Current Listening: Gossip “Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix)”

17 November 2009

I have been coming back to this one all year. Unlike so many things it does not get less powerful over time it just gets better. I expected to be slightly disappointed sticking it on for the first time for a month or so – those gut wrenching thumps and screams might have lost some of their impact. But no. I had it on in the car on the way to work this morning and it just lifted me up out and into some other beautiful space. Somewhere between a fist in the stomach and the thickest rush of mass unconditional communal celebration. Banishing the demons of this time of the year instantly. Nearly as good as the best beer fuelled mindless fuck you ever had. More intensity than you can almost bear – like you are going to explode with the sheer raw energy and lust involved.

It’s the nineteen eighties. It’s synths and more synths and a wailing banshee. It’s Joan Jett. It’s Blondie. It’s Pat Benatar. It’s Patti Smith fucking Giorgio Moroder in Cream in 1994.

It takes two its up to me and you to prove it.

I think I may have killed the car stereo system I played it so loud.

Life

21 September 2009

The garden has reached that peak of lush golden exuberance where everything is striving to make the most of the last few days of sunshine before the cold and darkness sets in.

Current listening: The Unthanks “Sad February”

21 September 2009

For me “Here’s the Tender Coming” is less consistently perfect than “The Bairns” which for me is nigh on impossible to better but it is still head and shoulders above 99.99999% of other releases which will come out this year. Just another wonderful feat of imagination and beauty and humour and honesty. This track is my current favourite. Another bleak moment in the Unthanks canon (and I do think of The Unthanks as they now are as the real successors to the Frost and Fire era Watersons – music of the seasons) but which post sung song heads off into a lush parallel world of brass and strings. Putting one in mind of Gone To Earth or Spirit of Eden. Like some of the hazier songs off At the Corner of Miles and Gil. Really beautiful.

Current listening

17 September 2009

02:28. Erol Alkan mix. It is like a mutant techno piano in a broom cupboard version of one of those Italo Piano House hands in the air anthems from back then. When we were young. You. Yes, you most definitely know what I mean. You know when the beat cut or faded, everyones feet stopped moving and most looked at the roof of the warehouse, nightclub or basement. At the sweat dripping back onto them from the rafters or at each other. The sweetest smile of pure pleasure plastered across their faces just waiting for that moment when the bassline the klaxon or the drums would hit, fully anticipated but still taking everyone ten feet into the air and the whole place would go beserk. Pure. Ecstatic. Energy.

Indie Disco 1991

17 September 2009

Freak Scene
Debaser
The Only One I Know
Taste
Can’t Be Sure
Crash
Loads of Roses Carpets James
Step On
Pacific State
Some Weddoes
Probably Fine Time
You Made Me Realise / Feed Me With Your Kiss (Will the fringes please take to the dancefloor)

Fuck I miss the Festive Fifty

Current listening

17 September 2009

Blimey. I can’t stop listening to this one. To say that just listening to it is like the last twenty years never passed is a major understatement. 19 years old. “Snowball” on the record player and expecting the latest missive from PO Box 691 Bristol any time. It was just the lo-fi home made politicised enthusiastic beauty of it all. Anger and melancholy combined. And the music (or at least some of it) was just great. Snowball Lyceum and the Sensitive era was for me the high point but there were loads of great singles from that point on as well. I never did the whole paisley shirt bowl hair “tonight Matthew I am Stephen Pastel” thing but I signed up fully to the whole spirit of the thing. In fact I wore my tartan dancing trousers a hangdog sheepskin coat and my Marlboro Hip Hop Queens t-shirt to a Heavenly gig just to be contrary and had an interesting conversation with Amelia Fletcher about Kylie, who was right then in her imperial “Better the devil you know, Step back in time, What do I have to do, Shocked” period. And Matt and Clare did plenty to avoid pandering to their tweecore following. I remember smiling for days when the Poppycocteau fanzine arrived. Always wondered what happened to Paul who wrote it and some wonderful fanzines afterwards and with whom I had much correspondence. We even swapped trash nrg covers tapes at one stage.

So yes. Released in 2009. The spirit of 1986. Channelling The Field Mice, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and early MBV. And utterly utterly derivative, but it still sounds wonderful. Nostalgia is for the lame, but it’s ability to transport means I cannot resist it. And I love the thought of hundreds of 19 year old New Yorkers discovering it and thinking they have found their own amazing new sounds. I wonder if there are fanzines to go with their scene as well. I hope so. Paper ones mind. A computer screen is just not the same as a small A5 sheaf of papers filled with love and hate and boys and girls and just the whole excitement of being young stapled together and hastily shoved in a small khaki army surplus shoulder bag. So this will be one of my favourite records from 2009. No question.

Quote

16 September 2009

Only people who are not interested in gardening or just lazy want someone to make over their garden. If you want to change your garden, then get on with it. Nothing beyond the limitations of health, time and money is stopping you. [….] The truth is that if you are lazy then you will never garden. Gardening is hard work. Gardening can be difficult, confusing and frustrating. It demands a commitment and a desire to learn and to keep learning. You have to accept that you will get wet and cold, hot and sweaty, sore, tired and depressed. It will cost you money and will take up more time than you have to spare. And this will make you feel, at times, as fully alive and as content as body and mind can be.

Monty Don, 2000

Quote

16 September 2009

If you pay someone to come in ‘do’ your garden for you, it will not be true, and you can spot a phoney garden the minute you set eyes on it. Anyway, ‘doing’ a garden is like shovelling the tide, because a garden is never ‘done’ any more than a river or the breeze is done. Gardening is something you do privately and without inverted commas.

Monty Don, 2000

Quote

15 September 2009

There is no doubt that after a certain age one puts into the garden the hopes and aspirations that youth put into the wider world.

Monty Don, 2009

Current listening: The Cure “Hey You”

28 January 2009

Once they were popular. Then they were not. They have always ploughed their own furrow and have arguably never received the credit they are due. If Robert Smith had died in 1989 they would undoubtedly now be revered as one of the most innovative and interesting groups of the 1980s. They are certainly on a par with Joy Division New Order or even The Smiths but are never feted as such. They have never stood still. Try listening to their punky debut single Killing An Arab next to the beats and guitars of Wrong Number from the nineteen nineties. Contrast The Forest from 1980, possibly their greatest moment (although there are so many to choose from), with Friday I’m In Love a jangly indie disco classic from 1989 – you could almost be listening to two completely different groups but both songs are full of those distinct but indefinable Cureisms. I love them.

Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me from 1987 was the point at which they went mainstream, with a good bunch of out and out pop classics feelgood bouncers and horn topped dance tunes with even latin influences in amongst the more traditional bleak but melodic tracks. They had hitherto been popular with the sixth form crowd and students – up there with Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and latterly The Smiths as on every greatcoat wearing 17 year old’s playlist. I suspect that after this record a lot of their followers might have despaired at the sheer commerciality of this record and the follow up Disintegration, but in my view nothing was lost. 20 odd tracks but not a wasted moment. Just Like Heaven was / is a classic and the sheer joy of the balearic classic Why Can’t I Be You ? a contender for my favourite track off the record.

Hey You ? is another short jaunty positive happy song which puts a smile on my face. “Hey You, yes you, yes you the one that looks like Christmas, come over here and kiss me, kiss me” No-one could listen to this and not smile.