December’s Not For Everyone

Last gnostic sonic session of 2018 with Weatherall at the controls at NTS. Tracklist here– lots of psychedelic and cosmic goings on in this one.

Apple

Food for Friday again today. Following on from honey, sugar, wine and lemons today I give you apples, a rich source of song titles.

Milltown Brothers were/are a five piece from Colne, Lancashire (not Burnley as was often said of them although apparently they were regulars at Turf Moor). They had bowl haircuts and an organ led sound that got them drawn into the fringes of the late 80s Manchester scene. They had some coverage from the NME including a single of the week (a much coveted award at that time), a near hit with Which Way Should I Jump? and then a major label deal with A&M in 1990. But what we’re here for today are apples, specifically Milltown Brothers’ 1990 song Apple Green which at this distance sounds pretty fresh, infectious 60s inspired pop, the work of a band who maybe got missed, chewed up and spat out back in the early 90s. They re-united in 2004 and have released an album as recently as 2015.

Apple Green

A Man Called Adam came through at the same time but from a different part of the country (Middlesborough, Teeside) and from a different background (dance music, 60s soundtracks, acid jazz and a Balearic epiphany). Their 1991 album The Apple is a Bagging Area favourite with several songs that are often palyed round here, Barefoot In the Head, The Chrono Psionic Interface and Righteous Life for starters. And the album’s opener…

The Apple

Also from 1990 (but here in a re-edited version from 2016 by Rhythm Scholar) A Tribe Called Quest  were part of hip hop’s second wave, part of the Native Tongues collective and had a real way with both tunes and words. Bonita Applebum was about a girl from high school who clearly stuck in the memory…

Bonita Applebum (Rhythm Scholar All Nite Excursion)

Manic Street Preachers burst out of South Wales in the early 90s, in a riot of mascara, feather boas and heavy rock. In 2009 they released an album called Journal For Plague Lovers which contained a song called Peeled Apples (a song I don’t think I’ve ever heard in its original form). They commissioned some remixes and Andrew Weatherall peeled the Manic’s apples further, a heavily percussive stomper with some guitar parts echoing through.

Peel Apples (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Lastly, a Joe Strummer’s song from his Mescalero years, a top ten Strummer solo song for sure. Johnny Appleseed is a joy, with a rollicking rhythm on acoustic guitars, a full throttle vocal and lyrics about bees, Martin Luther King, a Buick 49 and Johnny Appleseed (a character from the early years of the USA, a pioneer who scattered apple seeds wherever he went). This song makes me really miss Joe Strummer.

Air Conditioned

Every time I read a description of yet another young guitar band who have arrived with jangling guitars, rippling melodies, Teenage Fanclub harmonies, a certain sense of being young, cocky and slightly wasted, I think ‘yeah, ok, thanks, but I may have heard this all before…’. However Melbourne’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have got all those things, enough to make me question my jadedness, and I think they may have a little bit more besides…

An Air Conditioned Man