Sunday, 19 April 2015

Peggy Suicide

After seeing JC live last night for the second time this year, I thought I'd reevaluate what has been, for me, arguably the greatest album ever made.

So, 25 years on, does it still hold up? In short, it's a resounding yes.

There's a great story that Julian told about this album. On being presented with a new 18 track double album, Island records (no doubt scarred by their failed attempts at moulding him into a million selling pop star) suggested that he go away and think about how many of those songs were REALLY good enough to make it onto his next release, in the hope that he could whittle it down to a more marketable single album. When asked at their next meeting how many of those 18 songs were left, Julian's answer was "nineteen".  He's only gone and written another song to add to the release.

So what finally came out was, on vinyl, a brilliant, sprawling, double album split into four phases with enough for even the casual cope fan. After all, he has always had an ear for a good pop melody - Just listen to Head, Beautiful Love or The American Lite.

For those who hadn't heard the low key Skellington and Droolian released from the previous 12 months, this new music, and in particular his vocals, were a revelation. This was a new Julian Cope, his voice sounding more confident, free and mature than ever before and the songs flying through genres with wild abandon.

Phases 1 and 2 concern themselves with classic and psychedelic rock music - standout track, the mind blowing 8 minute Safesurfer, with its dueling guitars, was once described as what happened after the fadeout on Hotel California as the guitars ascend heavenwards.

Phases 3 and 4 draw on more recent influences and there's a distinct post-Madchester feel to some of these tracks. This would've made a great pop album in itself. The fact that this is disc 2 of a double album shows what a roll he was on.

Lyrically, there's a more overt political slant than previous albums, being no doubt influenced by his active involvement in the Poll Tax demonstrations and downfall of Margaret Thatcher - as well as documenting the Poll Tax demonstrations for the NME, Julian claims to have stood on Downing Street emitting bad vibes toward number ten that led to her resignation. Promised Land is almost heartbreaking in its description of a once great nation torn apart and stands as one of the most emotive anti-Thatcher songs ever written.

He may not have bettered this album - although the equally ambitious Jehovahkill gives it a run for its money - but this release was a springboard for an ongoing series of diverse, creative and rewarding releases. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

(S)Punk Rock

On seven coloured vinyl 7" singles that are so bright they seem to be making my floor glow.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Super_Collider - Head On

I first encountered Super_Collider on some late night TV programme in 1999 that showed the video for It Won't Be Long. I was immediately drawn in. I couldn't quite place my finger on what it was about the music, but I knew I had to hear more.

When I finally got round to buying the album, I listened to it in a state of confusion, not knowing quite what to make of the warped sounds. It sounded as though someone had taken the semi-improvised vocal tracks of some long lost soul singer and put it through a blender with an unhealthy dose of dirty funk and Autechre-esque dischordant rhythms.

I'm giving it another listen now and still can't quite get my head round it, but it is thoroughly absorbing.

I raise my glass to Christian Vogel and Jamie Lidell for making something so brave and utterly unique.

Expert Knob Twiddlers

This Mike (Paradinas) and Rich (are D James) album of playful 90s electronica is housed in one of my all time favourite record covers.