2015 Closure

A just shy of four hour long set from Andrew Weatherall at Closure in Amsterdam at the start of the month. Hit play now and when it finishes you’ll just have time to see what crap is going on with Jools before starting your countdown to New Year. Have a good one!

I Know You Well

It’s the last day of a pretty grim and depressing year if viewed through the TV news and the papers. Taking refuge in music, hiding from the storms (literally over the last few days) with the stereo playing and a drink to hand, might be hiding but it’s a decent form of escapism. This 1991 song from Shack, the great lost Liverpool band (it’s a cliche to write that but it’s true), is a beautiful gem. Scouse psychedelia with harmonies and trippy 1966 guitars but with all the benefits of a 1991 extended mix, a breakdown, 90s drums and outro. Sublime.

I Know You Well (12″ Extended)

React

Do you want a record for your party? This is the one I’m recommending today, a massive dance record made in a giant rave machine and released into the world last month. Split Secs featuring Alona remixed to perfection by Sean Johnston’s Hardway Bros.

Lemmy

If all Lemmy had left behind was Ace Of Spades, Silver Machine and a bad reputation that would still be enough evidence of a life well lived.

RIP Lemmy Kilmister, 1945-2015.

Find Yourself

Alright? I hope you’ve had a good Christmas break with plenty of indulgences. I may have overindulged a tad here and there and feel like a morning busting my lungs on the bike in some winter sunshine would do me some good. But anyway, on with the music…

Acid Ted is doing a month by month run down of his year- you should go and have a look at it. His second favourite track from January was Richard Norris’ remix The Forest by Black Rivers (two thirds of Doves), a smooth, psychedelic masterpiece that I also posted but forgot about. Mr Norris has turned in some stunning remixes in recent times- Warpaint, Public Service Broadcasting, Temples and Noel Gallagher are probably the highest profile ones. This one from earlier this year is pretty sweet, Jacco Gardner sent on a spaced out trip through the cosmos…

And here’s one from a few months back, a remix of Amateur Best, light and airy, housified with a touch of disco.

There’s loads more stuff to dive into at his Soundcloud page.

We Start Over

It’s Christmas Eve- I haven’t got anything planned to be happening here for the next few days and I don’t expect to be blogging again until the 28th or thereabouts. I hope all of you have the Christmas you want, whatever you’re doing, wherever you are and with whoever you’re with. I’ll leave you with this…

My end of year list had a couple of omissions that I thought I should cover. The first was LoneLady who I just completely forgot about- the album Hinterland is full of sparse early ACR style guitars and bass, a record inspired by the spaces underneath the Mancunian Way.

The other was this single called We Start Over from Steve Cobby complete with a gorgeous vocal by Trudie Dawn Smith. Steve Cobby appeared in my albums of the year list but this single is rather special too and it slipped my mind.

The remix by Apiento and Lx is what I am calling deep chug. Guaranteed to have arms waving in the air and the hugging of strangers on New Year’s Eve. See you in a few days.

Last White Christmas

Last White Christmas by Basement 5 doesn’t really sound like anyone’s version of festive fun but it’s a dubwise, post-punk classic regardless. The names who passed through the band’s ranks is like a late 70s roll call- Don Letts (B.A.D.), Dennis Morris (photographed the Sex Pistols and Bob Marley amongst others), Richard Dudanski (The 101ers, The Raincoats, PiL), Leo ‘E-Zee Kill’ Williams (B.A.D., Dreadzone), Winston Fergus, Charlie Charles (The Blockheads). To top this they were produced by Martin Hannett who said it was the heaviest, most difficult production work he ever did.

Last White Christmas

You Gotta Live In This World Diggin’ The New

On this day in 2002 Joe Strummer died of a heart attack at home after walking his dogs. I think he is still sorely missed, not just by his family and friends (which goes without saying really) but by his fans, his people. 1970s punk has had such a high profile over the last decade, autobiographies and documentaries abound, the clamour for a re-union would have been immense (especially as Paul and Mick both continue to record and perform), and his views on British and world political events would have been sought. Of his solo albums Rock, Art And The X Ray Style, released in 1999, was his step back into the world and it captures the spirit of Joe as much as any record he made since the Clash split up. On Tony Adams he sings about a power cut in New York over thumping timpani and pays tribute to Arsenal’s troubled captain. On Yalla Yalla  Joe and Richard Norris play electro-dub and raise their arms aloft. On Sandpaper Blues The Mescaleros shoehorn umpteen musical styles into four minute highlight with cowboys, African chanting, male voice choirs, hand drums and mariachi and Madeira. On Diggin’ The New Joe sings ‘You gotta live in this world, diggin’ the new’ and that kind of sums up the man up- always looking for the next thing, open to new ideas and experiences. I miss him.

Centre Of The World

I rediscovered this the other day while looking for something else- Andrew Weatherall’s ten minute long remix of the Moody Boys from 1992, percussive dub house that goes through several distinct phases and when those strings come in at the end it’s all quite epic. Perfect for the Monday before Christmas.

Centre Of The World (The Potless Mix)

The Moody Boys were Tony Thorpe and Jimmy Cauty (up until 1992 when he retired from the music business following The KLF’s explosive finale). Their records merged African music with club culture which are far more evident in the Nubian Club Mix (video below, I don’t have an mp3 of it on this hard drive). Guaranteed to put a smile on your face- unlike Christmas shopping three days before the event, which is what I have to do now.

This Is My List

Here is my list, self indulgent as Drew says, but fun to do. I’ve enjoyed more new music during 2015 than any in recent years. These are the albums and songs/singles that have struck a chord with me and that have stuck with me since their release.

Albums

12. Mbongwana Star ‘From Kinshasa’
Traditional African forms coupled with electronics. Still startling.

11. Mick Jones ‘Ex Libris’
Vinyl only, six track instrumental.

10. MonoLife ‘Phrenology’
The skull from Hull with some cracking old school dance music.

9. The Orb ‘Moonbuilding 2703AD’
A return to form, four very long pieces full of ambient buzz.

8. Le Volume Courbe ‘I Wish Dee Dee Ramone Was Here With Me’
Contains two of my favourite songs of this year- The House and Rusty.

7. Steve Cobby ‘Everliving’
It could have been ‘Revolutions’ as well. Both a full of sumptuous electronic tunes and ideas.

6. Gwenno ‘Y Dyad Olaf’
Perfect psychedelic pop sung in Welsh (except for the one sung in Cornish).

5. Crocodiles ‘Boys’
Dirty, sexy, brash guitars from San Diego. If you haven’t heard Foolin’ Around, go and listen to it right now.

4. Moon Duo ‘Shadows Of The Sun’
Loads of uptempo two chord motorik psyche but with In A Cloud they had one of the year’s most beautiful, almost Balearic guitar moments.

3. Sexwitch ‘Sexwitch’.
Six covers recorded by Natasha Khan, Toy and Dan Carey. The intense stomp of the Middle Eastern songs take some beating and Natasha’s vocals are superbly focused while also slightly unhinged. Possessed and obsessive.

2. The Charlatans ‘Modern Nature’.
Recorded after the death of drummer Jon Brookes, a band back on form and determined to celebrate life with some of the best, soaring songs of the year- So Oh and Come Home Baby especially.

1. Jamie Xx ‘In Colour’
A history of dance music from house to grime, emotionally charged from start to finish, with moments of ecstasy, clarity and genuine beauty. I’m still playing it from start to finish.

Singles/Songs
The hand and influence of Mr Weatherall is all over this section. That’s just the way it’s been this year. Both lists show I’ve been veering far more towards dance/electronics this year. A top seventeen for no real reason.

17. Noel Gallagher ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
It came out last year online but was released on vinyl in April. Glorious remix.

16. Dubrobots ‘Forever’
This Cardiff based producer sent me two versions of this massively dub influenced song. Still rattling my ribcage.

15. Public Service Broadcasting ‘Gagarin’ Richard Norris Remix
The album did nothing for me but this remix, full of Spanish acoustic guitars, sent Yuri to Ibiza.

14. jennylee ‘Never’
Warpaint’s foxy bassist with an early 80s single that pushed the right buttons.

13. Gwenno ‘Chwyldro’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
Further, stranger, slower.

12. Unloved ‘Guilty Of Love’
David Holmes’ new project taking in 60s/70s filmscores with a girl group vibe. Also had two long dubby Weatherall remixes.

11.  Vox Low ‘Cast Upward Through the Waves, A Ruby Glow
Strange stuff from a French duo finding weird spaces between rock and dance.

10. Heretic ‘Pollux’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
I’m getting repetitive strain from typing those three words- this one took early New Order and merged it with some sparse electronics and a spooky vocal refrain.

9. Timothy J. Fairplay
Timothy J released several superb four track e.p.s this year, full of vintage synths- Songs Of Prison, Love And Columbium, No News From New York. Take your pick. Together they’d make a potential album of the year.

8. Paresse ‘Rosita’.
Super smooth stuff from Scandinavia. Wraps your ears up all warm.

7. Haunted Doorbell ‘Unconnected Thoughts On Jacking’
I’m cheating here- Fairplay again, this time with Matilda Tristam. Four outstanding instrumentals joining the various dots. The e.p. and title track gave us the song title of the year. Beautiful Sheffield is exactly as it sounds.

6. Patti Yang Group ‘I’m Ready’
Chris Rotter, Matty Skylab and Patti Yang with a thumping piece of hymnal house. Do you want a free download?

5. Jamie Xx ‘Loud Places’ John Talabot‘s Higher Dub
I posted this last week. It’s stunningly good, reworking an album highlight into something else with mesmerising, euphoric peaks.

4. C.A.R. ‘Glock’d’ Asphodells Remix
Super glam stomp, a massive wobbly bass, dirty guitars, French accented vocals; the sound of the future.

3. Sinkane x Peaking Lights ‘Mean Dub’
This ten minute dub version of Yacha was the sound of my summer. All four tracks on the reworked dub e.p. were top quality stuff but Yacha is something else entirely and from somewhere else entirely too. Fast dub.

2. Pearl’s Cab Ride ‘Sunrise’ (MonoLife Extended  Trip)
A Humberside funk and soul sixpiece taken on a long trip by MonoLife- trumpet, distorted vocal, two note bass, drifting but always moving forwards. Beautiful.

1. Mike Garry and Joe Duddell ‘St Anthony: An Ode to Anthony H Wilson
This came out in August, an emotional tribute to Mr Manchester set to Joe Duddell’s Your Silent Face inspired strings, full of Mike Garry’s poetic references to the city and its sounds. All proceeds go to The Christie so if you haven’t bought it yet, there’s another reason to do so. Almost inevitably, there’s a Weatherall remix on the other side (which isn’t too shabby either. In fact it’s very, very good). Still prone to move me after umpteen listens.