Saturday, 21 July 2018

Dance Track Of The Week: The Juan MacLean - What Do You Feel Free About?

Every Saturday, dance/electronica expert and Frome FM DJ Jason B will be sharing his recommendations, picking an old track and a new track.

This week's recent selection is from The Juan MacLean, who returns with an electro-disco club cut.

The new single is sparse and anchored by a relentlessly catchy, bouncing bass line. Nancy Whang’s vocals carry a sense of urgency and directness as she advises to “keep your emotions secure / when you don’t, it gets personal.” Rave whistles, cowbell breakdowns and handclaps further ensure the track’s place as a key song for the summertime. 

Juan Maclean is a Brooklyn-based DJ and producer who has been a mainstay of the New York club scene, as well as maintaining a rigorous international touring schedule, since the release of his first records on DFA in 2002. He’s released an extensive catalogue of 12” singles and LPs for the label with vocalist Nancy Whang (most recently, 2014’s In A Dream LP, and last year’s 12” single ‘The Brighter The Light’). They are currently at work on their fourth album.

Jason B hosts Frome FM's Dance Classics every first Saturday of the month on Frome FM at 10pm. The show is repeated on the previous Thursday night at 10pm. Those of you lucky enough to live in Frome can pick it up on 96.6FM, otherwise listen online at www.frome.fm

You can listen again to the show online here: http://frome.fm/programmes/music/dance-classics/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FromeFMsDanceClassics/





Dance Classic Of The Week: Nuyorican Soul ft India - Runaway (Mongoloids In Space Remix)

Every Saturday, dance/electronica expert and Frome FM DJ Jason B will be sharing his recommendations, picking an old track and a new track. Like his new Frome FM's Dance Classics show, this feature looks at dance music in its various forms throughout the ages. 

Nuyorican Soul was an alias used by Masters At Work (Kenny 'Dope' Gonzalez and Louie Vega) to provide a separate outlet for their more jazz-flavoured brand of house music. The original version of 'Runaway' can be found on the duo's self titled debut album from 1997.

Jason B hosts Frome FM's Dance Classics every first Saturday of the month on Frome FM at 10pm. The show is repeated on the previous Thursday night at 10pm. Those of you lucky enough to live in Frome can pick it up on 96.6FM, otherwise listen online at www.frome.fm

You can listen again to the show online here: http://frome.fm/programmes/music/dance-classics/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FromeFMsDanceClassics/



Friday, 20 July 2018

Track Of The Day: The Prodigy - Need Some1

The Prodigy surprised the world yesterday with the release of a brand new track. 'Need Some1' immediately goes off like an atomic bomb, kicking up an alarming state of panic. Its taken from their upcoming seventh studio album 'No Tourists', which is out November 2.




Rewind: The High Fidelity - Luv Dup

One of the best songs of the late 90s, which should've got a lot higher than number 70 in the charts when it was released 20 years ago back in July 1998. I've been looking forward to featuring The High Fidelity, for they were a hugely promising band with a lively, diverse sound and one of the best songwriters of the decade. I'm talking about Sean Dickson, who previously fronted popular baggy combo The Soup Dragons. The High Fidelity eventually released their debut album 'Demonstration' in 2000, a lively, multicoloured record that I urge every single one of you to check out. With it's big drums, majestic chiming music box melody, weeping guitars, 'Luv Dup' is one of those songs that's so brilliant, you don't even realise that there's technically no chorus, just a glorious melody that happily repeats itself effectively throughout. The b side 'Lazy B' is also a terrific moment, and could've easily been the single. The band became inactive after 2001, and Dickson became acclaimed house DJ and producer HiFi Sean, working with an array of high profile guest vocalists on his 2016 album 'Ft.'

Interesting bit of trivia: the "High" in The High Fidelity probably refers to getting stoned, as Dickson started the group when High Times magazine asked him to record a track for a cannabis-themed covers compilation album.



Thursday, 19 July 2018

Track Of The Day: David Bowie - Zeroes (2018)

Not a brand new David Bowie track, sadly. Over two years after his death, I'm still not used to talking about Bowie in past tense. It's still hard to believe that he isn't out there making music, and that there won't be any more of his extraordinary magic. I'm usually sceptical about "new" music that was completed after the artists death. It doesn't feel right when that artist is no longer around to decide how their work is going to sound. Especially a musician like Bowie, a true visionary who demanded full artistic control. I'm also sceptical about previously released albums being re-recorded or remixed. An album is what it is: a unique piece of art that provides a snapshot of the artist at that moment in time. Every flaw is part of the sonic document. Why mess with something, even if you think it needs improving or not?

So I should be a bit miffed that the 1987 album 'Never Let Me Down' has been re-recorded with new instrumentation then? Not in this case. Among fans, NLMD has always been regarded as an LP that features some great songs ruined by overegged, cheap-sounding late 1980s production. "It's not what he would've wanted" some will say. Although Bowie wasn't present to approve the finished result, the project came about as an idea of his. According to a press release "The seeds of this reimagining of the album were first sown in 2008 when David asked Mario McNulty to remix the track ‘Time Will Crawl’ and record new drums by longtime Bowie drummer, Sterling Campbell, along with strings. The track was issued on the iSelect compilation to much acclaim, and in the notes, for that record, David remarked ‘Oh, to redo the rest of that album’.

Fast-forward to early 2018 McNulty entered Electric Lady Studios in New York with Sterling, Tim Lefebvre on bass, who was in the ★ (“Blackstar") band and Reeves Gabrels and David Torn on guitars. All of the musicians had a history with David, so were a perfect fit for what now sound like brand new songs. Nico Muhly, whom Mario first met when they were both interns working for Philip Glass in 2001, has handled the string arrangements. The re-workings have revealed ‘Never Let Me Down’ as a very strong collection of songs with a dark thematic thread running through them. Fans listening to ‘NEVER LET ME DOWN (2018)’ would be forgiven for thinking that they were listening to a brand new ‘lost’ Bowie record."

This new version of the album is included as part of the upcoming Loving The Alien (1983 – 1988), the fourth in a series of box sets spanning his career.


The 11 CD and 15 piece vinyl set also includes the albums 'Let's Dance', 'Tonight' and the original 'Never Let Me Down', as well as two live LP's, a collection of remixes, and a compilation of edits, B sides and non album tracks. It is released on October 12. From it is this new version of 'Zeroes'. Although Bowie was never one to revisit the past, I think he would approve. 



Rewind: The Unbelievable Truth - Settle Down

This solemnly pretty song from the Unbelievable Truth entered the UK singles chart at number 46 back in July 1998. It was taken from their debut album 'Almost Here'. It's probably impossible to talk about this band without mentioning the fact that they were fronted by Andy Yorke, brother of Radiohead legend Thom.


Monday, 16 July 2018

Track Of The Day: Suede - Don't Be Afraid If Nobody Loves You

With a distinct swagger recalling their early work, Suede's new single 'Don't Be Afraid If Nobody Loves You' is the second taste of their forthcoming LP 'The Blue Hour', released September 21. 


Rewind: Jurassic 5 - Jayou

Astonishingly, this hip hop classic from Jurassic 5 only made number 56 in the UK charts when it was released 20 years ago back in July 1998. It was the same year that I came to appreciate hip hop for the first time. I have the Beastie Boys and 'Hello Nasty' to thank for that. Around the same sort of time, I heard this track being played often on Radio 1's Evening Session and grew very keen on this old skool-flavoured collective from Los Angeles. With its tantalising flute and punchy funk rhythm, 'Jayou' was taken from the group's self titled debut album.


Sunday, 15 July 2018

Track Of The Day: Babybird - 'I Am Not Here' (Demo Version)

One of the music world's best kept secrets is the fact that Stephen Jones is making Babybird records again. After the lo-fi bedroom recordings of the early days, the hit singles of the mid-late 90s, and a brief return in 2010, Jones laid Babybird to rest in 2012, frustrated with the name constantly being associated with misunderstood 1996 smash hit 'You're Gorgeous'. He then became one of the most prolific musicians around, releasing (quite literally) hundreds of albums on Bandcamp under a range of different aliases.

But it's hard enough to be heard above all the noise and endless choice that characterises the music scene in this day and age. So the Babybird name has been reprised to give his songs the wings (no pun intended) that they deserve. It's also led to a live return, Jones and his band undertaking a series of raw, defiant gigs just months after he had suffered a heart attack.

And the new material keeps on coming: the latest Babybird release is a double album titled 'Selfies Inside The Coffin', although many of you reading this may never get to hear it. Jones released the songs in demo form on his Bandcamp site, before 50 limited edition CD copies of the album were pre-sold before the album itself was even completed.

If this is just the demo of 'I Am Not Here', then just imagine what the finished article will sound like. Beginning as a weird, unsettling spoken word soundscape, it soon grows into a cascade of dreamy chords, progressive loops and echoes of the sprawling atmospheric power that was put to such great effect on Jones' little-known 2014 album 'Ambition Expired'. This can be heard along with some other very promising recordings on Part 1 of the SITC demo sampler, available to listen to and download (name your price) HERE.


Another one to add to the growing list of great Babybird tracks.


Rewind: Idlewild - Everyone Says You're So Fragile

Punky fireball from a young Idlewild. The crazed quickshot scream after the guitar solo still excites me two decades later. This sharp, energetic single was at number 47 in the UK charts exactly 20 years ago back in July 1998. You can find it on their debut full-length 'Hope Is Important'.



Saturday, 14 July 2018

Dance Track Of The Week: Invaderz ft Jay Love - Drift Away

Today sees the launch of a new weekly feature on RW/FF, two new features in fact. Every Saturday, dance/electronica expert and Frome FM DJ Jason B will be sharing his recommendations, picking an old track and a new track. 

This weekend's recent pick is a drum n bass offering from the Invaderz featuring vocalist Jay Love. The original version of 'Drift Away' appeared last year in 2017, becoming a favourite of Fabio's. Lifting elements from Boston's rock classic 'More Than A Feeling', their failure to legally clear the samples led to the vocal parts being re-recorded. Although this new version retains its uplifting summery vibe, I still envy the DJs who continue to play their copy of the original... 

Jason B hosts Frome FM's Dance Classics every first Saturday of the month on Frome FM at 10pm. The show is repeated on the previous Thursday night at 10pm. Those of you lucky enough to live in Frome can pick it up on 96.6FM, otherwise listen online at www.frome.fm

You can listen again to the show online here: http://frome.fm/programmes/music/dance-classics/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FromeFMsDanceClassics/



Dance Classic Of The Week: The Beginning Of The End - Funky Nassau Pt 1 and 2

Today sees the launch of a new weekly feature on RW/FF, two new features in fact. Every Saturday, dance/electronica expert and Frome FM DJ Jason B will be sharing his recommendations, picking an old track and a new track. Like his new Frome FM's Dance Classics show, this feature looks at dance music in its various forms throughout the ages. 

This one definitely falls into the category marked 'funk', although its arrangement and rhythm has a Latin edge. Both parts of 'Funky Nassau' are taken from the 1971 album of the same name. This single reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, and 31 in the UK Singles Chart. Interestingly, part of this song was sampled by the Prodigy on 'No Good (Start The Dance)'... 

Jason B hosts Frome FM's Dance Classics every first Saturday of the month on Frome FM at 10pm. The show is repeated on the previous Thursday night at 10pm. Those of you lucky enough to live in Frome can pick it up on 96.6FM, otherwise listen online at www.frome.fm

You can listen again to the show online here: http://frome.fm/programmes/music/dance-classics/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FromeFMsDanceClassics/





Friday, 13 July 2018

Track Of The Day: The KVB - 'Above Us'

A delicious helping of lysergic machine music from The KVB. If the Jesus And Mary Chain were signed to Mute Records in the 1980s, they might have sounded a bit like this.

The pulsating 'Above Us' is out now on Invada Records, a label with a reputation for releasing brilliant, extraordinary music. The KVB are on tour in the UK this October in support of their forthcoming album 'Only Now Forever', and dates can be found HERE.



Rewind: Massive Attack - Angel

A heaving beast of a track from 'Mezzanine', arguably Massive Attack's finest album. It features Horace Andy, who worked with the Bristol group on a number of other tracks as well. The song samples The Incredible Bongo Band's 'Last Bongo in Belgium'. 'Angel' was released exactly 20 years ago today, and entered the UK singles chart at number 30.


Thursday, 12 July 2018

Track Of The Day: Menace Beach ft Brix Smith - Black Rainbow Sound

The Leeds-based Menace Beach are back with a new album next month. 'Black Rainbow Sound' is the vividly energetic title track from it, a propulsive helping of Krautrock-infused psychedelica that features the guest vocals of former Fall member Brix Smith-Start.

The band explain: “The synchronicity of the universe just forced us and Brix together. The very day l finished reading her biography she played us on her BBC 6Music show along with a wonderfully out-there monologue of how the song made her feel. I said thanks, we got chatting and it went from there. She’s a burning comet of positive energy”.





Rewind: Eagle Eye Cherry - Save Tonight

Another one I accidentally missed from last month's selection of singles from 1998. A very catchy radio hit from 20 years ago. This fine bit of acoustic guitar-driven pop entered the UK singles chart at number 6 back in June 1998. Sweden-born Eagle Eye Cherry was the son of jazz artist Don Cherry, and half brother of singer Neneh Cherry. Although often thought of as one hit wonder by many, 'Save Tonight''s follow-up 'Falling In Love Again' went to number 8, while the debut album 'Desireless' sold over 4 million copies worldwide. He's released numerous albums since, and continues to record and perform.


Wednesday, 11 July 2018

LISTEN: Rewind/Fast Forward at 23 Bath St - July 2018

Rewind/Fast Forward's Ben P Scott plays an eclectic set every month in Frome. "The monthly Open Deck days at 23 Bath St are always good fun. And if you turn up at during one of my sets, you get techno, Mansun b-sides,1970s Dr Who sound effects, dancehall reggae, Mark E Smith reading football results, truck driving songs and Iggy Pop reminiscing about sex and drugs on a plane..." Below you can listen to the set from Sunday 8 July 2018.

The Open Deck Days also feature a variety of other DJs, including Frome FM's Jason B, who will also be contributing to RW/FF with dance/electronica recommendations old and new. 23 Bath St is a popular venue in the Somerset town of Frome. More info can be found HERE on their Twitter. More info on the monthly Open Deck days can be found at their Facebook page HERE.



Track Of The Day: Goldfrapp ft Dave Gahan - Ocean

Depeche Mode legend Dave Gahan adds some foreboding power to this fine new version of Goldfrapp's 'Ocean'. The song was originally on their 2017 album 'Silver Eye'. “Working with Dave Gahan on the new version of ‘Ocean’ has been a real honor for us as a band,” the group said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to finally share this collaboration with the world.”



Rewind: Beastie Boys - Intergalactic

Every day, the 'Rewind' feature looks at the music we were listening to 20 years ago. Somehow I missed this one out when I was compiling the selections for June 1998, so I'll feature it now instead. It would've still been in the Top 40 by July anyway, since it was the biggest hit the Beastie Boys ever had here in the UK. Not quite sure how I overlooked this one, since this song proved to be a very influential and important one for me.

I had never really been keen on hip hop in the 90s. This astonishing single changed all that. The accompanying album 'Hello Nasty' made me realise just how innovative and eclectic hip hop music could be. During the early 90's, I cringed at acts like Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince and Kriss Kross, and during the Britpop years, I fell into despair every time I heard Coolio or Puff Daddy. I was never impressed by the initially blunt lyrics or the unimaginative arrangements. I had come to the conclusion that all these rappers were talentless idiots without a single brain cell to share between them. But this was just commercial rap music, a watered-down variant aimed at the mainstream pop market.

Then one day in 1998, I heard the world exclusive first play of a new song by the Beastie Boys. I'd heard of the group before, but not actually experienced any of their music until hearing this song. For the first time I had realised that there was a big difference between the watered down pop nonsense called "rap" and real hip hop. This was something completely different: it was powerful, exciting and absolutely fucking crazy. This song in question was 'Intergalactic', and had enough of an impact on me for me to purchase their fifth album 'Hello Nasty', which was gaining glowing reviews everywhere in the music press. At the time this was confusing, I hated rap music, yet here I was fascinated by these three nerdy white boys from New York who seemed to have a great love of experimentation and silly, random lyrics that were delivered in a clever enough way for them not to sound too ridiculous. 

They were like a bunch of mad scientists, playing around with bizarre combinations of sounds and defying every rule in the hip hop book, to create a truly innovative concoction. 'Hello Nasty' changed my views on hip hop and made me realise that this genre was about more than posing, gangster rap and materialism. Thanks to the Beasties, I began to explore the artists who were there back in the day, acts like Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, De La Soul and Afrika Bambattaa. All these great acts probably wouldn't be part of my record collection if it wasn't for MCA, Ad Rock and Mike D

According to Wikipedia: The song samples the theme music for the 1985 film The Toxic Avenger, as adapted from Rimsky-Korsakov's arrangement of Mussorgsky's A Night on Bald Mountain. The sound effect sample originates from the sound the Resonator makes in the 1986 film From Beyond. Elements of Les Baxter's rendition of Prelude in C# Minor as composed by Rachmaninoff are also used during the verses, and the song also contains elements of the Jazz Crusaders album Powerhouse. The closing "Do it!" is sampled from the 1971 Stovall Sisters song "Hang on in There".



The Vault: New Order - World In Motion (Subbuteo Mix)

A major break from the usual here: a post about football. No, you're not going to escape from it today. But I'm certainly no sports pundit, I'm not even a fan of football anymore. England play in the semi finals of the World Cup this evening, and while I'm pleased to see them come this far, I'm also going to remind people to be realistic. I remember previous World Cups and Euros, particularly the excitement of Euro 96. Optimism was particularly big in Britain at that time: Britpop was still king, British film and culture was booming, and the national football team now had their best set of players in years. The European Championships were held in England that summer, and the Lightning Seeds anthem 'Three Lions' captured the mood perfectly. They got so far, the semi finals in fact. But then lost to old rivals Germany on penalties.

Although the England team of 1996 have long since retired from playing, the legacy of that era lives on in this World Cup 22 years later. Gareth Southgate, who in 1996 became notorious for that unlucky penalty miss against the Germans, is now England manager. Wouldn't it be a great way to finally put that ghost to rest by winning the ultimate prize in 2018? Then there's the fact that 'Three Lions' has seen a major resurgence over recent weeks, a song which is still very much appropriate lyrically in the sense that England supporters are still used to bad luck and disappointment 22 years on. "30 years of hurt" is now 52 years. Then there's the song's infectious "football's coming home" refrain, a lyric that was actually referring to the fact that Euro 96 was being held in England. In a double context, it did hint that one day the major trophies could also be "coming home" to England if we kept the faith.


Over the last few decades we've seen England teams featuring all-star line ups who weren't able to gel as a unit. The media would whip the public into a frenzy of hype and high expectations, time and time again resulting in people getting more than a bit carried away. Of course hope, faith and optimism is positive, yet I have seen over-excitement leading to disappointment.

I see it as very ominous when I hear people singing "football's coming home" every single time England have won a game in this tournament. Has nobody learned from the past? At the beginning of this World Cup, many people didn't expect too much from the young and relatively unknown players, showing support but not putting them under the pressure of expectations. Stay humble and modest, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

I've done exactly that. I've followed England's progress but not watched any of the games, since they seem to be doing very well without me watching. Lots of others have been sensibly optimistic, and it's worked so far. But when people start getting carried away, I can't help but feel like they're falling into the same pattern of overexpectation that always leads to disappointment. Don't jinx it by celebrating too soon. Like the man who recently got himself a "World Cup winners 2018" tattoo. And whoever adjusted the Frome town sign to read "football's coming home". Calm down, we're not even in the final yet, let alone having England's name engraved on the trophy... Don't put pressure on these young players, who have already exceeded reasonable expectations by coming this far.

But it is great that England have reached their biggest game since the World Cup final in 1990. Hopefully they can reach the final this year, which will give me a good excuse to feature another football-related song. But just in case they don't, I'm featuring this while I still can. A superb version of the game-changing single that redefined what a football anthem could be.

I'm sure I don't need to give you more info about this classic by New Order, featuring members of the 1990 England squad. The band's links to Factory Records and the Hacienda resulted in DJ legends Mike Pickering and Graeme Park giving World In Motion a hint of the early 90s acid House movement on this excellent remix. This can be found on the original 12" single from 1990.