Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I will be appearing at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC this Saturday as part of a panel titled "In Flux: The Music Biz". Appearance pegged to the US release of Bring The Noise this month but I daresay I'll be repping Retromania a bit too.

Address: University of Southern California
Date: Saturday April 30th 2011
Time: 4.00 PM
Room: Taper 201
Panel: In Flux: The Music Biz
Moderator: Randall Roberts (LA Times Music editor). Panelists: Dan Charnas (author of The Big Payback: The History of The Business of Hip Hop), Fred Goodman (author of Mansion on the Hill and Fortune's Fool), SR.
Admission:General attendance is free, for specific panels it is something nominal like $1

More information here
Moon Wiring Club rush-release a Royal Wedding themed LP!

More information here and you can buy it here

And here's the first single off Somewhere A Fox Is Getting Married

Monday, April 25, 2011


Sunday, April 24, 2011

piece by me on the Royal Wedding and quaint out-of-date ideas of what Great Britain is like as perpetuated by American television

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In your local newsagent from today, the new issue of The Wire with my cover story on Not Not Fun, the Eagle Rock, LA label that's "just down the road" from us here in South Pasadena. As well as looking at NNF's shift towards more electronic, dance-oriented and high-production sounds, the feature is my second stab at defining the New Generation Sensibility (this being the first go), and in this I was helped hugely by the candour and articulacy of Mr & Mrs NNF a/k/a Britt and Amanda Brown. The piece also previews some of the preoccupations of Retromania.

Some Not Not Fun related audio, text, and video:

a NNF mix of recent and forthcoming tunes done specially for Pontone

another NNF selection of new and preview tunes at the Wire website

blog for Amanda's dance-oriented sub-label 100% Silk

Kiran Sande on Xander Harris at FACT

Tony Herrington blogging about LA Vampires/100 % Silk/Maria Minerva at the Mire

my favourite of the 100% Silk tracks to date: "A Little Lonely"

video by Victoria Cheong using audio by The Deeep

Degree of Freedom from Victoria Cheong on Vimeo.

one of my faves from Tallinn at Dawn

Friday, April 15, 2011

Further to yesterday's Ibiza-ification of pop column, and its coda swerve into "but the little girls understand" territory...

There's another parallel between the now-pop and glam 'n' glitter--the older generation of music fans, who had grown up with the original music that the later phase of teenybop pop was based on (Nineties techno-rave with the now-pop, Fifties rock'n'roll with glitter), these older-and-wisers would naturally tend to see the new chartpop as a lumpen travesty of the original's wildness and innocence and primal purity. As a cynically manufactured, crassly manipulative, coarsely hysterical bombast, empty of meaning. That's how glitter was largely seen by discerning rock fans at the time.

And it wasn't just the Fifties that the glitter bands remodeled, it was also the Sixties, or at least the middle bit of that decade: the big beats and riffing simplicity of early Kinks, Dave Clark Five, The Troggs. Slade with their Lennon/"Twist and Shout" raucousness. The Sweet talked of being influenced by The Who and then there were the Sixties-echoes like the mock-revolutionary scenario of "Teenage Rampage" (a bubblegum version of The Doors's "Five To One" almost) and the strange line "where were you in '68?" in ""The Six Teens".

So like the Peas et al vis-a-vis 90s techno-rave, glitterbeat took all the most exciting tricks and moves of rock'n'roll's peak moments to date, glossed them up and plasticizing the whole package, turned it all into this remorseless machine for euphoria-generation.

Now I think about it, "Dynamite" could be the title of a great lost Sweet single.

"sounds like a jolly Syd full o' Marmite" (Federica Pagani)

almost a breakbeat at the start... frisky drumming throughout

from 1971, but it takes me back to 1983, or thereabouts, whenever twas i picked up the single at some jumble sale or other

brightened a few mornings then, brightening this one now

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guardian blog by me on the Ibiza-ification of pop

cueing off this excellent piece at the Quietus by Daniel Barrow on what he calls the Soar--the hands-in-the-air chorus that's drifted across from Eurotrance to become the hallmark of the now-pop

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

such are the vagaries of drifting mindlessly across YouTube/the Internnet that it's complete coincidence that those last two posts involve bands that both contained Jo Callis. In fact he wrote "Top of the Pops" and co-wrote "Fascination"...
"the stock market for your hi-fi"

sometimes with YouTube you'll be looking for something you vividly remember from watching it at the time, but the reality falls short of your memory, or is just off, out of alignment with how you've distorted and amplified it in your mind over the decades...

but other times it's even better than you remember at the same time as being uncannily accurate to your memory of it

so it is with the Rezillos

i have to say, the audacity of the Rezillos performing a critique of Top of the Pops, on Top of the Pops, blew my teenage mind

that said i'm not sure if the one above is the source of my memory or whether it's this other Rezillos on TOTP doing "TOTP"

a couple more TV appearances by the Rezillos doing their one proper hit, live, on Revolver and The Old Grey Whistle Test

"Top of the Pops" is always paired in my mind with another 1978 TOTP performance of a demystification anthem by a punkette-fronted band... at least i could swear X-Ray Spex did "Identity", not their biggest single but a decent-sized hit, on TOTP, but all I can find on YouTube is this

and also this

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

it doesn't get much better than this

"to study or to play"

(but how come Ian Burdon doesn't get to sing?)

so charming it's almost an out of body experience

Saturday, April 02, 2011

the (original) helicopter tune

this was one of the very first pieces of pop music to really grab my young ears

it was that chickenscratch wah-wah lick

particularly the intro and then that thrilling last section from 3.58 onwards where it keeps cutting back and forth between just guitar and beat and the jabbing horn fanfare

i would have been eight or nine... i wonder if i could even tell it was a guitar... it was just this freaky whisking sound

probably had a similar sort of impact on me that hearing "Dominator" or "Chime" or "Mentasm" would have had on someone who was eight in 1991

not exactly "wow!futuristic!!" but more like "what is that sound?"

and just the electrifying tension of the riff, tightening the air with excitement

it always made me picture the blades of a helicopter

STOP PRESS: Ted Wilkinson points out that the player of the guitar part is Charles "Skip" Pitts,who can be seen here recreating it at "this past January's annual Guitar Geek Festival in Anaheim, California":

here's an odd thing I just remembered, a few years later, at my school, there was this film club, and the usual fare was, i dunno, stirring war films, s.f. movies like Soylent Green... but one time they showed Shaft!. Now bear in mind we're talking an audience of ten year old to twelve year old boys here. What were they thinking? Surely that was an X certificate picture.

Friday, April 01, 2011

proof that juke/footwork (the best bits of it anyway)really is the Son of Ardkore -

Omni Trio, "Renegade Snares (Philip D Kick footwork edit"

(tip courtesy Sir Michael Paradinas)