Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Humanoid 'Stakker Humanoid' (Westside, 1988)

Humanoid Stakker Humanoid 1988 Future Sound Of London Dance mp3

Frantic, acid-infected electro classic.

This pre-Future Sound of London track by Brian Dougans is a storming cascade of beats, acid squelching, whistles, sound fx and driving energy.

Arriving on a distinctive, puttering riff, it somehow seems to arrive a full-pelt but still ratchet up the intensity the course of five incredible minutes.

I spent ages trying to track down a copy of the original 12" after mistakenly buying one of the many, inferior, remixes.

'Stakker Humanoid' is simply a classic British dance record that sits alongside FSOL's 'Papua New Guinea', 'LFO' by LFO, Bomb The Bass's 'Beat Dis', 'IOU' by Freeez and all the other records I loved before I was ready to leave the bedroom for the dancefloor...

Download Humanoid 'Stakker Humanoid' (mp3) (Mediafire)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Parlour 'Over The Under' (Temporary Residence, 2002)

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More angular-but-melodic postrock grooviness from the Temporary Residence stable.

This band are only a recent find for me, despite being wise to Temporary Residence's excellent taste for a good few years now.

Parlour deal in a Ganger-esque mix of lock-groove repetition with melodic trimmings. Warm, resonant bass brings to mind the first Tortoise album and the break-beat, boxy drum figures are channelling Can's Jaki Liebzeit, but the combination of elements and adroit guitar work and production touches make Parlour very much an original.

The seven minutes of gently evolving Kraut-y, rolling Post Rock of 'Over The Under' come from their second album 'Googler' which is highly recommended as point-of-entry into this band.

Download Parlour 'Over The Under' (alternative postrock mp3) (

Monday, 29 August 2011

New Music - Fall Creek Boys Choir (Bon Iver, James Blake) (2011)

Fall Creek Boys Choir, Bon Iver, James Blake, 2011
On reflection, an obvious collaboration. The result, sweet Bon Iver vocals with lashings of sub-bass.

Meandering, gentle sweetness from the autotuned vocals of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon plus James Blake with stately piano and a metronomic patter. What sounds like the 'woof' sound on a cheap keyboard also makes an appearance. About time someone put that on a record.

The vocals and autotuned harmonies multiply, pitched against the pulses of sub-bass and eventually a proper martial drumbeat.

Overall, it's just what you'd expect from a collaboration between these two, but it's very good nonetheless.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Morphine 'The Night' (Rykodisc, 2000)

Morphine, The Night, Rkyo, 2000, Mark Sandman, Jazz, Indie, Alternative, Moodcore, mp3
Deep, brown moodcore from Morphine's last album.

Morphine dealt in a rich, jazz-infused, bluesy take on alt/postrock, anchored around the late Mark Sandman's langorous bass. A powerful, sodium-street-light-lit trio, they remind me of the wonderful Breed.

'The Night' is the title track from their final album, released after the death of singer Mark Sandman. It's a gorgeous, moody voyage through a fog of see-sawing strings, pattering drums and deep, dark bass.

Morphine used a limited palette to great effect and a great band with acres to explore. This is a great place to start.

Download Morphine 'The Night' (alternative, indie mp3 download) (Mediafire)

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Breeders 'Grunggae (Cannonball Demo)' (4AD, 1994)

Breeders, Grunggae, Cannonball, Demo, 4AD, 1994, Alternative, Grunge, Pixies, Gigantic, mp3
Early demo of 'Cannonball'. Class stuff.

Not sure if I've thought that 'Cannonball' sounded like Grunge-Reggae like Kim Deal obviously did. However, it's a mighty fine tune, certain to bring the roof down at indie discos wherever it's played. Not that I'm advocating tragic loss of indie life.

By the time of the second Breeders album, the angular, noisy, sinsister atmosphere of 'Pod' had been excised and Tanya Donnelly had moved on to form Belly. 'Last Splash' is a more straightforward alt rock album, with a much more summery disposition, and this shows in this version of a classic as a work in progress.

Download Breeders 'Grunggae (Cannonball demo)' (alternative indie mp3) (Mediafire)

Friday, 26 August 2011

I Break Horses 'Winter Beats' (Bella Union, 2011)

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Icy, dramatic Shoegaze elegance wrapped around warm, warm vocals.

I Break Horses deal in electronically-driven shoegaze, creating vast cathedrals of spectral sound around simple sequenced lines.

'Winter Beats' is exactly that, a sheet of chilled but elegant air formed around crystalline patterns of ascending synths.

Soaring vocals create an organic, human edge to the sound, combining to generate an unstoppable rush that brings to mind the best work of Efterklang or the more austere moments of Spoonfed Hybrid. It's more linear than the Cocteau Twins but reminiscent of Seefeel's splicing of waterfalls of sequencer with soupy drones and gazing.

Delightful stuff.

Download I Break Horses 'Winter Beats' (indie, shoegaze mp3) (via Pitchfork)

Thursday, 25 August 2011

New Music - Bombay Bicycle Club 'Shuffle' (Island, 2011)

Bombay Bicycle Club, Shuffle, Indie, mp3, 2011
Caught me by surprise - sunny, insistent indie earworm.

Prior to being arrested by this new track from the upcoming Bombay Bicycle Club album, I wouldn't have given the band the time of day. I'd put in the file marked Landfill Indie and was happy to ignore them.

However, having heard this track on the radio a few times, it's really grown on me. It's a rolling, insistent slice of summer indie pop, driven along by an almost Steve Reich-ian piano line, delicious falsetto harmonies and a very catchy ascending chorus.

Very lovely.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Freeez 'I.O.U (12" Version)' (Beggars Banquet, 1983)

Freeez IOU 12 inch Beggars Banquet Arthur Baker 1982
Early intersection between alternative rock and the dancefloor, overseen by Arthur Baker.

This hit me around the same time as New Order's 'Blue Monday' and 'Confusion' which was also produced by Arthur Baker.

Taking its cues from the music of Danceteria and Hurrah, 'IOU' is a slice of highly melodic, beatbox-driven, breaking-friendly electro pop. The 12" version breaks it down time and again, giving the irresistable chorus plenty of chances to slam back in.

Download Freeez 'I.O.U (12" Version)' (alternative dance mp3) (Mediafire)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Believer 'Nocturnal Sea' (Land And Sea, 2011)

Believer Nocturnal Sea The Drift Tarentel 2011 EP Alternative Post Rock Drones Loops mp3
Something new from members of The Drift and Tarentel.

Elongated, slowly-evolving loopy business from Danny Grody of The Drift and William Montgomery of Tarentel. Sounds like a couple of FX boxes and a loop pedal or two to me. Very relaxing.

Digital EP available via Bandcamp.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Drift 'Horizon' (Temporary Residence, 2011) (mp3)

The Drift, Blue Hour, Temporary Residence, 2011, album, Post Rock, Jazz, mp3
Great to hear something new from jazzed-out post-rockers The Drift.

'Horizon' is less laid-back and jazzy than previous outings, more of a riff-y, melodic edge. Strongly led by the guitar rather than the bass and drums, it's more angular and has a twinge of The Jesus Lizard about it, insistent though not as aggressive obviously.

There's also a hint of freakbeat, sixties, surf instrumental about it, mixed in with the head popping, locked grooving a la Super Numeri.

Very nice, rolling, instrumental bizness though.

Looking forward to new album 'Blue Hour' which is out in October on Temporary Residence.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Green Man 2011: Iron & Wine 'Such Great Heights' (Sub Pop, 2003)

Iron And Wine Such Great Heights Sub Pop Folk Electronica Cover mp3 download
Rustic, Americana version of the Indie/Electro pop classic.

Iron & Wine headline this year's Green Man Festival and have a rich back catalogue to draw from.

This re-setting of The Postal Service's insistent, yearning indie pop is a simply delightful means of conveying the song. The dry, dusty guitar and vocals render the song's inner beauty, erm, beautifully.

Originally released as an extra track on a Postal Service EP, Sub Pop went on to release it as an Iron & Wine single in its own right. It's that good.

Download Iron & Wine 'Such Great Heights (Postal Service Cover)' (folk, electronica mp3) (Mediafire)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Green Man 2011: The Leisure Society 'Cars (Gary Numan Cover)' (Wilkommen, 2009)

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Who knew!? Clipped, chamber pop take on Gary Numan's finest moment works a treat.

The Leisure Society aren't headlining Saturday at The Green Man but I've posted plenty of Fleet Foxes already this year.

So Saturday at The Green Man is represented by this quirky and gorgeous cover of Gary Numan's 'Cars' from The Leisure Society.

I doubt they'll play this tonight - they haven't the last couple of times I've seen them - but I'm looking forward to hearing most of the new album 'Into The Murky Water' which is one of the albums I've listened to most this year so far. They sounded great live at Hop Farm back in July too.

Download The Leisure Society 'Cars (Gary Numan Cover)' (Folk pop mp3) (Mediafire)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Green Man 2011: Explosions In The Sky 'Memorial' (Temporary Residence, 2003)

Explosions In The Sky The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place Memorial Post Rock Epic mp3 2003
Epic, post-rock soundscaping from their breakthrough record.

Friday night headliners at the Green Man Festival, Explosions In The Sky stretch the loud-quiet, fast-slow dynamic to breaking point. It's a mighty fine sound, especially live, that ranks alongside Fridge (Green Man faves of yesteryear), Sickoakes, Super Numeri, Slint and labelmates The Drift, who would be a major coup for Green Man 2012 (hint, hint).

'Memorial' is from their 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' album which was the first album of theirs to be released in the UK (on Bella Union). The album is dominated by long, segued pieces but 'Memorial' is relatively concise, setting some epic, skyscraping exposition alongside some delicious and delicate quiet stuff.

Download Explosions In The Sky 'Memorial' (post rock mp3) (

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Green Man 2011: Noah & The Whale 'Instrumental III' (Mercury, 2009)

Noah And The Whale Instrumental III The First Days Of Spring 2009 mp3
Lush, summery instrumental business.

An outtake from the sessions for 'The First Days Of Spring', 'Instrumental III' is a Bert Jansch-y, sprightly thing that doesn't fit with the generally heavy mood of that break-up album.

Looking forward to see them at the Green Man Festival this weekend. I presume they aren't on the same day as Laura Marling...

Indeed, seeing them at Green Man in 2009, just as the album was being released, was a fairly harrowing experience. It was certainly a shock for any festival-goers expecting the breezy folk-pop of 'Five Years Time'. Instead, they dropped a dirgey, drang and mope over the Brecon countryside, sounding more akin to The Wedding Present's masterful 'Seamonsters' album.

I think singer Charlie Fink is over it now so it should be the light and bracing Tom Petty/John Cougar Mellencamp-isms of the new album on Saturday.

Download Noah and the Whale 'Instrumental III' (folk mp3 download) (Mediafire)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Green Man 2011: Laura Marling 'The Needle And The Damage Done' (Virgin, 2008)

Laura Marling Ghosts The Needle And The Damage Done 7 inch Neil Young Cover mp3
Sweet and tender version of Neil Young's junkies' lament.

Originally the b-side to the 'Ghosts' seven-inch, Laura Marling brings, perhaps unsurprisingly, less world-weariness and resignation to the song than Neil Young. However, though still only 21, she's something of a music industry veteran - about to release her third album - and she must have witnessed over-indulgence going on around her. Marcus Mumford having four spoons of sugar in his "builders" tea, perhaps.

Her version of 'The Needle and the Damage Done' is a short, sweet and simple take, sounding like it was recorded in the kitchen as the mood took her.

Looking forward to seeing Ms. Marling at The Green Man this weekend.

Download Laura Marling 'The Needle And The Damage Done' (acoustic, folk, Neil Young cover, mp3) (Mediafire)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Green Man 2011: Hannah Peel 'Electricity (OMD Cover)' (Static Caravan, 2010)

Hannah Peel Rebox Covers New Wave Music Box 7 inch Static Caravan 2010 mp3 download
Catchy music-box take on OMD's early masterpiece in anticipation of Green Man 2011.

I'm posting a few rarities from people playing the Green Man Festival this weekend - to get me in the mood.

This OMD cover is from Hannah Peel's excellent 'Rebox' EP of New Wave covers that Static Caravan released as a seven-inch last year. The music box treatment works really well for the selection of songs that used relatively primitive synths as their foundation. 'Blue Monday' and 'Tainted Love' work nicely.

The cover of Cocteau Twins' 'Sugar Hiccup' is great too though that, of course, isn't a synthpop track.

The EP is available as a download bundle at Boomkat.

Download Hannah Peel 'Electricity (OMD Cover)' (folk mp3) (Mediafire)

Monday, 15 August 2011

Green Man 2011: 2:54 'On A Wire' (House Anxiety, 2011)

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Low-slung, edgy post-punk-ish stuff from East London duo.

'On A Wire' was 2:54's debut single earlier this year. They have the 'honour' of being the first in a series of posts celebrating this year's Green Man Festival which I'm looking forward to hitting this weekend. Fingers crossed for the weather.

'On A Wire' rumbles along on some low-slung bass and edgy-then-firey guitar. The twin vocals of sisters Hannah and Collette Thurlow set the song off moodily. B-side 'Cold Front' is less controlled, the chorus swooning and dramatic.

Ones to watch (Far Out stage, Saturday afternoon).

Download 2:54 'On A Wire' (alternative, indie mp3) (via The Fader)

Download 2:54 'Cold Front' (alternative, indie mp3) (Mediafire)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

David Sylvian 'Let The Happiness In' (Live, 1988)

David Sylvian Live In Theatre 1988 Japan Tokyo Secrets Of The Beehive
Syrupy, langorous and expansive contemplation, recorded live in 1988.

'Let The Happiness In' is a brown, sombre hymn, pondering one of Sylvian's Long Dark Nights. From today's perspective, it's hard to believe it was released as a single - a fantastic 12" which came backed with the edgy funk of 'Buoy (Remix)' and the languid jazz instrumental 'Blue Of Noon'.

It processes at a stately pace, based on a simple organ motif and Sylvian's rich voice, slowly building with percussion and trumpet embellishments.

Initially true to the 'Secrets Of The Beehive' original, this live version slowly adds more layers - more intricate percussion, some gently skyscraping guitar and some of the most downbeat scat vocal improvisation you might ever hear.


Download David Sylvian 'Let The Happiness In (Live in Japan, 1988)' (alternative mp3) (Mediafire)

Download the complete David Sylvian 'Live in Theatre' concert over on archive:live+rare (mp3 download) (Mediafire)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Impossibles 'The Drum' (Fontana, 1991)

The Impossibles The Drum Fontana 1991 Indie Alternative mp3
Deceptively lackadaisical singalong pop from short-lived, under-exposed early 90s duo.

'The Drum' is a loping, circular, singalonga slice of festival pop. The Impossibles were a female duo who released a couple of corking singles in the early 90s before promptly disappearing.

After the more straightforward, sweeter 'How Do You Do It?' single they unleashed 'The Drum' which is more elaborate in its arrangement and came backed with an Andrew Weatherall remix for good measure.

The song lopes along like a jalloppy leaking illicit booze down a dusty, country track, stoned locals hanging out of the windows. The stream of consciousness lyrics, wrapped up into neatly entwined female harmonies, making them squint, perplexed into the blazing sun, trying inadequately to keep up with the meaning.

Download it now while the sun still shines.

Download The Impossibles 'The Drum' (indie alternative, mp3) (Mediafire)

Friday, 12 August 2011

Strangelove 'Time For The Rest Of Your Life' (Food, 1994)

Strangelove Time For The Rest Of Your Life Alternative Rock 1994 Food Indie Rock mp3
Epic, slightly proggy, melodramatic alternative rocking.

Strangelove battled to make a breakthrough across three albums in the 1990s. This is a single from the first album and I'd forgotten what a gem it was, only going back to it after posting the band's contribution to the 'Kennel Club #2' 10" recently.

There's some expansive Levitation-style progginess mixed into the indie/alternative rock sound. Alex Lee is a very neat guitarists carrying off that Johnny Marr/Bernard Butler trick of managing to play both lead and rhythm at the same time.

Singer Patrick Duff croons passionately of personal doom and disintegration, the occasional vocal tick reminds me of Morrissey. The point during the breakdown where he pauses and almost shouts "Christ" is also quite a moment. It also has a hint of Radiohead's 'Creep' about it too. Comparisons aside, it's a great track.

Patrick Duff seems to still be recording and a quick Youtube search came up with this strangely loungey, red velvet alternative cabaret song 'Spider Woman'. Well worth a listen too.

Download Strangelove 'Time For The Rest Of Your Life' (alternative rock indie rock mp3) (Mediafire)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Radiohead vs Four Tet 'Separator' (XL, 2011)

Radiohead The King of Limbs Remixes Four Tet alternative
Radiohead remixes series - including Four Tet's mix of 'Separator' - to come out on CD.

At Ease reports that Radiohead are to release the current 12"-only remixes on CD later in the year as 'TKOL RMX'.

It'll be a double CD featuring a second disc of previously unreleased mixes, including versions by the mighty SBTRKT and Jamie xx.

It's released in the UK on October 10th and the USA on October 11th. Check-out Four Tet's version of 'Separator' while you're waiting...

Disc 1 Tracklist:
01. Caribou 'Little By Little'
02. Jacques Greene 'Lotus Flower'
03. Nathan Fake 'Morning Mr Magpie'
04. Harmonic 313 'Bloom'
05. Mark Pritchard 'Bloom'
06. Lone 'Feral'
07. Pearson Sound 'Morning Mr Magpie Scavenger'
08. Four Tet 'Separator'

Disc 2 Tracklist:
01. Thriller 'Give Up The Ghost Houseghost'
02. Illum Sphere 'Codex'
03. Shed 'Little By Little'
04. Brokenchord 'Give Up The Ghost'
05. Altrice 'TKOL'
06. Blawan 'Bloom'
07. Modeselektor 'Good Evening Mrs Magpie'
08. Objekt 'Bloom'
09. Jamie xx 'Bloom Rework
10. Anstam 'Separator'
11. SBTRKT 'Lotus Flower'

Separator - Four Tet RMX by Radiohead

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Tindersticks 'The Girl On Death Row' (Kennel Club, 1994)

Kennel Club Number 2 Tindersticks Strangelove The God Machine Breed Alternative Indie Purr Magazine Ten Inch
Rare Tindersticks homage to Duanne Eddy and James Bond. Spaghetti western soundtracking, Kilburn-style.

'The Girl On Death Row' is from the Purr Magazine/Kennel Club #2 10" which also featured tracks by Breed, The God Machine and Strangelove.

It comes in like a bow-legged Bond theme - something which they have previous form in, of course, having covered 'We Have All The Time In The World' though that wasn't the actual theme of the Bond film it was featured in, fact police.

The opening piece of twangy guitar belies its origin as a cover of a Duanne Eddy song. It develops into a spindly, eerie piece of lo-fi noir, almost shambling though not as much as the aforementioned 'We Have All The Time In The World'.

An organ swirls away like a drunken afternoon playing bingo at the Kilburn Tower Ballroom (don't look, it's not there), accompanied by keening strings and a low, rumble of piano. Stuart Staples, of course, croons with resignation, telling of a girl is soon to die - "they take her life... tomorrow".

Though lo-fi, it's decidedly widescreen. Even then Tindersticks were accomplished in creating sounds of a cinematic, soundtrack bent. It winds on into a extended, jammed outro as the credits roll.

Download Tindersticks 'The Girl On Death Row' (alternative, indie, mp3) (Mediafire)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Strangelove 'Wolf's Story' (Kennel Club, 1994) (mp3)

Kennel Club Number 2 Tindersticks Strangelove The God Machine Breed Alternative Indie Purr Magazine Ten Inch
Rare track from the under-rated alternative rockers Strangelove.
Proggy, yearning stuff from Strangelove.

Strangelove released a handful of albums through the early 90s, a brooding, prog-tinged, passionate alternative rock sound. A little like Levitation but without the curlicues and on less acid, though they did share a drummer in Dave Francollini.

Seemingly influenced by Echo & The Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, maybe even Magazine, they toured extensively but remained on the fringes during Britpop in the shadows of bands like Suede, the Manics, Radiohead (who they supported on tour), Gene and, mainly, Mansun. They were signed to Food (the label that brought you Blur). Their song 'Time For The Rest Of Your Life' was great and persuaded me to invest in their debut album - will have to blog about that one soon.

'Wolf's Story' is another track from the Kennel Club #2 10" single alongside Breed, The God Machine and tomorrow's post by Tindersticks.

The song opens with a dark, rolling groove and a compelling, urgent vocal from Patrick Duff and some expansive guitar work from Alex Lee, especially as the song builds to a climax.


Download Strangelove 'Wolf's Story' (alternative rock, mp3) (Mediafire)

Monday, 8 August 2011

The God Machine 'The Devil Song' (Kennel Club, 1994)

Kennel Club Number 2 Tindersticks Strangelove The God Machine Breed Alternative Indie Purr Magazine Ten Inch
Moody, alternative-rock-almost-metal from The God Machine.

Another track from the Kennel Club/Purr Magazine 10" to add to Breed's excellent cover of 'Diamonds Are Forever'. Tracks by Strangelove and Tindersticks still to come.

'The Devil Song' starts out quiet and moody, building slowly and steadily before it explodes into a sea of edgy distorted guitar. Even before the tragic death of their drummer Jimmy Fernandez, The God Machine were a serious, almost sombre proposition. They were a powerful band, capable of summoning up slabs of heavy rhythm and whirlwinds of noise. 'The Devil Song' is no exception.

Download The God Machine 'The Devil Song' (alternative rock, mp3) (Mediafire)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Breed 'Diamonds Are Forever' (Kennel Club, 1994)

Kennel Club Number 2 Tindersticks Strangelove The God Machine Breed Alternative Indie Purr Magazine Ten InchExcellent cover version to add to the slim-but-mighty canon of the magical Breed.

This moody but elegant cover of 'Diamonds Are Forever' kicks off a series of four tracks ripped from a nice 10" put out by Purr Magazine/Kennel Club in 1994. Also featured are The God Machine, Strangelove and Tindersticks - those tracks will be posted over the next three days.

The EP is a good selection of alternative bands from the early nineties who experienced differing levels of success. Breed made two albums and a handful of singles and are one of my favourite bands of all time.

'Diamonds Are Forever' is given an eerie undertow, weaving a sparse take on the melody and adding an edge of atonality that would have Shirley Bassey rushing for the valium.


Download Breed 'Diamonds Are Forever' (alternative, indie, mp3) (Mediafire)

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Echo & The Bunnymen 'The Killing Moon (All Night Mix)' (Korova, 1984)

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Extended perfection from Echo & The Bunnymen.

Ian MacCulloch was never one for modesty when it came to the band's output. However, when you've given the world a song like this you've got some grounds for boasting.

As a one-off achievement, it puts them up there alongside The Smiths' 'How Soon Is Now', New Order's 'True Faith', Jesus & Mary Chain's 'Just Like Honey', Cocteau Twins' 'Pearly Dewdrops Drops' and so on.

Utterly wonderful - sweeping strings, dramatic sound, passionate vocals, it should really have been covered by Frank Sinatra on one of those Rick Rubin-produced career reappraisal albums. As it is, unless you're Sinatra, you'd have to be very brave to take this one on. Only Pavement have succeeded IMHO, but that's one for another day.

Download Echo & The Bunnymen 'The Killing Moon (All Night Mix)' (indie alternative rock mp3) (Mediafire)

Friday, 5 August 2011

Throwing Muses 'America (She Can't Say No) (Original Demo Version)' (4AD, 1987)

Throwing Muses 4AD alternative rock America She Can't Say No Original Demo Version Underground tape covermount
Early version of debut album track from the bewitching Throwing Muses.

More goodies from the Underground tape following the Sonic Youth live cut. This time it's a demo version of some idiosyncratic early Throwing Muses from the tape that got them a deal with 4AD.

Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donnelly weave intricate vocal and guitar patterns over clattering but restrained drumming and an ascending/descending bassline. Something about it sounds like Kristin Hersh is singing backwards. I know that sounds weird.

Download Throwing Muses 'America (She Can't Say No) (Original Demo Version)' (indie alternative rock mp3, Mediafire)

Or download the whole of the 'Rhythm + Noise' tape from Archive: Live + Rare mp3s.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Sheila B. Devotion 'Spacer (12" Extended Version)' (Carrere, 1979)

Sheila B Devotion Spacer Extended Twelve Inch 12 Dark Disco New Order Subculture mp3
Moody disco magic from the Chic Organisation.

I've always loved this record, even before it seemed acceptable to profess a love for disco, and certainly before I was aware of the full majesty of Chic. I loved it all the more since I noticed that New Order's 'Subculture' bears - to my ears, anyway - a distinct resemblence. Maybe it's just in the same key or something.

'Spacer' also brings to mind the minor key disco pop of Phoenix's 'If I Ever Feel Better', the best of the Italians Do It Better stable or the Class Actress track I posted last week.

The song opens with a spiraling minor key piano figure, building to the entry of the familiar, tight-tight-tight bass and drums that are the hallmark of a Chic production - machine-tooled precision but wholly warm and human. It begins with the chorus setting the mood, strings sweeping and groove chugging, somehow creating a track that is equal parts floorfiller and nightdrive soundtrack.

The breakdown at 3'58" enhances the moodiness of the track further, dubbing up Nile Rodgers' guitar chops and paring the track back to the minor key bones. The mood is subtly lightened as organ and piano are mixed back in, Bernard Edwards getting chance to throw-in a few slaps.


Download Sheila B. Devotion 'Spacer (12" Extended Version)' (mp3) (Mediafire)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Molly Half Head 'Vivid Whitsun (Single Version)' (Playtime, 1993)

Molly Half Head Taste Of You 10 Inch Single Vivid Whitsun Magazine Alternative Rock mp3
Edgy, Magazine-indebted mood-rock from Manchester.

I interviewed Molly Half Head for my student newspaper back in the day. I remember being quite taken-aback when the bassist and guitarist told us, with an unnerving intensity, that if Molly Half Head wasn't successful, that would be it for them, they'd have to jack music in and get jobs on building sites.

It seemed like both a lot of pressure to heap onto a couple of student journalists and also quite an optimistic view of the influence of the Aston University student paper.

I thought Molly Half Head's debut album - 'Sulk' - was great though and they got a good write-up. Admittedly, I hadn't heard Magazine back then but 'Vivid Whitsun' made a big impact on me and was my first encounter with the wonders of the loop pedal.

This version pre-dates the album and is a little less polished. It features the same elements though - arcs of guitar, the constant serrated guitar loop and spacious but menacing rhythm section. It's topped with singer Paul Bardsley's distinctive vocal sound and lyrical preoccupations - reflections on childhood loneliness mainly, playing with an Action Man, that kind of thing.

Looking back they predated the Manic Street Preachers 'Holy Bible' album which used the same influences as their starting point. They also make me think of British Sea Power, though more downbeat and less bombastic.

Molly Half Head didn't make it, though they did get to make a second album. Shame.

Download Molly Half Head 'Vivid Whitsun (Single Version)' (alternative indie rock download, mp3, 320k, Mediafire)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Sonic Youth '(I Got A) Catholic Block (Live)' (Underground magazine, 1987)

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Exclusive live take of the 'Sister' track.

By the time they got to the 'Sister' album Sonic Youth's sound was beginning to embrace less sturm and drang and more of a focused, song-based approach.

'(I Got A) Catholic Block' is still an edgy snarl but you can see how they got from here to the crystalline soundworld of 'Daydream Nation'. You can see why they were in the process of inspiring a generation of alternative rockers to free their minds - bands like The God Machine, Swervedriver and, of course, My Bloody Valentine.

'Catholic Block' seems to somehow shift and blur while at the same time being pretty direct. It builds up a dizzying intensity, heavy rhythms and arcs of scraping guitar and the type of rhythmic breakdown that they would perfect on 'Teenage Riot'.

Download Sonic Youth '(I Got A) Catholic Block (Live)' (alternative rock mp3, Mediafire)

Or download the whole of the 'Rhythm + Noise' tape from Archive: Live + Rare mp3s.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Pale Saints 'A Deeper Sleep For Stephen' (Melody Maker/Rough Trade Distribution, 1990)

Gigantic 2 Melody Maker Pale Saints Cocteau Twins 4AD

Woozier take on 'The Comforts Of Madness' album track.

Gently remixed version of this album track from the Melody Maker/Rough Trade Distribtion mail-order compilation 'Gigantic 2'.

I don't want to sound like a Grumpy Old Man but I had to send-off for 'Gigantic 2' and part with cash. It wasn't a cover-mount like it would be today. It didn't just fall into my lap, I had to work for it. And wait. Two weeks or more. Crazy.

Well worth the wait in this case as Pale Saints take the chloroform to their original, letting it drift off and dream of the fuzzier end of Slowdive, A.R.Kane and Cocteau Twins' 'Victorialand' album.

Download Pale Saints 'A Deeper Sleep For Stephen' (mp3) (Mediafire)