Music Notes May 2009

May 24, 2009 at 8:01 pm (Uncategorized)

The monthly round-up. (and nothing about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs this time!)

1. John Foxx

Ultravox? Midge Ure’s band right? Er, no. Earlier, earlier. Take one part Roxy Muisc, one part David Bowie and then throw in a dollop of Kraftwerk. And you get three great albums: Ultravox!, Ha, Ha Ha and Systems of Romance.

Then John Foxx quit because he thought the machine was going to be all. His 1980 album, Metamatic was all of that. Stark, cold, yet ingrossing. Music to read J.G. Ballard’s Crash to. The album has been reissed several time, once with extra tracks, another time with a whole new disc.  

Under his real name, Dennis Leigh, Foxx is a successful grapgic artist. The cover to Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh is his.  

Cool web site.

2 .The Last Poets – When the Revolution Comes

And you thought rap groups used the N word a lot.  I first heard of the Last Poets around 1980. I had bought the Pop Group’s album For  How Much Longer Can we Tolerate Mass Murder? and the Last Poets had contributed a song to it, ‘One out of Many.’ But it’s hard to find their stuff. I came across this CD which is actually their first two records complied after some months of looking. Man, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Sparse percussion and words. But those words punch. Racism, revolution, up against the wall. Forget Public Enemy, forget Rage Against the Machine. They mean it.  

3 Doctor Feelgood

Julian Temple has chosen ‘the best local group in the wolrd’ as the focus for his new film entitled Oil City Confidential. Anyone who thrilled to his films about the Sex Pistols and Joe Strummer will no doubt like this one too. Dr. Feelgood were one of the great pre-punk bands: Lee Brilleaux on gruff vocals and harmonica, Wilko Johnson on a savage guitar, and the rhythm section of John B Sparks and the Big Figure. There’s a story of a party in New York in 1975. In attendance were members of Blondie, Talking Heads and the Ramones, as well as Richard Hell and Johnny Thunders. The record played over and over again: The Feelgood’s debut Down by the Jetty. One of the things that amazed me about Temple’s other films was the amount of new footage he had assembled. can’t wait to see this one. Here’s an article from the Independent on the movie.

4 The Decemberists

This morning my wife asked me if I was going to listen to the Decemberists all the time until the Toronto concert? (the concert is in August).  Yup: all Decemberists, all the time. OK, maybe not, but when I discover something new, I often get a little obsessive about it. Working my way through the early Kill Rock Stars CD now.

5 The Kills – Keep on Your Mean Side

After the show earlier this month, I picked up the new edition of the Kills’ debut Keep on Your Mean Side. The CD has been repackaged withe Black Rooster EP. It’s the grimiest record the Kills have made, but that’s not a put down. Very nice. Driving guitar and chatter between the tracks. It has a very rough, live feel to it.  The EP features a track where Alisson Mosshart chews gum and asks someone (Hotel?) if he likes it. Also their version of Captain Beefheart’s Dropout Boogie.

6 The Crocodiles  – Summer of Hate

Don’t know too much about this band. From San Diego I think. But if you miss those early Jesus and Mary Chain or Spacemen 3 records, you might get into this.  No web site, but a myspace page.  The big buzz single, ‘Neon Jesus’ isn’t on the album though.

7 Meg White

Hey, I hear Meg White is was supposed to get married on May 24 to Jackson Smith, the son of poet performerPatti Smith  and ex-MC5 guitarist Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith. How cool is that? Congratulations.

8 Alabama 3

Yeah, I know, The Sopranos. It’s too bad when a big single overshadows everything a band does. A friend of mine fervently hoped the follow-up to Nevermind would suck so the band could then go back to being  good. Actually, the south London fusion of country rap and techno (to name just a few elements) is quite inspired. Have a listen on their site 

9 Three Imagionary Girls

Yes, I know I’m late on this one too. Since 2002, a part of Seattle’s indie rock scene. Billed as ‘Seattle’s sparkly indie-pop press.’ Lots of fun reviews and features.

10 TV Smith

After many years of crying, hoping and waiting (Sorry Buddy), I finally get to see TV Smith of the Adverts play in Toronto. Smith was the singer and songwriter for the Adverts, as well as TV Smith’s Explorers and as a solo artist as well. Smith is a criminally overlooked songwriter and performer. The show is June 29 at the Mod Club in Toronto. My only complain is that he’s supportfor Jay Reatard, rather than a headliner. Oh well, still very excited.

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