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Saturday 30 January 2010

Blondie - Punk or not?

Elsewhere the debate of whether Blondie are, or are not, a punk band has reared its ugly head again.
The answer is 'of course they bloody are', but some will still dispute the evidence sticking firmly to their view that they were a pop band.
This misses the point entirely.
Did Blondie have pop hits? Yes.
Did the mainstream music lovers catapult them into the stratosphere fame wise? Once again yes.
Does this mean that they aren't a punk band? No.
They were there when the scene was blossoming in NY City and their credentials as pioneering punk rockers are impeccable. The opposition argument is as flimsy as the reasons for going to war in Iraq.
If anyone really doubts how punk rock they are then here's some proof.
San Fransisco in 1977 at the Waldorf and they're rockin'.

As requested here's some more Blondie. This time it's their main stage slot from 1999's Glastonbury Festival. The quality is pretty good, as you would expect from a radio/television broadcast, and probably because it was around the time of their return to the charts with Maria the set is a timely reminder of how many hits they actually had. Bit of a greatest hits package really. Enjoy Mr Explode.

Thursday 28 January 2010

René Berg - The Leather, The Loneliness...and your Dark Eyes

Bit of a lost gem this one.
Rene Berg was a musician who promised so much and yet ultimately, and sadly, failed to make it to the finish line and reap the rewards of his undoubted talents as a singer, musician and songwriter.
For a while in the eighties he seemed to crop up here, there and everywhere. I'd find myself waiting patiently for one of his projects to bear fruit only for them to crash and burn leaving nothing but high praise for unreleased demos.
To be honest it was a real pain in the arse.
Then it finally all fell into place and we got this, his one and only solo album.
A nice blend of gutter styled, glam tinged, rock and roll that didn't disappoint.
Band - Rene Berg (Guitar and vocals)
Bernie Torme (Guitar)
Paul Gray (Bass)
Rat Scabies (Drums)

Monday 25 January 2010

Black Monday

It’s been a tough couple of months in the world of music.
We have seen some truly wondrous artists shuck their mortal coil and leave the world a poorer place in their absence. So today is all about honouring these individuals.
This is Black Monday. Enjoy.

Sometimes it is said that the good die young and that comment could easily be attributed to Jay Reatard.
If anyone in the last twenty years held the flame of garage punk to their heart it was this young man. Initially enamoured with the racket that The Oblivians made he soon outstripped his heroes and in a short, but prolific, career he most certainly made a mark.
I’d guess that few people who profess to love garage rock or punk rock will be unfamiliar with his material, but just in case there is the odd one or two who haven’t gotten around to checking him out the all I can say is it’s better late than never.
Blood Visions

For some unknown reason Vic Chesnutt never seemed to get his hooks into me. I heard the odd track here and there and half thought 'yeah, that's mighty fine' but it was never enough to give me the nudge towards taking a leap into his back catalogue.
He sort of floated about in the periphery of my consciousness I suppose.
Then on Christmas day, when he finally managed to be the architect of his own demise, I got to talking with friends about his merits as a songwriter and ended up with a copy of his latest album.
This was when it hit me. The guy was a freakin genius with his no frills and brutally honest approach to his music. In hindsight I have no idea why it never registered with me before, but here he was stripped bare and really talking to me.
Since then I've become some what of a fan and like anyone who arrives late to the party I could maybe be described as a zealot regarding all things Vic, so I'm duty bound to make an introduction and here it is.

Probably best known for his position within the Birthday Party Roland S Howard brandished his discordant guitar playing style like a invitation to war. At times it seemed like he was out there alone pushing the boundaries, but before the Birthday Party he was plying his trade with Nick Cave in The Boys Next Door and once again although the fans will be well aware of this I'm working on the premise that some aren't.
Door Door

Thursday 21 January 2010

JLP Project

Last post of the week here and after all the oldies here is something old, new, borrowed and probably blue.
Here's how the story goes.
Old demos and fragments of songs are dusted off and given a kick in the ass by the likes of Nick Cave, Debbie Harry, The Raveonettes, Mark Lanegan and others.
It's a homage of sorts. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
23/01/10 A retraction on my comment above.
Now that I've been living with this I've gotta say that it does in fact work. It just took a while for it to click, but now that it has, well wow. That all. Wow.

The Nerves EP

For some reason unknown to me The Nerves are a band that have slipped under most peoples radar.
I don’t mean the radar of hardcore music fans, but more so the general populace who can sing you every word of ’hanging on the telephone’ but will argue blind that it’s a Blondie original.
These guys were power pop before the phrase was coined and once they had cemented the sound into the collective consciousness of the US they kicked down the doors that let other bands like The Knack and The Beat go on and enjoy the success that they never had.
Peter Case did however go on to form The Plimsouls, and although they did have a chart hit with ‘Million Miles Away’, similar to The Nerves their reputation far exceeded their success.
In hindsight when listening to any of the tracks recorded by either The Nerves or The Plimsouls I can’t help but hold my head in my hands and mutter ‘why?’
Why weren’t they huge?
Why aren’t they name-checked more often?
Why can you lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?
So here we are in 2010 and nothing has changed.
The Nerves still have a solid fan base all these years after their demise and they are still the guys who never quite made it.
Listen to this and you can join me in asking why.

Best of Mabuhay Vol 1

This one is for my mate Kennyhell, but you can grab it to.
I’ve already waxed lyrical (yeah right) about the impact that the east coast had on punk, but let’s not forget the west coast.
Compiled and produced by Ted Oliphant who occasionally manned the mixing desk of the Mabuhay Gardens, or the Fab Mab as the regulars called it, this gives an excellent overview of the late seventies scene that they had in San Francisco. A scene that matches any other for inventiveness and ferocious passion.
From nascent punk rock to art rock and all points in between it is all here.

1. Get Outta My Way – Bittley Black & the Next
2. Panther Pit – Panther Moderns
3. Cops on Drugs – The Amputations
4. Space Age Lover – Zolar X
5. Run Girl – The Razorburns
6. The Good Die Young – No Alternative
7. 21st Century – The Mutants
8. M-16 – Negative Trend
9. Front Line – Seizure
10. Welcome Matt – U.X.A.
11. Goin’ to the Mab Tonight – Paul Zahl & the Cat
12. Leavin’ Home – Bite
13. Who Needs Ghosts? – Touchtones
14. Viscious – Wasp Women
15. 750 – Jennifer Blowdryer

The Clash - Street Rats

It would be fair to say that I have a few Clash bootlegs, but this is the one I return to more often than not. It’s a classic odds and sods release with something for everyone on it. So if you’re a Clash novice or a die hard fan I‘m sure you will find something here that will get the blood pumping. Enjoy punk fans.

Cost of Living
London’s Burning (Polydor Demo version)
Cool confusion (alt. version)
white riot (1977 video promo)
Safe european home (06-09-81)
Janie Jones (06-09-81)
Washington Bullets (06-09-81)
Junko Pardner (11-27-82)
One More Time (11-27-82)
BankRobber (11-27-82)
Kill Time.
Pressure Drop (alternate version)
White man in hammersmith palais (live version)
King of the Road (Roger Miller cover)
Revolution rock (instrumental)
Oh Baby Oh
The Beautiful People are Ugly Too
Louie Louie (The Kingsmen cover)
Sitting at my party (09-05-76)
Deadly Serious (09-05-76)

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Live at the Continental Vol 1

The origins of punk as a movement, genre or even state of mind are hotly debated and the fact that people can’t nail it down to a specific time or place is proof positive that no one has the right to claim ownership of a definitive answer.
Yet there is no doubt that globally there were hotspots and one of them was New York City.
The illustrious list of bands that this city spawned still hold a great deal of power, and like the colossus their influence straddles a whole genre and casts a very large shadow across music in general.
The big guns like the Velvet Underground, NY Dolls, Ramones, Blondie, and Television is just the tip of the iceberg. This was/and is a hugely vibrant scene that has enjoyed an equally huge impact around the world.
If any city could lay a claim to being the punk capital of the world then who would argue that New York wouldn’t be in there with a shout to claim the title.
While this compilation is by no means a definitive representation of the city it does have the essence.
The glitter and the dirt. It’s all here.

1. Victim in Pain - Agnostic Front
2. Last Warning - Various Artists
3. Faded Flowers - Bellvue/Jesse Malin
4. Quick Check Girl - The Bouncing Souls
5. Sluts - The Bullys
6. Better Than U - Candy Ass
7. Sonic Reducer - Cheetah Chrome
8. Street Justice - Cro-Mags
9. Building Is Crumbling, The - The David Ellis Group
10. I Am the King - Furious George
11. Puerto Rican Girl - Heap
12. V8 - Honky Toast
13. Liberate - H2O
14. I Wanna Be Sedated - Joey Ramone
15. Going Local - Lenny Kaye
16. Disgusted - L.E.S. Stitches
17. Cross My Heart - Lunachicks
18. Panty Raid - Murphy's Law
19. Cretin Hop - The Remains
20. Psychotronic Roller Boogie Disco Queen Sock It to Me - Sea Monster
21. Volume 4-Way - Suicide King
22. Another Day in the Life - Toilet Boys
23. One Man Lady - Karen Black
24. Sorry - Waldos