Thursday, 31 December 2009

Annals retentive: art decade

There's storms forecast for Melbourne at the strike of midnight tonight. Something about that, despite not wanting to think many self-scaremongering thoughts, seems entirely fitting. While it feels futile to relate the pulsation of the moment to the current calendar system that peoples are using, this still feels like a decade i'd be very, very keen to hold onto for a bit longer. For personal reasons as well, i guess; at the turn of the millenium i was in my early teens, and now i'm in my early twenties, so, tempestuous times as they may have sometimes been, it is also the period which i'm sure i will always think of the most fondestly. These are - i think - roughly my favourite ten albums from what i hate calling the noughties. You should listen to them rather than read the reams of praise i'd be showering them with, although i won't entirely because it'd take me about a week to do any of them anything close to justice. They are pretty much in reverse order of preference, but not really, because being definitive about that sort of thing was to hard.

Cornershop - Handcream For A Generation
i watched that fairly patchy documentary 'Live Forever' the other day, and because i tend to watch all the crappy extras that are dumped onto DVDs too i ended up watching the extended interview with Jon Savage. In one part he suggested that Britpop didn't really reflect the beauty of mid-nineties uk diversity because some alternative artists who had big hits at the same time - he mentions the incredible White Town and the...uhm...well...Babylon Zoo - were left out of the club to an extent, perhaps because of their ethnicity. A loaded point i guess, but it would make sense with Cornershop, who had one of their ploddy whimsical songs beefed up, had a smash hit, and the full extent of their awesome talent remained largely unbothered by the mainstream audience. Nevertheless, i can't help but feel that if Handcream For A Generation was released in the mid-Nineties it would be mentioned in the same breath as turds like Maxinquaye and What's The Story...? Instead it was released in the strange hinterland between The Strokes and No Name so only Lammo and John Peel played stuff from it. Listening to this album today makes me feel like there was barely a cloud in the sky all the way throughout 2002.

Broken Family Band - Cold Water Songs
Although i have a huge soft spot for 'Balls' (make your own joke up) that otherwise seems worryingly unloved, the moment The Broken Family Band accidentally invented Anglicana is a moment i'll always be thankful for. When most end-of-decade polls will be celebrating the fact that Arctic Monkeys sing in their own accent, i'll be pleased that some lads from Cambridge tried both lyrically and vocally to sound like country and western stars.

Chris T-T - London Is Sinking
It turned out he was right, too. A strange trajectory Chris seems to have had over the last ten years; at the beginning of the decade he was probably best know for writing songs about Eminem's sexuality and maiming Lisa from Steps, and now he's most regularly recognised as one of the kings of lefty British politi-pop, the awfully-named genre that thankfully nobody made up (except me, just now). Last year's Capital was excrutiatingly under-valued, but the central pillar of his London trilogy, a long-player that tracked a narrative of sorts on a boat along the Thames, has more romance, death, anger, imagination, intrigue and heartbreak than any gritty Beeb drama could squeeze into a six-part series.

People Like Us - Stifled Love
When the music industry grinds to a halt and we have to rely on artists chopping up bits of long-lost exotica as the primary source of entertainment, this is who i want to make everything i listen to for the rest of time. Rather than hear me ramble about how wondrous, sarcastic, warm and human her plunderphonic adventures are, you can download this album in its entirety for free from here. i have no idea why the hell you would not do this.

Mclusky - Do Dallas
This should speak for itself:

Pagan Wanderer Lu - Fight My Battles For Me
Some people said that it was too long. Then again some people think Cheryl Cole is entertaining and fucking dogs is a good idea, so people aren't to be trusted.

Applicants - Life In The Bus Lane
An amazingly enjoyable album containing songs about pizza's involvement in relationship problems and Spike Milligan being a cunt. The best pop songs i've ever heard by someone who used to be on Digital Hardcore. Deserved to be downloaded more than the Dan Brown / J.K. Rowling sex tape. Next album will be pretty good i bet.

Misty's Big Adventure - ...And Their Place In The Solar Hi-Fi System
i personally think that when John Peel called Grandmaster Gareth 'the new God' he was talking Gareth down a bit. Dismissing Misty's as a novelty band - as many idiots did - for being inspired by the Bonzos, named after a Magic Roundabout reference and recording a song with Jeremy Vine/Noddy Holder ignores the swathes of frustration, world-weariness and paranoia that flow through most of their songs - it'd be like calling Radiohead a comedy band because they wrote a song about a watering can and did that video where someone fell over lol. They just happen to be very entertaining too...or fun, if you must. All of their albums are worth exploring, but these songs are the ones that i'd most like to be still singing to myself even after i've forgotten my own name.

Bearsuit - Team Ping Pong
The band that most defined the last decade for me; i'll be wearing my blue Bearsuit t-shirt when i'm dragged kicking and screaming into the next one. It's a close call between this and their first 'proper' album Cat Spectacular!, as Team Ping Pong is (as far as i can tell) a truncated version of their attempted debut In Charge Of Meats, but for containing all the planet-beating songs that made me pretty much fall in love with them in the first place* this edges it. If i die suddenly play 'Minerals Made Me' at my funeral please.

*although the distinct lack of 'Poor Prince Neal' left me a bit miffed.

Super Furry Animals - Rings Around The World
i wrote something about this here earlier in the year, kind of knowing that it would still be my favourite album by this point. Thanks. Happy new year.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Annals Retentive: Two Thousand And Fine

This is sort of some of the best things i heard this year. It is dedicated to Norman Borlaug. i realise that trying to honour a recently-departed agricultural scientist said to have saved over a billion lives by just sticking some mp3s together and saying "this is for you" seems a bit arrogant, but in a year where a pop star got about a billion times more attention in death i feel like any mention of Borlaug's incredible achievements is worth doing.

This is my favourite pop video of the year:

This is good too mind. i especially like the thing that happens when "He feels that the ethics of punk can be applied to the world of work" is sung:


Here is the mix. Enjoy. (ysi)

High Places - Late Bloomer
Joy Orbison - Hyph Mngo
Thermals - When I Died
Acoustic Ladyland - Sportsmode
MJ Hibbett & The Validators - My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
Cornershop - Free Love
Micachu & The Shapes - Golden Phone
Anti Pop Consortium - Volcano (Four Tet remix)
Internet Forever - Cover The Walls (Dreamtrak session)
Nordloef - Buddy Holly
Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences - Sleep The Clock Around
Silence At Sea - Fields Of Fire
Leyland Kirby - Memories Live Longer Than Dreams
Pagan Wanderer Lu - Ten Cities Is Not A European Tour

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Super Furry Animals live at Cardiff International Arena 1999

This is a bootleg of a Super Furry Animals gig recorded by Radio 1 for Lamacq Live just before Christmas in 1999. As it is recorded onto cassette from FM radio like what we had to do in those days, it is occasionally a bit crackly and is not the full set played that night - the Beeb usually only broadcast choice parts of the event unless it was completely live. Because of the year the setlist is pretty Guerrilla-heavy - or rather, it includes tracks off the album that they've not played live much since, including The Turning Tide and The Door To This House Remains Open. My recording misses the first couple of bars too...sorry about that.

Super Furry Animals recorded at Cardiff International Arena 1999

Something 4 The Weekend
The Door To This House Remains Open
The Turning Tide
Northern Lites
Play It Cool
The International Language Of Screaming
God! Show Me Magic
Fire In My Heart
Hometown Unicorn
Mountain People
Ice Hockey Hair

You can also see (read: hear, with a nice picture from space to accompany it) a recently-added Peel session and interview with John by the band here on YouTube from around the time of Fuzzy Logic, as added by someone called stepintothegalaxy. Lovely.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Eat The Beatles on Another Nice Mess

A few months ago, during the modest promotional run for Two Of The Beatles Have Died, i was fortunate enough to compile a mix for the superlative Another Nice Mess radio show on DFM Radio hosted by Marcelle Van Hoof in Amsterdam. Considering it's a show that i've been a huge fan of for over five years now i felt honoured, frankly, and incredibly grateful that Marcelle played so many songs from the compilation. Considering there's supposedly a renewed wave of Beatlemania this week - and they're all songs relating somehow to The Beatles, you see - i thought it appropriate to upload the set here.

Eat The Beatles on Another Nice Mess 28/4/09

*Marcelle introduction*

Michael Mills - The Beatles (excerpt)
The Beatles - Flying
John Baker - I Want To Hold Your Hand
The Debbie McGees - Two Of The Beatles Have Died (Ziggy Bollus remix)
Yoko Ono - Snow Is Falling All The Time
Astral Navigations - Pope John Paul & Ringo
Grandmaster Gareth - The Sound Of Gareth
The Beetles featuring Cookie Monster - Hey Food
The Better Beatles - Eleanor Rigby
Daniel Johnston - The Beatles
Sebadoh - Yellow Submarine
The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - Give Booze A Chance
People Like Us - Something In The Way
The Beatles Fan Club Christmas Record 1968 (excerpt)
Mojo Jones - Strawberry Fields Forever
Monsoon - Tomorrow Never Knows
The Fall - A Day In The Life
Paul McCartney, Super Furry Animals & Youth - Peter Blake 2000 (excerpt)
The Seltaeb - Enif Leef I

*Marcelle back-announcement*

The Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated
Zea - I Wanna Be Deleted

Saturday, 15 August 2009



i realise that this blog is now just a place for me to store mixes, but i will at least try to make it a place for me to store mixes more often.

Today's particular mix is entitled Unjazz and it is dedicated to Chris and Rifa. The word Unjazz has been playing on my mind since it was announced that there might be a future EP by Chris T-T of that title, comprising of his improvised piano recitals that in other variations recently delighted those attending his joint headline show with MJ Hibbett's Dinosaur Planet a few weeks ago. It makes sense to me that Chris might want to call what he's doing Unjazz, seeing as i once mentioned jazz in an interview with him and he became so appalled that he couldn't even bear to repeat the word back to me. Thing is though, now that i've heard the word Unjazz i believe it's something that actually exists, maybe not simply as a genre or movement, but a description of an attitude as vague and disparate as jazz itself. Maybe, like punk once claimed those that foreshadowed it, suggesting that the Stooges and MC5 were singing from the same hymn sheet when it yet had a title, perhaps one day unjazz will become the umbrella term for something much more subtle and yet incredibly potent. In my mind's eye i can't imagine it being the opposite to jazz, just like anti-folk isn't the opposite of folk per se, and i can't see it having shaken off the burden of jazz itself, just as post-rock hasn't - and can't - liberate itself from rock. i can imaging something that is largely undiluted funk, or beat poetry, or minimal techno or maximal house or swing or bluebeat can be unjazz, but unjazz is not all of these things. You dig?

Well maybe not. i might be closer to explaining myself properly by playing you some things i could, if needed to, consider unjazz. Delicious cold, disgusting hot? You decide.

People Like Us - Sing With Melodious Inarticulate Sound...
Acoustic Ladyland - Thing
The Bad Plus - Velouria
Asa Chang & Junray - Hana
Delia Derbyshire - Ziwzih Ziwzih OO-OO-OO
MRR-ADM with Malcom Catto - B1
Tracy Is Hot & The Clap - Cat Power Is Fucking Rubbish
David Shrigley - Don'ts
Raymond Scott - Manhattan Minuet
Grandmaster Gareth - Lovely Cellos
Gil Scott-Heron - B Movie
Squarepusher - The Modern Bass Guitar
Aphex Twin - Avril 14th
Schneider TM - I Dream Of Chomsky (High Llamas remix)
Blur - French Song
David Schafer - Forever In Love In Forever Part 1
The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - Rhinocratic Oaths

Friday, 16 January 2009

Annals retentive: Two Thousand And Late

i realise i'm a few weeks behind schedule with this, but here's a mix i made of some of our favourite tracks of 2008. i started this tracklist thinking i wouldn't have much to pick from but there was loads i had to leave out for the purpose of time & space (hopefully it all fits onto one cd, give it a go).

Hope you're having a happy 2009 so far.

Link for the download resides here.

Los Campesinos! - My Year In Lists
MGMT - Kids (Soulwax Nite Version)
The Bug - Poison Dart (Skream remix)
Telepathe - Chrome's On It (the Mae Shi remix)
Germlin - thrash'r
Women - Lawncare
Beyoncé - Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)
Hot Chip - One Pure Thought (Toddla T remix)
Applicants - Pocket Dictionary
Warren Myles - Mountains
Errors - Toes
Yung Nate & Charles Hamilton - Stutter
Pagan Wanderer Lu - 2.0///The Bridge Of Sighs
Soko - I Will Never Love You More
The Chap - Surgery
Oxynucid - Keys and Lighter
Wiley - Wearing My Rolex
Neon Neon - I Told Her On Alderaan
Kylie - The One (Freemasons Vocal Club mix)
Gas - Konigsforst 4
Marble Krusher - Cat Power Hijacks a Train and Drunkenly Crashes It into Portsmouth in a Idiosyncratic and Wasteful Tribute to Tracy Is Hot & The Clap