Bowie Knife

The return of David Bowie then.

I liked the first one, Where Are We Know with it’s slow groove and reflectiveness, dropped totally unexpectedly on the world a while back and I like this one too. There’s enough going on in the video and the lyrics to keep the spotters busy for months. I’ll be honest though- I don’t own a single record or cd he’s made since Let’s Dance. I’d definitely got little to no interest in the late 90s and early 2000s for the lps he made. I did like his Buddha Of Suburbia soundtrack but never got around to buying it. But I am cheered by this comeback- if only because it’s good to have someone of his generation making an album that feels like it matters, because he wants to, he’s got something to say and something he wants to do. And in a year of (so far) some Bagging Area big hitters (The Asphodells, My Bloody Valentine, Johnny Marr, who have all occupied my ears for some time now) I’m looking forward to the album (even if the sleeve is very post-modern shite).

Darkstar

Darkstar have a new album out- News From Nowhere. Apt title really as they abandoned London and made it in a house in the wilds of West Yorkshire. Mrs Swiss’s family are from round those parts so I know them fairly well. Darkstar draw on the bits of dance music that can be a bit forbidding- grime, dubstep, electro- and add in melancholic electronica and ambient. Anyway, the new album’s beautiful and ace and out now on Warp. And named after a William Morris book, who also designed lovely wallpaper.

This was their breakthrough single from 2009.

Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer

Dark Horses

Ctel posted this at Acid Ted the other day (but it’s easy to miss stuff there as he posts several times a day). I thought I’d re-present it here as it’s a good ‘un and it’s very much in Bagging Area territory. Justin Robertson, dressed in his Deadstock 33s clothes, remixes Dark Horses and their song Boxing Day- lengthy with drones and crisp motorik drums, ‘krauty’ as Ctel noted but pretty clubby and direct with it- I like it very much and it’s a free download. Get it from Soundcloud.

Except For The Shed Seven Bit

Runaway

I watched The Runaways on Saturday night, the film about The Runaways- 70s California’s all girl punk/glam group. It had a good balance of girls with guitars and sunshine good times, hazy chaos and drug induced fall. The narrative arc in rock films is cliched- it has to be really- but it was well done, it looked good, the highs felt high and the lows were way down low. The two leads- Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning- were both excellent as well.

Cherie left rock’n’ roll after her Runaways induced breakdown. Joan Jett didn’t leave rock ‘n’ roll and had several hits including this heart warming, rifftastic cover of a Tommy James and the Shondells song (which I think Drew may have posted a while back but is the only Jett/Runaways song I currently have on the hard drive apart from Cherry Bomb which I have previously posted here myself).

Crimson And Clover

Here are The Runaways, without singer Cherie Currie, on serious rock programme The Old Grey Whistle Test kicking up a bit of a storm. Go Joan.

More Light

On reflection I think the new Primal Scream song, in it’s full nine minute version, is rather good. I mean, they’ve gone back to the sound of their XCLTR and Evil Heat albums in order to move forward, and this is good right ? Because their last two lps have been at best average, at worst poor. The siren/sax part is great, Kevin Shields is on guitar, the rhythm rocks, Holmes is in the production chair, the remixers should have a ball. The lyrics- well I know we should be applauding because no-one really addresses anything ‘political’ anymore do they? (but they’re a bit silly too, constant rhyming on words ending in tion leads to cliche in my book, and we all know TV talent shows are shit but are they really ‘the subjugation of the rock ‘n’ roll nation’?).

So, on balance… good I think. You may disagree (as Drew and Ctel will I suspect).

Sunshine Underground

Back to work. Harrumph.

I spent some of last week listening to The Chemical Brothers 1999 album Surrender while driving here and there in the car. Dance music can date easily, especially dance music from fourteen years ago- drum sounds, pre-sets, software- all can often quickly sound like that year. On reflection I didn’t think Surrender had dated much at all, and in some ways I was never a massive Chemical Brothers fan, but there are some belters on it (if we ignore Noel Gallagher’s umpteenth attempt to re-write Tomorrow Never Knows and the still a little over-familiar Hey Boy, Hey Girl). The guest spots work – Bernard Sumner, Hope Sandoval, Jonathan Donahue from Mercury Rev, the co-write with Missy Elliott- sounding like songs actually written together and not just guest vocal moments. This song is eight and a half minutes of 60s psychedelia crossed with 90s dance mayhem, building with several arms-in-the-air moments and though it may be Private Psychedelic Reel part 2 it is still a blindingly good track.

The Sunshine Underground

Apache

I just had to follow yesterday’s Mexican with Apache- not the Shadows version but the Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band version which also caused a stir among the nascent hip-hoppers thirty odd years ago. It’s a long road from this to Dizzie Rascal.

Apache

Leonard From Sheffield

We spent a couple of days in Sheffield over half term seeing friends. In one of those moments of serendipity that make you think the universe may have planned it The Graves Gallery has an exhibition on of linocuts by one of Sheffield’s sons Leonard Beaumont. Before my recent interest in the linocutters of the interwar years I might have passed the Graves Gallery by.

Sun Bathers, 1932.

Grinders, 1932 (they liked their machines and industrial production did those linocutters).

Nymphs, Errant, 1937.

The funny thing about linocuts is they’re often no bigger than the pictures you can see here- so you don’t get that shock you sometimes get with paintings and pictures when you see one in real life and it’s huge or at least bigger than a jpeg or an A4 page in a book. Also they were made to be reproduced as prints, so depending on the qualities of the ink or the quality of the paper you can get subtly different versions. Still, nice to see some that were from then, as opposed to copies in books or on the net.

It’s on for a good few months longer- go and have a look if you’re in the People’s Republic of South Yorkshire.

The Mexican

Babe Ruth’s The Mexican is one of the most exciting tracks you’ll chance upon. Made in 1972 it has funk, drama, Latin guitars and fuzzed up guitars, pumping bass and hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck vocals. It was also instrumental in the birth of hip-hop in New York, played by DJ Kool Herc and sampled by Afrika Bambaataa (amongst others) and part of the anything goes street culture of late 70s and early 80s NY. It is also perfect for waking up the neighbours on Saturday morning.

Strange then that Babe Ruth were a rock band from Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

The Mexican