Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Raising the Dead

One of the most appalling omissions of my earlier life was not to have caught Dead Kennedys live.

An associate had seen them performing one time in London, supported by Bad Brains!
Man, I hated him for that!
Lucky bastard!

Of course the only time Dead Kennedys get together nowadays - not that I think they should reunite, or do a tour or something; shit, that would be awful - no, the only time they come together now is due to litigation; choosing American court rooms to perform in.
Rock stars, eh?
Despite my connection and alliance in the 1980s with the British Anarcho-Punk scene; occasionally, ideologically, we did fall out.
And despite a distance of near five and a half thousand miles between my place in the world and San Francisco, I far more readily connected with where Biafra was coming from.
His attitude, politics, cynicism, wit and frankness I immediately empathised with.
Provocative rather than preachy; and essentially that was what I really liked; I wasn't being told how to think by Biafra: I was being encouraged to think.

And as a consequence, I think Dead Kennedys were one of the greatest bands to ever have come out of North America.

I played Plastic Surgery Disasters just a couple of days ago (the inspiration for this post); boy, it didn't half make my Sunday morning go with a bang.
The perfect way to start the day.

So, just felt I had to post some.

Most of the Kennedys' official catalogue is available in one form or another; but this recording is a little obscure.

Originally ripped from a VHS release from 1985 (not by me, although I do still have my own precious copy of the video), the sound quality is pretty good (considerably better - in performance terms as well - than the Decay Records release Mutiny on the Bay from 2001), and it's a set to die for; capturing them at a time before the release of Frankenchrist or Bedtime For Democracy, but a few of the tracks are already there: 'MTV Get Off the Air', 'Macho Rama' and 'Goons of Hazzard' from Frankenchrist, and 'Hop With the Jet Set' and 'Do the Slag' from Bedtime; these snuggle up perfectly with the older DK classics.

The sound does drop out somewhat during the end of 'Bleed For Me' and unfortunately throughout 'Nazi Punks', but does make a recovery for the excellent finale 'We've Got a Bigger Problem Now', their lounge/hardcore version of 'California Uber Alles'.

But despite that two minutes of poor sound quality, this is still a great recording; capturing a band who had just been waiting for 1984 to come along; a band created ultimately for that time; that paranoia; that fear; and they really made the most of it.

Dead Kennedys - Never Been on MTV. Live in San Francisco 1984.

Police Truck
Hop With the Jet Set
A Child and His Lawnmower
Religious Vomit
Do the Slag
Moral Majority
MTV Get Off the Air
Live Sentence
Macho Rama
Goons of Hazzard
Bleed For Me
Nazi Punks Fuck Off
We've Got a Bigger Problem Now

CD rip to mp3s
Get down with the Dead here

Monday, 26 April 2010

Hair of the Dog

Paul Leary's The History of Dogs has a now much improved bitrate.
So if you got it before; or haven't yet got yourself a copy - shame on you - go there and get dogging.
Follow links as normal.

Monday, 19 April 2010


During Tim Buckley's short life he never got to release a live album; a real shame, for the live performance was Buckley's true forte.

Personally, I always found his studio albums a little difficult, and apart from the quite bizarre Greetings From L.A. they have dated almost beyond listening.

This album, recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, in 1968, captured Buckley performing his first solo London concert. He was twenty-one years old.

The record company felt that he was of such minority interest they were unwilling to pay for all of his accompanying musicians to join him; and with no conga player or regular bassist - Danny Thompson stepped in on bass at the last minute; an amazing feat considering he had not played with Buckley before - the sound here is stripped right down; minimal to say the least, but rather than debilitating Buckley's sound I believe it enhanced his music, showcasing his voice like no studio album ever allowed.

Occasionally, he sings alone, accompanied only by his own dulcet twelve string; and during numbers such as 'The Earth is Broken' I hesitate to use the word, because I do have some problems with it, but it can be only be described as 'spiritual', or perhaps ethereal, but however you want to describe it, if it fails to move you, then perhaps you should check your pulse.
There's plenty of other highlights here: a superb version of the early eco-awareness song 'Dolphins'; a deeply effective segue from 'Pleasant Street' to 'You Keep Me Hanging On', sang with so much conviction and authenticity it's amazing he's able to continue; but the real highlight for me is an incredible version of 'Hallucinations', including the most aptly tripped-out preamble.

So if like me you've found Tim Buckley's music rather contrived on his studio albums, this is well worth checking out; it really reveals what it was that those who saw him live so raved about.
The Mothers of Invention were big fans, enough to convince Herb Cohen (the business head behind Discreet and Straight Records) that he was well worth investing in; for in the live setting Buckley as a musician and vocalist was simply sublime, truly beautiful.

I'm going to give the final words to Lee Underwood, Buckley's long time guitarist, who wrote the sleeve notes for this release, where this quote comes from:

"Tim Buckley held hands with the world for a while.
He gave in fire and fury and perverse humour the totality of his life's experience, which was vast beyond his mere twenty-eight years.
He courageously stood on the arena-stages of our barrooms and auditoriums, ultimately alone, singing from within his own flames like a demon possessed.
He had a beauty of spirit, a beauty of song and and a beauty of personage that re-etched the face of the lives of all who knew him, and of all who ever truly heard him sing.
He burned with a special flame, one of a kind.

Dream Letter is not a glossy, money-based, Top 40, manufactured, MTV, product-imitation of emotion, it is not a corporate sham, and it doesn't date itself, because it's the real thing, with real fire and real tenderness.

It's alive in this moment, right here, right now."

Tim Buckley - Dream Letter: Live in London 1968 (1990)

Introduction (Pete Drummond)
Buzzin' Fly
Phantasmagoria in Two
Morning Glory
I've Been Out Walking
The Earth is Broken
Who Do You Love
Pleasant Street/You Keep Me Hanging On
Love From Room 109/Strange Feelin'
Carnival Song/Hi Lily, Hi Lo
Dream Letter/Happy Time
Wayfaring Stranger/You Got Me Runnin'
Once I was

Performed by:
Tim Buckley - voice & 12 string
Lee Underwood - guitar
David Friedman - vibraphone
Danny Thompson - bass

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
There is a little surface noise throughout, mainly due to the quietness in places of the recording.
This does not interfere with listening pleasure, but merely reminds the listener of its vinyl origins.

Part one here
Part two here

Saturday, 17 April 2010


The last of the Bykers' psychedelic rock albums before they went off into dance crossover territory after evolving into the Purple Fluid Exchange.

And one heck of a trip they went out on.

There's a concept in there somewhere, but I'm not quite sure what it is.
Suppression of medical research? Quackery? The environment? Misanthropy? Wilhelm Reich? Mortality?
Yeah, probably; and more, no doubt.

But basically one heck of a trip.

It's not quite a bad trip; but it's certainly very dark.
The transitional pieces are incredibly hallucinatory: Hawkwindish, 'Revolution No. 9' like, movie samples, trailers, throat singing and the most peculiar snippets of dialogue.

Many of the songs are distinctly metal rooted; Tony Horsfall playing his little socks off; twisting metal tropes to fit Mary's most bizarrely mixed vocal.

Psychedelic for sure, but as with all their albums genre boundaries are extremely fluid; there's even some cracking dub squeezed in when least expected.

They were a top band were the Bykers in their prime, but they just couldn't shift the units. Shame.
But you know, I think Van Gogh had similar problems.

Gaye Bykers on Acid - Cancer Planet Mission (1990)

Farceuncle Side

Welcome, Cancer Planet Mission
Face at the Window
Hope & Psyche
Satyr Naked
Catalytic Converter
Alive Oh?

Midwoof Side

Mr. Muggeridge
Got is the Kink
Demon Seed
Heavenly Body

Excellent cassette rip @320kbs
Take a trip here

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Thief's Journey

I have been thinking of sharing this for a while, but had kind have forgotten about it.
The reminder is unfortunate.
Now is time.

Situationist, impresario, fashionista, prankster, pop star and pundit.
You either loved him or loathed him.
But none of us ever knew him.

So here he is telling it as it was.

It's all here.
The obligatory raising by a crazy relative (grandma in this case), the fifties, rock n roll, fashion, the sixties, psychedelia, fashion, Vivian, The King's Road, punk, fashion, The Pistols, the pranks, money and the Internet; accompanied seamlessly by a most appropriately put together musical and reporatge riddled soundscape, perfectly synchronized and often enhancing McLaren's rather rhapsodic but surprisingly Dickensian narrative.

He was a great raconteur; quixotic, picaresque, like his life; and in the manner of Ackroyd or Sinclair he drags you along through his years; linking every event, every decision, on chance or psychogeography: always at the right place at the right time; and for McLaren, at the heart of everything, was place: London. Where else?

Born in Stoke Newington in 1946, despite his international status he never really wandered far from home.
Yes, the world probably would have been different without him; but we don't need to go into all that (save that for Jon Savage, et al...).
The fact is McLaren did it and that's enough to be grateful for.
Cheers Malcolm!

In Memoriam.
Malcolm McLaren (1946-2010)

Malcolm McLaren's Map of London

A Just Radio Production; originally broadcast by BBC Radio 2, 14/01/06.
Ripped from DVD captured audio broadcast to mp3 @320kbs. 55 mins.
Take a wander with Malcolm here

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Cem Says NIN

Here's something a little special from the shy and retiring Trent Reznor.

I'm no expert when it comes to Mister Reznor's oeuvre, but fortunately I know someone who is...
So I'm going to hand over to the aforementioned ex-goff, Kentish lass and lover; who so often helps out with artwork: the lovely Cem:

Take it away, Cem:


If you love Nine Inch Nails then this is probably the best live recording available.

If you've never heard of them then they're a bit like Ministry, if you haven't heard of Ministry, well, where have you been?
It's the sound of the industrial nineties, screaming guitars and clanking machinery, and oddly one track featuring something that sounds very much like the aliens in Pitch Black, which is nice...

Including all the best tracks from the first three NIN albums,
Coming Down Fast is a stonker of a set, recorded at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia on July 29th 1994 (encore included) during the Self Destruct Tour (which featured Marilyn Manson supporting!).

Enthusiastically performed by Reznor and his live band: Robin Finck, Danny Lohner, Chris Vrenna and James Wooley, and mightily received by an exuberant audience, it's almost like being there, moshing away.

Oddly, for someone who isn't keen on recorded crowd noise (sorry) the audience do tend to add to the experience rather than being overly intrusive, they only filter through occasionally and the roar of appreciation just encourages the fingers to move the volume control up another notch.

So crank it up, and be confused by someone leaning in close and asking if you've 'Gotta Lighter?'


Nice one, Cem!

Nine Inch Nails - Coming Down Fast (1994)

Terrible Lies
March of the Pigs
Something I Can Never Have
The Only Time
Get Down Make Love
Down In It
Big Man With a Gun
Head Like a Hole
Dead Souls
Help Me I Am In Hell
Happiness In Slavery

CD rip to mp3s
Decent quality boot; all seventy-nine minutes and twenty-two seconds of it.
Nail it here