Fight The Power

Dreadzone’s 1993 single Fight The Power was a timely piece of protest against the Criminal Justice Bill. It’s peppered with sampled speech, a vocal snatch borrowed from the Beastie Boys too, a pumping keyboard riff and bouncing bassline and it doesn’t sound any less relevant today- it’s just the specific target has changed. Amusingly the person who added the captions for MTV had them down as Deadzone.

Fight The Power ’95

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Well I Got A Little Story To Tell About A Hairstyle That’s A Way Of Life

Various people and happenings from the early to mid-90s have happily re-emerged into my life in recent days via social media. And I found myself singing this. Circa 1994 the Beastie Boys were a cultural colossus- music, clothes, magazines, record label. This B-side is an immense slab of punk rock celebrating the most derided haircut of all time and name checking its celebrity wearers.

Mullethead

I Like My Sugar With Coffee And Cream

There used to be a Bank Holiday festival in Manchester called D Percussion, largely free, based around bars and other venues in the Castlefield and Deansgate area. I remember seeing A Certain Ratio in the Castlefield basin and maybe 808 State too. A different year we saw Vini Reilly playing in Atlas. But mainly it was dj sets and hanging around outside bars (on the occasions we got some sunshine). D Percussion started in 1997 as a response to the IRA bomb that blew the city centre apart the previous summer and ran through to 2007. It folded largely because it was, for the first eight years, free. One year, mid-afternoon, a large-ish number of people milling around and whoever it was playing records stuck on Intergalactic- the effect was a bit like one of those viral flash mob videos you see on the internet. Almost everyone started bobbing a bit, mouthing the words, singing/rapping along. The Beastie Boys made a real impact with people and by the time of Intergalactic and Hello Nasty (1998) they were for a while pretty much in charge of left of centre pop culture. Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head and Ill Communication may all have stronger claims to be their best album but their threeway wordplay was never better or funnier than on this song. And the video is a hoot.

Deep Shag

Last week we had Parquet Courts and parquet floors. Drew left a comment about missing a good deep shag pile carpet during the winter months. Which led to Dirk leaving a related comment and deep shags and rugs and me pondering other possible songs about flooring. And then driving to or from work this week I remembered Luscious Jackson and their song Deep Shag.

Luscious Jackson were the first signing to The Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal label. Deep Shag is the only record of theirs that I own. I don’t know why I own this one and not any others because despite not having listened to it since 1994 or thereabouts I still quite like it. There are 70s funk and soul vibes, with 90s beats and scratching, and a cool laid back vocal about deep shag. Seeing as shag doesn’t have the connotations in the US it has here, I’m assuming it is indeed a song about carpet.

Deep Shag

And now sitting here typing this I have recalled Stereolab’s The Noise Of Carpet, a short lived Weatherall project called Lino Squares and Weller’s From The Floorboards Up too. This series could run and run.

Adam Yauch R.I.P.

>Beastly Brothers

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Posting the Beastie Boys’ Egg Man the other day led me to dig out Hello Nasty, the follow up to their crossover Ill Communication album. Hello Nasty has got plenty of the ‘three men shouting funny stuff over a funky break with a clever sample’ thing that they do so well (Super Disco Breakin’, Intergalactic) but it also shows them spreading their wings- there’s some loungecore, the beautiful ballad I Don’t Know, the spooky and minimal Instant Death and this track- Dr. Lee PhD. Recorded with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry it’s a lo-fi, low key, shuffly, dubby, reggae tune- just a drumbeat, some organ, some funny noises and a load of Lee Perry’s profound nonsense lyrics, which finish with ‘it’s the beastly brothers, and the beastly boys, with their beastly toys’. It’s a groovy, addictive little track. I also realised that this record was released in July 1998, the long summer before the birth of our first child and listening to it, the album seemed like a glimpse into a former life.

21 Dr. Lee, PhD.mp3#2#2

>Easter Egg Man

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Happy Easter. Enjoy the eggs.

Egg Man.mp3#1#1