Celebration

I’m off on my summer holiday today, hitting the road to Portsmouth, an overnight ferry to St. Malo and then one night in Bordeaux. From there we are heading to a campsite north of Bayonne, on the Atlantic coast of south west France. A bit over a week later we are heading north and having four nights in the Vendee near Saint-Jean-de-Monts. So it will be two weeks before there’s any action here.

I bought Peter Hook’s latest book Substance, which focuses on his time in New Order, for one of my holiday reads. Over the last few days curiosity has got the better of me and I’m already a hundred pages in. Which led me to looking for this clip, a fledgling New Order playing a short set (half an hour, six songs) at Granada Studios in 1981 for a programme called Celebration. According to Hooky there had been a disagreement with the TV crew. Union regulations meant that only a union member could touch the sound desk- words and opinions had been exchanged. The tension is clearly present. However this is also a fascinating document of a band crawling out of tragedy and feeling their way towards a new sound. Dreams Never End (the best song off Movement), sung by Hooky, is driving and aggressive. ICB, Chosen Time, Denial and Truth show the band still playing Joy Division riffs but with the synths and electronic drums finding their way in. Just listen to the opening of Truth, Steven’s synth pads hissing, then Hooky’s bass and Barney’s melodica. Ceremony is played four songs in, guitars rawer and brighter than the studio version. The twenty seven minutes captured here are a treat all these years later but no one there at the time, audience included, seems to be having very much fun.

No doubt once I get back, having got through all 700 plus pages in Substance, there will be further New Order posts to come. See you all in a fortnight.

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Eclectic

Something new for Tuesday, from the new Eclectics record label. The Triumph Of Dr. No is a slow motion, dusty track, filmic and intense, from K-Effect. The John Barry horns come in dramatically at the end as Ursula Andress emerges from the sea.

Across the ep there is a remix from Uj Pa Gaz, a resident of Tirana, Albania and then a second track, Metaloxide, which is remixed by El Fulminador of Argentina. Metaloxide has strings and a stuttering drum machine, then synths buzzing. This is a snippet. You can buy The Triumph Of Dr. No from Bandcamp now with the rest of the ep available in August. All four are sounds for long days and hot nights, shuffling slowly in the heat.

Steppas Delight

Let’s start the week- I was going to say working week but it’s not a working week for me, I’ve finished for the summer- with an hour’s worth of Mr Weatherall playing dub , all salvaged from the Rotters Golf Club. This is volume 7 in the R.G.C. Archive Hour and is wall to wall Jamaican goodness.

The picture is a page from ID magazine, a dj five way split with Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, Darren Emerson, Fabi Paras and Andrew Weatherall. Weatherall (bottom right, face obscured by a 7″ single) describes his occupation as ‘trainspotter’ and claims to be working on ‘a pop long player’.

Steppas Delight
Open Troppen – Mad Professor
No Love (Version) – Team Works
River Jordan – Dub Dynasty
Macky Lane Rock – Mr Dynamic All Stars
No Idiot Dub – King Tubby
Chalice Man Dub – Sly & Robbie And The Revolutionaries
Grounation Rock – Adashanti I
Mystic Electro Harakiri – Pecker
The Grunwick Affair – Dennis Bovell
Cool Stepping – The Simeons
Mack At Control – The Simeons
Dub Signs – Alpha & Omega
Dubbing In Angola – Pablo Moses
International Treaty – Joe Gibbs & The Professionals
Majestic Dub – Joe Gibbs & The Professionals
African Boat Man – Mix Man

Dragonfly

If indie guitar bands in 1987 wanted to sound like the band in yesterday’s post (The Motorcycle Boy) by 1991 things had moved on. A post- Madchester world had ambitions for a bigger, looser, different sound. In 1991 Shack recorded their second album Waterpistol. Mick Head was inspired by The Stone Roses, The Charlatans and Flowered Up and he was chasing that 60s psychedelic sound, acoustic and electric guitars, crossed with that early 90s groove. In an ideal world Mick’s song writing would set him apart. Unfortunately things went wrong- producer Chris Allison had difficulties getting Mick to finish songs and in late ’91 the recording studio burned down taking the master tapes with it. Shack’s record company went bust soon after. Chris Allison left the DAT tapes in a hire car while on holiday in the US. Bassist John Power joined The La’s. Mick got into heroin.

Waterpistol eventually surfaced in 1995 after Allison tracked down the hire car company and the lost DAT tapes, and a German label Marina put it out. By this point Britpop was at its height and Mick’s songs should have found an audience but despite rave reviews Mick and Shack remained mired in substance problems. In 1999 a reformed Shack released HMS Fable and began to reap a bit of what they had sewn but Waterpistol remains a lost gem. It’s been re-released a couple of times since, by different labels, with different sleeves and different numbers of tracks (mine has twelve songs, the Marina release with the smoking schoolboy on the cover). If you haven’t got it, it’s well worth tracking down- never has cosmic Scouser psychedelia been so well realised as on this album’s songs.

Dragonfly

Big Rock Candy Mountain

There was a time (1986-1987) when indie guitar records wanted to sound something like this one (or a version of it). Sounding like The Smiths was tricky- Johnny Marr could do things the majority of guitarists couldn’t and Morrissey’s way with words was pretty unique too. But three chords, a fuzz pedal, bass and drums and some 60s style songwriting was achievable. The Motorcycle Boy were from Edinburgh and made up of Alex from The Shop Assistants and three former members of Meat Whiplash (Paul, Michael and Eddy) plus David Scott on guitar. This song was their debut, out on Rough Trade, and very good it is too. Sadly they then followed a trajectory familiar to a lot of independent groups from those years- NME front cover, indie chart hit, sign to a major, game over.

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Arabian Filter

Something hot and sultry for your Friday morning in the shape of a Mojo Filter edit of Siouxsie And The Banshees’ Arabian Knights. The original version was a single from the album Juju, released in 1981. This is a dance floor reworking, with groove and space and Siouxsie’s vocals a little distanced. It should function equally well in your kitchen when you open the gin/wine tonight. Free download too.

Something’s Got A Hold On Me

This song was released thirty years ago today. Let’s not get hung up on its age or the passing of time but celebrate a band in their absolute pomp releasing records that changed the world you lived in. New Order come in after the titles and thirty seconds of Gary Davies…

And because the video was pretty significant too…