Thursday, December 31, 2009

Loaded Knife - "Berwick Street" ... the video!

This has to be the best hastily-assembled montage of photos of London's vinyl mecca on the internet. And definitely the best soundtrack

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bedazzled - Peter Cook

Groovy 60s paean to nihilism, contrasting exhortations of backing singers with Peter Cook's deadpan protestations: "You fill me with inertia" etc. Sung by Cook in character ("Drimble Wedge & The Vegetations") on the title track of the film. "Of its time" is a kind way of assessing the movie's merits.

This was genuinely an inspiration to punk. When Cook hosted the brilliant TV show Revolver in the late 1970s, he said (according to blogcaa): "I liked the Pistols above all the other stuff. I remember accusing Johnny Rotten, who he then was, of nicking a lot of his vocal style from Buddy Holly ... John Lydon said one of their songs was based almost entirely on that song from Bedazzled where I’m singing ‘I don’t care’ and ‘I’m so plastic’. I don’t know which one, I was too pissed to remember."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Order - Turn The Heater On

A very strange track, that shouldn’t work at all. New Order do reggae! And, unlikely as it may seem, it does sound like reggae, and also like New Order.

Turn The Heater On was recorded for a John Peel session in 1982. The band never recorded another version, or performed the song live.

According to, Turn The Heater On is a cover of a track from Keith Hudson’s 1975 album Torch of Freedom. It was recorded as a tribute to Ian Curtis, as it was one of his favourite songs - and also a favourite of John Peel's.

The New Order version isn’t available on YouTube. But you can hear it at Warped Reality, and here’s Keith Hudson’s original.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

D.A.F. - Der Mussolini

Scary but witty German track that ticks the following boxes:

1. It's got a brilliant title. Scary, but the presence of the definite article provides comforting distance from fascism.

2. It's got brilliant lyrics: "Get up. shake your hips! / Clap your hands and dance the Mussolini! / Dance the Adolf Hitler! / Move your ass and dance the Jesus Christ!" Meaningless (or is it about the tyranny of the dancefloor?) but, again, pretty scary. But no one could possibly take offence ... could they?

3. You can dance to it - indeed you should dance to it. It predicts the future, 80s techno. But its lyrics make it subversive. Dictators (and Jesus) are equated to dance moves.

4. It's post-punk (recommended by the excellent Simon Reynolds). Retains the shock, disposability and instant gratification of punk, but is experimental in instrumentation and genre. Post-Krautrock might be a better description, in that DAF were from Kraftwerk's hometown Dusseldorf.

5. D.A.F. also had one of the best names ever. Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft means German-American friendship. According to Wikipedia its"a satirical reference to the DSF, the East German Deutsch-Sowjetische Freundschaft (German-Soviet Friendship Organisation)".

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Five Stairsteps - O-o-h Child

"The first family of soul" comprised of five of the six children of Betty and Clarence Burke. In the wake of the Jackson Five's success they were signed to Curtis Mayfield's Buddah label. O-o-h Child, from 1970, was their biggest hit. The B-side, a version of the Beatles' Dear Prudence, is also excellent (and brought them to the attention of the Fabs - George Harrison later signed them to his Dark Horse label).

O-o-h Child is a transcendent three minutes of Chicago soul that has some of the uplifting gospel flavour and optimism of the international hit Oh Happy Day by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, but without mentioning God. In fact Edwin Hawkins Singers covered O-o-h Child on a later single. Other notable versions were recorded by Nina Simone and the Posies. But none can touch the Stairsteps'.

This is unquestionably one of my favourite tracks ever. My pal Daz gave me the 7-inch single about 18 years ago. Then I was burgled, and the bastards stole my (cheap, worthless) turntable ... with the single on it! I searched high and low but for several years I couldn't replace it. I had to wait until eBay was invented. In fact I think it was the first thing I ever bought on eBay.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Guided By Voices - Teenage FBI

Indie anthems aren't really my bag, but I find this brilliant song hard to resist.

Apart from having one of the all-time great song titles, this track is ever more compelling with each listen.

I love the studio version, which has some interesting sounds on it, but in the live version here, GBV reveal themselves as a terrific outfit.

Thanks to Nick Holland and Michael Hann for playing me this.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gabor Szabo - Stormy

Hungarian guitarist makes smooth, summery version of Classics IV's - er - classic. Perfect for sunny London spring day. The whole album, 1969, is great, by the way.

The Marathons - Peanut Butter

Crazy instrumental - and very cheaply made, by the sounds of it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blab Happy - Never No More

Yet more Blab Happy action on YouTube. Bit of a curate's egg, this song, though it does have some nice harmonies and chiming 12-string in the outro

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Seeds - Pushing Too Hard

Sky Saxon and The Seeds get intense on a show called The Mothers In Law. The last word in mid-60s garage rock. One of the commenters says they'd go back to 1966 at the drop of a hat. I know what they mean.