Desert Island Dick 3

Before I start, today happens to be the 500th No Badger Required Post. Here is a bonus 500 related track. Ok, back slapping over, let’s get back to the parish magazine.

This was the final article that was published in the March edition of the Parish Magazine.  I went for the tongue firmly in cheek approach. 

So there I was on a desert island the other day, well I say island, it’s more of an Atoll than an island.  It’s a bit like the ones that a cartoonist would use when drawing an island.  It is about ten metres in diameter and there is nothing but sand on it, apart from a palm tree stuck in the middle of it, which means that at least my skin will be stay fresh. 

I have no obvious way of contacting the rest of the world.  I have no bottles to stick messages in and even if I did, I don’t have any paper to write messages on, so I decide to carve the words ‘HELP’ out in the sand and then fall asleep under the cover of the palm tree.

Being a proactive sort of chap, I decide to write the word ‘HELP’ in English and French, just in case a passing helicopter or sea plane is being piloted by a non English speaker, and I am half way through this when my hand scraps on something hard and solid.

Weirdly it turns out to be a box, which someone has foolishly left unlocked so that any old person can simply unlock and remove whatever is inside.  I drag the box out of its sandy grave and with some caution in case it is a booby trapped treasure chest left by a one legged man with a parrot on his shoulder, I throw the box open.

It isn’t full of treasure.  It contains five things, three pieces of music, a book and a very special thing.  This makes me laugh because I was literally listening to a repeat of Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ when the Russians blew up my plane. 

The three pieces of music are by sheer unbridled luck, three pieces of music that I would take to a desert island with me, should I ever wish to have a very secluded beach holiday. They are as follows:

Green Calx by Aphex Twin (Warp Records)

Which if you haven’t heard it before (and I guessing many of you probably haven’t) is full of burbling basslines, synthy interjections, spring noises, clanks, whirrs and electronic trickery and despite it being only six minutes in length you could listen to it a thousand times and it will never ever sound the same.  Which is lucky as I am going to be here for a while.

The second piece of music is

All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem (DFA Records)

Again, for those in the dark, this is a song full of nostalgia and it will remind of my time back at home with my family and friends, it has lyrics about the sun coming up, about bad movies and about making stupid decisions and it has the greatest final 30 seconds of any song ever recorded (Face facts ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’).

The last piece of music is

Come Together (Farley Mix) – Primal Scream (Creation Records)

Which would please me greatly because it tells me that whoever left these pieces of music in this box agreed with me that this is the definitive version of this record.  Its nine minutes of sheer brilliance.

The book has a note attached to it.  It reads “There was a copy of ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare’ as well but ‘The Winter’s Tale’, bored me to tears, so I burnt the whole lot one cold evening”.  Underneath the note was a well-thumbed copy of Watership Down’ by Richard Adams, again, this is lucky because it’s the greatest novel ever written (face facts John Grisham). 

Which leaves us with just the very special thing because there under the music and the book is what every castaway needs when stuck on a ten metre wide island.  Three thousand pieces of various types of lego.  I have wheels, windows, roof bits, and three green base plates, so if you excuse me, I have some building to do.

On Monday – The Musical Jury is back as a new No Badger Required Countdown judders, jitteringly and jelly like into view.  Bands will jostle and joust their way into view as they all jump up and down joyously as they wait to see who will be crowned Rocks Greatest J.

Desert Island Dick – 2

Never Understand – Jesus and Mary Chain (1985, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Psychocandy’)

It dawned on me on the walk home from the village shop that I probably wouldn’t be able to write about the Jesus and Mary Chain or various other bands in the Parish Magazine either.  The devilish side of me wanted to put ‘Reverence’ on the list just because of the chorus, but sense soon kicked in, because in reality, no one who is remotely serious about music would take ‘Reverence’ to a desert island, particularly if you have every other Jesus and Mary Chain track to choose from, which I did.  

If I was actually on the proper Desert Island Discs, the Jesus and Mary Chain track that I would select would ‘Never Understand’ for two reasons.  Firstly, obviously, because it’s a bloody chaotic mess of a song and every second of it is brilliant because of the chaotic mess that is swirling around it.  The second reason is because when it gets dark and the wild beasties start circling around my little camp, having the ability to play this as loud as possible for a few minutes a day would probably scare off even the hardest of hungry flesh eating mammals.

Talking of scaring off terrifying carnivores, if I had to choose a bunch of songs that I would take to a desert island that I could play to stop me being eaten alive, then after ‘Never Understand’ had finished it would be swiftly followed by a quick blast of My Bloody Valentine– and by the way – that is a series just waiting to be written “Songs to stop you being eaten alive”.

You Made Me Realise – My Bloody Valentine (1988, Creation Records, taken from ‘You Made Me Realise EP’)

‘You Made Me Realise’ is colossal, a brain achingly noisy, reverb inspired, ear splittingly incredible song.  The musical equivalent of being stood on the middle of Dartmoor as hailstones the size of golf balls fall all around you.  Dangerously brilliant in other words.

On the way home I discounted about seventy songs from my final list of three, some I tossed aside like old crisp packets, like this one for instance, I mean it’s great and I love it to absolute bits but would I want it on a desert island as the darkness rolled in, probably not.

Territorial Pissings – Nirvana (1991, Geffen Records, Taken from ‘Nevermind’)

Others my conscious wrestled with me like Tarzan meeting a crocodile whilst swimming across a lake. 

The Rat – The Walkmen (2004, Record Collection Records, Taken from ‘Bows + Arrows’)

Seriously several villagers lives would be enriched by them exploring that song and it shames me that it didn’t make the final list.

There were also one or two songs that I had to discount because the reasons for picking them are simply way too personal to share with retired colonels, shop keepers, gardeners and farmers.  Songs that were I interesting and/or famous enough to be on the real Desert Island Discs I would be able to weave an emotional tale of what that record meant to be, whilst grannies around the country adjusted their embroidered pillows which have my face on them and remarked about what a lovely chap I am.

Songs like this

Summer Babe (Winter Version) – Pavement (1991, Big Cat Records, Taken from ‘Slanted and Enchanted’)

And definitely this

Shine A Light – Spiritualized (1991, Dedicated Records, Taken from ‘Laser Guided Melodies’)

Which left me by the time I got home, with three tracks and tomorrow I’ll share the final piece that I wrote for the Parish Magazine.

Desert Island Dick 1

This Island – TV Priest (2021, Sub Pop Records, Taken from ‘Uppers’)

I hear you are a writer”. 

I am on my way to the village shop when a lady called Judy stops me and after greeting me she says that to me, followed by.

I’m looking for people to write something for the Parish Magazine, a sort of spin on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, will you write something?”.

Now.  Three things.

Firstly, the Parish Magazine is a monthly booklet produced by a bunch of church goers about what is going on in the village that I live in.  85% of the Parish Magazine is church related, it tells you who is responsible for putting the books away, what time Evensong starts, what Jesus would do is certain situations and a bunch of other stuff.  It is comfortable, it is terribly middle class and it is slightly proud of it.

Secondly, I suspect that my mother in law has been in the pub again.

I tell Judy that I write a small music blog and that I would hardly describe myself as a writer. 

I know I’ve read your blog.  I went to school with one of Underworld you know

MMM Skyscraper I love You – Underworld (1994, Junior Boys Own, Taken from ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’)

I’m not sure how to take that sentence.  So I do my “Oh really” look – in fact I did know this because a drunk Judy told me the same thing at a wedding about four years ago. 

I should say no, I should run away and have absolutely nothing to do with the parish magazine.  I don’t for one second agree with about 98% of the stuff that is written in it – the 2% I do agree with are mainly recipes and what the Wildlife Warden writes about dog poo.

But and here’s the third thing.  There is a small part of me – ok – a massive part of me – that has always wanted to be on the actual Desert Island Discs on Radio 4.  The chances of that happening are I would say less than 0.01%, so this might just be the next best thing.  So, I stand there outside the shop, and I nod slowly and mumble an ‘OK’. 

Oh super” says Judy. “We’ve narrowed it down to three songs, one book, one luxury item is that ok”. 

Piece of cake I think so I nod again and then I walk into the shop and for the first time in about three years I pick up a copy of the Parish Magazine.  I turn to the Desert Island Discs section and it is written by a retired colonel and all his songs are hymns, his book is the Bible and his luxury item is a cushion. He has also written about six words to describe each one.  It’s barely writing to be honest.  He may have just thrown some magnetic Scrabble tiles onto a fridge and used that.

Regular readers of this nonsense will possibly remember that in the eighteenth part of my series ‘Nearly Perfect Albums’ I spoke about the fantastic album ‘The Chemistry of Common Life’ and in that piece I said that one of the songs that I would take to Desert Island with me would this : –

No Epiphany – Fucked Up (2008, Matador Records, Taken from ‘The Chemistry of Common Life’)

And as much as I like to think of myself as a revolutionary, and as someone who readily socks it to the man whenever he can.  I’m not really.  I have to live in this village.  If I start talking about how brilliant a song by a hardcore punk band called Fucked Up is in a Parish Magazine dedicated to championing Jesus, there will be a baying mob carrying portable gallows and pitchforks outside my house by the time the next full moon comes around.

I sigh because I may have to re-think this. 

A Month Curated by A Ten Year Old #20 – Five Songs by Air

The plan was of course, to end this series with an entire post written by my daughter, but she has been struck down by a bad case of stage fright and has instead written her five favourite Air songs on a piece of a paper and then retreated to the lounge so that she can look at pictures of cats on the Internet. 

I can’t quite remember when my daughter fell for the Gallic charms of Nicolas Godin and Jean – Benoit Dunckel, who are more commonly known as Air to you and I.  I think it was the latter part of the second lockdown, and my daughter seemingly cross about something took refuge in her bedroom and asked Alexa to play her some relaxing music.  Somewhere along that path she stumbled across Air and the rest is history. 

Here is that Top five list, which are revealed in reverse order to aid suspense.

5. All I Need – Air (featuring Beth Hirsch) (1998, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘Moon Safari’)

‘All I Need’ is one of the few tracks from ‘Moon Safari’ that actually benefits from having a guest vocalist.  The vocals on this occasion are courtesy of American singer Beth Hirsch, who I know very little about other than the fact she sings on (at least) two Air songs and at the time of recording she lived next door to Dunckel.

 Hirsch adds a heartbreakingly beautiful vocal on ‘All I Need’, it’s wonderfully chilled and the backdrop of music behind it is more skeletal than elsewhere on ‘Moon Safari’ purposedly one supposes.

4. Alpha Beta Gaga – Air (2004, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘Talkie Walkie’)

‘Alpha Beta Gaga’ is as it happens one of my favourite Air tracks

By all accounts ‘Alpha Beta Gaga’ was offered to Madonna before Air recorded it themselves.  Madonna approached the band and said that she wanted them to help write and produce her next album (which would have been ‘American Life’).  Air sent her this track full of acoustic guitars, synths, strings and a chorus that was made up of whistling.  Madonna, rejected it, because she is daft. 

3. Venus – Air (2004, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘Talkie Walkie’)

‘Venus’ opens Air’s third album and gives some idea as to what the rest of that album will sound like.  It is all light and fluffy, full of soulful synths and sounding effortless cool and different to what other Air records sound like. 

2. How Does It Make You Feel? – Air (2002, Virgin Records, Taken from ’10,000 Hz Legend’)

‘How Does It Make You Feel?’ was the third track to be released as a single from Air’s second album ’10,00 Hz Legend’ which isn’t a record I am terrible familiar but it has a whispery vocal which is all Gallic and a little bit sultry which smoulders alongside an acoustic guitar before the chorus kicks in which is all angelic choral sounding.  It’s very good.

1. Kelly Watch the Stars – Air (1998, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘Moon Safari’)

Its still one of their greatest songs to be honest from that subtle little start through the bit where the synths kick in and the Daft Punk style vocals robotically join it all together.  A marvellous four minutes or so of music.

And that folks is that for now.  I fully expect my daughters musical tastes to change rapidly if the fact that she is listening to Lush, Nadine Shah and {shudder} Kid Astray is anything to go by so we’ll see you back here this time next year for the next instalment.

Tomorrow – a new short series that will last three days. 

A Month Curated by A Ten Year Old #19

Smokebelch II (Beatless Mix) – Sabres of Paradise (1993, Warp Records, Taken from ‘Sabresonic’)

Welcome to the final two days of this series.  A series where nearly all the songs have been taken from a playlist designed by my ten year old daughter.  A playlist that has given us music by The Orb, Primal Scream, Lush, Massive Attack and The Muppets amongst other things.  Why only two days left, there are five days left in March – I hear you all yell – well yes there is but I made the decision at the start of the year to limited each series this month to twenty posts – so for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week a very small series will appear.  But before then lets discuss the wonderful Beatless Mix of ‘Smokebelch’ by those cheeky Sabres of Paradise chaps.

I’m sure that if I get any of the below bits wrong then Swiss Adam from the brilliant Bagging Area blog will jump in and correct me (and Adam please do that, you are as far as I am concerned the authority on Weatherall). 

‘Smokebelch II’ was I think the debut single from Sabres of Paradise, who were a band that consisted of Andrew Weatherall, Jagz Kooner and  Gary Burns. The Beatless Mix was I think originally on the B Side of the single and got a new lease of life when it appeared on the very first Café Del Mar album just as all that Ibiza vibes nonsense was kicking off.

Here’s the original version of ‘Smokebelch’ all twelve minutes of it – well it is Monday.

Smokebelch II – Sabres of Paradise (1993, Warp Records, Taken from ‘Sabresonic’)

‘Smokebelch’ courted controversy, in 2015 a chap called Lamont Booker also known as L.B Bad claimed that Weatherall and co ripped off his track ‘The New Age of Faith’.  That was a hidden track on a 6 track house music album.    Which you can listen to below (and if you want to you can read more about this on the 909 Originals website – which has interviews with LB Bad as well).

The New Age of Faith – The Prince of Dance Music L.B Bad (1989, Nu Groove Records, Taken from ‘The True Story of House Music’)

They are very similar – albeit The Prince of Dance Music version is much more stripped down.  Of course, I’m no expert, so I played both versions to my daughter who judging by her tastes and this playlist clearly is an expert.

The second one has someone playing a xylophone on it and the first one doesn’t and so they are different, also the first one is better

Well that’s that then.

Let’s spin that shuffle button for the last time.

Chicken Payback – The Bees (2004, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘Free the Bees’)

In the summer of 2021, we went to the Isle of Wight on holiday.  On the third evening we went to the seaside resort of Ventnor for an evening walk and some tea.   Ventnor despite being a busy seaside resort with a decent sized sandy beach, has very little to show for itself.  Even the live music blaring out of the sea front bar was awful.  

The Bees are from Ventnor, make of that what you will.  ‘Chicken Payback’ is from their second studio album ‘Free the Bees’, which I have never heard.  I suspect that this song is only on the playlist because it has the word ‘Chicken’ in the title and probably meant that my daughter could dance like a chicken to it.  I maybe wrong.

Of course, the best thing to have ever come from the Isle of Wight (apart from HMS Victory Rum that is) is this lot.

Chaise Longue – Wet Leg (2021, Domino Records, Taken from ‘Wet Leg’)

Tomorrow – Air and it’s Confession Time – I left Air till last because I was trying to persuade my daughter to write something about them but I have failed in that quest.  She has told me her top five Air songs though, all of which appear on the playlist, so tomorrow, we will go through those.

League Two Music – #19 – Carlisle United

Calling All the Heroes – It Bites (1986, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘The Big Lad In The Windmill’)

Carlisle United are I think, right now, the closest professional football team based in England to Scottish border.    Their ground, Brunton Park, is according Google Maps, just 11 miles from the Nike Factory Store on the Glasgow Road in Gretna, which is located about half a mile from the border.  The Nike Factory Shop is perfectly placed because all the teenage runaways who flee to Scotland to marry when they reach sixteen go to the Factory store first to kit themselves out in new tracksuits and trainers before their weddings.

I also think that the journey to Brunton Park from the Priestfield Stadium of Gillingham, takes around twelve hours one way, and is currently the longest journey between two clubs in English football.  Until Carlisle get promoted or Plymouth or Exeter get relegated (whichever is sooner) that is (looking at a map, Crawley to Carlisle might be longer anyway).

I imagine that this will be promotion by Carlisle because right now they are one of League Two’s in form sides.  They currently sit second in the league and have since the reappointment of club legend Paul Simpson as manager slowly chipped away at the runaway lead that Leyton Orient have had since around November.

All this seems a long way from the dark days of the club.  In 1992, the club were bought by ball juggling tight short wearing UFO seeing whacko Michael Knighton.  Football fans will remember him as he once tried to buy Manchester United and even went on Wogan to try and convince the public of his credentials.  United were not convinced by this and Knighton ended up buying Carlisle United instead.  In 1997, the club were upwardly mobile (well in League One anyways) and managed by the only footballer to have ever been namechecked in a Beatles song, Mervyn Day (yes he is, look it up), so Knighton did what all good chairmen should do.  He sacked him and replaced him with himself.  Carlisle were duly relegated back down to League Two and were saved from a double relegation by a last minute goal by on loan goalkeeper Jimmy Glass.

In 2002, a local businessman bought Knighton out and some sort of normality returned to the club although they have remained largely restricted to the third, fourth and (briefly) fifth tier of the football pyramid.

A few weeks ago a map detailing the most successful bands to come from certain geographic areas of the UK.  According to that map the most successful band to have ever hailed from Carlisle are prog rock behemoths, Spooky Tooth.  For years, Spooky Tooth used to be referenced in a joke that I would repeat whenever I got the chance.  For instance someone might say “Oh  I need a new crankshaft for my car” to which I would reply “Pretty sure I saw new crankshaft supporting Spooky Tooth at the Astoria in the early nineties”.   You had to be there really.

Something To Say – Spooky Tooth (1970, Island Records Taken from ‘The Last Puff’)

Elsewhere there isn’t a lot of write home about where famous bands from Carlisle are concerned, a couple of X Factor wannabes and the odd boyband member, so we will widen our search to include Cumbria and see what that throws up.  Apparently Jez Willis, one half of ‘energetic rave pop act’ (that definition is lifted from Planet was born in Brampton which is about ten miles west of East of Carlisle and as such qualifies under the now obligatory Black Rebel South Devon Clause.

What Can You Do For Me  – Utah Saints (1993, FFRR Records, Taken from ‘Utah Saints’)

That is about it.  So let’s crack on with a previously unheard Cumbrian band who is this week Haz King, who makes a kind of grunge-y lofi indie – a bit like the band wunderhorse who I raved about at the end of last year.

Struggle (Locked In) – Haz King (2023, Self Released Single)

Next Week Mansfield Town

Nearly Perfect Albums – #55

Celebration Rock – Japandroids

Younger Us – Japandroids (2012, Polyvinyl Records)

‘Celebration Rock’ is the second album from Vancouver duo Japandroids and it is staggeringly close to being perfect. I’ll sound like a music hypocrite here, because, it’s one fault is that it only has eight songs and whilst those eight songs are all brilliant (seriously not a duff second anywhere), every time I listen to this record I feel like its missing just one track, one more fist pumping anthem or one more punky blast, just to tide us over until the next album rolls along but we don’t get that.

Still, the eight track we do get are bloody awesome.  Songs that fill you with joy and make you want crave those gigs that are played out at an intimate tiny venue, where you spend your evening crushed up against a complete stranger, where your sweat at the end of the evening doesn’t smell like your own sweat.  An evening that every song was played like it was the last song that the band was ever going to play.

Just in case you weren’t aware or didn’t read the opening sentence of this piece, Japandroids are a duo and that adds to the extraordinary wonder of this record because it sounds like, from the first crash of drums in opening track ‘The Night of Wine and Roses’ through the first yell of “OH YEAH” in ‘Evil’s Sway’ to the scream of “FUCK IT” during ‘Younger Us’, that there are about twenty seven guitars being used and at least five sets of drums.  ‘Celebration Rock’ is one noisy record, its one brilliant record but yeah, it’s noisy.

The Night of Wine and Roses – Japandroids (2012, Polyvinyl Records)

Evil’s Sway – Japandroids (2012, Polyvinyl Records)

The best section of the record can be found running through tracks five to seven.  Track five is ‘Adrenaline Nightshift’ which should have been the song we were all singing in the summer of 2012, and I can’t for the life of me remember why we weren’t.  Seriously, what was there out there at the times that was better than this.  A song that talks about getting drunk in a bar and has a chorus that screams “There no high like this!” at us whilst a herd of rampaging elephants playing guitars stomp all over it. 

Then you get ‘Younger Us’ which is almost indie punk perfection, with its call to arms about lost youth, friendship and staying up all night which leads perfectly into ‘The House That Heaven Built’ which is just excellent.  A breathless, relentless catchy blast and contains one of the greatest hooks ever recorded. It is an astonishing track.

The House That Heaven Built – Japandroids (2012, Polyvinyl Records)

‘Celebration Rock’ is a proper achievement for a band that a year or so before it was recorded, had decided to give up making music, their hearts apparently weren’t in it.  I’m not sure what happened to change their minds, but I‘m glad they did.  ‘Celebration Rock’ sounds so urgent, so huge and so driven that it is addictive.  It is the sort of record that can reignite your faith in indie rock or guitar music.  Wonderful.

A Month Curated by A Ten Year Old #18

Higher Than The Sun (Dub Symphony in Two Parts) – Primal Scream (1990, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Screamadelica’)

I mean of course there is going to be Primal Scream, my daughter grew up listening to Primal Scream.  I’m pretty sure that I played her the Farley version of ‘Come Together’ when she was about two months old and I definitely played her ‘Loaded’ one Christmas before we went to a party, I remember us dancing round the lounge to it.  She was probably four then and even then all she wanted to do was be free to do what she wanted to do.

Actually, that party was kind of fun, it was an old school dayglo rave designed to cater for young children.  You turned up were handed some glow sticks, some healthy drinks and a ticket to Santa and then lead into a massive room where child friendly dance music played and children ran around waving their glow sticks at each other, whilst dads tried to out dad rave dance each other and shout about how good Utah Saints were back in the day.   Which they obviously were.

Something Good – Utah Saints (1992, London Records, Taken from ‘Utah Saints’)

Later we posed for photos in our two sizes too big Christmas jumpers with stupid Christmas hats perched lopsidedly on top of our heads.  Raves for children shouldn’t work and should be terrible idea but for some inexplicable reason they work brilliantly.

I’d like to think that whatever version of ‘Higher Than The Sun’ I posted on here wouldn’t need much of an introduction.  But just in case let me stretch out a bit – I think ‘Higher Than The Sun’ sums up Primal Scream and the whole ‘Screamdelica’ thing better than any other Primal Scream song – sure ‘Come Together’ and ‘Loaded’ are better songs, but as musical experiences go, ‘Higher Than The Sun’ takes you places that music shouldn’t ever be able to take you.  Its bloody fantastic, all those squelchy synths, a beat that it is impossible to actually dance to, but nigh on perfect to gently sway in a field at midnight to and even though this song is more than thirty years old, it still feels like a visitor from the future has handed you something that the kids from the year 3000 listen to.

Let’s press that shuffle button again and see what we get.

Le Responsable – Jacques Dutronc (1969, Disque Vogue, Taken from ‘Jacques Dutronc 1970’)

I’m probably, erm, responsible for this being on nearly very playlist that my daughter has made (it is not on the one solely made up with songs that have the word ‘cat’ in the title – a series that perhaps might feature later in the year – perhaps not).  ‘Le Responsible’ is a great blast of late sixties sophisti-pop, a swirl of garage-y guitars, some wonky sounding organ and un voix incroyable.  It’s a song that I have played to death since it featured on a documentary about the Welsh football team and their performances at Euro 2016. 

When ‘Le Responsable’ was originally released back in 1969 it came backed with this Gallic slab of debonair greatness. 

L’Aventurier – Jacques Dutronc (1969, Disque Vogue, B Side)

Join us next week for the final two instalments of this series, we kick Monday off with Sabres of Paradise and if you can find a better way to start a Monday morning, I’d like to hear it.

A Month Curated by A Ten Year Old #17

Les Nuits – Nightmares on Wax (1999, Warp Records, Taken from ‘Carboot Soul’)

What’s Trip Hop?”

My daughter has just asked me this question.  I’ve just come out of a long boring work meeting involved several angry people who have clearly drunk too much coffee.   So, I welcome the distraction. 

Alexa recommended a radio channel called ‘Trip Hop’ and I’ve been listening to it

So I try to explain about how in the 1990s a band called Portishead made a record called ‘Dummy’ which sort blew the music industry apart by creating a sound that hadn’t really been heard before.  A record full of samples, scratchy old beats, and big old vocals.  It was a genre that includes acts like Tricky, Massive Attack (all from Bristol, I tell her, and we detour as we discuss our trip to Bristol, where we went to We the Curious, the SS Great Britain and other local attractions) and yesterdays group Morcheeba.  It kind of lasted about three years before people sort of lost interest in it (in reality it became the staple music played in hipster cafes, at middle class dinner parties and kind of started to celebrate itself with its overt ‘sophistication’ and when Massive Attack et al started making music that was deliberately ‘not trip hop’ that’s when music fans started to move away from it) and the scene kind of morphed into different things (although they still call it trip hop).

We tune into the radio channel (again in reality it was a playlist designed by Amazon and not a radio channel at all) and the first thing that comes on is ‘Les Nuits’ by Nightmares on Wax, which if you ask me is not really a trip hop track at all.  Sure its laid back and chilled and full of weird beats, sampled strings and would sound great in a club as a smoke machine pumped away, but its not a trip hop record.  Then again, who am I to question (and this is a direct quote) “Sounds selected by Amazon’s Musical Experts”) and as it happens my daughter loves it and with a minute she is requesting that Alexa adds this to her playlist.  We let “Best of Trip Hop” run and just for larks here are the next two tracks that are played.

The Elevator (The Chill Remix) – Jaffa (2000, Dune Records, Taken from ‘Elevator’) – I’m not sitting here pretending to be an expert on all things trip hop but I’ve never heard of Jaffa before and if I was compiling a Best of Trip Hop Playlist I suspect this would be nowhere near it, although saying that its not that bad if you like a retro sounding organ chiming away over the top of some blunted beats. My daughter listens to it all the way through but like me finds it all a bit ‘Meh’.

Straight after that we get something else that I have never heard of before

Plain Song – Sidewinder (1999, Fenetik Music, Taken from ‘2badsheep’) – which I’m fairly sure isn’t a trip hop version of the Cure track from ‘Disintergration’ but a rather playful trumpet infused piece of Ninja Tunes style wonky pop (only its not released on Ninja Tunes but clearly wants to be).  We don’t get halfway through this before my daughter loses interest and wanders off.  Make of that what you want.  As she wanders off somewhere in my mind an idea for a series sprouts above the ground but we have plenty of time for that to develop.

Let’s press the shuffle button on my daughters playlist again and see what gets selected

Walk on By – Dionne Warwick (1964, Scepter Records, Taken from ‘Make Way for Dionne Warwick’)

A few years ago Rolling Stone did a countdown of the 500 Greatest Songs of all Time.  The Top 50 of that contained ONE song by a solo female artist (‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin).  ‘Walk On By’ was the second highest track on that countdown by a solo female and it was placed at Number 51.  I type this on International Women’s Day (March 8th) and I just want to say that Rolling Stone’s Top 500 tracks suck massively because ‘Walk On By’ is so much better than at least 45 of the tracks in their Top 50 as are several hundred others by solo females. 

As I type that another series idea sprouts tiny buds….

Here’s another Bacharach and David staple as sung by Dionne. 

Make It Easy On Yourself – Dionne Warwick (1963, Scepter Records, Taken from ‘Presenting Dionne Warwick’)

Tomorrow The Obligatory Primal Scream Post

A Month Curated by A Ten Year Old #16

The Sea – Morcheeba (1998, Indochina Records, Taken from ‘the Big Calm’)

A few years before this came out I lived in a student house in Guildford with a good friend of mine called John.  He was like me, music mad and often helped do a student radio show – I say radio show, it usually consisted of two very drunk idiots trying and failing to not talk over records as they played out to an audience of about seventeen people.

Anyway, one night about halfway through the show I played a promo 12 inch that I had been sent the week before.  It was this

Trigger Hippie – Morcheeba (1995, Indochina Records, Taken from ‘Who Can You Trust?’)

And as I took the record out of the sleeve some of the promotional bumf fell out on to the table.  John picked it, looked at the photo of the band, tilted it one way then another, swore loudly, realised that the red mike light was up because I was just about to introduce the song to the listening masses, waited two seconds until I turned the mike off and then said

I know him.  That’s Ross Godfrey, he lives down the road from my dad – oh and that’s his brother Paul next to him”.

That folks is pretty much how my flatmate John found out that the lad he sat next to in GCSE maths for two years was in the band Morcheeba.  Prior to that photo falling out of that sleeve I’m pretty sure he had no idea, no idea at all that his dad’s neighbour was one of the leading figures in the emerging trip hop scene.

I knew he farted around with different music instruments and stuff and I knew Paul played the guitar, but I had no idea they made records”.

Told you.

I pointed out the line at the bottom of the promotional piece that accompanied the photo, which told us that track three on the ‘Trigger Hippie’ EP was produced at the Godfrey Brothers home studio in Saltwood, Kent.

‘The Sea’ is taken from the bands second album, ‘The Big Calm’ which was probably their breakthrough record, it was a record that saw them move away slightly from the blunted beats of their debut effort and adopt a more radio friendly pop approach.  It has also been on about a thousand chill out albums.

 Next up, well more of the same really

Kerala – Bonobo (2017, Ninja Tune Records, Taken from ‘Migration’)

‘Kerala’ was the first single to be taken from Bonobo’s (real name Simon Green) sixth studio album ‘Migration’.  ‘Migration’ is the only Bonobo album that I actually own, it is a diverse mix of electronica and fused beats that looks at themes such as identity, the environment and has a slight political undercurrent running through it.

Tomorrow – Nightmares on Wax.