CD1 in this 2 CD set has 2 treats for us. After the radio edit of 'The Art Of Driving' is the great mix of their last single 'The Facts Of Life' done by the Chocolate Layers, which is Jarvis cocker and Steve Mackey of Pulp. While 'The Facts Of Life' is a great song, it has been played to death. This 6:27 mix makes it all new again with a whole different feel brought on by the film samples and bringing the music way down during the verse vocals. Only the chorus remains the same as we know. The treatment works great on this song. Following is an understated version of the David Bowie song "Rock N' Roll Suicide" from his 1972 Ziggy Stardust record. It is the same song he chose to play when he broke up his band The Spiders From Mars onstage at a televised concert during which they had no idea he was ending it for them that night. The song seems perfect for BBR to cover, and they do it with detached love and relish.
August 8, 2000
Second disc in the set has only one song we really need on it - but Oh how we need thast song! It is an inspired cover of the 1970's chart topping international reggae hit "Uptown Top Ranking" by Althea & Donna. BBR turn this song into a 4:08 delight, completely worth the price of this single. It is currently my fave BBR song. They don't do it as a reggae song. The song shuffles along in it's bass heavy way, like Jah Wobble when he first left PIL and formed Invaders Of the Heart, recording the great "Betrayal" 12". Rounding off this EP is the album version of "The Art Of Driving", the radio edit of 'The Facts Of Life' and a CD-ROM video of 'The Facts Of Life' that is OK but not remarkable.
Lots of Mums running around right now. We have Twisted Nerve's Mum & Dad, Klein Records (The Sofa Surfers label) Mum out of Vienna, and BMG Records Mum out of Iceland. This Mum is the Iceland one, and is pronounced "moom". It is a four person band (2 gals, 2 guys) who do mostly instrumental blends of traditional (accordion, stringed instruments) and electronic sounds that sound as crisp as we percieve Iceland's weather to be. To be honest most of their sound is electronic; it's just that it's presented in a song based way that makes the bleeps n' blips more familiar than they might have been in another setting. Mum's sound reminds me of bands on Norways Myke Droner label, such as Remington Super 60 or Safariari. It is a very good sound: a bridge between pop and electronic, with a mixdown style as radical as Burning Spear had on the 'Garvey's Ghost' LP 24 years ago. "The Ballad Of The Broken Birdie Records" (the 12" single pulled from this CD) is the only song with vocals. It sounds like Piano Magic mixed with Volume All Stars. No one has used the accordion quite like Mum except maybe Angel Corpus Christi. My fave song using the accordion is the first song, "I'm 9 today". The second song "Smell Memory" is my favorite. It uses a sound like dropping something on guitar stings which bounces off them. It is rather long (9:22) as several of the songs are, but it is a solid listen thoughout.
CD1 in this 2 CD set starts with the LP version of "Heart Failed (In The Back Of A Taxi)", the most catchy song on Saint Etienne's 'Sound Of Water' full length. It is sad that this record did not reach a higher public profile than it has. At least we have October 5th to look forward to when Saint Etienne visit Boston again. The treats on this EP are the 2 new songs "Thank You" and "Bar Conscience". The former is a 4:31 light song with vocals throughout, suitable for cloud staring on a summer day. My fave however is the 5:14 instrumental "Bar Conscience" with it's 70's soundtrack fender bass sound and electronic effects in it's lengthy beginning and it's fully electronic second part with piano and a few "Aaahhh"s before that bass comes back in to wrap it up in a bow.
Second disc in the set has 3 remixes of the song. I never listened to Two Lone Swordsmen: I always figured that they were a bit passe by the time I heard of them. Instead I searched out the newest and latest as I learned about electronics. The mix they provide here is pretty great, I've got to say. They turn Saint Etienne into Ladytron with grown up chops. The mix does not sample or loop vocals, it features all of the regular vocals sung at the same time as the original. What is does do is make the music completely electronic and adds an effect to the vocal that makes it more Add N To X than Dot Allison. the second mix, "Futureshock Vocal Mix" is my least fave of the three here, sounding a bit cliche house styled. The final mix is from London's Bridge & Tunnel, who have an EP which was added to WZBC's playlist in the May 9 2000 Gull Buy. On that CDEP Saint Etienne provided a mix of the song 'Borough Of Kings'. Bridge & Tunnel's mix here somehow reminds me of OMD in their heyday. It is the most relaxed mix here, and the least recognizable to the original. It is an instrumental that would fall home in a chilled out set.
Tribute disc with 10 artists interpreting songs by Nick Drake. Recently there have been reissues of many of Nick Drakes records, but I have to admit that I have never listened to any of his work except in the briefest passing. I have never enjoyed the singer/songwriter folkish sound in general, which is exactly what Nick Drake trucked in before his death. I don't really know enough about that subject to write about that either, except to say that he was apparently very depressed and took his own life while still young. So now for THIS disc. Elsie & Jack releases always comed in packages that are visually and texturally beautiful. Several years ago James Rodriguez (E&J is a label run by 2 brothers: James lives in Grand Rapids MI and Phil lives in Seaton Carew in Hartlepool England) sent me several discs so elaborately packaged that I never opened them before I left on a 3 week trip to Poland. I lost track of them and never did get to add them to WZBC or even listen to them. This time I knew better, plus I had no trip to distract me (sadly). The back cover to the CD says in small letters "this copy belongs to WZBC". What detail! He printed up this series of copies individually, though this is hardly DIY homemade chic. The cover, the accompanying letter, the whole thing is very professional. Enough on the artist featured and the presentation. what about the music? For me there are 3 songs out of the 10 that I really love. They are Northern Song Dynasty "Place To Be", Electroscope with Zurich "Things Behind The Sun", and Drekka "Know". In my world Electroscope is the big name artist on this comp. They are a duo from Glasgow that have put out many 7"s and a few LPs. For most the big names would be Archer Prewitt (The Coctails, The Sea & Cake) who does the folky "Parasite" and Warn Defever (His Name Is Alive), who does the lo-fi folkish "Which Will". Au Revior Borealis do a goth-ish "Fruit Tree", Flashpapr play a folkish band sound with bells and violins on "Northern Sky", Ben Vida does a quiet acoustic instrumantal "Horn", The Autumns with Simon Reynolds do "Time of No Reply" as a shimmering lazy guitar, harmony voiced, rock buildup song. Ray Speedway closes out the disc with an electro version of "Pink Moon" that is the (I'm sure) widest stretch between the original artist and the cover on this disc. I like the Ray Sppedway song a lot, but the three faves still are those sited earlier, as they call me to re-evaluate my feelings about Nick Drakes work, which is the goal of this comp: to introduce Nick Drake's work to a new generation of listeners.
Recorded on March 9, 1969 at Fleetwood Studios here in Revere by Bob Olive. The Shaggs were an all girl 4 piece from New Hampshire. All 4 were sisters in the Wiggin family (The last name of Orson Scott Card's character in the 4 book series starting with 'Ender's Game'). None knew how to play, but they were so outside of things that a lack of technical ability never stopped them. The 12 songs on this, their debut long player, are as dissonant as The Scissor Girls could have hoped for, though The Shaggs were a whole lot more wholesome. The Shaggs wrote really oddball songs that were not meant to be odd, and played in a style almost unimaginable for their time. With the interest rekindled by the 'Songs in The Key Of Z' compilation that charted on WZBC recently this disc is a long overdue addition to our library and a wild listen on its own.
Back in June 29 1999 I added Ten Benson's "Rock Cottage" 7" to the WZBC play list with the comment: 'Rock Cottage' sounds like Gary Glitter (the drums) crossed with Turbonegro (the guitars). Here is the duo's brand new 7", several singles and one LP ('Hiss') after the Rock Cottage single. This time the song sounds like Plastic Bertand's 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' (the beat/the rhythm) crossed with ZZ Top (the guitars), ending the song with a tremolo guitar right out of The Who's 'Who Are You'. Listen to it and you'll see what I mean. The song is fun, with lyrics poking fun of consumerism, and the whole thing works. / "I Don't Buy It" b-w "Sweat Pt. 1" & "Sweat Pt. 2" / Cottage Records / Back in June 29 1999 I added Ten Benson's "Rock Cottage" 7" to the WZBC play list with the comment: 'Rock Cottage' sounds like Gary Glitter (the drums) crossed with Turbonegro (the guitars). Here is the duo's brand new 7", several singles and one LP ('Hiss') after the Rock Cottage single. This time the song sounds like Plastic Bertand's 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' (the beat/the rhythm) crossed with ZZ Top (the guitars), ending the song with a tremolo guitar right out of The Who's 'Who Are You'. Listen to it and you'll see what I mean. The song is fun, with lyrics poking fun of consumerism, and the whole thing works.