Samstag, 31. Januar 2015

Songs The Lord Told Us # 11


When I was  in 1979 some days in London was I have bought to myself at a market among the rest Linton Kwesi Johnsons's 'Forces of Victory' - one of my first reggae albums ever. I played it often these days and I bought his next record 'Bass Culture' as well. And this record is still a classic album of this time. I have to admit that I found access to him about listening to his music. The lyrics were very hard to understand for me. I played the songs from 'Bass Culture' often in our local pub when once an English friend of mine who worked as a waiter tapping beer asked me if I understand what he's singing. As I answered 'Nope, Sir' he told me about the meaning of his words. Because I now knew the contents of the songs I have easyly done myself to understand the single words. LKJ wrote the soundtrack to the street battles of the Thatcher's era. While The Clash sung "White Riot", LKJ describes what turned up in the black quarters of London of Notting Hill to Brixton. He is a socialist, is close to the Black Panther movement and fights in all fronts for the black Englishmen. For Him music is additional means to propagate his ideas. One of my favorites is his song 'Inglan Is A Bitch' in which he describes the everyday life of the Jamaican immigrants in London and their social mismanagement.

Linton Kwesi Johnson - Inglan Is A Bitch

And as a bonus a fine remix of this song:


Freitag, 30. Januar 2015

The Foreign Corresondent Returns - Stories About German (Rock) Music # 48


Shiny Gnomes were a Psychedelic/garage band from Nuremberg. They were called earlier than German "The Jesus and The Mary Chain". Their music connects psychedelic rock, the 60s beat and folk keen to experiment with the floating, ethereally active voice of the singer Limo. In a criticism her style became as a "wild garage sound between pop and experimental noise". Rolling Stone once written about them: "... the beaming Gnomes may keep to have put down at that time the probably most pioneering garage punk and Psychedelia album maggot in Germany. If the Farfisa organs whine, the guitars the melodies shreddern and the drummers behind his Kit hyperventilates, then the lift-off factor, measured in US icons lies like the 13th Floor Elevators or The Electric Prunes at least on the same height... Shine On, you crazy Gnomes." And I can't describe it in better words. The Shiny Gnomes could have made it big! Their technical abilities on the instruments and the composition gift absolutely corresponded to an international level. I saw them a few times live and it was always a big pleasure.

Shiny Gnomes - Love Torture
Shiny Gnomes - Temple Balls
Shiny Gnomes - Lazing At Dessert Inn



video

Donnerstag, 29. Januar 2015

My Baby Don't Understand Me


Some days ago the Cleveland born and meanwhile living in Nashville Natalie Prass released her new album. First I thought, it would be a furthermore a singer/songwriter album with Country loans. When I have listened some of her songs I was surprised that nowadays such a sound is still made. The music is to be described almost with a Big-Band on soul - with flutes, string players, brass players and all what belongs to it so and Natalie's songs with this muggy, syrup-like Swamp feeling equip as if not a young newcomer, but Dusty Springfield or Sandie Shaw stood in the mike. So wisely and points, thus longing and mellow at the same time, this music indulges itself in the everlasting failure of the love. The perfect teamwork between juicy soul Big-Band and her peeping voice makes the charm of the album. When the band starts playing forward, one expects one of these typical thundering voices, but the more the music rises, the more Natalie Press takes itself back. I think her songs will be played often - even at main stations.


Mittwoch, 28. Januar 2015

Buena



Any time there were labels one could count on. There were Sun Record, Chess and Motown in America and Island and Stiff in Great Britain. From the late 70s to the early 80s I bought a lot of albums released by Stiff Records because they have very often met my taste. In 1980 they released an album by an artist they signed from the United States. Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns appeared on the scene as the reincarnation of Sir Douglas Quintet with their Tex-Mex sound. I loved they weired mixture of Tex-Mex, Rock and Roll, New Wave and Garage Rock played with passion. It was the sound of the summer and played on almost every party. And I think that's what they stand for: having fun and making you a good time. And by the way: He had later Michael Jackson on backing vocals on a song.

Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns - Caca De Vaca
Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns - I Get My Kicks On You
Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns - Nervoused Out
Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns - Susan Friendly





Dienstag, 27. Januar 2015

Twanging Tuesday # 51


This clip is from a Russian rockabilly band called Akaga & Roussinoff. I don't know any details about them but even in Russia the are able to play this music. And you don't need much more than a few chords on the guitar, a straight bass and a horn section to make a sound like this.



Montag, 26. Januar 2015

Demis Roussos 1946 - 2015


Just heard the news that Demis Roussos died yesterday. Not that I was a huge fan of him but he's a one I should write some words about him. He was known in Germany as a one that sung the so called 'Schlager' in the 70s. But back in his origin he used to sing in a progressive rock band - 'Aphrodite's Child' which he founded together with Vangelis. What will be his legacy is the album 666 in which Aphrodite's Child made an adaption of Biblical passages combined with experimental sounds. Their biggest hit was the added video from 'The Four Horsemen'.

RIP


And this song is really experimental song on which a female orgasm is simulated by the Greek actress Irene Papas, who repeated the words 'I was, I am, I am to come' over a sparse percussion track.


Puta's Fever


Back in 1987 Manu Chao, his brother Antoine and his cousin Santiago Casariego founded Mano Negra in Paris. Mano Negra mixed a number of styles: punk rock, flamenco, ska, rai, salsa, reggae and African rhythms as well. For me it was the kind of mixing all the styles to a very own special sound.

The name 'La Mano Negra' (The Black Hand) was a supposed secret and violent anarchist organization that was founded in Andalusia, Spain, at the end of the 19th century. The Spanish Nationals Police accused most of the Spanish anarchists of being part of the organization. In the 1880s, Andalusia had experienced a serve economic crises. Due the resulting misery and famine, farm workers revolted, burning and looting bakeries and numerous orchards. The led to the authorities' carrying out mass arrests and public executions. Despite the debates that took place, for years concerning the existence of this organization, it is now widely recognized in academic circles that was a type of 'false flag' invention by the Sagasta government, in order to suppress peasant revolts in the south of Spain. Chao's parents were political exiles from Span who moved to France, escaping persection from the dictatorship of Franco.

I ever loved their music and it's not important what political statement they did. Their main influence to non English-speaking band in continental Europe was immense. I've been with my brother to their concert promoting Puta's Fever. And I've to say that it was one the best concerts I've ever been. Seldom seen any appearance on stage like they did. All in all it was superb listening to them - unforgettable.

It's the different kind of styles the play and changes by every song. What an array of of styles - calliope-like keyboards, Latin grooves, gospel chorus and dub reggae on one record. Sometimes it happens that you can get it on one record.

Mano Negra - Guayaquil City
Mano Negra - Patchanka
Mano Negra - The Devils Call
Mano Negra - Peligro
Mano Negra - Voodoo

Sonntag, 25. Januar 2015

Spring


Yesterday my youngest brother living in Mannheim visited me on his way back from Munich. I was really happy to see and talk to him. Because he's also addicted in music we talked about what was new and impressive during the last year. Then he played an artist that I really forgot over the years. Ben Watt is known as a part of Everything But The Girl with his wife Tracey Thorn. After working with EBTG Watts immersed himself in the world of underground electronic music both as a DJ and a recording artist/producer. Searching for his musical output I found this House track that was played in some clubs I used to got:

Another project was releasing some so called Deep Folk mixtapes. Mostly based on acoustic instruments he made compilations that lasted about 30 minutes and it is a more than relaxing music.

In 2014 he returned to his jazz-folk roots and released his first solo record since 1983 Hendra together with Bernard Butler formerly of the band Suede. I don't know why almost no one named this record last year although is is full of dark, relaxed and inspired folk music played on a very high level.

Thank you, Martin.

Samstag, 24. Januar 2015

Songs The Lord Told Us # 10


Spacemen 3 was an English alternative rock band from Rugby, Warwickshire. It was founded in 1982 by Pete Kember and Jason Pierce. Their style was to be assigned to the space to rock and the shoegazing. In 1991 they resolved and Jason Pierce founded Spiritualized together with Jon Mattock. Besides, they developed from her motto "three chords good - two chords better - one chord best" an independent, uncompromising sound and fell under influence, among the rest, under tape like MC5, The Stooges, 13Th Floor Elevator and The velvet Underground. They released their masterpiece back in 1988 with 'Playing With Fire' an epic album by some weird ones. Differences of opinion between both dominant leaders were every now and then the reason that such an album could originate. It's a compact recording and the gift to their fans. Most of the song on this record were mellow, slower and soft like Spiritualized used to play a few years later. But there was one song on this album that drove me almost crazy when I first listened to it. 'Revolution' is this kind of song you listen for the first time and you'll never forget. A song only played with riffs, echoes and feedback with an steady going bass line (that comes angry to your ears) and lyrics that was written against the politic of Mrs. Thatcher (like most of the bands in this era did). I can remember when I listen to this song for the first time. It was at the end of 1988 and we had in Southern Germany the ability to listen to Alan Bangs (we called him the poor man's John Peel). When he made his last radio show before he was banned from the airplay because his kind of music wasn't compatible to the mainstream he made a two hours set with the music he was influenced and addicted to. Me and a couple of friends listened to this show and I was captured by this song. I thought by myself: This one must be much more an awesome song when you smoked something good.

Tune up loud and give yourself a pleasure while listening to it.
Have a good weekend people




Freitag, 23. Januar 2015

The Foreign Corresondent Returns - Stories About German (Rock) Music # 47



Plan B is a forgotten German band. I only know a few people that can remember their name. They were nearly famous in 1989 when they released their album 'The Greenhouse Effect'. Maybe it depends in the title of their album which had the discourse at that time about the greenhouse effect to the title that they were arranged about the classification as a politically motivated group. But no such thing - Plan B were a guitare-oriented group which had their roots deeply in the early 80s New Wave-scene. When they formed in 1984 they toured with The Clash as their supporting act. A few years later they were the supporting band of The Ramones. I don't know why they didn't made their career in Germany, although they had all: great songs, powerful songs with hooks and dominating guitars. Maybe it's because they were too late at the start with their kind of music. I don't know but I remember when I played 'Discontentment' when I did DJ-ing many people asked me about the artist. This song could be a standard in this genre if it would be released a few years earlier.

Enjoy and have a good weekend mates.

Plan B - Dicontentment


Donnerstag, 22. Januar 2015

What Happened To Power Pop # 10


Another forgotten band from the early 80s are The Bongos from New Jersey. I recognized them by their first album 'Drums along the Hudson'. It was a band that was stuck in the 70s British sound like T. Rex and the American Byrds as well. This album made great fun at this time with a lot of guitar based songs that lives the spirit of pure power pop. I grabbed this record out a few day ago and listened to it several times and I've to admit that it stood the test of time. Although they are an American band and their sound is like a bit of college they had more to give us (another band that gave me some kind of inspiration were The Feelies, especially their appearance in Jonathan Demme's 'Something Wild'). All in all The Bongos made a few songs that I would like to add to power pop - nothing more or less.

Enjoy and have a good time.

The Bongos - In the Congo

And as a bonus - their version of Mambo Sun by T. Rex




Mittwoch, 21. Januar 2015

Nyah Fearties



Like Adam I cleaned up my hard drive and found a file that I've forgotten over years. I still remember this record but I couldn't find in my collection any more. Maybe I borrowed it to my brother years ago and didn't got it back again. Anyway, this post is about a band most of my friends could agree with years ago. Nyah Fearties were one more band from Scotland that were great long time ago but had like many others no commercial success. They were not another folk-punk band like The Pogues or The Men They Couldn't Hang. Their music was more raw and grounded than the ones I named. It was a perfect mixture of classic folk ingredients added with heavy influences of northern industrial sound. I once saw them once live in a small club close to my place. It was one of these concerts you went to and expected nothing and you get recompensed with an unforgettable gig. Davy and Stephen Wiseman have played as if it was to her the last time. Seldom saw two guys on the stage playing with this enthusiasm. If you are a little bit of low-fi folk-punk give them a listen.






Dienstag, 20. Januar 2015

Twanging Tuesday # 50


It is hardly to be thought that this is here already the fiftieth issue of the series. Originally I had planned to write a short series about prominent songs which is to be assigned to the classical Twang sound of Duane Eddy. But then I remembered songs which are not necessarily to be assigned though to this genre, however, on account of that that they are mostly guitar-heavy and have a relation to the Twang sound. And thus I will continue to prefer with my eclectic arrangement of guitar-oriented songs without certain genre. Be surprised what will be shown up.

Today's song is another one from the sampler 'The Roots of Psychobilly'. It's an instrumental by The Rhythm Rockers and a wild saxophone, twangy guitars and sometimes a mad shouting directly from the swamp.

The Rhythm Rockers - Madness

Her Silver Pin


There was one artist that arrived in my inbox these days and he's too special to list him with the others. Kyle Fiske aka Atlantica Vox is a DIY-musician based in Rockport, Massachusetts. He describes his music as a modern retro-wave, with roots in late 70's/early 80's post-punk and new wave music with some reggae, ska, folk and electronica influence. Most songs were based on a some straight chords, effected with overdubs and hall and sung by a deep voice. I enjoy his guitar inspired music with his dark voice. All in all it's a great work for someone who plays all the instruments, writing the songs, producing and publish them. This songs should played in many stations.



video

Montag, 19. Januar 2015

Warm Graves


By the end of the last year I have bumped into a video which has arrested me by the psychedelic colours going over into each other and the matching music. I always wanted to write something about this band, but always something interfered. Very often the record companies write nonsense about their artist, but this one describes the bank very well:

With her debut appearing in October, 2014 “Ships of wanting Come” Warmly Graves deliver a draught album which feels tied up concerning the contents closely with dystopic science fiction literature. Besides, this band is able to create a surreal universe whose somnambulistic 
mood is carried by afloat repetitive rhythmics, while one from the far resounding choir the role of the lead vocals takes over. The times in which almost every product turns exclusively to the person as an individual set Warmly Graves with “Ships wanting Come” an album with which consciously the group was given priority. Thus have originated seven songs which are content as well as are tied together by long fading out structurally with each other and develop together the character of a soundtrack. Between Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire and NEU! 

Warm Graves are based in Leipzig, Germany and I think they will make their way in electric music. So take some time for this music and listen (to the first two) songs.

Sonntag, 18. Januar 2015

From The In-Box


Tons of music arrived at my in-box during the last month and it took me a few day to check out what's worth listening a second time. Lots of songs I deleted at once because it's professional but mainstream, not worth to name the band or simply it didn't touched my soul. So the artists I would like to introduce ......

Let's start with Amber Norgaard a singer/songwriting nurse from Iowa. I was impressed about her passionate vocals, eloquent lyrics and beautiful piano/cello/guitar song arrangement that ignite my soul. Just a peaceful music for late in the evening.

Amber Norgaard - Light to the world

The next artist calls them Purple Eve and that's what they write in their biography:

Purple Eve is a Russian-Swedish English-singing band based in Moscow, Russia.
The band was founded by two beautiful girls who were inclined to make experiments with sound using any item they could reach. Luckily for descendants, sometimes they reached actual musical instruments. In this manner two first lo-fi albums were released. Later with acquiring several naive musicians the duo transformed into more or less classic rock band. Although weird lyrics and evocative performances were among the things that didn't change. 
Just when fans and critics agreed that Purple Eve play some kind of post-grunge, the band invited trumpet and dj, thus irrevocably baffling their audience. 
As you can hear, today Purple Eve has no specific music style. But the band definitely has style.

And indeed songs you can't get out of your ear when you listened to them. Also arranged very well.

Purple Eve - Advice
Purple Eve - Swamp

Mighty Soundscape is a project by the N.Y. musician Michael Zarucki. Listening to his music it reminds me on the better days of Jack White and a melange of heavy rock, blues and alternative rock. 

Mighty Soundscape - Set yourself free

Another band that's worth to listen comes from California: The Rocket Stars are the brainchild of musician and graphic designer, Gareth Walters. Based in San Francisco, their music is heavenly influenced by the artists birthplace, in the dark heart of England. This is what the artist says about this song:

Now resident in San Francisco, the band's roots lie in the ruined coal fields and steel mills of the industrial heartland of England, and the first track, "The King and Queen of Coal Town" tells the story of the Huskar mining disaster, in which 26 children, aged seven to 17, were drowned in a flash flood. 

The Rocket Stars - The King and Queen of Coal Town

Another fine pieces of Folk / Indie Folk comes from Kollin Baer. Most track I listened to were played in a downtempo and added with little piano parts. Kollins sad and intensive voice makes his songs to a little experience into sadness.

Kollin Baer - Graves

madelyniris is the project of Madelyn Munsell and she describes her records as indie-pop. Influenced by her father as rock musician and her mother as a classically-trained vocalist and piano player she found herself in superb and unique pop songs. If I look what's in the charts right now I wonder why her songs weren't played in the mainstream radio.

madelyniris - Ghost

From Newport, South Wales come Crisis Talk a band that has learned from a lot of independent stuff released during the last decades. Well aranged songs with classic indie guitars, stoic drums, a steady bass and a markable voice makes fun listening to.

Crisis Talk - Monsters

Samstag, 17. Januar 2015

Songs The Lord Told Us # 9




About one year ago I begun a series in which I presented songs which means a lot to me. I can't remember why I stopped it but anyway I think it's the right time to continue. In 1985 The Waterboys their third album that was in heavy rotation on my turntable these days. There are a lot of great songs on this record but one shines brightly over them. Compositionally it is rather a simple piece which is based on simple chords. What makes this song special is Mike Scott's empathic singing and the trumpet on the end of the song. Also the lyrics impressed me. It's not the ordinary words love songs used to have or a complaining about life. Basically it is a matter of reaching this what another has already reached and to admit itself that dreams can become true.

I pictured a rainbow
you held it in your hands
I had flashes
but you saw then plan
I wandered out in the world for years
while you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!

You were there at the turnstiles
with the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
and you know how it feels
To reach too high
too far
Too soon
you saw the whole of the moon!

I was grounded
while you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truths
you cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley
you saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon!

I spoke about wings
you just flew
I wondered, I guessed, and I tried
you just knew
I sighed
but you swooned
I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!

With a torch in your pocket
and the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
and you know how it feels
To GET too high
too far
Too soon
you saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!

Unicorns and cannonballs,
palaces and piers,
Trumpets, towers, and tenements,
wide oceans full of tears,
Flag, rags, ferry boats,
scimitars and scarves,
Every precious dream and vision
underneath the stars

Yes, You climbed on the ladder
with the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
blazing your trail
Too high
too far
Too soon
you saw the whole of the moon!


The Waterboys - The Whole of the Moon

How good this song is, one can also see in various remixes.

Freitag, 16. Januar 2015

The Foreign Corresondent Returns - Stories About German (Rock) Music # 46

--


There is with certainty a lot what one with Germany connects, but with certainty not Country music. But there is one band that I used to listen during the last years a lot. Fink were an independent band that was formed by Nils Koppruch in Hamburg in the mid 90s in Hamburg. Main influences were bands like Lambchop and Giant Sand. During the years they have extended their style by reggae, chansons and a little bit of funk. Very briefly I love her music above all at later time in the evening with a good glass of red wine. Simply relaxing and a perfect finish after a busy day.

Fink - Biscuits (album version)






Donnerstag, 15. Januar 2015

Dead End Street


No - it's not the classic track by The Kinks. This song is from Tobias Siebert and his project And The Golden Choir. He was working for six years on his first record and it is an entertaining one. There are influences of early Talk Talk and Radiohead and some borrowings from Bon Iver. Altogether not too bad for an unknown German musician.


Mittwoch, 14. Januar 2015

Twanging Tuesday # 49 - Delayed


Todays track is from one of the pioneers in swamp rock - Dale Hawkins. Born in the the late 1930s in Louisiana he raised up with the black cotton pickers and played with them while they had a break in work. Also inspired from Elvis Presley he released in 1957 his classic Suzie Q. He's also a classic in this genre.

Dale Hawkins - Tornado

Montag, 12. Januar 2015

14 from 2014



2014 is gone and many list about the best albums/songs were made. During the last weeks I had plenty of time to listen to music - especially records that was released last year. I have to admit that it was a very good year for music. Lot's of new good bands appeared on the scene and old heroes came back with great music. So I decided to name 14 records that impressed me much in 2014. The list is in no real order and so let's go ...

Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit: Fierce postal punk's bass; functional, insignificant beats, now and then cheap keyboard reef and apathetical guitars. 





Aphex Twin - Syro: He's back with more piano parts. Hope we don't have to wait another 13 years for his next record.


Caribou - Our love: An avant-garde, electronic, living album with soul and R&B for body and soul.


Jungle - Jungle: Future Pop? J and T mix the best of the last 40 years into a great record. Compatible to a lot of listeners.



Neneh Cherry - Blank Project: An economically orchestrated album - intimate and directly





Lost on the River - The new basement tapes: Old songs discovered again by Elvis Costello



Jamie T. -: Astonishing comeback. The former rage in favour to quieter songs is given way



Holly Cook - Twice: My record from last summer. Perfect reggae based songs.




Jane Weaver - The Silver Globe: A crystal clear voice and psych-folk. Awesome.



Pete Molinari - Theosophy: Molinari pushes his music into the swirling space of the psychedelic 60s




The Ravonettes - Pe'ahi: Lastes release by the underrated Danish indie-rock duo.



Slow Club - Complete Surrender: Maybe the greatest surprise this year. A record full of fantastic songs. Pure 60s soul for 2014.




The Amazing Snakeheads - Amphetamine Ballads: Another band from Glasgow - and they made a well-worn fusion of late punk and raw Rock and Roll.


Ellis Island Sound - Regions: One of the albums I listened most last year. An intensive mix of African-influenced guitar lines, a steady percussive background added with dub effects and wailing trombone. Nearly meditative and often making an atmospheric mood.


Sonntag, 11. Januar 2015

Two Weeks


After traveling for 18 hours I arrived yesterday in my hometown. I had pretty good weeks down in Sri Lanka again doing nothing more than sitting on the beach, reading some books I wanted to read but had not the time before, making short trips inside the country and having fun with some friends. My battery is filled up again and I will have regular life again. As well I will continue my blog. So let's start into this year with a song I used to listen many times last year. Tahliah Barnett aka FKA twigs offers a vangaurd R'n'B that sounds hypnotic and intentionally distressing and reported witn an ethereal soprano.