Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ballet Bag - Rubella Ballet (Dark Entries)

Title: Ballet Bag
Artist: Rubella Ballet
Label: Dark Entries
Cat Number: DE-151
Genre: Punk

A1: T
A2: Belfast
A3: A Dream Of Honey
A4: Newz
A5: Slant & Slide
A6: Me
A7: Blues
A8: Exit
B1: Krak Talk
B2: Me (Peel Session)
B3: Ballet Dance (PS)
B4: Belfast (PS)
B5: T (PS)
B6: Slant & Slide (PS)
B7: Exit (PS)

Well this takes me back. I could be in Vinnie’s, or my own, room in the years after having left school. Another world, one when even though faced with similar political questions, with the dire threat of nuclear war hovering over us, (something which I never thought would happen, btw), was in many ways a happier, much more optimistic one. Listening to post punk nowadays is very much a blast from the cold war, and Rubella Ballet, with their classic sounding grunginess, guitars crashing together in some sort of transistor-insprired mayhem, and the flat, but shouty vocals, typified a certain amateurish but charming aspect of it. (Not just "it" but everything, to an extent). Except for opener ‘Emotional Blackmail’, a Siouxsie-influenced stomp and for my money the best thing here, and ‘T’, nothing, clocks in at over four minutes. ‘Newz At Ten’ barely makes it over a sixty seconds, while most tracks come in at between two and three. Small, condensed shots of unrefined energy that serve to define a nostalgia which was, in those days, of an age yet to come.

Monday, March 27, 2017

X Years In London - Braiden (Off Out)

Title: X Years In London OST
Artist: Braiden
Label: Off Out
Cat Number:
Genre: Soundtrack

1: Revenant
2: Spark Gap
3: Sundry
4: Rapid Response
5: Wisteria
6: Substrate-Reprise

I didn’t know what to expect, but was anticipating something all the same. ‘X Years In London OST’ arrived like promos tend to do these days, with no fanfare in my inbox. I was attracted to this release by its concept, as I’m currently onto the third part of the Robinson trilogy, and have just watched St Etienne’s ‘Finisterre’. I’m not sure if Braiden’s OST works, but it has its moments; most of them coming in and amongst ‘Rapid Response’, ‘Wisteria’ and ‘Substrate-Reprise’. A strong finish to a decidedly shaky start then, where atmosphere finally trumps overproduction. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rocky Beach 3 - Moscoman (Treisar)

Title: Rocky Beach 3
Artist: Moscoman
Label: Treisar
Cat Number: TRS003
Genre: House

A: Same Time Tomorrow?
B1: Rocky Beach
B2: Silver Lining Trail

This is part the third of Moscoman’s own ‘Twelve Days Of Christmas’, which leads one to wonder if he has a life. No matter as, if this release is anything to go by, it really doesn’t matter and we have to be grateful for his hermetic existence. That’s because the intricate grooves present on this release, straddling some mid tempo divide between the animate fronds of disco and house, are both beguiling and inspired. The title track is a case in point, managing to be an inspired mix of inebriated funk, full of eastern promise and borderline cheese all at the same time. It’s flanked by two divergently different compositions, each of which go off on their own, very elaborate tangents; with ‘Silver Lining Trail’ being the more unpredictable. Keep ‘em coming.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lovesteady EP - Electric Sound Broadcast (Echovolt)

Title: Lovesteady EP
Artist: Electric Sound Broadcast
Label: Echovolt
Cat Number: EVR024
Genre: Deep House

A1: You Can Be
A2: Finedrawn Overcast
B1: Sole Eterna
B2: Echoplex

A deep as you like release from Echovolt which reeks of sophistication and manages to avoid being a little bit ‘meh’ by picking up some pace. The first two tracks on the list are nice, but that’s about it. However, ‘Sole Eterna’ and ‘Echoplex’ inject some funk and become so much more interesting as a result. The former feels like the beginning of spring, while the latter’s busy bass and off-kilter harmonics endow it with a mystical edge. There’s a potent marriage of space and arrangement on this release, underlining the high standards set by this label, something which isn’t really harmed by the second half far surpassing the first. It’s all good.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I'm Not one Of Those DJs Who . . . Part The First

Other blog posts have dealt with similar themes, but maybe not in the detail I’m going to go into now. I first began playing records at an early age, as my Dad had a motley collection, the most defining characteristic being a predilection for some of the most famous musicals of the day.  Soundtracks I remember are: ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’, ‘Hair’, ‘Camelot’ and ‘Cabaret’ (they were all, with the exception of ‘Joseph . . .’ films). Other records which played a part in my pre record buying youth were ‘Mickey And The Beanstalk’, (Disney’s take on Jack And The Beanstalk), a moth-eaten covered copy of Holst’s ‘The Planets’ (‘Mars’ of course, being the pick), and a Tchaikovsky box set. I listened to all of them without reservation. I couldn’t afford to buy records myself, nor did I want to at that time. The first records I bought were generic Top Of The Pops stalwarts. Talking of which, I remember a collection of albums which were called ‘Top Of The Pops’ and were compilation forerunners of the likes of ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’, the difference being that all of the tracks on these albums were covers, and you could buy them at the newsagent. I remember my mum buying me one once, me getting it home, and struggling to understand why the voices, and instrumentation sounded so strange. The early seventies were a blur of relative cak, but I knew no better. The indoctrination of the charts had done its job, with Bowie and Roxy Music being two indications of a stranger and more interesting world beyond. With no older brother or sister to turn to, I had to seek out things myself. It was the onset of punk which changed everything; the catalyst for everything since. It started my love affair with music and no matter how corny it sounds, shaped me for ever. A lot of it was shite, but the initial two years, 1976-78, were seminal. I bought my first record in summer 1977, and it was ‘Baby Baby’ by the Vibrators. I won’t lie and say it was ‘God Save The Queen’ on A & M, but I know those who did, Spunkhead. The next one I picked up was ‘The Modern World’ by The Jam. Something that took me completely by surprise were picture sleeves, I was very impressed, as the only 7” I’d bought up until that time were second hand ex juke box stuff, the ones that needed a plastic adaptor to play them. The look, as well as the music; punk was a lifestyle choice in vague, as well as obvious, ways. I started buying recirds relentlessly. Mostly in my home town of Wallasey at first: this has been covered before, but Phoenix Records in the shopping hall run by Jean, a hippy relic and friend of my mum’s. She was great and used to keep stuff for me all the time. I bought most of my first punk purhases from there. Bargain Box Records was a proper record shop, with a huge stock of posters as well. We’d go in there and nick album covers. Rox Records was OK, but a little expensive . . . but these places were all second rate cpmpared to what was over the water in Liverpool, particularly Probe, a shop which so typified the punk ethos and was so exotic compared to anything else which had gone before that I have trouble comparing it to anything which has come since. Not just a shop, but a commune of sort, nothing will ever come close to matching it. And of course they didn’t stock only punk stuff, the owners being far too into music to be that one-dimensional. I bought loads of reggae from there as well. I’d give vital parts of my anatomy to recover some of it now. The albums on Front Line por favor, as well as the vibe, and the feeling that whatever was bought was on the cusp of something revolutionary and interesting.