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