Thursday, 31 July 2008

The Bodies - Art Nouveau

It’s been a while since I did the gloomy post-punk thing. Don’t know anything about The Bodies so I can only give you my thoughts. When I bought this I would have been hoping for a Gary Numan or Ultravox style gloomy electronic record. I didn’t get the electronics but it didn’t disappoint on the gloom front. This record builds in a relentless way that makes the ending perfect.

mp3: The Bodies - Art Nouveau (1979)

It also came in a fold-out poster. Click above for the lyrics if you want to sing along.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The Bay City Rollers of punk…

That’s apparently how Belfast band Starjets were once described because of their clean cut image and pop sensibilities. Singer Terry Sharpe later found more success with The Adventures.

mp3: Starjets - Schooldays (1979)

mp3: Starjets - Shiraleo (1980)

Now remember kids these scratchy old vinyl rips will only be here for a limited period. If you like what you hear you can buy nice shiny digital versions here.

I can’t help myself...

I’m going to risk the wrath of Feargal by posting some classic Punk/Pop from Northern Irelands finest. Check back soon…

Friday, 25 July 2008

Friday night malarkey…

I’m about to sit down with the missus to watch the final of Celebrity Masterchef so obviously this little ditty came to mind. It’s only two minutes long but even that will test your endurance, if only because the titular kitchen motors sound more like a dentists drill. I threaten the boys with this record when they misbehave and since one of the little darlings broke my stylus I’ve been playing it quite a lot these last few days.

mp3: Crash Course in science - Kitchen Motors (1979)

Good advice...

You may have heard through the grapevine that one of my kids broke the stylus on my turntable. They all blamed each other until one of them came up with the idea of blaming the kid next door (who hasn’t been round for weeks). Fortunately I have a few vinyl rips in the vault. Like this for example:

This doesn’t appear on any of the numerous Monochrome Set compilations, presumably because of some licensing issue. As opening lines go ‘Don’t ski naked down Mount Everest with lilies up your nose’ takes some beating. It’s advice that I’ve always tried to follow. This is just the first of many ‘don’ts’ in the song. There are also many ‘do’s’, ‘Play hoopla with Saturn’s rings’ and ‘Tie a knot in Errol Flynn’s’ being my favourites along with ‘Squeeze the spots out of the sun’. The classic Monochrome Set combination of witty wordplay with deadpan delivery and sprightly backing.

Mp3: The Monochrome Set - Ten Don'ts For Honeymooners (1981)

Friday, 18 July 2008

Him or Me…Battle of the bands

I’ve known the original since I was a kid due to it being part of my brothers collection so I bought the Banned version out of curiosity. The original wins on energy, vocals, style and, well…being the original. I’m told it was a favourite with John Peel back in the day. The remake gets by on cockney charm. But that’s just my opinion. See for yourselves:

mp3: Paul Revere and The Raiders - Him or Me (1967)
There used to be a good Youtube clip of this but now there’s just a very poor quality one. It’s worth seeking out just for a look at their silly stage clothes that stopped them being taken seriously.

mp3: The Banned - Him or Me (1978)
I’ve just found out The Banned have reformed and recorded a new version of their first single Little Girl and a cover of Friday On My Mind. They are available to download from their website.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Leaving it All Behind

I bought this record back in 1979 purely because I noticed Charlie Tumahai, previously of Be Bop Deluxe, on the cover. At the time I thought it was ok but not really my thing. It’s a sort of light funk/soft rock hybrid with nice harmonies and a cracking tune. All that went over my head a bit in those heady new wave days but I re-discovered it in the mid 80s and I’ve considered it a lost gem ever since.

mp3: The Dukes - Leaving It All Behind (1979)

Charlie Tumahai was bass player and backing vocalist for Be Bop Deluxe from their 2nd album onwards. His singing features more prominently on this song than any other I can think of (not including live recordings):

mp3: Be Bop Deluxe - Forbidden Lovers (1976) (Buy)

The Dukes were a bit of a sideman supergroup as they also featured Jimmy McCulloch, who had previously played in numerous bands including Thunderclap Newman and Wings for whom he wrote and recorded the rather splendid (and possibly autobiographical) Wino Junko.

mp3: Wings - Wino Junko (1976) (Buy)

Friday, 4 July 2008

So how do robots praise their God?

Inspired by the Delia Derbyshire post over at Art Decade.

Delia Derbyshire was a pioneer in electronic music who worked for many years for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, her most famous work probably being her performance of Ron Grainer’s Doctor Who theme.

I first heard this about five years ago on a BBC documentary called Alchemists of Sound. The whole show was fascinating but this was the most memorable piece of music in it. It’s from a 1966 episode of Out of the Unknown, based on an Isaac Asimov story, called The Prophet. A piece of music of robots singing praise to their ‘God’ was required. I’ll borrow some words from Delia Derbyshire interviews to describe it:

"I did the music for the whole programme. It was probably in the mid '60s. [...] I never watched the stuff. I had a script, that's all. The actors, I got them to chant. The words they were singing were, "Praise to the master, his wisdom and his [reason]" [...] I turned it backwards first, then chose the best bits that sounded good backwards and would fit into a rhythm, and then speed-changed the voices. Then I used just this one bar repeated which had [previously] been rejected from a science and health program for being too lascivious for the schoolchildren. It was like a science program... it was supposed to be about sex, but under another name. And then the producer had the nerve to turn down my music, saying it was too lascivious. It was just twangy things with electronic pick-ups, and I just used a single note and then did little glissandos on it and pitched it and treated it. But the 'Ooh-ooh-ooh' isn't me... that's wobbulator, pure wobbulator. That's a piece of test equipment that does wave sweeps."

But that’s just words. Listen for yourself. Just under two minutes of brilliance.

mp3: Delia Derbyshire - Ziwzih Ziwzih OO-OO-OO