Music Notes April 2011

April 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm (Uncategorized)

 April’s Musical treats.

1. The Kills – Blood Pressures

Ah, the difficult fourth album. After the amazing Midnight Boom, there was a real possibility the next record might be a letdown. The opening cut “Future Starts Slow” is familiar territory, but the single “Satellite” introduces reggae into the mix, and “The Last Goodbye” is a rather lovely piano ballad. It’s not as immediate as previous Kills’ releases, but quietly it grows. The Kills play the Sound Academy tomorrow. Expect a review on Monday.

2. The Pixies – At the BBC

Anyone can like a song by a band. The casual listener picks up a greatest hits package. The fan buys all the albums. The zealot gets the demos, the live recordings and the alternative takes, just so they can have every thing. I can’t imagine the Pixies newbie starting with At the BBC, but it’s nice to hear slightly different versions of those songs.

3. Crass – Stations of the Crass

This was the first Crass album I bought. Stations in its original form was three studio sides and a live concert, a gatefold sleeve packed with collages and the lyrics, and all for under 4 pounds. This version comes pretty close. True, the live side disappears (it’s available as a free download though), as does the untitled song by Steve Ignorant at the end of side 3, but you do get the 79 Peel session, a reproduction of the original sleeve and a book with essays and notes by Steve and Penny.

4. Talulah Gosh – Demos

Newly released by Damaged Goods, it’s four perfect pop songs from Oxford. If you know Amelia Fletcher’s work, you know what this is like; if you don’t what are you waiting for?

5. These New Puritans – “Hologram”

Live cut available as a free download from their site.  My favourite band of the moment.

6. Poly Styrene – Generation Indigo

As is often the way, death brings interest. Poly Styrene’s passing this week seems especially cruel as this record had just been released in the UK and was about to come out here too.  Anyone expecting X-Ray Spex type material is going to be disappointed. The record is much more of a electro-pop style, but it’s full of catchy songs. Worth getting.

7. Girls at Our Best – Pleasure

OK, everyone rips off the Gang of Four now. Not so much the Au Pairs or the Delta 5, and hardly anyone seems to remember Girls at Our Best. True, those who recall the Wedding Present may recall their stirring cover of GAOB’s “Getting Nowhere Fast”  (the original’s better), but this record has pretty much everything you’ll need. The orignal album, singles and some BBC sessions (and a cover of “Bound for Glory”). Post-punk pop.

8. Killing Joke – The Malicious Singles

I was very much into Killing Joke, the six months or so before I moved to Canada. What’s THIS for?  still brutal to listen to. And ‘Requim” can still screw up your day. The six songs on this record aren’t quite as heavy, but you can see where they were going to end up. Crunchy.

9. The Duke Spirit – Ex Voto

Can’t wait for that new Heartless Bastards record? Well, this might tide you over. The Duke Spirit are from the UK, have a bluesy sound and a female singer. Ex-Voto is a punchy little EP, but you can seek out the albums too.

10. John Foxx – The Garden

When someone talks about Ultravox and lists Midge Ure as the singer, I throw up my hands in despair. The first three Ultravox records with John Foxx channelling Bowie and Roxy Music are untouchable. The ones with Midge ure, you wouldn’t want to touch. The Garden was Foxx’s  second solo album was more of the same majestic gothic slender: Music for rainy days. the current version packs on a few B sides and things, but it’s a lovely follow-up to Metamatic. Hey, did you know Foxx is also a graphic designer and did the cover for Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh?

Oh and just because it’s April, we’ll have number 11…

11.  The Fleshtones and…

From Andy Warhol’s TV show. The Fleshtones are grooving, when on walks a slightly dishevelled Ian McKelland and begins to recite Shakespeare’s twentieth sonnet. Odd, let compelling. Watch it on You Tube.

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2 Comments

  1. Richard S. said,

    I didn’t know that Poly Styrene had died last week. That is very sad. She was a major cultural figure to me in my youth, and I always appreciated the pertinent social satire that she shrieked out from inside those walls of grinding guitar blaring sax. (Wonder how Lora Logic is doing these days…or Rudi Thompson, for that matter) Also, I always appreciated Poly Styrene’s eccentricity. I thought it was fun that she joined the Hare Krishnas. (I never would go for that stuff myself, but I think sometimes my Indophilia does cause me to be a bit more sympathetic than most non-converted Westerners. And at least she never went completely over to the Money God like so many rock’n’roll rebel sellouts, punk and otherwise.)

    Your music notes this time are really interesting to me, because you’ve listed a few of my own absolute favorites from my distant past.

    I loved Girls At Our Best, back in the day, close to three decades ago (when I was just emerging from my teens, or finishing them off, depending what month this was). And close to ten years later (I think), I was very fond of Tallulah Gosh.

    (Now, you just need to add Kleenex/Liliput, and the Eccentric Female Pospunk section of your Music Notes will be complete!)

    And you’re right about Ultravox too. Their first two albums were special… I had the second one, which I played a lot when I was in high school, 33 years ago.

    Stations of the Crass was an interesting album. But it wasn’t my favorite, nor the first one I bought. That would be Feeding of the 5000 (though in this case, I bought the album a long time after it came out).

    Wow, all of this stuff meant a lot to me a long time ago…

  2. fischerzed said,

    Funnily enough Lora Logic ended up in the Hare Krishna movement for a while too. There’s a good collection of the Essential Logic stuff out on Kill Rock Stars called Fanfare in the Garden. Wildly different styles throughout the record.

    And speaking of Kill Rock Stars, they also issued a lovely set of LiLiPUT’s material. How can you not love a band that had members called Lisalot Ha and Regular Sing? I think probably my favourite track was Eisiger Wind because it’s such a tumult and I have no idea what’s going on. There’s a CD/DVD set which came out a few years back, but it’s mostly for fans.

    I’m very proud that I still buy new music and listen to new things. It’s very easy just to slip back into the music of our youth; however, that golden period of, say, 1976-81 still makes me kind of tingly when I think about it. I was still in the UK, and the whole year zero feel made it seem as if everything was happening so fast.

    ”Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very Heaven!”

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