to offer me a chance to hear and post tracks by Factory Star, currently unavailable anywhere else.

You can find Occultation Recordings here

Does this mean Bagging Area is a proper blog now?

And have I lost my independence and integrity?

And what if I don’t like the album? Can I say so?

Factory Star are a band led by guitarist Martin Bramah, who led The Blue Orchids and survived two stints in The Fall (during two of their most revered periods.) He’s a proper post-punk guitar player. Factory Star have been around since 2008, gigging and playing a session for (fellow Fall survivor) Marc Riley. They recorded their debut album during three days in Liverpool in January this year, playing live with hardly any overdubs and then mixed it the following weekend. Occultation are due to release it later this month. Factory Star take their lead from post-punk’s twin influences- 70s punk (New York variety) and 60s garage, filtered through a very northern Englishness (big mills, railway arches, Manchester suburbs, the cemetery and pylons on the sleeve art). There’s wheezy 96 Tears-esque organ all over this album along with clanging guitars and the half spoken, half sung vocals of Bramah. In places it’s slightly reminiscent of a Mancunian Pavement (who were often accused of plagiarising The Fall, not least by MES himself). The song titles alone are interesting; Away Dull Care, Cheetham Bill, The Fall Of Great Britain, New Chemical Light, Black Comic Book, Stone Tumbling Stream, Arise Europa! amongst them, and the album title itself, Enter Castle Perilous. Luckily the songs live up to them. There’s some good stuff here, for Fall fans and non-Fall fans alike. This is album opener Angel Steps, which gives you a good idea of what to expect.

>Rub ‘n’ Scrub

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Monday morning. What better way to start the working week than with some reggae from 1982. By this point it was called dancehall I think and there are some serious dub effects going on in this song too. Lone Ranger (Anthony Waldron to his mum) gets busy on the microphone and with the delay button.

>Sunday Dub

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Augustus Pablo, the world’s coolest melodica player, with the title track from the 1977 dub album recorded by Pablo and King Tubby with a top notch cast 0f players- Aston and Carlton Barrett, Robbie Shakespeare, and Earl ‘China’ Smith. The album re-works Baby I Love You So, the Augustus Pablo song Colourbox covered that was featured here a few days ago. Just right to get Sunday off to an easy start.

>Breakthrough

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While looking for a picture for the previous post I found this and thought I’d share it with you- the front cover of Melody Maker from June 3rd 1989, pretty much the exact day The Stone Roses broke through. I had this on my wall for years, the corners all coming off each time I moved house/flat. I think it’s in a file in the top of the wardrobe with hundreds of clippings from the music press from around that time. Yes, I am that sad. Still, great front cover eh?
More of this kind of thing here-

>Spring Forward

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This song, Mersey Paradise by The Stone Roses, always sounds like the start of spring to me with it’s chiming guitars and ‘river cools where I belong’ refrain. Don’t forget to put your clocks forward tonight.

The Stone Roses – Mersey Paradise.mp3