MBV Blast

I’m sure you know this already but My Bloody Valentine slipped their first album for twenty two years out over the weekend. I can’t imagine it’s taken that long to come up with the title ‘mbv’ and I’ve not had a chance to listen to it properly yet, to really immerse myself in it, but the on the basis of a first hearing it’s not exactly a massive step forward from Loveless, more like more of the same. But given that Loveless is peerless, this isn’t really a problem. Those guitars, those disembodied voices, those drums, that headswimming noise. Sat here at the computer, with admittedly not great speakers, some of the songs- breathless fanboy alert- do sound amazing. Can’t wait for the vinyl. For the moment the dl will have to do, and will at least mean I get a change from The Asphodells lp which is pretty much all I’ve been listening to recently. You can stream mbv at The Guardian and buy vinyl, cd or download from My Bloody Valentine’s website.

Before Christmas Cat’s Eyes singer Rachel Zaffira released an album which contained this rather beautiful cover version of MBV’s To Here Knows When, done in a 60s acoustic chamber pop style.

To Here Knows When

The picture shows the cover of Blast!- Wyndham Lewis’s house magazine of Vorticism, with his own illustration on the cover. The mashing together of linocut art, Vorticism and music here recently has been a bit random but this cover seems to summarise MBV’s mbv blast quite well.

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Sleeping Gas

I was in the enormous and ostentatious Westfield shopping centre at Shepherd’s Bush on Thursday night, wandering round waiting for our 6th formers to finish their shopping (a treat for them after a long day treading the streets of London). I nipped into the Fred Perry shop, weary and wanting to get back the hotel and also slightly disappointed with the new season’s line, when this Teardrop Explodes song came on the in-store stereo and perked me up no end- almost had me bouncing round the shop like a nipper. Although as the only customer the lad behind the till began to give me an odd look.

Sleeping Gas

In the picture is Wyndham Lewis, who London Lee pointed out was the Lord of the Vorts (Vorticists that is).

Vortex

Vortex by Cyril Power.

And a connection to yesterday’s postees The Charlatans, whose front man Tim Burgess was invited to sing with The Chemical Brothers on their Exit Planet Dust album- stands up pretty well I think. Some Chemical Brothers stuff has dated a bit to my ears, the huge drums and so on but this is good. A song that sounds like it’s title and looks like this linocut.

Life Is Sweet

Beatific

Some more Vorticist linocuts for you- words I didn’t think I’d end up typing when I started this blog. The one above is Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s The Wrestlers (looks like it should be easy to do, probably very difficult. Maybe I should try).

Second, E McKnight Kauffer’s Flight- he went on to advertising and to produce posters for the London Underground.

Third, Claude Flight’s Revolution- fucking brilliant (and yes, that’s art criticism).

Finally Lill Tschudi’s Tour De Suisse, which isn’t really done justice to in this jpeg.

Today’s music- some more slightly barking nu-disco from my current faves Glass Candy; good enough to melt the snow and bring the sun out.

Beatific

Electronic Twittering Bands

I like this snippet of a radio interview with Joe Strummer while in The Clash, circa 1980/1. There are two parts that I always think should be sampled- the title of this post is one, crying out for dropping over some electronic twittering. The other is the final bit where Joe says ‘I’m pretty confused myself’- I can hear it looped with a load of echo over a dubbed out bassline….

Joe Strummer interview

Today’s picture from British Prints From The Machine Age is Edward Wadsworth’s linocut Illustration (Typhoon), the abstract interior of the inside of a ship’s engine room. Cut out of lino. Pretty good use of a mass produced floor covering.

It Must Have Been Because, Because, Because…

Ian McCulloch’s got a few hidden gems in his solo back catalogue- this song Proud To Fall being one. There’s nothing particularly clever, experimental or far out going on, just a guitar pop song with all the correct structure- verse, chorus, middle eight, etc, home in time for tea- and lyrically it’s very Mac. It’s just one of those songs that’ll improve your day a little bit.

Proud To Fall

The picture shows a linocut by Claude Flight of ships in Liverpool dock being painted blue, silver and pink during the First World War to protect them from German U-Boats. These ships were known as Dazzle Ships (later, much later, an album by OMD). I went for a walk the other Saturday and passed Sale library (we still have a library, and it opens all day on Saturday). Wandering in and having a mooch about a book (actually the catalogue from an exhibition) called British Prints From The Machine Age, 1914-39 caught my eye. It’s full of linocuts by a group of artists who founded Vorticism, the first forward thinking, modernist British art movement of the 20th century. The prints are brilliant, stunning and fresh, capturing modern life in early-to-mid 20th century Britain- speed, ¬†movement, sport, leisure, machines, vehicles, people. A lot of them are pretty abstract, the sort of thing we take for granted as design now.

I was leafing through the book at the kitchen table on Sunday. ‘Is that a library book?’ daughter E.T. asked. ‘Yep, due back soon too, I might renew it’, I replied. I turned to the front page and the borrowing stamp sheet- ‘I think I’m the only person who’s ever taken it out’ I said. E.T. asked what the title was. ‘British Prints From The Machine Age, 1914-39’ I said. ¬†‘That’s why you’re the only the person who’s ever taken it out’ she muttered.

I like to feel I have taught her well the art of the sarcastic response. And now she uses it against me.