Second Machine From The Sun

I had scores of these science fiction novels as a kid in the late 70s and 80s. The Bruce Pennington art on the covers seemed overblown and semi-ridiculous then, as a kid, and more so now but they have a kitsch value I quite like again now. Retro-futurism.

Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh are currently encouraging us to listen to Erick Legrand. Legrand has been a big influence on the sound of the Woodleigh Research Facility. Erick died in 2011 and I don’t know too much about him but his album Second Machine From The Sun (which really needs a Bruce Pennington cover like those above) is on Bandcamp and may be about to get a vinyl release. The cd/download can be yours for £7.00. It’s in an electronic, soundtrack, film music area and worth giving some ear time too.

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Slow Motion

I need something breezy and colourful to kickstart Monday so this will do very nicely- new luscious cosmic pop from Jane Weaver that makes it feel like spring has sprung (even though it clearly hasn’t). Her Silver Globe album from 2014 was a giddy delight, a folky voice filtered through analogue electronics and glitter. This new one sounds just as good. An album called Modern Kosmology is out on May 19th (which coincidentally is my birthday).

Velvet Sunday

Back to the Velvets for the Sabbath. In days of yore (the late 80s) before the internet, before cds (for me at least, I didn’t start buying cds until the mid/late 90s), before re-issues and bands reforming, box sets with alternate takes and full live sets, there was precious little to go off with The Velvet Underground. You had the four studio albums (if you could find them), the two live albums (Max’s Kansas City and 1969), the VU and Another View albums and a book by Victor Bockris (Uptight; The Story of The Velvet Underground). These were not just records and a book, they were portals to another world. It was a world that was gone, it did not exist anymore (New York, the late 1960s). Lou Reed had a patchy solo career so there were occasional interviews but the heritage rock press did not exist either so there was a dearth of information. What you knew about the group came from Bockris’ text, the handful of pictures in the book, the rumour and talk of like minded people and the songs themselves.

1968’s White Light/White Heat album was their most obtuse and difficult album. A rejection of everyone who didn’t buy their first album. Here She Comes Now and I Heard Her Call My Name are the closest to conventional guitar songs but wrapped and covered in feedback. The Gift was a spoken word/avant garde exploration with stereo sound. Lady Godiva’s Operation had some of Lou’s most transgressive lyrics.Sister Ray was a one take song, seventeen minutes of legend, covered by New Order, a story of transvestites, sailors and drug dealers. No bass guitar. Distorted organ. Heady stuff. And the title track (two versions below, from a 7″ single re-issue), a statement of intent, a song about speed. This song and Sister Ray are the ones that are ‘easiest’ to copy when you’re learning to play the guitar. Pick two chords and bash away until you’re done. White heat.

White Light/White Heat 1

White Light/White Heat 2

From The Vaults

A bumper Andrew Weatherall post for Saturday, four hours of it. Firstly, the latest Music’s Not For Everyone, a week late but none the worse for it. Towards the end there’s a new remix from Lord Sabre that will be the top of a few shopping lists.

During last year Weatherall and cohorts were forced to move out of the East London bunker complex he’d occupied for twenty years and into new accommodation. As part of the move mountains of vinyl were gone through. Weatherall writes “After de-commissioning the Axis bunker I decided to purge and re-acquaint. The purge took the form of selling 5,000 records and the acquaintance involved listening and compiling with the result being ‘M.N.F.E. (The R.G.C. Archive Editions)’.

So what we have now is a monthly online archive hour from the vaults of Rotters Golf Club. Volume One takes in Gene Vincent, Prince Far I, The Durutti Column, Jackie Levan, Fuxa, Charlie Rich and the theme tune from The Sweeney…

Volume 2 has more of the same eclectic mix including Syd Barrett, PiL, Bo Diddley, La Dusseldorf, The Cramps, The People’s Temple, John Cale…

The move out of Shoreditch wasn’t without its pain. Again, in his own words… ‘Deep down I knew about seven or eight years ago that my time was most probably up. It was the Saturday afternoon I saw the stretch limo disgorge its hen party payload onto the Old Street pavement but down in my bunker denial was beginning to set in and I felt increasingly like a jungle dwelling Japanese soldier who refuses to believe the war is over. It was a war that saw a fresh atrocity every day. A Ted Baker shop opening here, corporate “street art” appearing there. Luxury apartments springing up every fucking where.’

ACR Too

A couple of weeks ago Echorich wrote an A Certain Ratio imaginary compilation album for The Vinyl Villain, a ten song ACR primer. I was going to do it but was slower off the mark than Echorich. Then I thought about just sending in an ep’s worth as an extra, a Sextet maybe, but when I thought about it, it was easy to find another ten songs from ACR’s rich and varied back catalogue. So my ACR:ICA was posted at The Vinyl Villain yesterday. You can find it here. One of the things mine and Echorich’s versions show collectively and was commented on by JTFL is how far ‘the band morphed over time but still sounded like themselves’. They remain very underrated and outside certain circles a very unknown group but they are much loved- and were/are musically significant too.

Your Blue Eyes was a 1989 single and opened the major label album Good Together. It is classy Mancunian pop. This vinyl rip has a couple of seconds of wonderful crackle before the song starts. As we all know, life has surface noise.

Your Blue Eyes

Mountain

One of my brethren is of the opinion that most of what I post here is good but my main open goal, shot-in-the-foot, self inflicted wound and weakness is Dreadzone. Which mystifies me a bit. They have form (a string of albums packed with good tunes covering reggae, dub, roots, techno and dance). They have background and authenticity (Big Audio Dynamite’s rhythm section became Dreadzone). Their live shows are the stuff of legend. So enough Sep, and to paraphrase many an early 90s indie group, ‘I just post what I like here and if anyone else likes it, it’s a bonus’. On with the Dreadzone.

The latest Dreadzone album, Dread Times, is out now and was preceded by this single, a bass heavy, British roots reggae bouncer, recorded at Mick Jones’ studio. The title of the album and its lyrical concerns are very 2017 and with its variety of guest vocalists- Don Letts, ragga duo Louchie Lou and Michie One, and Lena Cullen- this is very much modern West London reggae, best played loud with a full bottom end. At the end of album opener Rootsman a voice intones ‘roots music can never die’- something they seem to prove with every release.

That’s The Sound Of The Man Working On The Chain Gang

I don’t know where this photo of Mick Jones comes from (or where I got it for that matter)- long hair, floral shirt, red trousers all makes it post Clash I think. This curio came my way via email recently too from old friend/reader Dub Robots. 7 Years was a Big Audio Dynamite demo from 1988 just Mick, drum machine and spare guitar. Someone called IndieGround and Heston have re-imagined it adding samples, instruments and more voices and turned it into a nicely B.A.D. piece of work, totally unofficial but rather good. There’s a link on the Youtube page if you want a download version.

There are multiple B.A.D. bootlegs available out in the internet, The B.A.D. Files, running up from Volume 1 through to 9, containing all kinds of odds and ends. This, if you’re interested, is Mick’s original demo of 7 Years.

7 Years (Original Demo)