Nirvana – July 5 1989 in Iowa City plus a Lost Song by Saucer (not on the Soul Jazz No Seattle release)

A few neat little distractions today…Firstly, the deeply pleasant gentlemen from long lost Bellingham band Saucer (who’s songs “Jail Ain’t Stopping Us” and “Chicky Chicky Frown” are on the No Seattle compilation) shared a lost demo with me that they’ve recently dropped up online. I asked their permission to share it onwards – I mean, what the hey, nice to have something to listen to while looking over today’s musings isn’t it? I like the musical bait n’ switch – the chanted verse flipping over to the thrashing chorus, nice seeing diversions and surprises within songs.

Next, just a small thing – someone I know was browsing the online archive of a newspaper and located the two adverts below:

_2 July 5 1989_Iowa City_Daily Iowan

How curious…The Nirvana Live Guide quotes Blood Circus as the band Nirvana supported that night – I’m curious whether the local band, Annihilation Association, had to drop off for some reason, or if it was the other way around and Blood Circus dropped out. The only references I can find to the band online are a live recording from 1988 at http://319dude.bandcamp.com/album/live-1988 and a reference to a guy called David Murray having been in the band, a live photo at https://www.flickr.com/photos/23989451@N00/2703637399/ plus the link back to the newspaper from which the adverts came: http://dailyiowan.lib.uiowa.edu/DI/1989/di1989-07-05.pdf

Anyways, I just want to ask around and see if Nirvana did play with this band and vice versa. There’s a distraction for the evening…

Breathing Out Anew: Corson Overlord

A lot of years ago I used to head to London with £100 pounds in my hand and haul myself round the second hand record shops. I’d usually have a list of records I wanted to hear or bands I wanted to uncover. Sometimes I would have to make choices, put stuff back, weigh up two items based on zero knowledge of the contents, just a vibe from the sleeve, from the script, from the song titles or from the associations that had led me to the artist’s name. Each item felt like gold because there was a limit, I could only have so much, I had to actively choose them – say it was ‘the one.’

A few years down the line, I decided I wanted to check out DC hardcore, stuff from the Dischord label – three months later I had about eight of the key albums gathered from online. Six months later I was bored. Suddenly I could get anything, from anywhere – so what did it matter? If I wanted constantly shifting musical wallpaper, well, its never been easier to lump barely chosen sounds into a pocket-sized device and shower the room with a vague something that might catch me for a minute but has that undynamic sluggish MP3 sound quality, or that exists on top of a raft of noises from whatever I’m really focusing on because when music can be acquired with so little energy, so little effort, it’s not like I’m committing to it in anyway. It bored me.

This past year, beyond rediscovering the joys of live music after a few years of definite drift, I’ve also realised how much more special music feels when it comes from someone I connect to. Because let’s face it, the world is full of music, it might be great for a day, a season, a lifetime, but we’re under no illusion there’s something truly unique about it anymore – there’s so much. What enlivens me and restores that glow, in my opinion, is when I can see and hear the effort and energy of an individual behind it. All fine and dandy but much to do with Nirvana? Well, my initial reason for getting in touch with Jesse Sterling Harrison was that he had been recommended to me by a band who played the Amnesty International show at Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts way back in April of 1990. Jesse was a friend of the various bands present and has gone onto his own musical expressions which i’ve been taking note of given the MP3s he’d sent me were pretty damn wicked.

I enjoy stripped down rock live but to hear these more developed songs, the Eastern tinged vibe, the layering of skilled drums, subtle guitar work – it made me want to hear more. Plus I’m intrigued to see the results, it’s something I’m willing to pay for, to contribute to, to see someone’s journey. I even upgraded the blog to allow me to add this MP3 file – I think it shows the direction, a blurring of genres, the recombining of elements into a greater whole. I’ve had it on repeat here.

I’ll leave the last word to Jesse, “…like your favorite confessional songwriter got a top-notch rock band with an amazing guitarist and made a rough concept album about anger and loss.”

More, give me more.

Terry Lee Hale: the Sub Pop 200 True Exception

Everyone says they love a maverick, an exception – most people shrug and simultaneously say they aren’t but think they are. As Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes put it “I’m significant!!! …Screamed the dust speck.” To be fair, the tragedy of failed imagination displayed when people strive to be precisely the same as everyone else is grim to behold so in some ways I’d rather at least attempt to live life as a howling dust speck than give up and ‘be realistic’.

I think what happens is people define someone as an exception in the full totality of their being when in actual reality people are only exceptional in discreet components of who they are and what they do; we all make our compromise with the norm even if it just means we can exchange verbiage. Which brings me to Terry Lee Hale who precisely defines it with a smile and a shrug; “conformity is a funny thing…Even if one rejects the more acceptable ‘normal’ lifestyle choices there is still a kind of conformity in alternate choices right?”

I’ve known Mr Hale’s name a good many years as the true exception on the Sub Pop 200 statement of intent – a singer songwriter playing acoustic amid the wall-to-wall guitar image Sub Pop were determined to pump out at the time. In a way it keeps Cobain and co.’s then presence in perspective for me; no criticism of them implied. Their rebel yell consisted of conforming to a particular underground milieu that was rising in Seattle and being deliberately dredged up by Sub Pop. Sometimes it’s just the case that one’s voice is attuned to those around, at other times one walks one’s own path – in Mr Hale’s case, ending up as a lone singer-songwriter on the Sub Pop 200 release and a real harbinger of the direction in which Sub Pop would proceed from around the time of Mark Lanegan’s The Winding Sheet onwards. Ever heard Dead is Dead? It’s a charmer – naturally i’ll encourage you to download it legally so the artist actually receives a touch of commission; contrary to popular opinion most musicians are not rich millionaires who can afford all and sundry valuing their hard work at zero.

A further point of intrigue in his story is how the choice that united Hendrix, Sub Pop and others down the years remained true in the 1990s; it was often easier to be a viable musician and to be valued as such by jumping across the waters; Terry Lee Hale made the trip over to Europe in the mid-Nineties and has made his base here.

The song at the top of the page is from his latest album, song and album both entitled The Long Draw – guitar reminds me of those brilliant recordings Michael Gira, of Swans notoriety, would make playing solo but cleaner and far more expert though.

BlkVampires, Nirvana, the HarlequinX and a Riot on the Dance Floor

new bv flier poster 2011 small size

A few months ago I made a passing comment on the racial divide around the alternative rock scene and one respondent, quite reasonably, took issue with the idea that Nirvana were in anyway racist. Less reasonably, that wasn’t what I was commenting on; the undeniable reality was that there was a significant colour bar, an unintentional one, that meant the world of alternative rock in the Eighties and Nineties was an almost entirely uniform race phenomenon. Decades of ‘white flight’ leading up to and into the Eighties built upon the segregation arising from class (which substantially mirrors the racial lines in society) to create large numbers of almost all white suburbs and smaller settlements. Music doesn’t float free of society and increasingly came to be a de-facto reflection of what was occuring. This doesn’t mean that audiences were in anyway racist or that musicians were either – they simply played what they wished with the friends around them. What it meant was a minimal representation from the non-white community in punk/alternative rock.

http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/150886/a-horror-story-set-in-crown-heights

http://blkvampire.homestead.com/Book-Release.html

Substantial coverage is always given to the Bad Brains (Fishbone and Living Color have been pointed out to me also) not just because they were superb (they were) but also because they were an exception within the scene. Reasonably enough they emerged from the more mixed environment of New York City. That simply couldn’t be reproduced in State of Washington which, even in 2010, was 77.3% ethnically white, 7.2% Asian, 5.1% ‘other’, 4.7% mixed race, 3.6% African American, 1.5% native American and 0.6% Pacific islander. The result in the Seattle scene is pretty visible – Soundgarden possessed Kim Thayil (Indian extraction) also Hiro Yamamoto (Asian) and…Oh. That’s pretty well it.

The music of the alternative revolution fairly closely reflected the boundaries established with the kind of fusion artists like Jimi Hendrix had attempted more or less erased, Led Zeppelin’s genre experiments forgotten in favour of their pure rock muscle and the more funk-orientated artists of the late Eighties and early Nineties more likely to emerge from LA (Red Hot Chilli Peppers being the prime example) than from the regional punk scenes – the Minutemen’s Mike Watt, a further exception.

rhcp

This is in no way a criticism of any of the music of the era – there’s no judgment involved. It is, however, a background to Nirvana and their emergence and observing the bands with whom they played minority-representation is little and far between even while the female presence is higher than the mainstream rock star norm. The band’s music reflected a music culture that also reflected population demographics.

While a common cliche is the adoption of African American music styles by racially white artists all the way back to Elvis (and perhaps tragically best represented today by Miley Cyrus – *shudder*) there are far fewer cases of enthusiasm and respect running in the opposite direction. One exception was a band that crossed paths with Nirvana on two occasions in 1989 and 1990 – 24/7 Spyz. Recently I made contact with Mr. Forrest Thinner of the band who recalls what is an under-discussed aspect of the ‘alternative rock revolution’ and who clearly lived and breathed for that scene and the love of playing – still does. The photo above shows 24/7 Spyz goofing about with RHCP and in the meantime I’ll let Forrest speak about the scene he was a witness to and a part of…

“Alternative rock really came from the college circuit…and yes the scene was super white; Bad Brains/Fishbone & Living Colour stuck out like a light bulb – the white teenage males had a lot to get off there chest socially they needed answers and it seemed the music was a way to be heard! For 24-7 Spyz to exist in those times were an anomly we were ‘Bad Brains’ from da HOOD to see us in those times was like seeing Eminem now like how Em is respected by the black rap community well we were respected by the Skinheads/MetalHeads/SkaKids/Punks/Hip Hop/StreetThugs/etc…Bad Brains is the inventors of Hardcore music period but not PUNK! Brains are not like the Sex Pistols/the Ramones or the Exploited they invented a musical style called ‘HardCore’ also they mixed it with Reggae Music which we all know that you can smoke weed and get high at the same time while playing music like some LSD hippie days shit so H.R. became like Jim Morrison (:-)) Giving the Brains big ups is Tokenism with a sense of honor and respect for being the FIRST of their kind.”

His new band furthers the agenda to the extent of ‘white-ing up’ with the corpse paints more prevalent in Death Metal circuits or Marilyn Manson’s ilk. Again, there’s no novelty intent, it’s a genuine love of the musical form and style plus a musical openness and omnivorousness:

“My first decision to dive into music was when The Jackson 5 came out, Micheal was only two years older than me and i still remember trying to sing all the words to ‘I want you back’…that’s when i became hooked into music. Metal & Hardcore came when i went into the Army and my platoon mates started introducing me to Van Halen/Molly Hachett/38 Special/Iron Maiden etc….I really got into all of it Queen/Led Zepplin everything and everybody. I was already hip to PFUNK and James Brown plus ALL of the 70’s funk bands i played Alto Sax then Guitar then Bass and i write my songs on Bass till this very day….24-7 Spyz wasn’t my first musical endeavor as a teen i was in a couple of local bands (Supreme Funk/Knights and then i started 24-7 Spyz)…We were also friends with Fishbone so Murphy’s Law took us under their wing and brought us to the world of HardCore where we got expose to Bad Brains/Agnostic Front/Raw Deal/Cro-Mags/Dead Kennedy’s/Sick Of It All etc…And when the Hardcore world got a hold of us it was DONE sooo fast.”

This is a truly original path forged through the underground, a brave one given the punk rock circuits were running through states lacking the liberal mindset of the North-West. This went hand-in-hand with a respect and love for the music around them. Speaking about playing with Nirvana back in the day Forrest’s exuberant comment was “I never heard of them before that night so i didn’t know they songs or set list but some of the kids did i just remember the rawness and power of them and they were loud as hell. I was very surprised to see them on ‘David Letterman’ i thought to myself DAMN Alternative Music has got a face now…Thank God!” which has an embracement of what occured that is very foreign to the reaction of a lot of musicians in the scene who were more concerned with hiding the scene as if it was a private secret.

I think anyone who has read the ‘New Music, New Discoveries’ category of this blog might have noticed I get a bit awed by people just willing to do what they feel, create something, think of something expressively or spiritually and just make it happen in spite of profit or obstacles. Do for self. In the case of Forrest he’s moved on, moved up and in the form of BlkVampires is expanding into multiple spheres as a true artist not just a musician willing to kick genre boundaries in the same way Meat Puppets, Minutemen, Big Black, Butthole Surfers and (yes) Bad Brains did in the early-to-mid Eighties.

“What I’m doing now in 2014 is a triple threat (Music/Book/Film) with my band ‘blkVampires’ we are a New York City based band that plays ‘Hard Alternative Gothic Soul’ music kinda like Pantera meets Al Green w/a little bit of the Exorcist inside…A soulful version of Marilyn Manson. We’ve been around for 4 years building a following & buzz. I just finished my first supernatural horror fiction novel ‘the HarlequinX’ and there’s a music documentary film coming out called ‘Riot On The Dance Floor’ in 2014 that has 15 of the TOP Hard Alternative Punk Artist EVER!! and i have the honor to BE in this film! If i was to recommend a song that personified us i would ask you to listen to “Blkenstein” from the Devil’s Music EP and there are too many highlights for me to pick just one because we’re ALWAYS asked to do something good but i would say that we are the ONLY all black band that has ever been featured in Fangoria Magazine and they been around since the mid 70’s and in April 2014 our 3rd EP Tutankhanum X will be out along with our Film & Book.”

That’s a lot of action. Forrest and the BlkVampires, I salute you and thank you for allowing me to point to you and your past endeavours as an exceptional journey through the rising alternative rock scene of the Eighties and Nineties and on into the present.

http://www.blkvampires.net

blkVampires Poster

7 Corners: The Recording History of Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters

http://7corners.foofighterslive.com/

The lines between past and future are rarely absolute. In the case of Dave Grohl, the clock hands moved incrementally, a few halting ticks at a time, between his decision to dispel the ghost of Nirvana by walking back into Robert Lang Studios in late November 1994 and hammering out an album, the unveiling of Foo Fighters to friends and family on February 19, 1995 on a houseboat and the more public performances that followed from March starting on the home turf of Portland and Seattle. On March 4, just over a year since Nirvana’s final performance, Krist Novoselic stood and watched as his friends and fellow survivors, Grohl and Pat Smear, stepped out with their new identity.

But that wasn’t the start…The fifteen songs recorded at the November session had been seeping out of Mr. Grohl throughout his time in Nirvana – only four of the songs recorded were post-Cobain works. The background to Nirvana was always this guy’s evolution and progress as a musician and song-writer in his own right. And it turns out someone has taken the time to catalogue, explain and tell the story of that long process and the journey to the present day.

I’ve always been stunned by the energy and effort Nirvana fans have committed to documenting the band; the work that has gone into the Nirvana Live Guide, LiveNirvana and the Internet Nirvana Fan Club is astounding. And in the case of Simon Kilmore he’s consistently been a worthy presence in that world… But it turns out much more besides.

Simon runs http://www.foofighterslive.com/ which is, I say this without any shade of doubt whatsoever, the most crucial online resource for anyone wanting to get the fullest view of Foo Fighters. As what will become a continuously evolving further resource, Simon has taken the time to interview people involved with the band, to document over fifty known sessions, to pull together information stretching back as far as 1984 into a 263 page ebook demonstrating the full story. There’s a free sample on the site at the top of this post and its available in multiple formats so wherever you are in the world you’ll be able to settle back and take a read.

As ever, my support for those who decide to commit the time and energies needed to do put something like this together is absolute. Get up, DIY, may the punk message never die.

In Utero: Further Confirmation…And Viewing The Parasite

Parasite

A first thank you, Mr. Marcus Gray was the individual who first shared the Mojo article over at LiveNirvana. Much appreciated! Next, further beautiful entries in Mr. Gray’s Parasite art project:

PARASITE laundry

I’ve commented on it before (https://nirvana-legacy.com/2013/03/02/art-on-the-end-a-fresh-cobain-artwork/) and still find so much to enjoy in these knowing glimpses of meaningfulness that rest on the bedrock of two decades of Nirvana/Cobain knowledge to gain their deeper associations. The brain flickers back through other images and photos when faced with Marcus’ work – a chain between past works and this present shot. The bridge with KURT etched into the paintwork stands out for me also. Digest and enjoy, there’s a fine mind at work here playing visual games with over-informed viewers.

Picture1

On the In Utero subject, for the best synthesis of information and options get over to LiveNirvana and enjoy the 69 pages (!) of the ‘Speculation Thread’ – I’m just summarising and giving my take here. Thank you to http://nirvananews.tumblr.com/image/56900709444, for the picture and, alas, unfortunately for rather knocking the wind out of everyone’s sails. In summary, the Live n’ Loud Audio/DVD components are confirmed, the debate remains around the precise contents of Disc 1 and Disc 2 which seems to be listing:

Remastered Original Album
B-Sides & Bonus Tracks

Original Album 2013 Mix
Demos

I’ve gone bug-eyed trying to zoom, refocus and discern the slightly obscured text on the picture of Disc One but it reads right to me. In summary, it looks like the Mojo article didn’t hide or veil any of the rarities on the release – I guess they somehow scooped the exclusive.

With the full album remastered plus the remix from Steve Albini the track count changes to:
Disc 1: 13 track original album, plus Marigold, MV, I Hate Myself & I Want to Die, Verse Chorus Verse (Sappy) = 17 definite
Disc 2: 13 track original album, plus SA from Rio, 1990 Marigold, Word of Mouth instrumentals x 4 = 19
Live n’ Loud: 17 tracks times two = 34, plus a clutch of bonus video footage
Total: 70 plus the bonus video material

I’m open to seeing this change a bit but not by much – if the bonus video footage and any unmentioned songs added up to ten, or even just to five further tracks I’d expect the release to say 75 or 80 tracks. So don’t hold your breath for more than the stated content is all I’m saying. I don’t foresee Universal withholding mention of other significant unheard material if it was to feature. Disappointed? A touch. It seems to suggest that Universal is run by audiophiles who appreciate a slight tweak to a song, or by dance/pop fans who haven’t quite realised that rock fans are far less impressed by remixes, something Cobain and co. never saw fit to indulge in during their lifespan as a band. Again, I’m open to reinterpretations and reconstructions but ultimately I’m happier with lower sound quality but more intriguing vestigial practice material showing songs coming together. But there’s no happy answer, I remember With the Lights Out getting flak for including Cobain’s acoustic home demos because of the low fidelity and whacked out style they displayed – what the hey, I loved them.

Oh, incidentally…This wins my ‘most misleading title’ award.
http://consequenceofsound.net/2013/07/nirvana-to-reissue-in-utero-with-70-bonus-tracks/

Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord…Dumb Numbers

Picture1

Definitely Nirvana-related. I mean, heck, its a gimme indie rock master-class given the presence of Lou Barlow, Murph and Dale Crover. Mr. Adam Harding, I salute thee, thrilled the first album from Dumb Numbers is etched and ready to go…Listen to a track from the album, Redrum, here:

Dumb Numbers

Slow build, fine lilting blue-toned intro before the band crashes in, deftly turned breaks as the song steers into the next section, breathes, then the voice enters only just in time to drown in the music, another instrumental colour weaved through, thicker liquid sewn through a cresting wave.

You’ll have seen me rave on Dumb Numbers before, Adam came to my attention with a fine cover of Nirvana’ Do-Re-Mi (check it!!!) and then shocked me by sharing three songs all impeccable, each a totally different sound and vibe, clear talent, made me think this was an outfit I needed to start following; its been a while since I felt the alt-rock thrill… These guys did it. There’s a trailer online too – Mr. Harding is quite a prolific video artist too so I’m making the assumption that the dancing dessert/jellyfish was his concept…Hypnotic:

So, I’ll admit I bought one of the limited edition pink n’ purple vinyl…This is a label I’ve been happy to support all year, they’ve got quite a few jewels for lovers of leftfield rock music plus its based out of Indiana which makes it feel tres exotique to a Brit like me who couldn’t find it on a map. The cover art of this release is by David Lynch if i was going to namedrop once more – reminiscent for me of Swans The Burning World album from 1989…But the colourings…I hate to say it…More sexy. Sexy alt-rock? I’ll go contemplate that thinking for the rest of the day. Please enjoy and support your indie rock bands – for they may be the Cobain’s of the next generation…

A Musical Aside: Trunk Records and a Moment in British Music

MMsPackshot

While I’m whiling away the tail of the weekend spreading news of obscure music I’d like to draw attention to what I believe is the most bizarre record ever released. I’m referring to Trunk Records’ release of the buffet carriage announcements from the Midland Mainline train company’s London-to-Leicester route.

I’ve known of the release for years but never had the courage to order it. Basically, Trunk Records is an exqusitely eccentric outfit run by one Johnny Trunk. They seem to make many of their release decisions by going down the pub, drinking twelve pints of beer and waking up two days later to discover whether they unleashed a moment of genius or madness. I swear to you now, if you like downloads, take a look, if not, then make your life better by ordering one of their final copies of the “Now We Are Ten” sampler – it’s less than five pounds (as is the latest Lard sampler) and will make your life better.

http://www.trunkrecords.com/intro.shtml

At its most eccentric, Trunk has released recordings of his sister’s porn starlet fan mail set to music and other material that is funny for a listen or two but no more. At the other end of the spectrum, however, it has been an outlet for an entire era of British music that has been overlooked, minimised, dismissed and under-appreciated. The label specialises in rare film music (the finest are the soundtrack to Blood on Satan’s Claw and the Psychomania soundtrack), TV soundtracks with quite a few children’s shows (I own both the Fingerbobs music and The Clangers), old BBC electronics music (I recommend the Tristram Cary compilation, The John Baker tapes and an old school programme called The Seasons), plus a load of jazz-orientated material with other deviations into advert music and commercial music libraries.

Now, let’s be fair, I’m not expecting to be more than bemused by the MMS Bar Recording – I’m certainly going to wave a copy at my father and at my uncle (both train fans). The label, however, by its willingness to pursue a vision to the nth degree, to pause for playfulness, combined with the obvious effort put into finding much of this music and the extensive notes that help me make sense of their discoveries, have made a loyal fan.

The music I love from Trunk is that which captures a particular time in British music when the world was trying to come to terms with the arrival of new instruments – electronics – that offered a brief window when escape from the traditional structures of the western musical tradition seemed possible. its that sense that here i’m listening to a genuine moment of escape – to music that was trying forty-fifty years ago, in vastly more difficult technological circumstance, in a deeply conservative environment, to flee centuries of inherited musical systems. The window never opened too far, most music ever since has retreated to the rulebook with the new musical potential of electronics simply added to the palette alongside traditional acoustic instrumentation rather than acting as a way out into something truly new.

That doesn’t mean I think “modern life is rubbish”, not at all. The prominence of these experimental forms in primetime TV broadcasts helped create the vast appetite of today’s music for sounds and styles that are a world beyond what came before. Even in the most mainstream pop recordings we’re regularly hearing sounds that squelch, crackle, burr and quiver in ways that would never have been envisaged as any part of musical composition barely a single lifetime ago.

The other element that’s so potent (the Ghost Box label really delves into it), particularly on the Blood on Satan’s Claw soundtrack, is the brief openness to quite esoteric subject material. This was the height of British consideration of laylines, druidic rites, UFOs, mysterious big cats loose in the countryside – the merging of the ancient, wild and uncontrollable rammed directly into the ultramodern and similarly unknown potentials of new technology and new futures. It was a tantalising vision and a beautiful meshing of what seemed at first to be opposing interests. Musically the result was recordings that featured the latest in synthesiser technology, tape experimentation and early drum machines – while ghostly string and wind instruments played over the top or known forms would intrude.

On Psychomania,the link between past, present and future is made explicit. It follows the attempts by a young biker gang delinquent to use his mother’s talents as a witch to die and return as the undead. The soundtrack flares in all directions with modern funk and acoustic interjections sitting alongside slithers of uncomfortable conversation from the film and haunting electronic effects…

…What the hey. Go buy the samplers. I just fleshed out the collection a little and barely spent a tenner. Have a good Monday!

First New Pixies Song in Nine Years…

http://pitchfork.com/news/51356-watchlisten-pixies-bagboy-first-new-song-in-nine-years/

Merely a late on Sunday aside but Cobain favourite The Pixies (sans Kim Deal who has, once again, left to focus on the revival of The Breeders and the twentieth anniversary tour of their best known album) have just released their first new composition in many a year…

…Any thoughts from this side? I’m always unsure what I’m looking for in the sound of a reformed or long-translucent band; is it good if they sound precisely like they always did or is that a sign of stagnation and an absence of inspiration? Then again, if they sound significantly different, does that rob them of the qualities that made them pleasurable in the first place? Oh well…

In this instance, the song combines recognisable touches in the tone of the guitar, the chopped out chords leading into the buzzing held notes – alongside the refreshed drum sound. The backing chant initially grated during the very new wave intro section before fitting neatly into later sections. There’s something of the hectoring street preacher in Black Francis’ vocals before it returns to more familiar yelps in the long breakdown mid-song. It’s a neat combination of 25 year old motifs with fresher interests…Go see.

If I had a criticism I’d say a lot of sections go on longer than kept my interest; curtail the intro, chop the whole song down a minute, slice the outro off sooner…

Something for the Weekend: Check out Raglans

An intriguing recommendation this week…I’d never heard of Raglans until Tuesday when in discussion with a gentleman from the much underappreciated Irish band Power of Dreams he revealed that http://www.nirvanaguide.com is inaccurate and the PoD didn’t play with Nirvana on August 21, 1991 (quotation from the band’s guitarist Keith Walker “We were on the bill for reading 92 (Nirvana’s infamous headline slot) but never got to play our scheduled mean fiddler tent set as proceedings were postponed due to heavy winds for about 3 hours that day/evening.”) Pete pointed out he was now involved with Raglans and just suggested I should give them a look…

…Well, I did. Much love to the farm vibed video intro, this brought back memories of living in Lincolnshire, and then the quality gym sequence…What to say? A hoot. And it just goes on Monty Python lumberjack vibe, a sinister fishing expedition…It’s a montage of good ideas with the band stoically maintaining their gangsta mean mugs throughout. Music wise, bright, active, I like the skittering guitar reminds me of both U2 and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the bass pauses and drops at well-judged moments (I like records where I can hear and appreciate the bass-playing, it’s often such an underrated element of a sound.) Combine that with the likeable vocals, the chant-able chorus and well-used cooing… I like!

Anyways, hope you like it too. There’s a free download of the song at http://www.diggingholes.net too which is helpful. Nice.

Anyways, apologies, no Saturday post, I’m going to be on a boat. If you’d like to see where then do check my friends’ very worthy blog at http://nbfelucca.wordpress.com/ A sweet couple each with a writing style that makes me chuckle and feel inspired all at once. And they’re right, Felucca does sound like an Italian football player or a foot infection. They were also right that taking advantage of a moment of freedom and taking off to float merrily around Britain for as long as they wish was a good idea, too many people saying “i’ll do it when I retire” in this world.