I thought I’d shamelessly steal an idea from a radio programme I listen to for a little bit of fun. The Wheel of Your Tune works like this; I metaphorically turn my spinning top to reveal a random letter and number. The letter relates to an artist or the name of an album in my collection and the number relates to the track by that artist or on that album. This week’s spin landed on C and 9.
My nomination this week is Brazilian group CSS and the 9th track on their 2005 album Cansei de Ser Sexy, Alcohol.
Please play along and nominate your C9 tracks.
I subscribe to Spotify – some of you won’t like that, I know. I got rid of our turntable, CD player, speakers and amp and have yet to replace them, so the only way I get to play music that isn’t the radio is streaming tracks from either my iTunes library or Spotify through my Sonos. Every week Spotify pushes a new playlist to me called Discover Weekly. It is made up of tracks based on my listening habits – it’s how I came across Lift to Experience. The other week a track popped up called Ride On and I thought “ooh that sounds like Play era Moby” but it wasn’t Moby, it was this guy called Little Axe and the album the track came from was The Wolf That House Built.
Play by Moby is the sort of album most people have in their record collection. It was quite different to the work that came before it which was predominantly techno-ish club music. Play melded a bluesy sound with electronica, it felt mellower to me than his previous work and as I’d pretty much stopped going clubbing by this time, it also felt a bit more grown up; an album you could stay in and chill out with. For Moby it was a breakthrough as it brought him international acclaim when it was released in 1999 (remember that year).
I think Little Axe is the stage name of musician Skip Macdonald, but I’m not entirely sure because in some places I’ve seen Little Axe referred to as a group. Wiki doesn’t tell me much about Macdonald other than he’s worked with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five which fails to explain the awesomeness of The Wolf that House Built released in 1994 and the later album Hard Grind released in 2002. Both albums ooze blues, jazz and dub rhythms with a hint of electronica thrown in over repeating deep south samples. The Wolf That House Built is so reminiscent of Play and yet it came a full 5 years ahead of Moby’s seminal work.
Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge. What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?
Last year I watched a BBC documentary called Imagine – The Seven Killings of Marlon James. Marlon James had won the Man Booker Prize in 2015 with his violent fictional version of the assassination attempt on Bob Marley. In this documentary, Alan Yentob talked to him about experiences as a writer. It is a great documentary and worth watching if it ever comes to a screen near you. In some shots, Marlon was wearing a band t-shirt. A tweet from a writer I follow, who had been watching the programme at the same time as me, revealed the band to be Bad Brains. Of course I immediately sought them out. The album above is their first and eponymous record released in 1982. It is a furious hardcore punk reggae fusion – I like it for certain occasions although admit to preferring a later album called I Against I, mainly because it’s slightly more accessible and appropriate to play around children, but Bad Brains is an awesome racket. I love the dub and reggae tracks interspersed between the noise as a bit of relief.
So last week, I was minding my own business, reading an article that referred to Bad Brains and in the same breath name-checked this other band I’d never heard of as being better than Bad Brains and making this kind of music much earlier. What? Much earlier than 1982? The band is called Death. I know very little about them other than they were a band made up of 3 brothers from Detroit, they made this album called For The Whole World To See in 1975. When the record company wanted them to change their name, they refused, so the album never got released; until it was rediscovered in 2009.
Yet again I come to you, ‘Spillers to fill in my gaps and educate me. What do you know about all this? Are there any other bands like these two I should check out?
I hadn’t intended for my first post on The ‘Spill to be this. However, I’ve had a few weeks of musical discovery. First, I came across Slint having never heard of them before. I read an interview with Aiden Moffatt of Arab Strap where he hailed them as one of his favourite bands. I instantly fell in love with their only album, Spiderland.
And today I’ve come across Lift To Experience for the first time. I’ve been listening to their only album The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads this afternoon. There is an uncanny similarity between the two albums I think. So, not knowing anything about either band I thought I’d get you more knowledgeable music nerds to tell me what you know, provide critique and opinion. Are there any other bands like these two one-album wonders I should know about? Discuss….
Slint – Breadcrumb Trail
Lift to Experience – Just as Was Told
(Don’t know how to embed videos on my phone…Soz!)
We’ve had everything explained to us and there are no mysteries left. Myths have been debunked, and the internet had analysed every cultural detail into meaningless dust.
DJ Shadow finds an unmarked record when cratedigging and throws it in a mix as “unknown song, unknown artist”. Anton Newcombe from Brian Jonestown Massacre picks it out a number of years later, puts it up on youtube, claims it’s from a sixties band called Smile, or Smiles, says it’s a brilliant tune. Says it’s called “I Am Just A Star On A Democratic Flag”.
Maybe it’s Newcombe himself behind the record, sounds like it could be.
DJ Shadow allegedly says “The name of the group is “Smiles”. I think it’s a group from Los Angeles, and the song’s dating back from 1968-69. Unfortunately, the writtings on the record are not in good shape. I’ve never seen another record. I remember Dante came to my house, he saw the record, listened to it. He will never stop digging to find that particular record.”
Someone listens carefully to the surface noise, to see if it’s genuine, or an affectation.
Newcombe denies it’s him. Youtube commenters fail to find any online record of the song. Some claim that Newcombe is not Newcombe. DJ Shadow denies his real name is Clive. Clive Shadow.
I post the song on an intelligent, popular music blog with very well listened contributers, and hope for some news.
The mystery continues, the plot thickens.
In the “Fears & The Funk” post Albahooky asked about the Punk Funk revival at the turn of the last millenium so here’s my any-excuse-for-a hastily-thrown-together-playlist playlist. I was still young enough then to be out & about with dancing shoes on, and this stuff was getting caned at the indie joints (as was I). It seems it was called Dance Punk in the states and of course even the name Punk Funk is entirely misleading. Disco beat with noisy guitars and shouty (mainly) men, some cowbell, post punk rhythms, anything to do with DFA records, New York, !!! asking the Glasgow crowd for pills before they started playing, hanging out with Carlos from Interpol on the LES, The ‘Yes New York’ compilation, late period Clash, the kids throwing out their guitars and buying turntables.
The language Yaruba has only been mentioned twice ever on The ‘Spill and both times by GoneForeign, so this one’s for you (if you don’t know them already of course). Ibeyi sing in English and break into Yaruba at various points, when I heard this on the radio I felt the need to find out more about it, which usually means cross-referencing with The ‘Spill. I like the modern jazz/electronic styling and the lack of warbling in the singing. Further research (hi Wikipedia!) shows they’re the twin offspring of a Beuna Vista Social Club member and indeed Ibeyi means ‘twins’.