Without People You’re Nothing

Joe Strummer died on 22nd December 2002 and I’ve got into the habit of marking it here. God only knows what he’d have made of the events of 2016 but his famous quote that gives this post its title is as relevant as ever.

I finish work today for the Christmas holiday and I cannot remember ever feeling so tired. I’ll be raising a glass to Joe’s memory tonight. This song from Global A Go Go typifies Joe’s multicultural look at the world and his joy in other cultures.

Bhindi Bhagee

His bandmate and friend Paul Simonon turned 61 on the 15th of December so happy belated birthday to him too.

The Meek Ran Wanton

Ok, I give in. Here’s a Christmas post. What was your office party like?

I haven’t posted any Billy Childish for ages and his take on Christmas in the late 70s is wonderfully jaundiced. Green vinyl, 7″. Of course.

Christmas 1979

Fly Tipping And Remixing

We went for a walk on Sunday, up the canal and round the water-park, across Chorlton Ees, stopping for a pint on Chorlton Green and then back through the floodplain towards Ashton village. These places might not mean anything to you but they are green land around the Bridgewater Canal and River Mersey in south Manchester, rural feeling but with motorway, Metrolink and roads audible, and fairly full of strollers, dog walkers, cyclists and so on. On the walk, back towards Stretford cemetery there had been an enormous amount of fly tipping going on. And while I can’t condone this kind of large scale littering it provides some interesting subject matter for photographs. Other people on the walk took pictures of their kids in Christmas jumpers. When we compared the photos on our phones at the end of the walk my view of the afternoon was a little bit gloomier. This shot in the tunnel under Washway Road that looks like it’s from A Clockwork Orange.

Back in 2012 Four Tet and Jamie Xx remixed each other. This is an unsettling, disjointed and uneasy piece of work although the synths bring a certain kind of warmth..

Lion (Jame Xx Remix)

Mind Of A Machine

Monday morning techno- the last Monday before Christmas techno too. Very festive.

Carl Craig’s 1995 album Landcruising is a Detroit masterpiece, a sleek glide around the city at night with machine beats and glacial synths. In 2005 Carl revisited it and tinkered, updating it and then re-releasing it as The Album Formerly Known As… As you can imagine some of the techno purists were aghast. Carl said that ‘some parts were dated so I wanted to make it again removing the dated parts and enlarging the good parts.’ Technology and software goes through changes and when out djing he found some tracks jarred when played next to more modern sounds. Largely it comes down to taste but ten years on from the remake both versions sound great to these ears.

This one is absurdly good, the bass thumping from the start. Even if you think you don’t like techno, you should let this one work its magic and hypnotise you.

Mind Of A Machine (2006 version)

I Can Mend Your Broken Heart

I followed a link on Twitter the other night to Fact Magazine’s 20 Best House And Techno Records of 2016 and started digging. I haven’t got through them all yet but am having fun delving. The fact that I knew hadn’t heard of pretty much any of them and knew almost nothing about any of them was-
a) a bit over-facing
b) a bit daunting  and
c) proof that I’m well out of touch. But
d) shows that end of year lists have a useful purpose.

This one is really good. Released back in May on Where To Now? Records it starts with a echo-laden woman’s voice and then a crisp beat. Icy waves of synth come in and some buzzes and beeps, layers of recorded noise with the rhythm becoming more complex. The narration continues intermittently but I’m never being quite able to make out what she’s talking about. The moans five minutes in start to clear things up. BBC Radiophonic Workshop gone laptop techno. Lovely stuff.

Machine Woman (Anastasia Vtorova) was born in Leningrad, raised in Nottingham and now lives in Berlin (this song is very Berlin).

Bagging Area End Of Year Review

I saw a thing on social media recently which said ‘nobody cares about your end of year review’. Possibly true. But it’s a blogging tradition and so here it is.

2016 has been a wretched year in so many ways but there’s been a real glut of good music from start to finish, from Bowie’s astonishing and difficult to listen to Blackstar (and death) in January through to the very recent album from A Tribe Called Quest (also marked by the death of one of its makers, Phife Dawg).

Albums Of The Year

All of these have spent time on the Bagging Area turntable and/or car stereo…

David Bowie ‘Blackstar’// Andrew Weatherall ‘Convenanza’// Dinosaur Jr ‘Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not’// Unloved ‘Guilt Of Love’//Aphex Twin ‘Cheetah’// A Tribe Called Quest‘We Got It From Here…’//Beyonce ‘Lemonade’//Tim Burgess and Peter Gordon ‘Same Language, Different Worlds’//Toy ‘Clear Shot’//Underworld ‘Barbara Barbara We Face A Shining Future’//Echolocation ‘Empire Blood And Bones’//Sordid Sound System ‘Lux Exterior’//Cavern Of Anti- Matter ‘Void Beats’// Steve Mason ‘Meet The Humans’//Frank Ocean ‘Blonde’// Baltic Fleet ‘The Dear One’//Pete Astor ‘Spilt Milk’//Cobby and Porky‘Cities Below Future Seas// and the much played round here swansong from Iggy Pop ‘Post Pop Depression’

As well as all of these the three that have given me the most repeated joy are…

Woodleigh Research Facility ‘The Phoenix Suburbs (And Other Stories)
Beyond the Wizards Sleeve ‘The Soft Bounce’
Factory Floor ’25 25′

But the most jawdropping album has been a compilation which included new recordings along with old, mixed together perfectly, making something new that was a meditation on life, love, loss and death, and that is David Holmes’ Late Night Tales. So that’s my album of the year.

As a sampler for those that haven’t heard it it opened with Barry Woolnough’s tribute to his wife who died of cancer, a 7″ single on Moine Dubh…

This is Sung Sung’s spooked out cover of 10cc’s I’m Not In Love (not a song I previously particularly liked but this is just wonderful)

And this was a one take vocal performance by BP Fallon to his friend Henry McCullough (a pair of Weatherall remixes are due next year).

E.P. Of The Year

Hardway Bros (Sean Johnston) released a four track e.p. in the early summer and I can’t think of three songs that have sounded any better on one piece of vinyl than Pleasure Cry, My PNO and especially Argonaut. The sound of my summer. Still doing it in December too.

Songs Of The Year

Drew’s songs of the year from last Saturday crosses over with mine in many ways- our 2016 Venn diagram has a big overlapping section. Here are 24 songs from 2016. No rankings, think of this list as a suggestion of the order in which these songs could be played…

Steve Cobby and Rich Arthurs ‘Bushfarmer’
Cobby and Mallinder ‘Tumblefish’
Primal Scream ‘100% Or Nothing Dub (Bobby Selassie And Primal Jah)
David Bowie ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’
Wussy ‘Ceremony’
Pete Astor ‘Really Something’
Paprika Kinski ‘Kids Of Your Crime’
Iggy Pop ‘Gardenia’
The Hurt ‘Berlin’
Unloved ‘When A Woman Is Around’
The Liminanas ft Peter Hook ‘Garden Of Love’ (Lundi Mouille Mix)
Warpaint ‘New Song’
Woodleigh Research Facility ‘Taqiya’
Massive Attack ‘Ritual Spirit’
Andrew Weatherall ‘The Confidence Man’
The Xx ‘On Hold’
Beyonce ‘Hold Up’
Beyond the Wizards Sleeve ‘Diagram Girl’ (BTWS Re-Animation)
Craig Bratley ft Danielle Moore ‘Play The Game’ (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
Circle Sky ‘Reveal’
Daniel Avery ‘A Mechanical Sky’
Death In Vegas ‘You Disco I Freak’
Andrew Weatherall ‘Ghosts Again’ (Scott Fraser Ghosts In The Piano Mix)
Hardway Bros ‘Argonaut’

Dead End Kids

A new Jesus And Mary Chain single came out last week, the first in eighteen years it is claimed. This ignores All Things Must Pass which came out in 2010 and was on a Best Of… (which in the internet age almost counts as a single). It also ignored the fact that the new single, Amputation, is a re-recording with a new name of a Jim Reid solo single from 2006. Here it is…

Dead End Kids

I liked Dead End Kids, bought it on cd single and thought it was a decent song. A typical Jim Reid three chord riff and a typically Jim Reid lyric- ‘It’s wine today, it’s piss tomorrow’, ‘fucked up girls like fucked up boys’, ‘I’m a rock ‘n’ roll amputation’. The new version has some squally feedback at the start and reverb covered vox, a dirty guitar part on the chorus. But this release should have been a genuinely new song instead of a shrug and a sense of disappointment (which is what I felt). It’s not an All For One level disappointment. A milder disappointment. Ah well, hey ho. Still, tickets for the tour in March are on sale and they were very good when they toured Psychocandy two years ago.

I Want To Keep Hold Of This For You

The Vinyl Villain has been hosting a long running series where different contributors suggest a ten track Imaginary Compilation Album for an artist or band, running the gamut from The Smiths to Massive Attack, from Durutti Column to Captain Beefheart. Now totalling over one hundred posts I finally pulled my finger out and wrote an Andrew Weatherall ICA. I cheated- it’s a double disc compilation. You can read it here.

This One Dove song didn’t make the cut but probably should have.

White Love (Guitar Paradise Mix)

Shifting Sands

A third song to go alongside West Bam and West India Company- I’ll stop after this, it’s getting a bit tenuous. The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band were from Los Angeles and made psychedelic rock. Shifting Sands came out in 1967, a B-side. There are some lovely distorted guitars on this and a folky vocal. And it was just as forward thinking at the time as Tuesday and Wednesday’s ‘West’ records were I guess.

Shifting Sands

Alarm Clock

This is the tune I was looking for before getting distracted by West India Company, a 1990 offering from German DJ West Bam (Maximillian Lenz). Offering doesn’t really do this speaker shaking 12″ justice. It’s a slap in the face and a shiver down the spine with a juddering riff (sampled from Gang Of Four apparently and then borrowed from this by Weatherall for his legendary My Bloody Valentine remix) and a Tutonic breakbeat. Wakey wakey!

Alarm Clock

In 2013 West Bam released a new album which had this song on it, She Wants, with vocals by Bernhard Sumner (sic) and a slightly disturbing, NSFW video. If last year’s new New Order album had been more like this, I’d have liked it more.