Music Notes January 2011

January 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm (Uncategorized)

This month’s tasty treats.  

1. Mojo/Uncut Year End Editions

Both Mojo and Uncut arrive a month late in Canada. By the time, an issue hits the stands here, the new one is out in the UK (and the US for some reason). Whatever. Anyway, the great thing then is that you get the Christmas and year-end editions just as the new year is beginning. Mojo has  articles on Queen and Crass, best of the year lists, and a free Christmas CD with an exclusive Superchunk track (their version of John Cale’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”) Uncut has a long interview with Paul Weller and a best of CD which includes These New Puritans, the Black Keys and Zola Jesus. And both have crosswords!

2. Ethioiques

Remember those hipster friends of yours who insist on playing you music from countries you’ve never heard of? Well, if they have anything from Ethiopia make sure you pay special attention. Ethiopiques is a multi-volume series documenting the glorious days of Ethiopian music in the final years of Haile Selassie’s rule: Jazz, soul, big band sounds and music more are represented in the series. There’s a two-CD ‘best of’ which is a great introduction to the series.

3. Augustus Pablo – King David’s Melody

Just down the road from Ethiopia, at least philosophically, is this very fine instrumental release from Augustus Pablo. If you like the dub versions of the Clash’s stuff  on Black Market Clash, this should suit you too.  Thanks to my brother-in-law for this one.

4. The 13th Floor Elevators – Headstone: The Contact Sessions

Now this one might just be for collectors. Basically it’s a mono version of the Elevators’ first album, some  alternative versions, and a bunch of live stuff. If you’re an Elevators fan you should probably pick it up, but be warned the sound quality is dodgy at best on the live tracks, and even the studio stuff is less than pristine. The thing does come in a nice CD package with some cool pictures and sleeve notes though.  

5. The Gun Club – Early Warning

Now where were you when you heard “Sex Beat” for the first time? From 1983-88 the Gun Club were definitely in by top ten. I saw them play at the late unlamented Larry’s Hideaway in the summer of 1984. Ugh, they were horrible. Jeffrey Lee Pierce was drunk and couldn’t play the clarinet (or whatever it was). For about twenty minutes, they held it together, and lapsed back into chaos. Early Warning  is a 2-CD set released by Sympathy for the Record Industry a few years after Pierce’s death. The record contains demos, some live tracks including a radically different version of Walking with the Beast, and some home recordings by Pierce. Rough yes, but lovely in their own way.

6. The Fleshtones – It’s Super Rock Time: The IRS Years 1980-85

And super it is; 25 hits from the golden years of the Fleshtones including “Hexbreaker” and most of Roman Gods (unavailable for years). It’s a pricey import, but if you don’t own the vinyl, a tinny MP3 won’t do this justice. And if you’ve never seen them live, it’s time to do some travelling.

7.  Dr. Feelgood – Stupidity

No frills, just straight up R&B (when that meant music inspired by the blues rather than simply black pop music). Recorded on one of the final tours before Wilko Johnson left the band, Stupidity topped the UK charts and briefly made possible the dream that Dr. Feelgood would receive the credit they were due. It was not to be, but we still have this fine live record.

8. M.I.A. –Vicki Leekx

Boy, Maya had a bad year. A record that wasn’t so well received, and a fiasco with the New York Times; what else could go wrong? (OK, her father-in-law was just convicted on insider trading in France, but that was this year). Vicki Leekx is, if not a return to the glories of her first two records, at least an indication she might be getting her game back. Still free at time of writing.

9. The Rutles – All you Need is Cash

Bought this DVD in the post-Xmas sales, and it took me a couple of weeks to get to it. It’s a brilliant spoof of the Beatles courtesy of Eric Idle and Neil Innes. I read somewhere it was the inspiration for Spinal Tap, and you can certainly see it.  Well worth an hour of your life.

10. The Kills – Blood Pressure

OK, OK, I know I’m a bit early on this one. The new Kills album is out on April 4th (April 5th in the US for some reason – I suspect Canada too). They play the Sound Academy (oh well) on May 1st. Tracks are listed at the Kills site

UPDATE: “Satelite” is streaming at Spin Magazine. Not so immediate. Slower with a reggae beat, but it’s a grower.


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