Categories
Indie Rock Music Punk

Underground Rockers Vol.2

I came across this interesting 1992 compilation album while searching for Suicide Alley by Manic Street Preachers, as research for a piece I’m writing about Lo-Fi music. Not only does this compilation include Suicide Alley, but it also includes the B-side, Tennessee (I Get Low). This was later rerecorded for their debut album proper, Generation Terrorists, but this lower fidelity version was just what I was looking for for my Lo-Fi piece.

The original sleeve for Suicide Alley/Tennessee (I Get Low), 1988. Not at all inspired by the first Clash LP. image courtesy of Discogs.

Underground Rockers Vol.2 contains two songs each from several bands: H.D.Q., Senseless Things, The Abs, The Price, Manic Street Preachers, Identity and Suspect Device. It’s pretty much a punk album. It ranges from shout along ’70’s style, ’80’s hardcore and even ’90’s pop punk. I had personally never heard many of these bands before but I enjoyed the album and thought it deserved some publicity. It is an excellent time capsule for the British punk scene in the early ’90’s.

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Categories
RPG Videogames

Scruffy Undertale Adventures (part 3)

So, I woke up early this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. So got up and played some more Undertale. So here’s some noteworthy stuff that happened.

Firstly, I added a border to my game.There are only three to choose from but I chose the sepia one. So after leaving the Ghost’s house I arrived in the traditional ‘lava level’. Every game has one. The first thing I found after the save point was a laboratory. Inside the laboratory, the scientist was watching me on a huge monitor.

After meeting the scientist, Dr. Alphys, she tells me that she has built a robot to be the ultimate celebrity/superstar. Unfortunately, she has also programmed it to be a human killing machine. Just as she’s telling me this it bursts through the wall.

This then turns into a boss fight where I have to answer questions until either I die or the robot gets bored and leaves. After the fight, I head out into the lava zone, solve some puzzles and meet a few interesting characters while remaining in contact, via cellphone, with Alphys. These characters on the bridge are talking about the quiz show I was on with the killer robot.

A couple of minutes later, i seamlessly walk from a lava field into a picturesque kitchen and the killer superstar robot reappears.

After taking part in Cooking with a Killer Robot, I return back to the start of the lava area (just in front of the laboratory) via a newly unlocked elevator. Heading south I find a river with a boat.

I can’t help but thinking of this person as Charon. and this river as Styx. I decide to get in the boat and we head back to Snowdin, the obligatory ‘snow level’ from earlier in the game. En route, the boat person (named River Person on the Undertale wiki) sings a jolly tune.

Well, that’s all for now. I returned to the save point as my real life doggo had awoken and was demanding to be taken out for toileting and exercise. Until next time.

Aforementioned real life doggo

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Indie Rock Music Punk

Thurston Moore – Various Pandemic Bandcamp Releases

Since the start of the lockdown, Sonic Youth guitarist & singer Thurston Moore has been steadily releasing unreleased archive material on his Bandcamp page. Since Moore has been kind enough to publish the lyrics to each track, and because he’s one of my favourite lyricists, I’ll reprint them here.

It started on 23rd March with TELEGRAPH which was written while touring with his former band Chelsea Light Moving in 2014. This track was originally performed on KEXP-FM under the title The Exstasie but later remixed in London.

Here’s where the mantra begins 
Where the wildfires reach for the wind 
Blue days break for yr pleasure 
And the gold rays color yr skin 
Here’s where we make our commotion 
Where the amplifiers all cry 
Raise yr guitar to sky devotion 
Let the high priests sing out the night 
And where do all the evil crazies go 
The drunken dripping demons down below 
This is where the messages rise above 
Shooting stars and candles lit for love 
Here’s where we fall into light dreams 
Where the flowers sweetly incite bees 
Yr guitar is a honey suck angel 
Drumsticks play in the free breeze 
And why do all the oceans erupt 
And all the mountains crumble to dust 
Destruction with no hope and no prayer 
Telegraph yr soul into the clear 

Next came a track called SUNDAY STAGE on 29th March. This was recorded circa-2013 by Chelsea Light Moving.

Sunday stage 
The ripped up page 
We’ll stay up late 
Til sunday babe 

Hush Arbors 
The dripping slurs 
The crushing verbs 
The smashing thirst 

NO GO, released on 4th April is a straightforward punk thrasher. Another Chelsea Light Moving recording from 2013.

SAY WHAT YOU WILL 
STAY WHERE YOU ARE 
SAY WHAT YOU WILL 
STAY WHERE YOU ARE 
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO 
NO GO 
NO GO 
NO GO 
NO GO 

INSTANT TRANSCENDENT CONJECTURE followed on 15th April. This was recorded by TMG (Thurston Moore Group) in 2016 during sessions for their Rock n Roll Consciousness album. According to Moore, it is a “cryptic suggestion into the realization of the poem as a springing into nature.”

WILD CRY STREAKING HEART REACTION 
ELEKTRO SOUL MAGNETIC ATTRACTION 

SOUNDING ROOM TELEVISON 
FREEDOM FLOWERS LIVE EXPLOSION 

INSTANT TRANSCENDENT CONJECTURE 
FEROCIOUS COHERENT REFLECTOR 

WILD CRY STREAKING HEART REACTION 
ELEKTRO SOUL MAGNETIC ATTRACTION 
REALIZATION COMPELLED TO RAPTURE 
COMPELLS A POEM TO IT’S CAPTURE 

MAY DAZE, released on 1st May is another Thurston Moore group recording. In the words of Thurston it is “a soundtrack for our usa sisters + brothers to register as voters today, if you still need to – we can change the world – free all political prisoners – insurrection for common decency – rock n roll consciousness – more to come”.

You must be on some kind of revolution kick 
Modernity is on the line and says you’re making them sick 
Wars and borders, prisons and swords we don’t understand how 
Let’s already overthrow overthrowing now 

I’m not the type of guy 
Who wants to change the world 
She’s not the type of guy 
He’s a new century girl 

Transparency especially in your soldier’s dress 
Screw policy if you’re in prison then we’re the one’s under arrest 
Star children have taken over they’re broadcasting peace 
Time and space have no place for a sister who needs to be free 

I’m not the type of guy 
Who wants to change the world 
She’s not the type of guy 
He’s just a new century girl 

You took me by surprise 
When you dared me to 
Glitter everything with change 
And i’ll break the rules with you

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Categories
Folk Music Punk

Billy Bragg – Can’t Be There Today

Can’t be there today is a slow and mournful folk ballad with clever and thought-provoking lyrics about the world we currently live in, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The arrangement is very minimal composed entirely from gently strummed guitar chords, lap steel and Billy’s distinctive voice.

The lyrics mournfully detail the things we are missing out on as result of the lockdown like weddings, gigs, Mother’s Day and other things which we took for granted just a few short months ago. The chorus turns this mournful listing into a positive, stating that “I love you and that’s why I’m going to stay away”.

Can’t Be There Today is a moving request to everyone to please be patient and to think of your loved ones and relatives in this unprecedented time of existential terror and simultaneous boredom.

Here’s the song and I’ll reprint the lyrics below, as they’re so important.

Lyrics:

[Verse 1]
An invite to a wedding
That no one can attend
A poster for a show that never happened
Two tickets for a holiday
I can longer spend
And a gift for Mothers Day I won’t be wrapping
This is all I’m left with
In a world that’s been shut down
I wannna come see you mum
But I fear that thing I might bring in

[Chorus]
So I’m sending you this message
With a heavy heart to say
“I miss you but I can’t be there today
I love you and that’s I’m gonna to stay away”

[Verse 2]
It feels like hope has been postponed
All plans put on hold
Prospects fade and expectations shattered
But all through these uncertain days
I’ve come to understand
Those few precious things that truly matter
Mama you’ve been on my mind
As the world has slipped away
Promise me you’ll do the things
That must be done in the days to come

[Chorus]
I don’t know when I’ll get the chance
To hug you so I wanna say
“I miss you but I can’t be there today
I love you and that’s why I’m gonna to stay away”

[Outro]
The time will come when this is done
And I won’t have to say
“I miss you but I can’t be there today
I love you and that’s why I’m gonna to stay away”

Lyrics courtesy of Genius

As an unrelated bonus to this blogpost here’s a better picture of that beautiful guitar Billy’s playing in the pic at the top.

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Categories
RPG Videogames

Scruffy Undertale Adventures (part 2)

So next thing I found amusing enough to blog about was the Joke book in Sans and Papyrus’ house.

Also in the same town, I knocked on this door and the occupant said:

So I knocked again and:

Subsequent knocks were met with:

I also went for a burger at Grillby’s with Sans. He passed me the ketchup but loosened the lid first. The entire bottle’s worth went all over my burger. Cheers Sans.

Later, at a waterfall in the pouring rain I shared an umbrella with Monster Boy. We spotted a spooky looking castle in the distance.

After falling down from the waterfall into an underground landfill I am attacked by a ghost-possessed training dummy but saved by a ghost friend I’d met earlier. The ghost invited me to it’s house and fed me. After which it invited me to lay on the floor with it. Things went pretty cosmic when I accepted the invite.

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Categories
RPG Videogames

Undertale – first impressions

I’ve just started playing Undertale this afternoon on Nintendo Switch. First impressions are pretty good. I’m around an hour and half in and I’m really enjoying it. As well as a brief explanation, I’ve taken some screenshots that I think are amazing. These screenshots alone justify this post (in my humble opinion).

The game, at least so far, plays a little like a classic JRPG. The combat, for instance, shares visual similarities with the early Dragon Quest (or Dragon Warrior in Japan) games. The exploration is also similar to Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. You walk around a 2D map solving puzzles and getting into random encounters.

The battle system is unique in that you don’t have to kill any of the enemies you fight. There is always another option. One monster I fought was a woodland creature a bit like a reindeer called a Gyftrot. Locals like to decorate the antlers of Gyftrots. You can “win” the battle by “undecorating” his antlers which makes him happy and you can select “Spare” from the combat menus.

I’m currently in a town called Snowdin. I love this bear’s grasp of political science.

Inside the bar, Grillby’s, that the bear is standing outside.

I previously had to fight the four dogs sat around the table in the four ground. I managed to spare them all from death with strategic petting. The two with armour and halberds had to be persuaded that I was a “strange puppy”. I had to roll around in the dirt and let them re-sniff me. Once they were convinced that I was a puppy, I then had to pet them again. Their minds were blown that dogs could pet other dogs and now they say their lives are changed forever.

Finally, I believe I may start using this picture at the top of any post I make about politics:

If you’re interested in this game, here’s a trailer to watch. Think it’s available on pretty much every platform except for Xbox. I bought it for Switch.

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Categories
Hip Hop Music Punk

Beastie Boys, late ‘80’s – Youthful Beastie Hijinks

Okay, see, what had happened was…I had a ticket to go see Bobby McFerrin, right, and you know, it was like, ’88 or’89 and Don’t Worry, Be Happy was a huge song and so I wanted to go and see what the fuss was all about. And I guess during the show I tried to start a mosh pit, and so security escorted me out. Adam and Mike were gonna pick me up outside at like 11:00, but it was only like 9, and so I hit the liquor store on the corner and sat on some steps to hang out to wait for them. They forgot to pick me up, but then remembered in the morning. I’m not sure, but I think the moral of this story is, get a tall boy instead of a 40.

Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz

And finally, here’s some music. Probably recorded around the time that the photo was taken. Depending on the reliability of Ad-Rock’s memory.

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Categories
History Music Politics

International Workers Day

To mark International Workers Day, my partner and I participated in a Zoom meeting with members of Unite the Union, the wider labour movement and people linked to the Miners Strike of 1984. To mark this day on this blog, I am sharing some of my favourite activist songs by Billy Bragg and some quotes from revolutionary leaders like VI Lenin and Ho Chi Minh regarding international solidarity.

misleading press image of anarchist protesters throwing a bomb at police, Chicago, May 1886

There are many things going on globally to mark International Workers Day. In the US, for example, I am aware of Mass Rent Strikes (the 1st of the month being rent day) and strikes at various US companies including Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Target, Amazon, Instacart, WalMart, Shipt and FedEx.

US labor movement (https://www.rlmartstudio.com)

The best way you can honour the many sacrifices of the international labour movement is by joining a union. It’s your best defence against unscrupulous employers, and in this age of rampant free market capitalism there is no shortage of those. And the defence that a union can offer you becomes more powerful as it gets bigger.

UK pro union poster

In the UK and the US, neoliberal free market zealots like Thatcher and Reagan have brainwashed many into thinking that the the unions had become too powerful before they came along. To believe that unions can become too powerful is to fundamentally misunderstand what a union is and what it is for.

Solidarity in the workplace. Educate! Agitate! Organise!

In the history of modern socialism this is a phenomenon, that the strife of the various trends within the socialist movement has from national become international.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Dogmatism And ‘Freedom of Criticism’” (1901)

All the martyrs of the working class, those in Lausanne like those in Paris, those in Le Havre like those in Martinique, are victims of the same murderer: international capitalism. And it is always in belief in the liberation of their oppressed brothers, without discrimination as to race or country, that the souls of these martyrs will find supreme consolation.

Ho Chi Minh, Le Paria, August 17, 1923
Billy Bragg playing There Is Power In A Union during the “Clap for the NHS & Key Workers”, 30th April 2020

If you are interested, here are some links to further reading about International Workers Day:

International Workers Day Wikipedia page

IWW archive

Solidarity Comrades.

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