Sunday, December 02, 2007

yoyo zebra

I've been listening to a lot of Neil Young recently. But any fool knows that if you don't have Decade (err... why?) and you want some Neil Young action, you should get yourself over to the peerless Aquarium Drunkard which regularly cover all things Young-ian amongst loads of other good stuff.

So I'm going to represent the letter 'y' with a cover of Neil Young's Heart of Gold by a rubbish German disco band from the 1970s.

Boney M - Heart of Gold (Neil Young cover)


Visit - Boney M
Buy - Night Flight to Venus

Richard Cook, co-author of the Penguin Guide to Jazz, sadly passed away earlier this year. That book (along with a stint in the jazz department at a local record shop), really led me to a lot of my favourite music ever. With Brian Morton, Cook wrote eloquently and simply. Best of all, he was nearly always right.

One artist that he led me to explore further was American polymorph John Zorn. My first exposure to his music came from the 1989 South Bank Show special about the New York music scene, featuring Zorn and Sonic Youth - I wish now we'd taped the whole programme, not just the SY section!

Over the course of hundreds of albums Zorn has covered a lot of ground so a guide like the Penguin Guide is pretty indispensable - unless you or a close friend has a completist bent and a lot of money.

The Guide rightly points to his breakthrough album The Big Gundown, featuring radical re-workings of Ennio Morricone's music, as an essential release. I think this is pretty much an extension of Zorn's earlier 'game' approach to music, where rules and signals govern the music, rather than a conventional score - for example, he gets legendary jazz harmonica player in to whistle the harmonica theme to Once Upon a Time in America. Most pieces are musical representations of the films they originally scored; in particular the theme to Once Upon a Time in the West pits two howling guitars against each other to represent the final duel. MP3 representations do these tracks no favours at all, so if you're interested, see the link below and buy it, friend!

Because of his love of hardcore (and in particular the mighty Napalm Death), Zorn formed Naked City in 1988, with Bill Frisell (guitars), Fred Frith (bass), Wayne Horvitz (keyboards), Joey Baron (drums), and occasional vocals from Yamatsuka Eye and Mike Patton.

There really isn't a huge amount you can say about this - it's ferocious and utterly visceral and your response is physical rather than intellectual. It mostly makes me nod my head with wide eyes and an open mouth. It's not all ear-bleeding stuff but mostly it's like cleaning your ears out with a switchblade. Mmm-mmm-good.

John Zorn/Naked City - Hammerhead

John Zorn/Naked City - You Will Be Shot

John Zorn/Naked City - Punk China Doll

John Zorn/Naked City - Reanimator

Another great album is the first Masada album, Alef. Masada was an attempt to create a radical new Jewish music - as Zorn said, the idea was to put "Ornette Coleman and the Jewish scales together".

I bought this after borrowing it from Ilkeston library - anyone who has any knowledge of South East Derbyshire will understand how truly bizarre this is.

John Zorn/Masada - Tzofeh

This song is so funky and really gives the lie to the idea that Zorn is just an avant-garde squawker. There are some beautiful lines and some great interplay with Dave Douglas on trumpet. Plus at 3.47 it has one of the best drum solos ever.

Visit - John Zorn / Tzadik
Buy - The Big Gundown
Buy - Naked City
Buy - Masada Alef (expensive import)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

got my lucky harpoon

Cover star: The #1 Google Image result for Italian Disco

Clubhouse - Do It Again / Billie Jean (Steely Dan / Michael Jackson)

Truly horrendous Europop, all the way back from 1983. Is this one of the very first mash-ups?

From the sleevenotes to my copy of Chart Hits 83 (K-Tel - who else?!):
A strong contender for the most ingenious single of the year. The superb meshing of two songs - the traditional Do It Again (performed here a la Steely Dan) and the monster hit Billie Jean (originally by Michael Jackson of course). Another European single, this one made in Italy, but it kept the disco floors warm all over Europe.
(Actually I'd forgotten one of the worst things about this album - the sleeve is a truly eye-f**king shade of hot pink, which completely messes with your vision. As a child, I'd purposefully read the cover then put my hand on top of it and marvel at the shade of green that it had turned...)

Anyway, why am I sharing this? Because filming has begun on Episode 11 of the mighty Yacht Rock! Praise be. I cannot wait! If you don't know what that means, (a) I envy you, and (b) go and watch all 10 previous episodes immediately.

How come the concept of a mash-up is so... five-minutes ago? This next track is one of my absolute favourites. Long-time friends of The Rally will understand immediately why I like this so much...

DJ Shadow - Six Days (Soulwax Mix)

Visit - Yacht Rock
Read - The Blog of the Ghost of Koko Goldstein
Buy - DJ Shadow The Private Repress (import)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Well, it's been very quiet 'round these parts - work-life balance an' all that. And in our absence Radiohead have killed off the music industry. Ker-azy.

So let's party while Rome burns, dig?

Def Jef - Droppin' Rhymes on Drums


Def Jef - God Made Me Funky

The Pharcyde - Pandemonium

These tracks are the result of some recent crate digging, mostly involving digging through my brother's old stuff.

The Def Jef tracks were the source of much amusement to us back in the day. For a start, his name is DEF JEF. Then on the back of the 12" he gives a credit to his hairdresser, which passed into Johnny Domino legend as "Hair by Watusi". On going back to the source, I find that it's actually "Hair by Wasifu".

And there we were thinking his hairdresser had a silly name. Hush our collective mouths.

These hilarious observations aside, these are two pretty banging tracks. Jeffers can certainly flow and Etta James' vocals don't hurt matters. Of the two, "God Made Me Funky" probably has the edge for me - love it from 3.01 when Jeff clears his throat then censors himself ("I ain't effing around..."). Plus the playout from 3.34 will have you in serious danger of snapping yr head off.

Long-time friends of the Rally will now how much we love The Pharcyde (like so). "Pandemonium" is from the soundtrack album to Street Fighter, which Ox got from a clearout at an old McJob he had. I'd forgotten how much I loved this track, at a time when I was severely disappointed by Labcabincalifornia. Still sounds cool to these ears. And the stereo effect at 1.57 just scared the shit out of me.

Buy - Def Jef Droppin' Rhymes on Drums (vinyl)
Buy - Def Jef Just a Poet With Soul (has both tracks on it)
Buy - The Pharcyde Sold My Soul: the Remix and Rarity Collection (includes "Pandemonium")
Buy - Street Fighter OST... but I wouldn't advise it

In other news, I have to tell you that you should really, really consider getting the "All My Friends" EP by LCD Soundsystem. EMI aren't too keen on bloggers posting tracks (so I won't be) but this is the best thing I've heard in ages.

"All My Friends" wasn't my favourite track from Sounds Of Silver, but listening to the three versions here shows what a fantastic track it is. The John Cale version was always going to be interesting and not even Franz Ferdinand can hurt this song! And the LCD version of "No Love Lost" is frickin' brilliant.

I got it from iTunes (you can get it as iTunes Plus album, which means you can bang it on a CD), but you can get it on CD (minus Cale and "No Love Lost"!) here.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

vase watch x-ray

I'll do you a deal - a couple each for V and W cos I'm buggered if I can think of anything to post for X - thankfully my 4AD obsession never got as far as Clan Of Xymox.

Violent Femmes - Add It Up [demo version not on Spotify]

Back in the mid-to-late 1980s we used to go to Nottingham's Selectadisc record shop at least once a week and spend hours and pounds browsing and buying music. On the wall of the shop people would pin 'band-members-wanted'-type notices. They would invariably need a bass player. And they would always have a long list of required influences which would ALWAYS include Violent Femmes.

I think they were included as a wild card, to wrongfoot people who might assume the bands in question were Blast First obsessives and Sonic Youth soundalikes (which I'm sure they invariably were).

It took me a few years to finally hear Violent Femmes but pleasingly they sounded like no-one else and their classic first album still sounds bloody great and utterly unique. OBVIOUSLY you've already got that so this is a demo version included on the recent Rhino "deluxe" version - Gano rushes the acapella intro but when the band kicks in, it'll take yr face off.

Buy - Violent Femmes (Deluxe Edition)
Visit - Violent Femmes

Velvet Underground - Foggy Notion

I know we've already featured the Velvet Underground way back when but this is for Brother Oxbow, who reminded me of this track the other week. Not the cool thing to say, but I much prefer the VU after Cale left and jobbing worker-bee Doug Yule took his place. Velvet Underground and Loaded are in much heavier rotation at Domino towers than ... & Nico and White Light (come on, don't you agree? I won't tell...)

Foggy Notion is from the sessions for the VU's missing 4th album, which all signs point to it being a bit of a belter. I love Mo Tucker's demented and precise drumming (over 6 minutes and she never lets up) and it's great to hear Sterling Morrison letting rip throughout. Plus even Lou Reed sounds like he's having fun! "I've got my calomine lotion", indeed.

Cheers for the reminder, Ox.

Buy - Peel Slowly & See
Visit - The Velvet Underground

DJ Vadim - Till Suns In Your Eye (feat Motion Man)

I can't pretend to know anything about DJ Vadim - I bought this album after hearing a track on a CD given away with Wire magazine. It made me laugh, which is a bit of a rarity for anything connected with Wire, let's face it - the usually required response is a look of intense and intelligent appreciation.

I like the stoner-pleasing voiceover and kazoo but it's the seemingly random drop-outs that make this track worthy of your further investigation. Try dancing to it.

Buy - DJ Vadim's U.S.S.R.: The Art Of Listening
Visit - DJ Vadim

Hank Williams - I Saw The Light

Hank Williams with "Little" Jimmie Dickens - The Old Country Church

I think the reason that Hank Williams' music speaks to so many people is due to his personality - it oozes out of the speakers on every one of his recordings. His voice is kind of cranky and croaky and worn - it's like he's singing down his nose with a comb and paper in the back of his throat. But if ever a voice had lived it was Hank's. And people loved him because he spoke to them about stuff that mattered.

This is another case where I find myself to drawn to the religious songs - I know the hip thing to do is to talk about Hank's women troubles and drinking ("There's a Tear in My Beer", anyone?) but as important as those were to Hank (and his audience), so was religion. There's a real passion and belief on these recordings... which makes me a little envious.

Buy - The Complete Collection
Visit - Hank Williams

M. Ward - Vincent O'Brien

Back in the day, after we'd been to Selectadisc, we'd invariably go to nearby Way Ahead which was run by Tom. Tom currently runs Derby's Reveal Records, which was the Music Awards Independent Retailer of 2005. He also heads up the accompanying record label, home to Joan As Police Woman, Poppy & The Jezebels and others.

A couple of years back, I was going through a fairly turbulent time - mourning the death of a family member, ending a relationship, selling a house, moving back into the family home and starting a new relationship with the future Mrs. Domino. It was a bit mad but everybody deals with this kind of stuff, don't they?

I found myself in Reveal one lunchtime and as was frequently the case, Tom was recommending good music to me. Actually, looking back, he practically forced me to buy M. Ward's Transfiguration of Vincent, which went on to become the soundtrack for my 30th and most important summer. I also bought at least 3 further copies to give to various people. Cheers, Tom.

This is M.Ward's best album in my opinion, a gloriously ramshackle collection of lo-fi homespun majesty and beautiful guitar playing, that was inspired by the death of a close friend. But it's one of those great albums that, despite (because of?) the subject matter, remains totally joyous and life-affirming throughout. If you haven't heard any of Matt Ward's stuff, I'd urge you to start here.

Buy - The Transfiguration of Vincent from Reveal Records
Visit - M. Ward

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

just don't mention the flintstones (reprise)

* This is a reprise of an old post in answer to a request from fred - cheers for stopping by. Remember, if there's anything from the archives that you want to hear again, have a scour through our archives (in the right hand column) and get in touch.*

Following the vinyl excavation that led to the SCARILY popular Muppets post, I've delved into my B-52's back catalogue to give you some nuggets a bit further off the beaten track.

The B-52s - There's A Moon In The Sky (called the moon)

For some reason this never appears on "best-of"s, but it's one of my favourite tracks from their self-titled debut. Great title, bonkers lyrics, fantastic vocals and, as always, the brilliant scrathy guitar playing of Ricky Wilson. See also...

The B-52s - Running Around (instrumental version)

... which crops up on the b-side of the first Island pressing of the "Rock Lobster" 7-inch. It's an instrumental version of a track that would later appear on "Wild Planet", but this (unfinished?) backing track sounds better to my ears than the later version. Lord knows what guitar tuning Ricky was using (I think he only used 5 strings??) but it's SUCH a great sound - all gnarly and rusted and chunky!

The B-52s - Cake

This is from the "Mesopotamia" album, which I think gets a bad press. The album was produced by David Byrne, who brought in a lot of additional players from the Talking Heads live band of the time to fill the sound out. It's a more serious album on the whole and it features two extended groove-fests, opener "Loveland" and "Cake", which is great, depsite featuring one of THE most half-arsed talkie-bits ever recorded.

If you're looking for a B-52's introduction, you could do a lot worse than Rhino's "Nude On The Moon" double CD, which features all of the "Cosmic Thing" album, bar this track, which is my favourite.

The B-52s - Topaz

Yes, the lyrics might be a bit new-age-y, but oh lord can those ladies sing. Beautiful harmonies - and if I remember rightly, that's Nile Rodgers on guitar.

... because we love you!

The B-52s - Rock Lobster (DB Records version)
The B-52s - 52 Girls (DB Records version

These are the 8-track versions that were released as a 7-inch in 1978 by DB Records before the band got signed. Neither version will drastically change the way you feel about the widely released tracks but if you're a fan, I'm sure you'll be interested to hear these early takes if you've never been able to track down a copy yourself. Enjoy!

Visit -
Read - The B-52s Wikipedia entry
Buy - B-52's albums.
Buy - Nude on the Moon: the B-52's Anthology [Us Import]

Sunday, August 05, 2007

can't go back to savoury

John Shuttleworth and his brilliant paean to mealtime melancholy.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

a frog who dreamed of being a king

Touch & Go Records recently launched a digital store, including many hard-to-get gems from their fantastic back catalogue. All releases from the T&G store are 256mbps mp3 format and free of any Digital Rights Management stuff. The mp3 albums are $9.99, which means that listeners in the UK currently get them for the princely sum of a fiver.

The first one I treated myself to was Killdozer's 1989 classic of "musical drudgery", 12 Point Buck!

Killdozer - New Pants and Shirt

Tortuously slow, grindingly relentless, downright hilarious - it's so cool to hear this track again. The lyrics sound to me like the words of a frustrated dandy who's stuck in the middle of nowheresville, where no-one understands his sarcasm or appreciates his dress sense. Born in a pigsty but looking at the stars and dreaming of Broadway, maybe.

The way he despairs of his mother at 2.25 makes me laugh out loud (or ROFLMAO, if you insist) every time. It's all in the delivery and the accent on the ends of words... "beD-uh" is a particular favourite.

I'm hoping that T&G will eventually make For Ladies Only available again - this was the Killdozer cover version album, featuring their glorious take on American Pie. Oxbow had this but he lost it....

Until they do, I'll content myself with the fact 12 Point Buck comes bundled with Little Baby Buntin', including this frightening version of a Neil Diamond song

Killdozer - I Am, I Said [Neil Diamond]

I love the fact that there are times throughout both these albums when you can hear the band really chomping at the bit, naturally wanting to go just a little bit faster, but holding it back. It's like a cartoon where someone's trying to stop a train going off a cliff by digging their heels in and holding on for dear life.

Buy - Killdozer 12 Point Buck / Little Baby Buntin' from Touch & Go
Visit - Touch and Go / Quarterstick Records
Read - Killdozer's 1988 European Tour Diary

domino rally: 306 - 401

We recently went over the 400 mark. I told myself a while back that I'd stop posting after 400 songs but there's a few more tracks to come, don't worry!

As always, most of these tracks are long gone - if you missed anything, let me know.

306) Secret Chiefs 3 - Renunciation
307) Secret Chiefs 3 - The 3 [Ishraqiyun]
308) Secret Chiefs 3 - Anthropomorphosis: Boxleitner [Ur]
309) Marvin Gaye - You Can Leave, But It's Going To Cost You
310) Marvin Gaye - Everybody Needs Love
311) Marvin Gaye - A Funky Space Reincarnation
312) Miles Davis - Miles Runs The Voodoo Down (live, 1970)
313) Unsane - Bath
314) Unsane - 4 Stix (Led Zepellin cover)
315) Genius/GZA - Gold
316) Van Dyke Parks - The Eagle And Me
317) The High Llamas - Sparkle Up
318) The High Llamas - Literature Is Fluff
319) The High Llamas - Peppy
320) The High Llamas - Campers In Control
321) Thin White Rope - Yoo Doo Right
322) Thin White Rope - On The Floe
323) Thin White Rope - Puppet Dog
324) Thin White Rope) Americana / The Ghost
325) More Fiends - Vinyl Grind
326) More Fiends - More Fiends Theme
327) Ricky Nelson - Travelin' Man
328) Bobby Darin - Not For Me
329) Bobby Darin - Oo-ee-Train
330) Bobby Darin - Lazy River
331) Spinal Tap - Christmas with the Devil
332) Mary Margaret O'Hara - Christmas Evermore
333) The Handsome Family - So Much Wine
334) John Shuttleworth - The Christmas Ophan
335) Lisa Germano - Messages From Sophia
336) Hanna-Barbera - Dastardly And Muttley [Main Title]
337) Hanna-Barbera - The Flintstones [End Title]
338) Hanna-Barbera - Perils Of Penelope Pitstop [Main Title]
339) Hanna-Barbera - Hair Bear Bunch [Main Title]340) Hanna-Barbera - Secret Squirrel [Main Title]
341) Hanna-Barbera - Hong Kong Phooey [Main Title]
342) Hanna-Barbera - Josie & The Pussycats [Main Title]343) Hanna-Barbera - Josie & The Pussycats [End Title]
344) Hanna-Barbera - Touché Turtle [Main Title]
345) Hanna-Barbera - Wacky Races [Main Title]
346) Hanna-Barbera - Tra La La Song [Banana Splits Theme]
347) Acoustic Ladyland - New Me
348) Tripmaster Monkey - Albert's Twisted Memory Bank
349) Tripmaster Monkey - Pecola
350) Tripmaster Monkey - Depravation Test
351) The Swimmers - It's Time They Knew
352) The Swimmers - Home
353) Funkadelic - Loose Booty
354) Funkadelic - Biological Speculation
355) Funkadelic - Everybody Is Going To Make It This Time
356) Jerry Lee Lewis - Lewis Boogie
357) Jerry Lee Lewis - High School Confidential
358) Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lotta Shakin ' Goin' On
359) The Coconut Monkeyrocket - Juicy Jungle
360) Dialogue - Girl From S. I. N. Trailer (1966)
361) Dialogue - Strange Rampage Trailer (1967)
362) Rocky Roberts & The Airdales - The Bird's The Word (1968)
363) Animal Collective - Who Could Win a Rabbit
364) The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Choir - Kalimankou Denkou
365) Chickasaw Mudd Puppies - Nighttime (Ain't Got No Eyes)
366) Deerhoof - Wrong Time Capsule
367) Deerhoof - The Perfect Me
368) Ella Guru - Noisy Insects
369) Flatt & Scruggs - Pike County Breakdown
370) Flatt & Scruggs - I'll Be Going To Heaven Sometime
371) Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart
372) His Name Is Alive - The Dirt Eaters
373) His Name Is Alive - Man On The Silver Mountain
374) The Ink Spots - If I Didn't Care
375) The Ink Spots - Whispering Grass (Don't Tell The Trees)
376) The Ink Spots - I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire
377) Hank Mizell - Jungle Rock
378) Kitchens Of Distinction - The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule
379) Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Twisted
380) M|A|R|R|S - Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)
381) Nina Nastasia - Ugly Face
382) Oxes - Kaz Hayashi '01
383) Colourbox - Baby I Love You So [12"]
384) Colourbox - Hot Doggie
385) Colourbox - The Moon Is Blue
386) Faces - Pool Hall Richard
387) Liz Phair - Divorce Song
388) Liz Phair - Stratford-On-Guy
389) A Tribe Called Quest - Buggin' Out
390) Rodan - The Everyday World Of Bodies
391) Fu-Schnickens - Breakdown
392) Stereolab - We're Not Adult Orientated
393) Stereolab - The Extension Trip
394) Stereolab - How To Play Your Internal Organs Overnight
395) Tarnation - The Well
396) Uncle Tupelo - Looking For A Way Out
397) Uncle Tupelo - Postcard
398) Uncle Tupelo - Moonshiner
399) Uncle Tupelo - New Madrid
400) Chet Baker - Time After Time
401) Thelonious Monk - Everything Happens To Me [Take 3]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

this machine kills fascists

No tunes today, just a request. I'm assuming y'all are good people and that we're all enjoying this sharing thang we've got going here. So this is a request that I received from my brother-in-law.

According to the stats we have around 300 visitors everyday, so it'd be pretty cool if some of you got on board with this and helped smudge out a little bit of grimy, small-minded thuggery, thereby making the world a better place, if only for a short while. Thanks.

Over to you, Marcus:

The British National Party are planning on holding a "Red White and Blue" day in Denby [a small village outside Derby, just down the road from me] next month and are anticipating a crowd of 2,000. One of the organisers says that the event will be "peaceful", yes of course, those BNP gatherings are well known for being peaceful affairs aren't they?

We don't want the fascist BNP congregating en masse in Derbyshire.... anywhere, so I am appealing to people to do their bit to stop this from going ahead and reminding the Nazis that, despite a small-scale level of support in some villages near the M1, their presence is not wanted here. All you need to do is email Amber Valley district council and tell them you are opposed to the plan - you don't even need to live in the area to do this.

[so you can see why I thought about posting this on here...]

Remember Bradford in 2001 and the mayhem that was triggered by the BNP and National Front? There's a very real chance of this happening in either Derby or Nottingham - remember the BNP instigated all the trouble because the police gave them a free-reign on the city. We don't want this to happen again.

Here's a newslink:

Email: and tell them that you heard about the plans for the event. Even though it is to be held on private land, if the council receive enough complaints they can (and hopefully, will) stop it from taking place.

Please forward this to anyone else who you think ought to know about this, particularly people who live nearby.
Thanks a lot!

Monday, July 16, 2007

the wedding present

Friday, June 29, 2007

seal tiger unicycle

... and one month later, I finally get broadband hooked up at the new house! Hi there.

Stereolab are one of those bands that I seem to have a lot of records by, even though I don't love them (see also: Super Furry Animals). Unpacking the CDs after moving in led me to play a couple of the releases I do have.

And even though their earlier material (Switched On for example) is quite dated (does anyhody else remember Bleach?), and despite the fact that the dour-faced duo of Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier is a French & Saunders sketch waiting to happen (think about it - Dawn French as Tim, doggedly ploughing through the Roadrunner riff ad infinitum as Jennifer Saunders urges bloody revolution in a deathless somnambulent croon), I still found much to enjoy. Like this track - wherein they get off the Roadrunner riff and instead mine the end section to What Goes On to genuinely thrilling effect. Play loud for full effect.

Stereolab - We're Not Adult Oriented

They even replicate the Lou-Reed-fastest-guitarist-in-the-world rhythmic clatter from 4.46 onwards!

When I listened to their stuff again, I really enjoyed these tracks from the Music for the Amorphous Body Study Center EP.

Stereolab - The Extension Trip

Stereolab - How To Play Your Internal Organs Overnight

High Llama Sean O'Hagan had appeared on many Stereolab releases by the point this came out but this sounds more like a flat-out collaboration - the arrangements are pure Hawaii to my ears, especially the strings on ...Internal Organs...

Visit - Stereolab
Buy - Space Age Bachelor Pad Music
* The Wikipedia entry for Amorphous Body Study Center makes it sound like a real rarity - I got my copy for 99p in the HMV sale back in the day. But the tracks are all on Aluminum Tunes, so get that instead.

'T' was tricky - we've already featured Talking Heads, Throwing Muses, They Might Be Giants, Thin White Rope, Thin Lizzy, Trumans Water and Tripmaster Monkey, so where else can you go?

Tarnation - The Well

But this is a track that seems to crop up pretty regularly when I'm shuffling on iTunes and it never gets moved on. I genuinely know very very little about Tarnation - follow the link to learn ... er, not much, actually.

Anyhoo, this is a great epic slice of country Gothic, featuring a truly great vocal, all swoopy and tremulous, with some resolutely wonky slide guitar. Nice.

I only got this track from Facing The Wrong Way, one of those compilation albums that record shops gave away when someone bought a related artist that featured most of the 4AD roster at the time. This was easily the best track so I don't know why (considering my well-documented penchant for most things v23) I never investigated further.

Paula Frazer, lead Tarnat-or, is still doing stuff in between bouts of professional weaving.

Visit - Paula Frazer/Tarnation
Buy - Gentle Creatures by Tarnation, the album I never did...

Uncle Tupelo were a very, very special band for me and my friends in the early 90s. It's strange, but their widescreen tales of blue-collar life in the States really struck a chord with a bunch of pasty-faced middle-class slackers. I guess it's just because they wrote fantastic, honest, heartfelt and passionate songs. Yeah, I think that was it.

Uncle Tupelo - Looking For A Way Out

History seems to have picked the acoustic version of this track as the take to anthologise, but this is the keeper for me. I suppose all countries have their small, inward-looking towns - that might have been another link. Doesn't excuse us all singing along in crap American accents, tho'...

Uncle Tupelo - Postcard

I was lucky enough to see the band in Leeds on their last UK tour as a trio - if memory serves this was the first song they played, which neatly pinned my plaid shirt to the back wall of the Duchess of York.

Uncle Tupelo - Moonshiner

Their acoustic album March 16-20, 1992 was the first album of theirs I bought - I think I read a particularly glowing review in Melody Maker so thought I'd take the plunge. Tracks like this - a great track that, intentionally of otherwise, welds Heart of Gold to a traditional song - totally won me over, especially the tiny drum fill at 2.13 that's followed by a harmonica line that heads straight for the nape of your neck.

Uncle Tupelo - New Madrid

I've written before about the fact that, when UT split, everyone expected gruff-voiced-everyman Jay Farrar to go onto glory, rather than Jeff Tweedy. And I've kind of mirrored that with the tracks I've chosen, as all except the last are Farrar songs. Having said that, if someone made me choose my favourite UT song (and it's been hard enough choosing 4 for this post), I'd have to pick New Madrid, which is a Tweedy track. If anyone has a bootleg of the mighty glam-rock version of this that Wilco played on the Being There tour, please get in touch!

BTW - ignore the naysayers. Sky Blue Sky is the best Wilco album so far, I reckon!

Visit - Uncle Tupelo
Buy - Uncle Tupelo CDs

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

communication breakdown (temporary)

Fu-Schnickens - Breakdown

The thing I love about this track is the idea that The Schnicks would get together in the studio to talk about the track they're going to record. Two of the band say, okay, I'm going to rap about or this or that. The third guy goes, "well, that sounds pretty cool, but I know what this track really needs.... some Warner Bros. Loony Tunes impressions and sound effects!!"

The other two hang their heads in despair... "not again..."

The bit at 1.21 when he launches into the most demented bit of rapping is fantastic. Prior to this it's fairly generic low-riding West-Coast hip hop. Which it reverts to for the third verse. And the Loony Tunes fella usually goes second on Fu-Schnickens tracks - imagine being the guy who has to follow him?

Buy - Fu-Schnickens Nervous Breakdown
Visit - Fu-Schnickens (Wikipedia)

Anyway, the title of this post refers to the fact that I'm moving house at the end of this week, which means I'm going to be without a home broadband connection. Which means unless something miraculous happens, and one of the other Dominoids does a post, things are going to be fairly quiet 'round these parts. I'll leave all the recent tracks up for a while and will try to do something when I get the chance but there you go.

Play nicely.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

pencil queen rainbow

This alphabetical trek through my CD collection has thrown up some really interesting stuff for me, things where I'd forgotten how much I loved them - hope you're enjoying them too.

Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville was one of my favourite albums during my last year at university and is one of the few instances where I've had a real-life High Fidelity moment - where you're idly browsing in a record shop (Record Collector in Sheffield, fact fans) and ask the assistant what's playing then buy it on the spot. If I remember rightly the guy who served me moaned that it was the only copy they had... This was a phenomenon that would return to haunt me when I worked in the jazz department of my local Virgin Megastore - Coltrane's Giant Steps and Wynton Marsalis' Joe Cool's Blues were the popular choices, if memory serves.

Anyhoo, Liz Phair - I like to think my reaction to this album was more sophisticated than the thrill of a feisty American woman with a dirty mouth but I can't be sure... I do know that I really dug the sloppy lo-fi recording, her gnarly guitar playing plus her can't-be-arsed vocal style.

Liz Phair - Divorce Song

This track has one of the most affecting lyrics on the album and gets away from any accusations of stomping on the potty-mouth pedal for a cheap thrill.

Liz Phair - Stratford-On-Guy

On reflection this album is still well worth checking out if you can - a big sprawling and ambitious double-album. The second album Whip-Smart has a couple of decent tracks but gets a bit "auto-pilot". Later albums have resorted to collaborations with pop tyrants The Matrix and more explicit shock tactics, resulting in some comically stinking reviews.

Visit - Liz Phair
Buy - Exile in Guyville

Hand me the crowbar...

A Tribe Called Quest - Buggin' Out
(file under 'Q')

From their magnificent Low End Theory album, this is officially stevedomino's FAVOURITE HIP HOP TRACK EVER. This is just perfect - a smokin' beat, cool bass line, fantastic rhymes, the works. Awesome stuff and effortlessly cool, this is everything that I want hip hop to be.

I remember dancing to this in a club in Nottingham BACK IN THE DAY with our friend the Singing Detective - whaddup, homez?

Visit - A Tribe Called Quest
Buy - The Low End Theory

Rodan - The Everyday World Of Bodies

Second-string, Louisville-based, post-Spiderland math-rockers in 12 minute track shocker.

This is an album that I bought after hearing a track of theirs on a compilation tape from good friend the Archdeacon of Pop - think it was from a Simple Machines 7"? Anyway, the album was a bit of a disappointment but this tracks still rocks a fat-one. Fantastic chunky guitars and some great drumming - golly, they seem awfully cross about something... Great pay-off moment at 8.00.

You know how people who read books with small print can suffer problems with their eyesight? Do you think that people who came of musical age in the late-80s/early-90s and listened to a diet of mumblecore bands like Bitch Magnet, Slint and Rodan will develop hearing problems later on in life? Think about it.

Visit - Rodan
Buy - Rusty (limited availability)
Or you could try eBay

Thursday, May 17, 2007

upstairs before the night's too old...

Rod Stewart - Tonight's The Night video

You know the weirdest thing about this strange STRANGE video? The fact you don't see the face of the "lucky lady" at all. Maybe it's being brought up on a diet of The Kenny Everett Television Show, but I keep expecting "her" to turn 'round to reveal a bearded engineer with a cheesy grin, giving a thumbs-up to the camera.

So many wrong things, not least the fact that Rod can't play the guitar. There's a look in Rod's eyes that says his target is one of many (as he/she undoubtedly was!), to be used up like so much cheap hotel toilet paper as our hero rampages around the world ruining women and the Tom Waits songbook alike. Chilling.

None of which helps to explain why this tartan-wearing be-mulletted sex-pest sings on at least 4 of my absolute favourite songs of all time...

Faces - Pool Hall Richard

This track is my choice for the latest edition of the mighty Contrast Podcast on the theme of "Every Tom, Dick or Harry". In my intro I make reference to my problem with Rod but none of that can take away from how great a band Faces were. Just listen to this track; after the guitar intro, there's a really sloppy Kenny Jones drum fill - "ba-doom, ba-doom, bap!" - and there's a pause - all of a nanosecond! - before the band fall-in behind like an almighty rock workhorse and crack on with a relentless piece of barroom boogie. It's a tiny little pause but it makes me catch my breath every time!

I can only imagine how powerful they would have sounded live at the time, with Rod as the leader of the gang with THE ULTIMATE Rock voice, like he's been gargling paint thinner.

Visit - Faces
Buy - Good Boys...When They're Asleep: the Best of the Faces

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

you can't meet the duke, are you crazy??!

As I mentioned last time, Colourbox (brothers Martyn and Steve Young) were one half of the equation that resulted in M|A|R|R|S and Pump Up The Volume. Prior to that they were the pop-jokers in the 4AD Vaughan-Oliver-designed pack, releasing cut-and-paste tracks with big beats alongside sweet reggae-tinged pop. Here are a few of my favourite tracks of theirs, which have been in heavy rotation since my alphabetically-themed post popped them into my head the other day.

Colourbox - Baby I Love You So (12")

Lovely big slab of dub with the gorgeous vocals of Lorita Grahame floating over the top as the boys monkey about with a big box of tricks - check the massive echo dropped in at various points throughout the track.

In a way, they were the perfect band for me during my tape-compilation-making days in the late 80s. Like me, they were obsessed with bad dialogue from obscure films - John Carpenter's Escape From New York (and the mighty Snake Plisskin!) above ...

Colourbox - Hot Doggie

... and Herschell Gordon Lewis' Two Thousand Maniacs! here. This was from 1987s Lonely Is An Eyesore compilation, a decent-ish compilation marred by the worst sleeve notes this side of Zang Tumb Tuum.

With the 80s liberally dripping down the walls, this is another side of the Colourbox sound - big slabs of guitar, huge beatboxes and gleefuly pilfered sounds from a land before anti-sampling legislation. And before samplers - the Young brothers used quarter-inch tape and delay units to build up these tracks.

Colourbox - The Moon Is Blue

The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme gets all the props, but this is my absolute favourite Colourbox song, a camp and wonky big-band torch song to scream from the rooftops. To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel, "How much more 80's could it be?... And the answer is, 'none'... 'none more 80s'".

I remember that Tom Hibbert named this track Single Of The Fortnight in Smash Hits back in the day! Why would I remember that when I can never find my keys? Whatever, this song is bloody great, and did precisely nothing when it was released.

Apparently, years of public indifference coupled with the legal problems they had immediately following Pump Up The Volume's success are the reasons Colourbox never recorded again. Boo.

Visit - Colourbox at 4AD
Buy - Colourbox (1986) - features 'The Moon Is Blue'
Buy - The Best of Colourbox - features the other two tracks

Thursday, April 26, 2007

monkey necklace owl

Back to 4AD AGAIN for the B-Side of 1987's Number 1 smasheroo Pump Up The Volume. As any fool knows this was the collaboration between AR Kane, Colourbox and CJ Macintosh which really brought sampling into the charts. I'd love to say that I got this single at the time but let's face it, I was a real indie snob. I only bought the 12" after hearing this track, the double A side.

M|A|R|R|S - Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)

Apparently (according to youknowwho) this wasn't a happy collaboration, with AR Kane and Colourbox working in seperate studios on the two tracks; Pump Up The Volume being mostly the work of The Box, with minimal input from the Kaners.

As far as Anitina went, AR Kane brought the elephantine-feedback and sheets of guitar noise (plus blissed-out vocals and ickle-baby-acid-head lyrics), while Colourbox supplied the monumental beats and heavy dub effects which really make the track - the best bit is from 4.37 when it all goes underwater before the gallop to the finish line. Still sounds great.

Back in the day, Simon Reynolds would have called this oceanic dub-rock.

Hmmm, Colourbox... methinks I feel a non-alphabetical post coming on...

Visit - M|A|R|R|S (Wikipedia)
Buy - Pump Up The Volume CD (import)

Nina Nastasia - Ugly Face

Oxes - Kaz Hayashi '01

These go together because they were amongst the last artists that I really got turned onto by John Peel. And both of them involved me staring open-mouthed at the radio as I heard something that I really wasn't expecting, which is an experience that I will never have again. Think about it - the media continue to move more and more towards narrowcasting, with genre programs increasingly ghettoised in their own little compartments. The opportunities for exposure to something unexpected are increasingly rare.

Ugly Face was in a late-night Festive 50 show and just gobsmacked me, it's so spine-chilling. I know I've (kind-of) featured Nina Nastasia on here before, but she really is a great artist. And it's so cool to hear Steve Albini's recording style applied to this sort of music, which it suits so well. Plus you don't hear enough bowed saw these days.

Oxes I heard on a live session from Maida Vale which entailed me sitting in the car outside my house, grinning like a tit and not being able to go in until the session finished. I guess they could come across as slightly academic math-rockers but I think they're genuinely hilarious.

I have a theory that they were all massive metal geeks as kids and are trying to get to the motherlode of Great Riffs (as it were), knocking out the keystones of rock lore ad infinitum until they achieve some kind of cosmic high. Whilst pulling rock poses, jumping off things and gurning.

Just listen - it's like Stars on 45 for metal riffs. For example, I reckon there are definite echoes of Iron Maiden in this track, especially the rumpty-tumpty-Run-To-The-Hills section at 0.37

Visit - Nina Nastasia
Buy - The Blackened Air

Visit - Oxes
Visit - Oxes (MySpace)
Buy - Oxxxes

Sunday, April 15, 2007

jacket kite ladder

Apologies for the extended period of radio silence. I should explain that when I started on this alphabetical kick, I set myself some limitations - notably, that I would only post tracks by artists whose name began with the letter in question, that I'd choose only one artist per letter and that I wouldn't feature anyone who'd already appeared on Domino Rally. As such, I've been having a nightmare picking tracks for this post, and the results are possibly more random than usual.

Hank Mizell - Jungle Rock
(oh give me a break, when you've already featured Billy Joel where else do you go?)

This is, quite simply, one of the strangest songs ever, with a pretty weird story to boot. Recorded in 1956, the song wasn't a hit until 1976 when it got to #3 in the UK - leading to what must have been the odd spectacle of Mizell aged 53 miming along to his younger self on Top Of The Pops.

I first heard it on some Rock n Roll cassette compilations that my granddad had - I think he lent them to my dad. These were kind of the early 80s versions of those Time Life compilations that you see advertised on daytime TV between infomercials for Abdominizers, Thigh Masters and suchlike.

It always sounded creepy and unfinished, half-written and hollow sounding. The bass line is all over the place (is it even playing the same track as everyone else during the intro?) and the guitar moves into this strange minor-key thing for the chorus. Plus Hank keeps hammering away at those same two (and a bit) notes for the entire length of the song. Totally relentless nonsense - love it!

Visit - Hank Mizell at Wikipedia
Buy - Jungle Rock (import)

Kitchen of Distinction - The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule

Surely one of the worst band names in history. But from 1989 to 1991 I loved this strange little band. Looking back, they were the shoegaze band for grown-ups - rather than writing lyrics where meaning was "up to the listener to provide their own interpretation (mumble, mumble)", KOD tracks were about stuff. But they still had that whole oceanic walls of sound thing going on - seriously, how many delay pedals do you need to get that guitar sound?

And having said that, I've got no idea what this track is about. I guess it's just about that fantastic, huge swell of noise that comes after "everything went...!". And to ask for any more meaning than that from a pop song is a bit silly, really.

This was the first track I heard by them and over the course of the next two years and many purchases I learnt that it was easily their best track. But the bit at 2.17 still makes the hairs on my neck stand on end EVERY TIME which is more than I can say for many records I bought at the time by their hipper contemporaries (see Moose, Lush, Slowdive, et al).

According to Wikipedia their sound influenced bands like Mansun, The Verve and Interpol.... err....thanks?!?

Visit - Kitchens of Distinction at Wikipedia
Buy - Love Is Hell

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Twisted

Awesome skwee-bo scat singing here. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross specialised in writing new arrangements and lyrics for jazz tunes and here is Annie Ross' amazingly liquid vocal to Wardell Gray's melody. I've never heard the original but Ross' lyrics fit the feel of the track so snugly, I can't imagine how it could sound any better than this. The lyrical flow on show here is simply astonishing and I love Lambert and Hendricks' semi-sung interjections throughout (especially at 1.30).

It swings hard, it sounds supercool and it's funny, too (their version of Art Blakey's "Moanin'" is cool, too).

FUN FACT - Annie Ross played the jazz singer (and Lori Singer's mum) in Robert Altman's fantastic Short Cuts, one of stevedomino's top 10 films of all time!

Visit - Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Buy - The Hottest New Group in Jazz

Thursday, March 29, 2007

grapes house ink

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart

This one was a Christmas present from Oxbow a few years back. Before that, as far as I was concerned Gorky's were just that Welsh band who did that annoying 'Patio' song. But How I Long to Feel That Summer In My Heart is still an album that I dig out pretty regularly. On first listen it can seem a bit slight but repeated listens make it stick with you, as bits of The Beatles and High Llamas drift by. It's good simple music, which is really hard to do well without sounding lazy or pat.

And it really does make me feel that summer in my heart. This track in particular sounds like late August evenings playing with your mates on the park, the sun streaming across the sky just before you have to go home.

The soundtrack to a Welsh "Wonder Years", if you will.

Buy - How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart
Visit - Gorky's Zygotic Mynci

His Name Is Alive - The Dirt Eaters

His Name Is Alive - Man On The Silver Mountain (Rainbow cover)

Nutty name, nutty guys. Back to 4AD for this one, a band I was pretty much obsessed with in the face of much shoulder-shrugging from my peers. Looking back they're the archetypal, precious, 23 Envelope/V23 project, with more than a whiff of This Mortal Coil about them. But I loved the air of mystery, the pick'n'mix song-styles and (let's face it) the pretensions so much that I persevered beyond their patchy and sublimely gothic first 4AD release, Livonia, through the fantastic 23-track "mental illness" album, Home Is In Your Head, up to their 3rd album, 1993's Mouth By Mouth, before I said 'enough'.

These two tracks are from The Dirt Eaters EP, my favourite of their releases. "The Dirt Eaters" made an appearance on Mouth By Mouth but in a rocked-out version; this is sparser and much better for it (according to ubiquipedia, the sample is Jack Nicholson from Ironweed. Not knowing the film, I always heard it as Ronald Reagan....). The Rainbow cover was the unlisted first track - I've always liked it 'cos it sounded like a HNIA piss-take (a hushed, folksy take on a stadium rawk belter? the very idea...), and hinted at a self-deprecating sense of humour hidden behind the Vaughan Oliver artwork.

His Name Is Alive are still going and still doing interesting stuff, going from gothic folk to Beach Boys pastiches to psychedelic R'n'B and back again. Check their website and particularly the tracklisting for the 10 CD wooden "Cloud Box" set. Hmmm, challenging!

Buy - The Dirt Eaters EP is only available on this import of Home Is In Your Head, or
Buy - Always Stay Sweet, a 21-song best-ofVisit - His Name Is Alive

The Ink Spots - If I Didn't Care

The Ink Spots - Whispering Grass (Don't Tell The Trees)

The Ink Spots - I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire

From the corner marked "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"...

The Ink Spots are a band who had loads of hits with EXACTLY THE SAME SONG. Check it out:

Rambling ascending guitar intro...
Plaintive tenor lead vocal...
Talky bit...

I could have picked any three of their songs and would most likely have hit on the same structure in each. Listening to a whole album by them is weird, like being stuck in a lift where the muzak is looping indefinitely, or some weirdly soothing Groundhog Day.

I love these songs. And the balls on them to keep doing the same thing over and over!

Buy - The Ink Spots - The Ultimate Collection
Visit - The Ink Spots (Wikipedia)
Visit - The Ink Spots