Friday, February 25, 2011

February's Picks

Roads less traveled on the way out of Lower Binfield....

1. THE BLADES-"Downmarket"
One night in a fervor of ale influenced nostalgia I trawled iTunes for lots of 80's mod bands I liked (more mod 80's than the '79 era) and stumbled upon stuff by this Irish band.  I'd have to say the bulk of their material never grabbed me but they had four or five really amazing tracks and this was one of them.  Much like England's The Truth, The Blades straddled that fence of "mod" and just ordinary contemporary pop.  The difference was The Blades boasted a much better lead vocalist (Paul Cleary) and a kick ass horn section akin to early Dexy's records, no better exemplified by this track.

2. DAVID BOWIE-"Station To Station"
I've been reading alot on Bowie's cocaine years and the "Thin White Duke" period as of late and I dug this out for a "get reacquainted" session.  The one thing that always amazes me, whether I like the results or not is Bowie will pick up on something, use swatches of it and come up with something totally of his own time and time again.  There's bits of funky 70's soul on this as well as the seed of the illegitimate father of the New Romantics all wrapped up in one Nietzschian, Colombian marching powder fueled announcement that "Bowie's back".

3. THE BOOMTOWN RATS-"Someones Looking At You"
Songs, for me, are little snapshots or films of my life.  In 8th grade a new kid arrived at school and we became friends.  His favorite bands were The Ramones, Pink Floyd ("The Wall" I digress), Queen (shudder) and...The Boomtown Rats, this track immediately struck me and will always encompass that period in my life before mod came along and changed everything.

4. THE LEN PRICE 3-"With Your Love"
Thanks to Katja Koehn who turned me onto these guys at the end of last year I've been on a steady Len Price 3 diet.  Granted musically they're not doing anything my friends The Insomniacs weren't doing twenty years ago, just way more punky (read "obscene" or "street" level) and, because of national identity: British. I love their "*uck you" angst and 90% of the songs on their "Rentacrowd" LP could easily be directed at an -ex, very laddish without too much misogynism.

5. THE SCAFFOLD-"Liver Birds"
I've had this Scaffold "Best Of.." CD for over a year now and just started to dig this track, it came up on my iPod on shuffle last week during a vigorous early morning constitutional in the park and I was struck how the bass and drums were so "90's Manchester".  I'm surprised some crap band from that era didn't sample it's groove, catchy as *uck, I've had it in my head for ages, my one year old digs it too.

6. SONNY CLARK-"Melody For C"
A new discovery care of my main man and co-worker Ray who's been hipping me to a great deal of jazz over the past couple of years from the piano great Sonny Clark's LP "Leapin & Lopin'".  Perfect Sunday drive music that flows freely and gets busy without losing you in the process.

I guess what I like most about this "Satanic Majesties" track is that it easily sounds like something by The End, a British 60's psych band that Bill Wyman produced.  I've often lamented that it's a shame he didn't produce The Stone's "Satanic Majesties" album because it would've sounded much better and I could've heard the brilliant horns and Hammond on this cut a little more clearly than the over miked guitar, still it's my fave on the LP which is a bit dodgy in spots....

8. BIG JIM SULLIVAN-"She's Leaving Home"
From the campy/kitschy classic "Sitar Beat" album, a perfect  blend of muzak and sitar.  Big Jim actually played the sitar quite proficiently, none of that, what I like to scoff as "Chopsticks"-sitar playing by Messers Jones and Harrison (plonk, plonk, plonk,) and of course the accompanying instrumentation is top notch.  I rediscovered this LP whilst on a long drive (see photo at the top of the page) and I forgot how cool it is, perfect unobtrusive background music for a Sunday afternoon!

One of those records so rare they probably would charge you  to be in the same room with it.  But  it's also actually very brilliant, un;like a fair portion of expensive 60's 45s.  This was by some Aussie ex-pats, a one off monster freakbeat/proto psych on Andy Droog Loogy's Immediate imprint from 1966 full of high "West Coast" harmonies, technicolor guitar bursts of fuzz and lots of volume pedal action, think Fleur De Ly's meets The Action!

10. SIMON & GARFUNKEL-"A Hazy Shade Of Winter"
Long before Paul Simon became a world music magpie or culture thief he was half of this duo you see, and they made some pretty good records.  The dreary winter here in these parts has made this number especially relevant these days.  I love the near misanthropic cynicism Simon displayed in some of his early stuff, no better illustrated here.


Blue Shed Thinking said...

Childhood memories of the Nerys Hughes/Polly James era episode of The Liver Birds where they had a party and Roger McGough did a poem. Suspect the BBC wiped that tape too.

diskojoe said...

Great pick on that "Liver Birds" song by the Scaffold. Is your Scaffold CD the Abbey Road 1966-1971 one? That's the one that I have.

Smashingbird said...

Obsessed with Station to Station at the moment. Sad is also one of my all time faves.