Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Track Of The Day: Jagwar Ma - 'Say What You Feel'

One of the highlights from the Australian outfit's new album Every Now And Then. 

REWIND: Space - 'Neighbourhood'

More from 1996. Number 11 in the UK singles chart 20 years ago this week. This superb single is from the Liverpool band's debut album Spiders.

The Vault: Department S - 'Is Vic There?'

This post-punk classic reached number 22 in the UK singles chart back in 1981.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Track Of The Day: Avenged Sevenfold - 'The Stage'

From their new album of the same name, which is available now.

REWIND: R.E.M. - 'Bittersweet Me'

This track from R.E.M. was number 19 in the UK singles charts 20 years ago this week. From the superb 1996 album New Adventures In Hi-Fi.

The Vault: David Bowie - 'Black Country Rock'

Once again, no apologies whatsoever for featuring ultimate icon every week. This hard rocking treasure is from Bowie's third studio album, 1970's The Man Who Sold The World.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Muse - 'A New Kind Of Kick'

Muse's "Halloween Special", a cover of an old track by The Cramps. Happy halloween folks. 

REWIND: Gene - 'Fighting Fit'

This classic, life-affirming single from Gene was number 22 in the UK singles chart exactly 20 years ago this week. 

The Vault: The Beatles - 'From Me To You'

From 1963, The Beatles' first UK number 1 single. 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Airbourne - 'Get Back Up'

Infectious hard rock with heavy AC/DC influences. From the Australian band's new album 'Breakin' Outta Hell'.

REWIND: Toni Braxton - 'Un-Break My Heart' (Frankie Knuckles Classic Radio Mix)

More from 1996. House legend Frankie Knuckles turned his ballad by RnB singer Toni Braxton into a club hit. The single went to number 4 in the UK singles chart 20 years ago this week. Another one I used to play a lot during my days as a very young club DJ. 

The Vault: Primal Scream - 'Deep Hit Of Morning Sun'

Opening track and one of the highlights from the mighty Primal Scream's 2002 album 'Evil Heat'.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Track Of The Day: The Living End - 'Further Away'

From the Australian trio's superb recent album Shift, one of 2016's finest rock records.

REWIND: Reef - 'Place Your Hands'

More from 1996. This classic rock anthem from Reef was number 6 in the UK singles charts exactly 20 years ago this week. It can be found on the British band's second album 'Glow'.

The Vault: K7 - 'Come Baby Come'

A naggingly infectious one-hit-wonder track by American rapper K7, from his debut album Swing Batta Swing. The song peaked at number 3 in the UK singles chart in January 1994. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Run The Jewels - 'Talk To Me'

The awesome hip hop duo Run The Jewels are back with a thunderous new track, brimming with suspense and contention. The track is available as a free download HERE from the Adult Swim Singles Program 2016, a series of digital single releases from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Oddly, Cartoon Network played a big role in the existence of Run The Jewels, after CN network executive Jason DeMarco introduced New York-based Killer Mike to the Atlanta-based El-P. Afterwards, El-P produced Killer Mike's 'R.A.P. Music' album, and Killer Mike returned the favour by appearing on the El-P track 'Cancer 4 Cure'. The two rappers soon toured together, leading to the formation of RTJ. The greatest hip hop act of this era? Very possibly.

Following on from 2012's 'RTJ1' and 2013's 'RTJ2', the release date for their third full-length effort 'RTJ3' is set to be announced soon, and with the release of the excellent 'Talk To Me', that announcement shouldn't be far off...

REWIND: Faithless - 'Insomnia' (Monster Mix)

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that entered the charts this week in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (20 - 26 October 1996) featured a varied mixture of the great and not so great. We'll focus only on the great ones. See the full chart rundown from that week HERE.

Here's a legendary dance track that catapulted London-based Faithless into the upper reaches of the mainstream. I'd be VERY surprised if any of you were unaware of this massive floorfiller. One memory of this song involves me and my childish school classmates laughing at the line about "making mad love on the heath, tearing off tights with my teeth". The band formed in 1995, and consisted of vocalist Maxi Jazz, producer Rollo (real name Rowland Constantine O'Malley Armstrong), and the multi-talented Sister Bliss, who constructed most of the music herself electronically, also adding piano, violin, saxophone and bass guitar. The trio were also joined by songwriter Jamie Catto and bassist Aubrey Nunn, who was also a member of indie band Heavy Stereo, who were led by future Oasis/Beady Eye man Gem Archer.

Faithless released their debut single 'Salva Mea' in 1995, which reached number 9 in the UK singles chart. It was followed the same year by the classic 'Insomnia', which reached number 27 upon its initial release. The song became a massive hit in clubs, and after its popularity grew, 'Insomnia' was re-released in October 1996, reaching number 3 in the UK singles charts. 
It features Maxi Jazz singing from the viewpoint of an insomniac while he struggles to sleep. The subject matter was one that many dance music enthusiasts could relate to, since use of ecstasy and other stimulants were common in club/rave culture, with insomnia being a common side effect. The original version of the track can be found on the band's 1995 debut album 'Reverence'. 

Faithless went on to release five studio albums (all of which either went Gold or Platinum in the UK), plus a number of compilations and remix albums, before splitting in 2011. Sister Bliss is also a prolific club DJ and remixer, while Maxi Jazz has also been involved in the world of motor racing and formed a new band Maxi Jazz and the E-Type Boys in 2015. As well as remixing and producing for other artists, Rollo founded the record label Cheeky Records in 1991, and co-wrote Felix's 1992 hit 'Don't You Want Me'. As well as releasing tracks under his own name, he has also been a member of dance acts such as Dusted, High On Love, Mr V, Huff and Puff, Our Tribe, The OT Quartet and Stoned Love. Rollo is also the brother of the singer Dido. Jamie Catto left Faithless in 1999 and formed 1 Giant Leap, who collaborated with a massive and diverse range of artists and vocalists. Aubrey Nunn has also worked with the likes of Tim Booth, Santana, R. Kelly and many others, while also working as an A and R man, a producer, and as a teacher in Thailand.

After breaking up in 2011, Faithless got back together only a few years later in 2015 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band.

The Vault: Pennywise - 'Fuck Authority'

Time for another edition of a brand new feature. While Track Of The Day brings you new music and Rewind takes you back 20 years, The Vault deals in amazing songs from random points in musical history. RW/FF will keep these posts short and sweet, with only a small bit of basic info. All you have to do is press 'play' and enjoy. 

Here's a track that I used to blast at top volume and shut to at the top of my lungs during my "punk phase" during 2003-2009. The raging 'Fuck Authority' was taken from American punk combo Pennywise's 2001 album 'Land Of The Free?'. A review on Allmusic opined that "Pennywise themselves are calling Land of the Free? 'a wake-up call,' aimed at the slumbering masses of America — an attempt to shake people out of their lethargy, and prod them into thinking about the world." Protest music at its very best.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Track Of The Day: The Hound On The Mountain - 'Salamander Propaganda'

A superb new track from 'Cernunnos', the debut EP from The Hound On The Mountain, aka singer/songwriter Jordan Whatley. I first discovered Whatley back in 2011 when I attended a gig at The Pilot, a pub just down the road from where I used to live in the village of Bowerhill, a part of my old hometown Melksham in Wiltshire. I was there to see my friend Paul 'Bean' Walton, who makes up part of the superb Melksham ska/metal/dub/punk/fusion outfit Hell Death Fury. On this occasion Bean was playing a solo set accompanied by his ukelele, and was second on the bill. When I walked into the pub I was surprised to hear someone singing a brave acapella version of 'The English Curse' by Frank Turner, who I was a big fan of at the time. This voice turned out to be that of Whatley, who also played a number of acoustic covers as well as a few of his own songs. 

Ever since that night in 2011, Whatley has gone from strength to strength, writing more of his own material and playing gigs in record shops, pubs and other venues. In those five years he expanded his musical tastes, listening to a wide range of music old and new and absorbing many different influences. In 2013 he released an indie/folk flavoured mini album, 'The Shadowed Planet' under his own name. Read my review of that HERE. In the three years since, he tired of playing acoustic covers and developed a love of electronica and psychedelica, two styles that led to the creation of 'Cernunnos', an EP bursting with fantasy-based lyrics, prog-rock sounds and dark atmospheres. It's his first release as The Hound On the Mountain. 

Whatley describes the EP as "years of folk oppression being set free into a rock album. I've been listening to so much weird stuff over the last year and after hearing so many sounds, I just wanted to put that into music and create something i would be proud of. I centred it all around a forest theme: dark and atmospheric in places, but with songs that at the same time can propel you into a catchy chorus. It kinda ties in the two aspects of music I love. Think Talking Heads catchiness meets the dark atmosphere of Esben and the Witch."

While the opening hybrid of 'The Forest' suggests a fuzz-heavy Sonic Youth and Hawkwind hybrid, 'Ghosts Of Your Past' is one of his earlier songs, built on his original folk influences, and coming across like the Levellers-meets-'OK Computer'-era Radiohead. Displaying his range of influences, the catchy 'Tin Can' is cosmic indie glam punk with shades of Britpop and Aladdin Sane-era Bowie. The claustrophobic 'Porcelain Trees' is a bleak moment that absorbs the heaving drone-rock of fellow Melksham group Thought Forms, while also sounding a bit like Joy Division and The Horrors forming a supergroup.

The EP's closing track is the brief, snappy and rather bonkers lo-fi fireball 'Salamader Propaganda', which "came about with a riff I was toying about with. I love the idea of a having a track on an album that is short and which I could keep coming back to in a live setting like, almost a hook to be repeated between songs. The lyrics are completely based around the idea of a giant salamander destroying a town, a bit like the old Godzilla in Tokyo idea."

'Cernunnos' is available now in digital formats, with full-band live shows planned soon. The Hound On The Mountain can be found on Facebook HERE.

REWIND: Cast - 'Flying'

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that entered the charts this week in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (20 - 25 October 1996) featured a varied mixture of the great and not so great. We'll focus only on the great ones. See the full chart rundown from that week HERE

Here's another one that always reminds me of the dark autumn evenings in 1996, and the exciting Britpop boom coming to an end. Fronted by ex La's man John Power, Cast were probably one of the most underrated guitar bands of the mid 90s, and people often forget that their 1995 debut album 'All Change' was Polydor Records' fastest-selling debut album of all time, shifting over a million copies. The breathtaking non-album single 'Flying' was one of Britpop's most magical moments and a snapshot of Cast at their peak. All the nostalgic memories of the era are impossible to forget while hearing it, and it's one of those songs that has grown even more powerful as the years have gone on. An underrated classic of the times. The single reached number 4 in the UK singles charts. 

A few years ago I reviewed Cast's entire back catalogue when they released deluxe editions of their first four albums. Read that review HERE. Recently, the band have been working on their fifth studio LP, and released the brilliant new track 'Do That', which you can read about and listen to HERE.