Friday, April 23, 2010

Pair Shaped - Roky And Kenny

Roky Erickson's new album 'True Love Cast Out All Evil' was released this week. It features Okkervil River on backing, and sounds great!

Butthole Surfers covering a track by Roky's legendary band 13th Floor Elevators. Lifted from a 1990 tribute compilation called 'Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye'.

Newish track from Kenny Bobien via France. As Melbourne DJ Ms Krystal would say, there's nothing like a bit of 'Jesus House'.

Classic Shelter sounds from 1997.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Still Play Vinyl Because...

dj booth multitasking, 2010
A few years back lots of people were talking about the death of vinyl, except now it's 2010 and black data discs are still not dead. In fact, it looks like vinyl might be making a comeback. Could it be true? People always bang on about how good vinyl sounds (and looks), but what's the real reason DJs still play records?

"I still play vinyl, because... "

- my Mum wont let me use her credit card on Beatport.

- it's a good opportunity to borrow the house needles and swap my old styli over.

- I can't get enough of trolly bags with telescopic handles.

- turntables make me feel nostalgic, plus they're a handy place for me to rest my drinks.

- when I'm famous, a framed gold USB stick wont look as good hanging in my toilet.

- I love the sound of oxidized SL1200 headshell inputs.

- the new CDJ 2000 still doesn't have a 'dust bunny' mode.

- I have half a crate of upfront white labels for sale.

- I don't read enough books to fill up the shelves of my Ikea Expedit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Death Of A Disco Dancer – Malcolm McLaren R.I.P.

Malcolm McLaren died 8 April at age 64. The Guardian's obituary put it best, describing him as "a musical provocateur". The infamous Brit encouraged and made music that didn't just provoke a response, it demanded a response. Although best know for his punk shenanigans (the street fashion store he had with Vivienne Westwood, taking on the monarchy with Sex Pistols, briefly managing New York Dolls), McLaren always had an interest in dance music. The first sign was 'Black Arabs', the ironic disco medley of Sex Pistols songs on The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle soundtrack - it was 'Pistols On 45'. Always an early adapter, at the start of the '80s he stole Adam Ant's band to bring the Burundi drum rhythm to the new wave sound of Bow Wow Wow, a pirate-meets-cassette explosion of post-punk club music. Then in '83 came McLaren's first real solo musical project Duck Rock, a mesh of African music and hip hop (working with pop producer Trevor Horn and electropop pioneer Thomas Dolby), which featured global hit 'Buffalo Gals'. In '84, he followed with the electronica opera album Fans, which featured another global hit in 'Madame Butterfly'. In '89 McLaren mixed classical music with house for Waltz Darling - collaborating with Bootsy Collins and early UK house advocates Mark Moore and William Orbit - including another global hit 'Deep In Vogue'. He continued to make music but never again reached the apogee of this late '80s dance triptych.

'Black Arabs' - Black Arabs:

'C30 C60 C90 Go (Live)' - Bow Wow Wow:

'Something's Jumpin' In Your Shirt' - Malcolm McLaren & The Bootzilla Orchestra:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pair-shaped Past: Neighbourhood Watch Edition

Two of the most exciting/unpredictable acts to take to the stage in Melbourne during the '80s were The Shower Scene From Psycho (above) and Tombstone Hands. Shower Scene were all shrill electropunkcabaret covers (they tackled The Monkees, The Seekers, Mental As Anything amongst a myriad of others from a variety of genres) while Tombstone Hands were a swampy garage precursor to the grunge scene. Nothing in common musically but they shared local cult hero guitar thrasher "Feedback Jack" Bloom (above centre). Psycho have since become the thing of myth: one member embroiled in tabloid scandal due to his family's political connections; singer Simon Grounds mutating into underground producer extraordinaire (God, Underground Lovers, Dave Graney, etc); and the band recently immortalised with a two-cd retrospective. However there is little to be found of the Hands outside of a good old rummage through you friendly neighbourhood vinyl shop. Here's a little reminder of why both bands deserve even more respect. Clips of both bands filmed live in the mid-'80s: the Hands covering The Standells' 'Good Guys Don't Wear White' (swoon at Jack's gravity-defying mohawk) at the Prince Of Wales (circa 1984) and Shower Scene covering The Strangeloves' 'Cara-lyn' at, what looks like, Melbourne's then uber-hip/midweek late niter Users Club (circa 1986):

You should order this: Exploding Hits - The Shower Scene From Psycho (Omni Recording Corporation).
You should look for this: Asleep At The Wheel - Various (a 1984 collection of garagesque Melbourne acts including Tombstone Hands, Crushed Buzzards and Olympic Sideburns that could be kicking around in record stores somewhere).
Recommended reading: Doug Wallen interviews Simon Ground (mess + noise, Dec '09)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Fuzzday

"I wanna die like Jesus Christ
I wanna die on a bed of spikes
I wanna die come see paradise...
I wouldn't sell my soul
But I'd hang for this"
('Reverence', The Jesus & Mary Chain)

Dam The Human League

LA's Dam-Funk can usually be found purveying nouveaux soul and boogie on Stones Throw Records or DJing at his hometown boogie funk night Funkmosphere. But last week he dropped his contribution for the Dr Martens 50th anniversary campaign - which involves ten directors shooting clips for ten participating artists' covers. The grand Dam has chosen to digitise the funk out of/into The Human League's 1981 synthpop standard 'The Things That Dreams Are Made Of' - and it sounds how you'd kinda expect it to, like Dolby's Cube let loose to make a teen movie theme in Paisley Park. [FYI, other acts involved in the Doc covers project include The Duke Spirit covering Sham 69; Buraka Som Sistema covering Neneh Cherry; The Raveonettes covering The Stone Roses.] For Dam's effort he was paired with clip maker Ace Norton who has previously made vids for LCD Soundsystem ('Big Ideas'), Mickey Avalon ('Jane Fonda'), Patrick Wolf ('Hard Times') and Sebastien Tellier ('Divine'). Here's how it turned out: