Friday, 24 January 2014

Electronic Music To Blow Your Mind By!!!

A Pot Full of Psychedelic Pop!

The Love Machine's sole release was offered up in 1968 and could easily have been lost amidst a plethora of budget-priced cheesy listening albums rush released by record labels to exploit the first summer of love.

What saves it is that they had the good fortune to land just the right side of naff by immersing the music in some heavy reverb, allowing it to come across as a mysterious band of freaks armed with guitars, organs, a talent for great song titles ("The Shadows of Vibrate", Inner Ear Freakout") and a desire to create the ultimate 60s sci fi TV theme tune.

Oh, and what a great sleeve.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Mogwai - Rave Tapes

The title and artwork hint at a Saturday night party album, but things couldn't be further from the truth. What we have here is arguably - soundtracks aside - Mogwai's most elegant and restrained album to date.

Opening track, Heard About You Last Night, sets out their stall. Picking up from where the Les Revenants soundtrack left us, the hauntingly beautiful track is underpinned by a tranquil keyboard.

The band have always embraced technology and electronics to complement their music, but this is their most overtly electronic album, with synths having equal footing  alongside the guitars and occasionally being given centre stage. Take Remurdered - the track that they previewed online last year - brooding and teasing, the keyboards support the guitar until midway through, where the guitars are usurped by an uplifiting, exquisite synth riff. Simon Ferocious emphasises the electronic side of the band even more but takes us into much darker territory whilst distorted guitars cry out for attention in the background.

It's not all synths though - Hexon Blogon does exactly what you'd expect from a Mogwai track, whilst Repelish updates the formula with the recording of someone discussing Stairway To Heaven and satanic messages in music, coming across as a less abrasive relative of Slint's seminal Spiderland album.

And that just a review of side one...

Fans hoping for a Like Herod or Glasgow Mega-Snake are going to be disappointed, but there's plenty for the rest of us to feast on. Still very Mogwai, yet pushing their own boundaries - frequently a very mellow, enjoyable experience whilst still retaining their edge and finding beauty in the darkness. This is something you're more likely to listen to in the small hours after a rave rather than at one.

Oh, and there's a  lovely free 7" single,  featuring the track Tell Everybody That I Love Them, if you buy the album from an independent record shop. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Bad Lyrics

I'm sure fans will rush to the defence of many of these lyrics with an excuse - "they mean blasting gelatin", "it's northern dialect"...but I'm not convinced. These are some of my favourite lyrical cock ups*...some great and not so great tunes.

Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak
"Tonight there's gonna be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town". How exciting. Where in this town could it be? The jail perhaps?

Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues
"I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die". Then why are you stuck in Folsom Prison (in California) when Reno is in Nevada?

Busted - Year 3,000
"and your great, great, great granddaughter is pretty fine". 5 generations spanning a millennium? Actually, given the advances in science, it's quite possible this could happen and either people will live to be 200 or one of these descendents will be cryogenically frozen. Maybe the song is much deeper than I gave them credit for.

Queen - Killer Queen
"Gunpowder, gelatine, dynamite with a laser beam". All pretty dangerous 'killer' items. Except for gelatine, which you use to make Turkish Delight. Gelignite would have been a more effective weapon.

Wah! - The Story of the Blues (Talkin' Blues)
"I remember something Sal Paradise said, he said 'the city intellectuals of the world are divided from the folk body blood of the land and are just ruthless fools' ". Wonderful, if slighty pretentious, literary reference by Pete Wylie to Jack Kerouac's On The Road. However, the quote was actually from another Kerouac character - Jack Duluoz from Vanity of Duluoz.

Labrinth and Emeli Sandé - Beneath Your Beautiful
Just the title... Beneath Your Beautiful what? Oh, do you mean you're? According to Labrinth this was done on purpose to annoy 'grammar Nazis'. Of course it was Labrinth, of course it was. He also apparently got the name Labrinth when looking through a dictionary - presumably one that doesn't include the letter y.

The Chemical Brothers & Noel Gallagher - Let Forever Be
"How does it feel like to let forever be?". Or does he mean what does if feel like?

Alanis Morissette - Ironic
The biggest irony is that she clearly doesn't understand what irony is.

*I'm certainly no great lyricist, I don't claim to be a master of the English language - I was going to include Instinction by Spandau Ballet, but I understand it is actually a proper word, used by those for whom just saying instinct isn't enough - and I haven't read Vanity of Duluoz, but if you can't laugh at something as ridiculous as music, what can you laugh at?