Saturday, 31 December 2011

Omigosh, it's the Cardiacs. Again.

An upgrade for one of Rocket Remnants' most popular posts; all re-ripped at 320 and some tracks have even been cleaned up a little.
All can be had here, or go to the original post for individual releases.
There's also a live album here; and keep gazing, coz there's more Cardiacs on the way (if I can find it...)....

Here's the original blah:

Remember Pronk?
Well the Cardiacs were the masters.
Brash, in your face and often damn right creepy and weird, the early part of the Cardiacs' career produced some wonderful and uniquely bizarre music.
Listening to these tracks is comparable to being spiked with hallucinogens and strapped in to some crazy fairground ride; you want to get off, but at the same time you never want it to end.

So herewith a cluster of Cardiacs' e.p.s, from their early peak-period.

Initially known as Cardiac Arrest, after a couple of years of constant touring, in 1979 the band released a three-track e.p. on Tortch Records entitled A Bus for a Bus on the Bus.

Now a coveted rarity, it did nothing on release; forcing the band to rethink and rebrand.
Hence the birth of the Cardiacs: a new name, a new line-up, and a far more exciting and innovative sound.

Listening to this early recording now, there is certainly a lot to suggest where the sound could go, but it's just too reserved, and the vocals (by Peter Boker, aka Michael Pugh) lack the exuberance and dynamism they demanded and cried out for.

Tim Smith, original member and guitarist, decided to take over the vocal reigns; his brother Jim remained on bass, but the rest of the band was made up of new members: Tim Quy, percussion and synths; William Drake, keyboards; Dominic Luckman, drums; and Sarah Cutts on saxophone (Tim and Sarah soon married and Sarah took the name Smith [!]).
This was the classic line up, and the band responsible for the rest of the excellent material available here.

After a couple of very limited releases, the band formed their own label: Alphabet Business Concern, and it was this autonomy that gave them the confidence to form and mould their own distinctive noise.
Pronk was often the term banded at the Cardiacs, but that label seemed to be banded around a lot at that time, directed at any artists who didn't sit easily within the confines of a a genre category.

Their first great, now classic, release was undoubtedly the e.p. Seaside Treats.
It sounded like nothing else.
Thrash-beats, progy solos, unpredictable stops and starts, and frantic pitch and time changes that can unsettle the most ardent of avant listeners.
Just how many times can a time signature change during a single track, before it becomes a different track?

From what sounds like steam-driven instruments making music to machine-like rhythms and thrashy guitars; this was the perfect springboard for what was going to become a successful few years for the band.

With their new sound and adopted new look (kind of gothic clowns, dressed and prepared by schizophrenics), the Cardiacs became the darlings of the London underground, and were selling out the best London venues on a what seemed like monthly basis.

Their stage shows took on a theatrical flavour, and all sorts of shenanigans would go on; mainly centering around the bullying of Jim, the bass player.
Tim would pinch him, or give him a Chinese burn, and the others, often spurred-on by Sarah, (who adopted one of the most vacant and disturbing of visages I think I have ever seen a woman sport. Check her out on the Big Ship cover) would join in, until poor Jim would break down in floods of tears.
Okay, so it wasn't the Alice Cooper Show, but in its own little way, it was very dramatic and totally compelling; its alienating surrealism forcing the audience to feel somewhat awkward; voyeuristic even.

Comparable to what it must have been like to gaze down at the lunatics in Bedlam: entertaining, sure; but sometimes you have to wonder whether an audience is really the best thing for these people. Are we only encouraging them?

But the music was wonderful. Tight as you like. They never missed a beat.
Which is something when you listen to the complexities of their sound.

Even the studio recordings sound like the band are on the edge of pandemonium; but it was obviously a very well controlled and orchestrated madness.
Teetering on the edge of the abyss, but with feet nailed firmly to the floor.

Next came Big Ship, (1986) which was a real tour de force.
Fantastic production, with a grand dynamic sound, capturing the now big, rich noise they had perfected during their continued touring regime.

The track 'Tarred and Feathered', always a firm favourite with audiences, features a highly infectious chorus, reminiscent of good drinking songs.
And if one had to define the intoxicant that seems to sum up the band, it would definitely be beer.

I watched Tim Smith one night in the Marquee bar, loading-up before taking to the stage; he drank four pints in around twenty minutes!

The release of the e.p. There's Too Many Irons in the Fire, in 1987, to my mind, was the last of their best and most creative work.

I know that is a little controversial, as I do not consider their big album release, A Little Man and a House and a Whole World Window, as being any good.
The band were exhausted; they'd blown themselves out. They were double-dipping; much of their originality had passed, and the album represented a tired and burnt out band - well, at least that's the way I viewed it.

But the e.p. did manage to catch the band at the end of their fluid and highly creative run.
'Too Many Irons in the Fire' is as frantic and urgent as so many of their songs, but the highlight of the e.p. is the track 'Loosefish Scapegrace'.
With it's sinister gothic beginning it soon morphs into a choppy, paired down kind of early Genesis sound [!], then segueing into a driving punk rhythm and ending dramatically with a prog-like flourish.
They don't make 'em like that anymore!

Ah, it brings back so many memories;
all those memories of trying to dance to the Cardiacs.

I hope you enjoy these little Cardiacs' gems.

All, except Seaside Treats, are ripped from vinyl @320kbs
Seaside Treats
is ripped from cassette, also @320kbs

Cardiac Arrest - A Bus for a Bus on the Bus

A Bus for a Bus on the Bus
A Cake for Bertie's Party
Food on the Wall

Cardiacs - Seaside Treats

A Little Man and a House
Hope Day
To Go Off and Things

Cardiacs - Big Ship

Big Ship
Tarred and Feathered
Burn Your House Brown
Stoneage Dinosaurs
Plane Plane Against the Grain

Cardiacs - There's Too Many Irons in the Fire

There's Too Many Irons in the Fire
All Spectacular
Loosefish Scapegrace

All with art.
And they're all here

Friday, 30 December 2011

Tip Ex-Monkee

I own this album for one reason and one reason only: 'Rio'.
At the height of punk, towards the end of a most depressing decade, a bobble hat free Michael Nesmith released this cheesy, hyperbolically arranged, over-produced lounge classic as a single.

And from that description, it should be awful, right? Ephemeral trash, dumped out with other past garbage.
But no.
It's a marvellous song. One that has its tongue so firmly wedged in its cheek it almost chokes.

The lyrics offer what seem to be the stream of consciousness of an old stoner, one who just can't make up his mind.
What with his "I think I will travel to Rio", "I probably won't fly down to Rio" and the final non-committal "But then again I just might".
Love it!
The music is so cloying in its ludicrous arrangement, it fits the sincere ambivalence perfectly.

But it was the promotional film accompanying the track that really sold it.
The perfect package, the perfect marriage: sound and vision.
And 'Rio' was essentially one of the first of its kind: a promo, or hey, video [hip!], that people actually liked and enjoyed watching, over and over again.
I still watch it now. It's still funny and still compelling.
Check it out:

After the brilliant opening the rest of the album is rather flat.
It's okay, I guess, but apart from 'Rio' Nesmith really only lets his hair down, appearing to have a good time - and not be so concerned for his seemingly damned soul (had he murdered somebody or something?) - during the last number 'The Other Room'.

So it begins brilliantly, ends well, but unfortunately the filling is rather soggy.
Hey, that sounds a bit like....

Michael Nesmith - From a Radio Engine to the Proton Wing (1977)

Casablanca Moonlight
More Than We Imagine
Navajo Trail
We Are Awake
Wisdom Has Its way
Love's First Kiss
The Other Room

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
Hole thing here
For a nice copy of 'Rio' on its own @320kbs go here

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Cheeta R.I.P.

Here's the first Monkees' album in what was going to be a memoriam to Cheeta who apparently left us during Christmas.

Well he didn't.
But another Cheeta did.
There are many.

So this post then becomes a celebration of the life of the ever so long living (the longest living on record; said to be about eighty!), Tweeting (he's a big hit), art producing (he's a demon with gouache) chimp.

a.k.a. Jiggs IV. Still with us.

Here's one of his lovely paintings.
It's called Water. Study in purple and turquoise #6.

Good that.
I saw some hanging once, in the National Gallery no less.
Peter Blake had put them in there, part of a pop art celebration he curated.
Cheeta's paintings were some of the best in the entire show.

Glad he's still with us.

As for The Monkees' album. It's a great listen.
Pre-X Factor, Pop Idol, and other various "talent" shows, The Monkees were the most successful and biggest selling of all manufactured bands.
Even when it was known they were phony, people still loved them.
We all love a good tune, right.

Head it was that did it for The Monkees.
Truth. It was a step too far.
Kind of rubbed the fans' noses in it.

But they were just so Beatles initially. The emulation is almost silly in places.
'Ticket to Ride', 'Day Tripper', snatches of 'Eleanor Rigby' all manifest momentarily before diving away, diverting suspicion.
But it's so obvious; they almost sound like The Rutles.
Listen to 'Let's Dance On'.
'Twist and Shout' in a beard

Of course it's the more obscure songs that are now of interest - although I'm sure they've been repackaged and resold over the years - 'Sweet Young Thing', a song that has Nesmith (the serious one) all over it, is a fantastic track: good riff, freaky lyric, psychedelic arrangement; it's easy to understand why The Shamen were attracted to it.

This version of the album comes from an 80s' produced cassette - probably produced cheaply somewhere in the Middle East - but the sound quality is very good.
Digitized at 320 it sounds very good indeed.
Why the running order has been fiddled around with I have no idea.
Probably to fit it on the tape.

The Monkees - Hey Hey We're The Monkees (Originally, 1966)

The Monkees Theme
Last Train to Clarksville
This Just Doesn't Seem to Be My Day
Let's Dance On
I'll Be True to You
Sweet Young Thing
Gonna Buy Me a Dog
Saturday's Child
I wanna Be Free
Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Papa Gene's Blues
Take a Giant Step

Excellent cassette rip @320kbs
Monkey around here

And before anyone comments, I know Cheeta is an ape.

Saturday, 24 December 2011


In homage to the spaciest of space rockers, the Sonic Attack trilogy includes six bands covering six classic Hawkwind numbers.
Originally released as three split 7" singles, together, like a serialized Dickens, they make the perfect whole.

All is mimetic, refusing to deviate from what is expected.
Mudhoney do drag the urban guerrilla up out of the basement and out into the garage, but that, really, meets all presumptions.

As a result of all the heavy riff action, throbbing bass lines and oscillations worthy of Del Dettmar himself, Bardo Pond probably come out on top, but it's all very tasty fun and bound to go down a storm once you've had enough of Bing Crosby and Band Aid.

Right, I'm off for a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine...
Merry Christmas & Appy Olidays!

Various Artists - Sonic Attack (2008)


Mudhoney - Urban Guerrilla
Mugstar - Born To Go

Psychedelic Warlords:

Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno - Brainstorm
White Hills - Be Yourself

Lords of Light:

Kinski - Master of the Universe
Bardo Pond - Lord of Light

Excellent CDR rip of ripped vinyl @320kbs
Space out here

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Up the Pinks!

Fine retrospective of the first three Fairies' albums, plus the elusive single release 'The Snake'.

Darlings of freaks and Angels, Pink Fairies, who evolved out of the demise of The Deviants, were a massive part of the early-seventies stoner scene.
Their first two albums, Never Never Land (1971) and What a Bunch of Sweeties (1972) are both psychedelic boogie classics; iconic freak outs, peppered with acid-drenched ballads and riffs as hard as Sabbath's.

By the time the third album came around (Kings of Oblivion (1973)) the band had changed somewhat.
Larry Wallis now fronted. A different sound greeted the ears, one with a much harder edge (he would soon leave and get together with Lemmy to form Motorhead; taking 'City Kids' with him) and with a great deal more maturity.

Although I'm not entirely sure it suited them.

Pink Fairies - Flashback (1975)

The Snake
City Kids
Portobello Road
Heavenly Man
Do It
Pigs of Uranus
Well Well Well
Chromium Plating
I Went Up I Went Down
Say You Love Me
Street Urchin

Decent rip from cassette @320kbs
Pinkies here

Saturday, 17 December 2011


Deeply eefected by the zeitgeist, The Shamen, in a manner McKenna would have highly approved of, lurched more than evolved from post-psychedelic, ragamuffin minstrels to neo-psychedelic, synth-enthused musoes; dedicating their second album to their new found joy in new found perspectives.
An anthem to E, basically.
One that was far more interesting than the more successful homage that was to follow.

Agitprop with beats.
Trippy layers and textures.
A Monkees' cover.
Samples from the right, from the wrong, from Star Trek.

Funny drug, E.
The more they indulged the more commercial they sounded.
'Ebeneezer Goode'!
They must have been off their tits!

The Shamen - In Gorbachev We Trust (1989)

Sweet Young Thing
Raspberry Infundibulum
War Prayer
Adam Strange
Jesus Loves Amerika
In Gorbachev We Trust

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
Shamanic beats here

Monday, 12 December 2011

With Ease

On their route to oblivion, the Bykers proceeded down the path made hip by Gibby and Jeff's away from the Butthole Surfers' Jackofficers' project.

The transition in sound is linear, moving from hip psychedelia to stretched out dancey electronica.

E became a big part of the mix: blissing out the edge, lushing up the production.
Gaye Bykers on Acid never sounded so progressive.

(Good for playing spot the sample.
The Osmonds, eh, who'd have thought....)

Gaye Bykers on Acid - Pernicious Nonsense (1990)

Disinformation Rise & Shine
Flowered Up
Iguana Trifle
Killer Teens in New Orleans
Falling Fruit
Radiation/John Wayne Was a Fag

Delicious vinyl rip @320kbs
Tune in here

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Four Stumps Good

To complete the set, here's Stump's debut e.p. release.
Their first utterances a twisted paean to subversive oddball Wilhelm Reich: orgone in sound.

As a whole, more proggy than their later post-punk releases, but the boy is always evident in the man.

Stump - Mud on a Colon (1986)

Orgasm Way
Ice the Levant
Grab Hands

CD rip to mp3s
Irrigation here

Sunday, 4 December 2011


They were responsible for the most curious noise were Stump; so many notes, slithering, tumbling, writhing in an aural soup all visceral and sloppy.
Whammy guitar notes conceived at the elbow; the rhythmic flick generating the pulse of bodhrán; synergistic bass notes risen from the flurry of fingers (meanwhile, Mick Lynch is desperate not to sound too much like Julian Cope, but the band help pull it off - Stump produced music way beyond the normal parameters of 'Progressive').

I've said what I know of Stump in my previous Quirk Out & Chaos post; mentioning that they were one of my favourite live bands of the time; that they were just as tight live as any of their studio products and that their career ended rather sadly due to record company pressure and the fact that they weren't prepared to turn into The Cure or something similar.

A Fierce Pancake was the band's only LP release, and it wasn't long after its release that Stump finished, turning up as separate halves on the 1989 Ed Barton tribute album Edward Not Edward.

It was all great fun while it lasted, and this album timelessly and effortlessly evokes the period.
A Fierce Pancake was a real devil to mix apparently - one can imagine - but the end result was well worth the struggle.
It's a shame a few more weren't sold.
But I for one am ever so pleased Stump stuck to their artistic principles; personally I think they were bloody genius.

Stump - A Fierce Pancake (1988)

Living it Down
In the Green
Roll the Bodies Over
Eager Bereaver
Charlton Heston
Doctor (A Visit to the)
Boggy Home

Excellent rip from cassette @320kbs
Get Fierce here

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Jazz Noise Here

It was a stroke of pure casting genius to have Ringo Starr play Frank Zappa in the bonkers movie 200 Motels.
Since Frank's demise in 1993 others have played him, too; many others.

They've played him baroque, in tribute, rock, orchestral, straight, a capella, avant garde and jazz.
And it's the jazz genre Mar Vista Philharmonic decide on for playing Zappa.

The brainchild of Tommy Mars, the Mar Vista Philharmonic (Mar Vista being the district in L.A. where they play and record) collectively refer to themselves as 'Zappa's last touring band' (although I'm not sure they were [?]), and the 'Band from Utopia', which I presume means the band from nowhere.
(It's all puns, of course: Mar Vista Philharmonic is itself a pun (Tommy Mars, the area and the Mahavishnu Orchestra [!]); 'Band from Utopia' refers to Zappa's Man From Utopia, and if they do come from 'nowhere', then they come from Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch, which tells us 'I Come From Nowhere'.
Man, it all starts folding in on itself! Where's my medicine!?)

Seven musicians in all, MVP play some very cool jazz. There's no holding back on the chops, and even with my not very with it jazz ears I can tell these guys really know what they're doing, and they do it really well.
I'm sure Frank wouldn't have had it any other way.

The piece here was recorded in 2003, ten years after Frank's death, and was performed in tribute to their old master and muse.
A twenty-five minute mash or medley of Zappa's tunes woven together into one piece of live music.
The way familiar melodies ('Chunga's Revenge', 'Treacherous Cretins', 'Inca Roads'...) emerge from this piece of music is rather like spotting a recognisable face among a crowd of strangers; they just float out and greet you, and you immediately feel comfortable, safe; but then you lose sight of them and you become lost again (lost in music); eventually you find solace as another familiar face comes along, and hey, you immediately feel comforted, connected; but not for long....
It goes on like this for some time - well, twenty-five minutes actually, as I said earlier....
(Did you find it? My medicine?)

Anyway. It's really good. And if you like interpretations of Zappa's beautiful music, then this is well worth checking out.

Mar Vista Philharmonic - Shut Up and Make a Jazz Noise Here (2003)
Dedicated to FZ. Recorded by BBC Radio 3, broadcast on Jazz on 3, Dec 3.

Albert Wing - Tenor Sax
Bruce Fowler - Trombone
Walt Fowler - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Kurt McGettrick - Baritone Sax, Bass Clarinette, Flute
Tommy Mars - Keyboards, Vocals
Arthur Barrow - Bass
Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums

Excellent rip from cassette captured FM broadcast @320kbs
Visit Mars here

Monday, 21 November 2011

Ol' Folks Boogie

It was while watching Martin Scorsese's take on the life of George Harrison the other night, that a right nice George tune came to mind; a song originally performed by Cilla Black and then turning up on Ringo's Rotogravure.
And as I haven't got any Cilla, thought I'd dig out the aforementioned Ringo; the only Ringo record I own.

Listening to the album now, the Harrison track, 'I'll Still Love You', really stands out.
Ringo of course brings his jovial but rather limited vocal ability to it, but it still shines.

George, poignantly, just so happens to be one of the only artists associated with Ringo who is absent on this recording; it seems to feature pretty much everybody else from the mid-seventies' rock canon; including, in no particular order: John Lennon, Paul & Linda McCartney, Randy & Michael Brecker, Harry Nilsson, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Jim Keltner, Sneaky Pete, Melissa Manchester, Klaus Voorman, Van Dyke Parkes, and many, many others.

Friends and acquaintances readily wrote for Ringo, and as well as Harrison's tune being covered, both Lennon and McCartney hand over some goods.
John Lennon's 'Cookin'', probably the next best song on the album, features Lennon on piano, the last time he'd be recorded until his Double Fantasy sessions.
Paul's song ('Pure Gold'), well, just typically Paul, really, but obviously written for Ringo to sing; and the same can be said of Clapton's very light and breezy number ('This Be Called a Song'), which even features some extremely exuberant steel drums (he must have been off the smack by then).

(I've included the writers in my track listing - someone may be interested, I guess....)

From the ashes of the Beatles, Ringo always seemed to be the guy having the most fun.
He didn't have to be 'heavy' or serious, and because he didn't have a great weight of expectation burdening him, he could do pretty much what he liked; and Ringo liked having fun; and that's what this album represents: a rich, successful man having fun with his mates.
Because of who he is, his fun is made public; but being who he is doesn't guarantee new success. This album flopped on release, and is, to my surprise, long deleted.

You wouldn't have thought Ringo albums featuring Clapton, Lennon, McCartney et al. would get deleted, would you?
Listening to it again now, after many years since I last played it, it's really not that bad.
And it does, for my money, just pass the audition.

Ringo Starr - Rotogravure (1976)

A Dose of Rock n Roll (Grossman)
Hey Baby (Cobb/Channel)
Pure Gold (McCartney)
Cryin' (Poncia/Starkey)
You Don't Know Me At All (Jordan)
Cookin' (Lennon)
I'll Still Love You (Harrison)
This Be Called a Song (Clapton)
Las Brisas (Andrews/Starkey)
Lady Gaye (Poncia/Starkey/T.Ward)
Spooky Weirdness - outro

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Join the Ringo set here

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Shamanic Wind-Bag

Another artist who wooed Bowie's Meltdown audience in 2002 was Finnish accordion maestro Kimmo Pohjonen.

With his long time collaborator, sonic percussionist and electro beat wizard Sami Kuoppamaki, Pohjonen is able to far exceed the normal limitations of the draft-driven keyboard; creating textures and sounds one would more associate with Korgs and Rolands; conjuring up visions of the waste of tundra, the birch forests, the lakes, and a dark atmosphere that could only emanate from harsh northern climes.
The music just reeks of Finland.

In homage to the Meltdown's curator, the duo performed several Bowie songs as part of their set.
In this twenty-two minute captured extract two of Day-veed's songs can be heard: 'Brilliant Adventure' and 'We Prick You'; plus two original Pohjonen tunes; both very moody and both very dark.

Kimmo Pohjonen - Live at the Meltdown Festival, 2002.
Decent rip from cassette captured FM broadcast @320kbs.
Squeezed sonics here

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Organ Accumulator

Please don't be put off by the moniker, nor by the description 'one-man band'; for the Lonesome Organist is legion, despite his solitary status.

The Lonesome Organist (Jeremy to his pals, Jeremy Jacobsen to the taxman), commonly plays two instruments at the same time; he can play up to four; combinations from organ, guitar, voice, drum kit, accordion, steel pan drum, harmonica, various percussion, and, wait for it, tap shoes.
Yes, that's right, he often plays instruments while accompanying himself with a tap dancing routine, one that creates the perfect beat and rhythm.
Very cool.
But what's the music like? I hear you ask.
Brilliant, is my reply: absolutely brilliant.
He's more than just novelty, and more than mere multi-instrumentalist.
His material is really out there - he ain't doin' 'Rosie', you know - he performs surreal pieces, some hard rock, some (kind of) post-rock, a little electronica, even; but the majority of his pieces have their boots firmly placed in blues territory; appropriate for one who hails from Chicago.

The majority of Jacobsen's recordings are available, and I encourage you to seek them out.
But here's a little taster.
Some live tracks extracted from his performance at 2002's Meltdown Festival, curated that year by David Bowie.
It's only half a dozen songs, but they do serve as a good sampler.
The set begins with 'All the Dirty Swine' and ends with 'Departing the Lonely Ship'; what the tracks are in between I'm afraid your guess is as good as mine.

Well worth checking out, this. Seventeen minutes or so that could cheer you right up.

This guy should have been massive.
Maybe The Lonesome Organist's time is still to come.

The Lonesome Organist - Live at the Meltdown Festival, 2002.
Decent rip from cassette captured FM broadcast @320kbs.
Get Lonesome here

Friday, 11 November 2011


Live Pumpkins' boot; mainly their celebrated set from 1995's Reading Festival.

Already lost in their indie persona somewhat (although Corgan hadn't completely finalized his transition into Cartman at this point), Reading seemed to re-energise the band; getting back to their roots; getting down and dirty.

The best track? 'Siva' of course - haven't you been paying attention?

Other tracks come from other, mainly TV sessions.
With the first introduced by 'fan' Day-veed Boweee. Gasp!

Anyway. Enough.
The Pumpkins are dead. (Aren't they playing in Manchester tonight?)
Long live their seeds.
Smashing Pumpkins - In the Belly of the Beast (1995)

Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
Thru the Eyes of Ruby
Cherub rock
Bullet with Butterfly Wings

Track 1: Taratata, French TV, 1995.
Tracks 2-13: Reading Festival, 1995.
Track 14: The White Room, UK TV, 1995.
Track 15: Peel Session, 91. (despite the CD info insisting it came from 95)

CD rip to mp3s.
Art included.
Pumpkin seeds here

Thursday, 10 November 2011


From a time when Corgan was hirsute, and the music shined (just).

A popular boot capturing the Pumpkins at the height of their popularity.
For me it just about remains interesting: Gish is still present, and 'heavy' is still part of the agenda.
But it wouldn't last.
The Smashing Pumpkins were about to become the darlings of the indie scene; and were well on their way to becoming a successful singles band.


Things fall apart.
The centre rarely holds.

Smashing Pumpkins - Astoria '94

I Am One
Geek USA
Cherub Rock
Never Let Me Down Again
Silver Fuck

CD rip to mp3s.
Artwork included.
Pumpkin heads here

Monday, 7 November 2011

Smash Hits!

Man, I really liked Gish on its release; I still do: great album, with some great tunes.
What happened to the Smashing Pumpkins?

It didn't last long for me.
I found Siamese Twin disappointing; Mellon Collie, boring.
What happened to Billy Corgan?

Before the pretension, and whatever else, the Pumpkins recorded some fine music; nowhere more evident than their first e.p. releases.

Both recorded in 91, they capture the band brimming with energy and enthusiasm.
'Rhinoceros' reflects the sound of Gish, with its steady build into a crescendo saturated in squealing feedback; a squall also used to great effect in 'Siva' and the tremendous Burdon & Weider penned 'Girl Named Sandoz'.

I've also included the sampler release for The Aeroplane Flies High from a little later in the band's weird career; mainly for the title track (gutsy piece of grindcore), and just in case, like me, you were unwilling to pay whatever extortionate amount your local record store was forced to charge for Corgan's extended venture that resulted in, what was it, a five CD release. O yeah, and a book.
Mind you, everyone's at it now, aren't they?
Radiohead, Floyd, Beach Boys, et al. they're all bringing out these products that cost around a ton.
Maybe Corgan was a true innovator after all....

Smashing Pumpkins - Lull (1991)

Bye June

Smashing Pumpkins - Peel Sessions (1992)

Girl Named Sandoz

Smashing Pumpkins - The Aeroplane Flies High Sampler (1996)

The Last Song
The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right)
Destination Unknown*

All ripped from CD to mp3s
Art included
Pumpkin stew here

*written by Dale & Terry Bozzio & Warren Cuccurullo (just in case there's any interested Zappaphiles out there).

I have a couple of rare Smashing Pumpkins' albums that I will be posting over the course of this week - so if you're keen: keep 'em peeled.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Cem's the Pearl Jam fan in our 'ouse; but I do like the odd tune.
Which is why I like this: it's full of odd tunes.

Covering 'Em Selves is I guess what Pearl Jam do when they play versions of their own songs [!], but what is most interesting are the true covers that help make up this disparate collection of 'rare' live tracks.

Temple & The Dog and Neil Young maybe the more obvious artists covered, but The Who, Bob Dylan and, providing a platform for the album's best number, The Beatles, are all a little more surprising.
In fact, 'I've Got a Feeling' is really very good indeed; the added beef PJ bring to the song is very effective, and Vedder shudders marvellously all the way through.

So, all in all, quite a fun piece, with some real aural surprises.
Funny enough, I've noticed quite a lot of Pearl Jam in the Blogosphere lately, but I haven't seen this one; an essential addition, without doubt.

Pearl Jam - Covering 'Em (Selves) (1993)

CD rip to mp3s
With artwork.
Have your Jam and eat it here

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Fiddle About

Okay, I admit it.
I've always liked Nigel Kennedy.
He's bonkers isn't he.
What with his vulgar tongue, trampy apparel and love of Villa.
He's about as phony as that boil he had removed on his neck; a pressure sore caused by constantly shoving a planed and shaped lump of wood into the same tender spot. Ouch!

Like most genius types he does seem to urk some people; some bold enough to suggest he couldn't be trusted to play at The Proms.
However, on the sixth of August this year, Kennedy performed to a packed Albert Hall, playing two of Bach's solo violin pieces, and then bringing on his band for the second half to play some very cool jazz numbers.

The Bach pieces he played that night (two partitas for solo violin: No. 3 in E Major & No. 2 in D Minor), despite his masterful interpretation, are not easy listening, and way beyond the parameters of this blog. But the jazz pieces are great, and well worth a listen.

J.S. still has a small part to play, as the opening tune is a Bach mash that shows he really could swing (something Jaques Loussier has known for a long, long time. [Go here]).
The band then move away from the Kappellmeister, and go on to perform three cracking versions of Fats Waller songs.

The sound of Quintette du Hot Club de France is readily evoked; but Kennedy's outfit are cooler, and the fiddle notes are a lot easier on the ear than Grappelli's soaring, busy, busy clusters.
The guitar is checked, too, but still brilliant.
Sometimes less really is more.

All in all, this makes for the perfect accompaniment to pottering about.
I've been listening to this quite a lot lately - the result of a lot of pottering - so if, like me, you like a bit of pottering about: potter to this.
Potter on!

Nigel Kennedy & Band - Prom 31, Albert Hall, London. 6/8/11.

Das Pendel
Chat & Intros
How Can You Face Me Now?
Honeysuckle Rose
Viper's Drag

Excellent rip from DVD captured live digital Radio 3 broadcast @320kbs.
Get cool here

Monday, 31 October 2011

For I Am Every Dead Thing

A Nocturnal

'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks ;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays ;
The world's whole sap is sunk ;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd ; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring ;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness ;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death—things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have ;
I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
Of all, that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two ; oft did we grow,
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else ; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death—which word wrongs her—
Of the first nothing the elixir grown ;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know ; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means ; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love ; all, all some properties invest.
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.

But I am none ; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night's festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's and the day's deep midnight is.

John Donne

Happy Samhain!
Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead (1979)

Bela Lugosi's Dead

Cd rip to mp3s
Mourn here

Friday, 28 October 2011

Funny Folk

I first encountered Jake Thackray during his stint on BBC's That's Life!; soon usurped by Stilgoe he gained his own programme buried in a mid-week graveyard slot on BBC2; no one else I knew watched it.
It was my little secret.

I was surprised therefore, some years later, while at The Elephant Fayre in Port Eliot, when arriving at a tent to see Jake perform there were others in attendance who also seemed to know who he was.
It was 1985, I think. I did get a photo, but unfortunately it's more a picture of a speaker than of Jake Thackray. I must have had the camera on the wrong setting, which may have had something to do with that funny tasting oaty cake I'd quaffed earlier....

Thackray is often compared to a Belgian singer who I can't for the life of me remember the name of at the moment; anyway, unfair on Thackray I always thought, as I checked out the Belgian guy and he's shit.

Thackray on the other hand, is really rather good.
His delivery is fantastically bizarre (staccato spat syllables; Derek Nimmo in a strop like), his humour superb, his timing exquisite.
More of a wit than a comic, his playful use of language is loaded with guilt, love and mortality, and those ever present Catholic concerns are what make Jake's songs so listenable.
Here's what the liner notes have to say [click to read]:

(Twee or what!)

Thackray became erratic towards the end of his career, gaining a reputation for unreliability as he failed to fulfill bookings.
I feel kind of privileged to have seen him when I did; not only did he turn up, but he was very, very funny, going down a storm in that packed out big top.

My favourite? Gotta be 'Isobel'.
I'm just an old romantic bastard, I guess....

Jake Thackray - Live Performance (1971)

Family Tree
The Hole
Miss World
Pass Milord the Rooster Juice
Remember Bethlehem
Ladies Basic Freedoms Polka
The Cactus
Leopold Alcox
The Lodger
The Last Will and Testament of Jake Thackray

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs

This is the original now deleted vinyl edition.
An expanded version of this concert was released in 2006 on CD.
Giggle-on here

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Huffin' Mud

Garage punk with a dash of psyched-out surf.
Includes profanity, mindless boogie, hyperbolic fuzz and all manner of absurdity; done in the best possible taste, of course: loud, fast and totally in ya face.

Two bands are better than one is obviously the reasoning behind split singles; and the 'Fabulous empty! Records' found the perfect marriage to prove that point.
From the days (1992) when Seattle meant something in the world of music. Just.

Mudhoney - You Stupid Asshole
Gas Huffer - Knife Manual
Gas Huffer - Firebug
Mudhoney - March to Fuzz

Excellent 12" vinyl rip @320kbs
Huff some Mud here

Lost another post due to objections by the DMCA.
I'm not sure who the copyright of the product actually belongs to; not only is it from 1973, but it was never an official product in the first place, so I'm not really sure what the objection is?
Anyway, as a consequence, The Wailers are no longer in the building; so I hope you all managed to get a copy of that wonderful, apparently 'copyrighted' bootleg.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Don't Panic! Don't Panic!

Total lack of Teutonic bands here; so to rectify, here's something representing the German contingent: my favourite from the so-called Krautrock canon.

Of all the bands to have been working out of Germany at the end of the sixties and into the seventies, Amon Duul II were the band who dragged the older decade screaming into the new.
Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother, Floyd (at their artiest) are all evident in their sound; but the zeitgeist collided, creating a new beast; one that was inspired by Hawkwind and Gong, as well as compatriots Neu!.

With its Rodney Matthews' artwork depicting invasion, the band's identity could not easily be forgotten.
Thirty years later London acquiesced - but man, those accents...!

Amon Duul II - Live in London (1973)

Archangels Thunderbird
Eye Shaking King
Soap Shop Rock
Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies
a) Pull Down Your Mask
b) Prayer to the Silence
c) Telephonecomplex
a) Restless-Transistor Child-Landing in a Ditch
b) Dehypnotized Toothpaste
c) A Short Step at the Transylvanian Brain Surgery
Race From Here to Your Ears
a) Little Tornados
b) Riding on a Cloud
c) Paralized Paradise

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
erhalten Sie hier

Sunday, 9 October 2011

War to Go-Go

Wartime was a project created by Henry Rollins and bass player and all-round maestro Andrew Weiss.
Initially slated, as it didn't quite meet expectations.

Go-go funk, drilling drum machine patter, extraordinary samples, much electronic whatnot, and to top it all a Grateful Dead cover, was not what those who dug Rollins necessarily wanted.
Personally, I always loved it. Perfect while driving.

Weiss plays like a testosterone charged Bootsy Collins; Rollins sounds extraordinarily camp.
Together they sound like they're having the time of their life.

It's the best thing Rollins did outside of Black Flag.

Its time has come.
Its time is now.
It's War-Time!

Wartime - Fast Food For Thought (1990)

Right to Life
The Whole Truth
Franklin's Tower

Excellent cassette rip @320kbs
It's Wartime here