After one week off I have to start to work again. I'm sure that hundreds e-mails arrived and lots of people tried to call me at the office. It's always the same procedure: Deleting the e-mails that executed meanwhile, checking out what's new and important for my job and select which one I will call back first.
So let's start with a classic tune by the Easybeats. Distinctive riffs and a steady beat made that song great.I prefer the early David Bowie version because he arranged the song as it was one of his own.
Trevor Jackson made one's mark by remixing classic post-punk/industrial songs a few years ago. Now he was asked to compile an extensive retrospective of British producer Adrian Sherwood's influential On-U Sound label. The Result Science Fiction Dancehall Classics is nothing more or less a document about a creative period of underground music. On-U Sound was not only a platform for dub reggae projects. For me they brought artists with various backgrounds together especially artists from the post-punk era like Mark Stewart. Otherwise the label signed artists that points into hip-hop. The collection includes one of the first recordings by Shara Nelson before she got success with Massive Attack. But over all song is Sherwood's inspired dub-sound.
The last days I was working on my 2015 list of albums that are worth to be named in my annual list. I thought by myself it would be nice to feature 15 albums until the end of the year. I couldn't finish the list yet because I investigated on new albums and found some artists that impressed me much. One of those records that attract my attention was HOLY with their album Stabs. Flooded with lo-fi aesthetics, garage sensibilities and soaring psychedelia this Swedish quintet takes you back to the late 60s. It's like a journey into distortion and feedback, reverb-doused refrains, blazing riffs and distinctively obscured vocals. Not sure if this album will reach my list but I listen to it often the recent days.
I found this video the recent days and I played it often. It's a remix of Roxy Music's Love is the drug. A song that is a classic tune by itself is made new by the remix of Todd Terje. Always was addicted to a song with a great bass-line. Thinking about this I remembered many songs. So I decided to start a new series to feature songs that have a funky bass or have the funk in their sound.
Foo Fighters are as known the usual band former Nirvana drummer David Grohl plays with. I am not a big fan of the band but they made a several songs I could agree with during the last years. The terrorist attacks in Paris the Foo Fighters has broken off her European tour on the occasion of that and has dedicated to the victims own album. If somebody lives nowadays still the old rock-'n'-roll romanticism, is Dave Grohl, it was the more obvious for the tape to realise thus an underpinned: Taking up brand-new music about the week-end, in a Location which was not conceived, actually, at all for it. "Thank You" to the fans should become "Saint of Cecilia" - a thank-you for the last twenty years. Recorded in a small hotel in Austin, Texas it is a small gift from a band playing their very own Rock 'n' Roll. Here's the link for a free download of the EP.
Last Sunday my youngest brother came from Mannheim to make a visit by our mother. So we joined there for a while and went afterwards for a drink. As ever we turned into talking about the latest music and what we preferred during the last month. So he recommended me an artist I never heard before: Clark. Following his suggestion I investigated about this artist.
Chris Clark is a thirty something British musician performing under the mononym Clark. He was signed by Warp records at the beginning of the new century and released several recordings until now. It's not easy to describe his music and mostly filed under electronic music. But it is more than this because he experiments with forms of degradation, decay and distortion. Though, his music got a touch of a soundtrack for the end of the world. Clark's music is based on machines - samplers, software and synths. For my ears it is like a merging of techno, ambient, classical, electro, noise and post-rock with the skill of a virtuoso. Surly not music for everyone and he makes music that sounds like the end of the world. But he also makes you want to live long enough to see what will that look like.
This series will come to an end in a few weeks and it's hard to find new twanging sounds. But there are a lot of songs that could be played in this context. This one is a song by The Milkshakes, a side-project by Billy Childish where he lived his obsession in rockabilly and twanging sounds. It's a song that is one of my companions throughout the last decades. I always enjoy when I listen to it because it is simple, grounded and true.
I decided to open a new series about singers and bands that mean (or meant) a lot to me. Most of them were big in the punk/post-punk era and I want to remember them at this place. Maybe some memories will raise up when you reed this words.
Let's start with a band the first time they caught my ears when I owned myself a sampler of New Wave music. The Ruts are an English reggae-influenced punk rock band. They formed in 1977 against the background of their anti-racist activities. Trademark was some sharp guitars, songs with great harmonies and a singer shouting out his messages.
In a rut is a very good example of their early songs - here in the version at a Peel session:
After the appreciation of John Peel they signed to Richard Branson's Virgin label and released their first album The Crack. It was one of the first albums I bought from this genre and it is still a classic. On this album was also their single with the biggest success in charts:
Another typical song is Staring at the Rude boys. A drifty bass and massive guitar riffs make this song a classic.
As said The Ruts have a huge addiction to reggae. They are of the first bands that combined their music with ingredients of reggae. Jah War is one of these songs that had a heavy rotation on my turntable at these times and I still love this song today.
In 1980 they had to bear a stroke of fate when singer Malcolm Owen was found dead in the bathroom of his parents house from a heroin overdose. The band continued as Ruts D.C. (D.C. stands for da capo, an Italian term standing for back to the beginning) and released another classic Rhythm Collision. It's like the mother of all British dub records. It was a lucky coincidence when Mad Professor took The Ruts under his wings and brought together what belonged together.
When I woke up this morning I could see the first snow falling for this years and it seems like winter arrived. Like many others I will spent the day at home with a good cup of coffee listen to some music and reading a book. This is the new song by Daughter, a London based three-piece folk band with roots in post/dark wave. It's minimal and dark, a bit close to XX and a wonderful song for Sunday morning.
Today the probably most famous Icelander celebrates her fiftieth birthday. A good reason a look at the beginnings of Björk's career to have. Their parents recognized her musical talent at the age of 5 and gave her a singing training and she released her first record at the age of 12. I never heard anything of it but it must be a crude mixture of Icelandic nursery rhymes and cover versions of hits of the 70s. By getting older she turned away from the sweetness of the nursery rhymes to turn into a punk. One of her first bands was called Tappi Tíkarrass what means 'Plug up the arse of the trollop'. This is Björk and her band back in 1982.
Later she formed a band called Kuki and toured through Europe. I read that they made three records but I never heard any song of them yet. Anyway these band was the ground where The Sugarcubes developed. That was the start of her international career. I once saw them live on an open-air concert and I was impressed of Björk's physical presence and an absolutely new voice in the post-punk era.
In 1992 the band disbanded and she left her island and moved to London to record her first solo record. One year later she released Debut and it was the start to a world-wide career. Human Behavior is likely her well known song from this record.
Until now she released almost 10 more solo albums and she collected more and more influences of electronic and dance music.
Just came back from work and had only a little time to prepare next day's post. The reason is that a new series starts on TV. It's a fiction drama about losing all fossil resources. Norway will stop petroleum production in case of a environmental disaster. Europe has to make a new plan how it can cover it's power demand in the future. It's a story based on a Jo Nesboe novel. So here's just another song from an artist that accompanied me during the last decades. For me it's one his best songs ever.
It's a song I listened to a few days ago and remembered the fantastic live album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. There were a lot of songs on it that companied me during the last two decades. One of them is Papa wont leave you Henry and it's seldom played. Originally a simple blues song added with big emotions and melancholy. For me it is a song that lasts forever. Nothing more or less.
Back in 1977 the punk explosion arrived in my town. Me and a few lads were infected by this new sound. It was hard to get the records in our regular stores and we had to drive to the next bigger town. We found a small record store we could trust on. Mike, the owner deserved us with the newest singles and albums in this genre. As most of you I spent a lot of my time hanging around in his store and later we played football together. But this is another story. One day he told me that he has got some tickets for The Clash concert in Munich as a promotion gift from the record company and he asked me if I was interested to go there. It was no question - I said yes give me the tickets. So me and three other mates went on a rainy Oktober 1977 afternoon to Munich to see the show. We arrived with our head full of ideas how the show would be. Our expectations were more than fulfilled. The concert didn't last more than almost one hour. But I've never seen any performance like this before. I was overwhelmed by their phisical presence and the power (especially Joe Strummer) had at this evening. It was filmed by German television and I found this little gem a few days ago. Let's go back to these times and enjoy it as much as I did.
It's time for a bit of rockabilly on Twanging Tuesday. Many bands were featured in this series but it would not be complete without the Swingin' Pyramids. The band was formed in Glasgow in the late 70s and made only a few records before they disbanded. Their sound is rough, fresh and full of enthusiasm. They could have been great on another time. But the Stray Cats were faster - not better.
When I came home from my walk in the wood I made me another cup of coffee and checked out some e-mails. In one of them an old friend of mine informed me that he got the latest album by Zeus B. Held and supplied me some tracks. So I went to listen to them songs that was released decades ago.
Zeus B. Held is a German producer and musician known for his work from the 70s to the 90s. He was a long time member of the successful Krautrock band Birth Control playing keybords in these days. I remember seeing them live in my hometown playing in an old cinema when I was 14 or 15. I was impressed by the leading keybords that made this sound so unique. After he left the band he worked as a producer, session-musician, programmer and engineer in several German and French studios. He was also involved in the new wave as a producer for Nina Hagen and Spear Of Destiny. I think, he is always on the search of new sounds. So he experimentated with organ and vocoder sounds. This record contains selected tracks from his three albums released under his name. Some are sound still fresh but always unique. No music fore everyone but one for me (even if it was a nostalgia mood).
It's a sunny Sunday morning and I'm standing at the window with a mug of coffee in my hand. Thinking about to go to the gym or take a longer walk into the wood enjoying the maybe last beautiful day of Indian Summer. The more I think the more the decision is taken. I'll get my sweater now and slip in my field jacket and will move out.
For those who stay at home - here's the brand new single from another Vienna based band called Hearts Hearts. I think it is perfect for a start into a lazy Sunday. It's a tender, fragile song and it ties acoustic songwriting with electro pop. I love this cold cello in the background.
Can't believe the pictures in the new today about what happened in Paris yesterday. This terrorism makes me speechless and I ask myself when it will come to my town. I remember a poem that was written close to the attack at Charlie Hebdo:
A few month ago I featured the newest single by Chorusgirl, a fresh and new sound based on the best elements of the new wave era. These days they release their first album. Silvi gave me a link to this album and I've to say that it was more than entertaining. When they were based on their single on a late new-wave sound, they added nowadays surf-sound, twangy guitars, superb vocals and an unique sound to them. It's fun to listen to their songs. Some might say it's nothing new but it's not necessary to develop something new when your able to transport old-fashioned sounds into presence.
The recent days I listened a few times to Sophie Hunger's record from 2012 The Danger Of Light. She's a Swiss singer, songwriter and composer of film music who also plays the guitar, bluesharp and piano. I really like her music much because their songs are full of emotions, surprises astonishment, joy, enthusiasm and melancholy. It is also her unique voice that once heard you will never forget.
Sophie Hunger also covered Le Vent Nous Portera by Noir Désir. A song that was often played years ago.
Autumn and spring it the regular time for bands to promote their newest albums. So it was with Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats. I saw them a last week in a small club where the most artists have a background in the punk/new wave era. I knew their latest record and got into the gig for a very small money and didn't expected very much than a good evening. What I got was a concert that brought me back to the psychedelic and hard rock era when bands like Black Sabbath ruled the scene. Heavy guitars over a doom sound with a singer that is more to melodic rock than to this heavy sound. They built a wall of heavy sound in front of the audience to slip into slow, psychedelic improvisations. And the sound almost blew me away. Massive, direct very own they gave the audience a feeling being back in times. It is surely not the kind of music I listen often at home but it was the sound for a really good live concert. Even the slow song have a lot of psychedelic magic.
One of the pioneers of British Rock 'n' Roll was Johnny Kidd & His Pirates. Most of you will know his chart efforts like Shakin' All Over and Please Don't Touch. Always dressed in a pirate outfit or black leather but always with his eye-patch he entertained us with guitar dominated sounds. Most important was the way he played guitar. The band had only one guitar player. Johnny Kidd played lead and solo guitar at one time. And therefore he had influence to the next generations of guitar players. This one's a seldom played song but worth to be featured in this series.
A few weeks ago I had a little series about the Flying Nun label. Now I found out that The Chills, one of the main protagonist of the new sound from New Zealand made a new record. They still do their picking, little twangy, funny new wave sound added with some piano. Not the worst way tho start into a new week.
This song fits to a lazy, sunny Sunday morning. Simon Green aka Bonobo is one of these artists that combines different kind of genres as a DJ and producer. He self names his music some kind of downtempo. And I can agree. Slow songs with eruptive jazzy breakouts.
A few days ago I got the news that Fat Freddy's Drop will appear for a show in my town. FFD is a band from Wellington, New Zealand. I describe their music as a great mixture of Dub, Roots-Reggae, Soul and Jazz. The are not big in Europe but they must be big in New Zealand. I know them from a record I bought second hand on a flea market. Watching the videos I think this concert could be a good evening.
A few days ago I found a new song by the Editors, another British band in the tradition of New Wave and post-punk. Listening to the voice of Tom Smith they can't annoy their roots to Joy Division. It's a pretty little song dominated by a sad piano and straight drums made for the times later at the when you please yourself with a drink.
"Love is a feeling, buried with me in the yard, gaze at the skyline, under the ocean of stars."
A few days ago I went with a close girlfriend to a concert, watching Kitty, Daisy & Lewis. It was located in a club where normally bands from the heavy metal scene use to play. The venue wasn't filled but the audience was between the mid twenties and the late fifties. I didn't expect much more than an entertaining evening with some good music. But what we've got was an evening by young artists playing old school music with a verve of nowadays. Seeing them brothers and sisters changing all between guitars, drums and piano was that kind of awesome and unforgotten that will last for ages. Of course, you may call it old-school, but for me it was one of the evenings were everything fit together.
Since long years it's still the same thing in November - The Meteors are coming to town. One of the oldest Rockabilly bands around. They still play their weird sound at small and hot venues and I saw them a few times during the last years. Not really sure if I will join them next week. So let's listen to their version of John leyton's Johnny Remember Me.
Every few years London spits out some female rappers. The latest one is Little Simz a 21 years old musician, artist and singer. She released her first full length record a few week ago on her own label AGE: 101 music. On this song (produced by the Berlin located DJ IAmNobodi) she sings without point and comma over a jazzy intro about herself. Like Azaelia Banks she's able to switch between rapping and singing in one song. Nice stuff.
A few days ago some newspaper recommended the latest video by Devon Welch aka Majical Cloudz a Canadian artist who released his second record these days. I watched this video and I was fascinated. Not by the music that sounds too much like Coldplay for me ears and the embedded weepy voice. One could come along funnily about Welsh, the Canadian with the close-cropped head, the striking eyebrows and the piercing, intensive look with which he pulls his audience mostly from the stage in his spell. This look, this easily manic and obsessive also spreads to the listener. What this song makes great for a Sunday morning is the spherical ambient beat by a drum-computer in contrast to Welch's voice. Nothing you say will ever be wrong / Cause it just feels good being in your arms