Monday 30 April 2012

The Old Pals' Act

I must have met The Prisoner of Mars around 20 years ago. He's a man of exquisite taste and prodigious talent and currently has a couple of albums available as free downloads here.

The majority of his music is self composed, but here's his psyched-up take on the Bee Gees 'Idea'.

Sunday 29 April 2012

Something Else!

We've had an abundance of the sweet pop stuff in the past few days, so to cleanse the palette for the week ahead, I've dug out a little free jazz.

Credited to James Blood Ulmer, this is actually more of a collaborative effort with the mighty Ornette
Coleman on alto sax, Jamaaladeen Tacuma on bass and Ornette's son Denardo on drums.

Ornette Coleman's first three albums, issued at the end of the 1950s are essential components of any jazz
collection. This, however, comes from 1978 and finds him still pushing the music forward. If you like this,
check out his crackling 1976 set 'Dancing in Your Head.'

Saturday 28 April 2012

Perfect Pop - Guest Contributor

By way of rounding off this week's short series of posts, Steven from Manchester has been in touch. Apparently Steven was in a band for a few years in the 1980s and still occasionally finds the time to get up and belt out a few numbers now and then - including these interpretations of some great pop moments.

Thanks for your suggestions Steven and good on you for sticking at it, your big break could be just around the corner.

Friday 27 April 2012

Perfect Pop...Slight Return

Just a few more suggestions of Perfect Pop moments, following on from Tune Doctor's post on Wednesday, this time of a slightly older vintage.

Rod (with The Faces) when he still mattered, Mott the Hoople's epic penultimate single and Altered Images, from their final and (in my opinion) best LP on which every track is a pop nugget.


Thursday 26 April 2012

Perfect Pop

Old Pa's Corner over at Tune Doctor encouraged the suggestion of some Perfect Pop Records, following a great (and heartbreaking) post. I pulled a couple off the top of my head, but held back these to post myself.

Neither tune was released as singles to my knowledge, hence the lack of accompanying videos, but both are sublime, seductive slices of that glorious music we call pop.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Rosebuds and Iron & Wine.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Record Store Musings

As we're celebrating Independent Record Store day, here's something I purchased in 2009 from Permanent Records in Brooklyn, solely on their recommendation, which in turn was based solely on the other purchases I made that day. The self-titled Floating Action album became a favourite of that year and perhaps one I would never have discovered had I not been in that store at that time.

Floating Action has released three albums and is essentially a vehicle for Seth Kauffman who plays everything on the records, drafting in extra musicians for live work. Kauffman also produced the brand new Benny Yurco album 'This is a Future', another fine bunch of tunes I might not have heard had I not walked into that store on that day in 2009.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Levon Helm R.I.P.

'If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out' - Levon Helm.

Monday 16 April 2012

The Radiogram Years

From the ages of 1 (in 1961) to 15 my parents took a birthday photo of me in front of our radiogram, a family tradition only broken by my teenage attitude and refusal to play along by the time it came to 1976. Why the radiogram? I've no idea, other than it stayed the same size as I grew. Also, Dad sold 'Hi-Fi' equipment for most of his working life - I guess the radiogram was cutting edge technology in 1961, although it had certainly seen better days by the mid-70s.


I have many boxes of photos, slides & negatives to plough through, but one day I'd like to get all fifteen birthday shots together in one place for the first time. I've found eight so far. Attached is a sampling from when I still had a modicum of cuteness!


Today is my 52nd birthday. Mum, Dad and the radiogram are all gone. I just wish I hadn't been quite so stroppy in 1976.


Friday 13 April 2012

The Pictures On My Wall #2

An occasional series looking at the memorabilia and mementos I keep close at hand.

I had every intention of marking the 35th Anniversary of the release of the first Clash album with an eloquent post concerning the band's importance and continuing influence on my life, but I just keep finding myself shaking my head thinking....bloody hell - 35 years! Where did that go?

These two pictures have been companions for a good number of those years. Mick Jones in full flight on the 16 Tons Tour crudely cut from a magazine and slapped behind glass alongside a favourite band shot from the Sandinista period - this one an actual photograph, browning and faded from too many hours in the sun, but what an image...what a band.

(Here's a thrilling blast through Remote Control - hold on tight, it's a bumpy ride.)

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Each Season Brings a Change In You

I'm finding it hard to get this wonderful racket out of my head at the moment. Nice visuals too.

Sunday 8 April 2012

The Speed of Sound Turns Decades Into Hours

The record shop I frequented most in the summer of 1977 (and the one I'd eventually work for) kept a 'punk box' of singles behind the counter, which you had to a) know about and b) ask for. Luckily, I was in the know and one morning after hearing it on Peel's radio show the night before, I pulled The Only Ones debut single 'Lovers of Today' from the box and handed over my cash. Much as I was briefly swept along by the nihilistic clatter of some of the second division punk of the day, I primarily like pop songs, however dark, and pop songs don't come much darker than Peter Perrett's.

For the next four years I followed the band from afar, cherishing every recorded moment, but never getting to see them live - and then they were gone.

Thirteen years later Perrett re-appeared with a new band and new songs which were as painful and glorious as ever and, just before this brief chapter also came to a premature conclusion, I finally managed to see him live, at the Mean Fiddler in London. He looked frighteningly frail, but led his band straight into Another Girl, Another Planet, an opening gambit so powerful and unexpected that it took the audience a full five seconds to react at the songs' conclusion. It was one of those moments. After a further ten years of silence, The Only Ones reformed and continue, in some degree, to this day.

From the small glimpses he has allowed us through his songs and the long silences in-between, Peter Perrett's life has clearly not been an easy one. Today he turns 60. Happy birthday and good health Peter.

(Here's a great TV performance of the title track from Peter Perrett's last album of new material in 1996.)

Thursday 5 April 2012

I've Counted All My Fingers & I'm Onto My Thumbs

It's gratifying to see such praise being heaped on Django Django over recent weeks, following the long-awaited release of their debut album. I saw them live in March on triumphant form, when on more than one occasion during the evening they channeled the spirit of Piper era Pink Floyd, whilst maintaining their own individual sound.

Next month finally sees the equally long-awaited (by me anyway!) Clock Opera album. Like Django Django they've released isolated tracks since 2009 followed by prolonged periods of silence.

This is probably my favourite song of the last two years.

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