British Summertime

At least from today onwards until October the clock in my car will be telling the right time. British summertime starts today- you did remember to put your clocks forward didn’t you? Yesterday’s sunshine made it feel like the seasons had changed at a stroke. Everything feels a little better with some sun on your face.

It gives me a good excuse to post this Ultramarine song from 1991.

British Summertime

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Go Brothers Go

The new Chemical Brothers album (Born In The Echoes) is out today and being praised as a return to form. This single, Go, came out at the start of May and has already been viewed close to five million times on Youtube which would suggest they’re got a pretty healthy surviving fanbase. Go is funky, synthy and fun with Q Tip providing the hip-house vocals- the album also has Beck, St Vincent and Cate Le Bon on microphone duties.

I was in the car the other day and Block Rockin’ Beats came on. It’s the most blindingly obvious Chemical Brothers song (Hey Boy Hey Girl excepted maybe). Massive breakbeat. Big borrowed bassline. Hip hop vocal sample from Schoolly D. SIRENS! Totally in your face. No subtlety. No nuance. It’s completely stupid. And brilliant.

Block Rockin’ Beats

Due to ongoing issues with Boxnet this is via Mediafire but I seem to recall people having some problems with it before. Is Mediafire any use?

Echoes And Bunnymen

I was skipping through Bill Drummond’s excellent book 45 the other night, due to turning 45. He was Echo And The Bunnymen’s manager all the way through their best years and writes very eloquently and passioantely about them. Then I went and found this- the Bunnymen live at Rockpalast in 1981 with an hour and half set spanning the first three albums, showing what a formidable back catalogue they were building up. But the most striking thing is how different their set up looks with them playing in a line across the front of the stage, not with the drum riser behind the singer- changes the whole look of a band playing live. Almost revolutionary. Actually, on second thoughts, the most striking thing is Ian doing sexy in his ripped t-shirt.

Rankin’ Night Out

Tonight The Beat are playing at Sale Waterside, a ten minute walk from our front door. It seems silly not to go doesn’t it? There are two versions of The Beat on the road at the moment, one led by Andy Wakeling and the other by Ranking Roger. We are going to see the Ranking Roger version. I’m not sure if the two bands are competing after a fall out or if it’s a ska franchise thing. Either way the babysitter’s booked and we get to do the middle aged skank.

In this clip The (English) Beat play Rankin’ Full Stop at the gigantic US festival in San Bernardino in 1983, also the occasion where Mick Jones last trod the boards with The Clash.

Stella

The MA 1 bomber jacket seems to be having a fashion moment- I’ve seen a few young people in them recently and Gallagher Senior wore one on stage with Johnny Marr last month (it’s on Youtube, they’re doing Lust For Life). It got me wishing I still had mine (from donkey’s years ago). I had a black MA 2 in the mid-90s as well, which I loved (which went missing/was borrowed). This pair of photographs were from a fashion shoot in the 100th issue of The Face (September 1988). I think the model was called Alex. You can run the risk of looking like either you’re on your way to a neo-Nazi meeting or you’re a bouncer, but they are a great jacket.

Ultramarine’s Stella was posted at another blog this week, the 12″ with the Stellla Breathes and Stella Connects versions. Ultramarine made acid house inspired music, with a dash of something English and pastoral. Stella, from 1991, is tailor made for listening to while enjoying a lazy afternoon in the sun, lying in long grass. Unfortunately it is late December but that shouldn’t take away the beauty of this.

Stella (Album Version)

Out Of The Black

This is a bit good and thanks to Echorich for the tip off- a remix of Out Of The Black from Neneh Cherry’s excellent album Blank Project. The songs on the album are really stripped back and percussive, Neneh’s singing blues and jazz influenced. This remix by Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard puts some clubby sounds and dynamics into it, alongside Swedish popstar Robyn.

And tying recent postees together neatly, in this Big Audio Dynamite video for C’mon Every Beatbox, Neneh Cherry busts some moves and cuts some rug. I always love the way Mick and Don sing alternate lines in this song (and there’s a guitar solo pinched from Jimi Hendrix). Surely this was where Roddy Frame got his inspiration for Good Morning Britain from too.

Hoomba Hoomba Chant Chant

This picture appeared in the August 1990 issue of The Face in an article called A Raver’s Guide To Europe. It shows Andrew Weatherall at Pacha, Ibiza, hard at work doing research for Screamadelica and Morning Dove White.

Looking at the late 80s/early 90s there’s a point when Balearic (an eclectic mix of records you could dance to that all fitted in with a certain vibe) turned into piano house and then chill out, i.e. people making records with a specific sounds and feel deliberately to evoke those Balearic feelings, the tail wagging the dog maybe. Piano house and chill out both quickly became debased currencies. This record from 1990 by Voice Of Africa skirts around that fine line, with the Keep On Moving drum sample and the tinkling piano line. Very close to the line.

Hoomba Hoomba

The Voice Of Africa record is a million miles from Balearica of The Woodentops, Fini Tribe, The Residents and Nitzer Ebb (not that any of those bands knew they were making Balearica at the time). Nitzer Ebb’s Join In The Chant is a much tougher animal.

Join In The Chant