It’s only a smidge over a fortnight away, but we are already nose deep in a miasma of festive hokey cokey. Never mind the pressures of performing adequately as bestower of presents and hospitality, surely it is the Christmas single that elicits the strongest of reactions. Yes, in the main they are a commercial race to the bottom bereft of the merest scintilla of musical worth, but they do seem to burn themselves into the memory in a way that other music mostly fails. Play Wham’s Last Christmas to the man on the street and it would probably stir a more emotional response than anything off Reflektor could yield.
Which of the X Factor’s burnt offerings will be repeating on us for years to come? Paddy Power have a SiCo chosen alumnus odds-on for Christmas Number One. But peer a little further down the list and you might be surprised to find narrowing odds for The Specials, AC/DC and U2.
So here’s your opportunity to get your esprit de humbug ratcheted up early and have a festive foam at the mouth about Christmas singles you hate. Or maybe, just maybe there’s one you sneakingly regard as worthy of attention. Support your suggestion with the thinnest of lyrical mastery, the tinniest in Casio presets and the cheesiest in video direction.
It has often been said that the Devil has all the best tunes. There is also supposed to be something diabolic about certain types of music and there is the interval known as diabolus in musica (the Devil in Music) a.k.a the tritone, an interval known for dissonance.
Diabolic and Satanic imagery has long been associated with heavy metal and Goth has always been as much about decaying ruins, vampires and death as it has about music.
Jimmy Page was, at one time, deeply interested in Aleister Crowley, the so-called Wickedest Man Alive and founder of the occult religion of Thelema (motto – Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law) and the late Graham Bond was so obsesed with Crowley that he formed a band called Holy Magick and believed himself to be Crowley’s son.
Earlier still, it was said that Robert Johnson bacame a blues guitar phenomenon because of a pact with the Devil, signed at midnight, down at the crossroads. This idea later spawned a film about the same subject, culminating in a guitar battle between the Devil’s guitar hero, played by Steve Vai and the hero of the film, Eugene (guitar work by Ry Cooder).
So, music has a long tradition of dealing in the Black Arts and this playlist covers all the bases from posession and exorcism, through witchcraft, occult ceremonies and the Undead athrough to Hell and Damnation.
As you can see, we have 11 tracks. The task here is to decide which one will be saved from the Pit and which one will be cast into the Outer Dark forever.
The track listing is:
Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Siousxie and the Banshees – Spellbound
David Byrne and Brian Eno – The Jezebel Spirit
Dr John – Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya
Black Widow – Come To The Sabbat
Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Cassandra Wilson – Hellhound On My Trail
John Martyn – I’d Rather Be The Devil
King Crimson – The Devil’s Triangle
The Clash – Straight To Hell
AC/DC – Highway To Hell
Okay – so it’s Luke’s birthday HAPPY BIRTHDAY PANTHERSAN
I picked up my record player in a suitcase and headed to the wilds of Japan’s countryside (via China so they could make my record player) and I grabbed a few slabs of vinyl for a party game.
What connects the songs?
DON”T TYPE IN THE ANSWER – just say YEAH, I GOT IT – when you work it out.
and we’ll wait until the birthday boy knows what the link is.
happy happy joy joy – pin the tail on the panther GO:
Kool Thing Sonic Youth
Get It On Grinderman
Rebel Without A Pause Public Enemy
Miss Lucifer (Bone to Bone Alec Empire Remix) Primal Scream
Blondes With Lobotomy Eyes My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
TV All Greasy (feat. Anti-Pop Consortium) TOBACCO
Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix) The Go! Team
One of the “problems” with headphones/earpieces and music is that I tend to lose myself in the song. Frequently that results in my singing along. I have a terrible singing voice, but what the hell, even I can’t hear it with the earbuds in.
Occasionally though, I find myself doing it in company. Not good.
This morning I have been sat in the canteen area of the school DsSis has her Orchestra practice at.
Noticed I was being stared at. Realised I was singing along. Looked down at my Walkman to see what the song was.
Ali’s photo for Earworms reminded me of two fantastic videos – The Hidden Camera’s video is so powerful it takes over the brilliant song. Based on an old comic Joel wrote – it’s been a live favourite for a while. The short film has been shown at festivals in Berlin and Canada to much acclaim. The freedom of the birds over the field at the start is rather significant.
Another film that uses the flight of birds as a metaphor for escape is Leonard Cohen’s – First We Take Manhattan, their flight is deliberately juxtaposed against the songs beat to discombobulate.
Here’s one for Maki – one end of my living room (the only room downstairs apart from a miniscule kitchen) – so it’s sitting room, work room, dining room, laundry room, TV room, music room … you name it.
Maki Junior calls it NASA HQ. Mario calls it Pop’s den. It’s the place MrsM and I post from. Note the second screen alongside my Mac for i-tunes searching in TOFF (among other slightly more profitable uses).
Anyone else up for sharing a photo of the place they do their RRing or ‘Spilling from?
In Spain a Rodríguez is a husband who is on his own in the big city in the summer months while the wife and kids are away on holiday. According to popular lore they get up to all sorts of shenanigans while the cat’s away. Well, I’m a Rodríguez this week and am having fun listening to music much louder than I usually would and very little more. I’ll be going to Buika’s concert on Thursday and then it’s down to the coast to spend the weekend with the family.
one of my favourite groups from the nineties took their name from this local curiosity. Andrés Calamaro and Ariel Rot, the Argentinian members of the group, found the concept so amusing that they decided to use the name for their group. It was short lived but a lot of fun. Good time rock and roll from a group that got together after seeing the Stones play the Vicente Calderón stadium in 1990 something. Good time music with very few pretensions.
Reg, poor fella, is poorly and has had to cancel a number of gigs this week. I’ve never heard of somebody of his vintage suffering from appendicitis, but it sure sounds like a better reason than some have given for not turning up.
The Bangles once stood me up. I was due to meet them in the Hammersmith Odeon but success (for them) stepped out of the shadow and whisked them away (Eternal Flame went to No.1 in the US so they never bothered coming over).
Keith Richards was a no show at Wembley because he’d cut his hand and it got infected, so no Steel Wheels for me – suppose I should be grateful.
Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash a month before I was due to see him, once again at Hammersmith – what is it about that place, or was it just me?
Anyway, between the lot of us there must be QUITE A FEW gigs that never were. I want to hear about yours so we can all read ‘em and weep.
A chance comment the other day and news items about the BBC got me thinking about British comedy. I like a bit of comedy, me , but find much of today’s output ( especially on the BBC) pretty feeble and lacking in laughs.
I began to wonder if this is a symptom of me growing old. Each generation , naturally, has it’s own comedic zeitgeist which , like an old photograph, is bound to fade over time.
I do think, though, that a path can be traced, in Britain, in which , though each generation succeeds the previous it also draws inspiration from it.
“So what, Big Ears ?” I hear you, rather rudely, enquire.
Winter sun through a window in Pamplona (C)lgconnolly
So with all of the excitement in the world of organised religion this week, I found myself pontificating (how apt) about the strangeness of it all. It was prompted specifically by some comment that I read about “primitive religions” worshiping the Sun – and for some reason that really rankled with me… Continue reading →
In case you’ve been on the moon all day, My Bloody Valentine have released a new album. I went onto their website and was greeted by this stentorian pronouncement:
This vinyl album has been recorded as an analogue album. It was recorded on 2 inch 24 track analogue tape and mixed onto half inch analogue tape and mastered with no digital processing involved.
The vinyl is a true analogue cut, i.e. it hasn’t been put through a digital process during the cutting process unlike over 90% of all vinyl available today.
Nielsen Soundscan stats published by Billboard suggest vinyl LP sales in the US were up 16.3 percent, with 3.2 million units sold. According to the estimable Kevin from Avalanche Records (who knows a thing or two about stats, the universe and everything) UK vinyl sales were up 10.3% to just short of 259k.
If MBV are to be believed, no more than 26,000 UK vinyl sales are truly analogue in nature. Is studio-to-speaker analogue treatment a half-hearted raging against the dying of the light or OCD type behaviour? Or is it just the audio equivalent of a hand-dived scallop on a bed of foraged grass clippings: an enhancement to the brand that fans come to expect?
Heard that a few times haven’t you? Talk about damning with faint praise.
I’ve paid good money in to see quite a few stinkers: vanity projects, over-hyped and massively over-dubbed. I’ve seen one or two reasonable efforts. But are there any great ones?
Now you may hold views on the concert movies which might be too withering in their honesty for publication over on RR. Here, however, you may choose to pay homage to your favourite such flick, delight in cruelly exposing ambition/narcissism interlaced with a bewildering lack of talent, or diss the concept of the concert movie and yes, even a considered meh is fully acceptable. Any stance should be supported with some form of evidence or justification.
My end of year round up is now turned into the ‘spill game:
you know the score DUMP one (or all of them – see if I care)
It’s pop and it’s fun – don’t take it too seriously.
Remember, they are my most played – I’m not claiming they will change the world – I just liked them.
Band names in BOLD – for those who believe I make stuff up:
1 Stroke My Curls The Dodoz Forever I Can Purr 2012
2 Cuka (feat. Ikonoklasta) Batida Batida (feat. Mck, Circuito Feixado, Ikonoklasta, Beat Laden 2012
3 The Empty Man Whitey Lost Summer 2012
4 Genevieve Stealing Sheep Into The Diamond Sun 2012
5 Horn For The Whole Damn World Lazarus and the Plane Crash Horseplay
6 Passenger Emily Wells Mama 2012
7 Kevlar Sweethearts Diablo Swing Orchestra Pandora’s Pinata 2012
8 Be Strong (Blakkat Remix) The 2 Bears Be Strong (Deluxe Edition) 2012
9 Rat-at-at The Skints Part & Parcel 2012
10 Clap Hooded Fang Tosta Mista 2012
11 Circus Sunday Driver The Mutiny 2012
There are rarely moments for reflection in the run up to Christmas, but when you finally get to sit down in a heap, the halo of good cheer can sometimes hover uneasily above the head of the curmudgeon. Is it fair or appropriate to spoil the party with a good old fashioned rant? Let’s face it with RR on hiatus and Shane’s much anticipated fix a few days away, this perhaps may offer a chance to vent some spleen without jeopardising domestic harmony.
In a departure from the normal format, this week’s Waste Of Space opens the floor to the Spillers’ unseasonal ranting. That’s right folks, you get to deal from the bottom of the deck – it’s no trump for this hand – so please step forward into the annoying glare of the Super Trouper with your very own Waste Of Space nominations. You don’t have to stick to musical objects of derision, although some might prove entertaining.
Now you’ve gone and left me and there’s nothing here,
But a tenner in my pocket and a fridge full of beer,
There’s an aRRmy around the country, we’re all stuck in our rooms
It takes a lot of preparation to make a move.
1 Foot Soldiers (Star-Spangled Funky) Funkadelic
2 A Brighter Beat Malcolm Middleton
3 On My Shoulders The Dø
4 Brave Tin Soldiers Sarah Nixey
5 The Happiest Place on Earth Desaparecidos
6 Soldier’s Grin Wolf Parade
This week’s object of affection/derision is Peter Gabriel. It has to be said that the ladyllama is no fan, but he has had a varied career and I guess a fair chunk of it may have passed her by. Remember the Genesis era theatrics, or the political conscience? Or the jokes going round Africa about needing to quickly hide the rhythms any time he or Paul Simon showed up? Recently he has been reduced to revisiting his back catalogue. Has the man any talent or is he rock’s own jerkin-clad Chauncey Gardiner mucking around with a mixing desk in his oversized garden shed?
Now you may hold views PG which might be too withering in their honesty for publication over on RR. Here, however, you may choose to pay homage to some of his ouevre that moved you or delight in cruelly exposing overarching ambition interlaced with a bewildering lack of talent and yes, even a considered meh is fully acceptable. Any stance should be supported with some form of evidence or justification.
Your fellow bandmates think your songs suck – possibly because you’re the drummer. You can’t get them on the album, and you’re feeling unappreciated. Perhaps you need to get our of your recording contract, so it seems expedient. Maybe – just maybe – you are better than them and this will be the proof.
So is it going to be a Primitive Cool or a Nightfly? Your thoughts, please, on the solo album. Particularly the “while I’m still in the band” solo effort.
Now you may hold views on the solo album which might be too blistering in their honesty for publication over on RR. Here, however, you may choose to pay homage to your favourite or delight in cruelly exposing ambition (or writer’s block) interlaced with a bewildering lack of talent, and yes, even a considered meh is fully acceptable. Any stance should be supported with some form of evidence or justification.
Mr Roboto. Two words to send a shiver down the spine from Styx’s Kilroy Was Here. Not convinced? Let’s try two more: The Elder. In the dock this week is that hoary old crisis-induced mid-career stop-gap, the concept album.
Pink Floyd. Marillion. The Beatles. Radiohead. The Thin White Duke. Mike Oldfield. Kraftwerk. Rush. The Who. The Art Of Noise. They’ve all done them. So far, so predictable. More intriguing and less likely protagonists include The Streets, Daft Punk, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Sufjan Stevens and arguably The Chemical Brothers and The Beastie Boys.
Now you may hold views on the concept album which might be too withering in their honesty for publication over on RR. Here, however, you may choose to pay homage to your favourite concept album, delight in cruelly exposing ambition (or writer’s block) interlaced with a bewildering lack of talent, or diss the concept of the concept album and yes, even a considered meh is fully acceptable. Any stance should be supported with some form of evidence or justification.
Tokyo all female three-piece TOQUIWA release their hi-energy J-punk in the UK on October the 22nd, 2012. Scopitones announced TOQUIWA’s self-titled debut on digital release and limited edition tour CD.
They begin touring the UK on 26/10 in Bournemouth – I’m going to be there (in a home made bright orange TOQUIWA T-shirt) – I also made a T-shirt using the ticket from a live Wedding Presents Ukrainian Sessions gig. But I can’t wear both.
This is the track listing and below the review are Smash Hits style questions sportingly answered by the band.
(I want to post this today – so I will have to ask Sakura to advise if I’ve got anything in the wrong places)
Photograph of the band used with permission – all designs created by arTEEsane are not for profit – please don’t use.
illustrative track from Music Ripple recorded as Pinky Piglets
The self titled album by Toquiwa on the Wedding Presents Scopitones label, should almost be called go out and get ‘em girl – such is the frantic pace that they erupt with perfect pop rock. The first 13 seconds set up the album (you heard right – 13 seconds sets out their manifesto) – Fantasticly playing the many influences and condensing them into a tight Toquiwa package.
Strangely managing to be extremely talented musicians yet still exuding that punk ethic of innocence and naivety.
The tracks have so many astonishingly catchy segments and hooks, you wonder how the pace can be kept up, but keep up they do, building and building, twisting styles and era’s together as if timelines were squeezed, squashed and smashed into their musical brains. Until in comes out sounding as though these things should always have sat together (superbly) in each 3 minute track.
Not only that, they know how to sequence an album – just as your head might explode keeping up – (ten second bar room blues, into superfly 70′s style, into a quiet millisecond break – roaring back into .. you get the drift – I’m loath to compare because it all sounds so Toquiwa – but as reference you could detect The Animals merging with a Curtis Mayfield track with hints of Kirsty MacColl’s weariness and wonder, while a Status Quo repetitive rock riff underpins a track – and quiteloudquiet indie rock aesthetics jostle in) they take a breather with a ballad – and then we are invited to party hard once again, ending with an enthusiastic Wedding Present adaption to thrill and inspire while closing the album out.
It’s fantastic fun – superbly performed and feverishly played. Total enjoyment.
Would they be happy to answer my frivolous questions linking to each song on the album?:
There are more than a few people in music who divide opinion, and here is your chance to share your tuppenceworth. Some are talentless, while others waste what talent they have. Some are pretentious or may even have poor table manners. A Waste Of Space is all about creating an alternative history for the week’s subject, fuelled by the opinions, reminiscences and musical tastes of Spillers.
Now you may hold views on the subject which might not be considered acceptable over on RR. Here, however, you may fawn over the object of your affection or diss the blighter and yes, even a considered meh is fully acceptable. Any stance should be supported with some form of evidence or justification.
Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno
This week’s subject is Brian Eno, who used to wear make-up and ostrich feathers and has since made a virtue of baldness. That’s all you’re getting from me – it’s up to you lot to write the rest of the Life of Brian.
The latest lineup of Guildford punk band Hearts Under Fire
So here it is. After nearly a year of the Guardian running ‘is rock music dead?’ stories and readers’ polls to find Britain’s best band with results that make me weep for humanity, this punk fan is finally hitting back. I could go on a rant about major media outlets refusing to interview The King Blues because they were ‘too political’, I could talk about the Guardian beginning their pattern of dismissing UK rock last year with a story on the death of guitar music a few days before Sheffield metalcore torchbearers Bring Me The Horizon released their critically-acclaimed and commercially-successful third album There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret… but I won’t. Instead, I’ll introduce you to some of the UK’s leading lights and rising stars, and let you judge them for yourselves. Please note that this list is selective: I don’t listen to much metal, and wouldn’t feel qualified to talk about it, so I’ll mostly be focusing on punk, pop-punk, emo and post-hardcore. Maybe Chinny would do a piece on modern British metal? (hint, hint…)