Monday’s Long Song

Primal Scream’s best record of the last decade is a remix. In 2008 they released an album called Beautiful Future, a record which seemed a bit unessential. It followed Riot City Blues and its corny hit single Country Girl. Throb had left the group ‘on sabbatical’ and this would be the first Primal Scream record without him on it. It turned out to be Mani’s last album with the band- by the time More Light came out he’d gone back to The Roses. The tracklist doesn’t suggest there’s much here to go back to- Zombie Man, Suicide Bomber, Necro Hex Blues. But there was a release that came out afterwards that showed that the raw ingredients could still be remixed into magic.

Uptown (Long After The Disco is Over) (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

From the smooth echo on Bobby’s voice and the dub FX in the intro, the four on the floor drums, and the melodica line, Weatherall constructs a disco odyssey, layering sounds. The bass hits at one minute forty and the shimmering, reverb heavy guitar stabs build. A synth arpegio works its magic. Swooping happy/sad strings. Breakdowns. More melodica. Bobby cooing ‘you feel so good you never wanted to leave’. Tom toms. More strings. The disco ball throws lights around the room as the track builds and peaks, the room spinning now as the dancers twirl and writhe, in this ecstatic disco of the mind. Fade, echoes and noise, bliss. Fuck yeah.

 

Here She Comes Again

rimal Scream’s 1986 B-side Velocity Girl is a perfect piece of guitar pop- bright, spindly, quickly strummed guitars rushing all over the place and Bobby Gillespie’s tribute to the girl with ‘vodka in her veins’. The song is short, just eighty eight seconds long, but has had a huge influence. It was a cornerstone of C86 and on hearing it John Squire went away and rethought how he played guitar and wrote songs (Made Of Stone being one obvious result).

Primal Scream are about to release another best of compilation and unlike 2003’s Dirty Hits which took Loaded as the starting point the new singles album , called somewhat depressingly Maximum Rock & Roll, goes back to their roots with Velocity Girl, Gentle Tuesday, Imperial and Ivy Ivy Ivy all included this time around. Velocity Girl is to be put out as a 7″ single too so if you missed out first time around, time to get down the record shop and pick a copy up. Douglas Hart has made a video for Velocity Girl, combining footage of Edie Sedgwick with Bobby miming to camera in 2019 (I think I would have been happy with more Edie and less Bobby or at least Edie and a 1986 Bobby). Velocity Girl, it goes without saying, is a fucking fantastic song.

In July 1986 Primal Scream did a session for Janice Long and recorded this version of Velocity Girl, a version which has an extra verse that just about takes it to the two minute mark.

Velocity Girl (Janice Long Session)

Hypnotoned

Following yesterday’s remix of The Lilac Time here’s some more Hypnotone. First that Primal Scream remix (first released as a white label and then as part of the Creation Keeping The Faith compilation, as essential a slice of 1991 as you’re going to find). Come Together was/is a masterpiece in its Weatherall ten minute mix and the Terry Farley flipside. Hypnotone’s version is more frantic, more bass-in-yer-face, more rave, a more tops off on the podium gurning at the lights kind of tune…

Come Together (TheHypnotoneBrainMachineMix)

The white label 12″ has a lesser known remix of the other side, a more ambient dub mix by BBG (Big Boss Groove, best known for their Snappiness and Some Kind Of Heaven singles, both out in 1990).

Come Together (BBG Mix)

Hypnotone were Martin Mittler and Tony Martin. Their 1990 album was recorded at Spirit Studios in Manchester and released on Creation. The vocals on Dream Beam and Potion 90 were by Denise Johnson and led to her getting the gig with Primal Scream and singing on Screamadelica. Dream Beam then gained two remixes of its own, one from Balearic legend Danny Rampling and other, a sparser version by Ben Chapman (both posted here previously). Until fairly recently I didn’t know that Dream Beam had a video but here it is in all its dayglo glory…

Hypnotone’s album opens with Dream Beam and has the essence of 1990 running through its grooves. Italia is Italian house via Tariff Street M1, house pianos, bouncy bass and a rattling 808. Vocals on this one are by Pauline.

The last track on Hypnotone was Sub, a very nice, end of night, coming down kind of tune with some sublime synths.

I’m Still Dreaming

One of Primal Scream’s finest post-Screamadelica moments is this one, Autobahn 66 (from 2002’s Evil Heat album). Ignore the title, the song’s a beauty, a shimmering krautrock groove, ticking and hissing drums and a cooler than fuck bassline, spacey synths and melodies beamed in from out there. Over this Bobby whispers his stream of consciousness- dreaming, always dreaming, dreaming my life til the day that I die, colours so beautiful, softer than silk. It’s no surprise that the desk was being manned by Weatherall (with then fellow Swordsman Keith Tenniswood).  My virtual friend Chris Mackin laid down the bass part and then in his own words ‘went out til 5 am celebrating’.

Autobahn 66 (album version)

According to Discogs there was a promo release of Autobahn 66 that had a 7 minute 26 second instrumental version. If anyone’s got it, I’m right here. The single version I bought contained the Radio Edit and an Alter Ego remix of Autobahn plus Substance D. This is a top notch single release, well worth whatever I paid for it 16 years ago. Alter Ego are a duo from Dramstadt in Germany and their remix is less cosmic, more mechanical, and yes, more Teutonic.

Autobahn 66 (Alter Ego Remix)

Substance D is Weatherall’s remixed version of the album track A Scanner Darkly (also from Evil Heat and produced by himself and Tenniswood). Substance D is deliciously dirty mutant funk built around the same drum machine that powers Autobahn 66.

Substance D

Monday’s Long Song

Monday’s long song today comes courtesy of Primal Scream and the production skills of Andrew Weatherall and Hugo Nicholson. In 1991 the Scream decamped to Ardent Studios, Memphis to chase the muse and record a follow up to Screamadelica. The results were the 12″ record released in January 1992, the Dixie-Narco ep, four tracks led by Moving On Up, the desolate blues of Stone My Soul, the achingly gorgeous cover of Dennis Wilson’s Carry Me Home and the title track for the album that wasn’t actually on the album, a song that was one of the best things they ever did and at 10 minutes 46 seconds, a long song. Screamadelica is glide through the night with Denise Johnson on vocals, ‘spaced out, star child, Screamadelica’. Space disco, sampled voices, Leftfield’s Paul Daley on percussion, a big bass drum, stretched out sounds, funky horns and guitar, a break down and gear change after four minutes and some robotic vox over a distorted bassline. A band taking flight in the studio. Can you feel your hands, can you feel your feet, can you feel the rhythm?

Screamadelica

Here it is played live on The Word, irritatingly only a tantalising 1 minute 12 seconds of it. For a while, despite all the desperate antics, The Word was the only place on TV that had the bands of the moment playing live. I always loved the dancers too, giving it maximum whoever was playing.

And here is some footage from a road movie/documentary that accompanied the Screamadelica VHS release of the videos from the album, with the band and Weatherall, all long hair and leather, wandering round the South.

Just What Is It That You Want To Do?

Sunday always seems like a good day for dub. This was shared with me the other day via the wonders of social media and I then shared it again so some of you may have heard this already but for those of you that haven’t it’s a bit of a treat, Loaded done dub stylee.

 

Thus far we haven’t been able to discover who did this but what I know is this- it dates from the first decade of the 21st century; is a bootleg; and is a delightful re-working of Primal Scream/Andrew Weatherall’s Loaded. Enjoy.

In other Primal Scream news, next month will see the release of their 1993 album Give Out But Don’t Give Up. Not the version that was released in 1994, the ‘dance traitors’ album, but the version they recorded in Memphis with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section of David Hood and Roger Hawkins and producer Tom Dowd. At the time the group (and Alan McGee) were worried that the tapes weren’t contemporary enough, not rawk enough and were too polite, so they shelved them. The songs were buffed up and re-recorded and added to by George Drakoulis with more guitars and more sheen. The original tapes were more country, more blues, more gospel. I’ve not heard much apart from some brief clips on their Twitter account but it sounds intriguing enough. There are multiple versions and formats available to pre-order here. It’s a shame that Throb, whose guitar will be all over these songs, isn’t around to enjoy the release of the songs as originally recorded.

Hello This Is Gorgeous, Does Anybody Out There Read Me?

More from Primal Scream- this is what I was actually looking for when I got distracted by Echo Dek. Kill All Hippies was the opener to 2000’s war on vowels XTRMNTR album. It was an album on heavy rotation (as they used to say) round here. I bought the vinyl for home listening and a copy on cassette for the car. Kill All Hippies samples the voice of Linda Manz (from Dennis Hopper’s 1980 film Out Of The Blue) and eventually winds itself up, kicking into a distorted riff and a drum loop, a filthy bassline from Mani and some heavily processed electronics. Bobby consoles himself with a falsetto explanation of art v commerce.

Cool video.

Two Lone Swordsmen chipped in with a couple of remixes, pioneering the use of the hashtag as well as putting even more numbed out, dislocated electronic funk into proceedings than the original track  had.

Kill All Hippies (Two Lone Swordsmen #2)