Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bob Dylan walked the line

the real conflicted lovers
it was you, babe, after all

The Johnny Cash bio-pic "Walk the Line" with Joaquim Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon was really great. Both actors take over their roles with such conviction, it's a real delight to watch. The storyline, characters and music are all superb. Anyway, as a tribute, here's two versions of a Bob Dylan classic - one by Johnny and June, and the other a gorgeous French cover version from 1965:

That Isley Brother Thing

Two tracks from the sublime funky first Isley Brothers album on their own T-Neck label. The album is impossible to find, and there are plenty of compilations with the most famous track off it - It's Your Thing, so here are two others.

Isley Brothers - Give the women what they want

Isley Brothers - I know who you've been sockin' it to

Friday, February 24, 2006

Your introduction to Psych-Rock rarities part 2

Another bunch of psychedelic and progressive rarities. Most of these albums sold in the hundreds or single thousands and are exceedingly rare. Links to tracks to sample, and CD reissues to purchase, below:

01. Josefus - Gimme Shelter (from Dead Man, 1970)

02. The Mothers of Invention - You're probably wondering why I am here (from Freak Out!, 1966)

03. Felt - Destination (from Felt, 1971)

04. Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity - Indian Rope Man (from Streetnoise, 1969)

05. Apple - Dr Rock (from An Apple a Day, 1971)

The Josefus album has a striking cover, but the music sounds a bit dated and jaded to me. The Mothers on the other hand, brilliant cover (first ever double album, predating Blonde-on-Blonde or the White album), dated sound for sure but still full of verve. Felt are rathre obscure, and rather good - much the same as their Lawrence-led 80s namesakes. Brian Auger's track is an organ-led dazzler since covered by the UK Charlatans.

See part one here.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

James Blunt rocks!


Well, what's a poor boy to do when he writes a quiet little album
of delicate pretty singer-songwriter songs, expecting to be swallowed up in the
wave of similar that thrashes the pop shore line, when to everyone's surprise
that one song "You're Bootifful, u are!" ends up being a world wide mega smash
and everyone starts to hate you.

Jealousy is an evil thing. So, well done James - u is cool. The revival starts here!

And he's gone and covered the Pixies and you can hear it as played in London on 31 January 2006 here, or get it on the new Bedlam sessions DVD/CD combo.

Your introduction to Psych-Rock rarities part 1

My definition of psych-rock is basically anything from the late 1960s or early 1970s that wasn't mainstream and sold in the hundreds rather than the thousands or millions. I may stray from that definition, but it's about the best I'll get. I've been listening to a lot of this stuff of late, and thought I'd share some of the best in the hope that more people might go and explore the same. Psych-rock albums can be a pretty mixed bag, some considerably better than others, some patchy at best - but when they're great (as they so often are) they really are Grrreat!

I tend to favour the folk-rock, pop-rock, kraut-rock sort of thing over the heavy rock workouts and prog rock doodlings. Probably because I come to this via Indie rock, the Beatles and Dylan rather than AC/DC: but whatever rocks your boat, really. I'm probably a bit of a sucker for anything with stronger-than-treacle female vocals or a pretty hippie chick on the cover...

Anyway - I'll share these in digestable chunks of five tracks at a time (when I get time), so hopefully there will be some quality control and you'll discover something you like. This series of posts should make up a great introductory compilation, and a roadmap to further exploration.

As usual, more info on most of these bands can be found on allmusic and other specialist sites, and currently available CDs can be purchased by clicking on the small cover images below.

The first bunch of fives are available from any of the links below:

01. The Monks - I hate you (from Black Monk Time, 1966)

02. Analogy -
Tin's Song (from Analogy, 1972)

03. Merrel Fankhauser & H.M.S. Bounty -
Drivin' Sideways (On A One Way Street) (from Things, 1968)

04. American Spring -
Fallin' in Love (from Spring, 1971)

05. Bröselmaschine -
The Old man's Song (from Bröselmaschine, 1971)

The Monks are more garage band really, but they were the original punks - American GIs in Germany on leave, bashing out the most anarchic and dark r'n'b.

The American Spring track shouldn't be there really, but it's by the wife of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys/Smile fame (along with her sister), produced by Brian and written by his brother Dennis Wilson. It's also a really sweet sound.

Special credit goes to ChrisGoesRock, and gold stars also to 8DaysInApril


Friday, February 17, 2006

Greg Daville's Covers

"In the same way that a song on the radio can arouse a myriad associations, so can the covers that adorned this music."

Greg Daville's covers project is an experiment where he gets ordinary people to act out the covers of their favourite LPs, to often brilliant and hilarious effect.

The project came from a 2005 residency at Brighton's Phoenix Art Gallery and has grown into a 55 picture online art exhibition. Probably his most (in)famous re-enactment is the Sgt Pepper cover, but other pictures are in my view even more effective in combining our fascination with the iconic musical object and the personal character of each player. Below, are some examples - the Man Machine, One Step beyond, the Cut and New Boots and Panties. Visit Greg's website to see the full set.

The Man MachineOne Step Beyond
New Boots and Panties

"The online exhibition of prints you see before you is the result of an intense period of work, and a series of fantastic collaborations with all the people who offered themselves up to be photographed. As well as resulting in some great portraits, it afforded me the pleasure of sharing the creative/making process with others. I usually work on my own, and it was a refreshing change."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Songs: Ohia

Various Songs Ohia mp3s and live and demos available here - completely wonderful. This dark melancholy modern blues really moves me.

Try this demo of Long Dark Blues (from Songs:Ohia's Magnolia Electric Co album)

Or The Dark Don't Hide It (from the Magnolia Electric Co's latest' What Comes After the Blues?)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Belle and Sebastian

The new Belle and Sebastian CD the Life Pursuit is excellent, harking back to the classic B&S themes - based around Stuart Murdoch's student-not-student existence, and quirky chat over cups of tea in the local cafe. Stays the right side of twee, and has some really strong tunes. Highly enjoyable - and makes me feel like it's summer in these cold grey days.

The chocoreve website still has some great B&S live recordings, and I can definitely recommend the October 1998 Paris show if you are shorter on bandwidth (or patience, as I am).

Def metal played in reverse

Nah, not really. Although jeff milner's backmasking site is a lot of fun, as is the Paul is dead hoax.
The ability to play records backwards is a rare talent...
As a tribute to the d4vil incarnat4, he who shall have died and yet still lives, here's a lovely early take of Paul McCartney's Carry The Weight recorded for the Beetle boys' Abbergavenny Road sessions. Now that you come to mention it, he does go on a bit...

Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme plays chase the d4vil. {thanx to scenestars}
It all gets more mysterious...

International psych covers

There's nothing like a good old bit of classic rock cover version madness, so here's some for that post-valentine day feeling.

A mexicali voodoo version of Hey Joe, a 1967 french psych oddity from an 18 year old Jacqueline Taieb and Patti Smith's classic take on the Who from her 1975 Horses LP:

  • Los Locos Del Ritmo - Hey Joe (from Mexican Rock and Roll Rumble and Psych-Out South of the Border)
  • Jacqueline Taïeb - 7 Heures Du Matin (from Girls in the Garage volume 3)
  • Patti Smith - My Generation (from Horses)

    Get all three mp3s in one easy to rip file from here

I know the JT track isn't actually a cover, just a name check, but it's great. And yes folks, the PS cover is international, 'cos the Who were English and Patti American. Jeesh.

If you like this stuff, then you will appreciate the Jan Franzen list of cover versions of Hey Joe and the Ye Ye Girls page on Jacqueline Taieb, also a great source for other 60s french chic chicks.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Neil Young Live 1971

The Big O magazine is a weird one - too much information, too hard to rifle through i guess.

But they do have a habit of finding some interesting bootleg live albums and putting them on line. Currently they have a gorgeous solo Neil Young set recorded in Toronto in 1971, and it's fantastic hearing these songs so close to when they were written with Neil's voice at its prime. Just him and a guitar, and an all-too-polite audience of hometown Canadians. Includes an unrelased song - Bad Fog of Loneliness. The sound quality is generally excellent too.

Go here or download the full set from here (rapidshare premium users only)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Arctic Monkeys

Those little monkeys. I have to admit, the album is brilliant. Musically, it's got all of that Libertines-Clash energy, but frankly better tunes than either of those bands ever had. Lyrically, it's extremely smart and witty:

"He talks of San Francisco, he's from Hunter's Bar / I don't quite know the
distance / But I'm sure that's far"

and anyone who references Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em in song is alright...

"And I'm so tense, never tenser / It could all go a bit Frank

That's my phrase of the moment.
Total aural pleasure, and well worth the money, even if you downloaded half the tracks last year. Morning Becomes Eclectic had a live show, and some MP3s are available here if you want them.

For once - do believe the hype!

King Cat by John Porcellino

A friend sent me issue 64 of John Porcellino's King Cat, which was dedicated to his father who has recently passed away, and contained some moving writing about his father and how JC felt about his passing, as well as the usual king-cat line-drawings, a kind of soft-centred bespectacled urban serenity.

I may have been feeling rather vulnerable but it touched me.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Keith Christmas

I've been following the trend and getting into singer-songwriters of late, and kept picking up obscure early 1970s compilations of folk-rock music with which I was invariably disappointed, except that on almost every one there tended to be a track by Keith Christmas and these simply blew me away. I was therefore delighted to find that he's still around, still playing - occasionally, in the West Country, in-between teaching - and more blues than folk nowadays. He also has his own website, where you can purchase CDs, listen to demos and generally chat, hang out etc.

His first album was recorded whilst he was still a student at Bath University studying Building technology. The next few in the early 1970s are all superb - full of strange mystical lyricism and extrordinary guitar playing. Like a manic version of Nick Drake, and every bit as good.

The best introduction is probably the recent Timeless and Strange compilation. Keith also played acoustic guitar on David Bowie's pre-Mick Ronson Space Oddity album, with Rick Wakeman and Herbie Flowers.


Get these:

And this: