High Over Blue

Back in 2013 when Moon Duo released their Circles album, a full on psychedelic blast of bright light and drones, they gave away this song- firstly as an iTunes only bonus track, then as a one sided 12″ single and finally as a free download from Soundcloud. You can still get it for free from the player below. High Over Blue is a twenty minute excursion into space and time- phased out sounds, chuggy rhythms, droplets of guitar, reverb laden vocals, slow burning with FX all over the show. Probably more s p a c e d  o u t than anything else you’ll start today with.

Low Frequency Oscilator

You could use all kind of superlatives to describe this record. Released in July 1990 it is a landmark British house record in the same way that Voodoo Ray is, a British version of a sound from elsewhere that could only have come from British bedroom and backroom producers fired up by the scenes of 1988-90. Warp Records was supposedly formed specifically to release this record, heavy on bass and bleeps, rattling drum machines and the voice intoning ‘L.F.O.’. Warp would go on to release further great records in the aftermath of this one- Testone, Tricky Disco, Tuff Little Unit, other records by LFO- but they are all somewhat in its shadow. It was also a genuine hit, reaching number 12 in the chart (at a time when that meant selling tens of thousands of records).

L.F.O. (Leeds Warehouse Mix)

The Gate

It seems to me that at some point around the turn of the millennium Bjork lost the sense of fun that characterised her 90s solo work. Debut and Post were informed by dance music and possibility, inventive and arty at the same time, but full of life and with a pop sensibility. She has continued to make art but the artier its become, the more multimedia the packages, the more difficult I’ve found it to engage with and enjoy. Often very impressive but not always that much fun. Her last album was a traumatic divorce record. I understand why she made it but I haven’t played it very often. She’s just released a new song called The Gate, the first from a new album, and it is about rebirth, hope, moving forward, a utopia compared the the self described ‘hell’ of Vulnicura. The video is dazzling, a bit hippy-dippy, but dazzling. The song is over six minutes long and while it never quite leaps forward and takes off like I expected it to the first time I heard it, it sounds a step into the light and part of an album that might be fun to listen to.

And as a reminder of what she gave us back in 1993 here’s Come To Me, a song about the giddiness of falling in love and absolute devotion, set to a some softly padding drums, a haze of synths and sounds, and strings that sweep in to set your skin ablaze.

 

Come To Me

Prequels

I don’t know about prequels- the three Star Wars prequels are the biggest waste of celluloid time I can of. Clones. Tax dispute. Jar Jar Binks. Overactive and unconvincing CGI. Ewan McGregor’s accent. Yawn.

Rich Lane and his Cotton Dubs on the other hand are always worth keeping an eye on. In the middle of August he released a three track ep featuring Prequels and City of Culture. Prequels is a slow motion, chug affair with a robot voice. It is not a million miles from the Code 61 Belgian New Beat track I posted recently. City Of Culture is top quality electronic dub reggae. The current City of Culture is Hull- I don’t know if this is a tribute to Hull or not (Rich is from Wolverhampton which has never been City of Culture). The third track is a dub of the Prequels. You can buy all three for a measly £2.50 from Bandcamp.

Monday Archive Hour

Monday begins with an hour from Andrew Weatherall’s Rotter’s Golf Club Archive Hour, Volume 9 being sixty minutes of weird, wired and frazzled psyche-rock, kraut-rock, post-punk and jazz.  I don’t know if this is the ideal way to start of the working week but it’s all I’ve got right now.

Holy Mountain – Clouds Over Earthquake
World Of Rubber – Zero
Moebius & Plank – Pick The Rubber
The Gutter Twins – The Body
Baron Mordant – You Are A Door
Paul Haig & Billy Mackenzie – Listen To Me
The Bounty Hunters – Twining Park
The Tenderhooks – It Comes And Goes
Mighty Ballistic Hi-Power – Springheel Jack
Giant Paw – Flood
John Coltrane – My Favourite Things
Faron Young – Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young

Jesus Rides Beside Me

Live albums don’t tend to take up much of my time- often they’re the sort of record that get played once or twice and then filed and I don’t own very many. If it’s a recording of a gig you attended, I can see the point and I can happily spend time listening to, say, bootlegs of New Order in the 80s but too often they don’t do too much for me. I’m sure you can all make suggestions to counter that view (and I’m happy to be corrected). But there’s a release coming up of a gig The Replacements played at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey in April 1986 and the songs that have been posted on Soundcloud have got me interested. The studio versions of some of The Replacements songs didn’t always do the songs justice- I’ve posted the unreleased rougher Tim version of Can’t Hardly Wait before and it is miles better than the released one on Pleased To Meet Me. The outing Can’t hardly Wait got at Maxwell’s sounds close to definitive.
Pitchfork have a riotous sounding run through Bastards Of Young here. The Replacements For Sale: Live At Maxwell’s 1986 is a double cd, out at the end of the month, making October looking like it’s going to be as expensive as September has been. The tracklist is a pretty perfect selection of songs with I Will Dare, Unsatisfied, Answering Machine, Takin’ A Ride, Color Me Impressed, Left Of The Dial, Kiss Me On The Bus, Black Diamond, Waitress In The Sky and Fuck School among the 28 songs.
In 1986 the band played Saturday Night Live. They were drunk and swore on live TV and got banned from ever playing on the show again. In a funny little coincidence they are introduced playing Bastards Of Young by the great Harry Dean Stanton who died yesterday aged 91. It has to be said, they sound better drunk than many bands sound sober.
By the time they played Kiss Me On The Bus Paul, Chris and Tommy had swapped clothes…
I don’t think Saturday Night Live went out at a funny angle- the Youtube uploader’s done it to avoid copyright issues.
Harry Dean Stanton, RIP.

Big Windows To Let In The Sun

Until yesterday I didn’t know that Grant Hart’s song 2541, his solo debut in 1989, was covered by Robert Forster (of The Go-Betweens). Forster put it out in 1994 on a four track e.p.

I like it, Forster’s voice is good but he sticks largely to Grant’s song, it’s a pretty straight cover. When I found it on Youtube and then played Grant’s own version afterwards, I found that in the trail of comments beneath Grant himself had logged in and left a commentsaying he preferred Forster’s version.

The song is a beauty, full of great lines and hard won wisdom. It tells the story of a couple getting together, moving into a new home and then the break up and the leaving. Grant builds in small details that root it in personal experience- Jerry and Jimmy in the first verse who find the place and the phone number, moving in and having to keep the stove on all night long ‘so the mice wouldn’t freeze’, putting their names on the mailbox. The dream turns sour in the second verse though as Grant admits ‘it was the first place we had to ourselves, I didn’t know it would be the last’. From there the only way is down but all the while through the chorus we get the reminder of the attraction of the home, the big windows to let in the sun. The final verse sees the couple apart and moving out…

‘Well things are so much different now
I’d say the situation’s reversed
And it’ll probably not be the last time
I’ll have to be out by the first’

Story telling, moving and real, painting pictures with words, Grant had the full package as a song writer. He recorded the song twice himself, once for an ep 2541, a largely acoustic version (the one I posted yesterday) and then a fuller, band version that came out on his 1989 album Intolerance (which is my favourite). So here’s that version too…

Twenty-Five Forty-One