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