The gems that Youtube throws up never fail to amaze me.
‘Suna No Onna” (or “The Woman in the Dunes” in English) is my number one favourite Japanese film (and an excellent book too) that tells the story of a weekend insect collector on a day trip from Tokyo who gets trapped in the sandscape of a mysterious Japanese town.
The sand itself almost becomes a character and the multilayered metaphors are ripe for interpretation/misinterpretation. The flawless directing is topped off with a stunning soundtrack and amazing performances all round.
I read that it made quite an international impact when it was first released in 1968 and if anyone hasn’t seen it and has a spare couple of hours it is well worth watching/reading.
*It’s not quite as erm…erotic as the front still implies, although there is a bit of that in it!
The Word was an anarchic late night post-pub live TV show in the early 90s that had interviews, games, members of the public doing outrageous shit and – for me, the main point – live music.
It was condescendingly dubbed ‘yoof’ TV at the time and derided by the media as childish and a degradation of culture. The critics were probably media people in their late 20s/early 30s that hated being made to look old by a programme that was truly outrageous (one memorable slot had people drinking salt water, puking in a cup and then immediately drinking their own puke!) and anarchic and made the custard pie throwing of 80s entertainment look quaint in comparison. They probably hated all the noisy music too!
Here are a few performances that all had a profound impact on at least one meek and mild suburbun boy.
Rage Against the Machine – Killing In The Name
Loads of swearing and a stage invasion – what’s not to like?!
I was listening to Tiger’s excellent debut LP from 1996 “We are Puppets” yesterday and thinking what a shame it was that they have pretty much been completely forgotten. So, I came up with an idea for a mini-series of posts on forgotten 90s bands, starting with Tiger of course!
Malcolm Maclaren famously discovered Johnny Rotten walking up the Kings Road wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt that he had added the legend “I hate” to in marker pen. Well, Mr. Rotten may be prone to bouts of twattishness these days, but when it comes to Pink Floyd (edit: I just mistyped it as “Punk Floyd” – oh the irony!), I couldn’t agree more.
I just can’t stand them! I’m not quite sure why, I think it’s a combination of being overblown and pompous but boring at the same time. I know it’s not regarded as their best (and it might not work without the film), but I would go as far to say that “The Wall” is the worst album I’ve ever heard! It’s the only record I’ve ever given away.
I know, I know, that’s a lot of negativity, for which I apologise. So here’s my challenge: what Pink Floyd track would you recommend to persuade me of their greatness? Or at least make me hate them a little bit less.
*Feel free to nominate your own Achilles heel’s to be converted to
I’ve been on my sickbed today (don’t worry, nothing serious, just a bit fluey) so I dragged the portable turntable into the living room and have been listening to a few things I haven’t listened to in a while.
I was just taking in a Fatcat Records compilation double album (“Across Uneven Terrain – 1997-1999″) and thinking how great it was (erm…if you like experimental minimalist electronica) and then I realised just how few COMPILATION albums I own. It’s probably less than ten and I only listen to a few of them regularly. I suppose it’s all linked with my fear of ‘shuffle’ and the pleasure I get from the arc of a well put together album, but I can’t help thinking that I’m missing out on something.
Shane mentioned the 50 Years of African Independence mammoth comp. recently, which I’ve been delving into with what I can find online, and I know there are the classics like Nuggets and C86 (which Blimpy Spilled a couple of years ago), but would love some more recommendations for decent comps to get my teeth into.
*NOT ‘Greatest Hits’ albums and not self-compiled mixtapes (although they usually are the best!).
Phew…. this was far more difficult than it had any right to be! I definitely over-thought everything and seemed to have ended up with a totally different list than I had planned.
I envisioned a cool, eclectic, hop, skip and jump through my record collection, touching down on a variety of genres from a range of eras. But when I started pulling records off the shelf, I got all distracted and sidetracked and my 11 track list turned into a 30 track one, with a heavy bias towards abrasive breakcore!
Out went the jazz, Finnish electronica and Nigerian psychedelic organ and in came the powerpop and Lebanese bozok! None of my usual roll-call of favourites made it either. No Liars. No Clinic. No Nirvana. No Anaal Nathrakh. No Not Not Fun, No…..oh you get the idea. I think it’s more of a mixtape than 11 stand alone tracks, but anyway, here’s what I ended up with…Oh…and I decided to go chronological, no one has done that yet have they?!
Do you ever get those WTF moments that just make you stop for a second and marvel at the diverse and interconnected world we are lucky enough to live in?
Don’t you just love living in a world where a 7 year old kid in Finland can start recording music on his dad’s iPhone in “Finnish, English and Gibberish”, get it released on CD, played on the radio by a DJ in New York, whose show is downloaded by an Englishman in Japan, who then Spills it to the world on a UK-based website to listen to on their computers or generic MP3 devices wherever they may be?!
My adoration for NYC indie-art-pop weirdos Liars is well documented on the ‘Spill, so I won’t go over it again, but I was a little worried when I heard they had a new album coming out. Everything they release is pretty much head and shoulders above the competition (their last LP “Sisterworld” was my #1 album of 2010) – not that a unique band like Liars really have any contemporaries, the only comparable band I can think of that have evolved and gone off on tangents from album to album, keeping their fans guessing whilst staying true to themselves are the ever-wonderful Japanther – erm…where was I? Oh yes, I was worried because the last two records, while never less than great, were edging closer and closer to making Liars a conventional guitar indie-rock band, which is a cardinal sin in Liarsworld.
I was relieved then when I dropped the needle on “WIXIW” (pronounced ‘wish you’ apparently) and found that they had chucked out their guitars and brought in a darkly pulsating keyboard sound to produce an incredible and thoughtful late-night introspective, (but not too introspective, it’s basically an electronica album after all!) album that harks back to their finest hour, 2005′s “Drums Not Dead”.
“WIXIW” starts slowly and thoughtfully, before deep bass beats kick in for track 2 and the juxtaposition between the electronic beats and the fragile sounding voice and lyrics gives it an emotional punch lacking from the last couple of records. I’m sure it will get compared to “KId A” or something like that, that’s not a bad thing, but it is not quite accurate and would detract from what makes Liars such a unique and special band.
A new album from everyone’s favourite noise-rock art terrorists, but not new material as such. The 7 tracks on “Oblivion Hunter” were actually recorded between the previous two albums, but they are just releasing them now.
This might suggest that it is a cash-in exercise in off-cuts that didn’t make the grade for the last albums, but instead the tracks here give the impression that the Brians were jamming, experimenting and trying out new ideas, which makes it a more playful and diverse record then either of the last two proper albums.
From the opening salvo of classic LB “King Candy”, to the (gasp!) quietly contemplative “The Soft Spoken Spectre” to the epic 13 minute wig-out of “World Wobbly Wide” the whole thing is over in under 40 minutes and what should have been a mere stop-gap fan pleaser turns out to be one of their best yet.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Allelujah! Don’t Bend Ascend!”
Unbelievably, it’s been 10 long years since their last album and the world has been a poorer place without them. I had no idea the album was even out when I stumbled across it whilst window record shopping in my lunch break. As I mentioned in the ‘Festive 2s comments, I have been a fan of Godspeed… since the first LP came out in 1997 and very much treasure my lovely silkscreened embossed vinyl with multiple inserts and crushed coin and have eagerly bought each album since. So I was more than a little excited to unexpectedly get a new album, and the wait was well worth it.
“Allelujah!…” consists of two long 20 minute tracks and two short drone numbers (on the vinyl version these are on an LP and 7″ respectively). The long ones are classic Godspeed… complex instrumental post rock with the drama ratcheting up as the music builds and builds, with “Mladic” (my number 2 pick of the year) as possibly the best track of their career – they have been playing it live for a long long time, so they had a lot of opportunity to perfect it before they finally committing it to wax this year. The short droney tracks work as a perfect counterpoint to the epic ones and point to a possible interesting new direction for more inward looking music for their next album.
Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras meet the Congos – “Icon Give Thank”
OK, this is not really drone at all, it’s basically a Jamaican dub album with weird sounds, but I had to call it something and it wouldn’t be the end of the year on the ‘Spill without a bit of Sun Araw.
This time he has teamed up with M. Geddes Gengras (Robedoor member and former tweaker for all-time Panther favourites Pocahaunted) and travelled to Jamaica to collaborate with veteran Dub legends the Congos.
The results are pretty much the perfect mix of NNF style minimal dronescapes and Jah-praising Dub, with Sun Araw and Gengras’ production giving the Congos’ words and vocals the space (in all connotations of the word) to expand, breathe, transcend and transpose the listener to a higher plane! Jah!
I previewed one track from the album on a podcast (on the day I bought it!), so here’s a different one, it has a much heavier Sun Araw/Gengras vibe than other more straight up Dub tracks on the album:
Due to financial constraints, lack of time and all the excitement of the build up and aftermath of new fatherhood, I haven’t bought enough albums to do a proper Top Ten this year. To get around this, I thought I’d choose 5 albums from arbitrarily chosen genres and present them as my favourite representative of that genre for the year.
Let’s kick off with my favourite metal album of 2012.
Dragged Into Sunlight – “Widowmaker”
Fighting off stiff competition from veteran grindcore types Pig Destroyer’s excellently brutal “Bookburner”, “Widowmaker” is a stunningly ambitious album that takes in post rock, doom, sludge, death metal and lashings and lashings of lovely, nasty black metal, that just about blew my mind the first time I heard it. Dragged Into Sunlight have been going a few years now and they’ve managed to maintain their mystery and menace (all band photos feature the band wearing sinister black balaclavas and they only go by their first initials) without descending into a cliche.
“Widowmaker” is split into three parts and the first 15 minutes lull you into a false sense of security as a gorgeous post-rock tune emerges and builds, complete with strings (especially a nice haunting violin sound) that doesn’t sound dissimilar to one of Mogwai’s quieter moments, but as the spoken word samples signal a shift in pace all hell breaks loose and the uncompromising nasty black/death metal guitars kick in along with the tortured vocals. The whole thing winds down with a combination of the first two parts interspersing reflective instrumentation with sludgy guitars and screamed/growled vocals and you are left feeling like you’ve been on some kind of terrifying but ultimately redemptive journey….or maybe that’s just me!
It’s difficult to know what track to put up as any one of the three parts would totally misrepresent the rest of the album, so I would encourage anyone even slightly interested to seek out the whole thing, but seeing as this is supposed to be my favourite metal album of 2012, I’d better post the most metal one.
(it doesn’t have the weird introduction on the record – this is the only digital version I could find)
Sakura’s Kara Earworm got my mind wandering this morning and I happened to have my laptop in my bag, so here are some random thinkings…….
I have to confess that I’m kind of fascinated by the whole K-pop phenomenon. As you may know, most K-pop stars are required to attend intensive and thorough training and teaching in a wide range of skills – singing, dancing, language skills (usually English, Japanese and Chinese), interview and media training etc alongside regular school studies, for a number of years before they are unleashed on the world as a complete unit. It’s like a combination of university study and job training.
Just to let you all know that the Panther cub decided to make his presence felt by arriving a whole month unfashionably early.
One moment I was drinking a cold one, munching on barbecued maguro and cooing at the fireworks. One mad dash and 5 intense hours later, I had become a dad, without even realising what had just happened! That was just before 4 a.m on Sunday morning.
Mrs Panther and cub are both fine and the wee one seems to be reasonably strong and healthy despite his early entrance (they are both still in the hospital) and I’m on tenterhooks at home trying to get everything ready for the homecoming on Thursday.
I hope you’ll all forgive the odd lengthy absence or bleary-eyed post over the next few weeks as the Panther den (do panthers live in dens ?!) adjusts to its new member!
P.s. Allright, the lyrics have nothing to do with anything, but the title fits and Spill points on offer for why I chose the band……..oh, and it was either this or “Between Shit and Piss We Are Born” by Anaal Nathrakh ! !
Riot Season records has been a favourite label of mine for a few years now, it releases doomy and noise type stuff and is the labour of love of a nice bloke called Andy. Well, he seems like a nice bloke, I don’t know him or anything!
Anyway, he has just started a new venture selling music snob t-shirts that I thought might tickle the fancy of some ‘Spillers. There are only a few designs so far, but I suppose more will be forthcoming.
Yes, that’s right ‘Spillers, an all-new PODCAST! Long overdue, I know….but, better late than never, right? Well, don’t agree until you’ve listened to it !
It’s a very random and eclectic mix based on whatever was in my box of records at the time….and there were so many I didn’t get to that I wanted to include. They’ll have to wait until next time, I suppose.
Listen until the end for some exciting news ! Well, exciting for me, not perhaps for anyone else !
Here is the new single from ‘Spill favourites of 2010 (and of course ex-Pocahaunted member) Best Coast.
The whole album, ‘The Only Place’ is streaming on NPR here too.
The initial reviews look good and it definitely sounds like a step forward to me too. It takes the girl-group Cali-pop stonerisms of the first album and adds a bit more production and lyrical depth. The summer starts here!
Adam & Joe used to have a great segment on their radio show called ‘Popropriation’ which involved listeners giving songs that they had appropriated and adapted to fit their everyday life or a particular situation.
I did this twice today without thinking about it. I was making a fine lunch of B.L.T and chips and started singing to the tune of Menace’s punk classic “G. L. C.” :
…and then later when picking some fancy tea (well, fancy for me!) from a variety pack my Grandma sent us for Christmas, I popropriated 80s hardcore legends Bad Brains classic “Sailin’ On” when Mrs Panther asked what tea I wanted…
“I want Ceylon…
ceylon, ceylon, ceylon” !!
ahhh….I know, I know, pretty poor, but it keeps me amused !
Now, I’m sure I’m not the only ‘Spiller who does this…..so let’s have your recent or regular POPROPRIATIONS !
OK, so I’ve got a couple of weeks window to read whatever I want, before hitting the linguistics textbooks again.
I’m looking for some decent music related books. Anything’s OK really, biography or music related. I’ve just read a book on Joe Strummer and the Clash by Kris Needs (pretty good, conjured up the smells and sounds of the times, maybe a tad fawning), finally finished the book on Bowie that goes through every song he ever recorded (pleasingly anal and detailed, with plenty of social comment, but there seemed to be some kind of copyright restriction on quoting lyrics, as there were hardly any and loads of boring musical descriptions, which was really annoying) and “31 Songs” by Nick Hornby, which was probably the worst book on music I have ever read. It was very sad to see the man who wrote the inspirational record nerd bible “Hi-Fidelity” reduced to a moaning, middle-aged, bore, complaining about the state of modern music.
So, some recommendations would be very much appreciated, you know what kind of things I like !
After semi-successful defences of Menswe@r and Guns’N'Roses, I thought I’d up the ante by attempting to defend the (perceived) mediocre !
Shed Seven were the perennial underachieving Britpop also-rans, who had a ridiculous misconception of their own importance and ability, and, lest we forget, were the band who, somewhat embarrassingly, re-appropriated their own song for The Link advert (you know the one; “at The Link it’s easy, easy” !). But, hold on a moment. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find an actually pretty bloody successful band with a whole raft of stone-cold classic pop tunes.
First of all, a few stats for you (cheers Wiki):
- 15 top 40 singles
- 4 top 20 albums
- in 1996 the Sheddoes had more chart hits than any other band!
- played with Ride, Elastica, Oasis etc and got to number one in Thailand, beating Take That to the top spot !
When the Sheds first came out, they were thought to be a brash, laddish breath of fresh air as they faced down their contemporaries, Oasis, with a sneer (despite singer Rick Witter’s alleged 26 inch waist !). As they evolved as a band though, it quickly became clear to the more sensitive of us Britpop kids that there was something deeper and more longer-lasting at work. Comparisons with Suede and the Smiths abounded and the band responded in kind by making their songs more epic and grandiose and tempering their confidence with a sensitivity and attention to detail lacking in most of their peers.
They were rewarded for their efforts with two amazing albums: the debut “Changegiver” and follow up “A Maximum High” and a string of singles that won them more and more fans (mostly in Thailand!) and played an important part in expanding the Britpop blueprint beyond its initial limited range.
The problem was, that even to their fans, they were perhaps their fourth or fifth favourite band! Although they charted, it was inevitably number 27 with a bullet! Despite their illustrious peers, they were quickly left behind, not helped by the music press (mainly the NME) backlash against them, which always seemed so unjustified to me. They fizzled out in a boring cycle of poorly-received albums, label problems, ‘musical differences’ between band members and increasingly rubbish songs.
They reformed in 2007 and played sold-out shows to nostalgic fans in their early 30s across the UK, finally getting a tiny bit of the recognition they deserved at the time.
Although I wasn’t a full-fledged Shed Head (sorry Chris!), I remember arriving at university in my brand new Shed Seven t-shirt, proudly displaying my affection for the lads. As their sound grew and their songs became more ambitious and well executed, and as Top of the Pops performances followed, I supported them wholeheartedly and only jumped off the bandwagon as their disappointing third album (“Let It Ride”) failed to deliver any tunes whatsoever.
Their appreciation is long overdue in my book, so get some slightly flared needle cords from Oxfam, pull on a skinny fit fake 70s football top, lie back and listen to some of the best and most underrated indie-pop tunes of the 90s, or any other decade!
I know I’m a little behind with this, but I am rather enjoying Portlandia at the moment. Carrie Brownstein is a genius! As well as making my #3 album of last year (Wild Flag), she also found time to write and star in this.