Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cocteau Twins - Violane

Late period wonderment from the collection of my mate, Fat Bob. A fellow 4AD obsessive, we kind of fell out of love with the Cocteau Twins as they limped towards their fairly depressing end. Horrible interviews have dribbled out in the intervening years with recriminations and accusations of drug addiction and an ongoing crippling lack of communication.

Listening back to this now though, it sounds magisterial. The lesson we learn once again is that even off-the-boil genius is way better than pedestrian mediocrity. And let there be no doubt, there is genius at work here.

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The Cloud I'm Under - There's More To Life Than Indie Rock 'n Roll EP

While I'm at it, you should get your ears stapled to this brilliant EP from prolific New Yorker, Ryan, recording as The Cloud I'm Under. I should have done this fucking ages ago (It was released in September last year), but I like to return to some stuff to see if it still sounds good (that even sounds like a pathetic excuse to me). This undoubtedly still does sound great and he's released a shitload of stuff since then!

It's lo-fi, but there is a wonderful, fizzing invention at work here. I was pretty much sold as soon as I found out that the title of this, "There's More To Life Than Indie Rock 'n'Roll" was "the last thing my girlfriend said to me as she was leaving". One of the songs also references Sonic Youth, so we know we're on safe ground with this guy...

From the website:

The Cloud I’m Under started his musical journey when he got his first guitar at the age of 6. He spent his teen years using cheap samplers, guitars, and whatever noisemakers he could get his hands on to record bedroom 4 track experiments. Now full grown and residing in NY, he takes influences from 80’s Synth Pop, 90’s Power Pop, and Low era Bowie to create ecstatic synth driven Robo -Pop, symphonic beats and lofi acoustic numbers.



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The European - Marc Riley BBC6 Music Session, 20th May 2010

This terrific BBC Session from the Marc Riley program is by Castles in Space favourite, Simon Break, aka, The European.

Break is a polymath, a boffin, a twisted genius and a uniquely 21st Century pop star. He designs his own instruments and software and (despite being seemingly based in L.A.) occupies a distinctly British space from which his songs of love, anger, heartbreak, frustration and resignation are transmitted to the world. He is a true artist and his album, "In A Very Real Sense Now" remains one of the highlights of the year so far. As stated in this BBC interview, he loves Nico and the Pet Shop Boys and comparisons to Colin Newman and Stephin Merritt seem particularly apposite. That's a heady mix of fantastic influences, no?

There's a great interview with him here and the Stolen Records page is here. Go and buy some stuff, why don't you?

The session features a preview of the title track from the next album "Universal Values" which is sounding really, really good. I got a bit choked, but it's very funny as well. This mix of pathos and humour is notoriously difficult to pull off, but it is a trick that The European executes with a beautiful precision time and again.

From The BBC 6 Music website:

"Simon has been producing and performing electronic dance, pop and experimental music since the early 90s as well as being involved in various projects across the fields of conceptual art, economic theory and software development.

"In the late 90s he recorded and performed with the ambient pop group PIANO MAGIC, before meeting musician and theorist Alexander Perls with whom he co-founded the international arts and policy group NATOARTS. Out of this collaboration was formed the electro-accoustic pop project ICEBREAKER INTERNATIONAL who released three critically acclaimed albums in the early 00s. Simon followed this with a number of releases under different names in the genres of deep house, experimental electronics and electro-pop. Throughout this entire period Simon has also maintained a business career taking in software design, economic forecasting and risk analysis."

Twits can follow Simon at and for news and updates go to his website here. Watch the video for "The Settler" here.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Echo And The Bunnymen - The Cutter 12"

Vinyl rip at 320 Kbps.

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Echo And The Bunnymen - The Back Of Love 12"

From Wikipedia

"The Back of Love" is a single which was released by Echo & the Bunnymen on 21 May 1982. It reached number nineteen on the UK Singles Chart the same month. It was subsequently added to the album Porcupine which was released on 4 February 1983.

The single was produced by Ian Broudie under the pseudonym Kingbird. The a-side of the single was recorded at Trident Studios in London, while the b-side was recorded at Square One Studios in Liverpool. The b-side to both the 7" and 12" versions of the single is "The Subject". The 12" has an extra track on the b-side, "Fuel".

The cover of both the 7" and 12" versions is painting by Henry Scott Tuke called "The Promise" which was on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

Vinyl rip at 320 Kbps.

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Electronic - For You

"For You" was written by Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr, with guesting co-writer Karl Bartos of Kraftwerk. It was the lead single from their second album "Raise the Pressure". "I Feel Alright", also written with Bartos, remains unavailable outside of this release.

320 Kbps.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

"erogenous interzone"

Making a smart move to Honest Jon's, Actress offers his first brand new material (discounting remixes) since his landmark 'Hazyville' album dropped in 2008. The move signifies a subtle but essential development in his sound, preparing the ground for a hugely promising album with two mindblowing tracks backed with a Zomby remix. 'Paint, Straw And Bubbles' seemingly untethers his Detroit dream from terra firma, percolating his ethereal sound through a system of camouflaging filters until the joins dissolve and we're left with a remarkable feat of intangible spatial dynamics viewed with an incredibly unique depth perception. It's electro-acoustic mind-dance music for Afro-futurist stoners. The near absence of any bass only enhances the weightlessness of the track, creating that heady sensation of an overcast day between pressure systems when everything doesn't feel quite as it should. Meanwhile, bringing us crashing back to earth, Zomby fires the reverse-Funky thrust with his remix, adding a bobbling bassline and strutting syncopations with perfunctory gasps to ready the 'floor. But for many, we reckon 'Maze (Long Version)' is going to become a serious anthem. Here, Actress looks to early 80's synth wave and the cold industrial pulse of groups like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, pinpointing the influences of Detroit music from Model 500 and Shake which in turn so heavily informed his sonic outlook. This is an extraordinary record, eliciting sensations that can't be ignored. Stone cold ESSENTIAL.

Vinyl rip at 320 Kbps.

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Johnny Marr And The Healers - Bangin' On

The Healers were always going to struggle against Marr's back catalogue, but this is OK. Kind of. I just wish it wasn't so trad.

320 Kbps.

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Echo and the Bunnymen - Rescue 12"

I'm keen to get some stuff up on here today while I've got the chance, so the commentary will be either reduced or reproduced.

It's all about time, kids. Or more accurately, time and kids. I can feel a massive blog post approaching, however. So, as ever, stay tuned. I might have some news.

Your comments and feedback are the lifeblood of this thing, so thanks to everyone who takes the time to add their two pence worth. Apart from from the spambots. They can fuck right off.

Anyway, Echo and the Bunnymen. Massive band in my youth. Mac and Julian. Julian and Mac. Bowie and Scott. Won't you come on down to my rescue? Excellent non album B-Sides, although they might have been on the box set?

Vinyl rip at 320 Kbps.

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Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere 12"

There's no excuse other than to say I love it. And there's an "Extended Version" and an endearingly useless "Dub" courtesy of Jellybean. How Eighties is THAT?!

Such a beautiful song, though. This regularly comes out after the red wine has been taken. As indeed, it did last night...

Vinyl rip at 320 Kbps.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Ultravox - Vienna 12"

After a desperate piece of keeping up with the Moggieboys, I recently splashed out on one of the reportedly few Neu! vinyl box sets that reached the shores of the UK. Those early albums still sound utterly amazing, even if buying them again was a total extravagance, beautiful though the package is.

Reading through the lavish booklet about the circumstances of those early sessions, I was set on a train of thought about the producer of that early stuff, Conny Plank and have been seeking out other stuff I have with his name on.

It wasn't long then, before I happened upon the first post John Foxx Ultravox album, "Vienna", and blow me down if it isn't sounding bloody great. Have a listen to this excellent 12" and you'll see what I mean. This single is worth the price of admission for the non album B-Sides alone, the second of which, "Herr X" is a German language version of "Vienna" album highlight, "Mister X".

Does anyone know who the voice is on this version? Could it actually be Herr Plank?

EDIT: Consensus from Team CiS seems to be that it's Warren Cann on "Herr X'. You guys rock!

Meanwhile, I'm revisiting the other Midge Ure period Ultravox stuff, which I'm rather enjoying. Maybe more nuggets will appear here over the coming weeks.

Vinyl rip at 320 Kbps.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Slowdive - Holding Our Breath EP

This 1991 EP from Slowdive is another killer. Their second single, this a pretty much perfect mix of indie dreampop and layered, breathy ambience.

Lead track "Catch The Breeze" was included on the debut album, "Just For A Day", but the other three tracks are exclusive to this EP.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

New Order - SECCstasy

Ridiculous punning title for a New Order bootleg recorded live at the Glasgow S.E.C.C. on the 25th March, 1989.

Never a band renowned for their live prowess, this album nevertheless gives a pretty good account of peak period New Order, with a killer set list. There are a couple of drop outs, which are nothing to do with me, Guv.

I've ripped the album as continuous sides as it's a live affair and seems to work better that way. Sound quality is pretty good.

Face A
Dream Attack
Vanishing Point

Face B
Round And Round
True Faith
Touched By The Hand Of God
Fine Time

Vinyl rip at 320 Kbps.

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The Young Knives - She's Attracted To

Brilliantly snotty CDS from the hugely underrated The Young Knives. I'm hanging out for the third album, because the last two have been great. A three piece with a pair of brothers hailing from the rock'n'roll centre of the universe, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. You know; just up the A1.

320 Kbps.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Slowdive - Slowdive 12"

Fucking brilliant debut 12" from Reading dreampop/shoegaze/cathedrals of sound/whatever band, Slowdive. Released on Creation in November 1990, this EP used the band's original demos after the studio sessions didn't match the quality and atmosphere of these recordings. This is amazing stuff. I can see a definite link to the minimal techno sounds of Ulrich and The Field. Probably due to the fact that the guitars were so heavily processed. Ride and My Bloody Valentine got all the plaudits, but these guys were just as good.


Ripped from the original Creation 12" at 320 Kbps.
Full artwork included.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Clor - Outlines

Excellent double CD package from the much missed Clor.
Clor, a band for whom musical differences surely seemed to be the whole point, have nonetheless succumbed to this hoariest of rock'n'roll fates and decided not to be a pop group anymore. Unable to reconcile the yin and yang of wanting to be both wildly creative and chart-bothering, they will leave a big, uniquely C.L.O.R.-shaped hole in the all-too-generic world of guitar/electronic music.

There's not much in the way of extra tracks, which is surely why people stopped buying CD singles. What you do get is a radio edit and "Transmutations".

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Devo - Jocko Homo/Mongoloid 7"

Once again, Reynolds is brilliant about Devo
..."Jocko Homo" and it's B side "Mongoloid" were recorded in a garage with no heating during a freezing winter, with the band wearing gloves. After five wilderness years in Akron, playing only a handful of gigs and funding the band through a series of grim jobs, the singles were Devo's calling card to the wider world. "No one will ever know the effort it took for us to get out of Akron, " says Casale. Akron was like a boot camp. We practiced day and night, at weekends, when other people were out getting loaded and getting laid, over and over until we got good.
This isn't the original privately pressed edition, but the facsimile UK release on Stiff Records. The artwork is fantastic and is of course included in the file.

Vinyl rip at 320 Kbps.

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......And The Native Hipsters - There Goes Concorde Again 7"

Cloying whimsy collides with genuine psychedelic strangeness on this brainchild of two Wimbledon School Of Art graduates, William Wilding and Nanette Greenblatt. Buoyed by moonwalking bass and keyboards that caper like tipsy aliens, Greenblatt plays the batty housewife peering through net curtains and cooing, "Ooooooh look - there goes Concorde again!" Peel: " That was one of those records where you put it on and thought: This will be fantastically irritating in a fortnight, but until then let's play it to death."
From the brilliant Simon Reynolds' post punk masterpiece "Rip It Up And Start Again".

Thirty years later, this still has the power to totally fuck with your mind. I remember laying in bed in my Walney Island (look it up) bedroom listening to this on Peel and thinking that it was the end of the fucking world. What do they MEAN? Why did they DO that? My tiny brain simply couldn't take it all in. How exciting, though. How fucking ALIVE!

The B side tracks "Stands, Still The Building" and "I Wanna Be Around (Paul)" are equally strange, but don't work nearly as well, having a lot less charm and lacking the startling spookiness of the A side.

Pressed up at 33rpm on their own "Heater Volume" records, this is wonderful artifact. Hand stamped labels, various inserts and a sheet of cut up musical notation with the request "IF YOU READ MUSIC, RECORD THIS AND MAIL IT TO US FOR USE ON THE NEXT HIPSTERS RELEASE." Weirdly, the address given for Heater Volume Records, is on Battersea Rise, which would be about five minutes away from my London flat. In 1980 though, Battersea seemed like some impossible, unachievable distant planet. And I wasn't sure I ever wanted to go there if the people there made THIS!

Ripped from the original 1980 vinyl with full artwork. 320 Kbps.

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