Categories
Dub Experimental Indie Rock Industrial Post Punk

Jäh Division – Dub Will Tear Us Apart… Again

Before hearing Jäh Division’s imaginative deconstructions of classic Joy Division songs, I suppose I was already primed to accept this kind of thing. Due to the success of artists like Easy Star All-Stars & their guest-heavy reinterpretations of classic albums like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, Radiohead’s OK Computer & Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, I was already quite receptive to the idea of hearing some of my life’s cultural touchstones rendered in Dub.

The idea of Joy Division’s music rendered as Dub calls to mind something that cultural theorist/political philosopher Mark Fisher wrote about Post-Punk bands like The Fall and Joy Division. He observed how their bass-led songwriting & production provided a white equivalent to Dub Reggae. The salient point here being that it is a white equivalent rather than a white version. Young working class white kids working out their marginalisation in bass-heavy soundscapes in much the same way as the working class black kids, but yielding completely different results.

So before I even listen to it, Jäh Division has pretty big shoes to fill. Does it succeed? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s quite enjoyable as a Dub album but it’s debatable how well the original songs hold up during the transformation. Opening track Transmission is barely recognisable with the tempo reduced to a languid crawl, only the bass line bears any resemblance to the original. It exemplifies how different an element from a song can sound if taken out of its original context. I have similar feelings about Heart And Soul Isolation too. Enjoyable enough Dub, sure, but almost unrecognisable as the Joy Division song.

Transmission, for my money, is a little more successful. The reduction in tempo & energy isn’t quite enough to ground the dizzy heights scaled by the songs gorgeous melody synth. The dubby delays even seem to add buoyancy to these heroically soaring melodies. Love Will Tear Us Apart also works quite well here. No accident that it is their most accessible and radio friendly song. It could fit into almost any genre without diminishing its appeal.

The 2019 rerelease also features four bonus tracks which are actually original compositions rather than Joy Division covers. These are all fine, decent Dub tracks. I have no complaints but they don’t really stand out & they feel a trifle unnecessary so I won’t really dwell on them too much.

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Categories
Indie Rock Literature Poetry

Taxidermy #1: Strength

I recently became aware of the concept of Literary Taxidermy. The general idea is that you take the opening & closing lines of a poem, story or book & write an entirely new poem, story etc. between them. Instead of following this formula precisely, I have written this poem using a lyrical couplet from one of my favourite songs, Zürich Is Stained by Pavement (see below). The opening couplet here is about self-doubt & the fear that you’re not as strong as you need to be. I took this theme & ran with it. I hope you like it.

As a side note, I know I usually post poetry on Slow News City, but as discussed in the recent post A few thoughts about the direction of this blog, my approach to what I share on my blogs is changing slightly. Thank you.

Taxidermy #1: Strength

“I can’t sing it strong enough.”
Well I might be able to,
No promises,
But I’ll give it a go.
Maybe I’ll be able to find new reserves
Of deepest, strongest strength to tap
Way down deep where I wouldn’t expect.
Maybe I’ll absorb that strength from others,
By osmosis while holding hands
Or shaking hands
Or hugs
Or fist bumps.
Maybe I’ll fall within the range
Of an area-of-effect buff
From one of my stronger,
More confident companions.
Maybe the strength I seek
Will be found in spirituality,
Although I must admit,
That is incredibly unlikely;
A long shot, to say the least.
Maybe I’ll find the strength I need
In the unshakeable belief
In my fellow man,
Solidarity in community
& rejection of competition.
Solidarity not selfishness,
Sacrifice in the face of solipsism.
Maybe the strength required
Can be found
In the wisdom of the dead,
Dusty library words,
Observances and inventions,
Artistic enlightenment
That gradually evolves
Into feelings of encouragement
& spasms of renaissance.
The worst-case-scenario, of course,
Is that there is no fresh,
Untapped well of superhuman strength,
External or internal,
Waiting for me when I need it the most.
No secret inner quality,
No unrealised ambitions
Or dormant skills.
Maybe there is nothing but weakness,
Doubt and disillusionment.
Maybe, just maybe,
“That kind of strength I just don’t have.”

 

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Categories
Indie Rock New Wave Post Punk Synth Pop

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Fall – Hit The North

Day 30. I’ve become kind of caught up in the excitement & humour of the Twitter account-cum-Political Party, the Northern Independence Party (or NIP) & the prospect of it achieving a small amount of success in the form of some councillors & maybe an MP or two. They’re already standing former Labour MP Thelma Walker in the upcoming Hartlepool by election, a seat which Labour has held since 1945 & which Sir Keir “Keith” Starmer (aka – The Abstainer) is likely to lose to the most corrupt & murderous UK government in living memory. Sadly, the electoral commission is saying that NIP failed to register on time (as a legit political party, that is). They are however pressing on with their campaign, only standing their candidates as independents for the time being.

On another of the fledgling party’s social media posts, they asked their followers what song should become a free North’s anthem. I could think of no finer a song to fill this position than this rowdy & romantic New Wave classic by Mancunian Post Punk heroes, The Fall. I hope you’ll agree.

Hit the North
Hit the North
(Hit the North) my Cat says eeeee-ack
Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Ninety-five percent of hayseeds
(Hit the North) are corn-pones, guaranteed
Hit the North
Computers and fashion hotels
Cops can’t catch criminals
But what the heck, they’re not too bad, they talk to God 
Religious

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Manacled to the city
Manacled to the city (hit the North)

All estate, all es, all estate agents alive
Yell down nights in hysterical breath
Those Northern Lights, so pretty
Those big big big wide streets
Those useless MPs
Savages

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North
(Manacled to the system) Hit the North

From the back third eye psyche
The reflected mirror of delirium
Eastender and Victoria’s lager
The induced call, mysterious
Comes forth

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Looking for some great music? Check the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Indie Rock Rock Rock And Roll Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

Day 28. Another one influenced by Disco Elysium here. This song doesn’t appear in the game, as such, but appears as one of several easter eggs within the game which reference Manic Street Preachers song titles & lyrics. In the game world, the song was the anthem of a past Communist revolution in the main city, Revachol. An old man who fought during said revolution sings (or speaks, it isn’t voice acted) the opening lines of the song to you. When you ask him how the rest of the song goes, he says: “Something about shooting rabbits? I don’t remember.”

The song was originally written about the Spanish Civil War & became the Manic Street Preachers first number one single in the UK. The song is the longest song title (without using parenthesis) to ever reach the number one spot. It is, as far as I can ascertain, the only UK number one single to address the Spanish Civil War too, although I remember, at the time it was released, journalists saying that The Clash did it better with Spanish Bombs. I’m not sure where I stand on this.

The future teaches you to be alone
The present to be afraid and cold
So if I can shoot rabbits
Then I can shoot fascists

Bullets for your brain today
But we’ll forget it all again
Monuments put from pen to paper
Turns me into a gutless wonder

And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
Will be next
Will be next
Will be next

Gravity keeps my head down
Or is it maybe shame
At being so young and being so vain?

Holes in your head today
But I’m a pacifist
I’ve walked La Ramblas
But not with real intent

And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
Will be next
Will be next
Will be next
Will be next

And on the street tonight an old man plays
With newspaper cuttings of his glory days

And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
Will be next
Will be next
Will be next

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah

Looking for some great music? Check the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Dream Pop Indie Rock New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Jesus & Mary Chain – Head On

Day 27. This is actually the second time this particular song has appeared during a Song of the Day series. The first time was during the Cover Versions series, in the form of the excellent cover by Pixies. This original version is a solid piece of dark Post Punk Pop, late ’80s style. The Reid brothers are on top form here. Stylish synthetic bass rhythms & stupendous rhythms are central to the composition, with the distorted swirls of electric guitar adding colour depth.

As soon as I get my head around you
I come around catching sparks off you
I get an electric shock from you
This secondhand living just won’t do
And the way I feel tonight
I could die and I wouldn’t mind
And there’s something going on inside
Makes you want to feel
Makes you want to try
Makes you want to blow the stars from the sky
And I can’t stand up
I can’t cool down
I can’t get my head off the ground
As soon as I get my head around you
I come around catching sparks off you
And all I ever got from you
Was all I ever took from you
Yeah, the world could die in pain
And I wouldn’t feel no shame
And there’s nothing holding me to blame
Makes you want to feel
Makes you want to try
Makes you want to blow the stars from the sky
And I’m taking myself to a dirty part of town
Where all my troubles can’t be found
I said yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
And I’m taking myself to a dirty part of town
Where all my troubles can’t be found
Makes you want to feel
Makes you want to try
Makes you want to blow the stars from the sky

Looking for some great music? Why not check out the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Folk Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): British Sea Power – The Smallest Church In Sussex

Day 26. Tonight I finished my first playthrough of the incredible detective RPG Disco Elysium. It has a soundtrack by British Sea Power, who I love, & there is a scene in which the main protagonist sings an altered version of this song entitled ‘The Smallest Church In Saint-Saëns’. I’ve included this version below for the curious. The vocals are by the protagonists Ancient Reptilian Brain.

I would often go there
To the tiny church there
The smallest church in Sussex
Though it once was larger

How the rill may rest there
Down through the mist there
Toward the Seven Sisters
Toward those white cliffs there

I would ofter stay there
In there tiny yard there
I have been so glad here
Looking forward to the past here

But now you are alone
None of this matters at all

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Categories
Folk Indie Rock Pop twee

Belle & Sebastian Black Sessions 1998

I felt the need to share this VHS-rip of a full Belle & Sebastian set from 1998 because it is, quite frankly, marvellous. The band were at the peak of their powers during this period & the set includes songs from their first three albums and EP’s.

The sound quality has a few issues at times, being a rip of a VHS tape which was recorded from the TV 23 years ago, but is generally quite good. Well worth the few minor imperfections.

Tracklist:

1 The Boy Done Wrong Again

2 Dog On Wheels

3 Paper Boat + Seeing Other People

4 Century Of Fakers

5 I Know Where The Summer Goes

6 Mayfly

7 The Wrong Girl

8 Dirty Dream Number Two

9 Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son

10 Slow Graffiti

11 I Don’t Love Anyone

12 Sleep The Clock Around

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Categories
Indie Rock Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Weezer – Say It Ain’t So

Day 25. I saw a meme yesterday (that I can no longer find) that stated, “society has progressed beyond the need for Weezer.” Obviously this was meant as a joke (probably). This morning, while watching YouTube music videos, Say It Ain’t So came on. It’s a great tune.

Oh yeah
Alright

Somebody’s Heine’
Is crowdin’ my icebox
Somebody’s cold one
Is givin’ me chills
Guess I’ll just close my eyes

Oh yeah
Alright
Feels good
Inside

Flip on the telly
Wrestle with Jimmy
Something is bubbling
Behind my back
The bottle is ready to blow

Say it ain’t so
Your drug is a heart breaker
Say it ain’t so
My love is a life taker

I can’t confront you
I never could do
That which might hurt you
So try and be cool
When I say
This way is a water slide away from me
That takes you further every day
So be cool

Say it ain’t so
Your drug is a heart breaker
Say it ain’t so
My love is a life taker

Dear daddy
I write you in spite of years of silence
You’ve cleaned up, found Jesus, things are good or so I hear
This bottle of Steven’s awakens ancient feelings
Like father, stepfather, the son is drowning in the flood
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Say it ain’t so
Your drug is a heart breaker
Say it ain’t so
My love is a life taker

Looking for some great music? Check the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Cake – Frank Sinatra

Day 21.

I’m not 100% sure why I chose this song. I love it & I only just saw the video for the first time today, so maybe that’s why. Either way, it’s a great example of the particular brand of Indie Rock which I love: what the press called ‘slacker’ music. Great lyrics too.

We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station
While Frank Sinatra sings Stormy Weather
The flies and spiders get along together
Cobwebs fall on an old skipping record

Beyond the suns that guard this roost
Beyond your flowers of flaming truth
Beyond your latest ad campaigns
An old man sits collecting stamps
In a room all filled with Chinese lamps

He saves what others throw away
He says that he’ll be rich someday
We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station
We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station

While Frank Sinatra sings “Stormy Weather”
The flies and spiders get along together
Cobwebs fall on an old skipping record

Looking for some great music? Why not try the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist?

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Categories
Art Pop Experimental Folk Indie Rock

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Beta Band – Inner Meet Me

Day 20.

Psychedelic Indie madness from The Beta Band today. Taken from their excellent second EP, The Patty Patty Sound, Inner Meet Me is a messy, glorious mix of frazzled lo-fi folk, subby bass & bleepy, delayed Dub sirens.

I was reminded about the band because they, & the video for this song, are the subject of a poem I have been writing over the last few days, which should see the light of day on my other blog, Slow News City.

Inner Meet Me, oh you can’t decide (repeated) 

Last night I dreamt somebody fell asleep between my knees. 
I couldn’t help it that the facts were rejected by a boy who called me (repeated 3 times) 

She said to me,  
keep your head up,  
never show up, 
keep it all in 
never dream alone 
Play on a star 
Moves too far 
Say what you feel 
Speak when you kneel 
Never dream alone 
Never dream alone 

If you were feeling that the light is on the ceiling then you can’t see past your nose. 
Cos what you’re seeing is the man underneath the beam she’s a fool below low. 
I never listen but the people they were christened I wonder who was the one. 
A better placement for the basement when he’s chasing Mrs Mason when they’re facing on the relation  

She said to me,  
keep your head up,  
never show up, 
keep it all in, 
never dream alone 
Play on a star 
Moves too far 
Say what you feel 
Speak when you kneel 
Never dream alone 
Never dream alone

Last night I dreamt somebody fell asleep between my knees 
I couldnt help it that the facts were recjected by a boy called me (repeated 3 times) 

She said to me,  
keep your head up,  
never show up, 
keep it all in, 
never dream alone 
Play on a star 
Moves too far 
Say what you feel 
Speak when you kneel 
Never dream alone 
Never dream alone

Looking for some great music? Check out the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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