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Music Reggae Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): Steel Pulse – Ku Klux Klan

Day 11 (K). Ku Klux Klan. Anti-racist Reggae from Steel Pulse, a band who, in the late ’70’s, who couldn’t get gigs playing Caribbean venues due to their Rastafarianism. Instead, they managed to find gigs at Punk clubs in front of Punk crowds. This helped to solidify the already strong link between the two genres. In the minds of some fans, Steel Pulse were seen as an honorary Punk band. I personally heard them for the first time because this song appeared on a Punk & New Wave compilation.

Walking along just kicking stones
Minding my own business
I come face to face, with my foe
Disguised in violence from head to toe

I holla and I bawl (Ku Klux Klan)
But dem naw let me go now (Ku Klux Klan)
To let me go was not dem intention
Dem seh one nigger the less
The better for the show
Stand strong black skin and take your blow
It’s the Ku, the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan (Ku Klux Klan)
Here to stamp out blackman yah
The Ku, the Ku Klux Klan heh!

To be taught a lesson not to walk alone
I was waiting for the Good Samaritan
But waiting was hopeless
It was all in vain
The Ku Klux Klan back again

I holla and I bawl (Ku Klux Klan)
Dem naw let me go now (Ku Klux Klan)
Dem seh one nigger the less
The better the show
Stand strong blackskin and take your blow
The Ku, Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan (Ku Klux Klan)
Rape, lynch, kill and maim
Things can’t remain the same yah no!

Blackman do unto the Klan
AS they would do to you
In this case hate they neighbour
Those cowards only kill who they fear
That’s why they hide behind
The hoods and cloaks they wear
I holla and I bawl (Ku Klux Klan)
Dem naw let me go no (Ku Klux Klan)

Oh no, oh no
Ku Klux Klan (Ku Klux Klan)
Here to stamp out black man yah
Rape, lynch, kill and maim
Things can’t remain the same yah
No, no, no, no (Ku Klux Klan)

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Categories
History Politics

Happy Birthday Malcolm X & Ho Chi Minh

Showing solidarity with Malcolm X on his 95th birthday & Ho Chi Minh on his 130th.

A little while ago I made this Glitch art portrait of Uncle Ho.

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Uncle Ho

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And today, this one of Malcolm X

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Happy Birthday Malcolm X

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“If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that’s not progress.

Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. And they haven’t even pulled the knife out much less healed the wound. They won’t even admit the knife is there.”

Malcolm X

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Indie Rock Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): The Jesus And Mary Chain – Just Like Honey

Day 10 (J) & we’re having a look at the feedback-drenched bubblegum pop of Psychocandy-era The Jesus And Mary Chain. Featuring a young Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) on drums, Just Like Honey riffs on the same drum beat as the Phil Spector produced Be My Baby by the Ronnettes. We might take the marriage of abrasive guitar noise with ’60’s influenced pop melodies a little for granted now, but when Just Like Honey (and earlier singles like Never Understand) came a long, it was a breath of fresh air which revitalised the Post-Punk landscape.

Listen to the girl
As she takes on half the world
Moving up and so alive
In her honey dripping beehive
Beehive
It’s good, so good, it’s so good
So good

Walking back to you
Is the hardest thing that
I can do
That I can do for you
For youI’ll be your plastic toy
I’ll be your plastic toy
For you

Eating up the scum
Is the hardest thing for
Me to do

Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey
Just like honey

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Indie Rock Music

Manic Street Preachers – Gold Against The Soul

Welsh rock group Manic Street Preachers, London, 2nd June 1993. Left to right; drummer Sean Moore, bassist Nicky Wire, singer James Dean Bradfield and guitarist Richey James Edwards. (Photo by Kevin Cummins/Getty Images)

With the impending release of the deluxe edition of Manic Street Preachers sophomore long player, Gold Against The Soul on 12th June, now seems like a good time to have another look at this overlooked & under-loved album.

Sandwiched between the hugely ambitious flop of their debut album Generation Terrorists (“we wouldn’t be happy unless it sold sixteen million”) & the Post-Punk terror of their bleak masterpiece The Holy Bible, sits Manic Street Preachers first steps away from the upbeat anxiety of the former & towards the desolate internal strife which characterised the latter. Gold Against The Soul was produced by Dave Eringa (who had produced their Motown Junk single, three years previously) at Hook End Manor, an Elizabethan mansion formerly owned by Pink Floyd guitarist, Dave Gilmour.

With production levels more polished & commercially accessible than Generation Terrorists, Gold Against The Soul brings to mind The Clash’s sophomore album, the Sandy Pearlman produced Give ‘Em Enough Rope. A lot of the raw, punk edge seems to have been rolled off and replaced by shimmering concessions to radio friendliness. Also like Give ‘Em Enough Rope, Gold Against The Soul has, despite early indifference, grown in stature in the eyes of the bands fans.

The lyrics are definitely darker & more focused than Generation Terrorists. Lead single From Despair To Where is about the crushing realisation of the futility of adulthood. La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh) is named after a line from Vincent Van Gogh’s suicide note & describes the hypocrisy of how we treat veterans & parade them around at the Cenotaph every year. Symphony Of Tourette is a cross between an apology/explanation for some of the offensive statements the band members made around the time (“Let’s hope Michael Stipe goes the same way as Freddie Mercury”, “I hate Slowdive more than Hitler”) & a longing for the social freedom which the writer imagines Tourette’s syndrome affords a sufferer.

The album kicks off with some incredibly powerful riffing on the excellent Sleepflower, one of this writers favourite ever album openers. This ode to insomnia certainly carries a lot of weight & (I read in this article) uses the same guitar amp that was used on the bands independent single, Motown Junk, three years previously.

The singles from this album are beautifully produce & have gone on to be staples in the Manic Street Preachers live show over the years. From Despair To Where is a masterclass in rock radio production. La Tristesse is pure power pop. Roses In The Hospital has a loose limbed, almost Madchester feel to it, instantly dispelled by the profanity in the chorus: “We don’t want your fucking love” – or the cringeworthy radio edit which swaps that line for the songs title sung to the same vocal melody. Life Becoming A Landslide drifts effortlessly between elegaic pop verses, soaring, anthemic choruses & intense crunchy riffing.

On 12th June 2020, the deluxe edition of Gold Against The Soul will be released. The band have put together this trailer, featuring a number of clips of live performances of songs from the album.

Manic Street Preachers have confirmed the re-issue of a deluxe edition of their 1993 second album ‘Gold Against The Soul’ on 12th June 2020.

Available as a  120 page  A4 book featuring unseen images from the band’s  long time photographic collaborator Mitch Ikeda, many personally annotated by Nicky Wire and original typed and handwritten lyrics from the band’s own archive.  It will contain two CDs featuring the remastered album, previously unreleased demos, b-sides from the era, remixes and a live recording of The Clash song ‘What’s My Name’.  

Also available is a 180g vinyl version of the original album with download codes to the extra tracks on CD1 and a digital version featuring all the songs.

Pre Order signed copies of the book via the official Manics store: http://smarturl.it/MSPGATS/store

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Categories
Electronic Music Indie Rock Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): Radiohead – Idioteque

Day 9 (I) & we’ve finally hit a vein of pure Radiohead. After the success of OK Computer in the late ’90’s, the music industry had high hopes & expectations for Radiohead’s follow up. Radiohead however, made one of (if not the) most dramatic left turns in music history. During the touring & aftermath of OK Computer, Thom Yorke & the boys had been listening to a lot of the electronic music which was starting to really gain momentum at that point. We’re talking Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada & Squarepusher to name a few.

Thom Yorke & Johnny Greenwood twiddling knobs & patching parameters, 2014

Radiohead took these new influences on board wholeheartedly, and emerged from the studio with Kid A, an album of experimental electronic music incorporating all of these influences. Despite the “moral panic” & hate from so-called “hardcore fans” over this change of direction, Kid A isn’t quite the departure it seems at first listen. Scratch the surface and you still find all the elements which made Radiohead great in the first place.

Idioteque, despite initial indifference, has in later years taken it’s place in the Radiohead catalogue as a firm favourite for me. This BBC performance (which serves as the “official” video) gives an excellent insight into how Radiohead would play these experimental songs live to the same high standard as their more rock-based material.

Who’s in a bunker?
Who’s in a bunker?
Women and children first
And the children first
And the children

I’ll laugh until my head comes off
I’ll swallow till I burst
Until I burst
Until I

Who’s in a bunker?
Who’s in a bunker?
I have seen too much
I haven’t seen enough
You haven’t seen it

I’ll laugh until my head comes off
Women and children first
And children first
And children

Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time
Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time

Ice age coming
Ice age coming
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both

Ice age coming
Ice age coming
Throw it in the fire
Throw it in the fire
Throw it on the

We’re not scaremongering
This is really happening
Happening
We’re not scaremongering
This is really happening
Happening

Mobiles squerking
Mobiles chirping
Take the money run
Take the money run
Take the money

Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time
Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time

Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time
Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time

The first of the children [Repeat until fade]

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Categories
Indie Rock Music Overlooked Classics

Overlooked Classics: The Drum – Diskin

When Pop-Punk goes bad.

I can’t begin to guess what a happened to Nottingham Pop-Punk band, China Drum, between their 1997 album Self Made Maniac & their 2000 album (after name change to The Drum) Diskin. Before the release of this gnarled & twisted album, they were probably best known for their excellent Pop-Punk cover of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights.

The influences on this record are much more diverse & interesting than the Pop-Punk by numbers of their previous albums. They seem to have been listening to a lot of Grunge & Alternative Rock music. This and more experimental music, perhaps Radiohead’s OK Computer.

The alien song structures, analogue synth warbling & delayed electronic textures rub up quite well against the neo-Grunge guitar riffing & Diskin seems to arrive at something completely new & original. Even now, 20 years on, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like it. Highlights for me include downtempo tracks like Horns Front & The Beast (which seem to carry a fair Placebo influence), as well as the more abarsive noise jams of opener HK & Hold This Thought While I Lose My Head (apparently renamed as Head on Spotify?).


As I said above, Diskin is very unique & if you haven’t heard it before then you should definitely give it a listen.

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Categories
Music Rock

Neil Young – Try

With the impending release of Neil Young’s famous lost album, Homegrown, he has released Try as an appetising single. Recorded between 1974 & 1975, Homegrown has surfaced occasionally in the form of (low fidelity) bootlegs, but never seen an official (well mixed & mastered) release. This is set to change with an official release set for next month.

Rarely heard outside of a couple of piano based live performances over the years, Try is classic ’70’s Neil Young. A lilting country ballad with gently strummed guitars & slow but purposeful percussion which gives it the air of a melancholic march. Extra melodic content is provided by a few dusty piano chords & some pretty lapsteel.

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Categories
Music Science Fiction TV

Legion & Music

In my recent post about Sharon Van Etten & Josh Homme’s new cover of (What’s so Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? I also shared a version of the song performed by the cast of the Marvel TV show, Legion. music is integral to the madcap, retrofuturistic worlds portrayed in this most bizarre of shows. In the first episode of season 3, Indie Pop collective Superorganism actually appear in person to welcome new character, Switch (Lauren Tsai), into the story during their 2017 single, Something for your M.I.N.D. To longtime fans of the show, this psychedelic sequence should not be too much of a surprise.

Later on in season 3 David (the central character), due to time travel (kinda), is reunited with his deceased mother. During this sequence the actors portraying David (Dan Stevens) & his mother Gabrielle (Stephanie Corneliussen) perform an excellent cover of the Pink Floyd classic Mother. As a sidenote, the show also features a character named Syd Barrett so it’s always worn it’s love for Floyd on it’s sleeve. This video is the best I could find for this particular song.

Let’s not forget this huge ensemble recording of Nick Lowe’s classic which I shared previously. This amazing sequence plays out During the show’s amazing final scenes.

One which I’d forgotten about, but was reminded by a comment on one of the other YouTube videos was this version of The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes from season 2. This is during a fight between David & The Shadow King.

Back to series 3 and we have this Rap Battle (used to represent a psychic duel) between Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement) & Jerome “The Big Bad” Wolf (Jason Mantzoukas).

Hope you’ve enjoyed the videos.

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Categories
Indie Rock Music Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): Minutemen – History Lesson Part 2

This blogpost is dedicated to the memory of D. Boon. RIP.

Day 8 (H) & it’s History Lesson (Part 2) by Minutemen. You almost certainly know a Minutemen song, even if you’ve never heard of them. Their song Corona was made world famous by it’s use as the theme music for Jackass. I find this amusing as, lyrically, it’s a very intelligent song about US foreign policy in central America. For it to be then used for a show like Jackass. Hilarious.

D. Boon, 1985

History Lesson (Part 2) is about the origins of the Minutemen (“Me & Mike Watt played for years”, “we drove up from Pedro”) and also engages in some mythmaking & world building for the Punk Rock community. “This is Bob Dylan to me” is intended to equate the acclaim Dylan enjoys with Punk Rock music, lending it a sense of legitimacy which we take for granted in 2020. There was a time when this music was viewed as obscene & talentless noise. In the here & now, it is the fountainhead of most of the music we listen to from Hip-Hop to Alternative Rock. The lyrics also take pains to point out the normality of the band members, D. Boon, Mike Watt & George Hurley. This is what is being addressed by the opening couplet “Our band could be your life, real names’d be proof”.

Our band could be your life
Real names’d be proof
Me and mike watt played for years
Punk rock changed our lives

We learned punk rock in Hollywood
Drove up from Pedro
We were fucking corn dogs
We’d go drink and pogo

Mr. Narrator
This is Bob Dylan to me
My story could be his songs
I’m his soldier child

Our band is scientist rock
But I was E. Bloom and Richard Hell
Joe Strummer, and John Doe
Me and Mike Watt, playing guitar

As a bonus, while searching for a decent video of History Lesson (Part 2) I found this lovely video, from 2009, of bassist Mike Watt reading the lyrics & explaining a little about what they were saying and how they were wrote. Notice how Watt’s eyes seem to tear up and he chokes slightly on his words when he mentions bandmate D. Boon. Boon was killed in a road vehicle accident in 1985, when Minutemen were at the peak of their power & facing a bright & successful career. I hope you enjoy.

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Categories
Indie Rock Music

Sharon Van Etten & Josh Homme – (What’s so funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?

Despite my favourite version of this classic Nick Lowe tune being the wonderful version by the cast of the amazing Marvel TV show Legion, I have a lot of time for both Sharon Van Etten & Josh Homme. They don’t dissappoint here as they deliver an epic, melancholic pop version of the song, complete with orchestral percussion & reverb drenched piano chords. This is probably more in Van Etten’s wheelhouse than Homme’s, but he seems to adapt to it perfectly well.

I’m loving Josh Homme’s pink bunny onesie in the artwork. Tempted to end this sentence with a smiley.

And as bonus, because I mentioned it, here’s the Legion Cast recording. If you haven’t seen it, please watch. It’s so weird that I suspect the producers were trying to give David Lynch a run for his money.

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