Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Bloody Valentine - Then & Now ...

From being biro-ed onto a support slot poster ...


(Liverpool Poly 1987)

... to crashing the internet & causing many rock journalists a sleepless night last night.. here we have .... m b v !



From youtube.com/user/TheOfficialMBV

Personally I loved their cover of Wire, which was one of their last released studio works



Update 17/2/2013
For a full run-down on MBVs 2013 album release I direct you over to my friend Jeffs excellent blog; http://jeffersonboss.tumblr.com/post/43275798823/my-bloody-valentine-mbv-2013

Saturday, February 2, 2013

... let us age as well as Cale.


Sharon Van Etten. Queens Social Club, Sheffield. 10th Oct 2012

Monday, January 28, 2013

2012 A review - Part #1

Looking back on 2012, there was some great new music released & also some great old music re-released.

Goat came out of the leftfield in 2012, and what a crazy bolt from the blue it was, and still is. Musically it's all over the shop, but in a great, dark psyched-up way. We're talking fuzzed-up psych, Sabbath-riffing and afrobeat percussion grooves. Let them into your life! Find it on Spotify here



I finally got to see the fantastic Hookworms from Leeds this year. They're well worth checking out live, as is their split 7" with Kogumaza from early 2012. I'm looking forward to their forthcoming LP, Pearl Mystic coming fairly soon & they also have a track on the forthcoming Sonic Cathedral ep.



It was great to see David Thomas Broughton returning to the UK to play live this year, as it had been a while since I last caught him. If you've not come across him before, a lazy description would be to imagine if John Martyn had been signed to WARP records. Maybe. You really need to catch him live, but in the meantime enjoy his last album, 2011's Outbreeding.

DTB live @ No Direction Home Festival, 2012. Photo (c) me

Some old DTB, from way back in the mists of 2005. Such a long time ago.

Sharon Van Etten was a surprise live. Her "Tramp" album was a highlight of 2012, and the band she'd assembled to tour it really did a great job.  She'd appeared on Jools Holland the night before the Sheffield show & met her hero (& mine) John Cale. I had a brief chat to her after the show (something I don't usually do) & she dedicated my CD "I hope we age as well as Cale". Lets hope.


At the same show as David Thomas Broughton, I also caught Peaking Lights who I'd not managed to see live before. 2012 was a treat as we got both the album "Lucifer" and the equally excellent "Lucifer in Dub".

On the re-release front, 2012 saw Lights in the Attic release an excellent Lee Hazlewood compilation, "The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes & Backsides" There was also a release for his hard-to-find Swedish release "A House Safe for Tigers". Both excellent and both essential.


Still on a reissue tip, the My Bloody Valentine remaster/re-issues finally appeared this year, an event that looked less likely than the Mayan apocalypse in the great scheme of things. It's great to have all those tracks collected, cleaned-up & in one place after enjoying them on worn vinyl & battered tapes back in the late 80s/90s. Remember when EP's kept you going between meals?

I'll wind up this first part of my review of the year by mentioning a couple of great 12"/single track releases:

The Field  - It's up There (Blondes mix) 
Great stuff from 2 acts well worth keeping your eyes on


Wooden Shjips - Crossing (Andrew Weatherall  remix) 
It's been great to have Mr Weatherall right back on form these last couple of years. This is a proper sleazy, synthy, low-slung, druggy epic.


Semtek - Bento
I thought I'd sign off with something more upbeat. See you soon for part #2 ...

Friday, January 11, 2013

MMXIII: Happy New Year & hello again

Wow, 12 months since the last entry! Another year.

I'm still here, but due to various things* getting in the way, I've not blogged at all.

I didn't plan for the blog to stop or go dormant, but when the uploaded music disappeared (when Megaupload went down) things never really get back on track again. I did see the blog as somewhere that would be a repository of hard-to-find, interesting stuff (not the copyright breach-fest of some places!) But without music to hear, the blog was just words which wasn't really what I envisaged at all. 

So, I'm still unsure what to do with the blog. In the 12+ months since last posting, I've heard some of the best music I've ever heard & I'm sure 2013 will be the same. There's still so much great music being made and the old stuff never goes away, and more stuff is excavated.  So one option is to pick things up again, covering the hard-to-find stuff of note.

Another option is to kill things off altogether. To call it a day.

A further option is to continue but add photos and images to the blog & widen the remit. I did debate when I first started doing a blog of my photos, or to mix them in with the music. Over the last 2 years,  amongst other less savoury things, I have taken a lot of photos.

Also, in the interim, I have started DJing in public again. Something I did a great deal of back between 1995 - 2003/4. So my Soundcloud will hopefully be an outlet for new mixes and stuff from the archive as well!  It's here: soundcloud.com/mark_armstrong

I think I'm going to go for option 3. Continue the blog, add more visual stuff & blog as and when there's time.

x

The author, Monterey California 3/5/2012. Suggested soundtrack 


* Going back to work in Sept 2011 after winning the opening battle with cancer, having a roadtrip on Highway 1, having another brush with hospital in July 2012 & starting DJing Techno/House/Electronica again! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

(new) Cancer Charity Auction

A quick bulletin to advertise an auction I'm doing to support a local Cancer support Centre local to me in the UK. It's The Cavendish Support Centre and offers help & support for people dealing with Cancer diagnosis & treatment and also those living with cancer.

I used their services a couple of times in the last year and can vouch for how much good they do, and it's all run by Charitable donations. There's quite a diverse selection of items from Low, Midlake, Arctic Monkeys, Simon Felice, Kylie (!) etc...

Click here for the eBay auctions - Start 4th Dec (UK time) ends 14th Dec (more items to come tomorrow, 5th Dec which will end on 15th)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Khonnor - Handwriting [2004]

As a record made in 2004, by a 17 year old (Connor Kirby-Long), on a small electronica label, this record wasn't destined to be high profile.

I can't recall how I got to hear it, or hear about it, but I do think it's it's one worthy of some attention. If we're talking lazy descriptions, it probably lies somewhere between the hazy digital ambience of Fennesz and the shoegaze of later period My Bloody Valentine. There's also a touch of New Order in tracks like "A Little Secret", if they'd been on Warp records. This is really good record for mixing up the bleak and mournful electronica with warm intimate elements.

With hindsight, in the light of what's referred to by some as the Chillwave / Glo-Fi scene (Washed Out, Twin Shadow, CFCF etc..), this record seems to be a bit of a precursor. And a great thing for people like me who really like electronica, but also like guitars and songs but mistrust contrived fusions.

A taste on Youtube

mp3s of this album here

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Roy Harper - An introduction to ... [1975/6]

There's a lot to be said for an artist sticking to their guns. In theory recognition will eventually arrive, hopefully before you shuffle off to the big aftershow, but this doesn't always happen, unfortunately.

In the case of Roy Harper, it's great to see him now namechecked by various alternative folk types, most young enough to be his grandkids. He has, however, spent his whole career on the fringes. Or at least that's how it seems viewed with hindsight. An artist that not many people really know, but who is loved by those "in the know". An archetypal cult?

Nothing is ever written about Roy that doesn't mention those who he's performed with over the years; Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush etc. And it's a shame that his recognition relies on his proximity to greatness than recognition of his actual greatness. Does the fact that both John Peel & his sidekick John Walters both wanted his "When an old Cricketer leaves the crease" played at their funerals not tell you something?!

But here we are. November 2011. On the 5th I went to Roys 70th birthday show at Royal Festival Hall in London. Any vague thoughts about a swansong disappear once Roy starts singing, the years do fall away. This show has been reviewed better than I will, so I won't attemp that, suffice to say that with a swansong this good there really is no need to stop any time soon!



Roy was, and remains a truly unique idealist, misfit & genius. A revolutionary and angry young man happy to paint lyrical pictures of a bucolic watercolour England of tradition and history, while simultaneosly railing against wrongs of our time. Outspoken, but happy to let lyrical subtlety do the talking in his many songs of love and loss.

There won't be Rick Rubin-esque "happy ending" to Roy's career, a "homecoming" for the MTV/iTunes generation. He will continue to stick to his guns, doing whatever he chooses, hopefully many more albums and shows. Maybe it would be nice to see some of his more influential champions (Jimmy Page, Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom, Johnny Marr etc.) acting as his producer to coax more music from him... who knows?

At the show, it was sad for him to reflect with us on the recent deaths of both his peer Bert Jansch and his one-time collaborator David Bedford, who would have been at the show were it not for his passing a month previously. Bedford contributed amazing orchestration on Harpers tour-de-force Stormcock album, which stands as an album-amongst-albums, right up there in the "how have I never heard this before" chart, a true unsung classic record, hailed by Johnny Marr and Joanna Newsom amongst others. Long may this journey continue. I can only thank those who introduced me to the music of Roy (Marc Mac & Ed Wilson).

If you are not already familiar with his music, his recent "Songs of Love & Loss" compilation and the previous "Counter Culture" are good starting points. His own website is a good place to start buying what's available, and you really should.

What we have here is a rare record company promotional item from 1975/76. It's 25 minutes-a-side promotional piece, put together like a radio show, presented by "whispering" Bob Harris.


Download mp3s here
Download flac here (on their way!)


Youtube: Classic Roy
Youtube: More Classic Roy
Youtube: 80s Roy

Friday, November 4, 2011

(news) Various Dead Links Fixed!

To those who spotted dead links - Thank you! Also, apologies to those who looked for music but could not find ...

The following entries on the blog now have fixed download links! (links to blog posts will become live as mp3 links are updated)

Easter Everywhere Compilation vol.1

Pink Mountaintops - Single Life/My Best Friend 7"

Broken Social Scene - ST [2005]

Serena Maneesh - Fixxations ep

Jim O'Rourke - Bad Timing

Various Artists - Tribute to Spacemen 3

Acetone - York Boulevard

Stereolab - Ros My Rocket Brain! 2004 Tour ep

Brightblack Morning Light - Brightblack Morning Light

Yo La Tengo - They Shoot, We Score

Stars of the Lid - Carte de Viste

Prefuse 73 - Meditations on Meditations (The Japanese Diaries)

Neil Young - Time Fades Away

Two Lone Swordsmen - Wrong Meeting

(news)

Thanks for the continuing support. There's plenty more music on the way!

As far as some of the older posts are concerned, several of the links are dead now and I've had a few requests to re-upload stuff, so I'll be sorting these out & making the music downloadable again soon.

I'll update when this is done.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sonic Youth – Made In USA [1995]

Here we have a soundtrack to a film I've never seen. A little heard album by one of the pillars of leftfield guitar music, despite having been recorded in 1986 just after their great "Evol" album, and just before their (arguable career peak) "Sister" album.

This is a great addition to their studio albums, and appears here on it's own merit entirely. It also appears here now, just as the future of the group looks doubtful due to the split of Thurston & Kim.

I first heard this band on John Peel in 1986. Believe it or not, this is the tune that hooked me. Certainly for the next 3 or 4 albums they were a real passion of mine. I have to say I lost my way with them round about the "Dirty" album and after. I did see them live a few times after that, the latest time being 1995-ish? (I also saw them doing the Daydream Nation album at the excellent Primavera in Barcelona in 2007). I've dipped into their output a few times since, particularly "Rather Ripped". But for me the mid/late 80s stuff was the thing I think of with SY.

Here's what their own website says on it

Tracklisting:
1 .Mackin' For Doober
2. Full Chrome Logic
3. Secret Girl
4. Cork Mountain Incident
5. Moustache Riders
6. Tuck N Dar
7. Moon In The Bathroom
8. Thought Bubbles
9. Rim Thrusters
10. Lincoln's Gout
11. Coughing Up Tweed
12. Pre-poured Wood
13. Hairpiece Lullaby 1 & 2
14. Pocketful Of Sen-sen
15. Smoke Blisters 1 & 2
16. The Velvet Plug
17. Giggles
18. Tulip Fire 2
19. The Dynamics Of Bulbing
20. Smoke Blisters 3 & 4
21. O.J.'s Glove Or What
22. Webb Of Mud 1, 2 & 3
23. Barchelors In Fur!

Anyone seen the film?

Here's the music

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gavin Russom - FACT mix 142 [2010]

Well here we are, back in the saddle with a great DJ mix from producer Gavin Russom (thanks to FACT magazine). His name seems to have popped up a few times over the last couple of years with some interesting stuff, as well as in collaboration with Delia Gonzalez.

This is definitely worth checking out if you like your synthesizers analogue and your beats repetitive. Ditto if you're as familiar with krautrock as you are with chicago/acid.

Back into battle we go.


Tracklist:

Diamond Vampires “Friday Nights” [Unreleased]
Steven Halpern “Dancing Through the Rainbow, Part I” [Halpern Sounds]
Franco Cinelli “Acid Cut Pt. 2″ [Traut Muzik]
Vince Watson “Qualia” [Planet E]
Peter Van Hoesen “Resol” [Morse]
Fanon Flowers “Acid Kush” [Studio Sound]
Steve Lawler “Kalimba” [R&S]
DJ Qu “Party People Clap” [Deconstruct Music]
Levon Vincent “Double Jointed Sex Freak” [Novel Sound]
JM Strap “The Owl in Daylight” [Frigio]

Download the mix here: