It is the last day of October and as every year you see the whole town in a Halloween mood. I have to admit that I never understood the hype for this event (except a special event for kids) and mostly tried to ignore it. But you can't go out for a beer to see the pub covered with cobwebs, skulls and more scary items. It is not my cup of tea but if someone close to Halloween I don't want to spoil this event. Here are some songs that came to my mind when I am thinking about Halloween. Enjoy and have a scary night.
In 1979 Bristol collective The Pop Group released Y an album that is one of the most radical in it's way. Dennis Bovell produced this album after his collaboration with The Slits and it was a dub-influenced melange of punk, funk, jazz and noise where Mark Stewart shouted his political statements. For me it wasn't always a pleasure to listen to this album because I couldn't bear his shouting for a longer time. But I always liked the bass-driven sound and the way they handled their reggae influences. Now Bovell released a dub version of this album and it is time to listen to this classic once again.
It was in the early 80's of the days close after post-punk when many bands tried to broaden their musical horizon and searched for more experiences in funk and dancefloor. This turning away from classical new sounds were different to many people I knew at these days but slowly I realized the roots they had and those bands opened my ears for sounds I ignored for a long time and guided me to the later upcoming sound of what made DJ-music established years later. Listening to these roots is still a pleasure and a part of my musical education.
It is 50 years ago when American rock-jazz band Chicago released the first four long player included first live album. It was recorded during a tour in the early 70's when they played for a week in London's Carnegie Hall. In my early days I enjoyed their combination of classic rock, prog and fantastic horn arrangements. And listening to their songs decades later they have still a kind of attraction to no and not only because of I was in a nostalgic mood.
Brooklyn's indie-rocker Parquet Court released their new album during the last week. I expected from them nothing more than another good album filled with good indie-music. And they fulfilled the expectations from the first song a post-punk hymn full of verve. So far so good. But there are songs on this album where they step out of their cliches and integrate groove and electronic into their sound. Marathon Of Anger has a minimal groove and the chant imitate Talking Heads to lead us into an Ian Curtis-inspired post-punk hymn.
Plant Life is more a dance-jam that could be a leftover from a forgotten sessions Primal Scream or Happy Mondays did in the early 90s. I think it has nothing to do with copy a great sound it is more transporting great things from the past into today's world. With these songs Parquet Courts show us that they are far better than many of their workmates.
It was 40 years ago when a new wave hero released a record that was far away I and probably everyone expected. Elvis Costello was always an artist that had antennas for different kind of popular music for example when he produced folk-punks like The Pogues. But with his fifth album he surprised me a lot because he turned into country music. I bought this record because I thought you can't go wrong without a new album by him. But listening to this album I was irritated a lot because I didn't expected that this sound wasn't close to me at these times. For a long time Almost Blue was a part of my collection but was played at my place very seldom. During the last decades this album became a close friend of mine because the older I got the more I could see the beauty in this songs. And this album became one of those I will never miss - not only because of Elvis' authentic versions of country classics.
Almost 40 years ago Echo and the Bunnymen were on one of their last tour through Europe and the at the top of their level. I sadly didn't had the possibility to watch them live at these days but when I listen to their live record I can imagine what I missed. They didn't only played their own songs, they more made traveled through musical history and their influences. The cover versions of songs from different decades are of course not new but they played it with a verve I seldom heard before and after. I you need to have examples why The Bunnymen should be in musics Olymp just listen to this songs. Timeless and still a pleasure listening to.
In 1978 Bauhaus appeared as one of the first one's on the post-punk scene with a very own and unique sound. Bela Lugosi's Dead were a great song played on every party I was in these days and also stamped my musical preferences for years. But I didn't expected that they were also one of those bands that formed gothic a modification of punk and new wave that brought us many new bands and pleasure during the forthcoming years. It is not my favorite kind of music but when I walk this kind of road I will always find a lot of songs that accompanied my life.
A few days ago I was in the mood to listen to glam rock again after a longer time. When I take a journey back into this era I always visit one of the best bands of this genre. Wolverhampton's Slade were the prototype of a working class based rock band and became leading bands of glam. Their sound is just a blues-rock influenced rock but Noddy Holder's voice made all their songs different and unique. In the early 70's the appeared several times on German television in shows by Beat Club and Musikladen and I can remember that they impressed me much watching them in my very early days.
A few weeks ago a compilation came to my ears that brought me back to forgotten songs of the 80's. Not that they are necessary or groundbreaking but this compilation by Gary Crowley brought back memories of a decade I almost forgot. Most of the songs are not the well known songs by the artists but reflecting these songs showed the way artists stepped into a new era. Mostly influenced by new wave they were not able to arrive in the upcoming electronic decade. Anyway, listening to these songs brought back memories and inspired me to listen to other songs of these era.
During the last days I listened a lot to Primal Scream's epic Screamadelica album released 30 years ago. I don't have to tell you much about this album only that is probably the one that combined new wave, classic rock style with the upcoming electronic era and made my ears open to a lot of new sounds. This is a seldom played remix of Come Together by BBG released again earlier this year on a remix-compilation of Screamadelica-songs.
In 1966 Frank Zappa ant the Mothers of Invention released Trouble Every Day in 1966 on their debut Freak Out. This one is one of my oldest one I own but always one I come back from time to time. Not only because Zappa was the one who made always the thing he wanted to make and his music was outstanding and far ahead of the times. Today you would call him an influencer a business you can make more money you can spent a month if you have enough followers. Trouble Every Day was by Zappa written round the the Watts riots in 1965 in Los Angeles. I have to admit that I forget this song and new interpretations came to my ears during the last weeks. First by She Drew The Gun a band that didn't get the acclaim they ought to have and second as a track on the latest release by The Specials where they featured protest songs from the last decades. Both versions are worth to get listened but the original is still unbeaten.
I can't tell the reason why I came back to an album that was released 50 years ago. Joni Mitchell released Blue in a period when she was finished her partnership with James Taylor not only because he was addicted in heroin. Blue is one of those albums by an artist that strips her soul to us. Fragile songs by Joni after she got big success after Woodstock a song that stamped almost a whole generation. All the songs were reduced to her soft and broken voice that fits completely to the lyrics of songs that showed a lot to the feelings she had in these days. I seldom listened to another album that showed an introspective to a soul she did. One of those singer/songwriter albums that are timeless. Often sad but sometimes you can see beauty and optimism like in Carey.
Day By Day by from Preston based band White Flowers is one of those shoegazed albums that I didn't ignored even if it was a genre I am not really familiar with. White Flowers make this kind of dream-pop many artist try to reach. It is certainly not a groundbreaking album but it touches my with it's post-punk influenced soft sound and the whispered Katie Drew. Both, Drew and Joey Cobb started as a songwriter duo during their art-school studies in London and went back to their hometown in Preston to finish their first album. Their songs are filled with their experiences various session on their late 80's independent sound and the result is a introverted version of the legacy by post-punk with blustering wall-of-sound guitars and the melancholic sound of Cocteau Twins. An album you can dive into if you can let it happen.
A few weeks ago I featured Margee's first vinyl In My Sleep at this place. Now Alexandre Gimard ist back with a new three track EP and offers us more of his incredible work. Pain De Me is another smooth trip into club sounds with a bass-line other ones would kill for. There is nothing more to tell about - just listen.
One of Germany's best post-punk/indie-rock band announced a new album that will be released early next year. As an appetizer the released the first single Jugend ohne Gott und Faschismus. With her new single, Tocotronic take a political stand and underline the importance of a cosmopolitan attitude to life. "You spend the day with the skateboarders in the park. Later, you're tired and drifting off. In your dreams you see things. They grow everywhere. Diamonds, silver rings in supersonics, "says a line of songs. The reference to "Jugend ohne Gott" by Ödön von Horváth is also obvious. In the 1937 novel, a teacher is exposed to the racist remarks of his students, instead of defending himself, he behaves in accordance with the system. Tocotronic are still a political band and their sound based on guitar riffs are not really new and different but if you like a kind of music you don't need experiences.
A new name came to me a few days ago when Spotify introduced new releases. Ron Flatter is a German DJ and producer and trained in the techno and trance in the mid 90's. Now he is going to release another EP during the next weeks. What I heard was a relaxed downtempo house track with steady beats whre electronic excursions could be made. Not the worst way to step into the first weekend of October