Monday 29 October 2018

Monday Long Song

Panda Bear released 'Person Pitch', his fourth solo LP, during the two year gap between Animal Collective's 6th and 7th records, 'Feels' and 'Strawberry Jam'. An extraordinary piece of work it is too. Samples, loops, found sounds and layers upon layers of vocals combine to produce the kind of noise Brian Wilson might've concocted had the technology been available to him in 1966. This was my most played album of 2007 by a considerable margin.

Panda Bear - Bros

Thursday 25 October 2018

I'm Lost and I Need to be Found

With the return of original drummer Mike Felumlee, the classic line-up of Smoking Popes have issued 'Into the Agony', their first full length LP of new music since 1997's 'Destination Failure'. In the interim there has been a clutch of albums featuring a rotating series of occupants of the drum stool, but from what I've heard of the new record, it's like the last 21 years never happened. Ever wondered what The Ramones might've sounded like if they'd been fronted by prime period Morrissey? Smoking Popes provide the answer. Here's their fantastic 1995 single, 'Need You Around' and from the new LP, 'Amanda My Love'.

Smoking Popes - Need You Around

Smoking Popes - Amanda My Love

Monday 22 October 2018

Monday Long Song

And so we turn to prog - an almost inevitable consequence of hosting a long song series, at least in my world. Van Der Graaf Generator's catalogue offers an embarrassment of riches when it comes to lengthy, intricate pieces. 'Lost' from 1970's 'H to He, Who Am the Only One' is a particular favourite. Lyrically, it's a fairly straightforward ode to a love affair gone wrong, albeit embellished by the odd unexpected time signature and instrumental wig-out.

'...without your hand in mine I am dead, 
reality is unreal and games I've tried just aren't the same, 
without your smile there's nowhere to hide, 
and deep inside I know I've never cried as I'm about to...' 

Think yourselves lucky that on this occasion I didn't dig out the half hour masterpiece that is Emerson Lake & Palmer's 'Karn Evil 9'. It could still happen.

Van Der Graaf Generator - Lost

Thursday 18 October 2018

Masana Temples

From the melodic end of the contemporary psychedelia spectrum, Kikagaku Moyo return with their 4th full length album 'Masana Temples'. As I mentioned at the time (here), the Japanese five piece were initially brought to my attention via a passing comment over at TheRobster's place in 2016 and their brilliant 'House in the Tall Grass' LP quickly ended up among my favourites of that year. From the Stereolab-like vibes of 'Majupose' to the melancholic freak-out that is 'Dripping Sun', I've a strong hunch that 'Masana Temples' will occupy a similarly lofty position in my affections come December.

Monday 15 October 2018

Monday Long Song

'Jean' was assembled for an Alan Lomax tribute event in 2015 by Steven Collins, working as The Owl Service. The Jean in question is Jean Ritchie, an American folk music singer, songwriter, and Appalachian dulcimer player, who was recorded extensively by Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1949 and 1950. It's her sampled voice that you'll hear entering proceedings at the three minute mark, singing a simple phrase that loops, ebbs and flows to great effect for the remainder of the piece. It's a thing of beauty.

The Owl Service - Jean

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Disappear Into the Compost

By the time Siouxsie & the Banshees' 'Join Hands' tour rolled into Ipswich on October 9th 1979 (39 years ago today), two of their number, Kenny Morris and John McKay, had already jumped ship, walking out on the band in Scotland a couple of weeks previously. Budgie from The Slits was quickly drafted in to fill the drum stool while The Cure's Robert Smith suddenly found himself doing a double shift every evening, first fronting support band The Cure, then handling guitar duties for the Banshees. Unsurprisingly, given the volatile circumstances, the band were on explosive form in Ipswich, so much so that two nights later I took myself off to Chelmsford to witness it all over again. Emotions in the Banshees camp were obviously still running high the following month, when they taped a couple of blistering performances for the BBCTV programme Something Else.

In March 1980 Siouxsie & the Banshees released their first post-Morris & McKay single, 'Happy House', for which Budgie retained his position behind the kit and the band welcomed the remarkably talented John McGeoch on guitar. Tucked away on the b-side of the 45, 'Drop Dead/Celebration' opened with the line 'I Hate You I Hate You I Hate You I Hate You...' The bile and viciousness didn't stop there. '...I'm so ashamed to be connected with your name, you're so lame...' and ' should be pushed down, down into the ground amongst the worms, and other spineless things...' Who could the song possibly have been aimed at?

Siouxsie & the Banshees - Drop Dead/Celebration

Monday 8 October 2018

Monday Long Song - Zugspitze

Swedish five piece Zugspitze formed in 2014, playing regularly, recording sporadically and finally, in May of this year, releasing their debut album 'Kalejdofoni'. The LP is in a hand-numbered limited edition of 300. On the actual day of release, the band played a launch concert for 'Kalejdofoni' in their home town of Växjö - immediately after which they split up. More detailed information on Zugspitze is tricky to come by, a situation not helped by the fact that the group share their name with the highest mountain in Germany, which kinda dominates the Google hits. Their record label's website doesn't help, containing no mention of the band whatsoever. So, for the moment at least, all we have is the music.

Zugspitze - Not the Bakerloo Line

Monday 1 October 2018

Monday Long Song

A couple of ongoing family issues have been occupying my mind of late, leaving me with little head-space or enthusiasm for online matters. During one of my brief dips into the blogosphere however, I was pleased to note Drew's return to active service and look forward to properly catching up with his (and everyone else's) posts one of these days. I was particularly interested to see that he's kicked off a new series, Monday's Long Song, and that I may have inadvertently played a small part in planting the seed of the idea for it. This week Swiss Adam has joined in the fun. Given that my own last post (nearly two weeks back) contained a 24 minute epic, you could be forgiven for thinking that I unknowingly jumped the gun, but, in reality, over the last few days there has been only one long song on my mind and turntable.

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