Friday, May 30, 2008


Snagged n tagged by Gutta for the Seven Songs Meme:

"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to."

1. Saint Thomas - "I Have Left the Ground"

"Where is the water, baby, that I used to drink/Can you show me the way to my path?"

This is 6 or 7 years old, but just rediscovered it on an old compilation CD a couple weeks ago. I play this most days now; sometimes 3 or 4 times in a row and it never fails to move me. It's an incredibly, almost impossibly simple song, but it somehow encapsulates much of the ontological confusion and middle-age angst I'm feeling right now. Imagine a Folk equivalent of The Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning" and you're getting there...but w/ a mournful fiddle replacing Cale's viola (There's no viola on "Sunday Morning" - Ed). Whatever, but it's gorgeously understated. I tracked dn the album a while back when it came out, but it was only available on CD, not vinyl, so never bought it. I figured that this song was so great that it had to be a fluke anyway. Saint Thomas was Norwegian songwriter Thomas Hansen - a quick Google tells me that he was tragically found dead in his appartment last year, after a long battle with depression. Somehow, I feel strangely unsurprised.

"Where is my planet/Oh, I have left the ground..."

2. Wire - "Four Long years"

Amazing how much the new Wire album has crept up on me; at first I thought it was a mixed-bag with 2 or 3 gems, but it's what they call 'a grower' and my persistence has paid, if I adopted a play-list shuffle-mode type approach to listening to music, dumping the album to an mp3 player and losing it in amongst a zillion other bits of crud I'll never get round to playing, then I wouldn't have had the pleasurable experience of watching it gro-o-o-w in my consciousness; a good album should be like a novel, you know, properly sequenced/ordered/balanced... yeah, I know, that's an old fashioned n naive way to approach what is clearly now just transient 'product' in a lot of people's minds, buuuut...

Anyway, I already made "Mekon Headman" my Track of the Week over on FACT, so seems only fair that I balance that by picking a Colin Newman track here...and this is a slow-chugging nagger of a tune that'll creep it's way into yr frontal lobes. There's something incredibly touching about the way that Newman sings: "For years and years - not much to show/with love, with charm/the operator may succeed..." But I'll stop now before you start thinking that I'm a bit of a miserable git...

3. Edgar Winter Group - "Frankenstein"

The 7" edit is only about 3-mins long, but here's a monster jam-out version:

Is that a young Rick Derringer on guitar?

4. Capleton - "Wha Dat?"

Another oldie (2, 3 years old?), but a Dancehall tune this time - a friend put this on a birthday CD that he made up for me a while back which I just rediscovered. This is on the Clappas riddim...have a Google around - there's a zillion instances of this riddim out sounds a bit like a cheesy mid-80s arcade soundtrack; incidental music from Ms. Pacman or something. Starts with Stephen Hawking voice-chip intoning in a hilarious vocoder'd deadpan: "Cape-el-tone - confront dem. Tuffff Rock-ahs Crew." Then lots of palate-clicking fake-goose-noises as Capleton and his mates chant "What mi say? Wha Dat!?"

5. Gentle Giant - "The Face"

I used to have a mate in Bristol in the 70s who came from Devon and was a big Gentle Giant fan; he was always trying to get me into them, but I would run out the room, fingers in ears, procrastinating about "Data Panik in the Year Zero" or "Satisfaction" by The Residents...

Oh, how my 20yr-old other-self would mock me for selling out to the White Devil B'Wana Prog. I've posted on GG before, so feel little need to repeat myself here, except to reiterate that they are the Prog Connoisseur's band of choice. And if you have a problem w/ prog then you, sir, are a pussy. For years I'd misremembered them as sounding more pastoral and lame - kinda Barclay James Harvest-ish. This, tho, is brittle, nervous and twisty, Proto-Quirk for sure and an unexpected harbringer of late 70s New Wave. Makes me feel like I've just drunk 8 cups of coffee when I listen to this: what a white-boy-student-rush!

6. Groundhogs - "Thank Christ for the Bomb"

From the (1970?) album of the same name. This starts as an accoustic strummalong then flips into a full-on 'Eavy Acid-Psych-Blues wig-out. Totally wonderful.

Is Tony McPhee the most under-rated geetarist ever? The Fall recently covered "Strange Town" from this LP, but I think the original version is loads better. This album is a goldmine for Fallspotters, it boasts a track called "Garden" as well as another track whose gtr-motif sounds uncannily like a proto-version for the gtr-line on The Fall's own "Garden"...and there's a couple other riffs that sound like M.E.S. may have played them to Craig Scanlon and told him to change a couple notes...I can imagine this being played while Bramah, Baines, Smith and Friel sat huddled around an electric bar-fire tripping on mushrooms in '75/'76 - presumably a major touchstone for Smith that has stayed with him thru his life. I can see why.

7. Mick Ronson - "Hey Ma, get Papa"

Ronno's never far from my decks - and this is a beautifully tinny, pumped-up, over-syncopated piece of bi-Polar piano n synth Post-Glam that totters precariously in platform shoes on the brink of hysteria.

Gosh...who to tag with this unwanted task? I have to pick seven victims, apparently. Some of my link-list buddies like John Eden, Farmer Glitch, etc have already been snagged...

Okay, howabout:

Dom Zero.






And let's see if we can get Warren Ellis to come out n play lol.