Little Axe and Moby – Discuss

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?

Discuss…

 

Bad Brains and Death – Discuss

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?

Discuss…