Corner Of My Sky

Kelly Lee Owens new album is imminent (Inner Song, out on Friday). This song, a deep, drifting and droning piece of electronic music with a vocal from John Cale came out recently ahead of it. The buzzing bassline and synth strings coupled with Cale’s rich voice, particularly when he sings ‘the rain, the rain, thank God the rain’, make for an intense and emotional ride. Both Kelly and John have spoken of the need to reconnect with their Welsh roots and in the lyrics Cale tells the story of the land, through song, poetry and the spoken word.

Kelly’s debut album came out in 2017, one of my favourites of that year. Last year she collaborated with Jon Hopkins on Luminous Spaces, a seven minute piece of brilliance. Covid delayed the release of Inner Song but its timing now at the end of summer seems perfect.

Guess I’m Falling In Love

Today’s Velvets on Sunday song comes from the vaults of Verve Records, who dropped The Velvet Underground in 1969. The recordings for what could have been their next album were shelved until the mid 80s when the first bunch were released as VU and then a follow album Another VU. In among them were five John Cale-era songs, including this rough and ready, fuzzed up, garage band song with Cale on bass. There is a point in all guitar band’s lives when they should sound like this.

Guess I’m Falling In Love (Instrumental)

Beautiful Dreamer

‘Beautiful Dreamer versus Darkseid! Both hold the key to victory in the strangest war ever fought in comicdom history!’

More early 70s Jack Kirby-Third Eye- Black Light psychedelic madness. The more of this Marvel art I look for, the more I find, the more I want to post. I was planning to finish yesterday but there’s more to come.

Two days ago reader KevM asked for The Box by Jack Of Swords, released on Weatherall’s Sabres Of Paradise label back in 1994. The Box is a cover of The Velvet Underground tune (from White Light/White Heat), a tale of sexual obsession and accidental death, voiced by John Cale (and it’s the original Cale vocal used on this cover too, a benefit of the being able to lift the whole isolated vocal off the Velvet’s record by switching the speakers balance to the left hand channel). The Jack Of Swords version has a heavy, electronic backing that is pretty transfixing. On the B-side of the 12″ single was a remixed version by Technova (David Harrow), a brilliant remix which adds a jackhammer beat, some speaker rattling bass and a load of acid-techno (the sort of record that makes me think I can smell dry ice and see strobes flashing in the corner of my eye).

The Box

The Box (The Black Angel’s Death Mix)

Jeepers Creepers

You might have thought that by 1988 Siouxsie and The Banshees were past their best but this No. 16 hit would suggest otherwise. There’s still some good ole gothic melodrama and sexiness combined some genuine pop and a nod to late 80s hip hop as well. And an ascending and descending accordion riff that carries the whole thing along with Gallic flair. Peek-A-Boo began life as a B-side based around a John Cale sample but soon turned into a potential A-side and took a year to record, partly due to Siouxsie singing each line through a different mic.


The video is dead late 80s…

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 !

I saw a man yesterday wearing a t-shirt with the slogan ‘1976 1988 Punk, Hip Hop, Acid House’, which seemed like a pretty fair summary of what’s been important culturally over the last 34 years. There are and have been writers and commentators more skillful than me to tie these three things together. But there are other parts of my record collection that fall outside these dates that are also important, and Jonathan Richman’s Roadrunner is one of them.

Jonathan Richman first recorded it in 1972, as a Velvet Underground obsessed young man who had moved to New York to meet the Velvets and lived on a sofa belonging to one of them for a bit. His Modern Lovers also recorded it, produced by John Cale. Way ahead of their time, the first Modern Lovers lp is one of those punk-before-punk records. Roadrunner was issued as a 7″ single in 1977 at the height of British punk, with Roadrunner (Once) on the a-side and Roadrunner (Twice) on the b, and another live version, Roadrunner (Thrice), was on the flip of a later Jonathan Richman single. All three are ace and I can happily play them back to back, although my copy of Thrice is the crackliest piece of vinyl I own. In Lipstick Traces Greil Marcus waxes lyrical about Roadrunner, spending pages just deconstructing the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 introduction. More recently The Guardian’s Laura Barton took a road trip around Boston, Massachusetts visiting and passing all the sights mentioned in the song.

Roadrunner is about Richman’s hometown, the romance of the road, the sights and sounds inside and outside the car, the joy of late night radio, and the thrill of a song with only two chords (although he sneaks a third one in briefly towards the end). It’s massively influential, absurdly good, and doesn’t sound like it came from a time before that chap’s t-shirt.

‘Roadrunner, roadrunner
Going faster miles an hour
Gonna drive past the Stop ‘n’ Shop
With the radio on’

01 Roadrunner.wma

LCD Soundsystem v John Cale

LCD Soundsystem are great- yeah they’re arch, knowing, record-collectors that make music that sounds like The Fall in a disco, and they’re all the better for it. There’s something about Losing My Edge, a song narrated by an aging hipster who’s losing his edge that surely speaks to all of us. Sound Of Silver topped loads of polls at the end of 2008, and had some great songs on it- North American Scum, Someone Great, All My Friends. When they released All My Friends as a single/digital bundle, as well as some remixes they got other bands to cover the song and released them as well. Cracking idea. Franz Ferdinand covered All My Friends, as did John Cale, which is what I’m giving you here. John Cale v LCD Soundsystem. Still looking good, John Cale, unlike his old mate Lou Reed…

All_my_friends v John Cale.mp3