Some pictures just demand having some words attached to them, a song added and then being shared online. This picture of The Stooges on some swings in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1969 is one such picture. It looks like it’s autumn ’69, the leaves have fallen and there’s a chill in the air. Iggy, Ron, Dave and Scott are at the playground in their leather jackets, hair grown out, Iggy in impractical white trousers and shoes. It’s the end of the year and the end of the decade, a decade which began with sunshine and optimism, John F. Kennedy, The Everley Brothers, Jim Reeves and surfing songs and ended with Richard Nixon, Vietnam, Altamont, Charles Manson and The Stooges.

In the middle of the following year The Stooges would release Funhouse, a perfect distillation of voice, guitar, bass, drums and raw repetition, machine like riffs and stripped down simplicity. In the studio they pulled out all of the wall coverings, all the baffles and carpets, got rid of the screens that separate the musicians from each other. They set up the kit close together as if to play as they would at a gig. Iggy would record his vocals holding the microphone in his hands as if singing live to an audience, no pop shield or mic stand. He’d gave the band their cue, his vocals leading the songs. They were drilled. On the album’s song named for the new decade they added the free jazz skronk of saxophonist Steve Mackey.

1970 (Take 1)

The sound of The Stooges on Funhouse is the very essence of punk rock, the primordial swamp from which everything else eventually crawled, a sound that by the end of the century could sell out stadiums and soundtrack adverts on TV. At the tail end of the 60s however it was music for freaks and weirdos, made with single minded obsession by a group of musicians who almost everyone else derided and dismissed. The Funhouse box set contains the entire session, every take of every song, each barely distinguishable from the next.

Loose (Take 4)

>Death In St. Petersburg


This popped up earlier on random play and I’d forgotten how good it was- Death In Vegas’ Dirge (Cossack Apocalypse Mix). Part of a 12″ remix promo of Dirge (with One Dove’s Dot Allison on vox) the other side was the Adrian Sherwood dub remix I posted ages ago. This remix takes DiV to Russia with a lovely extended finger picking intro and some vocal samples, then ramping up the ramshackle groove for eight minutes, all mist, fog, fur hats, revolutionaries and cossacks on horseback. The remix was by The Chocolate Layers, Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey of Pulp who provided a remix of Black Box Recorder posted here last month. This is a really good remix if somewhat unsuited to the glorious sunshine we’ve got in M33 at the moment.

dirge cossack apocalypse.mp3#1#1

>Select Shun Two


Another track from a series of free cds that came with Select magazine ten-plus years ago. This is Black Box Recorder, a band formed by former Auteur Luke Haines, John Moore (previously in The Jesus and Mary Chain and John Moore’s Expressway) and singer Sarah Nixey. They made some interesting records, a bit like a sarcastic and caustic St Etienne. This song, The Facts Of Life, is remixed by The Chocolate Layers, a psuedonym for Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey (both from Pulp, obviously). For the record this cd was Revolutions 01, and also featured Stereophonics (urgh), Queens Of the Stone Age’s Feel Good Hit Of The Summer (yes!), Alpinestars (Manc electronica), The Go-Betweens (I really should feature something by them), Tailgunner featuring Noel Gallagher (nein danke), The Automator and Kool Keith (turn of the millenium hiphop), The Delgados (never really checked them out but believe they’re very good), Brothers In Sound, My Vitriol, King Adora (ha, remember them), Underworld (Pearl’s Girl live) and Grandaddy. Mixed bag then really.

04 The Facts Of Life.wma#1#1