Blind Faith

I’m going to keep the Balearic vibes going in a vain attempt to make it seem like summer despite the fact that I’m at work and the weather has turned dull and a tad wet. This 1992 Sensuround single was partly the work of a post-Membranes, pre-Goldblade John Robb, with vocals from Tracy Carmen and remixed here by Dean Thatcher, who was responsible for several key remixes from the early 90s. Stick it alongside some early Saint Etienne, some A Man Called Adam and some Screamadelica era Primal Scream and it makes perfect sense.

Blind Faith (Aloof Mix)

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Blackpool Rock

Today I am cycling from Manchester to Blackpool, an organised annual event. Fifty five miles starting from Old Trafford and then heading north around Wigan and Preston and then west towards the Paris of north-west England. The last few miles are often done into a headwind coming ┬áin off the Irish Sea. Something to do isn’t it?

Blackpool’s John Robb has reformed his 80s post-punk group The Membranes and they’ve released a very well received fourteen song lp Dark Matter/Dark Energy- a punky, angular, krautrock influenced concept album, about the creation and continuing expansion of the universe (also affected by the death of John’s father while recording it).

Do The Supernova.

Technical advice anyone? I’ve got two Boxnet accounts for your d/l pleasure. Both have exceeded 100% bandwidth and neither have reset themselves to zero this month. Usually they revert to 0% on the first of the month but they haven’t. Anyone know why?

Sometimes I Don’t Thrill You

In 1988 the world’s most dysfunctional rock group released their definitive song, Freak Scene. The song practically invents slackers and grunge. J Mascis’ guitar sound is brilliant- controlled but chaotic, spinning distorted notes off all over the place. His vocals are resigned, almost bored to tears with the whole thing but it’s a love song of sorts too- ‘when I need a friend it’s still you’. Post-indie punk, pre-grunge, with a pop tune. And swearing too. I’ve got its parent album Bug but never really play anything off it except Freak Scene.

Dinosaur Jr were a nightmare to each other by all accounts; passive aggressive, J controlling Murph’s every drum beat when recording, not communicating. Bassist Lou Barlow wrote the lyrics to the final song on Bug, the only one he sings. Over ear splitting noise, aimed solely at J Mascis, he screams ‘why don’t you like me?’

I don’t know what’s going on with my Boxnet bandwidth but either it’s not reset at the end of May or June is already over the limit. I’ll try to sort something out. In the meantime you can watch the video for Freak Scene, filmed in John Robb’s back garden in bohemian West Didsbury. It looks like it cost less than the price of a pint of lager and a bag of chips.

Christmas Ghosts

‘Let’s raise a drink to the ghosts of friends we lost last year’. Amen to that.

There’s a campaign on to get this single to number 1- John Robb’s Goldblade and Poly Styrene (who died of cancer a few years ago) with a rollicking punk rock song City Of Christmas Ghosts, celebratory yet shot through with sadness. You can get more info here with links to downloads and you can buy the 7″ vinyl at Damaged Goods. The single’s for charity, in aid of St Michael’s hospice, and there are many worse ways you could spend a couple of quid this week.

It’s Friday…Let’s Pogo!

Brother John Robb and Goldblade make old school punk rock- breakneck guitars, pounding drums, shouty choruses, flashy punk/rockabilly threads, great for jumping up and down to. If you’ve not seen them live you should give them a go next time they play in your town. John Robb has opinions to go with the quiff and biceps (his Louder Than War blog is in the links down below), is a Manchester face and all round good guy. Unfortunately I have slurred my own opinions at him once or twice when slightly the worse for wear in some of Manchester’s nightspots. He takes it all with good grace.

Psycho

Justice Tonight Last Night


If you live near any of the venues hosting Mick Jones and friends Justice Tonight tour you should consider getting yourself down there- we had a blast last night. And saw The Stone Roses as well. On stage. Well, two of them, Squire and Brown. I think that counts as news.

We got in as Pete Wylie was getting near the end of his set, backed by all of The Farm and Mick Jones grinning on guitar. Wylie finished with Heart As Big As Liverpool, Johnny Thunders’ You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory and Sinful. Everyone then stayed on stage, Wylie announced it was now a Mick Jones gig and the band launched into Train In Vain. Several Clash songs followed- Should I Stay Or Should I Go, White Man (In Hammersmith Palais) ‘sung’ by The Farm’s Peter Hooton, Clampdown sung by Pete Wylie (with lyrics on a piece of paper), a few others. Everyone seemed to be having a ball, mics were dropped, lines fluffed, cues missed, but hugely enjoyable and The Farm made a surprisingly good Clash covers band. The stage then emptied and a minute later Ian Brown and John Squire came on and played Elizabeth My Dear. A thousand jaws collectively dropped. Jones, Wylie and The Farm re-appeared and Brown led them all through Bankrobber and Armagiddeon Times. Someone filmed it. You can watch it here. After that we got John Robb fronting Janie Jones, spending the whole song in the audience, Big Audio Dynamite’s Rush and The Farm’s All Together Now. We were then tipped out into the wet Manchester streets where we took refuge in The Peveril Of The Peak and a drunk man told us at some length that The Chameleons were in fact the best band in the world.