Ladies and Gentlemen, (I'm) Stranded!
Themes From Great Cities
It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.
Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.
Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.
Ladies and Gentlemen, (I'm) Stranded!
Needless to say, the Dead Boys fitted right in with the rest of the bands that played at C.B.G.B.'s or Max's Kansas City. Fed up with the wimpy crap that was popular rock at that time, they, with the Ramones and many other bands, got up on stage with a mission to piss off and annoy. Eventually, they got the recognition they so deserved and thusly, this album was born. With perhaps surprisingly great production from demi-famous '70s rocket Genya Ravan, the five-some found something sonically smack in-between the US garage/punk heritage of the past and the more modern thrashings from overseas.
Stone cold rock classic "Sonic Reducer" starts things off (amusingly) with all sorts of phased drums and other fripperies that later generations wouldn't consider punk at all. That said, it's still blunt, brilliantly sung by Stiv and kicks out the jams with messy energy. Other all-time greats include the perfect bored-and-needing-kicks anthem "Ain't Nothin' to Do" and the thoroughly wrong "Caught With the Meat In Your Mouth." There's even a rock oldie -- a cover of "Hey Little Girl" live onstage at spiritual home CBGB's. And why not? With great punk rock and great rock, Young, Loud and Snotty perfectly describes the sound and essence of this record.
I've had real concerns about posting this one...and if anyone with ties to the band or publishing companies feels that this post should be edited to remove the links, please let me know and I'll take them out. Otherwise, have a listen, enjoy and then go out and buy the album...
And always play this album loud!!
Not only is this a towering achievement in the post-punk movement, deserving to be mentioned in the same breath as fellow Mancunian LP's "Closer" and "Real Life," it is arguably one of my favourite, and sadly, one of the most overlooked, début albums of all time.
If there is one adjective that springs to mind immediately when listening to Colossal Youth, it is endearing: lead singer Alison Stattons unpolished lilt, the delightfully off-kilter drum machine, the prominent bass, the explorations of negative space and quiet guitar melodies; all these conflated ensure charm. The drum machine especially ensures an introspective and low-key atmosphere; would-be garage rock anthems ‘Include me out’ and ‘Brand New Life’ are tempered and pared down into punk conceptions at their most minimal. Elsewhere, the rollicking opener ‘Searching for Mister Right’ casts a spell from the get-go, all propulsive rhythm and ethereal vocals. ‘Salad Days’ is a gorgeous wistful ballad, conjuring images of sunshine and laughter long since past. Singling out specific tracks seems redundant however; this is an album that begs to be listened to as a whole, enthralling and addictive as it is. That said, the sparse arrangement of the album does begin to grate after a while. Moreover, though it may seem unusual to cite the albums consistency as a flaw, the lack of stand-out tracks and the similarity of the pervading atmosphere of each song does mean that the album can become stale after repeated listens.
I alluded earlier that ‘Colossal Youth’ is a post-punk album, but that is not strictly true. Though it gets classified as such, pigeon-holing the album into that genre does a disservice to the originality at work here. It resemblance to post-punk is tenuous, and I believe it is only called such because that at the time there would have been nothing else to call it. It bears more in common with the indie genre of today. Glimmers of it are found in the xx’s self-titled, in the gentle sonic explorations of Beach House, but no-one has made an album quite like this. It stands alone, humbly, entreating the listener not with noise or with gimmickery but with earnestness and a quaint, unsentimental beauty. I can only recommend you let it coax you in. Lose yourself in the beguile and sprawl; this one is a hidden treasure worth searching for.
MUSIC FOR PLEASURE
I just walked in to find you here, with that sad look upon your face
Based in Shepherds Bush,
west London, The Passions' music was grounded mainly in Barbara Gogan's voice
and Clive Timperley's delicate echoplex guitar work. Before forming in 1978,
most of the group's members had played in other groups. Timperley was formerly
with the 101ers, while drummer Richard Williams and singer/guitarist Barbara
Gogan were in the punk rock outfit The Derelicts.
Espousing the same
post-punk, gothic ethic that brought bands like Siouxsie & the Banshees to
the forefront of the burgeoning dark wave genre, the Passions' 1980 debut,
Michael & Miranda, suggested that they were at least on the same track.
Off-kilter jangle out of step with the bass and drums defined the opening
"Pedal Fury," placing the band firmly in quirk territory, a point
that the Passions continued to reiterate across the rest of the set. Picking up
the pace on "Love Song" or slowing it down across "Man on the
Tube" and then doing both on "Obsession" (which puts Barbara Gogan's
vocals so far away from the mic for the sake of atmosphere that it sounds like
she's in another room) really didn't add much punch to the Passions' gloomy
intent. It's easy to see their roots, they're glaring. But so they were for all
the other bands rising at the time. Stilted and lean, the songs on Michael
& Miranda just don't measure up against what the Passions would do a little
later or against what their peers were doing at the time. Singles
"Hunted" and "The Swimmer" were followed by their major charting
song, "I'm in Love with a German Film Star"
A devastating début and one of the finest albums, not only of the punk era, but of the late 1970s as a whole.
Crossing the Red Sea With The Adverts was the summation of a year's worth of gigging, honing a repertoire that (jagged, jarring, and frequently underplayed though it was) nevertheless bristled with hits, both commercial and cultural. "No Time to Be 21," "One Chord Wonders," and "Bored Teenagers" were already established among the most potent rallying cries of the entire new wave, catch phrases for a generation that had no time for anthems; "Bombsite Boy," "Safety in Numbers," and "Great British Mistake" offered salvation to the movement's disaffected hordes; and the whole thing was cut with such numbingly widescreen energy that, even with the volume turned down, it still shakes the foundations.
Interspersed With Intervals Of Slow & Desolate Introspection
Cycling through several monikers over the years all involving that particular word (Foetus Interruptus, You've Got Foetus On Your Breath, Foetus Corruptus) since 1981 J.G. has concocted some of the most difficult to categorise genre-bending experiments ever put to tape, mostly centred around the abrasive sampling and drum machines typical of industrial. Third album Hole (released under Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel) is a much more refined effort, for the most part it is no less engaging for those of us with ADD.
Opening track Clothes Hoist is a frenetic bastard of a thing with many multilayered tracks of percussion, a swinging psychobilly hook to J.G's vocals and an explosion of distorted textures bringing to mind a chaotic B-grade horror movie extravaganza. It's a fun song on its own merits, but when listened to through headphones an impressive field of sound is revealed with the sheer number of parts at work somewhat awe inspiring. Lust For Death has a Mr. Bungle before there was Mr. Bungle vibe in its cheesy organs, rumbling double bass, cheap trumpet stabs and upbeat ostinatos using sounds sourced from god-knows where; the wild man howl of the man behind it all riding high on the madness eventually gelling after a few listens into a downright entertaining piece of music.
I'll Meet You In Poland Baby is unique to say the least, an A Cappella intro with meticulously timed delay effects providing an odd but ultimately satisfying arrangement as J.G. namedrops Stalin and The Versailles Treaty in a declaration of war (See you at your graveside baby, I’ll meet you in Poland baby!). Incorporating a Nazi march "stomp" as the backbeat is an intuitive move, samples of German rallies and sirens in the distance contributing to a military wartime feel whilst the added nuances of percussion and the strange vocal hooks make it a very distinct song.
Hole is an inconsistent album in many ways, however where it works it is a captivating listen. There is a manic energy to it at its best, with a lot of density to the compositions which makes for an excellent listen through a pair of nice headphones (and some weed wouldn’t hurt either). A few of the songs are subpar as a whole, but they all have their good aspects in one way or another. There is absolutely no other music on the planet quite like what J.G. Thirlwell has unleashed with Foetus, and whilst there may be better albums to start with Hole is more than enough to spark interest in investigating the pioneering industrial artist.
Made To be Played Loud...While searching the www for snippets I happened upon a review by John Robb, which I'm going to share because he's touched every point, every detail and more eloquently than I can ever can.
John Robb, September 21st 2009
Dark, edgy, angular, masculine and
12th May 1979 – New Musical Express (UK)
Album Reviewed by Paul Morley
Aaah! More alert and anguished young men chalking up more sanctioned and sanctimonious marks! Do not applaud them! This glistening long player contains twelve self-conscious variations upon the smoothly quirky theme, somewhere between hypnotic and indifferent, that brought the world, somewhere between hype and anonymity, the pleasurable “Killing An Arab”. For one whole album that pretty bending and doodling does a lot less than please, and a lot more than irritate. The Cure’s formula is not that marvellous, but the Cure are not just making pop music. They make thins much worse than they could be by packaging this insubstantial froth as if it had some social validity. As if it were going to alter our conceptions of what is real and what is unreal. They garnish their twelve little ditties with unreliable trickery, not content to let ordinary songs die ordinary deaths.
Awlright Here It Is, Again, And It’s Called…
Flesh For Lulu were no more nor less than a pop/rock band, forever cursed by their post-punk past. Born a decade too late, the group were condemned to the corners of the indie scene and the edges of the U.S. charts. In 1985, following on from their released from Polydor, the band signed to Hybrid Records and released the mini LP, Blue Sisters Swing, which was produced with Craig Leon. The cover image of two nuns kissing resulted in the mini-album being banned in the United States and Europe. Flesh For Lulu then joined Statik records, who released Big Fun City later that year. Virtually neglected by the American rock masses that were their natural audience, the British indie kids took them to heart, but Big Fun City deserved so much more than that. Having shaken off their cobwebs on Blue Sisters Swing, The Lulu’s came to NYC (thus the new album's title) to record with producer Craig Leon. A less sympathetic producer would have destroyed this record, either by foisting a thoroughly '80s slickness into the mix, or lazily permitting the group's retro sound to run rampant. Instead, Leon respected the group's vision, creating a modern album that remains a tribute to rock's rich past. A motherlode of riffs are the song's sturdy foundation blocks, mostly mined from a rich R&B vein. The Rolling Stones are an obvious influence, although The Lulu’s never plunder directly, instead creating the best riffs Keith Richards never played. Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground also played a major role in the members' youths. Thus the band touches all the major rock roots before tossing them into their own indie blender. There again, even the Velvets in their heyday would have thought twice about recording "Death Shall Come," a brilliant piece of experimental foreboding that slithers slide guitar against a booming beat, drops surrealistic sound effects into the mix, then shrouds it all in an ominous atmosphere. On the other end of the spectrum were perfect pop rockers like "Baby Hurricane" (a British Top Ten indie hit); the boisterous "Seven Hail Marys" and "Vaguely Human" both slamming rock riffs and anthemic choruses into punk frenzy; and more sedate, but equally upbeat numbers like "Let Go," which showcases some of the guitarists' best work. The rhythm section's own proficiency is evident throughout, pulling off rock-solid, but never tiresome, rhythms regardless of tempo or genre, as impressive on the softer, slower numbers as the pounding rockers, while anchoring the more experimental numbers. Perhaps The Lulu’s were just too adventurous for the rock community, too willing to take chances, too energetic, too pop, and too different. Too bad for the rockers missing out on such a classic record. This CD release also includes the Blue Sisters Swing mini-album as an added incentive.
Simple Minds' astonishingly rapid ascent from humble and derivative post-punk to platinum and transcendent art pop is just as remarkable as the descent that followed it. More remarkable is the fact that a fair portion of the band's fans have such a strict discographical line drawn in the sand (right at the chart-crashing masterpiece that is New Gold Dream) where both sides overlap but don't dare cross. While fans of the band's earlier work essentially drop off with that record (and choose to live in blissful denial that the band existed after that), those on the other end are more or less oblivious to what's on the other side. So what's on that other, earlier side? Five studio albums released within the span of three years. Five studio albums that range from safe to bold, from impenetrable to accessible, from strange to puzzling, and from good to pee-your-pants phenomenal. Life in a Day, the first of the five records released during this fascinating pre-fame period of Simple Minds' career, is easily the least of the first five. Despite the growing pains, this is a skilled and assured assemblage of guitar-heavy post-punk, with Jim Kerr's over-caffeinated voice taking the lead role. The arrangements are full, direct, and sharply executed. The high points: the teeter-tottering title track and the J. Geils Band like swagger (honestly!) of "Someone." The low point: "Pleasantly Disturbed" an epic Velvet Underground inspired limp that lasts eight very long minutes.