Monday, 31 May 2010

Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets (1974)

There's a lot of people who'll be put off by the whole "Professor Of Pop" image which Eno has. Don't be - his first four albums are brilliant, wonky pop albums which predict or predate tonnes of stuff which has since followed.

This is lo-fi epicness, with a weirdly anthemic feel, and a seriously mental guitar sound (which James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem obviously loves). Clever? Yes. But ace, ace, ace.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

World Of Twist - Sons Of The Stage (1991)

World Of Twist were cool. They were proper cool. They had the lot - killer tunes, they were cool as fuck, druggy, poppy, dancey, rocky, a cool frontman and an UNBEFREAKINGLIEVABLE live show. I saw them once and Tony Ogden, the lead singer, did a whole gig standing about 15 ft in front of a wind machine on full tilt. Just because it looked cool. They had 2 band members who just looked after the lightshow, ferchrisakes. Cool. There was even a band member called MC Shells (she's the one in the video sitting in a er... shell.) who's job description was "Swirls and Seanoises". Also cool.

Obviously, a band with such a mentalist streak was always going to fall out spectularly with their record company, and that's exactly how the cookie crumbled. 3 brilliant singles were followed by a patchy debut album which was basically a tug of war between the band and the uncool producer imposed on them by the uber-uncool men with the chequebooks. Disheartened by the machinations of the music industry, Tony Ogden decided he no longer wanted to be the singer, but still wanted to be in the band. Cool.

And that was that for the World Of Twist.The various chaotic creative influences in the band started turning on each other... rumours abound of a legendary lost second album (obviously cool) but no recording has ever seen the light of day (even fucking cooler). Tragically, both Ogden and drummer Nick Sanderson have since shuffled off this mortal coil. We'll never see the likes of this lot again. They were cool. For a brilliant, brief time they were the best band in the world. And the coolest. Man, were they cool.

"There's nothing you can do 'cos there is no solution, you've gotta get down to the noise and confusion"

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

David Axelrod - Holy Thursday (1968)

A cheeky surge of strings on a record gets me EVERY time. At a Spiritualized gig a few years ago, the combination of a variety of exotic cakes, an hour and a half of being bombarded with strobe lights, a gospel choir going full tilt and about 500 silver balloons falling from the ceiling left me at the point where a 32 piece orchestra crashing in on everything literally reduced me to a weeping buffoon. But it was DEFINITELY the strings that did it.

David Axelrod has made loads of tunes that you already know. DJ Shadow, Dre and DJ Premier have all sampled the ass of his stuff. He's made records with a massive variety of musicians and across genres. Funk, soul, jazz, classical, psychedelic rock, hip hop... the chap gets around. He's had a career lasting over 50 years and he's broken more boundaries than John Leslie on Meow Meow.

This mind-melting tune is one of 3 that I've got lined up on my funeral playlist. It's all about the strings...

Monday, 17 May 2010

Whitey - Leave Them All Behind (2005)

Taken from the album "The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is A Train".

Big fat rock drums, looped to fuck. Synths modulating and screeching all over the gaffe. Guitars. LOTS of guitars. A cool, cool vocal- slightly reminiscent of The Beta Band's Steve Mason.

Why Whitey isn't the UK's answer to Beck now is beyond me. He did another tune ("Non Stop") that was on a TV ad a few years ago. You'll know it, it's also very cool. Check it.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Harlem - "Gay Human Bones"

This blog isn't just going to be about me digging in the crates for old obscure shit you may or may not have heard before, oh no sirree bob. It's about new obscure shit you may or may not have heard, too.

So, the very firstest CHOON... evah! on this mighty blog comes from a band called HARLEM, who confusingly hail from Austin, Texas.

Loads of the reviews for this album have gone on about the Pixies (and in some cases Nirvana) influence on these chaps. There's definitely a little bit of Joey Santiago in the guitars, but if you go in expecting a Surfer Rosa / Doolittle kind of experience you're going to be disappointed.

What they do very, very well is simple, "Nuggets"-y rock'n'roll with a high chirp factor and a nifty sideline in weird lyrics. This is the lead single from the new album "Hippies", and I reckon it's a corker...